Growing up as a kid, I loved to play baseball. I was in Little League for eight years. In the major league, my team, the Mets, coached by my Dad, won the championship! One of the best memories I have. I don't remember following a specific MLB team, mostly because there was no home team to root for. In high school, I stopped playing because my mom wanted me to play tennis. Tennis season was at the same time as baseball season. However, by then, I was a fan of the Cincinnati Reds. I'm sure I started rooting for them because my best friend liked the L.A. Dodgers. But I got to love the Reds and the "Big Red Machine". Guys like Pete Rose (yes, I believe he should be in the Hall of Fame), Johnny Bench (great catcher, not so good third baseman), Tom Seaver, Dave Concepcion, Ken Griffy (Sr., not Jr.), Cesar Cedeno, George Foster, and don' forget, the manager, Sparky Anderson. When my son was old enough, he played Little League as well. I really enjoyed watching him play. I think I was more nervous than him sometimes. Then in 1988, Arizona got baseball. The Arizona Diamondbacks played their first season. They lost a lot of games, but they were my team! Devon White, Jay Bell, Travis Lee, Karim Garcia, and my all time favorite Diamondbacks player, Matt Williams. He was old school. He played the game the way it was meant to be played. When he hit a home run, he dropped his bat, lowered his head, and ran (not trotted, ran). He once was seen in the dugout scolding another player for not running after hitting a home run. He had respect for other players and for the integrity for the game. He played for the love of the game. In turns out, Matty was a steroid user and possibly a dealer. In 2002, he bought a substantial amount of HGH (Human Growth Hormone) and Steroids. He claims he bought it to help heal an ankle injury, and not to hit more home runs. He also says he only used it for a month, didn't like how he felt when using, and quit. I am willing to buy the ankle theory (I know, but it's Matty!). But he bought it from a dentist! In another state! A dentist that later lost his license because of that very thing. In 2005-2006, he bought a large amount again. He claims it was for health reasons! His wife put him up to it! Nobody can prove it, yet, but it sounds to me like he is, or was, dealing. Now, when he was a player, using HGH and steroids was not against the rules of baseball. But they were illegal in this country! The integrity of the game that he guarded with every fiber is gone. My heart broke when this story hit. My favorite player has lost all that he worked so hard to instill in others. He has cheated the game he so dearly loved. Everything he represented is lost. I can't believe it. Matty, say it isn't so!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
This is what went wrong with professional sports. Sports markets now generate billions of dollars in revenue. The athletes that get paid millions to play a game have destroyed the fiber of competition and good will. It gets harder every year to watch. These days, you can't watch a sporting event without a player showboating or crying foul to the level that ruins the event. Shawn Marion? Used to be one of my favorite players. Now he needs to go. He publicly called out the Sun's Management and demanded a trade because he is tired of not being respected. Are you kidding me? Let's talk about his current contract. When he signed it (and he DID sign it), it was for the maximum number of years and at the maximum salary allowed by the league. There is your respect. Lets talk about trade rumors. Every year, Marion is the subject of trade rumors. But year after year, the Suns hold on to him. Teams line up to make offers. But is he traded? Nope. He is considered a premier player in this league. Teams offer their future for him. Do the Suns ever trade him? Nope. They realize that their isn't a trade good enough. There is your respect. The time has come. Trade him and his respect. There comes a time where it just isn't worth it. And that time was yesterday
Let's talk about Manny Ramirez. He get payed millions. He works 4 hours a day max and only seven months out of the year. Every year he demands to be traded to a team who will pay him what he is worth. Its just Manny being Manny. Are you kidding me? Yes, he is a valuable asset to the Red Sox. Yes, he is one of the best hitters in baseball right now. But the game he plays is a chore to him. Sad. He likes to celebrate when he hits a long ball by standing in the batters box, tossing his bat down and raising his hands straight up like he just won game seven of the World Series with a walk off home run (sadly, he might get that chance). So much for humility and sportsmanship. In a playoff game last week in a series that his team was losing, in a game they were losing, Manny came up to bat. David Ortiz was on first base. Now, if you ever have seen Ortiz, you understand that he is not exactly lightning in a bottle. A big guy, known for his power, not for his speed or ability to run the bases. Manny gets a hold of a pitch and hits it high and deep. With his team losing the game at the time and the series overall, you would think he would be doing everything he can to help his TEAM. Nope. He stands in the batters box, drops his bat, raises his arms in triumph, and watches the ball sail over, no not over the wall, into the wall. Meanwhile, Ortiz is running on contact, bad legs and all, slow as can be, manages to score all the way from first base. Manny? He records the longest single in baseball history. He doesn't even get to second. As a result, he never scores. This happens when his team is losing. Sadly, the Red Sox manage to win the game anyway. Manny being Manny, the announcers remark. Manny being Manny is the stupidest three words I have ever heard. Just another excuse. That is why every year it gets harder and harder to watch.