Wednesday, February 23, 2005The Morning Toast: Sensationalism & Steroids
I think Barry reads my columns. Not the stuff I babble about here, but my real columns, the ones I get paid for and stuff.
Now I can't find the column in Google, but about two months ago I wrote about cheating in baseball and why reporters/fans etc. Were getting so upset about this perceived cheating in the sport. I mentioned Gaylord Perry, a guy who's Hall of Fame career was based around his "cheating".
My point was that nothing is really illegal in baseball. Is using steroids immoral and wrong? Sure, but in baseball terms it isn't cheating. They didn't test for anything, they didn't check anything, baseball actually used the "honor code" as laughable as that sounds.
So was I really surprised when Barry busted out with these lines during his Tuesday press conference:
"You guys are like rerunning stories. This is old stuff. It's like watching 'Sanford and Son.' It's almost comical, basically. ... Are you guys jealous, upset, disappointed, what?'"
"I don't know what cheating is. I don't believe steroids can help your eye-hand coordination, technically hit a baseball. I just don't believe it. That's my opinion."
Now Mike Lupica gets it, Dan Shanoff gets it and not surprisingly Jayson Stark doesn't. Barry Bonds isn't Jason Giambi, he's not overly sensitive about his situation and he's not going to apologize or beg for forgiveness.
There's no need to.
He's still the most fascinating player in the game. He's a mystery to the media, he doesn't run after every camera like Curt Schilling. He doesn't use his family to hide behind his selfishness like Roger Clemens, he isn't an out and out phony like A-Rod or Sammy Sosa.
The media wants to like Bonds, he's ever they ask for in an athlete. He's articulate, he's provocative, he's got a great sense of the game's history, he's got great baseball lineage. But he's also surly, he's also difficult.
People are going to think what they are going to think and no amount of apologies will change public opinion. So Bonds turns it around. "You think I'm cheating and my records are fabricated? Well that's YOUR problem. Not mine."
Bonds is a smart man, extremely smart. He knows the game. He knows that the media will follow him regardless, he knows that the fans, whether they cheer or boo, will run to see him every night over the summer.
As a member of the media, actually both contributors here are members of the media, it's funny when we as a group gang up and pounce on athletes. And weak ones, like Giambi, cower and apologize and cow-tow for us every chance they get so they can get the good press. Bonds is one of the few guys who isn't afraid to punch back and for that reason he's still one of the people that I enjoy listening to most. He makes our job difficult.
BTW Bee-Ranom, I'd love to hear your test on your fellow Sun Devil.
Oh No O'Neal
In the midst of the Barry Bonds press conference, the news of Shaquille O'Neal's injury has been hidden. The Big Aristotle injured his knee last night when he landed on Antonio Davis' foot. The quick X-Ray was negative but the most detailed MRI is pending.
Shaq told his teammates that he'll be all right and I hope he isn't lying because the Eastern Conference playoffs are starting to look interesting with Detroit playing its best ball, the Nets warming up and ask Orlando if Indiana will be a force to reckon with in the season's final 30 games?
Diener Is Done
In throwing a bone to my friends over at Marquette Hoops, I must say I was quite sad to hear that a broken hand will end the collegiate career of Marquette point guard Travis Diener, leaving him 83 points short of the school's all-time scoring record.
The good news is Diener will be healthy for the NBA Draft and I think he's got a strong 10-year professional career ahead of him and another 20 years behind the mike as an analyst after that.
Lemieux May Get His Wish
As I've said..repeatedly..now that the NHL is on ice, it's a good time to completely overhaul the rules that have turned the game into the No Hockey League.
Well thanks to Mario Lemieux, I might finally get what I've been asking for.
Many of the new rules are being tried this season in the AHL, which expects to have at least two 100-point scorers (Binghamton's Jason Spezza and Manchester's Mike Cammalleri) and possibly more. Among them are shootouts to decide overtime ties, wider blue-lines that increase the size of the neutral zone, less distance between the nets and the end boards, smaller goaltending gear, no-touch icing and tag-up offsides.
The NHL is also toying with eliminating the red-line, thus doing away with the dreaded two-line passing rule and creating the end-to-end breaks so common in international play.
Tomorrow, more NFL than you'll ever need.