Thursday, April 03, 2014

WYSIWYG

Jonathan Papelbon blew the save Wednesday night as the Phils dropped the finale of their season-opening series against the Texas Rangers.  The Phils won the first game of the set but the bullpen blew the next two games.

Papelbon was horrible.  All of the questions about his velocity and command from last year resurfaced in one ugly inning in which seven of eight batters he faced reached base including the final hitter, who drew a bases loaded walk.  After the game Papelbon complained about the defensive alignment in that fatal ninth inning. Interestingly, not one of his teammates or coaches had anything to say about his pitching.

Then, again, what could they say?


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Why Worry?

What's all this hand-wringing about?

Too old?  Too impatient?  Too selfish?

Stop worrying, Phillies' fans, there's much to be happy about:

Cliff Lee finally got run support.

J-Roll leads the league in rbi's.

Ryan Howard's OBP is great.

Cody Asche can hit.

Marlon Byrd's revival continues.

Jonathan Papelbon can pitch in a non-save situation.

Ryne Sandberg pulled all the right levers.

So, why worry?

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Pepper

For nearly sixty years I've noticed an inverse correlation between Spring Training fortunes and Regular Season success.  (Don't ask me to provide the data because I can't.  This conclusion is strictly a hunch.)  If a team stinks down south in Feb and March, my reasoning goes, they will smell as sweet as a rose up north April through October.

All of which means your 2014 Phillies should be playing post-season baseball.

Of course, there are exceptions to the "rule" and the bet here is your 2014 Phillies will qualify on that score.

The Phillies don't look like they can pitch, hit or field as well as a number of teams in their own division not to mention league.

In no particular order we are being treated to:

1.  The now annual Cole Hamels won't be ready for the start of the season warnings;
2.  The question of who will start in the middle let alone back of the rotation;
3.  Can Ryan Howard hit lefties;
4.  Can Ryan Howard hit righties, for that matter;
5.  Is this the year Jimmy Rollins' fielding follows his bat down hill;
6.  Can these guys catch the ball; and,
7.  Will Ruben Amaro survive the year?

There are lots of other questions at nearly every position.  The Phillies don't have a Mike Trout, who you pen into a spot in the batting order and don't think about it for the rest of the year.  Everyone is suspect in this lineup for one reason or another.  Heck, even the broadcasters are suspect!

Fourth in the division...at best.

* * * * * * * *

The newspapers have been full of stories wondering aloud if the Sixers' alleged brain trust really has a plan to turn things around and, if so, is it going to work.

I certainly don't know...nor, really, do I much care.  Professional basketball is a boring game on a good night.  What is clear to me is that while this process unfolds (or implodes), the Sixers are such a miserable assortment that there is little wonder no one is turning out to watch them.  Heck, even the players can't stand to watch.  Those players fortunate enough to be traded couldn't wait to depart.  None has publicly trashed the team upon arrival at his new destination, but, then, what would be the point?  Everyone knows they are pitiful.

I have to laugh a the notion they may deliberately tank to get a better lottery pick position.  Tank?  Deliberately?  That would suggest the Sixers have options.

You have to hand it to the former and current owners and coaches of the team.  This sorry excuse for a professional sports franchise didn't burgeon over night.  It took years of ineptitude to run the Sixers into the ground.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Paul Blair

Growing up an Orioles fan I had the pleasure to watch two of the greatest fielders in history at their respective positions:  Brooks Robinson and Paul Blair.

Paul Blair died in Baltimore last night at age 69.

While teammates and fans of his era (the 1960's - 70's) remember a fluid, graceful fielder of slender build and fluid motion, many people forget he was a very solid hitter until being beaned by a pitch in 1970.  He was never the same hitter after that, involuntarily stepping into the bucket on any pitch even close to being inside.  It was a shame because Blair possessed all the talents necessary for a storied career.

He won 8 Gold Gloves and batted .250 for his career, but the latter number would have been much higher had he not suffered that dreadful injury.  Teammates literally stood and watched him in awe as he chased down fly balls deep to cavernous Memorial Stadium's outfield.  He played very shallow and could glide back on the ball with uncommon ease.  I still remember a teammate pulling up to watch Blair leap at the fence to haul in ball that was really the teammate's play to make.

He had a wonderful gait at the end of an inning, too.  He would tuck his glove up near his armpit and glide into the dugout. He wasn't showing off; he was just enjoying the freedom of running and playing a game at which he was so good.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

This And That

The baseball HOF ballot has been announced and at least one, possibly two, players seem likely to be voted in immediately:  Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine.

Timing, of course, is everything, so the unluckiest names on the ballot are Mike Mussina and Frank Thomas. Mussina won 270 games and had a career ERA of 3.46, but here's betting he won't be voted in.  Not easy to be that good and fail to get in.  Indeed, a lot of pitchers with less gaudy numbers have been voted in.

Frank Thomas is my candidate for least good player to get in.  Thomas had a career batting average over .300 and smacked 521 home runs, but many fans and maybe even a writer or two will say, "Who'd he play for?"

Lastly, there is the cheaters' division led by Barry Bonds.  He ain't getting in because the baseball world is still pissed off at him.

* * * * * * * *

If football were a 45 minute game, or even a 59 minute game, Temple might be ranked number two or three in the nation.  Unfortunately, it is still a 60 minute game.  Temple has lost more big leads and late than any team I can ever remember.  Is their problem one of conditioning or is their defense easy to figure out after about 30 minutes exposure?

* * * * * * * *

The 2008 Phillies never died.  You can see most of them again this coming April at a stadium near you.

* * * * * * * *

The Flyers struggled mightily to get back to .500 after their disastrous first month and when they finally got there they went to Florida and blew it against a mediocre team.  Afterwards, one of their veteran players and their new coach said aloud the team didn't seem ready to play last night.  Seems a little late for that kind of sentiment, eh?

* * * * * * * *

The Eagles have defied a lot of pundits and sit tied atop the NFL East division.  Of course, theirs is the weakest division in football.  The next several weeks they play a number of teams who could prove the pundits really do know what they are talking about, but it has been entertaining lately to watch Nick Foles mature into a starting quarterback....at least for this season and next.  The Eagles are still going to try and draft a franchise quarterback.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Heading Nowhere....Fast

Bob Ford, the Inquirer's last regularly appearing sports columnist who can actually write, had a wonderful line in today's paper.  He began citing a series of jokes making the rounds about the age of the Phillies' roster.  My bet is most if not all of them were made up by Ford himself, which only gives more credence to my earlier statement.   The one that brought a chuckle was that Matthew Brady would be taking the team photo in 2014.

Yes, fans, your 2014 Phillies are old.  Yesterday the re-signed Chooch Ruiz to a 3-year, $26 million contract pending a physical.  Was that one too many years and nearly $8 too much money?  Absolutely.  In Chooch's case, however, I prefer to think of his deal as making up for having underpaid him for so long.  I don't have a problem with being generous to a guy who has arguably been one of the leaders of this team.

I am not so magnanimous about other deals.

 Of course the most outrageous one the Phillies alleged brain trust, headed by Ruben Amaro, made still must be Ryan Howard's $125 contract, which still has several years to run.  That albatross is followed closely by the $50 million deal offered to Jonathan Papelbon two years ago.  Pap is not only running out of gas, he has used at least 7 of his nine lives in this town, where he bashes his teammates every other outing.  The fans in this town don't take kindly to players blaming teammates.

Most observers have already noted the questionable deal Amaro made a week ago, signing Marlon Byrd to a heft 2-year contract.  The Phils need to improve in a lot of areas most notably the outfield.  Of course they needed to improve the outfield this time last year, too, and did not.

In the end the biggest change the Phils need to make is the GM.  Amaro inherited a good team and has slowly saddled it with bad contracts, questionable signings and the near-total depletion of the minor league system.

Amaro is over his head.  The only thing that bails him out has been the years of sell-outs which, of course, abruptly ended at the end of 2012 and continued through 2013, and huge television contracts.  At some point the owners, who will unload this franchise one day at a huge premium, will also get tired of the string of mistakes and errors of judgement emanating from the GM's office and do something about it.  They will be too late, however, to set their ship on the right course for many years to come.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

You Must Be Joking

I read the news coming out of the Hot Stove League and mutter to myself...repeatedly...."you must be joking!"

The Braves, never a huge draw in Atlanta even during their glorious run in the '90's, announced they will be leaving Turner Field for greener pastures.  Hmm, I thought, isn't Turner Field relatively new?  Yes indeedy! Seventeen years old.  In a nation known to tear down its architectural heritage, good, bad and indifferent, abandoning a stadium after less than a two decades residency has to be some kind of record.  Are you listening, Guinness?  Category:  fastest team to leave a new stadium, baseball division.

I don't know the details of the financing, but if all goes according to modern sports franchise tradition, the Braves are going to ask the public to fork over a big chunk of the costs.  Now, if the good ole folks of Georgia, a red state by any reckoning, want to carp about big government, they can begin by saying no to taxpayer financing of this move.  Oh, sure, the Braves will threaten to move somewhere if they don't get what they want from the public coffers, but would many people outside the Chamber of Commerce in Fulton County notice?  Wait, they would be moving to Kolb County.  Maybe less than half the folks there were actually born in Georgia.  Maybe Kolb Co. is really Minnesota in disguise!

Anyway, the Braves apparently want a retro stadium that seats about 45.000 so the empty seats don't outnumber the filled ones on any given night.  Management talked about better access for the fans, but I always thought you had to make the effort to go somewhere to gain access.

Just when I thought nothing else could surprise me about baseball executives and their greed and stupidity, I read the Phillies alleged brain trust was about to re-sign Marlon Byrd to a two-year $16 contract.  Byrd, as you no doubt recall, started his career here some time around the turn of the century.  Along the way he's played for a variety of teams in North America (yes, sports fans, that includes Mexico), been suspended for substance abuse and turned 36 years old before our eyes.  So, desperate for a right-handed bat and an outfielder, Ruben Amaro succumbed to Philareacquaitis (pronounced Phila reacqua itis) , a disease that though rarely fatal causes General Managers to reacquire players whom they previously traded.  Presumably, Paul Holmgren likes this deal.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

If This Be Tanking....

Picked by nearly everyone in the civilized and uncivilized world to finish dead last in the NBA this year, and in the process challenge the all-time record for losses in a single season held, incidentally, by an earlier iteration of the same team, the Sixers have charged out of the starting gate and won their first three games.

No one, not even those prone to place a $2 bet on the longest of long-shots, saw this coming.  In his heart of hearts, new coach Brett Brown probably didn't either.

It isn't likely to last, but if these guys don't re-read the script soon, they're going to blow it and win too many games to enter the record books not to mention gather enough bouncing ping-pong balls to land the top choice in next year's draft.  Rumor had it the Sixers planned to tank this season to insure the balls literally bounced their way.  So, what's going on?

Can't nobody get it right around these parts?

* * * * * * * *

Well, as a matter of fact, some teams do know their place.

The Flyers have gotten off to an astonishingly dreadful start thanks in no small part to the inept GM Paul Holmgren, who fired his coach after three games and then made one of the trades that has become his trademark, that is, the re-acquisition of a player previously traded.  Steve Downie was described by his new coach as the kind of player "every team needs", which begs the question why has he been traded three times in seven years???!!!!

Downie, a goon who can skate and score (erratically), began his second stint with the Flyers by getting pummeled in his first game back, suffering a concussion in the process.  I guess coach Berube should have added "...needs in the lineup."

Holmgren leads this team by panic and rash moves.  He is quick to fire, reacquire and rationalize.  His owner, Ed Snider, bristles at any suggestion this franchise has lost its way, but the sad truth is the Flyers are becoming also-rans who overspend and don't develop their own players.

* * * * * * * *

Meanwhile, the Eagles are perhaps the most surprising team currently engaged in activity at the moment. New coach Chip Kelly was supposed to be an offensive "genius", but his team has scored exactly three points in two games, the defense having outscored the offense by recovering a fumble for a touchdown last week against the Giants, the only other points of the time in question.

NFL games are analyzed more closely and ad nauseum than any other human activity of the Fall and Winter in these United States including general elections and the stupidity and venality of Republicans.  Everyone and his cousin has an explanation for the Eagles' ineptness, including injuries to the mediocre corps of quarterbacks, the loss of split end Jeremy Maclin in training camp, a new offensive scheme, a new defensive scheme, the lack of quality cornerbacks and safeties, etc..  In other words, where to begin?

Whatever else you say, the offensive is boring.  Their so-called hurry-up pace hasn't phased any defenses as far as I can tell.  It probably confuses the offense more.

Chip Kelly may indeed turn out to be a genius, but for right now all his has been is living proof that a coach is as successful as his players, and right now he doesn't have many good ones.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Under Water

With basketball about to get underway. four of Philadelphia's five major league sporting teams (the Union being the exception) could easily have losing records by the end of each season.  These are the Winter, Spring, Fall and Summers of our discontent.

The Sixers are being projected to make a serious run at  the worst overall one year record, a distinction held by...the Sixers of 1972-73.  Every prognosticator gives them no chance of winning more than a handful of games...if that.  The New York Times projection put it best:  "The team’s off-season highlights: trading its lone young All-Star, G Jrue Holiday; trading for a player with a fear of flying, F Royce White, and then releasing him; and acquiring a rookie with one good knee, C Nerlens Noel."  

Management insists they are building for the future and this year's record is immaterial.  As long as we're talking long-term here, has anyone in the Sixers' alleged brain trust stopped to consider they won't be anyone IN THE BUILDING by the time there plan is implemented?

Meanwhile, across the street the Eagles are a complete mess.  Their vaunted offensive genius, rookie head coach Chip Kelly, has seen his fast-tempo offense score a total of 3 points in their last eight quarters.  The only touchdown during those two games was scored by the defense.  Speaking of that group, the defense looks much improved thanks in no small measure to the schedule-makers, who lined up three straight inept teams for the Eagles to face.

Kelly was supposed to bring speed, innovation and imagination to the offense.  Frankly, they look as dull as Andy Reid's worst incarnations.  It doesn't help that they've lost their number one and two quarterbacks and have had to resort to Matt Barkley, whose performances under duress and with little time to prepare appear to explain quite clearly why he was still available when the Eagles drafted him in the fourth round.

Michael Vick hasn't been an admirable human being though I am willing to give him some credit for having paid his off-field "debt to society".  He has been an admirable athlete insofar as his willingness to keep on keepin' on despite taking a beating.  But, he cannot stay healthy and when he is healthy he cannot stay consistent.  His days are numbered.  Nick Foles was given a Wally Pipp-Lou Gehrig opportunity and blew it before the concussion.

The Eagles need a new quarterback.

The Eagles need a lot of things, really.  Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana or Slingin' Sammy Baugh couldn't rescue this bunch.

The Flyers have won two straight to move nowhere in their division.  They still are in last place.  In their case it is reasonable to wait a little longer to see if the new system being implemented by new coach Craig Berube can make a difference.  The Flyers of recent times under Peter Laviolette always seemed to be playing a system for which they were ill-suited or incapable of.  The most troubling development of the last year and a half has been the inability of their top scorers to score.  Yikes.

The Phillies started all this losing way back in April of this year.  It appears they will pick up where they left off in April of next year.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Take My Season....Please

The Sixers owners may  be good at making money in the financial markets but their expertise stops at the center post.  Imagine a team that trades twice in consecutive seasons for a franchise big man who is then unable to play a single minute that year and you have an idea how over their heads the Sixers management team is!

The 2013-14 version threatens to break the all-time record for losses in a season, a distinction held by the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers.  Get ready fans.  This installment might not win a single game unless they can schedule a game with the Washington Generals.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

BOW WOW

Why, oh why, do the owners of the Philadelphia Phillies persist in OK'ing the hiring of Larry Bowa over and over again?

The last time Bowa was hired he was brought in to admonish and belittle, er, I mean manage, the team.  He was poison and was finally fired.  Now the alleged brain trust (alleged where, you might ask?) has agreed to let new manager Ryne Sandberg bring Bowa back for a third time as bench coach.  Extraordinarily stupid move on a team that is making more than its share of them lately.

I predict the first public "He's killing us" comment will occur around late July or early August.

Monday, October 07, 2013

That Didn't Take Long!!!

Peter Laviolette is out after the Flyers began the season 0-3.  Those Vegas bookies know their stuff!!!

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Pepper

With nothing in the baseball world to attract my attention I remain "focused" on other local teams and sports for now.

Penn State got walloped by Indiana yesterday.  I mean destroyed!  This is the first time the Nittany Lions have ever been beaten by the Hoosiers and when they finally got around to losing they didn't pull any punches.

Among other things the loss underscores how much the sanctions and penalties of the Sandusky scandal have hurt Penn State.  They cannot recruit easily when prospects know there won't be any post-season play. There won't be any post-season play with the kind of numbers the Penn State defense is allowing anyway, but you get the picture.  It's a vicious circle.

Meanwhile, Peter Laviolette, the Flyers coach, was listed by Vegas bookmakers as the first NHL coach likely to be fired.  He's on target, friends.  The Flyers are 0-2 and have looked very beatable.  By the time they've lost their fifth game of the new season, sometime in the next week or two, the coach will be out.

The Eagles are hoping to win a game against the winless NY Giants.  Some odds-makers don't see that happening.  When you face an 0-4 team, even at the opponent's home field, and are the underdogs it tells you a lot about what you already knew.

Go ahead, name five players on the Sixers.  OK, that's three.

Temple has proved a few things already this season.  One, they definitely are not ready for prime-time. Two, rapid turnover of their head coaches does not make it easy to recruit.  They've lost to some real powerhouses and they've lost to some beatable teams.  But they've lost them all.

Speaking of losses, how about the University of Maryland?  In their last year in the ACC, and a year before they join the Big Ten, the Terps have had an impressive start, winning their first four games (and matching all of last year's win total) to break into the Top 25 at number 25.  Then, they faced 8th ranked Florida State in Tallahassee and suffered a humiliating thrashing, 63-0.  When the polls come out early this week Maryland fans will be lucky to find their team ranked in the top 2500.

Back at the ranch, Penn won their home match against Dartmouth in triple OT.  Penn was predicted to win the Ivy League championship this season, but if they take four hours to beat Dartmouth the odds appear much longer than first projected.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Goodbye To All That

This miserable season will be over in a few hours and those among us still willing to admit to being Phillies' fans can shift their attention to...the...er...um...to the...to cleaning out the basement.  Really, now, did you expect me to say "to the Eagles, Sixers or Flyers"?!

These are tough times for sports fans in the Delaware Valley.  All you need to know about the Sixers is they begin their second straight season without a big man in the middle.  Wait!  That's not the bad part.  They begin their second straight season having known in early summer they wouldn't have a big man.

The Flyers begin the season with the same questions about their defense with which they began last season. They also begin yet another season with questions about goal-tending.  One thing seems pretty certain about the Fly boys, however.  During the season they will make a deal to reacquire someone whom they discarded earlier.  They do that...a lot.

Meanwhile, the Eagles are going nowhere fast.  Literally.  They have a hurry-up offense with only one legitimate receiver and a defense that would have a very tough time stopping Alabama.

As for the Phils....   The other night they wasted a superb effort by Cliff Lee in losing 1-0.  They garnered two hits that night.  They have been auditioning a lot of minor league pitchers in particular and the results suggest most of these guys will be minor league pitchers again.  As for position players, they still don't have an intimidating lineup, unless of course, you are standing on the pitcher's mound surveying the scene.

Have a nice off-season...if you can.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Rope-A-Dopes

As if anyone needed further evidence of just how much management views players as commodities with self-life expediencies, I offer you last night's sad ending to Roy Halladay's career, not only in Philadelphia but baseball itself.

Oh, sure, there is probably some GM out there who might take a flyer for next Spring, but for all intents and purposes Doc is finished.

He might have been able to come back next February for a try-out had he not rushed back this Summer after shoulder surgery and had the Phillies' alleged brain trust not insisted he take off the rest of the season to give his shoulder time to heal.

The Phillies' alleged brain trust knew Doc wouldn't sit if they hadn't insisted and therein lies the moral to this particular tale.  Go ahead, they reasoned, give it your best.  Secretly, we know you're cooked and not-so-secretly (public protestations notwithstanding) there is a zero chance we re-sign you.  So, yes, go ahead and pitch.

The results were diminishing velocity, accuracy and in the end stamina.  There he was last night in an air conditioned dome with the roof closed sweating like bullets and completely spent.

Very sad.

The Phillies' alleged brain trust will utter the usual platitudes and then, a year or so down the road, honor Doc.  They could have honored him much more by helping him to recover this season, but they let him run out the string and he hung himself with it.

But don't kid yourself,, the Phillies alleged brain trust handed him the rope.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Doctor Is Out

The Roy Halladay era in Philadelphia has ended in bitterness and recrimination with the publication in this morning's Inquirer of comments by the veteran pitcher he was upset with press criticisms covering a range of issues.

Chief among these, of course, has been his poor performance since returning from shoulder surgery.  Running a close second on his list of complaints was open speculation he had returned too soon.  And rounding out his annoyance was the usual fallback position of "wronged" athletes in this town:  Philadelphia's media corp let alone its fans are just too tough.

The Phillies were unlikely to re-sign the aging pitcher given his troubles of the last two seasons.  For his part, Halladay often noted he wanted to pitch for a contender, which the Phils as currently constituted are clearly not.

At least this chapter of the admired pitcher's career is probably over.  Will he even make his next scheduled start?

UPDATE

Halladay made his next scheduled start and was unimpressive.  For the fourth straight game he hit a batter and walked several.  Worse, his velocity remains stuck in the mid to high '80's.  If he is going to reinvent himself as more of a finesse pitcher, he can't hit and walk batters at such a high rate.

In the end, the poorest decision by all concerned, the Philllies' alleged brain trust very much included, was to have Halladay come back at all this season.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Last Refuge

I was out of town the day Charlie Manuel was fired so I am a little late to the "party".  Nevertheless, here goes:

Firing managers is usually the last refuge of inept general managers and Ruben Amaro's sudden dismissal of Manuel was a classic case in point.

Manuel wasn't a great strategist, nor was he a adept at moves such as the double switch.  He was a players' manager, well-liked by most who passed through the Phillies' clubhouse during his tenure.  What he did not deserve was to be dismissed with a month and a half remaining in this, his final contract year.  Amaro was responsible for failing to begin the rebuilding process after last season.  He could not be held responsible for the rash of injuries to key players, but he failed to fill holes on this squad, especially in the outfield and bullpen, and he signed free agents and resident players to ruinous contracts.

For this, Manuel was fired.  It's always easier to fire the manager.  Isn't that the baseball axiom?

Friday, August 09, 2013

Betting

Don't get me wrong (as sure a sign as any I expect to be misunderstood), who wouldn't want Chase Utley as his team's starting second baseman?

Few if any professional athletes in this city's history have ever been more admired and respected.  In this space I have sung his praises, strongly suggesting fans never take him for granted.  We watched a dedicated, talented and fiercely competitive Utley lead the Phillies from the wilderness to the Promise Land.

So why am I puzzled the Phillies signed him to a two-year deal worth $27 million with incentives that could extend the pact another three years and $48 million?

Well, Utley hasn't played a full season, or what passes for a full season with a few days off here and there, in several years.  The Phillies' alleged brain trust is gambling again.  Their track record isn't stellar.  For every Cliff Lee there is a Jonathan Papelbon.  For every Cole Hamels there is a Ryan Howard.

Second base may be the second or third toughest position, catcher being number one and first base perhaps being number two. First basemen get stepped on periodically.  Second baseman get knocked down regularly.

Utley has missed a lot of time due to chronic knee ailments.  This year he also went on the Disabled List due to an oblique strain.  The day his contract extension was reported, his picture appeared on the front page of the sports section sliding hard into home plate.   He only knows one speed:  full out.

Utley is still a very productive hitter and an adequate second baseman.  At his age he needs time off even were his knees not a problem.  He also made it clear he wanted to remain a Phillie.  He grew up in this organization, came to maturity in it, and became more or less the face of it, albeit in a quite way.  Utley acknowledged  when re-signing he'd spoken to other players in his position who'd switched teams late in their careers.  "The grass isn't always greener...," he proclaimed.  How could you not like a guy who likes you!!??

The contract is a gamble.  The Phillies are betting he still has about 125 games a year in him for at least two more years.  I wouldn't bet again them...or against Utley.  Still, it's a huge bet.


Monday, August 05, 2013

Et Tu, Bastardo?

Very little can surprise me these days, so the news Phillies' reliever Antonio Bastardo received a 50 game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis case produced a yawn.

The alleged brain trust of MLB is determined to clean up the game.  Good luck, fellas.  This latest round of suspensions came about largely if not only because a disgruntled employee or investor (I cannot remember which and I am too lazy to look it up) blew the whistle in the first place.  Being jilted, wronged or insulted remain powerful incentives for revenge.

One thing is certain in big-time sport:  athletes are going to continue to cheat as long as they develop a walk-on-water syndrome from an early age and as long as huge riches are in the offing.  From an early age the ones who show talent are pampered and showered with gifts, both hard and soft.  They are told they are special, that they are subject to a different set of rules and standards.  They are never told they could be caught; indeed, even if they were warned most of them wouldn't believe it.

Inevitably, some great rich talents are caught in the net like the mighty Lance Armstrong or Alex Rodriguez; and, as we learned again today, so are some poor schmucks like Antonio Bastardo.

Friday, August 02, 2013

What's Sauce For The Goose....

Yo, Pap, we didn't bring you here for this!