Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Chase is Over

What seems to be the longest, death march of a record-setting chase is finally over. It took entirely too long to come to fruition. But now it finally has.

Thank ((insert divine being here))!!!!!


And counting, I'm sure. We all know that the gentleman wants to get 3,000 hits before his, ahem, esteemed career comes to a close.

And I've been over the whole thing for quite some time...

I'm not a big Major League Baseball fan, anymore. I kind of grew out of the sport after the strike in the mid-1990's. Guys complaining about money and self-worth. Owners complaining that there isn't enough money to go around.

"Whatever to the both of you! And a pox on both your houses!" I said at the time.

I keep a casual interest in the sport, just to the idea that I "have" to know what's going on at any given moment. The same thing applies for professional wrestling these days with me. And you know what? Both activities are strangely similar. And I still wish a pox on both your houses.

Before you go and complain... sit down for a second...
It's either everyone's fault, or no one's fault. I choose to look at the former.

I choose not to look at Bonds, who is without a doubt, the poster child for this drug-induced assault on the history books. But I'm looking at an entire era of athletes that have taken advantage of a system set in place ((or, probably to be more accurate- not set at all)) for their own personal, financial and statistical benefit. I look at Ken Caminiti, Brady Anderson, Eric Gagne, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa just as much as I do a player like "25."

I look at John Rocker, Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens and all the owners and Commissioners that have passed through any turnstile or business office just as much as I do our current homerun champ.

The whole process is was the turning of that phrase that ended the last paragraph.

Players take advantage of a system. Owners and personnel turn their heads and cough.
All of them have not only soiled the very game we all grew up idolizing ((and all the records that were accomplished within)), but have soiled themselves in the process. We all need to shower and grab a change of clothes.

It's only fitting that the record was set in "25's" home stadium. The response he got in Los Angeles was nothing short of expected. San Diegans wanted to boo- and to cheer- simultaneously. The easy-going ones wanted it both ways. Boo until he gets to the plate. Cheer when he makes an out. Cheer louder when he hits 755 off Clay Hensley ((himself server of a steroid suspension in the minors)). Boo their own pitchers when they choose to pitch around him. Greg Maddux being the only savior in the weekend. "Doggie" played with Bonds' mind saying he'd walk him so as not to get tagged with the 755 moniker. What does he do? Challenge him and send "25" home- going oh-fer-four.

Chicks may dig the longball, but I dig the artistry of the backwards "k" in the scorebook just as much.

San Franciscans have chosen to wear the rose-colored glasses the entire time. And that's their prerogative. If they choose not to see the extremes a truly talented player went to to make himself better than those before him instead of believing in his God-given abilities- it's his fault for not having faith in himself, but having the hubris of a hundred men to want to see his name in every history book from now until Doomsday- asterisk be damned.

Would "25" have been a Hall of Famer without enhancement- still unproven, but alleged from every mountaintop? Absolutely.

But the greed of wanting that "little extra" turned into "a lot extra." And I don't think that one of the most surly stars of this generation could give a tinker's damn about what the rest of us think one way or the other about him.

Included, godfather Willie Mays, who seemed ignored by "25" when they were on the field together after 756. And you know... you KNOW... Hank Aaron will collect some big favor someday for reading the cue card and prepared statement of congratulations after the fact. The heart-felt love and appreciation shown by "25" to the big screen almost reminded me of a bad buddy movie, I-love-you-man moment that sends the release straight to DVD shelves and cable television.

What do we get instead in all of this?

We get Bud Selig, hands in pockets, fishing for car keys and the closest exit while "25" circled the bases after 755. We get Jimmy Lee Solomon from the league office to represent The Game. Or was it Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio? Mary Stuart Masterson? Joe Don Looney? Joe Don Baker?

Jimmy Crack Corn... you know the rest...

But what they say about karma may return to the ballpark one day. It always gets a hand stamp. I'm still waiting for it to tap David Stern and Gary Bettman on the shoulder.

I don't think any one of us could root for Alex Rodriguez any harder or any faster these days.
I can't believe I just volunteered that information, either.

And where was "Commissioner" Selig? Meeting with George Mitchell and his toothless committee results trying to determine which major leaguer he could blackmail into testifying next.

Absolute genius...

Will people remember the names Clay Hensley and Mike Bacsik? Maybe as much as Jack Billingsley and Al Downing...
Will people remember the "chase?" Probably.
Will people remember the sunken feeling in the pits of their stomach around the country after the chase ended?

One can only hope... this wasn't fun to watch at all.

Play it safe, everyone... I'll talk to you soon...

--Jon Nelson

Highlighting a Lowlight...

It was approximately a half an hour before show time Thursday night when a chorus of 'Holy #@&(@!' and 'Oh my god!' swept through the newsroom. Those of us who were busy preparing for Connected ran over to the television screen where a number of people had gathered to see what the heck was going on. We soon saw a replay of one of the most horrific spills I'd ever seen that had just occurred during the Big Air Skateboarding event at the X-Games in Los Angeles.

Jake Brown (courtesy EXPN)After pulling off a difficult 720 rotation, skateboarder Jake Brown lost control on the quarterpipe, and plunged more than 40 feet onto the wooden ramp below. His limp body was not moving. ESPN quickly cut out of their coverage and went to alternate programming… a move that had us all convinced Brown had died. A decision was immediately made to take the X-Games skateboarding highlights out of our show in case the worst had happened.

But wait! After laying motionless on the ramp for almost five minutes… Brown miraculously got up and walked away from the spill without being scooped off the halfpipe with a shovel! ESPN went back to the X-Games live to show the good news and video of the nasty fall was quickly re-inserted into our show. That decision just about as quickly launched a huge debate in the newsroom.

Why had we taken the video out of the show in the first place? Should we not have shown the video of the accident regardless of Brown walking away from the scene or not? If someone was paralyzed or killed during a sporting event, wouldn't it now become news? Should we not show that? Someone made the point that showing the video would have reinforced to kids that skateboarding and extreme sports are dangerous stuff. Not a bad argument.

It also made some of us wonder why ESPN bailed out of their coverage? Should they not have stayed with it? Think about how often we've seen horrific hits in hockey where a player goes down on the ice unconscious only to be carried off in a stretcher. Does the TV station airing the game cut out of the game and show poker until they know for sure the player is OK? Of course not.

That being said, how many times have you seen Greg Moore's fatal car crash or Alex Zanardi's racecar being sliced in half? I'm guessing not very often, if at all since those separate accidents. Many television stations have chosen not to replay the horrific tragedies.

Play sports director for a moment. What do you think viewers should see? Should we have shown Brown's skateboarding crash even if he had not walked away from the fall? Or do you hold off until more details come in? The decision is about as hard as Brown's fall…who for the record suffered only a slight concussion and a bruised liver

--Martine Gaillard

(This blog republished with permission from its author)

Friday, August 3, 2007

Elect Art Monk!

OK, I’m pissed. Big surprise, I know.

When Michael Irvin is enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, one of the biggest travesties in football history will have taken place.

I’m not saying this as a Washington Redskins fan; I’m saying this as a football fan.


Art MonkArt has more receptions than Michael (940 vs. 750), more total yards (12,721 vs. 11,904), and more touchdowns (68 vs. 65). Michael, however, does have a higher yard-per-reception average (15.9 vs. 13.5).

Both receivers won three Super Bowls, and both went to multiple Pro Bowls.

Also, Art Monk has NEVER been arrested on drug possession charges. Art has NEVER been accused of sexually assaulting a woman in Charlotte, with a gun to her head, while videotaping the whole sordid affair.

Art Monk is a true philanthropist in the Washington area, creating the Art Monk Football Camp that has graduated over 14,000 athletes. A big section of those athletes have gone on to play college ball.

Art also joined up with former Redskin defensive end Charles Mann to form the Good Samaritan Foundation, whereas Irvin can’t even spell the word “samaritan.”

OK, Hall voters…you tell me. Compare the two men, and tell me WHY IN THE HELL did Irvin get in, and Monk has not?

Hell, Andre Reed should have gotten in long before Michael Irvin.

People say, “But he was ‘The Playmaker.” Big f**king deal. Just because you’re flashy, that doesn’t overshadow productivity and class.

Some have said, “Art wasn’t the friendliest player to the media when he was with Washington, so they’re not going to vote him in.” OK, being in the media, I can say that how a player deals with us on a day-to-day basis does have something to do with how we cover him. But, come the hell on, you want to keep a man like Monk out of Canton because he didn’t have a bubbly personality? WTF?!?

Look at what Hall of Fame cornerback Ronnie Lott said about Art Monk:

"You have a Hall of Fame for all it represents. I know he represents all that it's about," said Lott. "Integrity, love and passion for the game, community, what he gave back. Look how he conducted himself. Nobody I know deserves it more."

What has Irvin given back to the game? Bad suits? Stupid laugh? An arrest record?

MSNBC columnist Bill Williamson penned a column today, saying Irvin was lucky to get into the HOF when he did. Here's an excerpt:

"NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has to sit through Michael Irvin’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend. You got to know what’s going to be zipping through No-Tolerance Rog’s mind as Irvin pontificates on his greatness in the sticky summer afternoon heat. 'This wouldn’t be happening on my watch.'"

Washington Post sportswriter Thomas Loverro had this to say about Monk:

"He embodied the old school, and for that alone he should be enshrined so that when a father takes his son through the Hall of Fame, he can say, 'Son, here is a man who once caught 106 passes in a season when no one was catching 100 passes. Here was a man who caught a pass in 183 straight games. And not once did he ever pull a cell phone out to make a call after any of those catches.'"

The HOF voters need to pull their heads out of their asses, and do the right thing. So what if 2 out of the “Dallas Triplets” are now in the HOF (Aikman, Irvin)? People forget about the ORIGINAL Triplets in Washington – Monk, Gary Clark, and Ricky Sanders (none of whom are in the HOF).

They were the beginning. They were the real deal. They were doing their thing long before Troy Aikman ever stepped foot on a UCLA football field. When Aikman accepted a scholarship to play for Barry Switzer at OU in 1984, Monk was catching 106 passes in his fifth season in the NFL. NO ONE was catching over 100 passes in a season back then.

Quit placating the Dallas Cowboys. Quit stroking Michael’s over-extended ego.

Give credit where credit is f**king due.


I’m not usually this deep, just deep in it. Trust me.

--John V. Wood