Thursday, July 26, 2007

Band-Aid Approach

Okay, so now we have moved on to Stage 2 of the Continuing Saga of the Summer of Seven. Stage 1, like most problems, is admitting that there is a problem. That part got taken care of when the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Richmond took the information they had to a grand jury and that Grand Jury issued indictments based on that information.

Just Stay Away...

So, here we are a week after the indictment and the second act begins. It begins with the NFL handing down a letter to Mr. Michael Vick stating, "Do not attend training camp until we’ve had a chance to further review your situation" (that may be a paraphrase—but you get the gist of it).

This part of the story from multiple published reports was born out of Mr. Vick deciding that he didn’t think he needed to skip camp (this isn’t a joke). The NFL, the NFLPA and the Atlanta Falcons all felt that yes, he did need to skip camp. That, at least temporarily, created a bit of an impasse.

That impasse was resolved when the Commissioner of the NFL (and by the way...what a crappy time to be a pro-sports commissioner right now) Roger Goodell came down with the "Letter."

Why a Letter?

The Jolly Roger came up with this letter according again to "Published Reports" because the Falcons were going to just "Suspend Vick for 4 Games."

That would have been a disaster. The NFLPA would have been forced to contest the suspension, it would have ended up in the hands of an arbitrator and all the while, Mr. Vick would have been able to play.

The Falcons...


I had the chance to attend the Atlanta Falcons Press Conference regarding Mr. Vick this past Tuesday. Roughly 20 or so cameras, 40-50 reporters, and a couple of protestors outside the building attended the presser.

Click here to see a slideshow of Phil's Falcons pictures!

I do have to compliment the Falcons on this—they have tried to be as upfront as they can be considering the legal ramifications of what is going on (they can’t officially say much). Despite this, they have to try and explain why they don't want the face/highest-paid player/starting quarterback to be around the team right now. Team Owner Arthur Blank went as far as to say, "Mike should consider sitting out and getting his house in order right now."

That is what it boils down to—getting his house in order. You can talk all you want about how "He has to be guilty," "He’s done," "He should be locked up for what he's done," etc. The fact is, as of right now, it hasn’t been proven that he has done any of the things he’s accused of. Even Michael Vick is innocent until proven guilty, that is still how things are supposed to work here in the U.S.

How will they cope?

That will be Act 3. The Falcons will survive. A certain part of their fan base will be disappointed because they probably will not have a "great" season this year. They’ll blame it on not having their Quarterback.

That won’t have anything to do with it. The fact of the matter is that they are a team in the beginning stages of a complete overhaul and won’t be good for another year or two. They will eventually be a good football team, but it more than likely will not be with Michael Vick at the helm. That isn’t to say that he is going to be convicted in court or not, but rather that he’s played his last game as an Atlanta Falcon and quite possibly his last game in the NFL.

--Phil Cantor

“The Time has come, my song is over, thought I’d something more to say” Time- Pink Floyd

Thursday, July 19, 2007

It's All in the Numbers

Josh HamiltonIn baseball, like most sports, numbers are a big part of the game. Hoy many homers did Barry Juiced hit last night? How many RBI’s does Alex Rodriguez have? It was just yesterday that the Phillies recorded their 10,000 loss as a franchise. Numbers, in baseball, are important.

For Josh Hamilton, life and baseball, are ALL ABOUT THE NUMBERS.

Take, for instance, the number 1999. That’s the year Josh graduated high school from Athens Drive in Raleigh, NC and was named Baseball America’s High School Player of the Year.

Number 1 - the Devil Rays first draft pick in 1999.

The number .302 was Josh’s batting average in 2000, his first as professional. 13 was the number of homers Josh hit that year. He was also the youngest player in the All-Star futures game that year where he went 3-4.

2/28/2001 is another number that is important. That’s the day that Josh was in a motorcycle accident in Bradenton, Florida. It’s also that day he that led to him becoming addicted to pain killers and A LOT more…

2/18/2004 - that’s the day that Josh was suspended from Major League Baseball for violating the league’s joint drug treatment and prevention program.

The number 15 is the number of baseball games Josh played in 2004-2006, because of failed drug tests. Baseball has counted him out. He was down to his last strike. Two outs, bottom of the ninth.

But then, more numbers…

10/2005 - Josh’s first week of sobriety in 5 years.

3 - the number of times a day Josh begins working out.

12/2006 - Josh is picked up by the Chicago Cubs in the Rule 5 draft and the traded to the Reds.

.400 - Josh’s batting average in spring training this year.

4/2/2007 - Josh makes his Major League Debut…about six years later than he had originally expected.

5/6 - Josh hits two homers against the Rockies.

26 - Josh’s age, pretty old for a major league rookie.

26 is also the number of tattoos Josh acquired in the those five drug-filled years, reminders of a life gone all too wrong for a guy with such promise. But, now josh is fulfilling those promises and proving everyone wrong who said he would never make it back.

2 and 6 - the ages of Josh’s daughters, Sierra and Julia.

.279, 14, and 30 - batting average, HR’s , and RBI’s for Josh this year.

And 1 - truly remarkable story of a guy who had it all, lost it all, found God, found his way back to the majors, and found his way back to the top of his game.

And 1 is also the number of new fans he has, after knowing more about his story.

756 may be the number that captures Baseball’s imagination in the second half of the season, but 33 has captured mine. That’s Josh Hamilton’s jersey number.

--Brian Eaves

"The rose goes in the front, big guy... " --Crash Davis