*

Surprised? Not really. Shocked? A little, but not at what you would think. The big news of the day is that Barry Bonds admitted to using steroids (unknowingly, though). Again, I’m not surprised. When a guy that is 175 pounds when he enters the league until he is 30 suddenly starts putting on muscle mass at 35, a little flag goes up in my mind saying, “Something doesn’t match here!” But this isn’t the most alarming part of it. Ok, he used steroids. Suspend him and put an asterisk by his records, ask him to leave, or prevent this from happening again. But my biggest beef with this whole story is the leaking of grand jury testimony to the media.

I am all for the freedom of the press. That combined with the freedom of speech allows me to post here, but when that freedom starts to impede on laws protecting our rights to privacy, we should be alarmed. Rule 6e of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure requires that “matters occurring before the grand jury” be kept secret. The rule also says that if anyone bound by secrecy reveals “matters occurring before” a grand jury, this is “CRIMINAL contempt.” (I got this from here ) I don’t know about you, but I keep hearing about Barry Bonds testifying before a federal grand jury. I want to know who leaked this information and have them prosecuted to the fullest extent. I know this may seem mundane or unneeded, but if grand jury testimonies on, what some would say, small issues such as steroids in sports get out, what’s to say that they won’t get out on cases dealing with murder or issues where privacy is key. The privacy guaranteed us in a grand jury is to protect us if we have to testify against someone who could hurt us if information got out. How are we supposed to prosecute people in power in federal courts if there is no way to protect the people testifying against them from repercussions? So, although Barry Bonds’ records may or may not be tainted (that’s up for discussion in another blog post), we should really be concerned with the leaking of grand jury testimony. Has the media gone too far?

Fights, brawls, stupidity

Ok, this has to be one of the strangest days in sports history. First, the Pistons’ fans and Pacers get into it in a heated game. Then, to top it all off, a brawl broke out at the Clemson and South Carolina game. What is with these people?

In the first fight, it’s hard to blame anyone but Detroit’s fans. Yeah, I know Ron Artest will get blamed for the whole thing because nobody likes the guy, but look at what actually transpired. Ron Artest fouls Ben Wallace hard. Wallace shoves Artest. Artest walks away! Artest has had a few flagrant fouls in the past, so you know that the Pistons were trying to entice him into a fight. Then, Artest backs all the way up to the scorers table and lays down (I don’t get that, but he did it) and while laying down, a fan throws a cup at him and hits him. Artest takes off after the fan and the rest is history, so to speak. No, I don’t condone what Artest did, but I can understand. If you’re going to throw stuff at people, be prepared to defend your actions. Just because you’re a fan (and a stupid one, at that) does not shield you from consequences. I don’t agree with the commissioner’s indefinate suspensions of O’Neal and Jackson. They went in to get their teammate out of trouble and got cheapshotted over and over from drunk fans. Maybe he’s just waiting to watch the footage, but I’d bet they get as big of a suspension as Artest.

The second fight has a two-fold blame. The initial fight is completely the fault of the players. Have some respect for the people you are playing against! The brawl that ensued across the entire field is the fault of the security at the game. It was kind of amusing to see armed sherrifs and police officers trying to break up the brawl by jumping on guys twice their size who were wearing pads and swinging their helmets. Is there something wrong with this picture? I know this may sound fanatical, but if that were me, I’d pull my gun, fire a few shots in the air, and get the football players’ attention. Perhaps that wouldn’t have worked, but perhaps it would have woken them up.

What’s wrong? Who’s fault is it? I don’t know if it’s a question that’s easily answered. In the first case, alcohol had a major factor; this was seen earlier this year when fans got into it with the L.A. Dodgers and Texas Rangers. Are we suddenly coming to the realization that alcohol impairs judgement and that judgement is a good thing to have when dealing with people you don’t like (opposing players)? I don’t know if banning alcohol at games is the way to go. I mean, it might mean that people would go to a game to actually watch it rather than get drunk and create trouble. Who woulda thunk it?

In the second case, I think you need to train people to head things like that off before they get out of hand. Coaches need to let players know that if they go out on the field for something like that, they will be benched, no matter if you’re Joe Nobody or Joe Namath. Security also needs to know that if things get out of hand, they can give the refs a hand. I don’t have a definitive answer and I’m probably leaving things out, but from my vantage point that’s how I see it.

More baseball rants

A new record was set in baseball last week. You may have missed it since an arrogant big hitter didn’t set it. The record was set by Ichiro Suzuki. He didn’t stand and gawk at his accomplishment while taking his sweet time rounding the bases; he hustled to first base, stood there, tipped his batting helmet to the crowd, went over to the former record holder’s daughter and grandchildren and shook their hands. It was very classy, but I guess class doesn’t go far with people today. They want a steroid laden star that can wear armor and show off trotting around the bases.

It doesn’t make sense to me that a 30-40 year old record (73 home runs) gets more attention than an 84 year old record (262 hits). It doesn’t make sense to me that 73 is a greater number than 262. Baseball is a game of skill where players like Maddux, Ichiro, and Clemens use their knowledge of the game, superior accuracy, and speed to confound other players. It’s turning into a game where oversized ogres step up to the plate and swing as hard as they can so they can take a stroll around the bases. You hardly see any suicide squeeze plays anymore: the bunt is almost non-existant. Instead, we get a new term (“walk off” home run) and lower batting averages. The last time anyone made a run at a .400 batting average was the late 90’s with Larry Walker and Tony Gwynn. Pitching has gotten better, yes, but accuracy declines when players concentrate on getting the ball over the fence rather than getting the ball in play.

More baseball…

The other day I ranted about how I very greatly dislike (almost hate) the state of baseball with it’s “long ball” syndrome. Today I’d like to rant about someone that gets my blood boiling: Pete Rose.

For some reason, there are some people out there that think this man should be in the hall of fame. A man who bet on baseball when he was managing the game. I don’t deny he was a great player, but one bad decision can ruin your life; that one bad decision for Pete Rose was gambling on games he managed.

I think the thing that pisses me off more than anything is his attitude. Instead of getting behind other players that have been banned from baseball and banding together with them, he goes it alone because he’s Pete Rose. I think that if he wants any shot in getting into the hall of fame, he should get behind someone who’s stats show that he shouldn’t be banned: “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. If Rose wants in the hall of fame, he should show that his gambling was really a mistake and actually do something for someone else. Then I might think about giving him some thought (though, not much).

Until then, I won’t watch the Pete Rose movie on ESPN, nor will I buy his stupid book.

Related post: Betting online at https://uk.mansionbet.com/.

The state of baseball…

Ok, I’m a baseball nut. Something about the strategy involved in playing the game just gets my blood running. It may be boring to some, but it’s chock full of excitement for me. Recently, a player hit 700 homeruns (quite a feat) and I’d like to address some issues I have with baseball.

I can’t stand one thing: Barry Bonds.

Ok, admittedly, it’s not really Barry Bonds… it’s how baseball has pandered to the Barry Bondses and Mark McGwyers (and yes, Sammy Sosas) to make it easier to hit “the long ball.” And yes, most of this (if not all) was done under Bud Selig. I think I despise him more than Barry Bonds. The three things that were done that have ruined the game for me are as follows:

1) The strike zone has become smaller: I can see how some people would like this… it makes it so the pitchers have to have more skill, and admittedly pitchers like Maddux and Clemens have done quite well with the new strike zone size. The problem I have with this is the strike zone has moved directly into players’ wheelhouses. Aaron and Ruth had to deal with pitches that were called strikes at their shoulders and knees (roughly). The number of homeruns they hit would have drastically increased if pitchers only threw into their wheelhouses.

2) Pitchers can no longer throw inside: This pisses me off more than number one. I was watching a game where Kerry Wood threw ONE pitch inside and got ejected. I remember watching baseball back in the 80’s and people feared going to the plate against people like Nolan Ryan because they weren’t afraid of hitting batters. If you can’t stand up there and take one for the team, you need to be playing in a softball league in Wichita, Kansas.

3) Batters wearing armor (Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, etc.): If you have an injury that’s bad enough to warrant you wearing protective gear at the plate, SIT OUT!! I don’t remember Aaron, Ruth, Gehrig, Cobb, Mantle, Marris, or any other baseball going up to the plate looking like a football player (American football, for the international readers). And these were guys that had pitchers throwing AT THEIR HEADS regularly.

That’s all I have for now. Maybe I’ll come up with some more after my brother reads this :).