Thursday, February 26, 2009

So crazy, it never had a chance to work


Starbury…? Is it a fruit? No. Is it a candy? Strike two. What it is, is the nickname of a 32-year old basketball player/professional pine rider named Stephan Marbury, whose contract was finally bought out by the Knicks, signaling the end of an era (well, 5-years in nearly an era in pro sports) of a silly soap opera that obviously didn’t do them any favors (the Knicks went approximately 152-233 with Marbury).

Here’s a retrospective… Marbury was a top prospect out of Georgia Tech, drafted by the Bucks, and traveled through Minnesota, New Jersey, and Phoenix before being traded to the Knicks in 2004. That is when the drama began… Marbury’s selfishness led to small spats with other players, but his attitude came to ahead when sojourner coach Larry Brown came to town in 2005. In response to Brown’s new policy, Marbury began waging a very public campaign against him, claiming in the press that Brown was unfairly treating him. After that season (in part due to Marbury’s conflicts with Brown), Brown was canned and team President and Knick legend Isiah Thomas was given the helm. Marbury Tantrum Take 2! Despite the belief that Thomas was exactly what the doctor ordered for Marbury, it was even worse… Marbury continued to use the press as a weapon, publicly complaining about Thomas and even threatening to blackmail Thomas when he was removed from the starting lineup. Marbury then turned a team plane into a boxing ring, getting into a physical confrontation with Thomas on a road trip. Marbury capped it all off with unnecessary (according to the team) season ending surgery, and lost his position to Chris Duhon in training camp this year (now under Mike D’Antoni). Earlier this year, Marbury actually had to buy a ticket to a Knicks game just to be in the same building while they played.

Despite Marbury not playing a meaningful game in their uniform for over a year, the Knicks finally woke up and basically released him to be someone else’s problem. And it is my sincerest hope that is exactly what he becomes, as the rumor is that he will sign with the Celtics once he clears waivers. But, regardless of my personal feelings about his impending new team, this is just another example of how $&!* floats in pro sports. I mean, I understand the steroids thing… I really do… The pressure to be great causes players to make stupid choices. But why do coaches and owners keep giving cancers like Marbury another chance? Because they went to the Jerry Jones school of sports management, that’s why! These people ruin the game, and turn sports into a Hollywood tabloid show.

Well, happy trails Mr. Starbury… May you rot the Celtics from the inside out like you did the Knicks!

-RP

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Through the mail success

I've been sitting on a couple of these for a while now, so without further ado, the next card in line I received through the mail was an autograph from Jack McKeon.


I had a couple cards of his to choose from (I just don't feel right sending more than one), and this 2004 Topps Cracker Jack was the most unique. It's apparently a sticker parallel, which I didn't know until right this moment when I flipped the card over to see what year/set it was from.

Not a bad auto. He's no Jay Howell or Mark Gubicza (no offense, guys), that's for sure. Jack is a world series winning manager! In the same year he took the Marlins to the World Series (2003), he was also selected as the National League Manager of the Year. For what it's worth, this card/sticker incorrectly states that he won the award in the American League.

Monday, February 9, 2009

More ARod madness

Curt Schilling agrees with me: release all the names! Read Schilling's thoughts on the topic here.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Everybody's doing it


The big news in baseball, other than pitchers and catchers reporting to camps in just a few days, is the "news" that Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in 2003.

In the interest of full disclosure - in case you don't know me - I should tell you that I'm a die-hard Yankees fan.

And I don't care about ARod's positive test.

First off, it was in 2003, before steroids were banned in baseball. I'm well aware that they're illegal without prescription, but who wasn't on the juice back then? Can you really fault the guy? Cheat and get (stay) ahead, or don't cheat and work at Burger King. Any human being on the planet would likely do the same thing in his situation. I surely can't say that I wouldn't.

My real problem is the absurd discrepancy in how we view baseball players vs. football players. Weren't a handful of football players just caught using diuretics last season in a possible attempt to mask steroid use? Here in San Diego, Shawn Merriman tested positive for steroids a couple years ago, and nobody batted an eye. Aren't steroids a worse problem in a full contact sport, where a couple guys go down each year with life threatening injuries due to vicious hits? And why, in the NFL, is a four game suspension the only punishment handed down by the league?

ARod is far from beloved in the public eye, and his image may now take an irreparable hit. He'll hear even more jeers than he already has. But you can't fault a guy for doing the same thing everyone else has been doing for years. His only problem is that he got caught (which he shouldn't have - the players union was supposed to keep those tests in '03 private, but that's a whole different story).

So boo ARod, criticize him even more than you already do. I won't lose any sleep over it. Just realize that your favorite player on your favorite team has his faults, too. And wake up, people, they're all doing it.

Can we please put the whole "steroids era" behind us? I'm tired of it, as I'm sure a lot of others are as well.

**UPDATE**

I'm sure I'm adding this update before anyone saw this entry in the first place, but I felt the need nonetheless.

Supposedly, 104 total players tested positive in 2003 as reported by Sports Illustrated broke the story. I find it curious that SI's Selena Roberts, the writer who uncovered Rodriguez's positive test, now says she won't unveil any of the other names. Witch hunt, anyone? If you're going to call out ARod, might as well point the finger at everyone else, too. Am I right, or am I right?

Friday, February 6, 2009

What'd you say your name was again?


"I'm Matt F@$#^$ Bush!"

And with that line, former Padres #1 draft pick Matt Bush ended his career with San Diego after his second run in with the law involving alcohol and violence.

The first came shortly after being drafted at a night club in Peoria, Arizona, after being denied admission. He was 18 at the time and hadn't yet learned that nobody cares about baseball draft picks.

This time, Bush was at a high school field in El Cajon, CA - my hometown - and is alleged to have been involved in assaultive behavior and public intoxication. A witness claims Bush threw a freshman lacrosse player (there's a funny visual), slammed a golf club into the ground, and hit another lacrosse player, all the while yelling "I'm Matt F#$@#$% Bush!" and "F#$@ East County!"

Excuse me, Matt, but what's wrong with East County?

Bush was originally drafted as a shortstop but was converted to pitcher after the realization that he was a horrendous hitter. But the pitching never worked out either - he blew out his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery in 2007. It's not a huge loss for the flailing franchise; he was drafted more due to signability issues with other prospects, and now they're able to cut ties with their horrendous bust of a draft pick.

The best part about Bush's tirade is that the lacrosse players probably had no idea who Matt Bush was. Even though he's a San Diego native, people don't follow baseball's draft like they do with the NFL or NBA. You've got money, Matt, so what are you doing still hanging around the local high schools? Get a life. And why are you in East County if you hate it so much?

Read more on the story here.

At least one positive has come out out this for San Diego sports fans: There's someone else in the conversation of worst number one draft pick ever.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Thanks, but no thanks.


So Manny Ramirez is turning down the Dodgers offer of one year, 25 million dollars.

This solidifies him, without a doubt, as the most insane person on the planet.

Has he not heard the news that the economy is the worst its ever been? Has he not seen that Bobby Abreu, a more than capable outfielder, may not even get ten million? (I just threw up in my mouth at the realization that I implied that anything less than $10 million is garbage) Or how about the also-unemployed Adam Dunn? I bet either of those would jump at the chance to earn 25 MILLION DOLLARS this season.

It's just a one year deal, Manny. Are you that worried about underperforming (Andruw Jones, anyone?) and not justifying another deal in 2010? And even if this were the last professional baseball contract you'll ever sign, don't you have enough cash in the bank to live comfortably on until the end of time?

Again, I do understand that Manny is looking for a multi-year deal, but I can't sympathize with these guys any more. I know too many people who have either lost their jobs or fear it to care about Manny's squabbles any more. I hope the Dodgers move on and sign a much cheaper Abreu or Dunn, or even choose to stick with who they have. Or how about (gulp) Barry Bonds?

Any of those three - along with plenty of others - will take any job they can get these days.