- The five players who, arguably, impacted Major League Baseball the most in the past decade are now all linked to steroids. A-Rod, Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, and Clemens. So far, only A-Roid came clean, and that's after he was backed into a corner, following years of denials. Still, it was the smart play.
- A-Rod says he only used steroids when he played for Texas and felt all that pressure to be one of the greatest players of all time. Let me get this straight, he felt pressure in a place where next to no one cares about baseball---Texas---but he never juiced when playing in baseball's most pressure packed spotlight, Yankee Stadium? Could be true. We can't believe much of what we hear, but we've learned to trust what we see. All of the power players above looked over-inflated and put up video game numbers, several at times when their careers should be in decline.
- I wish MLB would put Hank Aaron and Roger Maris back on top where they each belong. I suppose it's impossible to do because we still don't fully know who cheated and who didn't, but it's slowly becoming clear. The power era was a fraudulent joke, and somewhat understandable. Those artificially inflated numbers led to billions of dollars in player salaries, and to date, no one has had to give back a single penny. The cost has been humiliation, shame, and possibly raisin-size testicles.
- Props to Alex Rodriguez and his teams of crisis management advisers for being much smarter than Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens. Admit to wrongdoing, apologize for mistake, look really sorry. Bonds and Clemens kept denying in the face of an overwhelming mountains of evidence and now the Hall of Fame is the least of their problems. We Americans will forgive you, but you have to go Jimmy Swaggert, not Richard Nixon (or Bill Clinton, if you prefer.).
- It's hard to watch the newscast right now and hear about another local company laying off a bunch of workers. It just doesn't end. I can't imagine what those people are going through, and my heart goes out to them.
- If the economy continues in this direction, we're going to see a huge impact on local sports. In a way, we already are. Winning trumps everything, and we're seeing that people will not spend money to watch losing basketball. Iowa is giving tickets away to students and selling reserved seats for $10---to men's games. Hilton Coliseum hasn't had a sellout this year, and likely won't. Drake comes off it's best season in four decades, but with the Dogs in a slump, finding a seat is no problem on any night. This will put more pressure on coaches to win now. (Even UNI is fighting apathy, and the Panthers are in first place.)
- Eventually fans are going to turn against professional athletes. While fans lose their jobs, 401K's, and benefits, it's pretty hard to hear about a guy turning down $25 million for one season of baseball.
- Jenny and I always try to hit Wrigley Field for a weekend, but $800 or so for baseball seems crazy right now. Principal Park will do just fine.
- The Barnstormers had it figured out ahead of time. That's why af2 is still playing and AFL is not. $10 tickets work in a recession, $100 tickets do not---unless you're in Pittsburgh.
- I continue to hear from hockey fans who say the Chops are doing everything right, including reasonable ticket prices (concession is another matter, though out of the Chops hands). However, one problem won't go away: atmosphere. Even on a rare night when Iowa pulls in 7,000 fans, it's never that energetic, magical shared experience you'd get in a building that holds 7,000. Wells Fargo Arena is just too big for hockey in Des Moines.
- Michael Phelps didn't hurt anyone but himself ---and the feelings of his fans, especially the young ones. Driving drunk was a far more serious offense because he could have killed someone. I did my share of stupid things when I was 23, though smoking weed wasn't one of them. The thing I can't quite understand is how Phelps could be so foolish and naive. Did he really not stop and think that in this day and age, someone might take a picture? You can't do anything without someone whipping out a cell phone and putting it on his or her Facebook page 15 minutes later. Heck, my wife embarrassed me in no time just because I made the mistake of wearing a Snuggie on the couch to prove you can hold a cell phone and a remote at the same time, thanks to the blanket's sleeves!
- Mark Phelps may need more players who didn't play under Dr. Tom or Keno. I don't think the holdovers quite buy into the new system. If you don't believe, it won't work.
- I hate that Greg McDermott is not getting it done at Iowa State. He's a perfect fit in every way, but there's no way to excuse Iowa State losing 17 of its past 19 Big 12 games. Worst of all, Hilton Magic is all but dead. Even when Johnny Orr's teams couldn't win a Big 8 game away from Ames, they'd take down a top ten team or two at Hilton. It seems like Orr's team would often come close to being winless on the conference road, and undefeated at home. Tim Floyd and Larry Eustachy started winning home and away. The Magic started to slip at the end of the Eustachy era, fell further under Wayne Morgan, and now it's just gone. Iowa State must get it back. I'd argue Hilton Magic is Iowa State's most iconic athletic identity.
- Colin and I took in "Paul Blart, Mall Cop". I enjoyed it more than I anticipated. Kevin James shows a flair for the kind of physical comedy John Belushi made famous. Instantly forgettable, but sweet. B-
- Last week's "30 Rock" with Alec Baldwin as "Generalissimo", bad guy in a Spanish soap opera, was genius. Baldwin puts on a comedy timing clinic each week. "Friday Night Lights" also had its best episode since season one. The goodbye to Smash was moving because it took a long time to get there.
- Has anyone seen "The Secret Life of Bees"? I never really wanted to, but my friend Franklin Greene made me curious. You remember Franklin---he's about 6 foot 8 and has that BOOMING James Earl Jones voice. Anyway, Franklin said he saw the Secret Life of Bees. I asked him what he thought. Franklin replied, and I quote, "I didn't think I was going to like it, but man, I cried like a bitch." That made me cry.
- We just signed up for Raccoon Valley Little League. Our monthly installments start in March. RVLL is awesome, but when did Little League get so expensive? Or as judge Odell McGhee said to me on his way in, "Whatever happened to playing in the backyard? Or the sandlot?" (Reminds me, I need to watch "Sandlot" again.)
- Tell me if this ever happens to you, because my wife has turned it into a science. She'll try to make be think I'm making a decision, when in fact she is. Real life example: Saturday at Firkin Fox (okay food, great service), we ordered nachos. Our waitress said, "chicken or beef". Jenny said to me, "I don't care. You pick whatever you want... as long as it's not beef."
- Saturday we also dropped Cade off at "Chuck E Cheese". That place is INSANE on Saturdays. They didn't have enough people working for the 57 birthday parties going on at once. I felt like I was dropped into a can of Red Bull.
Monday, February 09, 2009
A-Roid, Hilton Magic Disappears, and Taking Out a Mortgage for Little League
Posted by Keith Murphy at 8:27 PM