Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sudden Language Barrier: Game Gives Sosa Receipt

DP Sosa Well apparently Sammy Sosa can now speak English quite fluently. And while part of me means that in a very light gesture, the other half is very serious. [Side note: Sosa spoke in broken English during a congressional testimony in 2005 on performance enhancing drugs] Sosa, who has suddenly broken his silence, and in a major way, is clamoring for his number to be retired by the Chicago Cubs. Here is what Sosa stated:

“They disrespected me. That number should be untouchable because of the things I did for that organization. That right there shows me that they don’t care about me, and they don’t want to have a good relationship with me.”

Wow.

Now, before I acknowledge my final feelings on Sosa’s statements, I think it is fair to say that Sosa has been one of the most influential and biggest draws in baseball over the last two decades. Whether you want throw in the asterisks and arguments over his PED use (or not, if your still in denial), Sosa, along with McGwire, really helped bring the game of baseball back from it’s crushing 1994 strike. With his then charming smile and “innocent” personality to go along with the sprinting into the outfield, patented jump after the homerun swing, and the double chest-tap kiss to the sky after touching home plate, Sosa had become one of the faces of Major League Baseball.

However, after 609 homeruns, Sosa is now an afterthought. In all actuality, he is a blemish. A mere reminder of what was wrong with the game. And while other steroid users such as McGwire and Bonds are ceremoniously jeered across the country, both still have a place to call home respectively in St. Louis and San Francisco. Places where both are revered. And in the case with Bonds, an organization and city he one day will have his number retired as well.

However, in the case of Sosa, this will never happen. Primarily, he left the team on terrible terms. While Sosa is one of the best players to ever put on a Chicago Cubs uniform (Seriously, look at the numbers), the truth is in the very fact that #21 is not just unretired, but is in actual use. That alone states that the Cubs want nothing to do with Sammy Sosa – history or legacy.

A great example is that of the New York Yankees who have yet to issue #51 formerly worn by Bernie Williams, which will be retired someday, and #21 for Paul O’neill, which Yankee fans will force into retirement.

Tyler Colvin is currently #21 for the Chicago Cubs. And before him it was Jason Marquis.

Ouch.

Regardless of truth and substance, it is very tacky for a player to beg and gravel to be immortalized by having his number retired. However, in some way weird working of karma, what’s due to you, or what-goes-around-comes-around, this might be baseball’s way of sticking it back to Sosa. In a time of need when fans and the game wanted answers, Sosa suddenly forgot how to speak English. Now, in a time of need of acknowledgement, the rest of the world suddenly forgot how to speak Sosa’s language – including the Chicago Cubs.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

He Got Me Again: Beck Out of Bounds with Comments on 99ers

Glenn Beck is at it again. And well, he got me again.

It’s amazing how Beck manages to rile up the masses and conjure up notoriety and press coverage about himself through his wacky statements and outlandish beliefs. And while I often keep an ear open to hear the latest out of his mouth, I very rarely comment, discuss, or even post about it here on the DP. The reason? It justifies the very core of what he is attempting to do – seek attention.

However, as he did before on a topic that I felt strongly about (Say What? Beck’s Comments on Race, Correct), Beck has once again baited me to give in to not only acknowledge his statement and views, but respond as well.

Recently, Beck commented on the “99ers” rally on Wall Street, who if you aren’t aware, are unemployed Americans who have exhausted their 99 weeks of unemployment benefits due to the poor economy. The 99ers have been picketing in New York City blaming the current state of the economy on Wall St.

The following link is a video of Beck’s rant which included him stating that, “99ers should be ashamed to call themselves Americans”.

Glenn Beck Rants on 99ers and Unemployed

Once again, (and I cannot believe this is twice in one year) Beck is right – somewhat. He is correct in stating that “a job is not a right”. He is also undoubtedly correct that there are quite a few people who are relying heavily on the system’s benefits by not searching for work or sacrificing to make ends meet. Some people just don’t value the American dream. It happens. I’m sure you and I could name 1 or 2 persons that fit that bill. However, the overall nature of the situation is that the current times aren’t normal. And that is where Mr. Beck goes awry.

There is nothing normal about an unemployment rate that is well over 10% and growing with no end or recovery in sight. There is nothing normal about endless searches, rising costs of living, and decreasing salaries from coast-to-coast. And there is absolutely nothing normal about unemployment statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau that expresses that over 1.4 million have been out of work for over 99 weeks.

I have never been shy about sharing my time of unemployment with DP readers. For the mere 51 weeks or so that I was laid off and unemployed was one of the most eye opening, deflating, and crushing times in my life. However, it also served as the most inspiring, motivating, and meaningful experiences as well. During that time I managed to understand the adversities in life, and the real understanding of hard work, sacrifice, and well…life. I understand what Beck is stating by accepting jobs that you don’t necessarily like. I’ve been there. However, I also understand the feeling of sending out upwards of 40-50 resumes per week to no avail. Not to mention the crushing tease of accepting a job to have the position eliminated due to budget cuts – three times. Yes, three.

Once again, these times are not normal. It’s not an excuse, it’s fact.

And while, luckily, I have been blessed by the good Lord with a job that I absolutely love, I still feel for my close friends who have yet to have their own share of employment happiness.

So unlike Beck, I understand the 99ers frustration. I understand their issues with Wall Street. It is a feeling that you have to go through, to thoroughly understand.

So when Beck, a man who probably is completely out of bounds on giving advice on financial hardships, declares statements on an experience that he really is looking into from the outside, one becomes riled up with thoughts of defense and immediate rebuttal.

And while he got me again, this is another topic that I needed to take notice of. Most importantly, one important and personal enough to take a stand on.

Monday, August 16, 2010

KO’ed-Rod

DPKRod “K-Rod Arrested on Assault Charges”

It is the kind of headline that makes you wonder if you read it correctly. Most importantly, it is another headline that makes you shake your head in amazement when in comes to the New York Mets. Francisco Rodriguez, one of the many players the New York Mets employ that weighs on the team like some sort of disappointing anchor, really threw the Mets a curveball when he decided to fight his girlfriend’s father inside Citi Field.

We’ve seen that fiery side of Rodriguez before. If it’s not closing out the ninth inning with his over-the-top antics, its his attempts to start a fight with Brian Bruney over mere words. Nonetheless, the mere fact that Rodriguez punched his girlfriend’s father in the face, regardless of what was said or preceded the scuffle, is a testament to the character of Rodriguez.

However, there is another headline that really fires up Mets fans, and causes baseball fans to shake their heads once again:

“K-Rod Out For Season After Suffering Torn Ligaments in Thumb From Fight”

The mere fact that Rodriguez ended his season, and quite possible put the kibosh on his team’s season by such foolish behavior is unbelievable. The New York Mets have already placed Rodriguez on the “Disqualified List”, which can allow the team to withhold payment to Rodriguez because he suffered the injury away from the field.

In fact, there are reports that the Mets are attempting to void the deal due to his scuffle and pending legal troubles. And you know what? Good for the Mets.

Good for them for finally taking a stand. Yes, I know the Wilpons and the rest of the Mets organization would love to get out from under that insane contract, but most importantly, good for them for attempting to set a precedent.

Too many times we have allowed such a situation to go without action. Whenever the argument of “if you or I did that on the site of our job, we would immediately be terminated”, there is an immediate rebuttal of, “well, they are different, they are professional athletes. It’s just different.”

Well, why are they different?

Rodriguez is paid millions of dollars to perform a very high-demanding job. Yes, he has limited privacy and his job comes with many pressures, however, under no circumstances should he be fighting within the confines of his job. Most importantly, by no means should he receive any compensation for hurting himself in an illegal act. And quite possibly, I wouldn’t completely object to the Mets attempt of voiding his contract.

It will never happen, but imagine, a world in which athletes are not paid for acts that are not only illegal, but are grounds for termination in the workplace?

The sports industry would definitely look different.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

D is For Dumb. D is For Dolan.

DPDisfordumbDisforDolan It is often said, “Those who ignore the past, are doomed to repeat it”

While that statement has proven itself to be often true, sometimes there are those select few that are just dumb. Yes, blindly, obliviously, unconditionally D-U-M-B – dumb!

And when it comes to James Dolan, owner of the New York Knicks, he fits the bill of the latter.

I’m sure many of you know where this is going, nonetheless, it needs to be said.

James Dolan is dumb. Sorry, it just had to be put into one sentence.

The idea of bringing back Isiah Thomas after all the carnage and destruction that he amassed in his term as President of Basketball Operations is simply put – unbelievable.

[Sidenote: a quick personal message to you Mr. Dolan, releasing the story to the press on a Friday afternoon, as you did with Thomas’ firing, doesn’t make the story go under-the-radar.]

Nonetheless, the inexplicable affinity that Dolan has for Thomas is so far passed unintelligence, that many now believe that Thomas has some sort of blackmail information on Dolan. And while yours truly was not worked up about the return of Thomas as a “consultant” (I honestly believed he still had Dolan’s ear), that went out the window when I came across this headline in the New York Daily News:

“Walsh Nearly Resigned From New York Knicks Upon Learning of Hiring of Isiah Thomas”

For those of you who haven’t heard or read some of the latest fall outs that have been reported, here are some lines that are sure to make fellow Knick fans angry:

"’Donnie finds this entire thing distasteful,’" said one NBA source. "’He's had second thoughts about staying but he wants to finish the job.’"

“Dolan's insistence on giving Thomas the ambiguous title of consultant angered Walsh, who for two years has been trying to hire former St. John's All-American Chris Mullin as general manager. Dolan has refused to sign off on hiring Mullin and clearly has designs on giving that position to Thomas…”

“The News reported yesterday that Dolan advised Walsh to hire Thomas as his general manager two weeks ago. When Walsh refused, Dolan decided to make Thomas a consultant, a move that was universally panned by several of Dolan's top executives, according to sources.”

“Besides Walsh and Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni being against the move, Garden vice chairman Hank Ratner and Garden president Scott O'Neil voiced their displeasure but were overruled by Dolan”

“At Stoudemire's introductory press conference, Dolan instructed Walsh to publicly thank Thomas for his assistance in recruiting Stoudemire. There are conflicting accounts on what role, if any, Thomas had in helping the Knicks land Stoudemire, who had previously played for D'Antoni in Phoenix…In fact, Stoudemire's agent, Happy Walters, said in July that Stoudemire hadn't even spoken to Thomas until Dolan's July 4 bash.”

“Walsh, according to a source, was told he had to have Thomas' name attached to the statement.”

So now the truth comes out. And to be honest, while I’m not terribly surprised, I am very, very, upset. As any Knick fan should be. While Isiah’s “consultant” role is undefined, and yes, he may even have some talents to bring to an organization with his ability to draft, the mere fact that Dolan is going against his entire organization of basketball-knowledged personnel is baffling. Quite honestly, its amazing that he is going against Walsh, who has one of the best minds in the NBA. Heck, look at the job he has done getting us out from a potential (another) decade-long mess created by Isiah Thomas.

But I guess that’s a moot point now.

Jim Dolan doesn’t get it. And as a diehard Knicks fan, I’m afraid he never will. Ever since taking over the Knicks from his father, he has run the organization into the ground.

Then again, I’m not telling you anything you did not know.

[Another Sidenote: Why is the NCAA allowing a Division I collegiate coach the ability to work with an NBA team? Not only that, how could they review it and approve it? What’s stopping Coach K, Coach Self, and others from becoming NBA “consultants? But I digress.”]

I’m not sure what the future holds, or where fellow Knicks fans go from here, but with someone like James Dolan beginning to flex his incompetence, a once new and bright era, is now looking more like a big U-turn.

In 2007, James Dolan earned the DP “Idiot of The Year” Award. With a little under four months to go, barring a major mishap, Dolan looks like he has the 2010 award clearly wrapped up.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Incomplete Conviction of The Murderer

Omar Thornton is a name that evokes many strong feelings which for the most part are confused and unclear. Omar Thornton, the shooter in the Connecticut Beer Warehouse shooter, is a name that is now centered around a mystery with nine people dead, and numerous loose ends, question marks, and illogical measures added in.

For those of you DP devotees, you know that situations such as this one are pretty clear and cut – Thornton was wrong. He is a murderer. Never will I ever condone grabbing a gun and running through a warehouse picking off others with a weapon because of one’s misfortunes. He was wrong. I know it. You know it. We all know it. 

Yet, why is there such a hazy feeling when it comes to the situation? 

Why is there a feeling in my gut that isn’t 100% convicting of Thornton the way I have for other criminals?

And once again, Why am I not the only one that feels this way?

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Hard To Say Goodbye

DPBrettFavre Ok, here we go again.

Brett Favre and his antics, which seem to pop up this time of the year, has become the norm. In fact, we should just call it “Favre Season.” You know, the time of the year when training camp begins and Favre feels the need to have everyone talk about him (especially ESPN). The time of the year when even LeBron James and his “Decision” show signs of humility. OK, well maybe not that bad, but LeBron must be impressed.

Nonetheless, in all seriousness, there are “reports” and “sources” that have Brett Favre finally retiring this year – for good. And while “sources” and “reports” have become about as credible as reporting from you and I due to the social network age we now live in, I hope that these reports are either completely true, or completely false.

Because the fact of the matter is Brett Favre cannot afford to have another case of lying in limbo.