Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A NUMBER OF TOPICS

If the damned NFL owners would just make a decision to keep from destroying the game by letting their squabbling lead to undoing their agreement with the players and leading to uncapped years I could conceivably start on the Patriots needs, anticipated free agency losses and gains, and draft preview. So I will wait, along with the players, their agents, and the teams for a settlement or complete breakdown before the chaos of the off-season moves begins.

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Pedro off the Dominican team? A-Rod on the US team? Whoo-hoo. Go Dominican! Papi! Papi! Papi! (Well, that answers the debate at least for me about whether Americans will root for the players from their favorite team or blindly support the US team.)

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Kirby Puckett, rest in peace. For all of his off-field faults, there is no doubt that Kirby brought joy to the masses between the white lines. I wish I had a great story about Kirby, but I really do not have one. In fact, I wish I had made it to a Sox-Twins game and saw him (although I may have seen him playing for Toledo against the PawSox). What sticks in my mind when I think of Kirby Puckett is the absolute joy he projected on the field while playing. Yes, he was a great player on the field and not a saint off the field, but he LOVED playing baseball, and that was what made him so universally admired. For Twins fans this has to be beyond devastating. I figure he is comparable in Minnesota to someone like Teddy Ballgame or Yaz here in the Boston area. Imagine Yaz being struck down early in his career and then dying at the age of 45. Or another way, think Tony C., only times 100.

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Fascinating story about the life and times of the lying, racist, cheating, steroid, HGH, and any performance-enhancing drug using mockery that is Barry Bonds. It amazes me that Bonds and his fellow cheaters (see: Jason Giambi) are still allowed to play baseball. Positive test or not, the commissioner has the power to act in the best interest of the game. The best interest of the game would have been served by the commissioner making an example of these two BALCO Bozos and banning them from the game two years ago. I would go into my usual rant about Jason Giambi and steroid-enhanced home runs in the 2003 ALCS game seven against Pedro, but Peter Gammons is so sick of hearing about it. Sorry Gammons, you may be the best Boston baseball writer ever, but MLB knew Giambi was cheating and allowed him to play that season. Forget Aaron Boone. The Yankees win in the 2003 ALCS will forever be tainted due to the actions of steroid-boy Giambi and we whiney Red Sox fans will not shut up or get over it any time soon.

Getting back to Bonds, it is sickening to hear the media members jumping out to support the jerk. He is a cheater. Only a delusional and naive fool does not realize that Bonds, Giambi, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmiero, Mark McGwire, I-Rod, and Juan Gone were on the juice and that their accomplishments are all tainted. This Gang of Seven (along with Canseco & the others) should permanently be held up as an example of what was wrong with baseball and how it can improve by returning to the natural stats of the players of today. I may not be a fan of A-Rod, but his stats have improved along with Manny, Papi, Albert Pujols, and Miguel Cabrera as the steroids have been worked out of the game. For that, I certainly respect his talent.

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Sad news that Sox catcher John Flaherty has decided to retire. As I have written on numerous occasions, Flaherty made an indelible impression on me as a youngster when he was playing in Pawtucket and stood out as the player who was the first to sign autographs and the last one signing when everyone went backing the dugout. Not only signing, but interacting with the fans. I doubt there will be much written about this aspect of John Flaherty, moreso a small mention in each paper about his career in the majors and how he came back for one more shot with the Red Sox, but I think it is important to remember him for his contribution to the game by just acting like enjoyed being there and appreciated the opportunity to be paid for playing a game. Enjoy your retirement, John Flaherty.

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