Beyond the Stadium

What Plays Out Beyond the Game

The Name is Bonds…Barry Bonds

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 As if the whole Bonds ordeal wasn’t strange enough, it now appears that HBO is working on a movie based on the book, “Game of Shadows“, written by Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada.

            Williams, a San Francisco Chronicle reporter, wrote the book to expose the “truth” about the muscle-bound Barry Bonds. The ensuing sensation led to overblown trials, pointless prison sentences and Bud Selig’s decision to launch the oh-so-infamous Mitchell Investigation. The first thing that comes to my mind is: who the hell is going to play Bonds?

            Perhaps out of fear, Bonds is reportedly planning on hiring a new lawyer to back up his no-doubt cast of thousands. I honestly don’t know what kind of an impact this movie could produce, but it seems to be fated to the “really bad idea” pile. I can see it now: burly old surly Barry dragged through the trials and tribulations of being a major league millionaire, shooting up horse tranquilizers every now and again. Sounds like a big pile of garbage.

            Of course, if Bonds is indicted, or sentenced to community service or to spend a day in jail with Nicole Ritchie, the exposure of the film will be met with far greater success. Either way, this film serves to show how corrupt and profit-conscious the sport has become, and will be yet another unfortunate smear on Major League Baseball.

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November 30, 2007 Posted by | strange stories | 1 Comment

Taylor Shooting Continues NFL Violence

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 Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor is in critical condition after being shot during an alleged robbery. Because he was shot in the femoral artery, the athlete lost a significant amount of blood. This incident is the latest in an apparent trend of violence in the NFL.

            While MLB has its steroids and the NBA has its gambling rings, the NFL seems to have a large problem with violence. Taylor himself has a violent history, accused of hitting a man repeatedly and waving a gun in 2005. His tale is a tragic one, but follows a long line of aggressive and cruel behavior by NFL players.

            Michael Vick was accused of running a dog fighting ring, former star O.J. Simpson has been accused of assault and murder, Adam “Pacman” Jones was involved in a triple shooting and Albert Haynesworth was suspended by stomping on a player’s head. And this is only the beginning. The NFL seems to be breeding violence, and the punishments are not stopping these millionaire thugs. With the players getting bigger, stronger and more aggressive each year, how long will it be before someone is killed on the field due to outright violence? I hope the sport would not come to this, but the sport seems to be attracting more violent people each year.

            Any act of aggression involving firearms should be grounds for a lifetime ban from football, and the NFL needs to crack down on felony charges. Incidents such as the Taylor shooting are tragic, and these types of events need to end.

November 27, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Santana Suitors

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We find ourselves in the second half of the NFL season, with the NBA and NHL having kicked off as well, but some of the most talked-about sporting news is coming from Major League Baseball. Aside from the Barry Bonds firestorm, all eyes have been turning to the trade talk surrounding Johan Santana.

            The Minnesota Twins have recently offered their southpaw stud an $80 million deal over four years that has all-but-guaranteed Santana will be leaving the Twins this off-season. A deal of that size is a slap in the face for him, as the vastly inferior Barry Zito soaked the Giants for $126 million last year. If Santana walked out onto the open market today, he could easily get a 6-year deal worth $120 million. There are plenty of teams out there just dying to have his guaranteed low-3’s ERA and 200-plus strikeouts.

            Of course, the most obvious team to land Santana is the (nefarious) New York Yankees. After being embarrassed in the playoffs and delegated to a mere wild-card winner, the Yanks are looking to shore up their pathetic rotation. Of course, any pitcher under the age of 40 would be unusual for the New York but, hey, stranger things have happened.

            The asking price for any team, though, will be monstrously steep. The Twins have reportedly asked about several Yankee “untouchables” including Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. The Mets desperately need more pitching, but the talent they have may not be enough for the Twins. Despite these steep demands, it looks like the Santana will be traded. The Twins have already lost Hunter, and they will want to get everything they can for Johan Santana.

November 26, 2007 Posted by | Big Events | Leave a comment

ROY Boys

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The results are in, and Ryan Braun and Dustin Pedroia captured the 2007 Rookie of the Year honors. Are these results shocking to anyone? Of course not. The question is: do they make sense?

            Pedroia won by a landslide(gaining nearly triple the points of Delmon Young), no doubt boosted by his team’s victory in the World Series. Red Sox bias aside, I really like the choice to honor Pedroia. At only 5’9 and roughly 17 pounds, he is a painfully textbook example of “the little guy who overcame adversity through sheer determination and other stuff.” I am just relieved that Matsuzaka (you can’t convince me that he is a rookie!) did not receive the award. 

             At first glance, Pedroia has no discernible skills, whether they are speed, power, arm strength or finesse. Despite this, he managed to bat an impressive .317 with 8 homers and 50 RBI’s. On a side note, he contributed a nifty 10 RBI’s in the playoffs. Even more impressive is the fact he plays at SECOND BASE, which I personally believe is the hardest position to play in the universe. Seriously though, it must take a helluva lot of guts for a guy his size to hunker down while some 6’5 DH is sliding, spikes first, into second base.

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            My gripe comes with the National League winner. Yes, Braun bashed an insane amount of homers and proved he can hit for power and average, but he has got to be one of the worst young fielders I have seen in years. Power hitters are a dime-a-dozen in this day and age, but defensive wizards such as Troy Tulowitzki are much harder to come by.

            Tulowitzki plays at the much more demanding position than Braun, and is already one of the best defensive shortstops in the game. His contributions to the Rockies were immense, and he displayed great power and plate discipline, especially for a shortstop.

            While Braun has only one card to play, Tulowitzki will continue to thrive at shortstop with his large skills set. He deserved to be the Rookie of the Year, and will prove himself as the better player soon enough.

           

November 12, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mean Green Machine?

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 Now, I’m not usually the type to start trumpeting a NBA team so early in the season, (I don’t usually pay attention to the NBA much at all) but it’s starting to look like the Celtics could really be the Beast of the East this year. I’m not as crazy about this team as most people, but the Celts are off to their best start (5-0) since the last Big 3 ruled the roost in 1987. By beating the Nets, the Celtics have proven they can 1.beat an actual NBA caliber team, and 2.contend for the conference title.

            Before I move forward, however, I have to say it is far too early to compare Pierce, Garnett and Allen to Bird, McHale and Parish. These latter three men are legends who played on several championship teams together. Pierce and Co. have done nothing extraordinary so far. I can’t see all three of them staying healthy, especially Allen, nor can I see them continue to play at such a high energy level. Honestly, post game celebrations in November? That’s pushing things a bit.

            Another problem with the Celtics is that they only put 3 men on the court each night, which makes it…oh wait, they really do have more than 3 players? Could have fooled me. Beyond the Big 3, there is no team. Rondo, Posey and Perkins are nothing to write home about, and the team is very old overall.

            Despite these troubles, the Celts have three stars in a pathetic conference, and should rise to the top. This team is not built for the long haul, so Danny Ainge better hope they capture a title of some sort this season.

November 12, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Now What?

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 As Red Sox Nation, especially New England, has finally begun to recover from the latest World Series hangover, fans are collectively turning to the future. What needs to be done in the organization? What will the competition be like? Where the hell have the Yankees gone? These are only some of the fun conundrums. More pertinent than any issue for the Sox so far is the destiny of Coco Crisp.

            The off-season is still in its infant stage, but the rumors and questions are already swirling. Crisp seems to be at the core of many GM discussions. With the explosive arrival of the popular Jacoby Ellsbury, it seems Theo Epstein can finally unload the disappointing center fielder for some useful prospects. At the young age of 24, Ellsbury can move at about the speed of time and, as the World Series showed, can provide plenty of offensive might. Several teams are looking for a good center fielder, and Crisp’s youth might make him more appealing than Torii Hunter or Aaron Rowand.

            In other news, the phrase of the day in the Bronx seems to be “abandon ship!” Joe Torre has swam over to the Dodgers, hauling Don Mattingly and Larry Bowa with him. A-Rod effectively ducked out of New York by asking for a modest $87 trillion. Andy Pettitte turned down a hefty deal from the Yankees, and Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera are expected to leave as well. While it is true that the Yanks need to reinvent themselves, am I missing something here?

            Some other big names in the market include Johan Santana, who the Yankees will probably give up an arm and a leg for, and Miguel Cabrera. Miguel Tejada and Mike Lowell round out what will be another ridiculous bidding war. While some speculate the Sox will dump Lowell for the younger Rodriguez, this is simply not a possibility. He will sign in a big market, but for much less than he is asking for, and less than the Yankees were willing to offer.

November 6, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Marathon Man

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 Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson made history against the Chargers Sunday, running his way into the record books with a whopping 296 yards. Unless Tom Brady throws for 14 touchdowns in a game, which may be possible, Adrian owns the most astounding performance of the season.

            Peterson beat out poor old Jamal Lewis by a single yard to claim the record. What made Peterson’s game ridiculous, though, was that he faced the Chargers, owners of one of the top defenses in the NFL. Who would have thought the fiery rookie would explode against San Diego and upstage LaDainian Tomlinson?

            Launching himself even further into stardom, Peterson has rushed for 200 yards or more TWICE in his rookie season. This little feat has never been done before by an NFL rookie. Ladies and gentleman, I believe we are looking at the new LT. Bold statement? Maybe so, but just look at what the young phenom has done. The age of Tomlinson seems to be fading, and Peterson may soon take the stage as top running back.

            Running backs, especially the prolific ones, have a penchant for burning out early. The wear they place on their bodies is tremendous, and Tomlinson is no exception. If he stays healthy, Peterson has the talent to shatter many more records.

November 5, 2007 Posted by | Milestones | 1 Comment