This started off as the "Juice Free" column, then I realized that's all I had to talk about. NUFF SAID!
TO THE TOPICS . . .
There was a reason those records stood for decades. Forget, Barry, Roger, and Alex. Forget McNamee, Canseco, and Radomsky. When you hear baseball's commissioner, Bud Selig, say "I won't rule out adjusting the record books" I hope you pour yourself another glass and let out a sigh, just like I did. The highest paid commissioner in professional sports, $18.35 million for the league’s fiscal year ending Oct. 31, 2007, remains clean in all this? Who fell on the sword for Enron? Which executive was recently released at Merrill Lynch? Not the middle level men, oh no, in real life, we place the proverbial sword right through the man in charge. One, Mr. Bud Selig. Explain to me how he sits idle, while countless 20 to 30 year records aren't just being broken, they are being shattered. How does he not ask the questions that we all should have asked? More importantly, why does he not ask those questions? I'll get straight to it, because he is just as guilty as every one of those athletes, owners, and trainers. When money was to be made, his hand was out, just like everyone elses. Now you have a guy, Alex Rodriguez, who has most likely contributed to Bud being able to make $18.35 million, admitting his wrongs. Selig's response: "I won't rule out adjusting the record books." Well here is what I won't rule out. (1) If this were any other Fortune 500 company, you'd have been fired two years ago. (2) Your response, The Mitchell Report, was the most flawed report money could buy. Nearly entirely based on two former clubhouse trainers, who were for all intents and purposes, drug dealers for two teams, not the 30+ teams you hold court on. (3) Your more guilty, and should lose way more, than any person possible. You walk the streets while your players sit in front of congress, a situation YOU allowed. Keep It Real Bud! Your nothing but a fraud.
When I read that Ken Griffey Jr. and his agent, are in talks with the Seattle Mariners, I couldn't have been more elated. Griffey was never a Red, he was never a White Sox, in my mind, he was always that same kid with the sweetest stroke in the game, lacing home runs at the King Dome. He was the SI cover boy, the athlete everyone wanted to be, he was LeBron, he was Manning, he was Crosby, before LeBron, Manning, and Crosby. Before his days in Cincinnati, Ken Griffey Jr. was the next to supplant Hank Aaron, or Barry Lamar Bonds as the greatest home run hitter in the game. Then he spent the next 9 seasons on the DL, everything that could be injured, got injured. Junior went from a 30-year old slugger with 398 home runs, poised as ever to take Hank's crown, to a guy who would only have one more season where he clubbed 40 home runs and drove in 100+ RBI. You can't absolve Junior from any steroid talk, the era was tainted, so everyone has to bear the brunt of it, but if Ken Griffey was accused, it really would be depressing, for everyone. To finish off his career in Seattle would be a treat for baseball fans everywhere. As if Montana were to make a return to San Francisco after he played in Kansas City. If Favre were to return to Green Bay for one final season. If Michael would have played in Chicago after his time in Washington. On a more personal note, if Pedro Martinez would walk out on that mound at Fenway one more time wearing a "B" on his cap. Ken Griffey reminds us of a time, a time where we were excited about baseball, without the distractions. I would love to see Junior playing for Seattle, just one more time. KEEP IT REAL!
How is Manny Ramirez still unemployed? How has the steroid bug never caught the great ManRam? I'm going to put it out there. He's the greatest true hitter since Pete Rose. His lowest batting average since 1995 happened in 2005, when he hit .292, the same season he clubbed 45 home runs and 144 RBI. Consistency? Let's talk, since his first full season in the league, 1994, Ramirez has had just three seasons which he hit less than 30 homers, a streak that consisted of 9 straight seasons with 100+ RBI, he get's walked nearly 70+ times every season for the last 15 years. How many guys can turn down not one, but two deals which would give him $20 million a year, in this economy? Even while Manny was unhappy in Boston early last season, and openly trying to play his way out of Fenway, he still hit .300, knocked in nearly 70 runs, and parked 20 balls. Insert a hungry Manny into a National League lineup, in nearly half the games (53) that me played in Boston, Manny hit just 3 less homers and hit close to .400 the entire time. My message is to the Dodgers, it's simple: "times up, game is over" Throw the $60 million at him, and let's watch him hit, while he still makes me cringe because of the happenings in Boston, he's as pure as we'll see. KEEP IT REAL!
"This highway is filled with broken heroes, on a last chance power drive" -Bruce Springsteen.