Empty summer looms in Cooperstown
Steroids make for slim pickings, sports goes to the dogs and more items of disinterest
Now that the A-Bomb has fallen and the Baseball Writers of America are of a mind to let Hell host the NHL All-Star Game before they vote a Steroid Era superstar into the Hall of Fame, it's gonna be mighty lonely in Cooperstown come the summer of 2013.
That's the year when a bumper crop of blighted flaxseed becomes eligible: Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens. Safely assuming that Mark McGwire (2007), Jose Canseco (2007), Rafael Palmeiro (2011) and Juan Gonzalez (2011) will still be twisting by the pool in purgatory, that no one who racked up even remotely big numbers during the past 20 years can be trusted, and the shelves of B-List eligibles from a more innocent time have been stripped bare, voters will have a devil of a time providing a reason to attend the induction ceremony. With the annual Hall of Fame Game no longer played by Major League clubs, the two teams of geezers better have some marquee value and be ready with the Sharpies.
What to do? Well, Mike Piazza will also be eligible, but there's still too much time for disconcerting news to emerge on those presumed clean -- so voters will likely be playing Diogenes, the Cynic who supposedly wandered ancient Greece with a latern in search of an honest man. Thus, this space sees several likely Class of 2013 scenarios:
-- The safely mediocre Albie Lopez (47-58, 4.70 ERA over 11 seasons) and Eddie Taubensee (.273 average over 11 seasons) get in by default while the Veterans Committee provides the real sizzle with Ron Santo, Gil Hodges, Sherry Magee, etc.
-- The Original Class of 1936 -- Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson -- is re-inducted in a kind of renewal of vows.
-- Worthies who have been long overlooked by other Halls are voted in, such as Ray Guy (football), Dino Ciccarelli (hockey), Jo Jo White (basketball) and Jethro Tull (Rock & Roll).
As long as doping revelations and distrust rule the land, the drought will continue past 2014 when Greg Maddux becomes eligible. Have to figure that if he gets in, voters will simply reinduct him in 2015 and keep reinducting him until Salomon Torres (a devout Jehovah's Witness sworn to not tainting his body with drugs) is up. Meanwhile, the Veteran's Committee can lively thing up by inducting the famously bad -- Mario Mendoza (career BA .215, the man who inspired The Mendoza Line as a measure of futility), Marvelous Marv Throneberry, etc.
Ultimately, they'll have to shut the place down -- as recommended by this scribe -- or let everyone in because, after all, the field was relatively level. Juicers were playing against juicers, just as Gaylord Perry (Class of '91) was chucking spitters at corkers from 1962 to 1983. Heck, this game has been as crooked as a dog's hind leg since the first pitch was thrown between the Cleveland Forest Cities and the Fort Wayne Kekiongas on May 4, 1871. No sense pretending otherwise.
Thought of the Week
Think Michael Phelps ain't down on his knees thanking the Big Kahuna for Alex Rodriguez right about now? A-Roid's bombshell has blown Marijuana Mike off the back pages and his endorsement future isn't that taking that big a hit. Reportedly, cigar-maker Gurkha has offered him a deal as smokesperson. What did this space say last week?
Meanwhile, law enfarcement in Columbia, SC, has apparently busted eight people for their involvement in the November bacchanal that bagged Phelps and produced the infamous bong photo. The bong itself was reportedly for sale on eBay for a cool hundred grand. But this space is moved to ask a few questions. Exactly how does Sheriff Leon Lott and Co. intend to convince a (presumbly sober) jury beyond a reasonable doubt that there was actually some Mother Nature in the house as well as in the bong? And how much was in there? Enough to constitute a felony? And did any of these eight perps actually touch the stuff, let along inhale? Since it all went down in November, one imagines that recollections are a bit hazy by now.
If there's one thing the human race abhors, its not having someone pure of morals to look up to. Apparently, Derek Jeter is next in line for beatification by the Sports World Vatican as the Savior of our National Pastime, though one ought to realize by now that it pays to be wary of such attempts or simply find another waste of time. Case in point: Dwyane Wade, who'd been canonized for his overall role modelness, is now being accused by his former business partner of smoking hemp, consorting with lusty wenches, thinking with his dipstick, and making a lovely mess of a condo. Whether it's true hardly matters in the court of public opinion. The mud's been tossed, and given the continual stream of tawdry reports and admissions from the world of sports and entertainment and politics and business and religion and education and gardening, would you be shocked -- shocked! -- if it is?
The One True Sport?
The grim news continues with the revelation that even the Westminster Dog Show is is tainted . . . by genetic engineering. Turns out that the winner is the product of artificial insemination and that papa pooch has been legs-up since 1990. This kind of mad science has not gone unnoticed by the folks at PETA who have been watching sports like a hawk since the Michael Vick mess and charging in wherever something dirty is going down with our furry or feathered friends on a big stage. Following PETA's drive to get Phelps to kick pot roast as well as pot, its minions were out at New York's Madison Square Garden this week, decked out in KKK regalia and charging the dogshow folks with making like performance-enhancer suppliers by trying to produce a master race of woofers.
One is left to wonder, is there no pure sport left on this planet? This space is now pinning its battered, faltering hopes on The Pillow Fight League, although all bets are off if the pillows contain goose down.
Here We Go Again
So Brett Favre has decided to hang 'em up (his spikes, not his passes) once again...for now. Forgive this space's temption to wager greenbacks to Boston cremes that after all the farewell hankies are waved and recycled tributes rolled out, ol' Brett starts to itch, fails to see a dermatologist, and comes wheezing back in August with another NFL team. And while this space is standing at the parimutuel window, it is also tempted to wager, simply based on nothing more than the way things are going these days, that we eventually hear that A-Rod tested positive after 2003 and Curt Schilling has skeletons with sharp elbows reclining in his closet.
Unfounded Rumor of the Week
The burning question of our age may very well be: just what are the long-term effects of steroids and other performance-enhancers? Someone we ran into at the local science fair told us "on good authority, honest" that the first steroid mutant is being kept at the government's underground lab in the wilds near Poofter's Froth, Wyoming, and even slipped us a smuggled photo as proof. No doubt a horrifying peek at what Barry Bonds, McGwire and Canseco will look like in 20 years. As always, you saw it here first, and last.
The Epistle Portal
Well, all good things must come to an end. So while you're searching for a good thing to come to an end, you might as well take a moment to vent a little steam at losing yet another few minutes of your finite human existence by wading through this compendium of swill and bilge.
For your convenience, our team of crack scientists (they're all on crack) has provided a handy space-time portal (the box to the right) in which you can dispatch your ire safely and without any toxic residue that endangers your friends, family and neighbors as well as any small animals that may happen to wander by. Modern technology at its finest!