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Posted: Wednesday February 25, 2009 4:29PM; Updated: Wednesday February 25, 2009 6:19PM
John Rolfe John Rolfe >
GETTING LOOSE

Strawberry not on anyone's hit list

Takes a lot to earn a death sentence now, plus media dolts, palm lumps and more items of disinterest

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Straw's dirty stories don't seem to be stirring many drinks at the moment.
AP

"I hope the book is damned good because it might be the last one he writes."

Ron Kittle's recent take on Jose Canseco? Could be. Actually, it was Rusty Staub's on Jim Bouton in the wake of Ball Four, a 1970 classic that was one of the first tell-all's to make its author a marked man in the world of sports. Kittle seems to think that Canseco's tomes about steroid use in Major League Baseball will do a little more than get him banished from Old Timer's Days for the foreseeable future.

"I wonder who's going to be the first one to shoot him," Kittle said in one of the week's more amusing observations. "I still think somebody who might have had their life ruined might take vengeance on him. If I were [Canseco], I would think about that."

Yeah, spilling the beans about drug-related subjects often does earn people, especially reporters, a ticket to oblivion, particularly in places like Mexico. But Canseco will likely remain about as popular as a rabid skunk at a lawn party. Which is what happened to Bouton, whose book caused every bit the firestorm when it hit the shelves way back when.

But much of the handwringing about Canseco and steroid revelations concerns his violation of the clubhouse credo: What you see here, what you say here, let it stay here when you leave here. Same charge was leveled at Joe Torre a few weeks back. Yet advance dirt from Darryl Strawberry's forthcoming offering, Straw: Finding My Way, has barely nudged the needle on the stinkmeter with its assertion that members of the drug-addled mid-80s Mets couldn't keep their Louisville Sluggers in their trousers during games.

Been there, read that. Thirty-odd years after Bouton revealed that Mickey Mantle played with a bag on and the revered Yankees peeped in hotel room windows at nekkid women when not canoodling with groupies, Straw's peccadilloes seem quaint. If his book generates any heat, it won't be from the barrel of a roscoe.

Coincidence, you say?

Synchronicity is said to be two or more causally-unrelated events occurring together in a meaningful way although they are unlikely to occur together by chance. With that in mind, this space can't help but notice that while the New York City Council was putting wrinkles on its collective foreheads over what to do about the growing scourge of bedbugs in local real estate, the New York Post reported that Alex Rodriguez is selling his digs in Trump Tower and was seen scouting 15 Central Park West where he will plunk down 30 grand a month on a groovy little hippie pad with two boudoirs. Perhaps nosy newsmen and MLB investigators aren't all that are bugging A-Rod these days.

Swine, all swine

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The media has yet to burst A-Rod's bubble.
AP

Speaking of A-Rod, it seems the besieged slugger has defied all expectation by actually receiving an ovation from fans in Dunedin, where the Yankees took on the Toronto Blue Jays. This development, after A-Rod went yard, underscores one immutable fact: if there's anything fans hate more than an admitted steroid user, it's the media -- particularly the toner-stained wretches who sit in judgment of said user and largely succeed in rendering said user a sympathetic figure, although A-Rod did receive a few razzberries today.

Consider the following, which arrived this week through the handy Epistle Portal (located below) from Ken Vernon of Corona, CA:

RE: "...When it comes to mangling the language and common expressions..." Athletes get paid to play a game, while you presumably get paid to turn a phrase. Something tells me that if you attempted to play their games, you would probably offer up worse physical flubs than they do verbal.

No question. That's the most common charge leveled at us imperious lard-asses of the media elite. I played some Little League and Babe Ruth ball, but if I so much as bend over now for even the softest grounder, I'll throw out my lapis lazuli while the orb goes through my spindly wickets. All this space can say is, "Those who can't do, teach. Or criticize." Whether one is a sportswriter or critic of movies, movies, books or food, we're all just doing what inspired David Lee Roth to observe that the only reason why rock critics like Elvis Costello is because they look like him. And we're doing it because we can.

But revenge could ultimately be yours. With print media going the way of the Gremlin hatchback and the internet providing a forum to anyone with some knowledge, insight and style, those who actually get paid to irritate the general public are rapidly turning into dodo birds. Not that we aren't already, eh?

Another commentator in the clink?

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Much has been made about Sir Charles Barkley heading to the pokey for 10 days for driving under the influence of John Barleycorn while searching for his favorite tootsie in the midnight hour. Yet another noted sports commentator is also staring at a weapons possession rap that could put him on the spam and license plate diet for three years: rapper Lil Wayne, who is often seen dishing his 'pinions on assorted ESPN extravaganzas that appear to be part of the anyone-can-weigh-in-trend. (Saw Dick Vitale pontificating on A-Rod last week and this space presumes he also offered his 10 cents on President Obama's pseudo-state of the onion address.)

Dirty Minds Think Alike

Extra Mustard's duly famous Hot Clicks found great mirth in The Sports Hernia's presumed cause of a mysterious palm injury suffered by New York Mets infielder Fernando Tatis. No doubt there are many out there who instantly thought it was incurred whilst polishing the proverbial sabre, but this more lofty space posits that it was more likely a case of Playstation Palm Lumps, the new malady that is sweeping the globe along with Wii knee and Guitar Hero forearm of the variety that claimed Tigers hurler Joel Zumaya in 2006. All of you who think otherwise should be ashamed of yourselves.

Unfounded Rumor of the Week

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The next Salman Rushdie?

Loosely affiliated with the guy who pushes the pastry cart through the halls of Foggy Bottom, this space is often privy to some of the more hair-raising intelligence floating around the State Department.

According to our crumby source, Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran is about to issue a fatwa against Jose Canseco for his recent literary blasphemy.

Tipped off by CIA spooks that he may be ventilated by a spiral-eyed assassin at any moment, the terrified former Bash Brother is now said to be bunking out with Salman Rushdie at an undisclosed location in London. Rushdie, you may recall, incurred similar potentially deadly wrath in February 1989 for penning The Satanic Verses. If only Rushdie had heeded Ron Kittle...

The Epistle Portal

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Thanks for reading yet another installment of Getting Loose, the space age sports column!

Ask your doctor if you develop abnormal or uncontrollable facial movements, rigid muscles, shaking, confusion, sweating or a sudden urge to vent through the space-time freight window on the right. The Getting Loose Epistle Portal is the surest way to be heard by the author (and we use the word author loosely) but is not to be used if you are allergic to gluten, sorghum, soy products or cardboard shoes. Common side effects of Getting Loose include nausea, lightheadedness, impaired judgment, an inner sense of restlessness, excessive weltschmerz, the need to move and frequent use of the word intermediary.

 
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