Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Thanksgiving cornucopia of sports.

I have a few things I would like to talk about this week, so I think we will get into a grab bag situation and I will randomly hop, skip, and jump around the sports map. Let’s hunt.

Not more steroids news

Yes, more steroids news. Major League Baseball has agreed to strengthen their drug testing policy. This means that if you test positive for steroids one time you will get a 50 game suspension. If you test positive a second time you get 100 games and if you test positive for steroids a third time you will be banned from baseball. This was a shock, not because of the new penalties, but because the owners have finally strong armed the players for once.

As long as I can remember the MLB players union never bent unless they thought it would help them. The owners could never come in and demand anything, they had no power. That all changed with the threat of Congress. I guess the MLB players union decided they would rather come up with their own penalties than to be forced by Congress to accept government testing most likely in the form of the testing used by the IOC for the Olympics. The IOC testing penalties are very stringent; they call for a two year ban for a first positive and a lifetime ban for a second positive. I guess the players union thought that 50 games were better than two years.

I think the owners were glad that Congress stuck its nose in their business. This was the only way they could get the union to bow to their needs and not the other way around as has been the case since the beginning of time. MLB also got amphetamines thrown into the testing as well, which we may find out is much worse than steroids. The penalties are not quite as stringent for amphetamines, but it’s a start.

What are my feelings on this? Mr. I Don’t Care if Baseball Players Want to Use Steroids to Entertain Me, well, I’ll tell you. As long as there are real penalties for using and MLB is making an effort than I am pleased. The reason I did not care that much whether players used or not was the fact that not even MLB cared and the fans sure didn’t care. Steroid use had been going on for more than a decade and baseball knew this and chose to ride the home run to record breaking attendance. Now it shows they are making an effort. The only problem is that there are certain substances that will not show up in a urine test and baseball is only using a urine test. HGH will not be detected and we all know there are some weasaly little chemical geeks in a lab somewhere working on a formula for undetectable steroids. The crooks are always one step ahead of the law when it comes to things like this. It’s just good to see that MLB is now taking things seriously and I applaud them for that.

I thought defense wins.

I admittedly am not a huge football fan, but I do enjoy sports so I can enjoy a good game and this weekend I enjoyed two great games. I happened to get in a little early on Saturday night and I tuned my satellite into the USC-Fresno St game. At the moment I first saw the score, Fresno State was up on the defending champs and I became giddy with joy. Why? Well, there are only two undefeated teams left and because of the stupid, idiotic, moronic, numbskullian, dipweed, BCS nonsense; it appears everything will work out for them. With two undefeated teams left, there is no question which two teams should play for the national championship. I want one or no undefeated teams left and about 14 one loss teams fighting for the title. And any chance to make the BCS committee look like a round table of imbeciles is a good thing for the universe.

That being said, I was rooting for Fresno state, hard. I knew that they had about a 30% chance of winning but I thought I would watch the game nonetheless. I’m glad I did because I witnessed one of the best single game performances ever. Reggie Bush for USC sealed the Heisman trophy up on Saturday night. He was amazing in running up over 500 all purpose yards. Every time a ball was kicked he was there. Every time a pass was thrown he was there. Every time the ball was handed off, he was there. He was like Santa Claus. He was everywhere.

Even though Bush was basically the total offense for USC, he was not playing defense and neither was anyone else. This game was a barn burner in every sense of the word. Fresno State had the lead going into the third quarter 21-13, and then the USC Trojans decided to play and ran off 28 points in the third to Fresno’s 7. The fourth quarter while not as explosive as the third was just as exciting. It all came down to the familiar two minute drill. Fresno State had just under two minutes to drive 80 yards and score a TD and get the two point conversion to force overtime. They were driving and the Fresno quarterback, Paul Pinegar, threw a strike for the end zone. It was intercepted and USC held on for the win 50-42. Fresno State came as close as anyone this year to beating a team that hasn’t lost in like 10 years. If not for the five, yes five, turnovers in the second half alone, perhaps they would have. I was devastated but glad I got to see the unbelievable game by Bush. Tell all your friends he is your Heisman Trophy winner, book it.

Speaking of no defense, I checked out the Indianapolis Colts-Cincinnati Bengals game on Sunday and enjoyed another great game, well, great for those of you who don’t like defense to make an appearance in a football game. My Bengals are finally trying to become a respectable team and the Colts are perhaps the best team to have played in the NFL in the last five years. Another offensive explosion, much like that of the USC-Fresno State game, was expected in this game and these two teams did not disappoint. One team would drive and score and then the other team would drive and score, unfortunately for Cincinnati, they had too many field goals and not enough touchdowns at the end of the game, losing 45-37.

The game featured a great performance by Bengals receiver Chad Johnson. I am not talking about catches or touchdowns scored; I am talking about his celebration after scoring a touchdown. Chad Johnson caught a touchdown pass from Carson Palmer, ran off to the side line, ran up to a cheerleader, got down on one knee and took her hand as if he were proposing to her. Apparently she said yes because he got up and hugged her. The NFL will probably suspend him for the rest of the season because they can’t handle a little fun. I look forward to seeing the touchdown celebrations more than anything else it seems. That is why I miss Terrell Owens, well that and the fact I have picked him up on waivers in my fantasy football league. Hopefully TO will get back on the field and start entertaining us again and scoring me some fantasy points, but I digress.

As you can see I had a rather boring, but eventful weekend and hope to parlay that into a long four day weekend full of sports and giblet gravy this Thanksgiving. I hope all five of my regular readers have a Happy Thanksgiving (even though the idiot of a sports editor at the Times News did not feel the need for a sports column this week) and in the words of the great philosopher Chick McGhee, “Wherever you go, whatever you do, always be a good sport.”

1 comment:

BRATCH said...

I'm not sure that was worthy of my sports page. Tee Hee!