Blog Carnival & Blast From The Past

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Friday, January 05, 2007

Remember to check out the Bobby Griffin's Blog Carnival
being hosted over at the good DR. BLOGSTEIN'S

We had a brain cramp on this one, forgetting to put in an entry. The next Carnival will be hosted by our friend Morgen over at IT'S A BLOG EAT BLOG WORLD.
You can get all the details there now. The topic is ANIMALS.

COUCH NOTE: There is a new submission address. Please look at all the info.

We are going to step into our time machine and bring you an oldie but goodie today...

MONDAY MATINEE will resume this week with the first installment of a whole new serial.

THE COUCH NOTE: When this originally posted there was not music.

Without further ado...

By John Fogerty

Monday, July 31, 2006

Are Pro Sports Now Just Professional Wrestling?

Yesterday most Sundays, I sat down to watch the Sports Reporters on ESPN at 10:00am...I love the format of this show and most times I love the reporters they have on. The format reminds me of the show I used to be a panelist on when I lived in Boston. It is filmed "live' and broadcast without edits.."live" as it happened.

So, yesterday, one of the subjects- of course - was Floyd Landis and his positive testosterone test after the Tour de France as well as Justin Gatlin and his flunked test. Which of course, led to talks about Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Raphael Palmiero, Jason Giambi, Lyle Alzado , Ben Johnson the rest...

They hit on the subject and it got me to thinking about sports and the way we watch them and have watched them and will watch them.

How long have our sports "heros" been using these performance enhancers? It is way longer then most of us want to believe. Whether it is the "greenies" the baseball players used, to get up for a day game after a night game or for the second half of a double-header. Football players taking cortisone shots during a game to be able to play and eating pain-killers by the fist full.

Now it is steroids and human growth hormones..and it is not only baseball. Lyle Alzado died of a brain tumor.. the result of years of steroid doping. Who knows what is happening in hockey, basketball, tennis, soccer and even golf? Sports Illustrated, in it's Golf Digest special section, has been running this comic about a golfer named Stik Stikowski, who was tired of being out-driven by the other pros, so he ends up on steroids...not too far from fantasy I bet...And of course, now cycling and track and field are back in the spotlight.

So, the question was asked..and I had a hard time answering it...
How do we accept sports now?
My whole life, sports was something you put on and never knew how it would turn out - well OK, sorry...except for Jai Alai and the trotters...both "sports" where the outcome is determined before the beginning of the match/race - IMHO. No matter the sport, the results were always unpredictable and you felt everyone was on the same playing field.

Now, do we look at mainstream sports the way we look at professional wrestling (which has always been a hot-bed of steroid abuse) - or like going to the movies or a play? As just an entertainment vehicle with no real mental or physical response to the outcome?

Look, Jason Giambi, never said what he was apologizing for, but he did apologize. Then he continued playing and showed he could still be one of the dominant players in the game without the steroids... Mark McGwire could have been also - he was big...hit homers and was a great ballplayer...The man averaged 40 home runs a year from 1986-1996...then all of a sudden began hitting 70! Why was it needed...ego? Well how does the ego react to the baseball world shunning him now?

Barry Bonds
was headed to being the best ballplayer of his era...until he began taking steroids and ruined his reputation. Why did he take them? Because he was jealous of McGwire and Sosa and their home run chase! Funny...on the show yesterday and up until this point, Sammy Sosa's name was not mentioned. He slipped into oblivion...another player destined to have his name enshrined. One who always seemed to be so fan-friendly...then...the corked bat and steroids and slink away he did.

There must be a better way for out major sports to patrol themselves... Maybe by joining together to find better ways to test for the illegal substances. Basketball has always been lax on marijuana...and I tend to agree with that. Why make issues like the NFL has done with Ricky Williams over marijuana when you turn a blind eye to steroids and the overuse of painkillers? Where is the logic in that?

Then there is this portion of the tale.... Next year, Mark McGwire is going to be on the ballot for induction into the Baseball Hall Of Fame. Also on the ballot will be Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn, two major stars, who both played their entire careers in one city and who are the epitome of what an athletic hero should be. They played hard everyday, never made excuses, loved the fans and played clean. The fact they even have to share a ballot with McGwire is painful to me.

I have read many stories and it appears the Baseball Writers of America (those who vote for the Hall Of Fame) will not induct McGwire his first year. His recent fluffing off of the steroid issue, once again, makes me not want him ever in. The worst thing that could happen is to have mark McGwire standing on the stage at Cooperstown, NY, next July accepting his induction along with these two superstars.

I have always said Pete Rose (after admitting he gambled on baseball) should be allowed to be in the can not dismiss his records (all clean it appears)...But I would never allow him to have anything to do with baseball again. With McGwire, I do not want his records in the Hall- they are tainted...and he has ducked all responsibility and hid behind retirement.

Is there a way to solve this? I really don't know...but I do know I will continue to try and watch sports without the constant thought of "Well, what did he/she do or take to enable that to happen?"

Thanks for sitting ... see you Monday.

30 Of Your Sparks

  1. Coco Says:
  2. This invokes in my memory a certain "sports rant" ... You know my feelings on this issue, Vinny. My son is a very athletic child, and will likely be involved in organized sports. I can only hope that his coaches are clean, honest and fair. You can bet that I will be keeping a close eye on things, though, because the reality is that performance-enhancing substances are not only found at the professional level. It's a sad statement about today's society: win at any cost. What's it really worth?

  3. The use of performance-enhancing drugs does give one pause when viewing sports, but the more disturbing trend in sports now, at least for me, is the marriage of athletes and guns. Why is there such an affinity for the gangsta-wannabe activity among, mainly, NBA stars and NFL players. This Darrent Williams incident is just the latest and most tragic.

  4. Travis Cody Says:
  5. I'm conflicted on this issue and I sometimes don't even agree with my own opinion.

    On the one hand everything you said is exactly correct. On the other, I say that steroids - although illegal according to criminal law - were not banned by baseball until recently. So how can we penalize any player who took them during that time before they were banned?

    I detest Barry Bonds, but because he's an ass. The steroids add to it. I've always liked Mark McGwire, back to when I first saw him play in A ball in Modesto CA. The steroids make me sad.

    How to reconcile such conflicting emotions? Was it cheating to use steroids before they were banned? Do we hold those who played then to the standards we've set now? Is it right to call a steroid user from that era a cheater, when the substance was not specifcally banned by the game itself?

    Damn these substances and the discussions they make us have.

  6. Liz Hill Says:
  7. I remember that post.It was good the first time. Better the second in light of the "revelations" bantered about today regarding the 'juiced' McGuire ball. *Shakes head* So sad what they pervert in the name of money.

  8. Tisha! Says:
  9. Athletes are people too and I can imagine the pressure they face from all directions but it's really no reason to try and take us for fools by enhancing their athletic abilities with substances!

    The Blog Carnival at Dr. B's was a blast, he's such a RIOT and I had so much fun reading all the entries!

    Dominator, hope you wake up with sweet thoughts!

  10. COCO: Having a good coach is very important during the early years of any child's life. You will never get rid of the "we want to win"...what we have to hope is to get lessen the "win at all costs" thoughts...

    SONGBIRD: Yes, you are correct, that is also a huge problem. Does it stem from the fact that many of the athletes in these sports have come from inner-city areas where gangs are pervalent? Where many of them have friends from their youth who are involved in gangs? Or is it just the macho, testosterone fueled attitude of "I am a bad-ass and we carry guns because it is cool"?

    TRAVIS: Yes, there is that side to the argument, BUT it was illegal in our society, so they knew they were doing it covertly and that in itself is an indication of guilt IMHO.
    Mark McGwire had a chance to step up and say..."Yes, I made a mistake and listen to me kids, it is the worst thing I have ever must not do it." Instead he mumbled "I don't want to talk about the past..."
    I think if he had done the former he would have a better chance at joining the elite in Cooperstown. Not saying he will get into the Hall, but Giambi's apology (though not specific), has helped him to get past it all. The public is willing to forgive if you are honest with them.

    TURN: The ball will always have a value even if only an oddity.

  11. AtriaBooks Says:
  12. As much as it pains me, Big Mac, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmiero and Sammy Sosa should all be in the hall of fame and all their records should count. They didn't put an asterisk next to Roger Maris because he played in the era of 162 games, why start sticking asterisks on those who played in the era of steroids. It’s just another era that baseball has gone through, like the "dead ball" era. I would love to know the number of home runs those hitters I mentioned above hit against pitchers who were also on steroids.

    Baseball, much like world history, has gone through several eras that we're not proud of. The same way there are no asterisks in the history books next to presidents who were elected during the era when women couldn't vote, or asterisks in the baseball record books from the time when blacks couldn't play, there should be not records abolished from the steroid era.

  13. Schmoop Says:
  14. Ah Pete Rose...He indeed should be in the Hall of Fame. After all, it's the Baseball Hall of Fame, not the Ethics HOF...Do you hear me Ty Cobb?

  15. tiggerprr Says:
  16. I am not at all a big sports fan, but the drug use and the violence is troubling to me. Because those people are heros to our children who then grow up thinking that it's ok to juice up to be "better" and to wag guns around and be "gangsta". The violence thing seems to be permeating a lot of our society today between sports figures, entertainers, etc. It's just wrong.

  17. DR. B: But there is an asterisk next to Roger maris' name. And it was because ford frick was a friend of Babe's and he wanted to show maris did it in 162 games.
    I really have a problem letting Mac in this year with two great ambassadors for the game Ripken and Gwynn...Personally, i would not vote for any of the names you mentioned...and leave it to their peers on the Old-Timers committee to make the decision. Let those who played the game decide.

    MATT-MAN: No problem with him being in the Hall. but as i said, he should not be allowed to be a part of the game. he lost that right when he bet on it.

    TIGERPRR: Very wrong, and it will only get worse if something isn't done about it...wish I knew what.

  18. Anonymous Says:
  19. I've never been able to reconcile that steroids were illegal and a criminal act to distribute and use, yet they were not banned by many major sports leagues.

    No, players shouldn't have used them. And anyone who did must join the voices telling kids not to use them. The dangers must be made clear and we must make kids hear them.

    But Doc B has a point when he wonders how many of those juiced home runs were hit off juiced pitchers? Was there more of a level playing field than we know?

  20. Thanks for submitting your profile to The Profile Directory of Bloggers. You are Listed!

  21. tiggerprr Says:
  22. Had to stop back by The you know V...I'm loading up my iPod (still). I'm up to the H's...and just dug out my Hanson CD...and it made me think of you. Isn't that "Weird"? ;P

  23. Anonymous Says:
  24. The entry of the above mention players into the hall will definitely taint what the hall “stands for” and I for one will have a hard time endorsing the hall of fame as a whole as a place of respect and home for role models to any young person.

    Will they probably get in? yep. Are the players to blame? yep. Is MLB to blame for the degradation of the sport of baseball? Most certainly. Same on them.

  25. Angell Says:
  26. Well, IMO, while the steroids might have gotten the ball further, they still need to have the decent hand/eye co-ordination to hit the ball. And, just for being able to do that as well as they did, I think that they deserve to be in the HOF.

    It can depress us until we blend in with Papa Smurf and the lot,but the truth of the matter is the weapons, violence and drug abuse is going to continue until the leagues themselves see fit to put the hammer down on this, with serious reprecussions for violations. A slap on the wrist or a fine that they could afford with thier pocket change isn't going to teach them anything.

    All we can do is decide not to let it sully our love for sports.

    PS - Bond, haven't seen you over in my neck of the woods lately.....

  27. I too think Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame. He just got caught doing what a lot of others have done and do.

    No comment regarding Mark McGwire

  28. Unknown Says:
  29. Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame! Baseball is not broastcated very often in the ordinary German TV - thanks got we have PREMIERE pay TV! =)

  30. Coco Says:
  31. Geez, I learn so much from your blog, Vinny - even when it's stuff I'm not really tuned into ... it's actually kinda cool.

  32. Thanks for the shout out about the Animal Carnival!
    I've already got a half-dozen entries!
    Then you started with sports... and performance enhancing drugs, and my twisted mind tooks some untoward turns...
    Anyway, classic couch!

  33. Amanda Says:
  34. Loved this post Vinny. I too have been surrounded by sports my entire life and it's very sad to see where we've ended up today. Sad that men like Cal Ripken Jr and Tony Gwynn share the ballot with Mark McGwire. Sad that MLB & the players union cant agree on much lately so players who abuse drugs & steroids get slaps on the wrists. As far as Pete Rose goes, he deserves to be in the HOF but as long as Bud Selig is the comissioner..her won't. And btw, I so love that song. It reminds me of everything baseball stands for. It also makes me wish the season was closer! :(

  35. Vinny-
    Great piece. I did not see it before. That's why I think "reruns" are important. And adding music- that makes part of it new! I always add a little change and and pix they way I do now & such, & music.

    Great post!

  36. BeckEye Says:
  37. Nice new look!

    I agree with the Pete Rose issue. I even wrote a paper on him during my first year of college. Back when I still was a huge baseball fan.

  38. TRAV: Yes, I also see the point of the pitchers, and if they can identify those pitchers, then they should suffer the same consequences.

    DANIEL: Good idea. Thanks for sitting on THE COUCH

    TIGERPRR: And when was the last time you actually played that? LOL

    DAMM: Well it could be harsh to denegrate all that currently are in the Hall. And we should certainly not forget that there are some unsavory characters in there already.

    ANGELL: And then there is another look at the same maze...thanks for bringing that one to us all.

    DIXIE: AH he bet ON baseball... differnt..against his own team when he managed... very suspect.

    SANNI: Another baseball fan stands! WOOOO

    COCO: TY ... I have learned much from yours.

    MO: I wish I had an animal post to submit...But, we enjoy so when you mind takes untoward turns!

    AMANDA: ONLY 40 Days! Pitchers & Catchers!

    BUD: Well my friend, I got the idea of reruns from you! Thanks

    BECKEYE: Come back to the force Luke um Beckeye...turn from the dark side...

  39. Mimi Lenox Says:
  40. I'm not so into sports to know all the stats but appreciate those who do. Baseball is my game,but for some reason lately I've taken an interest in UCONN basketball. Go figure.

  41. Tisha! Says:
  42. 2nd attempt

    Pro athletes experience pressure from all directions however that's not a reason for them to make fools of us by enhancing their athletic abilities with substances.

  43. MIMI: oooo another baseball fan - YEA - UCONN B-Ball...hummmmmm not that is interesting! LOL

    TISHA: Agree 1,000%

  44. Meribah Says:
  45. Funny, I don't like sports, but I love the song Centerfield! Almost makes me wanna get into sports...almost! LOL

  46. Gail Says:
  47. Although I am not a sports fan (can't sit still long enough to watch any of it - such a girl, I am!)...this was a good post.

    Ummm, am I shrinking, or is the couch getting smaller?

  48. Hola Bond!

    I do live, I was just sick as a dog and then Gracie my child broke another bone. Such joy.

  49. MERI: look at this medallion.. like sports sports...hehehe\

    GAIL: see above with Meri! and no there is always more COUCH it is ever growing

    STARRLIGHT!!!: OMG Girl..I have to come find out what happened!


Music On The Couch