Forget Montezuma. Chan Ho Park, pitcher for the New York Yankees, has made a new name for himself. I’d like to propose that at Yankee Stadium, they announce Chan Ho Park on the loud speakers as Chan Ho “the runs” Park. Just last week, Chan Ho Park was interviewed in the locker room after a terrible performance on the mound. The media wanted to know why he pitched so poorly, and he gave them much more than they probably wanted to hear. Was it the weather? No. Was it the crowd? Most definitely not. Was it something he ate? Probably. Do you remember the old rhyme, “When you’re driving in a Chevy and you’re feelin’ somethin’ heavy”?
The word “Tiger” will never be remembered the same way. Before, when you heard the world “tiger” you may have thought of the tasty breakfast cereal. Or perhaps you thought of the movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”. But whenever the word “tiger” is mentioned on tv, it is most commonly linked to an addictive professional athlete who took a liking to any woman other than his wife.
You no doubt have seen Tiger’s news conference video, the first public display since the “Tigergate” scandal outside his home on Thanksgiving:
Many journalists will argue as to whether or not Tiger’s speech was genuine. Was Tiger sincere? Was Tiger uncomfortable? Was the hug he gave his Mom staged? Will he return to professional golf? I do believe that we must throw these media-induced sensational questions to the side and deal with the issue at hand: It is always difficult to watch a life that has gone astray. Did Tiger make this mess? Yes. Does he deserve all the media attention? Probably. But the bottom line is, if you or I were in his position, we probably would have already been checked into the local mental hospital. It will be interesting to see where his golf career ends up. But for his own personal sake, I do hope that he has learned from his mistakes, and that he has placed boundaries in his life to keep him from making these same mistakes again.
In the Winter Olympics, you can count on the cheesy video pieces by NBC immediately following a medal race.
You can count on American field reporters asking dumb questions to the Olympians (“Who are you and why are you here?”)
And, you can count on the male figure skaters like Johnny Weir to wear costumes right out of a Boy George music video.
But we can always count on various athletes to perform in a superhuman way, much like U.S. snowboarder Sean White did in the Half Pipe medal competition. After his first run, he knew he was going to win a Gold Medal. Just another reason to show off on his second run, right?
Tiger Woods is a sex addict. John Edwards has a 2 year old daughter with his videographer (shocking). Mark McGwire really did take steroids (gasp). In the midst of all of the public scandals in sports and politics, its nice to see a story of redemption every once in awhile. I am so hesitant to even turn on the news because negativity is often in the spotlight, and causes nothing but fear. But I’m glad to hear that Miguel Cabrera, first-baseman for the Detroit Tigers, has successfully completed 3 months of rehab for his alcohol abuse. I am a huge believer of rehab. Whether its physical, mental, spiritual, substance abuse, etc. We all have dysfunction, its just some of us decide to actually deal with it.
Cabrera’s issues became public last October when he became drunk late one night and came home to scuffle with his wife. Fortunately she called the police, and fortunately he was sent to the police station. Ok, so Cabrera made a poor decision. He had too much to drink, said some things he shouldn’t have, and let his entire team down. BUT, he chose to do something about it. Cabrera says that he hasn’t had a drink since that fateful night when he was hanging out with Jim Beam and Jack Daniels. Good for him.
My hope for Cabrera, is that he stays off the bottle and focuses on his game. He is such a talented athlete, a lifetime .311 avg, 209 HR. I can only hope that Cabrera will be a motivation to other baseball players who struggle with the same issues. Side note: Cabrera currently has a contract with the Tigers that is over $152 million. Why would someone in the athletic spotlight with that much money choose to waste his time and energy on the bottle? Why does misery seem to follow money? Weird.
For all of you Cubs fans, you can breathe a sigh of relief. AAAAAAAAAAAAH. Milton Bradley is no longer a Cub, and was traded to the Seattle Mariners, in return for starting pitcher Carlos Silva and cash. Is Carlos Silva a promising Cy Young candidate? Probably not. Does he have a fetish for temper tantrums and throwing things? NO. In my mind, this was a fabulous trade by the Cubs. It freed up a well-documented chemistry killer and also gave them some more fiscal flexibility.
The college football season is here! The bright red F-150’s are rumbling around Atlanta with a gazillion Georgia ‘Dawg flags fluttering in the wind. Brent Musburger stands in front of his mirror practicing the word “Buckeyes” as he anxiously awaits the first kickoff. The nerdy college marching bands trudge around the field playing themes from Lord of the Rings. And Lane Kiffin, first year head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers is blowing hot smoke on a regular basis, specifically towards the mighty Urban Meyer, head coach of the Gators.
It all started at Kiffin’s first press conference in Knoxville when he hinted at beating Florida. “I’m looking forward to singing ‘Rocky Top’ all night long after we beat em’. It will be a blast.” In February, Kiffin got all up in Meyer’s grill when he said the following about Meyer’s attempt to recruit Nu’Keese Richardson, who signed with Tennessee: “I love the fact that Urban had to cheat and he still didn’t get him”. Kiffin was reprimanded by the SEC because what Meyer did was not a violation. The best part came a week later, when Kiffin made his OWN violation by speaking of a recruit’s talents on the radio.
The drama goes on and on…. After Florida defeated Tennessee last week (No Rocky Top for Kiffin), Meyer commented on his bewilderment of Kiffin’s conservative offensive approach. “When I saw them handing the ball off, I didn’t feel that they were going after the win…They wanted to shorten the game. I remember looking out there and there’s 10 minutes left in the game and there’s no no-huddle, they are down, I think it was 23-6 and [there’s no] urgency”. Kiffin defended his offense by saying “The way we lose a game there is throw an interception. Why put yourself in that position? Lets find a way to win the game. We’re not trying to impress the pollsters. We’re trying to win the game. Alot of it had to do with the way they were playing. It made our life feel a little easier”. Kiffin then took another jab at Meyer when he was asked if the Volunteers were worried about the flu that had hit the Gators. “I don’t know. I guess we’ll wait and after we’re not excited about a performance, we’ll tell you everybody was sick”.
What Kiffin doesn’t realize is that his big mouth doesn’t win games. And this is evident of his Vols’ 1-2 record thus far. Part of what has allowed Meyer to win 2 national championships is his candor and classy-ness, two things that Kiffin will have to work at. Lets face it, we all love a coach or player that speaks passionately about his team. And this is something that Kiffin has. And every once in a while, a fiesty comment won’t do any harm to anyone. But for now, Kiffin better keep his rocky mouth shut if he wants to start singing Rocky Top all night long.
Right fielder Milton Bradley has been suspended by the Cubs for the remainder of the 2009 season. GM Jim Hendry says that he was suspended after “learning of the players remarks in the Daily Herald”. I won’t go into the details, but you can read the article here. I would guess that most people who hear about this would not be surprised. Honestly, it relieves me. And I certainly hope that they find a way to trade him in the off season. Milton Bradley, in my opinion, has been a “chemistry breaker” for years.
Some would say that the media and fans have unfairly formed an opinion about him and haven’t even given him a chance in Chicago. Even if there was 1 ounce of truth to this, Bradley has created the media perception by himself. Whether its tearing his ACL after going after an ump, or kicking and punching the water cooler around in the clubhouse, players undoubtedly started to get weary of Bradley and his bad temper. It does nothing but alienate Bradley from the rest of the team, and it keeps him from playing to his ability. From a fan standpoint, when you try and chase after fans in the stands, they aren’t going to like you! From a media standpoint, when you call someone from the press “Uncle Tom” that is not going to help your perception either! Its what my Dad always calls the “echo effect”. The echo effect is to “respond to and treat others as you would want them to do to you”. Bradley has dug his own grave in this department.
Should we mainly focus on a players stats and ability on the field? Absolutely. But we can’t ignore or forget a players behavior, either – especially if it is detrimental towards fans, the media, and most importantly the team. And clearly, the Chicago Cubs must have felt the same way. Bradley said that “I need a stable, healthy, enjoyable environment. There’s too many people everywhere in your face with a microphone asking the same questions repeatedly. Everything is just bashing you. It’s just negativity.” The problem with Bradley’s comments are that they are inconsistent with what some other players feel. Reed Johnson said that “I came from Toronto and come here and just like fall in love with the city and fall in love with the organization…Its just hard for me to believe that you can come to this city, come to this organization, and not enjoy your time here.”
Although I feel badly for Bradley that he can’t play baseball until 2010, I certainly hope that he can learn from his mistakes, and help fix the perception that he has already so badly damaged…And hopefully this will be done away from the Chicago Cubs!