Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Stern humbled; NASCAR dope; Local dirt

Maybe it's just me but it was nice, very nice, to see the pompous David Stern humbled as NBA commissioner with the outing of referee Tim Donaghy as a gambling addicted and also possibly doctoring on-court calls. Stern has worked hard to make the Association successful but his schoolmaster conceit over most matters rubs more than some fans the wrong way. He is heavy-handed and uncompromising and you have to wonder if he doesn't deserve the humiliation coming his way right now. Stern learned the hard way (join the club, brother) that he doesn't know it all, doesn't have total control and that a weasel as small as Donaghy can shoot a big giant hole in the side of the luxury liner known as the NBA.

Guaranteed all other sports are now taking a stronger look at how to even more closely monitor the officials and players who bet on and jack with their games. How this happened to the NBA is still a mystery. Doesn't the code require other officials to rat out co-workers who violate it, aren't there signs to those who gamble? Doesn't the league review game tapes, don't they see patterns, don't they wonder out loud at marginal calls?

The next revelation we need is to find which athletes are doing the same thing Donaghy is doing. How you prove that is a little more difficult but much more interesting and shocking. And is the relative lower-paid scrub with meaningful minutes or the star more likely to be on the take?

How much money is the NBA making if most officials are making six figures, as in as much as $ 300,000? Since when did that become a career in which you can live the life? Guess you can be a ref, get rich and be just as sleazy as a being a politician. That's a tough call for young bucks, isn't it?

NASCAR just might have to toughen up those drug testing rules after Craftsman Truck Series driver Aaron Fike was charged with heroin possession. Not alcohol, not pot, not cocaine. Heroin. Wow, that's the new "in drug" of the NASCAR crowd? Nothing like drivers going real fast while real high or playing with some fun that is real illegal. Fike has to be banned for life. Any pro racer should be kicked out of the sport for one offense, even if off the track, simply for poor discretion and poor public relations for a driving sport. How can you spin any impairment offense at the public and more importantly, children?

Poor David Beckham. The leading man of soccer is reportedly wetting panties of Hollywood starlets everywhere, including our favorite drunk easy, Lindsay Lohan, so much so that Lohan and her buddies have a big-money bet she can bend it like Beckham on David, taking him away, if only for a night, from his wife. What, Robert Downey Jr. wasn't available? What about Dennis Rodman? If Lohan survives another year of Girls Gone Wild it will be a miracle. She seemingly wants to kill herself with either an overdose or a car crash. She's crying for help. Where is her posse?

So, after Barry Bonds breaks Hank Aaron's all-time record for home runs will he retain the same drive to pile on that number until he reaches 800 or more or will he concede to his aching body and slack off, desiring more to ride off into the sunset than remain a major player in the long-drive contest?

Alex Rodriguez is Ken Griffey Jr. in his prime, before the injuries.

Griffey will surprise and remain moderately healthy the rest of his career and pass Willie Mays on the all-time homer list.

Brad Hawpe will not.

You don't think college coaches earn their money? Iowa State star guard Mike Taylor, who averaged 16 points and 4.5 assists per game last season, has been deleted from the team by coach Greg McDermott for the trifecta of stupidity -- stealing cough medicine, a vehicle registration violation and vandalism. Now, I feel for a guy who can't afford medicine but the other two brain cramps get no mercy. Losing Taylor is huge for the Cyclones and the coach shouldn't be punished for the on-the-court result unless Taylor came to town with a prior rap sheet.

Colorado Warrior

Bad news when Allen Iverson is trying to be the voice of reason. Yet there he is crying about athletes being picked on while defending Michael Vick to some degree. Yo, A.I., you don't get taken down for being rich and famous. You get chased for immature idiocy or felonious deeds. You learned the hard way and Vick is traveling that same rocky road now. You and Emmitt Smith should really steer clear of Vick. Yeah, he's a brother and all but he makes you two look Stephen Hawking smart.

Matt Holliday has stopped hitting, Kaz Matsui has done the same, Garrett Atkins has leveled off after a hot run and the Rockies offense is in first gear again. Ramon Ramirez, just called back up from the minors, apparently can no longer get big league hitters out. Colorado is a dysfunctional family right now.

The WSN has loved Matsui since he got to town but his lack of run production makes him a target for replacement. Aaron Cook could be moved out of town in a year when the used pitchers are mostly lemons. Cook has as much value as a lot of those stiffs. Pitcher Josh Fogg could be another surprise departure due to his moderate effectiveness.

If this space gets to play Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd, here are the pieces it is trying to move before the trade deadline.
  • Aaron Cook
  • Brad Hawpe
  • Josh Fogg
  • Rodrigo Lopez
  • Kaz Matsui
  • Seth Smith, if necessary
  • Joe Koshansky
  • Todd Helton (please!)
The no-trade list (names that could be brought up).
  1. Matt Holliday
  2. Garrett Atkins
  3. Brian Fuentes
Despite many moves the Broncos didn't do enough in the offseason to be a playoff force. Denver will not be a pushover but this is no powerhouse team capable of winter wonderment.

Veteran safety Sam Brandon is going to be at the bus stop soon after the Broncos cut him due to his physical unavailability this season. Brandon never became the big-time popper the team hoped he would become after being drafted out of Vegas but he was a solid backup. If healed he could make a run at a comeback but the severity of his wrecked knee could spell T-H-E E-N-D.

Air Force will have a losing season under first year coach Troy Calhoun but in three years he will have the Falcons dirt tough and winning again.

CSU has a strong shot at going to a minor bowl game. Sufficient talent is there, coach Sonny Lubick is reportedly re-energized and there are potential playmakers on both sides of the ball. As said here before, good health and defense will be the key.

CU will be more rugged and successful this fall but will still get run over frequently. If the Buffs can still sell the dream on the recruiting trail with any sort of magic then next season could be the breakout the program needs to return to a bowl game.

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