Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Week in Review


This past week was one to remember in the world of sports.  Five different TION words stick out to me to describe exactly why it was so memorable.  We had a star quarterback accused of attempted seduction, a pitcher who was near perfection, a prodigal son returning in a mid-season acquisition, The Monsters of the Midway in the midst of self-destruction, and a successful college basketball program admitting corruption.  In my estimation it deserved a week in review, so here it is.    

Attempted SeducTION:

The Recipient of Favre's Advances
Apparently Brett Favre didn’t get the memo delivered by fellow athletes Grady Sizemore and Greg Oden titled, When in Doubt, You’re Better off Keeping Your Privates…..Private.  If he did, he would never have sent pics of his “most important teammate” to former Jets reporter Jenn Sterger because of the inevitability that it would leak out somehow.  Now, Brett faces irreparable damage to both his marriage and his reputation.  My question is, what on earth was he thinking?
 
At least Oden and Sizemore were partaking in consensual sext with their girlfriends at the time.  Favre on the other hand, although all the details have not surfaced, appears to have engaged in nonconsensual sexting with Ms. Sterger.  Even though she refused all his other advances (creepy myspace messages and voicemails), Favre just couldn’t grasp the concept of no, and tried to pull one last trick out of his pants.  Makes sense right? Athletic prowess…..NO Thanks.  Fame…..NO Thanks.  Money…….NO Thanks.  The only logical next step for Don Favreleone was to make her an offer that she couldn’t refuse.  Unfortunately, Mr. Favre greatly overestimated Lil Bretts appeal and greatly underestimated Jenn Sterger’s sense of dignity.

Weird thing is, even though I’m a Bears fan, I’ve always liked Favre.  There is something about his good ole’ boy mentality and his enthusiasm for the game that draws me in with the rest of America.  My fondness for him even allows me to dismiss the ego-maniac saga that he puts us through every offseason with a “Well, he just loves the game so much and can’t get away from it” defense.  But a married man smut peddling to an unwilling mistress,  THAT I can’t give him a free pass on regardless of how hot the unwilling mistress is.  Sextual harassment is a no-no in my book.

What I don’t get is why Favre seems to be getting a free pass on this.  During Tigergate, the media was relentless and rightfully so.  Brett’s infidelity on the other hand, seems to have JFK-like “let’s turn a blind eye because we like him” coverage.  This is not to say that he is not catching any heat, because he is, but not to the degree that a nude photo to a female team employee should.  Maybe the reason for this is that members of the media are in the midst of researching other stories that have developed as a result of this one.  I’ve got to think that if Farve was capable of something like this, we have not even scratched the surface of his sexual deviancy.  As Tiger knows, when it rains it pours and I’m guessing that it will be pouring bitter female cheeseheads in the upcoming weeks if reporters are willing to dig deep enough.

Close to PerfecTION:

Perfection and No-No in Same Season
Roy Halladay, who is affectionately being dubbed Mr. Doctober, threw his second no-hitter of the 2010 season.  The first, a perfect game, came back in April.  The second, on Wednesday, made Halladay only the second pitcher to have two no-hitters in the same season (the other being Nolan Ryan).  The superlatives do not stop there.  His remarkable performance was the second post-season no-hitter in the history of the game and the first of the completely sober variety.  Halladay also joined an illustrious club with six other pitchers who can boast that they pitched both a no-hitter and a perfect game in their careers.  Unbelievably, Halladay accomplished all this in his first post-season start ever. 

To put his post-season no hitter into perspective, think about all that has occurred since the last time it happened (Don Larsen’s perfect game in 1956):

-           Home run records have gone full circle.  Ruth’s records became Maris’ and Aaron’s.  Maris’ and Aaron’s records became McGwire’s and Bonds’.  McGwire’s record became Bonds’ record.  Both of Bonds’ records became Ruth’s and Aaron’s once again (at least in the public's eyes).

-          Actor Ronald Reagan became the president of the free world

-          Michael Jackson went from being adored, to admired, to despised, to tolerated, back to admired again

-          Ray Lewis and OJ were able to beat a murder charge, Kobe and Big Ben escaped rape charges, and Blago was vindicated of political corruption charges. 

-          Newspapers have become extinct, while blogs like The Sox Market have become the wave of the future.

-          The Chicago Cubs were finally able to win the worl……oh wait, that hasn’t happened.   The Boston Red Sox were finally able to win the World Series.

-          The Situation, Snooki, and J-Wow have become wealthy and household names, while once thought to be main stays M.C. Hammer and Vanilla Ice have lost it all and become blasts from the past.

-          We’ve gone from Rosa Parks trying to sit down on a bus to Barack Obama as our president.

-          Leonardo Dicaprio, who once took a back seat to Kirk Cameroon, is now taking a backseat to no one.

-          Tiger has gone from challenging the record of Nicklaus, to breaking the record of Chamberlain.

With all that taken into consideration, Halladay’s no-no takes on much greater significance.   Who knows what will take place in our world before we see a pitcher do something like that again?   I’m guessing the word associations of Timberlake-Oscar, Miley Cyrus-Celebrity Rehab, Facebook-Pong and Bin Laden-Found will be more apropos than Postseason-No Hitter over the course of the next fifty years.  Take a bow Doc.  I’ll probably be dead or have the ability to time travel before someone accomplishes what you did this past week.

The AcquisiTION

In one respect, Christmas has come early for Brett Favre as the Vikings acquired the best wide receiver in the history of the game early last week, proving to children everywhere that Santa really doesn’t care how you behave.  In the case of #4, Claus may have been making a list and checking it twice, but he doesn’t really care if Brett was naughty or nice, because Randy Moss is commmmmming to tooooownnnnnnn.
    
Moss has been #1 on Favre’s wish list for many years, dating back to his days with the Packers.  Well let me amend that statement, the aforementioned Ms. Sterger probably occupied the top spot in 2008, but other than that, Moss has been Favre’s most desired toy.  Now, he finally will have him at his disposal and it could not have come at a better time.  In the midst of a terrible start to the 2010 season and in the week in which his personal life took a gigantic hit, Moss could be just the remedy Favre needs to improve his numbers on the field and distract him from what is going on off the field.  Let’s face it, if Farve is able to return to 2009 form over the course of the next four to five weeks, everyone will forget about his marital woes.  Hell, Kobe is a hero again and Bill Clinton is remembered as a great president.  While the pictures will never go away, with better performance on the field, the story will.
 
Brett's New Toy
Here is what I predict.  Moss and Favre pull a 2008 Celtics and revive their careers once again.  By week 8, the Vikings are on top of the NFC Central.  By week 10, stories come out that Brett and Deanna Favre have an Andre Kirilenko and Masha Lapatova like agreement.  By week 14, the Vikings have locked up a playoff birth.  By week 16, Sterger comes out of hiding and says that while Favre creepily pursued her, the pictures are not of him.  Ines Sainz confirms this, stating that she recognizes the man in the picture from her time working in the Jet’s locker room, but that it is not Favre.  Favre holds a press conference and gives an “aw shucks I told you it wasn’t me, I just want to play football” speech.  The Vikings go on to win the Super bowl, Favre and Sterger present an award at the ESPY’s together, Farve finally decides to retire, and then he ultimately unretires again after training camp ends.  Thirty years down the road, ESPN does a 60 for 60 film in which Favre credits “The Acquisition” (That’s the Title) of Randy Moss for rebuilding his reputation, salvaging the 2010 season, saving his marriage, and finally setting him up with Sterger by acting as his wingman at TO’s Hall of Fame induction after party.  Couldn’t you picture all of that happening?  I could and I do.

Self-DestrucTION:

As a Bears fan, the Sunday Night Football Game last week between the Giants and the Bears was the worst game I have ever seen bar none.  Never before had I feared for the life of a player like I did of Jay Cutler.   Every time he dropped back to pass it felt like a game of Russian roulette.  Death was possible, injury highly probable, and failure inevitable.  Luckily for Jay, only two out of three of those turned out to be true.   The concussion that he suffered at the end of the first half was a blessing in disguise and allowed him to play and live another day.

I have never seen an offensive line be completely manhandled like that in all my years of watching football.  At first I thought it might be some grand offensive strategy by Mike Martz to lull the Giants into a false sense of security, but after sack number seven, I realized that was just wishful thinking on my part.  Fact is, the Bears had no answer for the Giants pass rush and I have no more words to expound on the subject.  Actually I do.   How about bringing in Sandra Bullock to give each guy on the O-Line a pep talk like she did with Michael Oher in the Blindside?  “This team is your family Roberto (Garza), when you look at Jay, you think of me, how you have my back.  Are you gonna protect the family Roberto?”  I mean did you see how much those words changed Michael’s demeanor in the movie?  Considering how that must have really happened since the movie was based on a true story, I’d have to think Bullock (or the real woman) could be equally effective with the Bear’s O-Line.  Couldn’t hurt right?

CorrupTION:

"What I do?"
My buddy Mix is a diehard UCONN Huskie basketball fan.  During our time in college, UCONN and the Mix were at the height of their basketball glory.   In fact, in 2004 when they won the National Championship, I had never seen a happier human being in my life.  The Mix had a permanent smile on his face and he partied accordingly.  He was so confident in his Huskies that he used to bet me twenty dollars at the beginning of every year that UCONN would win the national championship. I got every other division 1 basketball team.  When I lost twenty bucks in 2004, I told the Mix that even though he won, it was still a stupid bet on his part based on the odds.  He disagreed, claiming that since he won, it was an incredibly smart bet and then made some reference alluding to how UCONN was a sure thing.  It was at that time, I decided that I was going to vehemently root against UCONN, not only because of his complete obsession with the team, but also because I thought they were running a dirty program.

Although I had no proof, I’d believed with all my heart that UCONN was cheating.  Mix wasn’t buying.  Not only did he think that Jim Calhoun was the greatest coach of all time, he also thought he was the model of integrity.  This led to numerous arguments where I would explain the logic behind why I thought he cheated, but Mix always held the ultimate trump card in each of these arguments.  Not once had their ever been any evidence of any wrongdoing by Calhoun or anyone associated with UCONN basketball.  That was until this past Friday.

The University of Connecticut has issued a 2-year self-imposed probation that includes a loss of one scholarship for illegal phone calls and text messages, as well as improper use of game tickets for high school players and their coaches.  While they disagreed with NCAA allegations against Calhoun that he failed to provide an atmosphere of compliance, they did concur that their men’s basketball program committed major violations.  Finally………….vindication.

When I broached the subject to the Mix, all he could say was “We’re talking about telephone calls.”  This indicated to me that he was still in denial.  It kind of reminds of a mother whose son was just convicted of double murder.  Even with DNA evidence, four eye witnesses, and a signed confession, the mother can’t and will never believe that their son is guilty.  If they did believe that, what does that say about them as a mother?  Similarly, the Mix will never admit that Calhoun and the Huskies are dirty.  If he did, what does that say about his team and all the joy that they have given him over the years?

The Mix, being in his final year of law school with a bright future as a DUI defense attorney, should know better than anyone that when there is smoke, there is usually fire.  If a person is convicted of stealing a car, what is the likelihood that they have stolen other cars or committed other criminal acts prior to when they got caught?  I’m going to guess the odds are very high that they have.  It just so happened that they were caught this time.  Similarly, does anyone really think that phone calls and game tickets are the only violations that Calhoun has committed?  The odds are heavily against it.  Once a cheater, always a cheater.  Mix knows this.  He just can’t bring himself to admit it.  He’s just hoping that other, more serious violations, never see the light of day.  As his friend, I hope so too, as long as he knows deep down that the Huskie Dawgs were a fraud. That’s good enough for me.  Oh yeah, I want my twenty dollars back too.     
    
       
 

         

    
    

8 comments:

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  2. http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=5707676

    The only real cheating I see in this article, is you cheating your readers out of the truth. Calhouns a stand up guy, and his only crime is being too good of a coach and thus the target of unfair scrutiny.

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    Allie Reynolds, New York Yankees
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    September 28, 1951

    Nolan Ryan, California Angels
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    July 15, 1973

    Virgil Trucks, Detroit Tigers
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    August 25, 1952

    Johnny Vander Meer, Cincinnati Reds
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    June 15, 1938 (Back-to-back starts!)

    Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies
    May 29, 2010
    October 6, 2010

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