Bonus edition of Big League & Bush League

June 03, 2008 | Drew Forrester

In honor of someone else’s manager (Terry Francona) making questionable moves with his pitching staff that cost his team the game, I thought I’d offer up a rare Tuesday bonus edition of Big League and Bush League. 

I’ve given them plenty of big league props for making (hopefully) the decision to put BALTIMORE back on the road jersey, but now it’s time to call Bush League on the Orioles. A few weeks back, Orioles hurler Dennis Sarfate was permitted to do an on-air radio interview with a Phoenix, AZ sports talk station. This was done at 5:30 pm on the night of a game at Yankee Stadium. Can someone in the team’s Communications department please explain to me the value of having Dennis Sarfate do a radio interview in Phoenix – while not allowing Sarfate or any other player on the team to do radio interviews in Baltimore (except for the flagship station, aka, “The Pay Pals”). Talk about Bush League. Sarfate can’t talk on the air in Baltimore – where the team has fans who might just buy tickets if they hear him on the air and like the message he’s sending…but he CAN talk on the radio in Phoenix. I don’t get it.  Can anyone explain that to me with reason? I didn’t think so.

Major Big League props to Johns Hopkins lacrosse for the connection they made with U.S. Army veteran Ryan C. Major during their recent NCAA tournament run. Major – from Baltimore – lost both of his legs in Iraq last year, but Hopkins took him along and made him feel like part of their team – all the while giving thanks to him for the service he provided to all of us. Professional teams are really good at making these kinds of friendships with people in their own community…colleges generally don’t delve into that…simply because they don’t have the marketing and P.R. manpower to make it all happen in a timely fashion. This friendship with Ryan C. Major was a by-product of the Hopkins team simply reaching out to Major and making him feel welcome. It was a great gesture. May God Bless Ryan C. Major.

Gotta call Bush League on Roger Goodell and the NFL for allowing Pacman Jones back in the league – albeit on a limited basis – pending improved behavior. Here’s a dude who has been arrested six times and has 12 “incidents” with police since being drafted and the NFL is willing to “work with him” to aid a possible return on September 1. I don’t get it. The league should spend a lot more time trying to reward the really good guys who abide by the rules and serve their community – like Daniel Wilcox of the Ravens – and less time worrying about trying to appease a half-a-crook like Jones who’s done nothing but throw away the golden opportunity that is the National Football League. 
How much more Big League could the Boston Celtics possibly be? They came up huge in a pair of Game 7’s (sure, they were both at home, but a win is a win when it’s an elimination game) and took the heart out of the Pistons with two very impressive gut-check wins in Detroit in the Eastern Conference Finals. Tough to cite just one player for his big-league play because a bunch of guys in green have done the job, but Kevin Garnett has certainly distanced himself from that “choker” label he had sticking to his back during his days in Minnesota.
A Chicago-based little league baseball uniform supply company was recently ordered  by Major League Baseball to stop producing little league uniforms with MLB team names on the front. Wow, talk about Bush-friggin’-League. What does MLB want these little league teams to wear? Augusta Green Jackets uniforms? Bowie Baysox? Portland Sea Dogs? Doesn’t it make sense that MLB would want every youngster in America to be sporting some kind of baseball team name on his/her uniform…to help establish a connection between the youth player and their team? Some of these high-powered marketing experts and copyright law stuffed suits need a couple of classes in Common Sense 101. And we all wonder why participation in little league baseball is down, right? Oh, I forgot…baseball isn’t generating enough revenue already and the players are playing for peanuts these days. What was I thinking?