We are all sick of seeing players getting into legal trouble off the field. And I will admit that what happened with Steve McNair in Tennessee the other day probably wouldn’t even be a crime in half of the states in America, but I think that the Ravens should step up and take disciplinary action against McNair before the NFL even has a chance to consider it. Forget about criminality or legality, what McNair did was just plain stupid and not in the best interest of the team. In my mind it’s the equivalent of Ben Roethlisberger riding his motorcycle without a helmet or Kellen Winslow popping wheelies.
The Ravens should fine McNair and move on. It would send a message to the rest of the team that this type of behavior won’t be tolerated, and might keep the league from feeling the need to intervene. I doubt anyone would consider a suspension as fair punishment, but if it weren’t Steve McNair that we were talking about some might feel differently.
McNair is a guy who is paid to be a decision maker on the field for the Ravens, and earlier this week he blew an easy one. McNair is a veteran, but needs to learn a simple lesson and sadly if the Ravens don’t punish him, no one else probably will. I seriously doubt that the NFL or the Tennessee legal system will be very tough on McNair. Sooner or later someone is going to start holding guys responsible for knuckleheaded behavior, it should start with those who sign the checks.
Diego “Chico” Corrales died on Monday night in a horrific motorcycle accident. Two years to the day, of the greatest victory of his career, in the greatest fight of this young century. On that night in 2005, when “Chico” Corrales squared off against Jose Luis Castillo, few could have anticipated the battle that would ensue.
For nine and a half rounds that evening, those two basically stood in the center of the ring and traded bombs. Corrales entered the tenth and final round either up or down by no more than a point or two depending on how you saw the fight. Corrales controlled most of the rounds, but Castillo flurried late in most rounds, and probably stole a few. Corrales was almost immediately knocked down to start the 10th, and then again just a few seconds later. To make things worse, he was penalized a point on the second knockdown for spitting out his mouthpiece. With his back against the wall, Corrales rallied and pulled off one of the most incredible knockouts ever, to take it out of the judges’ hands completely.
Corrales career took some sad turns after that fight. He lost a rematch with Castillo five months later, when Castillo didn’t make weight, and knocked out Corrales in a non-title fight. The “War to Settle the Score” was called off in February of ’06 because of a Corrales injury and again in June of the same year when Castillo failed to make weight for the second time. Sadly we will never get to see that fight.
After the Castillo debacle, Corrales went on to defend his lightweight title against Joel Casamayor, and ironically would have had to forfeit his title for not making weight himself, if Casamayor hadn’t won in a decision. In his last fight “Chico” went all the way up to welterweight and lost a decision early last month to Josh Clottey. In typical Corrales fashion, he pulled himself off the canvas in the ninth and tenth rounds before losing the unanimous decision.
Diego Corrales was a warrior and a champion who is gone before his time. His life was filled with violence and recklessness both inside and outside the ring. At the end of the day, it’s a safe bet that Corrales had more “cojones” than common sense, more will to fight than will to live. Perhaps it’s the same reckless abandon that caused him to get off of the canvas twice in the tenth round two years earlier in the very same city, that tempted to make a dangerous pass at a high rate of speed on a brand new high performance motorcycle. Hopefully Diego Corrales now has the peace that he was unable to find in his life. It is sad that on the anniversary of his greatest victory, we will be forced to also remember his greatest tragedy.
Here is a clip of the end of Castillo/Corrales I. Classic sports is bound to show this fight more than a few times this week. Record it and save it, we may not see another war like that for a long time.
Regular season aside, the NBA playoffs have thus far shown me clearly who the league’s most valuable player is. Although the award will probably go to the Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash continues to be the most valuable player in basketball, period.
Take a second and remember what the Phoenix Suns were before the arrival of Nash. They were a talented bunch of players who couldn’t put it together, much like this year’s Clippers or Kings. Few batted an eye when Nash decided to leave the powerful Mavericks and go back to Phoenix. And few could have predicted the turnaround that the Suns have experienced since his return. Nash seems to sit out for a week or two every season due to his back problems, and the Suns go into the tank every year during that stretch. But anyone who watched the last minute and a half of the Suns game with San Antonio on Sunday has to realize the value that Nash brings to the table. When Nash was forced out of the game with a bloody nose, the Suns went to pieces. They had no confidence, no swagger and no trustworthy ball handler or decision maker to run the offense. In short they were lost without him.
I believe that Nash will pull the Suns together, and finally walk away with the real trophy this year. To be fair, he has a lot more talent around him than Duncan does, and the Spurs would be equally as lost without the “Big Fundamental” in the lineup. But I think that this will be Nash’s year, and he does more to make the players around him better than anyone I’ve seen since Magic Johnson. Let’s not forget that the Suns played last year without Amare Stoudamire.
The playoffs so far have cemented in my mind, the reasons why Nash is the league’s most valuable player, whether he actually gets the hardware again or not. And what’s more is Nash’s game is infectious. It infects the rest of his team, and the fans and everyone. Enjoy this guy while he is around, because we might not see another like him for a very long time. Unfortunately we’ll be denied Mavs/Suns this year, but there is still plenty of great basketball to be played.
The Orioles go into the week with seven games on the slate, and a real chance to get things going in a positive direction again. With one game remaining against the Indians, the O’s have a chance to grab three of four from the tribe and at worst will walk off with a split, before opening a three game set with the Devil Rays.
Looking at the season to this point, it is tough to pass judgment on the O’s just yet. Their miserable run over the last two weeks aside the O’s have been beaten by some pretty tough competition, and have held their own against the teams that they’re supposed to beat. This will be a critical two and a half weeks on our schedule. Tampa, Toronto, and Washington are all struggling mightily right now, and twelve of our next fifteen games are against these teams. There are a couple of tough series in May, but this is a real opportunity to position themselves for a run at the division if they can just win the games that they’re supposed to.
Pitching woes are the obvious theme of the coming week, but the bats seem to be coming around a bit too finally. The O’s have been doing better against lefties since the return of Ramon Hernandez and Jay Payton, and had a season high in hits yesterday against CC Sabathia. Although they weren’t able to capitalize and stranded more base runners than I care to count.
My prediction for the week is 5-2. I have them beating Carmona and the Indians on Monday, taking two out of three from the Devil Rays and two of three from the Red Sox. I think we lose to Casey Fossum on Thursday and Schilling on Saturday. I am also going to bet that the O’s deal both Josh Beckett and James Shields their first losses of the season this week.
The team is still fighting hard on the field, which is a pleasant surprise given their recent misfortunes coupled with their penchant for folding when times get tough. This team doesn’t look ready to go away, despite setback after setback, and I am not ready to give up on the either.
I think the front office could win a lot of fans back by pulling off a significant trade this season. It would sure be nice to see the front office operate as if we have a chance to compete, it might make the fans more prone to believe it too.