Some assorted thoughts as we’re just one week away from the start of our official Winning Season:
* This Tim Donaghy story is only going to get bigger. Aside from the obvious problems this situation has created for the NBA, the first question that jumps to my mind is: Who else is in on this? If gamblers with alleged ties to the mob can get to one NBA referee, wouldn’t it stand to reason that they could get to more? After all, somebody knew Donaghy’s personal financial situation well enough to approach him with this convoluted and corrupt "way out". Doesn’t it stand to reason that Donaghy would have directed these mobsters to other officials that he thought may have interest in making thousands of dollars by "adjusting" their calls to affect point spreads and final scores? Honestly, David Stern is facing a MUCH larger crisis in his league than any other commisioner in the major professional sports leagues. The Donaghy situation goes to the heart of a sport’s credibility and integrity. If the officials are corrupt, how can we as fans ever accept questionable calls that go against our teams ever again? Think about this: How many times have you watched, for example, a Maryland – Duke basketball game at Cameron Indoor Stadium and said to yourself, "Coach K is buying off the refs"? Now, unfortunately, there’s evidence that at least in the NBA, the refs WERE bought. This is a scary and sad situation, not just for the NBA, but for all sports, both professional and collegiate. Mark my words: This is just the tip of the iceberg in regards to corrupt officiating. If it can happen in the NBA, it can absolutely happen in ANY OTHER SPORT. Keep a very close watch on this story as it continues. It’s truly much more important to us, as fans, than anything else happening.
* Please, everyone, just STOP with this ridiculous idea of trading Erik Bedard. Especially (this is the line I laugh at) "when his value is at its highest." Oh, so his value is higher now than, say, two weeks ago? Or two months ago? And suppose he throws four consecutive shutouts beginning with his next start? Will his value then be "higher" than it is now? C’mon, people, get with the program! You CANNOT win in the Major Leagues without established starting pitching! Bedard is under the Birds’ control through 2009. Why on earth would you deal him now? There is absolutely NO package that the Orioles could receive in return that would justify giving up a lefthanded ace who leads the majors in K’s. None. And to the argument that Bedard hates it here in Baltimore, I say, "Who cares?" He’s making a more than satisfactory salary, he’s a true product of an oft-maligned farm system, and he’s contractually obligated to play here for two more years. I’ll bet Bedard likes money. Let’s just continue to watch him pitch, enjoy his continued ascendence as the best lefty in MLB, and worry about the whole contract and "deal or no deal" situation in another two summers. Please stop for a moment and recall the one thread that ran through the Orioles’ glory years from 1964 to 1986: Starting pitching. You will NEVER contend consistently without it. OK?
* Speaking of the Orioles and contracts, has anyone seen or heard anything from Andy MacPhail regarding Matt Wieters? Just wondering. And not that I’m counting or anything, but there are only 23 shopping days left until Scott Boras puts Wieters back on the rack for any other interested teams in next year’s MLB Draft. Is ANYONE in the Warehouse paying attention?
* Barry Bonds is just three away from becoming the new Home Run King in baseball history. Apparently, he’s also about three weeks away from a federal indictment as well. So Bud Selig was right. If you just close your eyes and wish as hard as you can, your problems will magically disappear! Please think about this seriously, though: Who do you hold a greater contempt for, Bonds or Selig? For me, it’s Selig hands down. He and Jerry Reinsdorf locked out the players in August ’94, killed the World Series, turned a blind eye to the Steroid Era (thereby encouraging and condoning it), ruined the All-Star Game and gave us Interleague play, thereby killing the special aura that surrounded the World Series. History should not be kind to you, Bud.
* If anyone reading this is going to Cooperstown for this weekend’s festivities, be advised to pack a cooler with plenty of food and drinks and don’t expect to be able to get in the museum. It’s going to be an absolute circus there. Please email me and tell me your plans and your Cal memories; I’ll talk about them on "Such On Sports" this coming Saturday on WNST from 1 to 4 p.m.
* Don’t forget to enter our Baseball Memories contest here on the site. You could win a trip for two to Miami in December to watch the Ravens make sushi of the ‘Phins!
* Good to be blogging again! I’ll put some of my memories up during the week. As always, you can respond to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to hear from you!