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It's Time To Pardon The Whitless Wonder
June 17, 2009 - John Whittaker
Welcome to the latest installment of Pardon the Whitless Wonder, where your fearless (and chunky) host shares his thoughts on the most prevalent sports topics of the day.
The format: as much as the Whitless Wonder can write on a topic in 90 seconds. When the bell goes off, I'm on to the next topic.
Joe Buck. Joe and I have had a one-sided running fued for 10 years or so (one-sided in that I can't stand his announcing and he has no clue who in the hell I am). Anyway, the premier episode of Joe Buck Live on HBO should put an end to any thoughts of Joe Buck becoming anything more than a football announcer. How in the Wide Wide World of Sports did Buck decide to put Artie Lange on HBO and not expect that interview to end badly? I mean, this guy can't handle Randy Moss fake-mooning the fans in Minnesota without having a coronary, and he thought it would be a good idea to try to tame Artie Lange, and do it in his first show? Lange is John Belushi, Chris Farley and the Tazmanian Devil all rolled into one while smoking an eight ball of crack, and Buck thinks that just because he can handle Tim McCarver and Troy Aikman that he could tame Lange. The rant, by the way, is hillarious. Buck spends five minutes doing his best deer caught in the headlights impersonation, and then tries in vain to get control of his show.
Yankees-Red Sox. Thank God the Yankees don't play Boston again until August, because they just can't beat the Sox. Back in the championship years, Boston would find ways to lose games - taking a pitcher out too late rather than too early, crazy plays in the field that should never have happened, coaching brainfarts. Now, the show is on the other foot. When I was watching last week's Sox-Yanks series, I tried to take comfort in the fact the games, except for the opener, were close games that the Yanks could have won. Now, though, I wonder why Joe Girardi was stubborn enough to start Chien-Ming Wang against Boston, or why someone wasn't up when C.C. Sabathia had given you seven tough innings with a two-run lead, or what has to happen to pinch-hit for Hideki Matsui late in the game with a lefthander coming into the game? I don't believe in curses, but if the Yankees don't beat Boston soon, we might have to resort to cutting the head off a live rooster (Bull Durham) or sacrificing a live chicken (Major League).
The Sporting Economy. How sad is it that the city of Los Angeles had to pass the collection plate to pay for the team's victory parade? It was estimated the parade would cost $1 million, and several donors have already committed almost $850,000, according to ESPN.com. Here's what I don't understand, though. Why can't the Lakers pay for the parade themselves? Kobe Bryant made more than $21 million for this season. The team paid Sun Yue (I have no clue who that is, by the way) about $450,000 to not play a single second this season - and you're telling me the team can't afford to throw its own parade? In fact, I've had enough of the talk about sports salaries and how teams can't afford to stay in the game. I say, if leagues are tired of paying too much for salaries, then don't pay them. Seriously, don't pay Mark Texeira $927 billion. Don't sign the contract, dummy. Sometimes, when I see how sports owners run their franchises, I wonder how they aren't living under a bridge.
Sammy Sosa's Positive PED Test: The only thing surprising about this is the date - I didn't have it in my "Look At The Formerly Skinner Player Who Ballooned To The Weight Of An Offensive Lineman, Denied Any Wrongdoing And Then Tested Positive Anyway" Pool. Why was this breaking news? Nobody should be surprised by any of this now. Sosa, McGwire, Clemens, Bonds, Palmeiro … they started off skinny and got huge and even more dominant as they got older. I started my 20s skinny, then got fat, and trust me, I'm not hitting any home runs. The real story is the re-emergence of the traditional career trendline. Nothing happened to Ken Griffey Jr. except old age, except that he kept getting called out in the press for slipping behind lesser players because he wasn't putting up superhuman numbers as he aged. People wondered why Frank Thomas' batting eye got worse, why he wasn't hitting for the batting average he did when he was 22 years old. Well, apparently eyesight gets worse as you get older. The biggest disservice the cheaters did to the game was ruining what was a predictable trend for Hall of Fame players - start strong, hit a peak at about 27-28 years of age, level off until they're about 33-36, and then just fall off the table. As for Sosa's claim that he'll be waiting patiently for the Hall of Fame to call … well, they might put one of your syringes in an exhibit there Sammy. Otherwise, don't hold your breath. Butthead.
Kobe Bryant and the Lakers Win A Title. Good for Kobe, and even better for my ears. Since when does someone making the "Tom Cruise Has To Cry, But Can't Act So Looks Constipated On Camera" face for an entire series mean they really wanted to win (see the scene in Top Gun where Goose dies, and Tom is staring into the mirror at the base. The script says he has to cry, but Tom can't cry, so he just looks like he has to poop. The whole scene, I'm just waiting for a brown streak to show up in his drawers. I'll bet you never look at that scene the same way again.). To me, it looked like he pooped in his Depends. Doesn't every player want to win a championship? Do you mean to tell me he wanted to win more than Dwight Howard or Jameer Nelson or Pau Gasol or even the last man on the bench? I know I really wanted to win when I played, and I sucked (hard to imagine, isn't it?). Enough. Kobe won a title without Shaq (not that Trevor Ariza, Gasol or Lamar Odom had anything to do with this latest title). He really wanted to win. It was the most talked about non-story line in sports. Can we move on now?
The NFL's Personal Conduct Policy: What personal conduct policy? Plaxico Burress shoots himself in the leg with an unregistered handgun, and he gets to play this season. Donte Stallworth kills a woman while driving drunk, and he'll miss what, between four and six games? And people are saying Roger Goodell's policy is tough? I go the other way on this one. How can you have a tough policy when a guy blatantly breaks the law, the facts of the case aren't changing anytime soon, and he can play without missing any time this season at all. Wasn't this policy supposed to make NFL players realize it's a privilege to play in the league, and maybe clean up thuggish behavior? If you judge the policy against that end goal, it's been as big a failure as my weight loss plan (eat as much as possible as often as possible). At some point, Roger will realize you can't legislate good behavior (see Prohibition, bootlegging and the mob).
Rodney Harrison. So long, Rodney, we'll miss you for the six games you would have been healthy this season. Seriously, Harrison was a nice player for the Patriots, helping them get up off the mat from the whole Lawyer Milloy situation a few years ago and winning a couple of Super Bowls. But, it was time for him to go. He couldn't stay healthy anymore, and for me, the whole HGH suspension sucked. I didn't mind that he played until 10 minutes past the whistle and liked to hit guys in the head and below the knees, but the HGH suspension soured me on Harrison. It's hard to be the good guy, tough guy locker room leader who plays the game the right way when you take HGH and get caught. He was a nice player, but I'm not entirely sad to see him go.
That's all we have time for. Goodnight Canada!
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So, Joe Buck can keep Troy Aikman (right)in line, so he books Artie Lange to be on his HBO talk show? How offensive was that Randy Moss fake moon now, huh Joe?