Thursday, May 15, 2008

I Vote Silence

The Cardinals-Cubs long-standing and testy relationship takes another turn. Jim Edmonds, regarded as the greatest of Cardinals center-fielders, in an effort to revive his slipping career, puts on the outfit of the North Side Bears. Ooohhhh...there's something smarmy about the whole notion. Seeing Cardinals' past glory besmirched by such a ghastly idea is a real kick in the gut. But Hollywood is entitled to keep playing if he so chooses. Cardinals fans, this one included, are probably more sickened and saddened than infuriated. It's hard to see a hero flounder in his declining age and ability...especially in enemy garb.

Cardinals die-hards are already girding for the tiny Bears to come to town for an Independence Day series. (Friday-Sunday 7/4,5,6) Not only would that series be extra-special on its own, but with the addition of Edmonds to the Cubs roster, baseball hearts all over the midwest will be a-fluttering. Of course, it remains to be seen if the center-field divemaster will be healthy enough to play by then.

But the question is already being asked..."What kind of reception will Edmonds get the first time he walks up to the plate in St. Louis in a Cubs outfit?" Think about it. He was a heroic figure wearing the birds-on-the-bat for many years. He's been the provider of dozens of highlight-reel catches that most outfielders can only dream about. No true Cardinals fan could ever forget his dramatic home run to win NLCS Game 6 vs. Houston in '04. His persona was a large part of the Cardinals team chemistry for the "championship years" of the late 90's and early 00's. It's hard to imagine just because the guy wants to keep playing that St. Louis fans would boo him for donning the Cub suit. But a goodly portion in attendance at that first game with Jimmy in Mr. Piniella's lineup undoubtedly would. It's also hard to picture most of Busch on it's feet applauding and cheering wildly for the guy in his first Cubbie at-bat. So what would be proper?

I'm suggesting that, in this very rare circumstance, Cardinals fans should stand and be silent. They should honor Edmonds' contributions to Redbird history with a moment of though it were the passing of a legend. Because, in effect, it is. When a player of that importance to the legacy of Cardinals baseball, for whatever reason, chooses to side with the ultimate enemy, he might as well be dead. So I suggest he be treated with the respect of a fallen least for one at bat.

The big problem with that whole premise is that BS3 will likely be populated heavily with Cubs fans that night too. They likely will be happy to rub Cardinals' fans noses in it by cheering wildly for their new matter what contribution he has made to their cause. Cubs faithful will know that Edmonds being adorned in blue and white will be the source of much discomfort. They will delight in rubbing salt. So, asking Cardinals Nation to stand in silent tribute would be tantamount to handing the stage and microphone over to Sanjaya for a turn at karaoke.

But, I still think it would be a very memorable and fitting way to greet ol' Jim in his return to the place of his glory. Let's start passing the idea around. A moment of Jimmy Ballgame Silence on the Fourth of July.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Spygate Over?

-When did this country turn over the investigation of potential wrong-doing to the people who are accused?

I keep seeing that the Spygate controversy is over after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's meeting with Matt Walsh and a subsequent announcement by The Commish to that effect. Well, what did you expect would come out of such a meeting? I suppose Goodell was supposed to come out and say..."Yeah, he's got the goods on us. All of that video definitely fingers the Patriots and Bill Belichick as cheaters. And, furthermore, that undoubtedly ruins the credibility of our league and my office. I can't see how we can deny it. So, we'll just have to put some rules in place to make sure it doesn't happen again. And we will ban Coach Belichick from the sport and any potential entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame." Yeah...that's what you expected him to say wasn't it.

Well, of course he's not going to say that. What he might have said in such a meeting with Walsh is..."OK Matt, you've got some damaging stuff there. What do we have to do to make this whole thing go away? You know we can't have any of this stuff getting out." Then Walsh's attorney presents Mr. Goodell with a monetary demand. The league attorneys respond with a document that they want Walsh to sign that ensures his silence on the matter forever and ever. They sign. A transfer to a Swiss bank account is completed....and it's 'til death do us part. Of course all of this actually happened before the "real meeting" between Goodell and Walsh which was just for show.

Goodell is the protector of the league's assets. Parting with a mil or two to make Walsh find a desert island to live out his life is a lot easier than allowing the Patriots legacy to be damaged for all time. Not to mention how much doubt all football fans would carry around for decades about the integrity of their sport. Goodell's bosses, the owners, will dole out many slaps on the back and goodly bonuses if Senator Arlen Specter gives up his effort to get to the bottom of Spygate with no success. Specter threatens to open up the NFL anti-trust exemption for discussion if he doesn't get some satisfaction. Good for him. Here's Specter's stance from a wire story--
WASHINGTON -- Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter called today for an independent investigation into the Patriots' illegal taping practices, citing what he called an obvious conflict between the interest of the NFL and the public interest.
"After a lot of consideration it's my judgment that there ought to be an impartial investigation, an outside investigation, like the [steroids] investigation that baseball had with former [Maine] Senator George Mitchell," said Specter at a Capitol Hill news conference.
Specter, who is the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, stopped short of saying the government would conduct an investigation if the NFL didn't do so, but didn't rule out Congressional hearings to look into the matter, if action wasn't taken.

I really don't have any interest in seeing the Rams awarded the Super Bowl championship that got away from them on Adam Vinatieri's last-second kick. But I am one who believes that you should be able to watch a sport without having to think about who's cheating....on the field or off.

Spygate shouldn't be over just because the Commissioner says so and got the Boston Herald and the guys at ESPN to believe it.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Meat Pie

-When I was young, I looked forward to a concoction that we had for dinner every now and then. Mom called it meat pie. Essentially a pie with a bunch of leftovers thrown into it. Not too tempting of a concept...but it always tasted great. Thus the title for today's blog post.

-First, let's talk a little Cardinals baseball. They had the best April in franchise history. Well, wait a minute. They had the highest total of wins in franchise history. For a lot of that history they didn't start playing games until the middle of April. Other teams have had a higher winning percentage. So, the 18 wins is a little misleading. But, they are doing much better than most "experts" expected. I think we gave them a little more credit for winning potential here on this blog than most did. Let's see how things go in May before we get too wound up.

-Apparently T. J. Oshie is waiting to get through his final exams at NDU before signing a contract with the Blues. There's the difference between hockey people and kids in other sports. Most of the bb, fb, bkb, elites wouldn't give a #@*& about "real life". Just show me the money.

-Perhaps you've heard that I've gotten back into the radio biz. I'm honored to be back at KMOX as co-host with Maria Keena of Total Information AM-Weekend. I'll do a little news announcing from time to time as well. My ol' broadcasting friend Bill Reker is leaving weekends for a Mon-Fri schedule...which is much deserved. The Saturday show runs from 5a-8a and the Sunday edition 7a-10a. It's going to be a little tough sometimes after late night hockey or baseball to turn it around for the next morning. But after a couple of weeks of practice, I'm looking at it as great fun and the chance to do something worthwhile for one of the great stations in America. Thanks to ND John Butler and PD Steve Moore for inviting me to do it. I'm honored to have been chosen.

-Spectacularly written piece on Roger Clemens in the Post and on by Dan O'Neill.
Dan hits the ol' Rocket right in the fuel tank...IMHO.

-Best wishes to a couple of my Grizzlies buddies.
Tony Funderburg (pic 1) announced, much to my surprize recently, that he was leaving "the Grizz" for a job with an NBA D-league team being established in Reno. Tony was in the boss's office and asked me to be PA guy in '03... and is destined for stardom in sports management in my opinion. While he has a laid-back approach, he also is smart and totally capable. Tony has an incredible knack for promotion and publicity as witnessed by the "Baseball's Best" menu at the ballpark that has gotten national attention. Good luck, and thanks for everything Tony.
Steve Gomric has the task of filling Tony's shoes as the new Grizzlies GM. The good news is that Steve has been in the Grizzlies office for several years and knows what works and what doesn't. And most things are already humming along. Steve has all the ability necessary to "captain the ship" and I'm sure will bring some great new ideas to the table and continue with the fan-friendly personality that folks have come to expect from Grizzlies top management.

-I am maybe the world's worst mushroom hunter. My partially color-blind eyes probably don't help. Barb and I love to eat the tasty little fungi...but I'm usually totally frustrated when it comes to discovering the little buggers. Morels, in a steak or beef roast gravy, are just about the most terrific taste to cross my buds...ever. So it's worth a little frustration in the Spring to try to stomp through the wooded areas near where we live. Lo and behold last Saturday I wandered off into a usually unexplored area to find about 4 dozen of the things. That's a two-year haul in one afternoon for me. We found a few "true morels" but the rest were of the type we call "dog peckers". (sorry...but that's what we've called them since I was small). The actual scientific name for this variety of morel is--morchella semilibera. This guy has a longer stem with a little spongy top to it (far right in pic). Most least the most desirable ones...have a smaller stem and the rest is the spongy top(other 3 in pic). So, even though I found a load of the d.p.'s...we weren't as excited as we could have been because they tend to not be quite as flavorful. But at least I had some fun...and didn't come back home cussin' a blue streak like usual. I haven't written a single word about American Idol this season...until now. For those who don't watch...or don't care...the show is down to the final four now. Last night they kicked off the likeable, but not quite overwhelmingly talented Brooke White. The last four performers can be divided into two groups of two. The favorites, and the "What the hell are they still doing in its". Here's the last thing I'll say about the whole deal. David Cook (top pic) is amazing...can sing anything...and if he doesn't win it will be another AI mistake....(similar to the Taylor Hicks debacle). David Archuleta (pic 2) is a cute young kid (15 I think), sings everything very well, if not great, and should be the runner up. Jason Castro (famous for being a caucasian with dreadlocks more than anything) has no business being in the final four. Syesha Mercado is an OK singer...and might have a future on Broadway because she looks good too...but is not in the league of the two Davids. So final rankings for me:
1-David Cook
1A-David Archuleta
3-Syesha Mercado
4F-Jason Castro
OK...I'm done.