Monday, March 21, 2005

Hell Has Broken Loose

I didn't get to see all of the steroid hearings last Thursday, but I did see the opening statements by Canseco, Sosa, McGwire and Palmeiro. Let me say this right off the bat, if I'm ever asked to testify before Congress, I too want to have my interpreter present just like Sammy Sosa. That was great. All I could think about while Sosa's $500-an-hour attorney was reading his opening statement for him was that his attorney was actually telling his personal story.
"I grew up in San Pedro in the Dominican Republic with 4 brothers and 2 sisters. My father passed away when I was seven years old. We sold oranges and shined shoes to get by. Early on I displayed a talent for baseball and when I was 16 I left home and signed with the Texas Rangers.


I had to fight for everything, and that meant working out harder than the next guy, lifting a few more reps than the last guy. It meant spending more time in the batting cages and less time in the clubs."
I got a few chuckles thinking about this middle-aged white guy picking oranges, shining shoes, getting a few more reps in the weight room while passing on the clubs. So I guess the lesson is that you too can be a rich lawyer if you're willing to lift a lot of weights, take some extra cuts in the batting cages and also stay away from steroids. Too funny.

... Of course I shouldn't short-change Jose Canseco's opening remarks. I'm convinced now more than ever that he probably learned to read in the last few years. And given that he didn't do such a hot job of that last Thursday when reading his statement, it's becoming increasingly difficult to take him even remotely serious.

... And then there was Mark McGwire. I really didn't know what he might say, but after he got about four words into his remarks and started crying, I actually felt bad for the guy -- and I think I even believed him. Now his remarks were in stark contrast to Raphael Palmeiro's. I love the fact that he pointed directly at the committee when he made it clear that he never used steroids. I also love the fact that he looked like one of those housewives that end up onstage at Springer, and find out their husband is cheating with their sister (who's actually a man). I fully expected Palmeiro to jump across the table and start pummeling Canseco for dragging his name through the mud.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to hear the Q&A between the committee members and the panel (and have yet to see any transcripts or replays), but I can only imagine that this was the first time in Curt Schilling's life that he wished he wasn't quite so loquacious.

I didn't get to see many games this weekend, but what I did get to see was frustratingly bad. And I don't mean the actual games. I mean the coverage of the games. The brain trusts at CBS thought it was a great idea to show the Duke-Delaware St. game in it's entirety -- every painstaking minute of it -- even though Duke was comfortably ahead in the second half and more importantly, Vermont was in the process of upsetting Syracuse. Brilliant. Fast forward to Sunday. I get home in time to see the start of the second half of the UNC - Iowa State game. And it's a good thing I turned on the TV when I did, because with about three minutes in (that's 17 minutes left in the game), CBS switched away from that game and showed some game that I most assuredly did not want to see. Double whammy.

But from what I did see, Carolina looked great (I think they were up 4-0 in the action I saw). Seriously, all this great play has me worried -- and not about the rest of the tournament. It has me worried about next season. It seems like everybody I talk to thinks Marvin Williams would be the first pick in the NBA draft this June. And, other than my brief argument for Rashad McCants being a better player (which is usually poked full of holes in about the time it takes Bellhorn to put up a three-pitch strikeout at-bat), I can believe it. The problem of course is that UNC could lose five (FIVE!) underclassmen from this year's team to the NBA. And this doesn't even include the three guys lost to graduation (Manuel, Williams and Scott).

And I know that Carolina has four All-Americans coming in this fall, but it's pretty hard to replace eight guys who contributed about 95% of the minutes this season. That, and I'm not sure if I am ready to see Quentin Thomas handle the point only a few seasons removed from "The Adam Boone Experience" (and the sequel, "The Melvin Scott Experience" wasn't much better). But I'll save my crying and gnashing of teeth until after the tournament. For now, I'll take 30-point blowouts from here until the end of the month.