Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A Whacked Wednesday To Be Sure

Hey Peeps, and anyone else checking - from those of you that have been here before and know what Wednesdays are about on this blog - to those of you that have happened upon this page for the first time and are wondering to yourself, "What the...?" As always, a special hey goes out to Ms. Hazel Mae.

For those of you that haven't been here before, Wednesday entries look back at the weird, the whacked and the downright silly from the world of sports over the past seven days or so - comments on this weeks highlights/lowlights, or suggestions on what I may have missed are always welcome - do you hear me Adam? (yes, my boy Adam from Hazelspeeps is back - he always has some insightful comments...and Jody Vance updates. I'm biting my tongue on the latter). So...where to start - why not in the place that Hazel now calls home, Boston.

Red Sox Nation is still in the anger stage of coping with the revelation that Johnny "Jesus" Damon has left for the hated MYF (Motherf**king Yankees - their term, not mine). As I mentioned earlier today, the message board posts ranged from:
  • lambasting Damon for turning his back on the city of Boston;
  • to trashing Damon for being a noodle-armed hipster doofus who wasn't as good as he thought he was;
  • to calling for the heads of the Red Sox Upper Management; and much much more.
Speaking of Upper Management - Jed Hoyer, Ben Cherington and Larry Lucchino were on the hotseat today with the media - having to answer questions on everything ranging from "Did Damon give you the opportunity to match?" to "Would you have matched?" to "Where are you going from here?" To their credit, all three handled things reasonably well - especially when you consider they had to know that those asking the questions were probably thinking that these guys were more "Larry, Moe and Curly" than a Senior Management Team of a storied franchise like God's Red Sox...oops, I mean the Boston Red Sox.

The Nation is asking some very good questions of their management team - I draw the line at criticizing Damon. I think it is rather unfair for fans in Boston to criticize Damon for leaving for a few extra bucks - it was twelve freaking million dollars! We aren't talking a few extra bucks an hour - it was TWELVE MILLION DOLLARS he left for. If you think that isn't a big deal, then why didn't Boston cough it up? I am positive that missing out on TWELVE MILLION DOLLARS would be a lot easier for John Henry to take that it would be for Johnny Damon. Johnny Damon went to play in Boston for money...remember people? He was a Kansas City Royal and an Oakland A's player before he was lured to Boston by money...this shouldn't be a surprise.

As one of the millions and millions of people who count the Sox as their favourite American League team, I am going to try to say this in the most courteous and respectful way I can. You can't possibly tell me that any athlete playing professional sports should forgo millions of dollars to stay in any city to play for those fans. The decision to leave a baseball team for another (albeit for money) should not be an indictment on someone's character - these are professional athletes, its their job - we all leave jobs for better jobs and promotions (Right Hazel???) and we aren't hated for it...are we? As sports fans, we may hate our rival teams (hello Ottawa Senatards), but these athletes don't care, its not their issue - they haven't grown up hating our rivals. A lot of these athletes weren't big fans or students of the game growing up - because they were too busy immersing themselves in the game to get to that level - playing so much that they never had time to become anything more than casual fans of teams - but rather big fans of a few role models. Sure when they are playing for our cheers and affection they will claim to hate the bad guys...but its just business, we may not like it, but it really is nothing personal against the fans. (Hazel's Canadian peeps didn't take it personally when she left Rogers for NESN...grrrrrrrr).

These guys aren't going to leave millions of dollars on the table for the affections of sports fans in a city that they quite likely will not live in after their careers - do you think Johnny Damon would retire to live in Boston? I don't think I don't think he would give up millions of dollars to be a god-like figure for a few more years and on the occasional trip back to Boston.

Check the lifestyle these guys lead, they aren't living in 3 bedroom houses in the suburbs, driving Honda Accords or CRVs...they aren't going to the neighbourhood pub for dinner - and you can sure as hell bet they aren't going to the local mall to cash in on Christmas sales - these guys need serious dough to maintain the lifestyle they have grown accustomed to. I am not justifying it, I'm just saying that I understand it.

Funny thing about sports fans who claim to love their heroes...they are the first ones to boo and hate these guys the second they are in a slump - or heaven forbid, on their first trip back to the park, when they have left.

I am not saying I agree with Free Agency (hello? Hazel leaves Canada for NESN...hatin' it) - but I accept it. The players make the game, they are entitled to be compensated - it is not up to us to determine how much is enough...what we can do is say "we aren't going to buy tickets anymore"...but that won't happen anytime soon; so accept the fact that players play for money and they are going after as much as they can.

Speaking of getting as much as they can. Ex Baltimore Oriole Sidney Ponson signed a one year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. I found this to be rather weird; consider that Ponson has had run-ins with the law over drinking and driving - and he is signing to play in a city that his home to the Anheiser Busch Brewery. Good luck Sidney.

As an aside - I should probably be embarassed to admit this...but I'm diggin' this new "Laffy Taffy" song.

I am not sure how much play Jeremy Roenick is getting down there - but up here, his mug has been all over the Score, TSN and Sportsnet. I saw Roenick griping last night about who "You guys will write whatever "BEEP" you "BEEPIN" want about me...I've got nothing to "BEEPIN" prove to you guys. I'm waiting for him to go back on Jim Rome or something and do his Linda Richman (Coffee Talk) impersonation while he apologizes to everyone.

The roster spots for Team Canada were announced this afternoon - the Next One (aka Sidney Crosby) was left off the team - no real explanations were given; but I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that old-school guys like Gretzky, Pat Quinn (who Hazel probably knows), Ken Hitchcock and Jacques Martin probably don't like Sid's big mouth. While the NHL has been marketing the hell out of this kid - he's getting on some people's nerves -
  • he gripes about officiating
  • he embellishes/dives
  • he showboats sometimes
These can be forgiven easily enough - after all, he is going to be a great player. "What was his biggest crime?" you may be asking yourselves...When the Penguins let go of former Maple Leaf Eddie Olczyk (Hazel would remember the Leafs of the 80's - firewagon hockey), Crosby's comment was something to the effect that it was time for a change. These old-school coaches could not have taken too kindly to that. Sidney Crosby, a kid that has been scripted, coached and trained on how to speak to the media really blew this one. Say what you will, but Sentards' Center Jason Spezza has always said the right thing. Hey Sid, have fun on Spring Break in could have been Turin.

One more thing about the good old NHL - last week, Gary Bettman announced that original revenue projections were conservative and that the league was doing so well that revenues were up and next year's salary cap would be increased by $1 - $5 Million. My question is this, with so many teams drawing so poorly (Florida, Islanders, Devils, Nashville etc) - where is all this revenue coming from? The Canadian teams? The Rangers? The Flyers? The Red Wings? Not sure how this one is going to play out...but I see a revolt coming from some of the "have teams".

Anyone hear that the Yankees luxury tax for 2005 was $34M - man George must have been heated. How does Brian Cashman have a job? Oh wait, he's got Jesus on his side. Sorry Red Sox Nation. Speaking of luxury tax, the Sox got hit with a relatively paltry bill for $4M.


For anyone that follows the English Premier League - you know my man Jose Mourinho has rattled cages and tweaked the British media since his arrival 18 months ago. Mourinho has also had some public arguments with old farts like Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United, and Arsene Wenger of Arsenal (see an emerging theme/pattern?). After last Sunday's game vs. Portuguese National Team North (aka Chelsea), Jose refused to shake Wenger's hand; with good reason. It seems that Mr. Wenger snubbed Mourinho before the game, and also refused to acknowledge a Christmas card sent to him by my man Jose. Bad form Arsene...So you say you are French huh Arse? Can I call you Arse?

In what can only be seen as silly - James Toney and Hassim Rahman got into a fight in a hotel lobby in Mexico. Why don't these two just sign a deal to fight in a damn ring.

Well, that's about it for now I think. Hope tonight's entry was somewhat informative, or at least good enough for a chuckle or two.

Have a great one peeps...Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world!

Before I forget...On the fourth day of Christmas I wish Hazel would give to me, four playoff round victories for the Leafs this spring.

The Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - for what some Red Sox fans must have been thinking this morning and even into the night (with the hopes of a failed physical for Johnny Damon)

Johnny Come Home - Fine Young Cannibals
Johnny, won't you come on home
We worry

or...if you are one of the angry members of Red Sox Nation

English Civil War - The Clash
When Johnny comes marchin home again
hurrah, hurrah

Peesth Out!


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