Monthly Archives: July 2009

I have a genetic condition

Last week, Nomar Garciaparra returned to Fenway Park for the first time since being traded away from Boston in 2003. He received a rousing and emotional standing ovation from the fans and held court with the media before the game. His demeanor with the media was jovial, open and nostalgic.

As a Boston fan it was nice to see. It’s not why I write of it though.

I write about this homecoming because of an interesting revelation Nomar made during said pre game press conference. Apparently, Nomar has a genetic condition which causes excess scar tissue to develop at the injury site and limits rehabilitation and increase the likelihood of additional injury.


Many have thought, mostly due to this SI Cover, that Nomar’s injuries were because of steroid use. The theory is that his muscles got too big for his tendons and started to give out on him. This news might certainly help dampen that speculation, at the very least in the Boston sports talk radio scene.

A question though, that no one seems to be asking… What if this genetic condition had been discovered before Nomar was drafted? Or before he got his first big league contract? How many other players have a similar genetic condition but have not had their careers threatened or altered drastically by injury? As a team, wouldn’t you be less likely to put good money and development into a guy who has an injury that “limits the effects of rehab” and “increases the likelihood of additional injury”.

Should these tests be made available to clubs? If I were an agent or a players union rep I would stand up and scream absolutely not. If I owned a team, or was the general manager of a team, I would argue that the clubs sink millions and millions of dollars into these players, and we deserve to know what our likely returns will be. In a league with guaranteed contracts, players with preexisting conditions could handicap a team for years and teams should have the opportunity to negotiate salary with all medical issues on the table.

Yet Nomar had 6 1/2 good/great seasons with the Red Sox. He helped the team and fan base tremendously and was arguably one of the best shortstops the team has ever had. A genetic test may have kept that from happening and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. Yes, Nomar’s career was altered dramatically by injury, but he’s played 13 years of Major League Baseball, 8 of them with more than 120 games. The list of players who do not have announced genetic conditions that washed out of baseball due to injuries could fill a book. Should a man’s genetics preclude him from the opportunity to succeed in the big leagues?

While I’m on the Red Sox, I came across an interesting tidbit regarding Clay Buchholz and the Roy Halladay rumor mill. Apparently, two scouts from the Blue Jays were in the stands when Clay pitched on Sunday July 12th. Incidentally, Clay Buchholz has been called up to pitch in the Red Sox first game after the all star break, to let the pitching staff settle into order. His opponent? The Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto GM JP Ricciardi has vowed to scout players on other clubs in preparation of a potential deal, so this could just be due diligence. Something to keep an eye on though. Maybe a Buchholz, Penny and prospect X deal for Halladay? I’m sure this deal would be incredibly unpopular up north but at some point these middle of the road teams have to accept they aren’t going to do it as is and cut bait. Ricciardi is a graduate from Moneyball academy and has yet to blow up the middling Blue Jays. This could be his first move in a complete youth movement dismantling of that club. Stay tuned.

I was watching President Obama’s farewell ceremony from Ghana this weekend and almost choked on my tongue when President Obama mentioned that Ghana’s president, John Evans Atta, was a member of the Ghanian National Hockey Team. A little research has disclosed that he meant field hockey (a very popular sport for men worldwide).
Just thought I’d share that little moment of hilarity. Ghana’s national Ice Hockey team? I should have known. (Cool Runnings 2 anyone?)

It’s my opinion that Ron Artest to the Lakers was without question an excellent move. I don’t think that anyone will be calling the Lakers soft anytime soon. What’s the over/under on times Artest makes Bynum or Gasol cry by the end of training camp? It will be interesting to see Ron be Kobe’s personal attack dog this season. It’s like Rodman mixed with Pippen’s skills. As a side note, Ron Artest is a prolific Twitterer. About half of his tweets are completely absurd, the other half are totally priceless. He will certainly add to the entertainment factor of the Lake show. Ariza is a strong up and coming player, but his value was inflated by an excellent post season and by playing alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. He has a career in the NBA ahead of him but Ron Artest is a proven kind of crazy. Kudos to Ariza’s agent for completely blowing any chance he had of staying with the Lakers. It’s always nice to see an agent get bitten for overestimating his players value. Between Sheed to the Celts, Shaq to the Cavs and Ron Ron in LA I’m already fired up for a new NBA season to start.

Exactly what does the mainstream media expect Brock Lesnar to say after he battles a man with his bare hands? The guy goes from being a killer ball of raging testosterone with his life in his hands to having a microphone and a thousand cameras shoved into his face. This whole WWE chatter is fricking ridiculous. MMA fans getting righteous about the purity of their sport borders on obscene. Should he quote Shakespeare next time? Perhaps a little taste of Hemingway? Give me a break people. He fights 260 pound men for a living. What exactly are you looking for. You got your blood. Don’t cry about a couple of fingers and some naughty words.

The new Domino’s pizza ad campaign makes me want to hang myself from a freeway overpass. “Yo this is Jimmy from Philly and my philly cheese steak pizza is da bomb!” “Yo this is dudebroguy from Cali and my veggie pizza is totally tubular bro” *Choking noises, air escapes from my body* Not only do they have some of the worst pizza in the civilized world, they also continue to make horrendous ads. They were the first to jump on the “bailout” buzz term, now they shamelessly pump false regional stereotypes to pander pathetic pizzas. Ick. And when did mushrooms, spinach and olives come to represent California cuisine anyway? What’s a matter Dominoes, avocados and sprouts too expensive? Tie me a rope and loop it around a sturdy pole, I’d rather order pizza from a public pool’s snack bar than eat your crap.

Game ball this week goes to Andy Roddick. In case you missed last week’s epic Wimbledon final, take notice. Andy Roddick is now in the conversation again. I’ve been watching Andy his whole career and I’ve never seen him play a better match than the one he lost last week. He was aggressive, his focus was almost eerie, his ball striking was fierce and accurate. He has got his fitness level and game to a point where he can challenge the Federer Nadal stranglehold on the sport. Federer? Well, he’s just out of this world. Aside from his running forehand, no one part of his game will blow you away. It’s the sum of his parts and consistency that puts him head and shoulders above everyone else. He refuses to lose and will not blink when the match is on the line. The guy is incredible and his success is becoming obnoxious. I anxiously await this years US open. I can’t wait to see Roddick on the home court and hope he continues to play like he did in England. Great job Andy, thanks for the match.

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Filed under Andy Roddick, Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, Brock Lesnar, Clay Buchholz, Domino's Pizza Commercials, Genetic Condition, Ghana, Los Angeles Lakers, MLB, MMA, Moneyball, NBA, Nomar Garciaparra, President Obama, Red Sox, Roger Federer, Ron Artest, Roy Halladay, Shaq, Toronto Blue Jays, twitter, US Open, Wimbledon

The Man of the hour

No sports this week. Just some thoughts on Michael Jackson’s death and humanity’s response to it.

First of all, the Ayatollah had Michael Jackson killed to distract us from Iran.

I’ve come across an article that really blew my mind. So much of this story has made me cringe, but here’s a few things that really detail some of my gripes about humans and news organizations.

Man on the street, Michael Harris said “It’s like when Kennedy was assassinated,” he told the Associated Press. “I will always remember being in Times Square when Michael Jackson died.”

I’m not sure if this is a symptom or the illness, but why are we always looking for a JFK moment? These things declare themselves, but I swear to god every time something big happens, it is referred to as “It’s like when Kennedy was assassinated”

No, Michael Harris, it’s like when Michael Jackson died. Simple. Clear. A famous man died and everyone knew who he was.

Another moron with a microphone stuffed in their face:
“I grew up with his music. I used to wear Michael Jackson T-shirts every day to school,” (an unidentified fan) told CBS. “At my work I was the Michael Jackson freak! I loved him so much. I don’t know what to say. I’m just really sad. I think I’m going to start crying.”

I’ll just say this, I am so happy I don’t work with this person. To be known as “The Michael Jackson freak”, in 2009, and to be proud of it really says a lot about you.
Its almost like this person was happy he died, I’m sure the next day or two were filled with words of condolence, because the “Michael Jackson Freak” must have felt it so much more than anyone else…

Isn’t the term “Michael Jackson Freak” redundant anyway?

Anyways, as the days have gone on since the “King of Pop’s” passing, my irritation with society has grown. A few things to get off my chest…

Michael Jackson was not a great man. He was no Mother Theresa, no great philanthropist. He’s not like the guy who shovels his sidewalk in the winter or the guy tailgating you on your way to work. He’s not a person any of us can comprehend. I’ll leave his physical appearance alone, I’ll leave the low hanging fruit for others. I’m talking about the life of Jacko, his behavior and his actions for the last 20 years. This person hasn’t lived in the same world as you and I do for decades. If Jacko hadn’t been so Wacko, he would be thought of on the same lines as Prince, or David Bowie, eccentric musical superstars with incredible talent and extremely devoted fans. To me, Madonna is the best analogy for him, a former superstar becoming increasingly irrelevant in todays society. Still putting out albums and making headlines, occasionally going on tour and selling out arenas and stadiums world wide, but known as a star who’s brightest days are behind her. Instead, he became this Boo Radley figure, a larger than life recluse, a physical freak, a man everyone had a comment about, an opinion of, a joke to share. He became PeeWee Herman meets Howard Hughes, a bizzarro representative of the human race.

Yet people fall all over themselves to talk about how much they mourn his passing. They flood the streets of New York and Los Angeles. Stars book interviews and jump on planes to appear at the BET awards, all to show everyone how much they care, how relevant they are, how appreciative of his music and how much forgiveness for his lifestyle they had.

Let’s forget about the alleged molestation charges and plastic surgery. (again, too easy…)Let’s just take a little snapshot of the type of world Jacko lived in.

His three kids are named Paris Michael, Prince Michael and Prince Michael II (or as he was known, Blanket). Yes, Blanket.

If he was your neighbor or friend and he named his children these names you would mock him and question his sanity.

Two of these children are alleged to be from in vitro fertilization involving Jacko’s dermatologist (what a job, Michael Jackson’s skin doctor… ) and a woman who is yet unidentified, but rumored to not be the children’s “mother” Debbie Rowe.

The third child, Prince Michael II, (or Blanket), is alleged to be the result of a surrogate German mother who was fertilized with donated eggs and sperm.

If the person who so proudly refers to themselves as the “Michael Jackson Freak” worked next to someone who told that story about themselves, who would have been labeled “the freak” then? (and discussed ad nauseam behind their backs.) No one says, “I’m the Larry in accounting Freak!” Instead they say, “Have you met Larry, that guy in accounting?” “What a freeeeeeeeaak”

This is a guy who, while staying as a guest of the Prince of Bahrain sends his nanny to go buy a couple million dollars worth of crappy antiques in Florence, Italy, even though at the time he was hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and had no home of his own. (The antiques were put in storage.) The nanny was for his children technically, but according to various interviews and accounts she took care of him as well.

He had no concept of money or value, no understanding of what being an adult human being on the planet earth involved. He didn’t pay his children’s nanny or housekeepers, couldn’t care for himself or his own children, (or someone’s children anyway), couldn’t converse like a normal person. The guy was a child. He never grew up. He never figured out how things are done. If you dumped Michael Jackson on the street somewhere with twenty bucks and a prepaid cell phone he might not be able to find his way home. Ever.

Yet he was adored. Because he could dance and because he and his songwriters and producers made some great music that people identified with. Because people love kids, and puppies, and adults who make music that touched their hearts when they were young and free and innocent.

And they looooove to cybermourn. Which is not a word. Yet. When it makes into the dictionary I want credit.

By the hundreds of thousands, twitterers dropped Iran and Neda like a bad habit. Facebook and Myspace and Cornhole and message boards in every language filled up with “rEsT IN PeaCE KiNg of Pop” Every major news organization in the Milky Way abandoned the Iranian resistance instantly. (that story was getting old anyway, you can only talk breathlessly about the bravery of these people for so long before the public tunes you out.)

So Neda and her symbol of hope and freedom was replaced in avatars everywhere. People silently changed their “location” from Tehran to Neverland. Everyone had a chance to talk about how deeply Michael Jackson’s music touched them, meaning, they had a chance to talk about themselves, which is really what they wanted to discuss anyway when you get right down to it.

Oh, and North Korea threatening to shoot a NUCLEAR MISSILE at the United States? That didn’t stand a chance. I mean, they were only threatening Hawaii anyway.

At least I got to hear “Beat It” 647,000 times in the last week.

He sure beat it alright. And this mock mourning period our nation (and world) suffers under? It will be washed away in an instant by something else. The Yemeni plane crash didn’t do it, it was too soon and because after all, they’re Yemeni.

But Jacko’s days are numbered. My money is on the fourth of July. America will get wasted and fatter and high on firework fumes and the stench of two stroke gasoline engines and on July 5th we will turn the page. His memorial service at the Staples Center will be covered, of course, but by then our nations collective focus will have shifted. It will be back to trying to describe what the girl on “Wipeout” did before she fell on her face and landed in the muddy water. Uhhhhhhhmerica, land of the free and home of “Help, I’m a celebrity, get me out of here!”

This week’s game ball goes to Joseph Jackson.

With the world’s news media watching the first major presser from the Jackson family compound, Joe Jackson, universally credited for helping twist Michael Jackson into the freak show he was until the day he died, led off his statement by promoting his new record label. Joe was alongside Rev Al “The Ambulance Chaser” Sharpton, who wanted to help get his face on camera. I mean, who wanted to help protect Michael Jackson’s “legacy”. (where ya been Al? Like, when the guy was alive and tarnishing his legacy for the past 20 years?) Soon afterwards, it was leaked that Joe was left out of the will. No publicity is bad publicity, right Joe? Hey everyone, next time it’s Joe Jackson’s birthday (July 26th), celebrate by beating and mentally abusing your kid. It’s for their own good.

Next week, “normalcy” returns. Happy Birthday America! (Yeeeeee-Haa!)


Filed under Al Sharpton, Ayatollah, Boo Radley, David Bowie, Debby Rowe, facebook, Happy Birthday Uhhhhmerica, Howard Hughes, Iran, JFK, Joseph Jackson, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson's dermatologist, Michael Jackson's kids, Michael Jackson's kids mother, Michael Jackson's Nanny, myspace, Neda, North Korea, Prince, twitter, Yemeni plane crash