Category Archives: Shaq

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.

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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.

email me jjohnsonpro@yahoo.com

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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

Don’t Cry for me Argentina!

Well this sure snuck up on me. A Minnesota Television Station has reported that Brett Favre is expected at training camp for the Minnesota Vikings. Wow. What a shock! It goes to show you, no matter how long you follow sports something can always come up and completely blind side you. I mean, who saw this coming?

I’ll say one thing for Brett Favre, he sure loves playing football.

Can you think of an athlete who has tarnished his “legacy” as badly as Brett has? Or inspired such anger and hate by just returning to the game he loves? The list of athletes who overstayed their talent is long and star studded. No one talks about Michael Jordan’s time with the Wiz, Jerry Rice with the Raiders, (or the Broncos for that matter). Joe Montana with the Chiefs? Ray Bourque with the Avs? Willie Mays with the Mets? Tom Seaver and Andre Dawson with the Red Sox? I could go on and on…

Brett seems to be different. It’s really the perfect storm of American hatred, one that should be studied in sociology and public relations classes in universities world wide. “The Favre”, “Pulling a Favre”, Favreing” will become part of our language, like doctors do when they are the first to discover a disease .

Step one, become every analysts go to guy for the American dream.

Every time Brett Favre was on television, live or taped for the last ten years he was heralded as a god. Focus groups must have dubbed him as popular with that elusive 19-49 year old white male demographic. Everyone with a microphone had something amazing to say about Brett Favre. His “toughness”, his “love for the game” his “down home” “Uhhhmerican country boy” “laser rocket arm” “John Deere lawn mower” “Mississippi boy” “takes chances” “sandlot style”…

Soon it was all white noise. Madden’s love for Brett Favre became a comedy bit. Literally. He became this poster boy for how football should be played. A poster boy for what the game is all about .

Phase 2 “Flip Flopping and team/fan base jerking”
Retirement. In tears , sobbing, gushing, wet slurpy nose kind of tears. Which, is very unUhhhhmerican but most of us were ok with it because he, cue the music, “loved the game” so much. (BAM)

Then he came back! Which most of us rejoiced, because the guy could obviously still throw and “loved the game so much”

Then he retired again. Then he came back again. Then again. And again. America’s tolerance for crying men who flip flop on issues and set interception records is thin. Very thin. Even Brett felt the sting .

None of this would have truly tarnished his “legacy” if Phase 2 hadn’t turned to Phase 3.

Going to another team.

At this point, fans in Green Bay had pretty much had it. His safe zone was in shambles. With Aaron Rodgers in the wings and Brett jerking them around for months on end, Packer fans were secretly and not so secretly ready to move on.

Move on he did, to a team in another division, one with zero ties to the Green Bay franchise. His exploits there were a non factor, a sideshow even. By all accounts, he was not a member of that team, an individual only. He pulled a Favre again, this time referring to completely choking and forcing the ball when things mattered most.

Ahhh, but that wasn’t enough.

Phase 5

Thankfully, Brett’s “retirement” after the Jets was done quietly. A simple press release. No tears, no cameras, no awkward moments for millions of viewers. He was done. Well, probably done. Well, maybe I think might be should be could be done. Probably.

Fade to present. The Favre to Vikings drumbeat restarted almost as soon as he became a free agent again. Brett Childress pulled his best Ollie North routine with the press, denying all knowledge of anything. No one believed him. Most just shake their heads.

He’s going to the Packers biggest divisional rival. A mortal sin. Legacy destroyed.

Most people now hate Brett Favre. An epic fall from grace. A pure mix of flip flopping, oversaturation, the “Golden Boy Syndrome”, crying on camera, blowing it on the field, overstaying his welcome, and now, going to his former teams biggest rival.

He’s blown it completely. Destroyed all credibility. Broken an unbreakable fan base. Created a nation full of anti fans. Become a train wreck, an oddity, a carny act, a punchline, a catch phrase.

All for the love of the game. Good luck Brett Favre. You’ll need it.

Pop quiz, what are you doing on weeks 5 and 9? I mean besides watching the Packers play the Vikings of course.

Well, Shaq to the Cavs is a great move. Here’s why.

I don’t think they’re that much better of a team with him. In my opinion, Shaq slows them down and will hurt them down the stretch in games. His insatiable desire for the ball and attention will distract that team from the prize over the long haul. It will help that the Cavs have a center that plays near the basket. (Ilgauskas spent 3/4’s of his time on the floor 15-20 feet away from the hoop). Maybe Shaq can get some rebounds and start some fast breaks and help the team get out of that half court dynamic. Maybe Shaq can show up to camp in shape. Maybe he’ll accept the fact that he is not the guy who should get the ball every time down the court anymore.

A lot of maybes, and none of them include free throw shooting, 4th quarter absence, dogging it up the court or talking too much.

Let’s be honest though, the Cavs will make the playoffs as one of the top 3 seeds in the east next year, lead pipe lock. They will be a factor in the playoffs and may very well push themselves over the top. Especially if the management doesn’t sit on their hands the rest of the off season. They need a three point shooting forward with long arms and good D. Maybe two of those guys. The definitely need someone who can come off the bench and provide a spark.

Without those things, they may still win the championship. But it will take a herculean effort from Mr. James and a lot of luck.

Here’s why it’s a great move. Shaq is a max contract guy. He’s gone after this year. Guess who else is a free agent after this season? Oh, you haven’t heard? Pretty much every impact player in the league . This Shaq move allows the Cavs to say, “Hey, Lebron, look, we signed a max contract guy in 09. Now we can use that money to go after another max contract guy, a guy like Chris Bosh! If you resign with us, we’ll give you Chris Bosh for the next 5 years. And obviously, we are committed to building a team around you that can win every year, not like those pie in the sky Knicks or two year window Celtics. We’re the real deal baby, stay home!”

Which seems pretty convincing to me. Every move the Cavs make to improve their team increases the odds that Bron stays in Cleveland. Locking up a max contract big man for the 09 season is a great move on the salary cap and PR front.

A ripple went through the sports world when Manny “broke his silence” during his AAA tune up with the Albuquerque Isotopes . I’d like to remind all involved that he did in fact say, “I’m not talking about it anymore” (steroids use) and “People love me everywhere I go” So the whole “broke his silence” headline thing is garbage.

Ricky Rubio just went from teen heart throb and national hero in beautiful sunny Spain to being over scrutinized and freezing cold in Minnesota. I’m curious what he thinks of Minnesota women in January next year.

After one impressive season in the NFL, Chris Johnson has decided he is going to begin the time honored tradition of alienating fans and making himself look stupid by nicknaming himself. He was apparently dissatisfied with his current moniker, the “Dash” of “Smash and Dash” (LenDale White)
His new name? “Every Coach’s Dream” Which not only rolls off the tongue, it is definitely the kind of name every coach’s dream would name himself. Nice job buddy. Next time, just keep your tweets to yourself.

As far as I’m concerned if you go gather in the streets to mourn Michael Jackson you’re an idiot. My girlfriend says, “where are his his kids?” Great question honey. Now what happens? Does the staff of nannies take over from here? Does Janet get them? Tito? Latoya? Is there a mother? Exactly how much money do you think the King of Pop blew over the course of his career? Get your guesses ready, because it’s all about to come out. Drugs, money, rumors, all of it. When do Jacko jokes become appropriate again? I was telling them 10 minutes after the news came out… How about CNN and every major network following the LA county helicopter from Westwood (nice area) to USC (the ghetto) all hoping for a glimpse. “I THINK I SEE A BODY BAG!” It’s sad, really. I’ve never understood this obsession with stars in our culture and I never will.

The game ball this week goes to South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. The Mark Sanford who once said about then President Bill Clinton, “I think it would be much better for the country and for him personally (to resign).” In explaining why he voted to impeach the president, he said, “I think what he did in this matter was reprehensible… I feel very comfortable with my vote.” He added that Clinton lacked “moral legitimacy” (after his affair).

In case you missed it, Mark Sanford was recently caught red handed flying to Argentina to visit his mistress. He had told his staff he went hiking in the mountains and dropped off the radar. Apparently, Mr. Sanford told his wife and 4 children about the affair a month ago and had been kicked out of his house for the past two weeks.

Regardless of what side of the aisle you call your own, that smacks of moral legitimacy, don’t it?

Oh yea, one more thing, state money was used to fund an “economic development mission” to Argentina in 2008. He’s also one of the biggest bible thumping “family values” politician in the country.

Moral legitimacy and family values, to the core. Well played sir. Well played.

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Filed under Brett Favre, Chris Johnson, Cleveland Cavaliers, Lebron James, Manny Ramirez, Mark Sanford, Michael Jackson, Minnesota Vikings, MLB, NBA, NFL, Ricky Rubio, Shaq, Sports, Steroids