Sports Medley: World Cup Soccer and Baby Dodgers 6 Jul 15
by Tony Medley
World Cup Soccer:
My favorite Olympic sport was womenís softball. But the softball
intellects at NBC usually televised it as a delay at 3 a.m., even though
the U.S. generally won the gold medal. Then the Olympic Committee
deleted it as an Olympic sport. They have prepubescent girls running
around waving ribbons as an Olympic Sport but not softball?
I liked it for two reasons. First, these women really knew how to play
the game. Second, they were doing it because they loved it. There was no
money in it and, thanks to NBC, not much glory.
Thatís the same reason I enjoyed the U.S. womenís performance in the
World Cup. They play the game because they love it. Thereís little or no
money at the end of the rainbow.
Contrast this with the obscene amount of money paid to professional male
athletes, especially NBA basketball players. Players signing contracts
for $110 million for five years is offensive in the extreme. LeBron
James, who makes $21.7 million a year (thatís just his basketball
salary; it does not include endorsements) is opting out of his contract
so he can make even more next year. How much do these avaricious
megalomaniacs need? Ira Gershwin said it best in the Ď30s:
Folks with plenty of plenty, they got a lock on the door;
Afraid somebodyís gonna rob Ďem while theyíre out a-makiní more.
Ira Gershwin, Porgy and Bess.
Thereís nothing wrong with playing sports for a living, but there must
be a reasonable limit to how much these athletes need to be paid. In the
end itís the spectator who pays.
Give me womenís softball and even womenís soccer (even though soccer is
far too slow and low-scoring for my tastes) any day. They still play for
the love of the game.
Whenever a Dodgersí player is interviewed postgame on Sportsnet LA, he
is subjected to another player throwing a barrel of Gatorade over his
head and uniform, interrupting the interview and destroying the context.
On July4, Clayton Kershaw was being interviewed from the dugout on
national TV during the Dodgersí game with the Mets. During the interview
he was being constantly bombarded by seeds and plastic dolls thrown by
players off-screen. Finally, in the middle of the interview and the
bombardment, Kershaw looked to his right and said to those tormenting
him, ďIím trying to focus right now. Iím trying to do the best I can.
Itís tough. In every interview they do in the dugout itís like this. Our
team should be a little more mature than this, I think.Ē
These displays arenít just childishly immature; they are foolish and do
a disservice not only to the player and his interviewer and to the
viewers who want to hear what the player has to say, but to the game of
baseball itself. Here is a chance for one of the gameís premier players
to communicate with the sports nation as a whole, a PR windfall, and
itís desecrated by junior high school antics by Dodgers benchwarmers.
Itís not funny or playful; itís annoying and irritating. Dodgersí
management should put an immediate end to it. In fact, all sports should
put an end to the Gatorade bath, which started in 1984 when Chicago
Bears defensive tackle Dan Hampton dumped it over Coach Mike Ditka after
the Bears clinched the division title. Thirty one years is enough.
All Star Voting:
Reminiscent of 1957 when Cincinnati fans stuffed the ballot boxes to
elect 8 Reds to the starting All-Star team, Kansas City fans are doing
the same thing and everyone outside of K.C. deplores it. There is an
easy fix: limit ballots to fans who pay their way into the games and
require that ballots be distributed and filled out and submitted at the
ball parks. No voting by computer; the All-Star teams are chosen by
paying customers. End of problem.
Don Mattingly pulled Zack Greinke from the July 4 game against the Mets
after seven innings, pitching a four-hitter with no walks, leading 4-0,
because he had thrown exactly 100 pitches. Greinkeís four (!)
replacements over the final two innings allowed five hits (one more than
Greinke allowed in seven innings) and three runs, finally getting the
Mets out in the 9th inning with the tying and leading runs on
base. Not allowing obviously dominant starting pitchers to pitch
complete games should be a felony.