Thursday, June 05, 2003

Tigers Watch Suspended Indefinitely

The Detroit Tigers, thanks to their continued rise from hapless ineptitude to utter mediocrity, achieved a positive milestone yesterday. For the first time this season, their winning percentage is not dead last in the league. The Padres, who have lost consecutive games to Detroit, sit at 17-43 (.283), while the increasingly victorious Tigers are perched at 16-40 (.286). Neither is on pace to out-stink the beacon for woefulness in the modern era, the 1962 Mets, so we are officially discontinuing a steady watch of either ballclub until one or both of them sink below the Marv Throneberry Meter.

In other news, the sports media world, which with every day moves away from icons like Curt Gowdy, Shirley Povich, and The Sporting News to iconoclasts like Joan Rivers, Jim Rome, and The National Enquirer, has gathered in a frenzy regarding the Sammy Sosa corked bat incident. A few reasons this story isn't nearly so significant:

1. If Sammy were corking all along, he would have broken a bat long ago and the cat would be out already.
2. If you really want an asterisk by Sosa's numbers, it's a steroid-induced asterisk.
3. The real perpetrators of corking, like 'roids, are pretty obvious to anyone who's paying attention. Instead of demonstrating a moderately steady rise to power, like Sammy, they have an EKG-like spike in their slugging numbers, like classic Mets corker Howard Johnson. HoJo used more cork than Korbel in the late '80s, jumping from 10 taters in 1986 to 36 in 1987 (5th in the NL). Whitey Herzog perpetually accused and investigated, but it didn't matter. HoJo was endorsed by Quartet (Skokie, IL) corkboards, but it didn't matter. We all knew, we loved it, and it didn't matter. He never got caught, so his stats stand uncontested. Brady Anderson's 16-to-50 jump was, without any intended insult to mentally challenged people, retarded. In addition to using creatine, I'm thinking he had cork, superballs, little springs in his bats, plus maybe some smoke and mirrors from David Copperfield that year. But he never got caught doing anything illegal, so he goes down in history with all of the other 50-HR guys. Now Sosa breaks a corked bat that may or may not have been an innocent mistake, and people want to destroy his credibility in the record books? Hush your mouth.
4. People have been cheating in baseball for eons; the cheaters are getting away with it much less these days. It used to be almost humorous, just mischievous, the ways guys would try to gain an advantage. Now people without any sense of baseball history come at this from a personally insulted angle. Please shut up and go away.
5. This is just one more example of the masses trying to tear down our heroes. Sammy Sosa will take his place in a long line of sports media crucifixions, alongside such wronged men as Pete Rose, Michael Irvin, and O.J. Simpson. Damn them all to hell!

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