Not fooled by A-Roid |

Not fooled by A-Roid

Joe Santoro
Special to the Nevada Appeal

Sports fodder for a Friday morning … Don’t be so quick to praise Alex Rodriguez for admitting he used performance enhancing drugs. OK, so he’s higher on the honesty food chain than Roger Clemens. Big deal. Clemens is only slightly below Richard Nixon, O.J. Simpson and Jon Lovitz’s Tommy Flanagan on the famous liars list. Rodriguez, who told Peter Gammons on ESPN that he only took PEDs from 2001-03, didn’t know exactly what he was taking and didn’t know until recently that he tested positive in 2003, must think that we are all fools. Well, A-Rod, A-Fraud, A-Roid, A-Jerk or whatever your nickname is now, we are not fools. We just want our game back. And the sooner all of you cheating, overpaid liars and frauds leave the game, the better.

Baseball players started cheating the first time the first umpire yelled “play ball.” They have scuffed up and moistened the baseball, they loaded up their bats with cork, nails and Super Balls. You name it, players have done it. And they will always do it. Cheating and baseball go together like beer and brats. The game is too difficult to always play by the rules. You can’t just run into someone and knock them down, jump over them or punch them in the face to earn your money. You have to constantly look for an edge. Performance enhancing drugs are just the latest method of cheating. So stop talking about wiping away Barry Bonds’ home run records. Stop saying that Clemens, Bonds, Mark McGwire and other steroid-era stars don’t deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. If you kept all of the cheaters out of the Hall of Fame, those Cal Ripken and Lou Gehrig plaques would get very lonely.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig is actually thinking about punishing Alex Rodriguez. Selig, who should be at the top of the blame list during the steroid era, continues to be the biggest liar in all of this mess. First of all, the man does nothing about the steroid problem for more than a decade. McGwire turned into a human mountain right in front of his eyes. Bonds’ neck started to receive mail in two different zip codes. But Selig did nothing for years. Now he wants to punish A-Roid? What about the other 103 guys who tested positive in 2003? Go away, Bud. Go away.

Is it too late to add Ramon Sessions to the NBA All-Star game? The most underappreciated Wolf Pack player in history (some guy named Fazekas got all the attention) has stepped into the Milwaukee Bucks starting lineup the last few weeks and has become the NBA’s best point guard. Sessions, who started the year playing behind Luke Ridnour (what was coach Scott Skiles thinking?), had 44 points and 12 assists against Detroit last Saturday, 26 points, seven assists and four steals against Houston on Monday and 17 assists and 15 points against Indiana on Wednesday. You still have to give Edgar Jones the title of Best Pack Player in the History of the NBA, but it won’t be long before Sessions claims the crown.

Isn’t it nice that ESPN has labeled Duke-North Carolina college basketball as the best rivalry in sports? If ESPN says it, it must be true, right? Here’s the deal with ESPN. It is a TV network. Nothing more. It has to sell its programming in order to get ratings in order to sell advertising time. Duke-North Carolina is the best rivalry in all of sports because ESPN lives and dies with college sports. If ESPN sold its soul to synchronized swimming, Russia-Spain would be the best rivalry in sports.

The NFL now has six different seasons during the course of the year. You know all about the first three seasons — the preseason, regular season and playoffs. The fourth season? That’s the Brett Favre Retirement Season. You know the drill. Favre announces his retirement, the media fawns all over his amazing career and we all get a little misty-eyed. The fifth season is the NFL college draft season where we all get excited about that third round pick from tiny State U. who is going to beef up the special teams. That’s OK. It’s a nice diversion as the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s slip out of playoff contention in late April. And, finally, we get the sixth NFL season, the Brett Favre Comeback Season. Who will Brett choose this summer? The Vikings? The Lions? Will he go back to the Jets? Where will he hunt and fish in July? I can’t wait.

Former Tampa Bay Bucs head coach Jon Gruden called Florida quarterback Tim Tebow “250 pounds of concrete cyanide” this week in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel. For that reason alone I would hire Gruden to coach my team. Any NFL coach who can see the value in Tebow is a NFL coach who isn’t afraid to step out of the box and be creative. Gruden once coached 350 pounds of doughnuts and cream pies in Warren Sapp. If he says Tebow can make it big in the NFL, I believe him.

It has been recently reported that 6-foot-7, 335-pound lineman Terdell Sands of the Oakland Raiders punched 6-foot-2, 225-pound punter Shane Lechler in the face on a team flight this season. Now we know why the Raiders were horrible once again. Lechler survived to punt another day. What do you think would have happened to Ray Guy if Art Shell, Gene Upshaw, Otis Sistrunk or Bob Brown punched him in the face? My guess is a coffin surrounded by a lot of silver and black flowers.