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3 - Pointer by Gary Whittaker
by: Gary Whittaker
Point 1 - Red Sox Win! Red Sox Win!
There will NOT be a bigger sporting event this year than the saga that was the 200 ALCS between the little Red Sox team defeating the big bad Yankees. The stories involve Pedro Martinez calling the whole damn Yankees as his "Daddy", to Mariano Rivera coming back to pitch in game 4 after 2 "shocking" deaths in his wife's family. From Schilling making baseball a MAN'S sport by pitching off a bleeding ankle, to the Red Sox making HISTORY with the 1st EVER come from behind 0 games to 3 to win the best of 7 game series. If it took a home run race between McGuire and Sosa to break the all-time record to bring life back to baseball, the 2004 ALCS will be known for bringing excitement back to a nation that was in dire need of a diversion from 9/11, Presidential debates, and war. Although this battle was a far cry from a David vs. Goliath, people still tried to make it seem as though it was. New York had history, tradition, and the Curse of the Bambino on their side, not to mention a 182 MILLION dollar payroll (that's in 1 baseball season folks!). The little old Red Sox had only 125 Million dollar payroll (number 2 after the Yankees, and another 24 million ahead of the number 3 Angels), an almost 9 decade drought, and that big curse against them. It will be interesting to now see what comparisons are drawn to a Cardinal team that is near the middle of the pack (11th overall) with a whopping 50 million dollars less than the Red Sox. I think this one will be over when the fat lady sings, as the Sox will be the Fat Lady making fried chicken out of the Cardinals.
Point 2 - Big Cecil, Big Debts
Detroit loved Cecil Fielder, who made over 47 million dollars during his career as a major leaguer. Cecil "Big Daddy" Fielder was one of the first in the modern day era to bring Home Run hitting over the 50 mark in 1990, something that had not been done in the American League for almost 30 years. 13 seasons, 319 Home Runs, 1 World Series ring, and 47 million dollars later, Big Daddy is in hiding over debts owed to various groups or people. For the average man, it is unfathomable that someone who can own a 50 bedroom house, purchased for only 3.7 million (less than 10% of his career earnings), can now be over 9 million dollars in debt...and in hiding. With Cecil in the midst of a divorce, we can only hope that Cecil gets the help he needs, declares bankruptcy, and moves on. The life of luxury may be over for him, but that does not mean he needs to ruin the rest of it.
Point 3 - Hockey has now become a game of Chicken
Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow are playing the most expensive game of chicken profesionnal sports has ever seen. Bettman is out to break the union, and Goodenow will not go back to the table, if the offer resembles anything like the latest proposal put forth by the owners. The problem for Goodenow right now is that his players are starting to talk. While some players are making fairly controversial statements (look up Chelios on this lock-out), players for the most part, just want at least the semblance of an effort made by their player association. To the majority of the players making the league average or less, the only thing they see out of this waiting game is diminishing support capacity for their current lifestyle. Sure, over 200 players have gone to Europe, but that also in not a real option for a lot of players, that have family commitments or other that keep them in North America. They are beginning to realize that in the end, the outcome of these negotiations will not favor them. Both the owners and union admit that salaries will decrease in the next collective bargaining agreement. So why should they have to get NO money, when at least SOME money can go to paying their mortgage? A Union is supposed to represent the best interests of all its players. Sure, the owners did cause this problem. It is not a player's fault if he accepts a 10 million dollar a year deal. Would YOU turn down that kind of money? I think not.a