Oct 01

NIKE and Vick in bed again ….

As a pet lover, I’m more than annoyed. As a follower of professional sports, I’m not surprised by NIKE’s decision to get back together with dog-killer quarterback Michael Vick.

At the time, when Vick’s dog fighting hobby came to the surface and he was sent to prison and the National Football League suspended him, NIKE fell itself in a splash of self-righteousness, calling cruelty to animals, “inhumane, abhorrent and unacceptable.’’

The release of Vick’s shoe was stopped.

VICK: Head down, but no shame.

VICK: Head down, but no shame.


However, Vick’s return to the NFL has been met with hardly a whimper, with perhaps most people distracted by the economy. Whatever the reason, there has been no outcry against Vick and the Eagles.

The barometer has been no backlash from the Eagles’ sponsors. NIKE, seeing this, figured it was safe to get back into bed with Vick.

I know this is wishful thinking on my part, but it would have been nice to see Vick donating a portion of his salary, and NIKE making contributions, to animal shelters.

But, we won’t see any of that until there’s some kind of protest against Vick and NIKE. Until then, they will continue on in arrogant bliss.

Oct 01

Concern over Rodriguez ….

It is easy to express concern over Francisco Rodriguez after yesterday’s 40-pitch, ninth-inning meltdown, but the reality is what happened shouldn’t be considered a surprise.

Rodriguez has been living on the edge all season, with yesterday being his seventh blown save of the summer. That’s a little over one a month, which is acceptable for closers not named Mariano Rivera.

RODRIGUEZ: Did a lot more celebrating last year.

RODRIGUEZ: Did a lot more celebrating last year.


In Mitch Williams-type fashion, Rodriguez makes an adventure out of every opportunity as he did last year for the Angels.

Rodriguez had a career year in 2008 with 68 saves, but he’s had more telling numbers this year, such as 111 base runners in 67 2/3 innings. His fastball is off and he’s been overly reliant on his breaking ball.

Perhaps the Angels knew something, because otherwise, you don’t let dominant closers get away. It’s not unreasonable to suggest the Angels forecasted a breakdown, which is why they wouldn’t give Rodriguez the money or the years.

I’m betting he doesn’t last the three years without breaking down.

Oct 01

They Said It ….

Rodriguez stands up.

Rodriguez stands up.

Mets reliever Francisco Rodriguez has thrown a few of his teammates under the bus this season after a blown save opportunity, notably Daniel Murphy.

Yesterday afternoon, Rodriguez gave up five runs in the ninth inning, including a game-winning grand slam to Justin Maxwell. Rodriguez hasn’t had too many save opportunities this month, but refused to accept rust as the easy way out.

“No, if I suck I suck, I don’t make excuses,’’ Rodriguez said. “To all those fans out there watching that poor effort today, I apologize. I’m really embarrassed. I just have to suck it up and keep working hard and make sure that doesn’t happen again.’’

Oct 01

Today in Baseball History …. Straw clocks one.

Cards-Mets defined intense.

Cards-Mets defined intense.

Throughout their history, the Mets have had a series of rivalries, but there was something special in their duel with the St. Louis Cardinals during the 1980s.

On this day in 1985, the teams began a three-game series at Busch Stadium, with the Mets winning the first game, 1-0 in 11 innings on Darryl Strawberry’s monstrous homer off Ken Dayley that broke light bulbs on the scoreboard.

STRAWBERRY: Stirred the drink.

STRAWBERRY: Stirred the drink.


Ron Darling and John Tudor each pitched 10 scoreless innings.

“I get goose bumps when I come back to this stadium and remember the rivalry,’’ Darling said. “I was sitting on the bench and had a good view of that monster shot Darryl hit. I think that in all my career, that was the most excited I’ve ever seen a clubhouse after a game. Guys were crying and hugging and laughing.”

The Cardinals would win that season, but the Mets rolled in 1986.

Strawberry was catalyst of those Mets teams during the 1980s. He is among the few players who made everybody stop and watch when he came to the plate because of his awesome power potential. Few guys have had that ability to make a stadium gasp with one swing, and Strawberry was one of them.