Let It Bleed, Bud

Good PR move, Bud Selig. And bless the fans in Chicago.

Bud has flung out suspensions for a dozen players who cheated the game, but he leaves Alex Rodriguez on the field to represent the absolute worst in baseball for the rest of the season.

Crisis management 101 — get everything out and get it behind you. Don’t let a wound slowly bleed.

A-Rod deserves to buried up to his nose in a vat of mustard for the rest of the season and the rest of his career — see how long his testosterone lasts treading mustard.

Baseball is busy congratulating itself for being tough on cheaters. Right. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who somehow missed that players like Bonds and Clemens and Sosa and McGwire were juicing and ruining the game’s grace and history and spirit, is trying to reclaim his reputation by being tough on the current crop of cheaters. Dozens of players have spoken out saying they’re tired of the cheaters winning pennants and MVP awards and lifetime records while honest players plug along. Fans are sick of it. Every exciting performance by a new home-run hitter or mow-em-down pitcher comes with the question — is he juicing?

Selig could have bounced A-Rod for life. Could have bounced him for the rest of this season and next, not letting him play while he appealed. But, apparently fearing a lawsuit or trouble with the union, Selig took the easiest way out and gave a suspension that allows the arrogant sniveling thief to still play, likely for the rest of the season, while a slow appeals process drips on.

You thought a lawsuit or union troubles would be bad for the game, Bud? How about the spectre of one of the most dishonest disgusting disingenuous hypocritical greedy bastards to ever pull on a jockstrap slouching into stadium after stadium modeling how well cheating works from now until October? How good is that for baseball?

Our only hope is that what the fans in Chicago started Monday, when they riotously booed every step Rodriguez took out of the dugout, will continue for every inning of every game the lying crook plays the rest of the season. Let’s take it upon ourselves to shame this creep under a rock.

Reach in your suit pants and find a pair, bud. Rid the game of this shameful imposter.

Or watch the great American game bleed to death. On your watch.

My brother David and I have watched Class A minor-league games the last two nights in gorgeous little ballparks in Iowa. Baseball remains a beautiful and amazingly difficult game to play. But when cheaters are chemically inflating their performances, there’s nothing on that field of dreams that we can trust. So we’ll turn away.

Unless you stop the bleeding.

— Bruce Benidt
(Image from epicurious.com)

Thunder and Lightning

Last night’s stirring come-from-behind victory by the upstart Oklahoma City Thunder over the once-inevitable San Antonio Spurs in the NBA’s Western Conference finals was a thing of beauty. It was also further proof that a lockout-shortened and injury-riddled season has been saved in the end by the unexpectedly great match-ups among the last four teams standing. Tonight the Boston Celtics have a chance to finish off the formerly favored Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference, an outcome that would not only produce an underdog sweep of both finals series, but would also thrill legions of LeBron James haters.

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Kevin Durant

James, who famously gave up on the Cleveland Cavaliers…and who even more famously earned the enmity of fans everywhere outside of South Beach with his splashy announcement that he was forming a Dream Team in Miami with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh two years ago…may be the best player in the NBA. But its brightest star is the Thunder’s Kevin Durant, a lanky 23-year-old whose exuberance and guile and killer instincts on the court contrast with James’s grimness and frequent unwillingness to take the shot at the end to win a game. That Durant has accomplished so much in a market even smaller than Cleveland only adds to his luminescence.

The Celtics, having found some youthful spring in their steps up and down the court would make an entertaining opponent for Durant and company. The kids from Oklahoma will arrive in the finals with lightning in a bottle, and seeing them against Boston’s silverbacks could be electrifying, especially with the knowledge that Mr. James has to watch it all on TV.  But if you like basketball more than schadenfreude…and maybe remember or have heard about the great match-ups of the past…we’re talking Larry vs. Magic in the Celtics/Lakers series of the mid-80s…then you might be pulling for the Heat to get past Boston.

Durant and James, mano-a-mano? Bring it.