Sports column: Manny’s drug test should surprise no one
Sun News Service
Manny Ramirez’s 50-game suspension for using a banned substance is not the end of the world, major league baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers or even Southern California kids wearing dreadlocks. Nobody is shocked and nobody is covering their eyes and crying, “Say it ain’t so, Mo!” On the list of horrible things a baseball player can do, testing positive for using a banned substance ranks somewhere between not signaling before making a right turn and forgetting to send your mom a card on Mother’s Day. All we know is that somewhere Alex Rodriguez is smiling this morning.
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How does this affect the Dodgers? The pressure is on youngsters Matt Kemp, James Loney, Andre Ethier and Russell Martin to drive in a big run now and then. Remember those frustrating pre-Manny days in 2007 and early 2008, Dodger fans? Well, they’re back. If the San Francisco Giants are going to climb into the National League West race, this is the time to do it. With Manny, the Dodgers are a legitimate World Series team. Without him, they are the Florida Marlins.
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The Nevada Wolf Pack baseball team has a chance to make history over the next two weekends. Just eight games remain in the Western Athletic Conference regular season and guess who is in first place? Yes, the Wolf Pack, the same team that was a when-is-this-year-going-to-end? 8-13 just six weeks ago. Rice and Fresno State have won every WAC regular-season title since the league went to a one-division format in 1999. So a Pack title is something to celebrate. Hey, we know it’s not as exciting as that big blow-up head that pops out from behind the center field fence at Aces Ballpark in the seventh inning. But it’s close.
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The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Thursday that it is moving its conference baseball tournament in 2010 from Boston’s Fenway Park to Greensboro, N.C. for economic reasons. It’s just easier for everyone in the ACC to get to North Carolina than Massachusetts. Imagine that. The WAC, in case you are wondering, will play its baseball postseason tournament in Hawaii later this month.
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The University of Washington just dropped its men’s and women’s swimming programs. The entire University of New Orleans’ athletic department is in jeopardy. This country’s economic crisis is clearly affecting college sports and it’s only a matter of time before programs evaporate all across the country. Something happened (TV money is the root of all that is evil in college sports) to college sports over the last decade where it turned into mini professional sports operations. Is that philosophy really working if the amount of opportunities for college athletes continues to dry up? Football and basketball coaches, though, are still getting multi-million dollar deals and families still have to decide between buying a week’s worth of groceries or taking their wife and two kids to a college game.
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The University of Tennessee recently signed a high school football player to a letter of intent. When that player was 13-years-old, he helped rape a 14-year-old girl (a relative) where the victim’s legs and wrists were tied up and her mouth and eyes were covered with tape. When Michael Vick gets signed by some NFL team this summer, you can bet representatives of PETA will picket outside that team’s offices and training facility. And they have every right to do so. Those picket lines will form because Vick tortured dogs. What should happen when you torture people?
All things considered, the Reno Aces put on a decent enough show. It’s typical Minor League Baseball stuff. You know, annoying to everyone over the age of 50 and entertaining to everyone who isn’t actually paying attention to the game. But, let’s face it. Minor league baseball is all about the fans who don’t actually pay attention to the game. It’s an event, a reason to spend $29 on a seat behind home plate to watch players you never heard of, munch on a $5 hot dog and sip a $6 beer. But it sure would be nice if the Aces actually flashed the starting lineups on that big, fancy, colorful scoreboard and announced all of the lineup changes during the game. You know, for us 50-over curmudgeons who actually watch the game.
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Ron Artest beating up on Kobe Bryant in the Los Angeles Lakers-Houston Rockets series is great theater. Rajon Rondo spinning Kirk Hinrich into the scorer’s table was good fun. The Denver Nuggets are a true Cinderella. LeBron James is from another planet. We understand that there is no cute little bracket to fill out so you can trash talk the girl in human resources when you go to work but you might want to check out this year’s NBA playoffs.
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