25 years is a long time. Perhaps not in true historical terms, like compared to the history of dinosaurs. But in the context of an average human lifetime, 25 years is a considerable chunk. That duration, 25 years, is now how long baseball record holder Pete Rose has been exiled from the sport for gambling on it as a player and a manager. Rose, of course, holds the major league baseball record for hits at 4,256. He made 17 all-star games and managed for five seasons. But, he also bet on baseball, including his own team, while he was in the sport. That, of course, defies the sacred code of any sport, the idea that someone on the field of play compromises the integrity of an unscripted outcome. So for that reason, compounded by the egregious tenor of his gambling habit and adversarial denial of its occurrence, former baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti essentially banned Rose in perpetuity in exchange for not pursuing any additional penalties, which would likely get really legal really fast. Giamiatti died soon thereafter, and the ban continued on, now almost in tribute to the former commissioner. So ending this 25 year ban feels about as easy as unmasking the tomb of the unknown soldier – even if we can do it, it’s not going to get a lot of support.
Life is confusing. I’m not talking about things like taxes or un-assembled furniture, which are offensively so. I’m talking about the daily quandaries, like whether gambling should be legal, or whether you should let your kids play with water guns. By all estimations, life is lived largely outside the lines, in the greys that color your daily existence.
To be honest, most of us have a hard time simply understanding the context of last week’s car racing death of Kevin Ward Jr., who was killed during a bizarre confrontation on a dirt track in Canandaigua, NY. After crashing out of the race, Ward left his car and walked onto the track in a confrontational manner. After narrowly missing being hit by one vehicle, he was struck to his eventual death by one driven by NASCAR star driver Tony Stewart, who himself has a reputation for hostility at the race track.
For now, Buffalo Bills fans are Living on a Prayer. It’s not the faint hope placed on quarterback EJ Manuel’s arm, which will likely require a whole lot of divine intervention. It’s the far more existential question of whether the Buffalo Bills will in fact remain that, the Buffalo Bills. What’s certain is that the team will have a new owner following the death of Ralph Wilson, who bought the team in 1959 and kept them in the post-industrial town despite its shrinking market size and clear opportunities to move to greener pastures, places with better facilities and greater revenue potential. But Wilson promised to stay, something that made him perhaps the most beloved sports figure in Buffalo not named Jim Kelly.
There is literally nothing one can say in defense of Ray Rice, the Baltimore running back just suspended two games for assaulting his then girlfriend/now wife Janay Palmer, the aftermath of which was caught on tape as Rice dragged a lifeless Palmer out of a hotel elevator. Even though charges were dropped, thanks largely to Palmer’s unwillingness to press them, the verdict on Rice’s character is long decided. The fact is and will remain that a brutish NFL star pulled an inert female out of an elevator as if she were a piece of luggage, an obvious victim of his brutality.
Talking about Derek Jeter is like talking about Ronald Reagan. No matter what you may think of him, it’s almost irreverent to say anything bad out loud. That was certainly the case at last night’s MLB all-star game, where Jeter was given a standing ovation that would approach Cats on its final Broadway appearance. For over a minute, the Minneapolis crowd and every other player on the field stood and applauded the 40 year old when he came to bat in the first inning of his final all-star appearance. That even included St. Louis pitcher Adam Wainwright, who took off his glove and stepped off the mound to congratulate the Yankees star.
Having played my share of youth soccer, the vast majority for the JCC, I’m well familiar with blowout losses. We once lost a game 14-0. I’ve seen countless scores that looked like they were from football – the American kind. And now that I’m paying attention to underage soccer once again, this time for my kids, I’ve grown to accept that soccer can be a lot like an episode of Dallas. A lot of scoring, and hard to watch.
Life is always relative. A good job for someone might be a failure to another. Gourmet food in one kitchen is another’s table scraps. But nowhere is that more true than when you talk about salary. One man’s fortune is another man’s welfare. That seems to be the current case of NBA basketball coach Jason Kidd. After one year of his first ever coaching job as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, the former all-star point guard has left New York for the same job in Milwaukee. Milwaukee. A city Brooklyn could swallow whole for breakfast. Who’s most famous resident was likely William Rehnquist. But it falls off quickly from there. Where they can’t get an arena built, a place NBA free agents see as some sort of purgatory between Boston and LA. That’s where Jason Kidd will spend his second year coaching in the NBA, just named head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Having my youngest of two boys three years into daycare and headed to pre-K, I’m well familiar with the kinds of behaviors that earn you a note sent home to parents. Hitting’s one. Certain adult language is another. But the gold standard of all pink slips is, of course, biting. Bite another kid, and your parents get something approaching a police report, and the other parents get a note branding you a common criminal. Hitting and name calling are bad, but biting is flat out felonious.