Friday, June 10, 2011

Opining on Rocky, Pete Rose, LeBron & the Yankees

I know a lot of purists are in a snit about actor Sylvester Stallone being inducted this weekend into the Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, but I don’t have a problem with it. I believe there should be a place in such hallowed halls for people who helped promote their respective sports, and Stallone, through his series of Rocky movies, certainly did a lot more to champion boxing than a number of scallywags and reprobates already enshrined in the building just off Thruway exit 34.

In the same vein, I didn’t have an issue with Dick Vitale being inducted into the hoops hall in Springfield, Mass. Yes, I know his incessant yelling and tired nicknames during telecasts often has people scrambling to find the “mute” button on their remotes, but his enthusiasm and philanthropy and kindness away from the court contributed to college basketball’s burgeoning popularity in the 1980s and ‘90s.

Speaking of sporting hall issues, I read an interesting interview with Pete Rose recently in Sporting News magazine. As the years pass, I find myself willing to revisit the issue of Charlie Hustle’s eligibility for Cooperstown.
Clearly, his decision to gamble on games in which he managed was a mortal sin because it compromised baseball’s integrity. (We need to know the games are legit.) And Pete, who’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, hasn’t helped his cause by vehemently denying his transgressions, then coming clean only when he could make a buck off it by hawking a book.

I’m not saying I would necessarily make him eligible for the Hall, but I am softening my stance somewhat in my old age. One thing I would NOT do if I were Commissioner Bud is allow Pete to manage or coach again in the majors or minors.


I know Pete continues to pine for that opportunity, but that ship has sailed. Because of his gambling past, every move he made would be scrutinized beyond belief, and there would be allegations after each game that he was betting again.

And since we’re on the topic, I think it’s time for Shoeless Joe Jackson to become eligible for the Hall. He faced a lifetime ban and has been dead for five decades.


A very revealing stat from the NBA Finals: In the fourth quarter of the five games, Dirk Nowitzki has scored 55 points; MeBron James 11.


Wanna bet they’ll be popping champagne bottles in Cleveland as well as Dallas if the Mavericks knock off King James and the Miami Heat in one of the next two games to win the NBA championship.


I think it’s possible, but unlikely that the Yankees are going to make the playoffs this season. But if they do, it isn’t going to matter because they’ll have to face Boston and the Red Sox own them this season.


It's clearly not Brian Cashman's fault that Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain suffered injuries, but to think the Yanks were going to be able to get by with a rotation that included retreads and the unreliable A.J. Burnett was ridiculous. Cashman's judgment on pitching talent has always been suspect. The GM will be history after this season, and the Yankees will be better off without him.


Syracuse is one of seven schools on the list of Jim Kelly’s nephew, Chad. The younger Kelly is a standout quarterback at Buffalo’s St. Joe’s Prep and will be entering his senior season this fall. Ranked as a Top 100 recruit by several scouting services, Chad has whittled his choices to SU, Penn State, Florida State, Alabama, Clemson, Michigan State and Buffalo.


Tomorrow, for the third time in the past 11 years, I'll will be playing base ball - 19th century style - at historic Doubleday Field in Cooperstown. We have about 25 guys from the Silver Base Ball Park League at the Genesee Country Village & Museum in Mumford, taking part. It's always a thrill to play on the same diamond where Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Ted Williams. Roberto Clemente and Stan Musial once played. And it's also a treat to be able to show people the way the game was played during the Civil War era. We are scheduled to play two games, starting at 1:30. Admission is free, so if you are in Cooperstown or looking for something different to do, please stop by and say hello.

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