Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. Like many of you, I am fighting with writing this week. I love baseball as much as anyone, but the allure of the approaching football season is beginning to tug at my inner sports fan. I am going to use a bit of shotgun approach this week, but not before I touch on the Washington Nationals. I remember writing sometime during spring training that I did not think that the Nationals had the middle infield to hang for an entire season. Watching the Nationals steamrolling toward a pennant, those words seem pretty damn silly now. Espinosa and Desmond have proven to be a solid middle infield and have added surprising pop to the lineup. This Nationals team is a really good team and what is rather startling is how young they are. The Braves have played good baseball since the All Star break and they simply can’t gain any ground. With Strasburg in the lineup, it is hard to imagine any team beating them in a 7 game series. I know that R.A. Dickey is the sentimental favorite for the NL Cy Young, but I don’t see how anyone beats Strasburg.
Like or not, Melky Cabrera has reignited conversation concerning PEDs in baseball. Many of us have a difficult time understanding how players refuse to play by the rules. Of course, how often to we see people violate the rules of the real world each day? It has been said rules are made to be broken, which is part of the problem. We have so many rules in our lives that we have come to accept the fact that it is okay to break or “bend” the rules. In no way can I defend Melky or any other player that cheats the game. But, is that any worse than cheating on your wife or your taxes? Each day we are faced with decisions. In order to change the behavior of our professional athletes, we must change the perception of integrity. The problem is, how do you mandate integrity? How do you convince a kid from nothing that a professional career in baseball is not worth the risk of being caught taking peds. I often wonder, what are fans and writers more upset with…players cheating the game or the long term health risks for athletes? Rick Sutcliffe has a solution for Melky Cabrera…revoke his visa. “Why's he still here? That visa should be taken away, and he should not be allowed to play over here again, or work over here again, in my opinion." As an ex-player, Sutcliffe obviously has hard feelings about peformance enhancing drugs. Of course, he finishes his diatribe by saying that if he played now that he would probably use testosterone too…huh? So Rick, do you detest peds in baseball or just not like folks with work visas? I guess we all make mistakes, right Rick. Sort of like showing up on air at a Padres game drunk off your ass…
There is no easy solution to this problem. Since professional sports has become such a lucrative business, there will always be those willing to risk getting caught for a chance at the brass ring. Some suggest that we simply ban players that are caught. That is a neat answer and maybe it is the correct answer. But as we generally give first time offenders a chance for redemption is this the right way? I am not so sure that this would go over too well in our world. First time offense for a DUI, you lose your license to drive forever? This reminds me of the middle east where they remove the offending body part. If you steal, you lose a hand. If you are commit adultry…oh never mind, you get the idea. It is difficult to be in the business of judging and really not what sports is supposed to be all about.
In a more pleasant baseball story…do remember Jim Joyce? I think many of us gained a measure of respect for how this guy handled his blown call of Armando Gallaraga’s perfect game. For those of you still lacking respect for Joyce, check this out…
PHOENIX -- Jim Joyce's timing could not have been better.
In fact, it was lifesaving.
The veteran Major League umpire performed CPR on D-backs food service employee Jayne Powers prior to the D-backs-Marlins game on Monday night.
"[The doctors] are pretty confident that they got her to the hospital in a shape where they could treat her and get her well again," said Russ Amaral, a D-backs vice president in charge of facilities and event services.
Joyce, who was scheduled to work the game behind the plate, arrived at the ballpark around 5:15 p.m. MST. He was walking down a ramp that leads to the umpire's dressing room.
Nearby, a briefing to the Levy food service workers had just broken up, and Powers, who has worked for the D-backs since their inaugural season in 1998, was speaking with a co-worker. She suddenly grabbed her co-worker's arm, began to shake and then fell to the ground.
"I knew something was wrong," Joyce said. "And I knew if something wasn't done, this lady could actually die in front of me. It was more instinct than anything else."
Joyce began to perform CPR, something he learned in high school.
"I've always stayed up with it," Joyce said. "Everybody should know it. I truly mean that. Everybody should know it. Because if you only have to use it one time, it can, well ... you can see what happened."
Not long after, Marlins bullpen coordinator Jeffrey Urgelles arrived on the scene. Urgelles was a firefighter/paramedic in the Miami-Dade County area. He assisted Joyce and later also helped out the paramedics.
"Somebody called for a trainer," Urgelles said. "I saw one of the security guys sprinting up the stairs. I knew then something was up, and I started walking out of the cage to see what was happening. Ricky Nolasco screamed for me. He was saying, 'Urgy, Urgy, they need someone who knows CPR.'
"I ran down the hallway and the lady was down on the ground. When I got there, there was a lady down and two people there. One of the guys was doing compression. That man ended up being Jim Joyce, the umpire. Until then, I didn't know who he was until late last night."
A call had already been made to the D-backs' security control room to send help, and a first responder arrived on the scene within minutes with an automatic external defibrillator (AED). Joyce continued with the CPR while the first responder worked with the AED.
Some 20 minutes later, Powers was transferred to an ambulance, which took her to Good Samaritan Hospital, where she finally regained consciousness.
Jim Joyce helped save this woman’s life, and then went to do his job as an umpire. Because Joyce was scheduled behind the plate, his crew tried to relieve him of this duty, but of course Joyce refused…because that is who Jim Joyce is.
I read a couple of stories on Tuesday that made me shake my head…
An Oklahoma high school valedictorian who used the word "hell" in her graduation speech in May has yet to receive her diploma.
Kaitlin Nootbaar graduated from Prague High School with a 4.0 grade point average, her father, David Nootbaar, told KFOR-TV. But school administrators told him that Kaitlin would have to submit a written apology in order to get her diploma.
"We went to the office and asked for the diploma and the principal said, 'Your diploma is right here but you're not getting it. Close the door, we have a problem,'" David Nootbaar told the network.
In her speech—inspired by a similar address in "Eclipse: The Twilight Saga"—Kaitlin recounted how annoying it is to be constantly asked what she wants to do as graduation approached. "How the hell do I know?" she said, according to her father. "I've changed my mind so many times."
In the version she submitted to the school for approval, "hell" was "heck." But in the version she delivered at graduation, "hell" it was.
The school declined to comment. "This matter is confidential and we cannot publicly say anything about it," Prague schools Superintendent Rick Martin said in a statement to KFOR.
The hell you say? I would certainly write a letter, but an apology would be the last thing that I would write. This is just crazy.
Elsewhere in Oklahoma…
A 5-year-old boy learned the hard way that Columbus, Ohio isn't the only place that hates Michigan - apparently Oklahoma does too.
Young Cooper Barton wore his favorite Michigan shirt to Wilson Elementary in Oklahoma City and was told it violated the Oklahoma City Public Schools dress code and was asked to turn the shirt inside out. According to the dress code, students are only allowed to wear Oklahoma, Oklahoma State or apparel from another Oklahoma-state school. Everything else is a violation (especially Texas).
The dress code also prohibits professional apparel.
This isn't the first time a kindergartner has been asked to ignore their collegiate allegiance. In February, Emma Burton of Olathe, Kan., refused to color a University of Kansas Jayhawk because she and her parents were devout Kansas State fans.
According to the television station, the Oklahoma City Public Schools dress code was created in 2005 as part of a way to rid schools of gangs and gang apparel.
The principal and vice principal modeling suggested student wear...
Apparently, the folks in Oklahoma are convinced that this policy has worked because they have had zero gang problems among 5 year olds. Meanwhile in Austin, it was decided that OU still sucks…
Football season is just around the corner…
Golf is certainly easier that way...
One last thing I had on my mind was Augusta allowing two women as members. Personally, I could care less who Augusta decides is acceptable to be a member. Augusta National is a great golf course, but for 99.99% of us, we have no chance at ever being a member. One thing that does bug me about this announcement is that Martha Burke is busy patting herself on the back. It seems to me if she had just stayed out of this that Augusta would have probably have invited women before now.
That is all I have for today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey:
“Why do people in ship mutinies always ask for “better treatement”? I’d ask for a pinball machine because with all that rocking back and forth you’d probably be able to get a lot of free games.”
“My young son asked me what happens after we die. I told him we get buried under a bunch of dirt and worms eat our bodies. I guess I should have told him the truth-that most of us go to Hell and burn eternally-but I did not want to upset him.”
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own...