Friday, August 24, 2012

Too good to be true

If it looks like it is too good to be true, it probably is. Cycling's superstar Lance Armstrong was stripped of his 7 Tour de France victories by the USADA, the US anti-doping agency. Armstrong said he had had enough and wasn't going to fight their charges that his victories were tainted by doping. They had a strong case citing at least 10 former team members who were going to testify that he doped and the doping was an essential element of their team racing preparation. If it is true, and we will never for sure will we (wink, wink), it is not surprising. What Armstrong accomplished is beyond humanly possible. We just didn't want to admit it at the time. It's like Tour de France winner Floyd Landis who achieved an amazing comeback on the hardest climb of one of last days of the Tour - and we marveled at his stupendous athletic performance - only to find out later how he did it - he cheated. It's like MLB's Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon, both of whom were having remarkable comeback years, and we marveled at their turnarounds, only to find out how they managed such feats. They cheated. Ryan Braun cheated last year and won the MVP for the National League. He said he didn't cheat and had his suspension overturned on a technicality. But, who believes him? Only Brewers fans, I guess. Sports today has a huge credibility problem. We watch suspiciously. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Pro Football begins it's season next week. With replacement refs which should provide some entertainment value and take our minds off the jarring collisions which cause concussions the damage of which will show up years later. But, football is way too popular and makes way to much money to make it safer. Interesting, how many more ex-pro players are saying they don't want their children to play. Who would? I played and got my bell rung many times which is probably why I can't remember last week. But, who knew about concussions then. If you were tough you went back out to play. I steered all four of our sons to soccer. And that was before all the concussion studies. Glad I did.

Pro football's minor league season starts next week, too. It's called major college football. It's entertaining and makes tons of money, too. In an article in SI on the new season at PSU which was rocked by the Sandusky - Paterno scandal the makeover or recovery that is in progress was detailed. Money is no problem. The new weight training coach who came from South Carolina thought the PSU stuff was out of date so he completely redid the weight room. New equipment stations. While most schools begin this week and are scrambling to find money for books, and other resources, big time college football has no money worries. The top 25 rankings are out by the way and the 6 power conferences have 24 out of the 25 spots.  Boise State has the other one and they are moving to the Big East next season. There's your NFL minor league.

Back to baseball, in NY, Ichiro Suzuki has been reborn now that he has something to play for. Just playing baseball wasn't enough apparently. And now that he is gone, the Seattle Mariners have played much better. They are a team without a superstar. Just a bunch of guys who want to play baseball. Let's hope they don't become too good to be true.