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The steroid era is officially over.  The two biggest figures, Clemens and Bonds have both been through perjury trials and both acquitted.  Juries found both not guilty of lying under oath about using steroids.  Attorneys from the United States Department of Justice were unable to show that either man used steroids.  In short, there is reasonable doubt that either man ever used steroids despite any other information to the contrary.  Baseball’s Steroid Era exists in a cloud of loud shouts and quiet disappointments.  We will never know definitively just how many major leaguers took PEDs and how it effected their statistics.

If nothing else, the steroid era in baseball reminded us of a few simple truths about the game.  The increasing emphasis of numbers by management led players and coaches to abide in them.  Fans re-discovered the ugly side of baseball as enterprise.  Yet we also enjoyed the potent offense and dominant pitching the steroid era provided.  We also had to begin questioning the legacy of the game we loved.  Where does this era fit?  How do we judge the achievements?  Here are the truths we learned and how I think we should view it.

Baseball is more than numbers.  The business of baseball is all about stats, but the memory of it disregards them.  Bob Costas said recently that Maris and Aaron had “lost their rightful place in history” because of the “inauthentic” numbers put up by McGwire and Bonds.  That’s not true.  Maris and Aaron have a mythic quality to their names, yet no one my age ever saw them play.  Our knowledge of them is in grainy television footage and grandpa’s recollection.  We learned about those men from our mothers, fathers, teachers and coaches.  Our forebears cared enough about these ball players to tell stories about them to their offspring.  Storytelling creates heroes, not statistics.

Baseball is a business.  Professional athletes are just that: professional.  Adults need to get paid.  Without my job, I can’t pay my rent and I’m living with mommy and daddy.  The vast majority of professional baseball players live around the poverty line.  Most professional ball players are in the minor leagues and live hand to mouth.  Hit more homeruns and you’ll get more money.  The incentive is clear and the assistance is available.  Baseball is a boy’s game played by men but men aren’t boys.  Money matters.  Being a ball player doesn’t make that any less true.

Baseball is entertainment.  Baseball, whether watched or played is a diversion from the monotony of the daily grind.  Watching a baseball game, no matter how boring, still beats standing on your feet all day taking shit from your boss.  During the steroid era, we got to see more homeruns than ever before.  Homeruns are awesome.  Seeing Pedro Martinez shut down hitters throughout the peak of the steroid era was even more entertaining.  Even if we think that steroids are awful and that taking steroids make you a cheater, it doesn’t change that baseball was simply fun to watch during their reign in the majors.

The Hall of Fame is Overrated.  There are hundreds of players in the Baseball Hall of Fame I’ve never heard of and dozens more I don’t care about. There are a few baseball legends that everyone knows, Ruth, Gehrig, Mays, Aaron, etc.  But ask your Average Joe who Christy Mathewson is and he won’t have a fucking clue.  People remember their personal favorites.  Scott Brosius is a god to any Yankee fan under the age of 40.  He’ll never be in the Hall of Fame, but I’ll always know his name.

The Steroid Era is over.  We’ll be arguing for generations over the authenticity of Barry Bonds’s homerun record against Hank Aaron’s.  We’ll still pay top dollar to go see the best baseball players in the world ply their trade and be rewarded for it.  The players we’ve always loved will forever hold a special place in our baseball hearts regardless of their steroid use.  No matter what sports writers may say, the steroid era didn’t really change anything.  Inflated numbers and deflated trust can’t stop us from loving baseball.  No one statistic, no one player, no one owner, no one scandal is bigger than the game.  The greatest truth: Baseball is a game, don’t take it too seriously.

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[Editor’s Note: quikstop85 is an old friend but a new ranter, this post is from his Quikstop Blog. He has previously posted on our blog with the Octo-burner. I’m looking forward to material from quikstop85 to suppliment my otherwise weak posting schedule. Enjoy!]

Howdy there folks. Been some time I know and I apologize to the 3 people who actually check this blog. My bad, but I’ve been busy. I’ve talked a lot about politics and some of the generally horrible stuff going on in the world, but for this post, I’m going back to the one thing I know really well: sports. This year, the sports world has been shocked by the allegations and confessions that both Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez are (and most likely were) steroid users. Talking heads talk of their “disappointment” and “dismay” that players of their stature would even consider using steroids. When it comes down to it, however, it doesn’t really matter. Steroids or no, , the MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL and even the MLS are as exciting as they’ve been as least in my 23+ years on this planet. Professional sports are, have always been and always will be a diversion; an organized form of entertainment. Regardless of the health and moral issues associated with steroids, have you not been entertained during the so-called “Steroid Era”?

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     So, psych! Instead of a new post tomorrow, you’re getting a throwback today! In honor of the upcoming Duke at Maryland game tomorrow I had to throw up my Dook hate post. This is an especially meaningful game, in that it is our last shot at a quality win against a ranked opponent. LET’S GO MARYLAND! Also, since we traditionally riot after beating the Blue Douches, the University has attempted to set up a bonfire celebration after the game to eliminate the need for tear gas, pepper spray and another possible county police overreaction that results in a student being beaten unconsious, and then beaten some more. My prediction: If we actually do win, no one will be able to stop the riots from occuring. Anywho, here it is:

     Why Maryland Will ALWAYS Be Better Than Duke (Even When We Lose): A Photo Documentary

     Alright, screw it. I’ll add a couple more photos.
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Welcome to this week’s Politics As Usual, I’m your host Shanknasty. This week we’re going to be meeting the new elected Congressman from New Jersey’s District 3, and former Eagles Pro Bowl Right Tackle, Jon Runyan.

What? You thought only the guys in your fantasy draft get noticed by the ladies?

From his bio on runyanforcongress.com:

Jon Daniel Runyan, 36, was born in Flint, Michigan. His father worked for General Motors for nearly 30 years and his Mom largely stayed home and raised Jon and his two younger twin brothers.

Ah yes. Flint, Michigan. The home of Michael Moore, Jim Abbott, and MC Breed. “Breed” as he’s known (or was known, he died in 2008 due to kidney failure), is the first rapper come out of the Midwest and actually did a song called “Gotta Get Mine” with Tupac. Who did Nothin But Trouble with Demi Moore. Who did A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon. Go ahead, look it up.

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This Month’s Hero: Mark “Shenanigans Have Been Called” McGwire

I can't believe this is funny again.

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     Well it’s about time to get jazzed up again. Maryland Basketball has begun. Looking through Google Image Results for Duke Maryland Basketball is one of my early-in-the-season traditions. It never fails to get me fired up. I figured I would share some of my favorite pictures that prove that Duke blows ass. Shall we start?

     One of the best. Clearly they raise Duke fans to be crybabies very early in life.

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The Future of Sports

     So I was watching someone’s number being retired and a thought occurred to me. What happens hundreds of years in the future when all the numbers start getting retired? And yes, American football, baseball and hockey will be around that far into the future. Soccer and professional basketball will not be. Let’s face it, those sports blow and I have seen the glorious future with flying cars, portable satellite television and a bionic Shane Victorino. Either way, I’m not here to debate the legitimacy of terrible sports, only to speculate as to what will happen when all the numbers have retired.

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The New Jersey General Assembly passed a resolution in recognition of the New York Giants winning Super Bowl XLII. The resolution included a few pokes o’ fun, New Jersey style!

Tackle Kareem McKenzie, a New Jersey native, was in attendance to represent the Giants. “We appreciate your efforts on behalf of the New Jersey Giants,” Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce exclaimed, with a look of extreme satisfaction on his face that is annoying to other people who are less happy [that’s a definition].

Assemblyman Anthony Chiappone weighed in on the issue. “One day I hope to be standing here issuing a proclamation to the New Jersey Giants.”

As I was writing this post, Larry [my computer] decided to weigh in on the issue.

[Click to play audio]

Oh Larry, always patronizing.

Here’s a link to the full article from ESPN.com.

The General Assembly also sponsored a parade in honor of the Giants. Due to lack of funds, the parade was not advertised, and the procession consisted of the General Assembly walking around the block following this clown.

clown
Mr. Gigglesworth, the Clown

“We’ll certainly allot more funds to the ‘Tickertape Parade’ budget for next season, we need to get competitive with New York if we ever want the Giants to feel at home here,” lamented Chiappone.  “Mr. Gigglesworth was a hit at my son’s birthday party, but I think it may have been a mistake bringing him here.”

The last time the state of New Jersey had anything to celebrate was…well…

Never.

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Vagabond

Ok, I’ve put a lot of thought into this Re: the new American Gladiators. What’s better than a cocky yet confident New York City Fireman, or a Youth Pastor with a heart of gold?

You guessed it: a hobo with a chip on his shoulder.

It would be perfect — the great American success story unfolding in front of the audience’s eyes, not to mention accented by Hulk Hogan and Tatiana Laila Ali’s expert (and completely candid) commentary. From rags to riches, an instant hero – who would have more to fight for than a man who travels the country by hitchhiking and jumping onto moving trains.

That lifestyle would certainly prepare you for the physical challenge of American Gladiators – and the $100,000 purse would lead our new homeless friend into a frenzy. What could he do with that kind of money – oh, the possibilities.

And if he won the whole thing, he could be the next American Gladiator.

Everyone knows that an essential component to being on American Gladiators is not only brawn, but the brains to come up with the perfect name.

Wolf – This guy is basically ripped out of The Jungle Book, he is Mowgli’s father – he howls and everything.

Justice – 6’8″ 290 lbs. tank – his name provides endless puns on delivering justice, serving justice, being judge, jury and executioner etc.

Hellga – self-explanatory

Crush – she’s pretty but will put a hurtin’ on you, much like Orange Crush (the soda) or Blue Crush (the movie/wave)

And now, I present you with Vagabond. Once he fought a mountain lion to protect the territory he’d marked with his very own urine, and he’s wrestled steer to the ground and killed them with his bare hands for food.

So writers and talent scouts – be on the lookout for this guy, he’s your ticket not only to ratings galore, but also to America’s heart.

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Roy Williams is a Punk

Although newspaper headlines will probably highlight the upset victory of the Philadelphia Eagles over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, the headline could very easily have had a very different message on Monday morning.

“Eagles lose; McNabb suffers season-ending injury from illegal tackle”

Dallas strong safety Roy Williams tackled a scrambling Donovan McNabb from behind during the second quarter of the game using a technique known as a horse-collar tackle. This type of tackle was made illegal in 2005 because of the high potential for injury, and has been called “the Roy Williams Rule” because of his use of the tackle. Williams has been fined by the NFL two times this season and once last season for using the horse-collar tackle, and in 2004 he injured former Eagle and current teammate Terrell Owens using the tackle. For more information on the previous horse-collar tackles and penalties, here’s a link to an ESPN article about it.

It’s pretty clear that Roy Williams doesn’t really care about the $20,000 or so he’ll lose as a result of tackling in this way, as he continues to perform the horse-collar tackle. What would’ve happened if McNabb would’ve torn something in his knee or ankle, ending his season or even career as a result of that tackle?

The only answer is a heightened penalty for those who use the horse-collar tackle again and again – suspension without pay, ejection from the game, something with more teeth than losing a fraction of an NFL player’s paycheck. The current system is not effectively deterring players from performing the tackle, and the NFL has a responsibility to protect players from egregious acts that are likely to cause injury.

[Update] Roy Williams was suspended for this weekend’s game against the Carolina Panthers. Congrats to the NFL for standing up for the safety of its players and setting a precedent that harsher penalties can and will be used for those who continually disobey league rules (especially league rules that were created as a result of your conduct, Mr. Williams).

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