For decades now, Pete Rose has stood as a walking referendum on the notion of whether the character of an athlete should somehow stand in the way of his achievements. Yesterday’s report by ESPN’s Outside the Lines, producing written evidence that Rose bet on baseball games as a player, is not exactly a shocking revelation. Investigator John Dowd made the same claims in his report back in 1989, but ESPN’s new report confirms that Rose, 74, is both a dishonest human being and a great baseball player, two things that have very little to do with each other.
In a way, this is the best thing that could happen to Rose, considering he’s turned his banishment into a cottage industry in Las Vegas. If he were to somehow get into the Hall of Fame while still alive, he’d be just another great athlete riddled with complexities.
As it is, he now seems destined to remain the center of attention for years to come.
PLAYER’S TRUTH: The overarching story at the yellowed and alien-seeming Chambers Bay golf course in Washington state was that of Jordan Spieth, the phenom who is a mere 57 years younger than Gary Player. But the underlying truth was spoken by Player, 79, in an epic Golf Channel rant that invoked drought and Fox’s oft-obsequious broadcast team and the notion that while professional golf may be thriving thanks to corporate America, the sport itself is suffering in part because of intimidating public courses like Chambers Bay.
“We’ve got to make golf to where it’s quicker and more enjoyable,” Player said. “We’re going about it the wrong way.”
Perhaps Spieth, halfway to the first modern Grand Slam ever, can help bring newfound attention to a sport whose popularity has withered along with Tiger Woods’ career. But it’s up to the powers-that-be to actually find a way to make it more inviting to the rest of us.
FREAKY FLUCTUATION: What is he now? Eight years ago, Tim Lincecum was a phenom, a prodigy, with a fastball in the high 90s and the kind of stuff that so baffled hitters that he earned the nickname “The Freak.”
Now, after one of the worst starts of his career, the 31-year-old is once again on the verge of being bumped from a Giants rotation that — with the exception of one man — is entirely in flux.
This is a team that seems to constantly be teetering on the verge of both disaster and brilliance, and at this point, that also feels like a metaphor for Lincecum himself, who is always on the verge of being completely inviable while being simultaneously capable of throwing another 148-pitch no-hitter at any time.
DOSE OF REALITY: Everything about Nike’s new print advertisement, which guides us through LeBron James’ “grit squad” 2014-15 season, feels like an attempt to burnish the mythology of Cleveland’s suffering heading into the potential redemption of 2015-16.
“This isn’t Hollywood, it’s Cleveland,” the ad states, after imploring us to imagine that the Cavs “defied odds, logic and the basketball gods to win the [NBA Finals] in 7,” and that “nothing is given, it’s earned.”
I get where they’re coming from — I’ve witnessed this marketing scheme before — but considering the Warriors were the model of professional basketball ineptitude for several decades, that tagline plays in both
INSTA-REPLACEMENT: There are times when vacating one’s comfort zone can be a good thing, but Pablo Sandoval apparently has no comfort zone with the Red Sox, not even in the bathroom.
After getting suspended for a game last week for liking a couple of Instagram photos of someone who goes by the name of diva_legacy — apparently while relieving himself in the locker room — the 28-year-old ex-Giant sprained his ankle on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Giants appear to have discovered a capable young replacement at third base in Matt Duffy at the very moment that Sandoval might be flushing away the last of his honeymoon-period good will in Boston.
MONEY TALKS: Any doubt that the Warriors must give Draymond Green a max contract in order to keep him was erased last Friday at a victory parade during which Green delivered a rambling filibuster of a speech, poured champagne on the heads of the fans (and maybe some into himself), and unnecessarily talked trash to the local sports network, noting that the Cavaliers “suck.”
Never mind the on-court implications — if Steve Kerr wants to keep this locker room full of lovable goofballs together, Green, 25, is the centerpiece. And I imagine LeBron is preparing his rebuttal, which has me looking forward to next year’s Finals already.