All hail the commissioner. Bow in fear to the guardians of our beloved games because these benevolent despots have carte blanche to do almost anything. Just keep that TV money rolling in and fans turning out in droves and team owners would probably elect Fidel Castro.
Therein lies the rub. There’s too much power at the top. Baseball’s newly enlightened crusader for a clean game, Bud Selig, proudly boasted in spring training that steroids and amphetamines are “virtually non-existent” in the major leagues.
Given Selig’s history of denial and selective enforcement of drug cheaters, why should we believe him now? Selig also said his blue ribbon committee exploring stadium options for the A’s would deliver it’s results in a timely manner. That was more than a year ago.
Then there’s the NFL’s guru of goodness, Roger Goodell, suspending players who are merely accused of illegal activities, criminal charges and convictions be damned.
Meanwhile, David Stern is so upset about unending speculation about where LeBron James will end up this summer, he is fining coaches and team executives who dare to publicly comment on basketball’s biggest story.
Let’s not forget the NBA’s ridiculous “one-and-done” rule requiring players to spend at least one season in college or overseas before becoming eligible for the draft.
Excuse me, but if professional leagues can enjoy tax breaks, antitrust exemptions and public funding for new stadiums and arenas, is it too much to ask that commissioners embrace matters such as free speech, due process and the right to work?
Finally, there’s a solution to the Bay Area power shortage at the plate: Eliminate the cleanup hitter.
Since neither the Giants nor A’s have a legitimate slugger, just pass over the No. 4 spot in the order like the 13th floor of the office or apartment building. Bruce Bochy and Bob Geren can make out their lineup cards with batters 1-3 and 5-10.
As of Wednesday, the A’s had the second-lowest home run total in the majors (25), while the Giants (33) had hit the third-fewest homers in the NL.
SUNS ARE WORTHY
Even if the Lakers return to championship form in tonight’s pivotal Game 5 of the Western Conference finals in Los Angeles, huge kudos to Phoenix Suns president of basketball operations and GM Steve Kerr for putting together such an impressive team.
Seven of the 10 players in coach Alvin Gentry’s rotation were brought in by Kerr over the past two years, including former Warrior Jason Richardson, ex-Stanford star Robin Lopez, resurgent Grant Hill and slick-handling point guard Goran Dragic. Kerr also kept Amare Stoudemire, who most believed was sure to be traded before the season.
Gentry also showed his coaching prowess, employing a clever match-up zone defense and staying with his hot-shooting reserves for most of the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s series-tying victory.
Gentry said Phoenix has such great chemistry it reminds him of a college team. Imagine that — camaraderie matters.
KGO (810 AM) Sports Director Rich Walcoff can be heard weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m. on the KGO morning news. He can be reached at RichWalcoff@gmail.com.