A little of this, a lot of that …
» Here’s one for Confucius to figure out: “When can a man be at once scandalous and virtuous?” No philosopher am I, but I’ll take a stab at it: When the man in question is former major-league reliever Dan Naulty.
Identified in the Mitchell Report as a longtime steroid user, Naulty took the rarest of approaches: He expressed both honesty and regret. “My fastball had increased from 86 mph to 95 mph in just three short years,” he wrote in the New York Daily News, and explained this weekend on ESPN. “I left college at 185 pounds and entered the 1996 season at 240 pounds. I had cheated my way right onto the team that year by using steroids, human growth hormone and amphetamines. I also thought about the fact that I took a roster spot of another athlete who was competing naturally. These memories have haunted me throughout the years.”
Honesty and regret. Rarer than diamonds and pearls — and far more valuable.
» With New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady heading to his fourth Super Bowl (and probable fourth victory) and with all-time stat leader Brett Favre just a win short of making the Super Bowl, it seems that all-time quarterback rankings are once again in vogue. For what it’s worth, my evolved top ten: Joe Montana, Dan Marino, John Elway, Brady, Peyton Manning, Johnny Unitas, Terry Bradshaw, Otto Graham, Troy Aikman and Favre.
» Turns out Brian McNamee warned one of Roger Clemens’ agents, Jim Murray, about steroid leftovers in Clemens’ system that might show up in baseball’s new drug tests back in 2004. Murray took copious notes at the meeting, according to McNamee’s lawyer. In other news, a pick-up truck full of paper shredders was delivered anonymously to the Murray home early Sunday morning.
» If baseball can actually punish general manager Brian Sabean and owner Peter Magowan for their complicity in Greg Anderson’s well-known steroid-pedaling in the Giants’ clubhouse, isn’t that a de facto acknowledgement of Barry Bonds’ guilt? And if so, then why won’t baseball end the charade and publicly declare Bonds a cheater?
» Pacman Jones. A strip club. An accusation. His female divorce lawyer. A woman sucker-punched. Your assignment is to take each of these elements and carefully arrange them to form a logical, coherent sentence. Points will be awarded based on creativity and accuracy.
» By the way, how ironic is it that the most infamous of the A’s steroid cheats, Jason Giambi, is suddenly off the hook, while Miguel Tejada faces suspension, prison or even deportation for allegedly lying to Congress? And by “ironic,” I mean “ridiculous.” I’m not saying Tejada should be spared if it’s true that he paid then-A’s-teammate Adam Piatt big bucks for steroids and then lied about it, but why isn’t Giambi going down with him, along with Clemens, Bonds, and the rest of the B-12 Brigade?
» The Miami Heat lost their 13th consecutive game Saturday, coach Pat Riley immediately promised bold action in attempting to save his sinking ship. He then placed a call Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy and asked him to resign from the Magic in order to spend more time with Riley’s team.
» Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens, still reeling from the Cowboys’ divisional playoff loss to the New York Giants, reportedly will spend Martin Luther King Day on the campaign trail with Hillary Rodhman Clinton, where the two will mark the birth of the great civil rights leader with faux emotion, cracking voices and crocodile tears.