Friday, June 30, 2017

Why should we care?

There can be little doubt that the constant barrage of hype has warped the minds of many fans. They have lost touch with reality. And no, I'm not talking about your usual partisan politics, though that would be an appropriate subject, but rather sports.

Every time Tiger Woods emerges from hibernation, it will be trumpeted to the heavens. Question -- Why should we care? He's already a multi, multi, multi millionaire living in a mansion. Does it really make one iota of difference whether he ever finds his way past injuries, substance abuse, whatever else will plague him next, and enters another golf tournament? Who cares? There's a boatload of players out there now from all over the world that will put on a great show.

So Chris Paul got traded from the LA Clips to the Houston Rockets. Who cares? As long as the Golden State Warriors are able to keep their core players together, Houston won't be able to compete with them anyway.

Ditto for Paul George, formerly of the Indiana Pacers, going to the Okla City Thunder. They'll be better with him than they were before without him, but still not able to seriously compete for a championship. Who cares?

In the really, really, REALLY who cares department is Carmelo Anthony of the NY Knicks. If he finally leaves the Big Apple, who cares where he lands? Melo has never been anything more than a one-dimensional player. He can score. Forget defense and team play. Give the ball to Anthony and he'll find a way to eventually shoot it.

Though the old ways of a team pretty much owning a player for his whole career needed to be fixed, what has transpired in the free-agency madness that ensued has become insanity.

This applies not only to the NBA, but the NFL and Major League Baseball as well. Not so much the NHL. They had the common sense to force the "salary cap" down to an amount that only borders on semi-lunacy.

Here's an example. Take Justin Verlander, starting pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, and do the math on his salary. JV will only play roughly every 5 or 6 days. All the rest he is "recuperating". Poor dear. Add it up and Verlander makes about a million bucks every time he takes the mound. It doesn't matter whether he pitches a great game or gets bombed by the opposing hitters. It's a million dollar cha-ching. Once an "ace", JV has so far this year appeared to be nothing more than journeyman-esque. A 4-4 record after over 70 games. This is worth a million bucks per outing? There is talk he may he trade bait as the deadline approaches. Same question. Who cares? Better yet, what team in their right mind would take on the whopper salary of a guy that is clearly on the back side of his career and only be capable of participating in roughly 20% of the games?

Lebron James may or may not leave the Cleveland Cavaliers -- again. If so, would he make his next team better? Sure. Would he get a bazillion dollars he doesn't need to boot? Absolutely. But if you think things got ugly about LJ in Cleveland the first time he bailed -- burning his jerseys and all -- he might rank right up there with that Osama guy that was finally dispatched a few years ago. Let's just say he wouldn't be exactly welcome in Ohio any more. Let him go to the Knicks, or Lakers, or Clips, or the planet Uranus. Who cares? In fact, the latter option might be preferable so we can stop hearing the incessant hype. He's a basketball player. Far less useful to mankind than a brain, heart, or other surgeon. Even a plumber, electrician, school teacher, and many other working folks. At least they perform services the public needs. For a fraction of the pay and perks.

Do you get upset when a union goes on strike demanding higher wages for its members? Well OK, you're going to have to pay for that, one way or the other, typically through tax dollars or the cost of goods/services. Fair enough.

But then can you turn around and justify the ridiculous salaries professional athletes are making these days for merely playing a game? Hey, you're the one that pays for it in the end. This is why your average family of four has to skip a house payment to attend a game. These very salaries drive up ticket prices, and would any sane person pay 8 dollars for a watered-down cup of beer, 6 dollars for a leathery hot dog made out of who knows what, and 5 dollars for a freakin' pretzel anyplace but at a ball game? And good luck at the condiment stand. Semi-rancid onions you will burp up and taste for hours. What they pass off as relish actually moves on its own once in a while. OMG. It's alive. Stale chips smothered in "nacho" cheese? Seven dollars please. "Nacho" as in not yo best thing to be trying to digest. The porcelain throne might well await your subservience in a few hours. On your knees, suckah.

Cheap ice cream, stale potato chips, you name it, they've got it all and more -- at prices a loan shark would be embarrassed to charge. And c'mon, would you ever even consider eating any of this slop at home -- even if it was for free? Only at sporting events will otherwise rational human beings dutifully pony up big bucks for "food" that a ravenous, rabid grizzly bear would find disgusting.

But the sports stars are happy. They get to live in multi-million dollar mansions (usually several apiece), have a fleet of luxury cars, a couple yachts, a wardrobe of designer clothes that wouldn't fit in your average two-car garage, more fancy shoes than Imelda Marcos ever dreamed of, stay in 5-star hotels, travel extra-first class on planes, and here's a good one -- a multitude of endorsements pouring in for even MORE millions they don't need. Because you're paying for it all.

These guys will make more in one year than you'll make in your entire lifetime. They play a game and are pampered beyond belief. You slave away at a job, face hassles every day, and try to make the best of things.

If you do something dumb like getting popped for a DUI, you'll get jammed up in the courts. It will cost you thousands in attorney fees, fines, probation for years, and you'll likely have to attend "counseling", which is another cha-ching. How about a couple hundred hours of community service and blowing/dropping all along the way? You provide the service for free, but pay for the "privilege" of  alcohol.urine checks. And good luck trying to get your driver's license back from the Secretary of State. Once finally clear of the courts, that's another whole expensive and time-consuming can of worms. The whole process can run an average person into financial ruin -- including costing them their job.

But if a big-time pro athlete does the exact same thing, they'll have an army of legal eagles at their disposal and likely get off with a mere "slap on the wrist". A couple thousand dollar fine to a guy making 10 or 20 million bucks a year is the ultimate in chump change. And forget losing his job. Not only would the Players Union not stand for it -- the team will welcome him back with open arms.

These are the things you SHOULD care about. Because it has long been a blatant double standard.

Even the terminology is insulting. Average people are sometimes called nuts or crazy. Rich people are merely eccentric. John or Jane Doe die. Rich people pass away. One sometimes gets killed. The other assassinated. Joe Blow steals. Joseph Gale III misappropriates funds. Given a bad enough crime, a citizen will be slam-dunked into a penitentiary under brutal conditions. A celebrity will be whisked off to a Club Fed somewhere, with tennis courts, saunas, a swimming pool, and conjugal visits whenever they wish. Most homeless people would no doubt LOVE to be "confined" to such facilities.

Just recently, tennis star Venus Williams was at fault and responsible for a man in the other car dying as a result of a crash she caused. Final outcome unknown, but it's likely she'll only have to pay a fine or the cost of a traffic ticket.

Meanwhile, some guy piloting a pontoon boat about to dock, put it in reverse for a second to adjust his position (and reverse in ANY boat is a creeper gear -- slow, very slow). He even shouted "CLEAR!!". Little did he know some father and his 4 -year old daughter, clearly in a no-swimming zone, had evidently positioned themselves within a foot or two of the stern of the boat, hence propeller of a running motor, which makes a lot of noise and water turbulence. Tragically, the little girl was ate up by the prop and killed. Dad, trying to come to the rescue, had his legs mangled and they had to be eventually amputated.

This was indeed a tragedy, but obviously not the fault of the pontoon driver. He did absolutely nothing wrong. The father and child were in a very dangerous place they shouldn't have been, and though the little girl might not have known any better, Dad surely should have.

So what happened? The pontooner now finds himself charged with some matter of negligent homicide.

Venus was at fault for a death and will likely skate?

But a boater was clearly NOT at fault for a death and will get jammed up in the system for years? Even if he beats such a ridiculous charge, his life is over as he once knew it.

Yep, these are the things yours truly cares about.

Not which team some goofy jock, that likely couldn't pass a seventh-grade equivalency exam given a dozen tries, goes to play for next -- and how many millions he makes.

To that I say -- who cares indeed?

There are way more important things to be concerned with......

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