These highly-sought after awards are bestowed upon those who give us cause to pause, to stop and think, to ponder life without them. Ok, maybe not that deep. But these are some of the folks who, for right or wrong, we should be thankful for having around. Some are from the recent past, some a little farther back, but ALL are those we should be thankful for being in our lives for a myriad of reasons. Be on the lookout for just a smidgeon of sarcasm.
On the Local Front…
Jimmy Rollins. Have to give thanks for JRoll. The man said it, stood behind it in the face of adversity, then backed it up again and again. The great Dizzy Dean put it best when he said “It ain't braggin' if you can back it up.” And in true Joe-Willie-Namath fashion, Jimmy Rollins backed it up… big time. And he’s now got the hardware to prove it.
Clark Spencer. Mr. Spencer is the Marlins beat writer for the Miami Herald. Ok, he’s NOT local but this is an example of someone I am personally thankful for. I am thankful to know that are some truly brainless people in this world like Mr. Spencer who provide us foolish fodder to discuss.
Seems Mr. Spencer is no great fan of Jimmy Rollins, voting instead for the Rockies Matt Holliday for NL MVP. Now before you go all crazy on me, I am NOT coming down on Mr. Spencer for his voting choice. On the contrary, we all knew it was close and if in fact Holliday would’ve won, it would have been completely understandable.
No my issue with Mr. Spencer is the following statement he made in explaining why voted the way he did. “Rollins was not in the Top 10 in any of the major categories (HRs/RBIs/Average, whereas Holliday was). Plus I don’t think he’s even in the best leadoff hitter in the NL East.”
Now there was absolutely no reason to go there. To bring up the fact that not only did you not vote for Rollins for MVP, you ALSO think he’s not that great of a leadoff hitter. That’s pretty lame there, Clark.
Let me take one guess who he thinks is the best leadoff hitter in the NL East. Could it be Hanley Ramirez? Hmmm, I wonder what team he plays for… Why what’ya know… he plays for the Marlins!
Brian Westbrook. I posed this question in my column following last week’s Eagles game. Can you name another player in any of the four major sports who is more valuable to their team as Brian Westbrook is to the Eagles? There may be some who are AS valuable but there is simply no way anyone is MORE valuable to their franchise and its ultimate winning or losing than Brian Westbrook is to the Birds. It’s that simple. It’s that blatant. And for that, we MUST give thanks to #36.
Billy King. A big round of thanks for the worst GM in all of professional sports. Take a bow, Billy. Ok, perhaps I am a bit harsh but… you cannot dispute the facts that under his watch, the Sixers have become… well I don’t want to say laughingstock as that honor belongs to the New York Knickerbockers… let’s just say they ain’t all that good and he’s a big reason why and leave it at that.
Charlie Manuel. Yes, I am thankful for the Unc. Hard to believe, Harry, but it’s true. No MENSA member for sure, Charlie Manuel possesses something that is perhaps just as important as a baseball IQ. And that s the innate ability to tap into each of his player’s emotional makeup, to proverbially press all the right buttons. His Andy of Mayberry demeanor and dialect notwithstanding, he really knows his players and that is something not every manager can say.
Paul Holmgren. Yes I’m sure the Flyers GM had a blank check in the offseason but he still had to spend the money wisely. And so far it looks it is money well spent. Time will tell of course and clearly there’s some tweaking that needs to be done but as of right now, it sure looks Homer hit a homer. Ok, sorry that was pretty bad. Forgive me.
On a national scale…
Barry Bonds. How can you NOT be thankful for the person who single-handedly destroyed and defaced everything one of our country’s great sports heroes, Henry Aaron, worked so hard to achieve? How can you not just want to put your arms around Barry, assuming they reach that far, and say “Thank You Barry for ruining the game of baseball!”
And stop already with the “he’s not the only one to cheat garbage.” Yeah, everyone knows he’s not the only one, even Brain dead Bud (Selig). But he IS the one who was carrying the mantle of becoming the sports all time home run king and breaking a sacred and hallowed record if there ever was one. He is the one who knowingly and often glaringly dared anyone to challenge the means by which he achieved his gains.
And yes, he is due his day in court, yadda, yadda, yadda. Let him have his day and all that. But newsflash Barry. The Feds don’t indict anyone unless they’re damn sure they have a rock solid case.
Jim Weir. Who you say? Mr. Weir is Head Coach of the Woodinville High School Girls Softball team in Seattle. I am very grateful for people like Mr. Weir whose sheer ignorance in the face of blatant reality makes me thankful that there are not more like him.
Not long ago his Woodinville team took on the team from Franklin High School. After the dirt settled, the scoreboard read Woodinville 64, Franklin 0.
Did I mention this was softball? Girls softball.
A few days later a reflective and remorseful Weir said “Baseball and softball have been part of my life since I was 7 years old. The last thing I want to do is disrespect any opponent, disrespect the game.”
To that, I say Bill Bellichick would not have been any prouder, Jim. Nicely done.
Michael Vick. Deny. Deny. Deny. Remember when the news of the “alleged” dog fighting broke and Michael Vick and his attorneys staunchly denied any wrongdoing? This despite the fact that it was on Vick’s property where this “supposed” illegal and illicit activity took place. This despite the fact that many eyewitnesses were already on record implicating Vick as not only a participant but as one of the leaders.
Thank you Michael Vick, or is it Mike Vick? I can never keep up. Thank you for bringing to light this deplorable and despicable act of animal cruelty that unfortunately has been happening for far too long in our country. And by the way, don’t drop the Dial.
Rafael Palmeiro. On March 17, 2005, Palmeiro appeared at a Congressional hearing about steroids in baseball and, while under oath, denied ever using steroids, pointing his finger and stating emphatically, "Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids, period. I don't know how to say it anymore clearly than that. Never."
On August 1, 2005, just 5 months later, Palmeiro was suspended for ten days after testing positive for steroids and is now out of baseball.
So I say thank you Rafael for showing us that even under oath and in front of a Congressional hearing no less, lying is just another way of not telling the truth.
'Til next time.