Luke Waltons Forehead presented by the Sports Dude.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005 at 3:50 PM

Bonds on the shelf?

Here is a link to the ESPN interview with him about it, give it a read. Here is my take.

Look, steroids or not, the dude has always been the guy the media loves to drag through the mud. Some of it he has brought on himself, he is a class-A jerk, but some of it he does not so deserve. Whether you think he is on the juice or not makes no difference to me, I really could care less either way. But I think the Congressional Hearings brought this on, if you ask me. He saw what McGwire went through, how they grilled him and all but made him look like a scared school girl. The thing about McGwire is, however, he was the anti-Barry to the media. He was well liked; he was a “hero”, even when they found the human growth hormone in his locker baseball fans forgave him. But Barry, we have been looking for that steroid so hard we all but have planted it there. I think Barry saw how Mark was treated and said “Damn, they loved him, can you imagine how much worse it is going to get for me since they hate me?” I think he now realizes that this season, with the all but guaranteed passing of Ruth, the pursuit of Aaron, that the media, the fans and the general public would be too much. Like the dude or not, but he still is human. I think he realized with this historic chase he was about to embark on this season that the asterisk may have been too big, too heavy of a burden to have over his head all season long. Like I said, I think after watching Mark McGwire and how they treated him at the hearing, how everyone is speaking of him now, and knowing that the public viewed McGwire as a “hero” just made him say “Shit, I am screwed!” Basically, I just don’t think he wants to face it.

Is he a punk, a puss, a scared little bitch? Who knows, but “juiced” or not he still is a human being. I just think he didn’t want to go through it and this is his way to make an exit and just say “forget it!” It would have been nice to see him at Comerica Park this season, but now it seems like that will never happen. I remember him at his press conference at the beginning of spring training being grilled about steroids then. When asked about steroids as a form of cheating he said “As cheating? I don't -- I don't know what cheating is. I don't know cheating, if steroid is going to help you in baseball. I just don't believe it. I don't believe steroids can help you, eye/hand coordination, technically hit a baseball, I just don't believe it and that's just my opinion.” In my opinion, I think steroids may help a little, but not enough to where it makes that big of a difference. Do they need to stop, do they need do get to the bottom of this? Yes, they do, but they also need to leave well enough alone. In Bonds case, steroids or not, he is one of the greatest hitters to ever play this game and I would have like to have seen him go out on his own terms, in his own way. Maybe he still will, but something tells me this may be an exit strategy buy him to get out while he still can. A shame really, but hey, it is what it is right? Later – the sports dude.

at 8:32 AM

An open letter to the Tigers.

Dear Tigers,

Hey guys, how is it going? I have a question for you guys and I was wondering if maybe you might be able to provide me with some answers. Well, maybe it is not so much a question I have as it is an issue. Well, maybe it really isn’t an issue either; so much as it is a strange feeling I am having. See, look how confused I am right now, I don’t even know how to describe to you what it is that is exactly running through my mind. I can’t eat, can hardly sleep and am running my mind ragged trying to get this feeling to go away, but I can’t seem to shake it. There is just something there that I have not felt for you guys in some 15 years and I am not too sure how I should react, let alone feel. That something that is there, that feeling making my daily functions complicated is hope and I am not sure how the hell to deal with it.

See, I grew up on two things as a child – U of M football and Tigers baseball. My grandfather and father force fed me those two things in my early life and the love still remains today. In fact, one of my greatest memories from my youth is that memorable 1984 season, the “Bless You Boys” times if you will. I went to game #5 of that World Series, accompanied by none other than my dad and grandpa. I still remember vividly sitting there in the upper deck, looking down on that field and seeing those ugly brown road uniforms the Padres wore at the time. I remember very little from my childhood, but who the hell could forget those ugly things? I still remember the atmosphere, the feeling, the smells, sounds, sights, excitement. In fact, in my basement at home today, hanging on the wall framed behind my bar, light shining on it and all is one of my very prized possessions. It is the original newspaper shot from that 1984 World Series victory, Gibson’s tattered frame jumping in the air, arms raised to heaven. I have seen it for sale in a duplicated version many times, but I saved the original, along with my ticket stub from that game #5, hoping to add more to it as I grew up. I remember it all with a seven year olds foolishness, thinking that baseball in Detroit would always be like that, but we all know too well how it has turned out.

You guys have not made the playoffs since 1987, a drought of some 18 seasons. Will this year be any different? Can this season be the one where that drought finally comes to an end? I have been blessed with three sons of my own, but not a single one of them truly know who the Tigers are. They all know my love for the Pistons, my strong dislike of Joey Harrington and each one of their second words (after “daddy” of course!) was “GO BLUE!”, but none know the Tigers really even exist. But here comes that confusion again, here comes that strange feeling that has plagued me lately, could this be the year they get to know you like I once did?

I am not even asking for you to make the playoffs here, just be in the damn race from start to finish, make it interesting, make it exciting, etc. Shit, finish at .500 or a little above, even in second place for goodness sakes, and this town will be hopping like you have never seen before. We all know you will have to win the Central to get in, that is all but a forgone conclusion. The Yankees/Red Sox divisional loser will get the Wild Card, at least it appears that way on paper as of right now. So make that push, don’t let me or the other fans down, I truly believe this could be a special year for you. Furthermore, with the NHL lockout in full swing, you have the opportunity to turn this town, again, into what it should have always remained – “Tiger Town”. I mean, I know you are owned by Illitch, who owns the Wings and all, but "Hockeytown"? Guys, come on, that never should have been allowed to happen. Here is your opportunity to seize the moment, erase that stupid nickname and give this baseball town its true roots back, not the NHL, but the MLB.

In closing, I would like to leave you with a brief thought and again I will bring up my children. The nearly 20 seasons of garbage baseball that this town has been stuck with has all but alienated an entire generation of youth, my generation, of baseball. I always said the Tigers were my favorite team, but never truly rooted for them because I knew it was a lost cause. I hoped you would do well, but always “adopted” a different team that was, you know, actually winning?!?! But with my kids, and all the kids in this area today, actually give them a chance to root for a winning baseball team that also happens to be in their hometown. Let them grow up with you, root for you, get to know you and come to love you like I once did. It is too late for me, the scars will always exist from these past 18 seasons of garbage baseball I have been forced to grow up with. But, at least with my kids, there is still hope they can grow up with you and enjoy watching you, not be embarrassed by it. For me, I can at least watch it all through their eyes, and maybe, even if for only a little while, feel like that seven year old back in 1984 again. Bless you boys!

The Sports Dude.

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