Let’s begin with these three hard-to-take-and-harder-to-deny facts, based on J.R. Moehringer’s fascinating piece on Alex Rodriguez and the beginning of spring training:
One: We as a society are not a forgiving lot. That is a total and complete lie. We are judgmental grudge-holders who never actually forgive anyone, because real forgiveness in the most theological sense also means forgetting; at the very least, not bringing up past transgressions at every turn. We never do that, and we never ever will.
Deux: We are apology whores. We seem to care far less about the original transgression and much more on the quality and production values used in the mea culpa. Andy Pettitte is forgiven because he (and we’ve heard this more than once) “ripped the Band-Aid off right away,” as though that really was all you needed to do to make it all right. We like to see how artfully we can get the rich and powerful to crawl before we decide to make them richer and more powerful. It is our weakness -– well, that and bourbon poured over Honey Nut Cheerios as part of a nutritious breakfast.
And Tres: We as a culture don’t hate cheating. In fact, we not only don’t hate it, we like it -– love it, in fact. Can’t get enough. In fact, based on the talking points from the last Little League World Series and the Jackie Robinson West scandalette, we need far more cheating than we are currently getting. It has always worked for wrestling, Roller Derby and politics, and there’s no reason now that we’ve had so much fun with this last NFL season that we can’t ask for more. We’ll take all the cheating and despicable behavior you’ve got.
Pants at the ankles and wearing a fez, if you can manage it.
X X X
Aldon Smith is trying to simplify his life, one real estate agent at a time.
The occasionally embattled 49ers linebacker has listed his home in the East San Jose hills, which he paid $1.75 million for in 2012, at $3 million. He is listing the 6,427 square-foot, 6-bed, five-bath manse with the requisite 3-car garage, movie theater, resort-sized pool and spa, children’s play area, multiple outdoor kitchens with outdoor and indoor fireplaces, solar heating for low utility bills, and a horse stable. It’s just the piece of property to have if you want to tell your friends, “This is where he got stabbed during a party he was throwing and where he allegedly fired shots into the air to get the people at the party to go home.”
You can see it on the next episode of “Flip This Reminder Of The Crazy Days We Used To Have.”
X X X
The A’s, who just moved their spring training setup to the old Cubs grounds in Mesa, just renovated and renamed the training facility at Fitch Park the Lew Wolff Training Complex.
If you’re in the Phoenix area and want to check it out, take a right on No San Jose For You Parkway, go three miles to Blue Ribbon Parkway Boulevard and turn right, then a quick left at the Circle K on Territorial Right Ranch Road and then left again at the parking lot and ask for Jerry Reinsdorf. Your name will be on a list.
X X X
If you are jonesing for more NFL Combine news because you think football really is the center of the universe, you’re an ass. The real deal, if you’re talking viewership, was actually the India-Pakistan ICC World Cup match last weekend, which was seen by roughly a billion people, or slightly more than eight times of the audience for Super Bowl 49. That answers the question you’re asking why you’ve seen so many cricket scores on your ticker these days – you can be the most ardent fan in the world, but you can’t make yourself seven more people.
X X X
Today’s answer to your college football needs comes from South Carolina’s senior Republican Senator @celebrityhottub, for those of you who aren’t off Combine-ing.
X X X
I don’t criticize writers for pointing out that something stupid exists. That’s what reporting is –- the facts speak for themselves, and if the subject bores you, you can move on to something else.
That said, this, from Rob Arthur of Baseball Prospectus, really does ask the question, “Is there one more way than the 466,038 ways I already have that you can get me not to care how happy fans are?”
And given those Tampa Bay totals, is there a corresponding chart for “Couldn’t care less if I were actually and verifiably dead” fans?
X X X
Kevin Durant has, as they say in parliamentary procedure class, extended and revised his remarks, to wit:
“Let’s be real. Let’s look at the whole thing. I’ve been in the league eight years. The media and myself have had a great relationship for eight years. And I said something, two days in a row I said something. Am I allowed to be upset one time? Am I allowed to be mad? Am I human? Do you look at me that way? Do you look at me as if I can’t say nothing wrong? We had great communication for eight years and it’s still that way.
“I had a moment. Everybody in life has moments. You had one for sure before but it’s not broadcasted like mine. I was more so trying to take up for my teammates, my coach and other guys in the league that gets scrutinized and I don’t like. Maybe I should shut up about it. I had one moment. What made more mad than anything I was told I bite the hand that feeds me. I don’t know what that means. I really don’t know what that means. I wish someone would explain it to me. But I don’t remember none of you guys being there when I was eight years old and putting in that work, the nights when I’m in here putting in that work in. So I don’t really understand what that one means. But, hey, I gotta roll with it. That’s a part of it. I was told I shouldn’t cry cause everybody been through it. So I’m going to shut up.”
No, Kevin. Do not shut up. If you do, the terrorists win.
X X X
And finally, this exciting hockey note: The Montreal Canadiens, who have the best record in the Eastern Conference, have allowed more goals –- 56 -– then they have scored –- 54 -– and have a record of 17-8-1-0.
How is this possible, you ask? Easy. They lost at Tampa, 43-9, back in December. Look it up. It’s right there.