5-20-11: Notes

Hello again everybody...

Throwing together a quick post before work today. It's a rainy, dreary Friday here in Minnesota, but I'm feelin fine.

Why's that you ask?

I've got a 3-day weekend coming (vacation day on Monday - ballgame) and I've also just joined the modern era of high-speed cable internet.

I was on the DSL bandwagon, but the phone lines in my building are so archaic that the modem kept getting overloaded and crapping out. Finally I'd had enough.

The speed is a little intimidating. I have to make extra-sure I pause and review my Tweets before I send them! But all in all, it's a good thing and I'm excited to take advantage of it.

My plan? White Sox/Dodgers is tonight's free game on MLB.TV. Sounds like a good use of bandwidth to me!

Moving on...

I've got some notes to catch up on before the weekend officially begins. And I'll get to those...

Right after the quote!

“No human thing is of serious importance.”
- Plato (427 BC - 347 BC), Greek philosopher

Keeps with the “it's Friday, let's not be too serious here” theme today, no?


The Big Ten is examining a plan to pay players... and I'm going to tell you why it won't work.

I'm not going to get real deep into the “should players be paid” argument. For years, I've been of the opinion that a $30k+ per year education should be payment enough, but I'm not sure that's applicable any more.

In today's hyper-interested sports world, colleges and universities literally make tens of millions of dollars off of their high-profile sports teams. Given that, $30k+ per year seems a little small for the players who ultimately are the genesis of that revenue. So I'm warming to the idea that perhaps they deserve a stipend of some sort for their efforts.

That being said, I don't think there's a workable plan for it.

Why do I say that? Simple. Title IX.

You can't pay everybody. Football and men's basketball are the primary (and in some cases sole) generators of revenues for college athletic departments. But if you develop a plan to just pay those players, well, hopefully you've got a good set of lawyers.

There's no way that a university is going to come up with a plan to pay just those players and NOT get sued by the folks representing the women's programs as well as the rest of the non-revenue sports.

But wait, you say... if those sports aren't generating money, how can they justify deserving to get paid?

Because this is college. And we've decided in our society that equal opportunities should exist for all when it comes for college. That's the entire reason for the existence of Title IX.

Again, I could get sidetracked here by the inherent unfairness of including football scholarships in the Title IX formula, but that's a discussion for another day.

So if we're going to insist on that kind of equality, then if one group gets paid, they all have to get paid right? And even if the stipend is modest, if you have to pay all of the athletes at a major university, that's going to cut so deeply into their budgets as to make the entire idea unfeasible.

Bottom line, I'd like to see some way for the athletes that generate revenue for schools be able to participate a little more in the reception of said revenue, I just don't think it can be done without creating a whole slew of new problems.

The Twins are undefeated since Harmon's passing... but sadly, I think that's going to end tonight.

And I'm not just saying that because they're playing my favorite National League club.

Today, there will be a funeral/memorial service for Harmon Killebrew in Scottsdale, AZ, and according to several published reports, the Twins have arranged for multiple buses to bring their players from Phoenix (where they're set to open a three-game interleague series against the Diamondbacks tonight) over to Scottsdale for the ceremony.

(By the way, if you wish to watch that service, the Twins will be streaming it live on their website: starting at noon central time.)

Several of the players, in fact, are designated to be pall bearers.

How you go through something like that, and then prepare yourself for a ballgame is beyond me. Frankly, I don't think it can be done.

Ian Kennedy will be on the hill for Arizona tonight. He's been pretty decent this season. So combine a solid pitcher, with a lineup that simply has to be distracted by what it when through earlier in the day? That doesn't lead to scoring many runs in my estimation.

Maybe I'm wrong - it certainly wouldn't be the first time - maybe Harmon will smile down on them yet again and inspire them to their fourth-straight victory. But I'm not counting on it.

And if the club has to sacrifice one ballgame in order to get to attend the funeral and pay their final respects... I can live with that.

Another former cyclist says Lance Armstrong doped... and Jimmy cracked corn, and I don't care.

Coming up Sunday on CBS's 60 Minutes (another fine CBS program - and I don't just say that because I'm a CBS employee - *cough, cough*), the soon-to-be-anchor of CBS's evening news, Scott Pelley interviews one of Lance Armstrong's former teammates who claims to have seen Lance using PED's before and during multiple Tour de France's.

This certainly isn't the first time we've heard these allegations. First they came from the French cycling community (although, they are French, and we know the French aren't to be trusted!), then they came from Minnesota's own Greg LeMond (and while he's earned a trustworthy reputation, he had no direct evidence), then they came from former teammate Floyd Landis (who said he saw Lance use, but had no credibility whatsoever since he'd been busted for PED-use himself).

Now we have former teammate Tyler Hamilton saying he saw Lance use. I'll wait til I see the 60 Minutes (a fine CBS program) story before judging his credibility, but even if I do judge him credible, I find it difficult to get all that worked up about it.

The use of PED's in cycling has been so rampant over the last decade or so, that it's tough to say Lance really cheated. After all, that's why people get so upset about PED-use in sports like baseball. If Barry Bonds uses steroids to break Hank Aaron's record, while Jim Thome cleanly passes a legend like Harmon Killebrew, which one of those two accomplishments should be celebrated more?

The fact that we even have to discuss that question puts a stain on the game.

But if more than half the field at the Tour de France is shooting up, then who cares?

There's a reason that cycling has fallen off the sports-map so dramatically. If nobody pays attention to PED-use, if nobody bothers to nip it in the bud, if by the time anyone gets around to testing the athletes they find out that nearly everybody is on the juice, then you can't be surprised when your sport is met with a collective yawn.

Lance will deny it. There won't be any test result to definitively prove it. And ultimately, I'm not sure he gained much if any competitive advantage if he did do it. So really, it's difficult to care.

That's going to wrap things up for today. Have a wonderful weekend and hopefully I'll have something for you next week.

Until then, thanks for reading!


  1. Wait just a minute..was that slam at the French?! Dan...Dan...Dan...

  2. Yes, Mom...

    That was a slam at the French.

    But since we're French-Canadian by heritage, it wasn't a shot at...

    Oh wait, I hate Canada too... never mind!