You're Talking, But You're Not Saying Anything

You're Talking, But You're Not Saying Anything

Friday, Jan. 15, 2010
12:54 a.m.

I dont know why the Talking Heads came into my head as I watched the Bob Costas interview of Mark McGwire, but they did. Same as it ever was? Upon hearing the news on Monday afternoon, I was like, whatever, and moved on with the rest of my day. Honestly, do I really need to watch? That night as I was lying in bed and flipping through the channels, I found myself watching the MLB network and its coverage of the interview and its aftermath. I was riveted. I watched it all, TWICE! It was as compelling as it was revealing into this mess. Where did that come from? As I have written here many times, Ive become, like many Ive talked to at the bar, numb to all of the baseball steroid talk. Ive moved on. Still as much as I didnt want to watch, I couldnt stop. Unfortunately, my love of baseball and the perpetrators of this continued farce, wont let me not pay attention. They wont because they think that if they recite a mantra often enough, that everyones supposed to believe it. In this, the day of the scripted apology, weve seen enough that we all understand the playbook. Whether its a politician, athlete or any other person of social prominence, they say theyre sorry, show remorse and promise not to do it again, lets move on.

You would think its pretty simple. But of course lawyers being lawyers, they always want to see what level they can take it to. (You can make your own interpretation of whether that level is up or down!) I have no doubt in my mind, nor does anyone else that I talk to at the bar, that McGwire was lawyerd-up and came upon a new type of coaching. Although I found his raw emotion and inner turmoil to be very real and heart felt, it was off-set by the fact that what he was saying, for the most part, was very vague and unbelievable. Ill start with the fact that he seemed fixated on the premise that he could do this and move on quite easily. What? Maybe if it was about him, but he doesnt get it, its about way more, always has been. But I got this feeling that he was thinking, I said it! All right? There! Can I go now? Sound familiar? Thought so. I think its incredibly naive or arrogant or both that he thinks he can control how this is all going to play out. His story is going to last for more than a while, I think.

Also, if this was not scripted, how could one of the smartest men on TV, and a baseball fan of the highest order, not get specific about the roids? When he asked McGwire how long he took them, the response was ten years. Then when asked what he had taken, the response was, I dont know. Really? You took drugs off and on for TEN years and you dont know what they were? Then how did you know what or how much to take? That would seem like a logical follow-up question. Bob? Bob? Hello? Or, how about, Where did you get them? That ones simple. These two questions also would provide the insight into the fact that he repeatedly said that the people that knew him the best in the world had no idea. Family? Maybe. I could understand them not asking or not wanting to know, but LaRussa? Seriously? A man who depended on your performance and who was around you for most of your adult life had no idea?

Then there is the part where he repeatedly talked about the steroids not having an affect on his abilities as a player and what he was able to do, that he used them to be able to heal from injury faster and be able to play. He said that he hit homeruns all of my life and could do it with or without them. They did not enhance his ability. All right, say you are right, although not one other person Ive heard in the last 4 days would agree, especially players, but wouldnt the fact that you were able to play, when youre saying you otherwise would not have been able to do so, enable you to set cumulative records? You know, like the single season homerun record? How do you consider your number to be legit when you say you used enhancers to enable you to play? Im waiting for the answer to that question.

As always, how can you say steroids in baseball without saying, Bud Selig. The commish put his usual goofy spin on it by saying that he was pleased by McGwires confession and that it should make Marks reentry into the game more smooth and easy. What? Wheres the shock and outrage? Did you know about this before? Why didnt you just shove your hands in your pants pockets, like when your other monstrous creation, Barry Bonds set the all-time homerun record? I worry myself when I find that loon Jose Conseco to be the guiding light in all of this mess. As usual, Jose has something to add, and he says that Selig knew all along. At this point who could dispute him? Will he be this approving when Bonds and Hippity-Hoppity come clean? Will he welcome them back with open arms? (After he takes them out of his pockets!) Somewhere, Kennisaw Landis is spinning!

Another one of the things that has me baffled is the timing. How about you Bud? Steroid conversation right on top of the Hall of Fame announcement? Is it just me, or does that just make this all the more unseemly? 5 days after Andre Dawson finds out he is going to be enshrined, we have this? Hey Mark? Do you think the roids would have helped Andres chronically injured knees? Or, did the fact that he played through the pain and limitations to be a shining example, make him a Hall of Famer? When I picked up this weeks USA TODAYS SPORTS WEEKLY, was the new inductee on the cover, as many in the past have been? Nope. Steroid boy was. Is that good for baseball Bud? Are you pleased by McGwires reentry into the national sports media? No sense in having the media fawn on Dawson for a few weeks is there? Does Dawson need this? I cant wait for his speech. Think hell have a few respect for the game comments? Wheres Barry Rosner?!

I think, what this gets down to is, once again, we are being told that we are being told the truth when its not. What I dont understand is that they truly believe that they can get away with it. Do I think McGwire is a bad guy? No, for the most part I dont, I hear from many people that hes a good guy. But, he did do something that we all know is wrong. The point is, the cover-up usually gets you in more trouble than the crime. Not entirely true with a crime of this magnitude, but close enough. Just come clean and you really will be set free. The half-truths and downplaying of what happened are only making it worse. Or more to the point, making Consecos claim that steroid use was institutional, more plausible by the day.

Albert Almora Jr. and Addison Russell compete for Cubs defensive highlight of the year on back-to-back plays

Albert Almora Jr. and Addison Russell compete for Cubs defensive highlight of the year on back-to-back plays

Joe Maddon declared Monday as "Albert's game" a couple hours before first pitch.

He didn't even know how right he was at the time.

"Albert" is Albert Almora Jr., the Cubs' rookie centerfielder who hasn't gotten to play as much lately with Ian Happ's emergence over the last week.

But with a left-handed pitcher on the mound for the San Francisco Giants Monday night, Maddon wanted to get the right-handed hitting Almora in the lineup. There was also the added benefit of Almora providing the best defense in center with John Lackey — a flyball pitcher — on the mound for the Cubs.

It took only three batters for Almora's impact to be felt:

He was off on a dead sprint from the very second that ball was hit.

What makes the play even more amazing is two pitches prior, Addison Russell had the crowd buzzing with his own highlight-reel play:

If it weren't for Almora's play, Russell's effort might go down as the Cubs' defensive highlight of the season to date.

Of course, this isn't the only time we've seen Almora turn in a highlight-reel catch:

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

On April 22, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman vented his frustrations on the team’s all-too-abrupt exit from the postseason, adding that he and coach Joel Quenneville, “are going to work together to make sure that this never happens again.”

There will be plenty of decisions for the two to mull between now and September, when the Blackhawks convene for training camp. When it comes to the assistant head coach vacancy, however, that might need to be decided with a more one-sided approach. That choice ultimately should be made by Quenneville.

In a recent podcast, Pat Boyle and I discussed the Blackhawks’ need to work together on some upcoming decisions. But with the assistant coach, the head coach has to have the loudest voice. The head coach probably should even have the final vote. The relationship between coaches has to be there because they’re around each other constantly. They’ve got to be on the same page. There has to be trust from Day 1.

As for when the Blackhawks name that assistant, there appears to be nothing imminent. A source said Monday that the Blackhawks and Ulf Samuelsson have been in communication about the job — Chris Kuc of the Tribune first reported on Samuelsson on Sunday. On paper it looks like it would be a great fit. Samuelsson and Quenneville played several seasons together with the Hartford Whalers, along with current Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen. The relationship with Samuelsson has been there for a long time and it would make for a smoother transition. It might also provide somewhat of a panacea for Quenneville after former assistant Mike Kitchen, whose friendship with Quenneville also went back to their playing days, was fired last month.

Earlier this month Bowman told the Sun-Times that Quenneville will have a big role in the Blackhawks’ finding their next assistant coach, with the final choice being a “joint collaboration.” We get that there’s an order to these things and everyone has to be in agreement with the final decision. But in the end the head coach has to be 100-percent happy with his immediate staff. So whoever the next assistant coach is, the decision has to be 100 percent Quenneville’s.