Friday, July 10, 2009

Sports Sports Sports Sports

I'm kind of in a sports cycle here in the Basement so bear with me but first, here's a fascinating look at how American and European views toward each other, le Tour de France, and cycling differ mainly through the lens of their attitudes toward doping (and its long, sordid history in the sport) from a 2007 Sports Illustrated article.

Lance is a pretty complicated character. His personal story can be completely engaging but at the same time he can be amazingly arrogant and flippant to anyone who doesn't buy into his mythos. I think he probably took some sort of performance enhancers but I also think the vast majority of cyclists on the race were doing the same thing. When they pose the question, "do you want to know the terrifying truth or do you want to see me sock a few dingers?" I'm generally with the kids yelling "dingers! dingers!"

Chuck Klosterman likes to bring up the point that no one cares that the Beatles were high as kites when they made some of their best albums and directly credit drugs for assisting them while we hold our athletes to a completely different standards. I suppose if you consider athletes solely as entertainers you can make a compelling case like that but for some reason it's not the same in our culture.

As far as this Tour goes I don't think anyone's going to touch Cantador based on how he looked today flying up that hill and whether that's because Lance is just "being a good teammate" or because he knows he doesn't have the legs anymore, well, I guess people can debate that all they want.

In baseball news the Royals traded for another shitty shortstop. When you have already played the horrifically bad Mike Aviles, Tony Pena Jr., Luis Hernandez (aka Tony Pena Jr. Jr.) then you may as well get Yuni Betancourt too, right? On Friday I was fortunate enough to see Hernandez (batting something like .195) and Pena (batting something like .093 (seriously)) in the same lineup. Shockingly KC was shutout that night (in a freaking Greinke game! As Joe Posnanski points out they have a pitcher who has turned in one of the best first-half performances in the last decade and their record when he pitches is 10-8). After the next day's game I realized that Trey Hillman, KC's manager, was eating lunch with his family a few tables down from us. I joked to our table that I should ask him about that lineup and then felt bad in case he heard me. After I thought about it some more I decided that doing something like that is so indefensible that maybe he should hear it.

But, the real crime is that those honestly are their best option at shortstop right now and there's no one waiting in the minors to bail them out. So, they decide to trade two minor league pitchers (only one of whom will probably pitch in the majors someday) for a sucky Mariners castoff. GM Dayton Moore like to say that the currency of baseball is pitching. Well, either that or shortstops who can't get on base and play crappy defense. Yay Royals!

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