Sunday, June 14, 2009

Give them my best...

I've got 50 million reasons to write this blog right now.

Most of them are spelled S-T-E-P-H-E-N S-T-R-A-S-B-U-R-G.

That translates to S-C-O-T-T B-O-R-A-S.

Boras is the agent who is going to boldly go where no agent has gone before: He's going to ask for that much money for the recent No. 1 MLB draft pick of the Washington Nationals, who can barely afford to light up all the letters on their stadium logo.

I'm not sure which one of them is on steroids: Strasburg's 95-mph arm or Boras' brain. Strasburg just completed a brilliant pitching career at San Diego State. Boras is, well, just an asshole who manipulates asshole owners into bidding against themselves (hi, Tom Hicks). If I was a Major League Baseball GM, I would never -- repeat never -- negotiate with a Boras client. Which is funny for me, especially since I've always been on the players' side in that the "reserve clause" amounted to slavery and with its demise they deserved all the money the owners were foolish enough to give them.

But Boras is one of those agents trying to make up a seven-run deficit with one swing instead of mounting a long-lasting rally.

Fifty million dollars is more than Barack Obama makes. More than Bill Clinton gets for a speaking appearance. More than Peyton Manning gets per completed pass. More than Dick Cheney's boys at Halliburton get for knocking down and rebuilding Iraq.

Well, maybe not for that last one.

But it's a lot. A lot to play a game. A lot to save the Nationals from themselves. MLB couldn't save them as "absentee" owners, so what makes anyone think they'll do it on their own?

Yo, Scott, Stephen, good luck. But now you know why I don't go to MLB games anymore (haven't since '94). It's not because of the price of the tickets - it's because of the size of the egos that fuel the price of the tickets.

I'm loving Dave Winfield as an analyst on ESPN's "Baseball Tonight." Hey Dave, ran into Luke Witte. He said to say hi and to shove a size 13 down your throat. Not sure of which you're more proud - the moment your Minnesota team stomped on him and his Ohio State teammates or when you knocked down a bird with a baseball.

With you aboard for baseball and Matt Millen for football, ESPN is sitting pretty, huh? ESPN always has the next Rush Limbaugh, Michael Irvin and/or Harold Reynolds ready to come on board, it seems. Real examples of a moral compass. Irvin, or course, has wasted no time blasting ESPN while promoting his new show on Spike, declaring that the all-sports network crowns whatever team signs Brett Favre out of retirement will be Super Bowl-bound.

Yeah, right, if they can all get tickets.
Anyone else impressed that Sammy Sosa announced he would soon announce formally that he was announcing his retirement from baseball and awaiting the official announcement of his admission into the Hall of Fame?

Yeah, me neither.

Sammy, don't wait in the green room at the announcement ceremony, unless you're with Rafael Palmiero, Mark McGwire, Manny Ramirez, A-Rod, Roger Clemens and whoever else pops up on the steroid radar. Proven or not, it's perception that counts, and the perception of the media guys who vote for hall enshrinement is that you're as guilty as Ty Cobb was a racist, as Babe Ruth was an over-eater, as Mickey Mantle was deserving of that new kidney he got just before he died anyway and as hockey deserves a national TV contract.

And, oh yeah, Greg, you gonna' sue me, or what?
Howard Schlossberg is an associate professor of journalism at Columbia College Chicago ( and a sports correspondent for The Daily Herald ( Arlington Heights, Ill.), the only Chicago-area metro daily not in Chapter 11. He also serves on the editorial advisory board of and contributes to The Journal of Sports Media (