Enjoy the weekend.
The Debriefing: SchruteBucks XXVI, The Bonds Edition: If you step back from 756 and from yesterday's indictment, looking at things from a bigger-picture perspective, it's hard to see this whole situation as anything but a damn Greek tragedy. Maybe it's justice, maybe it's a witch hunt, maybe it's a gigantic media circus, maybe it's ESPN's wettest dream, maybe it's all of the above ... but it's also sad. Really sad. Old Yeller sad.
Why Was Barry Bonds Indicted Now? When I heard the news my initial reaction was that Bonds' trainer Greg Anderson had tired of sitting in jail while his employer walked free. Anderson has always been the guy who could definitively say whether or not Bonds knowingly took steroids so if the government had a confidence boost he was the most likely supplier. Then I saw this line in the AP's story.
Just in Case You Care, Barry Makes Bush Sad: So there you go. Personally, I don't know why he's saddened; if he has enough time to be worrying about this, that must mean all the other problems in the world have been solved. Huzzah! What a great day! Wait, that's not true? Then ... then ... why should I care what the president thinks about this?
The Ball Is in Bud Selig's Court: For the rest of his life, Bud Selig's tenure will be defined with how he deals with Barry Bonds and two of his sports' most cherished records. I'm not gonna lie, Bud's in a bit of a pickle here. I can't say I envy the situation he's in because he's got one helluva choice to make here. Selig has vacillated for years about baseball's steroid problem. He's pushed the problem off on anyone he could to avoid taking a stance himself. He can't do that anymore.
Could Barry Bonds Play Baseball Again? The situations of Giambi, Mota, and Sosa are all different from Bonds. None of the teams that signed those players ever had to face the decision of whether to sign a guy who was going to have the eyes of every single media outlet on him every day. Giambi wasn't tagged a steroid guy full-fledged yet when he was a free agent signed by the Yankees, Mota is merely a middle reliever, and Sosa not only hasn't had the concrete evidence stick to him as Bonds has from Game of Shadows, he also never faced perjury charges.
Justin Timberlake to Host PGA Tourney in '08: Not surprisingly, it'll be in Las Vegas, giving John Daly easy access to the blackjack table and strippers: "I couldn't be more excited," said Timberlake, who plays to a 6-handicap, according to a Golf Digest ranking that was released earlier this year. "We will make sure to make this event unique and memorable."Hey, what a coincidence, Daly's playing to a 6-handicap too.
Is UFC 78 a Rip-Off? If Saturday night's show were on Spike, UFC fans would be in a lather about it. But having this UFC event on pay-per-view instead of Spike would be kind of like the NFL deciding to move a weekend of games to pay-per-view instead of network television, and picking a weekend when the Patriots, Colts, Steelers and Cowboys were all having byes.
Larry Hazzard: I Was Fired for Opposing Unsafe Practices in Boxing, MMA: Hazzard says that he was fired because he wrote a letter to the governor expressing concerns about whether fighters in New Jersey were being imperiled. The Newark Star-Ledger reports that the letter documented Hazzard's belief that an employee of the State Athletic Control Board had sanctioned mixed martial arts mismatches, allowed a fighter to fight even though that fighter had not provided proof of a negative HIV test, and allowed promoters to shop around for doctors who would clear their fighters to fight.
OK, Seriously, Hasn't Anyone Watched Adam Vinatieri Recently? As you may know, ESPN.com has this thing called Scouts, Inc. where you pay extra for extra insight from people who really scout the games and therefore have superior knowledge. At least, in theory, that's how it works. In practice, you get things like this list of the five kickers with the strongest legs in the NFL (part of a free Scouts, Inc. preview). At No. 5 is Adam Vinatieri.
Philip Rivers Is Lucky Eli Manning Hogs All the Media Criticism: Why is crucifying Manning a weekly ritual when '04 classmate Philip Rivers goes unscathed in the media, even though he's having a pretty dreadful season? Part of it, I'm sure, has to do with the two media markets. The difference between New York and San Diego you can just about squeeze in the Grand Canyon.
Stay Classy Husker Fans: Look, none of us is happy with the way the season has progressed, but threatening the life of an assistant coach is taking things too far, no? Stories like these always put my own identity as a fan in perspective. I cheer hard, I over analyze playcalls, and I vent my frustrations to friends, family and the occasional inanimate object. But I have never even considered harming or threatening to harm someone associated with the program.
We Called It: Arizona Over #2 Oregon: I don't credit this to parity, I think that's a lazy description for what's happening this year in college football. College football is a game with uneven matchups but so much more psychologically at play that provides this great variance that we see. And tonight that variance was an injury to Oregon's quarterback absolutely putting his team into a shell.
Stephon Marbury Was Mourning in New York: It is a little odd that this story hasn't received more press, especially considering how much time and energy was used to bash him. That said, I don't yet buy the theory that this is the reason why Marbury left the Knicks, unless I'm misinterpreting some details.
Knicks Would Rather Be Without Marbury: Marbury ended up with 34 minutes of playing time. Those blackmail threats seemed kind-of silly and improbable yesterday. This report certainly makes them sound less silly and less improbable. Looking at that roster, though... there's no one to stand up to Marbury. Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry have never been considered with leaders, nor has Crawford (though he outshines the others, probably).
Disgruntled Ben Wallace: 'Why Am I Here?' Funny enough, even though Wallace only played 23 minutes, he may have turned in perhaps his best game of the season -- though that's a testament to his struggles this year more so than anything. He finished with a season-high 10 rebounds, the first time this year he's had more than seven. I'm guessing Skiles was worried about Wallace's offense (Big Ben did shoot just 1-5 from the field), which is always a liability but sticks out more than usual against a team like the Suns.