Jackie Robinson Day was its usual bittersweet triumph across baseball – triumph because he was, well, Jackie Robinson, and if you don’t know your history, you shouldn’t be allowed to have one. And bittersweet because racism made Jackie Robinson Day perpetually obligatory.
With that in mind, I wonder (a) if there is an afterlife, (b) if there is one, who gets to have it, (c) if Jackie Robinson is enjoying his, (d) if he knows how different his legacy would have been if Ben Chapman hadn’t been such an unconscionable swine.
Because, let’s face it, an enemy needs a face too.
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Cuonzo Martin took the Cal men’s basketball job that Mike Montgomery held for six years, and while there is no sure way of knowing whether this was a good hire for beleaguered athletic director Sandy Barbour, it was certainly a good one for Martin, who deserved better from Tennessee than he got.
More than 30,000 fans signed a petition calling for Martin's firing, and the re-hiring of Bruce Pearl (who got fired for lying to NCAA investigators, thus leaving a mess than Martin had to clean). In fact, there were reports that some Tennessee boosters refused to allow their private planes to be used by Martin for recruiting.
Well, I don’t root for or against Cal because, well, Cal doesn’t pay me to do so. But I know who to root against . . . if the rest of the SEC wants to pay me to do so, I am nothing if not steamingly unethical.
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The NCAA just declared that athletes could be allowed unlimited meals, which I am very sure had nothing whatsoever to do with Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier using the national championship game postgame interviews to remind the nation that working for the man isn’t nearly so lucrative for the workers as for the man.
So here’s hoping the student-athletes spend the next few weeks eating like condemned men, especially at Northwestern. There are, after all, lots of ways to skin a fat cat in addition to unionizing.
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Blake Griffin, the Los Angeles Clipper icon who was home-schooled as a young forward, was asked by Rob Tannenbaum of Rolling Stone his position on creationism vs. evolution, and answered. Sigh.
“I was raised in a Christian household and went to a Christian high school, so I believe in creationism, for sure.” Then Tannenbaum asked if he really thinks the Earth is only 6,000 years old, to which he answered, “I don't want to do the math, but somewhere around there.”
On the other hand, he didn’t want to talk about Kate Upton, so there are some things he holds sacred.
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And finally, Italian football sorcerer Andrea Pirlo just commissioned (and clearly contributed to, if not actually wrote) an autobiography called, “I Think Therefore I Play,” and thanks to the rambunctious little scamps at Who Ate All The Pies, here are three valuable excerpts:
On teammate Gennaro Gattuso: “You could see the red mist coming down and he just wasn’t able to hide it. We could tell what was coming and so we’d commandeer all the knives. Gattuso would grab a fork and try to stick it in us. Some of us ended up missing games because of one of Rino’s fork attacks, even if the official explanation from the club was one of muscle fatigue.”
On Swedish icon Zlatan Ibrahimovic: “A ticking time bomb of a madman.”
And best of all, indeed maybe best of all time, on former Inter Milan manager (and now England national team manager) Roy Hodgson: “Hodgson mispronounced my name. He called me ‘Pirla’ (a term used in the Milanese dialect which roughly translates to “d—head”), perhaps understanding my true nature more than the other managers.”
Top that for self-awareness. I triple-dog dare you.