July 30, 2010

Bob Molinaro posted this complaint on
“By sheer coincidence, about the same time first-year Dallas Cowboys wideout Dez Bryant was upsetting the established
order at training camp by refusing to carry the shoulder pads of veteran Roy Williams, I was experiencing my own run-in
with a rookie at The Virginian-Pilot.

“I expect you to carry my pads,” I told Chris Carlson, a talented writer who recently joined the sports staff.

Pads? he asked.

“You know,” I told him, “my legal pad. My reporter’s notebook. If I decide to buy an iPad, I expect you to carry that.
It’s part of the traditional hazing process, just like in the NFL.”

Carlson immediately declined my request. Just as Bryant did at training camp, he expressed his displeasure to a room
full of sports writers. Of course, at The Pilot, Chris was already standing in a room full of sports writers.

“I’m not doing it,” he said. “I feel like I was hired to write stories, not carry another reporter’s note pads.”

These kids today. They’ve got all the ability in the world but won’t pay a veteran the respect he deserves.

It’s not like I was asking him to get me lunch or wash my car or have my laptop checked for viruses. And I would never
think of tying him down to a chair to give him an ugly haircut. Wouldn’t be necessary. Sports writers’ haircuts are
ugly enough already.

While my little disagreement with the rookie was virtually ignored by the media, Bryant’s dust-up with Williams made
news, and not just in football-mad Dallas. In Tuesday’s USA Today, it was the lead story in the sports section.

It’s that time of year, a silly season when baseball – even another no-hitter – is nearly eclipsed by NFL camp news,
including reports of Terrell Owens’ job search.

It’s not yet August, and I’m already bored by Owens, a condition that goes back to at least 2007. Except for T.O. and
his agent, who wouldn’t be?

Amazingly, though, Owens can still charm people who should know better. Following a meeting with Owens, and before
Cincinnati reportedly agreed with him on a one-year contract, Bengals executive Mike Brown said, “I was taken by him.
He was thoughtful (and) pleasant.”

Somebody’s been standing out in the summer sun too long.

Is the future of an aging quarterback saboteur still intriguing news? I don’t think so. Not like Michael Vick is, in
Year 2 of his comeback.

“I’m definitely on my last chance,” Vick told reporters at the opening of Eagles training camp. “I know I’m on thin ice.
I know this is it for me. If I do the smallest thing, I’ll probably get kicked out of this league, banned forever.”

A year after the Eagles signed him, promising that Vick would be a role model, the backup quarterback was just cleared
by commissioner Roger Goodell to play football again following an investigation into the shooting of Quanis Phillips, a
co-defendant in the dogfighting case that sent Vick to federal prison.

With his career in the balance, Vick is admitting once again to extremely poor judgment. Nobody ever said he was a
quick learner. But how many last chances does he get?

Naturally, Vick bemoans his horrible decision to allow an open-to-the-public 30th birthday party to be thrown for him
in Virginia Beach, an event which resulted in Phillips getting shot in the leg outside a restaurant. He said this week
that he should have listened to his mother and kept the celebration a private affair. That begs the question: Who does
he listen to?

Compared with the baggage Vick carries to camp, Bryant’s anti-hazing manifesto is a trifling matter, news for the
slowest of days.

On Tuesday, Bryant said he was unaware of hazing traditions. Now that he’s relaxing his stand, maybe the former
Oklahoma State player will agree to belt out the school fight song for his Dallas teammates.

I sympathize with veteran Cowboys on this. Carlson is a Syracuse grad, but he’s already told me there’s no chance he’ll
stand on a chair to sing his school song.

Figures. The rookie who won’t carry my pads apparently can’t carry a tune.”

Jim Caple is a senior writer for and had this to say about Miguel Batista’s comments about Miss Iowa.
“Washington Nationals pitcher Miguel Batista inadvertently insulted a certain beauty pageant winner Tuesday night when
he said the following quote while interpreting the boos he heard upon being announced as the emergency starter in place
of injured Stephen Strasburg: “Imagine if you go to see Miss Universe, then you end up having Miss Iowa, you might get
those kind of boos.”
Quotes like that are one reason why I have always liked Batista. Of course, the current Miss Iowa, Katherine Connors,
isn’t quite as big a fan. Responded Connors in the Des Moines Register: “I know I can throw a pitch or two! The
question is, can Miguel Batista walk the runway in a swimsuit?” (Page 2 hopes we don’t find out.)
Batista apologized to Miss Iowa, sending her flowers and explaining to the Washington Post that what he meant was,
“People started booing me, and they hadn’t seen me throw a pitch yet. It’s like you hear ‘Miss Iowa,’ and you say,
‘Iowa?’ And then you see her up close and you say, ‘Wow, she’s gorgeous.'”

Miss USA Pageant This year’s Miss Iowa USA pageant winner, Katherine Connors, won’t be booed by Page 2 anytime soon.

For the record, yes, she is. In fact, she’s reason enough for a “Field of Dreams” remake …

JOE JACKSON stands in the sandlot that RAY KINSELLA built on his farm, After so many decades in the wilderness, he
can’t believe his fortune. He tries to take it all in. The smell of the ballpark in his nose, the coolness of the grass
and the thrill of the vision standing in front of him: KATHERINE CONNORS wearing a string bikini.

SHOELESS JOE: Is this heaven?

RAY: No, it’s Miss Iowa. But calm down, big guy. She’s dating Derek Jerek.

Meanwhile, the Miss Iowa USA pageant responded to Batista’s comments by inviting him to serve on the judging panel at
the state contest this October. Hopefully, Batista will accept the offer (Lord knows, the Nationals won’t still be
playing then) because then we could get questions such as these:

“Miss Des Moines, the Deepwater Horizon disaster released hundreds of millions of gallons of oil into the ocean,
raising new concerns about our need for fossil fuels and the environmental hazards posed by deep drilling. So tell me,
if you were Miss Iowa, do you think it would be ethical to place a foreign substance on the ball when pitching to
Albert Pujols with the tying run on second and two out in ninth?”

“Miss Keokuk, the American educational system is receiving increased criticism, particularly in subjects such as math.
In fact, students ranked 24th out of 29 countries in a recent survey of math skills. If you were to become Miss Iowa,
would you be able to explain how the hell WARP works?

“Miss Cedar Rapids, with the increased popularity of video games and cell phones, American youth are reading fewer and
fewer books and gaining less and less appreciation for the written word. So tell me, can you name the major league
pitcher who is the author of the book of poetry ‘Feelings of Black and White,’ and the thriller ‘The Avenger of Blood’?
Hint: He left Game 5 of the 2001 World Series with a 2-0 lead after throwing 7 2/3 scoreless innings, saved 31 games as
a closer in 2005, won 16 games as a starter in 2007 and pitched five scoreless innings in place of Stephen Strasburg?
And he’s also free tonight after the pageant.”


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