Monday, May 23, 2005


--> In interviews with the Washington Post published Monday, the parents of Pat Tillman lashed out at the Army, calling the investigations into Tillman's death a "sham" and making it clear that they feel the cover-up of the truth surrounding Tillman's death has made it harder for them to deal with the loss of their son. Patrick and Mary Tillman, who are divorced, both told the Post of their disgust over the cover-up. Mary Tillman called it disrespectful and said "The administration let him (Pat Tillman) down". Patrick Tillman was more blunt in his criticism, saying "I think they thought they could control it, and they realized that their recruiting efforts were going to hell in a handbasket if the truth of his death got out. They blew up their poster boy". The Tillmans absolutely have the right to be upset, but the level of emotion depicted in the Post article shows how incredibly disgusted they are with the cover-up that started from the very second that Pat Tillman's comrades realized they had killed him by mistake. The rest of the nation should also be outraged by the military's behavior in this case. Those who are trusted to lead our brave young men and women into battle blatantly and willingly lied to cover up the nasty truth surrounding Pat Tillman's death. They went on to allow just about everyone in this country to use Tillman's story as if it was some sort of patriotic PR act. The government knew what happened to Pat Tillman, but knew it would be more difficult to capitalize on his pre-military name recognition if word got out that Tillman was a victim of friendly fire. The fact that they told the public a false story is bad enough. The fact that they lied to the family of a fallen soldier is beyond reprehensible, and the story cannot and should not end here. Those who concocted this lie and spread it to Pat Tillman's family should face punishment. Unfortunately, accountability is not a strong suit of this administration.

--> The Minnesota Vikings will be without their leading rusher from 2004 for the entire season, as running back Onterrio Smith was suspended for a full year because of his inability to keep his hands off the pot. The player who once proclaimed himself the "Steal of the Draft (SOD)" has run into constant trouble with another type of SOD. Smith was caught at an airport in April with "The Original Whizzinator", an incident that spawned numerous jokes that you have probably already read. The suspension is not believed to be related to the Whizzinator incident, and is instead reportedly the result of Smith skipping a mandatory drug test, an action that carries the same weight as an actual positive test under NFL rules. Now is the time for the Vikings to get rid of Smith. Actually, they should wait until he returns from suspension, but he should never play again for the Vikings. Not only did he cause the organization embarrassment and subject it to endless ridicule because of his attempt to carry a Whizzinator onto a plane, but he is a player that can't be trusted. Smith has had multiple suspensions, both in college and pro ball, because of his drug use. He is either incapable or unwilling to clean up his act, and as long as he can't be trusted to be available for 16 games, the Vikings have no use for him.

--> Twins fans, I would like to take this time to pass along a quick statement from Brewers manager Ned Yost: You're welcome. Minnesota took the rubber game of a three-game series at the Metrodome over the weekend by winning 6-5 in eleven innings on Sunday, in a game that could best be described as a gift from the Brewers' skipper. Yost made more inconceiveable managerial decisions in one game than some managers will make in a month. The mistakes were so glaring that it's difficult to pick out which one was the worst:
  • He pulled starter Wes Obermueller after six innings, even though Obermueller had thrown just 77 pitches and was cruising. He was in line for a victory over Twins ace Johan Santana, something that looked improbable when Santana carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and the Brewers had barely touched the ball over the first five racks.
  • Yost then put in Ricky Bottalico to start the eighth inning. While that wasn't a sin, what Yost did to respond to Bottalico's wildness certainly qualified. Instead of going with Matt Wise or even Mike Adams, Yost summoned closer Derrick Turnbow with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth. Turnbow would strike out Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter, with a run scoring on a wild pitch to Morneau. However, a long at-bat by Jacque Jones to lead off the ninth would doom Turnbow. By the time that he had yielded the game-tying home run to Shannon Stewart, Turnbow had thrown 40 pitches, and he was clearly gassed after the Jones at-bat.

Yost could have avoided the loss by either letting Obermueller work the seventh, or putting Wise in to replace a struggling Bottalico in the eighth. Instead, his team ends a tough road trip with a potentially crippling loss. On the bright side for local baseball fans, the Twins picked up a game on the White Sox, and they may have found a turning point for their season with such a stirring comeback victory.

--> I'm not going to get too much into the basketball. Quite frankly, I've written so much about the NBA Playoffs that some of you might think I'm trying to be Bill Simmons or something like that. That's not the case. As riveting as the playoffs have been, I'll leave the everyday writing about the NBA to those who know more about the game than I do. That said, I will mention that there's no way San Antonio's going to win the Western finals if they need another 43-point quarter (on nearly 73 percent shooting) to do it. That's not their element, and while the Spurs will get out and run once in a while, and they're hardly the plodding, slow-paced team that Indiana became, they can't afford to get in a shootout with a team like Phoenix. The Suns will be fine in this series if they can play like they did Sunday, while the Spurs could find themselves in some trouble if it takes 115 points per game to beat the Suns three more times.

--> The Cubs have told Carlos Zambrano to cut back on his typing to help save his elbow. That's right. Typing. It seems that Zambrano spends a few hours a day exchanging e-mails with his brother in Venezuela. While the Cubs say Zambrano doesn't have carpal tunnel syndrome, they do say that Zambrano's elbow problems may be, in part, the result of how much typing he does every day in those e-mail exchanges with family back home. Meanwhile, Cubs "manager" Dusty Baker allowed starting pitcher Mark Prior, who was on the shelf with arm issues during spring training, to throw 129 pitches in a complete game win over the White Sox on Sunday. It seems that complete games are about the only way the Cubs can win nowadays, being that their bullpen is a disaster waiting to happen. Someday, Baker will learn. Unfortunately, that day may not come until one of his pitchers' arms literally falls off on the mound during a game. It's neat that one pitcher is allowed to rack up 129 pitches while the franchise is trying to stop another top pitcher from typing so much.

--> Did the Reds designate Danny Graves for assignment because he flipped off a fan, or did they designate Danny Graves for assignment because he makes LaTroy Hawkins look like Eric Gagne?

--> Is it okay to rip into Randy Johnson yet? I'm sure he'll pitch better at some point this season, but I think that most feel quite foolish for just assuming that Johnson would win 20 games. At this point, he'll be lucky to win 15 games.

--> The Denver Broncos might sign Jerry Rice. Why? He's not a running back. Then again, he and Rod Smith could combine to make up one of the oldest wide receiving tandems in league history. I'm sure Jake Plummer would be thrilled with that.

--> Word is that Ricky Williams is "absolutely set" to report to Miami Dolphins training camp this July. He would have to wait until July to avoid a one-year drug suspension, and he would have to serve a four-game ban at the start of the regular season. Why would Nick Saban even want to take the chance? I understand that he drafted Ronnie Brown to be "The Man", but Williams likely won't accept a secondary role if he decides to come back. And how could anyone think Williams is trustworthy after what he pulled last year?

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