Congratulations, Mr. Cheney. Hats off to Vice President Dick Cheney, who was invited to throw out the first pitch for Tuesday's Washington Nationals home opener at RFK Stadium. Cheney managed to successfully complete the first pitch assignment without accidentally striking any fans, and he was able to fare better than Commissioner Bud usually does in his first-pitch efforts.
I'm not one to cry about special treatment, but this is crazy. I'm not disputing that baseball needed to suspend Felix Rodriguez or Frank Robinson of the Nationals for their ridiculous behavior in a game against the New York Mess last week, but the fact that Mess pitching stud Pedro Martinez, who instigated all the bad blood, wasn't suspended, is ludicrous. It's hard to imagine that Martinez isn't the beneficiary of some star treatment here, considering that it was his plunkings of Jose Guillen that started everything. Furthermore, the fact that Martinez wasn't tossed from the game last week when he hitting a batter after the umpires issued warnings to both benches also strikes of star treatment. If baseball wants to truly crack down on beanball incidents, which is a noble and worthy cause, they need to be consistent in their rulings, no matter the players involved.
Duke lacrosse: Falsely accused? Reports on Monday stated that the DNA testing done on 46 Duke lacrosse players in connection with an alleged sexual assault at a team party produced no matches between the players and the alleged victim. The victim, an exotic dancer hired to "perform" at the party, said she was beaten and raped by three white players. She also alleges that the players lobbed racial slurs at her. The DNA testing doesn't show any evidence that a sexual assault took place, and it prompted the defense attorneys in the case to declare victory, while the district attorney said Tuesday that the case wasn't over and wouldn't "go away". I steered clear of this issue when it first became public, because I didn't feel it was right to convict these players before there was any physical evidence, and I'm going to steer clear of saying too much now, because you never know what will come out in terms of physical evidence.
However, it doesn't look good for a number of people right now. Duke's administration gave in to public pressure to cancel the lacrosse season, even though there were no charges, and there was nothing to convict the players with. Racial slurs are bad and almost completely indefensible, but they aren't enough justification for such an extreme move. The administration did nothing to support the players, and instead discarded them like a pile of trash. The players, it seems, were persecuted simply for the act of hiring defense attorneys to help them. I guess that we can all learn from this that someone hiring an attorney isn't some sort of admission of guilt.
Obviously, unless something comes out that didn't come out with the DNA testing, the accuser looks pretty bad. It appears at least possible at this point that she made up some pretty serious charges against a group of athletes. I hope this isn't the case, but it's starting to look that way.
Has Kevin Garnett played his last game as a Timberwolf? The organization appears ready to play some younger players down the stretch of the season, as Garnett has sat the last two games with a bad knee. Ricky Davis, Anthony Carter, and Troy Hudson joined Garnett on the bench last night, and all appeared to be in full compliance with the NBA's dress code. With the Timberwolves well out of the NBA playoff picture, they are playing out the string, and Garnett doesn't need to play if he's not completely healthy. The question is: Will Garnett play again this season, and if he doesn't, has he played his last game with Minnesota? Garnett has had a wonderful run with the Timberwolves, but with the team missing the playoffs for a second straight season, the rumors should be flying throughout much of the offseason regarding KG's future. Will he ask out of Minnesota (he hasn't done this yet, and he says he doesn't want to leave)? Will the Wolves ask him to accept a trade so they can get some cap room and rebuild the franchise? What is the right decision? In my opinion, if Garnett wants to stay and be a part of this organization, they should let him. A trade won't net Minnesota any more than about 50-60 cents on the dollar for Garnett, and the only way a trade could ever work out in Minnesota's favor is if they got a draft pick or a young player with tremendous upside. You don't want Garnett around if he's going to be a headache, but there's been no indication that he would do that.
Coming soon...NFL Draft previews, NHL playoff previews, and maybe a word or two about the annual snoozefest that is the NBA postseason.