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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Banshee Blitz

The Banshee Blitz debuted in April.  The basic idea of the Banshee Blitz is that I get to touch on several hot topics in the sports world in just one column.  Not a lot of research and backstory.  Just my thoughts ... rapid fire.

(Daniel Shirey/USA Today)
Stephen Strasburg to the DL:  The Washington Nationals are 8 games out of first place in the NL East and have a losing record.  And this week, the Nats announced that their young ace, Stephen Strasburg is headed to the DL with a sore back.  I'm not happy about either of these things.  I like Strasburg, and I like the Nats.  But I hated the decision last season to put Strasburg on the shelf for the playoffs in order to protect the health of Strasburg's right arm.  The Nats acted as if making it to the post season in the years to come was a mortal lock and that they'd need Strasburg healthy for their inevitable 10-year World Series dynasty.  Well, congrats, Nats!  Strasburg ended last season with a healthy arm.  And yet, Strasburg apparently has other body parts that can go awry.  And, you cannot count on a season as magical as 2012 to happen every year.  Of course, hindsight is 20-20.  But, I'm entitled to spout off about this now because I dedicated an entire Banshee Rant to criticizing the Save Strasburg strategy last July.

(Elsa/Getty Images
The End of A-Rod?  Please?:  While we're on the topic of baseball, I feel obligated to spend just a few words on Alex Rodriguez.  Alex Rodriguez hasn't played a single inning of baseball this season for the New York Yankees, but he got to be the hottest topic in the MLB this week due to his connection to yet another steroid scandal.  I don't want to get into the details of what A-Rod might have done or the merits of the claims against him.  After all, this is the Banshee Blitz ... not the Banshee Grand Jury Argument.  But, the hot rumor this week is that Major League Baseball may seek a 100-game suspension against the already injured and aging third baseman.  As the news was breaking, almost every single person on my Twitter feed was excited about the possible demise of A-Rod.  This might seem obvious to some of you, but I'm a Yankees fan.  There are a lot of Yankees fans on my Twitter timeline.  It was the Yankees fans were actually leading the charge in the anti-A-Rod parade.  Most Yankees fans would be delighted if they never have to hold their noses again while hoping for #13 to produce at the plate.  And despite the huge salary that the Steinbrenner family will still have to honor, I have to wonder if part of them also wants to just be rid of the PR mess that A-Rod has become.

(Getty Images)
NFL to London:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell got the sports media world all in a tizzy this week when he made it clear that he'd like to see an NFL franchise in London.  And, of course, the group of parrots that comprise the national sports media all started talking about the London Jaguars.  Getting the Jags out of Jacksonville is inexplicably a beloved narrative for people of that ilk.  But, for purposes of this Blitz column, let's leave the Jaguars out of this and address a more fundamental question.  Why is NFL football in London supposed to be a good idea?  Sure, the game or two that the NFL exports to Wembley Stadium each year get decent attendance.  But, that's because everyone goes to see the circus when it comes to town.  It does not mean that the people who turn out to the big top actually want to see the acrobats 16 times a year.  And it certainly doesn't mean that they're gonna start shelling out big bucks to buy jerseys with their favorite elephant's number on them.  Let's be honest, if the folks across the pond were really clambering for American football, then NFL Europe would still exist.  If there must be expansion or relocation of a franchise, why not look to San Antonio, Oklahoma City or Los Angeles.  And if it's international expansion that the league really craves, why not take a baby step into Canada first.  Why not Halifax, for example.  They've been lobbying to get a CFL team for years.

(Terry Gilliam/AP)
Gordon Gee is Gone:  Gordon Gee, president of the Ohio State University, retired this week.  The retirement came in the wake of a some controversial comments surfacing regarding, among other things, the SEC, Notre Dame and Catholics as a whole.  This was by no means the first time that Gee's words have drawn scrutiny.  Gee's retirement announcement made me both happy and sad.  I'm sad because no one should be defined by their least flattering moment (or in this case, two or three least flattering moments).  But, by all accounts, Gee was a fine man and was very skilled at his job of president of a major university ... a post he's held at many other reputable institutions of higher learning.  The fact that Gee was a lousy comedian does not mean that he's a lousy president.  It certainly doesn't mean that he's a lousy man.  But, at the same time, I'm happy about Gee's retirement.  It's easy to hang on too long.  To linger until you're fired.  Gee left before his departure became overdue.  And for that, I applaud him.  And, I'm sure his family will applaud him, too.

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