That Bootleg Guy's Weekly Sports Pulse

Welcome back to the Weekly Sports Pulse! I’m your host, That Bootleg Fill-In Guy. If you’re reading this, I can only assume that you came looking for one of our 100 different WWE Raw recaps and made a wrong turn at Albuquerque Eric Szulczewski.

Lots of sports goodness to get into from the week that was, but first, a little bit of self-serving grandstanding. A hale and hearty thank you to everyone who sent me feedback on my 20 Little Stories About 20 Baseball Games feature. There were lots of your own anecdotes from people who bore witness to history and, dare I say (a day that will go down in) infamy.

I’ve got a ton of fodder for a sports-related mailbag column, reflecting feedback on every “Bootleg Guy” piece I’ve penned for IP, so look for that”¦someday.

Meanwhile”¦let’s hopscotch back one week thru early July and late June”¦thru Canada Day, but after St. Jean Baptiste Day and any other faux French-Canadian holiday that Sylvan would have us celebrate.

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Major League Baseball announced the lineups for this year’s All Star Game, being held next Tuesday in Pittsburgh. As usual, ESPN’s Baseball Tonight team was given too much time to overanalyze pretty much everything involved with this exhibition game. Do we really need 60 minutes of Johnny No-Neck and Famous Amos Reynolds telling us things like, “This lineup is built to score runs!”

Ugh. Anyways, there wasn’t too much to complain about on either side, as those who might’ve had a legitimate case over being omitted are part of baseball’s ridiculous online voting gimmick. And, I’ll just go ahead and call Chicago’s A.J. Pierzynski and the Dodgers’ Nomar Garciaparra as the internet winners there.

Wait a minute”¦how did Jason Giambi not make the final fan vote? He’s having a terrific season as a legitimate first baseman and the fans have seemingly afforded him the only “pass” to be doled out from the BALCO aftermath. I mean, sure, Boston’s David Ortiz has a “Nation” behind him, but Giambi can only boast an entire, uh”¦Universe.

Jesus. It might be time to move New York higher in last year’s rankings.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

Long time Bootleg readers might know that my Saturday routine has remained unchanged for the last 10 years: Read Jeff Fernandez and get a haircut. I’ve opined on the opulence of the Black barbershop before, but for the uninitiated”¦remember that movie Barbershop? It’s a lot like that, except the wait is often 90 minutes to get into a chair, as opposed to the 90 minutes of run time as viewers couldn’t wait to get out of the theater.

Anyways, as I walked in for my standup 10AM appointment, imagine my surprise to find England vs. Portugal on the TV. World Cup Soccer alongside the essence of African-American culture? Sadly, this entertainment exchange program will end sometime before July 14th.

I only caught the last few minutes of overtime, but did see all of the penalty kicks, where Portugal eventually prevailed. And, the best thing about it? The awesome live images of bad British teeth chewing on their pint glasses as their national team went down in flames. Nothing will ever replace those late August close-ups of the losing Little League World Series teams-in-tears, but this was damn close.

Take that, Will Cooling!

Friday, June 30, 2006

OK”¦even if you’re not a baseball fan, you’ll love this one. The Los Angeles Angels signed starting pitcher Jeff Weaver to a one year/eight million dollar contract this past winter. Coming into this season, Weaver was probably best known for melting under the incessant YES Network spotlight cast over his time with the New York Yankees.

Weaver’s numbers with the Halos (3-10, 6.29 ERA) were even worse than those with the Yankees and after an especially awful start against Colorado, he was designated for assignment. Basically, he was taken off the roster, while the Angels have 10 days to trade or release him. And, in a corresponding move, the Angels recalled Jeff’s brother, Jered from the minor leagues.

So, the Angels essentially “fired” Jeff and hired his brother. I’m so torn here, as I’m a noted Halo Hater, but who wouldn’t love to see Jered complete the heel turn by “kicking Jeff’s leg out from under his”¦uh, leg”?

Just stay away from scaffolds, poorly-woven American-made harnesses and pay-per-views in Kansas City, Jered.

(What”¦too soon?)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

This story from last week has already had repercussions extending into this week. Barry Bonds’ personal trainer, Greg Anderson, defiantly announced that he would not be testifying to the federal grand jury investigating Bonds for perjury.

Bravo, I say.

The feds basically hand-delivered all of the source data that makes up the (admittedly excellent) book, “Game of Shadows” via illicit and egregious grand jury leaks to a pair of San Francisco reporters, so now they want the help of one of the major players in this controversy?

Stand your ground, Greg.

And, here’s the definitive fact about baseball and steroids: Over the last 20 years, none of us will ever know who was juicing, who wasn’t and who continues to juice. You can’t tell by looking at someone (Rafael Palmeiro), none of these players’ adamant denials regarding steroid use are worth a damn (Palmeiro, again) and any speculation about any player who enjoys a significant statistical boost late in their careers should not just be limited to hitters (Roger Clem”¦ah, never mind).

The point is, in the absence of 280-page investigative books on every player who’s come into the Majors since Jose Canseco allegedly ushered in the steroid age, we either have to paint ’em all with the same suspicious brush or look the other way, while going back to blaming smaller ballparks and expansion for the offensive explosion of the last 15 years.

Remember when we could blame the Devil Rays for everything? F*ck you, Wade Boggs.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Despite the repeated bleating of Bill Simmons and the rest of David Stern’s Friends in Fellatio over at ESPN, I doubt that I’ll ever come back to the NBA. I don’t care how often you tell me that these were the best playoffs in years or how all the scary Black men that spooked the league’s middle-aged white ticket-buying nucleus have been replaced by non-threatening Negroes like LeBron and”¦Kobe Bryant?

And, I don’t care about the NBA draft.

The league’s annual fashion show-cum-sideshow was on full display with trades aplenty, six-button suits and Dan Patrick’s hair color getting an early start on autumn.

Quick! Who was the top pick in the draft? Andrea Something, right? Hell, I’ll spot you his first name, people. And, for all of the snarky remarks that Isiah Thomas has deservedly received on his job with the Knicks, can anyone outside of the five boroughs name the player(s) picked in the first round that earned Isiah even more animosity from the Mike and the Mad Dog drive-time knuckle draggers?

Of course you can’t.

For almost 15 years (or since Michael Jordan’s first retirement), the NBA has been more about the sizzle (Sportscenter-friendly dunks) and less about the well-marbled, medium-with-just-a-little-pink-in-the-middle rib eye with a side of garlic n’ pepper mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus.

And, that’s fine for those of us who actually remember NBA Jam, yet could still turn to the real thing for, y’know”¦good basketball. Sadly, that ship has sailed. Although, so has NBA Jam, come to think of it.

Y’know, if I was supposed to be making a point here, I lost it about five minutes ago.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

“Oh, Andy Capp. You wife-beating drunk.”
-Homer Simpson

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Brett Myers found out that spousal abuse is not a laughing matter”¦eventually. Y’see, he and the team both learned this about four days after Myers was arrested for allegedly landing a Kerry Von Erich discus punch right in the middle of Mrs. Myers’ mug.

Unfortunately, over the course of those four days, Myers was allowed to make his next scheduled start in Fenway Park versus the Red Sox and in front of their always classy Nation of fans. Give credit where it’s due”¦Bostonians booed the hell outta Myers during the nationally televised Saturday broadcast.

Even the Fox broadcasters were questioning the team’s decision to let Myers pitch and this is same network that paraded around a 16-year-old Christina Applegate in a street-walker starter kit in prime time”¦then, kept doing it even after she peaked at 19 and all the way through the end of her run as something that once remotely resembled hotness.

Myers announced that he’d be taking a leave of absence from the team, while he dealt with all of the legal and emotional ramifications of popping his wife (whether she deserved it or not).

Oh, I’m kidding. That’s what I do, new readers”¦that’s what I do.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Peter Gammons worked an ESPN broadcast. And, man, I really hope that’s not the last time I type that. Get well soon BUT (pause) know that we’re all missing you while you’re recuperating.

Aaron Cameron is the only IP writer arrogant enough to put these ridiculous resumes at the end of his columns. He’s an occasional contributor to music, sports and the United Negro College Fund.