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Put some perspective on sports

Just thinking:
Tiger: What will happen to Tiger Woods?
Two weeks ago, he finished 78th in a field of 80 in the Bridgestone Classic, a tournament he had won four years in a row prior to this year. Earlier in August, he tied for 28th place in the PGA Championship, his second worst showing in a major tournament in 12 years. Last weekend was better, a tie for 12th at the Barclay’s Championship. But still … Tiger Woods: middle of the pack?
During his profligacy, he conveyed an air of invincibility: “I am the best golfer in the world — I can do anything.” Now seeds of doubt have been planted. He has joined the human race. Diabolical sprites have invaded his putter.
Is this summer merely a misstep on his journey to golf immortality? Will he be the best in the world again? What has he learned from his fall? Some argue that one’s character is shown in how they get up from the deck after failure or mistakes. It will be interesting to watch this drama play out in the coming months and years.
Shaq: Shaquille O’Neal will ply his hoop trade in Celtics’ green. That will be interesting too. Shaq is fun.
The Celts have added another vintage part to their geriatric club. Can he still play? Well, he’s still 7’1”, well over 325 pounds, and the Celtics need a big man,
He’s had many nicknames over the years — the Big Diesel, Shaq Daddy, Shaq Fu, among others. He tweeted Celtics fans inviting them to provide new ones befitting his Boston identity. So now he’s the Green Monster, the Big Leprechaun, Shaqachusetts, and my favorite, Tip-in O’Neal.
It may be that he will be called The Big Waterboy. Old for a professional athlete, 38, his skills have clearly deteriorated. He may not be of much help for the Celtics, but he’ll be entertaining.
Bud: I am not a big Bud Selig fan.
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president, John Fahey, has chided baseball leadership for its “inadequate testing … its refusal to institute a transparent and rigorous testing program.”
Does anyone really believe that Bud Selig can exert real leadership on this issue? He’s an owner, a former owner anyway, chosen by other owners for his position. Owners want to sell tickets — the “best interests of the game” are often a casualty.
In this statistics driven-sport, the steroid scandal is a disaster, a shame. As commissioner, Selig presided over baseball’s steroid era. What university president, what corporate head, could have kept his job after a scandal of similar scope and impact?
Selig professes that he didn’t know of the extent of steroid use. He should have. Ignorance in leadership is just as damning as complicity. “I was asleep at the switch” is not much of an excuse.
Tito: Don’t talk to me about your frustration with the Red Sox season. We have no complaints.
The Sox are on a pace to win 90-95 games, enough to qualify for the post-season most years. There are 30 games left at this writing, and the playoffs are still a possibility. It’s a long-shot. The two teams ahead of the Bostons may simply be better.
I actually think the Rays will take the division – the Yanks pitching is problematical and the Rays final seven games are against Seattle, Baltimore, and Kansas City, all bad teams.
The Red Sox’ tribulations this summer are almost Biblical in scope — all those injuries to their top players: Ellsbury, Pedroia, Beckett, Varitek, Cameron, Youk. Yet we have been thrilled day-after-day by the spirited play of new faces, substitutes, spare parts, young guys — Adrian Beltre, Darnell MacDonald, Daniel Nava, Ryan Kalish, Bill Hall. It’s been a fascinating ride, so far.
Terry Francona deserves to be Manager of the Year.
Nick: Alabama football coach Nick Saban earns $4 million in salary a year (his contract is for $32 million for eight years; believe it or not, three college football coaches make more annually). The university believes he’s worth it, as he brings in over $65,000,000 in football revenues a year.
The players on the team, of course, get nothing, nada, zippo, for providing the sweaty labor that produces this largesse. Moreover, if they allow someone to buy them a sandwich, they risk bringing NCAA sanctions upon their program. Does this sound like exploitation to you too? I’d pay ‘em.
The opposing view is that they’re “students,” after all, and they go to school free, and some go on to make millions in pro ball. That’s the argument and it’s mostly bunk. They’re hardly students (over a third at Alabama fail to earn a degree) and very few go on to professional careers in football.
But we cling to that illusion, hard as it is to maintain. 
Now it’s September, the most beautiful month of the year in Vermont, and boys and girls in droves are outside playing their games for their school teams and having a ball, with underpaid coaches who truly believe that the playing field itself is a classroom.
Turn off the TV. Get to some games. See you there.
 

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