Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chargers' GM needs to step it up

General Manager A.J. Smith is rarely full of surprises, so give him credit for living up to his reputation in his “State of the Chargers” address.

The biggest shock is that linebacker Marques Harris will be allowed to test the market as an unrestricted free agent.

Harris made a lot of big plays on defense when he spelled the outside backers … most of all the sack in Week 4 at Oakland where he stripped the ball from QB JaMarcus Russell and turned the game around as the Chargers recovered from a 15-3 deficit.

It is basically yesterday’s news that DE Igor Olshansky, and OL Mike Goff and Jeremy Newberry aren’t coming back.

Speaking of the O-line, it’s a revelation that Marcus McNeill is going to take five months to rebound from neck surgery (but should be healthy by training camp.)

No wonder he had such a poor season in 2008.

And lest any of us should be surprised; Smith danced around questions concerning LaDainian Tomlinson and his status with the Chargers.

His strongest statements concerned that fact he hasn’t done so well himself the last two years (duh!) and that lots of players need to step it up.

“We've got some people who need to get their act together,” Smith said. “They know who they are.”

Certainly, the general manager should put himself at (or near) the top of that list.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Barry Bonds belongs in prison; not Hall of Fame

Greg Anderson must be one of the dumbest men in America … and among the richest.

Just what is his deal in refusing to testify in the government’s case against Barry Bonds for lying to a grand jury investigating steroids use by athletes?

It’s clear as day that Anderson, the personal trainer, supplied Bonds with steroids. But as long as Anderson doesn’t testify, the feds will have a much tougher task in proving that Bonds is guilty.

Heck, Anderson has already spent a year in jail for refusing to testify before a grand jury about his relationship with Bonds. He certainly isn’t going to change anything in federal court.

The ultimate question: Why does Anderson keep taking the fall for Bonds; a guy whose reputation is paying the price for the rude manner in which he has treated people for years?

You have to think that Bonds has paid off Anderson, which is a shame.

There’s no way home run king Bonds is going to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Too bad his chances of going into the prison cell are being lessened by a character named Anderson, who’s being a fall guy for one of the worst individuals in America.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Peavy needs to be more careful in words, deeds

Jake Peavy needs to grow up sometimes when it comes to the things he says and does.

The Padres’ ace pitcher stayed silent all winter when it came to possibilities of him being traded to the Chicago Cubs, etc. … which was probably his best course of action.

Why should he be silent more often?

Because as a celebrated athlete, Peavy does get caught up at times in thinking that he and his peers are above the law.

Rather than try to say it myself, consider a “right on” letter to the editor from Bob Bagnall of San Diego in the San Diego Union-Tribune on Sunday:

“So Jake Peavy asks, in reference to baseball players found to have used steroids, “How can you fault a guy for trying to make a living for his family?” Apparently Peavy makes no distinction between those who choose to adhere to laws, ethics, morals and values as they struggle to make livings for their families, and those who choose to ignore them.
So I guess someone robbing or cheating someone else should also be absolved as long as he makes it clear he's doing so to support his family. Unfortunately, Peavy has a history of acting as if sports stars are above the law. He was arrested and jailed after ignoring an Alabama airport official's request to move his unattended truck, responding “Write me a ticket” and “Call a real cop.” (“Peavy gets arrested on disorderly charge,” Jan. 5, 2007 U-T)

I'm a huge, lifelong Padres fan. And I hope Peavy spends his entire, sure-to-be-stellar career in San Diego. But I had also hoped that exposure to influences such as Bud Black and Greg Maddux had resulted in some necessary maturing on his part. His statement here makes me question that. Thank goodness Maddux is back in a coaching role, and Peavy also has an honorable teammate like Chris Young to show him the way. Hopefully he'll listen.”

Well said, Bob.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Chargers need succession planning at running back

Succession planning ensures that there are highly qualified people in all positions, not just today, but tomorrow, next year, and beyond.

The Chargers have done a good job of succession planning at linebacker; not so good at running back.

Why else would Darren Sproles be designated as their “franchise” player for 2009?

Sproles will earn $6.6 million, the average pay of the top five salaried running backs in the NFL.

That’s quite a lofty status for someone who serves as a third-down back, kick returner and sometimes running back.

How did the Chargers get in this position?

When LaDainian Tomlinson was injured in the 2007 playoffs, the Chargers saw it as an exception; not a trend. Unfortunately, it has become a trend.

At 5-foot-6, Sproles is certainly not built to handle the load as an every down running back. That’s up to LT – as long as he’s healthy.

And, by the way, the Chargers will only take Tomlinson back if he agrees to a reduced salary in 2009. In essence, if LT returns, he’ll only being making about half as much as his backup named Sproles.

When it comes to this vital position, lack of succession planning is catching up with the Chargers. Where’s Michael Turner when you need him?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Selig not to blame for MLB's drug problems

Say what you want about MLB commissioner Bud Selig, but don’t blame him for the current drug mess in baseball.

Selig’s recent comments to Newsday are very revealing … and right on the money.

“I don't want to hear the commissioner turned a blind eye to this or he didn't care about it,” Selig said. “That annoys the you-know-what out of me. You bet I'm sensitive to the criticism. The reason I'm so frustrated is, if you look at our whole body of work, I think we've come farther than anyone ever dreamed possible.”
The commissioner rightly blames the problem on the players’ union.
“Starting in 1995, I tried to institute a steroid policy. Needless to say, it was met with strong resistance. We were fought by the union every step of the way.”

Despite the constant criticism Selig takes, he should not be criticized for these comments.

After all, it took Congress to get the players’ union to finally agree to a more stringent drug policy for MLB.

We all remember the likes of Rafael Palmeiro and Roger Clemens lying to Congress … Mark McGwire keeping silent because of his drug abuse … and the constant lies and more lies by Barry Bonds.

It’s a good thing Congress finally came along to help straighten out the drug policy in MLB.

Otherwise, people would still wrongly blame the commissioner and owners … rather than the players who thought they could get away with something when nobody was looking; except Jose Canseco.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Manny Ramirez paying price for quitting on Red Sox

Manny Ramirez may very well find himself as a man without a team when the 2009 Major League Baseball season starts.

No doubt, Ramirez thought he was in the driver’s seat when he turned down proposals of two years, $45 million; then one year, $25 million from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Surely, he and his egotistical agent Scott Boras thought someone would come along with a four-year contract worth in excess of $100 million.

Hold on.

People certainly haven’t forgotten how Ramirez quit on the Boston Red Sox last season; even though he was at the end of an eight-year, $160 million contract.

Sure, he was the sparkplug that sent the Dodgers from the middle-of-the-pack to the NL Championship Series.

It all comes down to one question: Would you sign Ramirez to a long-term contract, considering how he quit on the Red Sox last year?

I didn’t think so … nor do general managers think so throughout MLB.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

David Jeremiah: A true All-Star among All-Stars

The NBA will have a true all-star of a pastor speak to its all-star players at a chapel service before the NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix on Sunday.

The league couldn’t have picked a better pastor than David Jeremiah of Shadow Mountain Community church in El Cajon, Calif.

Pastor Jeremiah is the Vin Scully of pastors, so to speak.

Like Scully, he tells great anecdotes. And like Scully, he is certainly one of those most trusted men in America.

Pastor Jeremiah has recently written a great book titled “What in the World is Going On?” It concerns Biblical history and the end times; and he is currently speaking on the subject each week on his “Turning Point” television show (check your local listings.)

A couple things about Pastor Jeremiah and his church:

Shadow Mountain contributes more than $2 million annually to send missionaries throughout the world to live side-by-side and work with the less fortunate. In essence, these missionaries are giving up their lives of having 10 times as many luxuries in the United States to go live and help those abroad.

On a personal note, Pastor Jeremiah nearly died of lymphoma eight years ago. He truly knows what he’s speaking about when it comes to life and death experiences.

Information on his church congregation is available at Information on Turning Point is available at

He will truly be an all-star among All-Stars this weekend in Phoenix.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

MLB Players: Few of character; many A-Frauds

Character is often defined as “doing the right thing when nobody’s looking.”

Under that definition, baseball is full of characters without character, right?


Let Alex Rodriguez and his recent revelation about steroid usage from 2001-03 stand as the latest Exhibit A.

To refresh your memory, A-Rod told Katie Couric a few years ago on national television that he never used steroids. But when Sports Illustrated discovered he really did use steroids, A-Rod had little recourse but to tell the truth.

A man of character? Hardly.

Then we have such baseball characters as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Miguel Tejada.

None wanted to reveal what they did behind closed doors (i.e. take steroids.) But when the truth comes out, you can bet they were all steroids users.

Bottom line: Don’t go describing them as men of “character.”

Rodriguez may have been referred to by his New York Yankees teammates as “A-Fraud.” But now that the truth is coming out, too high of a percentage of baseball players are nothing but A-Frauds.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Why does beer company sponsor Chargers?

Sometimes, it’s just better to let others do the talking.

So, in the wake of Chargers’ players Vincent Jackson and Jamal Williams facing driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) charges, we’re stepping aside today.

This letter from George Misthos in the Sunday edition of the San Diego Union-Tribune says it all:

“Kudos to the Chargers for helping to start the SafeRides Solutions program. However, in light of the recent drunken-driving incidents involving Chargers players, it is hypocritical to continue to have a beer company's name alongside the Chargers logo visable in the background of news conferences. This is sending the wrong message, and it is high time to find a new sponsor.”

Thank you, George. Well said!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Why do athletes think they are above the law?

Just what is it with athletes thinking they are invincible and above the law?

Take Matt Bush, the overall No. 1 pick in the 2004 amateur baseball draft (by the Padres, of course.)

Or take Vincent Jackson and Jamal Williams of the Chargers, both recently arrested on charges of drunken driving.

And while you’re at it, PLEASE take these guys.

Bush has been nothing but a pain the past five years. His latest incident – suspected of being drunk and beating up two freshman lacrosse players at Granite Hills High – fits right in with his lifelong pattern of thinking he's above everyone else.

If you don’t believe me, ask his former teammates from El Cajon National Little League and El Cajon Pony League, among others.

Let’s not forget that the Padres passed over the likes of Stephen Drew and Jered Weaver to selected Bush first in 2004. And let’s not forget that it was a story by Bill Center in the San Diego Union-Tribune that led to the Padres selecting Bush.

In Center’s own words on the day after the Padres drafted Bush: “And the story started with a report in this newspaper Friday.”
(Thank goodness, the Padres finally got rid of Bush this week.)

As for Jackson and Williams, the Chargers will only keep them because of their star status. If they were back-up offensive linemen, they would have been cut on the spot for being suspected of DUIs.

In their cases, maybe the NFL will impose the discipline the Chargers should – but probably won’t – because these are two of their top players.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Padres owner must produce before fans will

I don’t know about you, but this quote from new Padres owner Jeff Moorad certainly caught my attention:

“To the extent that we feel that the community is supporting the club, we're going to invest every last dollar back into the product.”

OK, but let’s remember this team lost 99 games last year. Let’s remember this team will be starting some players more suited for Triple-A this year.

And let’s not forget that the Padres have had a horrible offseason in the marketing/publicity department.

Jeff, this is the “Field of Dreams” in a sense. If you build it, they will come.

What you must build is a baseball team that can earn some respect in the community by being respected on the field and respectable in the way it operates.

Let’s not make it sound as if the community must start supporting the Padres before the organization will give back.

The team is bad; the national economy is worse.

We’re glad to have a new owner in San Diego; but the proof of the fans’ support will be decided in (and by) the pudding of the baseball team.

Monday, February 2, 2009

3D: Wave of the future in the NFL?

Did you see the Super Bowl ad in 3D at halftime for Sobe?

Pretty cool, huh.

Who knows; 3D may be the wave of the future for the NFL.

The Sobe ad certainly seemed to jump out at those of us watching in 3D.

And for those who viewed the San Diego Chargers-Oakland Raiders game in 3D on Dec. 4, the pictures sure appeared to jump out.

Whenever a player caught a ball near the sideline, he seemed to be coming right at you.

When the locker room attendant threw a towel at the camera, it looked like the towel would hit you.

When the Charger Girl cheerleaders were featured, it looked like they were falling out of their tops (and bottoms.)

If 3D is the future of the NFL, I’m not so sure if it will be possible to watch a full game in that manner.

But some of the 3D features are certainly attractive at this point.