(Updated 10/29/2017) The craziness we have been witnessing lately is not just infecting the NFL and the pile-on-attitude brought on by our illustrious president—other sports franchises have felt the sting, too. Here are a few to chew on.
I don’t know if you have been in touch with the reports of Lakers guard Lonzo Ball’s father, Lavar Ball, who is doing his best to sell the idea that Lonzo is the second coming of Michael Jordan. This kid has a lot of talent, but Pop is writing checks that the kid can’t cash. The elder Ball’s latest rant came against Washington Wizards star John Wall. The Lakers were scheduled to play the Wizards and, according to the senior Ball, the Wizards were in trouble because his son’s Lakers were guaranteed to win. As things turned out, Wall conducted a seminar for the rookie.
The NFL Players Association and the owners are scheduled to meet, and my interest is in learning what will develop when invitee Colin Kaepernick has a chance to air his points of view. From the beginning, Kaep has made it clear that his silent protest is not about the flag, combat veterans or first responders, but solely to draw attention to the unrest in the country today. He has been successful in getting people talking, but people of color are still suffering from beatings and unwarranted treatment from law enforcement. Courts of law have failed to make an example of the perpetrators of these unwarranted shootings and assaults that sometimes lead to death. I have been voicing my objections on this page, but like Kaep, I don’t see any improvement.
Closer to home is an item that concerns me as well as quite a few other baseball fans. Johnnie B. “Dusty” Baker has been fired as manager of the Washington Nationals. This came as quite a surprise, since Dusty has guided the team to the playoffs twice in his two-year tenure as their skipper. Both times he had to work around injuries and still keep the team in the hunt. Removing Dusty simply because his team won’t be around to hoist a World Series trophy is so unfair when you consider the list of managers who will be watching these proceedings from the comfort of their living rooms.
I said I was surprised when I learned Dusty was fired, but it shouldn’t have hit me out of the blue when you consider the Nats have had 17 managers in 12 years. As a youngster growing up in Washington, I can recall reciting the knock against the Senators (the Nationals, in another life): “Washington, first in peace, first in war, but last in the American League.”
I am aware that many of you may have never heard of Dusty before he came to town. He was easily identified by the ever present tooth pick in his mouth. He was quoted as saying, “Toothpicks are a source of protein.”
As a player, he retired with a .278 lifetime batting average—not too shabby. He was on deck when Sammy Sosa hit the home run to surpass Babe Ruth’s record. In his first year as manager with the San Francisco Giants, he was named National League Manager of the Year.
I ask the question, is it a coincidence that Dusty was fired at the same time Yankees manager Joe Girardi was released by that team and became available?
However, all is not dark. Dusty grew up in California, and he has been cultivating syrah grapes (used for wine production) in Placer County and Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley. Fortunately the wildfires and storms haven’t served up a beat down for his wine production. The Baker Family Wine is now available in the Washington D.C. area just in time for the play offs. Have a glass and enjoy the games. Skoll!