Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Nick Markakis Big Boy Pants Club

If you are hard-pressed for something to do today, then consider this for a brief moment or ten.  Three years from today shall be another one of my favorite unheralded days on the calendar.  It shall be a "Basic Math Day" on which the sum of the month and the day shall add up to the year:  8/8/16.  Can you dig it?  Can you at least understand why I cautioned you against investing more than a bare minimum amount of time?  You are welcome. 

The Yankees welcomed A-Rod back this week (it is amazing how well I can type while keeping my tongue firmly planted in my cheek), coincidentally on the same day that MLB announced his 211-game suspension for using Performance Enhancing Drugs.  A-Rod was one of thirteen players whose suspension was announced on Monday and was - to the surprise of absolutely no one - the only one of the Baker's Dozen to appeal his suspension.  In fairness to him (not an easy quartet of words for me to put together) all of the other violators accepted 50-game suspensions.  In light of how much coin it will cost him to be suspended for 211 games, his decision to appeal it permits him to play pending the outcome of his appeal.  In all likelihood he will be able to play the rest of this season.  Then again, given that the Yankees have for all intents and purposes played their final meaningful game of 2013, his presence in the lineup will likely make little difference in the team's fortunes.  When CC and Andy start reminding the faithful of Phil Hughes, trouble has most assuredly arrived here in River City.  I know not who on the club wears #29.  Hell, at this point I know about 13% of their roster by name.  Whoever sports it this year will not have to relinquish it to Girardi at season's end.  Methinks that it is a pretty good bet that Joey G. - who changes his own jersey number to reflect what World Series Title his crew is presently pursuing - will be sporting #28 through at least the 2014 season.

Best thing I heard a big-league ballplayer say about the use of PEDs by the guys who play the game came from a not wholly unlikely source.  Nick Markakis of the Orioles is not only a hell of a player but is a guy who has earned a reputation throughout his career of saying what he means and meaning what he says.  In an interview this week with The Baltimore Sun Markakis said that if the Lords of Baseball ever sought to collectively bargain for a lifetime ban for first-time PED cheats, he would be all for it. 

While I suppose that Markakis has virtually guaranteed that he shall never rise to the top of the MLBPA hierarchy, I find his candor refreshing.  As he pointed out in the interview the men doing the cheating are just that - men.  They are not children.  They are presumed to understand the potential consequences for their actions and once they choose to voluntarily ingest a drug or substance in the belief that it will give them a competitive advantage over their non-PED taking brethren they need to accept the consequences associated with that choice.  As the uberwise TV detective Baretta taught us in the 1970's, "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time". 

He also cautioned us about keeping our eye on the sparrow or some such shit.  I have no idea what the hell he was talking about.  And considering that Sammy Davis, Jr. crooned the show's theme song, in which all of these knowledge nuggets were contained, the whole thing about keeping one's eye fully focused on a sparrow seemed almost cruel.  Then again, I was eleven when the show got cancelled so perhaps Baretta was just too profound for my juvenile mind.  And as its star Robert Blake learned three decades later, you CAN do the long as you can afford top-notch legal representation.

Perhaps the latter is a lesson that A-Rod has taken to heart?  We shall find out soon enough.  Well, not soon enough for Nick Markakis but....


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