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Wed., Feb. 11, 2009

Smart Bombs: A-Rod’s wild pitch

To recap, when Alex Rodriguez was in Seattle, he’d never even heard of players using steroids. But when he got to Texas, he was immediately embroiled in a “loosey-goosey era.” Wow, that has to be the quickest entrance for any era in history. One day, he’s completely clueless, the next he’s caught up in a culture where seemingly everyone is getting an unmarked stimulus package.

Tough break. If only Seattle had media outlets back then, so Rodriguez could keep up with the latest news.

Intentional walk. Hey, pitchers and catchers report this weekend! Can you just feel the excitement?

Not me.

First it was the players continually changing teams. Then the exorbitant contracts and the blackmailing of cities for newer ballparks, which put ticket prices out of reach for so many fans. Then the strike-shortened season. By the time the steroid scandal emerged, this once-passionate baseball fan had pretty much lost interest.

Then my favorite team, the San Francisco Giants, finally made it to the World Series on the strength of Big Head Barry Bonds’ late-career home run barrage. I was almost hooked again.

But reality set in, and I backed off. It wasn’t easy. First, it was an indifference to the regular season, but the playoffs would reel me in. Then, I ditched the playoffs but couldn’t shake the World Series. Finally, I kicked that habit, too.

It can be done, and if more people followed suit, baseball’s purportedly intractable problems would vanish. It doesn’t do any good to cite union contracts, privacy rights and the rest of the nonsense when nobody shows up for the games. Yes, I’m guessing at that point, the owners and the players would miraculously find solutions. But don’t count on that happening as long as you’re excited about spring training.

So how about another strike-shortened season, except this time it’s the fans who take four wide ones?

Stairway to respectability. So Grammy’s Record of the Year goes to Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. That’s quite a transformation for the former lead singer of Led Zeppelin.

From “Please Read the Letter” (off of the Grammy-winning album):

Once I stood beside a well of many words

My house was full of rings and charms and pretty birds.

From “Black Dog” (Led Zeppelin, 1971):

Hey, hey, mama, said the way you move

Gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove.

What’s next for Plant? The cover of Modern Maturity?

Smart Bombs is written by Associate Editor Gary Crooks and appears Wednesdays and Sundays on the Opinion page. Crooks can be reached at garyc@spokesman.com or at (509) 459-5026.


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