Do you ever get the idea that our society has taken some strange turns in recent years? Have you noticed that on the big-time sports scene, some of the baddest dudes reap the richest rewards?
One of the highest-paid players in baseball history is a man with the disposition of a constipated crocodile. Without retracing any of his recent steps, let it simply be said that Albert Belle should be an embarrassment to baseball and to whichever team he represents.
Then we have basketball’s Dennis Rodman, deeply in debt when he pouted while wearing a San Antonio Spurs uniform.
He never stopped traffic anywhere during those days, and had he hidden a few of his tattoos, he wouldn’t have been given a second glance in the pancake house here where he ate before most home games.
Ah, but his bad-boy act in Chicago, featuring strange fashion statements, the pretense of a tough bully and another metal do-dad attached to his body, has converted his bank balance from a dark red to a bright black. Dennis is the hottest thing to hit Chicago since Al Capone, and he now stops traffic all over the country.
He’s still 40 furlongs away from the celebrity of his teammate, Michael Jordan, but Dennis does rake in $20 million a year and Madison Avenue advertising wizards claim Rodman is one of the world’s top five individuals when it comes to marketing items.
Personally, I think the Madison Avenue folks are way off base on that score, but I suppose they know what sells. It’s just hard for me to imagine Dennis as a sincere pitch man.
At any rate, Dennis did cause a mob scene in Las Vegas a few weeks ago as he shopped the Caesars Palace mall the day before the Tyson-Holyfield fight.
One store owner finally chased the crowd out and locked his doors so Dennis could shop alone, without being pursued for autographs.
The night of the fight, Rodman strolled into the MGM Grand Garden 20 minutes before the main event, wearing a full length coat and a floppy hat that might have once been worn by some bag lady.
The crowd cheered his presence.
That brings us to Wil Cordero and another question. You probably read how Wil was suspended by the Boston Red Sox for six days for allegedly beating his wife - twice.
Massachusetts Gov. William Weld protested Cordero’s return to play so soon after the athlete reportedly beat his wife the second time. Weld declared: “We’re not going to tolerate this kind of violence in this state.”
Well, the Red Sox let Cordero return anyway.
Mike Tyson may not yet be ready to join the civilized world as a member in good standing, but his penalty for two ear bites - at least a year out of boxing - seems mighty strong compared to a man accused of beating his wife missing a few baseball games.
Pete Rose has made it known that he may soon apply to get reinstated by baseball and have his ban lifted for gambling on games a few years ago.
You know something? I think his timing might be pretty good.
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