Soccer, Selig and USC-who cares?
This space has happily been a soccer-free zone throughout its existence, and it shall continue to enjoy such status ……. after I declare my favorite for the World Cup, which has kicked off today. I’m picking Denmark as my long-shot victor – I figure any country that can be synonymous with being both ‘melancholy’ and ‘great’ just might shake their blues and catch a hot streak.
While we were awaiting a decision from Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig regarding the recent perfect pitching (and imperfect umpiring) performances from Andres Galarraga and Jim Joyce, respectively, I was on record as doubting that Selig would manage to do the right thing. (When it comes to most matters dealing with Selig, I bow to that sage, philosopher, handsome devil and noted authority on most things, Groucho Marx, who observed “Whatever he’s for, I’m against it”, in one of the classic movies he made with his famous brothers.)
Sure enough, old Bud didn’t let me down.
Given that the would-be 27th-and-final out resulted in a blown call by Joyce, and given that the next hitter did, in fact, finally make the final out, Selig could have declared, for this one time and one time only, that Galarraga was to be credited with a perfect game.
He might have chosen not to overturn Joyce’s call, but at least offered the sort of praise to Galarraga we parents have had to give to our kids when their hard work and great efforts might not have gone as noticed or appreciated as was deserved. As it stands, the record book may not say Galarraga threw a perfecto, but when his head hits the pillow each night, HE knows he did.
Instead, Bud took the same wishy-washy stance that has plagued his entire reign-of-error as Bart Giamatti and Fay Vincent’s successor, from the elimination of the 1994 World Series to the cessation of the recent All Star Game that ended in a tie (with his shoulder-shrug, palms-thrown-up-in-the-air resignation gesture that means doing anything about it is beyond his power).
Fearing that overturning Joyce’s “safe” call would bring even louder cries for Baseball to employ Instant Replay (hello, you already have Instant Replay, Bud --- you can’t be a little bit pregnant), Selig seemingly was the only person in America who didn’t wish to see Galarraga get his just recognition, and his response was once again graceless, insensitive, and out of step with those he has been selected to serve.
With the news that USC’s football team has received pretty harsh punishment (loss of scholarships and a 2-year bowl ban) from the NCAA for not being candid about their knowledge of against-the-rules benefits that Reggie Bush (among others) received, perhaps the most immediate blow could come when those juniors and seniors currently on their team choose to exercise the option given to them by the NCAA to transfer to other schools without having to sit out one season, which is standard for athletes who transfer. One can’t help but think that with other schools now being permitted to approach those upper-classmen (including UW’s Coach Sarkesian, formerly a USC assistant who presumably has relationships with players on the SC roster), the potential exists for a devastating exodus of talent, especially given the entirely new coaching regime that exists with Master BS artist Lane Kiffen now at the helm.
Fans of USC football may find what many have learned the hard way in the past --- it’s a shame when Trojans spring a leak.
There’s no question about it.