|06-07-2005, 09:02 PM||#1|
KFFL Writer/Fantasy Scout
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: The OC
offseason fun 1
Astros Hitters Going Above and Beyond to Prove They’re Not on Steroids
As major league baseball continues to try to pull itself out from under the shadow of steroids, the Houston Astros offense is taking the lead in proving players are 100-percent free of illegal, performance-enhancing drugs.
“We’ve decided that we’re going to put restoring the credibility of the game ahead of winning and scoring runs,” said Astros outfielder Lance Berkman, who is hitting .216. “I think that if fans still think that players are using steroids, all they have to do is look at our offense and they’ll see there’s no way any of us could be cheating.”
Houston, who fell just one game short of the World Series last season, is dead-last in the N.L. Central this year, and is trailing major league baseball in scoring, averaging barely more than three runs per game. They have been shut out a league-leading nine times and team ace Roger Clemens, who has a 1.30 ERA, only has a 3-3 record thanks to the lack of run support.
“I’m really proud of how this team has taken on the responsibility of putting the league on its back and carrying it out of the steroids era,” said manager Phil Garner. “Scoring and home runs are down across baseball, but more so here, and that’s even with our cartoonish ballpark. When historians write about steroids in baseball, they’ll point to this team as the point it ended, and that’s a very positive thing.”
Astros first baseman Mike Lamb, who is hitting .200, said the team also wants to rid the franchise of the legacy of Ken Caminiti.
“Ken’s name is synonymous with steroids in baseball, and he played the majority of his career here and that’s not something we want this organization associated with,” said Lamb. “It would mean a lot to me if when my career is over, people can point at my stats and confidently say: ‘Mike Lamb was never on steroids.’”
And Clemens says that while he understands the mission Houston’s lineup is on, he is not sure if he wants to be a part of it.
“I’m against steroids, and I’ll be proud if one day my name is mentioned with the team that slammed the door on the steroids era,” said Clemens, “but I don’t also want my name mentioned at the end of my career as the only guy in major league history who won an ERA title while losing 20 games.”
Larry Brown Excuses Himself from Pistons Timeout Huddle to Take Call from Cavs
Larry Brown signals to his team that he has to take a call.
Pistons head coach Larry Brown excused himself from a crucial fourth quarter timeout last night in Detroit’s playoff game against the Miami Heat to take a phone call from the Cleveland Cavaliers. But Brown, who has reportedly accepted a front office position with the Cavs, said his absence was not a distraction to the Pistons.
“What was I supposed to do? Cleveland’s owner called. It’s not like I’m going to refuse to answer a phone call from my future employer,” said Brown. “And I’ve coached this team for almost two years now – they know what to do. I don’t need to hold their hand through a timeout. And that’s what the assistant coaches are for anyway. If I’m out interviewing with another team or looking through the classifieds or checking real estate prices in other NBA cities while I’m on the bench, it’s the job of my assistants to step in and coach for me. They should be used to it by now.”
Pistons guard Chauncey Billups said he was disappointed, but not surprised by Brown’s actions.
“Unfortunately, this is nothing new. Everyone in this organization knows that Larry Brown has zero loyalty, so it’s something we have learned to deal with,” said Billups. “Although it was kind of sudden tonight because right in the middle of him diagramming how to stop a pick-n-roll that Shaq and Dwyane Wade were running, his cell phone rang and he dropped the clipboard and said: ‘Oh, jeez – sorry, fellas. I’m going to have to take this. Onward and upward, you know?’ What a jerk.”
Detroit’s head of basketball operations, Joe Dumars, says he had been hoping all season that Brown’s health problems would prevent him from coaching.
“We thought we were going to be rid of the guy,” said Dumars. “How’d I know that he’d want to keep coaching with a urine drainage bag strapped to his leg? That’s almost more disgusting than his personality.”
Brown, who has broken promises and built distrust at nearly all of his many coaching stops throughout his career, claims the media is blowing everything out of proportion.
“The media tries to make it seem that I am disingenuous and that I always have ulterior motives and agendas,” said Brown. “And I hate that because those are personal facts about my character, things I see as personal information, and not something for the public to know about. I have a huge ego and am image I want to protect. Everyone calling me out all the time as someone who’s only interested in what’s best for him isn’t helping me do that.”
Brown also says that regardless of what happens at the end of the season, it only matters what he’s doing now.
“I have this team in the playoffs again, and a fair portion of my attention is on that,” said Brown. “In fact, 23 percent of my attention is on the Pistons, and only 20 percent is on the Cavs. The rest is on my health, and I think that’s all anyone can ask. And so what that I’m wearing a Cleveland Cavaliers tie on the sidelines, or that I keep telling Darko that I’m glad my new team drafted LeBron James and not him? At least I’m still showing up for our games.”
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