On Bonds' Steriod Use

Bonds allegedly started taking steroids in 1998, during the Mark McGuire Sammy Sosa home run chase, out of jealousy of the players. At age 35, he knew that he was in the final stages of his career, as his father had to retire from the league at the exact same age. He ‘allegedly’ took numerous steroids including Human Growth Hormone, Insulin, and Windsol. Stupidly, he had his weight trainer, a notable steroid dealer; chronicle all the steroid use, ‘allegedly’. (I repeatedly must say allegedly because nothing has been proven, yet, and if all the evidence I have seen in the book Game of Shadows is false, that makes it overly detailed and hard to make up fiction. But I digress.) Of course what happened next is history; Bonds puts up the five greatest seasons anyone besides Babe Ruth hasn’t even gotten close to touching, sets the single season home run record, and inches ever closer to Henry Aaron’s record, the most illustrious record in all of sport, the career home run record. Mind you, Bonds did all of this from the age of 38 on, a time that players are dragging out their careers ungraciously, not putting together an unparalleled streak of seasons and calling it a ‘late prime.’

Of course Bonds has been ousted, but the process of outcry has been slow to spread, and very little progress has been made. The die-hard baseball fans, like myself, feel as if not only Bonds, but also anyone who has tarnished the history of baseball by juicing have scammed them. But Bonds strikes harder. Not only is he a genuinely mean and classless man, he is a fraud who is nearing ever closer to a record he does not deserve, held by seemingly the exact opposite of him, the classy Henry Aaron. Mark McGuire, Rafael Palmeiro, and Sammy Sosa are dead to us, whisked away into a dark land of animosity, émigrés shunned by Baseball, unwanted by teams and despised by fans. None of us would have a problem with Barry Bonds getting the same fate, sooner, rather than when it is too late. I am a key member of the school of thought regarding Bonds, and any other player with substantial evidence against them should face the same fate as Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose, banishment from baseball. In contemplation, I don’t think that Shoeless Joe, illiterate, or Pete Rose, never gambled while a player, deserve an equal fate as these cheats.

Corked bats, spitballs, sandpaper, that is all part of the game, finding advantages to help your team win. Steroids are not. And while all are technically cheating, Steroids are not in the best interests of anyone except the user. They are all selfish players who shouldn’t have their names in the same sentence with baseball. I said before that these guys were worse cheats than Jackson and Rose, both banned from the game they loved, it is my opinion that the frauds should be subjected to the harshest punishment deemed appropriate and constitutional.

The stanza of To an Athlete Dying Young is in regards a man who used to be decorated and now has sunk below the level of a girl. The book claims that Bonds took a pill for women to cover up his steroid use, making the body’s testosterone amount reach its normal level so that he could pass his drug tests. I won’t go as far as to say Bonds wanted to be a girl, but he has certainly was on the right regimen, and has sunk in the public eye to be far below any of us could have imagined.

On The Past Four Years @ Fenwick

Another chapter of your lives have been written, and I suppose that’s a good thing, because the last four years were as formative and eventful as we will ever have, and now is no time to stop writing. I’ve been told that the great things is life go fast, and that you don’t really understand what they mean until they are long since past. I suppose the only reason I remember that is because it rhymed, but that should not take away from its overall message. What I am trying to get at is that ending high school is a major crossroad of our lives. Now, I am not going to go on and tell you that it is the grandest event our lives will ever experience, or that it will even crack the top 10 on the list, but take that as a good thing. The future holds many things for us, and that should make you both anxious and full of anxiety. This whole high school thing was kind of a tease. It’s as if someone put you here and said, ‘Ok, now go and work hard, have fun, make the best of yourself, and the best of friends, and when it seems to be hitting its pinnacle-we are going to send you off to repeat the same process. Hell, we might do it another few times after that.’ Yet we still made the most of it, and ended up doing alright for ourselves in the end.

I have said repeatedly that the class of 2006 is the great class to go through Fenwick High School. We set records on tests, have a stellar track record (but an ironic lack of outstanding success in track & field -go figure!) and the caliber of colleges and universities we will be attending next year, unparalleled. There has never been another class more decorated with honors. We’re like an admiral or something… When most previous classes are looking for one person to go to Harvard, we come in and overflow the system with a kid who not only gets in, but also gets damn near a full ride, (and a rousing applause at an assembly, which he so deservingly…deserved) which seems unprecedented by modern standards. But this is not Joe Edmonds’ class, (say that three times fast,) it seems that every single person in the class of 2006 has already done amazing things, and there is not a single person that does not have a bright future ahead of them. The overall character and class of the seniors is as remarkable as our accolades. Sure, not everyone rises to the podium of academic excellence (myself included, begrudgingly) but it seems that those people do not have the preverbal ‘drop off’ in excellence that the top tiered students do. The class of 2006 is possibly the most ubiquitous class in terms of sociology, so much so that there were a few prom groups with greater populations than Tokyo (and their transportation were apparently a sardine cans on wheels.) Seriously though, trying to chronicle all the good things about this class is a daunting task that would take several rolls of parchment to impart upon you, so let me tell you all about the bad things…Just kidding, but I had you there for a second didn’t I?

I remember a few great things from my tenure here at Bishop Edward Fenwick Dominican College Prepatory School. I recall the first day in school when I was fortunate enough to prepare myself on how a lock worked, and then showing the technique to a small gathering of kids trying their locker doors off the hinges. I remember the ungodly long and hot honors convocation at the end of freshman year- when I asked myself when hell became elevated, full of bleachers and in the Fenwick Auditorium- and when a mere two years later when we were in uproar on how they split the marathon up and that we all had to go back to classes. The memory of Ms. Speer strikes vividly in my mind; she made me hate and love English, sometimes at the same time, during third period freshman year, while recruiting me to join the forensics team every time I had a question. I remember how easy it was to make friends, the majority of which I will have for the rest of my life, after being scared to death I wouldn’t be able to do it. I remember the stares of confusion the first day of sophomore year when I arrived nearly a foot taller then I had left the year before. I remember the camaraderie of the gym and caf during finals week, and declaring war against my mortal enemy Herff Jones. I remember seeing the legend of Daddy first hand in Speech, which is the exact same legend every class had seen before us and will see after us. I remember Ms. Senese’s 11th period fine arts class, all the great people, and, well, I’ll refrain from commenting on the class. I forgot the boring classes, but not how to get through them. On that note, I will not forget to make the play list that I will listen to through a protruding white headphone in my shirtsleeve. I suppose I remember Poms winning state…I remember learning life lessons, the hard way. I remember all the little secrets I had on how to make a paper appear longer that it actually was. Thank god that I have forgotten all the papers I have written. I remember Dr. B’s off kilter comments, and working my way up on the Wick, and Internet radio. I remember a really delicious grilled cheese sandwich I made junior year. Man was that some fine eating. I remember the ninjas, and the bat that threatened to bring them down. I remember Kyle Hope turning on the TVs to watch “Shock and Awe” and the impromptu and premature celebration that the war was over during lunch. I remember Banuas and power naps during prayer experiences. I remember great assemblies (Pep Rallies, Christian rock music videos and Matt Kelly) and disasters (like being yelled at the end of the SADD presentation a few weeks ago and the class of 2006 abstinence day, which I was forced to attend despite the fact that I gave my word to stop at third.) I’ll remember Kairos, twice. I won’t forget the White Sox winning it all and the month of Ross Gloading around the school.  I remember watching the Pope be elected Papam in the library and Fr. Saucier telling me he would take the name Benedict a mere minute before Ratzinger shattered his dream. I won’t forget the first day when we were told to look to our left, and our right, and write one off those people off the final graduation list, and then this year being told that those words were never said. (We showed them!) I will always remember how fast word can get around about anything. The social networking skills at our school, staggering. I’ll remember the dances and the technical difficulties that you could count on. The characters that this school has produced, I remember every last one of them to a T. I will never be able to forget the Laity. (If you didn’t catch that one, its what we in journalism call a ‘shout-out’.) I remember loosing my voice and banging on buckets at hockey games. Complaining about lack of school sprit only to be happily proven wrong. I’ll never forget any of those things and so many more, and though there were some bad times here, the great times are what really matter, and those are manifest in number.

We will all remember a million things that happened in these last four years; they were pretty confusing, yet amazing times. And sure, we might say that we should have done this, or that, in retrospect, but you should never regret the last four years of your lives, because every last one of you has more than a handful of things to be extremely proud of. That is something that all of you need to remember.

-Dieter Kurtenbach

On Vince Young

The NFL draft is all about numbers, and all the future NFL studs or duds could tell you this first hand. The breaking point between a first round signing bonus equal to the net gross product of many countries, or exile to the second day and later a practice squad can be the difference of a few tenths of a second in the 40 yard dash. Talk about pressure.

But with all the stats and figures, one number stands out in the crowd: 6. Six, as in the alleged score of Vince Young’s wonderlic test, and also as in the amount of yards he ran on fourth down, for six points, in the greatest football game ever played. That is the dilemma that NFL executives are pondering above the concerns of Brian Calhoun’s poor 40 time, Jay Cuttler’s arm angle, and Matt Leinart’s mobility. All that matters is six.

Wikipedia defines: The Wonderlic Personnel Test (often referred to as Wunderlich) is an intelligence test primarily known for being administered to prospective players in the National Football League since the 1970s. The Wonderlic is a twelve-minute, fifty-question exam to assess aptitude for learning a job and adapting to solve problems for employees in a wide range of occupations. The score is calculated as the number of correct answers given in the allotted time. A score of 20 is intended to indicate average intelligence (corresponding to an intelligence quotient of 100). It is rumored that at least one player has scored a 1 on the test.

Young’s agent has adamantly denied claims that his client had scored so low, and contrary reports suggest that Young retook the test and received a 16 for his troubles. The question is, does the suggested 6 on the test suggest that he would be a bad player in the NFL, absolutely not. People like Akili Smith have scored a 37, and gone on to be utter and complete busts. So let some of Vince’s other numbers paint you a picture of future NFL success: 30-2, 81, and 2. That is VY’s career record at Texas, his total touchdowns in three years, and the number of Rose Bowl MVP trophies Mr. Young has received. The true number is 1, as in the kind of a player he is, one of a kind.

All I know is that Vince Young might be the best player to come out of the Draft since Peyton Manning, and if I was an NFL GM in the mid region of picks, I would hope this talk of Young’s intelligence never ends. Maybe you could have a great face of your franchise fall into your lap. What has the NFL turned into? The Wonderlic test, which the average joe on the street could not do correctly with the time constraints, is now more important than anything you have done on the field? I don’t know about you, but that is the sign that enough is enough, and in the end, all that matters is how you go out and play football. That’s how it was back in the hey-day of football, and for all of the hullabaloo about this being the NFL’s golden age; I see nothing golden about it. TO and the CBA have made the league greater than itself, and that is why it needs to get back to basics. The only six that matters is that six on the board after your team scores a touchdown. That’s the glory of football. This is not. Six…

With Chris Creamer

Call him what you want, but Chris Creamer has over 5 thousand people flock to his temple every day. And no, this is not a cult, though the subject matter and the level of conversation might seem erroneous, the Chris Creamer Sports Logos Community is a one of a kind Internet world, where the topic is sports branding.

Man Law: Talk of Sports Uniforms may not exceed 30 seconds, unless discussing the awesomeness of throwbacks.

When Miller Light came up with their Man Law marketing slogan, featuring the Men of the Square Table, documenting the unwritten rules of manhood, this was one of the ‘rules.’ Obviously, the thirty second boundary is far exceeded in the sports logos community, and so far, no one’s manhood as been questioned.

I interviewed the mastermind who created the Sports Logos community (boards.sportslogos.net) and found out many interesting facts about the formation of this public domain. First off, it seemed that the entire ordeal seemed to surprise Mr. Creamer, 23.

About seven years ago I was browsing the net and found a place that offered free message boards. I put it on the site not expecting any traffic, and well, there wasn't really that much at the beginning... It just kept evolving and getting bigger and bigger until it became the empire you see today... It all really started out of personal curiosity on how a board was run and wanting to do one myself.”

When in 1997, Chris created a website called sportslogos.net to be a personal database for himself to access sports logos easily. Soon, it received some traffic from people searching the term. He was not sure if he wanted to continue on with the upkeep of this steadily growing website. Creamer, trained in many internet languages, with a degree in web design, decided to take the sight to the next level, at the behest of his father, making it the most comprehensive and well kept sports logos database on the net. The boards came later, and in the past few years have experienced a boom and some noted credibility from graphic design studios and pro leagues.

”We actually have some of the top sports logos designers as members, Todd Radom, Joe Bosack, Keith Flynn (of flynnagain), Studio Simon... all of these people are responsible for 90% of the new sports logos coming out every year... oddly enough we actually had to ban a big time sports designer recently. I won't reveal his name because that would be embarrassing to him, but I will say he was responsible for creating a few NBA logos still in use”

But it was not until 2002 when the community was first recognized,

There was an incident in the fall of 2001 where I was given every new baseball logo for the upcoming 2002 season... that was pretty huge... major league baseball knows me by name after that one. We got them in October and they weren't unveiled until January, so a good 3 months. Of course when they unveiled them everyone knew what they were going to look like. The big one was the Anaheim Angels’ complete redesign, but the Royals and Texas Rangers also had new ones”

But for a man who could make or break an entire the entire industry of Sports branding by leaking logos, Chris Creamer is a remarkably simple man. He is only 23 years old, he lives in his parent’s basement, has had a girlfriend for four years, and his a huge Blue Jays fan, attending roughly 25 games a year. And he knows he is normal too. Comments such as “did I put you to sleep yet?” were common in our conversation. But this ordinary man does not have small aspirations. He has started his own design company that has worked for both the Toronto Raptors and Maple Leafs. While this was going on, his sportslogos page was booming, getting thousands of hits a day, and the board was beginning to pick up speed. The conversations had then branched from the Chiefs throwbacks to politics, fantasy leagues, and concepts, an area unique to the web, where fledging designers can create team identities. Large design corporations have hired many designers there and some designs have even been sold, such as the new logo for the AHL’s Manitoba Moose.

Chris does enjoy partaking in some of the conversations on the board. It is widely known that his favorite logo was that of the Hartford Whalers, now the Carolina Hurricanes for its simple complexity.

There are many debates on the boards, as there are bound to be in a community of over 5,000, with a few tourists here and there. Two of the major ones are between a retro jersey movement, and the anti-retro jersey movement. Another regards the ball and glove logo of the Milwaukee Brewers, which is polar in opinions, it is either the greatest or worse logo ever created. Creamer moderates these discussions with the help of his moderating team, but steers clear of opinionating.
“I’m in the middle on both issues... I like seeing teams modernizing old looks... it's 2006, if you want to use the ball-in-glove bring it to the 21st century... darken the blue, change the yellow to gold, etc.”
Chris Creamer and his sportslogos.net site and board are certainly doing just that. He single-handedly brought the once taboo conversation of sportslogos to new frontiers, modernizing it, and allowing it to adapt to new frontiers that seemed inconceivable only a few years ago. And he is doing all of this from his parent’s basement in Toronto.

Postscript: the Brewers Ball in Glove logo, which was brought back this year for a Sunday home uniform, much to the joy and behest of many CCSLC members.
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On Albert Pujols

In the age we live in, we should all feel blessed that we have Albert Pujols playing professional baseball. Overshadowed by Barry Bonds his entire career, he has put up some of the greatest offensive seasons in the history of baseball as quietly as anyone could, and has never ever complained about not getting his due. That is because he embodies the true spirit of a baseball player, a person who gets paid to play on the field and then feel grateful that he is getting to play a game for a job, and can make more with a high school diploma, or less, than the CEOs of some companies. Now putting up unparalleled seasons, leading your team to the summit of baseball success, and receiving no accolades for these endeavors could leave some irked, but it seems that that is the way that Albert likes it. By not being in the ESPN spotlight 24-7, he is able to go along his merry way, which right now appears to be a path that, in this media age, no one has ever traveled before.

Albert Pujols should have been the NL MVP every season he has played at the major league level. His numbers dictate that much, regardless of team success, which in his case, only strengthens his candidacy. But Albert has one only one MVP award, and it was a highly contested battle. Last year Pujols should have been voted MVP by a unanimous decision. And though Derrek Lee and Andruw Jones had career years, they were nothing in comparison to an average Pujols campaign. While Lee hit .335 with over 40 home runs for a average Cubs team, and Jones hit 50 bombs and was the veteran leadership to a division winning team that was playing in Richmond, VA a few months prior, he hit in the low .270s. Pujols single-handedly was the offense for a team whose lineup was decimated by injuries, and yet still won 100 games. People barely noticed, and essentially gave Albert the MVP by default, feeling that the other two candidates did not have résumés worthy of the award, and they were right, but, somehow, the vote was still close.  

People take Pujols for granted. Like in the case of last years voting for MVP, people just assumed that Pujols would always have seasons that were career years for some of the best players in the major leagues. The voters figured that Jones and Lee might never be considered for the award again, and that Pujols, who did nothing extraordinary, by his standards, would have a room dedicated to all his MVP trophies later on in his career. No other great player has been treated this way, ever. Barry Bonds won the MVP ward over Pujols three straight years, and no one ever claimed that they should give the kid the award because Bonds already had his fair share. Pujols didn’t even have the fair share when people started taking him for granted, and that is just not fair to the game or to him, though he is such a class act that he would never even comment on the topic, much less bring it up.

I suppose what irks me most is that no one has noticed that Albert Pujols is possibly the greatest hitter baseball has ever seen, and all the people at ESPN and others care about is Barry Bonds, a cheater. Bonds doesn’t deserve even a glimpse of the spotlight after what he did to the game, but the major sports media outlets play right into his little charade. Bonds on Bonds, and the chasing Ruth segments every 10 minutes on sportSCenter seem to give credence to Bonds’ selfish, juvenile, and self-pitying lifestyle. That whole fiasco where he wept, trying to convince the American public who watch his show, which, forgive my stereotype, are already suckers, that he was being mistreated was a complete farce of the situation, where the game of baseball and its fans have been mistreated, and in my opinion defecated upon by Bonds, the Balco situation and the entire steroid era. No one deserves that from a game that people are getting paid an extraordinary amount of money to play, and fans are paying more than a nickel for seats.

There is hope in baseball, and it lies in Barry Bonds knees, and Albert Pujols bat. If Bonds were ever to pass Aaron, it will become nearly improbable that baseball’s image would be able to recover. Albert Pujols is the final hope. He can do for baseball what it needed less than ten years ago: a home run chase. Pujols could shatter the inflated records naturally, a feat that is more inconceivable than it is perceived. Pujols would knock Bonds off the top, and restore dignity and honor to the single season record, and if Bonds were to somehow pass Aaron, well, maybe Pujols will clean that mess up as well.

Not only is Albert Pujols a magnificent, 1 of a kind player, who is never recognized for what he has done thus far. The question is, will Albert be recognized when he saves baseball?