Archive - March 2014

  1. Column: Outrageous Ballpark FoodMarch 31, 2014

    The 2014 baseball season opens in earnest this week, another sign that winter is on its last legs – hopefully – and we can look forward to a trip to the local ballpark. In addition to the sights and sounds of baseball, most of us will engage in a culinary experience that, in some cases, could guarantee a financially sound retirement for our cardiologist. Every year it seems like Major League and Minor League teams try to outdo themselves with the highest calorie-laden concession item they can conjure up, our physical and financial health be damned. Prior concoctions include the Fifth Third Burger created by the Class A Western Michigan Whitecaps. The Burger is a four pound behemoth featuring chili, chips and salsa on a one pound hamburger bun. Lest you think the 4,889 calories are a bit much, the $20 item is designed to feed a family of four. A lighter – albeit sweeter – main course is dished up by the Independent Gateway Grizzlies. It features a modest sized burger with two slices of bacon and cheddar cheese crammed between a sliced Krispy Kreme Original Glazed donut, calories unknown.

  2. Column: Legality of NCAA BracketsMarch 24, 2014

    Has your NCAA bracket been busted yet? If so, you can take comfort in the fact that you aren’t alone. You can also take comfort in knowing that you probably won’t get charged by the authorities for illegal gambling. An estimated 60 million Americans filled out a bracket for this year’s tournament. Many of those individuals also put down a friendly wager, which is legal at sports books in Nevada but illegal in most other jurisdictions in the United States. There are exceptions. Vermont is among the states that allow gambling on the NCAA Tournament and other events as long as it is in small amounts and consists of a “winner-take-all” format. That means the organizer of the pool can’t take a cut. Montana state statutes distinguish between “private” and public” gambling. In other words, if your “office pool” is limited to people within your office, you’re technically complying with the law.

  3. Column: Pete Rose Is Lying - Once AgainMarch 17, 2014

    In a new biography titled: Pete Rose: An American Dilemma, author Kostya Kennedy and Rose make the case that gambling on baseball is less of a crime than the use of PEDs. They’re wrong. Gambling is the number one crime in baseball. It has been since the Black Sox scandal in 1919 when eight members of the Chicago White Sox conspired to throw the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. All eight were banned from baseball for life, despite being acquitted in a court of law. Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis knew that gambling by anyone associated with baseball could erode faith in the integrity of the game, something that the sport – any sport - could not abide. Absent the element of competition – where fans know every player is trying his or her best to win – sport is reduced to mere entertainment, nothing more than a movie, professional wrestling or Chris Berman yukking it up on SportsCenter.

  4. Column: Out of Control FansMarch 10, 2014

    Fanatic – “A person marked or motivated by an extreme, unreasoning enthusiasm” The Free Dictionary The term “fan” is presumed to be a derivative of the word “fanatic,” a word that is not always used in a complimentary fashion. That’s the case with several recent examples of college basketball fans gone wild. Perhaps the incident that received the most exposure is the one involving Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart and Texas Tech fan, Jeff Orr. After Smart committed a foul during the last minute of the Cowboys’ loss to the Red Raiders in Lubbock, his momentum carried him into the stands, where Orr spewed epithets at him. Smart instinctively responded by shoving Orr before being pulled away by teammates. Smart was hit with a technical and suspended for three games by the Big 12 Conference.

  5. Column: NCAA is at it AgainMarch 3, 2014

    The NCAA is at it again. Last week they suspended Oregon State University pitcher Ben Wetzler for 20% of the Beavers’ season for doing what any person in this country not only has the right to do, but should do: Have the assistance of an advisor prior to making a life-changing decision. Wetzler, who was a sixth round draft pick of the Philadelphia Phillies last June, violated what is referred to as the “no-agent rule” contained in Bylaw 12.3.2.1. The Bylaw essentially states that a student-athlete will be ineligible if an agent markets his or her athletic ability. In its interpretation of the Bylaw, the NCAA specifically states that a student-athlete may seek the advice of an “attorney” or “agent”, but that “advisor… may not negotiate on behalf of a student-athlete or be present during discussions of a contract offer, including phone calls, email or in-person conversations.”