April 11, 2010
Share this story:

By the Sports Philosopher     I was in a really bad mood this past week.   And I mean the whole damn week.   Lots of reasons.   Some big, some small.   It’s not important what.   Besides, you don’t care anyway.


The Sports Philosopher

The Sports Philosopher

      Anyway, being the sweet, mild-mannered, let’s-try-to-make-some-lemonade-out-of-a-lemon kind of a guy that I am, I resolved to convert my week of angst into some productive, focused thoughts for this week’s column.   Focus your ire on the sporting world (relax, I’ll leave religion and politics to someone else), that’s what my inner demons were telling me.   Fix what’s broken, right some wrongs, recommend some much-needed change.

      So I made a list.

      A list of things I’d really like to see.   In sports.

      Y’know what I’d really like to see?

      I’d really like to see PGA Golf Commissioner Tim Finchem behave more like Roger Goodell.   Roger Goodell, in case you don’t know, is the Commissioner of the NFL.   Goodell has this good-conduct policy, whereby if you do something bad, anything, anything to tarnish the image of the NFL, he punishes you.   Fines, suspensions, or both.   He calls it the NFL “Personal Conduct Policy”.   He has suspended players for six or eight games for offenses far less egregious and embarrassing to their sport than Tiger Woods commits during a single 3-day trip to Vegas.   Goodell is genuinely concerned about how his league is perceived.    I think it’s great, I think he’s great.   Anyway, what I’d like to see Tim Finchem do, rather than lead the parade of needy fame-and aura-absorbing sycophants standing in line to suck on Tiger’s cash-cow butt, is suspend him.   Can’t fine him—no reasonable amount of money would make a dent.   But if you suspend him, it hits him where he hurts—i.e. losing chances to win major “grand slam” championships.   And it would send a message to the world that in golf integrity counts and that golf is classy, not golf is all about revenue.   Remember when golf used to be considered the classiest sport?   A game of character-laden gentlemen, where they actually call penalties on themselves?   Anyway, a three-month suspension for Tiger would be fine.   That would cost him a chance at two majors.   Bitchin’.

      I’d really like to see, speaking of golf, 60-something legend Tom Watson take one of these heartwarming opening-round 65s or 67s in a major (like he did again last week, at the Masters) and actually convert it into a storybook victory, which would be the greatest story ever to be told in the history of that great and grand old game.  (I guess I still haven’t gotten over Turnberry.…’never will.)

      I’d really like to see Tiger Woods retire to spend more time with his family.

      I’d really like to see a new NFL rule, whereby every time a player celebrates a touchdown with any movement that remotely resembles a variation of the sex act, two count ‘em two trained pit bulls are then immediately dispatched from a nearby cage, drooling pooches trained to pursue and tear up any mammal displaying movements which simulate the sex act.  (TV ratings will go through the roof!)

      I’d really like to see all hockey and soccer games be sudden death, just to save us all needless wasted time.   First goal wins.

      I’d really like to see Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig fired, fired from his job by the same owners he has been pimping for all these years.   Baseball has been a joke under his “leadership”, and it will never return to the top of the Sports Pantheon until he’s gone….wait!   Wait a minute!   No, that’s not good enough.   The stakes are too high.   He needs to be tarred and feathered.   Remember all those old western movies?—the ones where the rabid townspeople strip a guy down, pour boiling tar on him, then coat his entire naked sticky body with feathers and then run him out of town on a wooden rail?   That’s what I’d like to see done with Bud.   For enabling the Steroids Era, then lying about it, then acting like he never heard of a Steroids problem until about twenty minutes ago, then blaming everybody else, all the while frowning thoughtfully like a wise old judge, then acting the role of savior.   Oh, and we’d need to shave his head.   I can’t stand his hair one more day.   Now that’s good enough!

      I’d really like to see Rafael Nadal return to top form.   He was clearly a better player than Roger Federer when he got hurt.   Fed is the consensus tennis GOAT (as in ‘Greatest Of All Time’), but a healthy Nadal is the better player.   I know, I know; as Meryl Streep would say, it’s complicated.

      I’d really like to see Pete Rose, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Lovie Smith, Al Davis, Tiger Woods, Tiger’s caddie, Ben Roethlisberger, Bud Selig, Mark McGwire, Allen Iverson, John Daly, Chad 85, and a handful of particularly annoying coaches, broadcasters, and sportswriters not worth mentioning by name exiled to another country for a minimum of two years.   No reason.   I just don’t like those guys.

      I’d really like to see Rachel Alexandra face the magnificent Zenyatta in a match race.   No other runners.   Make it at a mile and a quarter; her lone speed would favor Rachel, the distance would favor the Z-Train.   Have it right here at Santa Anita.   Winner take all.   Each owner puts up $5 million in advance, the track throws in $10 million.   That’s twenty large, people.   No refunds.   Let’s get it on.

      I’d really like to see—speaking of the racetrack—Brad Eastland hit a monster pick-6 some day.   Soon.

      I’d really like to see free parking at sporting events.

      I’d really like to see free snacks served at sporting events.

      I’d really like to see my favorite drink, Campari & Soda, offered at a fair price at sporting events.

      I’d really like to see that Campari & Soda delivered to my seat personally by a charming hostess.

      I’d really like to see former Raiders swashbuckler, quarterback, and superstar legend Ken “the snake” Stabler finally elected to the Hall of Fame, and then be issued an official apology by the NFL for the obvious pettiness and collusion that has gone on for 20 years to keep him out.

      Then I’d really like to see Chicago Bear sackmaster and 1986 Super Bowl MVP Richard “the sack man” Dent put into the NFL Hall, and every defensive end that has been inducted in the last ten years at his expense thrown out.   For at least a year or two.

      And then I’d really like to see all current NFL Hall of Fame voters instantly fired for these past offenses, for not putting these two 1st-ballot types in the Hall because, instead, they were busy pursuing personal agendas or just busy being stupid, and then I’d treat them the same way they treated Snake, i.e. I’d unjustly blackball and ban them from ever attending or writing about an NFL game.    Just to be mean.     nah nah nah naaaaa-nah  

      I’d really like to see (speaking of Halls of Fame) Roger Maris inducted posthumously into the baseball Hall of Fame.   Partly as compensation for what McGwire did to him, partly because he deserves it.   (If we need to make room for him, throw Pee Wee Reese out.). 

      I’d really like to see Smoky Joe Wood get into the Hall too.   Too bad he’s dead.   Don’t have the time or the energy to explain him to you.   Look him up.

      I’d really like to see (speaking of baseball) the baseball gods transport me back in time to October of 2002, so that I could take over for the clueless Dusty Baker as manager of the San Francisco Giants for a few days.   Just a few days.   That way the Giants would not wind up losing the ’02 Series to the Angels, because I would not have removed Russ Ortiz while he was pitching a 4-hit shut-out in Game Six, he, in turn, would not have surrendered a 3-run home run to Scott Spiezio in the 7th inning that led to the Giants blowing a 5-run lead, because I would have told him please do not throw eight straight fastballs to Spiezio the way Felix Rodriguez did, Rodriguez would not have come in until the 8th inning at the earliest (and certainly not against a left-handed batter known for murdering a fastball), tired old Tim Worrell and closer Robb Nenn would not have been used at all unless absolutely necessary, and then only in the 9th inning—especially Nenn, who was overworked and his arm was shot—and the Giants would therefore not have lost that game and ultimately the Series.   And then I would not still be waiting for the Giants to win a World Championship for the 1st friggin’ time in the 5-plus decades of my dubious incarceration on this stupid planet.

      I’d really like to see (if the above paragraph is too complicated for the baseball gods) the San Francisco Giants win just one damn World Series before I die so that I could die with an expression of relative contentment splashed across my pleasant yet troubled face.

      I’d really like to see that Giants thing happen this year.   I’m pretty much out of patience.

      I’d really like to see my son come out of retirement and play organized baseball again….

      ….and finally….

      ….I’d really like to see this column catch on, like a prairie fire, have someone in power finally see it and syndicate it nationally, soon the Sports Philosopher column is being read from Maine to Oregon to Minnesota to New Mexico, huge amounts of money would start flowing into my pocket, then right about the time I begin to fully permeate the American consciousness as a beloved writer and philosopher of Sport somebody would actually notice my books for a change, they’d all get published, 70-something producer-directors Clint Eastwood and Bob Redford would get into a much-publicized fistfight over the film rights to one of my novels in a fashionable Beverly Hills bistro, even more money flows into my pocket, next thing you know I have paid-for homes in Greece, Rio de Janeiro, midtown Manhattan, a stone cottage in Scotland, and either a West Sussex estate or any old farm somewhere in the south of England, Pulitzer Prizes and Nobel Prizes fight their way onto my fireplace mantel but I stay humble having finally achieved literary and artistic contentment and yet I never stop writing this column because I get such a big fat self-indulgent bang out of it, and out of you swell people for that matter.

      Okay, that’s all I got.   Geez….I hope this week goes better than last week.

meet….The Sports Philosopher!

Brad Eastland is an author, historian, film buff, undiscovered fictioneer, and terminal sports nut— in no particular order.   Brad’s other recent columns for LaVerneOnline can be found in Sports under ‘The Sports Philosopher’ and also in Viewpoint under ‘Brad Eastland’s View’.    Brad has also written 4 novels and over 20 short-stories.    Samples of his best fiction work can be discovered within the links below :







  1. A fun article. Definitely keep Pee Wee Reese in the Hall of Fame, but make room for Roger Maris. I think you and, hopefully, your readers might be interested in reading my new bio with Tom Clavin, Roger Maris: Baseball’s Reluctant Hero, in which we build a strong case for his induction. If you’d like a copy, email me. I really like the idea of sending Alex Rodriguez, Bud Selig, and Tiger’s caddie Steve Williams away for two years together! Danny Peary

Leave a Reply