The SPORTS PHILOSOPHER says: “Too bad ‘The Melky’ or ‘The Chad’ doesn’t have the same sweet ring as ‘The Plaxico’…by Brad Eastland

August 20, 2012
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     Say it ain’t so, Melky!

     Yes, the San Francisco Giants’ star left fielder and best batsman, Melky Cabrera, effectively ruined Bay-area baseball for 2012 last week, when he was caught with his hand in the testosterone cookie jar.   His 50-game suspension for greedily gulping the banned male hormone means he will not play again for the Giants this year.   Unless they make the playoffs.   Which, thanks to him, is about as likely as Chad Johnson and his soon-to-be-ex-wife getting together to do a condom commercial….

The Sports Philosopher Brad Eastland

The Sports Philosopher Brad Eastland

     How disillusioning is this for Giants fans?

     Depends.   Take a guy like me.   Being an oft-tortured fan of Giants baseball for nearly half a century, I’m used to it.   But my son Rob is only 15.   He’s at that age where the utter absence of logic really affects him.   “They test people all the time, Dad….why would Melky do something so dumb?” the lad wailed when he heard the news.

     I told him the simplest answer is perhaps Melky is just not too bright.   Case in point: When he issued his first prepared public statement after his suspension was announced, the National League leader in base hits and runs scored was quoted as saying, and remember this was a prepared statement, “My positive test was the result of my use of a substance I should not have used.    Brilliant.

     Disillusionment comes in many forms.   Rob and I were at the movies the other day, which means the first thing we always do is head to the concessions counter for a box of Milk Duds, Milk Duds being the official in-theater candy of the Eastland family.   Having passed on this tradition from father to son, Rob and I are now practically incapable of going to the movies and sitting in a theater without sharing a tasty box of Duds.   You could even say that Duds have become a symbol for the closeness of our relationship.

     So I saunter up to the concessions counter.   “Box of Milk Duds,” I say.   “Three-fifty,” rejoins the jaunty lad who’s job it is to serve me.   Three-fifty….cudda sworn it was still in the twos, I muse….well, no matter.   It’s the only game in town, I heard myself think.   Gotta have the Duds.   I passed over the money in a stupor.

     But then, a few minutes later, sitting in the theater waiting for the lousy movie to start, I begin to open the box.   It feels unusually light.   I look at the box.   It says 3 oz.   Three ounces!   Three dollars and fifty cents for three ounces of Duds?   But the detective in me won’t let me stop there.   I open the box.   I peer inside.   My mouth falls open.   I show the box to Rob.  

     It was slightly less than half full.

     Rarely in my life have I felt more ripped off than on this occasion.   Rob laughs.   He always thinks my perpetual disappointment in the Human Condition is funny.    But I felt violated.   Making a man pay $3.50 for a half-full, 3-ounce box of Duds is nothing short of stealing.   I’m surprised the counter kid didn’t pull a gun.   It’s amazing the things we let the World get away with.

     But Melky didn’t get away with anything.   He got caught.   And he will pay dearly for his mistake.   Personally, I have no sympathy for the man.   He allowed us to think a World Series was possible.   He has trifled with the faith of every Giants fan in America.   This is a case of nation-wide disillusionment.   As in Giants nation.   I say good riddance.   What a dummy.   So dumb.

     But exactly how dumb was he?

     And that is the point of this little exercise.   Many of you know I give out an annual award (well, there’s no prize other than my official contempt, so I guess it’s more of a heartfelt designation than an award), as in an award for the dumbest professional athlete of the year.   I call it the PLAXICO BURRESS I’M SO STUPID IT’S IMPOSSIBLE FOR EVEN SMART PEOPLE TO FIGURE ME OUT AWARD.   Or “The Plaxico” for short.   Named for the award’s inaugural winner in 2009, Plaxico Burress.   Named in honor of the man who brought an unlicensed pistol into a New York nightclub and accidentally shot himself in the leg with it.   In case you want to stroll down Memory Lane with Plaxico and I, here’s that column:

     Other winners of The Plaxico include Gilbert Arenas and Manny Ramirez.

     Which brings us back to 2012.   Who is our winner?   Is it indeed Melky Cabrera?   Or, perhaps, it’s my own leading candidate for brain-dead glory.   The aforementioned Chad Johnson.  

     Who of course used to be Chad Ochocinco.

     Who before that was Chad Johnson.    Which is what he is back to calling himself now.   I guess.

     Anyway, I believe Chad should receive the 2012 award.   He earned it.   He deserves it.   In case you didn’t hear (and if you didn’t, you gotta start turning off “The Real Housewives Of Orange County” and start watching the news once in awhile), Chad got into an argument last week with his wife of one month, Ev, over a suspicious receipt she found for a box of condoms, and in all the excitement surrounding their discussion regarding what Chad intended to do with his new box of condoms (let’s call it ‘Condomgate’, shall we?) he decided it would be a good idea to head-butt her.

     I know….I like to reread that last sentence over and over too.   Too funny.

     I’m gonna miss writing about Chad.   Because at 34 years of age with rapidly diminishing athletic skills, his career in pro football is likely done.   His employer, the Miami Dolphins, cut him a couple days later.

     So it comes down to this.   Candidate One, Melky Cabrera, lost 50 games’ worth of pay, considerable bargaining power in free agency next year, and the love and respect of Giants fans everywhere—not to mention earning the everlasting contempt of The Sports Philosopher.

     But compare that to what Candidate Two, Chad Johnson, has lost:

*   His job.   The Dolphins said “Sayonara”….

*   His career.   Not likely any other pro team will take a chance on the decaying Johnson at this point….

*   His freedom.   Maybe.   Already arrested and released on bond, charges are still pending….

*   His reputation.   And in Chad’s case, oft-beleaguered miscreant that he is, there wasn’t much to lose…

*   His VH-1 Realty TV show.   The “EV & OCHO” show!   Alas, his producers cancelled it immediately….

*   Millions of dollars….and, last but not least….

*   His marriage.   The 1-month wife, Ev, has already filed for divorce….


     All because he mistook Ev’s forehead for that of a billy goat.

     Chad, Chad, Chad….

     Anyway, nothing is cast in stone.   And there are still four more months of 2012 for some other pro athlete to do something even dumber.   But for now, Cabrera and Johnson are surely the frontrunners for the 2012 Plaxico.

     I’m curious what you think?   Who’s the winner, Melky or Chad?   Which one of these fellows makes you feel better about the wealth of intellect God decided to bestow upon you?   Who’s brain is the closest to brain-dead?

     Or is there some other cranially challenged athlete we should throw into the mix?

     Let me hear from you, LVO Nation….drop us a line.

meet….The Sports Philosopher!image003

Brad Eastland is an author, an historian, film buff, an undiscovered literary savant, and a Giants fan forever; Melky or no Melky.    Brad’s other recent columns for La Verne Online can be found in the Sports Section under ‘The Sports Philosopher’ and also in Viewpoint under ‘Brad Eastland’s View’.   His columns on very old and very underappreciated movies can be found by clicking Arts & Entertainment, then clicking ’Upon Further Review’.   Brad has also written 4 fine novels* and over 20 short-stories.   

*To pick up a copy of his recently published novel of life at the racetrack (and of triumph  and utter despair) entitled WHERE GODS GAMBLE, a tale of American mythology, simply search for that title in both hardback and paperback on,, or   And then order it.   And then READ it.   And then tell everyone about it.   And then read it again.   And then post your praise on Facebook.   And then order a dozen more copies to use as Christmas presents.   For all this he thanks you…..





One Response to “The SPORTS PHILOSOPHER says: “Too bad ‘The Melky’ or ‘The Chad’ doesn’t have the same sweet ring as ‘The Plaxico’…by Brad Eastland”

  1. You know bro, you could stop by the local drugstore or 99 cent store prior to the show and grab a cheaper box of duds, just sayin’…

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