Can I be honest with you? I'm really not into hockey that much right now. Every season I hit what my friend Schnookie has sometimes referred to as the February swoon. It's not that I want the season to end really but I would like to just get on with it. Let's drop the puck on the playoffs already. Not even a playoff race is holding my interest very well. As long as the Sabres are in it, I don't really care where they stand and actually considering that they play better against better teams and on the road, I'm not sure I really want them to move up too far. This mood never lasts too long but if I seem kind of scattered for the next couple of weeks, that's why.
That said, I spent part of my day off yesterday going through the audio vault on WGR's website and you know, people are starting to scare me a little with all the Tim Connolly talk and how much the Sabres need to re-sign him. I'm very charmed by the way Buffalo repeatedly puts aside years of heartbreak and disappointment the second something good comes along - we talk about being bitter and cynical but I think it's just to cover our hopeful cores - but people, we're talking about Tim Connolly! Tiny Tim! Tim "The Tin Man" Connolly! If we hang on too long, this story is sure to end in tears, Buffalo, and not the feel-good "The catcher is Ray's dead, estranged father!" kind of tears, no. This way lies tragedy. Just a warning.
And now for something completely different... A few people have emailed me to ask me what I think about Alex Rodriguez and the steroids revelations. I've been reluctant to say too much, mostly because just about everyone has weighed in and I think most baseball fans are weary of the whole thing at this point.. but for the record, I think Rodriguez is ridiculous. It was incredibly stupid of him to go out of his way to insist years ago that he'd never even considered using performance enhancing drugs when he knew that wasn't true. It was ridiculous for him to claim he injected something in himself without having any idea what it was, what kind of effect it would have on his body and if it was wrong. It was and is incredibly misleading for him to continue to insist that he was young and ignorant when he was a 25/26 year old player who had been in the league for 5 years when he allegedly first started injecting himself and not a snot-nosed 18-year-old rookie. The long, dramatic pause when he addressed his teammates (and oh, how I would've loved his teammates to say, "I want nothing to do with this dog and pony show") was so carefully planned that I can't believe a single person would believe he was sincere. You could practically hear him counting it out, hitting all his marks: wistful half smile, sad head shake, long sip of water, lean back, deep sigh. Gimme a break.
The one thing that Alex Rodriguez did say that's true however is that baseball is bigger than him. I know there are many, many people who are so turned off by the steroids stuff that baseball is losing its hold on them but come on, baseball will survive. It's survived everything before this and it'll survive this too. I know baseball has always held its numbers more sacred than any other sport and as a baseball loving kid, I knew all those numbers: 714, 755, 61, 56, 3000, 2130. But it wasn't those numbers that made me love baseball. It was a ragtag bunch of overachievers who really probably had no business being as good as they were. It was a short, chunky catcher who took longer to get to first base than some people took to get around all the bases. It was a happy-go-lucky, leapfrogging second baseman who had a career batting average of .254. It was a handsome shortstop best known for sacrifice bunts. It was a high-flying, hard throwing center fielder who always looked like he was having more fun than any one person had the right to have. Those teams, those players, they're still there. You may have to search a little harder for them right now but they're still there. For a much more eloquent post about this very thing, I highly recommend reading this recent entry on Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke?