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Friday, September 8, 2006

Ryan Howard Is The Real Deal

Instead of being able to sit back and enjoy the potential burgeoning legend — that’s right, legend — Ryan Howard, the media has started taking shots at the guy. The ridiculous debate over whether or not Howard is on steroids is actually gaining momentum.

Even worse, those putting this garbage out there are doing it in the most spineless way possible. Consider the following, which I found this week at Blinq, from Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel:

Is Ryan Howard juiced?

Don't blame me for wondering. It might not be fair, but it isn’t my (or your) fault for asking before plunging headlong into another home run chase.

Blame baseball, blame society, blame a summer that has given us Floyd Landis, Justin Gatlin, Marion Jones, Barry Bonds and a host of other drug cheats who can make a cynic out of anyone.

No, Dan, I’m ok blaming you, too. Yes, all the others deserve blame. But to use other examples as the basis of hinting at this type of accusation is as weak as it gets. Sadly, others are making similar comments with similar non-reasons.

There’s been absolutely nothing presented in public, or presumably in private, to suggest Howard is anything but a stud. He’s always been big, and always been a home run threat. He has no physical features that suggest steroid use, and, in fact, looks like he’s still shedding baby fat.

But never mind that. Dan needed something to write about. So, to hell with journalistic principles or facts. As long as he fills his inches, or others get off a good sound bite, especially with a hot-button issue like steroids getting into the act, who really cares?

Maybe next week they will bemoan all the attention given spoiled athletes by the media, while good stories go unnoticed.

Picks. The first full week of college and pro football action brings a few games I really like. Despite last week’s lackluster performance, I like Notre Dame –7.5 over Penn State. Peyton Manning is going to whip up on younger brother Eli, so I’ll take the Colts over the Giants minus the 3.5. Finally, despite a poor opening day history, I’m making the Eagles an official pick minus the 4.5 in Houston.

Week in Review:

· As I type Ryan just hit his 55th home run. By the way, I actually love WIP host Steve Martorano’s idea (at least he was the first I heard say it) that it would be poetic justice if Ryan hits 62, bringing esteem back to Roger Maris’ mark — the all-natural home run mark. (Though agreeing with Martorano kind of scares me.)
· I just don’t like the Thursday night NFL opener. You finally get the real thing then have to wait three more days for everybody else? Bad idea.
· Four prime-time games in Week 1? It waters down that first day too much. Plus both Monday Night games start at rotten east coast times.
· This isn’t really sports related, but Ron Goldman’s father needs help – seriously. Now he’s suing so O.J. Simpson can’t profit off of his own name. I get the anger, and probably couldn’t let it go, either, but somehow he needs to.

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