2002-03-30 / Sports

Keep Your Mouth Shut And Just Play Ball

By Elio Velez

By Elio Velez

It doesn’t look and sound like happy times at the big stadium on Route 3 in East Rutherford.

The New York Giants have caused a ruckus these past two weeks worthy of the old Bronx Zoo days of the Yankees from the 1970’s.

Michael Strahan, unhappy sack champion of all-time (thanks to Favre’s dive) accused the Giants on March 16 of not wanting to win. This is after Strahan would not agree to a restructured contract because he wasn’t sure the Giants would pay his measly $17 million signing bonus.

If he had restructured, the Giants would be able to pay for the free agents they sadly need to stay competitive. Strahan seemed as if he wanted to keep his paychecks instead of looking out for the teams’ bottom line.

It wasn’t over yet.

Tiki Barber, star running back and future top sports broadcaster did not keep his mouth closed. He said that Strahan was selfish and did not look out for the team’s best interests.

That statement came from a player who participates in the media and knows our ability to play up controversial material to cause dissension and strife to any team. Nice thinking there.

Keith Hamilton wanted in the conversation because he felt left out. He backed up Strahan, totally blamed Barber and said the defense was carrying the Giants for years.

If dissing Barber was bad, the whole Giants offense is now put on tactical alert to air their grievances against Hamilton. Earth to Hamilton, the Giants offense ranked higher than the defense last year. What were you doing last year? Oh that’s right, you’re letting the other team score.

These are well-paid players who are supposed to be grown up to know to keep their problems within the locker room. Keep your petty fifth grade complaints to yourself. We do not need to hear your gripes about your salaries and personal vendettas in March.

They broke the code of the locker room, which is not to discuss anyone’s contract situations that can be detrimental. Michael Barrow, a refreshing breeze in a polluted Giants’ locker room commented, "It's like the movie 'A Few Good Men,' its The Code, and I think The Code has been violated."

Barrow is right and now fences must be mended. Hasn’t it seemed for the last few years that the Giants have been fighting internal battles that has caused team disharmony? The 1997 Viking playoff game, the offense vs. defense war, the Strahan and Jesse Armstead tag team vs. Coach Jim Fassel are just a few battles to remember.

Coach Fassel said it best at the start of voluntary training camp this week. "In my opinion, we're back to work now," Fassel said. "There's no 'He said, she said.' It's over. It's done." This means in laymen’s terms to Keep your lips sealed, pump the weights, and prepare to win ball games. That’s what football players get paid for.

I may have been wrong…

I do admit my mistakes when I said Kansas would be eliminated early in the tournament. Now in the Final Four, Coach Roy Williams and Kansas might actually win the whole thing.

The Rangers making the playoff prediction sadly seems to be an error in judgment. Only a miracle or the Garden selling their souls to the devil for a forbidden donut (Homer Simpson reference) and a playoff spot occur, the Rangers will be home for the fifth straight year. It just gets worse for Ranger fans. Hope the Garden doesn’t raise tickets to celebrate this downfall.

What’s up Bud? Part 2!!

In my never-ending quest to humiliate Bud Selig, I call into question a report published a few weeks ago that Selig and MLB quietly suspended two umpires for reportedly gambling on baseball games a few years ago.

Why are they suspended and returned to baseball and Pete Rose is totally banned from baseball for life? When Rose was banned, there was a lot of evidence which had proved Rose’s guilt in betting on baseball games. Bud Selig has carried the ban until now and has publicly blasted Rose for his past transgressions.

This reeks of hypocrisy. An umpire decides games with him calling the balls and strikes. It should now be questioned on how long this gambling has occurred and how many other umpires have done it. If Bud can ban Pete Rose for life, these umpires should have been banned also. Treat everyone who breaks the law equally because your sentencing of the umpires truly sucks!

Final Thought

Baseball has arrived when the Mets and Yankees start the season on Monday. May the weather be actually decent for their home openers. Until next week, Peace!

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