Thursday, November 28, 2013

Cheating In Baseball (Hello St. Louis!)

I've written once before here about steroid use, but not cheating in general and what we can and should do about it in Major League Baseball.

Steroids themselves don't really bother me so much. It's the cheating aspect I find vexing. I honestly thought the Cardinals were above hiring a known drug cheat, but apparently General Manger, John Mozeliak, is not the man I thought he was. Peralta is on the team. It's a done deal. Can someone tell me what all this Christian Night at the Ballpark was about last summer? Apparently it was little more than a publicity stunt.

What kind of example does this set for our kids in town? If you cheat in baseball you get a fat contract worth tens of millions of dollars! That's what it teaches them. Mozeliak talks about giving second chances to ballplayers who make "mistakes." But this wasn't a mistake. Peralta took PEDs on purpose. He didn't accidentally shoot-up the wrong drug. It was a premeditated decision on his part.

Cheating in sports is not like breaking other laws. It's not like speeding or tossing a cigarette butt on the sidewalk. People pay a fine for those things and get a second or even third or fourth chance, and it brings a little revenue into the city in the process. Sports are different.

Second chances don't apply to cheaters in sports for a few different reasons. One, we fans enjoy baseball stats. We love talking about who had the best batting average,  the most home runs, the pitcher with the most no-hitters and so on. Cheating makes those statistics useless while lessening the enjoyment of the sport. Two, drugs that enhance a player's performance will also enhance his contract and entitle him to more money than he deserves. Third, players who did only marginally worse while not shooting drugs may lose a slot on the team to a cheater.

Cheaters only win if you let them. If you get caught cheating on a test at Harvard, Stanford, or just about any other Ivy League college you get booted from the school, and you don't graduate. You'll also have a hard time getting into any other Ivy League school, which means going to a lesser college and probably making less money in the real world.

If you really want to stop cheating in Baseball or sports in general, you can't give second chances to someone who has permanently tarnished the game. Boot the cheaters out of the Majors and maybe they can get a job playing for a lesser league like the Independent League or the Mexican Pacific etc. But get them out of the Majors.

Shame on the Cardinals and John Mozeliak in particular. I won't be attending any Cardinal games next year. I'd sooner drive up to Chicago and watch the White Sox lose every game, but lose them honestly.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Converted Trash Truck Decoliner!

This is from an episode of Jay Leno's Garage (one of the very best shows on YouTube). It's hard to believe this motorhome was built from a trash truck, but it's true.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bicycle Memories

I found this on the interweb and it got me thinking about bikes when I was a kid. My first cool bike when I was about nine was a black Huffy Dragster III circa 1969 or so. Apparently everybody else thought it was cool too because it got stolen twice. I never got it back the second time. I was very sad about that for a long time. Mine had a 3-speed shift on the handgrip.

Here's a little better picture of one but with a different color. It also had the shift on the crossbar which is a little cooler when you're a kid. There's actually a Dragster forum on the interweb for these things. They refer to them as "muscle bikes" these days and they sell for as much as $450 on eBay.
 Going into the 70s, the trend with banana seats continued along with a high sissy bar. The next step in bicycle coolness was bikes with steering wheels.
A lot of guys rigged their own, but manufacturers soon started sending them out from the factory. I never had one of these, but I did have a chance to ride one that belonged to my cousin's boyfriend when I visited in Indianapolis once. I was very young at the time and found the bike hard to control. Of course now that I've been driving a car for almost four decades I imagine that steering wheel bikes would seem fairly normal.
After this in the mid 70s came the chopper look with the long front forks. 90% of these forks were homemade, but I do think a few were factory made somewhere.
Next up was something a little strange. These were called "high bikes." I'm pretty sure that no factory ever made any of these. They were pretty much all homemade designs that usually consisted of welding one frame atop another.
Of course some guys were bound to get carried away with things.
After this, the run-o-the-mill 10-speeds came in and took over for a couple of decades, followed by the mountain biking trend. However, cool bikes did make a brief return in the new century with kids customizing small bikes that had pegs welded here and there for trick riding.
Well that's it for this article. Next week we'll take a look at some very "dapper" vintage antique bikes.