The good, the bad and the druggies

Michael Moses

Summer’s sports news might have been the hottest ever

In the world of sports, summer 2009 had more drama than “Grey’s Anatomy.” Just think about it.

Manny Ramirez served a 50-game suspension for violating the substance abuse policy (the “who cares, we still love you!” story). The Cleveland Cavaliers signed Shaq (the “washed-up-superstar-hoping-to-be-like-Garnett” story). The US men’s soccer team had an impressive run in the FIFA Confederations Cup (the underdog story). Former All-Pro quarterback Steve McNair was murdered by a college-aged girl (the “CSI: NFL” story). Hawaii’s head football coach Greg McMackin used a homosexual slur (the “he said what?!” story), and Brett Favre went Katy Perry (the “hot/cold, yes/no” story). And that was just to name a few.

Usually, the summer is a down time for sports fans. The NBA Playoffs end around the beginning of June, so the only event worth looking forward to in basketball fans’ eyes is the NBA Draft (which, by the way – Blake Griffin will win Rookie of the Year). In the NFL, teams are just getting prepared for camp. Wimbledon is nice for tennis, but it’s becoming a two-man show.

The Tour de France was almost another Tour de Lance, with the sports’ most famous athlete, Lance Armstrong, almost winning his 8th race. Although he finished third overall, his Astana teammate, Alberto Contador, ended up winning in dynamic fashion. The two cyclists had a falling out after the event. Words were exchanged – basically a “he said, she said” ordeal. Think Kobe/Shaq, only on bicycles.

Golf was golf. Tiger drama. An old guy missed a put. Shucks.

Baseball was baseball. The usual steroid drama. Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz were called upon this time.

No matter how boring baseball itself is, there’s not a better scene to witness than white specs flying through the air like mini-asteroids at the Home Run Derby. Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers stole the crown this year.

But in this geographical area, face it: The Indians and Pirates are not the majors – they’re the minors.

Most sports fans take a few months off in the summer. Football is just around the corner, with basketball and hockey to follow. wwIt’s a sad sports world when legal issues dominate a summer.

Allegation of sexual assault against “Big Ben” took up more media attention than almost all the baseball news for that week.

Michael Vick’s return to the NFL sparked much controversy and caused sports fanS to temporarily forget that Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino was in a heavy lawsuit himself.

I mean, a player can even shoot HIMSELF in the foot, be sent to prison for two years and cause more of media frenzy than, say, Caster Semenya, the South African “female” sprinter that just so happens to look like a young Michael Vick. Now that’s something worth noting (but, wait, that’s a legal issue too.).

When people say “this summer went so fast,” nothing went faster this August than Usain Bolt. The Jamaican sprinter shattered two world records in Berlin at the IAAF World Championships. “Lightning” Bolt ran the 100 meters in 9.58 seconds. That’s faster than you can tie your shoe. Try it.

Just four days later, “Insane” Usain smashed the previous world record of 19.30 with a mind-boggling 19.19 200-meter time. Second place clocked in at 19.81.

Bolt was the highlight of the summer of 2009, a run we might never see again in our lifetimes.

It’s sad to say, but every up must have a down. This is where No. 4 comes in.

Brett Favre was a tremendous, respectable athlete who played for the love of the game and followed the rules of sportsmanship. Then came his retirement. Then his second. Then his third, fourth and so on.

Favre has tarnished his reputation and only thinks about himself. Any player who can go to his previous teams’ (one that he spent 15 Hall of Fame seasons with) archrival has some serious heart issues. Any player who can expect to miss team workouts and step in and start right away has some serious ego issues. As for you, Minnesota, you have the biggest target on your back. And Green Bay, you just gained a fan in me.

I don’t care if he’s the NFL’s all-time leading passer. The way I see it, Dan Marino still is. He didn’t go out like a pampered brat. He went out with his team. He was loyal.

Congratulations, Brett. You’re the laughing stock of the summer. Maybe it’s time you Bolt town for good.

Contact sports correspondent Michael Moses at [email protected].