I don't often do this but the emotions are bubbling to the surface and if I don't let it out with a primal scream, I'm afraid I'll implode. And none of you want that, at least until you read what lies ahead.
HEADLINE – David Ortiz suffers through slump
LIP'S QUIP – Go ahead, fair-weather Bosox boosters. Hammer away. What have you done for me lately? Make a mistake and get outta here. Those two world championships were a long time ago and Papi's hitting .187. As an acquaintance of David when he played for the New Britain Rock Cats in 1996 and visited when the Minnesota Twins played an exhibition game in our fair city, I can tell you that he's is wonderfully human, not some clutch-hitting machine who exists for the pleasure of the most narrow-minded sports fans in the country.
And you call yourself blue-staters, compassionate liberals who can't wait to support the next candidate who eschews bleeding-heart causes, but you dump on the guy who carried your beloved team to two championships. I don't care if Ortiz hits .087. You should kiss the ground he walks on for what he did for your 86 years of suffering. For the way you've all treated him, I wish your seasons without fulfillment were at 93 and counting.
HEADLINE – Phoenix Mercury allow sponsors on jerseys
LIP'S QUIP – I've heard all the rationalization for propping up the WNBA. It supports Title XI legislation. Hey, it's common in European soccer and NASCAR. Any more excuses for the public not buying into women's professional basketball in many of the cities it's in?
Let me preface any further comments with this: I love watching the women play hoop. You won't find a stauncher supporter than me when it comes to reporting on scholastic girls sports or most any amateur endeavor involving women. I am not a sexist, and I can give you the names of 1,000 females who would bristle at the suggestion. And I hope and pray that Tony DiCicco's women's soccer league can make the grade. But when it comes to success at the professional level, you're in a different universe. People have to be willing to dig into their pockets and pay the price of admission.
This has never been a problem at Mohegan Sun. The union of the highly successful casino complex and the WNBA was well-conceived and a blessing for a region that relishes women's basketball. I'm sorry to say that the same love for the sport does not exist across the width and breadth of our nation. The demise of the Houston franchise is a solemn warning. Face it, if it wasn't for the long arms of the NBA serving as a safety net, the WNBA would be fighting for its life.
So I wish the Mercury good luck in their sponsorship decision, and I'll always love Diana no matter what she wears on her jersey, but when seawater starts leaking into the galley, it's not long before the ship starts listing.
HEADLINE – Pirates trade All-Star OF Nate McLouth to Braves
LIP'S QUIP – Speaking of sinking ships, here is another reason for the proud fans of Pittsburgh to hibernate between the Penguins' final power play of the season and the beginning of NFL training camp. How can fans and sponsors in the Steel City possibly lay out their hard-earned dollars to support a team that hasn't had a winning season since I was wearing bell-bottoms and continue to deal away their future? I saw McLouth come through the Pirates' system and he's an exciting, productive, young player who could serve as a key piece for a pennant-winning club. Haven't they as much as told their fans that they will not be able to compete in the climate that currently exists in baseball.
The once-proud Buccos aren't alone on the small-market express to Downtown Disintegration. How can the Oakland A's in all good conscience market that brutal ballclub with all its pitching peddled to large markets to their loyal (but scant) subjects? Tim Hudson. Dan Haren. Rich Harden. Barry Zito. Joe Blanton. Huston Street. Jason Isringhausen. Some have been more productive than others but the ongoing fire sale on the Oakland hill must disturb somebody other than me.
Baseball is headed for an apocalypse, perhaps not in my lifetime, but how long will small-market teams continue to commit hara-kiri (no, not the late Cubbies announcer) and lure their fans and supporters to a spiral staircase with no top floor? And remember, Red Sox and Yankee fans who care only about their own teams, you have to have somebody to play other than each other, the Angels, Dodgers and Phillies.