The Midweek Hurricane: Jose Canseco, MLB, NFL, and College Football

Chaz MattsonAnalyst IOctober 15, 2008

Writers block can kill a writer if there is no pen to pad or fingers on the keyboard.  The only way to overcome this writing malfunction is to just spill the beans and let the ebb and flow of the work week go-go-go!  In the mid 1980’s The Scorpions released the song Rock You like a Hurricane, a song about Hurricanes apparently but it’s time for the midweek vibe to rock you (like a hurricane)!  So, if you want something done right… just forget it!

Jose Canseco was charged in federal court Tuesday with a misdemeanor offense for smuggling fertility drugs. For a long time in this country, known fertility methodologies and drugs have been incredibly expensive.  So it should not come as any surprise that a known celebrity was caught smuggling these drugs from Mexico into the US.  On one hand it’s serious business and on another hand it’s a serious violation of applicable laws of the United States.  It’s probably more important to bring to light that there are couples in this country that wrestle with fertility issues.  Those couples go through years of challenges and countless obstacles and at the end of it all they may not have a child and may have to pursue adoption.  To top it all off they wind up with bills that can easily mount to tens of thousands of dollars.  This happens even if they’ve done everything right and according to the book.  This is a serious issue that should remain in the collective stream of consciousness for the future benefit of countless families everywhere.  So it is with the same sense of seriousness and cynical irony that this issue has been laid upon the table.         

Jose Canseco was originally in the public limelight due to his bruising home run exploits with the Oakland A’s.  It later became a well known fact that he had a career that was aided by the juice (i.e. anabolic steroids), that were being used as performance enhancers.  The use of these banned substances was most obviously bad for the integrity of baseball.  Since that time it has led Jose to reflect on the more important things in life.  It also gave Jose the opportunity to write a book or two and name a few of his friends who were just as guilty as he was at cheating with performance enhancers. 

 In recent years the truth has been coming out that the top brass in Major League Baseball covered up steroid use for decades.  The fall-out led the congressional top brass to place a focus on MLB’s cover-up rather than the one that’s been going on within the US economy.  So this is highly ironic.  Jose Canseco, love him or not has brought some of the modern days most important issues in this country to the forefront of public consciousness, however dubiously.  Jose has made an impact that has made us look at how we operate and handle key issues as a country.  It’s highly possible Jose was caught in an act that would have been for his own personal financial gain.  Jose could have been acting for personal reasons as a former steriod user, whatever the cause it’s irrelevant.  The important thing is that Jose has brought key issues to be discussed and hopefully addressed in a better way that will make fertility drugs cheaper for couples that need them.  If baseball is steroid free in the future, you might have Jose Canseco to thank.  There is no escaping the irony, cynicism, or comedic fallout nonetheless Jose has acted, what are left are for our countries leaders to act responsibly.

Major League Baseball has to be thrilled with the play of the Phillies and the Rays thus far in the playoffs.  These two teams are one game away from advancing to the World Series, holding 3-1 edges in their respective championship series.  The Rays have looked scary good in thrashing the Red Sox in three consecutive games to take the lead in the ALCS.  They have a rookie playing like a ten year vet and they have a vet who went 5-5 last night in leading by example.  This story is far from over, but it’s a joy to know about since that is what the game should be about.  The Phillies had a comeback for the ages in game four of their series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  A game that may not have had the drama of other classics, it had a classic moment that left the fans in awe, amazement, shock, and highly emotional after a pair of two run homers in the top of the eighth inning.  The Phillies showed the nation they are for real.  These series aren’t over, and probably not by a long shot.  On one hand you have the Dodgers who probably have the top pitching staff of starters in the playoffs.  The Red Sox have won the World Series two of the last four years and have a potent team again this year.  When much of the nation was anticipating Manny Versus the Volcano something blew-up in the way the Red Sox and the Dodgers played baseball.  Now MLB is starring at a Phillies-Rays match-up that may not have the largest market pool for ratings, but it may just be the best series in the interest of baseball with these two teams have a collective one championship ever.  Both the Rays and Phillies have been perennial doormats and are now just one game away from attaining some serious hardware.

The NFL weekend posed more questions about who the dominant teams really are.  Front runners like the Broncos, Giants, Cowboys, and Patriots all lost while teams like the Browns, Chargers, Jaguars, Cardinals, and Eagles showed they are playoff worthy.  Moreover the Cowboys are now going to be without starter Tony Romo for a month with a broken finger.  The Cowboys also made a trade to pick-up Pro Bowl receiver Roy Williams.  Finally “Pac-Man” Jones is going away from the game and the Cowboys for a while, possibly forever if he can’t get his act together.   So the beat goes on as Washington added Shawn Alexander as a backup to Clinton Portis who just ran for over a hundred yards in a loss to the Rams.

Finally the college football scene is narrowing its’ BCS Championship focus down to a handful of teams.  The Big XII is making its’ case as the best conference in the land.  There are six teams in the top 25 while the SEC only can boast of having five.  Probably the most telling stat is that the lowest ranked Big XII team is Kansas at the number 16 slot.  Kansas is coming off a big win over a sliding Colorado Buffaloes team who knocked off preseason top rated West Virginia just three weeks ago.  Colorado has lost to traditional powers Florida State and Texas in addition to Kansas.  Realistically when it comes down to the BCS Championship it will in all likely hood come down to the SEC Champion versus the Big XII Champion as long as those Champions are Alabama and Texas respectively.  Should either one of them loose then it opens up the window of opportunity for Penn State to state their case while other hopefuls like Oklahoma, USC, BYU, Florida, and Missouri are on the outside looking in.