We all remember the scene from the sports classic Bull Durham...Crash Davis, the grizzled veteran catcher, schooling Ebby Calvin 'Nuke' Laloosh on the finer points of handling the media. One game at a time, give it 100%, god willing...you get the picture.
In this day and age, with the Internet, Satellite Radio, HD-TV, Te-Vo and all the other gizmos and gadgets afforded to us to hear what our sports heroes have to say, we rarely get the juicy quote that gets everybody fired up.
There may be a handful of athletes today that throw the public a glimpse of what it's really like in the trenches. Shaq occasionally, Terrell Owens when it suits him, Ron Artest when he selling his CD. These big bad athletes have been so brainwashed into not giving the other team ammunition, bulletin board material to fire up the rivalry, so much so know that we get the same vanilla ice cream without the hot fudge.
Well, I want my hot fudge.
I want Shaq to tell Kobe that he's a team killer. I want Kobe to snap and throw his bottle of Sprite...never mind, he doesn't have Sprite anymore...throw something at Shaq. I want Roger Clemons to throw at Piazza again...and back it up by throwing at the next guy if he wants. I want freedom of speech, I want freedom of expression!
The NASCAR guys have it right most of the time, running each other into the wall at 150 MPH. It aint rubbin'...it's racin' they tell you. I would love to see Johnny Damon slide in to third base, cleats high, right into A-Rod's cup...hey A-Rod, it's not rubbin!
To often now, these athletes of tomorrow are sucked into thinking we want a homogenized version of today's athlete. If I want homogenized, I'll buy milk. Sports and athletes today are in the ENTERTAINMENT business. When they decide to go one foot off the cultural blueprint that their respective league has force-fed them, they get fined for being a distraction.
If I hear one more 'One game at a time' quote in an interview, I'm gonna take my tape-recorder and I'll write an article on what it sounds like to get your prostate checked...while trying to make bail!