Telander: Jose Canseco, Rod Blagojevich: That’s some double header
BY RICK TELANDER firstname.lastname@example.org June 2, 2012 12:16AM
Neither Jose Canseco nor former Gov. Rod Blagojevich seems to get the real world or how he’s seen in it. | Susan Walsh~AP
Updated: July 6, 2012 10:30AM
I was tormented, sleepless, without appetite or thirst.
My days were nights, my nights holes.
Who did Jose Canseco, the 47-year-old, blabbering, brand-new designated hitter for the independent league Worcester (Mass.) Tornadoes remind me of?
Who? Dear God, who?
The important hair, the flapping mouth, the ceaseless smile, the nods, the irrepressible (even demented) good cheer, the inability to grasp the gravity of any situation except as it revolved around and reflected upon the creature itself, who, clearly, was the center of universe.
Then . . .
Rod Blagojevich! Our 55-year-old imprisoned ex-governor!
The two look alike, sound alike, inhabit the same fantastic kingdom. Blagojevich, kissing babies and shaking hands even as he was walking off to the big house, is as weirdly affable as Canseco, the muscle man who once spent a month in the Miami-Dade lockup and was under house arrest for two years.
Blago seems no more aware that he is in FCI Englewood, a federal pen in Littleton, Colo., than Canseco seems aware he’s on a team that plays the Jackals, AirHogs and Lemurs.
‘‘I’m leaving with a heavy heart, a clear conscience, and I have high, high hopes for the future,’’ Blago said cheerfully as he went off for his 14-year stint.
Asked about the effect of performance-enhancing drugs in a recent interview, Canseco, perhaps the meatiest, most air-hosed, vain and delusional ’roider in MLB history, said knowingly, ‘‘They don’t make you great.’’ Then he pointed to his head. ‘‘This makes you great.’’
But thanks for the info.
◆ If there’s one thing that’s certain in this endless Roger Clemens steroid consumption trial — Did he lie? Didn’t he? — it’s that finger-pointer Brian McNamee, the former trainer who lied, cheated and apparently hid used syringes and swabs in a beer can, has ruined his own life in a way that big lug Clemens — hey, a masseuse didn’t see acne on his back! — can’t imagine.
The void a pitcher has in his brain while on the mound should protect the Rocket while on the mound called the rest of his life.
◆ I will bet you anything that the brain of former NFL star Junior Seau, who recently committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest, will show signs of the brain-wasting disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The condition only can be detected in the brains of dead people, since its proof lies deep within the organ.
But after CTE is found in Seau’s brain, as I’m sure it will be, how will we know for certain why he killed himself? A person can have terminal cancer and die of an unrelated infection.
But head blows can’t be good for anyone.
The biggest question will be: How early in his career was the damage done? And how much will the NFL spend to prove it?
◆ NBA commissioner David Stern is thinking about making tougher rules against ‘‘flopping’’ by players and perhaps allowing referees to take a second look at flagrant fouls.
What he should do is take a look at whatever in the world the violations known as palming, carrying and traveling are supposed to be.
Point guards now dribble with their hand under the ball in a circular motion. They use centrifugal force to make sure the ball almost never is out of contact with their palm. They fake forward with a one-handed pass, then bring the ball back and continue dribbling. How do you guard a running back?
And traveling is barely a concept.
I recently watched on TV, and re-ran again and again, a clip of Thunder guard James Harden making a ‘‘terrific,’’ un-whistled move to the basket. He took one, two, three, four steps.
The Spurs’ Tony Parker made a neat move and took four steps. Three steps is so common that it’s like standing still.
The rule used to be 1 1/2 steps before you had to get rid of the ball. Then, in 2009, the NBA became the first hoops league anywhere to allow two steps.
I watched a slo-mo clip of the Heat’s LeBron James taking 4 1/2 steps and scoring against the Celtics. The funniest thing was watching Celtics guard Rajon Rondo then take three steps, plant and drag his pivot foot another 18 inches — let’s call it a waltz — and get knocked to the floor by a vicious shot block from James.
That’s another item — it used to be a foul when a defender’s body crashed into the ball handler’s body, regardless of whether the defender’s hand happened to hit the ball. But that’s so antique it’s like Bob Cousy shorts.
Thus, relentlessly, basketball becomes ever more like indoor football.
◆ I know they’re ‘‘teachers’’ and they ‘‘love practice more than games,’’ but, darn it, some college coaches get rewarded for their charity.
Saint Mike Krzyzewski of Duke, for instance, was forced to receive more than $7.2 million in compensation in 2010, tax returns show.
It hurt, I know. But he’ll get through it. Won’t he, Lord?