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Too ridiculous to be fiction

Thought of the Day

Courtesy of David Bowie:

And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re going through

A lot’s been on my mind lately. To me, one who does not keep trusted friends’ counsel, who does not outwardly show any interest in learning from any outside force, who asserts his or her leadership prowess simply by pointing out the shortcomings he or she perceives in others, and who chooses no solution over acknowledging that there’s a problem is no leader, and really is just one step from dead.

I’ve witnessed someone, who in 15 short years went from being a young man who carried a bit of an aura about him to becoming a bitter old man with no original ideas. He has become a man who measures achievement and accomplishment by “activity.”

Anyway, the time’s come to bury the remnants of an old friend who passed 11-plus years ago. Now that was a leader.

Another $10 million arm, $.10 head

Mike Leake was supposed to be one of the Cincinnati Reds’ top young pitchers, an ace in the making. Strangely, he was shut down in the last month of last year to preserve his fragile rookie arm. Whatever, Leake was expected to come back and take a prominent spot in the rotation.

Leake is 2-0 so far this year for the Reds, but the news out of Cincy makes me wonder what his future will be.

Leake stole six shirts from Macy’s. The value of the shirts was less than $60.00. Leake makes $425,000, which makes him a relative pauper in the Major Leagues, but quite comfortable in this country.

Since the first bonus baby was signed, we’ve heard of pitchers with “Million Dollar Arms and Ten Cent Heads.” They get the tag for different reasons.

Take a look at another pitcher, a right-hander who as far I know is not a felon. Jake Peavy has been on the comeback trail since last year’s gruesome injury. He pitched lights out in spring training and then admitted he felt some shoulder discomfort all along. The White Sox put him on the disabled list and had him continue to rehab in Arizona before sending him on a few rehab stints in the minors.

His first two starts went swimmingly. He pitched well, and he reported no disomfort.

His third start was tonight. Peavy didn’t last 15 pitches. Shoulder discomfort. While I know that Peavy desperately wants to return to the Major League mound, he hasn’t done himself any favors by being less than honest with the Sox trainers. For his sake, I hope his $0.10 head doesn’t devalue his $10 million arm.

What’s wrong with me? (Or Some Schadenfreude is Fun)

Why is it that last night’s thumping of Purdue by Virginia Commonwealth didn’t give me a warm glow into this week? Last night, I spent nearly an hour cackling as I watched VCU force Purdue into some awful shots and as VCU hit some shots to extend its lead to nearly 20 over the Boilers. But today, I find myself feeling bad for JaJuan Johnson E’Twuan Moore and Robbie Hummel. Good ballplayers, guys you’d root for (if not for the “Purdue” across their chests). Matt Painter is a respectable guy. I didn’t want the Boilermakers in the Final Four, but humiliation at the hands of Virginia Commonwealth, well that gives me no joy.

You know what makes me giddy? Well, if you didn’t hear the news out of Knoxville, Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl lost his job today.

He’s always struck me as a little obnoxious. I’m no Illinois fan (as badly as I wanted the Illini to beat Kansas last night), but Pearl’s setup of Deon Thomas and Jimmy Collins was deplorable. And then to justify it by suggesting Illinois “broke rules,” when no evidence of such was uncovered makes the latest set of Pearl rules violations so deliciously rich.

Where Purdue’s loss to VCU rated a “4″ on the schadenfreude meter, Pearl’s firing measured a “6.” What has me enjoying the sweet, sweet taste of schadenfreude today? Of course, it’s the news out of Glendale, Ariz. This has the potential to shoot up to “10!”

Yes, an injury to Jake Peavy has me giggling like a schoolgirl. White Sox fans have crowed about the big trade (of Clayton Richard among others) that landed Jake Peavy in 2009, while he was on the DL. When he finally came back to the White Sox, he was dominant in a few shortened starts in meaningless September games. In 2010, he struggled until July when he suffered a major injury that ended his season.

All we’ve heard this spring training is how healthy Peavy is and how hard he’s throwing (although he has lost a good 3-5 mph off his fastball). I’ll grant the guy knows how to pitch, but yesterday’s revelation that he’s been rehabbing through rotator cuff tendinitis brings back warm and fuzzy memories of Mark Prior, only this time the smug Sox fans get to live it.

I expect Peavy to return around June 1, and he’ll steal every penny the Sox will pay him the next few years. Unless, of course, he suffers a major injury ending his career. That will shoot the schadenfreude meter past 10. Cheering an injury?

What the Hell is wrong with me?

Tiger Blood, Winning and Torpedos

Last week, I ran a fairly high fever so I stayed home sick. After doing a little bit of work from home, I had to combat my boredom. So, I treated myself to the myriad of crazy Charlie Sheen interviews, from the Alex Jones interview (in which Lenny Dykstra makes an appearance) to the 20/20 interview to a couple radio spots on the Dan Patrick Show. And with each interview, I needed more.

This is puzzling and beyond alarming. I had been aware of the stories of Sheen’s meltdowns and his self-destructive behavior over the past year. I chortled a bit at his ridiculous comments and wrote it off as the ravings of a madman.

But then I listened to all the interviews and media appearances, followed his Twitter feed, checked in on one of his live webcasts, and even watched the Funny or Die skit he did below.

To my wife, this is just fuel with which to mock me. If not for her receiving a box filled with two cases of SPAM (a funny, separate story), my descent into the world of TMZ would be the most amusing thing she’s seen all week.

But, I’m growing more and more convinced that Sheen’s ravings are calculated. He might or might not be hopped up on coke (or God knows whatever else), he may be off the wagon and drinking, and he might or might not be bi-polar.

But is it possible he is every bit the genius his father is, if not more brilliant?

Yes, Charlie Sheen: genius. I can’t believe I just wrote that. But today comes news that he’s planning a tour (Chicago Theater April 3), and this comes on the heels of the news item that he’s suing the producers of Two and a Half Men for breach of contract.

He won’t win any suit, but he is putting on a Hell of a show. Is this all an act, Joaquin Phoenix-style? Maybe he grew bored of his role on Two and a Half Men. I don’t watch the show, but with the young guy growing up, how much longer could the show go on anyway?

Sheen quite obviously wants to be doing movies, and perhaps he felt a high-profile crash and burn would attract just the right amount of attention, free him from his CBS obligations and once again make him the Hollywood bad boy just perfectly suited for certain roles.

Also, the traditional model of network and studio execs running the entertainment field is not long for this world. Through the web, Sheen has been able to reach his audience, brand himself with his ridiculous phrasing like “Tiger Blood,” and monetize his ridiculousness.

I hope I’m right. I’ve never been a huge Sheen fan (at least since Major League or Wall Street), but if he’s really spinning into the abyss of addiction and mental illness, I’d be very sad.

Again, it seems a little too calculated for it to be that.

Next Food Network Star?

To the food writer on this domain, can you do a review of Charlie’s winning recipe?