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Seconds in Sports: Contoversial summer in the pros

Aaron Hall | Interrobang | Sports | August 29th, 2005



Sorry everyone, it's time to turn down the Alice Cooper and start thinking about school again.

While many of you were searching for shade, jumping in pools, and reluctantly coping with the heat and humidity of this past summer, many interesting and contentious stories arose in the world of professional sports.

Hockey
It is back. After a bitter labour dispute cancelled the entire 2004-2005 season, the National Hockey League (NHL) finally came to terms with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. With the financial and economic structure of the league completely different, a free-agent frenzy ensued with many players jumping ship and switching teams. This included London native Eric Lindros, who joined the Toronto Maple Leafs.

To go along with the NHL's new look and new logo, a torch was passed down to a new generation.

Sidney Crosby, a 17 year old Nova Scotia native, whom Wayne Gretzky touted as a player who could challenge some of his records, was drafted first overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL Entry Draft. Crosby will join a team that is led by owner/captain Mario Lemieux, and will undoubtedly be the poster child for a league that desperately needs someone to help fix its tattered image.

Not helping out their cause, the NHL made a lame attempt at downplaying a very touchy subject. They announced the reinstatement of Todd Bertuzzi the same day Gretzky announced his decision to be the head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes.

After Bertuzzi broke Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore's neck on March 8th 2004, he only ended up losing 20 total games due to suspension, and $500,000 in salary. This seems like a petty sum and ridiculously lame punishment considering Moore still has doubts that he will ever completely recover, let alone continue a NHL career.

Baseball
“I have never used steroids. Period. I do not know how to say it any more clearly than that,” said Rafael Palmeiro in March of 2005 during a congressional hearing on performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball (MLB).

Palmeiro went on this past summer to be the 26th player in MLB history to record 3000 career base hits, and continued to be one of the most stand-up and popular athletes in MLB.

However, on August 1st 2005, Palmeiro's reputation and image took a dramatic fall as he tested positive for using a banned steroid, and was subsequently suspended for ten days. Not only has Palmeiro lied and tarnished his image forever, he has undoubtedly relinquished any possibility of his enshrinement into MLB's Hall of Fame.

The steroid issue has been the hottest topic in the world of MLB, as 92 total major league and minor league players have been suspended for violating the new steroid policy.

It's unfortunate that some of the records set in recent years will now have a black cloud cast over them and potentially an asterisk placed beside them. For such a historical and respected sport, this is truly embarrassing for fans and disgraceful to the game of baseball.

In other MLB news, area teams the Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers continue to show signs of improvement but are still having below average years thus far. With the likes of the free-spending Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees snagging the best talent from around the league, the Blue Jays and Tigers will continue to dwell in mediocrity.

The NBA also took steps in cleaning up their image by implementing a minimum age rule within the CBA. The 19-year old limit will force fresh high school graduates, who currently infest the NBA, to attend college or university and hopefully have them realize that basketball is not everything and the importance of a post-secondary education is extremely essential.

Tiger Woods continued to dominate the Professional Golf Association, the National Football League has Randy Moss smoking pot and Terrell Owens continuously whining, Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova are atop the world tennis rankings, Tony Stewart tops the NASCAR Nextel Cup standings, absolutely no one cares about the CFL and Takeru Kobayashi still reigns supreme as the world hot dog eating champion.

Do you believe Palmiero is clean? Think Randy Moss tried it, but didn't inhald Send aaron an email at llahnoraa@yahoo.com
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