Saturday, May 20, 2006

I'm Trying To Take My Saturday Afternoon Nap, But a Fight Breaks Out In the Sox-Cubs Game On TV and Wakes Me Up. But the Cubs Still Doze

I'm about to fall asleep watching TV this afternoon while the Cubs are playing the White Sox.

All of a sudden, A. J. Pierzynski -- that loudmouth bad guy from the Sox -- barrels into Michael Barrett of the Cubs at home plate.

Gee, you'd think those two guys would be nice to each other. They're both catchers.

And catchers with strong opinions.

Right after Pierzynski knocks Barrett over, Barrett gets up, grabs A. J. and throws a punch at him.

Pretty good punch, too. At least for a baseball player.

A right cross [pictured above] that would've been a 2 by Rocky Marciano [left] on a scale of 1 to 10.

Of course, Rocky Marciano has been dead a long time.

Then all hell breaks loose. The Sox and Cubs are fighting all over the field. Four players -- two from each team -- are thrown out of the game.

One is John Mabry, the Cubs' first baseman. I didn't know he ever got excited about anything -- certainly not a fight in a Sox-Cubs game.

The fight woke me up, and I thought it might wake up the Cubs -- who have been sleeping most of the season


The Cubs still aren't awake. Tadahio Iguchi [aren't you proud of me for being able to spell that name?] hits a grand-slam home run [that's a homer with the bases loaded for all you soccer fans] to put the Sox ahead, 5-0.

The Sox end up winning, 7-0, and the Cubs might as well call it a season. They could fire manager Dusty Baker and it wouldn't make any difference. Aramis Ramirez would still be there, and he's been asleep for three weeks.

Kevin Kennedy, who was a flop as a big league manager, said after the game on Fox-TV that he thinks Barrett will get suspended for 10 games.

Fine with me. The Cubs are dead anyway.

* * *

All of America has now been warned.

Keep your e-mail messages to yourself in the workplace.

Steve Shanks didn't do that, and now he's ready to start filling out job applications.

Shanks was, in effect, fired because an e-mail he thought he was sending to his brother wound up in the hands of a coach he had fired at Dowling High School in West Des Moines.

Shanks was in his first year as athletic director at Dowling.

At 43, Shanks should have been a computer-savvy guy. He grew up in the computer age, and should be aware of all the pitfalls of personal e-mail that is sent from work.

When it was learned by Shanks' bosses at Dowling, it was evident he had to go.

In three e-mail messages, Shanks said he was "done with religion," complained about a 1-hour 40-minute Mass at a Catholic church and mentioned an "Italian mafioso priest."

Not good.

Not good for the athletic director at Dowling -- a Catholic school in West Des Moines with a long and storied tradition -- to say he was "done with religion."

Not good for Shanks to talk negatively about a Mass.

Not good for him to put down Italians, a nationality that is weaved strongly throughout Des Moines and its suburbs.

The lesson in this unbelievably weird matter is that a person should always put his or her mouth where his or her e-mail is.

Don't put anything in an e-mail you wouldn't want to go public because far too often e-mails do go public.

Shanks should have waited until he went home to send the e-mails to his brother.

Better yet, he should have called his brother from home.

Or driven to his brother's home if it was so important to talk with him.

* * *

When former Drake athletic director Dave Blank was introduced a while back as the new athletic boss at Elon University in North Carolina, he proudly donned an Elon baseball cap.

He may have second thoughts about that now.

Members of the Elon team were disciplined after photos surfaced that showed players drinking and wearing women's underwear and blindfolds at a team party.

"We consider this a serious violation of our athletics codes of conduct and are outraged at this unacceptable behavior," outgoing athletic director Alan White said.

The photos were discovered in November and the issue was addressed then, the school said. White said the photos were posted on an Internet site. Baseball coach Mike Kennedy had the photos removed from the website and took disciplinary action against all involved team members who had violated athletics conduct policies as part of the party, White said.

The pictures have since showed up on another website.

White's statement did not say what action was taken against the players.

"I will be working with Blank and provost Gerald Francis to review the university's response to this incident and determine if future action is necessary," White added.

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: It's one headache after another for Blank. He goes from watching a Drake men's basketball program that hasn't had a winning record for 19 seasons to an Elon baseball squad that wears women's underwear. What's this world coming to?]

* * *

Meanwhile, the University of Iowa has started an investigation after receiving a photograph that shows possible "inappropriate activity" by Hawkeyhe baseball players.

Two pictures from the website were e-mailed Wednesday to the Iowa City Press-Citizen. The photos showed some college-age men standing naked with hats over their genitals. The men appeared to be in an apartment.

University general counsel Marcus Mills said the athletic department is conducting an investigation. University officials "have identified at least one of them as a baseball player," he said.

Mills would not name the identified player.

The Press-Citizen e-mailed one of the photos to Iowa sports nformation department baseball contact Tony Wirt on Thursday to see if the men in the picture could be identified as baseball players, as the photo caption suggested. Some of the players in the photograph have their heads tilted backward and one had a baseball hat on, making them difficult to identify.

"I didn't recognize any of them," Wirt said, noting that there are a number of redshirt freshman players he does not know well.

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: I'd say the Hawkeye baseball team has been behaving inappropriately all season. A 2-1 loss Friday at Michigan lowered Iowa's records to 23-30 overall and 12-17 in the Big Ten. Now that the players are taking their clothes off for photographs, I guess it's time for the yet-to-be named incoming athletic director to cancel the baseball program].

* * *

Maybe you remember Danny Almonte.

Almonte, 19, famous for playing in Little League while ineligible because of his age, now has 30-year-old wife.

Almonte is really grown-up now -- he's secretly married to a 30-year-old woman, said the Daily News.

[Almonte and his wife are pictured above].

Almonte, who hasn't even graduated from high school yet, reluctantly confirmed that he tied the knot with cradle-robbing Rosy Perdomo months ago.

"She's special," Almonte told the Daily News with a shy smile near the Bronx apartment he shares with Perdomo. "My family is happy for me."

The strapping young man wouldn't say much more about his bride, a former baseball league official who now works as a hairstylist in lower Manhattan.

"I don't want to talk about my personal life," he said politely, moments after he burst out of a barbershop when the question of his marriage came up.

But Perdomo told the paper she and Danny tied the knot at City Hall last Oct. 14 after both families showed "we have a lot of support from them."

She said she's known Almonte since his infamous Little League days.

"He always used to tell me things and I was like, 'You're a minor . . . we'd get in trouble," the pretty, freckle-faced bride said with a smile from a couch in the Bronx apartment she shares with Almonte.

"I really waited for the right person to come along," she explained, "so I wasn't going to just fool around, especially not with someone younger than me."

Perdomo said she and Almonte got closer last year and they began living together in June.

What makes it work?

"We share a lot," she said. "It's a family here. We have the same friends. We just have a lot in common."

Almonte's mom, Sonia Rojas, told the newspaper from her home in the Dominican Republic that the May-December union has her blessing.

"Love has no age," Rojas said, bemoaning the fact that she couldn't obtain a visa to attend the nuptials in New York.

Five years ago, Almonte was being groomed as the greatest Little League star ever to emerge from the ballfields of New York. But his phenomenal run ended in disgrace when it was revealed he faked his age -- subtracting two years -- to play in the Little League World Series.

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Maybe Almonte will sign a pro contract and someday be assigned to play for the Iowa Cubs. They deserve him].

* * *

[Photos courtesy of the Chicago Tribune, Rocky Marciano's family, Google, DeCrescenzo, Daily News, Stars and Stripes, Pravda].