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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins


Friday, January 30, 2004

Pudge Is To The Tigers As Samuel L. Jackson Is To ___?

Reports have free agent catcher Ivan Rodriguez signing a four-year deal with the Detroit Tigers today, assuming all goes well in an exam of Rodriguez's troubled back on Thursday.

Rodriguez, who spent his entire career with the Texas Rangers before signing a one-year deal with the Marlins last season, led Florida to an unexpected World Series championship. The catcher is a sure Hall of Famer, and some even consider him the best catcher ever to play the game.

On the other hand, the Tigers set all-time futility marks last season, losing 119 games, an American League record. They fell one loss short of equaling the Major League record for losses in a season, set by the expansion '62 Mets. And the Tigers had to win five of their final six games of the season to escape that ignominy.

So if Pudge went to Detroit to help in their rebuilding, and managed even to help bring them back to .500, that would be quite an accomplishment. That's a 38-game swing, which no team even came close to last season. To put that in perspective, the Marlins, who seemingly came out of nowhere, improved just 12 games from the previous season.

Detroit is really that bad. And they are on the verge of getting one of the best ever at his position.

This brings up an interesting question: What would happen in other endeavors if we took one of the best individuals and threw them on a sinking ship?

For example, say we took Kiefer Sutherland, who does brilliant work on 24 as Jack Bauer, and put him on a terrible show, such as Frasier. Is it possible the only thing that can stop Jack Bauer is the snooty psychoanalysis of Niles? Will we find that he's been having an affair with Roz? Will the Salazars order him to cap Frasier? What kind of trouble will Kim get into in Seattle?

For the Tigers' sake, I hope signing I-Rod goes better than that would.

How about if we took a great singer like Bono and stuck him in a band like System of a Down? Would they be able to turn their guitars down enough to make his vocals audible? Would they even understand his lyrics? The Super Bowl certainly wouldn't be calling to book that act.

Maybe a better idea would be to try this with movies. Win A Date With Samuel L. Jackson, anybody? Watch as the seasoned movie vet goes to a small town to go on a date with a lucky contest winner...and creeps her out when he launches into his "Ezekiel 25:17 speech." By the time he gets to "And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee," the girl will be back in the arms of her friend.

I don't think Pudge will be sending Mike Maroth running back to whomever was the Tigers catcher last season, though. (It was Brandon Inge. You didn't know it offhand, either.) Maroth lost 21 games. And he was the best pitcher on that team.

Besides, I don't think it will be possible for anyone to make that team any worse. Unless, of course, they signed Ashton Kutcher to catch.

Hey, manager Alan Trammell, look over there...there's a camera...and Dmitri Young is wearing a microphone...you've been punk'd!

***

In some disturbing news, Virginia Tech QB Marcus Vick, Michael Vick's little brother, looks like he's getting into some serious trouble if reports out of Blacksburg are true. The 19-year old sophomore is accused of having sex with a 15-year old girl, whose two friends reported this to police.

The girls, according to the Roanoke Times, stated that they had been given vodka and rum by Vick and a teammate, and that they danced and stripped while the teammate took pictures.

Vick should know better than to go down this road and put himself in a situation like this, especially since he's an NFL prospect and has an older brother who is a superstar. But shouldn't the girls share some blame here? There is no indication that this wasn't consensual, and no indication that they were forced to do anything.

The girls were ages 14 and 15, and they're drinking in a college dorm room and stripping? It's understandably tough for Vick to stop the situation, especially when he has two teammates around. It's also difficult for the girls to put a stop to it. Once the wheels of this kind of thing are in motion, it's hard to put the brakes on. But it's a scenario that shouldn't have existed in the first place, and all parties are to blame for creating it.

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