The week of 7/23/07 may have been one of the worst, if not the worst weeks in the history of sports.
1. Barry Bonds is trying to break Hank Aaron's home run record, but there's more people talking about how to separate his career marks from everyone else because of a drug he may or may not have taken. How about the talent it takes to hit major league pitches? Have you gone to a batting cage and tried to hit a ball coming at you at 90 mph?
2. One of my favorite baseball organizations, the Oakland A's, are really playing lousy. Where's Eric Chavez been? They are pitching around Nick Swisher, Jack Cust is now swinging the bat like he's still playing for the Sacramento RiverCats. And is Kotsay on the team? Bobby Crosby was last seen with a boo-boo on his right hand. Too bad, because I still think the A's have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball.
3. Michael Vick, perhaps one of the most talented athletes in the NFL, if not in all of sports, may not play again because he liked to see dogs fight ... or let folks use property he owned to do it. Seems to me he made a really bad decision or two ...or three.
4. This NBA ref, Donahy, may have used his influence to sway the betting lines enough so that he and his buddies made a few thousand bucks at their favorite sports bookies' place. This one of all I list is the most disappointing and perhaps the most deadly of them all. I've told friends for years I mildly watch basketball because officials are too influential on the games. A ref can decide to blow his whistle on every possession or keep it in his pocket. Those guys dictate how a game is played (or not played).
I don't see how the integrity of the NBA can survive this one. And I wouldn't want to be an official having to make a call at a key time in a game. Can you imagine the heat the guy with the whistle would have to endure if the call changes the complexion of a game or comes at the key time in a big game? Folks would wonder if he had money on the game, too.
Football and baseball officials have some influence on games, but not to the degree as the guy officiating basketball. (I will say, though, I wonder about a few ghost calls in last year's City Championship football game between Elk Grove and Vacaville). I predict the NBA will have a huge turnover in its officials and likely its commissioner within one year.