From the editor
Remember in 2003 when the Cubs were on the cusp of going to the World Series when the infamous foul ball occurred? I know you recall the foul ball itself, caroming off the hands of some innocent young lad who, unfortunately and undeservedly, would go on to be blamed for the Cubs’ ultimate downfall that season.

What you may have missed during that play-or what probably provoked you to howl out sharp criticisms for the young man’s desire to snag a souvenir during a pivotal moment in the playoffs-was Cubs leftfielder Moises Alou’s reaction. Alou turned into a 3-year-old and threw a temper-tantrum right there in front of 40,000-plus eyewitnesses and millions watching on television. Alou’s hands were up, his mouth agape, and he was burning daggers into the fellow for his idiocy, even hurling words of disgust.

By reacting in such an immature and unreasonable manner, what Alou did right there, at that moment, was find someone or something to blame for his team’s poor performance. Had he jogged back to his position after the ball landed out of play, assuaging his misplaced anger as any fan’s simple reaction to a possible souvenir, then the word “infamous” and the term “foul ball” would never have married, unceremoniously.

It’s this and similar behavior by professional athletes that baffles and irks me to no end. I’m reminded of Alou’s reaction to the foul ball after reading about Sergio Garcia’s behavior upon choking at the British Open last weekend. Garcia blamed groundskeepers for his downfall in a playoff against Padraig Harrington.

“It seemed to take a long time to rake two bunkers,” he told reporters of his waiting before hitting his approach shot to the 18th green. “It’s not fun standing there when you know you’re hitting the ball well … .”

Okey-dokey, Garcia. The fact that you could have avoided a playoff entirely and won your first major championship had you not missed a 10-foot putt on 18 had nothing to do with you losing. Right.

More and more pro athletes are laying blame elsewhere for their ineptitude, and they’ll even go so far as to defend one another for criminal incidents. Allen Iverson recently told a newspaper that Michael Vick’s legal problems involving a dog-fighting ring were due to Vick’s celebrity and wealthy economic status. Really? It had nothing to do with the fact that Vick owns the property where the alleged dog-fighting occurred?

Pro athletes need to start owning up to their faults, or good sportsmanship will be extinct.

And while we’re on the subject, would it kill a pro baseball player to jog back to the dugout after he strikes out? You would think they would want to get out of sight immediately. Also, note to outfielders, call the ball! Stop running into each other like buffoons. You’re taught to call the ball before you turn 10 years old!

And someone tell Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez to run out-at full speed-every ball he hits. When Ramirez hits a deep fly he likes to stand and gawk at his achievement. I get so mad at him I want to throw a temper-tantrum.


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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...