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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Thoughts on Alex Rodriguez ESPN interview

its very interesting watching the entire ESPN Gammons/Arod interview.. the press for some reason is only focusing on the first minute but there's another 29 minutes...and there's a lot of interesting things said! does seem pretty clear Arod did take stuff and it also seems clear that he's a pretty smart guy and knows how to "talk" and how to say he's sorry..too bad for him no one is even remotely interested in what he has to say.. All the columns and reactions are of the immature "BURN HIM!" variety...his credibility may be shot but if people are really as intersted as these poseur journalists say they are about the game of baseball perhaps they could actually watch the interview.. you can learn a lot not only from what he says but from what he doesn't say....and how he says things...

maradona (argentine soccer great) had a very interesting phrase years ago (he's always coming up with these phrases) "la pelota no se mancha" (ie., "you can't stain the ball" ..Meaning you can't "stain" the sport of soccer no matter what you as an individual may do.. the sport is the sport.....i'm not sure why US sports "journalists" are so bent in trying to turn this into a "baseball is ruined" thing... to me the fact that there was an era where steroid use became more widespread doesn't mean baseball is not a great game.. it doesn't mean that those games we watched weren't doesn't mean that every home run these guys hit they wouldn't have hit...or even that the summer of 98 wasn't fun!....The fact that records/stats- such an integral part of the game- have been turned on their head is very unfortunate but it is what it is and what was WAS...

I'm not sure why no one is trying to be a bit more positive... its a race to the bottom really.... I mean if we love baseball as much as these journalists say we do then why do we want to act as if the game is now worthless because some players used certain substances...even admitting some players cheated I still don't see why that makes the game a bad game... Life is imperfect.. Many other players have cheated in the past.. Are we forgetting all the amphetamine use or the junkball pitchers using grease or what have you or the corked bats or whatever....Are we to believe no one hit a home run cheating ever before steroids? baseball is not perfect... its this constant need to believe it is that is problematic.. thats why Bouton was so crucified when he pointed out some albeit now considered mild imperfections in his book "Ball Four"

I find sports journalism leaving much to be desired on this issue.. I said so when the witch hunt on Bonds was on and I will say the same thing now... I would welcome players no longer use steroids although i believe developments in terms of masking for testing the use of performance enhancing substances means that its likely people will continue to use these things..its a competitive world and people will do what they feel they need to do to make a living..lets not even talk about genetic engineering... but I don't think its the end of the world.. I could use all the performance enhancing drugs in the world and I wouldn't even make contact with a 90 mph fastball! Why don't journalists focus more on some real solutions like creating a mechanism to fund an independent testing agency financed by a tax on player salaries and team profits or some such? with state of the art testing.. you better believe its going to take money to keep up with masking...and ballplayers knowing baseball means business with respect to testing would provide at least some limited deterrent...

Its also a big fiasco how this whole thing has played out..These results would have been destroyed as they should have been had it not been for the fiasco of the never ending Bonds witch hunt wherein the Feds apparently seized computers with these results and then now someone has released Arods info and not that of the other 103 players... This is pretty low and criminal anyway you look at it!. Lets think for a moment that Arod failed a test when there was a legal agreement- for the good of the game as determined by MLB and the players union- to test players but not reveal the results in order to gain information to see I suppose how to move forward with instituting some sort of testing regime...(negative interpretation: cover up).. Well if a player tested positive and he had no recourse to even appeal its always possible that a mistake could have been made.. I doubt it but what I'm saying is that the player such as Arod was tested under the agreement that the result would not be released and because of this there was no real reason for the player(s) to insist on an examination/appeal/clarification or even an explanation of what had been failed... If you failed and knew there were no consequences would you ask for a report and leave a paper trail about having failed?? would you call and expose yourself to someone perhaps taping the call??.. What happened to Arod is not the same thing as say the guy who won the Tour de France and then had an additional "B" sample tested and then there was an appeal etc... It just seems to me that there are some issues of due process here and I don't really like it...It would seem to me that if you were going to damn an entire ballplayers career and even the entire game of baseball it would take more than that kind of testing...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Joe Harley, Steve Hoffman and the gang at Music Matters

I was over at the Steve Hoffman board and its amazing how dismissively people speak of the job Rudy Van Gelder did in recording the legendary Blue Notes/Impulses etc.. I wrote a response but they do not take kindly to differing opinions so I will just post it on my own blog here:

But the original impulses sound so GOOD!

I guess someday I'll pay $50 for one of these reissues and check it out but I have to say I have many original impulses and they sound- to my ears- simply wonderful....A record like Lorez Alexandria the Great, or Coltrane and Hartman.. those are some of my favorites and I just love the way they sound.. ANd when I read some of the stuff on this thread its almost like "Is there something wrong with my ears?" I mean I have some records that sound horrendous but I would never say that about the Impulses..those were well done jobs IMHO.. Same with Blue Note..Right now I'm listening to Hodges "Creamy" (original Norgran) and it too sounds good to me..

And I guess what people are saying is that they can sound EVEN BETTER and thats cool but there's something to be said- at least for me- about playing the original LP that came out in 1955 and Johnny Hodges himself took a copy of it home. I understand someone like me is not the market audience for these reissues and thats cool.. I appreciate anything that gets more vinyl out there...These classic albums deserve to be reissued forever... I wouldn't call myself a just a collector but more so an "originalist".. I like the classic stuff.. Sometimes stuff was done well the first time around and there's value to be attached to an item/product that still can give one great pleasure 54 years later. Its the real deal to my mind.

Also it would be interesting- because I do read some stuff about Van Gelder - if people think they could have done a better job if they had been in his shoes.. To my mind his contribution to recorded jazz is incredible. He was basically recording - I think- two or three jazz classics a week for a long stretch... Albums that I think its fair to say at least in some small part owe their classic status to the fact that they sound really good... There's a reason people love those Blue Notes and part of it is that they sound darn good. Now a new generation of sound engineers or whatever they are called spend their time reworking Van Gelder's original work and of course they say they are doing it better... But Van Gelder's contribution to the recording of jazz I don't think will ever be even close to touched and it would be nice to see him get a little more recognition instead of having him kind of dismissed as being "clever" in dealing with the rickety limitations of recording technology at the time.. I think he did a great job! Those old Blue Notes sound great. period.

Finally, the endless repetition about how great the Music Matters reissues are and how they blow the originals out of the water seems to me excessive. I mean is there a need to say it in every single thread about jazz LPs?