$0.02: My first instinct is to applaud Basso. Is that right?
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Ivan Basso’s quasi-doping admission ” he said Tuesday that he “attempted” to cheat by submitting a blood sample, but never actually cheated ” nonetheless presents a significant step in our hope to understand cycling’s ever-perplexing shadow of doubt.
The reason this is so important is because of who Basso is. We’re talking about a massive fish ” this year’s would-be Tour de France favorite, no less ” coming clean on his attempt to go dirty.
The simple rarity of such a megatuna addressing the skeleton in his closet breeds an irony of which I am not sure what to make: Basso is admitting he sought to cheat, to rob the sport of its integrity, and yet because so few have done what he’s doing, my first instinct is to applaud him. (My second was to omit that sentiment entirely because it sounded too idiotic; thus you get the idea.)
Complicated doesn’t begin to describe this dilemma. Basso, an Italian who won the Giro last year, is only 29 years old, still a puppy dog in the endurance sports world. In fact, he hopes that by coming forward and giving investigators what they want ” or at least part of what they want, considering he said he won’t implicate any other cyclist ” Basso will be able to enjoy something of a “second phase” in his career, once he has served whatever punishment he is dealt.
Hopefully the doping hawks will learn something from what Basso tells them, making it more difficult for other cyclists to cheat in the future.
Even better, perhaps his secretly dirtied peers will see how Basso’s public admission freed him of a terrible burden, and thus will be more inclined to follow his lead and confess their own transgressions, thereby leading to a substantially cleaner sport in the long run. …
Women’s tennis lost one of its mainstays on Sunday when Belgium’s thick and powerful Kim Clijsters retired effective immediately, instead of at the end of the season, as she’d hinted would be the case. Clijsters, who is just 23, won at least one major championship as both a singles and doubles player (her singles title came at the U.S. Open).
The only thing that’s odd about the retirement is that she announced it on her website, instead of in person. Seems there should be a line drawn on issues like that. (Imagine if you were a Belgian and Clijsters was your hero; it’d be like finding out LeBron James had retired at 23 by reading it in his blog.) …
Regarding the Roger Clemens comeback Part 15, I have two questions. First, does the Rocket hate spring training? (If so, how on Earth could anyone hate spring training.) Second, what are the Yankees thinking? To pay a starting pitcher $4.5 million per month is basically saying they think he’s worth a million bucks per start. That’s silly.
I’ve been a Clemens fan for a long time because of his go-right-at-’em mentality, but his recent antics ” sitting out the first part of the season until he knows he’s going to get paid obscene amounts of money to play for a contender ” are a little too pretentious for my taste. …
Found this out last week: If you win the grueling Ironman World Championship in Hawaii, you get $110,000. Seems like you should get more. …
Baseball Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda was arrested last week on drug charges (he was caught with a syringe, marijuana and a suspicious white substance in his car). That’s not the terrible part. The terrible part is that Cepeda, 69, is employed by the San Francisco Giants as a community liaison and he speaks to at-risk children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. All of which makes one wonder how he lives with himself. …
In parting, after watching the Kentucky Derby and, I admit, much of the pre-race coverage leading up to it, I’ve concluded that jockeys are a disturbingly weird subset of our species.
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