ROME IS BURNING
Barry Bonds recently became the first 500-500 guy in the history of major league baseball: 500 bombs, 500 bags. That's just stupid. I have to ask the question: is bonds the greatest player ever? He might be, there's nothing the guy can't do: he's hit for power, average, he's a former gold glover, he runs and he has five MVP awards and should have 7. Yes, I know he has never won anything. And that he was unable to throw out a physically disabled Sid Bream from deep short in the 91 nlcs. And no: first ballot hall of famers in their prime should not come up charging and unleash five hoppers to the plate from the edge of the grass in that situation. But had manager Dusty Baker not tried to give Russ Ortiz the game ball in the 7th inning of game 6 of the series, Barry would have his ring. Anyway, it's immaterial: the greatest player ever was Babe Ruth: we know the fat guy could mash, and hit for average, but the fact that he won 94 games as a pitcher and his prodigious appetite for grub, booze and sex puts him over the top. Anyone who can hit a homerun and pitch a shutout while hung over is the best player ever. But Barry's a solid number two in my book.

Much to Commissioner David Stern's charging, Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl has decided to stone Michael Jordan and pull his team off the market. Jordan was heading up a group of investors, that might have included cult leader Oprah Winfrey, to buy the team. Well, the commissioner's loss is Milwaukee's gain: Milwaukee fans saw Mike run the Wizards into the ground and I'm sure they didn't want to see him finish off what's left of their franchise. Moreover, did anyone really want to see one Carolina guy whack another Carolina guy: I know George Karl didn't. Then again, how much would you have given to see Oprah drop a copy of o-mag on Anthony Mason. Or better yet, make mase watch the oxygen network. And it was probably only a matter of time before Oprah jr. Dr. Phil, became the director of player personnel. What do you think the glove, Gary Payton would have done when Dr. Phil grabbed his wife and ran into the locker room after games?

Going off the board for this one: as you probably know, Chante Mallard, a Texas woman, was convicted of murder and tampering with evidence after slamming into a homeless man and leaving him to die while still lodged in her windshield. She says she was afraid to call authorities and too whacked out on booze, dope and ecstasy to help the man: "I was asking god to tell me what to do. I didn't know what to do. I was scared and I was crying." Unbelievable: she drugs up, smashes into a man, callously ignores his desperate pleas for help, and has the nerve then to play the god card. Hey Chante, I'm guessing god didn't tell you to step on the gas, pull into your garage, leave the man to die and dump him in the park a couple of days later. Sick thing is, she nearly got away with murder. Authorities didn't have any solid leads for months until she started running her mouth at parties. And how did that go: "hey Chante, nice to see you, how have you been. Not good, I slammed into a hobo and he got stuck in my windshield and died, man do I need a drink. Are you going to be here for a few minutes? Uh, no, I'm going over here and call the cops and turn you in. Chante, there's a special place in hell for people like you.

How about Juan Gonzalez? For killing a trade that would have sent him to a much more competitive Montreal expos team. Of course, he said no. This is a different cat. And by different, I mean selfish. There are 24 other guys, well 23, considering he plays with Raffy Palmeiro, who would have jumped the first thing smoking out Texas. But not Juan. Of course, this is a guy who once turned down a chance to leave the Tigers for the Yankees. Winning is the last thing on this guy's mind.

Bad times for everyone involved with Barry Bonds homerun ball number 73: comic book nerd Todd McFarland got this one for a song, $450 gr, after paying more than 3 mill for Mark Mcgwire's number 70. He paid 7 times the amount for the runner up ball. How did this guy ever make enough money to waste on this stuff to begin with? And how about those two greedy, morally bankrupts fans that fought over the ball in court. By the time the lawyers and auction house got their cuts, these two genuises got hosed. Oh, and enjoy that $3m dollar ball, if I want to see it and I don't, I'll check it out in the hall for free. Or just buy one from the sporting good store for five bucks.

The jets are bringing broadway Joe back as an ambassador at large. This might be the single coolest guy walking the face of the earth: a super bowl 3 guarantee. Mink coats. Beautiful women. All you need to know about this guys is that Joe is a legend in both Alabama and New York City. Dude rolls with necks and city slickers and they love him equally. Seriously, if I could be anyone, it would be Joe Willy., coolest guy ever.

Just because Lou Piniella has returned home to manage the embarrassing Tampa Devil Rays doesn't mean he no longer cares. Problem is, he doesn't think Ben Grieve does. When asked why he didn't argue with the ump after striking out looking in a one run loss to the Yanks, Grieve told him it "didn't matter". Wrong answer. Insert sound. Grieve says he's taking that criticism in stride. The guy rips your manhood in front of your teammates and a national TV audience and you're taking it in stride. That's probably why a former Al rookie of the year is floundering in Tampa: because he's "taking it in stride."

This one is for all the sales reps out there: apparently, that $75 million dollar deal that NASCAR did with Nextel was the result of a cold call. There's about 10 million sales reps who are going to hear that and think, "great, now my sales manager is going to work that up into some lame memo" to try to motivate us. : Outside sales is brutal. Cold calling, prospecting, starting every month at zero, no matter what you did the month before. The high of Friday afternoon, and the low of Sunday night as you lie in bed wide-awake Sunday in a pool of sweat because the nightmare begins again in a few hours. And all those sales books: Hopkins, Ziglar, Mandino, Carnegie: Uh, Mr. Prospect, if I had a way to improve efficiency and save you money, you'd want to know about it right? I don't think D. Carnegie ever covered what you say when Mr. Prospect says get the hell out of my office loser. Or, say, Mr. Prospect, I'll be in your neighborhood next week and need just five minutes of your time, which is better for you Tuesday or Thursday. Neither is good for me, moron, lose my number. Hard, hard gig: just remember reps, it's not how many no's, it's how many yeses, and all you need is one big yes: and remember, if you can't get anything going, at lunch, when the hostess isn't looking, empty that fishbowl of business cards into your briefcase. Your boss will think you've been prospecting. A $75million dollar cold call! Good thing that guy decided to work that day instead of going to the movies or going back home for a nap like most sales reps.

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Tiki Barber, Brian Kelly