ROME IS BURNING
Alex Rodriguez, the highest paid player in baseball, by far, said recently that he would be open to a trade then did a 180 shortly thereafter but the damage was already done. He was blasted nationally as being disingenuous, a whiner and much worse. Listen, he made his bed and he can lie in it. I get that. But cut the guy a little slack. He's lived up to his end of the bargain, the Rangers haven't. He hasn't missed a game since arriving in Texas, plays his guts out and puts up MVP numbers. They have failed him by surrounding him with garbage. Besides, it's not like he demanded a trade and didn't show up to work. The guy is frustrated; he's tired of going to the yard every night and getting his head beat in. Look, there are plenty of guys who are content to play in a band box, get their knocks and cash their checks. He's not one of them. Granted, if you make $25m a year, you better not complain about anything, ever. But this guy is not the ingrate most are making him to be. You're acting like he's Barry Bonds. Or Ken Griffey, Jr. And he's not.

The question on everyone's mind in college football this season: will Ron Zook lead his Florida Crocodiles to a national title. Yes, I said the Florida Crocodiles. In a truly boneheaded move, the sports information dept. slammed a crocodile, not a gator on the cover of their media guide. Look, I know you guys sitting in that trailer, working the media guide all summer long aren't exactly marine biologists, but someone down in Gainesville has to know the difference between a gator and a croc, right? And no, I don't care what you paid for, or what they told you they gave you; you got played and you will never, ever live this one down. Look, I can see how this might happen, but it can't happen... Take a stroll down to the zoology department, if you have to. Call that crazy croc hunter Steve Irwin or whatever his name is, or Marlon Perkins, if he's still alive. Until they get that squared away, Go Crocs!

Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson reportedly has filed for chapter 11 protection in U.S. bankruptcy court. He reportedly burned through some $300 million dollars in career earnings. I know, I know, shocking development, Mike's out of money. But if you're looking for me to pile on, it's not going to happen. Look, $300 mill just doesn't buy what it used to. Besides, I thought those Bengal tigers were a great investment. And so what if he once wrapped a brand new Bentley around a lamp post and just left it there. And do you have any idea what a crew costs these days. Mike gets an escalade, they all get escalades. (And what about that chunk that Don King stole from him?) What's wrong with any of this? Get off of him. A smart man once said, well, actually it was Patrick Ewing, wearing non-prescription glasses , "We might make a lot of money, but we spend a lot money too." And no one has spent more than Mike. Seriously, it won't be long now before Mike is bending crow bars in his mouth and tearing phone books at the circus.

Zero props to the Los Angeles Clippers for matching offers to Elton Brand and Corey Maggette. Some people actually think this means clipper owner Donald Sterling really wants to compete. That his pride is kicking in and that he no longer wants to be the Lakers' JV. That, of course, is nonsense. The league has a salary floor just as it does a cap, so he has to give the money to someone. He's giving it to Brand and Maggette not because he wants to but because he has to. Trust me; the Donald is still about making jack, meeting celebrities and his Friar's club luncheons. The one thing he is not about, is winning basketball games.

Phil Mickelson: During a recent made for TV golf event, Ian Baker-Duval, err, Finch asked Hefty his take on the upcoming NFL season: "That's a good question, there are still a lot of free agents out there that make it interesting, but I think the two teams that made the biggest jump were the bills and falcons." Why do people always ask this guy his take on the NFL? Great, he's a Charger fan and he laid some money down on the ravens the year they won it all. Whatever. I have a better question: Why does Ben Curtis have a major and you don't? As soon as you can answer that one, you can give me your take on the upcoming NFL season.

Congratulations to the five new members of the NFL Hall of Fame. Years of hard work, dedication and sacrifice pay off in the ultimate show of respect. The Hall of Fame. And what do they get? Perhaps the most hideous piece of clothing this side of Augusta National, a bright yellow sports coat? Thanks for nothing. That thing is going straight to the back of the closet never to be seen again, until it's given to the Salvation Army.

It was 28 years ago this week that Billy Martin was introduced as the Yankees manager for the first time. He would go on to be hired four more times. And get whacked five. Well, at least that wasn't ridiculous. Hiring the same guy five times! It would be funny if it weren't so stupid. At least his life ended peacefully. Terribly bitter that he didn't get a sixth shot, drunk and dead in a ditch….that is awful. He deserved better.

Dontrelle v. Randy: One of the best mid season match-ups in recent memory: the Big Unit v. The D-Train: Randy Johnson against Dontrelle Willis. And the rook, and R.I.B. correspondent won the showdown. Willis ran his record to 10-2 and dropped an l on the unit in the process. As great as his stuff is, Willis' attitude is even better. While most major leaguers look like they're serving a prison term out there, Dontrelle is actually enjoying himself. Imagine that: baseball as something fun. Hey, I'm sure the Unit is having fun. Just because he always looks like he is just about to go to the electric chair doesn't mean he's not having fun.

Now that Iraqi Olympic head and the dictator's son, Uday Hussein is dead, and I know he's dead, I saw the pictures; Iraqi Olympic athletes can compete without fear of being tortured if they fail. And what a bizarre end for Uday: after taking a few tow missiles in the mouth, he was found with $100m in cash, a stash of Viagra, cologne, dress shirts and exactly one condom. Unbelievable. I don't think a house full of the little blue miracles was going to keep the third infantry off you Uday. This guy was a real beauty. He spent his entire life torturing athletes and being one of the worst guys in the history of the world and when it comes time to face his maker, he has Viagra, cologne and a rubber. Oh and one more thing, Uday's Viagra isn't considered the weapons of mass destruction is it?

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Tiki Barber, Brian Kelly