Searching for the Truth – VIII. The truth about the Fourth and other revelations…

Published July 4, 2001 – Cameron Citizen-Observer

THIS JUST IN: Independence, freedom and the pursuit of happiness. When I think of the Fourth of July, these aren’t the things that enter my mind. Maybe it’s because I think about these things everyday, therefore I don’t use the yearly reminder to reminisce.

Baseball and fireworksI’m not a big fan of holidays. My sister was born on Halloween and I was born on Christmas Eve, so holidays have always had a different significance for me. I see them more as an opportunity for people to relax and take the day off.

Some people use holidays as an excuse to drink, like St. Patrick’s Day, but I’m sure Patrick didn’t want people to throw up green in his name. Well, I don’t need an excuse to drink and I relax every day. So exactly what is the Fourth of July to me?

The last couple of years, it’s been a television treat, with baseball games from Philadelphia to Phoenix. They play in the afternoon, just like they used to before I was born; when baseball was like shooting fireworks on the Fourth. In my neighborhood, kids would fight with bottle rockets and M-80’s, then play on the same team the next day.

Maybe baseball was beaten into our heads. Maybe there were too many fathers/coaches in my town. Guys that made sure their son would win by teaching the other kids in the neighborhood, kids like me who’s father wasn’t there. But we would have played anyway, regardless of outside influences. Similar to the Dominican Republic, we didn’t need organized leagues to play in; the street was good enough.
When I think of the Fourth of July, I first think of baseball. Other thoughts might squeak in, but it’s only temporary…

The first five picks in the NBA Draft couldn’t celebrate their new-found wealth with champagne, but I’m sure they did. Nevertheless, that wasn’t the cool thing. Someone opened the floodgates and point guards with nicknames like J-Will, ason Kidd (he used to have no J) and Starbury suddenly had new teams.

Don’t forget: fishing season for free agents opens July 18. Unfortunately, there are mostly guppies out there, only a few worth pulling out and taking a picture of. Chris Webber and Michael Finley are about it. Allan Houston has a player option, but he doesn’t take over games. Mutombo and Aaron ‘6th Man of the Year’ McKie are out there, but they’re not dropping 25 a night. Maybe that’s why everyone went young in the draft…

The 2001 MLB All Star game in Seattle is coming up and the Mariners might have seven starters. Granted, they are 58-21 as of Monday, but is Mike Cameron one of the three best outfielders in the AL? I can think of five off the top of my head that are better…

NFL Europe World BowlDid anybody watch the NFL Europe World Bowl last Saturday? Wait, here’s a better question – Did anyone know it was even going on? I thought the XFL would last a little longer and become the NFL minor league, eliminating Europe. But with the shot-in-the-dark success of Kurt Warner, quarterbacks like Jonathan Quinn and Jarious Jackson will continue to take European summer vacations in Berlin, Barcelona and Amsterdam…

Speaking of the NFL, does anyone remember who’s supposed to be the favorite going into this season? The Ravens has Elvis now, but all Chiefs fans will tell you that doesn’t mean that much. The Giants won the NFC last year, but I’m sure experts will have them winning eight games next year. The Raiders won’t match last year’s win total, but then again, Green Bay won’t either. Tampa Bay and Tennessee have amazing defenses, but they both have problems moving the ball. Minnesota and St. Louis can score on anybody, but they can’t stop anyone. And the AFC East is the biggest tossup in the league. The only reason I bring it up is training camp starts this month…

In the next couple of weeks, the most important activity in sports will take place. Negotiations for television broadcast rights for the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, the PGA Tour and the NBA begin this week. Back in 1993, Fox shocked the sports world by outbidding CBS for the NFC/NFL package.

Since then, NASCAR got a $300 million dollar increase to move from ESPN to NBC and Turner Sports and CBS paid $545 million to keep the NCAA men’s tourney. This year, the rumor is ESPN will make a push at the NBA cable contract, currently owned by Turner. This doesn’t mean that much to any of us, but this is where all the money comes from.

The networks give the leagues millions and the leagues give their players millions and the advertisers give the networks millions to give to the leagues. It’s a money cycle that your three dollars for a dog at the game doesn’t effect and that’s the truth.

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