Cheap Seats: There are more interesting contests than home runs

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

July 11, 2007 - It seems like the home run contest at the baseball All-Star Game has gone the way of the slam dunk contest at the NBA's All-Star Game - ho-hum.

There's not much we haven't seen in either venue.

So, maybe it's time for Major League Baseball to amp up its pre-game festivities. Below is how MLB should conduct its contests, in keeping with what is really going on in the game.

Joe Buck announcing: "Hello, everyone, and welcome to an evening sure to be magical as we count down to the Mid Summer's Classic. I'm here with Chris Berman to bring you the Steroid Shoot 'Em Up Contest. The object is to see who can shoot the most steroids into their body in two minutes. And, boy, Chris, do we have some competitors."

Berman: "You're so right, Joe 'Pass the' Buck. But before we get started, let's all pay homage to some of the steroid pioneers who helped make this night special. In center field, we have Mark 'Don't Look Back' McGwire, Rafael 'Don't Point Your Finger at Me' Palmeiro, and of course, Jose "See, I Told You So" Canseco. They really set the steroid standard for today's players. Now, back to the action."

Buck: "The top two contestants, and really the shining stars of the steroid era, are Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi. Bonds will go first, and boy is he really pushing the needle."

Berman: "He's going deep into his back-back-back-back-backside, Joe."

Buck: "It looks like he has really penetrating into the right buttock, there, Chris. On instant replay, you can really see the whole thing. What a magical night."

Berman: "Giambi really isn't close on this one. But, that's why Bonds has hit over 700 home runs and Giambi hasn't. Giambi really has to clean up his intravenous technique if he's going to challenge for the home run title."

Buck: "Don't look now, but isn't that Sammy Sosa sneaking onto the field? Sosa, obviously disappointed he wasn't selected for the Steroid Shoot 'Em Up, is onto the field and has a bat in his hand. He's now breaking the bat over his knee, and out pops rubber balls. It was corked!"

Berman: "Isn't Sosa a treasure? These guys love the game and could care less about their home run numbers or their contracts. They're cheating every way possible just for the love of the game."

Buck: "With all the hijinks over, Bonds wins with what looks to be at least 100cc of more junk in his trunk. Absolutely magical."

Berman: "Let's move on to the Dash for Cash contest, with - who else - Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemens. Joe, you'd be hard-pressed to find two players who care more about money than these two. When it comes to contract negotiations, these are the best."

Buck: "Right you are, Boomer. What the contestants will do is run around the bases and pick up cash that has been tossed on the basepaths. The one with the most cash is, of course, the winner. In today's game, isn't that what matters most?"

Berman: "They're off, and A-Rod has the early lead. It looks like he's trying to stuff the bills into his uniform, but the pants are too tight. Clemens has reached first base, but boy is he winded. He's not used to running bases."

Buck: "A-Rod is increasing his lead, but - Oh no - A-Rod accidentally picked up a $10 bill. He'll be penalized for that. At the rate these guys make money, taking time to grab anything less than $100 is wasting time."

Berman: "A-Rod throws the $10 bill away in disgust. But, wait, his agent Scott Boras is out on the field grabbing the bill back up. Boy, these agents are always doing their best to make the game the best it can be. Boras is a true angel."

Buck: "We have a winner. Clemens finished the race early - midway between first and second base. After all, he doesn't play a full season in the major leagues, so why should we expect him to do so in this game?"

Berman: "What a great contest. Now, the so-called commissioner Bud "Light" Selig will give out the awards."

Buck: "Selig is being led out on the field by a seeing-eye dog. Selig has turned a blind eye to so many things going on in Major League Baseball - steroids, cheating, profit sharing - that he can't see anything that happens on the diamond."

Berman: "To borrow your phrase, Buck, 'What a magical night.' "

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