5-at-10: Clemens cleared, heat on for the Heat and the world's top-paid athletes

5-at-10: Clemens cleared, heat on for the Heat and the world's top-paid athletes

June 19th, 2012 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens, left, with his attorney Rusty Hardin, arrives at federal court Monday, June 18, 2012. Clemens has been acquitted on all charges by a jury that decided he didn't lie to Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs. . (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Don't forget our mailbag Friday, and we're looking for another contest between here and the British Open. Ideas?

From the "Talks Too Much" studios, here we go...

Clemens

Well, that was well worth the roughly $3 million in taxpayer's money. Yep, after almost two months and enough attorney fees to keep Matlock in a lifetime supply of Depends, Roger Clemens was found not guilty on all six charges - three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction.

The charges were leveled after Clemens testified before Congress in 2008 that he did not use steroids. This verdict does not address the steroid issue, rather it states the jury believes Clemens did not lie to Congress about the steroid issue.

This also does not address the fact that the Hall of Fame voters - a group of folks who have a much lower burden of proof and a much higher intolerance for steroid use - will get their say on Clemens and Barry Bonds when each superstar appears on the HoF ballot for the first time this winter.

What this does address, though, is that Congress needs to stay focused on the bigger picture. Let's run the country boys and not concern ourselves with steroids in baseball or crowning a college football champ. Let's figure out a way to get gas under $2 a gallon rather than trying to uncover A-Rod's cousin or figure out why Boise State or TCU got jobbed.

And while there will be a slew of folks who still believe Clemens used steroids - heck, there are a slew of folks that believe almost every major leaguer from 1998-2004 at least tried PEDs - Clemens attacked these legal challenges the same way he attacked hitters. He was defiant and steadfast and determined and, in the end, he was on top.

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Miami Heat power forward Chris Bosh dunks against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half at Game 2 of the NBA finals basketball series, Thursday, June 14, 2012, in Oklahoma City. The Heat won 100-96.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Game 4

The Miami Heatles and star LeBron James take a 2-1 lead into Game 4 tonight against the OKC Thunder.

It's the same spot the Heatles were in last year before imploding.

There seems to be a different feel about this Heat team in general and LeBron James in particular. That said, the youthful Thunder have little to lose tonight, and that seems like a dangerous spot for the Heat.

It just dawned on us why these NBA playoffs have been particularly engaging. Every game has a must-win feel, which is saying something in a seven-game series. And it has been that way for the last few rounds.

And watching the best in the world respond to the highest levels of pressure is enthralling. It's why we love the major tournaments in golf and tennis. (Well, except for the French Open, which is a tricked-up, hokey event that would be like playing a major golf tournament on a par-3 course. Seriously is there any "major" event in sports that is more shaped by the venue than the French Open?)

Anyhoo, where were we? Oh, Game 4. What do we expect? Well, we believe Kevin Durant will shoot better, especially from the foul line. We believe Shane Battier will shoot worse, especially from 3. We believe the Thunder will play swell and this will be a tight game in the final minute.

Something speaks of a Thunder win here, no? Even if LeBron plays light's out. Side note: Don't you think James has pulled Russell Westbrook aside and said, "Dude, sometimes the media is going to ride you and there's nothing you can do about it. Keep working hard."

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Money, money everywhere

Forbes unloaded its top-paid athletes list this week and the names at the top shocked the 5-at-10 into one of those," Do WHAT?" moments.

The top two are from the same sport. The top two are linked in almost every story about their sport. The top two are a convict and a congressman. Yep, the top paid sports stars of the last 12 months are Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Cuh-Razy, huh?

The reason Mayweather makes so much coin is that he promotes every fight, meaning he handles all the income and the expenses, even to the point that he pays his opponent (there seems something inherently wrong with one fighter paying the other, no?). Mayweather spent less than an hour in the ring in his two bouts in the last 12 months and took home $85 million. That's enough cabbage to make Bill Gates say, "Dang."

Here's the top 10 according to Forbes and it takes into account salary, endorsements and the whole shebang.

  1. 1) Floyd Mayweather ($85 million)
  2. 2) Manny Pacquiao ($62 million)
  3. 3) Tiger Woods ($59.4 million)
  4. 4) Lebron James ($53 million)
  5. 5) Roger Federer ($52.7 million)
  6. 6) Kobe Bryant ($52.3 million)
  7. 7) Phil Mickelson ($47.8 million)
  8. 8) David Beckham ($46 million)
  9. 9) Cristiano Ronaldo ($42.5 million)
  10. 10) Peyton Manning ($42.4 million)

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This and that

- We were remiss for not discussing this Monday, but how about the rooster that jumped in front of the NBC camera as Bob Costas interviewed Open champ Webb Simpson Sunday night. Here's the video and know that this will be the standard that loons must meet. This guy was part Carl Spackler, part soccer houligan, part Foghorn Leghorn and 100-percent funny. Side note, Part I: Costas is short. Real short. Side note, Part II: Does Webb Simpson's mannerisms and speaking remind anyone else of a young Phil Mickelson?

- Aaron Hill became the fifth Arizona Diamondback to hit for the cycle in the franchise's 15 years. By contrast, the Chicago White Sox have had five cycles since 1901. Weird how the cycle became so notorious when it has little historical value. Know who has the record for most career cycles? Yes, the renowned trio of John Reilly, Bob Meusel and Babe Herman, each of whom hit three cycles.

- The NBA rules committee is looking at ways of taking flopping out of the game. Commissioner David Stern even has discussed video reviews after games of flopping incidents, and while we can see eliminating flopping as a sound goal, the ex-post floppo approach seems silly. And if that's adopted, where does it end? "Hey, LeBron, you got a way with a walk last week. Sorry, we're going to take away that basket from your stats." Here's an idea, challenge the refs to know the difference and call the game better. NBA officiating has never been worse and rather than discuss it, we're going to look at video reviews after the game? Great. And if they are going to make efforts to improve the game - and eliminating the river of flopping that clogs the lane against star centers would be a good start, why did they decide not to change the off-the-ball foul rule that allows teams the chance to hug the opponent's worst free throw shooter - aka the Hack-a-Shaq strategery. Those intentional off-the-ball fouls should be a free throw and possession, but no lets find a way to use replay on flopping. Sometimes we think David Stern is doing a "Weekend at the Commissioner's Office" and he's actually no longer there, they're just toting his body around ala "Weekend at Bernie's." Stern was the Godfather a decade ago; now he's getting into arguments with Jim Rome and worried about flopping. Ouch-standing.

- The Braves are leaking oil. Badly. Brandon Beachy's headed to the DL and he may be done for the year with a partial tear in his pitching elbow. Freddie Freeman has missed almost a week because of a finger injury. Brian McCann is hitting like Brian McCann't and the Braves are using Matt Diaz ENTIRELY too much. (Although you could make an argument that using Diaz and Eric "King of Queens" Hinske in anything more than pinch-hitting roles is too much.) That said, the Braves just need to hang on and survive this week with two more games against the scorching New York Yankees, who have won 10 straight, and the weekend in Boston. Atlanta (36-33) is 4.5 games back of Washington (38-26).

- Hats off to former UT pitcher and current Mets star R.A. Dickey, who has survived a bunch of arm injuries, re-invented himself as a knuckle-baller and has thrown back-to-back one-hitters. Good story all the way around.

- Last week, friend of the show CelticVol asked if Michael Jordan would ever approach the success he enjoyed as a player as the top executive of the Charlotte Bobcats. We said we doubted it. To prove that point, Jordan and the Bobcats have reportedly hired Mike Dunlap as their next coach. Yes, that Mike Dunlap who was an assistant at St. John's. As for heading coaching experience, Dunlap has the same amount as the 5-at-10 (yes Dunlap served as the interim coach at St. John's and at Arizona during times of emergencies, but still). With this type of hire, here's saying the Bobcats could very well take BiSpy with the second pick in the draft. You stay classy, Charlotte.

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Today's question(s)

You know we try to avoid the steroid discussion. It's tiresome and there are few things this side of partisan politics that are as cut-and-dried: People either believe steroids are baseball's greatest sin or that it doesn't really matter since so many players of that era allegedly used them. And, like the Rs and the Ds, there is little chance of changing someone's mind.

That said, the Clemens verdict puts the debate in a new position in regard to the Hall of Fame. Clemens was found not guilty of lying about steroid use, which is completely different than being found not guilty of steroid use. And truth be told, it's hard to believe he didn't use steroids.

Still, Clemens has been found not guilty in a court of law on charges involving steroids, and without actual evidence to the contrary, can you keep him out of the Hall now? And if you let Clemens in, where do you draw the line?

Discuss.