A world of make believe
Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez, we can take. By now we've grown accustomed to the idea that what we see on the baseball field isn't necessarily real and what players say isn't necessarily true.
But now comes word out of Connecticut of a new scam perpetrated on baseball fans. The New Britain Rock Catspulled it off the other night with a marriage proposal between innings that went horribly bad, with the woman saying, "I'm sorry, I can't. I'm sorry" before fleeing.
Except, of course, it was fake, much like the home run numbers in the record books today. Both the man proposing and the woman rejecting him were club employees, playing roles for a YouTube video that has been viewed more than 600,000 times.
Funny, yes, but troubling in a way, too. If the marriage proposal was fake, what does that say about Kiss Cam? Could the sausage race in Milwaukee be fixed, too?
No, not all you see - or hear - can be believed. Here, Tim Dahlberg points out a few other things in sports you might find hard to believe, too:
The floors are Brazilian wood, because apparently there aren't trees good enough in Oregon for the Oregon football team. The locker room has a ventilation system guaranteed to remove all sweat odours within an hour, and the weight room is a 25,000 square foot monument to muscle magnificence. Nike chairman Phil Knight spared no expense in building the new place for the Ducks, even putting a barber shop inside. Couple that with the uniforms that seem to change every game and fans might even forget that Oregon have never won a national championship in the sport.
The legend that is Johnny Football grew during the off-season when he took a victory lap around the country after winning the Heisman trophy, tweeted bad things about his university and got booted from the Manning Passing Academy after, uh, oversleeping. Now ESPN is reporting that the NCAA is investigating whether Johnny Manziel took money to sign autographs, which is against regulations that say only grown-ups who don't play football can make money from it. He's now at Texas A&M football practice, but even Las Vegas oddsmakers won't post anything on Manziel's chances of being on the field for his sophomore season.
Jim Dreyer's plan to raise money for charity was to swim 35 kilometres across Lake St Clair near the Michigan-Canada border, while towing two dinghies filled with bricks weighing more than 900 kilograms. The long-distance swimmer who calls himself "The Shark" expected to make the swim in about 30 hours, but it took him nearly 51 hours because of big waves along the way. When he reached Detroit's Belle Isle, though, he only had one dinghy in tow, and no quick explanation where the other one went. "Sorry I'm late," he said, looking a lot like he had been hit by a ton of bricks.
Tiger Woods hasn't won a major in more than five years, a fact his fans always seem to overlook. There's no other possible reason that he's a 4-1 favourite in the PGA Championship unless, of course, Phil Mickelson has to leave to attend his daughter's first day of high school. Yes, Woods is coming off a dominating win in the Bridgestone Invitational and, yes, he has won five times this year. But he's been losing his focus on the weekends in majors and that doesn't figure to change at Oak Hill. He will have Lindsay Vonn there cheering him on, though, so he has that going for him.
Mark Sanchez might be the only person who believes he will be the starting quarterback for the New York Jets this season. Don't forget, though, that he was counted out when Tim Tebow came aboard and rebounded to lead the Jets to a 6-10 season. Jets coach Rex Ryan picked Sanchez over rookie Geno Smith as the starter for Friday's exhibition against Detroit because "somebody's got to take the first snap". Hardly a ringing recommendation, but Ryan was right. Somebody did have to take the first snap, even for the hapless Jets, who lost 26-17 to the Lions.
I'm not sure you can believe anything about Yasiel Puig, who put up rookie numbers not seen since Joe DiMaggio in his first month with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He's cooled off a bit, but without him the Dodgers would be just another team wallowing in mediocrity. Just wait until we find out Puig is not a Cuban refugee but a 45-year-old who is actually the secret product of a Florida anti-ageing clinic.
For months, Ryan Braun stuck to his story about paying the Biogenesis lab in Miami for consultant's work. Nelson Cruz had a story when he was suspended about having a disease that only performance-enhancing drugs could cure, while other players spoke darkly about associates who must have spiked their Gatorade. About the only thing we do know is that players will keep juicing and keep lying about it even if they're caught.
And that's one thing you can really believe.