Ah the year of our Lord....Two Thousand Four. You may not remember what was going on back then, but that's what we're here for. 2004 brought the Avian Flu to Canada (unfortunately not lasting too long), Yasser Arafat passed away, Rovers were on Mars taking pictures, the Tsunami devastated Southern Asia, and President Bush was "welcomed" back into office.
In Sports, LSU Football, The Detroit Pistons, The New England Patriots, UConn Basketball, Tampa Bay Lightning, Seattle Storm, Boston Red Sox, DC United, and Phil Mickelson (Masters), were ALL crowned Champions.
Steroids reared their ugly heads, Pat Tillman bravely gave his life, The Lakers "Dynasty" Fell apart, Michael Phelps tore up the Olympic Swimming Pools, and Smarty Jones tore up the Race Track.
All of this AND our friend Skip gave us 4 spectacular stories in his ESPN debut!!!!!
4) Bayless: Prove it to me. It may seem pretty obvious that Barry Bonds is taking steroids -- but you know what? Where's the proof? (December 10, 2004)
Ahh, Barry Bonds article 1 of 238. A few highlights/quotes:
"Bonds said he was so run-down following the death of his father during the 2003 season that Anderson recommended a "rubbing balm." Bonds said Anderson compared it to "flaxseed oil." Bonds said it did nothing for him and that he soon stopped using it. Again, a plausible story."
"But Barry Bonds, baseball player, is as wise as a serpent. He's the first hitter who has ever had the advantage over most pitchers because he knows them better than they know themselves. Because of a long-ago injury, he's still allowed to wear a hard-plastic protector on the arm exposed to the pitcher. But would he resort to, say, using a corked bat? No way. Too proud. Too good. To using steroids? I can't be sure. (Good Comparison???)
- "And for the rest of my days, I might wonder if, just maybe, Barry Bonds was wrongly convicted in the court of public opinion."
Good article considering Moneyball came out in June........2003!!!
- "And allow me to disqualify myself: I consider Billy Beane not just the smartest general manager and most fascinating front-office figure in baseball, but in all of sports. I find Beane vs. Conventional Wisdom even more compelling than Shaq vs. Kobe. I once was a short-sighted prisoner of baseball's stuck-in-the-past thinking. But Beane has taught me to think outside the tobacco pouch." (What does that mean?)
- "Now, no one can say Mr. Moneyball is just an overrated product of his Three Aces." (I dunno Skip....ask Joseph Morgan that question and see what happens.)
- "Zito is only 26. He'll be No. 2 in next year's rotation." (So who was first Skip? Let me guess... Joe Blanton? No! Wow, okay Danny Haren? Really? Man I dunno....was iiiiiiit Justin Duchscherer? Come on..you're kidding me! Okay Okay I got it....can't believe I skipped this one. It was Kirk Saarloos....he was the #1. Glad we cleared that up.
- "So go ahead, laugh off this team as too young and powerless. Beane vows it will be his best yet -- if not next season, the next. I for one will not bet against him. You're still playing checkers. He's playing chess." Ladies and Gentleman your 2005 Oakland A's: 2005 88-74 .543 2nd in AL West (missed the playoffs)
Ichiro, VO2 Max, and Endurance...OH MY!
- "This time, I'm prepared for the hail of e-mail. Bring it on, Lance worshipers. Come after me like the rats in "Willard." Yay 2004! Willard was a hit back then!!! Oh, it wasn't??? Hmm, good joke Skipper.
- "Tell me once more that you TOLD ME SO! Tell me this proves yet again I WAS WRONG! Tell me I should finally pull my head out of my, uh, ego and PUBLICLY APOLOGIZE TO LANCE FOR SAYING HE ISN'T THE WORLD'S GREATEST ATHLETE! Not only will I not apologize, but I will repeat with even greater conviction, in a perfectly reasonable tone, that Lance Armstrong is NOT! the world's greatest athlete." Welcome fans to the Skip we know and love today....only took him 3 columns to berate you!
- "Seriously, in their primes, Armstrong was a better all-around athlete than Jordan? Right, and Bill Murray is a better actor than Anthony Hopkins. No one can play that funny-sad Bill Murray character as brilliantly as Murray routinely does. But Hopkins has astonishing range." From the time that Sir AnTONY Hopkins was in Silence of the Lambs until this column in 2004 he was in some of the great movies of all time: Alexander, Hearts in Atlantis, MI: 2, Freejack, The Mask of Zorro, and my favorite.....How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Bill Murray in that same time frame was in: What about Bob?, Groundhog Day, Ed Wood, Kingpin, Wild Things, Rushmore, Charlie's Angels, and The Royal Tenenbaums........that my friends is "range".
- "Frankly, I could name dozens and dozens of "ball" sport stars who were, or are, greater athletes than Armstrong. But for each one, I would receive another 100 e-rants." Skip, if you are reading (and I'm sure you are) I'd like to see this list. P.S.- Here's the definition in case you didn't know: Ânoun, a person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength; a participant in a sport, exercise, or game requiring physical skill.
Oh man is this a good article. You'll think this especially true when we get to 2006 where he says Lebron is closer to MJ. But it's always good to tell us something we already know (and you will continue to tell us this in 67 articles over 3 years: Lebron v. MJ, Kobe v. Lebron, Kobe v. MJ 2-64. In fact I'm not even going to comment on these quotes.....I'll let you have at them in the comments section.
- Kobe Bryant is a little more gifted athletically than Michael Jordan was.
- You can argue that Kobe is a little better looking
- Kobe would have made a great coach-firing rock star of a tennis player. Unfortunately, the game he chose requires four teammates.
Next up: Today (Tonight)- Best of Skip's Sportsnation Chats 2004, Tomorrow- 2005!