Emptying the Notebook: Bleepin’ Roy, Astros-rasslin’

Ol’ Roy is officially broken

chris graham espnSome perspective on how bad things have gotten for North Carolina basketball comes from me sitting behind the scorers’ table at the ACC Tournament in 2007.

The tournament that year was in Tampa, and for whatever reason, the media-row seating assignments included an overflow section behind the scorers’ table.

This almost never happens, for good reason: for four days, my seat in that overflow section gave me audible access to everything the coaches on the nearby sidelines had to say to their teams, their assistant coaches, the refs.

I left that weekend with two distinct memories: that Gary Williams, grandfatherly, kind, gentle after games, wasn’t able to say anything during games that didn’t begin with the letter f-, and that Roy Williams, for three days, apparently couldn’t say anything more strenuous than dagnabbit.

Dave Leitao and Coach K, for their parts, gave Williams a run for his money in the foulest-mouth category.

But Ol’ Roy, dagnabbit, darn.

Maybe a frickin’ every so often, but, that was it.

So, when you hear him drop an f-bomb in a presser after a game, that’s a sign that this Carolina team has broken him.

Don’t feel too sorry for Ol’ Roy, of course.

He has four McDonald’s All-Americans coming in next year.

The Astros, and rasslin’

Had this thought the other day about the Astros and cheating.

Among the reasons respectable people don’t get into pro rasslin’ is the trope involving the bad guys getting away with cheating because the dumb referee didn’t see whatever it was they were doing.

My grandfather, god rest his soul, couldn’t stand it.

(He also never seemed to get that rasslin’ is fake, bless his heart. He still let me watch, though it was sometimes hard to hear with him cursing the damn dumb refs who were also blind as bats.)

How does this relate to the Astros and cheating, you ask?

Rasslin’, as noted above, is fake – hope I’m not spoiling anything for you saying that – and the bad guy cheating and getting away with it is part of the story.

It’s supposed to make you mad, and set things up so that the good guy, in a subsequent match, is able to exact his revenge.

Rasslin’, thus, is set up to punish the cheaters, in the end.

Baseball, not so much.

As in rasslin’, we all know that the Astros cheated.

But instead of this being part of a setup to have good win over evil in the end, MLB is making it clear that if the good guys do anything to exact their revenge, it will be the good guys who pay the price.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred went full-out Authority-era Mr. McMahon, indeed, promising lengthy suspensions for pitchers deemed to be throwing at Astros hitters, and responding to calls that he vacate the 2017 World Series title by referring to the trophy as a “piece of metal.”

Actually, to give McMahon credit, he has more respect for his fake rasslin’ titles than Manfred does for his supposedly real one.

What does that say for MLB?


Story by Chris Graham

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