I have to say I am just as pleased as anyone to see Rick Ankiel doing what he's doing and battling his way back into the major leagues after one of the most public and devestating burn-outs of any major sports prospect in recent memory. That being said, I also have to say I am enjoying the post-game press conference where Ankiel told the reporters not to expect this every day. Do you kind of get the sense that he understands the pitfalls of fame and celebrity and that he knows that any moment the media will blow up some story alleging he was using HGH, cheating on his wife, or didn't pay a phone bill on time one month and turn it into the "Let's Absolutely Destroy Someone We Made out to be a Hero Story of that Year?" I can see it in his eyes. You can almost hear him thinking to himself "Shit! The second my batting avereage dips from over .400 to under .300 the entire world is going to jump on my f'ing back again and take turns kicking me in the ribs when I'm down! Damn, I should have just gone into selling insurance like that buddy of mine suggested!!! Now I have to deal with this shit all over again..."
When did it come to this? It's really the perfect parallel to the Bonds home run chase and I don't think anyone would be surprised if it didn't turn out similarly due to some random allegation about Ankiel from the past 5 years. Can't you just see an expose about Ankiel if he keeps this up for a while? "NOT ONLY has this SOB Ankiel's left foot swollen an extra 1/2 size (!!!), a clear sign of HGH abuse, but his batting average has jumped from .200 with just a couple home runs when he was pitching and hitting back in 2000 to where he's both hitting for AVERAGE and POWER just 7 years later!! Now, let's dedicate hundrends of hours of airtime on ESPN's 1-7 about this over the next year and absoutely destroy this man with impunity!" Coincidentally, half of the advertising money that will be paid to cover that airtime will be for medical products that either help you convince yourself that you're not depressed or fool someone into thinking that your were born with a penis that is two inches longer than it actually was or can last an extra 4 hours in bed then any person with any common sense would actually want to last.
Honestly, I think the only way the public would ever buy the the movie the Natural today in 2007 as opposed to the mid 80's is if Robert Duvall's sleazy sports reporter character wins in the end and every single stadium started booing Roy Hobbs at the end of the film as he was crushing home runs and breaking some record. And meanwhile you could have Roy Hobbs pulling a Palmeiro and advertising for Viagra as a nice money-making product placement in the film. You could even throw in a Federal indictment because lord knows its better to spend millions of dollars prosecuting a perjury case about the GAME of BASEBALL than trying to help the millions of children starving in Africa right now.
All I have to say is "watch your back, Rick, and watch it good..."