Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ask Dr. Jeru - Inboxing

Okay, it’s time to clean out the Inbox and respond to a few questions that have been thrown the way of my email address lately. Amazingly, these are actual emails from actual readers and I will try to do my best to respond to a few of the rest eventually. Sports, science, pop-culture…bring it on. I’ll make up an answer for just about anything.

Here we go…

Q: Does the Mitchell Report make professional cycling look any better compared to other sports?

A: I’m not sure that the Mitchell Report makes cycling look any better because I think most people understood that Major League Baseball was pretty juiced to begin with. Canseco, McGwire and Bonds made sure of that a long time ago.

It’s kind of like when official reports started coming out of China about their steroid use in the Olympics. Their female swimmers looked like Chong Li from Bloodsport and we were supposed to be surprised that they had been doing something fishy? Oh, you think so Doctor?

It does prove The More You Look, The More You Find Theory that most defenders of professional cycling have offered though. I would rather see a report like this for soccer in Europe because I’m tired of that sport getting off the hook on the Continent while bike racing is vilified. I wonder if German television would stop broadcasting soccer matches if there was a Muenchen Report or something.

I was surprised at how specific the Mitchell Report’s list of players was. I guess I have gotten used to Operacion Puerto-style vagueness and was expecting code-names or something. If Fuentes had been involved the names probably would have been “El Rocket (Clemens)” and “Bee Bee (Bonds)” at least.

But there was a sense of certainty in the Mitchell Report that I have never felt with a doping investigation in cycling. It’s unfortunate that the Spanish and various European authorities are not able to carry out a similarly conclusive investigation when they have greater legal powers than Mitchell did. But then again, it is Europe.

Q: Dude, Lance and an Olsen Twin? What’s up with that?

A: C-Mac informed me of this little bit of gossip and I still don’t really know what to think. I’m pretty sure I made the “Wait…can you repeat that?” face when she told me though.

Then I made the “Okay…that’s kind of creepy” face when I heard her description of the tabloid affair.

But that was quickly followed by the “Well…maybe it’s not that bad” face as I did the math in my head, estimating Lance in his mid/late-thirties and The Olsen in her very low twenties.

Then I realized that this relationship likely violated the Half Your Age + Seven formula and went back to the “Okay…that’s kind of creepy” face.

But then I remembered that Tom Boonen is apparently hooked up with a 16 year-old Belgian girl so…I guess Lance isn’t that much of The Old Guy In The Club.

And I’m still not entirely sure which Olsen it was. Mary Kate is the kind of hippie one and Ashley is the cleaner one right? Which is the one that wears really huge sunglasses?

I may have to investigate this further.

Q: I’m confused. Is it okay to like Astana now that they have Horner and the Discovery guys?

A: This is an interesting question because it implies that it was not okay to like Astana in the past and I can’t say that I am entirely on board with that. They were certainly controversial and the kits were horrendous, I’ll give them that.

Anyway, the greater question being…how many of the former legion of U.S. Postal/Discovery fans will throw their favor to a team named after the capital of Kazakhstan whose sole legacy is one of turmoil and suspicion?

Honestly I have no idea.

I do think that they will be a fairly likable team as a result of the rider and staff changes. The thought of Levi and Horner rolling through Kazakhstan is kind of fun. Hopefully the Borat guy won’t show at the Tour in ’08.

As long as the kits change, I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Q: What will Vinokourov do now that he has retired?

A: Apparently Vino is a huge star in Kazakhstan and is even reported to be hosting some kind of televised Christmas special. He is also involved in a number of small business enterprises in France. He also made a ton of money by legally or illegally racing his bicycle so I think he’ll probably be just fine.

But insiders have reported that the former racer is spending a lot of time in his recording studio, performing a number of Rick James songs. There are rumors that Vino will be releasing a compilation of The Superfreak’s Greatest Hits translated into his native Kazakh language and that the touring band will consist of Kashechkin, Rasmussen, Moreni and Sinkewitz.

Q: How will Dick Pound’s resignation from WADA influence professional cycling?

A: Well, first and foremost it will probably reduce the number of times that I write the words Dick and Pound in the same sentence. Nothing wrong with that.

Secondly, it may mean that he ends up in the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Lots wrong with that.

I cannot imagine that a guy who has been so openly judgmental of ALL cyclists could ever possibly find a spot in an organization that will be responsible for rendering life-altering verdicts in highly contentious doping cases.

I also don’t know much about the guy that is going to be his successor. But as long as his name isn’t Rod Hammer or something, I think it should be an improvement.

Q: What’s the deal with Rock Racing and Michael Ball?

A: I’m not sure about the team but from what I have seen of their recent signings, they should certainly be a factor. The thought of Botero and Fast Freddie in the domestic circuit is ominous. I don’t know though, I think they are kind of becoming the Cobra Kai of U.S. cycling. Even down to the black kits and SoCal roots.

Now, as for Ball (aka John Kreese)…this guy…this is not my kind of guy. But then again, it’s a pet peeve of mine when people drop F-bombs all over the place and act like cocky teenagers. So that doesn’t help. It is going to be hard to pull for the team when he is the primary face and voice.

In fact, Ball's behavior in every circumstance that I am aware of has been so ridiculously obnoxious that it makes me wonder if his act is just some kind of publicity stunt. No one can really be that comically arrogant and cartoonish can they? If I were watching him on television or in a movie, I would think that he was totally over-acting. Like…Jim Carey-style over-acting. Seriously, no one can be that offensive without doing it on purpose.

I also simply cannot take anyone that sells jeans for hundreds of dollars seriously. Even if his company is wildly successful, there is just something inherently troubling about this element of our society. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I knew that I was encouraging people to spend hundreds of dollars on jeans.

Now…a nice pair of bib shorts is another story entirely.

As always, thanks for reading and feel free to send me any questions that you would like answered in a sarcastic and largely unprofessional/unaccountable fashion.


Frankie Andreu said...

Strike First. Strike Hard. No Mercy Sir!

cyclema said...

It's Ashley and although they were reportedly seen with Ashley sitting on Lance's lap and making out in a couple of public places in NY..they both deny the rumors and Lance says they are just friends. Could have been as simple as ear whispers in a busy bar rather than major lip locking.15 yr difference (which isn't a big deal really in the grand scheme when you consider some of the Cougar relationships let alone dirty old men and mid life crisis men who regularily date/marry women as young as their daughters - now that's creepy!) - how old are Lance's kids now?
Of course, we can always believe everything Lance says - right?

cyclema said...

Yes, Ashley is the "clean" one...

Sebastian said...

On a purely apolitical level, I've found the weird afterlife of Manolo Saiz's team one of the few charming storylines of 2007. I mean, if you took a time machine back to the 2002 Tour and told yourself that in five years Postal and ONCE would be the same team and would be bankrolled (effectively) by the government of Kazakhstan . . . I dunno, I dig it.

Ron said...

A: Well, first and foremost it will probably reduce the number of times that I write the words Dick and Pound in the same sentence. Nothing wrong with that."

haha, classic!

Grey said...

Hmm, I really like the Astana kit. The colors work for me.

The Cobra Kai/Rock Racing connection = awesome. And I couldn't agree more about your Ball assessment. Total blowhard...I'll be trying to just follow the racers.