This and That from the World of Sports

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Contributing Writer
Bill Burk

→This from the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. They want to hold the sailing events on the picturesque Guanabara Bay in the heart of Rio. The only challenge is that the body of water is, by all accounts, a septic tank. According to Sports Illustrated (August 2015), 8,200 liters of raw sewage pour into Guanabara Bay every second (yep, every second) and 100 tons of garbage are dumped there every day. A quick conversion primer; 8,200 liters is just over 2,000 gallons per second which is almost three million gallons a day. One hundred tons is 200,000 pounds, deposited into the body of water they’d like Olympians to splash around in. It’s hard enough to picture 200,000 pounds of garbage (roughly the weight of a fully fueled space shuttle, or a blue whale – two things I have admittedly never weighed), but 2,000 gallons of ANYTHING per second challenges the imagination. For instance, the recent mining disaster in Colorado released about three million gallons of toxic wastewater into the river turning it orange, freaking out every environmentalist in the country. Imagine that happening EVERY day with nobody paying much attention. Another way to look at it; it’s roughly the equivalent of every person in Celoron (population 1,091) flushing their toilet (1.6 gallons of sewage) into Chautauqua Lake every second of every day. An eco-study that found dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria from sewage in venues where athletes will compete. They also found evidence of viruses in human waste off Copacabana Beach, where they’d like to host open swim competitions. They are hoping to be able to clear at least the floating debris for the game. I don’t want to know what that floating debris is. So, world, how fast can you swim (or sail, or row or kayak) in a HAZMAT suit?
→In March of 2014 the director of The National Labor Relations Board in Chicago ruled that the football players at Northwestern University were effectively school employees and entitled to organize under labor laws. The players met the minimum requirements for employment; they were essentially compensated in tuition, room and board to complete a job and make millions (upon millions) of dollars for the college. Sounds about right to most fair-minded labor supporters. The college and the NCAA, naturally, appealed the decision, not much interested in what a fair-minded labor supporter might think, and terrified to have the covers pulled off their particularly exploitive monopoly on cheap labor for astronomical profits. A few weeks ago the NLRB overturned the historic ruling that Northwestern University football players count not, in fact, form the nation’s first college athletes’ union, saying the prospect of union and non-union teams could throw off the competitive balance in college football. Why would the NLRB care about the competitive balance in college football? Do they rule the same way for auto workers? It would appear the NLRB has more concern for the competitive balance of a national money-making conglomerate than the people who supply the labor.
→Johnny Manziel isn’t throwing this week for the Cleveland Browns because of a sore elbow. Let me ask you this, who was the last professional quarterback that you can remember who had to take a week off with a sore elbow? I can’t think of one. And certainly not a back-up quarterback in their second year. I’ll ask again, are we sure his nickname isn’t Johnny Foosball?
→Since Ted Williams was always recognized as “the greatest living hitter” while he was alive, now that he’s dead, why isn’t Hank Aaron called “the greatest living hitter”?
→If Wilt Chamberlain averaged 37 points and 27 rebounds as a rookie, and 50/38 a few years later, and once scored 100 points in a game, why is Michael Jordan the best player to ever live??
→A little while ago ESPN made a list of the 100 best baseball players of all time. Arbitrary lists like this are built for guys who hack away at water coolers, bar stools, and weekly sports articles. Roger Clemens is the first pitcher at number seven, Walter Johnson is at twelve and Greg Maddux is thirteen (Babe Ruth is number one by the way). Check out their stats below.
Can we all agree never to have a list of baseball pitchers that doesn’t have Cy Young first? I’d appreciate it.


Stats

ESPN Rank Games Wins (MLB rank) Complete Games (rank)
Clemens 7th 709 354 (9th) 118 (T-327th)
Johnson 12th 802 417 (2nd) 531 (5th)
Maddux 13th 744 355 (8th) 109 (T-355th)

And now the real best pitcher in the history of the game:

Cy Young 17th 906 511 (1st by 94) 749 (1st by a mile!!)

To read more of Bill Burk’s reflections, astute observations and a rant or two on the wide world of sports, visit www. jamestowngazette.com and click on Bill Burk’s page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.