Reporting Brian Hanley
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By Brian Hanley-
(CBS) Spraying to all fields while wondering whether either Chicago baseball team will win 70 games this season:
Of all the head-scratching things Adam Dunn said to White Sox beat reporters Tuesday–and there were many–the statement which should be most infuriating for Sox fans is that new manager Robin Ventura and his freshly-appointed hitting coach, Jeff Manto, have not made any real contact with the team’s $56 million head case.
Dunn told the Tribune’s Mark Gonzales he has exchanged messages with his new supervisors. That’s it? In just hitting for fun this winter until spring training arrives, Dunn said believes he will avoid the danger of developing bad habits. How much worse could Dunn’s habits get than last season when he hit .159, struck out 177 times, and had an on-base percentage of .292?
“I’m not hitting for four hours five times a week,” Dunn said. “I know it sounds stupid, but I’m having fun.”
Thing only thing more stupid is that Manto hasn’t hopped on a plane to Dunn’s Houston home and spent some serious tutoring time with the man who was arguably the worst hitter in baseball last season.
Dunn told the Sun-Times’ Darryl Van Schouwen his offseason workout routine hasn’t changed appreciably–scratch those rumors that Dunn shed 30 pounds–but he has worked out more than before because his new home is closer to a facility. Didn’t know a guy making $14 million a year couldn’t afford to have his own “facility.” Guess Dunn was waiting for Bally’s annual $1 New Year’s Resolution sign-up special to get into shape.
*Forbes released its annual valuations of the NBA’s 20 franchises Wednesday and ranked the Chicago Bulls third at a value of $600 million, a 17 percent increase over last season.
Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, also the Sox team chairman, led a group of investors that purchased close to 57 percent of the team in March 1985 for $9.2 million. The group eventually acquired 100 percent.
The Forbes rankings list the Los Angeles Lakers as the most valuable at $900 million. The big Time Warner TV deal increased the value of that franchise by $40 million, according to Forbes.
The New York Knicks were ranked second at $780 million, an increase of 17 percent over last year. Forbes said the Knicks are the league’s most profitable team with an operating income of $75 million.
The Bulls finished second in this category, owning an operating income of $59.4 million.
Bully for Reinsdorf and his investors for making a great business decision when purchasing the team. Now if only Reinsdorf would do the right thing and cut a check from his Bulls’ big dividends and give Chicago and Illinois the $7 million unknowing taxpayers coughed up via spineless Jim Thompson’s negotiations for Bacardi at the Park.
Reinsdorf may have the legal high ground to make the taxpayers pay for the big bucks Bacardi since Thompson’s train wreck run as Governor and head of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority gave away the state’s store to keep the Sox. But Reinsdorf, who will be honored this weekend by MLB commissioner Bud Selig at Sox Fest for philanthropy, should know it is time to give back to the city and state that has housed his team in the country’s best sweetheart stadium deal for 20 years.
*Speaking of coughing up some major money, if I’m NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, the Washington Capitals would be paying a six-figure fine for blindly backing Alexander Ovechkin’s snub of the All-Star Game.
Ovechkin is throwing a temper tantrum after being suspended three games by the NHL on Monday for a “launching head shot” on Zybnek Michalek of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Washington GM George McPhee said Ovechkin didn’t want to be a “distraction” during the All-Star game weekend.
What! A! Crock!
“My heart is not there,” Ovechkin said. “I [got] suspended, so why I have to go there?”
Why do you have to go? Because it’s the least you can do to repay the fans who want to see you. The same fans who help pay the $124 million you are being paid in your 13-year contract
“I love the game; it’s great event. I’d love to be there, but I’m suspended. I don’t want to be a target. I feel I’m not deserving to be there right now. If I suspended, I have to be suspended. That’s why I give up my roster [spot],” Ovechkin said.
Shut up and get to Ottawa Ovechkin.
*Want a real pity party? Check out Terrell Owens’ woe-is-me, self-serving life’s laments in the February edition of GQ.
Owens, 38, has lost his NFL gig, his friends, and most of the $80 million made during his football career.
When people text him to ask where he is, he replies: “I’m in hell.”
The eyes don’t exactly get moist for the self-centered Owens and his life laments.
In the GQ story by Nancy Hass, Owens blames the media for not giving him a chance to rehab his injury, blames agent Drew Rosenhaus for not protecting him from a bad business arrangement, and blames a former team captain for his issues with former Philadelphia teammate Donovan McNabb.
Owens admits to trusting the wrong people, who in turn cost him a lot of his fortune.
Of course there were the three or so mansions at $4 million a throw. But Owens said financial advisers recommended by Rosenhaus lost much of his money in highly leveraged ventures, then houses and apartments he thought he could rent out in a worst case scenario became dead weight in a housing market collapse so he was stuck with a mortgage nut of about $750,000 annually. Then there was $2 million lost in an Alabama entertainment complex investment. That venture turned out to be illegal, and also claimed former Redskins running back Clinton Portis as a victim.
“I hate myself for letting this happen,” Owens told GQ. “I believed that they had my back when they said, ‘You take care of the football, and we’ll do the rest.’ And in the end, they just basically stole from me.”
Owens indicated he has also found himself friendless, thanks to a growing sense of distrust thanks to his many unfortunate dealings.
Of course, no one loved T.O. more than T.O.
“I don’t have no friends,” he said. “I don’t want no friends. That’s how I feel.”
That’s not to say he hasn’t been friendly. Owens is battling in court with four women to whom he pays a total of $44,600 a month in child support for his four children, ages 5 to 12.
Guess, father doesn’t always know best.
“If there’s anything I’m sorry about, it’s getting involved with all that,” he said.
Owens never actually dated any of the women, he says. One was a one-night stand, the others “repeat offenders.” Owens, who has never been married, concedes he is “not a very good judge of character.”
Guessing the women are the best judges of character, either.
When money became tighter, Owens said he had to reduce the amount he paid to each of the women. Three of them sued him. A warrant was issued for his arrest when he didn’t show up for a court date with the mother of his oldest child, Tariq. Beyond that, the relationship he’s maintained with the mothers and his children is tenuous, at best.
“They know I’m not working; they know the deal,” he said.
Although he never established regular visitation with any of the children through the courts, he says he sees the eldest three as much as he can when their mothers allow it. So bitter is his relationship with the mother of the youngest child, a son, that he has never met the boy.
Regrets? Owens doesn’t have even a few.
“To say I regret anything would be a slap to my grandmother’s face,” Owens said, referring to the woman who raised him.
The only thing keeping him from making a return to the NFL? The evil media.
“I think people change, but the media, they never allowed me to change,” Owens said. “They never allowed me to be a better person.”
Owens told GQ he lives in an 1,800-square-foot Los Angeles apartment. Sounds like there isn’t a mirror in there.