January 16, 2013

Steve Solloway: Please, just a did-you and a why

We don't need two nights of Lance Armstrong on television, baring the parts of his soul he chooses. Oprah Winfrey didn't need to think of the more than 100 questions she says she prepared. Two would have sufficed.

Did you use performance-enhancing drugs when you pushed your miracle body through the French mountains and countryside?

Why?

That's it. No need for a song and dance. After years of I-didn't-I-didn't-I-didn't, we're going to hear I did. That and an explanation are enough. I'd understand the why. After beating cancer and becoming an inspiration for that, Armstrong wanted to kick it up a notch or two.

There aren't many sports more grueling than the Tour de France, and its weeks of stage races that make muscles and brain cells cry in anguish. If a cancer survivor could triumph again and again in the face of this test, think of the power of hope Armstrong could bring to everyone's life.

Armstrong was doing so much good, how could anything he did along the way be bad? To be nice, he was a heroic athlete who was blinded. To be cruel, he was a fraud. He might have believed he had no choice: blood doping and use of PEDs was rampant in professional cycling. If he didn't use, how could he win?

Now we're seeing how much he lost.

We got LeBron James and his absurd "The Decision" when he left Cleveland for Miami a few years ago. An hour of self-serving preludes, explanations and analysis that added up to little. We understood that LeBron wanted out of Cleveland to go somewhere to be bigger and better before his must-see TV even began.

Now we've got "The Confession" stretched over two nights beginning Thursday with Oprah trying out her Mike Wallace and "60 Minutes" impersonation. Good luck with that.

Armstrong's many critics -- especially those who feel deceived -- just want him to go away. I disagree. He can still be an example. But not the one he first wanted to be.

 

RICH GEDMAN didn't get top billing at the Portland Sea Dogs Hot Stove Banquet last Friday night.

That went to former Red Sox outfielders Trot Nixon and Josh Reddick. But Gedman, who caught the first of Roger Clemens' two 20-strikeout games, won over many in the sellout crowd at the Sable Oaks Marriott. He was self-effacing to a fault.

Gedman simply won't take credit. He played in professional baseball's longest game in Pawtucket in 1981, but quickly reminds people he was lifted for a pinch hitter in the ninth inning of what became a 33-inning game.

He caught Clemens' gem but said he couldn't see out to right field to count the K signs the fans hung with each strikeout and he had no impact on what his pitcher was doing.

Of course, he was the catcher in the 1986 World Series when a Bob Stanley pitch got by him, allowing Kevin Mitchell of the Mets to score the tying run. Wild pitch or passed ball? It's still an argument.

Mookie Wilson was the next batter and hit the grounder that went through Bill Buckner's legs. The Red Sox lost the game and then the series.

Gedman will be the Sea Dogs' new hitting coach in 2013. Look for the guy who bears a vague resemblance to TV mobster Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), with a bit more hair and minus the bluster.

 

THAT GABBY PRICE is returning to his old position as Husson University's football coach is cause to cheer. His knowledge and ability to connect with the men beneath the helmets can't be overstated.

His roster at one point numbered more than 110 players. And he would have a handshake, hug or pat on the back for each when they left the locker room after games. I know. He kept apologizing to me when he'd interrupt our interview in the hallway. I waited until the locker room was clear.

He walked away after the 2008 season when his team went 7-3 and reached the playoffs. He never said why. The reason would have served no positive purpose, said Price at the time.

 

THAT THE official autopsy report said Jovan Belcher shot Kasandra Perkins nine times means little to me. Three times or nine is blind rage. Nothing about the tragedy makes sense and never will.

Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:

ssolloway@pressherald.com

Twitter: SteveSolloway

 

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