Arts & Entertainment, Sports

Picking Splinters: Mike’s Mailing It In

Mike takes his monthly dive into his mailbag.


Man, I don’t know if you saw it bro, but my new buddy Chucky Liddell got creamed by Quinton Jackson in Ultimate Fighting Championship No. 71. Jackson just strolled on into the octagon, rockin’ his rumble chain, and then rocked Chuck’s world. Man, I don’t know what I was so worried about before. There’s no way I’m giving him my parking space next time.

J. Drama



No, I didn’t see the fight, but did I really miss anything? Liddell got himself whooped in under two minutes and that’s supposed to be a championship fight? A few thoughts here. First of all, any time you reach number 71 of anything, it’s time to stop numbering it. Second, is a sport that has its championship decided a minute and a half into the fight — when the ref stops it — really worthy of being called “ultimate fighting?” “Sparring with Peter McNeely” would probably be more apt. Last but certainly not least, I have no clue what a “rumble chain” is, but I need one. Maybe four.



I know you tend to take on the race issue in sports, so I was wondering if you were going to chime in about Gary Sheffield’s latest comments. Do you think he should get fined or suspended? Time to get back to my horseback riding …

Don I.

“The” Ranch


Man, just when you thought you’d heard it all, Sheffield spouts off in GQ magazine about how there are more Latinos in the majors than African Americans because baseball finds it easier to “control them,” as opposed to African Americans. Regarding African American players, Sheffield said: “Where I’m from, you can’t control us.”

I’m not sure if this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, but it’s right up there. With his words, Sheffield employs the sort of bigotry he accuses of keeping African Americans out of the game of baseball.

What’s as appalling as Sheffield’s stupidity, is that Major League Baseball hasn’t seen fit to do anything about it. It might surprise you that I do not think he should be suspended. Sheffield has the right to free speech and thus should be able to espouse his ignorant views — just as I have the right to label his views as ignorant. However, MLB should have responded immediately when this story broke with a press release showing exactly how ridiculous Sheffield’s claims are and emphasizing that the league’s Latino players are on rosters because of their talent and not because of any sort of docile behavior. Of course, MLB seems to be keeping with its policy of plugging it’s metaphorical head in the sand whenever controversy arises.



Where is Rog-er? Clap-Clap-ClapClapClap

Ryan Doyle



By now most people know that Roger Clemens pushed back his season debut with the Yankees due to a, I kid you not, “fatigued groin.” That has to be the most suggestive injury of all time. What most people don’t know is that his uber-contract doesn’t kick in until he toes the rubber for the Yankees. By pushing back his start until Saturday, he cost himself about $1 million. That basically means that he paid $1 million to inform the world he has a “fatigued groin.” And they say guys with noisy motorcycles and red sports cars are overcompensating …



After reading your column on the Capitals last week, I noticed you seem to be firmly on the fence about the correct course of action this offseason. I think the Caps can win without a big name free agent. Cut to the chase. What do you think the Caps should do?

Rose Coloredglasses



You’re not wrong to believe the Caps can make the playoffs without a big name free agent, but it really hinges on the development of Washington’s young blueliners like Jeff Schultz and Mike Green more than any free agent acquisitions. Top free agent defensemen cost a fortune, even the U.S. government might not be able to fit them in its budget … which perhaps is why all the best D-men seem to be Canadian … If the Caps are to be successful they’ll need to develop those expensive pieces from within.

I think that restraint in the free agent market is still the best course of action at this stage of the rebuilding process. That doesn’t make the losses any easier to swallow, though. With all of the rebuilding going on in the District, my recommendation would be for the local ownerhip groups to form a kind of support group in order to keep themselves on the wagon.

“Hi. My name is Stan and I haven’t fielded a contender for 184 games … ”

“Hi Stan.”