by Joe Santoro

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June 1, 2012
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Sports Fodder: What to believe with Harbaugh

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

Can we believe anything that comes out of Jim Harbaugh's mouth when it comes to his quarterbacks? A year ago Harbaugh kept saying that Colin Kaepernick would get a fair chance to compete at quarterback with Alex Smith. That never happened and Kaepernick rarely saw the field in 2011. Now Harbaugh is saying that Smith is the quarterback he wanted all long and that he really didn't want Peyton Manning. He's upset with the media who, he says, made too much out of the Niners' flirting with Manning. Too much? All Harbaugh did was fly to North Carolina to watch Manning work out and when Manning signed with Denver he personally telephoned Harbaugh to tell him. Harbaugh still thinks he's a college coach who is king of the campus and can just verbally bully people into believing what he wants them to believe. It's easy to see why Jim Schwartz wanted to smack him all over Ford Field last fall.

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You have to admire the Oakland Athletics for adding Manny Ramirez to their organization. It makes perfect sense to add a circus sideshow to an organization whose owner (Charlie Finley) who once paid his players to grow moustaches and who gave us orange baseballs, white shoes, a mule for a mascot and a mechanical rabbit that popped up out of the ground behind home plate to give the umpire baseballs. Manny, with his hair down almost to his elbows and his bloated face and stomach, is just the human version of that mechanical rabbit and mule. Yes, Manny is old. He's fat. He's lazy. He doesn't care about the game. He's like the fan in the stands who only looks away from his cell phone when the team mascot is tossing a t-shirt his way. So what? It's not like the A's are trying to win anything. Manny, who is now in Sacramento, is just there to distract A's fans away from the grim reality that until baseball adds nine wild card teams to the playoffs, their team will never, ever compete for a World Series title again. But why stop at Manny? Why not add Jose Canseco, too? Terrell Owens needs a job. Hire Sarah Palin to dance on the dugout. Let Brad Pitt make a real trade.

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Gregg Popovich is one of the greatest head coaches in NBA history. Tim Duncan is one of the greatest centers. The San Antonio Spurs are one of the truly great dynasties (along with the Celtics, Lakers and Bulls) in NBA history. Any day now the national media, which is too busy Tweeting and posting pictures of their hot dogs and burritos on Facebook these days, will figure it out.

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South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier says college athletes should get paid about $4,000 a year. Of course he does. Why wouldn't coaches want another opportunity to abuse NCAA rules and legally buy players? Athletes already get paid. It's called a six-figure athletic scholarship. Athletes on scholarship don't need money. Have you ever heard of an athlete giving up a scholarship so he can go get a job pushing grocery carts just so he can pay for his expenses? Athletes are the ones driving all the fancy cars on campus, owning the latest video games and equipment as well as top-of-the-line athletic apparel. You want to know who should get paid to go to college? It's the poor kids who have to somehow find a way to pay for a $25,000 a year college education while flipping burgers at McDonald's or selling cell phones and computers to fat businessmen at Best Buy.

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The NFL has decided to keep the Pro Bowl. Why? Last year's Pro Bowl, a 59-41 joke that made a Harlem Globetrotter-Washington Generals game look like the seventh overtime of a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup, was a slap in the face of football fans everywhere. Nobody breaks a sweat in the game anymore. Last year the defensive linemen barely got out of their stance at the snap of the ball. It was pro wrestling without the theatrics. The best players on the two best teams in the league don't even play in the game anymore because they are getting ready for the Super Bowl. It's sort of like making a list of the Top 100 players in NBA history and leaving out all the Lakers and Celtics. If the NFL won't stick a fork in the game then we must do it ourselves. Don't watch it. Kill the TV ratings. That's the only way professional sports leagues will listen to the fans anymore. We have to speak to them through our televisions.

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The Record Courier Updated Jun 1, 2012 03:47PM Published Jun 1, 2012 03:46PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.