One of the best things about the Internet (aside from cindymargolis.com) is the opportunity to get feedback via email. But sometimes this is not such a good thing, like when Mike from Dallas writes to tell me I'm an idiot for predicting the demise of the Rams in my NFL preview column. Just for the record, I don't take any of these comments personally, nor do I hold grudges. By the way, Mike: How is Kurt Warner doing on your fantasy team? Ha ha!
And with that, we dive into the mailbag.
On my column about Baseball's Bang For Your Buck Index, Tom Schutzius was one of several fans who pointed out the best bargain in baseball has to be Albert Pujols. He's making only $900,000 this season and is among the league leaders in homers, RBI and batting average. You can't get much more bang for your buck. Good call Tom.
That column raised the question as to whether Sammy Sosa is worth $16,000,000. "IF YOU LOOK AT WHAT THE MARINERS AND A'S HAVE DONE (DROPPING GRIFFEY, JOHNSON, RODRIGUEZ AND GIAMBI RESPECTIVELY), THEY DROP PAYROLL, GRAB YOUTH AND REMAIN EFFECTIVE WITH CHEAP PITCHING. IS SAMMY WORTH KEEPING?" – Robert Baldacci, Carmel, Calif.
Robert – good point on how Seattle and Oakland have been able to win without high-priced superstars. Sammy is such a fan favorite in Chicago that it's hard to imagine him anyplace else; and he's under contract for two more seasons. With Wrigley Field sold out all the time, money shouldn't be an issue for the Cubs – who've shown a willingness to spend under Dusty Baker. But you're right, the Cubs' future rests in the arms of guys like Mark Prior and Kerry Wood.
Another take on the Bang For Your Buck Index: "PLEASE, NO MORE STATS!!!" – Paul Romano, Alameda, Calif.
On the NFL, concerned Eagles fan Frank Di Leonardo writes: "CAN A TEAM WIN A SUPER BOWL WITHOUT A RUNNING GAME? I HAVE NEVER HAD FAITH IN THIS TEAM."
Frank, if Donovan McNabb doesn't wake up soon, you won't have to worry about the Super Bowl.
On my prediction that some unforeseen force will prevent Tampa Bay from going back-to-back, Eric from Parts Unknown writes: "I'M A BUCS FAN AND I FEEL THEY HAVE A REALLY GOOD CHANCE OF GOING BACK TO THE SUPER BOWL. WHY DO YOU THINK THE BUCS WON'T REPEAT?"
I must admit, I'm starting to waffle on the Bucs – assuming that loss to Carolina was just an aberration. But hey, did you see that Warren Sapp pogo-stick dance he dedicated to Beyonce Knowles? If I'm Beyonce, I'm scared.
My column on the worst owners in pro sports provoked responses from all over the country. Seems everybody has a multi-millionaire baron they love to hate. John Volk nominates Chicago Blackhawks owner Bill Wirth: "ASIDE FROM NOT HAVING WON A STANLEY CUP IN OVER 40 YEARS, HE CONTINUALLY TRADES AWAY HIS TALENT AND GETS NOTHING IN RETURN. HE'S NOT CALLED 'DOLLAR BILL' WITHOUT REASON."
John, if nothing else, at least the Blackhawks have bought some vowels. This season, it's Tuomo Ruutu, Ville Nieminen and Lasse Kukkonen to the rescue.
Dave from Northern California is a frustrated Warriors fan who has issues with owner Chris Cohan: "I AM READY TO PULL OUT MY HAIR AND FOREVER SHUN THE WARRIORS. AFTER 10 YEARS OF IDIOTIC TRADES, DRAFTS AND SIGNINGS, THE SAGA CONTINUESWHY, WHY, WHY?"
Dave, who do you think I am, Dr. Phil? The only hope for Golden State is Cohan selling the team. However, a friend of mine who approached Cohan about buying the franchise tells me Cohan's response was that he'll sell only after he has five championship rings – one for each finger! Apparently, Cohan plans to live forever.
My rant on NFL officiating produced voluminous emails, including one from Wade Whiteley, who felt I was picking on refs simply because they are part-timers who have other jobs: "THESE NFL OFFICIALS DO INDEED WORK ELSEWHERE AS REQUIRED BY THE NFL. HOWEVER, THAT DOES NOT MAKE THEM SLOW, DUMB, BLIND, OR INCOMPETENT, AND CERTAINLY NOT LESS WORTHY TO OFFICIATE."
You're right, Wade. So then, what exactly does make them slow, dumb, blind and incompetent?
Seriously, officiating NFL games is incredibly difficult. I don't believe the NFL does enough to help the refs succeed. Making them full-time employees with a year-round training academy might help. So would modifying the replay system. What's the point of spending money on the technology only to decide that many calls will not be subject to review? It doesn't make sense.
Many emailers had conspiracy theories, asking, "DON'T YOU THINK THAT THE NFL HAS IT IN FOR THE RAIDERS JUST BECAUSE OF THE AL DAVIS SITUATION?"
Perhaps that's what Rich Gannon was screaming about last Monday Night.