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No Disgrace In Baseball This Week, But It Was Close


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon, and it's time for sports.


SIMON: NPR's Mike Pesca joins us from New York. Mike, thanks for being with us.

MIKE PESCA: Absolutely.

SIMON: So Craig Counsell had gone 0 for 45 in this hitless streak; hadn't gotten a hit since June 10.


SIMON: What can you say?


PESCA: Never a great player, never hit 10 or more homeruns, but because he's 40 his skills have slowed down a little. And you don't want him to be remembered as a failure since his career has been to help so many teams over the years.

SIMON: You know, The Onion did a very famous satire about him. And looked it up, 2009, in which The Onion said if you take it all to steroids, Craig Counsell is the best...


SIMON: The best player in baseball.

PESCA: I'm glad he's not the 0 for 46 Craig Counsell.

SIMON: Yeah. A-Rod, Alex Rodriquez played poker with some other rich guys in Beverly Hills. And apparently they played for high stakes. I mean they're rich...

PESCA: Yeah.

SIMON: ...that's why they play.

PESCA: That's right.

SIMON: So what's the fuss?

PESCA: Well, Rodriquez was called before the commissioner in 2005. And the commissioner warned him not to play in illegal, underground poker clubs in New York City - fair enough. So he went to private homes. The problem is a supermarket tabloid reported, in one of these games, there was possible drug use and there was possible fighting.

ESPN: I think the big point is that for a guy - a middle-class guy, who makes $75,000 a year, if he looses $150 in Atlantic City it's not a big deal. That's the equivalent of A-Rod losing $50,000. So you're just talked about orders of magnitude.

SIMON: Briefly, Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao's trainer, often called the best trainer in the world is volunteering to the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team. What are his prospects for bringing the glory back?

PESCA: Although many Pacquiao is an elected official in the Philippines, I don't know how it will play out.

SIMON: But to say Senator Pacquiao, to you.

PESCA: That's right.

SIMON: NPR's Mike Pesca, thanks so much.

PESCA: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.