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Of agents and black clouds

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You have to pity James "Bus" Cook. As a player agent, he's not as well known in football circles as a Leigh Steinberg or a Drew Rosenhaus, nor is he a publicity mark, like Rosenhaus or, if you're a baseball fan, Scott Boras.

However, Cook's most famous client, Brett Favre, supposedly, is talking about coming out of retirement again, this time to play for the Minnesota Vikings, bent on revenge against the Green Bay Packers, and the slipshod way they handled his departure a year ago. ESPN, citing an anonymous source, reported on May 5 that Favre would meet with Viking coach Brad Childress, presumably to discuss the daunting prospect of playing for the Vikings and sticking it to the Packers. We went through this protracted soap opera last year, which ended with Favre landing with the NY Jets. He's about to turn 40, and physically has faded in the stretch the last two seasons. Who's to say it doesn't happen again in Minnesota, if he goes there? If it does, he looks like a fool again.

Cook, however, has had to play spin doctor and deny the report, maintaining that Favre will remain retired this time. For the good of the NFL, that's the way it should be. Favre will tarnish his legacy if he chooses to continue this silly little game. You can understand if he wants to go out a winner, and hasn't the last two seasons. He took the Packers to the NFC title game in '08, and lost to the Giants. His Jets faded at the end because Favre threw 9 interceptions in his last 4 games, usually in crunch time, when he's supposed to be at his best. Again, who's to say this doesn't happen again? To paraphrase Lionel Richie, it would make Favre once, twice, three times a fool.

Boras, meanwhile, may need to rethink his strategy when it comes to his clients.

Mets pitcher Oliver Perez went on the disabled list on May 6 with knee tendonitis after the Mets beat Philadelphia. This in a nutshell might explain why Perez has been so erratic since the World Baseball Classic in March. However, this would've been prevented if the Mets had discovered this after Perez returned from the WBC, not after he'd already had 5 starts in which he stunk up the joint in all but one.

Alex Rodriguez, depending on who you talk to, is due to return to the Yankees soon, knowing that the media circus will follow his every step after the release of Selena Roberts' "A-Rod", which obviously will be banned from the Yankee clubhouse. Already, you've read of teammates past & present coming to Rodriguez's defense about certain allegations not having to do with performance enhancing drugs. The book comes just a couple of months after Roberts' now infamous Sports Illustrated piece that named Rodriguez as a steroid user. It's not as if Rodriguez hadn't already tarnished his reputation, because he had, with the help of the NY tabloids. Trouble is, if the facts that Roberts wrote about are being disputed, then where did she get her information? That will come into question soon enough.

Now, though, comes another headache for Boras. Whatever hope Manny Ramirez might have had of playing in the All-Star Game, much less being voted onto the NL team for the first time, dissipated when Ramirez was suspended for 50 games. The drug of choice? Oddly, a substance that is meant to help with performance in another arena, namely, the bedroom. The odd irony here is that Viagra has been a major sponsor of MLB on Fox and TBS, and I think the makers of Cialis have also bought air time. Ramirez wasted little time in owning up to his mistake and accepted the punishment like a man, which is more than can be said for Rodriguez and others in the "steroid era". It's still possible Ramirez might make the All-Star team, since his suspension, if my math is right, would end before the game takes place in July, but now it'd be a long shot at best.

The same goes for Rodriguez, regardless of when he's activated by the Yankees. If he gets voted in, it'll be more because of the sheep mentality among younger voters, and not because of what Rodriguez produces on the field. Manny, being Manny, will recover easily, because the Dodgers can function without him. Rodriguez, however, is not the sure thing for the Hall of Fame we thought he was. Not even Boras can spin his way out of that one.
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