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Sports Then and Now

Waiting For The Weekend: Michael Crabtree Finally Makes a Good Decision

Posted on October 09, 2009 by Dean Hybl
Michael Crabtree will finally start spending time on the field with his teammates instead of in meetings with his agents.

Michael Crabtree will finally start spending time on the field with his teammates instead of in meetings with his agents.

Boy there sure is a lot going on in the sports world this week. Yet, when I look at what to write about I’m almost paralyzed by the choices. Sort of like looking at the dessert aisle at an all-you-can-eat buffet; so much to choose from you just don’t know where to start.

Michael, Thank You For Joining Us
I don’t know about you, but I’m so glad that Michael Crabtree finally came to his senses and took the multi-millions of dollars the San Francisco 49ers have been offering him for months.

I have read several defenses of him saying that Michael is a good guy and was just trying to make sure he got what he deserved. Hey, he very well be the nicest guy since Harry Truman, but in this case he was just trying to be greedy.

At a time when we have nearly 10 percent unemployment and many of us will work doing whatever we have to for a lot less money than Michael will tip in a day, athletes need to understand the big picture and not use money for a measuring stick of how great they are. Sure, we all should try to get fair market value for our skills, but when it comes right down to it, is it going to make a huge difference that he got $17 million guaranteed instead of $20 million?

Besides, Michael finally signed because he saw that his market value was starting to decline and figured he better cash in before it flatlined. The 49ers are off to a great start and are one Favre miracle away from being undefeated without young Michael.

Now that he is signed and delivered, Michael will be best served to keep his head down and spend the next three weeks preparing for his time on the stage. After the personal attention he has gained with the holdout, all eyes will be on whether he is as good as he thinks he is.

If he is, then maybe he was right and should have stayed out for more money. However, I’m not convinced that he will walk onto the field and suddenly be a star. He may one day become a standout, but it will take a lot more work than he has done so far.

Athletes Really Can Be Role Models
When I did my series on the Best Players Not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame earlier this summer, I picked former Denver Broncos star Karl Mecklenburg as the sixth best linebacker not in the Hall of Fame.

A former 12th round draft pick out of Minnesota, Mecklenburg became a perennial All-Pro and played in three Super Bowls with the Broncos.

The cover shot of Heart of a Student Athlete

The cover shot of Heart of a Student Athlete

He recently wrote a motivational book: Heart of a Student-Athlete: All Pro Advice for Competitors and Their Families, that may be a mouthful to say without a breath, but which appears to be well worth the trouble.

If you didn’t catch Todd Civin’s book review and question and answer session with Mecklenburg, I suggest you go back and check them out.

At a time when we hear so much negative press about bad behavior of athletes and many others tell us that they aren’t role models, Mecklenburg is one former athlete who has embraced the responsibility that comes with having cameras focused on you every weekend.

Though I have not yet read the book, I am very excited to do so soon as it sounds like a first rate book that not only looks at Mecklenburg’s career as an NFL player, but also at personal events that pull back the onion and show that professional athletes are really just human beings with a special talent that are subject to the same highs and lows that we all face.

It is how you handle those challenges that count, whether you are facing them in front of millions of people or with just God as your witness.

I am very excited that as part of Todd’s arrangement with Karl Mecklenburg and his publicist, one Sports Then and Now reader will receive a signed copy of Karl’s book. All you have to do is sign the guest book on Karl’s author web site and mention Sports Then and Now in your entry to be eligible. I encourage you to check out the site and the book, as it will be worth your effort.

The Baggy Dome Lives For Another Day
We are nearing the end for another landmark in professional baseball. The Minnesota Twins will soon be saying goodbye to the Metrodome and leaving the Minnesota Vikings as the final passenger on Minnesota’s version of the Titanic.

The Metrodome has been home to the Minnesota Twins since 1982.

The Metrodome has been home to the Minnesota Twins since 1982.

For all its flaws and the grief it has received over the years, the Metrodome has been a pretty good home for the Twins.

Thanks in part to the stadium, their fans and the American League having home field advantage for the World Series in 1997 and 2001, the Twins claimed two World Series titles in the Dome.

In both years, the Twins won all four games at home. In the 1991 Series against the Braves, Minnesota won the last three games all by a single run, including the last two in extra innings.

Think about it, since the Metrodome opened in 1982, only Yankee Stadium has housed more championship teams (four other teams have won two titles since 1982).

It was great to see the Twins provide their fans with one final moment of excitement in the Baggy Dome as they defeated the Detroit Tigers in 12 innings to earn a spot in the American League Playoffs.

There will have to be some more magic left in the baggies if Minnesota is to pull off the major upset and defeat the New York Yankees.

However, it will be tough this time around because unlike in 1987 or 1991, for the Twins to win the series with the Yankees, they will have to win at least one game away from home.

Considering how good the Yankees have looked lately, that may be asking a little too much, but we can always hope for one more Metrodome Miracle.

Each week we look at some current and former athletes who were born during the week.

Here are some notable sports figures born during this week:
October 9 – Joe Pepitone (1940), Mike Singletary (1959), Kenny Anderson (1970)
October 10 – Gus Williams (1953), Brett Perriman (1965), Brett Favre (1969)
October 11 – George Preston Marshall (1897), Cal Hubbard (1900), Dutch Clark (1906)
October 12 – Rick Ferrell (1905), Joe Cronin (1906), Charlie Ward (1970)
October 13 – Jerry Rice (1962), Trevor Hoffman (1967), Jermaine O’Neal (1978)
October 14 – John Wooden (1910), Lance Rentzel (1943), Charlie Joiner (1947), Frank Wycheck (1971)
October 15 – John L. Sullivan (1858), Jim Palmer (1945), Fred Hoiberg (1972)

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