The world of Arliss Michaels

"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles CEO,

Pat Croce
Pat Croce screams "I feel great!" on March 17, 1996 when he became president of the 76ers. Now he is eying a loftier position.
Hatboro, PA (Sports Network) -- That is precisely what sports has become, the imaginary and yet very real, universe that belongs to Robert Wuhl in his HBO characterization of a greedy sports agent. What would we think of the collegiate cheerleader who felt that her leaps, twists, turns and proper spelling of the team's name made her a contender for the job of Provost of the University? Yet, that is exactly what Pat Croce of the Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers wants. He rose from conditioning guru to president of the team, helped craft a club that went to the NBA finals this past season and now wants to head up the empire that Ed Snider built over decades.

Croce's stock, as small a percentage as it is, is probably worth $20-25 million, his salary is somewhere above that of a McDonald's server and I would guess that his expense account and other perks tallies more than most of you earn in a year. But, he wants to doff his cheerleader's sweater for a suit and tie in the front office. As a matter of fact, according to recent reports, he demanded it. Not a smart thing to do of Snider, the very same man that determined his own son was not up to running the Philadelphia Flyers, no less the entire show.

Satisfaction and gratitude are not on Croce's Top Ten List of attributes. Bad move and it might be the start of the elevator on which he can be found these days going down. On the other hand, his resume reads well enough for another team to think he can bring what he achieved in Philadelphia to them. Rest assured that the contract would read that he is not destined to take over for the chairman of the board.

Out there where the big boys play with money and deals as easily as you and I engage in a quick game of Monopoly, CBS and Sportsline have agreed to give the NFL some $100 million plus in one of their always convoluted deals regarding web sites, promotion, marketing and a blind eye to reality. The NFL, which disdains gambling with the same foreboding and sensibility that you and I have for drug trafficking, has turned a blind eye and deaf ear to the fact that Sportsline owns and promotes Las Vegas Sports Consultants, where the odds are made (however poorly that is done), and Vegas Insider, a web site that promulgates and promotes gambling. Not to mention their approximate 40% ownership of the UK based, a gambling site. Oh, they are in England and that probably makes it alright. How silly of me not to entertain the locale of where the gambling takes place as the perfect excuse. It is wonderful what one can buy for $100 million these days.

Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez signed a $252 million contract with the cellar-dwelling Texas Rangers.
Alex Rodriguez signed with Texas for enough money to fund most Third World countries and it was predicted in this corner, as it was in many others, I am sure, that his addition to the Rangers would be as meaningful as cutting the rough on a links course back a foot or two. They are mired in last place in the American League West and so far out of the race that any return to respectability would arrive at about the same time that Harry Houdini speaks to us from the grave. Wouldn't they like to have all that money back? You bet!

The NBA draft selections of recent weeks are buying cars, homes, boats, engagement rings, and necklaces for themselves (not their girl friends yet) and getting the mandatory tattoos for the upper regions of their bodies and arms. In most cases, they are doing this for their friends and families as well. After all, didn't they come out of college, high school and the schoolyard because they were impoverished and wanted to give their respective families the best of all things? What other reason(s) to do this? Certainly not to gain an education, learn how to speak English or be able to communicate with anyone other than their own particular circles of friends. It is the nature of David Stern's kiddie care center until Michael Jordan returns...provided he does return. Some of us seek the secret of youth or truth. The NBA has been looking for the reincarnation of Michael ever since he left and refuses to believe that there is no one to take his place.

Meanwhile, the teams continue to dole out incredibly outrageous sums of money to people whose teams will not win a championship and whose own stellar performances will not fill the arenas day in and day out. Thank God for television revenue.

Down in Philadelphia once again, as has been the case with many NFL teams of late, season ticket holders now have to purchase a license for the right to buy their tickets. There is no greater avarice, nothing that comes to mind as penurious or usurious. It is rumored that fans will also be asked by the team that represents the City of Brotherly Love. the Philadelphia Eagles, to purchase a license to use the rest rooms and yet another to be able to buy a hot dog and/or beer. Soon, you will be able to park your car for what is already an obscene amount of money but not without a license to be able to pay for parking. The Eagles read somewhere that licensing is a good thing, did not care what the feature was about or that it applied to Disney characters and paying to use them on products. Just the word, "licensing," had a nice ring to it and they loved the idea that it came with a charge. Hey, why not? The fans get screwed over and over so why not one more time?

These are the sorts of things that would make Arliss beam with envy. Are what he does limited to the big screen in the den? You gotta be kidding!

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