Two stories caught my attention this week for their tiresome predictability. One -- Barry Bonds' joyless pursuit of home runs -- is ongoing. The other -- Rasheed Wallace's guarantee of victory -- is dead for now but probably will resurface in the Eastern Conference finals.
On the surface, the Bonds story is supposed to be about success, but it sure doesn't feel like it. America is trying to decide whether it cares, and every psychiatrist -- amateur, mostly -- tries to decide why Barry isn't being embraced.
It's either racism or media bias or something other than the man and his alleged-but-documented steroid use. It has to be an outside force, something that manages to absolve Bonds and convict those who refuse to embrace him.
In the meantime, he sits on 713. More than ever, he complains about strike calls. More than ever, he stands in the batter's box and refuses to run out pop-ups or ground balls. His range in the outfield is barely larger than his wingspan.
There is no joy here. The story threatens to limp through the summer with the same grudging, frowning distaste as the man himself.
The other story has fewer angles, of course, but the question remains valid: At this point, is there anything more predictable and less newsworthy than a Rasheed prediction?
This Week's List
• I know the Times is known for reporting important leaks, but this one calls for someone to ask the fourth-grade question, "How do you know?": Tuesday's New York Times boasts a story touting Albert Pujols as "a superstar who doesn't cheat," a story that includes the statement, " he is a refreshing superstar who can say, 'I don't cheat.'"
• So you're sitting at home proud of your daughter, a soccer player at Northwestern, then you type in "badjocks.com" and nothing will ever be the same: The Northwestern women's soccer team was suspended Monday after hazing photos of the team showed up on badjocks.com.
• Gloves tight? Check. Sleeves adjusted? Check. Toes a-tappin'? Check: From where I'm watching, it looks as though Nomar Garciaparra is back.
• But here's one we didn't see coming: Brett Tomko (5-1).
• Just for the heck of it: Marvell Wynne.
• Yeah, 'cause that Ricky Williams risk worked out so well: The Dolphins think Marcus Vick is a "risk worth taking."
• There are so many things wrong with this, who could determine where to start? Texas running back Ramonce Taylor, already "excused" from the team to concentrate on academics, was found with five pounds of marijuana in a backpack in his car after he called police and gave them permission to search his car after a fight at a pecan farm 40 miles from Austin.
• This week's best headline, courtesy of The Onion: "Jim Leyland Accused of Jumping on Tigers Bandwagon."
• This proves only one thing -- despite their dumb play on the court, these guys understand chain of command: The Knicks players, in interviews with Isiah Thomas, reportedly fingered Larry Brown as the scapegoat for their horrid season.