Where to go. Today it’s a definite quandry, with two issues that beg for comment, the first, close to home.

The change of player development affiliations by the New Britain Rock Cats creates a personal void. I have relationships in the Minnesota Twins organization that go back to the early 1980’s and every summer brought a chance to catch up with old friends. I have no doubt if the Rock Cats previous ownership group was still in place the 20 year marriage would be headed into it’s third decade. I also believe the affiliation with the Colorado Rockies can be successful.

I won’t rehash my reservations about the move of the team to Hartford. I find it hard to believe this venture will succeed where others have failed, in uniting two sections of a city divided by an interstate highway, not in it’s current form. As long as the move appears imminent I’d like to make one suggestion to the Solomons, who say the team will have a new name in Hartford. The city has a rich baseball history, one that includes such hall of famers as Lou Gehrig and Warren Spahn, and it dates back to the roots of Major League Baseball. Hartford was one of the charter National League cities and I can’t think of a better way to honor the city’s place in baseball history than by naming the team after that original National League team, the Hartford Dark Blues. It won’t take long for fans and media to take up just calling them “The Blues”.

The second issue that needs to be addressed comes with a question. How can we possibly wonder why? How can we wonder why college football players arrive in the NFL so ill prepared to live within the guidelines of society?

I don’t know which infuriated me more yesterday, a statement by Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston in which he demonstrated more sense of entitlement than sense of remorse over an extremely vulgar public display on campus this week or an ESPN interview with Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher in which he presented himself as a noble man of integrity for suspending Winston over the incident.

The suspension is for one half of one game, this Saturday’s game against Clemson, perhaps the toughest game on the Seminoles schedule and one that, as often as not, produces the champion of the SEC. One half of one game for the latest in a long line of incidents involving Winston that includes a still ongoing campus investigation into a rape allegation. The Heisman Trophy voters ignored that charge last year in handing Winston the sport’s most treasured honor.

There was a lot that could be learned here if Fisher stepped up as the noble figure he presents himself to be. All that Jameis Winston learned was as long as he’s the best quarterback on the field his coach, his athletic director and every alum will be standing by to circle the wagons around him. The support group has always been there, since the first day he showed a physical ability that set him above his peers.

And today we wonder how all these guys arrive in the NFL feeling bulletproof, as if there is no action so heinous there won’t be someone standing by to bail them out. Wonder no more.

Touching a couple of bases in the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.


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