In world of cheats, liars and arrests, we'll miss Stan the Man

Jan 22, 2013 By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer

The trend of sports stories last week was disturbing. We heard that a perceived true American Idol, Lance Armstrong, was admitting what we all had come to suspect. He had cheated, bullied and lied.

When he doped, he said, he didn't feel like he was cheating. I feel better now.

Then came the Notre Dame debacle.

Heisman Trophy runner-up Manti Te'o apparently never had the girlfriend he said he did, and he played us like a fiddle the whole time.

The woman, Te'o said, died of leukemia and/or a car crash, I guess, the day after his grandmother died on Sept. 11.

Te'o tweets, "I may not hear your voice but I do feel your presence," on Sept. 13 and continued the lie through late December, even after the time he claimed that he had learned that he had become a hoax victim.

Now we've learned that Wyoming basketball star Luke Martinez has been charged with aggravated battery and assault for allegedly kicking the head of a man who was, or was nearly, unconscious in a bar in the wee, wee hours of a morning around New Year's Day.

If different ways, each of those incidents, in the world of PR-gone-wild Internet and ESPN, seems to be the product of selfishness, plain and simple.

Who is Armstrong kidding now? The man who showed no shame and tweeted a picture of himself in front of his seven yellow Tour de France jerseys in mid-November is still concerned with himself and his brand. Period. He's still racing now, isn't he? Competing to see if we'll drink his ever controlling Kool-Aid.

I can't explain Te'o's motive. It's too twisted, so why bother?

What about Martinez? In a Laramie bar, past last call. Thinking about your team -- our Wyoming Cowboys -- Luke? Doesn't seem like it.

Then, Saturday, we heard of the passing of Stan The Man.

It brought to mind one of my favorite sports pictures that I had come across in an old issue of The Sporting News. You can see the picture online here:

Stan Musial, one of the greatest baseball players of all time and one of the great gentlemen of all time as well, was a St. Louis Cardinals player for 22 years.

You can't really understand how much Stan The Man means to Cardinals fans unless you are one.

He is the greatest St. Louis Cardinals player ever, and for all the right reasons.

One of the game's great hitters, Stashu, as his parents and childhood friends called him, went out of baseball just like he came in, with a base hit that gave the Cardinals a lead. In his final at bat, he drove a RBI single past a lunging rookie named Pete Rose in 1963.

He was beloved by everyone.

"I never heard anybody say a bad word about him -- ever," Willie Mays said in a statement released by the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Great Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson recalled how Musial had helped establish a warm atmosphere between blacks and whites on the team, and his support of the Dodgers' Jackie Robinson is well documented even when teammate Enos Slaughter and other Cardinals players weren't as warm to integration.

"We lost a baseball legend today, but his legacy will live on," Detroit's ace pitcher Justin Verlander tweeted.

There is good left in the sports world.

What's Armstrong's legacy? What's Te'o's legacy? What's Martinez's legacy?

Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!

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