Saturday, July 10, 2010
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Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: Decision stirs up trash talk

This week's Q&A-Mac is brought to you by garbage: finally making history after all these years.

Q: Huh? Garbage? As in rubbish?

A: Yes. Let me explain. The Cleveland Plain Dealer sent reporters out to talk to jilted Cavaliers fans on Thursday night after LeBron James announced he would sign with Miami. As expected, Clevelanders took the news in stride ... well, aside from torching LeBron jerseys, ripping down his posters, starting derogatory chants and all that. "This is the worst day of my life," said one. "He turned his back on us," said another.

Q: So where does garbage come in?

A: That was the best quote of the night, from a fan named Phoenix Jones, who watched the announcement at a Cleveland bar: "I thought the whole thing was tasteless, despicable, true trash and historic garbage."

Q: Awesome. Pretty much sums it up. What did you think of LeBron's TV special?

A: Not as terrible as I expected it to be. A lot of people are destroying LeBron for the way he handled this thing, and he definitely showed his ego knows no limits, but nobody should really be surprised by that. If people call you "The King," and fans idolize you so much that your leaving constitutes "the worst day of their lives," then you're bound to have a slick grip on perspective.

Q: Who comes out looking worse in this: LeBron, or Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert?

A: Definitely Gilbert. It's one thing for fans to lose their minds and lash out; it's another for a man in his position to act like a pimply teen who just got dumped. In an open letter to Cavs fans posted on the team Web site Thursday night, he called LeBron's decision a "shocking act of disloyalty," "cowardly betrayal" and a "shameful display of selfishness," among other things. Umm ... Dan? It's none of those things. I'm all for loyalty, but in case you missed it, he fulfilled his contractual obligations with your organization. I know the media didn't report this at all, but LeBron was -- believe it or not -- a free agent this summer.

Q: You can't blame Gilbert for being upset, though, can you?

A: Of course not. I wanted to see LeBron stay in Cleveland, too. Making this kind of announcement on TV rubbed Cleveland's noses in it big-time. But this Gilbert dude is 48 years old and a successful businessman. He ought to know by now that you always should sleep on a nasty letter before sending it.

Q: Shifting gears: We found out this week that neither linebacker Tahrick Peak nor his older brother Nubian, a wide receiver, will suit up for the Hokies this fall. Surprised?

A: More disappointed that it didn't work out. When they were at Pulaski County High School, both siblings really seemed excited about making an impact in Blacksburg. Considering Nubian's position on the wideout depth chart, it's understandable that he'd want to find a place he could play sooner. Tahrick's senior season in Dublin didn't go well. While he could have spent a year at prep school to try to meet Tech's admission standards, it's probably best for everybody if he starts fresh somewhere else.

Q: Stephen Strasburg was left off the National League all-star team. Should he be in Anaheim on Tuesday night?

A: Yes. The best argument against his inclusion is that he hasn't pitched enough in the majors. But what people need to remember is that we've been watching this guy all year. His DOUBLE-A STARTS were televised, for goodness sake. He's the very definition of a star. Nowhere is it written that Midsummer Classic selections must be made solely on numbers. While I understand Charlie Manuel's reluctance to add him and face a backlash, Strasburg at least should have been among the five NL options for the final fan vote.

Q: Who wins Sunday's World Cup final between Spain and The Netherlands?

A: The Dutch get it done in extra time, 2-1.

Q: Whoever wins will earn their first World Cup title, right?

A: Correct. This match is historic.

Q: More so than garbage?

A: Let's not go that far.

Read Aaron McFarling's Daily Sports Briefing on the Press Box blog at roanoke.com/sports.

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