Vlad’s power still a show worth a view

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THE SECOND PAGE -

Base­ball great Vladimir Guer­rero has been re­tired since play­ing for the Bal­ti­more Ori­oles in 2011, and with 449 ca­reer home runs he had plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to ad­mire his hand­i­work.

Even at age 42 and no longer in MLB play­ing shape, his power is some­thing to be­hold.

Vlad re­cently par­tic­i­pated in a soft­ball game, and un­sur­pris­ingly he hit a home run. But it’s what he did af­ter he hit that home run that is truly amaz­ing.

There are home run cel­e­bra­tions, and then there is Vlad’s home run cel­e­bra­tion, which is in a class all by it­self. Wear­ing 27 on his jersey, be­cause there is no other num­ber for the great Vlad Guer­rero, he smacked a soft­ball into obliv­ion and then stood and ad­mired it.

And then he turned and folded his arms across his chest and kept right on watch­ing his ma­jes­tic soft­ball home run. The thought to head to­ward first base didn’t cross his mind for quite awhile.

It’s a truly epic cel­e­bra­tion, which is avail­able for view­ing on the in­ter­net, but not in a showy way. There’s no jump­ing or cheer­ing. But that arm cross screams, “Bask in my ma­jes­tic power. I am the Im­paler.”

Hope­fully, this is not a oneshot deal for Vlad. His soft­ball cel­e­bra­tions and what he comes up with next could help get his au­di­ence through the dog days of sum­mer. Will he keep us­ing this cross-and-stare cel­e­bra­tion? Or will he come up with some­thing new? With Vlad, the pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less.

Time run­ning out

Mike Florio of Pro Foot­ball Talk on NBC Sports did an ex­tended pod­cast in­ter­view with sports agent Drew Rosen­haus on Fri­day. Dur­ing the 75-minute dis­cus­sion, Rosen­haus dis­cussed one of his more no­to­ri­ous clients: for­mer NFL pass rusher and Dal­las Cow­boy Greg Hardy.

Last seen on a foot­ball field par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Spring League, Hardy (ac­cord­ing to Rosen­haus) de­cided not to par­tic­i­pate in the Spring League Show­case held over the week­end in Cal­i­for­nia, fo­cus­ing in­stead on his MMA train­ing.

Yes, Hardy con­tin­ues to as­pire to be­come a mixed-mar­tial arts fighter.

He also as­pires to get an­other chance in the NFL, but Rosen­haus re­al­izes the win­dow is nearly closed for his client. If noth­ing hap­pens over the next month or so, it’s likely over for Hardy, who turns 29 later this month.

As to why Hardy con­tin­ues to find no in­ter­est in the NFL af­ter start­ing 12 games for the Cowboys in 2015, Rosen­haus at­tributes the sit­u­a­tion to a con­flu­ence of fac­tors, with the 2014 off-field in­ci­dent in which he was al­leged to beat a woman that trig­gered a paid sus­pen­sion for most of his fran­chise-tag year with the Carolina Pan­thers, and a four-game un­paid sus­pen­sion in 2015 and his is­sues while with the Cowboys com­ing to­gether to dis­suade the rest of the league from pur­su­ing Hardy.

Al­though the pro­duc­tion has been there at times for Hardy — with an 11-sack sea­son in 2012, a 15sack sea­son in 2013 and 6 sacks in 12 games in 2015 af­ter not play­ing for more than a year in 2015 — Hardy isn’t re­garded as be­ing good enough to jus­tify the po­ten­tial dis­trac­tions and pub­lic re­la­tions prob­lems that would flow from putting him on an NFL ros­ter.

A rash of in­juries to pass rush­ers could change that, in the­ory. But it may take plenty of in­juries to get down to Hardy’s name on the list of avail­able vet­er­ans.

AP/JEFF CHIU

For­mer Ma­jor League Base­ball player Vladimir Guer­rero spent a long time ad­mir­ing a home run he hit in a soft­ball game be­fore head­ing around the bases.

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