Dan Connolly: The worst and the best
New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte answers questions during a news conference before the start of spring training. (AP photo / February 18, 2008)
In March, I was among more than 100 journalists in Tampa, Fla., watching Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte squirm and dodge while explaining when and why he used illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
Pettitte had denied usage but came clean after he was accused in the Mitchell Report and mentioned as a user by a former trainer. Pettitte had a reputation as a good and honest guy, and his forced admission and orchestrated apology perfectly illustrated how pathetic the steroids scandal had become.
At that point, I wouldn't have had any problem with fans shutting down interest in a child's game.
But then, in October, I covered the elongated Game 5 of the 2008 World Series in Philadelphia, another baseball-created nightmare that started on a Monday and didn't end until Wednesday.
What I'll remember is the passion in Philadelphia that night as a city came together and celebrated its first pro title in 25 years. The energy was palpable and served as an important reminder why people invest so much in a sporting event. It justified the passion by those who hadn't given up on baseball.
Two completely different events that, in my mind, will forever be intertwined.
-- Dan Connolly