Wednesday, December 28, 2011
## The Yanks and the Red Sox are the only teams in MLB that have been hit with a luxury tax. The Yanks will be paying $13.9 million, the same as they pay a utility infielder.
## The rumor is that Carlos Beltran made another bid to become a Yankee. When he originally hit the free agent market back in 2005, he supposedly offered the Yanks a discount to sign him. The Yanks refused and Beltran went to the Mets. Beltran has now signed with the Cardinals as the Yanks have passed on him again. Why is that? Bad Breath?
## The Mets have asked starting pitcher R.A.Dickey not to climb Mt Kilimanjaro as part of a charity event. Dickey's career record is 41-50, which could make him the Mets #1 starter.
## A-Rod went to Germany for Orthokine Therapy on his knee, as recommended by Kobe Bryant. Oh, those are two guys you want to see together. The only difference between these two, is that A-Rod didn't have to buy the jewelry.
## The market on Prince Fielder seems slow. To help it along, Scott Boras has produced a 73- page book, listing the advantages of signing Fielder. I'd like to read it, but I guess I'll wait till the book signing at Barnes and Noble.
## You can't fool the bookies. The papers are full of stories about Syracuse's first big test, playing Big East rival, Seton Hall. The Hall is 11-1 this year and beat the Orange in Syracuse last year. It should be a tight game. By the way, the line on the game is Syracuse -15 1/2. Yeah, real tight game.
***THEY SAID IT***
"The fact that there has been little public buzz over Fielder means nothing. Boras operates in the darkness, amid smoke and shadows and illusion. No team interested in Fielder knows where it stands." -- Richard Justice, MLB.COM
"Researchers at a New York university say the leading cause of sickness over the festive season is overexposure to Christmas trees. A close second is Bowl games." -- RJ Currie
"Texas signs Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish but stipulates that he must change his name to Y'all Darvish." -- Mark Whicker, Orange County Register
"Ah, New Year's Eve in Times Square. For once a ball drops and no one's demanding it go to instant replay." -- Dwight Perry
"During her bus tour of Iowa, Bachmann has a strict “no questions” policy. From the debates, we know the candidates have no answers. Now there are no questions either." -- Brad Dickson
"Reports indicate the Toronto Blue Jays ended up 2nd in the bidding for the rights to negotiate with Japanese pitching sensation Yu Darvish. In that case, go with Texas, as the sushi from the Gulf is a step up from Lake Ontario." -- TC Chong
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
...but should have.
## A retirement party for Bud Selig. This would have been a nice present for me, too.
## A top-of-the-line starter for the Yanks. How long are we going to have to wait for Seattle to part with King Felix? I have a better chance to date Jennifer Aniston. (and I'm one of the few that hasn't).
## A major Bowl game WITHOUT a corporate sponsor.
## And while we're at it, baseball stadiums that aren't named after corporate sponsors. Want to play a game? Here's five stadiums and five cities. Match 'em up. (answers at the end)
A. Citizens Bank 1. Oakland
B. Progressive Field 2. Kansas City
C. AT & T Park 3. Baltimore
D. MinuteMaid Park 4. Detroit
E. US Cellular 5. Miami
## Anger management classes for Yorvit Torrealba, who was suspended for 66 games in Venezuela for striking an umpire. Imagine how much bigger the punishment would be if he had called him a name instead.
## An across-the-board reduction in ticket prices for sporting events. No, I haven't starting celebrating New Years yet, I'm just hoping.
## A gag for Rex Ryan. Norman Chad wrote: "I don't mind that Ryan always thinks he's going to win the Super Bowl, I mind that he act's as if he's already won the thing. Ryan is king of a small world -- his own." I didn't like Rex's dad, Buddy, either.
***THINGS THAT MAKE ME FEEL OLD***
Mike Lopresti wrote a column that included a list of momentous sports occasion. I've been around for too many of them.
## Bobby Knight won his 3rd National Championship at Indiana -- 25 years ago
## Joe Montana won his first Super Bowl -- 30 years ago
## Franco Harris' "Immaculate Reception" -- 40 years ago
## Wilt Chamberlain score 100 points in a single game -- 50 years ago
## Babe Ruth called his homer in the World Series (maybe) -- 80 years ago
And No, I wasn't around for that one.
You shouldn't have gotten any of them, because the cities listed were all wrong. My point is that no one should have even tried. It should have been obvious that nothing matched. For the record:
D-Houston (you get 1/2 point if you said Miami)
E-Chicago (and I don't have to tell you it's the White Sox, right all you Cub fans?)
***THEY SAID IT***
"On Christmas Eve, Brandon Jacobs cursed out Rex Ryan, who cursed back; on Christmas Day, Dallas fans booed and made obscene gestures at the NBA commissioner and Kevin Garnett choked a New York Knick. Who says Christmas and sports don't mix?" -- Brad Dickson
"The Orange Bowl has turned down a planned sponsorship deal with Camacho Cigars. When it came time to put it to a vote, bowl officials say, it was close but no ... nah, too easy." -- Dwight Perry (Wow, Dwight Perry showing restraint .)
Protests were threatened in Montreal because Canadiens coach Randy Cunneyworth doesn't speak French: "Nobody knew what Casey Stengel was saying, either, and nobody picketed Yankee Stadium." -- Len Berman
"As of last week, Nevada had sold a total of 10 tickets to the Hawaii Bowl. That's pretty bad when your fans are outnumbered by the guys in the huddle." - Brad Dickson
"Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin's locker-room argument with backup wideout Curtis Drake escalated into full-blown fisticuffs. Which certainly gives a whole new meaning to "hitting the hot receiver." -- Dwight Perry
"There are rumours the NFL will make Ndamukong Suh take anger management training. I just hope it's more than a one-step program." -- RJ Currie
"Derek Jeter reportedly gives each woman he sleeps with a gift basket of baseball items to remember him by. Which may tell you how memorable the sex was." -- RJ Currie
Hopefully, future postings will include more quotes from TC Chong. Thanks, Tony.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
TO ALL OF OUR FRIENDS AND RELATIVES OUT THERE.
WE THANK ALL THOSE CELEBS, WRITERS AND ATHLETES WHO PROVIDE US WITH GRIST FOR OUR MILL:
The Red Sox
TC Chong (a new guy)
and, of course,
Vod & Chad
Monday, December 19, 2011
** Prince Fielder is the biggest name still in the unemployed ranks. Scott Boras is his agent, so don't think Fielder's price is going down. Boras is the master at finding the "ODO" (One Dumb Owner). If Texas doesn't win the bid for the Japanese phenom, Yu Darvish, they may step into the bidding. Theo Epstein still has to make a big splash in Chicago and Washington sometimes comes out of nowhere, so Boras is still in play.
** Buster Olney cast his HOF ballot yesterday and had some interesting comments on past balloting. For example, in his first year of eligibility, 23 voters did NOT vote for Willie Mays. 11% of the voters didn't think Joe DiMaggio belonged, in his first year. Buster thinks Barry Larkin has the best chance of being elected this year.
** Next years voting will be ver-r-r-y interesting. Some of the names that come up: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza. At some point, all were mentioned in connection with PEDs. There will, of course, be the election of someone whose only claim to fame is one significant act, i.e. Bill Mazeroski's home run. I'm sure Curt Schilling will get votes for the "bloody sock." His stats aren't too bad, tho'. 216 wins and a career 3.48 ERA. An 11-2 post season record will help, too. I just hope they don't mention the sock on his plaque.
** I'm sure Barry Bonds is devastated over his "punishment." 30 days of house arrest, which should be more accurately labeled "mansion" arrest. And, he's appealing it! What's he want, 60 days mansion arrest? In the meantime, his trainer spent better than a year in prison, because he wouldn't testify against Bonds. Hopefully, Barry will send him a thank-you note.
***THEY SAID IT***
"I thought I was watching the movie "King Kong" on TV. An enormous hairy creature was climbing the Empire State Building. Turns out, it was actually the Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun doing offseason conditioning. Braun, the reigning NL MVP, reportedly tested positive for the highest level of synthetic testosterone ever seen in an MLB player. The last time this much male testosterone was seen in an athlete, it was an East German woman." -- Brad Dickson
"Breaking news : David Stern does not approve Kobe's divorce. Vanessa moves back in." -- Jerry Perisho
"Raiders fans are clamoring for QB Terrelle Pryor. Yep, the rookie third-stringer who has yet to take a snap in a game and is more of a project than that bicycle you will be putting together on Christmas Eve after seven eggnogs." -- Scott Ostler
"Dodgers manager Don Mattingly will don a dress and portray Mother Ginger in "The Nutcracker" for his hometown Evansville (Ind.) Ballet. In other words, a tutu pitch." -- Dwight Perry
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Before He gets to the "It's not about the money" aspect, as so many free agents do, lets make one thing clear. Albert never met with the Angels owner, Arte Moreno, never met with the GM, and never met with the manager, Mike Scioscia. He just accepted the offer. Apparently, meeting with the Angels accountant was enough. A method often used by the Yankees.
## Speaking of the Yanks, they have been so quiet this off-season, that the only headline on ESPN concerning the Yanks, has to do with their signing Freddie Garcia, which occurred almost two weeks ago.
## The Red Sox appear to be closing the door on re-signing their captain, Jason Varitek. They have signed a one-year deal with catcher Kelly Shoppach, who hit a whopping .176 last year.
Last year, at this time, I made fun of some of the bowl games. This year, Brad Dickson has done a far better job and I can't compete. See for yourself:
***THEY SAID IT***
"The L.A. Lakers reportedly tried to acquire Chris Paul in a three-team deal possibly involving Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol. And a pair of Kardashians to be named later." -- RJ Currie
"Reigning National League MVP Ryan Braun reportedly tested positive for so much testosterone that it was twice as much as had even been found in a major league player. Braun said he'll comment soon, but right now he's too busy shaving 19 times a day." -- Brad Dickson
"Congress has opened the way for horse meat to be sold for human consumption: "I recommend No. 4 from the last race at Hollywood Park." -- TC Chong
"Arte Moreno spent $331 million on just two players? Can we just start calling them the Los Angeles Yankees of Anaheim?" -- Dwight Perry
"The teams listed 6-7-8-9 in the final BCS rankings are not going to BCS bowl games. Teams ranked 10, 13, 15 and 23 are. Makes complete sense to us." -- Carl Steward
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Okay, sports fans. Here are your questions:
Who was the MVP of the National League this year?
Answer: Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers
Who was recently suspended for PED use?
Answer: Right again, it was the same Ryan Braun.
Braun has appealed his 50 game suspension, because he says the testing was flawed. Early reports indicate that he may have a case, but no player has successfully appealed a suspension for drug use. That's MLB for you; guilty even when proven innocent. We'll continue to watch this one.
***THE "NON-CONTACT" SPORT***
Cincinnati and Xavier had themselves quite a brouhaha (Annie-O's looking up that word), last night. 8th-ranked Xavier ran all over U of Cincinnati, 76-53, but Xavier's star guard, Tu Holloway, wasn't satisfied with that and engaged in a little trash-talking with the Cincy bench and Cincinnati player Kilpatrick until all hell broke loose with 9 seconds remaining. There will be multiple suspensions when the officials sort this one out.
Kudos to Cincinnati coach, Mick Cronin, who told reporters after the game, that he, "...literally took the jerseys off some of the players himself, and they wouldn't be allowed to put them back on until he determined who was worthy of playing for the Univ. of Cincinnati." Cronin says he also asked officials to start calling technical fouls on all the trash-talkers, to try and stem the hard feelings, but that never happened.
We'll probably see replays of this all day. Maybe players all over the country will learn something from this, but I doubt it.
***A BETTER WAY TO END A GAME***
#1 ranked Kentucky was beaten by un-ranked Indiana, 73-72, on a last-second three point shot by Christian Watford, followed by a court-storming by the Hoosier fans. You gotta love that kind of enthusiasm. Of course, I am always for John Calipari getting beat. Basketball the way it should be.
They mentioned early in the game, that it was being broadcast back to Kentucky to 53 radio stations and also to Indiana to 43 more stations. That's quite a fan base for both teams.
## So with #1 Kentucky getting beat and earlier, #2 Ohio State losing, is it possible that #3 Syracuse will be named #1 in the country on Monday? I'm not sure they deserve it quite yet, but it is exciting.
## The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl pits Illinois against UCLA, two teams with 13 combined losses, and is appropriate for participants that are obviously from hunger.
## Tim McCarver has been named this year's winner of the Ford C. Frick award by the National Baseball Hall of Fame, which is awarded to a broadcaster for "major contributions to baseball." I've never been a big fan of McCarver, but I will congratulate him for winning the award in hopes that it means he's retiring.
***THEY SAID IT***
"The rats are bigger than pigs out there in Wrigley Field. You want to take a look? I think the rats are lifting weights." -- Former Manager Ozzie Guillen
"Dwight Howard bolting Orlando for the Clippers would be like your wife leaving you for Arnold Horshack." -- Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel
Lindsey Vonn had a four-race win streak since splitting the sheets: "I heard 43 World Cup skiers filed for divorce this week." -- Charlie Gay
"Michael Jordan's future neighbors at an upscale golf development in Jupiter, Fla., are already complaining about his boisterous posse and cigar-butt littering on the course. If they think that's bad, wait'll he starts sticking his tongue out at them." -- Dwight Perry
A genetics group studying American males says men under six feet tall have more children. In a related study, 99 per cent of geneticists haven't heard of the NBA. -- RJ Currie
Just thought you should know: Manny Ramirez has been officially re-instated by Major League baseball. Let the bidding begin (Hah!).
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Usually you're officially a new member of a team when they announce you at a press conference. Not so in Boston. Bobby V is officially a Red Sox because he has publicly announced, "I hate the Yankees." Yeah, we get it. Can we all go home now? Think you hate them now, Bobby? Wait till the season starts.
***AROUND THE WINTER MEETINGS***
## As we stated earlier, Hanley Ramirez has refused to move to third to make room for Jose Reyes. He reportedly said he wants no part of an "...A-Rod demotion." Is he going to demand a trade? A man who hit .243 with 10 home runs last year and has a reputation of playing hard only when he feels like it, doesn't have a lot of cards to play. And, they're all low ones.
## Big Papi has accepted arbitration from the Red Sox. Good thinking on his part. No one will pay him what he'll get in arbitration and will certainly not give him a multi-year deal.
## The Marlins are really playing hardball. Pujols took too long to make up his mind on their 10-year, $220 million offer, so they pulled it and promptly made a deal for Mark Buehrle. Looks like Albert will end up back in St. Louis.
## CJ Wilson is still trying to pull off a long-term, big-money deal. No one seems inclined to offer one, so he may wind up back in Texas, who has expressed interest in retaining him. They may go to 5 years, which is a big change from previous offers.
## A lot of sports people seem to think that the Angels are ready to make a big money plunge into the free agent market, but no one knows where. We haven't heard too much about Prince Fielder lately. Maybe he's a candidate.
## Big rumors that the Yanks are shopping AJ Burnett hard. They're even willing to absorb some salary. Annie-O says she's willing to kick in a few bucks, too.
## The Yanks have won the bid on infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima, who will be used as a back up for Jeter & Cano. I hope he doesn't get used too much. I'll be looking up the spelling of his name all summer.
## Free agent Roy Oswalt, who's 34 years old and has a bad back, is looking for a three year deal. Good luck with that one, Roy.
## Sergio Mitre is a free agent and available. Just thought you might want to know. Here's hoping Brian Cashman doesn't find out.
***THEY SAID IT***
"Celtics guard Delonte West reportedly met with Nike to try to convince them to go into the condom business. Possible slogan? Don't just do it." -- RJ Currie
"Turns out two passengers sustained minor injuries in Ndamukong Suh’s car crash this past weekend. One described him as “going so fast, it was violent.” Bet that’s the last time anyone riding with Suh tells him to “step on it.” -- Janice Hough
"A man lost in an Alaskan storm says he survived on cans of frozen beer. Cracked a Bills season-ticket holder, "And that's unusual because ... ?" -- Dwight Perry
"Because the NBA season begins on Christmas, to kick things off the Minnesota Timberwolves will be losing to a team of elves." -- Brad Dickson
"The San Diego Chargers lost to the Denver Broncos in overtime Sunday. They're now 4-7. The Chargers' season has really blown up in their faces. I'm not sure if those are lightning bolts on their helmets or the Chevrolet Volt logo." -- Wendel Potter
"Well, the NFL today suspended Detroit Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh. For two games, he repeatedly slammed the head of a Green Bay Packer player into the turf and then stomped on the guy's arm. See, in the NFL, that gets you a two-game suspension. At Walmart, it gets you a $2 waffle iron." -- Jay Leno
"A Swedish lingerie chain is under fire for making female employees wear name tags displaying their bust size. Certainly sounds like a personal affront." -- RJ Currie
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Which brings to mind one of the inconsistencies of the sporting world, at least to me. Why is it that one of the country's major sporting events, college football, has no playoffs, but everyone else does? Professional sports leave no stone unturned when it comes to producing games that have a chance at championships hanging in the balance, games that produce income. But college football doesn't. No, they have coaches and computers determine who gets to play for the crown. Granted, you do get the occasional Cinderella (meaning 'unworthy') team winning the championship, such as this year's St. Louis Cardinals, but usually the team that wins, is one of 4 or 5 that deserve it.
But here's college football's big game that leaves a couple of really good teams without a chance to win it all. Why don't they have playoff games? Don't they need the money? They do have a kind of playoff system, but it doesn't matter if you win or lose, you're still not going anywhere. They're called "Bowl Games," and they are full of pageantry and history. ...They just don't count.
***THE WINTER MEETINGS***
Baseball's big off-season event is under way down in Dallas. So far, the big player is the Florida...excuse me, Miami Marlins. They have already signed closer Heath Bell for $27 million dollars and shortstop Jose Reyes for $106 million. They have met with the agent for Albert Pujols twice and are supposedly ready to offer a contract in excess of $120 million and all the Cuban sandwiches he can eat. The last time the Marlins did something like this, they won a World Series...and promptly sold or traded everyone away the following year. The Marlins now have to convince shortstop Hanley Ramirez to change positions. That didn't work so well when they suggested it last year. This could be fun: two guys standing at shortstop and no third baseman.
In the meantime, the Mets are down to one legitimate major leaguer on their roster, David Wright, whom they refuse to trade, claiming they're trying to win in 2012. They can't make a trade, because no one wants their players. They're trying to lure free agents by moving the fences in, but they'd have to move them to the edge of the infield dirt to make it attractive enough for the hitters, but then the free-agent pitchers won't go for it and the current staff is already on their knees saying a rosary.
The Yankees are quiet with GM Brian Cashman saying he's, "...not going to be stupid." No, he'd rather jump off a building than sign some of these high-priced free agents. And, in fact, he did jump off a building. ...Dressed as an elf. Cashman's nothing if not a man of his word.
This is the time of the year when all the awards are handed out, such as MVP, Cy Young, etc., or the debates start on the Heisman Trophy and the FIFA player of the year (That's soccer for those of you who don't have an Abby Wambach as a native of your town).
The University of Detroit Mercy has honored former coach Dick Vitale by naming it's basketball court after him. Wouldn't a megaphone have been more appropriate? ...Baby?
Former Cub third baseman Ron Santo has been elected to the Hall of Fame. Even though I feel his statistics are marginal, I offer congratulations to one of the finest gentlemen of the sport.
***THEY SAID IT***
"Former Canadian Football League stars Joe Kapp and Angelo Mosca, both 73, got into a brawl at a football luncheon. This may be our last chance to see two 73-year-olds fighting until that inevitable Evander Holyfield-Larry Holmes match." -- Brad Dickson
"The posted speed limit on Ole Miss campus is 18 mph - the jersey number of ex-Rebels football great Archie Manning. Let's be thankful Wayne Gretzky never played college hockey." -- RJ Currie
"Venus Williams nearly experienced a Janet Jackson Super Bowl moment in Milan when the left strap snapped on her self-designed tennis outfit while playing Flavia Pennetta. Exhibition match? No kidding." -- Dwight Perry
"A working definition of Bowl Selection Sunday: "The day when we find out which teams that shouldn't be going to bowl games are going to bowl games that shouldn't exist." -- David Thomas
"LSU vs. Alabama again, this time for the BCS championship? Really? The last time a 1 and a 2 produced so little buzz, grandma was watching Lawrence Welk." -- Dwight Perry
"Ndamukong Suh failed in his attempt to have his two-game suspension overturned. Guess NFL commissioner Roger Goddell decided to put his foot down." -- Janice Hough
In case you missed it, Manny Ranirez has reneged on his retirement and is again looking to catch on with a team. Bud Selig seems inclined to give Manny another chance, since he reduced his 100-game drug-related suspension to 50 games. Not that it matters, by the time the 50 games are up, Manny will have forgotten that he isn't retired.
In a related story, Pedro Martinez has officially retired. It took him a year and a half to determine what everyone else already knew.
These two guys just won't go away.
Thursday, December 01, 2011
** The Pirates are so enamored with Andrew McCutcheon that they're thinking of signing him to a long term contract. Of course, to the Pirates, 'long term,' means one year.
** Jason Varitek may be wearing a New York uniform next year. No, not THEM, the NY Mets, who are looking for a right-handed hitting catcher. Jorge Posada made a pitch for the job, but the Mets stressed the word "catcher," and promptly hung up.
** The Cubs are shopping Matt Garza, hoping to fill a number of holes in their lineup. Theo Epstein is counting on his new 'BFF,' Brian Cashman, to send him some actual major leaguers. He's interested in Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner, Eduardo Nunez and any one of the Yankees' phenom pitchers. At last report, Cashman hasn't stopped laughing.
** There is a report that some of the veteran Red Sox players are unhappy with Bobby Valentine being chosen as the new manager. Bobby V. is quite the disciplinarian, so there goes the beer and fried chicken. Colonel Sanders can't be too happy, either.
** ESPN analyst Keith Law claims than Yankee pitcher Ivan Nova's record is due, for the most part, to pitching behind the leagues best offense, and says he will fail to live up to his "inflated, superficial stats" in 2012. Wouldn't you think Nova's 3.70 ERA might have been a factor, Keith? Keith's title is 'ESPN Insider." Maybe they should let him out a little more.
** There appears to be more interest in the free agent market for Prince Fielder than Albert Pujols. One reason is age. Fielder is 28 while Pujols is 32, and there a growing belief that Albert may be even older than his 'official age. Here we go again.
Things sure are dull when the Yankees aren't throwing players and money at every free agent out there. Normally, free agents like CJ Wilson and Mark Buehrle would already be raking in millions of Yankee dollars, but Cashman is making life difficult for the rumor-mongers with his sit-tight attitude. Come on, Brian, have a heart. Have dinner with Scott Boras or something and give the writers a chance to earn a living.
***THEY SAID IT***
"MLB's minimum pay is going to $500,000 under terms of the labor deal. Remember when $100,000 was the highest baseball salary? Or to put it another way, I'll trade you five Mickey Mantles for one Eduardo Nunez." -- Len Berman
"The new MLB contract between the owners and players will reputedly include testing for HGH. Translation- The players have found something better." -- Janice Hough
"In the NFL on Thursday night, Poor Alex Smith. Yesterday he spent so much time on his back under large men, the 49ers QB was named an honorary Kardashian." -- Janice Hough
A-Rod is not happy about this:
"After lengthy and heated negotiations, L.A. Dodger home run wizard Matt Kemp has signed a new contract with the club. Under the terms of his new pact, he'll receive $160 million in salary and three Hollywood starlets to be named later." -- Bob Mills
"Arnold Palmer hit his 20th career hole-in-one at age 82. Afterward in the clubhouse he bought everyone a round of Metamucil." -- Brad Dickson
"Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will be out six weeks after breaking one of his thumbs. In a related story, the Broncos released Kyle Orton after six weeks of twiddling his." --RJ Currie
What the heck is going on in Syracuse? The Police Department isn't talking to the District Attorney, Bernie Fine isn't talking to anybody and Jim Boeheim is talking to everybody - out of both sides of his mouth.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Buzz Bissinger in The Daily Beast 11/29/2011
At least nothing until Sunday night, when he tried to save himself from the noose he had placed around his neck with his initial outrageous and ignorant defense of assistant coach Bernie Fine, fired by the university Sunday night after an internal investigation. Even then, Boeheim’s statement an hour after the firing reeked of contrivance and insincerity: a too-little-too-late apology to victims of child abuse. An expression of shock, shocking unto itself given his speed-of-light reaction to the initial charges against Bernie Fine made earlier this month by two alleged victims who spoke with ESPN. Money grubbers smelling fat civil-suit paydays—that’s the way Boeheim basically described them. Liars. Opportunists. Vermin challenging Fine’s career with Syracuse and the great reputation of the Syracuse basketball program itself (let’s ignore the early 1990s when the NCAA placed the team on two years’ probation for a series of recruiting violations in which Boeheim was criticized for not exerting better control of his program).
The allegations against Fine, when first reported by ESPN on Nov. 17, were admittedly muddled. It was clear that more investigation was needed. One of the alleged victims, 39-year-old Bobby Davis, told ESPN that Fine had first started molesting him in 1984 when he was in seventh grade and continued for years. But the lapse of time between the initial alleged contact and the present could not be ignored. It was also true that both ESPN and the Post-Standard newspaper of Syracuse had investigated Davis’s allegations in 2003 and had declined to report anything because of a lack of corroboration. But Davis, when interviewed on camera by ESPN, appeared honest and convincing. The sex-abuse allegations against Fine were further corroborated on camera to ESPN by a second victim, Mike Lang, who is Davis’s stepbrother.
Any idiot, particularly in the wake of the Penn State scandal and 40 counts of serial sex abuse of minors filed by the Pennsylvania attorney general against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, would have reacted to the allegations against Fine by offering no comment at all. Any idiot would have realized that nothing is beyond the pale in college sports today, including coaches preying on innocent minors.
But Boeheim reacted with his instantaneous defense of his assistant that was vicious, wrong-headed, ill-advised, offensive, and embarrassing to the university that he supposedly represents. It also showed that in the unparallel universe of college sports, entitled and arrogant and dangerous in what it hides and beholden to no one, the horror of Penn State didn’t even merit a cause for pause by Boeheim. Instead it was business as usual. My team. My players. My coaches. My rules. My realm. And any outsider who challenges that realm can go f--k himself.
“It is a bunch of a thousand lies that [Davis] has told,” Boeheim said to ESPN when the story broke. “He supplied four names to the university that would corroborate his story. None of them did … there is only one side to this story. He is lying. What are people looking for here? I believe they are looking for money. I believe they saw what happened at Penn State and they are using ESPN to get money. That is what I believe.”
It was abundantly clear that Boeheim—who started coaching Syracuse along with Fine as his assistant in 1976—instead of being concerned by the allegations, actually was offended by them.
His statements were pitiful, yet another major college coach invoking omertà and the ironclad rule that you never turn on your own. Until you are backed into a corner because of your reflexive protectionism and can no longer deny what seems all too plausible.
Over the weekend, a third man, 23-year-old Zach Tomaselli, stepped forward and told the Post-Standard that he too had been molested by Fine. ESPN’s Outside the Lines also aired a tape of a conversation Davis had with Fine’s wife in which she said, “I know everything that went on with him … Bernie has issues, maybe that he’s not aware of, but he has issues … And you trusted somebody you shouldn’t have trusted.”
The twin punch of the new revelations, along with a search of Fine’s house by police, resulted in his firing. An hour later Boeheim issued his statement, calling the latest allegations “disturbing and deeply troubling.” He said he agreed with the university’s firing of Fine. He said that the case needed to be fully investigated and that anyone with information come forward, just as he also acknowledged that his previous shark attack “might have inhibited that from occurring or been insensitive to victims of abuse.”
It was a beautiful statement. It expressed the essential requisites of remorse and regret. It was also full of s--t, a coach scrambling like a cockroach.
Should Boeheim be suspended for the rest of the season for what he originally said? Yes. Should he be suspended without pay? Yes, because his salary (a base of over a million) like the salaries of all major college coaches in basketball and football, cannot be justified under any rational academic setting. Let him rejuvenate Occupy Wall Street.
Should he be fired?
At least not yet. There is still much to sort out. In the tape recording of the conversation between Fine’s wife and Davis, it was revealed that they had a sexual relationship. As for the third victim, he himself is facing charges of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy, which inevitably raises questions about his credibility.
But if Fine did engage in acts of predatory sex on minors, it seems impossible that Boeheim would not have had some awareness of them. Coaches in basketball and football love to gossip. They soak up every rumor. A head coach knows what is being said about every member of his staff. He becomes aware of disturbing behavior. It is one of the prerequisites of his job.
Boeheim has acknowledged that he did know who Davis was, perhaps because he was a ball boy for the Syracuse team at one point, but also perhaps because of Davis’s assertion that he went on road trips with Fine and was once inside his hotel room when Boeheim entered. Boeheim said he has no recollection of ever entering Fine’s hotel room on the road in the 35 years they coached together. That sounds as credible to me as the deep regret he expressed Sunday night after initially describing Davis and his stepbrother as liars looking to make some bucks.
There are still facts to come out, and with the university, the Syracuse police, the U.S. attorney, and the media now investigating, more will come out. But Jim Boeheim should have a suitcase ready.
Given his résumé, which includes a national championship and 24 NCAA tournament appearances, I doubt he will have much problem finding another job if he does get axed. In the world of major college sports, a track record of winning eventually trumps a track record of lying. Somebody somewhere will want him.
Who knows, maybe there’s an opening at Penn State.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Green Bay at Detroit, the ONLY traditional game and Uncle Al's favorite. Since it's that special game, maybe they'll give him a two-day pass so he can really enjoy it.
The best to all from Vod, the lovely Laura, Annie-O and, of course, Chad
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Yesterday, Bobby Valentine interviewed with new General Manager, Ben Cherington. Some commentators are saying Valentine is the 'perfect fit' for the job. I was interested in why they thought that and Buster Olney had the best answer. He's the favorite of team president Larry Lucchino. The rumor is that Cherington wanted Dale Sveum but Lucchino didn't. Why? Well maybe Lucchino didn't want a manager whose name looked like a misspelling.
Being the favorite of the top man usually makes you the 'perfect' man for the job, a lesson which Cherington is currently learning.
***THE BOTTOM 10***
Brad Dickson writes a column every week devoted the the 10 worst teams in college football. It's all opinion, of course, but I can't help thinking that he makes a lot more sense than the BCS computer that 'picks' the top 10. Sometimes the list looks like the computer gave up and is using a random number generator. Brad, on the other hand, appears to have determined his list with some actual reasoning. For example:
1. Florida Atlantic (0-10): The Owls' nightmare continues with the loss to Troy. Not the school Troy, some guy named Troy.
3. Akron (1-10): If this keeps up, the Soap Box Derby may relocate to avoid being linked to the Zips.
In the interest of fairness, he also considers things other than just the teams, like Dancing With The Stars judges, Ashton Kutcher and Lee Corso's curse jar.
***NOW WHAT'S GOING ON?***
I usually shy away from stories about scandals and the like, since I write this blog for the amusement of any readers...and me. But this is puzzling. You can't help but read or hear stories on the Bernie Fine situation in Syracuse, and I'm not passing any judgements because I have no information but what I've read. However:
I heard that the Syracuse Police Department refused to turn over their files on the investigations into the incident to the District Attorney's office. How can they do that? Why would they do that? Does Bernie have that many friends?
***THEY SAID IT***
"Listening to all these NFL players introduce themselves and their college, I propose a new rule – You only get to mention your college or university IF you have actually graduated." -- Janice Hough
"In NAIA college football, Faulkner beat Union 95-89 in three overtimes. The game was tied at 75 at the end of regulation. Can we forget about LSU 9 Alabama 6 and make this the Game of the Century? Faulkner scored a record 14 touchdowns. The guy who does pushups after every TD should be out of traction come February." -- Brad Dickson
"The Saints beat the Falcons in overtime after Atlanta got stuffed going for it on 4th down at their own 29. Can't imagine a more questionable gamble - unless another guy agrees to marry Kim Kardashian." -- RJ Currie
"When I saw the AOL headline “Kris Humphries Breaks Silence on Divorce,” I dropped everything to read that baby ASAP. A nation needs to know." -- Norman Chad
"On ESPN Saturday, Lee Corso got excited and cursed live on the air. Having observed Lee Corso for much of his career I am shocked, mostly that this didn't happen circa 1989." -- Brad Dickson
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Let's further dilute the value of the whole season by setting up a situation where the pennant winning team has an off-day and finds itself watching the playoffs on TV. We just watched a playoff where the team that established itself as baseball's best, lost to an also-ran team who happened to get hot at the right time. Now that scenario is enhanced by adding ANOTHER wild card game that could force a more deserving team to the sidelines because of some fluke situation that should never occur.
Thanks, baseball. Hope the money is worth it. And it always is.
The Red Sox are thisclose to hiring Bobby Valentine as their new manager. Valentine is a strong-willed, micro-managing Tony La Russsa wannabe. If things don't work out and he can't change the tenor of the clubhouse, he can always revert to a disguise, like he once did when tossed out of a game by the umpires. This would be a big gamble for Boston: it will work perfectly or everybody will be huddled in the clubhouse drinking beer and munching on chicken wings.
More rumors are surfacing that Nick Swisher is being shopped by the Yankees. Nick's biggest drawback seems to be his inability to produce in the post season. If he's traded to a non-contender, this problem would never show up and the Yanks could get better than full value for him. Package him with one of the prized minor league pitchers and maybe Austin Romine and you could have an offer Seattle might find hard to resist and they might finally let go of King Felix.
This is one of the best lines of the year that was quoted in Dwight Perry's column.
"As part of their divorce settlement, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has to pay his ex-wife Jamie $131 million," noted Ian Hamilton of the Regina Leader-Post. "Through force of habit, the Yankees offered her $175 million."
***THEY SAID IT***
"Jonathan Papelbon signed with the Phillies ending seven years with the Red Sox. Guess he'd had enough of that chicken outfit." -- RJ Currie
"The Boston Red Sox say they won't raise ticket prices next season, but finding additional revenue won't be a problem. They'll just start charging players for beer." -- Dwight Perry
"JWOWW of "Jersey Shore" was patted down by TSA agents at an airport in Fargo, North Dakota. Not surprisingly, the patdown lasted over nine hours." -- Alex Shubert
"Matt Kemp signed a $160 million contract extension. The last person Frank McCourt gave that much money also took his house and the Ferrari." -- Alan Ray
"Iowa State stunned Oklahoma State in double overtime on Friday night. Of the 17 Games of the Year so far in 2011, this was my favorite." -- Brad Dickson
Friday, November 18, 2011
...AND IT SEEMED LIKE EVERY YEAR WAS THE SAME.
**The turkey had to be bought fresh from Plainville Farms.
**Getting up early to go out and buy Look Magazine to find out who was selected to the All-American team.
** Watching the turkey preparation: cutting a slit in the skin and stuffing salt, pepper, rosemary and a garlic clove in the slit, filling the bird with stuffing, then rubbing the whole bird with lard.
** My mom getting up at 4:00 AM to put the turkey in the oven (to insure, I guess, that it would be over-cooked).
**The pies were cooked on Wednesday: Apple, Pumpkin (for my Dad) and Pineapple (which I loved, but only if Aunt Kay made it).
**All the side dishes prepared and cooked and set aside in aluminum foil-covered dishes (at 9:00 AM in preparation for a 1:00 PM dinner...and no, they weren't hot)
**Uncle Al carving the bird, claiming for all the world that the best meat came from the backbone (over and over)
**Mom and Aunt Kay gnawing on the turkey neck like a pack of rabid dogs.
**My Dad pointing out "...the part that goes over the fence last."
**Just before the turkey came out, scrambling to get the Thanksgiving day bets down. Eight years old and my first bet - only 25 cents and I lost (Damn you, Texas A & M!) ...and Uncle Al kept my quarter, too.
**Gravy that took 25 minutes to prepare and was still thick and lumpy. You could use the leftover as Spackle.
**Judy feasting on all the black olives she could stuff in her mouth before Aunt Kay caught her.
**Too much food and everyone was stuffed. Then came the promise that next year, "We'll get a smaller turkey. 28 lbs is too much for seven people." (Ya' think?)
**Green Bay and Detroit on TV ("Always take Detroit and the points at home.") Thank you, Uncle Al.
**The adults playing cards" Primera, for pennies, and Aunt Alvena taking home all the money ("Gee, there must be $2.00 there, Alvena.)
**Going home with enough leftovers to feed the Third Army.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, everyone!
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
I'm kidding, of course. These are all serious people, seriously working their agenda. A serious matter for everyone, and I'll give this Silly Season all the seriosness it deserves, as Chad will with his. And at the end, we'll crown The NEWT of The Year! Who do you think Simon will vote for?
This post has not been proof read, spell checked or grammar checked. If you can figure out anything from the stuff my guys have blabbed, are currently blabbing or will soon blab, you'll have no problem with this.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
It's pretty sad that the biggest stories are negative ones. The Penn State scandal, the NBA lockout, and another apology by Rex Ryan, to name three.
Coach K (YOU spell his last name!) became the 2nd coach to amass 900+ career victories and will take the record (903) after the next game. Jim Boeheim isn't too far behind, but probably won't make 900 till next season.
The Green Bay Packers are still undefeated and the front office has got to be thinking, "Hmmm, guess we kept Bret Favre one year too long."
There is a rumor (It's the Silly Season, don't forget) that the Phillies are considering trading Cole Hamels. There goes Brian Cashman's "quiet winter."
This should keep me from getting too cocky. My friend Dwight Perry has over 300 friends on facebook. I have 39...and three of them are animals!
Jonathon Papelbon signed with the Phillies. I guess he got tired of chicken and wants to try the Philly cheesesteak.
The annual winter meeting for general managers takes place in Milwaukee this week. Scott Boras will begin receiving GM's as soon as he can get the kneelers in place. His throne was shipped in last week.
***THEY SAID IT***
"Polling company Poll Position conducted a survey in which 76 percent of Americans said they are doing just fine without NBA games. The other 24 percent said they were NBA players."
-- David Thomas, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"I'm not surprised that female kegler Kelly Kulick posed for ESPN the Magazine's "Bodies We Want" edition: "Who better than a bowler to be a pin-up?" -- RJ Currie
"The University of Oklahoma unveiled a statue of ex-Sooners football coach Barry Switzer this month. And in other regional news, pigeons in Nebraska plan to fly south for the winter this year." -- Dwight Perry
"Rex Ryan said the time-out called by Mark Sanchez near the end of the first half (with 17 seconds left on the play clock, thus leaving more time for Tom Brady to score), was “the stupidest thing in football history.” After watching the Falcons go for it on 4th and 1 at their own 29 against the Saints in OT, I’m not even sure it was the stupidest thing on Sunday." -- Janice Hough
"Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has been ordered to pay his wife $131 million. To cover this, the price of a Dodger Dog is now $6,000." -- Brad Dickson
Friday, November 11, 2011
The Hall of Fame talk has already started. As good a player as he was, I don't think his numbers make him a viable candidate.
## As we approach the Silly Season, I see a new trend developing. The Yanks are always mentioned when discussing any free agent. That's not new. Nor is the fact that the media always claim the Yanks are front-runners in acquiring any big name free agent. This year, however, Brian Cashman says the Yankees are NOT in hot pursuit of any big names. They are contacting a number of players agents but claim they are only paying "due diligence." What the heck does that mean? It sounds similar to wearing 'the patch' when trying to quit smoking. It will be interesting to see how long Cashman can hold out.
## I see Lindsay Lohan has been sent back to jail to start serving...wait, never mind. She's already out.
## Vod is on a little fall vacation down south, visiting friends and playing golf. Not to add any pressure, Vod, but did you hear about this little tidbit?
Arnold Palmer, playing a round this week at Bay Hill Golf Club in Orlando, Fla., recorded his 20th career hole-in-one en route to an 18-hole score of 79 ....at age 82.
And after reading about the 97-year-old bowling a 697, I don't feel so bad about retirement anymore.
## The list of contenders to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers is getting longer. Former players such as Steve Garvey and Orel Hersheiser have thrown their hat (cap?) in the ring, along with former owner Peter O'Malley and Mark Cuban. Now I hear that Rochester billionaire Tom Golisano, former owner of the Buffalo Sabres is interested. That would be a big change from Frank McCourt. Golisano bought the Sabres for $92 million and sold them eight years later for $189 million.
## Of course, the big news these days is the scandal at Penn State. Without going into all the details, I have to admit that everybody's hands are dirty in this one. While some may applaud the actions of PSU's board of directors, I have some issues with their actions, too. They fired Joe Paterno, head coach for 46 years, in a most embarrassing manner. They sent a messenger to Paterno's house, with an envelope containing a phone number for him to call. When he did, a board member told him over the phone that his services were no longer required. I'm not saying he shouldn't have been fired, but after 46 years, he should have been shown a little more respect. He didn't commit the act, not did he hide it. He simply didn't pursue reporting it as far as he could have.
***THEY SAID IT***
"Of course the Yankees are scared off by C.J. Wilson losing games in the playoffs; they’ve got enough guys of their own who can do that." -- Mike Lupica
"It may take a while to sort out the best offer for the Dodgers. Peter O'Malley's interested in buying the tea. Mark Cuban is interested in buying the team and Kim Kardashian is interested in marrying the team." -- Argus Hamilton
"The Obama administration says there is no evidence that extraterrestrials have ever contacted a human. OK, then, explain Dennis Rodman." -- Dwight Perry
"Lindsay Lohan was sentenced to 30 days in jail, but first she gets to finish her Playboy shoot? Some people manage an end run around the law, others pull the naked bootleg." -- RJ Currie
" Reading more and more about the Penn State case, seems pretty obvious the school should change their mascot from “Nittany Lions” to “Cowardly Lions.” -- Janice Hough
***THIS WILL NEVER FLY***
They keep talking about losing the NBA season and give us daily updates on how many "scheduled" games have been lost, so why not eliminate the season altogether? Lets start the first ever ALL-NBA tournament. Using last years standings as a base, schedule an elimination tournament including all 30 teams. A few best-of-three, series, a few best-of-five and then finish with the best-of-seven. The post-season is all anybody cares about, anyway. Including the players.
Nah. Makes too much sense.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Vacationing in Tampa Bay and enjoying the competition. Florida and Guatemala are currently in a heated Race to the Bottom. Guatemala is soon likely to be led by a hard-right storm-arm but Florida already has Gov. Rick Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio so they are safely ahead in the "Elected Thug"competition.
Guatemala leads in the "Most Under 30s Living in Poverty" and Florida, despite the best efforts of the aforementioned Scott and Rubio, is unlikely to challenge for the lead in this essential category. First, as we know, Florida is full of retired COPS (crazy old people) and Florida's under 30 population is very busy killing each other or leaving the state to distribute illegally obtained perscription drugs.
Finally, Florida trails badly in the "Infrastructure? We Don't Need No Stinking Infrastructure." competition. Unlike a Michigan city that recently not only turned off their street lights but ripped them out of the ground and sold them for scrap because they couldn't afford the light bill, a large part of Florida remains lighted - and Guatemala never has had street lights. USA! USA! USA!
When not watching the competition we are having a great time walking the beaches, hanging with old best friends, eating at fish shacks and dodging wacko drivers. Florida - a nice place to visit until the sea level rises.
Success with Honor
We all know about the depth of corruption that the tide of billions of dollars has washed over "big time" (read D1) college football and basketball, information that we typically choose to ignore when we trot off to the Dome or tune into the video feed of choice to watch our favorite gladiators. Now, Penn State is providing an opportunity for a clear look at the noxious lies, blind eyes and crininal acts that thrive in the bottomless sludge hidden by the ocean of cash. More entertainment brought to you by ABC, CBS, ESPN...2...U, NBC, TBS...
As you learn more and reach your own understanding of the circumstances, always imagine your ten year old son, grandson or neighborhood kid in a Penn State shower.
Meanwhile, as Penn State circles the wagons and hires the best lawyers and PR firms that television money can buy, the too-big-to-fail conferences are divvying up the country and future mountains of cash. Th SEC is buying branches in Syracuse and Pittsburg and the Big Ten, Twelve, Fourteen or whatever, may soon be big enough to host their own Sweet Sixteen. Regional and numeric designations in conference titles are moot. The money is not.
Act on your conscience and hit them where they hurt. Stay away from the arenas. Ignore them. Turn them off.
Wish you were here!
Monday, November 07, 2011
** As often happens when someone retires, their achievements are magnified out of proportion. Tony La Russa is currently being hailed and one the smartest, most knowledgeable and most meticulous manager ever. A cinch Hall of Famer, right? Well Bob Ryan says to wait a minute...there is a "but". This is the same man who claimed he had no idea that Mark McGuire was using steroids. He says he "...never even heard the rumors." Apparently no one ever said he had the best hearing.
** Bud Selig actually had to read his speech after the World Series. I guess he didn't want to forget who was playing.
** Melky Cabrera has been traded to the San Francisco Giants. With Melky's .305 batting average and 18 home runs, the Giant pitching staff is organizing a ticker-tape parade down Divisiderio Street, which is appropriate, since, like the Giant offense, Divisiderio Street is all downhill.
** The Orioles finally talked someone into taking the General Manager's job. 53-year-old Dan Duquette has a three year contract and a promise of psychiatric care at the club's expense.
** Free agent Jose Reyes is supposedly one of baseball's worst defensive shortstops. It shouldn't hurt his chances for a big contract. He'll field one ground ball and then become a permanent DH, effectively finishing the season with a 1.000 fielding average. Hey, it worked when he won the batting title.
** It's been almost two weeks now, and Theo Epstein has not produced one win for the Cubs. He has fired his first manager, however. He is also considering upgrading aging Wrigley Field, starting with "...those awful weeds growing on the outfield walls."
** Shaquille O'Neal has written his first book. Don't you think he should read one, first? This is the guy who, when joining the NBA (remember them?), said that he ALWAYs played on winning teams "...except for High School and College."
***THEY SAID IT***
"The new Nebraska-Iowa rivalry trophy is the Corn Bowl, a basin filled with corn. I'm sorry, you take a basin, fill it with corn, that's no longer a basin it's a trough. The teams are playing for a trough." -- Brad Dickson
"Stanford scored the winning touchdown in the third overtime last weekend to finally down USC 56-48. The game lasted longer than Kim Kardshian's marriage." -- RJ Currie
"The New York City department of health has issued grades to all of its restaurants based on cleanliness. The grades are A, B, C, and White Castle." -- Conan O'Brien
"And you thought the price of filet mignon was steep? The Yankees signed CC Sabathia to a five-year, $122 million deal, That works out to $400,000 per pound." -- Cam Hutchinson
"Sure, the Orioles poured hundred of pounds of bronze into that new Brooks Robinson statue.
But shouldn't it at least have a gold glove?" -- Dwight Perry
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Another "highlight" was a replay of a break-away dunk by a Syracuse Orangeman in a "pre-season" game against Division II Cal State-LA. Pre-season, exhibition, scrimmage, etc., are college basketball terms for games involving Div I teams against 'tin-cans.' So Syracuse has 1-0 record and Boeheim hasn't thrown his first tantrum yet.
## Other sports headlines I'm trying to get interested in:
** Tim Tebow is a starting quarterback. Why? No one knows. He runs the ball pretty good, but he's no leader and he can't throw. He's Michael Vick without the arm. Instead of playing, he should be following the coach around the sidelines, carrying a clipboard and taking sandwich orders.
** Former Rochester All-Everything basketball player, Shenise Johnson, is the AP pre-season, first-team All-American, yet failed to make the National Team that was chosen to go to China for a tournament. Three years ago, she joined a Miami Hurricanes team that won only nine games, and led them to the ACC title last year. Luckily, the people who picked the team is a closely guarded secret.
** MLB says Frank McCourt "looted" $190 million from the Dodgers, and is being forced to sell the team. He's asking for a ton of money for the team. How much? Well, even Mark Cuban has thrown his hands up and walked away.
** Cardinal manager Tony La Russa has announced his retirement. Actually, he retired two months ago, but the call didn't go through.
** Having driven across the country 4 times, I cringe every time I hear how ignorant high school students are when it comes to geography. I'm beginning to understand it. The Big East Conference has invited SMU (Dallas, Texas), Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and Boise St. (Idaho) to join the conference. You reap what you sow.
** The Name Game: The Oakland Raiders have signed wide receiver, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, over the strong objections of the teams equipment manager, who says they won't have enough room for a number on the back of his jersey.
** In an attempt to lure more fans into the stadium, the NY Mets have lowered their ticket prices for the 2nd year in a row and are moving the fences closer to home plate and also reducing the height of the walls, to make it easier for their hitters. Maybe they should consider putting a better team on the field. ...Nah!
** A local bowler just rolled a 697 series. Not that big a deal, until you find out that the bowler, Tommy Pisano, is 97 years old.
** I'm not a big fan of college football, but there is an impressive game scheduled for this weekend: #1 LSU at #2 Alabama. My very impressionable wife, Annie-O, rooted for Iowa St. for two years, after we accidentally came across a bus taking fans to a game at a rest stop in Iowa. After watching them throw a football around, chanting football cheers and everyone decked out in red & gold, every Saturday was "Go Cyclones" Saturday.
Last year we stayed in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on a game day. so now I'm hearing "Roll 'Tide" in my sleep.
** The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees are playing the entire season on the road while the stadium is being refurbished. 37 of the "home games" will be played in Rochester and seven more will be played in Dwyer Stadium in Batavia, NY, home of the famed Muckdogs. A package of 7 tickets for box seats will cost $50, which, in Yankee stadium, will get you very little change after you buy a hot dog and a beer.
**THEY SAID IT***
"Calling Frank McCourt a 'looter' is a little like calling Hurricane Katrina a gust of wind." --Jerry Perisho
"Northern Illinois 63, Toledo 60. Did the NCAA start their basketball season without telling us?" -- Janice Hough
"A soccer game in Romania was halted after a fan punched a player on the field, breaking his cheekbone, and others pelted the pitch with flares over a controversial call. Guess the "Please Check Your Weapons At The Door" policy could use a little work." -- Dwight Perry
I had one trick-or-treater in a uniform holding a dangling, broken telephone. I said "Who are you?" He said, "Tony La Russa." -- Brad Dickson
"A suggestion for St. Louis reliever Mike Rzepczynski should he ever meet Finnish curler Markku Uusipaavalniemi. Buy a vowel." -- RJ Currie
"A photo surfaced of Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots posing topless with a porn actress wearing his jersey. Beats the heck out of any time I played shirts and skins." -- RJ Currie
"Two LSU starters have been suspended for Saturday's game after failing a drug test. The team leads the SEC in holding. And that's just in the locker room." -- Comedy writer Alan Ray
Friday, October 28, 2011
My point is that without context, most baseball plays don't mean too much. Last night, the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals played one of the most exciting World Series games ever. If you missed the game, the only way you would know that it was an exciting game was because ESPN told you it was. They didn't show it to you. Oh, they showed all the big plays, with the barest of set-ups and moved quickly on to the next play without delving into the reactions or the impact on the game as a whole.
First of all, there were a total of 5 errors in the game. Did we see any of them? Nope. A player gets picked off third base with the bases loaded. Did we get to see that? Another big no. ESPN didn't even start to show "highlights" until the 7th inning, and one of the analysts even said, "This game really started in the 7th inning." Oh, really? What about the 11 hits, 8 runs, 5 errors and a crucial pick-off play that occurred in the first 6 innings?
It isn't like they are pressed for time. They have all that fruit salad advertising the fact that you're watching ESPN (in case you don't know what you tuned into) and a flash of all the special plays you are about to see, the flash being slightly faster than the real thing and containing only slightly less info than the "full" highlight. Recap the game. Build on the excitement, showing this rise and fall of the emotions in the crowd. What ESPN actually does is like having a stripper walk on stage completely nude, doing one spin, and walking off. Action and no drama, right? It's the same thing with their coverage.
The ESPN producer who puts these recaps together, ought to be forced to watch "Howdy Doody" reruns until he screams in pain. But let's show him highlights of the show first.
## I don't think Janice Hough is a big fan of Tim McCarver.
"After both listening to game six in the car, and watching it on television later, I have to hand it to Tim McCarver. He is doing as much as anyone in the game to promote the tradition of baseball on the radio."
"There's a work stoppage in Greece. According to experts this is the biggest work stoppage since the one staged by the Boston Red Sox in September." -- Brad Dickson
(Yeah, I'm still enjoying this one.)
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
I've heard all I wanted. None of La Russa's story rings true. None of it. A manager who is noted for being the best (worst?) micro-manager in sports, a manager who has already planned who his pinch-hitter is going to be in the seventh inning of game seven, doesn't know who is warming up in his own bullpen? A bullpen coach who can't distinguish between the names of Jason Motte and Lance Lynn? What's happening?
The crowd noise was too high. The phone was static-y. I couldn't see the bullpen. I slurred the names. ...oh yeah, and my dog ate my lineup card. I had better excuses for not doing my homework in 1st year Latin.
It's been two days, the lies haven't changed, only enhanced, and humorless Tony La Russa is telling jokes. Let's face it. we're never going to find out the real story. ...until bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist retires.
## Red Sox pitcher John Lackey is having Tommy John surgery on his arm. Too bad there isn't a tendon replacement surgery that would repair his personality.
## Now the Red Sox can retaliate for having the Yanks force the Sox to pay dearly for Carl Crawford, by feigning interest in CC Sabathia. Maybe it'll really be serious interest.
## Not to say that superstars get treated differently, but Albert Pujols gets to put plays on all by himself? Without checking with Tony La Russa? The above-mentioned, tight-assed, micro-managing Tony La Russa? I know I said that La Russa likes to hog the headlines, but this is getting ridiculous.
## The Yanks hold a $10.5 million option on Nick Swisher, and it's being discussed in great detail. There has been a lot of talk about the Yanks failure to hit in the post-season, and Swisher is a big part of that problem. The word is that Nick feasts on 2nd tier pitchers and falls apart when the big boys step on the mound.
***THEY SAID IT***
"The Boston Red Sox announced that they are adding several more sections of alcohol-free seating sections next year, starting with the dugout." -- Marc Ragovin
"An investigation has confirmed that several popular pitchers with the Red Socks drank beer during games last season. They would have gotten away with it, too, if the manager hadn't noticed the Jacuzzi they were soaking their arms in had a head on it." -- Bob Mills
(Has everyone noticed that I'm having a lot of fun with this story?)
"Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall, who talked tough last week and then botched two potential touchdown catches against the Jets, missed Wednesday's practice because of a quadriceps injury. Veteran Fish-watchers suspect he did it trying to pull his foot out of his mouth." -- Dwight Perry
"Rick Perry said he wants to eliminate the three million word tax code. If he succeeds about the only time you'll hear three million words is when Tim McCarver is describing a routine fly ball to the outfield." -- Brad Dickson
"A high school in suburban Chicago is punishing students who ask for more than three passes per semester to use the restroom. When reached all the students were too busy hopping up and down to comment." -- Brad Dickson
Monday, October 24, 2011
***REALLY, JOE? REALLY?***
Joe Torre just heard that there may have been drinking going on in the Red Sox clubhouse. Now I'm sure we'll get to the bottom of this. Joe has already commented to the Boston Globe: "I know I have plans just to talk to some people." Way to go go, Joe, we don't want to move too fast on this. "It's something we're going to look at and find the best way to approach it, let's put it that way," he said, according to the paper. "That's one thing where I feel comfortable..." Right, not solving the problem, just deciding how to investigate it. Then we'll see some action (Hah!). He may even go so far as to (Gulp!) ban beer from the clubhouse. "If we do happen to bar alcohol from the clubhouses, you have to understand the intent of this thing and what it looks like." Whatever that means.
Gosh, wait till he hears about the possible drinking in the dugout.
***WAIT A MINUTE, IT'S NOT 'SILLY SEASON' YET***
The Yankees are hard at work scouting the latest Japanese super-star, pitcher Yu Darvish. I guess they figure that Kei Igawa needs a roommate down in Trenton. This is expected to be another one of those $50 million auction bids for the right to negotiate with him. That's an awfully expensive way to steal the headlines back from Theo Epstein's defection to the windy city.
***OH YEAH, THE ACTUAL 'GAME' OF BASEBALL***
If you are not among the few people watching the series (along with Vod), the Rangers have tied it up at two games apiece. MLB is not happy with the low ratings the series is getting, and their reasons (excuses, actually) are many. The participants are from small market areas, the teams with the best records aren't playing, etc.
One sports writer, Mike Lupica in fact, has an interesting take on this. We've already had four "world series" before we got down to two teams. Remember when the winning team from each league, and therefore the teams with the best record, played for the championship? From the time the teams clinched until the WS started, there was the usual buildup in the press to whet the appetite for the Championship Series. Now, we get that buildup four times before we have the final series and the momentum is long gone. Plus, as happened this year, the two 'best' teams aren't even in it. And don't give me the "they didn't earn it" argument. The Phillies earned it all year. St Louis just happened to start playing over their heads at the right time.
I think Lupica has a good point.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
***OH, THE HORROR!***
Want to hear a scary story? On Sept. 1, as The Mag began work on the Boston issue, the Red Sox were in first, Theo Epstein was a genius, Terry Francona was beloved and Jonathan Papelbon was a lock in the ninth. Never had we devoted an issue to one city before. What could go wrong? Cut to: A nightmare collapse. A closer chokes. A team once called the Devil rises from the dead. Theo and Tito disappear. Fans stumble down Yawkey Way like zombies, mumbling of bloody socks.
The moral? Curses are real. So, um... sorry about that, Boston.
***THEY SAID IT***
"A truck carrying more than 2,000 chickens overturned in northern California.
Red Sox pitchers are reportedly inconsolable." -- Dwight Perry
Comedy writer Alan Ray, on pitch counts expected to exceed 200 at World Series games: "And those are just the Fox promos."
Oh, by the way, the Rangers have tied the series by beating the Cardinals 2-1 last night.