Tuesday, February 28, 2012


After a very sparse winter as far as posting to this blog, the flood gates have opened. Let's dive right in.

## In 2010, Joel Zumaya was considered to be among the hardest throwers, if not THE hardest thrower, in baseball, but after injuring his arm, he missed all of 2011. He has come back this year, but in his first day in camp, in fact his first outing on the mound, he threw only 13 pitches before his elbow exploded again. He is now considering retirement at age 27. Some things are just too painful to write about.

## Terry Francona has added his two cents on the Red Sox beer issue, saying he thinks it's just a PR ploy and that it may backfire. His point is, that sometimes the little perks that you allow the players get out of hand, and that it might be better to regulate them rather than eliminate them all together. Current manager, Bobby Valentine, actually had a good response, "At ESPN, he's paid to say things. Here, we're paid to do things." Not too bad, Bobby, saying in effect, you can say what you want and move on, but I have to live with my decisions.

## Bobby Abreu has made his unhappiness with the Angels very public, but now says he's "...resigned to his new role." I wonder what his 'new role' is? "Nice to have you here, Bobby. Pick up all those bats will you?" I still don't think this is going to end well for Abreu.

## Now, there is speculation that the Rangers Josh Hamilton will declare for free agency after the season. As always, when a high profile player goes the free agent route, sports writers start predicting that he'll end up with the Yankees. Yes, the Yanks have Nick Swisher probably going to declare his free agency this fall, so they may have an opening, but a source close to the Yankee front office says that's Hamilton's too dangerous a gamble, considering his off-the-field problems with alcoholism. We'll probably hear the rumors about Tori Hunter joining the Yanks, too.

## Well, that didn't take long. The Yankee's newest acquisition, David Aardsma, didn't even make it to camp before the Yanks put him on the 60-day DL. Who does he think he is, Nick Johnson? Apparently, he still has rehab issues with his Tommy John surgery.

## Mark Teixeira says he going to change his style when batting left-handed this year. He says he got caught up in trying to hit balls into the short porch in right field, and that teams took advantage by putting an extreme shift on him. This year, he says he's going to try to hit to all fields, batting lefty, and may even start to (gulp!) bunt. With your speed, Mark, I don't think that's such a good idea. We might see a runner thrown out at first by a left fielder for the first time in history.

## Jason Varitek has decided to retire. As with Posada, there is already a discussion as to his possible induction into the Hall of Fame. I consider Posada only a marginal candidate for the Hall, and his career numbers are much better than Varitek's. Buster Olney has a great idea. On opening day, the Red Sox should have Tim Wakefield throw out the first pitch to Jason Varitek. This would be terrific PR, Boston.

## D & C columnist, Bob Matthews, is at it again. He says the Angels are his choice to be the only team to win 100 games this year, because of the addition Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson. The Angels won 87 games last year, and they have a good team and a very good manager in Mike Scioscia, but winning 13 more games? I don't think so. There isn't enough protection in the lineup for Pujols and Wilson didn't seem to impress too many scouts during his free agency. I believe they'll win the AL West, but not 100 games. Annie-O says Detroit can do it and she's got a better shot of being right.

## It seems a foregone conclusion that Kentucky and Syracuse have locked down two of the four #1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, but there are seven possibilities for the last two spots. Kansas, Duke, Michigan State, North Carolina, Marquette and Baylor, can all make strong cases for their inclusion into that group. I think it will come down to the first three I named: Kansas, Duke & Mich. St. and will be determined by the results of their conference tournaments.

"The Temple Owls are in talks to join the Big East. This is shocking. Unlike new schools SMU, Houston, Boise State and San Diego State, Temple, situated in Philadelphia, actually is in the East." -- Janice Hough
"Broadneck High School of Annapolis, Mid., lost its Anne Arundel County girls swimming title after it was discovered that a team member violated a rule by shaving at the site of the meet — and any points she scored were forfeited. On the bright side, the Bruins became the first swim team ever credited with a quality start and a blown shave." -- Dwight Perry
"Fans want Israel to postpone attacking Iran until Madonna performs there in May. This is getting a little out-of-hand. Last April, they tried to delay major league baseball's opening day until she had dated all of the Yankees." -- Bob Mills
"There is overemphasis on 40 times for NFL quarterback prospects: "Peyton Manning and Tom Brady can't outrun the cast of 'The Biggest Loser,' and they've done pretty well for themselves." -- Bob Molinaro

[Editor's note: This site sometimes does strange things with the alignment of paragraphs and lists. I have to make some weird adjustments in the edit mode to make it look right when I publish. Yesterday, neither I, nor my "editor," Annie-O, checked out the the published version so part of the 'Nicknames' section got messed up, specifically the Iona and St. Mary's Gaels part. So if that made no sense to you, please re-read it now after I've corrected it. Sorry - Chad.]


Monday, February 27, 2012


So far, it's just warm-ups, drills and calisthenics in the training camps. Actual games won't start for a few more days. So while we wait, let's talk about other things.

For the first time in it's 54-year history, the Daytona 500 was postponed due to "crystal-lization" of the airwaves. Actually, Billy Crystal and the Oscars had nothing to do with it, the race was postponed because of rain. For those who are interested, the race is scheduled for noon today on the Fox Network. Don't make the popcorn yet, there is an 80% chance of rain.

After a lengthy, cliche-filled statement a couple of days ago, Ryan Braun does not appear to have convinced many people of his innocence. In a poll conducted by ESPN, only 18% of the 130,000 responders said they were convinced that he did nothing wrong. Of course, this means nothing to Michael Smith of ESPN, who doesn't believe in the 'court of public opinion.'

I really enjoy team nicknames and sometimes mascots. With the NCAA Tournament looming, I thought I would expose you all to some nicknames you'll probably be hearing in the next month.

I'm sure everyone is familar with the usual Wolfpack, Spartans, 'Gators, Hoyas, Blue Devils Tigers, etc., but how about some of the rarer names; the obscure, the funny and the just plain strange, and their derivation?
Murray State Racers - Does this team run a lot of fast breaks?
Akron Zips - Fast breaks or missed shots?
Drexel Dragons - Might be something to do with their breath.
Xavier Musketeers - No, they don't wear hats with big round ears, that's a different spelling.
St Mary Gaels & Iona Gaels - I hope these two teams don't end up playing each other, or we'll see some play-by-play announcers heads exploding.
By the way, a Gael, according to Google, is a person who speaks a Celtic language. Before you start practicing your "Bahston" accent, we're talking about the Scots and Irish from north of England, not the basketball team.
St Louis Billikens - A Billiken is a charm doll, sometimes shown with pointed ears, and looking somewhat like a buddha. I hope the team is in better shape.

So there you have some of the more interesting names. Enjoy them while you can, because some of the teams may be one-and-out. The nicknames may also disappear as affiliations evolve. The Syracuse Orange used to be referred to as "The Saltine Warriors," because of the proximity of a salt mine or two. The mining petered out and in an attempt to be more politically correct, the character was eliminated. Or perhaps it was the threat of a lawsuit by Nabisco.

"Supermodel Bar Refaeli says she was pleased to meet Rafa Nadal on a recent photo shoot. There's an intro you'd want to be sober for: Refaeli, Rafael; Rafael, Refaeli." -- RJ Currie
"Red Sox have just banned beer from the clubhouse. Fans may notice Boston’s position players & starting pitchers making frequent visits out to the bullpen this year." -- TC Chong
"The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue is out. How is this edition different than a feature on the Sacramento Kings? The Kings have more boobs." -- Alan Ray
"Beyoncé and Jay-Z were spotted at a Knicks game this week. They found a last-minute babysitter - the guy who used to play point guard before Jeremy Lin." -- Jimmy Fallon
"Fireworks Night at Marlins games? Might be every night, what with combustible manager Ozzie Guillen and flammable hurler Carlos Zambrano in Miami's mix." -- Dwight Perry
"Manny Ramirez will wear uniform No. 1 with the A's this season, and somewhere, Billy Martin is punching the lid of a box." -- Carl Steward, Oakland Tribune
"I'm not impressed that Nike founder Phil Knight will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Since when do shoe salesmen get into the Hall of Fame? Who's next — Al Bundy or Buster Brown?" -- Mike Bianchi
"Who says you can't take it with you? Raiders owner Al Davis died in October. Oakland doesn't have first-, second-, third-, fourth- or seventh-round draft picks this April." -- Dwight Perry


Sunday, February 26, 2012


** The Ryan Braun story won't stop. Braun is now basically saying that his sample was "tampered with." He is in effect accusing Dino Laurenzi, Jr., who's had years of experience handling the drug testing for athletes in 3 sports, of tampering. Braun has even suggested that he might sue someone. That would be interesting, since Braun would have to come up with actual evidence of tampering.
** In a related story, Michael Smith, of ESPN, stated today on the "Sports Reporters," that he absolutely believes that Braun is completely innocent. When asked why, he said the commission exonerated him. Bob Ryan couldn't sit till while claiming loudly, "They just overturned the suspension. They didn't exonerate him. He's still guilty in the court of public opinion." Smith said, "The court of public opinion doesn't mean anything." "It means a lot, said Ryan, but Smith obviously didn't understand.
** Bobby Valentine and the Red Sox have ruled that beer will not be allowed in the clubhouse this year. When asked, the players supposedly said, "So what? They didn't say anything about the dugout."
** A-Rod does not want to be just a DH. He says he can still be a factor at third base. Well, that's true, but the Yankee front office feels that playing in the field increases his chances of getting hurt. They want his bat, not his glove.
** Keep your eye on a 20-year old outfielder who will probably be playing centerfield in triple A Scranton this year. His name is Mason Williams and he is being touted by scouts as the best prospect in the Yankee system and is mentioned in every trade talk by opposing teams, even though he's only gotten as high as Single A so far. The Yanks will have none of it.
** Here's a bit of good news for the fans. The Mets are reducing the price of the Subway $5 footlongs in the stadium from $14 to $11.50. Wow! I'll take two.
** Also on the "Sports Reporters," Bob Ryan said for fans not to wait for March Madness, some of the best games of the year are being played right now. Teams are fighting to get into the 'Big Dance,' and they are going all out. Michael Smith, who had already distinguished himself as having no understanding of sports, immediately disagreed, saying the only thing that counts was trying to win the championship in the tournament. Ryan tried again to explain: "I'm talking about sport - competition - effort. Don't you see, that that is what athletics is all about?" Yes the NCAA's are important, but the games that are being played now are just as much of a showcase of the sport as any that are played all year." Smith still had no idea. Hopefully, this will be his last appearance.
** The Oakland A's are still waiting for a ruling on their proposed move to San Jose. It's being held up by the San Francisco Giants, who are claiming 'territorial rights' to the San Jose area. Now let me get this straight. Oakland is located about 12 mile from the center of San Fran, right across the bay. San Jose is some 40 miles south of San Fran and Oakland. How is this worse for the Giants? 'Bungling Bud' Selig hasn't been able to resolve this in two years. The A's suffer from playing in the worst baseball park in America, including Fort Ontario in my hometown of Oswego, NY. Do something, Bud.
** This story tickled me. AJ Burnett has said he wants to be "unstoppable" this year. You were unstoppable last year, AJ. You led the majors in wild pitches with 25, your third time leading the league. I'm sure all three Yankee catchers thought you were unstoppable.
** The latest quote from Josh Hamilton is "My loyalty is here." His last quote was, "The Rangers will get no home town discount during free agency." Apparently, this is what passes for loyalty these days.

"Allen Iverson has been offered a contract to play indoor soccer. Considering how Iverson feels about defense, look for the first 39-2 soccer score." -- Brad Dickson
"The reason behind actress Reese Witherspoon's visit to the Bronx Bombers' spring-training camp: "The Yankees are taking a look at her as a possible Alex Rodriguez girlfriend." -- David Letterman
"Police in Taiwan arrested seven people for allegedly kidnapping dozens of race pigeons — a popular pastime for gamblers there — and holding them for ransom. Unfortunately for the perps, they didn't snatch the stool pigeon." -- Dwight Perry
"Danica Patrick says the problem with her $200,000 Lamborghini is it has no cup holders. There's a cautionary tale for the millions of us one paycheque away from sleeping in a refrigerator box under a bridge." -- RJ Currie
[CP's note: Danica Patrick has been described as racing's answer to tennis' Anna Kornikova - known more for celebrity than ability. She had better win something soon or her 'celebrity will get old fast.]
"With Manny Ramirez back in baseball with the A's, are some sports fans going from Linsanity to Manny-ic Depression?" -- Janice Hough
"Massachusetts police arrested a motorist for throwing a handful of pennies at a driver in the car next to him at a red light. He's been charged with assault and impersonating a CFL general manager." -- RJ Currie
"New Dolphins coach Joe Philbin has completed his 21-member coaching staff: Miami is the only team with an assistant coach in charge of counting other assistant coaches." -- Greg Cote
"8 million dead people are still on voter-registration rolls. And 12 of them are on the roster of the Charlotte Bobcats." -- Mike Bianchi


Friday, February 24, 2012


"Truth was on my side," says Ryan Braun. Sure, if Truth, Obfuscation and Gobbledygook is the name of your law firm. So he beat the drug suspension. As we have seen with O.J. Simpson, it doesn't mean that people will now think of him as innocent. The Simpson verdict ruined it for those people who are wrongly charged with any kind of wrong-doing, especially if they have a large income that allows them to hire an impressive array of legal representation. That may help you in the courts (or a suspension review board), but it doesn't help you in the court of public opinion.
I hear the words, "...improper chain of custody of the evidence..." and I cringe. Especially when it seems there were two other samples from other people in the same package that came out clean. Ryan Braun, of course, feels completely justified. "It was all B.S.," he said.
What does it all mean? Mike Lupica said it best: "He wasn’t exonerated. He was acquitted. There’s a difference." Maybe our legal system is too fair.

Joe Torre's group has notified MLB that they are no longer interested in bidding for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Supposedly the reason they gave was that Frank McCourt refused to include the parking lot in the purchase agreement. I guess Joe figured it was too long a walk from the street.

The 5th spot in the Detroit Tigers rotation appears to belong to Duane Below. With a name like that, he better not make too many mistakes. I have three or four lines all ready myself.

***AND IN TEXAS--***
Yu Darvish says this whole media situation swirling around him, ..."is not normal." For $110 million, yes it is, Yu.

who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead, And when she was good, she was very, very good, and when she was bad, she was horrid." This seems to be the mantra of the Syracuse basketball team. Long ago, the book on Jim Boeheim was that he wasn't a good game coach. It will kill this team in the NCAA's if that's true. We saw two different teams playing South Florida on Wednesday. The "very good" and the "horrid." Which brings up the question, who will be going to the tournament?

"NASCAR driver Danica Patrick told reporters not to call her a sex symbol: Was it a) during a break in qualifying for Sunday's Daytona 500. Or b) immediately after a bikini change at her latest photo shoot." -- Dwight Perry
"About 6,000 quarters were stolen from a Lincoln car wash. Police are on the lookout for anyone who tries to pay their mortgage in loose change." -- Brad Dickson
"One of the awards at this week's Westminster Dog Show went to Martha Stewart's chow chow named Genghis Khan. If Martha wanted to name the dog after a ruthless tyrant, she should have gone with 'Martha Stewart'." -- Jimmy Fallon


Thursday, February 23, 2012


The Yanks have finally signed Eric Chavez to a one-year deal. That should finalize things, but wait...what about veterans Bill Hall and Russell Branyan? Joe Girardi says both will have every chance to play their way onto the club. Which means I probably have a chance, too.

The Yanks have also signed 30-year old David Aardsma (Yes, spell-check, that IS correct) to a minor league deal. He's recovering from Tommy John surgery and won't be available until late in the season. The Yanks are paying him $500,000, their equivalent of a 'cup of coffee.'

Oakland A's pitcher Brandon McCarthy is on the cover of ESPN The Magazine, with his beautiful wife, Amanda. McCarthy says he is 'mystified' as to why they wanted him on the cover. We know why: look behind you at the picture, Brandon. She's beautiful AND sexy (Sorry, guys. Close but no bikini.).

Albert Pujols is objecting to an Angels marketing plan which shows him in an Angels uniform with the words, "EL HOMBRE." He says it's out of respect for former St. Louis Cardinal Hall of Famer, Stan "The Man" Musial. That's a nice gesture, Albert, but the people who understand what 'El Hombre' means, probably won't know who Stan Musial is.
Personally, I consider Musial to be the third-best left-handed hitter ever, behind Ted Williams and Babe Ruth.

Correction: I said yesterday that Bobby Abreu said, "Play me or trade me." What he actually said was, "Play me EVERY DAY or trade me." Even worse.

"The University of Akron hired Jim Tressel as an administrator. Akron, here's your first clue it was a bad hire: Approximately two-thirds of headlines reporting the story included the phrase "disgraced former coach." -- Brad Dickson
"A proposal calls for replacing the Fontenelle golf course in Omaha with a walking trail and lake. I'd like to ask the person who made the proposal: What exactly do you think a golf course consists of?" -- also Brad Dickson
"Linsanity, it appears, hasn't spread to Thoroughbred racing yet. Winforlin, a winless 11-1 longshot, ran in Monday's third race at Santa Anita — and came in sixth." -- Dwight Perry
"The Yukon Quest dogsled race has been marred — at least one musher heading way off course — because of playful wolves stealing the trail markers. For the record, this is rarely a problem at the Buffalo Marathon." -- Budd Bailey, Buffalo News

The usual fun and laughs at lunch with Vod & Laurie, except when Chad accidentally tried to cover the whole table with ketchup.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012


# Phil Hughes has reported to camp with a weight loss, as Sabathia has. I don't care how much weight these guy lose, the Yanks starting rotation (plus 1) still looks like an offensive line.

# Now former manager Tony LaRussa is being considered for an MLB front office position. I guess they didn't learn anything from the Joe Torre regime. Maybe LaRussa would do a better job. Either way, with his reputation, you can be sure there would be more paperwork.

# The Seattle Mariners have decided to move Ich iro Suzuki down to #3 in the batting order. This move makes no sense to me. Even if he was still a .320 hitter, he's no RBI guy. We're told he puts on a show during batting practice, hitting the ball into the seats, but if he starts swinging for the fences in a game , his batting average is likely to drop below .250. Perhaps manager Eric Wedge is paving the way to drop him lower when he proves to be a bad choice for #3.

# Baseball has instituted a rule that closes a loophole that Tampa manager Joe Maddon found. He pinch hit for his pitcher in the bottom of an inning, and when he didn't have a pitcher ready to come in, he sent the pitch-hitter, Sam Fuld, out to warm up on the mound. By the time he was done, the reliever was ready and Maddon went out and brought him in. The rule now is that you can't send a player out to warm up with no actual intention of using him. Joe claimed it was a spur-of-the-moment thing, but he was grinning too hard when he said it.

# Please, no! Oakland has signed Manny Ramirez to a minor league contract. He still has to sit out 50 games before he can play in the majors, maybe by then Manny will show that he can't (or won't) do it anymore. Headline at ESPN: A's Avoid Rebuilding Label This signing sure proves that.

# Mariano Rivera is hinting that this will be his last year. I can't bear it.

# The San Francisco Giants have told Buster Posey not to block the plate anymore. Easier said than done. The competitiveness of these guys (or maybe machismo) will probably surface during the first close play at the plate.

# The Angels have shopped Bobby Abreu all winter with no luck. Apparently, Bobby wasn't paying attention, because now he's saying, "Play me or trade me." Dangerous threat, Bobby, cause there is a third option: release him.

# The Red Sox have received their compensation for releasing Theo Epstein. He's 26-year old righthander Chris Carpenter. He has a live arm, a 96 MPH fastball and only a vague idea of where home plate is. To quote Harry Carey, "The Cubbies win! The Cubbies win!"

# According to Dwight Perry, tiny little Rhode Island has four Div. 1 basketball teams: Bryant Univ., Brown, Providence and Rhode Island. Their combined conference record is 6-48. Are you sure about that D-1 status, Dwight?

"Jose Canseco is attempting a baseball comeback in Mexico. This would be the greatest comeback ever by a professional athlete who once fought to a draw with Danny Bonaduce" -- Brad Dickson
"Alex Rodriguez is still romantically linked to former Playboy centrefold and wrestling Diva Torrie Wilson. I'm thinking a lot of guys would go to the mat for her." -- RJ Currie
"Celtics' Rajon Rondo discovers that you don't get an assist for throwing the basketball at the ref." -- Headline at Fark.com
"Star-crossed center Greg Oden underwent his fifth knee surgery — and third microfracture procedure — since the Trail Blazers drafted him five years ago. Poor guy's been cut on so much, he's been named an honorary med-school cadaver." -- Dwight Perry
"Said to the refs who worked Sunday's Heat-Magic game, after posing for a postgame picture with them: "No one in this building, other than me, has been second-guessed more than you guys." -- Former President Bill Clinton

Lunch with Vod & his lovely wife today.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rajon Rondo faces a two game suspension for chucking a ball at an official. This herd of zebras is lucky that's all that's being thrown at them. Sid Borsia had to wear a disguise to get both in and out of Syracuse.

Steinboober, Cashman and the rest of the geniuses signed A. J. Burnett to an $82M deal. Burnett has been a bit better than a .500 pitcher throughout his career. Those now talking smack about A. J.'s recent mild comments about his struggles in NY might consider taking proper aim at the fools who initiated the deal.

It's only February and we're reading that CC Sabathia checked into camp at a svelte 290? Oh boy! Another year begins of speculation, discussion, and in depth analysis of just how much Captain Laundry Bag weighs today. No doubt, baseball is all about the stats (and the hats, after all these years, are still cool).

The following is not political; it's not about sports, either. It is about insanity.

When pulling together a panel for a Congressional hearing on birth control, wouldn’t you think it would have at least one woman on it? Come on! This is what Rep. Darrell Issa, (R, Oklahoma) the House Oversight Committee Chairman, said when turning away the sole female voice that would have been heard:

“As the hearing is not about reproductive rights and contraception but instead about the Administration’s actions as they relate to freedom of religion and conscience, he believes that Ms. Fluke is not an appropriate witness.”

It's only February and we're reading that CC Slobbathia checked into camp at a svelte 290? Oh boy! Another year begins of speculation, discussion, and in depth analysis of just how much Captain Laundry Bag weighs today. No doubt, baseball is all about the stats (and the hats, after all these years, are still cool).

Sunday, February 19, 2012


** CC Sabathia lost 25 lbs over the winter last year, but put the weight back on over the course of the season. After the season, he met with Cashman & Girardi and promised to be more diligent in controlling his weight this year. In a related story, CAP'N CRUNCH cereal has laid off their whole second shift.

** I don't know about anyone else, but I'm tired of all the "Lin-whatever" stuff that continues to go on. It's a great story, and I'm happy for him, but I wish the media would stop all the 'Lin-sanity' insanity (Oops, sorry. Guess it's tougher than I thought)).

** As Mike Lupica says, "It's officially baseball season now that Roger Clemmons has thrown out the first deposition."

** Jon Papelbon, now with the Phillies, told reporters, "Mariano Rivera is the standard by which other relievers are measured." This is the same guy, who, in his first All-Star game, said HE should be closing, not Rivera. With age comes wisdom, I guess.

** Pitchers and catchers report today. Derek Jeter asks, "What kept you?"

** Syracuse is on TV at One O'Clock today, and are favored against Rutgers. The Knicks are on at One also, and the Orange are favored against them, too.

** Headlines on ESPN: Bobby Valentine to keep focus on Red Sox attitudes. And - Brian Cashman to focus on Yankees. I'm glad these guys have worked that out.

"At midweek, the Nebraska men's basketball team was tied with Penn State. For those who don't follow Big Ten basketball, this is similar to learning your SAT score matched Jessica Simpson's. -- Brad Dickson
"The Texas Supreme Court denied Mike Leach's appeal in his wrongful-termination lawsuit against Texas Tech, but the football coach's appeal might make legal history. Ever see a red challenge flag fly across a courtroom before?" -- Dwight Perry
Headline at SportsPickle.com: "Knicks front office unsure of how they're going to mess this one up."
"Opinions are deeply divided on Kate Upton's bikini on the SI Swimsuit Issue cover. I say it's really something; my wife says it's really nothing." -- RJ Currie
"How big a sensation is Jeremy Lin in New York? Out of habit the Yankees offered him a free agent contract." -- Janet Hough


Friday, February 17, 2012


***ADIOS AJ***
It appears the trade is final, pending the Comissioner's approval, which will be forthcoming, as soon as they can wake Bunglin' Bud Selig up. The Yanks got two very minor league players in return, both of whom are at least three years away from the majors. The best part of the deal from the Yanks standpoint is the $13 million in payroll they will save over the next two years. That means that Cashman can now go out and sign that left-handed DH He still feels they need. The most likely candidate is Raul Ibanez, but Johnny Damon & Hideki Matsui are also still available. Most likely, it will be Ibanez because he can still go out to play left field without needing a golf cart to get him there.

Tim Wakefield will announce his retirement is a ceremony in Fenway park. He spent 19 seasons in the majors, 17 with the Red Sox. The knuckleballer was an innings eater and the Red Sox will miss him. So will the Yanks, who always seem to do well against him.

Former Expos and Mets catcher, Gary Carter has died from cancer. The "Kid" may not have been the best catcher in baseball, but he was a great leader, a wonderful teammate and certainly one of baseball's best ambassadors. The Empire State Building has announced they will use blue & orange lights (Met colors) to illuminate the building tonight in honor of Carter. He certainly deserves the accolade.

Hideki Okajima has failed his physical prior to joining the Yanks. The Yankees have issued no further information on the problem. He probably forgot to bring his arm with him to the physical. Maybe the Yanks can get back Mark Melancon, who's currently with the Red Sox.

Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, has lost 25 lbs this winter in anticipation of moving to third base, when he found out you actually have to bend down when you play there. Word is he now weighs in at 250 lbs. Apparently he used Pedro Sandoval's diet coach. Pedro hasn't seen his feet in a few years, either.

"Researchers says highly intelligent people are more likely to think their opinions aren't valuable. In a related story, Don Cherry charges up to $50,000 per speaking engagement." -- RJ Currie
"ESPN announced that Ron Jaworski will no longer be in the booth on Monday Night Football. Instead, he'll be watching the games with Tony Kornheiser and Hank Williams Jr." -- Brad Dickson
"On Thursday morning, a Chautauqua/Frontier Airlines flight from Omaha to Milwaukee was delayed after it was reported the pilot may be intoxicated. If you're scared of flying, the last thing you want to see is your pilot touching his finger to his nose." -- Brad Dickson
"On the push to make pole-dancing an Olympic event: "What, will the top three finishers receive gold, silver and bronze $1 bills?" -- Ian Hamilton
"Big Hurt Beer, named for ex-White Sox slugger Frank Thomas, will be on tap at U.S. Cellular Field this season. In a related story, the Giants had to mothball plans for Bonds Balco Brew because they can't get a big enough head on it." -- Dwight Perry
“Safe House” is out in theaters this week. A CIA agent being tracked by the federal government successfully avoids capture. He disguises himself as an illegal alien." -- Alan Ray
"Actress Rooney Mara was invited to the Oscar Nominees Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton. She had so many nipple studs that the metal detector thought she was wearing a bulletproof vest." -- Jerry Perisho

I know some of these aren't sports-related, but if I'm sitting in front of my computer laughing like crazy, I figured you all might like them, too.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Yo, Chad. Thanks for the call and welcome back. Now I can pay a bit of attention to stuff that matters.

It's a great day for America, Craig! Nik Wellenda has received permission from the Niagara Parks Commission to walk on an 1,800 foot tight rope from the United States to Canada this summer. Copy and paste this into your browser for all the cool details.


I generally read history during the first quarter of the year. Results for the first six weeks are in.

Herbert Hoover, Ronald Reagan and George are the Clown Princes of Stupid.

Herbert Hoover: 1929 stock market crash

Ronald Reagan: Nation's debt tripled, the largest in U.S history; administered the Savings and Load bailout, the beata-version of the Great Bush Bailout of '08.

George: The Nation's debt doubled, second to 1929; two wars fought entirely on credit - the only president in U.S history to not pay a dime for a war he started; the only president in U.S history to cut taxes during war; at the helm before and during the worst economic meltdown in U.S history, the one we're recovering from now.

They were conservative Republicans, self-advertised as pro-business. They caused great harm to the social fabric of the nation.


Yesterday, I speculated that money seemed to be the issue in the stalled deal with Pittsburgh. Here's the inside scoop. The player the Yanks wanted from the Pirates (who refused) was OF Garrett Jones. Why, you ask? Well, it wasn't because of his .243 BA, 16 homers and 58 RBIs. No, Jones went to arbitration and asked for $2.5 million dollars, while the Pirates countered with $2.25 million. Brian Cashman was heard to say, "That's $4.75 million all together, right? We'll take it." Note to Brian: Use those accountants.

The headline was, "Nobody likes change." I thought , there's good news for the KFC franchise on Yawkey way, but then I read the rest of the article. Stay with me, now:
"We all know that no one likes change except for those who are making other people change of what that person want them to. I happen to be one of those guys who likes change because guys are doing what I want them to do. I would bet there will be 100 guys who won't really like it because it's change for them. But they'll get used to it." (I didn't write this, I just copied it.) How's that again? It's going to be a good year for Boston writers.

Carl Crawford: He honestly didn't look like he was trying all that hard for the last six weeks. I don't think he was comfortable with the character of the Red Sox clubhouse. Or maybe he just didn't like the city of Boston. Whatever the reason, the advent of Bobby Valentine should give him the impetus to change. He'd better, and not just because of the money. His reputation is at stake.
Adam Dunn: A .159 BA with 11 home runs just won't cut it this year. Nobody understands why the White Sox hung with him so long other than to justify the $14 million they were forced to pay him. They won't be so forgiving this year. Dunn's nick name is "Big Donkey." Someone should remind him there's another name for 'donkey.'
A-ROD: He's the Yankees' clean-up hitter and he better start acting like one. Yes, I know he's had injuries, but injuries don't drive in runs. Yogi Berra once said, "You can't take your clippings up to the plate." You can't take your doctor up there, either.
Yu Darvish: If he can't perform at a high level, Major League teams aren't going to risk $100+ million to sign these 'phenom' pitchers out of Japan anymore. It's tough when you're carrying a whole nation on your back. Trenton, NJ, is full of Japanese pitchers who couldn't cut it (well, one, anyway).

Three officials from the Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference were suspended for mis-handling the game clock during a Rider-Niagara game.
"Ali Langford's dunk with 3.7 seconds left gave Niagara an 84-82 lead. Following a Rider timeout, the game clock started before the Broncs inbounded the ball but it wasn't noticed. Jonathan Thompson hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have given Rider the win, but after a TV review, officials ruled time had expired before Thompson released the shot."
Major League umpires have screwed up the ball-strike count, the number of outs, etc. and they just say, "Oops, sorry. Heh, heh." Maybe a day without pay would change some of that.

Texas Ranger OF Josh Hamilton, had another alcohol-related relapse. A very sad thing and we wish him luck dealing with this problem.

"Three suggested slogans for the Yankees new his-and-hers fragrances: 3. Smells better than a pair of Sox; 2. We make dollars and scents; 1. More whiffs than A-Rod." -- RJ Currie
"The fledging Women's Premier Soccer League got quite a publicity boost this month when national-team star Alex Morgan appeared in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue — wearing nothing but body paint. Well, duh: She plays for the Western New York Flash." -- Dwight Perry
What, Randy Moss might succeed Plaxico Burress as a Jets wideout? "Makes perfect sense. Replace a player known for shooting himself in the leg with a player known for shooting himself in the foot." -- Jim Stallings. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"A new breed called a Xoloitzcuintli debuted at the Westminster Dog Show this week. I remember when that used to be called an eye chart. It's an exotic breed from Mexico that stands about 10 inches high. Xoloitzcuintli is an Aztec name meaning "yippy ankle biter." Xoloitzcuintli. If you want to end next month's Midwest Spelling Bee quickly, begin with this word." -- Brad Dickson
"In a survey of America's rudest cities, Boston finished fifth. It's misleading. Take away Bill Belichick and Boston is 37th." -- Brad Dickson
"The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue came out today. On Valentine's Day. That doesn't seem appropriate. Photographs of busty young women. It's like handing out free bacon on Passover." -- Craig Ferguson


Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Patience, my fellow sports fans, I've been away quite a while and we have a lot of ground to cover.

Derek Jeter is the first Yankee in camp for spring training. He's always very enthusiastic about a new season and just as confident in the Yanks success as well as his own. At age 37, however, he has finally conceded that his off-season training includes more time off than in the past. I think he took last Thursday afternoon off.

The Yanks have announced their current 40-man roster, which includes 3 catchers, 19 pitchers, 7 outfielders, 8 infielders, 2 accountants and 1 banker.

Abby Wambach continues to score goals, reaching a career total of 131, behind only Mia Hamm, who has 158. Abby probably won't reach Mia's total, but girls everywhere (and all of Rochester) are rooting for her.

ESPN had 3 experts (and I use the term loosely) evaluate the future of all 30 MLB teams, based on 5 "M's": Major League roster, Minor League roster, Money available, Management and Mobility of players. They then predicted their success in five years, giving them an overall score based on 100. No surprises on the bottom three: Chicago White sox (23.3), Houston Astros (21.8) and the Baltimore Orioles (21.7). The Sox got the lowest possible score for their minor league system, Houston, the major league roster and Baltimore, the lowest possible score for management. All three had above average rating for finance, which tells you that the Yankees money is NOT the only reason for their success. I'll post the top three when they are announced.

The Big East continues to suffer insult after insult. West Virginia University has agreed to pay them $20 million so they can leave the conference. This is embarrassing to say the least.

Syracuse beat Louisville last night, 52-51. Both coaches claimed it was a tough defensive struggle on both sides. Maybe they were right, Syracuse was 1-15 from the 3-point line, where shots are usually not tightly contested, and Louisville was 12-21 from the free throw line, with NO defense. Perhaps both teams were distracted by the fact that it appeared that Louisville was being coached by the Skippy Ice Cream Man.

I'm not allowed to get the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue anymore, but the cover picture is on line. Kate Upton is wearing a bikini that is too small to be believed.

The Female Amateur Boxing Association (or whatever it's called) has advocated women boxers be allowed to wear skirts instead of shorts in the ring. Opponents within the US Olympic Committee claim it is sexist and politically incorrect and want it banned. Please explain to me how this is worse than the "uniforms" of the beach volleyball teams, which consists of two band aids and a handkerchief, and is approved, but the skirts are not. I assume they are not planning to be naked under the skirts.

"Lin-Sanity" has taken over New York. Jeremy Lin has created as much excitement for Knick fans that they've had since the powerhouse teams of the 1980's. Lin had been released from three teams, including these same Knicks, when New York was forced to play him because of injuries and the fact that they couldn't coax 67-year old Walt Frazier out of retirement.

The Yanks and the Pittsburgh Pirates continue to haggle over the possible trade of AJ Burnett. Pittsburgh has agreed to pick up $10 million of the $36 million owed AJ over the next two years. Why won't the Yanks jump on this? Most teams they've talked to even want New York to pick up AJ's plane fare to their city. The Pirates are offering prospects, not Major League roster players, so it's a crap-shoot anyway. The Yanks are using a possible Cleveland Indian trade as a negotiating ploy to expedite the deal. What makes anybody think Cleveland will come up with more money?

Apparently, Vod has another partner in the "I hate Jim Rome" fan club. TC Chong in Canada recently commented, "Too bad Jim Everett never pounded that little twerp Jim Rome!" Obviously, a man with taste.

Finally, Happy Valentines Day to my one and only, my partner, my editor and my traveling companion. Annie-O.

"Giant running back Brandon Jacobs said Gisele Bundchen should '‪stay cute and shut up.' Cute? Isn't that like calling the Great Wall of China a fence?" -- RJ Currie‬
"The Yankees are about to unveil two official fragrances — "New York Yankees" and "New York Yankees for Her." Apparently the "Bronx Zoo" fragrance didn't pass the sniff test." -- Dwight Perry
"One of the most talked-about commercials was the one with Clint Eastwood, where he said, 'It's halftime in America, and our second half is about to begin.' The bad news? China has the ball, and we're down $15 trillion." -- Jay Leno
"The NFL draft begins April 26. Right now, owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick are waiting to hear from Gisele Bundchen who the Patriots will pick first." -- Brad Dickson
"In a pairing of Beantown royalty, Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis is engaged to the sister of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Now comes the hard part: keeping sister-in-law Gisele out of microphone range if someone drops the bridal-bouquet throw." -- Dwight Perry
"Somebody dropped a ton of “Butterfingers” chocolate bars in Boston with a sign that said “Thank you Wes Welker”. In a related story, a woman identified only as G. Bundchen purchased all the Butterfinger bars at Boston area Costco stores." -- TC Chong
"Today is Valentine’s Day. All over the NBA players are sending members of their posse out to buy a dozen cards – “To my one and only.” -- Janice Hough
"The Super Bowl halftime show is one of the most amazing feats of engineering. The crew has less than 20 minutes to deploy a complex system of rigging, cranes, and pulleys. And once they get Madonna in her corset, they have to put up the stage." -- Craig Ferguson
"Supermodel Gisele Bundchen criticized her husband Tom Brady's teammates. She really wanted the Super Bowl ring so that she could wear it as a belt." -- Jimmy Kimmel


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Not Chad Yet

No doubt Chad is on his way back. We're sitting in the first mini-blizzard since we've moved, with memories of Central Square, snow blowers, and shovels at the ready. It's interesting to watch when you're safe, warm, and fed. Not so much if you're not. Please drop off a contribution to shelter or food bank. An increasing number of Americans rely on them.

And in the basically mundane world of collegiate-level professional sports, every once in a while a team go off on a real run. Not the 7 - 0 micro-run. Not the 14 - 4 compact sedan run. But the 18 - 1, 4th quarter, game-over run. Yesterday, Syracuse closed out UCONN with one of those in front of the largest audience of the season; over 33,000 people, the largest crowd, nationwide, this season. Scoop Jardine gave a masterly performance; C.J. Fair may be coming of age; Dion Waiters played with attitude and swagger an backed it up; Fab Melo unleashed an effective jump shot; Kris Joseph let the game come to him and when it did, he was effective; Brandon Triche was the 3rd guard today and deserved to be; and we saw Jim Boeheim's classic seven man rotation he'll play in the post season. Quite a show.

Baseball: "Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing." T. Kupferberg

Golf: "Oh, Tiger we love you. Our television ratings are in the out of bounds without you." The PGA and ESPN

Football: "Tebow. Tebow. Tebow. Tebow. Tebow. Tebow. Tebow. Tebow. Tebow." Just getting a jump on the 2012 training camp stories.

Hockey: The Sabres are showing signs of like. Coach Lindy Ruff broke three ribs in practice and the team plays better. They may only be two broken legs from the Stanley Cup. Is hockey violence a little over the top?

Tennis: A few guys are really good.

Ping Pong: ??????

Squash: Only on Thanksgiving.

The First Ever Chad Picasner at Large Intergallactic Survey

You have infinite power of decision, but have no control over the options from which you must choose. Those options are at the discretion of the evil genius, the dark lord of Picasnerland, Chad "The Ripper" Picasner.

Options Vol. 1

You must choose between the following:

1. Derek Jeter is cut in spring training and retires to his Florida conclave.

2. Pizza disappears. It's gone. Never to be made, ordered, deliverd or eaten. No more pizza!!!

The results will be posted next Sunday. Unless Chad is back and I can stop this nonsense.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Chad should be back from cruising in a couple of days. He knows we've missed him and he'll more than make up for his absence with a boffo (Hollywood talk) column of deep insight and enormous length. So, P, get your can back here and on the job. Even I'm losing interest here.

I might as well ask the question that every SU fan I've run into today asked: What's up with Brandon Triche riding the bench, particularly in the second half? Dion Waiters is playing "Brick Mason" when he shoots, and The $64,000 Question (boy, that dates ya', {Sarah Palin speak}) when he's trying to decide what to do when he's forced to handle the ball.

Scoop Jardine is the only real point guard on the playing roster and will actually play the position to a relatively high level, for a half - and you never know how or when that "half" might be sprinkled throughout the game - so, in spite of frequently providing a more than ample supply of "duh!" moments and brain cramps, he's got to play.

I know coach Jim Boeheim has other issues at the moment, but there appear to be many people who are as confused as I (now that's got to be dangerous) why Triche is collecting splinters.

I was watching a game on Tuesday night and the talking heads described some player as the most improved player over last year in all of D1 college hoops - and it wasn't Fab Melo. Can you imagine any player in the nation improving more than Melo? Last year he couldn't run the court once, shoot the ball in the ocean, do more than a three inch vertical jump, or guard anyone. This year he is a defensive monster in the middle, consistently runs the court, dunks off alley-oops... need I say more? I won't name the misinformed bozos to protect the stupid.

I was one of the many who turned off the Duke - UNC game with three minutes left, secure in the knowledge that Thomas Dewey was elected President (Google Dewey if you need an explanation) only to be very surprised in the morning.

In case you missed it, the NY Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Neither the Cowboys, Packers, or 49ers played in that game. (Rubbing it in speak).

Please drop a note if you have figured out how to listen to Jim Rome on ESPN radio without driving your car off a cliff. Jim is the Rush Limbaugh of sports radio. He repeats the same statement over and over and over until, regardless of how inane, it begins to sound accurate.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday. Many will party in the afternoon. Fewer will really care about the game when it finally starts. Even fewer will be sober or awake when it ends. That being said...Go G-Men!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Michael Kay Does a Great Interview - Mike Tirico Does Not

ESPN's Bill Parcells: Super Bowl Confidential provided a deep perspective on coaching Super Bowl teams. SU alum Mike Tirico does a poor job, posing questions with irrelevant lead-ins and providing dumbed-down recaps of the eloquent answers just provided by Parcells.

The sequencing of the questions and supporting film clips is disjointed but Parcells' answers to every question are enlightening, engaging, and delivered by a coach who has lived those answers multiple times.

There might not be a better pre-game show for the remainder of the week.

During commercials I watched play in the first half of the UCONN - Georgetown game. Dick Vitale doing any game explains why remotes have mute buttons. Dick Vitale doing a Big East game explains nothing.

The game wasn't much to watch either. UCONN set a new, season-low scoring mark in a 58 - 44 loss.

There are two interesting DIII matchups this weekend. Nazareth hosts Ithaca in Rochester Friday night at 8 in the Empire 8. Nazareth is tied for first in the conference with Hartwick and Stevens, all at 7 - 2. Ithaca, 5 - 4 in conference play, will be looking for their second win of the season over Naz and a spot at the crowded head of the E8 standings.

On Saturday in the SUNYAC Oswego travels to Cortland in a rematch of the teams occupying the top two spots in the conference. Oswego comes in at 12 - 0 in the conference, 16 - 3 overall. Cortland is 9 - 3 and 14 - 5 respectively. Oswego squeeked out a 69 - 67 win at home on 1/21.

In the Big East, SU Big Baby (and not in any Glen Davis kind of way) Fab Melo has been reinstated and is eligible to play at St. Johns at noon, Saturday.

National Get A Life Day, aka National Letter of Intent signing day is over! People of the world, relax...whether your team got all or none of they guys they were after. Remember, statistically, 75% of those signing letters today will be spending their time with Chad at the dry cleaners in cognito. (You had to be there.)