Wednesday, March 28, 2012


## Vod mentioned the alcohol problem in MLB and here is another example of it. John Lackey of the Boston Red Sox (those beer aficionados), made this remark in an interview, after being questioned about the behavior of players drinking beer in the clubhouse: "Guys having a beer after their start has been going on for the last 100 years. This is retarded." He has since apologized for the remark...but not the drinking. I think 'Lackey' and 'retarded' are two words that belong in the same sentence.

## Joba Chamberlain says there is a good chance he will pitch in the majors THIS year. According to Joba, there was no great loss of blood and his life was never in danger. He said his 5-year old son described the injury to a nurse as, "My Dad got hosed by a trampoline."

## The ESPN writer who predicted a 4th place finish for the Yanks, cited an aging 3rd baseman and shortstop, an expected steep decline in the production of Curtis Granderson and a pitching staff with only one reliable starter, CC Sabathia. Oh yes, their closer is 42 years old. The projected winner of the AL East? Tampa Bay followed by Toronto and Boston.

## The ESPN 'Top 500' player rankings continue with Russell Martin @ 193, and Ivan Nova @ 171. Jesus Montero is listed at 154.

## The Dodgers have been purchased by a group that includes Magic Johnson and there is dancing in the streets in L.A.

## This might be the only time this year when we can say this. The Seattle Mariners are in first place in the AL West and lead the the majors in wins.
The season officially started in Japan this morning with Seattle beating the Oakland A's, 3-1 in 11 innings. Thought I was kidding, huh? (There is dancing in the rain in Seattle)

## It seems some daredevil is going to attempt to skydive from 23 miles up. I can hear the airline agent now "...and if we don't have to land, we can knock another $20 off your ticket."

## Boston rookie shortstop, Jose Iglesias, has been sent to the minors. Round one goes to the Sox GM, Ben Cherington. Manager Booby Valentine (Oh, did I misspell that? Sorry.) wanted him to be the starting shortstop this year but the GM wanted more seasoning.
** Interestingly enough, spellcheck did correct my spelling...of Valentine, and left the 'Booby' alone.

"Mike Tyson is reportedly going to do stand-up comedy in Vegas. This time Iron Mike may be biting off more than he can chew." -- RJ Currie
"Starting Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is expected to set a record as the first quarterback to take every snap during a season while looking over his shoulder." -- Brad Dickson
"In a spring training outing today, Barry Zito gave up hits to nine of the 18 hitters he faced.
Which isn't the preferred method of playing .500 ball."
-- Dwight Perry
"The first long-distance phone call from Boston to New York was made on March 27, 1884: "The caller, I think, yelled, 'Yankees suck.' " -- Len Berman
"As we approach the Final Four, many outside the state may not realize just how much Louisville and U. Kentucky hate each other. In fact, there hasn’t been so much animosity in Kentucky since two brothers both wanted to marry their same sister." -- Janice Hough
"There's a new rule going into effect in college basketball. Beginning next season, at the NCAA men's basketball tournament, Baylor uniforms must be made of a substance found in this solar system." -- Brad Dickson
"The International Volleyball Federation says it will allow women beach volleyball players to wear shorts and sleeved tops instead of bikinis at the London Olympics. That crashing sound you just heard was advertising rates based on potential viewership falling through the floor." -- Janice Hough
"This weekend former Vice President Dick Cheney received a heart transplant. And I thought this was nice — they let him shoot the donor himself." -- Jay Leno

Off to Phoenix for a lunch with the cousins.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

To the writers who follow CP: CP has raised the problem of alcohol in MLB. It would be helpful to see your positions expressed through your work from time to time. MLB has been granted a pass, for over a century. It deserves attention.

The Big Boy in Beantown

American League sportswriters are an incredibly lucky bunch. No sooner does Ozzie move out of Chicago than Bob (that's his big boy name) Valentine lands in Boston. That's like ten times better. CP and the crew will have an infinite amount of material to work with. There hasn't been anyone capable of regularly supplying more outrageously stupid comments since George W.

Live long and prosper, Bob.

One Born Every Minute

CP told me that an ESPN guy projected the Yankees to finish fourth in the AL East. Would someone please have that guy call me. I would like to see if he'll back up his prediction with cash.

The NCCAA - National Crooked Collegiate Athletic Association

Another ESPN guy spilled the beans on the performance of the officiating crew in the OSU (oh, sorry, THE OSU, for the mistakenly arrogant) - SU game when he wrote that the game (the officials were the game) did the NCAA a huge favor with the Syracuse loss. There won't be any discussion of pedophiles, trials, drug use, players having sex with a coach's wife, coach's going off about liars and people only in it for the money, and other topics. We can look forward to a sanitized Final Four. With John Calipari? I don't expect a visit from the Pope.

Gotta go and tweak my mood with some Dwight Perry and Janice Hough.


Monday, March 26, 2012


I can hardly wait. In the meantime, what else is going on?

Bobby Abreu has been very outspoken about his role with the Angels this year. So how's he doing? Well, not very good. He's hitting only .108 (4-37). Before you start laughing, consider this: That's exactly twice what the Yanks DH, Raul Ibanez, is hitting (2-37). Apparently DH stands for Doesn't Hit.

MLB has made great strides in eliminating the PED problem, now they've got to work on alcoholism. It seems drinking to excess has always been a big problem in spring training. So far, 3 players have been ticketed for excessive blood alcohol: Alex White, Matt Bush and Bobby Jenks. Bush's problem was particularly serious, as he rear-ended a 72-year old motorcyclist, who is in serious condition. He is facing 7 charges stemming from that accident.

The Daniel Bard story continues. The Red Sox GM favors Bard in the bullpen, based on his stats as starter this spring. Manager Bobby Valentine wants him to be a starter, regardless of his lack of success so far. This has been Valentine's history as a manager. He thinks he's always right and objects to anyone who disagrees, to the point of ridiculousness. Even when it comes from someone who is his boss, Bobby will continue to do it his way out of spite.
Bard's last start was not so good: 6 innings, 6 hits and 5 runs. Hard to be happy over that outing, right? Not so with Valentine. "Overall, I liked everything. What was there not to like -- besides the five runs on the board?" Right, Bobby. And other than blowing a 9 game lead, the Red Sox had a good September last year.
As a Yankee fan, I agree with Valentine. Bard can do that every time he faces the Yankees and he won't win a game.

The Orange will lose seniors Jardine and Joseph this year, but most analysts think that Fab Melo won't be back since it makes no sense to stay if you can't maintain academic eligibility. I also read that Waiters hasn't been attending classes this spring, so it appears he has no intention of returning, either. But the nucleus of the team will be there plus help is on the way. Another Jamesville-Dewitt High School (Triche and Andy Rautins) phenom, 6'10", 275 lb. DaJuan Coleman, will be a force inside and a red-shirt freshman shooting guard named Trevor Cooney is considered a lethal long-range shooter in the mold of Gerry McNamara.

The NBA is considering making a rule that college players would not be eligible for the draft for two years after entering school as opposed to the current one year. This one-and-done scenario doesn't do the school or the player any good. Actually, three years would be even better.

"The Texas Rangers are selling a two-foot long, one-pound hot dog for $26. Isn’t that the regular price for a hot dog at Yankee Stadium?" -- Janice Hough
"Freshman star Austin Rivers, one-and-done? Blue Devils fans hardly knew ye. Ready-made school slogan: "Duke Basketball: A Rivers Ran Through It." -- Dwight Perry
"In case you hadn't heard, after day 1 (I picked Mizzou to win it all), I had more X’s on my bracket sheet than Wilt had on his bedpost" -- TC Chong
"I'm trying to confirm that after Duke's loss, CBS executives proposed making the tournament double elimination." -- Brad Dickson
"The N.Y. Jets acquired Tim Tebow from Denver for a fourth and sixth round pick, and a prayer to be name named later." -- RJ Currie
"The MLB has suspended extended replay until at least 2013. As it stands, rulings will be determined the traditional way. A team of umpires will have to rely on one of them being awake." -- Alan Ray
"Poor ratings have caused Rosie O’Donnell’s show to be cancelled on the Oprah Network. The network has reportedly been struggling financially since it launched. Low cost replacement programming includes CFL Ottawa Rough Riders replays from the past 25 years." -- TC Chong
"NU was looking for someone with name recognition who's no stranger to the NCAA tournament. It's a good thing Miles accepted because the next name on the list was Ashley Judd." -- Brad Dickson


Sunday, March 25, 2012

March Madness - It's Official

Ah, Boston. Beantown. The Cradle of Liberty. The city where sportsmanship goes to die.

For years to come they'll tell the tale of Belicheat. The baseball team pounded beers in the clubhouse, during games. The captain of that team wore a large C on the chest of his uniform. Some say it stood for 'Captain'. Many say it meant something very different.

The legacy grew on Saturday, March 24, 2012 with the addition of an NCAA East Regional Final crew of three officials. What a mess these boys created.

One of the most basic constructs that all officials are told to learn and apply is that the primary role of the official is to facilitate the natural flow of the game. The crew that worked the OSU v. SU game failed in that task. The result was a game with 40 minutes of heavily punctuated basketball, 38 minutes of camera time on officials reporting fouls to the scorers table, fouls with official-imagined contact, blocks called charges taking away a potentially game-changing and-1. A game with officials who defined the entire style of play with their interminable whistles.

The losers converted more field goals and more threes than the winners. No, that does not happen often. The winners shot 42 free throws. That doesn't happen often either.

IAABO 38, headquartered in Syracuse, continues to push for three man crews in high school varsity games, even offering to provide three officials for the price of two. Officials need the opportunity to learn and work on three man crews for career growth and the opportunity to work collegiate games. While it sounds like a win-win for both the schools and officials, many athletic directors and coaches are passing on the offer. Saturday night was a compelling example of why they're passing. Two's company and three might be an unruly crowd.

People will forget who played before they forget the stench left in Boston.



## Actually, the dream probably ended last week, when Fab Melo was declared ineligible. The Orange just didn't know they were dead until last night.
Coaches always say they don't blame the refs for a loss, but can we blame them for the most painful game to watch in the tournament? Calling 48 personal fouls (one technical) made it impossible for either team to get into a rhythm. Syracuse had two guys foul out, three more players with four fouls and one with three. Ohio State had one man foul out, guard Aaron Craft, and he didn't foul anyone...or so you would have thought if you watched him after every call. "What? Who me? What did I do? He's still breathing."
No truth to the rumor that a Syracuse cheerleader was called for a "piling on" foul during a 'Pyramid Cheer'.
Is there anything to the fact that President Obama picked Ohio State to beat Syracuse? I'm just saying...

## The New Orleans Saints Bounty scandal is big news and will be for some time. According to Mike Lupica, 'so far, so good,' but he's waiting to see what the punishment is for the players. So am I.
One NY sportswriter made an interesting point: Outside of boxing (including MMA), football is America's most violent sport and it's commissioner is doing his best to protect the participants. But what about hockey? There are some violent collisions there, too, but the difference is, fighting is allowed if not actually condoned, and nothing is done to prevent it. Well, you do get to rest for five minutes till your next "bout," but even boxers only get one minute.

## I can't believe this one. Joe Torre has been given his job back in ML Baseball. I'd tell you what it is, but even Joe doesn't know. He just gets an office, a pillow and a blanket. Even his phone is on mute. He doesn't want to spoil his record by actually making a decision.

## Okay, Joe Girardi won't do it, so I guess I will. Here is the Yankee rotation: Sabathia, Kuroda, Pineda, Nova and Garcia. With the loss of Chamberlain, Hughes will be the most help coming out of the bullpen.
So Raul Ibanez hit a home run yesterday. Don't get your hopes up. As my former boss used to say, "Even a blind chicken finds an acorn once in a while."

"The Saints are the Aints again, as in Aint got a head coach, Aint got a GM, Aint got $500,000 and Aint got two draft picks." -- Clark Judge
"Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain will be out for months after badly dislocating his right ankle playing with his son on a trampoline. Now that's one guy who could really use a good bounce-back season." -- Dwight Perry
"President Obama's NCAA-tournament bracket at ranks in the top 2 percent entering the Sweet 16: I guess it helps when you can send the CIA in to scout the teams." -- Jimmy Kimmel
"Drew Stanton, the New York Jets previously expected backup QB, has apparently asked to be traded or released. I think that has been arranged." -- Janice Hough
"It was strange to see John Elway standing next to his QB and not having to smile through clenched teeth.” -- Bill Littlejohn
"New York Mets owner, Fred Wilpon, has been ordered to pay $162 million to the biggest losers in the Bernie Madoff scandal. But if there is one guy who is used to paying millions to losers, it is the owner of the Mets." -- Alex Kaseberg


Friday, March 23, 2012


## Joba Chamberlain is hurt. He dislocated his right ankle playing on a trampoline with his son. What was he thinking? What are any of these athletes thinking when they participate in some outside activity instead of their own sport? We've heard of contracts that forbid skiing, motorcycles and basketball. We have one ballplayer who was mountain climbing over the winter. Now, apparently, they will have to add trampolines to the list. What's next? "Hey pal, put down that ipod. You wanna sprain a finger?" I don't think this is what they in in mind with the "Joba Rules.
Chamberlain is lost for the season, possibly for ever. He came to the majors with the talent to be one of the best, but that's gone. Buster Olney made a remark that this "...will impact the Yankee's thoughts about trading Phil Hughes." That's one I hadn't heard before.

## 39 year-old Raul Ibanez is still having trouble with his timing. Scouts say he's improving, but if you're hitting .054, the only way to go is up. Olney reports, "The New York Yankees watched Marcus Thames and Andruw Jones struggle the last two springs, they aren't really that fazed by Ibanez's ugly spring numbers. Ibanez will be part of the team on Opening Day." Of course they're fazed, but where are they going to go? Johnny Damon? Hideki Matsui? Neither of them can make out to left field without a wheelchair. I think they should dump Ibanez and give one of the minor leaguers a shot. I like that Jorge Vasquez. Or how about Mason Williams?

## Bobby Valentine was upset because Joe Girardi refused to play any extra innings yesterday against the Red Sox. The Sox had tied the game at 4-4 in the ninth, but Girardi told the umpires he was out of pitchers, so the game was called. Valentine said that was rude and showed a lack of respect because he had a pitcher warming up to pitch the 10th when Girardi called it. Is Valentine going to be an ass the whole year?

## Syracuse squeezed out another victory last night against a very game Wisconsin team. The Orange defense kept the Badgers outside the 3-point line all night, but they hit 14 3-pointers to keep them in the game. In the end, an errant three point shot was their last hurrah and Syracuse heads to the Elite Eight.

Note: the website used by TC Chong is not reliable right now, so Tony has no outlet for his quips. Enjoy these while you can:
"A United flight from San Francisco to Shanghai had to divert to Anchorage when the toilets malfunctioned. Arch rival American Airlines isn’t the only one with “something special in the air”. -- TC Chong
"Last night, Vancouver Canucks’ Daniel Sedin had to leave the game after a vicious hit by Black Hawks’ Duncan Keith. A mysterious envelope bearing the New Orleans Saints logo containing $1500 was found in Keith’s locker after the game." -- TC Chong
"A new study in Psych Central says students may eventually perform better if they're told that failure is part of learning, rather than being pressured to succeed. Finally, an explanation for the Maple Leafs." -- RJ Currie
"The Milwaukee Brewers picked the perfect spot at Miller Park to place a statue honoring Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Uecker this summer. "Just a bit outside!" -- Dwight Perry
" The Bassmaster Classic offers a first-place prize of $500.000. "Eleven Kansas City Royals immediately announced they're leaving baseball for the big money in fishing." -- Brad Dickson
"Doctors say the number of vasectomies goes up during March Madness. Men are willing to suffer a few days so there aren't any screaming kids around for next year's March madness." -- Jim Barach
"In Los Angeles, an entire Little League was about to go under, but was saved by a $1200 donation from a strip club. As you'd expect, all in ones." -- Tim Hunter
"The New York Jets already overpaid for Mark Sanchez. Now apparently they’ve got Tim Tebow too? And late night comics are saying “Thank you, Jesus.” -- Janice Hough


Thursday, March 22, 2012


As if there wasn't enough drama with the Jets, now they've added Tim Tebow to the mix. All this after they gave Mark Sanchez a new contract. Somehow I don't think Sanchez is doing any 'Tebowing' in his home right now. Rex Ryan didn't need any more ammunition to continue his controversial style of managing.
I'll bet every sportswriter in New York is popping champagne and laughing like crazy. They needed something because 'Linsanity' was starting to get old.

According to Forbes, the average value of Major League baseball teams increased 16% from last year. The Yankees are valued at $1.85 Billion. That's Billion with a B. I understand why Hal Steinbrenner wants to cut his payroll down rather than pay that dreaded 'luxury' tax. If they were to maintain their current payroll level ($216 million), it could cost them as much as $25 million in luxury tax, or a little over 1% of their worth. Maybe they could talk A-Rod into chipping in a few bucks.
By the way, the Mets value actually decreased by 4%. (That darn Madoff.)

## Headline on ESPN: "The Cubs Will Have A Good Bench." Great! However the team on the field will still suck.
## The Tigers new thirdbaseman, Miguel Cabrera, got hit in the eye by an erratically bouncing grounder. He's going to be okay and Cabrera was even smiling afterward. "Ay caramba. 18 inches lower and we'd have had a REAL problem."
## ESPN is putting together a list of the top 500 players in the majors in order of their value and ability. Freddie Garcia has come in at #401, which might not seem too bad until you see that Johnny Damon is listed at #363, and no Major League will even sign him.
## Speaking of bad signings, the Yanks supposed DH this year, Raul Ibanez, has only hit a double and a single in 34 at bats, this spring. That's an .059 average. There's $1.1 million they could save.
## The Red Sox have been grooming Daniel Bard all spring to take a spot in the rotation. Now it appears he's heading back to the bullpen.
## Syracuse takes on Wisconsin at 7:00 PM tonight in the first game of the Sweet Sixteen. Good thing they're not playing on Friday because it seems the experts think the Orange's chances diminish more day by day.

"ESPN just said “New York hasn’t seen anything like Tebow-mania.” Well, at least not since last month." -- Janice Hough
"Next month the movie "Titanic" will be re-released in 3-D. In this version, the captain doesn't see the iceberg coming because he's not wearing the special glasses." -- Jay Leno
"Enrique Iglesias told Parade Magazine he has no plans to make Anna Kournikova, his girlfriend of 11 years, Mrs. Iglesias. So no married title for Kournikova, to go along with no singles title." -- RJ Currie
"A woman from Vista, Calif., gave birth to a 13-pound, 14-ounce boy last week. Mel Kiper Jr., alert as ever, immediately declared him the best line prospect in the 2034 NFL draft." -- Dwight Perry
"When asked about his team's us-against-the-world mentality: "I don't think it's the whole world. Three-quarters, maybe. I think there are some people in China that aren't upset with us." -- Jim Boeheim, Syracuse Univ.
"NBC is planning to use something like 874 cameras to cover the Olympics. That's three less than CBS has trained on Ashley Judd at the NCAA tournament." -- Brad Dickson


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Go Get 'Em Boys. You Know, We hardly Knew You

I don't miss Fab Melo. He's been a distraction since he hit town.

I will miss Dion Waiters. Brash, confident, took a big step in team building this year, and a great interview.

I will miss Kris Joseph - a bright, consistently decent man.

And Scoop Jardine - I'll miss you Scoop. No one in recent memory has provided so many head-scratching moments.

Rather than wishing you good luck in the Sweet 16, I wish that you draw competent, rested officials committed to the rules.

One more time, boys, before you fold your tents and take the show out of town to the ACC.

Monday, March 19, 2012


## When the Yanks had 6 starters vying for 5 spots, the speculation was, who would be going to the bullpen or even be sent down, to start the season. Now, when you throw Andy Pettitte into the mix, suddenly the talk turns into who they might trade. Let's not be too hasty. Garcia has already had a minor injury, Hughes has been okay but not overpowering, Nova just gave up 5 runs in 4 innings and nobody has any idea what Pettitte may actually bring to the table. This is what happens when sports writers drink too many pina coladas and sit in the sun all day.

## One NY columnist says that if Hal Steinbrenner is really serious about cutting the payroll, he's got a big decision to make this fall, when Curtis Granderson and Robbie Cano are both free agents. He says that Cano is probably worth $20 million a year and when you add in guys like A-Rod, Teixeira, Jeter and Sabathia, you're looking at $100 million a year with just those 5 guys. I think we're in for some creative accounting.

## We're down to the Sweet Sixteen and there are three double-digit seeds still in it. I think that's significant enough that the analysts should stop making such a big deal about upsets. It's becoming apparent that these aren't upsets anymore. There just aren't that many "patsies" in the tournament. N. Carolina will have to be on top of it's game against Ohio -- and we're not talking Ohio State here -- Xavier is as tough as they come and N.C State is playing with a ton of confidence.

## I've been watching the highlights of the Women's March Madness and there are some pretty good players out there. Baylor's center, Brittany Griner is dominating the field and she is very good, but I don't see the athleticism that the announcers rave about. If you want to see athleticism, check out Delaware's Elana Delle Donne. She's 6'5" and as smooth as can be.
Her next game is Tuesday night at 9:30 on ESPN2.

## Baseball scouts continue to rave over the Yanks Mason Williams. One scout says if you watch him play three games, you'll get at least one "WOW" moment in that time frame. He's a centerfielder, so maybe that's an answer to the Yanks problem this fall. On the other hand, no one is impressed with Michael Pineda. He may end up in Triple-A to start the season, even though he claims we'll see his 95+ fastballs in his next start. I hope so.

## For the first time in four years, I have a chance to beat Annie-O in our Bracket competition. We're tied at 32-16 going into the sweet sixteen. She's still upset that I didn't count the four play-in games. I'll take any break I can get.

"The worst thing about upsets like the Norfolk State win is that they put Marge from accounting, who has no idea how many points a basket is worth, in position to win the office pool." -- Brad Dickson
"Chaleo Yoovidhya, who created Red Bull, has died at the age of 89. Actually, the coroner says Chaleo died over a week ago, but his body just stopped moving." -- Janice Hough
"Twenty-five year old musher Dallas Seavey has won the Iditarod. After 1100 miles of frozen terrain, he gets a $100,000 in endorsement deals. His team of huskies each gets a biscuit." -- Alan Ray
"The 2012 Iditarod is over. Cheating is so rampant in sport, the third-place musher crossed the finish line in a Hyundai." -- Brad Dickson


Saturday, March 17, 2012


What if they had a tournament and Duke wasn't in it? Would it count? No Duke, no UCONN, no Notre Dame - what's going on? Who is Creighton? Who is St Marys? Lehigh? We even came thisclose to LIU-Brooklyn ("I got your seeding right here!"). Now THAT would have been interesting.

Now we go into round two, when they separate the men from the boys, except where no men show up, like South Florida/Ohio or Xavier/Lehigh. It will still be exciting. Why?

#10 The fans. They root for the underdog. They root for the favorite. There is no automatic loyalty, you have to earn it.

#9 The games are usually close. You can't bring your seeding or press clippings on to the floor. Lehigh played like they never heard of Duke (Of course, so did Duke).

#8 The players actually get excited and they show it, especially the underdogs.

#7 The players cry when they lose. That's because of the effort they put in.

#6 The coaches really get into it, running up and down the floor, yelling at players and pushing assistant coaches around.

#5 The mascots. Okay, some are just embarrassing, but they can get close to the cheerleaders without a problem.

#4 Sometimes the crowd noise drowns out the announcers. I wish it was more often.

#3 The little 5'6" guard who takes over the game. And it happens a lot.

#2 There's a lot of games and I can channel surf and miss the commercials (Hooray!).

#1 The cheerleaders. They get excited and cheer over the least little thing and they're not paid. They paint their faces and have great pom-poms. They are unabashed fans and sometimes that can be embarrassing.

I don't think Mom & Dad are going to be all that happy when you make the face page of roadrunner with this picture.

Andy Pettitte has signed a minor league contract with the Yanks. Okay, it's only for $2.5 million, hardly lunch money for NY, but still. He's 39 years old, has no fastball and hasn't thrown a ball in anger in a year and a half and they still sign him? I'm gonna go oil up my third baseman's glove.

He's been giving a good impression of Bret Farve, (I want to leave-I want to stay) for months now. He's finally decided that he's staying and will play for Orlando next year. “I’m very loyal and I’ve always put loyalty above anything.” Right. But only for a year.

"For the first time in NCAA history, three teams with seed numbers 13 or higher won their first round games. Does this mean that weaker teams are getting better? Or that the seeding committee is getting worse?" -- Janice Hough
"Massachusetts authorities say they have broken up a canary-fighting ring. Canaries fighting? You'd think they'd be too yellow." -- RJ Currie
"Next step: Superstar defenders demanding larger bounties. We'll have bounty holdouts. "I'm not gonna cripple a guy for a lousy $2,000. Talk to my agent." -- Scott Ostler
"President Obama today released his NCAA bracket. He is a huge basketball fan. But privately, White House aides are worried that if he spends so much time on this, it could affect his golf game." -- Jay Leno
"The best race in the AL East this season would be Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia sprinting to the postgame buffet." -- Dwight Perry


Friday, March 16, 2012


It took a couple of disputed calls at the end, but the Orange managed to outlast a game Ashville team. It took me one replay to see that an Ashville player invaded the key before Jardine released his shot, but after four replays, the crack(ed) announcing team still didn't. Then there was a bad no-call with 30 seconds left. Triche was clearly fouled on the in-bounds play, but that was ignored, along with the fact that the ball went out of bounds off Triche. I think Ashville would have been happier with either call than with no whistle at all.
Syracuse now knows what it will take to win games without Melo under the basket. We'll see tomorrow if they can execute.

## The NCAA will demand stricter standards for university's Academic Progress Rate. The rate will be 50%, and teams that don't meet that level may be banned from the March Tournament. If that rule was in effect now, teams like Syracuse, Connecticut, Indiana and St. Bonaventure, would be ineligible. The national average for men's basketball is 67%, while the women's average is a healthy 89%.
What is the NCAA thinking? Here are these kids busting their butts to bring national glory to their respective schools, attending practices, running drills and traveling all over the country to participate in their sport, but now the NCAA wants them to do things like attend classes, write term papers and read books? Don't they realize what a hardship this will create? Why, these student-athletes (snicker) wouldn't even have time to go out, drink beer and get into bar fights anymore. Listen to what Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh Panther cager, had to say on why his 16-16 Panthers would welcome an NIT bid: "That's what we came to college for. To play basketball."

## Bobby Valentine better stick to picking on the Yankees. They have too much class to lower themselves to trading barbs with baseball's premier attention hound. When Boston was playing the Marlins in a spring training game, Florida's manager Ozzie Guillen got himself thrown out of the game. Valentine couldn't resist standing up and waving goodbye to Ozzie. When he was told what Bobby had done, Ozzie replied, "*&$% him!" Not very imaginative, but effective.

## Japanese phenom, Yu Darvish, is impressing some people with his array of pitches. However, some scouts have noticed that he often wipes the sweat off his brow and then rubs the baseball while still standing on the mound, a clear violation. If Diasuke Matsuzaka gave us the 'Gyro Balls,' then Darvish must be giving us the "Schweaty Balls."

## Gee, maybe the experts were right for once. I mentioned in an earlier post, that everyone seem to be picking the lower seeds. In yesterdays' first full round, 14 of the 16 games were won by the lower seed. The upsets: #11 seed Colorado beat #6 UNLV, and, as usual, a #12 beat a #5, VCU over Whicita St.

"Q. What do you call a photo series of Miss July, Jessa Hinton, and nine other Playboy playmates Tebowing? A. Ten of my favourite prayers." -- RJ Currie
"The Canadian Opera Company has added two sumo wrestlers — including 6-8, 625-pound Emanuel "Tiny" Yarbrough — to the cast of the opera "Semele" for its May 9-26 run in Toronto. In other words, no need to wait till the fat lady sings." -- Dwight Perry
"The most maddening part about March Madness: "Watching a million schmaltzy CBS ads for the Masters." -- Jerry Perisho
"Mike D’Antoni resigned as coach of the New York Knicks. Clearly he could handle Linsanity better than Melo-ness." -- Janice Hough
" A fifth-grader at Omaha's Columbian school got in trouble for organizing an NCAA Tournament pool. Great. We have one kid proving he has what it takes to join the American workforce and he's in trouble. Why is he in trouble? He charged $5 to enter the bracket. The kid has a better economic plan than anyone on our City Council." -- Brad Dickson


Tuesday, March 13, 2012


For the second time this year, Fab Melo has been declared ineligible for academic reasons. This is a Syracuse University mandate, not the NCAA. Without Melo, the whole dynamic of the SU zone changes. You can chase a little more when you have a seven-footer behind you, ready to pick up the pieces. Now...

The experts are saying that the Orange still have a chance if they use the full-court press for most of the game, but that doesn't address the rebounding problem. They will probably handle their first opponent, but I think they'll be going home on Sunday. I suppose if they manage to find a way to win the first two games, the academic issue MIGHT get resolved, but I guess I'm just dreaming.

If Melo is really having all these issues with the classroom, it would not surprise me to see him declare for the draft, even though he absolutely needs another year of college to reach his potential.

Well, it was a nice run while it lasted.


Monday, March 12, 2012


The ESPN analysts didn't go out on too many limbs when airing their picks in the tournament. Only Digger Phelps went off the board when picking the final four, while the rest of the experts picked the four #1 seeds to make it to the final four. I can't see this happening. There are always upsets, Cinderella teams that make a big splash, such as Butler. That's what I like about college basketball: nobody gets overwhelmed by numbers. You can only put five guys on the floor at once and you can't suit up 110 guys and bully smaller colleges.

Hopefully, the Cincinnati game taught Syracuse that you can no longer give away the first 20 minutes of the game and then steal the win in the last five minutes. The teams now are too good for that to work. Syracuse's strength is it's depth. Let's hope Boeheim doesn't panic and keeps a 10-man rotation, so his players remain fresh when you have to play two games in a three day period.

Nicknames are going to be a problem, too. You can't rely on the nickname to let people know who you're rooting for.
You're rooting for the Bears? Not good enough: that could also mean the Bearcats or the Golden Bears.
Go Wildcats! Wait, is that Davidson, Kentucky or Kansas State?
I'm a Cardinal fan. Great, is that Louisville or Lamar?
Spartans all the way. I'm rooting for Michigan State, too. No, I mean Norfolk State.
The Gaels are the best. Okay, we've been thru this already - Iona or St. Marys?
It won't help to root for the Bulldogs, either. Gonzaga is in Spokane, Washington, while N. Carolina-Ashville is, well, you know. Thank heavens, Georgia's not in it, too.
Maybe you should just root for the Xavier Musketeers or the Wichita St. Shockers, or even the Mississippi Valley St Delta Devils. They might go too far, but at least people will know who your team is.

It's still too early to tell anything, except you can see why most of the players with numbers in the 70s and 80s, will be spending time in the minors. Pitchers are still only throwing 2 or 3 innings and closers are forced to pitch in the 4th inning so they can face actual major leaguers in an effort to to properly evaluate their progress. So, we'll give it another week.

AJ Burnett is back in action. Because of his eye socket injury, he can only play catch for a while and had his first session this weekend. But he seems to have made some progress over the winter. Out of 50 tosses, he only threw four wild pitches.

If you're a true Yankee fan and a Syracuse Orange fan, you have a tough decision ahead of you. The last six times Kentucky has won the National Championship, the Yanks have won the World Series. Now what do we do?

"In tennis, Agnieszka Radwanska defeated Akgul Amanmuradova in the inaugural Spell Check Classic." - Brad Dickson
"Alex Rodriguez, 36, is taking on a leadership role in the Yankees clubhouse. Remember when he and Cameron Diaz were a couple of crazy kids sharing popcorn?" -- Cam Hutchinson
"Edna Geisler, 69, of Commerce Township, Mich., says she's a prisoner on her own property because of an aggressive assailant: a 25-pound wild turkey. Or as John Daly calls it, my dream drink." -- Dwight Perry
"Former New York Met, Lenny Dykstra, was sentenced to three years in prison; he had the option to serve his time as the Mets batting coach, but he chose prison instead." -- Alex Kaseberg
"Last week, former Cal QB Joe Ayoob broke a Guinness World Record by throwing a paper airplane 226 feet, 10 inches. Brett Favre tried to top him, but the airplane was intercepted and run back for a touchdown." -- Janice Hough
"Major League Baseball has begun its exhibition season. Who is the one guy who usually leads the entire league in stealing? The man selling $9 beers." -- Alan Ray
"It's annoying how the media obsesses on Tiger Woods. Especially when there are so many other great golfers such as (note to self: look up names of other great golfers)." -- Greg Cote
"The New Orleans 'bounty' story will not go away. The NFL is contemplating punishment, including requiring the Saints to be renamed the Sinners." -- Reggie Hayes


Saturday, March 10, 2012


## The Phillies new closer, Jonathan Papelbon, isn't making any friends in Boston. In a recent interview, he commented that, "...Phillie fans are smarter than Boston fans. And because they are in the National League, they understand baseball better." Luckily, Boston and Philadelphia don't meet in interleague play this year, or Papelbon would be finding out that Boston relievers are smarter than Philly relievers. Insulting the fans of your previous team isn't the best idea in the world.

## Ryan Braun seems to be making a bid to be the A-Rod of the National League. Everytime he opens his mouth, something dumber comes out. Braun is now saying that the real story regarding his positive drug test and subsequent successful appeal hasn't been told. When asked if the 'real story' would ever be told, he responded, "I highly doubt it. They're probably not going to know too much more than they know now." Does this mean the 'improper chain of possession' story isn't real? Did someone lie about the test results? A-Rod has learned that you can't spin these stories off like that, people aren't that stupid.

## The Yankees have announced that reliever David Robertson has suffered nothing more than a bone bruise, not the dreaded Lisfranc injury that put Chin Ming Wang down. There is a good chance that he'll be ready for opening day.
In a related story, Joe Girardi has been taken off life support and is recovering nicely.

## Syracuse is out of the Big East tournament, losing to Cincinnati last night, 71-68, and the game wasn't as close as the score indicates. Cincy shot the lights out from three-point range in the first half, taking a commanding 17 point lead and the Orangemen never recovered. They made it close as Dion Waiters picked the team up and carried it on his back for the last five minutes. It was Cincinnati's night, however, as a lot of bounces and questionable calls (what else is new?) went against Syracuse. Nothing will change the NCAA seedings too much as Kansas also lost. So SU, Kansas, Kentucky and N. Carolina will still be the four top seeds. We'll know exactly on Sunday night.

## Here's an interesting little story, courtesy of Dwight Perry.
"A law-and-order soccer referee ejected midfielder Julien Lecomte for faking a dive in a Belgian amateur soccer league game, the London Sun reported.
Just one problem: A trip to the hospital revealed that Lecomte — who got his second yellow card of the game as he was being hauled away on a gurney — had a concussion and three compressed vertebrae, courtesy of an opponent's elbow."

"How to pay homage to Peyton Manning: "At Starbucks this morning, I walked to the line and changed my drink order six times." -- Comedy writer Eric Stangel
"Rory McIlroy is now the world's No. 1 golfer, has earnings over $5.2 million in 2012 and is dating tennis star Caroline Wozniacki. If that's the luck of the Irish, I want some." -- RJ Currie
"Nebraska was eliminated in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. It's hard to be confident that you're going to make a long run, when the bus driver who brings you to the arena, leaves the engine running." -- Brad Dickson
"The feds are investigating the Auburn’s mens’ basketball team for alleged point shaving. Shocking. An investigation into the SEC and football is not involved?" -- Janice Hough


Thursday, March 08, 2012


## Sometimes (Sometimes?) Scott Boras doesn't know when to shut up. His latest rant is that the Mets ownership should sell the team because they are not spending enough money on players. Boras feels that since they are a 'big market team,' they should be signing high-priced free agents in order to "provide their fans with the type of team they deserve." Not to mention his commissions. Does he think no one can see through this ruse?

## Peyton Manning has been released by the Indianapolis Colts owner, Bob Irsay. While there is sadness all around over this move, Irsay claims that it was never about money. Oh, really? Had Peyton remained with the team, he would have been owed $28 million today. What team wouldn't want a 35-year old quarterback who spent the previous year on the DL with a neck injury? Especially for $28 million dollars. Wait till Scott Boras hears about this.

## While grocery shoppping Sunday, I came accross a product new to me. It was called Muscle Milk. I thought, this is an interesting product, until I read the label: Contains No Milk. No wonder ballplayers have a tough time with drug tests. You can't tell what's in products these days. When I was in the food service business, my company supplied juices to day care centers and the like. I read some of those labels. Raspberry juice contained 80% Apple juice. Peach was made with 80% Apple juice. Prune Juice was also 80% Apple juice, and so on. And Apple juice? Well, that was 80% Pear juice.

...and in a related story:
## Jose Canseco signed to play with a Mexican Triple-A team this summer, but it won't be happening. Canseco refused to take the required drug test so his deal was voided. Jose claims he has not taken any banned substances and is insulted by the request for the drug screen. Team officials, however, claim that Canseco admitted he was using PEDs in an interview with the team. Maybe it was that dreaded Apple Juice, Jose.

## Syracuse is on TV today at noon against Connecticut. It should be an interesting game according to Digger Phelps. He, of the matching tie and marking pen, waved that pen around claiming that Connecticut had the perfect defense to stop Syracuse and they were playing at a high level, based on that great defense. He said this will be THE upset of the tournament, because of that defense, ignoring the fact that the Orangemen have already beaten the Huskies twice this year. Luckily, there is a defense for Digger: the mute button.

## I made fun of Johann Santana earlier doing well throwing a simulated game against the Mets. Apparently, I wasn't too far off. After appearing in a spring training game against the St. Louis Cardinals, this headline appeared on ESPN yesterday: Santana throws against Major Leaguers.

## Fenway park has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. This means that any changes will have to be reviewed and approved by the Massachusettes Historical Commission. I guess this means the clubhouse beermeister isn't going anywhere.

"Mark Cuban dropped his bid to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers. He realized that even though he's a billionaire, Tommy LaSorda's pregame meals would bankrupt him." -- Brad Dickson
"A new study says high-performance engine sounds sexually arouse 99 per cent of women while revving an economy car turns them off. In a related story, I sold my Toyota Echo." -- RJ Currie
"The New York Mets could be paying for years after a judge ruled the team had to reimburse $83 million in ill-gotten gains from Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme. Big deal, say team accountants: Just think of it as having a second Bobby Bonilla deal on the books." -- Dwight Perry
"A caged lion at a charity event reportedly urinated on Patriots wideout Chad Ochocinco. You catch only 15 passes in a season, and everyone is a critic." -- Budd Bailey, Buffalo News
"Only 16 percent of United flights out of O'Hare arrived on time the first day after the United-Continental merger. Normally when people are this frustrated in Chicago, the Cubs are involved." -- Janice Hough
"Queen Elizabeth II will open the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Meanwhile, Camilla Parker Bowles will open the equestrian events with Charles riding her over the ceremonial first jump." -- Jim Barach


Monday, March 05, 2012


Not only is baseball back, but this is Championship Week for college basketball. I might not get any sleep this week at all.

## The Yanks are 2-0 so far, but the best news is that A-Rod looks like the A-Rod of old, smashing line drives everywhere.

## The NFL bounties are dominating the sports pages right now. This is quite an emotional issue. On the Sports Reporters, two of the most energetic combatants, Mike Lupica and Bob Ryan almost came to blows over the issue. For a long 10 seconds both were yelling at each other at the same time. Studio technicians were heard running for the fire hoses. The main point of contention seems to be what the penalties should be. Lupica felt this was a more serious crime than the PED users. "They get suspended for doing dope, let's suspend them for being dopes."
Well put, Michael.

## This isn't good news. The Yanks have made it clear to Michael Pineda that his spot in the rotation is not written in stone. The problem seems to be the fact that Pineda showed up in camp 19 pounds overweight. No small thing since his playing weight is listed at 270 lbs. Between him and Sabathia, I don't think the caterer who puts out the post-game meal is going to make any money this year.

## Syracuse continues to roll, ending the regular season at 30-1. There shouldn't be any cold streaks during the tournaments, since any number of players seem to have the ability to step up and carry the team for a whole game. I think the key player for Syracuse is Brandon Triche. He has so much ability but he plays too passively sometimes.
I still don't understand Boeheim's "use" of Hakim Christmas. Saturday he started (again) and played for 46 seconds before he disappeared on the bench. I know Boeheim has a history of not changing his lineup, but this is ridiculous. One night, he going to call time when they line up for the opening tip and replace Christmas.

## This makes no sense to me either. Jason King of ESPN, published his "Best of..." column yesterday. His starting five for the Big East included Dion Waiters of Syracuse. His Best Sixth man for the Big East - the same Waiters. So King thinks Waiters is one of the five best players in the conference, but his coach doesn't think he's one of the five best on the team. Boy, Syracuse IS deep.

## Are baseball owners arrogant or what? The Wilpons are being ordered to repay profits they made from Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme. But in an inexplicable form of accounting, they don't think they have to. Here's Adam Rubin's account :
"The Wilpons had asserted that because they thought they had $500 million invested with Madoff at the time his scheme was discovered by authorities, they actually were losers -- despite withdrawing more money than they had deposited with Madoff." I hope my accountant is reading this.

## We hear about the Cubs not appearing in a World Series for 67 years (or won in 103 years), but did you know that the Kansas City Royals haven't made it into the playoffs in 26 years? That's a long time for fans to have to sit on their hands.

"Michael Jordon's Highland Park, Ill., home is for sale for $29 million. It has 19 bathrooms. Something is wrong when your house has more restroom facilities than the team's arena that you own." -- Brad Dickson
"If they had added the two playoff teams last year, then the Red Sox and Braves wouldn't have 'collapsed,' and they might still be drinking beer in the Boston clubhouse." -- Len Berman
"Trevor Gooby, the Pirates' director of Florida operations, helped a woman deliver a baby last week at the team's spring-training facility in Bradenton, Fla. The grateful mother vowed her son would remain a Pittsburgh fan until he's old enough to get an allowance, but then he'll switch to the Yankees." -- Dwight Perry
"A man set a world record by balancing 23 wooden benches on his teeth: "I'll go out on a limb and say he doesn't play hockey" -- RJ Currie
"Kentucky has won the SEC and no doubt a #1 seed in the March Madness tournament. The two big questions – so can they get to the Final Four? And if so, will they be the third Calipari team to do so and have their wins vacated?" -- Janice Hough
--It's not sports, but it's funny --
"In Louisiana a male chimpanzee named Conan is still getting female chimps pregnant despite the fact that he's already had two vasectomies. According to officials, this chimp is so masculine they've stopped calling him Conan." -- Conan O'Brien


Sunday, March 04, 2012


Baseball's spring training games officially start today. I'm not counting Boston's massacre of Division 3's Northeastern University, 25-0. This is baseball, Valentine. There's no style points, we only count wins.

I don't know why they thought this was a good idea (Money), but Selig couldn't wait to push this thru (Money). Sure, it might make the regular season a little more exciting because more teams will have a chance to get into the playoffs (Money), but it also waters down the playoffs (More Money). The team that wins the World Series can't really be called "The Best Team In Baseball," anymore just because they won a tournament. Last year, the 'World Champion' Cardinals may only have been the fifth or sixth best team, who happened to get hot at the right time.
I don't care how they arrange the schedule, They are hamstringing the best teams, the teams who proved over 162 games, against everybody, that they deserve to be playing for the Championship. I just can't understand the thinking (Money).

## Johnny Damon's agent, the irrepressible Scott Boras, says that the unsigned Damon is taking the "patient approach" in the marketplace. He has to: he's not sifting through offers, he's pleading for someone to talk to him. Boras can't even bring out his usual routines, the One Dumb Owner or the 'Mystery Team,' because no one is that dumb and it's no mystery. Johnny is done for.

## Does anybody remember former Phee-nom, Brien Taylor? The Yanks managed to negotiate a $1.55 million deal with Brien's mom to bring him into the Yankee fold some 20 odd years ago. Taylor pitched one year in Double-A and did well. Over the winter, however, he got into a bar fight, injured his pitching shoulder and was never effective again. The 40-year old Taylor is back in the news having been arrested on drug charges. At least now we know where the money went.

## Syracuse University basketball fans report that S.U. mascot, Otto the Orange, a man dressed as a large round orange, has been updated. They have replaced his eyes with something a little more impressive. Apparently he's had a vasectomy, too, since he's now seedless.

"Mississippi State's nonconference football schedule this fall: Jackson State, Troy, South Alabama and Middle Tennessee State. What, Electoral College wasn't available?" -- Dwight Perry
"Talking about the electrical blaze at Fenway Park: "Instead of calling 911, Boston fans just heckled the fire until it left." -- Jimmy Fallon
"Wonder how many folks will be turning into this week’s NASCAR race, not in hopes of watching two cars crash into each other. But in hopes of watching another fuel truck flambe'." -- Janice Hough
"Ryan Braun says he'd bet his life that an illegal substance was never in his body. Hey, maybe MLB can nail him for gambling." -- Carl Steward, Oakland Tribune
"There's a new mob museum in Las Vegas: It's similar to the Baseball Hall of Fame, only with fewer rule-breakers." -- Brad Dickson

Sad news from my hometown. Santina Paino has passed away in her 92nd year. She was buried with a Yankee pinstripe ribbon in her coffin. I never saw the lady without a smile on her face and we will miss her.

Thursday, March 01, 2012


Buster Olney of ESPN, has ranked the schedules of all 16 AL teams, based on last years W/L record. The two toughest schedules. belong to the Twins and the Orioles. Well, of course. the main reason being, they don't get to play the Twins and the Orioles.
The easiest schedule belongs to the Indians, who benefit greatly from playing all those games in the piece-of-cake AL Central.

This one is a little tougher (and arguable) because it's strictly opinion. Jim Caple is the author of this one and he does try to defend his choices. The top three:
#1) Los Angeles Dodgers
#2) St. Louis Cardinals
#3) New York Yankees
The three worst:
#30) San Diego Padres
#29) Cleveland Indians
#28) Tampa Bay Rays
The Red Sox are in the middle of the pack at #16, suffering from the fact, I'll bet, that Bobby Valentine is wearing one of the uniforms.

He's the third item in today's posting, winning his spot with his ridiculous jabs at the Yankees. First, he says he's "proud that Varitek beat up A-Rod." I'm sure Varitek considers that his crowning achievement in baseball. Then Valentine says Jeter was out of position during the famous Giambi tag in the playoffs and the nobody practices that play as Jeter claims. Even some members of the Red Sox had to step in and say that it's true, Bobby, the Yanks do practice that, as do other teams, even though Valentine says he's never seen anybody practice that.
He also claims the Jeter was grandstanding, that the throw was right to Posada and they would have gotten Giambi without Jeter's help. Apparently Valentine has never seen the replay of that incident, either. I guess this is what we're going to have to deal with. Valentine making a bunch of wild statements without having the facts get in his way. Both Jeter and A-Rod refused to get involved with any of this. They just laughed it off.
Terry Francona may have been a little too lax with the players when he managed the club, but he knew baseball and he respected the game and he respected his opponents. He was class all the way. Unfortunately, Bobby Valentines fails in all these aspects.

Buster Olney reports that a lot of players are furious that Braun had his drug suspension overturned. Not because he beat it, but because he won on a technicality, claiming improper handling of the samples. They feel that all Braun did was impugn the sanctity of the testing and that in the long run, no one will trust the testing. I don't think this is what Ryan had in mind when he appealed the results.

## AJ Burnett has hit himself in the face while attempting to bunt during a drill yesterday. He fractured an orbital bone in his right eye and will need surgery.
## Johan Santana (remember him?) threw 43 pitches in a simulated game in spring training. The reports say he did well, but remember, he was pitching against the Mets.
## Here's a headline nobody ever expected to see: STEINBRENNER PLANS TO LOWER PAYROLL. It's actually George's youngest son, Hal, of course, and he means it. "I'm looking at it as a goal," he said, " but my goals are normally considered a requirement." Now THAT sounds like George.

"Mario Andretti turned 72 on Tuesday. In lieu of a birthday cake at the restaurant, he did donuts in the parking lot." -- Dwight Perry
"I went to the Daytona 500 and the 24 Hours of LeMans broke out." -- Dan Daly
--and a couple from Brad Dickson:
" Omaha police cited a man for driving while under suspension for the 28th time. I feel sorry for his attorney. "Your honor, my client will never do this again."
"Passengers left behind $409,000 in loose change at TSA checkpoints in 2011. In an effort to reduce this amount, TSA is considering a proposal to stop dangling passengers upside down by the ankles to shake loose their nail clippers." -- Thank you, Brad
"Stanford women closed out their basketball home season with a 76-52 win over Seattle. The Cardinal shot 13-13 from the free-throw line. See, boys? It’s possible." -- Janice Hough
"The sensation over New York Knick, Jeremy Lin, Linsanity is sweeping China. To show you how crazy it is, millions of young Chinese children spend so much time watching Lin, they're worried there could be a Nike shoe shortage." -- Alex Kaseberg