Friday, March 27, 2015

1 comments Despite His Having Four Super Bowl Rings, Dan Shaughnessy Still Thinks He's Smarter Than Bill Belichick

Dan Shaughnessy uses the phrase "The Patriot Way" in this column. I am betting he does this just to annoy people like me. Dan doesn't like that the Patriots refused to pick up the option for Darrelle Revis and then weren't able to sign him in free agency. He makes this clear through snark and discussing how the "system" is more important than the players, as if this strategy hasn't worked for the Patriots in the past. So despite the Patriots having just won a Super Bowl, Dan spends some time being snarky and suggesting he knows what is better for the Patriots then the incompetent Bill Belichick does. After all, it's been a whole couple of months and the Patriots still haven't won another Super Bowl. Dan thinks the Patriots may never win another Super Bowl now that they have allowed Revis to go to the Jets in free agency. Someone should do something about how Bill Belichick is wrecking the Patriots team.

The Patriots just lost their best defensive player. 

No, they re-signed Devin McCourty and Chandler Jones is still on the roster. Jerod Mayo is also coming back from injury, so it seems the Patriots still have quite a few guys who can be considered their best defensive player.

Greedy Darrelle is going to New York for a five-year, $70 million contract. He’s going to make $48 million over the first three years of his Jet contract. He’s now got $39 million in guaranteed money coming his way.

Yes, of course Darrelle Revis is greedy for maximizing his market value. We all know Dan Shaughnessy would NEVER take an opportunity to earn more income and maximize his value. Never. Ever. So fuck Darrelle Revis for trying to make as much money as possible during his career. This makes him greedy and not a good businessman.

The clever Patriots would not go for that. They reportedly stopped short at a guarantee of $35 million.

So, if the reports are true, this New England team, flush with cash, lost its best defensive player for $4 million.

The Patriots had around $14 million in cap space around the time that Revis was signed by the Jets. I'm not sure that would count as being flush with cap space. They couldn't afford to sign Revis to the contract that the Jets signed him to. Revis is earning $16 million during the 2015 season. It seemed pretty well-known, at least to me, that the Patriots couldn't keep both McCourty and Revis. Of course, when has Dan allowed reality to seep into his criticisms?

Naturally, you are all OK with this. You are Patriots fans. Your team just won a Super Bowl. You subscribe to a long-standing policy that your team will not pay stupid money for talent. Sure, the Patriots have the money, but that’s not the point.

No, it is the point. The point is that just because the Patriots have the money it doesn't mean they should spend that money.

The point is that players don’t matter. It is the system that matters. The system wins Super Bowls. The coach wins Super Bowls. The owner wins Super Bowls.

The quarterback wins Super Bowls too. At some point when this has been proven incorrect, then I would love for Dan Shaughnessy to point out when. The Patriots have shown they don't have to keep players who have hit free agency as long as they are able to find other players to serve as replacements. Dan is snarky about the system, but it works, so his snark is simply a sarcastic statement of fact.

Your team doesn’t do the foolish things that other teams do. And your team just won the Super Bowl. So who is going to question the Patriot way? Only a fool.

Or someone (namely, a sportswriter named "Dan Shaughnessy") who questions every move Boston-area teams make that don't match the conventional wisdom of what a team should do. Then when he is proven to be incorrect about his questioning of these moves, he simply moves on to the next issue he can gripe about sarcastically.

Clearly, the Jets are idiots. Again.

Maybe. Was the Jets' issue last year at the cornerback position? Partly, but that's a lot of money for a cornerback who the Jets already refused to pay just a few years ago. They may not be idiots, but it's a big investment in one player.

The Patriots rented Revis for one year and they got what they wanted. They won a Super Bowl. So line up and guzzle the Patriots Kool-Aid.

This is Dan's defense mechanism. He gets snarky and says something like, "Well, it worked for the Red Sox didn't it? So every move they make from now on will work, won't it?" in a desperate effort to lower the bar and move the goal posts, while distracting the reader from the fact Dan's upcoming criticism has no validity. No one is guzzling the Patriots Kool-Aid. They won a Super Bowl with Revis. Their plan worked.

Never mind that the Patriots could keep on winning Super Bowls and keep their best defensive player.

Could they though? Really think about that, Dan. Think hard. I'm not sure the Patriots could have kept Revis and McCourty.

It’s more important that they win at the negotiating table. It’s all about the value.

While being sarcastic in an effort to make the Patriots seem as though they are cheap, Dan is missing the point. It is important to win at the negotiating table. Good teams keep an eye on their salary cap situation for this year and 2-3 years down the road. It IS all about value. Losing at the negotiating table is how teams end up with millions in dead money which restricts their ability to make offseason moves that improve the team.

Dan just doesn't understand. Maybe the Patriots are cheap, but it works. Maybe Dan would have a point if it weren't for two small issues:

1. The Patriots' strategy of being cheap has paid off for almost 15 years now. They have been the most successful NFL franchise since 2001 using this strategy.

2. It is all about value at the bargaining table in order to sustain the long-term success of a team.

It’s about the value because the Patriots are not only the best team on the field. They are the smartest. They are the most clever. They are playing chess while the other dimwits are playing checkers.

And now Dan is trying to overstate the case in order to enter the Theater of the Absurd since his opinion in the real world has been proven to sound stupid.

Pity those foolish Steelers and Giants and Ravens and Broncos. And Jets. They do not know how to do business. The Patriots know how to win and they know how to do business.

But it's true. The Patriots do know how to do business. The results on the field support this point of view. The Steelers, Giants, Ravens and Broncos aren't foolish. It's not a zero-sum game like Dan is desperately trying to prove is true. The Patriots aren't smarter than every other team in the same way McDonald's isn't smarter than Wal-Mart, Target or Burger King. They are all successful, it's just they each have a different way of doing business. Target isn't stupid because Wal-Mart is smart. The same theory applies here. The Patriots have a good way of doing business that is proven to be successful. It doesn't mean other NFL teams don't have a good way of doing business themselves.

Everybody in this NFL-crazed nation knew the Patriots were never going to pay Revis $20 million for 2015, with a salary-cap hit of $25 million. But not everybody knew the Jets were going to lose their minds. That’s why they are the Jets.

So the Patriots should have given Revis the money the Jets gave Revis and this would have made the Patriots smart, but because the Jets gave Revis this money then they are losing their minds? I don't even understand the logic behind this comment.

They just added a great cornerback to their woeful, non-contending team. And the smarter-than-everybody Patriots no doubt believe they have a valid tampering claim against New York. It’s all there on tape. We heard Jets owner Woody Johnson gushing about Revis in December. Not cool.

Dan's basic point seem to be that he is going to talk sarcastically about how smart the Patriots are compared to the Jets, while seeming to truly believe the Patriots are smarter than the Jets...or something like that. Maybe not. Maybe the Patriots would have been smart to re-sign Revis, all while the Jets were dumb for re-signing Revis.

So now it’s time to fire up the Patriots media cartel. Time to demonize Revis.

You mean by calling him "greedy"? Or was that Dan making fun of Patriots fans for calling Revis greedy while not actually calling Revis greedy, unless Dan suddenly decides he does think Revis is greedy, in which case Dan was completely serious in calling him "Greedy Revis"?

Has anybody noticed that Revis only had two interceptions last year? Clearly, this guy is overrated. Right? And now we know for sure that he cares only about money. If he really cared about winning football, he would have stayed here for less. But no. Ultimately, Revis showed his true colors. He chose money over legacy. What a loser.

Dan is changing tone here almost as much as I change tone. It's difficult to keep up with. Clearly, he is being sarcastic right now about Revis being a loser. Most NFL players care only about money, it's just Revis is in a position to actually make more money.

If I may stray from the party line for a moment, there might be some legitimate questions here. If the Patriots were willing to make Devin McCourty the highest-paid safety (five years, $47.5 million), in football, why did they draw the line on Revis, who is better at corner than McCourty is at safety?

Perhaps, and this is a point that Dan seems to consistently miss, the Patriots could really not afford to keep both of them. McCourty was cheaper, and while not as talented as Revis, he allowed the Patriots to do something defensively that couldn't be replaced with another safety that was on the market or in the draft. Revis may be a better corner than McCourty is a safety, but it may be easier for the Patriots to replace the production of Revis than it is to replace McCourty's production. There are outside forces which are present and can move a player's value to his current team up or down.

And how are they going to take the hit of also losing Brandon Browner in the defensive backfield?

They may commit fewer defensive holding or pass interference penalties.

Revis changed everything in 2014. In the six seasons after the undefeated season of 2007, the Patriots were good, but never great; not even when they got back to the Super Bowl in Indianapolis against the Giants. They were always good enough to win the AFC East (like signing up for AOL), but they were not good enough to keep good offenses off the field when it mattered.

Oh, okay. Thanks for clearing up that the Patriots were good, but never great, when they went 72-24 over a six year span. The Patriots were 4-5 in the playoffs during that time and what happened again in the 7th year after the Patriots went undefeated? Oh yeah, they won the Super Bowl. I was always confused by whether the Patriots were good or great and always thought a 75% win rate in the regular season over six years was a pretty great record. It turns out that record is only good. I'm glad Dan Shaughnessy is here to point out the truths as his delusional mind sees them as it relates to a point he is looking to prove.

In 2014, Revis enabled the Patriots to play any kind of defense Belichick wanted. Revis routinely erased the best receiver on the other team. Calvin Johnson. A.J. Green, T.Y. Hilton. Revis got more Pro Bowl votes than any corner in the NFL. More votes than flavor-of-the-year Richard Sherman.

Richard Sherman is still a pretty good cornerback. I will not allow myself to be distracted by Dan Shaughnessy's shot at Richard Sherman based on such an idiotic metric as Pro Bowl votes.

We know the Patriots don’t like to work with a gun at their heads. They like value. They don’t spend to the cap and they don’t like to overpay. Just because somebody else is willing to pay stupid money, why should New England?

It really is a good strategy if an NFL team can continue winning games while using this strategy. Why should the Patriots overpay for a player simply because another team chooses to use this strategy in order to acquire or keep a player? Because acquiring big name players and spending money is exciting and keeps the local beat writers with fresh stories they can write during free agency?

Ordinarily, this thinking works with the Patriots and their fans. It’s “In Bill We Trust.’’ Fans support the team when Wes Welker leaves and when Logan Mankins is traded. Usually, this blind loyalty is rewarded.

Most always this blind loyalty has been rewarded. As long as fans don't hold the Patriots to the absurd standard of "Have they won the Super Bowl every single season?" then the blind loyalty has been rewarded with nearly a decade-and-a-half of sustained success. I can't see in what world there should be criticism of how the Patriots deal with personnel. Regardless of how strong the AFC East has been, the Patriots have won four Super Bowls since 2001 and their strategy on how they value players has proven to work. It's not easy to be as good as the Patriots have been for as long of time as they have been good. Of course, Dan has no perspective and just assumes because the Patriots haven't won the Super Bowl 10 more times in the last 14 years, then a different strategy in valuing their personnel would have changed that. He sees the Patriots' way of thinking as the problem surrounding why the Patriots aren't MORE successful, as opposed to viewing this thinking as the reason the Patriots have been this successful. Dan sucks.

It seemed that Revis was different. He was the best player at a crucial position. He delivered a Super Bowl.

You would have thought he was a guy the Patriots could not afford to lose.

When an NFL team says, "We afford to lose this guy" because of that player's perceived value, then that is how teams often end up overpaying for players it turns out they could have afforded to lose, even if they didn't want to lose that player.

But there is no such player. It’s not about any one player. It’s about the system.

Which is a system, that like it or not, has been proven to work for the Patriots.

The Patriots usually win, and sometimes lose, but at the bargaining table the Patriot Way is the only way.

There is no real "Patriot Way," but the Patriots do have a philosophy that seems to work. Dan Shaughnessy, of course, thinks that HIS way is better than the Patriots' way of doing business. After all, the Patriots haven't won the Super Bowl 10 times in the past 14 years. That's quite the record of failure. Just imagine how successful the Patriots could have been if they had utilized the Shaughnessy Way of dealing with personnel. They may have created a dynasty over the last decade-and-a-half. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

2 comments Dan Shaughnessy is Livid That UMass is Honoring John Calipari Because of Reasons He Copied and Pasted from Every Other Column Written about John Calipari

We still have one open spot in the fantasy baseball league and if anyone wants to join then send me an email to bengoodfella@yahoo.com and I will send you an invite. That will put the league at 10 people and we need one more person before the draft on Sunday.

Dan Shaughnessy claims to be upset that UMass will be honoring John Calipari on the 20th anniversary of Calipari taking the UMass men's basketball team to the Final Four. That's not what this column is about though. It's about John Calipari being slightly shady at UMass and Dan Shaughnessy feeling snubbed by Calipari. This means Dan will go hard at Calipari for his actions at UMass, despite the fact the NCAA cleared Calipari of any wrongdoing by the NCAA. I don't love Calipari, but I think Dan Shaughnessy is more butt hurt by a snub the "Globe" received from Calipari 20 years ago then he is really concerned about UMass honoring Calipari.

Here we are. Kentucky, the No. 1-ranked team in the country — coached by John Calipari — is on the cusp of NCAA history, 31-0 after Saturday’s win over Florida.

Well, all he has to do is roll the ball out to center court and his team wins. Having talented freshmen on the team is just a matter of doing that. Just ask Rick Barnes who couldn't get past the second round of the NCAA tournament with Kevin Durant, and Coach K, who has lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament twice over the last three years with a talented lottery pick freshman on his roster.

Meanwhile, the folks at UMass have decided to retire Coach Cal’s “number,” and this weekend marks the 20th anniversary of him refusing to allow a Globe reporter to visit his home for Selection Sunday.

And that is really what this little temper tantrum/column is about. Dan Shaughnessy and his paper feel jilted by John Calipari. Dan's ego is hurt so he's going to take it out on the big meanies who hurt him.

Sometimes there is not enough space in our newspaper to articulate all the thoughts, and state all the points, that need to be made.

If only Dan had enough pull at the paper to get more room to write all that he really wants to write. Unfortunately, the big meanies at the "Boston Globe" won't allow him more space.

Let’s start with this: John Calipari is a magnetic figure, undoubtedly the greatest college basketball recruiter of the 21st century. He works the NCAA’s cesspool system better than any man alive. He is charismatic. He came to Amherst more than a quarter of a century ago as a Rick Pitino wannabe, but now he has vaulted over Pitino, and created the Brand of Cal.

Notice how Dan at no point mentions that Calipari is a good coach. Since I'm guessing that Shaughnessy watches college basketball starting in March of every year then I will also guess that Dan's knowledge about college basketball is probably gained from everything he sees in March. Even so, he should know that Calipari is a really good coach. It's not easy to get freshmen to play defense and he gets his freshmen to play defense AND give up minutes to other talented players.

He is probably going to win a second national championship with Kentucky this year and is no doubt a swell dancer and would make for a fine dinner companion.

Though Dan wouldn't know if Calipari was a fine dinner companion because Cal snubbed Dan's employer for dinner one time 20 years ago.

But as a Massachusetts taxpayer, I have a problem with UMass “retiring” Coach Cal’s number.

Dan isn't butt hurt by John Calipari snubbing the "Globe," he's just a concerned taxpayer. That's all. Dan's ego isn't the issues, it's that Dan wants to make sure his taxes don't go to a retired jersey for John Calipari.

Really? Bill Cosby’s jersey is not available?

Bill Cosby went to Temple and has no affiliation to UMass, so that's why they aren't retiring his jersey. Wait, this was supposed to be a joke? I guess should acknowledge such a hot take combined with a super burn.  

I enjoy how Dan Shaughnessy is equating (allegedly) raping multiple women over a multiple decade-long span of time to Calipari's players accepting cash from an agent or having someone else take the SAT in place of the player. Rape, taking money from an agent or cheating on the SAT, they are all the same thing according to Dan Shaughnessy's moral code of conduct.

Calipari is a man who stretches the rules, and wins. He won at UMass. He won at Memphis. He took both schools to the Final Four, but both appearances were “vacated.’’ 

While it's not as much fun to be fair to Calipari, if I were being fair, then I would point out the wins at UMass weren't vacated for actions that Calipari took part in. It was Marcus Camby and contact with an agent that got the UMass Final Four vacated. And again, Derrick Rose's SAT score was the issue at Memphis and Calipari was not considered to have committed any wrongdoing. I don't ever deny the smoke that surrounds Calipari, but Dan is giving the appearance that Calipari was accused of wrongdoing in both situations, which isn't the official truth of the situation. Sure, Dan WANTS Calipari to have been found of wrongdoing, but that doesn't mean it's the truth.

They were erased. You know the drill. Ineligible players. Phony SAT tests. The usual. So, while Coach Cal and Pitino are the only coaches to take three schools to the Final Four, Cal’s also got more vacancies than a Days Inn in downtown Detroit.

ZING!

And our state university is going to honor him? Again?

He led the UMass men's basketball team to a level of success they have not experienced since he left the university. The Final Four was vacated, but UMass basketball fans still remember and enjoy Calipari's time coaching the team. 

He has a chance to produce the first undefeated college team since Bobby Knight’s Indiana Hoosiers 39 years ago. But it’s impossible to escape the notion that Coach Cal is a glorified AAU bag man. 

A lot of NCAA basketball coaches are this way. Coach Calipari has a tight relationship with AAU coaches and guys like Worldwide Wes, but it's not like a respected coach like Bill Self is above shady dealings related to AAU coaches. Recruiting isn't an easy world to stay clean in.

I see Calipari on the bench and I see bundles of cash. I see classroom vacancies. I must be imagining things.

John Calipari does get paid a lot of money, so maybe that's why Dan sees bundles of cash. For all the things that Calipari has been accused of, I'm not sure paying players is one of those things. I don't know if his players go to class, but this sounds like the boring, assumptive criticism that a hack like Shaughnessy would make. It's criticism-by-numbers.

Cal promotes the dribble-drive and gets his one-and-done kids to the NBA.

I hate to ruin Dan's image of Calipari, but his team this year started two juniors, two sophomores, and a freshman prior to Alex Poythress getting injured. Coaches who are thought to uphold the grand tradition of the student-athlete had similar starting lineups this year. Coach K started three freshmen, a senior and junior, while Bill Self started two juniors, two freshmen, and two sophomores at various times through year. Other teams like Wisconsin have seniors starting, but Calipari shouldn't be faulted for helping his players accomplish the goal of making it to the NBA.

He walks hand-in-hand with the fraudulent, sanctimonious governing body that insists we refer to his players as “student-athletes.’’ What a joke.

And of course it is John Calipari's fault that the NCAA is a fraudulent governing body. He could change how the NCAA handles business, but he chooses not to. This is a very typical observation of a sportswriter who watches college basketball for three weeks in a year.

But the joke is on us when UMass chooses to honor Cal during the 2015-16 season, a year that will mark the 20th anniversary of the Minutemen’s one and only trip the Final Four, an appearance that officially never happened.

I really don't care. John Calipari has never snubbed me for dinner.

UMass looks pathetic. It’s bad enough that the school bosses have signed off on a ridiculous, costly, and futile plan to play Bowl Subdivision football.

Watch out for the quick change-of-subject criticism!

In case you missed it, Cal took UMass to the Final Four at the Meadowlands in the spring of 1996 (ironically, the Minutemen were eliminated by Pitino’s eventual national champs from Kentucky), but it turned out that star center Marcus Camby already had turned professional while he was still in school, and UMass’s appearance was officially erased by the NCAA.

It's hard to miss it when this entire article hinges on the reader understanding that Camby took money from an agent and Dan Shaughnessy is desperately trying to do something the NCAA couldn't (or wouldn't...I have no idea which one it is) do, which is tie Calipari to Camby who was tied to the agent.

Coach Cal got out of town before the posse arrived, lying to everyone on his way out the door as he took millions from the New Jersey Nets.

But as was learned from the Bruce Pearl and Jim Tressel situations the NCAA could have imposed a "show-cause" penalty on any team looking to hire John Calipari, meaning he could have gotten punished even after he left town to coach the New Jersey Nets. The NCAA did not impose a "show-cause" penalty. It's a common misconception that Calipari could have left for the NBA and the NCAA would have completely had their hands tied. It was a decision by the NCAA to not impose sanctions on Calipari for any role he played in the UMass-Marcus Camby situation.

Now, Nefarious John is at Kentucky, producing a conga line of lottery picks, some of whom perhaps actually spend several hours on campus.

This is such a lazy criticism, because as we learned from the UNC-CH scandal, there is no way of telling if college basketball players from other high-profile universities attend class either. This whole column is lazy and reeks of by-the-numbers criticism of Calipari without any real in-depth knowledge of each individual situation that is being criticized.

Hardly any of them graduate, of course.

"Hardly" any of Calipari's players graduate. Well, according to Dan's own newspaper the University of Kentucky graduates players at an 82% rate. That's not really considered "hardly" in my world, but I'm looking for the column from Dan that will never happen where he criticizes Bo Ryan, Jim Boeheim, and Thad Matt for their graduation rate below 50%. I'm sure the system is stacked against them though, since we learned early in this column that the NCAA is inextricably tied to John Calipari and he controls every move the NCAA makes.

What good are facts when an opinion can better serve to prove the point that needs to be proven?

And the needy, deprived fans of Kentucky basketball somehow manage to devote their lives to this product. They are OK when a raft of Kentucky players get drafted and Cal announces that it’s the greatest night in the history of Kentucky basketball.

Every college basketball program brags about the players from that school that have reached the NBA. It's a recruiting tool that all schools use. I'm not sure why Dan insists on acting like Kentucky or John Calipari are the only ones who do this. It's probably because Dan pays attention to college basketball for three weeks per year and so all of his non-insights are based on assumptions and opinions that lack a factual basis.

Kentucky fans are defiantly proud of their one-and-done semi-pro players who visit campus briefly on their way to the NBA.

Much in the same way Dan is defiantly proud of being disliked by so many of his readers who view him as a troll who they wish would go away.

But it’s all OK because, you know, Cal is just working within the system. And he is really good at it. The Wildcats are fun to watch (did you see the spectacular comeback against Georgia Tuesday night?). And if you have an 18-year-old son who is one year away from NBA millions, send him to Kentucky.

Or Duke. Or Kansas. Or one of the other top schools in the recruiting rankings. But yeah, blame Kentucky for all of the one-and-done players while pretending Ohio State, Duke, Kansas, and Texas haven't had their share of one-and-done players as well. I've written this 1000 times, but Calipari has stated he isn't a fan of the one-and-done rule, so blaming him for an NBA rule that forces college basketball players to attend college or play overseas for one year is misguided. Dan being misguided shouldn't come as a shock. He comes to the party late and then pretends to have been there the entire time. He writes with 50% of the knowledge he needs and just assumes that knowledge which he doesn't have.

Just don’t insult everybody’s intelligence by calling him a “student-athlete.’’

That's the NCAA calling them student-athletes, not John Calipari's doing.

This week marks the 20th anniversary of Coach Cal barring the Globe from his Shutesbury home on Selection Sunday. The Globe’s UMass beat reporter was the estimable Joe Burris, who had covered the Minutemen for six seasons and wrote stories on 29 regular-season games in 1995.

Now for the real reason that Dan Shaughnessy doesn't like John Calipari. It has less to do with UMass honoring Calipari and more to do with Calipari snubbing the "Globe" from entering his home. Not that Dan would ever write a column based on any biases he has. Of course not.

Calipari was upset because the Globe had reported on the poor grades and academic probation of UMass’s student-athletes — a report that should have served as fair warning that our State U. was sacrificing standards in the name of Final Four glory.

Much like how the "Globe" sacrifices journalistic talent and integrity for the sake of pageviews and name recognition by continuing to employ Dan Shaughnessy.

“The Globe’s not invited,’’ UMass publicist Bill Strickland said 20 years ago. “He did not want the Boston Globe in his home . . . I think he should be entitled to invite anyone he wants to his house. And to keep anyone out.’’

Fair enough.

Oh good, I'm glad Dan finds it acceptable to think that John Calipari can invite anyone into his house that he wants into his home and can keep anyone out of his home that he doesn't want there.

But I found it amazing that Burris — a man worthy of marrying the daughter of Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu — was not allowed in the home of a man who prevailed over a program that disgraced Massachusetts.

Except this is a stupid argument because Calipari had not disgraced Massachusetts at that point, so 20 years ago Burris was simply not allowed in the home of a college basketball coach. At the time, Calipari wasn't presiding over a program that had a Final Four vacated. Hey Dan, remember the whole "Calipari got out of town and took the New Jersey Nets' money before the posse got him" criticism of Calipari you had earlier? Well, Calipari was in town still, so you can't have it both ways. You can't have Calipari run from his disgrace and tell stories about how Calipari was already a disgraced coach while still at UMass.

It was like getting scolded for cheating by Alex Rodriguez.

(Bengoodfella makes wanking motion with his hand)

And now we are honoring Coach Cal.

March Madness, indeed.

And of course, Dan's bitterness towards Calipari has nothing to do with the "Globe" not being invited to Calipari's house and it's certainly not based on a limited amount of knowledge that Dan has based on watching college basketball for three weeks of the season. This is a paint-by-numbers screed against Calipari. It's embarrassing for Dan because he compares John Calipari to Bill Crosby, since rape is on the same moral plane as taking money from an agent, and he clearly didn't put any thought into what he wrote. Of course, much like he criticizes Kentucky for taking pride in their one-and-done players, Dan takes great pride in writing while using as few facts and as many strong opinions as possible. Dan thinks Calipari will do anything to win, all while Dan will write anything to get attention.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

2 comments MMQB Review: Interview with the NFL Vampire Edition

We still have one open spot in the fantasy baseball league and if anyone wants to join then send me an email to bengoodfella@yahoo.com and I will send you an invite. That will put the league at 10 people and I think that's a good number for this year.

Peter King discussed Darrelle Revis signing with the New York Jets in last week's MMQB. Peter also included a travel note that someone else experienced, and it is always pleasant and fun to read about someone else's experiences third-hand, specifically when the reader doesn't know that person at all. Peter thinks this is one of the zaniest offseasons that he can recall, which if I recall correctly, is something he seems to say every NFL offseason. This week Peter talks with Roger Goodell, shocks us with the conclusion out of work NFL players may be out of work for a reason, and talks briefly about Chris Borland's decision to retire. The real gem is Peter's conversation with Roger Goodell where Goodell reveals absolutely nothing. Of course, since Goodell is ALWAYS open to speaking to the media (as he claimed at the Super Bowl) then I wouldn't expect Goodell to say anything new and an interview with Goodell isn't really a big deal. Right? I mean, Goodell is ALWAYS available to talk with the media, so anything Goodell would say to Peter King is just stuff the public has heard before. He's such an available guy.

Roger Goodell’s season from Hades is over, and don’t expect him to share many memories of the nightmare. I tried the other day, and got nowhere.

Roger Goodell on January 30, 2015.

"I'm available to the media almost every day of my job professionally."

So he became available, good for him. But he won't reveal anything to the media, you know, like he seems to expect Marshawn Lynch to reveal when meeting with the media because:

“When you’re in the NFL, you have an obligation, an obligation to the fans. It is part of your job, and there are things in all of our jobs that we have to do that we don’t necessarily want to do.”

Fortunately, Goodell is in a position where the rules he makes don't apply to him. What a country!

In a 75-minute interview with The MMQB in his Park Avenue office in New York, Goodell seemed at ease and not wounded by the raging torrent of criticism that hounded him from the time he made his decision last July to suspend Baltimore running back Ray Rice for two games for knocking his wife unconscious in a New Jersey elevator. If he is wounded—and how can he not be—he’s not saying.

Why would Roger Goodell be wounded by the criticism? To be wounded would be to assume that Goodell (a) cares what anyone thinks about him or (b) is self-aware enough to understand that his decisions aren't sent down by tablet from God himself and that he very well could be fallible. Goodell hasn't shown that either assumption can be seen as a true characteristic he possesses. 

Asked what his hopes are for 2015, Goodell said: “To some extent it’s that the things that we’re doing are working.

But Goodell is savvy enough to know there’s been damage to the league office, and a lot of it, and he’s going to have to have a damn good 2015 to restore faith in the league—and in him. “We have to meet the expectation of our fans,’’ he said. “They deserve it. We have to show them that their faith and trust in us is well placed.”

Ah yes, the use of "us" and "we" when it's Roger Goodell that many fans lack faith in and he is the one who needs to meet the expectations of the fans. Goodell accepts that salary to be the commissioner, but when things go wrong and the perception of his decisions isn't good, all of a sudden it's a team effort to fix them. 

I’m going to run an edited transcript of Goodell’s remarks to me on Page 2 of the column. But first, a Cliff’s Notes version of the notable things from our conversation:

Goodell is available almost every day to the media, so I'm sure this is all stuff we've heard before.

On whether he ever considered resigning last year: “No. N-O. No.”

Because Goodell would voluntarily give up earning multi-millions and in the process thereby subjugating his ego and admitting he was wrong. Where's the fun in that?

Goodell said he thinks league-hired investigator Ted Wells “is getting near the end” of his probe into the inflation levels of footballs in the AFC Championship Game, a story that’s hung over the Patriots and the league for the past nine weeks.

No really, have him take his time. At this point, few people probably care what Wells finds out and that's probably Goodell's intent anyway.

One storyline during the deflated-balls saga was that the league was trying to catch the Patriots in the act of using the balls, and suspected prior to the AFC title game that the team was taking air out of the footballs before using them in games. Countered Goodell: “I was not personally aware of it until after the game.”

Based on the past year's worth of information about what Goodell claims to know and not know, it seems like Goodell really isn't informed about what's going on in the NFL. It could cause a more jaded person to wonder if Goodell is really that clueless about ongoing NFL investigations and whether a better commissioner would make himself more aware and thereby more accountable. But hey, Goodell can't be accountable if he doesn't possess the required information to be accountable, right?

The NFL is “looking at more games” in 2016 in Europe than the three scheduled in 2015, he said.

Of course the NFL is looking at more games in Europe. Because by golly, if those damn Europeans don't like American football then they'll be forced to like the sport, all in the name of "expansion" and increased profits for the NFL. Sure, NFL ticket holders will lose a few home games, but that's just a small price to pay for the NFL making as much money as possible. It's all in the best interests of the fans...of course.

Goodell said he’s “not concerned” with Jameis Winston, the possible first pick in the draft, staying home in Alabama with his family on draft night instead of being at the draft.

Oh good, so Winston has permission from Roger Goodell to be with his family on draft night. I'm sure Winston will sleep better knowing he has Roger's full go-ahead to spend the draft with his family.

The MMQB: What’s the lesson you take from easily your most trying year as commissioner?
 
Goodell: I don’t know if you could put one or two … One of the things we always focus on is,

Uh-oh, things are going wrong so here comes the use of "we" because the team is wrong, it's not just Roger Goodell who is wrong. Writers like Bill Simmons use "we" when he's wrong, but it's good to see a person like Roger Goodell buy into the team atmosphere in order to shirk responsibility from himself on to "the team" when decisions made by the NFL are wrong as well. Nothing makes a person buy into "we" and the team concept like a wrong or bad decision having been made. I wonder if "we" all have their name on Roger's paycheck?

By the way, Roger's answer contains 10 "we's" and 1 "we're."

Two, in this case, at least in the personal conduct area, we were too reliant on law enforcement. We were completely reliant on law enforcement. We can’t be in this circumstance, because our criminal justice system has to make different types of decisions on different standards. We have to have personal conduct that represents the standards in the NFL.

The NFL did have a personal conduct that represents the standards in the NFL. It's just the public thought these standards were too low, so Roger Goodell had to scramble during the Ray Rice situation in order to pretend the NFL really had higher standards, and he just didn't have enough information to make an informed decision prior to making a decision.

The MMQB: What would you say in 2014 was your low point?

Goodell: I don’t know. I wouldn’t. I haven’t even thought about that.

As I said previously, this would require self-awareness, as well as some sense of reflection. There's no need for Roger Goodell to engage in either tactic because that would be admitting he perhaps he's made a mistake that requires self-awareness or reflection to correct and he isn't willing to do that.

The MMQB: You had a few of them. 
 
Goodell: I just said, I haven’t thought about that.

Hey, let's not get snippy there buddy. I know you have given this information out many times before because you are SO available to the media, but try to have patience when Peter is asking a semi-tough question (which is generally against his nature).

I think when you’re doing this job, you’ve got to do this job and you take highs and lows and you work to address them as quickly as possible and as thoroughly as possible.

So Peter said it had been nine weeks since Ted Wells started looking into the improperly inflated footballs that the Patriots may or may not have been using?

The MMQB: How difficult was it personally on you?

Goodell: We’re sorry we got to the place we got to [and] the way we got to it, but that is something that we now can look back at and build on. … We’re actually starting to see it. People are saying, “People should adopt the personal conduct policy of the NFL in other institutions and other industries.” That’s rewarding to some extent.

I've heard no one say this when this statement wasn't then followed by laughter, as it is clearly a joke designed to poke fun at the NFL.

The MMQB: Did you use anybody in 2014 as what you would call a sounding board, an advisor, to help you through the tough times? 

Goodell: … Well, one of the good things about having those is that you don’t tell people who they are, because then they aren’t quite as open … I think that’s how you develop relationships that are valuable.

It was Tony Dungy, wasn't it?

I don't know if Peter is salty because he is bitter for the whole report he screwed up this summer about Ray Rice and the conversation that went on between Rice, Janay Rice and Roger Goodell, but he does ask Goodell tougher questions when he feels Goodell is saying nothing. Goodell says nothing often.

The MMQB: Speaking of investigations, we’re at the two-month anniversary of the AFC Championship Game and the investigation into allegations that the Patriots deflated the football or footballs in that game. How much thought did you give that you needed to get it resolved so it’s not hanging over the league? It seems like it’s been hanging over the league for two months. Was there any thought in your mind to try to get it resolved that week so that it didn’t mar anything associated with the Super Bowl?
 
Goodell: No. I think the most important thing is to get the right information, to get the facts and to get the truth. And not to make any judgments until you get that. We have been very careful on that.

The MMQB: Any indication when that will be?

Goodell: I haven’t spoken to him for several weeks. I think he’s getting near the end, but there’s no requirement when. …

So there's no requirement when Ted Wells has to actually give the report to the NFL? That's great because it creates an environment of accountability in that the commissioner doesn't seem to have a clue what's going on and he doesn't care when he gets clued in. What Goodell isn't told yet can't hurt him, right?

The MMQB: Is two months to investigate that too long?

Goodell: Again, I think that if you’re going to be thorough, it takes time. You’re having to meet with a lot of people. I guess it’s always too long, because you want to get to that issue and deal with it. It’s important not to exert any pressure to short-circuit or do anything other than be fair and transparent.

Yes, be transparent. It's very important. Did Roger Goodell say this as he destroyed Spygate tapes or was he closing his eyes pretending he didn't see the Ray Rice tape when he spoke about transparency?

The MMQB: Can you say that the first time that you heard about this was after the game?

Goodell: Yes.

Goodell can say it. Who knows if it's the truth?

The MMQB: You know that there’s a storyline out there that you knew about the deflating and wanted to catch them in the act.

Goodell: Let’s just short circuit this a little bit. I’m not going to get into what we knew and when we knew it because that’s part of what he’s investigating. … I can tell you that I was not personally aware of it until after the game.

You know, for a powerful man Roger Goodell sure doesn't know a hell of a lot of things the commissioner of the NFL should know before they happen.

What's interesting is that Goodell will talk about how he has no knowledge of an event that is seen as a negative for the NFL, but he's quick to point out how he's very proactive and full of information in situations where it makes him look good. In situations where the NFL doesn't look so good, Goodell is kept in the dark.

The MMQB: Do you get involved much with things like that with the competition committee?

Goodell: I just spent 45 minutes on the phone with [competition committee co-chair] Jeff Fisher last night. I talk with Rich McKay or other committee members, John Mara. …  I’m meeting with them in advance of Sunday.

Roger Goodell is going to meet with the competition committee IN ADVANCE of their meeting to ensure they can talk about what is and what is not a catch. Roger Goodell is dedicated to making sure everyone knows what is and is not a catch. Did the Patriots deflate footballs and affect the fair competition of the game? Fuck if he knows. He's just waiting for someone to give him some information about that subject.

The MMQB: Is it logical to think that you would propose an 18-game schedule at any point in the near future?
 
Goodell: I think it’s one of those things that we’ll continue to evaluate the season structure. … The real short-term focus is on the quality of the preseason. Do we need four preseason games anymore—for competitive reasons or any other reason? And I think that there’s a growing sentiment that you don’t.

It's not a growing sentiment at this point. That sentiment has already grown up, is about to graduate college and is looking for a full-time job.

But can you get this done and can you do it in two or three games? I think that people are more comfortable with three. So do we need that? Okay, that’s one part of the schedule. The rest is the regular season and the rest is the postseason. So I think all of these are interrelated. You have to evaluate all of them. We haven’t spent a lot of time on 18 games in the last couple of years.

It's interesting how much information and research Goodell puts into ideas like the 18 game schedule and what is a catch, while Peter gets short answers as it pertains to questions about deflated footballs and any mistakes the NFL has made.

The MMQB: Is there one city that is really aggressive about having it? 

(The NFL Draft is the topic here)

Goodell: Canton, Ohio. It’s awesome!

It sounds awesome! I think Roger Goodell is moving the draft around just in the hopes that citizens of each city will be so happy to have the draft that they forget to boo him. It's probably also his reason for trying to expand the NFL into London and other European cities. They don't hate them there...yet. 

The MMQB: What leads you to believe that 2015 is going to be a better year for the NFL?
 
Goodell: Well, I think the first part is that we implemented a personal conduct policy in December which we think is responsive to addressing very complex issues where we acknowledged that our policy didn’t deal with those things [domestic violence issues] effectively. We brought in expertise to help us make those decisions going forward. I think there’s clarity to those issues.

Okay, maybe Goodell just says "we" a lot.

It was a competitive year that ended with the most-watched show in the history of television. So fans engaged with our game at an incredibly high level last year. We have to continue to focus on the game of football while making sure that we’re doing the right things off the field—and I’m confident that we will.

Of course Goodell is confident the NFL will do the right things on and off the field. He doesn't even admit to thinking about what the low point of the past season was for him, so like any person who lacks the ability to reflect on his mistakes or admit these mistakes, he lacks a certain perspective.

Not much to report from the first NFL veterans combine.

Takeaways from the inaugural event at the Cardinals’ practice facility in Tempe, where 105 players worked out on Sunday, picked from among 1,800 to 2,000 applicants (according to the league) for workout slots:

The biggest takeaway should be that many of these players aren't signed by an NFL team for a reason. Not playing in the NFL hasn't sharpened their skills either.

2. “There may be a few back-end-of-the-roster training-camp players,” said one GM on hand, “but that’s it.”

It's good the NFL decided to do a veteran's combine and give these guys a chance to prove they can make it in the NFL though. It's not like these veterans had to PAY to work out for NFL tea----

3. Players had to pay a fee to work out for NFL teams. 

Wait, what? These players had to pay to work out for NFL teams? They had to pay real money, not fake Monopoly money? I can't believe this is a real thing that happened. Of course, the NFL does a few things well and one of those things is make money, so I shouldn't be surprised.

There’s something tawdry about that in the first place, for a multibillion-dollar enterprise such as the NFL. If the “prospects” were truly prospects, why are they paying to be seen? If it’s programming for NFL Network, or just another slow-day news story for the league to drag out (some 40 media members covered the show on Sunday), then the veterans combine is not being done for the right reason—the right reason being the league is looking for prospects. Visitors to the event walked away with one overriding thought: That was sad.

It would have been nice if Peter had this information prior to interviewing Roger Goodell so he could ask, "Why in the hell do you make veteran football players pay to try out for NFL teams? You can't use 'money' as an answer either."

I'm not sure what is more sad. The veterans who tried out and didn't look too good or the fact they had to pay to try out.

With the surprising news last week that 24-year-old Niners linebacker Chris Borland was retiring, fearful of what football could do to his long-term health, I think it’s premature to forecast the death of football. But there’s no question the Borland news is a caution flag for the league. To me, the big question is how Borland quitting at his peak and at such a young age will affect the future of the game. There have to be more parents out there questioning whether to let their sons ever play football now.

While I understand why parents wouldn't let their children play football, why would the retirement of Chris Borland affect this decision? I get Borland's retirement is a high profile rejection of a continued NFL career, but it's not like parents now have more information about how dangerous the NFL is prior to Borland's retirement. The sport is dangerous and whether Borland retired or not didn't change that. Sure, he's an example of a football player who doesn't think the sport is worth the long-term damage caused to him, but there are thousands of other football players who choose to play football regardless of the impact on their body. Shouldn't these players also have a large impact on high school players and their decision to play football?

On Friday, I spoke with the coach of the best high school football team in the Bay Area, De La Salle High’s Justin Alumbaugh, to ask him about how his players, and the parents of his players, were reacting to the stunning news about the bright 49er prospect.

“One of our best players was heartbroken about it,” said Alumbaugh. “He seemed sad all day when it happened.”

I would bet this player's sadness stemmed from the fact an emerging young player from his favorite team retired more than it stemmed from his feelings on how dangerous the sport of football is. Borland was on track to be a really good player and fans of his or the 49ers were probably unhappy with his decision to retire.

Alumbaugh has not see a decline in participation numbers at De La Salle. Then again, it’s not likely that one of the great football schools would see kids quit, or new kids not come out for the team.

Nor will there necessarily be a decline in participation on shitty high school teams either, at least not for the next few years. It was one player's decision, and I think it will take more than one retirement to reduce the participation numbers among high school kids, no matter how good the football school is.

I say this with confidence: There is no football player of a certain age who dictated the future ethos of his franchise, who put a lifetime imprint on a franchise and a city, the way Chuck Bednarik did with the Eagles and the city of Philadelphia.

The play that will live in the hearts of so many Eagles fans—including the thousands not alive to see it when it happened—occurred on Nov. 20, 1960, when the Eagles led the Giants late in the fourth quarter, trying to hang on to a 17-10 lead and secure their place atop the Eastern Division of the NFL. 

The Giants were driving, and New York hero Frank Gifford, the Jeter of his day in the big city, caught a pass and headed upfield. Bednarik ran at Gifford and exploded into him chest-first, Gifford falling to the cold turf just as cold as the ground. Then, Bednarik stood over Gifford, and in a rage that would have cost his team 15 yards today, gesticulated at Gifford and screamed something like, “This game is OVER!”

Fast-forward to 15 years ago. I was in Andy Reid’s head-coaching office with the Eagles, and there was a huge rectangular photo on the wall—the shot of Bednarik exulting over the prone and motionless Gifford. Bednarik signed it for Reid.

“This game is f—— over! Chuck Bednarik, HOF 1967’’

And yes, in today's NFL Bednarik would have been suspended a game for his taunting of a fallen player and Skip Bayless would spit out hot takes about what a thug Bednarik is while everyone else agrees there is no place in the game for knocking a player out and then screaming over his body while he lays prone on the ground. But hey, it all turned out well and Bednarik is a hero instead. Let a modern player do this and the hot takes about his thuggery will fly though.

“For the most part, I thought it was a mediocre free-agent class. I think a lot of guys got paid more money than maybe they would have … because there was a lot of cap room.”

—Giants president and co-owner John Mara.

For those who missed it this week, I wrote a companion piece of anecdotal evidence on the over-rating of free agency.

But as I have written a few times during this offseason, the fact Peter considers free agency to be overrated doesn't mean he won't saturate MMQB and his THE MMQB site with coverage of free agency. People like reading about free agency, even if it is overrated. Also, Peter likes making judgments about teams based on overrated free agency.

“Do you know what happened the last time a Ravens player got a DUI? I’m getting cut tomorrow, not like you care.”

—Running back Bernard Pierce, to the officer who arrested him on a charge of driving while intoxicated on Wednesday. He was right. Pierce was cut later in the day, and picked up by the Jaguars.

Times change quickly in the NFL. Two years and one month ago, the key Baltimore backs in the Super Bowl were Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce.

An NFL player can get a DUI and then immediately find another job. What a country!

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

Three thoughts about my spring training visit to the Cubs’ new stadium, Sloan Park, in Mesa, Ariz.:

2. Saw a most prodigious home run by Kris Bryant, the star of spring training. He golfed a moon shot deep to left field in the first inning against the Mariners. Off King Felix. Which prompted a fan behind home plate to turn to the press box, presumably where the fan thought GM Theo Epstein would be sitting, and screamed: “Hey Theo! YOU’RE NOT SENDING THIS KID DOWN!” The Cubs can get an extra pre-free-agency year out of Bryant if he starts the season in the minors, which seems patently absurd.

It also seems like this is the result of the CBA the player's union worked out with the owners. Them's the rules, so Bryant spending another couple months in the minors is as absurd as an NFL team signing a player to a $110 million contract and that player only seeing a fraction of that money.

Then Bryant hit a second homer. Don’t want to be a relentless optimist about the Cubbies, 

Which means that Peter will now be optimistic about the Cubbies.

but that teams has some great young bats. Addison Russell, the shortstop acquired in the Jeff Samardzija trade with Oakland last year, also homered.

And you know Peter had no idea who Addison Russell was before attending this spring training game and watching him homer.

3. At so many baseball games—I really noticed it here—it’s like the ticket is a cover charge for the bars around the park.

I'm sure the "baseball is dying" crowd thinks the fans need alcohol in order to make it through the boring baseball game.




This is good advice. It's also advice coming from an NFL player who played 14 seasons in the NFL and earned millions of dollars who is advising NFL players to think ahead 10 years. Wilson didn't didn't think ahead 10 years, so I could look at it as him giving advice he wished he had taken or I could look at this as advice from a player who already earned his millions playing football. It's easier to give this advice knowing you didn't make the decision you are imploring others to make. Perhaps Wilson regrets his decision to keep playing...

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think the best things that will be considered by the 32 team owners this week are:

a. Chicago’s proposal that both teams be guaranteed at least one possession in overtime. (A turnover on the opening kickoff of overtime would count as a possession.)

I don't see why this proposal wasn't implemented a few years ago. I see no reason why each team isn't guaranteed a possession, but the team that gets possession second has to go for a two point conversion if they score a touchdown. That way, there is more strategy involved in winning the coin flip and each team doesn't get multiple possessions in overtime. If the first team that scores goes for a two point conversion, converts, and the second team does the same (which wouldn't happen that often) then both teams have to go for the two point conversion in the second overtime. I like it when both teams get the football in overtime. That's my basic point.

c. Moving the extra point back to the 15-yard line. (At least.)

d. Narrowing the goal posts.

e. Making the line of scrimmage for the extra point or two-point conversion the one-yard line.

Obviously "c" and "e" can't both happen, but I don't like the idea of making the line of scrimmage as the one-yard line. I don't know if this will achieve the intended effect of having teams go for the two-point conversion more often. Also, moving the extra point back to the 15-yard line essentially takes the two-point conversion out of play, unless the NFL wants a rule which says if a team is going for two then they get the ball on the 2-yard line and if a team is trying an extra point then they have to try it from the 15-yard line. That seems dumb to me.

f. Though I supported the Patriots’ right to put a fifth “lineman” reporting as eligible to play anywhere on the field when it was used in the playoffs in January, I think a clearer rule is preferable. “We’re proposing that if an eligible player reports ineligible to the referee, that he must report and then play in a line in the tackle box,” said competition committee co-chair Jeff Fisher. “There was a concern on behalf of a number of clubs and number of coaches and coach [John] Madden’s subcommittee that unless we had some guidelines in place, that this thing may get out of hand.” So, a running back wouldn’t be able to play split wide, ineligible. But a tight end would be able to line up as left tackle.

THE NFL CHANGES THE RULES AFTER THE PATRIOTS WIN THE SUPER BOWL! IT'S ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF HOW THE PATRIOTS CHEAT IN ORDER TO WIN A TAINTED SUPER BOWL TITLE!

2. I think for those of your cursing me for loving the both-teams-get-a-possession proposal, my thought: The coin flip at the start of overtime still takes on too much significance, even with the receiving team needing a touchdown to win the game instead of simply a field goal. I agree that having to score a touchdown on the first possession of overtime for the game to be over is progress, but it’s still a fact that the vast majority of teams with a choice at the start of overtime are going to choose to receive, not kick off. That’s because having the ball, regardless how good the defense you’re facing, gives a team a better chance to win than playing defense. And the games are too important to give a coin flip such influence. The Packers lost the coin flip of the NFC title game and never saw the ball. I’d make the argument that the odds of Green Bay scoring a touchdown on the first possession of overtime with Aaron Rodgers quarterbacking were more than 50 percent.

True, but I would counter this 50 percent guess by pointing out the Packers did have the football late in the fourth quarter with a chance to score a touchdown and they only came away with a field goal. So I think the 50 percent guess by Peter is simply a guess. I agree with him overall, and I hate how the coin flip is so important too, but he's purely guessing that Rodgers and the Packers would have scored a touchdown on the first possession of overtime. Their fourth quarter offensive performance calls this 50% guess into question.

Remember’s Seattle’s other marquee overtime game last year? Won the coin flip against Denver, went 80 yards on the first possession for the touchdown. Pretty significant factor, the coin flip. Kept the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’ and Peyton Manning’s hands in those two games.

I think Peter really supports this rule change because his boy Peyton Manning was screwed out of a victory by losing the coin flip against Seattle this year and in a playoff game against the Chargers several years ago too. He's still sore about that playoff game against the Chargers I bet.

4. I think the way the Chargers will handle things with Rivers is smart. They’re not going to put any full-court press on him to sign this offseason—though they very much want to sign him to be a Charger for life, wherever the franchise plays long-term. But the club also knows there’s no sense in pressuring Rivers, so they’ve left the ball in his court, basically. He knows they want to talk extension, and if he changes his mind, they’ll let him come to them.

Which is a great strategy until the Chargers realize they can't afford to slap him with the franchise tag and Rivers doesn't come to the Chargers for a new contract so he becomes a free agent and chooses to sign somewhere else. I'm sure some NFL team would pay Philip Rivers if the Chargers just sit back and wait for Rivers to ask for a contract extension.

6. I think the fair thing for Greg Hardy and the Cowboys would be a six-game suspension to start the season. I have no problem with the Cowboys signing him, but his case should be a perfect example of the way the league deals with cases of domestic violence where there is significant evidence that abuse occurs. Even though Hardy sat 15 games last year, he was paid for them, and though I realize that’s a very gray area, imagine if Hardy isn’t suspended. That would mean he’d never missed a paycheck while being found guilty by a North Carolina judge for domestic violence. (The case was never heard by a jury because the victim did not show up for the subsequent trial.)

Hardy was found guilty, but it wasn't the exact same thing as a guilty verdict in this situation. It's a bizarre North Carolina law, but Hardy was never found guilty by a jury of his peers that heard the evidence of the case. I don't care and haven't cared how long Hardy will be suspended, but he was found guilty in a bench trial and his trial by jury never occurred. It's a weird situation.

7. I think the coolest part of the design for the prospective new Inglewood, Calif., stadium planned by Rams owner Stan Kroenke is the roof. According to the Los Angeles Times’ Sam Farmer, the roof will be 275 feet above the field, and it will be transparent, and it will allow breezes to flow through the stadium. It doesn’t sound like Kroenke wants a second team to share the site with him (though, as Farmer reports, the design does allow for it), and it certainly doesn’t sound like he wants to keep the Rams in St. Louis.

Poor Rams fans. I feel for them. They are stuck with Jeff Fisher and now the team will get serious about winning just as they are leaving town.

9. I think this could well surpass the $7 million guaranteed to Dwayne Harris (Who?) by the New York Giants on the Teams Do The Damndest Things In Free Agency Dept.: Charles Clay will make $24.2 million in his first two seasons playing tight end for the Buffalo Bills. Not bad for a guy with three touchdowns in Miami last year—and who averaged 4.1 receptions a game.

Wow, Peter is really using information from Clay's injury-filled 2014 season. Clay was injured pretty much the entire 2014 season. He had six touchdowns during the 2013 season, including 759 yards. Sure, he only averaged 4.3 receptions per game, but Jimmy Graham has averaged 4.9 receptions per game during his career, including 5.3 receptions per game last season. Compare the money Graham received to what Clay received knowing Graham averaged one more reception per game, if Peter really wants to play that game. So is Jimmy Graham overpaid based on his receptions per game? Remember, Graham had Drew Brees throwing him the ball, while Clay had Ryan Tannehill. Tony Gonzalez only averaged 4.9 receptions per game for his career, so I really think Peter is barking up the wrong tree in trying to point out how Charles Clay won't live up to his contract.

Did Peter do any research before simply regurgitating that 4.1 receptions per game statistic? Clay is making a lot of money his first two seasons in Buffalo, but he's also a pretty good tight end when he's healthy. And 4.1 receptions per game would have put Clay as the tight end with the 7th most receptions in the NFL last year if he had played a full 16 games.

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

c. Wisconsin over Iowa State for the national title. What a basketball savant!

Peter has a fetish for college basketball teams from the Midwest it seems.

e. Uggla will make $13 million from the Braves this year. Part of an old guaranteed contract. (As every veteran in the NFL vomits while thinking, Why not us?)

Trust me, Braves fans have been vomiting for four seasons now. This year will be the last year of vomit-inducing thoughts about Dan Uggla.

f. Great cross-country writing music: “Songs of Innocence,” the most recent effort by U2. “Song For Someone” is the hidden gem of the album.

There is nothing hidden about U2 and there is even less "hidden" about an album that was automatically downloaded on to millions of people's iPhones. Literally everyone with an iPhone got a chance to hear this song if they would like. That goes against the idea anything regarding "Songs of Innocence" is hidden.

h. Coffeenerdness: illy espresso is underrated. Very smooth and strong.

It's the "Song For Someone" of espressos.

k. My Ohio U. Bobcats were taken out of the NCAA women’s tournament by Arizona State on Saturday. A couple of familiar names on the Sun Devils: senior guard Promise Amukamara and junior guard Peace Amukamara. Sisters of Prince, of course.

l. Curious if the other three Amukamara sisters—Precious, Passionate and Princess—were at the game.

I'm curious if you can stop commenting on the names of Prince Amukamara's sisters as if they are so hilarious because they don't fit into your WASP-y view of what a person's name should be.

The Adieu Haiku

March Madness. Fun times.  
NFL playoffs fun too.
But can’t match Madness.


Why? Why still have this haiku? You know what isn't underrated? Using a haiku in a football column. It's overrated. It's the U2 of gimmicks that are used in weekly football columns. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

3 comments Further Evidence in Case You Didn't Believe Jay Mariotti Was the Lying, Hypocritical, Deceptive Scum of the Earth

I try to be fair here. You may not believe that, but I do try. I try not to make personal, mean attacks on those who I cover here on the blog. I want the focus to be on the work they produce and how terrible it can be. It's easy to focus on the work with some writers and harder to do others. Then there are sportswriters like Jay Mariotti. I just don't think he's a very good guy. I think he's a liar, he's deceptive and he's willing to bash "huge conglomerates" for taking over the sports media, all while trying to get a job with a huge conglomerate. He's consistent only in how inconsistent he is. I remember how he wrote an article about five years ago on how conference tournaments are worthless and then revised the entire column after the Big East Tournament had several thrilling games. Literally revised everything about the column, including whether the conference tournaments were a waste of time. Fortunately I had caught the post he had written when he was bashing the tournaments prior to not bashing them and posted it here.

Well now, after proudly going "indie" at Sports Talk Florida, Jay has gone back to the print media that he once declared was dying a bitter, sad death. Much like his previous employers have done when Jay lays them to waste by slipping out the backdoor in the middle of the night, Sports Talk Florida has removed every trace of Jay, except for his slimy picture. It's usually how it goes with Jay. It's a process:

1. Jay is hired by a sports company/newspaper after leaving his previous position with angry feelings all around.

2. Jay immediately begins bashing the old company/newspaper and talks about how his new company/newspaper is the direction ALL sports media is going, so his other company/newspaper will be gone soon.

3. Jay writes trolling articles and most people who read hate him.

4. Eventually people at Jay's employer start hating him, because he's generally not a likeable person.

5. Jay slips out the door due to the angry feelings he and his new employer feel towards each other and eventually finds a desperate sports conglomerate to hire him in order to bring in ratings.

Then the process starts over again. Well, Jay Mariotti has found a new sucker for an employer. Jay's new employer is a daily newspaper, "The San Francisco Examiner," the same kind of daily newspaper he declared was dead when he left the "Chicago Sun-Times" for AOL. I figured this would be a fun time to follow-up on the introduction he wrote upon joining Sports Talk Florida and see what a hypocrite Jay is. Due to Sports Talk Florida scrubbing all of Jay's columns, I will have to cover what he wrote based on what I wrote on this here ol' blog. It's always funny how Jay hates on those newspapers and big conglomerates that he eventually goes running back to.

I'll also cover a little bit of what I wrote at the time about Jay in italics. Here was part of the introduction:

See, Jay is all "indie sportswriting" now. Corporations suck and big companies just suck the life out of you. This is rich coming from a guy who made a ton of money working for big sports media corporations and this money he made is how he can afford to "go indie" with his sportswriting. Regardless, after making a career on television at ESPN, writing at the "Chicago Sun-Times," and recently pitching his columns to sites like Fox Sports, Jay completely fails to see the contradiction in touting his new indie direction. Basically, he got rejected by the big boys, so now he feels he is too cool and "indie" for them. Jay wants to be The Man, not work for The Man. No really, Jay says something like this in this not-so-brief introduction.

I’m excited to launch a multimedia production that I believe will be the next digital prototype for sports commentators and columnists.

It was not. It was done after less than two years. It became the next prototype for why hiring Jay Mariotti is always a bad idea. Jay is 50% less talented than he believes himself to be. He sees himself as the white knight of sports journalism, while many others see him as an example of how print and sports journalism has handed it's soul over to tabloid and hot take journalism.

At a time when corporate interests have swallowed much of sports journalism and left too much cooperative residue between leagues and mammoth media companies,

Now Jay is working for a free newspaper that is independently owned! While Jay may say he's going even more "indie," he's now not only working in print media again, but is working in FREE print media. I'm sure he believes this to be a massive step-up...at least until the "Examiner" comes to their senses and has a falling out with Jay.

In partnership with Genesis Communications, my plan has come to life. I’ve signed a multi-year deal to provide news and commentary about anyone and anything in sports, media, culture, the world.

"Multi-year" being defined as "1.5 years." After that, Jay wears out his welcome. I wonder if Sports Talk Florida signed Jay to a multi-year deal and then got out of it or Jay got out of the deal with Sports Talk Florida once a better job in an industry he once declared is dead opened up?

In my days away, sports has taken complex and unprecedented turns, and the need for robust, serious commentary and investigative reporting is stronger than ever.

Which is probably why Jay Mariotti hasn't been an active part of sports commentary for the past 3-4 years. There was a need for serious commentary, which is why Jay didn't have a real job in the industry like he used to. Trolling readers and baiting managers into trying to beat him up is Jay's idea of serious journalism. Also, Jay has never done any investigative reporting, unless you want to count investigating how far up his own ass he can put his head.

Sports is a multi-billion-dollar-business — should we be saying multi-trillion now? — and it should be covered as such by commentators who are editorially and financially detached from the mechanism.

That is, until a newspaper offers Jay a job and he has to take it because Sports Talk Florida doesn't want him anymore.

Remember that Jay said in 2009 the future is "sadly not in newspapers." Apparently we are no longer in the future, because Jay has gone back to a daily newspaper for employment. Isn't it weird how Jay bashes industries that he's simply jealous he's no longer a part of? It's almost like a trend with him. He bashes newspapers upon leaving the "Sun-Times" for AOL, bashes huge conglomerates after AOL and ESPN get rid of him for his legal issues and Sports Talk Florida hires him (all while trying to get a permanent job with Fox and ESPN and doing a free lance assignment for ESPN...of course), and now I'm sure he'll bash Sports Talk Florida in some way.

For anyone questioning this vision and my commitment to digital evolution, rewind to 2008, when the Chicago Sun-Times (a newspaper in the Midwest) broke a promise to improve its archaic Web site during our coverage of the Beijing Olympics. I politely resigned after the Games, left $1 million of guaranteed money behind,

This was when Jay Mariotti first declared newspapers to be dead. If you believe he resigned over a web site design then I have oceanfront property in the Midwest I would like to sell you. Look at the "Examiner's" web site. They have auto-play videos and everything! Maybe Jay is just a stickler for good web page design!

I should note I’ve had meetings with ESPN and Fox about joining their operations, and candidly,

They had no interest in hiring you?

I think they’re too corporate, while they have their own opinions of me.

"Too corporate" being defined as "they didn't want to hire me" due to the opinion they had of Jay.

Jay really lives in his own world, doesn't he? He truly believes those things he writes. He convinces himself that he doesn't want to work for ESPN and Fox, mostly because they don't want him to work with him.

I was stunned to hear ESPN’s Michael Wilbon angrily criticize Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, as “gutless” after the league didn’t punish Philadelphia receiver Riley Cooper for his racist remark.

That is a rarity, people.

Jay can't simply leave a previous job. In fact, I'm sure in his introductory column at the "Examiner" he will bash his previous employer. He's so slimy.

Having been painted by previous bosses into conflict-of-interest-driven editorial corners, I’ve opted at this point to be the independent who controls content within a franchise. The goal is to expand with more writers and voices while growing the radio program for Genesis nationally and across Florida.

Then Jay opted to jump right back into the print media that he once declared was dead.

I’m not doing this to get wealthy; 

Because that's what the meetings with ESPN and Fox were for, to see if they would hire him so he could get wealthy. Fortunately, the "Examiner" came along and probably gave Jay a nice monthly paycheck, so he's in the business of getting wealthy again. Jay's agenda and perspective depends entirely on which media outlet is currently rejecting him or accepting him.  

You’re seeing “franchise” sites pop up, such as Bill Simmons and “Grantland” at ESPN and Peter King’s “MMQB” at Sports Illustrated. Those are cool sites oozing of quality, but this will be more cutting-edge.

By "cutting-edge" Jay means "not having 1/100 of the success those sites had and will fail after less than two years." There was nothing "cutting edge" about Jay's site on Sports Talk Florida, so he had to go back to the "cutting edge" of sports journalism, which he suddenly believes to be print media.

I’m not in this business to publicize sports or masturbate to my own prose.

Yes, because Jay is now in a position as sports director to force others to masturbate to his prose and directly make others' live miserable by reminding them of how talentless they are compared to him. It's a dream job for him.

Time to work. With a portable studio — how I love 2013 — we’ll be doing the radio show from L.A., Florida, the Super Bowl, a Mexican bullfighting ring, anywhere and everywhere.

And now, Jay will write about how portable studios are the worst thing ever to happen to sports. That is until he gets an opportunity to do a radio show in a portable studio after the "Examiner" tires of him.

Then in his original first post on Sports Talk Florida, Jay goes on to call the woman who accused him of striking her as a liar who was in it for the publicity and claims he only settled so his family wouldn't have to be dragged through a court case. A court case he TOTALLY would have won, but a court case where his name would have been slandered by a system that was completely against him as a white, male who earns six figures per year. We all know rich white men are the real silent victims in the criminal justice system.

He didn't even make sense at the time when explaining his reasons for settling:

I took the high road, didn’t scream publicly about dirty tactics in the case, accepted the no-contest route and wrote the book in September 2011 not to make money but so all of this could be on public record.

And any testimony at the trial would also have been a part of the public record.

Wrote Rieder: “Life is packed with nuances and subtleties and shades of gray. But the news media are often uncomfortable in such murky terrain. They prefer straightforward narratives, with good guys and bad guys, heroes and villains. Those tales are much easier for readers and viewers to relate to.”

This from a sportswriter who made a living off passing judgment on others. Remember the time he jumped all over Michael Phelps for smoking pot?

Going forward, I suppose I could leave behind the daily sports grind, write more books and dabble in other subject material. But why?

So that you don't bother anyone with your existence?
 
Yes, I’ve had meetings with a few media companies about what I might do next. A Fox executive asked if I would be changing my column approach.

“Nope,” I said. “Same guy, same column.”

And of course the "Examiner" didn't take the hint that the "same guy" who was claiming to have a different perspective lasted less than two years at his previous job. I guess they didn't care, but it's on them when this whole "hiring Jay Mariotti" thing blows up in their face like it is bound to do.

I’m confident about this site because I’ve been there when so many haven’t — 14 Olympic Games, 24 Super Bowls and a wealth of World Series, NBA Finals, Final Fours, college football championship games, golf and tennis majors, title fights, etc. I’ve written my 6,500-plus columns, been on national TV a couple of thousand times, done my radio programs for years.

Jay was so confident that he couldn't make it work. What is it about him that makes sports papers/sites continue to hire him? I don't get it. Does he throw his resume in their face and it's so overwhelming that they forget he is a talentless hack who wears out his welcome at nearly every single place he has worked over that last decade?

The Mariotti Show is a site firmly planted in 2013 yet detached from the government-like climates of corporate media.

The "Examiner" sports page will be firmly planted in 2015 when Jay suddenly thinks print media and newspapers still have a chance to survive, yet detached from pre-2009 when Jay thought the newspaper industry was dying and didn't mind telling anyone who would listen that his job at AOL was better. Then Jay decided his job at Sports Talk Florida, away from the AOL and ESPN conglomerate, was better. And now his job for the "Examiner" is better. Everything is better until it's not anymore.

I can tell the truth about any subject I want, anytime I want, and no one can summarily spike content because your boss is friendly with a commissioner or owner, your company is in business with a league or team, your newspaper has a comped suite at the ballpark or your network has a rights deal through 2082 with a major college conference.

It seems your have welcomed your self back into the world that you were so eager to leave...again. I can't wait for Jay to bash print media again after he has a falling out with the "Examiner" and finds a new direction (i.e. someone willing to hire him) for sports media in the future. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

2 comments What A-Rod Has Done Wrong Today: He Jedi Mind-Tricked His Teammates Into Liking Him

We still have three open spots in the fantasy baseball league and if anyone wants to join then send me an email to bengoodfella@yahoo.com and I will send you an invite. That will put the league at 10 people and I think that's a good number for this year.

We have seen a few examples of things that A-Rod has done wrong, which have drawn the ire of the New York Yankees organization. He has already shown up early for spring training and continues to exist, which singlehandedly prevented the Yankees from signing some free agents they wanted to sign. Now A-Rod is ruining baseball and humanity in general by making his teammates like him. When A-Rod's teammates like him, that means that PED use in baseball is being forgiven. THIS IS NO WAY TO RID BASEBALL OF CHEATERS BY BEING NICE TO THEM! How can baseball get rid of the cheaters when guys like A-Rod will trick their teammates into accepting and liking him? The New York media is furious that A-Rod has dared to apologize for his actions and shown up early for spring training, but now he dares to not be an asshole to this teammates. That's a bridge too far for Andy Martino. Baseball has to get rid of cheaters, and he says this without any bias or preference towards disliking A-Rod, but the best way to get rid of the cheaters is to be mean to A-Rod. Really, it's for the good of baseball for A-Rod's teammates to hate him. This isn't about something silly like, "The sports media doesn't like A-Rod so they are dreaming up reasons everyone else should not like A-Rod too." That would be ridiculous. This is a real reason. A valid, real reason.

If baseball players truly want to rid their game of performance-enhancing drugs, this is not the way.

Be mean to A-Rod and PED's disappear from baseball forever. It's a natural conclusion to the act of being mean to A-Rod. Really, A-Rod is the guy who started the whole "PED issue" in baseball, so cut off the head of the snake and the body dies, right?

On Tuesday, as Yankees in Tampa spoke kindly about Alex Rodriguez -- you know, the guy who sued their union last year -- Robinson Cano reported to Mariners camp, offered a strong defense of A-Rod, and expressed excitement about his team’s offseason signing of Nelson Cruz.

These baseball players are so stupid and naive. They think that by being nice to A-Rod that they are simply being kind to a person who really, truly likes them and wants to be a part of the team. All they are doing is empowering A-Rod to use PED's and falling for his whole "nice guy" act. And if the Yankees wouldn't speak so kindly about A-Rod then Nelson Cruz probably wouldn't even be in the majors right now.

What's interesting is what I believe is the real issue here. Baseball fans and players don't like PED use, but are willing to forgive. The only ones still holding on strong for the "Don't talk to them, forgive them or act like you like them" attitude are the holier-than-thou sportswriters who cover the sport of baseball. The fans and players can forgive, but the sportswriters will be damned if they come off their pedestal.

The reality is -- and for all the off-the-record anti-PED whispering among players -- taking banned drugs does not affect one’s outward standing among peers.

Taking PED's can affect one's outward standing among peers, but generally baseball players like each other and recognize mistakes are made.

Because of the desire for camaraderie and to win, there remains a deep disconnect between what most players claim to feel about drug users, and how they act.

So it's not really even Robinson Cano's fault he likes A-Rod still. It's A-Rod's fault because there is some form of weird Stockholm Syndrome present where Cano wants the Yankees to win so badly that he finds himself liking A-Rod. Obviously Robinson Cano, the Seattle Mariner, feels camaraderie and wants to see the Yankees do well.

“I talked to him, I would say maybe a week ago,” Cano said of A-Rod, a longtime friend. “We always keep in touch. He’s a guy who helped me out when he was there. Whatever he does or not, it’s not going to affect our friendship.

YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT A-ROD IS DOING! BY LIKING HIM, YOU ARE ALLOWING THE PED'S TO WIN!

To be clear: We are not criticizing Cano for taking this stand. Loyalty is a virtue, and we should all forgive our friends for mistakes. It was also fine for him to be happy about the Cruz signing, because the slugger will improve the Mariners’ offense.

Oh yeah, to be clear: There is no criticism of Robinson Cano. It's just he is hurting the game of baseball and there is no way to get rid of PED's in the sport if Cano is nice to Cruz and Rodriguez. It's fine if he keeps treating Cruz and Rodriguez kindly, even if he is ruining the sport of baseball and tainting the Hall of Fame in the process. No judgment here.

But unpack this for a moment. Cano praised two admitted drug users as mentors to young players. Moments like this remind us why the PED issue is continually fascinating, because it is so complex.

It's almost like a player can use PED's and still be considered a good teammate.

People can be many things, all in the same life -- look at Mark McGwire, one of the most notorious cheaters in sports history, and now a respected hitting coach. Or Matt Williams, Mitchell Report veteran, and 2014 National League manager of the year.

Or look at Mitch Albom, he has lied in his columns and still wins awards for his writing. Or look at any human being who is a complex individual with attributes that sometimes seem to contradict each other. Try to pretend, just for a second, that humans are not two-dimensional cartoon characters where every positive or negative attribute of that human can be summed up and judged in a 500 word column. It's almost like narratives and simplified storylines sometimes can get thrown out of wack by learning more information about a person. Matt Williams can be on the Mitchell Report and still be a good manager. Barry Bonds can be mean to the media and still create devotion among teammates and fans. A-Rod can be a liar, a self-impressed asshole and still create a favorable impression on his teammates with actions in the clubhouse and on the field.

HAHA! I'm of course kidding about that one. A-Rod is a liar and a self-impressed asshole, but the only reason his actions create a favorable impression is because his teammates just don't know him like the media does. If they did, then A-Rod's teammates would know he is a jerk and in being kind to A-Rod it is only increasing the impact of the Steroid Era and helps PED's further infiltrate baseball.

If a person has something to give, he or she should be provided the chance. And compromising the integrity of a game is hardly a capital crime.

And yet, it is consistently treated like a capital crime. Interesting how that works isn't it? Andy Martino thinks compromising the integrity of the game is not a capital crime, but this column is about how making nice to A-Rod is helping to keep PED's in the game of baseball. So players should be given a chance to give something, but it's just the player's teammates shouldn't be nice to him as he tries to give something.

But one of the reasons that PEDs are still a factor in baseball is that, for all the angry rhetoric, users are still welcomed, accepted and paid.

A-Rod lost nearly his entire 2014 salary because he used PED's. He's being accepted back, but he definitely didn't get paid for using PED's and the Yankees even tried to find a way to deny A-Rod the $61 million left on his contract. I wouldn't exactly call that being welcomed.

“We are mad about steroids,” the player said, echoing what you hear in essentially every clubhouse. “These guys are taking our jobs.”

"They took our jobs!" 

And when players speak privately to reporters about A-Rod, Ryan Braun, or others under suspicion but not yet caught, they do so with derision. But they rarely discuss it amongst themselves, when the media is gone.

This is a great job of pointing out what is not talked about among players when the media is not around. Of course, I would wonder how Andy Martino knows what the players don't talk about when the media is gone since he is a part of the media and therefore wouldn't know what the players do or don't talk about since he's not around to hear it.

Oh yeah, Martino has this anonymous player with the inside dish on what ALL players do or don't talk about when the media isn't around. It's like these players want to hate their teammates who use PED's but are afraid to do so. It's the opposite of bullying. The players want to be mean to A-Rod, but everybody is being so nice to him that's not cool to be mean to A-Rod. So alone these anonymous players sit, forced to pretend they like A-Rod and forced to be nice to him, all while sadly knowing this is only leading to more PED's in the sport.

It’s just not talked about,” the player said about the PED issue.

Great point by "the player."

Publicly, the issue is discussed, but seldom in a valuable way. Allow us to direct you to Mark Feinsand’s dispatch from Tampa on Tuesday, when Yankees players spoke positively of their disgraced teammate.

A-Rod's teammates don't want to be nice to him. They just feel forced to. Andy Martino knows that the Yankees players secretly hate A-Rod, even if they give no indication this is true. And Andy Martino is not forcing his own beliefs and thought process on the Yankees players in order to draw a conclusion he wants to reach. Not at all.

“I’m excited to meet him and get to know him,” Brian McCann said, in a representative comment. “He’s got a lot of baseball knowledge, so I’ll be picking his brain.”

And we all know Brian McCann is the type of guy who won't stand in the baseline if he thinks a hitter has shown his pitcher up and doesn't seem to believe he is the judge, jury, and executioner to enforce all of baseball's unwritten rules, so he's obviously too scared to say he doesn't like A-Rod.

Forgiveness is a virtue, too, and serving up a heap of happy nonsense to ballwriters is a spring training tradition. But if players really want to get drugs out of the game, as they claim, it would help to toughen the rhetoric.

Just be mean to A-Rod and PED's go away forever. It's that simple. Call him an asshole and a cheater, then the drugs disappear forever.

Then again, those are just words. What do A-Rod, Cruz, Braun, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds have in common, other than a history of alleged drug use? They’re all really rich. They win, and that’s not going to change.

I'm probably helping to keep PED use alive in baseball by writing this post. Shame on me. A-Rod should stop his Jedi mind tricks which brainwash his teammates into liking him or claiming they like him. It's just another thing A-Rod has done wrong.