Thursday, June 15, 2017

BULL DURHAM AT 29: A TRUE HOLLYWOOD STORY


In the fall of 1987, the cast and crew for a low-budget baseball movie began filming at
Durham Athletic Park, an old stadium located in the heart of Tobacco Road. The DAP, as it
was known, had some of the charm of Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, with its short porch
in right field, a warehouse as a backdrop, and seats so close to the action you could almost smell the breath of the fans sitting in them. It was the perfect setting for "Bull Durham", which was made
for just $7 million dollars.

Nobody really knew what this baseball movie was about when production began. The local
paper did a story in advance of its filming and had a quote from a Hollywood producer who
read the script, but who was not affiliated with the movie in any way. He predicted that it would
not only be "the worst baseball movie ever made, but quite possibly the worst movie ever created."


Many could see where that producer was coming from, after all, most sports movies, with
the exception of "Slapshot" and "Caddyshack" had bombed at the box office.  Most directors
found it difficult to make  the action believable with actors who had no athletic ability
whatsoever. In some cases, like "Bang the Drum Slowly," the baseball scenes were
downright laughable.

When I was asked to work on the movie, I honestly didn't care whether it was going to
win an Oscar for Best Picture or go straight to Blockbuster video stores. As a Radio, TV,
and Movie Production major at UNC, I was interested in getting some experience in seeing
how a movie was made. Little did I know that it would end up as all-time classic and
become part of my life forever.

First of all, filming "Bull Durham" was like 30 days of "Animal House" and "Comedy Central" mixed together. It was a laugh a minute, and in between. there was some work on the actual production of the movie.  The cast that included Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins,
and Robet Wuhl knew how to have a great time while making the movie, and they helped
make it an unforgettable experience. There were long days, lots of drinking, plenty of sex, and
too many laugh-until-you-can't-breath jokes to count.


Coming off two wildly successful movies, "No Way Out" and "The Untouchables",
Costner was the perfect guy to play Crash Davis because he could act and play baseball.
Costner was a terrific person during the 30 days of filming in Durham. He picked up every
tab and treated everyone from the grips to Sarandon, the same way and that was with great
respect.. Costner didn't have that big Hollywood ego just yet. I heard a lot  of unflattering things about Costner after "Bull Durham", but he was great to everybody during the filming of
it.

Costner pulled off the best prank of "Bull Durham" when he made an secret arrangement
with a Durham Police officer. Tom Gagliardi, who played the Bulls second basemen, was
bragging one day how he hooked up with a woman who looked like she was 16-years old.

The following day, Costner convinced the police officer to come onto the field during filming
and arrest Gagliardi for statutory rape. The officer broke out his hand-cuffs and told the actor
he had the right to remain silent. Gagliardi freaked out and started running around shouting,
"I didn't do anything, this is a big mistake.The girl said she was 21!". The officer led Gagliardi
away in handcuffs until everyone started cracking up. I must admit it was pretty hilarious.



There were scenes that were just as funny as that incident, but ended up on the cutting room
floor. Danny Gans, who played the third baseman  for the Bulls and was later a star in Vegas
as an impressionist, did a national anthem that included Michael Jackson and a moon walk,
Kermit the Frog, Tom Jones, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis, Jr., all performed to a T by
Gans. It was a showstopper and made everyone roar with laughter. Unfortunately, it didn't
make the final cut.

People always ask me how I got to be in "Bull Durham" and the home run scene with Costner.
I'd like to say I was walking down the street and the director discovered me, kind of like the
episode of the "Brady Bunch", where a Hollywood-type director wanted them to be the subject
of a series. I was in the right place and the right time. That's it, that's all.

I had played baseball at UNC and was just finishing up my course work to get my degree.
Someone called UNC and gave them my name. I showed up and did what I always did, I just
played ball.

The first scene I was in, called for me to hit a double as a right-handed hitter. Tim Robbins,
who played "Nuke LaLoosh" actually had to throw it to me because the camera was behind
him  filming the scene. He was the  worst athlete any actor could possibly be. The guy was all
over the place.  Crash Davis was right when he said Nuke couldn't hit water if he fell out of
a boat. Before the scene, Ron Shelton, who wrote and directed the movie, told me to try to
hit a line-drive betwee shortstop and third base. I said to myself, "If I could do that, I'd probably
be playing in the big leagues."


What made that even harder was the fact that Robbins couldn't throw the ball over the plate, or
within a mile of it. He was throwing it behind me, over my head, five feet in front of the plate,
and he hit me twice in the back. It took 17 takes to get the scene right. When I finally hit one,
I was so stunned that I didn't even move. Costner got up and yelled at me, "Run!". In the
movie, the radio man back in Durham hits a piece of wood and says, "there's a line drive to
left-center field."

I was catching when Costner had his first at-bat for the Durham Bulls, but we traded places
later in the movie. Costner was behind the plate when I got up in the 9th inning, while Nuke
was working on a shut out. During this scene, which was filmed with the cameras directly
in front of Costner and a minor-league pitcher replaced Robbins (Nuke) on the mound. I had
to a curveball even though the most ardent baseball observer couldn't tell the difference
between the fastball and curveball when it appears on screen for 1/100th of  second.

Shelton told me to hit the ball and then "give it your best Reggie Jackson in watching the
ball go out."  That meant I should act like the ball had been hit so far "it should've had a damn stewardess on it."  I must admit, I didn't have a lot of experience in that since I only
hit four home runs in my career at UNC.

After Nuke kept shaking Crash Davis (Costner) off, he stood up and said, "Charlie, here
comes the duece. When you speak of me, speak well." I just gave some cheesy smile and
got back into the box. I wished they had let me say, "thanks" or something because if I had a
line, I'd still be getting paid today.

I cranked the ball out on the fourth take and did like Shelton asked me to and gave it my
best Reggie Jackson-pose. They said cut, that's a wrap, and I was gone. I didn't hold my
breath for any of the scenes that I was in to make the final cut. I was superstitious, so I
really didn't say anything to anyone. I chalked the whole thing up to one great experience.

A month later, in December,  the Boston Red Sox organization called and offered me a
free-agent contract. Six months later, on June 13th, 1988, I just happened to be back at the
same park playing against the real-life Durham Bulls. And it just happened to be "Bull Durham Night". I was like, what were the chances of all this happening. We were scheduled to see the premiere of the movie the next day.


In the eighth-inning of our game against the Bulls, I came up to bat with the bases loaded. Two months into my minor-league career, I had yet to hit a home run. And since I had only been
hitting left-handed for two years, I had never hit a home run from that side of the plate. I hit a
ball which I thought was going to be a routine fly ball to right field. Somehow, someway, the
ball carried and cleared the fence by about a half-an-inch. It must've been divine intervention
or something because I hit the ball in the same spot as I did in the movie. It was all so surreal.

I hit two more home runs against the Bulls in that same park later that year. I often said that
I hit .420 in that park and .091 everywhere else. There was something really magical for me
when I played at Durham Athletic Park.



In the off-season that year, I received a big package from UPS. It was from Kevin Costner.
He had purchased a letterman-type jacket for everyone who worked on "Bull Durham", which
was over 200 people. On the back of the jacket read, "Bull Durham-The Greatest Show on Dirt". Production crew 1987. It was a great gesture by Costner.


I never really thought much of my home run scene in "Bull Durham" because I just hit a ball,
which didn't take any great talent or ability. I thought of the movie as a great experience and
that was about it. But 29 years later, it continues to follow me around. People call, email, or text me
every time they see my home run on the countless number of times "Bull Durham" is re-run on
various networks.

Friends introduce me to acquaintances as the "guy who hit a home run in "Bull Durham'. Or
they start with, "hey, do you remember the guy in Bull Durham...?" I honestly get embarrassed
about it. It was a long, long time ago.

But man, it was helluva an experience.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

THE NIGHT I KICKED LAVAR BALL'S ASS


In this social media driven and addicted-to-attention world we live in, LaVar Ball has managed
to rise above even the best self-promoters. With his mouth and very little else, he has succeeded
in securing millions upon millions of dollars in free publicity for his fledging sports apparel
company and the signature shoes of his son, Lonzo. I applaud him for being a semi-marketing
genius.

Ball has morphed into the pied piper with the media--no matter how outrageous, stupid, and
foolish the things that come out of his mouth are, they continue to report on, not to mention,
cater to him. He talks smack about Barkley, Jordan, and says his kid is going to be better than
Magic. If LaVar talks, the media will listen and be sure to make it front page news. If he says something close to being controversial, he will be "trending" or go "viral." Simply amazing.

The America media gave Ball a soap box and he's using it, and them, brilliantly.

Listening to him preach and talk stupid, joggled my memory and brought me back to the time I
met LaVarr Ball. In 1995, I was in Clemson, South Carolina visiting a former classmate from
the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We decided to play some hoop at a semi-inner
city basketball court before going out on the town.


When we arrived at the court, one that had chain-linked hoops and was surrounded by fencing that
had seen better days, there was a game of 2-on-2 going on. A rather large man wearing a gray Carolina Panthers T-shirt that was completely drenched with sweat, dominated the court with
his mouth and body. He stood about 6'5" and weighed about 260 pounds or so. He was talking
trash to everyone and anyone. Nobody seemed to be listening.


I asked someone sitting in the small set of stands near courtside who the trash-talking
dude on the court was. I vividly remember him saying, "Some guy who plays on the Panthers
practice squad." I replied, "If he's a practice player on an expansion team, he can't be all that
good. And he has no business talking all that smack."

It was LaVar Ball.

In their inaugural season in the NFL, the Panthers played all their home games at Clemson
University before their new stadium in Charlotte was ready. Ball was a defensive end who
never got off the practice squad. Never played a down for the Panthers, but he could play a little basketball. A little.

Ball played one season at Washington State where he averaged a not-so-robust 2.2 points-per
game. Despite his less-than distinguished career, Ball claimed he could beat Michael Jordan and
Charles Barkley in a game of one-on-one.


Back on that hardcourt near Clemson in 1995, Ball challenged my friend, who happened
to be a darn good basketball player at UNC, starting all but two games during his 4-year career.
He was cut after being drafted by the NBA in the second round and spent nearly five years
playing in  Europe. However, he was wearing a Carolina football t-shirt and when Ball asked
him what position he played at Carolina, my friend, without hesitation, said "wide receiver."

Ball laughed and said, "Come, on. How much you got?" My friend said, "Me and my friend
will play you for $200. Pick your teammate and let's do it."

Ball thought he was about to pull off the biggest heist since the Italian Job. He picked his
teammate and my friend, the former UNC hoops star, dragged me onto the court. I was a
decent-to-good athlete, having played baseball at UNC and in the Red Sox system as a catcher.
I could fill up some space on the court and get out of the way when needed.


My friend and teammate brought his 'A' game and then some. Spin moves, crossover dribbles,
windmill dunks--he packed and used his entire arsenal. LaVar Ball knew he'd been had. The
game wasn't even close as the UNC boys walked away with the 10-2 victory.

Ball was livid. "I'm not giving you a dime. You are a ringer. Total B.S. Not cool. No dice
and no money."

The Big Baller tried to bail on paying up. He was running off the court and headed for his
car. He was talking smack on his way out, jawing back and forth with my friend. LaVar
forgot about me as I was lurking by the exit of the court. He walked right into the close-line
I learned to hang from watching "The Longest Yard."


Ball went down in a thud on the pavement. In the fetal position, Ball was crying like
a baby. There was a wad of bills sticking out of the waste band of his gym shorts, which I
helped myself to. The UNC boys split up the cash and laughed our way off the court. That's
the last I heard of LaVar Ball until he opened his mouth a few months ago.

Is this story true? Of course not. It's just a figment of my imagination, kind of like the stuff that
passes from the cranium of Big Daddy Ball through his mouth. I just wanted to see what it's
like to talk smack, say  outlandish things, and be totally delusional like Big Daddy Ball. I figured
if I talked and wrote stupid like Big Daddy Ball, I might go viral or have sports talk radio argue
over me all day. I wanted to see if Stephen A. Smith would invite me on 'First Take' just to yell
and scream about nothing in particular.

Man, that was easy.

Just stretch the truth and totally make things up and you have a compelling story that has the
media eating right out of your hand. I'm sure the media  would've believed the story, forgetting to check the facts, just as they did with the Manti Te'o extravaganza. However, I made it easy for them and tapped out early.

The media. They think its LaVar Ball's world and they are just living in it. Good for LaVar
Ball.




Tuesday, May 30, 2017

TIGER WOODS AND A MUG SHOT


The mug shot.

It's like the tattoo that surrounds the left eye of Mike Tyson: it's never going away.
You can try to scrub, rinse, torch, peel, laser, or even bomb it, but that baby won't disappear.

Ever.

Thanks to the Internet, you can be sure it'll be around long after you're six feet under, but your
grandkids and their grandkids will always be able to see how your pappy looked in one of his
darkest and most embarrassing moments.

Most people would much rather get a full-body message with a branding iron than have to see
their mug shot come up after Googling themselves. Some people would much rather be stoned
on Main Street than have to explain away that mug shot to a potential employer.

Tiger Woods must be feeling that way right about now, but as one of the most famous athletes
in the world, Eldrick doesn't have to go on-line to check it out. Every news operation around the
world is running his mug shot around the clock.



After being arrested for DUI thanks to what Tiger blamed on prescription meds, he might as
well be a piƱata with Aaron Judge taking his whacks. Social media is torching Tiger and every
dime store psychologist is weighing in on what they believe is wrong with Woods by studying
his mug shot.

This is from the Washington Post:

Woods’s eyes are half-open and appear unfocused. Bags of loose flesh sag under them. His
mouth is a straight line, suggesting anger, perhaps indifference. He does not look well, and he certainly does not appear happy.

I just love the last line of that prognosis: "he does not look well, and he certainly does not
appear to be happy." Seriously, the Washington Post pays you for that kind of analysis? Who
the hell looks happy while their mug shot is being taken, knowing full well it'll be splashed
across the world within seconds of its release. What should Tiger be doing? Blowing kisses
to the camera? Or smiling as if he just scored a waitress from Hooters?! 

Good, grief.

Tiger sure is an easy target, isn't he? There will be endless memes and bad jokes flooding
social media for days. Good thing "Saturday Night Live" is off for the summer.


The San Francisco Chronicle’s Scott Ostler wrote, “Tiger hasn’t won anything in years,
unless you count his victory in the ‘Scariest Police Mug Shot’ contest.” Sorry, Scott. Nick
Nolte cemented that title years ago. Try a little harder next time. You may get more than
10 likes on Twitter.

ESPN took liberties with Tiger's mug shot, photoshopping it to make it appear like Tiger
had more hair and wasn't as disheveled as he actually was. Should we accuse the World Wide
Leader of serving up some fakeness? That's just the American Way these days, I guess. Make something appear the way you want it to appear. Screw the facts, this is how I look at things
through my rose-colored glasses.



There was a time when Tiger's face was plastered all over everything: magazine covers, video
games, billboards, and on the walls of every waitress in Florida. Now, his face is everywhere
for all the wrong reasons and no matter how hard he tries to change it, it's not going to happen.

There was a time when everybody wanted to be Tiger Woods. He had it all: fame, fortune,
the greatest game a golf has ever had. After seeing his mug shot, nobody wants to be like Tiger
anymore.

And that's a sad and tragic thing.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

BRIAN BILL MEMORIAL DAY


My late father was an impeccable dresser and a borderline neat freak. His walk-in closet
looked like the showroom at Brooks Brothers and was home to one very special thing
besides his made-to- measure suits: the American Flag. He kept it there and safely
tucked away until Memorial Day weekend when he'd unfurl and proudly post it outside
of our home on Purchase Street in New York where we grew up.

I learned a lot about the American Flag and how to take care of it from my father. "Paul,
don't ever let the  flag hit the ground," I vividly recall him saying to me when I was about
8-years-old. He also told me how we should honor everyone who fought for and died while protecting the country.

Well, I was just a young pup at the time and obviously didn't know anyone who died for
our country, but my father made it clear Memorial Day was about honoring everyone who
spilled their blood to protect our freedom and way of life.

I went through a good chunk of my life without knowing anyone who died during a war,
basically because the United States hadn't engaged in battle with anyone while I was growing
up. Oh, there was that Grenada scuffle, but that was like the Alabama football team battling
C.W. Post college: over before it started and not a fair fight.



That changed on August 6, 2011. 30 Navy SEAL's being transported from a mission by
helicopter, were shot down by the Taliban in Afghanistan. They all died.

I didn't know any of the SEAL's who died that day, but I got to know one of them very well
after his death. It sounds a bit strange, but if you keep reading, you'll understand.

As I was going down the list of those killed that day, I came across the name of a SEAL who
was from Stamford, Connecticut, which bordered New Canaan, where I went to high school
and the town our family moved to and lived in for many years.

BRIAN BILL, 31, Stamford, Connecticut.

I had to know more about Brian Bill. Initially, I thought it was because I worked in the
media as a reporter and anchor for more than 15 years and had a thirst for knowledge and information. But it became more than that. There was something about Brian Bill, Navy SEAL
that really piqued my interest

When I read about Brian Bill and what he had done in his life, I had an "Oh, my God moment."

When I saw a picture of Bill in his military gear, it really moved me. He looked like the poster
man of what a Navy SEAL should look like. Rugged, tough, with Hollywood good looks,
Brian Bill was something straight out of central casting.


I read his bio again and came away thinking this guy, Brian Bill, was not only a great American
but a real American hero. He loved life and loved his country even more. He was a skilled fly-fisherman, skier and skydiver. Bill was an accomplished mountaineer with successful summits of Aconcagua in Argentina and Mount Elbrus in Russia. He had completed several marathons and obtained his commercial pilot’s license. He independently studied Russian and became fluent in French. He taught himself to play the piano and guitar. Bill graduated from Norwich University
with a degree in electrical engineering.


However, from a young age, Bill dreamed of becoming a Navy SEAL, and like most everything
in his life, he accomplished what he set out to do.

In 2003, Brian Bill was awarded his SEAL trident.

In 2011, Brian Bill became one of my heroes.

He was everything right in a country that had gone oh, so wrong. Bill was a man of impeccable
integrity character and integrity. He lived his life the right way and always put others ahead
of himself.

There is no better proof of this than the actions that earned him the third of his four Bronze Star
Medals with Valor. I read this during a fundraising event for Bill last June and quite honestly,
my jaw dropped.

From the U.S. Department of Defense:

While performing in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, Bill was part of a ground force
element during a daring nighttime raid against a heavily armed enemy commander. While
attempting to engage a barricaded fighter hidden inside the target building, one of his teammates
was struck and mortally wounded by enemy fire, causing him to fall directly in front of the barricaded enemy's position.

With complete disregard for his own safety, Bill fought his way into the compound, exchanging
fire with the enemy fighter while maneuvering to his wounded teammate. Within point blank
range of the barricaded enemy, Bill pulled his comrade from the precarious position where he
had fallen as enemy rounds impacted the rock wall around him. He then courageously exposed himself to the enemy fire again, as he pulled his wounded teammate across the open courtyard
to a position behind cover.

By his extraordinary guidance, zealous initiative, and total dedication
to duty,  Bill reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United
States Naval Service.

Simply amazing.

I've been fortunate to meet the family of Brian Bill. As one might expect, they are a family
of impeccable class, character, and integrity. In short, they are beautiful people. I have tried
to honor Brian Bill's legacy through my work in the media and endurance events. He was a
truly remarkable person. I wished I had the opportunity to meet him.



Brian Bill is, was, and always will be an American hero.

Memorial Day means a lot more to me than it ever did because of Brian Bill. To me, this is
unofficially Brian Bill Memorial Day. He deserves it.

If I haven't convinced you of that already,  then you should try to comprehend the full list of
his accomplishments as a combat veteran. He received numerous awards, including the Bronze
Star  Medal with Valor (4),including one for extraordinary heroism, Purple Heart Medal,
Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal with Valor, Navy
and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal,
Combat  Action Ribbon (2), Presidential Unit Citation (2), Navy Unit Commendation,
Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War
on Terrorism Service Medal, and numerous other personal and unit decorations.


Amazing. Simply amazing.










Saturday, May 27, 2017

REMEMBERING PAT TILLMAN


Pat Tillman didn't die on 9/11, but like thousands upon thousands of Americans, he died
because of it. Tillman, who was playing with the Arizona Cardinals, was so deeply affected
by the terrorist strikes on our home soil, he gave up his NFL career to enlist in the service
and fight for his country.

"Football's not important to me, serving my country is," Tillman said in 2002. It may not
have been important to Tillman, but it had been what defined him. He went to Arizona
State and was the 1997 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year as an undersized linebacker.
Tillman didn't have  a need for change of address cards as the Cardinals, who shared Sun
Devil Stadium with ASU, drafted him in 1998.


A free-spirit, Tillman was converted to free safety by the Cardinals and earned a reputation
as one of the fiercest hitters in the NFL. At one point in his career, Tillman turned down a
5-year, $9 million offer from the St. Louis Rams out of loyalty to the Cardinals.

But that show of loyalty was nothing compared to Tillman's belief that he should fight for
his country. There have been other professional athletes who had their careers interrupted
by a military obligation, but few chose to join the service under their own volition.

Tillman turned his back on a life that most people can only dream of. He was playing in
the NFL and making a good living at. He had the glory, the adulation, and a great future.
9/11 changed all that for Tillman. Despite getting a 3-year, $9 million offer from the Cardinals,
Tillman turned in his football gear for that of an Army Ranger.


How many people would even think about doing that? People say they love our country but
if there was a poll taken, that would probably rank after our love for money, power, sex,
Facebook, and the iPad. And if 10,000 people were asked if they'd give up all that Tillman did
to serve our country, every one of them would've said, "Hell, no! Are you crazy, because
I'm not."

Tillman sacrificed everything. His job, his career, and even his marriage. He got married
to his longtime girlfriend just two months before enlisting in the military in May of 2002.


Along with his brother, Kevin,  Tillman became a Ranger and went on a few missions before
he was killed by his own battalion in a dangerous canyon in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004.
It was sad, tragic, and made even worse because the government lied to everybody at first,
saying that Tillman  was a hero and killed by enemy forces. But what Tilman did, giving up
the riches and the good life of the NFL, to serve our country should be admired. He should be remembered  along with the others who fought and died in wars that tried to rid evil and
destruction.

Nobody at Arizona State has forgotten Tillman. They have constructed the Tillman Tunnel
where he will be the last thing players see before going onto the field to take on an opponent.
It's a breathtaking tribute to a man who made the ultimate sacrifice.


As much as people want to make sports bigger than life, it's not. I often shake my head in
disbelief when I here an announcer call a player a "hero" because he threw a game-winning
touchdown pass. I shake my head when they describe a player as having "courage" because
he went over the middle and took a big hit from an opponent. I laugh when they say that
a team has to play "like there is no tomorrow." It's just a bunch of guys playing a kids game,
for crying out loud. Nobody dies.

Pat Tillman is the definition of a true hero, one who showed unbelievable courage in not
only giving up the good life, but in fighting for our country. Unfortunately, there never would
be a tomorrow for him. Tillman's life ended tragically in Afghanistan 13 years ago.

Tillman, as well as those who lost their lives fighting for our country, should always been remembered. Not just on Memorial Day, but every single day.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

PENN STATE FRAT BOYS, NEW CANAAN DAD SEPARATED AT STUPID



"The time is always right to do what is right."

Martin Luther King, Jr. uttered those words during a commencement speech at Oberlin
College  in 1963. Unfortunately, his message about doing the right thing probably fell
on deaf ears back then, and it's quite apparent, it means very little in society today.

The late civil rights leader would roll over in his grave if he got a whiff of the stench coming
from a world that is anything but civil. That quote about doing "what is right" has morphed
into doing what is right for yourself.

In the last month alone, we've seen fights on airplanes, adults brawling at a high school
graduation, in a Baptist church, no less, and a president who has a total lack of respect
for just about everything.

The lack of civility, compassion, respect, and the failure "to do what is right", was fully
encapsulated by two separate incidents with striking similarities. People forgot about doing
what was right and instead, did what was right for themselves, or so they thought.

During a frat party at Penn State in February, Tim Piazza was going through an initiation
(hazing) ritual with several other pledges. He went through a "gauntlet" where he consumed
a ridiculous amount of vodka in a short amount of time. With a blood-alcohol level of nearly
.40, Piazza fell down a flight of stairs not once, but twice. He was also kicked, nudged, slapped,
and had water thrown in his face by his friends and 'brothers.'

During the subsequent investigation, law enforcement officials discovered a text from a leader
of the frat who sent a note to his brothers in the frat house:

"If need be, just tell them what I told you guys, found him behind [a bar] the next morning
at around 10 a.m., and he was freezing-cold, but we decided to call 911 instantly, because
the kid's health was paramount."

The kid's health was so paramount, nobody in the frat house bothered to call 911 for almost
12 hours after Piazza fell down the stairs. Not sure that could be categorized as calling
"instantly."

Piazza was virtually ignored by his frat brothers and pretty much left to die, which he did.
Medical personnel told the parents of Piazza if their son had received assistance immediately,
he'd be alive today.

In late March, almost 300 miles east of Penn State and State College, in the ultra-ritzy town
of New Canaan, Connecticut, Andrew Knight, an 18-year-old high school senior, allegedly
went to a liquor store and, according to the police report, "bought four 30-packs of beer, two
handles of hard liquor and a bottle of Fireball whiskey" and went back home to host a party
where nearly 50 kids gathered. Man, that is enough liquor to satisfy the frat boys back at Penn
State. The parents, of course, weren't home at the time.

According to the police report, several kids were throwing up on the floor during the night
of drinking. One person ended up falling down a flight of stairs. Rumors were flying that
the person, a 17-year-old male who is a star on the baseball team, was actually pushed down
the stairs.

That 17-year-old baseball player reportedly suffered serious injuries and according to
the police report, had blood oozing from his ear and was unconscious for nearly 40
minutes and nobody called 911.

Let's see, a male falls down the stairs at a party, suffers significant injuries that leaves
him unconscious and nobody calls 911 immediately. Wow, sounds a lot like what happened
at Penn State.

And just as the "leader" of the frat and his brothers failed to do the right thing, it's quite
apparent that kids at the party in New Canaan, as well as the "leader" of the family of that house,
failed to do what was right, too.

According to the arrest warrant, Doug Knight, the father of Andrew, that kid who bought
enough liquor to satisfy the Penn State frat boys, "relayed to his son not to call 911." The
report goes on to say that "Knight arrived back at the residence and became fully aware
of the gravity of the situation in person. Still, for approximately 10 minutes after arriving
he argued with [a girl at the party] about why he refused to call 911 and causing [that person]
to curse him again and decide to call her father again, who ultimately placed the call
for help himself a full half hour after the situation became known to the Knights of
an unconscious, bleeding from the ear youth.”

                                 "The time is always right to do what is right."

Calling 911 immediately would have been the right thing to do. A young man was lying
unconscious on the floor with blood oozing from his ear and just like the situation at Penn
State, everyone starts thinking about themselves instead of the kid suffering on the floor.

Just as the frat leader did at Penn State, Doug Knight, a father who should know better,
allegedly tells his kid not to call 911. And allegedly argued with a young girl who wanted
to know why he wasn't calling 911. Clearly, the young girl was blessed with far more
common sense and compassion than Mr. Knight.

According to several newspaper reports, Mr. Knight was heard saying, "I don't want the
cops in my house." Right, he could have a kid seriously injured in his house and one who
may have died in the absence of medical assistance, but for god's sake, he cannot have cops
in the house. You know, the same cops that protect the town and those who would put their
lives on the line to save his family from being harmed.

Gee, Mr. Knight, I'm sure having those cops in your house would not have gone too well
with your golfing buddies at the country club. You probably didn't want to have those
uncomfortable stares from people in town as you went to get your morning coffee at
Starbucks. That would be truly terrible. Yep, a kid is unconscious on the floor of your
home but you're more concerned about how it would look if your name showed up in the
police blotter in the town's newspapers.

What the hell is wrong with you? If your kid was injured on the floor at somebody's house
there is little doubt you would've gone ballistic after finding out that nobody was in any kind
of hurry to call 911 as he lay bleeding from his ear while unconscious on the floor.
I'm sure you would've tried to rip the head off of the parent who told his kid not to call for help.

What is wrong with you, Mr. Knight? What is wrong with the people at Penn State? What
the hell is wrong with our society. Why do we have such a blatant lack of respect, compassion,
and regard for human life? It's become disgusting. Why are people only doing the right thing
when it's right for themselves. Leaving kids to suffer on the floor of a frat house or a regular
one is reprehensible.

                               "The time is always right to do what is right."

Mr. Knight managed to do one right thing in this heartbreaking and almost tragic case. He
decided to turn himself in to authorities to face charges. His son, Andrew, went with him.
Side-by-side in mugs shots. That's not a good look and I'm sure Mr. Knight's golfing buddies
will be talking about it. Everybody else in town is.

You not only got your name in the paper, Mr. Knight, but your picture, too. I'm sure a lawsuit
is coming your way also.

You could've provided an example to the young kids about doing what is right. Instead,
you tried to do only what you thought was right for yourself.










Wednesday, May 17, 2017

THE BRILLIANCE OF LAVAR BALL---CONTINUED


I haven't watched 10 seconds worth of the NBA this season and couldn't tell you who made
the all-star team or led the league in scoring. However, I know who LaVar Ball is and that's
part of his genius right there. I realize he's not a part of the NBA now, but his son, Lonzo,
will be a big piece of it in the very near future.

As for Big Daddy Ball, he's a total buffoon----at first glance. He's also brash, cocky,
condescending, and annoying--but nobody can  ever use the word dumb when describing
him. Big Daddy Ball is getting what so many of us in this self-absorbed, selfie-obsessed world
we live in want:  attention.

And a lot of it.

Big Daddy Ball doesn't need to incessantly post pictures of himself all over social media to get
the almighty 'like' or attention. That's child's play. All Big Daddy Ball has to do is say something
outrageous and he generates headlines from coast-to-coast.

"Lorenzo is better than Steph Curry," Big Daddy Ball once said. Next thing you know, every
sports talk radio station and network in the country is ripping him. BUT, they are talking about
him, aren't they? He's getting all the attention.

Big Daddy Ball has a gift for playing the media and he's wrapping all of them up with a pretty
little bow. Whatever he says, they report on it. And every producer in the country doesn't want
to get beat on a story, so they line Big Daddy Ball up for an appearance.

Love him or hate him, Big Daddy Ball makes for great television and can move the needle.
That's the name of the game in broadcasting, isn't it?

Earlier this month, Big Daddy Ball announced he was in charge of producing a new line of
basketball shoes for Lonzo, who has yet to be drafted. let alone play in the NBA. The price
of the new shoe? Try $495.  And the Internet blew up and every news and sports outlet was
talking about it. And Big Daddy Ball was laughing.

Sure, it may be sticker shock, but it was another brilliant move by Big Daddy Ball. If he
put the price at $250, nobody would've blinked, much less paid attention. By making the
price so outrageous, Big Daddy Ball, got millions of dollars in free publicity. The media
was going nuts, screaming at the top of their lungs in outrage and disbelief, while spewing
a tank full of venom his way.

Big Daddy Ball had to be laughing---again.

Living in Los Angeles, I reckon Big Daddy Ball has seen the act of the Kardashians
and heard about the millions upon millions of dollars they are making without having
a shred of discernible talent. Every time they post a selfie, it goes viral. Any time one
of them falls off a bike or colors their hair, it blows up the Internet and all the entertainment
shows are talking about it.

Big Daddy Ball must have said to himself, "Good, lord, that family has absolutely no talent
and they are filthy rich. Imagine what I could do with three kids who are going to be lottery
picks in the NBA?".

Jackpot.

I reckon Big Daddy Ball also studied the act of Stephen A. Smith. The guy can't speak,
can't write, or say anything good about anyone. He saw a market that needed a controversial
figure, one who screams, shouts and disses everybody on the planet, who just happens to make
$3.5 million-a-year at ESPN. The screamer has no talent. None. But his act gets attention
and those who get most of it these days, get most of the big-time contracts.

Before announcing the new line of shoes for his son, Lonzo, Big Daddy Ball, proclaimed
the kid's shoe deal with one of the big three (Nike, Addidas, Under Armour) should be
worth one billion dollars. Outrageous, right? Well, once again the media tripped all over
themselves talking about it or by trying to land the big interview with Big Daddy Ball.

Yep, broke the Internet again. Then, after the Los Angeles Lakers secured the second pick
in the NBA Draft, Big Daddy Ball set the price at $3 billion. Of course, the media and
general sporting public went crazy again.

And Big Daddy Ball just keeps laughing because he knows he has the media eating out
of his hand. He knows how desperate they are for juicy, controversial content. The other
stuff doesn't sell or draw much interest.

You think the big companies are going to stay away from Lonzo Ball just because of his
Big Daddy's mouth? Even if they are, 150 others will show up at his door to show him the
money.

Imagine if the kid goes second to the hometown Lakers in the NBA Draft? The second-highest
television market in the country? In Hollywood's backyard?

Cha-ching. Times a thousand.

I've heard many say that Big Daddy Ball is making things tough on his kid. That's comical.
By making all these outlandish comments and appearing on sports networks around the country,
he's taking all the pressure off the kid and placing it entirely on himself.

That is brilliant.

Don't hate on LaVar Ball. He read the market and is taking full advantage of it. That's
pretty much the American Way these days, isn't it?  He knows he's playing with a stacked deck.
Don't get mad because he's ruling the "look at me" table and about to help Lonzo cash in.

By the way, have you seen many interviews with the kid, like ever? Nope, the media is
so obsessed with Big Daddy Ball that they are pretty much leaving him alone.

Brilliant.