Sunday, July 31, 2011


When I was covering the Patriots in 2005, Ted Johnson, the hard-nosed
linebacker once told me, "NFL teams are talent whores. If Charles Manson
could run a 4.3 40, somebody would sign him and figure out a way of
bring him in here."  Johnson was exaggerating, of course, but his point
was crystalclear: If you have great talent, teams will look past the
character issues.

This was driven home this past week when the Patriots traded for
Albert Haynesworth, a man blessed with freak-like size and strength.
As for character? Well, let's just say there was a good chance God
was updating his Facebook status when it came time to hand it
to Haynesworth.

At one time, the Patriots wouldn't draft, trade for, or sign a player who
so much as threatened to talk back to his mother during any time in
his life. Robert Kraft prided himself on bringing in players of good moral
fiber. Besides winning championships, the "Patriots Way" wreaked of
a holier than thou, we can can win with class attitude. But now, with
a need to improve a non-existent pass rush, the Patriots trade for
Haynesworth. It was a low-risk, high reward trade. If Haynesworth
so much as looks the wrong way at Bill Belichick, he will be released,
no questions asked.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has tried hard to rid the league
of players like Haynesworth, who has a track record as bad as Lindsay
Lohan and Randy Moss combined. But you see, Haynesworth has the kind
of talent NFL coaches sell their souls for and drool over. Every coach
thinks he's a Dr. Phil when it comes to rehabbing a player and his bad
image. Just as long as that guy records 15 sacks, 10 interceptions, or
can bust a punt return 89-yard to decide the game, he can have a spot
on the team. As for those personal re-hab sessions? Oh, yeah, can I
get back to you on that, I have to watch some more film.

Isn't that happened with Pac-Man Jones? The guy has enormous talent,
but a ten-cent head. He's been arrested six times. Yet, he still finds work
because he's a game-changer. After the Dallas Cowboys signed him they
even provided Pac-Man his own bodyguard to keep him out of trouble.
What happened? Pac-Man got into a fight with the bodyguard.
Good bye, Dallas. Oh, but Cincinnati had to upgrade their speed and depth
in the secondary, so they open their checkbooks and sign Pac-Man.
Incidentally, he got arrested again last month.

Dante Stallworth gets drunk, kills a man with his car, goes to jail
for 24 days, then is free to play football again. Except that Goodell
did the right thing and banned him for a year. After that was up,
Stallworth said hello, Baltimore, signing a multi-million dollar contract
with the Ravens because he can separate from defensive backs and
catch the ball in traffic.

If you, me, or Johnnie Bravo got arrested or killed someone, we'd never
get another job. That's how it works with companies today. Character
counts. But in the NFL, if  you can score touchdowns, record sacks,
or bust a wedge, employers will smile, slap you on the back, and look
past those four arrests on your record.

Goodell can try as hard as he has to clean up the image of the league, but
seriously, it matters little. Coaches are under enormous pressure to win.
Winning means bigger contracts, increased merchandise sales, better
ratings, and  more expensive luxury boxes. Some coaches like Belichick
and Rex Ryan will roll the dice with some players, thinking they'll suddenly
get "character" playing under them and in their system.

Isn't that what Dick Vermeil thought when he convinced the Rams to draft
Lawrence Phillips in the first round several years ago. All Phillips did was
drag his girlfriend down a flight of stairs and beat her up. But he had freakish
talent, a player the Rams thought could rush for 1,500 yards every year.
How'd that turn out? An embarrassment.

Character only counts with players who have borderline talent. It's an
easy way to weed them out, cut them, or neglect to return their phone
calls when looking for a job.

The NFL is what it is. It's a league where only the biggest, strongest,
and fastest survive. Usually the teams with the most talent are in the mix
when it comes to championships. Character? Please. The NFL is not
fooling anyone.

As for the Jets, they lost out on Charles Manson, but they did sign
former convict Plaxico Burress and just came to a deal with Antonio
Cromartie, who has eight kids by six different woman. He can't cover
things up when it really matters, but boy, Cromartie can sure blanket
those receivers.

Friday, July 29, 2011


When Chad Ochocinco walked through the gates of Gillette stadium,
he quickly morphed from the clown prince of football to just a football
player as common as his real last name. Like Dorothy found out in
the Wizard of Oz, Ochocinco is a long way from home and is certainly
not in Cincinnati anymore.

Ochocinco has gone from the NFL's "Animal House", to it's Microsoft,
where another genius named Bill has constructed an empire unlike
any other. He's on the yellow-brick road to a Super Bowl and on
the way to being significant again if he can absorb the Belichick Rules.
The Patriots are run like a Fortune 500 company whose leader is
ruthless, cold-blooded, and doesn't tolerate anyone who
puts themselves before the team.

Ochocinco didn't need anyone to send him that message, he is smart
enough to know that his previous antics won't be accepted
by Belichick or anyone else on the Patriots. You won't see the River
Dance, Gold Hall of Fame jackets, CPR on football's, or sideline
arguments with his quarterback. They are not accepted in Foxboro.
Johnson was the most entertaining player in football, but under the
Belichick, his focus will be on running routes and sight adjustments,
not on trying to make people laugh.

Wes Welker found that out last year during the playoffs, didn't he?
The all-pro receiver tried to covertly mock Jets coach Rex Ryan
about he and his wife's foot fetish using metaphors like foot soldiers
and good feet. Belichick wasn't amused and benched Welker for
the first offensive series. Missing the first eight players really wasn't
all that bad for Welker, but the embarrassment made it seem as
if he was benched for the entire game.

You won't hear Ochocinco call out opponents, challenge fans,
or make bold predictions anymore. In the culture that's been
created in Foxboro, that won't be tolerated by Belichick or
Ochocinco's new teammates.

The Chad Ochocinco who played in Cincinnati was fun and
wildly entertaining. But we won't see that again in New England.
which some may think is disappointing. However, that's just
the way it is with Belichick, and that way has worked wonder-
fully for more than a decade. Corey Dillon didn't change it,
and neither did Randy Moss.

Ochocinco has danced with the stars, now he's doing the tango
with greatness. If he doesn't screw it up, it should be ridiculously

Thursday, July 28, 2011


There are few words in the English language that have the impact
of the word "suicide". The act of it takes away a life, can rip
apart families, and suicide note or not, it always leaves us wondering

If you're a friend of someone or a family member who has to
hear the words, "he killed himself", it feels like Mike Tyson
threw a TNT-packed punch straight to the stomach, instantly
sucking every ounce of air from your body.

There is, and always will be a stigma attached to suicide, because
the words that usually follow it are depression, mental disorder,
or personal problems. And unlike most of the things that seem
to occur on a regular basis, we never really become immune to
the shock that comes with hearing that a person to their own

On Thursday, former major league pitcher Hideki Irabu was found
dead in his Los Angeles home, the victim of an apparent suicide. This
came on the heels of Tuesday's death of Jeret Peterson , a freestyle-
skier who won a silver medal in the Vancouver Olympic Games
just last year. Before that it was Dave Duerson, a former NFL player,
and before that it was Kenny McKinley of the Denver Broncos. 
All ended their lives, killed by their own hand.

Irabu, Jaret, Duerson, and McKinley couldn't overcome their
demons. There were financial troubles and foul-ups with the law
and energy-sapping depression that didn't make life worth living.

I've often heard people wonder out loud, how people, who seemingly
have everything, suddenly take their lives. Depression doesn't
care about money, endorsement deals, or 25,000 square foot
mansions. It's a disease that can napalm jobs, friendships, and
families. There isn't a manual on how to deal with it, and it can
go away and lie dormant until something triggers it to come back
worse than it ever was before.

People who make judgements on those who have committed suicide
are as ignorant as they are callous. It's easy to condemn a man
for being so selfish as to commit suicide and leave a wife and
four kids behind. But there is no way to get an understanding of
the pain that person was in, the nightmares he suffered from,
and the demons that wore him down.

I used to think people who committed suicide were selfish. But I
will never judge again after talking with those who've suffered
from debilitating depression, the kind that keeps you in bed all
day and makes you go days without eating, showering, or even
brushing your teeth.

Does it seem like suicide among athletes and former athletes is
on the rise? Man, it sure appears that way. But its a problem that
is not just occurring in the athletic arena, teen suicide is on the
rise around the country, as well.

My friend, John Trautwein, is on a mission to prevent teen suicide
after discovering that his 15-year old son, Will,  hung himself
in his room while his parents slept. (Please check the "Will-to-Live"
feature I did on the Trautwein's in May)

Will was a high school kid who excelled in the classroom
and athletics and seemingly had everything.

"We just didn't know, there were no signs," said Trautwein.
"Kids today have so much more pressure on them than we did.
"If it can happen to Will and our family, it can happen to anybodies".

I wish the suicide of Hideki Irabu is the last one I'm going to hear
about for awhile, but I highly doubt it. Things have a tendency to
get worse before they get better. But if you have a friend who might
be crying out for help, or getting into patterns of self-destructive
behavior, don't dismiss the warning signs before it's too late.
Be a friend, help them out.


There's nothing like a reunion to shatter your ego and blow your
salad and egg whites diet. On Monday, I played golf and emceed
the New Canaan High School Football Alumni outing at the
beautiful Woodway Country Club in Darien, CT.

I hadn't seen many of my former teammates in more than 25 years,
and while a lot of time has passed, that never puts an end to the
jocularity that comes with playing with your classmates for
four years. The jokes always fly and nothing, and I mean nothing
is of limits.

I had gained forty pounds since last June, and while I thought my
6'3" frame had carried it well, my former teammates thought the only
thing I had been carrying were donuts, Big Mac's, and about two
gallons of Baskin-Robbins ice cream. Do you think they were going
to waste an opportunity to abuse me and my weight? Definitely not.

I heard some softballs, like "Wow, you really filled out!" to "Are you
wearing a XXL or XXXL now?"  XXXL?!!!  Really. I summoned an
old teammate to watch me pound my drive on the final hole and he
replied, "with a belly like that, you should hit it 300 yards." Best
joke of the day: "Did you eat John Daly for breakfast?" Wow,
my chest deflated, my ego was crushed, and I could do nothing but
try to suck in my gut for the rest of the night.

The rest of the night included shrimp cocktails, an open bar, and
3,500 calorie desserts. That was all before we closed down "Uncle
Joe's", a bar and pizza joint in Norwalk. Yep, had to break that Slim-fast
diet for another day. Is there anything worse for your fat cells than
pizza and beer and a lot of it?

I woke up the next morning feeling like Albert Haynesworth ran me
over while I was standing still and eating a Krispy Kreme donut. Not
good. I paid the price. I felt better after 90-minutes of cardio at the
gym, but bottom line, I'm still a fat tub-of-goo. I think I'm Chris Farley's
illegitimate kid. Maybe I should throw down some Hydroxycut to
go along with my workouts.

I ramped up my workout on Wednesday, going for a 56-mile bike ride.
It only took me four hours. In my triathlon next month, that's exactly how
far the bike ride is. Trouble is, there is a 1.2 mile swim before it and a
13.1 mile run after it. Oh, well. I don't think there is a time limit on it.

By the way, I'm down to 242 lbs. Who said muscles weighs more than
fat? I seriously doubt that. Til next time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


16 months ago, Tiger Woods stepped out from behind a blue curtain
and up to the microphone. Thoughts of Monte Hall playing
"Let's Make a Deal" were dancing through my head. But El Tiger
wasn't there to make any deals. The former best player in the world
was apologizing for cheating and cheating a lot on his wife.

Then came the words that caught everyone's attention, but sadly
have become a big problem in our society, "Normal rules didn't
apply..I felt entitled." I'd rewind the tape, but I don't have it, so
I'll put those words by Tiger in bold print. Normal rules didn't
apply...I felt entitled.

Entitled? Since when does someone become entitled to act like
a sex-crazed maniac, sleep with strippers, prostitutes, and just
about anything else that has a pulse? Since when is it all right,
just because you've been blessed with jaw-dropping, awe inspiring
talent to have total disregard for everyone but yourself?

I'm not exactly sure when it started, but I do know that a lot
of people are following that mantra. Normal rules didn't apply
to Reggie Bush when he took a King's Ransom, $300,000 worth
of door prizes from a potential agent while still at USC. After all,
Bush had won the Heisman Trophy already and made millions of
dollars for USC, so he must've felt that he was entitled to his
share of the pie.

Bush had to get his. Never mind that it was against NCAA rules.
Bush eventually got caught, USC went on probation, gave up its
national title and Reggie turned in his Heisman Trophy. Was it really
worth it?

Was it worth it for former Ohio State quarterback to take cash, cars,
and money in return for his autograph on memorabilia? Did the instant
gratification exceed the reality that you besmirched your reputation,
damaged the school's image, and helped get your coach fired? Probably
not, but Pryor got his because he was just entitled to it, right?

The fact is, "normal rules" don't apply to supremely talented athletes
because they are just that, supremely talented. Coaches and parents have
looked the other way for years, giving them special treatment just
because they can run fast, jump high, and do incredible things on the
playing field. If they ever get in trouble, coaches and admistrators
sometimes go to great lengths to make sure they don't get discipline
or even bad-mouthed.

That's just the way it is for the entitled. If they get away with something
once, they tend to do it again, or  stretch it to the limits, fearing
they'll never get caught, and even if they do, there will be someone
there to bail them out.

Oh, this isn't just a problem that comes up in sports. Our society is
littered with people who have to get theirs because they feel they are
entitled. Bernie Madoff had to get his, damn the people and the lives
he ruined because he robbed them of their retirement savings and
wiped out their portfolios. Ken Lay and his minions at Enron had
to get theirs, didn't they? They brought down an entire company
and tsunamied the lives and savings of most of the companies employees?

Did they care? Hell, no. Neither did Madoff, Pryor, Bush, and Woods.
They had no interest in the people they were hurting and destroying.
After all, they were entitled to the good times and good things because
they had "earned." them.

Normal rules never seem to apply anymore in this day and age. It
just seems to be one big money grab. And we seem obsessed with
having the biggest, the best, and the most of things, and if we hurt
anyone who gets in our way, screw it, because we are entitled to
get what we want, anyway we get it, right?

Perhaps it all started back in the late 80's when Gordon Gekko in
"Wall Street" uttered the famous line, "greed, for a lack of a better
word, is good." And the floodgates seemed to open. Tanya Harding's
thugs took out Nancy Kerrigan, Bill Clinton used the Oval office to
get oral sex, Enron, Madoff, Steroids scandals erupted. Everyone
was getting theirs, so why not me?

The spoils that go to those with a sense of entitlement are never really
worth it, are they? I'm sure Tiger would give everything he has to go
back and be a decent human being. I'm sure Reggie Bush wishes he
had shown just a little restraint, knowing that NFL millions were about
to come his way. Terrell Pryor, you ruin a lot of everything for what?
Less than $80,000. Nice.

Will this sense of entitlement ever vanish? Hardly. And certainly not
in this economy. This world has become one big money grab where
everyone has to get theirs, and damn the consequences.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Brett Favre is like the itch that you just can't get rid of. You scratch it,
pick it, and use all kinds of lotion to make it go away, yet it just keeps
on coming back.

He's like the gopher in "Caddyshack", too. You can try to shoot it,
drown it, and even blow it up, but it still comes back to annoy the hell
out of you.

Brett Favre, and even the mention of a comeback is enough to make
me sick. Every year at this time, Favre, a bona-fide attention junkie,
needs to get his name in the news. He needs to feel wanted, loved,
appreciated, and coddled. I hate to keep using the "Groundhog Day"
analogy, but it's just appropriate.

Every June and July, we have to keep re-living the nightmare. Forget
about Bill Murray's character, I want to drive off a road and into a
canyon. This is re-DICK-u-lous!

On Sunday, some look-at-me, attention starved reporter, not related
to the Favre narcissistic family, opened the can of worms using the
old, "my sources" told me that the Eagles could be interested in Favre
as a back-up to Michael Vick if number 2 quarterback Kevin Kolb
is traded once this comical lockout ends.

First of all, don't be surprised if Favre's camp was the "source." Brett
and company do it every year. I'm just surprised that ESPN didn't break
out its wall-to-wall coverage like they did for the news that Favre texted
a teammate last year that he was "done". Bring in the analysts, make up
the full-screen graphic how Favre has thrown the most touchdown passes,
as well as interceptions.

Bring in the legend Tim Hasselback (why is he on ESPN
anyway? Oh, that's right. Elizabeth has some major pull at ABC) to explain
how #4 was such a gunslinger and competitor. Blah, blah, blah. Stop. Quit
all this talk about Favre.

As bad as it is to live in anywhere Mississippi, Favre is not coming back.
There's no way. It's gone way beyond being a joke. It's downright sickening.
Move on, get your number retired by the Packers, kiss and make up with
them and go into the Hall of Fame and we'll see you as an analyst on ESPN.
Just put an end to all this garbage.

I'd rather hear a filibuster by Anthony Weiner than any talk of Favre. I'd
rather watch Lindsay Lohan go into court again with her $1200 Jimmy Choo
shoes on her feat and cry poverty. Favre this, Favre that. Yeah, Favre
who couldn't even talk to Aaron Rodgers after the Packers drafted him
in the first round, is going to be a back-up to anyone, much less Michael
Vick. He'll just be one big distraction.

Then Jenn Sterger will work her way back into the media spotlight and
demand an apology from Brett because she didn't follow Erin Andrew's
handbook on how to turn a negative into a positive. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
I can see it and hear it now. Please, don't let any talk of Brett Favre
get into the mainstream media after Sunday. We cannot take this anymore.

What, Brett's going to hold a clipboard for the entire season while making
2 million a year? Please. His ego is bigger than the people who make fan pages
or "public figure" pages for themselves just because they are a local television
reporter in a redneck market where the I.Q. level is lower than that of
the Casey Anthony jury.

We just had four months of this garbage with the lockout talk and now we
have to hear about Favre again? Say it ain't so.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


In the past year, Tiger Woods has done more splits than a Chinese
gymnast. He split with his wife, swing coach, IMG, and a few sponsors
who were paying him an obscene amount of money to be associated
with him. On Wednesday, Tiger broke up with his long-time caddy,
Steve Williams, firing him after 12 years together.

This may have come as a surprise to a lot of people, after all, Williams
was on Tiger's bag for 13 major titles and 72 overall victories. But
it's hardly a shock. After the porn-stars, pin-ups, three-ways,
and voice messages that detailed his desire for golden showers, is
there anything that is shocking anymore when it comes to Tiger Woods?

When Tiger hit that fire hydrant almost two years ago, a lot more than
water came spewing out of it. There were lies, deceit, incredible
infidelity, and an image that was far different than the one he, his parents,
and the agents from IMG had cultivated.

Gone was the picture of the perfect family man. Remember those photos
that Tiger sent out of he and his beautiful wife and kids. We didn't know
it at the time, but as soon as the photographer said, "I'm done," Tiger was
going to Denny's for a grand slam breakfast and a side order of waitress.

Everything about Tiger's image was shattered. He went from the most
popular athlete on the planet to the most detested one. Sponsors fled
like ants who were about to have their magnificent hills crushed by
a giant foot. His wife left him, SNL lampooned him, and everyone else
just laughed at him

Tiger Woods is a broken man and appears to be a lost soul. With
his injuries, he's become insignificant in the sport, and even if he
comes back to break Jack Nicklaus' record for majors, it won't mean
all that much. It will always be, "yeah, but he's a dirt bag. Jack
Nicklaus had class."

No matter what Tiger does from here on out, it'll always be followed
by, "yeah, but..." Perhaps that is why Tiger is cleaning house and removing
everything and everyone who was associated with him when he went
from a god to a god-awful person. People don't like Tiger Woods right
now, and it's hard for people to feel sorry for him because he cheated
on his wife and family in the most despicable of ways.

Perhaps, the termination of Steve Williams is all part of Tiger's grand
personal make-over. For all the wins on his bag, a lot of fans detested
Williams. He'd yell at fans to shut up when his master was hitting.
He'd grab a photographers camera and smash it if he didn't like the
timing of their clicks when his master was about to vaporize a ball.

And Williams would try to part the massive crowds like Moses tried
to part the Red Sea, except Williams never bothered to say excuse me,
sorry, or my bad. Yep, he was just Bobby Knight with a golf bag and
people didn't like it.

Two months before Tiger hit that fire hydrant and his world unraveled,
he was honored during halftime of a Stanford-Cal football game. As
he was introduced, Tiger, who played golf for the Cardinal but never
graduated, was booed by the Cal fans because, quite frankly, they
boo anyone who is associated with Stanford, even Tiger Woods.

I'll never forget the look on Tiger's face when he heard the boos.
He was shocked because after all, he was Tiger Woods. Nobody
ever booed him. Tiger cared so much about his image and being loved
and universally respected.

He lost all that with one bad, ambien-fueled, drive into a fire hydrant.
That was the end of the Tiger Woods as we knew him. He can fire
Steve Williams, his agents, swing coaches, or whoever else he wants.
Tiger can try to put together an extreme make-over. He can get advice
from Dr. Phil, Dr. Ruth, and Dr. Galea, its just not going to matter.
The Tigers Woods that we thought we knew,  never really was. And
right now, he is "The Biggest Loser" in all of this.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Jayson Werth left a good thing in Philadelphia to chase the
Brinks truck that was headed a few hours south to Washington
D.C. When he caught it, Werth didn't have to fight too hard for
the Nationals to turn over the goods. They gladly gave him
a 7-year, $126 million dollar contract.

Since signing that contract, Werth's journey has taken him to
baseball hell where he is going around in circles. Entering
Tuesday night's action, the Nationals right fielder is hitting
.211 with 10 HR's and 37 RBI's. If he had those numbers after
signing a contract like that in New York, Werth would already
have been Ed Whitson-ed out of the Big Apple. Forget about
thumb tacks under the tires, Werth's wheels would've been left
in the parking lot and his car thrown in the East River.

As expected Werth has felt the wrath of those die-hard baseball
fans in D.C. He's been booed, mocked, and laughed at. When you're
last name is Werth and you have a contract like he does, nicknames
comes easy. Werth-less, Werth-a-crap, Werth-a-damn, The New York
Post would have a field day with his last name and listless play.

You can't blame Werth for taking the money. If anyone is stupid
enough to pay a career .269 career hitter that's never driven in
100 runs all that iron,  then you'd be fool not to take it. After
finding out the Nationals gave Werth a king's ransom, New York
Mets GM Sandy Alderson said, "I thought we had bad contracts
on the Mets." And added, "I thought they were trying to reduce the
deficit in Washington."

Other executives were laughing as well. After all, Werth was surrounded
by MVP's and future hall of famers when he played in Philadelphia.
With Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard, Werth didn't have
to be "the man". He was a complimentary player who never said
very much and blended in. Yes, Werth is considered by many to
be a 5-tool player, but right now, he's just a tool who can't handle
the pressure of a monster contract. A .211 batting average is hard
to achieve for an every day player who doesn't have to worry about
anyone looking over his shoulder every five minutes.

The Nationals don't know what to do with Werth. He failed as a clean-up
man, then was move around the line-up with not much success. Werth
even his lead-off. Is that sad or what? A 20-million dollar a year player
that's 6'5 and 220lbs hitting lead-off. I don't think that's what Nats GM
Mike Rizzo had in mind when he signed him.

Rizzo, who has made a lot of solid moves since taking over as GM and
the Nats are headed in the right direction. But $126 million dollars for this?
As W.C Fields once said, "There is a sucker born every minute." Rizzo
had a woody for Werth as if he was Brooklyn Decker coming out of
ocean in that skimpy bikini. Rizzo played with Werth's uncle Dickie
Schofield in the minor-leagues and scouted him in high school.

You think Rizzo is not kicking himself for not investing that money
in some pitching, something the Nats and just about every other team
not named the Phillies, desperately needs. Now, the Werth contract is
an albatross around Rizzo's neck and one that could keep the Nats from
where they want to go, faster.

I don't see this one ending well.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


The magic carpet ride of Jim Nantz has ascended to a level where
only a few sportscasters have ever gone before. Last week the Pro
Football Hall of Fame announced the long-time voice of CBS Sports
would be the 2011 recipient of the Pete Rozelle Award, which recognizes
exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football.

"It's one of the biggest honors of my career," said Nantz, who is a
New Canaan resident. "In our industry it doesn't get any bigger than this.
I wasn't expecting it and when I received the call I was really blindsided."

At 52, Nantz is the youngest person ever to receive the award, launching
him into rarefied air among sportscasters. This honor, along with the Curt
Gowdy Media Award presented to him by the Basketball Hall of Fame in
2002, makes Nantz just one of three sportscasters to be recognized by the
pro football and basketball halls of fame. Gowdy and Dick Enberg are the

"When they told me that, I had to sit down for a minute," said Nantz,
who played golf at the University of Houston. "I feel like I'm still a young
man and to be in the company of legends like Gowdy and Enberg is a
tremendous honor."

Nantz got his start in the business while he was a junior in college.
He'd anchor the weekend sports at the CBS affiliate in Houston. It didn't
take long before Nantz caught the attention of television executives at
headquarters in New York.

"Ted Shaker, who was the executive producer of CBS Sports, took a
giant leap of faith in me," said Nantz. "I was just 26 years old and being
a network anchor at that age was unheard of. Shaker really believed in
me and my ability to do live television on a network. It was risky."

Nantz rewarded Shaker's faith in him by becoming one of the most versatile
and talented sportscasters the industry has ever seen. He makes the seamless
transition from the NFL to college basketball to golf and is a five time
winner of the National Sportscaster of the Year award.

He has worked on the NFL since 1988 and has been part of four Super
Bowls as a studio host and play-by-play man. But when March comes
around, Nantz really shines. He goes from the madness of the NCAA
tournament to the awe-inspiring sights and sounds of the Masters.

"I really pinch myself every year when I go through that stretch," said
Nantz. "People at the Final Four say, 'And after this you go to the Masters?
That's unbelievable', and it really is. I never take it for granted or have
a sense of entitlement. I realize how lucky I am. But I also have worked
really hard and got to where I am through my preparation."

Nantz has experienced a lot of shining moments in his career with CBS
Sports. He was on the dance floor when a Cinderella named Butler almost
beat Duke for the national title. When Tiger Woods burst onto the scene
in 1997 with an earth-shattering performance at the Masters, Nantz was in
the tower calling "it one for the ages."

But it was the 2010 Super Bowl in Miami that holds a special place in
his heart. "When I was eight years old my Dad took me to the Saints first
game in the NFL," said Nantz. "It was the birth of the Saints and to follow
them to their culmination as Super Bowl champs, after all the organization
had been through, was really special. Calling their victory over the Colts
is one of the most prideful moments of my career."

Anyone who has watched golf on CBS, knows how much pride Nantz takes
in his work on the Masters. After 26 years calling the action, he has become
as much a part of Augusta as the Azaleas and Amen Corner.

Nantz had made it known that his goal was to cover 50 Masters tournaments
in his career. But that changed recently, when he was presented with an
 award by broadcasting great, Jack Whitaker.

"Jack was saying that he wanted to see me around for the 100th anniversary
of the Masters. My goal was 50 years but that would take me to the 99th Masters.
I want to be there for the 100th, which will be in the year 2036."

Nantz will be 76 when the Masters celebrates its 100th anniversary,
which is an age when most broadcasters not named Enberg and Mike
Wallace, have long been retired. But Nantz has accomplished everything
 he's set his mind to and fullfiled every dream of his when it comes to
broadcasting. It wouldn't be wise to bet against him on reaching this goal,
which is like the Masters tradition itself: unlike any other.
(Editor's Note: Ted Shaker is married to New Canaan Patch editor Sheryl Shaker.)

Monday, July 18, 2011


I woke up on June 30th of last year in close to the best shape of my life. I was 210 lbs,
which is what I weighed as a seventh-year senior at UNC. A six-pack was never in my
genes, but I no longer had the love handles that woman between the ages of 52 and 67
dreamed of  holding on to. Two weeks earlier, at the age of 45, I completed a half-ironman,
which came on the heels of a 100-mile bike ride to Montauk.

As the calendar prepared to turn over from June to July, I went for a bike ride on a near
perfect, sun-splashed afternoon. I wish the ride was as flawless as the day. I edged a pothole
going downhill, flipped my bike and was nearly road kill. I separated the AC joint in my
shoulder and left three chunks of flesh from my back, hip, and shoulder on that asphalt road
in Connecticut.

The bad news was, I couldn't work out for at least three months. The good news was, I got
introduced to something that would become my new best friend: Vicodin. Vicodin is to people
in pain what Viagara is to men looking for a little somethin', somethin' to perform like Dirk
Diggler and get them through the night. I can see why Brett Favre got addicted to Vicodin. It
makes you feel good and groovy.

Unable to work out, I needed something else to obsess about and get addicted to. I was 37
days from reaching my goal of not drinking for a  year, and that was out anyway, since I
was on Vicodin. Extreme eating become my new sport. What comfort I didn't get out of
Vicodin, I got from stuffing my face like Augustus Gloop in "Wily Wonka's Chocolate Factory."

I had been a workout freak, now I was obsessed with food. If it wasn't tied down, I was eating
it. Weddings and cocktail parties were the best. If there was a buffet, I'd eat half of it. Those
people passing around  hor dourves never had a chance. I'd hijack them and the trays carrying
calorie-packed treats. I became like Joey Chitwood in a hot dog eating contest, chowing down
food fast and furiously.  Perhaps I was having a mid-life crisis. If that was the case, food was
my new Ferrari.

I didn't care, I loved it. I had always been a pretty healthy eater but that went out the window
with my stint on the disabled list. Ring-Dings, Cherry Garcia, and pizza, oh my. I'd go to the
Shell station on my way to work and pick up a Choco-Taco, a Drumstik, and a Good Humor Chocolate Eclair for the ride.

On the way home I'd hit the Wendy's late night drive-thru and order up a chicken sandwich,
a double-cheeseburger, and fries. And I'd do what every overweight, food-obsessed person who
is in denial, does. I'd wash it down with a large diet coke. Like the diet part of the drink matters
after you blasted your body with 1,200 calories of artery-clogging fast food.

Trouble loomed over the horizon with my weight and vanishing Vicodin. My prescription was
just about done and I had to make the decision whether or not to tell my doctor I couldn't tolerate
the pain and ask him to refill my scrip. I had visions of becoming addicted like Favre did and hallucinating all over the place. I passed on the refill figuring my fascination with food would help me overcome the pain. It did.

However, I was paying the price. My waistline was exploding quicker than C.C. Sabathia's and I bypassed a double-chin and went straight to number three. But at 6'3", I could carry the extra
weight, or so I told myself. As for that scale in my bathroom? Well, let's just say it had become
the extra large white elephant in the room, and it was thinner than I was. No way I was getting
on that thing. I didn't want to face reality, even though that came in my failure to get into any
of my dress pants. My jeans were my safe haven, the one thing that  didn't reject me or shout out
that I was turning into a fat tub-of-goo.

But I was. I was getting extra large and wasn't in charge of my eating habits. I was out of control.
On December 1st, I finally stepped on the scale and it wasn't pretty. Remember "Groundhog Day" where the clock turns  over from 5:59 to 6:00 everyday? I stepped on the scale and it was teetering
on 249lbs. 249lbs! The only thing more shocking was seeing it turn over to 250. There it was. 250 pounds. Never in my life did I think I'd see that number below me.

My manager in the minor-leagues, Gary Allenson, bet me $500 that I'd be 250 when I was 40 years old. He was six years off. I went to  the doctor for a physical and the news was not good. My cholesterol shot up to 296.  Even my good cholesterol was bad.

Was it a wake-up call? Absolutely. That and the fact that my mom nicknamed me "Shamu." But for the first time in my life, I had lost some of my drive to work out. I'd lose a few pounds here, a lose
a few pounds there, but I was closer to 250 than 240.

I signed up for a half-ironman on September 11th, hoping it'd be the kick in the butt I need. I'm getting there, but at 47 now, the metabolism rate has slowed down a lot.  There will be no Jenny

I need to do this on my own.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Five years ago, Darren Clarke was a broken man in need of a shoulder
to cry on. He had been at his wife's side as she battled, then succumbed
to cancer.

128 days ago, Japan was a country in need of a world-wide hug. They were
devastated by an earthquake and a tsunami that caused a nuclear
disaster. 22,000 people lost their lives and the country is still in disarray.

Clarke's recovery is just about complete, while Japan is a long way
from being whole again. But on Sunday, they both demonstrated their
resiliency, holding off the heavily favored Americans, showing the
world that no matter how bad things get, there is still reason to hope,
believe, and persevere.

Clarke ranked 111th in the world, had become less significant than
Tiger Woods is in golf right now. He wasn't given much of a chance to
win the British Open, after all, he hadn't finished in the top-10 of a
major since 2001. His game, as well as his body, weren't exactly
a picture of strength. But Clarke still believed that he could win a
major at the ripe old age of 42. He didn't care that he had played
19 times in the Open Championship and had never even sniffed the
Claret Jug.

Battling the elements and a trio of Americans that included Dustin
Johnson, Phil Mickelson, and Ricky Fowler, who were all younger
and more talented than himself, Clarke stuck to his game plan and
waged a fierce battle on his way to winning the British Open.

Japan was playing in the World Cup final for the first time. In fact,
this was the first time they had reached the final in any major tournament.
They had lost to the Americans in their 25 previous meetings. The
task of beating the Americans in the World Cup was akin to a bunch
of college kids trying to upset the Soviet Union in hockey game during
the 1980 Winter Olympics. Japan was the smallest team in the tournament,
but they played with the biggest heart.

They battled back to tie the United States not once, but twice. With
not much left in the tank, they found a way to beat the Stars and Stripes
in penalty kicks and win their first-ever World Cup. As they did throughout
the tournament, they unfurled a banner that read, "Thank you world for
your support." Their win set off a wild celebration back home in Japan
and helped ease its pain, if even for just a few days.

It was easy to be happy for Darren Clarke. He's the everyman,  not
your typical golfer. One who likes his Guinness, and one who likes to
close down the local pubs in the wee hours of the morning. American
player after American went out of their way to congratulate Clarke,
as he is universally loved and respected by everyone on tour. And
after all he's been through, you couldn't blame him for shedding a tear
as he walked down the 18th fairway on his way to history.

Losing the World Cup was shocking for the United States team and
disappointing for all of us who supported and cheered them on. But
it wasn't that hard to be happy for Japan after all that country has been
through. As Hope Solo said, "It was a tough loss for us, but if any
country was going to beat us for the World Cup, I'm kind of glad it
was Japan."

Thursday, July 14, 2011


No athletes playing different sports are as similar as Tom Brady
and Derek Jeter. Both are driven, passionate, cool under pressure,
and are defined by the number of championship rings they wear.

They don't pump fraud into their body and their natural filters
prevent anything stupid from coming out of their mouths.
Brady and Jeter are of impeccable character, they are well-mannered,
well-spoken, and respected by nearly everyone in the sports
world. (Yes, I remember what Antonio Cromartie said about
the Patriots QB, but he is, after all, Antonio Cromartie)

Their similarities extend
beyond the playing field
and people they are.
Brady and Jeter have
each dated their share
of beautiful actresses
and entertainers. Both
are worth well over
$100 million dollars,
building mansions the
size of the stadiums
they play in.



Every Super Bowl winning QB should have a super model on his arm,
right? Tom Brady is married to the Ferrari of all super models in
Gisele Bundchnen. She is like Jordan, Madonna, and Pele...celebrities
who are identified by just one name. Gisele also makes $45 million dollars
a year, which dwarfs Brady's salary of $18 million per season.

Jeter has been dated and rumored to be engaged to Minka Kelly,
an actress of "Friday Night Lights" fame. She is the only child of
former Aerosmith guitarist Rick Dufay and her mother is a former
exotic dancer. Kelly is also part of the "Charlie's Angels" remake
and is scheduled to be in three movies to be released in the next
year. She is cute and wholesome looking, but she's no Gisele.


When it comes to abodes, the one's Jeter and Brady have constructed,
are anything but humble. These places are their only signs of
immodesty. Brady and Gisele are putting the finishing touches on a mansion
that is 22,000 square feet in Brentwood, California. The spread is
just down the road from where Arnold Schwarzenegger lives, or
used to anway.

The eight bedroom mansion is on 3.75 acres of land and has a six-car garage,
lagoon-shaped pool, wine cellar, cardio room, fitness center and spa. Brady
and Gisele paid $11 million dollars for the lot and another $20 million for
construction costs. There's no truth to the rumor that Brady has a room
assigned to Bill Belichick went the Patriots head coach is in town.

Colossal, mammoth, ridiculous.
Pick any one or pick
them all. Those adjectives
apply to Jeter's 31,000 square
feet mansion in Tampa.
31,000 square feet! The pad
includes seven bedrooms,
nine bathrooms, a pool, two
3-car garages, a room for
billiards and memorabilia.
Water gives him the nod.

Not counting endorsements, Jeter has made $205 million dollars in his career
through last season. He'll get another $51 million dollars over the next three
years under his current contract. $256 million dollars for playing baseball
is pretty impressive.

Brady signed a 4-year, $72 million contract last season, but that number
will be eclipsed once the lockout end and Peyton Manning put his signature
on a new contract. But at $18 million dollars a season, Brady is the highest
paid player in the NFL. Over the course of his career, the Patriots QB has
made nearly $150 million dollars. EARNINGS ADVANTAGE: JETER


If they wanted to, Brady and Jeter could be an endorsement slut like
Peyton Manning, who is seemingly omnipotent on television. The Patriots
QB has deals with Under Armour, Stetson, SmartWater, and Rolex.
With his Hollywood good looks, Brady could make far more than the
$10 million dollars a year he makes in endorsments.Gosh, if Phil
Mickelson and his man-boobs can make $40 million a year, Brady and
Jeter cad do that without breaking the kind of sweat that Phil does during
a round of golf in New Orleans during the summer.

Jeter has a nice stable full of endorsement deals which include Ford,
Gatorade, and Gillette. Like Brady, Jeter guards against overexposure
and over saturation. He like Brady, pulls in an extra $10 million dollars
per year from endorsements. ADVANTAGE: EVEN

In 2000, Brady was a
sixth round pick out of
Michigan, while Jeter was
the 6th pick of the 1992
MLB draft out of Kalamazoo.
If he didn't sign with the
Yankees, Jeter would have
played for the Maze and Blue.
The Patriots QB has won
three Super Bowls, two NFL
MVP award and holds the
the record for most TD
passes in season (50)


Jeter is the captain of the most famous franchise in sports. He has
5-World Series rings, is a 12-time all-star, five gold gloves and a career
average of .314. His best individual achievement is being the only
Yankeeto amass 3,000 or more hits in his career. Ruth, Gerhig, Mantle,
or DiMaggio came close to achieving the magic milestones.

Jeter and Brady have both been Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year.
They have huge mansions, squeaky clean images, more money than God,
multiple world championships, great looking woman, fame, respects,
adoration, and near perfect lives. Who has the better one? Definitely a toss

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


The rivalry between New York and Boston extends a lot further
than the Red Sox and Yankees. Their television networks, YES
and NESN battle every night while broadcasting their respective
teams games.

When it comes to baseball production, they rank 1 and 1a in the
country. They are the Peyton Manning and Tom Brady of regional
networks, the most powerful and glamorous. It's NESN, YES, and
then everybody else. If one is better, it's not by much. Here's the
tale of the tape.

NESN holds the overwhelming edge in pre-game shows. They
are often imitated, but never duplicated. NESN set the standard
years ago, and everyone else, including YES is trying to catch up.
NESN was the first to have the outdoor set, and if you look at
other pre-game shows around the country on Fox Sports Net and
MASN, they all have sets outside, whether it be on the concourse
of the stadium or outside of it. With Yawkey Way as the backdrop,
and the charm of  Fenway Park, NESN has all the ingredients to
make up the best pre-game show in the business.


The men who steer the ship from start to finish, are both top notch.
Tom Caron (NESN) and Bob Lorenz (YES) are true professionals
who never stumble,  mess up, and are always accurate. Name
a time when they screwed up on something. Exactly. Caron grew up
in New England and has become part of the fabric of it. He is blue-
collar and dedicated. He's what they call a "gamer" in the sports world.

Meticulously prepared, Caron could tell you the zodiac sign of the
mother of the back-up catcher at Lowell, the Red Sox class 'A'
affiliate in the New York-Penn League. Lorenz, is completely polished
after spending years on the national/world stage of CNN. He's
knowledgeable and easy to listen to and easy to like.

Caron and Lorenz are even across the board on knowledge, presentation,
preparation, and the ability to right the ship when things are frenetic
in the waters below. However, Lorenz gets the slight edge for
his overall experience and polish.


Dennis Eckersley (NESN) is quite simply, the best baseball analyst in
the country, bar none. You can have Tim McCarver, John Kruk,
or anyone else. They can't touch the Eck. This guy is pure as a
person and as a talent. The Hall of Fame pitcher is incredibly
knowledgeable and  unfiltered. He says it like it is and doesn't
care about offending players or management. Plus, he, as Stuart
Scott like to say, "is cooler than the other side of the pillow."
Also in NESN's stable of analysts are the incomparable Peter
Gammons and Hall of Famer Jim Rice. Nobody, anywhere in
the country can compete with that.

Jack Curry (YES). Curry covered the Yankees for 20 years
with the New York Times and is as knowledgeable as any writer
covering the game today. As a television analyst, Curry is network
quality and don't be surprised if he shows up on ESPN one day.
He has an all-American look and remarkable camera presence
for a person who has not been in the business that long. He's very
likeable and doesn't bring a pompous, holier than thou demeanor
to the set. John Flaherty sits in on occasion and the former Yankees,
Red Sox, Rays, Padres, and Tigers catcher is very astute. A junior
Tim McCarver, but a lot more likeable.


Don Orsillo (NESN) made it to the top the old-fashioned way. He
rolled up his sleeves and worked his ass off. Orsillo paid his dues
with stops in places like Binghamton, Springfield (MA), and Pawtucket.
An incredibly hard-worker, Orsillo is always prepared but isn't
bolted to a dizzying array of stats and information. He isn't some
stat geek who tries to go overboard with a desire to impress people
with numbers and knowledge. He knows the game and has a lot
of fun calling it. Orsillo is not the biggest man in the booth, not
with Jerry Remy at his side. Working with a local legend is not easy,
but Orsillo handles it with ease and always does a great job of setting
the Rem Dawg up. Trademark call: "Down by way of the K".

Michael Kay (YES). Kay is a New Yorker and a Yankee fan, through
and through. After all, he's a Bronx native and went to Fordham. He
covered the Yankees for years as writer for the NY  Post and NY
Daily News. He's a former broadcast partner of the immortal John
"thaaaaaaaa-Yankees win" Sterling. Kay, wouldn't fit into the classic
play-by-play mold like his fellow Fordham graduates, Vin Scully or
Mike Breen. Kay is the everyman, a guy happy to be in the seat that
most people would give up their first and second child for. Sometimes
goes overboard on the stats, but so what. It's obvious that Kay loves
the game and loves the Yankees. Goes out of his way to really set
up the analysts in the booth. Trademark call: "Seeeeeee Ya"


No need to spend a lot of time and effort on this one. Jerry Remy
(NESN) has attained cult-hero status. He is Boston through and through,
complete with the thick accent. If he ran for Mayor, he'd beat
Marbles Menino is a landslide. Knowledgeable and funny, Remy
takes his job seriously, but not himself. He has become an institution
and as much a part of Fenway Park as the Green Monster.

YES employs rotating game analysts (David Cone, Paul O'Neill,
John Flaherty, Al Leiter, and Ken Singleton, who also does play-by-play)
They are all very, very good. Leiter and Flaherty can explain the game
and situations as well as anyone in the business. O'Neill and Cone are
brilliant in conveying their experiences to the viewers. If you want one
analyst to depend on every night, then I'm sure you'd favor Remy and
NESN. If variety is your cup of tea, YES is the place for you.


Does Heidi Watney (NESN) know baseball? Does it matter? She is
the type of eye-candy that makes male viewers between 50 and 70
go into full cardiac arrest. Raised in California and the cousin of
PGA golfer, Watney was hand picked by Tom Werner, former
big-time television producer, and part-owner of the Red Sox. Watney
isn't always buttoned up and prepared with her information, but
she does a good job, and the camera fawns over her like an 8th grader
who suddenly discovers he has a super-hot teacher. Watney is sure to be
on the radar of ESPN, if not Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight,
or TMZ. :)

Kim Jones (YES) is a sports journalist through and through. Earned a degree
from Penn State in journalism and was on the NFL beat for the Star-Ledger for
many years. She continues to write a Sunday NFL column for that paper.
Jones is ALWAYS prepared and is really knowledgeable  about the game.
She is not in the same category as Watney when it comes to looks, but not
many people are. However, the camera does like her and she has a nice
way and presence about her. Only drawback is that she sometimes gets
too emotional in her post-game interviews and tends to fall into the
"hero worshipping" category.


NESN and YES are in a class of their own when it comes to broadcasting
baseball. They are far and away the best of the regional networks and
can more than hold their own with ESPN and Fox. Ruppert Murdoch's
hack-in-your email network does only one game a week, NESN and
YES broadcasts every night. NESN approaches every game as if it's
the seventh game of the World Series and it shows.

The director/producer tandem of Mike Narracci and Russ Kenn are
outstanding and kind of like Adrian Gonzalez. Everybody knew he could
ball, but until he got on the national stage, nobody really knew he was this
spectacular. If Kenn and Narracci were in New York, they'd be recognized
for their brilliance.

YES is equipped with people behind the scenes that have eye-popping
backgrounds and resumes. John Fillippelli was given the task of starting
the network from scratch, backed with the deep pockets of George
Steinbrenner. Everything about their broadcasts is first class and it's obvious
that no expense has been spared. Their nightly production is network
quality and enjoyable to watch.


NESN and YES have a lot to work with. Teams with great tradition,
historic and new stadiums, die-hard fan bases, and deep pockets. They
both do a great job of maximizing their resources and producing spectacular
broadcasts every night.

Which network is better? As I said before, it's like trying to decide between
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Both are brilliant, always prepared, and
rarely have a bad game. Take your pick.

+Full Disclosure: I worked for NESN from 2004-2006. Had a great
time there but as everyone knows, I'm not biased.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


If the Dos Equis guy is the most interesting man in the world, then
Pac-Man Jones certainly has to be the dumbest. God blessed him
with the physical gifts to be the perfect cover-corner in the NFL.
He has size, Usain Bolt-type speed, and hips on a swivel that change
on a dime to blanket lightning-fast receivers like Andre Johnson.

However, when it came to handing out the brains and style to Pac-Man,
God must've been out tweeting back to Lebron James that it wasn't his time
to win an NBA title or changing his Facebook profile picture. Pac-Man's
elevator doesn't exactly go to the top. Come to think of it, I don't
think anything goes anywhere in that six-inch space between his ears.

Last week, Pac-Man Jones a defensive back who has played with
the Titans, Cowboys, and Bengals got arrested--for the seventh time!
He's a far cry from the most interesting or intelligent man in the world,
for that matter.

With all that said, it's easy to see how much different Pac-Man and the
Dos Equis guy really are.

The Dos Equis guy has one friend on Facebook...himself. While
Pac-man Jones has one friend in life...handcuffs.

The mother of the Dos Equis guy has a tattoo that says, "son".
Pac-Man's mother has her son's jail processing number 3754830
tatooed across her back.

The DE guy rarely drinks beer, but when he does, he drinks Dos Equis.
Pac-Man Jones always drinks beer and when he does, he drinks a lot

Sharks have a week dedicated to the Dos Equis guy. The police have
a saying in honor of Pac-Man Jones: "you have the right to remain silent."

The Dos Equis guy is the life of parties he has never attended.
Pac-Man Jones is the life of the parties when he makes it rain for strippers.

The Dos Equis guy once punched a magician. That's right, you heard me.
Pac-Mac Jones has punched more than one woman. That's right, you heard me.

In museums, the Dos Equis man is allowed to touch the art. In strip clubs,
Pac-Man Jones is forbidden from putting his hand on anything that moves.

The Dos Equis man says it's never too early to start beefing up your obituary.
ESPN has already told their producers to start working on the obituary
of Pac-Man Jones.

The Dos Equis man can speak French, in Russian. Pac-Man Jones can't
speak English, in English,

The Dos Equis man's favorite motto is, "stay thirsty my friends" while
Pac-Man is famous for saying, "not guilty, your honor."

The Dos Equis man has never played in the NFL, but if he did,
he'd be Joe Montana.  Pac-Man  could've  been another Lester Hayes. But after his
seventh-arrest, he might be headed for a witness protection program in Montana.

Monday, July 11, 2011


The saying, "No good deed goes unpunished" was uttered long before
Christian Lopez set foot on this earth, but he'll probably take it with him
to his grave. That along with idiot, unselfish, moron, and honorable.
Lopez has heard and probably read a lot of the good and vicious things
said about him since he decided to give Derek Jeter the home run ball he
pounced on that was the 3,000 hit of the Yankee captain's career.

Lopez chose not to sell it to the highest-bidder, put it on eBay, or give
it to Steiner Sports to auction off. If he had done it any of those ways,
Lopez, a 23-year old customer rep for Verizon with more than $100,000
in college loans, could've fetched upwards of $250,000 for the ball.

But he gave it to Jeter with no strings, or price tag attached. The Yankees
gave him  a bunch of goodies but the so-called experts in this arena said
Lopez left more than $150,000 on the table. If you had a chance to listen
to sports talk radio in New York over the last few days, you'd have
thought Lopez was the biggest moron to grace the planet since Anthony
Weiner or Eliot Spitzer or Plaxico Buress or...well, you get the picture.

Others said that Lopez showed class, honesty, and integrity saying that
he did the right thing. This is a debate that will rage on for quite some
time, or at least until Casey Anthony gets a seven-figure check for giving
some network or magazine the first interview once she gets freed from
jail. I wrote on Lopez as soon as I found out he gave up the ball back
to Jeter for nothing and I felt that he did the right thing. I still do.

In this day and age, where it seems like everyone from that Little League
treasurer in Connecticut who embezzled more than $100,000 from the
organization to Terrelle Pryor, who hawked his autograph for more than
$40,000 and traded his Ohio State memorabilia for tattoos, has been on
a big money-grab. It's always take, take, take and "what's in it for me?"

The story of Lopez and his unselfishness is refreshing. Yet, people rip
him because he should have seized the opportunity and taken Jeter's
ball for everything that it was worth. Show me the money! Give me
the Qwanza and then show me more money! Everything has become
about the money hasn't it?

It's sickening. Ever since Gordon Gekko in "Wall Street" uttered the
phrase, "greed is good"  back in the late 80's, this country seems to be
addicted to money and  being greedy. Enron, Madoff, the bonuses for
Wall Street executives. Just as long as I'm getting mine, it's all good.

Isn't that what Reggie Bush thought while he was a star at USC? Some
overzealous potential agent offered him cars, cash, and houses and Bush
said, "Hell, yeah I'm taking it. This is my opportunity to get paid".

The greed of Bush put USC on probation, stripped them of their national
title,and made the former Trojan give back his Heisman Trophy before
he was asked to return it. His reputation has been soiled forever
and he'll never see or hear anything again that has Reggie Bush followed
by the words honesty and integrity.

Now comes along Christian Lopez, who doesn't care about the money
or "getting paid" and he gets ripped to shreds. They say he could've
used the Jeter ball money to pay off loans, buy a house, whatever, but
instead he waved off the Benjamins and now he's an idiot, a moron,
and meathead.

Everything was perfect about that day Jeter recorded his 3,000th
hit. The weather was amazing, Jeter hit a home run, went 5-for-5,
and even had the game-winning hit. It became even better when
Lopez said he didn't care about the money, it was all about the moment.

If Lopez held a press conference after the game and said, "show
me the effin' money, this is my ball, and my opportunity to get rich"
what would've happened? He would have been crucified for being
a selfish, greedy, self-absorbed person.

We are a nation of second-guessers, back-stabbers, and critics.
This country is filled with people who'd throw their mothers and co-
workers under the bus to get ahead and make themselves look better.
Why can't we be happy for a guy who does the right thing and doesn't
 put a dollar sign on everything?

Lopez wound up with the ball. It was his choice of what he wanted to
do with it. It was not mine, not yours, and not his cousin Vinny's. He
did it his way. He said to hell with the money, this is a great moment
and I don't want to screw it up by being greedy.

Christian Lopez is a good guy who did a good thing. He didn't have
dollar signs in his eyes or care about anything but being part of a
special moment. Don't trash the kid, praise him. Don't damn him,
accept what he did. Quit being a hater.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Before that spectacular, sun-soaked Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium,
Christian Lopez was just regular guy. He graduated from St. Lawrence
University and works at Verizon selling phones at one of their retail stores.
Lopez is a die-hard Yankees fan and admires Derek Jeter.

At 2pm Eastern time, his life changed forever. He came up with the
ball that Jeter hit for number 3,000, a home run that made Jeter part
of a club that doesn't include Ruth, Gerhig, Mantle, DiMaggio, Berra,
or any other legendary Yankee.

When Lopez beat over more than 48,000 fans for the ball, it would've
been easy for him to say "cha-ching". Souvenir experts said the Derek
Jeter 3,000 hit ball would be worth around $250,000. That is big money,
especially for a 23-year old kid fresh out of college. Lopez could've had
the ball on eBay by the time Jeter collected his next hit, which came two
innings later. Lopez could've waited and fielded offers from the highest
bidder that would've made him pretty wealthy. But he didn't. Lopez
made sure that Jeter got the ball for free.

A lot of  people in this country were saying, "you idiot!" How can you give
up that ball for nothing."  After all, big-money grabs have become the American
way, haven't they? Reggie Bush took a king's ransom from a prospective agent
when he was still in college. Terrell Pryor put his signature on anything Ohio
State for more than $40,000. And how about juror number three in the Casey
Anthony trial. As soon as the foreman said, "not guilty", she sprinted from
the Juror's box to the salon for a make-over and was on "Good Morning
America" the next day. I think she asked for Gloria Allred's phone number
and hired a publicist, hoping to capitalize on someone else's misfortune. Is
this a great country or what? And how sick will it be when Casey Anthony
makes her first dollar off the death of her daughter.

But Lopez didn't have dollar signs in his eyes. He didn't want to get become
instantly wealthy just because he was fortunate to be in the right place at the
right time. He didn't hold the Yankees hostage for season-tickets, dinner with
Reggie Jackson, or ask to throw out the pitch. He just gave the ball to security
who passed it on to Jeter. Then it was like Charlie in the "Willy Wonka and the
Chocalate Factory." After giving back the gobstopper or whatever that piece
of candy was called, Willy gave Charlie the world.  The Yankees rewarded
Lopez with prime tickets for the rest of the season and a few other goodies.

Lopez will get to enjoy some time in the limelight. There will be feature articles
in every metropolitan newspaper. He'll be on ESPN, "Good Morning America",
Letterman, Leno, and every talk show in between. But we'll all be happy for
him because he wasn't someone who wanted to get rich quick off a Ponzi
scheme or schemed his way to selling the ball to the highest bidder. Its good
to know there are some people who have been raised the right way and
are just as classy as the player who hit it, Derek Jeter.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Judge Wopner: Mr. Clemens, are you saying it was a misnomer when you
                       said the Mr. Petitte 'misremembered' some of the things he
                       was talking about it.

Roger Clemens: I didn't saying anything about missing nomar, I didn't play
                        with him at all, so to say I miss nomar would be patiently false.

Judge Wopner: You mean, "patently" false?

Roger Clemens:  Yeah, that too. But I never misnomer.

Judge Wopner:  What about the fact that Brian McNamee said he injected
                        your wife with HGH?

Roger Clemens: Her eyes were receiving her, that was me who was injecting
                        Debbie. I'm the only one who does that. Did you know that
                        all of my kids names start with a K? The K stands for strikeout.
Judge Wopner:  That's nice, Mr. Clemens. But didn't you mean to say Debbie's
                        eyes were 'deceiving' her?

Roger Clemens: Deceiving? Can you please that in a sentence, your honor? I
                         saw that spelling bee on ESPN, and the kids would always ask
                         that. Can you give me a lifeline too? I think I need to ask
                         Jose Canseco what deceiving means, he's pretty smart, ya know?

Judge Wopner:   Speaking of Mr. Canseco, didnt you say you were at
                         a barbeque with him in Miami when records show that
                         you were actually playing golf at the time?

Roger Clemens:  People screwed that one up. I said I was playing golf
                         and had barbeque. Back in Texas, in which I
                         migrained from Ohio....

Judge Wopner:   Hold on, Mr. Clemens. Didnt you mean 'migrated' from?
                         As in,  moved from? It's migrated not migrained!

Roger Clemens:  Are you a doctor too? No? Well, then let me finish.
                         In Texas, they pull pork, shred it up, then you have
                         barbeque. And Jose impounded it from Austin, and
                         got it to the party. Canseco's awesome. He's a generous

Judge Wopner:   Generous miser? Isn't that an oxymoron?

Roger Clemens:  Who you calling a moron? It was just me and Canseco.

Judge Wopner:  Well, then, that would be two morons, Mr. Clemens.
                        Wouldn't it?