Wednesday, March 30, 2011

SCARRED FOR LIFE: MY FIRST PITCH BLUNDER


Baseball's Opening Day is truly a special time for many people. It marks a re-birth of the
game and a renewal of hopes and expectations. But for me, personally, Opening Day is
like the movie, "Groundhog Day."

In the movie that features Punxsutawney Phil, a ground hog is pulled out  of his den to
determine how long it will be until spring appears. Bill Murray's character, a weather anchor
who covers the event, wakes up to experience his nails-on-a-chalkboard moment, again
and again and again.

In real life, when baseball rips the wrapping off  its season, I, a sports anchor, who has
covered many games, gets to re-live one of the most embarrassing moments of my life, over
and over and over again.

You see, the baseball season doesn't officially start until the ceremonial first pitch is thrown.
It's a big deal for the game, and after fans settle into their seats, two questions need to be
asked. One, who is throwing out the first pitch? And two, will they bounce it? Over the
years, we've seen some pretty famous people toss some absolutely brutal first pitches.

In 2007, Mark Mallory, the mayor of Cincinnati, threw a first pitch that Time Magazine
ranked as the worst in baseball history. Eric Davis, a former Reds great who was supposed
to catch the pitch,was shown with an incredulous look on his face while mouthing the words,
"What the @!*#?"

Remember Carl Lewis in Seattle? His pitch went no more than 15 feet, making his performance
far worse than his rendition of the Star Spangled Banner at a Nets game in 1993. You know,
the one where he stopped in the middle of it and said, "Uh-oh".

My "Uh-oh" moment came in the summer of 2001. I was an anchor at Fox Sports Net in Atlanta
and had been asked to throw out the first pitch before a Braves-Diamondbacks game.
Randy Johnson was facing Tom Glavine, a pair of future hall of famers on the mound, and
about 30,000 people in the seats.


I distinctly remember my reaction to being asked to throw out the first pitch. It felt like I had swallowed the Rock of Gilbralter and it was sitting in the pit of my stomach. I was thinking,
"Screw that, I don't want any part of it."

I had thrown out a pitch at a minor-league game in Binghamton, and remembered how that,
even with just a few thousand people in attendance, was a nerve-racking experience.
And now,  I was being asked to do it at a major league game in front of 30,000 people?
Bartender! Make it a double.

I  reluctantly agreed to do it and went on to obsess about the pitch  for about the next 15 hours. Should I throw it hard, or just lob it? Whatever you do, JUST DON'T BOUNCE IT. I must've
said that about 25,000 times. My neighbor thought I was nuts when  he saw me throwing a ball repeatedly against the underground parking wall.

I had done this a trillion times in my life. I was decent player  who earned a scholarship to
UNC and played in the Boston  Red Sox organization. I admit that I suffered from "Mackey
Sasser disease" during the final two weeks of my "illustrious" career. (The illustrious part is
poking fun at myself for those scoring at home). The former catcher had a mental block
throwing back to the pitcher and often said that he couldn't feel the baseball when he threw it.

However, I thought I had gotten over that when Steve Phillips, then the minor-league director
of the Mets, asked me to catch in an exhibition game between Bingahmton and Norfolk, the Mets
AAA affiliate.

I threw a strike back to the mound after every pitch. 60 feet, 6 inches. Piece of cake. Hey,
now that I think of it, Phillips must've asked me to play just so he'd have the chance to hit
on my girlfriend, who was sitting in the stands. He had that addiction thing, even back then.

I arrived at Turner Field about 90 minutes before the game.It was a typical, blazing hot and
humid summer night in Atlanta. BJ Surhoff, who was a friend and college teammate at UNC,
was playing for the Braves,  and said he'd catch my pitch. His advice to me: JUST DON'T
BOUNCE IT.

My name blared out over the public address system and was posted on the scoreboard as I
made my way to the mound. I was smiling and happy until I toed the rubber and saw 30,000
people staring back at me. It was a surreal moment. I felt naked on the mound
like Nuke LaLoosh in that dream sequence of  "Bull Durham." The stands appeared to be
closing in on me, and when I glanced into the Dbacks dugout, Randy Johnson was staring at
me with a, "come on, man, we're waiting on you," look on his face. Toilet paper, please.

Suddenly, I had a Vice Admiral James Stockdale moment. During the 1992 vice-presidential
debate, the running mate of Ross Perot, famously uttered, "Who am I? And what am I doing
here?" That's how I felt. "Who the hell am I, and what in god's name am I doing here?!!!" 
But there was no backing out. I had to throw the first pitch. 60 feet, 6 inches. JUST DON'T
BOUNCE IT.

The Braves PR team offered me a brand new, shiny baseball to throw. Throughout the game,
these are known as pearls. But I knew it would be slick, and if my "Mackey Sasser disease"
suddenly reappeared, I wanted to have a ball I could control. I brought the one I had been
throwing against the wall, which now had so many scuff marks, it looked like Mike Scott
had been doctoring it.

I smiled, took a deep breath, and threw the pitch toward the plate. JUST DON'T BOUNCE IT.
I knew when I made that grunting noise after I released the ball, I could be in trouble. It
looked good. But at the last second, it darted down. 59 feet, 10 inches. Surhoff couldn't make
the catch. I had bounced it.

Unfortunately, for the cameraman, who was kneeling down behind Surhoff, the family jewels
were not protected. He dropped his $100,000 piece of equipment and went down in a heap.
Surhoff, who had quite a temper back in the day, got up and started yelling at me, "What the
hell was that?! What did you do that for!"  I yelled back that he should have made the catch.

We almost came to blows right there in the middle of Turner Field. I wondered how that
must've looked to the fans, not knowing that we had been friends and former teammates.
I saw it later on video, and it was pretty funny.

As is custom, Surhoff got the ball and presented it to me. As if I wanted to keep it as a
reminder of one of the world's most embarrassing moments. He said, "What the hell is this?"
as he pointed to a ball rife with the scuff marks.  I just smiled, too embarrassed from the
moment, and couldn't give him an answer.

As a former jock, who often dished out more than a few jabs at teammates, I knew about
10,000 jokes would be coming my way. While leaving the field, Marcus Giles, then the
Braves second-baseman said to me, "Did you get that phone call? Your wife said she
wants you home, and don't forget to bring her skirt?" That was a classic.

The bad thing about it, I still had to go back to work to do the nightly sportscast. I knew I
would take a beating from my co-workers. When
I got into my car, stress, anxiety, and embarrassment came together and
I was sweating profusely. I was drowning in my own Tsunami.

However, I cleaned up, went back to the station and faced the music.
Ken Rodriguez, my co-anchor, introduced the highlights by saying that
"Paul Devlin was so tight, you couldn't squeeze a greased wire into any
orafice in his body". Creative? Yes. Crossed the line? Of course. But
I could take it. It was all in fun.  Not like Brad Steinke, my former
co-worker who wears a diaper and runs to management like a
petulant 5-year old girl when things don't go her way.

I was prepared for the moment. I put on a brown paper bag on my head
and became the unknown sportscaster. No matter the embarrassment,
I could certainly make fun of myself.

But when the baseball season opens,  its "Groundhog Day" for me.
Bill Murray's character awoke every day when the clock turned
over from 5:59 to 6:00, with Sonny and Cher's hit song, "I got
you, babe" blasting on the radio. On Opening Day, 11:00 signifies
my nails-on-the chalkboard moment.

That's when "Sportscenter" comes on with it's rip of highlights.
Every one of them starts with a politician, celebrity, or former player
throwing out the first pitch. Some are good, others god-awful like
mine. I don't even have to be watching to get that uneasy feeling.
When it's 10:59, and ready to turn over, I just know. I just know it.
Da-da-dah, Da-da-dah! And it starts all over again.
JUST DON'T BOUNCE IT!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

BARRY BONDS ON TRIAL: BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE

Barry Bonds can thank his lucky flaxseed oil that his trial has
fallen in a forest of events that have demanded our attention.
The disaster in Japan, the war in Libya, and the brilliance of the
NCAA tournament have drowned out the fireworks of a case that
has all the elements of a Michael Connelly best-selling novel: sex,
money, lies, infidelity, drugs, and a controversial mega-star.

If it was January, satellite trucks and bleached-blonde reporters
with blinding white teeth, would be lining the streets of San
Francisco doing stand-ups for the News at 11. If this were
February, the content of this trial, not suitable for most families,
would be plastered all over ESPN and its family of networks.

There has been testimony about a growing head, shrinking
parts, sexual dysfunction, secret recordings, and 'roid rage.
Kristen Bell, the long-time mistress of Bonds said he threatened
to "cut her head off and throw me in a ditch." There's more.
Bell testified Bonds told her he'd "cut out the implants in her breasts
because he paid for them." As for the house Bonds helped her
pay for, Bell said the home run king promised to "burn it down."

Those in the media who covered Bonds know this type of vitriol
isn't much different from the kind they endured over the years.
Always surly and rarely happy, Bonds hated to be asked questions
and despised the people asking them, even more. Steroids or steroids,
Bonds couldn't come within a Bubba Watston drive of ever winning
baseball's good guy award.

The only awards Bonds cared about had to do with the letters, MVP
and HR. He was named most valuable player three times and belted
more than 400 round-trippers before the alleged steroid use. Bonds
was a lead-pipe lock to make the hall of fame. But that was prior to
this incredibly gifted athlete turning into the incredible hulk, almost
overnight.

All one has to do is look at size of his head and the back of his
baseball card to know something was going on, and into his body.
Once listed at 175lbs, Bonds' body morphed from one like Lee Lacy,
to that of Lee Haney, a body-building legend.

He hit 317 of his 762 HR's after the age of 35. He also won four
consecutive MVP awards.The whispers became shouts and Bonds
joined McGwire and Sosa as the poster boys of the steroid era.
Bonds, did in fact use "the clear" and "the cream", a pair of undetectable
steroids, although he stated that he took them "unknowingly".

That's what this trial is about, not the steroids, but the lying. In 2003,
during the BALCO case, Bonds stated, under oath, that he took
those designer steroids, but he thought they were something else.
His trainer,  Greg Anderson, said that "something else" was flaxseed oil
and arthritic cream.

The feds said Bonds lied. He knew exactly what he
was taking and  lied to the grand jury about it. So after eight years
and millions of dollars, Bond is on trial for perjury. Not for steriods,
but lying. Eight years. Eight years of chasing the truth, not the needles.

At times, the government has appeared to be obsessed with bringing down
Bonds over his inability to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing
but the truth. Yes, lying under oath is serious business, but the ,
government's case is hardly air-tight, and to some, it's been nothing
more than a witch hunt.

Has the government wasted their time and the tax payers money? To many,
it appears that way. Bonds has already been tried and convicted of
steroid use and lying in the court of public opinion. Did we need a
"smoking syringe" or other scientific evidence to confirm that Bonds
was on the juice? Flaxseed oil and arthritic cream? Lie, and another
lie.

Bonds has been baseball's villain for quite some time. He's a walking
asterisk, who cheated his way to breaking the most hallowed records
in the game. Like OJ, Bonds appears to have gotten away with
something the first time around. And like OJ, the legal system might
just get the home run king with its second chance, securing a conviction
and sending him off to jail.

But with the state of world, and our attention clearly focused
on other things, will anybody even care?

Monday, March 28, 2011

JOSE CANSECO: THE APPRENTICE TO A MAJOR TRAIN WRECK.


Jose Canseco is the freak show at the carnival. No matter how hard
you try, you can't take your eyes off him. He's the stock car
going 200 mph into a turn without a restrictor plate, or a clue. You know
he's going to crash, but you don't turn the channel because you want
to see just how horrific it will be.

This is what the former AL rookie of the Year and MVP has become.
A one-man reality series that's guaranteed to bring good ratings, as
well as a tragic ending. Canseco should've been gone from our
consciousness long ago, but his appetite for money, attention, and a
desire to change the past, has kept him in the papers, on the Internet,
and as part of our viewing schedules.

On Sunday night, Canseco was on "The Apprentice," and suddenly
quit. He said that his father, who is reportedly battling cancer, took a
turn for the worse, and that he had to return to Miami. Hopefully, Mr.
Canseco recovers and can fight off this insidious disease. However,
a lot of eyes did roll when Jose made his stunning announcement. After all,
he has become the master of publicity stunt and there are many who are
accusing Cansesco of using his father's health to gain sympathy--for himself.

Last Monday morning, his name was littered across the Internet for a
scam only Canseco could concoct. He was accused of switching his
twin brother in for a  boxing match that Jose was supposed to take part
 in. Jose was given $5,000 up front and  promised another $5,000 when
he showed up. Trouble was,  Jose wasn't the one wearing boxing trunks.
It was Ozzie, Jose's identical twin, who has also filled in for him, occasionally,
at autograph signings.

After discovering he had been had, the promoter of the fight
refused to give Canseco, the other $5,000 he had been promised.
Of course, Jose put the blame on the promoter and went straight
to Twitter to let the world know about it:

"Be very careful with Damon feldman who runs celebrity boxing he
will not pay you if you fight for him."

This is how delusional Canseco has become. He thinks if a Canseco
that walks, talks, and probably boxes like him, the check
still has to be written out to Jose.

Jose has been chasing the dollar since being blackballed by Major League
Baseball for essentially starting the steroid-era and outing fellow cheaters
in a best-selling book. Canseco made a quick buck, but in the process,
became a pariah. His best friends deserted him, calls to potential employers
were not returned.

Dead broke despite making more than $50 million in his baseball career,
Canseco, who was known as "the chemist" because of his knowledge
of steroids and cycles, had to brew up a plan to keep from going homeless.

He tried mixed-martial arts, but that career ended in about 20 seconds when
a 7-foot man from Hong Kong knocked him silly. There was an exhibition
boxing match against former NFL special teams ace, Vai Sikahema. That bout
lasted about 10 seconds longer than the "gong in Hong Kong".

Canseco tried making a comeback in baseball,  playing in an independent league
you've never heard of. He wrote on Twitter that he still had the best bat
speed in baseball and challenged A-Rod to a home run hitting contest.
If you check out YouTube and search for Jose Canseco, you'll see the
572 foot HR that he posted. I must admit it was pretty impressive, especially
since he did it with a softball.

Canseco also started his own web site that offered people the chance
to "hang" out with him, for a price, of course. Desperate times call
for desperate measures and Canseco is writing the book on them.

It seems as if Canseco is desperately trying to not only to secure
his future, but re-write his past. He was rock-star in baseball, fueled
by steroids, and blessed with good-looks. Canseco was the
highest-paid player in the game, a man who dated Madonna, and
belted 462 home runs, many of them tape-measure jobs.

But he threw it all away, and many of his friends under the bus.
He had it all, and all he has now is a incorrigible reputation. Canseco
can never change the past. He gets credit for starting the steroid-era,
and for being the man who all but ended it. That's how Canseco's
career in baseball has been written. How the rest of his life goes,
is still in the works.

On the last episode of "The Apprentice", Canseco played a gay-man
for a commercial that his team produced. Afterwards, Canseco stated
that he'd get some ribbing from his family and that "if (my) dad sees
this, he's going to kill me."

Just imagine what his dad would've done if he had tuned in for the last 20
years of Jose's life?

Friday, March 25, 2011

SAND MAN COMETH: SPORTS FIGURES WHO FELL ASLEEP AT WHEEL


 Don't you just feel safer in the friendly skies after hearing about the
air traffic controller who was asleep when two planes were on
approach to a Washington D.C airport? After an investigation, that
guy was suspended. Here's a list  sports figures who also had
trouble staying awake.

5.  TACO BELL TROUBLE.  In October of 2010, two players
     on the Baylor football team fell asleep in the drive-thru lane of
     a Taco Bell. It was 2am and apparently, not even the thought
     of the Chalupas could keep them awake. Police arrived on the
     scene and when they looked through the window, they not only
     saw Willie Jefferson and Josh Gordon drooling on each other,
     but two bags of marijuana besides them. Uh-oh. Can you say,
     BUSTED?!!!!!!!

4. TONY LaRUSSA AND LA SIESTA. During spring training
    two years ago, The manager of the St. Louis Cardinals had more
    alcohol than he could handle. While driving home, LaRussa came
    to a stop light and it was clearly past his bed time. Cops arrived
    on the scene to find LaRussa snoring behind the wheel. Google
    it. The video is classic. Can't make it up.

3.  JUNIOR SEAU. Junior said nighty-nighty on his way to his
     place in San Diego. The future hall of fame linebacker was
     driving along the coast and went down a 30-foot cliff.
     Miraculously, Seau did not suffer any serious injuries as a
     result of the crash. He didn't get distracted by the surf or
    sights along the beach. Seau fell asleep.


2. TIM WELSH. Less than a month after being named head
    basketball coach at Hofstra University, signing a contract that 
    would pay him $600,000 a year, which buys a heck of a lot of
    beer, Welsh was found stopped at a traffic light in Long Island
    with his foot on the brake. He was also sleeping like a baby.
    Must have been listening to Steve "the smooze" Summers on
    WFAN. Welsh was arrested for DUI and fired before ever
    coaching a basketball game. SNY did hire him to be an analyst
    for their college basketball show, but I'm sure they didn't pay
    him anywhere close to 600k. Is it me, or has SNY become a
    great landing spot for those with drug and alcohol problems.
    Welsh, Keith Hernandez, Daryl Strawberry, and Ray Lucas.
    That makes for one heckuva party.


1. KNIGHT TIME COMES EARLY FOR THE GENERAL.
    While making a guest appearance on the Mike Francessa show
    on WFAN, Bob Knight, the hall of fame and volatile basketball
    coach turned tv analyst FELL ASLEEP! Trouble for Knight, the
    interview was simulcast on the YES Network and everybody
    could see him with his eyes closed, sleeping in his chair. He must've
    been dreaming about wrapping his hands around that kid's throat
    in practice. Which time? I don't know, pick one. Francessa said
    "we must be having technical problems and he can't hear us." No,
    Mike, he couldn't hear you because he was taking his nap before
    going to Shoney's for the early-bird special.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

DURING NFL LOCKOUT, BELICHICK GOES BACK TO SCHOOL

Long before Charlie Sheen made "Winning", the statement of the
year, the Boston College hockey team was writing the book on it.
They have captured the national championship, Beanpot Trophy, and
Hockey East title in the last ten months. It's rather obvious they're a
team that has no trouble getting motivated.

But several weeks ago, they got a motivational pep talk from a man
who gives very few of them outside of his place of employment.
Bill Belichick, the head coach of the New England Patriots and
reigning NFL coach of the year, stopped by Chestnut Hill, to
deliver some powerful words that the players won't soon forget.

"It was awesome, you could hear a pin drop when he walked in," said
long-time assistant coach Mike Cavanaugh. Belichick arrived in typical
Belichick style: sneakers, jeans, and black sweatshirt. (without the hoodie)
He was on the way to seeing his good friend, Jon Bon Jovi, perform at
the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston.

Belichick took the floor and talked about commitment, preparation, and
everyone holding themselves accountable for the good of the team.

"He said that when he was growing up, the family had just one car," Cavanaugh
recounted. "His dad used that car to go to work and his mom used it to
run errands. If you got the keys that night, you had the responsibility
of getting the car back in time and in working order. If not, you could
mess things up for the entire family."

Belichick compared that to the workings of a successful team. "He said, 'when
you go over the boards, you have a responsibility to the team,' Cavanaugh
added, 'if you don't do your job, then you can keep the team from winning.'

The coach who has led the Patriots to three Super Bowl titles also told
the team to cherish their time in college and to appreciate the camaraderie
that develops when fighting for national titles.

"He said that he'd often have conversations with players like Rodney Harrison,
Willie McGinnest, and Tedy Bruschi, who told them how special their
time in college was and how it went by so quickly. They all told them that
it was a great feeling, bonding with college teammates while trying to
win championships," Cavanaugh stated.

After Belichick finished with his talk, he opened the floor to questions.
Naturally, one of the first ones, centered on Tom Brady.

"Belichick said that Brady isn't the fastest quarterback, nor does he
have the best arm. But he said that Brady is just a player who is
totally committed to the team and making himself better. He works
the hardest and prepares the best," Cavanaugh stated.

Before he left, Belichick added one more thing. "He said, 'I'd wish you
luck, but it's not about luck. It's about who plays the best and the
best team will win. Luck has nothing to do with it,' Cavanaugh added.

And off he went, his next stop: the Bon Jovi concert. For the
BC hockey team, an unforgettable moment and words to think
about as they get ready to defend their national title.

Monday, March 21, 2011

REX RYAN: BRILLIANT OR A BUFFOON?

There he goes again. Rex Ryan, the loquacious and large coach
of the New York Jets, recently told the NY Daily News that he
was guaranteeing a Super Bowl victory. This marks the 387th time
Ryan has done that since taking over Gang Green. But who's
counting? After all, it's Rex Ryan. He spits out guarantees as
often as you check your Facebook.

Ryan is starting to remind me of another big man with powerful pipes.
In "The Green Mile",  John Coffey who is on death row, possesses
the power of faith healing. When he heals, strange things come
out of his mouth. The guards stare in disbelief, not unlike
the media, when peculiar things come out of Ryan's trap.

In the interview with the New York Daily News, Ryan had mandibles
dropping on the floor when he compared himself to Babe Ruth. Now, most
of us are thinking the only thing Ruth and Ryan have in common,
is their girth. But Ryan said they both possessed the courage to call
their shots.

Ryan added, "They talk about walk softly and carry a big stick.
I love that. I agree with that 100%," he said. "But I guess I feel more
like Babe Ruth. I'm going to walk softly, I'm going to carry that big
stick and then I'm going to point and then I'm going to hit it over the fence."

As Coffey said in  "The Green Mile", "you can't hide what's in your heart."
Ryan has often told that to the media and he'll never apologize for
believing in himself, or the team.

But do all these bold and sometimes frivolous statements really
come from the heart? Or are they a calculated component of Ryan's
psychological warfare on an organization that had been stained
with negativity?

Years of bad coaches, contracts, and curious draft picks, had given
the Jets franchise a negative vibe they just couldn't seem to shake.
They seemed to have a fear of success and a knack for self-destructing.

The Jets attempted to fix the problem with Eric Mangini, but he
just made it worse, bringing a black cloud and a curtain of negativity.
The team wasn't winning, and with Mangini's persona, it made for
an unbearable place to work.

Enter Rex Ryan. A big, garrulous man, Ryan gave the Jets instant
personality and swagger. He immediately vowed he wasn't there
to kiss the rings of Bill Belichick's and predicted Super Bowl
glory for a franchise that hadn't experienced it, in more than 40 years.
It didn't matter that Ryan had zero coaching experience. He had a
spine and the belief his team could win it all.

The psychological make-over was on. Ryan was like Anthony
Robbins and Joel Osteen, a pair of self-help gurus who got
people to believe in themselves, rinse away the negativity,
and dream big dreams.

Muhammad Ali had big dreams and kept telling
himself and the boxing world that he was "the Greatest".
He played mind games with his opponents and had them
beaten before ever getting in the ring.

Ali had to believe he was "the Greatest" before he became it.
And you know what? Ali hit the canvas four times and actually
lost five times. But he kept getting back off the canvas and never
stopped believing that he was the best.

Ryan needed to go over the top with his comments because
years of pessimism don't go away with a single sound bite.
He preached and pounded positive thoughts into his team,
making them think that they were the best of the NFL's
lot.

This is no fluke or act, but all part of Ryan's master plan. This is
the genius of Rex Ryan. He has them believing they are the
toughest and most talented team on the field. He is bold and brash
and the team took on the personality of their head coach.

Before the Jets playoff match-up against the Patriots, Ryan made it clear
that this about him vs. Belichick, making a challenge that no coach
was ever bold enough to make. And Ryan not only talked the talk,
he walked the walk, outcoaching the best one in the NFL.

People have said all these pie-in-the-sky statements put undue
pressure on the players. No, they don't. They do the exact opposite.
Ryan has put all the pressure on his shoulders. He's letting the
critics call him a blowhard and a buffoon. Ryan doesn't care, he'll
take all the heat so the players don't have to.

Ryan's comments about he and Babe Ruth made "SportsCenter"
of course, and the anchors got to have a little chuckle. But Ryan
doesn't care, he's doing it his way, critics be damned. He is
no buffoon. He is brillaint and knows full well the path he
needs to take. It's all about the end game and the Jets are on
the road to getting where they want to go.

In less than three years, Ryan's helped rinse away more than 30
of negativity. He can call his shots any way that he likes.
Just don't be surprised when he hits that home run and rounds
the bases, with that Super Bowl trophy in hand.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

REX RYAN: SHOW ME DA FEET IN SHOW-ME STATE

Is there anything more worthless than NFL Pro days for Quarterbacks?
Last week, Blaine Gabbert, the former Missouri star, held his showcase
in front of  GM's and coaches. Rex Ryan even made the trip to Columbia
despite the fact that the Jets have invested millions in their franchise
QB Mark Sanchez and they don't draft until late in the first round.

Perhaps, Rex had a favorite steakhouse, or three, that he just had to hit.
Or maybe there was a foot-fetish convention that he could go to and
write it off as a business expense. Or just maybe, he wanted to see
the footwork of Gabbert that everyone was talking about, because after
all, Rex is a foot expert.

The Jets are laying off low-level employees during the NFL lockout,
while Rex Ryan is going out to watch a player they don't need and have
no chance of getting. That's ridiculous. And you're going to tell me
that laying off kids making 30K a year in the marketing/media relations
department, is going to make a dent in saving the Jets big money in
this time of crisis? Give me a break. Rex Ryan's food expenses for
the trip would equal the monthly salary of one of those kids.

Anyway, back to the NFL Pro day in Missouri. Gabbert, who is
expected to one of the first players chosen in the NFL draft, if there
is one, went through a scripted workout in shirts, shorts, and a
baseball hat on backwards. That alone, tells you how serious the
occasion was. Against no rush, Gabbert threw passes to his former
receivers, who were running precise routes--against no defensive backs.
No rush and no defensive backs? I'm confident I could complete
80% of my passes in a workout like that.

Next time they hold these QB "workouts", why don't they dress up
Julius Peppers, Ndamukong Suh, and Troy Polamalu in full-pads
and have them just stand at the line of scrimmage. That alone would
cause Gabbert's heart-rate to go up and sail a few passes over the
head of his receiver.

Unless the NFL negotiates a shirts and shorts rule and the defenders
have to count to 5 Mississippi before rushing into the new
collective bargaining agreement, these workouts are just silly and
stupid. Look at all the guys who had "phenomenal" pro days in the
the past. JaMarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf....I think I can stop there.

MOCKING THE NFL MOCK DRAFTS
Oh, and there is one thing that has less value than the NFL Pro days,
and that's Mock NFL Drafts. Look at every sports web site out there.
ESPN, FOX, SI.COM, CBS Sports...they all have someone who comes
up with who is going to go where in the NFL draft.

The people are not scouts or anyone who has even put a
jock-strap on in their life.And they are going to try to tell us who is
going where. I can tell you that over the last decade, not one of these
experts has every gotten one of the New England Patriots pick correct.

Oh, sure, you're going to tell me one of them picked Logan Mankins
out of Fresno State to be picked by the Patriots in the first round 5
years ago. Yeah, right. Bill Belichick would much rather give you
the number of one of his 8 former mistresses, than give you any
information on the who he's going to take in the draft. Stop the
insanity, stop these mock drafts. They mean NOTHING.

OBAMA: I'M KICKING BUTT IN MY NCAA POOLS
Our economy is in the tank, unemployment isn't getting better,
and the rest of the world is experiencing armageddon. But
President Obama is filling out his NCAA brackets on ESPN.
He even did one for woman's tournament. Really? If perception
is reality, we are definitely going to be in trouble for awhile.
Oh yeah, he's probably going to figure out a way to tell
us he went 29-3 on the first two days of the tournament. Nice.

Friday, March 18, 2011

THE BLACK PEARL

Bruce Pearl had Tennessee at hello. He was the ebullient, energetic,
and brilliant basketball coach who had just taken the University of
Wisconsin at Milwaukee, a commuter school,  to the Sweet 16 of
the 2005 NCAA Tournament.

Meanwhile, the Volunteers basketball program was in shambles.
The Buzz Peterson era, which quickly became the error, had UT
on the bottom of the SEC looking up. Attendance was down, as
was morale, and the folks in Knoxville don't tolerate losing.

Pearl, as his record validated, didn't lose very often. He was
the second-fastest coach to 300 wins and took a school that
nobody ever heard of, to a pair of NCAA appearances.
Tennessee had to have him.

So out went Peterson,  and in came a guy who generated a buzz
unlike anything ever seen in good old Rocky-Top. Inheriting a
team 14-18 without two of its leading scorers,  Pearl guided
the Vols to a 22-8 record, one of the best marks in school history.
The season was highlighted by wins over Kentucky in Rupp Arena,
and Florida, the eventual national champion. Pearl was named
SEC coach of the year, and the Vols were back quicker than
you can say Lane Kiffin.

Pearl's star was shining bright. He took Tennessee by storm,
and by surprise. He became the life of every volunteer party,
blessed with the charm, charisma, and chutzpa rarely seen
in Knoxville. Pearl wore that mind-numbing orange blazer
on the court, and not much away from it. He partied on the
lake with player's, and took pictures with co-eds in nothing
but his bathing trunks. (Google it)

Pearl once showed up at  a woman's basketball game half-naked,
wearing orange body paint, while chest-bumping in the student
section. P90x couldn't help that psyhique, but Pearl didn't care,
he was having the time of his life, and the Volunteers were
winning.

The Volunteers kept winning and Pearl kept getting more
popular. ESPN was always there for a soundbite, the
administration right behind them, with a contract extension.
In February of 2008, Tennessee beat in-state rival Memphis
to take over the number one ranking in the country. Pearl
became the first coach in the program's history to guide
the team to the top of the polls.

But as everyone knows, once you're number one, you
become a target. Every team wants to take you down.
Vanderbilt took the Vols down less than a week later,
and Tennessee lost their number one ranking.

Symbolically, it was the start of Pearl's descent at Tennessee.
He was still winning a lot of basketball games, but Pearl's
character took a Manny Pacquiao-like beating. There is often
a dark side to greatness, and in Pearl's case, it would be exposed.

In the fall of 2010, reports out of Knoxville said that Pearl, who
has a reputation for being a great recruiter, hosted a number of
junior recruits at his home, which is an NCAA violation.
There were even pictures of Pearl and the recruits, the reports
said, and an investigation was forthcoming.

When Pearl was asked about it by the NCAA, he denied it ever
happened. When the NCAA presented Pearl with a picture
of him with the recruits, he basically said, "Yeah, that's me,
but it's not my house." Which was an out-and-out lie.

The SEC took swift action, suspending Pearl for eight
conference games. Tennessee also came down hard on Pearl,
docking him 1.5 million dollars of salary over the next five
years. In February, the NCAA ruled that Pearl had provided
false and misleading information, and cited him for "unethical
behavior".

It wasn't the first time Pearl and unethical behavior appeared
together in the same sentence. When he was an assistant coach
at Iowa in the late '80's, Pearl secretly taped a conversation with
Deon Thomas, a recruit who had just chosen Illinois over Iowa.
Pearl asked Thomas if Illinois assistant Jimmy Collins had offer
him an SUV and cash, Thomas said that he did. Pearl turned over
the tape to the NCAA, which later exonerated Illinois of any
wrong doing.

Thomas publicly called Pearl "a rat". Dick Vitale of ESPN
called Pearl much worse and said his actions equaled "career
suicide," which as we know, didn't happen because Pearl
can really coach basketball and win.

But all the wins, national ranking, coach of the year
awards, body paint, and orange blazer, mean nothing
now. Once the NCAA outs you for "unethical behavior",
you become a dead man walking. Other schools will
use that in recruiting against Tennessee, just as they
will use Pearl's taping incident when he was at Iowa.

Mike Hamilton, athletic director at Tennessee, made
a startling, yet revealing comment just days before the NCAA
tournament. He said the "jury's still out" on whether
Pearl will stay at Tennessee, perhaps laying the groundwork
for his dismissal. After all, Hamilton basically said
the same thing about Phillip Fulmer before he canned him
as the school's football coach.

It's a shocking descent for Pearl, who took the Volunteer
program from the depths of the SEC to a nationally ranked
power in warp speed. He was the cat's meow in Knoxville
and the second most popular figure in the state behind
only Pat Summitt, the Vols legendary woman's basketball
coach.  But unless he wins the national championship, Pearl's
next loss, will be his last at Tennessee.

It's hard to believe that after saying hello to Pearl just
six years ago, Tennessee is ready to say good-bye.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

TOP 10 DUMBEST TWEETS BY ATHLETES

10. ANTONIO CROMARTIE.  When he was with the San Diego
Chargers , AC didn't like the post-practice spread at training
camp, and wanted everyone to know about it:

“Man, we have to have the most nasty food of any team. 
 Damn, can we upgrade?  Four straight years the same sh-t. 
 Maybe that’s why we can’t get the Super Bowl we need.”

Class guy, that Cromartie. Wonder how he's going to like the food
at the homeless shelter when he goes broke after trying to feed his
nine kids during the NFL lockout.

9. CHARLIE VILLANUEVA. At halftime of a game against
Boston, Villanueva, then with the Detroit Pistons, just had to feed
his twitter addiction.

  
"In da locker room, snuck to post my twitt. We're playing
 the Celtics,  tie ball game at da half. Coach wants more
 toughness. I gotta step up".

Da tweet by Chuckie V didn't lead to a fine, but it forced the NBA to
legislate a ban on tweeting during games. That's da truth.

8. MARLON WILLIAMS Texas Tech football LB. He doesn't
like waiting for anyone.

"Wondering why I’m still in this meeting room when the head
coach can’t even be on time to his on meeting.”

Ooops. This tweet by Williams led the coaches to ban cell
phones while players were in the facility. Shocker.

7. COURTNEY FORTSON Arkansas basketball player. Courtney
wanted his followers to really know how hard he was being
worked in practice.

"Im gettin it at workouts like a dude who doesnt understand the
word no from a drunk girl lol."


Keep in mind, this tweet by Fortson came a short time after police on
campus announced they were launching an investigation to an alleged
rape of a woman---by several players on the Arkansas hoops team.
Bad comments, brutal timing....ya think??????

6. CHAD JOHNSON The football artist formerly known as
Ocho Cinco, is definitely funny. But his non-stop high-jinks are
probably the reason Carson Palmer wants out of Cincinnati.
During halftime of an exhibition game, Johnson must've thought
the NFL had converted to flag-football

 “Man Im sick of getting hit like that, its the dam preseason s**t!
1day I’m gone jump up and start throwing hay makers,
#Tylenolplease"

Checkbook please. Johnson was fined $25,000 for that tweet.

5. JARED DUDLEY Phoenix Suns. He turned into an
investigative reporter during the Summer of LeBron and
had the scoop of the century.

  
"Breaking News!!! My sources tell me Lebron will announce
that he will be goin to the NY KNICKS tomorrow on ESPN..
This is serious.. WOW!!!!"

Peter King, he is not.

4. GILBERT ARENAS. When he was with the Washington Wizards,
a story broke that Arenas challenged a teammate to pick a
gun from one of the four he stashed in his locker.

“i wake up this morning and see i was the new JOHN
WAYNE...lmao media is too funny.”

(Insert Eddie Murphy laugh here) Arenas wasn't LHAO
after the NBA suspended him for the last 50 games of the
season, forcing him to cough up $7 million dollars of salary.

3 KAREEM JACKSON Houston Texans. He was having
such a good time on vacation in the Dominican, he tweeted
photos of himself at a cockfight. Or as he likes to call them,
a "chicken fight".

“Look at all these people that be at these chicken fights,
 you would think its a college football game.”

Wow. Roger Goodell must've been very impressed by those
chicken fights. Hello????? Were you out of the country when
that Michael Vick story was going on?

2. STEPHEN JOHNSON The Buffalo Bills WR dropped
a last-second pass in the end zone that would've given the Bills a win
over Pittsburgh. Distraught, Johnson picked up a cell phone
and thought it was better to tweet God than Dr. Phil.


"I praise you 24/7!!! And this how you do me!!! You expect me
to learn from this???How??? I'll never forget this!!
Ever!! Thx Tho."

Johnson made two big mistakes that day. First, he dropped the
pass. Then he was wrong in thinking that God actually watches
the Buffalo Bills.

1. CAPPIE PONDEXTER New York Liberty. She had this to
tweet after the Tsunami in Japan:

"What if God was tired of the way they treated their own people
in there own country! Idk guys he makes no mistakes."
She later tweeted: "u just never knw! They did pearl harbor so
u can't expect anything less."


Brutal. Ignorant. Insensitive. It's unfortunate  this will be the
only top 10 list Pondexter makes in her career.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

STUPID TWEET TRICKS

On Monday, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Twitter,
co-founder Jack Dorsey announced that his company is now
serving one billion tweets a week. That's ONE BILLION
messages delivered over just seven days. Pretty soon they'll
have a tally board, like the one McDonald's has under the
arches, to inform everyone when the next billion tweets have been
served.

Twitter, like Facebook, has become an addiction for many,
and a Ferrari on the information super highway. In less time than
it took Tiger Woods to hit that fire hydrant and ruin his life,
you can tweet updates, break news, or share your thoughts
with just about everyone in the free world. Of course, you have
to do it in 140 characters or less.

In the brief history of Twitter, nobody has shared their thoughts
quite like Cappie Pondexter. She posted the most insensitive,
ignorant, and incomprehensible tweets the site has ever seen.

First of all, you're probably wondering who the heck Cappie
Pondexter is. She sounds like a cross between a low-budget
video porn star and your town's librarian. But she's actually
a professional basketball player with the New York Liberty of the
WNBA. No, the league didn't fold three years ago.

If the gold-plated ATM machine of the National Basketball
Association wasn't still supporting the woman's league, Pondexter
would be just like the rest of us, toiling in obscurity while
trying make a living. Come to think of it, she is like the rest
of us because nobody outside of family members and the ushers
at MSG, has ever really seen her play for the Liberty.

Second of all, you might be wondering what Pondexter
tweeted that was so bad. Trust me, it's bad. After the Tsunami
hit Japan, Pondexter took the time to tweet this:

“what if god was tired of the way they treated their own people
in their own country. idk guys he makes no mistakes.” She later
added “u just never knw! They did pearl harbor so u can’t
expect anything less”.

Pondexter saying that Japan essentially deserved what they got,
is beyond belief. It ranks up there with the deplorable comments
former pitcher John Rocker made years ago, that offended nearly
every ethnic group on the planet.

Japan is suffering through a catastrophe of biblical proportions.
Thousands of lives have been lost, while many others, simply ruined.
The nuclear reactor meltdown could be worse than Chernobyl
and Three Mile Island combined, and the country is years away
from making a full recovery.

Pondexter will make a recovery but it will never be full and
complete. She won't suffer the consequences that Rocker did,
but when Pondexter takes the court, she always be "that girl",
the one who made the incredibly insensitive comments about a
country in need of a world-wide hug.

When she catches people pointing at her, Pondexter will
realize it's probably not because of her skills on the court. While
she may be able to go deftly to her right, it's clear that her view of
world events is very, very wrong.

Gilbert Gottfried, the comedian who was the voice of the wildly
popular AFLAC duck, was fired immediately after tweeting
insensitive jokes about the plight of Japan.

Not to wish bad things on anyone, but in the words of Pondexter,
what if god grew tired of people being insensitive to others?
Should they pay for it in the same way Gilbert Gottried did?

Monday, March 14, 2011

THE STRANGE BASKETBALL ODYSSEY OF KEVIN O'NEILL

Unless you're a die hard basketball fan, you've probably never
heard of Kevin O'Neill. If you're not his wife or Rick
Carlisle, you definitely don't know him very well. Truth is,
few people have gotten close to the veteran coach because
he doesn't stay in one place long enough for anyone to
get acquainted with him.

O'Neill has coached in 2 countries, 10 states, with 15 different teams,
over 31 years. Look up the word "peripatetic" and you might just find
a picture of O'Neill next to it. He is what you call a basketball gypsy,
or a lifer. However, the phrase that really best describes O'Neill,
is "loose cannon."

By all accounts, O'Neill is a very good basketball coach. One couldn't
get to be head coach at Marquette, Tennessee, Northwestern,
Toronto (NBA) and USC, if they couldn't recruit, motivate,
and didn't  know their X's and O's. However, it appears O'Neill
has been placed in that category every leader wants to avoid:
 "good coach, but...."

You see, O'Neill's journey through the game has been filled with
twists, turns, and some huge potholes. Some people can swerve
to avoid them, O'Neill blows right through them. There is damage,
but not enough to slow him down or knock him off the road.
He just keeps on going.

The trips always seem to start out well for O'Neill, but he has a
habit of missing the warnings signs of the dangerous roads ahead.
And then, well, accidents happen.

Last Thursday, an accident happened. O'Neill, the head coach
of USC, got into an altercation with an Arizona booster at a hotel
where the team was staying during the Pac-10 tournament. He and
his wife, reportedly, had one too many cocktails. They mixed it
up with the Arizona supporter, making a scene which was deemed
embarrassing.  Incidentally, O'Neill had a history with this
fan when he was an assistant at Arizona.

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden, who is trying to clean up
the Trojans image in the wake of  the Regge Bush-OJ Mayo mess,
promptly suspended O'Neill for the rest of the Pac-10 tournament.

However, after further investigation, Haden reversed
field and reinstated O'Neill after missing just one game.
The Trojans didn't win the Pac-10 title, but they did get an at-large
bid to the NCAA tournament on Sunday.

Unfortunately that's not the story, O'Neill's behavior is. The incident
cannot be ignored because the pattern has been stitched. O'Neill
has gained a reputation for being confrontational and has been called
"Bob Knight-lite". He is a yeller and volcanic, capable of erupting at
any moment. A lot of people avoid confrontations. History shows,
O'Neill attracts them.

When he was an assistant at Arizona four years ago, Lute Olsen
left the team for personal reasons. O'Neill was promoted to interim coach.
Shortly thereafter, Arizona athletic director announced that O'Neill
would be the designated successor to Olsen when he retired.

Olsen announced that he would come back for the 2008-2009 season,
but for some reason, Olson wasn't bringing O'Neill back as his assistant.
It's never been confirmed, but the two reportedly got into a heated argument,
causing them to go their separate ways. In October of 2008, just before
the season was to start,  Olsen suddenly announced his retirement, leaving
the program without a head coach. O'Neill was long gone by then,
and wasn't asked to come back.

But wait, there's more. When O'Neill was the head coach at
Northwestern in the late 90's, his team was playing Indiana
and Bobby Knight. The Wildcat fans starting yelling "Hoosier
Daddy?", as in "Who is your daddy?" The verbal assault was
intended for Knight, whom as you'd expect, didn't like it.
Knight got into a heated exchange with O'Neill in full view of everyone.
ESPN caught them after the game on a practice court "hashing"
out there issues.

The incident with Arizona fan, the argument with Olsen,
and the heated exchange with Knight has formed a pattern
of behavior with O'Neill. He might not have instigated
the confrontations, but O'Neill was always part of them.

Pat Haden says that O'Neill is a terrific person who has
a track record of running clean programs. And Lord
knows, USC is in dire need of at least one dirt-free sport.
O'Neill is also a devout Catholic who goes to church
every day. Rick Carlisle trusted and liked him enough to ask
O'Neill to be his assistant in both Indiana and Detroit.

But there is that "but" with O'Neill. Heading for the
hotel bar immediately after the game and getting visibly
drunk with your wife is one red-flag. The two of them
mixing it up with an Arizona fan, is another.

And those pictures of O'Neill holding a cocktail in his hand
hit the Internet, and that wasn't pretty either. Images of Billy Martin just
flashed through my mind.

Sadly, O'Neill is known more for his confrontations,
than his basketball acumen. It's hard to ignore his past, and
you have wonder, if one more incident will
destroy his future-- for good.

Tom Brady pointing at...Antonio Cromartie?

ARE GREAT NICKNAMES EXTINCT?

Whatever happened to all the great nicknames in sports? Have
sportswriters and athletes lost their creativity, interest, or have they
just gotten lazy? Look at the nicknames of today and you'll see what
I'm talking about.

It's A-Rod, K-Rod, and Rich Rod. At least in the '80's, there
was some imagination. "Big Country", "Big Unit, and "Big Cat",
had some real flavor.

Today, it's all about the first initial and hyphen. V-Mart, F-Mart,
K-Mart and.... ah, you get the picture. Boring. No imagination or
serious thought. Embarrassing.

When I played baseball at UNC in the early 80's, everybody on
the team had nicknames. Good ones, too. There was Al "the Grinch"
Taylor, Mitch "Yard Bird" McCleney, Walt "The Peanut Man" Weiss,
Paul Will "Bowl-o-fries", and Doug Torborg, whom we called
"Mr. Make Believe".

Perhaps, nicknames have just gone the way of the Rubik's cube,
Monopoly, and Pac-Man. They were wildly popular at one time,
a lot of fun, challenging, yet rewarding. But they just lost their sizzle and
people had enough of them.

Looking back, I think the 70's spawned arguably, the best nicknames the
sports world has ever heard. In baseball, there was Mark "The Bird"
Fidrych, John "Blue Moon" Odom, Jim "Catfish" Hunter,
John "The Count of" Montefusco, and Bill "Mad Dog" Madlock.

There were no shortage of great nicknames in hockey, either. We saw
the likes of Bobby "The Golden Jet" Hull, Yvan "The Roadrunner"
Cournoyer,  Ken "The Rat" Linesman" Chris "Knuckles" Nilan
Maurice "Rocket" Richard and his younger brother, Henri, who
was the "Pocket Rocket".

The Buffalo Sabres had "the French Connection",  a line made up
of Rick Martin, Gilbert Perreault, and  Rene Robert. The French
Connection?!! Now, that's a nickname.

That's when hockey was real hockey, played without helmets
and visors. Fights were as much as the game as slap-shots, and
cities really identified with their team. The 1974 Philadelphia Flyers
were a tough team from a tough town, and they had their own
nickname, the "Broadstreet Bullies". They lived up to their nickname
with players who had some great ones.

Do you remember Dave "The Hammer" Schulz? How about
Bob "Battleship" Kelly? Or Andre "Moose" Dupont? Rick MacLeish
got the nickname "Hawk" because he was in a bar one night
and a lady came up to him and made fun of his nose, saying
he had a "Hawk" nose. Teammate Bill Clement witnessed the
event and the name stuck.

Does anybody in hockey even have a nickname these days? Can't think
of any that comes to mind. What's up with that? With the Internet,
blogs, webs sites, and hundreds of tv networks out there, you'd
think someone could come up with some original nicknames.

Where are the great nicknames in basketball? Shaquille O'Neal
seems to be the only one with any creativity. He coined himself,
"The Diesel" "Shaq Daddy", "The Big Aristotle", and most recently,
"The Big Leprechaun". At least he's trying.

At one time, even the NBA had beautiful nicknames like
George "The Ice Man" Gervin, Marvin "The Human Eraser"
Webster, Robert "The Chief" Parrish, Karl "The Mailman"
Malone. Nobody is "THE" anything anymore. It's just
K-this, P-that, T-this, and V-that.

Nicknames in the NFL seem to be a dying breed as well.
Back in the day, there was Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Jack "The
Assassin" Tatum, Jack "Hacksaw" Reynolds, Mike "Mad
Dog" Curtis, Ted "The Stork" Hendricks, and Ernie
"Arrowhead" Holmes. Man, those were great nicknames.

Seriously, why can't we have nicknames like these anymore.
Does Peyton Manning have a nickname? Tom Brady? Great
players, and nothing. You mean nobody can come up
with a nickname for Ray Lewis? Just names. No nicknames.

NFL teams and units used to have nicknames, too. Remember
the "Purple People Eaters" of Minnesota? How bout the
No-Name Defense of Miami? Dallas had the "Doomsday"
defense.The defensive line of the New York Jets was called
"The Sack Exchange"  Can you name a team or defense that has a
great nickname today? Exactly.

Cars, computers, cameras...I mean everything gets better
over time, doesn't it? Don't people get smarter and more
creative? We need more colorful personalities in sports.
We need more sizzle. We really could use more great
nicknames.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

THINGS ROGER GOODELL CAN BUY ON HIS $1 SALARY

As promised, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has cut his salary
from $10 million dollars a year, to just $1. His wife, Jane Skinner,
who is an anchor at Fox news, will have to bring home the bacon
now. With the help of Amazon.com and Ebay, I've come up with
items that Goodell can buy for his $1 salary during the lockout.

AUTHENTIC NYPD HANDCUFFS. 12 cents. Pac-man
Jones and Tank Johnson are going to have a lot of free time with
the lockout and chances are they're going to get locked up. In a
preventative measure, Goodell handcuffs them to the poles at their
favorite strip clubs. (2 pairs, 24 cents)

DVD OF "DUMB AND DUMBER". Used copies are going
for a penny, so Goodell picks up a dozen to distribute to the owners
and players who can't figure out a way to divvy up 9 BILLION
DOLLARS. (12 copies, 12 cents)

10-GALLON STETSON COWBOY HAT. 32 cents (Used)
In a peace offering to DeMaurice Smith, the head of the Player's Union,
Goodell purchases the hat on-line and gives it to Smith, who quickly
adds it to his collection of really bad hats. (1 hat, 32 cents)

THE NEW TIGER WOODS AUTOBIOGRAPHY:
"How I screwed up a really good thing." (1 copy, 4 cents)

FAMILY PASS TO RIKER'S ISLAND. 6 cents. Goodell's
going to have some extra time to see the sights of New York
City. This all-day pass will let him visit a guy who used to catch
them in the NFL, Plaxico Burress. No time like the lockout to
get reacquainted.

THE NEGOTIATOR (Board game) 3 cents. (Used)
Premise of the game: "Choose your words carefully to
prevent people from committing really bad acts".

HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL'S: Ticket distribution
for stadiums and big events. After the Super Bowl fiasco,
Goodell might want to purchase a copy for he and Jerry
Jones to read in their spare time. (2 copies, 11 cents)

The ERGObaby sucking pad. To be distributed to all owners
and players who are crying over a 9 billion dollar pot of gold.
This pad was created for your baby's teething years. This reversible
pad will not only extend the life of your carrier due to less frequent
washings, but will give you peace of mind knowing that your baby
is teething on 100% cotton. One pair enclosed, 8 cents.

8 fantastic items for $1





Saturday, March 12, 2011

TOP 10 THINGS NFL PLAYERS WILL DO DURING LOCKOUT

10. TOM BRADY. Learns how to dance. If you've seen the recent
video from Brazil, you know what I'm talking about. The hair in
the pony-tail is bad enough, but Tom, you can't be dancing like that
in public. You can't even do that in the back corner at Sonsie's in
Boston. One has to wonder if he's been drinking with Miquel Cabrerra
because the reigning MVP of the NFL is acting a little strange. Oh,
yeah, I forgot about the barrette in his hair and the picture of him
laying on a chair as if he's the pool boy waiting for his sugar mama.
Wow.

9. REX RYAN. Produces and distributes new foot-fetish videos
which will be made available to the public in three easy installments
of $9.95. The head coach of the New York Jets is working round
the clock on guaranteed blockbusters, "The 3 little piggies," "My foot
soldiers," "Butter face, beautiful feet," and "Fat feet deserve loving, too".

8. ALBERT HAYNESWORTH. Works on his book, "How to
lose friends, alienate teammates, and do almost nothing to make
$100 million dollars. Foreword by Randy Moss. A good bet to make
the NY Times best-seller list in the summer.

7. BART SCOTT. Has anybody ever had been timing in getting
a trademark? The New York Jets loud-mouth linebacker will
be working feverishly on his "Can't Wait" T-Shirts.  "Can't Wait
for this frigging lockout to be over". "Can't wait to play the Pats
and mock Tom Brady for his pony-tail and dancing like a girl".
"Can't Wait to see Antonio Cromartie register for food stamps".
Those should be the biggest selling T-shirts this spring.

6. JAY CUTLER. Consults Charlie Sheen on "Winning" and
seeks tiger blood and Adonis DNA injections from the deranged
actor. The Chicago Bears QB is going to need something strong
after wimping out of the NFC championship and taking hits
from players and media around the country.

5. CHAD JOHNSON. The Bengals receiver who changed his
name from Johnson to Ocho Cinco and back to Chad Johnson,
reverses field once again. After coach Marvin Lewis mocked and
ripped number 85 in the off-season, saying that Bill Belichick is
too smart to pursue a player like him, Johnson petitions the NFL to
change his name again, favoring, HE HATE ME, TOO.

4. BRIAN CUSHING. The Texans LB, who was busted
and suspended for using a female fertility drug last year, is expected to
give birth to a beautiful baby girl. He will spend the next few weeks
in Lamaze class with his former teammate at USC, Clay Matthews, Jr.
Possible names for the baby include Clay, Kia, and Kum-bye-a.

3. RICKY WILLIAMS. The Dolphins eccentric running back
sells all his personal possessions. (hammock, bong, incense, and
Justin Bieber collection) and hikes the Himalayan mountains. He
then builds a sweat lodge and vows to smoke weed every day until
the lock out is settled. Williams might want to buy a box of
Snickers, too, because he won't be going anywhere for a while.

2. TIKI BARBER. The man who has made a career of making
bad decisions, picks a bad time to make a comeback. (After
being off for 4 years, no less) In need of cash and the attention
he craves, Barber signs on to do a reality show, "How to dump
your pregnant wife for a 23-year old intern." Hosted by Steve
Phillips.

1. ANTONIO CROMARTIE. The man with 9 kids by 7
different woman has a lot of mouths to feed with no money
coming in. He needs to be resourceful during his time off.
For entertainment, AC watches re-runs of "Knocked Up".
For charity, AC shoots planned parenthood commercials.
And for cash, AC signs mega-endorsement deal with
Trojan-enz for their new line of foolproof condoms

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

TIKI BARBER AND HIS A.D.D.

Tiki Barber has a serious case of ADD. That's right, Attention
Deficit Disorder. But when it comes to Tiki, it means something
entirely different than not being able to focus on certain things.

Tiki has a problem when he doesn't get enough attention. Attention
is like a drug to Tiki, and like a lot of athletes and entertainers
he's addicted to it. But when the cheering stops, and they're not at
the center of the universe anymore, they have a hard time coping.

Tiki is having a hard time coping.

Why else would he announce that he is returning to the NFL,
or trying to anyway? The former star of the New York Giants
is 36 years old, which is considered to be like a fossil when
it comes to running backs. Most start to go in decline when they
hit 30. See Emmit Smith, Terrell Davis, and Corey Dillon.

He hasn't played in four years, and you don't gain a step
with the time off, you usually lose it. No athlete gets
better when they hit 36, if they're not on PED's, they always
regress. Nobody beats Father Time, and Tiki's trying
to get back into a race he has no chance of winning.

This is all about Tiki's desire for attention. He craves it
like we crave Facebook, iPhones, and Blackberries. He's
thrived on it ever since putting his pads on in Pop Warner.
Once he had it, Tiki demanded more of it. In high school,
at UVA, and in the NFL, attention was his fuel. And when
he wanted it, he always got it.

But Tiki is no longer the star. He's been deprived of attention
and he needs his fix. Tiki thought television could satisfy
his desire, but television no longer desired him. NBC dumped
him after just two forgettable years analyzing the game
he excelled at, failing to live up to his promise.

Without football and television, his life and image, which
was marketed into a neat little package, began to unravel.
He was shown in an unflattering light, pictured in the New
York papers with a younger woman, after dumping his
pregnant wife.

Tiki's carefully constructed image has taken a Ray Lewis-like
hit. He's gone from the limelight to the darkness, and he's having
a tough time finding his way.

But it was that way, Tiki's way, that got him to this point.
He called it quits in 2005, walking away while still at
the top of his game. He said he was bored with the NFL. He
was going to make a seamless transition to television and be
the next Matt Lauer. But a funny happened, it didn't.

When Tiki became a member of the media, he once again
craved the attention and had to be the story. He dissed him former
coach, Tom Coughlin, and mocked Eli  Manning. He made fun
of the leadership skills of the Giants QB and said the team would never
win a title as long as he was there. But as soon as Tiki wasn't,
they did.

The Giants bonded, gelled, and became a TEAM. Tom
Coughlin's system wasn't built on stars, but rather those
who put the team ahead of themselves. Without Tiki,
the Giants had a singular focus, not just a single star.
They went on a memorable run, beating the undefeated 
Patriots to win the Super Bowl.

Tiki wasn't a part of it, just as he isn't a part of anything
now. He's back for one last try, hoping to satisfy his fix for
attention. But it's time to move on Tiki. Football has
moved on without you, it's time for you to move on, too.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

THE MIAMI HEAT AND THE CRYING GAME.

The Miami Heat CRYING after their loss to the Chicago Bulls on
Sunday? Interesting. This wasn't the NBA Finals or a do-or-die game.
It was just game number 63 on the schedule. But a few players
on this super team that America loves to hate, were crying. Waaaaah!
They were reportedly dropping tears like Chris Cooper in "American
Beauty" after he revealed a secret he had kept hidden for years.
At least it's good to know that some of them care, and they're not
just interested in cashing their fat paychecks and drinking on South
Beach. But to let everyone know that you were having a weak
moment? It might be time to bring in Dr. Phil. In light of the Heat
shedding tears, I bring you the top 5 worst crying moments in sports.

5. GLENN "BIG BABY'' DAVIS. Boston Celtics. Davis lived
up to his  nickname a few years ago during a game against Portland.
The Celtics had seen a 25-point second-half lead dwindle down to
eight points. During a timeout, Kevin Garnett was talking to the team
which was huddled around him. KG tried to pull "Big Baby" into the
huddle while using some choice words. Davis didn't want any part
of the tongue-lashing and took a spot at the end of the bench, with
a towel over his head. The bottom lip was quivering and tears were
rolling down his face. Thought he'd never live that one down in
Beantown, but when you're part of an NBA title team, you can be
forgiven.

4. TERRELL OWENS NFL Wide Receiver. After a loss to the
New York Giants, Owens, who was playing with the Dallas Cowboys
at the time, was being asked in the post-game press conference,
about the performance of Tony Romo. The media was picking on
the QB for his penchant for throwing picks. T.O. took offense.
Behind some very large, Kim Kardashian-type sun glasses, T.O.
broke down. "That's my teammate...it's not fair. That's my quarterback.
(sniffle, sniffle) They may have been crocodile tears, but no crying list
 is complete without a diva. Thank you, T.O.

3. WADE BOGGS Hall of Fame third-baseman. While playing with
the Boston Red Sox during the 1986 World Series, Boggs like every
on one else on the Saawx, thought they were finally going to break
the curse. Then Buckner happened. Then Calvin Schraldi happened.
Disaster. While the Mets celebrated, the NBC cameras focused on
Boggs, who was crying uncontrollably. I thought Mr. Whipple was
going to come out of the stands to give him some tissue. Now, I must
admit, I cried like that after I took my foot off first base, allowing
the winning run to score. But I was in LITTLE LEAGUE. You're
allowed to do  that, right? I was better after mom got me a giant
chocolate custard from the Sweet Shoppe. But come on, Wade.
You didn't cry that hard after Margo Adams outed you as sex-crazed
maniac who cheated on his wife.

2 OLIVER McCALL Boxer. I hit the way back machine for this
one, but it's a classic. 1997. Las Vegas. McCall vs Lennox Lewis.
You have the information, now go check it out on Youtube. During
the fight, McCall had one the greatest meltdowns in sports history.
Right in the middle of the fight, McCall, who had beaten Lewis
in their first fight, starts bawling like a baby. Mills Lane, the referee,
said. "I thought he was playing possum. But I saw that his lip was
quivering and I said to myself, 'my god, is he crying?". Yes, he
was. Lane had to stop the fight because McCall wouldn't
defend himself. I think some men dressed in white put a
straight jacket on McCall and took him to see Nurse Ratched
in the "Cuckoo's Nest".

1 NANCY KERRIGAN Olympic skater. Natalie Portman would
be needed to play Kerrigan in the movie because Kerrigan was "The
Black Swan" of figure skating. Graceful on the ice, not so smooth
off it. While preparing for the 1994 Olympics Trials, Kerrigan was
attacked by a Tonya Harding-hired thug. He whacked her flush
on the knee with a pipe. You talk about pain.Wow. That was bad.
Unfortunately for Kerrigan, somebody had a camera to record
her pain and anguish. After the f-bombs and god dang-its, Kerrigan
unleashed two words that became etched in our memory, "Why me?"
And then she uttered them again in a shriek or shrill that was worse
than the sound of fingers nails on a blackboard. Painful for her,
and painful for us.

HONORABLE MENTIONS Dick Vermail, ex-NFL coach. He
cried after he WON games. Mike Schmidt. Hall of Fame 3B. Did
you ever see his retirement press conference? Mary Decker after
being tripped by Zola Budd in 1984 Olympics.

Monday, March 7, 2011

5 BIGGEST CELL PHONE BLUNDERS BY ATHLETES


5. BRETT SABERHAGEN Former pitcher and 2-time Cy Young  Award winner.
    Great pitcher but Saberhagen suffered from what a lot of athletes do: permanent
    adolescence. When he was with the New York Mets, he was suspended by Major
    League Baseball for spraying bleach on a bunch of reporters. He also threw a
    firecracker into a pack of them. His biggest blunder, though, came when he was
    with the Boston Red Sox. Saberhagen purchased a second cell phone

 
    so his girlfriends could call him on it to keep from his wife finding out.Unfortunately,
    Saberhagen left the "chick" phone at home one day and  his wife found it. Uh-oh.
    She was gone quicker than Sandra Bullock when she left Jesse James. No second
    chances, no chance for sex rehab. Lynn, who was drop dead gorgeous and a talented
    singer, was gone in a heartbeat. She divorced Saberhagen, which was his second. While
    playing for the Red Sox in 1998, Saberhagen admitted that he didn't really want to be
    there because he was playing for virtually nothing. He wasn't kidding. After paying alimony,
    legal fees,  agents, and taxes, Saberhagen  was netting 13 cents on every dollar
    he was paid from the Red Sox. True story.

4. SEAN SALISBURY Ex-quarterback became an ex-EPSN analyst  after word got
    out that he took a cell phone picture of his little Sean and showed it to a co-worker at
    a  party. Salisbury didn't realize that co-workers, especially in television, are not your

   
    friends and want to bring you down and this person did as she went running to HR. Salisbury
    apparently didn't learn his lesson because in his next job as a jock at a Dallas radio
    station, he allegedly sent some racy  text to an intern. Going...going..gone. Those who
    don't learn from history, are bound to repeat it.

3. GREG ODEN Center for the Portland Trailblazers. (We think)  Because of injuries,
    Oden has been the invisible man in the NBA. Many thought he was in the witness
    protection program until his picture showed up on the Internet one day. He took
    a picture of  himself standing butt-naked in the bathroom. He then sent the picture
    on his cell to his girlfriend, or one of them anway. Hell-ooooooo

 
    Internet. And hello, Johnson. If Oden never makes it back to the NBA, he might  have
    better luck in another form of entertainment. I think you know where I'm headed with
    this one.

2. BRETT FAVRE Future Hall of Famer Quarterback. Like Saberhagen I think Favre
    suffered from terminal adolescence. I mean, how else can you describe a 40 + man, who
     is married with kids, taking out the cell phone and taking pictures of "little Brett". Hey,
    Brett, nice crocs, by the way. Worse off, he not only sent the picture to
 
    Jenn Sterger, but texts and voicemails as well. They all showed up on Deadspin
    and Favre's reputation was tarnished forever. Nobody can look at Favre without thinking
    about the scandal, and when he  makes his Hall of Fame speech in 5 years, aren't you
    going to be thinking about the hand, his thing, and those crocs?

1. TIGERS WOODS Need I say more?

 

    HONORABLE MENTION. Jordan Spriggs. Auburn football
    player. Using his cell phone, Springs tweeted: Who is good at writing
    papers. I paaaaaaaaay!!!!!!! As Charlie Sheen would say, "Duh?"
    How stupid can a guy be. Guess Jordan didn't know that question
    went out to the whole world, including the NCAA. My guess is that
    Jordan is still running steps at 5am as punishment and that he'll be
    kicked out of school soon after his football eligibility has expired.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

BASEBALL ACCORDING TO "THE ECK"

As a pitcher during his Hall of Fame career, Dennis Eckersley was
definitely unique. He had the long-flowing hair, the Marlboro man mustache,
and that funky delivery. He was bold, brash, and pretty much a rock-star in
cleats.

Not much has changed in Eckersley's post-playing career. Working as
an analyst for NESN and TBS,  he comes across the same way he did as
a player, making him one the best, and most entertaining commentators in
the game.


"I love it, man," Eckersley said from his home in Sudbury, Mass. "It's an
adrenaline rush that comes as close to you get when you're playing. When
you're on live, you have to be spot on, just like closing out a game."

Eckersley, who saved 390 games and won another 197 during his
24-year career, brings not only a unique perspective to the game, but
a different language to his viewers as well.


There is "going bridge" (home run), "hair on a fastball" (serious heat)
"tossed salad" (junk-balls) and words like "iron" (money), and "cheddar"
(fastball).

"I picked all that stuff up 30 years ago, when I used to hang out
with Pat Dobson on the Indians," Eckersley said. "Those are  just every
day terms used in baseball  by a lot of guys. I guess I'm one of the only
ones to use them on tv."

Eckersley is not the same person you think you know from television
or remember from his playing days. He's the most unaffected and
unassuming Hall of Famer that  you'll ever meet. But  it was one moment
early in his career, that earned Eck a reputation that he's never seemed
to shake.


"In the game where I threw a no-hitter against the Angels, there were
two out and the fans were going crazy." Eckersley recalls. "Gil Flores
was taking all day to get into the batters box, so I screamed at him
to get in the box. I said, 'the cameras aren't looking at you. They're looking
at me'. From that point on, I was the cocky pitcher who was pointing at
everybody."

Eckersley broke into the game at age 20 and finished when he was 43.
In between, he tossed that no-hitter, captured Rookie of Year, won
the Cy Young and MVP award in the same season, and became a
World Champion with the Oakland A's, which stands above the rest.

"You have to understand. I pretty much grew up at Candlestick Park
watching Willie Mays," Eckersley, who was born in Oakland, recalled.
"To be in that park with the ball in my hand and touching first base for
the last out in the World Series. That was the highlight of my career."


One of the low-lights could have been serving up Kirk Gibson's
earth-shattering home run in the 1988 World Series. But Eckersley
always took the good with the bad, and moved on from that devastating
moment rather quickly.

"Man, I had been styling. I just had saved four games against the
Red Sox in the ALCS,"  Eckersley said. "I gave up that home run but
it didn't really bother me. I had so much of my career left and was really
just hitting my stride."

Eckersley recovered from that moment to finish strong and earned a
place among the immortals in Cooperstown. But for all his success,
Eckersley does have one regret.

"I wish I had enjoyed it more," Eckersley says. "But there was so
much pressure  and I was always felt I had to be perfect because
I couldn't stand failure. I had coaches  say, 'go have fun out there'.
I was like, screw that, this is serious stuff. But I do wish I just enjoyed
the ride more."

Eckersley is enjoying life fully now. He's happily married and a
Hall of Famer. He's conquered his alcohol addiction and is a critically-
acclaimed baseball analyst for the Red Sox television network.
Yes, life is good for "The Eck".

Thursday, March 3, 2011

THINGS ANTONIO CROMARTIE WILL DO IN EVENT OF NFL LOCKOUT

Antonio Cromartie of the NY Jets has 9 kids by 7 different woman.
Or is it 8 kids by 6 different woman? Whatever, I lost count after kid number 5.

Here's what he'll do in the event of NFL Lockout

5. Watch re-runs of his favorite movie, "Knocked Up".
4.  Spend time with Shawn Kemp to work on his website: OutofWedlock.com
3.  Seek endorsment contract with Trojan-enz to use "Magnum:
     The Bullet-proof condom
2.  Remember the names of all of his kids, something he couldn't
     do during an interview on "Hard Knocks".
1.  Shoot public service announcements for planned parenthood.

SEX, LIES, AND THE BYU COUGAR.
 Brandon Davies of BYU's highly-ranked basketball team was kicked
 off the team for having sex, which broke the school's honor code.
 Really? I was wondering  how school officals found out. Were they
 peeping? Wiretaps? Under the bed? Did they see the smile on his face?
 Other violations of  the school's honor code  include: drinking  tea,
 coffee, or alcohol. Seriously, how did Jim McMahon make it through
 his football eligibility without getting the boot?

 SLICK-RICK CONTINUED...
 So let me get this straight. Brandon Davies gets kicked off the
 team for having sex, but Rick Pitino got to keep his job for having
 sex with a woman not his wife on the floor of a restaurant held for
 an after party of two. (3 if you count the manager who was 15 feet
 away but claimed to not have heard a thing.)

 Maybe he was telling the truth because it was over  "in 15 seconds"
 as Pitino told police. Wow, Nolan Richardson had the 40 minutes of hell,
 while Pitino established his "15 seconds of fury." 15 seconds, Rick?
 I think you should've kept that one private.

 The language in Pitino's contract said he could be fired for "acts of
 depravity" or "behavior that would bring an employee in public disrepute or
 scandal".  (Insert "Deliverance" theme-song here)  I guess
 in Louisville, if you can't read it, or understand it, then it's not a violation
 of the contract.

 Players at Louisville have been kicked off the team by Pitino in the
 past for "conduct detrimental to the team." I'm guessing Slick-Rick
 can no longer use that one on his squad.