Thursday, January 31, 2013

JANUARY 2013: CRAZIEST MONTH IN SPORTS HISTORY


Back in the day, Mark Twain once said, "Truth is often stranger than fiction." And that was long
before PED's, the Internet, and million dollar endorsement deals. If the American author and
humorist was around for January of 2013, he might just say, WTF?

The first month of the new year was unlike anything the sports world has ever seen. Ever! I mean,
you couldn't make the stuff that happened up, unless of course, you had the twisted mind
(and sexuality) of Roniah Tuiasosopo.

The litany of weird and wild events seemed to be set ablaze when Brent Musburger drooled all over
himself when ESPN's cameras focused on Katherine Webb, the girlfriend, and probably soon to be
ex-girlfriend, of Alabama quarterback


AJ McCarron. Twitter, talk radio, and television agents went nuts. The former Alabama beauty
queen became an Internet sensation, leading to modeling contracts and a reality show in which
she'll dive half-naked into a swimming pool. Is this a great country or what?

After that, a tsunami of smut and sensational events flooded the sports world. Lance Armstrong 
admitted he was a liar, but not a cheat, according to his interpretation of the word in the Webster's dictionary. I don't know which is more shocking, his


version of the word "cheater" or the fact he actually had a dictionary somewhere in his house.
Armstrong proceeded to lie about his lies to Oprah and looked like a squirrel in heat trying to avoid
a gunshot on the plains of Mississippi.

Then came the mother of all hoaxes, the Manti Te'o story, you know, the one where the dead
girlfriend didn't really exist. We all know about the names, the characters, and the 500 hours the
former Irish linebacker spent on the phone with a girl he'd never met.


Katie Couric landed the exclusive interview with the  man who got duped by a girl named Lennay,
and even asked Manti, if he indeed, was really gay. It was truly, truly bizarre and unlike anything
we have ever seen. If and when it becomes a movie, I want Quentin Tarantino to be the director
because he is the only one who can do justice to this incredible mess.

As the month rolled past the mid-point, all the drama and theatrics continued to build. Bill Belichick
cried under his hoodie after losing to the Ravens and refused a post-game interview, which ignited
Sterling Sharpe of CBS, making it known that BB stands for "Big Baby."


Hall of Fame receiver Tim Brown threw his former coach under the bus and Jerry Rice was more
than happy to pile on. They both accused Bill Callahan of 'sabotoging' a Super Bowl 10 years ago,
so his friend and mentor, Jon Gruden, could hoist the Lombardi Trophy and flip off Al Davis and
his former team, the Oakland Raiders.

Things got interesting as PED's got pumped into the month. Ray Lewis, who was enjoying his swan
song, got hit by a sledgehammer with a report that he used Deer Antler Spray, to magically recover
from a torn tricep. That's right. Deer.Antler.Spray. The man who made over his image from thug to theologian, was scrambling to the sermon to find the right words to get out of this PED debacle.


On the same day that Lewis was wearing the deer antlers, A-Rod had egg smeared on his face
once again. A report surfaced out of Miami the Yankees slugger was among several players who had purchased PED's from an anti-aging clinic. A-Rod? Alex? Hello?

If things this month weren't bizarre enough, Kwame Harris made sure the National Enquirer would
come a calling. The former San Francisco 49er was arrested for allegedly beating up his ex-lover,
who just happened to be another guy.


According to police reports, an argument began over spilled soy sauce while the couple ate at a
restaurant. They stepped outside where Harris, allegedly tried to pull down the pants of his
ex-partner and attemped to steal his underwear. What in the name of Deer Antler Spray is going
on here?!!!!

And the very next day, current 49er Chris Culliver told the media in New Orleans that he wouldn't
want an openly game teammate in the locker room. Uh-oh! Culliver was scolded by management
and not surprisingly, offered up an apology the very next day.


Almost fittingly, on the last day of the month, the New York Post reveals than Dan Marino, the Hall
of Famer and NFL anaylst, had a love child with a former production assistant at CBS Sports.
She was 35-years old at the time. Now, that's what you call a production assistant.

According to the Chinese calander, 2013 is the year of the snake. If January is any indication of things
to come, that could be a fitting description for the characters in the sports world.



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

PED'S: IS THERE AN END GAME?


There seemed to be more denials issued in sports on Tuesday than Bill Clinton ever
made while he was working in the White House. Ray Lewis said he never used
performance-enhancing drugs, as did Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez.
Alex Rodriquez has used before, but denied buying them from an anti-aging clinic
this time around.

These reports of PED use by professional athletes are becoming more frequent
than the appearance of Lindsay Lohan on the police blotter. And it's the same old,
sorry story:  Deny, deny, deny, then admit and cry, cry, cry. I can hardly
wait to see the tears flowing down across the war paint of Lewis as he looks
to the heavens and prays to his Lord and Savior to forgive him one more time.


These professional athlete act as if they've never even heard of performance-enhancing
drugs and all these reports are wrong and apparently,  made up in Manti
Teo's private little world. Good, grief. All this talk about PED's is getting sickening.

If it's not Ben Johnson, it's Marion Jones. If it's not Marion Jones, it's Mark McGwire,
Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds. If it's not McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds, it's Roger
Clemens and Brian McNamee, it it's not Clemens and McNamee, it's A-Rod. If it's not
A-Rod, it's Lance Armstrong. Help! This is just too much.


I'd rather sit through waterboarding torture at Abu Gharaib or be forced to watch
a season's worth of "Jersey Shore" episodes, than read another story about PED use
and cheating athletes.

When will it ever end?

Unfortunately, it probably never will. The cheaters always seem to be ahead of
the testers. First there was just steroids, then it was "the clear," "the cream", and
testosterone. Then came the HGH and fertility drugs, Now, there is Antler Deer
Spray. Antler Deer Spray? Are you kidding me? Who thinks of these things? What's
next? Excrement from Barney? It's insane.



As long as their is fame and a huge fortune to be made, there will always be cheating
and different kinds of PED's. The heck with the future and dropping dead, the future
is now and there are a lot of checks to be cashed.

The athletes and chemists just keep raising the stakes and thumbing their noses to
their respective leagues, as if saying, "Catch me if you can." If you're a baseball
player, it hasn't become a sin to get caught, either. Melky Cabrera flunks a test
last summer but the Toronto Blue Jays still handed him a contract worth $16 million.

What's the deterrent? When you think about it, Roger Clemens would've been better
off failing a test in today's game, than dealing with all the accusations he did for many,
many years. It's almost become accepted in baseball today. Bartolo Colon flunks out
and gets suspended for 50-games, but the Oakland A's were there for him with
a new contract worth $3 million. Not bad for a 39-year old pitcher who couldn't hit
88-miles per hour on the radar gun if it weren't for synthetic testosterone.


Or you can just be like Ryan Braun and blame the positive test on the delinquent
Fed Ex man. Braun should be making commercials for Major League Baseball
and screaming, "I love this game!"

The NFL shouldn't either bother testing for PED's. 80 percent of the league is
using something anyway. Have you seen NFL players up close on game day?
They are insanely big, strong, and fast. Oh, sure, they got that way because they
down protein shakes three times a day and do 100 push-ups every night before
they go to bed. Hundreds and hundreds of NFL players are putting something
illegal into their bodies, only the truly dumb ones get caught.



After the story broke about Lewis using the Deer Antler Spray, the Ravens
pulled a Lance Armstrong out of their hat, saying, "Ray has never failed a
drug test for banned substances." Weren't those the same words Armstrong
used for years when stating his case as a "clean" champion? Paaaaa-lease!

The headlines of the sports world are dominated by liars and cheaters. PED's
are the cheat of choice and get used to it folks, they aren't going away anytime
soon.


A-ROD'S TOP 10 EXCUSES FOR BUYING PED'S



The Miami Times reports that Alex Rodriquez is among several players who purchased
PED's from an anti-aging clinic in Miami. The New York Yankees all-star has been linked
with and admitted to steroid use in the past. He might miss the entire 2013 after hip surgery
and now comes this revelation. The Yankees are still on the hook for $114 millon with
A-Rod. Ouch! What a bargain

Here are the Top 10 excuses A-Rod wil give us about being linked with the
anti-aging  clinic in Miami.

10. "I was just picking up a prescription of Viagara for Yogi Berra. What's the big deal?"

 9.  "That god-dang Derek Jeter gave me the wrong directions. It's all his fault."

 8.  "It's not like I lied like Lance Armstrong or anything. And I used the same dictionary
       he did and this doesn't fall in the category of cheating."


 7. "Madonna just wanted me to pick up some anti-wrinkle cream for her and they
     gave me a little something, something extra for the road."

 6. "That's not my signature or credit card number. It must be the work of Roniah Tuiasosopo"

 5. "I was in the area so I just decided to pick up a variety pack of PED's for
      Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon. Blame them, not me. I'm A-Rod"

 4. "I don't understand English. What was the question again?"


 3. "I'm not here to talk about the past."

 2.  "OK. Jose Canseco was right about me and everybody else. Even a broken
      clock is right two times a day. So, shoot me.

 1.  "Manti Te'o made this whole thing up and that clinic doesn't really exist."

ARE YOU GAY?


What if Manti Te'o had answered yes to Katie Couric's question about his sexuality?
What difference would have it made in your life in the former Notre Dame linebacker
was, indeed, gay? If must've made a difference to some people because if you Google
"Katie Couric asking Manti Te'o if he's gay," more than 1.7 million pages will appear
with 10 times that number in comments weighing in on the subject.

Couric asked the question because somebody gave life to a story that Te'o made this
entire bizarre hoax up to cover-up his sexual orientation. That earned a place right next
to the story about Richard Gere and whole gerbil in the hospital thing.

The Te'o "cover" thing is laughable to anybody with an ounce of common sense,
but  unfortunately, we live in a country where a good number of people believe
everything they hear and read. We are a society that loves to gossip and run with
stories that could make other people look bad. Must be some thing about it that
makes them feel better about themselves.


As a 48-year old male whose never been married and doesn't have any children,
people have asked me or wondered if I'm gay. They know nothing about me,
my life, and the relationships I've had. But they see a guy at my age whose never
been married and ask the question, "Are you gay?" That's both laughable and sad.
There are people out there reading this article who will think that I'm writing this
article as my "cover" story. That's just another example of the ignorance that exists
in this country.

If Te'o said yes to Couric's question, I'm sure there would be people out there
who would've screamed, "I knew it!"  Others would've said, "He just looked the
part". Sure. As if there is a certain "look" to outting a gay. Up until January, Te'o
was a hard-hitting, ferocious linebacker, but now, he just "looks" gay. That's
our society in a nutshell.

Last May, CNN anchor Don Lemon announced to the world he's gay. Has that
changed your life or your opinion of him? I highly doubt it. Has it affected his
performance? Probably not.

Did it bother you when Ellen DeGeneres appeared on the cover of Time magazine
years ago with the caption, "Yep, I'm Gay." Did it change your opinion of her? When
I see her on television, I see a talented, caring, and ridiculous funny person. That's all
I see. I could care less if she's gay.

Unfortunately, Te'o wants to be in a profession where a person's sexuality does,
indeed, matter. Unlike television or other professions, there has never been an
openly gay player in the NFL. Not one. That's not because there aren't any.

The average career of an  NFL player is three years and most don't want their
sexuality to affect their job status or ability to land a big contract, not to mention
the abuse they'd receive from the fans. Several players have come out after their
careers are over.

Last June, Wade Davis, who played in the NFL for parts of four seasons, came
out of the closet and told the world he was gay. He admitted that he didn't reveal
his orientation when he played for fear that he would be lose his job and be ostracized
by the league.

Kwame Harris, played six years in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers and
Oakland Raiders. He was arrested recently after he got into a fight with his
ex-boyfriend over soy sauce and underwear. I'm sure he didn't change his sexual
orientation just because his NFL career ended.

I'm sure there are players who are closet homosexuals in the NFL now, but they
don't feel it's worth the risk of losing their jobs and significant salary to come out.
You can't blame them and you can't really blame Te'o for saying he's, "far from
it."

But you can blame yourself for caring about someone else's sexual orientation. It
doesn't matter, it really doesn't.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

RAY LEWIS AWAKENS THE GIANT WITHIN


Say this about Ray Lewis, the man knows how to author the big finish. Oh, sure,
he'll put the exclamation point on a brilliant football career when he plays in
the Super Bowl, the final game of a 17-year journey that saw him become a
Hall of Fame linebacker.

But when Sunday arrives and the Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco
49ers, I'm half-expecting Lewis to close his eyes and make the roof of the Louisiana
Superdome disappear. After all, the All-Pro linebacker has developed a very
open and powerful relationship with God and probably wants to ensure he has
a better view of the game.

Lewis became a born-again Christian in 2006, but the way he's acting now,
you might think he was actually sitting at the end of the table during the Last
Supper of Jesus Christ. I don't want to take the Lord's name in vain, but what
the hell is going on here?

I think it's great that Lewis, who escaped a double-murder charge in 2000, has
found God. I respect that 100 percent. But why all of a sudden has he become
the man to carry the message of his Lord and Savior. Why is he doing it in such
a public forum? Since he wasn't playing very much this year, did Tim Tebow
anoint Lewis to rise and preach his message at the pulpit?


Many people crucified Tebow last year for using football as a platform to
promote his at faith, but not many people seem to be as vociferous in their
criticism of Lewis this season. Tebow used to start every post-game interview
by saying, "I just want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." When
Lewis was interviewed after being the Denver Broncos, he said, "God is great."
He is starting to look like Joel Osteen with eye black and knit cap.

Fans and opposing players mocked Tebow with "Tebowing". Nobody made fun
of Lewis after he prayed to his Lord and Savior at midfield after the Ravens beat
the Patriots last Sunday. Why is that? Because Tebow couldn't break a pane of
glass with one of his throws while Lewis could part a sea of blockers and
make bone-jarring hits?


Is this display of faith by Lewis the final phase of one of the most incredible
image transformations in the history of the game? After Lewis was involved
in that double-murder case in Atlanta, many people tagged him as another thug
from Miami that, well, got away with murder. But few people think of him
that way now. He is Ray Lewis, unquestioned leader and first ballot Hall of Famer.

Lewis is set up to be the most popular player during Super Bowl week. He'll be
asked questions about that night in Atlanta 13 years ago and probably grilled
about his faith. ESPN, who reportedly has a deal signed with Lewis for him to
be one of his analysts next year, has already done multiple features on Lewis over
the past week.

He is the heart and soul of not just the Ravens defense, but the entire organization.
Lewis is the face of the franchise and apparently, the new face of born-again Christians.
Despite what Merril Hoge says, Tim Tebow is real. He's been supporting and promoting
his faith since he was about 15 years. It's not an act.

I'm not sure I can say the same thing about Lewis. Lance Armstrong and Manti Te'o
duped many of us by building and portraying images that were far different than what
they actually are.

Has Lewis duped us as well.?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

UNC BASEBALL IN 80'S: NICKNAME U


Major League Baseball is dressing down this weekend with their stunt of allowing players to
wear their nicknames on the back of their uniforms. Very interesting, but I don't think any of
the teams can match the nicknames of the UNC baseball teams more than 30 years ago.

The baseball program at UNC in the early 80's was like the Bronx Zoo South. It was crazy,
fun, and always entertaining. The team played hard, winning three consecutive ACC titles,
and laughed even harder. Every day was like "Animal House" and "Comedy Central" combined.
We were the  "idiots" long before Kevin Millar, Johnny Damon, and Manny Ramirez made it fashionable in Boston.

The clubhouse wasn't for the faint of heart, though. No matter what class you were in or how
well you performed on the field, you were open to teasing and  serious  abuse. It just came with
the territory back then.

I often joke with a  former teammate that if some of the stuff from back then happened in
today's  quick-trigger lawsuit and politically correct world, there would be arrests, payouts, and penalties from the NCAA. It went far beyond a PG-rating.


We were definitely a cast of characters loaded with talent, but also filled with an array of personalities from the strong to sophisticated, serious to the downright comical. And anyone
who came through the doors of the program, usually left with a nickname that stuck with them forever.

Everybody had a nickname, even the father of our coach, Mike Roberts. A 70-something man
who bore a striking resemblance to those California raisin caricatures. Mr. Roberts was "The
Bark Man".  Every time he talked, he sounded like a dog in heat with a muzzle on. Arrrr, arrrr,
arrrr, arrrr. "The Bark Man" name fit him to a T. He also owned a lumber company which had
a lot to do with it, too.


There wasn't a formal system for tagging people with nicknames the way they did in
"Animal  House." There wasn't a "Flounder" or an "Otter" and nobody asked why a certain
nickname was chosen. It was just because--- and it always stuck

Paul Will was a heavy-set first baseman from Newark, Delaware. Everything about him was big.
His legs, his gut, his head, and appetite were extra large.When he went though the line at the
training table, he supersized everything long before McDonald's made it part of its menu. He'd
fill a Vince  Wilfork-sized bowl with a  million fries. So, he became "Paul Will Bowl-of-Fries", which got shortened to bola fries, or just bola.


A few players had multiple nicknames. Doug Torborg, a lefty pitcher out of New Jersey,
looked like he was almost made of plastic. His hair was perfect and he spent a lot of time in
the mirror making sure he was all buttoned up. He became "Mr. Make Believe", which was
shortened to just "Make". Torborg got tagged quickly during orientation week when we played
baseball all day and drank at night. Torborg always complained that he felt like the "bed
was spinning" when he woke up the next day. So, of course, he became known as "bed spins."
Not Doug, not Torborg, but "bed spins."

Jon O'Leary, a barrel-chested outfielder who was one of the best batting practice hitters in the
history of college baseball, got stuck with a few nicknames he wasn't too enamoured with.
O'Leary minored in baseball at UNC but majored in eating. If it wasn't nailed down, Johnny O
ate it. He was known as "Snackbar McPortals" or "Johnny Canteen". Whenever we approached a
Shoney's restaurant on a road trip, Mike Jedziniak would yell out "There he goes!" as O'Leary
made a b-line to the front of the bus to make sure he was first in the buffet line. There wasn't
much left for anyone else after Johnny Canteen was finished loading up his plate. O'Leary once
complained to Jedziniak about his nickname and Jedz responded, "Too bad, that's what we're
calling you."

Chris Mench was usually the master of the monikers, tagging anybody in his path with creative
and often unflattering nicknames. Mench was known as "The Big Cheese". His head was the
size of pony keg. If you tapped it, suds would probably come flowing out. But the size of his
head had nothing to do with his nickname. He called himself the "Big Cheese" and I'll just
leave it at that. Most of the nicknames the "Big Cheese" gave out were X-rated, which
unfortunately, means I can't put them in print.


My favorite nickname of all-time was "Yard Bird". This was given to Mitch McCleney, a
second-baseman who spent at least six, possibly seven years in the program. Somebody
thought he looked like a yard bird, so McCleney became known simply as, "Yard Bird."

Al Taylor, a popular teammate from Natick, Mass. had a plethora of nicknames. He was
"Grinch", "Slate", and "Sack Exchange." Bill Robinson, a tall, lanky pitcher from New Jersey
was the "black momba" long before Kobe Bryant showed up on the scene. Robinson was also
known as "Snake", "Bridge" and "Q-tip" after the tiny head that rested atop his broad shoulders.


Walt Weiss, the former manager of the Colorado Rockies, also had a very small dome. His head
was so tiny and shaped like a peanut that he had to tape the adjustable strap on his hat to make it
small enough so it would say on. Weiss became known as "The Peanut Man."

Jeff Hubbard, a talented third baseman, who was a cross between Tom Sellick and the Marlboro
man, only knew four people on the team. They included B.J. Surhoff, Walt Weiss, Jedziniak, and
Nora, the smoking-hot team trainer. Funny thing, Hubbard never had a problem remembering her
name. Everybody else to him was either "Yo", "Dude", and "Hey".

During one game, Hubbard, who drove around campus in a Porsche 911, was trying to get
the attention of a freshman pitcher he never even noticed before. He turned to Weiss at
shortstop and  asked, "What's this guy's name?" Weiss didn't know either so Hubbard, known
as "Marv" after  the Oakland Raiders fullback, yelled out, "Hey, Butch". And a new nickname
was born. Ken Turner became forever known as "Butch." Not sure if anybody ever even
knew his real name. He was just "Butch."

There were other classic nicknames like, "Minnow man", "Mushroom," "Lid", "Hawks",
"Jar head", "Thermometer", "Black Bird", "Newborn," and "Crow." There are many others,
but Father Time has sapped a bit of my memory and I've forgotten more than a few of the
classic other ones that existed.

Look around major league baseball, and you'll notice that great nicknames have pretty much
become extinct. Oh, sure, there was A-Rod, A-Gone, and A-Hole, but those took no effort and
lack creativity.

Great ones were part of UNC program during the 1980's and it sure made for some rip-roaring
funny times.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

THE MANTI TE'O MOVIE: WHO PLAYS WHO?


It's only a matter of time before the Manti Te'o scandal turns into a made-for-tv
movie. Question is, who plays who in this bizarre story? Below are the key players
in the story and the actors our movie critics believe would be good bets to be their
characters on the screen.

On January 13, Timothy Burke of Deadspin.com broke the story that has shocked
the shocked the nation. The bespectacled writer is still in college finishing up his
PH.D. and has a one giant scoop he can put on his resume. John Anderson, an
anchor at ESPN is our choice to play Burke in the movie. Anderson wears his
glasses well and is sharp and witty, requirements needed to play Burke.

TIMOTHY BURKE
JOHN ANDERSON

As soon as the story showed on Deadspin about the star linebacker's girlfriend who died
despite never really existing, all hell broke loose. Inquiring minds showed up on the
sacred grounds of Notre Dame and demanded to know what the heck was going on. 

Athletic Director Jack Swarbick was the front man for the Fighting Irish and he 
got emotional when talking about what a great kid Te'o was and how the All-American 
linebacker had absolutely no part in creating or carrying out the hoax. Craig T. Nelson, 
who had a vast amount of experience as an administrator, not to mention as a football 
coach, would be the perfect candidate to play Swarbick


NOTRE DAME A.D JACK SWARBICK
CRAIG T. NELSON













Ronaiah Tuiasosopo is the mastermind of this incredible hoax. He befriended Te'o and created
the girl, Lennay Kekua, who never really existed. He produced the story about her being in
a bad car accident and then losing her life to leukemia. It turns out, Tuiasosopo was the voice
whom Te'o spent nearly 500 hours over a four month period talking to.

He deserves an Academy award for best acting and director of best picture. Colin Kaepernick
of the San Francisco 49ers bears a strong resemblance to Tuiasosopo and would be believable
in the role. Kaepernick has been blessed with talent and could turn in an award-winning
performance in portraying Tui.

RONIAH TUIASOSOPO
COLIN KAEPERNICK










Tuisosopo chose Diane O'Meara to be the face of the hoax and the girl Te'o thought
he was falling in love with. Tuisasopo poached her picture of Facebook and used it
to fool Te'o. O'Meara made the rounds on all the morning programs, including the "Today"
show to explain how she was just an innocent victim in all of this. Veteran actress
Salma Hayek could excel in the role of Teo's dead girlfriend that didn't really exist.

DIANE O'MEARA
SALMA HAYEK













The father of Manti Te'o is a very, very large man. Brian Te'o actually makes Manti
look like a Pop Warner league middle linebacker. Mr. Te'o broke down in tears during
his interview with Katie Couric and defended his son by saying that Manti is not a
liar, but just a kid. Israel Ka'anoi "Brudda Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole, a native Hawaiian
and popular singer, could play Mr. Te'o to a T. He died in 1997, but who cares, especially
in a story that revolves a dead girlfriend who doesn't exist.

BRIAN TE'O


The heart and soul of the Notre Dame defense, Manti Te'o is at the center of this
mind-boggling story. A highly-respected person on campus, Te'o got way too deep
into a situation that he didn't know how to get out of. His story took Lance Armstrong
off the front-pages and made Te'o the butt of a lot of jokes. Te'o is expected to
be a top-10 pick in April's NFL Draft. Ray Maualuga, a linebacker for the Cincinnati
Bengals, is our choice to play the lead role in the movie. Both Te'o and Maualuga
play the same position and are relatively quiet, humble people.

MANTI TE'O
REY MAUALUGA











































THE ATLANTA BRAVES JUST WON THE WORLD SERIES! STOP!


The majority of sports fans live in a fantasy world. It's a lot different than the
fantasy world than Manti Te'o lives in, but it's still a fantasy world, nonetheless.
There are fantasy drafts, fantasy players, and fantasy leagues. Many are consumed
with stats and the teams they put together.

So, when the Atlanta Braves pulled off a blockbuster trade with the Arizona
Diamondbacks that netted them Justin Upton, many of those fans got on Facebook,
Twitter, and every other social media vehicle and proclaimed the Braves either the
team to beat, or outright World Series champions. After all, they acquired the Upton
brothers in the off-season. Print up those playoff tickets. Please.

Haven't we learned anything from these big trades that make for "super teams"?
After the Los Angeles Lakers landed Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, the so-called
experts and those in the Twitter-sphere ,said this edition of Showtime would end
the reign of the Miam Heat as NBA championship. How's that working out for
the them? It's been an utter disaster.


Great players, don't make for great teams, especially when they're not all that great.
BJ Upton and Justin Upton are the type of players that scouts and general managers
drool over. They have five-tool talent. That's why they were first-round draft picks.
The Upton's run fast, throw hard, and hit tape-measure home runs often in batting
practice, but only occasionally when it counts. Hitting a solo shot when your team
is trailing 6-0 in the 8th inning, means nothing, and both of the Upton's hit a lot of
those.

In 2012 during his walk-year, BJ Upton struck out a lot. 169 times. He batted .246
and his on-base percentage was a woeful . 298. What about those numbers makes
Upton a great player? Oh, that's right, he's got great potential. He also has a
lackadaisacal attitude that got him benched several times during his career in
Tampa Bay. The Rays didn't seem to be crushed when Upton took the cash and
signed with the Braves for $75 million


Brother Justin, at 25-years old, has more upside than BJ. He appears to be
poured into a uniform by the baseball God's. When he crushes one, there
isn't a ballpark in the country that can hold it. Trouble is, Justin strikes out a lot,
too. In 2012, Justin, who was criticized by the D'backs ownership group, struck
out 131 times. With the acquisition of the Upton's, the Braves added almost
300 strikeouts to their lineup. That's sure to cool off the entire city on a lot of
those hot and humid nights during the summer.


Justin has never driven in 100 runs during his major league career and is averaging
just 18 home runs. Not exactly Albert Pujols numbers. In essence, the Upton's
really haven't done much with their tremendous god-given talent, but the Braves
are banking on big things from both of the Upton's this season.

Will the acquisition of the Upton's be enough to overtake the Washington Nationals,
much less win the World Series? I doubt it. The Nats added starting pitcher Dan
Haren and shutdown closer, Rafael Soriano to a pitching staff that was the best in
baseball in 2012. And for a team that won 98 games a year ago, the additions of
Haren and Soriano are significant.


The Upton's could provide a boost to the Braves offense, but baseball is a individual
sport masquerading as a team game. There's no guarantee of it. The brothers could
have trouble adjusting to a new league, a new division, and new teammates. Plus,
they might have difficultly playing with each other. Just because they are brothers,
doesn't necessarily mean they can co-exist.

It doesn't always work out. It doesn't always guarantee success, because
after all, they don't play in a fantasy world like most of the fans do. Don't hand the
Braves the World Series title just yet.