Wednesday, December 31, 2014

PAUL DEVLIN'S 2015 NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS


I think it was Gandhi who once said if you want to achieve your goals WRITE them down
and they will become part of your subconscious. Or was it the Dali Lama who said it? I'm
not sure, I'm 50 and my memory is starting to fade and who the heck cares, anyway. It might've
been John Candy for all I know! Whatever the case, I'm writing down my New Year's Resolutions
that I'm determined to chase for at least three days.

So here we go. Here are my 2015 New Year's Resolutions:

Try not to make fun of the people on Facebook who document every five seconds of their
lives with selfies, pictures of the their food, or with posts with such riveting information as,
"Man, it's cold outside," or "It's really dark out tonight". 


Reduce my coffee intake at Dunkin' Donuts from 21 cups to just 15 per day. Maybe I won't
bounce off as many walls during the day.

Get at least one hair cut from some place other than Super Cuts. I'm as hip as I want to
be, but I might attract more woman under the age of 60 if I had a better hair do.


Take an on-line African-American studies course at my alma mater UNC. I'd like to say
that I got at least  one 'A' in my educational career.


Lose 10 pounds so I can fit into my old Calvin Klein acid-washed jeans. (They're coming
back in style you know)

Try to have a crash-free year on my bike. During the training season of 2014 I became an
expert on how to wipe-out. I must have looked like Gerry Ford on a Cervelo: Rumblin',
bumblin' and tumblin' all over the place.


Keep trying to convince Patriots fans that it's really OK to lose at least one game in the
NFL every year. You don't have to whine, cry, and jump off the bandwagon like the
team  has the ebola virus every time you lose a game. This just in, you live in New England,
not Cleveland, Jacksonville, Oakland, or Tennessee.


Get married. (LOL)

Get those butt implants I've always longed for.

Dethrone Joey Chestnut as the world's best competitive eater.


Try to get to Atlanta to see if my condo is still in one piece.

Quit stealing Halloween candy from my nieces and nephews. I'm a bad uncle for making
them cry.

Get definition in my stomach and have at least a two-pack before I grow really old
and fat.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

TOM BRADY AND THE PATRIOTS 'RESTRUCTURING' PROPAGANDA

 
Wow!
 
Ultimate team player.
 
Other players in the NFL should be like Tom Brady.
 
I read and heard those things and a few other effusive compliments after the story broke
the quarterback of the New England Patriots restructured his contract (again) that
allowed the franchise to free up $24 million to sign other potential free-agents. The fans
and media in New England fell all over themselves with mushy stories about the future
hall of famer.
 
Stop.
 
It may sound good and make for a great story, but Brady didn't give up a nickel to help the
Patriots out, in fact, he earned an extra three million dollars just so the team could
change the provision in his contract from "skill" to "injury", which allowed the Patriots
to free up the money they had in escrow for Brady's contract, per NFL rules.
 
 
In reality, the Patriots just found a legal way to circumvent the salary cap, which may not be
so legal down the line when the NFL figures out what the hell is going on.
 
This isn't the first time Brady has restructured his contract, is it? As memory recalls,
Brady did the same thing last year and the same thing happened: fans and the media got all
gushy. Brady restructured his contract and almost doubled the guarantee money
in the deal to $57 million. Whew! That's what you call taking one for the team!
 
Guaranteed money is the only thing that's important to players because NFL contracts,
unlike those in the other major sports, are not guaranteed. If they get hurt, they won't be
getting a dime outside of the guaranteed money they already received.
 
In the "restructuring" of his deal last year, Brady got a signing bonus of a whopping $30
million in which every nickel is guaranteed. He'll pick up the last of it sometime in 2015.
 
 
In this day of age where every stone is turned over and the fine line of each and every
contract is dissected, there hasn't been a single number-crunching analyst who has come
up with the amount of money Brady has "given back" to the Patriots through these
restructuring deals.
 
Why? Because Brady hasn't given anything back. Does any athlete or regular person for that 
matter give the company they work for anything for free? Exactly.
 
Boston fans were mad at Jon Lester because he didn't take the Red Sox "hometown" discount.
Right, and you would've left an extra $30 million on the table just to please everyone else.
That's absurd and so is the notion Brady "sacrificed" so much for the good of the team.
 
Why do you think he keeps agreeing to restructure his deal so often? Because there is
something in it for him. It's how business and contract negotiations work. You want
something for me, you have to give me something in return. It's as simple as that.
 
 
Peyton Manning has a clause in his contract that he receives a $2.5 million bonus every time
he restructures his contract. Imagine that? Joe Flacco, Aaron Rodgers, and Andy Dalton
have similar clauses in their contracts. They all signed deals worth over $100 million.
 
It all looks great in the headlines and sounds impressive to the fools on sports radio, but
there is little chance any of these quarterbacks will ever see all that money in their bank
account. It's all about the guaranteed money and it never gets to be triple digits.
 
Contracts are  restructured or a player gets released because he won't take a pay cut or
has much of a chance to stay around through the duration of the deal. It's how all those
contracts are set up.
 
Yes, Tom Brady is the ultimate team player, but it's because of what he does on the field
and in the locker room. It has nothing has to do with his restructuring of his contract. He
has been handsomely rewarded for doing so and hasn't lost a dime in the process.
 
 
And did you ever wonder why the Patriots, the most secretive organization in all of sports,
would turn in the restructured deal to the NFL as the playoffs are set to begin? What is the
rush? There is a method to their madness in every single thing they do. It could be
to take the pressure of the rest of the team or Robert Kraft just wanted to shine the light
on his golden boy.
 
Whatever the case, the Patriots golden boy has been well taken care of by the golden goose.
 
 
 
             

Sunday, December 28, 2014

REMEMBERING NEW CANAAN FRIENDS WHO PASSED AWAY IN 2014

Whether you've lived in New Canaan, CT. for a day, month, year, or fifty of them, you'll always
be part of the now ritzy, but always special town in the southwest part of the state. It's a place
where people know everybody and the degrees of separation is far less than six.

In 2014, a few of those people who touched my life, as well as many others in town, passed away
and left us far too soon.

BOB SPALLER. In November, the 1981 graduate of the high school, Spaller, just 52-years-old
was killed in a single-car accident near his home in Massachusetts. Spaller was a gentle and kind
hearted-soul who marched to the beat of his own drummer. He was a salt-of-the-earth type of
man who didn't have any enemies. We were teammates for the Rams on the gridiron, which
made all of us who wore the red and black, brothers forever. I remember him as a player who squeezed every ounce of talent he had and left it all on the field every single game.



ROGER FULTON Fulton passed away in September at the age of 83. He was a staple of
the sports scene during his time in New Canaan and served as the athletic director on
a volunteer basis at the high school. A regal and classy man, Fulton was also the varsity
baseball coach. I moved to New Canaan as a sophomore and had the privilege of playing
for Fulton and being part of a team that advanced to the FCIAC playoffs. His son, Bob,
was the third base coach and the Fulton & Fulton team made quite an impact on all those
who played for them.


JEFF SMITH Smith never lived in New Canaan but as the owner of the Deli Bake on
Elm Street, he was part of the fabric of the community. He looked like the Marlboro
man and had the strength of a lumberjack. Smith, who died at the age of 70, was a
no-nonsense kind of guy who worked at a frenetic pace and non-stop. Smith
teamed up with his father, who was quite a character in his own right, to run the
popular deli in town. I worked for both of them after my senior year in high school
along with two of my friends, Tommy Towers and Rich Connors. We took the famous
sandwiches on the menu to a whole different level, piling them as high as those seen in
New York City. And with the amount of food we ate, I'm sure profits went down, but
Jeff and his dad didn't seem to mind very much, they actually got a kick out of us.


KELLY KRAUSER. I didn't know Kelly personally, but I was friends with other
members of her beautiful and loving family. A 1987 graduate of New Canaan, Kelly
died in December after a lengthy bout with cancer. She left this world far too soon.
Kelly was just 45-years-old.


CAROL "CHICK" LYTTLE. Talk about a well-educated and rounded man. The longtime
New Canaan resident went to Phillips Exeter, Princeton University, and Columbia Law
School. Lyttle was a member of the Congregational Church where he sang in the choir.
Lyttle was the father-in-law of New Canaan legend Steve Tonra. Whenever Tonra needed
a ringer for his paddle ball tournaments, Chick was always ready and willing to fill in, even
when he was well into his 70's. Lyttle was 85 when he passed away in September.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

SADLY, IT'S OPEN SEASON ON COPS


Since 9/11, our country has lost almost 7,000 soldiers fighting on foreign soil to protect
all of us living and enjoying freedom in the United States. 

Now, there are people in this country killing those trying to protect and serve us while
we revel in all the things our freedom allows us to enjoy in our homeland  It's become
a sad and twisted time for the United States, one that seems on the verge of an escalation
of violence that's been hatched from the controversial rulings in favor of law enforcement
officials in Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island, New York.

The ambush of two officers in Brooklyn by a career criminal seeking to avenge the deaths
of Michael Brown and Eric Garner has not only rattled the core of the nation, but sent a 
chilling message that it's open season on cops. It's unsettling to write this and even more
frightening to realize their will be more senseless, unspeakable tragedies that will likely
follow.

Al Sharpton and several other leaders "call for justice" can mean different things to
different people and in this country where household names are born seemingly every
hour thanks to the social media super highway and 24-hour channels that glorify mass
murderers, there are vigilantes like Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who take the law into his own
hands and assassinate two police officers who were just sitting in their patrol car. They
never had a chance.

Apparently, Brinsley thought it was his only chance to be a somebody.  Arrested 15 times
in his 28-years on earth, Brinsley wrote on his Instagram account, "I'm putting wings on
pigs today. They take 1 of our, let's take two of theirs."


Sadly, there will be some people in communities around the country who are applauding
Brinsley and making him out to be a hero. I'm sure there are many in Ferguson and Staten
Island smiling today. It is sick, I know, but those people who felt an entire race was wronged
in the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, may feel they finally got "a little justice."

It's certainly a precarious and unsettling time to be a law enforcement official in our country,
especially those working in big cities or low-socioeconomic areas. Forgive them if police
officers are looking over their shoulders while having one hand on their holster.

I realize there are many who will respond, "Yeah, but these cops shouldn't be killing us,
especially when we are unarmed." I understand and sympathize with the families who lost
loved ones at the hands of the police. Sadly, there are injustices committed nearly every
single day, not just on the street, but in business and nearly every other sector. We live
in a world that's perfectly imperfect. However, it doesn't give renegades the right to
slaughter cops trying to do their job.


Police officers around the country make thousands of decisions every day and
many of them are often made in a split-second. Shoot or don't shoot. Apprehend or release.
They are supposed to follow code and procedure, but real life and the safety of lives, their
own and others may force them to make a decision that goes beyond the boundaries of the
book.

Many of us in this country don't often respect the bravery and effort of our law enforcement
official. We often think these "pigs" as they've been unfairly tagged as, are "out to get us."
Or perhaps, we think they abuse their power. But if these law enforcement officials didn't
do what they are paid to do, many of our towns and cities would become like the wild, wild
west, or Ferguson during the riots.

The police allow us to feel safe in our homes and communities and enjoy the freedom
all those soldiers fought and died for. Are they always right? Absolutely not.
Are there dirty cops out there? No question about it.

But the great majority of them do the right thing for us and our communities. They don't
make a lot of money, but put their lives on the line every single day. They should be
respected and admired. We should thank them every chance we get.

We certainly shouldn't be mourning them after seeing them get ambushed and slaughtered.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

PAT DEVLIN, DANGER MAN, SET TO ROCK STAMFORD



Veteran musician Pat Devlin, former lead singer of the world renowned, "Danger men" band, is
scheduled to play Friday in Stamford at the Castle Bar on Summer Street.. Devlin will start
pickin' it at 9:30 p.m.

When reached for his reaction to playing before a packed house under the bright lights of
Stamford, USA,  Devlin said, "It's cool. Totally cool. Hope everybody brings everybody they
know."



Devlin got his start  as a 6-year old , getting lessons at Rye Music. However, his career really
took off when his family moved to Lake Forest, Illinois where he became the king of Waveland
Avenue, playing outdoor concerts for the neighborhood that rivaled the ones at nearby Ravinia.

"Yeah, it was totally awesome out there", Devlin said. "I met these really cool dudes like Matt
Parker, Allan Simmons, Steve Gerlach, LT Swisher, Jon Tunney, we called him Tuna, he was
a big guy back then. And there was Andy  Peterson and Dan Jameson, too. Those guys loved
to jam. We'd jam all day and all night and sometimes drink in between," Devlin said with a hearty
laugh.


After two short but fulfilling years in Lake Forest, Devlin and his family moved back East to
New Canaan, CT. Have guitar, will travel and Devlin who took his electric one everywhere he
went, settled in and played with a variety of bands including "The Anchient New Cat Revival,"
"The Hurting Dog" band and the highly-popular "Uh-Oh" group.


Friday night at the Castle Bar in Stamford, Devlin, who listed Jerry Garcia, Neil Young, and
Jimi Hendrix as his musical inspirations,  returns to the stage for what promises to be
a world-class performance. Tickets are going fast. Only a few left on StubHub.com. Show starts
at 9:30 p.m.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

COSBY ACCUSERS: WHAT IF THEY ARE LYING?



One thing I've learned as I've gotten older is that while most people in our society
graduated  high school, a good majority has never moved on from the gossip section
of its cafeteria.  They believe nearly everything they hear, follow the popular opinion,
and make judgments without bothering to get any of the facts. "Hearing" things is
more than good enough for them and by golly, if it's on the Internet these days, it must
be true

That brings me to the never-ending Cosby scandal where it seems as if a woman a day
comes out with an accusation against the television legend. We read it, watch it,  and
hear about it, and come to the conclusion that it just has to be true. The accusations rolled
in like a Tsunami and wiped out Cosby's reputation forever.



It might just reveal as much about our society as it does the alleged character of Cosby

Many of us think that because somebody is on a major network they must be credible,
believable, and have a strong moral compass. Sorry, as someone who has worked in the
media for a long period of time, most networks and stations don't care about an accusers
background or credibility just as long as they are first to have it or can keep up with the
competition on a story and the ratings that come with it.

Sorry, the media today is not your grandfather's media where journalist integrity was
paramount and getting it "right" was far more important than getting it first.


Remember the report that got Lara Logan of '60 Minutes' suspended? It turned out the
report on the Benghazi attacks relied on Dylan Davies, a security contractor whose
story morphed into a big fraud.

Logan  didn't vet Davies thoroughly enough and got burned. An award-winning journalist
on a critically acclaimed show did not tell executives that Davies had claimed he lied to his
superiors and the FBI about his whereabouts on the night of the attack. They went with the
story that Davis heroically scaled the wall of the compound, hitting a would-be attacker with
the butt of his gun and seeing Ambassador  Chris Stevens' body later that night in the hospital.

After some people in the business started calling BS, a review by executives followed. Logan
was suspended by '60 Minutes' for 8 months. Davis is a liar forever.

Like Davis, many of these accusers of Cosby, have been allowed to get air time and tell the
world how Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted. They've come out one-by-one and sometimes
in bunches. A few of them had Gloria Allred at their side demanding that Cosby put $100
million in a pot and let his accusers have a money grab.


Have any one of your bothered to read about the backgrounds of some of the accusers? The
networks and media outlets sure didn't. They were just allowed to get on television, without
fear of repercussion or a significant challenge and just weave their stories to make Cosby
look like Charles Manson is a multi-colored ugly sweater

Chelan Lasha who was seen weeping hysterically next to Allred during a press conference
with two other accusers, has a rap sheet longer than Mike Tyson's. Prostitution, disorderly
conduct, FALSE REPORTING, assault, theft, etc. Oh, that's right, there is NO WAY she
could be lying about Cosby! If she ever got on the stand in a case against Cosby, she would
be shredded to pieces. Next.

Former Playboy bunny P.J. Masten also accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting
her. By the way, she also accused sportscaster Marv Albert of biting and sexually abusing
her after the first woman accused Albert of doing the same thing. Masten, the former Playboy
bunny, got nothing but an accusation by everybody that she was trying to hitch onto the gravy
train that was started by the only woman that Albert violated.

Another of Cosby's accusers has a history of mental problems and got disbarred from
practicing law. Yet, another admitted to having a sexual relationship with a married man.

That's a lot of credibility right there.

Remember when everybody in the media bought the story about then-Notre Dame
star Manti Te'o's girlfriend who died in a car crash the same week his grandmother
did? They praised the courage and resiliency of the All-American linebacker for
overcoming the tragedy to lead the Fighting Irish to the national championship game.
Only ONE person in the media bothered to vet and research the story. That's it. Just
one.

How'd that turn out?

I've read and heard many people in our society say there are too many accusations and
the same story about how their experience with Cosby unfolded for it not to be true.

No, that's where they are wrong.

There is strength and comfort in numbers. All of them had the same story: Cosby gave
them something, they passed out, and he tried to assault them. It'd be one thing if they
all came out the same day and said the same thing and had the same story. They came out
hours, days, weeks, and months after hearing another accuser and recounted the same
story. My gosh! How could that ever happen in today's world where everyone tells
the truth all the time.

If  a victim feels their story is  like all the other ones, they are safe and can hide behind it.
Who will doubt it? Certainly not the public. If they go with the popular story it becomes
popular opinion and that's what a good part of society follows. Popular opinion. They are
either too afraid to go against the grain, too lazy to think for themselves, or not interested
in doing some research to get the facts.


Too often we let others try to get the facts and assume they are a stone-cold lock for being
correct. Rolling Stone magazine recently published an article about a gang-rape on the
campus of the University of Virginia. The description of what happened was despicable.
Turned out it was sensationalized and not exactly the truth. The victim "Jackie" was
found to exaggerate a lot of her story and the reporter didn't dig hard enough to find out
if it was all on the up-and-up. The actual facts took a back seat to gaining attention for
both the reporter and magazine.

Imagine that? Somebody not telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
truth. So help me God.

Sorry, but people lie all the time. It happens. They usually do it to protect themselves
or gain something. Some do it for attention, fame, and get this: money! Yes, it has
actually happened in this world before. Why the heck do you think Gloria Allred ushered
out three woman and made the $100 million dollar plea to Cosby?

I'm not defending Bill Cosby. I'm not like the millions of people who thought they knew
him just because they watched him on television every night for 11 years. He was ACTING.
That's his profession and how he made all his money. Cosby was great at it.

Is he a dirt bag? Chances are he crossed the line and violated some women 10, 20, 30,
and even 40 years ago. It most definitely has happened before.

I'm also not calling every woman who accused Cosby of despicable things, a liar. I
sympathize with them if they were belittled, assaulted, and violated. I am compassionate of
what they've had to go through.

But I also know that stories don't always happen the way they were told by someone,
especially when they've had 10, 20, 30, and even 40 years to develop. I do know if these
accusers had to tell their story under oath with the threat of perjury and jail time, they'd
probably be a variation of how they told it to the media.


Remember this?

Katie Couric to Alex Rodriquez:

Katie: Did you ever use PED's.

A-Rod: No.

Federal agents to Alex Rodriquez

Feds: Did you use PED's?

A-Rod: Hell, yeah. For years and I bought them from Anthony Bosch, whom
I told EVERYONE in the media I didn't even know or use drugs procured by
him.

I do realize there are a lot of people like actresses and models in this self-absorbed
and attention-obsessed world who long for the camera and a headline, especially when
they are no longer relevant. God, just look at Facebook where people have to post
pictures and document every second of their lives in pursuit of the all important 'like'.
It's not a bad thing. It's just the way it is.

I just want to see all the facts before condemning Cosby forever. I don't make judgments
based on heresay, gossip, or axe that is used to grind. I don't believe everything the media
prints, puts on television or the Internet. (Again, see Lara Logan-60 Minutes, Rolling Stone-
UVA rape,  Manti Te'o and every news outlet who handled that story in the country,
the NFL, Roger Goodell and how they botched the Ray Rice scandal)


I know how the media can twist things around to get the story they want. They can edit
a soundbite by cutting things out or butting two things a person says at different times
to make it whole and the way they want it. It happens. A lot. The disgraced reporter at
Rolling Stone stirred a story that almost brought down a respected institution without
delivering all the facts.

We've all heard just ONE side of the Cosby story. That's it, that's all. Few members of the
media have bothered to vet the backgrounds of the accusers.

Even the flattest pancake has two sides.

Get all the facts and then decide.





Sunday, December 14, 2014

SHOULD THE TRUTH EVER DIE?


If someone makes a claim that a person committed a despicable act that violates,
denigrates, and humiliates her and it occurred 20 years ago, chances are she would be
told to "forget about it, move on, the statute of limitations have expired so there is nothing
you can do."

Why? Why does the truth have to die with the passing of time? Is it just because the
legal system doesn't want to be bogged down with a litany of claims that morphed
from days to decades ago? Should a person in a state of mental torture and turmoil,
wrecked by the selfish and immoral acts of others, have a time clock on them to report
an incident that can be tough and embarrassing to admit?

The Bill Cosby scandal has many in our society asking some of those very questions. More
than 20 women have made significant and alarming accusations against the television legend.
They claimed Cosby drugged, sexually assaulted them and ruined their lives forever. Many
of these women say the were violated 10, 20, 30, and even as many as 40 years ago.




The two questions most often asked were why did they wait so long to report the incidents
and why now? Some say it's money, fame, and publicity. Others ask why are they would
try to destroy a "legend" like Cosby.

There aren't any easy answers. It's a volatile and explosive argument and it may never come
to the conclusion anybody wants. There is hardly any chance Cosby will go to prison for
the accusations made against him. Too much time has passed and it's basically the word
of the accusers against Cosby and that's hardly enough in a court of law where the statute of
limitations have long since passed, anyway. If they want money for their pain and suffering,
it doesn't look like Cosby is going to give any of his fortune away.

Perhaps, the accusers all want it to be known what an immoral sleaze bag Cosby really is.
Maybe they want the world to know that the man who played "Dr. Huxtable", is not
anything like his character who  had integrity, honor, and always professed to others to act
responsible and do the right thing. Exposing him a fraud along the likes of Lance Armstrong
seems to be there intent.

Perhaps, it's all about the truth and why it should never die.

If somebody did something egregious against you and caused you angst and torture over
time, would you let it go after 1, 10, 20, 30 years or forever for that matter? What would
you do to expose the truth? Would you want that person to pay like Cosby has and
have him outed for the dirt bag he allegedly is?



What if somebody you trusted at a company destroyed evidence you  presented to
them that would've uncovered the inappropriate behavior that existed under their watch?
And what if they tried to smear your reputation to destroy your credibility if the pieces
of evidence that he buried came to light? What would you do if the statute of limitations
expired and you had to live with the pain that the inappropriate behavior of others
caused you?

Would you want the truth to be exposed just as the women did in the Cosby case? Or
should you, as most people say, "move on" as if it all never happened?

Should it only matter when a celebrity is involved?


I've often believed that the truth should never die, no matter what. People will try to bury it,
run from it, and look the other way, but I feel that no matter how much time has past, the truth
should never be allowed to die. There are just too many cold and calculating people in this world
who ignore morality at any cost, just as long as they get want they want.

Whether it's Bill Cosby or Joe Baggadonuts, the truth should apply to everyone, no matter
what.

No matter how much time has passed, it's the truth and that's all that should really matter.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

IF THERE WAS A 'DISLIKE' BUTTON ON FACEBOOK....


Social media czar Mark Zuckerberg recently rejected the idea of equipping Facebook with a
 'dislike' option on the world's biggest time-sucking platform. The 'dislike' certainly would've
spiced things up and probably led to an epidemic of de-friending and arguments in public that
 mirror an episode of "The Housewives of Orange County."

If the 'dislike' button appeared, there's a chance the daily number could exceed the 4.5 billion
'likes' that are generated on Facebook every single day. I believe Zuckerberg is justing trying
to keep the peace on his social media phenomenon and hold off on the 'dislike' button for a little
while longer.

But IF  the Big Z decided to incorporate the 'diss' button into Facebook here's the Top 10 things
it would probably be used for.

10. Selfies in the mirror. The inordinate amount of regular selfies appearing on Facebook is
bad enough, but when people actually post them in the mirror with the cell phone in the shot, I'd
hit the 'dislike' button every time. Apparently, these people have no idea how stupid this type of
selfie really looks.

  9. X-Rays, surgically repaired limps, patients in hospital beds. I'm sorry, I have no interest
in seeing broken bones, fat lips, and a patient lying next to a bed pan. DISLIKE button please!



 8. Checking-in! It used to be that we never wanted to let others know where we are or what we
are doing, but that all changed with Facebook where there is a 'checking-in' feature which I really
'dislike'. Seriously, how many people care that you are 'checking-in' from Panera Bread or the
bathroom at Yankee Stadium? Perhaps, thieves on-line planning their next job love to know where
you're going to be, but most of us could do without seeing it.


 7. Feet by the sea.  Ok, this was kind of cool at first, but after seeing 642,187 pictures of
feet in the sand and the ocean in the background, they've gotten kind of old. DISLIKE.
Let's spice it up with creativity. Juggle a beach ball in the shot or dress them up with Rex
Ryan's favorite piggly-wiggly outfits or tell us which piggy went to the market and
which piggy stayed home.

 6. Woman's pictures of their baby bumps and baby bowling balls. Is nothing sacred anymore?


 5. Second-by-second sports udpates. I'm still trying to figure out why the sports experts
on Facebook have to give the play-by-play of of EVERY single play from a game. "That was
a clip!!!""He blew that coverage!!!!", "The pulling guard didn't pull!!!"  Really? You mean to
tell me you're watching the game, sitting on the couch, with a computer on your lap and now
you want to make like Troy Aikman and break down the passing tree and defensive stunts diagrammed by Bill Belichick? OK. That's cool, to each his own.  But I'd hit the 'dislike' button.

 4. People who post their Twitter stats on Facebook. Yeah, I've seen this a few times. People
actually cut and paste the amount of views and new followers they received via Twitter on
Facebook. Big 'dislike'. Why is this important? Who really cares?



 3. 'Likes' on an Obituary posting. Just when you think you've seen and read it all on Facebook,
something else comes up that makes you go, 'wow'.  A friend recently posted an obituary of
her brother. I was shocked to see 87 'likes' under it. Um, what is there to 'like'
about a death? Take 20 seconds to send a note offering your condolences.


2. Certain food pictures. OK, I get it when you've worked tirelessly in the kitchen to fix
a nice meal and are proud of the presentation. I'm all for showing off your creativity and hard
work. But when pictures of hamburgers and fries show up, I have to hit the 'dislike' button.
When a half-eaten hot dog appears, the 'dislike' button would be a mandatory hit. It's not
like we've haven't seen this 1,989, 423 times before. And that empty plate with the mmm,
mmm, good !caption? Yeah, that gets the 'dislike' button, too.

1. Pictures posing with celebrities who just died.  I don't know about you, but I find it a
little creepy. Dislike.

Note: This is a tongue-in-cheek article. You can 'dislike' it and I won't mind. I 'like' a lot
of things on Facebook like pictures of my friends and their kids, nostalgic-throwback photos,
tributes to parents, and anything where someone is smiling, having fun, and enjoying life.
But there are some I'd rather not see on Facebook. Just my humble opinion.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

RED SOX LEARNED FROM THOSE WHO DID NOT



Mike Hampton 7-years, $121 million

Barry Zito 8-years, $126 million

Johan Santana 6-years, $137 million

C.C. Sabathia 6-years, $142 million

What do these pitchers have in common? If you said they are left-handed, signed free-agent
contracts well over $100 million and struggled underneath the weight of them, you are
absolutely right.

In sports, history does have a way of repeating itself. Fully aware of that, the Boston Red
Sox chose not to repeat the mistake many other teams have made over the years. They
said they really wanted Jon Lester back and offered him $135 million and a lot of love.
But deep down, they knew the "hometown discount" is nothing but hot air coming from
athletes who always keep score and know what everyone else in making. And seriously,
what athlete has ever left $20 million on the table? You're right. None. Ever.


So, the Red Sox watched the Chicago Cubs, a team desperate for a winner and credibility,
throw $155 million at Lester to play in the Windy City. They also tossed in a vested option year
that could bring the total to $170 million. For one player. For 35 starts a year. For a
left-handed pitcher. That's a tough contract to swallow.

Oh, I'm sure the sabremetric geeks discovered some kind of stats we've never heard of
to validate the absurd money involved in this deal, but any stat freak can twist and bend
any kind of numbers to justify something or a desired result.

Like Lester, Hampton, Zito, Santana, and Sabathia were all showered with $100 million
plus contracts and they all turned out to be the same: an unmitigated disaster. Hampton
got hurt and hammered, Zito morphed into a batting practice pitcher, Santana got hurt,
threw a no-hitter, got hurt again and finished his Met career with a 48-34 record. That's
not a lot of bang for 136 million bucks. Sabathia's been hurt and now throws about 85
miles an hour.

Those teams that signed those players were hamstrung for years and in most cases, ended
up eating millions of dollars for guys who didn't pitch a whole lot for them. The Yankees
are still on the hook for about $100 million dollars with Sabathia and they have no idea
what they're going to get from a 33-year-old pitcher with bad knees, fluctuating weight,
and a bad arm.

Have any of these on monster contracts given to pitchers ever worked out? The Detroit Tigers gave Justin Verlander 8-years and $202 million when he turned 30. In 2014, his velocity dipped and E.R.A rose to 4.59. Pitchers don't get more durable as they age and most of them break down. The Tigers will be paying Verlander $28 million a year from 2015 to 2019. That's a lot for someone who has been a .500 pitcher since signing his deal.

Lester turns 31-years old soon and he's thrown just over 1,500 innings in his career. He's
been a workhouse and a hard-throwing pitcher, but seriously, how many lefty power
pitchers do you know besides Randy Johnson, who was a just a freak, remain durable
and get better in their mid-30's? You're right. Not many and all those secret pharmacies
where players often found the fountain of youth and added life to their fastball, are
closed.

Did the Red Sox whiff on trying to bring back a player they drafted, nurtured, and
groomed into an all-star pitcher? I guess that remains to be seen, but some people feel
they just made a calculated decision not to sign him. The St. Louis Cardinals said
and did the right things when they were trying to re-sign Albert Pujols but when
Pujols took more than $200 million to sign with the Angels, I don't think anyone
in the front office in St. Louis shed a tear.

And how have the Cards done without the best player in franchise history outside
of Stan Musial? They've gotten to the World Series twice without him.

If the Cardinals can survive without Pujols, it's not a stretch to say the Red Sox will
do just fine without Lester. I'm sorry, but he was never as good as Pedro Martinez
and Curt Schilling were with the Red Sox. He's not a big strikeout pitcher and nobody
anywhere has ever considered Lester to the best pitcher in the game. He's far from
being the best lefty. It's Clayton Kershaw, Madison Baumgarner and then
everyone else.

Perhaps, the Red Sox learned from Bill Belichick who has often made tough decisions
on players whom fans see as "favorites", but realizes their skills are on the decline. His
philosophy has always been that it's better to cut ties with a player a year too early
than a year too late. Boston fans were livid with Belichick after he didn't re-sign
Wes Welker over a matter of a few million dollars. How's that turned out? The
Patriots have survived and thrived without Welker. And Belichick will never pay
a player for what he's done in the past. He sees their real value and what they can
do now and in the future.

The Cubs needed Lester a lot more than the Red Sox did. This is an organization that
hasn't won anything in more than 100 years. It needs instant credibility and Lester
brings that. Chances are he will be strong and post great numbers for the first couple
of years of the deal and Red Sox fans will be consumed with the one that got away.


As for Boston, it had already locked up Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez for
around $200 million. There was no way they were going to tie up $350 million in
three players. I think they learned their lesson when they brought in Carl Crawford,
Adrian Gonzalez, and re-signed Josh Beckett. They needed a miracle and a team like
the Dodgers to get out of that mess. It won't happen again.

The $135 million they "tried" to give Lester was freed up and gave the Red Sox
more flexibility. They brought in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, and Justin Masterson.
Sure, none of them have the reputation and record of Lester, but they do have more
than enough talent to succeed in Boston.

I don't think Ben Cherington and company are done wheeling and dealing,
yet. With their stable full of hot prospects, there is a chance the Red Sox could
land a front-line starter and come spring training without breaking the bank.


Perhaps, the Red Sox are smart enough to know that those who don't learn
from history are bound to repeat it.

As for Red Sox fans, thank and appreciate Lester for what he did for the
organization and move on. He certainly has. And just be happy he didn't sign
with the Yankees.