Friday, May 29, 2015

A TRUE CHAMPION NAMED JOSH

 


I've never met this kid named Josh, but feel like I've known him forever. I've seen his
soulful eyes and mile-wide grin on Facebook a lot over the years and every time I do,
a smile washes over my face and I get a big chuckle. It's a great way to start the day.

Josh is the 7-year-old son of Kim Agostino, a former co-worker of mine at NESN, a
wonderland of sports with a collection of talented, wonderful, and pretty darn cool people.
Mom is extremely proud of her son and is always posting pictures of her little bundle of
pure joy on the mother of all social media networks.


There is Josh with Wally the Green Monster. There he is with the Red Sox are number
1 foam-finger. The cool kid is pictured with unbridled joy after getting an autograph from
his favorite player, Mike Trout.

When I see pictures of Josh, I see a kid just being a kid, loving life and enjoying the
incredible experiences and opportunities his mother has provided him with. The special
bond between mother and son jumps off the page and can melt a glacier in a
matter of seconds.

Last week, his mother was as proud as she's ever been of her beautiful child when he
got to share the sacred grounds of Fenway Park with his favorite team, the Boston Red
Sox. There was Josh pictured side-by-side with Dustin Pedroia and Brock Holt standing
at attention for the national anthem.


On a perfect sun-splashed afternoon, the little kid was a giant on the field, the envy of
millions of kids across Red Sox nation. Josh was also the center of attention for "Autism
Awareness Day", which cast a feel-good spell over Fenway Park.

Josh is autistic.

To see Josh and his mother at Fenway Park on this glorious spring afternoon was
truly heartwarming. This special bond mother and son have formed was on display in
the cathedral of baseball as they tried to spread the message about autism.


About 1.5% of children in the United States (one in 68) are diagnosed with autism as
of 2014, a 30% increase from one in 88 in 2012.

I don't pretend to know everything about autism, but I realize there are big challenges
to deal with. Every day is not a rosy one for parent or child. To see Kim and Josh smile
and battle through the tough times and try to do something for others, is truly heartwarming
and inspirational.

To see Kim shower Josh with all these opportunities and give him these wonderful
experiences is a beautiful thing. To see Josh smiling from ear-to-ear, whether it be
on Facebook or television is a great thing, too. Mom and son are true champions and
most of all, an amazing team.


I often contemplate deleting my Facebook account, but that would mean missing the
smile of Josh and everything great that mother and son stand for. I won't do it.

What a team!

Go Josh!. Go Kim!


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I AM DEFLATE-GATE


I am Deflate-gate, the most ridiculous scandal in NFL history.

I am Deflate-gate and I really got started because Tom Brady told the Baltimore Ravens
they should study the rule book and figure it out. What do they say about payback again?

I am Deflate-gate but really just Bill Buckner in disguise. I am torturing New England
sports fans all over again and come to think of it, I'm really enjoying it.

I am Deflate-gate and so powerful, I got Bill Belichick to use a "My Cousin Vinny" reference.
Most people can't even get him to smile and I made everybody think he has a sliver of
personality. Damn, I'm good.


I am Deflate-gate and I've given everyone outside of New England another reason to
hate Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the Patriots even more.

I am Deflate-gate and I brought you Jim McNally, known as the "bird and "the deflator",
but only when he's trying to lose weight (wink, wink).

I am Deflate-gate and I became so famous, "Saturday Night Live" opened its show with me.


I am Deflate-gate and I made America obsess over a little air being taken out of
something they call pigskin. Stupid. It's easy to see how you all helped turn the
Kardashians into a household name. And you think Bruce Jenner is weird? No, you are.

I am Deflate-gate and I brought you the most hilarious exchange of texting since
Tiger Woods was acting like a teenager and sending obscene messages to his slew
of porn stars.

I am Deflate-gate and I still don't think Roger Goodell has any idea of what he's doing.

I am Deflate-gate and please don't hate all that much on Tom Brady. Sure, he has money,
fame, four Super Bowl rings and a super model for a wife. But I made sure he's not really
perfect. After all, who is?

I am Deflate-gate and you can be sure Romo, Rothlisberger, Rivers, and the Manning
boys will play by all the rules when it comes to rubbing up their favorite balls from
now on.

I am Deflate-gate. Robert Kraft finally waved the white flag and wants to move on.
So do I. I'm even sick of hearing about myself, but man, did I have a good time messing
with the best team in the NFL. Go Pats!


Thursday, May 14, 2015

PATRIOTS HOT AIR: LOSING WEIGHT & CREDIBILITY


The Patriots just lost me.

I was never a "fan" of the 4-time Super Bowl champions and didn't think they were
worth the energy and time to live and die with them while wearing a Rob Gronkowski
jersey.

However, while covering the team for NESN every day for nearly two seasons, I gained the
ultimate respect for the organization and how they did things. To watch and listen to Bill
Belichick, Tom Brady, and a team that personified hard work, intelligence, and a laser-like
focus was an experience I will never forget.

Now, I'm forgetting everything they once stood for. The 'Patriots Way' was slapped on an
organization by some sportswriter who drank too much of Robert Kraft's Kool-Aid but
now their brew has been poisoned. For good.

After reading one line of the team's rebuttal to the Wells Report Thursday,  which led to
the suspension of face of the franchise and the NFL's golden boy, I don't think the
organization is all that special anymore.

Jim McNally: A Deflate-watcher

The Patriots' dream team of lawyers is pulling out all the stops in order to smear the
report and try to save some face. The text exchange between locker room grunts
Jim McNally an John Jastremski revealed, in a very comical way, Brady's obsession
with his football's. McNally went so far as calling himself "the deflator", which any
human being with an I.Q. over 4 could use to connect all the dots and yell out,
"CHEATERS!"

Well, the Patriots went on the attack and tried to convince the court of public opinion
and those with an I.Q. under three that McNally was really saying had to do with
losing weight not taking air out of footballs:

 "Mr. McNally is a big fellow and had the opposite goal: to lose weight. 'Deflate' was a
 term they used to refer to losing weight...This banter, and Mr. McNally’s goal of losing
weight, meant Mr. McNally was the “deflator.” There was nothing complicated or
 sinister about it."--Daniel Goldberg, team lawyer.

Borrowing a line from the late Leslie Nielsen, "Shirley, you can't be serious?"

Ok, bear with me, I have  to touch on a few things. You mean to tell me this is the best
explanation these experienced, Ivy League-educated lawyers can come up with? Did they
sit in a think tank for 3 days and say, "Bingo! We got it! Let's say McNally was trying to
lose weight. I mean, doesn't everybody equate deflating to weight loss?"

Robert Kraft paid for and approved this? Good, Lord, that 32-year-old "girlfriend" he
pals around with has apparently turned his cerebellum into mush. Nobody anywhere is
buying this ridiculous explanation. Isn't it amazing how releasing a little air from a dozen
footballs has turned into this childish power-play between the Patriots and the NFL?
 


Yeah, Ray Rice knocks out his lady in an elevator and Greg Hardy collects more
ammunition than Rambo and then throws his girl on a couch and demands that she pick
one of the assault weapons he has to kill her with. And the NFL is consumed with
DeflateGate?

This DeflateGate scandal is beyond stupid. I may go watch an episode of the "Kardashians"
to feel a little smarter and get back to what's really important in life like selfies,
self-absorption, and self-embarrassment. (wink, wink)

Deflating in our society now really means losing weight, according to the Patriots lawyers.
That is just brilliant. Expect to see "Deflate-watchers" supplements and a carefully
produced diet program at a GNC store near you. Perhaps, former Patriots Vince Wilfork
will be the company spokesman because big ole Vince has a little problem battling the
bulge. Maybe he can deflate it away! Yeah, that's it.



Deflating means losing weight? Really?  You just can't make this stuff up.

I can almost hear Johnnie Cochran from his grave, "If you are overweight, you must deflate."

The late night talk shows are going to have a field day with the Patriots stupidity. The
New York Post has enough content to write outrageously funny and brilliant headlines
for a month. The editors must have gone nuts when they heard about the deflator explanation
by the Patriots.

I worked in broadcast news when the O.J Simpson murder trial aired on all the 24-hour
channels in the mid-90's. I, like many people in this country, was riveted to the proceedings
of the trial. O.J. put a 'Dream Team' defense squad together and they threw enough crap
on the wall to bring down the Green Monster in Boston.


Cochran brought out the hat and the glove and uttered the famous line that arguably
won the case, "If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit." And it stuck. So did their
impassioned pleas that the evidence was contaminated by overzealous cops and sloppy
procedures. Cochran even asked why an ice cream cone on the ground was not tested
for the "melt rate" to determine what time the murder occurred. Nicole Brown Simpson,
the ex-wife of O.J. was allegedly enjoying an ice cream cone when she was attacked.

Now, it appears the Patriots' legal dream team is doing the same thing: throwing everything
on the wall and hope it sticks.

It will not. The Patriots are not operating in the court of law (yet) and they don't have a
less-than-intelligent jury to influence.


Once considered the smartest organization in professional sports is now looking like
the dumbest. Oh, sure, they might be able to get the suspension of Brady overturned,
but unlike their weak sauce explanation of "the deflator", the bad opinion people have
of Patriots right now will stick.

Yep, a guy looking to lose some weight caused this mess for the Patriots.

You just can't make this stuff up. You just can't.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

WHY TOM BRADY 'LIED'


No country in the world has better armchair quarterbacks than the United States. If it were
an Olympic sport, the red, white, and blue would sweep the medals. Everybody knows everything
and if we don't, we just make it up.

If an issue comes up concerning gay marriage and homosexuality becomes "trending", people
drop the, "well, the Bible says..." as if they are so well-versed in it, they could be giving the
gospel at the Vatican and have you believe they were rubbing elbows with Jesus at the Last
Supper.

And if those armchair quarterbacks or other so-called 'experts', feel they are lied to by
people they don't know or much less even met, then it becomes "hell hath no fury like the
self-righteous scorned." They take it as a personal affront and act is if the person who 'lied'
to them, even though they don't know them, can no longer be trusted.


The Tom Brady-DeflateGate scandal is a perfect example of this. In his initial press conference
just days after the AFC Championship where the Patriots were accused of deflating their balls,
Brady met the media in an event that was broadcast to most of the nation. Good, Lord, if
Showtime was smart enough to acquire the rights, they could have made it pay-per-view
and ripped the world off just like they did with the Pacquio-Mayweather fight.

Brady answered all the ridiculous questions from the experts in the media, many of whom
came with the sole purpose of catching the golden boy quarterback in a lie so they could
hopefully, become "trending" and appear on another blowhard talk show that most people
rely on for their information.

Almost as soon as the press conference ended, a lot of people felt that Brady was less
than truthful in his explanation of deflated balls. Mark Brunell of ESPN was all but
crying like a petulant child who didn't get a lego set for his birthday, saying Brady
wasn't telling the truth. Many armchair quarterbacks in the Boston media weren't
convinced of Brady's story. I'm surprised nobody in the world of 24-hour channels
didn't call in body language experts to determine if Brady was telling the truth.


First of all, Brady didn't owe anything to the media and he wasn't under oath. Secondly,
the Super Bowl was less than two weeks away. Why in the world would people expect
Brady to say, "Yes, I like my balls deflated and ordered a code red! I told the ball boys
to DO YOUR JOB. I mean, that's what Belichick says everyday, right?"

Why was Brady required to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
If that's the case, let's rewind the press conferences of every president of the United
States over the last 30 years.

If Brady admitted he doctored the balls, as most armchair quarterbacks said he should've
done after the fact, what kind of chaos do you think would've ensued during Super Bowl
week?

Do you think Brady wanted his teammates to have to endure two weeks leading up
to the big game being asked about deflated balls, cheating, and Brady's character?


The Patriots are the most mentally tough team on the planet, but if Brady admitted to
deflating balls right then and there, they would've folded like, um, say, the New York
Jets under pressure. The last thing he was going to do was give the media and the
rest of society chum to feed on leading up to the Super Bowl. It would've been
a frenzy of epic proportions.

We live in a world of 'gotcha journalism' where people in the media are so desperate
to make a name for themselves and have a goal of becoming famous on Twitter, they'll
do just about anything to catch people in a lie so they can say, "You, sir, are a liar."

That was the case with Nick Saban back in 2005 when he was coaching the Miami Dolphins.
The University of Alabama was looking for a head coach and naturally, Saban emerged
as a candidate.

After weeks and weeks of being asked if he was going to be the head coach at Alabama,
Saban finally said, "No, I'm not going to be the head coach at Alabama."

Did the media want Saban to say, while under contract to the Dolphins and not to
Alabama, to say, "Yes, I'm going to be the head coach at Alabama." It would've been
mutiny in Miami and there would be no way the players on the team would play for a
guy who was leaving. The players would've mailed it in faster than FedEx.

Yes, there are times when a person has to lie for the sake, not himself, but for the
players, team, and company. That's just the way it is. Saban got tagged as a liar
and suddenly he was a person of ill-repute and shadiness.

When reporters asked the president if he planned on attacking Iraq, do you think he
should've said, "Yes, we are going to bomb Iraq off the planet tomorrow morning
at 5:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and you better get your popcorn ready because it's
going to be a show."

Sometimes leaders can't spill the whole truth, got it?

Brady said he didn't know the locker room attendants, which is a stretch, but why
in the world would he out those guys? Then he'd be called a sell-out and throwing
others under the bus. These guys are paid hourly to do grunt work. Perhaps, Brady
didn't want to have their names exposed. Is that wrong?


And remember, this was days after the accusations came out. Brady was lawyered
up and told what and what not to say.

Soon after the Wells report was released, the armchair quarterbacks came out in full
force. Many of them saying that Brady should've have just told the truth right then
and there and everybody would've forgiven him. They said he should've just admitted
his mistake and involvement and moved on. They say he handled the press conference
horribly.

They say he lied.

Brady doesn't owe anybody anything in a press conference. Does the leader of a company?
The president of the United States? Has Roger Goodell been truthful about everything
with the media.

People lie all the time in business. If you lie in negotiations are you a crook, especially
when you get a great deal for the company? Right, everybody is honest in brokering a deal.


The president of the United State 'lies' in a press conference to try to protect the best
interests of the country.

Tom Brady 'lied' in his press conference to protect the best interests of the Patriots.
So, what? If he didn't and the Patriots lost the Super Bowl, the armchair quarterbacks
would've said, Brady caused a huge distraction and it was all his fault.





Monday, May 11, 2015

THE PATRIOTS ARE GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL



As soon as I found out Tom Brady was suspended for four games and the New England
Patriots were heavily fined by Roger Goodell, the NFL's prince of clowns, I checked to
see where the 2015 Super Bowl is being played. The Patriots will be in it and I wanted to
make reservations early.

San Francisco? Nice. It will make for  one helluva story.

That's right, you read correctly. The New England Patriots will represent the AFC (again) in
Super Bowl 50. What makes the story even better, Brady was raised in the Bay Area and
idolized Joe Montana, the Hall of Fame quarterback with four Super Bowl rings---just like
Brady.

Why do I think the Patriots will get to the Super Bowl with Brady forced to sit out the
first quarter of the season? Simple. No team in the history of sports plays the "Us against the
World" card better than the Patriots under Bill Belichick. Nobody.

Remember when the Kansas City Chiefs throttled the Patriots in front of national audience
last year. Fans said Brady was done and Belichick couldn't draft, make trades, or sign
quality players. Trent Dilfer of ESPN proclaimed the Patriots "just aren't good anymore."


Yeah, how'd that turn out?

No team uses controversy to fuel them like the Patriots. Remember what happened after
Eric Mangini turned in his mentor for spying after the first game of the 2007 season? Yeah,
they embarrassed just about every team in the NFL on the way to the Super Bowl. They
were  an Asante Samuel interception drop and an out-of-this world catch by David Tyree
from going a perfect 19-0.

Remember when the Patriots lost Brady in the first game of the 2006 season to a knee
injury? Yeah, they went 11-5 with the immortal Matt Cassell under center. Cassell didn't
start a single-game in his career at USC, but Belichick coached him up and the Patriots
did fine.

The Patriots don't use injuries, not even to Brady, as an excuse. They plan, prepare, and
execute better than any team in the league. Oh, I heard that "nobody cheats like them
either," under your breath, but you can stick it and save it.

Hello, Jimmy Garappolo. The former signal-caller out of Eastern Illinos is now the
current QB of the Patriots.  Many people felt  he was a reach as a second-round
pick in 2013 simply because the so-called experts felt Brady had a few good years
left before retiring. How those experts looking now? A stroke of genius by Belichick
again. Oh, sure, nobody expected Brady to be out for cheating, but you can bet
Garappolo will be ready to step in.


Under the Belichick, the Patriots have won 72 percent of its games, been to the
Super Bowl six times, winning four of them. Now, he has more fuel to fire up
his team. The world thinks the Patriots are the biggest cheaters in sports, Don Shula
mocks them, and they are the butt of a lot of late night television jokes.

Good luck with that NFL, the Patriots are on another mission.

Brady will be back to face the Indianapolis Colts in week 5. Yes, that's the same team that
turned the Patriots in for taking a little air out of the footballs. Brady had steam coming
out of his ears when his own fans questioned his ability after the Kansas City massacre,
you can bet fire will be coming out of his nostrils after the football world questions
his character and credibility for the next five months.

Man, I can't wait for the football season. This is going to be good---and painful
for opponents of the Patriots. I'm not saying they'll win the Super Bowl but I wouldn't
bet against them from getting there.

A SPECIAL GIFT ON MOTHER'S DAY


On the eve of Mother's Day, I produced a feature for the television station I work for called,
"What do moms really want for Mother's Day?" Flowers, chocolate, and a Hallmark card are
always nice, but I'm sure receiving them year-after-year can get, well, kind of old.

When I hit the street for my report, I found some interesting and entertaining answers from
mother's looking for something different on a day honoring them. "Sleep," said one woman
from Greenwich, CT. With three young kids to raise, it's easy to see why she'd opt for a
gift that can't be bought. Another woman I interviewed jokingly said (I think), all she wanted
was "a non-golfing playing husband." I did not pry for more information.

The best answer I received came from a mother of four who was looking a bit disheveled,
most likely the result of driving kids to lacrosse games, buying groceries, dealing with
allergies, folding laundry, cooking lunch, and cleaning the house---all in the past four hours.

With a microphone and camera in her face, I asked her what she really wanted for Mother's
Day. She paused, looked to the sky, and quickly returned to the subject and a red-light
blinking on the camera.

"What I'd really like is a letter from my kids saying how much I mean to them and the
things I do to make them happy," she said.

There was a pregnant pause that seemed nine months. That was special. No flowers, Godiva's,
a day at the spa, or even a few hours of extra sleep. Just a handwritten note. It brought a
smile to my face. That was heartfelt and I also knew it'd make my report all that much better.
And it did.

Monday morning, I woke up to a text from my sister, Kara, who lives on the west coast.
I get a lot of texts from her, most them accompanied with a picture of her fifth child, Emma.
Well, Emma is really a small Boston Terrier, but my sister treats her as if she bore the
dog herself. I kid with her about being obsessed with it, but we are all dog lovers and
I get it.

I opened the text and much to my surprise, it wasn't a picture of Emma, but rather a
letter from her daughter, Sophie. Sophie is 7-years-old going on 17. She is so sweet,
thoughtful, and most of all, independent. Sophie makes coffee every morning and brings
it upstairs to mom and dad in bed. She is a pure bundle of joy, void of temper tantrums
and selfishness. Sophie zoomed past the terrible two's and always wakes up and goes to
bed with a big smile on her face.

On Mother's Day, Sophie put a mile-wide grin on the face of her mother. Without a
nudge from her father or anyone else, Sophie penned a letter that will stay on the
refridgerator door for a long, long time.



 A "Thank You" note from a beautiful little girl with a big heart, melting the one of
her mother. How sweet, kind, and thoughtful. Five days before her mother's special day,
she authored this short but very special letter.

The "kisses" the "hugs" and a stand alone, "I love my mom."  How great is this? Sophie
had a little trouble with the last line, "you bey me cut clows", (you buy me cute clothes)
but it makes the note all that more special

I can now see why the woman I interviewed pined for just a note from her kids on Mother's
Day. No store-bought Hallwark card, no cheesy chocolates, no flowers that will be dead
and gone in four days.


A note like this lasts a lifetime. Words like these get engrained in a mother's heart, mind,
and soul forever. I was moved by this. I know my sister was, too. That is love.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

TOM BRADY AND THE WORDS THAT WILL HAUNT HIM FOREVER



One thing about players and coaches in the NFL, they never forget. They never forget who
throws a cheap shot on the field or says something about them off it. The phrase 'bulletin board
material' started in the NFL and it will remain there forever. But players and teams don't really
need a newspaper article pinned to a slab of cork to motivate or remind them of something,
they have it engrained in the long-term memory part of their brains.

This is exactly what landed Tom Brady in the center of the "DeflageGate" scandal which is something that, undoubtedly, wipes the shine off his golden boy image and mostly likely
will get him suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell this week.

To understand the scope of this saga, you have to go back to May 1, 2012 when Baltimore
Ravens head coach said in an interview with ProFootballTalk.com, the three Super Bowl
titles won were tainted because of the SpyGate scandal in 2007.



“Even the thing in New England, no matter whether those things had any impact on whether
they won their championships or not, they got asterisks now," Harbaugh said."it’s been
stained. So to me, it’s never worth it. You’ve got to figure out ways to use the rules to your advantage.”

The statement was not only eye-raising because it came from the mouth of a current NFL
coach, but for the fact Harbaugh got his job with the Ravens in big part because of Bill
Belichick, who made a personal call to the team's owner on behalf of Harbaugh recommending
him for the job. Saying the Patriots' titles were tainted was seen as a huge slap in the
face to Belichick and one Tom Brady never forgot. He also remembered the line, "you've
got to figure out ways to use the rules to your advantage" so eloquently stated by Harbaugh.



So, after the Patriots beat the Ravens in the playoffs this season, Brady took a moment during
his post-game press conference and did something that was so out of character for the Patriots
QB: he fired a shot at Harbaugh publically. In response to the Ravens being confused by a
Patriots formation,  claiming it was illegal, Brady said the Ravens should "study the rule book
and figure it out."

Study the rule book and figure it out.

Those eight words will haunt Brady forever.

Brady was taking a dig at Harbaugh who said the Patriots' titles were tainted and also was
sticking up for Belichick, whom he is fiercely loyal to. He felt Harbaugh was being incredibly
disloyal to a man who helped him get his first NFL coaching job and never forgot it.

Harbaugh didn't forget Brady's comment, either. After the Patriots beat the Ravens they
moved on to play the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship. The Ravens have
strong, strong ties to the Colts. Chuck Pagano, the head coach of the Colts, was the
defensive coordinator with the Ravens prior to getting the job in Indianapolis.


Before the AFC Championship game, the Colts alerted the NFL  the Patriots may
be using deflated footballs. Many people within the league believe the Colts were tipped
off by Harbaugh after Brady made the comment pointed at him, saying the Ravens
should "study the rule book and figure it out".

Study the rule book and figure it out.

Brady has long been known to be psycho about the feel of the footballs he uses during
the games. He and Peyton Manning went to the commissioner in 2006 in an effort to
let quarterbacks break the balls in during the week leading up to the game. They got
the green light and the NFL pretty much changed the rules for them.

Somewhere along the line, the Ravens and Harbaugh got wind of Brady liking underinflated
balls. Just like in any business or life for that matter, people talk, rumors gets started,
stories get spread, and information collected.

The Ravens  just played the Patriots in the playoffs and lost two 14-point leads to
them. During the course of the game, they may have discovered what they had heard
to be true about Brady's underinflated balls


Getting beaten by the Patriots on the field was one thing, embarrassed by Tom Brady
off it, was quite another. Turns out it was something Harbaugh wouldn't forget.

The goods on Brady and the DeflateGate scandal are out with the league set to suspend
its golden boy quarterback who had it all until he uttered the words that will haunt
him forever: "Study the rule book and figure it out."

In that Harbaugh interview gave ProFootballTalk.com in 2012, the coach of the Ravens
also said something that turned out to be really prophetic.

“If you’re cheating, in the end, you’re going to get discredited,” Harbaugh said. “It’s just
 not worth it.”

Tom Brady should've remembered that line by Harbaugh as much as he engrained the
one about the Patriots' titles being tainted in his head.

Tom, it just wasn't worth it.


Friday, May 8, 2015

PATRIOTS AND THE "BALL BUSTERS"



Just so there's no misunderstanding: This is a lighthearted piece about the Patriots and
two of their employees who are at the center of Deflate-Gate along with Tom Brady. As
with texts, there is no real tone to this article so unless you know me, you might not be
sure if I'm kidding around or being serious.

If I didn't put that disclaimer in, a lot of you would probably inject your own "tone" just
like so many of us do when we receive a text from somebody. Those who read the Wells
Report and came across the texts between Jim McNally, locker room attendant, and John
Jestremski, an assistant in the Patriots locker room, will probably surmise all those texts
were totally serious.

They were not.


I have to say, the exchange between McNally known as "Bird", and his own words,
"The Deflator" and Jastremski, had me rolling on the floor in laughter. It was "SNL" worthy
and you can bet this will be great content on the show in the near future.

If there is a sit-com about "Deflate-Gate", I'd love to see Jimmy Fallon play the "Bird" and
Seth Meyers play Jestremski, which by the way, is a really bad name. I mean, Yastremski
was cool because it could be shortened to "Yaz", an icon in New England. But Jastremski?
It's right up there along with Tonya Harding's ex-husband Jeff Gillooly who was involved
in the scandal that saw another dude whack Nancy "Why me?!" Kerrigan.

Jeff Gilooly is now Jeff Stone

Gilooly went on to change his name (now Jeff Stone) because the name would always beassociated with the scandal and jobs would probably be harder to come by, but let's face it,
the scandal was a great excuse to get rid of one of the worst names in the history of the world.

Anyway, back to the texts between "The Deflator" and Jastremski. They were LOL funny.

Jim McNally, "The Deflator"

McNally: Tom sucks...im going make that next ball a [expletive] balloon

Jastremski: I checked some of the balls this morn... The refs [expletive] us...a few of
then were at almost 16.

McNally: [expletive] tom ...16 is nothing...wait till next sunday. The only thing that
will be deflated will be his passer rating.

You may think McNally despises Brady from the tone, but I look at it just smack-talk
and two guys being funny on texting. It's part locker room bravado, part being sarcastic.
I covered the Patriots every day for two seasons and can tell you that everyone who
works for the organization respects Brady, just as the Broncos do Peyton Manning.
Sure, there is behind the back, rolling of the eyes, sarcastic comments, but that's all that
it is.

John Jastremski

Jastremski: Can‟t wait to give you your needle this week :)
McNally: F— tom....make sure the pump is attached to the needle f—in watermelons
coming next week.

I hope after these guys getting fired by the Patriots, they get their own reality show on
Bravo or AMC or even NESN. "Bird" and Jestremski are creative, hilarious, and have
the balls to bring in viewers to any program they're involved in.

McNally: Chill buddy. I'm not going to ESPN....yet.

Yep, McNally, a.k.a, "The Deflator" should be heading for Bristol to audition for "NFL
Live." I have little doubt he'd bring more to the program than Ray Lewis and you'd probably
be able to understand what the hell he's saying, too.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

MLB TO BLAME FOR A-ROD, YANKS CONTROVERSY



The controversy between the New York Yankees and Alex Rodriquez over the $6 million
bonus the steroid king was contractually obligated to receive after tying Willie Mays on
the all-time list with 660 home runs is absurd.

The Yankees, the most valuable franchise in sports worth north of $3 billion, refuse to pay
A-Rod, a player who has earned more than $300 million in his career, because they feel
most of his home runs were belted while he was juiced up on PED's. They appear more than
willing to spend as much in legal fees as the amount they agreed to pay A-Rod for hitting
number 660 in the 10-year deal they lavished on him in 2007. 

All this petty stuff over $6 million, which is chump change to a franchise that has a payroll
of more than $200. It's all silly, very silly. It's almost ironic too, since the Yankees increased
the value of their franchise by winning four World Series titles during the Steroid Era with
a number of players who fell under a cloud of suspicion. Now, their noses are all bent
out of a shape because they don't want to cough up a measly $6 million to player who
helped them win another World Series title--while on steroids, of course.

Who is to blame? The Yankees? A-Rod? Try Major League Baseball.


Thanks to turning a blind eye to the Steroid Era, nearly every significant record and milestone
became meaningless. 61, 755, and even 3,000 weren't all that special anymore. Baseball
used to be all about statistics  the average fan could memorize. Boy, that sure changed,
because of steroids. Now, baseball is about OPS, WAR, and numbers that only sabremetric
geeks care about.

Commissioner Bud Selig and his cronies ducked their heads in the sand during the Steroid
Era because everybody was getting filthy rich. Thanks to the fraudulent home run duel
between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, baseball became hot once again.

Fans were flowing through turnstiles at a record rate and television paid MLB billions
to broadcast its games. Selig wasn't going to be the man who killed the golden goose, that's
for sure. Forget about all the great records and milestones, it was all about the money.
It always is.

McGwire broke the single-season home run record by 8, until Barry Bonds got jealous and
then hit the juice. He broke Big Mac's record by three in 2001. Before that season, Bonds
never hit more than 49 home runs then belts 73!  Oh, sure, it had nothing to do with
steroids.

Selig said his hands were tied thanks to a powerful Players Union that wasn't open to
re-doing the collective bargaining agreement to implement stronger testing and
penalties for players who got caught cheating.

So the steroid use went on and all these players kept compiling ridiculous numbers.
Former stick-figure Luis Gonzalez, who never hit more than 31 home runs in his
career, belted 57 home runs in 2001. 57! Hank Arron never hit more than 47 during any
season of his Hall of Fame career.


After all their pockets were lined with gold and baseball reaching the zenith of its
popularity, Selig started to get tough. Perhaps, a big nudge from Congress had something
to do with it. Congress all but mocked Selig for baseball's drug testing program and
his authority over it.

Following orders from Selig, George Mitchell undertook a 21-month investigation of
steroids in baseball. The Mitchell Report told the world what most everybody had long
known: baseball had a steroid problem. The casual needed only five minutes and an
examination of the head of Bonds to figure that out, but Selig was finally going to do
something.

But for all new penalties and drug policies, it came way too late. All the significant
records became irrelevant. Milestones don't mean anything anymore. When Albert
Pujols hit his 500th career home run, nobody blinked. Jim Thome crushed his 600th
dinger and we barely noticed.

When A-Rod cranked out career home run number 660, there was no big celebration.
Willie Mays didn't go onto the field to congratulate him. 660 means something to only
one person: Alex Rodriquez. The Yankees only care about the $6 million figure they
have no intention of paying him.

The number 660, 6,000,000, and nearly everyone in between are all meaningless thanks
to Major League Baseball, which did nothing but look away when everybody was on
steroids and climbing the ladder of the record books at a frightening pace.

Major League Baseball has nobody to blame but themselves. Thanks, Bud.

Friday, May 1, 2015

WHEN A FRIEND GOES TO PRISON



Having worked in broadcast news for nearly 20 years, I'm not surprised by anything I
read, hear, or see in our society. If you cover things everyday like murders, riots, liars,
cheaters, and everything else that can be described illegal, immoral, and illegitimate, you
become immune to the shock value of things.

So, when I learned Thursday that a good friend of mine from my days in Lake Forest,
Illinois was sent away to prison for 12 years, I didn't sit around saying, "Are you kidding
me?!!!". But I did find myself in an unusual spot, struggling with my feelings towards a
person whom I thought to be a really good guy, raised the right way by a wonderful family,
and genuinely loved by a large circle of friends.

I'm a fiercely loyal person who doesn't turn a back on a friend, no matter what. But for the
first time in my life the "no matter what" came into play. When I first learned about the
crime my old friend committed, I wasn't all that phased and didn't let it affect my thoughts
about the kid I befriended many, many years ago. He was part of a circle of friends I met
during my two wonderful years in Lake Forest and we all formed this incredible bond that
carried us from teenagers to the 50-somethings we are today.

After first hearing about the crime our friend committed, our initial response was, "What
the hell was he thinking?", but none of us talked badly about him. He received our
unconditional support because after all,  he was our friend.

Our friend was convicted on 13 felony counts, including mail fraud, wire fraud and
conspiracy.  He fronted a scam that offered homeowners representation in the renegotiation
of mortgages.  It made his "firm" $13 million, robbing many of the 3,000 people they
"represented" of their life savings.

Thoughts of Bernie Madoff came to mind and this was my friend. He reached out to me
while he was awaiting his sentencing. We talked for 20 minutes but his conviction never
came up. If he didn't bring it up then I figured he didn't care to talk about it. I wasn't in
the mood at the time to say, "What the hell were you thinking?" I was just talking to him
as a friend, like we were still buddies back in Lake Forest. I didn't know of anyone convicted
of anything, much less 13 felony counts. And this was my friend.

Good, Lord.

Several weeks later, we traded texts and I asked when he was getting sentenced. He informed
me that he got a delay and wouldn't find out the time he would have to spend in prison until
the end of April.

The end of April has come and gone and my friend now sits in a prison where he will spend
the next 12 years of his life. Oh, I'm sure, he'll probably get out for good behavior in 8 years
and he'll still be able to enjoy how many years he has left in his natural life.

However, while I still consider my friend a good friend, I'm wrestling with just how
good a person he really is. There are few things worse than scamming people out of
money knowing full well that you are scamming them. You make up lies that sound
so good to people you don't even know, they open their wallets and bank accounts,
trusting you blindly.  You even offer them a money back guarantee and when they
want their money back, you say, "Sorry, I don't have it."

What kind of person does that? Is he so intoxicated by greed that he has to take advantage
of people, selling them a pack of lies of hope and financial flexibility?

People should know by know that nobody gets away with a scam. The FBI and IRS always
catch up to you. It may take years, but they almost always get the bad guys.

Is my good friend really a bad guy? Knowing him the way I did, my first reaction is
to say 'no'.  Sadly, that just may be my own perception of him. I don't want to believe
the worst in him.

But the reality is, my friend was a bad guy, corrupted by greed, immune to the feelings
of the people he was scamming. He is paying a very steep price for his actions. 12
years in prison away from his family, flat-broke, and his good name gone forever.
Society is quick to tag people with labels and my friend will now always be the guy
who tried to become rich by stealing from the not-so-rich.

However, if my friend calls me from prison or when he gets out, I, for some reason
I haven't figured out yet, will take the call and be there for him. I will not run away
or ignore him.

I really do want to ask him, "What the hell were you thinking?", but will also realize that
it won't matter what the response is.

He is a friend, no matter what, and that will never change.