Thursday, December 31, 2015

MY 'BEST' OF 2015


                                                                    BEST SELFIE
 
 
This was a unanimous selection. Team Magic, a group of special needs children from
New York, needed to raise money for a trip to compete in the national cheerleading
championships in Orlando  and I was assigned to do a story on them. These girls stole
my heart. So innocent, pure, and unbelievably courageous.



BEST TIME COVERING A STORY
 

 
This picture brings a smile to my face every single time I see it. A group of seniors took
part in a music video that went viral and I did a follow up story. The two people pictured
above with me were an absolutely hoot that have truly gotten the most out of their 90-year
lives. They still dance and sing and put a mile-wide grin on my face.
 
                                                                 BEST WEEKEND
 
 
A return to Chapel Hill for a UNC baseball reunion. I'm lucky to have met so many great
teammates and created so many friendships at my alma mater, ones that have lasted
for a real long time. It was a weekend of golf, baseball, Midnight Madness, and Franklin
Streets. Chapel Hill is one of the most special places on earth.
 
                                                               BEST PHOTO BOMB
 
 
Dropping in on brother Patrick during his gig at a bar in Stamford, CT.  He can really
pick it! Love the guy because he's one cool dude.
 
BEST ACCOMPLISHMENT
 

 
Finishing the Ironman in Lake Placid for the second year in a row. It was hotter and I was
a little fatter than my first completion of the 140.6 mile event, but I persevered and finished
in a respectable time. And to have my family there to support me, made it all the more
special. I'm gearing up to do it again this July.
 
                                                                BEST MEETING
 
 

I finally got to meet the mother and sister of my hero, Brian Bill. Bill was a Navy SEAL
from Stamford, CT. who was killed during a mission in Afghanistan in August of 2011.
Total stud and real American hero. I wish you could measure how much respect and
admiration I have for Brian Bill and his mother, Patricia Parry, and sister, Amy Kutney,
who are truly wonderful and amazing people. It is my goal to one day write a book about Brian
Bill because he most definitely deserves to have his story told.
 
                                                                     BEST LOOP
 
                                                                                


Mike Cavanaugh, hockey coach at UConn and good friend, invited me to carry his bag
for the Travelers Pro-Am. As you can see, the bag wasn't all that heavy and it was a
spectacular day. Two Irishman talking trash like we were on the back nine of Bushwood.
Man, it was fun. They had great food after just about every hole and as you all pretty
much know by now, I love to chow down. Carrying a bag of clubs was never so much fun.

                                                    BEST TIME WITH A COSTANZA


Frank Costanza, (Jerry Stiller) the man who created "Festivus" on the sit-com, "Seinfeld",
was invited to Hastings-on-Hudson, where they actually celebrate "Festivus" every year.
The father to George Costanza on television and Ben Stiller in real life, still can bring his
 'A' game at 88-years old. For the interview, he re-created scenes from "Seinfeld" with
his most famous lines: "You wanna piece of me?" and "Festivus for the rest of us".
A true character.
 
BEST PICTURE


Yep, it was good 'ole Henrietta and myself. I was doing a story and it just so happened
to be Henrietta's 85th birthday. I was just trying to get her comfortable for the interview
and I told her I used to be a Solid Gold dancer and she thought that was pretty funny.
A professional photographer just happened to be shooting us talking on the bench and
he sent me this photo--and the following one of the fish.

                                                                    BEST CATCH


....And my only catch of the year. A catfish out of the Hudson River. That deserves a
kiss, right?
 

                                               BEST WALK DOWN MEMORY LANE


I made it back to Durham in October and returned to the park where the majority of "Bull
Durham" was filmed in 1987. I hadn't been back to Durham Athletic Park since 1989
when I played for the Lynchburg Red Sox in the Carolina League. This park was my field
of dreams and going back to the spot where I hit a home run in the movie and three in
real life, was a magical experience. Only thing missing was Kevin Costner telling me
what pitch was coming. "Charlie, here comes the deuce and when you speak of me,
speak well."


The best outweighed the bad in 2015. I am thankful for my health and a great family and
wonderful friends. A lot to build on for 2016.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

AL JEZEERA PLAYS ON AMERICA'S SNAP JUDGEMENTS


Despite what Mike Ditka thinks, Al Jezeera is a credible network with some very
good journalists. What it's lacking is an identity---and viewers. In the land of a million
channels, Al Jezeera hasn't even been a blip on anybody's radar screen. If you can
find anyone who has seen a single program on Al Jezeera, you're a better person than
me and that 'anyone' probably has no life.

Several years ago, some genius in Qatar where the mothership network calls home,
thought it'd be a good idea to have an American-based network catering to Americans.

There was one big problem: the name Al Jezeera. Most of us identified Al Jezeera as
the network that was a mouthpiece for Osama Bin Laden in the early 2000's. Every
time Bin Laden wanted to send messages to his people about hating and terrorizing
America, it usually wound up on Al Jezeera.


Even though "America" followed Al Jezeera when it debuted here in 2013, very few
people were interested in the network which was a problem for one that expected to
compete with CNN and Fox News. And if they had a great report few people saw it
because nobody knew where the heck to find it. Channel 939? 543? Why would anybody
in our country want to watch a network called Al Jezeera anyway?

As we've discovered in the news and entertainment world, if nobody is talking about you
then you're pretty much a nobody. When that happens, one of two things happen: you go
away or do something drastic to get noticed. Kim Kardashian, with no discernible talent,
made a sex tape and now look at her. She got noticed and now she's a household name.


Al Jezeera America needed some attention and had to do something drastic to get noticed.
The Peyton Manning HGH-report was Al Jezeera America's sex tape. It certainly got
them noticed and the name of their network is all over the news, Twitter,  Facebook,
and all the other networks. Will this be their 15-minutes on America's A.D.D. minds?
Or will they follow their HGH-report with something more explosive?

The report involving Manning, the face of the NFL, didn't have a great deal of substance,
but it had an unbelievable impact. Almost as soon as the news of it broke last Saturday
night, social media caught fire. EVERYBODY was talking about it. Peyton Manning on
HGH?!! Are you kidding me? That was pretty much our reaction.

In our 140-character or less, rush-to-judgement world we live in, Al Jezeera knew they'd
catch America hook, line, and sinker with the report. It knew 99 percent of the country
reads a headline and makes up their minds because of it.


Al Jazeera knew very few people bother to read an entire article or do any research on their
own. And the funny thing about most of it, there wasn't much of anything to read except
for what came out in the Huffington Post, which had the first story about it.

The Huff Post needed 'views' and clicks as well, so they got creative with what they
were given by Al Jezeera and got everyone talking. The report on Al Jazeera didn't air
until Monday and I'm betting very few of you reading this article, even saw the report
on Al Jezeera, because Lord knows, none of us know where to find it.

So, by Sunday night, most Americans made up there mind about Peyton Manning.

"Yep, he's just another fraud like Lance Armtrong, Mark McGwire, Marion Jones,
Jose Canseco, A-Rod, and all the other athletes who cheated with PED's," most of
us thought or said.

In an interview on ESPN, Manning said he was 'furious' about the report that he
called 'garbage.'  But it really didn't matter because a lot of people made up their
minds by then. And seriously, are you ever going to think of Manning again without
this HGH thing hovering around him? It's much like what's happened to Tom Brady
and the Deflate-gate issue.

The crazy part about the report on Al Jezeera report which few people have seen,
it never actually accused Manning of using HGH. They just reported that shipments
were sent to Manning's wife. Al Jezeera didn't produce any 'smoking gun.' There
were no documents, no receipts, no nothing. The report just had some former
intern saying shipments were sent to Manning's wife. That's it, that's all.

Debbie Davies, the reporter, has been making all the rounds saying that Al
Jazeera is sticking by the report. She was on television telling everyone that the
report didn't actually accuse Manning of taking HGH. And she's right. It didn't.
It just had some guy saying shipments were made to Manning's wife. That's it,
that's all.

Peyton Manning can threaten to sue Al Jazeera all he wants, but he won't get
a dime. It'll be one big waste of time and Al Jezeera knows that. You don't think
they had their legal team look over every inch of the report before it went to air?
That's routine for small market television stations doing an investigative report
on bad apples at the supermarket. You don't think Al Jezeera's high-powered
lawyers protected the company from a massive lawsuit from an NFL legend?

Of course it did.

99 percent of America still hasn't seen report, I'm confident most of it thinks it
knows about everything that was in it. This just in: Nobody in the report even remotely
accused Manning of taking HGH.

The defaming part came from most of America who called Manning a cheater
without seeing the report. They made up their minds without seeing the report or
reading much of any article. They just read the headlines or some tweet and
made up their minds. That's what America does.


Al Jezeera sure got noticed didn't they? And it didn't really cost them very much
at all. They just gambled on an audience believing everything they hear and making
a snap judgment.

That's just the American way.

It worked. Al Jazeera may not have many more viewers, but they sure have a
new identity and that's worth a lot to them.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

GOOD-BYE, DAVE HENDERSON


As Dave Henderson grew into a man and major league baseball player, the little boy in
him never left him. His gap-toothed smile that seemingly stretched from Seattle to Boston,
two of the cities that adored him, expressed a love for a game that often disappears in
others once they make it to the big-time.

The pressure of performing under a magnifying glass can make a smile vanish, the love for
the game can disappear with the expectations that come with a multi-million dollar contract.

That never happened to Dave Henderson, who always made it appear like he was the luckiest
guy in the world. His expression screamed out to the world, "Do you mean they are actually
paying me tons of money to play this game? Who is fooling who?"


I watched him play many times and don't ever recall a helmet thrown or bat shattered. If
he struck out, Henderson always seemed to have a look on his face that said, "Oh, well.
I gave it my best shot. I'll get him next time."

In the 1986 ALCS against the California Angels, there was a next pitch for Henderson
who was playing for the Boston Red Sox at the time, acquired in a late season trade with
the Seattle Mariners. Badly fooled by Angels closer Donnie Moore, Henderson and the
Red Sox were down to their  last strike in the game and the series.

Moore hung a split-fingered fastball just enough for Henderson to get the fat part of
the bat on the ball. As it sailed towards the left-field fence, Henderson watched in both
excitement and anticipation. He was like the kid and Little League staring at what could
be his first-ever home run. Henderson knew it had a chance. He skipped, hopped, and
landed awkwardly as the ball cleared the fence. I said to myself, 'man, that looked like
it hurt.'
 

It very well may have, but there's no way Henderson felt any pain. The adrenaline took care
of it. He all of a sudden became that little kid who just did the greatest thing he could've
ever imagined with his parents and all his friends watching. He became a somebody.
The home run helped win the game and made Henderson a hero in Boston forever.

Henderson played in the World Series four times, winning once with the Oakland A's
in 1989.  Few people can rattle of the career stats of Henderson, but many remember his
fu Manchu and mega-watt smile. Dave Henderson loved the game every single day whether
he was on a hot streak or a dreadful slump. With Henderson, you could never tell which
one he was in the midst of.


Henderson made every fly ball hit to him in the outfield, not an adventure, but rather
unique. When he camped under it, he gave it half of Rickey Henderson with a little style.
The other half appeared as if he was playing hide-n-seek with the ball, with a squint and a
little flex in his knees.

If he caught a ball that ended an inning, Henderson ran in from the outfield with a smile
on his face  looking as if his parents just told him they were taking him to Carvel after
the game for some ice cream.

The little boy in Dave Henderson had a great run, but he died on Sunday. He gave everything
he had and those who followed the game, a lot of joy. Somehow, someway, I pictured
a smile on the face of Dave Henderson as he passed away from a heart attack at the age
of 57.

Nothing in the game could wash the smile off his face. Nothing in life seemed to affect it
either. It wouldn't be all that surprising if death failed at it, too.

PEYTON MANNING AND THE HGH MESS




Do I care if Peyton Manning may have used HGH?

Not really.

I hate to break the news to you, but 80 percent of the players on your favorite team have
probably used HGH during some point of their careers. The game is just too violent, too
competitive, and there is too much money to be made not risk using the drug that wasn't
tested for by the NFL before 2014.

Since that the year, the NFL's testing program for HGH hasn't caught a single player using
the drug. Imagine that. It's because the NFL's program is a joke and in reality, the league
isn't all that interested in catching every cheater in the game. If they did,  the game wouldn't
be all that exciting. Look at Major League Baseball. After serious testing was implemented,
pitching has dominated and there haven't been very many 50, 60, or 70 home run seasons.

Zzzzzzzzz.....boring. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say baseball was
better when the players were all jacked up, I'd be a millionaire several times over.

The NFL and its fans have always wanted players bigger, stronger, and faster. It makes
for a much better game. Players are like the gladiators in the Coliseum in Rome and the
spectators are thirsty for violence from participants who are physical specimens. And like
the spectators in the Coliseum, fans in NFL stadiums could care less what a player is
doing with their bodies. In the NFL, chances are, they are ALL on something.

If they want to abuse their bodies with drugs, so be it. It's their lives, their career, and
their bodies.

Among other things, athletes use HGH to recover from injuries faster. The drug builds
muscle quicker and cuts down recovery time. Remember when former pitcher Andy
Petitte was outted for using HGH in the Mitchell Report? Good 'ole Andy said he used
it to recover from an elbow injury quicker and he felt he owed the Yankees to get
back on the field sooner.

And you know what? People bought his act and his excuse. Petitte seemed to get a free
pass while other players got ridiculed and scorned for using HGH. They were cheaters
but good 'ole Andy was a team guy and just wanted to get healthy quicker.

Good, grief.

Peyton Manning was recovering from neck surgery in 2011 and according to the
documentary by Al Jazeera, he used HGH, and chances are, he used it, much like Petitte
to recover much quicker and now he's the biggest cheater since Lance Armstrong.

Manning hasn't claimed he's passed every drug test ever given (like Armstrong did)
but the legendary QB has said, (like Armstrong did) the report about him using HGH
is not true, which is pretty much what every athlete says after being named in a report.

Manning's defenders will say that when he may have used HGH it wasn't illegal or
even tested for in the NFL.  His critics will say, yeah, but he's still a cheater.

There are many who feel Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings used HGH to
recover from an ACL injury in less than six months. Getting back on the field after
a surgery like that had never been done so quickly, but Peterson was back running
better than ever. Has anyone ever said anything about the size of Peterson's skull?
It's Barry Bonds-like. I don't remember it being like that when he was at Oklahoma.

In the court of public opinion, Peyton Manning has already been cast as a stone-cold
cheater. Our society loves to rush to judgment, convict, and condemn. With Twitter,
Facebook, and all the other social media vehicles, it's just the way of the world.

A person who may have used something (not illegal at the time in the NFL) to enhance
his performance is tainted forever. Many say the same thing about Tom Brady for
allegedly deflating balls.

Critics will say Manning used the drug to extend his career and pile up the stats to
break even more records.

Players in the NFL will shrug and say amongst themselves, Manning was probably
doing what everybody's been doing in this league for years, he just may have gotten
caught. Too bad for him.

That's just the way the NFL is and they don't care if the game isn't squeaky clean.
Just as long as the ratings continue to grow and the golden goose continues to make
everybody filthy rich.

Man, that kind of sounds like the arrogance of Major  League Baseball during the
Steroid Era. Perhaps, this is just the start of the HGH-era in the NFL.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

FISHING IN A DRESS SHIRT? THE TRUE HOLLYWOOD STORY





Almost as soon as I posted a picture of me fishing in a dress shirt and slacks, I received
an avalanche of comments.

"Who goes fishing in an outfit like that?"

"That doesn't look right."

"Are you modeling or something? Who goes fishing in a button-down shirt?"

All comments were spot on. Nobody goes fishing in clean clothes, much less a button-down
shirts. It's usually shorts, a wrinkled t-shirt from 1998, and a baseball hat, right?


Truth be told, I didn't expect to be fishing that day, which was November 6th. As a general
assignment reporter, you don't know your assignment until you get to work and I always
dress in a coat and tie or business suit.

On November 6th, it was 78 degrees in Westchester County, breaking a record that stood
since 1930-something. I was told to go find out how people were taking advantage of the
spectacular day.

My photographer and I went down to the Hudson River in Nyack, New York which had
turned into a wonderland of sporting activity. People were biking, roller blading, and
fishing. After interviewing the man with the fishing pole, I asked if I could cast a line
for "tv purposes".

The man obliged and I got my stand-up for the story. As I was a doing it, a professional
photographer just happened to be shooting the event----and then I hooked a catfish. Now,
that was luck. It was pretty funny moment, so I took advantage of it figuring it would
make for good television, especially in my casual attire. I'm just thankful I took off the
tie or I'd have really heard it from my friends.



It wasn't the first time I was pictured fishing in the great outdoors with unsuitable
attire. While working for NESN and covering the Patriots in 2005, I went fishing in
a 3/4 length leather jacket. Not exactly a good look.

The Patriots were playing a Monday night game against the Miami Dolphins and I didn't
want to sit around in my room all day. Sun bathing on Ocean Drive in Miami was out,
the weather was unseasonably cold. With the high-winds, the temperature dipped into
the 30's.

My photographer and I booked ourselves on a deep-sea fishing charter. Forget about
the frigid temperatures, we were going fishing for some trophies. Trouble was, I didn't
pack for the cold weather, so I hopped aboard in my leather jacket. Hey, man, you have
to do whatever you have to do to deal with the conditions with what you have.

About an hour into our trip, I hooked a big ole' golden Amberjack. In my leather
Kenneth Cole jacket, I felt like Jimmy Houston reeling in that sucker. He put up
a good fight, but I was empowered by the leather jacket, kind of like Fonzie in
"Happy Days"

I didn't look cool, but I felt cool. That made my trip until I flew back to Boston
sitting next to Bridgette Moynihan, Tom Brady's girlfriend at the time. Now, you
talk about a story! I'll save that for another blog.

As for my attire, so what? One can't always dress for the part. If you hook a big
one, it doesn't matter what you wear, leather jacket or button down shirt.

Monday, December 21, 2015

PAUL ALEXANDER HAS BEEN EVERYWHERE, MAN.

 
Johnny Cash didn't have Paul Alexander in mind when he recorded the hit song,
"I've been everywhere", but if the music legend was alive today, you can bet he'd buy
the New York native a beer or two just to hear about his journey.

Alexander is the human passport, getting stamped in 33 countries from Chile to Ireland
to Morocco to Fiji.

He's been everywhere, man.

"I love to travel because at a young age my parents exposed me to many new places and
things,"said the 51-year-old golf professional.  "It has always inspired me to see more."


Alexander has seen more of this country than most people can only dream of. He's been to
every state except Alaska and in 2014, made the journey from coast-to-coast, spending
90 days camping out in the wilderness in addition to taking in so many of the breathtaking
sights this great nation has to offer.

Crossed the desert's bare, man
Breathed the mountain air, man.
He's been everywhere, man....



Single with no kids, Alexander can get up and go just about whenever he wants, and
wherever he goes, that place usually has a ton of golf courses. Alexander has teed it up on
more courses around the world than the number of times you've changed your status on
Facebook in the last five years. In addition to golf, he skis on spectacular mountains
and fishes in the most exotic places from sea to shining sea.

Baraboo, Waterloo, Kalamazoo, Kansas City,
Sioux City, Cedar City, Dodge City, what a pity.

He's been everywhere, man.


Alexander and I have been lifelong friends and while talking over breakfast one day
in November, I casually asked what his plans for the weekend were.

"I'm just going to Morocco with Carl (his brother) and we're going to play golf with
some guys who invited us over there," Alexander said with all the emotion of a mortician
at the end of double-shift.  I guess that can happen to someone who has been everywhere,
man.

The man's motto is one you might expect from a person who sees the world as his personal
playground.

"Mark Twain summed it up best." Alexander said.  "Twenty years from now you will be
 more disappointed by the things you didn't do than the ones you did do."


Alexander hopes to cross Thailand, Patagonia, Alaska, and Prague off his Bucket List
in the very near future, which for the PGA golf professional,  probably means sometime
around Easter.

My father affectionately dubbed Alexander, "007" because he is calm, cool, and has an
aura of mystery and intrigue about him. He is always here today, gone somewhere else
tomorrow. That's Paul Alexander.

He's been everywhere, man.














Sunday, December 20, 2015

BLOWIN' OUT A TIRE IN THE BRONX



Few things can spread the holiday cheer like blowing out a tire on one of New York's
most chaotic roadways.

Nothing gets a person in the Christmas spirit like spending time on the side of the road
in the Bronx on a Saturday night.

Oh, come all ye faithful!

I must admit I had a bit of an uneasy feeling as I left Norwalk, CT. for a date sometime
around 7 p.m. A wave of queasiness rocketed from my stomach to my throat, perhaps
indicating I should take a knee and just lay-low for the night. In retrospect, I should've
listened to my inner self.


As I was barreling down the Cross Bronx Expressway trying to keep pace with the
maniacs that make that part of the trek into New York City a 'Black Friday' on wheels.
It's like a free-for-all, but with 2,000 pound cars and 10-ton tractor-trailers weaving in
and out, cutting each other off, hoping to get to their destination five minutes faster.

Hark, the herald angels sing!

I wasn't that much of in a hurry, but I had to keep the pedal to the metal so I wouldn't
get run off the road by the driver of an 18-wheeler amped up on caffeine so he can make
his seventh delivery of the day to Pedro's fireworks south of the border in some crazy
place in South Carolina.

There was a bit of a ridge in the road, I didn't see and I actually caught some air and
landed hard. My engine actually cut out and I had a "WTF?!" moment. Great, my SUV
was going to stall in the middle of the Cross Bronx Expressway. Thought I was a dead
man for sure. But I quickly put the car in neutral and re-started the engine. Whew! The
indicator for the RPM's got a quick workout, but I was back on my way.

However, about 500 feet later, I heard a loud pop, followed by some serious lumbering.

Ring, ring, ring Christmas bells!

The only thing it could possibly be was a flat-tire.  Luckily, I was by an off-ramp and
took it to get off the Bronx Motor Speedway. I didn't drop any f-bombs or pound the
steering wheel with my fist. Didn't have much time for that. I had to figure out a way
how to fix the tire and stay out of harm's way.

The answer to the first question was easy: AAA. I've changed many tires in my lifetime,
but if I paid for AAA, you bet I was going to get them to change a wheel for me in
the Bronx on a Saturday night. For one, I'm just too damn old to be taking lug-nuts
off a tire.  Plus, I didn't want to get my baby blue tux and white capezios all greased up

Silent night, holy night.



I was just hoping I didn't use up all my free 'passes' over the years for my other roadway
mishaps. I held my breath as I called and gave the customer service rep all the information
from my gold AAA card which I could hardly see. I left my readers at home. I can't read
a menu anymore without them and the small digits on a plastic card were nearly impossible
to decipher.

I was relieved when the customer service asked for my location and said someone would
be on their way shortly. Shortly? With AAA that usually means anywhere from 1-3 hours,
especially on a Saturday night.

Jack Frost nipping at my nose.

Staying positive seemed to be pretty easy despite the fact that I had a shredded tire and
an $1,100 bill for repairs I made to my SUV the previous day. Yeah, it was time for new
brake pads. I just wasn't too sure about the seal on some spot behind the steering shaft.
I thought the mechanic was shady, but what could I do but take his word and have it
fixed. I didn't have time to take it somewhere to get a second opinion.

While waiting for AAA in the Bronx, I texted my friend I blew up a tire and wrote:

'This is either going to end up as a "Seinfeld" episode or a 2-hour special on "Dateline NBC'.

After get a LOL response from my friend, I replied:

Keith Morrison Dateline NBC

"If it's the latter, please make sure Keith Morrison is the reporter. His voice can
make a Bar Mitzvah sound ominous and dark. He'd be perfect to describe the mystery
surrounding my disappearance after a flat-tire in the Bronx."

I was shocked when the AAA man showed up within 40 minutes of my call. The
man, who didn't look a day over 20, changed the tire with the skill and quickness of
a NASCAR pit crew member. Getting the damaged tire back into the tire slot under
the SUV took some time to engineer, but I was relieved when the AAA man wrapped
up the job and everything, including myself, was in one piece.

Here comes Santa Claus

Despite my ordeal, I was more than happy enough to tip the AAA guy $20. They'll tell
you they don't accept tips, but it was the holiday and I wouldn't let him hand it back. Plus,
he got their in record time and I wanted to reward him for that more than anything else.

Eh, it's just a tire, right? And it could've been worse, correct?

I guess it was just an unlucky weekend. With 2-miles to go on 25-mile bike ride the
next, I blew out the back tire. Getting pissed off wasn't an option. Neither was fixing
it. I was too dang tired and sweating so I just walked on home.

Happy Holidays, everybody. Nothing is ever as bad as it seems to be. Seriously.  :)


Monday, December 14, 2015

BET ON IT. PETE ROSE IS NEVER GETTING INTO HALL OF FAME.


Never.

Peter Rose never owed up to what he did to the game of baseball. Never got help
for his gambling addiction. Never realized that one has to tell the truth, the whole
truth, and nothing but the truth if forgiveness is to be granted.

In summation, the all-time hits leader just never got it.

Monday, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred refused to lift the lifetime ban on Rose which
was slapped on him in 1989 after it was discovered the Reds' manager bet on baseball, the
cardinal sin of the sport. Rose thumbed his nose and raised his middle finger to the rule,
shattering it, acting like he was above it and bigger than the game.

For 15 years after former commissioner Bart Giamatti banned him from the game, Rose
denied he ever bet on baseball. He could never come clean---unless there was big money
involved, of course, and that happened in 2004 when Rose was pimping his book. He
finally admitted what everybody already knew: he bet on baseball.

In his meeting with Manfred several months ago, Rose told the new commissioner he still
bet on sports, including baseball. Betting on baseball after all these years? I'm sure that was
just music to the ears of Manfred. Are you kidding me?

On that alone, Manfred really had no choice but to reject Rose. How can any
commissioner that has to protect the integrity and sanctity of the game, allow a person who
has a compulsive personality and a clear addiction to gambling, back in the game?

If Manfred lifted the ban knowing Rose still bets on baseball, he would be vilified, not
to mention laughed at. Yeah, Pete, you're good to go, but just don't do something you've
been doing for the last 30 years, if not longer.

That's almost akin to giving your life savings for Bernie Madoff to invest after he robbed
all his clients blind. Just dang stupid.

There are a lot of fans who only saw what Rose did on the baseball field and say, "He
deserves to be back in baseball and in the Hall of Fame." No, he doesn't. They will say,
"Rose has paid the price and has changed." No, he hasn't.

Allowing Rose back in the game would be a bad message to every player in the game
now and those who make it to the big leagues one day.

Oh, you can bet on baseball, pay your price, and get back in one day as all will be forgiven.

Rose should continue to be the poster boy for what betting on the game and your own team.
He should be the example for what can happen to your career and reputation if you break the
biggest and most important rule in the game.

I've heard some argue that all those players who got busted for PED's are no different
than Rose. They couldn't be more wrong. During the Steroid Era, there weren't rules
about taking steroids. You can't break rules if there are none. Yes, it was cheating but
it wasn't illegal at the time.

None were ever banned forever from the game. Those who vote on entry to the Hall of
Fame have made it clear the ones who boosted their stats with steroids, probably won't ever
get in. (Bonds, Clemens, Palmiero, etc.)

Rose poisoned the game. He blew up the integrity of it. Major League Baseball wouldn't
be so ignorant as to have it polluted again by guy who just doesn't get it. 

Rose is done. He won't see his plaque in Cooperstown before the passes away.

It's a sad thing. Then again, so is Pete Rose.

Monday, December 7, 2015

PATRIOT FANS AND MEDIA: GOING, GOING....


When I saw the number of empty seats and heard the chorus of boos near the end of the
Eagles-Patriots game Sunday, I said to myself, "Yep, Pats fans are earning their ranking
Sports Illustrated gave them as the biggest cry babies in sports."

I guess when a team loses (gasp) two games in a row, they are deserving of getting the fans'
two cents worth. The Boston media added theirs with a Monday morning quarterback critique
that included a headline, "Patriots mistakes could signal startling late season collapse." Another
read, "Forget about injuries, the Patriots need to be concerned about winning."

Really?

Oh, I don't think anybody is jumping off the Patriots vessel the same way they did a year
ago in September when New England got hammered by Kansas City on national television.
ESPN football guru Trent Dilfer fueled the frenzy by proclaiming the Patriots "just aren't
that good anymore." The Boston media suggested that Bill Belichick was losing it and
Tom Brady was all but done. Yeah, and this was with a record of 2-2 after just four games.

Since that dreadful and embarrassing night, the Patriots won an AFC Championship,
dealt with the pressure of DeflateGate which would've made lesser teams fracture like
Humpty Dumpty, won a Super Bowl, and dealt with DeflateGate again all the way
up until training camp. Going into their showdown with Denver two weeks ago,
the Patriots compiled an astonishing record of 23-2. You read that right. 23 wins and
2 since that brutal loss on September 29, 2014.

23-2? That might be far more impressive than the Golden State Warriors undefeated
start to the season. Seriously.

And now because the Patriots have lost a remarkable two games in a row, there is unrest
with the fans and darts thrown by the media. For real? Yes.

Even without the injuries to Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Gronk, and about half
the offense line, the team was bound and due to implode at some point. I mean, seriously.
This team and franchise is the most mentally tough in all of sports. They ploughed through
all the negativity after the Kansas City game and the absurdity of DeflateGate and not
only won the Super Bowl, but compiled a record of 23-2 up until the Denver game.

The wheels had to come off and some point. And if the carburetor, fuel-injection system,
power steering, and DVD-player went too, well, it wouldn't be all that surprising.

First of all, anyone who has watched the Patriots during the Belichick era, realizes they
always have one god-awful, wheels-fall-off, type of game every year. Remember in 2003
when they cut Lawyer Milloy before the season then got hammered by the Buffalo Bills
31-0 in the first game of the year? What'd they do that year? Oh, right, they won the
Super Bowl. Last year was the KC fiasco. And trust me, there have been others.

However, the Patriots always do a great job of bouncing back.

Did Belichick make a bunch of bad decisions against Philadelphia? Absolutely.

Did Brady make a bunch of bad decisions against Philadelphia? Absolutely.

But come on, people even Belichick gets a brain cramp once in a while and Brady
has at least one game where he looks like the second-coming of Geno Smith.

IT HAPPENS.

There is no reason to panic. None. We know the Patriots are going to the playoffs.
And there's a pretty good chance the offense will be close to 100 percent by then. Edelman
and Gronk should both be back and Brady will be in his comfort zone again. You think
he's comfortable throwing to Brandon LaFell? Good, lord, that guy needs a GPS attached
to his helmet to figure out where he's going. He has no clue.

Patriot fans and media, you should get a clue like LaFell, too.  Sorry, but the team can't
win every single god-dang game. Not happening. They can't get home-field advantage
throughout the playoffs every single year. Impossible. And guess what? You can't win
the Super Bowl all the time or even back-to-back. I  know last team to do it was, yep, the
New England Patriots in 2003-2004, but it's hard as hell even if you do have Belichick
and Brady.

Just sit back. Embrace the little slump the Patriots might be in now. Gee whiz, it's only
a two-game losing streak and Denver isn't exactly the Cleveland Browns.

Lighten up. Enjoy the ride, good or bad. The Patriots are going to be just fine. They
probably aren't going to win the Super Bowl. Just deal with it. You've had 15 years
of truly incredible football. If they lose a game or two, it's not the end of the dynasty,
or the world, for that matter.

Be thankful for what you've had and just feel fortunate you don't live in Jacksonville
or Tennessee.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

GOLDEN STATE AND THE NBA'S DUMBEST RULE


We all know by now the NFL has rules its own referees can't even figure out. But for
all their ineptitude and inexplicable calls on the field, the league doesn't come close to
having the dumbest rule.

That honor goes to the National Basketball Association.

The Golden State Warriors won their 20th consecutive game to start the season Wednesday
night. Luke Walton, who was an assistant coach during the 2014-2015 season when the
Warriors won the NBA title, has been making every line-up out, calling every time-out,
and making all the substitutions as the head coach of the team. But you know who gets
credit for every single of the team's wins this season?

Steve Kerr.

That's right. The coach who led the Warriors to the NBA title a year ago, but hasn't coached
a single game this year because of a back problem, gets all those wins tacked on to his
overall coaching record. He's done nothing but watch every game from afar, whether it
be in the owners box or his bedroom at home, and he gets to chalk up every win to his
career-winning percentage.


How ridiculous.

NBA rules state that Kerr is still the "coach of record" so even if he doesn't come back
this year, he will get all the wins--and the losses (if Golden State ever loses a game. Wink,
wink.)

Luke Walton can win his first 50 games and it won't even matter. His record will be
0-0 because league rules state that Kerr is the "coach of record", not Walton.

Have you heard of any rule in sports that is so absurd? The Tuck rule in the NFL was stupid,
but this NBA rule is just asinine. Even Kerr doesn't want any part of it or the wins he's racking
up without breaking so much as a sweat.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Kerr said. “I’m sitting in the locker room and watching the
games on TV, and I’m not even traveling to most of the road games. Luke’s doing all the
work with the rest of the staff. Luke is 20-0 right now. I’m not. So it’s the dumbest thing
I’ve ever heard, to be honest with you. I don’t even understand it.”

Neither do most people, except for maybe the brilliant folks who run the NBA.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

DAVID PRICE AND BASEBALL'S STUPID MONEY


Whoever said it's better to give than receive was never on the right end of a $217 million
contract.

David Price became MLB's biggest lottery winner, since um,  last year when Max Scherzer
put his signature on a $210 million with the Washington Nationals. Price, a highly-coveted
left-handed pitcher will be cashing his checks in Boston after the Red Sox backed up their
Brinks truck and lavished Price with money that he nor his grandchildren's children will
ever be able to spend.

Yep, it's the silly season in baseball. A time when the egos of the owners get out of control
and they demand  new toys to play with, hoping it may get them a World Series to hoist
and a hub cap-sized ring on their finger.

Jordan Zimmerman, who cashed in a 13-10 record for a 5-year, $110 got the silly season
started, inking a ridiculous deal with the Detroit a few days ago. Reports said Johnny Cueto
turned down a 6-year, $120 million deal with Arizona.


$110 mil for Zimmerman? $120 mil for Cueto? $217 million for Price? Yes, it's all absurd.
But you know what? Don't complain right now, it's not your money. The time to complain
is when management jacks up ticket prices, concessions, merchandise, and parking in the
spring. That's when you'll know who is paying for all these big contracts. Yep, the fans.

People all over sports talk radio are complaining about these enormous salaries, but it happens
every year doesn't it. A-Rod, Verlander, Greinke, Kershaw, etc., and the immortal Shin
Shoo-Choo even got a $100 million contract from the Texas Rangers last year. Shin
Shoo-Choo? $100 million? Did I miss something there. The dude is nowhere near worth
that kind of iron.

Are you crazy, the fans scream, shout, and ask of their team's owners.

Many owners may be a little eccentric, egotistical, and yes, a little crazy. What most of them
are not is dumb. A good majority of them made their money in something other than
baseball. Owning a team is really just an extracurricular activity for them.


It's about feeding their egos and enriching their power. I'm not sure the last time any owner
in sports went broke because of his team. As hard as he tried to ruin his franchise, Donald
Sterling cashed out of the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion. Yep, that's $2 billion for
the Clippers.

When Sterling got kicked out of the NBA, taking a big haul with him, the value of the
rest of the franchises in the league went up by $800 million! That's insane. Sterling's
former mistress should've gotten a thank you from every other team owner in the league.

Getting back to the insanity of major league baseball teams and the silly season. This
is the time when teams throw silly and stupid money at these "hot" commodities. Even
though it's been proven these 7-10 year contracts don't work out and the owners never
come close to getting anywhere close to full value for them, they continue to throw
huge money around.

Nope, they don't learn from the Pablo Sandovals, Carl Crawfords, Vernon Wells,
Albert Pujols, and Jacoby Ellsburys of the silly, stupid world of free-agents. It's Christmas
time. These owners want their new toys to brag about to all their high-roller friends at
parties with the mistletoe, caviar, and flowing champagne. They want those gaudy rings.
They want the value of their franchise to grow exponentially.

Sure, they'll cry to their GM's about having an outrageous payroll, the luxury tax, and
not getting a great return on their investment in a few years, but right now, it's about
stealing the headlines and getting interviewed on ESPN, Fox, and every other major media
outlet in the world.

They will say, "The fans deserve getting the best product we can get on the field," yet,
will saying nothing about the 10 percent increase across the board in tickets, concessions,
parking, and merchandise. And in some cases, television subscription rates.


Do you think anyone in Boston is going to balk at paying an additional 10 percent
for their tickets? Of course not. The Red Sox are religion in Boston and they'll fork
up the extra dough to watch David Price pitch. They know if they don't want the
tickets, somebody else in Boston will. Demand far outweighs supply at Fenway Park.

The owners aren't dumb, that's for sure. They know the fans will be the ones to pay
for the silly contracts in the long run. Perhaps, one day the fans will learn. But I doubt
it.

Zac Greinke, you've got next. After seeing what Price received, Greinke is now grinning
for ear to ear and his agent has a new number to shoot for and exceed.