10
Feb
08

Super Bowl Running Diary

Time for a Super Bowl Running Diary! We’ve got buffalo wings, cheesy bread, ribs, cole slaw, chips, soda, beer and left over birthday cake. Let the fun begin.

5:40 Jimmy Johnson says the Giants have to play a really good game. Astounding.

5:55 There is a terrifying segment going on. There were colonial Patriots which became  Jim Brown, Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy. The big takeaway here….Peyton Manning made it back to the super bowl!

6:10 The politics angle being heavily relied upon. I wonder if Obama and Clinton are going to wear helmets on Super Tuesday

6:13 Junior Seau looking younger than ever. Fun fact #1 of the night. Junior Seau was cut a couple of years ago by the terrible Miami Dolphins. Now he’s a major cog on a super bowl participant. You know HGH, the performance enhancing drug is also used at anti-aging clinics. Just a fun fact, that’s all.

6:17 17-year-old Jordan Sparks sings the national anthem. My friend is taken by her looks. I’ll withhold his name to make it more difficult for authorities.

6:24 Jason Taylor receives the Walter Payton Man of the Year award. His trophy you ask? A Magneto doll.

6:26 Giants win the coin toss!

6:27 Troy Aikman showing off his Super Bowl success. Dan Marino just raised his head somewhere in a bar and gave him the finger.

6:32 Who needs to practice when you’re Plaxico Burress. First down Gigantes!

6:36 Breathing fire commercial leaves much to be desired.

6:37 Audi commercial was great. Godfather reference and an amazing car.

6:40 Bradshaw wasn’t there for the previous clash with the Pats. He’s making his presence felt early on. First down Giants.

6:42 Me and my friend Bongo both yell “Oh Beautiful!” when describing a first down conversion for the Giants. Who said sports is barbaric?

6:43 6’4 250 pound Brandon Jacobs attempts to do a finesse run. Needless to say it didn’t end well.

6:44 Field goal Giants. Has to be disappointing though.

6:46 Two ladies in our party make their loudest noise of the night at a Chris Kattan cameo. Easy to please those two.

6:47 43-yard return by Maroney. Great field position for the Pats.

6:49 The game has changed! It all starts today! You are the new prototypes. We are under-armour! The future is ours! New under-armour commercial has me pumped. Next time I’ll be wearing them while I type.

6:50 Double reverse screen fails for the Pats. Interesting play call. I would have gone with the triple-reverse flea flicker. But that’s just me.

6:52 Brady with all the time in the world on an incompletion. That doesn’t bode well for the Giants. If they don’t pressure him, Brady will carve them up.

6:56 A run of jokes that I can’t write about took me away from the diary. The Patriots moving down field much to my chagrin.

6:59 “A message from your heart” song is playing. She won a Doritos competition. Here’s a message from my heart. This song is terrible.

7:01 Touchdown Patriots. Woo-hoo team of destiny.

7:03 After seeing Jeter’s commercial I can’t help but want G-2, a low-calorie hydrator.

7:09 38-yard bomb to Toomer looked amazing.

7:12 Wow Eli is intercepted.

7:16 Patriots go three and out. The Giants dodge a bullet on their first turnover.

7:19 Leatherheads commercial made me chuckle. I think its because George Clooney is so dreamy.

7:21 Giants catch a break. Somehow they take away a fumble that the Patriots had.

7:24 Lizards doing the thriller dance. Don’t know which company but I like it. Oh apparently Life Water.

7:27 Justin Tuck sacks Brady. As an unbiased spectator I mildly enjoyed it.

7:29 I hate Carlos Mencia with a passion. As my friend Bagodaz states, “seven years, zero jokes, the streak continues.”

7:31 Note to the viewers Bill Belicheck just announced that if the Patriots don’t pull away soon, they will use their tape of yesterday’s Giants practice to prepare for the second half. You’ve been warned New York.

7:34 Dubious penalty called against the Giants.

7:37 Eli needs to channel the mature version of himself from the last three playoff games. Right now he’s more like his father….at his current age, not when he played.

7:38 Narnia trailer has me pumped. I think I’m going to be Aslan for Halloween.

7:43 No catches yet for Randy Moss. That’s going to be mentioned ad nauseum during halftime.

7:44 Giants playing swarming defense. I guess no one told them they were supposed to lose.

7:45 Brady gets killed again as he throws it. It’s imperative for the Giants to keep it close so that their defense stays pumped.

7:46 “Tight ends always hold,” says my friend….a former tight end.

7:50 So much for no catches for Randy. Fun fact #2 of the night. Did you know that Randy Moss broke the record for touchdowns by a wide receiver the year after questionable effort to be an average football player for the Raiders. Thankfully everyone has forgotten this and Moss is considered a great player. I for one breath a sigh of relief over this. Whew!

7:51 Justin Tuck gets a sack and fumble recovery. What a beast this fellow is.

7:53 17 drop backs for Brady, 3 sacks and 6 knock downs

7:54 Uh Steve Smith, when there’s a hail mary, try something new, try to catch it. Just for kicks.

8:05- too long: Ladies and gentlemen, 32 years after their debut! Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers! Gotta love whoever is in charge of picking half-time performers. It must have gone something like this:

Tom: Hey Bill, who’s hot right now? Its 2008, who will really get the crowd going? Who will galvanize the audience?

Bill: Well Tom, there’s Fall out Boy, Linkin Park, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, T.I., Alicia Keys, Chris Brown.

Tom: Yeah…..Bill you’re fired. Chris you’re thoughts?

Chris: How about Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers? They were hot right after the Vietnam War

Tom: Great job Chris! Way to keep your hand on the pulse of America.

8:26 Wes Welker first down

8:27 Maroney 7 yard gain. I don’t like how the Patriots have come out. I think they definitely cued up the video of the Giants.

8:29 My friend just called football “real-life chess”. I think the BBQ ribs got to his head.

8:31 Great stop by the Giants. They are playing spirited

8:33 Shaq is a jockey in a commercial. Hey Shaq, maybe you should do more basketball playing for your atrocious Miami Heat team and less commercials.

8:37 Stupid nonsense rule gives the Patriots the ball back. Chase Blackburn was the 12th man on the field.

8:42 The Patriots were moving the ball until Michael Strahan who used to CHOP DOWN TREES as a young boy with his father sacked him hard. He then proceeded to flex and scare me. The moral as always kids. Chop down trees if you want to be terrifying.

8:47 Rodney Harrison tries to level Toomer and fails. Toomer gets a first down. The cagey veterans are doing it for the Giants! I think I wrote about Strahan and Toomer in my column on Thursday. (Shameless plug)

8:49 I’m so upset. Plaxico Burress is double and triple teamed in the end zone. Throw it under to Toomer! Lo and behold the replay showed Toomer open.

8:51 Manning apparently in love with Burress. Now 4th and 6.

8:53 These Bud Light commercials have been very questionable. The only one that was good was the caveman commercial.

8:55 Tom Brady is getting beat down. But before I even finish this Welker bails out the Patriots with a first down.

8:57 Thank god for Pam Oliver. Apparently, the Giants are rushing in boxes of bananas because the potassium helps with cramps. If she wasn’t on the payroll what would we do?

8:58 Wes Welker coming up huge for the Patriots.

8:59 Tom Brady overthrows his wide receiver and proceeds to yell at him. Nice Tom.

9:02 Chester Pitts! My new hero! Played the obo then went to play for the Houston Texans.

9:05 Everyone at this shindig was quiet as Stewie, Superdog and Charlie Brown vied for a Coke bottle float. We were transfixed.

9:07 Who’s the boss! Kevin! That’s who! Big first down

9:08 Fox then shows the man who Boss replaced, Jeremy Shockey, with beers in front of him. How appropriate.

9:09 Steve Smith gives Randall Gay the old dead-leg.

9:10 My friends are saying that Seau dripped HGH laden sweat on Bradshaw and he gained 3 new muscles.

9:11 TOUCHDOWN GIANTS! AHHHHHHHH! TAKE THAT PATS! David Tyree selling the first jerseys of his career on nfl.com right now. Get them while they’re hot.

9:13 Bongo speaking lots of loud Italian phrases on the phone with his father. We are all rejoicing.

9:15 I’m going to go ahead and miss the Adam Sandler “Zohan” movie.

9:16 Not to overdo it here but this could be the biggest Super Bowl victory in history. The Giants need to keep the pressure on.

9:19 3 AND OUT. That was huge.

9:20 Back to commercials. These companies pay millions for commercials and animals are usually popular. But ETrade’s attempt at using a talking baby for its commercial has been a failure. Step it up ETrade

9:24 Eli made an amazing play and then him and Burress couldn’t finish the play. That hurts

9:25 Three and out. That could haunt the Giants for the rest of the night.

9:28 John Johnson has been the Giants trainer since 1948. Bagodaz says that’s sixty years of taping something that rhymes with halls and ankles.

9:30 Wes Welker is the bane of my existence.

9:33 First down New England. This is terrible.

9:37 I can’t type. This is too much.

9:39 I like when defenders fall down on the most important play of the season. Touchdown Randy Moss.

9:42 Eli trying to become a Super Bowl legend

9:47 I know I’m biased but I think that was a bad spot

9:48 First down

9:51 Eli and David Tyree combine for the most improbable of plays. Wow. The ball was on top of his head. Mind-boggling.

9:53 On the 25 with 51 seconds left. Not a bad scenario when this drive started.

9:55 .40 seconds left and the first down. This is amazing. Steve Smith is crazy.

9:56 Oh my god. This is why I watch sports. 17-14

9:58 28 seconds left.

9:59 25 seconds left. Come on Giants.

10:00 19 seconds left. Sack by Alford. The Giants players look like they’re hyperventilating

10:01 10 seconds left. 4th and 20. Prevent defense please!

10:03 (Why is there 1 second left?)

10:05 GIANTS WIN THE SUPER BOWL! Whose jersey do I get? Will Eli be signed to a 20 year contract? Is Plaxico Burress a psychic? How does 18-1 feel? This Giants team is the greatest in team history.

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10
Feb
08

Super Bowl XLII Preview

Two weeks of hype have seared the storylines into our collective minds. The Patriots are trying to be the first team to go 19-0. Eli Manning is trying to win the Super Bowl the year after his brother did. He wants to finally break free of the Peyton’s little brother introduction at cocktail parties and cement his status as one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. Brady is trying to put an end to the Montana or Brady or Unitas talk as the best ever(as seen on ESPN.com this week), while his coach Bill Belicheck is trying to  leapfrog such luminaries as Chuck Noll(4 super bowl wins), Bill Walsh, Tom Landry, Joe Gibbs and Don Shula(all with 3 super bowl wins) as the best NFL coach in history, not named Lombardi.
Even Michael Strahan and Amani Toomer make it into the list of great storylines because theirs is one equal parts familiar and feel-good. Two veterans who made the Super Bowl in their prime during the 2000 season, only to be run off the field by the Ravens, but who now have been given another chance. With the time left in their careers disappearing like sand in an hourglass they can end their careers, however improbable, in storybook fashion.
But the story that should be talked about more is that of the disappearing Super Bowl contender. Consider the previous five super bowl losers. The Bears lost last year, before that it was the Seahawks, and the Eagles, Panthers, and Raiders. Each team came in riding momentum and each were teams who exceeded expectations. The Eagles are really the only team that bucks the trend in some ways. The Eagles were a contender year in and year out but the story from there is the same. The Super Bowl loss didn’t foreshadow more super bowl appearances for these runner-ups, just more losses.
I feel the need to mention this for a couple of reasons, neither of which being that I consider a Giants loss to be a mere formality. On the contrary I think they can win and I am rooting for them. But the facts are the facts. The Patriots are heavily favored. So while the Giants should be basking in the historic chance to become the most loved team in franchise history and maybe the most popular Super Bowl winner in decades, the front office should look at the teams above as cautionary tales of how euphoria and pride don’t translate into winning for seasons to come.
Even more importantly the Giants should all have been forced to watch a super bowl from six years ago. It was the one before the five I looked at above and featured a team affectionately known as the Greatest Show on Turf. They had Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, and a young Tory Holt. The Super Bowl was going to be their chance to put on a show for the entire country, and with Super Bowl viewership being what it is, the entire world. Except there was one problem. No one told their upstart opponents about the plans. The St. Louis Rams lost that game 20-17 to the New England Patriots and it was the Patriots who made winning a habit, while the Rams players tried vehemently to sell Greatest Show on Turf tees on ebay.
The Giants need to realize that after this game you can go one of two ways; unforgettable or forgotten.

Super Bowl XLII Prediction: Patriots 28, Giants 24
Super Bowl XLIII Prediction: Giants 35, Colts 28

10
Feb
08

Santana a New York Met! Wait…Really?!

I’m a Yankee fan, I’ve made this excessively clear in this space. However, I am not one who basks in New York Mets misfortune. In fact, I am happy for them and their fans whenever they are successful. Anything involving the name Santana that wasn’t followed by ‘traded to Boston’ was ok with me. So sour grapes couldn’t be any farther from the truth.

So with that being said, Santana is a New York Met after the Twins gobbled up a package of four prospects headlined by Carlos Gomez?! If this young man isn’t the second coming of Willy Mays or Ken Griffey Jr. then the above sentence might be featured in a future documentary called Crazy but True: Terrible Decisions Exposed.
I love baseball but I don’t pretend to be one of these guys with season tickets to minor league games, who subscribes to baseball prospectus. I just know who is informed and then read their facts and stats to form my opinions. Keith Law writes for ESPN but before that he was a long-time baseball scout who obviously still has ties to baseball and scouting. He calls Carlos Gomez “Coco Crisp with a better arm”. I’ll let that sink in.
Coco Crisp, the same guy that Boston is dying to trade so that Jacoby Elsbury can take his place in the starting lineup. But I guess it’s ok because Carlos Gomez has an arm. I hope he can pitch because the Twins have a hole in their rotation that won’t be fixed any time soon.
I want to make it clear that I’m not bashing the Twins because they didn’t take the Red Sox or Yankee offers. They made a calculated decision that World War 3 would erupt amongst the two rivals and the Yankees would finally offer Hughes and Kennedy and then maybe the Red Sox would offer Lester and Elsbury or even Buchholz and Elsbury. These scenarios were unlikely but possible. The Twins gambled and it didn’t work out.
The problem I have with the ways things turned out is that the Twins didn’t get more from the Mets. Baseball America says the Twins received the Mets 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 7th best prospects. For the best pitcher in the galaxy. Sure this makes complete and utter sense. How did the Twins not get Fernando Martinez the Mets top prospect? Or Mike Pelfrey, the pitcher that even my 79 year old grandmother knows is better than Phil Humber, the “best” pitcher who was sent to the Twins?

The Mets needed Santana really badly and now they are a formidable force in the national league that should open as the favorite to make it to the World Series. He tops a rotation which includes Pedro Martinez, now operating solely on guile and a great changeup, the enigmatic Oliver Perez, and the solid John Maine.
I think the Twins had the leverage here. If they didn’t, and Santana wanted to be traded before the season started then they should have dealt him in December. To deal him now for sixty cents on the dollar has made a lot of people in Queens happy and left a lot in Minnesota appalled. The Twins general manager just got the job this offseason. With moves like this he won’t have it for much longer.

13
Dec
07

Mitchell Report Running Diary

The Mitchell Report is being released today and I couldn’t help but do a running diary of a day that will definitely live in infamy. I’m starting by watching the ESPN special starting at 1pm along with any developments on the major sports websites. ESPN, Foxsports, CBS Sportsline and Sports Illustrated. When the report comes out I’ll read through it and give my impressions as well.

1:00 The big news is that a trainer for Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte says that both players used steroids. Everyone pretty much suspected Clemens so this isn’t shocking. But its definitely going to put all of the achievements later in his career into question. People forget that Clemens and Pettitte were named in the Grimsely affadavit with their names blacked out. It was later reported that it was their names that were blacked out.

1:08 John Kruk says that player’s often give clubhouse attendants big checks, so money going from player to attendant is nothing new. Kruk once gave an attendant a 14,000 check. That’s a lot of donuts Kruky.

1:10 Steve Phillips said he had a lot of suspicions as GM of the Mets that he had no recourse. He has said this before and I agree. This report is going to drop the hammer on guys though.

1:17 ESPN is trying to do this according to strong standards because they keep cautioning how perilous it is to point a finger at somebody. Good job on their part, this is a sticky issue.

1:26 Nothing too spicy happening with the special but SI.com has a huge scoop. At 12:45 Jon Heyman reported that Clemens, Pettitte, Miguel Tejada, Brian Roberts, Chuck Knoblauch, and David Justice used steroids! Say it ain’t so! On Tejada i’m not surprised. Look, when the Athletics signed him they had to feed him 3 square meals a day just to get him into normal shape. That’s the level to which his health was suffering. So what do you think he did when he had a chance to perform and pay them back for their help? He became the best player he could, and steroids helped get him there. Cheating? Yes. Shocking? No way. Knoblauch always did have power for a little guy. Way to go Chuck. Justice?! I don’t want to believe it. This guy is a Yankee postseason hero. But what are you going to do? Steroids pervaded the sport. No ones inclusion is surprising.

1:33 No updates on the major websites. Rarely do things stay under wraps in the 24 hour news environment that we live in but other than the Jon Heyman scoop there hasn’t been much else.

1:46 I’m pretty pumped about this report. But let me make it clear. Its interesting to see who is using steroids but the names are important for one reason. Mitchell needs to present a report with some teeth. Not for the gotcha factor but because the best way to fix this problem is for baseball to police itself. If the report lacks weight then it will be powerless to initiate change. I also want to know if my guesses were right. Come on Gagne!

1:51 They’re handing out the report at the press conference! I’d be rifling through this baby like Hef through his weekly viagra shipment.

2:00-2:04 Mitchell is on tv, cameras flashing. He has a smile on his face. He goes through motions with stuff no one cares about. He says that no one edited his report. There has been “widespread use of anabolic steroids” in professional baseball. The use of human growth hormone has increased because there is no test for it. Congratulations former Senator Mitchell you just outlined what we all know.

Some people have talked about Mitchell’s possible conflict of interest and I was upset because of his position with the Red Sox. But as I watched the run up to the release of the report I realized that he has so much riding on this report and his credibility is so high that he would not leave out a Red Sox player’s name. I feel better about this.

2:05: “Each of the 30 clubs has a player of players involved in taking illegal substances”. Take that Royals.You’re ineptitude existed with players taking ‘roids too. How sad.

2:06: Young people are putting themselves in danger says Mitchell. He’s taking a pretty high-minded approach. I’m ok with this I guess. If some high school kid is using steroids to get an edge thats a huge problem. He includes the quote of a man whose son died using steroids. The quote admonished professional players for setting a bad example.

2:07 Former player told Mitchell that one of the biggest complaints from players is “that a guy is using steroids, and he’s taking my spot” Definitely a good point. I always wondered why more players didn’t speak out and realized it was because of the union. I see tell all books coming out in waves from 2015 and on.

2:08 Talking about Kirk Radomski. This fella was feeling the squeeze from the feds and he sang like a canary.

2:09 All current players denied requests to help out. Shocking news there. Hey Roger I told Mitchell you used steroids, wanna do some long-toss outside?(Clemens eviscerates teammate)

2:10 Talking about what they got from Radomski. Checks sent to him.

2:12 ESPN has put up the entire Mitchell Report! 308 pages plus evidence at the end! Needless to say I have some reading to do. Here is the link:

http://assets.espn.go.com/media/pdf/071213/mitchell_report.pdf2:14 Wow everyone was so wrong to doubt Mitchell. This guy is so serious. The contents page to the report has things like “discovery of steroids in florida marlins player’s locker” and “shipment of steroids to arizona clubhouse”.

2:16 Mitchell is giving suggestions to baseball. Like how they should work together in the next collective bargaining agreement.

2:18 Mitchell urges that Selig not punish the guys in the report. This is an interesting move. It looks like he wants to show that he wanted to get to the bottom of this era but then move on. He wanted big names not because of a witch hunt mentality but so that he could use those names as a springboard to get things done.

2:21 More than half of the players named are no longer playing says Mitchell.

2:22 “There is much that I have not learned”

2:23 The Mitchell report names Jose Canseco. The foundations of everything I believe in have just been shaken. Why Jose? No one saw this coming.

2:24 Mitchell still doing his speaking thing. But I’m going through the Mitchell report. The first 50 pages or so involve the dangers of steroids and how he conducted his report On page 72 Jim Leyland said he would “swear on a stack of bibles that they don’t have steroid use in his clubhouse”. Tone down the rhetoric Jim.

2:26 An environment developed where steroid use was widespread

2:27 Baseball can not afford to try to name everyone who did steroids.

2:28 Derrick Turnbow is on page 83 of the report. But I knew this.

2:29 How about Tejada getting dealt right before the report came out? Talk of Brian Roberts also being named and I heard he was a possible trade target. Baltimore trying to get rid of those guys huh?

2:30 Richard McLaren talking for a couple of minutes now, a member of the investigative panel. He says that baseball should do everything Senator Mitchell advises.

2:32 From the report.

“In our interview of him, one former player told of annual players-only meetings
during which teammates reminded one another that any personal information they learned during
the season needed to be kept in “the family.” and “Through his lawyer,
another former player who admitted his own use of performance enhancing substances claimed
that his career as a major league coach would be harmed “perhaps fatally” if he were required to
identify other players who had admitted to him that they had used steroids.”

That sheds some light on why current players didn’t talk.

2:34 Some writer asked how Mitchell can ask fans to continue to root for these players who are known cheaters. Mitchell said that everyone makes mistakes.

2:36 Mitchell “it is not my intention to assign a numerical value” for how people should be culpable.

2:37 Mitchell has a stern tone. Someone asked if Clemens is a drug cheat then should he and others be kept out of the hall of fame.

2:38 Juan Gonzalez makes it into the Mitchell Report! Page 96 but I knew about this one too.

2:40 Bartolo Colon mentioned on page 98 because he also used Juan Gonzalez trainer who had the bag of roids. It doesn’t implicate Bartolo but I implicate Bartolo.

2:42 5 minutes ago foxsports.com updated that Eric Gagne and Paul LoDuca were named! I called Gagne earlier this week in a podcast. I’m riding high.

2:44 On page 99 a bullpen catcher for the expos had steroids. The 8 players he had were left out of the report except for 1 named later in the report. Mitchell shows he wasn’t trying to get everybody clearly because of legal ramifications. Perez said every pitcher in montreal’s bullpen was on some type of steroid.

2:46 Players won’t be screwed legally. Players have already been outed, 250 and nothing has happened to them.

2:47 CBS sportsline has the best headline of the year. “Getting Mitch Slapped”! How amazing is this headline. Who took over at CBS? A 17 year old?

2:49 Mitchell responds to allegations of conflict of interest. It’d be funny if the two red sox rings he received as an honorary director fell off his hand and made loud dings on the floor. I’m just saying.

2:50 Mitchell going into long-winded explanation that involves ireland, catholicism, and his american roots. “Judge me by my work, take a look at how the investigation was conducted you will not find bias or special treatment of the Red Sox.” Take that!

2:51 And Mitchell is done. Baseball got Mitch Slapped!

2:52 Now ESPN goes back to their special.

2:53 McNamee injected Clemens in Clemen’s apartment four times in the butt. Winstrol. Anadrol 50. Pettite was on the dl. Pettitte wanted to get human growth hormone to speed his recovery and help his team. I still love Pettitte that’s all I’m saying.

2:56 Ouch the report details that Gene Orza the players union guy told a player “you got a test coming in 2 weeks”. Hey players union, lets stop giving guys a heads up for tests.

2:57 Fernando Vina used steroids! He had HGH shipped to him by Radomski. Poor guy probably started using after Albert Belle destroyed him between 1st base and second base once.

2:57 Frank Thomas spoke with investigators. The only active player besides Giambi. Frank Thomas has always spoke out against steroids. The Big Hurt is the Big Clean. Love this guy. What a beast. And he was clean.

2:59 Steve Phillips says that Mitchell wanted to show a perception of the era. I agree.

3:00 Six minutes ago SI.com added Gary Sheffield. The Sheff was clearly cookin’ up some ‘roids. In his kitchen. Yeah I’m proud of myself.

3:01 Clemens injected 4-6 times in the second half of season when the Yankees won the world series. I was always upset about 2001 when Luis Gonzalez blooped one over Jeter to win the world series for Arizona(Even though he wasn’t named he obviously used), but now I guess the Yanks had some steroids guys against the Mets. This is the kind of stuff that is sad.

3:05 Glenallen Hill used steroids! Score one for Tristan! My friend Tristan has always pointed a finger at Hill which I found funny because he was such a bit player I barely remembered him. Vindication.

3:06 Larry Bigbie used steroids which begs the question. How bad would he have been if he DIDN’T use steroids.

3:08 From SI.com. A bunch of other players that were named:

Other players include: Troy Glaus, Gary Matthews Jr., Rick Ankiel, Jay Gibbons, Mo Vaughn, Paul Lo Duca, Eric Gagne, Glenallen Hill, Gregg Zaun, Rondell White, Hal Morris, Todd Hundley, Larry Bigbie, Lenny Dykstra, David Segui, Matt Herges, Kevin Brown, Mike Lansing, Wally Joyner, Nook Logan, Jeremy Giambi, Benito Santiago, Denny Neagle, Ron Villone, Fernando Vina, Todd Pratt, Jack Cust, Matt Williams, John Rocker, Paul Byrd, F.P. Santangelo and Randy Velarde. Clearly this is a bad day for baseball and I really have serious opinions on some of these players. But its always humorous to read some names. Kevin Brown used steroids! Really? His surly nature and injury history never made me question it for one second! Mo Vaughn didn’t surprise me today because I read his name linked to an oral steroid yesterday but I always thought his strength came from how fat he was. Guess not. Jack Cust. Oh that’s surprising. A guy with no natural position who only has one tool:power. And lets not forget John Rocker. The craziest of them all. Were any of those immigrants on the 7 train on the way to Shea known cheaters John? John? Oh that’s right you’re out of baseball.

3:12 ESPN’s legal analyst says that he would deny everything if he was the lawyer representing one of the players named. Real surprising approach. Denials from a lawyer.

3:15 ESPN reports that 78 players were named.

3:20 Jeremy Schaap reports that Jose Canseco was turned away from the press conference. Hilarious.

3:21 Clemens and Pettitte having their houses staked out by media according to Richard Justice a writer for the Houston Chronicle. I feel bad for Andy. not so much for Roger.

3:24 This guy from the Houston Chronicle says that Pettitte might retire now. That’s definitely not true! Pettitte was named in Jason Grimsley’s affadavit and his name was blacked out. But this was already reported. Pettitte came back to the Yankees but knowing he was going to be named.

3:29 ESPN analysts suggest that the information besides that on Pettitte and Clemens is flimsy. I don’t agree. This report needed to mention names. Rob Parker Detroit News Columnist says its not fair because everyone else gets off scot free. Uh I’m one of the people who will make this distinction. A normal baseball fan. Everyone is culpable! The entire era is tainted! This guy is a fool. Every other piece of analysis has been very strong. Next time lets leave the random columnist in Detroit. Thanks ESPN. David Cornwell ESPN legal analyst says naming names was wrong. You definitely needed to name guys so everyone knew the depth of the problem.

3:36 Larry Bigbie sold out Brian Roberts. So much for teammate solidarity.

3:40 Selig will have a press conference at 4:30. I’ll wrap this baby up sometime after that.

3:47 T.J. Quinn says commish is going to be upset about how Mitchell repudiates his claim that no one knew about steroids. I think Selig is going to worried about other things. Like how he can put the integrity of his sport, currently in tatters, back together.

3:55 Bob Ley asks Buster Olney about what this will do to the era of good feeling that exists in baseball. Great question. Baseball had more than $6 billion in revenues this season. They have nearly tripled their revenue since the years of the strike. As a baseball fan I’m still going to watch and root for everyone, steroid user or not. All this report did was crystallize the feelings of baseball fans everywhere. The steroid era was a time of inflated performance, both on the hitting and pitching sides, and none of the records during the time stand much for anything. Any player who fought father time and continued to perform into his late 30’s and early 40’s is a very strong steroid candidate. The steroid era continues in different ways with human growth hormone now. None of us are kidding ourselves.

4:00 Hey you know who wasn’t named? Albert Pujols. I thought he would be. I also thought Eric Chavez would be. But no one reading this report thinks this list is an exhaustive one. Everyone is a suspect until proven guilty. Except Frank Thomas.

4:02 ESPN just relayed this story Adam Piatt who was named in the report said that he had a locker next to Tejada and was once asked “do you have steroids?”. He later supplied Tejada with two different types. Is this how it went down? You just walked up to any teammate. “Hey got steroids?” And then he got you some? What a culture that existed in baseball.

4:09 On ESPN Kruk says he had a problem with alcohol but he didn’t blame beer makers. He blames himself for over-indulging. Don’t be so hard on yourself Kruk.

4:11 Gammons is upset about the inclusions of Brian Roberts. This is what the report says.

According to Bigbie, however, in 2004 Roberts admitted to him that he had
injected himself once or twice with steroids in 2003. Until this admission, Bigbie had never
suspected Roberts of using steroids. How is this messed up? Roberts is a little guy and had like 10 home runs and 15 steals one April. He’s shady and this confirms it.

4:22 From page 144 of the Mitchell Report “Radomski also stated that he felt that the side effects of human growth hormone were less severe than those of anabolic steroids.” That’s interesting and explains why HGH use is rising even though everyone knows about the dangers of steroids. “If you can’t test for it and its not so bad for me and it can make my family and future generations rich then I’m strongly considering it,” is the mindset now. I can’t be on a high horse and say that its crazy.

4:26 ESPN.com posted the complete list of players named. Here is the link:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3153646

4:30-4:35 Commissioner Bud Selig getting into position to speak. Selig thanks Mitchell for his “exhaustive investigation” and that he will embrace the 20 recommedations that Mitchell suggested. He has already eliminated the 24 hour notice for drug tests. He will incorporate all recommendations that he can on his own. Others need to be collectively bargained. I’m sure Don Fehr is quaking in his boots.

4:40 Selig will not comment on asterisks. He is reserving judgments. “In the name of candor” Selig admits he hasn’t read the whole report. Hey Bud…..READ THE REPORT. Its the most important document in the history of baseball and may decide if you continue to be commissioner or not. Wow Bud, way to drop the ball. Ball dropper.

4:47 Selig still talking but let me put in this hilarious snippet from the Mitchell Report:

During the 1998 season (around the time of the injections), Clemens showed
McNamee a white bottle of Anadrol-50.386 Clemens told McNamee he was not using it but
wanted to know more about it. McNamee told Clemens not to use it. McNamee said he took the

bottle and gave it to Canseco.387 McNamee does not know where Clemens obtained the
Anadrol-50.

So Clemens’ trainer decides “You know thats too dangerous for you Roger. Don’t use it. But I know someone who can use it. Jose Canseco.” He’s probably had the deadliest cocktail of steroids in his body in history. Horse steroid? Hit me.

4:50 Poor Bud looks so haggard and old. This thing is taking a toll on him. As an aside, page 181 states that a David Justice named lots of players and said that he did not use steroids, before he was implicated. Wow! David Justice. Truly a union guy.

4:53 Selig still muttering. Nothing really interesting. The report has me captivated at this point A scout’s take on Gagne in an email sent to Theo Epstein reads as follows:

Some digging on Gagne and steroids IS the issue. Has had a
checkered medical past throughout career including minor leagues.
Lacks the poise and commitment to stay healthy, maintain body
and re invent self. What made him a tenacious closer was the max
effort plus stuff . . . Mentality without the plus weapons and
without steroid help probably creates a large risk in bounce back
durability and ability to throw average while allowing the changeup
to play as it once did . . . Personally, durability (or lack of) will
follow Gagne . . .

That’s crazy. But completely believable. He was a borderline fifth starter and then all of a sudden the best closer in baseball, numbers-wise.

5:00 Selig is done and so am I. Definitely learned a lot from the report. The biggest takeaway in my mind is that the report needed to mention a litany of names from all different talent and success levels. Hall of famers to minor leaguers, pitchers and hitters, past and present for a strong cross-section on steroids history to exist. Now the ball is in baseball and the players union’s court.

30
Nov
07

Yankee blog? Reused joke? Clarification for the masses.

When I started this I planned on doing more varied sports coverage, and not only have I focused on baseball but I’ve also focused on the Yankees primarily. The reason is because I write Yankee stuff in one of my classes that blows and don’t have to do too much research for the articles. I’m gonna start mixing it up. If you read the last two articles I also reused a boston related joke. I know I did, this isn’t amateur hour at the apollo damnit. It got cut out of my last article by my paper’s editor and I sent this article in along with a scathing(note: it wasn’t really scathing) comment saying that I didn’t want jokes cut out since it is a bloggy piece. Anyway, enjoy the articles feel free to respond with your own “banter”. Heh I crack myself up.

29
Nov
07

Santana a Mistake for Yanks

If reports are true, the Yankees are in hot pursuit of the most dominant pitcher in baseball. He is a two-time cy young award winner who went 32-3 in the second half of the three seasons before last year. Last season he was dubiously motivated as his team floundered and held up a white flag in the form of trading their starting second baseman. He would be invigorated by going to a winning team and his performance would reflect that. His name is Johan Santana and the Yankees should not trade for him.

Now hold your horses. Quiet down. You in the back, I have no use for that incredulous look directed towards me. Its not that Santana isn’t amazing, its that the price to get Santana is too high. The names currently being bandied about as the main cogs of a prospective deal are Phil Hughes and Melky Cabrera. Thankfully, Joba Chamberlain and Robinson Cano have been deemed untouchable. The rumored inclusion of Phil Hughes is the problem for me.

Anyone who saw the exhibition masquerading as Yankee baseball in the division series against the Indians, knows that highlights were few and far between. One of the only bright spots was Phil Hughes coming out of the bullpen. He showed poise beyond his years and the promise of what is still to come. Hughes was also dealing with the effects of a hamstring injury he suffered in May, in the midst of six plus no-hit innings against the Rangers. He consistently threw 91-93 during the second half of the season instead of 95.

So why are the Yankees considering trading him besides the lure of the artistry from the magnificent Johan? Fault lies with the lovable bunch of try-hards known as the Boston Red Sox. Poor guys and poor fan-base might I add. Curse of the Bamino. Can’t catch a break. Haven’t won in eighty…What?! They won in 2004 and again this year?! Sure buddy, I’ll take one of whatever you’re having on the rocks….you’re serious? And they have the second highest payroll and paid $100 million for a Japanese pitcher? I thought they were still lovable losers. Sigh.

But I dirgress. The Red Sox have a playoff star in Josh Beckett, who vanquished the Yankees in the 2003 world series when he was on the Marlins. He was decidedly ordinary this season against the Yankees but he helped lead the Red Sox to another world series championship this year. Baseball, like any other competitive atmosphere, is a place where the top dog is emulated. So the Yankees have taken to operating like this: “If Boston has a dominant ace in his prime, then we need one who is better.” It’s a cold war arms race. The Yankees have drawn a line in Chamberlain and Cano but its not enough.

What bothers me the most is a lack of perspective and selective memory. Beckett had a 4.39 era against the Yankees last season including a couple of stinkers. No pitcher is a sure thing and that includes the sage-like fire-breathing Santana. When Boston traded for Beckett they received a pitcher who was 25-years-old. If the Yankees trade for Santana he will be 29 by Opening Day. They will be missing out on much of his prime while giving up a pitcher who is just entering his.

The preoccupation with getting the best current pitcher is also unnecessary. Does no one remember that the Red Sox finished in third place last season? As in, on the outside looking in to the playoffs. And this year they had a parade with pink Ortiz shirts as far as the eye could see. Why can’t the Yankees give the young pitching staff a year to do their thing? Why not give Hughes the chance to be the ace that everyone is clamoring for? They have a high-powered offense and are probably the favorite for the wild card. Low expectations for a change might work as reverse psychology and keep everyone loose. Every writer might jump at the chance to wax poetic on the fall of the franchise while the Bombers come to town and throttle the home team.

Minnesota wants major league talent to replace the departure of center fielder Torii Hunter and to cushion the blow from losing Santana, which is why the Yankees are the favorite. Boston is a close second with the possibility to be the favorite if they offer more but they seem unwilling to do. Boston has Clay Buchholz who threw a no-hitter this season, Coco Crisp a great defensive outfielder, Jon Lester who came back from lymphoma and pitched very well in the world series and Jacoby Elsbury who was a rookie revelation for them.

The Yankees are leading if they are indeed offering Hughes and Melky. Cabrera came into his own after a shaky start to his major league career and is the type of young centerfielder Minnesota would be interested in acquiring. The poor guy had a very good season and now might see himself traded from the only organization he has ever known and away from his best friend Robinson Cano. I know that its not an episode of The Young and the Restless but I am still affected.

But it all comes back to Hughes. As Hughes has risen through the Yankees system he has stood for more than his abilities as a player. He represents the Yankees recent commitment to developing their young players rather than trading them for veterans. He came into the season as Baseball America’s top pitching prospect and showed flashes of brilliance the Yankees haven’t seen in a young pitcher since 1995 in a guy named Pettitte.

I was looking forward to rooting for Hughes next year and still am going to. I’m just hoping he won’t be wearing a Twins cap when I do.

30
Oct
07

Of Legend Replacement, New Joe, and Mr. Optober.

Let me start off by saying that I am not yet a good enough writer to consolidate all the happenings of the last two weeks into a meaningful direct concise column. My four dedicated readers may have wondered what I was thinking as the most crucial two weeks in the last 8 years played out. As a fan I was sad to see Torre go. I thought George believed it was the 1980’s and that he was still a man with half of his faculties remaining. At first I was angry. I didn’t want to see Torre go. I thought it was a mistake that would come back to haunt the Yankees. Recent developments have led me to believe that maybe it was time. They faced the single most difficult decision a franchise can be forced to make. How to let go of a legend. I thought it was simple. Sign Torre to a 2-year $12 million deal and that way you get the year where Yankee Stadium closes and the first year at the new ballpark with Joe, Derek, Andy, Jorge, and Mo. As a fan it seemed so simple. But its not. At all. And there’s a reason we are fans.

As much dislike as I have towards the Red Sox(moreso the fans who still want to be underdogs. Hey, you guys still underdogs next year? Second highest payroll? Pink Ortiz shirts as far as the eye can see. Anybody? Too busy agonizing over the Pats being disrespected? They got caught cheating and they’re the victims?[i’m a little bitter]) you have to respect the successful roster changes they made. Like the Yankees they can afford to make mistakes but after they won their first championship in ages those players could have all been signed to lifetime deals and NO ONE would have complained. Dave Roberts, Pedro, Derek Lowe and Orlando Cabrera could have justifiably been brought back. Epstein went for the youth movement and the Red Sox didn’t make the playoffs last year. But there they are. Celebrating their second championship in four years. That is of course until their fans go back to self-imposed misery for no reason whatsoever.

So the Yankee decision makers deliberated. Which is funny because of the self-importance the Yankees possess and everyone is used to. The Yankees have George, Hank, and Hal Steinbrenner, Cashman, Randy Levine, Gene Michael, and probably 3-4 minions cramped in a room. Do other teams do this? Does George have a staff he points at someone expressing the desire to speak? Or is he like the crazy guy in another room watching playoff tapes from the glory years wondering aloud why he can’t just hire Billy Martin and trade for Albert Pujols. But I digress. I was wrong here too. I was sipping the Mattingly kool-aid. I liked his demeanor but the fact that he was still fiery. He reminded me of Jeter in that way. The biggest reason I thought a Mattingly hiring made sense was because I could see the veteran Yankee team respecting him and saw it as the best chance for Rivera, Posada, and Pettite to return. In the end the Yankees decided two things. One, that Mattingly was a little too much like his predecessor. I mean I questioned if Mattingly could guide a 21-29 team in May, to the playoffs like Torre did. But secondly they decided that Girardi not only stood in contrast to Torre but that he was a better fit to coddle a young pitching staff. Many catchers become managers for a reason anyway, they used to hit and they worked with pitchers on a daily basis.

But one thing that came out about Girardi excited me the most about his hiring. Everyone describes him as the most prepared person they ever met. Don Zimmer said he graduated from Northwestern with an engineering degree. He can be whatever he chooses to be. He could have been an engineer. He could be a coach or a manager if he wanted to be. Michael Kay, an announcing partner with him last year spoke of Girardi’s need to prepare as well. He said that if Girardi knew he was doing a Mariner’s game he would watch their games and chart their pitches for a week before the series. He was also careful not to second-guess Torre and make it seem like he wanted his job, so instead he painted the picture of all the possibilities before Torre made his move. Now I’m getting pumped about the ’08 Yanks!

Which unfortunately brings me to Mr. Optober. Excitement wanes. Let me give credit to Newsday for the Mr. Optober line, who attributed it to a reader rant. Where do I start. Oh I know. I wrote a defending A-Rod piece. Ouch. My four readers just cringed. Let me explain. The following isn’t even me trying to backtrack. I swear on the Yankees future success. I actually wanted to recant many of my feelings in that article a week after writing it. I was caught up in feel-baditis. Everyone was destroying the guy as if he was seen high-fiving Osama. I didn’t think he was that bad a guy. Extremely flawed. Extremely rich. But why the level of venom? It was like when Giambi got killed all around the country for his steroids use. Do people realize he wasn’t the only steroid user? There is going to be a profoundly impactful document released during the off-season about the Mitchell steroid investigation(this is another article, coming soon so people don’t think I stole my ideas) that is going to reveal as yet unnamed star players who took steroids. But Giambi and Bonds and the few who have been named have been killed by fans and the media alike. Its ludicrous. So I felt the urge to be a different voice. Boy was I wrong.

And I wasn’t even wrong because of what happened recently. A couple days after my article came out in the paper a classmate spoke to me before class and told me he enjoyed my article to which I responded by doing a fist pump in my mind. He continued that his aunt works at Yankee Stadium and routinely says hello to Cano and Melky. She says “Hi Robby” and “Hi Melky” everyday when she sees them. One day she saw Mr. Optober and said “Hi Alex”. He looked at her with disdain and said “It’s Mr. Rodriguez to you.” Now anyone that thinks like this is just a bad human being. It immediately brought to mind a story which I am positive I repressed. I did a little searching and realized it was from one of my favorite writers, Peter Gammons. Talking about Jeff Franceour’s personality in a piece written on March 5, 2007 he included this example:

“Team USA players like to tell the story of Francoeur confronting Alex Rodriguez during the WBC for trashing a clubhouse kid who brought him the wrong sandwich.”

So Alex Rodriguez deserves all the criticism he receives. I think I’m a better person for being able to admit that I was wrong. Horribly wrong. With this backstory it isn’t shocking that Rodriguez, faced with the possibility of winning some people over and resigning with the Yankees without a big fuss, opted to instead commit one of the most self-centered acts in sports history. Now instead of going into Cooperstown with an obvious choice for the hat he will don he will instead have to choose from at least 4 hats. Here’s hoping he wears this logo on his cap: $

I have an urge to bash Mr. Optober until the cows come home but I take solace in this. When he hits the home run that breaks Barry Bonds tainted record sometime in 2013, he will be showered with adoration and adulation and make a really nice rehearsed in-game speech. He will smile and talk about how happy he is. Then he will go home and once he’s alone he will sit on his expensive bed and take in a little Sports Center to bask in his achievement. They will lead with him and he will watch the coverage and his interviews and mouth his eloquent words. But as they go to commercial they will mention how it was a night of achievement. Derek Jeter the Yankees all-time hit king, had hit number 3515 to pass Tris speaker for fifth on MLB’s all-time list. His smile will fade away. He’ll sit there expressionless for a moment and then creases will appear on his forehead as the beginnings of a frown take shape. He will be empty. Angry. And jealous. Because no matter how full his bank account and trophy case, Alex Rodriguez will always be nothing compared to players that truly define greatness.




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