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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Covering All The Bases

Greetings, kids, and welcome to the jump-off. Now, while I know there's a ton to get to this week, allow me a minute to point out some of the new features I've got to offer ya from now on. First, and foremost, we have the new picture of yours truly, located directly to your left. Lookin' at my outdated driver's license photo got me to thinkin' I wish I could change it, and that led to the change here. Thanks to my mom, her digital camera, and my pimped out duds, I was able to make it the switch to a little somethin' I feels represents me a lot more accurately. Ladies, feel free to fan yourselves off a little bit before continuing, and guys, refer to the long standing edict of not hating the player, but to instead hate the game. Secondly, I've added a few "widgets" to my page that allow you to vote in ESPN.com polls, and also view some of the more interesting and topical stories (bottom of page) their website has to offer. I'm not exactly sure what a "widget" is, but that's the name Al Gore came up with for those things, and dammit that's good enough for me. Now, back to the news...



Despite the fact that the NFL playoffs are in full swing, it's Roger Clemens and Major League Baseball that are smack dab in the middle of the media spotlight. Clemens appeared on 60 Minutes on Sunday, and sounded shaky at best in trying to convince us that he never used steroids. He then followed up that performance with the announcement of a forthcoming defamation lawsuit against his former trainer, Brian McNamee (pictured below with Clemens), and a press conference, in which he again sounded like a liar, and where he played a 17 minute phone conversation of himself and McNamee, and at no point could get him to say he lied when accusing the star pitcher of juicin' up. You can say Clemens was playing it safe as far as "coercion" goes, but I'm just not buying it. I heard the tape, I watched the guy speak, and from my experience, he's lying. I know McNamee is a seedy character, and I know you can make the argument that he's only ratting out Clemens to save himself from prison, but the fact that he fingered Andy Pettitte (get your mind out of the gutter) and Pettitte later admitted to it, lends him some credibility in my eyes. Brian didn't do himself any favors in the phone conversation, but didn't vindicate Clemens either, answering the pitcher's "I want the truth to be out there" with "Tell me what you want me to do. I'll go to jail. I'll do whatever you want. And when Clemens said he didn't understand why McNamee told them he did steroids, McNamee just said he "understood". Sounds to me like McNamee was trying to salvage his friendship, while still sticking to the fact that he's always been telling the truth. Even better, after hearing the phone conversation played for the media, watching the interview on 60 Minutes, and watching Clemens at his press conference on Monday, reports are saying that McNamee is strongly considering a sountersuit! Listen, in any case like this, the only witnesses you're gonna have, are going to be unsavory characters, so to dismiss him because he seems like a dirtbag, is just a little hasty for my tastes. The guy has been right to a degree so far (some of his Mitchell stuffed has turned out to be bogus), and combine that with the way Clemens has been reacting to the claims against him, have me thoroughly convinced that Roger Clemens used performance enhancers, and is now attempting to cover his ass.

On the flip side, you have to love the approach that Clemens and his legal team are taking, and you also have to salute the fact that they already seem to have turned the opinions of many naysayers. Basically, what they're doing, is playing the Bonds card a lot earlier in the process than Barry did. Since it's all just a he-said he-said right now between Clemens and McNamee, then why not place all the liability at the face of the trainer turned felon? Clemens admits to getting shot up by McNamee, and he says that it was McNamee who supplied all the "drugs", which Clemens claims says were B-12 and Lidocaine. Legally? Case closed, right? Now, they've set it up so even if somehow it can be proven that the Rocket was on HGH, Roger can simply say he didn't know what it was! Oh, he was shooting me with HGH? (insert Roger crying and saying...) That guy was my friend. I trusted him. If what happened is actually true, then I want to apologize to all my friends, family and fans for failing to live up to the integrity of the game, and for violating their trust. (more crying) That, my friends, is what's referred to as a built in escape clause. Legally, Roger and his boy Rusty (his lawyer....who hires a lawyer named Rusty by the way? Your mechanic should be named Rusty!) have covered all their bases, and barring some new evidence from McNamee, have kept themselves innocent in the eye of the court. However, I still maintain that he'll be "innocent" just like OJ is "innocent", and will have a similar longstanding public perception in the only court that matters, the court of public opinion.

I've said for years, and published numerous times right here, that I've felt Roger Clemens used performance enhancing drugs, so maybe I'm a bit biased. I always based my opinion on what I saw, the fact that Clemens legs were just as big as McGwire's arms. So maybe I see this as confirmation on a hunch, but you have to admit to yourself that in hinesight, you too always questioned his improbable return to the top of the game. So I for one didn't need a ton of convincing one McNamee came forward. However, if you only thought Clemens was guilty after the release of the Mitchell report and something you've seen in the last 2 days has somehow convinced you that this man is innocent, then I would have to call you delusional, and ask you if you'd like to buy a set of steak knives from me. I didn't give the benefit to Barry Bonds, and I'm not giving it to Clemens. There's way too much smoke for there not to be fire, and in my opinion, Clemens is not being adamant enough in his denials. Prove me wrong, and I'll be the first to admit it, but you're gonna need a lot more than a sketchy 60 Minutes interview, and some hackneyed press conference to get the job done...

News and Notes
*Now, onto something we actually knew we'd be talking about in a normal January, the NFL playoffs. I went 3-1 on the weekend, so for the most part everything went as planned, but there were a few things I noticed while watching the games that I feel are important as we move forward...

-Props to the Giants for winning on the road against Tampa. In the NFC, where it seems every team has just as good a shot as any other to reach the Super Bowl, the G-Men seem to be peaking at the right time. Granted, I'm not nearly as impressed as Eli Manning's play as others (that TD pass to Jacobs was gross, and nearly a pick 6 for Derrick Brooks), but a solid defense and a power running game might be just enough for Coughlin to save his job, and take this team to the Conference title game, and possibly Super Bowl 41...

-I had an extreme mixture of emotions while watching the Jaguars/Steelers game. I wanted the Steelers to lose, because I hate their dirty steel-workin' asses, but I wanted Jacksonville to lose, because I still view them on par with Indy as the biggest threat to the Pats. Well, I guess my Shittsburgh hatred won out, because I found myself rooting for the Jags, but that doesn't mean I feel good about my Patriots having to play them this weekend. Fact is, I'd rather the Pats beat the best teams, and when I say the Jags are a bad matchup, they will still need to play a nearly perfect game to topple the 16-0 Goliaths. I'll get to this game more when I make my picks on Friday, but since people were questioning my loyalty, I had to again address that I wasn't "scared", but just wary of the competition...

-I watched Seattle/Washington and San Diego/Tennessee. Neither team that won has any shot in Hell at winning the Super Bowl, so I'm just gonna save my electronic breathe and leave those games alone...

-My last pick of the week, was taking LSU as a 4 point favorite over Ohio St. in the BCS Title game. As is usually the case, the game didn't even come close to living up to it's potential, nor was it representative of the crazy season that just occured, but I was entertained nonetheless. Ohio St. gave me a good scare there in the 1st quarter, but just as I had predicted, the LSU Tigers had too much talent, and promptly rolled to the National Title in dominating fashion. Go LSU. Go me. And Booooooo to Ohio St. and and Big Eleven. We said you all sucked, and your top 3 bowl teams (Illinois and Michigan) went a combined 1-2 in games against top squads from other conferences. Win some big non conference games, come up with a conference play off, and then maybe we'll give you some respect. In the meantime, OSU, enjoy your 0-9 bowl record against SEC teams, and know now that your cries of "no respect" make you sound about as intelligent as Devin Hester at a Mensa meeting...

-And while I'm at it, it's time again to brag about how well I did at picking the games this past weekend, and how well I've been doing all season long. OK fine maybe that's a tad bit of an exaggeration, but I'm winning aint I?? Who knows, I could even finish strong and end up picking at better than 60% on the season. It's likely I just jinxed myself with that statement, but I must admit I've been pleasantly pleased with my results this year, and can still beat all you fools when it comes to pickin' the winners. Prove me wrong, people. Prove..Me...Wrong!


Last Week: 4-1-0

Overall: 64-43-5 (.594)


*Speaking of the BCS Championship game, there's some good news involving the big business that is NCAA Football. Word out of the Sugar Bowl in Louisiana says many major conference commissioners seem to be in favor of installing a 4-team playoff system to determine future National champs. This system, often referred to as the +1 format, would be the answer to every one's prayers, but is still far from reality. Current SEC commissioner, Jim Swofford, who is also the BCS Chairman for next season, said the Big XII, Big East, ACC and SEC all seem to be open to and in favor of a playoff type system, but that the Pac 10 and Big 10 have been opposed, and remain so as of right now. Gee, the two conferences that don't even have title games don't want to do it? How shocking. Hopefully, those guys will either get with the program, or have their hands forced by the other BCS conferences, because everyone with a ounce of sense in their dome knows this is totally the way to go. Make it work, people! Do it for the kids!

*Word out of Michael Vick land, also known as "cell block 7", has the convicted dog killer moving to Kansas to serve out the rest of his sentence. The same report also stated that Vick would be entering a substance abuse treatment program upon his arrival in the hope his responsible behavior will help in shortening his sentence. Now, I'm no legal expert here, but why is this guy being moved to Kansas when the crimes he committed were in Virginia? Furthermore, how on earth is Vick entering a substance program going to help his cause with the parole board? Now, not only are they gonna be worried that he'll be drowning and curbing dogs upon his release, but they gotta worry he might relapse and start goin' blunt for blunt with Ricky Williams in the Waffle House parking lot? I mean good for him for getting help if he needs it, but someone needs to tell this dude that all the tree he was smokin' wasn't the problem, it was all the dogs he was killing. Eh, whatever. Vick changed prisons, and the rest of that was just an excuse for me to say Ricky Williams and Waffle House in the same sentence, and use that hysterical movie poster that elludes to Vick's alleged STD sexcapades...please forgive me...

*I've been tryin' to hold strong when it comes to my view that the Celtics still won't win a title this year, but wins like the one @ Detroit on Saturday night are making it tough for me to stay my course. I predicted at the start of the season that the C's would lose in the NBA Finals, but if they can go into Auburn Hills and beat the Pistons, then I have to like their chances against any team in the West in a 7 game series. It's still early in the season, but the combination of star power, defensive pressure, and better than solid bench play (insert an And1 "Ooohhhhh Baby" in honor of Glen "Big Baby" Davis) can be awfully intimidating to any opponent come playoff time. I'm having fun watching them, which I honestly didn't expect, and while I wouldn't label me a full on "fan" just yet, it's easy to like a good team, and quickly forget all the reasons you turned on them. I wouldn't say I'm through with Glen Rivers and Daniel Ainge quite yet, but to bitch at this point would just make me sound like a bitter old sports writer. I still don't think I'm wrong about Boston's GM and coach, but for now I'm willing to let them slide, and allow them to continue putting an entertaining product on the floor. They should consider themselves fortunate...

*Still only doing my college poll on Fridays of each week (for now), but if you want to be down with the undeniable funk that is NCAA Basketball, then make sure to catch as many of these games as you can this week. I'm startin' to get the fever, baby! It's like a party on TV, and every one's invited! Get on board, or be flat out left behind...

Tuesday
Georgetown @ Depaul
Purdue @ Michigan St.

Wednesday
Rhode Island @ Dayton
Mississippi @ Tennessee
Arizona @ Arizona St.

Thursday
Washington St. @ USC

Chew on those, for now, and I'll give ya the games to watch this weekend if you check back for my Top 10 on Friday morning...

Finally, I have a few non sports items that I'd like to bounce off ya as long as I have you pegged to the screen...

First, I'm in love with this commercial. Actually, I love this one, and the other one by freecreditreport.com too that's very similar. You can judge for yourself, but if you ask me the beat is too snappy, and the performance too funny for anyone not to love it, but this wouldn't be the first time I loved something else everyone hated... (Oh, and don't go to freecreditreport.com, I hear it actually hurts your credit score. Once they figure out you didn't know your score, I guess they hold that against you. Tricky bastards)



Also, I want the name of the executive at the E! Network that is sleeping with alleged comedian, Chelsea Handler. Now I don't want to get into the reasons as to why I watch the E! network, I just need to vent on the fact that this woman is about as funny as cancer, and obviously about as attractive as a lunch lady, yet she seems to continue getting work. She's about as fit to be a late night talk show host as George Bush is to be the leader of the free world. OK, maybe not the best example, but if you've seen or heard this bitch, you know exactly what I mean. It's like someone told her a long time ago that she was funny, and ever since there hasn't been anyone that's had the heart to tell her otherwise. Again, maybe it's just me, and I know it's trivial at best, but that is why I have this thing, and I have a gut feeling that I'm not alone in this opinion. I'd ask you all to boycott her show, but that would mean I'd have to figure out when it's on, and that would only mean possibly having to hear or see her again. Personally, that's just not a risk I'm willing to take right now. In a time where many states are wondering whether or not they should keep executions as part of their legal system, I say you have to, just in case this bitch commits a crime in your state. Deductive reasoning tells me she's either whoring herself out to the suits at E!, or she has pictures of Ryan Seacrest at a sleepover with Michael Jackson at Neverland Ranch. Either way, this needs to end, or I'll just have to keep ripping on her, and wishing that she meet an untimely end at the hands of a runaway rickshaw...

Thanks for letting me get that out of my system, kids, I'm outta here...

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