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Thursday, May 15, 2008

I Spy Jealousy & Ego

Man oh man, what a sad state the world of sports is in these days. And I'm not just talking about SpyGate either...Check it out...


SPYGATE
-It still might be up for debate whether you think SpyGate is "over" after Matt Walsh met with Roger Goodell this week, but what's clear to me is that the recent developments have defined the winners, and real big losers that have been unearthed thanks the the Patriots illegal taping. I've tried not to view this thing through the Flying Elvis shaded glasses of a hardcore Patriots fan, and this is how I think this thing has broken down...

Winners
Matt Walsh
-So he never had a tape of the Rams walk-through. Shocker. At least the guy got to show what he did have, and get his name out of the papers once and for all. Has to feel good. Also doesn't hurt that it's become painfully obvious that Walsh was not the one who leaked the walk-through claim to the Boston Herald. Has to feel good getting all that out in the open...


Roger Goodell
-The NFL Sheriff was very eloquent and direct when answering questions about Walsh and the tapes, and his decision to take no further action against the Pats seemed well researched and well founded. For more on how direct, thorough and to the point the NFL boss was, check out Mike Reiss' take on it on his blog...

Reiss "Key Points From Goodell":
http://www.boston.com/sports/football/patriots/reiss_pieces/2008/05/key_points_from.html

New England Patriots
-In this case, no news really IS good news. I understand that the team was essentially caught cheating, but the fact that no new evidence was uncovered in this latest installment of the ongoing scandal has to have the Pats brass and players feeling rather vindicated. It will still be some time before opposing fans will let this whole thing go, which I understand, but with Walsh now out of the picture, at least the franchise should be able to move on without feeling any sort of embarrassment, or questioning whether or not their achievements have been the least bit tainted...


Losers
The Boston Herald
-When Herald columnist John Tomase (above/creepin' me the F out!) wrote the story of the alleged walk-through tape without any legit sources, he not only made an entire nation of Patriot's fans pissed due to his allegations and timing, but very well may have sealed the professional fate of both himself and the paper he works for. Tomase went out on a limb right before the Super Bowl in an attempt to, I can only assume, further his career, by running with information that the Pats had taped the walk-through prior to the Super Bowl against the Rams. Now, despite the Herald's too little too late apology , both he and the paper have probably alienated Patriot fans from the paper forever. This is why you have multiple sources, my friends. And it's also proof that many times what appears to be too good to be true is exactly that...

apology:http://bostonherald.com/sports/football/patriots/view.bg?articleid=1093898&srvc=home&position=1


ESPN
-Quite frankly, ESPN's coverage of Walsh's meeting with Goodell on Tuesday afternoon was flat out embarrassing. I understand they have 4 channels and a radio network's worth of programming to fill, but ESPN's "expert analysis" about Spygate has been as hysterical as it has been unnecessary. I always knew that Tom Jackson was a Patriot hater, stemming back to when he said the players hated Belichick after the Lawyer Milloy trade, but the comments of both Mark Schlereth and Chris Carter on the day of the Walsh meeting lead me to believe that perhaps one bad apple has spoiled the whole bunch. Despite listening to the entire Goodell press conference, Schlereth still insisted that he found it hard to believe the Patriots weren't using the tapes during the game. OK, so you think Walsh is lying, I can accept that. But then to argue Walsh's point that the Pats usually only edited the tapes of teams they would play again that season by asking why Pittsburgh was on the tapes, just makes it look like you were taking a dump while the Commish was speaking. Belichick said all along, and Goodell has concurred, that he's been taping every game in this manner since he arrived in Foxboro. And further more, despite not being a divisional opponent, is it that unlikely to assume the Pats would think they might get another crack at the Steelers later in the year? Please fellas. Try listening next time...


Bill Belichick
-In so many words, Commissioner Goodell said he didn't believe Bill's explanation that he "misinterpreted" the rule, and that the Pats head coach knew he was cheating the entire time. Hmmm. Yeah, that sounds like the Bill we've come to know and love, doesn't it? I can't blame the guy for trying to get an edge, but once he was caught, he should have come cleaner than he did. That's why I have no problem with the fine assessed to the team in the immediate wake of the scandal. Bill broke the rule, he was punished, and should be viewed as someone who's arrogance led him to believe he could do whatever he damn well pleased...


Sal Paolantonio (ESPN reporter)
-Why can't this guy just come out and say he's an Eagles fan like Specter, and therefore can't be put in a position to report on this story? Before the meeting, Sal, whom I have always respected as a great reporter, had a list of questions that the Commish needed to ask in order for any real information to be gathered. Problem was, his list was bogus. Did Tom Brady have knowledge of these tapes? How is Walsh, the typical "12th man on the deal team", gonna know that, and how is it even the least bit relevant?! Sal. The taping itself wasn't illegal, my man. It was where they did the taping that was the issue this whole time! It's people like Sal that have the public thinking that the fact alone that the Pats were taping was the problem here, when in reality, what's been lost in the shuffle, is that it wasn't the violation at all! I understand having a bias or a passion for a certain topic, but for the love of God at least focus on the actual matter at hand, instead of pushing your agenda, and confusing the Hell out of your average fan...


Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania Senator)
-Another bitter Eagles fan, but this one has been in it for the 15 minutes of fame all along. Why else would he delay his press conference after meeting with Walsh? He only did it to make sure he stepped to the podium during a midday media frenzy, rather than having his words buried on the back page if he had said his piece on Tuesday night. What a media whore. I got your "magic bullet" right here, you old, bitter bastard. Take your idea for an independent inquiry, shove it up your old, shriveled ass, and try worrying about some shit that can actually, I don't know, "help" your constituency? I hear the gas prices are a tad high, try takin' a look at that!


Most Of America
-Hours after the meeting, I read a poll on ESPN.com that said 62% of America thought that further action needed to be taken against the Patriots, and that SpyGate wasn't over by a long shot. Apparently nothing short of Belichick being suspended and the team being fined again is gonna please these people, and even that probably won't be enough. Listen. Just because the Pats were diligent enough to have 2 first round picks this year to soften the blow of their penalty, doesn't mean they weren't severely punished. And also. Just because you're team didn't get caught, and hasn't won 3 Super Bowls, doesn't mean you weren't also doing illegal ish behind the scenes...

All in all, the Pats got what they deserved and will have to live with what they did, but all the drama surrounding Matt Walsh has essentially been for not. The media has made a mess of it, and it's become as much a "well my dad is tougher than your dad" between fans, as it is actually about finding out the truth. That's just the way this shit goes...


OK then. While I try to do my best and put SpyGate in the rear view mirror (impossible), I'm moving on to a topic that's usually a lot more pleasant than my favorite team being accused of cheating. Usually...

Red Sox Update
Overall: 24-19, 2nd place in AL East 1/2 game behind Tampa Bay

-Never has a 4-6 road trip looked so bad. Not only did Boston lose a heart breaker to Detroit, and another to the Twins, but blowing 3 straight 3-0 leads to finish the trip up is just the ultimate kick in the junk. And unlike the 5 game losing streak to end April, this little stretch actually has me a bit concerned. Beckett got shelled after being spotted 3 against the O's and lost, Clay Buchholz is on the DL after splitting a fingernail ,and Jon Lester has been good, but seems to be hitting the wall pretty early in games for such a young arm. Add to that the fact that the Julio Lugo signing is looking more and more like we got a cracked out version of Edgar Renteria, and I can't blame Sox fans for being a little on edge. Good news is, it's only May 15th. Bad news is, it's May 15th, and Tampa is somehow in first place. Weird, shouldn't I be somewhere watching Who's the Boss with Steve Allen?...

-JD Drew getting hurt is about as reliable as the song selection in a Martin Scorese film. Now give the man some shelter, and get him the Hell off this team!

-And seeing as the hot topic in NY these days is the excessive celebration of reliever Joba Chamberlain, I have to say I have some issues with some of the actions of the Nation's favorite Sox. Between Kevin Youkilis getting upset over everything that's not a hit, and David Ortiz being the same way over every called strike he disagrees with, some of the Boston bats are earning well deserved reputations as arrogant crybabies. I'm all for perfection, don't get me wrong, but when Youk slams his helmet after grounding out to go 3 for 4, he's just asking for the next batter to get one right in his ear. Passion is one thing, but showing guys up is quite another. It's a fine line to walk, but it's one I'd like to see You and Papi try to toe a little better as the season drags on...


Diamonds...She'll Pretty Much Have To

-The Feds revised charges against Barry Lamar Bonds this week, amending their indictment to now include 14 charges of perjury and 1 of obstruction of justice against the games all time home run leader. He really isn't being charged with anything more than he was before, it's just that now the indictment is a little more specific. I say if it makes him look more guilty, and it's furthering the process to get his acne covered, cow-roidin ass into the slammer, then I'm all for it. Time to reap, Barroid. Time to reap...


-I'm telling you right now to look out for the Yanks. Hank Steinbrenner called them out this week telling them to "earn their money", seemingly taking a page out of the old man's handbook. George used to do it to serve his own ego, but it always seemed to do more to rally the team around their manager, Joe Torre. Now with Girardi at the helm, I can only assume he'll take a page from his predecessors playbook and do exactly the same thing. Hank probably isn't clever or smart enough to actually start this series of dominoes going, but I think his latest childish outburst might actually have it's desired effect. It's like some sort of rich brat, whiny reverse psychology, and in years past, it's been just what slumping Yankee squads have needed. No reason to think it won't work this time as well...

-Just an update from last week on Indians lefty Cliff Lee. After 9 shutout innings in a no decision against the Blue Jays, Lee sits at 6-0 with an 0.67 ERA and 44 K's. Ya know, just in case you were wondering...

-And If you're really trying to get ahead on your future Cy Young research ,check out this article about the kid they're calling the next Dice K...

here: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=darvish


Now that baseball is out of the way, it's on to what's passing as news these days...and possibly a few notes...


News and Notes
-Allow me to officially crown the Detroit Pistons as the 2008 Eastern Conference Champions. They win a road game against the Magic, and Doc and the boys can't even beat the Hawks or Cavs on the road, period. And don't give me the "oh well home teams are 18-1 this in the second round". That one team was Detroit, and they did it in an elimination-type game without arguably their best player. This is the Pistons 6th straight trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, and by the look of the play in the Celtics/Cavs series, they'll have a shot at the best in the West for the 2008 NBA Title. What, you saying I'm a Pistons fans? Well if that's how you want to put it, then fine. Prediciton: I will cheer for my main man Sheed and the Pistons to beat Boston in the Eastern Finals (assuming the Green make it), and when they win, I will C-walk all over the Celtics grave. I'm not saying Boston should be ashamed by losing in the East Finals, mind you, I'm just saying that whatever has happened to them during their playoff run (Doc sucks, Doc sucks, Doc sucks) is gonna prevent them from even sniffing this year's NBA Finals. Just tell me, Glen Rivers PHD. Why are PJ Brown and Sam Cassell all of a sudden playing so much ,while my main man Ed House remains buried on the bench? Oh, that's right, because you are about as good a coach as I am a Mexican. Like I said when the Celts signed these guys. The only thing those additions were going to do, was mess up the great rotations Doc had going, give him too many options, and be the demise of the team that had an epic and awe inspiring regular season. I understand that the playoffs is a different "style" of ball with more intense defense. But Ed House and crew were the same guys playing when everyone said the C's were winning playoff-esque games like the road trip through Texas, and the games against Detroit. Basically, if his D wasn't hurting you that much then, what's to say it's gonna be the death of you now? Just sayin. And oh yea, the record speaks for itself...

Hey, I'm not a hater. I just call 'em like I see 'em. And right now, I see an experienced Detroit team clicking with a nice mix of veterans and youth, and an inexperienced Boston team playing like...well...playing like they've never been there before. Sheed and friends are gonna take it home, and the newly cround NBA exec of the year, Danny Ainge, is gonna have a long off season faced with the task of finding a new head coach...

Celts move on, but Detroit takes it in 6. Just remember, you heard it here first. Someone has to bring the truth, and it doesn't hurt that I get to root for Sheed while I'm doing it...


-Apparently I'm the only man on the planet to have seen "He Got Game" and "Blue Chips". Otherwise, how can I explain the public reaction to the latest USC scandal involving OJ Mayo? The kid had been associating with agents and luminaries ever since high school. Even then he was probably being paid. How else do you explain the fact that he played for 3 different high school squads in just 4 years when his family was allegedly dirt poor? Come on, we know how the system works. The agents find loopholes, give money to the amateur athletes, the school looks the other way while the player helps their squad, and everybody wins, right? Again, I understand ESPN has programming to fill, and an ex Mayo confidant as an apparent axe to grind, but to even blink when hearing this news would make you extremely naive. Hell, I didn't even see all the shit OJ was allegedly flashing around (car, plane tickets, plasma TV), and I just assumed that was what was going down. Kids like Mayo come with strings attached and every program that goes after them knows exactly what they're getting themselves into. Whether it's "boosters" slappin' them a hundy here and there (paging Rhett Bomar), or a "friend of the program" slippin' a few bennies in your mom's pocket, it's a common practice that's always gonna go on. You really wanna stop it, then you have to either pay the athletes, or watch over every program like the FBI. Personally, I wouldn't say I'm "pro", this kind of behavior, but I would have to say I think the system, however corrupt, is part of what makes college basketball so entertaining. It's what made the movies I mentioned so good (He Got Game is the ill), and it's part of what gives college hoops so much character. Punish USC to save face, but then go back to your successful strategy of turning the ever present blind eye...


-The Preakness is this weekend, and while I wish I had some hot tips for ya, anything I told you would basically be an outright lie. I didn't make dollar one in the Derby, and after Big Brown's impressive performance, I can't believe there's much money to be made in the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown anyway. He's going off at 1 to 2, and the only horse returning from the Derby to challenge the colt is Gayego, who goes off at 8 to 1. OK, maybe I fibbed a little. I actually do have a few tips for ya. I like Racecar Rhapsody breaking from the 6 pole at 30 to 1, and Icabad Crane, who'll break from slot 3 also at 30 to 1. Again, they're just the names I like, but since when has horse racing ever been about actual knowledge anyway? Keeping with tradition, I won't have nearly as many bets on the Preakness as I did in the Derby, but I'll still be looking to cash in. Here are two bets that I'm sure to make...

Trifecta
Win: Big Brown (1 to 2)
Place: Yankee Bravo (15 to 1)
Show: Behindatthebar (10 to 1)

Trifecta Box (the 3 horses need to finish 1-2-3 in any order)
Big Brown ( 1 to 2)
Racecar Rhapsody (30 to 1)
Icabad Crane (30 to 1)

Oh, and if I were to pick I horse that I think might die in this race, I'd have to go with Giant Moon. Again, no logic involved, it's just a name I can imagine in a post-race headline like "Another Giant Tragedy". Yeah, yeah I'm sick and twisted. Believe me, it's something I long ago came to terms with, and I suggest you do the same...

-Speaking of horses. If you still need proof that Hillary Cinton shouldn't be President? Well you shouldn't. Not after a resounding 73% of the registered Democratic voters in Meth Virginia chose her. Any state that has a voting system that consists of two jugs and a wad of chewing tobacco can't be trusted. Espcially when the other 27% of the voters voted for either Kevin Pittsnogle, the white Jason Williams, or Taylor Hicks (why do I know that name?). Pass the moonshine...

-I know I still might be the only person I know that watches poker on TV, but there's some news surrounding the 2008 World Series of Poker that might actually change that. This year's series, which will kick up at the end of the month, will now feature a Main Event final table that occurs in November, well after ESPN viewers have seen who the participants are, and will be aired live. This gives the network, and the players ample time to promote both themselves and the event, which in my eyes, will only make it that much more exciting.

-My last bit this week is a cool thing CNN.com has started doing. Go to the site and you'll see a new feature with some of it's more illicit headlines that allows you to immediately purchase that headline on a black or white t-shirt. Needless to say, my new hobby is checking in on CNN.com waiting for them to slip up, or waiting for a truly t-shirt worthy headline. Just think of the possibilities. A t-shirt that says "Bush: "Mission Accomplished". Or the one I saw today: "McCain Says Iraq War Won by 2013". Ha!. This is gonna be sweeeet...

And with that...I'm out like Flynt...

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