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Friday, August 21, 2009

Like a Twinkie. Like a Twinkie...


From across the room I can see Morgan Freeman. He's sitting back in a plush, leather, swivel chair. Half amused by the book in his hand and half distracted by the steam rising off of his promptly delivered green tea. With a wry smirk and a brief pick at his right nostril, he opens the book, adjusts the microphone now seen hoovering overhead, and gets down to business...

"It was a fine beard, the one I chose to grow at the end of that Summer. A man's beard, with a man's vision and a man's conviction behind it. I had seen many other beards that Summer, and though I'd given many of them praise, I truly believed mine was the best. Maybe not the fullest and maybe not the longest, but what it may have lacked in physical prominence, it more than made up for in character and purpose. After all, it wasn't so much that I wanted to grow the beard. It's just I had to keep a promise. A promise I made to a dear friend many, many years ago. In a place where not only were our bodies in close connection, but where are minds were forced to serve as one. He told me, should we ever be separated, torn apart by the tides or brushed aside by the strong Autumn wind, that there's only one thing I need remember to keep him in my heart. 'Get busy beardin', or get busy inventing the Batmobile'. And seeing as I've already invented the Batmobile, there's nothing to do but grow a plush and stylish beard. One that's soft. Like a Twinkie. Like a Twinkie."

Oh, Morgan. IS there anything you can't sum up perfectly with your full, deep tones and your silky smooth delivery? I think not. And I say "sum it up", because I've been told in so many words that it's "enough with the beard already!" And while I sense that's just the opinion of a select few, I figure either way it's time to move on. For those beard-a-files in attendance, you can continue to chart my progress on my Twitter feed at the top right of the page or @ http://twitter.com/RoochNation. And for the rest of you, cheer up, because I have plenty of intriguing commentary waiting for you just a few lines down the page...

So without further dudes. Let's get down to beardness...Ha!

First up, the Red Sox...






Now while I'm not a huge fan of WEEI's Dale Arnold, I have to give credit where credit is due. He said recently that this Boston lineup looked exactly like a National League lineup, and only a decent one at that. Touche, Dale. You know for a guy that spends most of his time trying to explain how he wasn't wrong, you sure did hit the nail on the head. They have versatility on their bench, but no real set starting lineup to speak of. Ya know, like if you have two quarterbacks you have NO quarterbacks? That's what we're dealing with.

But let's not go giving that Ned Flanders sound-a-like all the credit. At the time of the Casey Kotchman and Victor Martinez signings, I was front and center wondering how this influx of new talent would effect the chemistry of the everyday lineup. I said it then and I'll say it now, the only way it makes sense to have brought in Victor Martinez, is to have him be the everyday catcher. If you keep Varitek in on a regular basis, and shift Martinez around between 1st and DH, it doesn't really upgrade your offense now, does it? And don't give me the "well Varitek handles the staff better" argument, either. I know how important it is for a catcher to have a good relationship with his pitchers, but at some point, you need to cut your losses...

More or less, we have to let Martinez sink or swim when it comes to handling the staff. Granted he's never been praised as a defensive mastermind, but he's not a fraud like Mike Piazza, either. This is a guy who has caught 2 Cy Young Award winners (Lee, Sabathia) in the last 4 years. So maybe he doesn't have that magical, Disney-like connection that the Captain has with the pitching staff, but history has shown us that he's more than capable once he and the pitchers get on the same page.

And people are quick to point to that start where he caught for Josh Beckett and JB got raked. OK. Only problem with that, is that the two had never even had a side session before together before the start of that game. Victor Martinez or Johnny Bench, I don't care who you are, you've only met with a pitcher for 5 minutes to talk about the game before you catch him for the first time and it's usually not gonna be pretty. So for that game, he gets a pass in my book. Listen, hopefully the chemistry will come sooner rather than later, but it's a risk Boston is going to have to continue taking barring the rest of their lineup suddenly going through an offensive outburst. They need his bat in there on a daily basis, plain and simple...

NOTE: One thing that I really have to give Theo Epstein credit for, is the catching position going forward after this season. The way Tek's contract is set up, the team can pass on him for $5 mil, but he can then trigger his player option for I believe $2-$3 million. Not too shabby for a back up catcher that already is well respected in your clubhouse and has an intimate knowledge of your staff...

And to answer the question many of you have been asking me over the past week as to whether or not the Sox are "wicked screwed" when it comes to making the playoffs. I'll take the Rooch Road and advise you to put down that rotted apple core you so lovingly call a "bong", and take a look at reality. And what does reality say? Reality says 4 things to me...

1) They have a 1 1/2 game lead in the Wild Card

2) They are 6-1 against their likely first round opponent, the Detroit Tigers

3) They still have a great 1-2 punch in Beckett + Lester, at the very least making them competitive in any playoff series

4) They have 42 games remaining, with 6 coming against the New York Yankees


So there ya have it. While I don't think that the Sox are gonna catch the Yankees for the East title (and I'm sure that tiny Japanese kid is gonna get lit up again this weekend), I still like their chances for the Wild Card. And hey, should they actually start hitting with their new and improved lineup, there's no reason to think they can't make a run at another World Series...

Just make sure in all this, you don't count out the Rays (just 4 games back). The Sox have 6 games left against them, too, and they seem to be peaking at just the right time. You know they have the horses to get it done in the post season, they own the Sox lately, and most importantly, they were my pick to represent the AL in the World Series. Hey, I don't like it anymore than you do, and I'm not one for looking in my rear view mirror expect when safe driving is at stake, but it's just something to keep an eye on...

Next up, naturally, we move on to the Pats...



While I sit and listen to the radio feed come down from the comfort of the 630 WPRO AM studio, I'm not expecting to see much of the Patriots this pre season that's going to change how I feel about their chances in this upcoming campaign. Sure it's nice to be surprised by guys like Julian "The Dazzling Dradle" Edelman (an ORoochinal), but when it comes to the '09 Patriots and their chances for success, it's going to start and end with the ability of their defense to come up with some necessary stops...

I mean, call me foolish, but I'm operating under the assumption that Tom Brady is going to return to form. If he doesn't, then we can stop all talk of a deep post season run right here and now. Matter of fact, if I didn't think Tom Terrific wasn't going to be back at 100%, then I'd be just as worried about the O-Line that led the league in sacks allowed last season as I am the possible inadequacies on defense. But seeing as a healthy Tom brings just as much elusiveness and awareness in the pocket as he does an accurate arm and great game managing skills, I'll give the offensive line the benefit of the doubt. Granted it was a missed blocking assignment that cost Tom all of 2008, but for now we'll just chalk that up as a fluke occurrence...

So as for the defense, the main concern isn't so much the ability to stop people (they were 4th in the AFC in yardage against and 5th in points allowed) as it is their ability to create turnovers and restore that bend but don't break mentality. Last season, there wasn't a worse red zone or 3rd down defense than the Pats. Fact. And if you're defensive strategy is "bend but don't break", then you sure as Hell better be coming up with timely turnovers and short yardage stops on 3rd and 4th down...

Guys like Tedy Bruschi, Ty Law and Mike Vrabel were the ones that used to make those big plays, but seeing as their old and on other squads, other guys are going to need to step up. Namely veterans like Adailus Thomas, Derrick Burgess & Brendan Merriweather and rookie DB's Darius Butler & Patrick Chung. Not that other players can't step up, but those guys were brought it mainly for their big play ability...

Guys like Seymour, Warren and Wilfork are gonna do what they do along the defensive line, but it's the guys that work in space and on the edge like the young DB's and the new look LBs that are going to have to make the game changing plays. Jerod Mayo doesn't really make that list for me, because as valuable as I think he is, I still view him as just the ultimate tackler. Like the D-Lineman mentioned above, his job in the middle doesn't usually involve a bunch of flash. Maybe he will continue to grow into more a play maker, as he certainly has it in him, but it's also asking a lot of him to be the team's most dependable tackler and it's big play specialist. Granted the two, as my dad would say, aren't "mutually exclusive", but like I said, it's just a lot to ask for...

Oh and just for the record, and so I don't get accused of being a Lauernce Maroney "do-boy", it's fairly obvious to anyone with 2 eyes that he's the 5th best running back on the current roster. Taylor, Morris, Green-Ellis, Faulk, Maroney. I still love his style, but at this point I'm hoping another GM likes it more, and is willing to slang the Pats a decent draft pick in exchange for his services. Ahhh, Laurence. The condo's parking lot won't be the same without you, but at least my Maroney jersey now has great "random throwback" value...




And finally this week, a brief review of the all new FM sports talk radio station in Boston, 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Toucher & Rich (6am-10am)

I'll be honest with you. I've heard good things about Toucher & Rich, but I've yet to actually hear them do their thing. That being said, I can tell you first hand that the last thing you want on an "all sports" station, is a show that doesn't focus on sports kicking off your daily programming. Listen, inherently, consumers are stupid and creatures of habit. So if they tune in on their way to work and don't hear sports, chances are they aren't gonna tune back in during their lunchtime, or their daily drive home.

Prediction: Toucher & Rich last less than 18 months @ The Sports Hub, and eventually get replaced by some big time sports talkers. Either an old athlete or a big time National talker. I'm thinkin' someone like Boomer Esiason. Not him because he already has a successful show in NY, but someone of that ilk...



Tanguay & Zolak (10am - 2pm)

First and foremost, Zo is the freaking man. He was always great to me when we worked together at The Score in Providence, and I wish him nothing but the best. And don't let him fool ya. As many of you should have realized by now, just because he likes to make immature jokes and watch crappy reality TV, doesn't mean he's not one of the best NFL analysts in the business. Not just X & O's, either.

What I've always liked about Zo was that he was able to really personalize what certain players would be thinking in certain situations. Naturally it's because he was a former player and went through many of the same situations himself, but I think his grasp of the balance between sport/business/family/life is the best I've come across. He understands these guys are people first, and this is a business first...and he does it all while making fart jokes and watching crappy reality TV...

So I like this show. But you know what it's missing? ME?!? OK, maybe that's in a perfect world. But somebody like me! My problem with this show is going to be the lack of what I like to call "informed arguments". You see, both of these guys are way too easily convinced that their opinion might not be correct. They'll just kinda give up if they're being attacked. I get why Tanguay does it, he's out of the "host" mold and just wants to keep the show moving. And I get why Zo does it. He may be uber cocky and confident on the outside, but with that comes the fear of being maligned because you're on the wrong side of the fence on something. I guess what I'm saying is, I don't see either of them willing to go out on a limb and stay there. What they need, is a 3rd guy, a contrarian if you will, to if anything say the things that they don't want to say. Until they add said 3rd person, this show is going to be just a little too middle of the road for me. I really like those guys, and think they make for good radio, it's just not exactly "must see" radio. At least not yet...

Oh and props to my buddy, Jim Louth, the new producer of the Tanguay and Zolak Show. Jim taught be everything I know about sports radio in our time together at The Score, and I wish him nothing but the best. Nobody works harder, is more knowledgeable or is capable of doing a better job at that position than Jim. I'm sure if there are changes to be made for the better, Jim will see years before I will, and make that show the best and most popular show on the station...

Congrats again, buddy. And good luck!...



Felger & Massarotti (2pm-6pm)

It took until 2 pm, but finally two guys that can talk some baseball. The problem, is one of them's a huge tool and the other one is too soft spoken to get a word in edgewise...

Mike Felger, is the aforementioned tool ,or has to use the term he's now embraced, a "douchebag". Shouldn't that sum it up for ya right there? A guy that enjoys being called a douchebag. Priceless...

But listen, I get it. I get that people like Michael Felger, and unlike most, I don't completely despise him. My problem with Felger, is that he's blatantly being a contrarian just for the sake of being a contrarian. I mean, hey, if those are your view points, then cool. But if you're just trying to build a following as some sort of villain, then you're just a big Ted. Hell I'm usually as contrarian as the next guy, but I don't do it just to do it. That's Felger's problem. He'll tell you the sky is green just to piss off a couple of Patriots fans...

I'll tell you this, though. If you don't like Felger, then I wouldn't bother listening. As much as I respect Tony Mazz and have enjoyed his work both in print and on WEEI's The Big Show, he's just not co-host material. His baseball knowledge is second to none in this town, but his soft spoken nature, combined with Felger's demonstrative nature, are going to make it hard for him to ever get a word in edgewise...


Damon Amendolara "DA" (6pm-11pm)

Self admittedly, his only connection to Boston is that his "brother went to school up here"...OK

During one of his first shifts, he spent a good half hour promoting an interview with the Boston Bruins' "Tim Taylor"...OK. He meant goalie Time Thomas...even I knew that. And what? The Tool Man was gonna be on the show? What next? Al Borland and that gay kid with 3 the names?

Come on. I mean I know I'm being picky as shit, but I'm sorry. It's those things that cause people to change to another station. Like what if you were listening to a guy rant about how the TedJones Industrial Average went down last week? Would you still wanna listen to him? OK maybe if he said TedJones you might wanna go look for the audio on the Intraweb so you can show your friends, but you're certainly not going to trust him with financial advice, are ya? And hey, we all make mistakes. I made my fair share this week when I was doing the local news on Imus in the Morning in Providence. Then again, I'm not trying to build myself up as an expert on Rhode island local news. At least not yet...


Anyway. "DA", as he tells his listeners to call him, essentially represents everything I came to loathe about those sports broadcasters that come from Syracuse's Newhouse School of Communications, otherwise known as "Sportscaster U". That is to say, he "sounds" like what we've been told a sportscaster type should sound like, yet seemingly has no original thoughts to offer. Bitter? Sure, if that helps you peg where I'm comin' from on this one, then go right ahead. But I'm tellin' ya, give it a listen and you'll know exactly what I mean...

And I'm not trying to take a dump on the Syracuse sprts broadcasting tradition, either. Obviously it was the #1 reason I went there, it's just that in recent years the only people I see getting churned out of there are cookie cutter smiley guys that are still doing their best early 90's SportsCenter impressions. Maybe I just hold that place to an impossible standard, and that was my problem all along, who knows. All I know is, I like what I like, and the sound coming from Sportscaster U the last decade+ has not exactly been a sweet symphony or a testament to the program's alleged excellence. And check that photo. There are more sport loving perverts in that photo than in the parking lot of a 14 and under boys gymnastics meet. Except for McDonough. He's not only in the photo, but was also the coach of the the boys 10 and under team. Bam!...

And hey, maybe this kid gets to know the market better and I change my tune, who knows. I'm willing to give him a shot. I think it's just more the fact that I don't totally understand how he ended up in Boston in the first place...


So overall, while I appreciate the station as an alternative to EEI's constant shotuing matches, I just haven't been blown away. They have this great FM signal, yet their audio imaging (liners/sounders) harken back to the 1970s. Isn't the whole point of an FM signal is that you're able to optimize your use of sound and music? I don't know. Maybe I'm the one who just doesn't get it...

What is funny, is that if you listen to 98.5 on your way down to southern RI (the tower is a blow torch), there comes a point right around Wakefield where the station cold cuts into some sort of Spanish music station. No intereference where the signal sort of fades, just one second it's sports talk, and the next it's Salsa music. Even better, is that seeing as I had my window down and the volume cranked when this occurred, I was deafend by the sweet sounds of late 90's Raeggaeton.

Simply beautfiul...


So there you have it, beard-o-philes. Another week, another batch of intriguing thoughts and observations. And hey, it was my pleasure...

Now go on and out and enjoy yourselves, kids. Keep an eye out over the next few weeks for my '09 NFL and NCAA Football predictions, and the return of my weekly picks. Believe it or not, I've yet to have a losing season. And while I don't bet myself, it's become increasingly obvious that if you do happen to place wagers on games, you'd be foolish not to take my advice. There, I said it...






Until then, heed the advice of Morgan Freeman and "get busy beardin, or get busy buildin' the Batmobile". Or if you could figure out a way to have small monkeys in cowboy hats compete in a triatholon in which they ride dogs on land, dolphins in the water, and eagles in the air, then that too would be a good use of time. Oh and you should call it "SHOW ME THE MONKEY!" Just a suggestion...

OK, now I'm really outta here...

BROOKS IS DEAD!

100...

Friday, August 14, 2009

With Great Beard Comes Great Responsibility



Time used to be, the only thing I ever grew were delicious jalapeno peppers on the front porch of my lovely raised ranch. Now? Well let's just say I've taken my desire for cultivation to an even more personal level...

That's right, I'm growin' a beard...

And while I've been known in the past to grow a mean set of mutton chops or sport the occasional 5 o'clock shadow, growing any sort of full fledged beard is a rather new venture for me. For one, the 5 o'clock shadow usually only shows up at 5 o'clock on the 3rd or 4th day after I've initially shaved. So needless to say that even had I wanted to grow a beard all these years, it would have been quite the process and a half. It's like if you've ever shaved your head with the intent of letting it grow back. After about a week and a half, your hair gets caught in that awkward post-peach-fuzz state that has your head lookin' like the world's biggest testicle or that Meatball from Aqua Tenn Hunger Force, and you usually just cave in and shave it again. I mean, why look like the world's biggest talking meat sack when you can shave yourself to respectability in 5 minutes flat, right?

Well that's where I've always been with my beard growing. Grow it for a week, get aggravated with it, and shave it off. Just like that comedian said on the AMC screening of Fight Club. First rule of Beard Club. Grow a beard. Second rule of Beard Club. Shave it off. Third rule of Beard Club. Repeat. I won't be following the 3rd rule, as I have a great groowimng tool to help me along my journey, but that's what makes me better than the Beard Club. Above it, if you will. Matter of fact, after a meeting of the bearded minds this past weekend at a good friend's cookout, I've dubbed myself Leader of the New Beard Order. You can call me, The Chairman of the Beard...


Oh and this video was shot at the same great cookout, filmed by and co-starring our host, Neal Donahue. Needless to say, I couldn't have said any of this better myself. Parental Discretion is advised. Here he is. Pat White everybody, with an inside look at the creative process behind an average episode of Entourage!




Simply incredible. Both his performance and his beard. Matter of fact, all 3 guys you can see in that video are rockin' the John Beardman, and yours truly can be heard off camera. That's 4 for 4 in the beard department, kids, and that my friends, is what I call a great ratio. But I digress. After all, this post is about me and my beard. Not my funny friends and there far more advanced beards...


So it's a new era, friends. A bearded era. And as the title suggests, with great beard comes great responsibility. What does that mean? Well not a whole lot, really. More or less I'm just using it as yet another excuse as to why I haven't been as active on here as I'd like to be. Believe me, I've got so much insight and commentary brewin' up in that big brain of mine that I'm about to "stroke out like Sterling" (another ORoochinal phrase). Whether it's Youk bein' Youk, the start of the NFL season, or Andy Reid adding another felon to his Rolodex, there's never a shortage of topics, just sometimes a shortage of time. Or as the case is this week, more pressing personal matters to attend to. Ya know, like my beard and my hysterical bearded friends. Not only growing it, but writing about it so I can keep all my loyal fans up to speed. Inquiring minds want to know, after all. Especially when it's a matter of such vital importance like the state of my facial hair...

But make sure to check in with me next week. I'll have grooming suggestions, Red Sox and Patriots updates, a review of the new 98.5 The Sports Hub, and a recap of my second stint doing the Imus in the Morning local news on every one's favorite Providence area Talk and Business station, AM 790 (http://www.790business.com/). If you're in the area, take a listen from 6-10 on your way to work. If not, I'll catch you next week, in all my bearded glory...

Until then, this is the Chairman saying "Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for my beard. And if you must, give it a little scratch. I won't mind. Matter of fact, I downright encourage it..."

Peace in the Middle, kids...

100...

Friday, August 07, 2009

The Man Behind The Muppet: The Real Villain In MLB's Steroid Scandal


Greetings and salutations, good friends. I know I haven't been frequenting the virtual world as often this Summer, but a good dose of hard work, good times, and a change in thinking have gotten me doing things a little differently this time around...

Now there's no need to fret. My hiatus has nothing do do with my love for sports and all the drama that surrounds them diminishing at all. Matter of fact, it's mostly been me taking the time to look at things a little longer, a little harder, before scrambling to my computer to throw the day's "story du jour" together with a smattering of accusations, assumptions and off color one-liners. Is it me getting older, getting wiser? Nah, at least that's not how I'm choosing to look at it...

Ask any of my friends, and they'll tell you. I love stories. It's what's always attracted me to sports. Well, I guess in the beginning it was a combination of the camaraderie, the physicality and the competitiveness, but when my playing days (ha-ha-ha) were done, it was the stories that kept me glued to my TV and searching the Intraweb for updates and insight...

What my friends will also tell you, is that while I do love both listening to (or in the case of movies and TV "watching") and telling stories, I'm also about as big of a critic as you're going to find. I'm not sure whether it's a result of growing up the offspring of two teachers, but I can't help but look at or listen to a story without constantly dissecting it. Dissecting it to see if it holds water, makes sense and dissecting it to see if it's actually worthwhile and entertaining. Unlike a lot of so-called "critics", I won't make a snap judgement based on things I've liked or disliked in the past, and I won't look for an end game of a particular story when I've only been given a portion of the facts. I'm always looking for more, looking more into how and why a person told a story. Getting behind their true goals and motives. Sounds idealistic, I know, but if it's one thing I like to stick to, it's my morals and ideals...

So why does this matter, you ask? How do my unattainable standards relate to the current goings on in the world of sports?

Two words.

THE LIST

That's right, MLB's now infamous list of player's that tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in the "anonymous" testing of 2003...

One by one, the names are being leaked out. And one by one, the players on said list are all following the same course. They get dragged through the media mud pit, forgiven by their fans, and spit out of the rapid fire news cycle faster than a lemonade dipped bun cruises down Joey Chestnut's esophagus...

What's being missed in all of this sensationalism, is the proverbial "big picture". The actual "interesting part" of this whole perverted equation. Should the names on the list really be all that interesting? What, like there's a name on there that's really going to shock the system? Please. The names are merely window dressing, or to quote Mr. X in JFK "a parlor game to keep the public guessing". Besides, that test, and no test since, has even tested for the use of HGH! Matter of fact, unless things have recently changed, there still isn't even a lab in this country capable of properly testing for it! Now if memory serves, HGH was right in the middle of this whole scandal when Barry Bonds was involved, wasn't it? But what about now? Now nobody gives two shits about BALCO, and HGH has been tossed to the side, written off as the lesser of the two evils in comparison to anabolic steroids. A side effect that I gotta believe MLB is pretty pumped about...

Long story short, it doesn't matter who was on the list. That's something for the owners and the Hall of Fame voters to worry about. Sure it's newsworthy when another big name hits the front page, but with each new offender, does anything really change? Truth is, the list is only going to validate what we educated and realistic fans already know, and leave us with the same pessimistic view of the sport's overall testing policy. Without a viable test for HGH, and with the common perception that dedicated cheaters are always going to be one step ahead, no list, no matter how long, is going to come close to ending all the speculation. All that should matter is who is in possession of the list, how they obtained it, who stands to benefit most from the names being leaked out in such a slow and arduous manner and who has the power to cover up their involvement..

We should also be asking, in wake of David Ortiz and his odd silence on the matter, who is giving these players advice on whether or not to come out and comment on their possible inclusion? According to those with knowledge of the list and familiarity with the inner workings of the system (Buster Olney, Theo Epstein, Tim Kurkjian), every player that appears on THE LIST was informed of their inclusion at the time of the testing. So why the continued silence? And not just from Papi, but from everyone!

Pettitte, A-Rod, Giambi, Manny, etc. They've all come out, admitted they did wrong, and have been instantly forgiven. Hell, some of them haven't even said what they did wrong, exactly, and yet were still welcomed back with open arms and open check books. You gotta think, if you know you're on the list, and you know you're going to be found out eventually, why not come out and apologize on your own terms? You get in front of a mic bank, say you're sorry, shed a tear or two, tell the kids you're sorry you let them down, and the next thing you know you're yesterday's news. Or you can wait, and take the chance that maybe your name won't be leaked. Then when you're found out, not only do you look like a cheater, but a liar and a coward to boot. Not man enough to admit you were wrong, and not smart enough to stay one step ahead of the media...

So what's with all the cloak and dagger, all the 'waiting games'? Who is this whole mess of an awkward situation benefiting?

This time. It's gonna take 3 words...

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL.



Think about it. It makes perfect sense that Bud Selig and his creepy cronies have gotten their hands on THE LIST, and in typical MLB fashion, their revealing the results one agonizing name at a time. If someone in the Player's Union had the list, they would have destroyed it to save their member's all this trouble, or at the very least prepared the players before the entire list was released. If a rogue media member or court house official had it, they'd likely have already been turned on by one of their reporter buddies. Ya know, they approach the wrong person and the next thing they know they're sitting in front of a grand jury?

But no. The list exists. So we know the Union doesn't have it. And the fact that nobody has been arrested for obtaining secret documents? That tells us that the media doesn't have it. Not only does that logically only leave Selig and the arrogant gate keepers at MLB's front offices, but the way the names have been leaked out is even further evidence that they're the one's pulling the strings...

For years I've commented on how Major League Baseball takes forever to hand out their post season awards. Instead of doing both MVP's and both Cy Young's on the same day, they turn it into a month long event, letting one winner out every 4-5 days. Why? For maximum exposure, what else?! They're a business, a damn good one, and they specialize in public relations...

So why is it in their best interest to keep these names trickling out? Well while it might seem on the surface that each name released taints the game a little more, it also has a very powerful, double-sided, positive effect. It keeps the game in the news and it makes the fans feel as if the powers that be are weeding out all of the cheaters. You know, any publicity is good publicity, right? And what's gonna make the fans feel like the game is getting "cleaned up" more than the proof that some of the game's biggest stars were on the sauce? You say they are tearing down their own well crafted image, I say they're sending the message that no one is untouchable. They want the average fan to know that they're willing to clean up the game, at any cost!...

And I'm willing to bet that creepy muppet Selig and his boys have a few "newspaper men on the payroll" (classic line from The Godfather) that are both helping them leak out the names, and making sure to keep a Jack-Ruby-like distance between themselves and their paymasters. I'll even go as far as to say that THE LIST that Major League Baseball has in it's possession isn't even the same one that the Player's Union failed to destroy, but that since the Union failed to destroy the original list, MLB is free to claim that's the reason why the list is still making the rounds...

That's right, kiddos, it's a flat out conspiracy. And this one stretches to the highest level of the sport. Do I have any real proof? No, but that wouldn't make it nearly as interesting a proclamation now, would it? But the fact remains, when you look at the story within the story, or the story "behind" the story if you will, it's fairly clear that there's someone powerful and manipulative pulling the strings on this one...

The sad part, is that Selig and friends probably still think they're doing this for the "good of the game". Whether they're trying to "get even" with the players for using performance enhancers in the first place, or just selfishly trying to make themselves look smart and diligent, I don't know. What I do know, is that they're the one's behind the curtain on this one...

And that, my friends, is the interesting part of this particular story. It's what will some day turn this whole mess into a great movie starring Martin Landau, and it's a cover up that might eventually make the steroid scandal itself look small and insignificant in comparison...

You say you want to see the list? I say give me the men who're responsilbe for leaking the names...

Maybe it's the critic in me looking too deep and finding stuff that's not even there. But it takes a critical eye to catch a deviant mastermind...Even if he does wear an adult diaper and look like the bastard child of Kermit the Frog and a tube of Silly Putty...

If I'm right, this won't be over until each name has been drolled out one by one, or until he and his henchmen are exposed. The former being the most likely...

Until that day. I say long live baseball. Long live the truth. And long live those who have the brain enough to realize that they aren't one in the same...

That was corny, but you know it's true...

Have a great weekend...

I'm outta here...

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