Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ever Since I Can Remember, I Always Wanted to be a Booster...

"Ever since I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster."

We all know that line.  It's Ray Liotta, playing Henry Hill,after he slams the trunk shut on Philly Leotardo's (or Billy Batts, either way) bulett ridden corpse in the beginning of Goodfellas.  Just some fantastic cinema, right there, and it's iconic scenes like that which have helped fuel the movie going public's infatuation with all things Cosa Nostra.  And with good reason.  That's just some top notch movie makin'...

It's a double edged sword, though, when it comes to dealing with these movies in terms of perception versus reality.  Something I talked about last week.  Sure, those movies are entertaining as Hell, but while we welcome thosae thugs onto our TVs with open arms, none of us would want to get involved with them in our every day life.  We wanna watch the movie, we don't wanna end up being the guy in the trunk.  And we know (at least hopefully) that anyone that gets involved with those people, will most likely ultimately meet their end due to "natural causes".  At least, "Natural to the line of work they were in", to quote Tommy Lee Jones in No Country For Old Men.  Yeah, in case you couldn't tell, I'm in a movie quoting kind of mood...

That's it, though.  We like that this stuff goes on.  We may go out of our way to avoid those people in our ever day lives, but we like that they exist, if only to provide us with such entertaining movies.  Is that selfish?  You're damn straight it is.  But that's also human nature, so excuse me if that gets in the way of your vision of a perfect world...

My head gets run over in the Sopranos finale.
It's pretty awesome...
I say all this, in light of the latest booster scandal that has "rocked" collegiate athletics over the past week.  Reports of payoffs, gifts, hookers and even abortions (I'd imagine in that exact order) have surfaced, and the entire world of collegiate athletics has yet again come under scrutiny from both the fans and, more importantly, the media.  IS there something terribly wrong with the system?  Do much stricter guidelines and penalties need to be installed?  I'll answer those questions, take a shot at a pedophile (No Pedo!) and give my weekly updates on both the Pats and the Sox...

So get your shine box out, friends.  And enjoy...

The Miami Hurricanes are the latest big name program to come
under scrutiny for shady/illegal recruiting practices. Yawn...
Gimmie a Boost...

MY take is probably a tad bit anticlimactic, considering my intro and the fact that I've written about this topic before.  But I'll sling it to you, anyway.  I don't have a problem with boosters, I just have a problem when boosters for teams or players I like get caught.  Pretty sleazy, huh?  Believe me, I know.  It's just that it was a lonnng time about that I accepted this type of behavior as "part of the game", and instead of rallying against it, I chose to accept it.  I wasn't pumped to learn that's how business was conducted, and I don't take that tact with all forms of cheating, but I also didn't see it as all that big of an offense.  It's cheating, I get that, I've just always chosen to view it as an "Everyone else is doing it" type of situation.  Not the best reason to do something, but in a competitive situation, it's often your best, if not your only course of action...

Apparently the Big Fella needed a "boost".
 Rex Grossman would beg to differ...
That's why, when convicted ponzi schemer, and former University of Miami booster, Nevin Shapiro, started singing this week about all the improper benefits he'd purveyed over the years, my only response was: "Sucks to be those guys".  I didn't think, "the system is flawed and needs to be changed".  I didn't "look down" on those involved, like former Hurricane and current Patriot, Vince Wilfork.  I just thought that it sucked that the players being implicated would have to put up with what was sure to become, and has become, an outright media feeding frenzy.  Sure, they did wrong, but at whose expense?  The NCAA?  The school itself?  Don't make me laugh. They all made more money off of any one of those players than any booster could possibly give them, and we all know it.  To them, it's just the cost of doing business.  A mighty profitable good business, I might add...

Furthermore, this isn't even "news".  This is a known liar and cheater, in Shapiro, telling us the sky is blue, and all of us looking up and saying, "Holy shit, that dude is right!"  So what?  So he named a few names we didn't already know.  Big deal.  That's like someone coming forward with proof that Barry Bonds failed a steroids test.  Who cares?  We know, already!  Just because there isn't enough evidence for a court of law, doesn't mean there isn't enough for the court of public opinion.  So spare me with all this "news" about the dire state of college athletics.  Would that be the same "dire state" that's kept it atop the sports/entertainment world for the last like 100 years?  Yeah, I thought as much...

Do I look like I could find you coke?
Listen, you wanna fix the system?  I'm all for it.  It's just that you can't start at the bottom, you have to start at the top.  That's right, with the bowl games and the "pay for play" argument.  But trying to corral boosters and improper benefits, and saying that will help restore faith in the system?  That's like saying you can fix your car by giving it a new paint job.  Sure, it will look good on the outside, but nothing will have really changed.  You wanna get rid of the boosters?  Then pay the players based on performance, just like in the pros, and turn the NCAA into a full blown farm system.  Anything short of that, I suggest you just sit back and enjoy the shady characters and colorful story lines that this type of culture tends to produce.  Like Happy, over there.  The booster from Blue Chips.  Aren't you glad he's out there helping your team nail down that money hungry recruit?  I know I am.  Granted, I wouldn't whizz on the guy if he were on fire in the lone clean urinal in the rest room, but as long as he remains relatively unseen and unheard, then I'm all for him.  I mean, hey.  Somebody needs to pay for the strippers, right?  Those girls need to pay their way through college, too...

Oh and as for the NFL doing anything retroactively to the players being named?  That's really none of their business.  Looking into the particular agents involved may be their business, but no one is going to get suspended here.  How would that look?  A league that pays their players, telling another league that they're not allowed to pay their players.  That would be a stretch, even for Sherriff Goodell.  And like I said, all that would do would force these car dealers (the boosters version of "waste management") to come up with more clandestine ways to get the cash where it needs to go...

"You want the truth?!?"
Either make serious and earnest attempts at reform, or stop treating this stuff like news.  The general public knows it goes on, and they've sent the message quite resoundingly that in the grand scheme of things, they DO NOT CARE.  Yahoo! Sports and their "crack team" of investigators, who seemingly obsess over these stories may beg to differ, but that's really the way it is.  People may seem outraged for a week or two, but then a school or two gets punished, and they forget about it.  Why?  Because the system in place, that very same dirty and corrupt system that they just freaked out about, is the one that's consistently given them so much enjoyment.  To quote Colonel Nathan Jessup in A Few Good Men, and in the interest of closing things out with yet another fantastically appropriate movie line, I give you this.  "You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall!"  And he's right.  We don't wanna know how the sausage is made, we just want to eat the delicious results.  It's as simple as that.  And as long as the NCAA insists on forcing the illusion of the term "student-athlete" on the viewing public, that's how it's always going to be...

So boost on, boosters.  You're slimy pieces of filth, but we love ya for it.  Oh and make sure to keep the call girls comin'.  We likes these types of movies with a nice juicy, R rating when they finally make it on to film...

Speaking of R ratings, my performances watching the Sox the last week or so would probably be rated R.  Yep, I've been swearing a lot.  And yep, that was a half assed attempt at a segue...

Red Sox Update
Last Week: 2-4
Overall: 2nd in AL East, 1/2 game behind NY Yankees

Well true to form, I finally install the Red Sox as my front runners to win the World Series, after saying all year I didn't think they had what it took, and they immediately lose their grasp on 1st place in the AL East.  That, my friends, is what I like to refer to as, "P for the mother fuckin' C".  If you're not sure what that means, I'm sure you'll be able to figure it out by the time you've finished reading this week's notes...

*Carl Crawford needs to get hot.  The Sox have managed to have an extremely potent offense more or less without him, this year, but if he's to salvage his much hyped debut, and the Sox are expected to continue their run at home field and 1st place, he's going to need to start swinging some legitimate wood.  I don't have any projections he needs to hit, or anything like that, he just needs to become a blatantly dangerous part of this offense, as opposed to getting the occasional big hit here and there.  Especially with Papi out for "a week", which is something I'm extremely weary of.  Big old guy hurts his foot?  That's never good.  I just think Sam Bowie and Greg Oden when I hear stuff like that.  I realize those aren't even remotely close to appropriate examples, but you know what I'm sayin'.  Big guys and their feet.  It always looks innocent enough and then BAM! Career over.  OK, I may be over dramatizing things a bit, but that's how important Ortiz has been to the team this year...

Carl Crawford (last 2 weeks): .277/ 0 HR/ 3 RBI/ 3 SB
Carl Crawford 2011:  .249/ 7 HR/ 38RBI / 15 SB

...time to step it up, Chuck.  And I know "Chuck" is short for Charles and not Carl, but that just seems to work, so I'm goin' with it...

He's not scrappy, he's flat out dangerous...
*I never thought referring to a player as "scrappy", or applauding them for their consistently intense performance could be construed as selling them short.  Then again, I've never really seen a baseball player quite like Dustin Pedroia...

That's more or less the focus of Pedroia's recent piece in Sports Illustrated, and not only is it an interesting perception he has of himself, but it's a great read.  Pedroia's just a unique dude, who says he's only labeled "Scrappy" because he's small, while teammates and coaches chime in to say that if not for his short stature, he'd be immediately recognized as one of the most talented and gifted players in the game, not just one of it's most intense.  I'm still of the unpopular opinion that he's still not as good as his AL East counterpart, Robinson Cano, but that doesn't mean he's a Hell of a lot more interesting.  So check out the piece.  I'd link it to you, but I'm pretty sure this is one where you're gonna have to buy the magazine.  I know.  How late 20th century of them...

Delicious evidence...
As for the rest of the team and their recent plight, I have to admit I'm concerned.  Erik "Chode Beer" Bedard has yet to prove his skeptics wrong, making home field advantage that much more important.  And now they don't have it.  Just not the best situation.  The good news is, is that it's far from over, and as I've mentioned before, the Yankees aren't some super team that can likely run away and hide.  This one will be coming right down to the finish.  If Boston can get their offense back on track (worst offensive 3 game home stand in club HISTORY: 9 hits & 3 runs), they should retake control of the division and home field.  If it doesn't?  Well, if it doesn't, then we might as well just switch our attention to that football team down the road, because their chances for post season success are about as good as mine of getting through this post without showing you the latest classy getup my girl Lindsay Lohan was photographed in.  Yeah, that's why that picture's there.  It's her new line, and I hear it's called "Las Skankgeles" or somethin' like that.  Either way, I'm still a big fan, and her delicately exposed breasts are actually going to help me make my case later on in this article.  So versatile those things are...

But now I'm way off track.  So let's get back on it, and take a look at that aforementioned team down the road in Foxboro.  Football is back, after all.  And it needs to be shown our respect...  

Ridley me this...
Patriots Update
Last Week: New England Patriots 47 Jacksonville Jaguars 12
This Week: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Even in a "normal" year, where the player's weren't locked out for the majority of the Summer, you still really can't expect to learn a whole lot watching the first game of the pre season.  Typically, it's not til the 3rd game when you can expect to start forming some worthwhile conclusions, but you know that's not gonna stop me from tossing in my two cents.  So here they are...

*Rookie RB Stevan Ridley has been on my mind since draft day.  Not because I saw comin' what he was able to do on Thursday night, but because he's been a riddle to me since the first time I saw him play at LSU. And yes, that pun was intended...

I watched Ridley play at LSU, and he was extremely impressive.  So much so, that I was confused as to why LSU wasn't using him more in their offense.  He was strong, fast, and he could catch.  You gave him the ball, and not only could he make people miss, but if they didn't get out of the way, he would run them over.  Needless to say, I had my eye on him as an NFL prospect from the second I saw him.  Problem is, I thought he was only a sophomore.  OK, poor homework on my end, but that's my excuse as to why he temporarily slipped off my radar...

Then, the Patriots draft him 73rd overall in the 3rd round, and I was pumped.  Yes!  I had no idea he was even eligible, and if he slipped that far he must have some injury concerns or character flaws I wasn't aware of, but yes!  That's a pick that has the potential to be really good should that guy work out.  But something's wrong.  Immediately, all the experts, both national AND local (98.5 The SportsHub's, Andy Gresh, was the 1st I heard to give a full blown mea culpa on Thursday night), are saying how Ridley could pan out to be a good short yardage back.  Sammy Morris, was a name that was often tossed around in comparison.  What?  Sammy Morris?  Did I miss somethin' here?  Could it be that this isn't actually the guy I think it is?  Not to short Sammy Morris, but the guy I had seen was a complete back with the very dependable hands and the ability to explode at the next level, not some guy that was going to supply reliable blocking and that tough 3 yards.  So, did I have the right dude?

Yes, yes I did.  And while I'm still not so sure (again, homework) as to why he slipped to where he did in the draft, or why he wasn't a more well known commodity, I'm excited to see that he is indeed bringing to the table the skill set I thought he should have.  I'm not gonna go nuts, I understand it was a glorified practice.  I'll just continue to be extremely intrigued going forward, because I think this is a player that could end up becoming a meaningful part of the offense before the year is out.  And truthfully, sooner rather than later...

*Taylor Price, Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett were some other young players that impressed on Thursday, and it'll be interesting to watch all of them as the pre season plays out.  Based on camp hype and performance, both Hoyer and Mallett seem like they'd be valued by other teams before the Pats are ready to use 'em, and Price has many folks talking about his improved play making the once fawned over, Julian Edelman, expendable...

Just a few of the story lines to keep an eye on as we move along, here.  Ya know, until the actual starters take the field and we can talk about them...

*Gotta chime in on the Tom Brady/Eli Manning debate.  For those that missed it, Manning was asked this week if he thought he was in the same class as Tom Brady, and he said yes.  OK, well obviously he's not, but nobody should have a problem with him saying that.  Or even be surprised that he said it.  Tom Brady's not some retired veteran, he's a contemporary.  Eli doesn't wanna bow down to his contemporary.  Especially not one that he beat head to head in the Super Bowl!  So what if his highest single season QB Rating is lower than Brady's career average.  He knows that, but why would he wanna say it?

This is a lot like the booster story, in that Eli Manning is telling us something we already know. BREAKING NEWS: Eli Manning Says He's Good At Football!  No way?  I suppose you're gonna tell me next that it just came across that wire that Rex Ryan is loud and fat...

Eli meant what he said, and he was right to say it, but he also knows he technically lied.  But it's alright.  It's one of those acceptable type lies.  Like when his dad, Archie, tells him he loves him just as much as he loves Peyton.  It's a lie, but it's OK, because it's the "right" thing to say...

...Now go to your room so your brother and I can have ice cream and stay up late...

Funny is funny, but naked kids are naked kids. Sorry...
El Pres-ophile...

Let me toss out a hypothetical.  Say you had a son.  Say I somehow came to have in my possession naked pictures of your son (gross).  Say I then took those photos, put them up on my website, and began making sexually explicit comments about them?  What would you do?  I'll tell you what you'd do.  You'd call up Ray Liotta and see if his trunk was free for the afternoon, and then you'd head over to my house.  You'd want me dead, and justifiably so...

Well, everyone seems to understand that sentiment, except for the folks over at infamous sports blog, BarStool Sports.  Namely, it's founder, David "El Pres" Portnoy, who last week posted nude photos of Tom Brady's 2 year old son on the beach, and then proceeded to write about them as if he were doing an expose for Kiddie Hustler.  A publication I pray to God doesn't really exist...

She knows exactly what she's doin'...
I understand he didn't take the pictures, and that they were up on other sites as well, but since when is it cool to comment on a 2 year old's nude body?  The obvious answer to that, is never.  And what's worse, is that "El Pres" won't back down.  HE slammed the  "lapse in judgement" window shut by insisting that he'd "do it again" and that the blog came out exactly as he had intended.  He said this was the type of stuff his audience liked, and that if the Brady's didn't want their nude kid being paraded around the Interweb, than they should make sure he's always covered up.  Right, dude.  You're totally thinkin' straight...

That, "well their celebrities and in the public eye" defense is a load of shit, too.  Take Lindsay's voluptuous melons, up there.  That's OK because she's an adult, and she knows what she's doing...or at least can be held responsible for what she's doing.  2 year old's can't.  So their parents are famous?  OK, so the parents are fair game, and if the kids are in the picture they're fair game, too.  But that doesn't mean they should be held up to the same ridicule.  They're kids!  Post the pictures, fine.  I wouldn't, but I don't see a huge problem with it.  But to blow them up as to focus on the kid's penis, and then to talk about it using explicit language?  Come on, man.  It's kind of hard to believe that you don't realize that's really fucked up...

Hey, if it were all for publicity on El Pres's end, then job well done, I guess.  But at what cost?  His dignity?  I guess after this latest episode, I have to begin to question whether the guy even had any to begin with...

That's it for me, friends.  Thanks to all of you that have been voting for me for Boston's Best Sports Blog.  I really appreciate all the support, and remember, you can vote once every day, so keep 'em comin!

Now, I'm off to wrap up my week, so I can head off to New York.  Hope you all have just as eventful a weekend as I'm hoping to have, and I'll catch you on the flipman...

Teddy Williams...




Anonymous said...

Are you really saying you are pro boosters? That's about as bad as the dude with the baby Brady wang photos.

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