Trash: They Might Be Giants

Was discussing the state of the NFL last night with Marcy, and the prevailing opinion was an unusual lack of particularly exciting or compelling story lines. A strange parity and blaah seems to have set in to the league that hardly ever suffers from that. So, guess what, screw it I’m going with baseball as the lead.

The rookies on the LCS big stage Texas Rangers had the mighty Yankees on the ropes last night and forgot to step on the beast’s throat. Can’t do that with the Yanks, and the Rangers paid the price by giving up five runs in the eighth and losing game one 6-5. The young Rangers needed to close out the opening win at home and failing to do so has got to be deflating and forfeits home field advantage. Not a good sign; the Evil Empire looks to be on the road to yet another World Series.

However, the biggest and most compelling sports story of the weekend by far is the battle of aces in game one of the NLCS. Halladay of the Phillies versus Lincicum and the Giants. Dayn Perry at Fox Sports is wondering if it is the best pitching matchup in postseason history. I dunno about that (and Perry seemed to forget about the Bob Gibson showdowns with Denny McClain and Mickey Lolich in the 1968 World Series and the Gibson-Jim Lonborg game seven matchup in the 1967 Series), but tonight’s Doc v. Freak show is right on up there. Both are former Cy Young winners, Lincicum has two and Halladay will almost certainly win his second this year. All Roy Halladay has done is throw the second no-hitter in MLB playoff history (after throwing a perfect game during the regular season). And Lincicum, well some folks think his two hitter against the Braves the night after Halladay’s no no was an even better pitching performance than Halladay’s no hitter. This is going to be some must see baseball teevee.

On the college gridiron, there are a couple of important games that will separate wheat from chaff. The Arkansas Hogs at the Auburn Tigers is one of those games. The Hogs damn near beat Alabama and would be undefeated if they had; Auburn is undefeated at 6-0 but has not had to play a team like Bama or Arkansas yet. Auburn at home is the safe pick, but the Tigers’ pass defense is weak and Ryan Mallett is very good; Hogs may pull off the road upset. Texas is not up to snuff this year, but should pose a solid test for the supposedly rejuvenated Nebraska Cornfuskers. Nebraska always looks “back” and then starts running into real teams in the late season conference schedule and gets exposed. Maybe not this time though, Taylor Martinez has the Huskers as solid as they have been in a very long time. Still, I dunno, this is a tossup. The Sweater Vests are at Camp Randall and the Badgers. If there is a football god out there, please let Wisconsin knock off OSU and spare the country another one of their poor showings in the BCS Championship game. Lastly, Ricki Stanzi and the Iowa Hawks visit Denard Robinson and the Wolverweenies in teh Big Haus. Both teams come in with only one loss; one will leave that way and in good shape, the other will fall to also ran status. Robinson is so exciting he may be able to overcome the Rich Rod fail factor. Maybe, but I don’t think so. Ricki can play too and Kirk Ferentz can coach circles around Rich Rod; Hawks leave with a win.

As I said in the opening, the NFL just seems in the doldrums right now. Cowboys should be good but suck, they are so lame it is hardly even worth the while to root against them anymore. Rest of the NFC East is playing okay, but not great. Saints are just muddling along; they really lost some spark when Reggie Bush went out, although their problems were already apparent even before that. The Bears look like the class of the league so far, but they sure don’t feel that good to me in the gut. The Packers have just been decimated by injuries; even though Rodgers looks to play after getting a mild concussion last week, Green Bay has real problems. And the NFC West? Jeebus, the Cardinals are leading the division and have given up 50 more points than they have scored this year.

Doldrums in the AFC too. Pats seem okay on offense although not well balanced; defense is, um, spotty. Chargers have been an enigma so far; guess Norval must still be their coach. Chiefs have been a pleasant surprise, but they don’t have the goods yet to keep it up. KC is building and sure looks to have a bright future in a year or two. The whole AFC South is 3-2, but none of them seem dominant. That leaves the Ravens, Stillers and Jets as, really, the class of the NFL at this point. All three have knock down and lock down defenses and more than competent offenses. You would have had to say the Ravens and Jets had the edge with Big Ben out, but now that he is back, that is not so clear. Gonna be a slugfest down the stretch among those three it looks like.

Dirty Birds at Iggles looks like a good game; would look like a really good game if Mike Vick were healthy and starting, but he is not. Kevin Kolb no match for Matty Ice. Ravens at Pats also looks interesting, but Ray Lewis and the boys can stop Brady and, well other than Welker it is not clear, a lot better than the Patsies can stop Ray Rice, Quan Boldin and Joe Flacco. Boldin does not make a ton of noise like the standard prima donna wide receivers in the league these days, but man is that guy a team leader in the clubhouse and on the field. He is what Ray Lewis is to a defense and that is the difference for the Ravens. Peytons at the Skins Sunday night could be a decent game. Or Manning may chew up the not quite Shanahan rebuilt Skins; I think that is a fair bet actually. And last, and despite the hype, maybe least is the Boys at the Vikes. Whoever loses this game is done and gets the fork them. They both suck, but it is in the Metrodome and that is tough, so the edge go to the Vikes. Oh yeah, some guy named Favre may actually start at QB for Minnesota. The increasingly cackling and tabloid like sporting press seems to think this is news. It is not. He may be hurting and over the hill, but the dude always straps em on, laces em up and takes the field. He will again.

Honestly, I can’t wait for Zenyatta and the Breeder’s Cup; football is getting boring.

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  1. BayStateLibrul says:

    The baseball gods applaud your lead.

    Finally.

    Why is baseball the only industry exempt from antitrust laws?

    Cuz as Johnny Pesky says “It’s such a simple game, and so hard to play.”

    I like SF v Yanks, in the frigid Yankee Stadium…

  2. nomolos says:

    While the Rounders, you know the game baseball was “invented” from, playoffs are underway a note that the red sux owners have purchased the mighty Liverpool Football team. The new owners are going to have a rude awakening when they find that real athletes play Football as they are more used to pretty boy millionaires standing around scratching their balls in Fenway.

      • nomolos says:

        Nah, there are plenty of corporations with oodles of dough. Of course tickets for real people with families are so damned expensive it is impossible to take the family to a game.

        what ever happened to the 50cent bleachers seats and the twi-night double headers?

    • scribe says:

      That purchase is Red Sawx ownership’s admission that the Yankees have not only defeated them but also broken their skinny necks. Rather than try, they moved to a new neighborhood. The Sawx knew they could not compete and now their admission is public.

      I have no beef with their fans but given the change in ownership one should look for Liverpool to be relegated down to the 3rd or 4th leagues in a couple years.

      • nomolos says:

        Liverpool to be relegated down to the 3rd or 4th leagues in a couple years.

        No doubt there are a number of other clubs that would like to see Liverpool relegated to a lower division but that will not be allowed to happen. The last time an american ownership bunch (the last owners) tried to manipulate ownership rules by “taking” more profits than was deemed sensible they were forced to sell leading to the purchase by Henry.

        I do think that american rounders needs two or three divisions and a relegation system that would make the owners think twice before raking too much off the top and neglecting the team on the field. Of course the division system is needed in the american version of rugby , known as american football, and the canadian version of the inca’n game of tlachtli, known as american basketball.

        • scribe says:

          Liverpool’s coming relegation will have very little to do with ownership raking profits to the detriment of the team. Rather, it will have a lot to do with ownership bringing with them bad karma and the ineradicable stench of losing and being losers.

          If you want to see a couple really egregious examples of ownership raking profits to the detriment of the team on the field, check out the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Kansas City Royals sometime. Pittsburgh, by virtue of its stadium deal (a gorgeous stadium, BTW) and revenue sharing in MLB, makes a profit (or, rather, covers all its expenses) before selling a single ticket. KC is owned/run by a former high executive of WalMart and they take the idea of “You’ll eat the garbage we feed you and think it’s good” to a point extreme even by Wally-world standards. Again, they rake in a huge amount of revenue sharing and re-invest very little in their product. They serve the rest of the major leagues as a AAAA farm team to warehouse players for trades and such.

          • nomolos says:

            If you want to see a couple really egregious examples of ownership raking profits to the detriment of the team on the field, check out the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Kansas City Royals sometime.

            That was, of course, what led to the downfall of the previous Liverpool ownership but note, before the club was allowed to fall into disarray and relegation, management stepped in and forced the sale to a, hopefully, more responsive group and one that is more willing to live up the contractual obligations of ownership.

            The situation in both the rounders clubs you cite illustrates a good argument for a divisional system in american sports.

  3. scribe says:

    I, for one, am seriously looking forward to tonight’s Lincecum at Halliday matchup. It promises to be either one for the ages, or an 11-10 slugfest.

    That’s one of the things non-baseball fans don’t get about our wonderful game: unlike so many other sports, one cannot predict with any degree of certainty how a game will play out. A great pitcher might – or might not – have it that night, or the umpire could have a constricted strike zone, or Willie Davis could lose two fly balls in center in the top of the fifth and throw one away, too (I’m still mad at him over that – three errors in one frickin’ inning, “backing” up Koufax!), putting the final kibosh on someone’s career. But I had no problem dozing off in the 5th of the Yankees’ game last night. I knew they would come through, so I could relax.

    No one wants to talk, when it comes to great post-season pitching performances, about Roger Clemens’ striking out 15 in a one-hit complete game against Seattle in the 2000 ALCS. That was one of the most dominant performances I’ve ever seen, and that does not sell the Freak or Doc short – more Ks than either and only one hit, glancing its way past Tino.

    On to football. BMAz, when you say:

    Cowboys should be good but suck, they are so lame it is hardly even worth the while to root against them anymore.

    I retort:

    Sadly, you have it wrong.

    I love it when the Owboys are lame. I love it when they get beat. I live for them to be on the edge of the cliff, if not all the way over it. You know me. When someone asks who I root for it is always:

    Stillers, then whomever is playing Dallas.

    I generally have a bit of a soft spot for the Iggles and do root for who’s playing the Patsies (Repeat after me: “Cheaters never prosper.”) and rely on the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS for comic relief.

    So, this week, I look for the Geezer to come out throwing and for Coach Cupcake’s Band of Prima Donnas to find a way to leave Tony Romo getting turf nose.

    BTW, did you hear Justin Bieber is pissed at Brady for copying his hair? He even worked it in to a song. It must suck, being married to Yoko Ono, TNG, who makes you get a girly haircut that all your teammates giggle at and then goes out with another guy and now a 16 y/o who can’t even think about shaving is breaking what’s left of your balls over the same hairdo.

    As this week showed, behind all the the upheaval in Patsies land was New Yoko, f/k/a Giselle. She (ultimately) was the cause of Moss-to-Vikings.

    “Moss spoke glowingly of Brady despite a report yesterday by CBS’s Charley Casserly that Brady and Moss had an altercation shortly before Moss was dealt.

    “Casserly, the former general manager of the Redskins, told Greg Gumbel, “The week before Moss was traded, Tom Brady and Randy Moss went toe-to-toe and had to be separated. One of Brady’s problems with Moss was his behavior as a Patriot. One of the things overheard was Brady telling Moss, ‘You’ve got to cut your beard.’ And Moss counters, ‘You’ve got to get your hair cut. You look like a girl.’ “

    Tommy’s feeling a bit insecure, I suppose.

    “just a very good friend.” Riiiiight.

    And I’ll bet Wes Welker will be dropping her from the Christmas card list, after he starts getting from defenses both the attention he used to get and a substantial portion of what Moss used to get.

    BTW, anyone know the over-under on Colt McCoy’s life expectancy vs. the Stillers’ D? I wanna bet the under. Frickin’ Mangenius move, no?

    • nomolos says:

      Jiminy cricket. You say, about the beloved Patriots, “Cheaters never prosper” and yet a few lines before that you were praising Roger “The indicted steroid meister” Clemens for his chemically driven performance in some obscure game of rounders.

      And your favourite team is the pittsburgh team with a sexual assaulting pervert as QB.

      • scribe says:

        You need a little deconstruction.

        You say, about the beloved Patriots, “Cheaters never prosper”

        True. They don’t. The Football Gods are not yet done with Tom Brady and Bill Belicheat.

        and yet a few lines before that you were praising Roger “The indicted steroid meister” Clemens for his chemically driven performance in some obscure game of rounders.

        So?

        More to the point, Clemens was indicted for being dishonest before Congress, not steroid use, as a part of a witch-hunt driven by MLB ownership and the government seeking to break the most powerful union remaining in America. The charade of the Congressional hearings was nothing but a perjury trap set by former MLB owner Bushie and his AG as a favor to his friends in baseball ownership. What Clemens was doing, if indeed he was doing anything with respect to PEDs, was probably perfectly legal at the time.

        And, it needs be remembered, that at the time you allege use of PEDs by Clemens, ownership and management in MLB not only did not forbid use of PEDs but also tacitly if not actively encouraged their use. The great home-run chase of 1998 followed on an explosion of home runs being hit in 1995-1996, coming out of the players’ strike (and scab replacement players) which ownership caused by its negotiating posture. To get butts back in the seats in the aftermath of the strike, MLB ownership juiced the baseballs. Complaints in that time frame from pitchers about the qualities of the balls – low, tight seams that would not grab the air and instead hung and extremely high elasticity (they bounced like super balls by comparison) – got stomped on and swept under the rug. MLB prohibited objective, scientific testing of pre-strike balls against post-strike balls (at least until they could be sure there were no pre-strike balls left) because they had juiced the balls. Home runs were found to excite fans and bring them in, so management turned a blind eye to players juicing.

        Indeed, no one seemed to notice the juicing until during the great home run chase of 1998 a reporter saw a tub of a (then) legal supplement/PED – nandro – in McGwire’s locker and started asking questions. What McGwire was doing (along with many others), so long as they were not using illegal substances, was at that time perfectly legal under the rules of the game and the basic agreement between ownership and the players union. Even then, ownership’s first reaction was to threaten the reporter’s credentials and then sweep it under the rug. That went on for a couple years until it became clear the integrity of the game was being threatened by PEDs to the point that overt threats to the antitrust exemption started coming from The Hill. The tacit deal has been that baseball gets to keep its antitrust exemption (created by the Supreme Court in the 20s, following the Black Sox scandal but in response to a players’ suit over ownership’s conduct and contracts) so long as the commissioner manages things in the best interest of the game – and that means failing to do so by allowing PEDs to warp the records was coming up against the edge of the deal.

        And, for that matter, there used to be two coffeepots in baseball clubhouses, one for players and one for everyone else. These were provided by the teams. The players’ coffee was enhanced. Baseball didn’t eliminate the team-provided enhanced coffee for players – coffee spiked with amphetemines – until the last year or two. That had been a given for decades, maybe as far back as the 50s. It as deemed a necessity because of the wear and exhaustion caused by playing 162 games over a period of about 180 days and travelling all over the country to do it. That, as much as anything else, is the reason starting pitching has been so dominant over the last year. Players are tired and not at their physical peak because they play every day. Starters, OTOH, work every 4 or 5 days and get to rest up.

        And your favourite team is the pittsburgh team with a sexual assaulting pervert as QB.

        That’s libelous. First, he hasn’t been charged with, let alone convicted of, anything, let alone sexual assault. Second, what’s wrong with being a pervert? Nothing.

        Ben will get a hero’s welcome tomorrow and all will be forgiven, so long as he wins. Winning is what they care about, and teams will put up with a lot of crap so long as you win them games.

    • john in sacramento says:

      I generally have a bit of a soft spot for the Iggles and do root for who’s playing the Patsies (Repeat after me: “Cheaters never prosper.”) and rely on the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS for comic relief.

      Every time I hear that chant, I think of Tom Cullen

  4. nomolos says:

    Gracious a defense of the indefensible, I am impressed. Have you ever thought of becoming a Congress critter?

    • bmaz says:

      Actually Scribe is dead on the money about baseball and drugs. Although he left a bit out on the background of the witch hunt on Clemens. What he said was all accurate, but layered on top of that is the infamous Mitchell Report concocted by a man with a terminal conflict of interest, George Mitchell, a part owner of the Red Sox and best bud of Bud Selig to haul Selig’s and the owners’ asses out of the fire. The original version of the Mitchell report was not hard enough hitting to do the trick with Congress, who was making noise on the antitrust issue, so Selig told Mitchell to go back and “sex it up” as the Brits would say. It was then, and only then, that Clemens’ name magically appeared because Selig had demanded more big names be exposed (Barry Bonds was about the only big one in the original version unless you count the retired and dead Ken Caminiti or maybe Miguel Tejada). The only way they got Clemens is through blackmailing a known perjurer and unreliable asshole by the name of Brian MacNamee who all of a sudden magically came up with allegations on Clemens. When Clemens had the gall to actually defend himself, Mitchell’s friend Henry Waxman helped him, in conjunction with a dirty Federal investigator by the name of Jeff Novitsky, to set a bullshit perjury trap for Clemens.

      This stuff is not only defensible, it is VERY defensible. You have no idea how corrupt, unethical and dirty the steroid witch hunt in baseball is. It is literally fucking amazing. There are attorneys that have been prosecuted, mass swaths of evidence thrown out for unethical and illegal conduct by the prosecutors and Novitsky. And the worse part of it is not even generally known yet.

      • nomolos says:

        But clemens still used steroids as did many other, possibly the majority, of rounders players. The corruption you cite nor the assistance and or blind eye by management does not excuse the use of steroids.

        If, of course, you believe that neither clemens nor other rounders players used steroids or if you believe it was OK and part of the game to do so then what the heck Landis won the tour de france fair and square.

        • bmaz says:

          I do not know if Clemens did or not; it has certainly not been proved and every bit of evidence you think you know is complete and unadulterated junk. Now, if I had to guess whether he did use steroids or not, I would say yes. But there is no leghal foundation whatsoever for the certainty you express. Clemens probably did it, but the evidence of that is pure shit.

          • scribe says:

            Jeez. No one wants to bat around that whole “Giselle: Yoko Ono, The Next Generation” thing I laid out there. And we wind up debating alleged steroid use in baseball ten to fifteen years ago. I mean, come on, people! Yoko TNG has it all – hot babe, sex, football, bad haircuts, p—ywhipped QBs, possible infidelity and other cheating. And we’re talking about Clemens? F’that.

            It’s getting so I’d rather do some grocery shopping in the face of the usual Saturday morning crowds than talk trash with someone who’s decided to prove correct Mencken’s construction about the person most impossible to persuade with logic is the one whose check depends on being impossible to persuade. I’m making rippchen mit kraut tonite. It’s cold here and this seems a more productive use of my time.

          • BayStateLibrul says:

            Probably?

            Come on, admit it, he DID…

            You would probably deny that Wade Boggs ate chicken before each game or Ricky Henderson paid a fellow teammate $25,000 to have number #24(grin)

            • bmaz says:

              I certainly have suspicions; but there is about zero evidence from a credible source to prove it so far, so I will withhold judgment. At this point, I would say that if Clemens did use steroids, the evidence is just as amenable to the proposition that MacNamee gave them to him without Clemens specifically knowing as it is that Clemens intentionally used them. So far, there is only one PROVEN criminal and perjurer, and it is Brian MacNamee not Roger Clemens.

              • BayStateLibrul says:

                You done forgot Andy Pettitte…

                As Joe Hesketh, a former Red Sox teammate sayeth “I beleive Roger’s ego

                took over. He was backed in a corner, and instead of waving a white flag, he decided to throw a whole load of punches.”

                Wish you would see the light…

              • GulfCoastPirate says:

                So do you think Roger beats the perjury rap? It’s hard to believe he would go before Congress and be so adamant if he knew there were people who could so easily trip him up.

        • scribe says:

          The point is, at the time these PEDs were being used:

          1. they were being used within the rules of baseball and the collective bargaining agreement as they then existed, and

          2. they were being used with the active and passive connivance and encouragement of ownership, the media, and everyone involved in the sport, and

          3. those substances which were “designer steroids” or some similar name, were perfectly legal – for a drug or substance to offend the drug laws, the particular chemical substance has to be identified in the law as illegal prior to any charge being brought over it. You remember the ex post facto clause, right?

          In other words, these men are being pilloried and prosecuted for doing something that was both perfectly legal and encouraged by the people writing their checks. Implicit in that “encouragment” was management being more than willing to replace a “clean” player they thought was not performing as well as a “dirty” player and that being a goad to use pushing those players not ordinarily inclined to use PEDs. In other words, players knew that if they didn’t use PEDs they could and would be replaced with “better performing” players who did. Remember, too, that within a couple years of the height of PED use, management had brought in scab replacement players to play professional major league baseball, even though most of them would have been journeymen at best. They were willing to and did put an inferior product on the field, figuring (with some correctness) that people would show up to see baseball, regardless of whether it was truly “good” baseball. So the threat of being replaced with PED-using players was a real one.

          Comparing Landis and cycling to baseball is inapposite at best and intellectually dishonest, too. Cycling operates under an entirely different legal system and ownership/team management system. The only commonalities are that these are world-class athletes being pushed by competition (and pushing themselves) to perform “Better” lest they be replaced by someone who outperforms them, and there being a lot of rewards for pulling it off.

          • nomolos says:

            Look I fully understand if you think it is OK to cheat in “sports” to “get along” that is your prerogative but I grew up in an era and playing a sport where sportsmanship was an integral part of the game, Rugby. Just recently, since professionals came to the game, there was a case of a rugby player taking a steroid, he was banned for life as he should have been.

            Now bmaz is going on about legal niceties but that is not part of the american Jurisprudence system anymore as he can well attest to.

            I get it. Clemens cheated but he won so everything is hunky dory. Jazus.

            • bmaz says:

              You understand, I hope, that 22 of those 37 witnesses on the US v. Bonds government witness list you refer to are either precluded totally or rendered effectively useless due to the suppression of the lab log records and blood and urine test evidence ordered by both the trial judge and affirmed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals due to prosecutorial and investigatory misconduct.

              As to Pettite in the Clemens matter, he has no direct evidence of use, only a recollection of a discussion many years ago that is very distinguishable and of its own weight does not prove diddly squat.

              • BayStateLibrul says:

                Yeah, like Roger, Barry Lemar Bonds didn’t shoot up either…

                What about his girl friend, is she lying?

                They should throw his drug dealer, Anderson, in the can for covering

                his arse, no?

                • dakine01 says:

                  They should throw his drug dealer, Anderson, in the can for covering
                  his arse, no?

                  They pretty much did for I think it was nearly 18 months.

                • bmaz says:

                  No, they should put Jeff Novitsky in jail. And I am dead serious about that. Quite frankly, Bud Selig would deserve to go long before Bonds and Clemens. Baseball literally encouraged what was going on, and were thrilled that it was because it made the greedy bastards money. Do I think the players should have engaged in that? No, absolutely not. By the same token, I think it was encouraged by MLB and that the dogged persecution of players by a government agent and investigation far dirtier than any of the players, and being done at the beck and call of rich white fuckers like Selig is beyond the pale. There are no heroes here, only goats at every turn; however, allowing an immoral and unethical persecution does nothing to remedy the problem and everything to exacerbate it.

                • bmaz says:

                  Yes, Kim Bell has told a few lies although most is likely true. It is also the case that Kim Bell has consistently overstated what she really knows and that she has consistently tried to enrich herself off of her involvement through another pile of scum named David Hans Schmidt whose claim to fame is Tonya Harding. She has collateral evidence at best and nothing that directly inculpates Bonds. She is rather cute though.

                  For anybody that wants an idea of what I am and have long been talking about, this article in The Nation by Dave Zirin, who is an adamant crusader against athletes’ use of steroids and STILL has this to report, is very instructive. It is completely dead on the money as to what has occurred in US v. Bonds; the only thing I would say is that Zirin is only scratching the surface of how bad and dirty this persecution is. He touches on what was done with Anderson’s family, it goes much deeper than that and Zirin does not even get into the even deeper stench surrounding the Jason Grimsley part of the story.

                  • BayStateLibrul says:

                    Is that the same David Zirin that called our Pats coach “their dyspeptic toad of a head coach, Bill Belichick.” when discussing the Randy Moss

                    trade

                    Sports editor of the Nation?

                    Get real…

                    The real hero in this mess is the SF sports writer who blew the Balco story sky high.

                    Let the chips fall, Bmaz…

                    Drug dealing is the scum of the earth…

                    It’s sleazy, so don’t protect the ones who rolled the dice.

                    • bmaz says:

                      Those reporters didn’t blow jack shit “sky high”; they were spoon fed information by Novitsky, prosecutors and other attorneys, including illegally disclosed grand jury information.

                      For my part, I think evisceration of the 4th Amendment, gross violation of the rule of law, dirty and unethical federal agents and illegally bootstrapped persecutions, not to mention perversion of the legislative process by engaging in inappropriate parallel prosecutions in a blatant effort to deny due process and fundamental fairness to criminal targets, all done as favors to save the asses of a bunch of corrupt and arrogant rich snotty MLB owners, who encouraged, festered and grossly profited off of the PED use problem in the first place, is all a hell of a lot more troublesome to society and American principles than some athletes trying to maximize their performance.

                    • BayStateLibrul says:

                      Looks like you won’t be installed as the next Commish when

                      “Bug” Selig retires (grin).

                      I’m no fan of Selig…. where are the fucking instant replays?

                      I’m in favor of athletes being role models.

                      In your quest to find “that perfect rule of law”, you forget what

                      Thurgood Marshall reminds us, that besides law, philosophy can shape the law.

                      Steroids unbalanced the playing field.

                      “Those of us who don’t do it, we feel like we aren’t on an evened playing field,” Tom Glavine says, “and that’s something that shouldn’t happen.”

                      Clemens lied, Bonds lied, and a host of players like McGwire refused to answer…

                      Enuf said for me.

                    • PJEvans says:

                      Instant replays are for football.
                      So are the seemingly-endless playoff series.
                      IMO, baseball was a lot more fun before they decided that football was a good role model.

  5. bobschacht says:

    On the college gridiron, there are a couple of important games that will separate wheat from chaff.

    Good lede. Prime example:

    …Ricki Stanzi and the Iowa Hawks visit Denard Robinson and the Wolverweenies in teh Big Haus. Both teams come in with only one loss; one will leave that way and in good shape, the other will fall to also ran status. …

    Today’s the day we find out whether the Wolverweenies in general, and Robinson in particular, were flashes in the pan, or are the real deal. I seem to remember that last year the Wolverweenies got off to a 4-0 start, too, before tanking. Can Robinson recover his previous swagger? Can the Blue & Gold Defense amount to anything? So if the scheduling gods allow it, I will be watching the game with interest.

    Oh, and nomolos @ 15: Ouch!

    Bob in AZ

    • emptywheel says:

      Denard’s the real thing. But you simply cannot expect to win for long (except against Div 1AA teams and the Irish) w/MI’s D. It’s not a matter of offense, with that sieve on one side of the ball.

      • bobschacht says:

        Denard’s the real thing.

        We’ll see if he can conquer the Interception thing today.

        We’ll also find out if his receivers remember how to catch a pass.

        Go Blue!

        Bob in AZ

        • Linnaeus says:

          I fully admit to being a die-hard U-M fan, but even in spite of that, Denard Robinson is the real deal. His passing this season (even with the 3-INT game he had last week) is an order of magnitude better than it was last season. He’ll still make some mistakes because he’s only a sophomore who’s started all of six games at the D-IA level. Last week, he still passed 17/29, for 215 yards and a TD and ran for 86 yards and a TD. Any college coach would love to have a QB who did that. Only one of the INTs was glaringly bad; the other two were just a case of Robinson not quite leading his receivers. If he connected on those, the game would have been very different, because MSU would have had to pull some defenders out of the box.

          MSU’s defense is good and did a good job of adjusting to U-M’s offense and containing Robinson, but I think that he will also adjust and get better. I know some people think he was “exposed” after the MSU game; I don’t agree because one (relatively) bad afternoon isn’t enough to prove that. Robinson is not yet a good enough passer to win the game entirely on his arm (and may never be a true pocket passer), but he doesn’t have to be. He needs to be just good enough to compel defenses to draw players away from the line and into pass defense, because U-M’s receivers are good enough to help out Robinson when he needs it. Then he puts it on the ground, where he can beat anyone in the country.

          • bmaz says:

            I agree with that. Robinson does appear to be the real deal, and I think people have also understimated how good Michigan State has been so far this year. It is not Robinson that is the question with Big Blue, it is the rest of the team, especially the defense. That is why the game with the Hawks will be so telling (for both teams actually).

        • GulfCoastPirate says:

          Denard’s the real thing. But you simply cannot expect to win for long (except against Div 1AA teams and the Irish) w/MI’s D. It’s not a matter of offense, with that sieve on one side of the ball.

          You are linked to multiple teams with this affliction. This effect/correlation should be explored

          Yea, ask the Houston Cougar people about no defense. Of course, having two QB’s knocked out for the season in the same game doesn’t help either.

  6. Mauimom says:

    This is going to be some must see baseball teevee.

    Baseball: pffft. It’s only made for when Lunesta or Sominex isn’t available.

    I’m sure not gonna be watching it when there’s so much college football on the teevee.

  7. JohnLopresti says:

    Evidently, as Yankee manager, Stengel once said, alright everybody line up alphabetically by height.

    Too many cerebral statistics to follow baseball, for me.

    Then there was Singletary.

    • scribe says:

      Alphabetically by height is no problem.

      You get all the A’s, B’s and C’s in order, alphabetically. Then, for those with the same alphabetical situation, you go by height – either tallest first or shortest first.

      Not a problem….

    • bmaz says:

      Well, it is not just Big Blue being exposed; you should see what Texas is doing to Nebraska. 20-3 and may not be as close as the score indicates.

      • bmaz says:

        Also, on a positive note, Notre Dame was able to squeak out a victory over the mighty Western Michigan Thespian Academy. The Fighting Irish are back!

  8. bobschacht says:

    Why can’t Michigan kick the football?
    Two times, on a kick-off, they kick out of bounds, giving Iowa great field position. WTF? And we’re not even talking about field goals, yet.

    Bob in AZ

  9. bobschacht says:

    Well, I grew up in Madison, WI so my second Big Ten team is Wisconsin, and they just stunned Ohio State with a kick-off return for a TD! Go Badgers!

    Bob in AZ

  10. Linnaeus says:

    Yeah, it’s pretty clear that U-M’s still got some work to do. That defense is awful.

    Yet, if not for some of the other key mistakes, that game was still winnable. I never like a Blue loss, but I don’t feel this season is toast like I did last year.

  11. bobschacht says:

    Ohio State is back to within 3 points of Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s offense, so potent in the first half, has been throttled by the Buckeyes in the second half. They better wake up, because the Buckeyes have been dancing with Mr. Mo during the second half.

    Bob in AZ

  12. bobschacht says:

    Badgers, after sleepwalking through the 3rd quarter, wake up in the 4th and win, 31-18!

    This, of course, is good news for Oregon and Boise State!

    Bob in AZ

    • bmaz says:

      Down go the Sweater Vests! Down go the Sweater Vests!

      Indeed, excellent news for the Quackers and Broncos of Boise State. Bust the BCS!

    • phred says:

      Woo HOO!!! Nothing like Big Red taking down the Buckeyes (sorry klynn) to put a spring in my step : ) Thanks for the play calling Bob! I was out all day yesterday, so it was nice to see your commentary on the game : )

    • bmaz says:

      I actually started to post Shoot Shoot from the same album, but decided to save it. I am surprised no one has mentioned the, um, unusual album artwork from Force It. It is by a famous group known as Hipgnosis and was, at the time, considered to be extremely controversial even by the relaxed decency standards in England; and for release in the US the fornicating couple had to be deemphasized to look like ghosts. Hipgnosis literally has done the most famous album covers in history including all the Pink Floyd (yes Dark Side of the Moon too) and Led Zeppelin covers in the 70s. I always found Force It to be their wildest one though (although No Heavy Petting was close).

      • phred says:

        Perhaps the problem here bmaz, is a bare backside on a woman all over a fully clothed man seems quaint in an era when pro athletes’ dick shots are turning up with depressing regularity on the web (or at least HuffPo, not to mention their daily dose of topless women ; )

        Perhaps too, this is why it is so hard to get anyone to give a damn about the TSA in Boston and Las Vegas, but that is a rant for another day…

  13. bobschacht says:

    Fox analyst for the Birdies game (Falcons-Eagles) sounds like a dead ringer for Anderson Cooper at CNN.

    Vick-less Iggles Offense looks good enough without him so we know that when he was starting, Iggles’ success was not all about Vick, but about an already good offense.

    Bob in AZ

    • bmaz says:

      Falcons are disappointing so far.

      Also disappointing is that on my CBS affiliate, where I should be watching the Ravens and Pats, I am being tortured with having to watch the Rams kill the hapless Norvals. I hope Randiego is in Hawaii with Lady Randiego swimming with dolphins so he isn’t having to watch this.

  14. bobschacht says:

    Scary moment in the Birdies game: Falcon defender speared an Eagles’ receiver– both lay motionless on the turf for several minutes. Both teams kneeled in a silent circle on the field around the two fallen players, as they were being attended to. Fortunately, both were able to walk off.

    Bob in AZ

  15. bobschacht says:

    Falcons are disappointing so far.

    Until they intercepted a pass just before half-time, and turned it into a touchdown.

    Also disappointing is that on my CBS affiliate, where I should be watching the Ravens and Pats, I am being tortured with having to watch the Rams kill the hapless Norvals….

    I have the same problem up in Flagstaff. But at least Fox will let us watch The Geezer in the next game.

    Bob in AZ

  16. john in sacramento says:

    What’s this BS rumor about Oklahoma jumping 6 spots over Oregon, Boise, TCU and whoever else in the BCS standings that are supposed to come out?

    The Sooners are good, but come on. I’d take Oregon and Boise over them in any game on a neutral field without batting an eyelash. And TCU is no slouch either. I’d hesitate a little if Boise had to go to Oklahoma, but I’d take Oregon by 8 or 9 anywhere

  17. scribe says:

    Patises better score before they wind up in a tie.

    Kitties showed some serious heart, though they could use fewer turnovers.

    And Ben threw 3 TDs today, spreading the love around. Funny, the over on McCoy surviving was the winning bet.

    Iggles win.

    So far, a very good day for my faves.

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      Branch for Moss

      1:56 overtime: The kick is good. A 35-yard game winner for Gostkowski. The Patriots defense stepped up big in the second half. A big return for Deion Branch. The final drive: 7 plays, 45 yards, 3:23.

      Watch out Jets….

      • scribe says:

        Watch out Jets….

        Or Tebow will run for a TD on a naked bootleg (his first) and then act like he’s been there before.

        • BayStateLibrul says:

          You think Gostowski should have tried a 62 yard field goal with no time

          showing on the clockster?

          • scribe says:

            All I cared about the Patsies was that they beat the Browns Ravens so my Stillers could get a leg up in the AFC North.

            As you doubtless know, my rooting interests are:

            Stillers

            whomever is playing Dallas

            a general favorable feeling toward the Iggles

            a general unfavorable feeling toward the Patsies

            comic relief from the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS

            You get the idea.

            And now, the Geezer is getting into the run-and-gunslinger mode, to avoid getting whacked b/c of his crappy O-Line.

            • bobschacht says:

              And now, the Geezer is getting into the run-and-gunslinger mode, to avoid getting whacked b/c of his crappy O-Line.

              The Geezer can be quite amazing at times, even with a crappy O-line. When he is good, he is very very good, but when he is bad, he is horrid (as when he didn’t complete the hand-off to Adrian Peterson near the beginning of the game. Of course, that was as much Adrian’s fault as the Geezer’s.

              Bob in AZ

              • scribe says:

                Quite true and, as the final result proves out, a winner.

                As opposed to Tony Romo, a whiner.

                And for the defensively-minded (Ahem, EW), James Silverback Harrison’s stats from yesterday’s Stillers-BRownies game:

                he made 10 tackles,

                1 1/2 sacks,

                forced a fumble,

                participated in one assisted tackle,

                and dealt two concussions, resulting in two opponents knocked out of the game.

                He was interviewed postgame and in his quiet, soft-spoken, cartoon-watching way said something to the effect of he doesn’t mind hurting people, but does not want to injure them. This distinction might be lost on non-football folks, but basically comes own to the fact that everyone in football is hurt and plays hurt to some degree. But, being injured is something more severe, something requiring the intervention of medical professionals to repair and possibly endangering a career. Thus, it would be ok to hurt a guy by, sa, leaving some nasty bruises on him from the impact, but it would not be ok to injure him by, say, breaking his legs.

                This is wholly rational and sportsmanlike, and I commend the Silverback for embracing these tenets.

                All in all, a good defensive day.

                Scribe smiles.

                • bobschacht says:

                  …he doesn’t mind hurting people, but does not want to injure them.

                  The level of violence in football is very high, and the distinction between “hurting” and “injuring” is an obscure technicality to most. I’m glad that some forms of violence at least get penalized (e.g, grabbing facemask, and spearing).

                  But there’s a culture of violence that is embedded in most football athletes and commentators that needs to be dealt with, as well. It is common to praise football players for being willing to “sacrifice their bodies” in making a play. It is also considered a compliment among players to “compliment” a player who has just made a great play by whacking him on the head. Disabilities ranging from brain trauma to mashed up knees are endemic among retired professional football players. The only nice thing I can think of to say about it is that medical advances in joint repair for football players has made new treatments available to aging seniors of all types. For example, my mother (now 92 years old) had to have both knees replaced about 20? years ago that would not have been possible without advances in sports medicine.

                  Football players are our modern gladiators whose bodies are sacrificed for the sake of entertainment.

                  Bob in AZ

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah we had this discussion at the start of the season. Getting Favre back is only so much help if he is going to get killed every game with an offensive line worse than even last year. And it is worse than last year.

  18. rosalind says:

    Dodger Divorce Document Dump: Bmaz or other legal folk – Frank & Jamie McCourt filed their final briefs with the L.A. Court today. Does anyone have access to them who can provide a link? I’m a’dying to read.

    gracias.