Tagged: My Takes

Who Knew Ken Rosenthal and I Would Agree

Ken
Seriously, I figured there would be a better chance that the he would
say the sky was blue and I’d point out that was just light reflecting
through the dirt, the sky is actually black. But Ken Rosenthal and I
agree: Andre Dawson deserves to be measured on his era not, the steroid
era or the current era (the Shrivel era?) but his era. Andre was a HOF
for the era he played in.

He should be voted in. Read Ken’s (Can I call you that Ken?) thoughts here.

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Baseball is Like Good Sex **Repost**

Digging back into my archives for this one. With pitchers and catchers reporting next week I figured this was as good a time as any to put this up.

I am so sick of ESPN telling me how football is better than
baseball. Recently I read Bob Costas’ book, Fair ball. I have to say,
“it made me ill.” I realize it was written a number of years ago now,
but he makes so many arguments that I believe have come to be proven
wrong that I almost feel like I wasted my time reading it. One of the
contentions he makes is that Baseball is no longer

America

‘s
past time and he insinuates that baseball is to blame. In fact he says
baseball is broke. Here’s my one word response: HOGWASH.

Now, don’t turn me off yet. I actually
agree that there are probably more Americans watching football than
baseball. Personally, I watch both. I agree that there is probably more
Americans watching football. My point is that doesn’t make football
better than baseball. I would submit that what attracts more people to
football is not the mental side of the game. Don’t misunderstand me
here, I’m not saying that there isn’t a mental side to the game of
football; I am saying that most average football fans don’t understand
it. To truly appreciate baseball you have to understand the mental side
of the game or you’re done.
Most people, in my opinion watch
football because they want to see someone get the snot kicked out of
them. Baseball is art. Baseball brings more to the table. In short I
believe that Football by and large is more popular in

America

because

America

is
dumber than it was 50 years ago. Our standardized test scores would
certainly seem to prove my point. I enjoy football, I love the
Steelers. I can tell you every QB for them from Bradshaw to Ben. I’m
not knocking football. I’m just saying that Costas’ book is flawed and
the media mad dash to cry how the game is broken is wrong. Baseball is
still a beautiful thing. Even if Barry’s cheating, which I believe he
probably is, baseball brings things to the table that other sports
don’t.
Let’s take my beloved Steelers for instance.   What’s their
game plan? Get the lead, run the ball 5 million times.  In baseball
what happens when you get the lead? You still have to give the other
team a chance to score for however many outs they still have coming.
There is no running the ball into the line and keeping it out of their
hands. You actually have to give the ball to their offense and let them
take their swings. It’s conceivable in football that you could get the
lead with 6 or 7 minutes to go in the game and never give the ball back
to the other team’s offense.
Another reason why the average person
might not be turning to baseball today is the microwave effect. Our’s
is the only generation to set the microwave to cook out meal and tap
our fingers as we wait expectantly for it to cook, the whole time
rolling our eyes because it’s taking too long. Bill Veeck said, "This
is a game to be savored, not gulped.  There’s time to discuss
everything between pitches or between innings." One of the things I’ve
always said is that Baseball is like good sex, you can’t rush it. Good
baseball is about relationship. One of the buzzwords today is
community. Baseball builds community.  It’s not an up and down sport,
it’s not ten guys jumping at each other so one guy can run around the
corner for a few yards. What it is, is a game that is as much about the
anticipation as it is about the actual happening. How many of your
favorite memories for baseaball involve sitting on the edge of your
couch or standing in a screaming stadium, with every one around you
offerering their opinion on what is going to happen next? Throw a
fastball, hit a home run, or throw a change up get him to ground softly
to second. Will the batter be the next Kirby Puckett, or the next
chump? Baseball is about what might happen, what could happen as much as it is about what does happen.
I just watched a show tonight that talked about what if Steve Bartman hadn’t
caught that foul ball in the NLCS. Perhaps, a better question from that
game is what if Alex Gonzales had handled the ground ball to him?
Baseball
requires more of the fan. And it should be that way.  If nothing else
this whole steroids fiasco proves that anytime baseball gets too
fixated on the Glitz it turns on itself and tarnishes its rich past.
Simply
put, it is easier to sit and watch a football game and cheer. You can
be loaded out of your mind and still figure it out. Not a lot of
nuances that the average fan has to pick up in order to be that into
it. Now, I’ve been to my share of games that involved drunken baseball
fans. I’m not trying to attack football here as much as I am attempting
to defend baseball.  I’ll write a formal review of the book later.

Does Major League Baseball have
problems? Of course, any business does. But all the Chicken Little’s in
the media need to pipe down and enjoy the game. Get steroids out, let
the rest alone. If baseball is losing some of

America,
it’s probably ok. In a generation that has to have the “right now”
effect, baseball just doesn’t offer that and it shouldn’t. Besides all
other arguments, I am reminded of an age old cliché: “Variety is the
spice of life.”

 

 



What is Cheating? My Thoughts on “SpyGate”

Picture_4What is cheating? I had a fun conversation with a friend of mine where I called Bill Belichick a cheater. My friend told me that he didn’t consider him a cheater. He asked me how it was different than scouting a team. My answer was simple, “Scouting is legal, taping the other teams coaches is not legal.” I have quite a few New England fans, and they all seem to be deflecting rather than defending their beloved coaches actions. One guy employed the, “Well, they thought they were being taped, too!” defense.  Numerous others have told me, well they didn’t gain an advantage in the game they were caught in, so it’s not a big deal. I have to admit this bothers me. Maybe, I’m naive. Maybe, I’m just dumb, but I really believe that honor matters. That winning inside the rules of the game matters. To me, if I knowingly break the rules I’m cheating. If there are rules that don’t make sense, then I say change them but until they do, if I break them in an effort to get an advantage I am cheating. If I fail to get an advantage then I am just inept at cheating, but it’s still cheating.
Now, most of these conversations happened before the alleged taping of the Saints Super Bowl walk through. I’ve always wondered how
Belichick went from what he did in Cleveland to what he did in New England and I will be the first to admit that ascribing all of his recent success to cheating would be sophomoric and over simplistic but for those Belichick defenders I have a serious question. If it turns out that these allegations are true and that they did videotape the walk through was that cheating? How many rules can you break before it’s cheating? One of the most remarkable things about this run by this team has been those plays where the defender seemed to know better than the receivers what was coming. Those last minutes drives where it didn’t seem the defense could muster anything to keep the Patriots from methodically marching down the field and winning the game. If –and I realize at this point it’s merely allegations– the Patriots did indeed videotape the Saints walk-through then they should be punished. Belichick should be suspended for at least a season. To me, it is irrelevant if they gained an advantage or not, they broke the rules.
Ok Pats fans and those who wish to defend Bill, tell me these three things:
Was videotaping the coaches hand signals, which is blatantly spelled out in the rules as illegal cheating?
Was video taping (again if it happened) the Saints walk-though cheating?
How many rules can you break before you’re considered to be cheating?

I’ll get to the whole Belichick getting out-coached last night another time.

Ken Rosenthal Seems to Be a Hypocrite: My Mitchell Report Rant: Part 2

MitchellsQuick, prove that Elves don’t exist. Better yet, prove that you’ve never hit a child in anger. Go ahead and deny it. I’ll just say your not telling the truth. If my name is Ken Rosenthal, I’ll say that unless you take theKenr
kid leveling the accusation to court, I cannot believe you. I’ll shroud myse
lf if in a cocoon of mock self-righteousness like a caterpillar. Then when you do file that lawsuit, I’ll blather on and on about how your defense sounds just like all the others that have been caught. In other words, once some kid levels an accusation against you that you did something inappropriate you are darned if you do and darned if you don’t.
Rogerclemens
   
Welcome to the world of Roger Clemens who has embarked upon the one of the hardest tasks known to man; proving a negative. I’ve already talked about the hypocrisy that is too many sports reporters. FoxSports writers (I refuse to give some of these men the respect of naming them as reporters) seem to be the most egregious in their inconsistent response.
Ken Rosenthal, who seems to suffer from an early on-set of memory loss, said this last week:

If Roger Clemens believes his former trainer, Brian McNamee, lied to former Sen. George Mitchell, then let’s see action, not words. …If Clemens truly wants to prove that he never used performance-enhancing drugs, then let’s see him file a lawsuit in an effort to clear his name. (See this article)

So now, that Roger has done exactly what Mr. Rosenthal said he had to do in order to get some credibility, Ken has this to say:

His strategy — deny, deny, deny — previously was employed by Marion Jones, Barry Bonds and other athletes accused of using PEDs. In Clemens’ case, the strategy actually could work, provided that no one corroborates McNamee’s charges and fans eventually lose interest. (See this article)

He goes on to talk about how Roger cannot be given the benefit of the doubt because of all the other athletes who have gone before him and lied. Wait, one week ago you wanted action, Mr Rosenthal, now you’ve got it and your still sputtering your scurrilous stammering.  It sounds to me Mr. Rosenthal, as though you have an agenda. You actually sound like you have an axe to grind. Now, you and your ilk are hypothesizing about why would the accuser lie? 
    Let’s look at the facts as we know them:

  1. There is a spurious accusation leveled against Mr. Clemens in the L.A. Times.
  2. That accusation is denied.
  3. The Mitchell report comes out, where Roger Clemens is the prominent name mentioned again and again.
  4. The only “evidence” in that “report” is one man who is attempting to avoid spending time in jail. No cancelled checks that cannot be explained, no one else to corroborate the accusation.
  5. This accusation is also denied.
  6. The report that the L.A. Times accusation was supposedly founded upon, and no confirmation of the report.
  7. L.A Times (with a little egg on their collective face) issues a retraction.
  8. Roger hires a lawyer and begins to attempt to clear his name.


Now, I want to ask, where is the corroboration? Surely, if this guy was taking Geogemitchell
Steroids, somebody else saw him. Surely, two years and all that money has produced something better than one guy who is trying to avoid jail time. When all the verbal excrement from a male cow is boiled down that’s all there is; one accusation from a guy trying to avoid jail time. We’ll leave the phone call and the changing story for another day.
    The most repugnant in all of this is the sports reporters, of whom Mr. Rosenthal is the worst, for their vilification of a man based on nothing. Mr. Rosenthal, who’s  sanctimonious writing  would make any fundamentalist preacher proud changes faster than the wind. He reminds me of the kid who stood on the playground-chanting put up or shut up and when the target he was taunting “put up” he cried foul.  The problem for Mr. Rosenthal is that his keyboard wrote a check that evidently his ego will not let him cash; he dared Roger Clemens to do something to earn credibility and then when Roger did the very thing demanded of him, Rosenthal writes a piece that essentially says, “I don’t care, he’s guilty.”
Mr. Rosenthal, you’re entitled to your opinion, but you look silly right now. You said, you’d give him the benefit of the doubt if he did these things. Now, he’s done those things and you appear to be too stubborn or prideful to admit that you’re just pretending that you are anything more than back in Salem looking for somebody to put down. Evidence, it seems is irrelevant to you. You just want a story that will lead. And they say, Bloggers have no accountability. It’s time for you to put up or shut up, Ken.Otherwise you just sound like a hypocrite.Salemwitch

Barry Bonds: Proof Positive What We Believe

*** I Think I Fixed The Formatting. I Don’t Know What Happened ****


There is an ancient Jewish proverb that states you will reap
whatever you sow. Baseball and perhaps America is now reaping what it has has
sown for a generation now. With Barry Bonds official breaking of Hank Aarons
record last night we are now reaping from our “whatever it takes” mentality of
the last 20 years. When I was a kid, life was simple in my idyllic life. There
were good guys and there were bad guys. You knew who they were and you didn’t
root for the bad guy. Bonds, to be fair perhaps steroids changed all of
that. Sure some of our heroes were
flawed
, but they were at the end of day good guys. They didn’t cheat, steal or
cut to get where they got.

Then I grew up. I watched a President lie to the people he
chose to represent and who in turn chose him to represent them. I’ve watched large corporations take losses
at stores so they can run the mom and pop competition out of the market then
jack prices through the roof. Last night I watched a man achieve a record that
a preponderance of evidence says he didn’t earn. I’ve endured countless hours
of people saying, “Well, if he did cheat, so did a lot of other people.” A lot of people steal, but I don’t see anyone
advocating we all head on down to our local store and start our own version of
the

Bronx

is burning.

The media isn’t exempt here either. When Bonds tied the
record, the game went 12 innings. It was a good game that should have been
celebrated at least in part by that fact. The next day 4 out of the 5
highlights were Barry Bonds, finally Khalil Green’s walk off hit was the only
Padre shown. ESPN, apparently wants both sides of this pie. They will follow
Barry Bonds around and catch “this historic moment” and at the same time make
money decrying his cheating. Isn’t that born of the same mentality that got Bonds
were he is today? “Whatever it takes” is the most selfish of motto’s. I have no
idea how Mr. Bonds conducts himself on a personal level but his selfishness
cannot be denied in this chase. ESPN’s and perhaps all media outlets’
selfishness cannot be denied in the debacle that has been the coverage of this
event.

He plays when he wants to play; he sits where he wants to
sit. He does whatever he wants. If he wants to talk, he talks, if not that’s OK
too.

What about his teammates? What about the organization he
plays for? What about baseball as a whole. What about what he’s teaching those
who watch him? In the end, any who endorse this record are saying that outcomes
are more important than morals. If we condone these actions as legitimate we
tell our children that if you have to cheat to get to the top, do it. Just don’t
get caught. If you do get caught, just use the three d’s: deny, deny, deny!

There is much that is wrong about the spectacle that has
become Bonds but perhaps the biggest issue is what we are teaching the next
generation. As a father I’m glad that this record will be broken by the time
any of my children are old enough to understand what was going on. Perhaps, by
then there will be something concrete, perhaps he’s be stripped of the record,
and I’ll be able to teach my Children that in the end right is right and wrong
is wrong. I hope I will be able to teach them that there are good guys and
there are bad guys.
Perhaps, all the heroes have gone away, but we certainly still have some villains.
To call them victims when they created there own mess is ridiculous. Dale
Murphy said it best:

 

"Barry’s a great player, there’s no question about it,
but he put an asterisk by his name on his own," Murphy said Monday on AM
radio 1280 The Show. "He’s deserved all the negative publicity that he’s
getting. I mean, people are calling up and complaining, I’ve heard the last few
weeks, that that he’s being treated unfairly. You know, life just usually isn’t
like that. You don’t usually get treated unfairly. You usually get what you
deserve. This is what Barry deserves. He’s a hard guy to like. He’s a hard
teammate to have and, you know, he’s set a terrible example for our kids." Online Source

 

Bud, We Have a Problem

Selig1Bud, Let’s be honest we have a problem. The good news is that I’m not talking about steroids.Bud_1 I am talking about decision making when you’ve had a few too many. I mean really, who came up with the suspended game idea? It has to be one of the dumbest ideas that has ever come across your desk, yet somehow you approved it? What in the name of Babe Ruth were you thinking?  Bud, let’s do it this way:

  • if a game goes 5 innings, it’s a game
  • if a game doesn’t go 5 innings start over

It’s worked for a long time Bud. I realize that this isn’t officials fixing games but come on!

Does Jim Leyland Have a Monkey On His Back?

I’m not a fan of Tony LaRussa. In fact, I cheer for at least two teams. The YankeesLey_1
and anyone playing against Tony’s team. So last year in the World Series I so badly wanted the Tigers to win. Watching their pitchers give play defense like a Little League team was painful to say the least. It had to be painful for Tiger’s Skipper Jim Leyland.

Monkey

Let’s be honest, Leyland’s teams are kind of known for springing a few leaks under pressure. I hope when MLB launches their "all MLB all the time" station they don’t show the Braves/Pirates series of yesteryear too often–it’s just painful to watch a team collapse like that.

Then today, I’m listening to the Tigers/White Sox game on my way home from work. Great game. I listen to Tigers work their way out of a jam only giving up one run in the 8th for the game to tie. I hustle in my house, turn on the game to catch the bottom of the 9th. A simple bunt, and the pitcher hustles over, fumbles the ball and throws it to his imaginary friend somewhere behind the first baseman. Game over. E1.

Does Leyland have a monkey on his back? Forget the fact that his teams always seem to fold like a fat guys will power at a buffet, and just focus on the pitchers. The Tigers pitchers cannot field. I don’t know how else to say it, when the game is on the line, they just can’t field. From where I’m sitting the responsibility for that has to sit with Jim Leyland.

I know he has his ring with Marlins, but seriously how many more should he have? I like Jim Leyland. I think he’s old school and when he throws a rant, he doesn’t throw his players under the bus (Ahem, Mr. Pinella) but if you saw today’s game, it was absolutely ridiculous. Much like last year’s World Series.