Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Roger and Out

God damn Clemens, McNamee and the rest of them for taking attention from, you know, the actual games on the field.

That being said, there's this weird misperception out there that you believe either one or the other, take their word as the gospel truth, and stick your fingers in your ears at any evidence to the contrary. This, I believe, is hooey - I've got no use for either one of them. To sum up, we have:

Clemens, who...
  • Threw his wife, his trainer, his best friend in baseball, and his nanny under the bus in order to save his own hide
  • Once threw a piece of broken bat at Mike Piazza, having apparently misremembered what a baseball looked like. (And even if it had been the ball, why wasn't he throwing it to first?)
  • Did something that looks a lot like witness tampering from here when he summoned his kids' former nanny for a pre-testimony debrief
  • Has pulled the "LOOKIT MEEEE!" bit on his retirement/unretirement so many times that even Courtney Love thinks he's a bit of an attention whore
  • Gave his kids gimmick names to match his ESPN commercial - which wasn't actually that funny
  • Contradicted his own statements
  • Always came up with some sort of minor injury when the chips were down

and McNamee, who...
  • Admitted to withholding some evidence
  • Is linked to an alleged incident of rape
  • Has a "PhD" from a mail order diploma mill
  • Is an admitted drug dealer
  • Claims to have voluntarily stuck things in Roger Clemens' butt
In other words, they're both crumbs, and it's time for them to both go away - particularly if Clemens committed perjury before Congress. Yes, the hearings were a joke and never should have happened, but that doesn't excuse the fact that lying in sworn testimony is a serious business. By leading with his stubbly, oversized chin, Clemens put himself in a position that he can't bully his way out of, or rely on his iconic status to protect him from. He waved a red flag in front of the FBI and Congress, and now he's surprised the bull is charging. Rusty Hardin may be talking a brave game - and his words sounded subtly like a threat to me - but at this point it has the sound of hot air and bluff.

Ultimately, what actually happened may or may not have anything to do with the verdict of juries. In my personal opinion, I think that Clemens took PEDs, whatever good they might or might not have done him. I believe he got them from McNamee, and I believe they're both lying so-and-so's who don't seem to realize that they're just taking each other down.

Screw both of 'em. Play ball.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Consider this possibility

The Phillies have signed the Family Benson (it's a package deal, just ask Anna) to a contract so Kris can compete with Adam Eaton for the fifth starter's job. It's looking likely that Benson won't be ready for the start of the season, and since neither he nor Eaton can really pitch effectively out of the bullpen (OK, Eaton just doesn't look like he can pitch effectively anymore, period), that means that it's likely Benson will be headed to the Phil's AAA team in Allentown to get his arm strength back.

Anna.

In Allentown.

Someone get Billy Joel on the phone, stat!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Meet the New Boss, Same As the Old Boss

NC State - 15-9, 4-6 in conference play.
Arizona State - 16-7, 6-5 in what is arguably a much better conference this year.

What's that, you said? Herb's gotta go?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Pat Jordan on Roger Clemens

Worth reading, I think, regardless of what your take was on today's circus.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Memo to Messrs. Waxman, Clemens, McNamee, Et Alia

Pitchers and catchers report this week.

Sod off, the lot of you.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Hoist On Their Own Bedard

Peter Angelos, debating the Bedard trade


Ultimately, the Erik Bedard trade makes sense for both teams. Bedard's trade value was high, and it made sense to trade him before another in-season injury knocked it down a peg. Besides, he was never going to re-sign in Baltimore; what sane player would? As for the Mariners, their organizational approach toward prospects seems to be "Rush 'em to the majors, watch them flail around for a bit because they're not ready, then bury them". So getting a top-flight major league pitcher in exchange for assets they were well on their way to bungling all the value out of is a win for them. Besides, they were dealing from strength. Lose an outfield prospect in Adam Jones? There's Wladimir Balientin coming up behind him. Lose a pitching prospect or three? There's Morrow, and Aumont.

So the Orioles get to restock an utterly barren roster with some high-upside players. The Mariners manage to turn a resource they otherwise would have pissed away into something useful. And we got months of reading/blogging material over how much meddling Peter Angelos was doing in the deal. It's a win for everyone.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Phillies interested in Benson

At least according to Todd Zolecki of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The really frightening part of this, for me, is not that the Phillies are interested in Benson. I mean, either he can pitch, or his arm will detach from his body and fly into the upper deck mid-pitch. Either way, it's better than another year of vintage Adam Eaton. It's not even the thought of Anna Benson going through the Manayunk nightlife like a Japanese whaling ship harvesting the Pacific.

No, it's the words "Phillies scout Chuck LaMar".

As in former Devil Rays GM Chuck LaMar.

As in "the guy who traded the Phillies Bobby Abreu in exchange for Kevin Stocker".

THIS is the guy the Phils have evaluating talent?

Waiter, check please...

It Touched Your Butt So I Want To Save It

The $64 question that Mike Greenberg had this morning about Brian McNamee's syringe-and-gauze-and-Clemens-bodily-fluid collection was "Why did he keep it?" Everything else about the scenario made sense to him, but not that. Why, oh why, would McNamee keep this stuff?

I can think of two possible answers: blackmail or protection. The former seems unlikely, seeing how long McNamee sat on it even in the face of legal pressure. The latter...well, this stuff didn't come out until Roger publicly threw him under the bus in January. And now it's in the hands of the DoJ, and the two of them are spending more time on Capitol Hill than many elected officials, and at least one of them is going to go down swinging and most likely into prison orange.

Mind you, none of it was necessary. All Roger had to do was 'fess up - whether he did it or not - and pull a Giambi. He'd be lauded for his bravery in coming forward, extolled for admitting he made a mistake, and able to cut the legs out from under McNamee by confessing to whatever he could be accused of. Instead, he played it like the rest of the world was crowding his plate. Unfortunately, public opinion can occasionally turn on an inside fastball, and jack it out of the yard. Unless McNamee saved the wrong tucchis track marks, that's what we;re going to see next.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

One Last LOLPat

Courtesy of loyal reader James Kiley...

The Giants Win The Pennant! The Giants Win The Pennant!

I am reminded of the words of Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson, who was asked after the Patriots defeated the Eagles, 24-21, in their Super Bowl meeting, what he thought of the Patriots dynasty.

"Dynasty?" he snarled. "They only beat us by three fucking points."

Since the Eagles game, the Patriots have been living dangerously, slumbering through most of their games, and then waking up at the last minute to do just enough to win. Tonight, it bit them in the ass.

Sure, there were extenuating circumstances. Tom Brady clearly wasn't able to get any zip on balls more than ten yards out, and had nothing in his ankle that would let him evade the Giants' carnivorous pass rush. Then again, two weeks ago the best the Chargers could trot out was a one-legged Phillip Rivers and zero Ladanian Tomlinson, and you don't see the Pats offering to replay that one when everyone's healthy.

What it came down to was that Brady didn't have enough time or arm to pick apart the Giants' defense, and the the Patriots aging, slow linebackers didn't have quite enough on the ball to shut down the Giants medium passing game when it counted. Credit the Giants receivers for making some spectacular catches when it counted, and for overcoming some horrid drops and misplays. Credit the limping Plaxico Burress for staying out there to the bitter end, and finally making a difference at the end. Credit the Giants' kids, who came up big when bigger-name players were falling short. Credit Eli Manning, for his Randall Cunningham-esque evasion on the final drive and solid play. And most of all, credit the Giants defense, which got taken apart on the Pats' opening drive, and then bottled up Brady all night long.

There was, of course, weird stuff. Fox seemed unable to get their game clock right, though they weren't doing that much worse than the actual officials. Seriously, when so much is riding on how many seconds are left on the clock, you'd think someone would get wise to the long-running farce that is "Tweet - tick - tick - tick - tick - clock finally stops". Bill Bellchick has cemented his reputation as the Watergate-era Nixon of the NFL, starting his season with mysterious tapes and ending it by disappearing before the official end. (ESPN.com's coverage has him going out onto the field with one second left to concede; during the game it looked an awful lot more like he was demanding that final kneeldown.) And it may just have been me, but on that last, desperate heave by Tom Brady toward Randy Moss on the final drive of the game, it looked an awful lot like Moss had the old Ricky Watters alligator arms going.

But that's enough of that. There will be endless analysis written of how the Giants slew their own Goliaths, how they pulled off the biggest upset in Super Bowl history, and so on and so forth. For tonight, it's enough that the only prognosticator who came close to getting it right...was Plaxico Burress.

Mandatory Super Bowl Prediction

IF Tom Brady's gimpy ankle slows him down enough for the Giants' pass rush to get to him, and IF Plaxico Burress can get open the way he did in the last game of the regular season, and IF the Giants don't get behind early and can run the ball against the Patriots' relatively soggy rush defense, then they could...

Ah, who am I kidding? 34-17, Patriots.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Arlen Specter Reads Gregg Easterbrook?

Or so it seems, otherwise the esteemed Senator from Pennsylvania would have followed the rest of the country's lead and let the Patriot videotaping scandal and the subsequent dodgy behavior drop.
Specter is going to get killed in the media for this one, and not for the right reasons. (The right reasons, incidentally, are that any Senatorial investigation of the matter would be a Devin Hester kickoff return out of jurisdiction, and that the country really has other things that senior Senate members should be working on.) Unlike other Capitol Hill sports-related grandstanding hearings, this is stuff that No One Wants To Know. With the baseball steroids stuff, there's the creepy fascination of finding out whodunnit, and the moral indignation of Saving The Children.

But the real reason this won't work is that nobody wants to know if the NFL is dirty. Nobody wants to know if the games are rigged, or if those perfect Pats cheated, or if one side has an unfair advantage. Nobody wants to know if pro football players are scarfing down chemical cocktails that make backup cornerbacks bigger than Barry Bonds. More to the point, the NFL fanbase aggressively wants to not know, because then they have to look long and hard at what they're rooting for, and start asking themselves uncomfortable questions about what they're actually watching. And of course, there's too much money tied up in the NFL, which means too many people invested in not letting it look bad.

So Senator Specter's quest is doomed, and it's going to make him look like a jackass. The same media outlet that gleefully held up Mets clubhouse sleazebag Kirk Radomski as a credible witness on steroids is already at work tearing down the credibility of the guy who could potentially be a star witness against the Patriots.

It's sad, really.

Then again, what's really sad is that the attention will be focused on this, and not on the burgeoning concussion issue that seemed to fizzle out mysteriously mid-season. Andre Waters probably would have had a few choice words on Patriotsgate. That is, if he could have remembered them.

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Same Thing We Do Every Night, Pinky...

If you listen carefully to the HDTV ads that run on ESPN radio, you'll notice something frightening. In the ones where it's noted ripper-off-of-blogs/DoS maven/dreadful prognosticator Colin Cowherd rambles on about how great those HDTVs are, Cowherd slips in a "We recommend."

Not "I recommend."

Not "ESPN radio recommends."

"WE recommend."

Apparently either Mr. Cowherd's real name is Legion (not impossible, if you've listened to his show), we should start referring to him as "Your Majesty King Kolin" (more alliterative that way), or he's having what Daffy Duck refers to as "pronoun trouble". But the idea of Cowherd having disappeared so far up his own yin-yang that he speaks of himself in the royal we - and let's face it, it's a radio ad, and it's not like those are expensive to re-shoot with your in-house talent - is a little disturbing.
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