Thursday, February 26, 2009
Our attorney general is calling us out.
Said newly minted Eric Holder recently….
“Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial, we have always been, and we, I believe, continue to be, in too many ways, a nation of cowards,” Holder said in remarks to his staff in honor of Black History Month.
By “we” I’m not sure exactly who that includes.
Surely it can’t include Al Sharpton. He seems pretty comfortable talking about race, and profiting from it. Your average white dude? Well, he’s probably scared shitless. After all, he can only lose his job by saying one wrong word to one wrong person, in one wrong email.
I have presided over many a topic on sports radio that had either overt or subtle racial tones. The discussion is almost always unproductive. Even something that should be universally repulsive like say…. Oh… DOGFIGHTING…. Turns into a call-in racial proxy-war.
Seriously, you have to just remember the callers (usually black) who went through tortured justifications of Vick to realize that meaningful dialog was basically hopeless.
CALLER: “You have to understand the culture of …..”
ME: “No I don’t. That crap is just sick and barbaric.”
So much for courage.
I’ve had similar dead end “discussions” about Allen Iverson, the TV show “Playmakers”, tattoos, and plenty of other sports issues that grazed upon race.
It’s just not worth it.
And for gods sake, don’t ever try to say anything funny that’s race related. See the Don Imus fiasco. Did he deserve a suspension for the infamous “nappy headed ho’s” comment? Of course. Did he deserve to get fired? Of course not.
Especially given Imus’ track record for charity to cancer victims of all races through his ranch program, and his genuine contrition in the wake of the comments.
Even some well respected black leaders like Bill Cosby get smacked down when they say something that doesn’t fit the existing “victim template” of racial discussion.
Bryant Gumbel calls Gene Upshaw a “lapdog.” No consequence.
Michael Irvin speculates that Tony Romo’s must have some slave blood in him because he’s so athletic. No consequence.
Cowards? You bet, Mr. Attorney General. Now, maybe you should ask why.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I’ve always known that Greg Norman was a king douchebag.
It’s great to get continued confirmation.
Norman opened his golden cakehole and declared that “Prize money's being scaled back in Europe, I wouldn't be surprised if prize money's scaled back in the US just out of respect to every citizen and taxpayer over there who's suffering dramatically.”
"It seems like on the PGA Tour the players are still playing for a million dollars first week, like they're recession-proof."
Okay, where do we start?
First, golfers are not “recession proof.” The PGA Tour simply hasn’t been hit hard – yet – because of the foresight of the tour to get most events locked up in contracts that run through 2010 or longer. Trust me, their day is coming.
Secondly, the thought of giving money back “out of respect” is just nuts. Where would that money go? In whose pockets? And how would that “help” anybody who is “struggling.”
Plus, it’s pretty easy for a guy like him - $100 million in the bank, even post divorce – to suggest other people take less money.
Just like that the clown in Connecticut who grilled Jim Calhoun about whether his $1.6 million annual salary was “enough.” Now the governor is upset at Calhoun. She didn’t like his “tone” in that rant.
Well maybe she should worry about the $2 billion (that’s 2,000 million) hole in her state budget. Because it would take more than a thousand Jim Calhoun’s to plug that one.
Who else here is creeped out by the thought of some un-ethical, journalist wanna-be hippie deciding what is “enough” money for a highly successful basketball coach?
Remember the Marxist mantra: “From each according to ability, to each according to need.”
This is, still, America, right? Does he realize how many years Calhoun plugged along as a grossly underpaid assistant coach to get to this pinnacle in his career?
Never mind that Calhoun’s program runs a profit. Never mind that plenty of other university employees are paid six figure salaries without drawing a single penny of revenue. Never mind that giving Calhoun a haircut in salary might prompt him to retire, or quit and take a job at a private university, putting the UConn program on a money losing.
Nah. Never mind all that. Focus on “feelings” and being “sensitive.”
Sometimes, you just can’t tell the real sports headlines, from the ones you suspect were made up by the snarkmasters at The Onion.
To wit: “Len Dale White Pulls Out Belt In Fight.”
Titans running back LenDale White was allegedly involved in an altercation during an incident earlier this month in Denver, but on Monday the city's district attorney refused to prosecute the case. The Denver police department said the case has been reviewed and "is closed." According to a police document where an aggravated assault offense was reviewed, the incident took place on Feb. 14 in Denver when White and other parties were involved in a verbal altercation after a minor vehicle accident. White then allegedly struck Leslie Joe Hoch, a white male. "The verbal argument turned physical and (White) began striking and shoving the victim," the offense report said. According to the report, White, listed as an unknown suspect, "began striking the victim with a belt and belt buckle" before the parties got in their vehicle and fled. Hoch required hospitalization for lacerations, the offense report stated. (Tennessean)
“Pilots: Lock and load. Fire when ready.”
Of course Len Dale White would pull out his BELT when faced with a hostile situation! This is going for the “big gun” when “its on!”
Len Dale: “Hmm, let’s see. What do I have on me, that is 40 inches or longer, thick enough to hold in my fat ass and stomach, has the tensile strength greater than that of the cables holding up the Bay Bridge, and can be used like a weapon? Ah ha… watch this!”
Every kid growing up in an era where it was not only permissible for your dad to whoop your ass with his belt, but actually good parenting (pre-1980), knows the fear of pops un-leashing that leather monster from his waist.
I bet this dude wished he had happened upon Pac Man Jones and his posse totin’ “nines” instead of a pissed off LenWhale White and his belt buckle of doom.
Talk about a weapon of mass destruction! I think the only more frightening headlines could have been…
“Rosie O’Donnell Opens Hair Salon” or “Shawn Kemp Reverses Vasectomy.”
I have pretty much conceded that pitbulls, Fedor, or any other beast wouldn’t stand a chance against an enraged chimp.
But Len Dale White with his belt vs. a chimp? I might have to take the Titans TD vulture and the points….
Monday, February 23, 2009
Anybody ready for Vegas!
In case you haven't heard or read, I've snagged a sweet-ass deal for your faithful Czabe.com readers to join me in Las Vegas this year.
For many years now, I would get emails from guys saying "Dude, are you going to be in Vegas for the Tournament? Where are you going to be? Can I come say hi and buy you a beer!"
Well, this year I made it easy.
Just join me at the fabulous Palazzo, and we'll hang out together IN STYLE while we CRUSH the NCAA man! And for just over $110 per person per night - in a suite, with a cocktail party and limo ride to the airport and back - it's a deal that only a once in a decade recession can produce!
We've opened this promotion just last Thursday, and the "automatic bids" are not going to last very long. So jump on it.
The one thing I have received some questions about, is whether this deal includes airfare. It does not, for a few simple reasons.
1. Because this promotion is open to all my listeners both in Milwaukee with Bob and Brian, and also nationally via Fox Sports Radio, and also in D.C. on ESPN980, it wouldn't have been practical, fair, or even made sense to try to arrange airfare from a single city.
2. Some guys already have airfare arranged and hotel accomodations in Vegas for this weekend (Sweet 16) but would gladly cancel them and come on over to my place because you can't beat the rate and amenities. They have this option.
That being said, I know that since this deal come along just over 1 month from the date of departure, the best flights, for the cheapest prices are not as easy to find.
I did some noodling, and here's what I've found.
For DC listeners, you have two good options.
Baltimore to Vegas non-stop via Southwest can be had for about $336 roundtrip. Dulles to Vegas (one-stop) via JetBlue (mmmm... in flight DirecTV... aarrghhllllhh!) can be had for about $389.
For you Milwaukee folks, Orbitz.com is the best bet, and they have a smattering of fares in the same range. A more direct shot, and perhaps better deal can be had if you slug down to Chicago for departure.
Finally, I am working on an agreement with the Palazzo to allow people to "shift" their trip one day to go Wed-Sat (which is actually my schedule) for the same price. Just let me know via email if you would be interested in this, and I will likely be able to get that cleared.
So get on it folks, I smell a perfect 8-0 Sweet 16 parlay card on Thursday and Friday next month! Gonna ... be... awesome!
Sunday, February 22, 2009
I suppose it’s possible Alex Rodriquez could be getting worse advice than he is currently, although I am hard pressed to figure out how.
Maybe a team of chimp advisors?
Like I said two interviews ago, he’s not so much telling “the truth” as much as he’s like Microsoft issuing incremental updates and patches to a program called “Truth Speaker 1.0.”
Currently, he’s working on “Truth Speaker 3.2 v4” (beta) until the facts change again under his feet.
First, he told Katie Couric he was clean as David Eckstein (Eckstein’s clean, right?). Then he told Bristol’s $20 Bill that he used some stuff but can’t even remember what it was. Then he told the media in the “Yankee Steroid Confession Pavillion – Sponsored By Avodart” that he used “Boli” as an “over the counter” ‘roid from the D.R. with only his cousin, whom he wouldn’t name.
Then he stopped talking.
Which was smart, only too late by about 3 media encounters.
In hindsight – because even I didn’t see this ahead of time – he should have stuck with the simple and reliable Barry Bonds/Eddie Murphy defense: “Wasn’t me.”
Think about it.
We have about 10x the amount of totally incriminating evidence against Barry. Records being demolished, head growth the size of Sputnik, clown shoes, doping calendars, jailed ex-‘roid docs from Balco, and even a former girlfriend.
For A-Rod, it’s four “sources” claiming he failed an “anonymous” test.
Relatively speaking, that’s nothing. And if you are in for a lie already (Couric interview) then you are “all in” anyway on your reputation. Suck it up, and be prepared to go all the way like Bonds.
Listener Chuck in Richmond wrote it best, and didn’t even charge and expensive retainer fee like A-Rod’s PR firm.
A-Rod should have said: Well ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to defer from talking about this report right now. I did take the drug test like every other Major Leaguer and I'm not exactly sure how my name was leaked as testing positive. Until my representatives and I can look at the results and look at the testing method and the way they kept their documentation, I would like to stay quiet on the subject.
REACT: Amen. In hindsight, A-Rod should have pressed hard on the notion that a lab with pee-pee samples in one part of the country, coupled with a lab in another part of the country with “matching” numbers and names of MLB players, could be anything but a farce.
I know any Olympian would not have accepted such a broken chain of evidence that would affect his livelihood. Why should A-Rod.
A-Rod and the other 103 players should be pressing their case like MAD about how could “anonymous” testing be matched to players?
A-Rod should say emphatically: “How can I prove a negative? With supposedly 104 positive samples, on a test that was illegal, with two separate locations, the potential for mischief on matching names to samples to players is immense.”
Now, the story has spun way out of his control. And most of the damage, is squarely on his own dopey head.
Friday, February 20, 2009
This week's "Furious George" attack has provided some interesting food for thought. Or better yet, "nightmares for thought!"
I posed the following fights.
Pit Bull v. Chimp
Fedor v. Chimp
Fedor v. Chimp (with mouth mask to prevent biting).
After seeing, reading and thinking about all of these, I believe Chimp wins the round robin tournament no matter how you slice it.
That said, somebody did say they once saw a Chimp v. Pitbull fight on the internet from Mexico ('natch). However, the chimp was given a baseball bat to "make it even."
Whatever, it's barbaric I know, but christ would I love to see that just once in my life, although I would probably never sleep again, or go to the zoo or a public park!
That said... here's some further opinion...
Certainly not making light of Travis the chimp mauling that poor, 70 year old lady (prayers with her), which is tragic indeed. Could not agree more that animals such as this are better fit for the local zoo as opposed to the bedroom!
Almost choked on my Wendy's Asian Chicken Salad from laughing, listening to you guys going through the details of the story today (again - - tragic indeed)! The PETA references among others were hilarious and its stuff like this that makes me even more of a fan of ya'll - - - we all need to laugh a lot more than we do these days - - keep it up!
Regarding the Pit Bull vs. Chimp cage match: hands down, the Pit Bull takes it by a SIGNIFICANT MARGIN OF VICTORY and I speak from what I believe to be very accurate experience. Not that I approve of or have ever been to a Pit Bull fight - - I think its horrible, however, I am an avid hunter / outdoors-man (HUUNTIN'S LEEEGAL) and I have had the fortunate or unfortunate (depending on how you look at it) experience of wild hog hunting with the aid of Pit Bull terriers. Yes - - that's right, down here in LA (and not Lower Alabama - -but Louisiana), there is a lot of hog hunting with these vicious creatures - - and let me tell you - - it works!
Given the fact that I have witnessed a 40 lb. Pit Bill charge into some to the thickness most heinous brier thickets known to mankind and take down snarling, foam spitting, extremely, pi$$3d off, 250 lb+ wild boars, with 4" razor sharp tusk only to make them squeal helplessly like Ned Beatty, can I make this assertion. Once ole' PB grabs his prey by the throat, pins him and the blood starts flying, the decision is made to either kill the boar, or neuter him. Tough deal for porky the pig either way, but death or castration in my opinion may both be better options that being attacked by a Pit Bull! I am a 6'4", 290 lb., southern born, slightly red-neck, former college football playing, overall pretty tough kind of fellow - - but make no mistake about it, I admit to the world that I am absolutely, deathly afraid of Pit Bulls! I'd walk an extra mile to stay out of the path of one, and I consider myself a dog lover! Down here in LA, leash laws are a bit lax, so to see a stray PB walking the streets is not uncommon. I grab women and children and run like hell when I see one! Matter of fact, I may have run over a few women and kids based on my own fear and getting the hell out of Dodge to save my own hide!
Moral of the story is, take the Pit Bull plus any amount of points given over a 200 lb. Chimp any day - - young, old, movie star, wine drikin', police harassin" -- whatever, the Pit will deliver the goods - - LOCK AND LOAD BABY - - LOCK AND LOAD!!!! Matter of fact - given even odds or just slightly worse, I'd still take the PB over a 500 lb. gorrilla - - I'm serious! King freakin' Kong even comes into question!
Let us know if a pay per view match ever materializes - - my bet would be that it would last about as long as Mike Tyson and poor ole' Spinks did back in the day - - speaking of Pit Bulls. I paid for all those 1 minute debacles back in the day, so I would pony up!
cdaddy (great fan long time listener!)
I'm with you. Thinking that Fedor could beat a full grown chimp in a fight is laughable. I'll give a few reasons:
1. Fedor can forget about any submission moves.
It's impossible to put a rear-naked choke on a chimp because of their anatomy. Chimps necks are bigger around than their heads making it impossible to "lock in" the choke. It's the same thing with a dog. Go put a dog in a head lock. I guarantee he gets out. So you can take out all submissions to the neck.
Also, armbars won't work because chimps arms are simply too long and too strong. Chimps are extremely top-heavy. A 200 lb chimp probably has the upper body muscle mass of a 400 lb man because that's where all their weight is.
2. A chimp can take a punch like no human.
Chimps' heads are not like human heads. Their brains are protected by a thicker skull, and their skulls are anchored onto their body better by their freakish muscle attachments, making it harder to "jar" a chimp's head enough to knock it out.
3. Chimps have incredible grip strength.
Go find a pull up bar and hang from it as long as you can. I'd be impressed if you can hang for more than 2 minutes. Chimps, on the other hand, can hang from a bar for an hour easily. That means, once a chimp gets a hold of you, there's no getting out. Not to mention he pretty much has 4 arms. It'd be like fighting Goro from Mortal Kombat.
4. Chimps instinctively go for the face and testicles.
I watched a show about chimp attacks, and they explained how the chimps always do the same thing: rip off the face and testicles, so their victims can't reproduce. And to the arguement that Fedor will be wearing a cup: if a chimp can rip off a person's face, do you really think it will have a hard time ripping off a cup?
Love the show. Keep it up.
Tom in Wisconsin
Hairless FEMALE chimp with Popeye forearms:
Hey Steve, Patrick in Pewaukee...
Let me begin by saying I'm a dog lover, and am a little disturbed by the level of fascination with this whole dog vs chimp nonsense...
However, I have no big sympathy for Pit bulls, which probably shouldn't be owned by people... so I'm listening.
Let me point out that you glossed over the best and most revealing part of this whole thing: the person who alluded to the bout taking place in Mexico, who stated that "To make it even, the chimp was given a baseball bat."
That went straight to the point right there, and revealed the most. It is clear from that comment that this "bout" had been run several times before, and it had become clear that to attract the betting action, the chimp needed to be given a bat, because otherwise the bout was "All Pit Bull".
Pit Bull by 2 touchdowns, it's hard to determine that sort of "line" in a fight to the death.... It needs to be pretty even, to be a real match.
So, I think that was glossed over a little too quickly... I'm intrigued that they've done it enough times in Mexico that they know exactly that the chimp needs to be given an Easton A-70 Aluminum bat to "even it up"....
My thought is this: A Pit Bull Terrier is a bad, bad animal. Pound for pound, I'll take it, against almost anything. They use 'em for Feral Hog hunting.... 'nuff said. A pack of Wolves will not attack a lone feral hog in the wild. But Pit Bulls will.... You think on that....
Love your show.
Patrick IN Pewaukee
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
There are some days that are like Christmas for a sports fan. Like the day that NFL team schedules are released and you start adding up "win, win, loss, loss, win..."
Then there's the day when author and outstanding columnist for ESPN.com's Page 2 Gregg Easterbrook delivers his annual "look back" column about so-called "expert" predictions.
They are, in short, hilarious.
Please take the time to soak in this entire column, taking careful note of how absurdly wrong so many financial "experts" have been during our national meltdown
Specifically, how about that Jim Cramer on "Mad Money." Nice work, clown. Here's the key paragraph.
On March 11, 2008, James Cramer, arm-waving star of the cable investing show "Mad Money," declared, "Bear Stearns is fine, Bear Stearns is not in trouble ... don't move your money." Over the next three days, Bear Stearns stock dropped from $71 to $10. On July 16, 2008, when the Dow Jones Industrials was at about 11,500, Cramer advised viewers to "buy, buy, buy" because the stock market had bottomed out and would rise; five months later, the Dow had fallen to about 8,500. On June 24, Cramer said Wachovia Bank was "crash material" and urged viewers to sell Wachovia stock, then trading at $18. On Sept. 19, Cramer called Wachovia "a strong buy" at $14, saying the company was "likely to be a winner" in the federal bailout-a-rama. Two weeks later, Wachovia was essentially liquidated, with stockholders receiving $7 per share. A few days after that -- after Cramer had given a succession of spectacularly bad financial advice that would have caused anyone who listened to lose his or her shirt -- "The Today Show" had Cramer on to give financial advice.
Now, when you are done reading this excellent piece by Easterbrook, stop for a moment and consider what Al Gore and his band of scaremongering idiots are selling with the concept of catastrophic manmade global warming.
They are certain - CERTAIN - that they know what the earth's overall temperature will be 100 years from now. Why? They have models, and computers.
Uh huh. Predictions. Let's face it, we're just not that good at 'em. Any of us.
It's going to be a long, tedious year reading about the LPGA Tour I'm afraid...
LPGA season began with a bang at the SBS Open
By Alan Shipnuck
(Commentary by Steve Czaban)
Had Michelle Wie won the LPGA's SBS Open, we were prepared to call it the greatest week in tour history. (Oh boy... here we go!) Despite being three up with eight to play, Wie couldn't seal the deal in her debut as a card-carrying tour member, so the LPGA's season opener on Oahu, in Hawaii, will have to be downgraded to merely a smashing success.
Wie didn't win, but she temporarily turned an island in the middle of the Pacific into the center of the golfing world, (Good hyperbole. Totally accurate. Yep.) and 2 1/2 rounds of near-perfect golf (is there an award for "near perfect" golf?) left no doubt that the 19-year-old will be a week-in-and-week-out force as she plays a full LPGA schedule for the first time. (You know who else is a week-in-week-out force on the LPGA Tour? Lorena Ochoa. Look her up.) The last two years of injury and controversy had turned Wie into a walking cautionary tale, but it took all of one round for her to remind everyone of her star power. Playing in stiff winds last Thursday, (What courage to even tee it up in such conditions!) she controlled her ball beautifully and had perfect pace on the greens, roaring home with three closing birdies to cap a 66 that left her a stroke off the lead and put a charge into the tournament that lasted two more days.
The immediate results were record crowds (Fact please. Record for this event? State of Hawaii? Turtle Bay record?) and breathless, practically nonstop plugs on Golf Channel, (yep, it's what they do!) and by week's end some of the more farsighted of Wie's colleagues were openly rooting for her to win, knowing what a boost it would be for women's golf.
(Insert obligatory quote from any LPGA member who will go on record with something pleasant... )
"She is going to be one of the best things that's ever happened to the LPGA tour," said veteran pro Christina Kim. "She's beautiful, she's intelligent, she's witty, but most of all, she has that kind of rare star quality where you can't take your eyes off her."
(Check... thank you.)
The only thing Wie doesn't have in abundance is the knowledge of how to close out a tournament. (Like Joseph Hazelwood only lacked an abundance of knowledge on how to get a supertanker filled with oil safely into harbor. But on the open water, the dude was a beast!) Her last victory at any level was the 2003 U.S. Women's Public Links, (G-- damn editors MADE me put that in there! Arrrggggghhhh!) and her final round at the SBS will be remembered for a messy double bogey on the 11th hole and the short birdie putt she blew on number 16 to end her bid. But Wie didn't lose the tournament (nah... course not. She's a winner people. She just doesn't um... win... yet...) so much as Angela Stanford took it away, and that, too, counts as one of last week's salient developments. Wie still led by a shot after her double, but Stanford ruthlessly birdied three holes (that fucking lucky bitch!) in a row beginning on the 13th.
(We now pause for the obligatory 1 paragraph "bone" for the actual winner of the event. Your previously scheduled Michelle Wie suck-a-thon will return in a moment..)
Despite high winds, occasional squalls and a partisan crowd rooting against her, Stanford played airtight golf over the closing holes to finish off a victory that has stamped the late-blooming 31-year-old Texan as a star in waiting. Going back to last year Stanford has now won three of her last seven starts and finished no worse than sixth in that stretch. With a palpable competitiveness and a game that betrays no weaknesses, Stanford will be a Solheim Cup terror, and if this current streak lasts much longer, she may challenge the conventional wisdom that Paula Creamer is the best American at this minute.
(And now... back to "Michelle Wie: The Obama Of Golf" already in progress..)
However compelling the on-course action was, last week featured some other macrodevelopments that bode very well for the LPGA's future. On Thursday the tour trumpeted a new deal for its Korean broadcast rights with JoongAng Broadcasting Corporation (JBC) that beginning in 2010 will nearly double the LPGA's annual take, to an estimated $4 million. (Has Carolyn Bivens considered just selling the entire tour itself, kit-and-kaboodle to Korea yet? I mean, just see what they'd pay for the whole thing!) J Golf, a division of JBC, also will become the title sponsor of next month's tournament in Phoenix, which had lost Safeway as an underwriter, and beginning in 2010 J Golf will sponsor a new tournament in the Los Angeles area. Adding events and revenue in this financial climate is both a morale booster and an economic necessity.
Of even more consequence to the LPGA was last week's announcement that under a new 10-year deal Golf Channel will serve as the tour's exclusive domestic cable home beginning in 2010. (Note: This deal is like me signing a deal to make McDonalds the "official" provider of breakfast bagels for me before work. Where else was I going to go?) For years the LPGA has knocked around TNT, ESPN and ESPN2, getting small broadcast windows and often D-list announcers, while other tournaments also play out on Golf Channel and the various networks. "We needed a home," says commissioner Carolyn Bivens. The tour will get that plus all the fixings, including Golf Channel's relentless rah-rah promotions, established announcers and spin-off programming that is just beginning to be developed. (I suggest a show featuring all of Michelle Wie's non-wins. Could be fascinating).
It is significant that all of these announcements came at the SBS Open, the first tournament of the post-Annika epoch. (Lorena who, again?) The LPGA has a bevy of intriguing players — Stanford among them — but there is no doubt who will be the tour's leading lady in the years to come. (Because we are the media, and we said so.)
"She's starting to look like the Michelle of old," Wie's instructor, David Leadbetter, said last week, failing to note the irony that he was talking about a teenager. (Also failing to note the even bigger "irony" that he had presided over the destruction of her game in the first place by aiding and abetting the idiotic attempt to play men's events) "She's swinging the club nicely, her short game is sharp, and she's gotten her power back, which is what separates her from the other players out there. Not only in how she can attack a course but also on a lot of the shots around the green that she likes to play, because putting enough spin on the ball requires a speed and strength that few women possess. But most of all, Michelle is happy to be playing golf again. There were times over the last two years when I think she dreaded coming to the course, but no more. She's fallen back in love with the game." (Her parents are complete ass-hats, but hey, they pay my bills. What do you want me to say?)
Wie's renaissance began at last fall's LPGA qualifying tournament. Having experienced two years of ragged (awful) play and a series of ugly controversies, (all self-inflicted) she had burned up loads of goodwill and the tournament invitations that had once been an entitlement were no longer forthcoming. So Wie swallowed her pride and paid the fee to enter Q school, just like all the other dreamers and wannabes. (She took it from the pile of money labelled "Sony Endorsement" which left her with only $29,996,312.16 left.) Her raw talent has never been questioned, (and remember, she's the only woman with "raw talent" okay...) but plenty in the golf cognoscenti have wondered if Wie has the commensurate amount of heart and resolve. She answered most of the doubters at Q school, the most pressure-packed tournament in the game, (aside from the five majors and the Solheim Cup, but I mean it's close) at which she played near-flawless golf (another "near flawless" effort! Amazing!) en route to earning her spot on the LPGA tour. (Note to Editors: Do I have to mention that she only finished tied for 7th? No. Good. Leave that out.) When Wie floated off the final green at LPGA International, (new superpower: actual levitation) she flashed what had to be her biggest smile in years, and at the SBS she talked about the larger meaning of her tour card.
"I think automatically you feel as if you're more ... not accepted, but you're more a part of something," Wie said. "[The other players] always have been nice to me, and they still treat me really nice and all that, but it's a different feeling, like you're part of something — part of an association, part of a legacy."
(We now interrupt this program, for a special medical report: "Michelle Wie: It Wasn't Her Fault. It Was Her Wrists". Hosted by Dr. Nick Riviera)
The triumph at Q school may have rejuvenated her spirit, but just as important has been the rebuilding of her body. Wie's recent struggles could all be traced to February 2007, when she suffered the first in a series of wrist injuries. It has taken nearly two years for her to be made whole again. (Especially since she ignored doctors advice to quit playing for a summer, because her endorsements were at risk. Ah, details..) "She's not a skinny 13-year-old anymore," says Gray Cook, an orthopedic specialist who has overseen Wie's physical therapy since July '07. "She's filled out with a really powerful lower body to complement her explosive hip turn, but she had comparatively very little upper-body strength. The delicate bones (Damn genetics! Damn you to hell!)in her wrists were suffering the brunt of (her parents?) this asymmetry."
Working with resistance bands and free weights, Wie is now 80% stronger than when she began with Cook, according to his estimate. Standing with one leg stretched behind her, Wie can now bend over and deadlift a 78-pound barbell in sets of four. (Hmm. A professional athlete lifting weights? Interesting... very interesting...) "She is very committed," says Cook. "She has that intense desire you see in athletes who are burning to be the best." (Which, by the way, nobody else on the LPGA Tour has. Just remember that..)
For Wie to get there, she will have to stop teasing with her potential and start winning tournaments, (Note to Editors: Why, oh, WHY do you make me keep inserting the fact she hasn't won anything yet? It's not relevant. Geez...) but the near miss at the SBS was hardly a lost week, as she is now well-positioned on the money list and points standings for the Solheim Cup and rookie-of-the-year races. (Can we just put her on the team now?) Following Saturday's final round Wie couldn't hide her disappointment at not winning. Still, she said, "I can take a lot of positive thoughts from this week." Ditto her new tour.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Roger Goodell can suck it.
The commish made a grandstanding move of retro-actively “cutting” his 2008 salary and “freezing” his salary for this year.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will take a pay freeze in 2009 and cut his total compensation for 2008 by 20%-25%, USA TODAY has learned.
As part of a league-wide salary freeze for all NFL employees, Goodell is freezing his current annual compensation of $11 million for upcoming fiscal 2009 even though his contract entitles him to an automatic pay raise, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed Thursday.
The commissioner, 49, will also take a 20%-25% cut in his salary and bonuses for fiscal 2008, which ends March 31. Goodell is freezing his salary for 2009 and taking the pay cut for 2008 as part of a league drive to cut costs in the current economic recession.
Meanwhile, 150 working stiffs for the NFL got pink slipped back in the fall.
“These are difficult and painful steps,” Goodell said in a memo back in the fall, “but they are necessary in the current economic environment. . . . I would like to be able to report that we are immune to the troubles around us, but we are not.”
Now, some will say: “Czabe, how can you rip a guy who volunteered to give up part of his own salary?”
Easy. It’s all grandstanding.
If you can’t see what the league is doing, you are blind.
The NFL just didn’t want to be the only major corporation sitting out the fun firing times! This league makes money hand over greedy fist. They needed that savings on 150 people like I needed another McDonald’s sausage bagel.
Even still, let’s say they really needed the (high estimate) $10 million from these sacrificial lambs.
Goodell should have used his own salary haircut to save some of those jobs. And then, he could have mandated that player fines for stupid shit (gun charges, end zone celebrations gone wild) stop going to “charity” and instead to an employee fund.
Or maybe cut out absurd pre-game fireworks in broad daylight at stadiums.
I too think that companies throw away too much money at empty suit CEOs who aren’t worth a squat. But if you have a salary or contract, and are happily employed by your company, then you shouldn’t be embarrassed by it, or voluntarily cut it.
Unless you are doing it for a truly noble cause. Like, say, letting 150 people in your “family” pay the rent for a few months. Otherwise, take the money you have earned and stop pretending your are Mother Theresa.
All this means a work stoppage in the NFL is more and more likely in 2010 as the league and Goodell pull out the tricks to claim poverty.
I swore I was getting out of politics. I swore that I would let the chips fall where they may, because other than voting every two years, I can do little to influence the idiocy that emanates from Washington.
And I’m not trying to convince anybody with occasional posts in this blog about politics and not sports.
This is my therapy. And maybe you’ll take a little comfort knowing that you are hardly the only one pissed off enough to start shopping for torches and pitchforks.
If you think I’m full of shit, fine. You can email me if makes you feel better. Or you can leave this blog and never come back. Again, I’m not trying to convince you. I’m just trying to add my one small voice to a howling wilderness of powerless Americans who are sick to their stomachs right now.
Most of the time, I’m going to be doin’ the sports thing. But when an $800,000 million generational theft occurs, I can’t sit by quietly. I must scream like everybody else at a Congress who claims we must RUSH RUSH RUSH to SPEND SPEND SPEND all this money.
Except hundreds of billions won’t even be spent until 2010 or later. This, is “stimulus?”
Except almost none of the people voting on the bill, had enough time to actually read all 1,000 pages of it first.
So ….. Obama is ready to make it rain with a stroke of his pen.
Are you already feeling “stimulated?” I know every firm which has government contracts is feeling that way.
For them, it’s party time!
Here was a fun little article from Saturday’s Washington Post about what happens when all that money rains down from politicians with little oversight.
Design and engineering companies helping to build the nation's highways ran up millions of dollars in inappropriate charges at the expense of taxpayers, including bills for parties, luxury car leases and hefty paychecks for executives, according to auditors.
Among the "unallowable expenses" singled out:
$355,767 to pay the personal income taxes of executives.
$301,667 to lease 45 automobiles, including Mercedes, BMW and other luxury brands.
$247,685 for dinners, tickets to sporting events, theme-holiday parties.
$60,000 paid to a consultant with only a verbal agreement.
$35,352 charged by two firms for "image-enhancing items such as golf shirts."
The Transportation Department audit, which took four years, examined bills from a sampling of 41 design and engineering firms picked from 3,580 firms that had active contracts with state departments of transportation. Auditors looked at data from 2003 because it was the most current year available when the review began.
One firm alone charged $950,000 in unallowable costs, included a political contribution, spa resort bills and alcohol.
"Inadequate oversight enabled these costs to evade detection," said Oberstar, chairman of the committee on transportation and infrastructure.
Well, no shit. “Inadequate oversight.” Who would have guessed?
I mean, there’s only $50 billion flying out of Uncle Sam’s truck of money here, another $35 billion flying out there. I’m shocked that we can’t keep close tabs on it all.
I have worked at medium to small sized companies my whole career. I’ve yet to work for one that really kept a good track of expenses, equipment, or costs.
And these companies don’t get their money from the federal fire hose!
"As we move toward implementing the stimulus package, this report shows the need for all levels of government to work together to ensure that taxpayer monies are spent only for their intended purposes and in accordance with laws," said DOT Inspector General Calvin L. Scovel III.
Right. You do that. It’s a fucking free for all, people. Let’s not kid ourselves. Tax day is April 15th for everyone who is obligated to feed this pig. Don’t be late.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
The SI Swimsuit issue is out. Danica Patrick has clearly realized her talent behind the wheel is limited, but that her talent level in front of the camera remains vibrant. Now, she may not be your particular cup of tea – my buddy JayCo calls her “mouse-y and mean” – but she’s pretty sporty for a gal who often stomps her way down the backstretch after a crash.
I recently asked callers on my show to name the “Top 5 SI Swimsuit Shots” of all time. Mind you, not models. But particular shots that still are vivid in your mind.
The Cheryl Tiegs fishnet shot from 1978 was mentioned by about every caller as the “Greatest” of all time. I say, ridiculous. While the shot was certainly shocking, as a sexy shot it’s simply lame.
Here. Take a look. Arms at her sides. Awkward looking cloth triangle to hide her nookie-spot. Bulge. Pepperonis. Below average smile.
Come on, people.
This is like the recent NFL Films/ESPN treatment of the 1958 Championship Game between the Colts and Giants. “Greatest Game Every Played?” Hell no. It was a sloppy mess, but the game had powerful nostalgic appeal as the years went on.
Just like Mr. Tiegs. She may have helped usher in the harder-core porno element of the SI Swimsuit issue era, but to call that shot one of the all time greats?
Nah. Not even close.
Now… here’s mine…
1. Marisa Miller’s “iPod bikini.”
2. Tyra Banks rocks the leapardskin
3. Heidi Klum tye-dye paint job
4. Elle MacPherson goes diving
5. Paulina Porizkova’s seashell bikini
Chris Proctor emails me a little nugget from the awesome Greg Easterbrook column on ESPN’s Page 2 about the wild inaccuracy of many NFL “experts.” And yet, the number of radio hosts in my business who give King airtime, and actually fawn over his “analysis” remains one of the great wonders of the modern world.
Easterbrook: “Peter King addendum: King makes so many hyperspecific predictions it's hard to know what to take seriously. For instance, as noted by reader Ben Binningen of Switzerland, King predicted that in the Super Bowl, Willie Parker would carry 25 times for 113 yards. Not for about 100 yards but for exactly 113 yards. (Parker ran for 53 yards.) On NBC this fall, King predicted, among other things, that "Roy Williams will not be traded" (two days later, he was traded) and that "the Patriots are definitely going to let Matt Cassel walk & Cassel will not be franchised" (he was franchised). Owing to King's track record, it worries me that he has predicted, "There is no danger of the NFL being interrupted by a labor dispute" in 2009 or 2010.
You ready for some NASCAR!? Yeeeeeee-hawwww! Okay, I’m being smart-assy. I’m becoming more and more of a fan, although I still think I rank as only a “4” on a scale of 1-to-Gearhead. Still, not bad for a guy who was a solid ZERO on that scale back in 1995.
I think this year I’m going to be “riding along” with Joey Logano in the #20 Home Depot car. Last year, I was a Kurt Busch “fan” and his season was a total tank job, minus one rain shortened win. Loved the “Blue Duece” car and paint scheme. But I’m pretty intrigued by a kid who looks like he just got home from prom (he did..) and can drive like hell. I’ll even stomach the fact that I now have to root for Joe Gibbs again, but hey, I’ve buried the hatchet from his ill-advised return to the Skins.
Plus, I recently became a huge Home Depot convert when they allowed me to return a Homelite 1.6hp string trimmer that cost me $349. I thought the heavy duty push action brush clearing machine would do wonders on some wilds on the property.
The little string snapped after like a minute on some gnarly pricker bushes. Took machine back, noted that there’s a 30-day window on gasoline powered returns. I didn’t even have receipt. They looked it up, printed it out, overlooked the fact I was 43 days out from purchase, gladly refunded my money.
Now, do you think there’s a damn good chance that my $349 is going back to Home Depot in the future, and not Lowes? Damn skippy it is. Go Joey Logano!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
First, an email that I wish I had written myself, because it is totally spot on. My comments to follow…
FROM: Mike in Indianapolis
RE: Digger Phelps
First off, I love the show. Thanks for making my mornings more enjoyable.
I'm writting to you to see if you have noticed what has happened to Digger Phelps on the 4-Letter Network over the last year. Do you remember when Digger Phelps was a respected college basketball analyst? A former, relatively successful, D-I coach that would break down games and offer his insight to the college hoops season.
In recent months, I can't help but notice that the WWL has been portraying Digger as (for the lack of a better term) the ass-clown of college hoops. Have you seen some of these College Gameday promos they run, with him dancing like an idiot in the background? There are at least two of them that make it look like Digger is Rainman, and it is such a burden on Jay Bilas, Reece Davis, etc to have to put up with him.
It is almost as if the higher ups thought, "Now that we have Bobby Knight we need to find the Lee Corso of college basketball. Someone that Coach Knight won't kill on the set... Digger, will you do this for us?" He already had the different color highlighter gimmick ala Corso's pencil. And now he is trying to take on the goofy ex-coach personality. Lets just pray that he doesn't wear a murkin as well.
That's all I got. Just curious if you have noticed the same strange transformation of Digger from Analyst to ass-clown.
Thanks again to Scott, Low-Def, and you for making the morning drive entertaining.
Here’s a 1000% true story about Digger Phelps. About 10 years ago or so, Digger had been paid a fee to come speak at University of Maryland’s season opening basketball banquet. After an evening of boozing and schmoozing, it finally came time for ol’ Digger to come up to the podium and say a few good words about Gary and the program. Now maybe he was tired, maybe he was blasted, but upon seeing all the red in the room, Digger began his remarks by saying “I think this is going to be a great year for INDIANA basketball!”
I watch a lot of experts on TV, and on radio. In fact, I LEAN on college basketball “experts” quite a bit, because with my early-to-bed-early-to-rise schedule, I can no longer watch any meaningful amount of college basketball to form my own coherent opinions.
As such, I have a keen ear to what guys bring good insight, and what guys regurgitate surface level information that even I could spew forth.
And every time, Digger comes off as the spastic kid trying to skate around the rink while holding onto the railing. Not only is he shallow, but he’s noticeable unsure of things he’s saying. Probably, because he’s been fed this information from ESPN’s vast research staff.
As to the point about “re-inventing” the Digger “character” (remember, this is a Disney product, people) I too noticed the other night, that Digger was exceptionally mouthy and jumpy when making a point. When Mike said “Lee Corso” I said “BINGO!” (Only I respect Corso’s knowledge more).
When I want to actually learn something about the college game from an ESPN “expert”, I only listen to three people. 1) Jay Bilas 2) Doug Gottleib 3) Joe Lunardi.
And even though Lunardi is a niche product as a bracketologist, his basic chops on the game are sound.
The high priced, glamour boys of ESPN’s college hoops are obviously Vitale, Phelps, and now Knight. I’ll give the General props for sometimes candid observations, but mostly he’s a cranky ol’ puss. Vitale ceased being informative about 8 years ago, and Digger’s uselessness is self-evident.
As for all the rest, I suppose you can have ‘em. I hardly even notice they are around.
One last note. Mike was brilliant in using the initials WWL to describe the shamless 4-letter cable sports network in the woods. Like the WWE, it’s all about setting up “story lines” and promoting their preferred talent.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Of all the ridiculous pork that’s in the Obama Porkulus bill, these are my “favorite” bits of bacon. With comment…
$1.2 billion for summer jobs for youth
(And I’m sure all “dese yoot’s” will show up on time, and work hard. Uh huh.)
$200 million for workplace safety in USDA facilities
(What, have we been slaughtering livestock with nothing but Crocs and Bermuda shorts all this time?)
$224 million for International Boundary and Water Commission – U.S. and Mexico
(Drawing boundaries in the ocean is very expensive. You have to keep drawing, and re-drawing the damn lines all the time!)
$198 million to design and furnish the DHS headquarters
(One word: IKEA.)
$100 million for lead paint hazard reduction
(Because we just now, found out that lead paint is bad. Kids, don’t eat that!)
$275 million for flood prevention
(One word: move)
$255 million for “priority procurements” at Coast Guard (polar ice breaker)
(Ice breaker? What ice? I thought Ann Curry proved it had disappeared during sweeps week on NBC!)
$650 million for abandoned mine sites
(Leave them abandoned. Cost: $0)
$500 million for State and local fire stations
(Please note the words: “State” and “local.” Thank you.)
$307 million for constructing National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) office buildings
(About time we set some standards! Like is it “RBI” or “RBIs?” Or, “RsBI?” Plus, where these guys working out of temporary trailers until now?)
$160 million for “volunteers” at the Corp. for National and Community Service
(If you are a volunteer, doesn’t that imply “free?” And if it’s community “service” then why are you getting paid?)
In truth, this has been quite depressing to me the last few days. First, Wall Street and bankers looted our 401ks. Now, Democrats are looting the government coffers. How long until actual looting begins? Good times, good times.
Monday, February 9, 2009
I am pleased to report that Al Galdi is alive and well.
In fact, he is in the ESPN980 bullpen every morning when me, Scotty, and Solly prepare to do the "Steve Czaban Show" on Fox Sports Radio from the same studio we've been doing it from now for almost 5 years. Only it used to be the "First Team On Fox."
I could even drag him in during a segment, if I wanted to.
Unfortunately, Fox Sports Radio terminated Al on inauguration day as part of a Clear Channel company-wide shedding of over 1,000 jobs. Al was techincally a part-timer, but he too apparently had to go.
Al remains a full time update anchor and reporter for ESPN980. Just as I remain a full time employee there, as does Scott, as does Solly.
I cannot give you, the curious listener, a coherent reason for this change. It was not my decision, and my passionate pleas to reconsider have apparently fallen on deaf ears.
Just so I was sure, I asked Al if he was making a lot of money at FSR. Hell, maybe he's got Scott Boras as his agent, what do I know?
He told me the number. I was shocked.
Al was the biggest bargain since Ryan Howard pre-arbitration. Given the massive restructuring/layoffs at FSR, I found his paltry, part-time salary to be inconsequential. No less than 3 full shows were canceled, and another one merged with existing talent from KLAC. All of that didn’t get us under our “luxury tax” I wondered?
Now I don't want this to sound like sour grapes, especially given many of my friends and colleagues at FSR who got vaporized all-together in this "consolidation.” For them, I truly feel sorry. As everybody getting pink slipped these days.
For Al in particular, this is a minor setback. In fact, I think he’s going to come out of this even better in the months ahead. His success is not in question. As I told him personally, I have found that a career is like a baseball game. Setbacks are just one-half of one inning. When “the man” hangs 2 runs on you with a layoff or firing, it’s just his turn at bat. You can post 3 runs yourself in the bottom of the inning, or in any one of the next.
It's a huge loss for my show, however, since Al was quite integrated into everything we do. As you know, we crafted segments like "Hey Galdi!" and "SuperFriends" with his particular expertise in mind. Those segments are now officially DOA.
The "4-wide" chemistry of the show is also blown apart with his loss. As I have come to learn in radio, nothing trumps chemistry and continuity. We had both with Al on board. Not just the nearly 5 years as our anchor, but he was our producer for two years when Scott and I prowled the 7-10 p.m. eastern time slot for FSR.
I've never met anybody who works harder, focuses on his job better, or improves his craft like Al. He's like a little brother to me, and I miss him badly on the show.
So if you, my listener, miss him, just multiply that by 10 and you know how I feel. If it might sound during shows going forward that I don't give a shit, or have "moved on", do not be misled. It's just that as a professional, I owe it to you, the audience, and to my employer to do the best job I can do.
In sports terms, Al Galdi is like my Wes Welker.
Imagine Tom Brady’s shock and dismay if he showed up one day at Patriots camp to be told that they had to cut Welker, his reliable, go-to, slot-machine wideout. “Don’t worry, Tom. You’ve still got Randy Moss, you’ll be fine.”
But again, I don’t control the roster. Never thought it would be an issue. I’m trying my best right now to either find new money to “pay” for Al to return (how ‘bout a bake sale!), or at least convince the powers-that-be of his real value.
It appears to be going nowhere, I regret to report.
In the end, my situation is not unlike that of many of you in corporate life. Sometimes decisions are made without your input that are simply bad ideas. Yet how do you delicately tell those above you who made the call: “this is an awful idea, but you are not an idiot for making it. Honest mistake. Now, how about we try to fix it?”
Al Galdi is going to be fine. In fact, if you want to reach out to him, just drop me an e-mail, and I’ll forward it to him personally. I’d like to be the middleman on this, because I appreciate reading your thoughts on Al’s work too, and always enjoy comparable stories of corporate silliness. Mine, is probably minor compared to some others.
As always, you can get your little dose of Al on Czabe.com with me and Scott on our awesomely illustrated “Czabecasts” by way of the boys at SIM.
In the meantime, we press on. And that’s all I’m going to say at this time.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
One of the biggest enduring myths in sports, is that somehow MLB’s All-Star game is the “most realistic” of all the All Star games.
To quote Monty Burns: “Pish.. posh!”
Yeah, once upon a time Ray Fosse got his shoulder busted up by Pete Rose, and if I have to hear that old chestnut one more time I’m going to punch a small furry animal in the face.
(Side note: Please watch that highlight again, and notice how Rose stumbles coming home, making the collision all but unavoidable.)
Yeah, the MLB all-star game is now played “for something” so at least guys aren’t getting on lear-jets to go home by the 7th inning.
But otherwise, please. It’s really no better than the others. Pitchers in real games don’t go 2 innings and out, even if they are lights out. The best hitters in the game aren’t pulled after 2 AB’s so that somebody else can “get a turn.”
And we don’t really know how hard hitters are grinding at bats. We don’t know if pitchers are really at 100% throttle, or more like 90%. How often are guys situational hitting, versus just jacking and hacking?
Look, I’m not saying the Pro Bowl or the NBA and NHL All-Star games are any better. In fact, they are likely a little bit worse.
Little bit. Emphasis. LITTLE.
When people say “rank ‘em” I say “why bother?” None are real games. It’s like ranking the sexiest drive-thru attendants in your neighborhood. You wouldn’t sleep with any of them.
So for all the baby-boomer, seamhead baseball fanatics, pipe down. They are all just an excuse to have a big shrimp cocktail party the night before, and get paid something extra. Hopefully, without getting hurt.
Speaking of the Pro Bowl, I now believe it’s a mistake to move the game around. But we’ll see how it feels and plays next year in Miami. Already, Ray Lewis has said he has no plans on going even if he makes the team, because it’s “no vacation” like a week in Hawaii with your friends and family.
And you can multiply that feeling by about 100 when the Super Bowl rolls into Indy in three years. Hell, even the good folks there will tell you that.
And what’s so wrong with keeping the Pro Bowl as a glorified retreat/bonus weekend for the warriors we worship every Sunday during the fall? Don’t they deserve Hawaii? Won’t you miss the kitschy luau shirts and surfing shots coming out of commercial break?
Peyton Manning had a really interesting interview on the sideline between possessions. Andrea Kramer mentioned that Manning is called “the mayor” in Hawaii for his persistent visits. Manning joked that he was “recruiting” about 3 different guys: Haynesworth, Ware, and Marshall. He also said it was nice to get to meet some of his fellow pros and spend some time. He said because there were so many new guys, it validated the voting system (well, not exactly) as rewarding the guys who are having good seasons.
Manning in about 90 seconds convinced me that moving the game might just be wrong. Our gladiators deserve this week in paradise, and it’s cool to think of them sharing stories over coconut drinks at night. It’s their business convention. Let them enjoy it.
In fact, why not have a series of 1-hour televised award shows, or highlight shows during the week. Let the players get up on stage, and goof around with each other little bit. Let US get to know them too, outside of the constant death grip of the regular season and playoffs.
Think about it. Whenever we hear from players in the NFL, it’s either after a loss (when they are obligated to act like somebody in their family just died) or after a win (when they must grimly admonish everybody that there’s “more work to do.”)
The NFL might want to consider this. After all, not everybody in the league is a make-it-rain criminal in waiting. In fact, most are pretty normal, surprisingly smart, often very funny, everyday kind of guys.
That said. Good night, sweet football. Thank you. Thank you as always, for giving our lives such joy, and our week to week existence meaning. We’ll see you in August.
Friday, February 6, 2009
On the one hand, I believe Barry Bonds is a bag of shit human being, who has brought suffering, financial difficulty, and legal entanglement to many of his so-called “friends” by trying to out-run the feds on this steroid perjury charge.
On the other hand, fuck his friends. They chose to get in bed with the guy. So what do I care?
I think by now, the only people still willing to claim Bonds NEVER took steroids are the same small percentage of holdouts who think OJ didn’t do it. Which is about the same number of soldiers holed up in island tunnels in the South Pacific unable to concede that WWII is over.
There’s plenty of evidence, and it’s not just his ballooning hat size, or grotesque muscles.
That evidence, however, has largely been cut down to size by the judge in the perjury case. A move that I concur with, and cite this well written argument by Gwen Knapp in the San Francisco chronicle as to exactly how and why Bonds shouldn’t be strung up by urine samples that should have never been accessible in the first place, and destroyed anyway once they were.
Greg Anderson did his hard time in jail for contempt of court, and is now in the clear (pardon the pun) legally. He won’t sing on Bonds in this case either. So the government’s usually slam-dunk case in these things has a pretty big set of Dikembe Mutumbo factors looming to stuff it and wag it’s finger in triumph.
While it would bring me great joy to see Bonds and Clemens sitting side by side in a cell block for 6-10 months, a part of me would sort of like to see Bonds actually win in the end.
Against all odds, Bonds could step out on those courthouse steps, flash a big ol’ fuck-you smile, and say: “See. What? Steroids? See you in Cooperstown, suckas!”
Only I’ve been told that likely won’t happen no matter what this court case delivers as a verdict. Washington Times columnist Thom Loverro laughed in my face yesterday when asked what percentage chance Bonds would have with the HOF voters if he somehow beat this rap.
“Zero!” said Thommy, chortling like ol’ Kris Kringle!
Really? I asked.
Thom then said he would pay good money to see Bonds get in, only to travel that summer to upstate NY to watch how many empty seats would be on stage in protest by the old timers, whose records were slaughtered by Bonds and everyone else in the steroid era.
I would normally chalk up Thom’s opinion as a merely anti-Bonds rant.
But then again, he’s a long time baseball man, and actually VOTES for the HOF and talks to his fellow writers about this stuff all the time.
So I sheepishly asked about Clemens.
“Zero?” I asked.
“None.” He said.
So in the end, both guys may beat their raps in court, but the mission of walking through the Hall’s doors, has apparently sailed already.
The lawyers, however, will get paid.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
The Michael Phelps story has generated a lot of heat. In fact, I’m a little light headed, giddy, and oddly hungry from all of this steam you people are blowing my way.
I feel like somebody fighting an unending nation of marijuana zombies, walking in lockstep, ready to excuse, equivocate, change the subject, or otherwise attack me over my stance that what Michael Phelps did was - at a minimum insanely reckless - and more accurately, a personal and professional tragedy.
I mean, that’s my opinion, and it’s not changing.
I find excuse making over marijuana use to be pathetic. Especially when taken in context of the sports world, where striving, discipline, and excellence are the coins of the realm. Sports, in short, is for winners, and those who would like to be one, one day.
Weed, is for losers. Period.
Can you smoke weed and lead a normal life? Sure. Can you try it as a youth and turn out fine? Of course. Do I think Phelps should be charged with a crime? Not at all.
But I am shocked at the lack of consequence. I am shocked at the unwillingness of so many to do anything but further coddle this screwed up, magnificient swimmer of a kid. I am shocked that no endorser has said: “Of course we stand by Michael, but we strongly urge that he get some help.”
Because clearly, he doesn’t get it.
But hey, it’s his $100 million, and his life, so I’m going to butt out.
My stance is simple. Smoking weed is almost always your first step into the recreational “drug store” in life. Many walk in, sample the weed, and walk out, unscathed. Many others, not so lucky.
So why even try it? Why tolerate a notion that “everyone does it, so it’s no big deal?”
To me, it’s a risk factor in life that has no redeeming upside. It is a drug that can often become an all consuming hobby that saps its user of motivation, responsibility, and morals.
Yeah, in the 60’s and 70’s, nobody thought of smoking weed as a big deal. Just like we used to be permissive of smoking in airplanes, doctors offices, and sports arenas. Just like we used to put our babies on pillows and blankets on the back shelf of cars as we drove. Just like let our kids run out and ride bikes and skateboards without helmets.
Simple risk factors. We got smart.
It doesn’t cost much to add a helmet to our children when we buy them a bike. And there’s no Constitutional right to smoke on an airplane.
I would hope in the year 2008, that we could all agree that smoking marijuana is a serious moral failing in our athletes, and that we won’t just sweep it under the rug. I would hope that all sports could draw the line at illegal drugs of all calibers, even the misdemeanor ones like pot.
I feel the same way about drunk driving, another one of Phelps’ “youthful indiscretions” but that’s an argument for another day.
So that’s that. It’s how I feel, and my mind is made up. You people made a lot of very good points, here is just small sampling of them.
Hey Steve, P. in Pewaukee...
Just wanted to say I totally totally agree with you on the pot thing. Pot is no joke. Pot is worse than alcohol. Period.
I personally am sickened and disgusted by the "tacit acceptance" in our society of pot....
Pot definitely crosses "a line", if you will, and it leads to some bad, bad places. I personally had to adopt a hard core policy of total non-association with potheads. I just got sick of it.
And before I go on, full disclosure, I tried pot when I was much younger, it didn't do much for me, I didn't like it, and I thank God every day, literally, that I did not go down that road.
I used to golf with these guys, and they smoked a little dope on the golf course. I didn't realize what a big thing this was, but amongst your pothead golfers, apparently, there's nothing better. Anyways, this one time, we're on the way to a golf course, and we detour out to some freak's house, because this is "his dealer", and he "needs some". Great. Okay, whatever, I figure I'll wait in the car.
We roll up on this place, there's like 20 cars there, a bunch of some very freaky very scuzzy lookin' people hanging around, I'm like what the eff are we doing here??? Very strange scene, with a very strange vibe. I can't possibly do justice to the creepiness of this whole deal. If I found out later they were holding 6 year olds in the basement for ransom, it wouldn't surprise me at all.
And of course, they're inside, like, for a half hour, which felt like forever... I'm like, sitting alone in this car, creeps in the yard giving me the evil eye... I'm like Jeez, willya buy your effing dope already, and let's get outta here???
So that's lesson #1, if you're hanging out with a pothead, all the sudden, pow, you're in a real weird setting, with some real weird people, and forget about 911. Whatever happens, nobody's calling the cops. Which also is strangely disquieting when it really happens to you in real life.
Story #2, again the cops, a friend of mine's son and his buddy are moving some furniture. Do they want help?? No, no no no, we got it. Fine by me. They call over to the son's place later, and some wierdo answers the phone and starts talking crazy. My buddy, this kid's Dad, get's worried, calls 911, jumps in his truck and rushes over there.
Well, we get there, the cops are loading the son and 3 of his buddies into squad cars. Cops showed up in response to the call, found the kitchen table covered in coke and dope, the whole house littered in paraphernalia... Nice.
Turns out they were all getting high, and one of his stoned out buddies thought it would be real funny to answer the phone and be a goofball.
The son of course is insisting that the coke "wasn't his", and he just had "a little pot." Again, as soon as you step in that sub-culture, you're standing next to hard-core cokeheads, and worse.
So the son does a year in a Huber Facility.... This was years ago, and I still see the Dad from time to time. Lemme tell ya, the son is still ENRAGED that his Dad called the cops. Enraged. They haven't spoken forever. That's another rule, never never never get between a pothead and their weed. Never do it.
There's this catechism in the dope world. Another rule is, you never call the cops. Never. I mean, the son could have been dead. He could have been in trouble. His Dad was concerned. Doesn't matter, never call the cops.
That tickles a spot in my brain, for some reason... the yellow alarm light goes on when I think "Gee, my entire existence, I can never call the cops, and I have to hope to God no one else ever calls the cops.... Hmmm...." Not sure I wanna live like that. Put me down for "no" on that...
That's part of why you get so much "heat" every time you bring this up... On some minor level, you're threatening to get between them and their weed. Don't do that. Don't even think it.
I just thank God I never went down that path... I had a very similar life experience to you. One of my best friends joined in the dope crowd. This guy was smart, sharp, got straight A's... my parents wished he was their son.
When it became obvious to his parents he was a dopehead, they started searching him, searching his room, on like a daily basis. He of course freaks out, physically attacks his parents, literally... so they send him to a place to get "cleaned up". We call it "rehab" now... Well, he runs away from there, and disappears, for like years, literally. Again, never get between them and their dope. Keep that in mind anytime they say they're "recreational" users... riiiiiggghhht.
He was back in town a few years ago... had been in and out of pens in 2 states, a litany of problems... This guy had the world by the ass. And then the dope came along... Life over. See ya. Welcome to hell. It is very heartbreaking. He was my friend. He had it all. And it all literally went up in the Cheech & Chong bong smoke.... what a waste.
So to me, don't compare offshore gambling or drinking a beer now and then to dope. There is no comparison. None. I might not be a celebrity morning show host, but I have an Escalade, and a Harley Road King Classic, and a house full of electronic doo-dads, and it's all paid for. There's nothing illegal here, I can freely call 911 whenever necessary. I seriously seriously doubt it would have worked out so well if I had turned to the Graffix Water bong at a young age...
Now, do I play a little poker offshore?? Yes I do. Did my Cards and the Over Parlay come in Sunday?? Yes it did. Was I drinking a beer during the game?? Yes I was. Did I smoke a nice CAO Cigar in celebration?? Yes I did. Am I perfect? No. However, I submit to you, those things are child's play compared to the very real horrors of life-ruining pot.
Like you, I draw the line in front of the pot. No thanks.
Love your shows.
P. in Pewaukee
I was listening to your comments this morning concerning marijuana. I think you are a hundred percent correct with your opinion.
I am a 52 y/o man and my brother is eighteen months older at 54 years of age. Growing up together on the Eastern Shore of Maryland we could not have been closer and I remember looking up to him and idolizing him. Around eleventh grade for my brother, tenth grade for me he began to hangout with the weed smoking crowd and we grew distant from each other. He continues to smoke marijuana to this day and is now a recluse living as a caretaker on a private estate.. I am president of a food company.
I definitely believe that marijuana, and the lack there of, helped to shape our destinies.
First of all let me say I’ve been listening to your show for several years now and love it. I love the format and the rest of the crew and recently here in Richmond VA have even started listening to your afternoon show with Andy.
In the interest of full disclosure I’m a 41 year old white male Police Officer who was raised in Appalachia (went to the same high school as the Steelers Heath Miller, though probably 15 years prior) and now work the streets of a medium sized urban city. I see drug addicts and drug dealers everyday and 99.9% of them started their addiction or career by using pot which is indeed a gateway drug a fact no sane person can dispute.
I don’t care if a person uses it from a personal freedom aspect (if you want to flush your life and health down the toilet go for it) but it is still ILLEGAL and I will arrest anyone who I catch buying, selling, or using it. I also dispute how many “successful professionals” there are who supposedly use it. In my experience I have run across a “few” white collar drug users (no doctors or successful business leaders of course) and they were pretty much losers too. . the guy who drives a Mercedes who’s license plates are expired by two months and there’s a warrant out for him for failure to pay child support that’s your average white collar suburban user.
We constantly find these guys getting robbed in or near housing projects, they have no business being in, and then have to hear their lame explanations on why they’re there. “I was just trying a new short cut home” is a good one. Ask yourself one thing about Marijuana. . How many times have you heard “My life was a mess. . . I was unemployed, broke, and had neither respect nor admiration from my peers. . then I started smoking Pot and WOW my life got better in every way.” Versus “I had everything a great job, a great family, a nice house and then I started smoking Pot and it all disappeared.”
Keep up the good work I’ll keep listening.
I just want you to know that you were right on today on the Bob & Brian show. Phelps can claim he is young and irresponsible when it come to his actions but , it sure seems odd that someone that young can have an agent and all of the business sense to cash in on all of the endorsements. I am not buying it!! That is not the first time he smoked nor will it be the last. He had a chance to learn from the DUI.
These athletes are willing to take the money and fame but are not willing to assume the responsibility that comes with it. He could of went back home with his medals and kept a lower profile and enjoyed the money and fame, but no he is all over the TV and in magazines. He is not willing to fulfill the obligations of the role and all the duties that go with it. That is what a good American Citizen should do. We need more responsible people in this country, not guys who keep using the system and not giving back by being a good role model.
By the way the last time I checked alcohol was a legal substance and pot was an illegal substance. I enjoy your comments on the show!!!
I have this conversation a lot and I first stipulate to people that the illegality is wrong. No question. I then stipulate that no child under the age of consent (or 21) should be doing it. Much like alcohol.
So come with me as we fly off to a world where its legal and regulated and then compare its relative attributes. I know people who switched because they were blithering idiots when drinking and quite frankly it acted as a substitute for those who knew that quitting alcohol was going to be difficult and arduous. Strikingly they have lived a much better life without alcohol.
And you start hanging around in these circles and you are surprised by those who partake. I will grant you there are idiots who smoke and idiots who don’t but don’t tell me the lone variable separating the two is weed and weed alone.
And to your point about a gateway drug, its only a gateway drug because we have lied to our children about the relative harm of marijuana as compared to alcohol and cocaine, etc. Kids try marijuana, figure its not so bad and then make the leap to other drugs.
In the 60’s we told kids that you could overdose on marijuana as a scare tactic. More importantly, lets quit destroying peoples lives over this, legalize it and come down harder on the real drugs (which would probably include alcohol if truth be told).
Subject:: The Evils of Mary Jane
Enough of J. Edgar Czaban and going on and on about Marijuana. It's not Cocaine, it is illegal, but alot of people do it (even some Republicans) Steve. To say it's as bad as cocaine is beyond ignorance. Why not talk about Rush Limbaugh and the millions who abuse prescription drugs?
Subject: Phelps and drug use
Your comments:: Steve, YOU are right on point with this whole Phelps thing. Illegal drug use is ILLEGAL. He was caught drunken driving and he didn't learn from that. His past performance would indicate that he won't learn from the pot smoking. As the father of a 9 and 11 year old kids... when they think that if Phelps can smoke pot and STILL be the best swimmer ever it gives them room to think pot smoking is ok..."it didn't hurt him!) Hang in there!!!
Bob & Brian…please post Steve’s Tuesday “sports” report. Next time I have my teenagers “captive” in the car, I’m going to make them listen to it. Steve….that was a spectacular argument for why pot fucks up the future of youth….dead-on-balls accurate. Previously, I leaned more toward booze being worse, as it is easier to overdo it with alcohol and kill yourself (or someone else).Your words have swayed me to the other side. Especially as I look at some of the people I knew who let weed diminish their potential. The “gateway” aspect of weed is also under-rated. Everyone that I know, who has used pot, has also tried harder drugs. The one caveat that I would add is that both booze and weed fuck up people in their youth, as their brains have not fully developed. Weed may seem to have a higher rate of screwing up youth as weed is easier for teenagers to get than booze. The pot dealer doesn’t ask if you are 21.
DK – Oconomowoc
I'd like to weigh in if I might on your 'weed' discussion of Tuesday morning. I am 53 years old, a child of the drug rich 60's and 70's. I, like you, remember the guys I knew in High School who went the 'weed' route. Not as much now, but over the years I would hear various stories about some of these guys - not so good stories I might add. So, from that perspective, your point is well made and well taken.
However, what I would like to add is that most of the guys I knew were already, shall I say, somewhat off the tracks. These were people who were trouble makers and bad students back to grade school. So, from my perspective, weed and the like were just the next things they did. It could have been anything.
On the flip side, I knew people who were good students, well balanced who did try this stuff. They didn't go back to it, it didn't de-rail their lives. Now I realize that this somewhat narrow slice of life that I remember from those days does not represent all people in similar situations. However, I can't help but wonder if it's the case that bad people make bad choices, do bad things and lead bad lives; if in fact marijuana wasn't the cause, but merely the next thing they did. And I wonder if somewhat balanced people are less in danger of going off the tracks, even when they stray from time to time.
I just say this as a reminder about the dangers of drawing the wrong conclusions. And I'll say it here to be clear, I am NOT in favor of this stuff, I just want to offer a perspective, to step back a bit and take in a broader picture.
So from my perspective, the people I knew who I say are like the ones you talked about, were going to be "something" heads, weed heads, coke heads, beer heads, whatever. Weed was in their path, their path wasn't changed because of weed.
Again Czabe, I always enjoy your discussions. Agree or disagree, I know your arguments are well thought out and presented in a clear and concise manner.
My wife swam at UW-Green Bay so, finding out a swimmer smokes weed is like finding out the girls softball team is 90% lesbo. Kinda a given. It expands your lungs duuuude.
Burn trees in your fireplace not zigzags
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Chuck Sapienza, who produces the John Thompson Show for ESPN 980 here in Washington, D.C. is great at researching stats and stuff for all things Redskins related. Chuck was a bit miffed that my colleague Andy Pollin said that Bruce Smith was NOT a true “Redskin”. Okay, I’ll admit, he’s much more of a Buffalo Bill than anything else. But he did produce sacks, easy running lanes, and a gold “Sack King” coin while here for four years. Here’s Chuck’s numbers…
Bruce Smith started 54 games for the Redskins
Doug Williams started 14
Timmy Smith started 8
Rick “Doc” Walker started 53
Bruce Smith had 29 sacks in 4 years
Lavar Arrington had 23 sacks for his Redskins career
Bruce had the best 4 year total for sacks for a defensive end since Charles Mann had 31.5 from 1989-92. Ken Harvey had 39 sacks at LB from 1994-97.
So there. For what it’s worth.
My radio buddy Scott Linn was all excited when he bought “Wii Fit” for his home. He really exuded an excitement that it would actually help him get in shape. Um, not so much.
Now this: “Despite optimistic predictions that Nintendo had unleashed a new era of videogames, experts call Wii Fit little more than an exercise fad that's bound to come and go like any other. "I don't know a single person who has bought the game who uses it routinely after a month," one claims, stressing that getting results from the game requires dedication and real physical exertion. "What Nintendo did is they tapped into that desire people have to be healthier... Everyone wants to work out, but nobody really wants to put the effort into it."
REACT: No, shit.
Bud Selig made $17 million last year. Why? I have no idea. Sure, he’s done a good job, but could a guy making say $7 million a year have done about the same? Plus, given Bud’s noted frugality ($10 haircuts, hot dog lunches) that $17 million is going to last longer than your average Wisconsin snowpack.
Another reason why Peter King is a complete stooge. “Bullet” Bob Hayes finally gained induction to the Pro Football HOF on Saturday. The shorthand on Hayes, is that he changed the game at WR because of his sprinter speed and deep ball capability. King, however remained unconvinced. He told Dallas Morning News reporter Jean-Jacques Taylor that “No one has ever able to tell me why Bob Hayes changed the game.” Well, Taylor then links to this excellent piece by one Paul Zimmerman of SI which explains it in great detail. Peter King claims he respects his co-worker Dr. Z. As Michael Scott would say: “Boom… roasted.”
Speaking of roasted, nobody cuts as sharply on sports media shenanigans as Phil Mushnick in the NY Post.
Ahh, ESPN. Wednesday, ESPN boss George Bodenheimer announced a hiring freeze while warning that 200 jobs will soon eliminated.
The next day, ESPN announced it had hired Herm Edwards.
All of us have long known that ESPN could have saved many millions of dollars simply by eliminating three-person booths during football, baseball, basketball and tennis telecasts, especially because two-in-the-booth is often more than enough.
And it wouldn't hurt to learn, before hiring big-ticket/big-name folks, whether they even belong in the business. Or was Emmitt Smith hired to improve the running game?
Late Saturday morning, ESPN's college-basketball pregame show was conducted from the University of Tennessee, where five commentators (Reece Davis, Digger Phelps, Bobby Knight, Hubert Davis, Jay Bilas) sat on a set erected at half court, each getting a few seconds per issue.
The Notre Dame-Pitt game that followed employed only two commentators, Dave Pasch and Len Elmore. At halftime, ESPN threw it to the college studio show from Bristol, where Dari Noka and Tom Brennan were seen and heard.
Before the second half had started, that one game telecast was served by nine commentators from three different places!
REACT: I too have wondered how on earth, TV budgets are justified. Even in good times, the excess seemed insane. But hey, looks like hard times are finally coming to ESPN. Not that I’m happy about it, but if it kills a few live remotes from a women’s game to countdown a mere round number milestone for a coach who has already been properly glorified, I’m okay with that.
Second good point from Phil’s Monday column: “Readers have lately asked how and why sports writers are allowed to become business partners with those they cover - write books with/for Joe Torre, for example - then continue to cover those people for their news agencies. Answer: I don't know.”