I'VE REALLY DONE IT NOW
The funniest thing happened to me today. This is possibly the funniest thing to ever happen to me.
I got an e-mail from Craig Schaller
Yeah. How weird is that? My first thought was about that Seinfeld episode, where Jerry and George and Kramer too I think, had their doppelgangers. It was bizarro world.
It was sent to me from this website. Apparently, this Craig Schaller filled out the "contact me" form at the top of this page. Here is what he wrote:
This is Craig Schaller of Houston TX. On behalf of all the Craig Schaller\'s in the world...you need to CLEAN IT UP. You have tarnished our good name with your weird comments and disheveled looks.
People care about other people who care about themselves.
Wow! I have reached new levels of hatred. Now even other Craig Schaller's hate me now! THAT is how you know you have made it. When other people with your name take the time to write and tell you how ashamed they are. I wonder if some schmo named Howard Stern ever wrote the real Howard Stern and told him that he's a douchebag, and an affront to Sterns everywhere. I wonder if there is some moron in Sioux Falls named Sean Hannity who wrote to the radio host to tell him to shut the hell up--he's ruining the Hannity name.
Well, it is good to see that the legend of Craig Schaller has finally made it down to Houston. I've been really plugging away, trying to get the word about me down to the southern border, but I only thought I had made it down to the Oklahoma border, maybe Dallas and possibly even Waco, but all the way to Houston? That's great!
Also, it's so good to know that he can speak on behalf of all the other Craig Schaller's out there. They would all be so pleased. I seriously have some doubts about that though. I have it on good authority that the Craig Schaller in Madison, Wisconsin thinks I am hilarious. The Craig Schaller's in Phoenix and Dubuque are really starting to come around too. Obviously Houston's Craig Schaller feels he is the moral compass of all the Craig Schallers though. Must be nice to have such self worth.
Obviously, Craig knows a lot about me. He knows I have a disheveled appearance. As you can see from the picture above, he's right. I'm a mess. I really shouldn't even leave the house. Seriously though, how the hell would Craig Schaller know what Craig Schaller looks like? Perhaps he saw the news interview with TV10 and Brett Davidson, where I was dressed in a pressed, blue button down dress shirt and black slacks. Maybe he doesn't like my pic at the top of this page, where I am sitting in front of a mic and audio board? Yeah, that would make anyone look mighty disheveled. I honestly can't think of a single picture where I looked "disheveled". Well, whatever. To each his own. Maybe this Craig has extremely high standards. Maybe he thinks Mr Rogers looks like a homeless guy.
Craig is also offended by my "weird comments". What is weird about them? I don't know. He didn't specify. Maybe it was my comment on how I tried to hide under a bed in fear during a recent Denver thunderstorm? Maybe he didn't like when I said that bathing suits for men are called "swim trunks" when you get older than 40? Perhaps he found it weird that I described a recent hotel room as being "so bad, that the hookers don't even go there anymore". And I'm guessing he probably didn't agree with my Top Ten hottest female athletes of all time list.
I'm hoping for his sake, it wasn't what I said about Asians on the LPGA tour. That take is soooo June. If that was the case, Craig Schaller, you need to get with the times!
Here is what I'm guessing happened. Craig was probably bored one night, and decided to do a little egosurfing, which is a "vanity search" where one googles their own name. To Craig's shock and surprise, he found there was a guy named Craig Schaller who had written a controversial blog with a lot of truth to it that wasn't totally politically correct, and that hundreds of people hated him.
Why, this just wouldn't do with Craig, who found this website, and decided to write to me. He was also probably pissed off that I own craigschaller.com too. He doesn't know me. He probably didn't read a single one of my columns either. He's probably some liberal, tree hugger (I didn't think they had any pusscakes like that in Texas), whose buddy told him about some guy who wrote some racist thing about women golfers who happened to have his name. They told him he should be outraged, so he found a way to write me and express his perceived anger at me for having his name. He apparently mistakenly thought I would give a damn.
I wrote him back of course. Told him how sad I was for him that he had my name, and urged him to go to his local courthouse and change it if he was so distressed.
I'm not changing, and it's only going to get worse for you Craig. Good luck buddy! And don't you become some serial killer or something. I'll be so very offended to be a Craig Schaller.
Conspiracy theorist alert! Do you bill-ieve the braintrust of the Buffalo Bills? I have my doubts.
Word out of Bills camp is that rookie quarterback EJ Manuel had swelling in his knee following the Bills 2nd pre-season game against the Vikings, and had a minor "procedure" on it. They say EJ will miss the remainder of the pre-season as a precaution. At least that is the company line. I kinda think the Bills are playing a little three card Monty with the league, fans and media.
I don't have any proof of course. I don't have any unnamed sources. I only have a gut feeling, and common sense. Hear me out....
You see, I was watching the Bills game on Saturday night on tape delay, 24 hours after the game was complete.
Manuel had just led the Bills on a beautiful scoring drive, looking like Cam Newton, Daunte Culpepper and Donovan McNabb rolled into one. Shortly after that, my wife comes into my mancave and tells me, "I just read on the web that Manuel is out for the rest of the pre-season with a knee injury."
"Huh?", said I. "You've gotta be kidding me! He sure looked good on that drive!"
Figuring he must have gotten dinged up after that, I continued to watch. He didn't. The TV broadcast showed Manuel romping about with his teammates, then running off the field like a giddy 12 year old after the game, fist bumping and high fiving members of his team and the Vikings.
Watching that, and knowing that he had "hurt his knee" somehow, either he banged it very hard getting on the team bus, or something fishy is afoot at One Bills drive. That being said, if it is the latter, I can't say that I blame them one iota.
What I am guessing is that the moment Manuel completed that pass to Brad Smith in the end zone, completing that 80 yard drive in 14 plays in 5 minutes and 2 seconds, the coaching staff, the people upstairs, and President Russ Brandon had a brief conversation along the lines of "We've seen enough. Shut him down!"
Like taking a Porsche on a test drive, you realize you want to buy it, and drive it back to the dealer immediately out of fear of ruining the tread on the tires or dinging it in a parking lot. Manuel has proven to me and most other serious Bills fans that he is that Porsche.
I know it is a small sample size, but all EJ has done this pre-season is complete 25 of 33 passes for 199 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. He has shown poise beyond his years, mobility and speed, and a great arm and accuracy. The last thing the Bills need is to trot him out there and watch some hungry third string defensive tackle fall on his leg the wrong way. So I'm thinking the Bills took the high road, fabricated an injury, and will have him ready to go and healthy for week one.
Could Doug Marrone and his staff gone to the Bill Belichick coaching academy to be able to pull off something like this? I sure as hell hope so.
--Other observances on the week's pre-season games:
I did something I have never done before. Thank GOD for the NFL Network, for without them, I would never have been able to do this. I watched six straight games back to back on Sunday.
First of all, I am as giddy as a clown in a horn factory over the Bills pressure defense. Very aggressive! So much so that I hardly recognize it as the Bills defense. Blitzes on almost every snap. Forcing the opposing QB to get rid of the ball before they want to. Who are these guys? I sure hope it continues.
The Cleveland Browns defense looked awesome! They limited a highly vaunted Lions offense to only 217 net yards, 13 first downs and forced numerous 3 and outs in an easy 24-6 win. Meanwhile, Brandon Weeden looked very impressive for a second straight week. Coach Chud and his boys could be a force to be reckoned with.
Tom Brady looked like his usual self with a complement of totally new receivers. Danny Amendola looks like he could have a year like a young Wes Welker, IF he stays healthy, and the Pats are still going to be the team to beat in the AFC East if not the entire AFC.
Finally, keep an eye on the Rams. Their 1st string defense largely shut down Aaron Rodgers and the juggernaut Packers offense. If Sam Bradford could ever live up expectations and the offense catches up to that young, explosive defense, the Rams could really surprise a lot of people.
MILE HIGH METEOROLOGY
What CRAAAZEEE weather this place has! It has seriously been the story of this whole vacation.
You think Rochester weather is changeable? Denver weather is like Lou Ferrigno to Rochester's 99 pound weakling. Glenn Johnson and Kevin Williams would be having a wet dream if they were here the past couple of weeks.
What amazes me most is the laissez-faire attitude of the locals. They say things like "Oh look, another passing thunderstorm", while I am scrambling to fit my sorry, outta shape ass under one of the beds in my sister in laws house. Seriously! I am freaking out like Noah before the great flood, and everyone else is like "wow, isn't the lightning pretty?"
In the last week, we have almost had at least a thunderstorm a day, and compared to the ones in the Roc, these are like armageddon is upon us. In Rochester, you get a thunderstorm where maybe you get one lightning bolt and clap of thunder that is within a mile of where you are maybe once. Here, you get four or five within a minute of each other.
One of the storms was last Thursday night. We had just settled in to watch the first Broncos pre-season game, when something happened that I had NEVER experienced--all of our cell phones suddenly blared out an alert that we had a flash flood warning. Within a minute, the skies opened and the show was on. We thought our little Toyota Yaris parked on the street in front of sister in laws home was going to be washed down the street into the local playground. We all went out to the back porch to watch the lightning for a minute, when all of a sudden, a clap of lightning came so loud that we could hear the electricity shoot by our ears on the way to the ground in a nearby back yard. At that point, it didn't matter that I was blind...I beat everyone back in the house as if I teleported myself back in there.
It's not just the storms either. The weather is just plain unpredictable. You start off the day with perfect, sunny skies all day and no wind, then a front moves through, the temperature drops 20 degrees, winds pick up to 30 or 40 miles an hour, the skies turn dark as sackcloth and you get one of these monster thunderstoms with torrential rains where everyone is looking for funnel clouds, then a half hour later it is a perfect sunny day again.
Luckily, tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful for our final day of the vacation. I hope it is because we have a huge day planned.
The whole fam damily is going out on the boat in Chatfield reservoir one last time for some fun and tubing, which we haven't had the chance to do yet because of the wild weather. After that, it's our final dinner together of the trip--the Golden Corral. I have barely eaten for the past two days in preparation for that visit. Then, we are wrapping up the big day with our first ever Family Fantasy Football draft.
This is a much anticipated event, mainly for my brother in law Bryant and I. We are the only two fantasy football junkies in the family, and the other six members of the league, my father and mother in law, sister in law, my wife, and Bryant's father and step mother, are all going to be playing in their first league. It should be like taking candy from babies for Bryant and I, but you never know.
After that, it will be one final time in the in-laws hot tub, and back to sisters to pack and get ready for the long trip home. Oh, and then on the way out, we have to pick up a 21 year old cat that my wife agreed to take off her ex boyfriend Robert's hands, and take her back with us to Rochester, along with our two wiener dogs. Ought to be an interesting trip back for sure.
This will be my final column until we are back in Rochester on Wednesday night or Thursday. Please don't go anywhere. I promise I will get back to sports next time.
BRONCOS TRAINING CAMP REPORT
The report from Denver Broncos training camp is....that it as just as boring as the Bills training camp, or probably any other teams training camp.
Don't get me wrong. It is fun to go, and be just a few yards away from players like Peyton Manning, Demaryious Thomas, Wes Welker, Von Miller and company, and watch them do their thing for a couple of hours. The thing is, if you've seen one training camp, you've probably seen them all.
It was hot. It was sticky. It was pretty uncomfortable, but it WAS the heavy favorite to win the Super Bowl, which was pretty cool.
According to running back Knowshon Moreno (who exclaimed "Woooo Hooooo" numerous times during practice, which prompted the entire crowd to hollar "woooo hooo" back to him every time he did it), the Broncos are the team to beat.
That is what scares me for Bronco fans. Here is a team that was 13-3 last year, got a first round bye and was 50 something seconds from moving on to the Super Bowl last January. Now, Peyton Manning is in his 2nd full season at the helm of this team, with a new running back in Montae Ball, new draft picks, Wes Welker, and a few upgrades at kother key positions. The Broncos look like world beaters. They look like a team that will be hard to beat by anyone in the regular season. It seems like everything looks...well...almost too good. That's when the trouble starts.
Already, Von Miller might be facing a four game suspension for failed drug tests. Manning is getting up there in years and still has that shaky neck and nerve problem, and if they start believing their press clippings, could be saddled with a huge over-confidence problem. As a fairly new Bronco fan, I hope I am wrong though.
As for the vacation, I coninue to eat like a swine and we haven't even made the annual visit to the trough, errr, the Golden Corral. They have a chain of pizza joints here called Blackjacks pizza, who are running a one topping, $4.99 large pizza deal. We got three for the family, but they screwed up the order and gave us two free ones, so we got five. My mind was ecstatic, but my gut didn't really follow suit.
We are staying active though. That's what they do here in Denver. It's the most active, in shape major city in the country. Very health conscious. We went to Chatfield reservoir in my in laws boat on Sunday and are going again this afternoon. I got to swin with the geese, which was cool. The geese are so domesticated on this reservoir that they will swim right up to you and take bread right out of your fingers while you are swimming. Pretty wild! We should also be doing some tubing (being pulled fast by the boat while laying on a large inner tube), which we didn't get a chance to do Sunday because it rained. I can't wait. It bring back childhood memories of my doing that on Canandaigua Lake.
Meanwhile, our two Rochester wiener dogs are loving life, spending every day with their western pack they grew up with as lil' pups. Nothing more fun that watching five wiener dogs and a beagle scamper outside thru the doggy door at the same time, barking all the way. It's quite a scene.
Well, I gotta go get the ol' swim trunks on (I'm over 40 now...they are "swim trunks", not a "bathing suit" as I would have called it before age 40) and get ready to head to the boat. The folks should be here any minute.....
THE JUICE IS LOOSE! Well, not quite...
Former Bills great OJ Simpson was handed parole for some of his 2008 convictions by a Nevada parole panel. This does not mean that he will be free though.
Simpson was convicted 5 years ago for burglary, assault and extortion for trying to get back sports memorabilia from two dealers in Vegas that he said belonged to him. He was sentenced to 9 to 33 years for those charges.
Despite being a model prisoner with no misconduct on his record, the parole board granted him partial parole but will keep him in prison for at least four more years.
I'm no fan of OJ, but I honestly feel bad for the guy. I think he should be released now.
These are trumped up charges to begin with. Everyone knows that. The system wanted to see him punished for the brutal Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman murders, and saw to it that he was put in prison, any way that they could do it. They made Simpson a pariah, and now he is stuck in a jail cell for four more years.
Simpson is a bad man. He most likely comitted murder, although he was acquitted on those criminal charges, only to be found guilty in a civil matter. He had his fortune taken away, and his good name. He has lost pretty much everything, and now, his freedom is still gone.
OJ is 66 years old, and not a threat to society at this point. Put the grudge away, and at least let him live out his days on the golf course of his choice.
Speaking of golf, it is a beautiful day in the Mile High, where I continue to vacation before getting serious about finding another job. The plan today is to get the sticks and go hit some golf balls at the driving range with my father in law, sister in law and brother in law, then hit the pool for some more rays. I got some sun yesterday...well actually, it was a burn. That's what happens when you get an ultra white guy whose skin hasn't seen sun in Rochester since 2004. Walking around, it stings like razor blades are on my legs.
After that, it will be time for dinner. My God, I eat like a swine out here! I had been on a serious diet before leaving for Denver, losing 8 pounds in three weeks, but I'm pretty sure they will all be back by the time I get home.
The Mexican restaurants out here are to die for, and I have partaken numerous times. My mother in law has fed me like a king, and last night we went to Chick-fil-a, which was outstanding. We especially enjoyed supporting a chain whose owner opposes gay marriage, oops, I'm not supposed to say that in today's PC world, am I?
Tonight I'm straying from the diet once again, as I think we are trying some of Littleton's finest pizza. If that is anywhere near as good as the Mexican, I'm sure I will be packing on a few more pounds.
Why is it that when you hit 40, the pounds pack on so quickly, and melt away so slowly? When I was in my 20's, I could lose three pounds sleeping. Now, I gain three pounds just looking at a cheeseburger.
Also, why is it that the older you get, the more important food becomes to you? In my 20's, I almost ate out of pure sustinance. Grab a bite to eat here and there, just because I knew I had to. Now that I am in my later 40's, I look forward to a visit to Golden Corral for two weeks.
Oh well, gotta go now. The driving range is calling! Gotta work off some weight. That pizza is sure gonna taste good later!
THE WILD WILD WEST
Once again, we made it safely out to Denver somehow. Same trip as usual: in a tiny clown car of a Toyota Yaris, with two stinky dachshunds in the back seat laying in baskets, and the wife driving 90% of the miles in the left lane, whether she is passing someone or being passed. I have mentioned the rules of the road so much to her, it's obvious that I am just going to learn to live with it, and pray she doesn't piss off some trucker so badly one time, that we are run off the highway into a ravine, never to be heard from again.
I know I said it last year, but I have to say it again--the EZ Pass is the greatest thing ever invented for folks driving on a highway with tolls. God, it is so easy and saves so much time, it is incredible! Plus, you feel like VIP drivers, driving the nations highways. The EZ Pass is like going to a club when you are buddies with the doorman. You walk to the front of the line, and he winks and says, "go on in", and off you go.
We stopped for our usual first night visit with my aunt Norma and uncle Jack in Cleveland. Found out Jack is having surgery next week for colon polyps, and he is on blood thinners and in his late 80's, so it will be very nerve-wracking for the whole family. But it was a lovely little meeting, with grilled cheese sandwiches and salad. Our dogs thankfully did not doth protest the stop like the previous year when they pooped on auntie and uncles rug. This year they were perfect little angels, and off we went for the trek westward.
By 2 AM, Michelle was exhausted and as we closed in on Illinois, we realized it was time to stop for the first night. We called about a half dozen motels and they were all booked. Finally, we got a Motel 6 in Hammond, Indiana (about a half hour southeast of Chicago) that had vacancies. When we got there, we found out why.
First of all, the place was two doors down the street from a strip club, Never a good sign. But at this point, beggars can't be choosers. We paid the $53 bucks and went to our room. Folks, I have never seen a worse hotel room in my life! No carpeting. An in room air conditioner that sounded like a Mack truck rumbling down the highway. Poops and peeps smudges and droplets on the toilet seat (and some on the wall in front of the toilet seat). Ten bucks a night would have been overcharging anyone for this flophouse. It was so bad, I don't think hookers go there anymore.
Still we soldiered on, borrowing industrial strength cleaner and disinfectant from the front desk, spraying it all over the room, and cleaning the bathroom. We slept naked, not wanting any bedbugs to get on any clothes. We didn't bring anything from the car to the room. We showered in the morning standing in the shower on a wet towel, then put the previous days clothes back on, and we were outta there! It was that bad!
Luckily, the rest of the drive went swimmingly. The 2nd nights hotel was far better, and at $78 for the night, a much better bargain.
We made it here and before even dropping anything off, went to hang out with my ol' buddy Craig McKelvie and his newlywed wife. Craig was probably my best friend in Rochester from age 17 or so to around age 32 or so. He moved away to Denver about 8 years ago, and now amazingly lives about 4 tenths of a mile from my in laws and 6 tenths of a mile from my brother and sister in law.
We had a few beers, and watched their kids play video games, wii and rockband. It was a lot of fun catching up for sure. In fact, we liked it so much, we did it again the following night, and have plans with them again tomorrow night.
I have enjoyed Taco Bell's "chili cheese burritos" numerous times already. See, they don't make those in New York, but do at the Taco Bell's here. We also went to Sonic today, which they also don't have in the Roc. We had tri tip steaks on the grill at the in-laws as well as spaghetti and Taco Salad. It is all so good, and it is so great to spend time with my wife's family again. They are such cool, fun people.
We are planning on going to Broncos training camp a week from today, next Tuesday, as we have VIP tickets for that. Can't wait, since obviously the Broncos are everyone's "team to beat" this year. Tonight we are hanging out with my wife's biker ex, Robert again. He is the guy who is a total clone for Dog the Bounty Hunter, and is just as unteresting. Hopefully, I don't end up in the back of a police car later tonight.
Well, thanks for checking in, I will try to have more in a few days.
MY TOP 10 HOTTEST WOMEN IN SPORTS HISTORY
I have been holding back on this topic for quite some time, but I just have to finally roll it out.
One reason I have had it on hold is because since everyone seems to think I am a racist (I am not), I didn't want everyone to think I am a sexist as well (I am not, but I am unapologetically hetero-sexual and have a great appreciation for female athletes looks as well as talent).
This is not demeaning. This column is an ode...an appreciation of the female form. Beauty, sexiness and eye appeal, the way I see it. It was not easy to narrow down to ten, let me tell you. How do you say no to Nastia Liuken being in the top ten? Or Shawn Johnson for that matter? They get at least 9.5's from me, but they didn't make it. Sheryl Swoopes or Candice Parker from the WNBA are tough to leave off. Rosalyn Sumners and Tai Babilonia, from the world of figure skating didn't quite complete my double toe loop.
I should point out that I only considered big name female athletes. I'm not putting some runner for New Zealand who finished 7th in the summer games in the ten thousand meter race. They had to be women most average sports fans have heard of.
This is really my top 11, because I just couldn't kick one of them off. We'll call it a tie for 10th. Remember, this is just MY list. I'm not speaking for men everywhere. To each his own. Anyways, here goes....
10b. Misty May Treanor, beach volleyball. Ahhh, the queen of the sand. Kerri Walsh and May were fun to watch in the last, what, four Olympic games, but May is no doubt the prettier of the two. Nice curves...on her serves, and in that bikini. May made Matt Treanor one helluva lucky backup catcher, marrying him a couple of years ago. All those gold medals go well with her beautiful eyes.
10a. Gabrielle Reece, beach volleyball. Reece is like the supermodel version of Misty May. Taller, darker and more muscular, but oh so hot. While May is your "girl-next-door" volleyball hottie, Reece is your "Jane-of-the-jungle" volleyball hottie. She also posed for Playboy, which always helps get a girl on a list like this.
9. Katerina Witt, figure skating. Witt is a rare breed--a gold medalist who actually has breasts. Granted they weren't as spectacular when she won two Winter Olympic golds, but her beauty was always there. Witt also came out of her shell in her days after competing, showing an engaging personality to go with the gorgeous looks and flawless legs. She also appeared in Playboy years after her days as the ice-queen, melting men's hearts everywhere.
8. Domenique Dawes, gymnastics. I had to put at least one gymnast on my list, even though looking at them as "hotties" makes you feel like a child molester. I am really putting Dawes on the list for what she became when she grew up--a total babe.
7. Amanda Beard, swimming. The same can be said for Beard that I just said about Dawes. When she was winning Olympic medals and dominating in the pool, Beard was a cute teenager. A few years after getting out of the pool, she became a stunning, beautiful woman. Perfect, lean body, long swimmers legs, and eyes that look like gemstones. Beard also showed off that form in Playboy as well as in the pool.
6. Anna Kournikova, tennis. This is the controversial pick here. I can hear many of you guys saying, "What!? Kournikova 6th?!?!?! You've gotta be kidding me? Schaller, you need a drug test!" Hey, she made my list, and 6th is not bad considering the competition. Look...at her prime, Anna was smokin hot, no doubt. I just think there are five women who are hotter. Maybe if she posed for Playboy.
5. Natalie Gulbis, golf. Gulbis for one, I think is hotter than Kournikova. She has a gorgeous face with beautiful eyes, tanned legs, and looks great in those lil' golf skirts. Something about a hot woman hitting balls with clubs while wearing spikes. I also watched her reality show on the Golf channel a few times and she seems to have a fun personality as well.
4. Maria Sharapova, tennis. Taller with sexier legs than Kournikova, and in many ways, a prettier face in my opinion. Not that it matter a lot for this list, but she is also a much better tennis player. I love her beautiful eyes and supermodel looks, as well as that flowing blond hair that never seems greasy, even in hot, humid, 3rd set tie-breakers.
3. Lindsay Vonn, skiing. Nice moguls! This gorgeous, blond snow-bunny is currently more famous for her relationship with Tiger Woods, but Vonn has the looks to attract Tiger's riches. She has an
athletic body, and her angelic face and smile can stop a clock. Her bubbly personality further endears her.
2. Hope Solo, soccer. Her last name seems to be a misnomer, as this soccer hottie should have no shortage of dates. Solo has it all. The total package. Athletic, lean body. Cat quickness. Showed off her perfect form in ESPN's body issue. What really sets Solo apart are her eyes. They are mesmerizing. She may have the most beautiful eyes of any woman, of all time. She's not number one though.
1. Jennie Finch, softball. Wow! What can I say about Finch? She is my perfect ten. I would put Finch in my top ten more attractive women of all time, PERIOD. As a pitcher in those softball pants, I have never been more thankful for the centerfield camera. She is six feet tall, with long legs, and a simply stunning face and smile. Finch has model type looks, yet still maintains a "girl next door" quality. She also could be the best fast pitch softball pitcher of all time--not a bad double play. Check out her SI swinsuit shoot....you can thank me later:
I will be heading to Denver tomorrow, so I don't know how often I will be able to write. I will try to give you a few updates on my journey, so please try to keep checking my site. Driving across the country in a tiny Toyota Yaris with two dachshunds and a wife ususally provides plenty of interesting fodder for me.
The other shoe fell today on one of the game of baseball's best power hitters, after Ryan Braun agreed to a 65 game suspension from major league baseball. Actually, Braun is one of the best hitters, plain and simple, in all of baseball. Now he is the best hitter out of baseball.
For the remainder of this season, Braun will be on the sidelines, not getting that fat paycheck, and watching his Brewers play on TV just like you and I and anyone else with the MLB extra innings package.
Serves him right.
I was so ticked off about the news that Braun had agreed to a suspension that steam was coming out of my ears. It wasn't just that Braun's suspension probably ruins any chance I would have had to win my fantasy baseball NL league (I'm in 5th), but...well ok, that is a big part of it. No, the real reason I am steamed worse than a fresh New England Lobster is that Braun lied to us.
He lied to me. He lied to you. He lied to baseball fans everywhere. He probably even lied to himself.
Not since Sammy Sosa lost his grasp on the English language, Mark McGwire said a whole lot of nothing and Rafael Palmeiro wagged his finger at a Congressional committee, has a baseball player lied to fans this bad.
Even after the Congresional hearings. Even after the Roger Clemens trial. Even after A-Rod was on 60 Minutes, many of us STILL wanted to believe Braun. When he said they goofed up his piss test, stored it wrong, and didn't use "morning pee" or whatever his excuse was, we WANTED SO BADLY TO BELIEVE IT. We thought in today's new crackdown on performance enhancing drugs and zero tolerance policies, that there was no way a player could possibly be stupid enough to use PED's.
We found out we were wrong again.
That being said, there aren't enough eggs in the world to make up for the egg on Braun's face. After being so incredulous. After being so indignant. After being so high and mighty and above the law, we find out he just plain lied.
"I would bet my life that I never put any of those substances in my body" said Braun. Liar, liar, pants on fire!
Now, we are getting a different, more contrite Braun, "As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect,” Braun said. “I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization. I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country. Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed – all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates. I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love."
Well that's nice that he thinks it will be behind him. I hope this dogs his sorry ass for the remainder of his career. Making a fool of baseball fans like he has over the past two years--he deserves it. Every home run, every RBI he gets from now on has to make all of us shake our heads and wonder, "was that on the up-and-up." How can we not?
Now, watch the dominoes fall. Braun was the big fish. MLB wanted him, and now that they have gotten him, hook, line and sinker, it should be time for A-Rod, Nelson Cruz and all the others recently implicated in the Biogenesis scandal to get their comuppance.
It's surely a sad day for baseball, but maybe a good day for us fans. This time, hopefully we won't be so gullible ever again.
Please consider donating to fund research and clinical trials of my blinding eye disease. Go towww.curechm.org and click the "donate now" link.
JOHNNY FOOTBALL??? TRY JOHNNY PUNK
Heisman trophy winning quarterback Johnny Manziel thrust himself onto the national scene last fall, beginning the year as a kid coming off a redshirt freshman season, and ending the year as the first freshman to ever to win a Heisman. He was given quite the complementary nickname, "Johnny Football", to describe his gym rat attitude about the game. He developed a bluster about himself. A confidence, almost a cockiness, as the season went on. Everyone, especially Heisman voters, were very impressed, as he won college football's top individual honor.
Since then, it has all been downhill.
Johnny Football is developing a new reputation. Since winning the Heisman, Manziel has been more like Johnny Good Time than Johnny Football. Partying seems to be his new major.
Numerous pictures of Manziel partying have made it from his facebook and twitter accounts to the national papers. He made headlines by betting thousands in Vegas. In many ways, he is becoming an anti-hero, the anti-Tim Tebow. Worse yet, it seems he wants it that way.
"I don't feel you win the Heisman by what happens off the field; you win the Heisman by how you play on the field," Manziel said. "If you go out and perform and you're the best player on the field, you deserve to get the award. It goes to the best college football player."
Actually, the Heisman mission statement says the award "recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity." In my opinion, Manziel is not living up to those standards.
He recently was sent home from the Manning passing academy for oversleeping, letting down Peyton and Eli and embarrassing himself in the process, once again drawing the national media spotlight.
I've been in the national media spotlight myself recently, and believe me, it is not something you want. Yet Manziel doesn't seem to mind.
Now the latest news is that Manziel has said, "I'm not Tim Tebow". Ooooh, how terrible a thing that is, huh Johnny? You most definitely wouldn't want that!
Now that you've won the Heisman trophy as the first ever freshman to do so, the last thing you would want is to be thought of as a great leader, a great person, and a good christian who tries to bring positivity and light into everyone's life he touches. No, that would be terrible, wouldn't it John?
Still, Manziel says, "I just wish that everyone would appreciate me for me".
Tebow himself reportedly tried to reach Manziel on his cell phone. The call reportedly went through to his voice mail. We don't know what Tebow said or wanted to say to Manziel, but one could assume it probably had something to do with giving him some advice about changing his ways. It's a call that Manziel hasn't returned yet. He might want to think about doing so.
When you are 20 years old and have been to the top of the mountain, you obviously think you know it all. I'm here to tell you John--you don't know SQUAT!
Here's hoping the kid can take some criticism, learn from his mistakes, and become a better person off the field as well as on. If he can, people will give him a pass, respect and admire him. If he can't, he could be partying his way out of NFL consideration, no matter what he does on the field.
I know I won't be a fan.
So, what is there to write about during the two days of the year when there is not a single game in any of the four major sports? Yeah, did you know that? There are only two days of the year when not a single game is played in either baseball, football, basketball or hockey. It's the day before the all-star game and the day after.
Well, a sports reporter/columnist/blogger like myself has to go on. We can't just stop for the all-star break. We still have to find things to write about, and the first thing I want to write about is the looming new steroids controversy.
The latest controversy, this Biogenesis scandal in Miami is threatening to become the "Balco of the East". It could also make the Balco scandal look tame by comparison. Upwards of twenty of the major stars in the game reportedly have links to Biogenesis. Players such as Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Gio Gonzalez, Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, and Everth and Melky Cabrera all could be facing possible 100 game suspensions.
I applaud MLB for being tough on those players who are implicated, but only if they are able to prove it. Too much of this steroid enforcement often seems like a "witch hunt". Remember the Ryan Braun thing last year? They had him busted. Or did they? They had indisputable evidence....but it was disputed that it was botched. They mishandled Braun's pee, and therefore, Braun got off on a technicality. The MLB drug people came off looking like a bunch of bumbling Inspector Clouseau's.
Now, it looks like baseball is ready to go at it again. It appears they are ready to name the offenders and lay down the punishment. Of course, it won't be that simple. You can't just suspend 20 guys for 100 games of their livelihood. Not without appeals, which you can bet your ass there will be. I'm guessing all of 'em will appeal. I'm also willing to bet those appeals will last well into the off-season.
All of this makes one wonder.....wouldn't it just be easier if major league baseball just gave up the fight? I think so.
Let's face it, baseball was a more fun game to watch in the late 90's. Balls were rocketing out of bandbox parks in record numbers. Pitchers went nine innings more often, threw near 100 miles and hour and fans flew through the turnstiles in droves. 14-11 games were commonplace. There were no 2-1 pitching duels.
Why not just let everyone have it all? Fans can have all the long-ball excitement they can stomach. Players will have no excuses for not putting up the best possible numbers they can put up. The record book is already toast after the mid to late 90's and early 2000's blew it up, so where is the problem?
If there are no rules to enforce regarding steroids, HGH or whatever else scientists can figure out to put in players bodies, then it is a completely even playing field. The .220 hitting punch and judy second baseman can juice up just as much as the power hitting superstar outfielder. At that point, we wouldn't know or care if a player is on the roids, everyone would just assume all of them are.
The way things are now, no one knows. Baseball can try to enforce the policy as much as they want, but everytime a Chris Davis type season rolls around, there will continue to be questions.
"Is he on something?",
"No, he can't be...he's clean, he's just big naturally".
"No way! Dude's juicing. He went from 32 homers last year to 48 this year. Gotta be juicing!"
"Yeah? Well what about your guy? Never hit more than 10 homers in the minors, then goes 36 and 42 in his first two years...he's on something!"
"No way bra! Dude played in a pitchers park in triple A"
And so it goes. If baseball legalizes everything, you won't have conversations like that anymore. I think baseball ought to give it some serious thought. The sport is dying a slow death. It needs a lot of help in many different facets--speed of games, start time of World Series games, length of seasons, and so on. Legalizing everything won't be a cure-all, but it would be much easier than trying to enforce something that just may be unenforceable.
Other topics I want to comment on:
--Speaking of steroids, does anyone give two shits about the Tour de France anymore? If americans aren't winning or dominating anymore, then we don't care about it. Same thing can be said for mens' tennis, World Cup soccer and Olympic events like table-tennis, judo or biathlon. Of course I said a similar thing about the LPGA tour heading down that road and that got me fired.
--Dwight Howard is a crybaby whiner. For a seven foot giant of a man, he sure whines a lot. Lately, it's telling ESPN sportscenter that playing with Kobe was "tough, real tough". Apparently, Howard was shocked that a guy like Kobe would want the ball in clutch situations and take too many shots in a game, and that was tough for him to deal with. Really D? You gots to be playin' us. Obviously Howard never watched a Lakers game involving Kobe Bryant. Well Dwight, you better get used to it. James Harden isn't much better.
--Finally, speaking of the NBA, just what the Knicks need....another aging former star who is a head case. Word is that Ron Artest, errrr, Metta World Peace, is about to sign a free agent deal with the Knicks. Maybe the Knicks are in the market for a guy who USED TO BE a good defender, shoots under 30% from the arc, shoots too much, and seems more concerned with his rap albums and music career, as well as being on late night talk shows than he is with basketball. At least Spike Lee should be happy.