Thursday, June 9, 2011


Over Memorial Day and the beginning of June, it appeared the Sports World conversation would return to the usual lull and cliché’ debates regarding upcoming  NBA and NHL Finals, and maybe some baseball play highlights sprinkled in as  they appeared day in and day out.  Little was I aware, as Memorial Day rolled in that three national stories would burst in to heated arguments coast to coast in the sports world. Like the sports arena needs another amateur analyst opinion (like a hole in your head), I couldn’t resist putting in my sassy two cents in the mix!

Let's begin our whirlwind week on the last day of  May, when George
Dohrmann’s article graced the cover of Sports Illustrated disclosing hidden flaws regarding Jim Tressel's character and decision-making ability as head coach of “The” Ohio State football program, as well as considered a pillar citizen mentoring athletes in the surrounding community-

How could a Head Coach and Top Division I football program all be "ignorant" of gross NCAA violations that have been going on amongst 40 players since 2002?  You would think  even Joe the Plumber would find it difficult to accept Tressel and “The” Ohio State  program could site no knowledge of misconduct of their players over 9 years? George Dohrmann and David Epstein (feature story and video link above) did a mastermind in journalism and investigating digging out the truth; so much so that Tressel finally admitted knowing more than he ever led on to, including a confession of purposely withholding information from the University, ultimately leading to a shameful resignation.  Not only has Tressel placed Ohio State players in a volatile position, he has left the door wide open for a full-on NCAA investigation regarding violations that will penalize (and hurting) the program. Jim Tressel displayed selfish and greedy choices to benefit an opportunity of attaining a NCAA Championship sooner than later.When a person lies, or covers up truths, it will never come out well.Time and time again, through various examples of attempts to sweep wrongdoings under a rug (Bernie Madoff, Reggie Bush and USC, Kentucky and Baylor, oh and don’t forget Enron, to name a few), someone eventually comes along picking up that rug exposing all the hidden dirt.

The article was just the tip of the explosive coverage reaching airwaves from Youngstown to San Francisco.  What flabbergasted not only me was the senseless irrational support and arguments protecting and defending Jim Tressel’s actions! It astonished me, and thankfully others in the sports community how a multitude of Ohio State faithful and fans of Tressel  could  make excuses for his actions and turn a blind eye to the unethical, and quite honestly, immoral decisions (or choices- take your pick on the verbiage) he made regarding known wrong-doings by several of his players.  As a matter of fact, it sounds like he may even been the middle-man setting up such transactions in a couple of cases, and then knowingly turned a blind eye.  Thankfully, we have conscious rational sports analysts, such as John Kincade who is NOT afraid to set the record straight.  Kincade expressed on his June 5th Sunday morning program ( what I am sure many people are frustrated about (at least I was, hearing some of the unreal reaction) the lack of rationale or comprehension that Coach Jim Tressel knowingly did wrong. Kincade pointed out on his weekly radio program the word that should be stricken from the conversation. That word is ‘mistake’… Persons surrounding Tressel’s investigation continue to harbor and create one excuse after another of  the coach’s head-scratching choices after multiple revelations of players receiving ‘favors’ and kick-backs from various sources surrounding the Ohio State community.  I support Kincade’s definition of what actions qualify as mistakes: you fill out a form for the government in red ink and it gets denied (they specify using blue or black on their forms); you show up for a doctor’s appointment on the 6th, and it was actually on the 5th, you ‘mistakenly’ thought you heard 6th not 5th; Those would be prime examples of what would qualify as a ‘mistake’. Intentionally hiding violations and keeping the athletic program in the dark regarding those gross shortcomings, in my book, quite honestly I would categorize as ethical corruption without thinking twice about it.  Would you want your sons and daughters mentored in a manner where they ‘cheat’ the system and have a coach that allows such behavior?  Sportsmanship and honor are two athletic values I would never use to describe Jim Tressel.  I hope many of the ignorant Tressel supporters buy a clue, wish him a better future (and choices), and move on.

There was little time wasted after the other shoe dropped at Ohio State, before we were blessed with another athlete ‘attempting’ to  give intelligent input about his sport,  basketball, and the upcoming  NBA Finals about to tip off.  Scotty Pippen blessed LeBron James with the premier crown of being the best NBA player of all time…

I’m sorry...(as  I choke on my Americano and  spew a portion of  it threw my nose, and spray drips on my just cleaned white hoodie! I know… not that pretty of a picture) are you talking a bout the SAME Scottie Pippen that played side by side with Michael Jordan??? The SAME Scottie Pippen that if it weren’t for Jordan would have ZERO rings versus 6? THAT Scotty Pippen? Oh no he didn’t! That is like a slap in the face to the greatest NBA player I’ve ever watched play!  As a matter of fact, let’s analyze this. What makes a professional athlete great? Or, the greatest?  Is it the best stats? Is it the number of rings? Is it All-Star appearances and MVPs? What separates great from GREATEST is the recipe of leadership, skill, and motivating a team to reach the highest pinnacle, a championship. 

Kareem Abdul Jabaar was quick to call out Scottie on his opinion of greatness with an open letter to Mr. Pippen-

Wilt Chamberlain definitely can hold his own as one of the greatest, by all means.  I forward the newsworthy piece to  a  friend in  Philadelphia , and he spurred me on actually to add a few GREAT players into the discussion, that he, I, and most  likely Kareem would place ahead of ‘King’ James in reference to ‘greatest of all time’…  Of course, we discussed the most obvious pick that Pippen could have referenced with no argument ( he did play side by side with him for, oh at least a dozen years… or close!), Michael Jordan who has 6 rings, seven scoring titles, and a pocket full of MVP and All-Star rewards.  After reading Kareem’s incredibly crafty prose boasting Wilt Chamberlain to the top of the list, I quickly internally inquired, “What about Bill Russell?” Yeah! What about Russell? He has almost double the number of rings, with 11, as well as 5 NBA Finals MVPs. Philly pointed out the following, “We talk about Jordan being the best ever (I would tend to almost agree) but we forget about Bird and Magic, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Bob Cousy, George Mikan, etc., etc.  I think overall it's just tough putting a G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) on anyone.  I probably would look more at number of rings and how much a player helped his team to get those rings.  Robert Horry has more rings than almost anyone but he was a bench player on good teams for a few of them”. Let’s thank my friend Philly for great contribution! With that said, as Philly pointed out, Horry has quite the collection of rings, yet would he place him even in consideration as a GOAT? Lebron James has ‘sick’ talent and just amazes us with his amazing moves on the parquet floors; yet, he has NO rings, and was the incredibly invisible player showing up with 8 points in the Miami Heat loss to Dallas, while Nowitszky again showed up (with a fever and chills, and looking a bit more pasty than usual) and was a closer! Scottie was premature, if anything, to hand over GOAT honors to Lebron James before we’ve seen a bit more of his body of work.

And when you feel an explosive story has been laid to rest… A GM goes on the homer sports radio station to share opinions without filter, and a honest disclosure of personal emotion of protecting one of his kids (Brian Sabean personally drafted Buster Posey in 2008)…the debate not only is resuscitated,  it took on a whole new life! If you’re any type of baseball fan, or have read a sports page, or visited ESPN on any medium, you should be familiar of a home plate collision that was rewinded, replayed, slow-motion frame-by-frame displayed, as well as still shots shared all over baseball nation amongst bloggers, beat writers, newsletters, sportscasters, twitter feeds, and facebook posts from here to the moon! It all began on a ho-hum Wednesday evening, May 25, towards the end of an offensive frustrating game between San Francisco Giants (like we haven’t seen that scenario a few dozen times) and a surprisingly competitive Florida Marlins club. An up coming major leaguer, Scott Cousins, out of University of San Francisco, was clinging on to hopes of staying up in the show for Florida.  A sacrifice fly was hit to shallow right field, Cousins tagged at 3rd base chugging his way to home plate to beat out Shierholtz throw… There it transpired within seconds… Buster Posey’s split decisions of how to position himself to receive a throw catapulted directly to him from the Giants’ strongest arm in the outfield, and defend home plate.  90 feet away was a young, strong, and fairly speedy base runner on a mission to score the go-ahead run and secure more time for him as one of the 25 on the Marlins roster. It was literal split decision-maker on both parties. As Cousins came barreling in, Posey was attempting to catch a ball; unfortunately, the collision ended in Posey sustaining a season ending lower leg fracture and ligament damage attached to his left ankle. The devastating loss sparked discussions regarding a potential rule change to protect a catcher in future encounters of base runners headed to home plate.

I urge each and every one of you to visit the links I posted. It’s a tour through various opinions and perspectives upon an incredibly heated debate regarding the need of a rule change to protect catchers, as well as valued premier players from unnecessary injuries as suffered by Buster Posey.  There are two prime points I extracted from the plethora of opinions being thrown around as loose as the names that were jotted in Wilt Chamberlains little black book. The first point was collisions that happen at the plate. There are experts whom state the obscure instance of a base runner plowing over a catcher is part of the game. The counter of that statement is, if it’s a rare occasion, how could it be assumed a normal act of baseball? The second observation is evolution of the game. There are altruists whom state baseball has been around for over a century and the rules have remained the same… I think the altruists may be at the latter range of the baby boomers and possibly entering early stages of dementia. All sports evolve. Rules change and the sport adapts based on trends, and protecting the sanctity of the game. MLB has changed the rules of sliding in to 2nd base to protect that infield player, why not evaluate and consider amending current base running in to home plate? Bruce Bochy made a valid point in an interview regarding the collision where he expressed the value lost for both the franchise investing in a stellar player, as well as the loss of fans across the nation who purposely go to games to see specific players participate. Thus, ultimately there is possibly a vested investment and interest for MLB to consider a change, an evolution of the current  rules that don’t particularly protect a catcher from being blasted.  On the other side of the fence, are the critics  whom  state the  unfortunate injury that transpired in San Francisco is so rare, it should not warrant a change.  Again, I particularly would reiterate at this moment, it should only take one drastic act to possibly draw attention to a fly in the ointment.   Every sport that transpires on the face of this earth has evolved.  We all were there and watched that snowy blizzard game between New England and Oakland Raiders where the ‘tuck’ rule came in  to place, right?  Anyways…

Okay! Now that we have reviewed the stellar ‘Oh Snap’ moments of the last week, lets have a few laughs!

Batting stance guy comes through AGAIN! FACCCCT!

Usually sports and politics don’t mix, but this is just hilarious! Especially when Boston is in the Stanley Cup Finals…  God forbid we give Palin a Citizen exam, or ask her about our Stars Spangled Banner and it’s origin!

AND finally, the ‘Kinetic King’ that has perfected chain reactions in the 17 known Universes! Better than that, his reply to what he would do with the million dollars, if he wins… Charlie Sheen would be proud!

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