Wednesday, March 4, 2015

2 comments MMQB Review: The St. Louis Rams May Have a Stadium But No Team Edition

Peter King helped set the trade market for Sam Bradford in last week's MMQB. He also discussed Jameis Winston and his chances of being taken by the Buccaneers at #1 overall, while also not discussing how fantastic it is that Winston talks about himself in the third person. This week Peter takes a break from being mystified by how popular the combine is, while sending nearly his entire THE MMQB team to cover the combine, in order to talk about the new riverfront NFL stadium in St. Louis, has a beef with American Airlines, and continues to go to bat for Peyton Manning to not take a pay cut. If stadium renderings don't you get excited on a Monday morning then this MMQB probably isn't for you.

I’m like everybody else with this Los Angeles thing. I’m on page 24 of a 300-page book, and it’s not all that interesting so far. But I hear the end is compelling, so I’d rather speed past the next 230 pages and go straight to the climax. Tell me what the end game is.

Being on the same page as Peter King is a frightening experience. It makes me re-think my life choices. It's not that NFL teams relocating doesn't interest me, it's just that it would only interest me if it were MY team favorite team relocating. It's like seeing someone else's vacation photos. It's interesting in a way, but not terribly interesting since it didn't happen to you.

“What’s your gut feeling about the number of NFL teams playing football in Los Angeles in 2020—zero, one or two?” I asked Eric Grubman, an NFL senior vice president and the league’s point man on the L.A. market, on Friday.

“I don’t know the number,” he said near the end of a 35-minute interview.

It could be ten teams that move to Los Angeles or maybe the entire NFL will move every single team to the Los Angeles early. IT'S TOO EARLY TO TELL. Don't bother Eric Grubman with your speculative multiple choice questions.

“But the least probable of those numbers is zero. I would say we’ve gone above the 50 percent probability that we’ll have at least one team there.”

That team? The London Jaguars. The NFL will give London a team and then have them play their home games in Los Angeles. Everyone wins. London gets a team, the NFL gets a team in Los Angeles and players don't have to worry about a transcontinental flight to play a football game. Never doubt Roger Goodell's leadership and problem-solving abilities.

It’s been two decades and two months since the Los Angeles area had NFL football.

And Oakland hasn't had a professional football team in a decade! (looks for someone to high-five, but there is no one around)

The San Diego and Oakland franchises have announced their intention to bury the hatchet of a 54-year rivalry to initiate a joint $1.7-billion stadium project in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson. And last Tuesday the Inglewood, Calif., city council unanimously approved plans to build a football stadium that would be anchored by the move of the Rams from St. Louis. That doesn’t mean the Rams are signed and sealed for Inglewood, former home of the Lakers and Kings, just that the locals are promising to build a palace if they come.

(wakes up and can't remember what he just read)

So if it gets built, then they will come?

The Chargers are still trying to get a deal done to stay in San Diego. Ditto the Raiders in northern California. The Rams? No one quite knows what the Rams are doing.

This could go for their relocation efforts or their decisions about certain positions on the Rams depth chart. I read in "Sports Illustrated" this week the Rams consulted Sam Bradford on a coaching hire this offseason and all indications (which could be a smokescreen) are that they still count on him to be healthy this season. I hope it's not true.

For years the Rams tried to get a better stadium than the Edward Jones Dome, and the franchise was rebuffed because of the immense cost. But now, faced with losing the Rams, the state and city are working double-time to come up with a solution that—if nothing else—would make it difficult for 24 owners to vote in favor of the Rams returning to Los Angeles. (Franchise moves must be approved by a 75 percent majority of the 32 teams, though no one is sure if Kroenke will abide by that bylaw or just pull up stakes and force the league to stop him.)

Oh okay, so just moving and making the NFL stop him is an option? That seems rather hasty and not an intelligent move. Doesn't Kroenke know that Roger Goodell will suspend him for two games if he just up and moves his team across the country? I'm kidding of course, Roger Goodell works for Kroenke, so he would probably reward Kroenke's intestinal fortitude and the initiative he took by taking two draft picks away from the Patriots and giving them to the Rams.

This is the first time anyone outside the league or the committee charged with keeping the Rams in St. Louis has seen the renderings of the proposed $1 billion, 64,000-seat open-air riverfront football stadium on the banks of the Mississippi River. Grubman has been to St. Louis on several occasions to meet with the group working to keep the Rams in town and working to clear 90 acres on the riverfront and get funding for the stadium, and he’s bullish on their prospects. But prospects for what?

Prospects to have an NFL team play in that stadium. It seems pretty obvious, Peter. If the Rams aren't in the stadium then the Rams hope to draw another team to the St. Louis area.

Keeping the Rams—even though Kroenke has not been part of the discussions at all, instead choosing to have Rams COO Kevin Demoff head the team’s delegation in dealing with the transition? Preparing for a rainy day, and taking one of the teams (San Diego or Oakland) that doesn’t get a stadium built and sees the prospect of a shiny middle-American palace in a top-25 market? No one knows. But the venue is currency in these stadium-driven times.

(Peter King's phone rings) "Helloooooooooooooooooo...."

(Marvin Demoff's voice comes through with contempt) "Dammit, be a man. I saw your Tweet about having lost your child for three minutes one time as a way of empathizing with Ivan Maisel. I know what you were trying to do, but at least be a little bit less tone deaf. Is it that hard? Losing a child permanently, versus having three minutes of panic. Maybe just focus on Tweeting or writing what I tell you to write."

(Peter King) "The people on Twitter were so mean to me about that. I don't get---"

(Marvin Demoff) "Exactly, you don't get it. Anyway, my son has had to speak for Stan Kroenke for far too long. Do a story in this week's MMQB about the Rams moving to Los Angeles and I'll get you a copy of the stadium rendering to show in the column. When talking about the possible relocation, be sure to mention that Kroenke has left my son as the point man on this issue while saying nothing himself. If it goes sideways and bad feelings happen, I want those feelings directed at Kroenke, not my son. Can you do that?"

(Peter King) "When have I ever let you down my favorite employer?"

(Marvin Demoff) "I'm not answering that because I don't have time to hear you cry. Just write it and mention how Kevin Demoff is heading the team's delegation and Kroenke hasn't done his part. I'm hanging up now, so don't bother saying anything else."

(Peter King) "I will do it, I promise. Hello? Hello?"

“It’s definitely a legitimate option,” said Grubman. “I see no fatal defect to it.”

Other than the St. Louis taxpayers partially footing the bill for an NFL stadium that doesn't actually house one of the 32 NFL teams. Other than that, no fatal defect in this idea at all.

The NFL told any team investigating Los Angeles to be sure to include in the stadium design the ability to add a second team. The St. Louis plan in Inglewood does that—obviously, so does the Carson site. No one expects two stadiums to be built in Los Angeles. But, increasingly, there is an expectation that one stadium will be built in greater Los Angeles, and it will house one or two teams.

Or maybe 10 teams. GRUBMAN DOESN'T KNOW THE NUMBER YET!

Which leads us to this unfortunate part of the story: Kroenke seems (and I say “seems,” because of his actions, not because of his words—there have been none)

(Marvin Demoff smiles)

St. Louis is by far the most aggressive with the best plan to keep the Rams, right down to an agreement to clear a 90-acre blighted plot downtown to make way for the stadium. And get this: Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has an agreement with skilled construction workers in eastern Missouri to work round the clock (three eight-hour shifts a day, every day) so the stadium could be finished in 24 months … without workers taking overtime. That’s significant because if the first shovel goes in the ground by this August, the NFL could have a pristine new St. Louis stadium built in time for the 2017 season.

Meanwhile, a 10 mile stretch of I-85 that cuts through the middle of North Carolina took 3-4 years to be widened and the job still isn't completely done. If only it were a 10 mile stretch earmarked for an NFL stadium it would have been done in a year.

The preferred goal of San Diego and Oakland is to stay in San Diego and Oakland. Or, as Grubman said: “St. Louis is being aggressive and specific. San Diego recently has shown potential to be aggressive, but has not yet been specific. Oakland has been neither aggressive nor specific.”

It sounds like a multiple choice test that a 3rd grader would take.

"St. Louis has been aggressive and specific. San Diego is a little aggressive but not specific. Oakland isn't specific or aggressive. If Los Angeles wants a team that is aggressive but not specific, then what team would they not want to do a deal with?"

“We’re trying to move with speed and certainty, with no ambiguity,” Peacock said over the weekend. “This is the right moment in time for a new stadium in St. Louis. We have a lot of young people moving to our urban core, which you couldn’t have said a few years ago.

The urban core of St. Louis is perfectly built to become a dynasty, assuming the city can keep their core together for a 6-8 year stretch and provide enough high paying jobs.

“Stan has all kinds of options. We understand that. We can’t worry too much about that. I would be more concerned if we weren’t having regular dialogue with Kevin [Demoff] and Eric Grubman about all facets of the plan. We are relying on the integrity of the league’s bylaws. If you assemble all the important pieces—the control of the land, the stadium financing, the cost-certainty, the stadium plan—I don’t know … If we do everything we say we’re going to do, it’s hard to imagine 24 owners would vote against it. If we do our job, I can’t imagine 24 votes to approve the Rams moving.”

That's very optimistic considering Kroenke seems hell-bent on moving at this point. It also sounds like Peacock is lining up a potential lawsuit to point out the city of St. Louis did everything within the NFL bylaws to keep the Rams in St. Louis just in case this whole thing goes south (or west, as the case may be).

But is it enough? And if Kroenke leaves, will it be enough to attract another team? I’ve thought about this a lot, and several people connected to the story say I’m not the first one to suggest this is the end game: Rams move to Inglewood. Chargers can’t get a deal done in San Diego and join them in Inglewood. Raiders, left without a stadium option, take the St. Louis deal. And by 2019, Derek Carr will be the quarterback of your St. Louis Raiders.

I'm betting one of those people connected to the story is Kevin Demoff. He wants to at least float the idea that St. Louis is open to another NFL team playing in the yet-to-be-built stadium since he is currently working on the Rams' transition team. I'm not sure it's right that St. Louis would be given the Raiders after dealing with Jeff Fisher's lack of urgency over the past few seasons.

So we let the process play out, knowing that by the time the NFL turns 100 the second-largest city in the country should finally have a team (or two) back. Whichever teams they may be.

I don't really understand why it is so important that Los Angeles have a team or two. It seems the NFL is doing perfectly fine without the second-largest city in the United States having an NFL team, but I'm stupid, so perhaps I don't understand just how great it would be for Los Angeles to finally have another NFL team.

I screened NFL Films’ annual Super Bowl champion video the other day (“Super Bowl XLIX Champions: New England Patriots,” by Cinedigm, on sale Tuesday nationwide). Highlights from the hour-plus video that caught my eye:

Immediately after spending a page and a half on the Rams, Raiders and Chargers potentially relocating, Peter hands out notes from a video that he saw. Yes, it is the NFL offseason.

Tom Brady screams like a banshee a lot. He gets excited often, and when he does, he yells at the top of his lungs, like a high school kid who just won a big football game.

Tom Brady is just like a child! It's so precocious of him to yell like this. Who would have ever thought that Peter King would try to give child-like characteristics to a grown man? It's only one of his favorite things to do. The ultimate joy for Peter is to see a grown man act like a child, which is why he is so fond of Brett Favre. I imagine Peter's browser history is full of fetish videos involving grown men acting like children.

The clips from mic’ed up players are strong. Gronkowski, in disbelief, on the sideline in Indianapolis after a bumper-car/athletic long touchdown reception: “I don’t even know how I did that. I have no clue.”

I have a hard time figuring out how many of these NFL players do the things they do on the field. It's like their bodies and abilities defy logic and what the human body should be able to do in such a violent game. Sometimes I figure it out though and think there is a good explanation:

Haters
Gonna
Hate

Before the Patriots called the option pass from Edelman to Danny Amendola in the second half, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels went to Edelman and said: “I don’t need any lead time with the double pass, do I?’’ Edelman said to him, “What do you mean?” McDaniels: “I don’t have to tell you it’s coming.” Edelman: “Nah.” And soon it came, and Edelman executed his first NFL pass perfectly

By saying, "I don't have to give you lead time, do I?" for a specific play McDaniels has essentially given Edelman lead time on the specific play. The fact McDaniels indicated he had thought about running the play told Edelman to prepare for it.

Before the last Seattle drive of the Super Bowl, with the Seahawks trailing, a mic’ed Brady says: “D’s gotta make a play. Gotta intercept one.”

Riveting. It's almost like Brady willed the interception to occur. Very precocious of him to cheer for his defense in this manner.

As anyone who has tried to find real-world sports books for young readers can tell you, the pool is not very deep. That’s why I was pleased to see veteran sports writer Sean Jensen and former Bears great Brian Urlacher collaborate on a rare Young Adult Sports Biography (that’s the Amazon term for it, I think) called “The Middle School Rules of Brian Urlacher.” It’s about Urlacher’s formative years in New Mexico.

Brian Urlacher wrote a children's book? You know what that means? That means he is being very precocious to write a book meant for younger readers. I'm sure Peter only reads young adult books because he finds it exhilarating for adult writers to pretend they are children.

Urlacher: I wanted to give young people a look at my real life. Growing up is hard for everybody at times, and it wasn’t easy for me. I wasn’t a good athlete. People are surprised about that, but in my eighth-grade year, the only time I got in basketball games is when we were up by 20 or down by 20.

Oh, Urlacher wasn't very good at basketball, but he was on the basketball team. I think his definition of "not being good" at a sport could be different from mine. In my world, when someone isn't a good at a sport then he/she doesn't make a sports team in high school or middle school. It's interesting to think how "not being good" at a sport could mean a person makes the team, but doesn't play much.

Me: Ever tempted by drugs around that age?
Urlacher: Nope. I never tried weed. Never wanted to. Later, people would say to me, “You ought to try weed.” And I’d say: “Why break my streak now?”

Plus, Urlacher can't just inject weed into his system, so there's no fun in using it.  

Me: I like that you bring up the fact that you were a normal kid in middle school, because kids need to know you’re not fully molded in any way by the time you’re in seventh or eighth grade. It’s pretty rare for a kid in middle school to know exactly what he or she is going to do in life.
 
Urlacher: Exactly. There were guys I knew in eighth grade who I thought might be NBA players, and then, in high school, they’re not that good at basketball anymore.

They aren't good at basketball anymore. These guys play basketball overseas or sit the bench in the D-league right now. They are terrible at basketball!

“Yes, I was expecting the ball. But in life, these things happen. I had no problem with the decision of the play calling. I mean … how do I say this? When you look at me, and you let me run that ball in, I am the face of the nation. You know, MVP of the Super Bowl … I don’t know what went into that call … I mean, you know, it cost us the Super Bowl. But would I love to have had that ball there? Yeah, I would have. I would have. But the game is over, and I’m in Turkey.”
—Marshawn Lynch, to Turkish sports network NTV Spor while on a trip to Turkey. He was referring to the Seahawks passing on their last offensive play of the Super Bowl from the Patriots’ 1-yard line, rather than handing it to Lynch for a run.

This is probably part of the reason that Lynch doesn't talk to the media. He says something and then it is dissected five different ways to determine it's "real" meaning. Lynch wanted the football with the Super Bowl on the line and thinks there may have been other reasons to not give him the football in that situation. Every player would want the football and some players may wonder why they didn't get the football. That's pretty much the end of the story.

“You can’t have a Hall of Fame without me being in it. It’s just not legitimate.”
—Simeon Rice, to SB Nation. Nice career: 122 sacks in 174 career games. Not a career crying out for induction, in my opinion.

Oh, so we are basing the comment by Simeon Rice that he should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame based solely on sacks? Simeon Rice averaged a sack every 0.70 game during his career. Michael Strahan had 141.5 sacks in 216 career games. That's an average of a sack every 0.66 game during his career. I guess Strahan's career wasn't crying out for induction? Oh yeah, that's right. Strahan played for the Giants, smiled a lot and was friendly with the media before he became a part of the media. I guess that makes his career sack total look a little better using the "Theory of Jerome Bettis." 

What's really concerning for me here is that Peter King has a Hall of Fame vote. He bases his opinion that Rice shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame on only career sacks, but Rice actually had more sacks per game during his career than Strahan did. Basically, by using only sacks as the criteria then Peter King is saying Strahan doesn't deserve induction either. Peter has a Hall of Fame vote. I'm scared of how he evaluates players now. 

Factoids of the Week That May Interest Only Me

I present this pronunciation guide as a public service, because I’ve heard the Oregon quarterback prospect’s name pronounced three different ways. If a guy’s going to be a very high draft choice, we should know how to say his name.


Correct: “Marcus Mar-ee-OH-da.”


Incorrect: “Mair-ee-OH-da’’ and “Mair-ee-adda.”

Never stop being a haughty dipshit, Peter. It fits you too well to stop doing dipshit things like handing out pronunciation lessons to your readers.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

Why would American Airlines, making the gate announcement for the JFK-to-Boston flight at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, announce, “This flight is completely full,” in an attempt to get excess bags checked?

They just want to appear in MMQB this week. Much like every other company, American Airlines craves attention, positive or negative, from Peter King.

I chose my seat online Friday night—29D, in an otherwise open row—and there were plenty of seats all over the plane. So we boarded, and it was barren, maybe one-third full. The last six rows contained 36 seats (six rows, six seats per row, three on either side of the aisle) and had a total of five people in them. I mean, why lie?

Just to annoy you, Peter. That's the only reason they do this. 





The Fox Sports writer is absolutely right: McCown had to be much more than a quarterback last year in Tampa Bay because of the season-long illness to former Bucs coordinator Jeff Tedford.

At least McCown did something last year in Tampa Bay. He certainly didn't do a great job of playing quarterback.

That’s just the way McCown is wired anyway—he’s a helper.

Josh Freeman was paid $2 million by the Vikings two seasons ago to be inactive during most of the games that he was a member of their organization and Peter King ripped on Freeman nearly every week in MMQB. Josh McCown earned $4.75 million to have a 56.3% completion rate, throw 11 TD's, 14 interceptions, and post a rating of 70.5 over 11 games, yet he is credited by Peter for being a "helper" in Tampa Bay last season. Funny how Peter's criticism for quarterbacks is rarely consistent. Peter didn't say anything really in MMQB this past season regarding Matt Schaub stealing money from the Raiders, but he goes out of his way to praise McCown for making $4.75 million and playing poorly because he's a "helper." Yet, Josh Freeman is still the scum of the world for making $2 million and only starting one game for the Vikings during the 2013 season.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think these transactions caught my eye in the past week:

Peter isn't sure, but he thinks these transactions caught his eye. It's hard to say, because Peter's eye is always wandering around, trying to stare at someone while in public or looking for precociousness in everyday life.

a. Titans tackle Michael Roos retired. Some applause, please, for Roos, one of the underrated left tackles of his day.

(No one applauds because this is a sports column and it doesn't make sense to start applauding while reading MMQB)

c. Atlanta cut Steven Jackson and Harry Douglas. Jackson turns 32 in July; understood. I’d be interested in the 30-year-old Douglas (85 catches in 2013) if I were confident he’d stay healthy.

Douglas has only played in less than 15 games once in his career, which was last season. He's played in every game four of the six seasons he has been in the NFL.

d. Green Bay cut linebacker A.J. Hawk, who is a pro’s pro.

Translation through all of this hyperbole: Peter likes A.J. Hawk as a person so he calls him a "pro's pro." I think calling a player a "pro's pro" is just something sportswriters write when they want to write something positive about a person but can't think of anything specific.

2. I think there are some teams that have a load of cap room entering free agency, but the one that struck me is Tennessee, with $47 million. This is a vital off-season for the Titans, who have averaged five wins a season in the past three years. If I’m GM Ruston Webster, I’m starting by re-signing free-agent pass-rusher Derrick Morgan, an underrated presence in the front seven.

He was the #16 overall pick in the 2010 draft and has never had more than 6.5 sacks in a season. I don't know how he can be underrated. He's a decent pass-rusher, but he's never really been great. I'm confused as to why Peter thinks Morgan is underrated.

3. I think I’m glad there wasn’t the kind of overreaction I’d expected to Michael Sam signing to appear on “Dancing With The Stars.” I don’t think there should be any negative reaction, period. One: A man has to make some sort of living. If no team is going to sign Sam to play football, and he wants to continue to work out and chase his dream of being an NFL player, he’s got to find some way to support himself financially so the dream can continue to be chased.

And of course, like many 20-somethings who are out there chasing their dream of being an athlete or an actor/actress, he's forced to do some dancing in his spare time to help support himself. Sam is just doing it to make ends meet and being a dancer doesn't define who he is as a person.

4. I think Peyton Manning and the Broncos are likely to agree to a restructured contract soon—a redone deal that will make neither side happy.

If no one is happy then it's the perfect compromise, right? That's how a good negotiation followed by a compromise works. Both sides feel like they got fucked.

Why? If I were Manning, I’d hardly think I deserve a pay adjustment, after throwing more touchdown passes than anyone else in football over the past three years.

Peter has kept driving this point home that Manning shouldn't think he deserves a pay adjustment based on his performance, while missing the point that Manning may need to take a pay adjustment in order to keep the offensive weapons he loves having around him. If Manning doesn't like change and wants continuity then he may need to cough up a few dollars in order to help this continuity happen. It's life and the economics of it all.

And the Broncos would want it to be less than it’ll end up being, most likely. But there’s little doubt it’s going to get done.

Manning has no obligation to take less money, but he can't privately bitch about the lack of continuity around the team's offense and still make the amount of money that he is due to make for the 2015 season. The Broncos can't blow their salary situation out of the water over the next 3-5 years just to appease Manning for however many more seasons he wants to continue playing.

5. I think, as the competition committee convenes in Florida this week for its annual week of fact-finding and investigating rules adjustments, I forecast an uphill fight for the two issues of most public interest: defining what is a catch, and making every play replay-reviewable...As to making every play reviewable, remember Fisher’s words to me: “So if someone throws a touchdown pass against us to win the game, I’m going to throw the challenge flag. Somebody [committed a holding penalty] out there. Somebody did something. You start there and then go … I mean, I don’t know. Replay was designed to overturn obvious errors. It was never designed to include penalties.” Doesn’t sound like the committee is inclined to consider that very seriously.

This has to be among the stupidest reasoning that can be used to not make every play reviewable. Each coach only gets two challenges (or a third if they win the first two challenges), yet Fisher shows a complete lack of understanding by acting like 15 challenge flags will be thrown per game if all plays are reviewable. Peter should have called Fisher on the use of this reasoning. The fact the committee isn't taking the idea to make every play reviewable seriously can't have anything to do with the stupid reasoning that Fisher uses here. He's acting like there isn't a limit on how many calls can be challenged because he doesn't like the idea to make all plays reviewable.

8. I think Josh McCown is certainly not the long-term answer at quarterback in Cleveland, but I think he provides a bridge that’s different than what Brian Hoyer would provide.

McCown was a bridge that cost $4.75 million last year, but Peter won't criticize McCown in the same way he criticized Josh Freeman because of what a great little "helper" McCown is.

With McCown, he can fill almost any role. He can start for a while.

He can fill every role, but perhaps not fill every role successfully. There is a difference.

He can back up Johnny Manziel. He can start while tutoring Manziel. He can back up while tutoring Manziel. He can be a third quarterback if the Browns draft their quarterback of the future. Basically, McCown allows the Browns to keep their options open on draft day, and he buys them time if they don’t draft a quarterback to see if Manziel is a legitimate option to start this year.

Because teams usually spend $5.25 million on their third string quarterback. Again, I could be wrong in underestimating what a great little "helper" McCown is, but this is an awful lot of positivity coming from Peter for a 35 year old quarterback who failed miserably as the starter for the Buccaneers last year.

9. I think Brett Favre’s Packer Hall of Fame induction ceremony should be held in Lambeau Field, not jammed into the Lambeau atrium.

I think I never want to hear the name "Brett Favre" again or else I would want to jam something into my Lambeau atrium.

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

c. Spring training is a week old, and I’m already A-Rodded out—for the season.

And it's only going to get worse before it gets better.

g. Maybe Rajon Rondo is more trouble than he’s worth.
h. Rajon Rondo is more trouble than he’s worth.

Peter doesn't watch a lot of NBA games, but he thinks that Rajon Rondo is a real problem child. Of course, Peter doesn't think that maybe Rondo has always been this way and been worth the trouble when he was in Boston, but that doesn't matter because he only pays attention to whatever current event just happened when drawing his conclusions.

i. Three questions.
j. Why is court-storming allowed?

One question: Why are there questions under "j," "k," and "l" instead of these questions being a part of "i"?

l. Why is this the first year since its inception that I cannot name one player in the Big East?

Because for one reason or another you don't watch a lot of college basketball. Simply because Peter doesn't pay much attention to a sport doesn't speak to the relevance of that sport (or conference, as the case may be here) as a whole.

p. Beernerdness: It’d been a while since I had a Flower Power IPA (Ithaca Brewing Company), but I will not be such a stranger anymore. Had one the other night, and it’s one of the best IPAs in the country.

It's the Meryl Streep of beers. Always good and you can never have too much of it.

r. Speaking of worker bees, Adnan Virk is ESPN’s Cesar Tovar. Virk is everywhere, and he’s good at everything.
s. You’ll have to look up Cesar Tovar, but let this be the start of your MMQB homework assignment.

Hey, how about not being a haughy dipshit and just provide the information rather than condescendingly request your readers go search out the information? You know, do the same thing you expect others to do for you when you aren't aware of something.

u. The hearts of so many in the journalism community (and in the feeling world at large) go out to the Ivan Maisel family, as a desperate search for college son Max, missing since last Sunday near Rochester, N.Y., continues. Certainly nothing anyone can say or do can be of much solace at this point. But Ivan (a former SI colleague who covers college football for ESPN), you should know how many people deeply feel for you and wish you and your family all the best in this awful time.

Below is the Tweet I referenced earlier. Peter did his best to empathize and came off as tone deaf as possible in doing so.

I do believe Peter's heart was in the right place, but pointing out he lost his child for three minutes in a grocery store as an example of how losing your child for over a week must feel and the child is presumed dead...that's just pretty typical of Peter. He seems to live in his own world at times and this Tweet was one of those times. 

The Adieu Haiku

Suh’s franchise-tag cost:

One year, $27 mill.

Don’t dare moan if tagged.
On the Haiku Pointlessness Scale of 1-10 this is probably only a 4. At least it provides information, but every week I wonder why the Adieu Haiku is still a part of MMQB.

Monday, March 2, 2015

2 comments The NCAA Is Going Old School to Screw Over Student-Athletes Now

There was a time when freshmen were not eligible to play athletics the first year they were in college. This rule has changed, but now to combat the one-and-done rule that the NBA has forced on college basketball, there is some consideration to making freshmen ineligible again. I think this is a bad idea and is an example of further screwing over student-athletes who have no interest in being in college by basically forcing them to stay two years under the guise of "academic reasons." I am somewhat happy that the NCAA is thinking of ways to combat the one-and-done rule, but I don't think making freshmen ineligible to compete in athletics is the way to go about combating the rule. It just further puts student-athletes in the middle of the pissing contest between the NBA and the NCAA.

The item was No. 7 on a 10-point list for NCAA reform ideas that Pac-12 presidents and chancellors sent their Power Five colleagues last May.
7. Address the “one and done” phenomenon in men's basketball. If the National Basketball Association and its Players Association are unable to agree on raising the age limit for players, consider restoring the freshman ineligibility rule in men's basketball.
Several conference commissioners say it's time to consider making freshmen -- or at least some of them -- ineligible, again, for the first time since the NCAA rule changed in 1972.

Really this is only a huge issue when it comes to college basketball. There are true freshmen who play football that this rule wouldn't affect because they can't leave after one year of eligibility anyway. This rule would be to combat the dumb one-and-done rule, which is a rule the NBA has imposed on the NCAA and the NCAA has been too stupid to figure out how to combat previously. Naturally, the NCAA's reaction is to further screw over the student-athletes. I don't really think this idea will be implemented any time soon, but it just goes to show how the NCAA and their conferences tend to think.

One-and-done players in men's basketball are the main reason some commissioners want this discussion to occur, and it's not clear whether freshman eligibility interest would decrease should NBA commissioner Adam Silver get his way by pushing the NBA's age limit from 19 to 20 years old.

Probably not, but it would be just like the NCAA to still make freshmen ineligible while the NBA now pushes the age limit to 20, thereby basically ensuring NBA-bound athletes would still only play one year at the college level.

“I've had conversations with several commissioners about (freshman ineligibility),” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said. “We are pushing, and I think you will see much more serious conversations about it in the coming months and year.”

Yep, get bent.

There are many unanswered questions, of course. Would scholarships have to be added and increase costs?

Probably. There would need to more scholarships because a school has to field a full team, while also giving scholarships to freshmen who won't play.

Would all freshmen have to sit, or only those who do not reach an academic benchmark?

If not, the academic benchmark would quickly become a fraud where every freshmen is reaching the benchmark so that every freshmen can play. The chances for there to be even more academic fraud would increase.

Is the idea only to better prepare athletes academically or is it to also integrate them socially? Does freshman ineligibility even accomplish one or both of those goals?

Nope and nope. Student-athletes who just want to play in the NBA will still want to just play in the NBA, only for a longer span of time while attending college, and while either learning or not learning.

Others believe now is the time to consider it again given court cases that could allow players to be paid, Congressional scrutiny into college sports, and a unionization attempt to make Northwestern football players designated as employees. A new lawsuit against the NCAA and North Carolina attacks the heart of the NCAA's stated mission: Are enough high-profile college athletes truly being educated?

The one-and-done guys aren't being educated, but that's the current state of affairs. The problem is the NCAA is running a highly lucrative business and being judged on whether they are educating high-profile college athletes. It's a business that also wants to educate. Schools are educating college athletes, but also running a business with other college athletes. You can't force someone to be educated.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said there is “almost a uniform acknowledgment that there's kids in college that don't have any interest in an education and don't have the proper education to take advantage of an education.” Bowlsby said freshman ineligibility would have a “profoundly positive effect” on football and men's basketball by easing the transition from high school without the distractions of competition.

Oh yes, in fantasy land. In the real world, these athletes will still practice with the team and be prepared to play in games while going on trips with the team, just without actually being able to play with the team. If a freshman doesn't want to be educated then he will find something else to distract him other than the competition of college athletics. Making freshmen ineligible is doing a disservice to those student-athletes who want to play in the NBA, by keeping up the sham for an additional year and lengthening the absurd illusion that Jahlil Okafor is at Duke to prepare academically for a job in the real world. If I were offered a job after my freshmen year where I could make millions of dollars, I would have dropped school in a second. I went to school to earn millions of dollars (mission not accomplished...ever), so if I have the chance to earn millions of dollars then I can also go back to school at my leisure at a later time.

Swofford said. “We're in a period now where everybody is trying to get a hold of the student-athlete experience and a recommitment, if you will, to balance academics and athletics.”

Right, it's for the kids, not to combat the NBA's one-and-done rule? Got it. So why does item #7 on the 10-point list for NCAA reform not mention academics at all and simply uses the freshmen ineligibility tool as a way to combat the one-and-done rule? It's about academics in every way except actually being about academics.

But that academic redshirt year is based on the NCAA's minimum standards. Universities regularly admit athletes into school below their school's own academic standards. This often causes challenges for some athletes that struggle to stay afloat academically; they are sometimes put into majors that may not help them once they're done playing, and they can even become cases of academic fraud given the pressure to do what is necessary to keep players eligible.

Athletes struggling academically is a real issue. I won't deny that. The pressure to keep players academically eligible won't decrease or disappear simply because freshmen aren't eligible. These standards don't just go away after the first year of college. It's even possible an athlete coasts through his first year not caring if he's eligible academically since he isn't eligible athletically and then it's even harder for that athlete to stay afloat during sophomore year because he is even further behind at that point.

But that academic redshirt year is based on the NCAA's minimum standards. Universities regularly admit athletes into school below their school's own academic standards. This often causes challenges for some athletes that struggle to stay afloat academically; they are sometimes put into majors that may not help them once they're done playing, and they can even become cases of academic fraud given the pressure to do what is necessary to keep players eligible.

See, it's not about academics. It's about the one-and-done rule. I favor the two-and-through rule or just letting these guys go to the NBA after high school. Two-and-through is different from making freshmen ineligible in that at least the athlete is participating in sports and honing the craft he will eventually make a career out of. 99% of college basketball players are there for an education AND sports, while two-and-through with the option of not attending college doesn't speaks to the reality 1% are there just to play basketball long enough to get to the NBA. I think it should be straight to high school or two-and-through. The student-athlete gets to choose which path he takes.

On average, 10 true freshmen have entered the NBA Draft each year from 2010-14. A freshman has been the NBA's No. 1 pick for five-straight years. Freshmen make up 36 percent of the NBA lottery picks in that same time period.

The one-and-done rule is bleeding NCAA basketball dry. It's creating teams with elite players, but also results in a lack of continuity from year-to-year and dilutes the product in the long-term. I love Jahlil Okafor, but if he doesn't want to be in college then I see no reason he should be there.

Freshman ineligibility “would do a lot to restore credibility and integrity to college basketball,” said Scott,

It would not. It would allow assholes like Larry Scott to point to freshmen ineligibility as proof he really cares when in reality it's just a response to the NBA's one-and-done rule. It's the result of a pissing contest, not genuine concern about academics.

“It would demonstrate they're students first on those teams and they're in class and getting grades that would keep them eligible. The reality of one-and-done is it's not even one. It's like half or three-quarters (of a school year) and done.”

And of course one and three-quarters of a school year with one year of athletics is SO MUCH BETTER. Problem solved, now the NCAA can wash the blood of shady academic fraud off their hands because THEY TRULY CARE. See how they don't let freshmen play during their freshmen year? This means these student-athletes have time to focus solely on academics for one year and then ignore academics completely for the second year.

“Keeping freshmen ineligible helped the marginal high school recruit adapt to college academic and social life before becoming preoccupied with big-time varsity sports,” former NCAA executive director Walter Byers wrote in “Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Exploiting College Athletes,” his 1997 memoir about his 37 years leading the NCAA.

Right, but freshmen being ineligible will only go to hurt the elite recruit who has no need to be adapted to college life before going to play in the NBA. Marginal recruits are not going to leave after one year to play in the NBA, so the freshmen ineligibility rule won't help them. Again, it could hurt them in that during their second year of college when classes get more difficult they are forced to juggle sports and athletics, which isn't something they had to do freshmen year. That's where the academic fraud starts. College can be a hard transition. It's best time management and other life skills are learned immediately, as opposed to delayed one more year.

“More important, it was a significant deterrent to quick-fix athletics recruiting, the unbridled desire of coaches to reach out indiscriminately for high school seniors to fill depleted varsity positions immediately.”

And how would making freshmen ineligible have a positive effect? Coaches would then would use quick-fix recruiting to fill depleted varsity spots two years from now. For example, John Calipari would know he's about to lose some players to the NBA, so he recruits Karl Towns to replace Willie Cauley-Stein and Tyler Ulis to replace one of the Harrison twins. There is no difference in the recruiting method, simply a difference in how quick the fix ends up happening. Instead of there being a quick-fix for depleted varsity positions, there is a pipeline of fixes for depleted varsity positions. It's not better because the outcome (that player leaving to go to the NBA without a degree) doesn't change. It's just the quick-fixes like Towns and Ulis are on the bench for one season.

In the decades since the change, repealing freshman ineligibility has periodically popped up. Legendary North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith, who died this week,

I'm sure the NCAA would claim he died because freshmen were eligible to play basketball.

often said freshmen should be ineligible and have to prove themselves as a student first before they have the privilege of playing basketball.

I'm not going to bash Dean Smith, but he coached in a different time when playing basketball was more of a privilege. It's not as much now. It's now much more about the student-athlete making money for the NCAA and school. In a perfect world, an athlete would prove himself as a student first before playing a sport, but NCAA basketball is not a perfect world.

Coach K also didn't like the one-and-done rule and he has had to adapt to it under the realization that living in a fairy tale world where he keeps talented basketball players for 3-4 years isn't realistic anymore. 

“Every time (freshman ineligibility) comes up, it's fairly quickly dismissed,” Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky said. “There needs to be a really strong rationale for it. Right now, you have some students that are coming to college -- in men's basketball in particular -- that have pro aspirations and want to move as quickly through the collegiate experience as possible. It might be an advantage that you don't have student-athletes on campus who don't really want to be student-athletes for their entire career.

I don't know if it is an advantage to have student-athletes on campus who don't want to student-athletes for their entire career. It's not simple to integrate one-and-done guys into a team with other talented players who are not going to be one-and-done. Roles change and are scaled back, which can affect how well a team performs. Plenty of good coaches have struggled with one-and-done, while teams that aren't as talented as other teams with one-and-done players (2010 Duke/Butler, 2011 UConn/Butler, 2014 UConn) have done well in the NCAA Tournament of late. In fact, go back through the list of teams who have won the NCAA Tournament. It's dominated by teams who have quality juniors and seniors playing key roles. Having one-and-done guys isn't a huge advantage to winning an NCAA title.

Atlantic 10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade estimated freshman ineligibility would add 25 percent in academic costs, adding “at some point I think there's a tipping point where there's just not enough dollars to go around.” If an entire freshman class -- or even just a handful of first-year players -- sat, coaches would inevitably want more scholarships in order to have the same number of available players on their squads for competition.

Exactly. What happens when 5-6 guys leave the team unexpectedly after a season and there are only 3 rising sophomores joining the team? That leaves the team depleted. When this happens now, it's a problem, but at least any recruited high school player making a late decision can play immediately during the next Fall semester.

“Another thing I don't think people mention enough: It's amazing the athletes do so much better academically when they're in a season,” McGlade said. “When you don't have this rigid schedule deadline, the mentality of an athlete is, ‘I've got all the time in the world.' I know many athletes and coaches and academic advisors, they sweat it out when their athletes are not in season.”

Very true as well. These student-athletes know they aren't playing during their freshmen year so some sort of apathy towards academics and hitting the ground running while in college can set in. It's the same way that high school students get "senioritis" because they know they are graduating and may not have to give their all during the end of their senior year due to already being in college.

“It sounds really good,” Steinbrecher said. “I don't think it addresses the academic issues people think it does. I think the literature and studies done show sitting as a freshman is not a predictor whether a person is successful academically by GPA or by graduation. Why are we making a group of kids ineligible for a year when for the vast majority of kids they're academically prepared to be there and to play?”

Notice earlier in this column how an average of 10 college athletes have been drafted in the NBA after their freshmen season. This freshmen ineligibility rule would be put into effect for 10-15 college athletes. That seems like killing a fly with a shotgun.

Freshmen ineligibility isn't as much of an issue in college football. It's an NBA-NCAA thing.

“Is there some academic standard you can hit that would earn you the right to play earlier?” Scott asked.

No. Absolutely not. If the NCAA wants academic fraud, then they would get a lot of academic fraud by allowing freshmen to hit an academic standard that allows them to play earlier. Every freshman this rule was enacted to "help" would hit the academic standard, thereby making it a useless rule, because if a student-athlete isn't leaving college after one year for the NBA anyway then the rule wouldn't serve it's intended effect.

Some get admitted into school barely able to read and stand two standard deviations below their university profile average for test scores and GPA, he said.

Is there really a belief this would stop happening if freshmen became ineligible to play sports? Really? Is the NCAA being that naive? Again, telling freshmen to sit out a year for academic reasons doesn't mean those freshmen will actually use that time to study and adapt to college. You can't force people to get an education they don't want.

The Drake Group proposes freshmen not compete for a year if they are admitted one standard deviation below the university academic profile average. Under the proposal, freshmen who sit would be limited to 10 hours of practice per week so they can be remediated academically.

This sounds good, but it also sounds like a good way for academic fraud to start at the high school level. I'm in favor of college student-athletes getting a great education, but the small percentage of students who are affected by the one-and-done rule are not there for an education, but to play in the NBA. I would love for every student-athlete to want a great education. Schools are going to want to put a revenue-earning product on the court and will do as much as possible between and outside the lines to make this happen.

The Kenneth Wainstein independent report showed more than 1,000 North Carolina athletes were pushed by academic counselors into a system of fraudulent, no-show classes that were used to keep players eligible. Students never had interaction with a faculty member in these African-American Studies classes and had grades assigned without considering the quality of work.

And so, back to the idea of freshmen being ineligible to play college sports. How would freshmen ineligibility prevent schools from creating fake classes that never meet and have no real instructor? It could still very well happen. In the case of UNC-CH, student-athletes were sophomores and juniors when they were pushed into these classes. This type of thing would still happen even if freshmen weren't eligible to play sports.

“It's not just the North Carolina situation,” Bowlsby said. “I think we've got to take a hard look at online classes and directed readings and independent study because they're just fraught with opportunity for abuses. You hate to not be able to do something for a student-athlete that others are entitled to do, but that might be what needs to happen.”

Okay. I'm failing to be made to understand how making a freshmen ineligible to play college sports will prevent these types of abuses. These are two separate issues and should be treated as such. College athletes need to be eligible to play sports, but this need doesn't stop after freshman year and athletes can still be steered towards no-show classes after freshman year.

“Time demands” is the buzz phrase that's going to be heavily discussed moving forward in college sports. Some leaders in college sports believe the NCAA's rule allowing 20 hours per week on athletics is broken, partly because of so many exemptions that don't count against the 20 hours.

For example, the rule doesn't count athletes' time spent traveling to competition or time getting medical treatment. Football games only count for three hours, not all of the time spent preparing for the game on a Friday and Saturday. In reality, NCAA studies have shown athletes spend more than 40 hours per week on their sport. Some players have said they have no time for jobs or summer internships.

Again, there is a mixing of issues happening here. Maybe the 20 hour rule is broken and doesn't work. Fine. How is making freshmen ineligible to play sports going to fix this?

“I think you'd be amazed at how the honor system or instinct level balances everything out,” McGlade said. “Some athletes will train whether or not they have coaches around. I think everybody is becoming much more in tune about overuse injuries as it is.”

Sure, and overuse injuries won't stop because freshmen will be treated like transfers and have to sit out a year. This particular solution doesn't fix the problem at hand. It's just a way to piss off the NBA. The NCAA basically states that in point #7, because they don't once mention academics as the reason for the change to making freshmen ineligible to participate in sports.

“The problem is the average fan simply doesn't care,” Gurney said. “They just want to be entertained and feel good about their school and keep the pretense what they're seeing out there is real students. That's nonsense.

I am under no pretense. I know they aren't real students on the basketball court. Thanks for underestimating the public though. I care about athletes getting an education, but I don't think forcing college basketball players to stay in school for two years and not even allowing them to play freshmen year is the fix. It is a way to stick it to the NBA.

That's not to say many athletes can't get a good education. Most athletes can get that. The problem with college sports is not with the women's lacrosse team or women's tennis team. The problem is football and men's basketball, and we have to come to terms with that.”

And freshmen ineligibility isn't as much of an issue with college football, because true freshmen won't be going to the NFL after one season of college football. So the reason for the proposed freshmen ineligibility rule is to prevent 10-15 student-athletes from pursuing the NBA, while using the guise of trying to provide a better education. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

0 comments What A-Rod Has Done Wrong Today: He Showed Up Early to Spring Training

I don't really want to start writing about A-Rod more often (or more often than I already do, which is too often). It's too tempting to not start a chain of posts called "What A-Rod Has Done Wrong Today," which would basically be all the things A-Rod has no control over that he's getting blamed for or good things A-Rod has done which are being turned into bad things. I don't want to write about A-Rod more, but I like to post five times per week (which means shorter posts sometimes) and A-Rod is always good for some overreaction by the media. So a succession of posts about the things A-Rod has done wrong should go to show how insane the New York media is about A-Rod.

What A-Rod has done wrong today is that he showed up to spring training early, without telling the Yankees he was coming. It's just like A-Rod, always making his own rules. Most baseball players would publicly announce when they are coming to spring training to get extra work in, but A-Rod being the selfish asshole he is, chooses to just show the hell up and expect the media and Yankees to deal with it. A-Rod is early. No one likes it when a baseball player spends extra time trying to improve himself. It's unsightly.

With two strikes against him and little margin for error, Alex Rodriguez still managed to find a way to irritate the Yankee brass when he arrived at spring training Monday — two days earlier than expected.

TWO DAYS EARLIER THAN EXPECTED! If my employees come into work early in the morning, then I immediately slap them across the face and tell them to GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE OFFICE YOU COCKGOBLIN! I EXPECTED YOU AT 8AM AND IT'S 7:45AM! WHAT KIND OF AMATEUR BULLSHIT ARE YOU PULLING?

I don't even know what I would do if an employee showed up on Saturday. The death penalty would be in play though. Nothing is more irritating than an employee who shows up and tries to do improve themselves by putting more work in. Honestly, it's a fireable offense.

Wearing a green University of Miami workout suit, Rodriguez arrived in Tampa Monday morning, which was news to the Yankees, leaving Brian Cashman and the team’s media relations staff scrambling for answers.

What answers did they need? "He's here, yes." That's pretty much all they need to say and the Yankees have made it clear to A-Rod he's on his own in terms of dealing with the media.

The Yankees, who had expected him to show up on Wednesday, had no issues with A-Rod arriving on Monday, but team officials were fuming that he hadn’t alerted them to his plans.

"No issues" means that the Yankees weren't "fuming" when A-Rod showed up. If they were fuming, that's the exact polar opposite of having no issues with when A-Rod showed up to spring training. I ain't a writer like Mark Feinsand, but I do know if I'm fuming about something then I have an issue with that something. In an effort to paint A-Rod in the wrong, all logic must be thrown out the window in favor of insanity.

“He’s learned nothing,” said one baseball executive. “He’s the same old guy. He just did what he wanted to do.”

Did the other Yankees players tell the team when they would show up or did they just show up and do whatever they wanted to do? Why should A-Rod be different?

“I cringe sometimes when I look at some of the things I did, but I paid my penalty and I’m grateful that I have another opportunity,” Rodriguez said as he stopped to speak with reporters outside the team’s minor-league complex following a one-hour workout.

The Yankees have no issue with A-Rod speaking to the media, but they fuming that he spoke with the media. The Yankees were fine with A-Rod working out for an hour, but they are absolutely flabbergasted he didn't even check the schedule to see if a little league team needed the field during the time he rudely dominated the complex during his workout.

His early arrival did offset the expected media crush on Wednesday, as roughly 20 reporters and a handful of cameras were on hand at the minor-league complex to greet A-Rod, a fraction of what had been expected on Wednesday.

And here is the real reason the media will jump all over the "A-Rod was early to spring training story" as if it is some huge fault in A-Rod's DNA to arrive earlier than expected. That reason? They didn't get a chance to be there the day A-Rod walked in and create a circus, then write dozens of columns about the circus surrounding A-Rod. He prevented the media crush and avoided putting a huge spotlight on his arrival, which obviously shows his inherent selfishness. The media has it out for him, why can't he just play along?

According to a source, Rodriguez was planning to work out at the complex, something he’s done multiple times in the past without alerting the club. Once the Yankees requested he first take his physical, he complied immediately.

It's not even the first time A-Rod has shown up early to spring training. Wow, the selfishness and refusal to play a part in the media's games of circus really dominates A-Rod's thoughts. Maybe he's too focused on combating the media and not focused enough on baseball. Look for Mike Lupica to write the column broaching this subject in the near future. 

Asked whether he thought the Yankees are on his side as camp opens, A-Rod seemed uncertain.
“I don’t know; you’d have to ask them,” he said. “I created a big headache for a lot of people, so I don’t blame whoever is mad at me. I understand.”

Wow, A-Rod is still not taking blame for what happ (changes narrative) is still uncertain exactly if the Yankees are on his side or not. Is he just dumb? Of course they aren't on his side, but it's because A-Rod doesn't realize he's created a big headache for a lot of peo showed up early to spring training. That's the ticket, that's why they are mad at him.

Rodriguez declined to answer many specific questions about his suspension, his role in the Biogenesis scandal or the apology letter he released last week. 

Still hiding. He still won't answer the questions about the scandal or whether he is even using PED's at the present time. When will A-Rod answer that question? Is he is on PED's right now? He wouldn't dare answer though.

He did answer one drug-related question, when a reporter asked him directly if he was currently using any illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

“No,” Rodriguez said firmly.

Well, I mean, he's probably lying. So who would believe A-Rod when asked this question anyway? It's a dumb question and doesn't even really need to be asked.

Asked whether he was confident he could succeed without the drugs, the three-time AL MVP replied, “I’m confident that if I stay healthy, I can do some good things.”

The fact A-Rod is 39 years old and was getting injured prior to his year-long suspension. This is probably a bigger reason his performance could decline during the 2015 season, but I'm sure the media will ignore that A-Rod is almost 40 years old and claim he can't hit 40 home runs because he's not on PED's anymore.

A-Rod’s day marked the first time he worked out under the team’s watch since his historic 162-game suspension.

How did the Yankees watch though? THEY WEREN'T PREPARED FOR HIM TO SHOW UP TO SPRING TRAINING!

Making the team was a recurring theme during his eight-minute session, something A-Rod hasn’t had to do since he was a teenager coming up with the Mariners back in the mid-1990s.

A-Rod doesn't even expect to compete for the spot I would bet. He just wants it all handed to him.

“I love to compete,” he said.

Yeah, but he only loves to compete when he's using PED's.

“I’m here a couple days early to get a jump start. I love baseball. I just love to be in uniform and I’m so grateful to have an opportunity to be back in uniform.”

The fact A-Rod loves baseball and wants to show up early in order to compete and make the team is a TERRIBLE excuse for showing up to spring training early. He should think less about helping the Yankees on the field and more about helping the Yankees by telegraphing his every move to them. He's not getting paid to play baseball well, plus the media is terrified that A-Rod will come back and play well for a 39 year old while in his teammate's good graces. It would ruin all the narratives.

Rodriguez had planned to take part in his first workout at 11 a.m. Monday, but once the Yankees learned of his plan — Cashman said he heard about A-Rod’s plan from a pair of reporters Monday morning — the team requested he first undergo his spring physical.

A-Rod reported to the ballpark at 11:30 for his checkup, then headed for the minor-league complex around 12:45. He drove a white SUV into the complex shortly before 1, carrying his bats in through a back entrance.

A-Rod not only failed to alert the Yankees to his every move, but also drove his own car to the complex and carried his own bats while selfishly trying to gain attention for himself by entering through a back entrance. WHEN WILL THIS MONSTER FINALLY BE SATIATED WITH THE LEVEL OF DAMAGE HE CAN CAUSE?

He worked out from 1:30 to 2:30, playing long toss, throwing a medicine ball, fielding grounders at third base and shortstop and taking batting practice. He took 71 swings and hit six home runs.

He field baseballs at third base. Clearly A-Rod is delusional that he is going to be the starting third baseman in complete defiance of what the Yankees have said. They have stated repeatedly the third base job is Chase Headley's, but no, A-Rod has go and practice at third base just to stay sharp in case something happens to Headley.

Rodriguez will report to camp Wednesday with the rest of the position players, while the first full-squad workout is scheduled for Thursday.

A-Rod thinks he's a position player. How cute. He's a DH! KNOW YOUR PLACE A-ROD!

The New York media will whine that A-Rod can't ever earn his $61 million that is owed to him, meanwhile will criticize A-Rod for even trying to earn this money.

He has no plans to address the team as a whole, saying he “has a lot of good relationships” with players and staff members.

“Surprisingly enough, I feel very welcome,” he said.

Well, he's not welcome and the New York media is pretty sure they speak for the rest of the Yankees when saying that. Next thing you know, A-Rod will stay after the game to get some more at-bats and try to give hitting tips to the younger players in an effort to undermine Jeff Pentland and take over the hitting coach duties for himself.

Friday, February 27, 2015

1 comments Bleacher Report's Provides Insight on the Dos and Don'ts of NFL Free Agency By Stating the Obvious

Bleacher Report has gotten their shit together mostly (or more than they used to have their shit together) and now they are spawning copycat sites, which is always terrible news. These other sites probably think they can use the same "hot takes which provide pageviews" formula that ended up making Bleacher Report successful. These other sites just need to find enough unpaid writers willing to do a lot of the work and then grab some real, paid sportswriters a few years down the road. Bleacher Report still has crap on the site though. Today, we will learn the Dos and Don'ts of the 2015 Free Agent Market. By "learn" I mean that you might say, "Well yes, I knew that. What's the purpose of this column again?" after reading the column slideshow. As always, the last slide of this slideshow is really the first slide to the next slideshow. It's such a devious little trick used to pump up pageviews.

Let's start the slideshow!

For the 30 teams not participating in Sunday's big game, however, planning for the 2015 season has already begun.

Thank God this slideshow is being published just in time to properly prepare these teams for the offseason. What a favor the author has done these NFL teams!

Since free agency—which begins at 4 p.m. ET on March 10—is less than a month-and-a-half away, now is definitely the time for NFL organizations to start weighing their options.

It's not the time for NFL organizations to start weighing their options, it's DEFINITELY the time for NFL organizations to start weighing their options.

What follows is a quick rundown of what teams should and shouldn't do during the 2015 free-agent period in order to kick-off a successful offseason. 

Pay attention! Deep insights will follow! None of these insights are so shockingly obvious that they shouldn't have been written. Not at all.

Don't Be Afraid to Spend Money

Definitely don't be afraid to spend money. I mean, just go spend it, and victories will come. Every year a few teams spend money on free agents and those teams ALWAYS end up in the Super Bowl.

Last year, the base salary cap for NFL teams was $133 million. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the NFL has informed teams that the 2015 salary cap will be somewhere between $138.6 million and $141.8 million.

This is a large sum for teams to play with, even considering the league's rising salaries.

The CBA also put a rookie wage scale into place, which means teams no longer have to set aside astronomical sums in order to negotiate with high draft picks.

And none of those players under the rookie wage scale are looking for a contract extension since they have been in the league for four years now. None! Go spend that money, the rookie wage scale will save you.

This means that teams in need of immediate help or looking to get over the playoff hump can and should eschew frugality during the free-agency period, provided they haven't already gone overboard in terms of salary.

So teams should spend money, unless they don't have money to spend. In that case, DO NOT spend money. Got it.

There is simply too much proven talent to be had and, as always, plenty of questions surrounding the incoming draft class.

More great advice. At this point, no one has been able to accurately predict how every draft pick will perform. So go with the proven talent over building through the draft.

Do Look to Fill Holes

DO look to improve the team. Great. 

Does your team struggle to protect the quarterback, move the ball through the air or defend against the run? If so, your best bet is to bolster the area of weakness in free agency.

Wait, so if my team struggles to rush the passer then they should look to improve that area of the defense? What if my team struggles to run the football, DO they go try to find a running back in free agency? After all, no one can predict how the incoming draft class will perform, so it's probably best to find a free agent running back like Ben Tate or Toby Gerhart. It will be worth the expense.

This doesn't mean that every team needs to go out and overspend in order to plug a hole. However, it makes perfect sense to seek out a starting-caliber player or solid depth option.

Oh, so DON'T go out and waste money? I think I understand.

Even the most promising rookie prospects are unproven and each team is limited by the number of draft picks it possesses.

Because rookie prospects are so much less certain than those free agents. History has proven that to be correct. Sure, rookies are cheaper, but who cares. DO spend money. DON'T trust your scouting department. I'm also vexed by each team being limited by the number of draft picks it possesses. So that means my favorite team can't select 10-12 players in the first round?

Filling holes allows for more flexibility on draft day.

Okay, so try to improve the team through free agency before trying to improve the team through the draft. I'm not sure why NFL teams haven't thought of doing this before. This may be why free agency starts before the draft occurs. Probably not. It's just a coincidence.

Even if a team only finds one or two starters in free agency, that's one or two picks it can potentially package to trade up for a prospect it really wants

Yeah, but why would an NFL team do that when rookie prospects are so unproven and there are questions around a draft class? Plus, history has definitely shown the best bet to improve an area of weakness is to use free agency. Just look at how the Seahawks built their team.

Don't Expect to Find a Star Quarterback 

WHAT? There aren't star quarterbacks just lying around on the free agent market? This is definitely news to me.

The 2015 draft class isn't particularly deep at the quarterback position and the free-agent pool might be even more lackluster.

How could the free-agent pool be more lackluster than the draft? The draft class is totally unproven and nobody knows what those rookies may do.

The quarterback group is headlined by the likes of Mark Sanchez, Jake Locker and Brian Hoyer. These are guys that might hold down the job for a season or help mentor a rookie or developmental quarterback, but they probably aren't going to lead a team to the Super Bowl.

I'm not arguing the point, but umm..., Mark Sanchez has twice led his team to within one win of the Super Bowl. So, it has almost happened before.

Other experienced quarterbacks expected to hit the open market include Michael Vick, Jason Campbell and Matt Moore. There's nothing wrong with grabbing a guy to provide backup presence or add to a quarterback competition, but don't go looking for a long-term solution to your team's quarterback woes.

I'm still shocked there isn't a star quarterback just hanging out there on the free agent market.

Do Target a Wide Receiver

As teams move to re-sign their own, the list of available receivers is sure to shrink. However, proven veterans like Miles Austin, Eddie Royal, Nate Washington and Hakeem Nicks may still be available to strengthen your receiving corps.

I'm assuming this is a joke. The only thing "proven" about these wide receivers is they are good, but not good enough to not be replaced.

Don't Plan to Count on Guys with an Injury History 

cc: Jeff Fisher

I hate to repeat myself again, but....WHAT???? You mean it's a bad idea to count on a guy with an injury history to sign a new contract and then immediately stay healthy? I never knew this. Boy, these NFL teams are very fortunate this author is around to provide this type of advice.

It's definitely a going-after-a-receiver year in free agency, but guys like Wes Welker and Reggie Wayne should be avoided.

This is as opposed to "proven" veterans like Miles Austin, who has appeared in more than 12 games once since 2010? Welker and Wayne appeared in 14 and 15 games last year respectively. Obviously they are older, but I don't get why Miles Austin is "proven" and Welker and Wayne are injury risks. I would imagine these two receivers could come very cheap, so other than that I'm not advocating for them necessarily. It's just the obviousness of not counting on guys with an injury history to stay healthy has blown my mind and I can barely type right now.

Welker has suffered three concussions over the past two years and Wayne has missed 10 games in that span due to injury. At this point, Welker should seriously consider retirement and Wayne only really makes sense if he's returning to the Indianapolis Colts for a final act.

Or if he would be going to whatever team Peyton Manning plays for next season. That would make sense too.

Do Look for Pass-Rushing Help

So if a great pass-rusher is available, then DON'T ignore him? Make him an offer? What if he has an injury history? What if your team has very little money to spend?

Fortunately for teams currently without a dominant pass rush, there are plenty of younger players scheduled to hit free agency who can bring pressure on opposing signal-callers.

The list is headlined by defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (36.0 sacks in five seasons),

Oh, he should come cheap.

defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (42.0 sacks in five seasons)

Pierre-Paul missed five games in 2013. Wouldn't that mean he has an injury history? I guess when a player has an injury history the author wants to ignore then that injury history doesn't matter.

Promising players like linebacker Jabaal Sheard (23 sacks in four seasons), Jason Worilds (20.5 sacks over the past three years) and defensive end Jerry Hughes (20.0 sacks over past two seasons) are also scheduled to become available.

Not that it means much, but Sheard's sack numbers have steadily declined since his rookie season. Also, Jason Worilds is probably a good fit in a 3-4 defense where he can rush the passer, because he's labeled as an OLB and not a DE.

So to make the list of quality pass-rushers available in free agency, does a player have to have a first name that begins with a "J"?

Don't Ignore Special Teams

Gregg Easterbrook would argue that special teams are not as important as offense or defense. It's probably good advice to not completely ignore special teams in free agency. I'm betting most NFL teams haven't thought about improving their special teams through free agency.

Do Consider Adding a Fullback 

This obviously only applies if your offense regularly depends on having a fullback in the backfield.

Yes, obviously. If an NFL team doesn't use a fullback then DON'T sign a fullback. This is probably good advice that some NFL teams had not thought of. DON'T sign a player at a position your team doesn't use.

(Trent Baalke) "There are some really good centers that are going to hit the free agent market this upcoming summer. We'll look at them."

(Jim Tomsula) "Well, gee boss! That's a great idea! I thought we were set at center though. But I like the way you think? Can I go to the bathroom now?"

(Trent Baalke) "No, you are not allowed to go to the bathroom and you've drank enough water for the day, so give me your sippie cup. I'm thinking of signing a guy like DeAndre Jordan or maybe a power forward like Kevin Love. What do you think?"

(Jim Tomsula reaches for his sippie cup of water and gets his hand slapped back by Baalke) "Aren't those basketball players? I read a Bleacher Report article about the dos and don'ts of free agency and it said not to sign any players who won't actually have a position on your team. I think that goes for the center and power forward position. This isn't basketball, so we may just be wasting salary cap space by signing them. I think it's time to change me, I went to the bathroom without permission."

(Trent Baalke begins to change Tomsula's diaper) "That's a good point. We may not need a power forward since we are a football team. You read this on Bleacher Report? Thank God that articl---"

(Jim Tomsula) "It was a slideshow, not an article."

(Trent Baalke) "You know what I mean, now stay still so I can put your pants back on you. If it weren't for that article, I totally would have tried to sign Kevin Love to a 5 year $120 million contract. I guess since we won't have a fullback in the new offense then we shouldn't sign one of those either."

(Jim Tomsula sits up and spits up his lunch)

(Trent Baalke) "Dammit, I'm going to have to put a bib on you, aren't I?"

If your offense relies heavily on the fullback, however, you want to have a good one.

Heady, important advice. NFL teams may want to write that one down. If your offense requires a fullback, try to find as good of a fullback as possible. Without this slideshow, so many teams would try to find a shitty fullback when there are plenty of good fullbacks available.

I'm not sure why this free agent class is different from other free agent classes and these dos and don'ts needed to be written. Many of them seemed rather obvious to me. Try to find good players in free agency, try to improve your team in free agency, and you will have to pay a lot for good players so spend money if you think the player is worth it and you have enough money, but don't pay a lot for good players if you don't have enough salary cap room. Also, nothing is known about the players coming out of the draft, so there are no guarantees there, AND a team's draft picks are limited.

All of these things are definitely obvious, but I'm not sure why the author seems to think building through free agency (which is really an inefficient market that can be spoiled by one team overpaying a player) is a more proven way to succeed than building through the draft.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

3 comments In a Shocking Twist of Events Sportswriter Who Hates Everything About Alex Rodriguez Hates His Apology Too

Mike Lupica is a self-important asshole who has singlehandedly disproved the theory that it pays off to be nice to people and that those who treat others like they want to be treated will be rewarded. You wouldn't have to search far to hear stories of how Mike Lupica believes himself to be superior to his fellow co-workers, his neighbors or any other human being walking on Earth or in Heaven/Hell. So A-Rod apologizes for using steroids and his other crimes of ego and vanity. It was either going to be enough for some or not enough for others and the decision was probably made which way this would go well before A-Rod actually wrote the apology. People hate everything A-Rod does or they don't. They believe him or they don't. Mike Lupica is on his high horse and can't just write, "I don't like Alex Rodriguez so I choose not to believe him." No, Lupica has to think of horseshit excuses WHY he knows that the apology doesn't ring true among fans, though Lupica is about as in touch with sports fans as Tony Bennett is with the latest dance craze. The last time Lupica watched a game with real sports fans was the one time he got locked out of the press box and had to watch the third quarter of a Knicks game in the last row of Madison Square Garden. Even then he probably forced anyone who he had to sit beside out of their seat so he wouldn't feel crowded as he leaned forward in his chair with his toes barely touching the ground. A-Rod is an asshole and a liar. I'm not sure there's any doubt about that, but Mike Lupica mocking A-Rod and trying to pretend he knows anything about what the real sports fan thinks is the real assholery and lie in this situation.

To the end with Alex Rodriguez you wouldn’t believe the guy if he told you water was wet, even if he wrote that out in the schoolboy cursive handwriting he used on Tuesday when he apologized to the fans for being a very bad boy.

(Mike Lupica if A-Rod didn't apologize): "The least A-Rod could do is set aside his mountainous ego and tell the truth for once, even if it isn't the truth. Just write a letter or make a statement saying you are sorry. Is that too much to ask?"

(Mike Lupica when A-Rod does apologize): "A-Rod apologized. He didn't mean it. This is just another lie to add to the rolodex of lies that A-Rod seems to be keeping around in a feeble effort to get back in the good graces of fans."

See, when someone hates another person, then NOTHING the other person will do can stop the other person from hating him. At a certain point, the person doing the hating gets tuned out or ignored. So I expect nothing from Lupica but hate towards A-Rod and his take on A-Rod's letter will never convince me of Lupica's point of view.

Most fans reading it probably wanted to write one back: Shut up and get out.

Mike Lupica has absolutely zero idea what fans wanted to write back. The big lie here is any time Mike Lupica claims to even be 1% in touch with modern sports fans and their feelings. It's hard to mingle with the people when you won't leave your pedestal.

So this is the way Rodriguez decides to play it, deciding not to hold some kind of press conference before spring training, opting out of the visual of his lawyer sitting next to him and telling him which questions he could answer, and which ones would require him to exercise his Fifth Amendment rights, so as not to face self-incrimination.

Quite a scene that Lupica has set up here. Obviously A-Rod was opting out of creating a circus around himself for his own benefit and the media will never have a chance to speak with A-Rod ever again during the 2015 season. Such a sneaky fellow to permanently escape the questions of the media as he has.

But then DEA informants — it is exactly what Rodriguez is — rarely want to tell their stories in public.

Snitches get stitches! Mike Lupica don't like it much when snitches start telling stories to the DEA. That's the right way to end up on the wrong side of Lupica's glock.

And yes, Mike Lupica is now criticizing Alex Rodriguez for helping to put a drug dealer behind bars. Because while it's not honorable necessarily, it's also not something that merits any form of criticism.

Now he tries to control his own cockeyed narrative about his drug use — is he really going to try to convince us once again that he didn’t know what he was buying from Bosch and using? — with a written apology that is like a nuanced legal brief, one in which the only thing he really admits is that he did an historic amount of time.

It never ends. The amount of blood required from A-Rod to make up for his previous transgressions will never be enough. Andy Pettitte is seen as fully honest in saying, "I used PED's, but I didn't use them to enhance my performance so fuck you for thinking that's why I did it." He gets a rub-and-tug from the New York media while the Yankees retire his jersey. Alex Rodriguez admits he cheated and apologizes, but he gets criticized by Mike Lupica for not giving up more information with which he can be criticized. Perhaps A-Rod would have been better off claiming he never took PED's to enhance his performance.

It is one thing to tell his story to a writer or to the new commissioner, Rob Manfred, behind closed doors. Or to do the same thing, again behind closed doors to Hal Steinbrenner of the Yankees and his team president, Randy Levine, and his general manager, Brian Cashman. It would have been quite another thing for Rodriguez to have answered questions out in the open without a lawyer present.

A-Rod told his story and was honest with the commissioner and nearly every important decision-maker with the Yankees team, but because Mike Lupica didn't get to hear A-Rod's story then obviously he hasn't come completely clean. The sense of entitlement from Lupica is astounding. A-Rod told his story to anyone who matters, but because he wasn't honest with a person who hates him, then that means A-Rod hasn't totally done his penance quite yet. I'd love to see if Mike Lupica would hold himself to this same standard. Of course he wouldn't. There are separate rules for athletes and Mike Lupica. Mike Lupica hasn't ever had to explain himself to anyone. No, he is the type of person who has others explain themselves TO HIM. He's an insecure bully who can't see past his own ego.

And that really wasn’t the visual he wanted, taking questions from the New York media and the national media, then having to stop for whispered conversations with his current attorney, Jim Sharp, before he might say something contradictory to what he has already told the feds;

And obviously A-Rod might say something contradictory to what he has told the feds, because he is a snitch and a liar. I bet Mike Lupica thinks that A-Rod took PED's given to him by Anthony Bosch, while also lying and framing Bosch for being a drug dealer. I wouldn't doubt that Lupica could hold those two separate, contradictory opinions. It hurts Lupica's little feelings that A-Rod may not owe him an explanation. Because if Lupica is not owed an explanation then that means he isn't as important as he believes himself to be. So like any child who doesn't get his way when he REALLY REALLY wants his way, Lupica throws a fit and accuses Rodriguez of dodging the truth, when in reality Rodriguez doesn't care to tell the media the truth. Mike Lupica doesn't want to be out of the loop or feel like he's less than his ego tells him he is. So naturally, he calls out A-Rod for only telling his story to those people that really matter and not to the media.

“I served the longest suspension in the history of the League for PED use,” he writes.

Which he did and it was cut down from an even longer sentence.

Notice the language here. Rodriguez never uses the word steroids, the way he never used that word back in 2009 when he begged everybody for his first second chance.

Yes, notice how Rodriguez doesn't admit to using the steroids that he didn't use. He used HGH and other PED's as defined by MLB, but not steroids. So yes, I did notice how A-Rod never actually admitted to taking the steroids that he wasn't suspended for taking.

He doesn’t say “my” PED use. Just PED use.

And given the fact he was writing an apology letter for using PED's, it was pretty fucking obvious to only the most thick-headed person that A-Rod was referring to his PED use. In fact, using the word "my" in this sentence would be somewhat redundant. By starting the sentence with "I" then it is clear A-Rod is referring to himself when talking about the suspension for PED use. If you are going to hate on A-Rod at least be good at it and don't sound so desperate. Rodriguez certainly isn't writing an apology letter on someone else's behalf while using the first person.

“I accept the fact that many of you will not believe my apology or anything I say at this point,” he writes. “I understand and that’s on me.”

There you have it, Rodriguez’s own weird version of accountability.

That really is his accountability. He's taking responsibility for his actions and saying he doesn't blame a person for not believing him. What else would Lupica have A-Rod say? This won't be revealed because Lupica has no idea what his expectations for A-Rod are. He just doesn't like A-Rod and stretches to rip him whenever possible.

Even as he asks the fans to believe how sorry he is for everything he’s done, he admits that the same fans to whom he is speaking probably don’t believe he’s really sorry.

Would Lupica have preferred if A-Rod has written, "You will believe my apology, I am sure of it"? Is that more preferable? Again, we won't ever find out because Mike Lupica has no idea what he wants A-Rod to say. He just doesn't want A-Rod to say what he just said.

It will come out in the ESPN piece written by J.R. Moehringer that Alex is in therapy these days. Of course he is. It is about time, and better late than never, for somebody who really could be the buffet at a psychiatrist’s convention.

Mental health. Always a hilarious topic for a good laugh to break up the seriousness of a grown-ass sportswriter throwing a fit that he wasn't included as a stop on an apology tour. I'm sure Lupica would enjoy a few good hearty jokes at the expense of his family having to deal with his egomania.

"I hear Mike Lupica's daughter is in therapy for anorexia. It's about time, after all the bullshit she's had to eat from her dad's mouth all these years she's bound to just throw up as much as possible."

See? It's all in good fun to make a few jokes about mental health. It's not at all an asshole and mean thing to do.

But nobody gets Rodriguez’s Oprah moment now in some big room or hall or under some circus tent somewhere, with a roomful of Oprah Winfreys firing questions at him the way Oprah fired them at Alex’s patron saint, Lance Armstrong.

Yes, nobody gets the big media event that Alex Rodriguez so obviously owes the world. He wrote a letter stating he was wrong and is trying to move on with his life after serving his suspension in order to cut down on as much of the distractions as possible in order to prepare for the upcoming season. It's a very selfish move. Most players would be lauded for publicly apologizing and then trying to make sure they are as small of a distraction as possible, but for Mike Lupica this is just another strike against A-Rod. He owes the world a circus and it's a mark against his character he won't provide one on demand.

Most of the fans to whom Rodriguez spoke on Tuesday — and from the heart! — are probably wishing that there was some way for Stoudemire to take Alex Rodriguez back to Texas with him.

Snark is fun. I still would love to know what Mike Lupica wanted A-Rod to do. Other than hold a press conference and answer all of the questions that the media isn't entitled to have answered to their own satisfaction of course. A-Rod has told his story to those people who matter, he apologized in cutesy form, and now he has stated he wants to move on. Hate it or love it, doesn't matter.

He writes an open letter the way Ray Rice wrote an open letter in the Baltimore Sun. Rice did it because he needs a job. Rodriguez has one, a real good one with the New York Yankees, at least $61 million still coming to him over the next few years.

So A-Rod didn't have to write the letter, but he did anyway. This is clearly another mark against A-Rod's character that he at least pretended to give a shit. Maybe if Lupica pretended to give a shit about his writing then he wouldn't be seen as the egomaniac bully that he's seen by many in the media as being.

Bosch, his drug dealer? He goes to jail now for 48 months, three months shy of the maximum sentence he could have gotten for operating the kind of drug ring he was operating.

I can't believe this drug dealer got close to the maximum sentence for his crime. Why isn't the court system easier on drug dealers?

The star of that ring, still batting cleanup there, still a big name at Biogenesis, was Alex Rodriguez. He doesn’t go to jail. He goes to spring training. Is this a great country or what?

Apparently Mike Lupica advocates for the drug user to go to jail, while the drug dealer roams free? What a great country this is! A-Rod uses the drugs, but he gets off scot free while the poor innocent guy who dealt the drugs had the book thrown at him. Why can't Mike Lupica live in a world where the authorities ignore cartels and go after the real people who create the drug problem, which is the drug user? Obviously the reason there is a drug problem in the United States is that law enforcement has been going after the people who deal the drugs when they should be going after the people who use the drugs.

Mike Lupica is really working hard to make A-Rod seem like a bad guy. He's taking the side of and advocating for a drug dealer now.

Even after he admitted to being a drug user, he managed to have his best baseball October and lead the Yankees to a World Series. Judge me on what I do going forward, he said back in 2009. That is exactly what everybody has done.

And absolutely judge A-Rod on what he's done since then, which includes his second PED-related offense. He's been judged and punished. He apologized and either accept it and shut up or don't accept it and tell everyone what A-Rod should have done instead of apologize. Oh, and call A-Rod a snitch for ratting on a drug dealer, as if this shows another moral fallacy in his genetic code.

Now he is back, panhandling for redemption and another second chance,

He's making $61 million and doesn't need redemption or a second chance because he's getting one simply because he's making $61 million. That's another point that Lupica misses. A-Rod doesn't need his forgiveness. He doesn't want to be hated, but he isn't Ray Rice trying to get back into the sport. A-Rod is a Yankee because they owe him too much money otherwise. So he doesn't have to apologize and he doesn't have to talk to Mike Lupica about his "story."

trying to make one last first impression, the richest drug informant in all of baseball history.

Boy, Mike Lupica is riding this whole "A-Rod told on a drug dealer" thing hard isn't he? I'm not sure calling A-Rod a snitch will have the effect he wants it to have.

One more record for Alex Rodriguez.

You are a petty, sad man who has mocked A-Rod for apologizing, seeking mental health assistance and think a drug dealer should go to jail for a shorter span of time than a drug user. No one likes A-Rod, but we are stuck with him. No one likes you. Go away.