Friday, July 31, 2009
6 comments I Should Have Just Called This Blog "Information On Steroids and Brett Favre's Latest Retirement"
I have repeatedly stated that I don't think the 2003 "anonymous and private" steroids results should be made public because they are an invasion of privacy. I would actually like for the release to happen to prevent the bi-monthly "news" another star tested positive for PEDs. I understand this can't occur. Baseball needs to get on top of this issue because every single month when there is a lull in any steroid action in baseball another steroid user name is going to be released to the public. It is happening and it is going to continue to happen until there are no more big names on the list.
It has been revealed David Ortiz tested positive for steroids in 2003, as anyone with a radio or television has heard. Just another brick in the wall at this point.
An anonymous commenter named Evan in the Bill Simmons comments from Wednesday linked the article I was thinking about when I heard the news about David Ortiz. You can find it here. I am sure there are going to be a ton of articles about steroids and David Ortiz, probably even a horrible egregious excuse for an article from Bill Simmons, but it has pretty much all been said at this point for me.
I wrote about the Simmons article, the one where he was trying to figure out Ortiz's slump, here.
Let's review his comments, my comments and our commenter comments about this (Bill's comments are in bold black, mine are in black italics, my new comments are in black and commenter's comments are in red):
We braced for Ortiz to be linked to a bombshell headline that began with the words "Former Sox Clubhouse Attendant … " But one thing nagged at me: He wasn't belting bombs that were dying at the warning track like so many other former 'roiders.
I would not use this as proof that Ortiz was not a former 'roider. How about the fact he has never been linked or caught with them? That sounds better.
I guess we can mark this off the list. If the New York Times report is to be believed Ortiz was on steroids in 2003. Does that mean he was using since then? I have no idea. Does this taint the 2004 and 2007 World Series title? I have no idea. I say no though, since I am going to treat him the same way I treat A-Rod and acknowledge he has never failed a drug test that was administered to him since then.
There has already been an article published with a similar point of view.
How many Latin players have been exposed for lying about their ages in the past few years? Hell, one of Papi's best friends -- Tejada -- was found to have cut two years off his birth certificate when he was 17, er, 19 … you get the point.
What else did one of Papi's best friends, Tejada, also lie about and get caught doing? Here's a hint, it begins with steroids. I find it interesting that Bill is willing to accept that Ortiz lied about his age like other Latin players, but is not willing to accept Ortiz lied about using steroids like other Latin players, and he bases this belief purely on the fact the balls he hits are not dying at the warning track.
I hate it when I am right...but I am tired of giving players the benefit of doubt honestly. At this point many players are guilty by association, and they should be, especially if that association is with known steroid providers or users.
Here are some of the comments on my posting of Simmons' Ortiz column...
(The Casey) "don't forget Ken Caminiti. He was just terrible his last few years. As a matter of fact, his career arc looks kind like someone else's.CaminitiOrtizI didn't realize that until I looked at it."
(Jeremy Conlin) "I never like Simmons' mag columns to begin with, so I don't have too much to say other than I'm 99% sure Ortiz was on steroids, but it had never even occurred to me that Ortiz may have just lied about his age all along. That at least made me go "huh, that's not a bad argument."
(Bengoodfella) "I can't believe I am a holdout on Ortiz using steroids. It is hard to ignore those numbers that AJ put up, but I think maybe he just found his hitting stroke, but that just sounds so naive. If everyone keeps beating me down and giving me proof I am just being naive, I may change my mind at some point."
Here are those numbers...
(AJ) Ya I'm not 100% sure Ortiz used steroids. I mean its not like his best buds Manny and Tajada were caught using them, or his trainer is a known steroids pusher, or that the height of his numbers happened to be the height of the steroid era, or etc etc etc.
Let me just throw this out there (HRs per AB):
1997 - 51
1998 - 36
1999 - he only played 10 games
2000 - 47
2001 - 19 (here comes a pattern)
2002 - 23
2003 - 14
2004 - 14
2005 - 13
2006 - 10
2007 - 16
2008 - 18
2009 - 178
I don't know, maybe he just somehow found his power stroke at the exact same time as steroids started becoming the norm and that it went away at the exact same time as testing came out. It could happen, I mean its not like he just blow up in size once he got to Boston or anything...oh wait, nevermind.
I think AJ's numbers speak for themselves but Ortiz has also not failed a drug test since 2003...at least one that has been made public. Ortiz has been busted now for failing a drug test in 2003. It just means another slugger of the past 10 years has used steroids, it's pretty old news now. We get the same reactions, just different names thrown into the discussion. I don't focus on Manny being on the list of 104 "anonymous" positives in 2003, because after his positive steroid test this past year, I sort of assumed he was on the 104 person list.
Of course to add some joy and hypocrisy to the discussion, Ortiz also made this comment that steroid users should be banned for an entire year. What was he thinking when he said that I wonder? I don't know if he didn't know he had failed the drug test at that point, but if he did know, damn that's ballsy to say.
This brings me back to the list of 104 names. What should baseball do about the list and the fact the names are being released at a slow drip pace...if they should do anything at all? What should MLB do about the fact many of the power hitters of the past 10 years have been proven to cheat...again, or should they do anything? I find it hard to believe only the great power hitters of the past 10 years are on the list, there have to be marginal or average major leaguers on that list and even a few pitchers. Guys who would not have even made the majors if they had not used PEDs or even guys who used just enough to get a huge contract and then quit their use again.
I don't know what kind of action Major League Baseball needs to take on this issue and I don't know if MLB should take any action. I don't know if steroids have hurt baseball or have contributed to the popularity of baseball. A lot of great and memorable moments have been ruined by the revelation that the players involved were on some sort of PED at the time. Like the 1998 Home run chase, Barry Bonds' assault on McGwire's home run record, Roger Clemens throwing a broken bat at Mike Piazza, and now maybe the 2004 Red Sox 3-0 comeback over the Yankees. We possibly would never have even had those moments had it not been for the PEDs. Or would we? It doesn't seem likely. I can't believe it is coincidence the 3 baseball players responsible for assaulting Roger Maris' home run record and Hank Aaron's all-time home run record are also linked to PEDs.
That's the thing that irritates me the most, I have no idea the effect steroids have on players and their talent.
Is it a marginal increase in talent, meaning moving a Barry Bonds who was one of the best outfielders in the game before his alleged use to a Barry Bonds who is the greatest hitter of All-Time? Is it moving a guy like David Ortiz to an incredibly valuable hitter who was platooned in Minnesota to one of the best hitters in the American League in Boston? What about Fernando Vina, how come was still just an average baseball player for most of his career? Check out this list. Is it possible the marginal major league players on the list would never have made the major leagues if they had not used PEDs?
Scientists can't even agree on whether steroids are completely bad for you or acceptable if you used in moderation like many other drugs. If you don't believe me, just do an Internet search for "harmful effects of steroids" and "steroids aren't harmful" and read some of the articles that follow.
Those are my two major questions: What should MLB do about steroids and what effect does it have on players? I have no answers, just questions and me ruminating on my own questions. If someone has answers, feel free to give an opinion.
I am not going into a panic now and making steroids the preminent issue in the history of the world but I can't help but think the slow reveal of names on the list of 104 names can't be good for baseball. I only want things that are good for the game I love. Here are the options I see for MLB:
1. Do nothing and hopes it goes away.
This seems to be the way Bud Selig and the owners have gone so far. It is smart because it basically tries to quiet down the steroid talk by not commenting on it and creating fodder for their to be a discussion upon. Basically silence is golden here. It becomes a bunch of bloggers and columnists talking an issue to death until they have said everything and the arguments are debated to a draw. That's where we are now.
Sure, there have been comments on the issue of steroids by the Commissioner and his office but there doesn't seem to be directive to take any type of action one way or another concerning preventing more steroid users from being named from the 2003 report nor trying to limit the impact of every new revelation on the fans. Major League Baseball's focus is on today and preventing players from using today. Really, that is what MLB SHOULD be worried about, but the problem lies in the situation when a 2003 list name is still playing today.
The problem with this plan is obvious to me. The steroid leaks are not going to stop and it ends up being an interminable issue that pops back up every couple of months when a new famous name pops up as having tested positive in 2003. This 2003 "anonymous and private" test results are a monkey on the back of MLB that is going to continue to be there until the big names on the list run out.
We go through the whole surprise, anger, excuse and forgiveness cycle over and over again when a new name is revealed. I find it to be incredibly tedious. Regardless of any other fact, the slow reveal of these steroid users going to continue to happen whether MLB likes it or not. They can get on top of the issue or do nothing. Doing nothing just ensures the steroid issue and suspicions of yesterday's and today's players continue.
2. Do nothing and beg the players on the list who have been revealed to sue for invasion of privacy.
This is not happening. I just don't see it happening. Really though, guilty or not guilty of having a positive test, I believe these players would have a case for invasion of privacy. The players union only agreed to steroid testing in 2003 as long as it stayed anonymous and private. Well neither of those stipulations ended up happening. Sure, the players on the list are guilty of testing positive for steroids but they are also victims in that the information was supposed to stay private. Their privacy has been violated because the agreement to get steroid testing started was contingent on the results staying anonymous and private.
The drawback to this idea is that if players haven't started suing by now, they aren't going to at any point. They have better things to do than run up legal bills in effort to prevent an invasion of privacy that has already occurred. Much less spend more money to sue whoever is leaking these names for invasion of privacy when it will just put that player's name back in the public spotlight as a steroid user.
3. Major League Baseball should release the list of 104 names.
I want to call this the most attractive option but I don't know if it is. As I said in #2, if MLB did this the union would have an absolute fit and THEN the players would probably start suing. This would be a complete and utter invasion of privacy like baseball has never seen before. It sounds counter-intuitive to release the list of 104 names in an effort to stop there being constant talk of steroid use by players but it may make sense to have full disclosure. I don't even know who has the list of 104 names so I am not sure if MLB is even capable of releasing the names. I can't imagine this would ever happen because baseball would be opening themselves up to lawsuits and criticism.
The good thing about releasing the list of 104 names is that all of the names are out there in the public eye right now. The past is the past, we know the names on the list and there is no need to speculate on who was caught in the past, we have the names. Sure, we don't have the list of those players who did not test positive but were still using PEDs. We are never going to have those names of the players who did not test positive but were using PEDs. It would stop the monthly/bi-monthly release of new names and we can clear those players who we have suspected but did not show up on the list...or at least try to clear them. The steroid questions aren't going away but when there are still names being released from the 2003 report in 2011, this option will have looked very attractive. Unfortunately, it is also a potentially unethical, if not illegal, option.
4. Step in and try to prevent any more names from the 2003 list from being released.
I have no idea how to stop this from happening. Not a clue. The good thing about this is it would prevent the slow release of the names but the drawback is that this would be expensive and legally complicated for MLB to do...especially to defend players who were knowingly cheating. In essence MLB would be preventing the release of information on exactly which players were using PEDs and this would make baseball look like it was trying to cover up the steroid issues in baseball even more.
Ignoring the question of the effect of steroids, I still don't think the slow release of names on the 2003 list is a good thing for baseball. I personally feel like I want to move on but then another name gets released and we are all transported back to "the Steroid Era" and have the same shitty articles written by the same shitty writers and the same shitty questions keep popping up. I am mostly just annoyed by this.
I want to move on. Whatever it takes to move on is what MLB should do. I just don't think right now we are moving on. Steroid questions are like chum in the water for the 24/7 news cycle and it's columnists. The sharks will continue to circle as long as MLB is willing to continue to make headlines with new steroid revelations when it should be making headlines for pennant races.
Here are two sharks that feed off steroid news and unsurprisingly look at what they wrote about today. Here and here. Plaschke and Mariotti making the same arguments and having the same discussions over and over, just with new names.
I think it is the questions of what effect steroids have that irritate me the most. The health benefits or effects are fairly well known but there is even a question about whether steroids are harmful for you or even how much they affect a player's ability to play baseball better. PEDs help you recover from injury at a quicker pace but could some of the increase in a player's numbers also be part of the Placebo Effect? The human mind plays tricks on us sometimes. I am just brainstorming here, but could a player not hit better because he knows he is using one of the various PEDs and SHOULD be hitting the ball better? Unfortunately, there is no way of directly knowing how steroids affect each player, other than looking at the player's statistics and even those can be misleading at times.
If everyone was on steroids then it was a pretty even playing field in the majors during "the Steroid Era." We all know the list of 104 names is not an all-encompassing list. Does it even matter that players have used steroids or that these player's names have been released? As always, I am helpful in saying I have no idea.
My second question is what effect does steroids have on the game and the players? I will start first with the game of baseball.
1. Not to get scientific, but what exactly do steroids do for a player?
I don't think the effects have been completely proven. Like most other drugs there are dozens of different types of steroids and PEDs available. Some are on the MLB banned list while others are not. I don't know the difference honestly, but I do know MLB has banned certain substances for a reason and that reason is they believe they cause an uneven playing field when a player is using them. That's really the big question I have. How uneven does the playing field become? What about cortisone injections to numb pain or any of the other drugs given to a player to get them on the field? They increase performance in some fashion if a player is injured but these are not currently banned? Isn't this some sort of PED?
Jim Parque recently admitted he tried some PEDs in an attempt to make a comeback. Obviously the use of these PEDs did not turn him in to Nolan Ryan so I would say they did not exactly work. I talked earlier about between the old Barry Bonds and the PED Barry Bonds, is that a situation where a great player becomes even better because of the steroids? It seemed that way. Like most other drugs, steroids effect everyone differently and help some more than others.
Basically I am wondering if all the worry about steroids and their effect on the game is overdone by an eager media and blogging community who want to jump on any chance they get to see a player knocked down a notch or two? In the end, it doesn't matter. Much like not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign, it doesn't matter if it makes sense or not because it is against the rules.
2. What are the health effects of using steroids?
Really, it doesn't matter in the context of my long discussion here. Lyle Alzado attributes steroids to his death, even though he died of brain cancer and his physicians said there is no way steroids caused the cancer. While many of other people have used PEDs for a long period of time and have shown no ill effects.
3. What effect does steroids have on the game of baseball?
Is steroid use in baseball even bad? As I said earlier, we have no way of saying, "here is where steroids helped out baseball and here is where steroid and PED use hurt baseball." It's impossible to know. We have a player's statistics available to us which can show a jump in offensive or pitching statistics that seem to inflate that person's ability, but that's all the evidence we really have of PED use and their direct effect on baseball.
Really, the only reason steroids are illegal is because everyone doesn't use them and it contributes to an uneven playing field. Players have used "greenies" for ages and many of the same guys who used "greenies" have come out strong against PED users now. I don't know how I feel about that. There are guys in the Hall of Fame who used "greenies" their entire or most of their career.
Ron Darling thinks he is clean of steroid use but what would his career record be if he didn't have guys on his team who were PED users like Jose Canseco to score runs for him? That's a residual effect of the steroid era, players having their numbers inflated/deflated by other players on their team/not on their team using PEDs. The "Steroid Era" affected the statistics of more players than just those that were using PEDs. It all gives me a headache.
Is the 1998 Home run chase by Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa really tainted because of their use of PEDs? What if that had not happened? No one can deny a little excitement for the game of baseball is not a bad thing, regardless of what substances the individuals involved were on. I remember Barry Bonds for being a steroid user but I also remember him for being a guy who was absolutely unpitchable for a 3 year period during the early 2000's. You couldn't pitch to him.
Which memory permeates in my mind at the end of the day about Barry Bonds? The fact he was unpitchable. Does that mean my memory is tainted or I don't care about steroids? I don't think so, it just means the way he could hit a baseball at one point in his career stands out in my mind. He was cheating by using PEDs and I recognize that, but a part of me can't help but wonder if it did not provide a little excitement to baseball that was much needed.
I am not advocating the use of PEDs by players or excusing their behavior. I am glad steroids are not legal in baseball because it causes there to be an even playing field when all players have to play the game based on their skill. I feel almost like the Steroid Era was a 5 year bender that the fans and the players were on and now we are all hungover and tired trying to figure out whether it was all worth it.
I think the effect steroids had on baseball was to deceive the public, but we certainly enjoyed the deception while it lasted though didn't we? No, I am not blaming the fans for the "Steroid Era" either. I have blamed the media, baseball and the players many times in the past. I am looking now from a fan's point of view on the period of 1998-2003 and all of the excitement that occurred. At the end of the day we have a re-written record book and a clusterfuck of players who were the greatest of their generation who may or may not be honored that way in the Hall of Fame.
4. What effect did the Steroid Era have on baseball players today?
I say it had a huge impact. I am sorry, but I can't look at Albert Pujols and not have suspicions he is on steroids. I am not saying he is, but how can you not be suspicious? I even look at players like Jim Thome and Frank Thomas and think the same thing. It could be completely untrue but combining the fact many of the great sluggers of the past era were caught using PEDs, with the fact a new slugger comes out as being a PED user a couple of times a year leads the fans to be very suspicious of anyone who hits the ball well.
I normally would think that full disclosure by baseball would help alleviate any fan concerns but in this case there is normal steroid testing in place for today's players and we have already had the discussion about what would happen if the 104 names from 2003 were released.
At the end of the day, we are going to get the exact same discussions today about steroids we have had for a couple years now, followed by the same arguments of what punishment David Ortiz should get and what a bad person he and Manny Ramirez are. Bill Plaschke and Jay Mariotti have already piled on this story. Then there will be the inevitable Hall of Fame question for Manny and whether this precludes him from that honor. It is a script the media has.
I am not near a television while I am writing this but I would bet ESPN has a reporter with Ramirez begging and hoping Manny will make another statement and a reporter with Ortiz hoping for the same. In fact, they did make statements last night and the words were all over the bottom of the screen on ESPN last night. It was pretty similar to what we had heard before. Chipper Jones will be asked about the new revelations and he will say something firm and tough about the use of steroids, which will only serve to make me think he is probably guilty of using PEDs at one time as well.
I personally just want to be able to move on from the Steroid Era but it seems like I am never going to be able to when there is a constant source of slow leaks from prior anonymous steroid testing results. I am not in panic mode and I am not going to write a column like the "blame sharks" Jay Mariotti or Bill Plaschke will write...circling the water hoping for another name to be leaked so they have more fodder for a column. Baseball's PED legacy has yet to be completely decided and it feels like to me MLB needs to start taking steps to remind it's audience, the fans who pay for games and memorabilia, the game and the players have been able to move on from the Steroid Era.
I just want the cleanest game possible, that's all I really want. Baseball is trying to put the era of PED use in the past but every new revelation creates a new group of jaded and suspicious fans who find every denial of guilt by a current player to be a lie and every admission or finding of guilt from 2003 to be another big story that takes away from the games of baseball currently being played by players who are "clean."
Thursday, July 30, 2009
This may shock everyone but Peter King has some thoughts on Brett Favre unretiring, and these thoughts are very Peter King-ish. On to Peter King and his Tuesday mailbag first.
What Tony Dungy is about to do with Michael Vick is no different from what Dungy has been doing with Vick for months.
Teaching Vick how to shank a person in a jailhouse crowd so as not to get caught?
Dungy told me this morning in his first comments since Monday's news. He was referring to the trip he made, on his own, last spring to see Vick in federal prison in Kansas. "I gave him my telephone numbers and I said, 'Call me anytime. I want to stay in touch,' and that's what we've done."
Within the hour of those telephone numbers being handed over to Mike Vick, the phone numbers were on EBay for sell to the highest bidder.
Look, the Vickster had to file bankruptcy so he needs to make a few bucks to pay for weed and an entourage now that the government has shut down his Bad Newz Kennelz business. Having people around you at all times to take care of your needs, like to take the fall for any crime you may commit, doesn't pay for itself.
As I wrote yesterday, the Dungy I know is incapable of telling a lie.
Tony Dungy is the George Washington of the modern era. Now all he needs is a powdered wig, some false teeth and some slaves and he should be good to go. Wait, cancel those slaves...he'll just hire Mike Vick's old Atlanta Falcons entourage and rehabilitate them as well.
My money, based on what I've heard from Dungy and others about Vick's settled-down lifestyle, is that he won't be suspended for six regular-season weeks.
Men have been trying to convince their wife to let them have the same settled down lifestyle for a while now. If the commissioner was a woman, Mike Vick would never have been reinstated unless he can provide a better argument than millions of men before him gave for why he went to a strip club and how that is "settled down."
My favorite part is just Vick denying he went to a strip club after he was released from jail. From a man who is known for lying when he is caught, I can't imagine anyone should really ever believe him. Why should we believe him? His first reaction when he has been accused of anything is to lie. He has the deny, deny, deny, admit, and apologize behavior down pat. I think we are in the second "deny" of the cycle right now.
Vick has a son from a previous relationship and two daughters with his current girlfriend. His youngest daughter was three months old when Vick was in prison, so he's basically just getting to know her now.
Poor Mike Vick, he barely got to know his daughter before he got locked up in jail. I am sure Vick is going to not try and play football so he can stay home and get to know his family better. I would feel bad for him if that was the case, but the first and second thing he is going to try and do is find a way to play football again...which means time away from his daughter he barely knows.
I am not judging him, I am just saying I am not buying the "Vick is going to get to know his family better" angle because it is not true. I don't know why Peter is even mentioning that angle. Vick is about playing football ASAP.
I owe you one, Houston Texans' fans. On Monday, I said I'd write today about Matt Schaub. Unfortunately, the news of the day has dictated that I delay the Schaub story until next Monday's MMQB. Please accept my apology.
Haha, Houston Texans fans, you fell for Peter King's little joke. What are the odds next Monday something will happen that will push the story back? Then the story turns out to be a paragraph on something anyone who follows the team already knows? I think the odds are good for that to happen.
Steve of Las Vegas: "Peter, the popularity of the spread offense in college is drastically cutting down the number of pro-style quarterbacks ready for the NFL. Are the pro teams going to start adopting the spread offense and using QBs like Tim Tebow, or are they going to be competing more intensely for the very small number of traditional quarterbacks?"
Steve, my answer to this is the NFL is going to try and turn the spread quarterbacks into traditional NFL quarterbacks. Also, Tim Tebow is not exactly your traditional spread quarterback and he will be the exception and not the rule when he comes to the NFL in 2010. For example, not a lot of NFL teams run the entire offense out of the shotgun and these spread quarterbacks are incredibly used to running the offense out of the shotgun. Having to do a three or five step drop is going to be a little adjustment for these players.
Peter, your answer?
As you may know, I'm a big Tebow supporter and believe there is a role for him in the NFL in 2010. I'm not sure that role is as an every-down quarterback. But I do believe there are two or three teams that would pick him late in the first round if he's there.
New England. Just say it Peter.
About the spread, I think the NFL likes its quarterback versatile and accurate and smart and strong-armed. And I think with the exception of the strong-armed part, the spread helps young quarterbacks grow into better NFL players.
It does help to an extent. The one aspect Peter neglects is that the spread traditionally doesn't rely on quarterbacks taking the snap directly from center and it has the quarterback in the shotgun. I would think he would bring this up, since it is a major adjustment for quarterbacks making the switch from the college spread to the NFL, where the shotgun is not used as often.
Peter is a little off on this answer. The NFL does like it's quarterbacks to have all those characteristics but I still believe there is an adjustment required for a spread quarterback in the NFL...namely that few NFL teams are going to run a spread type style offense. The Patriots sometimes look to have characteristics of the spread, since the quarterback comes from the shotgun a lot, but much like the option I don't know how successful the spread offense would be in the NFL full time, which means a quarterback will have to adjust, so the NFL will draft quarterbacks higher in the draft who don't have to go through the adjustment period.
I don't think the spread or the Wildcat are gimmick plays by any stretch of the imagination, but I also don't think that type of offense will end up pervading the NFL in a few years. Much like the running quarterback, I think the Wildcat and spread type offense will always be a part of the overall offense gameplan but just not the focus of the gameplan.
I think Peter should have written all of that.
Jeff Davis of Norman, Okla.: "Peter, I know you are a die-hard Pats fan, but does Spygate not taint the Pats record in their quest toward Team of the Decade
I love the die-hard Pats fan thing. I sort of tend to say the same thing about him, except just say he is a die-hard fan of the entire Northeast and it's football teams. Jeff, this is kind of a dumb question because Spygate is old news at this point and there was really no other information that came out on how much New England was cheating and they also weren't the only ones doing so. Sure, it should factor in when talking about Peter's completely fake "Team of the Decade," but Spygate is sort of old news now. The Patriots have proven they can win regardless, so think of a better reason if you don't think they should be "Team of the Decade."
or do you just want an asterisk? If -- and it is a big if -- the Steelers go back-to-back to win three this decade, shouldn't they get the nod because they didn't cheat to win?"
I still think this is a stupid question because the Patriots went 18-1 after Spygate, so as much fun as it would be to say the entire decade is ruined because of that, I am not sure it is true. Maybe Spygate should be taken into account more by me when determing the "Team of the Decade," of course I also think naming a "Team of the Decade" is completely stupid. Thanks for the sour grapes though Jeff.
I have a really interesting college football question for Jeff from Norman Oklahoma...
Is the Oklahoma University football team planning on choking in another bowl game this year? Wow, five BCS bowl games lost in a row. It's nice to get to those games but I sure bet it would be nice to win them as well. That also doesn't include the loss to Texas last year...which was yet another game lost by "Big Game" Bob Stoops. Can we call a coach "Big Game" if he has lost five straight BCS bowl games?
I'm sorry...I get off on tangents sometimes.
On to Peter's answer:
I'm not a Patriots fan: I'm not a fan of any team.
Yet he continues to write about the same teams over and over and seems to have "special relationships" with players on certain teams. Maybe that is just being an insider.
I am, however, a great admirer of what the Patriots have done. It's up to each person who follows the sport to decide if the Patriots' illicit activities tarnish their accomplishment in this decade. To me, the video taping does have an effect on my opinion of their success. But not enough to take away the credit for any of the three Super Bowls the team won or, after the video taping had ceased, the Patriots having the first 16-0 regular season in history. Like I said yesterday, New England will be the team of the decade in my book unless the Pats collapse this year and the Steelers win a third Super Bowl.
So basically Peter thinks it should have an effect on his ranking for "Team of the Decade" just not enough of an effect to not make the Patriots "Team of the Decade" if both they and the Steelers win three Super Bowls...because that is the biggest difference in the Steelers and the Patriots right now in the 2000's, that the Patriots have one more Super Bowl than the Steelers (of course they also made another Super Bowl)...so basically Spygate makes no difference to him. It's fine Peter, just say it.
Erik Heter of Austin, Texas: "You mention a debate about Steve McNair's possibility for induction into the HOF. In the past, I recall that you are one of those who is AGAINST the induction of Kurt Warner into the HOF. Thus, how can one even consider that McNair is HOF-worthy if they don't think Warner is worthy as well. Warner has been to three Super Bowls, winning one; McNair, just one, and he lost. And who did McNair's team lose to in his one SB appearance? Warner's, of course. In what world would it be justice that McNair makes the HOF but Warner doesn't?"
Yeah...but...Kurt Warner wasn't killed! That's the ticket! There's the difference. Look Erik from Texas, if you are going to try and make sense for some of Peter's reasoning, you are just going to drive yourself crazy. Take it from me.
What I said during the playoffs last year is that Kurt Warner had a five-year hole in the middle of his career, during which he was either hurt or a backup, and I thought he hadn't done enough to be a strong Hall of Fame candidate.
Steve McNair was hurt his entire career, of course he played through it, and I am pretty sure he was benched for Kyle Boller at one point with the Ravens. So some of the criticisms of Warner could also go for McNair.
Peter King is also covering a story about a guy named Brett Favre who can't decide if he wants to retire or not. When I say "covering" I mean writing three columns in the past day about Favre retiring.
Overkill? Not for someone who is obsessed with Brett Favre and everything he does. The defensive coordinator for the Philadephia Eagles died (Jim Johnson, you may have even heard Peter talk about him in his MMQB this past week but his death pales in comparison to any announcement of Brett Favre's) and Peter gives that little to no mention...and certainly doesn't write an entire article about it. He's only dead, but Brett Favre retired again! That's important news!
Let's look at some quotes from these three historical documents from Favre's 3rd retirement.
"You've just got to be able to commit to this game," Childress said. "And there's a ramping-up process involved. You know, last year all of a sudden he's there in New York, and he's playing, and in October he's out of gas.
There you go former New York Jets teammates of Brett Favre. He didn't drag the team down and cost you a playoff spot because he is not a good quarterback, he dragged the team down and cost you a playoff spot because he was tired. That should make you feel better.
When Childress and Favre spoke Tuesday afternoon, Favre sounded disappointed. Childress said to him: "What's that tone [of voice]? Come on. Nobody died here."
Actually Jim Johnson did die...but that's not important because we need to focus on how sad Brett Favre is that he has delayed his decision to stay in the spotlight until later in the offseason. I bet Favre was ready to make the decision to retire/stay retired the same day Michael Jackson died but he held off on the announcement so he could make sure everyone was paying attention to him.
Childress, however, doesn't think he has lost his quarterbacks or his team. "This doesn't say anything negative about Sage," said Childress, referring to the April acquisition from Houston.
We just think a 40 year old coming off an incredibly average season where he tired out by October would be a better quarterback than Rosenfels is. What's negative about that inference?
"We had a chance to go after a Hall of Fame quarterback who knows the division better than anybody, who's very comfortable in our offense
You know who else is a Hall of Fame quarterback? Troy Aikman, Joe Montana, and Joe Namath. I didn't see the Vikings trying to sign them this offseason. See, there is a huge difference in a guy who is CURRENTLY a Hall of Fame quarterback and a guy who was a Hall of Fame quarterback half a decade ago. There is a big, big difference.
Our guards had to compete when Steve Hutchinson got here. Our defensive ends had to compete when Jared Allen got here. So no, I'm not sorry we went after Favre."
Hutchinson and Allen were better football players than the incumbents at their position and were planning on being there more than one season. Throw in the fact these players were clearly better than anything the Vikings already had and these players did not take 3 months to decide if they wanted to play for the Vikings and we are talking about two completely different situations.
Now for Peter's second article about Favre...
I give up.
Now you know how 95% of the world feels.
He had surgery in late May on a nagging biceps tendon in his throwing arm for one reason -- to clear the last hurdle toward playing a 19th year in the NFL. And his surgeon, the noted James Andrews, told him he was making splendid progress and he'd be fine and be able to throw at the start of the season with no pain.
And yet, something just didn't feel right. When Favre would talk to friends and associates in recent weeks, they noticed a reticence in his voice. "He was coming to the realization that he couldn't be 100 percent committed to football right now," one friend said Tuesday night. "Sometimes he felt ready to go, and sometimes he felt like, 'What am I doing?'"
I think in less than a month he will be ready to go again. There's no doubt in my mind this is true.
Can this man make a decision in a timely fashion or not?
As I often like to quote (or paraphrase) Tony Soprano, "It doesn't matter what decision you make, it's that you make the decision in a timely manner...to avoid confusion."
Don't ask me anymore what I think about Favre, whether I think he's going to play or whether I think he's going to mow the grass for the rest of his life. I don't know because I honestly don't think he knows.
Fine Peter, we will never mention him again. As long as you NEVER FUCKING TALK ABOUT HIM AGAIN! DEAL? GREAT, SHUT UP ABOUT HIM AND WE WON'T ASK QUESTIONS!
I talked to two people Tuesday night who know Favre and asked them the same question: Do you think he'll return at some point this year if some team suffers a big quarterback injury. One said he had no idea. The other said Favre's certainly in good enough shape. It wouldn't be a bit surprising.
For the love of God, just make a choice. Either Brett Favre is the most indecisive man in the history of the world or he just craves attention for himself.
And so at the end of the day, we're left to wonder if one of the most compelling football careers of all time is over or just on indefinite leave. I don't think anybody knows because I don't think Favre knows.
I am not even going to touch the "compelling career" thing because Favre and the media has made his career compelling by covering his off the field exploits so heavily.
Peter's excuse for Favre has always been that even he doesn't know what he will do. That's not good enough. There is no excuse to drag an organization over the coals (or two organizations if you count Green Bay), stay retired and then say you may come back the very same day you just "retired." I don't care if Brett doesn't know what Brett is going to do...he needs to ask himself pretty damn quickly what he wants to do and figure it the hell out.
Will they survive Favre hangover? I say the only way they do is by by Rosenfels becoming a 60 percent, 3,500-yard passer.
Or they could think about how great it would be to not have a quarterback who gets tired in October of the NFL season? Or one that doesn't throw as many interceptions as touchdown passes when all is said and done. Or how Green Bay certainly survived without Favre last year. I think the Vikings will survive.
Now for King's third article on Brett Favre...
He still sounded stunned that a few hours earlier he'd called Minnesota coach Brad Childress and shunned his dream job: quarterback on a team with a great defense and the best running back in football, with coaches who run a scheme he could operate falling out of bed.
Have we checked into the possibility that Brett Favre has multiple personalities? That could explain a lot of things that have happened. Why would he be stunned when HE made the freaking decision?
"Very unlikely,'' he said. "I really believe this is it. I truly, truly believe it's over. But if someone calls Nov. 1, who knows?''
Read that sentence again. Just read it. It doesn't even make sense. He truly believe it is over, but then he doesn't know for sure...so he doesn't believe it is over then. Right?
Based on this sentence I am thinking Favre is looking to take over a team mid-season and become the hero for that team, thereby making people forget his semi-failure in New York last year and also it would not require him to play a full season when he would get tired doing so. Basically, Brett Favre is now angling for one of the 32 NFL quarterbacks' starting position and hoping someone gets hurt in time for him to come in and save the day.
That's the maddening part of Favre, and the part that makes fans hate his waffling.
It's gone from hating the waffling to actually hating him as a person. Irrational, I agree, but it is some semblance of the truth now. Everyone just wants him to make a decision and for Peter King and ESPN to quit acting like it is the biggest decision in the history of the world, when it is just a guy who wants attention stringing out his decision so he can get more attention.
But when he worked out earlier this month, he said he felt like he'd just played in a game. He had more aches and pains -- a knee and ankles mostly -- than he ever had while working out.
"I thought I could make it through the season, though I wouldn't be 100 percent,'' he said.
I'm telling you. He is trying to pull a Roger Clemens and join a team halfway through the season. I don't think it would work as well in football. He's probably praying a QB gets hurt or is ineffective so he can be a hero and not have to play an entire season. History will see him as the hero and not an average quarterback who can't make a decision...though I will always see him that way.
"A lot of people, I know, have been saying, 'Well, you strung the Vikings along. Why the hell couldn't you have told them earlier?' What do you think I was doing? I was trying to figure it out.''
The thing is that nobody believes Brett Favre was trying to figure it out because he has made it all about Brett Favre. It's all about Brett Favre. Last year's unretirement was about proving to the Packers he could play because Brett Favre wanted to unretire and the Packers had moved on without him. If it was really not all about Brett Favre and was about playing football he would be with the New York Jets right now and would not try to join a team in the same division as the Green Bay Packers.
So, for now it's over. For now.
There is no doubt in my mind he will be back. Zero doubt. Peter King is absolutely obsessed with Brett Favre. 3 articles about him in 1 day. That has to be some sort of a record.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
To make matters worse Jim Johnson, the defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles, died and ESPN puts Brett Favre's 5th retirement/unretirement with analysis on the front page and relegates Johnson's death believe a story on Favre, Plaxico Burress, and Mark Buerhle. Johnson was one of the best defensive coordinators in the NFL, at least give the guy top headline when he dies...but a death pales in comparison to any announcement Brett Favre makes.
I was originally going to ignore Part 1 of Bill Simmons' "Almost Famous"/NBA quote-fest, but I have decided against it. Bill is more knowledgeable about the NBA then I am, but this of course is not going to stop me from criticizing him and what he says.
In a mid-July B.S. Report with Chris Connelly, we tried to determine the decade's defining movie. My three qualifications? Excellence, originality and (this is crucial) rewatchability.
Another article from a writer of ESPN. Known to everyone as the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, with a little more focus on the entertainment part instead of the sports part over the past couple of years.
I want a movie that's just as good on my 20th viewing as it was on the first. Now, you could argue "The Dark Knight" was the decade's defining movie -- and it very well might be -- but we don't know about its rewatchability yet.
The Dark Knight has been out for over a year now, I think plenty of people have had time to rewatch the movie and test the "rewatchability" of the movie.
Ironically, what movie was Bill originally going to do this article on?
(From Bill's Twitter):
FYI: My 1st choice was to use "The Hangover" for my 2-part NBA/movie column. Couldn't convince them to send me the DVD. Alas.
Don't they know who Bill is? He is a sports columnist who used to work for a third rate talk show. He needs that DVD!
I am not 100% sure how "The Hangover" would have made the cut as the best movie of the decade and passed the "rewatchability" test since it has been in theaters a little bit under two months but "The Dark Knight" can't pass this test and its been out for a year now. Alas, these are the contradictions of Bill Simmons.
Hence, I went with "Almost Famous." Many readers were stunned. "Almost Famous?" they asked. "Really?"
The greatest movie of the decade ladies and gentlemen is "Almost Famous," as proclaimed by Bill Simmons.
Yeah, really. Has there ever been another good drama about the dynamics of a rock 'n' roll band? No, there has not been.
Being the best in its genre alone should elevate this movie to the #1 spot for the decade. Though it did have tough competition from "The Island" if the best movie of the decade is based on that movie being the only good movie on a certain topic.
Has there ever been a better action film about cloning and its effects on human interaction and love many years in the future featuring two actors (Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor) who are not traditionally in action films? I think not.
Now, think about your favorite movies about fictional bands. Give me your top 10. (I'm waiting.) Give me your top five. (Still waiting.) OK, give me one other good one. You can't. The degree of difficulty for "Famous" was off the charts. It was a 10 out of 10. A period piece about a rock band?
Because Cameron Crowe made a period piece about a rock n' roll band and, according to Bill, a good one had never been made before, this is the best movie of the decade.
Bill just keeps convincing me more and more...actually he doesn't but I don't want to get too distracted and focus too much on Bill's choice for movie of the decade because I need to focus on the sports content of the column.
This entire column should have been called "The Boston Sports Guy Sucking Up to Daryl Morey," because that is pretty much what it is.
So begin the quotes (I pretty much leave out most of the quotes because "Almost Famous" doesn't really have that many memorable quotes):
2. And you can tell Rolling Stone magazine that my last words were ... "I'm on drugs!"
So begins the Morey sucking up...
To the Lakers' fans. If you think your boys improved by swapping Trevor Ariza (a 24-year-old who came into his own this past spring, shot 45 percent from 3-point land, came through repeatedly in the clutch, turned into the NBA's single best defensive swingman and doesn't care about his numbers) for Ron Artest (an unreliable 29-year-old head case/attention hog who slipped noticeably as a perimeter defender these past two seasons and has a knack for taking terrible shots at the worst possible times), then absolutely, you're on drugs.
If I am the Lakers, I don't want either one of these players. Is there a Plan C?
Here is where Bill is wrong. Trevor Ariza is going from a talented team with two great players where he has a guy like Kobe Bryant to push him practice and motivate him, to the Rockets who don't even have a great player on the team at this point. Isn't it a big coincidence that Ariza "comes into his own" during his contract year? Isn't that usually a sign a player is just angling for a new contract and then will go back to being an average player again? So why doesn't Bill think it happen here? Ariza had a good thing going with the Lakers but in Houston he can't just play fourth fiddle and spot up for 3 point shots when he is wide open...because there is no Gasol or Kobe to get him wide open for a three point shot.
Wasn't it Bill Simmons who just a couple of months ago, and I could not find the link, said there should be a statistic for three point shots to differentiate between wide open shots and covered three point shots? I remember because we argued about it here. Bill used Ariza as an example of a guy who wasn't a good 3 point shooter because he shot a decent percentage but was also wide open most of the time. Now all of a sudden Ariza is a steal for the Rockets. Wonder why that is? Was Bill wrong about Ariza or does he just have a huge crush on Daryl Morey and anything he does?
Either way, I don't ever want Artest on my team and I don't need any convincing from Bill or anyone else.
These anecdotes just bounce off people now. Artest is a benevolent crazy. Or so we think. Being around this nuttiness every day is a little different from merely hearing about the nuttiness in secondhand anecdotes. I know for a fact he routinely broke plays on offense and is still a handful behind the scenes, and the Rockets buried every 2008-09 story that would have made this patently clear. For instance, Artest routinely walked around in his underwear in public places: the Rockets' team bus, hotels, you name it. People around the team barely flinched after a while.
If ESPN kept statistics on which columnist relayed the most third person account stories, Bill would be an All-Pro in that category.
If you EVER need a third person account of something that happened, Bill has a friend who knows someone who told Bill a story about that something. (I call it a third person account because Bill is the third person removed from the situation to hear about the account. Someone in the organization tells someone else who tells someone who tells Bill.) I am not saying these stories are not true but Bill is constantly putting himself "in the know" of things by knowing someone who knows someone else who has important and entertaining information.
Here's what happened: Artest missed the first two team buses (the ones for players, coaches and team personnel) from Houston's hotel to the Staples Center and barely made the third and final bus, which was reserved for business staff, sponsors and friends of the team. These stunned people watched Artest sprint to the bus right before it left, jump on and take one of the remaining seats ... yes, wearing only his underwear. Owner Leslie Alexander happened to be sitting on the bus and witnessed the whole thing.
Gosh, I wonder who the source is that told Bill this? Probably his new BFF and idol Daryl Morey.
To Ariza's agent, the immortal David Lee, who stupidly played hardball with L.A. and ignored the glaring "Plan B: Ron Artest" warning signs that had been flashing for two solid years. For the same money L.A. initially offered him, Ariza downgraded from Kobe and Gasol to T-Mac's microfracture surgeon and Yao's foot surgeon.
And yet Bill still thinks it is a great move to put Ariza on a Houston Rockets team. A role player signs with a team that has a bunch of role players. This should work out poorly or turn Daryl Morey into a "Moneyball" type genius. I guess we will see.
Just once, I want to see Bill disagree with his BFF Morey. Here, instead of insulting the General Manager for the signing, like he usually does in pretty much very other situation, he blames the player's agent...because he wants Morey to come to this birthday party in a month and can't piss him off.
To Houston GM Daryl Morey for landing Ariza (the quintessential athletic swingman who can play defense and hit 3s in the playoffs) for the full midlevel exception before he even hits his mid-20s. Total steal.
I wish I could find the article where Bill stated that Ariza is not a good three point shooter because he only makes 35% and they are all wide open. Bill probably had it excised from the Internet. The worst part is that we argued about it in the comments one time. Either way, Bill is contradicting himself now by getting so excited over Ariza (just because Morey got him), when just a couple of months ago he was knocking Ariza for his three point shooting, but now he is lauding him.
Special thanks to Anonymous who found the link and found the exact quote I was talking about:
"3:45: Trevor Ariza misses a 3...That's the single biggest weakness on this L.A. team in crunch time: Ariza's inability to nail that open 3. He made 32 percent of them in the regular season; in the Utah series, he inexpicably caught fire and nailed 11 of 18; tonight, he's 0-for-3.
Which brings me to another way that stats need to get better: I guarantee that 99 percent of Ariza's 3s in 2008-09 were taken when he was wide open...If someone such as Pierce shoots 35 percent on 3-pointers, actually, that's infinitely more impressive than Ariza's 32 percent. So why not make "wide-open 3-point percentage" a statistic? If you have time to set your feet, lock and load to get off a good shot, that's a wide-open 3. The point is this: For all the wide-open shots Ariza takes, he should be at 40 percent minimum. He's just not that good."
So even if Bill liked Ariza better than Artest for the Lakers, he is still a little over the top in my opinion his love for him here.
If you were to have a DVD-collection draft with five buddies (and by the way, don't think I haven't done this) in which everyone picks six actors in snake fashion and you get every single movie they made on DVD, Hoffman would be a sneaky late-first-round pick.
I want to know which loser friends of Bill have done this with him. I can't believe a grown man would do something this pointless, but of course I have to throw all belief out the window sometimes when reading something Simmons has written.
To Kevin Durant. Why? He flew to Vegas for summer league even though he wasn't playing, sat on his team's bench every day, cheered his boys on, dispensed advice during timeouts and everything else you'd want from your top gun. All signs point to Durant becoming one of those galvanizing, personable, Duncan-like leaders for the Zombie Sonics.
When I think of Tim Duncan, I don't immediately think of a personable guy who talks a lot and is always in the huddle giving out advice to his teammates. I think of a guy who seems to be very quiet and does cheer his teammates on, but is not exactly the galvanizing type of basketball player. Maybe it is just me, but I have seen him play a few times.
I think Bill just wanted to mention Durant in the same sentence as Tim Duncan to hear how it sounded. Simmons' huge massive crush on Kevin Durant knows no bounds. He will give Durant credit for pretty much anything and will do so shamelessly.
To Milwaukee. Wasn't 50 bucks and a case of Heineken what the Bucks got for Richard Jefferson and Charlie Villanueva? Or was it 100 bucks? I can't remember. And will we ever figure out why they didn't make Villanueva a restricted free agent (keeping his sign-and-trade options open) rather than just jettisoning him completely? I knew this team would fall apart when it hired Lanita Dotson as its GM. I just knew it.
This was a horrible, horrible trade for the Bucks and not getting anything for Villanueva was equally as awful...but Bill just couldn't help but throw a little jab in at the guy who took "his job" as the Bucks GM and compare him to a female inmate who threw feces at another prisoner. I am not sure what throwing feces has to do with being a bad NBA GM.
(Random note: How 'bout Jimmy Fallon wearing a Bee Gees beard and nailing his part as Stillwater's annoying new manager? He's even better in the director's cut. I'd say it was the best acting performance by a late-night host in history, but I don't want Jimmy Kimmel to ban me from his house with football season looming when he just bought a 103-inch plasma that can break into four quadrants. So let's just say Fallon was good. Not as good as a 103-inch plasma that can break into four quadrants, but good.)
What a subtle way of saying that Jimmy Kimmel has a large television AND mentioning that you get to watch football on that television! It was so subtle, I almost didn't get the impression that Bill was being annoying braggart. We know he knows famous people, in fact I would say Bill is "almost famous," but here's the key...nobody cares. Jimmy Kimmel's show lacks funny and Bill wrote for the show and got fired/quit (because Bill is the type of person who would quit something he is good at...note the sarcasm), which means he REALLY lacks funny.
Great, I am glad one of the Great Three Movie What-Ifs of All Time are covered in your book that is supposed to be about basketball. That surely makes a hell of a lot of sense to include something related to movies in a book about basketball.
Speaking of Bill's basketball book, I can't believe when he pimped his book just now, he forgot to include the link! What was his thinking?
There are three guarantees in each Bill Simmons column over the past 3 months:
1. He will try to make more updated pop culture references but only have small success.
2. He will make a comment about how he should be a GM for an NBA basketball team.
3. He will go out of his way to mention his basketball book that comes out this October...when I say out of his way, I mean he will stretch to get a reference about his book coming out in to his columns.
"My dad is retiring and I hope everything works out well for him. He has done everything he ever wanted to do. He hasn't written a book like I have though and that book has never been released this upcoming October, so please go buy it, the link is at the beginning, middle and end of this column. So please go buy it. My entire self esteem is based on others liking me. So please go buy it."
(Speaking of the Trade Machine, multiple readers topped my "improve the Knicks" trade by increasing their projected win total by 79 with this specific trade: This appears to be the pinnacle. You can't do better than plus-79, which would make the 2009-10 Knicks an astonishing 111 and minus-27. I'm almost positive this would be a record. If you can top plus-79, God bless you. Even the Picasso of the Trade Machine couldn't do it.)
It sounds like the Picasso of the Trade Machine isn't a Picasso anymore, but more like a mentally disabled guy who draws decently with his feet...but because it's clear he has very little talent and has a mental deficiency of some type, we lower the bar for him.
That's about as good of a comparison of Bill to Picasso as a bad GM to a feces tossing inmate would be.
Earlier this month, he was arrested for failing to pay nearly a million dollars to a Las Vegas casino. Can't say I was surprised. When Toine played for Boston, he spent money so generously/recklessly that people within the organization were extremely concerned because they all liked him so much.
The King of Third Person Accounts comes through for us.
I just feel bad for him. We chatted for about 20 minutes during this past All-Star Weekend, right as the Suns were going through all that coaching turmoil, and what struck me was how little confidence Nash had in his ability to control his career. Like, he couldn't conceive of being the one who said "I want a trade" or "This needs to get better, or I want out." At one point, I explained to him that he easily could broker a trade to Portland if he wanted; the Blazers had the assets, and cap-friendly assets, to make it worth Phoenix's while.
There you go Steve Kerr, visitor on Bill's podcast and someone Bill supposedly likes, Bill is going to try and convince your best player to force a trade within the division. This isn't a dick move at all.
Nash could follow suit. He's one of the best 40 players ever and deserves to play in a Finals.
Really? Steve Nash is one of the top 40 players of all time in the NBA? I can't believe this is true. Actually, I am going to say this is not true. There's no way. I need to make a list proving this is not true. I will not believe this until somebody proves it to me or I prove it to myself.
Coming Tuesday: Part 2
Great, this is just half of it.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
It's here. Peter King is finally off his vacation and is backing to writing his weekly MMQB. Peter enthralls us with stories of baseball games he has seen, scares us with stories of his should-be-private doctor's visits and even has a Brett Favre update for us. I am not sure how you have an update when nothing has happened but it hasn't stopped him and ESPN in the past, so it won't stop them now. In other words, nothing has changed and I could not be happier/more frustrated about that.
I leave for 21 days of camps tomorrow morning, and I'll try to set the table here with a few appetizers to get you ready for the 2009 season.
See? He still uses food references to describe pretty much anything. It's good everyone's least favorite amateur (yet thinks he is a professional) food critic is still dropping food related metaphors.
I was speaking with Stefan Fatsis, the esteemed writer who'd spent training camp in 2006 as a kicker with Denver so he could write about it. (His book, A Few Seconds of Panic, is out in paperback this summer, and it's good reading if you want to feel the innards of a team in training camp.)
It's a wonderful and great book, just not good enough to make Peter's book club.
Sorry Stefan, that's a great book you wrote there, but it's not Peter King recommendation worthy.
On some field this summer, a new James Harrison will be born. On another field, a rookie -- Pat White? LeSean McCoy? Brian Orakpo? Brandon Tate? -- will make crowds go nuts. Mario Manningham will see an opportunity and run with it or run from it. Ditto Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez.
For those that may wonder why I say Peter has an upper Northeast coast of the United States bias, he just randomly typed 8 players names and the 6 of them play in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington, New England and New York. These are players he just randomly typed and only teams in that area came to his mind. I just want to remind the entire rest of the country that Peter doesn't give a shit about you.
For all you Texans fans who sometimes feel left out on the national stage, I'll have some interesting thoughts from Matt Schaub Tuesday to top the column.
There you go Texans fans, that should be more than enough to satisfy your hunger. First, you got to hear Peter's opinion of your backup quarterback a few months ago and now he is going to use Matt Schaub's name in a sentence that is normally reserved for players who have accomplished something like Matt Cassel, Mark Sanchez, and Bart Scott. Don't feel worthy Texans fans, because you are not.
Before I begin, thanks to my sub columnists -- Trent Green, Matt Birk, Chris Cooley, Matt Light and Sean Payton -- for filling in while I was gone.
All 5 white men by the way. I'm just saying somehow Peter got 5 white guys to write his MMQB for him out of the hundreds of people who coach and play in the NFL.
And I think Cooley really wants my job; I'm going to have to try to help him get a nice 15-year contract extension with Dan Snyder.
He's not kidding, this is what he does for all athletes he likes. He will continue to write nice things about Chris Cooley until he has used his expert knowledge to convince the public Chris Cooley is a great player. By the year 2018 we are going to be getting weekly "Cooley retirement updates" in MMQB.
I also believe Vick simply wants to be back on an NFL team (he views the United Football League as a last resort only) and will be fine for at least a year or maybe two with whatever role a coach wants to give him. Wildcat backup for New England?
Sorry Fred, but if I hear Peter King say one more time that Mike Vick should go to the Patriots because Belichick is one of the few coaches who knows how to use him, I am going to scream even more than usual. Yeah, we get it. Belichick is smart. It's not like he fucking invented the Wildcat or even used the Wildcat last year so let's not stain our pants with excitement quite yet.
I feel strongly that Vick should be given a suspension of at least four weeks because of his serial lying -- to Goodell, to Falcons owner Arthur Blank and then-GM Rick McKay -- in addition to re-entering the league with two strikes against him, figuratively. That's what I expect, quite frankly.
That should be what you expect...isn't that the punishment that Roger Goodell reportedly gave Vick? Please don't take news that is already sort of reported and act like it is new news.
I expect a ruling this week.
Could that be because it has been reported there will be a ruling this week?
For Vick, a blessing would be going to New England, where Bill Belichick would give him the kind of structured existence on and off the field that would be best for him.
(Keeping my vow, I am screaming louder than usual when reading MMQB) Mike Vick is not a historical troublemaker like Pacman Jones or Terrell Owens. I am not going to defend Mike Vick, because he has had a few incidences of trouble other than the dog fighting, but he doesn't need a structured existence to play football. He needs a team willing to take a chance on him and yes we know that Bill Belichick is a fucking genius and could cure cancer, if he just had the time, but there are plenty of other places Vick could go as well. I still think Oakland or San Francisco would be good fits.
And the 49ers, despite the fact that Mike Singletary would love to mentor Vick, I think the public pressure and uncertain quarterback situation would put too much of a weight on Vick's shoulders.
The guy was the face of the Falcons franchise and has been all over the news for months now, he can handle the pressure of the 49ers QB situation.
As for Favre ... I'm told this could go either way, but that it's more likely than not he'll sign and be in camp with the Vikes next week. Because I don't know much more than that, no sense wasting your time or mine.
I would love to get a poll of who actually cares where the hell Brett Favre goes between the public and the media. I would bet it would be 70% of the public who say they don't give two craps where the heck Brett Favre plays football. Among media members I bet they think 70% care where Favre goes.
The reason McDermott's job is so tough is that Johnson set such a high standard. He was the defensive sheriff in town, and he made the defensive gameplans and the defensive playcalls.
I would like to know how many defensive coordinators DON'T make the defensive gameplans and the defensive playcalls? Other than in New England of course, where Bill Belichick was also responsible for helping to build the stadium AND he is in charge of the concession stands...all while getting the entire gameplan for each game together for the Patriots AND dressing up in a hoodie as a superhero to stop crime around the world.
Because he didn't play much last year, and because Seattle didn't make the playoffs, and because he had his back well-diagnosed by January, he's been in the weight room more, and longer, than in the past. "I'm not worried about my back at all,'' Hasselbeck said.
I love it when players try to spin injuries caused by old age into good things for the team.
"No no no no, it's a good thing I blew my elbow out last year, now my arm has one less year of wear on it. See, the fact I am old is a GOOD thing."
"The only thing my back cannot do is sit in a three-hour run-game-install meeting without getting up and moving around.
Yeah, Hasselbeck just can't sit down for three hours without his back stiffening up. Playing in a three hour football game where he gets tackled repeatedly, often without warning, and hit in the back should be a walk in the park for him.
Grunge music to Seattle's ears.
Holy shit. Seriously? It's not 1993.
Coach John Harbaugh still think there's a chance the 35-year-old Mason, who has a chronic shoulder problem, will play. Baltimore added Kelley Washington in free-agency from New England, but he was almost purely a special-teams player in New England; he caught just one ball in the last two years.
If you can only catch one ball in the Patriots system that can't be a good thing. Seriously, the offensive system in New England has turned Wes Welker into a Pro Bowl receiver.
June 25, Foxboro, Mass. "How's Zim?'' says Tedy Bruschi, and I fill him in. Paul Zimmerman has had a bit of a setback, but he's fighting hard, and if anyone of advanced age can come back from three strokes it'll be Zim.
Actually I would guess it would be Clint Eastwood. He probably is in better shape and has more money to pay for rehabilitation than Dr. Z.
Sorry, I didn't mean to ruin the hyperbole Peter was spewing...actually I did.
Now Peter tells us what he did on his vacation...because there is nothing more exciting than hearing about someone else's vacation.
July 6, Brewster, Mass. I'm in the fourth row of the bleachers at the baseball field behind Stony Brook Elementary, with a cadre of football intelligentsia behind me. Bill Polian, GM of the Colts. Steve Spagnuolo, coach of the Rams. Chris Palmer, quarterbacks coach of the Giants. Chris Polian, assistant GM of the Colts. Brian Polian, special-teams coach at Notre Dame.
Wow, this sure would be a good time to ask Bill Polian how Peyton Manning is handling the departure of his long time offensive coordinator (who made ALL the play calls!) and the offensive line coach. Unfortunately, we get a conversation about baseball. Only Peter King can sit down with 5 football guys and not come back with a single piece of information on football.
Have I ever mentioned how I hate it when Peter King plays favorites and chooses to not ask or report information his favorite athletes or football guys don't want him to report?
Officiating czar Mike Pereira said the league is basically going to go back to the drawing board to try to find his successor; Pereira retires at the end of this year. "We thought we'd have someone in place by now,'' he says to the crowd, but the league doesn't, and now Roger Goodell wants a new process to begin.
That should make everyone feel really good about the state of the NFL's officiating crews. They can't find a single person who is currently an official who either wants the job or is qualified for the job. But don't worry about the NFL games this year and the quality of the officiating, nothing to see here, move along.
July 20, Boston. Trip to the urologist. Regular checkup. Two docs. First doc examines me, and I should say he examines me thoroughly.
Some things should be kept private. Again, I want to remind everyone that we are currently 3 years away from knowing the color of Peter's King poop and how often he goes to the bathroom. Don't say I did not warn you.
Very nice fellow, just like the first one. He puts on the rubber glove. Whoa! Whoa! This, uh, already happened! Second urologist wants to check out the situation for himself. Examines me a little more thoroughly.
Oh no! Two men are fondling your junk? Gosh, please keep this story going so I can hear more about people putting their fingers and hands on your private parts. I have to hear more. The doctors are doing it for health reasons, just pretend it is Brett's strong, grizzled hands and you can make it through the procedure.
(For some reason I originally had the urologist sticking his hand up Peter's ass here. Fred pointed out to me I got a proctologist and a urologist confused. I did not get them confused, I just did not pay attention to what was written and just assumed it was a proctologist. Either way, thanks to Fred for pointing this out to me. The scariest part is that when I went to google "proctologist" to make sure I had spelled it correctly, it came up that I had searched for that word recently...I have no idea when I did this.)
And now, just after 1 in the afternoon, I'm sitting on the edge of a hospital bed in Massachusetts General Hospital-West when my surgeon approaches. It's Thomas Gill, the Red Sox and Patriots orthopedist. He's the third person out of eight or nine who would ask me the same question that day: "Which knee are we operating on today?'' I tell him the left one, and he takes a marker and writes "YES'' above my left kneecap. "The reason we don't put an 'X' here,'' he says, "is because if you put an 'X' there, how do you know that's NOT the one to operate on?''
That's just common sense. I really hope Peter did not think this was a revelation of some kind. I am glad the doctor who did Peter's surgery has a grasp on this technique, because this was apparently very new and shocking to Peter.
"Since I've been working in the league, I don't think the best team has won the Super Bowl any year. You get a ball bouncing the wrong way, a bad call from a ref, a windy day when you plan to throw a lot ... There are just too many things out of your control.''
-- Eagles team president Joe Banner in Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer.
My these grapes sure are sour.
"I think the way the commissioner has handled it, I think it's unfair to Michael Vick. I think he's done the time for what he's done. I don't think it's really fair for him to be suspended four more games. That's almost like kicking a dead horse in the ground. I think a lot of guys around the league need to speak up. I think the players union needs to step in because the guy's already suffered so much. To add a four-game suspension on a two-year prison sentence, that's ridiculous.''
-- Buffalo wide receiver Terrell Owens after the team's morning training-camp practice Sunday.
I blame the media as much as anyone else for T.O. making this comment. If you put a microphone in front of an idiot, he is going to say idiotic things. It's just that simple. Nothing T.O. will say this year will ever or should ever hold any importance to pretty much anyone in the NFL. The media loves to get a quote from him though.
Let's start this exercise by saying the only teams that can logically compete for Team of the Decade in this decade are New England and Pittsburgh.
Peter then goes through a chart and lays out the idea that New England is the Team of the Decade. I am not prone to disagree. This is the 496th reference to the New England Patriots in this column though.
Enjoyable/Aggravating Travel Note of the Week
I hurt my knee during vacation and had to muddle through three weeks with it, and I found myself on a plane to Seattle, changing in Chicago, to visit our daughter Mary Beth. When we changed, I got up to get something out of the overhead, and the man across the aisle stumbled getting out of his seat, lost his balance, and his knee rammed hard into mine. The man, about 65, steadied himself. I bent over, saw a few stars, straightened up, and limped off the plane, with the man right behind me.
Dammit Grandpa, I said "aim for his knee with your carry-on luggage that is full of cement blocks", not "hit him in the knee with your knee." That's it, your done, back to the nursing home for you. You can't be trusted to carry out my devious plans anymore...and I am taking away your cable television as punishment.
2. I think one of the reasons for the move of the draft to Thursday, Friday and Saturday, obviously, is getting the draft into prime time.
I think this is an incredibly stupid idea because there are a ton of great shows on television Thursday night. I don't know why the NFL would insist on having the first round one night, then two rounds the next night and four rounds the final night. I know there are going to be a bunch of people flipping channels on that Thursday night. Why do they have to mess everything up? I hope no one watches.
I asked on my Twitter account Sunday afternoon whether you favor the NFL moving the draft to one round Thursday, two Friday and four Saturday. In three hours, 462 fans responded. Of those with a yes-or-no opinion, 345 said no, 117 said yes. That's 74.7 percent of my Twitter followers against the move.
Let's look at some of the genius comments against the draft time move:
c. Harlen Coben (the real one): "Why not start right after Super Bowl and have two picks every day till start of season?''
I love this guy's books but I really, really hope he is being sarcastic about this comment and is making fun of the NFL expanding the draft coverage out so much. If not, this is quite possibly the worst idea ever. I don't even want to go into the specifics because I think this is sarcasm...but this is the worst NFL related idea ever.
d. Armen Keteyian (the real one): "Not me. One more example of milking and marketing; a league seeking desperately even more buzz. More like zzzzzz.''
I get it! It's like "buzz" without the "bu!" Hilarious and relevant to the discussion. Now I know why Armen doesn't get to do an excessive amount of speaking on television.
After this Peter makes a comment about Carl Eller's 2004 NFL Hall of Fame speech and how he referenced Barack Obama. Peter thought it was so cool Eller knew about Obama in 2004...Obama was the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, so it wasn't all that amazing he knew who he was.
5. I think it's tough to write Steve McNair's legacy thoroughly, 23 days after he was murdered. But the popular question after his death centers around whether he deserves to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
I can make this easy. No, he doesn't deserve to make the Hall of Fame.
In his favor is the fact that he won an MVP and appeared in a Super Bowl.
He was co-MVP and he lost the Super Bowl. It wasn't his fault he had to share the trophy and lost the Super Bowl, but these are the facts. Also, McNair was a great player, but not good enough to be a Hall of Fame player.
7. I think these are my thoughts on the headlines of the month:
Why, when a famous person dies, do we feel the need to vastly overstate this person's importance to the planet? Jackson may have been -- probably was -- the greatest singer, performer and dancer of this era. A member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Sheila Jackson Lee, got up at his service and said a lot of politicians were in office directly because of Jackson. "He called us into public service,'' Jackson Lee said. Let me understand this. A man sings wonderfully and dances better, and that leads a cadre of regular citizens into public service?
I have to say I completely agree with Peter when he makes this statement. I am not sure Peter would refrain from such conjecture when a prominent athlete dies, but I still agree with what he says.
d. "Joey Chestnut Wins Hot Dog-Eating Contest.'' Whoever at ESPN thought of televising the Fourth of July contest from Coney Island and giving it some form of sporting glory ought to not only be fired but also sent to a class for education on world hunger.
Ok, now Peter is just being a little bit touchy. World hunger is a problem but I don't think all hot dog eating contests should be banned because of it. What's funny is that I am sure Peter has never turned down a huge buffet at a nice banquet or in the sports box of a stadium and then wasted some of the food on his plate. It's not exactly equal to a hot dog eating contest but as much free food as Peter has gotten at nice restaurants (or food paid by someone else), you would think he wouldn't be on such a high horse about this.
Ok, two more things I agree with Peter on before I go vomit:
On the day when Astana teammate Alberto Contador virtually clinched the 2009 Tour de France title -- quite precisely, minutes after the stage was over and Contador all but copped the Tour -- Armstrong announced on his website, on a Twitter page and on a corporate website that he was forming a new team for 2010 in conjunction with RadioShack. How distasteful. How selfish.
Lance Armstrong is a strong and admirable guy for coming back from cancer to win so many Tour De France races but he also has a strong history of being kind of a prick. This is comparable, yet actually worse in my mind than A-Rod announcing he is opting out of his deal when the Red Sox clinched the World Series, like he did in 2007, because Contador was Lance's teammate.
It's ironic because I always argued the media did not have to cover the A-Rod opting out story, so they should not bitch about him doing it. If they did not like it, they should not have covered it as much as they did. I did not hear about Lance Armstrong forming the RadioShack team until I read it here, so I guess the media decided not to cover this happening, which proves the media can ignore something if they want to.
It's ridiculous for ESPN to not cover this story for two days because of the apparent flimsiness of it, seeing that it's a civil suit and not a criminal one. When a lawsuit is filed in a courtroom somewhere in the United States of America involving the Super Bowl champion quarterback, it's absolutely, positively news and must be reported.
It's ESPN, they are an entertainment network, not a sports network. It's not their job to report the news, it's their job to make the news. Really I am not sure Peter can complain about another media outlet not reporting on a story when he bows at the alter of so many famous athletes and football guys tends to shade them the way they want to be seen.
8. I think one of the guys we'll all have eyes on this summer is the first-round pick of the Raiders, wideout Darrius Heyward-Bey. Seems like a classic boom-or-bust pick.
I'm sorry, is it early May and the draft just ended? This is another example of Peter arriving late in noticing something.
His college coach, Ralph Friedgen, is a huge fan of Heyward-Bey's, but he also says the wideout needs to improve his hands. "There would be times in practice he would really struggle,'' Friedgen said.
I can't emphasize enough how much I hated this pick.
a. I give up on the Black Berry Storm. I was seduced into buying it when it was The Next Big Thing, but the weird and hard-to-use keyboard should make it the Edsel of mobile phone and e-mail devices.
b. Incredibly, I sat behind the man who invented the hard-to-use keyboard of the Storm at Fenway one day when I was off ... and ended up telling him what I thought of the keyboard. A tad awkward, but someone's got to address how hard it is to hit each key just so when you're trying to send a text. I need those upraised letters.
You know this guy who invented the keyboard had to be thinking, "just my luck, I get a whiny sportswriter who got a free phone from his company bitching to be about how hard it is to get his fat little fingers to push the buttons when I am trying to watch a baseball game." I don't care how bad the keyboard is, I feel bad for this guy.
I don't know if this is incredible, I tend to save incredible for more important and amazing events. This was an incredible coincidence maybe.
e. I've seen a lot of John Smoltz over the last month. Doesn't look like the Smoltz we've all gotten to respect. The game looks too hard for him.
Bill Simmons called him "a National League pitcher" the other day on his Twitter. Bill is an idiot. Smoltz never had a problem facing the American League in the World Series. What everyone wants to forget is that Smoltz is not a young guy, he is a 42 year old pitcher coming off his third arm surgery. That may be why he did not get a massive offer for guaranteed money from the Braves to stay with the team. Oh, and yes, though I miss him greatly and it sucks to see him get hit hard, I am glad a smart move was made.
i. It's not the Yankees the Red Sox have to worry about. I've never felt that way the whole season. Yanks, playoffs, fait accompli. It's Tampa Bay.
The Yankees are 9-1 over their last ten games and are 2.5 games in first place. Peter, you just keep thinking the Rays are the ones the Red Sox have to worry about...maybe in a fight for the Wild Card spot.
As you can see nothing has changed and Peter still doesn't seem to completely understand the sport of baseball or he is too busy complaining to the Blackberry Storm keyboard designer to pay attention to learn anything.