Tuesday, July 30, 2013

6 comments MMQB Review: Did You Know Anquan Boldin Got Traded? Edition

Peter King launched The MMQB last week with his inaugural MMQB column that appeared on the The MMQB site. It turns out that Peter believes The MMQB to be the "thinking man's football site," which is always a nice change and I took it to mean Peter would not be writing at The MMQB...but it turns out I was wrong. It seems the "thinking man's football site" involves talking about pizza with Colin Kaepernick and three things that Tom Brady thinks. I guess we'll see how the site plays out, but MMQB is the exact same (not The MMQB, but MMQB the column) as it always has been. Peter complains about having to deal with the public and gives us insider information on his favorite beers. This week Peter tells us the most overlooked storyline of training camp (which most likely will boil down to "Does Colin Kaepernick like mushrooms on his pizza or does he just like plain cheese pizza?"), advises airlines to work on their boarding procedures (Peter is Zone 1 dammit! He's not sitting nor boarding with people who make less than six figures and you can't make him do it), and compares Wes Welker to Jerry Rice out of spite for his readers. 

What I love about NFL training camps was on display Sunday, around 4:30 in the afternoon, as the sun beat down on the fields where the Super Bowl favorites (in the eyes of many) went through their fourth practice of the summer.

Was it the sound of a person being thrashed with a cane for having the audacity to talk on their cell phone in your presence while you washed down an Allagash White and wondered why servants just aren't as affordable as they used to be?

From the right slot, Anquan Boldin, the uber-valuable Ravens wideout who broke so many Niners-loving hearts with a 100-yard receiving game in the Super Bowl fewer than six months ago, cut across the middle of the first-team Niners defense. Nnamdi Asomugha trailed, but just barely, in tight coverage on him. The quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, went elsewhere with the throw. But just seeing Boldin in Niners red, wearing his familiar No. 81, was notable for a couple of reasons:

So what Peter loves the most about training camp is the lack of continuity in the salary cap era and how non-guaranteed contracts can cause veteran players to be traded on the cheap?  This is a long treasured training camp tradition.

One, the best receiver in the 2012 postseason moving from brother (John Harbaugh) to brother (Jim) in a lightning-fast trade has gotten far too little attention in the NFL world. Two, with the Achilles injury to top San Francisco wideout Michael Crabtree knocking him out until at least midseason, Boldin, traded for a pittance (the 199th pick in the April draft) could be the most important receiver on two different Super Bowl contenders just months apart. And nobody’s talking about it. It’s the NFL story hiding in plain sight.

I think there was a fairly big to-do about Boldin going to the 49ers back when he actually got traded. I remember Peter writing a column about it and I remember reading other columns about this trade. Boldin was traded on the cheap, but I'm not sure why there has to be an uproar about his leaving the Ravens team to go to San Francisco. Boldin hasn't had a 1000 yard season since 2009 and hasn't caught double-digit touchdowns since 2008. He had a great postseason, but I think this is a case where the last thing being remembered is the only thing being remembered. Boldin is going to be 33 in October and he was never the fastest receiver as it is. I don't understand how this is an NFL story hiding in plain sight. It's really not that exciting unless you are the type of writer who gets aroused at the idea of an NFL player being traded from one Harbaugh brother's team to another...which apparently is the type of writer Peter King is.

Also, don't say Peter didn't warn you The MMQB wouldn't have hard-hitting stories! Anquan Boldin has changed Harbaugh brothers. Why doesn't anyone talk about the Harbaugh brothers? What an underrated storyline they are. Do John and Jim have parents? Why hasn't anyone talked to Jim and John Harbaugh's father about how he feels to have two sons that coach in the NFL? I wonder which brother they cheered for in the Super Bowl last year?

“It’s amazing how quiet it’s been,” 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said after practice Sunday.

Not really. I'd like to talk more about how quickly Nnamdi Asomugha has gone from being considered one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL to being cut by the Eagles for a reason that wasn't completely salary-cap related. Can we talk about how three summers ago Peter King made Asomugha seem like he was on par with Darrelle Revis and reported breathlessly on his free agency, only to find Peter got quiet with a "nothing to see here"-ness about it when Asomugha's performance didn't merit the free agency attention he gave it? Oh, we can't talk about it? Great, then.

But first, the two things about the Boldin deal, and its aftermath here, that interest me the most:

1. The story at the time was how quickly the March 11 deal between Baltimore and San Francisco came together, after the Ravens decided they’d rather cut Boldin than pay him the full $6 million he was due in 2013. Just how sudden did the deal get done? “From start to finish, about 40 minutes,” Jim Harbaugh said in his office Sunday.

Is this really shocking? The Ravens were going to cut Boldin and the 49ers were getting a great deal on a proven receiver. This deal should have taken five minutes, but I'm sure the Ravens spent 35 minutes seeing if any other NFL team would want to take Boldin off their hands for more than a 6th round pick while also paying Boldin's $6 million salary.

“I was told to be myself from day one,” Boldin said as the Niners opened defense of their NFC title in the shadow of the quickly rising stadium that will be their home beginning in 13 months. “So I feel comfortable to speak up if I see something that can help this team.”

Why aren't more people talking about how Anquan Boldin can talk? What an underrated story this is.

And there he was Sunday, rambling across the middle and exchanging ideas with Kaepernick after plays, rushing to get on the same page.

Why are more people not talking about Anquan Boldin's ability to exchange ideas? This is the overlooked story of this decade in sports.

One more thing about Niners camp Sunday: Anyone who watched practice understood why Jim Harbaugh chose Kaepernick over Alex Smith last November.

Anyone who saw Alex Smith play quarterback over the last two seasons and saw that Harbaugh had maxed out Smith's abilities understood why Harbaugh chose Kaepernick over Alex Smith. My question is why it took so damn long to get in Kaepernick in there for Smith.

News of the Weekend.

Allagash White is still a great beer. That is all the news Peter cares to share. Well, also sitting and drinking beer is underrated. Why don't more people do this?

On Percy Harvin. Harvin flies to New York to be examined by a hip specialist Tuesday after feeling some restrictions while running last week. Harvin got nervous about it, saw the usually conservative Seahawks doctors (who believe the injury isn’t season-threatening), and decided to exercise his option to have a second opinion.

Alex Rodriguez is jealous that Percy Harvin has the right to a second medical opinion.

That leads the Seahawks to think they’ll escape a season-ending injury for Harvin. I’ve got a little different opinion on this than most.

Peter's opinion is the Zone 3 folks just need to fucking wait their turn and not get near the Zone 1 folks trying to get on the plane! Wait, sorry I jumped the gun on that one. That's not until later in this MMQB.

Harvin had trust issues with authority in Minnesota, dating back to a poor relationship with head coach Brad Childress. So now the Seahawks can establish that they’re going to be different—they’re going to give their blessing on getting the second opinion, and they’re going to tell Harvin, We want you to have peace of mind about your hip.

Harvin has trust issues so the Seahawks are going to cater to Harvin's trust issues by saying, "Our doctors could be wrong. It's best not to trust us. Go get a second opinion on your hip from your own doctor." Perhaps I am thinking too logical, but if Harvin's poor relationship with Brad Childress and Harvin's problem with authority caused him issues in Minnesota, then couldn't it be possible allowing him to see his own doctor (IF the doctor comes back with a different diagnosis) feed into those trust issues? It seems to me like this could go really well or really badly for Seattle if Harvin really has difficulty with authority and then the Seahawks doctors and Harvin's own personal doctor disagree on treatment for his hip.

Opening day is 41 days away, and aside from the fact that Russell Wilson and Harvin need to be building familiarity, there’s not a major issue with a guy who has a history of missing time (10 games in four seasons) getting as healthy as he can in the preseason and feeling good about his physical condition entering the season.

At least the Seahawks aren't asking to smell Harvin's car.

On Von Miller. I’ll be very interested to see what Miller’s defense in challenging a four-game league suspension will be.

It's never that interesting really to hear these appeals. Usually it involves the player blaming someone else or saying he accidentally took the substance that he tested positive for.

On Jeremy Maclin. What’s most hurtful about Maclin being lost for the season with a torn ACL after collapsing at practice Saturday is that Eagles coach Chip Kelly needs the quickness and playmaking Maclin surely would have provided the offense.

Yeah, that's pretty obvious. I'm pretty sure that is what is most hurtful about Maclin being lost for the season, the fact he is fast and very good at playing football. I guess this is the type of hard-hitting, in-depth reporting The MMQB will provide.

"What hurts the Broncos most by Peyton Manning's head falling off during practice is that he is a Hall of Fame quarterback and the Broncos were really counting on him being their starter this year."

This GM said one of the reasons Kelly would be in such high demand is because he consistently took players other colleges didn’t want and turned them into high-functioning players in a fast-paced offense. I wouldn’t count out the Eagles.

Peter, it's late July. No one has counted out the Eagles yet. Calm down.

I just figure Kelly will use the summer to test two or three guys down the depth chart (Greg Salas, Cooper, Arrelious Benn) and find a way to make plays. I still think who the quarterback is, and how fast the offense can play competently, will be a bigger factor in Philly’s success or failure than the loss of Maclin.

Peter believes whether the Eagles have a competent quarterback may play a bigger role in how successful the Eagles season is. Who knew competent quarterback play was so vital to a team's success? Who knew that whoever Chip Kelly chooses as the Eagles quarterback could have such a large impact on the Eagles season? I have learned so much on The MMQB reading MMQB.

On Amber Theoharis. You recall from last week’s column (or maybe you don’t) that NFL Network anchor Amber Theoharis had a baby by Caesarian section four hours after going off the air hosting NFL Total Access July 17. Theoharis was in labor during the show. Now for the rest of the story, from Theoharis, via email: “We weren’t expecting her to come while I was still working. I should have known better. My first girl, Dylan Mattea, was 12 weeks premature. I began labor with her in the Chicago White Sox press box while working as a beat reporter for the Orioles in 2010. That time Jim Palmer held my hand, 

Jim Palmer, always the pimp. Hopefully he was fully clothed and not just wearing his briefs while holding her hand.

Never in my life would I believe Willie McGinest and Warren Sapp would be part of my child’s birth story. They were. Willie McGinest was sitting next to me during that break when I knew the contractions were getting stronger. As a father of three. he knew what was up.

Let's be honest, does it require having three children to figure out a woman over 8 months pregnant who appears to be having contractions could be going into labor? It seems like it's not a tough deduction to get this point where you think, "This woman is about to have a baby," whether you are a father of three children or zero children.

This is why we love Warren. He just kept yelling across the set. ‘She’s going to have that baby!’ 

Then Sapp called the baby "a snitch" and offered to eat the placenta in the delivery room if that is what Theoharis wanted him to do.

So on Friday of draft weekend last April, Wisconsin running back Montee Ball and his family rented a room in a Madison hotel to celebrate his being drafted. It happened in round two, when the Broncos chose Ball.
“My phone started blowing up,” Ball said the other day. “You know, friends and family all texting and calling to congratulate me. I couldn’t read ‘em all, there were so many. Then this real long one came in, from a number I didn’t know. Like, Congratulations, so proud of you, you worked so hard to get to this point, you made your mark at Wisconsin, and now this is what we expect of you. Stuff like that. I scrolled all the way down, and at the bottom, it said, ‘P. Manning.’ Whoa! Peyton Manning texted me. I said, ‘Hey! I got Peyton Manning’s phone number!’ 

I am not surprised.

Yes Peter, we know you aren't surprised at Peyton reaching out to Montee Ball. You know Peyton Manning and you know that Peyton Manning does stuff like this. You are an NFL insider with access. That's why people read your column.

What I want to happen is an enterprising person to text the Broncos first round draft pick next year pretending to be Peyton Manning (before Manning can contact the player) and ask him to do some crazy stuff. Tell him to get on a plane immediately and head to Denver to practice, but he is expected to practice in women's clothing only. 

Manning did the same thing after the Colts drafted Donald Brown in 2009, and I’m sure if I asked every offensive guy drafted by his team in recent years, they’d say Manning reached out to them and began laying the plan for the guy to get to know the offense.

This is basically Peyton's polite way of saying "Get your ass on the field, I want to work with you."

Manning, 37, and I spoke for The MMQB when I was in Denver on Thursday (more coming soon in our every-weekday 3Q Interview),

Yes, we need MORE Peyton Manning. God knows we don't get enough of him in the Fall when he is in every fifth commercial.

Ten things I learned out West.

Never draw your gun if you don't intend to use it?

1. Coaches watched the Jason Garrett speech. A couple were surprised that the Cowboys allowed the 35-minute tape of Garrett’s pre-training-camp speech to his team to be shared with The MMQB. Two coaches I’ve spoken to watched the entire 35 minutes. “A good resource,” one said.

The best part of this resource is knowing that Jerry Jones gave approval for Garrett's speech to be run in MMQB and Garrett probably has no control over the team. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Jerry Jones wrote that speech. I'm kidding of course. Jones' personal assistant would write the speech and then give it to Garrett to deliver to the team.

4. Eric Mangini’s back. Hidden, quiet and understated, Mangenius watches practice as a Niners offensive consultant—he, of course, has been a longtime defensive coach—and tries to absorb Greg Roman’s offense.

I think that "Mangenius" nickname probably shouldn't be used anymore. Doesn't seem appropriate at this point.

5. Quentin Jammer could be reborn in Denver. The Broncos are looking at him at safety in the nickel and also at slot corner. His impact could be felt most in his versatility. And by the way, John Elway loves him some Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Thinks he’ll be reborn playing next to Champ Bailey and Chris Harris.

Is "reborn" Peter's "Word of the Day" or something. Has "Word of the Day" been reborn?

If this doesn’t make you feel old, nothing will.

Seeing this line on the camp roster of the New York Giants:

Experience: 10.

Eli Manning, a 10-year veteran. Same for Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger, of course.

Just another reminder of how time marches on for everyone in this game, and how it won’t be long before the Giants, Chargers and Steelers have to start thinking of life after their franchise quarterbacks.

Oh by the way Peter, the Steelers drafted Landry Jones and the Giants drafted Ryan Nassib in this past year's draft. So they are way ahead of you on this thought. Good looking out on the whole "Look for the Steelers, Chargers, and Giants to start thinking about life after their franchise quarterback" thing though.

In Praise of Wes Welker Dept.:

Receptions by Wes Welker over the past six seasons: 672.
Receptions by Jerry Rice over the most productive six-year period of his career: 604 (from 1991 to ’96).


Is that right? It doesn't feel right.

That’s right:

So it is right.

Well, let’s run the numbers. Rice was 33 years and 3 months old when he finished that 604-catch run. Welker was 31 years and 8 months old when he played his last regular-season game for New England and finished his six-year roll.

Peter is not directly comparing Jerry Rice to Wes Welker, but he is also making some sense of a comparison of Jerry Rice to Wes Welker. Welker is a great receiver, but he and Rice are just completely different types of wide receivers who played in different types of offenses. I recognize the strength of Welker as a player, but he's asked to do different things from Rice. So whether Peter means to or not, he is comparing these two players. I am not sure I would even know where to begin when discussing a comparison of Wes Welker to Jerry Rice.

There are 11 players with 900 or more catches who are not in the Hall yet—some either still playing or not eligible—and the field will be teeming soon, with Andre Johnson, Jason Witten, Steve Smith and Larry Fitzgerald likely to go over 900 in the next couple years. I believe 15 years down the road, there will be 15 receivers knocking on the Hall doors with 1,000 catches on their resumes. A grim task faces the 46 Hall voters at receiver, to be sure.

It sounds like 1000 catches shouldn't be the whole criteria for whether a player makes it into the Hall of Fame. Perhaps other factors should be considered like the quality of the quarterback the receiver played with for his career, how tall he was (the shorter the player is, the better chance he has of making the Hall of Fame), and whether he had another great receiver on the other side of him that helped to make his 1000 catches less or more impressive.

I'm kidding about making these criteria part of the Hall of Fame consideration (by using criteria that would get Steve Smith in the Hall of Fame). Well sort of, these factors should be somewhat considered, but I think 1000 catches shouldn't be an automatic qualifier for the Hall of Fame as it once seemed to be.

To underscore the historic impact Tony Gonzalez is having on the tight end position:
 
Gonzalez has 427 more receptions than any other tight end in NFL history. Mike Ditka had 427 catches in his Hall of Fame career.

This says more about how the game of football has evolved and how certain offensive players who were inducted in the past are going to have puny looking numbers in the future compared to modern players.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

This section is named after a gentleman that Peter ran into at a hotel who referred to himself in a pretentious manner as a "Starwood Preferred Member." This guy thought he was special because of this, but in the following story Peter is going to basically do the same thing and believe he is special because he has a Zone 1 boarding pass. Let's just say Peter is not self-aware.

LaGuardia Airport, New York, Wednesday afternoon, gate B1, Frontier Airlines, pre-flight announcements and reaction for a flight to Denver:

Feel the tension and drama!

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Frontier Airlines and our flight to Denver. We will be boarding by zones today. Any families with small children who need some extra time to board, please approach the gate.

Four or five families approach the gate. Twenty or so other people, adults traveling without children, clog the gate area. 

The audacity of these people to not immediately move aside fully knowing they are in the presence of Peter King. What an audacious display. Peter does not feel re-born when he sees displays like this.

Now if we have any Ascent members, you are free to board. Ladies and gentlemen, please step aside to allow our families and Ascent members room to board.
No one steps aside. The moochers have to be walked through. Now there are more of them. Thirty, maybe. Two minutes pass. The frequent Frontier flyers excuse themselves repeatedly to move through the louts who don’t belong there.

This is madness. It only gets worse for Peter too. He is Zone 1. Zone 1, dammit, and these louts aren't going to move so he can get by. Where are the police when you need them?

Now ladies and gentlemen, if your boarding card is marked with Zone 1, you may board.

The non-Zone-1 people are eight-deep. I have a Zone 1 boarding pass.

Now these louts have poked the bear. Peter is going to angrily drag his rolling suitcase up to the counter, mumble about them under his breath and then get these people back by writing about them in his weekly NFL column. That'll show them real good.

I excuse myself through the mass of people, over and over. The man in front of me has a midsized rolling suitcase, a bulging hanging bag fastened and slung over his shoulder, and a fat black backpack. “Sir,’’ the gate attendant says, “you’re in Zone 3. You have to wait. Please stand to the side.” He starts saying there won’t be overhead space when he boards, and asks if he could please board now. The attendant says, “No.” Sanity prevails.

What an inconvenience that Peter had to be bothered with this man. Peter has a Zone 1 boarding pass. He should have his own waiting area for the plane, but no, he doesn't make a big deal about not having his own waiting area as long as no Zone 3 passengers would come near his person. Yet, that's what happens. Peter had to wait an extra 30 seconds to board the plane because of these people and that's just absolutely unacceptable. He has a Zone 1 boarding pass, dammit! In 30 seconds, Peter could transcribe a few sentences of a complete stranger's cell phone conversation. You are ruining his life's work now by making him wait an additional 30 seconds.

Over the years, the airlines have slowly lost control of the boarding process. And this crap is what happens. It’s aerial line-cutting. Would you try to cut a line at, say, a movie theater?

Yes, people do this at the theater. They do the whole "I know that guy and am going to jump ahead and talk to him while also buying my ticket with him" move all the time.

If you’ve got too much luggage and are afraid you won’t be able to store your bag, check it.

I'm not going to defend this guy for cutting in line, but checking a bag is expensive. Still, three bags is too many, that I will agree with and I've never had a Zone 1 boarding pass.

And airlines, get control of the process with better pens to separate us cattle.

Or every airline will lose Peter as a passenger and then he will use trains to travel all around the United States. The train industry is struggling enough as it is, do you really want Peter pointing out everything the United States rail system does wrong?

“I would like to thank the Cardinal organization for 3 amazing years, my teammates, my media buddies and more importantly the fans. Thank you”

—@Ob_Scho, veteran NFL linebacker O’Brien Schofield, after being let go by the Cardinals.

Normal, everyday tweet. Nothing special about it. So why’d I use it?

Did Schofield sign with the Rams or something? 

To show you the class of O’Brien Schofield. On Thursday, walking out to practice with his team, Schofield was stopped by a Cardinals employee. Schofield needed to go see the GM, Steve Keim. And right there, at the same time the rest of his mates were practicing, Schofield was cut, after a full offseason of training. Turns out the Cardinals, after signing veteran pass rusher John Abraham, deemed Schofield expendable

Schofield will have a shot to make the Seahawks now. Seattle picked him up Saturday afternoon.

It's easy to be kind like this when you know that you have been claimed by another team after being cut. I'm not taking away from Schofield's class, but he thanked the Cardinals at 5:01pm and Tweeted he was a Seahawk at 5:04pm. It's easy to thank your prior employer once you know you have another job. So I still wonder why Peter used this Tweet because it's easy to be classy to your former employer knowing you already have a new job lined up.

Ten Things I Think I Think

a. And so you say, regarding all the training camp injuries: Why are teams so willing to risk injuries to vital players by practicing full-speed so often during the summer? I say: It’s the game. Would you want Miguel Cabrera opening the regular season in baseball having faced nothing but soft-toss in spring training?

I'm not a Tigers fan, so yes, I would want Cabrera opening the regular season ("in baseball" Peter adds, just to differentiate from Cabrera opening up the regular season playing for the Red Wings I guess) having faced nothing but soft-toss in spring training.

e. Tim Tebow caught three passes in the first practice of Patriots training camp. I see him being in the mold of a utility player if he makes the team, active some weeks and inactive others, not playing one set position.

Peter has to put at least one mention of Tebow into MMQB. I'm sure Peter is one week away from going on a rant about people who have made Tebow going to New England a big deal and feel the need to constantly update us on everything Tebow is doing at Patriots training camp.

i. Eight Washington players suspended for drug violations over the past three years, according to the Washington Post. Not good. Sounds like it’s time for GM Bruce Allen to chat with his scouts about character.

Why don't the Redskins just have Senator Robert Griffin III talk to them? He's just like Bill Bradley, you know?

2. I think it’s foreign to most of us that a player can significantly improve his speed, but Colin Kaepernick thinks he’s done just that this offseason.

It's probably all that pizza Kaepernick ate in the offseason.

4. I think the star turn of Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman may be just beginning. Not just because of his appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week (if you haven’t, read the first of a series of guest columns he’s writing for The MMQB). But walking through the terminal at Denver International Airport late Thursday, I saw a young boy with a “YOU MAD BRO?” t-shirt.

This was a "thing" before Richard Sherman posted it on his Twitter account. I was a little confused by the "Sports Illustrated" article that seemed to indicate Sherman had created the "You mad bro?" saying/meme, but I'm pretty sure it was around long before he used it in reference to the Seahawks beating Tom Brady.

6. I think, speaking of the Eagles, give Chip Kelly credit for having an open mind, which I believe he does when it comes to his quarterback competition. “I think we’ve got to figure out who our quarterback is before we understand the direction of where our offense is going,’’ Kelly said after running his first NFL training camp practice Friday. “Tell me who’s going to stand in the pocket against a full rush. I haven’t seen them do that.”

Part of the appeal of Mike Vick is that he doesn't stand in the pocket against a full rush and has the ability to roll out of the pocket and scramble if necessary. I'm not an Eagles fan, but if I were, I would be a little concerned the direction of the offense is up in the air until the quarterback competition is decided.

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

a. It’d be hard to get used to having medium-to-loud music of all sorts playing at every camp and in-season practice, the way Seattle coach Pete Carroll does. His theory: It’s going to be noisy every week in the NFL, at every stadium, during every game. So let’s get used to dealing with noise at all times. Carroll’s an eclectic music guy. I thought a polka might break out at some point Friday.

This is a non-football thought? This sounds like a very football-related thought.

d. No one in baseball deserves big money more than Dustin Pedroia. That comes from someone who watches him 40 times a year and who is never disappointed.

BREAKING NEWS: Red Sox fans like Dustin Pedroia. Would Peter still like Pedroia if Pedroia had a Zone 3 boarding pass and tried to board a plane before people with Zone 1 boarding passes though? 

e. Told you the Rays would be great. Man, they can pitch.

You certainly did tell us. No one else thought the Rays would be any good this year.

i. Coffeenerdness: Two tries at a vital 6:10 a.m. Macchiato at two different Starbucks at the Seattle airport. Two fails. That’s my biggest Starbucks problem: the inconsistency of the espresso shots. Sometimes rich and perfect, sometimes bitter or watery.

I wonder if Peter realizes what a whiny person he sounds like? He considers the inconsistency of the espresso shot at Starbucks worth a complaint in his weekly NFL column. Does this really merit a public mention? He has absolutely no perspective or ability to deal with being even the slightest bit frustrated while out in public. The world must continue to revolve around his every whim. If these are the big inconveniences in Peter's life I would hate to see what would happen if he had a real problem.

j. Beernerdness: I’d been familiar with only one New Belgium Brewery beer—Fat Tire—before seeing the Rockies at Coors Field the other night. Now I have two I like. Ranger IPA is among the best IPAs I’ve had, flavorful and with the slight bitterness that characterizes all good IPAs.

Son of a bitch. That's probably one of my 5 favorite beers and now Peter has to go and like this beer also.

k. I don’t say this because we had the pleasure of Olivia Munn on The MMQB Wednesday. I say it because it’s true: Last week’s episode of The Newsroom was the best in the short history of the show.

I'm surprised Peter King doesn't absolutely love "The Newsroom." I have never seen the show, but it seems like the kind of show that Peter would absolutely love.

The Adieu Haiku
Pitta, Maclin. Shame.
Brutal July injuries.
War of attrition.


Because injuries like this that occur in the regular season and not training camp are so much better.

Monday, July 29, 2013

1 comments Rick Telander Joins the List of Sportswriters Who Beat Around the Bush in Accusing Chris Davis of PED Use

Just a reminder to those participants in the Bottom of the Barrel Fantasy Football league to sign up for the league again. If you want to of course. Otherwise I will open up the teams on Saturday so that others who may want to join can. 

Rick Telander tells us it "raises eyebrows" when we see Chris Davis' performance this season. Chris Davis is hitting home runs at a record pace. Rick Telander is one of many sportswriters who don't have the guts (and mostly evidence) to accuse Chris Davis of PED use, but that doesn't stop some passive-aggressive accusations like talking about how it seems odd Davis' home run numbers have skyrocketed. Of course Roger Maris went from 39 home runs to 61 home runs in the span of a season, but that's irrelevant because it needs to be irrelevant so these sportswriters don't have a logical example to compare Davis' current season to. So Rick Telander is one of quite a few sportswriters who accuse without accusing and have suspicions of Davis they don't have the guts to voice. Telander sure will beat around the bush though.

People might wonder what the fallout from the baseball’s Steroid Era is.

Sportswriters will overcompensate for their lack of awareness during the Steroid Era by suspecting every player who puts up Roger Maris-like numbers of PED use?

Try this: Amazing Orioles slugger Chris Davis (in town to play the White Sox) is on pace to hit 61 home runs — Roger Maris’ golden number — 

A number that Maris hit once and never came close to again. Maris went from 19 to 16 to 39 to 61 to 33 to 23 home runs over a span of six seasons. If Maris did that today (Brady Anderson for example) we would all point out how Maris was obviously cheating the year he hit 61 home runs and then claim Babe Ruth was the home run champion with 60 home runs. Since Maris hit those home runs over 50 years ago we all know he was perfectly clean and obviously no clean player could ever replicate hitting less than 40 home runs in a single-season and then knocking 61 home runs in the very next single-season.

The first thing that goes through any informed fan’s mind when he or she sees a 6-3, 230-pound muscleman come from almost nowhere and suddenly start ringing the home-run bell is steroids.

Chris Davis didn't come out of nowhere. He hit 33 home runs last year and hit 21 home runs in 391 at-bats in 2009. He's been a guy who could hit home runs for most of his career now. He's in the prime of his career though and has made the Jose Bautista-type change to his swing that he claims contributes to him crushing the baseball.

Do I believe Chris Davis is clean? I don't have evidence to the contrary and his age, ability to hit home runs in years past and the knowledge other hitters have made changes to their batting style with success tells me Davis' new-found super power could be legit. I'm not naive, but I'm also not going to be a wimp and passively-aggressively accuse Davis of using PED's because I have no other column ideas.

The Brewers’ Ryan Braun was voted the National League’s most valuable player in 2011, and all that has hung over him since is the cloud of a failed doping test and legal technicalities.

Except Braun didn't put up prodigious home run numbers in one season like Davis has done this season. Braun has been fairly consistent in his home runs per season. So Braun isn't exactly an example of a player whose home run rate has skyrocketed in one season, so he isn't a great comparison to Davis.

The Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown last season, and you just have to wonder. Cabrera’s right up there in all categories again this season, battling Davis for a possible recoronation. Is he clean?

Yeah, let's drag Miguel Cabrera into this discussion. That seems fair. Apparently no MLB player can ever have another great season of hitting the baseball without his name immediately being linked to PED's by a sportswriter. Do we have evidence Miguel Cabrera isn't clean? If not, it is only fair to assume he is clean.

Commissioner Bud Selig would like us to think the dubious old days of drug-taking have vanished because Major League Baseball and the players union have agreed on a drug-testing program. But the Olympic rule holds: Only the stupid, reckless and bizarrely egomaniacal get caught.

Oh ok, so most Olympians are using PED's, but only the dumb ones get caught? Great, glad we got that out of the way. Why even have sports since Rick Telander thinks everyone is using PED's? I'd love to know Rick's PED thoughts on the NFL and NBA. He probably thinks all of those guys are clean.

Even career narcissist Lance Armstrong might have made it through doping central if he had left well enough alone and not come back to cycling after his seven Tour de France victories. 

It's speculation to say Armstrong would have gotten busted even if he didn't return to cycling after his seven Tour de France victories, but the government had their eye on Armstrong for a while and Armstrong had also made a lot of enemies over the years. I'm betting Armstrong would have been busted for doping at some point because the government or one of the people he defamed or libeled over the years would have worked hard to find evidence of his doping.

Everybody says Davis is a humble, God-fearing sort. And he seems to be. He doesn’t like to brag. He walks away from homers the same way he does from strikeouts.

Irrelevant.

But he has hit a broken-bat homer.

This is even more irrelevant. Jordan Pacheco has one too. Justin Upton has hit one. Jarrod Saltalamacchia has hit one. Mark Teixeira has hit one. If that's evidence of a player using steroids then Rick Telander needs to be prepared to accuse all four of these players of using PED's.

He can hit opposite-field dingers on bad pitches.

Shin-Soo Choo hit an opposite field home run off a slider on the outside part of the plate a few weekends ago against the Braves. Choo is probably not using PED's.

He has checked his swing and hit the wall.

Rick needs to immediately forward this information to MLB so they can start the investigation immediately. Chris Davis checked his swing and hit the wall? This doesn't sound anecdotal at all.

Five days ago, Baltimore Sun baseball writer Matt Vensel noted that Davis’ amazing stat of the week was that he had hit at least nine homers in three consecutive months, something ‘‘last done by Rafael Palmeiro in 1998.’’

Palmeiro? Yep, a previously disgraced ’roider.

More clear evidence that isn't anecdotal or coincidental in nature.

I don’t think anybody wants Davis to be dirty. He never has failed a drug test, remember.

Actually, you are the one who needs to remember Chris Davis has never failed a drug test. As I noted when Rick Reilly sort-of-but-not-really accused Chris Davis of PED use, Davis did hit home runs in AA at the current pace he is hitting home runs. Davis hit 54 home runs in 867 at-bats at AAA from the ages of 22-25 years old. Davis is now 27 years old (in the prime of his career) and getting consistent at-bats. This isn't the case of a 10 year veteran who hasn't ever hit 30 home runs in a season over his career starting to slam the ball out of the park at a prodigious clip. Davis hasn't really gotten consistent 500 at-bats over a season in the majors but for one year of his career and that was in 2012. He hit 33 home runs last year. Davis has shown he can hit home runs, even if not at this current rate.

And let’s state here all the reasons he might be as clean as spring sheets: He is 27, a great age for sluggers. He has changed up his swing to be less wild. He is left-handed, and that helps in parks with shallow corners and against right-handed pitchers. He has been in the majors six seasons and has worked very hard. Finally, he hit 33 homers last season. 

And I really don't think this can be overstated, that last year was the first year Davis got 500 at-bats in the majors. You don't have to be a genius to know consistent at-bats can help a player feel more comfortable at the plate.

I like the idea of Rick Telander telling us why Chris Davis may not be using PED's, but I know he doesn't believe it. He wouldn't write this column if he believed Davis wasn't using PED's.

It’s that leap from 33 last season to 31 before the All Star Game that nags. By comparison, though, Maris hit 39 homers the season before hitting his assuredly non-drug-induced total of 61 in 1961.

This is the appearance of being fair to Chris Davis. I also like how Maris' home run total of 61 was "assuredly non-drug-induced" because we all know no Hall of Famers have stated "greenies" were readily used and available in MLB clubhouses. We all know no Hall of Famers like Willie Mays or Willie Stargell would ever be linked to any type of amphetamine use of any kind. So we know for sure that Roger Maris never used any type of amphetamine or PED during his playing days. MLB players started using cocaine in the 80's and then they started using steroids to enhance their performance in the 90's and there was never ANY drug use prior to the 1980's. It's best Rick keeps his head in the sand so he doesn't smear memories of his idols.

I think it is funny that Rick says Roger Maris was assuredly clean while he works hard to raise suspicion around Chris Davis. Who really knows if Roger Maris used any type of amphetamine, but there is more than one account amphetamines have been available in MLB clubhouses for quite a few years now. Again, Roger Maris is the only player allowed a 50% increase in home runs during a season and every other player who experiences this sharp rise in home runs is immediately under suspicion of PED use.

In the second inning Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field, Davis drew a one-out walk from Sox pitcher John Danks in his first plate appearance. This despite the fact Danks is a lefty and so is Davis.

This was the first time in MLB history a left-handed pitcher has walked a left-handed batter...more evidence of PED use by Chris Davis.

We’ll see where this Cabrera-Davis race goes. Let’s hope — for the immediate future, then through the spectrum of history — it remains fair, clean and authentic.

Until then, let's keep writing passive-aggressive columns where it is hinted that both players may be using PED's.

I wish elite sport didn’t so often come around to the fraudulent Armstrong, the guy who lied to cancer patients and everybody else as he won his gold and infamy. But it does.

Chris Davis has nothing to do with Lance Armstrong. Lance Armstrong doped to win seven Tour de France titles, while Chris Davis has had an excellent half-season during the 2013 season. Even if Chris Davis did cheat, his degree of cheating still pales in comparison to Lance Armstrong's degree of cheating. Not that there are degrees of PED use, but bringing Armstrong into this discussion only clouds the issue.

‘‘The Tour de France? No,’’ he told the French newspaper Le Monde last week. ‘‘Impossible to win without doping.’’

Maybe for Lance Armstrong it is impossible to win the Tour de France without doping. Greg LeMond didn't seem to have a problem doing so.

Let’s hope, as ever, he was lying.

And this has what to do with Chris Davis again? Roger Maris is allowed to go from 39 home runs to 61 home runs without any suspicion, but no other player in the history of baseball from the Steroid Era on is allowed to have such a large single-season increase in his home run total. I guess Roger Maris was such a physical specimen that no other MLB player throughout the history of baseball could match his single-season home run total.

Chris Davis may be using PED's, but his home run totals can also be explained by his changed swing and the fact he is now getting consistent at-bats. It's fine to believe he is cheating, but as a sportswriter if you suspect Chris Davis is using PED's then I would expect you to search for information to back up your claim as opposed to just accusing him and carrying on with your life. Also, don't drag Miguel Cabrera into the discussion. He hasn't failed a drug test either.

Friday, July 26, 2013

0 comments Bleacher Report Puts "Yasiel Puig" and "Yankees" in the Title of a Column to Get Pageviews

Bleacher Report often has some useless articles posted on the site. This article for today is probably one of the most useless articles I have read on the site in a while. This article exists mainly for pageviews. The author says signing Yasiel Puig and other international players would have helped the Yankees. Of course Puig would have helped nearly every MLB team, but the author puts "Yasiel Puig" and "Yankees" in the title because that's what the Bleacher Report algorithm says will lead to the most hits and that's all some Bleacher Report writers care about. People will search for "Yasiel Puig" and then there is a Bleacher Report article they can read. It's like if I put "Bill Simmons" in the column title of my posts as much as possible. The author says the Yankees would be so much better (or "recharged" as he writes) if the Yankees had signed every foreign free agent over the last few years. Of course this isn't true for just the Yankees, but it's better to type "Yankees" in a column title for the obvious reasons of trolling for pageviews. So let's use some hindsight to find out how signing Puig and Yu Darvish would have helped the Yankees/every other MLB team.

And if you have any doubt pageviews is all that matters to Bleacher Report and their writers, then notice the author's bio where he brags about his number of pageviews. Bragging about pageviews tells me enough about the author and Bleacher Report's mission. They are confusing pageviews with quality content.

The Yankees upcoming nine-game homestand features games against the Dodgers and Rangers, who feature two of the top recent international imports in baseball in Yasiel Puig and Yu Darvish, as a recent ESPN article pointed out.

What do you know? Bleacher Report links another sports site's article as part of their original content. It's much like how you will see "Prominent athlete arrested" on Bleacher Report's site and then you click on the link and it goes to another sports site. I get that even when writing original content a sports site may end having to link another site's original content, but it seems like a lot of Bleacher Report's original content is piggybacking off another site's content. Remember that trade deadline article from last year? Nearly every trade deadline idea was taken from a suggested trade deadline idea Buster Olney had written about in a column.

It's all hypothetical at this point, but one can't help but wonder where the Yankees would be right now not with those guys on their roster.

One can't help but wonder where every MLB team might be right now if they had Darvish and Puig on their roster. One might also wonder how some MLB teams could afford to pay for both Darvish and Puig as well.

I like how the author writes "it's all hypothetical at this point" like he is resigned to the fact the Yankees can't sign every foreign free agent that comes available on the market.

"It's all hypothetical at this point, but one can't help but wonder if the Rays should have drafted the most successful player out of the last 10 MLB drafts."

This is what is called "rosterbating."

For that matter, if they had been more aggressive on the international market in general in recent years.

Here's the thing, the Yankees were more aggressive on the international market previous to this year and it didn't work out for them. Fans and columnists complained the team was expensive and old when the Yankees spent money on international players. So the Yankees try to not spend big money on posting fees and contracts for international free agents and fans and sportswriters complain the Yankees didn't have their ear to the market. It's simply a case of whatever ends up working, the Yankees should have done that.

Top prospect Gary Sanchez was signed out of the Dominican Republic, but for the most part the Yankees have stayed away from high-priced, big league ready international talent the past two years and they've missed out.

"but for the most part many MLB teams have stayed away from high-priced, big league ready international talent the past two years and they've missed out."

There, I fixed it. Most MLB teams have missed out on the high-priced international talent over the last two years. The Yankees aren't the only team to have missed out. The Yankees management has also made it clear they are trying to control payroll more, so that's probably part of the reason they missed out on this international talent.

Last offseason, Yoenis Cespedes signed a four-year, $36 million deal, and while there was a question as to how quickly he could make an impact in the big leagues,

Which given the fact Cespedes was signed for four years at $9 million per year, you could see why some teams didn't choose to try and sign Cesepedes. Cespedes' agent was demanding a lot of money for a player that many teams had not had an opportunity to see play. There were questions on whether Cesepedes could adapt to American life, American baseball and whether he was worth $9 million per year. Not to mention, where exactly in their outfield were the Yankees going to put Cespedes? Were they going to trade Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, or Nick Swisher in the hopes Cespedes could make an immediate impact in the most media-saturated market in the United States? Let's not forget Cespedes only played in 127 games last year and missed half of April this year, so he's not shown himself to be the most durable of players over his first two years in the majors.

Basically, to sign Cespedes the Yankees would have had to make a trade and then hope a Cuban-born player can adjust to the majors and American life in the toughest baseball market to do so. That's a lot of legwork and roster movement of proven players to sign a relatively unknown Cuban free agent who wants almost $10 million per year.

In another lower-cost signing, the Brewers added outfielder Norichika Aoki on a two-year, $2.5 million deal with the plan of making him the team's fourth outfielder.

Instead, the 30-year-old ended up seeing 520 at-bats and hit .288/.355/.433 with 10 home runs and 30 steals as an everyday player.

Yes, Aoki has played well. Why is the failure to sign Aoki only on the Yankees? Every other MLB team failed to sign him as well. That's what is so frustrating about this article, that everything the author says goes for the Yankees could go for most MLB teams.

When June rolled around, Cuban defectors Yasiel Puig (seven-year, $42 million) and Jorge Soler (nine-year, $30 million) both signed long-term deals with the Dodgers and Cubs, respectively.

Again, the Yankees claim to be wanting to cut payroll, not add payroll. I realize we are talking about the Yankees here, but a lot of teams would have benefited from signing these two players.

Puig has been the talk of baseball since being called up,

Jeff Francouer tore up baseball when he first got called up to the majors. Let's give Puig more time and see how he does when pitchers adjust to him.

while Soler looks like a future star down the line for the Cubs.

Soler is currently in high A-ball. He looks good. I don't know why the Yankees are the only team who made a mistake not signing him.

It's not just been position players that the Yankees have been missing out on in the international market though, as a handful of pitchers have made an immediate impact as well.

Why not just make a list of every draft pick that panned out in every round of the MLB Draft over the last 10 years and write a column about how the Yankees should have drafted these players? If you are going to use hindsight, go all out I say.

In Seattle, the Mariners took a chance on right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma with a one-year, $1 million deal. After opening the season in the bullpen, he moved to the rotation in the second half and went 8-4 with a 2.65 ERA over 16 starts.

The Yankees can't sign literally every international free agent available.

The Orioles signed Wei-Yin Chen to a three-year, $11.388 million deal out of Japan, and the Taiwanese-born left-hander was the Orioles most reliable starter going 12-11 with a 4.02 ERA over 32 starts.

Chen's last start was May 12 before he went on the DL. He came off the DL in July, after almost missing two months.

The real splash signing on the international market over the past two offseasons though has been the Rangers' signing of Yu Darvish.

You mean the guy who cost $100 million (contract plus posting fee) to sign? Yeah, why didn't the Yankees spend $100 million on an international pitcher? It's not like they have been open about wanting to cut payroll or anything. Why not spend $10 million per year on Darvish plus the posting fee of $50 million? After all, it's not like the Yankees are looking to get rid of bloated contracts so they can re-sign that All-Star middle-of-the-order currently on their roster. I know pleading poverty for why the Yankees don't sign international players sounds stupid, but the Yankees have stayed out of the international market and maybe they will reconsider this. It's just silly to go back and use hindsight to point out all the international players the Yankees should have signed.

It cost Texas a $51.7 million posting fee to negotiate with the right-hander, and they then signed him to a six-year, $56 million deal.

And prior to Darvish paying this posting fee and then giving a large contract to a Japanese pitcher had not worked out for teams. Look at Kenshin Kawakami (there was no posting fee for him, but he got a large contract), Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Kei Igawa. So it made sense to the Yankees that spending $100 million on a Japanese pitcher may not be the best utilization of their financial resources.

Perhaps it was the flop signing of Hideki Irabu to a four-year, $12.8 million deal back in 1997 that has turned the Yankees off of the international market.

Or the signing of Kei Igawa or the Red Sox signing of Matsuzaka or the realization that sometimes you are simply paying too much money for a player who has yet to perform at the major league level...

Or maybe it was watching the Red Sox throw down so much money on the signing of Daisuke Matsuzaka, only to see him struggle.

Exactly. That's part of it too. Obviously the Yankees shouldn't be gun-shy about going after an international player they believe in, but it's nonsense to write an entire column using hindsight to list all of the international players the Yankees should have signed. The fact the author has to use hindsight only further shows how ridiculous it is to second-guess any MLB team for not signing these international players. The author didn't write a column like this two years ago, because he had no idea if these international players could succeed in the majors or not. That's the point of why hindsight is silly. Who knew Aoki could be a starter-quality outfielder? Who knew $100 million for Darvish wouldn't seem silly? It could have easily swung the other way for these international players. These guys are essentially unknowns to many of these MLB teams, so it's hard to criticize them for not sinking millions into signing these unknowns. Hindsight always knows best.

Whatever their reservations stem from, given the current state of the franchise and the impressive flow of international talent over the past two seasons, it's probably time the Yankees get back to work on the foreign market.

Yeah right, wait until there have been international success stories which could result in the international market and players being overvalued. That's when the Yankees want to dip their toe back in the international player waters, after there have been several successful international players and these players may begin to become more overvalued. As teams see the success of international players, the agents of these international players may commend higher salaries.

If only the Yankees (and every other MLB team) could predict the future to know they should have signed these players. We are all so much smarter when our knowledge is based on hindsight.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

12 comments MMQB Review: The MMQB Has Arisen Edition

Last week Peter King listened to two realtor's entire conversation while on the train, apparently wanting us to acknowledge what torture it is to hear a person's entire phone conversation. Of course Peter chose to write the entire conversation down and provide a transcript of the conversation in MMQB, so that just makes him a creepy person who needs to learn not to write down other people's conversations. This week The MMQB starts. This is the NFL-centric site that Peter has started and it is not to be confused with MMQB, Peter's weekly column. There is a column called MMQB and a site called THE MMQB. It's very complicated. So this week in his first MMQB on The MMQB Peter does his best to come off a little bit self-important by titling MMQB "Dawn of a New Day." Ordinarily you would see this title accompanying Presidential election results or some other major event that changes the status quo, but I guess Peter couldn't contain his excitement at having a new site where he can share his love of coffee and hatred for the general cell phone-using public. 

I find myself this morning feeling the same as Garrett. Only I’ve got a different team. It’s called The MMQB, a site under the Sports Illustrated umbrella devoted to all things football, using all the means of modern media to disseminate that football prose and information. 

Except for cell phones. Cell phones are not to be used to disseminate football prose and information. If any of Peter's new underlings attempt to break NFL news while in public by cell phone it will be a PKD, or Peter King Don't, and the underling will be forced to write a haiku about gun control.

The rules, the expectations, the mundane, the inspirational. In the spring, I knew we’d be kicking off this new site around the start of NFL camps, and I went in search of a team that might let us not only write about a coach’s first speech of the season to his team, but show video of it. In our business today, we’ve all got to get wise to video.

Television is the future! Get on the train now with Peter before you get left behind!

So after some convincing, Dallas owner Jerry Jones gave his blessing, along with coach Jason Garrett. And so, on Saturday, in his team meeting room a few long spirals from the Pacific Ocean, Garrett stepped to the front and laid out his hopes, plans, expectations and rules for the new season. To the best of my knowledge, I don’t believe a head coach’s full training-camp speech, the words and video, has ever seen the light of day … until today, in the first post in The MMQB history. We’re proud to bring it to you.

Years from now we will marvel at Peter's use of video (in color!) and crystal clear audio to allow his audience to hear that Cowboys coach who got fired after the 2013 season give a training-camp speech and know this was when the new day had truly dawned.

Three things I found compelling about Garrett’s presentation:

The son of a coach talks like a coach, paces like a coach and warns that players had better be able to take coaching.

Breaking news: An NFL head coach talks like a head coach. More on this developing story later.

“None of us need help being mediocre—especially me. Coach my ass! … You been to the Pro Bowl eight times? You’re getting your ass coached. You just got here 15 minutes ago? You’re getting your ass coached. First-round picks, free agents who signed for nothing—everybody’s getting coached.”

"You want to go to Subway for lunch? You're getting your ass coached. You can't drive a stick shift and need to go to the grocery store for Teddy Grahams? You're getting your assed coached."

“We’re gonna establish an identity that lasts forever,” Garrett told his players. “That starts today.”
 
My aim is the same at The MMQB.

Peter King is modeling The MMQB (again, not to be confused with the MMQB column) after the words and actions of Jason Garrett. What could go wrong?

So … where to begin. Let’s start with what The MMQB won’t be. We’re not going to cover contracts very much, or day-to-day beat coverage of teams, or things you should continue to read and watch in your local papers and websites. 

So The MMQB won't cover specifics, won't do day-to-day coverage of teams and won't give fans of specific teams more information than they could get in their local paper. Need to know how Tom Brady's contract extension affects the Patriots ability to re-sign their free agents and where it leaves them in terms of cap space? You won't find it here. Need to know how much fun Brady is having with his new receivers and how optimistic he is about the new season? You're getting coached because Peter is all over that shit.

How are the Seahawks treating training camp after the rash of team suspensions? Don't ask Peter. Want to know if Russell Wilson feels he has improved since last season, Peter has an interview with you about how Wilson feels good about his improvement. Substance? No.

We’ll do fantasy football, but not in the kind of exhaustive way that you’d say, “Hey, let’s read King so we can set our lineups this week.”

Peter is going to provide information that isn't informative. The MMQB will have fantasy football information that doesn't help players set their teams for the week. I can't fathom how this site could fail. I wonder what this site will do? 

We’ll be the thinking person’s site for pro football.

As long as the thinking person doesn't need breaking news, local news, specific news on contracts or any type of information for fantasy purposes. Otherwise, Peter has you covered. You're getting coached. Need to know WHY something happened without those pesky details like specifics, this new NFL-centric site is the place to come.

Bedard this week will take you inside the coaching offices at Stanford, where NFL teams—surprise—have spent time this offseason studying how to stop the read-option offense. Vrentas reports from Michigan, beginning a season-long series on The Undrafted Free-Agent

Gregg Easterbrook just had a pants explosion at the thought of a season-long series on The Undrafted Free Agent.

Vrentas, too, will be a valuable player for us because of her science background—she majored in biochemistry at Penn State,

Oh right, because she can like determine the biochemistry of an NFL team? I'm confused.

All three writers will have lots more in the coming days and weeks—and those who got to know Bedard from his video dissection in New England will be pleased to know he’ll be doing the same kind of video work with us weekly.

Peter can't emphasize this enough, video is the future. Use video or die. Just don't use video in public with the volume on or else Peter will write down the entire video conversation you are having.

My good friend Don Banks will spice up the scene; he’ll check in with a column we’ll call “The Conscience,” in which everyone in the game (Week 1: Roger Goodell) will be subject to Judge Banks’ rulings.

Oh, that sounds like a column idea that could go really right or really wrong.

College football guru Andy Staples of SI will file, starting next week, a week-by-week NFL Draft Top 50 (I think we can come up with a kitschier name than that),

How about "The MMQB Draft Top 50." It seems only natural based on the "MMQB" theme. There, it's fixed. That's the name.

I’ll take you on a trip back to Colin Kaepernick’s hometown on Tuesday (you’ll get a kick out of him ducking into Little Caesar’s for a large pepperoni pie) but it’s during the trip back to the Bay Area when the sudden star really opens up.

All fluff, no substance, that's Peter's promise to us. Does Tom Brady like water slides? Peyton Manning, does he feel old and what does his wife think of Denver? Does Carson Palmer think puppies are cute and like macaroni and cheese? Peter will find out for us.

And did I mention Rex Ryan is doing “Ten Things I Think I Think” on Wednesday?

Because we don't get a chance to hear from Rex Ryan quite enough.

We’ll have regular “Ten Things” from players and NFL folk, as well as a quick three-question interview with people who have something to say (Joe Namath today, Tom Brady tomorrow).

I'm being snarky about this "all fluff, no substance" stuff, but this really does sound like pretty light weight material The MMQB will be covering. I don't personally care about "Ten Things" that players and NFL folk think. I'm not sure where Peter got the impression the general public wanted more "Ten Things" that others think.

We’ll blast you with regular stuff on social-media platforms, including tweets of short “Ten Things’’ entries, with links back to the full column. 

We're getting coached AND blasted. It's going to be an in-your-face site where we learn what kind of pizza Colin Kaepernick likes.

Inside our shop are three invaluable editors: my right-hand man, Mark Mravic, who has edited my copy at the magazine for the past decade;...Mravic does a good job telling me when I’m an idiot and keeping the place on track.

But does he Peter, does he really tell you when you are an idiot?

We’re still deciding how to cover games, which seems odd. But we’re questioning everything.

Except contract specifics. Peter doesn't care to question those.

The three flagship sponsors who have signed on—Bose, Gillette Deodorant and Microsoft—have been fabulous to work with. It’s a reality of today’s media that when you start a new venture, you need financial help.

Peter likes the people who give money to help the keep the site afloat. Good to know.

I say mysterious because I don’t know where it’ll lead. You—the readers, viewers and listeners—will decide that. All I know is we’re going to give it our best shot. Get back to me, okay?

Peter probably doesn't want honest feedback, unless that feedback is positive of course.

I’m hearing the league is looking into having a second Hall of Fame game—a game that would be played during the regular season to great fanfare, in a move designed to increase interest in the Hall of Fame.

Because we all know if another Hall of Fame game took place football fans would immediately be compelled to go visit the Hall of Fame.

And calling a big regular-season game “The Hall of Fame Game’’ could focus attention on the Hall, particularly if there are programs in the home city of the game designed to spur interest and tourism there.

So would this Denver Broncos-New England Patriots game take place in New England or Denver? I'm just wondering because you know the game will involve either the Steelers, Brady, Manning or another high-drawing player or team. No way the NFL puts "The Hall of Fame Game" on the schedule as a Houston Texans-Seattle Seahawks game. So we would get another primetime game involving teams that draw good ratings. I'm pumped and will immediately go visit the Hall of Fame as a result.

My idea? Get a traveling collection of leather helmets and the like, and find a good museum in New York to house the display during Super Bowl week this year. Maybe you’d get people to say, “I’ve never been to the Hall. I’ve got to go.”

There are no good museums in New York. Everyone knows this.

Then Peter tells us how he got into writing.

When I was in fifth grade, I wrote a one-sheet neighborhood newsletter in the summer every couple weeks. My mom would put carbon paper between sheets in the typewriter and type up the thing for me, and I’d distribute it to a few neighbors.

This sounds like a very Peter King-ish thing to do. I imagine fifth grade Peter would throw a hissy fit if the juice his neighbors gave him in return for this neighborhood newsletter wasn't cold enough and Peter would swear he is NOT distributing a newsletter to those people again.

Can you imagine what a nightmare nerd I was for those neighbors? Don’t answer the doorbell Mabel! It’s that King weirdo again with the stories about his wiffleball games!

These are actual words the neighbors would say. Peter would lean in throw an open window and transcribe the conversations his neighbors were having.

It’s that time of year—time for my annual training-camp trip. Snapshots of my journey over the next five weeks, first by air and then by the Go RVing-sponsored recreational vehicle that will ferry Team MMQB to camps east of the Mississippi well into August (and this is a tentative list, because news events could make me change the itinerary):

News events like, "Hattiesburg, Mississippi has a new Starbucks" or "Marvin Demoff called and wants Peter to double up on his Rams coverage."

Broncos (July 25, Denver) The simplistic angle is the best angle: Manning to Welker. Over the past six years, no player in football has more receptions than Welker’s 672 . What player in his right mind would leave Tom Brady? Welker, to play with Peyton Manning. Should be fun to see.

Unless you aren't a Broncos fan of course. In that case, Manning-to-Welker isn't going to be very fun to see.

49ers (July 28, Santa Clara, Calif.) When I spent half a day with Colin Kaepernick seven weeks ago, it was clear he wasn’t over the Super Bowl loss, and

he likes pizza? Did Colin Kaepernick say he likes pizza? Answer the questions your readers want to know Peter!

Patriots (night stadium practice, July 29, Foxboro, Mass.) As crazy as it sounds, by the time I roll into Foxboro, the Aaron Hernandez story will be talked out. What won’t be is who Tom Brady uses instead. A lesser tight end, maybe Daniel Fells or UFA Zach Sudfeld? A drafted wideout, maybe Aaron Dobson (Marshall, round two) or Josh Boyce (TCU, round four)? A running back with versatility like Shane Vereen?

As always, Peter is able to recite the Patriots roster including the draft position of each player. I'm guessing Brady is going to be using whichever guy is open the most.

Jets (July 31, Cortland, N.Y.) All QBs, all the time. I hope I see four or five series of Geno Smith against new defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman and Rex Ryan throwing the kitchen sink at him. That’s going to be the big test for Smith this summer—handling everything Ryan can throw at him.

In fairness to Rex Ryan, he doesn't have the best cornerback in the NFL on his team anymore so we shouldn't expect him to throw together a great defense. It's hard to be considered a defensive genius when you don't have the luxury of better defensive players than everyone else. Just give Rex Ryan the best cornerback in the NFL and he can win some games, but otherwise it's impossible to coordinate a defense and win games without Revis.

Eagles (Aug. 4, Philadelphia) I get to do what Tony Dungy has done a few times over the last couple of years,

Lecture and mentor a young player?

with his son Eric a receiver at Oregon: watch Chip Kelly coach a practice. Looking forward to that, plus whatever we can divine from his offense and his quarterback competition. Vick-Foles should be raging by the first week of August.

Vick-Foles. Montana-Young it is not.

Redskins (Aug. 6, Richmond) Around this time, Robert Griffin III ought to be either practicing or very close to practicing. That’s going to be a matter of some attention.

But since The MMQB doesn't pay attention to local teams or cover do the job of Redskins beat reporters I am sure Peter will just skip over Griffin's return. After all, Redskins fans can read about Griffin's recovery in the local newspaper and Peter has stated that isn't the sort of thing The MMQB will cover in MMQB or any other MMQB-related article.

Rams (Aug. 10, Earth City, Mo.) Of all the practices I see, this could be the best one—if Tavon Austin cuts it loose in this afternoon workout. I want to see how Austin, the highest-taken skill-position player in this year’s draft, is bonding with Sam Bradford. The Rams’ playoff chances depend on it.

I'm going to assume the answer from Peter as to how Tavon Austin and Sam Bradford are bonding will be "They are bonding fantastic and no two players have ever bonded like this before" as Marvin Demoff smiles happily in his office. It's nice to have a sportswriter PR guy for your son's NFL team, but now Peter has more editorial control AND an entire NFL website, which I'm sure Marvin Demoff has to be thrilled about.

Vikings (Aug. 12, Mankato, Minn.) Mostly I’m looking forward to Adrian Peterson’s annual handshake. It hurts. But this year, I’ve got a secret plan for him. (Don’t tell him.)

Is Peter banking on Peterson being illiterate and not being able to read that he has a plan for Peterson's annual handshake?

Bengals (Aug. 15, Cincinnati) James Harrison. Hard Knocks. Andy Dalton, improved enough? The Bengals have enough good angles this year to merit a stop on the tour. Well, I can always order the 4-Way at Skyline Chili if they get boring over the next three weeks.

Peter seems concerned the Bengals are going to be too boring to merit any kind of coverage. Not that Peter only finds certain NFL teams interesting to cover of course. If Peter can't be entertained while doing his job then he will go find something that will interest him. Really, this NFL Training Camp tour is about ensuring Peter stays entertained during the long summer.

So I’m standing on the Redskins’ practice field during a June practice, next to Washington Post writer Dave Sheinin. I knew he’d written a book on Robert Griffin III, and so I asked him what he learned about Griffin in his reporting that will be interesting and new.

“Well, he sorts of reminds me of a modern Bill Bradley,” Sheinin said.

The media loves themselves some Robert Griffin III. He can rail against the "tyranny of political correctness" and (reportedly) sext whoever he wants and still be compared to a well-liked politician.

“As best I could tell,” Sheinin wrote, “there didn’t seem to be a good historical precedent for the Griffin we came to know in 2012—this combination of on-field brilliance, camera-ready magnetism, law-school smarts, off-the-cuff eloquence and impossibly wholesome image—until a random conversation with my Washington Post colleague, the esteemed columnist Thomas Boswell, produced a name that nearly knocked me out of my chair: Bill Bradley.

Are you sure he didn't say Bill Brasky? Some of the expectations for Griffin seem to reach Brasky-esque proportions at times.

“Senator Robert Griffin III of Texas, a first-term lawmaker in 2028? Yeah, that sounds about right.”

Remember, Griffin hasn't shown an interest in politics and is a second-year quarterback. Now Peter and Sheinin have him as a United States Senator. Unfortunately, he and Tebow aren't from the same state so they can't go against each other in a Senate race. That would be interesting to see.

“I hope they do well. They better not win a championship without me because I’ll be really pissed.”
—Recently retired Chicago middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, to Dave Dameshek of NFL.com, about his hopes for the 2013 Bears.
Well, at least the man’s honest.

I hate to break it to Urlacher but at some point the Chicago Bears are going to win a championship without him. It may not be this year of course.

Promissory note about the first seven days of The MMQB: We’ll write something—a story, some column notes, an interview, video, or something else—on every one of the 32 teams. And I’ll be more egalitarian about coverage than I normally am with the regular Monday Morning Quarterback column.

I joke about it and I don't have a huge issue with the fact Peter tends to give some teams the short end of the stick as it pertains to coverage in MMQB. In way I like it, because it shows the teams that are (a) successful and (b) the teams that Peter prefers to cover and he feels are interesting. There are obviously other factors in there as well, but I think Peter is going to be a little surprised (and probably disappointed) if he tries to make his coverage more egalitarian. I'm not sure he will be as successful as he wants to be.

Andy DeGory of The MMQB tallied up how many words I wrote in the news sections of my first 23 Monday columns (not including things like Quotes and Tweets of the Week) of this year, and it brought home how I’ve got to do a better job covering all the teams.

This is kind of a dumb way to find out which teams Peter covers well and doesn't cover well. I would use how many words Peter wrote during the 2012 regular season, because that is a time when all teams are playing football and each team could have an interesting story or note that Peter could use to educate his readers. This would show which teams Peter chooses to write stories about and discuss. Using primarily the offseason MMQB's sways the sample towards teams that are more active in free agency (which you will see when looking at the teams he shorted), made it further in the playoffs and have non-football related stories that surround them. 

I’ve written approximately 91,220 football words in my dispatches—only 129 about Miami, 192 about Dallas, 370 about Houston, 501 about Tennessee, 553 about the Giants, 622 about Carolina, 628 about Cincinnati, 738 about Kansas City, 948 about Pittsburgh and 952 about New Orleans.

See, most of those teams didn't (a) make the playoffs, (b) weren't incredibly active on the free agent market or (c) didn't have an offseason story (an arrest, a controversy) surrounding them. The Dolphins did sign Mike Wallace so I would have thought that deserved more words in MMQB, but the sample Peter has chosen skews towards teams who made the playoffs and had non-game related stories pertain to them. I would prefer to know which teams Peter skews towards when the regular season games are happening and he can pick and choose the stories he covers, as opposed to covering the stories that happen in the offseason.

Conversely, there have been 13,740 words on the Ravens, 7,346 on the Niners (figures; they were in the Super Bowl), 5,044 on New England, 4,545 on the Jets, 4,444 on Oakland and 4,163 on St. Louis.

The Ravens and Niners made the playoffs, the Patriots made the AFC Title Game, the Jets had controversy and interesting stories surrounding them...then there are the Raiders and the Rams. Peter did stories for Sports Illustrated on both teams. Plus, Marvin Demoff is Peter's agent and Kevin Demoff is the Ram's COO, while another Demoff client is the Rams' coach. So there's that.

Watch our site, and call me on it if your team isn’t being covered. I’ll listen.

You probably won't.

This Week’s Sign We Have Officially Gone Off Our Rocker As a Society I:

Not to be confused with "This Week's Sign of the Apocalypse" that runs in Sports Illustrated every week. 

A 20-ounce bottle of smartwater at JFK International Airport costs $3.99. Smartwater, according to the ingredients, is “vapor-distilled water.” In other words, water.

This Week’s Sign We Have Officially Gone Off Our Rocker As a Society II:

I bought the water.

What's this "we" shit? You bought the water, "we" didn't buy the water.

That was, of course, before the 30ish woman in the center seat next to me on the 5-hour, 10-minute flight to Los Angeles Friday sat down, said hello, took out a case of about 30 foam curlers, and began brushing her shoulder-blade-length hair and rolling it up with the curlers. The whole process took about 30 minutes.
Really: Who does that?

Probably the same kind of person who buys a 20 ounce bottle of water for $3.99 or writes down the cell phone conversation of strangers.

“So the rumors are true. I’m going back to STL!! Is anyone as excited as I am? NOPE!”

—@willwitherspoon, the former and current Rams linebacker, breaking the news on Twitter that he signed with the Rams as a free agent.

(Marvin Demoff) "Hey Peter, find a way to mention the Rams signed Will Witherspoon in MMQB this week. This isn't a question, but a request. Do it."

(Peter King) "Sure boss. It sounds like an innocuous signing that doesn't deserve mention, but I'll try to find a way to slip it in!"

Ten Things I Think I Think

3. I think Chip Kelly-to-Philadelphia is the most compelling migration from college to the NFL since Jimmy Johnson-to-Dallas in 1989.

I am sure the same thing was said about Steve Spurrier going to the Redskins.

4. I think I know what you’re thinking: Wait a minute. What about Spurrier-to-Washington in 2002? Saban-to-Miami in 2005? Good ones, and much-anticipated. But there’s so much mystery around Kelly, from what his crazy-quilt offense might look like to importing a Navy SEAL trainer (Shaun Huls) to whip the players into shape, using everything but drones in the process.

Right...because there was no mystery as to how Spurrier's "Fun 'N Gun" offense would translate to the NFL or how Saban's micromanaging and dictatorial style would translate to the NFL. Chip Kelly may very well be successful but he isn't the first college coach who had mystery surrounding him once he entered the NFL to be a head coach.

Spurrier’s heart was never in it.

Which we didn't know at the time and would have had nothing to do with whether his migration to the NFL was compelling or not.

Saban? I didn’t have the same feeling as I do about Kelly, maybe because Kelly seemed so more of an innovator than Saban was in college.

Innovator or not Saban still has four National Championships more than the innovative Chip Kelly and Saban had one National Championship when he came to the NFL. His arrival in the NFL was a pretty big story. I get it, comparisons are fun and Kelly is an innovator, but I'm not sure the idea his move to the NFL is the most compelling since Jimmy Johnson came to Dallas is true.

6. I think the unimportant part of the Robert Griffin III/readiness story is whether he will be cleared to practice on the first day of camp. There’s really no need for him to be taking every snap, or really any snaps, the first couple of weeks of practice. The important part is that he’d be able to go by about Aug. 15, which I hear he will. I have very little doubt—barring an additional injury at training camp or in a preseason game—that Griffin will be the Washington quarterback 49 nights from now, when Philadelphia comes to D.C. for the Monday-night opener.

Peter means Senator Robert Griffin, of course.

7. I think similar questions are being asked in New England about Rob Gronkowski’s readiness in New England; the Patriots have their first practice Friday at 9 a.m.... The Patriots could choose to place him the Physically Unable to Perform List, and keep him out for the first six weeks of the regular season. They could make him one of the 53 active players entering the season, and simply de-activate him for two, three or four weeks, say, until they feel he’s in satisfactory football shape. Or he could play at the start of the season. I think it’ll be PUP or deactivation for two or three weeks, but no one can know until the teams sees how he feels and responds to physical activity.

So Peter is reporting that no one knows how Rob Gronkowski's back will respond and what the Patriots will plan to do with him at the beginning of the NFL season. Essentially Peter is reporting a story by giving us information that doesn't really give information, but simply lists obvious choices the Patriots have in regard to Gronkowski. I guess this is the type of thing The MMQB will be doing, stories with a list of options and no new information provided.

I'm just saying, if Peter isn't going to provide new information why bring the topic of Gronkowski up when there isn't anything to discuss?

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

c. My cool, memorable, only-in-New York highlight of the week: We are huge Curb Your Enthusiasm fans, and my wife got us tickets to see the new improv-type movie starring and directed by Jeff Garlin, the agent-to-Larry in Curb. So we went to the movie, Dealin’ With Idiots, about a crazy group of youth baseball parents and crazier coaches...The ending was a hilarious outtake of a field caretaker trying to measure the distance between the pitching rubber and home plate using an uncooperative tape measure. I have a kind of howling laughter with humor like that. So when Garlin took the stage to talk, the first thing he said was, “Who’s the guy with the tremendous laugh?” I raised my hand. Guilty as charged.

Of course if Peter had been in a movie and another person had a howling laugh that stood out among everyone else Peter would complain that person was laughing too hard and it ruined the movie for him. Since it is Peter who has the annoying howling laugh, it's all in good fun, but when someone else has a laugh like this Peter would wonder "Why can't this person control his laugh?"

f. I give you permission to sign Dustin Pedroia for a ridiculous sum of money, Red Sox.

Sure, give a second baseman who isn't going to hit free agency for two years a contract extension that will take him into his mid-30's. What could go wrong? I know they are two completely separate players, but when I heard the Red Sox wanted to sign Pedroia to an extension two years prior to him hitting free agency I thought "Ryan Howard."

g. How great was that Mariano Rivera moment in the All-Star Game? Nobody doesn’t like Mariano Rivera.

I don't like Mariano Rivera. He's too good. That annoys me.

n. Beernerdness: So my favorite white beer, Allagash, of Maine, has had an expansion project up at the brewery in Portland, which is good to hear. The business is growing by about 40% a year. Found it amazing on my Pacific Northwest vacation to have seen it on tap in two different Seattle places. Can’t keep a great beer down.

Well Peter, if you can't keep a great beer down then you may have a stomach problem. Better go see your doctor about this.

p. Speaking of Olivia Munn, she’ll be in The MMQB on Wednesday. No spoilers, though.

Yes, don't spoil something I am not reading anyway.

s. Golf is foreign to me, but great sporting accomplishments are not. Congrats, Phil Mickelson. A 66 in the clutch at Muirfield? Tremendous.

More tremendous than this is that Phil Mickelson is the only golfer with a family. At least it appears that way sometimes if you listen to the golf commentators.

The Adieu Haiku

Ugh. Peter uses a haiku to say The MMQB will be a wild ride. Nothing says "wild ride" like a haiku.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

0 comments Wallace Matthews Tells Us Alex Rodriguez is Not Lou Gehrig; Also Reminds Us that Fire is Hot

I spend more time than I would like writing about columns that eviscerate Alex Rodriguez and it feels like I am defending him, which isn't my intention at all. Of course now it looks like A-Rod is going to get hit hard by MLB for his affiliation with Biogenesis, so who the hell would want to defend him for anything? I figured I would post this even though A-Rod's fight to re-join the Yankees has been undermined by his own self. This is what I get for sitting on column and not writing on it until a couple of days ago. I think it shows the topic of A-Rod seems to bring a lot of columnists' blood to it's boiling point and gibberish tends to get written due to this. Today, Wallace Matthews tells us that A-Rod is not Lou Gehrig and then manages to criticize A-Rod for trying to come back from a hip injury to help the Yankees win games. It's a nice balance Wallace shows. He criticizes A-Rod for being overpaid, but also criticizes A-Rod for daring to rehab from his injury and re-join the Yankees team. Of course if A-Rod didn't play for the Yankees anymore then who would Wallace and the rest of the New York sports media pick on?

This column is called "New York Yankees won't get Independence from Alex Rodriguez" and it was written on July 4. Get it? It was written on Independence Day and that's exactly what the Yankees won't be getting from Alex Rodriguez. This is journalism, people. Step back if you can't handle the awesomeness that Wallace Matthews is putting right in your face. 

On July 4, 1939, Lou Gehrig, a 35-year-old man dying of an insidious disease that would one day bear his name, stood before a bank of microphones set up at home plate at the old Yankee Stadium and famously proclaimed himself "the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

On the same day 74 years later, in the pages of a newspaper, Alex Rodriguez, a 38-year-old man in the prime of health and with another $114 million guaranteed him, portrayed himself as a beleaguered victim of circumstances heroically determined to fight on despite what he believes to be the unwarranted scorn of his employers and many of his team's fans.

A-Rod is in the prime of his health except for the injuries that have prevented him from playing at all during the 2013 season. Point taken though. A-Rod isn't Lou Gehrig. In fact, few people are Lou Gehrig so this is kind of a dumb way to start off a column. A-Rod deserves whatever MLB throws at him, but he wasn't Lou Gehrig long before he was tied to Biogenesis.

There's a reason Gehrig was known as The Iron Horse, and many reasons A-Rod is known by several other nicknames, at least one of which also has the word "horse" in it.

Actually Wallace, the word "centaur" does not have "horse" in it, but I think A-Rod is the only one that considers himself a centaur anyway. But yes, no one likes A-Rod and how dare he attempt to re-join the Yankees. He needs to stay away from ever playing baseball again so Wallace can keep talking about how useless and overpaid he is. If A-Rod plays well then he might start to look even somewhat worth the money he is getting paid and Wallace Matthews can't have that. So Wallace is probably thrilled that A-Rod is going to be suspended hard by MLB.

"My mom's had a hard time with all of this the last nine months, watching everything," Rodriguez told USA Today's Bob Nightengale. "My god, I hate to see her go through this. And my daughters are sitting there and watching their dad. I want to make them proud. I want to make my mom proud."

A couple of points here:

1. A-Rod is talking about what he has caused his family members to go through and how he wants to get back on the field and make them proud. He's not feeling bad for himself, but simply noting that he has let his family down and doesn't want to do that anymore.

2. The fact A-Rod's family members are going through something is A-Rod's fault. Outside of the injuries he has gone through, nearly every other issue has been A-Rod's fault or partly been his doing. So I don't feel bad for him.

3. A-Rod is a dipshit, but I have a hard time eviscerating him for wanting to get healthy and produce on the field for the Yankees. Maybe I give him too much benefit of the doubt. He's an ass and he is a cheater, but he really seems like he wants to play baseball again. It doesn't excuse his cheating obviously.

Never mind that whatever Alex Rodriguez's mother has been "going through" over the past nine months, or even nine years, is most likely because of the actions of her son,

I don't think at any point in that article A-Rod tried to make it seem like he wasn't the cause of what they were "going through." In fact, here are some quotes from A-Rod in this very USA Today column that Wallace Matthews is referring to and these are quotes Wallace intentionally leaves out because it doesn't fit the agenda he has:

"I'm the first one to say last year that I stunk,'' Rodriguez says. "It was a bloodbath. I'm not running away from that.

"It's the (expletive) pink elephant in the room, I know I'm better than that.''

Yeah, "the pink elephant." Only A-Rod would say "pink elephant" instead of just "elephant." 

"I've got to be honest with myself,'' Rodriguez says, "I haven't played well for a long time. I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I'm going to go out and hit 50 home runs, or any of that craziness. But I can be someone who can have a big impact in the middle of our lineup.

"Just to have the opportunity to put on the pinstripes, and compete again at Yankee Stadium, and helping my team win, it's a day that I've been dreaming about a long time now.

What an asshole, right? A-Rod didn't say much about Biogenesis on advice of his attorney, but he clearly seems to be taking responsibility for his play on the field. He won't take responsibility for Biogenesis (not yet), but it seems somewhat clear to me he knows that A-Rod isn't looking to cash a paycheck, blame others, then go home. He wants to play again, or at least have the chance to strike out and get booed again.

Of course Wallace also leaves out how Derek Jeter defended A-Rod, but this type of thing is only used to show what a great guy Jeter is as opposed to being used for the media to look in the mirror occasionally about their treatment of A-Rod.

"Why would he be a distraction?'' Jeter told reporters. "You guys (in the media) may be a distraction to him if you ask him questions, but I've never seen how someone can be a distraction to a team, you know what I mean? Because we don't have to deal with it.

"As far as (reporters) being a distraction to him, I'm sure he probably gets tired of answering questions. There's no way he can be a distraction to us."

For Yankees fans, the bottom line is this: On July 4, 2013, Alex Rodriguez made it clear that there will be no Independence Day for them, not from him, anyway.

And herein lies my issue with Wallace Matthews writing this column. Wallace wants to rip A-Rod for being overpaid and wants to rip him for daring to work to come back from his injury so he can re-join the Yankees team. The bottom line is Wallace doesn't want A-Rod to come back because he wants to keep calling A-Rod useless. So Wallace decides to start ripping A-Rod for even daring to not give up on the Yankees.

So if A-Rod came out and stated he was just quitting baseball, would Wallace Matthews applaud this decision? Obviously he wants the Yankees to be rid of A-Rod, so does Wallace think it is a noble endeavor for A-Rod to just quit now and not try to play for the Yankees this season? Something tells me if A-Rod quit on the Yankees Wallace would rip him for that. It's a no-win situation that A-Rod has put himself in with the New York media. No matter what he does, they will criticize him. What's so funny is that is it incredibly easy to criticize A-Rod, but still the New York media has to resort to accusing him of insurance fraud and mocking his attempts to play out the remaining years of his contract. It's over the top at times.

In other words, perish those thoughts of early retirement or demanding a trade or being willing to negotiate a payout of the five years remaining on his contract.

Because quitting on the Yankees or demanding a trade is a much more team-oriented way of Alex Rodriguez ending his career. Can you imagine how Wallace Matthews would tear into A-Rod if he demanded a trade or just retired? Wallace would destroy A-Rod for daring to demand a trade after all the money the Yankees gave him and how patient they were with his struggles. Wallace would call A-Rod a "quitter" if he just retired now. There's no doubt in my mind this is what would happen. So for Wallace to suggest A-Rod take early retirement or demand a trade is ridiculous because if A-Rod did either of these things we would still get a shitty column saying that A-Rod is not Lou Gehrig.

Alex Rodriguez sounds as if he's determined to remain a Yankee until the bitter end.

Dedication and the unwillingness to give up in the face of increased scrutiny and adversity. These are not characteristics you want in a professional athlete.

The objectionable part is that A-Rod is trying to portray himself as fighting the good fight, a noble man attempting to triumph over an army of haters.

What is objectionable to me is that Wallace Matthews doesn't realize this statement is half-true. I don't think A-Rod is fighting the good fight, but ignoring the Biogenesis scandal, he really is attempting to triumph over an army of haters. The army of haters are the writers like Wallace Matthews who will criticize A-Rod no matter what decision he makes. If A-Rod quits, he gets called a quitter, if A-Rod fights back from an injury, he's told he isn't wanted.

Just about every bit of the imagined "adversity" Alex Rodriguez thinks he is confronting is of his own making.

To an extent this is true. I'm not sure the injury he suffered to his hip was of his own making, but I guess that injury is sort of his fault for being a human.

Also, Wallace is making words up that A-Rod spoke now. Go search the Bob Nightengale interview with A-Rod. Here's the link. I'll wait. Do a search for the word "adversity." You won't find it because at no point did A-Rod use that word to describe what he is facing. So I'm not sure where Wallace's "adversity" reference comes from since A-Rod never actually used this word. I would expect nothing less from Wallace though. He has plenty of ammo to criticize A-Rod, yet he insists on stretching the truth even the tiniest bit to make A-Rod seem worse than he is. So Wallace has used a word in parenthesis quoting A-Rod that A-Rod didn't ever say.

He is the one who chose to live a high-profile lifestyle, and then complained about all the media attention it draws, sort of like the kid who kills his own parents and then begs for leniency on the grounds he is an orphan.

Except A-Rod is worse than a murderer. He's like a murderer of murderers except that he is a murderer of murderers that only murders puppies, kittens, children and rare pandas when he isn't murdering murderers.

He is the one who chose to play in high-stake, possibly illegal, poker games -- and then to continue playing in them after MLB and the Yankees ordered him not to.

Michael Jordan played high-stake poker games all the time. I guess because he is Michael Jordan then that is no big deal. Charles Barkley and Charles Oakley played in these games as well. My point is that A-Rod isn't the first athlete to pay in high-stake poker games.

He is the one who chose to put part of the blame for his steroid abuse on his cousin Yuri Sucart -- and then to continue to employ him as a go-fer after the Yankees ordered him not to.

He is the one who chose to have his hip surgeon, Dr. Bryan Kelly, speak to a reporter and lay out a preemptive denial that his hip problems were caused by steroid abuse after his team had ordered the doctor to keep all information about A-Rod's medical condition confidential.

I don't think anyone will argue A-Rod has handled himself well throughout his career. This still doesn't explain why A-Rod should be criticized for working hard to re-join the Yankees this year. Also, the Yankees do a lot of "ordering" don't they? Maybe the team should order itself to develop some better organizational minor league depth so when injuries occur they aren't struggling to find backups.

He is the one who chose to give an interview to a national magazine ripping Derek Jeter.

That's really what this is about. Writers like Wallace Matthews won't ever forgive A-Rod for ripping Derek Jeter. All coverage of A-Rod will remain negative for time immemorial due to his previous comments about Derek Jeter.

He is the one who, while in the midst of a horrendous October slump in the middle of a series his team was about to get swept out of, chose to proposition a woman in the field-level seats at Yankee Stadium, in full view of teammates, fans and team officials.

Again, with so many things that A-Rod has done wrong why pick one criticism that had no impact on his performance on the field and is irrelevant to his return from injury?

But taken together, they paint a picture of a man living a life of singular privilege, without boundaries or respect for any authority other than his own.

It's almost like someone who will make $353 million in his career is used to playing by his own rules. Imagine that. How unforeseen.

But to live that life of privilege and wealth and try to portray it as the equivalent of working on a chain gang? That is an insult and an affront.

I'm assuming everyone who reads this blog can read English and is literate, so go read that Bob Nightengale interview with A-Rod and see if at any point you feel like he is portraying himself as working on a chain gang. He says the typical A-Rod denial of the Biogenesis accusations, but mostly tries to show resolve to bounce back from his injuries and contribute to the Yankees this season. The statements he makes about doubters and people who don't like him is sort of true. Wallace Matthews' column is an example of this. He is criticizing A-Rod for showing resolve and trying to live up to his massive contract. Naturally, Wallace wants to portray A-Rod in a false light simply because Wallace is one of the doubters and will criticize A-Rod no matter what he does. It's so easy to criticize A-Rod, but you can always tell which writers truly don't like him by how they will over-criticize him and try to twist words A-Rod says to paint them in a negative light.

But for more than 15 years now, Alex Rodriguez has lived in that upper-echelon and enjoyed its incredible perks.

Now, he tries to make you believe that his life is no different from that of a Roman gladiator who has just been given the thumbs-down by the bloodthirsty Colosseum crowd. He portrays it as the fight of his life.

A-Rod may get suspended for 100 games due to the Biogenesis situation and he is a 38 year old man who just had serious hip surgery. It is a fight for his career right now.

On this day 74 years ago, Lou Gehrig never knew the joy of having children, the security of earning even $100,000 in a year or the satisfaction of seeing 40 candles on his birthday, and called himself lucky.

The prospect of immediate death changes a person's perspective on the world. Anyone who knows someone who has experienced the prospect of immediate death knows this is true. So this isn't exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. Lou Gehrig was a great guy and A-Rod isn't. If we compared Derek Jeter to Mother Teresa then Jeter would come off looking pretty bad too.

If he really wants to know why more people aren't on his side, the answer is right there, etched in stone in his own words, thoughts and deeds.

While this is true, would quitting his rehab from the hip injury, demanding a trade or simply retiring now make him a better person in terms of his thoughts and deeds? Of course not. I don't understand why Wallace thinks quitting or demanding a trade would suddenly make A-Rod a better person. Wallace doesn't want A-Rod back on the Yankees team and would criticize A-Rod for quitting on the Yankees. The only thing A-Rod could do to please Matthews is up and die. At least then A-Rod could give an inspirational speech and the parallel to Lou Gehrig would sound more reasonable.