Tuesday, May 27, 2014

0 comments Ten Things Things I Think I Think Peter King Has Not Thought Of: Terence Moore Likes Expanded Replay Now Edition

Usually there is a common thread that runs through these Things I Think I Think Peter King Has Not Thought of, but there really isn't one this time. I would say these are all "bad ideas" but that's not entirely true. These are all articles I think that deserve some mention but don't merit an entire post written about them. These are the links I have been staring at for a few months/weeks/days/hours/minutes and want to comment on in some way. As written in many religious texts, let's start with Mitch Albom, as that's how it is always supposed to be.

1. Mitch Albom isn't writing a book called "The Five People You'll Meet in Heaven Who Used the N-Word," but he did write about the NFL looking to prohibit use of the N-word on the field. I think Mitch just likes writing "the N-word."

To me, the N-word is a hateful slur based on a person’s skin color. Yet because my skin is also a certain color, I am told I cannot I criticize its usage.

It’s not my word.

Every word is Mitch's word! Look for more clarification in his new book, "The Five Words You Will First Hear in Heaven," which will be available as soon as he writes this column for the "Detroit Free-Press" where he lies about being at a basketball game last week with John Wooden and Carmelo Anthony.

But sooner or later, everyone, black and white, will stop saying it in public. This is inevitable.

I severely doubt this. I had someone walk in my office and use the word twice just a few days ago. It wasn't a white person and was a college educated African-American female. She's not a stupid person and didn't use the word in an angry manner, but a joking manner. Just saying, it's a word that people probably won't stop using. Maybe someone will read what I just wrote in 100 years, laugh, and then drive off in their hovercraft. Who knows?

Instead, I’m referring to a very vocal minority — at least I believe it’s a minority — of athletes, entertainers, commentators and advocates who are mostly African American, and who claim the NFL’s possible initiative is a move that, as one such critic for huffingtonpost.com wrote, “emboldens whites who assert their privilege over use of the N-word.”

Huh? Look. I don’t shake the rafters of this idea and find sociological ghosts of white supremacy.

Exactly. Mitch writes schmaltzy books about heaven and every once in a while writes a column containing a few easily detected lies. In what spare time he has, he berates those who work in the field of customer service and wonders why he's so perfect and the world around him is so flawed. He's got no time to think about white supremacy because this barista at Starbucks just dared to repeat his order back to him. It's ass-kicking time.

So critics who say the NFL has no right are wrong. The field is a stage; NFL owners are the directors. If you feel compelled to scream the N-word, you can do it, without a paycheck, in the parking lot.

A trickier debate is why black players want to cling to the word in the first place.

Yeah, stupid black people always clinging to racial slurs. Good point, Mitch. 

Admittedly, I am not black,

ADMITTEDLY, Mitch is not black! He wants the truth to be out there now. Mitch Albom is not black nor is he Asian. He's white. He wants there to be no further misunderstandings about his race, so he finally admits he is indeed not black. All further confusion has now been avoided.

But that doesn’t make me — or other whites, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, etc. — stupid or insensitive. We recognize history.

Admittedly, Mitch does recognize history.

Jews were systematically executed, gassed and buried in mass graves — all less than 70 years ago — and they don’t defiantly cling to the K-word. Nor do Chinese Americans boast the C-word, Italians the W-word, Germans the K-word, etc.

Mitch admits he's not capable of understanding how it feels to be called the N-word, so he would never put himself in the shoes of those who do understand this, but he feels free to question why those people wearing these shoes continue to use the word. He knows he can't understand, but he definitely can judge.

The N-word fight is unique. And while nobody should dictate private conversations, if the NFL is going to suspend a white player for using the N-word at an off-season concert or suspend an African-American referee for allegedly saying it to an African-American player, then why the shock at a yellow flag? It’s 15 yards, not a lifetime ban.

As I said at the time the NFL was considering this, it is nice to try and get rid of the N-word, but is very, very difficult to actually put this plan into action. It would have been nearly impossible for the NFL to properly enforce.

Eventually, I believe, people will get tired of defending this hateful slur. In years to come, it may even seem silly. But this is how things change, in fits and starts, coughs and sputters, some easy, some hard.

That's what she said.

It is not my word. In time, it won’t be anyone else’s.

The day can’t come quickly enough.

When that day comes, Mitch can write the book, "The Four People Who Used the N-Word and Didn't End up Heaven You Will Talk To When You Reach Heaven."

2. Hey, guess what? Terence Moore doesn't want anyone overreacting to the expanded use of instant replay. 

Terence may be losing his mind because HE is the one who was overreacting to the use of expanded instant replay here, here, here, and here. But it's his readers who need to stop overreacting about the use of expanded replay, right?

I'm having less of a problem with these new guidelines regarding home-plate collisions.

Did I just type what I just typed? Yep, and upon further review, I don't even need smelling salts. I'm changing my mind (well, sort of) on the implementation of the replay thing and the home-plate thing for the Major Leagues this season, because I'm looking at what's happening to other sports these days by comparison when it comes to changing stuff.

Of course Terence's reasoning for not hating expanded replay has to suck. He doesn't like the idea because it's a good idea, but because other sports are messing up the way they use instant replay. Okay then.

About the replay thing: all baseball officials seek to do is make sure they are using the best technology possible to determine the accuracy of nearly everything that happens on the diamond.

This is literally the exact argument I was making in the four columns I linked above where Terence Moore argued strongly against expanding replay. I'm glad Terence has finally come to his senses and realized, "Hey, it may not work perfectly all the time, but if MLB has the technology to get the calls right they should do it."

Then Terence begins discussing how other sports mess up replay, which apparently means MLB's expanded replay is a good idea.

So the replay thing and the home-plate thing?

I'll survive.

Oh sure, NOW Terence will survive after spending the better part of a year arguing about why expanded replay is such a terrible, no-good idea. It's almost like he should give ideas a chance to be implemented before stomping his foot down angrily that this idea will ruin the sport of baseball.

3. I don't know if this is a joke or not, but Woody Paige thought John Elway should have drafted all Stanford players in this year's NFL Draft. 

See, it would show "school spirit" and why the hell school spirit is important in drafting players to an NFL team is beyond me. 

Will John Elway and the Broncos draft guard David Yankey in the first round, defensive end Trent Murphy second, inside linebacker Shayne Skov third, free safety Ed Reynolds fourth, running back Tyler Gaffney fifth, fullback Ryan Hewitt sixth and center Khalil Wilkes seventh?

No, he did not. 

Elway — now the general manager, which he really was before, anyway, as well as the executive vice president of football operations — does in title and in fact rule over the Broncos' draft.

During the Duke's reign, the Broncos have selected 23 players. Nineteen are on the Broncos' roster, three more are with other NFL teams and one is out of the league.

So of course if Elway drafted players from Stanford then those players would immediately become valuable NFL players who contribute to the Broncos team. Obviously. 

Only one draft pick in the Josh McDaniels error, er, era remains. Demaryius Thomas is the last man standing.

You like how Tim Tebow isn't mentioned here at all. Woody had an absolute infatuation with Tebow (check my archives...I am too lazy to link all the articles) when he played for the Broncos and now that era of Woody's writing career is washed-over like a family who doesn't mention that their son was engaged three prior times, including once to another man, at this son's wedding to a woman (see, that's how Bill Simmons writes, it sucks when someone does overly-long analogies, right?). 

Then Woody goes through the Broncos drafts under Elway because...because he needed to kill some space.

On offense, they wish for a guard, a wide receiver and a running back. On defense, they want a middle linebacker, a cornerback, a defensive end and a safety. Seven positions, seven picks.

So, what's the problem with drafting the seven quality players listed in the first paragraph?

Other than they may not be the best available player at each position available when the Broncos were drafting? Nothing. 

Does John Elway have the guts, the daring-do, the audacity, the school spirit to draft seven players from Stanford, his alma mater?

I think the word Woody was looking for is "stupidity." 

Would that be a blessing, or a Cardinal sin?

There we go. Woody Paige seems to have written an entire column so he could write this last sentence. In the realm of bad ideas, this last sentence being an important part of this realm, drafting all players from Stanford is a doozy. 

4. Lowell Cohn had very different reactions to Aldon Smith's detention at the airport and the charges against Colin Kaepernick that he sexually assaulted a woman. From experience, it's known that Cohn doesn't particularly seem to like Colin Kaepernick. It's interesting that Lowell's initial reaction to each incident was so different.

Here is Lowell's initial reaction to Aldon Smith's being detained at the airport.

Lots of people are dumping on Aldon Smith right now, saying he’s a bad guy and the Niners need to dump him. Maybe that’s true and maybe that’s what will happen. But be cautious. We know very little about what he did and said at LAX today.

Wait and see. Probably a good idea. 

Here is Lowell's initial reaction to Colin Kaepernick being accused of sexual assault. 

Here are Kaepernick's three tweets combined as one for concision:

"The charges made in the TMZ story and other stories I've seen are completely wrong. They made things up about me that never happened. I take great pride in who I am and what I do, but I guess sometimes you have to deal with someone who makes things up. I want to thank all of the people who have shared their encouraging sentiments. I assure you that your faith is not misplaced."

If he means the public's faith in him as a quarterback that is way off the point. If he means the public's faith in him as a good person and a responsible adult, well that is the subject of the debate. His lack of concern for the woman, his total preoccupation with himself makes you wonder what kind of person he is.

It makes you wonder what kind of person Colin Kaepernick is for responding to accusations a person has made. I guess denying the accusations is not the right thing to do? 

Lowell's reaction to whether Smith had been arrested...

As far as I know he’s not been arrested. Has he?

I’m reading he said he had a bomb. Is that a fact? Did he literally say “I have a bomb?” Or did he say something else? I don’t know. Do you?

Lowell's reaction to whether Kaepernick had been arrested...

It's not the intention of this column to discuss his legal issues -- if there even are legal issues. So much is vague and unrevealed. To come out against Kaepernick or against the woman in the hotel drama would be irresponsible and unfair to Kaepernick, to the woman and to the legal process.

At no time does he express the least particle of concern for the young woman in question, a woman who apparently woke up in a hospital alone and disoriented, with no knowledge of where she was or how she got there.

Well, it seems Lowell has a pretty good idea of what happened in the Kaepernick situation, but is withholding judgment in the Smith situation. Lowell questions the police report in the Smith situation but believes the police report in the Kaepernick situation. Why would the police tell the truth? Why would a young woman lie? 

Lowell about not rushing to judgment in the Smith case...

I literally do not know what went down. It’s important not to rush to judgment. Be cautious until we learn more.

Lowell rushing to judgment in the Kaepernick case...

He should have expressed concern about the woman. He should have looked people in the eye. He should have spoken in complete sentences. He should have answered questions to the extent he could answer questions -- this is an ongoing legal matter.

It's crummy behavior to impugn a woman who arrived at a hospital alone and unconscious -- and had apparently been unconscious previously in his presence.

Isn't it interesting how Lowell starts spit out the facts presented as truth when it comes to Kaepernick, but questions the facts presented when it comes to Smith? It's almost like he has an agenda. 

5. Phil Mushnick doesn't defend Donald Sterling, except he sort of does. 

Longtime NBA followers, executives, employees and media know Clippers owner Donald Sterling as a moneyed fool. Not a terrible man,

The fact Phil Mushnick describes Donald Sterling as "not a terrible man" and has a history of saying things like the Nets should be called the Brooklyn N-Word's, then it's not hard to get the feeling Mushnick and Sterling aren't necessarily two peas in a pod, but probably have neighboring pods, possibly with balconies that connect. 

He’s someone best — and easily — ignored, especially at 81.

It might have been easier to ignore him if he didn't own an NBA team with a roster full of the same minorities he has shown time and time again he discriminates against. It's hard to ignore one of the owners of the 30 NBA teams. It's sort of a high-profile position. 

Yes, what he allegedly said was painful, indefensible and inexcusable, except why would we expect him, at 81, to be less loony and more discreet and clear-headed than he was at 75 or 78?

Oh yes, the guy who owns an NBA team and has a girlfriend who could be his granddaughter is too old and not clear-headed enough to know what he's saying. It seems Phil Mushnick is going with the "Livia Soprano" excuse for Phil Mushnick. He couldn't have known what he was saying because he's old! Old people don't know what they are doing or saying, so just ignore being clear-headed has never shown itself to be a problem for Donald Sterling prior to this incident. 

Visit any assisted living facility. Or think of that aunt or uncle all of us have known and suffered with a wince because we knew they were off. And they come in all races.

Yes, but there's no evidence that Donald Sterling was off. He comes off very clear in those audiotapes. Good try though. 

Not everyone, at 81, should reasonably or humanely be held accountable for whatever ugly comments come out their mouths.

At least keep that in mind.

Okay, well keep this in mind. Before using the "Livia Soprano" excuse, perhaps it's more easily believed if Donald Sterling had ever indicated prior to this incident he wasn't clear-headed or seemed off. I know, the facts are so annoying aren't they?

6. Rick Reilly writes a column where he pretends like he's not trying to rehabilitate his friend Lance Armstrong's image. 

Lance Armstrong is happy. In fact, he looks better at 42 than I've ever seen him, less gaunt in the face, thicker in the chest, bluer in the eyes. I found a man sitting in his den, surrounded by his seven Tour de France chalices, his 3-year-old, Olivia, on his lap, kissing him and laughing.
Really pissed me off.

Did it really, Rick? Did it really piss you off? It doesn't seem like it did and why should it?

"There's a lightness to my life now," he says. "I have no obligations. I have no schedule other than raising my kids, what time my tee time is, how far I'm gonna ride my bike that day. Life has become very simple very quickly. ... I'm not in a hurry to get anywhere. Nobody's waiting on the other end."

Rick doesn't take the whole, "Lance Armstrong is a good guy because..." angle in this column, but takes the "Lance Armstrong is at peace and knows he was wrong..." angle that tells the reader Armstrong is happy with where he is, which of course gives the reader the feeling Armstrong has accepted his fate. It's hard to stay mad at a person who accepted his fate and seems happy, no?

"I'm at the bottom, but I like establishing a base. When I was diagnosed, they told me I had testicular cancer. Then it spread to the abdomen. Then the lungs. Then the brain. I was devastated. But at that point, it was as bad as it could get. And I was like, 'OK, now, I know everything. Now I have to get better from here.' I'm in that place now. Not cancer, but now I know everything. I'm at the base."

So Lance Armstrong is saying getting testicular cancer put him at the same base as lying about using PED's, ruining people's lives in an effort to cover up his PED use and then finally admitting it on national television to Oprah? They both put him at the same place? Hmmm...interesting way to look at it if that's what he means. It seems a truly contrite person would recognize deadly cancer you lack control over puts you at a lower rock bottom than making the decision to lie for a decade about using PED's would put you. But hey, Lance isn't comparing these two things, even though he's sort of comparing these two things.

I see a much calmer guy, more patient. I see a guy who used to be surrounded by a dozen people, now alone. I see a guy who used to live and die by the hundredth of a second, now not entirely sure what day it is.

Lying and deceiving does take a toll on a person.

"I remember [when I was diagnosed with cancer] thinking, 'I might not see Christmas. I might not see my son [Luke, now 14] graduate high school.' But this doesn't threaten that. I'm going to see Christmas. I'm going see him graduate."

Oh good, well I'm glad things worked out for Lance and he is able to have perspective (focused entirely on himself of course) about how his lying hasn't ruined his life. Maybe he should check in with Frankie Andreu and see how he's feeling about all this.

Me: "Don't you realize how many people hate you over this?"

Him: "I just don't care. In the past, I cared what people said, thought or wrote. I thought it would affect my livelihood. But that's been decimated now. When I walk through airports now, a guy could say, 'Hey you f---ing a--h---! You're the biggest jerk on the face of the earth!' I'd say, 'Right on, pal.'"

I'm glad Lance doesn't care what people think. This is a huge change from when he was still lying about using PED's and didn't care what people thought as he blazed a trail of lies and deceit across the world, angrily challenging those who dared to out him as the fraud he truly was.

No endorser will touch him. Nobody wants him to speak, even for free. He is banned from any marathon, triathlon, bike race, 10k, 2k sneak, even if it's for charity. He'd like to write another book, work with cancer patients again, maybe have a role in sports. But that all seems eons away.
And yet it doesn't scare him.

This is very brave of Lance Armstrong to not be scared. After all, he's been at a rock bottom exactly like this when he was diagnosed with cancer. I am able to separate Lance Armstrong the person from Lance Armstrong the activist for cancer funding and research. One guy I like, the other I do not like. I'll spare you the rest of the column, but rest assured it turns out rehabbing Lance's image was really about Rick Reilly. Rick decides (in a not-subtle nudge to the reader) that he's gotten his pound of flesh from Armstrong so he shouldn't want any more.

7. Murray Chass, as he does every year, rails against the unfairness of baseball teams calling up prospects after May to get one more year of arbitration out of them. 

It's not against the rules and if the players want to change it then they should do so when time comes to discuss a new CBA. MLB teams should be able to do as they see fit with their players. Sometimes it's unfair, but it doesn't mean these teams are unethical or cheating in following the rules set out by the agreed-upon CBA.

There are no rules or provisions in the collective bargaining agreement that intrude on clubs’ rights to call up players when they choose. However, union officials in recent years have scrutinized club practices because clubs have increasingly used callup dates to affect players’ subsequent eligibility for salary arbitration and free agency.

Which isn't wrong because there are no rules or provisions in the CBA that intrudes on them doing this.

In recent years, when teams left their good young prospects in the minors for the first couple months of the season, they said, as if reading from the same script, that the players needed more time in the minors to work on this or that aspect of their game.

But when I asked Jeff Luhnow, the Houston general manager, why the Astros bucked the trend and called up Springer so early, he said, “He’s an exciting player. What we needed to see this year was getting off to a good start and making sure he was used to right field.

The Astros are in a different position from other teams who choose not to call up their top prospects from the minors. They have a very bad team and ratings in Houston are pretty low. They need to create some excitement that their building for the future is going to pay off and it's not like the players that were on the major league roster in place of Springer were exactly lighting it up on the field.

In his first 11 games, through Saturday, he was hitting .186 (8 for 43) with no home runs and two runs batted in. The Astros nevertheless expect major production from the 24-year-old right-handed hitter. Manager Bo Porter put him in the clean-up spot in the lineup in only his third game.

But I'm sure Murray thinks the fact Springer is struggling supports the reasoning that he didn't need more seasoning in the minors before being called up to the majors and it was totally worth it to lose a season's worth of arbitration eligibility.

If a team has a player in the minors who might pitch some games or might get some hits that would help a team win a division title or a wild-card spot but it leaves that player in the minors to undermine his eligibility for salary arbitration, the team is cheatings its fans and its other players. 

The fans aren't cheated if they understand the reason the team is not calling up these players partially in order to maximize their arbitration eligibility. I'm sure Nationals fans aren't complaining about the extra season they get with Stephen Strasburg on the team's roster.

That is called a lack of integrity.

No, it's called "Managing your team's roster in the short-term and long-term so as to be fiscally responsible and competitive over these times."

Some fans have argued that they would rather have their team have the player for a seventh season before free agency rather than lose him after six seasons. But that is short-sighted thinking.

Actually, this is the exact definition of long-term thinking.

Most baseball people would say the chance of winning doesn’t come along often enough to sacrifice a chance to win by failing to do everything possible, including brining up a player who could make a difference.

Most of these teams that don't call up a prospect aren't just that one player away from either winning a World Series or not making the playoffs at all. I know Murray prefers to think of these prospects as coming up and making an immediate impact that dramatically changes the team, but that's not always the case.

Union officials watch the game go on but are unlikely to challenge the practice with a grievance. As wrong as it is, it would be a tough case to win.

Mostly because there's nothing in the CBA that says MLB teams can't control the roster in this fashion as they see fit. That doesn't stop Murray Chass from writing this same article every single year.

8. The Mets sent out a fan loyalty letter that has Mike Vaccaro very angry at the team.

It's a silly letter, so let it go. But as I said when I covered the Matt Harvey column, it seems that sportswriters will grab onto any controversy in order to push a column out. In this 24 hour sports cycle even the smallest of events can be blown up into a huge ordeal.

So now, to celebrate this feel-good start to the season, this is what the men who operate the Mets ask of you:
A loyalty oath.

It was silly, it was stupid, and it was not important enough to take up an entire column screaming about.

“As players, we can tell you that what happens in the clubhouse and what happens in the stands — players and fans together, believing in each other — makes a tremendous difference with what happens on the field.”

Translation: We’re winning and the stadium is empty. What’s wrong with you?

The team wants fans to show up. They are trying to guilt them into doing so.

Attendance has dwindled every year since 2009, when a smaller ballpark maxed out season seating at around 3.4 million. You know why? Because the Mets are one of two teams — the barely Quad-A Astros being the other — who have had losing seasons in every one of those years.

It sounds like this letter is just a conduit by which Mike Vaccaro can bash the Mets front office and ownership. It's not really about a letter, it's about the Mets not fielding a competitive team.

And this letter is a good way to hasten the growing ennui. Questioning the fealty of fans, challenging them to prove their worth not only as Mets fans but True New Yorkers? Why? Because of one winning homestand?

Other MLB teams so different things to get fans to the stadium. The Braves essentially give away tickets and other teams create a "nation" where the fans feel like they are a part of a group and this encourages them to show up to games. It's all marketing. This letter was stupid, but was just a way to ignite the passions of Mets fans.

Win, and the people come. Win, and the people spend. Win, and there is no need to gather signatures so they can be presented to the players before a Subway Series game as proof that people still care. 

Goodness, read that sentence again: Who would ever think this is a good idea? What’s next, a pep rally? A sock hop? A bonfire in the quad?

You get the point. This letter got Mike Vaccaro really fired up. Well, Vaccaro probably wasn't really fired up but he is able to bash the Mets ownership and management on autopilot and this letter was a good, cheap way to do this and he went for it.

9. Would Mike Vaccaro rather the Mets call out their fans like this? 

If they had, I'm sure Vaccaro could have found a way to bash Mets management for taking the negative route and calling out Mets fans for not attending games. In fact, if the Mets had done this then very few words of Vaccaro's column would change. It could essentially be the same column. So no matter which route the Mets take, positive rah-rah, or negative in calling out their fans, I would bet they lose in the eyes of Mike Vaccaro. But since I'm not Peter King, I won't dedicate two different numbers to the same topic. On to the Nets and their Tweet...

I guess what Brooklyn management forgets to remember is the Raptors have been in Toronto longer than the Nets have been in Brooklyn. Plus, the Nets have competition in New York for the heart and love of NBA basketball in the form of the Knicks. The Raptors have no competition in Canada. Plus, the Raptors haven't been very good of late, so it's easy for Toronto fans to get pumped up about a playoff appearance. The Nets were expected to do well this year. Basically, it's probably not a good idea to try and call out fans via Twitter if you are the management of said team. It's probably okay for a player to call out the fans, but it seems odd when the organization does it.

10. I not sure I have ever experienced the hysteria that surrounded the Charlotte Hornets. I grew up a Boston Celtics fan, but I went to Charlotte Hornets games and it was loud and fantastically exciting. Very easy to get caught up. I remember the December 1988 game against the Bulls clear as day. Anyway, here is an oral history of the 1988 Charlotte Hornets. What's remarkable to me is how the Charlotte area fell out of love with the Hornets (thanks again, George Shinn!) as quickly as they fell in love. Again, I'm a Celtics fan but it still makes me sad to think about it all.