Showing posts with label rick telander. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rick telander. Show all posts

Thursday, June 12, 2014

5 comments Now Rick Telander Smells a Conspiracy Surrounding Michael Sam

Remember back when Bruce Jenkins smelled a conspiracy surrounding the fact Jason Collins wasn't signed by an NBA team? Well, the Nets eventually did sign Collins. Now Rick Telander smells a conspiracy surrounding the fact Michael Sam was drafted too late in the NFL Draft. This is much like how Internet hero Chris Kluwe was suspicious that he was released by the Vikings due to his support for gay rights rather than the fact his punting skill had declined during the previous season. There are conspiracies everywhere it seems as it relates to this type of issue. I can buy Kluwe's conspiracy more than I could buy that surrounding Collins and Michael Sam. Sam did get drafted but that's not enough for Rick Telander. Despite any evidence to the contrary, he smells a conspiracy that Sam fell because he prefers men over women. I think the NFL is a results-oriented league and a team would draft any player who could help them win games. Possibly I'm naive.

My guess is Michael Sam fell two to four rounds in the draft because he is openly gay.

And that's exactly what it is. Four rounds though? Sam fell four rounds? I don't know at what point over the past few months he was going to go in the third round, but I missed this completely.

I know he’s a ‘‘tweener’’ — at 6-2, 261, he’s small for an NFL defensive end, and with ‘‘stiff hips’’ and a bad 4.91 40 time, too immobile for a pass-covering outside linebacker. 

"Sure, he doesn't have the physical characteristics that teams look for in a defensive end, but that doesn't explain at all why he wasn't drafted by a league that over-relies on physical characteristics to determine whether a player will succeed in their league or not."

Yes, he did run a much better 4.73 40 at his University of Missouri pro day. And he increased his vertical jump 5 inches. And he tipped in 2 pounds heavier at 263 pounds.

Those still aren't the ideal numbers for a player who is a defensive end/outside linebacker in the NFL. Unfortunately, that's the bottom line. Jackson Jeffcoat was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, ran a 4.63 40 time and was 6'3" and 247 pounds at the Combine. He didn't get drafted at all. So it's not like there isn't a precedent for guys like Sam to not get drafted even after they have won postseason defensive awards in a major football conference.

But weaknesses and in-between stuff aside, getting drafted in the seventh round as the 249th player selected, well, that’s about as blatant a statement as you could have about him being gay and out.

Yes, if you ignore all of the football-related reasons that Sam didn't get drafted until the 7th round then he definitely didn't get drafted because he is gay and out. It's just like if you ignore all of the football-related reasons that Teddy Bridgewater did get drafted, he was totally taken in the first round because he's not gay. It's very obvious.  

Maybe Sam is useless. Maybe he’s a first-wave cut.

Maybe he's not. Maybe he will make the teams who passed on him regret doing so. That's the good thing about professional sports. Sam will get an opportunity to show the other teams they made a mistake. No need to cry for him.

But this guy was an All-American, the co-defensive player of the year in the SEC, which is the toughest conference in the land, a man who had three three-sack games. He was liked by his teammates, played all-out — and did I mention the triple-triple sack stat? NFL teams covet sacks the way squirrels covet acorns.

Jackson Jeffcoat had 13 sacks and he was not drafted at all. He also plays in a major conference where he was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. There has been no indication he is not straight. How can the fact he wasn't drafted be explained?

Sam almost didn’t get drafted. There were only seven picks after him. The last dude in the draft is called ‘‘Mr. Irrelevant.’’ What if that had been Sam? Problem on so many levels.

I'm sure Michael Sam would take great offense to this since he wants to be treated like every other NFL player. To get offended because he's "Mr. Irrelevant," as if this is in some way a commentary on his status as openly gay man is a little bit nit-picky. It would only have been a problem if it were made to be into something that it wasn't.

So kudos to former Bears safety and St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher for doing what other teams wouldn’t do. Fisher took Sam, he told USA Today, because, ‘‘In the end, we just want to win football games.’’


He added that he hadn’t met with Sam personally, but, ‘‘I feel like I know him already because of all the attention his courage provided.’’

Yes, kudos to Jeff Fisher and the Rams. They took a chance on a pass rusher in the 7th round who just happened to be gay, which brings increased scrutiny onto the Rams. 

But here’s the deal: Sam passionately and weepily kissed his boyfriend after being chosen, and if you weren’t taken aback a little at the sight of it, you’re not being honest.

Okay. I was not taken back and I'm being honest. My roommate for freshman and sophomore year of college was gay. I saw much more than kissing at times. But hey, I guess it says a little bit about Rick Telander that he was taken aback a little at the sight of it, but feels the need to lecture everyone in the NFL on how they aren't open-minded enough to draft Michael Sam prior to the 7th round. 

Such an image has never occurred before in the long annals of the macho NFL. It made one pause. Think. Reflect. Ponder.

Yes, but images like this have existed in the world prior to Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend. Think. Reflect. Ponder. Realize that. 

It was like seeing a woman swim from Cuba to Key West. Like watching Stephen Hawking write a best-seller. Like observing a black man win the presidency.

I mean...I don't want to understate the impact of Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend but a woman had never swam from Cuba to Key West before and a black man had never won the presidency. A man had kissed another man with a camera on him before. Maybe not in an athletic forum, but it had happened before. 

Life is not a reality show. Unless citizens want it to be. Michael Sam should not want it to be.

He doesn't want it to be a reality show, it is a documentary. What's interesting is I think this column was written before Michael Sam announced he was doing the reality---I'm sorry, documentary about his journey and Rick Telander makes a reference to life not being a reality show. 

The real, and only, question should be: Can he play?

The guy who writes an article about how Michael Sam wasn't drafted earlier claims the only question should be whether Sam can play or not. So, if that's the only question then why does it matter where he was drafted and why he was drafted there? 

Sam has not done many interviews. Which is good.

Michael Sam has done interviews when he wants to do interviews, but a beat writer for the Tigers football program described how she (and other writers involved with the Tigers program) found out Sam was gay, kept his secret all year, then Sam refused to speak to local media about the topic even after announcing he was gay, thereby forcing his teammates to answer the questions for him. I'm not criticizing and I could not find the link, but this female beat writer told a story of how the local media always thought they would get the interview since they kept the secret and covered Sam on a day-to-day basis, then he told the story through various media outlets and still refused to talk to the local media. So not doing many interviews is good, but there is a downside to this. 

The Rams do not need to start waving the rainbow flag. Nobody needs to change what they do.

By "nobody needs to change what they do," does Rick mean "evaluate Sam fairly as an NFL player"? If so, that's what NFL teams did and that's why he fell to the 7th round, not because of his sexuality. There is a case to be made that Sam would have been a 7th rounder anyway and he was projected to go in Rounds 5-7. He was drafted in Round 7. 

Yet the Rams could be hooking into a large and powerful crowd if it snags the gay and lesbian sports fans, or just all the interested folks, the ones who have made Sam’s Rams jersey the second-best seller among rookies (behind only Manziel’s Browns jersey, but ahead of All-Universe Jadeveon Clowney’s Texans jersey).

It's almost like they knew what they were doing and made a smart football, business and social move by drafting Michael Sam. 

The political-correctness police need to calm down, too. 

You mean the people who say Michael Sam wasn't drafted earlier because he's gay? You mean, you?

The ones who turned possibly senile (according to Barbara Walters and his wife) Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling into the apotheosis of racism have to crank their jets down about five notches.

For a senile person he sure hasn't shown signs of being senile in the past and he's pretty good at functioning and suing the NBA while being senile. 

It’s crazy that Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones tweeted ‘‘OMG’’ and ‘‘horrible’’ after seeing Sam’s kiss —and then was fined and suspended for it.

It's not crazy. The Dolphins are Jones' employer and they can find him, reprimand him or do whatever they would like to him within reason for statements they don't like. That's the nature of the employer-employee relationship. 

What, you can’t even express feelings anymore without the language police nailing you?

What, an NFL team can't objectively evaluate an NFL player without sportswriters like Rick Telander claiming they didn't draft a player because he's gay? 

So you’re in the locker room, in the shower with him. A gay man.


What do you do? What does he do?


You act like humans with decency and pride and respect. All of you.

Oh sure, I believe Telander's words would translate into these actions. After all, he was taken aback by seeing Michael Sam kissing another man, so I'm sure he personally would have no qualms showering in the same room as Michael Sam. Not coincidentally, Rick Telander will never have to back up this lecture with actions.

End of story.

Michael Sam was projected to go in the 5th-7th round and he went in the 7th round. End of story. I like how Rick tries to play both sides by calling out the political-correctness police while also randomly speculating as to why NFL teams didn't draft Michael Sam.

Monday, July 29, 2013

0 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.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

4 comments Rick Telander is Not Taking the Rudy Jaramillo Firing Well, Seems Confused about the Idea of Rebuilding

The Chicago Cubs, the one MLB team who have the potential to gain more annoying bandwagon fans than even the Red Sox have if/when they win a World Series, are rebuilding. The players know that, the Cubs fans know that, I know that, and the Cubs front office knows that. Rick Telander missed the memo. He is not taking the firing of Rudy Jaramillo very well. He takes the firing of Jaramillo as a sign the Cubs rebuilding process isn't going well. It seems Telander believes the rebuilding process should be over by now. It seems Telander thinks you rebuild in one offseason and then start winning pennants immediately. Theo Epstein said the firing of Jaramillo was about sending a message. Well, Rick Telander got the message and he hates the message that in order to rebuild there will be some turnover among the players and coaches.

Now we’re talking.

Remember the press release the Cubs sent out saying the firing of Jaramillo will fix all of their problems? You don't? That's probably because they didn't send out a press release saying firing Rudy Jaramillo would fix all of their problems. It's just one step in the process.

Fire the hitting coach!

He was in the last year of his contract, so perhaps the Cubs had no intentions of keeping him around after this year and wanted to try out someone else for the job. Firing the hitting coach is often a cheap scapegoat tactic teams use in order to explain why the lineup is hitting poorly. Other times it shows an organization wants a change in philosophy or approach to hitting on the major league level. In the case of Jaramillo, he is a holdover from the Jim Hendry era and was in the last year of his contract. The Cubs weren't hitting well and if he wasn't coming back, then why not see if James Rowson (the Cubs new hitting coach) is cut out for the job? He gets a three month tryout. If he doesn't work out, the Cubs can find another hitting coach who more closely fits the personality and approach they are looking their hitters to take at the plate.

The Cubs did just that, and you have to figure Rudy Jaramillo was personally responsible for 50 or so of the Cubs’ losses this season.

That's exactly what this move means! Rudy Jaramillo is directly to blame for all 40 losses. Anytime a coach gets fired it means he is the biggest and only problem in the organization. Rick Telander seems to have it all figure out doesn't he?

What’s that?

The bottom-feeding Cubs have only lost 40 games?

Well, whaddaya know.

So clearly having Rudy Jaramillo on staff as the hitting coach was working wonders for the Cubs since they have lost 40 games already.

The Cubs were 27th in runs, 21st in batting average, 27th in OBP, 23rd in slugging percentage, 27th in walks, and 15th in strikeouts.

The Cubs were 19th in runs, 13th in batting average, 20th in OBP, 15th in slugging percentage, 29th in walks, and 10th in strikeouts.

Mostly, this is the fault of the players, but these low numbers are also an indication that Jaramillo did not have the Cubs batters performing at a high level over the past year and a half. The Cubs wanted to go in a different direction. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially since the Cubs are currently so bad. I wouldn't understand the firing of Jaramillo if the Cubs hitting was a bright spot on the team.

Whatever, the Rudy-less Cubs should now go on a hitting and pitching and base-stealing and run-producing and towel-snapping tear that will rocket them into —dare we say it? — 28th place.

Regardless, the Cubs wanted a change in hitting philosophy to go along with the other changes the organization has made. Theo Epstein probably wanted to know if he should bring in his own guy after this season or Rowson could do the job. Jaramillo didn't have much to work with, but any person in his/her right mind knows Jaramillo isn't being scapegoated.

With the great news that the Cubs just signed 20-year-old Cuban power-hitting outfielder Jorge Soler — and he might be ready for the big leagues in two or three years — why shouldn’t we all be dancing and singing about the World Series?

How dare the Cubs make a rebuilding plan that takes more than three months! Why do they insist on signing players that aren't ready to play in the majors immediately and seem to want to develop young players? Why can't the Cubs make more brilliant signings like that stud outfielder Kosuke Fukudome was? Now that was a brilliant signing that didn't rely on "potential" or cause the organization to bother with that pesky idea of developing players. The road to success in baseball is paved with quick fixes. Who needs player development anyway?

If the Cubs were your doctor, and you were suffering from, oh, let’s say, hemorrhoids, Theo Epstein (MD) would have just removed a wart from your neck and promised you some Preparation H in 2014.

Or if the Cubs were your doctor and you were suffering from cancer, the doctor would prescribe a treatment that would at first weaken you, but would hopefully take care of the cancer over the long-term.

Maybe Jaramillo, whose reputation was among the best in baseball, was too old.

Or he simply wasn't helping the Cubs hitters hit the baseball better.

Clearly, he wasn’t making the Cubs — who are 10th or worse in the 16-team National League in on-base percentage, runs scored and batting average — into hitters.

Clearly, his inability to help the Cubs batters hit the baseball better is a reason not to freak out about Jaramillo's departure as the Cubs hitting coach.

Maybe he just forgot all those details he knew when he was with the Texas Rangers for 15 years and had them leading the American League in batting average three times.

So Jaramillo gets credited for the performance of the Rangers batters during much of the Steroid Era (Palmeiro, A-Rod, Juan Gonzalez), many of whom were proven steroid users, but he shouldn't take the blame for the Cubs bad hitting? If his team hits well, it is because of Jaramillo and his influence, but if they hit poorly it is because the players on his team are poor hitters?

Maybe it’s the weak-hitting Cubs pitchers. Maybe it was all done with smoke — and ’roids — with the Rangers.

That's quite possible the great hitting those Rangers showed was because the Rangers had quite a few proven steroid users on some of those Rudy Jamarillo-coached teams. It's also quite possible Jaramillo helped these guys become better hitters when he was with the Rangers. It could also be a combination of both. Mostly, Jaramillo's record with the Rangers in the past is irrelevant because he was the hitting coach for the Cubs in the present and the Cubs hitters weren't hitting well.

Except, boy, this smells like a red herring to me. Or maybe it’s a sacrificial goat. Possibly it’s a stinky sleeping potion.

When a team is rebuilding, tough decisions like this have to be made. It isn't much of a rebuilding process if there isn't turnover among the coaches and players. If the coaches, players, and farm system were worth a shit there wouldn't be a need to rebuild the team.

Because if Cubs fans are supposed to simply sit back and doze while owner Tom Ricketts and architect Epstein and all the boy geniuses who are supposed to turn Wrigley Field into Boston Midwest do their thing a few years ‘‘down the road,’’ then why even field a team now?

This is a moronic statement. You field a team now because there is no other way to know which players and coaches need to stay around "down the road." That is, unless Rick Telander knows of a way to evaluate baseball players and coaches without the benefit of seeing their performance during baseball games. These players aren't computers you know, they are actually have to go out there and perform on the field. You can't only use computers to judge the players you Sabermetrician asshole!

I realize Rick Telander is being sarcastic when he makes this statement, but if he doesn't understand how a team may have to take a step back when rebuilding in order to get where the team wants/needs to be then he probably shouldn't be covering sports anymore. Cubs fans aren't supposed to sit back and doze while the team is rebuilding. They are supposed to cheer for the Cubs and enjoy the progress the team makes.

The payroll is going down, the talent is going down further and a team that was predicted to be bad is worse than anyone knew.

The Cubs weren't very good when the payroll was high. So it is a sign of progress the payroll is going down. That mean the expensive, underachieving players are coming off the payroll and roster. A high payroll isn't always a good thing, especially when that team hasn't performed at a high level for the past few years. A declining payroll can be seen as the road to success for a team like the Cubs.

In what other business could you get away with this?

Cutting payroll in order to make room for lower or equally paid, higher performing talent? I would say in pretty much every other business you could get away with this, especially in sports. Teams will often cut payroll in an effort to make financial and roster room for younger and better players.

How would you like to be Dale Sveum?

Obviously, he’s not a great manager,

And why do I have a feeling Rick Telander would object if Sveum, the "not great manager," got fired by the Cubs? Rick Telander thinks the Cubs need to rebuild without actually making any significant changes to the team.

The Cubs are on pace to be not just pitiful, but the worst ever. No Cubs team has ever lost 104 games in a season. This version is on pace to lose 108.

Yep, the Cubs are terrible this year. Little known fact: A team's record starts over at beginning of each season. If the rebuilding plan is strong then the Cubs should start seeing results in the next 1-2 years. That seems like 6-18 more months than Telander wants to wait to see results. Maybe the whole plan sucks. We won't know for another year or so. Firing Rudy Jaramillo may not make a difference at all, but having him as the hitting coach certainly wasn't preventing the Cubs from losing games.

Is this what Mrs. Sveum had in mind for Dale when she birthed him 48 years ago in California, watching him become an All-America high school quarterback, then a respected major-leaguer?

?????????

What does this have to do with anything?

You can really have fun as a boss when you tell your customers that, sure, the steak is rotten and the wine tastes like radiator fluid and the silverware is plastic-ware because it’s gonna get better. Keep paying full price, folks, because once we get the cockroaches and tapeworms out of here, you’ll be amazed!

This is how rebuilding works. Things are shitty and then things (hopefully) eventually get better. Theo Epstein chose not to rebuild on the fly, so he tried to tear it all down before rebuilding again.

Would you put up with this nonsense if Epstein and Co. were anybody else?

He has a history of success. This is like asking if I would put up with an NBA player putting up 30 shots in a game if he wasn't Kevin Durant. Epstein isn't the best General Manager in baseball, but he has a history of achieving success. Give him a chance to do it, and if he fails, laugh in his face. Just give him longer than 60 games to see results.

Then there’s this, dark as it may be: If the Cubs can descend to the bottom without fans revolting, then imagine the genius of the execs who make the Cubs good after ruining them.

This is how the Cubs are choosing to rebuild. They are cutting costs, and yes, cutting talent in order to achieve a long-term goal of putting together a consistently winning team. NFL teams do this all the time. They cut expensive players in order to gain more cap room, draft well and sign the correct free agents. I know the process is painful in baseball because the season is so long, but why is this a bad thing? Epstein sees ruining the Cubs in the short-term as improving them in the long-term.

The Cubs might win 30 more games next year than this.

If the Cubs win 40 games this year then 70 wins next year could be seen as progress. Why would this be a bad thing?

And you know what, just-promoted interim hitting coach James Rowson, 35, might be the answer to it all.

You pay your money, and you gotta believe.

Last question: Right?

Well, we know one thing...Rudy Jaramillo wasn't the answer as the hitting coach. I don't think Rick Telander gets the idea of rebuilding. Sure, the Cubs are doing the extreme edition of rebuilding. It may work or it may not work. It takes more than six months to know for sure. Have patience and quit freaking out when the Cubs make the changes necessary to put a winning team on the field.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

8 comments Rick Telander Gets Bored, Does a Hack Job on Jay Cutler

Rick Telander, who I generally find to be a rather pleasant columnist, doesn't like Jay Cutler. Maybe he likes Jay Cutler, but he at the least finds him distasteful in many ways. It appears one of those ways Telander finds Cutler distasteful involves Cutler's mere existence on this planet. Actually I am exaggerating, it is hard to pinpoint exactly what Rick Telander doesn't like about Jay Cutler. Even Telander doesn't know. He just says Cutler is missing "something." This seems sort of vague to me and not the best premise to begin a column that is supposed to be (presumably) substantive. This column basically consists of Rick Telander saying the following:

1. Tom Brady and Eli Manning have "something."

2. Jay Cutler is missing "something."

3. One time an anonymous person in the Bears organization said something negative about Cutler.

4. Jay Cutler is focused too much on Hollywood and isn't nice to the media. This has nothing to do with him being successful, but we are absolutely sure even without any evidence this means his Bears teammates secretly hate him.

5. Sure, Tom Brady is successful and considered "too Hollywood" by some too, but he doesn't count and shouldn't be compared to Jay Cutler because...well, just because.

6. Jay Cutler sucks and will never win a Super Bowl.

Guess who’s in the Super Bowl?

The Giants and the Patriots!

Tom Brady and Eli Manning.

Any surprises there?

Yes, in fact. This is somewhat of a surprise because the Packers nearly went perfect this year and the 49ers were 13-3, yet both teams were defeated by the 9-7 Giants who had a -6 point differential on the season. The Giants struggled for part of the year and had to inch their way into winning the NFC East and the playoffs. So yes, the fact Eli Manning is in the Super Bowl is a bit of a surprise.

Hardly.

Not hardly.

The quarterbacks for the New England Patriots and New York Giants, respectively, will be making their seventh combined Super Bowl appearances (five for Brady, two for Manning), with four victories — and a fifth guaranteed — and three MVP awards between them.

Telander makes it sound like Manning/Brady have three NFL MVP's between them. They have three Super Bowl MVP's between them, not three NFL MVP's between them. You have to make the Super Bowl to win the MVP, so it is hard to knock a quarterback who hasn't made the Super Bowl for not winning the MVP in the Super Bowl.

Four years ago, they faced each other in Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Ariz. In that game, Manning threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to lead the Giants to a 17-14 victory and ruin the Patriots’ perfect season.

This season, the two were at the top of their game. Brady passed for 5,235 yards and 39 touchdowns with 12 interceptions; Manning threw for 4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns with 16 interceptions.

In the playoffs, Brady has a 105.8 passer rating; Manning is at 103.1.

This article is about Jay Cutler by the way. Not Eli Manning and not about Tom Brady, but about Jay Cutler. Then Rick Telander babbles on and on about how well Manning and Brady have played this year and over their career.

For the record, Jay Cutler has a 84.8 passer rating in the playoffs. I think we would agree he is a step below Manning and Brady. Of course, this article isn't about what Cutler can do, but is about what Cutler is missing. That "something" which can't be pinpointed nor sufficiently described by Rick Telander.

But it takes something special to be a Super Bowl quarterback — one with a good chance to win, that is — and besides skill, good luck and a lack of injuries, it has to do with that intangible that simply can be labeled ‘‘Leader.’’

AND JAY CUTLER ISN'T A LEADER BECAUSE HE DOESN'T TALK TO THE MEDIA NICELY AND ONE ANONYMOUS PERSON IN THE BEARS ORGANIZATION DOESN'T LIKE HIM. ALSO, TV STARS...HE DATES THEM!

Whoops...sorry, I think I got to Rick Telander's main point before he did.

There is no question the Bears’ Jay Cutler is the most talented quarterback any of us who is not a senior citizen has seen in this city.

I'm not going to argue over whether Jay Cutler is a leader or not. It is very irrelevant to me if he is really a leader or not, mostly because the only ones who know are in the Bears locker room. I find being seen as a leader often goes hand-in-hand with winning games. A quarterback who wins games has an easier time being a leader. I know the Bears were 7-3 with Cutler as the starting quarterback this year and 1-5 without him. So I know the Bears won games with him as the quarterback.

Fired general manager Jerry Angelo basically staked his career on that premise, and it’s possible his only major flaw was that he didn’t also snag a decent backup to lead the Bears when Cutler got hurt. Hindsight is terrific, isn’t it?

To be fair to Caleb Hanie showed signs he could be that decent backup when playing against the Packers in the 2010 NFC Championship Game in relief of an injured Cutler. Granted, we didn't see Hanie everyday in practice, but I know Hanie looked like he could handle being the backup at the time.

But what’s more troubling is that when compared to quarterbacks such as Brady and Manning — or Rodgers, Brees and maybe even Matthew Stafford, Ben Roethlisberger and others — Cutler seems to lack that extra ‘‘something.’’

Since every quarterback Rick Telander listed there, excluding Matthew Stafford, has a Super Bowl ring...I'm guessing that "something" is a Super Bowl ring. My biggest argument with Telander criticizing Cutler for not having "something" (other than his ability to be smart enough to know for sure what Cutler is missing "something" but not smart enough to know what that "something" is) would be that Ben Roethlisberger struggled as a leader for the Steelers early in his career. Roethlisberger is on Telander's list of players who have "something" that makes them special. Roethisberger didn't exactly have the Steelers locker room on his side when he started his career in Pittsburgh and a few events (the accusations of sexual assault, the motorcycle incident) haven't helped Roethlisberger get the entire Steelers locker room on his side in the past. What did help get them on his side was the Steelers continuing to win games. Roethlisberger has won games and that apparently gives him that "something" he lacks? Is that all it takes?

His lack of media skills and personality are well-known, and that’s fine. But does he have the locker room behind him?

Most quotes I have read about Cutler are complementary towards him. The Bears defensive leader, Brian Urlacher, seems to like Cutler as well, which has to go a long way in the locker room:

"It stinks for us, 'cause he’s having such a great year," Urlacher said. "He’s our leader. He’s a guy we turn to for pretty much everything. It stinks.
"People underestimate how big of a leader he is on this team. He’s everything people think he’s not. He’s a great teammate. He says all the right things at the right time. He gets on guys when he needs to. It’s going to be hard to replace that. They say he pouts. He doesn’t pout. He’s pissed off when things don’t go his way on the field. He gets more criticism than the rest of us. He practices hurt, practices all the time, never complains. The more I’m around him, the more I like him."

That was Urlacher after Cutler got hurt this year. It seems like Urlacher likes Cutler or at least likes him enough to say a lot of nice things about him. So I am guessing Cutler has the locker room and there is more evidence he does have the locker room's respect than evidence he doesn't.

It seems Cutler’s blank-faced nothingness must affect those around him. It certainly has affected certain professional people who have had contact with him and have wanted nothing more than a simple smile or ‘‘hello.’’

He's not personable. Nearly every quarterback acts different in front of the media as compared to how he acts in front of his teammates. This is why writers like Telander say Cutler is missing "something," and that is because they want him to say "hello" to them. They get their feelings hurt Cutler isn't the most personable guy in the world and just assume Cutler acts like this to his teammates as well. That's a big assumption in my book.

‘‘He’s a sh--,’’ says one member of the Bears’ extended staff, a man who wishes to remain anonymous. ‘‘You see him, and he doesn’t even acknowledge your presence.’’

An anonymous quote. People who have enough guts to knock someone publicly, but don't have the balls to do so with their name beside the quote are always the best sources of knowledgeable and accurate information.

If you don’t like unattributed quotes — and I’m not a fan of them myself in most situations —

But in this situation the unattributed quote proves Rick Telander's point of view, so that quote goes directly in the column as empirical evidence of what a little shit Jay Cutler truly is.

simply dismiss that last statement.

It's dismissed. What Cutler is really missing is a good offensive line and some good receivers. Why would we rely on actual football-related items to criticize Cutler though? His personal life and weakly tying his personal life into a perceived inability to be a leader is a better way to criticize Cutler. That on-the-field stuff is so boring to talk about since it doesn't entirely support Telander's point of view.

But Cutler’s disconnect is a trait that has to be dissected because it might be the one thing that will prevent the Bears from achieving the heights of success

See, I dismissed that quote. So there is no disconnect. Therefore any further discussion based on the unattributed quote is irrelevant to me. You can't throw out an unattributed statement, tell us to disregard if we choose to, and then write the rest of the column based on this unattributed statement you admit the reader may or may not find convincing. So there is no disconnect concerning Cutler in my mind.

Does it concern anyone that while sports media members are cranking up their inspection of Brady and Manning, what we get from Cutler is gossip-item stuff suited for People or Us Weekly?

No. Because you are picking and choosing which information you will reveal to the reader.

Here is Tom Brady's US Weekly page.

Here is what a search for Eli Manning on US Weekly's site revealed.

Tom Brady has been heavily featured in US Weekly and People magazine, yet Rick Telander seems to ignore this. US Weekly has a pretty far range when it comes to discussing stories and both Brady and Manning have been a part of the US Weekly crowd in some fashion.

To wit, Cutler and his back-again Hollywood girlfirend, Kristin Cavallari, ‘‘are pregnant,’’

Not sure the words "are pregnant" is supposed to be in quotes. That is unless Kristin Cavallari really isn't pregnant, in which case the jig will be up in just a few months unless she starts to eat a lot of food to gain weight, in which case the public will eventually be tipped off that she wasn't pregnant when she isn't walking around with a newborn child...unless Cavallari steals someone's else's baby and claims it as her own, which I am not entirely sure I would put past her.

There is no wedding news, of course, because that is the Hollywood way.

Jay Cutler is Hollywood. This makes him not a leader. Of course, Tom Brady has a child with a woman he never married, which is only really relevant because Rick Telander is using Tom Brady as the model for what a true leader quarterback looks like. So calling Cutler "Hollywood" and mildly criticizing him for not marrying the mother of his child (yet) doesn't preclude Cutler from being a leader or cause him to lack "something."

Cutler hates publicity, but he is with a woman who lives for it.


Apparently this makes Cutler a hypocrite in some way?

No sportswriter wants to get into anyone else’s love life,

It's the typical, "I don't normally do something like this" statement immediately followed by that person doing something like this. Cue Rick Telander getting into someone else's love life...

but if Cutler is so media-shy, why did he feel it necessary to tweet Monday: ‘‘For the record, I never broke up with Kristin.’’

To get on the record what happened? Does it matter? You say Cutler is media-shy, but that doesn't mean he can't ever converse in some way through the media. He picks and chooses when he talks to the media like every other athlete does.

See, they had a wedding planned for July, and Cutler dumped her — or not. Well, let’s let the Aug. 8, 2011, issue of Life & Style Weekly tell the tale: ‘‘Alone, heartbroken and no longer wearing her magnificent 5.2-carat Asscher-cut diamond engagement ring, Kristin leaned on her good friends Nicky Hilton and Alessandra Ambrosio. Instead of letting her curl up with a pint of ice cream on the couch at home .  .  . the girls convinced Kristin to join them for a night on the town at L.A.’s Beverly Lounge.’’

I know, who cares?

So because Jay Cutler had a broken engagement, he isn't a leader and is missing "something."

And didn’t Brady have a child out of wedlock with an actress named Bridget Moynahan before marrying a Brazilian supermodel?

Yes, he did.

And I feel creepily like a TMZ stringer just bringing that up.

And yet, he did bring it up anyway. Clearly, Rick Telander doesn't feel too much like a TMZ stringer for bringing this up.

But Brady is a freak. And he has matured.

Tom Brady had won his Super Bowls before he "matured" though. So he became a mature, Super Bowl winning quarterback before he made these TMZ mistakes. Also, the whole Brady has "matured" thing is really vague and seems just like a cheap attempt to differentiate between Brady and Cutler, while refusing to acknowledge the idea Cutler's personal life probably has little effect on his professional life.

The Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Romo went down that celeb path awhile back, and it seems he has wised up a bit, too — now that he has been aced out of the playoffs over and over.

So now that Romo has married a beauty pageant queen and the sister of a television star he should win at least four Super Bowls in his career...as soon as he leads the Cowboys back to the playoffs again of course. Let's not forget Cutler led the Bears to the NFC Championship Game last year, while Romo has never helped his team make the NFC Championship Game. I am guessing Rick Telander sees a connection between quarterbacks going away from the celeb path and winning Super Bowls and being a leader. This doesn't explain why Aaron Rodgers has had success in the NFL despite running a path through dating models, actresses, and singers. I'm not sure why he isn't being accused of living the Hollywood life by Rick Telander.

What's funny about Telander indicating Romo is more focused now that he is off the celeb path is I am sure some people could make a reasonable argument that Tony Romo is distracted from his duties as Cowboys quarterback by his love of golf. I don't agree with this argument, but I am sure a cogent argument could be made that he hasn't wised up in terms of focusing on football over golf.

For Cutler, let’s hope for a happy birth and eventual marriage. Or whatever it is that ‘‘Dancing With the Stars’’ stars do.

Cutler was never on "Dancing with the Stars." His girlfriend was. This doesn't mean Cutler is missing that extra "something" as a quarterback. It means nothing. What does mean something is Cutler got injured while the Bears were 7-3 and the Bears did terrible without him. Apparently there is "something" Cutler has which enables the Bears to win games with him as the quarterback.

Maybe they lead you to Super Bowls, you know?

Or not.

So let me get the point of this column straight...Jay Cutler is missing "something," while Rick Telander has no clue exactly what this "something" may be, he does know it means Cutler probably can't lead the Bears to the Super Bowl. While Telander doesn't know what this "something" actually is, he is fairly sure that something deals with Cutler being too "Hollywood" or has to do with his teammates not liking him. Of course there isn't really any proof Cutler is any more distracted compared to other successful quarterbacks, but proof is so overrated. Basically, Rick Telander just doesn't like Jay Cutler. That's what I gained from this.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

13 comments Rick Telander Thinks the NBA's Rim Height Should Change

Rick Telander thinks the NBA should raise the rims to a level where players have fewer opportunities and ability to dunk the basketball. Because Rick Telander hates Jay Mariotti and wasn't shy about saying it, he should have a lifetime pass on this blog. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a lifetime pass on this blog, so that poses a bit of a problem. Rick feels it is time to change this "arbitrary" rim height the NBA uses. I feel he should probably watch high school basketball if he doesn't like dunking.

It’s time to raise the basketball rims.

I can say a lot of things about Rick Telander, but he does not bury the lead. He gets right to the point of what he is writing about.

Ten feet, 6 inches would be a reasonable height,

Reasonable being defined as "completely arbitrary." Remember this, because my "arbitrary" comment will make more sense here in a minute. I think ten feet is a reasonable height simply because it has worked for many decades now and there isn't a compelling reason to change it. If the point is to prevent players from dunking the basketball, I don't know if six inches will do the trick or not.

a half foot above the current rim, although I’d let you make an argument for 10-4 or even 10-8.

So four inches would make a difference in the height of the rim in order to fix the fictional problem of too many players being able to dunk the basketball? Or is it 8 inches that will fix this fictional problem? Maybe when criticizing the current rim height for being "arbitrary" and saying it should be raised it is better to not think of arbitrary rim heights as part of the solution to the problem.

Why?

Or as I said when I read this column, "Why?????????????????"

Because the current 10-foot rim, which has been at that arbitrary height ever since James Naismith nailed a peach basket

Here are some other arbitrary measurements used in sports that don't need to be changed and have worked out well. Yet they could be changed, but not necessarily for the better:

-100 yards on an NFL football field. We don't use the metric system in America. Plus, there are too many touchdowns in football. Let's move the field to 350 feet.

-60 feet 6 inches to the pitcher's mound. Pitchers and hitters are stronger now. Surely this creates a problem of some sort.

-The distance of the fences in a team's home park. They are all different! How is that fair?

-How big the baseball/football/soccer ball/basketball is. We have college baseball players playing with aluminum bats and MLB players playing with wooden bats. It's just straight madness.

-Nearly every measurement in every sport (3pt line, free throw line, 10 yards to a first down) is from an arbitrary distance of some sort.

My point is that most rules or measurements outlining the field of play are arbitrary in sports. That doesn't mean they can't change or shouldn't change, but calling the ten foot basket "arbitrary" is a bit deceiving.

Well, the rim hasn’t moved, but the forest around it has.

"These here players are being groomed and bred to learn to dunk that there basketball. It ain't right and it ruins the game!"

And that forest has become more specialized than ever.

He's talking to you China. Stop producing test-tube babies for the sole purpose of dunking on American-born players in the NBA.

That is, the rim’s accessibility to all the freakishly tall men and jumping phenoms has made it into something not even close to what Naismith had in mind.

So James Naismith had in mind the idea of short, white guys with little athletic ability shooting the ball? He should be proud of the WNBA. Maybe this should be incorporated into the WNBA's motto.

"The WNBA: Basketball as Dr. James Naismith intended"

It is not a bad thing that freakish athletes have turned the game of basketball into a more athletic sporting event. The fact this happened is pretty much the reason why the NBA took off in popularity a few decades ago. It became more exciting to watch. So Naismith's vision probably sucked if he didn't like or want this type of thing to happen.

We don’t need to honor that inventive man by adhering to all his wishes — ol’ Doc didn’t think about backboards, goaltending or even dribbling at the start —

So we should adhere to what James Naismith wanted, unless we don't want to do that, in which case it is fine to switch up the game for the benefit of the game? Great, more exciting basketball is basketball where there is dunking, so the rims should stay at a level where NBA athletes can dunk, but it isn't overly simple. This level is achieved by keeping the rim at ten feet. I'm glad we solved this.

The rim was supposed to be something that was essentially out of reach, at which players shot the ball, not jammed it through from above.

Things change. There wasn't supposed to be dribbling, backboards, or even an entire league dedicated to the sport that would make millions upon millions of dollars in revenue. Simply because Dr. James Naismith didn't envision it, doesn't mean it shouldn't be a part of modern basketball. Rick Telander admitted this as much the sentence above this one when talking about the changes made to Naismith's game.

Indeed, a 10-6 rim would no more stop jams than lowering the pitcher’s mound in baseball stopped no-hitters.

So the rim height should be lowered because it wouldn't make a difference? So why not just leave the rim height where it currently is at. Dunks are good for the NBA.

It would just make such displays a little more, shall we say . . . special?

A dunk is still special. The fact more players can dunk now than could in the early 1900's doesn't mean the setup in the early 1900's was a better setup. Dunks never get old.

For evidence of game evolution, check out the action photo of Kevin Durant in last week’s Sports Illustrated. The Thunder forward’s head is about at rim level, he is perhaps three feet from the basket, he is being fouled by an opponent who is way below him, his right arm is fully extended, and his right hand is about to cram the ball through the rim from at least 18 inches above it.

I guess this one picture is the only evidence needed to lower the rim height. Kevin Durant is 6 foot 11 inches (I am convinced he is an inch taller than that), his wingspan is very long as well, and he is one of the best basketball players in the NBA. So he is a guy who wouldn't have a hard time dunking because he is so tall and has such a large wingspan. There aren't a hell of a lot of guys with his build currently playing in the NBA.

This evidence would be much more compelling to me if Jason Terry or a small forward who wasn't as tall was high above the rim and easily dunking the ball. As it stands, I would expect a young, long, tall player like Durant to do this. Can Russell Westbrook or James Harden do the same thing? Probably not, so it isn't like Durant is just one of many on his team who can sky above the rim.

There are now street-ball games where the guys have raised the rims to as high as 12 feet, just to make dunking more interesting.

As I always say, if it is happening in street-ball then the NBA should immediately copy it.

The street-ball guys have raised the rims to 12 feet to make dunking more interesting, not necessarily to improve the actual game of basketball being played, which when I last checked was the sport being played. So while street-ball games have moved the rims up, I don't know if this would translate to a better game when it comes to organized basketball. There is a lot shit that goes on in street-ball which wouldn't translate well to the NBA, like the fact players don't get called for a "carry" or "palm" of the ball, sometimes they just hold the ball in their hand and run to the basket in street-ball.

But even if every player on the floor during NBA games can dunk with ease, which is often the case

This is not true. Most players on the floor can probably dunk a basketball, but that doesn't mean it is does with ease. Most NBA players are tall and athletic, so it shouldn't be shocking many of them can dunk a basketball, but that doesn't mean they do it with ease.

(except when J.J. Barrea is out there), there is still such clutter above the rim that close-in shots become almost impossible.

I have never experienced this problem. Perhaps this is a column written by a bitter Chicago sportswriter that the high-flying Heat beat the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals? I'm just guessing really.

There was a failed movement back in the late 1960s to raise the rim, largely because basketball seers could not fathom the future of the game with giants such as Lew Alcindor coming along.

And yet, the giants that came along while the NBA rim was at a height of ten feet didn't do anything to negatively impact the NBA game and the sport actually became more popular as the players got taller and more athletic. So the fear the basketball seers had in the giants ruining the game never did come to fruition. If anything, these players made the game of basketball more exciting and fun to follow.

‘‘In the early 1930s,’’ the legendary Kansas coach Phog Allen said years ago, ‘‘I foresaw that the influx into the game of more and more big men would ultimately make a travesty of basketball.

So it's been nearly 80 years and this hasn't come true yet. But it sure sounds really super-duper scary doesn't it?

Actually, I had a 7-footer in 1927. I was convinced that eventually 12-foot baskets would be necessary.’’

Again, it has been nearly 80 years and this hasn't quite come true yet. I'm not saying it wouldn't come true at some point, but the current game of basketball doesn't suffer from too many dunks in my opinion.

But in periodic exhibition games played with 12-foot baskets, smaller men have shot almost as well as they did on 10-foot baskets, and big guys couldn’t block everything that came their way.

Normally I would ask for some type of reference to see this is true or some sort of proof, any kind of proof, but I know I won't get any. So the comment "smaller men have shot almost as well as they did on 10-foot baskets" means nothing to me. There is no proof given this comment has any credibility and considering Telander is arguing for the rims to be raised, he has incentive to exaggerate a bit on this claim.

Said former University of Tennessee center and longtime Bulls center Tom Boerwinkle after playing a preseason college game in 1967 on 12-foot baskets: ‘‘Usually I block six or eight shots a game, but I didn’t have a chance tonight because of the higher arc.’’

I can't help but laugh at this. Tom "The Liar" Boerwinkle says he blocked 6 or 8 shots per game in college preseason games. I guess we will have to trust him on this because the NCAA didn't start counting blocks as a statistic until the 1985-1986 season. So we'll have to take his word for it.

We could also use his NBA career statistics to see how good of a shot blocker Boerwinkle was in order to see if his claim from college could be true. He had 138 total career blocks in 10 NBA seasons. He blocked 0.5 shots per game. It seems possibly he could have blocked a ton of shots in college, but that skill didn't translate to the NBA. Of course, this is a guy who played on a ten foot rim in the NBA and didn't seem able to just block shots at will, so his saying he didn't have a chance on the larger baskets doesn't mean much to me.

This helps me prove a ten-foot rim in the NBA should not be changed because a player who was dominant at blocking shots in college wasn't as dominant in the NBA. In the NBA, the players are so athletic, being tall doesn't mean you are automatically a great shot blocker or rebounder. The 10-foot rim was an issue against lesser competition, but it evened out when the competition's ability got better.

Another of the reasons it does not mean much to me is that Boerwinkle was one of the giants that Phog Allen was so worried about hurting the game. It seems like while playing on a ten foot rim in the NBA, Boerwinkle didn't have an easy time of blocking shots, his being a "giant" didn't have a negative effect on the game of basketball. An NBA game is different from playing a college preseason game and the fact Boerwinkle supposedly blocked 6-8 shots per game in college and then couldn't even muster 1 block per game during any season in his NBA career shows this. For me, Boerwinkle's statement is more reason why the NBA should not raise the rims, specifically based on supposed events that happened playing against lesser competition.

I started to think seriously about rim-raising after 6-3 Bulls guard Derrick Rose repeatedly was unable to shoot close to the basket against the Miami Heat because there simply was not enough glass above the rim to angle in a shot above supreme athletes such as Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

So because Derrick Rose couldn't get to the rim the entire game of basketball should be adjusted so that he can get to the basket easier? I hate to break it to Rick Telander, but raising the rims by any amount isn't going to cause LeBron James or Dwayne Wade to be less athletic, nor will it help Rose get to the basket when being guarded by an equally athletic, taller player like James.

I have to say, I love his reasoning the rules should be changed because Derrick Rose couldn't get to the basket. Clearly, this means the NBA should change their rules around to accommodate Rose.

It came to a head when I saw the Dallas Mavericks’ 6-2 Jason Terry dunk on the massive, 6-8 James in the first game of the NBA Finals. The ball went through, but Terry was nearly killed by the arrogant collision with James.

So two examples, both examples involving LeBron James...maybe we should just outlaw LeBron James from playing defense or accept he is a good defender and a hell of an athlete rather than change the NBA game around. Or would that be too easy?

So earlier in the column Rick Telander complained it is too easy for players to dunk in the NBA, but now he is complaining Jason Terry didn't have an easy time dunking the ball because LeBron James was in his way. So dunking is too easy in the NBA and that's why the rims should be raised, except when dunking isn't too easy and that's why the rims should be raised?

When 5-9 Nate Robinson can make monstrous slams,

Did no one care when Spud Webb could dunk? How come the giants and the athleticism of Webb wasn't ruining the game? Probably because Telander's team, the Chicago Bulls, had their own high-flying player (Michael Jordan) who could make monstrous slams. Clearly, the NBA had no need to raise the rims at that point, that's just silly to think.

and 6-10 Blake Griffin can jump over automobiles and lions, raising the rim to 10-6 would help all.

Blake Griffin could still dunk at that level. Not sure it would do much but arbitrarily change the height of the rim.

I fear the power-leaping Griffin might someday destroy himself by hitting his head on the backboard, which hangs down far below the rim.

This is a fear we all don't share.

If the height is not changed, some incredible athlete is going to be able to block 15-foot jumpers, before their descent, from five feet away.

I'm not so great at physics, but I am pretty sure this is impossible unless the player shooting the ball throws the ball directly parallel to the height he jumped and doesn't put any arc on the ball for a player to block the shot from 5 feet away. So while it is really interesting to think of this happening, I am not sure this would happen more than once. I would imagine a shooter has to shoot the ball at least 12-13 feet in the air or so to make a basket so the person jumping would have to time it right and get his hand in the air about 12-13 feet from 5 feet away from the player. This type of thing doesn't feel likely to become a problem.

All sports tinker with their rules and dimensions. Heck, football once didn’t have the forward pass.

The changes need to make sense. This doesn't.

Raising the rim will help stop the football-like wrestling underneath and the clubbing that goes on when men drive.

Rick Telander does realize even if the rim is raised there will be still be wrestling underneath the basket because there will still be rebounds, right? If anything, I think the wrestling would get worse because players no longer had to worry about jumping high enough to affect the rebound coming off the rim. Players could jump up with impunity and not have to worry about colliding with the rim either.

I don't think the clubbing when players drive would stop either. Players could still make a layup and would jump high in the air to get the ball in the basket, so the defensive player would still have a chance to club him.

Though...imagine a guy trying a put-back dunk on a 12-foot basket and missing the basket completely. Being able to see a video of this would make it almost worth it to have a taller rim.

It will bring back more skilled shooting.

This is pure speculation. A taller goal may bring back more skilled shooting or it may just bring more outside shooting. Seriously, the NBA doesn't need to turn into the WNBA where only a few select players are capable of highlight-making dunks or plays around the rim. The NBA has a few problems, but I don't see the height of the rim as one of them. Not to sound derogatory, but I think if you want a picture of what the NBA would be like with a 11 or 12-foot rim, then take a look at the WNBA and then decide if you like what you see.

Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke, you say?

I say better to adjust it before it blows up.

Which, as detailed well by Rick Telander here, people like Phog Allen have been predicting the game would blow up for 80 years now. It hasn't happened, even with taller and more athletic players playing in the NBA. So the fears of the NBA being "blown up" isn't any closer to realization than it was 30 years ago, no matter what Rick Telander wants you to think.

And if you want to talk about a four-point shot, I’m ready.

Because the one thing that can help more skilled shooting is to offer a 35-foot four-point shot. Josh Smith's outside field goal percentage would dip to around 25% if this happened.