Friday, February 8, 2008

The ManRam Is Ready To Roll In 2008 With The Help Of Uncle Rico

Look out for the ManRam this year. Apparently he actually gives a shit about baseball.

So there are rumors abound that the ManRam is taking baseball seriously this year for the first time in his life. He apparently hasn't lifted a bat, but he's been working out like a fiend at API (with the likes of Youkilis and Pedroia) and is apparently in top notch shape. And he's doing it in his typically ManRam sort of way:
It's 8 a.m., and Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramírez is already sweaty. He looks ripped and ready to defend the world championship.

He shouts "Ohio Gozaimasu" - Japanese for "good morning" - above the rock music blaring in the Athletes' Performance weight room. He runs sprints and agility drills on the Arizona State football field and signals touchdowns. He fetches bottles of water for his workout mates, Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis and Minnesota Twins third baseman Nick Punto. He then does a lefty weight resistance exercise and announces he's going to bat lefthanded this year. He's only kidding.

When Youkilis is temporarily challenged by a 100-pound dumbbell, Ramírez stands over him and starts a "Youk" chant that would make a Fenway bleacherite proud. The football players training for the upcoming NFL Combine think he's crazy.

"Manny being Manny, I know what that means now," says Punto. "He's an intense workout partner. I think people perceive him the wrong way sometimes because this guy really loves the game. He loves everything that goes along with it. He's working out hard and he's going to be ready to play this season, for sure."

Things are good in Manny World. Since declaring himself a "bad man" at the World Series, Ramírez, 34, has announced his plans to report to spring training on time and to play for several more years. Ramírez allowed the Globe to follow his 2-hour-15-minute workout routine but politely declined to be interviewed.

"Take care of yourself," is his advice.
That's right ManRam. Take care of yourself or else you'll end up like Uncle Rico.

This is the honest to goodness caption under this photo in the Herald: "Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez puts in an offseason workout yesterday with the help of his Uncle Rico at Athletes’ Performance in Tempe, Ariz."

No no, not like this, like the real Uncle Rico:

Just Because You Don't Like The Result Doesn't Mean The Mitchell Report Wasn't Necessary

The Mitchell Report's been out for about 2 months and NOW people are saying they don't know why the MLB had it done. Allow me to explain, idiots.

Nobody possibly could have imagined that the fallout from the Mitchell Report would look quite like this. I mean, taped phone calls, Congressional autograph hounds, soiled gauze pads, crushed Miller Lite cans and now allegations of a wife doing HGH in an effort to look good for her photoshoot. This is a lunacy too far out there for a even the most sordid Hollywood script. And it is because of this wackiness that some members of the media have taken to only now suggest that maybe this whole thing wasn't such a sweet idea. Because the Report has devolved into a "He said, She-male said" and because the most public result is the airing of the dirty laundry of perhaps the most successful pitcher of all-time, the pundits are convinced that we'd be better off never having looked under the lumpy rug. The only problem is that these same folks want the same result. They want better testing and harsher penalties for those who test positive. Well, I'm here to tell you that the achieved effect could not have been achieved without the recently condemned cause. Allow me to splain...

I'll start by explaining that the reason for this entire post stem from Peter Gammons on Mike & Mike this morning and a rant from Michael Kay this afternoon. Both gents suggest that baseball would have been better off without the Mitchell Report. That baseball was moving in the right direction and the only result of the report was to ruin the reputation of a small percentage of players while the majority of offenders arbitrarily get away scott free. While I agree that those singled out aren't the only ones who did something wrong and are only punished because their dealers got caught, this isn't a novel scenario in American jurisprudence. Do you think every tax cheat gets caught? Are random audits the best way to single out those offenders? I guarantee that you've been pulled over for speeding and could rightly argue that you were going 15mph slower than the lime green Civic that just flew by you 10 minutes ago. But that guy goes free while you get caught. What's fair about that? The stakes may be higher and the task given to Mitchell more broad than a State Trooper in a speed trap, but spare me the fairness bullshit.

But getting back on point, the reason the Mitchell Report was spawned was to quell pressure from Congress. Congress wanted more stringent testing and harsher penalties and prior to the Mitchell Report, baseball had the weakest PED policy in all of sports. Because the Players' Association had given in and put a weak testing policy into the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement, the MLBPA had no reason to give in again and being one of the strongest unions in the U.S., there was little chance they would. One of their strongest arguments against more stringent testing was that there wasn't a huge problem. They had done there own testing and wouldn't release the data but were convinced that the results proved that further testing was unnecessary. Prior to the commission of the Report, there just wasn't enough evidence to prove that a stronger policy was necessary and Congress was breathing down Selig's neck. In order for the MLB to get a better testing policy and tougher penalties, they needed to prove there was a problem. So Selig commissioned the Mitchell Report. An independent commission to get to the bottom of the real steroid problem. That seems like a reasonable response.

So if we can accept that it was necessary to prove that there was a bigger steroid problem in order to get the MLBPA's head out of their collective ass and get a better testing program in the CBA, then you could make the leap that it may have been necessary to create some kind of independent review the situation to see if there was a problem. And if that is the case, it was probably necessary to find specific examples of past drug use in order to make the case. And this is where things get hairy. If Mitchell gets some guys to either admit to doing drugs or finds some prick who will turn on guys he has seen doing drugs, that's all the evidence they need in order to convince the MLBPA that they need better testing on their own or else Congress will force better testing upon them. So then the question becomes, why do they need to release the names? If all Selig needed was percentages or a number of players currently playing who at one time or another were doing PEDs, why the names? Here's why: What if he hadn't released the names?

Imagine The Mitchell Report comes out and it says "We have 80+ confirmed steroid abusers and 50+ of those are still playing." And then they used that information to get the MLBPA to bend over. Do you think there would not be a public outcry for those names? Wouldn't it look as though the MLB was covering something up? And can you even imagine what the outrage would look like if Clemens' name was leaked after the MLB refused to list the names in the report? That would make this current situation look like a frickin petting zoo (I have no idea why I chose that analogy). This was the only way this could have gone down. So to suggest that because we now have one PED freak with his panties in a bunch and because he has a top attorney for a mouthpiece that we should now second guess the reasoning behind the whole thing is ridiculous. In order to get the better policy and penalty, this needed to happen.

In conclusion, let's summarize:

Congress wanted a better testing policy.
MLBPA wouldn't budge without more evidence.
Selig wanted more evidence to get Congress off his back.
Independent report would be reliable evidence.
Independent report would obviously turn up players' names.
If those names remain silent, public freaks and calls cover up.
If those names are leaked, the cover up charges gain credence, especially if Clemens' name comes out.
In order for the integrity of the process to be upheld, the names had to be released.

But here's the kicker, in the end, the Mitchell Report worked. There's a better testing policy; Clemens' name made the situation hit home and the penalties have increased. Not to mention that the gravity of the HGH problem has been realized. A blood test is in the works and this never would have happened without the Report. So what the fuck are these assholes complaining about. Just because Chuck Knoblauch lost his innocence, I'm supposed to feel bad that Joey Meathead has to take a fucking hair sample every 3 months? The ends justify the means, I don't care how many wives of lying sacks of shit have to go down because of it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I'm Not Bitter About The Giants Win As Much As The Praise Of Eli

If Asante makes this play instead of exchanging his hands for buttcheeks, Eli is the goat and the Giants are selecting a QB in the first two rounds.

I need to start saying that I'm really not making excuses here for the Pats. Simmons really summed up well the feelings I have about the Pats in that they didn't really show that much excitement or grit and were overconfident coming into the game. I'm not sure how it translated onto TV, but it was clear that the Giants came out on every play like they were shot out of a cannon while the Pats looked like they were just biding their time (and it almost worked!). The Pats performance was so lackluster and unimaginative that I felt like we were watching the Kansas City Chiefs or Penn State Football. But that didn't lose them the game. The Pats lost because the Giants front four ATE THEM FOR F'N BREAKFAST! Strahan, Osi and Tuck DOMINATED that game and every facet of it. It was one of the most inspired defensive performances I've ever seen. And really that should have been the story. But nope, rather than focus on the real story, the pages of the Newspapers and the morning talk shows and the radio were all praising Eli Manning. He of the three dropped interceptions (the one interception Hobbs actually caught was not Eli's fault unless you fault him for throwing one of his signature horrible balls), 56% completion percentage and extremely shaky first 3 quarters (though he wasn't horrible on the first drive, he blew it in the red zone). And that's what bothers me. It's fucking disgraceful.

As I've made abundantly clear on several occasions, I do not think much of Eli Manning (least subtly, I wrote a piece entitled "Is Eli The Worst QB In The NFL? A good read if you've got a minute...). Because I live in New York and I have no DirecTv access, I am forced to watch his third rate Quarterbacking every fucking Sundee from August to December. The only game I've ever seen him play better than mediocre is the Pats regular season game. Every other time he's been horrible. I know that is not necessarily accurate, but I'm not even going to come close to suggesting that I'm not biased here. I REALLY hate the guy and view his performance through shit colored glasses. So please keep that in mind as I digress here (and it WILL be a digression...).

My main premise here is that credit should be given where credit is due. Does Eli deserve some credit for the win? Of course he does. Tyree's catch never would have happened without his remarkable escape. He drove down the entire field in the final two minutes needing a touchdown and he got it... IN THE F'N SUPER BOWL! That's impressive. It's just not the story of why the Giants won the game. The story was the D-line. And they were even less talked about in the newspapers and radio shows than Belichick's walk off the field (the unwarranted outrage over that move deserves an entire separate post). The Giants sacked Brady 5 times and hit him 23 times! He had only been sacked 21 times all season! The Giants' D held the Pats to fewer points than they score in most quarters! Oh but no. We need to stroke Eli Manning for Rodney Harrison missing a tackle on Boss, David Tyree being a freak and Ellis Hobbs blowing out his groin and leaving Plax all by his lonesome. Instead we hear about how amazing Eli is and are forced to listen to people compare him to Joe Montana (if you type in "Eli Manning" and "Joe Montana" into Google News, there are 415 articles. I know there aren't that many final drives in NFL history so you can't compare it to much and some of those stories in this search are angry folks like myself calling bullshit on the NY media's overhyping, but come the fuck on.... Eli is as close to Joe Montana as Joran Van der Sloot is to Mother Teresa. I don't care how amazing you thought that drive was.). I can't fucking take it.

I know I'm probably doing a horrible job of being objective and my arguments (if you can even call them that) are not all that strong, but I think I can best bring this home by putting it this way: Eli had that game lost a second before Tyree gave them another shot. Asante Samuel makes that play ALL THE FUCKING TIME... and Eli threw it right to him! It was a horrendous play and was the biggest play of the game. And if Asante makes that play, Eli is the goat of all goats. The Giants' defense would be praised to the high hills for controlling the game and Eli could never show his face in this town again. They may have to trade him. And what makes me so mad about that is not that it cost the Pats the game (even though it did) but that with the game on the line and his team having given him a shot by playing so well for 58 minutes, Eli blew the game and the Giants' season. No one gave them a shot to be in this position and his teammates willed them to this spot with one of the greatest defensive performances in Super Bowl history. And how did Eli respond? He threw the ball directly to a Pro Bowl Cornerback on the other team. And by pure luck, he got another chance and his team made the most out of it (or I should say Eli threw up an answered prayer and then lobbed a pass to a 6'5" receiver after his defender injured himself). Yet for some reason, Eli is being handed ALL the credit for this game (with some going to Tyree, deservedly so). It doesn't make sense to me.

Look, I recognize QBs get more credit than most players no matter what happens and Eli did make the pass to Tyree and the pass to a wide open Plax, but he also blew the game. Meanwhile all the Giants' front four did was dominate the best offense in league history and make one of the best QBs in league history look more flustered than Mario Lopez getting denied access to the Stone Rose at the Maxim party (I'll get into that). Yeah, I'm biased, but even a more levelheaded observer would have to admit that in terms of achievement, the Giants' defense's effort was light years more impressive than Eli's. And if you can't see that, you're as stupid as Eli is bad at football.

Now I Understand Why People Hate Phil

Being that I was away this weekend and not privy to much of the media conversation about much of anything (though I did hear that Arlen Specter's panties were bunched up for a couple of days), so I'm not sure if this story got much play but I thought it was pretty solid.

I'll break down my trip to Phoenix in more detail later this week but one of my stops on Saturday was at the FBR Open in Scottsdale. It was out of control. But the coolest part as a spectator was watching Phil move around the course. Unlike other events where he shares the stage with Tiger, at the FBR, he is the event. And they F'n LOVE him out there. There were 175,000 people at TPC at Scottsdale on Saturday and about 150,000 were on 16 when Phil came through and the hole is only like 160 yards. It was louder than the Super Bowl.... but I'll tell that story later.

Anyhoo, as I've mentioned before, I'm a Phil guy and love Mickelson. I've never understood why love Tiger no matter what he does but hate Phil. And unfortunately most of the press about Phil is so negative (not through his own doing) that I can't find stuff to back up my opinion. Which is why I was really pleased to read this story.

I guess prior to reaching the the 16th on Sunday, Phil ran into a kid wearing Calloway gear and the kid asked for Phil's autograph. Phil, being Phil, obliged and then went a little bit further:

It started early Sunday morning when Fockler (Drew) and his father, John, left early from Flagstaff and got to the practice green early to see if they could get Mickelson's autograph. They waited through several golfers before their favorite showed up, and they approached him near the putting green.

"He told us that he doesn't sign before his rounds and that he'd catch us afterwards," John said. "We figured we tried, and we'd watch him the rest of the way."

By the time they got to the third tee, they found a good spot up front, and Mickelson's caddie, Jim "Bones" MacKay, approached them and said he needed to talk to them after Mickelson's threesome teed off.

"I thought maybe I was going to get a signed ball or something," said Drew, who plays on the Desert Junior Golf Tour. "I couldn't believe it."

That's when MacKay asked him if he liked football as he unzipped one of the pockets on Mickelson's golf bag.

Before he knew it, Drew was handed a set of tickets in an envelope and was on his way to Glendale.

"I thought it would be fun to give it to a father-son (group)," said Mickelson, who added it didn't hurt that Drew was wearing a Callaway hat. "I cherish the time I have with each one of my kids, and I thought it would be a cool experience for them."
What a prick, eh? I'm sure there's some Phil hater out there who is convinced that Tiger would have flown the kid to the game on his private helicopter or some such shit or complain that Phil's seats were probably nosebleeds. Phil haters.... I just don't get it.