With all the talk out there regarding the BCS vs. a playoff system, one of the things nobody takes into account is the conference system. It’s the conferences that keep the bowl system alive, which means any serious change will mean a change to the current conference configurations. Naturally, I have solved this problem, in a way that only a serious chemical imbalance I can.
The Shark Eating the Gorilla Conference
The apex predator from which other apex predators get apex predator envy. I’m not naïve enough to believe you can right all the wrongs, level the playing field, or (insert whatever other bullshit loser cliché tickles your fancy here). So, there’s going to have to be one uber-conference, one comprised of those colossal athletic departments. You know, the ones where the even the most mundane transactions involve old men and bags of cash flying about, and where conversations about real money can go like this.
Member Schools: Texas, Ohio State, Michigan, Oklahoma, Penn State, Florida State, Florida, Wisconsin, Georgia, Alabama
The God Conference
If God is on their side, then all of the football teams in this conference must smite their enemies with Euell Gibbons-type regularity, right? See, the reason why nobody in this conference is ever any good is Yeshiva has no football team, and Christians are just no good without some Jews on whom to blame everything.
Member Schools: BYU, SMU, TCU, Baylor, Rice, Wake Forest, Boston College, and Notre Dame
The Non-God Acronym Conference
From the previous conference, you would think only the Charlie-Church types can get their letters on. Well, fuggiddaboudit, because not only does this conference have more letters than the post office has ammo, it also has three places known for non-Church type fun: L.A., Louisiana, and Vegas, baby, Vegas.
Member Schools: USC, UCLA, UNLV, UTEP, UAB, LSU, Texas A&M, UL-Lafayette, UL-Monroe, and possibly UL Washington.
The Rosie Ruiz Conference
The usual readers of these rants are not unfamiliar to the obscure reference, and this is one of my favorites. The ultimate poser, Ruiz was busted for faking winning the Boston Marathon in 1980. The teams in this conference are all fakers in their own right, but in two distinct sub-types.
The first type of fakery involves a rose by any other name still being a state school awash in cheap beer and baseball caps. This is done by slapping a good-sounding name on your institution, and voilá, instant fake prestige. Just ask Alabama State Cow College and Tires Plus outlet Auburn. The second involves more traditional on-the-field deception by teams that always seem much better than they really are.
Faux Effete Division
Auburn, Clemson (South Carolina A&M), Rutgers (New Jersey State), and Purdue (West Lafayette Vo-Tech).
Faux Football Division
Oregon, Virginia Tech, Missouri, Texas Tech, Utah, Hawaii
The GPA Conference
Sure, the football isn’t going to be that exciting, but let’s be honest; that calculus ain’t gonna do itself. This is the one conference in which ALL members will still be able to field a full team when the NCAA becomes even more ridiculous with its “student-athlete” pretense.
Member Schools: Stanford, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Army, Navy, Air Force
The “State” Conference
It would seem this one is pretty obvious…all your “State” teams from a BCS conference coupled with teams from “States” that are not states. But since some in this country seem to have trouble with the whole “state” concept, here it is in the oh-so-popular Red/Blue format.
States That Are Actually States Division
Michigan State, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Mississippi State, Arizona State, Oregon State, Washington State
States That Are Not Actually States Division
Fresno State, San Jose State, San Diego State, Boise State, Kent State, and Ball State
Imagine holding the schedule for this conference in your very hands. Imagine the kind of fans you’re going to see at that Oklahoma State-Arizona State tilt in Stillwater. You can already smell the Milwaukee’s Best, can’t you?
The Directional Conference
Another obvious rationale, but bonus points to Florida, Michigan, and Tennessee for being blissfully unaware that “Central” and “Middle” are not directions. It’s no accident the first two can’t even figure out the intricacies of a single-party election, and while Tennessee can certainly speak for itself, it’s much funnier to let a barely-articulate Bammer do it.
Member Schools: Southern Mississippi, East Carolina, North Texas, West Virginia*, South Carolina*, Central Florida, South Florida, Northern Illinois, Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Western Kentucky, and Middle Tennessee State.
* – Yeah, I know South Carolina and West Virginia are states, and technically don’t fit the motif, but they aren’t much as far as states go, and frankly, we already have enough Virginia and Carolina for everybody.
The “Who? Where?” Conference
All college football fans wait for that early-spring moment when the schedules are published. Under the existing conference system, all eyes would first look to the conference schedule; all a-twitter with questions such as “Is this the year we don’t have to play Ohio State?”
Then the eyes scan up to the non-conference schedule, and this league is aptly named for the utterance that passes your lips when you see one of these teams on your schedule. And since I can’t really help you with those two questions, the least I can do is tell you when.
Sucks Now Division (Eastern and Central Time Zones)
Sucks Two or More Hours From Now Division (Mountain and Pacific Time Zones)
Utah State, New Mexico State, Colorado State, Nevada, Wyoming
Actually, the real entertainment you might get from one of these teams is to wait for the day one of them makes it to a decent bowl game, and then follow them to the bank when they deposit the check. I suspect it might look something like this.
The Tanya Tucker Conference
Now, you’ve got to be asking yourself “Why the Tanya Tucker Conference?” It’s quite simple, actually. Each one of these teams wears Delta Dawn’s “faded rose of days gone by.” Whether it’s Red Grange, a bowl game over 40 years ago, or the precipitous drop to mediocrity from somewhat recent prestige, each one of these teams is clinging to something that is already over.
Member Schools: Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Mississippi, Arkansas, Nebraska, Tennessee, Georgia Tech, California, and Washington
The City Conference
You’ve all seen it…that urban psuedo-bravado that makes lesser men want to check their balls. It can only describe a conference deserving so much respeck that it doesn’t need any of you cracker-ass “State” mofos…
But there’s a code in the City Conference; it has three simple tenets:
1) Bros before hos
2) Never dime out anybody
3) Don’t win
But we do want people to pay attention to this conference; that’s why one of them has South Beach.
Member Schools: Houston, Tulsa, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Toledo, Akron, Memphis, Syracuse, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Bowling Green, and both Miamis.
The Make No Mistake, You Are Here for Basketball Conference
Somebody just pointed out to me that there is another college sport people will pay money to see. And since it isn’t practical to make football season eight months long, this concept will need a home for those places that historically have drawn more dough from the hard court.
Member Schools: Indiana, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Kentucky, Arizona, Duke, Maryland, Kansas, Connecticut
As you know, Dubsism is now the home of the Jamie Moyer for the Hall of Fame Campaign. As such, we will be running the Jamie Moyer Update so we can all track the left-handers trek to Cooperstown.
Moyer went six innings against San Francisco last night, giving up 10 hits and four earned runs. He was the losing pitcher, but he did collect two strikeouts, putting the Moyer-o-meter at:
Moyer’s Next Scheduled Start: Monday, May 3rd vs. St.Louis
10) Michael Jordan Was the Greatest Athlete of the 20th Century
You can thank ESPN for this exercise in the power of the present. Back at the turn of the century, the World Wide Leader published its list of the greatest athletes of the 20th century and placed Jordan at the top of that list.
One can make a credible argument that the next four athletes on the list had a greater impact on their sports than did Jordan; singularly Babe Ruth is largely responsible for the popularity of professional sports in this country, not just baseball. After all, “the House that Ruth Built” was also the inspiration for the founding of other sports leagues largely because entrepreneurs saw that people will fill a stadium to see a star player in action.
9) A Player Can’t Be Considered Truly Great Until They’ve Won a Championship
This attitude runs most prevalent in the NBA, but fans of the NFL are hopping onto this idiocy as well. First of all, there is the issue that individual greatness can’t really be measured in terms of a team accomplishment. Then there’s the inverse of this argument (brace yourself, you may want to wrap duct tape around your head to keep your skull from exploding when you read this...) By following this logic, Stacy King would be one of the great players in the last 20 years based on his three NBA championships as a member of the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls. To see really how ludicrous this is, look at the following list of notable players to have never won a title in their respective sports; you tell me which ones weren’t great.
NBA: Elgin Baylor, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, John Stockton, Patrick Ewing, Pete Maravich, Reggie Miller, Dominique Wilkins, George Gervin, Bernard King
NFL: Dan Marino, Barry Sanders, Warren Moon, Anthony Munoz, Jim Kelly, Cris Carter, Dick Butkus, Earl Campbell, Fran Tarkenton, Dan Fouts
MLB: Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Napoleon Lajoie, Barry Bonds, Willie McCovey, Ernie Banks, Carl Yastremski, Rod Carew, Harmon Killebrew, George Sisler
8 ) Athletes Don’t Deserve What They Get Paid
This fallacy actually might the one that gets me the most juiced up when I hear somebody say it. The best example came out of the mouth of the wife of a good friend of mine who said in a sneering manner “that teachers should make the money that athletes make because teachers are so important.” Well, the problem with that theory is the market isn’t really interested in what anyone of us may believe is important; it’s all about supply and demand.
For example, there are about 6500 neurosurgeons in the U.S. Neurosurgeons make big dough because there are only a handful of people who have the talent and the wherewithal to survive the training process and do the job without routinely killing people. In contrast, there are only 750 people in the world with the talent to be a major league baseball player, and they do a job which people will pay to watch them perform. Until you can set up stadium seating at the local school and get folks to pop $40 to watch one of the 3,000,000 teachers in this country do their thing, stop saying stupid things like this.
7) “The Student Athlete”
This is the line the NCAA trots out whenever it wants to kill anything it doesn’t want to do, like getting a playoff in FBS football. One of the popular counter-arguments to having a playoff is “the student-athlete would miss too much time in class by adding that many more games.”
If you ever wondered what pure, uncut bullshit looked like, that last sentence just showed it to you. The NCAA is one of the only organizations left still pretending that people who can perform at what is essentially the semi-professional level don’t spend professional-level time preparing themselves for competition. The NCAA would have you believe that it wouldn’t dirty its hands with money; and that the athletes competing in the “big” sports aren’t plying their trades in what is essentially a feeder league for professional sports. Of course, this is just massive hypocrisy on the part of the NCAA since they have no problem taking in revenues measuring in the billions for “amateur” athletics.
Even the holier-than-thou “purists” at the International Olympic Committee realized the professional status of athletes years ago.
6) College Football Will Get a Playoff
More wizardry from those who would like to see college football become merely a Saturday clone of the NFL. One of the great things about FBS college football is the regular season actually means something. College football is now free of those train wrecks where a team rolls through the regular season only to be defeated by a team who got into the post-season thanks to a monstrously bloated playoff system.
College sports contains the classic example of how a playoff system can destroy the meaning of the season. The NCAA Basketball Tournament, while being one of the great events in all of sport also makes the regular season pointless. All a team from a “power conference” has to do is win enough games to qualify for the post-season. Usually, this means all they have to do is win a majority of their non-conference games and maybe play .500 ball in the conference schedule, and it March Madness here we come.
I’m not saying the BCS is an acceptable alternative, in fact it is far from it. Yet, as long as there are “power conferences” that have contractual obligations to certain bowl games, there is too much money at stake in the current system to expect a real change.
5) Revenue Sharing and Salary Caps Promote Competition
The redistributionist theory of economics didn’t work when Marx first espoused it, and it doesn’t work now. The fundamental problem as far as sports are concerned is all leagues need at least one team anybody gives a damn about. In other words, as much as you want to hate them, the New York Yankees are good for baseball. Baseball uses a “luxury tax” to funnel money from financially successful franchise to those that struggle. Where this classic “steal from the rich and give to the poor” philosophy falls apart is that the recipients don’t necessarily put that money as intended into improving the quality of the product they put on the field. Case in point: this past off-season, the Florida Marlins literally had to be forced by the MLB Players Union to spend at least the required league minimum on player salaries.
4) Athletes Have a Duty to be Role Models
Two quotes from Charles Barkley sum this point rather succinctly:
“I’m not a role model… Just because I dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I should raise your kids.”
“I don’t believe professional athletes should be role models. I believe parents should be role models…. It’s not like it was when I was growing up. My mom and my grandmother told me how it was going to be. If I didn’t like it, they said, ‘Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.’ Parents have to take better control.”
Barkley is absolutely right, and for one major reason: People aren’t always who they seem to be. In fact, most people who live in the public eye have people who are dedicated to managing their image. This is exactly how Tiger Woods maintained a public persona that belied the truth. Choosing somebody as a role model based strictly on a managed public persona is a recipe for disaster.
3) Racism Is The Reason Why There Aren’t More Minority Coaches and Managers
You can thank the NFL and it’s exceptionally stupid “Rooney Rule” for this bit of twaddle. The underpinning of why the rule exists can be found in the “quota” mentality present in Affirmative Action. The “Rooney Rule” states that teams must include a minority candidate in the interview process for selecting head coaches. The idea behind the rule comes from the belief that since a majority of NFL players are black, the majority of coaches should be as well. You can find story after story that espouses this sort of quota-ism.
What this mentality ignores is being a player doesn’t necessarily qualify one to be a coach. Comb through the history of the NFL, and you will find very few great players who succeeded in the coaching ranks. This is because the two disciplines have two completely different competencies. The NFL’s approach ignores merit in a coaching candidate; rather it creates two classes of candidates, those who are honestly qualified and those who get considered only because they fill a requirement. It also ignores the fact that until recently, the NFL was doing little or nothing to develop candidates.
2) People Watch Women’s Basketball
ABC and ESPN would have you believe there is as much interest in women’s basketball as there is in the men’s game. The coverage they afford it is far out of proportion to the number of viewers these games garner. Why? Could it be those networks have contracts to broadcast women’s basketball?
Granted, we have a nation full of parents who will gladly watch their daughters engage in high-school sports, but the simply reality is that nobody cares beyond that. If you doubt that, ask yourself this question: When’s the last time you filled out an office pool bracket for the women’s college basketball tournament? While the men’s tournament has become one of the great sporting events in this country, the women’s tournament barely draws attention in markets that contain contending teams.
It doesn’t get any better in the professional ranks. A lot of people want to believe that the WNBA was founded because there was a demand for professional women’s basketball. They couldn’t be more mistaken. The real reason the WNBA was founded was to give arena owners dates to put something in their arenas that normally aren’t used much during the summer months. The WNBA is financially supported by the NBA, which is why its franchises have similar team colors and team names to the NBA franchises with which they share arenas.
1) The Steroid Scandal Tainted the Integrity of Baseball
Tainting the integrity of baseball under Bud Selig is like shooting out all your lightbulbs so the sun will go down. The sanctimonious hand-wringing on the part of baseball writers that is still happening over this is almost too much to bear. Where were all these scribing Dudley Do-Rights when Mark McGwire suddenly gained 50 pounds of muscle and transformed home plate at Busch Stadium into a bigger launching pad than Cape Kennedy? They were conveniently were sitting on their pencils because the offensive explosion that occurred in the national past time in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s was exactly what they wanted.
Flash the clock back to 1995 when baseball was trying to resurrect itself from the fiasco of the previous year’s labor stoppage that killed a World Series. The writers were bemoaning the fact that baseball is boring, there isn’t enough scoring, and the fans won’t come back to the game after the strike. So, when the moon-shots started flying out of ballparks across the league, the writers could barely contain their overt giddyness. This led to fans flocking back to the ballparks, and Bud Selig couldn’t have been happier.
The part nobody wants to admit is that the whole steroid issue began as attempt by writers to disgrace Barry Bonds. Writers have a problem with players who won’t kiss their collective asses, and Bonds was notorious for treating scribes with utter contempt. When it became clear that Bonds would be the holder of the two sexiest records in all of sports (the single-season and the career home run marks), the press began its delving into Bonds’ connection with BALCO. But much like Dr. Frankenstein, they created a monster they couldn’t control. Next thing you know, we have Congressional hearings and the resultant “outrage” at the “cheaters.”
Now for the fun part…baseball has a long and storied history of cheating. Since day one, players have been stealing signs, corking bats, scuffing or greasing balls, and generally doing anything else they could to win. Steroids are no different. It is far too easy to “blame” the aforementioned offensive explosion on the hypodermic needle, but doing so ignores some key facts.
- In the 90’s, Major League Baseball expanded by four teams, meaning 50 pitchers who otherwise would have been in the minors now were plying their trade in “The Show.”
- Several new stadia were constructed in the 90’s, and the vast majority of them have outfield fences and small foul territory making them very “hitter-friendly.”
- Of all the players caught using “performance-enhancing drugs,” half were pitchers.
In other words, the increase in offense has several possible contributing factors. The emptiness of the steroid argument become clear when one stops to consider that from the list of players named in the Mitchell Report, there wasn’t a case of a player who suddenly became a star due to his use of “performance-enhancing drugs.” Players who were stars before the needle were stars after the needle, and “role players” remained just that.
Shakespeare penned the correct thought on this scandal 350 years before baseball even existed: Much ado about nothing.
Hopes for a speedy and complete recovery go out to former major league catcher, current real-life announcer for the Milwaukee Brewers, and greatest movie play-by-play man ever Bob Uecker.
Uecker announced today that he will be having heart surgery on Friday. Doctors say his prognosis is good and we can expect to see Uecker back in front of the microphone in 10 to 12 weeks. Which is good, because that means Norm MacDonald can keep telling this story. God speed, Harry Doyle (although I will always remember Uecker as “Mr. Baseball).
Oh, the first person who makes a “Mr. Belvedere” joke…I will come to your house and hit you in the face with a shovel.
Tomorrow night, ageless wonder Phillies southpaw Jamie Moyer will be attempting to win his 261st major league game. Moyer notched win #260 last Thursday against Atlanta. I have to admit, it shocked me as well when I read that. In case you were wondering, this is his 24th major league season. Moyer made his major league debut on June 16, 1986, more than three years before Atlanta’s 20-year-old rookie right fielder savior of the franchise Jason Heyward, was born.
Actually, at age 47, the veteran left-hander is old enough to be father to a big chunk of major leaguers. For the vast majority of his career, Moyer has been a middle-of-the-rotation starter. He’s never really been known as a dominating pitcher; a career 4.22 ERA tells that story. Like I said, 260 wins shocked the shit out of me; don’t look now, but Moyer has quitely put himself amongst some pretty notable names in the record books.
260 career wins puts Moyer in front of Hall-of-Famers such as:
- Jack Morris 254
- Carl Hubbell 253
- Bob Gibson 251
- Juan Marichal 243
- Mordecai “Three-Finger” Brown 239
- Whitey Ford 236
- Jim Bunning & Jim “Catfish” Hunter 224
- Don Drysdale 209
- Hal Newhouser 207
- Dennis Eckersley 197 (although Eckersley also had 390 saves)
- Sandy Koufax 165
Moyer doesn’t have far to go to pass a few other baseball immortals:
- Bob Feller 266
- Jim Palmer 268
- Burleigh Grimes 270
- Red Ruffing 273
- Ferguson Jenkins 284
- Robin Roberts 286
- *Bert Blyleven 287
Moyer has also piled up 2353 career strikeouts, which puts him in front of:
- Early Wynn 2334
- Rube Waddell 2316
- Juan Marichal 2303
- Lefty Grove 2266
- Jim Palmer 2212
- Catfish Hunter 2012
The Hall-of-Famers that can see Moyer in their rear-view mirrors:
- Robin Roberts 2357
- Sandy Koufax 2396
- Dennis Eckersley 2401
- Jack Morris 2478
- Don Drydale 2486
- Christy Mathewson 2507
Those are just the headers on Moyer’s Hall of Fame resume. Check out some of the bullet points:
- He’s won 20 games in a season.
- He’s a World Series champion and All-Star.
- He won a World Series game with severe gastrointestinal distress
- He’s a role model for America’s youth.
Let the arguing begin.
UPDATED 4/28/10: Track Moyer’s Progress on the Moyer-O-Meter.
Spring games…just another reminder that we are mired in the doldrums of the college football off-season. Sure, it has been another off-season with its usual carousel of coaches, but none with the drama of what happened in the Southeastern Conference in 2007; the year that my favorite completely insane sideline leader finally fell victim.
That December marked the time Houston Nutt went down the river from Arkansas to Mississippi. But it was more than just a leader going to the other side of the river; the ripple effect could be felt throughout the conference. The angst of the Arkansas athletic department led by former director and Hawg legend Frank Broyles combined with the need of the other coaches in the league to reign in the Rebellion Nutt had established in Oxford led to the remake of a classic Coppola film. After all, even the river wanted Nutt dead.
The scene: Fayettte-nam, 2008
ACT I – The Mission
Fayetteville…Shit; I’m still only in Fayetteville…Every time I think I’m gonna wake up back in the jungle. When I was home after my first tour, it was worse. I’d wake up and there’d be nothing. I hardly said a word to my wife, until I said “yes” to a divorce. When I was here, I wanted to be there; when I was there, all I could think of was getting back into college football.
I’m here a week now…Waiting for a mission…Getting softer; every minute I stay in this room, I get weaker, and every minute Charlie squats in the bush, he gets stronger. Each time I looked around, the walls moved in a little tighter.
Everyone gets everything he wants. I wanted a mission, and for my sins, they gave me one. Brought it up to me like room service. It was a real choice mission, and when it was over, I never wanted another.
I was going to the worst place in the world, only I didn’t know it yet. Weeks away, and hundreds of miles down a river that snakes it’s way through the SEC and straight into Colonel Nutt. It was no accident that I got to be the caretaker of Colonel Houston D. Nutt’s memory; no more than my being in Fayetteville was an accident. There is really no way to tell his story without telling mine; so if his story is a confession, then I guess so is mine.
“Play the tape for Captain Petrino.”
“I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor; throwing a forward pass. That’s my dream; it’s my nightmare, crawling, slithering along the edge of the razor and surviving, throwing forward passes. But we must kill them. We must incinerate them. Pig after pig, cow after cow, village after village, army after army. And they call me an improper recruiter. What do you call it when the improper recruiter is recruited?
“Houston Nutt was one of the finest coaches this country ever produced. He was brilliant; he was outstanding. He was a good man, a good humanitarian man. Then he joined the Razorbacks; his ideas, his methods became unsound. Now, he’s crossed into Mississippi with this Rebel army of his that worship him as a god, and run every play, no matter how ridiculous. Well, you see, Petrino… in this game, things get confused out there; power, ideals, the old morality, and practical football necessity. Out there with these kids it must be a temptation to be God. Because there’s a conflict in every human heart between the rational and the irrational, between good and evil, between running and passing. The good does not always triumph. Sometimes the dark side overcomes what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature. Every man has got a breaking point. You and I have. Colonel Nutt has reached his. And very obviously, he has gone insane. Your mission is to proceed down the river in a Navy patrol boat. Pick up Colonel Nutt’s path at Oxford, follow it and learn what you can along the way. When you find the Colonel, infiltrate his team by whatever means available and terminate the Colonel’s command.”
Terminate?… the Colonel?
“He’s out there operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct. And he is still on the field getting recruits. Terminate…with extreme prejudice. You understand, Captain, that this mission does not exist, nor will it ever exist.”
ACT II – On the River
How many people had I already killed? There were those six that I knew about for sure; close enough to blow their last breath in my face. But this time it was a Razorback, and a coach. That wasn’t supposed to make any difference to me, but it did. Shit, charging a man with improper recruiting in the SEC is like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500. I took the mission; what the hell else was I going to do? But I really didn’t know wha I’d do when I found him.
The crew of the patrol boat were mostly just kids; rock ‘n’ rollers with one foot in their graves. The machinist, the one they called Miles was from Baton Rouge. He was wrapped too tight for ‘Nam; probably wrapped too tight for Baton Rouge.
Richt on the forward .50s was a surfer from the beaches. To look at him, you wouldn’t believe he ever called a play in his life.
Then there was Saban…“Mr. Clean” was from some NFL shithole, and I think the speed and the money of the SEC really put the zap on his head. And the Chief…It might have been my mission, but it sure as shit was the Chief’s boat.
Then there were the Gators; our escorts to the mouth of the river. They’d cashed in their tailbacks for choppers and gone tear-assing around the SEC looking for the shit. And their C.O., Colonel Meyer…He was one of those guys that had that weird light around him. You just knew he wasn’t going to get so much as a scratch here.
If that’s how Meyer ran an offense, being completely dependent on one superstar, I really wondered what they had against Nutt. It wasn’t just insanity and improper recruiting; there was enough of that to go around for everyone.
Never get out of the boat. Absolutely goddamn right; unless you were going all the way. Nutt got off the boat. He split from the whole fuckin’ program. How does that happen? What did he see on that first tour? 40 fucking years old; if he joined the Razorbacks, there was no way he would ever get above Colonel. Nutt knew what he was giving up.
The more I read and began to understand, the more I admired him. His family and friends couldn’t understand it, and they couldn’t talk him out of it. He had to apply three times, and he put up with a ton of shit, but when he threatened to resign, they gave it to him. He could have gone for General, but he went for himself instead.
October 2007; on special assignment in Ar Kan Sau province, Nutt staged “Operation Wildcat”and paraded a major success. He received no official clearance; he just thought it up and did it. What balls! They were going to nail his ass to the floorboards for that one, but when the press got a hold of it, they let him start calling the plays again.
Man, the bullshit piled up so fast in ‘Nam, you needed wings to stay above it. No wonder Nutt put a weed up Broyle’s ass. This whole offense was being run by a bunch of four-star clowns who were going to end up giving the whole circus away.
Late autumn, 2006. Nutt’s teams started coming under frequent ambush; the camp started falling apart. November, Nutt orders the assassination of four leaders of the “Springdale Parents Revolt.” Enemy activity in that recruiting sector dropped off to nothing. Guess he must have hit the right four people.
Broyles tried one last time to bring him back into the fold, and if he’d pulled over, it all would’ve been forgotten. But he kept going; he kept wanting it his way. Then, they called me in. They lost him; he was gone. Now even rumors and random intelligence – mostly from captured Rebels; the Rebels knew his name by now, and they were scared of him – said Nutt and his men were playing “single-wing” all the way into Mississippi.
“My orders say I’m not supposed to know where I’m taking this boat, so I don’t. But one look at you, and I know it’s gonna be hot, where ever it is.”
We’re going down river about 75 klicks past the Oxford bridge.
“That’s Mississippi, Captain.”
That’s classified. We’re not supposed to be in Mississippi, but that’s where I’m going. You just get me close to my destination, and I’ll cut you and the crew loose. My mission is to make it down the river into Mississippi. There’s a Rebel colonel there who’s gone insane. I’m supposed to terminate the colonel’s command.
Charlie didn’t get much USO…
ACT III – Oxford
He was close, he was real close. I couldn’t see him yet, but I could feel him. As if the boat were being sucked upriver and the water was flowing back into the jungle. Whatever was going to happen, it wasn’t going to be the play they called back in Fayetteville. Part of me was afraid of what I would find, and what I would do when I got there. I knew the risks, or imagined I knew. But the thing I felt the most, much stronger than fear, was the desire to confront him.
“Just hit your siren, man. And, watch out; I mean, those monkeys bite, man. I’m a Plainsman, an American civilian. I’m a photojournalist. I’ve been covering the SEC since ’64. I’ve been in ‘Nam, Mississippi, ‘Bama…Shit, in a few years I could end up stuck in some damn place like Texas Tech.”
Who are all these people?
“Yeah, well, they think you’ve come to take him away.”
Take who away?
“Him! Colonel Nutt! These are all his recruits, man, as far as you can see. Hell, man, out here, we are all his recruits.”
Could we, uh, talk to Colonel Nutt?
“Hey, man, you don’t talk to the Colonel. You listen to him. The man’s enlarged my mind. He’s a poet-coach in the classic sense. I mean, sometimes he’ll, uh, well, you’ll say hello to him, right? And he’ll just walk right by you, and he won’t even notice you. And suddenly he’ll grab you, and he’ll throw you in a corner, and he’ll say ‘Do you know that ‘ing’ is in both words in ‘single wing?’”
“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, if you can trust yourself when all men doubt you. I mean, I’m no, I can’t – I’m a little man, I’m a little man, he’s, he’s a great man. I’m just a pair of ears scuttling across the SEC. I mean, look at me. I’m not going to be the one who sets him straight. It’s you.”
I wondered if the generals back in Fayetteville could see what I saw, would they still want me to kill him? Probably more than ever. Even the river wanted him dead. He broke from them; then he broke from himself.
“I’ve seen horrors… horrors that you’ve seen. But you have no right to call me an improper recruiter. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that…But you have no right to judge me.”
“It’s impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror…Horror has a face…and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies. I remember when I was with the Razorbacks; seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into Springdale to recruit some kids; one of ‘em a big-throwin’ quarterback they had up there. We left after we had given out a bunch of those Hawg rubber-bandy type bracelets.”
“This old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn’t see. We went back there and they had come and hacked off every braceleted arm. There they were in a pile; a pile of arms. And I remember…I…I…I cried. I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my tusks out. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it. I never want to forget. And then I realized…like I was shot…like I was shot with a pass…a forward pass right through my forehead. And I thought…my God, the genius of that, the genius. The will to do that; perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure.”
“Then I realized they were stronger than we, because they could stand that these were not monsters. They were coaches, old-school, ground-game ball-control coaches. These men who coached with their hearts, who had families, who had children, who were filled with love…but they had the strength…the strength…to do that.”
“If I had ten coaches like that, our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have coaches who are moral, and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to run a warmed-over single-wing offense without feeling…without passion…I mean, without passing…Because it’s passing that defeats us.”
And after all that, there is only one choice to play Bobby Petrino in the movie…Winnie the Pooh.
It’s official…New Orleans Saints quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees is the cover athlete for Madden NFL 11.
Brees won out over Minnesota Vikings’ serial drunk-driver defensive end Jared Allen and Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne in EA Sports’ first fan voting campaign to choose the cover athlete. Of course, this means Brees is likely to be the next to suffer the “Madden Curse:”
- 2010 – Troy Polamalu: Played only five games due to knee injuries
- 2007 – Shaun Alexander: Fractured foot, missed six games
- 2006 – Donovan McNabb: Sports hernia, missed seven games; feuded with Terrell Owens all year; had been to five straight Pro Bowls, hasn’t been since
- 2005 – Ray Lewis: Broke wrist, missed one game; first season without interception; missed 10 games next year with thigh injury
- 2004 – Michael Vick: Fractured fibula one day after video game was released, missed 11 games; Pro Bowl next 2 seasons; obvious issues since then
- 2003 – Marshall Faulk: Ankle injury, missed two games, never rushed for 1,000 yards again
- 2001 – Daunte Culpepper: 4-7 record before season-ending knee injury
- 2000 – Barry Sanders: Retired one week before training camp
- 1999- Garrison Hearst – Shatters an ankle so badly it takes two years to heal. Hearst is never really an effective NFL player again
So, enjoy it while you can, Saints’ fans, because the odds are soon your quarterback will suffer some sort of disabling injury. Or, he might just plain suck. Either way, this is what you get for not voting for Jared Allen a few more times.
If you are the Chicago Cubs, you thought you’d heard the last of the Milton Bradley drama having sent his ass off to Oakland. Maybe that’s true in Wrigley Field, but a Chicago-area property owner may not see it that way.
The latest M-Bomb episode involves a Gold Coast landlord; it seems that during his time in Chicago, Bradley was racking up Boardwalk rent and writing Baltic Avenue checks. Pantelis Kotsiopoulos, a Chicago landlord, has filed a suit for nearly $60,000 seeking money for damages as well as unpaid rent from the former Cub.
Kotsiopoulos claims Bradley owes him for $44,000 worth of unpaid rent, as well as alleging Bradley caused $13,900 in damages to his condo. Bradley contends that he gave ample notice before leaving the apartment and argues that Kotsiopoulos never returned Bradley’s $15,000 security deposit.
There is no word as to whether Kotsiopoulos will counter-sue on behalf of the Cubs for Bradley’s failure to look and act like a major league outfielder while he was renting a space at Wrigley Field.
Editor’s Note: Mr. McGrath has long and storied history in the management of professional sports franchises, most notably as the general manager of the Charlestown Chiefs of the now-defunct Federal League.
Facilities are important for a sports franchise. You’ve got to have a good building in order to gets fans to buy tickets. Now, if there is anybody who understands the need to be wise with your pennies, it’s me. With all the stuff I had to deal with back in the Federal League, one thing that was a constant was we never had any money. That means you learn how to be cheap when you need to be. It also means you learn where not to shave the dime.
Up in Minnesota, the Twins finally got out of that god-awful Metrodome. While everybody so far seems to think the new ballpark is quite a step up, there is one crucial area where Minnesota may have dropped the ball…the bathrooms.
I’ll be honest. Now that players have unions and such so you can’t force them into modeling at fashion shows, you’ve got to sell beer to make any money anymore. And if you are selling beer, your bathrooms better not cause any problems. Nobody buys a lot of beer if they know they are going to have to stand in line to pee.
The problem is really simple. They got cute on the budget and didn’t build enough men’s rooms. Target Field contains 401 “fixtures” for women, and only 266 for men. I understand that a common criticism of the Metrodome was a lack of female facilities. But building over 400 of them at the expense of the men’s rooms is insane. A urinal takes up half as space as a stall, so probably three-quarters of the floor space alloted to bathrooms is taken up by women’s rooms.
That’s just the first place the numbers don’t add up. Target Field seats 39,500 fans, and the vast majority of those are men. Men also drink more beer at the ballpark than do women. This is exactly why the men’s bathroom should be like the Express lane at the supermarket; You’re in, you’re out, you’re done. This is also exactly why you cater to the men in a sports venue.
The bottom line is that despite all the efforts to make women like sports, Twins games are pretty much a sausage-fest. There are no lines for the women’s room because there are just not that many women at the ballpark.
It took until the 6th round until somebody drafted Florida State safety Myron Rolle. Really, this is only about three rounds behind where he should have been selected. Normally, one sees a Seminole dropping in the draft and wonders what is on his rap sheet. Strangely enough, we finally found a Seminole with a brain; naturally Rolle needed to be punished for this.
For those of you unfamiliar, Myron Rolle is a jet-screaming genius. As a guy who aspires to both the National Football League and medical school, while playing saftey for FSU Rolle completed all necessary requirements to earn his bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science in just 2.5 years with a 3.75 grade point average. Then he was only one of 32 Americans to win Rhodes Scholarship. Back in January of 2009, Rolle announced that he will first study at the University of Oxford for the 2009–10 academic year, earning an M.A. in medical anthropology and then enter the 2010 NFL Draft.
Naturally, the NFL being knee-deep in thugs, has no need for such intelligence.
This really is just another example of how the process of grading players going into the draft has become the definition of absurd; a complete convolution caused by the fact NFL draft picks now get guaranteed money despite the fact they often don’t guarantee performance and we have sports networks that have 24 hours of cable TV time to fill.
This is how we get the latest example of NFL stupidity. It seems that Myron Rolle, drafted 207th by the Tennessee Titans, committed a huge affront in the eyes of NFL scouts and executives by spending the 2009 season at Oxford rather than Florida State. If you doubt that, take a peek at what Tampa Bay Buccaneer staffers treated him to during the scouting process:
During a 45-minute interview before the Senior Bowl in January with seven members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff, including head coach Raheem Morris and general manager Mark Dominik, one member of the staff asked Rolle what it felt like to desert his team this season.
Don’t think the stupidity stops there. The league itself had to chime in via its website to offer an assessment of Rolle’s time in England:
Rolle missed entire 2009 collegiate season studying in Oxford (Rhodes scholarship), raising questions about his long-term desire to play football.
So, what we have here is a league that now is trying to clean up its image as far as off-field behavior is concerned by completely messing with a guy who should be its poster child. What ever would the NFL do if headlines about its players quit implying one of them raped an entire sorority? Would they get upset over a headline like “NFL Player Wins Nobel Prize?”
You would think so being as NFL scouts clearly treat intelligence as a detriment.