Monthly Archives: May, 2012

Your Jamie Moyer Update 05/30/2012 – This May Be The End Of The Road

The feel-good story of the 2012 baseball season appears to be over, and for all the new ground Jamie Moyer broke in his quest fighting Father Time, ironically what may be the end of the road set yet another milestone,  On Wednesday, Moyer became the oldest player to be designated for assignment.

We here at Dubsism have been following Jamie Moyer since before his nearly-miraculous recovery from Tommy John surgery at age 49; we’ve been trumpeting the Moyer story for two years now, when Moyer was still an effective fifth starter for the Philadelphia Phillies. Check out this graphic from 2010 when there was a point in time when a legitimate case could be made that Moyer was as valuable pitcher as two-time defending  Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum.

Even today, the day Moyer was designated for assignment, Moyer’s ERA is 5.70; Lincecum’ s is 6.41.

Over the last few months we’ve watched the “johnny-come-latelies” descend on this story, and why shouldn’t they? It was a fun, if not inspirational story; as a guy closer to 45 than 35, I was pulling for Moyer. It wasn’t just because he’s six years my senior and still pitching in the major leagues.  It wasn’t just because Moyer seemed to set a record every time he took the mound. He was the oldest player to record a win. He was the oldest player to drive  in a run. He was the oldest player to score a run. Moyer just seemed like a guy who kept going out there because he loves the game.

The trouble is that Moyer had a 5.70 ERA in 10 starts with the Rockies, and he allowed a league-high 75 hits in 53 innings.  He also gave up 11 home runs, which would be a lot even by Coors Field standards, but five of them came in his last two starts on the road in Miami and Cincinnati.

It’s not like we didn’t see this coming; our Jamie Moyer Update most previous to this one bore that out.  Moyer’s ERA and WHIP were both trending in the wrong direction, and with the Rockies looking to build for the future and looking to get their young pitchers some innings, it was clear Moyer was the odd man out.  To replace Moyer in the rotation, the Rockies called up Carlos Torres, a 29-year-old right-hander who had a 2.45 ERA and 32/12 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 33 innings at Colorado Springs.

Rather than bemoaning the probable end, let’s look at what Moyer has accomplished.

Check out how many Hall-of-Famers are listed on that chart. Check out how many Hall-of-Famers Moyer outpaces. Check out this sample of ex-big leaguers with whom Moyer shares his birth year (1962): Oddibe McDowell, Danny Tartabull, Wally Joyner, Kevin Seitzer, Darren Daulton, and Darryl Strawberry. Moyer is 12 days older than Bo Jackson.

OK, enough of pointing out the age thing.  The real truth is Moyer was only designated for assignment; he wasn’t executed.  Jamie Moyer will land somewhere in baseball again. If the role he snags with another team happens to be on the field, then Your Jamie Moyer Update will continue as you have come to know it.  I hope that is the case, if for no other reason the man has been a great source of content for us here at Dubsism. After all, we’ve made a lot of blog hay off Jamie Moyer.

If not, it isn’t hard to picture Moyer as a pitching coach. Now, we just wait to see what the next chapter in the Moyer saga brings.

Dennis Rodman Strikes A Blow For Drunks Everywhere

Today, we are going to explode a big misconception about booze, namely that it always impedes athletic performance. Babe Ruth used to have a pint of bourbon for breakfast, then slam three homers. Ex-major league pitching coach Barney Schultz used to implore his players to “pound those Budweisers, boys.”  Now, according to CBS Chicago, we have Dennis Rodman.

When an athlete abstains from substance abuse, typically their career will flourish.

According to a report, however, that’s not the case for former NBA bad boy Dennis Rodman. The Hall of Fame center said he became “boring” when he got sober briefly eight years ago and that no team wanted anything to do with him.

“People wouldn’t even touch me,” an emotional Rodman said. “I was boring. I wasn’t the Dennis Rodman of old.”

So, Rodman really thinks liquor was the only thing that kept him from being “boring?”

Boring? Really? This is the same guy we’ve seen show at book signings in a wedding dress. This is the same guy who entertained us throughout his career on hair color alone. Even after his playing days were over, Rodman has been something akin to the love-child of a  sideshow freak and a soap opera star, two things which are about as far from boring as you can get.

The change didn’t last long as Rodman began to drink 19 months after testing out sobriety. Now, his agent, Darren Prince, said Rodman spends three to four nights a week out at various night clubs.

“He tells me, ‘Darren, I drink because I’m bored.’ And I tell him, ‘You’re bored because you drink.’ I keep telling him, ‘You can still be the bad boy, you just don’t need to do it out at night clubs until 2, 3 in the morning.

Wait a minute. If you can’t be the bad boy in a night club at 3 a.m., then just where the hell are you supposed to do it? Not to mention, when you are liquored up and in full-on drag in public, a night club is about the only place where you wouldn’t get arrested. You really can’t pull off that look at Wal-Mart and not expect to end up in the back of a squad car.

“I know if he got sober, he could get a coaching job. He could be a rebounding coach, possibly work in the front office. We’ve had many discussions with TNT and others, and they all say the same thing — he’s too risky, because they don’t know if he’s going to show up drunk or not show up at all.”

OK, let’s break that down. First of all, raise your hand if you can picture Dennis Rodman as any sort of coach.  Bueller…Anyone? Now, raise your hand if you can see Rodman as a suit in the front office…(cue cricket noises here). The most likely, most logical, and certainly most entertaining would be to let Rodman show up for a TV commentary gig totally boozed up.  How awesome would it be to see him put Jeff Van Gundy in a headlock?

I say let him drink. Let’s be honest, I’m on the verge of watching the San Antonio Spurs go to the NBA Finals, and they have as much personality as a Velveeta sandwich with extra mayonnaisse on white bread.  Basketball needs all the entertainment value it can get, and a liquored up Rodman could be the best thing basketball since the shot glass clock.

Mark Reynolds Leaves Buck Showalter Hanging

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then how many is this GIF worth? You have to love how Buck Showalter does the solo fist bump after getting completely blown off.  It’s OK; Mark Reynolds has made a career out of not making contact.

Anybody care to take a guess as to what Showalter is thinking at this moment?

Your Jamie Moyer Update 5/28/2012 – A “Two-Fer”

Unavoidable circumstances prevented the crack staff here at Dubsism from getting an update published after Moyer’s May 21st start in Miami against the Marlins. Moyer had nothing but good things to say about the 50th major league ballpark in which he’s pitched.

Too bad the outcome wasn’t as rosy. Giancarlo Stanton hit a grand slam off Moyer to cap a five-run fourth inning and Austin Kearns tied a career-best with four hits to amrk Moyer’s first appearance in the new Marlins’ park as yet another shell-job for the veteran lefty. The irony is that in his career Moyer was 8-2 in the Marlins’ former home, Sun Life Stadium.  In the new park, even being staked to a four-run lead before going to work wasn’t enough as Michael Cuddyer had a two-run double followed by a Troy Tulowitzki two-run homer in the Rockies’ half of the first inning.

Moyer took his fourth loss of the season after serving up 5 earned runs on nine hits in only 3.2 innings of work, a span that saw Moyer struggle dealing over 100 pitches.

The sad part is the story still doesn’t get back to the “feel-good” nature Moyer’s improbable comeback gave us. To be honest, yesterday’s debacle in the sauna formerly known as Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati might be the point we look back to as the “the beginning of the end.”

Sadly, the baseball pablum in the Moyer story is giving way to an undeniable reality; the Rockies pitching staff is imploding, changes need to be made, and Moyer may be the odd man out.

Let’s look at some cold-blooded facts:

  • The 1993 Rockies’ starting rotation compiled a team of ERA 7.03 ERA in May (remember Bryn Smith?) This collection of Rockies’ starters are in May 4-12 with a 6.24 ERA, and seems intent on reaching a new low.
  • We know Moyer is the all-time leader in home runs allowed (522), but he has allowed 5 bombs in his last 8.2 innings pitched. He’s also allowed 13 earned runs in that same span.
  • Yesterday, because Moyer served up four dingers, the Rockies hit five home runs and still lost.
  • Conversely, this made Mat Latos became the first pitcher in the nearly 150-year history of the Reds to earn a victory after surrendering five home runs.

Here’s the reality.  46 games into the season, the case can be be made the grand Moyer experiment may be over.  It seems the Rockies’ management may be redicent to see that, but in all fairness, they really don’t have any good alternatives at this point.

Jorge De La Rosa has been scripted as the ideal replacement for Moyer, as he would provide the “veteran presence” which  has been the bellcow amongst the reasons for keeping Moyer in the rotation.  The trouble is that De La Rosa isn’t ready yet; he got touched up for four runs on two home runs in 3.1  innings and 60 pitches in the first outing of his new rehab assignment.

There’s also a legitimate debate as to the readiness of Guillermo Moscoso.   He laid a giant, steaming pile in his bombed in his two-start audition this month while filling in for the injured Jeremy Guthrie.  This earned Moscoso a bus ticket back to Triple-A where he was told to “be more aggressive in the strike zone.” Since then, he has rung up a 2.45 ERA over his last four outings at Colorado Springs. But, is that a large enough sample size to know for sure?

The other young arm Moyer beat out for the starting job was Tyler Chatwood. But he’s also hurt,  working through a triceps injury in Colorado Springs and is only to the point in his rehabilitation where he’s thrown a single simulated game. In other words, he’s farther away than either De La Rosa or Moscoso.

This leaves Drew Pomeranz.  But he also struggled in his last start at Triple-A, and the Rockies seem bent on protecting the 23-year-old by keeping him on the farm until they see increased velocity from an improved delivery.

While Moyer may be the last best option in the short term, the Rockies need to address the long term concerns here. I get the fact Moyer has been an inspiration since arriving in Scottsdale for spring training.  I defy you to find another outlet on the web which has been trumpeting the Jamie Moyer story for the past two years; since before the year-long absence due to Tommy John surgery, the comeback from which made him the aforementioned inspirational figure.

Having been on the Moyer story for the past two years, I can tell you with almost absolute certainty that if Moyer were the fifth starter on a good team, as he was during his  Championship run with the Phillies, that good  team would keep trotting him out there.  After all, he’s the fifth starter.

But the Rockies aren’t a good team. Despite that, there’s also no question Moyer has done everything the Rockies have asked of him.  But at this point, the Rockies need to do something before the situation gets desparate. The Rockies went 2-4 on the road trip while scoring 5.3 runs per game, and they have lost a league-worst 18 of 24 games in May despite scoring an average of 4.6 runs per game. The line-up is young and full of talent, yet there is also no question this abysmal pitching staff is wearing it out.

Here’s another hard reality.  At this point, the Rockies need to be less about stop-gaps or last best options. They need to be about building toward the future; about building on pitchers who spell 2013 and beyond.  Throughout his comeback, Moyer never wanted to be considered a novelty.  He returned based solely on his love for the competition.  Moyer may very well be invaluable to a young staff needing verteran guidance, but that’s what a good pitching coach does.

In a host of ways, Moyer is a welcome reminder of the past, of “old-school” baseball.  To be honest, this run of his has been nothing short of heroic to a guy who is writing about a man six years his senior remaining as an effective major league pitcher.  But the Rockies need to focus on those who can build their future, and as much as it pains me to say this, Moyer as a starting pitcher is not in that group.

What We’ve Learned: The Dubsism Memorial Day Baseball Power Rankings

1) Los Angeles Dodgers ↑ 1

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  Clayton Kershaw won the NL Cy Young last year and is a contender for the award again. He is signed with the Dodgers through 2013.  Matt Kemp was the runner-up for the NL MVP Award, and was a single dinger away from joining the 40HR/40 stolen base club.  The Dodgers have him locked up through 2019.

Downside: They still have yet to rid themselves of Frank McCourt.

What Actually Happened:

This team has Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw, and neither of those two are the reason headline reason right now this team is the currently best in the National League.  Matt Kemp is hurt,  Kershaw is doing what Kershaw does, but check out these pitching facts:

  • After 44 team games, the Dodgers had two starters with at least 50 strikeouts
  • After 44 team games, the Dodgers had two starters with at least 5 wins (and one of those is Ted Lilly)
  • After 44 team games, the Dodgers had three starters with Batting Averages Against under .210 (and one of those is Ted Lilly)
  • After 44 team games, the only member of the Dodgers’ rotation without at least 40 strikeouts is Ted Lilly

Ted Lilly…really?

2) Tampa Bay Rays ↑ 5

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Their pitching staff will carry them in 2012.  David Price, James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann, and Matt Moore form a six-man rotation that just might let the Rays continue their average 92 wins over the last four seasons. Only three teams in the majors had a higher average with one of the lowest four-year payroll totals in baseball at $222 million.

Downside: The Rays need a new fanbase and stadium.

What Actually Happened:

The Rays have 4 grand slams this season, which leads the major leagues.  They also have the best home record in all of baseball.

3) Washington Nationals ↓ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The Nationals have one of the best young rotations in baseball.  Strasburg appears ready to return to his pre- Tommy John surgery condition, and the acquisitions of Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson were huge.  If Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, and Chien-Ming Wang can stay away from the injury problems that have bugged them, the Nationals should be able to stay in most games based on their pitching alone.  But the Nats should be stronger in the middle of the order since Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, Michael Morse, and Danny Espinosa all could be 25 HR, 90 RBI guys.

Downside: The Nats have three question marks. The first is at first base; Adam LaRoche played only 43 games last year before season-ending surgery and hit just .172. Can he return to the form of his previous years? However, Michael Morse blossomed at first base once LaRoche went down.  Secondly, the Nats have an issue in the lead-off spot. Ian  Desmond is going to start the season there, but he’ll have to learn to be more patient.  He’s drawn only 63 walks in 308 games during 2010 and 2011. Lastly there’s the matter of timing. This needs to be the year the Nats take a step toward the future because this is the last year before the expectations are going to go up. They can still be mediocre this year, but if they finish third or worse in 2013, they may just become a red version of the Cubs.

What Actually Happened:

The pitching has been tremendous, with the exception of the recent flame-out of Ross Detweiler, and this team is getting healthy. Chien-Ming Wang is slated to take Detweiler’s rotation spot, Ryan Zimmerman is back and starting to take on his $100 million form,  and Michael Morse is on a rehab assignment at Class-A Potomac.

4) Texas Rangers ↓ 1

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  The only team in the A.L. West they have to worry about is the Angels. The Rangers have a line-up tailor-made to their hitter-friendly park, so there is no reason they can’t lead the league in team batting average again. Not to mention, they placed top five in runs, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.

Downside: The Rangers are gambling in the wake of losing C.J. Wilson to division-rival Los Angeles with their $103 million investment in Yu Darvish and moving  Neftali Feliz to the starting rotation for the first time in his major league career. Then there’s the Josh Hamilton situation…we all know about the off-the-field issues, but don’t forget the former AL MVP has been hampered by injuries lately as well.  Now contract talks are stalled, and who knows what impact that will have.

What Actually Happened:

Prototypical Texas Ranger baseball…massive lumber and quasi-shaky pitching.  Josh Hamilton continues to torch American League pitchers, and Nelson Cruz is also on a hot streak. But the pitching is showing some cracks with the injuries to Neftali Feliz, the aging Roy Oswalt is supposedly the savior coming from the minors, and it’s never a good sign for the bullpen when a reliever is second on the team with five wins.

5) Baltimore Orioles ↑ 11

What We Originally Said:

Upside: As bad as there were in 2011, their offense wasn’t all that bad and they’ve kept the core of it.  If Mark Reynolds can produce another 30-plus home run season, and Adam Jones and Nick Markakis continue their consistent hitting, the Orioles could end up being a mediocre team.

Downside:  The Orioles had the worst off-season of any Major League team.  If you don’t agree, here are their off-season acquisitions: pitchers Wei-Yin Chen, Tsuyoshi Wada, Jason Hammel, and Matt Lindstrom; and position players Wilson Betemit, Endy Chavez and Taylor Teagarden.

What Actually Happened:

I still don’t buy this team long-term; I just don’t think they have the pitching to stay in a race.  However, right now they have the best road record in baseball, and they have five hitters with at least 20 RBI in 40 games played.

6) Chicago White Sox ↑ 7

What We Originally Said:

Upside: General Manager Ken Williams also showed a desire to rebuild his club by getting rid of longtime White Sox starter Mark Buehrle and letting go of Juan Pierre, Carlos Quentin, Jason Frasor, Sergio Santos, and Omar Vizquel.

Downside: General Manager Ken Williams has no idea how to rebuild a club. He replaced staff ace Mark Buerhle by over-paying for the ever-fraudulent John Danks.  The rest of the starting rotation will depend on the fragile Jake Peavy and the unproven Chris Sale.

What Actually Happened:

Earlier, I said this team was a “smoke and mirror” job. Then, the Mighty Whiteys were riding a perfect game tossed by a nobody and an 340 performance by Alex Rios, both of which I knew wouldn’t last. What I didn’t see coming was the resurgence of Adam Dunn and an MVP-esque performance from Paul Konerko. which won’t last.

7) New York Yankees ↓ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The Yankees upgraded their pitching staff by adding Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda, and by subtracting A.J. Burnett.  Prospects Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos will soon find their way to the major league rotation as well. If the pitching staff gels and Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, and Mark Teixeira perform as expected, this team will prove formidable.

Downside:  Don’t look now, but this team isn’t getting any younger.

What Actually Happened:

This team gives me more reason to rate them lower than higher, yet somehow they are winning with mediocre pitching and a lot of bats who are not performing up to the usual standards.

8 ) New York Mets ↑ 12

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Whether its up or down, the theme once again for the Mets is hope. Hopefully, all the distractions that surrounded last season are gone with the departure of Jose Reyes. Hopefully, Ike Davis, and Johan Santana are healthy, will stay that way, and will perform up to expectations. Hopefully, there will be a resurgence of third baseman David Wright and Jason Bay now that the outfield wall has been moved in.

Downside:  Hopefully, all those things I just mentioned will happen.  Right after they all do happen, we can all join hands and visit the fairy princess together. Not only that, but this team goes nowhere as long as Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz own the team.  Let’s face it, meltdown, dumpster fire, train wreck…they all are synonymous with “Mets.”

What Actually Happened:

It must be a New York thing. Just like the Yankees, I have more reasons to downgrade this team. Like the Yankees, the Mets pitching is weak. Just like the Yankees, this team keeps winning and I don’t really understand why.

9)  Los Angeles Angels ↔ 

What We  Originally Said:

Upside: This team has ownership that isn’t afraid to make a move. Due to the free-agent signing of first baseman Albert Pujols and starting pitcher C.J. Wilson, the Angels committed $331.5 million, which left little room for the team to add anyone else significant during the offseason. New GM Jerry DiPoto did, however, get his hands on a decent bat bat behind the plate in Chris Iannetta, and reliable veteran relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins becomes the latest on the list of guys who have played for both of my two favorite teams (Angels and Twins).

Pujols adds to a lineup which featured six players with double-digit home runs, and six with over 59 RBI. Top prospects in catcher Hank Conger and outfielder Mike Trout will also be in the running for a full season with the club.

C.J. Wilson adds to a rotation which already featured 2011 A.L. All-Star Game starter Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana.

Downside: Which Vernon Wells do the Angels get in 2012?

What Actually Happened:

Since the last time I did this ranking, the Angels plummeted and have re-risen. Albert Pujols is clearly back to his expected form, and he looks to be leading a general resurgence of the Angels offense.  But it is the pitching that has carried this team so far; two starters have a batting average against under .200, and three have at least 54 strikeouts.

10) Miami Marlins ↑ 13

What We Originally Said:

Upside: I don’t think there could be a more interesting team to watch in 2012. Miami is one of three teams in the Dubsism Top Ten from the N.L. East Division and got there through having by far the most active off-season. Tey’ve got a new name, new uniforms, new logos, a new stadium, a new manager,  and of course, new players. The new Marlins Park will play host to the new-look squad under new manager and old loud mouth Ozzie Guillen, who will be leading new shortstop and reigning N.L. batting champ Jose Reyes, new closer Heath Bell, and new starting pitchers Mark Buehrle and Carlos Zambrano. Added to existing Marlins Hanley Ramirezx and ace Josh Johnson, there’s no way this team won’t be entertaining at least.

Downside: This also just could be the loading of a gigantic powder-keg. Zambrano and Guillen in the same dug-out? The Marlins may want to keep the bomb squad handy at all times, not just for the volatility I just mentioned, but for the fact if this team doesn’t win right away, look for it to get blown up quick.

What Actually Happened:

The Marlins could be a Florida version of the Angels in the sense they came into the season with big expectations, then struggled early, and are now starting to look like the team we thought they might be.

11) Cleveland Indians ↑ 7

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  Shin-Soo Choo seems to be healthy. Vinne Pestano and Nick Hagadone could be the foundations of a solid, young bullpen.  Carlos Santana is a potential All-Star.

Downside: Fausto Carmona (or whoever he really is) may never get back into the country and Grady Sizemore is probably finished as an effective major league player. The heyday for this team was fifteen years ago, and unless you can find a way to add Roger Dorn, Pedro Cerrano, Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, and Jake Taylor to the roster, there will be more than one long summer in Cleveland’s near future.

What Actually Happened:

Please refer to my comments on this team from the previous rankings.

Don’t even tell me about this team being in first place.  I bit on the Indians last year, and I’m not about to do it again.  This team in many ways could be a mirror image of the Orioles, and they will be a memory by July…

Here’s why they are where they are. They have suprisingly not-shitty pitching, but they can’t hit.

12)  Cincinnati Reds ↑ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  General Manager Walt Jocketty managed to improve the starting rotation by adding former Padres ace Mat Latos, the bullpen by bringing in Ryan Madson and Sean Marshall, and added some needed depth by acquiring Wilson Valdez, Willie Harris, and Ryan Ludwick. With these additions to the existing weapons like Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, and the fact the N.L. Central no longer has the likes of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, the Reds have the potential once again to seize the top spot in the division.

Downside: That pitching staff is managed by Dusty “The Ligament Shredder” Baker, the same Dusty Bake who think base-runners “just clog up the basepaths.”

What Actually Happened:

The Cincinnati Reds formula: Johnny Cueto + passable decent starting pitching + a solid bullpen + Jay Bruce and JoeyVotto – reasonable divisional competition =  barely above .500. Luckily, this happens to be good enough for first place in the NL Central.

13) Atlanta Braves ↓ 9

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Last year, I said the Braves were a collection of “what-ifs” built around a solid core of just enough hitting and just enough pitching. Now, enough of those questions became facts so that barring injuries, the Braves can contend in the NL East.

Downside: The Braves finished 13 games back of the Phillies last season, and they way the season ended for them still has to sting. The question is did they improve enough to fix those issues?

What Actually Happened:

This team looked so solid a month ago, then the problems hit.  Chipper Jones is going to the DL, which will cripple this offense because they can’t hit without him.  Brian McCann seems to have the western hemispheres first case of the bubonic plague in decades, David Ross strained his groin on a checked swing, Freddie Freeman needs to find a an optometrist better than the one at Wal-Mart, and they’ve yet to realize Tyler Pastornicky sucks.

14)  San Francisco Giants ↑ 1

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The San Francisco Giants have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner form one of the best 1-2-3 combinations in the game.

Downside: The San Francisco Giants have one of the worst offenses in baseball. With the losses of Cody Ross and Carlos Beltran, this team may find itself relying on a 3-4-5 heart of the order consisting of Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, and Brandon Belt.

What Actually Happened:

In a Bizarro World twist, the Giants who are known for thier pitching are oddly enough staying afloat on hitting. As for the pitching, the usual recipe for success ({insert starter here} for six innings, then some combination of Santiago Casilla, Guillermo Mota, and/or Sergio Romo, then Brian Wilson in the 9th) hasn’t been in place all season. But that not the weird part. That is reserved for this little fact…Since 1960, the Giants have only had two seasons in which a player collected 200 hits (Bobby Bonds in 1970 and Rich Aurilia in 2001).  With 64 hits in 44 games played, Melky Cabrera is (wait ofr it…one of my favorite phrases ever…) is on a pace for 225 hits (assuming he plays 155 games).

15) Philadelphia Phillies ↓ 3

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The starting rotation is as good as it gets with Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Vance Worley. New closer Jonathan Papelbon should help shore up the bullpen.

Downside:  If the Yankees and the Phillies make the World Series, they may want to get the games done before 4 p.m., so they can all hit the early-bird specials at Denny’s. This is another team that is aging before our eyes. Carlos Ruiz, Ryan Howard, and Jimmy Rollins are 33, Chase Utley is 32, and Placido Polanco tops the list at 36. Not to mention, the Phillies have lost have lost four of their last five postseason series.

What Actually Happened:

At one point, I said this team was a wild-card because you really couldn’t tell which way they were going. Now you can, and it isn’t the good way.  Forget the injuries, forget the pitching, and forget everything else. This is a team that can’t even get a Roy Halladay bobblehead correct.

16) Toronto Blue Jays ↓ 6

What We  Originally Said:

Upside: Jose Bautista.  In 2010, he hit .260 with 35 doubles, 54 home runs and 124 RBI. In 2011, he hit .302 with 24 doubles, 43 home runs, and 103 RBI. He has to figure in the MVP race.

Downside: The Blue Jays could have a bright future, but the future isn’t today.  Ricky Romero has also been nothing short of excellent for the club. Last season, the 27-year-old went 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA and 178 strikeouts. It’s time to see if youngsters Brett Lawrie,  Anthony Gose, and catcher Travis D’Arnaud can live up to expectations.

What Actually Happened:

This isn’t so much a descent as it is a return to earth. This team has a future, but that future isn’t necessarily today.

17) Detroit Tigers ↓ 11

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Last season, the Motor City Kitties finished in the top four in runs scored, batting average, on-base and slugging percentage. The numbers can only get better with the offseason acquisition of first baseman Prince Fielder, who just happens to be a career .282 hitter averaging over 32 home runs and 93 RBI per season over the last six years.

Downside: How does the move of Cabrera back to third base work out? What will be the impact of losing DH Victor Martinez? And I’m not sold on the rotation beyond Justin Verlander and Doug Fister.

What Actually Happened:

This team has Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, and Prince Fielder, yet still sucks. You explain it to me so we’ll both know.

18 ) St. Louis Cardinals ↓ 10

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Despite losing Albert Pujols and manager Tony La Russa, the Cardinals still have enough weapons to be a factor in the N.L. Central. Starter Adam Wainwright comes back from Tommy John surgery, and he leads a rotation featuring Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook, and Kyle Lohse. Also, could this be the breakout year for World Series MVP David Freese? His 21 RBI over 18 postseason games last October could signal the start of something big.

Downside: Let’s face it…losing Albert Pujols would hurt any line-up. This means Lance Berkman has to at least come close to the .301/31 HR/94 RBI campaign he put up in 2011, and Matt Holliday has to be a .300/25 HR/RBI guy as well.

What Actually Happened:

Remember when I said for the Cardinals to have any hope, Lance Berkman needed to get healthy and Matt Holliday had  to bat better than .215? Well, one of those things happened, but the loss of Berkman likely dooms this team.

19) Boston Red Sox ↔

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  The Boston Red Sox are taking on an entirely new look in 2012.  For the first time in recent memory, Jonathan Papelbon, J.D. Drew, Tim Wakefield, and Jason Varitek will not be on the Opening Day roster for the Red Sox. And it’s about time, especially after what happened last September.  Despite this new look, New GM Ben Cherington will be faced with the challenge of keeping the Sox a contender.

Downside: I don’t give a damn what anybody says, I don’t buy this pitching staff.  Jon Lester has always been over-rated in my book. The loss of John Lackey is a case of “addition by subtraction.”  Clay Buchholz walks too many guys. Who knows what Daniel Bard and Vincente Padilla really are?

Then, there’s the whole issue of that idiot Bobby Valentine. I can’t wait for the Terry Francona “Miss Me Yet?” billboards to break out all over New England.

What Actually Happened:

Yet another case where there is precious little change from what I originally thought. Bobby Valentine took a soap opera and made it into one those really cheesy drama you see on Telemundo. Plus, this may be the worst .500 team I’ve ever seen.

20) Houston Astros ↑ 8

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  They have some nice young talent on the team like Jose Altuve, Jason Castro, and Fernando Martinez, and they still have Carlos Lee as the lone power source on the roster.

Downside: Last year, the pitching staff was bottom five in league rankings with a 4.51 cumulative ERA, 1.42 WHIP and a .266 opponents batting average en route to a league worst 56-106 record. That staff didn’t get any better.

What Actually Happened:

The Astros are the .500 photo negative of the Red Sox…they prove you don’t need big contracts, drama queens, and a dipshit manager to be mediocre at best. At least for Houston, this is a dramatic improvement.

21) Pittsburgh Pirates ↑ 4

What We Said Originally:

Upside:  The Bucs are quietly cobbling together a respectable offense.  Outfielders Jose Tabata, Alex Presley, and All-Star Andrew McCutchen are likely to be the the 1-2-3  hitters; all of them hit over .275 last year, and all of them swiped over 20 sacks. Neil Walker looks like a #4 hitter after hitting 17 home runs and 62 RBI in only 460 at-bats.  Plus, the Pirates may have emerging power at the corner infield spots; Garrett Jones showed some pop with 17 homers last year, and Pedro Alvarez is due for his breakout year any time now.

Downside: Last year, the Pirates gave up the third-worst opponents batting average (.270) and received the fifth-fewest quality starts from their starting five.  A.J. Burnett is supposed to be the cure for that?

What Actually Happened:

See the Houston Astros, except the Pirates actually have a few honest-to-goodness major leaguers. This, of course, does not include A. J. Burnett.

22) Arizona Diamondbacks ↓ 5

What We Originally Said:

Upside: In a division heavy in pitching, the D-backs chose bulk by getting potential question mark Trevor Cahill from Oakland and re-signing their own free agent, Joe Saunders, after non-tendering him at the December deadline for arbitration-eligibles. Kennedy, Hudson and Saunders logged career highs in innings last season, and it will be interesting to see if they can repeat that…see below…

Downside:  Even though the Arizona Diamondbacks finished first place in the NL West Division at 94-68, their starting rotation was filled with career-best seasons:

  • Ian Kennedy went 21-4 with a 2.88 earned run average and 198 strikeouts in 222 innings pitched.
  • Daniel Hudson went 16-12 with a 3.49 earned run average and 169 strikeouts in 222 innings pitched.
  • Joe Saunders went 12-13 with 3.69 earned run average and 108 strikeouts in 212 innings pitched.
  • Josh Collmenter went 10-10 with a 3.38 earned run average and 100 strikeouts in 154.1 innings pitched.

The D-backs line-up can be inconsistent as well – they struggled to hit over .250 as team despite everyday players Gerardo Parra, Justin Upton and Miguel Montero hitting .292, .289 and .282 respectively.

What Actually Happened:

The offense went south; Justin Upton might well be on a milk carton and this team sorely misses Stephen Drew. Plus, the pitching clearly is not going to repeat last year’s performance.

23) Oakland Athletics ↓ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside:  America’s favorite breakfast cereal, Coco Crisp,  will still man the Oakland outfield after signing a $14 million, two-year contract with a club option for 2014 after hitting .264 with eight home runs, 54 RBI and 49 stolen bases last season. Then there the Cuban grab-bag known as Yoenis Cespedes. This kid could be the real deal.

Downside: The A’s are without many of their pitchers who brought success to the team in recent years. Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez, and Josh Outman are out of the starting rotation, while Craig Breslow and Andrew Bailey are no longer in the bullpen. The one proven offensive power bat in the lineup has also departed; Josh Willingham hit 29 home runs and 98 RBI in 2011, but is now part of the Minnesota Twins.

What Actually Happened:

How the A’s have won 9 games all while being last in the league in average, slugging percentage, and hitting with runners in scoring position is a minor miracle.

24)  Seattle Mariners ↔

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Felix Hernandez.

Downside: This is the last year of Ichiro Suzuki’s contract with the club. The 38-year-old has seen his batting average drop 80 points over the last two seasons, so you can only expect that this will be his final season with the club unless he’s back to being the old Ichiro. In addition to Ichiro’s decline, the Mariners finished dead last in runs scored, batting average, on-base and slugging percentage last year.

What Actually Happened:

To quote Dennis Green…They are who we thought they were. Jason Vargas and King Felix to give the Mariners a solid 1-2 combination, but to say this team has little else is like saying Oprah Winfrey has a “little bit” of a weight problem.

25) Milwaukee Brewers  14

What We  Originally Said:

Upside:  Even though Miller Park is known for being tough on right-handed sluggers, the Brewers brought in third baseman Aramis Ramirez. He will need to have a Beltre-like season (.300/25 HR/90 RBIs) to help off-set the loss of Prince Fielder.

Downside: The big questions: Can Mat Gamel prove he is ready to be a major league first-baseman, including posting some power numbers at the plate? Can Wily Peralta develop into a credible big-league starter? Then there’s the elephant in the room…the Ryan Braun situation and what impact it may have…

What Actually Happened:

So much for Wily Peralta…he got shipped back to the minors. So much for Mat Gamel…he tore an ACL and is done for the season. Maybe Ryan Braun can get this sample of a season tossed.

26)  Colorado Rockies ↓ 2

What We Originally Said:

Upside: Troy Tulowitzki hit .302 with 36 doubles, 30 home runs, and 105 RBI in 2011. Carlos Gonzalez hit .295 with 27 doubles, 26 home runs, and 92 RBI in only 127 games. Casey Blake, Marco Scutaro, Ramon Hernandez, and Michael Cuddyer will all be joining the Colorado this season, which can only provide more cushion in a lineup that already features some of baseball’s best hitters. The crisp air in Colorado with these players and Todd Helton at the forefront can only mean runs, runs, and more runs.

Downside: The starting rotation will consist of Jeremy Guthrie, Jhoulys Chacin, and then any three out of about six possibles, including the 49-year old Jamie Moyer.

What Actually Happened:

There’s only three reasons to pay any attention to this team: Carlos Gonzlaez, Troy Tulowitzki, and the on-going Jamie Moyer saga.

27) Kansas City Royals ↑ 3

What We Originally Said:

Upside: The club is loaded with young talent like Eric Hosmer and Alcides Escobar.  Alex Gordon turned a corner in 2011. Billy Butler, Jeff Francoeur, and Jason Kendall provide veteran leadership, and there are more top prospects on the way like Wil Myers and Bubba Starling. The Royals also added pitching with starter Jonathan Sanchez and closer Jonathan Broxton.

Downside: General Manager Dayton Moore is a bit of an unproven commodity, so there’s no guarantee that he isn’t going to mortgage the future if the fans expectations suddenly outstrip the team’s talent.

What Actually Happened:

Image from Royales With Cheese

This is clearly not a case of this team improving; this team couldn’t suck more if you gave them a fully-automated, electrically-powered, full-on sucking machine.  Rather, it is a case of the three teams below the Royals got worse.

28)  San Diego Padres ↓ 1

What We Said Originally:

Upside: Again, you really can’t beat the weather in San Diego…and the Padres, despite the loss of Mat Latos, Aaron Harang, and Heath Bell still have a serviceable  (not great, serviceable) pitching staff currently slated to feature Clayton Richard, Edinson Volquez, Tim Stauffer, Dustin Moseley, and Cory Luebke.  Heath Bell’s closer role has been replaced by Huston Street.

Downside:  The Padres offense last year was in the bottom three in runs scored (593), batting average (.237), on-base percentage (.305) and slugging percentage (.349). The only improvements to that came in the form of Carlos Quentin, Yonder Alonso, and current AARP member Mark Kotsay.

What Actually Happened:

It’s not really that hard to meet expectations when nobody expects anything from you.

29) Minnesota Twins ↔

What We Originally Said:

Upside: It is possible they get production from the faces of the franchise, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Last year thanks to injuries, Mauer hit .287 with three home runs and 30 RBI, while Morneau hit a horrid .227 with four home runs and 30 RBI.

Downside: Only three players on the Twins saw more than 100 games of action last year. There’s Michael Cuddyer, who is now getting his mail in Colorado, outfielder Ben Revere, and third baseman Danny Valencia. These might be the only Twins who matter in 2012.

What Actually Happened:

When does Ron Gardenhire become Ron Garden-fired? Forget it, it won’t matter because firing Gardy to improve the Twins is like curing a bad case of syphilis by chopping off your junk.

30) Chicago Cubs ↓ 4

What We Said Originally:

Upside: Its spring, when Cubs fans everywhere have hope that at long last, this will finally be the year the winning drought in Wrigley Field ends. Plus, they off-loaded head-case first class Carlos Zambrano on the Marlins. Starlin Castro might be the bona fide star in Wrigley.

Downside: It’s not going to happen. Getting rid of Zambrano now means a pitching staff comprised of Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Chris Volstad and Travis Wood; along with threat of Jeff Samardzija getting work as a starter in spring training. The Cubs have an average-at-best rotation and no replacement for Aramis Ramirez on offense. Snicker if you must, but A-Ram stacks up favorably against some historic third-basemen. He’s complied the second-most 25-home run seasons (9) for a third baseman, behind only Mike Schmidt and Eddie Mathews who each had 12. Not to mention, only Chipper Jones has more seasons with at least a .300 batting average, 25 home runs and 90 RBI at the hot corner. Once again, spring becomes summer; the Cubs’drought continues.

What Actually Happened:

The Cubs are usually finished once the ivy blooms. Thanks to an unusually warm spring in Chicago, that happened early this year. While this may not be the worst team the Cubs have put on the field in my lifetime, they are certainly trying to get there.

There Are Still Plenty of Dan Patrick-Adjacent Seats Left On Your Los Angeles Kings’ Bandwagon

I grew up watching the Los Angeles Kings.

I’m old enough to remember those purple and gold uniforms with the giant crown which was more reminiscent of Imperial Margarine than a hockey team. I’m old enough to remember when the Kings were essentially an NHL after-thought, when their line-up consisted of Hall-of-Famer Marcel Dionne and little else; his supporting cast was a collection of the likes of Butch Goring, Steve Jensen, and Mario Lessard.

These are your father’s Los Angeles Kings.

Obviously, that also means I’m old enough to watch the transition of this franchise which occurred once Wayne Gretzky hit town. In the B.G. (Before Gretzky) era, the Kings would play in front crowds consisting of about 2,000 Canadian expatriates, almost as if the Forum was Southern California’s own “Bob and Doug McKenzie” farm.

Last time I checked, Los Angeles was still not in Canada.

Then in the D.G. (During Gretzky) era, Kings games took on a distinctly “Hollywood” feel, the seats near the glass filled with assorted celebrities almost as if we were doing a ice-bound impersonation of a Lakers game.  They changed the crowd, they changed the uniforms, and they changed the results. It was during this era the Kings made their only previous Stanley Cup Final appearance.

Then came the A.G. (After Gretzky) era. Until now, the only way to tell the difference between the B.G. era and the A.G. era was the uniforms. If you were watching a team with limited talent and a dismal play-off performance and they were wearing purple and gold, that was the B.G. era Kings. If you were watching a team with limited talent and a dismal play-off performance and they were wearing black, that was the A.G. era.

That was until a few days ago, when something happened that hasn’t happened since the During Gretzky era.  Nineteen years after making their first appearance in a Stanley Cup Final, the Kings secured a return trip with their capture of the Western Conference Final.

These are NOT your father’s Kings.

Even upon entering the playoffs, the Los Angeles Kings garnered little respect.  They came in as a #8 seed, but popular opinion had them being swept aside by the President’s trophy winner Vancouver Canucks. The Kings took that series 4-1.  Then, many people thought the Kings couldn’t outpace the 109-point powerhouse known as the St. Louis Blues. The Kings swept that series.

After those two series victories, the Kings finally started getting some respect. Now, to be honest, there were a few voices out there who were extolling the virtues of the Los Angeles Kings coming into the playoffs, most notably Bruce Boudreau, Barry Melrose, and Dan Patrick. But now that the Kings have made it to the Stanley Cup Final, I thought it was time for an old Kings fan to offer a primer for the hoard of bandwagons fans who are bound to jump on board. That way, you can be just like Dan Patrick and call this team “Your Los Angeles Kings.”

Your Los Angeles Kings – The Summary:

The following observation of the Kings was penned by Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Rosenbloom.

“The Kings are big and fast. They can score and defend. They devour loose pucks in the middle of the ice and destroy opponents along the boards. They will play any style of game you want — wide-open or defensively obsessed — and they will beat you at it, especially in your barn. They have won an NHL record 10 straight playoff road games.”

But they weren’t always that way.  Rosenbloom also points out that after Darryl Sutter was hired as the King’s head coach in December, Los Angeles posted a 25-13-11 record. They were only a #8 because they were a 15-14-4 team prior to Sutter’s arrival.

Your Los Angeles Kings – The Vital Statistics:

  • Previous Stanley Cup Final appearances: 1 (Lost in five games in 1993 to the Montreal Canadiens. By the way, this was the last time a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup)
  • 2012 regular season record: 40-27-15 (3rd place Pacific Division)
  • 2012 post-season record: 12-2
  • Goals per-game (regular season): 2.29 (29th in NHL)
  • Goals per-game (post-season): 2.93 (3rd in NHL)
  • Goals against (regular season): 2.07 (2nd in NHL)
  • Goals against (post-season): 1.57 (1st in NHL)

Your Los Angeles Kings – The Long Road To The Stanley Cup Final:

This team was a playoff qualifier in the previous two seasons, and ironically they posted better records in those seasons as well; going  46-27-9 in 2009-2010 and 46-30-6 in 2010-2011. But they couldn’t make it out of the first round of the playoffs.  At the beginning of this season, when it appeared then-head coach Terry Murray had this team regressing based on its slow start, he was fired and after a four game interim stint behind the Kings bench by John Stevens, Darryl Sutter took over the reins.

The Kings responded to this change; winning four of their first six, but after that they reverted back to the form of a .500 team.  Murray had been fired for underperforming with a team that had been years in the making to be a playoff contender.  Nine players on the Kings season-ending roster were first-round draft picks, and another four were second-rounders.

Kings’ captain Dustin Brown was selected with the 13th overall  pick in 2003.  To true puckheads, the 2003 draft may very be considered the best draft class of all time, considering it has produced such talent as Eric Staal, Ryan Suter, Zach Parise (who will be facing Your Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final), Ryan Getzlaf, and Corey Perry.  In addition to Brown, the construction of Kings also included high draft picks such as Drew Doughty (2nd pick overall in 2008) and Anze Kopitar (11th overall pick in 2005). Brayden Schenn was the fifth overall selection in the 2009 draft, but he was part of a trade to acquire Mike Richards (24th overall pick in the 2003 draft) from Philadelphia.

But Your Los Angeles Kings were not built on the draft alone.  They signed unrestricted free agent Willie Mitchell in 2010,  and the 35-year-old defenseman has been averaging 25 minutes, 27 seconds of ice time in the playoffs second only, ranking behind only Drew Doughty.  Dustin Penner was acquired in a trade with Edmonton last year.

But the trade that proved to be the turning point for Your Los Angeles Kings was the February deal which sent Jack Johnson to Columbus for three-time 30-goal scorer Jeff Carter (11th overall pick in the 2003 draft).  Not only did Carter give Your Los Angeles Kings three players from the talent-stocked 2003 draft, it gave them that “one missing piece.” All of a sudden, not only could the Kings shut you down defensively, now they could outskate you on the offensive end as well. This is why Your Los Angeles Kings went 12-5-3 after putting a crown on Carter’s chest.

That eighteen-game run got Your Los Angeles Kings into the playoffs, but the reason they are the first #8 to beat the #1 and #2 two conference seeds in the playoffs and why the Kings have become only the eighth team since 1980 to win 12 of their first 14 playoff games comes in one word…goaltending.

Even though Jonathan Quick was picked in the third round of the 2005 draft (72nd overall), he has been a bigger factor in this playoff run than any of the “big three” from the 2003 draft.  Quick is the playoff leader in goals-against average (1.54), in save-percentage (.946), which is why he is 12-2 with two shutouts in the post-season.  On top of that, Quick has a .928 save-percentage while short-handed, he is clutch late in games as he has only allowed four goals in the third period in 14 playoff games, and while the Kings have yet to be taken into overtime in the post-season Quick has yet to lose an overtime game this season. To duplicate his performance, just spray-paint “32″ on a sheet of plywood and nail it into the goal.

Your Los Angeles Kings: A New Era?

I’ve already mentioned the three eras in the history of the Los Angeles Kings; Before Gretzky, During Gretzky, and After Gretzky.  But if the Kings bring Lord Stanley’s Cup back to Southern California, this very easily could become “Your” era for the Kings.  This team has all the talent to win, and to emerge from the shadows of the Los Angeles sports world, that’s exactly what they need to do.  Even beyond Southern California, this team deserves far more attention than it is getting, but America is a country that loves a winner.

Remember a decade ago when the New England Patriots rose from nowhere in the sports world to become a dynasty? While the Kings are far from a dynasty, their rise to their first shot at a championship is very similar to that of Patriots. The pieces have been being assembled for a while, then one day, it all came together. It’s one thing if you just aren’t a hockey fan, but if you have even a passing interest, be sure to watch the Stanley Cup Finals and discover why this could be “Your” era for you and the Los Angeles Kings.

Chad Curtis Is the Latest Link in the “High School Coach Is Allegedly a Skeevy Pervert” Chain

For those of you who don’t remember, Chad Curtis was a “journeyman” baseballer who patrolled major league outfields for the then-California Angels, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, and Texas Rangers between 1992 and 2001.  Over his career he compiled a .264 batting average and hit 101 home runs

Before today, Curtis was probably best remembered for his stoning of NBC sportscaster and asshole extraordinaire Jim Gray after Game 3 of the 1999 World Series.   Curtis was the left-fielder for the New York Yankees at the time, and after winning Game 3 with a walk-off homer against the Atlanta Braves;  he refused to talk to  Gray in a post-game on-field interview.  This was done in response to Gray’s controversial interview with Pete Rose after the MasterCard All-Century Team ceremony before which took place prior to Game 2.  During this interview, Gray had badgered Pete Rose about his involvement in gambling on baseball.  The players all felt this was an insult to the occasion of bringing all these great players together, and they all agreed nobody would speak to Gray. Of course, after the walk-off homer, the duty of telling Gray to stick it up his ass fell on Curtis.

The trouble is Curtis is now alleged to have an interest in some underaged ass (from CBS Los Angeles)

WOODLAND, Mich. (CBS/AP) Former major league outfielder Chad Curtis was arrested Thursday on accusations he inappropriately touched two students at a Michigan high school where he was in line to become football coach.

Curtis, 43, is charged with five counts of criminal sexual conduct, said Barry County Undersheriff Robert Baker.

Curtis was arraigned Thursday in Barry County District Court and was freed after posting $25,000 in cash on a $250,000 bond, Baker said.

The charges are based on complaints from two teenage girls, according to Barry County Prosecutor Tom Evans. He told WZZM-TV that he authorized the charges against Curtis.

Curtis was volunteering at Lakewood High School in Woodland, about 50 miles southeast of Grand Rapids. The Lake Odessa resident was in line to become the school’s football coach before the accusations emerged.

David Dodge Sr., whose firm is representing Curtis, said he couldn’t say much about the case at this point.

“Chad Curtis … denies any criminal wrongdoing,” Dodge said.

After retiring from Major League Baseball, Curtis was employed as the Athletic Director and weight training instructor at North Pointe Christian High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan from the fall of 2006 to the late fall of 2009.  According to an article posted on the website,  Curtis was dismissed from that job in 2009 for reasons that were not clearly stated. It is also not clear whether the allegations stem from his time at North Pointe or during his time at Lakewood.

I only have two things to say about this. First of all, if you have been a reader of this blog, you know that when it comes to criminal charges , I am not the guy who is willing to play the “rush to judgement” game. I’ve been on record several times saying just that, so I’m not going to change that now. Let’s all wait and see what comes out of this situation…this is America, and in America, you are innocent until proven guilty.

Secondly, regardless of the outcome of this situation, I have a message for every adult out there:  KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF THE KIDS! This should be self-explanatory, but apparently it isn’t.  So, I will say it again…KEEP YOUR GODDAMN HANDS OFF THE KIDS!  Look, I understand the world is full of 17-year old girls who have the drive, and surely have the equipment, but they shouldn’t be getting the experience from anybody who doesn’t have a “-teen” in their age. That should be coming from their pimply-voiced, scabby-faced little boyfriends, not some ass-loaf who needs Just for Men to hide the gray in his beard.

Just remember this, not only will fifteen get you twenty, but just the appearance of impropriety here will get you deep-fried.  When the investigation first began, Curtis went on the record to deny the charges.

Curtis denied the allegations in an interview with 24 Hour News 8 outside of his home. He asked for prayers from the community as the legal process runs its course.

“I don’t believe I touched any students inappropriately…I care about my community. I care about my students,” Curtis said, declining to comment further about the allegations. “We got some stuff going on and I trust that things are gonna work out fine for all people involved.”

“I want to let the process take care of itself the way it’s supposed to…”

Again, this message is for all adults… It doesn’t matter whether you  think the involvement with a minor is “inappropriate,” because this isn’t about you.  There’s about eighty bazillion reasons why  having a sexual relationship with a minor is horribly wrong, and none of them are about you.  If you feel the need to make this about you, then follow this rule:  When in doubt, if there is even the slightest inkling that your interaction with a minor might be inappropriate, if you think even for one second you might be even near the line, DON’T DO IT BECAUSE SOME REALLY BAD SHIT WILL HAPPEN TO YOU!!!

To see why you need to follow the rule, just look at what is going to happen to Chad Curtis.  Even if Curtis is found not guilty, there are people out there who will always think he’s a skeevy pervert.  This is why even if Curtis is found not guilty, his career working in schools is over.  This is also why even if Curtis is found not guilty, he’s likely going to have to move to another town where nobody knows him, otherwise somebody is going to spray-paint “Baby Fucker” on his garage door at least three times a month.  Not to mention what he may be in for if he is found guilty; sex offenders usually don’t fare too well on the other side of the wall.

After all that, just to make sure you’ve all got the message, I’ll say it a third time…KEEP YOUR GODDAMN HANDS OFF THE KIDS!

Guest Column: Jim Rockford on Why Roger Goodell is a Stalinist Hypocrite

Editor’s Note: Mr. Rockford is a private detective based in Malibu, California. We here at Dubsism have retained Mr. Rockford at his standard rate of two hundred dollars a day plus expenses to investigate matters of crime and other general shadiness in the world of sports, then report back to us when needed. If you would like to contact Mr. Rockford, at the tone, leave your name and number and he’ll get back to you

The first thing I want to say here is that I think Roger Goodell has a tough job. He’s the head of the most popular sports league in the country, and he has the unenviable task of dealing with some serious problems that the league’s popularity helps hide.  The issues Goodell faces are big enough to destroy the National Football League if left unchecked.

Having said that, it is my considered opinion that his approach to handling these issues is wrong. Dead wrong.

I understand my specialty is investigating crime, and while there may or may not be specific “crimes” involved here, I can say that during the time I had Goodell and the NFL under surveillance, I couldn’t find the “smoking gun” type evidence to support actual criminal charges.  But I certainly found enough to justify an on-going investigation, but more importantly, I discovered why the NFL has all the problems that it does.  To anybody who is paying any attention, it is obvious that under Goodell’s leadership, the NFL has really become a totalitarian regime willing to engage in some seriously nefarious, if not borderline criminal activity in a manner reminiscent of the Soviet Union under Stalin.

To understand why Goodell is little more than a hypocritical dictator, look at the major problems facing the NFL now and match that against Goodell’s handling of them.

First of all, there’s the whole Bounty-Gate issue.  I know this blog has posted pieces saying the whole drama created over the New Orleans Saints and their bounty system was much ado about nothing, but the fact that Goodell shipped Jonathan Vilma off to the gulag with a complete absence of due process and while giving Vilma cause to feel he had been defamed has led to the Vilma’s filing a lawsuit against Goodell and the league.  It’s just like that time that little weasel of a prosecutor Gary Bevins tossed me in the federal slammer for contempt. I almost bought it getting shanked in prison all because I tried to exercise my right under the 5th amendment.

Then there is the matter of the lawsuit filed in federal court by a group of former players claiming that the league did not perform its due diligence in informing players of the dangers of concussions or their moral duty to take care of players battling the results of that negligence.

To top it all off, there’s the matter of the lawsuit filed in federal court yesterday by the NFL Player’s Union (NFLPA), which amongst other things, alleges the NFL owners imposed a secret “salary cap” in the 2010 season, which was supposed to be uncapped.

Did the NFL and its teams secretly impose a salary cap of $123 million in the uncapped 2010 NFL season? Were teams threatened by the league with “serious consequences” if they exceeded the secret cap? The NFLPA asserts yes to both questions, and earlier today filed Reggie White, et al. v. NFL, a collusion lawsuit against the league in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. The players contend they lost $1 billion because of the secret salary cap; as stipulated by collectively-bargained language, such damages, if proved, would be automatically trebled to $3 billion.

Regardless of whether or not you think these suits have any merit, there’s no denying that Goodell has got himself backed into a corner.  Football is a violent game comprised of sheer speed and raw brutality, and the league has marketed that to the extent that the NFL is a multi-billion dollar per year business empire.  Given that, it is really hard for me to believe that anybody can be surprised at the existence of a Jonathan Vilma. I would bet you there’s at least one in every locker room in the NFL.

That runs smack into another problem.  Now that the spotlight is being shined on the question of how the  cumulative effects of this violent game contribute to debilitating brain trauma, Goodell found himself faced with a lawsuit from former players and the discovery of the existence of a bounty program which could give any lawsuit about the violence and danger of playing football some serious creedence.  In other words, Goodell found himself at the head of an empire built on a culture of violence; a culture which produces billions of dollars in revenue every year.  But Goodell also found himself in the position of trying to keep everybody’s interests on the same page despite the fact that the money is ripping everybody apart.

And now, for the real turd in the punchbowl…it now seems that Roger Goodell may have been involved in a plot to keep player salaries down and that NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith was forced to accept part of such a plot.

While this is happening in America, this is just like the end of the Soviet Union.  The USSR was this monolith that nobody ever thought would collapse, but it fell like a house of cards once the individual member states saw there was no longer a future in communism; once they saw they could get to greener pastures by their own devices.  Due to how wildly popular the league is now, nobody seems to be noticing the cracks developing in the monolith that is the NFL, least of all its’ “Kommissar,” Roger Goodell. This is exactly why he is acting like a dictator in charge of a crumbling empire.

I will be the first to admit this all gets a bit confusing.  The NFL sells itself as America’s sport and its’ wild popularity disguises the fact that the sport has some major problems.  The people running the NFL, namely Kommissar Goodell who is making up rules as he needs them to exploit his leverage over everyone and everything in football, embodies exactly the sort of greed and arrogance that’s slowly chipping away at America in general.  But like they did in the Soviet Union, the real story was hidden behind obfuscation and propaganda. Goodell is getting away with this because in America, we just don’t seem to care about things that are either hard to understand or that we just don’t want to be bothered with. This is pretty much why it is easy to paint any major success in American business with the brush of greed and arrogance, and guys like Kommissar Goodell open the paint cans for us.

Think about it. Right now, you have the former players suing the league because they want money. This is happening largely because the former players no longer believe the player’s union or the league have their interests at heart.  The Vilma situation proves the existence of a cash-payment system designed by players to take out other players, which means the player’s don’t have each other’s interest at heart.  Then there is the matter of the NFLPA’s suit against the NFL, which means the player’s and the owner’s don’t have each others interests at heart.  Given all that, one can’t help but notice how everybody is after money; and they don’t really seem to care about the football.

And at the top of all of it, there is Kommissar Goodell. At the same time, he is charged with keeping this monolith together while his actions are deepening the cracks. it.  The fact that the Goodell basically collaborated with the players’s union to renege on a promise to fund a major increase to the pension plan for retired players led to one lawsuit.  On top of that, Goodell went on a Stalinist purge once the bounty situation became public; Vilma is just one of several guys who got sent to the NFL’s version of Siberia, basically on nothing more than the whims of the Kommissar and the NFL’s “best interests.”

That’s the real problem here; there is simply no established policy guiding what Goodell does.  Almost every decision Roger Goodell makes is based on little more than what is best for which ever interest he is trying to protect that day, which is a great way to get every decision you make vulnerable to a challenge in court.  And as the years pass, guys who rule like Goodell only get more wrapped around their own axles from the sheer inconsistency of their dictates.

Realistically speaking, Goodell’s problems are only going to multiply from here. Right now, the relationship between the league and the players (both past and present) is in the crapper, and that’s only going to get worse as we edge toward the next time they go through the collective bargaining process.  So, the only thing Goodell can do to make the collapse of the league more likely is to start jerking the owners around.

Oh, wait…he’s already done that.

If you recall, back in March, the Cowboys and Redskins were both penalized a combined $46 million in salary cap space after they spent freely during the uncapped NFL year in 2010, which also happened to be the final season of the league’s old collective bargaining agreement.  This gets complicated, so let me start with a time line of events, because this was four years in the making.

  • 2008:  Owners agree to opt out of the collective bargaining agreement and agree play the 2010 without a salary cap.
  • 2010: The Redskins spend $178.2 million on salary;  The Cowboys spend $166.5 million.
  • 2011: The NFL brokers a new collective bargaining agreement with the player’s union (NFLPA), which just so happens to include a “secret” provision where the NFLPA agrees to a punishment for the Cowboys and Redskins in order to avoid a league-wide reduction of the salary cap number.
  • 2012: The NFL slaps the Redskins with a $36 million salary cap reduction and similarly hits the Cowboys for $10 million, citing “competitive balance” concerns over the amount of money the teams spent in 2010.

Those bullet points don’t really do justice to the double-ended screw job Goodell laid out for everybody. Let’s walk through it in detail, and as we do, don’t forget that there was no salary cap in 2010, which meant there was no limit as to what team’s spent on salary.

In other words, Washington and Dallas are being punished now for “breaking” a rule that didn’t exist at the time.  They took advantage of a situation not of their creation by front-loading player contracts (paying the bulk of money in the uncapped year in exchange for paying less in later years which would be capped).  Seemingly, everyone should have been happy with this arrangement; the players didn’t mind because they were getting paid either way, the owners didn’t mind because they would receive a discount on future salary cap hits. We know this was true because nearly every team in the NFL used this tactic, but the Redskins and the Cowboys led the pack.

Not to belabor the point, but remember, there was no salary cap.  Teams stayed under a cap the year before, and the year after, but in the year of no cap, they spent what they wanted. There was nothing in the collective bargaining agreement in place at the time  which could have been used to penalize anybody who took advantage of this uncapped year. In fact, there was there were no provisions in the subsequent collective bargaining agreement, except for the aforementioned “secret” deal between Goodell and the NFLPA to punish the Redskins and the Cowboys.There’s four major problems here.  The first can be described best with a question. If there was no salary cap, and therefore no rule to break, why were Daniel Snyder and Jerry Jones warned “at least six times” not to use the uncapped year to front-load contracts? I’ll answer that in a minute, but you may guess it based on the next few paragraphs.

The second problem is using the collective bargaining agreement ratified in 2011 to enforce anything which happened in 2010 is what is known in legal circles as ex post facto law, which virtually guarantees any challenge to such enforcement would prevail in any court. In other words, even if the NFL warned Washington and Dallas not to break a rule that didn’t exist,  Snyder and Jones both have lawyers who told them there was no harm and/or risk in using this cap loop-hole.

The third problem actually is actually quite biblical.  In the Book of Genesis, God created the tree of knowledge and then told humans not to touch it, in just the same manner Kommissar Goodell created the salary-cap loop-hole then warned owners not to use it. When God was asked why humans could not touch the tree, the response was largely based on “because I said so.” This just happens to be the same logic Goodell is using with Snyder and Jones.  The problem comes in the fact there is absolutely no legal way to make “because I said so” stand up in court.

Given all that, why haven’t Snyder and Jones hauled Kommissar Goodell into court? The answer goes back to the question I posed a few paragraphs back. I’ll give you one last chance to guess the “magic word” which answers both questions.

Think of it in this context.  Under the guise of compromise, Kommissar Goodell and the NFL claim the signatories to the collective bargaining agreement agreed on this punishment for the Redskins and Cowboys.  The distinction between the “signatories” and the collective bargaining agreement itself is important, because the collective bargaining agreement contains no such language.  This is why the “deal” to punish the Redskins and the Cowboys was done on the down-low.

So, let’s put all the pieces together. We have a collective bargaining agreement that was clearly to the benefit of the owners, we have a salary cap loophole which was allegedly created to draw a compromise between the league and the NFLPA, and we have a Kommissar who is actively looking to clip two of his most high-profile and richest owners.

What’s the magic word that ties all these pieces together? Collusion.

Collusion refers to two or more teams, or the league and at least one team, acting in concert to deprive players of collectively-bargained rights. Under Article XXIII of the expired CBA, the NFL and NFLPA affirmed that teams would not conspire, either explicitly or tacitly, to keep salaries down. The two sides also agreed that if they failed to reach an agreement on a new CBA before the 2010 season, the 2010 season would be played without a cap, though with more restrictions on free agency.

It becomes clear if you work the puzzle this way. The uncapped year was not about giving teams the ability to front-load deals; it was more about allowing teams to cut spending without taking hits against a salary cap that didn’t exist.  This can only mean there was, for lack of a better term, a “gentlemen’s agreement” amongst the owners to drop player salaries. That’s your textbook definition of “collusion,” and the NFLPA knows it.  Remember this, it becomes really important later.

If you doubt that, consider the following.  In 2009, under the old collective bargaining agreement, every NFL team was required to spend $107 million in payroll. One would assume spending would have remained the same in the following year except for one over-arching fact.  Since 2010 was the uncapped year, it was also the year without a salary floor.  This is exactly why seven franchises spent less than $107 million, and one franchise made sure they spent over $30 million less.

Let me be very clear about this. The NFL owners agreed to an uncapped year in 2010 so they could opt out of the collective bargaining agreement and renegotiate a more favorable revenue split with their next deal, which they did. The “gentlemen’s agreement” was supposed to be that nobody would take advantage of this uncapped year, as it was intended to be an illusion to get the player’s union to play along; after all, the NFLPA would love to get rid of any salary cap.  The real reason for the existence of the uncapped year was that it would also be without a floor, which allowed owners to slash payroll at will, which many of them did.

Backed by Kommissar Goodell, the owners all agreed to abide by the “spirit” of the now completely imaginary salary cap.  100% pure, uncut, USDA prime collusion; there’s no other way to describe it.  The problem came when Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder realized that Kommissar Goodell and the other owners had no real way to keep them from breaking the “gentlemen’s agreement.”  This monkey-wrenched the plan “uncap” the year without actually uncapping it.  See, the minute somebody broke the agreement, the league would be right back to the days of a payroll “free-for-all,” with the winners being the guys with the biggest wallets, like Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder.

This led to the series of stern, albeit impotent warnings from the Kommissar about not taking advantage of the uncapped year.  Jones and Snyder knew they had legal cover for backing out of the “gentlemen’s agreement,” but they didn’t realize that the Kommissar had a NKVD-style plan for dealing with them.  After all, what good is it to be a Kommissar if you can’t hold a pistol to somebody’s head?

When the Cowboys and Redskins didn’t play by the NFL’s unwritten rules, Kommissar Goodell went back to the owners and forced them to agree  that something needed to be done to punish owners Jones and Snyder.

To do this, the Kommissar needed to create a justification for the NFL’s punishing the violation of non-existent rules and for essentially being a redistributor of wealth; a sporting Robin Hood who uses blackmail rather than a bow and arrow.  Not only does he need to give himself a reason for such treachery, but that justification also needs to provide cover for activities which would normally get any enterprise sued out of existence.

To understand this justification, you have to understand the Kommsisar’s mindset.  Ignore the teams that spent less than a mythical salary floor that season and focus only on the two teams that broke the “agreement.”   Ignore the original collusion of the owners and by all means, don’t ask the question about how the owners got the NFLPA to go along with a scheme that would ultimately lower player salaries.  Above all else, ignore the fact that the NFL is more concerned with driving down player salaries than it is with it’s fascination with so-called “parity.”

Once you do all those things, you can buy the Kommisar’s twaddle about the actions of the Redskins and Cowboys constituted “an unacceptable risk to future competitive balance.”  The league says it all themselves…

“The Management Council Executive Committee determined that the contract practices of a small number of clubs during the 2010 league year created an unacceptable risk to future competitive balance, particularly in light of the relatively modest salary cap growth projected for the new agreement’s early years. To remedy these effects and preserve competitive balance throughout the league, the parties to the CBA agreed to adjustments to team salary for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. These agreed-upon adjustments were structured in a manner that will not affect the salary cap or player spending on a league-wide basis.”

Competitive balance? That’s a load of complete bullshit.  Kommissar Goodell cares about “competitive balance” about as much as Lee Elia loved Chicago Cub fans. “Competitive balance”  is just another way of saying “we care about the little guy.” Naturally, in the case of the multi-billion dollar per year NFL, that’s a bunch of crap.  Ask yourself a question.  If the Cowboys and Redskins were taking advantage of an uncapped year to spend more and try to win, isn’t it just as injurious to “competitive balance” to take advantage of an unfloored year to spend less, tank the season, and pocket the profits?

But if you want to be Robin Hood, you must act like you care about the poor.

Pretending to be benevolent is the bread and butter of totalitarianism, “I’m just trying to help you people” is the standard underpinning for all these types of arbitrary dictates.  But no matter how much the Kommissar cloaks himself garb of the savior, his garment can’t hide the complete bullshit he is dealing. The bottom line is Goodell has put himself in the business of making up rules as he needs them, then applying them retroactively, all in the name of “compettitive balance.”

It doesn’t require the FBI crime lab to expose this as the crapola it is.

It’s Kommissar Goodell disguising himself as the God of all things football. He’s got a league full of owners willing to go along with a scheme designed to drive revenue sharing and guaranteed profits every single year.  It would have worked had Snyder and Jones stood still for it.

It’s collusion disguised as “competitive balance.” One owner defended the penalties by saying Snyder and Jones “…was in violation of the spirit of the salary cap….” Not to belabor the point again, but there was no salary cap.  In order to violate a salary cap in 2010, there would have had to have been a de facto  cap which had been agreed to by the owners and kept secret from the players.

It’s socialism disguised as capitalism.  Don’t forget that “revenue sharing” means the Snyders and the Jones of the world get to pay the frieght for franchises that don’t make any money…”here, Bill Bidwill, have $10 million dollars of Robert Kraft’s money.”  Don’t forget this all started with the Kommissar arbitrarily deciding to redistribute $46 million of salary cap room for the sake of “balance.”

There’s another aspect to this as well. For a moment, forget about “competitive balance” and “competitive advantage.”  Forget about collusion. Part of this is about getting even.  Snyder and Jones didn’t go along with the plan, and now you’ve got 30 other owners pissed off at them for being double-crossed. You have Kommissar Goodell pissed off because Snyder and Jones both essentially told him to go piss up a rope.  I’d bet even the NFLPA would love to get a piece of these two, but they are too impotent to wage a battle with anybody.

Under the Kommissar, the NFL has become a world where the league thinks screwing with two of the richest, most powerful, and most visible owners is a good idea. The Kommissar has deluded himself into believing he can continue to get away with strong-arming guys like Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones  with hollow, barely-enforceable crap like “I don’t like the way you do business and you didn’t do what I told you,”  then conjure retroactive punishments which have absolutely no legal basis, then literally daring them to do anything about it.

Ultimately, this will be his downfall.

Kommissar Goodell is ruling by dictate, and is keeping his power through sheer bullying.  Ruling through fear and intimidation only works for a while.  There’s already a player willing to drag him into open court.  Now the NFLPA is leveling the collusion charge in open court. Eventually, there will be an owner who will wrap the Kommissar in legal documents as well.  Snyder and Jones filed an appeal of the salary cap penalties; the dispute went to an independent arbitrator.  However, this arbitrator upheld the penalties handed down by the Kommissar largely on the principle Snyder and Jones were appealing a ruling that the NFL and NFLPA had both agreed upon.

This arbitrator’s decision almost certainly guarantees the future of the NFL will be decided in a courtroom. First of all, now every owner knows that if they have a beef with the Kommissar, they will need to go into 0pen court because it will only be in court where the fraudulent nature of Goodell’s regime can be exposed.  The arbitrator even said that himself.  In his ruling, arbitrator Stephen Burbank noted “this is arbitration, not litigation” and the the the appeal filed by Snyder and Jones  “assumes power in the System Arbitrator that does not exist.”  If that doesn’t ensure an owner will at some point sue the league, this quote from Burbank defines the final nail in the litigation coffin.

“…if the Clubs are dissatisfied with the representation of their multi-employer association, they retain whatever remedies against the association under contract and agency law.”

That’s legalese for “if you don’t like my decision, sue.”  In other words, Snyder and Jones and Redskins easily could sue the NFL.

They can’t, because in order to challenge Kommissar Goodell’s edict on the salary cap reductions,  at some point in open court, the dirty little secret about the aforementioned “gentlemen’s agreement” is going to come out.  There’s is far too much at stake to hand the NFLPA a “smoking gun” potentially worth $4 billion.

They can’t because because the scrutiny which would come with a federal lawsuit brought by two of the league’s highest profile franchises could change the league’s power structure forever, if for no other reason that the current 10-year collective bargaining agreement for which so much blood was spilled could get chucked if the NFLPA can prove it’s claim of collusion, which means the players can petition to have the CBA nullified since it was negotiated in bad faith.  The trouble is that successfully proving a collusion claim necessitates actual evidence, rather than merely allegation or inference.  If Snyder of Jones sued over the salary cap punishments, then every e-mail, memo, voice-mail, video, or whatever documentation entered into evidence in such a proceeding, even the court transcripts themselves become available as evidence for  the NFLPA’s suit. It would also introduce potentially incriminating statements of witnesses.

Kiss that “10 years of labor peace” goodbye.

The likelihood the NFL’s destiny will be ejudicated is only increased by the fact that this decision garrisons the Kommissar’s belief that his rule is absolute.  Given the problems simmering in the league, and given the Kommissar’s belief that his power in the NFL is limitless, there’s only one way this can end. Jones and Snyder can’t sue the NFL, but someday, some owner will.

And that could be what finally brings down Kommissar Goodell and the NFL’s Berlin Wall.

This is only the start of why the NFLPA’s suit is so dangerous for the NFL and Kommissar Goodell.  I think that for NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, this is personal.  Not only did Goodell and the league spend the summer of 2011 bending over Smith and the player’s union prison-style, but thanks to Yahoo! Sports we know that at the very end of the CBA negotiations, Kommissar Goodell and 30 NFL owners put a gun to Smith’s head by adding a provision to the CBA which forced the NFLPA to agree to the salary cap penalties for the Cowboys and Redskins. The gun came in the form of good, old-fashioned blackmail; if the NFLPA didn’t agree to the punishment of the Cowboys and Redskins, the other 30 owners would lower the salary cap across the entire league.

Getting the agreement of NFLPA was crucial, because this has been Kommissar Goodell’s vindication, if not justification, for the league’s bullying. One can argue that preventing a salary cap reduction is just the act of a union looking out for the best interests of its members, but it did so at the expense of its own members.  The union didn’t seem to care about all the players cut from those seven teams that cut payroll in 2010.

That brings us full-circle. Like I said at the beginning, it matters little whether you are an owner, a former player, a current player, or even the Kommissar. Everybody’s interest is now money, which is why the future of the NFL is a likely to play out in court than on the field.

It is very possible that the Goodell regime will not be remembered for the era of continually rising profits, but rather for how it ends.  The longer he stays in power, and the longer he is successful in his totalitarian tactics as NFL Kommissar, the more arrogant this his regime will become, and the more likely the regime will meet an unseemly end.  It’ll be a black day for everyone when eventually the league ends up in court for some arbitrary dictate Goodell inflicted. Ultimately, the day will come when a judge (not some arbitrator) will get a close look at what Goodell has been doing, and somebody will get a big-time settlement.

While he was not a Kommissar, at the end, everybody lined up to get a piece of Mussolini. Roger Goodell should take note of this.

The first successful settlement has every opportunity to start a cascade effect, meaning there could be a wave of people looking to get their piece of the Kommissar. This will only mean more investigations, with more and more sordid details of the activities of the Goodell regime being exposed for all to see. This will all hit “critical mass” the day some politician realizes that a league which has a long record of lawsuits and is full of publicly-funded, multi-hundred million dollar stadia certainly looks worthy of a series of high-profile congressional hearings like the kind that did such great things for baseball.

I hope I’m wrong about this. I really hope I’m not watching Roger Goodell starting the beginning of the end of the NFL as we know it. While the NFL is incredibly popular now, there are some seriously ominous clouds on the horizon, and it is Goodell’s totalitarian style which is bring the heavy weather. Someday soon, I’m afraid that everyone associated with the professional football in America will suffer because it is being run as if it were a Soviet republic.

Your Jamie Moyer Update 05/17/2012: Moyer Is A One-Man Wrecking Crew

After three straight shaky starts, Jamie Moyer got mad and took it out on the Arizona Diamondbacks at the plate and in the field.

Not only did Moyer pitch a crisp six-plus innings giving up only one earned run and striking out five, Moyer brought the lumber driving in two runs. Those two runs would be all the Rockies would need to get Moyer his 269th career win;  pushing him past yet another Hall of Famer (Jim Palmer).

In the fourth inning, he dribbled a 2-2 fastball in between pitcher Patrick Corbin and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who fielded the ball and futilely lunged at the old-timer lumbering down the line. That scored Jordan Pacheco from third, and he was quickly followed by Dexter Fowler, scoring all the way from second base on the 80-foot single.  Who needs to double off the wall when a little roller will do?

This leads us to today’s Jamie Moyer Fact:

Moyer has 2 RBI in 11 at bats for an RBI-to-At Bat ratio of 0.18. Albert Pujols has 17 RBI in 150 at bats or an RBI-to-At Bat ratio of .11.  Moyer is clearly your better bet to knock in a clutch run.

People Who Grind My Gears: Parents Who Bitch About Being Parents

I swear to God, there is almost no type of person who pisses me off more than whiny, bitchy parents.  To be honest, this rant started as a tome against those “sports” parents who manage to achieve the supreme ranks of assholiusness by insisting their palsied little klutz is the greatest thing to hit (insert sport the kid sucks at here) since (insert icon for said sport here).

We all know that parent; the one who screams at their kid for two solid hours, all because daddy couldn’t make it past JV tight end.  There was a time in my life when I coached youth sports, and I quit doing so because I knew eventually I would kill one of these shit-loafs who calls his own kid a “fag” because he dropped a fly ball.

Some time later, little did I know that I would find another type of parent which I hate more. I didn’t think it was possible, but I have discovered that I can’t stand those parents who both need you to think parenthood is some sort of noble act and feel a compulsive need to make sure you know how much their lives have been destroyed by something they volunteered for.

I usually love to read Drew Magary’s rants on  Deadspin, but he loses me here as  I found out he is one of these parents. The following is another patented Dubsism-style breakdown of Magary’s whining about parenthood.

May has started, which means that we’re quickly running out of May and I don’t want May to end because that means summer is here and OH FUCK GOD PLEASE NOT AGAIN.

You childless people don’t understand summer. You think summer is so awesome because you get to wear skimpy clothing and rent out timeshares in some beach town and throw parties where you hollow out an ice luge and all your buddies take turns CRUSHING Firewater shots. Well, fuck you. Enjoy summer while you can, before it turns on you and digs its heel into your ASS.

First of all, fuck you right back, Drew. Parenthood is a choice. Don’t get all bitchy at me because you decided to do to your life what Daniel Snyder has done to the Washington Redskins. Nobody stuck a gun to your head, grabbed your dick, and jammed it into your wife.  See, the one thing I know about myself is that I would make an absolutely terrible father. That means one the reasons why I made the decision not to be one is not because I know I would be likely to produce a serial killer or worse yet, some sort of Kardashian, but because I know I would totally be that guy who is pulling this exact sort of crybaby bullshit.

My kid’s school ends in the second week of June, and after that I’m DEAD. I am no longer living. Just rip my spine out and use it for suspension bridge cable, because having a child out of school is like having your home invaded by 17 bats. WHERE ARE THEY?! WHAT ARE THEY DOING?! THEY GOT INTO THE SUGAR JAR NOOOOOOO!

If you have young kids, there’s no recourse for you. Shockingly, there are NO summer day camps that last from the last day of school to the first, and there should be. Day camps go on a week-by-week schedule and they cost a FORTUNE. You’ll pay $500 a week for astronaut camp and your kid will be there from 9-10:30 three days a week watching old film-strip summaries of Disney’s The Black Hole. It’s worthless. And you can’t send your kids to overnight camp because they aren’t ready for it yet. My folks once sent my sister to overnight camp for eight weeks when she was, like, 7. To this day, she still reams them out over it. But I totally understand their methodology.

With all due respect Drew, because normally I love your rants, but fuck you again. You either should have known the job was dangerous when you took it, or you didn’t do the required reading. All I had to do to know I could never hack parenthood is to look at people who had kids.  They all look like extras from the “Walking Dead;” complete with the sunken, sleep-deprived eyes, shuffling “please shoot me in the face” gait, and ragged clothing perfumed by the pungent aroma of puke and/or baby shit and not the foul stench of death (yet).  All this means because you didn’t understand exactly what you were getting into, you think you get to make the same justification your parents did to ship your kids off to Camp Sandusky, where the likelihood that something horrible can happen to them is A-OK with you so long as you can get a weekend pretending you are a drunken, degenerate college student again.

You can try and take your kids to the pool, but every public pool is overcrowded and populated with fat people who buy all the chocolate éclairs from the ice cream guy before you have a chance to. Or you can join a country club for $80,000 a summer, which everyone can totally afford. Even local pool clubs charge hundreds or thousands of dollars for membership and have endless waiting lines. And if you join a pool, it doesn’t improve things because you have to spend every second at the pool making sure your kids don’t drown or that they don’t get splashed in the face by some punk teenager doing can openers in the shallow end. THAT IS NOT A SAFE JUMPING AREA, YOU TWAT.

Chocolate éclairs at the pool? Really? Now I know why you had kids. Any man who eats chocolate éclairs at the pool is obviously only a few credits shy of his degree from Gay University, and we all know there’s a ton of men out their hiding their “Rainbow” flag behind a wife and kids.

Not to mention, that “punk twat teenager” started out as a kid just like yours. Twat teenagers come from twat parents… never forget that. I’m not saying this will necessarily happen to your kid, Drew, but this Nancy-Boy rant of yours really isn’t a good indicator of where things are headed at the Magary household.

And you can’t go to any movies because all the good movies are PG-13, and your kids are too delicate to be subjected to them. My mom saw Avengers before I did. For real. She sent me an email this morning calling it, “Excitement personified.” Because my mom is apparently Larry King. Goddammit I wanna see that shit.

Which takes us to another time I had to call out a guy of whom I am usually am a huge fan. A while back, Dan Patrick told a story on his radio show about taking one of his daughters to see the movie “Black Swan.” Again, this is simply a case of not doing the required reading. First of all, any movie about ballerinas is bound to be messed up because ballerinas are messed up. Face it, every ballerina on the planet is an eating-disordered, performance-anxiety charged toe-standing ball of neurosis.  Secondly, ballet is messed up in and of itself; every ballet ever written is about murder, suicide, incest, or any of a hundred other not-so-family friendly topics.  So, even if you didn’t read up on how disturbing this movie is, you should have known that going to ANY movie about ballet was a risky proposition. Therefore, I have no sympathy for anybody who didn’t do their homework and ended up sitting next to their 14-year old daughter through two hours of suicidal visions, masturbation, and lesbian sex. What did we learn, Dan? Learn what you are getting into before you get into it.

School should be year-round. It should begin at 8 in the morning, go till 6 at night, and there should NEVER be any days off. Not weekends. Not holidays. Not for some bullshit teacher conference that I know is just an orgy at a local Days Inn. And definitely not for the hottest three months of the year, when everyone is sweating and crowding each other and being horrible. School should always be there to pick up my kids, whisk them away, and dump them back off. FOR FREE. None of this, “Hey, let’s take three months off so parents can have quality time with their kids!” nonsense. That’s crap. If I wanted to spend three months with a child, I would get a Jersey Shore share with Daulerio.  Summer must be destroyed forever.

Now for the part that really pisses me off. Just because you fired a nail gun into your own face, you want me to bleed with you.  Fuck you number three, Drew.  If you didn’t want to spend three months with a child, then don’t have one.  Why don’t you get all the other parents together and create boarding schools so you can all enjoy the perks of destroying your wives via pregnancy without having to deal with those Faustian, blood-sucking little nightmares you made? It’s bad enough I have to deal with all your little bastards when you let them run loose in every neighborhood in America; you aren’t getting into my wallet for it as well.

In other words, you signed up for this duty. Quit your bitching, pay for your own mistakes, and stop hating me because I did my homework.


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