lohud.com

Sponsored by:

Faceoff

Rick Carpiniello and Sam Borden debate the the hottest topics in sports

Question #164: Should the Rangers buy or sell?

Sam Borden
March
3

With the NHL trading deadline a day away, the Rangers are faced with a decision that most teams would prefer to avoid: Buy or sell?

Obviously the ideal situation would be to be in such great shape that buying (or, even better, just standing pat) is clearly the right choice. Unfortunately, the Rangers are on the proverbial fence. They could go either way and legitimately make a case that it’s the best decision for them.

In my mind, though, selling is a mistake. While it’s tough to outright expect Glen Sather to deliver any kind of big upgrade at the deadline (since he hasn’t exactly done very well then in past years), the notion of giving up on this season doesn’t fly with me. I think any time you have as good a goalie as King Henrik, that’s the kind of foundation that puts you in position to succeed if you can pull of the right kind of move.

Should the Rangers give up early draft picks? I’d rather they didn’t. But this isn’t the NFL. The Rangers have decent enough pieces, starting with Lundqvist, that pulling out is a cop-out. Selling isn’t always the worst strategy. It just isn’t the right one for this team.

CARP SAYS:

If you’ve brought in a new coach and you’re going to bring in Sean Avery, then that says to me that Sather is buying. I think that’s the absolute wrong move at this point—giving up prospects, young players or draft picks for a Keith Tkachuk or a Bill Guerin type. That will come back to haunt in the long run.

Unless you believe this team, as currently constituted, can actually challenge—can actually make a run toward the finals—then that’s just crazy and short-sighted. But I do think, with the coaching change, the Avery claim, and with Dolan’s and Sather’s track records, that they will go for it this year. I wonder if they actually believe the Rangers are one or two players away (They are: if one is named Gretzky or Lemieux, the other Leetch).

I’m on record: Bad move. Sell.

Posted by Sam Borden on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 at 9:33 am |
Category: 1
| | 13 Comments »

Question #163: What will A-Rod’s numbers be in 2009?

Sam Borden
February
26

So Alex Rodriguez got his first taste “road fans” yesterday in Dunedin, Fla., though to be honest, as someone who has been to Dunedin (which is pronounced “Done-eee-din,” by the way), it’s not exactly Fenway Park.

Either way, A-Rod seemed to do fine. The fans booed, there were some “A-Fraud” t-shirts (or at least one or two) and then Rodriguez went out and hit a home run anyway as the Yankees beat the Blue Jays in their spring opener.

So here’s the question: What will A-Rod’s numbers be this year? In other words, will the steroid admission + perpetual backlash/questions/investigations/other-revelations = A down year?

I think it will. Not hugely, not to the point where Rodriguez is mediocre. But I don’t think A-Rod will win the MVP this year and I don’t think he’ll have the career year out of spite that some people think he’ll produce.

I think he’ll be good. Pretty good, even. But not awesome. Not $25 million good. And to me, that’ll have to be counted as a real disappointment.

What will the numbers look like? I’m guessing something like this: .293, 31 HR, 105 RBI, .390 OBP. Pretty good, but not awesome. At least not A-Rod awesome.

Would you take that? Fans don’t often care about the payroll (since it’s not their money anyway) but paying over $20 million for a guy ought to promise a little more, no?

 CARP SAYS:

I think all this controversy will have the opposite effect. I predict a monster year for A-Rod, maybe 48 homers or more, 130 RBI, .300. I don’t know if he’ll do any better in the clutch situations.

But I expect the field to be his sanctuary, and I think he will be motivated by the bad-mouthing from the stands. (Plus, I don’t believe for a minute that he’s off the stuff, and I never will).

In addition, the Yankees offense should be better this year for these reasons: Teixiera. Cano will be better, and Cabrera may also. Matsui and Posada should be relatively healthy, at least at the start.

I am also interested to see — and nobody can possibly have the answer to this yet — how the ball travels in the new stadium, even with the exact same field dimensions. The only thing we know is that when it gets over the wall it will be grabbed by someone who doesn’t have as much money in his pocket as he did at the old stadium.

Posted by Sam Borden on Thursday, February 26th, 2009 at 8:52 am |
Category: 1
| | 7 Comments »

Advertisement

Question #162: Will Steph in Boston bother you?

Carp
February
25

Now that the Stephon Marbury era has ended, will it bug you to see him in Celtic green? Do you think his very presence can bring down a champion? Or do you think he will help Boston repeat?

I have to toot my own horn here. I was one of the few who predicted the Knicks would give Marbury the Larry Brown treatment and just sit him and let him collect his salary (nearly $21 million). The strategy, I figured, was to hope for Marbury to do something egregious enough to forfeit some of the money, since he had no interest in negotiating a buyout for a lesser number.

Nor, I thought, should he take less. As distasteful as I’ve always found him as a person, the Knicks signed him to that contract and should have been responsible for it, even after he refused to play in their moment of desperation in November.

So, it turns out, apparently Marbury got all his money and now gets to go play with another team, presumably the NBA champs. How does that make you feel as a Knicks fan? Will you feel even worse if he plays well up there in Boston? Or are you just glad to get his snarling face out of here?

11:35 a.m., Sam says:

Sam Borden

Well, the Knicks DID save a few million bucks, it seems, so that’s something. But yes, essentially Marbury gets his money to go away. Not bad work if you can get it.

Seeing him in Boston won’t bother me at all, mostly because I don’t necessarily think we’ll actually see him in Boston that much. The Celtics need a little depth, yes, but if Marbury does anything – complains about not playing enough, is a distraction in any way, has sex with an intern in his truck and talks about it – that doesn’t jibe with the team concept, I think the Celtics will cut him loose and not lose any sleep about it. In other words, I’m not convinced he’ll be there come season’s end anyway.

If he is? No worries. The Knicks are better off without Marbury and, truthfully, I’m not sure any team is better off with him. At least not one that’s interested in winning on a consistent basis. Marbury’s talent can’t be ignored but he’s just not an ingredient for long-term success. I’ll be curious to see how Kevin Garnett deals with having Marbury around again, now that he’s finally in a spot where winning titles isn’t just a pipe dream.

Don’t fret, Knicks fans. Even if Marbury does OK in Boston, the Knicks are better off. This is the definition of addition by subtraction.

Posted by Carp on Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 at 11:02 am |
Category: 1
| | Comments Off on Question #162: Will Steph in Boston bother you?

Question #161: What’s a reasonable expectation for Torts?

Sam Borden
February
24

I think we can all agree that the Rangers making a coaching change wasn’t unexpected. As I argued last week, I wasn’t so sure that Tom Renney being let go was necessarily the appropriate move for the Rangers to make right at this moment, but I can’t go crazy over it – whether it was now or after the season, it seemed like an eventuality.

So now the question is: What’s next?

John Tortorella comes with a good reputation, a hard-nosed reputation, a reputation for being the kind of coach that holds his players to the fire. Not surprisingly, that’s the opposite of Renney. But can Tortorella deliver the opposite results?

I still don’t see how the Rangers are going to score many more goals. Renney utilized a duck-and-cover approach primarily because that is what he had to work with – a great goalie and some varied offensive players. Can Tortorella find magic where Renney didn’t?

My expectations are no different than they were yesterday. I expect the Rangers to make the playoffs. If Lundqvist gets hot, I expect them to even win a round or two. If he doesn’t, I expect them to go home.

What do you expect?

CARP SAYS:

Sorry again for the delay. I was over at Rangers practice. Here’s exactly what I expect from Tortorella. I expect them to play harder, and for them to appear to be playing harder, too, because of his aggressive system. “We don’t trap” was Tortorella’s edict today.

So I expect they will score more goals just from style. But they may also score more goals because I think he will use Scott Gomez, as a perfect example, in a way that suits Gomez’s skills. And more goals will surely come from the power play, which has to get better because it has to get better because it has to. It can’t get worse.

The question I have, though, is how many goals will the Rangers give up? I expect Henrik Lundqvist to be better when he doesn’t have the burden of having to hold his opponent to one goal, or none, in order to have a chance to win. But will the Rangers’ defense, and their attacking system, leave him all alone and expect him to bail them out the way the govermnent is bailing out everybody else?

I expect Tortorella to find out if Petr Prucha can help, if Wade Redden has anything left, if Chris Drury is a leader and a first-line player.

I still think this is a flawed team, though. I expect it will have a hard time getting into the playoffs, and I do not expect it to survive the first round. And I think, truly, this team should not make any trades of young players or draft picks in order to either sneak into the playoffs, or to win a round. The goal has to be improvement next year and in the years to come, because this team isn’t close enough to mortgage anything now.

But I do expect the Rangers will be a lot more interesting to watch, starting tomorrow. Starting today, actually.

Posted by Sam Borden on Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 at 10:10 am |
Category: 1
| | 3 Comments »

Question #160: Does Girardi’s personality matter?

Carp
February
23

Man, do we need some baseball. Not ‘Roids and HGH and all. We need some actual baseball. Because there’s nothing happening around here. Hockey? Have you tried to watch the Rangers lately? Hoops? Yes, the Knicks are better than they’ve been, but that bar’s so low that “better” is still pretty bad. Football? Uh, sorry, can’t get pumped over the combine. Golf? Well, Tiger’s coming back, so that will be interesting, but it’s match play this week and he could be out before the weekend.

So we need baseball. Actual baseball.

Which brings me to this question, because it has been discussed when people aren’t discussing ‘Roids. Does it really matter to Yankees fans if Joe Girardi is good with the media, bad with the media, gentlemanly, prickly, or what? Does that actually reflect on how he runs his team?

Or is there anything to this idea that his personality actually had an effect on his team not making the playoffs? Was it really no-candy rule in the clubhouse? Or his mis-handling of Robinson Cano? And will that have to change now with the A-Roid circus going on for, oh, the next nine years?

11:21 a.m., Sam says:

Sam Borden

First off, I agree – a little baseball talk is absolutely welcomed around here. I love a scandal as much as the next guy, but it’s good to get into something on-field related, too.

In terms of Girardi, I think today is a perfect example: The man just canceled a full workout and took the team to a pool hall to play some billiards and have some lunch. A little unity-building for the Yankees — it’s a smart move.

The manager’s mood is a oft-debated subject in sports and I think it does matter, probably more than people outside the game give it credit for.

Think of it this way: Does your boss’ demeanor affect the way you work and feel while on the job? Can it help (or ruin) your day?

I think Girardi’s handling of the players and public persona with the media absolutely make a difference, if only because it’s reflected on (and reflective in) the team he runs. GM Brian Cashman made a big point this offseason of saying Girardi’s dealings with the media were something he needed to work on big-time this season, and I think you’ll see a little less General Girardi – both with players and reporters – this season. Today is a perfect example.

CARP SAYS:

Dealing with the media is a tricky thing, and in my experience, guys who are good with the media: Joe Torre, Tom Renney, Jim Fassel … they tend to get a wider benefit of the doubt in times of trouble, than, say the old Tom Coughlin, or Jeff Torborg, or Eric Mangenius. Jeff Van Gundy was treated better than Isiah Thomas. But that had to do with ability more than personality. Yet personality counted in the equation. Heck, in the early going, people actually liked Isiah.

But in the long run, bottom line, it’s Ws and Ls. I think Girardi has to hold people accountable, more so than last year (with Cano being the obvious example) and more than, for example, Renney has done with the Rangers this season. Whether he is friendly and playful with the media, or liked by the media, is secondary … by a lot.

11:51 a.m., Sam says:

Sam Borden

Cano is definitely the litmus – he’s the kind of player that you have to handle just right. Too hard, you can lose him in a pool of anger or irritation; too soft and he’ll get complacent or arrogant. Larry Bowa obviously found the right mix when he was coaching under Joe Torre and it’ll be interesting to see if anyone on this year’s staff can discover the winning formula.

Girardi knowns he’s under the gun this year. Another season without success (read: ALCS) and he could be on the way out, so he’ll be open to trying anything.

Posted by Carp on Monday, February 23rd, 2009 at 10:47 am |
Category: 1
| | 4 Comments »

Question #159: When is Renney’s last day?

Sam Borden
February
19

I was at the Rangers-Islanders game last night at MSG and wrote a column about Tom Renney, the coach who has been getting the “Isiah treatment” from the crowd in recent weeks. There were definitely some boos and a few catcalls toward Renney during the game, but a 3-1 win – and a game where the Rangers never trailed – actually made for a relatively serene environment. But yet …

We know that it won’t take much for that sentiment to revert again. The Rangers’ inconsistency this season – first place team at the start, last-place-style team as we near the homestretch – has put Renney squarely in the crosshairs and it’s something he’s well aware of. He admitted last night that he absolutely reads about his team because he considers it crucial to knowing how to best motivate the players. At the least, I respect his honesty since most coaches/managers act like the media/public perception of their teams doesn’t exist.

The question today, though, is how long will Renney last?

Carp, you wrote earlier this week you could see a scenario in which Renney goes before the season is out and it’s hard not to agree. But as I wrote today, I think that would be foolish. First, I don’t believe it would do anything positive for the Rangers – they are what they are because of their talent, not their coach – and second, I think they’d be better served to make a change in the offseason, then do an in-depth search for a new coach who could help get the team back on course.

My answer to the question, therefore, is that he’ll last three days after the last day of the season – barring that last day coming in the conference finals or beyond. Carp?

CARP SAYS:

Good column today, Sam. You hit it on the head. You can’t pile this all up on Renney.

However, as I’ve watched more and more, you do have to call him on a few issues.

First and foremost is the lack of accountability from among the team’s highest-paid players. When Chris Drury or Scott Gomez or Wade Redden get shift after shift after shift during dreadful performances, and Nik Zherdev gets benched for one of his bad games, or Petr Prucha can’t get into the lineup, then that’s an awful message. You paint those guys as untouchable, and you don’t push them to be better. If they aren’t better, then they will eventually cost the Rangers their season and the coach his job.

Second, the power play has to lay at the feet of the coaching staff. It is beyond bad. I know there isn’t a lot of pure goal-scoring skill on the roster, but you’ve got to do better than this team has. And at some point — it has finally begun to happen — you take the non-performing “stars” off the power play. You just have to. Redden goes months without a power-play point? You can’t keep throwing him out there. You have to try something else.

The main argument from the Renney-haters is that he stifles his team’s offensive players with his system. I think it’s the other way around, though, that Renney understands his team will be lucky to get more than two goals in a given night (Henrik Lundqvist even said that yesterday) and so he has to play a system that will try to hold the opponent to two or one or none most nights. Is that dull? Yup. Is that his only hope? Probably.

My bottom line on whether he is fired or not is this: Do you think Glen Sather is capable of finding a coach better? Or even as good? Or is it more likely he will hire a croney who will do worse?

2:55 p.m., Sam says:

Sam Borden

Thanks, Carp, and thanks also to those of you who have emailed me today about the column. It’s a very, very difficult situation to pinpoint with the Rangers right now: How much blame do you give Renney, Sather and the players? And how much does one’s failures impact the rest?

Carp makes a good point. There are no guarantees that Sather would hire a decent coach even if he has the benefit of a lengthier offseason search, though I still think that is the better approach than making an in-season move.

I also agree with the power play blame going to the coaches. A man advantage is a man advantage – if you don’t have pure snipers, you have to design an approach that utilizes more movement or otherwise puts your players in position to use their abilities.

Here’s a query for you, Carp, and all you other puck-heads: Who’s the best coaching option out there if the Rangers do go looking? Who do you want to see?

CARP SAYS:

Sorry for the delay there, Sam. I give you one name. Back in 2000, when Sather was hired, the interim coach of the Rangers was John Tortorella. Sather didn’t even bother to interview him because, I guess, he wanted to completely clear out the strench of the previous seasons. Then four years later Tortorella won a Stanley Cup in Tampa.

He’s available, he could handle New York — although he is pretty hot-headed and stubborn — and I think he’d be a great fit. I also happen to like the guy because I got to know him pretty well in his last stint, and even when he was in Tampa he’d spend lots of time talking to the New York writers when we visited. So maybe I’m biased toward him.

But there are plenty of coaches available — people mention Ted Nolan, but I think he burned his last bridge with the Islanders, where he didn’t exactly help the rebuilding process with the young players there — and there will be even more available when the season ends. Another reason to wait, because no coach is coming in here and turning the Rangers into Cup contenders this year.

Posted by Sam Borden on Thursday, February 19th, 2009 at 8:10 am |
Category: 1
| | 4 Comments »

Question #158: How did A-Rod do today?

Sam Borden
February
17

Hello, all. I’m back after a week in the unpaid-journalism hinterland, and it’s a pleasure to rejoin you.

Today’s question is an obvious one, as the biggest story in sports is about Alex Rodriguez. He’ll meet the media in a 1:30 p.m. press conference that is, quite literally, taking place under a tent at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. Insert your own “circus” reference here.

A-Rod has a chance today. Not to put the steroid story completely behind him because, let’s face it, that isn’t going to happen. He is the best player in the game and he admitted that his accomplishments aren’t clean. That’s not something you wipe off in a day or even two or three.

But A-Rod can do himself, and the Yankees, a lot of good today. He’s got a ton of advisers, people who are supposed to tell him what to do to make himself look the best in the public eye. And today, that means coming clean. Here are the questions that weren’t asked by Peter Gammons on ESPN a week ago, but almost surely will be (or should be) today:

1. When, exactly, have you taken PEDs in your life? What years and for how long?
2. Who gave them to you on each occasion?
3. How is it possible that you are incredibly careful about what food you eat, among other things, yet you don’t remember what substances you ingested when you were taking PEDs?
4. Do you believe you cheated?

These are just the top few that come to mind. What questions would you ask? Let’s see what Carp is looking for today and then be sure to check back throughout the day for reviews of A-Rod’s performance.

CARP SAYS:

Welcome back, Sam. We missed you. A lot has happened since you were gone, as you may have surmised.

As for A-Roid, I’m not sure what questions need to be asked, because I’m sure a lot of the good ones won’t be answered. A-Rod is going to lie when he has to lie, and he’s going to dance around some of those “none-of-your-business” questions. Frankly, when somebody asks “did you take the steroids orally or have them injected into your $252 million butt?” I don’t blame A-Roid if he says, “none of your business.”

And what good is it for him to answer silly questions like that? He’s not going to tell us where he got the drugs, or from whom, and he’s not going to implicate anybody else in any way. He’s not going to tell us which of his former or current teammates were on the stuff. And when he’s asked if he used the ‘roids or the HGH before or since the admitted ’01-03 period, he’s going to say “No” even if he has and/or still is using.

There is nothing A-Roid can say today that’s going to convince me he is not still using an undetectable drug, and today I am more firmly convinced that the usage is probably as rampant as ever, only now guys have smartened up to the point where they won’t get caught anymore.

And, frankly, I am quite tired of hearing how the Yankees have his back, and I think this whole idea of teammates showing up to support Rordiguez is a feeble attempt at intimidation. Also, I fully expect some idiotic questions, because this press conference is going to include media foofs from all walks, including news magazines, celeb shows, etc. It would have been better for A-Rod to do two press conferences, one for the actual baseball writers and one for everybody else. One where important, intelligent questions could be asked, and another that could have rivaled Super Bowl Media Day.

2:35 p.m., Sam says:
Sam Borden

First reaction to A-Rod’s meeting with the press? Mine was more of a feeling of incompleteness. Did A-Rod come clean? I guess so, but I think he also made some statements that were pretty unbelievable.

The notion that A-Rod was injected twice a month for three years by his “cousin” and was a) OK with that; b) unsure that he was doing anything wrong; and c) unclear on whether it was actually helping his performance seems borderline ridiculous. What was your first reaction?

CARP SAYS:

Part of me wants to believe A-Rod, to feel sorry for him, to buy his excuse that he was young and stupid, and mostly that he will, moving forward, make an attempt to “make the world a better place” by being involved in anti-drug programs.

I really do want to believe that. But for some reason, I give no credence to anything this guy says because he has proven to be such a louse when he leaves the baseball field, because of how he has treated his wife and family, how he couldn’t get out of the all-star game soon enough, how he pretty much takes the low road every time he reaches a fork.

He sounds sincere. Now he has to show me. And I’m not sure he can ever convince me that he’s clean and that he has changed in any way.

Also, Sam, I don’t know if you saw a classic letter from a reader in one of the New York papers this weekend. I’ll paraphrase because I don’t have it word for word, but it went: “I’m no doctor, but apparently steroids stop working on Oct. 1.”

You know, too, Sam, that this isn’t over. The cousin is now going to be checked out by all those investigative reporting teams. That’s just the start.

3:05 p.m., Sam says:
Sam Borden

That’s the thing – he alway messes things up. The idea behind this whole press conference was for A-Rod to address the issue and, hopefully, make strides to putting it behind him so the Yankees wouldn’t be distracted by it. Instead, Rodriguez added to his story – something he seems to do a lot, which is a curious practice for a guy who says he wants to be truthful – and created another layer to the whole scenario. Now there is going to be a mad rush to find out who this cousin is, where, exactly, A-Rod bought the drugs and who he talked to about it while it was going on. There’s also going to be investigation into A-Rod’s claim that he “dabbled” with amphetamines and “Ripped Fuel” while in Seattle, since amphetamines are now banned by MLB as well.

In other words, if A-Rod was hoping to start putting this issue behind him, he failed miserably.

Posted by Sam Borden on Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 at 9:44 am |
Category: 1
| | 14 Comments »

Question #157: Where is Favre’s place?

Joe Erwin
February
12

Brett Favre might hold most of the passing records in the NFL, but he’s not the best quarterback ever. In fact, I don’t think Favre makes the top five, and maybe not the top 10.

When the Giants lost the coin toss to the Packers in the NFC championship game a year ago, I was at work and remarked to a co-worker, “Favre will end this quickly one way or another.” You knew either a big completion or a big interception was coming. As Giants fans know, it was Corey Webster who caught the pass, not a Packers receiver, and the rest was history.

In contrast, when Joe Montana took the ball needed to go 92 yards to beat the Bengals and win his fourth Super Bowl, I never had a doubt Montana would take the 49ers down the field and win the game. I think that’s the test: Who do you want with the ball in the clutch? I’d put Montana first. I don’t remember watching Johnny Unitas play, but from all accounts, he’s right up there with Montana. John Elway lost a couple of Super Bowls before winning two, but I’d take him over Favre if I needed a big drive.

Favre is a lock for Canton and deservedly so, but I still put him a notch below the quarterback pantheon.

What’s your take, Carp?

 CARP SAYS:

 I agree, Joe. Favre is in the “next” group when you talk about all-timers. I mean, in no particular order, I think Montana, Unitas, Starr, Marino, Bradshaw, Elway, Brady and Manning were all better, and there were probably more ahead of Brett the Ex-Jet, including Fouts, Namath, Staubach, Aikman, maybe Jim Kelly and Len Dawson, and probably some old-timers I never saw play.

That said, Favre is a certain Hall of Famer whose greatness dried up on that Corey Webster interception — the Packers probably should not have even been playing in that game, never mind hosting it and ending up a pick away from the Super Bowl — and it was made very clear this year with the Jets that he was done. Yes, he could still throw the ball deep, but that’s like Mickey Mantle hitting 18 homers in his last year. He could still do it once in a while, but batting cleanup? I don’t think so.

More to the point, I think Favre’s presence, while it provided plenty of excitement for a franchise that hasn’t had much, set back the Jets’ progress toward a bright future. That was my column in The Journal News and LoHud.com today. You can see it here.

Posted by Joe Erwin on Thursday, February 12th, 2009 at 2:36 am |
Category: 1
| | Comments Off on Question #157: Where is Favre’s place?

Question #156: Character should count, but does it?

Joe Erwin
February
11

Hi, it’s Joe Erwin filling in for Sam again:

A week ago, the Rangers retired the number of Adam Graves, the quintessential good guy, as much for as what he did off the ice as on it. Now those same Rangers are set to bring back Sean Avery, who will never win a “good guy” award. Unfortunately that’s how it is today. You can be a shady character as long as you perform on the ice, field or court.

So Avery will be cheered at the Garden, if not immediately then the first time he makes a difference in a Rangers victory. And Alex Rodriguez can rehabilitate his image among Yankee fans not with good works but with something not even the best testing lab has been able to discover from him, a big postseason for the Yankees.

You’d love to see your team win with a locker room of people such as Adam Graves or Derek Jeter or Eli Manning, but it doesn’t always work out that way. The 1986 Mets were filled with druggies and ex-druggies and engaged in all sorts of bad behavior. But all Mets fans care about now is that they won it all.

I’d love to take the high ground, but I can’t be a hypocrite. I’ve cheered for the bad guys if they were “my” bad guys. How about you, Carp?

 CARP SAYS:

I’m sure I cheered for bad guys when I was young and naive, and it was surely easier to do when I was a rabid, ranting fan. But that was before I got this job and lost most of my fan-ship.

Once upon a time — I’ve confessed this in the past — I rooted for the Dallas Cowboys. When I was a kid, the Giants didn’t televise home games and you couldn’t get a ticket to see them play very often, so I was one of those TV-generation fans of another city’s team, as was the case with Oakland Raiders fans and to an extent Pittsburgh Steelers fans. I got hooked watching the Ice Bowl in ’67, and rooted for the ‘Boys through the Meredith days, through the Staubach days and beyond.

Now? They couldn’t lose enough games, or by enough points, to make me happy. Why? Because of their creep owner who hired a creep coach in Barry Switzer and began obtaining all the creep players (who joined their own little criminals like Michael Irvin and Leon Lett). Now it is a virtual House of Cretins down there in Big D. 

So, in short, I do think character counts. It is why I’d rather have an Allan Houston than a Stephon Marbury any day. Or a Derek Jeter than an A-Rod. Or a Graves (or for that matter a Blair Betts) than a Sean Avery.

But the Rangers have gone this road before, and my all-time disgusting acquisition was Billy Tibbetts, a sexual-assault convict. Tibbetts also was awful as a player, so his impact was minimal. Avery is a pretty decent player who has high impact on the ice and just as much potential destructive impact in the lockerroom or anywhere else he goes. I wouldn’t want him on my team.

The ’86 Mets are probably more fun in retrospect, as a group that won one of the all-time improbable World Series (improbable because of Game 6, not improbable because they were the best team in baseball at the time). But if you look back now, with the drugs and the drinking and the smoking, and the type of creeps many of them have turned out to be, well, it’s hardly a role-models Hall of Fame.

Posted by Joe Erwin on Wednesday, February 11th, 2009 at 1:41 am |
Category: 1
| | 2 Comments »

Question #155: Is it time to name names?

Joe Erwin
February
10


Hi, this is Joe Erwin filling in for Sam:

I have no sympathy for Alex Rodriguez except for on thing. According to Sports Illustrated, 104 players tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003. As all the heat falls on A-Rod, the other 103 are anonymous.

Somebody out there — including, presumably, the person who leaked Rodriguez’s name — knows who the other 103 players are. So let hear the names.

The original agreement said the test results would be anonymous, but since A-Rod’s anonymity is blown, the other players shouldn’t be entitled to privacy. After all, they DID violate the rules. Let’s get the whole thing out in the open. Maybe with the names out there, the pressure will finally be on the players union to be more upfront, and allow blood-testing for human growth hormone.

Baseball’s dirty little secret has been coming out slowly for years. It’s time for full disclosure. What do you say, Carp?

 CARP SAYS:

Name names? That sounds like Hop Sing from Seinfeld, when Elaine got Ned Izakov black-listed.

Anyway, I don’t see how getting the other 103 names out there helps the situation at all … except that it quenches our thirst for more dirt on more cheaters. I’ve heard the argument the last few days that it might give us some closure, which is ridiculous. When those 104 positives turned up, representing more than the required five percent of all players, baseball was able to implement its still-feeble drug-testing program. And what that did, I believe, was to shove the cheaters toward more advances drugs, more difficult, if not impossible to detect. In my opinion, baseball is likely to employ more cheaters today than in ’03.

I’m on record, for a long time and very vehemently, against the drug cheats.

But I’m going to go in another direction on this one. Not only do I think nobody has the right to release these names, given that they were obtained with a promise of anonymity with the hope of eventually resulting in a testing program. Players were PROMISED anonymity. And after the results were known, the players association didn’t destroy the tests because it wanted to try to challenge some of the results. It had every right to destroy them, and they should have been destroyed.

Further, a court ordered that those tests and their results be sealed, and never made public. But somebody outed A-Roid. If that snitch (there were four sources cited in the Sports Illustrated story) can be found, and if it is somebody official, I think he/she should be prosecuted for violating the promise of anonymity and the court order.

Much as I dislike Rodriguez and his cheating brethren, they have some rights, and this one was violated. And baseball, and the players union, and anybody involved with the 2003 tests has no right to violate any more.

Posted by Joe Erwin on Tuesday, February 10th, 2009 at 1:08 am |
Category: 1
| | 11 Comments »

Advertisement