Posted on: January 4, 2011 3:14 pm

Rafael Palmeiro

Why am I not surprised, after keeping quiet for so long, do I hear Rafael Palmiero speak out, not so coincidentally a week before the vote for baseball's Hall of Fame, just to say "I never took steriods" again?
Apparently, timing is everything.
It seems to me that the last time we saw Palmeiro, he was slinking away from his somewhat fervent declaration of innocence being thrown in his face. It's amazing that these cheats, who never thought that they would be found out, and so quick to deny any involvement, only to have to proven. Then, we get the inevitable, "it was a one time thing, I thought it was something else, it was someone else's fault". What happened to "I didn't do it."?
Yeah, right.
Seeing as how steriods were so rampant in the sport, I would suggest an Amnesty for players. Come out and admit what you did, serve some type of community service project to clear your name, and in exchange, we will restore your good name to the game and make you eligible to participate in Major League baseball again, and it's honors. I still think it was horrible that Mark McGwire was allowed to join the Cardinals as a hitting coach without any type of real reconciliation with the fans that he cheated. There's no denying what players like McGwire, Bonds, Palmiero and Clemens did on the field. For that, they deserve to be recognized as Hall of Famers. At the same time, until they can be real men, and have the character to admit their wrong doings, I don't believe they deserve to be admitted. If Pete Rose can be kept out of the Hall of Fame for his character, it's awfuly hard to justify the inclusion of any of these athletes as well.
It's really kind of a Michael Vick solution. Come nad pay your penalty and then we will give you another chance. At least some good potentially comes from the situation. 
Until someone comes up with an equitable solution for everyone, though, I say leave these guys out- all of them. 
Posted on: September 9, 2010 10:22 pm

College football is back!

Yes, college football is back, and with a vengeance. This year, we started off the BCS debate in Day three with Boise State's win over Virginia Tech. My first thought is, despite the great win:

Is Boise State going to play a schedule worthy of the SEC?  No.
Do they play a schedule wothy of the Big 12?  No.
Big 10?  No.
Big East?  Well, maybe.

And what does this mean? Nothing! College football has not had a legitimate championship ever. You don't win through sportswriter or coach votes. You win through earning it on the field. I don't care if you are Boise State or Arkansas State. Play your schedule and let's take the best 16 and play it down. It's very simple, but just like in politics, people in very expensive suits will tell you why common sense should not prevail and that the system is working.
It doesn't work and it never will.
Give Boise State props for being one of 10, at most, teams that will travel to take on a Top 15 team. That's rare.  Should they be in a National Championship game insted of a 11-1 Alabama. Florida or Texas? Of course not. Should they have a 12-0 season, should they be one of 16 teams invited to participate in a National Championship playoff? ABSOLUTELY!!!
It's a simple system. College football, without a playoff, means nothing. It's obvious and anyone that can tell you with a straight face that the current BCS system makes sense is either biased or employed by someone with a vested interest in that system.
Good luck to all the teasms. It's a shame that money wiins over principles with the NCAA and no real champion will be crowned yet again in 2011. 
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: February 17, 2010 1:53 pm

My "Larry King" blog

I woke up this morning and did a lot of reading and so many things burst forward from the pages that I have all these scattered thoughts, so what better than to do a "Larry King"-like blitzkreig of thought sharing?

I saw on CBS Sportsline that 48% of respondants think the Winter Olympics are boring. Really? But, that reality show programming, that's excitement, huh?

28% of people in an ESPN the Mag poll answered that they think God takes an active role in determining the outcome of sporting events. Is there a way to make sure that these people are not allowed to vote?

Is there ANY chance Brett Favre can learn something from Kurt Warner relative to the proper (i.e., classy) way to retire?

I think Bob Costas should be the next Commisioner of Baseball. Unfortunately, I'm sure the baseball owners wouldn't agree.

Do people the think that the Cubs are really going to be better just because they got rid of Milton Bradley? Then, why does everyone think Seattle is going to be better when they've just got Milton Bradley?

Why can't college coaches be limited as to the timing that they can take a new job?

Why do so many people attend the NFL Pro Bowl or the NBA All-Star games? Zzzzzzzzzz........

Why is so hard for so many College Basketball coaches to behave like rational human beings when they coach? And, why don't referees just throw them out? They are an embarrassment to themselves and their Universities. If a player acted like that, no one would stand for it.

No matter how you try to spin it, the PGA is not the same without Tiger on the course.

Speaking of golf, is it really that hard to outlaw the use of a 30 year old club? If so, can't the Players uniformly agree not to use it?

Does the NFL draft go on for 8 months or does it just seem like it?

Pitchers and catchers are reporting? Great, can the snow go away now?

Why doesn't the NHL give three points for a win and two for a shootout win? Put the emphasis on really winning the game when you are actually playing the game. I'm glad baseball plays extra innings instead of having a home run contest.

How much of Sports "journalism" is merely "20-20 hindsight". It's easy to make all the right decisions after the game, isn't it? I wonder how stupid Sean Payton would have been if the Colts had recovered the onside kick and went 40 yards for a TD?

Why is NCAA football so concerned about a player making an emotional gesture after a good play, as long as it's not unsportsmanlike? There's a big difference between an end zone celebration and screaming into an opponents face.

I just can't get into NBA basketball. It seems like it's all going through the motions for 3/4 of the game until the playoffs start.

Do we really need so many events in the Winter Olympics? I don't even get half of them. Pairs ice dancing?

How is it that baseball is not an Olympic sport when synchronized swimming is?

Why doesn't the NFL expand into Canada and save those poor people from Canadian football? Put teams in Toronto and Vancouver to start.

Hey, Jarrod Washburn, was pitching for the Twins for $5 million really that bad of a deal? 

What happened to the LPGA? Did the last Commissioner just sell the whole tour?

I love soccer, so I'm sure my taste in televised sports can be attacked. But, bowling? Fun to play, but not to watch. Sorry.

Speaking of soccer, drop the offside rule once the ball passes midfield. Half the linesmen screw up the calls anyway.

I'll also take the flak on this one, but in hockey, if you fight, you get ejected. Period. Don't want it. Don't need it.

To wrap up, kudos to Stephen Colbert for sponsoring the USA speed skaters. Why don't more of our extremely well compensated entertainers, politicians and athletes step up and sponsor some of these people representing our country?


Category: General
Posted on: February 17, 2010 1:09 pm

The NCAA field. How many is too many?

There has been a lot of speculation regarding the make-up of future NCAA Basketball tournaments. A the NCAA has an "out" option on their contract with CBS, it is said that strong consideration is being given to expanding the tournament.
Now, of course, the NCAA wouldn't be doing this for any potential financial considerations. They simply feel it's time to get more teams involved in the tournament. They've always proven that money is not a motivator for them in terms of making the best decisions possible on behalf of the student athletes. That's why, for example, that athletes aren' allowed to transfer schools without sitting out a year, but a coach can quit at halftime of one game and be on the sidelines of another school for the second half if his agent can make the paperwork happen that fast! It's also why there can be no National Championship in football, because the current slate of exhibition games is so much better for the players.
So, in looking into the future of this cash grab, I started wondering just how many teams would the NCAA let in to the tournament. It seems the current speculation favors either 68 teams, with 4 play-in games as opposed to 1 or 96, with a some number of teams, presumably 32, playing into 16 spots.
I suppose the answer to the question is "what's the right number to give the NCAA the highest fee package?" Unfortunately for us, that means we could have a 320 team tournament on the Versus Network in our future.
Boy, there are really going to make it hard to fit all this on a one page bracket!
I think that with the potential of increased finances involved, it's a given that the tournament will expand, and frankly, I think it should. It's not too much of a stretch to believe that a UConn, or a Louisville, could run the whole table on the thing, and right now, they are barely qualifying for the tournament. OK, it's a stretch, but still, not totally unbelievable. My personal opinion is that 80 teams works best. First of all, that's roughly a quarter of all Division 1 teams, which I believe is enough for a Championship playoff concept. Second, it's a nice round number. We can start with the Elite 80 and find another superlative for the Final 8! 
It works out very nicely, 48 teams get a first round bye and 32 play for 16 spots. That's 16 games that get played Tuesday and Wednesday, with the Tuesday winners playing Thursday and, potentially, Saturday and the Wednesday winners playing Friday, and potentially Sunday. I'm certain the bracketeers can design a nifty little format for an 80 team bracket and the first 16 games can be played either the planned first round venues or four sites can be selected asrotating or permanent play-in sites, as Dayton seems to be now for the existing play-in.
Now, of course, as in a football play-of, this all seems to make too much sense. I don't like the 96 teams idea, because that starts to make the process too much like the NHL and NBA which have polluted the value of their regular season by letting in so many teams that some teams that qualify aren't even at .500 winning percentages!  
Here's the ground rules I would go with.
All Conference regular season Champions go. The tournament winners of the Top 20 rated Conferences go. The other conferences should scrap their tourneys. Heck, none of them make any money unless they are at a homecourt and that's hardly a fair way to select a Conference representative anyway. Take any team that wins 24 games, regardless of conference. Take any team that wins 16 away games. No one will go play a good mid-major at their place now, so this would give a bigger conference school a reason to go play at a Siena, Niagara, Western Kentucky, Northern Iowa, St. Mary's, etc., which would be great for those programs.
So, NCAA, take the middle road, forget the 96 and go with 80. Oh, and try to keep the games on a Network that we can all watch, will you? We'd all appreciate that! 
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 21, 2010 10:55 am

Tim Tebow gets a convert ......sort of

I will admit that I was never a big Tim Tebow fan. I'm not much on college football since they can't decide on a manner to award a Championship other than through having biased sportswriter and coaches vote, so I don't follow or care for the college game much.
Tebow has always turned me off due to the non-stop proselytizing I've heard from him, something that always amuses me when it comes to sports figures and events.
However, Tebow's recent meeting with a young person that I happen to know and his decision to invite her for a once in a lifetime evening, which was not planned or staged in any way, has made me rethink my thoughts on him.
Whatever a person's motivation, to reach out and do something great, something selfless, something truly meaningful to another person, that is something to be admired. I may question Tebow's religious convictions. I don't happen to agree with many of his beliefs. However, I cannot question his actions. If a person truly believes whatever it is they believe, and that causes them to do good things and live a postive, contributing life, then I can support their beliefs in whatever their convictions are.
Tebow will be catching support and flak for the anti-abortion commercial that is to air the night of the Super Bowl. It's obviously a very personal issue for him as he was a fetus that could have been aborted. While I do not agree with his postion, I totally support his right to his beliefs, and also support his acting as a spokeperson for the message. He is honest and not motivated by anything other than his faith and personal convictions.
So, while I will continue to challenge the sanity of anyone that believes that there is a God who cares who wins an athletic contest and is somehow involved in it, in any way shape or form, I am changing my attitude about the people whose religion inspires them to do good things. I will now be a Tim Tebow fan, because he embodies what religion and faith are supposed to be about. He is not a phony, not trying to use religion as an income or publicity generator. He's just a kid who has been brought up with faith and is living his life in a postive contributing manner. That's a very good thing and something that should be emulated. A lot of people make the same positive contributions without the religious overtones, and I've always admired that, but I can now see more clearly that with those overtones or not, if the outcome is so genuine and positive, then we should celebrate that result, not insult the motivation.
Thanks for being the postive role model that you are, Tim. We don't have to agree on religious matters, but we can agree that you are doing very good things for people and that should be noted and commended.
Category: NCAAF
Tags: Florida, Tebow
Posted on: January 12, 2010 6:03 pm

Mark McGwire

I'm sorry, I'm having a hard time shedding any tears for Mark McGwire. He, and others of his ilk, (ilk is never a very positive reference, is it?) can hide behind the "we never did anything against the rules" schtick, but let's face it, they knew they were in the wrong. It just didn't matter to them. Personal accomplishment and achievement mattered more. Now, by coming on TV and giving us the time honored Jimmy Swaggert bit and crying about how they let themselves, and their fans down, and that they are truly sorry, well, we're just supposed to forgive and forget and move on.
No, thanks.
I'm ordinarily a "live and let live" type of guy. But cheating has always rankled me. Living and letting live does not include getting taken advantage of. It does not force you to have the game played unfairly against you.
McGwire has cheated himself, his fans, his opponents, and the history of the game of baseball. His records, his accomplishments and those of his team, should be set aside, and the same for any other admitted steroid abuser.
I truly feel the only reason that McGwire submitted himself to this is that he has now determined that he wants to get back into the game, and by not addressing it, it would have haunted him on every road trip, and every interview that was requested of him. So, he chose to deal with it. Now, I'm sure, he will tell us to "move on". "It's all in my past".
That's fine, but let's move on without you, Mark.
Unfortunately, you can tell from what's coming down from the Commissioner's Office, that there is no justice going to be applied in this case. No suspension. No investigation. No penalty of any kind. Instead we hear that Mark is courageous.
No, sir.
Courageous is doing something selfless. It's doing something extraordinary to protect or benefit others. Courage is coming forth when you don't have to to admit a wrongdoing, or a personal shortcoming. It's not courage when you are found out and exposed. That's called spin doctoring.
Let's not compare the two, OK?
Mark McGwire should, at a minimum, be suspended from the game, along the same lines as current PED abuser. Anyone who admits to this issue that wants to be involved in the game of baseball, in any capacity, should know that they will face measure of public censure for the actions. The expose on Studio 42 or 60 Minutes just doesn't cut it.
Pay a price, albeit a small one, for the hurt you inflicted on the fans and the game of baseball.
Category: MLB
Posted on: January 8, 2010 8:59 pm

Hall of Fame Shame

Boy, the Baseball Hall of Fame is sure got itself into a mess. Where once it could count on it's voters to be professional and perform their resposibilities, the "new media" now wants to interject itself and determine in their own mind what makes a Hall Of Fame baseball player.
Last night the MLB netwrok had on a voter who left Roberto Alomar off his ballot who tap danced himself silly with the reasons that he left Alomar off his ballot. First it was the spitting incident and his disgust over that. But, hold on, after awhile, he said that really wasn;t why he left him off the ballot. Then, it turned into his performance aas a New York Met, his team, that he felt was not only under par, but a determined case of Alomar's not even trying.
This guy needs a Hall of Fame ballot like I need the gout.
He fully admitted that Alomar belongs in the Hall of Fame, but did not vote for him ON PURPOSE because of his personal feelings abut the man.
If that's not grounds for losing your vote, I don't know what is.
Five balloters sent in blank votes. They apparently didn't like any of the candidates. Alomar, a certain choice, Blyleven, who in my opinion is a certain choice or Dawson. These guys didn't like any of them.
The Hall of Fame is held hostage by the voters that think it should be a "Hall of the Truly Great". In which case, they would have about 60 members, if that!, no Catfish Hunter's need apply! Then they have the voters that believe a player that exhibited All-Star calibre performance over the history of his career deserves in. These two sects of voters clash so that most candidates the general public feel is deserving, such as Blyleven and Dawson, usually do not get voted in until the Veteran's Committee corrects the oversight many years later.
Baseball should revamp it's voting process in five ways:
1. Remake the voter committee to be 60% ex-players and team executives, 40% baseball sportswriters 
2. Make every player eligible only three times
3. Make every vote public
4. Revoke the vote of any voter who let's a personal resentment cloud his judgement in voting.
5. Let the Veteran's Commitee decide on any candidate who is 12 years removed from his third attempt to get in. That would, hopefully, allow for the new members voted in by the Veteran's committee to be alive when the honor is bestowed. After 3 years of eligibility/consideration by the Veteran's commitee, that player is no longer eligible. There is no reason for a guy to have to hang on to his hopes every year.
At some point, all of these people, within a resonable timeline have to determine if a guy is a Hall of Famer or not- period.
Category: MLB
Posted on: January 6, 2010 2:47 pm

Hey, how about a feel good story

Hey, National Media! Look, over here! Hockey. Yes. Hockey.

Do you want a great story for your covers? Would you like a story of impossible sports accomplishment?
Well, look no further than the Phoenix Coyotes.
Having relocated to the South, I have to admit, I'm not the hockey fan I used to be. I try to keep up, but with the scores and standings in small type under the high school volleyball results, you really only have ESPN and the NHL Network to work with.
However, as well as following the TV outlets, I read all the pre-season magazines, and also ESPN- The Mag, SI and the Hockey News, I have a general to good idea as to what is going on.

I do know that in every single prediction I remember reading this year, the Coyotes were selected to finish last. Not "in the running" last, but "no chance, dead duck, this season will be an abomination" last.

So, with those cheery predictions in front of them, the team goes out and fires the coach a week before the season and proceeds to continue it's bankruptcy journey over the start of the season. That should have helped, right? Pour gasoline on the fire, right?
If there ever was a team that probably deserved to say, "ok, we need to get past this year, figure out where we are going to be playing next year and above all, don't get hurt!", it's the Coyotes.

Instead, what happens? They open their season with a win, then they beat the defending Stanley Cup Champion Penguins, and as of this writing, are challenging for their Division lead. They show up every night, keep almost every single game close, and continue to outwork their opponents. They are playing tight defense, are responsible on both ends of the ice, and are getting great goaltending. The coaching makes you understand the value of hiring a real coach, instead a great player that thinks he can coach.

Unfortunately, the team is still playing in relative obscurity and gets very little media. First, of all, it's hockey. Second of all, it's hockey not in the east or north, and last, it's in the desert, for goodness sake!

Not withstanding that, if I were a National media outlt, I know this is a story that I'd like to cover. I know it's not as juicy as players aiming guns at each other, or coaches abusing players, or affairs or multi million dollar signings. It's just a good old fashioned success story, and one that deserves to be heard.
Category: NHL
Tags: Gretzky, Phoenix
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or