December 22, 2011

Ryan Braun: Dirty Pee Test or Dirty Penis? (And other random thoughts).

CDTF is back. My sincere apologies for the absence (I had what felt like swine flu and about sixteen court hearings over the past two weeks). What better way to kick things off than to talk about a few of my favorite things? Baseball, scandals, Ryan Braun, and his penis. 

When I saw that Ryan Braun had tested positive for PEDs, I almost lost it.  Please. I wasn’t shocked or anything.  I was angry.  I wish I could say that I was angry because he is a fraud or, worse, may have cheated.  Nope. I do not have sound morals, let’s be serious.  I was irate because my new favorite player, the MVP of Joe Girardi’s Braces – the SOLE reason I lobbied for a keeper league all season – could be sitting out for 50 games.  I mean, good god, he was a fantasy baseball wet dream.  Homers, steals, hits, total bases, RBIs, walks, batting average, he has it all.  After I got over my initial rage, my first thought was: would you keep/draft him anyway? (Yes). My second thought was: hopefully, the lord told Adrian Gonzalez to take steroids, too. 

For what it’s worth, Braun has strenuously denied using PEDs.  In fact, this whole scandal may just be the result of his dirty, dirty penis. There are rumors swirling around that my MVP has HPV, i.e. herpes.  He apparently tested positive for it, and the medication he was prescribed caused his testosterone levels to shoot through the roof.  This could explain Braun’s silence on the matter; his attorneys plan to vigorously pursue the person who leaked the story under a violation of his HIPAA rights.  This could also explain why my team tanked the final week of the season after going undefeated; our entire virtual clubhouse was infected with fucking herpes. 

December 7, 2011

Duke, Our Racist Pilgrims, and a CSU Blowout.

After we got our asses handed to us by Ohio State, it seems rather predictable that Duke will take out any lingering frustration and embarrassment tonight on the poor Rams of Colorado State. And I look forward to such a cakewalk blowout. As I sit here watching the first half, however, I do not find myself admiring Mason Plumlee’s thundering dunks or the game’s blistering pace or Duke’s stifling defense; instead, I am mesmerized by this ridiculous editorial in The Chronicle.

By now, I am sure many of you have already read sophomore Nicole Daniels’s guest column. I have lived under a rock for the past few days – mind you, a rock filled with six court hearings, a 30th birthday party attended by a porn star, and approximately 86 pages of legal writing – but I heard rumblings about it. Thank god I didn’t have time to read it before now, because I would have been unable to control my urge to mock it and I really didn’t have time for such a thing. The full editorial is posted below in italics; my comments are in brackets:

On Nov. 19, I was looking forward to attending a party that Pi Kappa Phi was hosting that night on Central Campus. That is, until my friend nonchalantly texted me that the event’s theme was “Pilgrims and Indians.”

[I mean, from her very first words we know that she is woefully misguided and perhaps even a little confused. No one looks forward to parties on Central Campus].

The following is an excerpt from the fraternity’s email invitation: “In 1621 some crazy pilgrims had a pretty brutal harvest. Word on the street was they didn’t have enough food for half the bros in Plymouth. Then some hot natives came along with some extra food.… On Saturday, the brothers of Pi Kappa Phi will be honoring that party spirit. There will be a cornucopia of treats in our modern-day teepee. Tap into your inner pocahotness, wear a few feathers and party like you don’t care if you survive the winter.”

[Until the last sentence, the only things that bothered me about Pi Kappa Phi’s invitation were its grammar and punctuation. But the last sentence? It riled me. It made me want to go to the damn party. It reminded me of how much I miss college. I was already picturing what I would wear to such an event: a suede skirt, eye black war paint, a home-made wife-beater with some offensive/catchy phrase (i.e, “Christopher Columbus banged my grandmother” or “Use protection. Carry a bow and arrow”), and slutty heels. Clearly, I would work a feather in there somewhere, too. I mean, the last sentence of the invitation is why I normally think Duke students have an uncanny knack for wittiness. But then I kept reading the op-ed and remembered that some of us are douchebags after all]. 

December 1, 2011

The Opposite of “Awesome:” A Big Fine Mess for Jim Boeheim. (Updated)

Last night, at a birthday dinner for one of my very good friends, I realized the extent of my frustration with Jim Boeheim.  We were at this incredible family-style restaurant Rubirosa, surrounded by heaping bowls of fresh sage ravioli, meatballs, vodka sauce pizza, hand-rolled pasta with sausage ragu, crisped calamari, mozzarella sticks the size of cucumbers, and never-ending bottles of Prosecco. It was like a scene out of The Sopranos except with nine attractive women and one smallish man.  The smallish man is a great guy – who happens to be a graduate of Syracuse.  We always talk sports when we see each other, so it was inevitable that the Bernie Fine scandal would come up.  And I couldn’t help myself.  When I asked him what he thought of Jim Boeheim’s press conference, his answer instantly riled me. I kept myself in check, but I didn’t even see the sudden burst of are-you-fucking-kidding-me coming.  His response?  “It was awesome.”

Let’s establish from the start, I do not think that Jim Boeheim deserves to be fired…yet.  I think he is a great coach who has built an otherwise commendable program. But if he keeps up this overly cocky, flippant, and oblivious attitude towards the storm clouds hovering over his team, my opinion will quickly change.  I mean, “storm clouds” just may be the worst synonym for “regular molestation of little boys” that one has ever written.  When I said this at dinner, my friend replied, “But that attitude is just Jim Boeheim’s thing.” Yeah, I’m sorry.  If there is only one situation in which his “thing” would be uncalled for, it is the one that includes the regular molestation of little boys.  Especially after we just watched a similarly horrific scandal bring down the legend that was Joe Paterno. 

November 29, 2011

The Laurie Fine Affair: Ten Chicks Discuss Why Women Stand Behind Their Molester Coach Husbands.

Since Sunday, when the Laurie Fine tape aired on ESPN, the Syracuse scandal has not only rocked the sports world, but my own.  It was not Bernie Fine who prompted me to write a very lengthy post about his alleged child abuse, but his wife, Laurie.  Shamefully, my first thought was not “What a disgusting bastard” or “Oh my god, now we have an Uncle Bernie, too?!” It was, “How can any woman support a man who she knows, who she has seen with her very eyes, molest little boys under her own roof?” Bluntly put, it blew my fucking mind.  I’m not kidding. It was like my brain exploded. I mean, where is Chris Hansen when we need him? As a woman, I could not reconcile such awful crimes with the wives who willfully remained blind to them. So I did what any woman would do when needing to rant and/or when needing some perspective: I turned to my friends.  (The friends who all have my express permission to immediately call the police if, god forbid, my future husband ever touches anyone inappropriately, let alone children and especially if it happens “several times leading to ejaculation.”).

So, around noon on Sunday, long before I posted anything at CDTF, I emailed a wide variety of my favorite females to ask for their thoughts on Laurie Fine.  Admittedly, I was, in part, enraged, confused, riled, and horrified. My email, with original overdramatic capitalization and lackluster grammar, read:
I have avoided this story for two weeks to wait for things to flesh out - was this someone fraudulently riding on the coattails of the Uncle Jerry fiasco, OR was there truth to the matter?  Syracuse allegedly investigated and cleared Bernie Fine in 2005, which made me hesitate to judge.  But now with this, the phone call* from his wife, wherein she admits her concerns.....No woman randomly worries that her husband may or may not be touching little boys unless there is major cause for concern.  I mean, this taped phone call is DAMNING. *In New York, it is legal to tape ANY phone call. By answering the phone, you consent to being recorded.
So my question for you all, as women I greatly respect, is this: as women, how do they justify what their husbands are doing? How do they stand behind them?  Uncle Jerry's wife was taking trips with his victims to bowl games and calling them before their grand jury testimony to ask them to stop.  Now Bernie's wife basically affirms everyone's greatest fears. These are the grossest, most disgusting crimes imaginable.  Going on under your own fucking roof? How can they stand themselves?  This is not The Good Wife/Hillary Clinton/an affair. It is exponentially worse.
I know you guys are slammed, but if you have a minute, I would absolutely love your opinion on this matter.  Not the molestation charges, per se, which I know we all agree are heinous, but the women behind the molesters.  I am extremely curious about this.  I wonder how flagrant it is in sports.  Two epic programs in a matter of a month.  How many more are out there?  It blows my mind.  And utterly turns my stomach.  I hope you all had Happy Turkey Days.  Please don't feel obligated in any way to respond, I really know you are slammed, but thank you in advance if you do...
I sent the email to 11 incredible women – ranging from students to professionals to housewives, some who are in their twenties and others who are…I don’t know and it would be rude to guess, both the married and the single, and hailing from all over the country.  I thought that a few would respond, but as my email implies, I also expected most of them to prioritize their ridiculously busy lives over my latest obsession.  Thankfully, I was wrong.  Nearly everyone responded.  And all of them, with their thoughtful and poignant words, blew me away. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate them, as friends and leaders and, yes, women to admire (since such women are apparently becoming harder to find these days). At the same time, I should confess: how I originally envisioned this post was put to shame by the women who graciously contributed.  The following responses are posted in the order they were received; some were sent to the whole group, some just to me. I have not commented fully, because I am still struggling with the original question asked: As women, how do they justify what their husbands are doing? The truth is, I really don’t know.

November 28, 2011

Bernie Fine and His Clipboard of Evil: Caption Contest for the Best/Worst Photo Ever?

Recently fired Bernie Fine sits fully erect at a Syracuse basketball game.  While there is little funny about the situation, this unfortunate photo amuses me to no end. I hope he and Uncle Jerry finally find peace with each other in a shared prison cell.  I am very curious as to who will drop the soap first.

November 27, 2011

The Smoking Gun in the Bernie Fine Affair (Updated x2: Fine Fired! Boeheim Speaks!)

I thought about naming this post “Weekend at Bernie’s: So Much Worse than the Original,” but it doesn’t appear to be a laughing matter anymore.  When ESPN broke the story about Bernie Fine, Associate Head Basketball Coach at Syracuse University, I hesitated to write about it.  After obsessing over the Uncle Jerry travesty at Penn State for two weeks, the cynical part of me wondered whether Fine’s original accusers, Bobby Davis and Mike Lang, two former ball boys, were simply riding the coattails of publicity.  Unlike the Sandusky saga, there was not a laundry list of accusers and eye witnesses; these were two adult men who allegedly had their accusations investigated and dismissed back in 2005.  But now Bernie Fine has a third accuser.  And now, most damningly, his wife was recorded on tape confirming everyone’s greatest fears.  So I no longer think it is reckless or premature to judge accordingly. 

But let’s back up, because I think it is important to understand how this story evolved.  On November 17th, “Outside the Lines” ran an explosive piece accusing Bernie Fine of molesting Davis, now 39, and Lang, now 45.  Davis said that the abuse began in 1984, when he became a ball boy before seventh grade, and continued for six years; he alleged that the abuse occurred at Bernie’s house, Syracuse’s basketball buildings, hotels on road trips, and even at the 1987 Final Four.  He also claimed that Coach Jim Boeheim saw him in Bernie’s hotel room on multiple occasions.  Specifically, Davis said that Boeheim would come in, “kind of glance at me like, 'What are you doing here?' But he wouldn't say that. He'd just scowl. And I would look at him like, I'd be nervous. I felt embarrassed . . . and Boeheim's not stupid."  Davis apparently came forward as early as 2002, but no one would corroborate his accusations – until recently, when Lang did.  Lang happens to be Davis’s stepbrother. Davis says he went to the Syracuse police in 2003, but a detective told him that the statute of limitations – which, in New York, is five years from the last incident of sexual abuse – had expired.  Davis also went to ESPN in 2003, but at that time, without any evidence or witnesses, they did not run the story.  It was not until Lang, who said he was “inspired to talk” by the Sandusky saga, came forward that ESPN published what they had – which, at first, did not seem like very much.  

November 25, 2011

“We can play this motherf#@king game, ain’t no doubt about it.”

There were rumors that Ron Washington, my favorite cokehead coach in all of baseball, gave an epic speech before Game 7 of the 2011 World Series.  I was intrigued, mainly because he had declared to ESPN that he wasn’t going to give “any kind of pregame speech.”  Instead, he had planned to “let them go out and play and see what happens.”  Even though his team, on the verge of winning the championship, lost a heartbreaking Game 6, Ron riffed that they already knew “what’s at stake and what we have to do.” Still, I was intrigued. There were rumblings. A photographer friend told me that the Game 7 pre-game speech was almost as monumental as the Rangers’ Game 6 loss.  I searched around to see if anyone had posted it, but found nothing.  And then I gave up, convinced that Washington had told the truth about not needing a “rah-rah speech.”

But this was Ron Washington.  A cartoon character of the most amusing levels that lives for moments like this.  I could not accept that he would simply let the moment pass.  And then a week ago, I found it.  Thankfully, the guys at JoeSportsFan obtained an audio copy of the speech from an unnamed clubhouse employee.  It was worth the wait.

November 24, 2011

Live from New York (and Happy Thanksgiving!), it’s…Duke vs. Kansas for the Maui Invitational Title.

Tonight, we are (sort of) live for the Maui Invitational championship between Duke (#6, 6-0) and Kansas (#14, 3-1).  For some reason, even though this game is between two historic programs for a somewhat reputable tournament title, I cannot take it as seriously when the coaches are wearing, like, t-shirts and leis.  I mean, Bill Rafferty and Jay Bilas are wearing bright polos and their faces, which are sunburned, match. I am amused by the fact that with each Duke win, Coach K breaks the (his) all-time win record, even though I know that this isn’t haha funny.  At least to non-Blue Devils. I may or may not be drinking (again).  Since I was drank at MSG last night for Taylor Swift, it will not take me as long to feel the effects of this bottle of Riesling.  My friends and I call this “The Shampoo Effect” (i.e. if you leave shampoo in your hair, it is easier to lather the next time. So if you still have booze in you, it is easier to get re-intoxicated). Yes, I know this is not like rocket science theory here. But at some hungover point in college, we found it hilarious.  While warm-ups continue, let’s talk about more important issues. 

So Taylor Swift was sort of amazing.  I was genuinely impressed, by both her stage presence and her voice.  I mean, I may love her for her catchy songs and witty lyrics, but I always thought she had terrible real-life vocals.  I was wrong.  She was pretty fucking awesome.  If you want a live drunken play-by-play, go to @wedigfastballs on Twitter (!/Wedigfastballs) and read Tuesday night from like 7:30 p.m. to midnight.  I was probably one of only 12 people who could legally drink at MSG, but I still had a blast.  Hopefully tonight will be just as much fun.  The Plumlees have been on a tear, Austin Rivers is finding his groove, Ryan Kelly and Seth Curry have been incredible, Andre Dawkins is becoming a go-to guy, and everyone else is just starting to get their feet wet.  I am hoping for an exciting game tonight, but let’s be serious, the Maui Invitational is our bitch.  We are 14-0 and have won four titles since its inception.  I worry about Thomas Robinson, the junior who is averaging 16 points and 11 rebounds per game, and Tyshawn Thomas for Kansas.  But I think we have Maui Title Number Five in the bag. And Superstitious Me thinks that was a ridiculously stupid thing to write/taunt the karma basketball gods with.  Let’s do this. 
Wait, wait, wait.  I just realized! As you read this, it is probably Thanksgiving morning, so I just want to say that I hope you all have a very Happy Turkey Day and thank you so much for reading CDTF.  Besides my faithful CDTF readers, all 16 of you, I am thankful that Miles Plumlee spiked his hair and became hot this season; that, regardless of who Duke loses to the NBA draft, we always seem to have a pipeline of freshmen ready to step up; and that we (obviously) have the greatest coach in the world.  I am also thankful that my Thanksgiving is going to be rather awesome: I am going to Red Lobster, to see the Muppet Movie, and to watch football/play in a beer pong tournament. Seriously.  So while most of my friends will be dealing with dramatic family issues and visiting bars they have not been caught dead in since high school, I will be draining cups and eating cheddar biscuits.  I am not thankful that I will probably gain 24 pounds by the time all is said and done.  Let’s do this for real. 

First Half:

19:56:  Duke wins the tip, but Kelly misses a shot from the corner to kick things off.  We are 18 seconds into the game and we already have a Kansas injury timeout.  Robinson is on the floor; replay shows that he, I don’t even know how to explain this because it’s so lame, stumbled over Ryan Kelly on the follow-through.  It looks like he lost his balance and just…fell.  Like maybe he is faking this non-foul.  And, two minutes later, he looks absolutely fine on the bench. WTF.  Rock Chalk, Faux Injury Hawks. Austin River buries a three-pointer from about four feet behind the arc! He kept stutter stepping, daring the defender to come closer, and then just stepped back and BOOM! Kansas comes right back with a quick two by Taylor.  Hmm. Jeff Withey, the giant shaggy-looking white guy on Kansas who was just fouled, reminds me of somone. Like a cross between Adam Morrison, Nick Horvath, and Shaggy from Scooby Doo.  That is not a compliment.  Duke is called for a bullshit 5-second foul on the baseline, which in my biased opinion, seemed like 2.3 seconds.  Kansas gets the ball back and Shaggy hits a hook shot. I am calling shenanigans! Shenanigans all around! Robinson’s flop, the fouls, the five-second call, the hook shot. Fucking shenanigans!! 8-3, KU

November 23, 2011

My Dear Jon Letter: A Farewell to Cinco-Ocho

Despite all of your previous threats, I really never thought it would come to this. After seven dramatic but successful years, you just spurned the Boston Red Sox and signed an exorbitant $50 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. I mean, I always knew it was about the money with you. I always knew you wanted that record-breaking contract more than anything else. But it breaks my heart for our relationship to end like this.

In terms of the Red Sox, you were the best thing to happen to me since Manny rolled around the outfield trying to field that fly ball. Well, at least until the Popeye’s Saga of 2011. You saved 219 games in the regular season and seven games in the playoffs, making you the greatest closer in Red Sox history. You were a four-time All-Star and allowed runs in only one post-season appearance. Then again, that one appearance – during the 2009 ALDS – was the last time we have seen the Red Sox in the playoffs. I don’t want to spread rumors, but you probably cursed them. And now you are running away, just like Theo and Terry. I won’t call you a traitor, because you aren’t; you have always been unabashedly upfront about your career goals. Instead, I will call you, at best, a hired mercenary, and at worst, a money-grubbing asshole. The Sox will miss you almost as much as I will.
We don’t have to discuss that it seems rather ludicrous, as good as you have been, for Philly to give you $50 million and four years after the Brad Lidge Experiment. We all know how that one turned out. And now Ruben Amaro went ahead and gave you $13 million more and an additional year. Certainly, this is a compliment to you. You are an improvement, although not a huge one, over Ryan Madson (who helped Joe Girardi’s Braces to an undefeated regular season). But there is a reason that teams do not normally pay $50 million for a closer and, with Mariano Rivera as the outlier, history has not been kind to teams that give multi-year contracts to relievers.

November 22, 2011

Quick Thoughts on Taylor Swift Tuesday. Yes, TSwift Tuesday.

Coach K Breaks All-Time Wins Record….Again:  This time with #905.  The Blue Devils took down Tennessee at the Maui Invitational last night.  I only caught the last ten minutes or so of this one.  Austin Rivers reminds me of Harrison Barnes from last year: he is trying too hard to do it all by himself. He needs to calm down, dish more, and take better shots.  He will find his magic, it is just a matter of time.  But right now the offense looks sloppy.  Seth Curry and the White Raven both had great games, with 17 points apiece.  And thank god for the…Plumlees??  Miles apparently became hot and Mason became a beast.  I never thought I would say such a thing.  

Baseball is Scary and Dangerous:  On Monday, Seattle Mariner Greg Halman was murdered in the Netherlands. He spent most of his time in Triple A last season, but he was called up occasionally for a spot-start in the outfield.  He is Dutch, so it is not like he went to Amsterdam for a cheap weed vacay and the deal went bad.  He was actually part of the European Big League Tour, which was started by Baltimore pitcher Rick VandenHurk to provide baseball clinics to children around the world.  Sadly, the prime suspect is Halman’s brother, who is alleged to have stabbed Greg to death.  My heart goes out to his family and the Mariners; no one should have their young career ended in such a brutal way.  Along the same “baseball is scary and dangerous” lines, there will be a funny, longish post coming about the Wilson Ramos kidnapping saga, but look for it in a few days.

Cinco-Ocho: I am sad that my favorite source of Red Sox mockery, Jonathan Papelbon, will no longer be providing fodder for me from Boston.  It makes sense, of course, that he went from one group of assholes to another.  I am currently penning a farewell letter to him.  It will most likely be posted tomorrow.  Try not to cry when you read it.  

Hot Date with Taylor Swift:  Tonight.  MSG. I cannot wait. I am already bebopping around Manhattan like a 13-year-old girl.  

I have to meet with a billion clients, but check back tomorrow, guys.  I promise good stuff is coming, especially because I am off for the rest of the week.  That said, I apologize that your Tuesday nights – Duke basketball game or not – will pale in comparison to my TSwift-filled one.   

November 16, 2011

Live from New York, it’s…Duke vs. Michigan State (Coach K goes for #903!)

It is finally that time, folks. College basketball season. And even better, Duke vs. Michigan State at Madison Square Garden. This is our first televised Duke game in New York this season and, regardless of my couch bleacher seats, I could not be more excited. I just started on a six-pack of Magner’s and I am watching the very end of warm-ups.  It is sort of weird, because there are just so many…strangers.  (And so many Plumlees. Jesus Christ, I was fine with having just two of them constantly miss free throws).  Be forewarned.  I have been (overly) obsessed with baseball and Penn State lately, so I have not properly done my pre-game research. I feel lost without Nolan or Kyle. I already know that I can’t spell one of the freshmen’s name.  I do not even know what the freshmen look like. Is this instilling confidence in you for the following recap/retroliveblog? I understand your trepidation, but let’s do this anyway.  After all, I am pretty certain that the short man with obviously dyed black hair is still our coach, his name is Mike K., and he may or may not be the winningest coach in NCAA basketball history by the end of tonight.  Does anything else really matter? Let’s go Duke.

Pre-game:  Whoa, Miles Plumlee got kind of hot.  I think it is his spiffy haircut.  (I am a hair-person).  At the moment, having two classic-looking uniforms to choose from tonight, I am wondering who the Score Whisperer would go with; I would selfishly expect her to opt for Duke blue, but I think she would be quite attracted to the hunter green as well.   Strangely, even though I just established that I am a hair-person, which I am, I would still have sex with Jay Bilas.  Maybe it is his classy gray suit and black tie. Snarky combined with smart is sexy, what can I say? Such a combination apparently trumps the need for hair.  Holy crap, but what is that insane pink tie that Digger is sporting? For the record, I would not have sex with him, hair or not. 

It hasn’t even started and I already regret not going to the game. I should totally be in the midst of this intense craziness.  That said, I would not be able to hear Bob Knight provide color commentary, as he is doing at the moment.  I hope he throws out an f-bomb tonight or at the very least, a chair. Wait a second. This is the winner of America’s Got Talent?! I mean, really. This is the best we could do, America? He has a really adorable smile, even if his Star Spangled Banner sort of sucks.  Also? I love Tom Izzo.  Okay, here we go!

November 15, 2011

The New Chick at CDTF.

Today, with great pleasure, we welcome into the fold LT, a new regular here at Chicks Dig The Fastball.  She is not only an awesome individual, but a hilarious sports buff and an excellent writer.  Personally, I have great respect for women who can really riff about sports – and I am so happy that LT has agreed to join us. You’ll find her introduction below, but expect something good from her later in the week.  As for me, well, you are going to get more ranting about Uncle Jerry as soon as I get home tonight (I know I said I was done with him.  I lied. After last night’s ridiculousness, I must comment or my brain will explode) and a live-blog tomorrow covering the Duke-Michigan State game (and hopefully Coach K’s 903rd victory). So I hope you all have a great afternoon, please check back this evening, and without further ado, please meet one of my new partners in crime, LT:

Ohai! JHop ever so kindly asked me to contribute here at Chicks Dig The Fastball. Apparently, she follows me on the Twitter (@BindsTheTuna) and thinks I’m “funny.”  I know, right?!   Anyhoo. I’m LT. I’ve got two sons, a husband recently retired from the military, I live in the mid-South, and I work in the legal profession, all of which means my Idiot Tolerance defaults to -10.  I’m a Cubs fan AND a Duke basketball fan, so my Sports Karma is somewhat balanced.  I also like the Steelers and the Bears, I am happy when the Saints win, and I know nothing about hockey. I AM PREPARED FOR THE SPORTS.

What else? My kid played travel baseball for six years, so I was thinking it might be interesting if we discussed the misconceptions people have about travel ball, or tournament ball, or whatever you call it (“rich white people living out fantasies through their kids” is one phrase I’ve heard), the logistics, and financial commitment.  So I will, but closer to baseball season.  Right now, I’m gearing up for college basketball.  Expect zero (ZERO!) tolerance for Tar Heels and Terps, and many comments about how good-looking Tony Bennett and Jay Wright are.  Thanks to JHop for the gig, and I hope you’ll stick around. (pleasestickaround)

November 14, 2011

Monday Mourning: Penn State, Duke, and the Weekend That Was.

1.  My post today, entitled "Of Fairy Tales and Fallacies: Coach K and Paterno," is posted over at Tobacco Road Blues, a great site owned by my friend, fellow Blue Devil, and writer, Shane Ryan.  Please click here to read it.  And please check out TRB; the guys over there are not only funny, but they chronicle sports in the Triangle better than anyone else. 

2. If you have some time, please read this excellent piece by Sara Ganim of The Patriot-News, who broke the Jerry Sandusky story back in March, long before any of us knew enough to care. She exhaustively details a timeline of events from 1995 through today and demonstrates how the abuse was covered up and watered down by a multitude of Penn State officials. It leaves no doubt that there was a twisted web of complicity throughout the university, The Second Mile, the police, and perhaps even the DA’s office. And it leaves no doubt that Joe Paterno deserved to be fired.

3.  I am starting to believe the theory that former graduate assistant, child rape witness, non-caller of police, and current wide receivers coach Mike McQueary is, in fact, protected by Pennsylvania’s Whistleblower Law, found here. Or, I believe this issue is at least being explored. Considering that everyone else connected to the scandal has been fired, retired, or removed, it is puzzling that McQueary is still employed by Penn State. In 2002, when he walked into Uncle Jerry’s Shower Room of Horrors, he was 28-years-old. My age. It blows my mind that he did nothing more than call his father and subsequently report it to Paterno. On Thursday, I told my boss that, while I adore him, if I ever saw him or any of our employees having sex with a little boy, I would immediately call the police; he said he would help me dial. Furthermore, no one at Penn State seems particularly anxious to come to McQueary’s defense. Questions have been met with scripted “no comments” and “he is still employed here at the moment.” So I wonder if he is legally protected from being terminated, due to the fact that as a very low-level figure, he was truthful and reported the incident to his superiors – the all powerful Coach Joe Paterno – who, in turn, did nothing more than tell the Athletic Director. McQueary was promoted to receivers coach in 2004.  While he may be protected under the law, it also begs the question why McQueary did not further blow the whistle on his superiors? If he told Paterno, what stopped him from telling the police? Doesn’t that make him just as complicit in the cover-up and therefore, just as culpable? The coward should be fired. Like Paterno, he did "something." It just wasn’t nearly enough.

4.  Bobby Bowden called Joe Paterno “a little negligent.” That is like calling Octomom a little pregnant.

5.  This is a very powerful piece about Victim 1, who should be thanked for having the courage to come forward and kick-start this entire investigation. Without him, Uncle Jerry may very well still be abusing little boys.

These will probably be my last thoughts on Uncle Jerry and Penn State, at least for the foreseeable future.  This week, CDTF will have some final baseball thoughts (i.e., Wilson Ramos, Jonathan Papelbon, and Ron Washington), introduce a new contributor, and slowly transition into college basketball season.  Lots of good stuff coming, so please check back tomorrow.  Thanks guys and have a great week!

November 8, 2011

WTF is going on at Penn State: An Update

Let’s continue inappropriate touching week here at CDTF, shall we? I had planned to write about the Iranian soccer players who are going to be publicly lashed, but we will get there eventually.  For now, I am still stuck on Uncle Jerry.  There are so many updates on this fiasco, it blows my mind.  Every time that I am sure we have heard all of the facts, suspicious new details are leaked.  And the more I learn, the more I am convinced that Penn State was grossly negligent, willfully ignorant, and criminally responsible for what happened on its campus from the mid-1990s until 2009.  

Although he retired in 1999 and was supposedly banned from the locker room in 2002, Uncle Jerry was seen working out in Penn State’s weight room as recently as last week.  He gave a commencement speech at the school in 2007.  And he was still running university-sponsored football camps for little boys as recently as 2009.  Although Penn State has denied that they endorsed the camps, they promoted the events and allowed them to be held on university property.   So, as far as I am concerned, they knew damn well that they were profiting from Uncle Jerry’s reputation as a defensive wizard; they were not concerned that the profits were being generated by a pedophile, as long as no one else knew.  Even more ironically, in 2010, the school opened the Gary Schultz Child Care Center – because nothing says “child care” like shower room rape and perjury.  And most ironically, if you are looking for the perfect stocking stuffer this holiday season, I would suggest picking up a copy of Uncle Jerry’s autobiography entitled Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story.  Seriously.  HE CALLED HIS BIOGRAPHY TOUCHED.  I think my brain just exploded.  

Mike McQueary, Current Coach and Firecrotch
But let’s keep going, because we haven’t covered all of the incredible weirdness yet.  The infamous 28-year-old graduate student, who witnessed the 2002 rape of a little boy in the shower, has been identified as Mike McQueary.  And interestingly, he is now a senior assistant to Coach Paterno and the current wide receivers coach at Penn State.  So, the “very credible” McQueary, who was so upset after the incident that he immediately called his father and went to visit Paterno the following morning, was given a coveted position in the football program and then just happened to keep silent for the next nine years.  McQueary was able to recall the incident in sickening detail for the Grand Jury in December 2010, but we are supposed to believe that he didn’t tell Paterno, Curley, or Schultz the “specifics” back in 2002, right after it happened?  Fucking ludicrous.  Someone should have called the authorities; there is simply NO excuse.  The Pennsylvania Police Commissioner happens to agree.  He said that he has never “been associated with a case where that type of eyewitness identification of sex acts taking place where the police weren’t called.”  I mean, we are talking about events that happened in 1998, 2000, and 2002, amongst others.  It wasn’t like a one-time, perhaps this incident was misunderstood, let’s wait for further facts, kind of episode.  It was the repeated rape of young children. It was a pattern and practice of child abuse that Penn State not only ignored, but ultimately condoned.  They placed the institution, the greatness of a respected football program, before the well-being and safety of young men – the very group that Paterno has been trying to inspire and shape throughout his career.   
Strangely, after the police investigated the 1998 incident, District Attorney Ray Gricar deemed the accusations “unfounded” and did not pursue criminal charges.  Even though two police officers had secretly overheard Uncle Jerry admit that he inappropriately showered with a young boy and even though the DA had full cooperation from the victim’s mother, the case was closed for unknown reasons.   At the time, Gricar told the police that he would “be in touch” and then he disappeared.  Quite literally.  He went missing in 2005, his computer was found in a river, and he was declared legally dead just last year.  In March 2011, police officer Ron Schreffler, who worked on the original 1998 investigation, was contacted by The Patriot News; he refused to comment, but suspiciously asked the reporter, “How did you see that report?”  Well, now everyone has seen “that report,” and we all want to know what the fuck happened.
Finally, and the thing that is bothering me the most, is Joe Paterno’s press release.  In it, he acknowledges that he was told about “something inappropriate” between Uncle Jerry and a boy, he admits that the assistant who told him was clearly “distraught,” and he professes how he is now “shocked” and “saddened” at the allegations.  It doesn’t add up.  How can he possibly be shocked?  In 2002, he was specifically told about a shower incident (whether the actual rape was mentioned is irrelevant at this point) between his defensive coordinator and a little boy, which was so disturbing that it left his graduate assistant on the verge of tears.  Yet he did not report the incident to the authorities.  He didn’t even have a conversation with Uncle Jerry!  Scott Paterno, Joe Paterno’s lawyer son, said that “From [his] imperfect recollection . . . I do not believe he had a second conversation about it.”  How do you have one conversation about something this serious? How do you not call this coach into your office and ask him what happened?  How do you not follow-up with the boy’s family?  It makes no sense.  You cannot be “shocked” now, and at the same time admit that you did not even bother to look into the matter when it happened.  At best, it is plausible deniability, but at worst, it is outright criminal negligence.  

As the details trickle out, I do not understand how Penn State keeps trying to distance itself from this scandal; they are all undeniably, completely, inexcusably linked to it, from beginning to end, from top to bottom.  And there is no way to justify what happened or to shift blame.  Their only path forward is to accept responsibility and dedicate themselves to rectifying the situation as much as possible.  If that means removing everyone involved, including Coach Paterno and President Spanier, then so be it.  But first and foremost, they need to stop acting like ignorant dicks, because no one is buying their bullshit.  After a decade of only worrying about their own asses, it is time they worried about the young boys whose asses were getting repeatedly raped by a Penn State employee. 

November 7, 2011

Uncle Jerry’s Shower Room of Horrors: Bear Hugs, Soap Battles, and a Twisted Sex Scandal at Penn State

This story makes me feel dirty.  Not good dirty, like those old David Beckham underwear ads or Grady Sizemore’s coffee-cup cock shots.  But for real, I need to take a shower, this disgusts me, sort of dirty. On Saturday, the Pennsylvania Attorney General and State Police Commissioner issued a joint press release detailing an extensive grand jury investigation into reports of child sex abuse at Penn State University.  In particular, the 23-page Grand Jury report (“Report”) calls out three defendants, all of whom have been charged with multiple criminal offenses: 1) Jerry Sandusky, the former Defensive Coordinator for the Penn State football team; 2) Tim Curley, Penn State’s Athletic Director; and 3) Gary Schultz, Penn State’s Senior VP for Finance and Business, a position which includes oversight of the University’s Police Department.  To call the report explosive would be an understatement, because this scandal, in my opinion, has far greater consequences than the corruption found in Miami, Ohio State, Auburn, UNC, or any other program.  This report does not detail a school that cut corners for competitive advantage, but one that willfully and knowingly covered up morally reprehensible criminal activity on a massive scale.

Before we discuss potential consequences of the Report, we should first establish what allegedly happened. But please keep in mind that what we have here is one-sided; only the prosecution presents the facts in this type of legal proceeding, hence the old joke that a grand jury would “indict a ham sandwich.”  Still, the facts in the Report, which uncover grave acts of sexual assault against “minor male children,” make my skin crawl.  Sandusky, who is accused of crimes while he worked for the “football team and after he retired,” is also the founder of The Second Mile, a charity and foster home he created in 1977 to help troubled boys.  
You see where this is going? We are only on Page 1. The next 22 pages detail eight victims in painstaking fashion, as well as how Penn State handled its own personal kiddie porn ring.  Be forewarned, this is not pretty.

November 3, 2011

Baseball is Over: Now what? Hockey? SIGH.

The baseball season is over.  The Red Birds won, the Red Sox drank, the Rangers and Rays impressed, Tony La Russa retired, and the Yankees…well, my opinion on the Yankees’ season is much less clear-cut.   I had planned to write a big post-mortem, full of funny criticism, but after thinking about it, I realized that the Yankees actually impressed me this year, too.  Now, before I hear howls from Red Sox Nation and company, let me explain. 

Back in February, I was so concerned about the age of our team and our pitching staff, I never considered the Yankees to be a real contender for the World Series.  In Joe Girardi’s Braces, I skeptically trusted.  Don’t get me wrong – the Yankees, with our ridiculous payroll, are always capable of winning the championship, and we are usually disappointed when we come up short.  But not this season.  Going into spring training, all we heard about was how dominant the Red Sox would be, and I bought into it.  Other than Boston’s toxic clubhouse, they had a superior rotation, a comparable bullpen, and for the first time in years, a killer lineup from top-to-bottom.  At the time, we couldn’t have expected Carl Crawford to play so poorly, Youkalis and Pedroia to be injured, or Adrian Gonzalez to be such a Bible-beating asshole.  In my wildest fantasies (including even the most x-rated, fried-chicken-filled sex dreams), I couldn’t have imagined how the AL East would unwind.  

I truly thought the Yankees would be chasing the Sox (and the wild card spot) all season.  I expected we would make the playoffs, I just didn’t think we had the pitching to compete.  And as things stand right now, I still feel that way for next season.  But to channel the precious Tim Gunn, this was a “make it work” season.  And we fucking made it work.  CC, Fat Bart, and Freddy Garcia kept the ship from sinking; Ivan Nova blossomed into a front-end starter; Russell Martin toughed out injuries and provided great defense behind the plate; Robbie undoubtedly established himself as one of the best hitters in the game; the Baseball Jesus bounced back, as predicted, and not only made history, but produced when we needed it most; David Robertson seamlessly became our set-up man, after Rafael Soriano disappeared; the MoBot3000x, now 872 years old and still throwing one pitch, was unhittable, as usual; Jesus Montero came up and finally proved that he really can hit; Brett Gardner’s sparkplug status flourished further; and Curtis Granderson became a genuine star in the Bronx.  I really can’t complain.  We won the AL East and it wasn’t even stressful. 

Yes, we still have the albatross that is ARod.  The Purple Lipped Princess is a shadow of his former self.  He has a shoddy hip, his knees are broken, and he is still a whiny bitch.  Thankfully, we only have about 26 years left on his contract.  Mark Teixeira did his best impression of Jason Giambi.  He is no longer a .300 doubles machine, but an all-or-nothing slugger with a ginormous ass.  Hopefully, he will soon employ a gold thong.  The Jorge drama in the beginning of the season was embarrassing – both for him and the team.  But I would sign him to a one-year deal, just like I would in Boston for Big Papi.  In the last two months of the season, Posada proved that he remains a threat off the bench.  He has veteran presence, his trademark fire, and he can still hit.  If he can accept his extremely limited role, I want him back.  I have never had much confidence in Nick Swisher and he didn’t do anything this season to change my mind; I love his personality, I think he adds so much to our clubhouse, but his production wavers.  AJ Burnett still looks like an unpredictable serial killer and pitches like one, too – his fastball will either kill you on the outside corner or it will literally kill you, as he hits you in the head with it.  It is really anyone’s best guess.

October 28, 2011

Live from New York, it’s…Game 6 of the World Series.

I debated whether I should give you a rousing introduction, packed with fake THIS IS LIFE OR DEATH FOR THE CARDS excitement, so you would get all pumped up to read (what I am sure will turn into) approximately 43 pages of baseball ridiculousness.  But I already mentioned how much I care about this World Series, so like? No point in being a phony bitch.  Instead, I promise you snark, unconnected references to fried chicken and beer, random musings about my love for Fat Elvis, unfounded cocaine rumors in Texas, and a semi-coherent recap with offensive color commentary.  We both win. Hopefully the Rangers will win, too.  Not because I care, but because they will prove me right (in my prediction). And then we can move on to college basketball accordingly, without feeling guilty for being done with baseball just because the Yankees are out of it.  I am still not bitter, I swear.  Here are tonight’s line-ups:

Texas:  1. Kinsler (2B), 2. Andrus (SS), 3. Hamilton (LF), 4. Young (1B), 5. Beltre (3B), 6. Cruz (RF), 7. Napoli (C), 8. Gentry (CF), 9. Lewis (P).

St. Louis: 1. Furcal (SS), 2. Schumaker (CF), 3. Pujols (1B), 4. Berkman (RF), 5. Holliday (LF), 6. Freese (3B), 7. Molina (C), 8. Punto (2B), 9. Garcia (P).

I mean, on paper, you have to give the edge to St. Louis.  If their line-up fired on all cylinders more often, they would be unbelievable.  But this is the post-season.  And tonight, as usual, will come down to pitching.  If I was Ron Washington, I would manage this game as if it was Game 7, because I do not want a championship to hinge on the weather-assisted, better-rested Chris Carpenter.  If that means a few extra lines in the clubhouse during the seventh-inning stretch, so be it. I’d already be dreaming about that big float with my little imposter.  And, of course, the celebratory eight-ball that my dealer brings me after we win.  Let’s do this.

October 27, 2011

I am being an Assclown for Halloween.

After much thought, I have decided to dress up as John Lackey for Halloween. I struggled with this decision for weeks - long before The Fabulous Penguin sent me the (fabulous) above-pictured e-card.  At first, I tried to convince my brother and my best friend/gay husband Carl to be Ron Weasley and Harry Potter, so that I could be a somewhat slutastic version of Hermione Granger.  (Come on. It is Halloween - a woman's excuse to sex up any costume from a Ziploc bag to a homeless person). Carl balked because, according to him, "Harry Potter can't be black." I vehemently disagreed and tried to persuade him with a wand and round glasses.  No luck.  That is when I came up with the idea of being John Lackey.  
Again, I tried to convince my brother and Carl to join me as Beckett and Lester, but they were not as excited about this as I was. The one thing stopping me was my refusal to spend money in any way that could be construed as support for the Sox. It is one thing to buy a "Suck it Boston" shirt, which I proudly wear all over the city; it's another thing entirely to purchase a genuine Red Sox hat. I would rather light a $20 bill on fire.  And I'd feel like a dirty whore wearing such a thing, even if just for Halloween. What if the Baseball Jesus senses my treason and it affects him psychologically? We can't have that.  So, out of pinstriped loyalty (and like most of Red Sox Nation), I gave up on John Lackey.

I wracked my brain for days trying to think of something better, but to no avail.  It eventually led to this conversation with Carl, from last night:
It made me laugh.  Carl would be the first person to tell you that there is very little about his life that has been "limited" - except for Halloween, apparently.  He is still undecided and I am still trying to persuade him that, black or not, he will make an excellent Josh Beckett.  I have less than four days to make this happen. Regardless, have no fear, I will post Halloween photos accordingly. 

Enjoy your Thursdays, stay out of the rain, and please check back tomorrow when there will (hopefully) be baseball to discuss.

UPDATE (7:14 p.m.): Major props to T Fab P, who suggested in the comments that Carl should be Big Papi for Halloween.  A fucking plus. 

October 26, 2011

Why Texas Should Win: A 5-Minute Debate with Myself.

The World Series is almost over, and I still had no idea who I wanted to win.  The Rangers are up 3-2, but with the way this whole shindig is going, it is almost impossible to tell who will come out on top.  Every time I have thought that, for sure, the Cardinals have it in their hands, they have fallen apart accordingly.  At the same time, whenever I have been convinced, undoubtedly, the Rangers have run out of magic, they pull one more trick out of their bat bags.  And now they are one win away from their first championship ever.  I cannot decide if I am happy about this or not.

So I made a list, pictured above. I gave myself five minutes - no more, no less - to write as many reasons as possible why I want each team to win. When the five minutes were up, I figured that I would clearly have an answer of some sort.  And I guess I came up with one.

Now let me explain why I am rooting for Texas, and why I think they will ultimately win the World Series tonight.