I felt like Marisa Tomei in "My Cousin Vinny," when she's meeting Vinny outside the courthouse:
Jamie, Milton, MA: The Bruins need you....
Bill Simmons: (2:51 PM ET ) I will be there in April. I can't start watching hockey until after March Madness. I am monitoring from afar and couldn't feel more proud for the long suffering fans. The bottom line is that the salary cap has eliminated the franchise's biggest obstacle for the last 30-plus years: The cheap-ass owner. So the B's actually have a shot at winning a Cup.
"Winning is nice if you don't lose your integrity in the process."--Arnold Horshak, "Welcome Back, Kotter"
Forget steroids. Forget asterisks. Forget gambling, sideline taping, dogfighting, DUIs, and firearm possession. While they all are the headlining stars of the dramatic Demise of Sports feature film, they are also eclipsing other infractions that may be technically legal, but are much more cancerous.
The most salacious sins and underhanded offenses occur squarely in the gray area, the insidious trap of loopholes and defendable vices. On the contrary, performance-enhancing substances and criminal misdemeanors stack up neatly in the black and white areas, the right and wrong silos.
As disgraceful as these wrongdoings may be, at least they uniformly recognized as unacceptable. But when it comes to things like basic humanistic integrity and moral fiber, there’s no irrefutable litmus test.
Word of Joe Torre’s controversial contributions to “The Yankee Years” have been lighting up the news reels for the past week, sparking heated discourse with fans of every team as to what this does to Torre’s once-ennobled reputation.
Regardless of what anyone thinks of A-Rod or Steinbrenner, and regardless of what kind of tyranny Torre was subjected to at his players or boss’s hands, he was out of line. This is a manager who made no bones about his disapproval over David Wells’ notorious Yankee memoir, “Perfect I Am Not.”
“What happens in the clubhouse, stays in the clubhouse” was the Skipper’s fundamental golden rule, and he was ticked off that Wells didn’t honor it. Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone, Joe.
No, he’s no longer sporting pinstripes. Yes, he was thrown under the bus. And no, technically he has no remaining obligation to his old stomping grounds. But the fact that so many Yankee fans feel betrayed is evidence enough that what he did, quite simply, wasn’t right. Does it matter if there’s an explanation, or he can produce a viable defense? It certainly won’t when we see #6 on some new outfielder, instead of
You’re better than that, Torre. C’mon.
But it’s not just this. There’s a whole legion of slime in need of watching the final monologue in Scent of a Woman.
I don’t care if the Mets were 0-68 at the time. Nothing should transcend basic respect.
And what of the girl’s high school basketball team that won 100-0? What kind of coach allows this? What kind of people were in the stands that didn’t storm the court in protest? And what kind of girls continue to take jump shots from behind the arc even after a 30 point lead, let alone the 4th quarter?
These lapses in empathetic decency are perhaps more disturbing because the game isn’t on the line, literally. It’s not about cutting corners to get a win. It’s about personal vendettas and ulterior motives. It’s not even excusable with “Winning At All Costs.” How would the Mets franchise have suffered if they waited til Willie was back in
An unnecessary evil, this kind of departure from basic class speaks volumes.
I know what I'm dealing with with sports, and I don't expect or even want it to be aking to some kind of summer camp, arm-linking, fireside, friendship celebration. I think bench-clearing brawls are entertaining. I think throwing a 65-year old man to the ground is crossing the line. Breaking up a double-play by sliding hard into second is part of the game. Stealing second when up by 10 has no place in the game. Laying down a bunt during a perfect game when the score’s 2-0, is the right thing to do. Staying out of the game to preserve your batting average when the batting title’s at stake is pathetic.
Sports don’t exist in a vacuum, so it’s unrealistic to hold them to impossible standards. The game will never be immaculate, it never was and never will be. Every legend has a transgression to his name, whether it’s Babe Ruth’s carousing and drinking, Michael Jordan’s gambling, Larry Bird’s absentee fatherhood, Ty Cobb’s existence, etc…I don’t ask for or expect sports to be unblemished, or even close to it.
What’s tarnishing the integrity of the game isn’t the rampant yet ambiguous drug use. It’s the general dereliction of fundamental class. Sports were born from the spirit of competition, but are morphing into a Lord of the Flies-esque cut-throat war.
The bottom line, the grey area of anything grants its inhabitants immunity from culpability. There are no rules delineating the right and wrong way to handle things. You can technically get away with passing on 4th down when up by 30. There’s no law against exposing your team’s dirty laundry. And no jury will convict you for humiliating someone.
I remember in my old neighborhood, there was a short little stone tunnel/overpass-type structure. I think it was more for aesthetic purposes, because nothing really went over it, per se. It was right in the middle of residential, 2-way side street, but it was only narrow enough for one car to pass through. It was an exercise in chivalry and courtesy, almost, whenever you saw another car through the other side. You just waited for it to go through, or vice versa. Then one day, they put a traffic light up on either side of it, and my mom hated it because whenever someone let her go through the little breezeway, she considered it a mini-celebration of human decency.
I know, it’s a stretch, but I empathize. I get like that if someone gives up their subway seat. But the point is, the traffic light made the grey issue a black and white one. No one technically has the right of way in the type of situation, but it relied on an unwritten code.
A moral rubric will never be published, nor should it, as doing so will effectively transform “ethics” into “laws.” However, as it is, as nebulous as ethics may be, they still pull rank on whatever else is at stake, whether it’s a job, a game, or money.
Take Ted Williams, who played a double-header against the
He stood to gain nothing. But he knew how to play the game. He knew it wasn’t about what you can get away with, and what’s admissible by the official rulebook. Because when it came down to it, he was willing to risk losing a record before he’d risk losing his integrity.
And THAT’s the way the game should played.
NY Post and Daily News essentially were tripping over themselves to see who could break the story first. And in the world of borderline tabloid press, that means infusing as much dramatic hype and controversy into the headline, and then doing their damnedest to retrofit the minimal info available into supporting such leads.
I need to change the settings on my phone to not alert me of new mail anytime after 1am, because the lack of heat in my apartment makes it hard enough to log in a healthy number of sleep hours, without have a high-pitched beep screaming on my end table whenever I get so much as junkmail from 1-800-CONTACTS.
"Successful firsts aren't tricky. They tend to be good ideas. Conversely, unsuccessful firsts tend to be bad ideas. R.J. Reynolds spent a fortune on the first smokeless cigarette. This is the antithesis of common sense. Their theory was that smokeless cigarettes would appeal to nonsmokers. Unfortunately, nonsmokers don't buy cigarettes. Something like $325 million went up in smoke (or nonsmoke) with the dismal launch of Premier cigarettes... Premier may have been a first, but it was just plain stupid."
Yesterday I learned possibly the most offensively head-spinning tidbit regarding any professional sport ever:
Such was the text message I sent to my sister midway into the 4th quarter. I don't know what's going to be lucky or not, I had to try everything. Like a good sister who had absolutely no idea what I was talking about but knew it probabably related in some way to something negative in the game, she responded, "Ugh, me too."
"No nation was ever ruined by trade, even seemingly the most disadvantageous." -Benjamin Franklin
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick led his team to an 11-5 record, despite the crushing loss of their star QB, but were ultimately knocked out of playoff contention when the Miami Dolphins defeated the New York Jets to give
“I think the plays are made on the field, and that’s all you can do. We had a good year, and we did what we could. It all falls under the umbrella of hard work and dedication.” Belichick said in an emotional [sic] press conference.
Belichick then confirmed that
The Yankees, considered by most to be the most successful franchise in all of sports, were unavailable for comment yesterday, as they were holding press conferences to introduce their latest blockbuster acquistion, 1B Mark Teixiera. A spokesman for the Yankees said earlier last week that the team "is certainly interested in meeting with Belichick. He's an accomplished coach, and we're hoping that we can offer some valuable guidance during this difficult time."
Topics on the agenda that are scheduled to be covered during the conference include:
- How to get around the NFL salary cap
- Deflecting blame onto factors out of the team's control
- Rationalizing the loss and trivializing teams currently in title contention
- Overpromoting other city teams, such as the NBA's Celtics and NHL's Bruins, to deflect attention
- Blacking out playoff coverage on local television networks
Belichick indicated he was preparing for the meeting by leveraging the Indianapolis Colts' early playoff loss. "The league's MVP was knocked out by an 8-8 team, and my 11-5 team was denied adminission to the post-season. I think we can all agree this belies the validity of the current playoff system."
The first two seconds of this pretty much sum up how I feel at the onset of the NFL playoffs.