“The very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.” William Shakespeare on Josh Hamilton.

The NFL continues to clamp down on discipline with the stiff penalty the New York Jets received for tampering. Not only did they not lose a draft pick, they weren’t even forced to switch places in a round with the Patriots. 

Meanwhile, in an inteview with Charlie Rose, commissioner Roger Goodell said the Deflategate decision should be out soon. No rush Roger, only been 102 days and counting. We know you want to get it right because you have a responsibility to all 32 teams.

Tom Brady not showing up at the White House was bothersome and borderline disrespectful. However, it wasn’t because Brady is racist as Stephen A. Smith implied (a ludicrous suggestion) and it wasn’t because he is a Republican. It was because Tom Brady decided that a family event was more important. Life is about track record and Brady has exemplified leadership at every turn including being the first Patriot at offseason workouts. 

Joe Haden said neither he nor his Browns teammates knew Josh Gordon wasn’t permitted to drink when they hung out together in Vegas? Tom Arnold also said that he didn’t know Roseanne Barr wasn’t allowed to eat at the Caesars Palace buffet. Michael Vick’s friends didnt know that he shouldn’t be hanging out at the local dog pound.

I’m excited to see the Eagles employ their quarterbacks this season. The competition won’t be as fierce as people imagine though because Sam Bradford got injured while I was writing this blog. Eagles executives are saying Tim Tebow has showed marked improvement since his time with the Patriots. So this means he can throw eight yards downfield? 

Eli Manning will have a better year this season than his brother Peyton!

I think the Anaheim Angels might be sharing the use of some of Josh Hamilton’s substances. They trade Hamilton to Texas for a player to be named and/or some small cash considerations. This means that the Angels could still be responsible for as much as 83 of the 90 million dollars for the next three years. Wow, they really wanted to get rid of him. The signing of Hamilton will go down as one of the worst decisions if not the worst in Angels history and has set them back as a franchise enormously. This doesn’t even speak to how much they are overpaying Albert Pujols.

Major League baseball continues to be a big bore. Ask people who do Fantasy Baseball how much they would actually pay attention if fantasy didn’t exist. More important, ask them how much time they watch baseball is highlight shows and ticker updates as opposed to the actual game. If any sport could benefit from a red zone concept, it would be baseball. The changes that MLB has utilized to speed up the game, has trimmed off a whopping eight minutes. 

Baseball needs villains. The ARod story is interesting because he is so easy to root against. Every sport has guys that are easy to root against or for and who are effectively promoted and celebrated by the league. In football you have Brady, Manning, Richard Sherman for example. In basketball, you have LeBron, Carmelo, Dwight Howard, Kobe and then likable guys like Anthony Davis and Steph Curry. In hockey, you have Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, P.K. Subban, any Canadiens player etc.   

MLB does a poor job promoting its stars and changing its culture. However, I am really excited to see Jacob DeGrom take the mound for the best team in baseball…the New York Mets.

The Yankees are much better than people think. Yes, they just lost Tanaka for a month and who knows what they can count on from him moving forward, but after starting 3-6, they are 10-2 in the last 12, have a dominant bullpen and their hitting is coming around. Would take their roster in a heartbeat right now over Boston’s!

Speaking of the Red Sox, what a mess. They have been fortunate with some poor opponent defense and the play of Hanley Ramirez, but a lot of troubling signs. Rick Porcello and Joe Kelly will be fine but realistically are #3 and #4 starters. Clay Buchholz and Wade Miley are disasters and Justin Masterson is fine as your 5. Time for the Sox to bring up some young arms and end the Buchholz tenure. As for the hitting, Napoli has been in a huge funk, Allen Craig looks like he forgot how to play baseball and Xander Bogaerts just doesn’t seem to hit the ball that hard. Calling Cole Hamels!

If you predicted the Houston Astros would be 13-7 and the New York Mets would be 15-6 at this point, you should immediately proceed to Las Vegas.


Winter brings out the worst in all of us!

Kevin Stallings, head coach of the Vanderbilt Commodores, missed a golden opportunity this week to not only make an important point, but set an example for athletes of all ages in regards to sportsmanship. After Vanderbilt beat the Tennessee Volunteers, Vandy player Wade Baldwin IV was seen clapping his hands in the face of Vols player Armani Moore. Stallings was informed of this by a Vols staff member. Stallings went off on Baldwin during the post-game handshake and berated him for his lack of sportsmanship. This was not the first time Baldwin has been involved in an incident of this nature. Unfortunately, he ended the tirade with “I am going to bleeping kill you.” It was actually nice to see a player being called out for poor sportsmanship as this is incredibly rare at least publicly in sports, but Stallings clearly went too far and that kind of outburst should cause us all to speculate about possible anger management problems for the Vandy coach.  Coaches like Bobby Knight, Bob Huggins and Frank Martin should have taught us all a lesson.

One of the sure signs an athlete can’t control his anger is when that athlete (Rajon Rondo) in this case, can’t control his personality or frustration even though he knows it will perpetuate his image and directly impact his earning potential in the offseason. Typically, athletes are on their best behavior when it is a contract year. We all know the resume of Rondo. Difficult to coach, intensely competitive, high basketball IQ. But since he has joined Dallas, the Mavericks have not improved, his statistics have declined despite significantly more talent around him and now this blowup on the sidelines with Rick Carlisle. Apparently, Rondo was getting a lot of attention from Carlisle when he first arrived, but then when Amar’e Stoudemire arrived, Carlisle wasn’t paying as much attention to Rondo and this ruffled Rajon’s feathers. When Rondo is engaged, he is one of the most creative and exciting players in the league but Dallas has joined Boston in learning the hard way the baggage that comes with it.

LeBron James has a new source of stress. Colleges are already recruiting his 10-year old son. Is James upset because he thinks that is out-of-bounds or because he skipped college himself and sees college as unnecessary or maybe both? Recruiting has been out of hand for some time now and the limits are tested constantly. From the NCAA handbook: “In men’s basketball, a coaching staff member may observe an individual who has not entered the seventh grade participating in an athletically related activity, provided such observation occurs during a period when it is permissible to evaluate prospective student-athletes.” I’m getting a little nervous we are going to start seeing college and NBA scouts at the local Skyzone or Boys and Girls Club. The way the rule is written invites poor judgment and illicit behavior.

Russell Westbrook is having a truly dominant season for Oklahoma City and became only the second player (Michael Jordan) in 27 seasons to have 20 points, 10 assists and 5 rebounds in five or more straight games. He is averaging 27 ppg, 7 rebounds and 8 assists per game on the season and has led the Thunder to a 9-3 record over the last 12 games. Westbrook has outperformed Kevin Durant in all three statistical categories.

What in the world were the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim thinking when they signed Josh Hamilton to a five year 125 million dollar contract? The contract by the way includes a no-trade clause, access to a luxury suite and incentives that can add up to another almost million because realistically who can survive on 25 million per year alone? Hamilton suffered yet another drug and alcohol release this offseason. Hamilton took off from 2002-2006 due to a litany of personal and chemical dependency problems and one of the conditions of his reinstatement was that he undergo drug testing three times per week. He had alcohol relapses in 2009 and 2012 and has frequently discussed (understandably) what a difficult battle this was for him. The Angels signed Albert Pujols for 10 years and 240 million in 2011 and Hamilton in 2012 and 365 million dollars later, the Angels have some big regrets.

Can athletes who make obvious individual mistakes stop pointing to themselves after the play and stop saying “My bad”? We know it’s your bad because we just saw it play out in front of our own eyes. How about taking some accountability when we don’t automatically know it’s your fault? For instance, we often don’t know in football whose fault it is when there is an interception or an incomplete pass because we don’t know whether the receiver ran the wrong route or the quarterback made a bad decision. Or how about in basketball when a player didn’t know the play being run. That’s when I want to know whose bad it is!

I know this is a topic that was decided on a long time ago but every time I think about this… I can’t believe you get a point in hockey when you lose. So for those of you who aren’t familiar, by accomplishing the amazing feat of bringing the game to overtime or the shootout (if no one scores in the five minute overtime), you are awarded one point. This was done of course for parity and so more teams have playoff chances which of course helps sell tickets. Winnipeg and L.A. lead the NHL with a whopping 12 overtime or shootout losses. So if they just counted as losses, the Kings would be 29-32 and six points out of a playoff spot and be the 10th seed as opposed to the eighth seed. The worst part is this rule allows an accepted strategy to at least walk away with a point and completely can alter the way a team approaches the third period of a hockey game. Can you imagine if MLB said, hey good job going into extra innings, we will give you a half a win for that or some kind of extra credit? The only thing worse than this is when kids get trophies for participation in sports!

Interesting trade in the NHL where Columbus trades former Bruin Nathan Horton (who probably will never suit up again) to the Maple Leafs for salary cap anchor David Clarkson. Apparently the logic here was for Toronto, they get salary cap relief and would rather have a cap hit of 2.5 million for someone who never plays than an approximately 5 million dollar cap hit for someone who does? So Toronto didn’t even think Clarkson was worth the extra 2.5 million to suit up. For Columbus, they feel that for 2.5 million Clarkson is worth it. Toronto will take any kind of relief.

Don’t forget the cricket doubleheader front and center on ESPN today as perennial rivals Sri Lanka takes on England followed by the clash of Zimbabwe and Pakistan.