Frauds: Colts and Sox

I am launching an investigation into the Indianapolis Colts franchise for fraudulent behavior.

I begin my case by pointing to the 2004 playoff game when Ty Law snared three interceptions en route to a 24-14 win over the Colts. Colts GM Bill Polian “The Ultimate CryBaby” threw a hissy fit in the press box after that game and then led a committee that offseason to change specific pass defense rules because his receivers were too soft. Polian was sad that his QB had no Superbowl appearances while The Patriots had won three in the past four seasons. His efforts were rewarded in 2006 when the Colts won their only Superbowl in the Manning-Polian era.

Not onyl did they win that Superbowl as a result of the rule change they begged for, it was against one of the softest opponents in Superbowl history (the 2006 Bears) and the worst QB in Superbowl history Rex Grossman. Manning couldn’t give that one away. That was the only year Grossman started all 16 games over an 11 year career and he only started more than eight one other season. He averaged five touchdowns and five interceptions per season.

Secondly, the Colts clearly tanked the 2011 season to get Andrew Luck and embarrassed the NFL in the process. A quote from a prominent NFL writer after the Colts fell to 0-13: “It should become glaringly obvious that Bill (Polian) and his son Chris are having the Colts tank and owner Jim Irsay needs to cut ties with these bozos if he wants to remain credible.” That would imply the Colts have ever cared about credibility or taking accountability for there many years of underachieving in the playoffs.

Lastly, Andrew Luck and the present Colts team have been repeatedly annihilated by the Patriots so Colts GM Ryan Grigson tattled on the Patriots in Deflategate. Unfortunately, Grigson forgot that NFL teams need defense to be successful (Colts have given up 131 points in last three games against the Pats) so he resorted to the only thing he had left following a long-standing Colts tradition of passing the buck when they fail and whining to Mommy for rule changes.

Keep drafting those wide receivers though Ryan and hope Frank Gore doesn’t keel over by the midway point.

Before I transition to baseball, I must express by deep concern and frustration with FIFA. 150 million in bribes and corruption? A future World Cup in the hotbed (I mean that literally) in 140 degree Qatar. Everything seems on the up and up to me. This could be the break that soccer needs.  Maybe they should change the soccer federation to be called “Thiefa”. I apologize I couldn’t help myself.

A special shout out to Kansas City Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie who recently allowed 11 runs and 12 baserunners in one inning of work. That wouldn’t be acceptable even by Red Sox standards.

I was thinking about while the debate over whether the National League should adopt the DH rages on, that the Red Sox could present an alternative proposal. How about multiple DH’s in your lineup…say David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval could all play DH? Men’s softball leagues would be jealous everywhere.

What is going on with the Red Sox right now is not a short-term thing and is embarrassing on several fronts. It was one thing to identify that your lineup lacked offensive punch especially when your best player is 38, it is another thing to sign two guys that have virtually no defensive skills whatsoever in Ramirez and Sandoval.

The front office blundered by letting Lester go and by not resigning Andrew Miller for a mere four million dollars more (otherwise known as  ½ of Justin Masterson’s wasted salary). Lester was proven and proven in a big market, was getting better with age and was a proven ace. The Sox spent 300 million on Sandoval, Ramirez and Rick Porcello and gave up Lester and Jacoby Ellsbury in the process for the same amount. What combo would you rather have? Ask the Yankees how they feel about losing Ellsbury to an injury? They have been a mess since he has gone down. Yes I know about his history of injuries, but boy has he been good since he left. The Sox also could have saved the 72 million on Rusney Castillo.

John Farrell was the answer initially as they needed a professional calming influence after Bobby Valentine left, but he offers nothing now. For a former pitching coach, Farrell hasn’t coaxed anything magical out of any pitcher on this staff. He is not an X’s and O’s guy, not a motivator and just doesn’t seem to have the requisite skills to get this ship turned around.

Everybody keeps saying the Red Sox are underachieving but I think the talent evaluation was poor and that the team simply isn’t very good. Are they better than six games below .500? Maybe, what I do know though is that if I hear one more fan or media member remind me that they are still within shouting distance of the division lead I am going to vomit. Is that the standard? Winning an inferior division and arguably the worst division in baseball and then getting dismantled in the playoffs. Can’t wait for Game 1 of the playoffs when the Sox trot out current staff ERA leader Wade Miley. I can just hear Joe Buck on Fox now trying to hype that.

Clayton Kershaw is on the verge of making his 100th start that he has allowed one run or less. I was amazed when I read that until I saw that Roger Clemens did that 255 times. WOW! Not sure how many were pre-juice though?

Seriously, the Houston Astros are still the top team in the American League.

The Angels haven’t lost since Josh Hamilton returned to the Rangers lineup.

Seems that the water bottle Johnny Manziel threw at a badgering fan was the most accurate toss he has thrown in his NFL career.


“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.


Balls and Strikes

A few thoughts as we gear up for the start of the 2015 MLB season.

The Boston Red Sox have had a somewhat bizarre offseason. They have seemingly loaded up on offense, could have the best 1-6 hitters in baseball if things fall right, but have no #1 or possibly #2 starter, have a 40-year-old closer Koji Uehara, who looked tired and ineffective the final months of last season and a bullpen that has some undefined roles and potentially a lot of mediocrity. I have always been a huge fan of compiling assets, but those assets seem to represent redundancy while leaving too many holes. The Red Sox have the best young prospects in baseball and have trade chips aplenty but here are the things I question most heading into the season:

1. The Red Sox declined to resign Jon Lester because of his age and potential decline. Yet, they opted to resign Uehara for 2 years and 18 million instead of resigning Andrew Miller for four years and 36 million despite the fact that Miller is a lefty, is in the prime of his career and is clearly trending upward. Miller went to the Yankees and this decision will be one the Sox sorely regret.

2. The Sox signed Rusney Castillo to a seven year-72 million contract last season. Who signs a player to an average salary of 10 million plus and then can’t find a place in the starting lineup for him? Shane Victorino was named the starter but not on merit and solely based on his past success and the likelihood that he will be a clubhouse problem and become petulant if he is coming off the bench.

3. Xander Bogaerts. I am a big fan and believer, but if he stumbles and he will get a huge leash, the Red Sox have a big hole at SS offensively and defensively. If the rumblings start midway through the season of moving Hanley Ramirez back to SS, that will create a whole new set of problems.

It will be interesting to see how former Red Sox player Will Middlebrooks does in San Diego considering it is not a good hitter’s park. If Middlebrooks does well, he hit .333 in spring training, and it proves out that the Red Sox panicked and gave up too quick, then the 95 million dollars spent on Pablo Sandoval will look bad. However, in light of the Sox losing Christian Vazquez, acquiring Ryan Hanigan for Middlebrooks could help save some face.

Speaking of the Padres, they are one of the most intriguing teams to watch heading into the season. Justin Upton and Matt Kemp have a chance to rebound for big years. Wil Myers and Will Middlebrooks get out from under the pressure of their previous teams and if either or both can perform effectively, the Padres could be a force to be reckoned with. San Diego also acquired all-star catcher Derek Norris, ace pitcher James Shields who should thrive in San Diego and they took minor risks on Brandon Morrow and Josh Johnson.

The Kris Bryant – Chicago Cubs saga is getting all too repetitive. So the Cubs sent him down to the minors so they could secure an extra year of service time and delay him going to free agency and having to deal with uber-agent Scott Boras. All Bryant did in spring training was hit nine home runs, knock in 15 runs and hit .425 in 40 at bats.  Those are Stephen Drew’s power numbers over the last two season coupled with a batting average approximately 300 points less. The players association agreed to this rule and every time a team exploits it, there is an uproar. Next time the collective bargaining agreement comes due, surely this issue will be addressed. However, the Cubs have a potentially contending team for the first time in God knows how long and more importantly, their fans can say the word playoffs without breaking out in laughter. If at the end of the season, the Cubs miss the playoffs by one to three games, everyone will be asking if Kris Bryant could have made the difference and for a team that hasn’t won since… well let’s just say the last time they won: a loaf of bread was five cents, a gallon of milk was 32 cents and a gallon of gas was 11 cents, having another year of service time might not be worth losing a playoff spot.

And how could I finish baseball without discussing the Bronx Bombers. Anytime you go into the season thinking this could be our year if Mark Teixeira bounces back and stays healthy, Alex Rodriguez stays healthy and doesn’t implode, Carlos Beltran stays healthy and bounces back, Tanaka’s elbow holds up, Sabathia’s arm doesn’t fall off from overuse or from holding up his belly and Michael Pineda can stay healthy and fulfill his previous vast potential, you can’t feel good. The only lock on this team offensively might be Jacoby Ellsbury and let’s face it, he is so overdue to get hurt.

Too bad the New York Mets lost Zack Wheeler for the year because it would have been great to see Matt Harvey and Wheeler as a 1-2 punch.

As MLB gears up, the NBA and NHL regular seasons wind down.

As usual the Western Conference holds all the intrigue and excitement. Not thinking too many people are breathlessly awaiting how far the Atlanta Hawks or Toronto Raptors go in the playoffs. The Western Conference should ultimately come down to the Warriors and Clippers. LA has the talent, athleticism and coaching to stay with Golden State, but I am not sure the IQ is there and I truly believe Golden State could be a team of destiny this season as they have virtually no weakness. Everybody still has to get by San Antonio of course but seeing Stephen Curry and the young gun Warriors in the Finals would be refreshing to say the least. By the way, six of the top seven teams in the NBA are in the Western Conference.

Congrats to Phil Jackson on a brilliant first season with the Knicks guiding them to the worst season in franchise history as they are currently 14-61. I wonder if it was a big deal in losing out on getting Steve Kerr to coach the team and settling for Derek Fisher?

I pointed out in my last blog how much more successful the Celtics have performed post-Rondo and how much less successful the Mavs have performed. What seems to be the hidden gem from that trade though is Jae Crowder. He is a jack of all trades and a player Danny Ainge insisted on. Crowder can rebound, pass, shoot from the outside and defend any of the frontcourt positions despite being only 6’6’’.

With all the struggles Kevin Love continues to have in Cleveland and the steady improvement Andrew Wiggins is having in Minnesota, perhaps Cleveland wishes they could rethink that trade. But if Love leaves after this season or doesn’t live up to his potential come playoff time than that failed trade is on LeBron because Cleveland doesn’t pull the trigger on that without LeBron cajoling management.

I am about 50% over losing Darelle Revis and have two other thoughts. First, I thought it was telling last week that Revis felt the need to point out that the Patriots offer wasn’t in the ballpark. This was heavily reported after he decided to resign with the Jets anyway so this was hardly news. What Revis intentionally chose not to address was whether he would have resigned with the Patriots if the offer was in the ballpark. I maintain the Patriots didn’t make a competitive offer because they felt his heart was with the Jets all along and they didnt want to be embarrassed and match the Jets and still lose the player. On the flip side, if the Pats could have resigned him, but they were thinking towards next season when they will have to address the contracts of Donta Hightower, Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins, then shame on them. Jones has been injury prone and inconsistent, Hightower is overrated and Collins looks very promising, but why not keep the proven commodity at a position that is virtually impossible to find a stud.

Can’t wait until MLB umpires start issuing delay of game warnings.

World Series prediction:

Washington Nationals win it all and beat the Baltimore Orioles in the Beltway Series.