Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Clemens in Congress - the Live Blog

12:33pm: You've got to be kidding... Rep. Clay just asked Roger what uniform Clemens is wearing into the Hall of Fame. That's it - this is officially a complete farce. I'm breaking for lunch, maybe I'll come back, maybe I won't.

12:32pm: This is brutally boring. I'm not going to lie to you - I've dozed a couple times. Not unlike some of our older Senators & Congressmen. At least I'm not getting paid six figures to sit here and listen to this drivel.

12:30pm: Hmmm... Clemens has decided to give us a quick autobiography. Wonder if he'll throw in the part where he moved from Boston to Toronto to be closer to his family in Houston.

12:16pm: Wow... blatent conflict of interest there - Carolyn Maloney, a rep. from New York, opens her statements with "As a New Yorker, I'm very proud of your professional accomplishments..." Even better, the previous Congressman was actually trying to give Clemens an out by asking both Clemens & McNamee about the color of the injections. All Clemens has to do was say that the injections were the same color as what McNamee said he was injecting and he could have played the "He lied about what he was injecting me with" card. Idiot.

12:10pm: Oh good - we finally get to find out who the man in the middle is! And... he has absolutely nothing to add. He helped to compile the evidence in the Mitchell report, and rather than actually answer the questions he's asked, he dances around the issue until the time expires. It's like a high school depate team meet when one person doesn't know what to say.

11:48am: I have the worst timing in the world - less than a minute after I "signed off", one of Clemens' lawyers tried to jump in and speak in place of Clemens when Rep. Stephen Lynch (good ol' Boston boy - probably still jilted from Rogers move to Toronto) mentioned a medical examination that concluded that the most likely way Clemens suffered an abcess on his ass was from a Winstrol injection. Interesting...

11:43am: So... one Congressman shreds Clemens, another shreds McNamee, and in between we have the softball lobbing Congressman. It's like people took sides before this ever started, and just decided to further their side with their line of questioning. Congressman Cummins went hard at Clemens with his repeated "You know you're under oath" mantra. Another Congressman absolutely crushed McNamee with constant references to prior statements where McNamee now admits he was lying. And everyone watching realizes that absolutely nothing is going to come of this. What a waste of a morning, not to mention your tax dollars and mine. I'm done here - it's been two hours and we've yet to hear anything worthwhile.

11:29am: Hmm... Roger says his wife was injected with HGH without his knowledge... I give the marriage another 1-2 years, max. Never in my life met a woman willing to be the "fall guy" or in this case "fall girl" and not get pissed to the point of just walking away.

11:24am: It's amazing - Roger Clemens refuses to admit to ever saying anything, and maintains that he has been 100% truthful at all times throughout the whole process. McNamee has admitted to intentionally misleading police, federal investigators, and the Congressional committee. Yet I find McNamee more believable so far.

11:14am: Uh oh... looks like there's no chance Roger Clemens was at the infamous Canseco barbecue. And if this is the only thing that impeaches McNamee's credability, then this whole thing is a joke.

11:10am: Ridiculous shift in tone from Rep. Cummins doing his best to dismantle Clemens to Tom Davis and his softball questions. Not to mention him giggling at a response that Clemens gave to a question ("Mr. Davis - when I'm on the mound, I want an edge." Cummins would have crushed Roger for that one...)

10:52am: Representative Elijah Cummins has asked Clemens three times now if Clemens knows he's under oath, and if he understand what that means. He'd better be very, very careful what he says here.

10:50am: I thought I'd miss Jose Canseco's presence at these hearings, his squinty, confused look everytime he got asked a question. The smug self-satisfied look on his face when he thought he'd gotten a question correct. But this looks like it's going to be fantastic theater even without him.

10:47am: Holy crap - the first Congressman to ask questions is grilling Clemens. Talk about trying his damndest to to catch Roger in a lie! This is fantastic!

10:39am: There was a rumor making the rounds last week that Clemens' new haircut choice - closely cropped, to the point of almost being shaved - was to avoid any type of hair folicle drug testing. Interesting theory, though I sincerely doubt it's accurate.

10:37am: After the swearing in process, we finally get to hear from Roger. And he decides to focus the majority of his statement on generic thoughts on his career and training methods... Such a waste of time.

10:30am: Waxman finishes with "The chair will not tolerate defamatory statements during this hearing" - wait; isn't this whole damned thing defamatory? Even better, the Congressmen on the committe will voluntarily choose to "skip" a couple of "inconsequential" votes on the House floor... Insert your own joke here.

10:23am: Christ... Waxman is still talking. Although at least he's being somewhat fair - he's doing his best to blast (and to some degree, embarrass) both sides of this.

10:17am: Interesting choice of words - Waxman said "If Mr. McNamee is lying...", but said "If Mr. Clemens isn't telling the truth...". The word "lying" is much, MUCH stronger than "Not telling the truth". Wonder if Waxman was one of the Congressmen that Clemens met with for photos and autographs?

10:16am: Love the 64,000-word opening statement. Way to condense it down for us. Just one more example of how out-of-touch Congress is with modern America - not only do most people not have three hours to sit around and watch blowhard politicians use their five minutes of face time for their own purposes in an election year, but they seem to think that the average American public who is watching this today doesn't already know exactly what's going on. It's like they're just killing time.

10:10am: Anybody taking odds on Clemens deciding to just give up and come clean today? 10,000-1? 1,000,000-1? Higher?

10:o8am: And not 10 seconds after I finish making fun of him... Waxman gives a nice speech about a Congressman who just died. I'm such an ass.

10:07am: If ever there was a perfect name for a person, it's Henry Waxman. Not only does he just seem like a "Henry" but he literally looks like he's made of wax. Scary dude.

10:05am: Showtime - gavel meets desktop, and we're underway!

9:53am: Another five minute recap of the past three months, followed by some actual, honest-to-God new information! Andy Pettite apparantely used HGH not only in 2002, as previously released, but also in 2004 - but only for one day. Yep, that HGH stuff is so good, you can only use it for one day and be totally cured.

9:45am: 15 minutes till showtime... hmmm - quick nap or more coffee?

9:42am: Good Lord - this is a 40-man Congressional committee? Is each of them going to be given a chance to speak today? at five minutes per Congressman, that's like... um... 200 minutes of a hearing? Crap - I was expecting an hour, maybe two, then I could go back to bed. I should have thought this through...

9:40am: Finally! We've got two reporters in a hallway in Congress talking! I was afraid ESPN was going to miss the bread & butter shot today...

9:38am: ESPN doing a real nice job of accentuating the "Round Table" feel of this stage - they're basically going around in a circle talking to (from right to left) Olney, Ley, Karl Ravech and Phillips, then back again.

9:37am: Seven minutes, nothing new to discuss. Though we did just have our first Roger Cossack mention... figured that would wait for at least 10-15 minutes.

9:33am: The first upset of the morning - I fully expected to see Bob Ley & Buster Olney on the set, with Steve Phillips an outside possibility. But I was really hoping to see them all setup on a small set in a hallway of Congress somewhere, maybe with Congressional pages fighting in the background to get the best sign making fun of Ley on TV. Shame that they appear to be on some obscure soundstage in Bristol.

9:31am: Oh good - an ESPN highlight/music video montage of Clemens clips to open the "Special" Sportscenter. Didn't see that coming.

9:27am: Just to set the scene a little here... I'm sitting in my living room watching the television, balancing the laptop on my knees, a bowl of cereal on the left arm of the chair, and a cup of coffee in my right hand. Can't see this ending poorly. Nope, no way.

9:16am: Good point here - nice job by Roger Goodell to meet with Arlen Specter today in DC. Little to no chance that meeting headlines any sports pages, anywhere in this country.

9:14am: So, now ESPN has the Ultimate Highlight which by definition should be the highlight to end all highlights. This runs once a week. And they also have the Greatest Highlight bracket. Hmm... has the writers strike affected us all more than we thought?

9:13am: Thank God for coffee...

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Programming Note

Just because there's nothing else happening this week - I'm going to try to run a live-blog of Roger Clemens' testimony in Congress tomorrow.

I'm not expecting to add anything insightful. Hell, I'll be shocked if I'm even out of bed before he's sworn in. But if all goes according to plans, maybe you'll all have something fun to do while bored at work.

Kicking things off - A leaked transcript of Andy Pettite's sworn deposition says Clemens openly discussed using HGH. Guess this kind of explains why Pettite didn't want to show up tomorrow. Of course, Jose Canseco is 100% behind Roger Clemens here, which under normal circumstances would probably be a huge indictment of Clemens. But considering that Canseco was the only person telling the truth (albeit his version of the truth) for a long time, maybe that isn't a bad thing...

See you in the morning


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Monday, February 04, 2008

Super Bowl XLII Recap

It's about 5:30am on the day after the Super Bowl, and I just got home, so this is going ot be short. And probably full of spelling and grammatical errors.

I'm not even upset that the Patriots lost. Actually, check that - of course I'm upset that the Patriots lost. But I'm thoroughly disappointed in how they lost.

How the defense quit on a play where Eli Manning was in the grasp of three lineman, but managed to wriggle free (with the help of some "constructive blocking") and complete a ridiculous 32-yard pass on 3rd and 5.

How the defense was unable to stop a simple 4th and 1 conversion attempt - something they did last week against a supposedly better offense in the San Diego Chargers - that would hve sealed the game.

How with six minutes to go in the 4th quarter, after a Brady to Welker completion to get across the 50-yard line, I openly wondered if the Patriots were leaving too much time on the clock for Eli Manning - and I wasn't even remotely joking.

How for two years in a row I've had to watch my team walk off the field after giving away a game that they had no business losing in the final game of their season.

And how in the living Hell did Ellis Hobbs - Five Foot, Nine Inch Ellis Hobbs - get singled up on Plaxico Burress - Six Foot, Five Inch Plaxico Burress - and why in God's name would Hobbs give Plax an eight yard buffer from the thirteen-yard line?

Complain all you want about the officials - and believe me, there's plenty to complain about; I still can't fathom how the refs allowed Ahmad Bradshaw a full 10 seconds to crawl through a pile and take away a fumble that had clearly been recovered by the Patriots - but this was one hell of a game. Just very disappointing.

I walked away from the Grand Pequot Ballroom at Foxwoods, where I was watching the game, with much the same feeling as I had when I was carried out of Beckett's pub the night of Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS - strangely enough, the event that became the impetus for this website. I just wasn't sure what the hell had just happened, but I was certain it wasn't good for me.

I salute the Giants for winning the game, and (most of) their fans for handling the win with class. I'm bracing for weeks of comparisons to the 2001 Patriots, and months of living with the fact that the Patriots just coughed up history.

In fact, that's probably what pisses me off more than anything else - the knowledge that somewhere in the greater Phoenix/Glendale/Scotsdale area of Arizona, Don Shula popped open a bottle of champagne tonight with a mile-wide grin on his face.

That's it. I can't discuss this anymore. I'm going to bed.


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Saturday, February 02, 2008

2007 NFL Picks - Super Bowl XLII

Just get it over with already.

Seriously. Just get it over with. Start the pregame shows, start the game, have the crappy halftime show, crown a winner and get tne Miami Dolphins on the clock.

It's sad that a die hard football fan such as myself has grown to have this attitude, especially considering that my team is actually in the game. I can't imagine what non-Giants / non-Patriots fans must be feeling like. I actually feel sorry for Jets fans.

No, wait. That's not right. I can never feel sorry for a Jets fan. Ignore that last statement - it's late and I've had a long week.

What I'm driving at here is that the 2-week period leading up to the Super Bowl is too much. Fifteen years or more ago, it would have been perfect - the Internet was still in it's infancy, reporters could take their time fleshing out a good story, and fans could read or watch it, digest it, talk about it, and move on.

Now, every story is dead before the next morning's sun can hit it. Fans are bored of hearing the same pundits take the same stance on the same issues, and even more bored of hearing those pundits change sides because some non-issue pops up in the middle of the week.

Tom Brady has a limp. The Patriots might have used a video camera seven years ago. Plaxico Burress said something without first thinking about how it would play in every media outlet from Tuscon to Tokyo.

The only time an issue can pop up during Super Bowl week is if:
A) There's a legitimate injury. As a gambler, I'm terrified about Plax's legs. I couldn't care less about Brady's ankle.
B) Someone actually insults the other team or players/coaches. See Bradshaw, Terry and something about spelling "CAT".
C) A player/coach gets arrested or into some form of accident. Call it the Eugene Robinson rule.
D) There's a massive storm heading for the site of the Super Bowl. Last year's game was a perfect example of this - I was stunned that the line didn't move more towards the Bears once the announcement was made of "Hurricane-like conditions" in Miami.

That's it. For all the talking points, talking heads, and just talking, not much actually affects the outcome of the game itself. And as fans, most of us are sophisticated enough to understand what's important and what's not. It would just be nice to not have to try to decipher two weeks of junk and condense it into about three hours of important information.

That's enough ranting for today. Onto the pick itself.

For the past five years, I've picked the Super Bowl incorrectly on the spread, and I'm 3-2 on only correctly picking the winning team. I'm really hoping to break that 0-fer this year. So here goes.

The Pick: Patriots 38, Giants 17. The way I see this game shaking out, I think the Pats take an early lead and hold on to it. I think the game gets close in the second half, but ultimately I think the Pats' experience holds up against the Giants, and a couple of late turnovers will make this game seem like much more of a blowout than it actually is going to be.

I expect a close game for at least two and a half quarters, if not three or more. I expect bettors everywhere to go crazy towards the end, when a late TD for the Pats or turnover for the Giants kills any chance of New York covering...

And I fully expect to look like a fool on Monday when the Patriots win by three. Again.

So there you have it. Short and sweet. No 10,000 word opus, no ranting and raving about the latest spying allegations, no snappy comeback for the commenter from last week's post regarding the fact that the NFL doesn't suspend players for four games for "Substance Abuse" for a legal substance like alcohol. None of that. Well, maybe some of it...

Not sure when I'll be back here with uninsightful sporting commentary. I've moved back to Massachusetts for awhile, so I'll be even more Boston-focused than I previously was (if that's even possible). I can feel you rolling your eyes already...


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