THE FICTITIOUS WORLD OF DAN LE BATARD

July 19, 2019

By DINO COSTA

You’ll need to forgive me for being a little bit confused these days.

There was a time in my on-air career when it seemed that I was alone in
pointing out the failings and the irresponsible decisions of NFL
Commissioner Roger Goodell. I was told by some in the business (no names
as I seek to protect the embarrassed) to stop doing this because after
all, I was as wrong as could be, Goodell at the time was near-universally
loved, and my forecasts for NFL problems on the horizon back then (2010)
was considered silly and so utterly contrarian.

Now, 9-years later, the bash Roger Goodell line stretches from one end of
the country to the other with people who almost seem to make a living
criticizing the NFL Commish.

Things change, I guess?

Did I already mention the year 2010?

It was during that time that our country was led by one of the most
polarizing and divisive (some would say one the worst) President’s our
country has ever known, his last name was Obama.

Because my shows have always been issues-oriented (I’m an issues-based guy
and I do an issues-based show) and because over the last 10-years we have
seen such an inundation of political and societal elements being introduced
within the world of sports, it seems that those whose primary function is
to talk or write about the sports world also has these people turning and
commenting more and more on the political theatre of the day with
consistency.

Now back then, Obama came into the narrative on my national shows only
every now and again. After all, he was driving policy in the country, he
himself would sometimes talk about sports, he was one of ESPN’s favorite
people, and sometimes, he would say things that had nothing to do with
sports, but it would compel me to comment on it briefly anyway.

But my attention paid to this former President was few and far between, and
straight political commentary on my shows back then wasn’t very often. The
majority of times political or societal talking points came up on my shows
they were almost always done because of a direct or a semi-direct
connection to something that was going on within the sports digest.

One other major difference between my perspective on that former President
as compared to how so many feel today about this current President may be
found in the fact that although I despised our country being led by Obama
at the time, unlike the unhinged individuals we have in our midst these
days, it never consumed me daily. In other words, Obama as the President
never dominated my thoughts, and my own negative feelings about the man, my
jaundiced views concerning his position as the leader of the free world
never compelled me to abuse others or to mistreat them based upon their
favorable feelings about #44. An Obama obsession? No, I was never afflicted
with such a thing.

Sometimes people would phone into my show from all points across the
country asking me to stop commenting about something Obama said or did,
because, after all, I hosted a show that commented on sports, and Obama
wasn’t sports.

Of course, what they meant to tell me, but never did, was that my views on
the former President hurt their feelings, and they’d rather I not say
anything about the man if it wasn’t something that harmonized with their
own cheeky feelings about #44.

What they also failed to tell me was that if I postured as someone who
viewed the man favorably, then in their eyes, I had carte blanche to preach
on all day and all night long about him, as under that hypothetical, they
wouldn’t be able to get enough of my positive impressions about Obama.

How many times over the last almost 3-years have you stopped, looked
around, and considered what absurd and misguided times we’re now living in?
To say that the wheels have completely come off and that thought processes
have become counterfactual to what reality would suggest is only the tip of
the iceberg, right?

Preposterous and deceitful lines of propaganda are routinely dispatched as
factual representations across a broad spectrum of affairs, and simply put,
I’m afraid that people have lost their minds in our country like never
before in American recorded history.

Consider that our country is seriously being compared with the Third Reich
by many and the current sitting President is compared with Adolf Hitler.
And what’s even scarier is when you recognize that those who think in these
ways are actually genuine with these insane feelings.

“America. Love it or leave it.” This expression is something new?

I won’t speak for you, but I first started hearing this line when I was
about 10-years old.

As you all know, Donald Trump, recently told a few congresswomen who have
shown in word and deed that not only do they dislike America – but in
addition – they dislike Jewish people, and Trump suggested to these
politicians that if they don’t enjoy being in the greatest country in the
world, that they could leave and never come back and it would be fine by
him.

Of course, people lost their shit over these words…then again, those who
hold Trump in contempt are triggered by such innocent news that he woke up
today and is still alive and breathing. That’s a bad day for the hate-Trump
crowd.

Yeah, Trump pisses me off too, but for far different reasons. On a scale of
1-10, so far, as someone who voted for him, I’d give his Presidency no more
than a 5. I still believe that as compared to the alternatives, Trump is a
much better option, but lest anyone believe I’m a Trump sycophant, you’ll
need to think again.

Here is what this so far very average President tweeted just the other day:
“So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who
originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total
catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if
they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly it is done.
These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure
that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel
arrangements!”

Trump was speaking most specifically about congresswomen Ihan Omar of
Minnesota.

Now, do tell, is Omar progressive democrat congresswomen? Yes.

Does she hail from a country laden with all kinds of corruption? Yes.

Does she speak with a venomous streak which would make any rational person
think that she hates America and wishes to fundamentally change our
country? Can there be any doubt?

Of course, Trump’s message to Ihan Omar, factual as it was, provided just
the kind of red meat that his detractors were so quick to pounce on and
that utterly predictable word was quickly and enthusiastically thrown out
there in an instant, yes, what Trump said was; RACIST!

The left’s default position for the last few years now has been to quickly
label anyone who disagrees with them, or, for anyone who has the brass to
have a mind of their own, such people are reflexively affixed with the word;
‘racist.’ Yes, today, seemingly everyone is a racist…or a bigot…or an
intolerant…or a sexist…or a homophobe…or a misogynist…or, fill in
the blank.

Which now leads me to a man who is the walking and talking embodiment of
modern-day ‘wokeness’ in America; Dan Le Batard, he of ESPN Radio.

On his radio show just yesterday, Dan made big news that has the rest of
the uber-liberal, Trump-hating, sports media, awash in ecstasy based on Le
Batard’s ‘courageous’ commentary concerning some in the crowd at a Trump
rally in North Carolina the other night chanting; “send her back, send her
back.”

Of course, Dan thought this was racist, and he surmised that those in the
crowd chanting these words were doing so not because those people in the
crowd feel that Ihan Omar is an American-hating politician who comes from
another country and arrogantly dictates her views to native-born
Americans. No, Dan is convinced that those chanting in the crowd at the
Trump rally were saying those things because of Omar’s skin color and
Islamic religion.

Said Le Batard; “It is so wrong what the president of our country is
doing, trying to get re-elected by diving the masses at a time when the old
white man, an old white man feels oppressed, being attacked by minorities,
black people, brown people, women. That’s who we’re going after now.”

The “old white man?”

Even if you disagreed with the chant, is it so hard for anyone who is an
actual patriotic American to understand the sentiment being expressed?

And is Dan actually accusing the President of playing the identity politics
game? Was this President taking copious notes on perfecting that craft like
the President before him so often did?

Dan Le Batard is one of many who loves to employ selective outrage as well
as a stunning case of amnesia that he should have someone take a look at
for him.

Racial division, Dan?

I have no doubt that Dan Le Batard would disagree with me when I’ll make
the claim that during the 8-years of the Obama Presidency, his
administration left this country weaker and more racially polarized than I
could ever remember it.

So, Dan Le Batard wishes to introduce race into the narrative?

Okay, let’s play along.

The incredible consistency in which Obama would go on and on about how
America was an inherently racist country with a biased judicial and
law-enforcement system, never did any previous President cite race as often
as Obama did, and there’s no question in my mind that his 8-years in the
White House rekindled racial divisions in our country that had been
steadily disappearing in American society up to that point in time.

No previous administration accentuated identity politics for political
purposes more so than Obama did in an effort to gain votes while ratcheting
up the racial heat in America along the way.

Does Dan Le Batard want to preach to people about racial relations? How
many times during his national ESPN Radio program did Dan Le Batard ever
mention polls like this one where people across America weighed in on Obama
being much more of a divider – than a uniter?
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/social_issues/60_say_race_relations_have_gotten_worse_since_obama_s_election

Dan Le Batard often cites his Cuban background, right? As a Latin-American,
is Le Batard ignorant to the facts that clearly show that Latin-American
people across the country are working in more jobs with record unemployment
for this specific sector than at any point in recorded history? Did Dan Le
Batard see those same numbers under the previous guy in office?

Additionally, how many times did anyone hear Le Batard speak about the
Obama administration’s record of lionizing the inhumane Castro-led regime
in Cuba, paying it, and the man himself homage time and again?

Obama proudly stated numerous times of a “new chapter” with the Cuban
people. Then, once Obama introduced “normalization”, arrests of Cuban
political dissidents escalated to the point where more than 9,000 political
arrests occurred under Obama’s watch.

What’s that, Dan?

Obama sent millions of dollars to Cuba under the dictator’s watch, gave
Cuba diplomatic recognition without any conditions to speak of and without
not a single requirement that the human rights atrocities enacted for
decades by the brutal regime come to an end.

When Castro finally died, there were parties in the streets of Little
Havana down in Miami, which was in stark contrast to Obama’s failure to
stand for freedom in Cuba – and for those people who were truly oppressed.

What’s that, Dan? Can you please send me the tapes of that particular
program where you feigned disgust and contempt for this situation under
Obama?

Racial division, Dan?

The race-baiting that Obama employed in the aftermath of the Treyvon
Martin/George Zimmerman tragedy was unconscionable. Instead of bringing
people together he injected tons of oxygen into the smoldering racial fire,
divided people even more so, and advanced the victimhood card while
demonizing specific people, and his words and actions were partly
responsible for some who threatened vigilante-action against the acquitted
individual in the case.

Race under a sitting President, Dan?

Obama’s wife, the First Lady, she got in on the racial dividing as well
with her outlandish commentary about how she never was proud of an America
she grew up in until her husband became the President.

Obama left office with not a single good thing going on in this country.
Not economically, not with regard to unemployment, not in consideration of
national pride and America’s standing in the world, and certainly there can
be no doubt that he presided over an era where race had become such a
central theme that it saddens me to this day.

But allow me to digress, because this is much less about Obama and more so
about a sports talk radio host who feels his enlightened position comes
with facts and irrefutable evidence to back up his claims – and nothing
could be further from the truth.

Dan Le Batard, like far too many in America today, seems to have race on
the brain 24/7.

As I have often said on many radio shows I’ve done, I believe in the
inherent goodness in people of all walks, of all ethnicities, and with all
backgrounds.

There are bad apples to be found everywhere no matter one’s skin color, but
overall? I’ll choose to believe that most people’s hearts aren’t dark, that
there are more good people than bad, and that most people will simply
choose to get along with their common man no matter where they are.

Le Batard also subliminally told fairly new ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro to
go to hell during his pathetic rant.

Pitaro, increasingly aware of how racially compromised ESPN had become over
the years, with ESPN’s ratings sinking, has made clear his desire to have
the Network rever back to its roots and cover the sports world exclusively.

But Dan dismissed and ignored his boss and took to his ridiculous and
misleading platform brazenly.

ESPN got rid of Jemele Hill and her constant racial tripe, the same Jemele
Hill that Le Batard mentioned during his outrageous on-air screed
yesterday, essentially blaming ESPN for not understanding or recognizing
the supreme intellect that Jemelle Hill has on race relations in America.
Yes, the same Jemele Hill who stoked the racial embers by making such
reckless and irresponsible statements about Trump being a white supremacist
despite not a single shred of evidence to support such an audacious claim.

As noted political commentator Mark Levin recently said in response to the
kinds of unjustifiable animus being preached by those like Dan Le Batard,
for those who believe color or religion has anything to do with Trump’s
comments – or in regard to some in his audience in North Carolina the other
night, Levin said; “It’s this President who ordered his military to
destroy ISIS and the Caliphate that was killing women of color, men of
color, babies of color, Muslims, Yazidis, and Christians too, but primarily
Muslims. It’s this Commander-in-Chief that oversees the war in Afghanistan
to protect Muslims from the Taliban. That would be men, women, children of
color. Now, what the hell of Omar and Tlaib and AOC done for men and women
and children of color? Not a damn thing.”

Of course, nothing that Levin said which is included in the above paragraph
means a single thing to someone like Dan Le Batard. People like Dan Le
Batard, who see things that don’t exist, who feel things that are
self-manufactured and without any merit, people like Dan Le Batard know
only one thing: Trump won the Presidency and those like Le Batard who
didn’t wish to see this happen are still pissed off about it and the script
calls for constant invective to be dispatched daily, making things up along
the way, bending and twisting things to square with the anti-Trump agenda,
by any means necessary, painting Trump as Satan incarnate. Facts and
reality be dammed. Period.

The President echoed the feelings of many who are fed up with those who
seek to subvert this countries better interests, and in the process, he
told Ihan Omar to get the hell out of the country and go back to her
war-torn, oppressive, human rights-less country of origin if America was
too cold and unforgiving for her.

A crowd chanted this feeling as well the other night. Boo-hoo.

Have you ever told someone that if they didn’t like something or someone
that you were involved with that they always had the option to get the hell
out? Nice of you to admit this, and I’m right there with you.

This is yet another ridiculous and insane controversy that has been
manufactured and developed by the anti-Trump crowd, Dan Le Batard among
them.

Dan Le Batard courageous?

Funny, but when I consider Dan Le Batard I see a calculated and uninformed
crybaby without a clue, or, someone who manipulates his own thoughts to see
a world that he believes exists when reality suggests to anyone with a
brain that Dan Le Batard’s world exists in imagination only.

Only a dolt would disagree.

THE COWARDLY SACRIFICE OF GERRY CALLAHAN

July 18, 2019

By DINO COSTA

I’ve been meaning to weigh in on this since the day it became news…but
wanted to wait to see if there was any other additional fallout from this
chicken shit move pulled by a Boston sports radio station.

Just last week word came down that WEEI morning sports radio host Gerry
Callahan was let go from a position that he had for the last 20-years.

The move was sudden and it came without any warning, for Callahan, as well
as for his colleague’s at the radio station.

Last month as the Blues and Bruins were going head to head for the Stanley
Cup, I got into some playful and spirited back and forth with a few of the
shows on WEEI, and I’ve gotten to know Gerry over the last few years, ever
since we started semi-regular communication when I found out that Gerry was
a fan of my national show on SiriusXM Radio.

The feeling was mutual because Gerry was one of the very few in the
industry who spoke about sports that I could tolerate for more than
3-seconds.

Callahan has hosted successful, introspective, and humorous morning sports
radio for the last two decades with a few different co-hosts. For many
years he partnered with John Dennis, who has been retired for a few years
now. In addition, he teamed with Kirk Minihane, who my former producer at
SXM, Andrew Caplan, has accused of stealing my on-air act, and most
recently after Minihane was fired from WEEI, Callahan and the very
professional and versatile Mike “Mut” Mutnansky formed WEEI’s morning team.

This is what Callahan Tweeted last Friday after he was informed he was no
longer a part of the station; “Well, that was fun. After 20 years in
morning drive, I did my last show on WEEI this morning. Thanks to all who
listened. Unfortunately, this ain’t a movie. Sometimes the bad guys win.
Much more to come.”

Entercom, who owns WEEI had their own statement following Callahan’s
release, and stepping up to the plate to deliver it was an unnamed source
who said; “Gerry Callahan has been a dominant force and a big part of WEEI
over the years. While it is now time for a new chapter, we thank him for
his many contributions and the indelible mark he has made at WEEI,
including his tireless work on behalf of Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund. We
wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Now some full disclosure for you all.

Only two weeks after I started with my on-air position at 590 The Fan in
St. Louis, I had just finished having lunch with my gorgeous wife when my
phone rang showing a call from Massachusetts. When I picked up, the voice
at the other end of the line said; “Dino, this is Joe Zarbano, program
director at WEEI in Boston, how are you?”

Now, listen, I’ve gotten to know Joe Zarbano since that phone call because
we’ve had numerous conversations over the last few months, and Joe is a
good guy, down to earth, not stuffy and condescending like many programmers
in the radio business, and the plan, at least initially, was for me to do
some shows on WEEI for a show they call; “WEEI At Night”, which runs from
8P to midnight, Monday through Friday.

Over the last few months, WEEI has had somewhat of a rotating cast of
people who have manned the 8P-12-Midnight shift, as they were seeking some
permanence for that role, and I was one of those who were under
consideration.

One of those they brought in to do some shows was Dan Sileo, a guy who has
had his share of memorable on-air experiences that have unfortunately
gotten him into some hot water over the years. Sileo was doing morning
drive at a sports station in San Diego (then he was replaced), with
almost no ratings to speak of, and the station he was on in San Diego was
another in the Entercom chain.

But suddenly, Sileo disappeared from doing any further WEEI At Night
programs. Someone told me the other day that Sileo has moved to Dublin, Ireland, and
has become a spokesman for Guinness, although I cannot fully confirm this
report.

Anyhow, as I waited for my own turn to provide Boston with the best sports
radio they’d ever heard, my conversations and communique’s with Joe Zarbano
continued over the weeks, phone calls, emails, texts, but nothing ever
materialized, until one day, Joe leveled with me and told me the inside
scoop of how a single individual in Boston has handcuffed the radio station
and terrorized it to the point where even though Joe Zarbano might be
listed as WEEI’s PD, he might only have that role in name only.

Why?

Because a person who goes by the name of Bob Murchison has been allowed to
essentially take the entire radio station hostage, and through his
scumbag-like moves over the years, his constant haranguing over what he
liked, or more importantly, what he didn’t like, at the station, things
said by various hosts on the station…WEEI has permitted this “radio
terrorist” to dictate virtually all programming decisions made by the
station. He’s contacted various WEEI sponsors and demanded that they drop
their advertising dollars from going to the station, and according to WEEI
PD Joe Zarbano, Joe told me that this psychopath has literally cost the
radio station millions of dollars in ad revenue over the years.

It got so bad, that (and this is almost unfathomable) the radio station
has invited this single individual to come into the station a few times to
try and reason with him, to essentially beg for him to call off his dogs
and to please allow the radio station to operate as the independent
entertainment platform its supposed to be.

Not only that – but because of this Murchison character – the station did
something that I believe is completely unprecedented in the history of the
medium. Just a few years ago, to appease this lunatic-listener (terrorist),
WEEI pulled their entire local on-air staff off the airwaves for a day,
resorted to playing all-syndicated programming, and had each and every one
of their local personalities at the station take part in a day-long
sensitivity-training course. Now, stop for a second and think about this.

The reason that Dan Sileo suddenly stopped doing programs on WEEI? Bob
Murchison.

The reason that Kirk Minihane was fired at WEEI? Bob Murchison.

The reason why Dino Costa never got to do any shows as was the plan at
WEEI? Because the thought of Bob Murchison looming and how he would react to
my own radio show was a huge consideration as told to me by Joe Zarbano.

As Joe Zarbano told me only a little more than a month ago: “Dino, if not
for this guy, I would have had you on the station a long time ago.”

And the reason why the most dominant personality on WEEI Radio over the
last twenty-years, Gerry Callahan, was fired last week? Because of Bob
Murchison, a listener, someone with no involvement with the station
whatsoever, gave the order, and just like that, Gerry Callahan was toast.

Come to think of it, this Bob Murchison, he may as well not only be the
program director at WEEI, I mean, with his power and influence, he may as
well be referred to as the owner of the damn station at this point.

The precedent that WEEI has allowed for in the case of Gerry Callahan, and
others at the station over the years, is beyond stunning. If this is the
way the radio industry is headed (and it is) then they might as well cut
their losses and close up shop and save everyone a lot of time and effort.

And the industry of radio is wondering what’s happening?

Why audience share is down?

Why are advertising dollars drying up?

Why does radio all sound the same these days?

Why do they seem to go through salespeople like people change underwear?

Does radio wonder why more and more people eschew the traditional methods
of radio and instead are seeking alternate paths of entertainment with
uncensored Online presentations?

What has happened to variety and distinguishable personalities that used to
be significant draws for stations all around the country?

Do you know why Gerry Callahan had to go? Do you know why this degenerate
scuzzball by the name of Bob Murchuison demanded his removal in lieu of
more calls to advertisers of the radio station possibly costing the station
more money? Do you know what Bob Murchison hated more than anything else
about Gerry Callahan? He despised the fact that Gerry Callahan was an
unapologetic conservative whose views, whenever the dialogue in the sports
world turned toward political and or societal issues (content that isquite
often these days), reflected that conservative ideology.

In Bob Murchison’s sick and twisted world, as far as Gerry Callahan was
concerned, this was the unpardonable sin.

And so, after twenty-years of stellar work, one of the most visible and
consistent voices in all of Boston media, Gerry Callahan, without any
warning, was shown the door after he completed his program last Friday
morning.

For a long time now we’ve been existing in a world that prohibits any
deviation from the culturally-approved lines of thought and deed where
people are seemingly given marching orders each day, a script of sorts,
where if anyone cares to weigh in on any one of hundreds of topics of
interest or areas of concern, they’re permitted to, however, only in the
ways that the societal thought-masters approve of.

If you’re employed in the media industry and you hold conservative views –
especially these days – this can and does have career-altering effects on
one’s career. Now, if you happen to work at Fox News or The One America
News Network, or if you’re employed as a writer by one of the few
conservative magazines or websites that are out there, you’ll be okay. But
if you work anywhere else and you walk into work each day as a known
conservative you’re also more than aware that landmines are lurking all
around you with each and every step you take…and with each and every
breath you fake?

I think that most have a clear picture of where I stand on all of this.
Many times throughout my own career on the air I’ve made examples and
exploited the numerous contradictions and double-standards that exist in
these areas…such as this Gerry Callahan situation. Some haven’t liked
this too much.

Because when you pull back the curtain on someone or on something to expose
the inconsistencies and the hypocrisies employed in making determinations
on people, on statements, on beliefs, on actions, or on a whole host of
hypothetical issues, and then compare them against the backdrop of clear
examples where one side is given a pass while another side is punished and
muted, this has a tendency to leave the other side, the intentionally
biased side making these decisions, both naked, angered, and unmasked, by
anyone with the temerity to call into question the dishonest and unethical
practices employed in rewarding one while penalizing the other.

For the one-millionth time let me preach it to the high heavens again. I
don’t care what kind of a world view you happen to hold, it matters not at
all that it dovetails with my own thoughts and feelings because as far as
I’m concerned you’re entitled to think, to say, and to feel, whatever it is
that makes you happy at the end of each day. Not only that but as I’ve
noted on many radio shows over the years, I’ll stand firmly in the gap with
you and fight for you and for your rights to espouse whatever kind of
belief system that makes sense to you…whether I agree with you or not.

I’m never going to hope that someone does something that prevents you from
making your own voice heard, something that may see you agreeing with
something that’s out there, or with fighting against something that you
don’t approve of. I’ll have your back come hell or high water because this
is America, not North Korea, and these are the rights you should have at
your disposal, and with me, your foxhole will never be empty no matter if
we agree or disagree with one another.

Are you yourself a more liberally-geared individual? You know that I voted
for Trump in the last election, right? You also know that Trump pisses me
off more times than I like, right? You know that when 2020 comes around
I’ll probably vote for Trump again, right?…that is unless Tucker Carlson
runs for the Presidency. You know that I hold unapologetic and
non-negotiable conservative views on many things, right? Is that okay with
you? Am I permitted such latitude? Obviously, Gerry Callahan wasn’t.

So, now that I have reiterated some things about my own personal belief
system, can I count on you to fight for me, to be in that foxhole with me,
and to defend my freedoms in America just as vigorously as I’m prepared to
do the same for you?

I didn’t think so. And yet, I’m allegedly part of a system that is absent
any tolerance while you allegedly take up with the side that consistently
likes to posture itself as open and welcoming to any and all ideas.

There are hundreds of examples of bias within media institutions, with
various media entities making life a living hell for many of their
employees for holding conservative belief systems.

And while the current state of affairs with WEEI might be on the extreme
side of things for the moment, make no mistake, most radio and television
stations these days are actually programmed, literally, not
figuratively, but literally programmed, not by station managers or program directors,

but by rabble-rousing activists. These stations are more and more capitulating to
the mob-crowd rule out there, handing over to them their entire stations,
what the stations will sound like, how the stations will be projected, what
opinions will be dispatched, and who will be hired and who will not based
upon how that individual might be met by the insurgents and the societal
arsonists outside their doors.

Together with corporate America, who for some reason tend to believe that
the majority of Americans hold the same belief system as the radically
unhinged people roaming the streets, these one-way only Bolsheviks employ
any method necessary, legally or not, morally or not, to destroy true
freedom of speech in America, while not caring for a second about the lives
and careers they exterminate in the process.

On the other hand, however, WEEI also employs another talk show host by the
name of Alex Reimer. Alex Reimer not only constantly speaks about his
liberal world views on the air ad-nauseam (I have no issue with this), but
as a homosexual man (likewise, I have no issue with this), he regularly
refers to his sexual-orientation as often as he wishes to.

Bob Murchison approves of this on-air repertoire, and so, Alex Reimer, he
gets to stay.

Finally, let’s not insult one another, okay?

Whenever Gerry Callahan included his own spin on political or societal
issues intertwined within the world of sports, views, and comments he may
have made that was a reflection of his own personal worldview, anyone who
may have been listening and then thought to themselves (dishonestly, of
course), “gee, ya know, I hate when Callahan has to include political
views on what is supposed to be a sports radio program.”

This hypothetical person I mention in the above paragraph wasn’t pissed off
because Gerry Callahan was including political or societal commentary that
was perhaps essential to a point he was making in the immediacy of a
moment. No, what this hypothetical person was angered about, was that Gerry
Callahan’s views on the topic, which required some form of political
commentary, this person (think Bob Murchison) was upset because Gerry
Callahan’s views don’t coincide with perhaps the more liberal doctrine that
this listener agrees with. If Callahan”s views were much more in line with
those of the pissed-off liberal listener (again, think Bob Murchison),
then Gerry Callahan would be soon wrapping up yet another successful week
on WEEI Radio instead of being pathetically and cowardly sacrificed as he
was a week ago.

Gerry Callahan will rebound and land on his feet doing something else, of
this I’m positive. If some radio programmer in Boston had any brains,
they’d scoop him up today and provide him another platform given the
audience and the following he has.

Gerry is right about one thing. This isn’t a movie, it’s a reality, as hard
as that might be to believe.

In the movies, more times than not the good guys win.

Too bad reality isn’t more like the movies, eh?

STILL DIPPIN’…& SPITTIN’

July 17, 2019

By DINO COSTA

Earl Campbell still dips, and his favorite brand is Skoal.

Walt Garrison, the old cowboy, he’s still reaching into his back pocket for
another pinch of Copenhagen…or like Earl Campbell, does Walt prefer Skoal
too? I think that Walt might still be a Skoal man to this very day.

A good old boy from Georgia who goes by the name of Madison Bumgarner…I’m
positive that MadBum is a Copenhagen southern blend kinda guy.

Oakland Athletics team President Billy Beane still spits into a paper cup,
although I’ve never been able to figure out what the Moneyball man’s
favorite chew is.

Does Carlton Fisk still put a pinch between his cheek and gum…or did he
only do that when he was chopping up some firewood at his home in Vermont?

Guys that dip or chew tobacco can be found in all walks of life. You could
have knocked me over with a feather when I had to go to the dentist two
years ago for a routine check-up, told the dentist that I was a dipper and
expected the perfunctory rebuke…only to have the dentist respond by
telling me that he was in that same club as well.

Football players dip as much as baseball players do. Current Redskins
running back Adrian Peterson is often spotted with a huge wad of longleaf
tobacco in his mouth before games and during warm-ups. In fact, and I have
no precise numbers to go by, but I did see something Online not too long
ago where some surveys indicate that now, NFL players dip as much and maybe
even more than baseball players do these days.

Brett Favre has always dipped, Jim McMahon, as well as John Elway.

How bout’ that?

Hockey players are known to be big dippers. In fact, when I was doing talk
radio in the lovely little river town of Huntington, West Virginia, back in
the day (actually the very first talk show with my name on it was in
Huntington back in 1998) I remember being in the Huntington Blizzard
locker room following a game and seeing tough winger Tracy Egeland putting
a monster-sized chew in after a game.

Even some players on the PGA Tour like to relax while they’re playing by
sliding in a dip every now and then. Dustin Johnson, for one, likes to dip,
although the Tour has rules against it whilst playing. Jason Duffner is
another. 2015 PGA Tour Rookie Of The Year Daniel Berger has always enjoyed
a dip in his lip while on the course. Anyone ever see Tiger reach for a tin
ever?

I’m also told that the dipping habit extends to a few guys on the WWE Tour.
The Undertaker (the what?) dips, in addition to guys like Steve Austin,
Brock Lesner, and Shawn Michaels.

You want me to get into dippers on the Pro Rodeo tour? Let’s safely assume
that a good 90% of all professional rodeo cowboys have that permanent
circle on one of the back pockets of their Wrangler jeans.

You’d also have to believe that many drivers on the Nascar circuit like to
throw some hammers in their mouths during a 500-mile race, right? Then
again, as I think about that, it has to be pretty challenging to take one
hand off the wheel while going almost 200 miles an hour to spit into a cup
of some kind.

I wonder how many in the media enjoy smokeless tobacco? I do know that
former Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz is a dipper. Kravitz is now
with the Athletic website.

Getting back to my dentist, during that same visit where he informed me
that he likes to throw a chew in once in a while, I asked him what he
considered more ‘dangerous’, chewing, or smoking? He told me he
considered smoking riskier because of the ‘fire’ and the ‘hotness’ that
it produces in the mouth. Whatever.

My own dip usage began back when I was running my own lawn and landscape
firm back in the nineties. My introduction to chew was with a brand called
Hawken, which if anyone is looking for a chew to break themselves into the
craft, I highly recommend. Hawken is a wintergreen chew that almost tastes
like candy with probably the lowest amount of nicotine of any other
smokeless tobacco on the market.

Since then I’ve graduated to pretty much all of them, different flavors,
different brands, but mostly I’ve tended to stick with two brands
primarily, either Copenhagen or Skoal, and if I had to choose between the
two, I’ll always favor Copenhagen.

But lately, I’ve been going with a different brand, it’s called Stoker’s,
which isn’t widely available in many states, in fact, it’s only been within
the last year or so that it’s been out west. Yeah, for the most part of
late I’ve been a Stoker’s wintergreen man. But hey now, don’t ever allow me
to tell you what brand or flavor to choose for yourself because this is
still a free dip America we live in.

I will tell you that if you dip flavored tobacco that the burn will be more
prevalent than if you dip natural flavored tobacco. But once you dip for a
while that burn I speak of goes away and they all kind of feel the same
against your gums.

When do I enjoy a dip the most? That would usually be right after I’ve had
a meal. Something about a satisfying dip right after you’ve eaten that
really…satisfies.

Yeah, I still enjoy cigars a lot, and it’s kind of funny because once I
start on a cigar kick that can last several weeks, my urge to dip goes away
completely.

I just happened to throw a pinch in just now as I finish up this piece.

Now I’m gonna watch the end of the Mets-Twins game on my recliner in the
living room.

Yeah, I’m still dippin’…and still spittin’.

But can you believe I still haven’t purchased a mud jug?

https://www.mudjug.com/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwjrvpBRC0ARIsAFrFuV-i3_SrUuUsMWtYD5NYl-nyB93TDRk-0i1B70FEaodK9f1ZZQxphD8aAibgEALw_wcB

THE WONDERFUL REDEMPTION OF RYAN LEAF

July 17, 2019

By DINO COSTA

Every so often someone will ask me who my favorite interview (I call them
conversations) was with, in my career as a talk show host?

My reply is always the same; I have no one favorite interview with any one
of the hundreds of people who have appeared as guests on my various shows
over the years. I’ve enjoyed many of them for different reasons, some I
liked less than others, but no matter who has agreed to appear on my shows,
I always try to get into a discussion that is hopefully a few layers deep,
procuring informational content that hopefully, my audience will enjoy.

But one conversation I didn’t enjoy so much was when I had the opportunity
to sit down and have a discussion with Ryan Leaf at Super Bowl XLVI in
February of 2012 in Indianapolis.

Leaf seemed agitated throughout our talk, shifty, nervous, and I even
thought he appeared to project himself with an arrogance that was clear to
see. He answered all of my inquiries but I could tell that something was
askew.

As we concluded, I wished Leaf all the best, we shook hands, and that was
that.

Less than two months after my sit down with Leaf it was reported that he
had been arrested in his home state of Montana. Leaf was jailed after he
was caught burglarizing a home. Then, only three days after posting a
$76,000 bond, he was arrested again on accusations that he broke into
another home outside Great Falls and was caught with drugs he stole from
that home.

Documents show that Leaf admitted to stealing oxycodone pills, and this was
the only the latest in a string of missteps and reckless decisions Leaf had
encountered since his final days as a highly paid NFL quarterback.

At the time of his arrest in Montana, Leaf was already on probation as the
result of being accused in 2008 of burglarizing a player’s home while he
was a quarterbacks coach for Division II West Texas A&M. An investigation
turned up that Leaf had obtained nearly 1,000 pain pills from area
pharmacies over an eight-month span. Leaf resigned from that position
shortly thereafter.

Leaf would eventually go on to be convicted of his crimes and then serve a
5-year stretch in a Montana state prison.

Leaf was laughed at, scorned by many, and people seemed to take delight in
his colossal fall from grace.

The unfortunate and sad fall of Ryan Leaf left many feeling as though even
darker days were ahead for him, not only an NFL washout, considered one of
the biggest draft busts in NFL history, but now a felon whose life was
spiraling out of control with no apparent hope in sight, in prison, no
light, nothing but a dead end.

I felt bad for Ryan Leaf as I read these things, and wondered, and hoped,
that he would somehow be able to find the stability and meaning in his life
that at the time was so very absent. I also wondered if when he was
released from prison if things would be any different?

Coming from a family where alcoholism was prevalent, I’m more than aware
that oftentimes someone needs to hit rock bottom before finally deciding to
do something about it — and then re-directing their life with positive
steps that can restore someone and allow them to again live life with peace
and contentment.

Some are able to climb all the way out of the hole while others aren’t so
fortunate. Some will get sober and stay sober for years, off the booze or
drugs, or both, before slipping off the wagon and back into a pit of living
hell.

Prison was Ryan Leaf’s rock bottom, and obviously, as he sat there in a
cell pondering just what went wrong and how he wound up there, something
inside of Ryan Leaf changed. Halleluja.

Leaf has actually stated that he feels he would still be in prison if not
for his cellmate being an Iraqui war veteran who helped him a great deal
while he was incarcerated. Help sometimes comes from the most unexpected of
people, eh?

Just the other day I noticed that ESPN had hired Ryan Leaf to become one of
their college football analysts, and a smile creased my face as I read
about this.

I had been aware of Leaf’s life-turnaround before the announcement that
he’d be joining ESPN, but with the appointment to ESPN’s roster of
analysts, it was the surest sign to date that Ryan Leaf has made it all the
way back, and while he’s been redeemed for some time now, people really
should think about what kind of a king-sized mountain Ryan Leaf has climbed
on his way back to the top.

Let’s review:

An NFL draft bust who was considered pompous and contemptuous.

Fired/resigned from his role as a college assistant coach.

Addicted to pain killers – an addict who resorted to stealing.

Arrested multiple times.

Convicted and sentenced to prison for 5-years.

Broke and nearly destitute.

The shame that comes along with all of these things, not to mention the
constant references to his failed professional football career as someone
who couldn’t carry Peyton Manning’s laundry, all of these things had to be
stewing inside of Leaf for years and years, and certainly for all of the
days he was locked away out of sight and out of mind.

All of this following a brilliant career at Washington State where he led
the Cougars to a victory in the 1997 Rose Bowl, followed by being the
second overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft and being labeled the future of
the San Diego Chargers where he signed a multi-million dollar contract.

Leaf recently appeared on the Brock & Salk sports radio program on
Seattle’s ESPN station and said; “If you would have told me five years
ago sitting in that prison cell that I would be calling games for ESPN and
working for the Disney company, I would have told you you were nuts and no
one would have faulted me for that.”

Leaf’s road to recovery and redemption actually started a few years
earlier, in 2015. Looking to help others who ran a similar road that he
did, Leaf contacted; ‘Transcend’, which is a recovery operation that has
offices in Los Angeles, Houston, and New York.

From there Leaf became an ambassador for the organization speaking to
groups all over the country and warning them of the pitfalls that he
encountered that nearly led to a permanent life of ruin. The same guy who
had once signed a 4-year contract for over $31 million dollars to play
professional football, and then lost it all, was now working as a counselor
for $15 an hour…and more than thankful for the opportunity.

Leaf then started his own recovery organization, a non-profit called
the Focused Intensity Foundation, which is for people who can’t afford recovery
services.

Speaking about his past which is now a distant memory, Leaf says; “The
more and more I talk about it, I think it takes that power away of shame
and guilt. I wish I would have treated people better. Definitely, that’s
the biggest regret I have. But it allowed me to be humble where I could go
back and make amends to those people and try to be better.”

Not only has Ryan Leaf gotten better and not only has he helped others with
many of the issues he encountered at one time, but he’s also been invited
by the NFL to speak to those at the NFL combine in Indianapolis, the same
place where I first met Ryan Leaf. Leaf has spoken with incoming players at
the combine the last few years.

The good beats kept on piling up for Leaf as his life was being re-made, he
got married, and he and his wife welcomed a little boy into the world two
years ago. Leaf has said that welcoming a child into the world and giving
that child his last name was something he thought to be unthinkable only a
few short years ago.

The thing is, we’re all defective and flawed, and depending on situations
and circumstances, our lives could easily go one way or another. We fall,
we rise, we live and learn, a process that never stops no matter how long
we live. Ryan Leaf’s life, unfortunately, went very sideways for a number
of years, but huge credit should go to him and others like him who have
found the road to salvation.

Ryan Leaf’s life is an amazing story of perseverance and a commitment to
achievement and restoration that nobody probably thought possible, Leaf
among them I’m sure.

Just this past May, Ryan Leaf went back to his hometown in Great Falls,
Montana, for the first time in a long time. He spoke at an auditorium there
and said to the assembled crowd who came to hear him speak, many who he
previously wanted nothing to do with, a community he never felt the need to
recognize, he said; “I had a perfect opportunity to make a positive and
healthy choice when I was drafted and kind of take the high road. I think
we all contributed to the demise of that relationship. But instead of doing
that and making a healthy, positive choice, I failed at the highest level,
I came back and victimized the community. So, I definitely tripled down on
top of it.”

Ryan Leaf put his life back on track – and then some. He’s helped and
continues to help others to do the same thing.

I have no question that Ryan Leaf has impacted more lives as a former
felon, as a former drug addict, than he ever would have impacted as a
collegiate or professional football player.

Ryan Leaf is now clean, he’s now married, he now has a baby boy who shares
his more than respectable name, and now, Ryan Leaf will work PAC 12
football games this fall for ESPN.

I spoke with Ryan Leaf at the Super Bowl 7 years ago.

It would be my privilege to talk with him again one day.

Way to go, Ryan Leaf.

BASEBALL IS READY TO SELL IT’S SOUL

July 16, 2019

By DINO COSTA

One word: Disgusting.

Another: Shameful.

A third: Greedy.

‘Unnecessary’, does the trick as well.

Before I get to baseball, I’d like to thank the NBA for starting this
pathetic nightmare a few years ago.

Yes, advertising patches are apparently on their way to your favorite major
league uniforms within the next 2-3 years ahead.

According to a report yesterday in Sports Business Journal, Rob Manfred’s
greed will compel major league baseball to place advertising patches on the
front of uniforms as early as the 2022 season.

I have long criticized the NBA for this amateur stunt which is something
that should be confined to minor league sports exclusively, and my primary
objection to the NBA introducing uniform patches is simple and reasoned
enough: Does the NBA, a worldwide phenomenon that’s rolling in cash, do they
really need to take the few extra dollars that some companies are willing
to pay teams to place advertising patches on uniforms?

This is the NBA, right? Not to be confused with the WNBA, which also
includes patches on their uniforms, however, the difference being that the
WNBA could use every last nickel it can get, the WNBA counts on uniform
advertising dollars to actually pay bills, while the NBA is far from being
in the same situation.

If minor league hockey teams wish to go down this path (and they do) of
having a jersey sponsor, likewise, I have no issue with it.

NASCAR? No issues with it.

But this is the NBA, this is as big-league as it gets, and if this was the
NBA in the pre-David Stern years, perhaps a credible argument could be made
– because back then – the NBA was a niche league and a dying league in many
respects that could have been forgiven for placing uniform advertising
patches on team uniforms in a bid for survival.

In other words, if the difference between living and dying as a league was
the question – and if uniform advertising were a means of ensuring that a
league was going to keep breathing – then I could see a credible argument.

But the NBA and uniform advertising patches isn’t a bridge to survival,
instead, its unnecessary and garish corporate greed.

Now major league baseball is ready to follow suit.

The Sports Business Journal piece quoted Noah Garden, MLB’s executive
vice-president of business and sales who said; “We’re examining the patch,
but clearly we have things to work through first. I’d say it’s inevitable
down the road, but certainly not immediate. This is something that requires
a fairly long runway. There are lots of things to take into consideration,
but I think we will get there.”

Gee, that’s wonderful news, Noah.

I’m sure that Yankees fans will be thrilled to see the classic pinstripe
uniform adorned with a beautiful Pepsi logo attached to the front of their
jersey tops.

On average, NBA teams get about $7 million per year from uniform
advertising patches, money that probably pays for the team’s office paper
products.

The SBJ story indicates that there’s even more money potentially available
for MLB teams because while the NBA is an 82-game schedule, as we all know,
MLB plays a regular-season schedule twice as long as that.

More from the SBJ piece: Looking at several different positions for a
patch around the same size as the NBA’s 2.5-inch-by-2.5-inch ad
space, VWS&E estimated that the ideal exposure would be afforded by
affixing an ad patch to the chest of a baseball jersey, rather than the
sleeve. Without revealing an exact location, Folts said an optimal position
on the front of the uniform could generate as much as 15 minutes of
exposure per game. By VWS&E’s estimate, the average MLB team should realize
$6 million to $8 million per year from ad patches, with hallowed franchises
like the Yankees getting significantly more.

Terrific, I’m sure that for us baseball fans who love the game, and
particularly for those of us who appreciate and admire the aesthetics of
athletics (count me in as one of those) this is going to be a huge slap
in the face as baseball prepares itself to shamelessly exploit and
desecrate the uniforms of individual clubs, turning the baseball uniforms
here in the states into exact duplicates of what they look like in the
Japanese league…or the East Coast Hockey League.

Again, does MLB need the few extra shekels that this move will provide for?
Obviously not. You would think that MLB would have a commissioner who would
recognize that there are some things in baseball – that although some would
like to throw money at – simply are not for sale because of history and
common sense.

But in Rob Manfred’s world, I guess that everything in his game is for sale
if you have a few extra dollars around to give to him and his game.

The Pepsi-Cola Yankees.

The Harley Davidson Brewers.

The Coca-Cola Braves.

The Samsung Dodgers.

Does baseball need this?

No.

Baseball wants this.

Every.

Last.

Cent.

LES MILES TAKES ON MISSION IMPOSSIBLE AT KANSAS

July 16, 2019

By DINO COSTA

There he was on my television yesterday afternoon.

I was watching BIG 12 media days from Dallas which is being held at the
palace that Jerry Jones built.

Les Miles, 65 years young, now the head football coach at the University of
Kansas and just about a million miles away from his former home at LSU in
Baton Rouge.

Concerning anyone questioning his age or the wisdom of taking on this
monumental turnaround situation in Lawrence, Miles said; “To think I’m 65
is really not necessarily how I see it, you know? I’m having fun, and that
to me is hard work … and an opportunity to go win ballgames, which I look
forward to.”

They’ll be no grass for the Mad Hatter to chew on at Kansas’ home stadium.
Unlike the tasty blades that Miles enjoyed dining on at Tiger Stadium down
in the Bayou, the Jayhawks football stadium has synthetic FieldTurf for
their playing field.

Approximately 5000 fans showed up at David Booth Stadium in Lawrence for
the Kansas spring football game back in April. Considering the plight of
Jayhawks football over the last decade, I’m thinking that each and every
one of those people who showed up should have been given season tickets for
this upcoming year.

There are rebuilds of various types and there are also major reclamation
projects that different college football programs go through, but the
program that Miles has inherited in Lawrence might be the equivalent of
going into the north Atlantic to try and raise the sunken Titanic all by
himself.

No matter, I give Miles a lot of credit for accepting such a challenge when
I’m sure there were other opportunities for him to get back on a sideline,
but as Miles has said a few times since he accepted the position last
November, he wanted to be at a job in a Power 5 conference, and as hard as
it might be to believe, Kansas is indeed in that category.

Miles took the job knowing that there had to be some hope, right? I mean,
as hard as it might be to believe, at one time, the Kansas Jayhawks were a
worthy college football team in the not so distant past. Then again, when
your record shows 31 wins as compared with 102 losses over the last 11
seasons, the Mark Mangino led Kansas team that went 12-1, including an
Orange Bowl win back in 2007, must feel like it happened an eternity ago to
any serious Jayhawk fan.

Mangino was canned after the 2009 season when the Jayhawks finished at 5
and 7 (a record any Kansas fan would die for these days) amidst
accusations that he said some hurtful things to some of his players. This
was just about the time America was beginning to change for the worse as
the era of the snowflake was just about ready to be born.

Since Mangino was jettisoned, Kansas football has been reduced to a bad
joke, a punchline for the rest of the college football world.

After Mangino was shown the exit Kansas next went with Turner Gill who went
5-19 over two years before he was fired.

Then former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weiss stepped into the breach, lasted
three years, and went a collective 7 and 30.

David Beatty followed Weiss with a promise to make Kansas football relevant
again. With the cupboard bare, Beatty’s first season saw the Jayhawks go
0-12 while allowing a staggering 553 points. Kansas went 2-10 in Beatty’s
second season which was followed up by a 1-11 mark – and then Beatty’s
final campaign last year when Kansas went 3-9.

A little more than a year ago Kansas hired Jeff Long as their new athletic
director. Long is the same guy who made the decision to hire Bobby Petrino
at Arkansas when he held the same position in Fayetteville. In November, at
the time Long relieved Beatty of his duties, Long said that under Beatty he
did not see a clear path forward for success in the Big 12, although he
also noted that he thought that Beatty had left the KU football program in
better shape than he found it.

During that same press conference where Long dismissed Beatty, he told
Kansas supporters that; “We are going to find a proven leader, a tenacious
recruiter, and a developer of young men on and off the field.”

In November, Long had his man and Kansas introduced Miles, out of the game
the previous 2 seasons, awarding him with a 5-year deal.

With the introduction of Miles as their new head coach, the University of
Kansas became the very first school to simultaneously have coaches leading
their football and basketball programs, both who have won national
championships (Bill Self).

Like any college program, the lifeblood of success will be determined by
recruiting, by being able to consistently stack high-caliber classes on top
of one another, slowly adding to the talent base while also changing the
culture. Given the awful reputation that Kansas has garnered for itself
lately, you’d have to think that this job will be made even harder for
someone like Miles, or anyone else who may have taken the job.

The coaches son, Manny Miles, a quarterback, decided to transfer from North
Carolina and join his dad for his final season of eligibility, although I
wouldn’t look for the younger Miles to play much QB as he has primarily
been used as a holder by the Tar Heels in the 3-seasons he was there.

Also, as you might expect, Kansas was ranked last in the Big 12 so far as
this year’s recruiting class is concerned, although I did find it a little
bit odd that none of the players the Jayhawks recruited were offensive
linemen.

On offense, Miles has the luxury of being aware of who the Kansas starting
quarterback will be this season, in all likelihood. Thomas MacVittie
started his collegiate career at Pitt before transferring to middle America
2 years ago, and Miles actually tried to recruit MacVittie to LSU when he
was there. So there’s that.

Miles will feel better about his offense overall once running back Pooka
Williams Jr. gets back on the field. Willaims ran for 1,125 yards last year
and was named the Big 12’s offensive freshmen of the year. However, after
the season, Williams was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery after an
18-year-old woman alleged, according to an arrest affidavit, “She was
punched in the stomach, as well as grabbed by the throat.” Last March,
Williams entered a 12-month diversion agreement, stipulating that he
“grabbed” and “pushed” the woman.

Addressing the Williams situation yesterday at Big 12 Media days, Miles
said that he was satisfied with ensuing results of the investigation
against Williams, said that Williams has taken responsibility for his
actions, is remorseful, and that Willams would be suspended for Kansas’
first game against Indiana State.

“Violence will not be acceptable with women, period,” Miles said. “Action
was taken immediately. We felt like a strong point was made, not only with
Pooka but with the team. Pooka was going through a process for seven
months. Pooka went through a legal investigation with the legal community
and he also went through the proceeding with the conduct board with the
university.”

With those comments expect Miles to be widely criticized by some. Not that
I’ll be one of those people criticizing Miles, it’s just the way of the
world these days.

To run the Kansas defense Miles hired D.J. Eliot who coached last season at
Colorado in the same capacity. Eliot’s biggest challenge will be to replace
5 starters who have been lost to graduation in addition to replacing two
defensive captains from a season ago as both defensive linemen Danial Wise
and linebacker Joe Dineen were taken in this spring’s NFL Draft.

I couldn’t help but notice that as Miles was speaking yesterday he appeared
to be somewhat uncomfortable, almost too reserved, and his body language
bordered on being almost being lethargic – if not indifferent. For a guy
back in the coaching business and taking over a program in need of some
energy and positivity, Miles looked and sounded sheepish at times. Maybe he
was just tired?

When a member of the media asked Miles about being ready for the role and
if he felt he was as sharp as when he was last coaching on a sideline,
Miles said; “I can only tell you that my focus is clean, my preparation is
early to late. I think this Kansas team will be difficult to reckon with
should we stay on path.”

If Miles is going to have success at Kansas, it’s not so much a one year at
a time proposition, but rather, with a cleansing of the program from top to
bottom and making adjustments along the way, it’s about instituting a new
culture daily. Kansas football needs to take this latest re-boot one small
step at a time, one day at a time. I think that Miles knows this and he’s
also aware of just how daunting a task is before him and his coaching
staff, and finding small victories any way they come will be welcomed by
all.

“The only way to ensure that is to make sure that your game plans and all
the meticulous work is done,” Miles said. “When that’s done, smile and
enjoy your time because you’re just prepared to play.”

The early season schedule could be favorable to Kansas and their chances to
get off to a start where they might be able to book a few wins before
reality comes calling with the eventual conference slate they’ll play. They
start the season off against Indiana State at home before hosting Coastal
Carolina, then they hit the road for a game at Boston College before
getting into the meat of their conference schedule after that.

Miles also said yesterday that he can see himself coaching well into his
seventies, saying; “I could see a comfortable five-year stint, but if you
get it going, at some point in time, you’d like to think you’d stay.”

Personally speaking, I have always loved turnaround situations, there’s
something engaging and fun that I find in teams/programs that have been
down for some time that turn to new leadership and try to find their way
out of the abyss.

This Les Miles situation is one of those.

Nobody should expect very much from Kansas this season, or in the next 2-3
seasons ahead. Right now priority number one is to begin building a solid
foundation and infrastructure for the program. As I wrote before, small
steps, small victories and taking things one day at a time to change the
narrative that, for Les Miles, hopefully, concludes with the authoring of
one of the great turnaround stories in college football in some time.

I’ll be pulling for the Mad Hatter, whether he’s still chomping on
grass…or not.

IS TODAY’S NHL TOO GOOD TO FIGHT ANYMORE?

July 15, 2019

By DINO COSTA

Never.

I never, ever, thought I would say this, think this, feel this, maybe even
want this.

There is no more red-blooded American male than the guy sitting at the
keyboard typing these words, okay?

Yes, I’ll admit, I love a good dust-up on the ice as much as any long-time
hockey fan.

Yes, I’ll acknowledge that just like you, I love my team’s enforcer while
loathing your team’s enforcer.

But there’s a problem with all of this. The problem is twofold. Firstly,
where are today’s hockey enforcers, and secondly, where are the good
dust-ups on the ice that I used to love so much?

So color me more shocked than anyone when I say that if NHL commissioner
Gary Bettman held a press conference tomorrow and said that the NHL has
completely outlawed fighting in the league…I’d have no problem with it.

I had to re-read my last sentence just to make sure it’s what I really
wrote and how I really feel.

I’m still good with it.

Now look it, so that nobody gets the wrong idea, so that nobody thinks for
even half a second that I’ve gone all snowflake on anyone, to dispel any
notions that I hit my head on a beam late last night, let me state
unequivocally that my new feelings concerning banning fighting in the NHL
has nothing to do with any of the virtue-signaling so many love to employ
these days, it has nothing to do with me buying into the concussion
propaganda, and it has not a single thing to do with anything resembling
the resentment of toxic masculinity, okay?

What it has everything to do with is my feeling that the game has become so
damn good, that the athletic specimen of today’s NHL’er is so far advanced
from when I first started watching hockey (the mid-1970’s), and that
because fighting in the league is so uncommon these days that I now have a
difficult time remembering an NHL when fighting was so prevalent.

How about you?

Because of all of this and because there is a dearth of fighting in the
league nowadays, not only do I not remember what it was like when players
used to fight so often, but in addition, with the game so damn good, I find
myself not missing or needing fighting in the league anymore.

For all of the above, I kind of hate myself, but on the other hand, it
tells me that today’s NHL has now risen to levels that were unthinkable
when I first became a hard-core fan 5-decades ago.

The game is obviously immensely popular, hockey has more fans now than ever
before, more kids are playing hockey than at any time in the past, more
Americans are on NHL rosters than ever before and those numbers keep
growing, and while the name of the league at one time was a misnomer,
that’s also a thing of the past, as the National Hockey League is truly a
league of national stature from one end of the country to the other, and
all points in between.

The skill in the game is otherworldly, and it’s because of this that the
game has exploded under the Gary Bettman era, and it has had nothing to do
with what used to be such a common occurrence in the game: fighting.

Now, let me recalibrate for just a second, okay? Look it, if the league
stays the course and still allows fighting to continue, it’s not as though
I would have any problem with that, on the contrary, I’d still stay in
front of the TV watching until one of today’s rare fights has reached its
conclusion.

What I’m saying more to the point, is that with such a huge reduction of
fighting in today’s NHL, these days, it’s now hard for me to remember a
league in which fighting was such a central component to the game. It’s one
of those out of sight and out of mind things, you know?

To show you some proof with some clear evidence that I’ve not had any sort
of a liberal epiphany, understand that never would I turn over some new
leaf and ever agree with the bullshit rule changes in the NFL. Yes, the old
NFL is a league I miss greatly, and yes, I yearn for the old-school
slobber-knocking hits that used to be so thrilling – not to mention being
legal.

Likewise, the second base slide rule and the home plate situation in
today’s newfangled and nicer and softer Rob Manfred baseball league
disgusts me.

In my opinion, those two aforementioned sports leagues have been reduced
and made lesser as the result of rule changes they’ve unfortunately
implemented.

But in hockey? It’s just the opposite, isn’t it?

The game, now so utterly reliant on speed and breathtaking skill, has
rendered the fighting element mute for the most part, right?

You would be right to pull my man card if, for instance, I said that the
game was too physical, or that hits in the corners and along the boards
were getting close to being dangerous, or if I said that players on the
receiving end of an open ice hit with their heads down should be
eliminated. In those cases, if I felt any of those ways, it would be a sure
sign that I needed to schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist as soon
as possible.

But I feel none of those ways. In fact, it’s precisely because of the speed
and skill that the NHL game employes, combined with the physicality that
still exists that makes the game so damn addictive. And because the game
is played in these ways, it seems as though fighting is quickly becoming
the last thing on anyone’s mind whenever they tune a game in on television
or attend a game in person.

Here might be the very best thing about the lack of fighting in the NHL in
today’s times that truly shows how much the game continues to resonate with
fans and continues its ascent upwards: Whereas at one time it could be
successfully argued that the NHL needed fighting in order to attract fans
and maintain interest, today, that’s not even close to being true.

I’m clearly aware that my new views on fighting in the game will be met
with resistance by many others who abhor the idea of removing a staple that
has always been a piece of the game’s fabric. I’m also aware that if this
idea was put to a vote of today’s NHL players, I’d bet that some 95% of all
players would vote to keep fighting in the game.

Either way, if fighting remains, or if it is eventually abolished, my
fandom for the sport and for the league will never go away. I’ll still love
the game either way.

Additionally, don’t look for me climbing up on any soapbox anytime soon
preaching to the masses that the game is less than it could be if not for
fighting. I’m far from an extremist in this capacity with my feeling that
hockey doesn’t need fighting anymore. Please don’t confuse me with some
politically correct abolitionist of any kind.

Are you yourself a hockey fan of any repute? Tell me now, would you abandon
the game if nobody ever fought any more or if the league and the players
association agreed to eliminate fighting from the game? I didn’t think so,
and besides, tell me when was the last really great fight on the ice that
you can remember?

Several years ago (maybe even more) coaches would comprise their 4th line
of players who constituted ‘goons’ or enforcers, and with the environment
in the league at that time being so utterly different than what it is
today, those players served a valuable role as on-ice policeman and fights
were more than common when these kinds of players hit the ice.

But today’s 4th line players?

No matter what line a player skates on these days he’s expected to
contribute something to his team’s success. The St. Louis Blues won this
year’s Stanley Cup and their 4th line with players like Alex Steen, Ivan
Barbeshev, and Oscar Sundquist was extraordinarily important to the Blues
success, be it scoring goals, laying on big hits, or employing a solid
60-second shift that turned the game’s momentum around. As I watched each
and every Blues playoff game this past season, I cannot remember any player
on their 4th line getting into a dustup on the ice, and further, I cannot
remember a single fight that any Blues player got into in any of the 4
post-season rounds they played in on their way to winning the Cup.

Where you used to be able to name more than a few players on different
teams who were on their club’s roster and who were employed by their teams
mostly to act as a fighter/enforcer, those days are pretty much gone,
aren’t they? A team simply cannot afford to give a roster spot to a player
anymore who can’t contribute beyond the skill of being able to throw hands
successfully.

Could Bob Probert play in today’s NHL? Could Tony Twist? Could Rob Ray?
Could Dave Brown? Could Tie Domi?

I could name many others, and I’m not sure that many of them would be able
to combine skating and skill to go along with their ability to fight as
being enough to stick as 4th line players with the way the game’s
environment has changed so substantially.

As I conclude allow me to go back to it again because I’m sure that there
are some, no matter how many times I’ve made this point, some folks are
possibly getting the wrong idea.

I’m not put off by fighting, like some people it far from disgusts me, in
fact, I still enjoy it and like to see an on-ice tango once in a while, and
if the element of fighting remains in the game, so be it, and I’ll have no
problem with it.

But on the other side of the coin, the game is so damn good, that if they
got rid of fighting altogether, it wouldn’t bother me and it would not have
any effect on my love for the game.

I’ve never felt this way before.

Until now.

COMMENTS & THOUGHTS: [email protected]

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER NEEDS TO MAKE A DECISION

July 15, 2019

By DINO COSTA

Soccer in America.

Remember the old North American Soccer League that was around from 1968
through 1984?

Remember the Tulsa Roughnecks and the Oakland Stompers? The Hartford
Bicentennials and the Tampa Bay Rowdies? The Washington Diplomats and the
Minnesota Kicks?

To say nothing of the world famous Cosmos, right?

To this day I still remember my first Cosmos game…because I still have
the game program from that day!

I was one of over forty-thousand to show up at Giants Stadium in East
Rutherford on the afternoon of July 1, 1979, and saw the Cosmos defeat the
Rochester Lancers by the score of 5-2.

Little did anyone at the game that day (including Joe Manfredi?) know
that there would only be 5-more Cosmos seasons to follow, and only 5-more
seasons of what would turn out to be a scaled-down version of the NASL (
9-teams) by the time the final 1984 season came around.

When I was a kid there were two soccer teams I followed. The aforementioned
Cosmos, and the indoor-playing New York Arrows, led by Bronko Segota
and the “scoring machine”, Steve Zungel.

Back then, I wasn’t a fan of the European game simply because I knew very
little about it (if anything at all), and because there was practically
nothing in the way of media coverage of English or German or Italian
football to be found in the states.

Further, and so I don’t mislead anyone, admittedly, soccer was a game that
I went back and forth with during those days. Baseball and all the other
pro sports leagues in America were what mattered most to me, but I always
had an appreciation for soccer and found that appreciation growing as I
entered adulthood. My enthusiasm and curiosity with the game went to
another level once I was able to follow the game Online, with stories and
reports from overseas, not to mention a plethora of games available on
television from around the world.

To this day I don’t consider myself an expert on the game (far from it),
but my knowledge continues to increase as my appetite continues to grow for
the game, and I relish any opportunity I get when I’m able to ask questions
and pick the brain of someone else who has a much deeper knowledge of the
game and knows the history of the game much better than I do.

Keep much of this in mind as you continue to read because I’m sure there
may be some who might disagree with some of the thoughts and ideas I have
about the state of the current professional league we have here in North
America, Major League Soccer.

24 season will be in the books for MLS once this 2019 season concludes. On
its face, that’s pretty impressive given that the NASL lasted but 16
seasons before going under, mostly due to biting off more than that league
could ever hope to chew on, with a circuit that saw one top-heavy team (the
Cosmos) outspending everyone else twenty times over. That, and it was a
league that was rife with overexpansion and saw far too many teams well
undercapitalized and almost dead from the moment they announced they were
in business.

By comparison, Major League Soccer has been careful not to make so many of
the mistakes that NASL made, and they’ve taken the long view in building
their league over the past 24 seasons.

The league has taken baby steps along the way, establishing footholds in
some of their stronger markets, growing the game, and seeing the rise of
many soccer-specific stadiums being built, many of them very impressive –
while capping player salaries under the single-entity system in which
player contracts are not owned by individual clubs, but by the league
itself.

In addition, the league doesn’t have ‘owners’ per say, but rather,
investors, who direct the 24 clubs that dot the league’s landscape from one
end of the country to the other, with teams also placed north of the border
in places like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.

But with their 25th season of play arriving soon, as I look at the rest of
the soccer playing world and consider the game in more soccer-rich
countries, places like England and Germany, France and Spain, I can’t help
but to think that Major League Soccer is fast approaching a pivotal time in
their history in which hard decisions will need to be made.

The decisions that MLS makes over the next few years will determine whether
or not MLS is able to take their place alongside many of the other
high-level pro league’s in the world – or – if they’ll be content to simply
be a domestic league here in the states that might survive, but survive
under an umbrella with severe limitations in regard to growth and
relevance, in addition to carving out a legitimate place for themselves in
the most fanatic sports market in the world, America.

Additional expansion franchises are set to join the league as early as next
season when both Nashville and Miami will join the circuit. Then in 2021
Austin will join the league upping the number of teams to 27 at that point.

Cities like St. Louis and Sacramento are angling for clubs too, and if you
live in either of those two locales and you might be worried that MLS will
pick one city over the other, allow me to tell you that you have no reason
to be concerned because it says here that both St. Louis and Sacramento
will get teams. And why? Because MLS desperately needs the expansion fees
that both St. Louis and Sacramento will gladly hand over.

Herein lies some of the many issues confronting MLS as they look to their
future and the challenges they face.

A league that receives less than $100 million dollars in television money,
a league that has expenses that exceed revenue, is a league that is forced
to find a way to bring in new capital to keep the league afloat and keep
their employees from not missing any paychecks. Like just about any pro
league MLS keeps their books closely guarded, but common sense would tell
most anyone that there are probably only a handful of MLS clubs that finish
in the black each year.

Some critics of the league have even suggested that MLS is a league that is
teetering on disaster, a league that won’t admit that it’s close to
collapsing and going under, and if not for the continuing expansion dollars
that the league counts on bringing in, that the league would be forced to
shut down and professional soccer in America would die yet another
unfortunate death. Others have gone even further making the claim that MLS
is not so much a legitimate professional enterprise, but the equivalent of
a manipulating sports Ponzi scheme.

Whether any of that is true is beside the point for the purposes of the
argument that I’ll make that says that MLS cannot continue to operate under
their status quo system much longer.

I have no question that Major League Soccer, as presently constituted, both
now, and in the next few years ahead, is equipped with significant
limitations that I fear could prove fatal to the league before all is said
and done, although in a worst case scenario MLS will continue to stay in
business for at least the next several years ahead.

So far as attendance is concerned, while MLS will point to the fact that
they have the third-highest on average attendance of any league in the
states, and while some teams, most notably, Atlanta and Seattle draw
exceptionally well, the other side of the ledger shows that more than half
the clubs in the league (13) draw less than 20,000 per game. With those
kinds of attendance numbers, with the limited media exposure that MLS gets,
and with Soccer in America not yet capturing the hearts and minds of
most sports fans, what kind of talent will a league like MLS be able to attract? But
that’s really not the question, is it? The more pressing inquiry is; what
kind of talent can MLS actually afford?

Here is the biggest hurdle I believe that prevents MLS from being
considered legitimate in the minds of both soccer fans as well as American
sports fans in general. What kind of talent does your league possess? I’m
not trying the denigrate any of the current or past players who have
performed on MLS fields previously because many of them are exceptional
talents (some world-class players), but when anyone places the caliber of
talent that MLS is offering to soccer fans – or those who they want to
turn into soccer fans – compared to many other high-caliber leagues around
the world, what kind of players are we really talking about?

America has the best professional athletes on the planet in virtually every
sport – except one. The sports fandom in our country doesn’t simply ask for
the best of the best in baseball, football, hockey, and basketball, this is
something that is demanded if not expected.,

For Major League Soccer to become a sports league that is worthy of fan
interest and media attention to the point they would like to see, then some
of the very best soccer talents in the world must become a part of their
league, and not when they’re on the downside of their careers (Wayne
Rooney, anyone?), but instead, when they are in the prime of their careers.

I’m more than aware that under the status quo system of Major League
Soccer, none of the world-class players around the world will be on MLS
fields in the prime of their careers anytime soon. Which is why, in my
opinion, MLS is getting close to the time where they must radically change
course, and if soccer in America is ever to have the kind of feverish
atmosphere that the rest of the world basks in, then MLS must either shit
or get off the pot – and soon.

When many of the big clubs visit America to play friendlies, most every
time these games are played, stadiums are overflowing with fans. So don’t
tell me that there aren’t people in our country willing to pay for and show
up for world-class performers on a soccer pitch. For many of the people who
attend international friendlies on America soil, astute and knowledgeable
soccer fans, they wouldn’t be caught dead paying money to go and see a
Chicago Fire or a Colorado Rapids game. And why? Because they believe the
quality of the game is a few steps down from what they’re prepared to go
into their pockets for.

And so…

The time is coming, and I think it’s going to be very soon, when MLS is
going to have to decide whether they want to be a nice little player on
the world soccer scene, taking whatever scraps are left on the table,
continuing to operate under strict parameters which severely limits their
growth, continuing to utilize expansion to pay their bills, continuing to
sell off whatever American talent that interests leagues across the
world (Christian Pulisic) who won’t play in MLS, and being content to see minimal
maturation of their league overall, or, they’ll ambitiously move forward
under a paradigm shift that radically alters the way they’ve done business
to date, while setting up an environment that could see soccer take off
in America like never before.

In other words, its time that MLS considers removing the training wheels.

It’s my belief that MLS is right to continue to play under a spring/summer
format because going head to head against the National Football League
would prove to be a mistake for what should be obvious reasons. However,
beyond that status quo operating procedure, big changes have to take place
in order for the league to become a legitimate player.

Does MLS want to be a significant player on the world stage?

Can they become more of a force and more respected globally as a soccer
league?

I like to think so, but it will take a momentous change and a courageous
application in the way the league coordinates itself.

If MLS is to go another level, then the first thing MLS must do it to
shelve the single-entity system entirely. How? By attracting investors
across the world to purchase existing clubs, or by including their current
investors in a whole new way of making soccer in America big time.

The league should look to attract individuals who are acutely aware of
just how passionate and rabid the sports fanatic is in this country, and
then capitalize on that passionate fandom with the means to provide first
class soccer to individual franchises.

These new owners (not investors) would need to have the ability to peer
into the future and be convinced that by providing actual major league
soccer that more aligns with the league’s name, that they would be able to
truly connect with the American sports fan by offering them a product
worthy of people’s time and money.

I’m not talking about your ordinary average investor, folks, I’m talking
about getting the attention of many of the richest people in the world,
people who love the game, even some who have investments in soccer clubs
abroad currently. Far too many view Major League Soccer as a minor league
endeavor and that needs to change at some point soon.

For all the good that MLS has done to this point in the league’s history,
America is still an unconquered land so far as the sport of soccer is
concerned. Importing people who have been around the game for a long time
in many European leagues, people with the know-how in cultivating a soccer
culture that endures, those who have been instrumental in successfully
marketing all of the games great features, these are the kinds of
individuals that need to be here in America who can help to unleash the
game and bring it to another level. These kinds of people are needed to
sell a vision, to build upon what has been established to this point and to
take soccer in America to places it’s never been yet.

When I was a kid, all I heard about was how soccer was set to become the
sport in America. That was more than 40-years ago. It’s not as though MLS
is the only professional league that’s ever existed around here, and it’s
not like soccer balls just hit America’s shorelines yesterday. Long story
short, soccer is well known here, it’s been played here for multiple
decades, and there is a base of fans who crave the sport and want to see it
played at its highest levels right here in the USA.

And so I ask you; just when is soccer in America set to explode as the
commercial success like we were all told it would all those years ago and
when will America become the soccer nation many have forecast it to become
for years? I mean, if not now – then when?

A radical shift.

One of the things that Major League Soccer should eventually do is to cut
the size of their league down to a select few franchises which would
represent the ‘A’ division of soccer in this country. Yes, the biggest
cities with the largest population bases would constitute the newly
arranged MLS…for starters, that is.

One advantage of having so many leagues, so many teams in the states right
now, leagues below that of MLS, is that it provides a built-in and ready to
go infrastructure that should be utilized to soccers overall advantage in
the states with MLS moving toward something they have ruled out up to this
point: relegation and promotion.

Imagine, bringing aboard true owners with deep pockets both domestically
and internationally, intent on creating the soccer explosion in this
country that has always been rumored, but has never manifested itself.

Imagine these owners bidding for some of the best talents in the game from
across the world.

Then imagine the ability and the opportunity for some of the smaller soccer
communities in the states to win their league, to finish as a top 3 club in
their league, with a promotion to Major League Soccer the next year…while
the 3 bottom tier clubs in Major League Soccer drop down a division the
next season. This sounds just like the way most of the other league’s
around the world do it, doesn’t it? MLS must join the rest of the soccer
community in this way.

Listen, if the league needs to take an entire year off to construct the
kind of an environment that will provide it with opportunities to truly be
successful and truly resonates with sports fans across America, then, by
all means, take that year off.

Below are the original teams and cities that could theoretically compromise
the ‘A’ League of Major League Soccer as the league moves to position
itself as an entity with much bigger plans than they currently operate
within.

New York – 2 teams

Los Angeles – 2 teams

Chicago

Atlanta

Philadelphia

Boston

Orlando

Miami

Houston

Denver

Kansas City

Seattle

Toronto

Vancouver

Portland

Dallas

Eighteen teams, no more, no divisions, no conferences, just one table, one
through eighteen. This is a special and select league where only the best
of the best get to stay and be guaranteed another go-round the next season.
These are franchises in either high population centers or in communities
that have shown robust support previously for their current MLS club. Your
bottom three clubs drop down a division, while the top three clubs in the
lower division move up.

I list eighteen franchises for starters, but that’s simply a hypothetical,
of course. If they wanted to start with 14 teams or even 12 teams, go ahead
and do it. Just make sure each of the franchises are more than well-funded
with ownership groups intent on spearheading a movement that raises the
profile of an American professional soccer league like its never been
previously.

Those communities not in the first division to start off, not only do they
have a hell of a lot to play for in places like St. Louis and Memphis and
Columbia, and Jacksonville and Pittsburgh, and in many other places, but
they also keep the interest of their fan bases with that carrot on a stick
always in front of them, dreaming and rooting for their team to move into
the first division the next season.

In addition, these smaller communities would be able to conjure up immense
pride in their clubs, watching their players grow, or watching them being
sold off to clubs in the first division, or having opportunities to
materialize with great stories in, like for instance in yet another
hypothetical, Charleston City FC winning the Second Division in
miraculous fashion and going up to the big leagues the next year. Think
that would make some news on ESPN’s SportsCenter?

Yes, all of this is fashioned after what all other legitimate pro leagues
in Europe and around the world do and it is the exact template for what
those running MLS should be aiming for.

You want media companies (Television Networks) to compete for the right
to pay your league like they do all other major league circuits? Then
provide a major league product for them to compete for. As I mentioned
earlier in this story, Major League Soccer receives less than $100 million
per year in TV dollars. In other words, scraps from the table.

You want major league talent to attract fans? Then you need major league
backers willing to pay major league salaries as well as having the ability
to go out on the open market and buy great players from other clubs.

You want your league to be front and center with media attention paid to
the biggest names, the most successful teams, and the biggest games on your
schedule? Then stop with half-measures and a current league construct that
suffocates any opportunity to be taken more seriously.

Do you want to turn sports fans in America into true soccer aficionados?
Then stop trying to sell them an inferior product as compared to the
product that other leagues offer these fans in the states. You cannot sell
American sports fans on second rate talent forever and expect your
enterprise to grow…not in a land where all other sports provide the best
of the best displaying their wares on fields, courts, and the ice.

The foundation has been put into place the last 24 years by MLS, and for
that, any American soccer fan should have at least a modicum of
appreciation.

Soccer is exploding across this world like never before and there doesn’t
appear to be anything getting in the way to slow down this meteoric rise
with its popularity. MLS has to get into this lane and take advantage of
the excitement and intrigue that soccer has everywhere else.

I fear that soon, MLS, if they continue along their current path, being
content to be viewed as a second rate league, will be left in the exhaust
fumes while the rest of the big league soccer world continues to grow,
rendering MLS more and more irrelevant as the years fly off the calendar.

Individuals with vision and foresight, people with the right instincts,
these are the kinds of professionals that need to come together,
recognizing the soccer vacuum that exists in America, understanding that
professional soccer in America should be, and can be, and must be, so much
more than what it is today or what it has been in the past.

If soccer in these parts is ever to have a chance at climbing a ladder that
allows it the chance to become a prime-time player, it’s not going to get
there under the current strategies for much longer. MLS and the long view
that they undertook when they introduced the league back in 1996 was the
correct ingredient mix at that time – and it’s probably the right way to go
about growing their league up to this very point.

But that vision comes with an expiration date, and that expiration date is
almost here as far as I’m concerned.

The alternative, of course, is to simply meander along under the same
principles that MLS has employed, hoping and praying that the league makes
incremental gains while relying on continued expansion from cities willing
to add to their coffers which will let the league live on to fight yet
another day.

In the meantime, the rest of the soccer world will be millions of miles
ahead of Major League Soccer and the league’s ability to stay even a little
bit relevant will be more than a challenge.

So, welcome to the MLS party you teams in Miami and Nashville, as well as
in Austin. Let us also welcome aboard St. Louis and Sacramento even though
nothing is official as of yet.

The dollars those expansion cities will bring in will allow Major League
Soccer to fight another few days at least.

But how many expansion franchises can you keep adding, how long can you
expect fans to continue to be interested in a league that doesn’t offer the
best of the best…and how many of those days are left in the world of
Major League Soccer?

COMMENTS & THOUGHTS: [email protected]

Major League Soccer Cup Finals TV Ratings And Audience 1996–2018

Year Network Rating Viewers
(millions)
1996 ABC 1.4 3.1
1997  ABC 1.4 2.6
1998 ABC 1.0 2.2
1999 ABC 0.7 1.3
2000  ABC 0.7 1.2
2001 ABC 1.0 2.0
2002 ABC 0.8 1.2
2003 ABC 0.6 0.9
2004 ABC 0.8 1.3
2005 ABC 0.8 1.1
2006 ABC 0.8 1.2
2007 ABC 0.8 1.1
2008 ABC 0.6 0.9
2009 ESPN 0.7 1.1
2010 ESPN 0.4 0.7
2011 ESPN 0.8 1.0
2012 ESPN 0.7 0.8
2013 ESPN/Univision 0.5 1.0
2014 ESPN/Univision 0.6 1.9
2015 ESPN/Univision 0.4 1.2
2016 FOX/Univision 0.8 2.0
2017 ESPN/Univision 0.5 1.1
2018 FOX/UniMas 0.9 1.8

BEST NBA OFF-SEASON EVER?

July 12, 2019

By DINO COSTA

Most of the smoke has now settled and nearly all the dust has cleared, and
the nuclear fall out from this year’s fast and furious NBA draft and
free-agency period has not only remade the league, but it’s also done
something for the NBA that the league has needed since forever.

It’s provided the league with an upcoming season that should be as
uncertain as it’s been in years.

The words ‘uncertain’ and ‘NBA’ haven’t exactly been friends too many years
now have they?

Over the past 14-years, the NBA has pretty much been dominated by only a
select few teams (and players), and fans have pretty much been able to
predict with near sureness which team(s) would eventually be crowned the
champion each June, or at the very least, which two teams would meet in the
Finals.

Over these last 14 seasons, with the exception of Finals appearances but a
single time by such teams as Oklahoma City, and Orlando (if you would like
to you may feel free to also insert this year’s Toronto team into the mix),
the league has seen regular appearances by only seven (7) other clubs
during this stretch.

Led by Golden State’s 5 trips to the Finals (winning 3 times), Cleveland’s
5 trips to the Finals (winning 1 time) Miami’s 5 trips to the Finals
(winning 3 times), San Antonio’s 3 trips to the Finals (winning 2 times),
Dallas’ 2 Finals appearances (winning 1 time), the Lakers 3 trips to the
Finals (winning 1 time), and Boston’s 2 trips to the Finals (winning 1
time), the remainder of the league has been playing the role of filler,
seemingly there only to get the eventual championship teams in each
conference in shape to get to their eventual Finals destination.

I’ve been noting for a long time now (and I’m far from alone), that while
the NBA is a breathtaking league full of some of the greatest professional
athletes under one roof, the prevailing thought in too many people’s
opinion, is that the league suffers from a big-time competitive balance
issue. And this is nothing new, of course, because the league has gone
through cycles over the past 40-years in which the same situation exists
only with slight alterations to what teams are at the top of the NBA food
chain.

There have been a total of 8 different NBA Championship teams over the past
14-years featuring the inclusion of only 10 teams that got an opportunity
to play for the league championship, with the Warriors winning it all
3-times, the Heat 3-times, and the Lakers winning the championship twice.

Whereas if we compare that with Major League Baseball over the same time
frame, while we find that there have also been 8 different champions since
2006, with the Red Sox winning the title 4 times, the Giants 3 times, and
the Cardinals twice, the other 4 World Series played over the last 14 years
were won by teams only a single time, with the Royals, Astros, Phillies,
and Yankees turning the trick.

However, the difference been MLB and the NBA can be found in the total
number of appearances by a wider variety of teams.

The NBA, as I already alluded to, has seen a total of 10 teams participate
for the Larry O’Brien Trophy over the last 14 years, while on the other
hand, Major League Baseball has seen 15 teams getting a chance to play for
a World Series title. A huge disparity? Maybe, then again, maybe not. But
at the very least, when you examine the environment and the competitive
aspect of MLB versus that of the NBA, baseball feels much less predictable
and much more wide open, and there are fewer people who can say with a lot
of certainty (there’s that word again) what will eventually take place in
baseball’s post-season as opposed to that of the NBA.

Perhaps the NHL is the best example that I can cite?

If the NBA has had a competitive balance issue then the National Hockey
League is the antithesis to that in every way imaginable.

Consider that since 2006, the NHL has crowned a total of 11 different
Stanley Cup winning teams with a total of 19 different franchises getting
to those finals. NINETEEN. There is no other pro league in North America
where hope truly springs eternal than for the NHL and the fan bases of the
30 teams in the league.

The NFL?

Again, a league with terrific competitive balance which has really been the
bedrock of the NFL since the days when Pete Rozelle was the commissioner.

Since 2006, the NFL has awarded the Lombardi Trophy to 10 different teams
seeing a total of 14 different teams playing for the title. Much like Major
League Baseball, and certainly the NHL, there just seems to be much less
predictability in the NFL with myriad fan bases across the league believing
that their teams at least have a shot to do something special that season
as Week One approaches.

Which is why as this NBA off-season gets closer to its completion, with the
vast player movement (nearly the entire league of players were free-agents)
and the unpredictability of where players would go, and did end up going,
the NBA now feels like a league as dicey and chancy as it has felt since I
first started watching basketball in the mid 1970s.

This isn’t simply good for the league, rather, it’s just what the doctor
ordered at just the right time as the league has openly talked about ways
to make their regular season matter more, bringing more substance to the
82-game schedule, and with such a stunning summer transformation this
league has seen, it’s been years and years since the NBA has felt as
unclear and as wide-open entering a new season as it will this year when
the league raises the curtain on another new campaign.

Who’s your favorite? Or, who are the multiple favorites for this upcoming
2019-20 NBA season?

Last year at this time, with LeBron headed out west to the Lakers, you were
wondering which team in the East would have enough gas in its tank at the
end of the season to meet Golden State one more time in the Finals.

Perhaps the rise of Toronto this past year, with Kawhi Leanord dragging his
team through 4 rounds and all the way to a championship against a beat up
and depleted Warriors team, maybe this was a precursor of what’s to come
over the next few years ahead?

I mean, did anyone see Toronto going all the way this past year?

I felt it was not only good for the league that the Raptors won the
championship, but I also felt it was good for the league to see the
Warriors dynasty taking a hit with the departure of Kevin Durant to the
Brooklyn Nets.

Brooklyn, as a legitimate NBA contender, only 2-years removed from a 28-54
record and only 3-years removed from a record of 20-62? Maybe not this year
coming up, but by the time Kevin Durant is ready to return the following
season, Brooklyn should have as good a chance as any team in the East.

See, the story is always the thing, and if you have no story to sell and
instead have basically the same script that you’re giving to people every
year, that’s when things get stale…and predictable. The worst thing in
the world no matter what you do is to become predictable.

And ‘predictable’ for the NBA is on the outs this coming season – and
great stories abound most every place you look.

Anthony Davis finally forced his way out of New Orleans and into Los
Angeles where he’ll join you know who. How will that work out? How will
DeMarcus Cousins gel in the Lakers frontcourt? LeBron will be entering his
age-34 season, and with many miles on his legs over the years, how much
does he have left at a high level? Will head coach Frank Vogel be head
coach Frank Vogel by December 1, or will his assistant Jason Kidd be
running the show when LeBron demands a change be made?

While in New Orleans, they’ve already forgotten who Anthony Davis even was.
Anthony who? In the movie The Matrix (1999) some guy said that ‘Zion’ is
where the party will be. Well in NOLA right now it’s all about Zion
Williamson and building a team around him as new team President David
Griffin and new GM Trajon Langdon are hoping to do. They’ve already brought
in Derrick Favors to help clean the glass and imported a bunch of useful
players they obtained from the Lakers in the AD trade. Lonzo Ball will look
back at being traded to New Orleans as the best thing that’s ever happened
to him. Former bust Jahlil Okafor continues to remake his career in a Pels
uniform. Josh Hart will help out off the bench. JJ Redick has brought his
sharpshooting eye to the Pelicans backcourt with the ever-improving Jrue
Holiday beside him. Brandon Ingram figures to like life much more as a
Pelican than under the shadow of the sometimes toxic LeBron. They’re
excited in New Orleans these days, and with good reason…even though I
feel the jury will be out on Zion Williamson as a proverbial
‘franchise-player’ until I see otherwise.

They’re also excited in Los Angeles too. Wait, didn’t I already mention the
Lakers a little further up the page? But I’m not talking about the Lakers,
I’m talking about a team that just might be better than their colleagues
across the hall at the Staples Center, I’m talking Clippers basketball baby!

One by one the premium free agents fell off the board, right? Kyrie and
Durant to the Nets. Tobias Harris returned to Philadelphia on a max deal.
Kristaps Porzingas re-upped with Dallas. D’Angelo Russell wound up in
Golden State with the Warriors. Jimmy Butler insisted on going to Miami to
play for the Heat and did so under the parameters of a sign and trade
eventually. Kemba Walker wound up in Boston replacing Kyrie Irving.

The Clippers, who entered free agency with a boatload of cap room looked to
be on the outside looking in, without a chair to call their own when the
music stopped playing.

But then…HE ARRIVED.

Wait, wasn’t Kawhi going to be talked into joining the Lakers to play with
LeBron and dominate the west for the next few years?

Not only did Kawhi Leanord walk right past the Lakers executive offices in
the Staples Center, instead deciding to play for the Clippers and one of
the best coaches in the league in Doc Rivers, but then Kawhi showed his
power and influence by talking Paul George into asking for a trade from
Oklahoma City, and just like that, the Clippers became more than relevant
with some even suggesting that as of this second they might be the best
that the western conference has to offer.

The Cips did mortgage much of their future by sending OKC draft picks (5
first-round picks) that seem to stretch into the next century, in addition
to sending Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (who I love) to the
Thunder in exchange for George. It’s interesting because I feel as though
the Clippers may have given up more for Kawhi than the Lakers did in
trading for Anthony Davis, yet as I look at the Clippers roster they seem
to have more around both Kawhi and Paul George than the Lakers do
surrounding LeBron and AD.

Lou Williams at the point with Paul George on the wing, the monster-sized
Ivaca Zubac in the middle and up-front with Kawhi and Montrezl Harrell?
That’s a nice starting five with plenty of players to space the floor, and
coming off the bench the Clippers have guys like defensive wizard Patrick
Beverly, Landry Shamett and JaMychal Green.

Speaking of the Thunder, all three are now gone. First, it was James Harden
being escorted to Houston, then Durant flew the coop to the Warriors, and
just yesterday Russell Westbrook got the break of his life by being traded
to the Rockets in return for the suddenly vulnerable Chris Paul. You have
to figure that Paul will want nothing to do with Sam Presti’s sudden
rebuild through youth for the Thunder and OKC will soon try to get a taker
for Paul (Miami?).

Oklahoma City has an absolutely silly amount of draft picks moving forward.
If the Sixers started their years-long rebuild a few years ago by referring
to it as; ‘The Process’, then OKC now has a process on steroids.

The amount of first-round draft pick ammunition Oklahoma City has, with
ammo that may be used for player selections – or – in the way of providing
the Thunder with an incredible amount of draft capital to be exercised in
future trades, it boggles the mind to consider what the Thunder have to
work with moving forward.

Below is a list of the first-round ‘Thunder’ that Oklahoma City now has
in their possession over the next 7-years factoring in protections and pick
swaps:

->2020 their own (1-20)
->2020 DEN (11-30)
->2021 their own (HOU 5-30 swap right)
->2021 MIA (HOU 5-30 swap right)
->2022 their own (1-14)
->2022 LAC
->2023 their own (LAC swap right)
->2023 MIA (15-30)
->2024 their own
->2024 LAC
->2024 HOU (5-30)
->2025 their own (LAC and HOU 21-30 swap right)
->2026 their own
->2026 LAC
->2026 HOU (5-30)

The Thunder have the potential to have a total of FIFTEEN first-round
picks over the next seven years, and they’ll obviously be hoping that teams
like the Clippers and the Heat take a nosedive in the years ahead, as well
as hoping that the Rockets crap out as well.

Speaking of Pat Riley’s team, they too have taken on an interesting flavor
this off-season, eh? The trade for Jimmy Butler to go along with the
emerging big man in Bam Adebayo…but what is Goran Dragic’s future with
the Heat if he even has one? Miami isn’t done making moves yet before the
season starts.

Milwaukee did a nice job keeping their core together this off-season and
they even brought in Brook Lopez’ twin brother Robin for off the bench
help. They did lose Malcolm Brogdon to Indiana, but they still obviously
have Giannis Antetokounmpo to team with returning players Khris Middleton,
George Hill, and Eric Bledsoe. Is this the year the Bucks go all the way?

If it’s not Milwaukee then what about Philadelphia?

The Sixers were only a few bounces of a basketball on the rim away from
going to the Finals last year, and they seem to be not only improved, but
in addition, they’ll feature one of the biggest starting five’s the league
has ever known. How about a starting backcourt of 6’10 Ben Simmons to be
partnered with 6’6 swingman Jason Richardson who was acquired from Miami in
the Jimmy Butler deal? The 6’9 and underrated Tobias Harris is back, and
he’s joined in the Philly frontcourt by 6’10 forward Al Horford, who should
play better in his natural position, with the 7’0 monster in the middle in
Joel Embiid. Will they miss JJ Redick? I think so, but I also think the
Sixers like Mike Scott and TJ McConnell getting better to lessen the hurt
that Reddick leaving might cause.

Boston no longer has Kyrie Irving and they no longer have Al Horford…and
they no longer have Marcus Morris, who by the time you read this might have
already signed with the Knicks. But they do have Kemba Walker, in many ways
viewed as the anti-Kyrie, and they did sign Enes Kanter to replace Horford.
The chemistry in Boston might be better but will the team’s performance on
the court be better?

Are the Rockets now better by subtracting Chris Paul and inserting Russell
Westbrook? Yes, although it will force James Harden to now play better off
the ball and pivot to a style that he was accustomed to in Oklahoma City
earlier in his career and it will be more than interesting to see if Harden
can successfully make that adjustment. It’ll also be interesting to see if
Westbrook himself can become more of a facilitator in Houston and ween
himself away from being the high-volume shooter as he’s been all these
years in OKC.

Dallas is going to be fun to watch when Porzingas is 100%. The Mavs
backcourt is good and is only going to get better with Luka Doncic and Tim
Hardway Jr., both with great games and the ability to get even better.

How D’Angelo Russell is able to fit in with the Warriors will bear watching
(if they keep him that is), and while the Warriors do lose Kevin Durant and
while Klay Thompson figures to be out for a good stretch of time to start
the year, Golden State still has Steph Curry and Draymond Green, a rookie
with upside in Jordan Poole, and returning role players like Shaun
Livingston and Kevon Looney to count on. The Warriors dynasty may be over
for the time being, but they’ll still win more than they lose.

Denver likes to think that they’re on the brink of doing something special,
right? Just the other day they flipped their #1 pick to Oklahoma City in
return for Jerami Grant. Unlike some other clubs who have played the
free-agent game in an attempt to get better, Denver has built their team
the last few years through the draft and with some shrewd trades. Grant is
starting material, but I think that at least initially, the Nuggets will
bring him off the bench. Also, don’t forget that the Nuggets are hoping
that 6’10 Michael Porter Jr. is finally healthy enough to play this year.
With Jamal Murray and Gary Harris as the starting backcourt, and with the
ever-improving Will Barton up front alongside Nikola Jocic, the Nuggets are
for real and it could be their year.

How will Toronto respond to the loss of Kawhi? Yes, they still bring back
players so instrumental in helping them win their very first NBA title,
guys like Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka, with Kyle Lowry back directing the
offense, but when you consider that right now the Raptors plan on filling
the hole left by Kawhi’s departure with Marc Gasol…yeesh. The win in Game
6 of the Finals followed by the parade that ensued will probably be
memories that Raptors fans will need to hang on to for some time because
repeating next year – or anytime soon – is probably out of the question.

The Phoenix Suns have needed a capable point guard for a few years now.
Ricky Rubio has played the last 8-years in Utah, he became a free agent,
then he signed a 3-year deal with Phoenix a few weeks ago…and this still
makes no sense to me. Yeah, the Suns now have a capable guy running their
offense with a veteran player who they hope will be able to mentor a very
young Suns squad. But if I’m Rubio, is this what I’m wanting to do at this
juncture of my career? I mean, the Suns have some nice young pieces in
which to build around with players like Dario Saric and Devon Booker and
Deandre Ayton, but when and if this club becomes something resembling a
contender in the west, Rubio just might be on his last legs as a player by
that time, – or at the very least – on the downside of his career? Good for
the Suns for the moment at least – but for Ricky Rubio?

And the team that Rubio left in Salt Lake?

Can I tell you how great I’d feel to see the Jazz back in a conference
finals situation next season for the first time since the days of Stockton
and Malone? It just might happen. Firstly, I’m a huge fan of their coach
Quin Snyder. Secondly, for a team that lost a huge piece only a few short
years ago when Gordon Hayward left for Boston, a team that seemed to be
regressing at that time and hanging on by their fingernails, the Jazz have
since done an about-face in a short amount of time and reloaded with a few
trades and free agent acquisitions that have them poised to be a potential
top-four team in the west this season.

Mike Conley now runs the team in the place of Ricky Rubio – that’s an
upgrade.

They brought in a bomber from the perimeter in Bojan Bogdanovic, who shot
almost 50% from the field last year and was one of the NBA’s best
three-ball shooters at better than 41% from long range. Speaking of good
shooters, Joe Ingles comes back for more. Donovan Mitchell will continue to
jump out of NBA arena’s this year while improving his all-around game. The
Jazz love what Rudy Gobert is becoming, a force at both ends of the court
with a surprising touch he’s developed with his shot, an array of improving
low post moves, and the ability to defend the paint while using his
enormous size to protect the rim. They also made one of the more under the
radar free-agent pickups when they inked veteran forward/center Ed Davis.
Last year with Brooklyn, Davis collected more rebounds per minute than any
player in the league. Make sure you have NBA League Pass this season
because the Jazz are gonna be fun to watch.

Then again, with the dizzying amount of moves that have been made over the
last few weeks, most of the team’s in the NBA this year will be fun to
watch.

Atlanta, with guys like Trae Young and John Collins, they may not be ready
to hang with the big dogs yet, but the Hawks are on their way and their
future appears to be bright.

Orlando should be better than they were a season ago.

Lots of intrigue, lots of different scenarios that will be played out, lots
of interest and lots of good stories to sink your teeth into.

The Nets are a contender (even without Durant this year Brooklyn has the
makings of a 50-win team).

The Clippers are a contender.

The Jazz and the Nuggets are contenders.

Milwaukee and Philadelphia think they can win this season – and they might.

The Lakers think they’re back.

Dallas is ready to jump back in an make some noise.

The Spurs are always overlooked.

Portland might be ready to go back to a conference finals again.

Houston will be right there no doubt.

The best thing about this season before a jump ball has been tossed is that
while you may think that one team here or another team over there might win
the whole ball of wax, you really can’t be sure. If you’ve been following
the NBA for any serious length of time when is the last time you could say
something like that?

There is great talent throughout the league, and the other thing to think
about is that while the league has undergone a huge makeover this
off-season, and while the NBA will be more wide-open this season than in
past years, the window to make your run as an organization is now closing
faster and teams might be fluctuating up and down over the next few years
ahead due mostly to player control providing even more drama for a league
in need of some.

Kawhi’s deal with the Clippers is only for 3-years with a player option for
that 3rd year, thus, Kawhi could be back out on the open market as soon as
the 2021-22 season is here. That’s the same year that Paul George will next
be a free-agent. That’s the same year where a galaxy of great players could
all be on the free-agent market, players like Giannis Antetokounmpo and
Bradley Beal and Victor Oladipo and Blake Griffin, and yes, even LeBron
James one more time. Go for it now. Win big. Win now. Player movement in
the league comes at general managers faster and more furious than ever
before.

Kevin Durant will have the right to go back on the free-agent market the
season after that (2022) as his Nets deal is a 4-year package but it
contains a player option for the final year of the deal. So, if Durant
never laces up his sneakers in this upcoming season, theoretically, the
Nets could be looking at a situation in which they have only two-years
worth of Durant to try and win their first NBA title.

We’re a few months from the opening of NBA training camps, of course, but
with what was the best free-agent summer in such a long time for the NBA,
it has not only put on a badly needed new coat of paint for the league,
it’s also upped fan interest and fan engagement, it’s been the shot in the
arm this league very much needed, and it has people wanting to see how all
of these moves eventually materialize when this season finally gets
underway.

Nobody’s a lock this season, a wonderful mystery has enveloped the league,
it’s wide open and it could be any number of teams that gets to the 2019-20
NBA Finals.

It’s been a long time since anyone could think these ways…I’ll take this
most every year if I can get it.

WE NOW RETURN YOU TO REALITY

July 10, 2019

By DINO COSTA

The world we live in can’t be real, there’s simply no way.

Someone please fess up and let the cat out of the bag, alright?

Unknowingly, we’re animated characters living inside a matrix and this life
is nothing more than a simulated computer game where those at the keyboard
are having a good laugh as they program the game to include all kinds of
bizarre situations and outcomes. Because when it comes to making sense out
of things, nothing else could explain the preposterous nature of what is
ongoing currently in regard to this Women’s National Soccer team and the
idea that they’re somehow underpaid and the idea they should be paid in
accordance with what their male counterparts make.

Today in New York City, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed equal pay legislation
before the recent World Cup winning US Women’s National Soccer team was
feted with a parade in the Big Apple.

Said Cuomo; “Women play the same game as men, only better, parades are
cool, equal pay is cooler.”

As you might imagine, madness has taken over some people’s brains and the
only way this is possible is for all of this to simply not be real.

Allow me to get into this piece by getting up on my own personal soapbox,
and just like Snoop Dog did, perhaps minus the expletives, tell everyone
that the women soccer players on the National team should be paid as much
as the men make so I can properly fit in with the One Flew Over The Cuckoos
Nest crowd.

Are you singing this song too? Doesn’t it feel good to chime along with the
same people all singing this song with you? Have you patted yourself on the
back yet? Has Andrew Cuomo patted you on the back? Has the smile become
almost permanent on your face for taking part in this utterly feel-good
campaign? Am I welcome to do my part to help out with all of this lunacy as
best I can?

Well, if I lived in the world of feel-good fiction and if I resided in the
land of the lost and without a clue, then perhaps I could do just that.

If I could come up with a reasonable and intelligent argument as to why
women soccer players should make as much as their opposite gender, I would,
and I wouldn’t apologize for making that argument either. I’d not only be
singing that same song with you, hell, I’d be at the front of the line
bellowing so loudly that they’d be hearing me in Timbuktu and beyond.

But because I live in the world of reality (if any of this is truly real
that is), attempting to find legitimate justification for compensating
women soccer players at the going rate that the men currently make is not
only impossible, but it’s also downright foolish as well as ignorant.

I warn you that because I attempt to live within real-world parameters and
because I refuse to join with the negligent chorus-singing crowd on this
issue, insisting that the women be paid as much as the men, there will be
many inconvenient truths associated with this story that could hurt some
unrealistic feelings and make even the most impressive snowflake out there
melt within a matter of seconds.

Now, for starters, can we agree, that even though the United States women’s
soccer team just won back-to-back World Cup titles, and even though this
was the 3rd time the ladies of America won the award, despite the Men’s
national team never having won this same award as of yet, are we able to
agree that if the two teams ever hit the pitch against one another in a
head-to-head match-up, that the score would probably be double what this
year’s ladies team did to that poor Thailand squad back in June, and would
we agree that the USA Men’s team would win a game against the ladies with
the final score being at least 26-0?

“Women play the same game as men, only better” –  Andrew Cuomo

If FC Dallas’ 15-and under team could beat the women’s national team, how
do you suppose they’d do against the men’s national club?

If you’re insane enough to tell me that the ladies soccer squad would give
the men’s squad a serious challenge, would you also make the claim that the
WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, who have appeared in 6 of the last 9 WNBA
championships, winning the title 4 of those times, that the Lynx ladies
would give any NBA team, never mind the NBA champions, a run for their
money too?

And since the Lynx of Minnesota have shown their dominance in recent years
as the WNBA’s most high-level team, sort of a Golden State Warriors
equivalent of the women’s game…would you also say that because of this
dominance they also deserve to be paid on a par with NBA players?

And so…here we go.

Are you a soccer fan? Do you watch Major League Soccer? Perhaps you also
watch any one of the European professional leagues around the world? So now
I ask, how much time do you also spend watching women’s soccer?

You know, there is a women’s professional league here in North America and
it’s called the National Women’s Soccer League. And so, how many Women’s
National Soccer League games have you watched on television…if you can
find the Network that carries those games? How many tickets have you bought
lately to a Chicago Red Stars or a Houston Courage game over the past few
years?

Yes, I know, it appears as though I’m shitting all over the women’s game,
doesn’t it? But really I’m not. What I am doing is showing the Grand Canyon
size difference between the Men’s game and the Women’s game on virtually
every level, from a competitive point of view, to dollars accrued, to
interest in the respective games played.

The fact of the matter, however reluctant you may be to acknowledge it, is
that while depending on your point of view, while you may feel that it’s a
great thing that that this year’s women’s team won the World Cup, for all
of the feel-good emotions it may have brought to some people, so far as
moving a needle is concerned, lets put this into its proper perspective,
shall we?

The women winning this year’s World Cup for the 3rd time, in all candor now
and without insulting anyone, comes across as a faint whisper when
comparing it under a hypothetical where the Men’s team wins a World Cup,
which would be something that when and if it ever happens would fuel so
much energy from one end of this country to the other that it would be able
to light up New York City for the next century.

Only days after the Women’s team won the whole enchilada, their
foul-mouthed, oppressed, and America-loathing captain Megan Rapinoe stated
the following: “I feel like this team is in the midst of changing the
world around us as we live.”  Yes, delusion at the highest of levels.

We live within a world construct these days that suggests that everyone is
entitled to revenue-equality while dismissing any and all reality that
should dismiss such farcical arguments while also making the proponents of
such ideas come off as utterly simple-minded and idiotic at the same time.

To say nothing of the fact (and I posted a story about this on this
website just a few days ago) that when contemplating the payout of the
Women’s World Cup earnings against those of the Men, the ladies playing in
this soccer tournament are actually taking home a greater percentage of the
winnings than the men do. Thus, it may be argued that the women are
actually raking in more total revenue then the men’s teams are if you break
this down from a percentage standpoint.

In an imaginary hypothetical, let’s say that there is a woman who works as
a law-secretary who earns $50,000 a year for attorney’s who have billed a
collective $2.5 million dollars within a calendar year (I cannot believe I
actually need to write this as an example).

On the other side of town there is another woman secretary who makes $75,000
a year doing the same amount of work as the woman making $50K. But the
woman making $75K works for a law firm that generates 3-times the number of
earnings that the law office does which pays their secretary $50K. Given
the revenue limitations of the law firm paying the woman $50K, would she be
justified asking her superiors to match the same salary of the woman making
$75K knowing that they work the same hours and do the same exact amount of
work? Of course not.

Why is it so difficult for people to not understand that the pay
discrepancy between dollars generated by women’s soccer pales in comparison
to that of men’s soccer and it doesn’t have just a little bit to do with
monies distributed, on the contrary, it has everything to do with why the
men make more money than the women do.

The total prize money for the just completed women’s World Cup came in at
$30 million dollars – with the women’s USA squad getting $4 million dollars
to be split among players and staff.

This is comparative peanuts when placed side by side against the men’s
World Cup, last played in 2018, when that tournament produced revenue
exceeding SIX-BILLION DOLLARS, with the winning team and staff (France)
splitting $38 million dollars. Shouldn’t the argument, feeble that it is
for more money and equal pay for the women’s game come to a full stop right
here?

Consider that in 2018, the World Cup winning French squad split more cash
among their players and staff than the entire Women’s World Cup generated in
total this year! If the women are demanding the same compensation as the
men are getting, and if they won’t take the field again until they get it,
then it says here that there will never be another Women’s World Cup played.

Does this not all come down to a case study of supply and demand? Here’s
where I stand so that nobody gets any wrong ideas, okay? I say that if and
when any women’s sports endeavor produces as many eyeballs, sponsors, and
overall interest as men’s sporting activities do – THEN PAY THEM EQUALLY! But
until that time please shut up with your nonsensical and embarrassing
position of equal pay in this area.

Have you heard what West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has been up to
lately?

This man has lost his mind. Either that, or he’s simply attempting to get
as many people as possible to say what a swell guy he is by introducing a
bill that would halt all federal funding for the 2026 Women’s World Cup,
which is scheduled to be played in the United States, until the United
States Soccer Federation agrees to provide equitable pay for the women on
par with what the men make.

If Joe Manchin applied this same level of stupidity in regard to the
economics of his home state of West Virginia the Mountaineer state would go
broke.

Is the United States Soccer Federation running a business…or is it a
charity?

Common sense, anyone?

Come to think of it, why should soccer players, men or women, why do they
make more than anyone else does no matter what the occupation? Why
shouldn’t the cashier down at the local supermarket make as much as soccer
players do, why shouldn’t the guy who busts his ass mowing 18 lawns a day
make as much as soccer players do, why…we can play this game all day long
can’t we?

If you’re still not convinced then may I suggest you take the time to enter
an economics class where perhaps you’ll experience an epiphany and this
whole thing will make some sense to you?

Until then, I’ll remain incredulous that there are actually people out
there making this an issue while at the same time ignoring an infinite
amount of substantive and inarguable points which should make any sober person
arrive at only one logical conclusion.

The entire spectacle of this thing is not only an assault on any sane
person’s senses, but it’s also a pathetic and brain-dead argument in which
the evidence to even provide a molecule of support for women reaping the
same kinds of revenue in this specific sporting undertaking as men do,
given the gargantuan differences in cash-flow, reduces such a person to a
nitwit who has no credibility and who should be shunted aside as a feckless
simpleton.

Now…back to the feel-good song you go, with people like Andrew Cuomo and
Joe Manchin, both who are clearly living in the land of delusion.

THEY CAME AND GOT THE METS

July 8, 2019

By DINO COSTA

Right before the Mets introduced Brodie Van Wagenen as their new general
manager back in late October of last year, this is what I wrote in another
column that then appeared on my website when the Mets general manager list
appeared to come down to 3 individuals. Chaim Bloom (who should have been
hired), Doug Melvin…and a former player agent.

Here is what I wrote:

“Brodie Van Wagenen? Come on, the fact that this agent has actually made
it to the final round should be a sign that this franchise is in many ways
still too stupid to comprehend what is and what is not in their better
interests.”

Then, while many in the Mets fan base, mostly the ignorant ones, all hailed
this as a bold masterstroke, a cutting edge hire that was well outside the
box, I maintained that the Mets had goofed yet one more time in their
feeble attempts at putting a consistent winning product on the field at The
Ballpark In Queens (I refuse to call it by its corporate name).

Despite my feelings that this move was a colossal mistake, I found myself
fascinated with how this guy, Van Wagenen, would come off in his initial
press conference before the New York media.

I wasn’t disappointed.

“The Bro Show” got underway at the BIQ (Ballpark In Queens) with the Mets
very own “Spaulding” (Caddyshack 1980), Jeff Wilpon, telling the assembled
throng attending, that this was a hire that Spaulding’s dad (Fred Wilpon)
was absolutely thrilled with. Of course, he was.

Next, we watched as Van Wagenen came to the podium carrying with him cue
cards, with notes that I guess he had written down in advance, and with
every flip of the next card, Van Wagenen was on to a new point he wanted to
make. I found this…interesting?

Van Wagenen said a number of things at his introductory presser, and one of
them was that the Mets would; “win now, and win in the future.” Now since
I cannot tell the future (who can?) I can’t really speak to that, but so
far as the “now” part of Van Wagenen’s declaration is concerned, well, as
the Mets just hit the All-Star break, old Brodie’s troops limp into what
used to be the mid-summer classic with the worst record in the National
League.

You say; “but Dino, you got that one wrong. Actually, the Mets have the
second-worst record in the National League, the Miami Marlins are the worst
team by a few games.” Right. So as I said, the Mets are the NL’s worst
team record wise. The Marlins can be excused for their record, but what
about the Mets?

I didn’t like the hire to begin with and I deplore it even more so now,
with the Mets sitting at 40-50, and 13.5 games behind the division-leading
Braves in what is turning out to be just the latest lost summer in this
team’s inglorious history.

Then again, full disclosure, I was willing to give Van Wagenen a shot at
impressing me, which if he did would have been followed by a mea culpa, and
would have made Spaulding and the rest of the Mets brain trust (?) looking
prescient with this outside the box and high-risk gamble they were so
willing to take.

Sometimes you roll a seven. Other times you come up with craps, and it is
in the crapper where the Mets sit right now, with an individual now in
charge, who I guess used to be a pretty good player agent, but obviously
has turned out to be a guy who watched Brad Pitt playing Billy Beane in the
movie Moneyball (2011) one too many times – and is so far in over his
head that I cringe whenever he speaks, and when he does speak, he doesn’t
sound so much like a real person, but rather, a windup doll, an Autobot,
who has been pre-scripted with every word and every line that comes out of
his mouth.

As the season drew nearer, Van Wagenen was willing to make a few
predictions. Van Wagenen made a disastrous and unnecessary trade with
Seattle that imported both Robinson Cano and relief pitcher Edwin Diaz, a
trade that will not only hamstring the Mets for years to come – but also
make roster management – given Cano’s massive salary and declining play,
all the more problematic when assembling future Mets teams and when
factoring in payroll.

But back to Brodie and his blue and orange crystal ball.

Van Wagenen appeared on Mike Francesa’s WFAN radio program, and full of
swagger as a never before baseball executive he said a few things that I’m
sure others around the game took note of.

Las Vegas bookmakers had the Mets under/over at 84.5 before a pitch was
thrown this season. When Francesa inquired with the Mets wizard GM and
asked him what he thought of that number, Van Wagenen told Francesa that he
thought the number was; “a little light.” Then, with Van Wagenen dripping
with intellectual superiority, he told Francesa that he felt his team was
the one to beat in the NL East – and that if any other clubs took
exception with his brazen – if not arrogant proclamation – that they should
be prepared to; “come and get us.”

At 40 and 50 on the season after the first 90-games, I think it’s fair to
say that the rest of baseball has come and gotten Brodie’s National League
East favorites, eh?

Van Wagenen not only brought Cano and his ball and ankle chain of a
contract to the Mets, but he also banked on Edwin Diaz, who had one
brilliant season, turning into the next Mariano Rivera, and as we’ve all
seen, Diaz appears to be a shell of the pitcher this season for the Mets
that he was in 2018 for Seattle. Those who make contact against Diaz and
put the ball in play are batting at a .545 clip against the reliever that
Van Wagenen simply had to have.

For some reason, he also signed the very competent Jed Lowrie to a 2-year
deal, another player the Mets had absolutely no need for, and at this point
(Lowrie is apparently on the DISABLED LIST), with nobody having seen Lowrie
since the end of spring training, some are wondering if he’s actually still
alive, or perhaps he’s gone into the government’s witness protection
program.

There are so many issues and problematic themes for the Mets that it’s
really hard where to start when discussing them. But let’s go with the
manager first.

Under Mickey Callaway’s watch, up to this point, he’s managed the Mets to a
collective record of 117 wins and 135 losses. Included in that record are
back to back months of June in which the Mets went 5-21 in 2018 while
following that up with a 2019 June record of 10-18. For those of you
scoring at home – that’s a collective month of June record under Callaway’s
watch that comes in at 15-39.

“Come and get us.”

Moreover, Callaway, who seems to be a nice man otherwise, has shown that
he’s nothing more than a gloried pitching coach who has been drastically
miscast as the manager of a major league club in baseball’s biggest market.
I’ll take it for granted that you’re well aware of the many goofs and
boneheaded decisions that Callaway has made in his short time in Queens, so
I won’t bore you all by naming them all one after the other.

 


The other night, after a loss to Philadelphia, Van Wagenen, frustrated with
the team that he put together, losing yet another game, waited for
Callaway in his office and demanded the entire coaching staff to be
present, where he then proceeded to rip his into his manager and coaches,
apparently throwing a chair against a wall (again, this guy watched
Moneyball one too many times) before telling his ill-equipped and out of
his depth manager to; “go do your fucking press conference.”

The Mets are a team allegedly built on a starting rotation that is the envy
of baseball. Good pitchers are made better with guys in the field that can
turn balls in play into outs. Yet this is a team that plays a first-baseman
in left field, a right-fielder in center-field, and a second-baseman in right
field. Occasionally, they also play another infielder (JD Davis) in the
outfield, they have a starting catcher (I’ll admit I was all for the Wilson
Ramos signing) who looks like he needs a cane to get behind home plate, a
shortstop whose defense is atrociously bad, as well as being a middle
infielder incapable of getting to balls hit to his left, a second-baseman
who is one of the worst in all of baseball, and a third-baseman in Todd
Frazier, who while having a decent enough year, is yet another player who
is in decline and doesn’t figure in the teams future.

Van Wagenen, who before the year started told everyone just how present and
on the scene he was prepared to be this season, hasn’t been heard from
since mid-June.

One of the last times that Van Wagenen spoke with reporters covering the
Mets, he gave Callaway the third vote of confidence since the season
started and also said that he believed his roster, which he constructed,
still had a shot at getting back into contention. Said Brodie; “We have
talent and we have heart and we have a group of people who believe in one
another and who will pick each other up.”

Then just a few days after saying that, Van Wagenen fired pitching coach
Dave Eiland and bullpen coach Chuck Hernandez – who must not have answered
the bullpen phone quickly enough for Van Wagenen’s liking. Eiland and
Hernandez must not have had enough talent and heart on their sides? Since
firing the two coaches the Mets have responded by going 5-11 to date.

The mosh pit of irrelevance that ensconces this franchise is almost too
impossible for it to truly be reality – but it is.

Under the Wilpon watch the Mets have been reduced to not only a sad joke –
but in addition – their total and complete inability to have this franchise
win for any serious length of time, their inadequacy as the stewards of
this organization, has rendered New York City a one-team town completely.
While the Yankees win year-after-year-after-year, the sad sack nature of
the team in Queens continues to push the Mets further into a sinkhole while
making them the equivalent of some obscure off-Broadway play that is miles
and miles from relevancy in the city that they call home.

If I’m Hal Steinbrenner? If I’m Brian Cashman or any other Yankees
official? Not only do I go to bed at night praying to God that the Mets
continue to forever be run by such discordant individuals, but I’d actually
take it another step further. Seeing how the Mets are so prone to make one
disastrous and awful decision after another over all these years, and
knowing that these negligent decisions play right into the Yankees hands to
not only take over New York – but to dominate the baseball scene in the
city for what seems like forever now – because of the utter baseball
malfeasance which has been on display in Queens for years and years, at
next year’s Old Timers game in the Bronx, I’d invite Pa Wilpon and his son
Jeff out to Yankee Stadium, where a plaque of them would be placed in
Monument Park, paying homage to an ownership group which has aided the
Yankee’s cause and ascent over the past 25-years. I’d even consider putting
the Wilpon duo on the Yankees payroll.

The best thing about this Mets season to date? Other than seeing Pete
Alonso on his way to a possible rookie-of-the-year award (Brodie had
nothing to do with Alonso being in the Mets organization), and Jeff McNeil
showing he’s one of the best players in the game (Brodie had nothing to do
with McNeil being in the Mets organization), it’s been the apparent very
nice draft the Mets put together this past June.

But even the terrific play of Jeff McNeil comes with a little asterisk,
doesn’t it? Why? Because if we go back to the careless trade that Van
Wagenen swung to acquire Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, the early reports
had Van Wagenen dangling McNeil as a part of that transaction, before
apparently, fans flooded the Mets office with phone calls expressing
outrage. Thus, that awful trade could have looked even worse potentially,
with McNeil leading the American League in hitting and going to the
All-Star game as a Seattle Mariner.

“Come and get us.”

Back to irrelevance in their own city.

The path to a post-season spot has been made more opportunistic than ever
since the advent of the wild-card and the split to a three-division format
in 1994, and then, an additional wild-card entry in each league which
commenced for the 2012 season.

Had the season not been shut down during the 1994 campaign, the Yankees
would have gone to the post-season that year, while of course, the Mets
would not have.


If we include the 1994 season and roll through the years right up until
last year, that is 25-seasons worth of baseball where the Yankees have
qualified for the playoffs in TWENTY-ONE of those years, including World
Championship seasons in FIVE YEARS (96-98-99-2000-09) while going to
additional World Series that they lost in the years 2001 and 2003.

This current 2019 season will make it 22 years in the last 26 that the
Yankees will qualify for post-season baseball with an opportunity to get
back to yet another World Series. This means that if your father started
taking you out to Yankees games, say, as a 7-year-old in 1994, you almost
don’t know what it’s like not to be playing baseball well into October
every year. If we include 1994, the Yankees qualified for the playoffs
FOURTEEN YEARS IN A ROW, before not being able to get there in 2008
breaking their streak.

The Mets over that same time?

This is truly stunning.

For starters, let’s mention that the most years the Mets have made
consecutive post-season appearances is TWO. Two times. One, two. Period.

The Mets did this twice, under Bobby Valentine back in 1999 and 2000, and
under Terry Collins in 2015-16 That’s it. Playing in America’s biggest
market and with all of the financial advantages that come with that, and
since 2009, playing in what is thought to be one of baseball’s better
ballparks, through a host of GM’s and managers over the years, the Mets
streak of reaching the playoffs consecutively, over what is now their 58th
season in franchise history, is two times. This should be unfathomable to
any interested observer and a source of outrage and embarrassment to those
who own this club. There is another word for this: Pitiful.

They won’t make the post-season this year (again), and while the Yankees
have given their fans TWENTY-TWO YEARS worth of playoff baseball (after
they make it again this season) over the last 26 seasons, the Mets, by
comparison, have given their fans a ticket to the playoff dance a mere FIVE
TIMES over that same time. Also, included over that 26-year stretch for the
Mets are FIFTEEN under .500 losing campaigns. The Yankees under .500 years
over the last 26-seasons? ZERO.

Aside from an occasional glimpse of good play that saw the Mets going to
the post-season over the past 26 years, it’s been, for the most part, a
course on baseball ineptitude in the borough of Queens.

There have been two periods of time in their 58-year franchise history when
the Mets owned New York for themselves and when it was the Yankees who
played second fiddle.

The first period of time occurred when the franchise was actually born in
1962. The Mets outdrew the Yankees most years, had the higher television
ratings most years, and won their first World Championship in 1969,
becoming the darlings of New York baseball fans. Of course, helping the
Mets to distance themselves as the cool new kids on the block back then was
the Yankees own failure at having good ownership when CBS ran the
organization into the ground.

From 1969 until 1975, New York was Mets Country. That all changed when
Steinbrenner insisted the Yankees be the King of New York baseball, putting
together teams from 1976 until 1981 that swung the pendulum back in the
Bronx’ favor.

The next time the Mets took over New York and called it their own was from
the years 1984 through 1992. While the Yankees had some pretty good teams
during those years there’s no question that the heartbeat of New York
baseball took place each night out at Shea Stadium.


But when Steinbrenner was suspended from the game for a second time and
when Gene Michael and his crew took over, they painstakingly put together a
devastating array of young talent though prudent drafting over a 4 and 5
year period that culminated with the Yankees once again taking over as New
York’s undisputed and most popular baseball team, a period of time which
has gone unbroken for the team in the Bronx for the last 26 years…and
counting.

This season, while the Yankees dealt with a mounting list of injuries that
would wreck most teams, they plugged in replacements that kept spitting out
wins night after night.

The Mets?

The cartoon-like organization in Queens keeps spinning its wheels with a
general manager and manager, both who never should have been hired to begin
with, with the GM beating his chest before the season and telling teams to
come and get him and his ballclub.

I think it’s fair to say that baseball came and got the Mets this year.

Then again, baseball has come and had their way with the Mets most years.


-By DINO COSTA

July 5, 2019

We live in utterly fascinating times.

Another way to say it is that we live in spectacularly scary and insane
times.

Of course, this is nothing new, however, when one takes into account the
rapid acceleration, the frequency with which the world continues to see
evidence of these mentally-unhinged times we’re living through, for
rational people, it makes them step back for a moment and wonder where this
is all heading?

When Melvin Udall answered his door in the movie; ‘As Good As It Gets’ (1997),
and told the lady to; “sell crazy somewhere else”, because Melvin (Jack
Nicholson) was all stocked up at the time, who could have imagined that
22-years later, buying crazy would be so in fashion?

You want crazy? You need yourself some crazy? Crazy is overflowing these
days to such an extent that ‘crazy’, is now seen as a valuable commodity
used by deranged and psychotic people in all walks of life in an attempt to
bend societal norms to their liking…with these people giving no thought
to how absolutely out of their minds they appear to the rest of polite
society.

Crazy in the world of sports?

Where do we begin?

How about the fictitious and very misleading NFL player protests of the
past few years? I’m sorry to report that that particular agenda is only the
tip of the iceberg and made to seem almost normal when comparing it to much
of what has occurred since then.

The most recent bit of crazy in the world of sports, ironically enough, has
to do with the guy who kicked off the misleading NFL player protest
movement, Colin Kaepernick.

It wasn’t enough for the shoe and apparel company Nike to shamelessly make
the self-proclaimed, marginalized and oppressed Kaepernick as the face of
their company last year, featuring, of course, a hilarious and duplicitous
ad-campaign that only an ignoramus would fall for. No. Now, of course, Nike
apparently got a phone call from their new diety, who proclaimed that he
was upset that Nike had developed a Betsy Ross-inspired sneaker which pays
homage to the original flag of the United States, the one that saw 13 stars
on it in recognition of the unity of the original 13 colonies.

Kaepernick, whose influence on Nike is not too far removed from other
companies who capitulate to anyone who airs a grievance and then snaps to
attention wishing to appease anyone who questions their decisions, felt
that the Betsy Ross flag represented a form of tyranny and oppression, in
his mind, some 242 years after the flag debuted.

Now think about this. 242 years is a long time. And so, over the course of
all that time, right up until Kaepernick decided that he wouldn’t approve
of such a piece of footwear, nary a peep existed about the Betsy Ross flag,
that is, unless someone was romantically and nostalgically recalling the
birth of our nation and how an upholsterer from Philadelphia took the time
to design what is thought to be the first official flag of the coming
United States of America.


As I mentioned at the top, there is seemingly no shortage of crazy
available these days, but if you’re anything like me, do you find yourself
asking how in the hell anyone would even have the ability to think along
the lines of an innocuous piece of footwear that celebrates America’s
founding, and then further, makes a serious determination that the piece of
footwear in question represents anything other than a nod to America’s past
founding? How do these people do this stuff? No, seriously, how? How does
a person’s mind go into overdrive after waking up one day, looking at a
sneaker, and then deciding that the sneaker was designed with a malignant
spirit in mind?

And so, with Nike heeding the call of their social justice master and
discontinuing this line of loathsome footwear, stopping production of this
grotesque shoe post-haste, what is then the next order of business? You
simply cannot stop here, can you? Now that it’s been revealed that the
Betsy Ross flag has no place in this society that is so enlightened, with
the newly acknowledged understanding that anything Betsy Ross related is
now taboo, where else must this newfound mentality be extrapolated across
other sectors of day-to-day life and within the sports sphere?

If the Betsy Ross flag is now to be thought about in the same way we think
about devils and dragons, is it okay if I suggest that the Philadelphia
76ERS organization commence with an organization-wide total rebrand of
their franchise?

How can any self-respecting individual spend two-cents on the Sixers, how
can any player on their current roster even think about heading onto the
court next season with this logo representing them?


Tobias Harris just signed a max-deal with Philadelphia, and Al Horford
stayed in the Eastern Conference, leaving the Celtics to join the 76ERS.
And the 76ERS have also offered Ben Simmons a huge deal that he’s
contemplating. How can any of these players, how can the very talented Ben
Simmons, even think about further employment with a basketball team that
has the unmitigated temerity to feature within their logo a nod to our
nation’s past showing a clear tie-in with the flag of the late Betsy Ross?
If the Sixers don’t revise their logo soon, let’s hope that USA Today
writes a scathing front-page editorial about all of this while also
pointing out that the 76ERS organization needs to step up and take a class
in being woke as soon as they can clear room on their schedule.

In fact, now that I think further on this, I’m even questioning how in the
hell the owners of this organization, Josh Harris and David Blitzer (more
on them in a minute), can look at themselves in the mirror every morning
knowing that they own an NBA team called, of all things the; 76ERS? The
name of this club is in celebration of the founding of our country?
Blasphemy! Just like the Betsy Ross flag, may it be argued that with the
founding of America in 1776, the declaring of total independence at that
time, I mean, is that not a time period that is replete with all kinds of
injustices and maltreatment?

I said in a paragraph up the page that I find it incredible that there are
people who can think along such maniacal and unscrewed ways – and that I
find it unfathomable for anyone to get to this level of what I consider to
be imbecility in their own brains. However, understand that these
individuals take it up to an entirely new level beyond merely thinking in
the unreasonable and crazy ways that they do. That’s only for starters.

It’s not enough to come up with crazy on a 24/7 basis. No, because not only
do they think along crazy lines, but in addition, they insist and demand that
you too think along and agree with them in this crazy world that they live
in. The really scary thing to consider is that these same crazy people, who
preach code words like ‘diversity’  and ‘inclusion’ , as well as ‘freedom
of speech’, these are the same people who like to go around talking about
a dictator in the White House, while they themselves show no respect nor
any consideration for anyone who simply disagrees with their loony world,
and they’ll round up their forces to rain down hell on anyone who they see
as the enemy, in a loose-screw style, sparing no method in their attempts
to injure (sometimes physically) and abuse anyone not willing to toe their
party line. You know, employing the same kinds of dictatorial methods that
they accuse the current commander in chief of using.

Speaking of commanders in chief, someone please tell Colin to get on the
horn with former President, Barrack Obama. Cleary, during one of Obama’s
swearing-in ceremonies, the former Prez wasn’t feeling the flow of the
Kaepernick philosophy on this matter.


Did I already mention Messrs Josh Harris and David Blitzer?

These two very successful entrepreneurs, who no doubt employ hundreds of
people, own the same Philadelphia 76ERS basketball team which I’ve
suggested a name change for already in this column. In fact, they not only
own an NBA franchise, but they also own the team I’ve been a fanatic of
since their founding in New Jersey back in 1982, the NHL Devils. And, if
you want a cherry on top, both Harris and Blitzer have controlling interest
of Crystal Palace FC, in the English Premier League.


They own all of these sports properties.

But don’t dare call them; ‘owners.’

In fact, Harris and Blitzer themselves insist you don’t call them owners
any longer. You can call them ‘chairmen’, or ‘top administrators’, or
the ‘big swinging cheeses’ of their respective sports franchises, but one
term that is now completely unacceptable is the term; ‘owner.’

But Harris and Blitzer are not alone with this request. You see, the
Clippers owner, Steve Balmer, has also quietly asked others to stop
referring to him as an owner. And the league commissioner, Adam Silver, he
too is on board with this because, in his words, Silver says he is
sensitive to any players in the league objecting to calling the people that
own the businesses that employ them exactly what they are…owners.

You say, “but this is the PC culture going even beyond the insaneness that
usually accompanies it”.  And, of course, normal, clear thinking and
rational people would all agree with you. But I’m not sure you got the memo
of late, the one that sent the message that the sane people in our country
have been thrown out on their asses and replaced by insane individuals who
now run America as those kids did on that island in the book; Lord Of The
Flies.

This all started, of course, with Warriors forward, Draymond Green, who
when making an appearance on LeBron James’ HBO program stated: “Very
rarely do we take the time to rethink something and say, ‘Maybe that’s not
the way. Just because someone was taught that 100 years ago doesn’t make
that the right thing today. And so, when you look at the word ‘owner,’ it
really dates back to slavery. The word ‘owner,’ ‘master’—it dates back to
slavery… we just took the words and we continued to put it to use.”

I see.

And so yes, Draymond Green, who has now played 6-years in the NBA,
apparently woke up one day and thought about the two guys who own the
franchise that has paid him a total of forty-eight million dollars to date
and decided that it was no longer right to refer to Joe Lacob and Peter
Guber, as the owners of the club…because in his opinion it connotes a
connection to slavery.

No, you cannot make this stuff up. I take that back. You very well could
make something like this up for an SNL skit, or perhaps with a feature in
the snarky and satirical newspaper; The Onion. But as we all know, this
wasn’t a part of any comedic act, what it was, stunningly, was a reality.

A single player objects, in what is clearly an example of well-overthinking
something (that’s a nice way for me to put it), and the resulting
consequence is for the commissioner of the league to enthusiastically
acquiesce to this suggestion, and now, we’re supposed to call people who
own things something other than what they’ve forever been called.

Sorry, no sale on this one for me.

 


Think Adam Silver could have called Draymond Green and asked him if maybe
the right side of his brain had shut down when he spoke about this matter
initially? Of course not. Silver, himself a proponent of crazy, instead
took the path of least resistance, even if it meant insulting anyone with a
perfectly functioning brain while also making him look like the NBA’s
leading idiot in the process.

Does your brain hurt yet?

Well if you’re a major league baseball player and your brain hurts and you
need to miss some playing time, you are now placed on the ‘Injured List.’

From Webster’s: DISABLED:
“physically or mentally impaired, injured, or incapacitated”

For years, probably since the start of the game’s origins, whenever a
player was out and injured for any reason, they were placed on the
long-standing; ‘Disabled-List.’ You know, cause they were disabled in
some way and needed some time off.

But no more!

Nope, now, as I say, you will refer to injured players as just that,
‘injured.’ It seems that over all of these years (who knew?) there have
been people getting very freaked out about calling players ‘disabled’
because I guess a baseball player being referred to as disabled was a clear
and intentional, not to mention, an insensitive shot across the bow of
anyone in general society who was disabled in more meaningful ways.

Did you ever hear about any of this? Did you and the rest of your
baseball-loving friends ever bring this up in the car on the way to the
ballpark over the years? Was this ever office water cooler conversation on
the 7th floor in the building you work in? Do you listen to all-sports
radio? How many calls over the years did you hear questioning the
insensitivity of baseball calling the disabled list the disabled list?

No matter, because back in December of last year, MLB clued us all in on
this when Jeff Pfeifer, MLB’s senior director of league economics and
operations, notified clubs of the name change in a memo that was dispatched.

Pfeifer said in a press release: ‘In recent years, the commissioner has
received several inquiries regarding the name of the ‘Disabled List. The
principal concern is that using the term ‘disabled’ for players who are
injured supports the misconception that people with disabilities are
injured and therefore are not able to participate or compete in sports. As
a result, Major League Baseball has agreed to change the name ‘Disabled
List’ to be the ‘Injured List’ at both the major and minor league levels.
All standards and requirements for placement, reinstatement, etc., shall
remain unchanged. This change, which is only a rebranding of the name
itself, is effective immediately.”

To wrap your mind around this, or, again, to attempt to place yourself in a
position where something like this was actually thought about by anyone, I
think, requires a seismic change in how your brain actually operates. It
would need to function in a totally new way, that is, in my opinion, in an
insane way that should make anyone question the operating system inside
their skull if they even thought about something like this for a half
second.

Does anyone truly believe that any legitimately disabled person in America
thought about any of this? Let’s say that someone was afflicted with
something as dreadful as Alzheimer’s disease, and they recently learned
that they had this disease, does anyone in their right mind truly believe
that such a person would be thinking that with MLB referring to disabled
players going on the disabled list that it was an affront to them?

 


What’s next? How many homeless people are there living in this country
today? Think any of them object to a ball going over the wall for a home
run…as a home run? People living in the streets in our country might be
offended by this. A home run? Maybe baseball should look into this deeper
and instead of calling it a home run they can instead make sure to call it
a 4-base hit as to not offend.

“Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks?” As you might imagine, the
possibilities are endless, no?

My own mother is unfortunately disabled, and she loves baseball, and yet
I’ve never once heard her telling me that she’s outraged or even mildly
upset that players on her adorable Mets have been placed on the disabled
list over the years. You know why? Because my mother, fortunately, doesn’t
reside in the land of the crazy and insane. She doesn’t rise up and meet
each day with the intention of finding something, anything, trivial or not,
that she can bitch and moan about.

Now you may say that this is a whole lotta nothing – but of course – I’ll
disagree with you.

All of this stuff and much more that I haven’t even mentioned is
representative of a sea change being enacted by over the top commandos who
are desirous of changing everything they can.

These are attempts, and they’re obviously working, to wash away every
tradition, every historical figurehead, to fundamentally transform sports,
the way it’s been run, the way that people are supposed to (demanded) to
think, and much like within the construct of general society, the sports
world is under vigorous attack by these individuals seeking to subvert its
core and using the world of sports in a way that will spearhead all of
their efforts and agendas. As long as those in charge of these leagues
allow themselves to continue to be pushed and bullied around by every Tom,
Dick, and Harry, waving the white flag of surrender instead of telling
people to get a life, the more you’ll see barbarians successfully storming
the gates.

So far as the NBA is concerned, specifically, with the way the political
winds seem to be blowing and with so many in our country seemingly
oblivious to the sweeping waves and calls for socialism and free
everything, I cannot help but think that the ‘owners’ issue could very well
have much to do with conditioning the masses (see: Simpletons) against the
very concept of private ownership…of anything.

History shows us that these things have a way of metastasizing and if you
yourself are currently a small business owner, don’t be surprised in the
least if someday soon you’ll be asked to refer to yourself as an employment
facilitator instead.

As for Draymond Green and the reckless game playing he’s doing with the
issue of owners, please give me a break. For Green to align NBA ownership
with the physical and psychologically debilitating act of slavery at one
time in our country, and for those who were subjected to the cruel
institution, he insults, shames, and disgraces all who were placed in such
a situation all those years ago. Especially when considering that Draymond
Green is a multi-millionaire who flies first class, stays in the very best
hotels to be found, can come and go as he pleases, and is privileged to
live in an America where the African-American community has never lived and
prospered better, something nobody could claim when recalling the plight of
those who were actual slaves during that dark period in our nation’s past.


All of this (and more) has never been a point of confusion for me, but then
again, I like to think that I was born with a modicum of common sense.

But as I always say on my radio shows, I went to bed one night and when I
woke up the next morning I was greeted by a world I didn’t recognize and
never knew existed. I asked around and wondered what had taken place in the
hours between when I went to sleep and when I woke up?

Finally, a guy down at the gas station filled me in.

He said, “what I heard, was that Common Sense packed its shit last night
and took a one-way rocket ship ride off of planet earth.”

When I inquired as to when Common Sense was coming back and returning to
planet earth, the attendant at the gas station smiled at me and said; “Common
Sense? That bitches time has come and gone. Old Common Sense? He ain’t
never coming back.”

It’s another brand new day.

It’s yet another opportunity to find something to complain about or
something that you can demand that somebody change.

Now.