Time for the NCAA to Fire up the DeLorean!

marty ul

ESPN – The Louisville men’s basketball program will have to vacate its 2013 national championship and 2012 Final Four appearance after the NCAA denied its appeal of what the school described as “Draconian penalties” levied against the team last year…

The Cardinals will become the first NCAA Division I men’s basketball program to vacate a national title during the Final Four era, according to ESPN Stats & Information…

The NCAA penalties, which were announced on June 15, included the vacation of basketball records in which ineligible student-athletes competed from 2011 to 2015. The school had previously said the penalties would affect 123 victories, including 15 NCAA Tournament wins and the 2013 national title.

Until the NCAA can hire Doc Brown, Marty McFly and/or Biff Tannen to go back in time to change the outcomes of games, stripping teams of wins or even championships will continue to be the most trivial punishment they can hand down. The only person who ever gained anything from wins being vacated was Bobby Bowden. When Joe Paterno had 111 wins vacated in 2012, Bowden snuck to the top of the all-time NCAA Division I FBS win list for three years, before the NCAA unvacated the 111 Paterno wins in 2015.

Sure, the NCAA can repossess Louisville’s 2013 National Champions trophy and demand that the championship banner come down from the rafters, but that won’t erase the game from history. If the NCAA wants to get serious they should go back and vacate the March Madness Tournament Bracket victories of the people who picked Louisville. Ask them to return their winnings. That’ll make this penalty a lot more real for lot more people in a hurry.

I’m sure the vacated wins hurt the folks inside the Louisville athletic department and on the Board of Trustees, but I’m sure the “forfeiture of any money received through conference revenue sharing from the 2012-15 NCAA tournaments” hurts a hell of a lot more. I’m also certain that most Louisville fans don’t care.

As a fan, I would rather my team win a championship and worry about the consequences later rather than never get close. Especially with how inconsistently the NCAA hands down penalties. Drive fast and take chances. That’s life in the NCAA.

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David Price Doing His Best to Deter Free Agents from Signing With the Red Sox

ESPN –  J.D. Martinez had no shortage of information to consider before agreeing Monday evening to sign with the Boston Red Sox. But ace David Price tried to make the slugger’s decision a little bit easier. “I’ve talked to him a couple of times,” Price said recently. “I told him we’d love to have him here.” Price, Martinez’s teammate with the Detroit Tigers in 2014-15, elaborated in an interview with USA Today Sports that was published Tuesday. I told J.D. he will love the guys here in this clubhouse, but also told him he’ll get booed,” Price told the newspaper. “He’s a quiet, soft-spoken guy, but he’ll handle it. Besides, everyone gets booed. I heard Big Papi get booed many times in Fenway.

Jesus christ this guy just can’t get out of his own way. Just lie to us. Just lie. Don’t tell me that you told a Free Agent Boston is a great place to play, but then follow that up IMMEDIATELY by saying its a negative shit hole and all the fans will boo you and are mean on Twitter.

“It’s tough here,” is how Price described his first two seasons in a Red Sox uniform, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. “There’s just so much more negativity.”

And whats all this about booing David Ortiz? Many times? I mean maybe some fans did in 2009 (the only year from 2004-2013 he didn’t make the All-Star team) when he hit .238? That was also a cool 7 years before Price played for the Red Sox. Did fans boo Big Papi many times in the one season they played together in 2016? Ya know the year Ortiz hit .315 with 48 Home Runs and 127 RBI’s on his retirement tour? The year he had a 1.021 OPS, the 4th best of his entire 20 year career?

I call Kangaroo Court.

But, I digress. If anything, this tells you what JD Martinez thinks of David Price’s opinion. Oh its a miserable, negative shit hole? I’m in.

Meanwhile we have Rick Porcello going the complete opposite direction in his assessment of Boston when asked by Martinez:

“It’s honestly a pleasure playing in Boston,” he explained. “Yeah, there are tough times if you’re not playing well. You’re going to hear about it. But what’s wrong with that? Who doesn’t want to hear about it? Because when you are playing well, it feels like you’ve got the entire world behind you, and that’s all you can ask for as a player. That’s fair.”

Little tidbits like this make me wonder just how divided this Red Sox clubhouse really is. You have guys like Porcello and Chris Sale talking about how they love the pressure and accountability of Boston, which is the antithesis of Price who bitches about everything every chance he gets. I wonder if one of the veterans is going to, if they haven’t already, tell Price to just STFU.

Before the negative attitude infects all of the good young players on this team and they think its natural, encouraged even, to piss and moan to the media every time Dan Shaugnessy writes a mean word about you.

This is what guys like Price say they understand, but they don’t really get it. If you 1.) play hard and 2.) perform well you’ll be scotch. Hell even if you can’t do #2 but you still do #1 then you’re good in my book. Trot Nixon is a goddamn legend in this town. People to this day still lovingly refer to him as a dirt dog. The guy with a .274 career batting average and 137 Home Runs. That guy is revered around here because he played his balls off every day.

I’m not saying you can’t complain or you can’t get mad because that’s only human, but channel that negative energy man. Use it. Get pissed off. Pitch well for an entire season. But don’t cash those $31 Million checks every year while whining about every little perceived slight every single time there’s a mic in your face. And definitely do not tell prospective Free Agent signings that they will get booed by the fans if they sign here. Christ.

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All 30 MLB Teams Will be Wearing Marjory Stoneman Douglas Hats This Weekend to Honor School Shooting Victims

I read the other day that this was initially going to just be a Miami Marlins thing since Stoneman Douglas is right in their backyard. I also read that because of the MLB’s tone deaf rules the players would only be allowed to wear the hats in pre-game, but it looks like they’ve reversed course in a big way.

Now ALL 30 MLB teams will be wearing the high school’s hat with the option to wear it in-game. Thats awesome. Its small condolences to the kids who had to go through hell this week, but its a great way to show support and solidarity with the community.

If you remember both New York teams donned first responder caps in the wake of 9/11 as a way to show support. Its a small gesture, but sometimes those can go pretty far.

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Gilbert Burns Was Pulled, Today, From His Fight, Saturday, Because He was 30 POUNDS Away From His Goal Weight

MMAFightingA lightweight bout between Gilbert Burns and Olivier Aubin-Mercier has been scratched from the fight card of UFC on FOX 28…..the UFC explained that upon Burns’ arrival to fight week, the promotion’s medical team “determined that it would be unsafe for Burns to cut additional weight necessary to meet the 156-pound limit,” and thus pulled the Brazilian off the Feb. 24 card……Burns arrived in Orlando weighing 186 pounds.

I know this isn’t page-burning stuff but given the fact that safer weight cutting/weight divisions have been a huge topic in combat sports, particularly MMA, over the past year or so I figured I’d drop a quick one on the subject.

Gilbert “Durinho” Burns, for all intents and purposes, showed up to fight week prepared to cut 30 pounds in about 48 hours. That is an insane amount of weight. That also is isn’t the headline of this story. I’m sure, although not disclosed, that fighters have showed up this heavy plenty of times. But that was before the CSAC in particular passed their stricter weight cutting rules last spring. That was before a number of guys like Renan Barao almost died cutting weight. That was before a Teenage Muay Thai fighter from Australia did. No, the big story here is that well before he even gave his cut a shot, The UFC medical team prevented him from doing so. They pulled the chord. They put their hands together and said, “you know what, we cannot in good conscience let you do this.”

I try not to weigh in on these things because largely I think it’s up to a grown man/woman to decide what they want to do to their bodies. It’s their body and their career. However in this case, where Burns was truly in danger of hurting himself, and has a history of not taking his weight seriously at that, I think it only makes sense to err on the side of caution.

This indeed sets a hell of a precendence for fighters moving forward. Guys and gals like Daniel Cormier (who is actually fighting back at heavyweight next) who always make their trip to the scale a dramatic scene might have to start making some serious life, or division, choices.

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Ryan Shazier Says He Will Play in the NFL Again and I Hope He Changes His Mind

ESPNIn his first interview since suffering a severe spinal injury in early December, Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier said he plans to play football again. “I’ve gotta get back, bro,” Shazier said on teammate Roosevelt Nix’s podcast, which was posted to social media Tuesday night. Shazier touched on several topics in the podcast, including his desire to become a Pro Football Hall of Famer. Shazier, 25, underwent spinal stabilization surgery Dec. 6 after a tackling attempt on Monday Night Football in Cincinnati left him clutching his lower back.

I respect the hell out of the resolve and I hope that this is a ‘prove it to myself’ thing where Shazier can just get back on the field and then retire. What I don’t want to see is the guy who suffered one of the worst injuries we’ve ever seen in the NFL just jump right back in after nearly being paralyzed. I thought for sure Shazier was paralyzed watching him writhe around on the ground while his legs were motionless. Thats the kinda stuff that makes you watch football with one eye closed. Its tough to watch honestly. Now these guys all know what they’re getting into and they’re getting paid millions of dollars so I’m not gonna lose any sleep over it, but at some point you have to protect people from themselves. Thats why the NFL has concussion spotters now. Whats a few million dollars if you literally can’t walk?

Quotes from Shazier like this worry me though:

“I just have to be back out there so everybody can see it. You know what I’m saying?”

“[Shazier] posted a picture of himself standing with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. He’s proud of that one. “People were thinking Ben was supporting me, too — he barely was even holding me.”

Is it hypocritical of me after having cheered on Tedy Bruschi coming back to the Patriots after suffering a goddamn stroke? Absolutely, but as athletes get bigger, faster, and stronger every year these injuries are going to become more prevalent not less. Thats why we’re seeing more and more players retire before the age of 30, including half of the 49ers last year.

Would I be bummed if Rob Gronkowski decides to trade in his football cleats for some spandex in the WWE? Of course, but I wouldn’t begrudge the guy. If you can make a bunch of money somewhere else without risking the car crash type injuries the NFL puts players through every week then you do you.

I can’t imagine how important it is for Shazier to prove that he can make it back to the NFL, especially for a guy that feels like he’s the absolute best player in the world at his position. I get that. Just don’t put blinders on and ignore the risks for the pursuit of glory on the gridiron.

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John Henry Just Son’d Tom Werner Saying “We Don’t Need to Be Popular, We Need to Win.”

ABC – As the Boston Red Sox stepped out into the sun Monday for their first full-squad workout of spring training, owner John Henry maintained that he’s more concerned about W’s and L’s than the team’s Q rating. “We really don’t need to be popular,” Henry said. “We need to win.” But despite winning 93 games and the American League East title for a second straight season in 2017, questions were raised about the Red Sox’s likability. Although attendance at Fenway Park remained almost unchanged, regional television ratings were down 15 percent on New England Sports Network, according to Nielsen Media data, while sports-talk airwaves were filled with the grievances of dissatisfied fans.

If you’ve ever read “Feeding the Monster” then you know exactly what I’m talking about here. In the behind the scenes book covering the inner workings of the Red Sox you read about a young Theo Epstein going to battle time and time again with Tom Werner and the entertainment side of the Sox over player personnel.

Theo wanted to build a farm system and sign smart, albeit boring, free agents to, ya know, win. Tom Werner isn’t against winning per se, but goddamnit the Red Sox needed to be sexy. He wanted more big names, more story lines.Winning be damned. The team had to be marketable to more demos with more attractive stars. Seriously. Read the book, Werner said that shit. You think hits like Roseanne just fall into place? No way. It takes years of creative genius steering the ship and shame on Theo for not listening to the Neilsen Rating System more when building his roster. Guy never stood a chance as a baseball executive going up against brainpower like Tom Werner.

Goddamnit. Can you tell I’m still bitter about the Red Sox running the best baseball mind of our generation out of town?

Anyways, if we’re going to take John Henry at his word, it seems like he may be smartening up. He’s not exactly George Steinbrenner so he’s not going to just punt on everything that doesn’t directly lead to winning. But, Henry is a smart dude, he knows that popularity follows winning, not the other way around. If the Red Sox are hammering opposing teams all summer on their way to a World Series then they’ll be pretty damn popular. However, if the team is focused on signing guys based solely on their marketability (i.e Pablo Sandoval the Panda) well thats how you find yourselves in a shit storm you’re still digging out of 3 years later.

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The Hungarian (Californian) Olympic Skier Who Can’t Actually Ski is the Hero We Deserve

Yahoo Sports – Let’s not beat around the bush: Elizabeth Swaney is not a good freestyle skier. She can’t do any tricks, can’t get any air, can’t do anything but go up and down the halfpipe like anyone at the local bunny hill might. And yet there Swaney was on Monday, one of 24 skiers competing in the qualifiers of the ladies’ halfpipe at the Winter Olympics…Well, if showing up is 80 percent of life, showing up for ladies’ halfpipe qualifiers must be at least 80 percent when it comes to making the Olympics. As Jason Blevins of the Denver Post explains, the international field for ladies’ halfpipe is not exceedingly deep. Qualifying for the Olympics involves recording a certain number of top-30 finishes in qualifying events and many of these events don’t even feature 30 people. So Swaney burned up the globe, attending qualifiers in places like China, South Korea, Italy, Canada and New Zealand.

Snake it til you make it isn’t just a motto I like to live by, its a creed. And that is exactly what our latest hero Elizabeth Swaney is doing here.

That woman does not belong anywhere near the Olympics, yet here she is on live TV just coasting down the mountain like someone simply trying to not take a digger after having a half dozen Sam Adams for brunch at the lodge.

The movie Office Space struck a chord with me very early in life and that message is any job is going to slowly put you in the grave. So do the bare minimum and save your mental facilities for more important things. Thats why this Olympic skier is the hero we deserve.

She completely gained the system. She was literally just showing up to these events and putting in the face time to qualify for the motherfucking Olympics. Apparently the rules state you need to place in the top 30 in a certain number of events. The only problem is a lot of these races didn’t even field 30 women and in some cases other people ate shit and all she had to do was not fall down to avoid a last place finish. And for that level of snaking it she was rewarded with a spot in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Bravo. After all that hard work she rewarded us with a show for the ages and I for one respect the hell out of that. Hate the player not the game.

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