Tar Heel Fan

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Things I Was Thinking About While Waiting for the Hurricanes to Score a Goal...

Which they did and tied the game with three minutes to go in the third period before losing in overtime 2-1 on a power play goal by Buffalo. Now I have enjoyed watching the Hurricanes play but I still think hockey is more chaos and freaky ricochets of the puck. The most impressive part of the game is watching these guys skate with unbelievable agility and speed. I also cannot figure out how the goaltenders put their legs in those kinds of positions. Anyway Buffalo visits Carolina Thursday night for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. GO CANES!!! Which the Detroit Pistons down 3-1 to Miami and playing Game 5 tonight to avoid elimination it is obvious where the flaw with the team lies: Flip Saunders. In two years under Larry Brown the Piston won the NBA title and then went to Game 7 in The Finals versus San Antonio. This season under the direction of Saunders they have looked every bit the part of a team that is one step behind and completely out of focus. It took them seven games to dispatch Cleveland whose only offensive threat was Lebron James. Now against Miami they are being eaten alive by Dwyane Wade. They have zero heart and fire at this point. Motivation is the job of the coach as is establishing a good game plan and seeing that it is executed. Saunders is apparently doing neither. ESPN is now referring to Barry Bonds as "Chasing Aaron" now. As a public service Tar Heel Fan would like to offer the following advice to ESPN: IT'S OVER...LET. IT. GO. Speaking of records Jayson Stark who writes baseball columns at ESPN.com served up a nice article on the Top 10 records on baseball. What I really liked about it was his assertion right up front that the home runs records from the "Asterisk Era" have been rendered worthless and as a result he did not included them in his Top 10. At least someone at ESPN has some good sense. NC State's Cedric Simmons has opted to stay in the NBA Draft. More bad news came when recruit Larry Davis asked to be released from his Letter of Intent to he could go to Seton Hall and the Pack also stands to lose the recruit Dan Werner in the same fashion. The good news is Sidney Lowe may be available a full month sooner than expected after tonight's Game 5 in Detroit. Lowe still has to finish college and pass the NCAA recruiting exam. I am sure he will also be tied up with some huge college graduation bash. Here's hoping he gets a really cool graduation present from his peeps.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Bonds Passes Babe, Media Kisses His...

I think you know the rest. The hype around Bonds passing Ruth has more to do with the figure Ruth was than it is Bonds actually hitting 715 home runs. On one hand the hype of Bonds passing Ruth would only be slightly annoying without the cloud of steroid use hanging over the San Francisco outfielder's unusually large head. The accusations alone place such a stigma on the whole mess I honestly wish the media would stop acting as though he won the World Series. Because that is precisely what ESPN is doing. As of this writing, ESPN has the big "splash" headline up which includes an oversized picture and a huge headlines along with multiple stories and links covering the event. This treatment is traditionally used for championships or a sports news story of epic proportions. I have seen it used to announce most of the champions in major sports as well as the death of Dale Earnhardt. The Fox News website even put it as their lead story. Now, I do understand the dynamic and passing Ruth is a huge deal since Bonds has moved into territory only one other man has been in over 100 years of baseball. The cloud around Bonds stinks so much that I think it should reduce the furor being raised. Of course the News 14 Sports here on Time Warner Cable in Raleigh perhaps had it right when they showed the highlight which included the following graphic: BONDS HITS HOME RUN #175 This might be a reference to the number of home runs Bonds has hit without performance enhancing drugs though the good money is on it being a typo. Undoubtedly a slight Freudian slip on the part of the technician who created the graphic.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Ignorance in Buffalo

The NHL Eastern Conference Finals have produced a fairly high level of animosity between Carolina Hurricanes fans and loyal followers of the Buffalo Sabres. The 850/620 Blog has hosted some heated discussions and the News and Observer's Ned Barnett jumped into the fray when he received responses from Buffalo fans who say his columns re-printed in the Buffalo area papers. This article in particular, a response to Buffalo fans, drew the ire of Buffalo columunist Jerry Sullivan who proceeded to write a column lambasting North Carolinians as being ignorant of hockey and implying we are essnetially all tobacco peddling, NASCAR rednecks of low IQ. Now, I know very little about hockey so I steer clear of discussing too much since I would undoubtedly sound like an idiot. Sullivan also has little problem with that. Here is my email in response to his journalistic regurgitation:

Mr Sullivan, First of all I would like to think you for demostrating what "pronouncing your ignoranc" look like in written form. Since I am fair guy I would like to correct your ignorance as displayed by your article on 5/26. "Keep in mind, this is the perspective from North Carolina, where the burning intellectual question is how swiftly a bunch of guys in overalls can change four tires and fill up the gas tank without getting run over by a stock car." Congratulations for latching right on to the oldest stereotype of the South and particularly North Carolina. I would have been more impressed with some sort of original thought on your part but you probably thought we would be too dumb to understand it. "Really, how can Buffalo fans ever comprehend what's involved in watching a NASCAR event? I'm sure that while watching the cars go endlessly around in a circle - pardon me, oval - the typical race fan is quietly debating Sartre and the latest developments in the "Research Triangle" I am not sure what factor intelligence has on watching NASCAR? In fact if NASCAR is such a dumb sport why are they in process of abandoning the smaller rural tracks for ones in metro areas? And the last I checked Watkins Glen, NY was 2 1/2 hours from Buffalo so I have a sneaking suspiscion NASCAR is bigger in upstate NY than you are willing to admit. In fact how many NASCAR races have you actually watched? Can you tell me why a team would opt to only take two tires at the end of the race? Do you know what it means if a car is "loose" or "tight?" Could you be so kind as to explain to me what a "wedge" is or what purpose the "roof flaps" serve? My point is different sports have their own nuances and terminology. Some are easier than others, but denigrating any of them is outright stupid. "I've always thought their state motto should be, "Hey, at least we're not West Virginia." Sure, a lot of our finest minds have left town to get jobs there, but I'd rather export young people than cigarettes, which kill people. Tobacco should be their state flower." I have no idea what that motto part means but I will say that tobacco was entrenched in NC fields well before anyone thought it was dangerous and I am not how well you understand economics but a state is usually incapable of switching its economy overnight. I would also like to point out that smoking is a choice people make now with full knowledge of the dangers and addictive quality. So spare me the self righeous garbage about exporting something that kills people. In fact speaking of killers... "Some of Carolina's deep thinkers would have us believe that the Duke men's lacrosse players are really just a bunch of misunderstood good guys." Nice. Especially coming from the city where O.J. Simpson spent his professional career. Of course O.J. got off with far more evidence against him than Durham DA Mike Nifong has on the three indicted Duke players. I guess you cannot be bothered with silly things like "innocent until proven guilty" or a simple perusal of the facts surrounding the case. And not that I am taking either side in the case just pointing out what kind of classless individual it takes to use a rape scandal as cheap shot against someone. "Maybe we spend too much time dissecting hockey's little nuances. But you should hear Carolina people talk about basketball. When the sanctimonious Dean Smith began using the four corners offense, you would have thought he'd invented the light bulb." Listening to Peter Laviolette complain about the officiating, you'd swear he once served as an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski, the whiny Duke hoop coach. If Laviolette is so smart, how come he couldn't figure out that Ryan Miller was one of the three best goaltenders from the United States?" Ah, the basketball cracks. Yes we tend to hold Dean Smith in high regard because he is the all time winningest coach in NCAA history and he did it the right way. His strategies, four corners included, changed the face of basketball. Was it inventing the light bulb? No, the next time you watch a college game ask yourself why the shot clock is part of the game. As for Mike Krzyzewski, you will get little argument from me on him except I think you do Pete Laviolette a disservice by comparing him to Coach K. "Having seen his Hurricanes get dominated for stretches of Game Three, Laviolette was no doubt reminded of how important it is to have the last change at home. Of course, when you talk about the last change in Carolina, they assume you're talking about the oil in the Dodge." You are so witty! There is nothing funnier than dropping some kind of line implying that people in the South are so entrenched in NASCAR and car repair that we assume any reference to the word "change" must be about changing the oil. In fact I have never changed my own oil and neither do most of the people I know. And I am not sure why you stopped short on the stereotype and did not use Ford or Chevy instead of Dodge there. "But I don't mean to belittle the good people of Carolina" Are you insane? You just spent the better part of this article implying that North Carolinians were a group of dumb NASCAR watching rednecks who engage in the murder of people through tobacco sales and use a recent rape scandal as fodder to denigrate our intellegience. Now you come down here and say you do not mean to "belittle" us? It's a little late for that. And besides, if you are going to write an article full of cheap shots at North Carolina and its citizens please have the courage of your convictions to stand by it without giving some pseudo apology at the end to make it look like this was just a good natured ribbing. As for your salient points about hockey culture you may be right or you may be wrong. Since I have little working knowledge of hockey I will refrain from speaking about it any detail lest I "pronounce my ignorance" I would expect the same from you except had you done that your article would have been about two paragraphs in length. Hockey is a niche sport much the same way NASCAR appears to be. I am not sure why people, even in Raleigh, think hockey is supposed to rocket to the top of the popularity chart when sports like basketball, NASCAR, and to some extent college football have been here for over 50 years. As for Ned Barnett and the N&O, Canes fans are not even happy with anything they have say about hockey so I can only imagine what kind of ire they would raise from more knowledgeable fans of the sport. Barnett's response to the inbox flurry was ill advised. You response to Barnett went well beyond reason given that your article is nothing more than a series of overused attacks based on worn out generalizations. There is nothing you said that we have not heard before only it was funnier and more cleverly presented. The sad truth about your aritcle is that you had an opportunity to engage the issue and Barnett with an honest evaluation of hockey and the place it represents in the culture. You were afforded a chance to be respectful and educate people by correcting the misconceptions Barnett and others have offered. Instead you chose to answer their misconceptions with some of your own and when you were finished you came off as the pompous, self righteous, Northerner which did nothing more but fulfill the view many Southerners already hold of our northern neighbors. In short the article was petty and incendiary in nature, but then again I am sure you already knew that and are most likely quite please to see your inbox fill up with half cocked responses.

The long and short of it is that Jerry Sullivan is a troll of the Gregg Doyel variety. He wrote a article which was fully intended to anger Canes fans and North Carolinians in general. Perhaps I fell into the trap by responding but I have little patience for people who opt for personal insults and cheap attacks instead of actually making a valid point. Canes and Sabres tied 2-2. Go Canes!!!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Coach K Not Duke's Highest Paid Employee

According to the Durham Herald-Sun, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski is no longer the top paid employee at Duke University. In fact Coach K has dropped all the way down to fourth on the salary list at Duke and may be in danger of missing the playoffs. Krzyzewski had been the highest paid employee at Duke on numerous occasions in the past and while he makes millions of dollars beyond his Duke income as a car salesman and a credit card rep, one has to wonder what impact this will have on the K's ego. Perhaps we will begin hearing new rumors of how some NBA team has been in contact with him about their coaching vacancy so that he can leverage himself back to the top of the heap. The real shame is that this did not come out a few weeks ago when he could have used the NC State coaching job just like everyone else in college basketball did to get a raise. Wow, cracking on Duke and NC State in the same post, must be a good day.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

What if You Hit as Many Home Runs as Babe Ruth...

...and no one cared. Welcome to Barry Bonds world as the much anticipated equaling(but not yet surpassing of) Babe Ruth for second place on the all time home run list generated very little attention in the sports world or the world in general last weekend. Of course that still has not prevented ESPN from going to live look-ins of his at bats during Baseball Tonight but then again ESPN also finally put the Bonds reality show Bonds on Bonds to rest showing signs that the folks in Bristol might be developing a clue. In fact, based on my read of this weekend in the sport's world, I would venture to say that more people were concerned about Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro's shattered leg than Bonds tying Babe Ruth for second place on the all time home run list. Is the lack of attention to Bonds surprising? It shouldn't be despite gallant attempts by ESPN and the media at large to make Bonds the story of the baseball season. For starters, the media market is simply oversaturated with Bonds to the point the fans are tuning him out. The steroid allegations have not helped and it might be a somewhat unspoken damnation of Bonds by the fans that they do not consider his 714 total to be legitimate. And I am not sure it has been mentioned here but the Bonds home run this past weekend only tied him for second place on the all time home run list. It is very hard for fans to get excited about milestones much less ones that are not really milestones at all. Tying and passing Ruth is a pseudo-milestone in the sense Ruth was such a gargantuan(literally and metaphorically) figure in baseball. It is a nuanced milestone which requires a significant appreciation if history which most fans do not have thanks to the "Instant History" mentality created by ESPN and the new media. The length of time between 713 and 714 also played a part as fans clearly were fed up with worrying about it. In all honesty I am glad the market i.e. the fans dictated the way Bonds is being treated by the media. Sometimes the best thing to do about someone you dislike in the public arena is deny them the attention they so brazenly crave or in the case of ESPN starve them of the ratings they are prostituting themselves for in an effort to fill their own coffers. I mentioned previously that the focus on Bonds passing Ruth was a flat out insult to Hank Aaron who actually holds the all time career home run mark. At this point I also think there is a great disservice being paid to St. Louis 1B Albert Puljos who is on track to hit 84 home runs. Undoubtedly that projection will come down but the failure to give Puljos, who appears to be clean on all accounts, his due is a travesty. The focus on Puljos will heat up if we get to late July and he is around 50 homers. In many ways the best poetic justice would be for Puljos, a soft spoken and classy player, to break Bonds mark and essentially erase that blight from the record books. That would a be a fitting footnote to Bonds' career.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

To my brother who recently accepted a tenure track professorship at Lake Superior State University in Michigan. Time to figure out what "establishing your forecheck" means.

The NBA Draft Lottery

So the NBA had their dog and pony show known as the Draft Lottery last night and the Toronto Raptors received the #1 pick. The worst team in the league, Portland, fell all the way to fourth. The Charlotte Bobcats, who have my allegiance because they are in NC and they also have two UNC players on the roster, will pick third. The big winner in the whole draft is Chicago who will pick second despite being a playoff team because they traded Eddy Curry to New York for their 2006 1st Round draft choice. The jury is still out on whether or not this was a bad move for Isiah Thomas since Curry may end up being better than any of the talent in this year's draft which is inherently weak for various reasons including the age limit. Here is my breakdown of the first five teams: 1. Toronto Raptors The smart money for Toronto is to steer clear of any of the top college players and take someone no one in this country or Canada has seen play. In fact Andrea Bargnani, a seven footer from Italy, would be a great choice. Why? Because before I read ESPN.com I had no clue this guy existed and I am sure that goes for about 65% of all NBA fans. So if he is a bust then you can blame it on attempting to draft one of those agile European seven footers which we just did not know enough about at the time. Plus, it's Toronto, how many fans do they really have anyway? 2. Chicago Bulls This is a gravy pick for the Bulls. The team is young, very talented and already in the playoffs. They will continue to improve regardless of whether they picked here or 16th. Oh wait, they do get to pick 16th too, so they can waste that one on whatever they want. I honestly have very little idea what Chicago has or needs. LSU's Tyrus Thomas has great athleticism and is an excellent defender so would probably be a good choice. He is also a project and could really use a situation where he does not have to come in and contribute immediately. If I was Chicago I would then call the Knicks and see if you could get Eddy Curry back by dangling the 16th pick in front of Isiah. 5 to 1 he bites. 3. Charlotte Bobcats As a pseudo-Bobcats fan I really do not care who they pick as long as it is not Adam Morrison. I find Morrison to be absolutely creepy and it would make pulling for the Bobcats more difficult even though Raymond Felton and Sean May are on the team. I also might have a problem with UConn's Rudy Gay simply based on the possibility of this play-by-play call during the game: "Felton brings it front court and spots an open Gay going to the basket. Ray to Gay on the alley oop" OR "Felton to Gay down to May back to Gay out to Ray for three. Yes!" I mean how many people can you have on your team with rhyming first or last names. So the best bet is to take Washington's Brandon Roy. 4. Portland Trailblazers The upside for Portland is there is no can't miss player like Michael Jordan they can pass on to take some good-but-not-great player who injures himself out of the league in a few years. And speaking of upside, the Blazers have nowhere to go but up so about anyone they can take is going to be a decent pick. Except this draft sucks so if they are smart they draft the best player available, break his foot in training camp so he misses the whole season thus relagating them to finish with the worst record in the league and then hope they get the #1 pick so they can take Greg Oden when he leaves Ohio State next year. As for the pick, just spin the wheel, they are all the same at this point. 5. Atlanta Hawks See Portland Trailblazers The only other plotline I am interested in is to see where Duke All Americans J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams end up. If teams are looking for a clutch playoff shooter then Redick will fit the bill. In fact Robert Horry is looking a little old so maybe San Antonio can trade up and grab Redick so he can bring his special brand of postseason consistency to the Spurs. As for Williams, anyone looking for a top defender should take Williams. His ability to block a shooter from the blindside as well as his clamp down defense on the likes of Tyler Hansbrough this past season and Sean May during his junior year make him a can't miss second or third member of any double or triple team rotation.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Game. Set. Reasonable Doubt

The defense lawyers for the accused Duke lacrosse players filed motions to have the Durham DA Mike Nifong release all of the evidence he had to them in a discovery motion. Nifong turned over 1300 pages of evidence which the defense promptly leaked to the media. According to Fox News the evidence basically shreds any and all credibility this woman had left and cast serious doubt on any hope these three men or any others on the Duke lacrosse team did anything but talk nasty to her. Included in the relased documents are conflicting stories, denials that it happened followed by a admission that it happened. The accuser also asserts her fellow dancer was in the bathroom when the raped occured(how big was this bathroom?) The dancer, Kim Roberts, denied to police that she was there but I am unsure if that was before or after the Durham DA attempted to coerce her with an arrest for a parole violation. The report from the nurse who did the rape kit found very little evidence to support forcible rape. Also at the center of the discovery is what is not there and that is toxicolofy reports for the accuser which were either not done at the hospital or were done and not released to the defense. Nifong told WRAL that if there was a report then it would have been in the papers released to the defense. The toxicology report is important because of eyewitness testimony that the accuser was drunk and Nifong has even hinted that a date rape drug may have been used. Which begs the question be asked: If there is no toxicology report then how does he know a sedative was used? If he has a report, why then has he not turned it over? I think the answer is clear. The case is hanging by a thread at this point and I can only assume we are a short while from its complete dismissal and the serving of a civil lawsuit against the players, Duke University, and anyone else who has money.

Friday, May 19, 2006

NCAA Tournament Bids

It's May and the NCAA Tournament is still alive and well. -Mike DeCourcy wrote an article coiniciding the ACC spring meetings in Florida. ACC officials are complaining loudly about the paltry four bids they got in the NCAA Tournament this year. DeCourcy basically argues they are wrong to complain and they got exactly what their teams played to get: NIT bids. I do not have much argument on the case. It is one thing to gripe about the lack of bids if your teams did their homework and then got shafted. However, Florida State and Maryland played absolutled nobody outside the conference or to clarify in Maryland's case, the beat nobody of signifigance. If ACC officials want to ensure more bids them they need to quit scheduling schools like Nebraska and actually step up to some real competition. -Of course USA Today has an article debating the size of the tournament which is probably right up the ACC's and every other major conference's alley. The NCAA says it will take up the issue when it meets in late June. The idea has been floated to add anywhere from three teams to 15 bringing the field size to 80. Coaches have called for an expanded field citing the increase in Division I schools and more parity using the George Mason Final Four run as evidence. I dealt with this issue here back in March when Syracuse's Jim Boheim made the same suggestion in the run up to the Final Four. Without rehashing this too much I would like to point out the most interesting line in the whole USA Today article was this one:

Division I's growth from 282 teams in 1985 to 334 today and growing parity in the sport — underscored by George Mason's Final Four appearance in April — have fueled coaches' calls for a larger field. Boeheim, among others, advocated perhaps eight to 10 more teams, and the National Association of Basketball Coaches pursued the proposal during its annual meeting with the NCAA committee last week in Atlanta.
Notice it is not the school ADs or even CBS clamoring for the change it is the coaches. Why? Because the coaches end of paying the biggest price for failing to make the NCAA Tournament. As I pointed out in my previous post, Boeheim, as an example, is now in a 16 team super conference which means he will be routinely beat up unless he has an elite team. Finishing 7th or 8th in the Big East is a considerable possibility in the new lineup and if the tournament was 80 teams, a winning record would make you a shoo in. Now expanding the field to 68 and creating play-in games for each region would probably serve to balance the field. I would argue that the 8 play-in teams would need to be team 60-68 regardless of conference affiliation. An expansion to 80 would be an unmitigated disaster. The argument that increased parity neccisitates expansion is pure hogwash, especially if it rests on what George Mason accomplished. If you examine all the teams who were left home this season, they were without a doubt bad teams. Taking the ACC snubs as an example: FSU and Maryland both were terrible and had no business in the field. I would also argue that the parity we see in the NCAA is not found in a higher number of quality teams but rather that the gap between the #1 and #65 seed is closer than it has been in the past. Of course there is also the possibility that this kind of parity is cyclical. Taking a look at the total seeding for the Final Four beginning in 1980: 1980: 21 1981: 7 1982: 11 1983: 12 1984: 11 1985: 12 1986: 15 1987: 10 1988: 10 1989: 9 Average Total Seedings for Decade: 11.8 1990: 11 1991: 7 1992: 13 1993: 5 1994: 8 1995: 9 1996: 11 1997: 7 1998: 9 1999: 7 Average Total Seedings for Decade: 8.7 2000: 22 2001: 7 2002: 9 2003: 9 2004: 8 2005: 11 2006: 20 Average Total Seedings for Decade: 12.2 So on the basis on total Final Four seeds the current decade with still three years left has a slightly lower seed average than did the 1980's. The 1990's was clearly a year where the cream of the crop rose to the top in the Final Four whereas the 1980's was far more predictable. In fact the seeds for the national champion team also shows parity has always been present. 1980's: 2, 3, 1, 6, 1, 8, 2, 1, 6, 3: 3.3 average seed wins 1990's 1, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 4, 2, 1: 1.4 average seed wins 2000's: 1, 1, 1, 3, 2, 1, 3: 1.5 average seed wins Based on these two stats it is clear that there was far more parity in the 1980's, even after the expansion to 64 teams in 1985, than there is the past 16 years. Not only did you have a wild mix of seeds in the Final Four but more times than naught a lower seed ending up winning the national championship. Only three #1 seeds won the title in the 1980's versus seven in the following decace and four of seven so far this decade. The 1980's also had a #11 seed making the Final Four and also boasted a Final Four(1980) absent of #1 seeds. It also should be noted that the recent abandonment of the college ranks by many high school players as well as the bleeding of underclassmen for the NBA has placed a premium on experience which most mid-major teams have. The age limit will, in the very least, put a lot of talented players back into the major schools and I would also expect major school to start recruiting in such a way as to have a mix of talented one/two year players and four year players with good talent. In other words I think various factors of players turning earlier to the NBA and the cyclical nature of these things have created a perception of parity in the NCAA Tournament. I would surmise that the pendulum will swing the other way at some point and a decade like the 1990's with Final Four teams full of high seeds as well as high seeded winners will be the trend. Tinkering with the NCAA field is a dangerous thing. And while I do not think it would turn a lot of people off, I do think the current bracket is balanced and easy to follow. Adding another slate of games also upsets the 22 day period of games which have become a staple to so many fans around the country. The addition of more games, especially pitting lower seeds would simply create more background noise and a kind of class division between what the NCAA says are tournament games and the "real" tournament games which include the higher seeds. Simply put, it ain't broke, don't try to fix it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Durham DA Spins Wheel, Indicts Third Player

At least that is the way it seems. The Durham County DA Mike Nifong got his third indictment in the Duke lacrosse rape case. The grand jury, who mind you, only hears evidence from the DA, indicted Duke senior co-captain David Evans on charges of rape, sexual assault, and kidnapping. Now based on what has been released to the media the crux of the case against Evans is an identification(which I have deplored before as being a gross violation of police procedures and due process) and a partial DNA match from "genetic material" found on a fake fingernal in the trash can. The other two players accused, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, have been charged solely based on the identification. In fact the second round of DNA testing did not find any link between the 46 members of the lacrosse team and semen found inside the woman. Such a link is not necessary to prove rape since condoms or a lack of emission would create the absence of such material, but the question of who the accuser had sex with during the same timeframe is an important question to answer. Another intriguing notion brought forth is the insistence of the accuser that one of the attackers had a moustache. Defense attorneys for Evans insist he has never had a moustache which could create doubt if that comes up in trial. Now the DA has never tip his full hand on the evidence he has so some judgement is being reserved to see if he brings anything to trial which trumps the overwhelming mountain of evidence the defense has been willing to put into the public arena. As I have said before the case is tilting in favor of the defense at this point and even the manner in which this indictment has been handled nor the evidence we have seen counts as a ringing endorsement of guilt. In fact, at this juncture, the only thing that is certain is the DA has strapped himself to this speeding train and he will end up going to wherever it takes him. And I really do not think, given the political pressures of an election year and the racial tensions involved, Nifong ever had a choice in the matter. It was either this or be castigated by the black community for protecting the rich white boys who raped the poor black single mother of two. At the same time his handling of the case and the behavior of the police in coercing witnesses through bogus charges is inexcusable. Reasonable doubt is still the flavor of the day. Side Note: When Evans showed up at the courthouse on Monday to surrender himself he was processed and then presented a $400,000 certified check for his bail and then was free to go. Many people will make this case about the rich vs poor aspect and even hope for a guilty verdict so the rich kids can get the comeuppance. Now I do think that kids who are born into money and wield those riches around without any sense of responsibility or notion of the hard work it takes to make it to that level are snobby brats who need to learn life lessons. On the other hand it is not a crime to be rich nor it is a crime to have the means to defend yourself in court. And on the top of that, if you are innocent of something you are entitled to having the innocence made manifest. Just because these guys are rich does not mean they deserve to be railroaded for a crime they may not have committed.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Canes Win Series Despite Storms of Apocalyptic Proportions

I have been accused by certain members of my family of being a traitor for support the Carolina Hurricanes. My late father detested the Canes and their last Stanley Cup run in 2002 on the premise that hockey was a Yankee sport and had no business in the South. There is probably an argument to be made on that but as I said before I will support the local team because winning the Stanley Cup brings nothing but good media vibes to Raleigh and North Carolina. The Canes won last night against New Jersey and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. Buffalo is up next and since I know as much about hockey as I do lacrosse I will refrain from making predictions or providing any kind of analysis. I watched the game and I still think many goals happen by accident or it seems that way. And during the game last night, the lights in the RBC Center went out for about 1 minute with two minutes left in the game. That's because a line of severe thunderstom moved through the area which prompted the three local networks to literally fall all over themselves trying to provide up to the minute coverage of these storms. For about three hours Sunday evening the three major network affiliates brought us riveting updates of Doppler radar images right down to the street level!!!! In fact, Greg Fishel, who drew an angry email from my dear departed father for pulling this trick several years back during a movide Daddy was watching, almost seemed aroused. Here is a general paraphrase of what he said with my own commentary in parenthesis: Fishel: As you can see by the pinks and reds here on the Doppler 5000(sounds like a sophisticated piece of technology doesn't it) this storm is likely producing hail and wind gusts up to 58 MPH and may be indicative of a tornado(or a temporal vortex). In fact if we could stay with this for just a couple(or 120) more minutes. Our Doppler updates every thirty seconds(because Elizabeth Garner lost the password to changing the settings) and we can see this storm is moving fast(but not fast enough for Survivor fans). The cell is moving east and if we go to street level mapping(Expedia! dot com!!!) we can see the cell is now at the intersection of Highway 98 and Main Street in Wake Forest(I guess that is one less McDonalds to worry about then) and it looks like it will move into Bunn in the next 15 minutes(which will probably be wiped off the face of the earth). Now I must caution anyone in the area of this cell, this is a powerful storm and you should take cover immediately(because we have a sudden rash of people watching WRAL TV while standing outside plus most North Carolinians are inherently stupid about what dark clouds on a warm May evening might bring when seen on the horizon) Now lets back up the view here and get a feel for the size of the storm(not to scale) and not to toot our own horn here(of course you will) but we have the best radar technology in the business, you will not find anyone who can bring you this kind of detail on radar(especially making the really bad parts look pink in honor of Mother's Day). Let's go to Debbie with an update on some severe traffic problems around Wade Ave probably resulting from these storms(and the fact the 18,000 people are all going to the RBC Center for a playoff game) Greg Fishel: Severe Weather Pimp

Friday, May 12, 2006

Ignoring the Facts

I honestly wonder how some people get thrust into certain positions where they are able to write missives read by the masses and are lauded as being a quality journalist. I get this feeling about once a week concerning CBS Sportsline's Gregg Doyel but I also realize Doyel is a troll and rabble rouser of the first order who intentionally pushes buttons just to see his hit meter climb. Another such individual is Dan Shanoff who writes a daily article on ESPN.com called The Daily Quickie. The Quickie is a run down of major sports news stories for the day and includes interesting tidbits. It is a mixture of opinion and news which often times runs amok of the facts as he did this morning with this section:

Mark it down: College hoops' game of the year will be Dec. 23 in Gainesville when champ Florida hosts Ohio State's "Thad Five."

The game, nearly finalized (as reported in the Gainesville Sun), would match college hoops' two most intriguing lineups in 15 years:

The best starting five since Duke's defending champs in '91-92 versus the best freshman class since Michigan's Fab Five in '91-92.

(I've already e-mailed my father-in-law to claim one of his Florida season tickets, right behind the opponents' bench. Dickie V, turn and wave!)

That game will cap a fantastic week: Arguably, the second-most intriguing game of the season will be on Dec. 21 at Madison Square Garden, when Duke and Gonzaga play for the first time.

I scarcely know where to begin to parse the numerous errors made here. First of all, true to his schitck, Shanoff loves to prods these "best since blah blah blah" lines. Arguing that the incoming Ohio State freshman class is the best collection of talent since the Michigan "Fab 5" is fraught with inconsistencies since (1) The OSU five has yet to play a game and (2) You imply every major recruiting coup pulled by any coach in the past 15 years is less than this group. The other problem is that if you adhere to the high school player rankings the OSU class is not even the best class this year. According to Scout.com the highest ranked class this year belongs to North Carolina who has six Top 100 recruits and three from the top ten including the #1 point guard, shooting guard, and power forward. And even if I you put very little stock in the rankings, common sense dictates that the two classes are comparable on paper which also renders the declaration invalid. In fact, many people regarded the current graduating Duke class as being one of the best recruiting classes in the past 15 years and they actually have some results to show for it. As for the assertion that Florida has the best starting five since the repeat champions from 1991-1992, that again is a unfound assertion. Now, one thing is clear, this point it completely arguable from any number of angles since there is no on paper rankings we can draw from like we did with the high school class. That being said, I would argue that the following teams had a equal if not better starting five. The 1993 UNC and Michigan, 1996 Kentucky, 1998 UNC, 1999 Duke, 2001 Duke, 2004 UConn, 2005 UNC and Illinois, and 2006 Duke which had two All Americans could also be considered in this group. The 1993 Michigan team also proves a utter contradiction on the part of Shanoff he asserts that the OSU Five is the best since the Michigan Five. If the Fab Five is the best recruiting class until this coming season, then how can you not acknowledge them as one of better starting five players since in 1992-93 they were coming off a runner up finish to...the Duke team which you say is the gold standards for five best starters. The answer is you cannot make blanket statements about how this team or that team is the best since 1992 if all of the empirical evidence(which includes the 1999 Duke and 2005 Illinois teams winning 37 games, as well as the fact the other schools listed also won titles in the years mentioned). Of course it does not end there. Aside from the drooling Shanoff does over Florida-OSU potential matchup as being the best game on the schedule, he goes on to say the second most intriguing game on the schedule is Duke playing Gonzaga in New York. Did Adam Morrison return to Gonzaga? Has JJ Redick been granted a fifth year by the NCAA? Then how, pray tell, can you call this matchup intriguing when it is coming the year after the scoring duel between Morrison and Redick. And if that was not bad enough guess who is coming to Chapel Hill on November 29, 2006 as part of the ACC/Big 10 Challenge? Ohio State. How can you reasonable argue that Gonzaga-Duke is a more interesting matchup than OSU bring the second ranked recruiting class to face the top ranked recruiting class along with all of the stellar players both teams already have on campus like Tyler Hansbrough? In fact this game may be a more compelling game than the Buckeyes visiting Gainesville because I would argue that the sheer combined talent level between OSU and UNC probably exceed that of OSU and UF. Now I am not one to launch into a diatribe about the media conspiring to ignore UNC nor am I going to delve into the world of Duke bias(which is clearly illustrated here). This piece by Shanoff is devoid of a sensible grasp of the fact and riddled with more blustering hype than it is actual journalistic depth. I will probably watch OSU and UF play just to see if both teams are as good as advertised and I do agree it is a key game to watch. The fatal flaw of ignoring the OSU-UNC game and then calling the Gonzaga-Duke game second in interest behind the OSU-UF matchup is downright stupidity. Author's Note: In the May 3rd Daily Quicked Shanoff made brief mention of the OSU-UNC game on the side column in which he said: The gem of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge schedule released yesterday was Ohio St. (featuring frosh "Thad 5") vs. UNC and super soph Tyler Hansbrough. A long way from the almost apolectic frenzy he seems to be having over the OSU-UF game.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Case: Witness Intimidation

I am not sure what kind of game the Durham DA Mike Nifong is playing but it is most certainly a dirty one. According to the News and Observer, the alibi witness for one of the players, a taxi driver has been arrested and charged with shoplifting in connection with the theft of five purses from the Northgate Mall Hecht's by a woman in 2003. According to the driver, Moezeldin Elmostafa, Durham detectives picked him up and asked if he had anything to add to the case. He told them he did not and was then transported to the Durham County jail and booked for shoplifting. What was Elmostafa's role in the purse thefts in 2003? He was the taxi driver which took Lisa Faye Hawkins and her daughter to the mall and then waited outside for them while they shopped. He later took them home and was then contacted by Durham police in reference to the shoplifting by Hawkins. Elmostafa cooperated in every way even providing his driver's license and Hawkins was eventually found guilty. So Elmostafa, who simply drove a customer in his taxi to and from the mall is charged with a misdemeanor 2+ years later for the actions committed by someone else who happened to use his taxi for transportation and who has already been found guilty of the crime. Are we to assume that had Elmostafa chose to perjure himself and change his story the police would be more forgiving about his (non)crime? In fact we know they would because the friend of the alleged victim, Kim Roberts, who initially indicated no rape occurred, recently changed her story. Why? Roberts had been arrested on a probation violation by the Durham DA and following that arrest and a reduction in her bail she suddenly shifts her story in support of the DA's case. Of course the DA also got some good news in that apparently there is a 90% DNA match to a third alleged attacker. However, 90% may never make it to court plus there is an issue of where the evidence came from. Apparently some DNA was taken from a fake figernail found in the bathroom trash which along with the short of perfect match is also chock full of circumstantial possibilities as to how it ended up there. So let's see what we have so far: Police initally casting doubt on the victim's story which included an accusation against 20 men, not three. Only one DNA match and it is not perfect which means it may be excluded Intimidation of witnesses by the police which in one case resulted in a changed story. Photo evidence which seems to favor the defense Two identifications which came from a lineup that failed to follow state and local law enforcement procedures and may have trampled upon due process. Current Prediction: Reasonable Doubt

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Random Thoughts

Barry Bonds agent has indicated the embattled slugger might be interested in returning for the 2007 season. Over at ESPN several executives needed to be treated for excessive excitment over the possibilities of another full season of breaking news stories, scandal exposes, nightly highlights of his accomplishments, and plenty of "Chasing Hank Aaron" updates throughout the season. Excuse while I gouge my eyes out. Michelle Wie made the cut at a men's tournament held in South Korea and eventually finished 12 strokes back of the winner of the SK Telecom Open. She also made it past the first round of qualifying for the men's U.S. Open. Now, I have no problem with a woman trying to play on the men's tour and if she is successful so be it. And no I am not one of these people who say men should be allowed to play on the women's tour that just seems silly to me. However, I would find Wie's pursuit of winning on the men's side a little more compelling if she had actually won an event against the women. So far she has not one single win on the LPGA tour and could be accused of dodging other female teenage phenoms. My take on this is that she should prove her goods against the LPGA before attempting to move over to the men's side. An internal Duke University report has placed part of the blame for the administration's slow reaction to the rape allegations against members of the lacrosse team on the Durham police who initially indicated to Duke campus police that the accuser had no credibility. The initial report from Durham PD said she had accused 20 players of assaulting her and that the whole thing would simply blow over. Her story eventually changed to say three attackers raped her and the Durham DA picked up the cause. Now I still do not know who is telling the truth here. Because of the deluge of evidence from the defense into the very willing media hopper it is easy to lean torwards the players being innocent. This report from Duke along with the compromised identification process in which the accuser was only shown Duke lacrosse players spells out two words: Reasonable Doubt. That is if it ever makes it to trial. I think you have good odds now that the accuser will eventually back out of the case much like Kobe Bryant's accuser did. The civil lawsuit will come shortly thereafter. Now the NC State coaching search has ended we take time to consider what really happened during those fateful 33 days we are going to wish we could get back the moment the grim reaper shows up at the door. The News and Observer has wasted very little time spinning the search and all its details to make Lee Fowler look as good as possible. In fact the article in today's N&O speaks of a weary Fowler who worked tirelessly to close the deal as soon as possible. It also presents the search as one that was not bumbled but simply progressed to a point where Sidney Lowe was the logical choice. Longtime ACC journalist Al Featherston was on 620 AM this morning with Morgan Patrick and Joe Ovies defending the search at length. Featherston asserted that the search was not as long as the one which brought in Jim Valvano or Chuck Amato(and if that was the case on the latter the NC State should have kept looking.) The media being in the dark, says Featherston, made the search look worse than it actually was on the inside. And while that may be true, Fowler has to know how things will be perceived and while will not know the answer to the question of whether Lowe was the right hire or not for 3-5 years, as it stands right now, the public perception of Fowler and NC State is not in the highest of esteems. And the Carolina Hurricanes are now up 3-0 on the New Jersey Devils. They win on the road 3-2. That should wrap up the series for the most part.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Carolina Hurricanes

OK, I will be honest. I really do not like hockey and I do not mean in some kind of blind and stupid dislike. I simply do not care for it. Hockey is not my cup of tea. I find watching a game tedious, the actions seems largely disorganized, and I do not undestand the rhyme or reason of most of the on ice action other than when they shoot at the goal. Of course most die hard fans tell me that hockey on TV is terrible and you have to be there in person but I am not one to spend money to go to an event for a sport I do not like. I also realize that hockey and baseball are similar in the respect to the game is largely made up of a great deal of action that does not resort in points or runs. In my case baseball has a very orderly feel to it and a nice progression even if runs are not being scored. When I watch hockey I feel like I am watching 10 guys skate around chasing a puck which is difficult to control and running into one another. It seems chaotic to me even though the die hard fans will tell me that it is has a flow and design to it but unless it is a power play I fail to see it. That being said(I really like that phrase by the way) I fully support the Carolina Hurricanes in the quest for the Stanley Cup. I will cheer for them and wish them all the best because they do represent Raleigh and North Carolina at large. I think it is important to pull for the local teams* and support them even if you do not care for the sport itself. The win last night to put the Canes up 2-0 on New Jersey was a great win. To fall behind with 20 seconds left in a sport like hockey which had a high degree of difficulty when it comes scoring only to push the puck past the goalie with three seconds left to tie the game is an incredible feat. The Canes completed the victory by scoring in overtime. *As a UNC fan this provisio does not apply to Duke and was only valid for NC State during the Herb Sendek era of Wolfpack basketball.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The NC State Coaching Search Ballad

To the tune of Don McLean's American Pie A long, long time ago I can still remember An NC State title run And the fans crowed how they were the best Walking around with gigantic chests And it seems they were having lots of fun But the NCAA made them shiver With every sanction it delivered Selling shoes for hard cash A stolen stereo in the trash. Then came Les, and then came Herb Hoping the losing would begin to curb But the fan’s delusions only grew At a place we call MooU CHORUS So, bye, bye to that Herbie guy Went to five straight tourneys but all the fans still cried The farmer boys were all drinking until they puked Saying, “I wish we could at least beat dook” “I wish we could at least beat dook” Did you read the media guide? Do you believe in Wolfpack Pride? Only if Amato tells us so. Is NC State better than UNC? This year they thought that is how it would be, And the Pack would finally win ACC But something happened on the RBC floor UNC dropped the Pack by 24 Noel dunked on the heads And the fans went off their meds Then they lost to BC and they lost Wake At Greensboro the Deacs drove in the stake And Herb looked for another job to take At a place we call MooU CHORUS Now Herb was gone and the fans rejoiced Hoping that Fowler would soon make the right choice And bring Rick Barnes to Raleigh So he made some calls and offered some cash Hoping it would be enough to make Barnes dash And the wuffies would dance with glee. But while Fowler was looking down Barnes got a raise that would astound He called and told Lee “No!” “I have a title contender you know” So the rumors broke and the fans did scream Realizing they had lost their dream And it was looking worse than it really seemed At a place we call MooU CHORUS So the search wore on as the spring came Fowler came up with another name Of someone he thought would fit the bill So Air Hog One did hit the air To talk to a coach who had great hair, And wanted more money from the till. But Pack Pride did track the flight And the fans kept watch by the arena at night They heard John was here for a bit And they nearly had a fit. Until they realized that something was rank As Calipari used the Pack just like ol’ Frank And now the search was in the tank At a place we call MooU CHORUS So they contacted Billy, Tom Crean, and Few Izzo, Patino, and Romar too. But none them wanted to talk So they talked to Bo Ryan, Tim Floyd, and Wright Tubby Smith was contacted late one night But no one was ready to take a walk So Lavin and Beiline were the next two names Who had experience and some coaching fame But no one bothered to see What kind of buyout there might be Since Beiline was in for about 3 mil And Lavin’s fiancé loved the LA thrill It was 30 days and no coach still At a place we call MooU CHORUS So Fowler and State were a laughingstock For every journalist to write and mock And the fans were beginning to turn away Some talked about Phil Ford and even Whitt Some thought one of them might be a good fit But nothing as the calendar changed to May And finally there was some news to read Sidney Lowe had finally earned his degree The offer was finally extended The long nightmare had ended And three coaches I admire most Dean, Roy, and McGuire’s ghost Were glad they did not get called for the post At a place we call MooU. CHORUS

Thursday, May 04, 2006

It's Over, It Begins

After 34 days, four outright public rejections from named coaches, speculation on every possible canidate in the book all wrapped up with the slow and torturious flogging of the NC State basketball program by every one with a keyboard and some means of publishing what they write, the Wolfpack finally are set to name a head basketball coach. It is no other than Sydney Lowe, member of the 1983 National Championship team and current assistant coach with the NBA's Detroit Pistons. Now first and foremost there is no way anyone and I do not care if you have watched every game State has ever played since Everett Case. There is no evidence or signs which will reveal to anyone whether or not this was a good hire or not. Lowe has never been a college coach so there is no record to dissect there. His two NBA head coaching stints involved teams which were possibly worse than whoever played in the NCAA Final Four that same year. We are five years away from knowing whether this coaching search stumbled and bumbled onto a great find in Lowe or whether he was the desperation choice and a repeat of the Matt Doherty debacle at UNC. Taking what we know right now and considering how badly this seach went, I think this is a good hire. Lowe is an unproven commodity on the college level but the risk level is the same as with any of the mid-majors available. In the NBA all you do is coach and work with players in a manager-subordinate role. There is no recruiting and unless a coach is also a GM, there is little control exerted over the team outside of the game. College is different. Lowe is actually running the program from top to bottom and he must contend with the NCAA, the NC State administration, the fan base, the media, and the boosters. On top of this Lowe has to coach the team, teach the players the game of basketball, recruit players for the team and ultimately answer for every loss. In my opinion I think coaching a college team offers a complexity and challenge not felt in the NBA. And that is the unproven part for Lowe. I think he will be a good game coach and should be a good recruiter especially if he fills his staff with excellent assistants. The rest of the deal which comes outside of the game will be the test and that will be the point where he will have to learn quickly if he ever wants to succeed. There are just so many questions and so few answers at this point however. The manner in which Fowler and Lowe will be judged should be evident at around the five year mark. After five years Lowe will have his own players and his system will be fully established. Five years will show enough evidence of what kind of program he is running and whether or not a strong recruiting system has taken root. One of three things will be true in five years. NC State will be floundering, NC State will be on the rise and ready for a breakthrough or NC State will have cracked that barrier Herb Sendek hovered around for so long. The first will probably result in serious rumblings from the fan base. I also think if the program is exciting and Lowe makes some good inroads recruiting and with his coaching style then even if they are on the cusp in five years, Wolfpack fans will be patient. If it is the latter then the rest of us may not be able to bear the Wolfpack boasting. In the end Lowe is a connection to past glory and a time when NC State fans were very proud of their basketball team and all seemed right with the world. If Lowe can recapture the glory of the Valvano title with the integrity of the Sendek program State should be on its way. Check back in five years and we will see how it has gone.

Not Celebrating Barry Bonds

There is an inordinate amount of hype surrounding Barry Bonds' career home run total and the fact he stands two away from Babe Ruth on the all time list at 714. ESPN which continues to completely prostitute itself by reporting Bonds steroids scandal but at the same time serving as the slugger's shief promoter has been giving daily updates on Bonds pursuit of Babe Ruth. Apparently the fever pitch has reached a point there Major League Baseball on two seperate days has announced that there will be no celebration if Bonds hits #715(and I say if because Bonds' knee is literally being held together by a string of ligaments). MLB also said it will not authenticate the balls used during San Francisco games during the run up and passing of Babe Ruth. Why? Quite simply MLB has said that it does not celebrate someone moving to #2 on any record list. Of course as much as MLB gets wrong, they got this one right. Why is ESPN and the rest of the media so hot to trot to celebrate Bonds' passing Ruth when all he is doing is moving from 3rd to 2nd on the list? 1. Babe Ruth still maintains a legendary mistique. Even though Hank Aaron passed Ruth by over 40 homeruns, there is still something about Babe Ruth that piques the interest of baseball fans. Given that Bonds is only the third man in MLB history to hit 700 homers, passing Ruth who played 70-80 years ago is considered a big deal. Obviously it is difficult total to attain, so much so only one man prior to now has ever done it. In fact it seems to be such a difficult thing apparently it cannot be done through any legal and normal means, but I digress. Since Babe Ruth is long considered the most well known and one of the greatest sluggers to ever play the game, the logic goes that if Bonds' passes him he somehow attains the same status. Even if that status is only second best in totality. 2. ESPN et. al do not believe Bonds will catch Aaron It is clear based on the way Bonds has played and the fact he no longer benefits from the use of certain drugs to stave off the ravages of old age on his playing form that Aaron's record is out of reach. Passing Ruth represents the only opporunity to hype Bonds doing anything significant at this point in his career. The ESPN hype maching never misses a chance to treat something that is not really a record as though it was a record just for the sake of boosting their own ratings(see Pat Summit.) As I said above, Ruth still hold a magical place in the pantheon of MLB greats so by having Bonds pass him validates Bonds in that regard. Of course how many of the other MLB greats have a suspicious trail of syringes and chemical creams in their past? 3. ESPN loves Barry Bonds Now, I never miss a good opportunity to bash ESPN for muddying the water when it comes to presenting sports and presenting news. I have written before about the skewing of the line between the business side of ESPN and the journalistic integrity or lack thereof. Now, ESPN has been intensely focused on the Bonds steroid scandal and regardless of this it is very evident that ESPN loves Barry Bonds. Or rather ESPN loves the ratings Bonds brings which may explain why they tout the scandal and the accomplishments all at the same time. People love a train wreck, so they talk about his history of steroid abuse. People also love accomplisments, milestones, and singular moments of triumph so ESPN presses the passing of Ruth. And if it was just that maybe I would be writing another post about NC State basketball but ESPN has gone Bonds wild. During Baseball Tonight ESPN has been chronicling the 20 Greatest Moments in Bonds Career. What is that? I can think of 10 other guys who played the game cleanly and whose accomplishments are not tinged with the possibility it was done using performance enhancing drugs but ESPN chooses to focus on Bonds. On one hand at least it still falls within the journalistic realm of being some kind of historical retrospect on a storied career. However, ESPN did not stop there and became a utterly contemptible whore for Barry Bonds when the elected to broadcast a weekly reality program showcasing the slugger behind the scenes. So in the midst of reporting allegations of steroid abuse and a career on the cusp of tainting some of the greatest records in the game ESPN decides to shed any objectivity they may have possessed in the name of ratings and revenue. The saddest character in this whole saga is Hank Aaron who is being dissrespected on a nightly basis by ESPN who thinks passing Babe Ruth is a great accomplisment. It is a great accomplishment and Aaron not only did it but did it by a whole season's worth of home runs. ESPN is out there marketing a non-record chase which is the most solied and tainted chase we probably have ever witnessed in the world of sports. I just happen to think that creating this much hype around a player who may have broken Federal law and used drugs to enhance his play for becoming the 2nd best home run hitter in MLB history is a gigantic slap in the face to the guyswho is #1 one on the list and did so entirely through his own physical abilities. And it should be noted that instead of being a prickly, self-righteous, prima donna, jack*ss as Bonds has been throughout his career, Aaron played the game and broke the record with class and respect. I would agree that Bonds is in very select company. He is a member of a club which only has three members at 700 home runs. I also think that his membership in that club is extremely suspect and ESPN should take a more reserved approach to celebrating Bonds passing Ruth since (1) it is not even a record and (2) he did not do so on the up and up. Author's Note: I have made numerous references to the Bonds steroid issue in this post and in doing so I have presented it as being a fact of reality rather than merely allegations. The reason being is I happen to think Bonds is guilty as sin of using numerous steroids and any other drug he thought might help his cause. And this is not a court so innocent until proven guilty has no bearing here. There is enough evidence out there from comparitve pictures to suddenly rising statistics, and the book written by the SF Chronicle writers to safely assert that Bonds not only used steroids, but that he also gained a significant advantage from them. It also should be noted that I believe that if something is prohibited by Federal law then it is automatically prohibted within a sport even if that sport does not address the issue. MLB falls under the juristication of the Federal government and by default it is subject to the laws of the Federal government unless it is given an exemption(such as the anti-trust exemption). No exemption exists and therefore any use of steroids by any player was illegal on its face.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Governor Easley Declares Disaster

Assumes Control of NC State Coaching Search RALEIGH(THF)-North Carolina Governor Mike Easley invoked emergency powers late yesterday evening and assumed direct control of the search to replace former NC State head basketball coach Herb Sendek. Under state law the governor has the authority to declare a disaster which affords him a wide range of powers to deal with a catastrophic situation. Within minutes of the declaration a brigade of national guard troops were seen on Hillsborough Street near the NC State campus and were apparently positioning themselves to occupy the athletic department in order to maintain control of the situation. NC State Athletic Director Lee Fowler, who was apparently at home, was met at the door by a small contingent of soldiers who informed the embattled AD that he was under house arrest for the duration of the disaster edict. As the NC State coaching search moved into its second month word began swirling around the state house that a group of NC State supporters in the legislature were signing a petition asking Easley to take action. The move by Easley to declare a disaster over this issue is particularly controversial since the measure is routinely reserved for natural disasters or terrorists acts. A spokesman for the governor's office said it was well within the pervue of the governor's authority to act. "The governor has the authority to invoke emergency powers whenever he feels a situation has arisen which is a serious and dangerous hardship to the public." said press secretary Marge Colter, "The state was able to setup a lottery in three months, but NC State still cannot find a basketball coach after one month? It is an embarassment to the state and it is also having serious reprecussions on worker productivity." According to the Department of Labor, worker productivty during the last 30 days has hit an all time low as people interested in the coaching search have virtually ignored their job responsibilities while attempting to follow the latest news and rumors. The coaching search coming on the heels of the usual downtime during the ACC and NCAA Tournaments led to fear that the state's economy would begin to suffer from the lack of productivy. "The governor is not going to sit idly by and allow the citizens of the state of North Carolina to be held hostage by the complete incompetence of the NC State athletic department." Colter stated, "The effects on worker productivity were too dangerous to ignore and besides it really is a disaster over there[at NC State]." As for possible candidates for the job, the governor's office has refused to comment on names. Legal scholars have noted that since Easley has invoked emergency powers he should be able to appoint someone to the position without dealing with the normal red tape. Some experts even think he might make an interim appointment for next season and then return control of the program back to NC State hoping that they can get someone lined up to coach the team for the 2007-08 season. According to Colter whatever move the governor makes it will be quick and decisive. "Let's face it, NC State has become a national laughingstock and there have been no real signs of any movement for days from the NC State administration. Invoking these powers is the last thing any governor wants to do but someone had to do something or it might never end" ***This is a parody news article***