Archive for October, 2010

… Everybody has that one guy in their office, the doom and gloom guy. Now you’re probably not it, I can look and see the demographics of my readers, I’m very proud of the audience I have, there’s a high incidence of women in my audience, a lot of African Americans, very diverse audience and a lot of managers and smart university educated people…I have a good idea on who reads my rants!

So I’m probably only talking to about 1% of my audience today. But, everybody has got that one guy in their office, the doom and gloom guy. You remember him; he paraded around the office for an entire year claiming that Y2K was the end of society. These days he’s telling you that the American dollar will be worthless in 6 – 8 weeks, he’s on board with December 12th being the last day of the world. He tells his friends “that Glen Beck guy is onto something”.

He says this to give himself credibility at work and in his social circle, because he has little of it with either. So to stand out, he figures to say this because he’s average everywhere else in his life. He believes he has the inside scope on the future that nobody else does in the office. He’s the guy who emails radio shows, considers himself on equal with the host.

He’s the guy who was telling you Wednesday morning “MIAMI IS DONE! I mean, you can just tell….you can just tell that the Heat season is done! What a mistake Lebron made their”

It’s the “I’m not relevant or successful in any other walk of my life, so I’m going to be the guy who sees the future before anybody else does. I maybe a loser presently, but I know the future” wacko who says that. Every office and every household has that guy. By the way, if any time during any conversation somebody refers to “The World Order” Excuse yourself immediately from that room. That guy uses terms like “The World Order” a lot. So Wednesday morning when I get the texts/bbms and emails, there’s no reason to give them credit. They get street credit if I read what they sent me. Here is all you need to know about what happen Tuesday night with Lebron.

Think about this, big picture, for a second…and I know it’s hard for “the world is going to end” guy. I know it’s not easy what I’m about to ask you to do. To just sit back and have common sense, like 99% of my audience, but think about this. Chris Bosh, if I gave you the boxscore of the Celtics/Heat game Tuesday night. Chris Bosh went 3/11; D-Wade went 4/16 with 6 turnovers. Off the bench, Eddie House, James Jones and Udonis Haslem…awful!

Conversely, Paul Pierce had 9 boards and 19 points, Ray Allen…hot! Dropped 20, Shaq even had 7 boards, Daniels and Davis off the bench combined 10/22 and Rondo 17 assists. You would think “holy molly, Boston boat raced Miami!” Oh no, it was a one possession game late. With D-wade playing his worst NBA game, Chris Bosh was completely out of sync, the bench did nothing. So I know that Y2K is going to end society, the American dollar will be worthless in 6-8 weeks. I know that guy this morning thinks has the league figured out.

But let’s be honest about what happened, and I predicted that Boston would win by 11 points, but let’s be honest about what the league is right now. LA & Boston, right now this second, have peaked, are slowly eroding, deepest teams, best coaches, they’re both are at the top of the league today. With Miami, Orlando, Oklahoma City and Chicago behind them, but having the most upside. And of all those teams, Miami has the most upside. Right now, Miami has got great bones, great neighbourhood, now they just need to add some furniture. But if you look, big picture, at Tuesday night, Wade and Lebron played 3 minutes together in the pre-season. They go into Boston, it kinda felt like a scrimmage for them in the first half. Bosh and D-wade completely out of sync. It’s a one possession game late…a one possession game.

And it’s interesting when you watch the Celtics, they’ve never been – this is kind of a myth, they are a defensive team, they’re not an offensive team. If they are an offensive team, then they beat the Lakers last year, okay? They go through long stretches of struggling to drop a ball into the hoop. They struggle to score the ball. Rondo doesn’t shoot, KG is way past his prime, Ray Allen is super streaky, and lock down Paul Pierce…they go four minutes without scoring all sorts of times throughout the season.

Miami is not going to have that problem; they are not going to have six minute holes of no scoring. Wow, I gotta tell you, it was great…it was a floppy game as you’d expect. It’s the NBA, its October. Lebron said this afterwards “this is a work in progress, we felt like we all know the world wasn’t built on one day…you know? So it’s gonna take time and we understand that and we just have to keep making progress every single day and just continue to get better.”

Listen, I said before, I think Boston and LA are the teams that are built to win today. I believe Miami is built to win the championship next year and then for about a seven year period, they will win it 3-5 times. I still believe – I’ll tell you what though…keep your eye on Chicago folks! They are going after Carmelo Anthony; keep your eye on Chicago. They will prove that they are deserving of the accolades they are getting from a lot of the media. That is an excellent basketball team, it’s a gritty basketball team, and it’s a very good defensive basketball team. You know what they are? They are the Boston Celtics Lite! They are about one shooter from being the Boston Celtics.


….what a bizarre NFL Sunday, I mean it was just absolutely bizarre, I’ll get to that. Also the most confusing ending to a football game ever, between Miami and Pittsburgh, people are still confused about that…I just figured it out moments ago and I don’t think you’ve heard the reason why the Steelers got another chance, it’s very complex.

But I’m watching Sunday night, the reason why you people love Brett Favre and listen…half of you love him and half of you hate him, nobody is indifferent about Brett Favre and now this sex stuff, text stuff just enhances that…so you love him or you hate him. Listen, I understand why people don’t like Favre, he wasn’t loyal and you know, middle America still clings to loyalty and they have this “you gotta work for a company forever” mentality…there’s a lot of people like that, I get the people who don’t like him, he makes big mistakes, he makes big mistakes in crucial times, I get all that stuff, I get the Favre critics.

But for those of you who message me or text or talk and say “I don’t understand why anybody loves him?” You are honestly clueless if you don’t know why Brett Favre is loved! Dude, he is – and don’t kid yourself, Sunday night the fans are not watching Aaron Rogers. Favre is the only player in this league – not Manning, not Brady, not Belichcek, not Tomlin. The only guy in this league that moves the ratings up 5 points, the rating Sunday night was a 16! That is an absolutely huge number…to put it in context, that’s like Game 7 NBA Finals Celtics/Lakers rating this year.

For two teams that are not even in 1st place…a 16! And he’s the only guy on the road; he’s got like a Clint Eastwood appeal to him. You think he’s done; but he comes out with another great movie! When Clint dies and Favre dies, there will be nobody ever again quite like them. He is great American drama.

Everybody Monday morning was like “Favre is terrible!” Excuse me? Percy Harvin comes within half a foot of Favre pulling that game out! Whether you like Favre or not, I don’t get the people that don’t understand why he’s popular. I mean, he makes an unbelievable throw, on the road, hostile territory, one leg, surrounded by controversy, it’s a shoelace or Monday morning he’s an American hero again. It’s a western movie when you watch Brett Favre. He takes you on these rollercoaster’s.

All sports is, is a transfer of emotions, nobody infuriates you more than Brett Favre and nobody elevates you more emotionally then Brett Favre. Sunday night was a classic Favre! If you love Favre, you were throwing a shoe at the television set with the pick, it was a terrible throw! And then at the end of the game he making throws that nobody else in the league, other than maybe Big Ben, can make. Big Ben and Favre, not Brady, not Manning, not McNabb, not Breeze. Big Ben and Favre are very similar.  They’re both sloppy on the field; they’re both sloppy off the field in their personal life. But they are the only two guys in this league that can put a football in a little tiny window, from 42 yards out, off balance, hurt and on one leg, they are it! They are playmakers and America loves playmakers. They love creators; they love those who go outside of the box.

So I’m sitting and watching Favre Sunday night…even after the game, Brett creates even more drama! Let’s go to after the game, first of all the coach Brad Childress basically says my QB Sunday night, on more than one occasion, just stunk! Here’s what he said “This still goes back to taking care of football, you can’t throw it to them, you gotta play within the confines of our system. Sometimes you just don’t get  to punt the football and you can’t give up 7 points going the other way, not in a game like this, not when you’re up against a high powered team”

So he throws Favre under the bus, then Favre comes out and everybody is sitting there waiting asking themselves “what is Favre going to say…is Favre going to kill the coach?” Here’s what Favre said “honestly I just threw to him…and after the fact when I saw the replay on the sidelines, Percy was wide open, so I can’t disagree with him, but from my vantage point, you pick a side on certain plays, I wish I knew where everyone was going to be wide open, it sure would make my reads a lot easier…but I can’t disagree with him”

And by the way, as Favre was saying that…he was clearly unhappy. Then Childress comes out and talks about pulling Favre out of the game at one point “yes I did have a though about pulling him out, I gave him that next series but he took us down the field so I couldn’t”

Okay, so he creates more drama by saying that he was going to take Favre out of the game. And then Favre responds to being asked if he was going to get taken out of the game, Brett said “no no, we didn’t talk about it, I don’t think I gave any illusion that I was hurt, not that I was limping on every play”

And then by the way, oh yeah there is this mess… Brett Favre admitted to the NFL; yeah I left voicemails, but not the other stuff. A reporter at ESPN has now said that Jen Sturggers’ group has hired a team of former FBI investigators, haha…I mean seriously! Favre is American drama, this is like an old cowboy vs. Indian move, its western, its gunfight, its tragedy, and it’s unbelievable.

Like he comes within Percy Harvin putting his foot down from winning that football game. Favre is the only guy in the league, where he has 3 picks …2 of them horrific throws and you come away going “oh wow, what a performance, that guy is unbelievable!”

 The dude had a 50 QB rating against Green Bay on the road and comes within a replay of winning the game and that’s why people love him! Clint Eastwood and Favre         , they are just gruff, you think they are done and they bring out a hit, they’re eighty, their hobbling and we like stuff like that, they are American icons…ugh great television, huge number Sunday night for this game.

There is so much parity in this league…you know everybody is an expert after the fact, oh everyone is an expert. “Oh Andrew I know who’s good” pfft, no you don’t! Buffalo should’ve beaten Baltimore in Baltimore, we thought St. Louis was terrible…oh by the way; they might just win their division. We thought San Francisco was good, they are absolutely terrible. They’ve lost 4 out of their last 6 games by a touchdown or less.

Listen, I’ve never seen a league in the history of American sports, because I went back and looked this morning, I don’t think there has ever been a league with zero terrible teams…zero! “Well Andrew, what about Buffalo?”  Nooo! When you’re talking terrible, you’re talking non-competitive, incompetent teams. Buffalo threw for 400 yards. If there are four teams in this league you would start calling incompetent like Cleveland, Buffalo, maybe Detroit and San Francisco?  Excuse me????? But Cleveland  goes to New Orleans and wins,  Buffalo goes to Baltimore and could’ve won, and Detroit has gone to the Giants and Chicago and outplayed those respective teams at times with back-up QB’s…it is just unbelievable! By the way, why did Brad Childress NOT pull Brett Favre? Did you notice that? “well I was going to pull him…” why didn’t you Brad? Because Favre came within two inches of winning the football game. 

…the NFL announced last week that as of Week 7 (Sun, Oct, 24, 10) that even first time offenders, could face suspensions for what the league is calling “devastating hits” and “head shots” Now I was getting all kinds comments from football guys saying…”oh my god, they are killing the league!”….pfft, settle down people, settle down.

The NFL is being what MLB never was or never is…PROACTIVE! Okay so in Week 6 when Philadelphia played Atlanta and Deshawn Jackson and Dante Robinson collided or in the New England/Baltimore game when Brandon Meriweather and Todd Heap collided, it doesn’t take that smart of a fan to know those hits were beyond violent. Players are faster and stronger; we all know that, more violent collisions.

You get one death in the NFL, you’ll have the domino effect. Advertisers could bail, the media is going to kill you, and government agencies will step in. Let me as you this: Why did baseball players and the commissioner (embarrassing really) end up in front of Congress?  “Well Andrew, because they took steroids!”  Umm no, that’s not why. Why did baseball players and the commissioner, star players I might add, have to go in front of Congress?  Answer…because they never took steroids seriously as a major crisis. And congress felt that they weren’t getting a straight answer. Like baseball players have been taking drugs forever, but with the steroid crisis, they never took it seriously.

With the NFL taking this seriously, if there was a death this weekend, the NFL could say “whoa whoa, we were proactive, we changed the rules immediately!” Lawsuits disappear, advertisers feel better, media can’t clobber you. Folks, there is a reason why my current work placement blocks all their computers, you can’t get porn here, no matter how hard you try. If someone filed a harassment suit, my employers could say “hey, we did everything within our power to create a safe working environment. We held classes on harassment, we blocked porn on the internet” That’s why big companies, and big companies are targets anyways, need to be proactive.

Baseball never took steroids seriously, that’s why they got called in. With the NFL saying “We have to right now, change something in our league” your avoiding lawsuits, your avoiding negative publicity, your avoiding Budweiser bailing next week if, god forbid, someone were to die. You don’t have to be a scientist to see that the game is getting violent because, as we all know, the players are getting faster and stronger.

So when you’re a big target like Disney, when you’re a big target like Fox or ESPN or Nike. Your job as CEO of the business you run is to avoid catastrophes and when you have a potential crisis, you have to be proactive, not reactive. It’s my #1 criticism of Bud Selig; he’s done some great things. It takes MLB years; baseball is a battleship, no turning radius. The NFL to its credit has really good turning radius, despite its size, it’s a behemoth!  But it turns quickly and acts quickly. That’s why the NFL is king! “oh we’ve got some new technology, let’s implement it…now!” or they’ll say “there’s a rule we changed and people don’t like it, let’s have a meeting… now! So if there is a death, the NFL is covered, the NFL is covered.

You might say “Well Andrew, what is the line between violent and too violent?”  Well, its like I always say, the Supreme Court looked at pornography and said “we can’t define it, but we’ll know when we see it” It is very hard to explain, but let me just put it this way. Our society, the history of the US/Canada, has been built exclusively the way I am going to describe it. “The smartest people make laws” okay? That’s how our society works, the upper crust, the smarter people create the laws, not the mouth breathers. So whenever you have a situation where its “well, what’s too violent?”

Well in Hollywood, they have committees to decide between an R rating and an NC17. You find highly proven educated people, you put them on a committee and they decide and they figure out if there is a difference between “Faces of Death” and “Reservoir Dogs”, smart people can tell the difference. Now the difference isn’t huge, its not a Grand Cayon, but you certainly don’t let mouth breathers decide it.

There is a reason why Roger Goodell is highly educated and experienced and he got the commissioner’s job. It is the job of the smartest people in this country to create the laws and tell us the difference between too violent and not violent, really violent and too violent, smart people can tell. So meatball heckler who always sits in 3rd deck and emails radio show saying “what do they want to wear dress now too?” that’s why you don’t work in the Supreme Court or in the NFL, that’s why you’re not on a committee to decide.

We have committees all over this country, in law, in litigation, in politics, in healthcare, in sports…who deserves this and who doesn’t. What is violent and what is not. So reasonable people in the NFL, and we all love the NFL…I love some violent aspects of the NFL. If you’re watching Deshawn Jackson and that kid collide in Week 6 of the NFL, it doesn’t take Dante Robinson and Deshawn Jackson, I cringe watching it and I love collisions. And I think I’ve got pretty good instincts, maybe not great enough to be on a committee, but I watched that hit and I said “okay, I didn’t need to see his neck do that”.

Chris Mortensen, NFL columnist at ESPN, talked about this saying on the Mike & Mike Show on ESPN radio saying “ The NFL announced that effective this weekend [Week 7] even first time offenders who deliver these devastating headshots will face possible suspension, you have to dispel the notion that you get one free pass for these egregious and flagrant shots that the league won’t tolerate, you can’t tolerate it, and the NFL said that what they saw Sunday [Week 6] was disturbing  and this came out, after a long day of meetings with Roger Goodell and talking with various members of the competition committee and I think more changes are coming effective this coming weekend.” This is a mid-week policy change that shows the urgency and that it’s the right thing to do!

…I thought it would be interesting to write about this ever growing problem in college sports. In case you haven’t heard, Sports Illustrated recently conducted an interview with a former sports agent, Josh Luchs, and he revealed that he for years, paid college football players, before they signed their 1st professional contracts. Several players are said to have confirmed it with Sports Illustrated.

Josh said he paid more than 30 players in the 90’s including some of them who didn’t sign with him upon becoming professionals. Claims he paid Washington State QB Ryan Leaf about $10,000 and though Ryan paid most of it back, Ryan himself hasn’t confirmed it. Santonio Holmes is also said to have taken money, but he too denied. Several different players like Jonathan Ogden confirmed the account of the story, where he says that he wouldn’t take money but accepted Janet Jackson concert tickets. Keshawn Johnson declined to take the money so did J.J. Stokes when he was at UCLA.

So a lot of players are talking about this and many are confirming exactly what Josh said. Holmes, a former Ohio State Buckeye, says he’s lying, but I’m sure it’s true. I mean Sports Illustrated surely checks this stuff before publishing it; you’re not going to run this and get a liable lawsuit. Yet I always find myself going back and asking “am I shocked?”  When I read stories like this and the answer is, absolutely not! I’m shocked that more stories like this don’t come out. I’ve never believed that it’s possible in college football, under the current system, to run a clean program and clean being perfect.

Just say this out loud, this is one of the things I usually touch upon in my rants, “mostly poor kids, not allowed to work while under scholarship, with potential huge earnings in the horizon, offered cash right before their 1st big contract that they can pay back…wouldn’t you take it?” I mean, some kids are going to take that bait! To me it’s always been about “stop blaming the kids entirely”. Now there is some culpability on the players, you have to be accountable for what you do, but make the penalty harsher for the agents. Like, go after the drug dealer not the user. There is going to be an endless supply of drug users. Why waste man hours chasing every dirt bag loser on the street that uses drugs? Kill the source!!

I mean, if the government wanted to end porn, are you going to go and knock on each door individually “hey Larry…get off the website!” No! You go to the sources that are creating and providing porn. So we always destroy the kids on stories like this. There name goes out there, they are the ones who are stars. It really destroys the kid’s reputation…and that’s fine, because you have to be culpable. But we need to focus our energy on the agents. Why don’t you see this problem in college baseball? Because the great players go straight to the pro’s. But you would see the problem in college baseball if they didn’t.

So most college athletes don’t even want to go to college, many are forced to go to college because they want to be professional football players or basketball players. Maybe a kid at Duke wants to go to school more than a kid at Georgia, but it seems to me that a lot of these kids are football majors. So if you’re trying to go after each individual kid, it’s like chasing down drug users instead of the drug cartel.

If you don’t go to the ports in Los Angeles or to the ports in Miami and the ports in New York or New Orleans and stop drug cartels from putting drugs in our ports, you’re going to have drug users. Some kids just get slammed for this, like Santonio Holmes and Ryan Leaf. Poor kids, want a little scratch, with a huge payday in the horizon, they will pay it back, they don’t think anybody is going to find out…guess what? Some of them take scratch…what a shock!

I’ve always believed that if you want to stop cheating in college sports, you have to create real legislation, prison sentences, loss of licenses, make it a real crime in society. We’ve got John McCain chasing down boxing, why can’t John McCain chase a real issue? If It was a federal prison term you had to serve if you pay college athletes, it would end right there…it would all end right there! But instead every year I’m reading about a story like this that breaks the newswire. If I would’ve grown up dirt poor, had no money, 4 years in college, not allowed to have a job because I’m under scholarship and somebody hands me a $1000 when I know I’m going to make $ 2.5 million in 3 weeks time…I’m taking the money!

Tim Brown had an interview with ESPN radio, he told a great story. He said he was at Notre Dame, he had no money, won the Heisman Trophy and he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He said he took the picture of himself with the Heisman Trophy on the cover of Sports Illustarted to a Porsche dealer in South Bend, Indiana and said to the manager “I’m going to be rich, here is my note, can I have a Porsche” and they gave it to him! He then paid it back after striking it big in the NFL.

But here, you’re talking about young kids, mostly poor, here is a little cash. It’s like getting a loan; it’s almost an illegal loan. If you want to stop illegal loans, go after the banks that are giving the illegal loans. Don’t go to starving people who have kids to feed, because people are going to do what they have to do to make money. Start blaming the bankers, don’t blame the consumer. Because if the bank don’t offer it, the consumer doesn’t have any money. I saw this story come out and I was saddened by it. For the record, they are doing it right now, right now there are agents all over campuses. The story goes onto say that Santonio Holmes was taking money from an agent for years!

I can pretty much guarantee you that every major football program in the US has got at least a player taking money on the side from somebody. But, unless it’s a crime, he’s taking that money and there is only one way to stop agents…cut off their hands, loss of license, prison sentences.

So unless you’re going to punish these agents, this stuff is just going to keep happening and happening. I was talking about this with a friend last week and apparently it was also talked about on Real Sports on HBO. It’s so ambiguous. USC has one guy who cheated and they take away 30 scholarships and try to ruin the program. Florida has got 30 guys who’ve been arrested; the NCAA doesn’t care at all.

Like if you worked at a company and the company had 30 people arrested within 4 years, people would turn to you and say “dude, your company is a mess and its out of control” If you had one guy who took money, people would come up to you and say “you’ve got a great company, though that one guy needs the boot” I mean USC, one dude gone haywire and they tried to ruin the program. Florida has got 30 guys out of control, NCAA…crickets. So the story by Sports Illustrated, has been confirmed by some of the players, that a former sports agent told the magazine, it’s on the cover, that he paid college football players early in his career and several of them have confirmed it to the magazine. According to the story, he paid 30 guys between 1990 – 1996 and I honestly believe that this stuff still goes on today.

…it’s really funny when these traditional powers in sports, like the Los Angeles Lakers or the Ohio State Buckeyes or the New York Yankees, when they lose or are going to lose. Their fans are like trust fund kids, who are told “no!” for the first time…they like freak out. Like to Yankee fan out there “hey! You’re the second best team in this series bud!” Texas is a better baseball team. The Yankees have been outscored 30-11, Texas is hitting .307, and the Yankees are hitting under .200 and are batting .154 with runners in scoring position.

You can blame Joe Girardi for giving AJ Burnett one too many extra innings to pitch, but let’s say you would’ve pulled AJ Burnett, it wasn’t like Mariano Rivera was right there waiting in the wings. You would’ve had to go to your…bullpen?  Which like, all your other pitching, has been batted around by the Rangers the entire series? Look in the mirror and tell yourself “the Rangers are the better team in this series” simple as that!

They’ve got an un-hittable ace, Josh Hamilton is tough to get out, they are playing better baseball. The Yankees going into this season, and you saw it throughout the season, are an old baseball team and right now Derek Jeter, who didn’t hit during the regular season, can’t hit. Mark Texiera is out and he couldn’t hit. A-rod is past his prime, so is Posada…it’s an old team. The younger, energized Rangers right now, look like a significantly better baseball team!

And you find with these Lakers, Buckeyes and Yankee fans that they are trust fund kids. They’ve always gotten their own way and now they’re not getting their own way and they’re freaking out! Quit blaming Girardi, your just simply not as good as the Rangers right now.

And I thought this was interesting. Jim Capel of said this yesterday. He said “We don’t need another World Series team, so rich and smug, that the New York mayor announced two weeks ago that they were already planning their World Championship Parade route. We don’t need a team whose fans are so spoiled, that 40% of them had already left the stadium when the Yankees loaded the bases and brought the tying run to the plate in the 8th inning”. Jim Capel continues “I’m tired of hearing about ratings justifying the New York World Series appearances. World Series ratings have been dropping like a rock for the past 15 years and the Yankees have been in a lot of them.”

I will say this about the new stadium, so I’m watching the game Tuesday night and it doesn’t feel like a special New York team…is that this new stadium is very expensive, so therefore it’s more corporate and the fans are more indifferent and they are a little older and a little more sedated. But you know what? Last year with the Yankees there was urgency! Joe Girardi didn’t win…he was out! At least that was the speculation. You paid a fortune for Burnett & C.C and Teixeira…there was real pressure. A-rod needed to do something finally in the post season. It just doesn’t feel like that this year.        

There is no real energy in the stadium, it doesn’t feel special. Last year, the Yankees had gone nine years without a World Series and went out and bought all the good players. Bought C.C., bought Texiera, bought Burnett, real pressure on Joe Girardi. You know what the Yankees feel like right now? A bunch of super rich guys, who got theirs last year, they are all pretty secure, they are not playing for anything, nobody has their job being held over their head and even the Yankee crowd can feel it and there was an audible groan. You don’t see that very often in baseball, where like a star player is taken off the field during a game, you just don’t see it very often. Like pitchers get yanked, but when’s the last time a Jeter or an A-rod get pulled outta the game? When Teixeira slid into 1st base, pulled his hammy and the trainer came out, after his first limp, did you hear the audible groan out of Yankee stadium? It last for about a second and a half? There was “ugh crap, series over” so like to me it doesn’t feel like there is a lot of urgency.

I’ll tell you this, that Texas players and Tampa players…they know this is the year. The Rangers know they’ve gotta win it this year. Because Cliff Lee is a Yankee is about a month, they know the Angels are going to rebuild, that’s an excellent franchise. The Angels will bounce back, Cliff Lee is going to be gone…this is it! You can feel it. Tampa knows, they are cutting payroll massively in Tampa.

So this just feels like a “we won it last year” there is no real pressure. It’s an old Yankee team and it does beg the question and I’ve said this time and time again…everybody just says in New York “well you gotta give 4 or 5 years to Derek Jeter…cause he’s Jeter! You gotta give Jeter his…” really? 4 more years of Jeter? How many more years can you withstand Posada, A-rod already peaked same as Jeter, Teixeira is coming off an injury, Burnett is a mess. The Yankees can’t keep throwing bad money at bad money. Everybody, including the Yankees, every business there is no such thing as bottomless pits. The Yankees have lines that they don’t want to cross. I think they have real interesting questions this off-season. So this idea that you can just give Jeter what he wants…good luck with that!         

But you can’t keep telling me that you can keep making these AJ Burnett mistakes and say “hey hey, we’re the Yankees, we can withstand it” No you can’t! The Steinbrenners are not in the business of losing money, they wanna make money too! And I think that there is…heck, even Rangers manager Ron Washington was asked about the empty seats at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night and he said “…no I haven’t, but Yankee fans are so intricate to winning so much, I really don’t have anything to say about it. Other than the fact that I’m glad my guys finally opened up offensively tonight…”

It seems, you know, that people are banning on the Yankees that the game wasn’t sold out. That’s a very tough call because behind home plate. Those seats are sold, but in the new stadium, you can duck in doors and watch the game indoors, on a cold October night in New York when it’s a little windy. So a lot of those seats are sold and the people are at the stadium where they are indoors. So I’m not going to kill the Yankees for not selling out, it was 98% sold out, according to the boxscore Wednesday morning.

…so I was watching ESPN SportsCenter last week Monday, and the highlights come on, and it’s very easy to watch MLB highlights in September and laugh at the sport. “God, the stadiums are empty, nobody cares about baseball!” But Cincinnati was at Milwaukee and the attendance was 30,000 people. It’s a Monday, school is well underway, and if I had kids I’m not taking them out on a Monday night when school has started. The Brewers have been out of the pennant race for two months now. Outside of a Joey Votto, not a lot of big name award winning players in that game. Shouldn’t we be astonished that 30,000 people showed up, in Milwaukee on a Monday where school has started? That’s unbelievable!!

And I went to the Major League standings the following morning and looked at the box scores. Kansas City in Detroit, that is a dreadful match up. I would rather watch paint dry for 4 hours…it had 24,000 people, bad economy, it’s in Detroit, tickets aren’t cheap, and both teams are out of the playoff race. Texas at Anaheim, Anaheim’s is out of the playoff race…41,000 in attendance. St. Louis at Florida, its Miami….there is a million other things to do there and its eighty eight degrees, 21,000 people. White Sox’s at the A’s…10,000, laugh! Would you go to an A’s game on a Monday night in Oakland, school is well underway in this economy? But what has happened – it’s much easier, let’s be honest here, to fill a football stadium. One game a week, a lot of urgency, teams can stay or look like they are in a playoff race much longer. In baseball, disparity and payroll…you can be out of a playoff race and there is still 3 ½ – 4 months left in the season.

So relative to the NFL, baseball looks weak, baseball looks listless, passionless. But I was thinking about this…that on any given Monday in US/Canada, its September and school well underway, mostly un-interesting games are on, playoffs are already locked up, and yet 600,000 people on average go to baseball games every night in this economy.

But here is baseball’s problem. There is this theory I have; it’s called the “Crowded Bar” theory. 12 people in a big bar, looks dead. 12 people in a small bar…it’s the place to be! Baseball has got an image problem. If the sport had stadiums mostly the size of Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, you’d be like “man, you gotta go to the game tonight, that place is a party!!” Everyone wants to go to a good party, parents want to go, the kids want to go, and who doesn’t want to go to a fun place?

It is interesting because baseball feels like its dead, yet look at the attendance figures from last week Monday for all these terrible games, its baseball in September on a Monday night, with no pennant race, and no star players. And other than keeping like a Yankee stadium or maybe Anaheim, the problem with baseball is that its television image is dreadful.

Listen, I got news for you. Buffalo is going to have 20,000 empty seats real soon in the NFL. But the NFL’s image is “every stadium is full”. And you know, don’t forget this, when you watch the Oscar’s on television. It looks like there are 3,000 people in attendance, when in fact there really are about 340. Image – be it at bars, restaurants or stadiums – change the way we think about venues and think about sports.

Baseball does not have an attendance problem, oh it’s down a little, but the NFL is going to be down as well. Baseball has got a horrible image problem. If you go look at the box scores from last week and see how many people actually went to the game, it’s fairly remarkable.

Never forget how important staging is. Lindsay Lohan, if she’s got a big movie coming out, she looks hot! She gets busted; she always looks like Nick Nolty. Cindy Crawford, in the wrong lighting in the National Inquire looks like an old hag. Cindy Crawford on the infomercial, the best looking human being you’ve ever seen. There is a lot of different ways to stage things, there are a lot of images for the same things and I would argue, as I was looking over the baseball attendance last week Tuesday, the sport is doing fine to some degree, but God its image is awful in North America relative to the NFL.

…one of the things I ask my audience to have is discernment. The best team doesn’t always win, sometimes New Orleans loses to Arizona, New Orleans is a better team. Jacksonville beat the Colts; Jacksonville is not as good as the Colts. South Carolina beat Alabama, if they played in the SEC championship when they were both equally rest, you would take Bama by 2 touchdowns, you know it and I know it. I’ll tell you this, Favre and the Vikings that’s the best 1-3 football team in the NFL by a long shot!

But a lot of key injuries, brutal schedule… the good news is… 9-7 or 10-6 record can still win you that division. But you look over the Vikings schedule, 9 of the 12 remaining games, your facing good teams. I mean they do get Buffalo and Arizona and are at Detroit, but other than that, the Vikings are a classic case, where the fan with real discernment can say “wow, that is a really good 1 and 3 team”

Never forget this, the Vikings with the same personnel, maybe even better now with Randy Moss went 12-4 last year and blew good teams out. Blew teams like Dallas’ doors off, just blew teams out! Conversely this year, Chicago is 3-1, Minnesota is 1-3 and if they played tomorrow I’d take the Vikings by a touchdown on neutral field and by two touchdowns in Minnesota. “Well Andrew, Favre had turnovers…” It’s the Jets!! Okay? Tom Brady had three turnovers against the Jets. Joe Flacco had two picks against the Jets, thats what happens. You look much better did Tom Brady against the Bills, than you do against the Jets. The Jets are the real deal; you are looking at potentially the best team in the NFL. And the Jets, Ravens and Steelers play a different brand of football defensively than the entire AFC does.

So it’s pretty amazing to me that the Vikings, despite the three turnovers, were in that game with about 4 minutes to go. And I’m looking at the NFL right now…the Jets, Ravens and Steelers are playing a totally different brand of football. The Giants, Patriots, Vikings, Saints, Falcons, and Colts all feel very equal to me. Never forget, Denver 6-0 last year at one point last year, Giants 5-0 out of the gates at one point. Minnesota is an absolutely excellent 1-3 football team and Bama is still better than South Carolina, it’s called discernment.

You have to tell yourself “it’s not about stats and numbers, what do my eyeballs tell me?” Brett Favre by the way, I just thought last night I watched two exception football teams playing. Those were two start stuttered football teams playing. Brett Favre said afterwards “the addition of Randy Moss I think has been I think a pretty good addition, I think in just a week’s time, he’s helped Percy, there are some bright spots, but there is a lot of football left and with all the mistakes we’ve made tonight or the missed oppourtunities , we still a chance to win the game…that’s encouraging and what we have to build off of…”

It was funny, I was reading Gary Meyers on one of the New York papers, he says “Favre is old and distracted…” pfft, that’s not what I saw. I saw an unbelievable throw to Percy Harvin, an un-believable throw to Randy Moss, one of the great spin moves in the history of the league. Only Steve Young or Michael Vick could do that spin move. What I saw was two exceptional football teams and the Vikings are easily the best 1-3 team in the league.

If we got back to the Alabama thing, I was reading the LA Times Tuesday morning, Chris Dewfrane writes on College football, excellent college football writer, probably the best if not one of the best out west. And he talks about this outrage, and a lot of people are saying “how in the world is South Carolina ranked below Alabama?” Well because Alabama is better.

Am I not supposed to consider that South Carolina had two weeks to prepare? And Alabama was facing their 3rd brutal opponent in 3 weeks? Am not supposed to consider that? Well then how do I put Boise State in 2, 3 or 4th in the country? When they don’t play anyone significant! So you’re asking me – again, what you’re asking me to do – I’m supposed to be speculative on Boise State, but I’m not allowed to be speculative on Alabama?

Let me ask you this: Alabama, South Carolina play in two weeks, both don’t play until two weeks from now…Gun to your head, I take your kids from you if you’re wrong…who do you bet on to win the football game? I say Alabama by two touchdowns! “But Andrew, why do you even play the games?” Because of the course of a season, you may have to meet somebody for a second time. There is no question that Bama is better than South Carolina. Am I not supposed to consider everything? I’m a subjective pollster.

I don’t care that Chicago is 3-1 and the Vikings are 1-3, Vikings are a better football team! I mean if you just go by stats alone, the Giants were 5-0 last year. When the Denver Broncos were 6-0 last year, I ranted and stood out like a sore thumb saying “they are a complete fraud!” and they were! When the New York Giants were 5-0, I didn’t know it, but they were a complete fraud too!

You can be 1-3 and be better than a 3-1 team. The Vikings are better than the Bears and you can lose, Jacksonville beat Indy, Indy is still a better team. Arizona beat the Saints; Saints are still a better team. But you know when South Carolina and Alabama meet in the SEC championship…who are you betting? Why am I supposed to be outraged in Week 4 of the college polls when Alabama is ahead of South Carolina! Why? Because knowledgeable people with real discernment and see that Alabama coming off a horrendous schedule in the SEC was shot, emotionally spent and go knocked off by a team like South Carolina, who maybe played the best game that program has ever played in its history…alright!

But it’s funny, because I’m supposed to use all of this for Boise State, but if I use it for Alabama I get called out for it!