Archive for August, 2012


So I didn’t watch a ton of the Olympics on television – though was in London for a week and saw a couple of events, including Michael Phelps inch out the gold medal from Ryan Lochte in the 200m individual medley, but other than that I saw the U.S vs. Spain in Men’s basketball finals on tv yesterday, I thought it was great! I’m mostly though into team sports, I’d say I have relationships emotionally with team sports because it’s what I know, though not really into team handball – it is pretty weird when you turn it on and you kind of stare at it, but I don’t have a lot of relationships with the athletes in those running events. Usain Bolt is the one guy I like to watch in the 100 and 200-meters, but when I watch Usain Bolt – you know, I know the whole game, I understand it, I’m not naïve.

You have to give credit to Dan Bernstein who writes for cbschicago.com, he’s also a popular talk show host in Chicago – and he really nails it with Usain Bolt in my opinion. This is what happens – and I was telling this to a friend on Friday – that Americans fall in love with their gymnasts as they become America’s sweetheart, but they’ve traditionally never loved their sprinters, they never loved Carl Lewis as they often looked at him from a distance. These sprinters are kind of freaks, they are divas and have never been afraid to tell the world that and I’ve always thought that “fastest man in the world” is kind of just like…okay, so? “Richest guy in the bar” cool or “best looking guy at the bar” yeah, okay “fastest guy at the bar” umm Usain, could you go sprint over there and get me a Molson Canadian. “Fastest guy in the world “is a freak show! When you think about it, at best, Usain is still only running 19mph – heck, I can get on a slow train and beat you by 80mph.

So the point is, I’m not really into sprinters, Usain Bolt has got a cartoon ego but Dan Bernstein writes this (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/08/12/bernstein-usain-bolt-is-probably-doping-and-you-know-it/) and he goes “For many of us, years of drug tainted performances have deaden the senses” Bernstein continues “[your either]intellectually dishonest or willfully ignorant [neither is good] if you’ve got convenient blind spots and emotional neediness which causes otherwise intelligent people to create fairylands of childish naiveté” it’s the province of suckers! Now listen to these quotes, Carl Lewis said “When people ask me about Bolt, I say, he could be the greatest athlete of all-time. But for somebody to run a 10.03 in one year and a 9.69 the next – if you don’t question that, in a sport that has the reputation that it has now, you’re a fool”

Writes Bernstein “Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, who just won the silver in the 100 and 200, tested positive for PED’s at the 2009 world championships. Teammates Julian Dunkley and Steve Mullings have also been caught doping”  “What are the odds?” asks Bernstein “that a tiny, island country suddenly dominates global competition…just because?” further writes Bernstein “Bolt reportedly has been working with Angel Hernandez [who used to] be called Angel Heredia, back when he was a chemist for BALCO” you know him? He was “source A, who supplied the documents that helped convict Marion Jones, C.J. Hunter, Justin Gatlin and Tim Montgomery. Gatlin just took the bronze in the 100, behind Bolt and Blake”  Furthermore, “Before the games in Beijing, Heredia told [A German newspaper] regarding the 100-meter final “the winner will not be clean” there is no doubt about it, the difference between 10.0 and 9.7 is in the drugs . By the way, Usain Bolt won those Olympics with a 9.69 time”

Even former World Anti-Doping Agency chief Dick Pound told Reuters yesterday “Victor Conte, and his assertion that over 60% of London competitors were using PED’s. The truth is, he’s more likely [Victor Conte] to know more than I do because it’s a lot more than what we’re catching, I’ll tell you that!” So when you look at Usain Bolt and the numbers coming down, everybody is outraged by it, I’m sure I’m going to get a lot of hate mail for this. But I’m sorry, as Bernstein so rightly points out, when you’ve got a tiny island country, where guys left and right are getting caught, they’re working with a former BALCO guy – by the way, Usain is not winning the 100 and 200-meters, he’s winning it by JOGGING at the end. I’m sorry, but I am suspicious! Sorry, I am! You’ve lost the right as an Olympic sprinter – cutting times dramatically – and these times have been cut dramatically over the last 4 years, you’ve lost the right of innocence.  I have a right to be suspicious and I have the right to read or write a column like Dan Bernstein did – it’s like a “finally somebody is willing to say it” moment! I sure as heck hope he’s clean, but you’re really a sucker when the anti-doping former head acknowledges “yeah, there’s a lot more guys cheating than what we are catching” The cheaters have always, in the Olympics, have always been ahead of the clean guys trying to catch them! There has never been an exception to that; the cheaters are always ahead of them.

It reminds me of the baseball steroid scandals from the early 2000’s – Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds were always good players, but in Bonds’ case, you don’t go from 47 homers to 70!! You just don’t. In the case of Clemens “well he just worked out hard Andrew, he’s got this new workout regime” he always worked out hard!! He wasn’t taking cattle steroids, allegedly.  But in writing this, I’ll get nothing but emails, calls, texts, bbm’s and hate mail on my blog, Listen, Usain Bolt is making $9 million a year with Puma alone, these guys are being massively rewarded for what could very well be cheating. Usain Bolt is probably the most famous Olympian! “Well Andrew they passed the drug test…” again, that means nothing at the Olympic level. You have to remember, if I can make $9 million dollars with Puma – that’s just one sponsor, what am I willing to spend to be the world’s fastest guy? Anything slightly less than that if you do your cost-benefit analysis correctly. If I have to spend $8 million dollars to be the fastest human, knowing that I’m going to get $9 million on one endorsement? I’ll spend $8 million to keep it private! I’ll have a staff; I’ll do whatever I have to do.

But again, we don’t know this with Usain Bolt but all I’m saying is that there is a naiveté – come on! We gotta grow up on this stuff. I mean good Lord! Usain Bolt jogs at the end; it’s as if Lebron, blindfolded, were to score 28 points Here’s a crazy idea – what if Usain Bolt doesn’t finish his races as fast as he can as he knows that at his fastest, he’d lower the world record by THAT MUCH more thus sounding the “PED” alarms all over the sport? Then again, I don’t have any more than what Dan Bernstein has chosen to write about – all the stuff he wrote about, those are public quotes! But I guess the main point I’m really trying to drive is that we’ve got to stop being complete suckers on this Olympic thing. When Carl Lewis and the trainer is acknowledging “yeah, the winner at the Beijing Olympics will not be clean because the difference between a 10.0 and a 9.7, that’s in the drugs, that’s not in the work” Like I always laugh at the whole Roger Clemens thing “he started working out really hard” what? He didn’t work out hard in Boston? But then all of a sudden in Toronto he magically did more sit-ups? 8 more cliff bars? Listen, we’ve almost had to give these sports a decade to clean themselves and that’s with them cheating a decade before they began testing them! So they’ve for sure got a big lead on this stuff.

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I understand people getting worked up over presidential elections, but sometimes I don’t understand the outrage people have over this type of stuff. So this past Wednesday, all the major sports leagues in the U.S. – NCAA, NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL (let’s not forget them) filed a lawsuit against New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in federal court because he signed a law that allows for betting on pro and college sports at New Jersey casinos and racetracks. Now, the leagues claim that New Jersey sports gambling law violates a federal law that is already in place – enacted years ago. But here is the outrage part – by the way, laws change all the time and so just because something is federally enacted doesn’t mean that it can’t be federally rescinded.  The NCAA and pro leagues say “such gambling would not only harm sports leagues and organizations such as the NCAA or the NFL, but would be a flagrant violation of the 1992 Congressional Act, to halt the spread of sports gaming.”

Now, here’s what I don’t get: why is everybody so anti-sports gambling in these leagues?  Does anybody remember the Tim Donaghy scandal? Do you know who tipped off the NBA? Vegas!!! They are not your enemy, they’re your alley! Vegas called the FBI and the NBA and said “you’ve got a problem” Use Vegas as your friend, they are not your enemy. Vegas tipped off the NBA or else Tim Donaghy could’ve gone years and convinced other refs to do the same. First of all, sports gambling are here, we love it and it’s not ruining society. “But Andrew, people get addicted…” people get addicted to butter! Don’t blame the beer because you’re an alcoholic and don’t blame the bagel because you’re overweight. People have to be accountable for their own addictions. Is it a moral issue? Well, more wars have been caused by religion than sports gambling. Religious zealotry scares me, who has the over on the Bengals/Ravens game, does not!

Again, I get the outrage on a lot of issues – why do people get worked up over sports gambling? Know a family friend who lived in Vegas for years, there are sleazy people in Vegas, but there’s sleazy people anywhere! This family friend once told us that he found, at the time he was in Vegas, that the people he knew in sports gambling, he found them to be incredibly trustable – it’s a highly regulated business. You know what’s not regulated? Strip clubs! If you’re anti-strip club, you may have a point! The alcohol business – every state and province is different. “In this state, it’s the Wild Wild West…in this state, you can’t drink on the Lord’s Day” But the idea that people get worked up – that I have the Rams at -6, I’ve never understood. Here’s a little secret, sports gambling is already everywhere! Did you know that? Like everybody thinks “Vegas…the evil empire that takes everyone’s money” pfft, did you know that only 4% of NFL bets take place in Las Vegas? I’ve got news for you, there’s already sports gambling in New Jersey – there’s more in New Jersey than in Las Vegas! I don’t know the industry well enough to make big predictions, but I wouldn’t be shocked and I don’t think any of you would be either if sports gambling were legalized on the internet in the next 10 years.

I mean what person have you ever met in New Jersey that says “Bob, it’s not legal for me to bet on the Giants…Guess I’m out of luck!” You want to bet? Go bet! This is like the government trying to stop television viewing. People are doing it, they’re always doing it, its part of our fabric and even if it’s illegal – and there’s a 12% underground economy in America anyways, you’ll never stop it! People are going to drink, they are going to lust, they’re going to gamble, they’re going to eat and they’re going to watch television – you can’t stop it! So legalize it, tax the hell out of it and the state of Jersey could make over $200 million a year! Really? How many are they making on strip joints? Not that much I’d assume! It is amazing how people treat sports gambling – they treat it as if were the Ebola Virus “here it comes!! We’ll bleed from our eyes…run for the hills!” I bet football games people!! Again, is it a moral issue? I mean when the government had prohibition – do you think people didn’t drink? It was more of an underground premium that ever! I simply find that the stigma just forces more illegal activity but if you legalize it, the bad guys go away – they lost their market!

It’s like going to your son and saying “Do not listen to the band Gawr, I do not like that music…that music is evil” You know what your son is probably going to do? He’s going to go to his room and crank Gawr simply because I told him he can’t. But if I say to him “you know what, Gawr is awesome!! Crank it buddy!” suddenly it’s not cool. So again, take away the stigma, legalize it everywhere! “Andrew, but you’ll have game fixing” they’ve had more game fixing in Europe. There was an Arizona State basketball game several years ago that was fixed – sports gambling wasn’t legal in Arizona yet it was legal in Vegas and UNLV games aren’t fixed! Gambling sanitizes when it’s legal, there aren’t any thumb breakers, and there aren’t any loan sharks. We’re going to gamble as a society – get over it!! Legalize it and tax the hell out of it! You can’t stop it! Illegal card room/legal card room – how about we just make them legal and get some tax revenue out of it! Think about it, what vice has the government not gotten a piece out of it?

I think they’re biggest issue is – and here’s the great thing about sports gambling for you and I – and we’re doing it right now and it’s not ruining society. I mean look around our society folks, how many of them are tied to this: you can bet on a Laker game tonight! Are any of our societal ills based on that Laker game 4 months from now? This is not asking to legalize marijuana – there are concerns that it’s a gateway drug, concerns on what it does, I mean we all went to school with corky – he was forget and sort of apathetic. I just never understood and it’s so bizarre! The family friend lived in Vegas, he knew these people who betted on sports for a living – all they really are, when you think about it, are analysts! You’re a hedge fund analyst, financial analyst, insurance analyst and then there’s sports gaming analysts. Hit 58%, manage your money and that’s your living!


Sometimes folks, the rich are rich because they are smarter, because they are more aggressive and because they are more shrewd.  It’s not always because their dad handed them a billion dollars – 92% of American millionaires grew up in the middle class, sorry if it doesn’t fit your narrative. Steve Nash took less to be a Laker, Antawn Jamison took less to be a Laker – they didn’t go out and buy Dwight Howard, they rolled the dice and took a risk! He can potentially leave them in a year. The Lakers didn’t create the weather nor did they build the beach – it was there when they came via Minneapolis.  The Lakers are simply smarter than most teams – yes they’ve got great weather, but do you know what? If you’re a stockbroker and live in Milwaukee, dude Chicago is an hour away, move and be a playa! You’ll never be one in Milwaukee, don’t blame finance! Milwaukee, you’re an hour from Chicago…move, if you want to make big money. Everybody is whining about their lot in life. First of all, the NBA now has 13 excellent teams – this is amazing! I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this before. Yet everyone is like “Andrew, but now the Lakers are too good…” hey, who said this guarantee’s them a championship? I’ll still take Miami to win it all next year. I’ll take the Lakers over OKC but will take Miami over LA because they’ve still got Lebron (see what he’s doing amongst the best on Team U.S.A at Olympics? Especially game against Lithuania?)

People then complain about it being all stacked – you want it stacked don’t you? People in Ohio love a stacked deck when it’s Ohio State football in the Big 10, but they hate it when it’s the Indians in baseball, Cavs in basketball and Blue Jackets in hockey that are getting hozed! You love a stacked deck…when it’s YOUR stacked deck. “this is awesome” when it’s not yours “this stinks” it’s funny because it certainly doesn’t stink to be in OKC, Miami, Boston or LA right now in the NBA, those are excellent basketball teams. I would say that there are another 5 teams that are very very good right now – Brooklyn, San Antonio, Chicago, Denver and Indiana. Then I’d say there are 4 teams you don’t want to get into an alley fight with – Philadelphia, Clippers, Memphis and Knicks. There are 13 excellent, very good or very dangerous teams in this league – that’s 40% of the league. The league has certainly never been this deep – now are there 9 horrible teams? Yeah, but they are re-building. It’s like I’ve been saying for a while on the blog, I’d cut 4 outta the NBA, 4 outta baseball, 6 outta hockey and 4 outta the NFL, but that’s never going to happen.

Now, Orlando to me could’ve done much better than this – I was reading a comment on an article written today out of the New York Times and the individual made a good point saying “the Magic passing on better deals reminds me of the guy that goes to the bar and thinks the women are going to get cuter as the night goes on. After realizing he’s wrong at 1am in the morning, he panics and ends up going home with the ‘4’ he’s always avoided” The longer Orlando waited, the uglier this thing got – and that’s the way it’s worked in my life. I’m not saying the 1st offer is the best, but the longer you go, the uglier it gets because everybody in the league knows Dwight doesn’t want to be there, the fans are going to be booing him, it’s going to be awful , you should’ve jumped ship on this guy 2 years ago! I ranted 2 years ago on this very blog – your wife now, but 2 years ago when you were still dating, if she walked up to you and said “I don’t know about this, I’m not really attracted to you, I mean I kinda like…” get out of it!!  It’s certainly not a good fit – there are a million women in the sea and there’s a million guys out there as well…get out of it! If she’s dropping hints 2 years ago – which Dwight Howard was by saying “I’m going to look at other places” Like Kobe doesn’t say “you know I’m looking at other places” Kobe loves the Lakers.

So I think Orlando just kept waiting and waiting and waiting and it just kept getting uglier and the deals got worse and worse – I’ll take Brook Lopez’s contract! I’ll take that over whatever this deal really is – I don’t like this at all. Like in baseball, we don’t have any problem with someone just stepping up and paying a fortune and buying guys. The Lakers here didn’t buy anything! I’ve just never seen anything like this though because usually the way the NBA works is that you have to inherit a horrible contract and a bunch of draft picks to get a superstar! You gotta give something, the Lakers inherited nothing, kept Gasol, got rid of that head case Bynum and are giving up like a 2017 draft pick! So basically there is a 12 year old in the suburbs of Chicago whom the Lakers gave up. He’s babysitting his brother tonight as his parents are out for the night. The Lakers gave up a 12 year old in the burbs in Chicago for Dwight Howard…fantastic!!

But I am so over everyone whining about their lot in life “oh it’s this…that…this…that” I tell you, I always say this, go read the books written by a guy named Richard Florida (his bio http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Florida) do you want to matter? You gotta move!! I watched a documentary about a family who lives in Long Island, New York – talking about how he’s been unemployed for 3 years due to the recession and all – it’s a pretty awful situation and sad but yet I kept screaming at the television “move” Nebraska has 2% unemployment…move!! If you’re going to whine about your life and everybody’s narrative is “oh I can’t get this, I can’t get that…” stop it! Change your life, society is mobile! Don’t blame the Lakers!!

Sometimes the Lakers are just smarter than other people, they’re definitely more aggressive than others, and they stay on the clock. I remember reading in one of those college football insider subscriptions earlier this year where Lane Kiffen, USC football head coach, was telling the reporter on how it was the first day of recruiting this year – when you were allowed by NCAA rules to call up the players to recruit them to your school.  He said how he’d called 4 of the top 5 players in the country and recalled how the only other team that had called all 5 of them was Nick Saben of Alabama before him! That’s why Alabama right now is #1 in the country – they work harder than anyone else! Why are they dominating college football so much? Simply because Nick Saben is on the phone at 1am in the morning on the first day of recruiting. Lane Kiffen talked about how he’d called 4 of the top 5 players and basically every kid said “yeah, I just got off the phone with Nick Saben” they didn’t get off the phone with Northwestern’s coach! Didn’t get off the phone with Oklahoma State’s coach! Or Baylor’s coach! Or Oregon State’s coach! It was Alabama’s coach!

So you know what, this is very good for the Lakers! I’ll tell you what though, don’t hand the Lakers a championship either because of this move- you’re nuts to do that! I’ll still take Miami – now I do think they match up pretty well against Oklahoma City. By the way, Magic Johnson was interviewed on SportsCentre yesterday morning – he thinks that the Lakers, I agree with him here, that they will gel more quickly (Nash and Howard specifically) than the whole Bosh, Wade, Lebron took saying “ you’ve got three perimeter players in Miami – that’s why it was hard for them to work it out. Where is everybody going to go? Who is going to take the shots? While with the Lakers you won’t have that because you already know that Kobe Bryant will be coming off the wings shooting, you know Dwight Howard will be down low –that’s the only place he’s going to play. So this is going to be an easier transition for the Lakers for them to work it out than it was for Miami” Again, everybody loves a stacked deck when it’s your stacked deck and everybody resents when it’s somebody else. The Lakers outsmarted the league….once again!