Thursday, November 3, 2011

RSH's Titans Radio Portfolio

As part of an effort to compile my rapidly expanding portfolio of online writings, this post will contain links to all the pieces that I've written for Titans Radio during my fall internship. It will be updated each time a new piece is added to the site.

Munchak Begins Preparation For McCown
Morgan, Jones Expected to Play Sunday
Babineaux Prepared For First Titans Start
Washington Cautious With or Without Bailey
Munchak Using Broncos 2010 Comments
Munchak Hopes Avery Adds Deep Threat
Morgan Credits Rotation for Improved Defense
Munchak Pleased With Complete Win
Steelers Enter Week 5 Banged Up
Steelers Defensive Woes Draw Titans Focus
Munchak Monitoring Stevens, McRath Returns
Titans Fell Behind Early, Lost Game Plan
Munchak, Titans Welcome Bye Week Break
Munchak, Players Downplay Gameday Hype
McCourty: Houston Receivers Still Dangerous
Kubiak, Texans Focused on CJ
Texans Whip Titans 41-7 Behind Foster's Day
Collins' Season Over With Colts
Munchak Points Out Factors Leading to Losses
Ringer Workhorse Sunday in Titans Backfield
Titans Back to Winning Ways Over Colts
Williams, Wideouts Face Tough CIN Secondary
Munchak Says Bengals Worth the Hype
Bengals Top Titans With Big Second Half, 24-17
Munchak Shocked By Penn State Scandal
Banged-Up Titans Held Out of Practice
Newton Presents the Unpredictable for Titans
Titans Trounce Panthers 30-3
High-Powered Falcons Offense Next For Titans
Locker Throws 2 TD's in Comeback Loss
Titans Fall to 5-5 With 23-17 Loss in ATL
Munchak Stresses Run Game, Discipline Vs TB
Titans Overcome Turnovers, Beat Bucs 23-17
Titans Look For Back to Back Wins Again
Titans Offense Answers for Week 13 Win
Griffin Expects Basketball-Like Game From Graham
Locker's 4th Qtr Comeback Falls Just Short
Titans Nurse Wounds, Prep for Colts

A link to this post will also appear in the blog's sidebar. Thanks for reading.

Monday, October 31, 2011

4 Quarters Radio: October 28

The first-quarter curriculum for October 28:
--Athlon Sports' Steven Lassan rejoins Scott for a little college football talk, starting with how many teams will finish unbeaten at year's end.
--Scott continues to bemoan the system being rigged against Boise State, and Steven is somewhat sympathetic.
--South Carolina's chances going forward are assessed, starting with the Tennessee game.
--The possibility of Vanderbilt hanging with Arkansas is weighed.
--Scott wonders where Purdue's best chance of getting their sixth win lays, and Steven offers what could be a surprising answer.
--Stanford-USC looked like the irresistible force and the immovable object, and Steven breaks down that matchup.
--Steven offers some appreciation of one team's tremendous freshman class, and how likely a reliance on freshmen will lead to a late-season stumble.
--Scott and Steven handicap what a steel cage match between two battling coaches would look like, and which of their teams is a better fit for a new conference.
--A behemoth 32-team conference draws a little bit of discussion, and Steven shares how likely he sees such an arrangement coming to fruition.
--Steven offers a prime example of why there are too many bowl games.
--Finally, a moment of appreciation for Case Keenum.

Featured music: "Watch Me Dance" by Roots Manuva.

The second-quarter curriculum for October 28:
--Bobby shows up just in time for Scott to realize that they haven't talked any kind of UFC action in a while. But, unfortunately, there hasn't been any can't-miss action to discuss, and the trend continues through Penn-Diaz and beyond.
--Moving on to NFL action, Scott and Bobby get into examining the eight divisions to see which is the league's best and worst. They're in somewhat surprising agreement overall.
--In Whodaman, Bobby gives love to Adrian Peterson and the Vikings. Meanwhile, Scott spreads it around like he's the guy on Sister Wives. An MTSU alumnus, a surprising Cardinal hero, and a pair of Cougars (not the female variety, unfortunately) get shoutouts.

Featured music: "Mr. Nice Watch" by J. Cole and Jay-Z.

The third-quarter curriculum for October 28:
--Bobby's kind of down over the impending final episode of 4Q, but to take his mind off it, Scott kicks off a game of Medal Stand. The topic: the top three teams that could use Terrell Owens. The two have kind of different views toward which teams would bother with the hassle.
--Eli Manning's comments about manipulating the NFL Draft and advising Andrew Luck are discussed. As one might expect, El Prof is not keen on the idea.
--Scott and Bobby ponder who is the NFL's most underrated running back. Bobby goes small, Scott goes with a total breakout candidate.

Featured music: "For My Friends" by Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa.

The fourth-quarter curriculum for October 28:
--Scott's all alone again, and pretty much running on fumes. He makes a valiant effort to talk about the World Series, Game Six. Injuries and pitcher rest come into focus.
--Scott also powers through some historical perspective on the Game Six comeback.
--As his voice starts to give out, though, it's time to draw to an early close. Scott manages to get through the Epic Fails and present some compelling evidence that Canadians are a little too into their hockey.

Featured music: "Talking to You (Is Like Talking to Myself)" by Daryl Hall.

Click here for a look at the (in progress) 4QR music archives. Please help the show out by buying a track or two.

Monday, October 24, 2011

4 Quarters Radio: October 21, 2011

The first-quarter curriculum for October 21:
--Scott and Bobby kick off a show with the fiasco that was the NFL trade deadline, and the show's resident Raider fan gets to weigh in on the Carson Palmer trade. Also, Scott's highly reluctant to give Mike Brown any praise for playing his poker hand well.
--The trade deadline's failures are discussed for a moment, with the Lions' misfortune as a keen example. The first order of business is to suggest a better date. Also, other deals that could have been made but weren't get dragged out into the light.
--The weather is starting to turn in Tennessee, and it's a prime time to discuss the NFL's cities and which ones have the best and worst weather.

Featured music: "Come On Over" by Veronica Falls.

The second-quarter curriculum for October 21:
--Mack Burke returns after a five-month sabbatical, and he gets an opportunity to vent on the trade deadline himself. The gist: "Won't someone think of Jason Campbell?"
--The fellas ponder whether the Schwartz/Harbaugh dustup should go into the Octagon, and whether coaches need to be duty-bound to shake hands after a game.
--Bryant Gumbel's comments about David Stern get played, and the fellas have a momentary chat on what Gumbel really meant. Perhaps surprisingly, there's not a lot of disagreement on the subject of Stern.
--In Whodaman, Bobby touts a running back who stomped the indomitable Suh. Mack's Whodaman and Epic Fail are oddly one and the same. Scott gives respect to a guy who seriously reps his team in a pimped hearse.

Featured music: "Miracle Worker" by SuperHeavy.

The third-quarter curriculum for October 21:
--4Q's first-ever in-studio guest, MTSU men's basketball coach Kermit Davis, stops in to talk about the early days of practice and the upcoming season.
--The coach starts off weighing in on what the college game would look like with players like Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams staying around instead of sitting out in the locked-out NBA. Scott and Coach Davis also discuss their eligibility rules of choice.
--MTSU forward Torin Walker's eligibility status gets discussed, as well as a brief explanation of why he's having problems in the first place.
--Forward LaRon Dendy's potential for postseason honors comes in for serious discussion.
--Several candidates exist for the point guard position, and Scott asks (ahem) point blank who's in the lead.
--The packed early-season schedule draws a look, and Coach Davis lays out the credentials of his team's opponents. The players will be disappointed to learn that there's no time for fun when the Blue Raiders head to Los Angeles.
--Coach Davis identifies the team to beat in the Sun Belt for the 11-12 season. Also, a player who could dominate the Sun Belt gets discussed.
--Scott and Coach Davis talk a little music on the way out.

Featured music: "Standing On Higher Ground" by Leslie West featuring Billy Gibbons.

The fourth-quarter curriculum for October 21:
--Scott and Mack are able to discuss a little baseball, and there is a chat about what can be done to improve the World Series.
--Baseball's calendar, which is about to become more crowded, catches some grief.
--Nolan Ryan begins his approach toward Scott's pantheon of all-time favorite sports owners.
--Scott lights the fuse and lets Mack rant for a minute on the Theo Epstein situation.
--Between Theo and Rex, Mack's Epic Fail is well-covered. Scott's resides in Europe, with a team that didn't check with the neighbors before finding a sponsor.

Featured music: "She Really Got to You" by Ivy.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

4 Quarters Radio: September 30 4th Quarter

The fourth-quarter curriculum for September 30:
--Logan hijacks the Concert Calendar with an impromptu rendition of "In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida." After Scott turns his mic back on, Logan gets his chance to weigh in on the Titans and how they've performed early on.
--The discussion turns to exactly how many teams Logan can claim to "like." Current estimate may be in low double digits.
--Logan gets to rant on a recruit who may have gotten Tennessee into more NCAA trouble, especially since it's his second school to have such issues.
--In the Epic Fails, Logan complains about a running back when he needs to go after the offensive coordinator. Scott calls out a mom who ruined her sons' football careers and another set of parents who didn't seem to care if they ever saw their kid again.

Featured music: "Turn Me On" by David Guetta and Nicki Minaj.

4 Quarters Radio: September 30 3rd Quarter

The third-quarter curriculum for September 30:
--Logan finally arrives, and they discuss the ESPN documentary "Chasing Hell" about Steve Bartman dooming the Chicago Cubs. This, of course, comes after giving Bobby a crash course in how to put call-in guests on hold.
--Multiple attempts are made, but finally, the fellas get MTSU news professor Rob Jasso on the line to talk about how the media handled its coverage of Bartman. Questions of liability, moral judgment and personal safety in pursuit of a story are among the topics.

Featured music: "In My Arms" by Glen Campbell.

4 Quarters Radio: September 30 2nd Quarter

The second-quarter curriculum for September 30:
--Bobby shows up in time to weigh in on developments in fantasy football, including his team having another disappointing week. The two start off with a possible nominee for early Fantasy MVP.
--Traditionally dominant fantasy defenses get examined to see exactly why they're getting lit up.
--The Titans' early-season start gets a little scrutiny and some wonderment over why exactly everyone's surprised. Back on the fantasy tip, Scott and Bobby weigh whether it's time to give up on Chris Johnson.
--In Whodaman, Bobby coins a word that we don't hear nearly often enough. Scott honors guys who did something that doesn't happen nearly EVER.

Featured music: "Sweat" by Hard-Fi.

4 Quarters Radio: September 30 1st Quarter

The first-quarter curriculum for September 30:
--Scott's all alone in the studio, but he's still locked and loaded. Being a solutions-oriented sort, he offers the perfect center for Mike Vick and his banged-up hand. He then moves on to note that everyone involved with the story is protesting a bit too much.
--Scott is able to cite some statistics that can defuse anyone who's inclined to call Vick's problems racial in nature. Several other teams have their QB's getting hit more often than Philly.
--Logan Propst, who should be in the studio, instead turns up on the phone and offers his thoughts on Vick as well.
--Los Guys turn to Minnesota and ponder the real culprit for the Vikings' epic second-half failures. This, naturally, leads into a discussion of Madden etiquette.
--Scott starts an impromptu game of Medal Stand, ranking his top three teams most likely to Suck for Luck. Logan's not in the mood to play, but Scott's more than able to rise to the occasion.

Featured music: "From a Table Away" by Sunny Sweeney.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Randy Moss Retires: Does Canton Clock Start Now?

The agent for former Vikings and Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss announced that Moss was retiring Monday, potentially calling an end to one of the most famous, and infamous, careers of any receiver in NFL history.

The news comes as a surprise, just weeks after the same agent, Joel Segal, claimed that Moss was in "freakish shape" as a result of "two-a-days, all spring and summer in West Virginia."

Players pondering retirement rarely put themselves through grueling two-a-day practices at home, which leads to speculation about Moss's "retirement" being a ploy to avoid a team's training camp.

The possibility remains that a team could offer Moss a contract if they suffer a rash of injuries, but for now, no offers appear forthcoming. Moss "retiring," therefore, is his way of telling the 32 NFL clubs, "You can't fire me, I quit."

If Moss does fade into the shadows in the same way Marvin Harrison did after his release from the Indianapolis Colts in early 2009, the Canton Clock starts now, counting down the five-year waiting period for his enshrinement.

Moss could become eligible for the Hall at the same time as another veteran wide receiver with eye-popping stats and equally impressive off-field baggage, Terrell Owens.

Like Moss, Owens has spent his last few seasons bouncing from team to team in search of the next big highlight. Their career numbers are similar, down to both catching exactly 153 career touchdowns to date.

So, if you had to make one wait to get into Canton, which would it be? The man who bagged 17 touchdowns as a rookie, or the one who took the torch from his 49ers predecessor, Jerry Rice? The player who immortalized the phrase "straight cash, homie" or the one who gave us the tearful "that's my quarterback"? The guy who tried to run over a meter maid or the one who liked to call press conferences in his driveway?

First, the numbers. T.O.'s advantages over Moss are 124 catches and 1074 yards in 17 extra games. Sizeable, but a motivated Moss could easily put the yards up. Catches are less likely. As said before, touchdowns are dead even. ADVANTAGE: Push.

Playoff performance: Moss erupted in his first several playoff games, recording nine scores in seven games. Only Gary Anderson's inexplicable case of the yips kept Moss from appearing in the Super Bowl as a rookie. From there, indifference took over. His best game from 2005 on was 5 catches, 62 yards and a score in Super Bowl XLII, when Eli and the Miracles snatched a ring from his grasp.
T.O.'s production was much more pedestrian, save lighting up the Giants in 2002 and his 122 yards for the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX, when he made a stirring return from a broken leg. ADVANTAGE: Moss

Team performance: Neither man won a Super Bowl, and each only appeared in one. Interestingly, though, the Patriots' loss to the Ravens after the 2009 season was the first time that Moss had been on a team that lost its first playoff game. Moss was on six playoff teams, Owens on eight.
Still, the Dallas teams that T.O. was on had to rank with some of the most disappointing groups in NFL history. Those Cowboy teams had great talent, but small results. ADVANTAGE: Moss

Public opinion: Moss is a physical freak who played at 80-percent effort. T.O. is an unrepentant attention hound who personifies the "diva receiver" stereotype. Moss's off-field baggage occasionally skirted the edges of legality, with the meter maid incident and frank admissions of marijuana use. T.O.'s issues were minor in comparison, save a hotly denied suicide attempt. ADVANTAGE: Owens

Both men provide classic case studies of why some football fans clamor for the return of the Wing-T formation, back before wide receivers were paid handsomely to do wind sprints for most of the game. They're polarizing figures, making fans choose between shaking their heads at amazing feats on the field and doing the same at boneheaded actions off of it.

Still, if forced to choose between one, this writer backs T.O. because of one old saying.
"Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard." We can say what we want about Terrell Owens, but it was hard to outwork him on the field.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Shaq Joins Turner Sports: Call Him "The Big Analytical"

Anyone who has been clamoring to hear Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal trade jabs and comments about the NBA will soon have their wildest dreams granted.

Fresh off a retirement that concluded an unquestioned Hall of Fame career, Shaq has signed an agreement to join the Turner Sports team, including the studio show Inside the NBA. Shaq will fill the fourth chair alongside Barkley, Kenny Smith, and host Ernie Johnson, as well as provide content for and occasionally show up on NBA TV.

Placing O'Neal, who's known for occasional verbal outbursts as an interview subject, alongside Barkley, who's never stopped his outbursts as an analyst, could lead to fantastic TV, some of the most entertaining sports coverage ever taped. It could also lead to a flaming trainwreck playing out in the nation's living rooms.

First off, let's remember that Chuck and Shaq once faced off in a memorable fight. All is forgiven now, but wait until someone gets the bright idea to have a re-enactment. A ball comes flying in from offcamera, clocks Shaq in the head, and it's on.

Eh, for that matter, that might be pretty entertaining, and the two of them would almost certainly play it for laughs now.

Okay, what about criticizing former colleagues? Well, Shaq has had his fun with comments about the likes of Greg Ostertag, or at least a Karl Malone dummy in Shaq's hands did ("Glad I'm playin' with a center, that Greg Ostertag was a bum."). And there was also his contentious relationship with the Sacramento "Queens."

So many rookie analysts, however, have difficulties criticizing former teammates. Well, maybe Shaq's already got that problem licked. (Okay, unfortunate choice of words. Right, Kobe?)

You know what? Never mind. It's time to get that new NBA labor deal done, so we can be assured of seeing Shaq and Chuck suited up for Opening Night as soon as possible.

David Stern, free The Big Analytical now.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

NBA Players Association Supports Taking Talents to Europe

According to the New York Times, NBA Players Association executive director Billy Hunter has sent a letter to 450 players, fully blessing any athlete who explores the option of playing abroad during the league's lockout.

In the letter, Hunter said that the lockout's purpose was to "economically pressure our players to agree to an unfavorable collective bargaining agreement." He also added, "If the owners will not give our players a forum in which to play basketball here in the United States, they risk losing the greatest players in the world to the international basketball federations that are more than willing to employ them."

In the wake of New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams' agreement to play for the Turkish club Besiktas this fall, nearly every other star player in the league has had to face questions about his own plans for a protracted lockout. Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire tweeted that he had decided against Europe as a viable option, but backpedaled from that stance on ESPN Radio this week.

Stoudemire's reversal seems telling, especially in the wake of Hunter's letter, the published excerpts of which read like labor-leader posturing from word one. The letter's stance seems likely to inform responses from every player who gets lockout questions from now until Dealday.

Williams claims to have talked to many players highly interested in playing for European clubs. Stars like Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, and Kevin Durant aren't ruling anything out. Their waffling rings hollow, though.

According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, Williams' Besiktas contract will pay him $200,000 per month. His Nets contract is set to pay him $199,509 per game for the 2011-12 season. Players like Williams and the others mentioned above don't need the money one bit. At least they shouldn't, but you never know. Antoine Walker never seemed to need the extra cash, either.

Players like Sonny Weems are a different story. The Toronto Raptors' forward, slated to make $850,000 this year, signed with a club in Lithuania. Philadelphia forward Darius Songaila is headed to Turkey for $1.5 million, not much less than Williams.

The risk of contract-voiding injury is likely too great for guys like Wade or Durant to entertain traveling to a different country to play for what amounts to pocket change. Especially when there's a likelihood that they may not even see said pocket change.

Phoenix Suns swingman Josh Childress told ESPN's Ric Bucher (Insider piece) that "If a guy isn't playing well or a team is out of the playoffs, they'll just stop paying you. I know tons and tons of players who just walked away because they didn't want to go through the hassle of going to court to get their money."

Childress, who spent two years playing for the Greek club Olympiacos, doesn't understand why any player with a large guaranteed contract would go to Europe and put it all in jeopardy. Players like Weems, Songaila, and Thunder center Nenad Krstic, who's bound for Russia, don't fall into that category. They're also not the kinds of names that will move the needle stateside, for fans or the league.

Kobe and Wade understand the politics of the labor negotiations well enough to know that ruling out options takes pressure off the owners to move on their proposals. Amar'e needed a little reminder after getting carried away on Twitter.

If David Stern thought for a moment that all of his owners' high-priced superstars were ready to throw it all away to play for clubs whose names are only familiar to dedicated soccer fans, there might be a bit more urgency in negotiations. Guys like Sonny Weems and Darius Songaila, however, may just be written off as collateral damage.

Unfortunately for Billy Hunter, it's guys like Weems and Songaila who are the only ones who really have any motivation to make this move.


K-Rod Trade: Brewers' Ticket to Glory or Misery?

In Major League Baseball's post-All-Star-break horse race toward the playoffs, the Milwaukee Brewers became the first to make a big move on the outside, acquiring veteran closer Francisco Rodriguez from the New York Mets for a pair of players to be named later.

In a move that would seem excessive for a team that already has an established closer, the Brewers bring in "K-Rod"'s 291 career saves and tout him as a backup plan for John Axford. Brewers GM Doug Melvin said, "In a pennant race, there's a chance you could go out and have six straight one-run ballgames. There's no way that any one guy can close six games in a row."

As a factor in the deal, Rodriguez's contract has been downplayed by his former employers in New York. K-Rod would receive a vesting option paying him $17.5 million next season by finishing 55 games over the course of the season. To this point in the season, he has finished 34.

Escaping that option is undoubtedly a benefit for the Mets as they face uncertain decisions over the futures of the rest of their nucleus. David Wright, Jose Reyes, and K-Rod faced rumors from the start of the season. Now, the Brewers have the clock running to influence their usage of Rodriguez.

That usage may turn out to be the most difficult juggling act not involving chainsaws or torches. K-Rod's new agent, Scott Boras, told New York's Newsday earlier this week, "Francisco Rodriguez is a historic closer. He’s not going anywhere to be a setup man.” Boras added, “Closers don’t make good setup men. Does anyone want an unhappy setup man in their clubhouse?"

Rodriguez has shown in the past that he can quickly make a situation ugly when he's unhappy. Last August, the Mets were pondering proceedings to void his contract when he assaulted his girlfriend's father in a Citi Field lounge.

The Brewers have to gauge their use of Rodriguez carefully, as his potentially historic 2012 salary would be an enormous drag on any attempt to keep Prince Fielder in next season's lineup.

No matter how the Brewers use him, K-Rod will need to weigh his words and actions just as carefully, especially if he runs out of games to close and faces the free agent market. The rehabilitation of his image would be aided immensely if he helps Milwaukee to the playoffs with only a handful of saves, being a good company man all the way.

Axford is 23-of-24 in save opportunities with a 1.99 ERA since blowing one on Opening Day, so anything that would upset his rhythm could easily backfire, even if the motive is based around getting him some extra rest.

The addition of K-Rod is certain to increase everyone's stress level, from Melvin to manager Ron Roenicke to all the players to the fan base. The one certain benefit is that the fans may have to make several more runs to the beer stands to take the edge off.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Yao Ming Retires, And A Generation Now Understands Bill Walton

Skilled, potentially dominant big men are very difficult to find in basketball these days. Dwight Howard’s had years to develop something resembling an offensive repertoire, learning from one of the last talented inside scorers, Patrick Ewing. Shaquille O’Neal’s sheer physicality made up for any lack of moves, as defending him was much like posting up a CSX freight train.

It’s for this reason that the NBA is highly likely to miss Yao Ming. Listed at 7’6” and admitting to 7’3”, the NBA’s first Chinese star is still considered a better ambassador than player. This despite a career that saw averages of 19 points, nine rebounds and two blocks per game. Should the numbers have been greater? Perhaps.
Still, why is the bar set that much higher for Yao than it is for, say, Bill Walton? Is it simply based on the extra four inches of height? Walton did produce more as a rebounder and shot-blocker despite being “only” 6’11, but otherwise, the two men possessed several similarities.

Both were very gifted passers for pivots and possessed better scoring range than most of the brutes that they guarded night in and night out. When it came to scoring, Yao was as skilled as any center since his Houston predecessor Hakeem Olajuwon.

His career free throw percentage is second only to Dirk Nowitzki among seven-footers. Yao’s 2006-07 season put him in fast company when he averaged 25 points per game. Only seven other seven-footers have recorded a 25-ppg season, and you may recognize some of the names: Abdul-Jabbar, Chamberlain, Ewing, Nowitzki, O’Neal, Olajuwon, Robinson. All of them are or one day will be Hall-of-Famers.

Yao’s decision to truncate his career rather than hang on as a spare part, as Walton did in backing up Robert Parish in Boston, is likely to be held against him, because he never got to wear a ring. Walton is still in the Hall of Fame despite the foot problems that ravaged his stat sheet even worse than Yao’s.

Walton is likely in the Hall even more for his dominance in college than for his all-too-brief moments of NBA glory. Yao proved capable of performing on the game’s biggest stage, and his impact in putting the NBA product in front of the world’s biggest consumer market should more than trump anything Walton did at UCLA. Perhaps Yao’s not bound for Springfield on the first ballot, but it’s absolutely possible, and advisable, that he get there.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mackey's Passing Illustrates NFL Lockout's True Point

Hall of Fame tight end John Mackey passed away Wednesday at the age of 69. His blend of size, speed, and strength made his position a weapon in the NFL’s increasingly sophisticated passing game, expanding the tight end’s role from that of a glorified sixth lineman.

In addition to his contributions on the field, Mackey served four years as NFL Players Association president from 1969 to 1973. A brief 1970 strike led to $11 million in improvements to player pensions and benefits, according to the Baltimore Sun.

He also led litigation that forced the elimination of the “Rozelle Rule,” which limited free-agent signings by mandating that a team losing a free agent must receive equal compensation. The courtroom victory helped pave the way for the free-agent system from which today’s players benefit.

The rigors of Mackey’s career, however, left him with dementia, an increasingly common side effect from the constant hits absorbed by NFL players. The NFL and NFLPA collaborated on the so-called “88 Plan,” which provides $88,000 per year for nursing home care to ex-players suffering from dementia, and $50,000 for home care.

The NFL lockout sometimes gets oversimplified to two groups of rich guys arguing over who gets how much of the league’s nine-billion-dollar revenue pie. What’s often lost is the issue of care for the players who put the NFL in position to rake in those amounts of money. Retired players have filed a grievance demanding a larger voice in the lockout negotiations, attempting to make sure that they’re not left out in the cold as owners and today’s players battle over the spoils of the game.

The negotiations appear to be warming up as the planned start dates of NFL training camps approach. It would be sad if the deal was sidetracked by both sides being reminded that they have not adequately provided for the NFL’s retirees. If it is, though, so be it, because making sure that players from John Mackey’s era can live their final days in dignity vastly outweighs the need for today’s stars to buy another house.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Joe West's Ejections Have Now Eclipsed His Record Sales

We're only six days into July, and MLB umpire Joe West has his crew on a one-ejection per day pace this month. ESPN's Streak for the Cash game has yet to make West's July ejections a prop bet, but they should. (Suggested over/under: 20.)

West's crew has tossed 17 players, coaches or managers this season, a rate of one every 5.76 days. Four people got run Tuesday night alone, overshadowing a marvelous two-hit shutout by Dan Haren (his 100th career win, to boot). Pitcher Rick Porcello was tossed from a game he wasn't even in because he got lippy from the dugout. Tigers starter Justin Verlander was leaving the game for a reliever when he was, what, he should head for the showers that much faster?

The old saying "absolute power corrupts absolutely" holds a little relevance in the case of umpires like West and his partners Angel Hernandez and Angel Campos. Baseball umpires, perhaps clinging to a bit of the game's rough-and-tumble heritage, are the only officials in any major sport that yell back when someone is giving them the business. When the ump tires of the argument, he can simply excuse the other party from any further participation that evening.

The best part of an ump's job? If anyone dares to piss and moan about an ejection, whether they have a case or not, they're going to pay for it. Meanwhile, the umpiring crew goes back to the hotel, watches a little pay-per-view, and returns to the park the next day, already amped up to see if anyone else wants to test their tolerance.

That noted paragon of patience, Tigers manager Jim Leyland, says something needs to be done. And he's not wrong. Umpires are rarely, if ever, disciplined for unreasonable or excessive ejections in games, nor are they evaluated for any actions of their own that contribute to the angry climate surrounding a particular game.

The best officials are the ones who keep control of a game in an understated, anonymous fashion. "Understated" and "anonymous" are two words that could never be applied to Joe West. Remember, we're dealing with a man who wants to make some extra scratch as a country singer. Any time he gets his name in the paper, it's a bonus. Right, Mark Buehrle?

After all, this is a guy who once tossed TV cameramen out of Shea Stadium for letting the Mets watch a replay. Oh, speaking of which...

Anti-baseball-replay advocates often complain that umpires spending time looking at a video screen will delay the game. Considering that most of these screaming matches take place following some kind of bang-bang play, is it reasonable to ask if a manager respectfully asking "let's go to the videotape" would delay the game less than a vociferous argument? This doesn't even take into consideration the lineup juggling that would take place if a player was tossed, or the time it would take for a reliever to warm up after replacing an ejected pitcher.

Mike Hargrove used to be called "The Human Rain Delay" for his routine at the plate, but West's crew have done more to slow down games this season than David Ortiz home run trots. Good officials try to avoid deciding the outcome of a game, but what does an ejection do if not change the future of that evening's action? Er go, West and his boys aren't exactly good officials. Right, Ozzie Guillen?

I really am waiting for this conversation to occur in the near future:

Joe West: "Hey, did you buy my new album yet?"

Batter: "Nope."


Note to the Cowboy: ejecting half the free world has little effect aside from alienating the CD-buying public. Kinder, gentler umpires sell more country albums. Basic marketing is your friend, Joe.

Roy Williams Fails With a Ring in the Mail

A marriage proposal should carry a large romance quotient. At the very minimum, a nice dinner should be involved, some candlelight, being in the same room…you know, the basics.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Roy Williams dispensed with all of that foolishness, deciding that nothing says romance like a U.S. Postal Service Express Mail box containing a $76,000 ring and a DVD. The recipient, former Miss Texas Brooke Daniels, was strangely unmoved by a proposal from a man who couldn’t even make the trip in person to deliver the ring.

It’s understandable to be nervous about a proposal. Men worldwide struggle to get the words out, fumble the ring, sweat through their suits, etc. That’s part of the secret for having one accepted. Even if a woman is iffy about spending her life with you, she may give you credit for getting through the proposal without vomiting on her shoes.

Sending a video of yourself in your comfortable gear in your comfortable home takes all the daring out of a proposal and makes it reek of selfishness. If a man won’t make a woman feel like she’s worth the discomfort of dropping to a knee and spitting the words out, she’ll forever wonder, “What am I worth to him, exactly?”

Roy Williams’ last several years have been based around taking the easy way out. He tried to convince everyone that he was still the Cowboys’ No. 1 receiver three games into the explosive Miles Austin era. His 2010 season ended with five catches in his last four games, and his response was, "I was the go-to guy in Detroit…coordinators can make who they want to make the star."

Everything is someone else’s fault. In Roy’s mind, Daniels probably refused the proposal because the mailman slipped her his phone number. Either way, he now feels the need to press legal action to get the ring back. All the legal fees could have been saved if he’d ensured that the ring never left his possession in the first place.

Learn a lesson from Uncle Roy, kids. No “how Daddy/Grandpa proposed” story should ever include the words “postage due.”

Sunday, June 12, 2011

12 Infamous Player-on-Player Crimes: The Director's Cut

This is the true, unedited version of the slideshow posted on Athlon Sports last week.

Vancouver Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows escaped a suspension for allegedly chomping on the fingers of Bruins center Patrice Bergeron in last Wednesday’s Stanley Cup Finals opener. The league decided that insufficient proof existed to show Burrows taking a bite.

The 12 incidents shown here, unlike the Burrows bite, have plenty of evidence that they happened. Some have pictures, some have videos, and all have legendary reputations.

12. Vinnie Jones “Snatches” Paul Gascoigne
Vinnie Jones may be familiar to action movie fans for his portrayals of Bullet-Tooth Tony in Snatch, Sphinx in the 2000 remake of Gone in 60 Seconds, or Juggernaut in X-Men: The Last Stand. Surprisingly, he has yet to receive an Oscar nomination.

Before all that, though, he was a legendary “hard man,” or enforcer, for several high-level English soccer clubs, including Wimbledon and Chelsea. In a 1988 match between Wimbledon and Newcastle, he showed his crabby (or is that grabby?) side by, shall we say, yanking the knob on Newcastle midfielder Paul Gascoigne’s front door.

The picture has become iconic in England, and has certainly helped Jones get work as a movie madman. Of course, saying things to opponents along the lines of “I’m gonna rip your leg off then hit you over the head with the soggy end” hasn’t hurt either.

Say what you want about Vinnie’s disposition or his acting chops, but as “Gazza” would likely testify, Jones the player had some very underrated ballhandling skills.

11. University of New Mexico’s One-Woman Crime Spree
Junior defender Elizabeth Lambert got some attention that the New Mexico women’s soccer team might not have wanted when she took physical defense to a new level in 2009.

Playing BYU in a Mountain West Conference tournament semifinal match, Lambert played defense less out of EA Sports FIFA 11 and more out of WWE Smackdown vs. Raw. Lunging tackles that sought to take out ankles, slaps to opponents’ faces on the way down from headers, you name it. There’s no truth to the rumor that she tried to leave the field to look for a steel chair.

There’s lots of truth, though, to the legend of Lambert trying to rip Kassidy Shumway’s ponytail right out of her head. See the video if you are a fan of physical soccer, women behaving badly, and/or Drowning Pool.

10. Chan Ho Park Channels Bruce Lee, Gets Housed
June 5, 1999 started out as a pretty good day for Chan Ho Park. The Dodgers’ righthander had only allowed one hit to the Anaheim Angels and had struck out four through 3 1/3 innings. Then, he let up a bit, allowing Mo Vaughn, Garret Anderson, and Troy Glaus to load the bases and falling behind 2-0 to light-hitting catcher Matt Walbeck. The next pitch ended up in the right-centerfield seats, and the Dodgers were trailing 4-0.

Grand slams were a bit of a sore subject for Park that year. Back in April, he had given up two grannies to the Cardinals’ Fernando Tatis IN THE SAME INNING. That’s still the only time one pitcher has ever been tagged for eight runs on two swings by the same guy in the same inning. Ever.

Still, Park seemed to recover well after Walbeck’s shot, getting the next four batters out, and all seemed well when he came to bat in the bottom of the fifth. With a runner on first, Park laid down a sacrifice bunt and was tagged out by Angel starter Tim Belcher. Whether the tag was too hard, or being tagged out by the opposing pitcher was enough to bring dishonor to Park’s family, Chan Ho went off.

The game became less Field of Dreams and more Game of Death, as Park stuck a forearm shiver into Belcher’s face, then followed up with what was likely not his best tae kwon do kick, landing it somewhere in Belcher’s hip region. Most video footage cuts off there, but with Park on the ground after his flying kick and Belcher charging with nostrils flared, it doesn’t look good for Chan Ho Phooey.

By most accounts, Park got the worst of the fight, and Belcher remained perplexed two years later. In the August 2001 issue of Maxim, Belcher was quoted thusly: “The guy tried to kick my head off. So what if he likes tae kwon do? I like to hunt, but I didn't take a shotgun out there.” No truth to the rumor that that comment gave Bud Selig an idea for the next time attendance starts to fall off.

9. Minor League Game, Major League Fight
Israel “Izzy” Alcantara was a classic “Four-A” player. From 1997 through 2000, he clubbed 113 minor-league home runs as a farmhand for four different teams, adding four bombs at the major-league level for the Boston Red Sox. In 2001, he still dominated the minors, batting .297 with 36 home runs at Triple-A Pawtucket, but it was a never-finished at-bat that became his immortal legacy.

On July 3, 2001, Scranton-Wilkes Barre pitcher Blas Cedeno brushed Izzy back twice, and twice was all Izzy could stand. Alcantara threw a thrust kick that would make “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels proud, sending catcher Jeremy Salazar sprawling, then it was off to the mound. Cedeno stepped expertly away from Izzy’s wild roundhouse right and, by that time, the rest of the infield convened at the mound.

Izzy looked about and seemingly had just enough time to think, “Well, crap, now I’m surrounded.” He was then smothered by the flood of people charging out of both dugouts, and the situation defused itself from there.

The Providence Journal conjectured that the Scranton team may have been plotting against Izzy for his alarming tendency to hit home runs off of them. The Red Barons were also said to be a little sore from Izzy’s perceived hot-dogging on his most recent long ball the night before.

By the end of this brawl, however, it’s likely no one was sorer than Izzy himself…with the possible exception of the superkicked catcher. Chest protector or not, that looked like it hurt.

8. Zinedine Zidane’s Thin Skin and “Sister” Screw Entire Nation
Players in all sports talk trash during games, and it occasionally gets a little racy. Once you bring an opponent’s mother, wife, girlfriend, or sister into the discussion, it’s the express lane to an explosion.

French midfielder Zinedine Zidane saw red, both literally and figuratively, when Italy’s Marco Materazzi called Zidane’s sister a whore during a 2006 international match. He headbutted Materazzi in the chest, sending the Italian sprawling like he’d been shot with a deer rifle. Appropriately enough, Zidane was ejected for the overt act of aggression.

The problem was that this wasn’t just any old international friendly, it was the World Cup Final. Picture James Harrison swinging his helmet into Aaron Rodgers’ crotch in the middle of the Super Bowl, and you have an idea of how big a moment this was. And honestly, isn’t it quite easy to picture James Harrison swinging a helmet at someone?

Now down a man, France went on to lose the Final in a shootout, and Zidane retired from international duty after the match. Materazzi later published a humorous book entitled “What I Really Said to Zidane,” containing about 250 jokey phrases that may have provoked the headbutt. Personal favorite: “Where exactly IS the sternum?”

7. McHale Clotheslines Rambis, Mustache Unharmed
The 1984 NBA Finals marked the first time that Magic Johnson and Larry Bird had met for a professional championship after their scintillating duel for the NCAA title five years prior. Three games into the series, the Lakers were running at will, scoring an impressive 137 points in regulation during Game 3.

In Game 4, coach K.C. Jones wanted the Celtics to be more physical. Kevin McHale thought that was a fine idea, and with less than seven minutes to go in the third quarter, he got an opportunity to prove it.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar pulled down a rebound and tossed a long baseball pass to James Worthy. Worthy found a streaking Rambis, who had a wide-open layup in his sights until McHale caught him in the air and brought him down hard with a textbook clothesline. We’re still unsure what kind of school uses textbooks that teach such things.

Larry Bird helped Rambis back to his feet and tried to talk him down as the crowd at the Forum serenaded the players with that immortal chant, “Boston Sucks!”

After the game, Cedric “Cornbread” Maxwell was excited, noting that the Lakers went from “running across the street whenever they wanted” to more of a “stop at the corner, push the button, wait for the light, and look both ways” approach.

Kurt Rambis’s Mustache, aka “The Secret of Kurt’s Success,” had no comment, but suited up again in the next three games. Unfortunately, there were no more streaking layups to be had, and the Celtics took the series in seven games.

6. Miami + Weapons = A Typical Saturday Night
The result of the October 14, 2006 football game between the Miami Hurricanes and the Florida International Golden Panthers was expected to be ugly. That’s what typically happens when a Sun Belt team meets… well, any non-Sun Belt team. What wasn’t anticipated was how ugly the game would get before it was even finished.

Miami was only leading 13-0 in the third quarter after James Bryant caught a five-yard touchdown pass. Despite the fact that the would-be blowout was still somewhat of a game, Bryant decided his gorgeous reception warranted taking a bow to the fans. The Panthers were not amused.

On the ensuing extra point, rushers and blockers began shoving, the holder got thrown to the ground and punched in the jaw, and all hell generally broke loose. Players were kicked and stomped and punched in the back of the head, whether they were helmeted or not.

‘Canes safety Anthony Reddick heroically charged in swinging his helmet, looking a lot like a little old lady hitting a robber with her purse. One player got in touch with his inner Junkyard Dog and powerslammed an opponent to the turf in the middle of the fracas. Not seen in the video, but no less noteworthy, was injured FIU running back A’Mod Ned, who went wading into the mess swinging his crutches at anything moving.

Finally, the classiest performance of the entire night. Former Hurricane wide receiver Lamar Thomas, who was doing color commentary for CSS on the broadcast, made the following comments on air:

“Now, that’s what I’m talking about. You come into our house, you should get your behind kicked. You don’t come into the OB [Orange Bowl] playing that stuff. You’re across the ocean over there. You’re across the city. You can’t come over to our place talking noise like that. You’ll get your butt beat. I was about to go down the elevator to get in that thing...I say, why don't we meet outside in the tunnel after the ball game and get it on some more? You don't come into the OB, baby. We've had a down couple of years but you don't come in here talking smack. Not in our house."

31 players were suspended, Lamar Thomas was fired, and FIU went right on struggling mightily against BCS opponents. Since that fight, the Panthers are 0-16 against teams from BCS conferences, being outscored 615-165 in those games.

5. Brawl in a Dark Alley? Nope, Try a Dark Rink
The 1987 World Junior Hockey Championships, held in Piestany, Czechoslovakia, boasted a host of future NHL stars in its final game. The rosters of Canada and the Soviet Union featured players like Brendan Shanahan, Theoren Fleury, Sergei Fedorov, and Alexander Mogilny. By game’s end, though, the names on the jerseys were irrelevant, since no one could see them with the lights turned off.

But, let’s back up a moment. Referee Hans Ronning was a controversial selection to officiate this match, especially after his performance in the Canada-United States match three days earlier. In that one, a wild brawl broke out in warm-ups, even before the officials hit the ice. Ronning’s highly scientific solution was to eject one player at random from each team. Makes sense, eh?

Canada’s representative at the championship wanted no part of Ronning refereeing the final, and tried to get the appointment overturned. That also made sense, as Ronning was an inexperienced international ref, chosen for his neutrality more than any other trait. The inexperience showed throughout the final match, as both sides were allowed to freely swing sticks without penalties being called.

Canada’s Fleury did the cause of peace no favors after scoring the game’s first goal when he brandished his stick as if it were a machine gun and proceeded to “open fire” on the Soviet bench. Early in the second period, small scuffles broke out that sent two players from each team to the penalty box, and with 6:07 left in that period, it was on.

Pavel Kostichkin swung a two-handed slash at Fleury, everyone paired up with a dance partner, and the USSR’s Evgeny Davydov became the first guy to leave his team’s bench. That started a flood of bodies onto the ice, leading to at least a dozen separate fights all over the surface.

Fleury described a battle between Mike Keane and Valeri Zelepukin as “fighting like it was for the world title.” Vladimir Konstantinov threw a headbutt that broke Greg Hawgood’s nose, and Hawgood’s teammate Brendan Shanahan was forced to give props, calling it “the greatest headbutt I’ve ever seen.” Hawgood’s nose surely begged to differ.

The officials were booted off the ice by Czech officials for their total failure to control the situation, and tournament officials resorted to turning off the arena lights. The players cared little, brawling on for another several minutes. The game was ultimately vacated, both teams were ejected from the tournament, and Finland ended up having their bronze upgraded to a gold.

Conspiracy theorists claimed that the USSR, already out of medal contention, started the fight deliberately, seeking to sabotage Canada’s chances of winning their own medal. This seems about as likely as a theory we’re throwing around the office that the Soviet team were shown Red Dawn during intermission.

4. Ohio State’s Luke Witte Catches One Right in the Ol’ Buckeyes
Former Minnesota basketball coach Bill Musselman was one of the first advocates of playing rock music during his team’s warmup. He saw the thumping music as motivational, while others thought the practice “animalized” his team.

That was the exact word used by Dr. Wayne Witte, father of Ohio State center Luke Witte, after the January 25, 1972 game between the Buckeyes and Gophers. In the final minute, Luke was fouled hard while driving for a layup. Minnesota center Corky Taylor extended a hand to help Witte to his feet, then dropped him right back down to the floor with a knee to the man-regions. 

Taylor quickly backed away as angry Buckeyes charged at him, but Corky’s Minnesota teammates intercepted his would-be attackers and chased them down the court. Gopher forward Ron Behagen charged off the bench and stomped on the still-prone Witte’s head. That attack surely struck fear into welcome mats everywhere, but it made Behagen look like a punk in the eyes of his fellow humans.

Gopher reserve, and future Baseball Hall of Famer, Dave Winfield was just as heroic as Behagen. Please note the sarcasm. Winfield joined several fans in gang-tackling an Ohio State bench-warmer from behind and punching the player five times in the head. The brawl may have served as a warm-up for Winfield’s future hostilities with another Ohio State alumnus, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

Witte suffered a concussion, needed 29 stitches to close the wounds on his face, and suffered a scarred cornea that interfered with his vision for years to come. There was probably an icepack down his shorts at some point in the evening, too, but that remains unconfirmed.

3. Rocket Richard Tomahawks Opponent, NHL President Gets Egg on Face
Maurice “Rocket” Richard, if he played today, would be said to have a slight attitude problem. He could be easily goaded into retaliation for rough play, he was fined multiple times for assaulting officials, and he wrote a newspaper column in which he called NHL President Clarence Campbell a “dictator.” But, as a French-Canadian star at a time when French descendants were oppressed in Canada, Richard was a hero to his people.

March 13, 1955 seemed like just another brutal hockey game between Richard’s Montreal Canadiens and the arch-rival Boston Bruins. With Montreal on the power play, Bruin defenseman Hal Laycoe caught Richard across the face with a high stick. The resulting cut would take five stitches to close. When play paused, Richard skated up to Laycoe, who dropped his gloves in the universal hockey signal for “bring it on.” Rather than throw fists, the Rocket decided to smash Laycoe over the head with his stick.

Richard was dragged away multiple times, but kept on charging at Laycoe, bludgeoning him to the point that he snapped his stick over Laycoe’s prone body. One of the linesmen trying to break up the incident got knocked out with two stiff rights for his trouble. The Boston police wanted to arrest Richard, but his teammates barred the locker room door.

Three days later, Campbell held a hearing to listen to both sides of the story. After deliberations that may have taken all of 12 seconds, Richard got a stiff penalty for the “dictator” comment and the fight. The Rocket, the league’s leading scorer at the time, was suspended for the rest of the season, including the playoffs. Richard’s French-Canadian fans saw it as another case of the Man keeping them down, and sent death threats to Clarence Campbell.

Campbell showed impressive nerve in announcing that he would attend the next Montreal home game, on St. Patrick’s Day against Detroit. The players were nervous as they took the ice that night, as demonstrators protested outside and fans in the Forum expressed their displeasure, especially when Campbell walked in and took his seat. Eggs, vegetables, and other debris were hurled at Campbell, a tear gas bomb was set off not far from where the president had been sitting, and the Forum was evacuated. Needless to say, the Red Wings got a free win out of the deal.

2. “Rudy T. Attacked Me” Pleads Kermit Washington’s Fist
At 6’8” and 230 pounds, Kermit Washington does not look like a man you’d want to run into in a dark alley. Or a lit one, for that matter. In the dark, though, he might be a little jumpy, as his actions on December 9, 1977 would suggest.

In that night’s game between the Houston Rockets and Washington’s Los Angeles Lakers, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Rockets’ Kevin Kunnert were scuffling at midcourt. Kareem had Kunnert’s arms pinned to his sides, leaving him defenseless for a glancing punch from Washington. Kermit turned away from the battle, satisfied that Kareem had things well in hand, and then spotted Rocket forward Rudy Tomjanovich running toward the brawl.

A second later, Rudy T was on the floor in the middle of a rapidly forming pool of blood. Washington has steadily claimed that the devastating right cross was instinctive, a response to a potential threat. After “The Punch,” the only thing being threatened was Tomjanovich’s life.

Most of the bones in Rudy’s face were smashed. The fractures allowed blood and, of all things, spinal fluid to leak into his skull, including his mouth. In case you’re wondering, spinal fluid apparently has a “very bitter” taste, according to a Tomjanovich quote from John Feinstein’s book The Punch.

Rudy’s doctor compared the repair process to Scotch taping a broken egg back together. Kareem said the sound of Rudy hitting the floor was similar to that of a watermelon being dropped on concrete. Tomjanovich himself said that he thought the scoreboard had fallen on his head, a statement which sounds like a bad spoof of a B.J. Thomas song.

Even after all that, and even with injuries that were legitimately life-threatening, Rudy spotted Washington on the way back to the locker room and was ready to throw down in his own defense. Tomjanovich missed the rest of that season, while Washington was suspended for two months.

Since then, Rudy’s won two NBA championships as a head coach, while Washington has continually blamed The Punch for misfortunes both personal (media coverage causing the collapse of his marriage) and professional (being turned down for coaching and administrative jobs in and out of basketball). Fair trade? That depends on who you ask.

1. Juan Marichal Misunderstands the Term “Batter Up”
Juan Marichal was well-known as an intimidating pitcher, not above firing fastballs toward a batter’s melon. On August 22, 1965, his San Francisco Giants were facing their arch-rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Marichal was announcing his presence with authority. He’d sent Dodgers Maury Wills and Ron Fairly sprawling with brushback pitches, and the Dodgers had seen enough.

When Marichal came to bat in the bottom of the third, catcher John Roseboro started putting a little extra zip on his throws back to pitcher Sandy Koufax. He also threw them a little closer to Marichal’s head than most batters have to look out for. One throw was said to graze Marichal’s ear, and he turned around to ask Roseboro something along the lines of “WTF?”

Roseboro came up out of his crouch, pulled off his mask and helmet, and Marichal felt threatened. His response? He cracked the catcher over the head three times with his bat.

The benches immediately cleared as the bleeding Roseboro kept trying to get a piece of Marichal. The resulting melee lasted 14 minutes, and the cut on Roseboro’s head would require 14 stitches. Roseboro would later sue for $110,000 in damages.

Dodger fans have a long memory, and they were still cranky at Marichal when he signed with LA 10 years later. Roseboro asked the fans to forgive and move on, as he claimed to have done. He later appealed directly to the Baseball Writers Association of America to not hold the fight against Marichal, who was going into his fifth year of Hall of Fame eligibility.

Marichal was eventually elected to the Hall of Fame in 1983, and he and Roseboro became friends in Roseboro’s later years. No word, however, on whether they ever attended cockfights together, as Marichal was seen doing with Pedro Martinez in 2006. After all, nothing says friendship like clubbing someone with a bat or watching chickens maim each other.