Let me ask you a couple of questions and you tell me what you think.
-If you had a dead body in front of you, how much time and money would you spend on administering medical treatment post-mortem?
-If the engine in your car locked up and rendered it un-drivable, would you still spend the weekend washing and waxing it?
Despite what you may be thinking after reading these, I promise I haven’t been drinking or indulging in any mind-altering drugs.
Now let me set up a different situation for you and you tell me if it’s any less crazy…
It’s a very busy time for the investigators over at the NCAA. They are, in fact, so backlogged that pending investigations into improper and/or illegal behavior in Division I football and Basketball programs have to wait in line to be addressed. At times, this process bears a remarkable resemblance to the arcade game “Whack-A-Mole”. Heads pop up…heads get whacked down. More heads pop up…lather, rinse, and repeat.
While the moles are whacked, everyone from University presidents to the fans wait and wonder what the outcome will be. Sometimes, like in the case of USC, they wait so long to hand down a verdict that the principle player involved has to move his NFL Superbowl ring out of the way to get to the Heisman trophy he has been asked to return. I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I have my doubts as to whether the vacating of wins in record book somewhere is causing sleepless nights for a guy who is now a world champion and a multi-millionaire. As a matter of fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say it might not even be bothering the former coach…who is also a multi-millionaire and now coaches an NFL team who won their division last year.
You know who is losing sleep? The school. That’s who is left to deal with the scholarship losses and post-season bans. Additional case in a point….a basketball coach, we’ll call him “Coach C”, makes his way from U to U making teams instant NCAA tournament contenders. Unfortunately, after he has moved on, there is strange pattern of those appearances being struck from the books. How many times have the schools been punished? All of them. How many times has Coach C paid the price? None of them.
But on the other hand, let’s examine the tale of another coach…we’ll call him “Coach T” and imagine he is wearing a sweater vest. Not since Satan was cast of Heaven has there been such an immediate and drastic swing of public opinion about someone. In less than a month, Coach T went from being regarded as an absolute paragon of virtue, who cared only about his players and their character to being a two-bit liar who cared only about winning and ignoring the truth. Meanwhile the University that was quick to staunchly defend him a few months ago, quickly reversed field and happily held on to the scabbard as Coach T fell on his sword. Will the sacrifice be enough to reduce the punishment the NCAA will eventually hand down? We don’t know….but wait around for a really long time and we might find out.
And then there are the players. Guys who generate untold millions of dollars for their schools and college sports in general. Guys who have to balance athletics and academics (OK…sometimes) and can’t go out and have a job, yet are expected to watch as everyone else gets paid. It’s easy to forget that these are young adults…maybe even kids, and that they are going to act the part once in a while. I mean, really….if you get a jersey playing in a bowl game, can’t we assume you now own said jersey? So what is the big d*&% deal about selling it for a little pocket cash? Even an all-star QB wants to buy his girlfriend a pizza once in a while. I’m not suggesting that these kids should get cars and envelopes stuffed with money…I’m just suggesting that we get out of fantasy land and start looking at the situation realistically.
I could go on for days with more examples, but I think the publishers of this site would prefer I stick to my space. So while the NCAA investigators continue to rack up the frequent flyer miles and the hotel nights, I’ll leave you with this simple question …
If it takes this much effort to police, maintain, investigate and enforce the system, how can it possible be the right system? And further, shouldn’t the NCAA be looking at how to cure the disease instead of moving straight to frequent amputations? I don’t pretend to have the answers, but at least I’m asking the questions…
Time for me to go now. All of the heat this summer already killed absolutely everything in my yard. Think I’ll go water it for a while….
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WWE returned to Atlanta for the first time in February when the Road to Wrestlemania 29 rolled into Philips Arena!
Just one week after F5’ing Mr. McMahon, Brock Lesnar returned to Raw and made his first Atlanta appearance is over 12 years!
Huge tag team main event with John Cena & The Unstoppable Ryback vs. CM Punk & Dolph Ziggler! See your favorite RAW & Smackdown superstars including Sheamus, The Big Show, Alberto Del Rio, Randy Orton, The Miz, Kane, Daniel Bryan, the Divas, and many more! Check out these exclusive TBB pics by John Adams!
©2013 John Adams
Bobby Valentine Has Got to Go
The Red Sox have had their fair share of woes this season, and now that it’s gone public that the players had a meeting with the front office in order to air grievances about manager Bobby Valentine, there’s another one to add on the pile. The players, it seems, feel as if Valentine doesn’t have their collective backs, a feeling exacerbated by his leaving Jon Lester in for a 4 inning, 11 run disaster of a start late last month in Toronto. The Red Sox front office, however, stands behind Valentine as their man, purportedly due to his strategic savvy. But how much effect does a manager really have on his team?
The media narrative of a manager as some kind of general locked in a battle of wits with the opposing manager is a tremendous exaggeration; for the most part, the only way a manager is going to make a significant impact on his team is in a distinctly negative fashion. Very rarely will a manager like Earl Weaver take the stage and effectively utilize platoons and defensive shifts to the team’s advantage, most managers don’t do much more than setting lineups, making pitching changes to a bullpen where the relievers have hard roles and occasionally pulling a shift on a lefty pull hitter. In that manner, Valentine hasn’t hurt the Red Sox, but I also imagine that most managers not named Ron Washington would avoid screwing that up; the Sox have a strong order and a solid, deep bullpen, two things that are unlikely to be done wrong barring a manager that knows almost nothing of baseball. A good portion of managers don’t even make the defensive shifts or call pitches, those tend to be handled by the bench coach and pitching coach, respectively, though there are some catchers that call pitches instead.
You may be wondering that, if managers do so little, what is their actual job? And it’s much simpler than people tend to want to admit: managers are meant to keep their players happy, that’s it. Terry Francona was good at this, Bobby Valentine is not. A team that gets along works as one cohesive unit and will avoid throwing any one member under the bus, even if getting along won’t make them play better. When there is such a tremendous breakdown of communication that the players are almost unified in their dislike of the manager, the manager has completely failed at his job and has totally lost control, and therefore the front office has no business continuing his employment. Rarely a team will come together where everyone hates each other but has incredible success in spite of that, akin to the Yankees teams of the mid to late 1970s. But, should it fail and the team plays less than spectacularly, expect the season to turn into a whirling maelstrom of distraction and drama, much as this one has.
To take this back specifically to Valentine, it’s worth mentioning that he was so regarded as a caustic, unapproachable manager that he was more or less exiled from the MLB after his stint with the Mets, forced to take a job in Japan, where managers are expected to take critical attitudes towards players that they don’t think are giving their all. Valentine’s manner of criticism, using the Youkilis incident from earlier this year, seems to be less about lighting a fire under an underachieving player and seems to be more about saving his own skin. Hence, the Red Sox players aren’t being divas, primadonnas, or whatever negative adjective one wishes to assign to them, they’re merely trying to protect themselves from a manager who has no qualms with openly trashing them in the media and putting a magnifying glass on their disappointing performance in order to take the magnifying glass off of his job. He has no concern for his players’ well-being, and as such they should have none for his.
So, should Valentine get fired? Almost certainly, when the manager has failed at keeping his team together, there’s no reason behind him keeping his job other than to spite the players. But will he get fired? Most likely not, since the front office, including Larry Lucchino, team president and general manager in all but name, seems to have cast their lots with him. He’ll continue being the manager until the fire starts creeping towards the front office guys, and just as quick as they sided with him, they’ll turn him into the villain. But until then, they’ll keep alienating the players in order to prove their point.
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