Monday, October 23, 2006


Yes, we know it was pine tar.

But, Ken Rosenthal wants to know why Tony La Russa didn't raise a big stink when he caught Kenny Rogers in the act of cheating.

That's because La Russa's integrity has been compromised by the way he has coddled bigger cheaters (literally and figuratively) over the years in the form of steroid abusers, Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire.

La Russa knew that his weak denials of any knowledge of steroids on his previous clubs have been met with guffaws and cynicism. He has a law degree and is skilled in the art of the "non-denial denial".

"Tony went out and said a couple of his players said the ball was acting funny, and they made Kenny wash his hands, and he washed his hands, and he came out the second inning and was pretty clean the rest of the way," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

"Pretty clean" — very funny, Jim.

But "pretty clean" is a relative term.

One Cardinals player said that reserve outfielder John Rodriguez showed him balls that were discolored.

"I can't comment on that," Rodriguez said. "Tony's not talking about it. I'm definitely not talking about it."

Did La Russa institute a gag order?

"You listen to your boss?" Rodriguez asked.

FOX Sports - MLB - Rogers' Game 2 gem marred by controversy

Sunday, October 22, 2006


The apocaplypse has already occured.


Philadelphia police said a father pulled out a .357 Magnum pistol on a youth football coach because his son wasn't getting enough playing time.

A fight ensued between the man and a referee, and both are now facing charges.

Wayne Derkotch, 46, is accused of pulling the gun Sunday during a game between the Oxford Circle Raiders and the Burholme Outlaws -- 5- and 6- year-olds -- in Northeast Philadelphia. No shots were fired.

Derkotch was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment. He did not immediately return a telephone message left at his home Monday.

The referee, Shawn Henwood, said he said he was shocked to see a parent had brought a .357 Magnum with him.

"Everyone started screaming, 'Gun! Gun!' I immediately turned the boys and ran them to the opposite side of the field because the issue happened over this way," Henwood said.

He wasn't the only one who was surprised.

"Why would you take a gun to where a bunch of young kids are ... for no reason," asked Wayne Kohler, one of Derkotch's neighbors.

Derkotch didn't answer that question Monday night or the knock on the door of his home.

The coach involved, whose own son plays for the Outlaws, was willing to talk, but didn't offer much detail other than to say overly enthusiastic parents can be a problem.

"We get parents like that all the time ... just an unfortunate situation," said Coach Jermaine Wilson.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Mama, don't let your daughters become University of Miami students - because there are very violent men still allowed to roam that campus.

Donna Shalala, University of Miami president, has informed horrified college football fans, apprehensive athletic opponents, concerned students and nervous parents that dozens of men who took part in an orgy of violence are still good enough to call themselves student-athletes as members of the University of Miami community.

Donna Shalala is a governmental bureaucrat now serving as an academic technocrat. Apparently, money trumps justice - doing the right thing wilts in the face of one-game suspensions. The "Showdown with Florida International" has met less hand-wringing than a clucking of the typical 'boys will be boys' mantra.

Remember the last nasty brawl that attraced world-wide attention? The Pistons-Pacers slugfest was the final straw for NBA commissioner David Stern. He made a personal appearance on television to convey his disgust with what transpired in Detroit. Stern rightly recognized that the image of the NBA was at stake. Families were increasingly turned off by a combination of poor fundamentals perpetrated by players acting violently on and off the basketball court. While Stern couldn't fix the level of play in quick fashion he could impose harsh disciplinary measures. Stern followed through to the fullest extent of his powers. The commissioner suspended Ron Artest for the rest of the season while Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O'Neal respectively caught bans of 30 and 25 games.

Donna Shalala had no "David Stern moment", this week, in reaction to the brawl at the Orange Bowl. Instead, the University of Miami announced that the worst offenders would be suspended for a game against winless, toothless Duke University. Miami announced that the coaching staff would still be at the helm of the rotting ship.

At least Florida International, a school that didn't even have a football team five years ago, understood that this disastrous situation necessitated that several players be kicked off the team.

What to do? Expelling the offending players would be a good start. Suspending the coaching staff would be an excellent way to teach young students about accountability. Shalala witnessed her school's football team pick fights before - even at the Peach Bowl just a few months ago. There's been no warnings of consequences. Maybe Shalala should step down as well.

But, Donna Shalala is a Washington politician. We're used to politicians dissembling about wars, telling blatant lies while wagging fingers in our faces, and taking bribes. When Shalala was a Cabinet secretary she urged President Clinton to keep lying to the nation so that everyone in the Cabinet (including her) could keep their jobs - telling the truth was never an option. The truth is an orphan of Washington politicians (of both parties) so be careful when those 'public servants' go from taking your tax dollars to hitting you up for tuition hikes and alumni contributions.

Shalala, as former head of the HHS (Department of Health & Human Services), loves acronyms. She has instructed her minions to embrace the tawdry world of CYA. Here's a suggestion for Shalala; J.E.T.S -- Just End The Season.

There are voices in aggreement with us...
1) ESPN'S Gene Wojciechowski said Laughable suspensions aren't enough

2) USA Today's John Saraceno: "With moral outrage at Miami, it's time for Coker to go"

*Contact us directly*** thepologrounds -at-yahoo-com

Wednesday 3:00 pm ET Update: OH, DONNA DONNA

She just doesn't get it. Now she's complaining about a media "feeding frenzy". This isn't the midterm elections, Donna. No need to circle the wagons and shoot the messengers. You are now in charge of an institution of higher learning. Start acting like an educator instead of a public relations flack.

People are outraged by your stunning lack of sufficient outrage. Your school's football team has a well-documented history of violence. Your team's players have a well-documented history of violence. You should be concerned that most college football fans (and college administrators) are not surprised that "Miami Hurricanes" was inserted into the same sentence as "ugly bench-clearing brawl" this week.

You speak as if you should receive plaudits for inaugurating a "zero tolerance policy". But, who knew that an American university had a tolerance policy for ugly on-field incidents up until today? A teenaged boy scout could do a better job of handling this mess than you, Ms. Shalala.

More sane voices

Fort Worth Star Telegram's Gil LeBreton: At Miami, stupidity has tenure

Philadelphia Inquirer's Mike Jensen: Tougher punishment needed in Miami-FIU brawl case

*Contact us directly*** thepologrounds -at-yahoo-com

Monday, October 16, 2006


New York Daily News - John Harper - John Harper: Pujols pulls no punches: "Pujols pulls no punches
Bat, mouth are trouble

John Harper on how the NLCS spotlight on Albert Pujols is revealing his character...

"He wasn't good. He wasn't good at all," Pujols said of Glavine.

Pujols, who went 0-for-3 in Game 1 and made a baserunning blunder, was complaining that the Cardinals hadn't been rewarded for hitting some balls hard, saying, "We didn't get some breaks."

Still, reporters interviewing him were stunned that he wouldn't give Glavine any credit for shutting down the Cardinals. So they asked him again.

"You didn't think Glavine pitched well?"

"I say he wasn't good at all," Pujols repeated. "He did the same thing that he always does. Throw a changeup, fastball, and that was it. I just think we should have done a better job than we did."

Classy, huh?

This from a guy who went 0-for-3 and made a baserunning blunder. When Pujols was asked if he was frustrated afterward, the Cardinals' slugger grew angry.

"Why (should) I be frustrated?" he snapped. "I can't make a mistake? Am I perfect?"

This is Albert Pujols? Apparently St. Louis, no major media market, is good cover for such boorishness. Actually, St. Louis reporters aren't all that fond of Pujols. One said he hoped Pujols would "get exposed" with these comments as a less-than-friendly presence around the Cardinals, despite mostly adoring coverage.

Tony La Russa, meanwhile, resorted to blaming the media for Pujols' comments, saying reporters should have used "common sense" and basically dismissed them because they were said in "the heat of competition."

Right. Like Pujols is the only fierce competitor out there, so he should get a pass for saying something so unprofessional. La Russa knows better, but he's accustomed to having his way in a one-newspaper town.

Besides, if that were the case, Pujols had the chance to take back his comments about Glavine when he was asked about them on the field before last night's game.

"Isn't that what I said?" he replied. "Okay, then keep that one."

He didn't make himself available after last night's game, at least not until past newspaper deadlines in New York.

So what's up with Albert, anyway? He has to realize that as the most feared slugger in the game, he's going to be the focus of media coverage, particularly in the postseason.

Yet on the day before this series opened, Pujols didn't want to go to the interview room, saying he would do interviews in the tight quarters of the visitors' clubhouse at Shea. When reporters surrounded him at his locker after the workout, he complained openly, saying, "You all are a pain in the (butt)."

Eventually he answered questions, taking exception to the notion that his bat was any more important than anyone else's in the Cardinals' lineup, and saying he would be happy to take walks if the Mets chose to pitch around him.

Pujols seemed even angrier to find reporters at his locker after Game 1, flipping a chair out of the way that hit one reporter in the leg.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

After Duke Case, College Athletes Are Put on Notice - New York Times

Duke case has colleges treading carefully.

After Duke Case, College Athletes Are Put on Notice - New York Times: "Last week, the University of Connecticut dismissed five football players for buying beer on a team trip to Florida. Earlier in the season, four Georgia players and two from Texas were suspended for as many as three games for off-the-field episodes involving under-age drinking and misdemeanor marijuana possession.

Oklahoma dismissed two football players, including the starting quarterback, after the university determined they had received money for no-show jobs at a car dealership. At Northwestern, the women’s soccer coach resigned and several players were suspended after photographs of a hazing ritual were posted on a Web site.
The vice president for student affairs at Fairfield in Connecticut has posted a letter on the university’s Web site that repeatedly mentions the Duke case, refers to reports of misconduct by former Fairfield athletes and warns current athletes of the consequences if such acts occur again. Fairfield also encouraged athletes to police teammates who act recklessly.

United Educators Insurance, a company owned by its more than 1,200 member colleges and universities, held eight seminars this year to advise member institutions on athletes’ misconduct. The seminar presents a hypothetical scandal involving a team and a coach with many elements reminiscent of the Duke situation, including a national news media frenzy. About 300 college officials have attended the seminars, most of them after the rape accusations by a woman some Duke lacrosse players had hired as a stripper.

A neighbor told the police in Durham, N.C., that during the afternoon of March 13, he saw several players drinking in the backyard of the house some of them were renting.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Major League Baseball: You've Come a Long Way, Baby



Los Angeles Times: Clemens, Others Implicated in Banned Drug Case

Roger Clemens, 44, one of professional baseball's most durable and successful pitchers, is among six players accused by a former teammate of using performance-enhancing drugs, The Times has learned. The names had been blacked out in an affidavit filed in federal court.

Others whose identities had been concealed include Clemens' fellow Houston Astros pitcher, Andy Pettitte, and former American League Most Valuable Player Miguel Tejada of the Baltimore Orioles.

The discovery ends four months of speculation surrounding the possible identities of Major League Baseball figures whose names were redacted from a search warrant affidavit filed in Phoenix on May 31. The document was based on statements made to federal agents by pitcher Jason Grimsley.

Grimsley, a journeyman relief pitcher who has played on several teams including the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and the Angels, acknowledged using steroids, amphetamines and other drugs, investigators said in the document. He also implicated a number of former teammates, but the names were blacked out in copies of the affidavit that were made public in June after investigators used the warrant to raid Grimsley's house.

A source with authorized access to an unredacted affidavit allowed The Times to see it, but retained it to read back what had been blacked out of the public copies. A second source and confidante of Grimsley had previously disclosed player identities and provided additional details about the affidavit. The sources insisted on anonymity.

According to the affidavit, Grimsley told investigators that Clemens and Pettitte "used athletic performance-enhancing drugs." He also said Tejada used anabolic steroids.

Clemens and Pettitte did not respond to requests for comment made Saturday through their agents and the Astros. Tejada had previously declined to be interviewed.

Grimsley was detained after he allegedly received an illegal shipment of human growth hormones. The shipment was tracked to his Scottsdale, Ariz., home by a task force of federal agents investigating drug use in professional baseball, the affidavit said.

For a time, Grimsley secretly cooperated with investigators, they said, but stopped after retaining a lawyer.

According to the 20-page search warrant affidavit signed by IRS Special Agent Jeff Novitzky, Grimsley told investigators he obtained amphetamines, anabolic steroids and human growth hormones from a source recommended to him by former Yankee trainer Brian McNamee. The former team trainer is a personal strength coach for both Clemens and Pettitte.

McNamee did not return multiple messages left with his wife and on his answering machine.

The affidavit also alleges that Grimsley told federal agents that his former Oriole teammates -- Tejada, Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons -- "took anabolic steroids." Roberts was the American League's All-Star second baseman in 2005 when Grimsley was an Oriole.

All three Baltimore players declined to be interviewed. Roberts said he had "nothing to talk about" and didn't know why Grimsley named him. A sixth player, retired outfielder David Segui previously came forward to say that his name was among those blacked out in the affidavit provided to the public. Segui told ESPN in June that he used HGH on the advice of his doctor as recently as the 2004 season. He did not obtain approval from the league, he acknowledged.

Government officials have declined to comment about either their ongoing investigation of drugs in professional baseball.

Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner who came out of retirement to pitch for the Astros in each of the last two years, was a teammate of Grimsley on the Yankees in 1999-2000, as was Pettitte, a two-time All-Star who is nearing 200 career wins. Grimsley, Tejada, Gibbons and Roberts were teammates in Baltimore during the 2005 season.