As Florida State and Bobby Bowden fight to keep wins stripped from the program due to an academic cheating scandal, new reports today suggests the Seminoles could have as many as four or five wins taken from them this year due to an almost criminal dearth of talent in the once-dominant program.
The report, published in numerous 2009 NCAA football preview magazines, suggests the Seminoles will struggle to even qualify for a bowl game.
"It's a shame what has happened to Florida State over the past few years," said one veteran ACC beat writer. "And I don't mean the cheating stuff. Most good programs cheat. I mean that instead of trying to win national titles, they now just hope to win the Atlantic Division of the ACC. How pathetic is that?"
And all fingers point at Bowden.
"He's let that program slip," said a former assistant. "Everything is still in place there to be great the history, the facilities, the cheating. There's no reason not to get top recruits, especially considering Florida State has no limitations regarding academic or criminal failings. Yet they're losing recruits to Florida, Miami, South Florida. Duke! They're losing recruits to fking Duke!"
While the university has remained firmly behind Bowden in regards to the cheating scandal off the field, it's his failings on the field that will likely cause him to be pushed out.
"Keeping athletes eligible by bending and breaking some rules is one thing," said a source within the FSU president's office. "I mean, this is major college athletics. But all this 7-6, 8-5 crap no. I mean, we can have legitimate student-athletes go 7-6. We can get some book nerds in here to do that. But this is Florida State. We expect more on the field because we demand less in the classroom."
Florida State officials say they will continue to support Bowden in his fight against the NCAA.
"Even if Bobby is on his way out, we don't want to signal to his successor that we don't want to still bend the rules when it comes to academics," said the source. "If anything, we want to bend them more so we can get out of this hole we're in."
August 3, 2009 Column
Stuff You Might Have Heard
Jason Varitek named captain of the bench
Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona announced today that due to the acquisition of Victor Martinez from Cleveland, team captain Jason Varitek would have his captain duties relegated to the bench area. "Jason is going to see the field a lot less now," said Francona of his catcher, who is mired in a four-year batting slump. "So it doesn't make much sense to have him in charge of the guys who are actually out on the field playing." Varitek says he is excited about his new role. "I will help this team any way I can," he said. "And I will take this bench captaincy very seriously. I will tell you one thing that's going to change around here all the paper cups on the floor. We bench players have to stand in this crap while everyone else is out on the field having fun. That sh!t is going to stop now. It's my stop priority." The current Red Sox starters say they have no intention of listening to Varitek anymore.
News Who is Cliff Lee?
Cliff Lee may be the reigning American League Cy Young award winner, but he's far from a household name. Now that he has been acquired by the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies, it's time to ask
Who is this guy? Here are some facts about Cliff Lee.
Lee was born Clifton Phifer Lee in Benton, Ark. in 1978. At age 5, Lee decided he would go by "Cliff." He also decided to tell people that he was not given a middle name.
The left-hander played one season for the Arkansas Razorbacks in 2000 and was named 2002 Hog Nation Minor League Player of the Year by hognation.net. However, Hognation.com chose to ignore his fine season and instead continued to run risque pictures of obese women in American flag-themed lingerie.
In 2008, Lee's 22 wins were the most by an Indians pitcher since Gaylord Perry won 24 in 1972. The Indians commemorated Lee's feat by awarding him with the belt-sander that Perry used on the mound throughout the '72 season.
In 2002, Lee was part of the trade that sent Brandon Philips, Lee Stevens and Grady Sizemore from Montreal to Cleveland in exchange for Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew. Colon insisted Drew be included in the deal, as he was his personal chef/guy-who-would-run-to-Burger-King-at-midnight-for-him-to-get-a-few-Whoppers.
Lee won the AL Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2008. Lee was eligible for the award because in 2007 he went 5-8 with a 6.29 ERA and was plagued by acute suckitis. Yet he overcame the disease to win the Cy Young a year later. A movie about the inspiring comeback is already in production.
Lee and his wife, Kristin, have two children: Jaxon and Maci. Here is a photo of the family. Let's see a young, blonde wife. Two cute children, a boy and a girl. He's ridiculously wealthy. It's all too good to be true. What are you hiding, Lee? An ugly cat? A toilet that runs in your guest house? A musty odor that lingers for a day or two each year when you open your beach house? Back hair? Out with it! Stop living a lie, Phifer! We're onto you.
Our perfect hero is not perfect. Our emperor has no eyes.
Yes, it has been confirmed: Tim Tebow is nearsighted. So where does this leave us?
Well, the world is a horrible, dark place full of misery, death and hopelessness. The one god-like person we thought could save us all our supposed messiah, Tim Tebow can't even see who he's throwing to on a fly pattern. #!@#!
So we're all doomed. And we're all going to die. Horribly and painfully. And probably sooner rather than later.
On the bright side, if you're one of the poverty-stricken boys Tebow circumcised in Indonesia last summer, chances are his nearsightedness makes it likely he didn't mutilate your junk too bad. So that's a check in the plus category.
As swimming fans were following the Michael Phelps-Milorad Cavic rivalry at the world championships in Rome, a far more tragic storyline concluded on the final day of the event when slumping British swimmer Tom Garrison drowned in the 100m butterfly semifinals.
"I was afraid this was going to happen," said Garrison's coach, Peter Thurgood. "Tom has been in a terrible slump lately his times have been dropping consistently, and the last few meets he's basically just been thrashing around in the water."
In Friday's 200m freestyle opening heat, Garrison finished last in 10:43:06 9 minutes behind heat-winner Phelps. He was only able to complete the race by pulling himself along over the final 50 meters on the lane divider ropes, his head repeatedly dropping below the surface of the water as he gasped for air.
"He let his technique break down," said Thurgood. "Once that happens it can be hard to get back right away and then anything can happen in the pool."
Thurgood was content to just be patient and wait out the slump "All swimmers go through them," he says and hope Garrison could eventually turn around a season in which he hoped to challenge Phelps and Cavic as the world's premier swimmer.
But that won't happen now.
When Garrison dove into the pool for the 100m butterfly "It was more of an awkward fall into the water," said one race official he immediately sunk to the bottom. Some 10 seconds later, his head briefly emerged above the surface and he thrashed around wildly, screaming for help.
Poolside, Thurgood screamed instructions to his desperate star: "Technique, Tom! Focus on technique!" But if Garrison ever heard him, we don't know because the swimmer dropped below the surface again, not to emerge again until he was a floating corpse.
"Tom never would have wanted me to jump in their and rescue him," said the coach. "It would have been humiliating. Plus, it would have disqualified him from the race. He wanted to get through this slump on his own. In fact, as he was drowning, I half-expected instinct to kick in, causing him to pop up and swim his best race of his life, catching and beating Phelps and Cavic. I hoped a near-drowning would be his slump buster. I thought it might help him reach his potential."
It didn't, of course. But the young British swimming star did impact the race, as his corpse gently floated into Cavic's lane on the last lap, briefly slowing the Serb and giving the win to Phelps.
"It's tragic what happened," said Phelps. "But i'll take a victory any way I can get it. I've never high-fived a dead body before, but it was kind of cool."
August 3, 2009 Column
Stuff You Might Have Heard
Scheduled rehab start fails to make it past neighborhood bar
Former West Tallahassee (Fla.) High School JV pitcher Ronnie Lee was scheduled to start rehab today, but he was unable to check-in when he lost the day at Pete's Tavern across the street from his apartment. "If I'm going to go sober like my family and ex-wives say I need to, I thought I needed one last drink on the way to my truck to get it all out of my system," said Lee. "I guess I just got carried away a little. But by the time I woke up in the bathroom, i figured it was too late in the day to start rehab." Lee is scheduled to go again Friday and says he will pound some tequila shots for courage.
After years of providing detailed sports statistics to Major League Baseball, the NFL, NBA, NHL and many other sports leagues, the Elias Sports Bureau shut its doors today after finally receiving some sweet, sweet loving.
“You really think we would spend all this time finding out, say … who was the last player to hit three triples in a night game on the West Coast if we were getting any action?” said Elias president Jeff Meadows. “Of course not. We immerse ourselves in those short of pointless facts and figures to block out our sad personal lives. Trust me, I’d much rather keep track of how many hot women I’ve nailed.”
Meadows says he and his fellow Elias workers finally broke through last night at a company party.
“We have monthly parties planned around various sports stat themes,” said Meadows. “Last night’s theme was 100-yard rushing games in which there was more than 1-inch of snow on the ground. It was crazy fun. Anyway, after a few Michelobs – which, by the way, was the official beer of the NHL from 1974 to 1983 – we learned that one of our interns was actually a female. We had all thought he – I mean, she – was male because she didn’t really have any distinguishing body characteristics. She was just kind of lumpy.”
And after the Elias employees moved on from Michelobs to Miller Lites – the official light beer of the NFL from 1987 to 1996 – the intern agreed to have sex with all of her co-workers.
“The guys were real sweet talkers,” said the intern, Cris Johnson. “They started spouting off the top 20 ERA leaders from 1913 and naming the entire Quebec Nordiques roster from 1970. Needless to say, that got me pretty hot and then one thing led to another. I’m just sad that what happened put an end to the Elias Sports Bureau. How will we know now who is the all-time leader in intentional walks in the rain?”
But Meadows says the Elias Bureau is most definitely going out of business.
“I can’t imagine going back to that after finally being with a woman,” he said. “Not that I’m done with doing research forever, though. That’s still a part of me and I love doing it. For example, I’m planning to research where you actually put it in a woman. I think I may have put it in the crease behind her knee. That probably doesn’t count.”
July 31, 2009 Column
Stuff You Might Have Heard
Poorly-endowed swimmer said to have an unfair advantage
As the debate continues to rage over swimsuit technology, several swimmers have begun complaining that Australian swimmer David Patterson has an unfair advantage in the pool due to his tiny penis and testicles. "His almost complete lack of bulge creates almost no drag in the water," said Michael Phelps. "I bet I could take a second or two off all of my times if I was that poorly endowed." Phelps and other swimmers support the adoption of a bulge standardization rule that would require swimmers to wear a cod piece if their manhood is deemed to be too small. "It's the only fair way to do it," said Phelps. "Not all of us were lucky enough to be born with miniature junk."
Today I was informed by a reporter that I was on the 2003 list of MLB players to test positive for performance-enhancing substances. This happened right before our game, and the news blindsided me.
I want to talk about this situation and I will as soon as I have more answers. In the meantime I want to let you know how I am approaching this situation.
1.I have already contacted the Players Association to confirm if this report is true. I have just been told that the report is true. Based on the way I have lived my life, I am surprised to learn I tested positive.
2.I will find out what I tested positive for.
3.Based on whatever I learn, I will share this information with my club and the public. You know me I will not hide and I will not make excuses.
4. Upon learning the specific drug I tested positive for, I will dig up a list of legal supplements I took in 2003 and insist that one of them must have been tainted without my knowledge.
5. I will threaten a lawsuit suing the maker of the supplement, although that will only be for PR purposes; I will never actually follow through on the suit, as it will have no merit.
6. After that I will instruct those close to me to continue throwing out possible explanations in the press something like I unknowingly took a steroid while at home in my native Dominican Republic, where they are legal. Or that a rogue trainer injected me without my knowledge to help me recover quicker from an injury. You know, crap like that.
7. By this time, we'll be a couple of months down the road and people won't care as much as they do now, so I'll make some sort of vague admission about "mistakes" I have made and everyone will pretty much move on.
8. I will remain a hero in New England because home fans always protect their own, plus they really don't want to admit their '04 and '06 World Series titles are tainted.
9. I will retire in Boston, where I will live and continue to earn a good living doing card shows and public appearances because, really, who cares about steroids, am I right?
So that's what I am going to do next. As you can see, I will be very open throughout this entire process.
ADD: Garrett Jones, 1B/OF, Pirates Since joining the Pirates on July 1st, Jones has hit .323 with 16 RBI, 5 SB and a major-league best 10 HR. He would be an especially good pickup in leagues that charge for free agent acquisitions, as cash transactions involving the Pittsburgh Pirates are valid as tax deductible charitable donations.