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It's Time For More Pardon The Whitless Wonder (Let The Lawsuits Begin)
March 18, 2009 - John Whittaker
Welcome to another installment of Pardon the Whitless Wonder, where your handsome and incredibly articulate host discusses the best topics -- sports and otherwise -- that have crossed his desk in the last week.
When the buzzer goes off on my desk, I'm off to the next topic.
1. Syracuse Nabs A Number 3 Seed For The NCAA Tournament: I was a little scared when it took CBS until the last two games of the bracket show to give us the Orange's seed for the tournament. I honestly was starting to remember the last two years, when the 'Cuse had a chance to make the NCAA Tournament and were passed over. I knew they had done enough this year that they were solidly in the tournament, but when the last 5 seed came off the board, I started to wonder. I really figured their season would get them a 5 or 6 seed, which ensures tougher games. I love the 3 seed because Syracuse avoids a 5-12 game, which is where upsets tend to happen, and because it took them from a matchup with Western Kentucky (an underrated team who is seeded 12th in the Southern Region) to a matchup with Steven F. Austin, a beatable team. Then, Syracuse would have the winner of Arizona and Temple - not an easy game, but a winnable game. I think Syracuse could, possibly, be looking at a Sweet 16 in this tournament, and then it's anyone's ballgame from there. Last week's performance in the Big East Tournament confirms for me Syracuse can beat anyone they play. I'm willing to bet the 2-3 zone and Jonny Flynn are enough to give the Orange a good shot at the Sweet 16. And, they can beat Oklahoma if they play smart. In fact, forgot I mentioned the fact that Rick Jackson and Paul Harris could bother Blake Griffin, that Flynn can break down almost any defense, and Andy Rautins and Eric Devendorf are shooting the ball really well. SSSHHHHHH.
2. Joba Chamberlain's Solid Two Starts: After a slow start in spring training, Joba Chamberlain has strung together two solid spring starts. I've heard reports that he isn't throwing the ball as hard as he did last year and the year before, but that really isn't a big deal. I'd rather he throw consistently 94-96 miles an hour than have him overthrowing trying to hit 100 on the radar gun. That's how arm injuries happen, folks. If he's consistently hitting his marks on the gun, then he'll be fine. I'm more interested in how his secondary pitches are moving and how teams are scoring runs off of him than how fast he's throwing the ball. It looks like Brian Cashman made the right call with Joba, who might be the most filthy, nasty fifth starter in baseball this year. And, yes, I kept Joba in my fantasy baseball league.
3. Pats Pursuing Julius Pepper. Wow. Let me say it again, wow. Never let it be said the Patriots don't dream big. Have a hole at running back - sign Fred Taylor. Not happy with your wide receiver depth? That's alright - just swing a deal for Greg Lewis, the ex-Philadelphia wide receiver who toasted the Pats for a long touchdown catch when they met up in the Super Bowl a few years ago. Have a logjam at quarterback? Trade Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel (clearing more cap room) for a second-round pick. Now, Julius Pepper could be playing an outside rush linebacker spot for the Patriots this season? And all they have to give up is a second-round draft pick? Sign me up. I heard Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times on Around the Horn say this was a shady deal because it was being done behind closed doors. What a load of crap. Frankly, that's how a trade should be done. What does he expect Bill Belichick to do - go on SportsCenter at 6 and 11 p.m. and tell Brian Kenny who they're targeting in trades, who they're looking at in the draft and put it up for a SportsNation vote? That might be the dumbest thing I've ever heard of. Oh, the Patriots cheat all the time, so this trade must be illegal. The Cassel-Vrabel trade is illegal, too, and the commissioner should investigate. Bad trades are part of sports. Did Major League Baseball hold a massive investigation when the Yankees traded Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps? What about Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio? Plaschke, shut the hell up. Remember when Los Angeles had a football team? What, too soon?
4. World Baseball Classic: What I've seen of the classic, I've enjoyed, though I haven't seen as much of it as I'd have liked. I wish Team USA would have had better pitching, but it's hard to rip on major league general managers for not wanting to send guys they're paying $20 million a year to go and blow their arm out for their country. The big criticism of the WBC, though had been that players who make millions a year playing for their major league team don't care about the international competition. Try telling that to Team USA, which was down to its final two outs and down two runs in the ninth inning before rallying to eliminate Puerto Rico (which beat the U.S. badly on Saturday) on a two-run single by the Mets' David Wright. Something tells me those guys cared last night. What's really disappointing is that the game was on the MLB Network, because you couldn't see it on regular cable. Thank God for the Internet.
5. Roger Clemens Still Pushing Steroid Case: Dude, Roger, seriously, it's time to give this thing up. Let's look at what's happened to you since the Mitchell Report came out. You've lied to Congress, which is likely to lead to a nice stint in prison. Perjurers never win, Rog. You throw your wife under the bus, saying the HGH wasn't for you, but your overly vain wife who wanted to look like she was 20 again. Of course, the fact she knew you had been, um, intimate with a 16 year-old future country music star wasn't fresh in her memory or anything. You lie about your former best friend, Andy Pettitte, telling prosecutors he has special, Roger Clemens amnesia and can't remember accurately conversations the two of you had. You file a lawsuit against your former trainer, who turns out to be a wholly sympathetic figure in this whole sordid affair, to the point your former manager, who stuck up for you for five seasons, relies on his recollections in a best-selling book. You've burned your bridges with Major League Baseball and the New York Yankees, a team whose fans would gladly have adopted you as one of their own, one of their own legends right up there with David Cone or Paul O'Neill. Now, you're just some guy who used to play for their favorite team that they snicker at when he's on TV. And still, almost two years after it started, you're still pushing a defamation lawsuit against Brian McNamee. Enough is enough, Roger. Apparently, steroids do make a man dumber, because the way you've handled the Mitchell Report is completely bass-ackwards. Dolt. You took enough steroids to kill a large herd of horses. It's obvious that you did it. Let it go. Dolt (just for good measure).
Goodnight Canada and so long knuckleheads.
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