Despicable Manipulation & Thievery

Congratulations to Japanese tennis phenom Naomi Osaka for winning the women’s US Open on the evening of September 8, 2018!!

It takes a thief to steal the joy of such a victory. Understand that Naomi Osaka had to apologize to the Flushing Meadows crowd for winning the US Open championship. Serena Williams still couldn’t leave it alone after that, and tried to ‘console’ her, after attempting every dirty trick she could think of, to steal the championship from Osaka.

I have come to the conclusion that this was the worst meltdown & display of poor sportsmanship in modern tennis history. Serena Williams was going to lose (uneventfully) to Naomi Osaka, so she decided to ruin it for everyone– out of jealousy. Serena Williams was in complete control of her manipulative actions, as she 1) lied about not being coached after the 1st violation, 2) manipulatively claimed she didn’t know it was her second violation after the racket abuse, then 3) tried to bring in handlers to “fix” things after the third violation. She then played the victim in front of a partisan NYC crowd, and into ESPN’s cameras as millions watched in disbelief. It’s to Naomi Osaka’s credit that she wasn’t rattled by all this chaos Williams created, and closed her out moments later for the US Open title.

It was a despicable performance all around by Serena Williams, who threatened the chair umpire, when she said to him, “you will never work on my court again.” All this after lying about not being coached (and escalating her fury), when her coach already admitted (on TV) that he had been coaching her. Then she accused the chair umpire of sexism, which makes no sense and demands an explanation. Serena Williams’ opponent was a woman– Naomi Osaka. At least until Williams dragged the chair umpire into the match.

Williams also played the “mother” card, and at that point the astute viewer gets a sickening sense that this tantrum is a calculated performance from someone who wants to win at all costs, yet knows she’s defeated in a fair match, so she pulls this crap. After the match Serena Williams refused to shake hands with chair umpire Carlos Ramos, who acted as honorably & professionally as anyone could expect, after being berated & baited by a professional manipulator in front of a world audience.

Serena Williams dragged a respected chair umpire ( a neutral) into the narrative, in an attempt to take away (or at least taint) Naomi Osaka’s victory. Tennis is a game of skill, power & etiquette– with simple rules & a strict code-of-conduct which every player knows– so ignorance is not an excuse.

Players can’t be coached during the match, and if the umpire sees it- then you are warned. Serena Williams got busted, then ingeniously denied it, and then used it as an excuse to blame someone else for her losing. That’s just disgraceful, and that’s what tennis fans are saying. Over 3 million people have viewed this video (above) as of this publication, just over 24 hours since the match ended. The comments are overwhelmingly negative towards Serena Williams, and even her hardcore fans are finding it hard to defend her, as they are getting shouted down with conviction, and in numbers.

A very subtle point that serious tennis fans noticed was that Serena Williams’ second violation for racket abuse came after she had been broken (3-2 Osaka in the second set). This meant the umpire had to award Naomi Osaka a point to start her next service game. Serena Williams wasn’t going to break Osaka back at that point, so she tried “gamesmanship” instead. Williams insanely tried to insist the chair umpire ‘take back’ the 1st violation for coaching, so she would not be penalized a point. Of course, that’s an impossibility, but Serena still acted this out, trying to make the umpire look bad while escalating the rhetoric to incite the crowd. The cameras were rolling, and the audience & crowd heard everything. It was cringe-worthy.

Serena Williams’ third violation meant a game penalty (by rule), which she was completely aware of, and conveniently picked the next changeover (with Osaka serving at 4-3) to start up with the chair umpire again. This was nothing less than verbal abuse towards a neutral party, in a blatant attempt to bully & manipulate, to provide a smokescreen for her own failures and inability to gracefully accept defeat. It is remarkable that Serena Williams is at the end of her career, and she still hasn’t learned this basic courtesy and gesture of respect towards others.

Tennis fans have seen this before from Serena Williams, and are ready for it. “Roid rage” is a comment repeated over & over, as it’s getting harder & harder for her fans to deny this possibility. We may be having our OJ Simpson/Bill Cosby moment here with Serena Williams, as her behavior is proving her to be something other than what she’s promoting.

ESPN incessantly ran commercials (example above) during the US Open, featuring Serena Williams as a mother & role model for women. That narrative is being challenged by real life events that paint a different picture. The word I keep using in writing about Serena Williams is manipulation. This is going on at every level, personal, professional and corporate media, as Serena is political & has coat tails. She strongly appeals to feminists & racialist African Americans– a significant voting block for the Democrats. As long as she is winning, these groups will believe in her and do what she says, which is, “vote Democrat.”  Midterms are just two months away.

Below is a screenshot from Real Clear Politics, which archived two Serena Williams’ articles on September 9th: one from a Washington Post Democrat in her defense, and one attack piece from a Republican, who somewhat convincingly compares her to Hillary Clinton. This clearly shows she’s political, in case you weren’t convinced already.

If she falls like OJ or the “Cos,” then this block dissipates into disillusion & disaffection. That can lead to radicalization, which is the last thing the Democrats want. Better to keep feminists & racialists deceived & under control, and Serena Williams is consciously part of this campaign which has deep pockets & political roots. She is being very well-paid by the puppet-masters for her services.

ESPN is still in her corner (of course), as they are partners with Williams to the bitter end. As mentioned, she ties in closely with #MeToo feminism & Black Lives Matter racialism, so she has clout– for sure. These witch hunt campaigns which she personifies, define the liberal left wing of today’s Democratic party, which is controlled by the “moderate” (right wing) faction– known as the CIA Democrats. Senator Mark Warner (D– Va), Barack Obama & Serena Williams have a lot more in common than you might think.

After her meltdown & defeat, ESPN flooded their morning tennis news feed on September 9th with Serena Williams features, glossing over Naomi Osaka’s 6-2, 6-4 victory.

These are the first 4 screenshots going down their page– all featuring Williams.

As we can see, Naomi Osaka hardly matters to ESPN.

That media blitz has backfired (hello!), as this tantrum was too ugly, so ESPN has retreated to her “sexism’ claim towards the chair umpire; and the supposed need to change the coaching rules. ESPN changed their headlines on Serena by nightfall, after Novak Djokovic won the men’s US Open championship.

When you call any official a “liar” and a “thief” (in any sport), you will get sanctioned. This phony outrage by Williams, ESPN, the WTA, and other pro-feminist groups is calculated & despicable. Only in this Bizarro world of modern capitalist politics can a male umpire (who is only trying to do his job), be accused of sexism by an abusive superstar female athlete, and have it get traction in the fake media. Has anyone in the US media asked Naomi Osaka what she thinks of all this, or does only Serena’s opinion count?

You see, because the cheating coach and his washed-up protoge don’t like the rules, they need to be changed “for the good of the game.”  If these rules had already been changed, then Serena might have won, and that’s all that matters. If it hadn’t been for the male umpire’s “sexism,” the match would have been more “fair.” That’s the message, and it’s impossible to miss–unless you willfully blind yourself. Got that?

Final Update: Tuesday 9/11/2018  ~ 11:00 AM ET

This infamous Serena Williams’ 2009 incident at the US Open finals was against Kim Cljisters. Williams was called for a foot fault on her second serve by a lineswoman, making it match point at 15-40. There was no camera angle that definitively proved the call– one way or the other. Serena had lost the first set, and this was in the second set at 5-6. Serena (who already had a code violation) exploded, and was then was called for the verbal abuse violation, for threatening to “stuff this ball down her throat,” which defaulted the match. Cljisters was a former grand slam champion who had just come back from having a baby, but ESPN & the rest didn’t think her being a new mother was as a big story at the time.

Tiger Woods had his life destroyed when then-wife took a golf club to his SUV, as he came home late from another fling. He was branded a “cheater,” and lost all his endorsements. Tiger had to comeback and work to regain some of those sponsors. That was a private life affair, and really no one else’s business– outside of them and their family. This US Open tantrum was seen by all audiences, and it definitely wasn’t “children safe” viewing, yet no one dares raise the possibility that she should lose her Nike sponsorship, or any others. This shows you how highly-up she’s protected, as an asset for manipulation. We as fans need to be smarter, because we’re a whole lot better than this. Serena Williams is presented to America & the world as the best we have to offer, when in reality she’s corrupt to the core. Just like capitalism, she 1) has no ethics, and 2) does whatever is necessary to maintain her dominance. Serena is not a real person, she’s a persona, which can be flexible and molded to fit a variety of forms. But none of them are stable or healthy.

In summary, this is by far the most disgraceful player incident in tennis history, at least since television has been broadcasting matches. Nothing that Ilie Năstase, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Marcos Baghdatis or even Nick Kyrgios can come close to this nastiness from Serena Williams. The worst of it is, is that it still continues. Everyone else calms down & apologizes, or at least yields. But there has been no apology, or anything close, from Serena Williams. Serena and her political & corporate advisors never apologize. They only lie, manipulate and bully to get their way. And when things go South, they employ an army of flunky proxies to do their dirty work in the media & online– while they scurry off into hiding like cockroaches running from the light. Little boys & girls pretending to be adult men & women; is there anything more sick & dangerous?

Seventeen years ago today, a really bad thing happened. The whole world saw the images of the Trade Towers collapsing in NYC, and we were all told the story to believe. Since then, a lot more truth has come to light, and most people feel much differently since that Tuesday (it felt like a Tuesday), September 11, 2001 when we were “shocked & awed.” Serena Williams has used these same methods & tactics in her career, and it has led to 23 WTA grand slams, which is a lot of winning. But what has been the cost? When she began, joining her sister Venus, she was a phenom that any open-minded person loved. She shattered stereotypes, and gave American black women something to be proud of. But the problem of this lies in the nationalism & identity politics, which is reactionary in nature.

Serena has metamorphosed herself since she broke into professional tennis in October, 1995. The second half of her career has been marred by TUE’s (exemptions for PED use), along with unending allegations of illicit doping. Her constant complaints on social media (and through the lapdog sports media) about being tested are just another manipulation to play herself as the victim, when she’s the liar & (most likely) a cheater too. The WADA will retain all her blood & urine samples. Someday, a test will be developed to detect whatever new performance-enhancing substance she has been using. Then the scientific & medical proof will be irrefutable, and at that time I completely expect Serena Williams and her camp to deny everything as a sexist/racist attack on her character & career.

Further Reading;

The Politics of Motherhood in Sports

The World Cup & Sports Propaganda

Beauty, Athletics & Revolution

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The Politics of Motherhood in Sports

Sports is business, and business is politics, where true fans & athletes mostly lose.           — Ric Size

Cable TV and ESPN changed sports in the 1980’s. In the 1990’s, sports would be revolutionized again, this time by women’s participation. The US Women’s National Soccer team won two of the first three women’s World Cup events. Their first was the inaugural 1991 World Cup for women, and almost no one cared or noticed. Norway won in 1995, defeating the US in the finals.

After being blacked out of their 1996 gold medal triumph in Atlanta at the summer Olympics, all the pressure was on in 1999, when America hosted the World Cup. In possibly the most dramatic sporting event ever, the entire world watched as the US defeated China 0-0, 5-4 in penalty kicks. Mia Hamm Michelle Akers, Brandi Chastain and all the rest defined this new era for everyone. Soccer moms are now mainstream.

Since these revolutionary advances in sports, we now view men & women equally in the media. We can adore & criticize men & women equally now, because both groups have star appeal. One unique difference with women is that the issue of pregnancy comes to the fore. Women have to deal with it directly, verses men. This social difference has made its way into right-wing politics (#MeToo campaign), and big money sports where Serena Williams is now extolled as the poster-child for athletes as mothers.

Background: Kim Clijsters (above) was born June 8, 1983 and won 41 singles and eleven doubles titles. She won four Grand Slam singles titles: three at the US Open, in 2005, 2009, and 2010 and one at the Australian Open in 2011. Interestingly, Kim Clijsters announced her retirement from professional tennis when she was pregnant on May 6, 2007. Clijsters gave birth to daughter, Jada Elle, on February 27, 2008 meaning she was just shy of age 25 at the time.

In March 2009, Clijsters publicly declared her intent to return to the WTA tour, and won 3 more majors in her career before retiring for good after the 2012 season. On September 18, 2013, Clijsters gave birth to a son, Jack Leon Lynch. In October 2016, she gave birth to her third child, Blake Richard Lynch. That’s a remarkable career, which doesn’t often get remembered by the #MeToo liberal-Democrat crowd, for some unexplained reason.

Victoria Azarenka was born July 31, 1989, and has won two Australian Open singles titles– 2012 & 2013. Belarus is her home, which is bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital and most populous city is Minsk. This forested country of about 10 million became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991, and remains in their sphere of influence. Thus ESPN doesn’t cover Victoria Azarenka much.

Azarenka and her former boyfriend Billy McKeague have one son, Leo, born December 19, 2016– when she was age 27. Following their split immediately after 2017 Wimbledon, they became involved in a legal child custody case for their son which resulted in Azarenka’s withdrawal from the 2017 US Open and all other 2017 tournaments. Here’s excerpts from an interview she gave to the New York Times, published April 25, 2017.

With Baby in Tow, Victoria Azarenka Returns to Tennis — and Her Roots [1]

After an extended break from competition, Azarenka is training in her native Belarus with a new coach and a new traveling companion: her infant son.

MINSK, Belarus — The child care was done, if only for a moment, and Victoria Azarenka was back where it all began, leaning against the wall that had been her first tennis companion. “It was the best hitting partner, because it never misses, never complains,” Azarenka explained. The wall is in a small gymnasium in the Republic Olympic Training Center, a labyrinthine tennis facility in Minsk that was a short walk from the small, two-bedroom apartment Azarenka shared with her parents, her older brother, Max, and her grandparents.

“Yes, I’ll do it for me, because I want to achieve my full potential, but it’s not anymore just for me,” Azarenka said. “I want to have my son be proud of me. I want to give him a good example that if you have a goal and you have a dream, you can achieve it if you work hard.” She resists calling it a comeback. After all, she was not sidelined by injury, illness, burnout or misfortune…

Victoria Azarenka admits that she was depressed (when she was injured in 2014-15), but has grown from it:

“I don’t want to sound like a mental person, but, yeah, I was,” she said. “It’s just when you are in those moments it’s difficult to realize that, because you think you’re fine and you’re trying to kind of command your mind that you’re OK, but it’s really just going through that and experiencing that and really admitting it to yourself. I think the first time I admitted that I wasn’t OK it made me feel a little bit better, and being an athlete I think it’s not a weakness to admit that, because we’re all human, and we all go through difficult situations and it’s OK to be that way. The important thing, and what’s exciting is how you come out of it. That’s what shows a strong personality, a strong character, because it’s a challenge of life; it’s more.”

Victoria Azarenka: Facebook August 17, 2017 ·

My incredible fans and friends, who have supported me throughout my career deserve to know why I may not be able to compete at the U.S Open this year.

The day my son Leo was born, back in December of last year, was by far the happiest day of my life. I now have a brand new appreciation for how new mothers – and fathers – juggle the many different responsibilities for their families. However, like most working mothers, despite my unconditional love for my son, I am faced with a difficult situation which may not allow me to return to work right away.

In Belarus back in March, with my family in tow, I started working toward the goal of returning to the tennis tour and competing at a high level by July 31st. I was able to return early, playing in Mallorca mid-June followed by Wimbledon.

Shortly after Wimbledon, Leo’s father and I separated and as we work to resolve some of the legal processes, the way things stand now is that the only way I can play in the US Open this year is if I leave Leo behind in California, which I’m not willing to do.

Balancing child care and a career is not easy for any parent, but it is a challenge I am willing to face and embrace. I want to support men and women everywhere who know it is ok to be a working mother – or father. No one should ever have to decide between a child and their career, we are strong enough to do both.

I am incredibly grateful for all of the support I have received from women and men around the world who recognize the importance of supporting working moms and our right to be with our children. I look forward to hopefully having positive developments soon so that this difficult situation can be resolved and I can get back to competing. No parent should have to decide between their child or their career.

I remain optimistic that in the coming days Leo’s father and I can put aside any differences and take steps in the right direction to more effectively work as a team and agree on an arrangement for all three of us to travel and for me to compete but, more importantly to ensure that Leo has a consistent presence from both of his parents.
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To finish this tale to the present, Victoria Azarenka received a wild card for the year’s US Open champion. Azarenka is currently ranked #87. The July 16 WTA rankings were used to determine direct entries into the US Open, which begins Aug. 27. She has quietly worked her way back (no Facebook posts on her page since the one cited above), and has demanded no preferential treatment. She has made it clear that her priority is her son, and no one doubts it. People can respect & understand that.

Serena Williams was born September 26, 1981 and is also a mother preparing for the US Open, but much differently. On April 19, 2017, Williams posted a picture of her midsection on Snapchat. It had the caption, “20 weeks,” sparking speculation that she was pregnant. Later that evening, her spokesperson confirmed that she was expecting.

On September 1, 2017, Williams gave birth to a daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian. Williams had a cesarean-section delivery due to complications, which has short-circuited her long-planned “comeback.” The biggest factor working against her professional success from the start is her age. She gave birth to her daughter when she turned age 35, and is now approaching age 37. Athletes (men & women alike) don’t get better at this age, they decline & retire. Williams and her longtime coach Patrick Mouratoglou spin it differently.

Serena Williams Confirms She’s Pregnant After Day of Speculation:   NYT April 19, 2017 [2]

[Patrick] Mouratoglou expressed delight for Williams and Ohanian. From a tennis perspective, he said he was not upset about missing the chance to chase more titles in the coming months. “Honestly, not,” he said. “I am not disappointed because I know how important what is happening right now is for her, and I also know there’s a really good chance that she’ll come back afterward. “What is fabulous is all these challenges, and now there’s a new challenge that’s incredible. She’ll be over 35 and a new mother trying to win Grand Slams.”

Mouratoglou, a confident and enterprising Frenchman, recently opened a large tennis academy near Nice after having operated an academy in the Paris suburbs for years. He is also a prominent television analyst and has been one of the biggest factors in Williams’ late-career renaissance. When they began working together in 2012, Williams was 30, and Mouratoglou said she told him that she wanted to win one last major singles title. She has far exceeded that. She won her first tournament with Mouratoglou — Wimbledon in 2012 — and has gone on to win 10 major singles titles and an Olympic gold medal in singles with him as her coach.

Once involved romantically, Mouratoglou and Williams have remained a team professionally… “It’s difficult to say, because it’s a situation that’s completely new and that she has never been through,” Mouratoglou said. “It’s very difficult to imagine in advance how someone will react when they are a mother. It’s so special and such a life change. I do think she’ll come back, and she will come back all the more if everyone thinks she’s done. So I encourage you to write that she’s finished. Please.”

Political footnote: Serena Williams last title was the 2016 Australian Open, after which she revealed she was pregnant. Coincidentally, a few weeks later it was announced to the world that Maria Sharapova (a longtime professional & personal rival) had failed a drug test at that same event. Sharapova wouldn’t return to a major until the 2017 US Open, facing #2-seeded Angelique Kerber in the 1st round, with Sharapova prevailing– stunning everyone.

Serena Williams’ “comeback” (as she has marketed this campaign) has been hyped by ESPN and the rest of the liberal media since after the 2018 Australian Open. These are screenshots of her appearances since then, with everything you need to know from the WTA Rankings homepage.

It started with Indian Wells & Miami (above) which are hard-court tournaments. Indian Wells is a rockstar event, so every player wants to show up and be part of it. Serena beat the warm bodies in the first two rounds, then lost to her older sister Venus Williams 6-2. 6-4. If you know sports & injury recovery, then that was a HUGE red flag.

Nevertheless, Serena Williams was determined to play in Miami, which is her hometown. She now actually owns the event; as she’s a major investor & on the board. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this event needs to switch to clay to have any appeal to serious professionals trying to win the next major which is the French Open in this case. Indian Wells, LA outclasses Miami, Florida– so re-invent this tournament; please.

We’ll see what Serena Williams can do as an owner, but as a pro player she’s finished. In Miami 2018, 20-year old up & comer Naomi Osaka crushed Serena Williams in the first round: 6-3, 6-2. This is exactly the kind of confident young player Serena Williams can’t beat anymore.

Serena Williams’ next tournament was the 2018 French Open. She beat #17 ranked Ashley Barty in the 2nd round, then #11 Julia Georges in the 3rd round, and was set-up to face Maria Sharapova in the 4th Round, when she suddenly announced a “torn pectoral muscle” which left her unable to serve, and thus compete. She retired just an hour before the match was scheduled to start, leaving her opponent and fans in a state of shock.

Miraculously, less than a month later, Serena Williams began her Wimbledon run to the finals, before she was soundly defeated by Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-3. Serena Williams never even played a top-50 opponent until the semis, and again it was Julia Georges, whom she handled easily– as always. Serena Williams was ranked #181 in the world, yet was given a #25 seeding, which was unprecedented. Wimbledon 2018 was most likely a fixed draw to help Serena win a 24th major. The mathematical possibility of this draw happening randomly in her favor was so remote as to not exist, and it was a disgrace to the sport of tennis.

After Wimbledon, it’s back to the hard-courts again. Below is how Serena Williams looked in San Jose less than a month ago, in a 1st Round 6-1, 6-0 loss to #48-ranked Johanna Konta. As you can see in this image from that match, there is no athletic balance or control here. Serena Williams’ core is devastated, and she needs rest & recovery before trying to compete again. Any other conclusion is delusional.

Of course she isn’t listening to her body or science, so the media hype machine is pressed into action…

Serena Williams to play in Montreal after accepting Rogers Cup wild card
Updated: July 24, 2018  [3]

MONTREAL (AP) — Serena Williams will play in the Rogers Cup in Montreal next month, her first tournament since her runner-up finish at Wimbledon. Tournament officials announced Tuesday that Williams received a wild card into the event, which begins Aug. 3. Her ranking jumped from No. 181 to No. 28 after her run at Wimbledon. The 36-year-old has played in four tournaments this year after giving birth last year.

The Rogers Cup is a tuneup for the U.S. Open. Williams last played it in 2014, when she reached the semifinals. She won the event three times when it was played in Toronto. After her loss in the Wimbledon final to Angelique Kerber, Williams said she had proved to herself that she could still compete to win Grand Slams. Her next Grand Slam title would tie her with Margaret Court for the most with 24. She already has the most major trophies in the professional era.

But after seeing her draw of tough hard-court opponent Alize Cornet in the 1st Round…

Serena Williams out of Montreal tourney for personal reasons Aug 4, 2018  [4]

MONTREAL — Serena Williams has pulled out of next week’s Rogers Cup hard-court tournament, citing personal reasons. The tournament announced Williams’ withdrawal on Saturday. The 23-time Grand Slam champion is coming off the most lopsided defeat of her career, a 6-1, 6-0 loss to Johanna Konta in San Jose, California, on Tuesday.

Williams, 36, was the runner-up at Wimbledon last month. That was just her fourth tournament since returning to the tour after having a baby in September and dealing with a health scare related to blood clots. The year’s last major tournament, the US Open, starts on Aug. 27. Williams will be replaced in the draw at Montreal by Tatjana Maria, who faces Alize Cornet in the first round.

Unless anyone has a better explanation, that’s what it is. The rest can be dismissed as convenient excuses at this point. Serena Williams needs to play matches to be ready for the US Open, so Cincinnati is the next stop on the tour…

Serena Williams falls to Petra Kvitova in Cincinnati second round 8:15 AM ET 8-15-18  [5]

Serena Williams was eliminated from the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday, falling to eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova in a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 second-round loss. Williams was making her first appearance at the tournament since winning the title in 2015. She opened with a victory 6-1 6-2 against Daria Gavrilova, a match that took just 65 minutes.

Cincinnati was her fifth tournament since she had a baby last September. She has dealt with blood clots and recently said she has been struggling with postpartum emotions. “You know, this is a long comeback,” she said. “I just began. I just started — definitely at the very, very beginning. I’m getting there, and I’m going to just continue to work hard and, hopefully, I’ll start winning more matches.”

What’s happening here is a glorious career ending in a slow-motion train wreck. Many of the achievements Serena Williams has made for herself (and women) are being undermined by her lack of character and ethics at the end. She’s being pushed and is reaching for something she has no right to anymore, which is to be considered the best women’s player in the world. These are the current WTA rankings;

Right now there are at least 12-15 WTA professionals that Serena Williams can’t beat.

All this became apparent at Roland Garros, when Serena Williams ducked Maria Sharapova. Her career mark again Sharapova is 19-2*. The asterisk is for that duck, because she couldn’t handle going 19-3, which smacks of ungraciousness & poor sportsmanship. Where’s the role model in that?

Footnote on PED testing: If doping is widely suspected by professional peers, then that athlete is tested more frequently. Roger Federer agrees that this is good policy for the sport, so who’s to argue? Only Serena Williams it appears.

Every time a WADA agent shows up for a sample, she’s in front of a camera and/or posting her indignant reaction [!?#) on social media. No other professional player does this. Many comments in the forums & chatboards remind people that they’ve heard this routine before from Lance Armstrong. Serena Williams is a real student of the game, if you know what I mean.

Update:  Thursday   August 23, 2018 ~ 5:00 PM  ET

The men’s & women’s draws for the upcoming US Open have been released, and here are my conclusions. The men’s brackets look balanced & fair. I don’t expect any objections/complaints from the players, or too many surprises over the next two weeks. The women’s draw is a different matter entirely, as the brackets have clearly been fixed again– to accommodate Serena Williams who was seeded No. 17 for the US Open, nine spots higher than her current ranking of No. 26.

Once again, it’s not the inflated seeding that matters, as much as the fact that nearly all the best women’s players who can handle Serena (pointed out above) are bracketed far away from her. The only two players who can beat her, in her section of the draw are; sister Venus Williams, whom she could face in the 3rd-Round, and #1-seeded Simona Halep, a potential 4th-Round match.

I basically predicted this, and that’s why I published this piece before the US Open draws were announced– to anticipate (prove) the next fix in a women’s tennis major. I’ve identified which players Serena Williams avoids, through her heavyweight connections with the most prestigious tournament officials; and now you see how skillfully this is done. ESPN has already gone into overdrive with their Serena puff pieces & flak machine.

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Where Have All the Nicknames Gone?

Chris Berman gave the best baseball nicknames ever. Berman was better at doing the ESPN highlights than actually calling a MLB game, which is why he eventually chose to exclusively cover the NFL. Here’s the funniest of his baseball best:

Mike Enough Aldretti, Kent Buy a Vowel Hrbek, Pat Mahomes Where the Heart is, Roberto Remember the Alomar, Carlos One if by Land, Two if Baerga, Francisco Umbilical Cordova, Stan Javier Self A Merry Little Christmas, Steve Ebony and Avery, Delino Decoconut Deshields, Oddibe Young Again McDowell, Kent Magic Mercker, Bert Be Home Blyleven, Rich Dotson 280z, Wally Absorbine Joyner, Eric Win Place or Show, Heathcliff Slocumb if ya got ’em, Jesse Belly Up to the Barfield, Matt No Nokes, Rod Beck Beck Beck Beck Beck, Lance You Sank my Blankenship, Greg Gagne with a Spoon, Mike Leggo Gallego, Ken Get Off My Cloude, A J Touchy Feeley, Pat Pick Up the Tabler, Jeff See Through Blauser, Eddie Eat Drink and be Murray, Craig Def Lefferts, Kirk Weekly Rueter, Damon Blue Berryhill, Rick See Ya Later Aguilera, Dave Mary Magadan, Kevin Smallmouth Bass, and Scott Supercalifragilisticexpiala Brosius.

His complete list is here.

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Padres & the MLB Trade Deadline Breakdown

If you’ve been through a few MLB Trade deadlines (and I have), then you know this is a feeding frenzy. You have two sub-sets of teams; those trading away MLB assets for prospects & young talent, and those competitive teams acquiring winning MLB talent. Everyone is trying to improve themselves, whether the focus is on this October, or the future. The most-coveted MLB asset for championship contenders is top-tier relief pitching, as that’s what October baseball comes down to. Who can get those crucial final outs from their bullpen?

The most coveted return for sellers are top prospects: top-100 MLB prospects, top organizational prospects, top pitching prospects, top left-handed pitching prospects, etc. Position players are added for depth, and to plug holes, but they don’t move the needle towards winning like relief pitching or front-line starters.

The fascinating (and mostly unmentioned) thing about this trade deadline is that Padres GM AJ Preller held aces on both ends of this spectrum, and once again exerted influence & control over the trade market. He dealt coveted lefty closer Brad Hand (and righty set-up guy Adam Cimber) on July 19, 2018 to Cleveland, in return for C Francisco Mejia, their top prospect– ~15th overall in MLB. The Padres needed a catcher, as Austin Hedges is elite defensively, but isn’t the everyday answer. Hedges is an elite caddy in a catching tandem. Padres won’t be dealing Mejia, you can be sure.

As the above screenshot indicates, Francisco Mejia currently ranks 3rd in the Padres stacked farm system– behind SS Fernando Tatis, Jr. and LHP Mackenzie Gore. The list of talent in this top-12 is the envy of MLB. There are more-than-a-few teams in MLB who don’t have a single player in their farm system that is better than any of the Padres top-12 prospects. This represents championship level talent at bargain basement salary, which means you can keep it together. Every savvy GM & organized front office understands that.

This is what put the San Diego Padres in the RHP Chris Archer trade conversation. Any GM of a last-place team needs to look at ways to improve their starting pitching. AJ Preller did this, but what the Rays wanted in return was too high a price. Besides, Chris Archer isn’t an ace. He’s a valuable #2 starter on championship NL roster, and a #3 in the AL.

AJ Preller knows you don’t give up the farm for that, especially at this point in their competitive cycle. Padres don’t need to pay Archer’s (affordable) salary either. So what was Preller doing? He was doing what any good GM in his advantageous position should do, test the market and get an idea of how other organizations value your prospects. It turns out that rival GM’s value Padres prospects very highly. More reason to hold onto them.

There was non-stop speculation from the MLB/ESPN driven media, that the Mets were going to deal their “aces.” Let’s back up for a moment here. First, the only ace the Mets currently have is RHP Jacob deGrom, and the Mets have said repeatedly they don’t want to trade him, unless it’s an offer that’s over-the-top and they can’t refuse. Nothing of the sort was ever presented.

Somehow by mentioning a deGrom trade possibility through the media, the Mets front office reasoned that would make RHP’s Noah Syndergaard (above pic) & Zack Wheeler appear more valuable. It doesn’t work that way with astute GM’s. Let’s examine the true trade value here.

The best pitcher the Mets actually had available was Syndergaard. The problem is he never stays healthy, and he just went on the DL again, this time with hand, foot & mouth (HF&M) disease. HF&M disease is a viral infection, that wipes you out– similar to mononucleosis or hepatitis. No team wants to bring a carrier of a contagious disease into their clubhouse. Yet the MLB/ESPN sports media kept trying to push a trade possibility, and it (curiously) was often linked to the Padres, as they have the prospects to make it happen.

The media also underplayed the causes of HF&M disease, which is poor hygiene, not washing your hands, etc. A responsible MLB GM can’t blow that off as incidental. It says something about who that person is, and their intellect. Unlike a bone fracture or muscle/ligament tear; this could wipe out an entire clubhouse– for a month or more!

The kid may have talent, but his head is a huge question mark, along with the Mets medical staff. Therefore Noah Syndergaard is definitely not worth the gamble of trading away the farm system to obtain. The Padres would rather keep top LHP prospect Mackenzie Gore, and that’s what AJ Preller did.

Zack Wheeler was endlessly floated over the past few weeks as a starter that could help a contender. He’s viewed by GM’s as a #4/5 guy- so that was a non-starter. Wheeler was the beneficiary of possibly the worst umpiring decision in the history of MLB, in a recent start against the Padres at Citi Field.

This trade deadline was most cruel to the New York Mets, who are currently 44-59, sitting 4th in the NL East with a bad farm system, and unable to trade any of their best starters for the prospects they so desperately needed. The Mets team owner is bankrupt, so winter free-agent splashes are probably not an option. That’s an Amazing Mess.

As mentioned, all the serious focus up to the deadline (outside of Chris Archer) was on top-tier relievers. AJ Preller still held the best cards in this market, even after dealing Brad Hand. Reliever Kirby Yates (1.60 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP) is controllable through 2020, and Craig Stammen has a 2.63 ERA, with a 1.11 WHIP. They both have been used frequently, and in high-leverage situations.

Those were (by far) the best available reliever options, as the trade deadline passed. An actual problem at this point for AJ Preller is that no GM wants to trade him any more prospects. They see the Padres future, and they don’t want one of their own to be part of it. This slightly suppressed the value for everyone else, since Yates & Stammen were the top of the bar. After the deadline both are still Padres, despite all the media talk that they would be dealt to contenders.

The best starter available, Chris Archer was eventually dealt by the Rays to the Pirates at the deadline for two young MLB players: outfielder Austin Meadows and right-hander Tyler Glasnow. That’s probably less that what Archer is worth, but the Rays were determined to sell. That’s how you control a trade market, and this isn’t the first time AJ Preller has done it. More importantly, Preller held onto all of his prospects. Below is a screenshot of all the last-minute deals made at the 4:00 PM ET MLB trade deadline, posted at mlb.com. As you can see, beyond Chris Archer it was all low-level stuff:

Wrap-up: The fact is that in another year or two, all of the names on the Padres top-30 prospects list are going to be either: 1) producing in the majors, 2) knocking on the door, or 3) washed out. Not every top prospect makes it, but the level of talent and unbelievable depth in the Padres system makes them the odds-on favorite to become the next Houston Astros. The Padres will be doing it in the easier league, with an AL-type roster and organizational depth built around power pitching & hitting. They are in this position because of their general manager, who is a baseball & organizational genius.

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Always Hustle Until the 4th Out!!

For 150+ years, baseball has had three outs in an inning, and once the third out is called by the umpire, all action is stopped. Everyone from little league on up knows this. But now, that long-standing rule has been changed in practice. Of course, it involved the San Diego Padres, and (of course) the call went against them in New York. Here’s the situation & what happened.

Top of the 3rd inning, Mets lead 3-0, but the Padres have the bases loaded with RHP Zack Wheeler struggling… Two-out single to left by Wil Myers, Manny Margot trying to score from second base is incorrectly called out at the plate by umpire Manny Gonzalez, for (apparently) the third out. This screenshot below is the bad punch-out call.

After Mets catcher Devin Mesoraco shows the ball to the umpire, the incorrect ‘out’ call is signaled by Gonzalez. The inning is (hypothetically) over, but Mets catcher Devin Mesoraco then throws to third base, to nail Carlos Asuaje for the 4th out [!] of the inning. Carlos Asuaje is puzzled, as he thinks he’s heading to the visitor’s [3rd base] dugout to get his glove, because there’s three outs.  Padres manager Andy Green is also puzzled, and challenges the call at home.

After a LONG delay, the call is overturned (Margot obviously safe) and the run scores (3-2), but Asuaje is now deemed the third out– inning over. This is the Mets/Padres at Citi Field on July 24, 2018, with NY replay booth umps. Who are these replay umpires? That should be determined here, for posterity.

Obviously, Mets catcher Devin Mesoraco knew the call at home was incorrect (because it was in front of him), and that’s why he threw to third base. Heads-up play by him, you could say. But how was the runner on second base (Asuaje) supposed to know?

Here’s the MLB write-up, with video of the play & review. Padres beat reporter AJ Cassavell is one of the best in the business, and he clearly defines the replay rules in question and their interpretation.

“Section IV of MLB’s replay regulations covers the placement of runners after incorrect calls. Here are the segments in question: The Replay Official shall place the base runners on the bases he believes they would have reached had the reviewed call been made correctly. … Any doubt regarding the placement of runners should be resolved in favor of the last base legally touched at the time of the challenged call.

Subsequent Calls and Outs: If the Replay Official determines that an incorrect call on the field had no effect on the subsequent behavior or conduct of the offensive or defensive players, the Replay Official shall change the incorrect call, but let stand any on-field calls or plays unaffected by the incorrect call. The Replay Official may not declare a runner out based on a play the umpire believes would have occurred subsequent to the play subject to Replay Review.

[Andy] Green had asked to protest the interpretation of those rules. According to section II.L.4. of the replay regulations, no protest shall ever be permitted on judgement decisions by the replay official. He was denied.”

Carlos Asuaje had these lucid comments, post-game. “I guess the safest thing would be to just stay at second and, if there’s a close play or something, just wait on the base, I really don’t know how else to do that. Nobody’s going to play that ball through — especially with the third baseman standing there. My only move would be to go full-speed and slide into the guy. What if that was the third out at home? What are we going to do? Are we going to fight these guys? I mean, I’m not going to start a brawl.”

Here were Andy Green’s post-game comments. “I don’t know how you think he’s [Asuaje’s] making a full-bore effort to advance to third base. I think it’s a lethargic jog toward the third-base coach, which is pretty customary when the third out of an inning is made. You go hand the guy your helmet. That’s effectively what was happening.”

That’s how you get rooked by the Black Hand. The correct call would have been to send Carlos Asuaje back to second base: two outs, runners at 1st & 2nd base, with Eric Hosmer up. Any replay call that overturns a call on the field must freeze the base runner situation, as everything that occurs after that depends on the call. That’s rational.

Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler was on the ropes, and the umps (on the field & replay) let him off the hook. That unfair & biased call for the home team completely changed the game, as the Mets won easily 6-3. Why aren’t the replay umpires held accountable?

Note that if this situation occurs with only one out, you still have to hustle until the 4th out. For the record, Wil Myers was standing on first base when Asuaje was tagged for the 4th out, so nice base-running Wil. You never want to run into the 4th out of an inning. That’s a new rule. Wil Myers couldn’t possibly run into the fifth out, but he was one of two people who could have run into the fourth out, if that makes any sense.

As we can see, the rules in MLB are now hypothetical, and as far as getting a call goes, it helps to be an east coast team. Mets starter Zack Wheeler pitched 7 innings, allowing only 2 ER, so his trade stock goes up, which is also a factor here. This is what has happened to all sports these days. The traditional rules don’t apply anymore, and it mirrors everyday reality. Only the interests of the privileged count for anything. These “contests” are largely manipulated & fixed. The people & fans have noticed, and it won’t hold up much longer, as there’s too much unfairness & hypocrisy.

Final next-day thoughts:

Baseball is an amazing game because anything can happen, and that’s why we watch. Sometimes you witness something at the ballpark that you’ve never seen before. You can’t say that about most sports.

After thinking about this affair in it’s totality, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is the WORST UMPIRING DECISION IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAME. It’s so, not just because of the blatant bias involved, but also because it violates & distorts the game’s most basic rule to it’s essence, which is, “three outs ends the inning.”

Over & Out

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San Diego Padres: Bullpen Management & Draft Notes

The Padres have the most unique and effective bullpen in MLB, and it’s starting to turn heads. Padres manager Andy Green is as good as it gets in the dugout, and with the media. No one manages a bullpen or 25-man roster better. The Padres are currently 29th in OBP, 27th in SLG, 25th in runs scored, and 18th in total ERA. The only reason they are hanging around in the tough NL West (currently 34-38, 6.5 GB of ARZ) is because of Andy Green (below) and their unique bullpen. Let’s break it down.

On April 8, 2016 San Diego Padres GM AJ Preller claimed LHP Brad Hand off waivers from Miami Marlins (GM: Mike Hill). This happened just before Preller started trading his entire rotation, closer, and anything else he could dump. Brad Hand was available at the that trade deadline, and in 2017, but no fair offers came. Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don’t make, as Brad Hand (1.78 ERA, 35.1 IP, 21 saves) is now a relief ace and premium closer– under a team-friendly contract with a club option through 2021. Any MLB GM will tell you that is a championship-winning piece to the puzzle. His value may never be higher, but there’s no reason to trade him.

Right-handed set-up man Craig Stammen (above) was acquired on December 23, 2016 as a minor-league free agent, and invited to spring training. He performed and made the 25-man roster, and has been one of Andy Green’s most valuable bullpen pieces in complementing Brad Hand. He’s age 34 with a 2.23 ERA in 32.1 IP so far in 2018. Craig Stammen in 2017 had a 3.14 ERA in 80.1 IP for the Padres. He’s paid $2.25M/yr for 2018 & 2019. He’s a huge bargain in high-leverage situations– exactly where you need it.

On April 26, 2017 the San Diego Padres claimed RHP Kirby Yates (above) off waivers from Los Angeles Angels. Padres fans LOVE this guy! So far in 2018: 3-0, 1.00 ERA, 27.0 IP, with 2 saves. He’s pre-Arb2, with a salary of $1M in 2018. Andy Green sometimes uses Brad Hand in the 8th inning of a tight game, because that’s the match-up advantage or whatever.

Making the closer slot fluid, increases competitiveness in the bullpen. “Closer by committee” is an old-school baseball phrase, but this is something different. The Padres aren’t rotating their closer because they don’t have a reliable finisher, it’s because they have multiple guys capable of closing. This is very similar to the Cincinnati Reds “Nasty Boys” bullpen that won them a World Series in 1990. Kirby Yates is age 31, yet another Padres Arb2 player making $1M in 2018, and can’t be a free agent until 2021– at the earliest.

Righty side-armer (above) Adam Cimber (2018: 3-2, 2.52 ERA, 35.2 IP) is a guy the Padres actually drafted back in 2013, before AJ Preller became GM. But Padres fans know that the previous regime would have gotten rid of this guy long ago, and he’d be helping another team win games. Luckily for the Padres, new management understands the value of a good bullpen in high-leverage situations. It’s the difference between winning & losing a lot of games. Adam Cimber turns age 28 on August 15, and is Arb1, making the league-minimum salary of $545,000.

Rookie LHP José Castillo was acquired as part of the blockbuster Wil Myers deal with the Rays & the Nationals on December 19, 2014. This was AJ Preller’s signature deal as a rookie GM of the San Diego Padres. The key guy Preller gave up was SS Trea Turner to the Nationals. José Castillo is age 22 with electric stuff. He’s just been added to the bullpen, and so far in 2018 he’s 1-0, 0.00 ERA in 6.0 IP (4 games) with 12 K’s. San Diego Padres also sent C Rene Rivera, RHP Burch Smith and 1B Jake Bauers to Tampa in that deal.

As the trading deadline loomed last summer, on July 24, 2017 the Padres traded Brandon Maurer, Ryan Buchter and RHP Trevor Cahill to the Kansas City Royals for cash, 2B Esteury Ruiz, LHP’s Matt Strahm and Travis Wood.  Matt Strahm (above) and Ruiz were considered the booty in the deal for the Padres, as Travis Wood was released; then he got hurt in Spring Training with the Tigers and is probably finished in MLB. Cahill was a Padres rental, and Mauer & Buchter were fungible.

LHP Matt Strahm (2018 so far: 1-2, 2.55 ERA, 17.2 IP) was envisioned as a potential starter, but he’s still working his way back from a knee injury that he sustained with the Royals. The Padres have used him effectively as a long reliever and their “bullpen starter.” The bullpen start has gotten a lot of notice, especially in Tampa Bay, where the Rays have been forced to start a reliever repeatedly.

The plan for Andy Green is typically to have LHP Matt Strahm go through the line-up once, then bring in a right-handed long reliever to bridge to the “real” bullpen. An advantage of a bullpen start is that it prevents the opposition from stacking their lineup for the righty/lefty match-up advantage.

The Padres have had to use “bullpen starts” because they don’t have enough reliable starters. Teams are supposed to have five starters for a rotation. Most teams today don’t have even four reliable starters, and the Padres are among them. They actually have only two: RHP Tyson Ross & LHP Clayton Richard.

The rest of their “starters” include rookie LHP Eric Lauer who is 3-4, 6.20 ERA in 45 IP in 10 starts with a 1.98 WHIP. Eric Lauer was the Padres top pick in 2016 (#25 overall) out of Kent State, and just turned age 23. He has been rushed up to the majors due to injuries & poor performances, including: RHP Dinelson Lamet (TJ surgery), RHP Luis Perdomo (ineffective, optioned to minors), LHP Joey Lucchesi (DL- hip injury), and RHP Colin Rea (TJ surgery recovery from his one start while with the Marlins in 2016).

Taking a closer look at these numbers reveals a secret behind Andy Green’s success in managing this staff. Eric Lauer (below) has 10 starts with only 45 IP, for a 6.20 ERA. Eric Lauer typically only pitches 4-5 innings, and gives up 3 runs. That’s not good, but it’s not a disaster either. It would be a disaster if Andy Green tried to push Lauer another inning or two. Then those games would get out-of-Hand [!], giving him no chance to use his effective relievers in a situation that matters. By pulling his struggling starters early, or going to a bullpen start; Andy Green keeps the damage to a minimum which gives his team a chance to rally. In baseball, this is called being an outstanding manager, with an excellent “feel” for his team.

On August 1, 2017 RHP Jordan Lyles was released by the Colorado Rockies, and a week later AJ Preller grabbed him. The Padres had priority on NL waivers claims at the time, due to their poor record in 2016. This is just another example of how AJ Preller acquires talent outside-the-box. The Padres have used Lyles in 2018 as a their fill-in 4th starter; so far 2-3, 4.83 ERA in 20 games, seven of them starts. He’s pitched 59.2 innings, which averages 3 innings per appearance. This is the same situation as Eric Lauer, in that Jordan Lyles eats innings, but gets pulled early. This is because winning baseball theory says, “If you leave a 5.00+ ERA pitcher in too long, you lose.”

LHP Robbie Erlin (above) is another organizational soldier who has recovered from Tommy John surgery. Erlin was originally acquired from the Texas Rangers back in 2011 for righty set-up man Mike Adams. Robbie Erlin bombed as a starter in his few opportunities he had earlier this year, but he has found a niche as a lefty longman out of Andy Green’s bullpen. Overall, Robbie Erlin in 2018 is 1-3, with a 4.05 ERA in 40.0 IP and a WHIP of 1.05. His 19 appearances include 2 disaster starts which ballooned his ERA. Robbie Erlin has been very valuable during the bullpen starts, and in long relief.

The only thing left on the current Padres pitching staff (above) are RHP’s Bryan Mitchell & Phil Hughes. On December 12, 2017 the New York Yankees traded 3B Chase Headley, RHP Bryan Mitchell and cash to San Diego Padres for RF Jabari Blash. Blash was quickly DFA’d by the Yankees. This deal was made because 1) the Yankees needed to get under the salary cap as they were about to acquire Giancarlo Stanton; and 2) Padres GM AJ Preller liked RHP Bryan Mitchell.

The Padres took an Chase Headley’s $13M contract for 2018, in the hopes they could squeeze a year out of him and gain a potential starter (Mitchell) in the process. Headley bombed and was DFA’d by the Padres after a slow start, and Bryan Mitchell appears to have serious mechanical issues that are limiting his effectiveness. So far in 2018 Bryan Mitchell is 0 -3, with a 7.08 ERA in 48.1 IP. If that isn’t corrected, then this deal will be a $13M bust for the Padres. This only proves that no one wins them all as a GM in MLB.

Phil Hughes was acquired from the Twins on May 27, 2018 for minor-league C Janigson Villalobos. Twins are paying all of Phil Hughes $13.2M salary in 2018. In 2019 Hughes earns $13,200,000, of which only $5.95M will be paid by San Diego Padres. This deal was made by AJ Preller so he could acquire the 74th pick in this year’s amateur draft, and extra pool money.

Compensation picks are now tradeable in MLB, which is new. Unsurprisingly, AJ Preller was the first to take advantage of this new development, and get an advantage for his franchise. The Padres used this pick from the Twins in the “Competitive Balance B” section of the draft to take OF Grant Little from Texas Tech, with the 74th overall selection. The Padres forfeited their 2nd Round pick to the Kansas City Royals for signing unrestricted free agent 1B Eric Hosmer, so this deal made up for that lost draft pick. Nothing is more valuable in MLB than young talent, and AJ Preller (below) knows it.  So far in 2018 with the Padres Phil Hughes is 0-0, 4.05 ERA in 6.2 IP.

DL Note: Phil Maton is a righty set-up guy the Padres drafted in 2015. His 2018 numbers are 0-0, 0.56 ERA in 16.0 IP, with 17 K’s. Maton is currently on the DL with a right lat strain, and pitching in AA (San Antonio) for rehabilitation. The Padres will get him back after the All Star break at the latest, probably sending Jose Castillo down, as Bryan Mitchell and Phil Hughes can’t be optioned.

And finally… Carter Capps was the Marlins wipe-out closer in 2015, until his elbow snapped, necessitating Tommy John surgery. He was dealt to the Padres during his recovery in the controversial “Cashout” deal. On July 29, 2016 the San Diego Padres traded RHP’s Andrew Cashner & Colin Rea, with RHP-prospect Tayron Guerrero and cash to Miami Marlins for RHP Jarred Cosart, RHP Carter Capps, RHP Luis Castillo and 1B Josh Naylor. This deal has been discussed & analyzed in detail here.

Anyways the prize of the deal for the Padres was Carter Capps, whom they expected to return to form in 2017 as an elite closer after rehabbing his reconstructed right elbow. The problem was (and now forever is) that his delivery to home was an illegal motion. He was hopping off the mound, then replanting his back foot before firing home. This made him unhittable, as his ERA in 2015 was 1.16 in 31.0 IP before he got hurt.

MLB (finally) ruled in Spring Training of 2017, that Carter Capps’ delivery was illegal. Much of this can be seen as extended punishment of AJ Preller by the Eastern Establishment. That aside, the Padres have tried everything to change Capps’ delivery while keeping him effective, but nothing has worked. He’s about to turn age 28, and he’s still getting rocked in the minors. He’s making ~ $1.3M this year, with one more year of arbitration before free agency.

The blame for all this lies with the Miami Marlins, who allowed this pitcher to come through their system with an illegal motion. The Atlanta Braves correctly challenged his delivery in a game, shortly before his was disabled, but were rebuked by the umpires. MLB never acted upon any of this nonsense, until the Padres acquired him. Then it was pronounced illegal. Talk about nullifying a deal by judicial fiat?!!

PADRES 2018 DRAFT SIGNEES (as of this publication)

3 | SS Owen Miller (Illinois St.)
4 | RHP Dylan Coleman (Missouri St.)
5 | OF Dwanya Williams-Sutton (East Carolina)
7 | OF Jawuan Harris (Rutgers)
8 | RHP Steven Wilson (Santa Clara)
9 | 2B Luke Becker (Kentucky)
11 | C Nick Gatewood (Georgia St.)
14 | RHP Erik Sabrowski (Cloud County CC)
16 | C Michael Curry (Georgia)
20 | RHP Reiss Kneher (Fordham)
21 | OF Mason Fox (Gardner-Webb)
22 | RHP Payton Smith (Strom Thurmond HS, S.C.)
25 | 2B Lee Solomon (Lipscomb)
26 | LHP Tyler Mortensen (Davis HS, Calif.)
27 | RHP Gabe Mosser (Shippensburg)
31 | RHP Jake Sims (Saint Leo)
32 | LHP Cody Tyler (Wichita St.)
33 | C Rainier Aguilar (Redlands)
39 | RHP Seth Mayberry (Dinwiddie County HS, Va.)

Draft Notes: Padres forfeited their 2nd Round pick in compensation for signing free agent Eric Hosmer. The Kansas City Royals used this 34th overall pick on Daniel Lynch, a LHP from the University of Virginia whose suggested slot value is $2,066,700.

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The worst free-agent signing of the off-season was Alex Cobb (4/$57M) to the Orioles, inked at the end of spring training (March 21, 2018). Alex Cobb was the last “big-name” starting pitcher on the market, and the O’s were desperate. So far for Cobb: 2-8, 7.23 ERA, 56.0 IP.

The Orioles also forfeited their 2nd-round pick to the Rays in this deal. The Rays then selected #31 overall, and took LHP Shane McClanahan out of South Florida, whose slot value is $2,224,400. In a free agent market that had completely collapsed for all but the very best players, this was about as bad a deal as a franchise could make. Unfortunately for Orioles fans, the owner can’t be fired. He needs to be forced to sell.

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The Padres have signed 19 of their 2018 draft picks, including six of their top 11 selections. They have until July 6 to sign these remaining selections:

1st Round: #7 overall Ryan Weathers LHP from Loretto (TN) HS, whose slot value is $5,226,500. Money isn’t a problem for this organization anymore, as this signing is imminent. Ryan is the son of former MLB pitcher David Weathers.

Competitive Balance A: #38 overall Xavier Edwards SS North Broward Prep (FL) HS

Competitive Balance B: #74 overall (acquired from Twins) Grant Little, OF from Texas Tech

6th Round: #171 overall Alexuan Vega, LHP, Leonides Morales Rodriguez HS, San German, Puerto Rico

10th Round: #291 overall Jose Quezada, RHP, Texas Tech; this selection was a gamble as he’s a fourth-year senior with a lot of tools. Padres are trying to be creative with their bonus money to sign him. He’s a teammate of the Padres Competitive B selection, Grant Little, discussed above.

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MLB Umpiring Notes: It’s difficult enough for a last-place, west coast team to go on a 10-games-in-10-days east coast road-trip, and beat a 1st-place team. It becomes nearly impossible, when the umpiring is fixed.

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San Diego Padres In -Season Report

These were the top free-agent pitchers available last winter and who actually won.

Hu Darvish: signed with Cubs 6yr/$126M, so far: 1-3, 4.95 ERA, 40 IP; currently on the DL with right triceps tendinitis with no timetable for his return.

Jake Arrieta: signed with the Phillies 3yr/$75M. so far: 5-4, 2.95 ERA, 69.2 IP; he’s been the best performer of all the free-agent pitchers. He’s still an injury risk.

Lance Lynn: signed with the Twins 1yr/$12M, so far: 4-4, 5.08 ERA, 62.0 IP; wasted money for the Twins, but not a disaster deal.

Alex Cobb: signed with the Orioles on March 21 [!] for 4yr/$57M, so far: 2-7, 6.19 ERA, 52.1 IP; this was an inexplicable waste of money as everyone stayed away from him, but that’s Peter Angelos– see also Chris Davis.

Sidenote: Orioles should release 1B/DH Chris Davis (.152/.232/.232), which would be addition by subtraction. He’s age-32 and a sunk cost, so “hoping” for things to turn around is futile. It’s hard to eat over $100M, but that’s the best thing the Orioles can do, if they are concerned about making themselves better, and they should be. This is the worst team in MLB, by far. The Chris Davis contract compares to the Pujols (Angels) & A-Rod (Yankees) albatrosses, and is probably actually worse. His best season under this 7-year deal at ($23M/per) was 2016: .221/.332/.459 in 665 PA. This is all on owner Peter Angelos, of course.

On December 27, 2017 Padres GM AJ Preller inked RHP Tyson Ross (above) to a 1yr/$1.75M deal, so far: 5-3, 3.43 ERA, 76 IP; this was the best free-agent pitcher signing of the off-season. Jake Arrieta has been better, but he costs 15x more money. For GM’s it’s about finding value and properly allocating resources. You can’t do better than what the Padres got here, and they really needed it.

Padres also signed 1B Eric Hosmer 8yr/$144M, who has been an invaluable addition. Without Hosmer, the Padres are at least 10 GB, instead of the 5.5 they currently sit. It’s the leadership he brings with the performance, as Padres fans now understand why Royals fans hated to see him go. This guy is a winner, and was the best position player available last winter in free-agency.

The fact that the Padres are still in last place despite these helpful additions, only proves how far back they actually were. This organization has been rebuilt from the ground, since the in-season sell-off of 2016. People are starting to see how this could be a dangerous team, as they have the best farm system in baseball, with a few interesting pieces at the MLB level.

Media rumors about the upcoming trade deadline (7/31) have again floated Padres closer Brad Hand (above) as an acquisition target for a championship contender. This is the same situation as last year, and the year before– actually. If a team is serious about upgrading their bullpen, then it’s Brad Hand. No one else is even close to his value. So far, no one has been willing to pay the Padres what he’s worth.

In 2018: 32.1 IP, 1.95 ERA, 50 K’s, 1.021 WHIP, with 18 saves. This is your basic wipe-out lefty, who gets stronger as the season progresses. Everyone covets that. Salary: $4M in 2018, then $7M, $7.6M; and the option for 2021 is $10M, with $1M buyout. This was yet another great move by AJ Preller this past winter, and he will sell only if the price is right. Until then, Brad Hand will continue to make manager Andy Green’s job easier, and the Padres look better than they really are. I believe Brad Hand is staying in San Diego.

The Padres have one of the best bullpens in MLB, and a manager who knows how to use it. That’s why they’ve been able to hang around in the NL West. Bullpens are really important, and still underrated & misunderstood by most. Today, most games are won or lost by the bullpens. Starting pitching is valuable when it performs and rests the bullpen. There aren’t a whole lot of those starters left, hence this bullpen revolution in MLB.

No one expects the Padres to seriously compete in 2018, but their dugout and front office haven’t given up on the season either. What’s going on is a constant evaluation process in which management is trying to figure out who their best young players are, and which ones they can trade. Roster management and protecting from the Rule 5 Draft are now issues for the Padres. GM AJ Preller thinks way ahead of everybody on these things, so expect him to make to deals before the deadline.

AJ Preller and company have assembled plenty of talent, so the focus is now on player development & injury management. The Padres drafted another LHP in the 1st Round of the June amateur draft, selecting Ryan Weathers a high-schooler, and the son of David Weathers former MLB pitcher. The Padres have more premium pitching talent than any farm system in baseball, and just added to it. If it is kept healthy and develops on track, then the Padres will be a force in the NL West by 2019, 2020 at the latest.

Meanwhile, this is a (mostly) young team that makes lots of mistakes, but doesn’t quit. They aren’t a good team, but they aren’t a joke either, and that’s an improvement. The energy is there, the brains are there, and the talent is coming. Padres fans are excited in ways they’ve never been before, and we’re talking about a franchise with a 50-year history.

They actually have a farm system and a plan to succeed long-term, based on home-grown talent. This never existed before AJ Preller was hired in 2014, and it’s all the difference in the world. Fans don’t mind watching a young scrappy last-place team, that they believe will get better over time. But fans won’t tolerate an old, overpaid team tanking into oblivion, with no hope for next year– see the 2018 Orioles.

…………….<><><><><><><><>…………..

Beauty, Athletics & Revolution

Introduction: This piece was intended as a one-off, but turned into a serial– due to circumstances. Once again, I injected myself into the narrative, and dominated discussion through persuasive & convincing analysis of the facts. In the end it got ugly, as it’s the money that turns beauty into disgrace.

There is a shift in how retiring from professional sports is viewed, and the reason is women. That’s exciting in itself, because there is no better reason. There are now female athletes who are international superstars, and that never existed in numbers before. What began in US Women’s Soccer during World Cup 1999, was the beginning of a cultural change in sports. More young girls play sports, and play seriously- which I know is an oxymoron.

The point is women now command a place in televised sports, and they certainly have owned social media since its inception. This is a powerful coalescence of nature & technology. Glamorous superstars such as Danica Patrick, Maria Sharapova, Serena & Venus Williams have marketing power that will endure long after they leave their sports.

Take Maria Sharapova, who two years ago was banned from professional tennis for taking meldonium, which had just been quietly outlawed by the WTA & WADA. She lost all her sponsors overnight, and was vilified in the media for months.

Until her return over a year-and-a half later at the US Open in 2017, where she was the lead story of the tournament. Few remember that Sloane Stephens actually won the tournament on the women’s side, because it’s all about marketing power & appeal for the women. We ask women athletes to always be ravishing, smiling, gracious & victorious– in that order. That’s all we ask.

Staying with women’s tennis, the French Open has advanced to the second round as of this publication. The story of this tournament is the return of Serena Williams, after a year-and-a-half absence– due to giving birth and ensuing medical complications. The expectations for her are different now at age 36, as even she realizes winning the tournament is probably not possible, and motherhood is her priority.

But she’s a great champion, and that mentality says as long as you can stand on two legs and hold a racket, then compete in the Majors until retiring. So it’s a situation where she’s no longer the overwhelming favorite to win, but instead the fan favorite. Women have options available to them, that men don’t, simply due to biology. This is revolutionary in that it’s changing the rules for the athletes transitioning into retirement & their new lives. Male athletes will eventually adapt and catch up, due to their competitive nature.

Danica Patrick is a most-recent example of this phenomena of which I speak. The racing icon crashed out of the Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day weekend, which was her final race. Her last several seasons in NASCAR were painful for her and her fans. She was repeatedly, intentionally & viciously wrecked. But does her lack of winning results on the track affect her popularity or appeal? Not in the least. This woman will be in demand for a long time. Consider what I posted 5-29-18 on Facebook, concerning Danica Patrick and this phenomena:

I am being blocked, censored & blacklisted by the government-military-intelligence-corporate complex; yet “Why Does Danica Patrick Wreck So Often In NASCAR?” went viral- again. Everyone is looking for perspective now that she is retired, and this piece hits the mark. I don’t bother to edit it, even though some of the YouTube videos have been taken down. In its own way, that is confirmation on the points I made, as the haters who own the videos don’t want it used against their Danica-hating agenda.

I wrote this piece because I didn’t want to see her get killed. I believe this went a long ways towards educating fans on what was going on, which protected her from the haters who were having their way for the longest time. ESPN was clueless on Danica Patrick’s NASCAR run, until this was published. This piece resonates because people get emotional about beautiful women. People (myself included) get very angry at haters who have no respect.

I can only thank Danica Patrick (whom I’ve never met), for exposing me to so many people!

I’ve said this before, and I’ll repeat it again, as it is really important to understand: beautiful women rule the world. Everyone wants love, so beautiful women own all the straight men & the lesbians. The gay men must follow, because these women capture all the men. The less beautiful & older women are always jealous, but follow just the same. There is nothing else.

So women are figuring out new ways to leave their athletic careers, and still be relevant in the world. I see this leading into exciting new directions in the post-career health of professional athletes. For too long, sports has been solely the domain of men, who left their games crippled & concussed. Thus they were discarded, because they no longer had use value.

Men will have to learn to temper their competitive instincts better, especially in the second-halves of their careers, to reap these benefits that women are claiming. Fans can usually forgive transgressions of youth, but they expect champions (in particular), to learn how to behave and be gracious in victory, as well as defeat.

Fans also are tired of the doping, and the lying & manipulations that allow them to get away with it– for a time. These obsessive & unhealthy practices never endear athletes to sports fans. PED use always ends in shame & injuries, with ensuing medical complications; yet there is still a group of holdout jocks that insist they are correct. They always hide their illicit immorality, and that’s why their dangerous myths must be exposed.

Today, more than ever, the fan/celebrity relationship is an interactive one. When fans & athletes are correctly understanding all these issues, sports becomes more watchable & less cynical. The reporting & commenting becomes more nuanced & informative. Everyone has more fun.

We as a society value women differently, for better & worse. The better part is they have the power to move in their own direction and make everyone follow. If it’s a good direction, then everyone (men included) benefit from their gains. That is the revolutionary power & potential of women is sports today. We choose to move in this direction when we give these pioneers our support.

Postscript– 2018 French Open, 3rd & 4th Round:

Posted June 3, 2018 on Fakebook:

Venus & Serena Williams lost their doubles match today at Roland-Garros 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-0. After Serena won her 3rd-Round match yesterday, she could have bailed on doubles to save herself for Maria Sharapova on Monday– but she didn’t. Serena Williams played because you don’t leave your sister (and fans) hanging, and that marks a great champion with integrity.

Posted June 4, 2018:

Update June 5, 2018 (11:30 AM ET):

Serena Williams is getting an MRI on her torn chest muscles today. The mismanagement of Serena’s health post-partum, has been scandalous from a fan perspective. When she lost badly on the hard-courts earlier this year, Serena and her camp were forced to admit that she had “tried to come back too soon.” Now she tears her pectoral muscle after a last-minute decision to play in the French Open, but no one will step-up and admit she came back too soon– again!

Serena Williams’ “comeback” has been aborted by short-sighted ignorance in sports medicine. It’s time for everyone involved here, to wake up & look at reality with an objective eye. Serena’s drop in serve velocity from 110 MPH to 80 MPH was the most damning red flag that was ignored.

As Serena’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou has a responsibility to protect her from abuse. The serve in tennis is the same motion as pitching a baseball. Dodgers ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw just went on the DL after pitching in a game where his fastball dropped nearly 5% from its normal velocity. Serena Williams’ serve dropped nearly 30%, yet she was left in her doubles match, with tape [!] over her torn pectoral muscle.

It was Mouratoglou who was pushing this French Open return for Serena from the start, when she was nowhere near ready. Whether she could have made a real comeback later will be debated among sports fans, you can bet.

Injuries are now stacking up on Serena Williams, and all their “plans” have only made things worse. There are entirely too many people in the Williams’ camp that are vicariously living their dreams of sports glory through her. What a shame.

If this is the end for Serena Williams’ professional career, then she at least died a warrior’s death. The greatest women’s tennis player had to retire to Maria Sharapova. Isn’t it ironic…?

Since I’m covering the French Open, here are my thoughts on the men’s side, and how champions separate themselves. First, I predict Rafa Nadal will win his 11th French Open title [!] this week.That is an unbreakable record to which he keeps adding. It is the story every year at Roland-Garros. Only injuries (& Novak Djokovic’s brilliant run) interrupted his accumulation of French Open titles. Simply amazing.

Secondly, tennis fans may have noticed that Roger Federer isn’t in this tournament. Why? Because he knows he can’t win it, and trying to only hurts his chances at Wimbledon, which is a tournament he can win.

The grind of winning the French Open at his advanced age pretty much takes Rafa Nadal out of contention at Wimbledon, so in essence they concede these Majors to each other, and play the hard-courts straight up, where Federer is the better player. This intelligence of Roger Federer in managing his career on the back-end is what separates him from the rest of the champions– IMO.

Update June 6, 2018 ~8:00 PM (ET):

On Monday (6/4), upon finding out just before her long-anticipated match with Serena Williams that she had withdrawn due to injury, Maria Sharapova released this statement: “I was looking forward to my match against Serena today and am disappointed that she had to withdraw. I wish her a speedy recovery and hope she returns to the tour soon.”

Earlier today (6/6) Maria Sharapova looked lethargic & out-of-rhythm, as she lost badly in her quarterfinal match to Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 6-1. In her press conference afterwards she was asked by ESPN press to respond to Serena Williams’ claims that her autobiography Unstoppable (2017) was “100% hearsay”. Sharapova replied, “I think it would be strange for me not to include someone that I have competed against for so many years … I think we played many matches. Some of those matches were very defining for me. It would be very strange, I think, if I didn’t write anything about her … When you’re writing an autobiography, I don’t think there is any reason to write anything that’s not true.”

Still no news on the results of Serena Williams’ MRI, despite her words to concerned fans on Tuesday (6/5) for continuous updates. ESPN ‘reporters’ Peter Bodo & Bonnie D. Ford keep writing hatchet pieces on Sharapova, while covering for Serena. This “Great Comeback” which they had been hyping has collapsed before everyone’s eyes, as this turned out to be the end. No one saw this coming, as even I was surprised when it happened. I have called it frame-by-frame, and am (again) hated for it– by corporate-propaganda interests.

Serena Williams is tied not only to the American sports machinery, but also to the reactionary Black Lives Matter & #MeToo campaigns. I’ve exposed their selfishness, corruption & lack of transparency. Therefore, I’m censored. Bitch factor has definitely been turned up. You didn’t think it just went away, did you?

I don’t expect a significant announcement on Serena’s medical condition anytime soon. She’s been allowed to play this game of lies & deception in the media for so long, why stop now? Her fans are pawns to be manipulated in her view. This is also unprofessional & disrespectful to her colleagues, who are being overshadowed on-the-court by all of Serena’s retirement drama. She can’t let go, and selfishly only considers her perspective. The fans have been educated here, and she’s losing much of her clout. That’s what happens when you lie to me.

Update June 9 (Saturday) ~ Noon ET– French Open Wrap-up:

Top-seeded Simona Halep from Romania, defeated Sloane Stephens in the finals: 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Halep was the dominant player on the women’s side this year at Roland-Garros. She beat Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals, and Garbine Muguguza (handily) in the semis. It’s Simona Halep’s 1st Grand Slam title, and it was impressive. Halep is age 26, and Stephens age 25; which means both are near their peak. The next great women’s tennis player in the “post-Williams’ sisters” era is still an unknown teenager.

Rafa Nadal will face 24-year old Austrian Dominic Theim on Sunday. Nadal has won 16 Grand Slam titles already, going for his 11th French Open title. Theim has none. Everyone expects Nadal to win in straight sets, four at the most.

Final notes:

Still no injury update from Serena Williams. I called that. At this point she can’t say anything, as the finals are in progress, and it’s really bad form to call a press conference now. Eventually she’ll have to do just that, as Wimbledon is just around the corner– July 2-15 in London, UK. Serena Williams has won there 7 times, and as recently as 2016, so surely she will get a wild-card entry. The problem is she went from ~ 50-60% entering the French Open; to 0% now. If she continues to delay the inevitable retirement announcement, her fans will just move on without her. That’s how the world works. Fans would love to see her & Venus retire together, and it’s time. Venus turns 38 on June 17, and (IMO) doesn’t get enough love, so Happy Birthday Venus!!

Thoughts on Wimbledon: The location of this tournament should give pause for all of us to reflect on (and speak in behalf of) a man who has been incarcerated in the Ecuadorian embassy for the past seven-and-a-half years. It’s a lot more important than what happens on any tennis court.

Pre-Wimbledon Update– June 28, 2018:

Re: Serena Williams seeded No. 25 for Wimbledon / ESPN

Did Serena Williams tank her last set of doubles with her sister Venus at the French Open (6-0), so she could over-inflate an “injury,” that allowed her an excuse to duck her long-anticipated match with Maria Sharapova?

On June 4, 2018 Serena Williams withdrew from her scheduled match against Maria Sharapova in the 4th round of the French Open. She cited a “torn pectoral muscle” and claimed she couldn’t even lift her arm to serve. She said she was getting an MRI immediately, and would reveal the those results to the media & her fans, whom she wanted to keep “totally updated.” Serena Williams never updated any of this, but instead went into hiding. Now, she has claims to have miraculously recovered from an injury that normally requires months to heal, and says she’s ready for Wimbledon on July 2– with her seeding which she all but demanded. Dominika Cibulkova, who is ranked No. 32, but is now is unseeded, is absolutely correct in her comments.

Serena Williams is the greatest women’s tennis player ever, and therefore always deserves a Wild Card entry into any tournament she wants to play. That is the privilege she has earned, and the ONLY privilege a player can earn. Manipulating seedings to accommodate an ego is enabling. There’s a lot of enabling going on here.

Sports are supposed to be about fair competition, and this is the line. ESPN works with Serena Williams (and her handlers) to fudge this line, which is unfair to every other competitor. This deserves a deeper, up-close investigative article, which will never happen on ESPN. The only fair solution for Wimbledon (at this point) is for #25 seed Serena Williams to magically “draw” Dominika Cibulkova in the 1st Round, so they can slug it out. I don’t expect that to happen either.

July 1, 2018  4:00 PM:

An Anti-Doping Agent Occupied Serena Williams’s Property And Everyone Is Being Squirrelly About It

By Laura Wagner Deadspin.com

ESPN has now posted their summary to Deadspin’s above bombshell that has hit the Internet earlier today. It’s really hard to know what’s going on here? Serena Williams claims she’s been disproportionately over-tested, but Roger Federer says there should be more testing for everybody. That’s NOT a statement of support from Federer for Serena, as ESPN tries to insinuate. Media manipulation is a very subtle science. New facts will come to light, that will expose sordid machinations.

The real questions include: Was Serena at home when the tester arrived?  Was she spotted by the tester? If “Yes,” then the tester would be correct to insist on administering the test. These are professionals, not clowns, and their time is valuable. Note: A guilty PED-user that needed the extra 12 hours for a PED to clear their system would be motivated refuse the test.

Serena Williams keeps trying to play a double-game with the media and her fans. WADA isn’t allowed to comment on anything, due to patient privacy issues. In other words, the tester (doctor) isn’t allowed to speak— due to HIPPA. Serena Williams is allowed to speak all she wants, yet offers no facts as to what happened. She only insinuates that her privacy has been invaded.

What I do is called LieSpotting, and it totally [!] works when you know the tells to look & listen for. Stay tuned!!

Monday– July 2, 2018  ~ 12:30 ET:

The above-referenced Deadspin article that revealed this story to the public was published on June 27, and it concerns an unannounced USADA drug test at Serena Williams’ residence in Florida. An official showed up to test Williams at 8:30 a.m on June 14. Evidentially, there was a standoff, and the test was NOT administered.

No explanation of what actually happened has been given. Only Serena Williams has the right to reveal what happened, due to patient privacy. When she asks (out loud) for answers in the media, she is deflecting. She knows no one can answer. WADA can’t say, her camp is loyal to her, and ESPN is in her pocket. I’m fighting all this lying machinery with only the truth and my resourcefulness.

The thing that blew this open was a fan in the San Francisco airport, who overheard Steve Simon talking to Serena Williams (and others), concerning this matter on June 14. Simon (photo below) is a top handler in the Williams’ camp, although the witness didn’t know it at the time. A summary of this conversation was emailed to Deadspin, where basic facts were checked & confirmed.

The story written by Laura Wagner, and published as a defense of Serena. Expect no less from the pseudo-left, as Wagner’s contortions to exonerate Serena Williams are torturous. For instance, Laura Wagner is okay with TUE-doping, because it “doesn’t break any rules.” It asks no important questions, such as: “Where exactly was Serena when the tester arrived?” Laura Wagner is a fanatical #MeToo-er, you can tell.

The only revolutionary content in the article are the facts supplied by the tipster. But that in itself is all that’s needed, as fans are now smart enough to figure this stuff out. Fact: Serena Williams refused a USADA drug test on the morning of June 14, 2018. That fact is now in the public domain, which ESPN and the Williams camp don’t want. This is how their narrative can get overwhelmed by the facts and truth, which threatens imminent collapse & ignominy. Only drug cheats refuse testing, then complain about being unfairly targeted & harassed. Only self-interested enablers defend them.

Two years ago, Maria Sharapova was finally sentenced and banned from professional tennis for 15 months, over her meldonium use during the Australian Open in January 2016. Sharapova never denied her usage, only insisting she was unaware that it had just been put on the banned list. She cited compelling evidence that this ban was hidden from her. This writer was the first to publicly suggest that she was set up, for political reasons.

The take-home points are: 1) Sharapova never denied anything, and 2) Meldonium has minimal (if any) boost effect, there are many, many far more dangerous drugs that athletes use regularly. If drug testing is about ethics and preventing athletes from gaining an unfair advantage, then the Sharapova case was a complete fraud from the start. This refusal to be tested by Serena Williams, only further vindicates everything I’ve written on this.

Monday ~4:00 PM ET

Serena Williams wins her Wimbledon return       ESPN news Services 2:09 PM

Serena Williams defeated #107 in the world Arantxa Rus 7-5, 6-3. Her “torn pectoral muscle” doesn’t seem to be an issue at all. I didn’t watch the match, but the video of match point shows how beatable Serena is now. Her serve doesn’t pop like it used to, and her footwork is sluggish. The first seasoned opponent who can actually hit will beat her. Take the word of an expert.

Interestingly, no mention in the write-up of Serena Williams’ refusal to be tested at her residence on the morning of June 14, 2018. If it was Maria Sharapova under these circumstances, it would be an ESPN-led media frenzy– for sure! Can anyone explain this hypocrisy?

Final points on Sharapova: when the ban was supposedly lifted, she requested a Wild Card entry into the 2017 French Open & Wimbledon, as she didn’t have the time to accumulate ranking points, and is a past champion of both tournaments. She was denied this courtesy by both venues, which only proves they were in in the fix to ban her in the first place.

Maria Sharapova never complained about the biased refusals. She played her way back, and finally returned to a major at the 2017 US Open. Why does no one at ESPN respect that? It’s because these are the same propagandists who insist on fixing the seedings for Serena Williams. Sports at this level are big business & dirty politics.

Above is Serena Williams’ press conference after her 1st-round win. Note this interesting exchange which begins ~5:30 in the video.

Reporter: One question on testing, which we ran out of time for yesterday. You said you hope for everything to be equal. Do you feel like you are being unfairly targeted by testing? And if so, why do you think?

Serena: I’m in the same position as you guys [reporters who are asking questions], I really want answers [as to why I’m tested so much]. I think it’s a question they [USADA] have to answer. I’m just as curious as you are at his point.

Reporter: You don’t feel like you have answers at this point?

Serena: I don’t have any answers. I’m in the middle of Wimbledon. I think if it wasn’t Wimbledon, I would pursue answers, you know? Just to understand better, but uh… yeah, right now I’m just focused on this.

Tuesday  July 3, 2018 ~10:00 AM ET

When you are blacklisted, you become the proverbial “Ghost in the Machine” to your government-corporate enemies. The establishment can’t directly fight you in public forums, because they won’t acknowledge you– due to their blacklist. This complete freedom of action (without fear of public retribution– because you’re already blacklisted) is the dialectical rub.

Tuesday ~1:30 PM:

I just checked the ESPN/Tennis page, and there is no longer any place for me to click to the comments section [!]. This goes for all other sports too. It just reads, “SPONSORED HEADLINES.” I’m not quite sure if this is for everyone, if it’s just temporary, or if I’m being banned. I have my suspicions, as I’ve seen this before. I’ve already been banned from commenting at MLB.com, since my prominent role in exposing the “Shohei Ohtani Affair.”  If you don’t see me in the ESPN comments section for Wimbledon anymore, then you’ll know what happened.

Too many fans were reading my comments, and coming to the “wrong” conclusions– in the eyes of ESPN. My comments are always top-rated and eagerly read, as they provide insight & analysis that no one else provides. I can take anyone with above-average intelligence from clueless-to-well-understood on any sports situation in two paragraphs, or less. That’s power. The people who advocate for censorship are cowards.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018  ~8:00 AM

I’ve definitely been blacklisted from ESPN.com. The above screenshot (taken this morning) shows you what I’m seeing. There is no place to click into the comments section– only SPONSORED HEADLINES. This targeted ban has been achieved in partnership with Facebook, who are leading experts at censoring & manipulating social media.

I’m sure the Serena Williams’ camp & ESPN felt “harassed,” or whatever by my pointed comments & questions. Whatever reasons they may (eventually) claim, it’s simply idealist nonsense from a snowflake, and her enablers who control the corporate media. This is America, and on Independence Day people are supposed to be celebrating hard-won freedoms, which include exercising their freedom of speech.

In March 2016, ESPN/W (ESPN for Women) killed it’s comments section, due to backlash from fans who flamed its biased & incompetent writing. It seems their right-wing feminist style of sports reporting wasn’t popular with anybody. The puff-piece “writers” at ESPN/W demanded censorship, so they don’t have to worry about negative feedback– which is “online bullying” in their eyes. Others view this commenting gag as fascist intolerance of dissent. You decide.

This is the precarious state of everything in America on July 4, 2018. These charlatans who wrap themselves in the flag and proclaim to be role models for the rest of us, are nothing but lying, yellow-bellied cheats. They can pull a few strings, to gain a temporary respite, but eventually they will be brought down with the rest of this bureaucratic capitalist scum. Facts and the truth are stubborn things.

Wednesday July, 4  ~11:00 AM ET

I’m just back from some ambidextrous tennis, and ready for the day’s action at Wimbledon. How do I feel about being banned from ESPN’s forums, you ask? I expected it. Like I said yesterday, right before this ban went into effect, I’ve seen this before. RicSize.com is the most heavily censored artist website on the Internet, and probably only 2nd-overall to the World Socialist Web Site– wsws.org.

My site came online in January 2012. The proliferation of pseudo-left sites that began in that time period was very much a reaction to my site. The increasing activity and media presence of these philistine bloggers is an indirect response to my growing influence as an artist. Marxist aren’t allowed into the discussion– that’s Rule #1 in bourgeois culture. The reason is, Marxism is correct; and the truth can be highly influential & motivating…

So what do I do now? I don’t worry about it, as I know I won this battle. ESPN has all-but-conceded they can’t match me in an open forum, so now I’m shut out. It’s ESPN who has the problem. As I also mentioned yesterday, I was [!] a top-rated commenter at ESPN, which drives interest & advertising. Without me in there dropping astute wisdom at just the right moment, the number of clicks goes way down. Their interest level drops rapidly, as they “Don’t Get Excited.”

I can still write whatever I want and post on my site, so I haven’t been cut off. I have fans too, and they’re listening closely. Note: I could always use a few more, so please Share!!

I believe I actually have a few fans among the tennis professionals, whom I have made flattering comments towards, or spoke in their defense, etc. I’m sure they don’t want me to be banned from speaking about tennis, or anything else at ESPN.com. But the reality is I’m blacklisted at ESPN because one influential player (and her camp) demand it. It’s for the good of the game, we’re (sorta) told.

Take a close look and you will see that all the top athletes (in every sport) are gagged by their leagues or controlling organizations, and can’t speak their minds fully– on anything, really. This goes especially for hot-button topics including: standing for the national anthem, PED usage & testing, fixed officiating, owner-player revenue sharing, etc. I’ve spoken the truth too many times, and it’s reached the point where the advertising revenues I create for ESPN is not worth the backlash created by my content. That’s precisely when the ban begins.

This decision is political, business, and (probably) also personal for the ones who made it. My job is to be professional. I expose all this ugliness to everyone, as I’ve been on the cutting edge of this censorship for awhile now. Blacklisting happens to me first, because I’m the most dangerous to their interests.

As far as the content of what I’ve posted, the readers & fans have already absorbed it, which means it’s too late for a blacklist anyways. Once the facts and rationale are out there, it doesn’t go away. You can’t kill an idea. Tennis fans will take up this cause because my position is correct. Fans want the truth, and they aren’t getting it anywhere else, but here.

As for me, I’ve learned to approach these situations as liberating. I can now focus less on sports, because I know my job here is done for now. I kicked ass, and my humiliated opponents had to call off the game. No one covers sports the way I do. I make it relevant and exciting to read. I take the same approach to political economy, and that is how I tie everything together– like no one else.

Social media & the Internet are revolutionary tools because we can now reach-out-and-touch those who seem so far away. All these celebrities and their news organizations crave our input. They can’t get along with out it, so there is no avoiding us. This paradox will soon resolve itself in revolution.

Wednesday July 4, ~6:00 PM ET:

Today, Serena Williams moved into the third round with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Viktoriya Tomova, her 135th-ranked opponent. The #181-ranked Serena Williams is seeded 25th, and will face 62nd-ranked Kristina Mladenovic of France in the 3rd round. If you look at the initial draw, you can see (below) that things couldn’t have been set up nicer for Serena Williams if she had been given the #1 seed overall. She may go a long way before she has to play a world-class opponent at the All-England Club.

All of a sudden, I’ve gotten really bored with Wimbledon 2018– on the women’s side. This isn’t a tournament where the best players face off, but an exercise in manipulation & media enabling. Until there’s a breakthrough in truth-telling, or a new revelation that deserves commentary, I’m retiring on all this. I’m citing a torn pectoral muscle, which has made it very painful for me to type anymore. I really can’t type right now, and honestly can’t lift my arm over my head. I’m getting a MRI tomorrow, and I’ll keep you totally updated as to the results! Got that?  Over & Out

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Finishing with the Feet

When I began writing about hip & back injuries, I had a good start on my personal rehabilitation. From this came my theory on healing deep-core injuries, and a natural program for stubborn fat loss. Being an ambidextrous athlete is also part of this program, as it activates both sides of the body, developing total coordination with increased power.

What I didn’t know (when I began writing), was the endpoint. There are so many gains, followed by long plateaus in hip & back rehabilitation, that it feels like the goalposts are constantly being moved. This is a mountain you are climbing, so how do you know you are near/at the summit?

The answer, I have found is in the feet. For many people age-40 & older, their feet are a total wreck, and it’s why they have pooch guts and saggy butts. Here’s a review of the most common foot maladies in bold, with their practical applications to my methods, so we’re all speaking & understanding the same language.

Bursitis is the inflammation of the small bursae sacs which contain synovial fluid. Synovial fluid is equivalent to motor oil in an engine; keeping muscles, tendons & bones gliding past each other without friction. When bursae sacs become inflamed from repetitive overuse or trauma, friction ensues as movement becomes more painful & joint stiffness sets in. This is the cause of “sore arches” in high-heels wearers.

Calcific bursitis refers to calcium deposits within the bursae, which occur after injury. This natural mechanism creates the stiffness which immobilizes the injured area, so healing can occur. If the injury isn’t properly diagnosed & rehabilitated (or given insufficient time to heal properly), then a secondary healing occurs– where further calcifications are made around the afflicted area, so no more damage can occur.

Presuming it’s an athletic injury, the typical time-line in such a case includes resuming activity too soon, with diminishing results. There may be little/no pain, because the injured area has been splinted with calcifications, but the athlete notices reduced performance & endurance. Attempts to break past this without proper rehabilitation only lead to further pain, injury & frustration for the athlete.

So many athletes (and ex-athletes) have unreconciled stubbed-toes, torn ligaments, tweaked ankles, etc, (above). Taking the extra time & effort to fully heal even these seemingly minor injuries, pays huge dividends over time. There is simply no way to regain your previous athleticism, without all the healthy muscles you once had working in harmony.

Since gravity pulls us towards the center of the Earth, our feet are at the bottom of who we are. Our feet root us to the ground, and everything that flows through our body tends to want to settle in our feet during the day. This is why bunions and all other forms of calcifications occur in the feet. If we need to be immobilized, due to injury, the feet will first be cut off by inflammation, then calcium deposits. Once the joints are fossilized, these calcifications are difficult & painful to remove. What I describe below is my method for foot/feet rehabilitation.

Go barefoot as much as possible. This allows your foot to impact the ground, with you feeling the full force– precisely. Thick-bottomed sports shoes give the athlete a false sense of security. Yes, the pounding on your feet is reduced, but much of that is simply transferred to the knees, hips & back. Improper mechanics are being reinforced with sport-specialized orthopedic footwear. This only leads to further breakdowns in the kinetic chain.

Focus on your feet. I’m talking about entire workouts that break-up these calcifications, and start to re-establish muscle fibers in the feet. Barefoot exercise followed by this type of rehabilitation is the fastest way to full body recovery of hip & back injuries. Read that last sentence again, because it’s the essence of everything here. The feet are the end-point. Once the feet can flex & extend in all directions with power, control & sustain; then everything in the body can heal, and stubborn fat can finally disappear. This only happens when all the calcifications are broken away.

Unfixed feet are the nemesis. The reason for this is that every joint in the body is connected to the rest. The big toe connects to the hip, through the ankle & knee; then the hip connects to the hyoid bone in the neck, through the ribs, sternum & clavicle. The hyoid bone (Adam’s apple) is the only bone in the human body that is not directly connected to another bone. It “floats” in the middle of the neck, lashed there by muscles from the hip below, and the face above. When you see someone with a “double chin” or a “turkey neck,” then you know the muscles connected to their hyoid bone have atrophied. Those muscles connect all the way down to the feet.

Calcium deposits in injured joints act as an “internal cast,” limiting range & energy of movement. Again, it’s joints– plural; as everything in the body connects to something else. What this means is that a localized injury, especially in critical joints (hips & back), will eventually spread calcifications & muscle atrophy to the head, hands & toes. If you try to move beyond calcified parameters, pain immediately sets in. This is what people commonly refer to as “getting old.” It’s a misnomer, it sucks, and I recommend avoiding it.

A bunion (above) is a gradual, but painful deformity of the joint which connects the big toe to the foot. Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term, autoimmune disorder that affects joints. Arthritis causes inflammation, which can become painful & debilitating. Plantar fasciitis is a similar-type disorder of the insertion site of the ligament on the bone– characterized by micro tears, breakdown of collagen, and scarring. Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of calcaneal spurs (below).

A calcaneal spur (or heel spur) is a bony exostosis from the heel bone. When a foot is exposed to constant stress, calcium deposits build up on the bottom of the heel bone.

Metatarsalgia is when what I’ve described affects the ball of the foot. The metatarsals are bones that connect the toes to the ankles. All these foot disorders exacerbate a condition known as ankylosing spondylitis, which is a long-term arthritic inflammation of the joints in the spine. Back pain is a characteristic symptom, but anything from eye & ear, to bowel & urinary problems may occur. Stiffness of the affected joints generally worsens over time.

Conclusion: If I could do my rehabilitation over again (and I would never want to), I would focus more on my feet to start. I didn’t know what I was doing when I began, and had to work my way towards this answer. I kept stretching and working my abs & lower back, beyond the point of getting any results, when it was my feet that were failing me all along.

So much of what we do depends on our feet, and we tend to ignore, even abuse them. Foot pain affects every step you take, every move you make. To avoid being the “King of Pain,” you need to get active with what I’ve outline above. This pain is inside most of us, and it is making us miserable. That’s a painful truth in itself. It is up to us to face it and work it out, to make things better for ourselves & everyone else. We must use this (and any other) knowledge & heal thyself.

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Derek Jeter & Disrespect

The initial indicator that Derek Jeter was going to be a bonehead executive for the Marlins was when he first floated RF Giancarlo Stanton, without getting approval to waive his full no-trade clause. A competent MLB executive would have approached Stanton and said something like, “Look, the franchise needs a new direction, etc.” Veteran players understand that, and Stanton possibly would have acquiesced with a list of teams, which helps with leverage. Instead newly-minted executive Derek Jeter, and hold-over GM Hill, negotiated deals with the Giants & Cardinals, without Stanton’s approval.

Try to envision scenes like this, in Marlins’ team discussions back in December 2017:

Jeter/Hill: We’ve worked out a great deal with the Cardinals! They’re a superb organization, with a winning tradition, and a full crowd every night! Plus, they’ve offered us the best package in money & prospects. We think you’re gonna love your new team! Whaddya say?

Stanton: I’m not going to St. Louis.

Jeter/Hill: [blank stares]

Stanton: I’ll only go to the Yankees.

At that point, Jeter should have kept Stanton, but he had already decided to trade him– at any cost. The Giancarlo Stanton contract needed to be factored into the cost of purchasing the franchise, instead of being viewed of as a liability– to be dumped by ownership. Thus, Jeter’s former boss Brian Cashman, schooled his protoge in the fine art of dropping-the-hammer on someone who is clueless & desperate to dump salary. Jeter & Hill had to take expensive mess 2B Starlin Castro in return, and got no significant prospects for their franchise player & MVP. Perhaps this may explain why Derek Jeter can’t show up at Yankee Stadium when the Marlins are playing there?

It would have been much wiser for ownership (Jeter & majority owner Bruce Sherman) to evaluate the situation in Miami for at least a season before making any major moves. There are so many issues with this franchise that needed to be understood in their complexity. Instead Jeter came into town, full of arrogance, which betrayed impatience & ignorance. He’s clearly not cut out to run a MLB franchise, and was only given this opportunity because of his name & money.

It’s the Christian Yelich deal that deserves the most scrutiny, as he was the prize asset everyone was in on last winter, and should have gotten the Marlins a nice return. GM Mike Hill went with the Brewers’ package which centered around age-24 CF Lewis Brinson (.171/.221/.293), who looks more like a track athlete than a ballplayer. The Braves & Padres both wanted Yelich and had better prospects. It appears that GM Mike Hill cared more about running a multi-continental marathon event, than making a good deal for Christian Yelich.

All this damage occurred since new ownership took over last summer, which teaches a lesson: no matter how bad current ownership is (and Jeffery Loria was the bottom), there’s always something greedy & nefarious ready to pose as a savior and take it’s place. New ownership over-paid, and now has to cut everything to the bone to extract profits. The Marlins will be big recipients in revenue sharing money, which is nothing new in Miami.

This team had a championship lineup, no question. Unfortunately, the cataclysmic event for the Marlins was the Jose Fernandez tragedy. You can’t replace a 24-year old true ace, who is also the heart & soul of a franchise. This franchise was on a World Series trajectory, before his boating accident. All they needed was one more starting pitcher and some bullpen help. Everything changed for the Marlins on September 25, 2016, as he was irreplaceable.

On top of everything, there was a criminal owner (Loria) who pumped & dumped the franchise, leaving the taxpayers of Miami to pay the $1.3B bill on their new stadium– which no one wanted. The purchase cost of the franchise for Jeter & Sherman was $1.3B, which tells you that the only asset the Marlins really have is their taxpayer-funded stadium. The Marlins’ organization has been gutted, and is basically worthless at this point. Their players stink, and they have no fans.

Does anyone believe that Derek Jeter has the brainpower to make it valuable again? He certainly doesn’t have the money. It starts with respect, and Derek Jeter forgot about that long ago. The fans never entered into any of his crude equations.

This complex & highly-emotional situation surrounding the sale of the Marlins has become a political issue. The fans of Miami have said “Enough!” Attendance has no chance of improving, despite having a brand-new retractable-roof stadium with all the bells & whistles, paid for by the citizens of Miami.

Most didn’t ask for this, in fact many fought Loria tooth & nail, against all these back-room maneuverings; until (inevitably) enough politicians were bribed to get the new stadium deal passed. The “deal” with the fans was there would be an investment in the franchise to win. That’s why Dee Gordon and others were signed. Then after the 2017 season where the Marlins finished 77-85, it was all torn apart.

Derek Jeter’s “Project Wolverine” was of course disclosed to MLB during the transfer-of-sale process, but not revealed to the fans or people of Miami who were paying for the Marlins’ ballpark. When confronted by ESPN reporter Dan LeBatard in a phone interview, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred evaded & denied everything, claiming he didn’t know what Jeter/Sherman’s plan was for the Marlins after acquisition. LeBatard correctly called this “unbelievable,” and basically everyone who saw the interview agreed. Judge for yourself:

Conclusion: It’s not that Derek Jeter traded away his best players, it’s the crap he got in return than burns with the fans. Also, a bunch of GM’s around MLB feel jerked-around by his incompetence & miscommunication. These colleagues are seriously competitive people who value their time above all else, and when you disrespect them, you’ve become a liability to the franchise you own.

Derek Jeter put himself in a position where he had to make deals because he is short on money, which hurt his return. Mike Hill (and the rest of this inept front office) should have been fired when new ownership took over, which only proves a lack of brains all-around.

This is why the Marlins are going to draw <10,000 fans per game this season– and into perpetuity. They won’t do anything to boost the oppositions’ gate either. This is a franchise that (unless something truly dramatic happens) will lose 100+ games for (at least) the next three seasons. It will likely be 5-6 years before a winning season is possible again. They already need new ownership, which seems inconceivable, but it’s true.

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