NASCAR & Nooses

There is always stupidity in NASCAR, but this one is surreal. The FBI investigated a noose hanging in Bubba Wallace’s garage at Talladega. Wallace is the only black driver in NASCAR. It appears to be a pull rope in the form of a noose. It’s not functional for lynching, but the intent is certainly clear. This is to be condemned.

Bubba Wallace, NASCAR & the FBI maintain this was a noose. Therefore, the racists & denialists must to admit what the evidence proves, or else they lose all credibility. Marxists were unable to definitely support Wallace until the camera footage obtained by the FBI was released to the public, which you see in this interview.

As a rule, the FBI is never to be trusted, unless it can be corroborated– which Bubba Wallace does here. The time lag between the discovery of the noose, and his definitive CNN interview, allowed right-wing propaganda to seep into the story, which played left-leaning publishers like Russia Today on this story. It’s naive to believe there isn’t malicious intent in that time lag, by the FBI & corporate media.

Amazing show of solidarity against Jim Crow racism by all the drivers & crews on Monday. No word on the alleged noose at Sonoma yet.

These are the messages I sent to the people I’m connected with on social media, that I felt could be most influential in this matter.

Mon 22 Jun 2020 12:47:37 PM EDT to Bubba Wallace: PM FB

I covered NASCAR extensively when Danica Patrick was running, up to her retiring. You were the heir to her, in that you are different and everyone knows it. That’s unfair, but you can’t escape it, and the times are a-changin’. You are ready for this challenge. The best advice I can give to you is be your own man. Speak thoughtfully when needed, then let others speak for you.

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Mon 22 Jun 2020 12:22:19 PM EDT to Dale Earnhardt, Jr: public comment FB

You definitely need to say something substantive to NASCAR fans concerning confederate flags, hanging nooses & using the n-word.

This (above pic) is not an actual noose, but a length of rope tied into a loop knot. A noose will pull tight when tension is applied, a loop knot will maintain it’s shape. Loop knots have lots of useful applications in camping, boating, fishing, etc. Stupidity doesn’t help, so learn the difference. Loop knots meant to resemble nooses are racist symbols. There are lots of lies being spread on the internet to cover this up, and they all matter.

Postscript: Thu 25 Jun 2020 04:30 PM EDT

This turned into an even bigger mess by NASCAR withholding this photo, which they finally released today. If they would have posted this on Monday, everything would have been clear to everyone. Instead they hung Bubba Wallace out to twist in the wind, with the media on at full blast. He took a lot of right & left-wing flak, all BS, which was unfair to him. Lots of murky politics involved here.

It was a noose, and it had been hanging for 9 months. According to NASCAR, it was random that it ended up being in the garage Bubba Wallace was assigned to. But NASCAR hung him out by not releasing the video footage right away on Monday. It wasn’t until his CNN interview (Tuesday evening) that the public finally saw the noose with their own eyes. All the other drivers saw it, and that’s why they pushed Bubba Wallace to the front, in solidarity. That’s the moment the Nazis were defeated forever in NASCAR. There are some hard feelings about that.

Everyone please take a good read of my social media thread on this before it disappears down the feed. Note that I was WRONG with what I initially posted, yet I leave it up. That’s because the investigative & creative process is social, and not perfect. It’s important to admit mistakes, figure out where things went wrong, and then get back on the right track. It’s also unfair to call anyone a racist, because they made an honest mistake.

This is an illustration of how anyone can be influenced by media manipulation. When valuable information is withheld, the people hoarding it are much smarter on that topic. Until the information is shared. Then it turns to who is smartest, and can write best. NASCAR, the FBI, ESPN & CNN were all in on this manipulation. They are the real story here. Very murky.

One final FYI, Bob Pockrass covered NASCAR for ESPN for years, and he was serious & dedicated. We’ve never met, but we learned to respect each other. Not coincidentally, we both stopped covering NASCAR around when Dale Jr & Danica retired. Bob Pockrass was laid-off by ESPN, supposedly due to budget cuts in 2018.

Since then, ESPN’s NASCAR coverage has been a disaster. Sometimes there are no new articles for weeks, even months. Thus, NASCAR really got caught with their pants down on this one, with no reliable friends at ESPN to spin their narrative. Conflicting interests all around. Bob Pockrass now covers NASCAR for Fox.

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Black Lies Matter

The title & content is racialist, but it’s to make a point. The truth is all lies matter.

With all the Black Lies Matter fake politics going on, it is helpful to review this classic WSWS piece by Philip Guelpa, published August 3, 2016, titled, ‘The anti-scientific character of “race” as a concept.’ We need to use science & history against the black racialists.

The bourgeois corporate media is one dimensional in everything they do. They can only broadcast one narrative at a time, which reduces everything to false choices. In 2020, it’s been the Democratic primaries, then COVID-19 & getting people back to work, now it’s channeling the death of George Floyd into Black Lies Matter. Trotskyists are the only ones who discuss all these complexities, and how they relate together.

The Democrats are countering Trump with their reactionary Black Lies Matter campaign. This is augmented on the ‘left’ by the Tom Steyer & George Soros funded Antifa campaign, which deserves serious ridicule. The Capital Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) in Portland, OR took over a few abandoned blocks, and announced the revolution with “free meals, culture & arts for all.” So the homeless people came, and cleaned them out of food in one night!

The next morning CHAZ was soliciting food donations in the form of organic oats, soy, vegan meals, etc. CHAZ also attacked kids who were tagging (graffitiing) their walls, which they had put up for unexplained reasons. The requested donations on social media never materalized, so CHAZ gave up & went home by the next evening. The same garbage is happening with CHAZ in Seattle.

Black Lies Matter is perhaps best personified by Nikole Hannah-Jones, the author of the ‘1619 Project,’ developed by the New York Times in 2019. She’s also intimately tied-into the reactionary #MeToo campaign. The goal of the ‘1619 Project’ is to re-write American history, with a racialist narrative. It makes reactionary assertions, such as “racism being in the DNA of America,” and that Abraham Lincoln along with all the white soldiers who fought & died died to abolish slavery during the American civil war, were racists. Nikole Hannah-Jones was just awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary, for her contribution to this pack of lies.

Above: Bill Cosby, family entertainment & children safe

Below: White Helmets (2016)– Tagline: Al-Qaeda wins the Oscar for best short documentary. I know they’re not black, but their lies matter too– and it all fits in.

On the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre:

Omar Mateen’s father is a deep state asset, so there was never any justice for the 49 killed during the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, FL in the early hours of June 12, 2016. The OPD had to use drones to finally kill Omar Mateen. Police on the scene after it ended, described the eerie sound of cell phones buzzing throughout the club– never to be answered. If gay lives matter, then gay lies matter. Why doesn’t the LGBT campaign support prosecution of the deep state for its part in this horrific crime? Explain this conflict of interest.

Sports may be the biggest black lie. Here’s a quick round-up since my last update.

‘Maybe I should send UFC fighters out there to stop this sh*t’ – Dana White on George Floyd unrest

Maybe the fighters won’t go, the way UFC godfather Dana White pays & treats them.

Below in italics was my post on Dale Earnhardt, Jr’s Fakebook page, when NASCAR’s banning of the Confederate flag on their property was the hot topic. The comments section was turned into an airport, where ‘fans’ announced their departure from NASCAR forever over this. It remarkable how no one misses Nazis when they go away. It’s also remarkable how they always slink back when no one is looking.

Banning the stars & bars was a demand from corporate sponsors, and is tied into the Black Lies Matter/Joe Biden presidential campaign. NASCAR is so bankrupt, that it had to finally cave-in on the Confederate flag, just to assure themselves that there will be fans at the races, starting at Homestead [Miami] this weekend. That’s the biggest social significance, the allowing of mass fan gathering for sports, while the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging. People are upset, but for all the wrong reasons.

On the push to hold the US Open tennis tournament this September in New York, one must engage the most foul racialist & feminist in sports: Serena Williams & her camp.

To coach Patrick Mouratoglou: Roger Federer just has knee surgery, so that’s how older athletes are affected [by the time off]. Especially her [born September 26, 1981], as she’s a red-flag injury risk. Her motivation is the same as ever, as the Serena Williams camp is pushing the Black Lies Matter & back-to-work campaigns, out of self interest. She is well-paid, but this also creates an opening for the US Open to happen, where only a limited number of top players would compete, due to international travel restrictions, unsafe conditions, players boycotting, etc. More than anything, Serena Williams wants that elusive 24th (& 25!) major, and she’ll do anything to get that. She is the most despicable, manipulative & disgraced figure in modern professional tennis, and history will prove that.

Update: Thursday June 18, 2020, 1 PM EDT: Serena Williams yesterday released a video statement (ESPN/tennis) saying she will play the US Open, as I predicted. The millstones of history grind slowly, but exceedingly fine. This is how fake black power will be crushed into black powder for worker use.

There’s been a lot of stories on college football ramping up to re-start in the fall, and it’s effect on universities & their finances. The week of June 1, there was a report on the Alabama Crimson Tide holding a practice where 5 players were COVID-19 positive. “The workout included nearly 50 players. They were tested Tuesday, practiced together Wednesday, and received the test results Thursday.”

This means they practiced, with five COVID-19 positive players, before the results were known. University of Alabama football braintrust, personified by head coach Nick Saban, couldn’t even wait TWO DAYS for test results, so the infected players could be quarantined to ensure the safety of his team. What kind of leader is that?

The NBA announced it’s ‘bubble dome’ plan to finish the 2019-20 season, but all is not assured. This is to be held at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex, outside of Orlando, FL. Over 100 NBA players held a conference call, in which opposition was expressed to Chris Paul’s privately negotiated deal with the owners, which player reps rubber-stamped last week. There appears to be significant opposition over logistics, player health, and why they are trying to do this during an uncontrolled pandemic?

There is also player frustration over being excluded from the process. Of course, money is an issue, and both sides are ready for war. I don’t see the NBA getting re-started, and if it does, it’s going to fizzle quickly.

And finally, Governor Ron DeSantis has just announced the moving of the Republican convention from Charlotte to Jacksonville. Of course, this is a huge mistake, the kind a madman makes, when he’s running out of time & options. There will be a Jacksonville historical anniversary involving the Ku Klux Klan during this convention. It’s called “Ax Handle Saturday,” and in happened on August 27, 1960, as Klansmen terrorized & violently attacked a civil rights sit-in, and then rampaged against black civilians.

This is the base Trump is seeking to whip up, for his fascist coup plot. It’s the only way he can retain the White House, which he can see slipping away from him daily. The COVID-19 pandemic has killed the global economy, and no country in the world has been hit harder that the United States. This is a capitalist failure, and the biggest political failure in the world is Donald Trump.

Every country in the world has turned their media guns on Trump. This is a Nazi who threatens the survival of humanity, and he must go. The question is, what will replace him? A ‘ Joe Biden/reactionary-old-feminist’ ticket doesn’t do it, and the masses & youth know it. We have a revolutionary situation developing, and it’s global in dimension. Only a party with international roots & perspective can guide the long-suffering masses to victory.

The Joe Biden campaign has been teasing the public on VP. This allows zombie Joe to stay in his basement, where he belongs. He has been completely incoherent in the few statements he’s tried to make on topics including: the COVID-19 pandemic & the police murder of George Floyd. If Democratic party leadership liked his VP choice, they would be promoting it. But they aren’t, so what does that tell you? I expect we’ll be teased until the virtual convention. Right now, black lies is winning for Biden, so why throw a wet blanket on that? That’s the DNC strategy, and it paves the way for a hated reactionary such as Hillary.

The fake media keeps trying to present everything as black & white, in order to divide workers & youth. It’s really a green thing, meaning how much money one has, determines how much ‘justice’ one will get. This has become patently absurd when zombie billionaires, who are bankrupt under a mountain of debt, still insist the game be rigged in their favor– and get bailed out again. Parasites have nothing of value to offer. Their lies of every shade have been exposed. These are white lies that matter.

If black lives matter, then black lies matter. That’s because all lies matter. White lies are ugliness that’s hidden because people think the truth hurts too much. Black lies are an open attempt to divide workers & youth with racialist propaganda. All lives matter, and all lies matter. That’s the dialectical truth.

It’s time for workers & youth to claim their labor power, and halt all non-essential work. Essential workers must be tested & quarantined as needed, with full pay & benefits. The trillions of dollars that were just handed to Wall Street criminals through CARES, must be confiscated & re-allocated towards society’s most pressing needs: inequality & fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Self-interested politicians must be shouted down, and eventually arrested for their crimes against humanity. The same applies to the media, deep state apparatus, and the military brass. National Guard troops that were sent to Washington DC, to fight the population are largely demoralized. It’s largely the same with the police.

The time is ripe for revolution as the existing ruling class has proven itself hopeless. Join the fight by becoming active on all fronts. This includes social media, and in your own streets & neighborhoods. We must learn to rely on ourselves & work together, because we know Biden & Company aren’t going to help poor blacks, whites & Hispanics when it gets rough.

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Sports propaganda round-up

Preface: I cover the big three US sports: football, basketball & baseball– as well as NASCAR, because I live in Florida. This gives a fair cross-section of American athletics & values. Sports are king in Florida. Republican governor Ron DeSantis has declared its facilities are available to any league or event series that needs a venue. UFC & WWE events have already been held in Florida, as lockdown restrictions were lifted. Everyone knows DeSantis is Trump’s puppet in Florida, and Trump wants sports, because they are essential to his survival.

The back-to-work campaign is a bi-partisan propaganda offensive designed to lure & coerce workers to operate under unsafe coronavirus conditions– permanently. Neither political party has done anything significant to see that an adequate number of tests are being done to isolate hotspots, to break the chains of infection. Getting sports leagues, circuits & tours going again, is part of this deep-state campaign to make us feel safe about working again.

The NBA & collegiate hoops were the first to shut down, and have their respective seasons cancelled. The NBA is still currently trying to work out a play-off model the players will accept, but apparently it’s hopeless. The NBA players got most of their seasons’ salary, so they are good, and mostly unwilling to risk their health, and that of their families. That’s the player chatter I read. October is a long way off, but the question already hangs– will there be a 2020-21 NBA season? What about free agency? Signing bonuses to draft picks? Etc…??

Final edit: On June 5, 2020, it was announced by ESPN that the NBA will return, to be played at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex located outside of Orlando, FL. Star players were forced to give in to the sponsors & ownership. It will be a disaster for all the reasons I’ve discussed.

As for college hoops, what do you do about eligibility, since March Madness never happened? Will the universities even be open by fall? This quickly bleeds into college football. As far as the NFL & NCAAF go, there is no way to ‘social distance’ these games. Football is where two sides with 11 players each, line up and smash each other in the mouth to impose their will-to-win. Only one side can be victorious, unless it’s a tie.

American football starts with training camp, and practices on a field where young men go chest-to-chest in the hot sun. With an unchecked COVID-19 pandemic still raging through its first wave, every team’s training camp will have coronavirus infections by the second or third week.

This has probably already happened in NASCAR. The angle for the owners of all these sports operations is to keep tight control of information, so no news of athletes testing positive gets to the media & public. The ‘protocols’ being set in place are to keep athletes, trainers, coaches, staff & all other workers tight-lipped, and in-the-dark as to the whole truth. This safety model also applies to auto workers, meat packers, Amazon hub workers, delivery drivers, grocery clerks, etc. There’s trillions for Wall Street, but nothing for worker safety, or those 40 million workers thrown out of work since mid-March.

The truth is ugly, and well as scary, because it’s real. But big business owners don’t care, because it’s not their lives that are being put at risk, and they got their bailout money already. But, these moguls need these leagues to operate, otherwise all their profits will disappear, and they will go bankrupt. Just like that. That’s the ‘labor value of athletes in sports’ by Karl Marx.

Here’s another observation from a fan turned sportswriter. Getting these traveling circuses operational again, without fans in attendance, is a loser. Television is being turned off by everyone, and streaming is very easy to walk (or click) away from. People have to be there, and show interest (by paying money to attend), otherwise it just isn’t the same.

For instance, I watched Kevin Harvick (pic above) in his video interview after he won the initial comeback race for NASCAR at Darlington, and he was shocked at the joylessness of it all. No fans cheering. No celebration with teammates. Just an interview with masks on for those watching ‘live’ on television (or streaming later), and then go home. If athletes don’t get to enjoy the win, what’s the point– besides money?

Major League Baseball was the sport that never got started, so they occupy a unique position. Since COVID-19 shut everything down in March, baseball never got through its spring training, meaning only one or two player paychecks went out in full before the shutdown. MLB players get paid bi-weekly during the season. So in professional baseball, we have athletes who were ready to go, signed to guaranteed contracts, but aren’t allowed to play.

Like everything else, it’s going to come down to money. Here’s the pay scale MLB ownership proposed, and the MLBPA rejected: Player salaries at $563,501 to $1 million paid at 72.5%; $1,000,001 to $5 million paid at 50%; $5,000,001 to $10 million paid at 40%; $10,000,001 to $20 million paid at 30%; $20,000,001 and up paid at 20%.

There is no way MLB superstars are taking a prorated 80% pay cut, as these are the players with the strongest union support. Furthermore, the logistics of playing baseball are impossible. The players & owners are too far apart. There will be no MLB in 2020, and the ‘guaranteed’ contracts of all the MLB players is going to be a HUGE fight. Look for it to end up in court.

Also, many minor league players have been cut off from their paychecks, and are about to be unemployed permanently, as MLB is scaling back the minor leagues to save money. The Oakland A’s have already stopped paying their minor league stipends.

Miscellaneous stuff:

An unidentified white male broke a window to ex-Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith’s vehicle, so he beat his ass, and then let him run away. My thoughts on that, are that if someone broke the window to my vehicle in front of me, I’d do the same as J.R. Smith– as any man would. The problem is that police don’t serve & protect the public, so people are now taking the law into their own hands. America (and everywhere else) is about to break out into civil war– workers vs rich people. The cops & military are the stormtroopers for the ruling class.

I recommend that you don’t rely on icons & celebrities. Stop all hero worship. When I see stars from the past posting muddled & reactionary thoughts, I feel an urge to expose them. They preach peace & equality, just don’t take away their mansions & status. The problem is capitalism, and Michael Jordan is a capitalist. So is LeBron James, and anyone else paid over $20M a year. So don’t expect any substance from them, as they’re all pawns of the Clinton-Obama Democrats.

Blowback is a bitch. And it comes quicker & harder than ever– with global warming, COVID-19, and everything else we have going on. So don’t be talkin’ all gangsta, when you don’t know the situation & circumstances. It just feeds ignorance & hate. Black Lives Matter is toxic black racialism, the same way Blue Lives Matter is sick white supremacy. Everyone with an ‘authorized’ media voice takes one reactionary side, or the other, but they are all losers.

The only way to defeat Nazis is to reject identity politics in all forms. Democratic party leaders such as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton & Barrack Obama are black Nazis, along with OJ Simpson, Bill Cosby & Kanye West. They conspire with white Nazis such as Bill & Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden & Donald Trump to unleash police violence and COVID-19 upon us.

You never hear sports celebrities speak like this, because they can’t. The sponsors have them all by their gonads & bankbooks, so they can only issue timid blather– that feeds either into the Democratic or Republican party. As if Joe Biden will save us! This isn’t leadership, it’s a celebrity pacification campaign, and we are the targets. We deal with the realities, while they sit it out in their mansions, private islands & yachts.

If you aren’t out in the streets, talking to real people, and seeing what’s really going in your area, then you are useless in this process. You are letting others tell you how to think & act, because they are so good at dunking basketballs & throwing touchdowns. Some may think that’s the pinnacle of human achievement, but it isn’t.

There are far more important activities than professional sports, and none of these games are essential to our economy. We can get along without them for a time, until we resolve all these issues of class inequality & violence. Sports never take precedence over class politics, and in a revolutionary period such as now, they lose much of their social significance. That’s an unreported sports truth you need to know, during the coronavirus shutdown.

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May Day solidarity vs. the back-to-work campaign

“I don’t take responsibility at all.” March 13, 2020

“When somebody’s the president of the United States, the authority is total.” April 13, 2020

COVID-19 is real, and still spreading out-of-control across America because the US government (at every level) has done little-to-nothing to stop it. This is what’s happening everywhere. Therefore, we need to maintain social distancing to slow the virus spread, until testing & contact tracing can be widely done, and a vaccine developed. In the meantime, it’s time for a revolution.

Governments are using this coronavirus crisis (for which capitalism is responsible) to employ more authoritarian measures. Their primary concern is getting us back to work when it isn’t safe, because to them, profits matter more than lives.

If what happened with oil last week, when it plunged to -$27 a barrel was a “pure freak of markets,” then what is milk dumping & plowing harvested crops into the ground about, and why is it still going on? This is nothing less than sabotaging necessary food supplies, which are already needed in many places, in order to keep prices artificially high. This means more taxpayer subsidies for agri-business, and more tax-payer funded profits for speculators. This is all criminal activity, by any rational definition.

Doctors are unappreciated & overworked heroes who are finally getting their due with the public. Those who actually work in it, already knew. For a long time, doctors have been coerced into working at the mandates of insurance conglomerates, hospital chains & big pharma. For example: if insurance doesn’t cover it, then the patient doesn’t get that treatment, due to affordability. Conglomerates take the biggest profits in the field, from equipment & supplies, to office build-out, and billing patient treatment. Patients are now sicker than ever.

Most recent physician & dental graduates owe student loans. Therefore they are coerced to work for these corporate chains as new graduates, since they lack the experience & resources to open up a solo private practice. That’s why independent doctor offices have largely vanished. Most physicians are contracted corporately, and trained (in the real world) to prescribe pharmaceuticals for patient treatment, which can be life-saving, but also creates side-effects, chemical dependency & enabling of disease. And profits.

Today’s doctors & health care staff are mostly working class. They are facing an unprecedented situation, either on the front lines (above), or quarantined because they are non-essential. I’m an independent contractor dentist, and I need the work, but I’m non-essential right now, so I stay home.

There are a few misguided owner doctors with non-essential practices who are pressuring their staff to re-open. They are in the minority, but yell the loudest. We are led to believe there are more of them than there actually are. It’s bottom lines & politics that are driving them. The problem is that an owner risks wiping out staff & patients with a deadly virus, which isn’t a practice builder.

It’s highly risky, with little pay-off, as most people aren’t going out for elective stuff these days. Those who will, are the ones who don’t practice best hygiene & social distancing, so they are more likely to be infected with COVID-19. This is the deadly game business owners play if they attempt to re-open early. It puts the staff in a tough position where they have to choose between ethics & safety, and a job. I professionally recommend staying closed, for the best of all. Everyone is going bankrupt here anyways, so stop your own crying. It’s selfish.

Dentistry is one of the most hazardous professions in the world right now. Practicing dentists go into people’s mouths, and cut on hard & soft tissue to treat diseases such as tooth decay, periodontitis, and occlusal disorders. Dental surgery creates an aerosol contaminated with saliva, blood, bacteria & viruses. The biggest risk typically is hepatitis, HIV, TB, and the seasonal flu.

Unless the operator is wearing a “spacesuit” for protection, that doctor is being exposed to every disease the patient has. The same for the assistants & hygienists. With a novel coronavirus now at a global pandemic level, this means medical & dental surgery have been changed forever. It means one procedure can infect an entire office. The numbers I’ve seen predict a 90+% risk for dental operators, if a patient is infected with COVID-19, without proper PPE. Cutting back on unnecessary procedures is the future of medicine, including dentistry. Tighter medical screening will be another.

Science is rigid for a reason. There are still too many idiots in power who think the laws of science can be mutated for political convenience. The entire ruling establishment is desperate to get workers back to work. It needs us for the surplus value it steals, which is its life-blood. A massive injection of trillions of electronically printed dollars was just handed to Wall Street, but it’s only enough to last a few more weeks– at best.

The oligarchy needs this fake economy to resume. But the problem is, 1) it doesn’t work for the vast majority; and 2) it is unsustainable for human life. In my rough estimation there are currently worker shutdowns in most industries, with about 1/3 of “non-essential workers” still laboring under the whip. This is the number over which the on-going war between capitalists & revolutionists will be fought. May & June will be deciding months.

I’m even more optimistic than before, because it has just been announced that NASCAR plans to be racing again, starting on May 17 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. There are to be seven (7) NASCAR events in May; four Cup Series, two Xfinity, and one Truck Series.

NASCAR had the lead going into this coronavirus shutdown, which I discussed in an earlier piece, due to the fact that it is a technology-driven sport. NASCAR equipped all its top drivers with state-of-the-art simulators in their homes, and encouraged them to join iRacing– for the good of the sport. After a promising first few weeks, the sponsors started getting in on the action, which is never good. First, Bubba Wallace, who isn’t too keen on video games, quit a virtual race early on, and was dropped by his sponsor, Blue-Emu.

Then its brightest, most clean-cut young driver, Kyle Larson, dropped the N-word during an iRace, and he has since been dropped by NASCAR & all his sponsors. Matt Kenseth has popped out of retirement again, and is scheduled to replace Kyle Larson in the #42 car on May 17 at Darlington, SC.

With all the advantages NASCAR had in the early stages of this global coronavirus shutdown, it hurt itself much more than it helped itself. That’s why I’m optimistic about NASCAR failing in May. A lot of people are going to get sick & possibly die, unnecessarily, but that’s a price they are willing to pay. These elitist blow-hards & rednecks never think of the doctors & medical staff that will be expected to take care of them due to their recklessness.

As for every athlete, in every other sport in existence, you are all non-essential workers. What you need to acknowledge is that you need to have fans who care, otherwise there is no prize money or glory. You need service personnel everywhere to maintain your rock-star personas, so maybe you aren’t such rock-stars after all? Maybe it’s the people who have made it possible for celebrities to succeed & stay healthy who deserve the love? But we aren’t getting any in the media. They are our biggest haters.

As for Election 2020, not much new, huh? Except that Trump bankrupted the economy by failing to prepare for coronavirus, and then there was a bi-partisan bailout for only the rich– again. They don’t have to go back to work, but they are the ones behind this campaign to get everyone else to go back to work. They don’t even know what work is. Still no politicians out campaigning in public, so how can we believe that it is safe?

Laurence Olivier: Is it safe?

Ruling class: It’s very safe. It’s so safe you wouldn’t believe it.

Global science: No, it’s not safe. It’s very dangerous. Be careful.

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A sportswriter with imagination

Right now there are no sports going on anywhere, so there is virtually no sports writing. But this is when we need writers & reporters the most. So why isn’t there anything worth reading in the media? The truth is that most sports “journalists” are nothing without their VIP access & being spoon-fed information by the machinery.

I’m going to use three screenshots from ESPN.com, which were all taken on this publication date, to discuss & analyze their content. Let’s start with the NBA, which is supposed to be finishing it’s regular season and starting its play-offs in a few weeks.

Of course the NBA was the first major American sports league to shut down, when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert test positive for COVID-19, only days after conspicuously wiping himself all over press corps tape recorders. He’s been in quarantine & all apologies since.

This was to be the “Kobe season” after Bryant’s tragic death in January. But now it’s the “coronavirus season.” This puts reality in its proper perspective, I say. Too many NBA-ers still want to try to finish the season, which is insane. Too many spoiled rich athletes don’t really understand what it takes to put on one single event, such as a NBA game.

Unless it’s the Lakers-Clippers, it involves one team traveling to another city, which means air travel, ground transportation & hotels. The players are taken care of by their handlers, so they don’t always appreciate the labor involved.

Once at the event, the arena needs service personnel of every type. Players need trainers, medical & coaching staff. The fans expect food & drink vendors, and clean facilities. You need engineers to design these wonderlands, and labor to build them. To maintain them, every skill set from electricians to janitors are essential, and they are needed in numbers.

How is the NBA going to get service personnel back to work under pandemic conditions? There is little-to-no testing for the workers, and no proper PPE. So what’s their incentive to risk their lives to restart these carnivals? I write about sports all the time, and honestly I’m fine without them for now. It’s one less beat for me to have to cover. The point is, I don’t miss them that much, and a lot of other people feel the same way.

If you want to crown a NBA champion in 2019-20, it will only be by fan debate. I don’t follow too closely anymore, but I thought Clippers were going to win it, defeating the Lakers in the Western finals, or something like that. As far as Kobe Bryant goes: he was an all-time basketball great, but his legacy pales in comparison to the importance of what humanity is facing with COVID-19.

The ESPN headlines for the NBA today are the same as yesterday, and the day before, etc. “No decisions until May according to commissioner Adam Silver.” “NBA is eyeing faster testing.” Some no-name Kentucky Freshman guard has declared for the upcoming NBA draft…

ESPN always broadcasts the NBA draft which was to be held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. But now that’s a pipe dream, as this will have to shifted to a virtual event. Once again, how are you going to get service people to work without protection in a pandemic? They need PPE and hazard pay. The ruling classes scream in unison that this is not feasible. That’s going to be the stand-off. All reporting on the NBA draft & mock drafts don’t discuss these realities and their implications. Makes you wonder.

Coronavirus is changing everything today, and into the future. How are sports leagues going to get fans packed back into stadiums & arenas during a pandemic? I don’t want pay to go, do you? That’s the current unreality of the NBA and its media.

Above is ESPN’s MLB homepage today, with Jeff Passan being left to answer the title: Is it safe to start the MLB season in May? The answer is obviously no, but the current MLB proposal is a 4-and-1/2 month “biodome quarantine” for players, coaches and staff, with all games to be played in the Phoenix area. No contact with family & friends during the season, and no fans in the stadiums. Television, radio & internet broadcast only. I hope that makes sense to you, because it makes no sense to me.

MLB was force to shut down near the end of spring training, so what this comes down to is money, which is why such crazy ideas are being floated. The players are for it, only so they can get paid, Canceling the season means no player paychecks. That’s a lot of families that need to eat, especially for pre-arbitration players with league-minimum contracts. These are the vast majority of younger players which dominate MLB rosters today.

Of course, the minor leagues are cancelled too. MLB owners wanted to scale back MiLB, so here it is. Zero baseball. The truth is that there will be no MLB season in 2020. How these “guaranteed” contracts are to be paid out, will be a contentious labor issue– for sure. It’s still quiet on this front, only because it’s early.

Beyond that, how do organizations scout for amateur drafts beyond 2020, with no baseball being played anywhere this year? The 2020 J-2 international draft probably needs to be cancelled. Any analysis & discussion of this in the sports media? They’re all afraid to ask, much less answer these questions.

One final footnote on MLB 2020. I theorized during the Mookie Betts salary dump saga that MLB would not sanction the Boston Red Sox for their iPhone cheating scandal during their 2018 World Series championship season with manager Alex Cora. It’s clear now that MLB has let their transgressions go. The Houston Astros will be the only MLB organization to be punished for electronic sign stealing, and then thrown to the media. The Astros are still taking heat for this, and the many Red Sox boosters in the MLB commissioner’s office are there to make sure this doesn’t happen to Boston.

[Edit: April 23, 2020] The final penalty for the Boston Red Sox electronically stealing signs is 2018 is the loss of a 2nd round pick in this year’s June amateur draft. Also, the Red Sox video replay system operator, J.T. Watkins, is suspended for two seasons. That’s it. Alex Cora was already fired, so suspending him (& Watkins) for 2020 (which will be cancelled anyways), is an empty gesture.

This punishment is nothing close to what the Houston Astros received for similar transgressions, and now it’s all swept under the rug by MLB. No media attacks on the Red Sox, or calls for players & management to explain themselves to the fans. Just as I analyzed & predicted, months ago. It helps to have friends in high places.

According to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s 15-page report, “I find that the Red Sox front office consistently communicated MLB’s sign-stealing rules to non-player staff and made commendable efforts toward instilling a culture of compliance in their organization… No other member of the 2018 Red Sox staff will be disciplined because I do not find that anyone was aware of or should have been aware of Watkins’s conduct.”

No mention of iPhone watches in the Red Sox dugout in 2018. Everything in Manfred’s report is meant to minimize the impact on the Boston Red Sox, from its language to its actual content. Example: it is footnoted on page 4, that losing a second-round pick may be more meaningful to the Red Sox in 2020, because there may only be 5 rounds to the draft this year. Do you see how the Red Sox suffer? The Houston Astros will also lose their second-round pick this year, so what is that footnote about?

MLB’s final 15-page report spends an inordinate amount of time discussing the actions of a video replay system operator, and not enough about what the coaches & players did with that information & when. No rational baseball fan believes that J.T. Watkins was the sole mastermind, and manager Joey Cora was the sole beneficiary in this scandal. But that’s what MLB wants you to believe, and they have a compliant lapdog media to assist them with their false narrative. This is a despicable cover-up by MLB, proving extreme east-coast bias towards the Boston Red Sox.

The NFL (above) is to start its draft on April 23, broadcast on ESPN & ABC. This is a prime-time annual event on the ESPN calendar, with Mel Kiper Jr & Company ready for analysis on every selection, and then at the end, the “big board” for next year. The NFL confirmed yesterday it will be a virtual draft, with team personnel at their homes.

The draft was originally scheduled to be held in Las Vegas, the new home of the Raiders. Since all the scouting & combines have happened, a NFL draft can be accomplished online. The issue is the upcoming season, which is supposed to begin its training camps on July 15. No way that happens for all the reasons discussed above. What’s the point of draft picks & agents negotiating contracts with teams, if there isn’t going to be a 2020 NFL season?

What about NCAA football? When 2020 gets cancelled, then teams will have no scouting for the 2021 draft. Same with high-school football, and college recruiting.
Do you see how tied-in all this is? This is why Donald Trump conference-called all these league commissioners (& NHL) on Saturday, April 4.

“President Trump said he believes the NFL season should start on time in September, sources familiar with the call told ESPN. ‘I want fans back in the arenas,’ Trump said later in a briefing at the White House. ‘I think it’s … whenever we’re ready. As soon as we can, obviously. And the fans want to be back, too. They want to see basketball and baseball and football and hockey. They want to see their sports. They want to go out onto the golf courses and breathe nice, clean, beautiful fresh air.'”

For reference in Europe, less than a week ago professional tennis cancelled its men’s & women’s tours through the French Open & Wimbledon, which was to run June 29 to July 12. No comment on 2020 US Open, which is scheduled August 24 through September 13 in Queens NY. The site is the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, which is currently closed until further notice– due to coronavirus.

The last ATP & WTA major before coronavirus COVID-19 was the 2020 Australian Open in January. That event was affected by wildfires raging across the continent at the time, and this was considered the major world news story of the day. Everywhere except China & their region in Asia. Both these pandemics (wildfires & coronavirus) are linked to global warming.

The tours that have responded best are the ones that have pivoted online. One somewhat surprising example is NASCAR, whose top drivers are now competing in iRacing, which is competitive video game racing online. The top drivers are nowhere near as good as the gamers at this, but racing fans still have interest. Dale Earnhardt, Jr discusses this Kyle Busch here:

The best part is that fans can follow their favorite participating drivers, observe their skills, and see their personalities come out– without NASCAR BS.The ruling establishment connected with every nation needs these carnival tours to recommence in real life, otherwise it’s going to be a revolution on all fronts. That’s what a sportswriter with imagination has to say today.

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Coronavirus & Revolution

The stock & bond markets around the world have crashed. As of this publication, mid-afternoon EDT, Europe is paralyzed due to the coronavirus epidemic. China is starting to recover, but nothing is moving economically yet. Wherever it isn’t an epidemic, it’s a pandemic, waiting to become an epidemic. That’s because the nationalist governments of the world are unable to come up with any kind of scientific & coordinated response to this human disaster. History will remember coronavirus as the pin that popped the bubble of capitalism.

There are several things that are becoming increasingly clear as this global crisis unfolds. First is that our way of life is now changing forever. For those who are still working, many are doing it at home. For most of them, this is the way it should be, as texting, email & video conferencing no longer necessitate that management personnel meet in the same building. We have global warming, and this change for the better will cut down on unnecessary business meetings & travel, which under capitalism are almost always useless.

A second lesson that is being learned is that sports aren’t very important, in the big picture. These were the first activities that were shut down, when this coronavirus was spreading globally. Sports are an integral part of this fake economy which is meant to provide bread & circuses for the masses. But when things get tough, sports & entertainment get put on hold, as history collides with class forces.

Does anyone care what LeBron James or Jennifer Lopez have to say right now? The answer is no, because they have no expertise on the problem. All they know is what they are good at, so their opinions on anything else aren’t any better than anyone else who doesn’t know. So why are celebrities idolized & elevated so much? People staying at home have lots of time to think about stuff like this.

To take it a step further, it’s educational to go onto YouTube & watch any older version of your favorite sport(s), and observe how much better most leagues were in the past. Not that is was perfect back then (it wasn’t), but there were far less commercials, less exploding graphics, and less-annoying announcers. The contests were shorter, and more action-packed. The same holds true for Hollywood television & cinema being better in much of the 20th century, as compared to today. Since the old stuff is more entertaining, so why do we need all this new garbage? It’s progress to have this 24/7 fakery machine shut down.

The final truth here is that capitalism is responsible for this coronavirus pandemic, and unable to meet its challenges. US President Donald Trump has hopelessly poured trillions of dollars into the stock & bond markets to keep them afloat over the past two weeks, but to no avail. Any brief rise in the markets has been a “sugar high” from these injections of trillions, that quickly wears off as reality sets in. There are no markets left to trade in, because the global supply chains have collapsed. Thus it’s futile to throw money at the markets.

All this started in China in December 2019, with the coronavirus COVID-19 mutating in bats, then spreading to humans. The rest of the world’s governments had months to prepare for this contagion, but arrogantly & ignorantly refused to take it seriously. Now what do they have to say? The coronavirus denialists are now being shouted down everywhere, by the facts on the ground, and the workers who are on the front lines.

Every government’s policy is trillions more for the 0.01%, while the rest of us must face this coronavirus without mass testing & protection. Without testing, there can be no tracing, nor effective treatment & quarantine of the ill. It was bipartisan policy for the US government to reject WHO test kits over eight weeks ago, the most essential front-line tool for containing coronavirus.

You can’t fight what you can’t identify. US officials wanted “our” pharmaceuticals to make their own proprietary tests so they could profit handsomely, but the pandemic has spread too quickly. Today, we still don’t have mass testing for coronavirus in America. Democratic presidential hopefuls Joe Biden & Bernie Sanders only make excuses for this colossal failure. That’s how this two-party political system fails all of us.

What these parasites, strawmen & figurines have done to the world is unforgivable, and it won’t take long for the masses to realize this. Workers have bills to pay, with little-to-no reserves, and now no cash flow. When people can’t afford food & rent, that’s when the pitchforks & torches come out, looking for retribution against those responsible.

The biggest shame of all this is the fact there are millions of workers (in America alone) who are skilled & are heroically doing everything they can to contain this virus, while providing essential services to the population, despite the willful neglect of political leadership. These are the true heroes, but they are unrecognized by the media; starved of funding, supplies & necessary protective equipment by a corrupt system. These everyday heroes are forced to work because they care, and also because they live paycheck-to-paycheck. These are the people who live & work in reality, and therefore need to be in charge, not capitalist politicians.

Both US political parties, Dems & Reps, are eventually going to call off Election 2020, due to their inability to deal with this coronavirus. That will be another clear signal for revolution, as maintaining the status quo won’t do for the 90+%. This is now a revolutionary situation, and requires class-conscious leadership within the working class. Workers & youth need to organize amongst themselves. Appeals to the union bureaucracies & the capitalist class are a dead end.

Trump & the Democrats listen closely to the screams of Boeing, and how they need hundreds of billions. Meanwhile angry workers & youth are asking, “Why does this zombie corporation, that knowingly committed mass murder with their MAX 737 crashes, deserve a bailout?” As already stated, it’s not going to take long for youth & workers to put a revolutionary political program together, and it will be led by the Trotskyists of the World Socialist Web Site & SEP/ICFI.

What’s become apparent is that the working population & kids of the world are far ahead of any government. They understand the realities of global warming, social inequality & now the coronavirus better than their elected leaders. Many offices, stores & small businesses closed on their own, before they were ordered to, proving they recognized the risks better than our so-called “leaders.”

In this age of the internet, we now can identify the enemy. They start with all the names you see on Fox, CNN & Yahoo!, then it goes to those behind-the-scenes. It’s Wall Street, silicon valley, Hollywood, the East coast media, the pentagon, CIA, NSA, FBI, White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court. This is the criminal capitalist class, which must be ousted, and replaced with a workers government of the world. This is called socialism, and it’s only achievable through an international revolution. Please join us.

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Sports on YouTube

Pre-game/Post-game preface:   Sunday 15 March 2020 ~ noon EDT

Less than 48 hours after initial publication, a new sell-out CBA which runs through 2030 was announced by the NFL & ESPN. Like every other union organization, bribed bureaucrats & cajoled pawns serve the interests of ownership. In exchange for a miserly increase in player share of revenues & too-few post-career benefits, the NFLPA will allow a 17-game season starting in 2021, with the playoffs expanding from 12 to 14 teams starting in 2020– if it’s played.

What’s illustrated below is that NFL players have a hard time getting though a 16-game season (which started in 1978), and more games only increases serious injuries to all players. Expanded play-offs only increases the mediocrity & meaningless carnage, and there’s too of both much already.

Less than a week ago, Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter was elected president of the NFL Players Association, succeeding Eric Winston, the OT for mostly the Texans & Bengals from 2006-17. Eric Winston had been president of the NFLPA since 2014. All these players have CTE, so they can easily be manipulated. The coronavirus pandemic has shut down sports & spread fear, which was the perfect opportunity for NFL ownership to get what it most wanted, more games from players.

Right now, virtually every major global sporting event, league, and tour has been shut down, due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. This means there’s no live sports going on. This is a major problem for addicted gamblers, but not for true sports fans.

That’s because YouTube exists, and all the great games of the past, from all sports are pretty much available for viewing. If you love sports, this is a great quarantine activity. YouTube therapy is about appreciating the beauty of sports, not who wins when it’s still undecided. For addicted gamblers, seek counseling.

I grew up in Winneconne, Wisconsin where the NFL & Green Bay Packers are king. I was allowed & encouraged to watch Saturday college & Sunday pro football by 2nd grade, which was a few years later than most boys my age at the time.

In 1976, the Green Bay Packers were coached by the legendary Bart Starr, the HoF QB who had led them to all those NFL & Super Bowl championships in the 1960’s under head coach Vince Lombardi. Starr was still loved, and his mediocre to poor results year after year were tolerated by an adoring & nostalgic fan base. Packers fans are among the most loyal in any sport. I learned that early.

But as a newbie, none of this history or loyalist pressure impressed me enough to become a Green Bay Packers fan, because they stunk on most Sundays. This was the NFL in 1976:

The Packers were 5-9 in a poor division, outside of the Vikings at 11-2-1. I was enamored with the way QB Fran Tarkenton scrambled, evaded defenders trying to take his head off, and then tried to make a big play down-field. It didn’t always happen and it could blow up, like in Super Bowl 11 when he was pick-sixed by Oakland Raiders DB Willie Brown, but Tarkenton was always battling & playing smart trying to get the win. The Packers didn’t do that under head coach Bart Starr.

When the Dallas Cowboys pulled out the ‘Hail Mary” Staubach-to-Pearson in Metropolitan Stadium in the 1975 divisional playoffs, the NFC pendulum had swung. But in 1976, it was the Vikings who were lucky in getting to the Super Bowl. When the LA Rams upset the Cowboys in Dallas 14-12, it set up the NFC championship in chilly Bloomington against a soft, warm-weather team.

The Los Angeles Rams were coached by “ground” Chuck Knox, and a blocked chip-shot field goal attempt returned 90 yards for a TD by Vikings DB Bobby Bryant (along with his 2 picks) tipped the game. Vikings 24, Rams 13. The real 1976 Super Bowl was won in Oakland, with the Raiders crushing the Steelers 24-7 in the AFC championship game. This sent the Raiders to their first Super Bowl, where they were heavy favorites to crush the aging Vikings. They did: 32-14.

Color analyst Don Meredith is a piece of work in Super Bowl XI. Lots of whooping it up, questionable assertions & pointing out the obvious after the fact. He hates all over Fran Tarkenton the entire game, obviously jealous of a contemporary who outlasted him. Yes sir! Curt Gowdy doesn’t help ease the pain.

Total domination by the Raiders. Stoneface was outmatched and never had answers when that happened. Jim Tunney was known as the dean of NFL referees, and Super Bowl XI was his second of three (VI & XII). Raiders DB’s viciously targeted Vikings WR’s heads the whole game, culminating in one of the most dangerous hits in Super Bowl history by Skip Thomas & Jack Tatum on Sammy White in the early 4th quarter as his helmet goes flying at 1:39:30 in this video. No penalty was called, and Dandy Don & Curt Gowdy were okay with that.

Monday Night Football was a relatively new phenomenon back then, which made it more exciting to watch, if you allowed to stay up that late, which i wasn’t. Crazy stuff happened during their broadcasts, with Don Meredith leading the charge in stupidity & obnoxiousness. Dandy Don & Howard Cosell clashed repeated, on & off the air.

There were a few memorable games from this era, like the one above with the Oilers beating the Dolphins, 35-30, but the truth is that most were dull & pointless. Below is a typical 1976 MNF game, which the Vikings lost to the 49ers in Candlestick, 20-16, with Alex Karras in place of Don Meredith in the booth.

Alex Karras was a DT for the Detroit Lions from 1958-70, but on MNF he was only a pawn in Howard Cosell’s & Roone Arledge’s power games of life. I didn’t mind Karras because he mostly kept quiet, and said very little when compelled to pitch in. That let Gifford & Cosell do their thing, which was when early MNF was at its best.

One note on the video above. That’s future Texas Rangers slugger Pete Incaviglia winning the Punt, Pass & Kick competition in his age group at halftime, announced at the end of the 3rd quarter.

It turned out that 1976 was a new era in the NFL, as the Seattle Seahawks & Tampa Buccaneers expanded. Coached by USC legend John McKay, the expansion Buccaneers were the worst NFL team ever. In their first season they were forced to play in the AFC West, so they could play every AFC franchise once, before moving to the NFC Central in 1977 and then playing every NFC team once.

Seattle flip-flopped this, by playing in the weaker NFC West in 1976, and moved to the AFC West in 1977. Of course, the Seahawks became a NFC team again, when the NFL expanded to 32 teams in 2002.

The 1976 Buccaneers had Steve Spurrier at QB, and were helpless against the many AFC powerhouses. Their Pythagorean still has them at <1 win in 1976. The winless 2008 Detroit Lions & 2017 Cleveland Browns, and the 1-15 1989 Dallas Cowboys all project at 3-13, which is about as bad as an NFL team can get with even breaks.

But the expansion Buccaneers were futile and reached 0-26 in 1977, until they finally pulled out a win at the Superdome against the New Orleans Saints & QB Archie Manning. The inspired Tampa Bay Buccaneers then beat the St. Louis Cardinals in their finale to finish 2-12. Head coaches Hank Strahm (NO) & Don Coryell (STL) were both fired thereafter.

Hank Strahm had had his day, and would retire from NFL coaching and instantly became a 3rd-string (at best) color analyst for CBS. He called many a Green Bay Packers game, when they played a bad opponent, going on & on about “point of attack” and “taffy pulls.” Click. Don Coryell was more successful, instantly hired by the San Diego Chargers as head coach, he was the brains behind their revolutionary offense led HoF by QB Dan Fouts.

The Chargers were often featured on NBC, matching up with the Raiders & Broncos in epic battles. I can still hear Dick Enberg exclaiming, “Oh my!!” The “Air Coryell” Chargers always scored points in their prime, but their defense couldn’t get stops. Don Coryell is another great head coach who gets forgotten because he never won, or even got to, a Super Bowl. He needed a great defensive coordinator.

Super Bowl XII was perhaps the sloppiest ever, possibly due to all the partying going on in New Orleans. The Cowboys were clearly the better team, but refused to take the gifts QB Craig Morton & the Broncos kept giving them. It was a lonely halftime for Efrin Herrera, as called by Pat Summerall– one of the best play-by-play announcers.

Deep into the second half, things weren’t getting resolved, so an official gave back-up WR Butch Johnson a TD catch, which he actually dropped, and that sealed the game for Dallas. Final score, Dallas 27-10 over Denver. In many ways, Cowboys-Broncos was the first modern Super Bowl. This is when it became an institution that looked great on TV, in spite of it being a poor game. No one cared, because it was such a great party. The NFL schedule expanded to 16 games in 1978.

You can’t be a football good team over time without a great QB, and a real coach. Below are two lists that don’t even go all the way back, but beautifully illustrate the importance of a great quarterback & organized coaching, in correlation to winning in the NFL.

Green Bay Packers QB’s

1956-71 Bart Starr
1971-73 Scott Hunter
1973-74 Jerry Tagge
1974-75 John Hadl
1976-85 Lynn Dickey
1977-79 David Whitehurst
1981-84 Rich Campbell
1985 Jim Zorn
1985-87 Randy Wright
1987 Alan Risher
1987-92 Don Majkowski
1992-2007 Brett Favre
2008-present Aaron Rodgers

Head Coaches since Vince Lombardi era:
Phil Bengtson 1968-70; Dan Devine 71-74; Bart Starr 75-83; Forrest Gregg 84-87; Lindy Infante 88-91; Mike Holmgren 92-98; Ray Rhodes 1999; Mike Sherman 2000-05; Mike McCarthy 2006-18; Matt LaFleur 2019-present.

Head coach Bart Starr always believed Lynn Dickey was a winning QB, when he really wasn’t. The shining moment of Packers glory, in the middle of all this ineptitude, finally came in 1979.

The video above was the signature upset win for head coach Bart Starr (1975-83) back in the day, and also for QB David Whitehurst (1977-79). Packers 27, Patriots 14 on MNF. New England Patriots QB Steve Grogan was very erratic throwing, and when he ran he took on too many SS’s & LB’s head first. Jim Plunkett was much better, and that was Chuck Fairbanks’ franchise-turning mistake.

CB Mike Haines, TE Russ Francis, OT John Hannah were great for NE, while WR James Lofton was the HoF-er for the Green Bay Packers. This was RB Terdell Middleton in his brief prime. Frank Gifford is golden, but I’m grateful for this editing, and not having to listen to Howard Cosell & Don Meredith bicker & banter for 3+ hours.

Above was the other big upset win of the Bart Starr head coaching era, this time with Lynn Dickey at QB, as this is still one of the highest-rated MNF games ever on ABC. Lynn Dickey is at his best, and WR James Lofton is in his prime, with HoF K Jan Stenerud helping lead the Packers to a thrilling 48-47 win at RFK.

The Washington R-words were defending champions, but their vulnerabilities were exposed in this game, and they showed up again in SB 18 against the LA Raiders. MNF is always a mixed bag when it comes to announcers. Giff is gold, but Dandy is obnoxious & stupid. OJ Simpson was actually under-rated, a true football genius who knew when to talk and when to shut up, as you can hear in this broadcast. Irony?

Above is the best NFL game ever, called by one of the game’s best play-by-play announcers, Don Criqui. Last play of the first half, “Hall of Fame! Hall of Fame football play!! That goes to Canton!”  Meanwhile, the Orange Bowl is going bonkers. Final in OT: Chargers 41, Dolphins 38.

A big part of any game we watch on television are the announcers. They can enhance the experience, or detract from it. John Brodie had a sweet-sounding voice, but an uncanny knack for talking a lot, while saying very little. Keep in mind, the best color analyst of this era was ABC’s Howard Cosell, and then CBS’s John Madden, which tells you how bad it was back then.

As the 49ers QB for a decade, John Brodie was comparable to Dallas Cowboys QB Don Meredith as a player, and only slightly less annoying as a color analyst. During the Chargers-Dolphins 1981 playoffs broadcast, John Brodie is often confused and behind the action, or calling it wrong as it happens.

Don Criqui probably knew John Brodie was brain damaged (like all the rest), but he was the consummate professional & ever-respectful to the players, the rightful heir to Curt Gowdy. The problem for Don Criqui was that NBC producers preferred Dick Enberg, who was better at stuff like the Olympics, tennis & baseball.

Dick Enberg was made the NBC play-by-play announcer for all their Super Bowls (and featured games) back then. He teamed with Merlin Olsen who was always lost without a map. See Merlin Olsen in Mitchell (1975) which got Mystied, if you need proof. Merlin Olsen was a DT with the Rams. The above mentioned 1976 Rams-Vikings playoff game was his final NFL game.

I’m kinda bouncing around here, but no discussion of the ancient Minnesota Vikings is complete without reviewing their 1984 season. When the Vikes moved into the Metrodome in 1982, it signaled the end of the Bud Grant era, and it was past time. Stoneface had fallen hopelessly behind the game, as the Vikings still needed to find a replacement for QB Fran Tarkenton who retired after 1978.

Tommy Kramer was an untalented throwback, and an alcoholic who never recovered. Instead of taking QB Dan Marino in the 1983 NFL draft, the Vikings selected S Joey Browner. Instead of drafting RB Marcus Allen in 1982, they took RB Darren Nelson. All this lack of vision paved the way for Les Steckel in 1984, which necessitated a 1985 encore season for Bud Grant– out of desperation.

The 1984 Minnesota Vikings were completely undisciplined & leaderless. Les Steckel couldn’t communicate with his players, management, the fans, nor the media. This video above is proof that these Vikings had TE Steve Jordan, K Jan Stenerud (final 2 seasons), and nothing else of value on the field. Les Steckel’s Vikings were in many ways worse than the 1-15 Cowboys of 1989, because there was no plan for the future. Just Les Steckel, more Bud.

Possibly the best MNF game ever was this Bears-Dolphins game in 1985, featured below. Dolphins 38, Bears 24. Frank Gifford is at his best, and the atmosphere is electric. OJ Simpson & Joe Namath fill in well enough. No Howard Cosell anymore, as he had gotten stale, and never recovered from his “little monkey” comment on September 5, 1983, referring to Washington R-words WR Alvin Garrett.

By the mid-1980’s, the Green Bay Packers had become completely unhinged. This unforgettable cheap shot from DE Charles Martin on Chicago Bears QB Jim McMahon was the low point of the Forrest Gregg head coaching era, as Packers teammates congratulate him on the sidelines after he is ejected for his blindside assault, which ended the Bears repeat hopes in 1986, and Jim McMahon’s career as an effective starting QB.

Head referee Jerry Markbreit makes up for bungling the 1977 Raiders-Chargers “Holy Roller” game; by first controlling the players, then discussing the situation with his crew, before definitively ejecting Charles Martin. Outstanding officiating. It was respected, and it set a good precedent. All this & more insanity led to instant replay officiating.

As a footnote, the Holy Roller game led to the rule change where the offensive team could no longer advance a fumble, unless it was the player who fumbled. RB Pete Banaszak & TE Dave Casper were both guilty of that on the disputed play. It was actually a forward pass by QB Ken Stabler that fell incomplete, and it should have been flagged for intentional grounding, as he was in the grasp. Spot foul with a loss of down– Chargers win. Just ask Dan Fouts.

Jerry Markbreit admittedly winces every time he sees the play. I think he was just too far away with a bad angle. But in the history of the NFL, getting this 1986 assault on Jim McMahon by Charles Martin called correctly was much more important. That’s how you respect the zebras.

Don Criqui called perhaps the most hilarious Sunday afternoon game in modern NFL history, featured below. Final score: Cincinnati 61, Houston 7. I had never seen it, but I remember the score rolling up while watching the ongoing Packers-Bears game. Cincinnati head coach Sam Wyche despised Jerry Glanville, and showed him up in every way: cheering every score, fist pumping his players, and carrying on for the crowd & cameras over every onside kick or fumble recovery by the Bengals.

 

The Houston Oilers played in the Astrodome, and were a bad cold weather team in 1989. Don Criqui wryly noted the irony, but was too cold to enjoy it, and a bit put off having to stand through it to the bitter end. “Another onside kick… (?)”, he predicts– and he’s right again!! Former Minnesota Vikings WR Ahmad Rashad is bundled up so tightly that he’s unrecognizable by the camera as the color analyst. As the second half begins, he states, “I’m very cold.” It wasn’t his best game on the mic.

In the post-game press conference, Sam Wyche was asked about the repeated onside kicks in a blow-out game. Jerry Glanville had been promoting a slogan of, “Hit the beach!” for his Oilers special teams, in the sense they were comparable to US Marines going to war on kicks & punts. Wyche replied, “We got sick of that ‘hit the beach’ crap.” Sam Wyche was like Jim Mora & Herman Edwards, excellent NFL coaches with wit, who never won a Super Bowl, so their greatness is overlooked.

Above is the final essential game in ancient Green Bay Packers history, IMO. NBC’s Jim Lampley & Ahmad Rashad are on the call. Lampley is annoyed early at the quality of the game, and is a skeptic of the Packers. This is the game where Brett Favre takes the helm, when Packers QB Don Majkowski tears ligaments in his left ankle in the first quarter.

CB & PR Terrell Buckley debuts with a 58-YD TD punt return that gets the Pack back into the game, early in the 4th quarter. This Ron Wolf-Mike Holmgren 1st-round pick out of FSU, wasn’t Deion Sanders in the NFL, but he was the type of player they were starting to acquire– a playmaker. WR/KR Robert Brooks is another example.

WR Sterling Sharpe & DB LeRoy Butler were the only championship-level players left over from the Lindy Infante era, so the Packers were a work-in-progress to catch the Cowboys & 49ers, and this was a milestone game in that journey. Final score: Packers 24, Bengals 23. It was also the moment you knew David Shula was a head coach disaster for the Bengals, after they had fired Sam Wyche.

Finally, my favorite singular moment in the Packers-Vikings rivalry is this above clip from 2004. Packers fans had a history of mooning the opposing team bus as it was leaving the parking lot of Lambeau Field after a loss. Most football fans didn’t know about his hairy & drunken tradition, until the discussions in the media afterwards.

Cris Collinsworth calls it beautifully, as HoF WR Randy Moss makes the back-breaking play of the game, then drops a turd & shoots the moon to the Lambeau faithful. FOX play-by-play announcer Joe Buck is either a priss for getting offended, or an idiot for pretending to get offended. Troy Aikman has nothing to say about it, which is par for him.

The best old school football announcer was Curt Gowdy. Here he is above, summarizing a critical playoff game in the early Super Bowl era. Note that NBC gets the score backwards going to commercial at 10:00 in the video. Early east coast bias? This was the Baltimore Colts final game that mattered from their glory years, as Don Shula’s Dolphins, then Chuck Noll’s Steelers, and Al Davis’ Raiders became the AFC’s dominant teams thereafter. Dolphins 21, Colts 0. The Colts weren’t good again until Bert Jones (for a few years), and then finally with Payton Manning in Indianapolis.

The video above was the real 1973-season Super Bowl, Raiders-Dolphins in the Orange Bowl. Dolphins win 27-10, on their way to a second consecutive Super Bowl win, this time over the Vikings 24-7. In this AFC championship game, which he is calling, Curt Gowdy (at 10:20 in the video) rattles off the entire officiating crew’s real jobs in 1973, until their names are wiped away by the director. That’s an unreal depth of football knowledge.

As far a Monday Night Football goes, when it got to, “Are you ready for some FOOTBALL!!” My answer was no. I respect Al Michaels as one of the best overall play-by-play announcers, but Frank Gifford doesn’t work as a NFL color analyst. By then it was time for the Giff to go, and MNF was never the same.

Former St. Louis Cardinals OL Dan Dierdorf was brought in by ABC. The limited Dierdorf could irritate a neutral audience as a blow-hard. Dan Dierdorf was always better when he said less. He often got silly when excited. “Payton Manning is literally carving up the Tennessee Titans secondary.” No Dan, it’s “figuratively,” otherwise there would be quivering body parts all over the turf.

These truths hold up in my memories of all the NCAA, NFL featured games, and Packers games I’ve watched over the years & decades. There were a few moments of brilliance that take your breath away, but too much of it is mediocre mayhem. Mostly, they’re just banging each other up for nothing out there. That was my ultimate conclusion back then, and I hold to it now. So many times I walked away from the TV in disgust, and did something else. I never regretted it.

What I’ve covered above is a long & painful era of losing in modern Green Bay Packers football, from head coach Bart Starr’s mediocrity & ineptitude, to the mad fury of Forrest Gregg who could only take the head coaching job at SMU after being fired. The SMU Mustangs were allowed to offer no football scholarships in 1987 & 1988, the NCAA’s so called “death penalty.” This was only time it was ever used by the NCAA, and alumnus Forrest Gregg suffered with all the rest from 1989-90.

Forrest Gregg could take a bullet with the best of them. Vince Lombardi called OL Forrest Gregg the toughest son-of-a-bitch he’d ever met, while he held up the trophy with his name etched on it. That’s how the legend goes. I know this because that’s what was on every autumn Sunday, and there was often no other choice from the NFL or any other sport.

Lindy Infante was the first Packers head coach (1988-91) who came from outside the organization. The Pack definitely needed that change by then. Lindy Infante was an offensive guru, but was recognized to be a better coordinator than head coach after this stint from 1988-91. Packers QB Don Majkowski & WR Sterling Sharpe had their peak seasons in 1989 finishing 10-6, tied with the Vikings who squeaked past on a tie-breaker to win the NFC Central. The Packers went home. “NFC Norris” according to ESPN’s Chris Berman, back then on NFL Primetime. That was the high-water mark of the Lindy Infante head coaching era in Green Bay.

I follow a bit here & there, now & then, whenever something relevant appears. But for the most part I’m done with football, as the NFL & NCAAF are too violent & self-destructive. In the end, American football will need to be drastically changed to avoid CTE & all the other brutal injuries that are endemic to tackle football.

I played tackle football on the playground as a kid, because that’s what all the boys did. It was fun, until middle school, when some kids suddenly got a LOT bigger, and hit a LOT harder. Eighth grade is when I retired from playground football, and I’m a LOT smarter & healthier today because of it.

These videos of games & seasons past should be enough to satisfy any sports fan. The damage has already been done, and to discard this brutal history and demand ever new carnage, is a disrespectful waste to those who sacrificed. This is how to learn from your past, and not repeat fatal mistakes. That’s what I think about most, upon further review.

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Coronavirus COVID-19 crashes global fake economy

A few months back, no one imagined that a new coronavirus could bring the global economy to a stop, but that is now the case. Governments around the world are paralyzed & unable to respond to the needs of the population, in terms of identifying those infected, and in effectively quarantining & treating them.

In the US, necessary testing hasn’t been done by the NHS & CDC, on orders from the Trump White House & deep state Democrats. Silence & gag orders are in effect, as the crisis spreads & fear grows.

In short, all of the irrationalities of capitalism have come together, in the form of a nasty flu virus which silently infects anybody & spreads rapidly. You can’t pray away coronavirus COVID-19, and you can’t attack it on Twitter either. Therefore Trump & Pence are out of options, as these are clueless imbeciles in charge, so it’s a certain catastrophe. That’s how working Americans (and everyone else) have to prepare themselves for this plague in 2020.

On the other end of the economic scale, hedge fund investors & major banks are expecting US President Donald Trump & Congress to pass a financial bailout program into law, ASAP. Any media signal towards this intention rally the roiled stock & bond markets, until the next wave of bad news arrives.

The inescapable fact remains that the US financial elite is broke, as there is no money earned from useful production anymore. All the US Federal Reserve does is print more money for its friends, while the stock & bond markets are imploding because there is already too much debt– which they can never repay.

Lowering interest rates again, and more QE (free $ for the wealthy) won’t help this time. With all the sports leagues & major entertainment venues now shut down, the fake economy has ground to a halt. People now have less distractions & more time to think. This is when a revolutionary situation presents itself. It is also when the masters-of-puppets get nervous, as they can feel themselves losing control of the situation.

Theoretical questions: Coronavirus COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, so if President Trump (or any other high-ranking US government official) gets sick with this deadly flu virus, is that considered a biological attack on the US by China? Does that give the US government the right to retaliate with all options on the table?

This is what Trump was thinking about a month earlier, instead of funding for testing, prevention & treatment. Why no call by social Democrat Bernie Sanders for Trump’s impeachment over his mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak? That’s another elephant in the room the Democrats will have to dance around as all of this unfolds.

Why is testing so important? Because doctors first need a DIAGNOSIS to treat sick patients, and prevent further spread of disease. Without a proper diagnosis, health care providers are in the dark. Doctors & scientists with specialty in this field need to be in charge of a coordinated international effort to identify, contain & treat infected coronavirus patients.

That’s another bug-a-boo here, in that people in current leadership need to admit they could be infected, and downgrade themselves to patient status when confirmed. People like Trump & his capitalist cronies are never willing to do that. Their megalomaniacal belief in money, god, and their own supernatural power blinds them. This coronavirus pandemic situation will not be resolved without a serious change in leadership– medically, economically & politically.

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The Daytona 500: NASCAR’s Super Bowl washes out

The following was posted on my Facebook page at 5:56 PM EDT:

NASCAR is run by idiots. It was a beautiful day earlier in central Florida, until mid-afternoon when the rains came. If any of the race organizers had bothered to look at weather maps last night & this morning, or consult with a meteorologist, then they would have made the decision to move up the start time to this race, so they could get it in, since you can’t run an oval race when conditions are wet.

It’s nearly 6:00 PM local time and there is more rain coming through in an hour, according to the local weather radar, with all the cars still parked on the track. NASCAR will have to postpone the Daytona 500 until Monday, after it ran just 20 laps. When you begin the season with your Super Bowl, a rain-out is a bad omen for what’s to come. The sponsors & fans feel cheated, and this is what NASCAR consistently delivers.

Then a few minutes later: Pre-set NASCAR timetables, and corporate mandates for gimmicks such as stage racing, which lengthen these races, are to blame. There’s no leadership in NASCAR to make the tough calls correctly when needed.

Then at 6:54 PM EDT: Just announced on Fox: the Daytona 500 has been postponed until tomorrow.

Here are a few things that were more important to the figureheads who run NASCAR than running the Daytona 500 today.

1) The sponsors, who insist on routine commercial breaks during peak viewing hours. This race couldn’t be moved ahead as needed, because corporate networks won’t allow that. The egos of network executives & sponsors are more important than the race.

2) The US Air Force jet fly-over. That’s obviously tightly programmed, and couldn’t be moved up without threatening “national security.” Thus the jet flyover was more important than the Great American Race.

3) Donald Trump’s visit with his wife Melania. “Drivers, start you engines,” then a pace lap in the Presidential limousine. That certainly could not be rescheduled or moved up, making it much more important than the actual race, which lasted only 20 laps, after a long rain-delay before its start.

Then the rains returned and soaked the tracked repeatedly, and still are as of this writing after 7:00 PM local time. The sun is down, so there is no drying the track, even if the rain had halted, which they won’t until much later.

This was a futile charade put on by NASCAR, FOX, and all its sponsors here at Daytona, Florida. This race had no chance of being completed as scheduled, yet like ostriches with their heads in the sand, they refused to face reality and take responsible action when needed. If this race had been started at noon, with no stages, it would have been completed before the afternoon rains. With stages, an 11:00 AM start time was necessary. Rain was predicted for this afternoon & evening. It’s important to use science correctly.

Now NASCAR has sponsors that are already demanding their money back, because when fans tuned in, they saw the 2019 race being broadcast on FOX. The call to postpone the race on that network was made by NASCAR ~6:45 EDT. It’s like they were the last ones to accept it.

I don’t watch NASCAR much anymore because it’s great stars are mostly gone. Only Jimmie Johnson remains, be he isn’t enough to help this mess. NASCAR put itself up for sale a few years back, and didn’t like the offers it received. But everything they do seems to devalue their product, so what can they expect?

You can blame it on the rain, but really in 2020 we know when bad weather is coming, and should be ready with an alternate plan as needed. NASCAR should be accountable to its fans & drivers first, if it wants to regain its lost popularity, but it consistently does just the opposite. This is what happens when leadership fails to plan.

Only a fraction of their expected viewing audience will watch the Daytona 500 tomorrow, and that costs sponsors tens of millions of dollars in lost marketing revenue– at least. NASCAR burns up the money, wastes resources, and in many ways defines the most reactionary features of our fake economy.

UPDATE:  Monday 17 Feb 2020 10:10 AM EST

The Daytona 500 will pick-up again today on FOX at 4:00 PM EDT, and hopefully will finish itself up by his evening, as more rain is possible. The grandstands will be half-full at best, and the infield a muddy mess, as just about everyone wants to get this race over with now, so they can move on.

These teams, crews & drivers have to be in Las Vegas next weekend, and have already lost a day’s travel time. It used to be Atlanta after the Daytona 500, but now it’s Las Vegas, because the sponsors want it that way. These are the contingencies that NASCAR has to deal with, in a sport that is weather dependent. For the record, Donald Trump did not attend this race. He left before the start yesterday, and will not return today. His appearance was all about optics.

On October 15, 2012, NASCAR and the FOX announced a new $2.4 billion eight-year deal, a 30% increase from their previous deal. On July 23, 2013, NASCAR and the NBC announced a new $4.4 billion ten-year deal. Both these broadcast deals run through 2024. NASCAR signed it’s mega-deals with NBC & FOX when it’s biggest stars were still active: including Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart & Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Their biggest star (from 2013 through the Daytona 500 in 2018) was Danica Patrick, who gave NASCAR a platform to expand their demographics & bring in a whole generation of new fans. But instead of building the sport and adapting it to a new era, NASCAR consistently wrecked Danica Patrick and took the money for themselves. What’s left today is a dying sport, with an alienated hard-core base, and too few new fans. You may have noticed that Danica Patrick doesn’t do any NASCAR promotional events anymore. What kind of dim-bulb sport runs her out?

When NASCAR CEO Brian France was arrested (pic above) in August 2018 on a DUI & possession of Oxycontin, the institutional decay of this once-proud family organization could no longer be hidden. For the 2020 season, NASCAR no longer has a title sponsor, as Monster Energy bailed after just two years. Nextel, Sprint & Winston are long gone too, and all that is left are: Busch, Coca-Cola, Geico, and Xfinity as NASCAR’s “premier partners” in 2020. This makes NASCAR beholden to the networks & sponsors for everything, including yesterday’s fiasco.

In the end, everything comes down to leadership. If it isn’t there, then there can be no long-term success, even in the best of conditions. No leadership also means certain failure when things go bad, as they have in NASCAR. That is the sobering, Monday race-day reality of the 2020 Daytona 500.

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Mopping up the Mookie Betts salary dump

Remember when I said I wouldn’t write another Mookie Betts piece? [Appropriate pause] I lied.

This baseball news just broke an hour ago.

DODGERS GET: OF Mookie Betts, LHP David Price, cash (all from BOS); RHP Brusdar Graterol, minor league outfielder Luke Raley, 67th pick in 2020 Draft (both from MIN)
RED SOX GET: OF Alex Verdugo, SS Jeter Downs, C Connor Wong (all from LA)
TWINS GET: RHP Kenta Maeda, a low-level minor league prospect, cash (all from LA)

Apparently, Mookie Betts & David Price are finally going to the Dodgers. According to anonymous sources (as always), the Red Sox have agreed to pay half of the $96 million left on Price’s deal. In a separate deal, Kenta Maeda, a low-level Minor League prospect & cash will go to Minnesota, with Brusdar Graterol, minor league outfielder Luke Raley & the 67th pick in the June amateur draft headed to Los Angeles.

The anticipated concurrent Angels-Dodgers deal will NOT be consummated, according to late night MLB reports. For now, Joc Pederson & Ross Stripling remain LA Dodgers. No word if Brusdar Graterol is eventually headed to Boston, but it’s presumed. Then again, a lot has been presumed, and nothing has gone according to script.

The piece I published yesterday, titled “Flushing the Mookie Betts salary dump” is now very much incorrect, but I leave it unedited because I have ethics. Plus, it’s time to move on, so here are my final thoughts on this seemingly never-ending drama.

I stand by everything I wrote about the Red Sox, MLB, and their media machinations, as well as all of the other medical/ethical issues I discussed. I don’t have a problem admitting I projected something wrong. I had excellent reasons to believe I was right.

The realities I laid out are chilling to any serious baseball fan that wasn’t aware of what was going on. This Betts deal was much bigger than just a swap of baseball players. This was political. Boston is most endeared to its Red Sox, as that franchise has the longest history, as compared to the Patriots, Celtics & Bruins.

Their beloved city franchise had to trade away their top stars to get under the luxury tax threshold, and this was very traumatic for them. Red Sox nation insisted that everyone else feel their pain. We did.

But a pearl of wisdom can be gleaned from all this. There are clearly deep divisions within the Red Sox organization, just as there is a factional war between liberal & centrist Democrats. In Boston, there are old-school diehards in the front office who wanted to keep Betts & Price, and they fought with the eggheads who were put in charge of dumping them, every inch of the way.

Sports is business, and business is politics. They all mirror each other, and what we saw this past week in the media, was complete dysfunction from an out-of-control Frankenstein known as the Boston Red Sox. They couldn’t make up their minds on what they wanted, because too many conflicting interests were in play.

The Red Sox leaked confidential medical records to the media, and mucked everything up. The Minnesota Twins, Brusdar Graterol, his agent Scott Boras, and the head of the MLBPA Tony Clark, all protested these despicable tactics by the Red Sox to manipulate trade negotiations. More than a few ESPN & MLB “reporters” deserve to have their press credentials pulled, for unethical statements to the media.

Twins GM Thad Levine played on this to get more on his end of the deal. It was all he could do, as he was under heavy pressure to capitulate. After all, these are the Red Sox, and they needed this deal to go through. Therefore, someone made Thad Levine an offer he couldn’t refuse. Expect no admission of wrong-doing or guilt from the Red Sox, it’s not their style. Either they: 1) win & gloat, 2) hate & whine, or 3) run & hide.

I intervened in this affair as a journalist by publishing an essay from the future– one possible future. I prophesied this deal would completely collapse, but it didn’t. But it was very, VERY close– and a lot of people came to know it.

Dodger’s GM Andrew Friedman deserves respect for dragging this son-of a-bitch through the mud and coming home with something worth smiling about. He had to dig deep, that’s for sure. But it should be noted that he played along as a silent partner when the Red Sox attempted to shakedown the Twins into kicking-in another prospect, after their being “spooked” by Brusdar’s Graterol’s medical records. Friedman knew (or should have known) that he was responsible for kicking-in something to satisfy the Red Sox, but instead hung a colleague (Thad Levine) out to dry, hoping it would be the Twins who would be forced to pay up. He knew.

We never heard much from the Los Angeles Angels during this saga. They were the least-invested team involved, always on the outside looking in, hoping the two behemoths could get everything worked out, without blowing it all up. Their owner Arte Moreno expressed frustration at being held in trade limbo, but there was nothing the Halos could do. It was the Twins who were they key to the deal, so the Angels got left out when the Dodgers had to go “all in” on Sunday.

Fans want trades to happen, as they shake things up & make the game more interesting. But when an organization with all the clout in the world, can hold up a mega-blockbuster deal like this, over unfounded & unethical statements to the media meant to gain leverage, then that organization needs to be sanctioned. That’s the take-home message, but I’m betting it gets lost in the fake news headlines.

Not since the 1986 World Series, when Bill Buckner let a Mookie Betts [!] grounder go through his legs, has there been so much shame & ignominy with the Red Sox. They’ve gotten what they wanted, but how they did it will not be forgotten. To mark this event in history, all this sports drama happened in synchronicity with the Iowa caucus/DNC debacle. Both were very ugly, for many of the same reasons.

Eventually, Boston Red Sox fans forgave Bill Buckner, after they finally won a World Series in 2004. I’m hoping my fans can do the same for me, a bit quicker, about being wrong here. It’s all about the process. Acting with a pure heart is an important part of that. Getting the facts straight is another.

Notice that I’m not apologizing for publishing that essay. I don’t regret it. The circumstances were that for three days, from late-Wednesday to mid-Saturday, MLB had nothing to say about this trade hold-up. NOTHING.

Baseball fans at the climax of the Hot Stove season were starving for information, perspective, analysis (anything!) to help them get an idea on what was happening. The Red Sox had clearly ordered a media gag on the Betts trade situation, so it could strong-arm a backroom deal. The Red Sox just need time and opacity.

I saw all this going on, and when the Brusdar Graterol pull-back by the Twins was reported by MLB on Saturday during the mid-afternoon, I knew I was right. The deal was falling apart, and the Dodgers & Red Sox were desperate to get the Twins re-engaged. This deal doesn’t get done without the Twins, otherwise it would have.

My perspective was that the Red Sox were guilty of many serious transgressions, and that it was more important to publish my essay concentrating on that angle, even if my trade collapse prediction turned out to be wrong– which it did. It was more important to be influential to a targeted audience at a critical juncture, even if it meant the embarrassment of being proven wrong on something less important (but more hyped) a day later.

The impact of that essay was huge, as it answered a great many questions for Dodgers fans. I posted a link to that piece in a Dodgers blog, which was conversely linked in my essay, and it got traction. My intent there was to educate some die-hard baseball fans who were hurting. I’m a Padres fan, so I took a few shots at their GM, but it was all in good sporting spirit– because it’s just a game between us. But the Red Sox are another matter.

What I wrote helped many Dodgers fans come to the sober realization that the Boston Red Sox & MLB are a mafia, and that their team was being extorted. If the Dodgers really want Betts & Price, then sweeten the deal– otherwise it’s no deal. Friedman kicked in more. He almost had to, with all he had invested. That’s how the Red Sox, and any mafia, get you. This deal has great potential to be cursed, with all the bad juju surrounding it. I’m an atheist, but karma is real.

I honestly don’t care if I’m totally wrong about a trade prediction. Who cares? This is baseball, and no one who has any kind of career bats 1.000– or has an ERA of 0.00. I care much more about all the malfeasance & unethical actions of the Red Sox, MLB & ESPN. When is there going to be a hearing on that?

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