Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kaman, Lee headline list of All-Star snubs

By John McMullen

Philadelphia, PA - In the grand scheme of things the NBA All-Star Game is rather meaningless. The honor, however, is certainly not.

Being named an All-Star is a big deal for NBA players, whether it's a veteran on the downside of a spectacular career like Allen Iverson, or first-timers like Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose.

On the other hand, missing the cut can be a hard pill to swallow.

For the most part, the league's coaches, who pick the reserves, did an outstanding job this season. Unlike the past few years, very few players had much to complain about with two notable exceptions in the frontcourt -- the Clippers' Chris Kaman and New York's David Lee.

So, with that in mind, let's look at the five biggest snubs for the 2010 NBA All-Star Game set for Feb. 14 in Arlington, Tex.

1. Chris Kaman - Center - Los Angeles Clippers

Chris Kaman is averaging 20.2 points per game this year.
Kaman was the one undeniable snub, as he has been the best big man in Los Angeles this season. In fact, the Central Michigan product has been the best all-around center in the Western Conference, and should have been a starter.

Kaman is averaging 20.2 points and 9.1 rebounds along with 1.3 blocks per game this year. He's also toiled in 41 games this season, compared to 29 for Lakers' All-Star Pau Gasol.

Skill-wise, Gasol is clearly an All-Star level player but he's missed 17 games this season with an assortment of injuries and should have been given the weekend off. Clearly the coaches went with reputation over production with this pick.

"I just obviously didn't get enough respect to make it, and I can't really control that," Kaman told the Los Angeles Times. "So now I have to move forward and try to help my team get some more wins and try to be positive about it and just look for the playoff hunt."

2. David Lee - Center/Forward - New York Knicks

Like Kaman, Lee was probably snubbed for playing on a bad team.

A double-double machine, the 6-foot-9 Lee leads the Knicks and scoring (19.6 ppg) and rebounding (11.6). Meanwhile, Atlanta's Al Horford, Lee's teammate in college at Florida, is netting just 13.6 ppg and 9.8 rebounds, but the Hawks are 29-15 compared to New York's 18-27 mark.

"It's disappointing, but I'm always looking for more motivation, so it's more motivation," Lee said after the Knicks fell to Toronto on Thursday night. "Everybody that made it was well-deserved and having a good season, and I'd never talk bad about anybody that did make it. I just thought I had a good chance, and it didn't work out that way."

3. Chauncey Billups - Guard - Denver Nuggets

Billups is so good and so steady, he's taken for granted. At the age of 33, Billups is putting up career-highs in points per game (19.2 ppg), while continuing to shoot well (41.4 percent from beyond the arc), and distributing as effectively as ever.

With all the backcourt talent assembled in the West, Billups never had a chance this season but does anyone really question whether he's an All-Star? The Nuggets have been one of the NBA's top five teams since the day he arrived from Detroit.

4. Joakim Noah - Forward/Center - Chicago Bulls

The Bulls have been inconsistent and underachieved this season so getting a pair of All-Stars was going to be a tall task, but Noah has arguably been the NBA's most improved player, averaging 11.3 ppg and 12.1 rpg.

His rebounding numbers are second to Dwight Howard, and an All-Star selection would have given a well-deserved nod to players who bust their rear ends doing the little things.

"Joakim's been very consistent from Day 1," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. "He's second in the league in rebounding and up there in double-doubles. He's been just fantastic in overall rebounding, but offensive rebounding, especially."

5. Carlos Boozer - Forward - Utah Jazz

Despite being hounded by persistent trade rumors, Boozer, a two-time All-Star, has put together another solid season, averaging 19.2 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.

Boozer, who is currently struggling with a strained right calf, thought he should have joined teammate Deron Williams on the West squad.

"I think we deserve (two)," Boozer said earlier this week.

With 29 double-doubles this season, the third-highest total for all NBA players and the most of any Western Conference player, it's hard to argue with him.

Flyers sign D Krajicek

The Philadelphia Flyers have signed veteran defenseman Lukas Krajicek.

"Lukas will bring experience and depth to our lineup," said GM Paul Holmgren.

Krajicek, 26, has one assist and 21 penalty minutes in 23 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning this season, as well as recording six assists and eight penalty minutes in 15 games with the Norfolk Admirals, Tampa Bay's American Hockey League affiliate.

"The Flyers called me and offered me a contract and obviously I jumped on it right away," said Krajicek. "It is a great place and obviously I want to play in the NHL. I'm just happy to be here."

In 2008-09, Krajicek posted 19 points (2G,17A) and 48 penalty minutes in 71 games with the Lightning. His 17 assists and 19 points were both new career highs and led the Lightning defense in scoring.

Over parts of seven seasons in the National Hockey League with the Florida Panthers (2001-02 and 2003-04 to 2005-06), Vancouver Canucks (2006-07 to 2007-08) and Lightning (2008-09 to 2009-10), Krajicek has compiled 70 points (10G,60A) and 231 penalty minutes in 301 games. He has also posted two assists and 12 penalty minutes in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

A native of Prostejov, Czech Republic, Krajicek was originally selected by Florida in the first round (24th overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.            

Stefanski, Jordan gone by All-Star break?

Mitch Lawrence of the NY Daily News floated the rumor that would thrill Sixers fans, saying ownership wants to clear out president Ed Stefanski and coach Eddie Jordan at the All-Star break and that Tony DiLeo would be installed for a second straight season as the interim coach.

That's probably pie-in-the-sky type stuff but I'm not sure Ed Snider wants Stefanski dealing his best player, Andre Iguodala, at the deadline in an effort to save a job that can't be saved so anything is possible.

Cavs interested in Iguodala

Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer is reporting that Cleveland's interest in Andre Iguodala is legit with the expiring deal of Zydrunas Ilgauskas being dangled. The Cavs are also interested in Stephen Jackson, Troy Murphy, and Antawn Jamison, however.

Vick show debuts on Tuesday

The Michael Vick Project debuts on BET, Tuesday at 10 p.m (et).

Brookshier dead at 78

Former Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro defensive back Tom Brookshier passed away on Friday night at the age of 78 after a bout with cancer.

Originally a 10th round draft pick from Colorado, Brookshier made an immediate impact with eight interceptions during his rookie season of 1953. Then, after a two-year stint in the Air Force, the defensive back returned to the Eagles and twice earned All-Pro honors - first in 1959, and again in 1960 as a member of the NFL championship team. In all he spent seven seasons with the Eagles and collected 20 interceptions. Upon retiring as a player, he entered the broadcast booth on CBS's telecasts of NFL games. Brookshier, a native of Roswell, New Mexico, is a member of the Eagles Honor Roll and is one of seven players in franchise history to have his jersey number (#40) retired.

“Tom Brookshier is one of all-time greats, both for what he did on the field and for the kind of man he was off the field, Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "I will always remember him for his booming and bright personality. He had an uncanny love for life, a love for his family and a love for the game of football, especially for the Philadelphia Eagles. He bled green and I will always cherish our conversations and the relationship that we fostered throughout my tenure in Philadelphia. Our deepest condolences go out to his wife, Barbara, and the rest of the Brookshier family.”

The Eagles family weighs in on the passing of Brookie:

Eagles Chairman Jeffrey Lurie:

“One of the reasons we have always been so proud to be a part of the Eagles family is because great men of character like Tom Brookshier were the bricks in the foundation of the franchise. This man could literally light up a room, and he brought the same passion and intensity to his playing and broadcasting careers. Tom Brookshier will forever remain an integral part of the Philadelphia Eagles. He was and will always be a champion. Christina and I send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Barbara, his family, and anyone who had the pleasure of calling Tom Brookshier a friend."

 Eagles President Joe Banner:

“As few may know, back in the mid 1970s, I worked in broadcasting in Philadelphia at the same station [WCAU] as Tom Brookshier. Although I was only 21 years old at the time and very inexperienced, the first person to greet, embrace and take me under his wing was Tom. I will never forget that such a highly accomplished, highly respected person that Tom was and will forever be in this city, took the time to welcome and care for me. I will never forget his warmth and friendly personality.”

 Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik and former teammate of Brookshier:

“Tom Brookshier represented everything you could want in a teammate and friend.  Brookie was one of the best people that I’ve ever known and I am proud to have remained his friend for so many years. He was always a leader on the field and in the locker room and might have been the toughest defensive back of our era; he was a hitter. We’ve lost one of the great Eagles of all time.”

Hall of Famer Tommy McDonald and former teammate of Brookshier:

“Put a Tom Brookshier on your team and you're going to have a winner. Nobody said we were going to beat Green Bay [in the 1960 NFL Championship game]. Well, look at what we did! The 1960 team lost a brother. That 1960 team was family. He had an outstanding personality. He was a happy person to be around. That's why he was so successful in color commentary … He was the type of person you wanted to have as your brother. He had strong leadership ability on defense with Chuck Bednarik and everybody. You could always depend on him. He was a leader. I will miss knowing that I won't be able to see him anymore, but he's on God's team now.”

Former Eagles quarterback and Monday Night Football analyst Ron Jaworski:

“Tom Brookshier was an icon in Philadelphia sports. When I was traded to the Eagles in 1977, Tom took me under his wing and taught me the passion of Philadelphia Eagles fans. For that, I am forever grateful. Brookie also led by example; he was always willing to give back to the community. His commitment to the Maxwell Football Club helped it become recognized as the number one club in America to promote the game of football at all levels. We lost a great leader in Tom Brookshier.”

Longtime Eagles public relations director Jim Gallagher:

“Brookie was a special person and a heckuva football player. After his career was stopped short by a broken leg, he got into radio and TV and did a super job with that. He was one of the best in the business working alongside Pat Summerall. Tom was really one of the be

Friday, January 29, 2010

Union signs Orozco

The Philadelphia Union announced the acquisition of U-23 U.S. National Team defender Michael Orozco.  

Orozco is on loan from Mexican First Division team San Luis FC, where he spent the last three years playing.  Per club and Major League Soccer policy, terms of the player’s contract and loan are confidential.

“We are happy to have Michael join us,” said Team Manager Peter Nowak. “It is great to have a player at the top of his game show his desire and commitment. We hope to have him as an anchor at the back of our defense for a long time to come.”

Philadelphia Union was able to sign Orozco thanks to a deal with Red Bull New York, in which Philadelphia sent allocation money to NY in exchange for the Red Bulls’ top spot in the Major League Soccer allocation order.

“This is a great acquisition for Philadelphia Union, and for MLS as a whole,” explained Nick Sakiewicz, Philadelphia Union CEO & Operating Partner. “As a Mexican American, growing up and learning the game in Orange County, California, Michael later matured as a young professional at the highest levels in Mexico. For him to want to continue his career with Philadelphia Union is a very powerful statement about us and MLS.”

Signed by San Luis in 2006, Orozco found a spot in the club’s starting line-up during the 2007 season and made 16 appearances on the team’s run to the quarterfinals of the Clausura Tournament.   Last season, Orozco started in 28 games and scored four goals, including one in the prestigious Copa Libertadores.

Orozco helped the U.S. U-23 team qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, a team that also included current Philadelphia Union team member Chris Seitz.  A member of the U.S. National Team player pool since 2004, Orozco was named one of the Best XI during the 2008 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying round.

Philadelphia Union’s first-ever First Kick will take place March 25, 2010 vs. Seattle Sounders FC at Seattle’s Qwest Field. The club’s home opener will be April 10, 2010 vs. D.C. United at Lincoln Financial Field.

Eagles sign FB Wright

The Philadelphia Eagles today announced they have signed FB Dwayne Wright to a two-year contract.

Originally a fourth round draft choice of Buffalo in 2007, Wright (5-11, 228) appeared in 15 games for the Bills in his rookie campaign and recorded 94 rushing yards on 29 attempts. He was released by the team prior to the start of the 2008 season. Wright spent the 2009 preseason with the New York Giants but did not make the team.

A four-year letterman at Fresno State, Wright finished his collegiate career ranked third on the school’s all-time list in rushing attempts (501) and yards (2,683), adding 16 touchdowns. He was an All-Western Conference second team selection as a senior after rushing for 1,462 yards and 11 touchdowns.

The 26-year-old Wright is a native of San Diego, CA and attended Lincoln High School, where he earned all-state honors as a senior.

Video: Kobe Returns

Eagles officially promote Roseman to GM

The Eagles officially named Howie Roseman as the team’s general manager.

Now in his 11th year in Philadelphia, Roseman spent the last two seasons as the team’s vice president of player personnel. As the team’s general manager, he will maintain a very similar role, working closely with head coach Andy Reid in all aspects of the player personnel department. He will manage the college and pro scouting staffs, organize draft meetings and the draft board, scout the top collegiate players around the country and assist in formulating the team’s roster throughout the year.

The 34-year-old Roseman originally joined the Eagles in 2000 as salary cap/staff counsel. He was elevated to director of football administration in 2003 and to vice president of football administration in 2006. In this role, Roseman worked in the personnel department evaluating players around the NFL and for the draft. He also represented the team to the NFL on contract, salary cap, and player personnel matters.

In other news, the team will return to Kelly green as its alternate jersey next season to honor the 1960 championship club.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Book Excerpt: 'Football Doping, Risks Evident in Cartoonish Player Physiques'

Spiral of Denial: Muscle Doping in American Football
By Matt Chaney
Four Walls Publishing 2009

Book excerpt posted January 28, 2010

The excerpt series for Spiral of Denial culminates during holy Super Bowl week with summaries and conclusions of the book released one year ago

Legion of Critics Blasts Official Apathy for Increasing Body Sizes There existed no evidence of systemic muscle doping in American football—so said insiders, media, and fans. That was the basic public excuse during the problem’s first 50 years. Approaching 2010, America continued to avoid potentially painful reform over drugs in football, preferring instead to gorge on the nationalistic blood sport as it stood.

The smoking-gun evidence, meanwhile, remained right in the face of America, had for decades, at least since the 1980s when juiced specimens abounded. Unnaturally large sizes of players were obvious at every level of football, viewed on television or in-person at the stadium. As former NFL lineman Steve Courson maintained publicly, he once toted around bagfuls of steroids in Pittsburgh, but no one had to peek inside for grasping reality. People need only see his build and that of others in football to understand the picture. “One of the reasons I was always open with my steroid use was because it was so apparent with my physique, and I thought it foolish to try to hide something so obvious, legal and tacitly condoned,” Courson wrote to a former teammate during summer 2005, in correspondence never delivered. "Currently, as of recent events, the media has decided to report this more openly and accurately. Part of that locally I believe is related to Mike Webster’s death. BALCO had a lot to do with the change in reporting. After two trips to Washington I am definitely disheartened, but not surprised by the incredible (myth, image, fantasy, lie or synonym thereof) that NFL management continues to spin on this situation. It has reinforced my views as a person."

Many voices backed Courson about increasing sizes and juice in football, led by athletes active and retired from multiple sports, along with coaches, weightlifters, trainers, sports organizers, medical experts, media, politicians, adult fans, and schoolchildren. “When you talk about the NFL, what’s the first thing you say? Guys who played in the 1970s would be a joke on the football field today,” said Curt Schilling, baseball pitcher.  Hard data founded the argument, weight statistics and comparisons spanning football during the age of pharmaceutical and bio-identical drugs. Among numbers, the starting offensive line of the 1958 NFL champion Colts averaged about 240 pounds while O-line starters for the 2007 Giants, Super Bowl champions, averaged about 6-5 in height and 314 on scales.

Evidence suggested a concentrated wave of huge physiques first hit the NFL during the 1970s, and by the late 1990s the league had 200 players weighing 300 pounds or more. That number doubled the next decade, approaching the year 2010, with about 350 players of at least 300 pounds on game rosters and more than 500 in training camps. An additional 100 players hovered near the 300-pound mark. A Scripps Howard review found the average NFL body weights had increased 10 percent since 1985, before the start of steroid testing, to a 2006 average of 248 pounds. The average for offensive tackles jumped from 281 pounds to 318. “When I played, a 300-pounder was a freak,” said Art Kehoe, Dolphins associate head coach and former NFL lineman. “Today, if you don’t weigh 300 pounds, you are a freak.”

For major-college football, 300-pounders were the majority among starting offensive linemen in 2008, and the size was consistent on rosters across Division II of the NCAA. At the prep level, top-recruited offensive linemen typically hit 300 on the scales—the online rating service often listed a dozen or more players at that weight among its top 40 prospects nationally.

Obesity contributed, particularly in teen players, but numerous witnesses and qualified observers said the 2000s football environment—still stuck on “bigger, stronger”—remained mostly about performance-enhancing drugs. Dr. Yesalis, the epidemiologist, strength coach, and weightlifter, repeatedly remarked God had not “changed the recipe” for humans, always citing additional material evidence of an embedded epidemic. Testing was invalid and football’s documented timeline of muscle doping continually hardened. Organizers now acknowledged they were wrong about the 1980s, for example. Yes, they conceded in official consensus, the problem was in fact widespread during that decade. Confirmed history alone rendered anyone’s claim of cleanup as illogical, given time’s unfettered progression in performance that constantly placed current players as the largest and most athletic ever.

Nonetheless, the football institution denied a problem, as the vast majority of active athletes, coaches, and organizers stayed with dubious excuses. They said gigantic physiques were due primarily to strength training and eating. “Fat” athletes had taken over the game, shoving aside muscled juicers, according to a 2005 company line voiced by NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, testifying under oath for the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform. “I think it’s nonsense…,” Tagliabue said of allegations about PEDs and sizes. “Today we have a young man who’s 6-feet-6 and 268 pounds playing quarterback. Are we to conclude that he’s using steroids? I don’t like to smear people in that fashion.”

Focusing on 300-pounders, Tagliabue contended drugs made “athletes lean and sculpted”—like that quarterback he failed to fully describe as such—and declared “high body fat” beset the league’s largest players. The 300-pounders “tend to be the antithesis of the sculpted, lean athlete,” Tagliabue testified. The commissioner maintained contemporary players simply lifted much harder and ate much more than erstwhile specimens—who trained rigorously, consumed massive calories, and abused anabolic steroids but were significantly smaller than present-day behemoths. Players union director Gene Upshaw backed Tagliabue at the hearing. Upshaw likewise dismissed muscle doping as the key factor for sizes, saying random urinalysis was a certain preventive of that scenario. If anything, Upshaw said, colleges and high schools produced unhealthy football players. “They come to us the size that we get them,” he testified.

Five months later, however, a 300-pound NFL player dropped dead at the age of 23: Thomas Herrion, 49ers lineman, whose autopsy showed an enlarged heart and artery blockage. In addition, publicized studies found systemic hazards in league body weights. Within this context, management spoke differently than when testifying for Congress. Here the NFL contended that fat or unhealthiness was not the primary reason for player weights alarmingly in excess of healthy standards set by the universal Body Mass Index. Now officials contended the NFL primarily featured muscled specimens with low body fat, so the league could argue BMI standards were an invalid application for its athletes.

League medical liaison Dr. Elliot Pellman said the question of obesity among players still had to be answered by research. The league was commissioning its own studies. “There’s a 1-in-200,000 chance that an individual the age of Mr. Herrion will suffer a sudden death,” Pellman said. “It happens, and no one knows why it happens.” Pellman said obesity was a cultural problem, not football’s. Officials dismissed a study, based on the BMI, concluding that virtually all NFL players were overweight or obese. Bears nutritionist Julie Burns said NFL players were abnormally muscular humans. Tagliabue said, “We have athletes that are fitter than most people in society, bigger than most people in society, and doing things that are different and more demanding than many people in society.” PEDs, meanwhile, did not apply.

“Huh?” remarked Sam Donnellon, Philadelphia Daily News, on mixed messages from the league. Basically, official football answers on increasing sizes followed that “fat” athletes were the foremost reason, not drugs; however, if criticism focused on obesity, not doping, then the players were portrayed as muscular and healthy, possessing uncommon physiology. NFL and NCAA rhetoric alike reasoned that modern players gained incredible mass without stuff like steroids, HGH, IGF-1, clenbuterol, and GHB. The necessary presumption held that substances readily available and potent were undesirable, obsolete for modern players.

Impossible, critics responded collectively, a growing legion of insider witnesses and close observers of football, including media, athletes, coaches, and doctors. They rejected official word on drugs from painkillers to amphetamines, anabolic steroids, and HGH. “Can it really be true that the NFL, with more than 300 players who weigh more than 300 pounds each, really has no drug problem?” dismissed Dave Perkins, Toronto Star columnist. “Where’s the proof—other than the NFL saying it has no drug problem?” Anti-steroid trainer Sal Marinello always chortled at football drug rhetoric, contending the NFL and colleges were an historic haven for widespread PEDs. The strength guru and former college football player wrote for that “off-the-field training, nutrition and legal modes of supplementation cannot be given credit for the ever-growing NCAA and NFL players.” News writer John Eisenberg, Baltimore Sun, wrote, “A wise doctor who knows about steroids once told me to trust my eyes above all when trying to detect abuse because, as he put it, lifting weights can only do so much. Well, my eyes are telling me that college football, like the pros, has more than its share of juicers.”

Dave DePew, personal trainer and nutritionist, told The San Diego Union-Tribune he was turned off by pro athletes and PEDs, through with consulting for them. “Steroids will definitely help you, and I think most athletes know that,” DePew said. “The unfortunate reality is that most of these athletes will take advantage if they know they’re not going to get caught.” Player agent David Caravantes said pro football wanted “guys who look like Tarzan and don’t play like Jane.” The late Lyle Alzado contended the NFL could have few genetic wonders packing extraordinary muscle at any size without dope, perhaps a percentile among a thousand bodies. Charles Yesalis extended Alzado’s observation to include absurd sizes in college and prep football, and many agreed, such as David Meggyesy, 1960s NFL linebacker and retired union official. “I think [doping has] escalated even more, and the pressure on kids playing football, it’s there,” Meggyesy said. “If the steroids are there, they’re going to do it.”

“You can see all the signs,” said Bill Curry, a coach and former NFL center, in 2008. “You gain 40 pounds over the summer, there’s something wrong with that. All of a sudden you can’t get your headgear on, and your jaws are doubling in size, and I’m callin’ ya in and we’re gonna do a test.” Curry used anabolic steroids to make the NFL in 1965. In his day he saw 300-pounder players genuinely fat, but none could compete. “We just murdered ’em,” said Curry, who peaked in weight at about 245. “You could keep them on the ground all day; that’s where they wanted to be anyhow. They didn’t want to run to the ball.”

Fat was a factor for the largest modern players, Curry said, but he still saw drug use for their sustained speed and athleticism. More big bodies of the NFL astounded Curry, the many hundreds ranging from 250 to 300 pounds with tremendous strength, speed, agility, and minimal body fat. Summing up, Curry said, “Now you got guys that are cut-up 300 pounds, and then you got [athletes] that are 400 pounds who are obese, and they’re out there in the heat and cold, and they’re gonna die. When I watch an NFL game now, I find myself—I would love to just enjoy the football, but I start worrying about [jersey] number 76. He’s gonna die. Soon. He might die in this game, while I’m watching him. I know what he’s been doing, and it breaks my heart.”

“People want to see gladiators, and you just don’t get that way by eating your fruits and vegetables,” said Linden King, former Raiders linebacker and self-confirmed steroid user of the 1970s and ’80s. Former NFL safety Bruce Laird, who retired in 1982, said there was “no question” drugs impacted contemporary sizes of players, whom he believed faced health risks in the present and future. “You know those guys aren’t doing it on peanut butter, and beer, and whatever,” said Laird, a leader in the retirees’ cause for improved disability and pension benefits.

Former defensive tackle Charlie Krueger said he saw anabolic steroids sweeping the NFL as he left in the early 1970s. Krueger was convinced muscle doping drove modern football, especially for requirements in size, strength, and athletic ability. “There are many large, large people in [pro] football, college football, and some in high school football,” he said in 2008. “And they must be [juicing]. … I’m glad I was gone before this stuff invaded because you would be forced to use it or lose your job.”

In the debate over Herrion and health, one team official was pragmatic. "Is it good or bad that the league is so big? It doesn't matter, because the players are not going to get smaller," said Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi. "If anything, they are going to get bigger. Colleges are loaded with 300-pound linemen." One coach conceded PEDs were at least a factor. "I think part of this size thing happened because of steroids, the need to be bigger and stronger to compete with guys on the stuff," said Joe Bugel, Redskins line coach."

Overall, valid scientific study on muscle doping was lacking, but a wealth of research supported increased health risks of football because of large bodies. Public debate on football brutality, the game’s traditional issue, reemerged during the 2000s through concerns funneling back to physiques, including orthopedic injury, brain concussion, and physiological malady linked to excessive weight. Media examined topics like obesity and sudden cardiac death of young athletes, along with NFL retirees’ body maiming, painkiller addiction, cortisone damage, and more disabling setbacks. The issue of healthcare topped the personal agenda of practically every American, and many NFL retirees banded together in complaints against the union administration of the fund for pensions and disability. Press analysis of health issues in football—including size statistics compiled by Scripps Howard, Newsday, and The Palm Beach Post—stimulated public discussion of medical information and witness opinion, so much that politicians dove in to stage a hearing on the disability issue in pro football.

Medical personnel said public focus on increasing sizes was overdue. “Football players have gotten so huge that it has become dangerous from a health standpoint,” said Dr. David Bindleglass, orthopedic surgeon and former college player. “No one in the world loves the game of football more than I do, but it concerns me that players seem to get bigger and bigger, and intrinsically, there has to be some natural limit to it. … Rationally, you have to look at this and wonder where it’s going.” Cardiac surgeon Dr. Arthur “Archie” Roberts was an All-American quarterback at Columbia who later played three years in the NFL. “There’s no question that the super-sizing that’s occurred in the NFL, college and high school [levels] the last 30 years has tipped the scales in a negative way,” Roberts said. “It means there is a serious alert for a health imbalance.”

Dr. Joyce Harp, the University of North Carolina, led a study team that concluded more than one in four NFL players in 2003 qualified for class 2 obesity on the BMI, according to height and weight. About three percent of players approached 400 pounds, ranking them class 3 obese. The NFL labeled the conclusions invalid because its players were unique specimens of the human race, but no independent scientists objected to the research. Harp remarked, “I don’t know what’s going on in the minds of trainers, coaches or other people who drive what happens in the NFL, but clearly there’s something going on when they have these guys getting so big.”

A veteran player indicated something was up about steroids, if not injuries, while airing gripes at the league in 2008. Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot was mad about player fines over uniform attire. “I think they’re worried about all the wrong [stuff],” Fred Smoot told Dan Steinberg of “If you really want to do something, stop everybody from using steroids that’s using steroids, instead of worrying about how the hell I’m dressed when I walk out there and play. You know what I’m saying? Worry about stuff that count, like people getting paralyzed.”

In the controversy over NFL disabilities, opposing parties avoided mention of anabolic steroids and growth hormone. Despite the contemptuous discussion and allegations—sordid details like debilitating injuries, painkillers, amphetamines, dangerous weights, fraud, and personal bankruptcy—the topic of muscle doping slid by quietly. “That has not been part of the argument. No one’s really brought that up,” said Ron Mix, Hall of Fame lineman and an attorney in worker’s compensation. “I got a feeling that’s part of the equation. … Just increased size by itself is an extra strain on the entire system, the skeletal system, the joints, and also the various organs. I mean, you have to be clinically overweight just to play [NFL] football now. That’s a requirement. Just about every position, the guys weigh far more than what physicians say is the ideal weight for them.”

Meggyesy said muscle doping was bound by silence in the league, “but there’s a whole range of issues around injuries, and the elephants in the living room are performance-enhancing steroids.” The retired player had a monetary interest for denying doping, such as healthcare and disability coverage, Meggyesy said, while management would not admit anything that left the league vulnerable. “It comes back to liability,” he said. “It all comes back to who is responsible.”

Matt Chaney is a journalist, editor, teacher, publisher and restaurant worker in Missouri. E-mail him at For more information about his 2009 book Spiral of Denial: Muscle Doping in American Football, visit the home page at

Eagles' Jackson wants new deal

You knew this was coming...

CSN’s Derrick Gunn is reporting that Jackson’s agent Drew Rosenhaus plans to approach the Eagles in hopes of negotiating a four- or five-year extension for his client.

Jackson, who was picked by the Eagles in the second round of the 2008 draft, has two years remaining on his original four-year, $3.46 million rookie deal. He is scheduled to earn a combined $1.025 million in base salary over the next two seasons plus another $800,000 in bonuses.

The Pro-Bowler hired Rosenhaus this season, foreshadowing this eventual outcome.

Union signs TV deal with 6ABC

The Philadelphia Union have signed a local multi-year broadcast deal with 6ABC.

The Philadelphia Union / 6ABC partnership will give WPVI broadcast rights to many of the soccer club's games, starting in March.  With the Major League Soccer schedule soon to be released, the commitment is for as many Philadelphia Union games as possible to be carried live on 6abc, and all games will re-broadcast on 6abc's digital channel - 6.2 (also known as the Live Well HD Network). Calling the games, will be JP Dellacamera, the long-time MLS and ESPN commentator, considered the best in the business in the United States.

"This is truly a landmark day for Philadelphia Union," stated Team President Tom Veit. "The opportunity to partner with not only one of the best television stations in the nation, but one of the most respected brands in the Delaware Valley, is something very special and meaningful to us as an organization. We know our fans will show their appreciation by tuning in and supporting WPVI, much like they have already shown their commitment to us."

6abc will use its on-air platform to expand their new partner's reach and impact in the community, while at the same time become a Keystone Level Sponsor of the team and its stadium. Additionally, WPVI and Philadelphia Union will explore and collaborate on creating new and unique media platforms, as the world's game comes to the Delaware Valley.

"There is a definite buzz about the Union soccer club, and 6abc is thrilled to be their broadcast partner," says Bernie Prazenica, President & General Manager of 6abc.  "We believe the MLS will be a great success in the Delaware Valley, both on the field and in the community, and we're excited to present this new team to our loyal viewers."

Philadelphia Union's first-ever First Kick will take place March 25, 2010 vs. Seattle Sounders FC at Seattle's Qwest Field. The club's home opener will be April 10, 2010 vs. D.C. United at Lincoln Financial Field.

Phils officially sign Contreras

The Phillies one-year, $1.5 million dollar deal with veteran pitcher Jose Contreras is official.

Philadelphia Phillies: Top 10 Prospects

General Manager: Ruben Amaro Jr.
Farm Director: Steve Noworyta
Scouting Director: Marti Wolever

FanGraphs’ Top 10 Prospects:
(2009 Draft Picks/International Signees Not Included)

This organization definitely has a different feel after the Roy Halladay/Cliff Lee trades. The loss of prospects Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor and Travis D’Arnaud to the Blue Jays (Taylor later got flipped to Oakland) hurts the overall depth of the Top 10 list, and the players that came back from Seattle were not of an equal value. Beyond Brown there are a lot of question marks.

1. Domonic Brown, OF, Double-A
DOB: September 1987 Bats: L Throws: L
Signed: 2006 20th round – Georgia HS
MLB ETA: Mid-2010 40-Man Roster: No Options: 3

The club is lucky to still have Brown, aka the player Toronto really wanted in the Roy Halladay trade. The 2010 season could be the year that Brown vaults into elite prospect status, if he’s not already there for most people. The outfielder is a speed/power threat with two straight seasons of 20-plus steals and an ISO of .214 at high-A in ‘09 (His .177 ISO in double-A wasn’t bad, either). Overall, he hit .298/.376/.494 on the season. One minor knock on Brown to this point has been his durability. Injuries have kept him from appearing in more than 114 games over the past three seasons. Of concern, as well, is the jump in strikeout rate last season (20.2 in high-A, 25.2% in double-A) but that is to be somewhat expected with a jump in his power output. His walk rate remained solid (12.1 in high-A, 8.6% in double-A).

2. Phillippe Aumont, RHP, Double-A
DOB: January 1989 Bats: L Throws: R
Signed: 2007 1st round – Quebec HS (Seattle)
MLB ETA: Mid-2011 40-Man Roster: No Options: 3
Repertoire: 89-95 mph fastball, slider, change-up

The top player acquired in the surprising Cliff Lee trade with Seattle, Aumont is armed with a big-time fastball but his secondary pitches leave something to be desired. Despite that fact (and a history of injury problems), his new organization is planning to stick him back in the starting rotation. Drafted in the first round as a raw Canadian prep pitcher, Aumont quickly reached double-A in less than two seasons (in part due to Seattle’s aggressive approach). The 21-year-old pitcher’s ‘09 season was solid. He began the year in high-A – in a very good hitter’s league – and posted a 3.53 FIP while allowing 24 hits in 33.1 innings of work (thanks in part to a .264 BABIP). He showed OK control with a walk rate of 3.24 BB/9 and a solid strikeout rate of 9.45 K/9. That whiff rate jumped to 12.23 K/9 upon his promotion to double-A, but his walk rate also rose to 5.60 BB/9. His BABIP-allowed jumped to .436 and his LOB% plummeted to an unlucky 59.5%. Aumont will be a pitcher to watch closely in 2010, as he is one of the most volatile prospects in the game.

3. Trevor May, RHP, Low-A
DOB: September 1989 Bats: R Throws: R
Signed: 2008 4th round – Washington HS
MLB ETA: Mid-2013 40-Man Roster: No Options: 3
Repertoire: 89-94 mph fastball, curveball, change-up

May had an excellent season, but caution must be used due to his limited sample size. In 15 low-A starts, the right-hander posted a strikeout rate of 11.06 K/9 and allowed just 58 hits in 77.1 innings of work. He had control issues and had a walk rate of 5.00 BB/9 but a HR/9 rate of 0.35 helped to keep the damage to a minimum. May also benefited from luck with a LOB% of 80.0%. He needs to try and get his ground-ball rate up above 40%. The youngster could begin 2010 back in low-A or the organization could be aggressive and move him up to high-A. Either way, he needs to get 25 starts this year so we can see what his potential is with a larger workload.

4. Juan Ramirez, RHP, High-A
DOB: August 1986 Bats: R Throws: R
Signed: 2005 non-drafted international free agent (Nicaragua)
MLB ETA: Mid-2012 40-Man Roster: No Options: 3
Repertoire: 90-95 mph fastball, curveball, change-up

Another piece obtained in the Lee deal with Seattle, Ramirez has a nice fastball but he is still trying to put all the pieces together. The right-handed prospect had a rough time playing in a good hitter’s park in high-A in ‘09. He posted a 4.76 FIP and allowed 153 hits in 142.1 innings. His strikeout rate also dropped below 8.20 K/9 for the first time in three years to 7.02 K/9. His walk rate, though, remained respectable at 3.35 BB/9 and he kept his line-drive rate to 12%. Despite a 42% ground-ball rate (which is OK, not great), Ramirez allowed quite a few homers (1.14 HR/9) so he’ll need to improve that for 2010. At worst, he should develop into back-of-the-rotation starter, with the potential to be a No. 3. A set-up role in the bullpen would not be out of the question.

5. Sebastian Valle, C, Low-A
DOB: July 1990 Bats: L Throws: R
Signed: 2006 non-drafted international free agent (Mexico)
MLB ETA: Mid-2013 40-Man Roster: No Options: 3

Valle has the makings of a solid offensive-minded catcher, although his wOBA plummeted to .301 in his first taste of full-season ball in ‘09. At low-A ball, the catcher hit just .223/.313/.331 in 157 at-bats. In short-season ball, though, the left-handed hitter posted a .390 wOBA and a triple-slash line of .307/.335/.531 in 192 at-bats. Valle showed a better walk rate at low-A (8.9%) than in short-season ball (4.9%) and his +20% strikeout rate is a tad high, although his ISO rate was .224 at the junior level. He needs to improve against southpaws, as his OPS was .659 against them, compared to .815 against right-handers. Defensively, the Mexico native is a work-in-progress and he threw out just 18% of base runners in ‘09.

6. Tyson Gillies, OF, High-A
DOB: October 1988 Bats: L Throws: R
Signed: 2006 25th round – Iowa Western CC (Seattle)
MLB ETA: Mid-2012 40-Man Roster: No Options: 3

The is reason to be excited about Gillies, but the outfielder was playing in one of the best hitter’s leagues in all of baseball. His .411 wOBA is nice, as is his triple-slash line of .341/.430/.486, but his BABIP was .395. There are two things about his game that he cannot luck into, though: his walk rate of 10.1% and his 44 steals (although he was caught 19 times). The 2010 season will be a telling one for Gillies, who will be moving to a more neutral league. To have success, he just needs to keep doing what he’s doing: Hitting a lot of ground balls (61% in ‘09) and using his speed to get on base (and then into scoring position).

7. Anthony Gose, OF, Low-A
DOB: August 1990 Bats: L Throws: L
Signed: 2008 2nd round – California HS
MLB ETA: Mid-2013 40-Man Roster: No Options: 3

In some regards, Gose is similar to Gillies – only more raw. Gose had a respectable first full season in the minors and hit .259/.323/.353 in 510 at-bats. His speed was on full display as he stole 76 bases in 96 attempts. To fully take advantage of his speed to its full extent, though, he needs to improve his .323 OBP and 6.1% walk rate. The strikeout rate is also far too high (21.6%) for someone with an .094 ISO rate. Like Gillies, Gose does a nice job of keeping the ball on the ground (64 GB%). Oddly, the left-handed hitter fared much better against southpaws than right-handers in ‘09 (.824 vs .638 OPS).

8. Antonio Bastardo, LHP, Majors
DOB: September 1985 Bats: L Throws: L
Signed: 2005 non-drafted international free agent (Dominican Republic)
MLB ETA: Now 40-Man Roster: Yes Options: 2
Repertoire: 87-92 mph fastball, plus change-up, slider

It was a busy year for Bastardo, who pitched at five different levels, spent time on the DL and made his MLB debut. In six Major League appearances, the lefty posted a 5.08 FIP but showed solid control with a walk rate of 3.42. He spent the majority of the season in double-A, where he posted a 2.03 FIP and allowed 22 hits in 36.0 innings. His strikeout rate was an eye-popping 10.25 K/9 and his control was spot-on at 1.75 BB/9. A starter in the minors, Bastardo could make the Phillies bullpen in 2010, as he possesses a slightly-above average heater for a lefty and good slider. His change-up was a well-below-average pitch in his brief MLB debut.

9. John Mayberry, OF, Majors
DOB: December 1983 Bats: R Throws: R
Signed: 2005 1st round – Stanford University (Texas)
MLB ETA: Now 40-Man Roster: Yes Options: 1

A former two-time No. 1 draft pick (out of high school and college), Mayberry’s dad (of the same name) was also a pretty good hitter in his day. The younger Mayberry has massive power potential but he has yet to show an ability to hit for a high average in pro ball, which drags down his overall numbers – especially considering his OBP is relatively low, as well. The prospect showed his power potential by mashing the ball (.263 ISO) in a 39-game MLB trial in ‘09. He spent the majority of the year in triple-A where he hit .256/.332/.456 with an ISO of .199 in 316 at-bats. Despite his size (6′6”, 230 lbs), Mayberry also possesses the ability to steal 10 bases with regular playing time. Already 26, the outfielder (who can also play first base) is big-league ready but there is no spot for him. If he makes the 2010 opening day roster, it will be as a part-time player – or due to an injury to Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez or Jayson Werth.

10. Scott Mathieson, RHP, Double-A
DOB: February 1984 Bats: R Throws: R
Signed: 2002 17th round – British Columbia HS
MLB ETA: Mid-2010 40-Man Roster: Yes Options: 1
Repertoire: 91-97 mph fastball, slider, change-up

Mathieson is a great story and he gets the nod over some other players like Jarred Cosart and Domingo Santana, both of whom played in the Gulf Coast League (rookie ball) this past season. He had a lot of success in the bullpen in ‘09 while recovering from his second Tommy John surgery (interesting fellow Canadian hurler Shawn Hill, now with the Jays, also underwent a second procedure last June and is on the comeback trail). In 33.0 combined innings in ‘09, the right-hander allowed 22 hits (.188 AVG), a walk rate of 3.27 BB/9 and a strikeout rate of 8.45 K/9. He also gave up just one homer (0.27 HR/9) despite a low ground-ball rate (39.4%). If his elbow holds up, Mathieson could eventually see time as a closer. He will turn 26 by the time the season begins and he will likely receive some more fine-tuning in triple-A before he trusted with a big-league bullpen role. If he can continue to show good control and a blazing fastball, Mathieson could be contributing at the MLB level by mid-season.

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Marc Hulet is the manager of Fangraphs' fantasy coverage at Rotographs. He provides written material, focusing on prospects, for both Rotographs and Fangraphs. He was recently named by Sun Media - Canada's largest media outlet - as one of the 100 most influential Canadians in Baseball. He can be reached via email at:

Strikeforce Media Day

Two-time NFL Pro Bowler and former Heisman trophy winner Herschel Walker signed autographs and took in a Florida Panthers hockey game Tuesday night. Walker will make his MMA Strikeforce debut against Greg Nagy.

Undefeated MMA heavyweight Bobby Lashley faces Wes Sims Saturday at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla., live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT delayed on the Wes Coast).

"Ruthless" Robbie Lawler took part in a media workout on Wednesday at the American Top Team (ATT) gym in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Lawler meets Melvin "Mo Mercy" Manhoef on Saturday night.

  Marloes Coenen showed the media some moves on Wednesday during a workout. The public is invited to Friday's weigh-in at the Chairman's Club at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla., starting at 5:30 p.m. ET.

Coenen shares a lighter moment with SHOWTIME announcer and MMA legend Frank Shamrock. Coenen
battles Cris Cyborg for the Strikeforce Women's World Lightweight championship.

Herschel Walker is interviewed by young reporter Joey Brander from a local CBS affiliate. The 6-foot 1-inch, 220 pound Walker holds a fifth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and has experience in the combat disciplines of Muay Thai and Kenpo.

Photo credit: Esther Lin / Strikeforce

You can skip Thursday night; here are your All-Star reserves

By John McMullen

Philadelphia, PA - We already know the starters for the Feb. 14 NBA All-Star Game in Arlington, TX, and we will soon know the identities of the reserves.

The league's coaches make the decisions and have to take two guards, two forwards and one center, along with a pair of so-called wild cards that can play any position. The results will be unveiled Thursday night at 7 p.m. (et) on TNT, before the Celtics-Magic contest.

With that in mind, let's play Carnac and reveal who should make the trip to Jerry Jones' opulent Palace just outside of Dallas, along with a few deserving players that just missed the cut...



Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks - The Hawks have officially joined the Eastern Conference's elite, and Johnson is a lock to make his fourth straight All-Star appearance. One of the NBA's best pure scorers, Johnson can give even the best defensive teams fits with a vast array of offensive skills. He can score from anywhere on the floor and can break down even the best defenders off the dribble. Few teams have a better option down the stretch of a game than Atlanta, and Johnson is also an underrated defender.

Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics - Rondo leads the NBA in steals and is third in assists behind Chris Paul and Steve Nash. On a team filled with big-name talent, the former University of Kentucky star may be the most deserving All- Star. Rondo's Achilles' heel, the jumper, is still a problem (he's shooting just 7-of-40 from beyond the arc) but his lightning-quick first step has enabled him to amass a 53.4 shooting percentage from the floor, an unbelievable mark for a guard.

Joe Johnson is a lock to make his fourth straight All-Star appearance.

Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics - I admit that when Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen arrived in Boston, I thought Paul Pierce was the one who would have trouble fitting in. "The Truth" had always struck me as a scorer that needed his touches or he would sulk, affecting his play on both ends of the floor. Well, I was wrong. Pierce's numbers have certainly gone down with all the talent assembled around him but the vaunted skills are still there in spades, and an eighth All-Star appearance is virtually assured. A superlative offensive player, Pierce is the man of 1,000 moves, who uses his brilliant body control to abuse defenders and parade to the free throw line at will. He's also an underrated defender when motivated.

Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors - This is certainly going to be Bosh's swan song north of the border, since he will be one of the prized free agents in the vaunted 2010 class and he's not re-signing. In fact, Bosh could be moved by the Feb. 18 trade deadline. Either way, he is going out in style as one of the best offensive power forwards in the game, averaging 23.9 ppg and 11.1 rpg.

Gerald Wallace, Charlotte Bobcats - Wallace may be the most underrated all- around player in the Eastern Conference, averaging a double-double of 18.6 ppg and 11.0 rpg. An extremely athletic wing man, Wallace has always been more of a slasher and a scorer than shooter, but he's taken the next step and helped turn Larry Brown's latest club into a legit playoff contender.


Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls - Offensively-challenged guys usually aren't regarded as All-Stars but Noah has turned into one of the most improved players in the NBA, averaging a double-double of 11.3 ppg and 12.1 rpg. Noah has always played with great energy and his wingspan along with his athletic ability enable him to wreak havoc on the defensive end.

David Lee, New York Knicks - Lee is a double-double machine and I can't figure out why New York wouldn't want a guy like this around for the long-term. He may not awe anyone with his physical skills but he's consistently productive for an overachieving team.


Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls - Rose has overcome a slow start due to an ankle injury and the Bulls, who underachieved early, may be ready to take off behind him. One of the quickest players in the game and an excellent ball-handler, Rose can get to the front of the rim at will.

Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks - Smith remains on the verge of stardom but still relies a little too much on his extraordinary athleticism and must improve his fundamentals to get to the next level.

Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers - Iguodala is one of the game's most underrated players. An athletic marvel, Iguodala can stuff the stat sheet like few others and covets the big moment. However, he has only been an All-Star- level performer at the three spot, and has been a consistent disappointment playing the two thanks to a minus jumper.

Brook Lopez, New Jersey Nets - Lopez is obviously on a horrible team but in a league virtually devoid of solid big men, he's a star in the making. A daily, double-double threat, the former Stanford stalwart has great hands and a nice touch around the rim.

Rodney Stuckey, Detroit Pistons - These are certainly not your father's Pistons, or even your big brother's but on a team that still sports Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince, it's amazing that Stuckey is the closest thing they have to an All-Star. He's no Chauncey Billups but Stuckey is an emerging player at the point with a solid defensive presence.

Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks - The rookie has impressive baseline-to- baseline speed but, like most young players, lacks the consistent jumper right now. A year or two down the line and Jennings may be unstoppable.



Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets - The Hornets have had a bit of a down season thus far but Paul remains the game's best pure point guard, averaging 20.0 points and a league-high 11.2 assists. Paul has an almost innate sense on the floor and always understands what his team needs, whether it's scoring when necessary or distributing to the right spots when his teammates have it going on.

Deron Williams, Utah Jazz - It's hard to believe Williams has never made an All-Star team since he's probably the best point guard in the NBA not named Chris Paul. The Illinois product takes like a duck to water in Jerry Sloan's pick-and-roll heavy offense. He's incredibly strong, knows where his teammates are at all times and can knock down the jumper when you need it. Williams also runs the break like few others.

Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers - The Blazers remain relevant despite a ton of injuries thanks, in large part, to Roy and his smooth stroke. He plays in relative anonymity in the Pacific Northwest but Roy may be the game's best closer other than Kobe Bryant.


Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks - I'm not sure a superstar can be underrated but I'm starting to consider it with Nowitzki. The German star has overcome a rough offseason to turn in one of his most complete performances thus far. The bread and butter of Nowitzki's game is being able to use his 7-foot, 245-pound frame to overmatch defenders and he is putting up another monster year with free agency on the horizon.

Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder - Durant and his Thunder have turned the corner and this will be the first of annual All-Star berths for the slim, high-scoring forward. The silky smooth Durant is battling LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant for the scoring title. That's impressive company.

Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies - Randolph has always been one of the few NBA players to be a daily 20-10 threat but he has put it together off the floor this season, becoming a team leader for the very young and very talented Grizzlies.


Chris Kaman, Los Angeles Clippers - Kaman should actually be the starting center in the West, averaging over 20 points and 9.0 rebounds while shooting 51 percent from the floor.


Monta Ellis, Golden State Warriors - When healthy Ellis is a threat to play 48 minutes a night and is averaging over 26 ppg. Only the incredible depth in the West keeps him out of the All-Star game.

Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies - Gay is part of the big three in Memphis along with Randolph and O.J. Mayo. An athletic forward, averring 20.5 ppg, Gay is still hounded by questions about his desire and intensity on a daily basis.

Carlos Boozer, Utah Jazz - Everyone knows Boozer can play when healthy and the former Duke star has been able to stay on the floor this season. Williams and Boozer isn't quite Stockton and Malone but it's a reasonable facsimile. Like Malone, Boozer has great movement skills, can run the floor and finish like few others.

Aaron Brooks, Houston Rockets - Brooks has proven last year's coming out party in the postseason was no fluke. The Rockets' leading scorer (18.7) and assist man (5.0), Brooks has a first step that can torture any defender in the league.

Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings - The presumptive Rookie of the Year has made the Kings much more competitive this season although they have slumped badly recently. That said, Evans is stuffing the stat sheet on a nightly basis, averaging 20.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists per night.

O.J. Mayo, Memphis Grizzlies - Yep, the Memphis Grizzlies have three players worthy of All-Star consideration. Randolph is the only one getting in this season but the Grizz are really making noise, already matching last season's win total and currently occupying the seventh seed in the very competitive West. The fact that Mayo is a third option for Lionel Hollins explains all you need to know.

Carl Landry, Houston Rockets - Without Yao Ming, someone had to step up in the Houston frontcourt. Who knew it would be Carl Landry? A leading candidate for the NBA's Sixth Man Award, Landry comes off Rick Adelman's bench to change games with his incredible energy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Akers named to NFL All-Decade Team

The Philadelphia Eagles announced that kicker David Akers was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team today. Akers led the NFL in scoring during this past decade with 1,169 points and earned four Pro Bowl berths. Along the way, Akers became the franchise’s all-time leader in many categories, including points scored, field goals and extra points. With 30 field goals made during the playoffs this decade, Akers ranks 3rd on the NFL’s all-time list behind Adam Vinatieri (42) and Gary Anderson (32).

"It is obviously a huge honor just to play that length of time in the NFL. To be able to be looked at in that high regard is surreal to me," Akers said. "I couldn't have done it without the Mike Bartrums, the Koy Detmers, the Jon Dorenboses, the Sav Roccas and great offensive lines and coaches helping me along the way. The Eagles have always believed in me and I am truly grateful for that.

“A lot of it goes to the consistency of the team, and of the team having confidence in me, from Mr. Lurie and Andy Reid on down. It keeps your confidence up. I have worked extremely hard over the years and I will continue to do so. I would like to play many more years with the Eagles. That would be a great, great thing."

Ex-Eagle safety Brian Dawkins also made the team.

Eagles name Rubin strength and conditioning coach

The Philadelphia Eagles today announced they have named Barry Rubin head strength and conditioning coach and Ken Croner assistant strength and conditioning coach.

The 52-year-old Rubin spent the last two seasons as the Eagles strength and conditioning assistant and has 13 years of NFL experience on his resume. Rubin served as the head strength and conditioning coach of the Green Bay Packers from 1999-2005. From 1995-98, he worked as an assistant strength coach with the Packers. In 2003, Rubin was inducted into the USA Strength and Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame for his contributions to the field. Rubin worked as a strength coach at Northeast Louisiana (1981-83, 1987-90, and 1994) and LSU (1984-85). He played tight end and punter at Northwestern (LA) State from 1978-80 and running back and punter at LSU from 1976-77.

Croner joins the Eagles from Athletes Performance based in Phoenix, AZ, where he worked primarily with NFL athletes during their offseason training regimen. He also trained players preparing for the NFL Combine. A native of Munster, IN, the 46-year-old Croner served as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Notre Dame from 1999-2003 and worked as an intern under Rubin during the Packers offseason training program in 2003. Croner played two seasons as a guard on the Butler basketball team before graduating in 1986.

Villanova's LB Osunde is CAA Student Athlete of the Year

Villanova linebacker Osayi Osunde, the 2009 CAA Football Student-Athlete of the Year, headlines a list of
106 CAA Football Academic All-Conference honorees for the 2009 season.

Osunde, who maintains a 3.959 grade point average and is working towards his Master's Degree in Human Resource Development, helped lead the Wildcats to their first NCAA Division I Football National Championship in 2009.  The Bloomsburg, Pa., native was a 2009 Second Team All-CAA Football selection at linebacker and earned recognition from the Philadelphia Inquirer as an Academic All-Area Team member.  Now a three-time Academic All-CAA Football honoree, Osunde earned ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District honors during the 2009 season and was the Villanova Athletic Department's Senior Student-Athlete of the Year in 2009.

Osunde finished his career as a three-time All-CAA Football selection, including First Team honors following the 2008 season.  Serving as one of Villanova's three captains during the 2009 season, Osunde led a
defensive unit which ranked  No. 3 in the country against the run and was among the Top-10 nationally in scoring defense.  Osunde finished the 2009 season was a career-high 82 total tackles and a career-best 7.5
tackles for loss.  In his four-year career the linebacker tallied 242 total tackles and made 18.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, including five sacks.  The three-time Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Team member was also awarded his second-straight Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Performer of the Year honor following the 2009 NCAA Championship season for Villanova.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Phils make it official with Ruiz

The Phillies officially announced a three-year, $8.85 million contract extension for catcher Carlos Ruiz on Tuesday.

The pact takes Ruiz through the 2012 season and includes a club option for a fourth year, earlier reported to be for $5 million with a $500,000 buyout.

Ruiz batted .255 with nine homers and 43 runs batted in during the 2009 regular season. He thrived in the postseason, hitting .341 with a pair of homers, nine RBI and 12 walks for the reigning National League champions.

Ring of Honor to crown TV Champion in Philadelphia

Ring of Honor wrestling will introduce the ROH World Television Title at the next round of “ROH on HDNet” National TV tapings at The Arena in South Philadelphia on Feb. 5 and 6.

“We’ve been talking about adding a secondary championship for some time,” said ROH President Cary Silkin. “Not only will this give the athletes of Ring of Honor another tremendous goal to work towards, it will also give our great partner, HDNet, a championship that is sure to be defended on the television program. We’re happy to publicly give thanks to HDNet for giving us the chance to add this title to the television show, and to All Star Championship Belts for bringing the actual belt to life.” .

Previously announced for the eight-man single elimination tournament are the following seeds: (8) Rhett Titus, (7) El Generico, (6) Eddie Edwards and (5) Delirious.

ROH officials have now finalized the seeding for the remaining four competitors, with the first and second seeds being given to competitors ranked in the “Pick 6 Contenders Standings”. Holding the Number 2 spot in the “Pick 6”, Kevin Steen has been named the #1 seed in the tournament while Number 4 in the “Pick 6”, Kenny King, has been named the #2 seed. Rounding out the bracket, seeded #3 and #4 respectively in the tournament are Colt Cabana and Davey Richards. 

With five former ROH World Tag Team Champions in the tournament, many of the men have tasted titles in the past, but one man will emerge from this tournament with, not only his first singles title in ROH, but as the historic first Television Champion in Ring of Honor history. Current partners and former friends alike could meet over the course of these two nights in February, but only one wrestler will be called champion. There are many subplots among the eight men in the field, and lots of uncertainty, but the one thing we do know is that one of these 8 men will make history:

1) Kevin Steen
2) Kenny King
3) Colt Cabana
4) Davey Richards
5) Delirious
6) Eddie Edwards
7) El Generico
8) Rhett Titus

Tickets are available right here at for Friday night, February 5th and Saturday night, February 6th. Be there as Ring of Honor and HDNet crowns the first World Television Champion in Philadelphia.

Phillies calim inf Bocock off waivers

The Phillies have claimed infielder Brian Bocock off waivers from the Blue Jays.

Sixers pitching Iguodala

YAHOO!'s Adrian Wojnarowski says the Cavs have been listening intently to the Sixers' pitch of Andre Iguodala for several days. It's unclear what Philly wants back, according to Wojnarowski.

It's becoming increasingly clear that Iguodala will be moved soon. The Sixers can't move Brand or Dalembert so Iggy has to go to create cap space. Cleveland doesn't seem like a good fit, however. The Cavs need a shooter to take advantage of all the extra attention LeBron James gets and Iguodala is certainly not that.

Freedoms move to Villanova

After two seasons outdoors at the King of Prussia Mall, the Freedoms are moving their seven home World Team Tennis matches to the Pavilion at Villanova.

"Villanova, a long-time home to pro tennis in the Philadelphia-area, is a terrific site for the Freedoms," Freedoms owner Billie Jean King said. "The Pavilion enables us to increase our seating capacity and provide indoor, air-conditioned comfort for our fans, while still maintaining the intimate, close-to-the-action atmosphere of World Team Tennis."

Before playing the previous two seasons at the King of Prussia Mall, the Freedoms played several years on the campus of Cabrini College.

"We had great events at the King of Prussia Mall," said Freedoms General Manager Barbara Perry. "Even though we are moving our games to Villanova's campus, the King of Prussia Mall will continue to support us
as a key partner in many of our community initiatives."

"We are thrilled to welcome the Philadelphia Freedoms to Villanova," added Villanova Director of Athletics Vince Nicastro.  This is a wonderful opportunity for our community to experience a terrific family
event featuring some of the world's best players."

The Freedoms are scheduled to announce their top players and put tickets on sale Feb. 3. The team is already accepting reservations at 610-896-2890 or

“Snooki" at Wing Bowl

WIP has announced Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi of MTV's "Jersey Shore" will attend the Wing Bowl on Feb. 5 at the Wachovia Center. Polizzi joins HBO's Sex Tips host Katie Morgan as the "big name" guests.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Eagles' Stewart leaves for University of Houston

Eagles defensive assistant Brian Stewart is leaving the team to become the defensive coordinator at the University of Houston.

Delaware's Muir named to USA Basketball Board of Directors

University of Delaware Director of Athletics and Recreation Services Bernard Muir has been appointed by the NCAA to the USA Basketball Board of Directors.

Muir, who will serve on the board through 2012, replaces former NCAA appointee Gene Smith, The Ohio State University Assistant Vice President and Director of Athletics, who stepped down.

"I'm excited and honored to be joining the Board of Directors of such a prestigious organization," said Muir.  "I've certainly had a passion for the game of basketball my entire life and I'm looking forward to serving with the other members of the USA Basketball Board to help promote and advance the sport throughout our country and the world."

Currently in his first year at the head of the Blue Hens athletic department, Muir served four years (2005-09) as the Director of Athletics at Georgetown University. Prior to Georgetown, Muir spent five years at the University of Notre Dame first as Associate Athletic Director for Student Welfare and Development (2000-03), then as Senior Associate Athletic Director for Student Welfare and Development (2003-04) and in his final year (2004-05) Muir was Notre Dame's Deputy Director of Athletics/Administration and Facilities.

The Gainesville, Fla., native began his career in college athletics as a four-year letter winner on the men's basketball team at Brown University, graduating in 1990 with a bachelor's degree in organizational behavior and management. In 1992 he earned a master's degree in sports administration from Ohio University. He spent one year (1990-91) as an athletics administrative assistant at Butler University and worked for the NCAA Division I men's basketball championship as an Assistant Director (1992-98) and Director of Operations (1998-2000).

McNabb, Mikell added to Pro Bowl

Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb and safety Quintin Mikell were added to the NFC Pro Bowl roster today.

McNabb replaces Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who is out of the game after the Saints advanced to the Super Bowl with a win over the Minnesota Vikings. Mikell replaces the Saints' Darren Sharper.

Nine Eagles players are slated to play in this year's game. Wideout DeSean Jackson, fullback Leonard Weaver, tackle Jason Peters, kicker David Akers, long snapper Jon Dorenbos, defensive end Trent Cole and cornerback Asante Samuel were already named to the NFC squad.

Philadelphia Sports Writers to honor '60 Eagles

Philadelphia Sports Writers 106th annual dinner on Monday, Feb 1 - special guestsThe Philadelphia Sports Writers Association will honor the Eagles last championship team at the organization’s 106th annual Awards Dinner on Feb. 1, at the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill, N.J.

The PSWA welcomes four members of that cherished team to the dais: Pete Retzlaff, Pro Football Hall-of-Famers Chuck Bednarik and Tommy McDonald, and tigh tend Dick Lukas.

Retzlaff will accept the award and speak on behalf of his teammates. 

The Philly sports writers’ dinner, the longest-running banquet of its kind in the country, will include the presentation of more than a dozen major awards.

The Philadelphia Phillies will be honored as Team of the Year, and Villanova University’s NCAA-champion basketball team of 1985 will be feted.

Andrew Bailey, a South Jersey native and American League baseball Rookie of the Year, will receive the PSWA’s Native Son award. Bailey, a graduate of Paul VI high school in Haddonfield, took over the closer role in the Oakland Athletics bullpen last summer.

The Philadelphia Sports Writers Association dinner is open to the public. Some tickets are still available. To learn more about the dinner or to purchase tickets, visit

For information, contact ticket chairman Robbie Kenney are, or call (609) 702-7473.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Video: A.P. out in New Orleans last night

If the Vikings lose the NFC Championship Game and Adrian Peterson has something to do with it, get ready for the s@%& storm...

Flyers' Parent to have surgery Monday

Flyers defenseman Ryan Parent will undergo back surgery on Monday to remove a disc fragment from his lumbar spine.

The surgery will be performed by Dr. Scott Rushton at Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood, PA.  

"After running the gamut with Ryan in terms of different things we have tried to relieve the discomfort he was having, we felt this was the way to go for Ryan's overall health," Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said. "The surgery is minimally invasive and will keep Ryan out for approximately six weeks."

Parent, 22, has missed the last 14 games due to injury. So far this season, he has registered two assists and 14 penalty minutes in 28 appearances with the Flyers.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Vick connected to convicted steroid dealer

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that convicted steroids dealer David Jacobs, who committed suicide while Michael Vick was in prison on federal dogfighting charges, was the quarterback's steroid supplier while he was with the Atlanta Falcons.

The News kept the information confidential because authorities declined to confirm that Vick was part of the investigation but has now opted to publish the allegation based on recently-released documents from the DEA connecting Vick to steroids.

Friday, January 22, 2010

T-Mac, the NBA All-Star Game and Jersey Shore

By John McMullen

Philadelphia, PA -  Last time I looked, David Stern wasn't Bud Selig, and the NBA All-Star Game doesn't count for anything, save the entertainment of the fans who enjoy watching the game's best players in a
free-wheeling environment.

Yet, some insist the NBA office in New York let out a collective sigh of
relief when the Suns' Steve Nash overtook Houston's Tracy McGrady in fan
voting Thursday to earn a starting spot on the Western Conference All-Star

The thought process went something like this: McGrady has been banished by the
Rockets after playing just 45 minutes all season, a number Golden State's
Monta Ellis usually beats on a nightly basis. So, having the former scoring
champion show up in Dallas with the "real" All-Stars would be a black eye to
the league.


I'm not denying the NBA is thrilled McGrady won't be in north Texas, but I'm
also not sure why the league, or anyone else for that matter, cares.

Have I missed some underlying importance attached to the All-Star game?

If the fans want to see Tracy McGrady play, so be it. Same for Philadelphia's
Allen Iverson, who was able to hold off Orlando's Vince Carter to secure a
spot on the Eastern Conference team despite playing just 19 games for a woeful
76ers team.

Granted, players take the honor, if not the game, seriously and if Iverson
appears, that means one legitimate All-Star won't be in Arlington, Tex. come
Feb. 14.

That's a shame but no one is saying that Iverson is a better player at this
point or more deserving of an All-Star berth than guys like Rajon Rondo, Ray
Allen and Joe Johnson. Same goes for McGrady and players like Chris Paul,
Chauncey Billups, Tony Parker and Brandon Roy.

That said, it's the fans that will be shelling out $75 bucks just to park at
Jerry Jones' palace in Dallas. Shouldn't they have the right to watch the
players they want, even if we all know there are better alternatives?

In the West, Dirk Nowitzki or Kevin Durant should be starting over Tim Duncan,
and Paul is a better option opposite Kobe Bryant than Nash. You could even
argue the Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Kaman, who wasn't among the top 10 vote-
getters at center, is a better option in the pivot than Phoenix's Amar'e

In the East, perennial All-Star Kevin Garnett has been sidelined for the last
10 games while Toronto's Chris Bosh keeps putting up double-doubles.

Fans vote for who they want to see and more often than not, it's sizzle over
substance, it's reputation over production. And, there is nothing wrong with

I really enjoy 30 Rock, the brilliant NBC comedy that has won the Emmy for
Outstanding Comedy Series in 2007, 2008 and 2009. But, sometimes I want to
kick back and watch Jersey Shore, a train wreck of a show that may be one of
the seven signs of the Apocalypse.

If you asked me to list the best 100 shows on television today, Jersey Shore
isn't making the list, but that doesn't mean I'm not stopping the clicker when
I see "Snookie" and "The Situation" on the screen.

Moral of the story?

Sometimes the best option isn't the most entertaining option -- sometimes it
is. Either way, you are paying the bills and you make the decisions.

That should never change.

Floyd named Maxwell Club's High School Player of the Year

George Washington High School senior Sharrif Floyd was named the Maxwell Football Club's 2009 National High School Player of the Year.

A defensive lineman, the 6-foot-3, 305-pound Floyd was also named MVP of the elite TEST Sports Clubs Premier Showcase, which featured over 300 blue-chip recruits

He announced his intention to attend the University of Florida at halftime of the recent U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Phillies reach deal with Contreras's Enrique Rojas is reporting that the Phillies have agreed to a one-year deal with veteran right-hander Jose Contreras.

The Cuban was just 5-13 with a 5.42 ERA last year for the Chicago White Sox before getting traded to the Colorado Rockies in late August. Contreras, 38, was 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA in seven games, including two starts with the Rox. He pitched twice in the playoffs, giving up one run in two innings, while earning a hold.

The deal is pending Contreras passing a physical.

Amid Fiery Tempest, McGwire's Rhetoric Boils Down to Protecting the MLB System

Doping Corner

An established neighborhood of sport

By Matt Chaney

Mark McGwire will no longer discuss his use of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone in baseball, so says a spokesperson for the St. Louis Cardinals, according to

And I say, Thank God. In my 50 years as a Missourian, I cannot recall a public persona capable of tainting this state like McGwire has since 1998.

St. Louis is laughingstock once more over McGwire, after he returned from years’ seclusion in California, hiding his doping secrets, only to receive an orchestrated standing ovation from loyal Cardinals fans at a benefit gala last Sunday. In so-called self-admissions since January 11, McGwire urges everyone to “move on” and forget the gargantuan fraud he generated from the city in 1998, abetted by a fawning media horde, as he launched 70 homeruns for the Cardinals to become world hero of the year.

The Cardinals franchise is slimed gain, badly, in the 12-year Big Mac Fiasco kept alive by cavalier manager Tony La Russa, himself a suitcase Californian inhabiting St. Louis part-time—and McGwire’s steroid enabler, defender and BFF since their affair began in the 1980s at Oakland. La Russa arrived as Cards skipper in 1996 and brought McGwire a year later in a trade with the A’s, spawning the most sordid chapter in franchise history. The ugly story isn’t over, of course, upon La Russa’s recent hiring of McGwire as team hitting coach.

Besides national scorn, infighting besets Cardinals Nation over McGwire, beginning with the fans’ split—many if not most blast him in public forums—and extending to the insider fraternity, especially between camps of La Russa and popular Hall of Fame skipper Whitey Herzog, who managed Jack Clark, the retired Redbirds power hitter. Last week Clark ripped McGwire and other steroid users in baseball, making hot headlines and, in St. Louis, drawing boos from the same fans who re-embraced Big Mac.

Herzog groused about it all to a reporter for The Post-Crescent in Appleton, Wisconsin. “I’ve got nothing to do with him (McGwire),” Herzog said Tuesday. “I don’t want to comment on steroids because they’re all lying. And they’re still lying. … The people in St. Louis give Mark McGwire a standing ovation the other day, and Jack Clark said every steroid user should be banned for baseball, and they booed him. Now, what the hell is the matter with society when that happens?”

A society bereft of strong values is in play here, for McGwire is not unusual with his situational ethics, as an athlete or any professional. He’s just typical of win-at-all-costs culture in modern America. Many people cheer him because they understand him, including for injecting steroids and HGH to reach a zenith of athletic achievement. He feels no responsibility to anyone for his doping in entertainment baseball. He loves his wife and sons, but at age 46 couldn’t care less about widespread doping in sport, given his actions, nor the thousands of young athletes drawn into steroids every year. Many Americans wouldn’t care either, were we to follow the McGwire path through American sport, fame and fortune.

McGwire doesn’t aspire to be heroic anymore, merely pragmatic. A tempest rages about the man and we critics strike from every direction, our barbs labeling him a liar, cheat, poor role model—but his simple motive is to go back to work in baseball. That drives his outlandish statements; he does care about Major League Baseball. McGwire’s “admission” of doping while denying performance enhancement is certainly ridiculous, self-serving; most importantly, however, the flimsy rhetoric insulates the drug-ridden MLB system, where prevention is impossible, like in any sport, with testing a time-proven failure for gaping loopholes.

McGwire is a powerful symbol of steroids for performance enhancement, but he is no different than 99 percent of American athletes caught for muscle doping since the 1980s, in baseball, football, track and field, more sport. McGwire wants to return to his game and therefore takes a hit for the team, in jock cliché.

A few thousand drug-sullied athletes took the fall before, blaming themselves only in order to come back, and McGwire takes his turn now, following proven talking points for shielding the system and training responsibility solely upon him, the individual.

Blathering in established nonsense of the protocol, McGwire portrays himself to have been an “isolated” user—the enduring lie of sport figures to deflect attention from a systemic problem. McGwire claims he doesn’t know or remember much beyond using tissue-building hormones for most his career in the big leagues. He says he used HGH “maybe” once or twice. He claims he neither used nor discussed muscle drugs with other players or baseball personnel, no one, and especially not La Russa. McGwire summarily dismisses allegations by former A’s teammate Jose Canseco and an FBI informant that he juiced heavily to aid his power hitting.

McGwire says using steroids to become a richly rewarded superstar was "a mistake," his “biggest regret.” And his absurd claim of no performance enhancement from the drugs—McGwire says the effect of injury recovery wasn’t an unfair advantage—serves the system by attempting to preserve the sanctity of his garish numbers, particularly the 70 homers in one season, later topped by the 73 dingers of doped-up Barry Bonds.

McGwire says he doesn’t feel unfairly singled out for drugs in Major League Baseball, and he seconds that by stating the game has no widespread problem, even if he couldn’t articulate well on Sunday in St. Louis. “Baseball’s done a fantastic job, uh, uh, doing uh, uh, doing—cracking down on the uh, with uh, drug policy…,” McGwire stammered in a hasty hallway meeting with two dozen reporters who were misled and herded for hours by Cardinals PR, another tactic for stifling information damaging to employer baseball.

McGwire struggled to finish about a clean MLB system, continuing: “Uh, doing the things they’re doing, and, uh, from what I’ve heard, they’re improving, improving it (testing and policy). Um… so, it’s—they’ve done a fantastic job, the players association, (commissioner) Bud Selig.”

And so went the Cardinals’ dog-and-pony presser for McGwire at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, a high-profile sideshow of the circus known as Winter Warm-Up fund raiser with fans, where autographs for left fielder Matt Holliday cost $100. In barely five minutes of questions from us reporters, McGwire uttered “uh” more often than Beavis and Butthead through an entire cartoon episode. This McGwire comedy naturally concluded with his protecting the system a final time, in response to another prying question.

“Mark, you really didn’t tell Tony (La Russa) that you used steroids?” a reporter asked.

“Absolutely,” McGwire began, before falling apart again. “Tony had, Tony… Tony La Russa—I kept this to myself. I… Ya know what? I, I spoke from my heart. And I spoke honestly the other night (with Costas). And, listen, that’s me. And I hope you all can accept this. And let’s all move on from this. Baseball, baseball…” McGwire paused for media yelling of further questions that he ignored while continuing: “Baseball is great right now. Baseball’s better, and let’s just all move on.”

Gladly, I thought, watching McGwire slip back through doors to a service corridor, in escape with his handlers. Please keep going until you hit California—and take La Russa with you.

Matt Chaney is a journalist, editor, teacher, publisher and restaurant worker in Missouri. E-mail him at For more information about his book Spiral of Denial: Muscle Doping in American Football, visit the home page at