Alex Kotlowitz Ruined My Career

Cheating is no Slam Dunk

I am amazed at the several levels of stupidity that University at Buffalo point guard Andy Robinson displayed when he posted a written request for plagiarism on the Facebook. For those of you that didn’t see it, here is the post. I swear I have not made any changes to this.

 

“I am paying anybody who have read the book ‘there are no children here’ by Alex Kotlowitz $30-40 which in some classes you have to read at UB (even more money if you have to read the book a little more!!) to write a 3-4 page paper, on a couple questions which was assigned.”

 

Let’s examine the mistakes here, one by one.

1. Making the decision to cheat (Really? You couldn’t come up with 3-4 pages, don’t you know the ‘change the margins’ trick????)

2. Posting that decision on a website visible to anyone in the world for free

3. Offering $30-40 for the paper (see if you can get it for free first, you’re the team’s leading scorer, Andy!)

4. Writing the request in “English” that makes Borat look like Shakespeare

 

The sad thing is, I feel somewhat bad for this kid. He’s not the first college basketball player (probably not the first on his own team) to attempt to cheat in a class. He just did it in such a moronic and hilarious way.

According to the report, after the post was discovered he completed the assignment on his own (I’d sure like to read that paper) and his facebook account was removed.

As a former student athlete I should be steaming that Robinson tried to cheat the system and sully the ‘scholar-athlete’ title by attempting to cheat. But I’m not. It’s not just student athletes that cheat, but you never see a member of the pep band or ultimate frisbee team on the front page of the newspaper after being busted.

There will probably be a heavy demand for Robinson to be kicked off the team or even booted from school. That would be unfair treatment (a special benefit, if you will) based on the fact that he is an athlete. Suspend him for a couple games, assign him a tutor and make sure he goes to every class for the rest of his academic career.

Robinson made a mistake, and his punishment is a lifetime of embarrassment and Facebook jokes. Let him have one more year of basketball so he can have something to tell his grandchildren besides, “I could have been somebody, if not for that damn Alex Kotlowitz.”

Your book is just too hard to crack, Alex

Advertisements

Leave Roger Clemens Alone!

Britney Spears. Paris Hilton. Jennifer Lopez. Roger Clemens?

Apparently now that the Rocket has unofficially retired from baseball, he has ceased being a professional athlete and is now simply another celebrity vulnerable to the same gossip and speculation.

What I’m talking about, of course, is the latest “news” to come out about the 7-time Cy Young Award winner. According to the NY Daily News and their “sources”, Roger had a 10-year affair with country singer Mindy McCready that began when she was 15 and Clemens was 28.

(Deep Breath)

Ok, I could understand all the criticism and scrutiy thrust on Clemens in the wake of his disaster of a hearing in Washington. He brought that on himself, and he deserved it. I could even forgive the whole “did he go to Canseco’s party” thing, even though it seemed somewhat irrelevant, because it spoke to his credibility.

But now it seems that sports journalism has taken a page from the PerezHilton.com playbook by launching an all-out investigation into Roger Clemens’ personal life.

Fellow sports writers, we are already looked down upon by ‘straight news’ reporters across the world in terms of importance to the public. I mean, nobody’s life is going to be changed by reading about Andruw Jones’ early season struggles.

Tht only type of journalist we could turn up our noses at was celebrity journalists. While sports journalism can be considered irrelevant, it was never considered malicious and distasteful like the Papparazi-driven celebrity news. Well, congratulations NY Daily News, you have officially lowered us to the bottom of the totem pole.

I saw this trend beginning last year with Arod’s alleged night on the town with a “busty blonde”. I turned a blind eye, but I can remain silent no longer.

If you’re going to report on the personal lives of athletes, you have every right, but keep it off the sports page. I’m sure TMZ.com has great rates for freelancers, and you’d be more properly serving your audience.

I’m just waiting to see a bawling, gender-confused Roger Clemens fan post a YouTube video pleading with the media to “Leave the Rocket Alone! I Mean It!” (WARNING: video contains profanity)

 

Seems silly, but that’s the path we’re walking.

Glavine Avoids Sneezing, Deer Meat For 22 Years

On April 18, Mets pitcher Tom Glavine was placed on the 15-day Disabled List with a strained hamstring. No big deal, pitchers go on the DL all the time for anything from “tenderness” in their elbows to blisters on their fingers.

But when I saw this phrase crawl across the Bottom Line on ESPN, my jaw nearly hit the floor: “First time on DL in 22-year career.”

Yes, the 42-year old Cy Young Award winner most known for his glory days in the Braves’ rotation of the mid-90s had NEVER been on the DL before. To show how remarkable a feat this actually is, I decided to look up just what kind of injuries send players to the DL. I stumbled across this list of sports injuries, and I’m sure you’ll be just as amazed as I was that Glavine has managed to avoid them for 22 years.

Some highlights:

#6 – Glenallen Hill, one of the most powerful men in the history of Major League Baseball, falls through a glass table in the midst of a nightmare about spiders.

#5 – Rockies rookie shortstop Clint Barmes breaks his collar bone after overestimating the amount of frozen deer meat he could carry down a flight of stairs. (If he had ever played Oregon Trail, he would know that if you kill 100 pounds of meat, you can only carry 20 pounds back.)

#4 – Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa strains a ligament in his back after a violent sneeze. So that’s why people say “Bless You” afterwards.

This one didn’t make the list, but is certainly worth mentioning: Volatile and outspoken outfielder Milton Bradley, while playing for the San Diego Padres, tears his ACL while arguing with an umpire (video of injury starts about 35 seconds in).

 So hats off to Glavine for managing to steer clear of imaginary arachnids, venison, airborne allergens, and managerial restraints. However, since he does play in New York, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a “sewer rat-related injury” in his near future.

 

Paid Drivers: Who Knew?

Carmelo Anthony was pulled over Monday morning for weaving through traffic and failing to dim his lights. After failing a series of sobriety tests, he was arrested for driving under the influence.

There’s got to be some way to avoid driving home wasted, but how? Nobody wants to be seen in the back of a dingy cab. These guys are rich, they like to roll in style.

Well, put your breathalyzers away because I just found a way that you can be luxurious AND wind up in your own bed instead of behind bars.

It’s a little-known fact, but in the current times of recession and sub-prime mortgages, people are actually accepting money to drive people around. I think they call it Show-Furring (sp?).

Anyway, it’s new, and apparently you give somebody money and in exchange they will wait in your car (sometimes they drive their own car!) while you down shots of Tequila at a bar, pop Cristal at the club, or just pound Jager bombs with your buddies in his mom’s basement. Then, as you stagger out struggling to find your keys, he will gently guide you into the back seat and drive you to your house. Finally! A way to have a great night out without getting arrested.

There’s just one catch. It does cost a pretty penny. I’m no accountant, but let’s try to do the math here. A driver can cost anywhere from 50-150 dollars per hour. So that means if it took him three hours to get Carmelo home (he took the long way), it would cost the Nuggets forward $450 just to get home. Outrageous!

But wait, I heard basketball players make good salaries these days, so let’s check it out. Carmelo Anthony is set to make 13.04 million dollars in 2008. I know it would be a serious hit to the bank account, but it might be worth springing for the driver, Melo.

Well, now that you know this secret, go forth and spread the word to your NBA buddies (those you didn’t punch in the face). No longer must you play Russian Roulette with the law in the wee hours of the morning. Just like your taxes, your housekeeping, and your gardening, you can now pay somebody to do that for you too.

Mitchell Report: Ruining Careers Since 2008

I trust ESPN. I’ve been watching the network and reading the website for as long as I can remember. So when they tell me something like they told me last week, I get upset.

Last week it came out that one of the Braves’ top prospects, Jordan Schafer, was suspended for 50 games for using HGH. I had no problem with it. I know the use of performance-enhancing drugs is just as rampant in Minor League Baseball, if not moreso, as it is in the MLB. I was happy to see a player getting what he deserves.

Then the bomb dropped: Apparently Schafer never tested positive for HGH.

Imagine being called into your boss’ office. He sits you down and explains that you are going to be suspended for embezzling $10,000. Shocked and outraged, you ask to see the receipts or some sort of proof. Instead he tells you that he has no evidence but the word of Jack McDermot, who told him that you did it. Coincidentally Jack McDermot was suspended earlier in that fiscal year for the same offense.

If you’re confused, don’t worry about it. So am I. So is Jordan Schafer. Apparently he is the first publicized victim of Mitchell Report fallout, earning a suspension not based on a positive drug test, but instead based on the new “anecdotal evidence” portion of the steroid policy.

Schafer, the 25th best prospect in the minor leagues according to Baseball America, will miss half the season because somebody said that he took HGH. There’s no video of him doing it. There’s no positive test. There’s no record of an online purchase of HGH. There wasn’t even an official police investigation.

Somebody previously punished for using HGH told Major League Baseball that Schafer took the drug, and now he’s suspended.

This kid’s future could have just been ruined because of the “tattle” rule recently implemented by the MLB. Commissioner Selig is mentally unstable. I mean…I haven’t seen any medical records, but two people in a mental institution told me that he was crazy, so it must be true. Right?

 

Close, But No Syringe

I was happy to see the Mitchell Report come out, producing a list of players that had at one time or another used “performance-enhancing drugs” (that term itself is a little ambigious, isn’t vitamin C a performance-ehancing drug if it stops you from getting sick?). Like the rest of us, I ignored the 409-page document and went straight to the list of cheaters on ESPN.com. Anyway, it was good to see Major League Baseball finally acknowledge the problem and attempt to do something about it. Close, but no syringe.

It was disturbing to find out that most of the players named in the report never tested positive, but instead were fingered by anonymous whistle-blowers, some of which later came to be named (ie. Brian McNamee). So, in an effort to eliminate illegal drug use from Major League Baseball, Commissioner Selig and Senator Mitchell are relying on the memory and testimony of admitted drug dealers.

Granted, most of the players named probably did use steroids (there are post office slips for packages sent to some players listed in the appendices of the report), but conjecture means nothing without proof. Heresay can only take you so far and, the last time I checked, in America a person is innocent until proven guilty. So before we convict players in our minds or on our Hall of Fame Ballots, let’s hold out for a positive test. Or at least a bloody sock.

 

And in case you’re wondering why players would take steroids or HGH in the first place, this might give you a better idea.

Fantasy Rules To Live By

OK, so you’re a little late, but you’ve decided to jump on board with this whole ‘fantasy baseball’ thing. Since you’re in a rush to get your league going you don’t have time to dig through the archives and find fantasy baseball preview issues of Sports Illustrated or ESPN: The Magazine, here are three secrets of the fantasy world that will ensure you a top five finish.

1. DO NOT DRAFT SLEEPERS UNTIL THE LAST TWO ROUNDS.

We’ve all fallen victim to this one…you hear all through spring training how a 20-year-old phenom is leading the Cactus League in hitting. You exhaust your top 7 or 8 picks on big-name players, but they’ve started to run out. You start thinking to yourself: “When do I take him? I know Steve knows about this kid too…I better just take him next.” Suddenly you’ve wasted a 9th round pick on somebody who’s going to spend at least half the year in Triple-A. Even though it’s never a good idea to take rookies in the draft, if you must, try to take those who got some significant time after a September call-up last season. Check out John Halpin’s article on rookies to draft, and you’ll see most of them got at least some experience last season.

2. DO NOT DRAFT MORE THAN ONE CLOSER IN THE TOP 10 ROUNDS

Saves are an important statistic in fantasy baseball and can’t be ignored. What also can’t be ignored is the fact that closers get hurt….a lot. There’s no worse feeling than seeing your best closer go down with season-ending arm surgery three months into the season. Or even worse, the “shoulder tightness” that allows him to pitch about once a month. There are many other positions that can be filled with much more reliable players. Don’t forget that even if you miss out on a top closer in the draft, there are always hidden gems that take assume the closer’s role mid-season. ESPN.com’s Eric Karabell’s article not only lists the top closers but gives you two options on who to pick up should your closer have an unexpected appearance on the operating table.

3. DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THE WAIVER WIRE

Fantasy baseball is not a game of pride. I know that when you draft a player you develop a certain bond with him but, just like in real baseball, a general manager cannot afford to be a fan. If one of your players isn’t producing, there’s no shame in taking a look at the free agent list or waiver wire for a quick fix. There’s no reason to give up on your studs because of early season struggles (see: David Ortiz), but if your fourth outfielder isn’t producing, see if you can pick someone up who will. This Bleacher Report by Kevin Kim gives a list of available players as of a couple of weeks ago. As you can see there are some good options.

So there you have it. Keep these three rules in mind when you draft and I guarantee you success. Unless your players stink. Which is not my fault.

%d bloggers like this: