Hey, look everyone. ARod just got clutch.

Our fourth team member, W.F. Slinger, has finally chimed in with some thoughts about ARod.

People seem to be amazed by the "turnaround" by Alex Rodriguez during this year's postseason. By people, I mean stupid people.

ARod has been one of, if not at times, the best player in baseball since he came up with the Mariners as a 19-year-old phenom. But for all of the home runs (583, but who's counting?) and accolades (3 MVPs, 10 Silver Slugger awards) his lack of winning a world series, especially since coming to the Yankees, has left most baseball fans and media members focusing on his shortcomings in the biggest games.

The time in question spans from the historic collapse to the Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS to the 2007 first round exit to the Cleveland Indians. I'll be the first to admit that Rodriguez was terrible during that stretch, but add it all up and it's 16 games -- also known as one tenth of one season.

Before that and since then he has been tremendous in the so-called "clutch," including a 1.253 OPS versus the Yankees in the 2000 ALCS and a 1.213 OPS against the Twins in the 2004 ALDS during his first playoff series wearing the pinstripes. Add it all together and you get a career .958 OPS in the playoffs as of October 23, 2009. His career OPS in the regular season versus all teams? .965.

Now the naysayers who were completely wrong have started coming up with a new set of excuses. Baseball dinosaur Joe Morgan said ARod is "a different person this year." Others like blowhard Colin Cowherd say he's the "fourth or fifth" best player on the team now so he's not feeling any pressure to be "the guy". If that were the case, the Yankees probably would have won somewhere in the range of 130 games this year.

But for some reason, most people refuse to acknowledge the real reason: the law of averages. Baseball players compile stats over long seasons where things tend to average out. The playoffs obviously don't provide that same sample size, but over time as we've seen with Derek Jeter and now with ARod, the stats mysteriously wind up looking very similar to the player's overall career numbers.

Hmmm, I wonder why? Could it really be that the best hitters and pitchers (CC Sabathia supposedly couldn't pitch once the calendar turns to October before this year) in the regular season can also be the best in the postseason? Gee, what a novel concept.

I mean, just think. How does a guy go from having an almost record playoff RBI drought to starting an incredible record-tying streak in the same game? How does a guy go from being completely "un-clutch" to now being the "clutchest?" And for those who like to go beyond the numbers, he's not exactly padding his stats with two home runs already that have tied the game in the potential last at bat for the Yankees. Sounds pretty "clutch" to me.

In the same vein, are we supposed to believe that Barry Bonds flipped some kind of switch late in his career that magically made him unstoppable in the playoffs after years of horrendous performances? Or that Yankee legend El Duque (9-3, 2.55 career postseason ERA) wouldn't have continued to come back to earth a little given enough time after winning his first eight decisions with an ERA around 1.00?

Baseball statistics, particularly with hitters, come in bunches. As "unlikely" as you may think ARod's staggering postseason performance thus far this year is, it was even more "unlikely" that such a great player would go through such a down stretch. Guess what, though. It just happens.

I know it's natural to want to find David Eckstein-like storylines of grittiness under pressure or guys who "don't have the stomach" to succeed on the biggest stage. But if you've proven you can make it at the highest level, then that means you can turn things around. In a hurry.

Is ARod a bad guy and perhaps someone who is hard to root for based on his contract? That's for you to decide. Just please stop hiding behind your ridiculous excuses and theories of why he is having a monster playoffs this year and admit you haven't given him enough credit. You'll save yourself even more embarrassment in the future.

The Cable Guy is...Innocent?

Admit it. You were a little disappointed when the Napa County DA decided not to press charges against Raiders coach Tom Cable. So was I. So was everyone.

We count on the Raiders to entertain with their incompetence and insanity.

Who doesn’t enjoy listening Al Davis talk about the Raiders’ “Commitment to Excellence” when they go 2-14? It’s funny to look at JaMarcus Russell’s quarterback rating. It’s good for a few laughs when they take Darius Heyward-Bey over Michael Crabtree.

But the “Did Tom Cable break Randy Hanson’s jaw and threaten to kill him?” mystery was the best. I was sure it was true because it was the Raiders. If there was a rumor that the Raiders were going to sign Mike Tyson and make him the starting quarterback, I’d believe it.

We all had our mental image of how this went down. Hanson insulted Cable’s buddy, defensive coordinator John Marshall, and Cable was enraged. Then Cable rushed toward Hanson and started throwing haymakers, broke a few teeth and threatened to kill him. The other assistants initially stood by enjoying it before they realized what was going on and rushed to pull Cable off before too much damage was done.

After the melee, my hope was that Davis walked into the room wearing his windbreaker and saw a pool blood and tables knocked over and barely reacted. After surveying the scene, he told his staff to work on going vertical.

Ultimately, there was no arrest. And now you can bet Hanson will start going on the interview circuit and Cable will refuse to comment.

But let’s be honest, though there was no arrest, every time the cameras turn to Cable on the sideline, you’ll still be thinking that he’s the dude who knocked out his assistant.

Do they have a prenup?

I'm no lawyer, so forgive me if I'm confused as to how the owner of a baseball team can legally get fired.

Dodgers CEO Jamie McCourt, who owns 50 percent of the team, has been “fired” by her estranged husband Frank McCourt, who owns the other 50 percent.

Why didn’t Jamie respond by saying that she had fired her ex-husband?

This entire development makes no sense, but it’s looking like the bloodshed the Dodgers took from the Phillies in the NLCS will pale in comparison to what should be a total war between two headstrong billionaires.

Busy offseason upcoming for the Dodgers. Will Manny Ramirez opt out of his contract? He may be too busy trying to get pregnant to even make a decision. Will Don Mattingly sit tight and wait his turn until Uncle Joe retires? Donnie, he’s never retiring. Make your move.

But I’m most pumped about McCourt vs. McCourt. Give me a reality series on this. Mark my words, it will not disappoint.

Joba Rules — Oh wait, no he doesn't

Innings pitched: 2.2
Earned runs: 1
Hits: 7

Above and in the posted link are the 2009 postseason stats of a man who once inspired slogans and T-shirts and stories with enough hyperbole they were legends, only told in the present tense. 

Heck, for six weeks his dad Harlan became part of the extended pinstripe family. Even now — in the final days of a season where this pitcher posted stats bad enough to bounce him from, say, the Pirates rotation — the hysteria has worn off. But this guy still sends grown men into fits so hysterical they fuel five straight hours of sports radio banter.

Let's say this now and forever: Joba Chamberlain is no longer a phenom of any kind. He no longer dominates, no longer intimidates. Heck, Yankee fans probably wish he'd frustrate. Guys with abundant talent do that, but unlike the A.J. Burnetts of the world Joba's steamroller has a few flat tires.

Forget the stats. Forget that Chamberlain the savior posted a 4.75 ERA. Forget that he has gotten one more out this postseason (eight) than he has allowed hits (seven). Forget that he allowed 243 baserunners in 157.1 innings and saw his strikeout rate nosedive worse this season than The Magic Hour. Here's the thing: He's no longer all that special.

Look, Chamberlain still has very good, if not excellent, stuff. He can hit 93, 94 on the gun and can have a nasty slider. But the 100-mph heater is gone. He rarely throws the breaking ball — not for strikes at least. And not to get all dinosaur on you and wax poetic on feelings, but Joba no longer has the confidence. His celebrations are more reminiscent of sighs of relief than anything. In 2007 they were exclamation points.

Despite his quiet demeanor and lack of T-shirt slogans, and perhaps because of it, Phil Hughes has passed Chamberlain. And the pedal is pressed firm against the floor. Hughes has always been better anyway, dominating the minors like no other. Expect Hughes to one day thrive as a starter one day soon. Chamberlain? Forget starting. At this point, I'm not sure he'll regain the goods in the 'pen.

Remember: eight outs, seven hits, stats more feeble than phenom.

Joba Rules? No. He doesn't.


Mike Dino-Scioscia

This is exactly why we started this blog - to debunk these idiotic myths that supposed experts have been spouting for years. Mike Scioscia is not a genius. He's not even a good manager. He's had good teams that have had success, and so he gets undue credit.

As I write this rip the Angels have just come back to regain the lead in Game 5, and they might very well win this game. Regardless, Sciosia's decision to take John Lackey out with two out in the seventh inning was absurd. Mike - you brought Darren Oliver out of the bullpen. DARREN OLIVER. Do you think Oliver had a better chance of getting Texeira out there? Lackey is a top tier pitcher, Oliver is a journeyman.

Lackey consistently pitches deep into games during the season, so he should have no problem doing it now. But Scioscia, like a lot of managers, wants to show us how smart he is, get his fingerprints on the game and get his face on TV. Pulling elite starters out of games in favor of mediocre middle relivers is more of this 'old school' strategy that makes no sense. It's a dinosaur move by Mike Scioscia-saurus.
This is not a second guess. I texted some of the other guys who write on this blog as Lackey was walking off the mound to say what a hideous move Scioscia was making. Ten minutes later the Yankees had gone from down 4-0 to up 6-4.

Zeke made his own bed

So apparently Magic Johnson and Larry Bird combined on a book, written by Boston Globe legend Jackie MacMullan and called "When We Owned the Game." The title is a bit much — I recall some cat named Jordan, too — but five words on a book jacket hardly pushed Magic and Bird back into full public view today.

No, this sent the blogosphere abuzzing — several quotes from a hurt and dumbfounded Isiah Thomas, who reportedly, among other allegations, questioned whether or not Magic was gay after the former Lakers star was diagnosed with HIV and was subsequently left off the original Dream Team at Magic's request (not Jordan's, as has long been believed).

Upon learning these were topics in the book, the man called Zeke felt like a Zero. Their relationship chilled over the years but Thomas always considered Magic his friend, the man he famously embraced, kiss-on-cheek, before tip-off of Game 1 of the 1988 NBA Finals.

Here's the thing: Can we really feel sorry for Thomas now? Here's a man who is the scourge of New York, of Indiana, of Toronto, of a ghost called the CBA. He ruined all four organizations, lied about his plans and motives and may or may not have thrown his own daughter under the bus. What's there to pity?

Magic clearly has harbored ill-will toward Thomas since 1991, when, he believes, Isiah wondered aloud where Magic had stuck his Johnson. A bitter Magic did what all the non-confrontational do when wronged: He smiled wide, kept it in, and kept his distance whenever he could. But when he saw this villain — and saw an opportunity to tell a story and earn a few bones — Magic used the book as a platform to further vilify Isiah.

A little sleazy? Yeah. A little weak? Yeah. A little snaky? Yeah. But Thomas' feelings mean nothing to many of us. He lost this crowd somewhere between trades for the sulking Stephon Marbury and a walking basketball corpse named Stevie Francis.

The lies and deceit never helped his cause. They certainly don't help it now.

Petey: Always the Center of Attention

Wasn’t there something a little bizarre about Pedro Martinez running around like the team captain after the Phillies won the NLCS? He joined the team like two days ago, pitched one game in the playoffs and now he acts like he’s Mike Schmidt. He doesn’t even know the names of half his teammates.

Look, I like Pedro. Whether he was nailing dudes with 99 mph heaters, making a bunch of Hall of Famers look ridiculous in the All-Star Game, or beating up a physical specimen like Don Zimmer, no one was more entertaining.

A loveable and crazy genius who was a pitching virtuoso all at the same time.

But now he just seems desperate to try to live up to the Pedro image that he cultivated as team spokesperson and prankster.

Let’s call this for what it is: Martinez latched on to the defending champions in August for a cheap shot at a championship. This was even more masterful than Brett Favre skipping training camp.

Martinez skipped the spring AND the summer and has positioned himself to fool some na├»ve GM this winter than he’s worth millions.

Cedric Benson: Mr. Accountable

“I heard all the rumors that were coming out of Chicago,” he said. “Even the Bengals told me, they would call and inquire about me and get nothing but negative things – just that I didn’t work hard, that I was a prima donna, or didn’t work hard on the field, or I wasn’t focused. Anything negative they could say, it was said.”

Gee, there’s a shock.

Benson was drafted as the fourth overall pick in 2005. He proceeded to hold out of training camp, show up several weeks late looking like Vince Wilfork, couldn’t break the starting lineup, repeatedly got arrested, and was the highest paid offensive player on the team. Apparently he expected a glowing recommendation.

For some reason the Bears denied Benson’s claim, waxing poetic about how they try to help their former players.


Let’s try this question again, Lovie Smith: Did you badmouth Benson to teams that asked for a recommendation?

“Yeah, about as bad as I could. The dude was an incompetent unreliable player who was hated in the locker room. We cut him because we couldn’t stand him, and his play on the field didn’t make that decision too difficult.”

Yes, you're still the head coach. Now go get me some coffee.

Here's Sports Rippers team member Gold Standard on the plight of Jim Zorn:

The situation with Jim Zorn is getting more amusing to watch by the day. He won’t quit. Daniel Snyder won’t fire him. What a standoff! Zorn is left as the “head coach” of an incompetent team wielding about as much authority as a college intern.

Zorn is in a difficult spot. He can’t walk away from Daniel Snyder’s millions. But by staying on in a job where he essentially has to ask permission to use the bathroom, he could look even worse than he did when he was calling plays.
No small achievement.

And now Zorn has dragged his boy Steve Largent into this mess. In a radio interview with KJR of Seattle, Largent ripped Snyder and said Zorn considered quitting when his playcalling responsibilities were yanked away. Unless Largent is going behind his friend’s back and talking out of school, there’s no reason to think that Zorn didn’t give him the go-ahead to air the dirty laundry.

This is where Zorn made a mistake. He can’t stay on as coach and have his friend blasting the team. He can’t give pressers every day saying he’s going to take the high road and do what’s best for the Redskins while we all believe he’s badmouthing the team behind closed doors. There’s nothing worse than coming across as disingenuous.

Zorn has to do his best to keep a good-guy image. He’s out as Redskins coach after the year anyway, so he may as well do his best to impress some people with some professionalism. Stand on the sideline, fake looking interested, and cash your checks until Snyder caves.

Being on the opposite end of a war with Daniel Snyder isn’t the worst thing to help your image. But you have to know how to fight.


Stevey and the Mets

Steve Phillips is pathetic. By now the story of Phillips' affair with 22-year-old ESPN assistant Brooke Hundley has been widely reported, and Phillips looks bad in so many ways it's hard to know where to begin. It's clear by now - considering Phillips admitted to several affairs in 1998 while working as GM of the Mets - that this guy has some major self-control issues where sex is concerned. After he broke off this recent affair, Phillips said Hundley engaged in erratic behavior that made him fear for his family's safety.

Guess what Steve? You took advantage of a young girl who you probably pretended you cared about, and she she got upset when you tossed her aside. This is your fault, and any fear you had about your family's safety was a result of your actions.

Phillips is an easy target right now. Actually, he's always an easy target. But being a Mets fan, this incident has me more disturbed than ever, if that's possible, about the way this franchise is operated. Steve Phillips ran the Mets from 1997-2003. Six freakin' years. We know Phillips has some serious personal issues, and when you add the ridiculous and inane comments he makes practically every time he's on ESPN, it just makes you wonder what the Mets saw in this guy that made them say, "This is the guy we want to lead the way."

Now I'm not going to go into all the dumb things Phillips has said and done. I won't bring up stuff like trying to trade Jose Reyes to the Indians instead of Alex Escobar or the time he said he'd take Nate McLouth over Carlos Beltran (yes, really).

In all seriousness, how could the Mets have let this guy make their decisions for SIX YEARS!? He's a moron and a bad guy to boot. Are they so completely lost that they couldn't tell this guy is a total disaster? (Rhetorical question, the answer is clearly yes.)

As bad as Phillips looks right now, the Mets look worse. As a fan, I have absolutely no confidence that ownership has any idea what kind of people to look for in any job throughout the organization. Jeff Wilpon promised fans things would get better starting next year, that the Mets wouldn't cut payroll and would be aggressive going after players in trades and through free agency. But if Wilpon and his underlings are totally inept - which the evidence is beginning overwhelmingly to show they are - does it really matter how much money they spend or who they go after?

As a Mets fan, until I see some evidence to the contrary, I'm going to continue to assume that any hire they make at any level is probably a bad one. They've given me no choice but to believe that.

This is Classified

John Feinstein wrote a book with Red Auerbach which was essentially a collection of stories from the coach's incredible career. One of the stories was about Red at his alma mater, George Washington, taking in a basketball game. Auerbach watches the George Washington coach flail his arms, scream and sweat through the whole game. At one point he turns to somebody and says, "Is coaching really that hard?"

I actually believe coaching is pretty tough, especially with all the pressures of this era. But I don't think it's as hard as coaches want you to believe. Too many coaches act like they're CIA operatives, and it's getting tiresome.

I was in my car today and heard WFAN's Sweeney Murti Yankee explain that Joe Girardi didn't want to discuss his reasoning for making his ill-fated 11th inning pitching change in Game 3 because he didn't want to give away any strategy. Joe, the strategy already failed. Besides, I dont't think Howie Kendrick is going to gain a huge advantage for the rest of the series if Joe says after the game "we wanted to throw him some offspeed stuff in that at-bat." Kendrick would never pay attention to what Girardi said in a press conference anyway, because as soon as the Yankees thought he was looking for breaking balls they could exploit that by throwing hard stuff.

This isn't about strategy, it's this annoying trend where coaches need to control EVERYTHING. They want to control the media, they want to micro-manage every aspect of every game, they want to monitor their players' Twitter accounts, etc. Some guys can get away with it, but the majority wind up alienating their players and the media because honestly, no one likes a control freak.

Eric Mangini took this to a new level earlier this season when he wouldn't tell Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn who the Browns' starting QB would be until right before the start of the regular season. How did that work out? Last year, Nebraska football coach Bo Pellini stalked through bars in Lincoln making sure none of his players were drinking. Are you kidding me? Did he have his assistant coaches in camoflauge hiding behind the bar?

"Coach, our starting quarterback just ordered what looks like a coke but could be a rum and coke. Do you want us to move in and confiscate the drink for forensic testing?"

I mean really, might we be taking ourselves a smidge too seriously guys? I say this in the nicest way possible - get a life.


Great support of a previous post

As I said before, I can't stand the Yankees, but they just got totally hosed by, what a shock, a pathetic and unexplainable call.

Nick Swisher was just called out on appeal for leaving third base early. It's bad enough that the replay showed he wasn't even close to leaving early. What makes it a complete disgrace is that the replay showed third base umpire Tim McClelland WASN'T EVEN LOOKING at Swisher or the base. He was staring out into the outfield. Clearly. Not even close.

After the play, Tim McCarver said McClelland would explain the call after the game. How exactly? Does he have an extra pair of invisible eyes on the side of his face? I don't know, maybe MLB has to go with younger umpires or extend the use of instant replay. Letting some of these guys decide pennants and championships is like letting Forrest Gump run NASA. MLB has to fix this.

Mr. Insignificant

Everyone's favorite manager snaked his way into October this year for the 14th straight season, once again choosing a big job with a prestigious organization and stepping in poop. Two years after latching his legacy to the Dodgers, Joe Torre and a wonderful young team are two-time NL West champs.

It's not this easy for everyone. For some managers the poop really is poop. Manny Acta? Christian Guzman, Elijah Dukes and John Lannan. Joe Torre I stepped in a bed or roses. Young Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada. JT II? Only the future will decide exactly. But the budding core of Matt Kemp, Andre Eithier, James Loney and Clayton Kershaw is a good place to start. Torre's timing in Hollywood was impeccable.

Anyway, you know Torre's around again, hogging postseason face-time, because, well, TBS won't let you forget it, sticking Torre on commercials rather than his 25-year-old MVP candidate (Kemp). If you argue Kemp won't give the folks pennant fever, fine. Two words: Manny Ramirez. Where's he?

But this is no Torre story. I began this rip on Ol' Man Joe not to chastise him. Nope. Nice man. Successful. Enterprising. More power to him. But this importance fans and media saddle baseball managers with is absurd. Torre just happens to represent this love-in/hate-in better than anyone.

Case in point: Game 4 of the NLCS. Dodgers lose 5-4 on a daggerous two-out hit in the last of the ninth. So what one difference from his bygone days in the Bronx caused Torre's charges to lose, fall into a 3-games-to-1 hole (instead of evening the series) and basically lose their chance to reach the Fall Classic? The closer. Compared to the Yankees, the Dodgers don't quite have the Mo-Joe.

Torre, playing his role as puppetmaster, pulled the right strings in Game 4, calling on his Fozzie the Bear, the great Jonathan Broxton. Few guys at the back of a bullpen can chuck it like Broxton, but closers are typically fallible. As it were, Broxton fed Jimmy Rollins a seed and he planted off the RCF wall. Pitch, game, series — all history. Mariano Rivera would've thrown nine pitches and had Torre a cup-deep in Bigelow before the park cleared out.

Blown saves happened so seldom to Torre with the Yankees you can name them: 1997 ALDS vs. Cleveland; 2001 WS vs. Arizona; and 2004 ALCS vs. Boston. Rivera has been simply perfect otherwise. But Torre never made him so. He never made the cutter cut. Never made the tense ninths seem like Fort Myers in February. Rivera did. He's the legend, not Torre — the innocent man along for the ride.

As Tony G. pointed out earlier, managers of great clubs can only ruin them. Joe Girardi figured out how earlier in the day, running relievers to the mound on a whim knowing CC Sabathia would pitch next on short rest. Que?

Torre, coincidentally channeled his inner-John McNamara for much of the season, batting Kemp — second on his team in OPS — in all nine spots, but mostly seventh (174 ABs). Orlando Hudson (.774 OPS) batted second or third almost all season (390 ABs combined). Now he doesn't play. Doughboy himself — Ronnie Belliard — plays second now, though most L.A. writers and Torre apologists would argue Papa Joe simply rides the hot hand, and rides it right on through October.

You cannot make this stuff up.


Joe and Joba

We have some Yankee fans and some Yankee haters on our team here - I fall under squarely in the hater category.

First, I'd like to thank Joe Girardi for letting the Angels back into the series by overmanaging once again. Joe, we Yankee haters applaud your absurd decision to lift Dave Robertson with two outs in the 11th. If you wouldn't mind overmanaging for the rest of the series we'd really appreciate that as well. The Yankees are by far the most talented team in baseball, but if you can keep getting in the way of that talent we might have a chance to get the Yankees out and crush the hopes of all their fans (fingers crossed).

I'm not sure there is a more enjoyable sight than seeing Joba Chamberlain walk dejectedly off the field. Only a repeat of Aubrey Huff's mock fist pump by some of the Angels could have made Joba's exit tonight any better. Watching him celebrate after a strikeout has actually caused me to rip clumps of hair out of my scalp. The way he wears his cap infuriates me. I root against the entire Yankee team, but Joba has a special place in my heart.

Watching him struggle as a starter this year was great, but watching him give up a double, triple and a run in one-third of inning tonight was magical. I only hope he has a few more awful performances in that right arm.

Get a GPS Thom...you're lost

I'll admit that I have a general disposition to dislike Thom Brennaman for a variety of reasons:

1) He has an awesome job as a sportscaster, working for both Major League Baseball and the NFL. I'm jealous.

2) His father is the legendary Marty Brennaman, so I question whether Thom truly earned those jobs through talent or sheer nepotism. Actually, I don't wonder. It's clearly nepotism.

3) His name is Thom. That's ridiculous. Perhaps that isn't his fault, and he's simply going with a bad decision by the folks. But he's an adult now, and she should switch to Tom. If Anfernee Hardaway is going to get ripped, the same should happen to Thom Brennaman.

That said, when I saw Brennaman was doing the play-by-play of the Giants-Saints game with Troy Aikman, I was completely willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. He was replacing Joe Buck...who I can't stand (and was apparently unavailable because he was busy calling the endless Yankees-Angels game the previous night in New York), for many of the same reasons I don't like Brennaman. So a nice change of pace for me, a Giants fan, who is totally sick of listening to the maddening announcing team of Buck-Aikman, or Kenny Albert-Daryl Johnston and idiotic Tony Siragusa every week.

Needless to say, in addition to the Saints going up and down the field at will and watching Jeremy Shockey act like a complete clown, Brennaman instantly got in my nerves.

His performance was almost as bad as the Giants. He said Drew Brees was in his sixth year with the Saints. That isn't true. That isn't close. He came with Sean Payton before the 2006 season.

He consistently got the score wrong, at one point yelling into his mic that the Saints had taken a 20-0 lead when it was 20-3.

He was beyond clueless on the key play before the first half when Eli Manning fumbled, Scott Shanle recovered, and Kevin Boss tackled Shanle and possibly forced another fumble. Brennaman had absolutely no clue what the ruling would be if Ed Hochuli ruled that Shanle had in fact fumbled. (Thom: It would have been a touchback. Just here to help.)

To be fair, I do want to give some credit to a television personality who was legitimately hilarious last night. Deion Sanders' performance on NFL GameDay Final on the NFL Network last night was as legendary as his career.

When he started screaming that the Redskins' bye week next week actually meant "bye" for Jim Zorn, and he continued to say it over and over in his preacher voice, it provided some legitimate laughs. The man can still entertain.


Are they just guessing?

Officiating in professional sports has reached the level of comically awful. Saturday night, Derek Jeter beats a throw to first base by two steps and is called out. Sunday, Marques Colston gets a pass interference call against the Giants for tripping over his own two feet. In the divisional round of the baseball playoffs, Joe Mauer hits a ball down the left field line that is at least a foot fair and Phil Cuzzi calls it foul.

And that's only in the last few days. In a game against the Orioles last year, Doug Eddings called Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo out on this play. In the words of the American youth, LOL.

Umpiring this year, particularly at first base, has been so bad it's started to make me think these guys are closing their eyes, making calls and crossing their fingers that the replay won't embarrass them. Why don't we teach monkeys the signs for out and safe and have the apes don those cute little umpire uniforms?

Football is just as bad. I'm not sure they know the rules half the time. Maybe it's just me, but I see defensive linemen being held on every play, then they finally call a hold and I don't see anything on replay. These roughing the passer penalties are a joke, but pass interference is the worst. We have now reached the point where WRs can draw penalties without even being touched.

The NBA had a referee a crooked referee doing games, so I don't think I really need to bother going into much detail there.

And the lack of accountability is amazing as well. Players and coaches get fined for any critical remark they make about officiating, and 9 times out of 10 the media doesn't even get a chance to speak to these guys after games. If a player has to stand at his locker and get grilled after a mistake, why should the referees get a free pass? I actually think people are starting to take more and more notice of this, so the free passes might be running out.