Marcus and Jeffrey Jordan Deserve Some Slack by kentsterling

by Kent Sterling

Gaming officials in Las Vegas are looking into the posts on Twitter from Marcus Jordan about the fun he, his brother, and another University of Central Florida had at the Aria Resort a week ago.

According to Jordan’s tweet the trio spent a lot of money and had a lot of fun, “Last night was stupid… 35K at Haze,” the University of Central Florida sophomore guard said. “Totals 50K something the whole day.”

The problem is that Marcus is only 19-years-old.  Drinking and gambling are not allowed until turning 21 in Nevada, so now the gaming board in involved.

Jordan admits the tweet was a mistake – you think?  Being the son of one of the ten most famous people in the world and broadcasting your indulgence across the internet is moronic, but using this episode as a lever to investigate the resort, and/or the Jordan kids is silly.

There are thousands of kids who do the same thing everyday in Las Vegas, and as long as no one is driving, who’s hurt.  Gambling is dumb, and drinking to excess is dumber, but is it any more stupid for a 19-year-old than a 21-year-old?

I’m not a big fan of selective law enforcement, but to me Vegas is an island unto itself for foolishness.  That’s what people do there, and no one drives.  The hotel/resorts are the safest place for debauchery on the planet.  That’s their sole purpose.

I’m not saying lower the drinking and gambling age, but there are times when a wink and a nod is every bit as effective a strategy for a cop as throwing on the cuffs and jailing a kid.

The hypocrisy of some of our rules boggle the mind, and laws of any kind against behavior that is only damaging to the damager is a waste of time.

If not for Marcus’s wildly dumb lack of discretion, no one would have any idea that it happened, and the casino is $50K to the good.  Marcus was thrilled to have burned through his Dad’s dough, so where is the problem?

This is an internal matter for the Jordans, and I’m sure it will be dealt with as blithely as the attitude that caused these kids to believe it’s cool to drop more than the average annual wage for Americans in one day in a casino and club.

My only real question is, how can people blow through $50K with nothing to show for it but a headache and still smile?  Las Vegas makes that kind of dumbassedness cool, and that’s the genius of Bugsy Siegel, the original really wise guy.

“Come Here, Be Dumb, Bring Lots of Money” is the city motto, and people show up like Wal-Mart is giving away laptops to men with mullets.

And the gaming commission is going to investigate?  A kid drops a wad?  They better have as many detectives as guests if they want to put a stop to that.


On the Road with Mark Boyle – Day Two (Nightmare on US 50) by kentsterling
August 31, 2010, 12:59 pm
Filed under: Kent Sterling | Tags:

by Kent Sterling

The notion of traveling by motor coach through different parts of the country always appealed to me.  I saw a biography on Ernest Borgnine, and this is what he does with his free time.

I am thrilled to have had this experience so I know never to hitch my wagon to another of these buses again.

Mark Boyle is great company.  He’s very honest and incisive, so the conversation is always excellent – at least from my perspective.  The lifestyle though is impossible.

Take pooping for instance.  My parents taught me never to poop in a car – or maybe I didn’t need to be told.  Driving a big giant bus filled with my own feces is not a natural act for me.  Emptying the tank each morning of that waste is equally awful.

If God lined up people on the planet from best potential pioneers to the worst, I would be in the rear with Paris Hilton and Jim J. Bullock, just behind Andy Dick and Joy Behar.

Driving the bus is not too difficult, but living in it is causing me concerns.  Every time we stop, we extend these giant lobes from the side that make the place roughly twice as spacious.  That’s cool.  When we are ready to drive again, they need to be closed, and I am convinced every single time that the sides of the bus are going to cave in and the bus with implode upon itself as it does in various horror movies.

Again, Mark is a solid companion and the Indiana Children’s Wish Fund does unbelievable and selfless work to provide a wonderful memory for critically ill patients and their families, so it is a completely worthwhile expense of a few days of my time, but I am an extremely inept and fearful camper – even on a luxury cruiser from Camping World.

The suburban lifestyle in which I was raised mandated that pooping be confined to your own home, or at the minimum not in a moving or soon-to-be moving vehicle.  I also do not shower in the bus.  That seems almost equally problematic.  Knowing that it would require more work as far as draining the tank of my soapy refuge would be inferior to not bathing at all.

As I wrote, this style of life is suited to my dainty ways.

The people of southern Indiana are incredibly gracious and eager to share their experiences – each of which I’m trying to listen to with interest.  I have a habit of phasing in and out as people tell stories – it’s an internal dialogue I cannot stop a little like Daniel Stern’s narration of Kevin Arnold’s life during “The Wonder Years”.  People here live different lives from those of us anchored to a city.  That’s for sure.

Sheriff Tom Grills – no relation to legendary Indianapolis traffic reporter Big John Gillis – of Ripley County was amazingly helpful and friendly.  I may move to Versailles just so I can vote for him.  If I do, it will be to a home anchored firmly to the ground, and in a place where poop leaves my house quickly, never to be seen or smelled again.

So the journey continues.  It’s only a matter of time before my foibles become an annoyance to Mark, and then my goose is cooked.

Pat Mullin on 2012 Recruits Gary Harris, Yogi Ferrell, Hanner Perea, D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Jeremy Hollowell, Peter Jurkin and Ron PattersonlJeremy Hollowell, by kentsterling
August 31, 2010, 7:48 am
Filed under: College Basketball, Kent Sterling

by Kent Sterling

Pat Mullin is a summer basketball coach who rolls with the same kids for four summers.  He coaches against the same kids too, and he’s seen everyone in the Class of 2012 multiple times.

Among other things, Pat is an excellent evaluator of talent.  In the clips below, Pat talks about each of the kids ranked by Scout, Rivals, and/or ESPN with ties to Indiana high schools, and we throw in Peter Jurkin, IU’s latest commitment, for good measure.

Indiana is producing top 60 kids with great regularity, and the 2012 class looks to be even more special than usual.  Rankings are imperfect at best, and there is very little difference if any between the 30th ranked kid and the 50th.  The evaluators are swayed by the individual games they see.  Over the course of a summer tournament where kids might play as many as eight games in three days, kids can look great and terrible in the same event.

Pat has seen all these kids multiple times over a number of years, and has insight as to what they will bring to whatever college they choose.

Gary Harris #5; #16; #12 ESPN

Yogi Ferrell #14; #22; #39 ESPN

Hanner Perea #24; #13; #17 ESPN

D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera #27; #21; #20 ESPN

Jeremy Hollowell #39; #35; #54 ESPN

Peter Jurkin #37 ESPN

Ron Patterson #55 Scout; #65

Truth’s Tuesday Top Five: Big Ten Quarterbacks that Need Big Years by The Truth

By Kyle Miller

Throwing the pig skin in the Big Ten is not for the faint of heart or the mentally weak, that’s for sure. Come late October, early November the temperature drops, wind starts to swirl throughout stadiums, and sleet or snow may become apparent. Attempting to toss the football 15 yards to a slanting wide receiver becomes much more difficult.

Big Ten football is undoubtably grueling, especially when facing defenses such as Ohio State, Iowa, and Linebacker U. So today, I have taken the time to rank the Big Ten quarterbacks that need to have gigantic years if their squads are to succeed:

5) Robert Marve (Purdue)- Can not say I know much about Marve, other than I

Marve with Miami in 2007

knew he was a stud entering his collegiate career. I vaguely remember his tenure with Miami, but talent wise I know he is the cream of the crop. He better be because he has big shoes to fill. Joey Elliot was second in the Big Ten in passing yards, 252.2, and touchdowns, 22. Marve will certainly be tested early as the Boilermakers open with in-state rival Notre Dame, September 4th.

4) Ricky Stanzi (Iowa)- Some quarterbacks are judged on productivity and statistics, while others are judged for winning games. Ricky Stanzi is the Ben Rothlisberger of college football. Ironically, their teams have the same colors. Stanzi only threw for 219.7 yards per game. When your defense only gives up roughly 15 points a game, you can afford to do that. If Stanzi can avoid mistakes by taking care of the ball, Ohio State will have their hands full at Kinnick Stadium on November 20th.

Roger Clemens Scandal Is A Black Eye For All Involved by matthudson14
August 30, 2010, 8:32 pm
Filed under: Matt Hudson | Tags: , , ,

By Matt Hudson

Throughout the course of the mass media age, when every single slip-up by those in the public eye is caught by TMZ, ESPN, or a camera phone, there seems to be one common theme – time heals all wounds.  Given enough time without a significant relapse into the behaviors that placed them in public contempt, the figures that we see and read about every day generally return to the heights of popularity that they once knew.  

Michael Vick is back on the field, not doing the electric things he once did, but at least largely, forgiven for the dogfighting scandal that plagued the prime of his career.  Tiger Woods is clearly not the same player that he once was, but even though every salacious detail of his personal life is now public knowledge, he remains as popular and as big of a draw for the sport of golf as ever.  Kobe Bryant will never be thought of as the guy who cheated on his wife, but rather as the guy who won five titles.  

We are a very forgiving society, and those who admit when they’ve done wrong are, with time, generally forgiven.  Which is why it’s particularly interesting that Roger Clemens has continued to adamantly deny ever taking performance-enhancing drugs of any kind, even when his legacy, future, and even freedom may depend on the truth.  

Today, Clemens entered a “not guilty” plea on charges of lying to Congress in 2008. Clemens faces six charges – three of making false statements, two of perjury and one of obstruction of Congress, and if found guilty, would likely face 15 to 21 months in prison.  

As a sports fan, even though the one thing I cannot stand the most is being lied to, especially over and over again, I feel bad for Roger Clemens.  Even if he was the biggest cheater in baseball history, I feel bad for him.  Let’s assume he did take performance-enhancing drugs, which based on the evidence, is not a stretch (honestly, how many pitchers get better with age?).  He is no more guilty than Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa, to name a few.  Yet here he stands, at risk of going to prison if he is found guilty of lying to Congress on that infamous day on Capitol Hill in 2008.  

Even if he is guilty, does he really deserve to go to prison?  For doing something that so many people in the 1990’s and early 2000’s did?  For lying about it, just as so many others have done?  Rafael Palmeiro isn’t going to prison and there is no doubt about his “innocence”.  Now, I understand that Clemens’ claims were made to Congress, and that perjury is a big no-no.  But even if he did lie, it’s not like he was lying about something that put someone else at risk.  He wasn’t lying to protect someone else.  His lies weren’t going to result in someone else being hurt or even killed.  He simply did as all those others have done – lied to protect himself.  

But here’s the part of the Clemens scandal that bothers me the most – that he was ever there in the first place.  That Mark McGwire was testifying before Congress.  That Sammy Sosa was using an interpreter to speak in front of Congress.  That Rafael Palmeiro was wagging his finger in the face of our country’s foremost leaders professing his God-given skill and scoffing at the notion that he would ever use PED’s.  What were they doing there?

I mean, seriously?  Why did the leaders of our country feel that they needed to get involved in a baseball-related issue?  Don’t we have more important things to worry about in our country than who the biggest cheaters in baseball are?  David Stern can clean up after Tim Donaghy put the integrity of the entire NBA in jeopardy.  Roger Goodell can handle the issue of dozens of concussions destroying the lives of former NFL players.  But Bud Selig needs Congress to have his back to handle the Steroid Era?  I’m sorry, but the sanitizing of a dirty game is not so important that the government needs to step in to clean it up.  

Our country’s prisons should be reserved for those guilty of heinous crimes – murder, rape, assault.  Not for Roger Clemens.  It’s ironic that it’s the hypocrisy of baseball fans that got us here in the first place.  Roger Clemens can be vilified for taking performance-enhancing drugs, but for all we know, his PED use was only in response to the upswing in homeruns that brought fans back to the ballparks after the 1994 strike turned so many away.  

Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were considered heroes to millions when they both went after Roger Maris’ home run record in the summer of 1998.  People couldn’t wait to tune in to ESPN to see if either one of them had gone yard again.  Hell, Sports Illustrated named them the “Sportsmen of the Year”.  Given what we know now, that’s like naming Tiger “husband of the year”.  The entire country turned a blind eye to their huge muscles, unreal power, and ultimately, to the fact that these men were probably using steroids.

Clemens probably saw the public reaction to the home run race, was looking for an edge, and did what most of us would have done – tried to level the playing field.  Clearly that’s what Barry Bonds did.  

So in a way, the public response to Sosa and McGwire in the summer of 1998 is partially responsible for this saga.  And though Clemens is no more guilty than McGwire, Sosa, or A-Rod, there is one major difference – Clemens is the only one who may have to watch the next great home run race from a prison cell.

Cuban phenom Aroldis Chapman called up to Cincinnati Reds by wesreynolds

by Wes Reynolds

The Cincinnati Reds announced today that they are calling up Aroldis Chapman from the AAA Louisville Bats to strengthen their bullpen for their playoff push. Chapman is in the first year of a six-year, $30 million contract signed back in January. Walt Jocketty, Reds General Manager, and the rest of the front office have shown patience with him this year, but when he clocked 105 MPH on the radar gun last Friday against Columbus, they knew it was time to give him a shot. That’s right, 105 MPH!

The Cuban defector got mixed results to start the season, throwing a lot of pitches to get through five innings. He went 5-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 13 starts. He was moved into a relief role at Louisville last month and he was even better, going 4-1 with a 2.40 ERA in 26 relief appearances, including eight saves in eight closing opportunities. He’s allowed 10 hits and seven walks over those 21 2/3 innings with 35 strikeouts. He’s struck out 42 percent of the batters he’s faced over the past month and a half.

This is a smart move by Jocketty to call him up this late in the season. The Reds plan to put Chapman into the starting rotation starting next season, but his best role is now in the bullpen to help out set-up man Arthur Rhodes, who garnered his first MLB All-Star appearance at the age of 40, but also aggravated his sore left foot yesterday covering first base in a 7-5 win over the Cubs and has given up five runs on seven hits over 1 1/3 innings in his last two outings. The Chapman callup is eerily reminiscent of the 2002 season when the Anaheim Angels (I refuse to call them the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) called up young Venezuelan prodigy Francisco Rodriguez, or K-Rod,  just in time for the playoffs. K-Rod was the postseason hero and won five games during the Angels eventual World Series title run despite never having won a regular season major league game. The hitters did not know what to expect from him since he had zero appearances in the big leagues. The Reds are hoping for the same from Chapman.

It is also a smart move to bring Chapman into the bullpen instead of having him log starters’ innings. Jocketty knows, like all of us, that Reds Manager Dusty Baker has a reputation for not managing young, talented arms very judiciously. Mark Prior, anyone? Kerry Wood, anyone? Robb Nen, anyone? Edinson Volquez, anyone? Prior, Wood and Volquez all suffered serious arm injuries in their first full seasons pitching for Dusty. Volquez has pitched well since his return back in July from Tommy John surgery, but Jocketty knows he needs to be a check and balance for Dusty’s tendency to be far too liberal with his pitch counts.

The Reds currently lead the St. Louis Cardinals by five games and Chapman could provide them with a nice insurance policy as they make their run for their first playoff appearance in fifteen years.

Happy 26th Old Nut by kentsterling
August 30, 2010, 6:02 pm
Filed under: Kent Sterling

by Kent Sterling

My wife is easily the best person I know.  Her heart is pure, and her desire to learn and grow unmatched.

Who knew that 26 years ago tonight I would dance with her for the first time, and that ten days later I would ask if she thought that maybe getting married might be a good idea.

If nothing else, I know a good thing when I see it.  It’s not a bad thing in my eyes that I take much longer to buy a car than I did to decide I should spend the rest of my life with Julie.

We danced that first night, and fell asleep on the couch in her living room.  We lay the same way we did that first night each night we go to bed.

After dancing with Julie for a few minutes a friend, Fred Levin, grabbed me with purpose and said, “Don’t fuck this up.  She’s the one.”  I told Freddy that I knew it, and I did.

Over the past 26 years, we’ve had a kid and stayed out of his way enough that he’s become a hell of a young man who will graduate from Loyola-Chicago with some measure of academic honor – which is so far beyond the academic records of either Julie or me that I’m demanding he be administered a saliva test upon graduation just to make sure he’s mine.

There have been a few downs over the years, mostly driven by my own insecurities, but if I could go back and make the same decision to dance with the frenetic marching/bouncing of Julie Purcell, I would do it in a minute.

Julie is the best decision I ever made and when I think of what’s good for her, I rarely go too far wrong.

If you don’t know her, you are missing out on knowing the best person in the world.  Sure, she doesn’t know north from south, but as long as she finds her way home at the end of the day, who cares.

She’s funny and odd, smart and sweet, intuitive and generous, and a throwback to a time when women sang fragments of songs as they get ready for work.  I’m not sure that women ever did that, but it seems like a quaint thing to do, so I’m sure women in the 1950s sang, “How much is that doggie in the window, the one with the …One, two, three o’clock, four o’clock rock, five, six…sh-boom, sh-boom, yadda…”

Julie is a great friend when times are bad, and a fun companion when they are good.  She is my best friend, and a special person who might be the most respected and well-thought of person I know.

Everyday, I’m thankful that I plied her will with endless bottle of wine until she finally caved and agreed to share some emotional space with me.

I’m certainly not smart enough to find a way to make this work for another 26 years, but I’ll try everyday to be worthy of her faith.