It’s Deja Vu All Over Again

“It will happen,” I said at the time to anyone who asked, “when I grow a second penis.” I actually didn’t say penis.

Our governor, Hartford’s mayor and a bunch of other prominent Connecticut residents were played. When all was said and done they looked naive and foolish.

PatslogoI remember the fall of ’98 like it was yesterday. Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, spent the summer flirting with Connecticut. He was using us to make his ‘real girlfriend,’ Massachusetts, jealous.

Gov. John G. Rowland of Connecticut and the owner of the New England Patriots scheduled a news conference at the Capitol today to announce an agreement to move the National Football League team from Massachusetts to downtown Hartford, a spokesman for the Governor said this morning. – NYTimes 11/19/98

“It will happen,” I said at the time to anyone who asked, “when I grow a second penis.”

I actually didn’t say penis.

Our governor, Hartford’s mayor and a bunch of other prominent Connecticut residents were played. Kraft saw us as bumpkins. We were.

By the way, I will never root for the Patriots as long as Kraft is associated with it in any way. I am still bitter. It may have been good business, but it was bad faith.

los-angeles-angels-of-anaheim-logoWhere were we?

Oh, yeah… I’m reminded of the Patriots story because of something going on down here. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are going through contentious negotiations over the team’s lease with Anaheim, their stadium’s owner.

Angels owner Arte Moreno wants the Moon and the stars. The City of Anaheim doesn’t want to get fleeced. The prevailing wisdom is the current lease has been a lot better for Moreno than Anaheim.

Now, Moreno has pulled a Kraft!

Angels owner Arte Moreno met with officials from the City of Tustin last week to discuss the possibility of building a new baseball stadium, a team spokesman confirmed Saturday.

One potential site would be the decommissioned Marine Corps Air Station, which would be accessible via the 5, 405 and 55 Freeways and is across the street from the Tustin Metrolink train station. LATimes 2/15/14

Tustin is the next city north from here. It is not the only stranger being kissed while Anaheim looks on.

Amid tense negotiations with Anaheim, the Los Angeles Angels baseball team has said it talked with FivePoint Communities, the developer of homes surrounding the Great Park in Irvine. What kind of talk, no one knows – or will say in much detail. OCRegister 5/2/14

I could walk to the games! We’re around a mile northeast of the park.

I’ll grow a second penis before any of this happens.

Moreno is playing hardball, but he doesn’t want to move ten miles farther from Los Angeles. The Angels are best served staying right where they are with a little stadium upgrade. It’s all about money.

I hope Anaheim remains firm.

Now I Hate The Patriots Even More

Seriously, how stupid do they think we are? Do they really think the Google hasn’t hit Connecticut? Maybe it’s not Connecticut that doesn’t understand!

Over at the TV station Tina Detelj had a sad story of disappointment in Lebanon, Connecticut Wednesday afternoon. An explainer first, then part of the story you probably haven’t heard.

From Picture this – a hundred students waiting in the Lebanon Middle School gymnasium for members of the New England Patriots. But what they got was disappointment.

They thought they’d be rewarded with visits from Patriots players for taking part in an NFL-sponsored program, but it didn’t turn out that way.

The Middle School students had participated in the NFL’s “Fuel Up to Play 60” program. Literature had promised the winner “celebrity coaches.” Instead an intern came with a video.

Let me hit pause for a second. I dislike the Patriots. I’m not talking as an NFL fan, but as a Connecticut resident.

Robert Kraft played our state and specifically our then soon to be convict governor as rubes. He promised us the Patriots in order to exact a better deal from Massachusetts. Kraft walked away from his deal with us when he got what he really wanted.

Though I never believed the Pats would come (and told anyone who’d listen what extra piece of anatomy I’d grow if they did come) what Kraft did is still inexcusable. Blank him.

Where were we? Stick with me because I promise a payoff.

Tina’s story (and similar ones on other TV stations plus the original reporting of Paul Petrone in the Norwich Bulletin) embarrassed both the Dairy Council who sponsored the whole thing and of course the Patriots. Tonight the Pats issued a statement.

From A spokesperson for the Patriots told News 8 the reason there were no players or coaches here in this gymnasium is because the term ‘celebrity coaches’ actually refers to a local celebrity like the principal of the school, a mayor, or a DJ acting as a coach for the work out which was done here. It’s a miscommunication the Patriots say they will try to straighten out.

Repeating–I don’t like the Patriots. I don’t trust the Patriots. That’s why I went to Google News and searched “NFL’s “Fuel Up to Play 60″ school player”

  • Today, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack joined Washington, DC, schoolchildren and National Football League (NFL) Washington Redskins players Malcolm Kelly and Reed Doughty at the U.S. National Arboretum
  • San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith was all smiles Friday morning. Why wouldn’t he be? The 49ers have his back. While interim general manager Trent Baalke, coach Mike Singletary and other 49er brass were in New York on Thursday night for the first round of the NFL draft, Smith was here, preparing for a Van Gorder Elementary School assembly Friday morning.
  • Dairy Council of Utah/Nevada has teamed up with Alex Smith, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, in a campaign to fight childhood obesity. The campaign, known as Fuel Up to Play 60, is part of a national initiative to promote healthy eating and physical activity by the National Football League and National Dairy Council. Alex Smith joined students at Brockbank Junior High during a school assembly to share the benefits and importance of eating right, exercising, and being prepared.
  • Packed into Holy Savior Elementary School’s gym Friday afternoon, nearly 300 students fidgeted with barely contained energy. They weren’t there for a lecture or an ordinary pep rally, but to hear from a Super Bowl champion. Thomas Morstead, a punter for the New Orleans Saints, talked with the students about the importance of exercise and proper diet before he was mobbed by students and adults for autographs and pictures

Seriously, how stupid do they think we are? Do they really think the Google hasn’t hit Connecticut? Maybe it’s not Connecticut that doesn’t understand!

Have I mentioned how I feel about the Pats?

Nobody’s Perfect

Helaine is a really good person to invite to a party, because she loves to bake. And, she’s very good at it. I have, unfortunately, nibbled on her baked goodies much too often. If she baked at home under everyday circumstances, I’d weigh 400 pounds.

the_catch.jpgIn what was one of the best football games I’ve ever seen, the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl something, something “L.” The Pats quest to be perfect ended.

I don’t want to dwell on the game. There are more eloquent writers who’ll fill the newspapers tomorrow. I do need to acknowledge Eli Manning’s escape from the grasp of the Patriot’s defense and subsequent complete pass to David Tyree. It was a play for the ages.

Normally, Helaine and I would sit and watch from home. This year we joined some friends, and their friends, for a Super Bowl party in New Haven.

Being in a crowd disqualifies me for much discussion of the commercials. Those I did see in the clear seemed like they were trying too hard.

Helaine is a really good person to invite to a party. She loves to bake and she’s very good at it. I have, unfortunately, nibbled on her baked goodies much too often. If she baked at home under everyday circumstances, I’d weigh 400 pounds.

We came with pecan squares, butter cookies with a jam center (these are possibly the finest cookies ever baked), rice pudding, chocolate and chocolate chip cookies and Mexican dip.

This was quite an eclectic group, mainly made of people who used to be in, or were still in, radio.

We watched the game on a big screen TV in the living room. When it got too crowded, there was another set nearby. During big plays, the people watching that auxiliary set would cheer or moan about five seconds before we saw what was going on with the big screen. There’s that much delay!

I’ve never been a huge Tom Petty fan, but they were great. No disappointment there for me.

About two thirds through the evening, one of the other guests came up to me to say he could see the body language between Helaine and me,showing how we felt about each other. That was very nice to hear. I do feel that way about her.

Now my sports world goes quiet for a short while. Pitchers and catchers report in just a few weeks.

NFL Network Sacked For A Loss

So, it looks like the Patriot – Giants game will be on ‘free’ over-the-air TV (seen mainly on ‘paid’ cable or satellite). Originally it was scheduled to be on the NFL Network alone.

This is a complex story, but it seems the NFL is the real short term loser here.

Basically, the NFL created its own sports network and seeded it with a handful of games. In years gone by, these would have been shown on free TV and, in fact, they were still going to be shown on free TV in the teams’ home markets.

The idea was to force cable companies to carry the network year round. That would be the only way to have access to these individual games. The NFL wanted it to be included on cable as a basic service, like CNN or ESPN and not a pay add-on, like HBO or Showtime.

It was a lot to swallow for a few out-of-market games and lots (and lots) of filler.

Unfortunately for the NFL, the cable companies balked and few fans cared. Did you really miss the Broncos – Texans game on December 13 (or the other random match-ups&#185)?

This would have all passed quietly, except for this weekend and the Patriots going for an undefeated season. Now the NFL had leverage. Fortunately, it blew up in their faces.

Under enormous pressure from Congress on down, the NFL relented. Now, this marquee game will be seen on the NFL Network, NBC and CBS! In Boston and New York City it will be on a fourth station as well! ABC might as well run the “All-Star Salute to Cheese.”

In trying to force the cable companies to carry their network, the NFL didn’t have a leg to stand on because of one other move they’d made: NFL Sunday Ticket.

NFL Sunday Ticket is the NFL’s package, offering every game live. As much as the cable companies and Dish Network want that (and I’d probably buy it), it is only offered on DirectTV.

This is a guess on my part, but I’ll bet Sunday Ticket is the most powerful selling point DirectTV has.

The cable ops (and I) wondered, how the could NFL cry about their fans inability to watch these NFL Network games when it wouldn’t provide all the other games to those same poor fans? This is the definition of chutzpah!

There’s an old story about a guy who kills his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court because he’s an orphan. That’s the NFL!

I don’t know how this will all come out. At some point the NFL will have to accept defeat and decide if this in-house network is really a viable concept.

Is it just me, or is there a cosmic thread which runs through America where we root for the evil, greedy corporation to get its comeuppance. At the moment, I couldn’t be happier.

In the Fox house, we will continue to root against the Giants. The Pats achievement is less important.

&#185 – NFL Network 2007 Game Schedule

Week 12: Thursday, November 22 at 8:00 PM ET (Live)

Indianapolis Colts at Atlanta Falcons (Thanksgiving)

Week 13: Thursday, November 29 at 8:00 PM ET (Live)

Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys

Week 14: Thursday, December 6 at 8:00 PM ET (Live)

Chicago Bears at Washington Redskins

Week 15: Thursday, December 13 at 8:00 PM ET (Live)

Denver Broncos at Houston Texans

Week 15: Saturday, December 15 at 8:00 PM ET (Live)

Cincinnati Bengals at San Francisco 49ers

Week 16: Thursday, December 20 at 8:00 PM ET (Live)

Pittsburgh Steelers at St. Louis Rams

Week 16: Saturday, December 22 at 8:00 PM ET (Live)

Dallas Cowboys at Carolina Panthers

Week 17: Saturday, December 29 at 8:00 PM ET (Live)

New England Patriots at New York Giants

Early Super Bowl Post Mortem

Wow – what a game. I thought the Eagles would be able to pull it out, but you know… Hold on. Let me double check. Oops – they haven’t played the game yet.

I am a lot more sensitized to the predictions this time around. After all I am a nearly 30 year Eagles fan. But, c’mon! Everything I read, everyone I watch, all say the same thing… and it isn’t what I want to hear.

The Vegas line puts the Eagles as a one touchdown underdog, but Las Vegas is probably the most charitable place on Earth for the Eagles this week!

This is the best Eagles team I have ever seen. They make very few mistakes. They are focused. There’s no doubt they have top notch players and an excellent coaching staff. People are selling them short.

I can’t guarantee they’ll win. In fact, I won’t be surprised at the outcome no matter which way it goes. I just want people to stop talking as if it were the Patriots versus some walk-on squad for a scrimmage.

There must be some reason they play the game.

Eagles Get To Go To Jacksonville

If I wouldn’t have seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it. The Philadelphia Eagles beat the Atlanta Falcons today, and will play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX. This was a very convincing win.

Helaine and I sat in the family room to watch the game. We were more than a little pleased to be joined by Stefanie. I’m not going to call her a football fan, because she’d deny it on principle, but she’s getting awfully close.

The Eagles looked great from the the first series. On defense, they kept Michael Vick – a quarterback known for his athleticism and mobility, immobile.

I’m not going to write more about the game, because if you’re a football fan you already know. If you’re not a fan, you don’t care.

Two things do need addressing. Earlier last week, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb (who wears his hair tightly braided) showed up with it totally ‘free.’ I commented on the air, it looked like Oscar Gamble’s. Luckily, thanks to the net, Oscar Gamble photos are available.

Then there’s Eagles tight end Chad Lewis. As a Mormon, Lewis performed missionary work in China. So, of course, he learned to speak the Mandarin dialect of Chinese.

Last year when the Super Bowl was broadcast in China, he worked the telecast as the color commentator, in Chinese. This year he’ll be busy on Super Bowl Sunday.

This Is Painful

The Eagles are not on local TV today, so Helaine and I are listening to Merrill Reese and Mike Quick do the radio play-by-play.

This has been a great year for the Eagles. So far, they’re 7-0. That’s probably going to change.

The Eagles are playing the Pittsburgh Steelers. We watched the Steelers dismantle the New England Patriots last weekend. Today they are filleting the Eagles.

It is as if the Eagles never got on the bus to go to the stadium. This is very sad for two reasons. First, the Eagles undefeated streak will end. Second, we could end up meeting the Steelers in the Super Bowl.

Of course it’s possible the Eagles could come back from the 21-0 deficit they’re currently facing. I just don’t see how.