Under the Surface



Tacoma Rain has an interesting comment:


I am having a tough time imagining how this trade ended up getting consummated. I would think GM's are trading for players that they want, or they think will improve their team... but that does not seem to be the case here.

Texas immediately cuts Jones after Kivlehan is announced as the last player in deal?? why trade for Jones then?

And I really wonder why there was a delay on annoucing Kivlehan at the time of the trade. Was there another player as an option instead of Kivlehan? Or did the trade happen so fast that Texas needed a day or two to decide who to cut? Then, after a day of being cut, Jones decides to sign a minor league deal... with Texas? Why? Why not with Seattle, since Jones did not have time to move in this short week? Or did Dipoto just want to get rid of Jones? 

Dipoto lets Bass go play in Japan because of money?? Dipoto knew that Bass was going to get a raise in arbitration, but what makes Bass look to Japan for more money? That can't be a normal negotiating ploy by Bass's agent...right? Now the amount of money to go to Japan has not been announced, but at what dollar value does Dipoto just give up on a player he wanted in a trade - one he knows is due a raise?  Does Dipoto have a hand on Bass going to Japan??? Doubtful, but... just strange.


If you want to get a feel for how many of these things are driven by Machivellian politics behind the scenes, try a book like North Dallas Forty - not the movie, but Gent's own book.  Out of Their League by Dave Meggyesy was similar, though more grim than colorful.  In baseball terms, anti-establishment tell-all books like Ball Four give you a feel for it; nowadays when you are told that Kazuhiro Sasaki "fell on his suitcase" it's almost like they're laughing with you to wink offer such an obviously fabricated story.


Terry, you had to have read this one, right?  :- )
Terry, you had to have read this one, right? :- )


It is POSSIBLE that the only thing going on with Bass was that DiPoto grabbed option A, and then later preferred option B.  But here's a case where I'd really like to know just what Bass did and said when he was traded to the Mariners.  Just my $0.02.


The James Jones thing, it's believable that -- for a day or two -- the Rangers figured they were covering their backsides in the defensive outfield and then decided they were okay.  SOME of these decisions are nothing more than agility and open-mindedness.


Patrick Kivlehan being the PTBNL?!  Something sounds fishy to Dr. D.  Always did.  Cannot imagine what it is, because in my memory backlog there's no precedent within a million miles of it.  I just can't get a purchase, as it were, on the rock wall here.  But, man, I'd like that trade back.  


Would also love to have the Wade Miley deal back, but.  It's straightforward in its logic and if there's anything behind the scenes, it probably has to do with DiPoto's (and the Sox' own inside knowledge that drove Miley's price up.



It says here that Marshawn simply did the sensible thing, backing away from smashmouth football after they'd cut open his abdomen.  As far as him being absent from the team, the Seahawk players have all signed off on that.



I was a Deion Sanders fan, but did you hear him on NFL network, defending Vontaze Burfict to the death?  Not the defense of Burfict, as such, but the shrillness Deion used in arguing ... well, HIS point of view.  Suddenly the clouds part, and you remember the almost manic way in which he argued Richard Sherman should flip sides, and ...  he lost me tonight.

As far as Burfict and Pac-Man Jones throwing away the Bengals' win by going psycho ... You non-AARP kids don't remember when the NBA was full of brutal fights.  The NBA simply told all the players, you close your fist during a game, you're going to be out of the league.  And it stopped right NOW.

The NFL could stop headhunting just as quickly.  Not sure why they don't, exactly; could it be that they don't care enough?  And one more time you've got to give Pete Carroll kudos.  He seems to authentically care about player safety, at certain points (rugby tackling, eliminating Seahawk headhunting, etc) caring about safety even more than he does winning.



Two Detroit Lion Hall of Famers retiring in their primes, confusing the stuffing out of everybody.  Well, one-and-a-half Lions retiring.  What's going on here?  My own wild guess is, both coming from worldviews like Steve Largent's and Russell Wilson's, both were disenchanted with the NFL environment in general and with the Detroit Lions especially.

Of course, you get into such a situation and it's like a migraine headache trigger ... 25 points for stress, and 20 points for MSG in your burger, and 35 points for salt and blood pressure, and you tripwire over 100 points and the h/a sets in ... certainly a guy like Megatron, his injuries count some points in there, and losing counts some points, and some people he doesn't like counts some points, and maybe his contract does.  But I think some guys, if not these two, get out of pro sports in part because of its seamy underbelly.



Last night I read a buncha stuff about high-tech heated benches they sit on, and hot pads they tape to their feet, and like that.  And it started to make sense as to why NFL teams seem to perform quite well in Martian environments.  There's also something about RW3's attitude that gives you the impression that he's got his snake eyes on against the weather.  

And if, on the first drive, the Seahawks' passing offense looks complex and viable, then Lynch's absence may actually be a good thing.  That's when the Seahawks' offense became ridiculous, when the coaches had to pass to set up the run.



Dr D




Throughout the game, I was telling my father,  my daughter and my wife that Burfict was the dirtiest player I ever remember seeing in college.  Aslo said that Pac-Man Jones had a despicable reputation.  And I told my daughter about the sexual assault accussation against Roethlisberger.

Burfict's hit was viscious, Tatum-like, targeted, and it intended to hit the most vunerable of players in the most vulnerable of places, his head.  He will be suspended and deservingly so.

Jone's antics were idiotic.  If there is one hard-fast rule in sports it is that you don't grab a zebra, especially in a game already out of hand.

I felt sorry for McCarron.  A bit sorry for Lewis, but not too mcuh....they were his guys, after all.

I'm not a fan, but Roethlisberger is a big moment guy.

And good for the rooke kicker.  

But adding it all up, the game was an embarrassment.

What a perfect time to remind me of Out of Their League.  Read it when I was a HS sophomore or junior.  Didn't like it quite as much as Ball Four (it lacked Boutin's eye for humor in the morass), but liked it more than North Dallas Forty, which I really didn't like at all.

My wife is a Minnesota girl.  Have to root for the Vikings for her.  She remembers going to the old snowy Met and watching Bill Brown, Joe Kapp, Alan Page and the Purple People Eaters. 


Moe, wasn't it great to see Bud Grant walk on the field yesterday?

Back in the day I was a young Rams fan enamored with the Fearsome Foursome, and one of their nemeses was Grant's Vikings with that Purple People Eaters front four on defense. Grant always looked like he was carved out of granite. Stoic, strong, relentless, determined.


...but my wife loved it!!

I miss the stoic* solid teachers of the Grant/Lombardi/Allen era.

*Well, not always stoic. 


Kudos for the implied reference to the shocking Kermit Washington punch of Rudy Tomjanovich. I was 22, having lived all my life to that point in Southern California, and thus a lifelong Lakers fan. I was listening to the game on the radio (that was in the days before all games were televised) and LA's superstar announcer Chick Hearns was calling the action. Chick was a professional's professional, but he was also at heart a very kind man. He was clearly shocked by what he saw, as were all.

Here's a story about the incident.


Here's a video link:



But re: the Bengals reprehensible behavior last night against the Steelers, that was perhaps the most astonishing combination of sheer stupidity and thuggishness I've ever witnessed in sports with so much on the line. They literally threw away their first playoff win in forever. It would be as if the 2004 Boston Red Sox had, in their decisive World Series game, taken the lead and then proceeded to thow beanballs until the umps were forced to declare the game a forfeit.

Edited to add:

I must admit that despite the utterly stupid play by the Bengals at the end of the game, I can't help but hearken back to the 2005 Super Bowl when we witnessed referees, with obviously uneven enforcement of penalties, to the point of making up a critical holding penalty out of thin air, simply hand a game to Pittsburgh a game the Seahawks would otherwise have won. I missed the third quarter and part of the fourth, and from what I've read it was the Steelers who started the vicious head-hunting hits and put Cincinnati's RB out of the game. I did see Munchack's ridiculous cheap shot hair-pulling in the first half-- at least he was penalized. And why the refs didn't flag the Steelers' coach Porter for his on-the-field behavior that triggered Jones' penalized behavior I'll never know. One could certainly relate to Bengals' fans feeling like the fix was in. No matter what, Burfict's behavior was WAY out of line.

The thing is, NONE of this would have happened but for the silly running play and fumble after Burfict's interception. Why the guy, Hill was it (?), kept fighting for more yardage when all that was needed was to keep possession, I'll never understand.


They don't deserve to have to feel that way after what their own guys did for them.  Yes I remember the first few times I saw Burfict as a college player.  He was the dirtiest college player I had seen in a very long time - maybe ever.  It's not that he would make the most brutal plays - it was that he looked like he was trying to hurt guys on every play.  He has looked the same to me in  the limited times I've watched him in the NFL.

The fact that nothing has changed over the years tells me one of two things:  1)  He's simply a bad guy and that's who he is - OR - 2)  He's just not very smart.  Someone has to have gotten into his ear at some point to let him know where the boundaries are.  Unfortunately his post game interview made me believe more in the former than the latter.


That Burfict is a bad guy.  

and if so, if Lewis is 'trying to work with him,' that's on Lewis.  Great to give a guy a 2nd chance, but the whole idea of '2nd chance' is that you're going to try to amend your ways.

Karma asserts itself here in the most stark of situations.  Glad the Bengals had it come back on them.

Good comments Russ, DaddyO!

jokestar's picture

He really hasn't been penalized, except for a lot of money, until now. He'll probably get a game reduction on appeal, but the suspensions will be a real big hit, moniutarily, for him. Plus, the fans response can't be a positive for him. Hopefully all the crap he is about to face will penetrate that neanderthal beetle browed brain cavity.


This was part of kind of a "throwaway" sidebar column, but I thought it was fascinating and thought I'd share (bold highlights done by me):


Few know the inner workings of the Alabama and Clemson football programs better than Thad Turnipseed.

The former Crimson Tide football player in the early 1990s — who spent the last 11 years at the school as a special projects coordinator and then as Nick Saban’s director of external affairs — just completed his first season at Clemson as director of external operations.

With two words, Turnipseed distinguished the difference.

“Alabama is ‘process,’ ” he said. “Clemson is ‘culture.’ ”

Saban’s notorious process leaves little room for anything not directly involved in winning the next game. Or, as Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin said, “I don’t think having fun enters into about anything we do.”

Nor does time for getting together socially.

“There weren’t 15 players who knew my name at Alabama,” Turnipseed said, “even as close as I was to Nick.”

Meanwhile, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is a people-person extraordinaire.

“The first day at Clemson,” Turnipseed said, “I’m walking around with Dabo and he’s hugging every player and asking about their little brothers and their moms by first name.

“The whole feel is family in a fun atmosphere. That’s how he recruits. That’s who he is. And that’s why we’re successful. Good people like Clemson.”

At Alabama, Turnipseed helped design a “recruiting room” in the six-car garage at Saban’s new house.

He didn’t really want recruits going all through the house,” Turnipseed said. “So we built a recruiting room for guys to hang out.”

At Clemson, Swinney’s recruiting room is bigger.

“With Dabo, his whole house is a recruiting room,” Turnipseed said. “When he opens the door, I just sit back and watch. If there are 300 people there, and he doesn’t know but 100, he’ll meet them all. It’s amazing.”

During recruiting, Turnipseed said, some schools focus solely on who they think are the top talents. At Clemson, the formula has been tweaked.

“Dabo wants you to bring 10 good guys and then see which ones have the highest moral character,” Turnipseed said. “And that’s who we’re going to recruit. It’s that simple. But the key is if the guy at the top doesn’t believe in that culture, it’s not going to work.”

For Turnipseed to leave his alma mater and a high-up position with the most successful current college football program, it took a huge sales job from Clemson.

“Dabo told me, ‘You’ve done everything you can at Alabama. Sometimes, you’ve got to take a step back to go two steps forward. That’s where you are,’ ” Turnipseed said. “Give him credit for seeing that.

“Hey, he’s a recruiter. I went to Clemson for half the money.”

When asked about Saban’s response to him leaving, Turnipseed said: “We don’t have enough time for that story.”

The short version is it happened on the day the Alabama staff was at a golf tournament.

“By Hole 4, Nick called me and he’s getting mad,” Turnipseed said. “I got the ‘cussing-out Nick Saban.’ By Hole 16, he was a little more calm. Then I get in the car and drive home, and two hours later he called and wanted to talk. That’s when I got ‘recruiter Nick Saban.’ ”

But there was nothing Saban could say to change Turnipseed’s mind.

“He knew for me personally and professionally it was time to do it,” Turnipseed said. “What Alabama does works, once you understand it’s a process and you do your role. And I was good at my role.

“The question was whether I wanted a different feel or a different family. I did.”

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