Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My Retirement

It is my sad duty to announce that I am retiring from the blogosphere.

The good news is that we can fast forward immediately to the part where I un-retire and start blogging for another site.

So, yes, it is true that the blog formerly known as You Suck Coco Crisp is no more. But don't panic. A newer, better, fancier blog has emerged to take its place, thanks to the good people at

It's called Struck Out Looking, and you can access the site directly by going to or via the website.

Other than the name and location, it will be pretty much business as usual. Baseball, the Bronx and, of course, the eternal question: How did Brett Favre trick us into ignoring the disparity between the spelling and pronunciation of his last name?

I want to thank those of you who have been my faithful readers. YSCC has been one of the greatest joys in my life, and I couldn't have done it without you. Well, I could have. But I have low self-esteem, so I probably wouldn't have for long.

So, to send this thing off in style, I think we all know what we need to do. Once more, in unison, for old time's sake, and with a heavy heart: You Suck Coco Crisp.

Talkin' Blago-ball

Well, if you thought that we had finally hit rock bottom—that things could only get better in the world of baseball by virtue of the fact that there was no human way imaginable that they could ever get worse, think again.

Apparently, the Joliet Jackhammers, an unaffiliated Illinois baseball team in the Northern League have offered former Governor Rod Blahblahblahgoveich a contract.

Yeah, like to play baseball.

When I first read about it, I thought, “Now, don’t be cynical, Melanie. Just because this has all the appearances of a really tacky publicity stunt, you shouldn’t assume that it is. Give the good people of Joliet a little credit. After all, they are from the Midwest. Maybe they just really thought this particular forty-two year old with no experience in the sport looked like a good prospect.”

But then I read about "Bobble-Hair Night."

And that’s not the only clever promotional idea the marketing team at the Jackhammers has come up with. They will also be selling special "Golden" seats and have dubbed the whole concept as "pay him to play."

Congratulations, Jackhammers. You’ve found a way to capitalize on both the sad state of your local political system and your sport all in one shot. Not to mention that you are in direction violation of the principle of separation of sports and state.

As a lover of baseball and Midwestern values, all I have to say in response to this shameful mockery is that I will be cheering for the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks for the duration of the Northern League season. Previously, I hadn’t planned on following this season at all because I hadn’t heard of the league, but whatever. I’m flexible.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More Fun Than Steroids

With pitchers and catchers reporting at the end of the week, I’ve been desperately searching for some kind of feel good baseball story on which I could focus.

I know; good luck.

Literally every single headline on is about A-Roid. Before that, it was the Torre book. Then, of course, there’s the Tejada thing. To be honest, it’s been getting me down.

Then someone sent me this video.

No, it’s not baseball. But it what was just what I needed to remind me why sports are worth all the crapelbon we put up with as fans.

If nothing else, it sure as hell beats talking about Frost-Tip.

A-Lawdy, Lawdy

So, after a couple of days of listening to us all say that the best thing that A-Roid could possibly do at this point was confess, he confessed. I mean, duh. He saw how we received those who did (Giambi and Pettitte) as compared to how we shunned those who didn’t (Palmeiro and Clemens). After all, the only thing we hate more than a cheat, is a liar and a cheat.

A-Rod’s Mea culpa came in the form of a hard-hitting interview by ESPN’s Peter Gammons, a guy who isn’t afraid to ask the easy questions in a nice tone of voice. A-Rod wore blue. To bring out the color of his eyes.

All in all, it was extremely informative. And by informative, I mean wasteful of everyone’s time. Here are some gems from the transcript along with my commentary.

PETER GAMMONS: What kind of substances were you taking?
ALEX RODRIGUEZ: Peter, that's the thing. Again, it was such a loosey-goosey era. I'm guilty for a lot of things. I'm guilty for being negligent, naive, not asking all the right questions. And to be quite honest, I don't know exactly what substance I was guilty of using.

I don’t get this. At all. Why would anyone ever think that it worked in his favor to act as though he didn’t know exactly what he was taking? ( Something I don’t believe for a second, by the way.) I mean, it was the act of knowingly taking any banned substance that put A-Rod on shaky moral ground. If he really didn’t know specifically which ones he was using—well, that just makes us question his intelligence as well as his values.

PETER GAMMONS: Where did you originally get the substance?
Again, at the time, you know, you have nutritionists, you have doctors, you have trainers. That's the right question today: Where did you get it? We're in the era of BALCO ... Back then, it was just about what.

That’s funny. Because I thought that back then, and I quote, “I don’t know exactly what substance I was guilty of using.”

There's many things that you can take that are banned substances. I mean, there's things that have been removed from GNC today that would trigger a positive test.

Oh, I see. He pretended not to know “what” in order to trick us into thinking it was something that might have come from GNC. Now I get it.

PETER GAMMONS: You're saying that the time period was 2001, '2 and '3?
That's pretty accurate, yes.

“Pretty accurate?” I like that. Open to interpretation. Loosey-goosey, even. Like the steroids era.

PETER GAMMONS: How much of the culture -- how prevalent was this culture in Texas at that time?
You know, I've always been a guy that raced my own race. And I don't like to look left, I don't like to look right. You just feel there's an energy. To say only Texas, that wouldn't be fair. But overall, you felt that there was -- I felt a tremendous pressure to play and play really well. I felt like I was going up against the whole world. I just signed this enormous contract. I got unbelievable negative press, for lack of a better term, for [Rangers owner] Tom Hicks and I teaming up together...

So I felt that I needed something, without over-investigating what I was taking, to get me to the next level.

Huh? So he races his own race and isn’t influenced by the people to his right or to his left. But…he IS influenced by the energy. And the negative press. And the culture. Oh, OK. Now I understand.

PETER GAMMONS: How long was it before you found out that what you were doing was actually illegal?
Again, at the time of that culture, there was no illegal or legal. It was just -- you have to understand the time. To take you back there, again, people were taking a number of different things, from GNC, to whatever.

Uh, yeah. I’m pretty sure that there was a legal and illegal. And, again, pretty sure that nothing that could be found at GNC made A-Rod fail his pee test.

PETER GAMMONS: Now, you mentioned the Katie Couric interview. You were asked if you ever used steroids, human growth hormones or other performance-enhancing substances. You said no, flat-out no. In your mind, that wasn't a lie?
At the time, Peter, I wasn't even being truthful with myself. How am I going to be truthful with Katie or CBS?

Congratulations, A-Rod. Best excuse for lying ever.

PETER GAMMONS: Now, Jose Canseco talked a lot in his books about you. He claimed in his last book that he hooked you up with a guy that was very well acquainted with performance-enhancing drugs here in Miami. Is that true?
That couldn't be more false. That's a hundred percent not true.

Or…is this just one of those times when A-Rod’s not being truthful with us because he’s not being truthful with himself?

PETER GAMMONS: You were tested during the WBC [World Baseball Classic] in 2006, is that correct?
Correct. I got tested in 2006. And also this year when I go down to Puerto Rico, I'm sure I'll get tested again in 2009.

Prior to Texas, I really had -- at that time in Seattle, I had never even heard of a player taking a substance, a steroid of any kind in my Seattle days. I mean, I know this lady from Sports Illustrated, Selena Roberts, is trying to throw things out there that in high school I tried steroids. I mean, that's the biggest bunch of baloney I've ever heard in my life.

I mean, what makes me upset is that Sports Illustrated pays this lady, Selena Roberts, to stalk me. This lady has been thrown out of my apartment in New York City. This lady has five days ago just been thrown out of the University of Miami police for trespassing. And four days ago she tried to break into my house where my girls are up there sleeping, and got cited by the Miami Beach police. I have the paper here. This lady is coming out with all these allegations, all these lies because she's writing an article for Sports Illustrated and she's coming out with a book in May.

Not only does A-Rod’s rant bear little-to-no relation to the question, but I would say that shooting the messenger is an extremely ill-advised tactic for a man in the middle of an admission of guilt. Leaving aside the fact that everything he says about Selena Roberts is unverified, by accusing his accuser, he sort of kills that whole contrite man in the blue sweater thing he has going.

PETER GAMMONS: Given the opportunity, would you like to go to Major League Baseball and say, "OK, what can I do to help kids across the country?"
100 percent.

Wow. Talk about gotcha journalism.

In case anyone’s interested in what I think A-Rod should have said, it would have been more like, “At the time, I knew what I was doing was wrong, and I knew it was illegal; I did anyway. I have no excuses and no one to blame but myself. Oh, and I lied to Katie Couric. Obviously.”

Do I think the stuff about being young and feeling pressure was probably true? Sure. Do I think you say any of that stuff in an apology? No. I think apologies never involve excuses. And just because someone says, “There are no excuses,” it doesn’t mean we don’t register all the excuses he makes when he makes a bunch of them.

So, all in all, I thought it was pretty weak.

I don’t think that A-Rod is faking the humiliation. I mean, it’s humiliating. And despite what A-Rod said about the race and looking to the right, this is a guy who is deeply invested in public opinion. So I do think that he sincerely feels bad. It’s just that I think he feels bad about the fact that people think bad things about him rather than about his actions. In short, I don’t think he regrets what he did so much as that I think that he regrets that he got busted.

But one thing's for sure; next time I get caught in a lie, I’m totally saying, “At the time, I wasn’t even being truthful with myself. How am I going to be truthful with you?”

Either A-Rod’s more clever than I thought, or he got a hand from the likes of hip hopera artist R. Kelly with that one.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Pinstripe Patterned Glasses

I would like to take a moment to respond to what a couple of my readers had to say about my post, “A Schilling For Your Thoughts.”

My reader, Josh, wrote, “In principle, I agree with Schilling. The fans deserve full disclosure from the Union. And the players who didn't use deserve to be vindicated.”

Blindbejeezus commented, “Don't let those pinstripe patterned glasses make you hate curt for saying something good. Screw what is possible and what is not, is there another player out there saying what is PLAINLY obvious at this point: The power currently wielded by the MLBPA has been bad for baseball ($$$ aside). The union has screwed the sport. I'm ready to bring collusion back.”

I want to make an important distinction.

I agree with both Josh and Jeez on one point: I think that the MLBPA does a major disservice to all of the players who aren’t juiced by covering up for the ones who are. Moreover, I think that part of the MLBPA's obligation as a union is to create a fair and safe working environment for everyone in baseball—an environment which obviously can’t exist as long as steroids are such a huge part of the game. This was, in fact, the subject of my piece, “Nothing Against A-Roid.”

So, in short: Do I think that the MLBPA should have agreed to the confidentiality terms of that collective bargaining agreement? No. Do I think they could have done more in the past to put an end to all this nonsense? Absolutely. Is there more they could and should be doing now? Obviously.

However, it doesn’t change the fact that the terms of that agreement were binding. Case closed. End of story. And just because we WANT to be able to know the names of those 104 players, we can’t demand that those terms be nullified. It’s simply not how the law works.

Here’s the problem: While the corruption in this case may be obvious enough for the breach of confidentiality to seem warranted, where do we draw the line? Maybe I’m just nostalgic for those two months I spent in law school, but you get into dangerous terrain when you talk about rewriting the law under certain circumstance when morality deems it reasonable.

So, while I think there’s nothing to be done with those tests that were taken in confidence—except wait for more of the names to be leaked—I do agree with both of you that the MLBPA needs to start getting its act together and cracking down on this situation like now. If the MLBPA and MLB combined forces and made a sincere effort to get steroids out of the sport, you wouldn’t eliminate them entirely, but you’d come a hell of a lot closer.

On another note, for those of you who haven’t already, you should check out Josh’s blog—Jews in Baseball. It’s about, well, exactly what you think it would be about, and it’s always a delightful read.

I'm Waiting For My Man(ny)

In a recent interview with the La Times about his failure to negotiate a deal with anyone as of yet, Manny Ramirez said, “We're in the seventh inning and I'm waiting for my pitch.”


But here’s the thing about that: When you’re 0-2, you can’t exactly afford to wait for your pitch.

Manny has said of his stint in LA, "I enjoyed the time I spent there. The reporters treated me well. They treated me with respect. When I needed my 15 minutes to go to the cages, they gave it to me. I felt really comfortable there. Everyone treated me well, all of the guys."

Given all that and the fact that the Dodgers are the only team that have officially made Manny an offer, what seems to be the problem?

I know you want a four-year deal, Manny. And I want to be the princess of an island nation in the tropics and to have a staff position at the New Yorker. But that doesn’t mean that I would turn down a trip to Trinidad and freelance job at New York Magazine.

But, whatever. According to Manny, he has no say in the matter. He claims that “it's in God's hands.” While I think it’s pretty unlikely that God cares all that much about where Manny play baseball, it’s not impossible that God cares more than Scott Boras. That guy doesn’t seem to care at all. I just hope that after God makes this decision, Manny knows that he will have to be the one to actually show up to sign the contract.

A Schilling For Your Thoughts

Curt Schilling wrote a post for his blog a couple days ago entitled, “Shocked? You Just Can’t Be Anymore.” (Awesome title, by the way, Curt.) In his piece about the recent A-Roid scandal, Schilling said, “I’d be all for the 104 positives being named, and the game moving on if that is at all possible. In my opinion, if you don’t do that, then the other 600-700 players are going to be guilty by association, forever.”

Here’s the problem with that: It’s not at all possible. Sure, I agree with the sentiment, but under the collective bargaining agreement, those tests were to be confidential. Period. And even though I don’t support the use of steroids—at all—a deal’s a deal. Now, a leak is one thing, but you can’t just decide that because someone leaked one piece of confidential information, you’re going to blow the whole agreement to smithereens. But, whatever. Unless you’re Curt Schilling, I’m assuming that this is obvious.

In fact, for those other 103 juicers on the list; take heart. Baseball COO Bob DuPuy assures us that there is no need to lose faith in the confidentiality of the testing, saying, “I am comfortable [the] program is operated currently as it should be."

Seriously, Bob? Did your subscription to Sports Illustrated lapse, or are you just living in the Lake House?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Nothing Against A-Roid

Well, it looks like A-Rod’s hair isn’t the only thing he’s been chemically enhancing.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve probably heard by now that Sports Illustrated printed a story revealing that Frost-Tip tested positive for steroids in 2003.

Wait a second. That’s funny. I feel like A-Rod did something else of note that year. But what the hell was it? Oh, right. Win AL MVP and the league home run championship.

What a coincidence.

But believe it or not, I’m not going to take this opportunity to rag on A-Roid. (Though obviously he has a new nickname for life.) I mean, you all know how I feel about the guy. This doesn’t really change that. And whatever. If someone somewhere is doing something morally compromising, I just assume that Frost-Tip is involved. So it’s not a surprise or a disappointment. Tell me Bernie Williams tested positive, that’s a different discussion.

My issue right now is actually with the MLB Player’s Association.

Yeah, I said it.

I believe in unions. Screw the man and all that. But Adam the Bull made an interesting point today on WFAN. (Not interesting enough to forgive the name, but I’ll address that another time.) He said that, while, on the one hand, it’s the MLBPA’s responsibility to protect the players who have been busted for violating the steroid rules, it should also be its obligation to protect those players who haven’t. The ones who are struggling to compete in an industry in which people have gone outside the system to give themselves an unfair advantage. So, when Gene Orza, the COO of the player’s union, warns players about upcoming drug tests, he may think that he’s only sticking it to the people at MLB. But not so.

By enabling the guys who are juicing to keep on juicing, he’s kind of sticking it to all the players who aren’t. And by keeping all of this under such a veil of secrecy, the people at the MLBPA end up tarnishing the names of everyone in the sport. Until someone decides to just bust this thing wide open, every player is a suspect. And that hardly seems like a way to protect whatever members of the union are within regulations. And those would seem, to me, to be the members most deserving of the union’s protection.

But not so fast, MLB. You’re not exactly exempt either. This whole thing only got so out of control in the first place because you let it. By treating our bitterness over a strike with a steroids-fueled home run frenzy. Patently imbecilic.

Basically, it would be as though your kid had a weight problem, and you were worried because all the other kids were teasing him. So when he started smoking crack and got thin and made friends, you decided not to say anything. Obviously he was going to eventually start robbing gas stations and having paranoid delusions, but for the moment, the problem was addressed.

Well, guess what? That’s obviously the dumbest way to deal with a problem ever. My analogy may be a little far-fetched, but seriously. Your kid is fat, you put him on a diet. You don’t let him smoke crack. People don’t like baseball? You do more promotions, have players do more community outreach, do more personal interest stories. I don’t know. Ever heard of marketing? I thought the whole reason advertising was everywhere was that we were all stupid enough to buy into it. But whatever you do, you don’t turn a blind eye as a steroid epidemic of unbelievable proportions takes over your sport because the effect that it’s having is working to your advantage. That’s lazy, and it’s immoral, and for salaries of up to $18 million a year, I would expect the guys over at baseball to be doing more than just calling it in.

So, here’s a revolutionary idea. Maybe the people at MLB and the MLBPA can see this as possibly the one opportunity they’re ever going to have to share a common goal—the total elimination of steroids from the sport.

It could happen.

And Coco Crisp could just wake up one morning and realize that, somehow, miraculously, he doesn’t suck anymore.

(Don’t worry; I haven’t forgotten.)

Friday, February 6, 2009

A H-O-R-S-E By Any Other Name

In case anyone wasn’t totally clear on just how bad things were going in the economy, let me paint a picture.

This year’s NBA All-Star weekend is going to feature a game of H-O-R-S-E—something that’s long been fantasized about by many. Only it’s not going to be H-O-R-S-E. Because it’s going to be G-E-I-C-O.

No, you read that right. Like, instead of an “H,” it’ll be a “G,” and instead of an “O,” it’ll be an “E,” and so on. I totally get why no one buys fiction anymore. I mean, the stuff that actually happens is truly amazing.

Now, we’re obviously all totally inured to advertising at this point. We go to the movies and see advertising for sodas, we buy cans of sodas and see advertising for movies. It’s everywhere, shamelessly woven into the fabric of our lives, and you know what? We deal with it. That is, however, until it subsumes the event that it is supposed to be merely sponsoring. That’s when we decide to get annoyed.

And by we, I, of course, mean me.

H-O-R-S-E is a game that reminds people of their youth, which is why it was such an appealing idea to bring it to the All-Star Game. Seeing as that H-O-R-S-E is such a classic game and that its name is integral to the actual playing of it, it’s going to irritate people when they find out that the good people at NBA had the gall to actually sell the naming rights. Like they owned them.

I mean, it’s not a total surprise. I’m guessing that the genius who thought of this figured that we’d all think it was insanely clever and adorable. Like everyone seems to think that gecko is. Everyone except me. What can I say? I’m just not a huge fan of those Geico commercials. Yeah, I know; I’m the only one. But A) Australian accents make me insane, B) Talking animals remind me of mascots, and C) I don’t get what’s so goddamn funny about a caveman.

Leaving aside my feelings about cavemen and Australian accents, the bottom line is that there was a semi-tasteful way to do this. Like to have it be H-O-R-S-E—sponsored by Geico. That I could have lived with. But this leaves me with the unsettled feeling that the only derby I’ll be watching this July will be the Exxon Derby.

But maybe I’m just being bitter. My friend Josh seems to think that we should capitalize on the advertising frenzy and is actually working on a deal with Google in which every fifth word he speaks will be Google. I’m currently trying to work out a similar arrangement with Snuggie.

You’d be surprised, but for people who walk around wearing blanket-robes, they’re kind of a bunch of hard-nosed pricks.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Leave Michael Phelps Alone

In a recent article entitled, “Michael Phelps Betrays Himself and His Admirers,” David Ramsey wrote that Phelps “fills us with shame.”

Because he took a bong hit.

And Ramsey isn’t the only one up in arms. Elisabeth Hasselbeck of “The View” and countless others have been making a stink about Phelps and his degeneracy, expressing their disappointment in his failure to act as a proper role model, even going so far as to demand that he serve time for his crime.

I’m sorry. Maybe I missed all the news coverage on this one, but did Michael Phelps kill a prostitute and burn an American flag after he finished smoking that bong hit?

I’ve never been a huge Michael Phelps groupie. I mean, much respect for all those medals and everything, but as soon as someone starts to have a following, that’s kind of where they lose me. Naturally, though, now that the world’s turned its back on him, I’ve obviously come to love him.

Sure, smoking pot is juvenile and silly and whatever. But you want to know what else is juvenile and silly and whatever? 23-year-old dudes. And you know what? Even though he has weird super strength and some kind of magical hidden retractable fins and is more famous than most of us will ever be, at the end of the day, Michael Phelps is just a 23-year-old dude. So I don’t get the expectation that he’d do anything other than act like a 23-year-old dude.

I understand that what he did was illegal. It’s just hard for me to take seriously that people are so up in arms about this when we live in a culture that turns a blind eye to the excessive consumption of alcohol by its young people. And legal or not, alcohol is the most toxic drug there is.


Too much alcohol can literally kill people. Too much pot makes people eat too much and laugh at dumb crap. Again, detox from alcohol can literally kill people. Detox from pot makes people get jobs and haircuts.

But what about his DUI in 2004, people will ask. Isn’t this a pattern? Well, a DUI is a heinous offense. I will admit that. I have no tolerance for that kind of idiocy. But it’s not impossible that the only pattern it was a part of was the pattern that dictates that dumb teenage boys will act like dumb teenage boys. Phelps lives his life under a microscope, so we just get to bear witness to every dumb thing he does.

But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that these behaviors are indicative of some kind of issue with substance abuse. It seems a little weird that our reaction would be to demand his head on platter rather than to express our concern. If the guy’s got a problem, he deserves our sympathy and support—not our censure.

In any event, I think it’s a little early to make that kind of assessment. For now, all we’ve got on our hands is the case of a 23-year-old kid who smoked weed at a party. And if that 23-year-old kid isn’t an Olympic medalist, this story sure as hell ain’t making headlines.

Oh, and speaking of which, State of South Carolina, I’m sorry but what? Criminal charges? For photos of someone taking a bong hit? I mean, really South Carolina. You already have John Edwards and those accents working against you. Is the goal to just eliminate any doubt from our minds that you are not a state to be taken seriously?

Well, don’t worry. I’m sold.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Battle Lines Being Drawn

Last night, Mets fans gathered outside of the SNY studios to stage a “Bring Manny to Queens” rally. The turnout was small, but the message was clear: Some people just have way too much time on their hands.

Don’t get me wrong; I believe in protest as a valuable tool to affect social change. I just kind of think that if you are going to expend that kind of energy it should be on something that matters. Like an actual cause.

I’ve learned after years of fanmanship that there is not a balance of power in sports relationships. We care about our teams more than our teams care about us. Players, managers and owners are ultimately going to do what they do regardless of what we think about it. Sure, once in a while they appear to be responding to popular opinion, but usually only when it’s a question of damage control. For the most part, though, we don’t have a particularly loud voice in the decision-making process. Nor should we. Opinions are like pujols—everyone’s got one. Show me forty people who want Manny on the Mets, I’ll show you forty who don’t.

But the good news for Mets fans is that Wilpon and Minaya ultimately share the same goal as their fans—to win championships. They’re just going to try to accomplish that goal in whatever way they see fit. Regardless of what anyone has to say about it. So no matter what they tell us, if they sign Manny—and I don’t think they will—it won’t be because anyone froze his ass off on 6th Avenue in a dreadlock wig to make it happen.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Boras Being Boras

In today’s LA Times, the Creature from the Black Lagoon (aka Scott Boras) was quoted as saying this about the Manny dilemma, “I can’t put a timetable on this, but I know that spring training is a long time away,”

Um, I hate to be that jerk who breaks the bad news, but it’s actually not. I mean, maybe according to the Kabbalah calendar. But in baseball time, it’s in a couple of weeks.

Clearly Boras is trying to Jedi mind trick us into thinking that Manny isn’t screwed because he needs to divert our attention. From what? The fact that he’s the one who screwed him. How? By making Teixeira his real priority, by overestimating Manny’s market worth and by failing to encourage Manny to sign with the Dodgers—because that’s really the place where he belongs.

Manny’s options are dwindling away. The Giants won’t give him the years he wants, the Angels are supposedly not making anymore moves in the foreseeable future, and the Yankees plain old don’t need him. (Hallelujah.) As for the Mets, despite Jerry Manuel’s rumblings, I don’t see it happening.

The bottom line is that the Dodgers haven’t just given him his best offer. At the moment, they’ve given him his only offer. I’m no sports agent, but when the season’s rapidly approaching, and no one seems to want sign your client, don’t you advise him to take the only offer he’s been given? Especially when it involves $45 million?

But, like I said, I’m no sports agent.

Leaving aside the question of who wants Manny (the Dodgers) and who doesn’t (everyone else), the fact is that Manny makes sense as a Dodger. He needs to be the big fish, needs to play for fans who care more about big hits than running out the ground ball. In short, he needs a town so laid back that its residents are oblivious of the reality that there are few things in life more irritating than Manny being Manny.

So, Boras, I’d advise you to go to the Dodgers and give them a reasonable counteroffer—like one that’s basically the same as their original offer but just a little bit higher so that you fools can save face. But do it soon because their offer has already expired and who knows at what point they’re going to be too annoyed to give you the courtesy of saving face.

Or you could just go with the Andy Pettitte strategy and stand your ground until you get the Dodgers to give you half of what they had originally offered. That or wait for someone unhinged enough to give Manny a four-year contract.

It could happen. And the Cubs might also win a World Series again.

No Lie Worse Than A Bald-Faced Lie

In case we were all getting bored while we waited for pitchers and catchers to report, here’s a little bit of good news: More steroids intrigue.


Am I the only one who misses the good old days when the financial scandals happened on quiz shows, the press knew better than to publicize the tawdry details of a president’s affairs and the baseball players letting us down were at least underpaid enough to be sympathetic?

In this latest addition of “Roid Rage,” both David Justice and Doc Gooden deny claims made by former Mets employee/steroid peddler Kirk Radomski in his new book. The claims? That he gave David Justice HGH and Doc Gooden two cups of pee. I’m honestly not sure which one I’d pick given the option.

The bottom line in these cases is that we never really know what happened. It’s one man’s word versus another and all a person has to go on is a gut reaction. And there is nothing less reliable than a gut reaction. (Except maybe Fox News.)

That said, I’m obviously going to give you my gut reaction.

It’s a well established fact that Doc Gooden had a cocaine problem. A fact established by the arrests, the trips to rehab, the positive tests for cocaine and, of course, his admission that he had a cocaine problem. So there’s no real reason for Doc to want to hide any behavior related to his drug use. The fact that a drug addict would want to cover up a dirty urine is hardly newsworthy. And, yet, Gooden vehemently denies the claim that Radomski ever peed on his behalf, saying, "I don't know what he's talking about. I've made mistakes through the years, and I've admitted them, but that never happened. And the way the tests were administered, it couldn't have happened. I've done enough wrong on my own, I don't want to get blamed for something I didn't do."

True, it’s possible that the old ballplayer instinct to “Deny ‘em all and let Mitchell sort ‘em out” may have kicked in. But, seriously, if Radomski’s story was true, I think Doc would have put the issue to bed a lot sooner by saying, “Yeah, I had a cocaine problem, which I wanted to keep from my employers. Obviously, I was never successful.”

But you know what else my gut tells me? That it’s a little weird that the only time David Justice would have purchased HGH from Radomski would have been right after the season had ended. And right before he was going to through airport security. I’m not saying Justice was never on the juice. I don’t claim to know. I’m just saying that the timing and location of their one and only transaction seems a little suspect.

Of course, Radomski does have a check that Justice gave him, which proves, at the very least, that money changed hands. But we’ll have to take Radomski’s word on that one. He can’t like produce the check or anything. But we know he has it. Cuz he told us. Unless, of course, as Justice suggests, Radomski is telling a "bald-faced lie.”

Touché, Justice. That’s harsh.

While we will never really know what happened here, a lot of the verifiable facts in the book were just plain wrong. For one, the assertion that Clemens and Conseco never played on the same team. (They played on not one but three of the same teams.) There was also the claim that the reason Radomski left the Mets was because the Wilpons had bought out the Doubledays and created an unpleasant working environment. (Radomski quit in 1995 and the Wilpon buyout happened in 2002.) Finally, Radomski suggests that Gooden's suspension happened in 1988 following Radomski's refusal to give Gooden a third clean urine. (Actually, that suspension happened in 1994.) The only thing these errors prove definitively is that Radomski had a lousy fact-checker, but it makes us question the veracity of a lot of his other assertions.

Regardless, there’s one thing I can say for sure: Anyone who distributes steroids for a living and, when exposed, is not penitent and humiliated enough to not want to write a mud-slinging book about it? Piece of crapelbon. Period. That’s not a gut reaction. That’s just obvious.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter all that much who’s telling the truth. I mean, either way, we’re left with pretty much the same results. Radomski’s still a scumbag, Gooden still had a drug problem, and David Justice will still be best remembered by history as one of the worst commentators of all time.

I know that’s how I’m going to remember him, anyway.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pettitte: Driving A Hard Bargain

After months of fruitless negotiations, Andy Pettitte and the Yankees have finally come to an agreement. And I think we’ve all relearned an important lesson: When the Yanks brass make you an offer and say, “Take it or leave it,” they mean it. And if you’re a thirty-six-year old pitcher, coming off of a mediocre season and that offer is for $10.5 million guaranteed, you take it.

Or you could just go with Pettitte’s strategy and holdout for months, have your people spread rumors about a three year $36 million offer from a “mystery team” and then eventually sign with the Yanks for half of what they originally offered. True, Pettitte’s new contract is filled with incentive clauses and he stands to make even more than $10.5 million assuming he is able to meet the criteria laid out in the contract. $4.5 million in incentives based on innings pitched, 2 million based on time on the active roster. It’s also true that, based on past performances, the incentives are fully within Pettitte’s grasp. However, given his age and his shoulder injury at the end of last year’s season, my prediction is that he walks away with less than what he would have gotten out of the first offer.

It’s like they always say: $10.5 million birds in the hand is better than $6.5 million in incentive clauses in the bush. Or something.

Not surprisingly, Pettitte was somewhat sheepish about the deal, saying, “Heck, the bottom line is I'm a man, and I guess it does take a shot at your pride a little bit.”

Note to Pettitte: Don’t say heck. Ever.

I have made no secret of the fact that I didn’t think that we should sign Pettitte, that having signed CC and AJ, we should give the kids a shot at the back end of the rotation. But now that we have, I’ll say this, though I’m sure that no one in the Bronx will hear me: Put Joba back in the bullpen. We have a rock solid starting rotation without him. With Joba as your setup man, followed by Mo, we’re dealing with a six-inning ballgame—most of the time. Then, eventually, when Mariano reveals himself to not be an alien and his body gives out on him, Joba becomes our closer. Unfortunately, however, Cashman seems pretty wed to the idea that Joba belongs in the starting rotation.

But in Cashman’s defense, these are hard decisions, and he has a stressful job. He said so himself just yesterday: "I feel the heat. I've always felt the heat. I've never not felt the heat. Do I think it's any hotter now than it was before? No. But do I feel it every day? Yeah, I do."

Does anyone else see a second career in tropical meteorology in Cashman’s future?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Et Tu, Torre?

According to recent reports, Joe Torre has decided to reveal more than just the seedy underbelly of the Yankees in his new tell-all book “The Yankee Years.” He reveals that beneath the veneer of his Austenian perfection lies a man just as willing to sink to the depths of human depravity as the rest of us.

Mark this one down with Santa and the Easter Bunny.

I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t sort of love reading reports that Yankees teammates referred to A-Rod as “A-Fraud” and that he was widely perceived to have a “single white female” complex with Jeter. Nor will I pretend that I wouldn’t have given anything to have been a fly on the wall during the final failed negotiation meeting between Torre and the Bombers brass. But just because gossip-hungry jerks like me want get cheap US Weekly-type thrills from having this information, it doesn’t mean that I’m glad to have gotten them from Torre.

I don’t know exactly what compelled Torre, after so many years of restraint, to suddenly go all Jose Conseco on our asses. Was it the revenge factor? After seasons of dealing with a ruthless Steinbrenner clan and a spineless Cashman, had Joe just built up so much hostility that he was ready to air his laundry now that he was finally in a position to? Or was it all about the money? Period. I don’t quite know which would be a more upsetting prospect. The possibility that Torre is as petty and childish and disappointingly human as the rest of us or that his principles have a price.

If it’s the former, and I assume that there’s at least a little of that mixed in there, then here’s the thing that’s upsets me the most. It’s that Torre doesn’t give us enough credit. Yeah, we’ve heard him defend George Steinbrenner over the years, we heard him say that Cash was his greatest proponent during the negotiations, we also heard him express his undying support for A-Rod as a player in whom he had faith. But guess what, Skip? We knew that none of that was true. I mean, please. You think that just because you acted like you thought Steinbrenner was a sometimes spirited but ultimately well-meaning team owner rather than a sociopath we actually doubted the fact of his derangement? Do you think that just because you held your tongue about the way that Cashman failed to come to your aid during last year’s infamous negotiation meeting we somehow didn’t know that Cashman was a Steinbrenner whipping boy who would always fail the test if the test involved showing a little backbone? I mean, really Joe. Do you think any of us thought that A-Rod was anything other than despised in the clubhouse or that you ever considered him to be Jeter’s equal on the field or as a man?

Please. Give us some credit. It’s not that we didn’t know all this stuff. But the reason we all respected you so much was that you had too much class and good taste to ever say it.

Don’t get me wrong. Are there things that you reveal in your book that we didn’t know? Absolutely. Like the fact that the Yankees medical staff informed Steinbrenner about your prostate cancer before they ever talked to you. But, again, while this may be a detail about which we were in the dark, it does little to change the way that most of us already felt about Steinbrenner. When you write a trashy book about people generally perceived to be trashy already, the only person who it stands to negatively affect is you, the author.

Now, according to the book’s co-author, Tom Verducci,Torre and the book are getting a bad rap. Verducci claims that it is a third person account of a period of Yankee history rather than a first person tell-all about Joe’s experience. He also says that, while Torre is always honest, he’s never tasteless. That the details that we have read about the book are going to seem a whole lot less smutty when read in context.

Gosh, I’m trying to think. Where else have I heard something like that this week? Oh, right. From Governor Rod Blagojevich, who claimed that the recording that we heard of him suggesting they sell off the Senate seat would actually make him sound like a fighter of corruption when played in context.

Well, more will be revealed on both of these fronts, I assume—after both the impeachment hearing and the release of Torre’s book. I certainly plan to read the book and am open to the possibility that I am wrong. However, as it stands, and based on what I know, I have to admit to being disappointed. The prospect that Torre is a man with anything other than impeccable integrity? Well, it would be like finding out that Obama didn’t totally believe in Hope. (Capital “H.”) Or that Mike Mussina actually hated tractors.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's All Greek To Me

Well it appears Stephon Marbury may have finally found a place to rest his weary (and by weary, I, of course, mean crazy) head. And that place is Greece.

Yeah, as in that dope country on the Mediterranean coast. Who knew all you had to do to get shipped off to that place was act insane enough to be committed and make a bunch of unreasonable demands?

That’s right. It turns out that the Greek team Olympiacos has recently lost Josh Childress for up to two months to a sports hernia, and they’re clamoring for some new talent. Apparently, they have reached out to the Knicks to discuss what it would take to have Marbury released from his contract.

As you might imagine, Greek basketball franchises are not often the brokers of buyouts between NBA teams and their players, but this wouldn't be the first time. In 2007, Olympiacos rival, Panathinakos, reportedly paid the Spurs for the release of one of their players.

(Similar reports have also been made—but cannot be verified—about Greek team Bananafanafofinakos.)

Now, in theory, this could pan out to be a great option for everyone. Olympiacos finds someone to fill their hole, the Knicks get rid of a little dead weight, Marbury gets a shot—not only to actually play—but in a country where people can’t understand what he’s saying well enough to register how crazy he is. Everybody wins, right? Right.

Amazing. Done. I’m pumped. Let’s make it happen.

But there’s one little problem, which is that everyone involved with the Knicks apparently suffers from the Greek brain disease Whatthehelliswrongwithyouofinakos. How do we know this? Well, for starters, the only thing that originally prevented them from solidifying Marbury’s release was James Dolan’s refusal to accept Marbury’s offer to give back a million dollars of his $20.8 million salary. Why? Because Dolan wants two million dollars. (That is according to Mike Francesa, anyway.) And while I know the difference is a lot in real people money, in sports franchise money, that’s like a one month MetroCard and a week’s worth of lattes. Enough to be annoying but not nearly enough to be a deal-breaker.

Further evidence of this judgment-impairing illness is the fact that Donnie Walsh is likely to hold off on pursuing the deal until February 19th because he is clinging to the delusional hope that NBA teams that actually want Marbury are going to magically come out of the woodwork before the trade deadline. But guess what, Donnie? The president of the other NBA teams speak English and have, consequently, had to bear witness to all the drama that has unfolded in your clubhouse over this situation over the last several months. As previously established, the people in Greece do not speak English. At least not as a first language. I think that’s your real advantage here. So you might want to hop on it. And soon. Like before they get suspicious and bust out the old Greek-to-English dictionary and get some poor Olympiacos intern working on translating old archived Marbury-D’Antoni articles from the deadspin website. Because that will undoubtedly be the kiss of death.

That or they may also just get annoyed and impatient and start looking somewhere else.

So come on, guys. Don’t be proud. Just suck it up and get it done. We don’t need another gyro.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Integrity Shmintegrity

In yesterday’s New York Times, Tony La Russa made what I thought was an interesting comment about Mark McGwire’s integrity. He said that he had it.

La Russa cited, as an example, the fact that McGwire retired with two years and $30 million left on his contract—without asking for a buyout—because he didn’t think he could be effective anymore.

Was that an admirable thing to do? Sure, of course. I guess. Though, in theory, we shouldn’t think it's that admirable. Because it’s actually just plain old decent. I think we’ve just become so accustomed to dealing with greedy athletes that our standards are low. But, regardless, admirable though the act may have been, one admirable act does not a person with integrity make.

Integrity can be defined as an adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. And adherence is steady or faithful attachment. So it follows that a man’s integrity can’t be defined by one act. It’s defined by all of his acts.

The bottom line is that the use of performance enhancing drugs—AKA cheating—isn’t an adherence to any kind of moral and ethical principles. And, ultimately, this is the act for which McGwire is currently being barred from the Hall. A person gets into the Hall because of his merit as a player. Apparently, not everyone feels comfortable voting someone in if they feel like he’s come by his merit dishonestly. You see, whether or not McGwire asked for a buyout on the last two years of his contract is sort of beside the point, La Russa.

I understand that for some it can be hard to reconcile the inconsistencies in people’s actions. Let me quote our soon-to-be-former President, who recently said in his farewell address that “good and evil are present in the world and between the two there can be no compromise.” That would appear to be La Russa’s take.

Well, to paraphrase the words of another philosopher, “It may be hard to understand, but compassion and cruelty can reside side by side in the same heart.” OK. So maybe that wasn’t a philosopher as much as it was the epilogue from an episode of Desperate Housewives. (What? I’m not above it.) The principle, however, is sound.

Take, for example, La Russa, who can be, well, a jerk. Who likes to defend the honor of other jerks. (See Bill Belichick.) Who makes public his grievances with players and reporters. (He of course also gets DUI’s, but I’d say that’s less evidence of jerkiness than of a drinking problem.) But then here’s the confusing part: La Russa loves kittens. No, like, really loves them. And also puppies and pretty much everything cute and furry. So much so that he’s a vegetarian and has an animal rescue foundation. As someone who loves most puppies and kittens more than I love most people, this definitely scores some pretty major points with me.

So, then what’s our assessment: good person, bad person? Person with integrity or no integrity?

Perhaps, McGwire’s steroid use—I’m sorry alleged steroid use—is not evidence of a black soul as much as it is evidence of an insane and tragically unrelenting need to excel and be perfect. Just as it’s possible that his decision to retire with two years left on his contract may have been less of the result of an exceptional character as a guilty conscience. I don’t presume to know. The point is that people are complicated, as are their motivations. But that doesn’t matter. The world doesn’t judge us by our motivations but by our actions. And the common perception is that Mark McGwire gave himself an unfair advantage by taking performance enhancing drugs.

So, La Russa, it’s not just about the fact that we’re at odds about our definitions of integrity. It’s about the fact that if McGwire never finds his way to Cooperstown, it won’t be so much about his integrity as it will be about the unfair advantage. I mean, seriously, if it was about integrity, they’d find a way to bar Manny, and I assure you they won’t.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Another One (Manning/New York Sports Franchise) Bites The Dust

One of the callers on today’s Mike Francesa Show was able to provide me with some interesting insight into Sunday’s somewhat catastrophic Giants game. He said that the fundamental difference between last year and this year was that last year the Giants were hunters, and the other teams were their prey.

That was the sum total of his commentary.

I, like probably a lot of you, thought this year’s devastation had at least a little something to do with Eli Manning’s total inability to manage the wind, the insane dominance of the Eagles’ defense, two failed fourth down attempts, and even, perhaps, that whole Trapped in the Latin Quarter Club thing.

But, no. It’s because last year the Giants were hunters.

I’m sorry. Do they not have someone over at WFAN to like screen the callers or something? Maybe an intern?

Whatever the case, last Sunday capped off a year in both baseball and football that has been truly something of a shit show. Well, for New Yorkers anyway. I mean, I guess someone somewhere is like super psyched to see the Cardinals go on to play in the NFC championship. Presumably someone who is forced to live in Arizona. And obviously people in Tampa Bay had it pretty good this year, considering.

Of course, Philly sports fans—the fans formerly known as the lunatic losers—are still riding the wave of their World Series championship. Let’s just hope they don’t keep riding it all the way to the Super Bowl. I’m sorry but the only thing more unbearable than a Philadelphia sports phan is one with bragging rights. (I mean, other than a chowda head. Obviously.)

But apparently it’s not just the Phillies phans who are classless. It’s their quarterback, too. After running out of bounds in the fourth quarter, McNabb picked up the phone on the Giants’ sideline and had a fake conversation for a few seconds before getting flagged with unsportsmanlike conduct. Giants fans are obviously all up in arms about how it was such an offensive display of bad taste. Eagles fans defend the move as hilarious and all in good fun. (Not that they should be our gauge for class because, as we’ve established, they have none.)

My take? The guy was excited and got carried away. I think it was obnoxious, insensitive, and a display of bad judgment, but I also don’t think that he was exactly thinking it through. I mean, it wasn’t quite what you’d call a premeditated act. So, whatever.

That’s not really what concerns me. What concerns me is why the guy standing on the sidelines wearing a Giants jacket would have thought to smack McNabb on the ass while all this was going on. I get that, for whatever reason, ass-smacking is just always going to be some weird, big part of sports that I can’t wrap my brain around. But, I mean, at that moment? Really? Is the overwhelming need to smack the ass of anyone who has collided into you so all-consuming that you fail to realize that that the ass you are smacking actually belongs to the quarterback for the team that is currently dashing your Super Bowl hopes while he makes fun of you to your face with his unsportsmanlike conduct? Seriously, if you’re gonna smack ass, try to make it at least a little bit dignified.

But I guess it was just ones of those games where everyone was acting on emotion, and sometimes emotions makes us do foolish things—smack an ass, pick up a phone, or, in the case of Tom Coughlin, recklessly throw a red flag.

When Derrick Ward failed to get the first down after the Giants decided to go for it on fourth and inches, Coughlin threw away his second timeout in order to challenge the call. Not necessarily that well reasoned. But, as Joe Buck said, Coughlin was close to the ball, and he saw it with his heart, if not his eyes.

Spoken like a nine-year-old girl riding a unicorn through Narnia, if not a sportscaster.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Dawn Of A New Eira

I know it’s been a while, and I’m sorry. But let me assure you that the theoretical move to is happening within the month-ish, at which point I will be updating my situation multiple times daily.

But in the meantime, while you may not be able to count on regular updates at YSCC, it’s nice to know that there are still some things in life you can depend on. Like, for example, MLB beat writer Bryan Hoch. There’s just something comforting about the fact that whenever there’s a basic piece of Yankees-related information to be communicated, you know that somehow Hoch is going to find the craziest possible way imaginable to communicate it.

There was my personal favorite—the time that he accidentally phrased a sentence to make it sound like there was a statistic for water and oxygen. (What he had really meant to do was use water and oxygen as part of a stupid analogy.)

There was also the time he described the speech that Jeter made to close down the Cathedral as “a moment stripped from cinema.”

Oh, and that time he said, “If Robinson Cano was given a do-over, he might have attacked Saturday's seventh-inning grounder differently. But the Yankees second baseman has no intention of changing the way he plays.” Hard to wrap your brain around, right? It’s like, does Cano want the do-over or would he not change a thing?

But that’s what I love about Hoch. He makes you think.

More than that, though, Hoch is what you’d call reliable. Reliably confusing. And in a recent expression of this confusing reliability, he wrote, “Securing back pages on snowy street corners means little for the regular season—a fact the Yankees know all too well.”

Now, I can’t confirm the veracity of this statement because the “fact” in question—the one about the back pages and snowy street corners—would have to make sense in order for it to be verifiable. (Seriously, I read this sentence twenty times before finally picking up Finnegan’s Wake because my brain hurt and I wanted to look at something that would be easier to digest.) So, if the Yankees are indeed familiar with this “fact,” then hats off to them for speaking, uh, Hochonese. A language so difficult that, like Arabic, the members of the U.S. Intelligence Community are still trying to master it.

As a result of this language gap, I couldn’t tell you for sure what Hoch’s piece was about. However, based on the headline and a few other tidbits that I managed to piece together, I think I got the idea. The gist of it was that, apparently, as it turns out, money was not the deciding factor for Teixeira in his decision to come to New York. It was family. Damn. Cashman’s gotta feel like kind of an asshole for having offered such stupid salaries to two of the only players alive who didn’t actually give a crapelbon about the money. (Remember? For CC it wasn’t a business decision either.)

According to Hoch, Teixeira brought the issue to the table when he “dined with his wife, Leigh, over their regular date.” (Don’t ask.) Apparently Teixeira asked her where she thought he should play, assuming all the offers were equal. I’m sorry, but that’s like asking your broker what stocks to buy assuming all stock values were equal. I mean, it’s nice to fake decide who you’d fake save on some fake boat if you only had two fake life preservers or whatever, but truth bomb; the only thing more pointless than a hypothetical is a wish for a do-over. (All truth bombs courtesy of Tim McCarver—obviously.)

Recently, one of my readers gave me a hard time for my criticism of Sabathia. Among other things, he said that I should know by now that it’s always about the money. And you know what? Point taken. But it’s not so much that I don’t get that it’s all about the money or think there’s some universe that exists where it ever could be about anything other than the money. (Not that that wouldn’t be nice.) It’s more that it would be refreshing to just hear these guys say unequivocally, “Hell yeah, this was a business decision. Because it’s all about the money.”

A.J. Burnett actually did say that—more or less—when he went on the Mike Francesa Show. Sure, he made a point of saying how excited he was to play for the Yanks and to be in pinstripes and all that other stuff, but he was honest about his bottom line. And you know what? Much respect. I know these guys think that they sound less like jerks when they pretend that there are other factors that go into making these decisions, but they actually sound less like jerks when they don’t treat us like idiots.

This is not to say that I have a real beef with Teixeira. My impression of him is that he's actually a pretty good dude. Plus, at the end of the day, if it was gonna be Manny or Teixeira—and it was gonna be Manny or Teixeira—well, you know the end of that sentence unless you literally just landed on earth, have never spoken with me, and started reading my blog right this second. OK. I guess there are other scenarios in which you might have never spoken to me or read my blog until now. That was crazy. Consider yourself Hoched. But you get the point.

Another reason that I have for getting behind the Teixeira acquisition is that this insane expenditure of money means that we’re not going to go after anymore pitchers, Pettitte included if he continues to hold out for a bigger offer. What does that mean? Our young guys get to duke it out for the number five spot. And who was it who suggested that that’s what we should be doing with our number five spot? Oh, right. That was me.

As for talent, I mean, obviously. A gold glove caliber, switch-hitting first baseman who hits for power and drives in a lot of runs? Not exactly the kind of guy you kick out of your lineup. Did we pay a kind of obscene amount of money to acquire him? Of course. Did we, in fact, probably overpay for him? Yeah, sure. Do I think it’s like kind of unreasonable and out of control that there’s such a disparity between our payroll and, say, the Marlins’? Yeah, definitely. And someone needs to regulate that situation. And I won’t lie and say I don’t feel at all sheepish about the fact that we waltzed our way into and out of the offseason with the three most coveted players on the market—just because we can. But that doesn’t mean I’m sad to have him. And, seriously, who could be? (I mean, other than Nady and Swisher. But that’s another story.)

I have but one grievance.

Um. Teixeira? Really? What in the what is going on with that insanity? I mean this isn’t even a case of a spelling that doesn’t match its pronunciation. It’s about a spelling with no pronunciation that makes sense. Like, if your last name’s Teixeira, you might as well do what Prince used to do and just use a symbol for your name.

Oh, and P.S. sports fans, Tex is not the correct nickname for a guy who pronounces his name “Tesherra” But I guess Tesh would also be a pretty demented nickname, so I don’t know where you go from here. I mean, call me crazy, and I know it’s a little on the dull side, but…Mark?

Has a certain ring to it.