2012 NFL Week 13 Picks – FootballSunday, December 2, 2012 11:07
Game picks for the 2012 NFL season Week 13.
NFL Week 13
MLB Hall of Fame Ballot
Okay, crucify me…I am writing about the 2012 Baseball Hall of fame ballots and the inclusion of known cheaters–Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, among others–on that ballot, instead of about Week 13 in the NFL.
Sorry, I’ll take every shot I can to make a legitimate, reasoned argument against rewarding proven and highly suspect cheaters with a HOF induction.
(If I must link it to the NFL, I will make the same argument against the din of ball-licking media-phytes who have already inducted Bill Belichick into Canton.)
First, read this piece at Hardballtalk.com by Craig Calcaterra:
According to Mr. Calcaterra, your humble columnist and like-minded people are lunatics for shutting the Cooperstown door to athletic scoundrels like Bonds and Clemens. He spends the first part of his column giving us the statistical argument that not only are Bonds and Clemens worthy of induction, but first ballot induction because–”…Bonds and Clemens would be finalists in a contest to name the greatest hitter and the greatest pitcher who ever lived”–they are “immortals.”
Mr. Calcaterra follows with three relatively short paragraphs on the main reason Bonds and Clemens are the most infamous immortals who ever played the game–PEDs. He concludes by saying that form of cheating should not preclude them from HOF induction.
He responds to those who believe Clemens and Bonds’s stats might be bogus by arguing:
- No one really knows when they began using…
- They were all-time greats before everyone “universally agrees” they started using, (mid to late careers)…
- Everyone was doing it. Against pitchers and hitters who were equally juiced Bonds and Clemens still stood out.
Oh, the irony…Those are three arguments that fortify my belief these cheaters should be banned from the game permanently!
Really, what did your parents tell you when you started to say, “Everybody did it?”
If the argument is, we don’t know when they started cheating, it does not automatically legitimize they’re early achievements, but instead brings the entire career statistical picture into question. If you want an analysis of Bond’s more comprehensive statistical picture–it applies to most of these cheaters–try this article, while you forgive my shameless self-promotion:
And, who are these people who “universally agree” when these two cheaters started scamming the baseball world?
Barry Bonds lived a dream of nearly every young boy of my generation. He had free access to the true immortals of the game as Bobby Bonds’s son. He’s been entitled, obsessively competitive, and arrogant all his life. Barry Bonds probably didn’t hear the word “NO!” enough as a child to be given the benefit of the doubt as to when he began to cheat the game.
The more legitimate question for too many of today’s pampered athletes, especially Bonds and Clemens, might be: “Have they ever not cheated…looked for that edge…bent the rules?”
Fact If I Know
Compare Babe Ruth’s home run totals in his first eight seasons as an every day player with those of Bonds. Ruth’s body fat may have increased weekly. He famously got laid and drank heavily everyday while hitting less than 29 home runs only once–above 40, three times, above 53, twice.
In his first eight years Bonds hit more than 29 only 3 times; his 46 during his first year in San Francisco was Bond’s first 35 HR+ season
BaseballReference.com list Bonds’s weight as 185 and height at 6’1″–the exact weight when he was a player for his eight years in Pittsburgh. At his Great Pumpkin head peak, Bonds proudly admitted he weighed a hulking 245.
That’s a sixty-pound difference.
Must have been all that seafood in San Francisco.
Cheating Is Just Wrong, Dammit!
Mr. Calcaterra’s answer to this anti-cheater commandment is as flaccid as it is predictable: HOF voters are not charged with enforcing societal rules against cheating or drug users in MLB. He bolsters that limp reasoning by giving us the old, “spitballer, ball scuffers, bat corkers, sign stealers, and Ty Cobb sharpened his spikes equal PED use” argument.
First, Calacaterra’s examples of “cheating” were known in the eras in which they took place. Everyone in the game knew Gaylord Perry threw a spitball and Whitey Ford cut balls with a razor. On the field there was barely a handful of times either man–or any bat corkers–were caught cheating.
Perry’s book, Me and the Spitter, An Autobiographical Confession, leaves no doubt Perry cheated but experts, while acknowledging foreign substances do alter how a baseball behaves, question whether a pitcher can actually control where the pitch ends up.
In an interview, after joking about whether Tiger pitcher Kenny Rogers had used pine tar to beat the Cardinals in Game 2 of the ’06 World Series, Perry said this:
“He did his thing,” Perry said. “He got all the Cardinals thinking he was doing something with the ball. That’s half the game right there.”
Again, Perry cheated. But, like it or not, reasonable minds recognize there are degrees of cheating. Clear thinking people can discern a difference between slowly coasting though a stop sign in the desert and barreling through a downtown red light during rush hour.
I guess Mr. Calacaterra believes you right a wrong by doing even more egregious and damaging wrong.
He dives off reason’s fiscal cliff when–in another typical Bonds/Clemens apologist tactic–he equates PEDs with amphetamines, alcohol and other drugs. He hangs himself with this verbal neck tie:
…instead of steroids, they used amphetamines or “greenies” as they were called. Players who have either admitted to or have been credibly accused of taking such things include Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. And this leaves out all of the drug and/or alcohol users who took things which hindered their performance, which also impacted the competitive nature of the game, albeit adversely to their team’s interests…
As long as there are hacks out there who lack intellectual integrity, and do not conduct high school level research, I will make a point to call them out on it.
It is idiotic to compare steroid use and its effect on statistics or its impact on what proportions records are broken in the athletic context to the inarguably adverse effects of alcohol, marijuana, and other recreational drugs on anyone’s performance.
PED stands for PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUGS. The “greenies” or “red juice” Mays, Mantle, Rose and Williams used were taken to recover from hangovers, long nights, or to stay alert after an unusually long or uninterrupted stretch of games. Most were prescribed by team doctors. At best, the most speed will do is keep a user “up” enough to play at somewhere near the level he normally does.
There was no written or unwritten baseball rule prohibiting their use and doctors broke no laws by prescribing them.
More importantly, none ever made any ballplayer stronger or faster.
Steroids and HGH can put 50-60 pounds on already physically gifted athletes–without negatively affecting quick twitch movement
Simply, Barry Bonds at 245 pounds possesses the same first step or swing speed as the 185-pound Barry Bonds–an almost incalculable advantage in a sport where 1/32nd of an inch is the difference between a can of corn and a tape measure shot, lazy fly balls or well-hit gap shots becoming home runs, slow ground balls turning into singles.
The extra half-step PED cheaters enjoy results in stolen bases or infield hits, while opposition gap shots can be run down and reduced to long outs. The additional muscle gained from HGH/steroids allows 88 MPH pitchers to crack 90–on their sliders.
The numbers for Bonds and Clemens don’t lie. After age 35, when 99.899% of athletes in human history experience significant deterioration of skills, Barry Bonds surpasses, by 55, his home run total accumulated in his prime years (age 28-34); he smashes Maris’s record–which took the Yankee 34 years and eight additional games to break–by an astounding 13 home runs, or over 20%.
Likewise, Clemens was clearly on the downside of a hard throwing-starter’s career when at age 34 he begins a run during which he earns four Cy Young Awards and 162 more victories.
Go to BaseballReference.com. Type in any player’s name, scroll down to his stats, and you will inevitably notice a striking pattern that cannot be denied: the vast majority of players enjoy their “prime” from age 25-28 through age 32-36. There are, of course, exceptions, but the “norm” is inarguable.
For the last 20+ years the essential nature of baseball has been distorted by a relatively few drug abusers who continue to deny their addiction to any substance or their addiction to WINNING at everything they do, at any cost. (We can’t determine how many players used these substances for legitimate, accepted physiological reasons. Unfortunately, such therapeutic use has been stunted by the abusers.)
Words of Wisdom
Calcaterra ends his ludicrous rant by revealing the genesis of baseball’s guiding directive to HOF voters:
“The Committee shall consider all eligible candidates and voting shall be based upon the individual’s record, ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contribution to the game.”
Initially, he attempts to minimize the statement’s meaning, then tries to justify letting men who disgraced the spirit of athletic competition and the game of baseball by equating those frauds with “racists, segregationists, [other kinds of] cheaters, drug users, criminals both convicted and merely accused” who are already in the HOF.
At that point, Calcaterra insists there is no baseball reason to keep Bonds and Clemens out of the Hall and hopes baseball writers realize that they are ill-equipped “to look into the hearts of men and judge their moral worth.”
Even ill-equipped people of all stripes can recognize the lunacy of Mr. Calcaterra’s logic. Nobody is adjudicating Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens’s moral worth. Who is banging at the Cooperstown door shouting about these guys being morally indecent people?
Let’s look at the baseball reasons Calcaterra insists do not exist.
What exactly did Bonds and Clemens do on the baseball field besides acquire statistics? Bonds and Clemens tried to con the baseball universe into believing their astounding achievements at such advanced ages were due to the gifts God gave them. That was a lie, deliberately perpetrated.
We can only weigh the vast circumstantial and undeniable evidence that screams Bonds and Clemens broke the law of the land and the, albeit unwritten, baseball rule banning PED use.
If those aren’t sound baseball reasons, I don’t know what those words mean.
And therein lies my biggest issue with America’s Cheatin’ Hearts, people who take pains to honor swindlers, outlaws, and con-men–they believe words with dictionary meanings actually mean something different than what the dictionary says those words mean–or they believe those words have no meaning at all.
“…the individual’s record, ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contribution to the game….”
I looked them up. All these words have real accepted meanings. They all come from thousand year-old languages that had just about the same meanings.
Bonds and Clemens boast records almost unequaled in baseball history.
Each possesses preeminent athletic ability.
I’ll leave it to you to judge each man’s integrity…n. the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or professional standards.
Would you teach your son to display the sportsmanship of either Bonds or Clemens?
Would you insist your child emulate the character of either Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens?
What have Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens really contributed to the game?
Calcaterra chides us that answering these questions provides no baseball reason to ban these men from being worthy of enshrinement at Cooperstown:
“I believe that any Hall of Fame that does not include two of the best players to ever swing a bat or throw a ball, no matter what their flaws, is an utter joke.”
I just don’t see the humor.
NFL Week 13 Picks
This weekend’s games have been put into painful perspective by the suicide of KC linebacker Jovan Belcher after the murder of his girlfriend. All we can offer are heartfelt and inadequate condolences to both families and pray there is an answer for everything…
Last week we managed to break even with a couple pushes, but we remain above average overall and near the 60% threshold on our Specials.
Last Week: 7 – 7 – 2 = .500 (Specials: 2 – 2)
Overall Tally: 88 – 84 – 2 = .512
Specials: 27 – 20 – 1 = .574
We arrive at Week 13 on a six game winning streak on our Game of the Week Special. Unfortunately that run was preceded by a record setting “OH-FER” streak of six losses. Can we get over the hump?
GAME OF THE WEEK (6 – 6)
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) @ Baltimore Ravens (8-2) +7.5
I am compelled to pick this contest for the Big Daddy Special, although I was tempted to save it for the Upset Special. There just is not a more compelling match-up on the board, and my jumping on the Men of Steel to cover the 7.5 point spread has nothing to do with my allegiance to the city or its football team.
It’s all about the spread and my steadfast belief the Ravens are a short flight away from the land of Nevermore. Baltimore fans will tell you the Rat Birds have righted their defensive ship in the last four weeks, but that claim falls flat when the best quarterback opposing them during that span was the very shaky Phillip Rivers, followed by the wildly inconsistent and generous Carson Palmer.
I guess the bloated spread is predicated on Charlie Batch and the Steeler running backs puking up the pigskin eight times to the Brownies and reprising the Suckfest that a good portion of America witnessed last week in Pittsburgh.
Mike Tomlin has fallen into a unique habit since he came on board as the Steelers head man–his teams seldom play two rotten games in a row.
I’m thinking the Steelers know they need to make a stand now.
The Steeler defense scores–Polamalu returns–and the special teams force a critical turnover…
(He said, hands clasped in reverence after lighting a candle…)
The more likely scenario has Baltimore winning on a last second field goal…
RAVENS 16, STEELERS 14
LOCK OF THE WEEK (7 – 5)
New England Patriots (8-3) @ Miami Dolphins (5-6) +7.5
We did give strong consideration to make the Texans beating the Titans our LOW, but we’ve been riding the Brady/Belichich gravy train pretty much all year.
Why stop now?
Miami brings promising, talented–but still a rookie–Ryan Tannehill to the game against the Patriots turnover-creating machine of a defense. The Pats “D” has only one less turnover, 32, than league leader Chicago and usually collects them in bunches from its division rivals. In the last four Dolphin floggings, the Patriots have been +7 in the turnover department.
This one may follow the usual AFC East game pattern when the Patriots are involved: a hard fought three-point halftime New England lead; a little tinkering by Belichick, and that close game turns into a 22 point rout.
PATRIOTS 33, DOLPHINS 24
UPSET SPECIAL (7 – 5)
Philadelphia Eagles (3-8) @ Dallas Cowboys (5-6) –10.5
You seldom seem two teams as beat up as the Cowboys and Eagles going into a prime-timer with so little on the line. This late in the year, when all is right in the football world, this match-up means a lot.
Philadelphia starts rookie Nick Foles for the injured Mike Vick. The Bald Birds also lost OT King Dunlap and DT Fletcher Cox to injury last week and besides the concussed Vick, LeSean McCoy also has a rattled noggin.
I’m taking the Eagles and the points, anyway. If you look at Reid’s quarterback history, it usually takes 3-4 games before his signal callers get “it” and start to play well. Foles has a gun of an arm and will face a Cowboy defense down to their third signal-calling linebacker and without starting CB Orlando Scandrick.
This is a risky pick, but this late in the year, bitter division rivals and 10.5 points are too much to pass up.
COWBOYS 30, EAGLES 24
OVER/UNDER OF THE WEEK (7 – 4 – 1)
New York Giants @ Washington Native Americans
It’s one thing when the Falcons’ Roddy White believes his team gave the visiting Saints a win when the offensively prolific Falcons managed just 6 points in four visits to the Red Zone.
It’s one thing for Steelers fans to whine about giving an “inferior Browns team” a game after losing eight turnovers.
It’s another deal all the way around when the Nates start moaning about giving their last game to the G-Men after Eli Manning scorched them with a 77-yarder for the game winning touchdown with barely more than a minute to go in the game.
Almost always such an approach to a rematch smacks of an immature team. If you blame losses on anyone but yourself, are you really ready to win?
The Nates will discover the unpleasant answer to that query Monday Night. Last wee, the G-Men trounced a formidable Green Bay team–at Lambeau. After losses to the AFC North’s Steelers and Bengals, the Giants all of a sudden performed like champions against the Pack.
They have the look of a team ready to make a run they’ve made before.
Both defenses could step up in this one–at least, we hope so…
We’re going with Big Blue and the under.
GIANTS 27, NATIVE AMERICANS 17 –3 (51)
As usual, my picks are in italic below…
NFL Lines For Week 13 – NFL Football Line Week Thirteen
NFL Line 11/29 – 12/3, 2012
|Date & Time||Favorite||Line||Underdog||Total|
|√11/29 8:25 ET||At Atlanta||-3.5||New Orleans||54.5|
|12/2 1:00 ET||At Chicago||-3||Seattle||37.5|
|12/2 1:00 ET||At Green Bay||-8||Minnesota||45.5|
|12/2 1:00 ET||San Francisco||-7.5||At St. Louis||41|
|12/2 1:00 ET||At NY Jets||-6||Arizona||36|
|12/2 1:00 ET||Carolina||-3||At Kansas City||40.5|
|12/2 1:00 ET||At Detroit||-6||Indianapolis||51|
|12/2 1:00 ET||At Buffalo||-6||Jacksonville||43.5|
|12/2 1:00 ET||New England LW||-7.5||At Miami||51|
|12/2 1:00 ET||Houston||-6.5||At Tennessee||47|
|12/2 4:05 ET||At Denver||-7.5||Tampa Bay||50.5|
|12/2 4:25 ET||At Baltimore GW||-7.5||Pittsburgh||35.5|
|12/2 4:25 ET||Cleveland||-2.5||At Oakland||38|
|12/2 4:25 ET||Cincinnati||-1||At San Diego||46|
|12/2 8:30 ET||At Dallas US||-10.5||Philadelphia||43|
Monday Night Football Line
|12/3 8:40 ET||NY Giants O/U||-3||At Washington||51|
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