The Occasional Tendown January 20 2013

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Dear Internet:

148 is here. This is Tendown 149

1.Everybody's Gettin' Catfished.

It's too bad Manti Te'o's out of eligibility; one assumes that Notre Dame would just be able to get him transferred to another parish.

The Te'o mythology didn't begin this year; I'm a USC fan, I've been hearing for years about how he was planning to attend, but then God told him to go to Notre Dame instead.  Te'o got to wear the Tebow Memorial Jersey for all that is good and right about sports, which almost always centers around religiosity.

It's that, as much as my previously professed love for a good catfish, which gave me schadenfreude from the Deadspin piece this week. It looks like Te'o's gonna try to beat it; his current posture is complete innocent victim, despite timeline impossibilities.  That's gonna be tough - he'll need to go to an NFL market with easily captured media; he might have a better chance we he able to combine victimization with a less defiant version of Jodie Foster's speech from this week.  If he becomes the most high profile out gay player in US team sports history, it changes the narrative.  Sure, a fraud on the public is not the ideal kickoff to rainbow Jackie Robinson, but this is a hard story to spin.

It was also the week Lance Armstrong became James Frey; I can't say this enough - every non-American sports analyst paying attention knew for years that the Armstrong narrative was fiction - but even untrue, it moved a lot of product.  Armstrong hosted the 2006 ESPYs, where he won his 4th straight athlete of the year award; that was two years after the publication of L.A Confidentiel, the equivalent of Game of Shadows.  When that book came out - also in 2006 - here was the Sports Illustrated cover to follow:

And here was the Armstrong cover, a full  two years after the evidence was piled at least as high against him as was it against Bonds (and about two months after the Bonds cover)

Barry Bonds was on the SI cover in 2004 - with an asterisk.  Barry Bonds was on the SI cover a second time in 2006 - with, wait for it, an asterisk.

Lance Armstrong was on the SI cover twice in 2004 and 3 times in 2005.  All of them triumphant, one including the phrase "A Legend and a Champion."

That's not pre-PED revelations - it's post.  It's post.

But Lance Armstrong=American Hero, don't listen to those jealous French, remember World War II, that's the story that sells.  So they sold it.  Even though they knew it wasn't true.

That's the Catfishing - baseball knew about steroids the same way they knew about amphetamines - but that wasn't the story they wanted to sell you then.  And now - baseball knows that PED users already cover the Hall of Fame, but that's not the story they want you to believe.

And SI and ESPN and the full weight of the sports media establishment knew about Armstrong - they told you a false story much more pernicious than the one told to you by Manti Te'o.

We're getting catfished - you and I.

2. More Catfish - in Florida

Florida's crappy Tea Party Governor, Rick Scott, very publicly adopted a rescue dog during his campaign for office; there was a facebook contest to give it a name (Reagan, of course) the dog was last seen in public the day before the swearing in - two years passed - and the press asked so, where's the governor's rescue dog?

After first refusing to answer - eventually they had to come "clean" - the Governor of Florida gave the dog back.

The Tea Party Governor of Florida, with a net worth approximating a hundred million dollars, but a noted challenge appearing human, used a rescue dog as a campaign prop and then dumped the dog right after.

3. Who's Fighting to Raise Your Retirement Age to 70?
CEOs from the largest corporations in the US.

Average CEO pay for the S&P 500 is almost 13 million dollars.  The payroll tax is limited to just above the first hundred thousand dollars of income.  We could "save" Social Security by raising the ceiling of the payroll tax - meaning those CEO's would pay more.  Or - we could raise the retirement age to 70, meaning you and people with even harder jobs than you have, would work longer.

The next time you're told a story about how Social Security is in trouble, keep that in mind.

4. What's My Favorite Thing Rush Limbaugh Said This Week?
That 1960s Civil Rights activists should have had guns.

What would the equivalents of Rush Limbaugh have said in the 1960s if civil rights activists marched with guns?  Note, Limbaugh tries to pull the same demagoguery in that clip that the right loves - an attempt to put themselves on the right side of civil rights; it isn't just that the right wing was opposed to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it happened - they're still opposed to it now.  Intellectual honesty not exactly the hallmark of the right wing.

Here's one of my favorite theocrats, Bryan Fischer, explaining that evangelical Christians ended slavery

Which is tough to square with this view, also held by Bryan Fischer, that the founding fathers were evangelical Christians.

Ain't nobody getting catfished like rank and file Republicans.  Except for Christians.

5. From My Alma Mater
I have a degree from Florida Atlantic University - home of this crackpot tenured professor who is arguing that the Newtown shootings maybe didn't actually happen.

Super, super proud.

6. Hey, Baseball Changed a Rule That You Haven't Heard About Yet

You know this move -

Now it's a balk.

Probably - it hasn't been agreed to by the union, but baseball has the ability to enact it unilaterally.  So, it isn't a hundred percent done yet - but most likely - balk.

I got more baseball for you - here's a new piece about Willie McCovey. 

Did you know he was on the Dating Game?

7. Pete Rose Hits and Mrs.

I watched the first couple of episodes of Pete Rose's reality show.

I don't know the degree to which Lance came clean to Oprah, or Manti to Jeremy Schaap - but in the opening second of his opening show, Pete Rose says this:

“I made some serious mistakes back in 1987. As manager of the Cincinnati Reds, I bet on my own team to win every night.”


Here's John Dowd, author of baseball's investigative report, about what the findings actually were.:

Dowd told the program that Rose did not bet at all in the 1987 season when Mario Soto or Bill Gullickson pitched.

Why is Pete Rose lying about his gambling, still, a quarter century later?  Because he knows a good portion of this TLC audience has only a passing acquaintance with either his case or the idea of why gambling in sports has always mattered more than drug use, and he knows that saying he bet on his own team to win "every night" will allow a portion of that portion to say "why does that even matter?  So he thought they would win, what's the big deal?"

So - you're a professional bookmaker, one of the men who Rose racked up thousands and thousands of dollars in debt with, and you know Rose bets 2 grand a game on the Reds to win most nights, and then there are nights - predictable nights - when Rose doesn't bet at all.

Your estimation of Rose's confidence in the Reds to win those nights is......

Mario Soto had an ERA over 5 in 1987.  Bill Gullickson's was just a shade under 5.

You know the manager of the Reds doesn't bet on his team to win when they're pitching.

But the public doesn't.  Pete Rose gave a certain seedy section of gamblers that informational advantage in 1987 - every night.

And the latest wife has a nice rack.

8. RIP

9. The Best Wrestler in the World - 2012 Version

The best wrestler in the world last year was Kota Ibushi.

And he was in one of the 4 star matches I've seen to open up 2013.

Ibushi v. Devitt v. Low Ki 4 1/4 (Jan NJPW)
Tanahashi v. Okada 4 1/4 (Jan NJPW)
Nakamura v. Sakuraba 4 (Jan NJPW)
Steen v. Cole 4 (Dec PWG)

10. 18 Years Ago

Next weekend is the 18th anniversary of the last time the San Francisco 49ers made the Super Bowl.

See you the following weekend.  

Your pal,


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