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Yes, this finally happened. Although I'd be remiss if I didn't point out earlier endings to an 88 year-long drought in 2005, much less an 86 year-long one back in 2004.

Although to be perfectly honest, I think Deadspin's take is a bit more appropriately visceral.

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Just when you thought the Jerry Sandusky serial molestation debacle couldn't get any worse, this particular legal tidbit get revealed and causes yet another round of "how low can you go?" on the issue all over again:

In 2014, a man testified that Penn State football coach Joe Paterno ignored his complaints of a sexual assault committed by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky in 1976 when the man was a 14-year-old boy, according to court documents unsealed Tuesday in a Philadelphia court.

Four other former assistant football coaches at the school also were aware of Sandusky acting inappropriately with boys before law enforcement was first notified in 1998, according to testimony contained in the documents.

The allegations suggest that Paterno may have been made aware of Sandusky’s actions far earlier than has previously been reported, and that knowledge of Sandusky’s behavior may have been far more widespread among the Penn State football staff than previously known.

The Post article points out that former Paterno assistants Greg Schiano and Tom Bradley denied the allegations, but those denials really might not matter all that much to Paterno's already hideously tarnished reputation:

The 1976 victim, identified in court records as John Doe 150, said that while he was attending a football camp at Penn State, Sandusky touched him as he showered. Sandusky’s finger penetrated the boy’s rectum, Doe said, and the boy asked to speak with Paterno about it. Doe testified that he specifically told Paterno that Sandusky had sexually assaulted him, and Paterno ignored it.

“Is it accurate that Coach Paterno quickly said to you, ‘I don’t want to hear about any of that kind of stuff, I have a football season to worry about?’ ” the man’s lawyer asked.

“Yes . . . I was shocked, disappointed, offended. I was insulted. . . . I said, is that all you’re going to do? You’re not going to do anything else?”

Paterno, the man testified, just walked away.

This isn't merely another dagger in Paterno's rep, though. It's also another reason to look askance at any collegiate sports program that puts its success ahead of keeping other athletes, students or even the general public safe from people like Sandusky or others who engage in criminal behavior and then get to walk away because of all the clichéd Big Man on Campus bullshit that's used to protect them even when caught red-handed. The only reason why Paterno and various other PSU functionaries allowed this to happen not merely for years but for decades is that they literally did not care about anything except winning. And that's nearly as disgusting as the actual crimes Sandusky committed.

I don't care how much money is thrown the way of NCAA programs by alumni, boosters or sports apparel companies these days; it won't save them from their worse enemy: namely, themselves. I'm now having trouble enjoying college football even when a program is apparently scandal-free, and I used to follow college sports a lot more closely than I do now. And if an AD or university president thinks that the general public is going to magically come forth and save their bacon when the next scandal erupts when even sports fans like me are getting completely sick of this shit, they're living in the same dream world where Paterno's supporters are apparently residing.

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There's an old truism that the cover-up is far worse than the crime. That definitely fits the bill with the crisis at Baylor, where a series of assaults against women by members of the football team (and others, but mainly the football team) led to the firing of head coach Art Briles and the demotion (reassignment, really) of former Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr from his position as university President to university chancellor. He'll also continue to be a professor at the Baylor school of law, and all of this is especially ironic considering where he made his bones as a prosecutor:

Mr. Starr’s demotion delivered a twist to the biography of a man whose reputation was built on what many considered an overzealous pursuit of allegations of sexual transgressions by Mr. Clinton. Now he is being punished for leading an administration that, according to a report by an outside law firm commissioned by the university’s governing board, looked the other way when Baylor football players were accused of sex crimes, and sometimes convicted of them.

The report (link here) is horrifying enough, but it's made even worse by the fact that - as usual - there's already a squad of numbskulls lining up to support Briles because he is, after all, the coach. If this sounds at all familiar, it should. Because St. Joe Paterno (the greatest man who's ever lived, according to a group of similar-minded dolts) had a whole parcel of losers in the ethical behavior sweepstakes (for example John Ziegler; for another, Franco Harris) lining up to defend him in the wake of the Penn State scandal. The similarities are disturbing enough (again, the leadership teams of a major college sports program and university just sat there with their collective junk in their hands and did next to nothing about the scandal), but the added weight of attempts to coerce the victims into not reporting the assaults only made things that much worse.

And this brings up the following issue: I'm a sports fan. I'm also hardly deaf to the fact that university programs are now (and perhaps always have been) perfectly willing to put the success of their athletic programs above the safety of the general public. I guess I could be optimistic and hope that this, and Penn State, will finally sink in and that the NCAA and individual schools will stop this outright sociopathic behavior once and for all.

I could be optimistic about that.

But I'm not.    

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I've started a new job which shall remain nameless for now (mainly because of doubts concerning what I can actually publicly say about it at this time), so I've been busy. However, believe me when I say that Tim Baffoe's column excoriating a number of complete dopes whose list of solutions to Jay Cutler's groin tear is to either sign the world's most re-re-retired football drama queen or Touchdown Jeebus. And remember, ladies and gentlemen: Twitter is only your friend until you say something really, really stupid to it. 
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How sweet it is.

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Well, how else do you explain these reactions to the NCAA sanctions? 

OTOH, if you're a member of the Paterno family, you can just whine about it:

Sexual abuse is reprehensible, especially when it involves children, and no one starting with
Joe Paterno condones or minimizes it.


Two problems: referring to a deceased individual in the present tense as if he was still capable of condoning or minimizing anything is a bit creepy. As to everything else, the Freeh report says otherwise, says it repeatedly, and says it in such a way that there can be no real ambiguity about the matter.

The horrific acts committed by Jerry Sandusky shock the conscience of every decent human being. How Sandusky was able to get away with his crimes for so long has yet to be fully understood, despite the claims and assertions of the Freeh report.

Wrong again. The Freeh report is quite clear about how he got away with it. Pull the other leg, please.

The release of the Freeh report has triggered an avalanche of vitriol, condemnation and posthumous punishment on Joe Paterno. The NCAA has now become the latest party to accept the report as the final word on the Sandusky scandal.

Nope. Just wait until law enforcement and prosecutors start throwing subpoenas around, guys. That will probably qualify as the final word, not that you'll like that alternative any better than the current one.

The sanctions announced by the NCAA today defame the legacy and contributions of a great coach and educator without any input from our family or those who knew him best.

Translation: "parties that have a vested interest in maintaining the inaccurate saintly image of JoePa (like the Paterno family, and - feel sorry for him, if you can - Franco Harris) are beginning to find out what it's like to end up on the short end of the stick. Therefore, it's now time to become petulant about the matter and start tossing out words like "legacy" and "educator" as if the mere evocation of those words will somehow change anything uncovered by the Freeh report."

Later on in this mass emailed screed, we get this gem:

The point of due process is to protect against this sort of reflexive action.

Unfortunately, this isn't a courtroom. If it were, the point about "due process" of some sort would be valid. But this was a decision handed down by a private organization that's supposed to oversee college athletics, which makes the issue of "due process" rather irrelevant.

Still, wait until actual subpoenas start getting tossed around like live grenades. Then the real fun starts.

Joe Paterno was never interviewed by the University or the Freeh Group.

Largely because it's difficult to interview dead witnesses, but hey...

His counsel has not been able to interview key witnesses as they are represented by counsel related to ongoing litigation.

Tough. Feel free to wait until those cases are finished like everybody else would have to do.

We have had no access to the records reviewed by the Freeh group.

The Paternos can issue subpoenas of their own, now? News to me...

The NCAA never contacted our family or our legal counsel.

Because they don't have to, you idiots. This is an issue between the NCAA and Penn State, not between the NCAA and the Paterno family.

And the fact that several parties have pending trials that could produce evidence and testimony relevant to this matter has been totally discounted.

Boy, you people really do want to see those subpoenas flying, don't you? Not if they reveal something suspect about certain business deals that JoePa and board members of the Second Mile Foundation were about to make serious money on, I'll bet.

Unfortunately all of these facts have been ignored by the NCAA, the Freeh Group and the University.

Unfortunately, all of these "facts" are largely irrelevant, are intended to whitewash JoePa's now thoroughly tarnished reputation or are merely out and out lies. 

While some of you who read this might be tempted to tell the Paterno family to go hoist a nice big mug of Shut The Fuck Up, keep in mind that you can find the actual Freeh report here or (if you're pressed for time, since it is some 267 pages long) read the press release for it here. And keep in mind the following paragraph from the press release:

Taking into account the available witness statements and evidence, it is more
reasonable to conclude that, in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the
most powerful leaders at Penn State University – Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and
Curley – repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse from the
authorities, the Board of Trustees, Penn State community, and the public at large.
Although concern to treat the child abuser humanely was expressly stated, no such
sentiments were ever expressed by them for Sandusky’s victims.

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Although this is the first post I've made on WTTFTG in a month (F***book and contributing to RationalWiki are taking up much of my online spare time as of late), nothing could be more timely than detailing the beginning of the end of the disgusting Penn State coverup of Jerry Sandusky's crimes. This link from Deadspin runs down the details of Louis Freeh's report on the ridiculous efforts by PSU's alleged academic leadership to do practically everything in their power except report Sandusky to the proper law enforcement officials. 

As you've probably read by now, Joe Paterno is far from the saint that some really stupid people (Franco Harris, anyone?) made him out to be. Some other stupid people (Matt Millen, anyone? No? How about Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett?) have some major issues concerning conflict of interest problems with Sandusky's victim farm (errrr...charity, sorry) the Second Mile Foundation as well. But the person who takes the "you don't shit where you eat" prize for ending up embroiled in a controversy he had absolutely no good reason to blunder into in the first place is baseball pundit Bill James, who stepped in a big pile of his own crap (examples here and here) before his bosses - the Boston Red Sox - told him to STFU, already

There's a difference between being a successful contrarian and coming off as a complete dope; James, unfortunately, seems to have grown tone deaf to what that difference actually is.
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And now, mercifully retiring from the US House of Reps: Dan Burton, a grandstanding cheerleader for alleged (but probable) steroid cheat Roger Clemens, a ridiculous supporter of autism woo and conspiracy theories and an all-around philandering asshole. He won't be missed. 
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This is beginning to take on the nature of a scab you keep picking at that just won't heal.

First off, there's the televised interview that Jerry "Mumbles Aplenty" Sandusky blundered through with Bob Costas on NBC's Rock Center: Deadspin's take on it includes the interview itself and a bit of appropriate snark concerning Sandusky's inability to outdo an electronic device in answering Costas' questions accurately and honestly (A more serious listing of the allegations contained in the grand jury report can also be found here if you haven't looked at the actual report itself). But there's more. Oh so much more.

First off, if you think that State College and its environs aren't much more than a cesspool of clueless enablers and brain-dead Nittany Lion fans who consider Joe Paterno's reputation more important than keeping an alleged serial pedophile off the streets, Dan Bernstein's latest blog entry isn't going to help calm you down. And neither, for that matter, is this:

When Jerry Sandusky was initially arraigned, as previously reported by Sara Ganim, prosecutors requested $500,000.00 bail and that Sandusky be required to wear a leg monitor. District Judge Leslie Dutchcot, however, ordered that Sandusky be freed on $100,000 unsecured bail. She ordered that Sandusky be freed and pay nothing unless he failed to show up for a court hearing.

(...) Of course, also according to her profile, Judge Dutchcot is a volunteer for Sandusky's group, The Second Mile. Sandusky turned himself in the morning of Nov. 5, a Saturday, at Judge Dutchot's Centre County office. He was released, under the aforementioned terms, shortly thereafter.

Attorneys often serve charitable foundations in their pro bono capacities, or just volunteer in their spare time, so there is nothing weird about that. It just seems that, given the nature of the charges, the small-town atmosphere, and her relationship to Second Mile, Judge Dutchcot should have recused herself from being involved with this process. Or that could be precisely why she did not.

Apparently, the words "conflict of interest" or "recusal" never get used as part of a sentence at State College.

If that isn't enough to make your head spin clean off of your neck, consider the following tidbit concerning Sandusky's lawyer, Joe Amendola. If this isn't a perfect example of an utter douchebag representing a complete monster in court, I don't know what is:

Joe Amendola, the State College, Pa., attorney representing accused child molester Jerry Sandusky, has an interesting back story himself: He got a teen-age client pregnant during the mid-1990s.Amendola, 63, married the girl several years after the birth of their child, The Daily reported Monday night, citing documents filed at the Centre County, Pa., courthouse.

Amendola represented a 16-year-old girl then known as Mary Iavasile when she filed an emancipation petition in September 1996. The emancipation petition said the girl had graduated from high school in two years with a 3.69 GPA and held a fulltime job at Amendola's law office.

The girl gave birth to Amendola's child when she was 17 years old, her mother, Janet Iavasile, said. Amendola would have been about 49 years old at the time. The age of consent in Pennsylvania is 16.


Janet Iavasile said she didn't know the extent of the relationship between her daughter and the attorney. She thought he was more of a mentor than a paramour.

"She was interested in law," the mother said.

Oh, I'll just bet she was. And never mind the fact that what Amendola did is actually legal in PA; if it isn't grounds for disbarment, it should be. At the very least, it's about as huge an ethical lapse in judgment that a grown man who should know better could have concerning a teenage girl who is also his client.

And Mike McQueary? The PSU assistant who - according to the grand jury report - apparently ran like a scared kid when he caught Sandusky in the act in the showers with a victim? He's treading on very, very thin ice if he's ever asked to testify under oath:

Mike McQueary, the Penn State assistant football coach under fire for his reported lack of action in an alleged 2002 rape of a boy by Jerry Sandusky, said in an email to a former classmate that he stopped the assault in an athletic facility shower and discussed it with police.

In the email obtained by The Morning Call, McQueary wrote that he "did have discussions with police and with the official at the university in charge of police" following the alleged incident between Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant coach, and a boy. McQueary also wrote that he "is getting hammered for handling this the right way or what I thought at the time was right."

Except that the grand jury report on Sandusky begs to differ, of course:

According to the grand jury report, the graduate assistant said he saw a boy, whose age he estimated at 10 years old, "being subjected to anal intercourse" by a naked Sandusky in a shower at the Penn State football building in March 2002. The graduate assistant left "immediately," was "distraught" and called his father, according to the presentment. His father told him to leave the building and come to his home, according to the presentment.

In the email obtained by The Morning Call, dated Nov. 8, McQueary said "I did stop it, not physically, but made sure it was stopped when I left that locker room."

That's not what the report said, Mike. But hey, let's get a little self-pitying while we're at it, shall we?

"No one can imagine my thoughts or wants to be in my shoes for those 30-45 seconds," McQueary wrote. "Trust me."

"Trust you"? Trust you?  Kind of a tall order at this moment, don't you think?

But don't worry folks. Just like Sandusky, he's going to be on the tube (and in fact probably has been as I'm typing this). Look at it this way: It's just another way to have any remaining trust you have in college sports in particular and humanity in general sorely tested.
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Back in the early '90s, it was something of a truism that students who posted to Usenet from psu,edu were either complete idiots, raging assholes or perhaps a stunning combination of the two. I'm not sure if that's changed, but the rioting that occurred in the wake of the Joe Pa firing is enough to make me think that things haven't (although, to be fair, there were counter-protests today in sympathy with Jerry Sandusky's victims). And there's more. Two days ago, an alleged ninth victim not included in the initial grand jury investigation was reported to have turned up, and the following bombshell from Pittsburgh area sports radio host Mark Madden was dropped on Boston's WEEI:

I hear there’s a rumor that there will be a more shocking development from the Second Mile foundation. Hold onto your stomach boys. This is gross. I’ll use the only language I can. That Jerry Sandusky and Second Mile were pimping out young boys to rich donors. That is being investigated by two prominent columnists even as I speak.

Madden is hardly a Johnny-come-lately to the Sandusky scandal. He authored an article at the Beaver County Times detailing some ominous early information on Sandusky in April of this year; even though his new assertions concerning Second Mile can't be termed anything other than a rumor at this point, it may become something far, far more tangible if the grand jury investigation were to go further in the direction of how Second Mile was run and what purpose it was run for.

Here's hoping that Madden wasn't entirely right when the wrote the following at the end of his Times piece:

A grand jury, spurred by a complaint made by a 15-year-old boy in 2009, has been investigating Sandusky for 18 months.

Witnesses include Paterno and Penn State athletic director Tim Curley. Interviewing Paterno about a subject like this had to have been one of the single most uncomfortable acts in the history of jurisprudence.


Plenty of questions remain yet unanswered. Potentially among them: What's more important, Penn State football or the welfare of a few kids? You might not want to hear the answer.

On the other hand, Madden may be right. From John Gonzalez:

In the report, (receivers coach Mike) McQueary is identified as a “graduate assistant who was then 28 years old” in 2002 when he witnessed an alleged incident between Sandusky and a 10-year-old boy in the shower at Lasch Football Building.

(
NOTE: as before, the information that Gonzalez reproduces is directly from the aforementioned grand jury report; you can read it at the link if you so choose, but I'm not reproducting it here.)

Distraught or not, the operative part of that last sentence is “the graduate assistant left immediately.” McQueary was a grown man – a former starting quarterback for a college football powerhouse who was listed at over 6-feet and 200 pounds – and he chose to flee rather than intervene.

The Grand Jury report goes on to detail how McQueary called his father, a long-time friend of Sandusky, and told him about the incident. His father instructed McQueary to leave the building immediately, which he did. McQueary went to his father’s house, where the two decided that McQueary should “promptly” report what he had seen to Paterno rather than the police. “Promptly” in the McQueary household must have a different definition than anywhere else, because McQueary didn’t discuss the matter with Paterno until the next day.

There are some who defend McQueary and believe he handled the matter appropriately. Their argument is that Paterno was a deity and the supreme authority at State College, and so telling him was as good or better than informing the police. Those people are wrong and possibly delusional.


"Delusional" is a far too polite way to put it, if you ask me.

And then there's the issue of prosecutor Ray Gricar, who could have gone after Sandusky as early as 1998 but ultimately chose not to file criminal charges. You could try to ask him about that, but good luck to you if you try: in what can only be called a "WTF?" factoid of truly gargantuan proportions, he's been missing under suspicious circumstances since 2005.

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To be completely accurate, I was just as surprised by the Jerry Sandusky scandal at PSU as anyone else with even a passing interest in sports. The charges seemed sadly predictable, though, since it was yet another example of an adult using his position of trust and authority (and - what a surprise! - covering himself in phony religious sanctimony, if his Second Mile Foundation is any indication) to allegedly engage in sexual assault against several minors of his choosing. Although Dan Bernstein and Tim Baffoe said it far better than I can, reading the actual grand jury report (WARNING: if the graphic nature of the report made me feel sick to my stomach, take that as a hint if you choose to read it) will convince you that anyone who states that there isn't a deep-seated problem at PSU in general and their athletic department in particular is completely, utterly out of their mind.
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No matter what you think of the guy, Rick Reilly getting neutered by his bosses at a media outlet in direct competition with the guy he all too appropriately badmouthed seems a bit...gutless, somehow. 

Welcome to the nation of Wussistan, ESPN(ot capable of a single courageous anything, apparently).
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White Sox 17th, Cubs 28th out of 30 teams according to Joe Lemire of SI.com:

At least Adam Dunn has kept his sense of humor. The White Sox DH, who has a terrible .166/.302/.308 batting line, hit an innocuous fourth-inning single off the Royals' Jeff Francis, but the Chicago fans gave him a sarcastic standing ovation as it was just his second hit off a lefty pitcher in 55 at bats this year (an .036 batting average compared to a .235 clip against southpaws entering the year).

As for the Cubs, let's just say that being that average won't get you a .500 record. What it will get you is a 35-53 mark, which equates to a .398 winning percentage and a mere 5-game lead over the Houston Astros, the current Most Beknighted MLB Team In This and Any Other Universe. Translation: 29th best winning percentage in the bigs, right behind the slightly less dismal Kansas City Royals, for crying out loud.  

In the classic words of Bill from The Terrible Thunderlizards, "when does the hurting stop"?
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Does Michele Bachmann ever engage her brain before hitting the gas pedal on her mouth? Ever?  

Still, there are some condolences in life, such as the fact that hotties from H*llyw**d seem to be embracing their inner geek. A pity that you still don't have a chance in hell with 'em, no?
 
The major league (?) teams in the city of my birth of residence are currently a combined 23-35, which would be a topic of amusement if it wasn't for the fact that your team (White Sox for me, them or the Cubs for thee) sucking isn't supposed to be particularly comedic.

OTOH, the Twins are in last place and that is damn funny.

Last but not least, Don Hertzfeldt makes all the pain go away - just not for any of his characters, of course.
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Decisions, decisions.

Here's my dilemma: as a lifelong Chicagoan, I have to make a choice before SB 45: whether to root for an otherwise excellent team that continues to employ despicable quarterback Horny McRapist or the hated Packers.

Dilemma solved. They can be both thrown under the bus, and for good reason.

From Jezebel (don't ask; I got this link via Deadspin):

Back in the summer, police were called to a resort in Wisconsin Dells that housed several Green Bay Packers players in response to two women who accused the men of holding them down while multiple players sexually assaulted them. When the women changed their story, linebackers Brad Jones and Clay Matthews, guard Josh Sitton, safety Khalil Jones, fullback Korey Hall and backup quarterback Matt Flynn were cleared of charges. A seventh player, Brandon Underwood, is currently under investigation. Football fans rejoiced at the news that, once again, those bitches were lying about rape and their football gods could go on playing America's game sans distraction. Because ladies lie about stuff like this all the time, right?

Add to this my more than vague recollection of several 80''s-era Packers players getting caught - or at least strongly accused - of doing much the same thing over 20 years ago, and you have to wonder if there really is something in the water up there after all. 

Or maybe it's just pro jock sociopathy at work. After all, some pro athletes outgrow their high school days. Others obviously don't.
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Damned if I know why the commute from the University of Miami-Ohio to seemingly anywhere in the Pittsburgh area causes dangerous weirdos to come out in droves. 

First it was Ben Roethlisberger, a Miami-Ohio alum who apparently engaged in the same sort of crap he  pulled later on as a Pittsburgh Steeler; now it's ex-Miami head coach Mike Haywood, who may go down in history as one of the few head coaches to lose a job before he lost a single game:

Pitt moved swiftly to oust Haywood following an arrest that sullied a university that is proud of its Big Ten-like academics. It also raised questions why Haywood -- who had only two seasons as a mid-major head coach, including a one-win season -- was chosen Dec. 16 following a brief search.

Haywood was arrested about 3 p.m. Friday after a custody issue developed with a woman with whom Haywood has a child, police said. The unidentified woman told police that Haywood grabbed her by the arm and neck and pushed her as she tried to leave the home that Haywood owns in South Bend, Ind., where he once was a Notre Dame assistant.

Assistant St. Joseph County Police Chief Bill Redman said the woman had marks on her neck, arms and back.

I get the sinking feeling that the worst of Haywood's troubles will be the firing; Roethlisberger didn't get charged, either. My love/hate affair with sports veers much closer to "hate" at moments like this. 
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If a recent Chicago Tribune editorial blasting Tom Ricketts' bond-floating proposal wasn't bad enough news for his endeavor (the Tribune Corporation, after all, sold Ricketts the Cubs and still holds a 5% stake in the team), here's another hint as to where this is ultimately going: if the bond proposal fails, Ricketts has no alternative financing scheme. Period.

As safe as milk, eh?

As the Trib helpfully pointed out in its editorial, the dissimilarities between the Ricketts plan and Jerry Reinsdorf's previous efforts on behalf of US Cellular Field are surprisingly wide:

But taxpayers wouldn't gain an ownership stake in Wrigley Field or the Cubs, both of which would be enhanced handsomely. Compare that to the arrangement at U.S. Cellular Field, which is owned by the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, which financed its construction. (Tribune Co., which owns this newspaper and sold the Cubs to the Ricketts' in 2009, retains a 5 percent stake in the team and related assets.)

In other words, if the proposed bond issue defaults, Illinois taxpayers are on the hook for a property that they have no ownership over, which is not the case at US Cellular.

Oh, and the funniest part of all this? The screamingly funny part? Ricketts is attempting to facilitate all this Big Gummint money going to his team and stadium while playing the part of a major Republican donor as well. As Dan Bernstein points out:

(It’s not lost on local Dems, either, that Ricketts’s father bankrolled one of the shadowy PACs that campaigned for Tea Party candidates on the platform of shutting down government spending for special projects)

...except for a certain one Ricketts wants funded, that is.

Ah, irony.
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It turns out that the Ricketts/Cubs-inspired deal to rehab Wrigley Field and the nearby area has a few more reasons why its a really, really bad idea. From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Sources said the Cubs' financing plan calls for a 2 percent hotel tax to backstop the Wrigley bonds when bonds used to finance Soldier Field and U.S. Cellular Field are paid off.

Bonds for the Cell will be paid off in 2021. Soldier Field bonds will be retired in 2031. If amusement tax growth is not great enough by then to retire the Wrigley bonds, the Cubs intend to borrow from the hotel tax and pay it back by extending the life of the bonds.

Think that's stupid? Get a load of this related caveat: 

That could force the city and state to forfeit amusement tax growth for even longer than 35 years.

But here's the catch: If the Cubs move to the head of the line, the Bears and Sox could be deprived of the money they may need to complete stadium renovations.

"They're assuming we won't need any major work at Soldier Field and U.S. Cellular Field. These are assets of the state and city that need to be upgraded," said a source familiar with the deal.

"Twenty years from now, the Bears may say, 'For us to stay, we need this and this.' ... The Cubs are saying, 'When the bonds run out, it'll go to us. The hell with you.'"

In other words, it's not merely a transaction apparently designed to rob people in order to pay Paul: it's a transaction designed to rob Peter and Jim and Louie to pay Paul. Astounding.

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Nothing warms the cockles of a Chicagoan's heart like the owner of a profitable professional sports franchise coming to the state during a debt crisis, hat in hand, asking for money.

Is Tom Ricketts cognizant of the fact that there's a whole load of people out there in need who don't have a gazillion dollars of cash to fall back on if programs they rely on don't get reimbursed by the state? And that the very idea of pulling this stunt during a time of financial crisis seems more than a bit clueless, if not outright callous?

Yeah, I'm aware that Reinsdorf and Co. pulled a similar stunt to get the new Comiskey Park built two decades ago. I didn't agree with that, either, and they didn't make their threat to move to St. Petersburg if they didn't get the money when the country was coming out of the worse recession it's had since 1929, either.

If somebody has a major brain fart and a deal like what Ricketts is proposing actually gets passed, I sincerely hope that the Cubs go another century without winning a World Series. They'll fully deserve it.
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Sports stats errata dep't: it seems I mischaracterized Ozzie Guillen's winning percentage in playoff games as being .706 when it should be .750. He had a record of 11-1 in the 2005 playoffs and a 1-3 record in the 2008 postseason. Ron Gardenhire, OTOH, continues to have a simply wonderful 6-21 overall record and not a single AL playoffs series win since 2002. And this is a guy that the Twins front office chooses to keep as a manager?

September 2017

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