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Monday, January 28, 2013

I'm still not buying T'eo fable

Manti T'eo has given interviews to ESPN's Jeremy Schaap and Katie Couric of all people to try to explain the bizarre and even more confusing saga of his imaginary girlfriend and the way he was duped into a strictly Internet relationship.

I've listened to his words and tried to rationalize the whole thing. Only one problem. I just can't.

I can't buy the fact that this intelligent young man, who received an education at Notre Dame, could totally fall for this so-called prank and hoax.

I mean, we're led to believe that T'eo never met the girl, but was madly in love with her, talked about marriage and was convinced that this was the love of his life.

Fall in love? Over the Internet? Without ever meeting? Happily ever after and all that? T'eo said that he had planned to meet the beautiful fraud known as Lennay Kekau, but it never came to fruition.

OK, so we'll give T'eo the benefit of the doubt that he might have become smitten with the girl he never met. But when she first had this horrific accident that almost claimed her life, where was T'eo? He didn't go to her bedside.

And when she was stricken with leukemia, again, where was T'eo? Still in South Bend. And when she finally died, where was T'eo? Again, not with her.

Don't you think that if T'eo was madly in love with her and planned to marry her, he would have rushed to her bedside to be with her in her last moments? If that's not a red flag about this, then nothing is.

T'eo also had all these voicemails from the alleged Lennay that he saved on his cell phone for years. Who saves voicemails like that? Hell, I've inadvertently deleted messages that I wanted to save. You have to be a total cell phone technician to keep messages that long. And once she allegedly died in September, would you want to keep the bad messages?

In all my 30-plus years of being a sportswriter, this is clearly the most bizarre and ridiculous fable I've ever heard. Either T'eo is the most naive and gullible fool that ever lived or he's the most cunning genius to pull off such a hoax since Alexander Mundy on "To Catch a Thief."

I honestly don't know what to believe. Except one thing. T'eo was in on something before this story broke. He has lied several times and doesn't seem too believable in these interviews. His Notre Dame teammates have expressed that they didn't believe T'eo's girlfriend even existed.

Could have T'eo contrived the whole thing in order to gain attention to try to win the Heisman Trophy? Who knows? One thing is for sure. He wouldn't have finished in second place in the trophy balloting if he played at at any other school than Notre Dame. Even a linebacker at Alabama wouldn't have received the votes that T'eo did.

And T'eo gained attention and was placed in the spotlight because of the dead girlfriend, the Hawaiian leis that were worn and waved at the Michigan game in honor of the dead girl, the game ball presentation after the Michigan State win, when head coach Brian Kelly gave T'eo the ball and said, "Bring this home and give it to Lennay."

Hell, if I was a Notre Dame defensive football player and helped the Irish upend Michigan State along with T'eo and didn't get a game ball and watched Kelly present a game ball to a ficticious woman, I'd want to kick T'eo's Hawaiian ass all the way back to Honolulu.

We haven't heard all of this yet. Apparently, the other guy involved with this so-called hoax is going on Dr. Phil later this week. Let's face it, Aesop didn't have fables like this one. It really takes the cake. I never even dreamed of something like this. One thing is for sure: It's not over and I'm still not buying that T'eo was the innocent victim of a hoax.


Not tooting my own horn at all, but I hate to say "I told you so," when it comes to that fraud Lance Armstrong.

I knew since 1998 that Armstrong was cheating, when I found out from some of his colleagues at the Goodwill Games at Wagner on Staten Island, an event that I worked.

One cyclist gave me details of the stuff that Armstrong was doing, like the blood doping, and said that "no cancer survivor with stage 4 anything could come back that quickly and cycle like that through the hills of France seven months later."

Now we all know it was done by a cheating Armstrong, who is still a little too boorish and unrelenting in his ways even after admitted he was a fraud.

I feel horrible for the millions of cancer survivors who believed so steadfastly in Armstrong and wore the yellow "Livestrong" bracelets. It's a shame that the excellent charity was based on the actions of a cheating, lying fraud.

As someone who worked at St. Peter's College when both the men's and women's basketball teams were not only good, but were dominant, it's sad to see that the current Peacock squads have combined to win a total of two MAAC contests this year.

That's right, the men have won once inside the league. The women were 0-18 this season before defeating Manhattan for their lone win.

When I was the sports information director at Harvard on the Boulevard, those programs won 20 games every year and contended for the MAAC title every year.

Now, it's a complete disaster. They have a new name in St. Peter's University and a new way of losing every game.

The men's team had great wins this season against Rutgers at the RAC, at Cornell and at LIU. They even beat Central Connecticut twice.

But to have only one win in a MAAC that is very top heavy, with good teams at the top and mediocrity throughout, is not acceptable.

The women being 1-18 is almost laughable, considering that legendary coach Mike Granelli would lose 18 total games over a five-year span. Never in the same season.

It's sad to see the basketball programs at St. Peter's University being so irrelevant these days. But that's what they are.

You can read more of my work at,, and There's a nice feature in the Hudson Reporter about the winning ways in Weehawken. Check it out.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Baseball Hall of Fame ballot lunacy

First, let me start out by writing that it has been way too long since I've added a blog. It's been over a month. A lot has taken place in that month. Avery Johnson was fired as coach of the Nets and replaced by my long-time friend P.J. Carlesimo (although P.J. probably doesn't want that association out there). The Giants and Jets failed to make the playoffs. Christmas has come and gone. We rang in a New Year and let's face facts, after what we all endured in 2012, we can definitely say "Good riddance."

Between the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in places that I adored as a teenager into adulthood, like Point Pleasant, Belmar, Sea Bright and Manasquan, places on the Jersey Shore that may never recover, to the horrific story of those innocent little children in Newtown, CT, 20 of whom were murdered and the rest terrorized, 2012 was not a year to remember.

On a personal note, I survived three hospital stays and five surgeries. I lost my beloved brother-in-law, as well as several other good friends. I won't forget memorable people like Jay Costello or Shawn Feeley anytime soon. Let's just say that we can easily turn the page on that nightmarish year.

Now, we've come across the first sports controversy of 2013. The National Baseball Hall of Fame held its recent balloting for players to be inducted and remarkably, not a single baseball legend earned the 75 percent of the votes needed for induction. It was the first time the voting failed to produce a single inductee since 1996.

If I was fortunate to have a vote for the Hall of Fame, there's no question that I would have voted for four people hands down. My ballot would have been cast for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza and Jack Morris.

Let's address each one. Bonds and Clemens should be absolute no-brainers. Bonds won an astounding seven MVP awards. The same for Clemens with Cy Young Awards. They were two of the most dominant performers baseball has ever seen.

But they both were left off of nearly two-thirds of all the ballots cast by the the Baseball Writers of America. And why? Because both have been found to have used anabolic steroids or human growth hormones during their stints in the big leagues.

My feeling is this: Both Bonds and Clemens were Hall of Famers before they were ever introduced to "The Juice" in the late 1990s. Both had collective bodies of work worthy of induction before they ever saw a needle.

Now, I personally despise both people. Bonds is the second worst professional athlete I've ever dealt with in my 30-plus years as a sportswriter. One time at Shea Stadium, Bonds went out of his way to totally humiliate me and about eight other writers, trying to do our jobs, waiting to get a quote.

Bonds had a handful of the cardboard boxes used to carry hot dogs and drinks to your seat at a ball game. He then proceeded to place these boxes in a square around his locker and told the sportswriters, including yours truly, that we couldn't step inside the boxes to get to him, that we had to ask Bonds the questions from behind the boxes.

When we stupidly agreed to his rules, Bonds then got up and disappeared into the visting team's lounge, never to be heard from again. We were duped by a classless jerk. He treated everyone with the same disdain, including his own teammates.

I had only a few times to interview Clemens, so my feelings about him are more relegated to his actions on the field, throwing the ball at undeserving opponents, throwing the broken bat at Piazza in the 2000 World Series, then tried to say he thought the broken bat was the ball, which made no sense, because if it was the ball, why didn't he then throw it to first base and not at Piazza running up the line. He was just a hateful athlete.

However, I feel both belong in Cooperstown. They compiled enough of a resume to get there before a syringe touched their bodies. The steroids prolonged their careers and turned their careers into something never before seen by a player or a pitcher. It's unfair to give them their just due.

In the case of Piazza, he is the greatest hitting catcher to ever play the game. Sure, he's a personal favorite, because he's the best position player in the history of my favorite team, the Mets. But his statistics as a catcher are not matched by anyone inducted or who have played since. Piazza is also deserving of his spot.

So why did Piazza not earn induction? Some suggest that there have been hints that Piazza took steroids, but all of that is based on rumor and innuendo. It's never been proven. He wasn't indicted like Bonds and Clemens, yet there is some cloud of controversy swirling above Piazza's head. It personally makes no sense to me.

The player who got closest to getting the necessary 75 percent is Craig Biggio, who fell 39 votes short of induction. Biggio is a very nice player who got the 3,000 hits that used to seal a one-way ticket to Cooperstown. But Biggio was a .280 lifetime hitter who was never the best player on his own team. He deserves it over Piazza? That idea is simply laughable.

The one next in line is one of the best big-game pitchers of my lifetime, Jack Morris, who keeps inching closer and closer to induction, but he failed to get the votes once again. Morris is a Hall of Famer, no question.

True, this was definitely the deepest and most talented Hall of Fame ballot of my lifetime. Jeff Bagwell and my friend Tim Raines, who I worked with for two years when he was the manager of the Newark Bears, are both worthy candidates. When you add the steroid kings like Bonds, Clemens, Rafael Palmiero, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire, that's a lot of guys to consider.

So that's the biggest reason why no one got the 75 percent. I can't see how Biggio would gain induction over Piazza. If it's because there's a hint and rumor about steroids, then that's ludicrous.

It sure makes for a very empty induction ceremony in Cooperstown come July.

The NHL has ended its lockout and players are coming back to hit the ice this weekend for a shortened training camp. The teams will play a 48-game schedule and everything will be back to normal.

Or will it? Will the fans simply accept that they were kept away for three months, while the players and owners bickered over millions?

It's the second time in eight years that the NHL season was tampered with because of a labor dispute. The entire 2004-2005 season was wiped away because of an owner's lockout or a players' strike, call it what you want.

Do hockey fans forget about the greed and avarice and welcome the players back with open arms? It's going to be very interesting to see.

You can read more of my work at, and
And thanks for your patience with me as I produced another blog.