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Goin’ To Rio

So, yeah, it’s been a little while since I’ve posted here. No excuses but … I’m heading to Rio for the full Olympic experience and it has been a little bit crazy. I hope you’ve been keeping up with the PosCasts and stories I’ve been doing, though I’ve had a hard time keeping up with them myself:

I’ll throw the links up here:

Wrote about Team USA rugby here

Wrote about the Tiger-Phil rivalry that never quite came together here

Wrote how I believe Tom Brady is innocent here

Wrote about the end of the great Roger Federer here

And then, let’s see, lots and lots of PosCasts which you can find on:




And then it’s on Google Play, Spotify, lots of other places I’m told. Really enjoyed one I just did with NBC’s Tom Hammond, and next week have some really fun ones with Olympic gold medals Mel Stewart, the great Al Trautwig and, possibly, Flula. If you don’t know who Flula is, well, Flula.

I’ll try to post here when I can from Rio. I am writing of the most emotionally crushing stories of my life right now, and will post when it is up. Thanks for reading.

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30 Responses to Goin’ To Rio

  1. MikeN says:

    I know people will discount him because he defends Joe Paterno, but his defense of Tom Brady is the most high-profile I’ve seen. Even Dan Shaughnessy has declared him guilty.

    The scientific evidence is clearly against the NFL, and very telling is that they have not revealed the evidence they collected throughout this last season. You can be sure it would have come out if it confirmed Brady’s guilt.

    What went unnoticed at the time, though Bill Belichick discussed it, is that the Wells Report itself contains proof that Brady is innocent. Brady’s lawyer started to argue this spontaneously in the appeals hearing, but then got confused and dropped the subject, ending Brady’s slim chance of being declared innocent.

    • You say “even Dan Shaughnessy” as if there’s anyone in the world who puts any stock into anything he has to say.

    • Marc Schneider says:

      It wasn’t going to be an issue of whether Brady was “innocent.” The appeals court is not a criminal trial court. The question, as I understood it, is whether the league exercised its authority appropriately under the CBA. Now, if the finding was completely arbitrary, that would have been grounds for overturning, which I assume was what Brady’s team was going for. But it wasn’t a question of innocence and it was going to be an uphill climb for Brady to win.

      I think the whole thing is absurd. IMO, Deflategate was simply an effort by Goodell to deflect attention from his incompetent handling of Ray Rice. Whether or not Brady did something to the balls, it hardly justified a four game suspension.

      • MikeN says:

        I was surprised by the previous victory to get the suspension overturned, but apparently the NFL always loses in court.

  2. MikeN says:

    The issue is after you account for the ideal gas law, the amount of pressure drop is just .4 PSI. The difference between the referees two gauges is — .4PSI
    If the referee used the gauge he said he used, then the Patriots are in the clear.
    However, scientists concluded he must have used the other gauge, based on the readings he remembers and what the teams provided. Since the Colts provided 13 and the Pats provided 12.5, with the gauge the referee remembers using, he should have seen 13.4 and 12.9.

    The explanation given by Belichick was their gloving process causes the pressure to drop. Scientists tested it, and discovered the effect wears off so it is irrelevant. They put up a chart showing the pressure drop. That was all they talked about this. The pressure drop, again about .4 PSI.

    However, as the report explained, Pats set the pressure right after gloving, to 12.6. So when the referee saw the footballs, they were actually at 12.1, unknown to the Pats. Yet he read them as 12.5. The conclusion is he was using the gauge he remembers using, and the Pats are in the clear.

    If the simulations produced by the scientists are to taken as valid and for Tom Brady to be found guilty an explanation must be provided for how Anderson measured as 12.5PSI footballs that according to their investigation were at 12.1 PSI.

    • Mike says:

      Why don’t I just tell you all what happened so we can stop hypothesizing and trying to fit ridiculous theories to things.

      Brady told the equipment guys to make sure the ball wasn’t over-inflated, so McNally would take a needle to each of them to let air out for half-a-beat each. The result is they probably began some games below 12.5, but certainly not outside the norms of what the balls could end up like under typical conditions (particularly in Foxborough in the fall/winter). Goodell went way too hard after this, despite taking it easy on the teams who had been heating balls on the sidelines and admitting to using stick-um. Forced with the threat of an outlandish penalty for a minor crime, Brady and the equipment guys lied.

      • MikeN says:

        Nice theory but several flaws.
        Doesn’t explain the issue with the gages.
        McNally is a big guy. Not just big, but balloonish. No way he can sit down on the floor and deflate all those footballs in 75 seconds.

        • Mike says:

          Of course it explains the issue with the gauges, because the point is the measurements don’t matter at all. Regardless of what the balls started at, McNally let a bit of air out of each. Maybe they ended up at 12.6. Maybe 12.5. Maybe 12.2. It seems there was no performance advantage based on Brady’s stats in the 17.5 games afterwards with normal balls, so really we’re just talking about placebo effect here.

          • MikeN says:

            Again, Pats set to 12.5 and this dropped to 12.1 BEFORE the referee checked the pressures. If he then measured 12.5, it means he was using a gage that was reading high, and the actual pressure was 12.1, unknown to the Patriots or the referee.
            According to the scientists, from a starting point of 12.1, there is no deflation detected.

            Under your theory, the PSI dropped to 11.7 or whatever(their attempted replication with test subjects found larger deflation around .7), but this contradicts the measurements taken after the game.

          • Mike says:

            You’re trying to prove that the balls weren’t deflated based on a speculated starting point, a referee’s recollection about which gauge he used, and confidence intervals which by definition aren’t absolute.

            There is an overwhelming amount of other evidence that the balls were deflated a small and non-performance-altering amount.

          • MikeN says:

            It’s not speculated, it is evidence from which all other conclusions flow. The amount that they said they set their ball pressures, the amount the Colts said, and what the referee remembers measuring.

  3. shagster says:

    Rugby was fun one. Recently played overseas for first time. Difference w football? It is a faster game, requires more from players physically, and something/someone gets broken every match. Baseball fun in that every player is a ball carrier. Without the pads the hits are violent, just slightly less as most hitters choose where they are going to hit.

    • invitro says:

      I watched some rugby sevens on youtubey after reading Joe’s piece. I don’t really know anything about rugby, but it looked like a fun game to play and watch and I’m glad it made the Olympics. Those guys I saw had lots of muscle and hardly any fat, I can believe that they have some arduous training. Now I want to watch some girls play rugby.

      • Robot Sonic says:

        7’s is akin to playing 2 on 2 full court basketball. Sure, a lot of the basics are the same. But, it’s really a very different game and players who dominate at 7’s may not even make the pitch in 15’s. 7’s in the olympics is a last ditch effort to undue to the bungling of rugby media rights in the aftermath of the ’95 World Cup.

        Rugby has had a huge, organized presence in the U.S. since at least the ’60’s. There were both social and competitive clubs in pretty much every city. Some even had 5 or 6 with large urban areas having even more. But, at the international level, US rugby has been badly mismanaged for more than two decades. They are slowly undoing some of the poor decisions. But, it’s unlikely the sport will ever find the audience it needs to become anything more than a sportscenter highlight on the day of the World Cup final.

  4. CB says:

    Interesting. Everyone’s favorite Joe Paterno apologist can’t even be bothered to update his blog any more. Too busy “writing” sports-related pablum that can be slapped together in two months and rushed to stores just in time for Father’s Day.

    It’s truly sad what the once-great Posnanski has become. I guess it happens to all of them, though–Reilly, Albom, etc.

    • Brzeszczyszczykiewicz says:

      Heresy! Someone criticizing St. Joe on his own blog! Most posters are so far up Joe’s behind, I never expected to see some objectivity. Wow!

      • Mr Fresh says:

        Here’s some objectivity. If you don’t like it.. then don’t read it. Hell, if Joe’s so far over the hill, don’t even come to the site. Pitiful.

      • Marc Schneider says:

        It’s his fucking blog. Why do people have to be objective? You like him or you don’t. If you don’t, don’t read the damn blog. You come over here like some sanctimonious jackass as if Joe Posnanski is running for president or something. If people didn’t like him, what would be the point of his having a blog.

      • invitro says:

        I don’t think you know what “objectivity” means.

    • Marc Schneider says:

      If it’s so bad, why are you reading it? No one is making you.

      • Grzegorz Brzeszczyszczykiewicz says:

        There was a period when I read every word Joe wrote. No one posting here read more of Joe’s words than I did. It’s not possible. But I don’t read much of what he writes anymore. I think he’s slipped a notch. But, I agree with and accept the criticism. People who write negative things about a free column need to get a life. I have never posted any such comments before and never will again. I scroll through the comments on this blog from time to time and I have been amazed for months and months how no one has posted anything like CB. I was just a little surprised. And I am a little frustrated and feel deprived that Joe no longer does it for me. So, I apologize and sign off.

  5. Uros S. says:

    Joe. Love the recent posts. Love both Poscasts with Kenny T.

    One tiny gripe. Can we just forever do away with this notion that Ty Cobb was a racist monster? Yes, those were Mike’s words, not yours, but you didn’t dispel that oft-repeated falsehood. And at this point it should really be done.

    I mean I can’t fault you or anybody else for buying it. I fancy myself to be an amateur baseball historian and I was blinded by AlStump’s hatchet job biography on him. It was the single most gripping sports bio I have ever read and it set the tone for how even hardcore baseball fans would come to view Cobb. It was so captivating, colourful and rich with detail that it became an instant classic. The problem was that it was essentially True Fiction and rife with inaccuracies and outright falsehoods.

    I would go so far as to say that just about every single atrocious thing Cobb was purported by Stump to have done was either missing crucial details or 100% false. Moreover, Stumps forged Cobb memorabilia doesn’t paint him in the best light character wise, and it suggests that his smear campaign of the man can’t be solely attributed to journalistic laziness.

    ^this deconstructs and thoroughly debunks the myth that Cobb was an unrepentant monster. Definitely worth a read, although the person that first enlightened me on Cobb’s true nature was the deceased internet baseball historian, Bill Burgess. Wonderful man. This thread was his magnum opus:

    Once we sift through the debris, Ty Cobb emerges as a complex and flawed, but ultimately good man, unfairly maligned by (certain) players and writers alike. It didn’t help that he came from an educated family in the South and was surrounded by a slew of unlettered simpletons for teammates, teammates that reveled in the reverse snobbery that defined their relationship with a teenaged Ty. In truth, there is no evidence that Cobb harboured ANY racial prejudices against blacks, and none still that he ever committed the racially motivated crimes that Stump said he did. The tragic irony is that he was far, far ahead of his time in his opinions on race relations, and his father was a staunch critic of segregation in the state of Georgia.

    It’s a damn shame that half of the time Cobbs name comes up today it’s so people can say “DURRR if Ty Cobb is in the HOF then why can’t [INSERT ALLEGED STEROID — USER, COMPULSIVE GAMBLER, SERIAL WOMAN BATTERER] get it? Wut a dum character clause DURRRR”

    So, please, on the off chance that you read this comment, could you do the history of baseball a massive favour by doing your homework on Cobb? The truth should be known: you were duped. I was duped. We were all duped, and Ty Cobb was not only short of being a monster, he was a good man whose name has been dragged through the mud for the better part of 60 years now!

  6. Mark Daniel says:

    I totally agree with your take on Brady. I teach medical and graduate students critical appraisal skills as part of my job. We have a systematic way to evaluate a research study to determine if it’s valid. I teach about how to identify proper methodology, how to identify bias, and how to identify fraud and scientific misconduct. The Wells Report is a treasure trove of examples of scientific errors, bias, fabrication of results and outright misconduct.

    The truth is the NFL told the Wells law firm to find Brady guilty, and that’s what they did. The assumptions they made, the data they used, the data they ignored, the scenarios the conveniently omitted, etc. There’s no way to read the Wells Report and not see that it was written specifically to find guilt. If you have another belief regarding Brady, then you clearly didn’t read the Wells Report and you certainly didn’t pay attention to any of the science.

    Here’s a good example – the post-game readings showed that the Patriots’ balls were 0.7 psi higher than the Colts’ balls. This was after the Pats’ balls were reinflated to 13.0 psi at halftime. How did they get more inflated than the Colts’ balls if they were both inflated to 13.0 psi? Surely the Wells Report would investigate this, right? Wrong. They ignored those data points. Let me repeat this. The only actual data in the Wells Report are the halftime ball measurements and the postgame ball measurements. There is no other data. There are guesstimates and assumptions galore, but only two pieces of data. But Wells decided to ignore half the data! That is simply stunning.

    • invitro says:

      OK, but the Wells Report is not a research study. It’s a political document, written by lawyers. I doubt that much of anything written by lawyers would hold up under scientific standards. I mean, lawyers are biased by definition, and promote a particular viewpoint while downplaying or ignoring any facts that are contrary to that viewpoint. I might go so far as to say that the methodology of a lawyer is completely opposite to that of a scientist.

      • MikeN says:

        Wells team commissioned Exponent to do scientific research. This is the same group that dealt with the Challenger explosion.

        • invitro says:

          If Exponent were the main authors, perhaps it would be a scientific report. But they’re not. Lawyers are.

      • Marc Schneider says:

        That’s ridiculous. Lawyers are not “biased by definition.” If they are representing a client, then, yes, they are advocates and, like any advocate, they will interpret facts selectively. That doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of of analyzing evidence objectively. To criticize the report simply because it was written by lawyers is nonsensical. I would say you don’t know much about the “methodology of lawyers” if there is such a thing. You are just making a strawman argument

  7. Mark Daniel says:

    In a normal court, both sides get to produce a biased document. This didn’t happen in Deflategate. One side produced a document, and that’s what was used.
    The Wells Report as a whole is not a scientific document, but Appendix 1 and Appendix 2 are. Appendix 1 is entitled “The Effect of Various Environmental and Physical Factors on the
    Measured Internal Pressure of NFL Footballs”
    Below that it says:
    Prepared for:
    “Theodore V. Wells, Jr., Esq
    Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton
    & Garrison, LLP
    1285 Avenue of the Americas
    New York, NY 10019”

    Then is says:
    “Prepared by:
    149 Commonwealth Drive
    Menlo Park, CA 94025”

    Exponent wrote the scientific report. This is a scientific report. It’s a lawyerly scientific report, which frankly should scare the hell out of anyone who is subject to our legal system, but apparently that is acceptable in the legal world. However in the legal world, two sides get to produce their reports and an impartial judge and/or jury weighs in. In Deflategate, one side wrote an extremely biased (and mostly fake) report, and the biased judge (Goodell) decided the outcome.

    • MikeN says:

      One unanswerable question,
      What if the Exponent witness had answered properly the question from Tom Brady’s lawyer at the appeal hearing?

      Okay. So if they set their psi at 12.5, after rubbing, that was their procedure, under your analysis,
      how much below 12.5 would it drop as the rubbing effect wore off?

      A The rubbing effect is worn off within about 20 or 30 minutes of when you started.

      The correct answer is the same as the difference in the two gages.

  8. Swissvale says:

    Thanks for the rugby column, Joe. I played for the Navy over in Europe back in the early 80s and didn’t even realize it was back in the Olympics. Now I can watch it while I massage my softball sized right ankle and painful left knee while thinking back on how much fun the drinking was after a match. Word of caution – don’t trust the Dutch. Dirty, cheating bastards that lot.

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