Minor Leaguer’s Movie: Not Your Typical Baseball Flick…
The dog days of a baseball summer can be especially rough on minor league players. The monotony of a baseball season in general… plus long bus rides for away games, little money and living in smaller towns creates a recipe for rambunctiousness among the young men who play a child’s game for a living.
Decker, a Los Angeles-area native, brings a bit of Hollywood to the desert with his short comedic film entitled, “Brad.,” referring to long-time big league catcher Brad Ausmus.
“I grew up making movies with my friends. They were awful,” Decker tells PepperOnSports.com.
"It wasn’t until high school that I started taking acting and filmmaking more seriously."
Written and directed by Decker, the film was shot primarily in the Tucson Padres facility and stars Decker, along with several other team staffers, including manager Pat Murphy (you may remember him as one of the more successful college managers during his time at Arizona State University), whose cameo steals the show in my opinion.
"Everyone in the film works at the stadium. I just asked and everyone seemed pretty on board. TJ (clubhouse manager) was a big help. And he really was perfect."
In his fifth season with the organization that drafted him in 2009, Decker is yo-yoing between first base and catching after moving from the outfield to start the 2013 season.
Did Decker ask for the Padres’ permission to shoot the film?
“Uh…. I didn’t,” Decker says. That probably explains why the film is actually funny.
Despite limited action on the field this season (playing in 98 of the team’s 124 games thus far), Decker leads the entire Padres organization in home runs with 16 (two of which came during a brief stint with the AA affiliate San Antonio Missions) and recently hit his 100th career homer . Home runs aside, Decker is best known for his alter ego (“AntiHero”) and his sense of humor which he proudly displays via Twitter, earning him the title of the #1 Minor League Player to Follow on the social media site.
In transitioning to the catcher position, Decker can learn a lot from Ausmus, a 3-time Gold Glove winner. Ausmus, who works in the San Diego Padres front office, told Decker that he laughed while watching the film.
But ohhh no, this is not the last you’ll see of Decker and Ausmus’ on-film relationship. Enough scenes ended up on the cutting-room floor to make another short film, which Decker plans on doing soon. For now though, it’s back to baseball, as usual.
If there was ever a time to defend Jeremy Shockey, it’s right now. Any media member siding with the brute tight end was a seemingly unfathomable anomaly until a single tweet turned the tides 24 hours ago.
Former NFL defensive tackle and current television football analyst Warren Sapp used Twitter to reveal the alleged source behind the “bounty-gate” scandal which rocked the New Orleans Saints after the league heavily penalized the organization on Wednesday.
Here is a screen grab of the Twitter exchange between Sapp and Shockey, the former Saints player cited by Sapp as the whistleblower:
Sapp later appeared on television to support his claim:
"I was sitting in the production meeting getting ready for the day and my source that was close to the situation informed me that Jeremy Shockey was the snitch initially. So I went with that. I trust my source unequivocally because he is right on top of the situation. I understand what this is. Shockey comes out and says that he’s not. We just found out who ‘Deep Throat’ was and he almost died. I understand. Whenever you inform something of this caliber, your identity should be protected, but I was given that information and I went with it by a reliable source that I know."
The issue is no longer whether or not Shockey slipped the Saints’ secrets to somebody at the league office. Instead, the focus has shifted to the way in which Sapp, now a member of the national media, handled the alleged information.
First, the relationship between a journalist and a source is so scared that the United States government has laws protecting it. Reporters have served jail time rather than reveal their sources whom they vowed to protect at all costs.
A different kind of source can often be found in police stations, office buildings and even inside private homes. Countless cases of criminal activity, abuse, workplace corruption and various injustices have been stopped by people brave enough to speak up under the cloak of anonymity.
One could argue that it is a journalist’s job to find the “source” who reported the Saints’ offenses to the league, resulting in one of the most extensive and harsh punishments in NFL history. While it would serve virtually no purpose at this point, sure, revealing that person’s identity would be newsworthy. On the other hand, as any journalist who claims to be more than just a TV talking head, who, dare I say studied the profession in college should know, sources and their information are to be used with great caution. Aside from treading lighting to protect the source, a journalist must protect him or herself as well because anonymous sources are often wrong and unreliable.
Journalists typically use the term “whistleblower,” as the word implies dignity in telling a very hard truth in order to stop wrongdoing. While perhaps shunned by peers, a whistleblower is well-respected by others who understand the guts it takes to stand up and do what is right.
On the streets, in tougher neighborhoods than 280 Park Avenue, “snitch” is used to perpetuate negativity and shame, often preventing brave folks with morals from taking that final, frightening step necessary to stop criminal behavior.
The league office is not an NYPD precinct. A professional football field is not the corner store where s%$& goes down. Using the term “snitch” in reference to a sports scandal is absolutely reckless.
Outing a source is a delicate action that should be reserved for someone with foresight, hesitation and critical thinking that goes beyond dropping an info-bomb on your Twitter timeline.
Shockey has tried just about everything to rid himself of the “snitch” stigma, including offering to participate in a polygraph test on live television and publishing a text message conversation with Sean Payton in which the suspended Saints head coach appears to absolve Shockey of any bounty-gate related sins.
But none of that matters because the damage has been done. Shockey, a 10-year veteran already known for being outspoken (a euphemism in his case), will have a tough time getting picked up by another organization (he is a free agent) as players will fear that their secrets are no longer safe in the locker room, training room and other closed-door areas of team facilities.
More importantly, outing the alleged source will prevent other players from coming forward and reporting infractions for fear of damage not only to their reputation but also to relationships with teammates and coaches. Then there’s always retaliation and plenty of other unpleasantries associated with being a “snitch.” p
It will be very interesting to watch how the fallout plays out in the court of public opinion, inside the league office, and out on the football field in the years to come.
What does a guy have to do to get top billing? Rory McIlroy just won more than $1 million with a victory at the Honda Classic which catapulted him to the top of the standings where at 22 years old, he is now the No. 1 golfer in the world. McIlroy has three PGA Tour wins - including the 2011 U.S. Open - on his resume, and he’s dating the world’s 4th-ranked tennis player, Caroline Wozniacki. Despite living a fairytale-like life at the moment, the young man from Northern Ireland is being overshadowed by another golfer.
Although McIlroy is No. 1, “Tiger” is on the tip of everyone’s tongue after Woods’ shot a spectacular 62 in the final round of the Honda Classic, leaving him two shots behind McIlroy for a second place finish (Tom Gillis tied Woods as the runner up). Starting the day nine shots behind McIlroy, Woods dazzled his way up the leader board, at one point trailing McIlroy by only one stroke. 62 is Wood’s best-ever final round score in a PGA Tour event.
Not too shabby.
Nearly everything went well for Woods who logged two eagles and three birdies in Sunday’s final round while McIlroy struggled mightily at times, looking like he might not earn a first place finish. Instead of letting the game get away from him, McIlroy made the best of potentially nasty situations on the 15th and 17th with two impressive up-and-downs out of bunkers good for par on both holes.
Perhaps the biggest “goosebump” moment for McIlroy came on the 13th hole where he was preparing to putt an 8-footer for birdie when he heard the crowd going nuts from the 18th. Woods had just eagled the hole, putting him within one measly shot of the Irishman. McIlroy made his birdie putt, reclaiming a two-stroke lead.
But don’t think he wasn’t shaking in his boots a bit. After the tournament, McIlroy told reporters, “It was tough today, especially when Tiger made a charge and posted 10 under.”
Ya, no kidding! That comment is a far cry from those he made during the Honda Classic last year when the young, then up-and-coming McIlroy had this to say about a down and out Woods:
"When Tiger had that aura, I wasn’t playing against him - I was watching on TV.
"I remember getting nervous when I first met him. I was 15. There was a presence about him. There still is to some extent but when you’re on the course you simply block it out.
"But Tiger is not playing as well as he was even a couple of years ago, never mind going back to the late 1990s and early 2000s, when he was at his best.
"I’m not sure we are going to see him dominate again the way he did.
"It’s not that he’s playing badly. He’s simply playing badly by Tiger’s standards. He’s playing like an ordinary golfer."
Listen, young Rory was right, but saying this stuff on the record, as a 21-year-old scrub taking the tour by storm, probably wasn’t such a bright idea.
Either way, Woods managed to set McIlroy straight with his play today, despite losing the tournament. While a competitor such as Woods is never satisfied with a moral victory like this one, his fantastic final round surely gave the man who once held the world’s No. 1 ranking for a record 623 weeks that much more confidence, which will eventually propel him to his first PGA Tour win since 2009.
After the tournament, Tiger tweeted the following:
@TigerWoods: Congrats to @mcilroyrory on getting to No. 1. Thanks to PB fans for all the love this week.
At 21 years and 10 months old, McIlroy became the second-youngest player in golf history to be ranked No. 1, right behind you-know-who. 15 years ago, Woods was 21 years and 6 months old when he shot to the top of the rankings in 1997.
Apparently, love was in the air in Palm Beach Gardens Sunday as McIlroy dished out plenty of compliments to Woods as well. “I always had putts on the putting green when I was 10 to beat Tiger Woods or to beat Phil Mickelson. But hopefully it would be great to turn that into reality at some point,” McIlroy told reporters. “They are the best two golfers of this generation, and obviously Tiger’s the best by a long way. It’s quite an honor just to be mentioned in the same sentence as those two guys.”
That’s right son. Respect your elders.
After details of Woods’ personal life unfolded publicly, I was pretty disgusted and thought I could never root for him again, but as we’ve seen over and over again in this country, time and winning heals most wounds. Woods has become the unlikeliest of underdogs and I, along with most in the sport of golf, am praying that he will soon provide us with the drama, skill and splendor that was once routine with nearly ever tournament in which he played.
What could be better for golf than a Woods/McIlroy pairing on a Sunday?
Okay, maybe Woods/Mickelson. But you get the point.
(Photo: Woods and McIlroy during a practice round for the Abu Dhabi Championship in January, 2012. Photograph: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Well isn’t this clever?
On his way out of Denver on Monday, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review sports columnist Dejan Kovacevic surely expected a typical, run-of-the-mill travel day, the kind a sports reporter experiences countless times per year.
But after a dramatic 27-23 Broncos win over the Steelers in overtime in Sunday’s AFC wildcard game, Tebowmania has swept through the Denver metro area, the airport being no exception.
Instead of flying the friendly skies as usual, Kovacevic and other passengers on United flight UA648 heading to Pittsburgh from Denver International Airport were taunted by a not-so-subtle message flashing on the screen at Gate B23.
"How ‘bout that Tebow?"
Kovacevic’s tweet accompanying the photo was just as classic, reading,
@Dejan_Kovacevic: Further proof that airlines are corporate demons, right now at Denver airport.
I laughed out loud at the tweet and the photo. On one hand, I love that some airport employee is going to get a kick of out watching the faces of the perturbed Pittsburgh faithful all day long as they read the screen. After all, the Broncos hadn’t made the playoffs since the 2005 season, so perhaps some let their excitement get the best of them.
Plus, the folks at the United kiosk made a valid point. Tebow played fantastic, going 10-21 for 316 yards passing and two touchdowns through the air, not to mention 50 yards rushing on 10 carriers, including a touchdown run. I’m sure most people watching at home were also thinking, “how ‘bout that Tebow?” I sure was!
On the other hand, I suppose this kind of jab could really anger a die-hard fan. I’d like to think that as upset as I might be over my team’s loss, I could just shake my head and mutter “well played” at something like this, but I can’t be sure.
Steelers fans stuck in the waiting area staring at that sign will get over it eventually. “This too shall pass,” as they say. With a roster decimated by injury, losing a first-round playoff game on the road wasn’t out of the realm of possibility, especially with angels in the endzone helping the Broncos offense all game. Hey, it’s not like losing a Super Bowl or anything. Oops! Nevermind.
Update - 5:30 p.m. EST: To tweet, or not to tweet? That is now the question surrounding Urban Meyer. As I, and several other media outlets reported Tuesday morning, word spread that the new Ohio State football coach had banned his players from using twitter (read the original post below). But now the tune has suddenly changed as Buckeye players are once again taking to their still-existing twitter accounts in attempts to set the record straight.
Original Post: In one of his first moves as the head football coach at Ohio State, Urban Meyer has done the unthinkable in the age of social media; he has banned twitter.
A few Buckeye players broke the news Tuesday through their twitter accounts, of course:
(Tight End Reid Fragel) @Fragel88: New staff new rules. No more twitter, not a big deal and probably for the better. Love our fans, love this place. Go Bucks #2012
(Tight End Jake Stoneburner) @STONEYeleven: Twitter=Done. Me=back for senior year, leading this team, and shocking the world!! #gobucks #12-0
Stoneburner made it a 2-for-1 in what is likely his final tweet, announcing he will return to OSU for his senior season. As for the 12-0 prediction tacked on at the end there… if a New England Patriot tweeted such obvious bulletin board material, he would certainly receive a Bill Belichick tongue-lashing in return.
Speaking of Belichick, even the ultimate gatekeeper in professional football doesn’t prohibit his players from using twitter.
For several reasons, I don’t like this move by Meyer but I completely understand it at the same time.
Twitter has become the ultimate, universal news outlet helping to break stories and dispense information in the fastest way technology has ever seen. On a less important level, the social media tool has, in itself, become a newsmaker thanks to people who mistakenly tweet out private messages, tweet while intoxicated, impulse tweet or say things that should probably be kept private in general.
A few examples of #TwitterFails from the sports world in 2011 were Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall’s tweets about Osama bin Laden and 9/11, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard tweeting that the Orlando Sentinel has “dumb articles,” and of course, former L.A. Lakers guard Shannon Brown’s attempt at shutting down the rumor mill by tweeting that no, he did not sleep with teammate Pau Gasol’s “woman.”
#smh on that last one.
Then there’s the trash talk, colorful language, twitpics of a porn star wearing your jersey, etc.
Given the OSU football program’s tattooed record, I suppose its better to play it safe wherever you can. Does this mean Facebook (aka: place for a prospective employer to look up all of your drunk party pictures from college) is out at OSU too? What about MySpace? Okay, I know, nobody uses MySpace anymore.
But in reality, how much tangible harm does twitter really cause in the college football arena? Surely, the 27 Gator football players arrested during Meyer’s tenure at Florida were not twitter-related. In fact, I would argue that twitter is a great way for an athletic department to keep track of its athletes as so many people seemingly tweet their every move.
It’s too late to weigh the pros and cons as Meyer has already made his ruling, but how much do you want to bet that plenty of Buckeye players will continue to tweet. just with a new account under a different name? Over or under 30 players? I’ll also take submissions for best OSU player alias twitter handles. Tweet them to me @jackie_pepper
2011 turned out to be a pretty rough year for Adrian Peterson. Well, signing a seven-year, $100 million contract extension wasn’t too bad, but it was all downhill from there for the Minnesota Vikings running back.
Instead of studying his playbook or playing video games in the hotel room the night before the Vikings season finale against the Chicago Bears, the four-time Pro Bowl selection spent New Years Eve in a hospital room.
Peterson kicked off 2012 wearing a paper gown and party hat while recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, an injury he suffered during the third quarter of the Vikings 33-26 victory over the Redskins in week 16.
Between a horrendous 3-13 record and a shredded knee, there is nowhere to go but up for Peterson in 2012, thus making the best out of a crappy situation is a good start and a testament to his character.
Peterson tweeted the pictures above with captions reading, “My time bringing in the New Year was great! Thanks to family & a lil Blue Bell country ice cream” and “HAPPY NEW YEAR FANS & FAMIlY!!!”
Every year growing up, I spent one week of winter break at sleep-away camp in the mountains of Malibu, CA. In the 8th grade, I fell during the New Years Eve activity, tearing a ligament in my hand. Instead of counting down with my friends at the camp dance, I spent the final hours of 1996 quietly watching Dick Clark on the TV in my hospital room for an anticlimactic celebration with Robbo, the camp song leader and a doctor.
I wonder which NYE show Peterson watched. I’d like to think of him as an Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin kind of guy, but I digress.
At around 1:30 a.m., I arrived back at camp to find my entire cabin of hyper teenage girls and a group of counselors waiting up to greet me and hear all about my New Years hospital adventure. I had a cast on, so luckily there were plenty of people to help me get up to my top bunk. I’m short, so it took a village, believe me.
As Peterson’s tweets proved, some things aren’t as bad as they seem. The Vikings expect Peterson to be fully recovered from the torn ACL and MCL injury right around the start of next season. By all accounts, Peterson is one of the “good guys” in the league so here’s to 2012 treating him (and the rest of us) well. L’Chaim!
No wonder that Miami Heat vs. Minnesota Timberwolves game was so close the other night! Perhaps LeBron James had a case of cold feet and shaky hands during the Heat’s game in Minneapolis on Friday, but if he did, James didn’t show it as the South Beach star logged 34 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists in a near-loss to the Timberwolves. Less than 24 hours after Miami’s 103-101 victory, James proposed to the mother of his two children and girlfriend of eight years, Savannah Brinson on New Years Eve.
Eight years LeBron? Sounds like this was the real decision.
After pondering the possibility for nearly a decade, Brinson said “yes.” According to website theybf.com, Brinson was surprised by the proposal which came in front of a large group of the couple’s friends at a New Years Eve party. The photo posted above came from theybf.com and if you look closely, you can see some bling on Brinson’s ring finger.
Oh hey Chris Bosh, is that you wearing a funny top hat behind the bride to be? I think so!
Of course, the congratulatory tweets started rolling in soon after James popped the question. Here are a few:
@MickyArison (Micky Arison, Miami Heat Owner): Congrats to Lebron. @KingJames and Savannah so happy 4 u guys.
@CP3 (Chris Paul): Happy for my brother @KingJames and sis @SavannahRB on their engagement!!! Extremely happy for them and the good times to come #HappyNewYear
Jada_AP (Jada Paul, wife of CP3): CONGRATULATIONS to 2 of my favorite people @SavannahRB and @KingJames! SO happy for you guys! LOVE you!!
Between an early undefeated record, celebrating his 27th birthday on Friday and getting engaged on Saturday, 2012 could finally be LeBron James’ year. After receiving pretty good press during the offseason, including stating his regrets over “the decision” in an interview, the dust seems to have settled and people are jumping back on the James bandwagon.
The truth is that it’s hard to hate on beautiful basketball, regardless of what you may think of the players on a personal level. If the Heat build upon what we’ve already seen them do thus far and stay consistent, LeBron and Savannah better keep their schedule open through late June and play it safe with an August wedding.
For some professional athletes, playing to win is not nearly as important as the paycheck and lifestyle that comes along with the job. For others, like Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, logging that W is a major source of pride and accomplishment, making any loss unacceptable.
Suggs and the Ravens (10-4) were humiliated by the San Diego
not so super until three weeks ago Chargers (7-7) on Sunday night, the 34-14 defeat not sitting well with the four-time pro bowl selection. Check out a tweet posted by a sizzling hot T-Sizzle a few hours after the game ended:
@untouchablejay4: That was Phuckin Bullsh!t Bmore. I apologize from the bottom of my heart. WE WILL WIN OUT!!!!!!! #byanymeansnecessary
Please pardon his phrench, as clearly, Suggs is frustrated. When this tweet popped up on my timeline, my first thought was, “uh-oh. Guaranteeing wins never ends well.”
Suggs had several reasons to be upset. For starters, the Ravens went into Sunday’s game leading their division, but because of the loss, should the Steelers beat the 49ers on Monday, Pittsburgh would take sole possession of the AFC North and drop Baltimore down to the fifth seed.
"It’s back to the drawing board," Suggs told the media in the locker room after the game. "Everybody said we’d fall to fifth so what… Like I said, we in hell now, so, but, we got a vacation home in hell. This is normal for us…"
Umm, okay. I won’t pretend to understand exactly what Suggs is getting at there but losing the game to the Chargers stung on several levels and wasn’t cool, even by Hades-dwelling standards.
The long-heralded Ravens defense only laid two nasty hits on Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers in the entire game, and the only sack the Ravens notched went bye-bye with a personal foul called on Suggs.
The Ravens came into Sunday’s game not only riding a four game winning streak, but also enthused for the return of their captain/emotional leader/amazing pre-game dancing linebacker Ray Lewis (from injury) for the first time in as many games.
Despite leading the defense with ten tackles, Lewis’ return wasn’t nearly enough for the Ravens as quarterback Joe Flacco was hammered by the Chargers, being sacked five times and throwing two interceptions.
As for Suggs’ promise of winning out, that isn’t out of the question by any means as the Ravens host the Cleveland Browns (4-10) next week, followed by the Bengals (8-6) in Cincinnati to close out the regular season.
Ravens fans should wait to see what goes down with their arch-rival Steelers on Monday night before going into freak out mode just yet, although ESPN’s Trey Wingo tweeted Sunday that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said he was optimistic that the injured Ben Roethlisberger will be under center against the 49ers. I wonder if Suggs and the Ravens will watch that game with the rest of us?
From the looks of the pictures above, Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee and Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson have a lot in common. They wear the same numbers, their team colors are similar, heck, it looks like they could be buddies! Unfortunately, the chances of these two playing video games, grabbing a cold one together, or doing any other form of male bonding is probably slim.
Apparently Scobee didn’t appreciate Jackson’s taunting the Giants’ sideline during the Philadelphia Eagle’s win in the Meadowlands on Sunday. Or maybe Scobee didn’t like how Jackson slept through a team meeting, thus being benched in Philly’s game against the Cardinals last weekend. Perhaps it was the fact that Jackson held out for 11 days of training camp in hopes of getting a new contract in hopes of bringing home a bigger paycheck.
Maybe it was all of the above and then some that inspired this tweet from Scobee (who like Jackson, also wears the number 10) late Sunday evening:
@JoshScobee10: Desean Jackson is a punk. #growuputinybastard
WOW! Right or wrong, gotta love a placekicker who takes a stand and tweets from the heart.
The 29-year-old, who has made 15 of 16 field goals this season (including five +50 yarders, three of which came in the Jags win over the Ravens in Week 7) clarified his tweet… kind of:
@JoshScobee10: Relax people. He’s just a punk, which to me means he doesn’t respect anyone or anything around him. Therefore, I don’t respect him.
Ok then! Scobee sure is fired up about this. I’m sure word of Sobee’s tweets will eventually get back to Jackson, who at this point, would be wise to refrain from commenting.
While Jackson’s image might be down in the dumps, he beat Scobee where it counted Sunday, which was in the win column. The Browns toppled the Jags, dropping Jacksonville to 3-7 (a distant third place in the AFC South) while Jackson and the Eagles managed to squeeze out a victory over the Giants behind Vince Young at quarterback. The 17-10 win breathed a bit of life back into the Eagles, improving (I’m using that word loosely) their record to 4-6, still leaving them behind the Giants and Cowboys, both at 6-4.
It’s too bad the Eagles and Jags don’t play each other this season. Can you imagine the media talking about the twitter beef between Scobee and Jackson heading into the game? That would be classic.
Clippers teammates Craig Smith, Chris Kaman and DeAndre Jordan, seen here in happier times at the team’s Media Day before the 2010 season, seems like a distant memory, with no official reunion in sight.
Kaman and Jordan exchanged some sweet tweets just moments ago:
@ChrisKaman: I miss @deandrejordan
@deandrejordan: Miss you too Hogan!!!
Hogan… I see the resemblance.
Between official summer leagues and team training camps, usually teammates would have plenty of work-related opportunities to see each other during the summer months.
Instead, Kaman and Jordan are not together in Los Angeles, or anywhere near each other for that matter, resulting in this public display of affection.
Jordan is in Las Vegas, playing in Impact Basketball’s two week tournament for NBA players in Sin City, while Kaman, according to his twitter feed, is “staying in MI and working out in my gym and staying in shape until something happens. I might even go play overseas!”
With recent talks between the league and the union going nowhere and rumors of union decertification in the works, it looks like Kaman and Jordan won’t be hugging it out in person any time soon. Hopefully twitter PDA will hold them over for a while.
(picture by Reed Saxon)