Friday, August 30, 2013

Kicking Off

TigerBlog didn't make it anywhere close to the end of the Rutgers-Fresno State game last night.

He mostly forgot about the game until this morning, when he was checking out Twitter, which is a really frustrating way to figure out who won. Nobody ever posts the final score, at least TB's followers don't.

Take  Eddie Timanus of USA Today and Patrick Stevens of #d1scourse, for instance. They keep TB updated in a very humorous way, except at the end, when they simply say things like "oh well" or "that's the game" or "goodnight Twitterverse."

TigerBlog had to go all the way to his Yahoo sports app to get the final score this morning.

And what a final it was. Fresno State 52, Rutgers 51 in overtime.

TigerBlog wanted to see Rutgers win. He knows a lot of RU alums and no Fresno State alums.

In addition, Rutgers tight end Paul Carrezola is the older brother of Bridget Carrezola, one of Miss TigerBlog's buddies and a field hockey and lacrosse teammate. There are actually four Carrezola children, each one a big-time athlete, with Bridget the youngest and possibly best of all of them.

Rutgers, playing in the AAC this year after the Big East last year and the Big 10 next year, combined with Fresno State for 114 passing attempts and nearly 1,100 yards of offense, of which 804 came through the air.

It was quite a start to the college football season, not just in the game but all around the country.

The Thursday before Labor Day is the first day of the college football season, and there were games galore. The marquee player was South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney, who is probably going to be the No. 1 pick in next year's NFL draft.

TB can't hep but wonder if Clowney is that good or just happened to make about the biggest hit ever in a football game, something that is etched in everyone's mind and replayed a billion times - and possibly illegal this year by the next rules about hitting defenseless ballcarriers.

The schedule gets even more crowded as the weekend goes along, with some pretty good matchups along the way. There were 17 games yesterday, with eight more today and then 47 tomorrow, two Sunday and one Monday.

College football is back. And it should be back in a big way, what with the way that sport has driven all of the conference realignment that has left so many soccer players and field hokey players and yes, basketball players, left to sort through the carnage as they make insanely long trip after insanely long trip to play schools they have no natural connection to, while longtime rivals are doing the same.

As is the case every year, Princeton football is going through its earliest practices while the rest of the college football world is playing games.

TB is okay with it.

Princeton opens Sept. 21 - three weeks from tomorrow - at home against Lehigh. It's the start of the 10 games in 10 weeks sprint that is Ivy League football.

TigerBlog thinks the perfect schedule for an Ivy League team would be to start the season two weeks earlier than it does now, meaning next weekend. The teams would play six games, and then the entire league would take a week off, coming back the following week to play five more games, all within the league.

This adds an 11th game obviously, something that is pretty controversial within the league. And it pushes the start of preseason back two weeks, which adds significant expense.

Even if the possibility of an 11th game is unlikely, TB would love to see the season start a week earlier and have each Ivy team take that one week in the middle off.

It'd be good for resting and recovering from the pounding of an Ivy season, which is the No. 1 reason TB likes it.

It would also be good for recharging the season itself, with a big push for the second half, as each game is a league game and the season really starts to sort itself out.

Anyway, that's what TigerBlog would do.

In the meantime, there is a lot of college football to be watched, even if it's not yet September.

And of course the Princeton athletics season has its first games a week from today, with soccer, field hockey and volleyball kicking off as well.

So enjoy Labor Day weekend. Come Tuesday, it'll be gameweek for Princeton.

If TB's plan were enacted, it would apply to football as well.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Dope Nonetheless

So TigerBlog missed the big story the other day when Governor Christie was on WFAN's morning show.

That's okay. The story just keeps getting better. All the way to a quote yesterday from the Governor, as he was talking about Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, who had his own appearance on WFAN yesterday, on the "Benigno and Roberts Show."

Maureen Dowd, of all people, apparently came to Mehta's defense in a column, one that TB can't find an actual link to, so he'll have to take the word of a bunch of other stories he read about it. Dowd actually was more taking shots at the Governor (not shocking) than she was defending Mehta, but still, here was Manish in a Maureen Dowd column.

Then Governor Christie responded as only he can, basically saying that he didn't care in the least what Maureen Dowd said. And then he did something that nobody else in politics would ever dream of, which is part of why Christie has such wide appeal.

Rather than doing what everyone else would have done, which is saying something along the lines of "I'd like to apologize to the reporter and to anyone else who might have been offended by my words," Christie instead said this about Manish:

"So, you know, I thought a particular reporter was a dope, I said so, and I heard him on the radio today … and he seems like a very nice young man, a dope nonetheless, but a nice young man.”

That's classic.

So yes, Manish may be a dope, but at least he's Princeton's dope. And one of TB's favorite people. But TB will get back to that shortly.

First there's the little matter of what everyone said about Manish. Forget the Governor. Let's go to Keith Olbermann, who is a way bigger dope than Manish ever has been at his dopiest and most assuredly not one of TB's favorite people.

The only reason that Olbermann is back on ESPN, TB surmises, is that there are still some people out there who don't completely hate him, so he's trying to reach them too. How else to explain it?

And here's a little background.

Manish covers the NFL for the New York Daily News and has spent as much time around the Jets as any other media member. The Jets, and particularly Rex Ryan, messed up a preseason game as much as  a preseason game can be messed up last Saturday night.

Geno Smith, the rookie that the Jets were desperately hoping would be able to duplicate what the great rookie quarterbacks of last year were able to do in rejuvenating franchises like the Redskins, Colts and Seahawks, has shown that basically he's not ready to do that yet. His last chance to prove otherwise was Saturday's game against the Giants, and he came out and threw three interceptions while clearly showing he's not an NFL starting QB yet.

The Jets fallback plan is Mark Sanchez, who isn't exactly an elite NFL quarterback either but at least has some experience and isn't the national joke he's made out to be either. And if nothing else, right now, today, he's clearly better than Smith.

So what happens? Ryan puts Sanchez in the fourth quarter with the guys trying to make the team, and of course Sanchez hurts his shoulder, putting into question whether or not he'll even be ready for Week 1.

Manish then tweeted that Ryan SHOULD be fired for making that decision. Not WOULD be fired. SHOULD be fired.

Maybe that was strong, but it wasn't like he was referring to sources he'd heard in the organization saying that Ryan was on his way out because of this decision. Manish was simply saying that he SHOULD be fired for doing something that dumb.

Ryan then didn't help his cause in his press conference, which if you saw it you know how odd it was. Ryan's assertion that he put Sanchez in because the were competing and trying to win was even dumber than the actual move of putting Sanchez in, because who cares if the Jets won that game? What does the third preseason game mean? Nothing. Keeping your best QB option healthy is slightly bigger.

Then Manish wrote a column saying that the decision to put Sanchez in could ultimately lead to Ryan's firing. Not because someone in the organization said that, but because it's obvious.

Of course Olbermann jumped on Manish with an embarrassing rant in which he misrepresented everything about what Manish had done, suggesting that he had invented sources to make it seem like Ryan would be fired after the game or before the season started, something Manish never remotely said.

And Governor Christie was being, well, Governor Christie.

So what's come of it?

Well, Manish has been the subject of some ridiculous comments readers have made under a few of the stories that TB has read. At the same time, everybody has heard of Manish Mehta by now.

Around here, his name was hardly unknown.

Long before he was covering the Jets, Manish was an intern here in the Office of Athletic Communications.

He covered Princeton women's basketball during the Maggie Langlas/Kate Thirolf days and was the men's volleyball contact when the team went to the NCAA Final Four in Hawaii. When he looked at the video of where some of the men's volleyball alums are in their careers and saw that Scott Birdwell was the first one interviewed, TB's first thought was "that was Manish's favorite."

Despite sharing an alma mater with TigerBlog, Manish became a huge fan of Princeton men's basketball in the mid-to-late 1990s. He was a staple of lunchtime basketball at Jadwin during those years.

Among those who are huge fans of the guy are Gary Walters, Bill Carmody, Joe Scott and John Thompson, who would purposely call him "muh-NISH" instead of "muh-NEESH."

Former men's volleyball coach Glenn Nelson was a huge fan too. In fact, in one match, Nelson called a timeout - just so Manish could catch up after falling behind on stats.

And now Manish is in national headlines.

He's actually a thorough professional, one that the frauds on TV and the radio who rip this guy and rip that guy and then wouldn't have 1/100th of Manish's courage to go back into the lockerroom again the next day and go face-to-face with them could actually learn a lot from. In many ways, Manish is one the last reminders of what sportswriting used to be, when it was more important to develop sources through hard work and creating relationships than it was to sit in a studio and say whatever comes to mind - or read what people like Manish write in the newspaper and pretend that you came up with it.

As for Manish, he's not a dope.

Maybe a bit dopey at times, but not a dope.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

But By The Content Of Their Character

TigerBlog spent the last 30 minutes talking to Princeton head football coach Bob Surace, mostly about his experiences when he coached with the Cincinnati Bengals and it came time to cut players.

TB, obviously, had seen "Hard Knocks" the night before, and the show ended with the first round of cuts. It was fascinating to hear Surace's perspective on it.

Additionally, the first games for the 2013-14 academic year are just nine days away, and fall sports teams are deep into the preseason routines. There has been an endless parade of teams who have come through to get their head shots for the webpage, which is always a humorous event to watch.

There are new coaches, preseason polls, alumni accomplishments, and any number of other subjects to write about.

And that doesn't even touch on the fact that TB missed the lede when he wrote about Governor Christie the other day.

Today, though, isn't for any of that.

No, today is about the 50th anniversary of one of the signature moments in all of American history.

It was 50 years ago today that Martin Luther King delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech in Washington, in what is one of the two greatest orations in this country's history, along with Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address."

TigerBlog was an American history major at Penn, and he took several classes in which the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King himself were key components.

The speech itself was longer than scheduled, and Dr. King improvised much of the last few minutes. When he was over, he gave the original version to George Raveling, a basketball player at Villanova who would go on to be a long-time college basketball coach. Raveling still has the type-written paper that Dr. King gave him.

TigerBlog wrote the following about Martin Luther King back in 2012, on the January holiday that honors him:

When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

The United States has 10 officially recognized federal holidays.

They are:
New Year's Day
The Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.
Washington's Birthday
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Labor Day
Columbus Day
Veterans' Day

According to the official government website, the official name of "Presidents Day" is really "Washington's Birthday," and it offers this explanation:
This holiday is designated as "Washington's Birthday" in section 6103(a) of title 5 of the United States Code, which is the law that specifies holidays for Federal employees. Though other institutions such as state and local governments and private businesses may use other names, it is our policy to always refer to holidays by the names designated in the law.

In other words, only one federal holiday is named after a person who was born in the United States of America.

That's a fairly large group of people, a group that has accomplished some of the singularly greatest moments in the history of mankind, in every single area of human existence (science, religion, government, athletics, women's equality, economics, discovery and on and on and on).

Only one, Martin Luther King Jr., has ever been honored by a federal holiday in his name.

Dr. King was the driving force in the civil rights movement, and his non-violent approach helped achieve monumental successes in a struggle that had begun with an entire race of people literally in chains.

The major civil rights legislation that grew out of Dr. King's movement - with, by the way, considerable help from Princeton's John Doar - was 100 years after the end of the Civil War, which presumably was fought (at the cost of 600,000 American lives) to achieve many of the end results that would take another 10 decades.

And while the major victories of the movement weren't exactly bloodless, they had a much less violent path than anyone could have ever expected.

Ironically, Dr. King himself, a man of non-violence, saw his life cut short on April 4, 1968, when he was assassinated in Memphis in most violent fashion. His role in the movement, as its centerpiece, made him an inevitable target.

Meanwhile, back in August 2013, race is a huge issue in this country, even five years into the administration of its first black President. The news is filled with racially divisive stories, one after the next.

TigerBlog has read and reread the speech so many times. It is above all else a courageous speech, one that put Dr. King at conflict with whites who were threatened by his movement and by blacks who disapproved of a non-violent approach to effect change.

Ultimately, he became too big of a target, and it caught up to him less than five years later.

Before his death, though, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 became the landmark legislations of their time. It is not a coincidence that they were passed within two years of his speech.

The complete text of the "I Have A Dream" speech is here.

Read it. Think about the courage it took to deliver it, and the man who had the courage to stand up and say those words.

Think about what it still means, today, 50 years to the day.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Orange And Black Clashes With Red And Blue

TigerBlog spent 11 glorious years working in the newspaper business.

Back then, it was a nearly perfect job for him. He went to games. Wrote about them. Worked late. Slept late. What could be better when you're in your 20s, right?

Being in the newspaper business taught TB an important lesson about life, too.

In newspapers, you can never get more than a day behind. Get today's paper out and then worry about tomorrow's. Life is sort of like that too.

Almost all of TB's time in the business was spent writing, the first six years about high school sports and the last five about college sports. It was in those last five years that he first started to learn his way around the Princeton campus and athletic department.

TB did have to spend some nights working on the desk, which wasn't quite his favorite thing to do, though looking back on it there were some big time laughs with some great people.

Mostly what the desk is about is proofreading (something TigerBlog is awful at) and headline writing (something TB loved to do).

Proofreading is hard for a lot of reasons, at least to TB. For starters, there's the balance between correcting errors and rewriting stories, and TB was never a fan of having his own stuff redone.

Then there's the whole concentration part. There are few things more frustrating than reading through a story, finding nothing wrong with it and then picking up the paper the next morning and having some dumb mistake instantly jump out at you.

Headline writing, though. Now that was fun. And it's also the biggest misconception people had about newspapers. TB can't tell you how many times someone mentioned the headline, not realizing that the person who wrote the story never writes the headline.

 TigerBlog has touched on this before, with some of the great headlines he wrote in the newspaper business:

"Dykstra's Appendix Out At Home" - the story was about how Lenny Dykstra had to fly back from a road trip for an appendicitis
"Eagles Kicking Circus Auditions Two New Clowns" - this one was about how the Eagles couldn't find a kicker, brought in two mid-week and then didn't sign either one

There were also the two legendary headlines that lived on forever in the newsroom lore. TigerBlog, for the record, saw both in the paper so he can verify that they were true, though he didn't write either one:

"Irish Girls Are Loose" - preview story of a big Notre Dame High girls basketball game
"Vazquez Rides Miss Wyoming To Victory" - self-explanatory, sort of

TigerBlog's favorite headline that he's written? "Final 0:04," written after Ryan Boyle's goal with four seconds left sent Princeton to the 2004 NCAA men's lacrosse Final Four.

Get it? Final 0:04?

TigerBlog received an email last week from a Penn alum he'd never met, and on the bottom of the email, he said that he'd love to see a headline one day that read "Orange and Black Clashes With Red and Blue."

TB could not for the life of him figure out how he'd ever missed that one before.

The colors clash with each other as color schemes, and the teams are huge rivals. What a perfect headline.

Maybe TB will use that one this coming men's lacrosse season.

Earlier in the email he said he'd always wondered how someone could turn his back on his alma mater and embrace his rival school.

The answer?

It was hard at first. Very conflicting. TigerBlog could never have imagined when he was in college that there would be a day where he would actually want Princeton to beat Penn in men's basketball.

Then it got easier. Then it got to be second nature.

It's mostly about the people, after all, more than the schools themselves. TB didn't know anyone at Princeton at one point. Once he got to know the people, the place wasn't as important.

And so now he's no longer about the Red and Blue, at least when it's clashing with his favorite colors, Orange and Black.

Monday, August 26, 2013


TigerBlog was driving to work today when he heard the unmistakable, instantly recognizable voice of the person who was guest-hosting the "Boomer and Carton Show" on WFAN.

It was none other than New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who was filling in for Boomer, Esiason, that is.

So let's start off right off the bat by saying this is not something pretty much any other high profile, a-chance-to-be-the-next-President politician would even consider.

In the course of the 20 minutes or so that TB was listening, he heard Christie say he hates the Yankees, that the only team he hates more than the Yankees is the Phillies, that he loves the Jets, that a caller who thought that Rex Ryan should be fired immediately was out of his mind and that Geno Smith is definitely not ready to be a starting quarterback but that if he is, then the Jets need to cut Mark Sanchez.

Oh, and he also sang a duet with Carton of the Peaches and Herb sort-of classic "Reunited."

Any other politician would have been tap-dancing around each subject, for fear of the remotest chance of saying something that might possibly turn off one person who otherwise might vote for him/her. And the singing? Never.

This, of course, is precisely why Christie is a different politician, one who strikes fear into the establishment of both parties. And why you could make a case that Christie's approach - which is innate and can't simply be imitated - makes him so appealing to so many people.

Ah, but to paraphrase Rick in "Casablanca," your business is politics; TigerBlog's is running a saloon.

And so TB will stick to less political subjects. Like the MTV Video Music Awards, which presumably were on last night.

Governor Christie also talked about Justin Timberlake, who apparently hit a big home run with his performance with his old band, N'Sync, last night. TB knows no N'Sync songs and isn't troubled by that.

Timberlake comes across as a nice enough guy, so TB is fine with the accolades he was getting at the end of his performance.

Mercifully, TB wasn't watching. He learned all this from Twitter.

Because he wasn't watching, he didn't get to see the train wreck that is Miley Cyrus, who apparently humiliated herself to no end with her own performance, except that this is a country where nobody really ever stands up anymore and says that such behavior is humiliating.

Once upon a time, Miley Cyrus was one of TB's favorite kid show characters, the very watchable Hannah Montana. If you have an early teenage daughter now, then you get TB's point.

"Hannah Montana" was a perfectly wholesome 30 minutes, time that an adult parent could suffer through without wanting to gouge out an eyeball or two, unlike so many other shows that kids get addicted to and force their parents to see.

Yeah, if you went to school with Miley and couldn't figure out she was Hannah then you didn't exactly deserve to be on the honor roll, but that's nitpicking.

Now? TB can sum her up in one word: yuck.

Ashleigh Johnson's 19th birthday is a few weeks down the road, so TB thinks she's a little too old to have been a fan of Hannah. Maybe she caught the beginning before she grew out of it.

Whatever she watched as a kid, she herself is now very much worth watching herself. Maybe women's water polo flies under the radar a bit, but that doesn't change the fact that Johnson may very well be Princeton's best female athlete right now.

By the time she's done, it's possible that "right now" could be changed to "ever." At the very least she's in the discussion for the first and ultimately has to be for the second.

Johnson finished her summer vacation in Greece this past weekend by being named the outstanding goalie of the World Junior Championships and helping the U.S. to the gold medal.

It's not a bad performance for a young woman who is starting her sophomore year of college.

A year ago, Johnson led Princeton to the Eastern championship and a fifth-place national finish. Along the way, it seemed like every picture that was taken of her showed her doing something ridiculously athletic and spectacular.

If you don't think water polo requires an unbelievable amount of stamina, strength, tenacity and athleticism, try going and treading water for seven minutes at a time with nobody else in the pool. Then try it with a pool full of people who are trying to essentially beat you up.

Luis Nicolao has done a great job through the years coaching both the men's and women's programs.

He's also somewhat buddies with the New Jersey Governor, whom he met at a Bruce Springsteen concert, where the two looked like long-time buddies or even brothers in the picture they had taken together.

A picture like that is a great prize to have.

So is a goalie like Ashleigh Johnson. Make sure you see her this spring and the two that follow it.

You'll be looking at a rare, rare athlete.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Nice Guy

Remember back in May when TigerBlog said he was losing weight?

Well, now it's three months later, and he's still going strong.

He started out just short of 240 pounds. These days, he's under 210.

For all of the magical formulas out there about weight loss, the reality is that it's simply about better diet and more exercise. While it might not be fun, that's just how it works.

At least in TB's case.

Sadly, it's been a lonely five months or so without an M&M. Or ice cream. His birthday, and those of both of his kids, have come and gone without so much as a nibble on a cake.

There's a candy dish on the desk of a co-worker, the one whose desk is closest to TB's, that is currently filled with mini Kit Kat bars, Hershey's miniatures and those little Dove bar milk chocolate eggs. Not that long ago, TB would have polished off the entire jar.

These days? Nothing. TB's own desk has two bananas on it.

TigerBlog looked out at the dessert table last night at Bob Surace's house and made a heavy sigh. There were donuts, cookies, cakes, giant orange and black Oreos.

And TB had none of it.

When TB goes out to eat these days, he likes to compare what he actually orders with what he would have ordered a year ago. Hey, there's a reason he was sniffing 240 not that long ago.

The occasion last night was Surace's annual pre-beginning-of-practice barbeque. Surace, if you don't know, is the head football coach at Princeton.

He has this event each year at his house, and each year it seems that it pours either before or during. This year, it was before, and the skies had cleared fully about an hour before it started.

There was almost as much water on his lawn as in the pool, but that didn't stop the fun.

TB told a few people who work at other schools that he was going to the BBQ at the head football coach's house, and they were a bit jealous that they didn't have that same kind of dynamic.

In truth it just speaks volumes about the kind of people Surace and his wife Lisa (a former Princeton women's soccer player who has a Ph.D. in psychology and who is the Lower School Head at Princeton Day School) are. They're just nice, friendly people, and they opened their house up to co-workers and friends before the serious business of another football season begins.

TigerBlog has seen enough big-time coaches to know that they are a lot like politicians. They can be the friendliest people in the world when they need to be or when it suits them, but it's usually phony.

TB will never forget the time that Princeton played basketball at a Big 10 school and then had travel issues getting home. The opposing head coach was at a post-game reception that also included Princeton's coaches, and the head of his booster group came up to the coach with Pete Carril and Bill Carmody by his side.

Very nicely, the booster guy asked the coach if it would be okay if he allowed Princeton to use their vans to get to an airport, and the coach said almost word-for-word "Do you know who this is? This is Coach Carril. You get him whatever he needs."

Then, about a half-hour later, TB was standing next to the booster guy when the coach came over and said this almost word-for-word: "I don't care how they get out here. How many times do I have to tell you not to bother me with this stuff?" Except every other word was a bad one. The f-dash-dash-dash one, as Ralphie said in "A Christmas Story."

What does this have to do with Surace?

He's the most down-to-Earth guy you'll ever meet. When TB, TigerBlog Jr. and Miss TigerBlog arrived at his house, he was the first one to greet them, and he asked both of them questions about their summer, when school starts, how they were doing.

Then he repeated this with everyone who was at his house.

He's just genuine, that's all. He makes it so easy to root for him.

The desserts followed dinner, a buffet with pulled pork, chicken, cheesesteaks, pasta with broccoli, corn on the cob, salad, hot dogs and probably a few other things TB can't remember.

It was just a nice, calm evening, one that is now followed by a highly stressful, highly intense three months of Princeton football. Practice starts next week.

Then it'll be 10 games in 10 weeks. It's an exciting time for the Tigers, who turned the corner from 1-9 and 1-9 to go 5-5 a year ago.

This year and beyond? Who knows. TB is optimistic.

After all, the head coach is very competitive.

It's just that Bob Surace shows that you can be that without having to be a jerk.

So root for him. If you've never met him, take TB's word. It's easy to do.

And if you have, you know what TB means.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The 99ers

A week ago, TigerBlog said that he didn't intend to write about the Mary Decker/Zola Budd documentary.

Next week he'll probably say that he didn't intend to write about the last one in the series, as, of course, he writes about it.

Today, he starts out by saying that it wasn't his intention to write about the documentary for this week, "The 99ers," about the 1999 U.S. women's soccer team and its experience in the World Cup that summer.

And now he'll write about it.

Director Erin Leyden opens the show by saying that the story is so well known that it was hard to come up with a new angle to explore. And then Julie Foudy, one of the captains of the team, came to her with a ton of video that she had shot during that summer with what the viewer quickly realizes was her ever-present camera, and Leyden had her angle.

The documentary is centered around eight members of the team who reunite at the Rose Bowl, the sight of the famous championship game, which the U.S. won in penalty kicks over China in front of 90,000 live fans and 40 million TV viewers, both records that still stand for a women's sporting event in this country.

The signature moment, of course, was when Brandi Chastain scored the decisive PK and ripped off her jersey, showing her sports bra to the world.

The eight team members - including Foudy, Chastain, Mia Hamm and Michelle Akers - tell old stories, laugh, reminisce and do what it is that teammates do 14 years after accomplishing something huge, the way they did.

It's hard to overstate the significance of what they accomplished together, for the future of women's athletics in this country and for the influence they had on so many young girls who watched their success and decided to grow into the current generation of women's athletes in all sports.

It took a huge confluence of events to make it happen - they had to have marketable stars (especially Hamm), those stars had to be attractive (no offense to anyone, but it's true), the general sporting public had to respond to them, they had to play in the United States and they had to win.

The fact that their summer took them across the country - their journey began in Giants Stadium, included a stop in Chicago and ended in California - brought them up close to so many people everywhere they went.

They were also perfect ambassadors, with their girl-next-door persona that was easy to market.

There are, in TigerBlog's opinion, two huge moments in the history of women's athletics in this country, two that stand above anything else that happened, two that inspired millions of little girls to pursue sports and all of the good things that go along with them. One was Billie Jean King's win over Bobby Riggs in the Astrodome in 1973; the other was the 1999 World Cup.

And yes, Leyden was right. The story is so familiar, and not that old, that it was hard to come up with a new angle. Foudy's footage (she also narrates) was a great touch.

So if you haven't seen it, make sure you do. It's a great one.

One of the little girls who undoubtedly watched and probably had a Mia Hamm jersey was Jen Hoy, who was eight years old that summer of 1999. TB can't imagine that she wasn't glued to the TV for each U.S. team game.

Hoy went on to be one of the all-time greats in Ivy League women's soccer history. She graduated last year after helping Princeton to the 2012 Ivy League championship with a perfect 7-0-0 league record, and the Tigers won at West Virginia in the opening round of the NCAA tournament before falling against Marquette in Utah to end a 14-4-1 year.

By any account, it was the second-best season in program history, after the 2004 team that went to the NCAA Final Four. And Princeton last year did something that the 2004 team, or any other team in program history, had not done, which was win an NCAA game on the road.

Hoy just finished her first season with the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women's Soccer League, and she did so in style, scoring both of her team's goals in a 2-1 win over FC Kansas City to earn league Player of the Week honors.

Hoy was actually the second straight Princeton player to earn Player of the Week in the NWSL, after Diana Matheson did so the week before. Matheson was one of the key members of the 2004 team and has been a longtime member of the Canadian national team, the highlight of which has been her goal last year that gave Canada the bronze medal at the London Olympics.

The 2013 women's soccer season is just two weeks and one day away, as the Tigers host Richmond on Sept. 6. Once again, if you've never been to Roberts Stadium, the home of Princeton soccer, get there.

Princeton figures to be strong again this year and one of the top contenders in the league once again, even without the strong Class of 2013 that just graduated.

When Princeton plays Richmond, it will be Game 1 for the Tigers and Game 5 for the Spiders, who play two games this weekend and two more next weekend before coming to New Jersey. It's just how it works in the Ivy League, where the start date is later.

Still, Princeton under head coach Julie Shackford has usually been able to overcome that little hurdle. Shackford is 189-103-22 at Princeton and 231-124-26 overall in her career, and those 189 wins are by far the most by any men's or women's soccer coach in Princeton history. She is also coached Princeton to two of the five 7-0-0 seasons in Ivy women's soccer history, and she has that 2004 Final Four on her resume, something no other women's coach in the Ivy League has ever had.

Shackford's own playing career predated the explosion of women's soccer in this country by just a few years. Had the Women's World Cup started not in 1991 but four years earlier, Shackford, a three-time All-America at William & Mary, would have been a good bet for the U.S. team.

Women's soccer today in this country is huge, with millions of girls who play as little kids, a highly competitive club system for older girls, great opportunities at more than 300 Division I colleges and hundreds of other DII and DIII schools and ultimately a professional league and national team that is always among the best in the world.

The 99ers talk about their roles as pioneers, which they sort of downplay a little. But they shouldn't.

What they accomplished in their own right was extraordinary.

Their real legacy, though, is what they've done for so many others who found inspiration in that perfect summer of 1999.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Defending Champs

Miss TigerBlog is officially a teenager.

TigerBlog is struggling with that little fact. Ever since Day 1, all any father of a daughter hears is "wait until she's a teenager."

Well, she is now.

TigerBlog has a picture of MTB and her friend Wiki, taken at a Princeton women's basketball game in Jan. 2012. He has another one of the same two girls taken just about a year later, prior to the big middle school formal dance.

Granted, in the first picture, they are wearing sweatpants at a basketball game. And in the second one, they are wearing formal dresses for the dance.

Still, in the first picture they look like little girls. In the second they look like, well, they look like what every father of a daughter can't believe has happened so quickly.

Then there is the whole "I hate you phase" that all teenager girls apparently go through, no?

TB isn't trying to stereotype boys and girls here. Still, TigerBlog Jr. is halfway through his teens, and the drama has been kept to a minimum.

Of course, there hasn't been any teenage drama yet from MTB either, though it'd been less than a week.

And what did she want for her 13th birthday? A new field hockey stick, what else?

TB took her the other day to a place that specializes in girls' athletic equipment. The field hockey equipment was upstairs, so up the steps father and daughter went.

Before the two ever reached the top, they heard the unmistakable sound of field hockey ball meeting stick. At the top of the stars, the near wall was covered with field hockey sticks, of all the leading brands.

In the back of the room was an area that had mats on either side, about 10 yards apart, so the girls could practice hitting the ball off the wall or back and forth with someone else to get a feel for which one they wanted.

Miss TigerBlog has many, many great qualities, but her ability to make a quick decision is not among them. Knowing this, TigerBlog walked over to check out the rest of the field hockey section of the store.

The walls were decorated with jerseys of national team players and posters with entire national teams on them.

Off to the side was a bulletin board with Olympic team players on it, and TB couldn't help but notice four Princeton players were represented.

Note to the NCAA and Princeton's compliance staff and everyone else - they were not endorsing anything. It was just a picture of each Olympian, sort of like a baseball card. Everything was perfectly legit.

Two of the Princeton players graduated last year, after leading Princeton to the 2012 NCAA championship. Those two - Katie Reinprect and Kathleen Sharkey - were on the right side of the board.

The other two were Michelle Cesan and Julia Reinprecht, who are both back this year for the title defense. Princeton actually has a fifth member of the national team, Teresa Benvenuti.

Princeton became the first non-ACC team to win the Division I field hockey title in 12 years, ending a series of wins by Wake Forest, North Carolina and Maryland.

The Tigers, even without Sharkey and Katie Reinprecht, are ready to make a serious run at a repeat.

Princeton opens its season at home two weeks from Friday, as the summer continues to wind down.

The home of Princeton field hockey is Bedford Field, which is currently undergoing additional renovations, including the permanent stands and a rebuilt Class of 1952 Stadium press box that now faces in both directions.

As for MTB, she finally picked out a stick.

Then it was off to the nearby diner for matching turkey club sandwiches.

It was a pretty serene start to her teenage years. Hopefully it's a precursor for the next few years.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Eligibility Of Sgt. Rhodes

Even if you're the most anti-Middle Tennessee State fan out there, you're still going to have to root for Steven Rhodes this fall, right?

Actually, are there anti-MTSU people out there?

There must be, right? For every school, there has to be someone who is a fan of its biggest rival and therefore hates that school, no?

For instance, TigerBlog is reasonably sure that people hate Princeton, despite the fact that there's no easier school in the country to actually root for than Princeton. Well, at least from TB's perspective.

Google "Middle Tennessee State arch-rival" and you find that the top three stories that come up list three different schools as MTSU's "arch-rival." The three, by the way, are Western Kentucky, Troy and Tennessee Tech.

Of course, TigerBlog has asked the question for years of who is Princeton's arch-rival.

Is it Harvard and Yale, as in the H-Y-P rivalry? Or is it Penn, fueled by decades of men's basketball dominance between the two, as well as physical proximity?

Is it someone else, depending on the sport? In men's lacrosse, for instance, Princeton's traditional rival in the league has been Cornell. If you were to ask a men's lacrosse alum who Princeton's arch-rival was, he'd be tempted to say Cornell, no?

If you asked someone who knows Princeton hockey who Princeton's biggest rival is, you'd get back Yale, or possibly Cornell. Even in football, it's not completely cut-and-dried. Some would say Harvard. Some would say Penn. Some would say Yale.

So is that how it works at other schools?

Auburn is Alabama's big rival, no? But right, in football, it's LSU.

Are there sports at North Carolina or Duke where the other isn't the biggest game of the year? How about UCLA-USC? Or, egads, Army-Navy?

Anyway, where were we? Oh year. Steven Rhodes.

If you missed the story, Rhodes is the 24 year old who spent the last five years in the Marine Corps. He is now a freshman at MTSU, a 6-3, 240-pound freshman at that. One who can play tight end or linebacker.

Except his eligibility became an issue, because he had played in what the NCAA considers to be an organized league while in the Corps. And because athletes who don't enroll in college directly out of high school are docked a year of eligibility for each year they play in an organized league, well, Rhodes was looking at missing two years of eligibility for what he described as "intramural" type games.

Originally, the NCAA said only one year of eligibility would be lost, even though the games stretched across two academic years.

Then came the public outcry, which was predictable.

Here was the big bad NCAA, picking on someone who had served his country. Did the NCAA not have a soul?

This morning, the NCAA changed its mind and allowed Rhodes to be immediately eligible and retain all four years of eligibility. 

Once again, the NCAA is in a no-win situation.

The NCAA rulebook is massive, and not one of those rules came from the NCAA organization itself. They all come from NCAA members.

And why do these rules get made?

Because someone somewhere saw something that wasn't a rule and tried to exploit it. The only way to stop it was to make yet another rule that anticipates some ridiculous situation that someone else will try to take advantage of.

It doesn't matter what it is. Someone somewhere in college athletics is out there now trying to figure out a way around it.

That's why the rulebook can't be simplified.

Oh, and TB is sick of hearing about paying athletes, especially those who are on full or partial scholarships. Perhaps those athletes who feel they should be paid should ask the average kid who graduates from their school what it's like to have student loan debt.

Anyway, the NCAA made the right decision in this particular case. Maybe the organization did it because of the public backlash. That's probably what happened.

And what happens? The NCAA gets ripped anyway for not doing so in the first place.

Still, the NCAA is the adult. The coaches out there trying to exploit every possible advantage are the children.

It's not always easy to be the parent.

As for Sgt. Rhodes, it's a great story. Hopefully he makes a real impact at MTSU and has a great four years and then graduates. The man served his country honorably during a time when it was difficult to do so, and he has earned the right to play football and pursue a college degree.

TB will be rooting for MTSU. No offense to its arch-rival.

Whoever that may be.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Will's Walk Off

Let's just start out by saying it was a tough night to hate A-Rod.

Last night's Yankees-Red Sox game ran 4:12, of which TigerBlog probably saw half. What he saw was more entertainment than an average baseball game could ever hope to provide.

The fun started when Boston starter Ryan Dempster threw behind A-Rod on his first trip to the plate, in the second inning. It continued three pitches later, when Dempster hit A-Rod under his shoulder.

Yankee manager Joe Girardi came flying out of the dugout, incensed that both benches were warned but that Dempster wasn't tossed. For his troubles, Girardi was given the rest of night off, largely because the umpire knew Girardi was 100% right.

Unable to retaliate, C.C. Sabathia went back to being what he has become, which is someone who is getting old, is too overweight, can't go deep in games, has become very hittable - and is owed $71 million for the next three years.

The highlight of the game came during the in-game interview with Red Sox manager John Farrell said with a straight face that Dempster hadn't been throwing at A-Rod, that he'd just been trying to establish the inside part of the plate and it got away. In the history of baseball, there's never been a more obvious example of a pitcher who was throwing at a hitter. Oh well. What was Farrell supposed to say, right?

Just when it looked like it was going to be an easy win for the Red Sox, though, here came A-Rod in the sixth, launching one into the centerfield stands, sparking a four-run rally that became a 9-6 Yankees win. Should New York come all the way back to make the playoffs, it'll be because of last night.

After the game, A-Rod called it "the ultimate payback." Actually, no, the ultimate payback would be if he paid back all the money he's made through the years as an obvious cheater, but that's another story.

TB has hated A-Rod for so long that he can't remember if he ever liked him, but he assumes he did, at least back when he was a young player with the Mariners, especially when he played against the Yankees.

Now? He has to be the most hated player in sports, especially by his own teammates. And team management, which other than Girardi (who is in an impossible spot, since he has no chance of getting to the postseason minus Rodriguez) takes great pleasure in publicly ripping into the third baseman.

Still, TB has to tip his hat to A-Rod for coming back from being plunked to launch one the way he did, at Fenway Park no less.

It was a weird series, too, as the four games were on four different TV stations in New York (Channel 9, YES, Fox, ESPN). TB didn't watch the first three, but the one last night was sort of a three-man panel discussion about the A-Rod situation with a few baseball plays mixed in, something that TB assumes was repeated in the other three broadcasts as well.

Meanwhile, across the country, the other New York baseball team was doing something way below the Red Sox-Yankees interest level. Still, if you're a Princeton fan and you missed, well, it's worth checking out.

The Mets were in San Diego, where a certain sizzlingly hot Princeton alum won the game with a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Will Venable has been on the best run of his career with a 15-game hitting streak, the longest current one in Major League Baseball. That, and a .370 average since the all-star break, has raised his average to .266.

His home run leading off the bottom of the ninth yesterday was the 17th of the season, a career best and team high. He also has driven in 42 runs.

One of the most amazing parts of the recap of the Padres-Mets game was the part where it mentioned that Venable is 30.

TigerBlog remembers him from Day 1 as a Princeton basketball player, back when he was way better at that sport and wasn't even playing baseball at Princeton.

Venable was explosive on the basketball court, with great speed, defensive tenacity and, best of all, an obvious toughness that allowed him raise his game when it mattered most, such as in the NCAA tournament or in a regular-season game at Duke or with an Ivy title on the line.

He didn't play baseball as a Princeton freshman, but he did so after that. He finished his career as a 1,000-point scorer in hoops and as someone who had enough power to hit one off Princeton Stadium beyond the rightfield fence at Clarke Field and onto the highway past Penn's field (a shot TB didn't see but heard about from enough people).

He's spent his entire five-year career with San Diego, who picked him in the seventh round in 2005. Venable has career numbers of a .252 average, 62 home runs and 230 RBIs, and he's also a great defensive outfielder and base stealer.

If he was looking for national attention on the night of his big walk-off winner, well, he picked the wrong day for that.

Nope, last night, all attention was reserved for Alex Rodriguez.

He may be a despised cheater, but you have to give him credit for what he did against the Red Sox.

Friday, August 16, 2013

It's All Greek

TigerBlog saw the story about Oprah Winfrey and the $38,000 purse in Switzerland.

Forgetting what else did or didn't happen, TB is struck by the idea that a purse could cost $38,000. How in the world could a purse cost that much, unless it came with, oh, $37,900 inside it.

TigerBlog has been to Swtizerland. Twice. He liked it very much, though it was a long time ago.

In fact, here's a list of European countries that TigerBlog has been to in his life:

Ireland, Spain, Israel (unless that's Asia; TB has never been sure), Turkey, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Russia, Belgium, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Greece.

He isn't counting Italy and France, two countries whose airports he was in but only to connect to other flights.

He was in the Rome airport in 1974, as he and his family tried to get from Turkey to Greece, something made harder by the fact that the two countries were essentially at war in Cypress at the time.

TB's memories of that particular moment in time involve people in Greece who couldn't imagine why anyone would want to have been in Turkey, people in Turkey who couldn't imagine why anyone would want to go from there to Greece and a rather exciting cab ride to the Istanbul airport with a cabbie who probably went on to a successful career on the European Grand Prix circuit.

TigerBlog has never been to England, though he'd love to go sometime. This would be a good weekend to be there, actually, as it's the opening weekend of the EPL season.

TB's top four this year: Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and someone else. Actually he'll go with that every year.

TigerBlog has great memories of each of those countries, and he's been very lucky in his life to have had the opportunity to travel.

His time in Greece consisted of a day or two in Athens and then a cruise around the Greek Isles. He can't remember exactly which islands he went to, though he remembers that it was pretty nice. And the people were very friendly.

Niveen Rasheed will be beginning her professional basketball career in Greece. She will playing for a team called Ippokratis Kos, on the island of Kos, TB assumes. The team is moving into the Greek first division for women's basketball.

To be honest, TB is surprised that Rasheed isn't in the WNBA. She seems to have the complete skillset, with size, athleticsim, tenacity. She can score, pass, defend, dribble.

Maybe this is the first step for her into the WNBA. Hey, it's certainly a path that men routinely have taken.

TB thinks it has to be ridiculously exciting to be a recent college graduate able to play basketball in Europe, even if it never leads back to playing in this country. There will come a day when Rasheed is sitting at her desk in an office somewhere when she'll be glad she chose this path.

Rasheed is without question the finest women's basketball player in Princeton history. She was the catalyst for what is also without question the greatest era in Princeton women's basketball history.

Princeton had never been to the NCAA tournament before she arrived. Now it's been there for four straight years.

Princeton is the first women's basketball team to win four straight Ivy titles in the round-robin format that dates back more than 30 years. Princeton's women's Class of 2013 is one of two in Ivy history (along with Princeton's men's class of 1992) to win four league titles since freshman eligibility in the 1970s.

Rasheed was the straw that stirred the drink, as it were. Were it not for a torn ACL her sophomore year and the fact that Princeton won so many games in blowouts, she would have come close or even reached 2,000 points for her career.

And now she's off to Europe.

Certainly seven other Ivy schools are happy that she'll be there and not here this winter.

There are so many examples in college sports, and Ivy sports, of programs that excelled because of one great player or one great class and then came back to Earth after graduation.

For TigerBlog, the 2013-14 Princeton women's basketball season is a fascinating storyline.

Princeton has graduated Rasheed, fellow 1,000-point scorers Lauren Edwards and Devona Allgood and wildly valuable role players Laura Johnson, Lauren Polansky, Meg Bowen and Kate Miller in the last two years. Those are some of the best players the program has ever known, and they are clearly the most successful players the program has known.

TB, though, is still high on the Tigers. And he can't wait to see what happens.

As for Rasheed, TB wishes her luck in her first job out of college.

Just as he won't be surprised to see Princeton back in the NCAA tournament in 2014, he also wouldn't be shocked to see Rasheed in the WNBA one of these years.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Will's Choice

If you factor out anything to do with lacrosse or the Giants in the Super Bowl, then TigerBlog would be willing to say that the World Cup is his favorite sporting event in the world.

He gets that it's not an annual event, though the drawn-out drama of the qualifying rounds makes it pretty close. Either way, he loves the World Cup.

Looking ahead, he's rooting for these five countries to make it - Egypt, Costa Rica, Ireland, Israel and the United States. It's possible all five will, though TB doubts it.

Should Egypt qualify - and the team has advanced through two rounds to the final home-and-home play-in in October and November - it would be one of the most amazing stories sports has seen in a long time, what with the complete upheaval in the country combined with the steady hand of American (and Princetonian) Bob Bradley as the head coach, one who has had to guide his team through not one but two violent revolutions.

Why Ireland? TB was there once and liked it. And because the Irish were hosed last time by a goal that never should have counted (due to a blatant hand ball) in the final qualifier, against a French team that completely tanked in the actual World Cup with a performance that is among the most disgraceful in the event's history.

Brazil, as the host country, already has a spot. So does Japan, Iran, South Korea and Australia. A total of 112 nations have been mathematically eliminated, with 87 countries still playing off for 27 remaining spots. 

The entire 2014 World Cup field will be decided within the next three months, which is very exciting. Then there will be the draw, followed by a proclamation that whatever group the U.S. would be in would be the "Group of Death."

The 2014 World Cup starts next June 12, and the championship game will be July 13.

At the complete opposite end of the spectrum is TB's least favorite sporting event, which happens to begin today. The Little League World Series.

Most sporting events that TB doesn't like he simply ignores. They don't anger him.

The Little League World Series angers him. Not the concept itself. Well, maybe the concept itself. But definitely the overkill of it all.

These are 12-year-olds. They shouldn't be experiencing the highlight of their entire lives at this age. And they shouldn't be glorified the way they are by TV. They're too young to handle it.

And just leave it at that.

While we're on the subject of baseball, TigerBlog saw the movie "Trouble With The Curve" the other day and liked it more than he thought he would. It's cute, and it has some smarter-than-normal-sports-movie moments to it, especially the part where Gentry rips a curveball over the fence in his last high school at-bat.

Don't worry. If you didn't see the movie yet, that doesn't ruin anything for you. It's just that in any other sports movie, he would have struck out. In this one, the point is made even better with the home run.

And then there's the continuing saga of A-Rod, who is actually being defended by some people on sports talk radio, both on-air hosts and caller. How can anyone defend him?

He's being singled out more than the others, is how it goes. Gee, could it be because he is more of an offender than they are?

The interesting side of the whole PED situation is that nobody is above suspicion anymore. Would it shock you to find out anybody at all in baseball was juiced or was juicing? No. Derek Jeter? Cal Ripkin? Mariano Rivera? Who knows for sure, right?

Jack Clark was fired from his radio job for suggesting that he had information from a trainer from 13 years ago that Albert Pujols was using steroids. If that story turned out to be true, would you be shocked?

And then there's the position of those who aren't juicing, or at least the assumption can be made that they aren't. People like Princeton alum Will Venable, the Padres' outfielder. Here's part of what he had to say to the AP about the situation:

"My personal opinion is that the penalties need to get back to the contracts. I believe that if you cross over and decide that you are going to use the banned substance, you also should forfeit the support of the players' association."

Read more here:

It's not easy for clean players, especially those from teams who have someone who has been suspended, like the Padres do. What are they supposed to say?

Look at Venable. He's established himself as a legitimate Major Leaguer. He has a career-best OPS of .779, as well as a career-best 15 home runs with six weeks left to the season. He figures to make a run at topping his career-high of 51 RBIs (he has 39 now), and his .257 average is more than respectable, especially considering what a great defensive outfielder he is.

For this he is making $2.68 million, which is an unfathomable amount to most people but a below average amount in the Major Leagues.

Now ask yourself this question - What if Venable had decided to take steroids, and the result was that his numbers went up? As did his earnings.

So many other people in the sport made that decision, and so many of them profited way more than Venable has.

This is the dilemma of being a Major League baseball player for the last, well, longer than it should be.

Maybe the game is being cleaned up. Maybe it isn't.

The position that players like Venable have been thrown into is an awful one. There are health risks. The risk of having one's entire career summed up in the word "cheater."

But there's the upside of more money than most players even could ever imagine.

It's not hard to see why so many of them went the steroid route, especially when for years the game turned away from it.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Mary, Zola And Ashley

TigerBlog didn't set out to watch the Mary Decker Slaney/Zola Budd "Nine for IX" documentary.

He also didn't set out to write about it either, owing to the fact that he can't simply write about each one as it happens.

Hey, things don't always work out the way they're planned.

As an aside, TB is hoping Peter Farrell, Princeton's women's track and field coach, happens by before he's done writing this, just for his insight, which TB thinks would be considerable. Can't say for sure if he will, but there's about a 75% chance that Farrell stops in and a 100% chance he has a strong opinion.

Anyway, there was TB last night, flipping through the channels.

There was a "Seinfeld" repeat of highlights of the first 100 episodes, which basically sums up everything TigerBlog has always thought about the show, which is that the early episodes are as funny as anything that has ever been on TV and the later episodes are just average with too much forced humor that is barely funny at all.

There was a "Big Bang Theory" episode, the one where Sheldon's twin sister shows up and Leonard, Howard and Raj fall over themselves trying to impress her. It includes the classic line where Howard, thinking that Sheldon wouldn't approve of him with his sister because he's Jewish, suggests he would beat his rabbi with a pork chop to be with her.

By the time that episode went to its last commercial, TB finally saw that the Decker/Budd story was on ESPN.

If you don't know the back story, Decker was America's top female runner - and something of a national sweetheart -  heading into the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Budd was a tiny teenager from South Africa, a country whose apartheid policies kept it from being eligible for the Olympics.

Budd, who was running times in the 1,500 and 3,000 that rivaled Decker's, was fast-tracked for British citizenship so she could run at the Olympics. The 1984 Olympics were boycotted by the Soviet Union and the rest of the Eastern Bloc (TB never thought he'd be nostalgic about the Cold War), mostly because the U.S. boycotted the 1980 Games in Moscow over, of all things, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Decker, by the way, would have been a gold medal favorite in 1980.

A huge story of the Games was going to be the meeting between Budd and Decker, to the point where it was probably the No. 1 story heading into the Olympics.

Anyway, the two went head-to-head in the 3,000, and they were in the lead midway through the race when they got tangled up. Decker went down, Budd kept going - and neither would finish with a medal.

That's the part TB remembered. He also had a vague memory that everyone went from liking Decker to not liking her, including TB. He just couldn't remember why.

Budd was originally disqualified from her seventh-place finish and then forced to leave Los Angeles because of the backlash.

As for Decker, TB did not remember her disastrous press conference after the race, where first she lashed out at Budd, whose attempt to talk to Decker after the race was met with a response of "don't bother," and then a tearful exit.

Decker's popularity was destroyed that day. She would make it to two more Olympics after that but never win a medal, her best chances gone from the 1980 boycott and the fall with Budd in 1984.

The documentary was really good, like all documentaries should be, at bringing back the missing details from something that was such a big deal in the moment. Decker and Budd were both very up front about what happened to them back then, which made the movie better.

This past week, the World Championships of track and field were held in Russia, which is no longer the Soviet Union, though every now and then it and this country like to remind people of what it used to be like, such as with the recent Snowden situation. Multiply that out by a lot and you have U.S.-Soviet relations in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Anyway, nobody boycotted the track and field championships this time around, which meant that the best women's steeplechasers in the world were there.

One of them was Princeton's 2011 grad Ashley Higginson, who ran the steeplechase in Russia but did not qualify for the final.

Still, she was the fastest of the three Americans who competed, topping one by less than a second and the other by 13 seconds. Higginson would finish seven spots out of the final.

Her goal is the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Decker's fall in 1984 meant she had to wait four more years to try again. Higginson is in a somewhat similar position after having finished fourth at the 2012 Olympic Trials.

That has to be the absolute worst. Finishing fourth in the Olympics means missing out on a medal but at least getting the Olympic experience. Finishing fourth at the Trials means missing out on all of that.

TB gives Higginson a lot of credit for pushing forward. And for putting herself in such a great position for redemption.

Princeton's Donn Cabral reached the 2012 Olympics and the final once there in the steeplechase. TB doesn't really understand what it is about the event and Princeton, but it's a fun event - seven hurdles and one water jump each of seven laps of the 3,000 meter event.

Higginson is on track, as it were, to make up in 2016 for what just slipped away a year ago. There are three long years to go, but her experience this summer clearly helps her.

The Olympics are a huge goal. Not everyone is there to win a medal.

Mary Decker was, but never did.

Ashley Higginson? Hopefully she'll get there in three more years. Anything after that would be just fine.

Oh, and Peter Farrell never came by. Too bad. But TB will get his take on the Decker/Budd situation.

He'll definitely have one.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Major Leaguer

When TigerBlog was in Seattle recently, he considered going to see the local MLS team, the Sounders, on a Sunday night.

He actually did go to see the Mariners play the Twins at Safeco Field, which itself was quite an experience. Felix Hernandez toyed with the Twins for eight innings, and never before could TigerBlog remember a 1-0 lead that looked so insurmountable. Until the Twins scratched out a run off King Felix in the ninth, making it a 1-1 game, forcing extra innings. The game would go 13 innings until the Twins would win.

TB made it through 11 innings. He would have stayed for the duration, but he was part of a group of 32 people, about half of whom were still left at that point. When everyone else decided to pack it in, TB figured he'd go along for the ride.

Or, more precisely, walk.

The walk from Safeco Field to the Hotel Monaco is a little more than two miles. Actually, it didn't really seem to matter where anyone leaving the stadium was going. It seemed like everyone walked.

Oh, and the walk to the hotel was mostly straight uphill, at least going from 1st Ave. to 4th Ave. Still, it was a nice walk.

Safeco Field is a very friendly, welcoming place. It has a great videoboard, a lot of good concession choices, easy sight lines, comfortable seats and a fanbase that is so loyal to its teams that it cheered wildly when former SuperSonic Gary Payton threw out the first pitch.

It was a perfect baseball night, too. Seattle may get rain 10 months a year, but the two it doesn't offer about the best weather on the planet.

And how many went to Safeco on this night? How about 23,162.

The baseball stadium is right next to Century Link Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks and the Sounders. Two nights after the Mariners drew 23,162 for as good a pitcher as there is in baseball right now, the Sounders drew 38,463 for a game against Chivas USA, the worst team in MLS.

And this was before the Sounders signed Clint Dempsey, whose first home game, Sunday the 25th against the Portland Timbers, is expected to draw more than 70,000.

Major League Soccer is in a really good place right now. The league long ago achieved stability and now has gone beyond that. New, soccer-only stadiums are the norm (unlike in Seattle, where the team plays in a giant NFL stadium) and more teams and stadiums are on the way.

The league came along at the perfect time, when soccer in Europe was able to come to this country through TV and the internet and brought with it an overall rise in the interest in the sport in this country.

Today, soccer is everywhere in the U.S., and not because every little kid plays the sport. That was always the logic, right? So many kids played soccer in this country that eventually they would grow up and be adult soccer fans.

That's not exactly how it worked.

What happened was that soccer did what the NBA did. It built its sport and its appeal around its top stars, and everything trickled from there. And because those stars are international, it needed the media explosion of the last 10-15 years to make it happen.

Go to any Princeton soccer game this year, women's or men's, and you'll see kids and adults wearing Messi jerseys or Ronaldo jerseys or any number of others.

You'll also see someone who knows all about the success of MLS, maybe more than anyone else.

Jesse Marsch graduated from Princeton in 1996 after a great career with the Tigers. His 16 goals his senior year are the second-most ever in program history and the most in the last 43 years by a Princeton player, and he was a 1995 first-team All-America.

After that, it was on to MLS, back in the first year of the new league. In all he would play in 321 MLS games, scoring 31 goals with 40 assists. When he retired in 2010, he was one of just four players remaining from the league's first season.

Marsch began his coaching career as an assistant coach with the U.S. men's national team under his college coach Bob Bradley. He was with the U.S. team for, among other events, the most recent World Cup.

After that, when Bradley became the head coach of the Egyptian team, Marsch became the head coach of the MLS expansion franchise in Montreal.

And now?

Well, first there was the matter of a little time off and some traveling, and by "some" TB means "a whole lot."

Yesterday TB ran into Jim Barlow, the Princeton men's head coach, and Marsch, his new assistant.

It's amazing how much huge, international, major soccer coaching experience Marsch has, and now he's on Barlow's staff for the 2013 season.

It takes someone who is able to park his ego outside, because going from coaching internationally at the World Cup and as a head coach in MLS to anything in the American college soccer world can't be easy.
Marsch, by all appearances, is the perfect man for something like this.

The head coach and his new assistant were both quoted in the story on announcing Marsh's new role. Both are telling.

Barlow spoke about Marsch's experience as a student-athlete at Princeton and how much he has to offer the new generation.

Marsch spoke of giving back to the University and continuing to learn about the game.

TB has always thought it would be great for Bradley to come to Princeton one day as an assistant coach, and bring with him the benefit of his career back to this campus.

Now, with Jesse Marsch on the coaching staff, Princeton men's soccer has the next best thing.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Feeling Better, Dr. Arkin

TigerBlog's regular doctor looks like his friend Mark Major, who way back when was a hockey player at Cornell.

Mark's promising career, at least according to him, was seriously derailed when he suffered a major knee injury at Baker Rink, something that has caused him to be a tad anti-Princeton. TB has seen the scar on his knee, and he forgives him for not having the greatest relationship with all things Orange and Black.

Somehow - or because his kids have played sports through the years with TigerBlog Jr. and Miss TigerBlog - Mark and TB have managed to put aside their differences, though there has been a lot of back-and-forth about certain Princeton-Cornell matchups.

And of course, there was the time when TB got Mark's son a Princeton Lacrosse hat, only to have him not wear it anyway, which probably was just as good, because he only wears hats backwards anyway.

TigerBlog was sick last week, sick enough to have to call the doctor. Only his regular doctor was out, so he had to go with another doctor in the practice, one he had never met before.

When the doctor came in, TB thought this one, took, looked like someone. In this case, it was someone famous, an actor.

This is something that happens often, at least to TB. He sees someone and realizes that the person looks like someone else, and then it takes a little while to figure out who it is.

In this case, it was almost to the end of TB's visit when it dawned on him. The doctor looked like Alan Arkin.

You know, the actor. The one who won Best Supporting Actor as the grandfather in "Little Miss Sunshine" and was nominated for "Argo" and who was in about 1,000 other things.

Anyway, being sick anytime stinks, but it really stinks in the summer. For some reason, everybody who ever gets sick in the summer talks about how it's so much worse than any other time of year.

Fortunately, TB is back to 100% now.

The summer has reached the same point it does every year around here.

Vacations are for the most part over. Practices haven't yet started.

TB was talking to his friend Todd last week, and he sort of spoke for everyone when he said he was "sick of the beach."

August is a more than a third of the way gone. Exhibition football games are on. Football in general dominates all sports news coverage, between pro and college.

Even though it doesn't seem like that long ago that TB was at the Princeton Varsity Club senior awards banquet last May, it's almost time for the start of a new year.

In fact, there are just 19 days - less than three weeks - until the first athletic event of the 2013-14 academic year, as the women's cross country team competes at the Lehigh Invitational on Aug. 31.

It gets far busier a week later.

The big day is Friday, Sept. 6, when four teams begin their seasons.

The men's soccer team will be at FDU, while the women's volleyball team will at George Mason's tournament.

As for home games, there are two pretty good ones.

The defending Ivy League champion women's soccer team hosts Richmond. The defending NCAA champion field hockey team hosts Duke. Both games are at 6 with no admission charge.

That's Friday, Sept. 6. As in three weeks from this Friday.

That's insane, by the way. But not nearly as insane as how quickly the time will go between now and then.

It always does.

Princeton will be off and running at Lehigh in fewer than three weeks. And then another athletic year will be off and running.

Summer, it appears, will be ending soon.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Pay Day

TigerBlog has never called into a sports talk radio station, or any other station, for that matter. He gets the lure of it, though he doesn't quite understand the idea of holding on for that long, only to get either talked down to or hung up on by the host.

Every now and then, apparently it can pay off in a big way.

Joe Benigno started out by being a regular caller - Joe from Saddle River - to WFAN, and he somehow parlayed that into the overnight show. Today, he's usually on from 10-1 with Evan Roberts, whose own radio career started when he was a kid.

Together they are an easy-to-listen-to team, something that's not always the case in sports talk radio.

Their show is a very hard to achieve mix of lightheartedness without being forced and fluffy, and they come across as putting together a product that achieves just what sports talk is supposed to be about - two guys having a conversation about sports the way two friends would or two co-workers would or two strangers at a game would.

Except when they talk about the NCAA, but that's okay. They're not unique in that respect.

Yesterday, they were talking about Johnny Manziel, the autograph signing situation and the apparent hypocrisy of the NCAA.

Then they took a phone call from a caller who piled on the NCAA by saying that there had been a case last spring in which a Stanford women's golfer lost her eligibility for using a hose that had been unavailable to the general student body to wash her car.

Then Benigno, Roberts and the caller laughed about it.

The next caller corrected the story, saying that she had not lost her eligibility but instead had to pay back the value of the water that she used. This caused even more laughter.

To correct the story a bit more, the golfer was actually from a West Coast Conference school, not Stanford, not that that matters.

The point is the same.

On its face, it's laughable that a women's golfer had to pay $20 to use a hose to wash her car, especially when there are so many bigger issues in college athletics to tackle than that.

The bigger conversation the two were having was about the idea of paying college athletes.

TigerBlog will get to this in a second.

First, TB is always amazed at how sportswriters and broadcasters can know so much about so many subjects and yet basically know nothing about the way the NCAA works.

Benigno made a statement that the athletes bring in all this revenue to the schools but they can't get plane tickets home in case of family emergencies. This isn't the case.

A few days ago, Roberts mentioned the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit, the one that famously is suing the NCAA for using his likeness in a video game without his approval. This is the biggest thing going in college sports right now, and yet Roberts had only a cursory knowledge of it and Benigno apparently had none.

They, and most media members, know a lot about big-time college football and basketball and almost nothing about NCAA rules and procedures.

For instance, TB often hears announcers talk about NCAA rules and the NCAA as if the organization itself has the power to change them. This isn't the case. Actually it's like the federal government in some ways.

The NCAA is the executive branch of college athletics, and its charge is enforcing the rules. Also, the organization isn't rolling in money per se, as almost all of the money brought in is turned around and given back to the member institutions.

Those institutions, by the way, are the legislative branch. Their charge is to propose rules, which usually start with coaches' organizations and move up the administrative chain, ultimately being put up to a vote.

Anytime TB hears that the NCAA should do something about, oh, early recruiting, he laughs, because that would have to start with the coaches, who always want to lessen the restrictions, not add to them.

And the golfer and the hose? If the NCAA didn't enforce that, then there would always be someone else trying to figure out a way to get away with something a little bigger and a little bigger than that and so on.

Meanwhile, back at paying athletes ...

The caller before the one about the golfer said that Title IX would prevent that from ever happening, because schools would have to pay the women's athletes in addition to the men's.

Benigno and Roberts said that was ridiculous, because the money is brought in only by certain sports. They wouldn't pay the baseball players what they pay the football players, which they agreed makes sense.

And it does. Only the law isn't written that way. Pay the football players? Pay the field hockey players.

Besides, would Manziel be paid the same as his backup? Would an offensive tackle get the same as a wide receiver?

TigerBlog has never really considered the practical aspect of what it would mean to a school like Princeton if it had to pay its athletes, because he thinks it's so far-fetched that it's not worth it.

Where would the money come from? How much? To whom? Everyone? All 1,000 athletes each year?

Would that just be the end of broad-based athletic participation, which is the cornerstone of Princeton and Ivy athletics?

The world of college athletics is very volatile right now, with conference realignment, huge revenues at stake and now the outcome of the O'Bannon suit and what that will ultimately mean for the future.

It's going to be a very complicated one, a world where common sense solutions might not always be practical - or even legal.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Sign Here

TigerBlog was at an intersection this morning when he noticed that the car in front of him had a rather odd bumper-sticker.

It read "Dog Grandma."

TB tried to figure out if that meant the driver was a grandmother who loves dogs in general? Or maybe a woman whose child had a dog that she loves? Or perhaps she loves her grandchild's dog?

Very confusing.

At that exact moment, the Imus In The Morning show on the radio went to the sports with Warner Wolf, who played a clip from the Texas A&M football coach, who basically said that if they wanted to ask him about football he would talk about that but he couldn't take about the Johnny Manziel autograph signing situation.

He came across as a bit terse. And someone who is a tad fed up with Manziel's off-field act.

This seems to be the new way of avoiding a subject, to say that it's something that can't be addressed.

Bill Belichek did it during the Aaron Hernandez training camp press conference. A-Rod did it the other day.

What they're really saying is "I don't want to talk about this." It's not like they're being asked to release the confidential memos the NCAA has sent regarding whatever evidence does or does not exist against Manziel. He's being asked to talk about Manziel.

Is there another question for him right now? Heisman Trophy quarterback hasn't been able to stay out of the spotlight since he won it. Most of it has been harmless 20-year-old stuff, but now he's done something to call his eligibility into question. Worse, if he plays and then is found to have been ineligible, that would be even more problematic.

Oh, and did you hear about what's going on at LSU?

The best running back on the team is named Jeremy Hill, who already was on probation for a statutory rape arrest in high school and who sucker punched a man outside a bar in the spring, leading to assault charges.

Hill plead guilty to a reduced charge Monday and was given no prison time. LSU coach Les Miles then let the team vote on whether or not Hill should be allowed to rejoin them.

Well what did he think they were going to do?

Of course they voted to let him back on.

The unpopular move would have been for the coach to say no, it doesn't matter how good he is, he's forfeited the privilege of playing here. But the coach knows he's his best running back, and hey, he needs to beat Alabama.

By putting it up to a vote, he basically was saying "hey, don't blame me for this." But he's the adult, or supposed to be.

Meanwhile, back at Manziel, the issue is whether or not he got paid for signing autographs. TB has no idea if he really did or not, and that's not the issue here.

If he got paid and there's proof of it, then he will no longer be Texas A&M's quarterback. Pretty simple.

It's not even a matter of whether or not he should be able to get paid for signing autographs, or that the organization that is policing him can profit from him through sales of a Texas A&M No. 2 jersey. Or that A&M can profit from him in dozens of ways without having to give him a cent.

Is there hypocrisy there? On its face, yes.

It doesn't matter, though. These are the NCAA's rules, and a college athlete has to know them and abide by them.

The NCAA rulebook is a long, complex book. There are so many rules in it that are contradictory to common sense, not to mention each other, not to mention their own spirit.

But they are the rules.

Universities, like Princeton and the rest of the Ivy League, spend a lot of time educating coaches and athletes on the rules. It's people's full-time jobs to do so.

And above all that, it's even more the responsibility of the athletes to make sure they understand the rules and abide by them.

Whether or not they make sense, they're the rules today.

Oh, and there's nothing in the rulebook about coaches who shouldn't hide behind their teams and let them vote to do things that seem to be wrong.

But that appears to happen too.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Those Were The Days

There was a time when this week would have been among the highest stress weeks of the year.

Of course TigerBlog is referring to the long-gone days of Ivy League sports information meetings, the football media guide and Ivy League football media day. The first preceded the third, for which the second had to be done.

At first, it was at the Lyman Orchards Golf Club in Middlefield, Conn.. TB shot his all-time best with a 91 at Lyman Orchards one year, in a foursome that included Chuck Yrigoyen (then of the Ivy League office), John Veneziano (then of Harvard) and either Kurt Kehl (then of Princeton) or Tim Bennett (then and now of Yale).

TB recalls shooting a 50 on the front nine, which gave him hope that he could break 100. And then he tore it up on the back nine, with a 41, which, granted, isn't quite tearing it up, though he did have an actual birdie.

Media day moved to Yale at some point, where TB's golf career, such as it was, ended one year on the 17th hole. TB has mentioned this story before, but his first shot on the par 3 was with an eight-iron.

Anyway, the day was really hot and humid, and the club flew out of TB's hands, helicoptering into a lake. The ball, on the the other hand, majestically landed on the green, not far from the cup.

Rather than putt, TB simply picked up the ball, and he has not hit another golf shot since. Maybe one day he will. Maybe he won't.

It definitely won't be with that eight-iron, which he never retrieved from the lake. In fact, he wonders if it's still there.

The week always began with the sports information meetings. For yucks, TB will look back every now and then to the minutes from those meetings and marvel at the fact that he used to spend time discussing those things.

Most of that stuff, by the way, technically still are Ivy rules, though nobody in the league follows any of them anymore. Like standardized rosters. Just the words themselves give TB shivers.

For the most part, the Ivy meetings were just a great way to renew relationships with the other people in the league. It was fun to just argue for a day or more over mundane minutia, because hey, everyone there was in it together anyway.

And then it would be football media day. Which meant the media guide, which every year for TB was a last-minute scramble but which was never late. It's one of his proudest accomplishments.

And there are great stories from those media days, like the time the two resident curmudgeons - the late William Wallace of the New York Times and the great Harvey Yavener of the Trenton Times - went at it over, of all things, a lengthy presentation on the new rules for that season by the supervisor of officials. It included Yav's legendary "can you move it along; we have interviews to do" and Wallace's four-letter response.

In all fairness, TB sides with Yav on this one. The explanation of permissible towels to be worn in pants by quarterbacks and centers was a tad excessive.

Anyway, those days, like TB said, are long gone.

Today there are no Ivy League media guides, and football media day has been replaced by a media conference call, which was held yesterday.

The preseason media poll was released as well, and Princeton was picked to finish fifth.

Penn was picked first, followed by Harvard, Brown, Dartmouth, Princeton, Cornell, Yale and Columbia.

It's nice to be picked first, TB supposes. Then again, it doesn't really matter once the games begin.

This year is Princeton's turn to have four league road games, and they happen to be at Penn, Harvard, Brown and Dartmouth, the four teams picked ahead of Princeton.

In other words, moving up higher than fifth will require beating those teams in their buildings.

Princeton made huge progress last year, going from consecutive 1-9 seasons to 5-5, including a gigantic win over Harvard. This year? There's more reason for optimism.

Princeton has depth that it hasn't had in the past, especially at the skill positions. There's more experience now, and playing with juniors and seniors is bigger in football than any other sport.

And there's Caraun Reid, all 6-2, 305 pounds of him, who hopes to follow Mike Catapano into the NFL draft next spring.

Most college teams are just beginning practices. The NFL is beginning exhibition games.

The Ivy League can wait a little while.

It's still early August. Not that long ago, this was a much different week for TigerBlog than it currently is.

Good times. Definitely good times.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

On Cheating

TigerBlog isn't quite sure where to begin with the whole Alex Rodriguez situation and the sensory overload that he experienced yesterday when it was all A-Rod all the time.

Maybe, though, he should start with something Tony Kornheiser said on PTI. Paraphrasing, it went something like this: In the entire history of sports, there has always been cheating and there will always be someone who tries to cheat.

Somewhere else in the mountain of A-Rod talk was someone who likened yesterday's suspension of 13 Major League players, 12 of whom accepted their punishments and A-Rod who has chosen to fight it,  to the Black Sox suspensions, after eight players including Shoeless Joe Jackson were banned for life for their roles in throwing the 1919 World Series.

TigerBlog disagrees. This one is worse, way worse, if only because the Black Sox were viewed as a national tragedy and this is viewed mostly with a shrug and an "oh well" and back to business, with just another layer of something that was once pure and innocent ripped away.

Except for the A-Rod part.

Then it's about revulsion at just how dishonest one person can be and how much that person can think anyone is falling for what he's saying.

The last seven months have been a nightmare, A-Rod? Is that what you said?

Rodriguez makes $28 million for 2013. Assuming that salary is paid off monthly for the year (TB doesn't think it actually is, but for the sake of argument let's say it is), then he's made more than $16 million for this last seven months, during which time he and TigerBlog had the same number of at-bats for the New York Yankees.

Yes, quite the nightmare.

And yet there he was yesterday, trying to actually generate sympathy for him as somehow the victim of all of this, like he is being persecuted.

The most telling analysis came from Curt Schilling, who hit more of a home run than A-Rod did while collecting that nightmarish $16 million with his take on Rodriguez' avoidance of the question of whether he had done PEDs.

There are basically two answers to that question, was what Schilling said. It's either "no," which means "no," or any other answer, which means "yes." When A-Rod said he woudn't discuss it, he was really saying "yes," was Schilling's obvious point.

And it's a good one.

A-Rod is staring at a 211-game suspension, which would wipe out the rest of this year and all of next year and bring him back in 2015 at age 40. The Yankees, of course, hate A-Rod and want nothing to do with his insane contract, but it has nothing to do with the fact that he's a cheat and everything to do with the fact that he's shot and can't produce anymore.

A-Rod himself said that he'd be accepted by his teammates and the fans if he produced.

And the fact that he will have a chance to produce, at least until his appeal is heard? That's something that looks awful on the surface, with the irony that his first appearance of 2013 came on the day he was given a 211-game suspension.

It's understandable, though. There are a lot of dollars at stake for him, after all, and his suspension is four times longer than the others, so why not fight it? It's not like his reputation is ever savable from this point on.

A-Rod was in Trenton last week for a rehab assignment, during which time he also went on a tour of the Princeton campus. TigerBlog saw a picture of him in Dillon Gym, and there were others online as well.

Princeton's campus is fairly quiet now. Most summer camps are over. Preseason practices are not here yet, but they are just around the corner.

And that brings TB back to what Kornheiser said.

Is sports really so closely aligned with cheating that the two cannot be separated?

A-Rod already had more money than he'll ever know what to do with, but what about the others on the list? Was it worth it to Ryan Braun? Maybe he wouldn't have gotten a fraction of the money he got had he not cheated. Or the others on the list who are barely Major Leaguers. Maybe they would never have gotten to that level at all?

And what about all of the athletes who are getting ready to come back to Princeton or are coming here for the first time? Or the rest of the Ivy League or the rest of college athletics?

What have they been willing to do to make this happen? Are there cheaters everywhere, like Kornheiser suggests?

TigerBlog wasn't the least bit phased by any of the people on the list yesterday, or when Von Miller was suspended by the NFL. Or by Lance Armstrong.

But it it's prevalent on this level, then TB would have a real problem with it.

Maybe he shouldn't though. As long as there's a prize out there, whether it's money or a college scholarship or the opportunity to compete athletically and academically in the Ivy League, then maybe there will be someone - a few someones - who will cut any corner to make it happen.

Maybe Tony Kornheiser is right.

TigerBlog hopes he isn't.

Still, the sports world is a little less pure today than it was yesterday. The bar has been lowered a little bit more. The ability for the average fan to be shocked by something has again been lessened.

One of the great appeals of Princeton athletics, of  Ivy League athletics, has always been the purity.

TB never wants that to change, no matter what happens anywhere else.