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  • Caesar Cliffius

    My name is Cliff Eastham. I live in West Virginia with my wife Debbie, the loveliest lady in the world, and my youngest daughter, Holly who is equally as lovely as her mother.

    I enjoy writing about sports, and love a good healthy debate. My favorite teams are the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Redskins.

    There are only a couple of sports that I don't write about, Hockey and Soccer specifically. My favorite sports are Baseball, Boxing, NFL, NCAA Basketball, MMA.

    Feel free to look around, and your comments are most welcome. Subscribe via email if you wish.

    It is decreed.....Caesar Cliffius
    this 8th day of December, in the Year of our Lord 2009.

Tiger Woods and Miguel Cotto: “Players” in Every Sense of the Word

If nobody else in the world is rejoicing over the news that former welterweight champion, Miguel Cotto is being sued for sexual harassment, I am sure Tiger Woods is.

All we have seen or heard for days, ad nauseum is Tiger Woods alleged affairs and sexual wrongdoings. It would be a breath of fresh air for Woods if the story moved up from page five. Misery loves company, or so they say.

Of course Cotto’s troubles are only alleged at this point. But, then so are Tiger’s, at least the majority of them.

A former employee of Cotto, Martha Chacon Acevedo is suing the boxer for a cool $500,000. She worked in a capacity not associated with his boxing endeavors. According to ESPN, Acevedo claims that she eventually yielded to his sexual advances, out of fear of losing her job. They had an affair, she alleges, for two months before she broke off the relationship. At that point, Cotto terminated her employment in October, 2008.

This would be nothing but a monetary issue if Cotto was not married with children. His family supposedly backs him wholeheartedly, but how many times have we seen this unsightly scenario unfold?

Cotto was whipped like a rented mule by Manny Pacquiao in November of this year, capturing his WBO Welterweight Championship belt in the process. When it rains, it pours.

The “Pride of Puerto Rico” is not the first professional athlete to alledgely extend his “training regimen” outside the bedroom. For that matter, thanks to Tiger he isn’t even the first this month.

Cotto does have an advantage on Woods when it comes to bringing “baggage” into his sports arena. Cotto can use it as a tool to build aggression against an opponent. Tiger, on the other hand, must have keen mental focus in order to perform his sport optimally,

Tiger has reportedly spent millions of dollars in a futile effort to keep his “transgressions” minimized. Miguel does not have the resources to write “big money” checks as a silencer for his alleged wrongdoings.

Sport fans have had their fill, I would suppose, of “off the job” trashings of their favorite athletes. Tiger has always been revered as a consummate professional and loved by the masses. Cotto is one of the most loved persons in Puerto Rico with a huge fan base.

It is wrong for we as parents to expect athletes and movie stars to serve as role models for our children. As hall of fame baseball pitcher, Bob Gibson said, “Why should I be a rold model for your kids. Be a role model for your own kids.”

Cliff Eastham is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report.

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By Acquiring Curtis Granderson, the NY Yankees Become Easier to Hate

First things first, I don’t hate the New York Yankees. My best friend loves them, so I must dignify everything I say about them.

The latest acquisition, center fielder Curtis Granderson, late of the Detroit Tigers is the most recent arrow in the quiver of Yankee haters everywhere. Easily one of the better center fielders in the game, Curtis becomes yet another power hitting left-handed batter for the Bronx Bombers.

If someone looked at a graph of the 29-year old Granderson career they would easily become disillusioned and think the best has already been. His average has plummeted from .302 in 2007 to .280 in 2008, to an all-time low of .249 last year.

The Tigers began their discussion with the Yankees, salivating over Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. In the end of this transaction, the Yankees sent pitcher Ian Kennedy to the Arizona Diamondbacks, pitcher Phil Coke and outfielder Austin Jackson to Detroit.

Granderson is expected to immediately patrol center field in Yankee Stadium. What this does to the future of Melky Cabrera depends on how the free agency status of Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui is handled.

From an outsider gazing into the fishbowl, the Yankees just seem to be content on climbing over who or what is necessary to obtain the best at each position. I realize that is a stretch calling Granderson the best, however I do not know many teams that would not love to have him in their lineup.

During the off-season in 2008-2009 they obtained arguably the best pitcher in the American League in C. C. Sabathia and one of the best in A. J. Burnett. They also went and got first baseman Mark Teixeira and outfielder-first baseman Nick Swisher, each of whom contributed greatly to their Championship drive.

Is it natural to hate a team because of their fiscal abilities? When you are a squad such as the Florida Marlins whose highest paid player makes less than $6 M. They have fewer millionaires than many fortune 500 companies.

The only answer is some form of salary maximum. It should not boil down to the team with the deepest pockets being the World Champions. That is what we are currently viewing. Should something be done to negate this financial pre-requisite?

You tell me.

Cliff Eastham is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report.

Will Professional Golf Suffer Because of Tiger Woods’ Antics?

I have had my limit of the TV being inundated with talking heads, voicing their opinion of the many indiscretions of Tiger Woods. I do not write much about golf, however I have been giving much thought to the sport lately.

I have played golf sparingly and very poorly. I only hit two good balls the whole time I was playing…..I know, you’ve heard that one before.

When a fan looks at the impact an athlete has on a particular sport, he  or she cannot be unimpressed by the dominance Tiger has demonstrated since coming onto the golf landscape in 1996. He has been such a frontman and dominant figure of the sport for so long it is hard to remember golf without him.

What a talent Tiger is!  He shot a 48 over nine holes at the age of three. At three years old, I was still getting stuck in Molasses Swamp in Candyland.

He became a millionaire so fast it was insane. Nike and Titliest were more than willing to wave millions at the “chosen one” of golf. Truly he is the tallest tree in the forest we call golf.

How will the sport deal with his alleged peccadilloes? So far Gatorade is the only sponsor to come forth with any negative news concerning his endorsements. This transaction took place prior to the train wreck we can’t stop looking at.

Endorsements notwithstanding, can the sport endure as prosperously with the questionably best golfer in history embittered in such a public relations dilemma? He had to pull out of his own tournament due to physical injuries administered by his Cadillac or his hostile spouse.

Can he, as great a golfer as he is, overcome all these problems? For that matter, how long will it take him to come outside of his house? These negative and financial strains can only damage the human psyche.

I am not a psychiatrist, and I don’t play one on television, but I have been to one before. I don’t need to hang a shingle outside my office to know that he is damaged goods, and will be for quite some time. Will he be the dominant figure he once was on the links? Or will he be a mere shell of his former greatness?

He is spending money faster than a drunken sailor, a ship full of drunken sailors, to try and minimize the personal scorn that is clearly due him.

Is Tiger the first athlete or public figure to stray from his bedroom? No, but he may be the richest, at least for now. I am sure many of the famous golfers of yesteryear hooked up with another woman or two. Then again they didn’t have the profile, or cast the shadow that Woods does. Most of them could have met at a bar and not have been noticed. The only place to go, for a man with the notoriety and recognizability of Tiger Woods is his own fantasy world.

It is hard for me to believe that golf will be the same as it was before all this became public knowledge. What are your thoughts?

Cliff Eastham is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report.

NY Mets’ Shorstop Jose Reyes to the Cincinnati Reds?

Reds fans listen up! How would you like to have Jose Reyes as the shortstop? I thought that would get your attention.

The RedsReporter reported that the Reds are in talks with the New York Mets concerning Reyes. If you click on the link they provide it takes you to the movie “Psyche” website. It took me three clicks to realize they were playing a joke in all probability. However, it did commence my thinking process.

Reyes is still very young, 26 and is coming off a year of injuries. He only played in 36 games and still managed to bat .279. If he has rebounded at all from his injury, can you imagine what an impact he could make on this team?

A bona fide thief, he lead the National League in stolen bases for three consecutive years. He isn’t priced in the Cadillac lot, yet. According to ESPN his salary last year was a shade over $6M. That isn’t even as much as we wasted on Ramon Hernandez last season.

It is hard to imagine what they would want in return, but I could name at least three outfielders who I would be willing to part with. With Reyes in the yard,  it wouldn’t be difficult at all to let Willy Taveras hit the bricks. Reyes could be a better leadoff hitter, and certainly more aggressive on the paths.

Even in dreams we can become excited during the offseason. What an outstanding infield Reyes would complete. He and Scott Rolen on the left side with Brandon Phillips at second base, and of course Joey Votto at first. That would compete with just about any squad in the Biggies.

It is hard to imagine the Mets having a more dismal year than the Reds, but that was clearly the case in 2009.  Cincinnati actually won eight more games than the injury-plagued Mets, so shakeups should be in store for them.

If you dream it you can believe it. If you believe it you can achieve it. Or something like that. Dream hard, Reds fans, dream hard.

Cliff Eastham is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report.

NCAA Football: The Time For a Tournament is Now

Here we go again. Another football season ends with more than one undefeated team who are not playing each other in a bowl game.

We presently have five unbeaten squads entering the bowl season, and if Cincinnati beats Florida in the Sugar Bowl, we will be left with three undefeated teams to argue over.

This is no good fans. No good.

The FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) needs to have a tournament similar to the FCS.

If there was ever a time for a serious public outcry for a tournament to choose the national title, this year is it!

Are we to think that because the coaches picked Alabama and Texas, first and second respectively, that these are the two best teams in the country?  I am sure fans in Cincinnati, Boise and Fort Worth would beg to differ. Gator fans would probably like to have another whack at the Crimson Tide as well.

I have been an advocate of a tourney for years. The plan I propose would be easily pulled off and very few people would have reason to cry.

Job one would be to select eight teams to participate, all undefeated teams would be included. Teams would not be able to include games from the FCS (Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Div. I-AA) on their schedule if they plan to participate in the new format.

The Major Bowl and Conference affiliations would be totally severed, they aren’t in good shape at any rate.

Week one of the playoffs would start the week after the scheduled games have been played. The bowls which I am using as an example are only that, they could be interchanged at will.

Round one would have the No. 1 team playing the No.8 team in the Sugar Bowl. The No. 4 squad would play No. 5 in the Cotton Bowl. No. 3 would play No. 6 in the Gator Bowl. The No. 2 team would play No. 7 in the Outback Bowl.  Coverage for television could split the games into two double-headers, maybe Friday night and then Saturday, or all four on Saturday.

The winners of Round one would advance the very next week to play in the National Semi-finals. The 1-8 winner would meet the 4-5 winner in the Fiesta Bowl, while the 3-6 winner would play the 2-7 winner in the Orange Bowl.

The winners would play the following Saturday in the granddaddy of them all, The Rose Bowl, for the National Championship, on New Years Day, or the day after. It is getting later and later into January to pin a prize on the national title winner.

The other bowl games could be played as they would see fit without disrupting the Championship Tournament.

This format could be completed in as little as three weeks after the season ends. A true, undisputed champion could be recognized. There would be no more than one undefeated team in the country and I can’t see why anyone would not be willing to accept this.

What do you say? Are you with me or against me?

Cliff Eastham is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report where this article was first published.

Shocking News: Andy Pettitte Will Be Back with the NY Yankees in 2010

To report that Andy Pettitte will be back on the mound for the New York Yankees in 2010 is no more surprising than saying they will play their home games in the beautiful, new mini-park known as Yankee Stadium. Yet, ESPN reported it today.

If you will still be 37 until just before the All-Star break, you can make at leat $6,000,000 playing a game with other grown millionaires, where would the big surprise be that you intend to come back?

Pettitte had a very good year in 2009, especially when we use modern-day pitching records as a backdrop. 14 wins, that is just a win or two shy of Cy Young contention. Am I right?

Even though Andy failed to complete any of the 32 games he started, that is what they pay bullpens for. The entire Yankee staff only had three complete games, two for C.C. Sabathia and one for A.J. Burnett. Sabathia also recorded the lone shutout for the staff.

His record in 2009 was better than it was the year before. He completed 2009 with a 14-8 mark, 4.16 ERA and struck out nearly twice as many batters as he walked. Is he attempting a Hall of Fame run?

I don’t feel that he has accomplished nearly enough to gain entrance into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Especially when you have pitchers such as Bert Blyleven, Tommy John and Jim Kaat all with basically the same number of wins (283-288), a much better ERA than Pettitte, who can’t get inside without a ticket.

He has been playing in MLB for 15 seasons, all but three with  pin-stripes. He was with the Houston Astros from 2004-2006 where he was 37-26 with a very good ERA (again, by today’s standards) of 3.38. He ranks third all time in Yankee lore with 192 wins, sixth in innings pitched with 2,406, and third in strikeouts with 1,722.

What would the legacy of Andy Pettitte be if he retired now?  Would he be too-easily recognized with the steroid crowd? Is he trying to outrun that image, could that be why he wants to play more? Would he be remembered for his two 21-win seasons? How about his post-season work? He has won 18 and lost only nine with an ERA of 3.90 in 40 post-season starts.

Did you ever wonder what, if any relationship he has with Roger Clemens? Remember, he threw Rog under the old proverbial bus back when Clemens couldn’t even pop-up from his hole and look for his shadow? I don’t think too many hold that against him, probably just the “gangster type” element who can’t tolerate snitches.

It should come as a shock to absolutely nobody that Pettitte will be back. The only thing left to haggle about his how many millions of dollars he deserves. He played all of the ’09 season making about 1/3 of what he made in the previous season. $5.5M, how did the boy get by? All joking aside, that is a big party-buster when you just made $16M for two straight seasons.

If the rest of the teams find out how much performance 33% will buy these days, we could see a completely new landscape, fiscally speaking of course.

So, just to be clear, is anyone surprised that Andy will be back in 2010?

Cliff Eastham is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report where this article was first published.

Is Tiger Woods’ Private Life Public Domain?

Right from the start I want to admit that I am not a writer of professional golf. I am not a writer of celebrity mishaps, blunders or other scandals.

I usually write about boxing, baseball or sports in general. But when a chance to join the thousands of blog writers everywhere, I must say I am intrigued by the “need to know” attitude of celebrity fans.

Tiger woods is arguably one of the most recognizable icons in the world. Not only is he the best golfer in history, the wealthiest athlete in history, he is probably the easiest to fall prey to a financial shake down. Writing checks to his wife in the seven-figure range, paying Gloria Allred’s client a million bucks or more, and editing his pre-nuptial agreement make him look like the biggest fool in the universe.

He now becomes living proof of the axiom, “a fool and his money are soon parted”.

Woods has become the object of late night TV humor, water cooler fodder, and hours of television coverage.

What do we care? Should it matter to us? Should we feel betrayed, scorned or hurt?

The man had extra-marital affairs, I guess that makes him human. Not everyone has affairs, not everyone runs over fire hydrants, not everyone has their Cadillac used as a driving range for a 3-iron. And let’s not even mention the fact that he was injured enough not to participate in his own golf tournament.

When will all the big-time money spenders, egomaniacs, and most recognizable people on the planet, realize they can’t jump into an affair and think they won’t be found out. Please.

Having said all that, do we still think we have the right to know all this?  I think not.

A golfer is a golfer. A millionaire is a millionaire, and a cheat is a cheat. Golfers do it, baseball players do it, TV evangelists do it and politicians do it. What goes on between them and others is none of our business. NONE. Sorry I didn’t mean to yell, but when will we learn?

We cannot put faith in any man, in any walk of life, in any level of culture, because as certain as we do, we will be left holding.

While watching one of the many TV shows covering his peccadilloes, I saw one of the interviewees saying that he believed it is our right as fans to know these things. I find that disingenuous and the pinnacle of absurdity. When did someone’s personal life become our business? If it concerns the president or another elected official, I believe we deserve the apology. Not from sports heroes, however.

A couple questions come to my mind concerning all these events. Why was his wife beating out the back window with a golf club? She said to help him get out;  did both the front doors become ruined during the accident? Why were marks on his face? The car obviously wasn’t even going fast enough to engage the airbags.

A neighbor said he was at the wheel snoring. What is up with that? How could you sleep through a leap-frog of a fire hydrant, someone beating on your vehicle with a 3-iron, and sustained cuts from the alleged accident?

Who else but a celebrity of Tiger’s stature would be able to postpone conversations with John Law for several days? I know I couldn’t. I would be hauled off to jail, without the privilege of 72 hours to craft a believable (?) story.

When asked by the cops how many times she hit the car, she responded, “I don’t know six or seven, go ahead and put me down for a six.” Just kidding of course. If Leno and Letterman can do it, why can’t I?


Cliff Eastham is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report where this article was first published.