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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.

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.

NASCAR: Sport or Entertainment ?

(Note: The following is a blog debate which took place several months ago between Cliff Eastham and Larry Spurlock.)

LARRY: Cliff, you can take a young man with a little foot-speed and he could return a kickoff in the NFL for a TD with some blocking.

You can take a man with some old fashioned strength and a little nerve, and he could at some point swing a baseball bat really hard and get lucky and knock a Roger Clemens fastball over a 335′ fence.

Anybody who’s ever swung a golf club could put a few good strokes together and birdie a hole at any golf course. Heck, I’ve hit three point shots in basketball.

But here’s what the average person cannot do. 80 percent of the driving public has never gone over 100 miles per hour. 95 percent of the driving public has never gone over 120 miles per hour.

99.99 percent of the driving public could not drive a vehicle over 150 miles an hour for more than five minutes without disaster. And disaster is wrecking badly.  99.99 percent could not drive a vehicle that fast and make a turn around an oval track.

Now, here’s what NASCAR drivers do routinely. They drive up to 190 miles an hour while going around turns with other cars going as fast.  These cars are five inches to their left and six inches to their right. They do this for four to six hours at a time without accident.

And if they do have a routine wreck, it is just as painful on the body as 10 NFL tackles.

Drivers usually lose 10-15 pounds each race.

And the strength it takes to hold that wheel during a race is equal to what a baseball player needs to swing a bat.

CLIFF: Is that all you have Larry? Please!

NASCAR is no more a sport than Chinese Checkers, or shooting an unarmed deer.

It is just another excuse for rednecks and country bumpkins to bust some more suds. What a glorious day. Throw back a couple cases of beer with your buds and watch people who you can’t understand when they talk, drive continuously around an oval track for hours.

I’m sold! Sport it is. NOT!

Calling your own defense into question, I suppose all the drunken nuts who go drag racing on Friday nights are just a hop, skip and jump away from the Olympics. Special Olympics maybe.

I just came from dictionary.com and found this as their definition of sport: an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.

The only thing I can take issue with is hunting. Skeet shooting, sport. Shooting an unarmed animal, medieval entertainment. Please note that it uses the words athletic activity and physical prowess.

Regardless of your desperate attempt to categorize NASCAR as a sport, I don’t see it as athletic or physical.

You mentioned weight-loss. Does visiting a steam room or sauna constitute sport? I think not. I squeeze the remote on my TV all evening long. Does that make me a candidate for a Decathlon?

Spelling bees are very competitive. ESPN now televises them in an effort to convince non-thinkers that it is a sport.

Are you kidding me or what?

I say we make Jeopardy a sport. I’m really good at that. Bullsh!t for $200 please Alex. I once gained three pounds eating cheetos and watching Jeopardy.

Passing NASCAR or any other car racing activity as Sport, is just plain ludicrous.

You know what else we should elevate to a sport? Beauty pageants.

Yessir, they have to stay in shape to have what it takes to succeed. Let’s make that an Olympic event.

ESPN’s “Stump the Schwab” is more of a sport that NASCAR. At least you are being quizzed about sporting events.

Again, for all of you who can’t tell the difference between sport and entertainment. Baseball is sport, chess is entertainment.

Boxing is sport, Spelling bee is entertainment.

Football is sport, NASCAR is entertainment.

And truthfully, I don’t even find it entertaining. Jeff Gordon is the only NASCAR driver I can understand without an interpreter. As Jeff Foxworthy said, he enunciates.

LARRY: Cliff, you don’t have to like it for it to be a sport, which you, obviously don’t.

I don’t particularly believe fishing is a sport. I don’t like it and I don’t waste my time doing it. But it meets the definition given in the dictionary. So I don’t like it, but agree it’s a Sport.

Now, it’s your turn…Go ahead. Say it. You don’t like it BUT it is a sport.

By the way, there’s more NASCAR paraphanalia (sic) sold, yearly, in the USA than all of baseball, football, and basketball combined.
CLIFF: Ah, but the racing does not mean auto racing, rather athletic racing. Next thing you know you guys will try to make video games a sport.

As far as the paraphernalia is concerned I would have to see hard statistics to back that up.

I mean, there are plenty of caps and shirts sold to rednecks throughout the fruited plain, however I can’t imagine they would topple all three major sports combined.

You are right, I don’t just dislike it, I detest it. I’ll go to my grave, perhaps cussing, that it is not a sport. Do you all hear me? It is NOT a sport, it’s barely friggin’ entertainment.

As far as hunting and fishing, I hate those too. I am however, willing to accept fishing and some aspects of hunting a Sport. Left up to the illiterate masses I can see Madden NFL becoming a sport. Then you can have fantasy leagues of yourselves.

I’ll take “Done” for $1,000 Alex.

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

I Should Have Been a Sports Writer

Since this is my first “rant,” let me begin by saying I am not qualified to be a writer. I lack the formal education that is generally associated with literary refinement.

In this modern day, people are more apt to pass on you if you do not have a college degree. That being said, I hope your dog dies.

Just kidding, of course—wanting to make sure you are still awake.

Let me start first by taking a shot at sports commentators and sportswriters. That is what I was called to do, but again my lack of education prevents me from being heard…or read, that is.

Commentators, especially from ESPN, continue to wear out the old, old, tired cliché “a buck fifty-nine”…meaning maybe an ERA of 1.59, one hundred and fifty-nine yards rushing, a pitiful batting average of .159. Are the rest of you tired of that, or is it just me? Just rambling.

Another sports idiom that makes me want to puke is “one for the ages.”  The phrase alone defines its exclusiveness.  Too many “ones” for the ages diminish the rest of them already set aside for the ages.

Jim Nantz is one who has beaten that horse to death.

I do like Chris Berman. If you aren’t sure which one he is, he is on ESPN and coined the phrase “…back, back, back, back…back”…and…”he…could…go….all……the…way.”

He always seems to bring something fresh to the table. Uses his own stuff, know what I mean? For example he is always throwing in something extra with people’s names, such as…”Bo ‘Diddly’ Jackson,” or “Ray ‘it’s been a hard day’s’ Knight.” Things like that make watching and listening more palatable.

Speaking of using one’s own stuff, allow me to add this. The only thing I don’t like about writing for “Bleacher Report” is the editing of it.  I don’t mind constructive criticism; I just don’t like the fact that anyone can edit your article any way they want.

I realize you can still revert back to the way it was, but if you don’t check in every few hours, someone has taken your article and “ran” with it.  Especially the title.  Don’t fool with a man’s title. Enough said.

The best football man is by far John Madden. He can tell you what the left offensive tackle did on the play before the replay man can roll it. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Al Michaels sucks. He is everyone’s favorite but I can’t deal with him. Fire him and bring in Pat Summerall.

Madden and Summerall, that was the best team ever. Before them it was Summerall and Tom Brookshire, but I digress.

What happened to split John and Pat was Fox’s nonsense. They weren’t going to re-sign Summerall so Madden decides to jump ship and go to ABC (he said he always wanted to do Monday nights). He would rather go to ABC than stay at Fox with some other hoser. Kudos to Madden!

Continuing with the story, Madden leaves and Fox signs Summerall, and sticks him on the last team Fox uses for football coverage. You know what I mean, the game nobody gives a crap about and the only time you see it is if all the other games ended early and they had to fill a hole. Thumbs down to Fox.

I can’t stand Joe Buck. His father was great, but he doesn’t deserve all the attention.

I can still hear his old man talking immediately following Kirk Gibson’s famous homerun, “I don’t believe what I just saw.”

I remember when Fox rolled Joe out with all the other kids. Joe Buck son of legend Jack. Thom Brenneman son of Hall-of-Fame announcer Marty Brenneman. So many sons there I half expected Little Ricky to come on the show.

Joe is showcased on nearly everything Fox puts their hands to. Football, baseball whatever. The man drives me nuts.

So you will know, the second best football guy is Dan Dierdorf, very knowledgeable man. Knows the game inside out.

For boxing I still like Barry Tomkins. HBO should never have let him leave.

Lampley is good but reminds me too much of a calculator, always telling you that Toney threw 84 more jabs than Holyfield and landed 39 more. How can you figure that crap up that fast. Oh yeah, that’s where I miss the college education.

Larry Merchant reminds me of a wise ol’ owl, always throwing in his two cents. He always gets kinda smart with boxers too, if they try to say hi to too many people. It is a little disrespectful if you ask me. I mean they don’t have sponsors so time is really a non-issue.

He kind of puts me in the mind of Jack Whitaker (not the Powerball winner). He was an “owl” type as well. Always throwing in his perspective on anything and everything.

I didn’t care too much for Curt Gowdy until he died. Now I miss him.

I don’t miss his old booth buddy, Al D’Regatis (never even knew how to pronounce it, let alone spell it). Just hearing his voice somehow takes me back to an Oakland-San Diego game. How depressing is that? Blanda setting up for a 38-yarder to tie the score. Please.

Bob Costas is great. He, not Michaels, is the king as far as this observer is concerned.

Vin Scully is very good but I can’t deal with a man who refuses to sweat in 95 degree weather. “Just getting ready to break the seal on this one at Candlestick Park.” I always liked that description for opening up a ball game.

Hockey sucks. Did you hear me? It sucks. Legalized thuggery is all it is. Fights every three minutes.

I like to watch a good fight, but give me boxing or Ultimate Fighting.

Also, I wouldn’t watch a soccer game live or on TV if you paid me real money. Boring!

And NASCAR, are you kidding me? Don’t get me started! When did driving a car become a sport? You can call it entertainment around me but don’t offend the word “sport.”

About like the Spelling Bee. I know, I know, ESPN shows the Spelling Bee so it must be sporting.

If a cat has kittens in the oven, you don’t call them biscuits.

I’m gonna sign off before my chest explodes and my heart falls to the floor and the Hell hounds dive into it like it is a chew-toy.

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

Can You Remember?

The face of sports changes as it grows older. Athletes come, athletes go.

Rules change constantly in professional sports. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not.

Did you ever get a little smile on your face when someone asks, “remember when—?” Memories bring up feelings and emotions from the past, some good and some not so good.

Challenge your memory with these 10 events.

Have you heard about them? Did you live them? Did you even know about them?

Here we go.

#10 – When Sen. Bill Bradley Played Professional Basketball

He was an All-American high school basketball player and chose the Princeton Tigers as the team he wanted to play college ball for. Bill was a 3 time All-American and National Player of the Year in 1965.

He was a Rhodes Scholar so he went to Oxford after getting his degree at Princeton.

In 1966 he joined the New York Knicks as a 6’5” guard and was later moved to forward.

He retired from basketball in1977 and was inducted to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

His number 24 was retired by the Knicks.

#9 – When The Marquette Golden Eagles Were The Marquette Warriors.

The team was called the Warriors from 1954 until 1994.

They changed their name to the Golden Eagles because it was felt by many that it was disrespectful to Native Americans. What about prayer warriors?

Also, the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks use to be called the Miami Redskins, but changed because of the same reason.

#8 – When There Was No Shot Clock In NCAA Basketball

In 1985 the NCAA began using a 45 second clock (which was changed to 35 in 1993) in which a team had to shoot the ball.

The timer starts when the team inbounds the ball. If they don’t shoot in the appropriate time limit, the other team gains possession of the basketball.

A big reason for the rule was the North Carolina Tar Heels. Coach Dean Smith employed an offense known as the “four corners”.

Four of the players would stand at each corner of the offensive end of the court while the fifth man would dribble the ball until someone challenged him.

They could get a lead and just “milk” the clock with the four corner offense, usually until someone was fouled.

Phil Ford was an absolute expert at running this offense for Dean Smith.

#7 – When Ahmad Rashad Was Bobby Moore

When he was a running back and receiver for the Oregon Ducks he used his birth name of Robert Moore.

He was an All-American running back where he played alongside quarterback Dan Fouts.

He was a first round (4th overall) pick of the (then) St. Louis Cardinals in 1972 about the same time he changed his name to Ahmad Rashad (Rashad means ‘Admirable One Led To Truth’) after his mentor in St. Louis.

He was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2007.

He later became a TV football announcer and analyst and also hosted NBA Inside Stuff.

#6 – When There Were No Baseball Playoffs In The Major Leagues ?

Prior to 1969 the only major league baseball teams to play for a championship was the regular season pennant winners from the American and National Leagues respectively.

They played the best 4 out of 7 in the World Series and the winner was the world champs of baseball for that year.

This is why you see such bloated ‘post season’ records today. Back then, there was no post season, it was just the World Series.

#5 – When NBA Referees Called Palming On Players

When pro basketball was really fun to watch (and some people on the court actually couldn’t dunk it) the referees called palming when a player (usually a guard) turned his wrist over while dribbling the ball.

Now, not only do they palm, sometimes they get away with taking a couple steps after terminating their dribble.

#4 – When Cornerbacks were Called Defensive Halfbacks And Wide Receivers Were Split Ends And Flankers

Back in the day (don’t you hate that axiom?) positions on a football field were different than they are today.

Cornerbacks and Safeties were called Defensive Halfbacks. Wide Receivers were called Split Ends and Flankers, or just Ends.

There was no such thing as a nose guard. You had Defensive Ends and Tackles, period.

Tight Ends were merely called Left or Right Ends.

There was a Fullback and a Left and Right Halfback, now you have ‘H’ backs, Scatbacks, Running Backs, Tailbacks, etc.

Of course Quarterbacks have always been called Quarterbacks.

#3 – When The “Top Of The Key” Looked Like The Top Of A Skeleton Key.

Long, long ago in a gymnasium demolished decades ago, the key of the basketball court was a good deal skinner than it is today.

The reason for the change was that some players had a distinct advantage with the lanes being so close to the basket.

This reason also resulted in a ‘3 second’ violation to be implemented.

In the old days offensive players could just plant themselves under the basket and get great position for an offensive rebound.

#2 – When You Didn’t Go To The Big Dance, If You Didn’t Win Your Conference Title Or Tournament

Prior to 1975 only one team per conference was allowed to participate in the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

If you didn’t win your tournament (or regular season title in the Big 10) you were at home watching on television.

It didn’t matter if you were the #1 rated team in the nation, if you didn’t win, you didn’t go.

Now look at how it has changed, with some conferences sending as many as 7 or 8 and smaller conferences just sending one.

I would personally like to see it go back to that.

#1 – When MLB Had Two All-Star Games A Year.

From 1959 until 1962 the National League All-stars and the American League All-stars met twice each year.

The idea for the extra game was for the extra revenue to help with the player’s pension fund.

However, many felt that the second game watered down the significance of the mid-summer classic, so it was abandoned.