Jeff Pearlman

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The president of the United States ridiculed me in front of thousands of people? Ha Ha! Love the guy!

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The man pictured above is named Frank Dawson.

He is a retired Naval officer who worked many decades as a U.S. marshal.

Last night, at the #MAGA rally in Manchester, N.H., the president of the United States fat shamed Dawson, 64, in front of thousands of people, confusing him for a protester and saying into the microphone, “That guy’s got a serious weight problem. Go home. Start exercising. Get him out of here please. Got a bigger problem than I do. Got a bigger problem than all of us. Now he goes home and his mom says, ‘What the hell have you just done?'”

It was disturbing stuff, both because who is anyone to fat shame anyone, and who is our obese president (in particular) to fat shame anyone?

Anyhow, I was horrified, you were horrified—but Frank Dawson, according to this Fox News clip, was anything but horrified.

This, from the Boston Globe

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Trump later called Dawson, not to apologize but to apparently thank him for ripping away signs from protesters.

Apparently his pride was ripped away, too.

PS: Here’s Dawson at the rally …

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Michigan’s Man of the Year

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In case you missed this one, tonight in a speech in New Hampshire Donald Trump told the attendees that he was once named Michigan’s Man of the Year.

An award that does not exist.

It’s not the first time he’s made such a claim. Back in 2016, according to various outlets, he boasted of being named Michigan’s Man of the Year, and even discussed the accompanying acceptance speech. This, from CNN’s Daniel Dale, is part of what the then-candidate said when recapping his Thank You address to the people of Michigan …

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This.

Never.

Happened.

The 45th president does so many illogical, dishonest things that it’s hard to keep track. He’s said he helped with the recovery after 9.11. Lie. He’s said a Boy Scouts leader called to praise a batshit insane speech to a jamboree. Lie. He cites growth numbers that aren’t real, takes credit for achievements he didn’t achieve. But what gets me with this one—the Michigan award—is he’s just (poof!) making something up that isn’t even slightly real. Like, does he actually think he won Michigan’s Man of the Year and delivered an acceptance speech? Is this merely an extended version of the pretend Time Magazine covers he had hanging in his golf clubs? Is there a difference between a lie and a fact to him?

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One of the things that bothers me most is the double standard we apply to this creature. We teach our children not to bully—then have them attend #MAGA rallies where the president mocks overweight people, disabled people, liberal people. We praise sharing and compassion—then elect the greediest crumb on the globe. We focus on truth—then digest his lies.

Imagine were one of the #MAGA loyalists to apply for a job and place MICHIGAN’S MAN OF THE YEAR beneath the Accomplishments section of a resume. Like, oh, this …

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He would be laughed out of the room. He’d be deemed insane. The people doing the hiring would be telling the story for years. “Remember that crazy dude who said he was Michigan’s Man of the Year. Now that was fucked up …”

Self. Loathing.

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If you missed this, earlier tonight at a Manchester, N.H. rally Donald Trump mocked a protester as he was removed, saying into a microphone, “That guy’s got a serious weight problem. Go home, start exercising!”

Um.

A few issues with this:

• A. Donald Trump is obese. Not a bit chunky. Not heavy. Obese. As in, probably 40-to-50 pounds overweight. He was a tremendously normal-looking man who has become a tremendously large man. Which, of course, happens. I’m 47, and it’s increasingly hard to keep off the pounds. However …

• B. It takes a certain level of either audacity of self-denial to mock a heavy person when you’re heavy. It takes an even greater level of audacity or self-denial to do so when …

• C. So many of your backers are overweight, too. And while I have yet to attend a #MAGA rally (but sure look forward to doing do), all one has to do is watch for five minutes to see the XXXL folks in their XXXXL red-and-white Trump T-shirts. And what’s funny is …

• D. They’ll hear what Trump said tonight and laugh. Because the guy could teach a master class titled, YOU’RE IN ON THE JOKE, BUDDY. The course description would read: “Learn how to fool people into thinking they’re in on the joke with the bully, when—truth be told—he’s spent his life ripping them off and mocking them behind closed doors.”

E. There were three kids right behind Trump, wearing Trump garb and holding Trump signs and laughing as the protester was removed. Whoever the parent is, make sure and explain to your tykes that bullying is awesome. Make sure.

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• F. I keep thinking that, at some point, his followers will get it. That he’s not a brilliant businessman. That he’s not one of them. That he doesn’t care about their needs. That he’s a dime-a-dozen grifter.

Sigh.

David Woodley v Don Strock

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Just read up on the Miami Dolphins’ quarterback battle, which pits veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. youngster Josh Rosen in an epic battle of football-tossing rejects who would start for precisely, oh, zero other NFL teams.

It got me thinking about WoodStrock.

Back in the early 1980s, after quite debatable Hall of Famer Bob Griese departed the scene, the Dolphins relied on a quarterbacking duet that was—um, what’s the word?—horrific. Woodley had been a run-first, throw-later guy at Louisiana State who split time at the position. Strock had been Griese’s longtime caddy and a man no other franchises ever considered trading for. They were mediocre at best and crap at worst.

Then, in 1982-83, the Miami Dolphins reached the Super Bowl.

I’m not sure of the point here, save that quarterbacking is only one component of a team’s success, and those Dolphins (unlike there Dolphins) happened to have a fantastic defense and a legendary head coach who knew precisely what he was doing. Truth be told, were the year 1982 both Rosen and Fitz would be starting over David Woodley.

So, go Dolphins!

Casey behind the wheel

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Parenting is all sorts of weird. The highs and the lows. The elation and the heartache. The bliss and the anger. If a soon-to-be mom or dad tells you they’re prepared for what’s to come, they’re either naive or lying. The whole experience is one giant what-do-I-do-now fest.

What I’m trying to say is that yesterday afternoon, at a DMV about 10 miles to the south, Casey Pearlman, 16-year-old daughter of a hack sportswriter/USFL fan, attained her driver’s license.

Yikes.

I am so proud.

I am so terrified.

With great power comes great responsibility. And this is a great power. Casey will now be driving down unfamiliar roads, up too-fast-for-her-adolescent-brain highways. She will be forced to make sudden stops; to pay hyper attention while people are yapping and the radio is blaring. She thinks she’s ready, and I think she’s ready. But it’s scary stuff.

I drove Casey to the DMV yesterday, and the experience ranks in the Top 20. She was super nervous, and the wait inside the building felt about 10 hours, but lasted, maybe, one. Her hands were sweaty, her toes were tappy. When they called her name, she took a deep breath, walked up to the line. It’s that merging of elation and terror. I compared it to the time I called Jody Cohen to ask her to the junior prom, then hung up, then called again, then hung up, then called again.

When it was finally Casey’s turn to take her test, I exited our Prius and felt my heart pounding. She’s a terrific kid, and I know how badly she wanted this. We’ve taken about 50 drives with her behind the wheel, and what started as A. Lot. Of. This. ultimately turned smooth and sound. She’s very attentive behind the wheel. Knows all the signals, the signs. She was ready. I knew she was ready.

So I sat, and waited, and waited, and waited, and thought a bit about Casey being born, and Casey learning to walk, and Casey on my shoulders at Disney World.

And when she returned, and flashed a smile, I wanted to cry.

They weren’t tears of fear.

Just joy.

I was such a tool bag

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Earlier tonight I was digging through an old scrapbook from my freshman year at Delaware, when I wrote for the student newspaper and also contributed articles to my hometown Patent Trader. The pages sparked all sorts of memories—kicker profiles, nervous walk-ups to coaches, confusion over lacrosse terminology. I’m a sucker for nostalgia.

That said, I uncovered one thing that I never need to read again. It’s a letter I wrote to the Taconic Road Runners Club, the organization that helped me develop from a mediocre young runner to a solid-yet-unspectacular young runner. With some reservation, this is the note as it appeared in the TRRC newsletter …

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Where to begin?

• The unjustified cockiness oozes from the page. “Develop my running abilities to their peak”? What? I was a hack. Not even a very good hack. Slightly above average. And “now as a freshman runner on the University of Delaware Division I cross country team”? WHAT? I was on the Hens because the coach was an amazing man who didn’t cut. I was Division I solely out of luck. Truth be told, I’d have been a bad DIII runner. Jesus Christ.

• “Run with the best”? Seriously—I was barely surviving practices. Barely. These guys were so beyond my non-skill level.

• “Pearl”—I signed the letter with a nickname I was given in fourth grade by a Little League teammate. And now I’m referring to myself as “Pearl”? WHAT?

Seriously, it’s so awful it’s laughable. I honestly didn’t realize what sort of mojo I was setting free; couldn’t sense the people surely laughing at my inanity.

Maybe that’s just youth.

But, man, it was bad.

The Giants are retiring Will Clark’s number. Wow.

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In case you missed this—and you likely missed this—next year the San Francisco Giants will be retiring the No. 22 uniform of former first baseman Will Clark.

Oh, boy.

If you know anything about my career covering the Majors, you probably know Clark is my all-time least-favorite player to deal with. Worse than John Rocker. Worse than Barry Bonds. Worse than Albert Belle. Truly, I abhor Clark, and while much of that has to do with the time he humiliated me inside the Baltimore Orioles’ clubhouse, it’s really just an overarching feeling that he’s a racist piece of dog shit. And I’m pretty sure former teammates agree.

Anyhow, the honoring of Clark makes the Giants the unofficial official kings of assholes being honored. The team has already locked down Willie Mays’ No. 24 (nobody who knows Mays likes Mays) and Barry Bonds’ No. 25 (even fewer people like Bonds than Mays), and Clark locks down the holy trinity of dicks.

Which leads to the inevitable question: What about Jeff Kent?

This morning the president played golf

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A devastated nation. A putting leader.

This morning the president played golf.

He teed off less than 24 hours after 20 died in El Paso.

He teed off less than 12 hours after nine died in Dayton.

There are things presidents traditionally do on the days following national tragedies. Oftentimes they speak from the Rose Garden. They reassure a grieving nation that, somehow, justice will be served and life will carry on. They write letters to the families of the victims. They hop on a plane and rush to the scene. They hug and they embrace and they let the bereaved know that a country stands behind them.

Those are the things presidents do. Democrat and Republican. Conservative and liberal. Presidents known for their ethics (Carter, Ford) and presidents known for their limited ethics (Nixon, Clinton). With your office comes a messaging from the people. It is a mighty device to carry, and—when used properly—it is nothing less than magical.

This morning the president played golf.

It was at his club in New Jersey, part of a weekend getaway. He shot 18 holes, waved, smiled, wore his red USA hat with a flag embroidered on the side. He had nothing to say about the two tragedies besides these few Tweets …

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… and, really, what could he say? When a man lacks empathy; when a man is all about feeding his own ego; when a man fuels the very hate that is cited in 20 of the deaths—what words would work? What sentiments would soften the blow? Plus, the 29 people who died weren’t famous rappers or big-money donors; they weren’t MAGA-screaming loyalists or members of the Kardashian family. We don’t even know if they voted for Donald Trump.

So, truly, why would he care? Why would he cancel his plans and address a horrifying situation that calls for compassion and understanding and a human touch?

This morning the president played golf.

It was the best he could do.

Showtime Book
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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life