We get back to sports this week, folks. Brady, Rodney Harrison, the Bruins, the Baseball Show. All are addressed. Don’t worry. We’re not all dogs, all the time.
Still, the e-mails kept pouring in from the dog nuts, and I just can’t ignore their efforts, can I? These folks really know how to throw around the insults. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what the d-bag mailbag is all about?
So let’s go, you loons: pretend you’re a pit bull and I’m the succulent leg of a two-year boy. Have at it.
I actually shouldn’t joke about that. The very day that last week’s mailbag was posted, Fox 25 ran a story about a one-year-old girl who was attacked by a pit bull in Haverhill. She took 50 stitches but was lucky. She lived.
Of course, the mother said the pit bull had never been a problem before.
Funny. None of the nut jobs from Narnia mentioned the story in their e-mails.
Now that Rodney has made it official, I was hoping you'd reflect on some of your favorite Rodney moments and/or any behind the scenes info that would be interesting? Rodney was/is one of my favorite Patriots of all time. He was the second-most (or maybe the most) important player on the '03 and '04 championship teams. Where do you think he ranks in Pats’ history & league history?
A: I think in those 2003-04 championship seasons he was the most important player on the defense. In fact, Harrison had one of the best two-year runs I’ve ever seen in those seasons. He made plays (278 tackles, 5 interceptions, six sacks, four forced fumbles combined over those two seasons) and he won games. He was huge in the playoffs -- picking off Peyton Manning in the end zone in the 2003 AFC championship game, bringing a pick back for a touchdown against Ben Roethlisberger in the 2004 title game and intercepting Donovan McNabb twice in Super Bowl XXXIX, just to name three. He made everyone else around him better (when Harrison fell off the map in 2005, so did Eugene Wilson). There were a lot of playmakers on those defenses (Tedy Bruschi was great those years; Ty Law was tremendous in 2003; Mike Vrabel, Richard Seymour and even Willie McGinest were bringing it) -- but I’d rank Harrison first on that list. Other than Tom Brady, no one on those teams was more important.
The Lawyer Milloy transition is another story entirely. Without Harrison taking the reigns as he did (the team made him a captain in Week 2), that season could have turned out much differently. I remember being in the locker room at Gillette a couple days after the blowout loss at Buffalo when Rodney called me over to an empty locker stall. He called me by name even though I don’t believe we had met at that point. In other words, this was a premeditated conversation. “You think we suck, don’t you?” he asked. “No chance this week, right?” Not really, I answered. “You watch,” he replied.
And that was it. That week at Philadelphia, he batted away four balls from McNabb and the Pats won 31-10. And you know the rest of the story. Rodney was the consummate example of talking the talk and walking the walk. The media loved him for it.
As for the Hall of Fame, I think he’s close in terms of resume, but he stands no chance because he was voted to just two Pro Bowls. The HGH bust won’t help him, either. Besides, there aren’t a lot of safeties in the Hall, and the top guy from this generation, in my opinion, is Ed Reed. But after that, I think Harrison and John Lynch deserve the same consideration. It will be a shame when Lynch goes in and Rodney doesn’t. I think that 30-30 stat that Rodney owns is incredible. He’s the only player in NFL history to have at least that many sacks and interceptions in his career. No one else has done it -- from any position. Not Ronnie Lott. Not Reed. Not Lynch. Not anyone. That’s pretty awesome.
One final note on the HGH thing. This is one of those cases where the football/baseball double standard when it comes to performance enhancing drugs is hard to ignore. It was just two summers ago that Harrison was busted in a drug sting, and here we are 20 months later and he’s getting a prime-time network gig. The drug thing isn’t even mentioned, never mind held against him. This is even though he admitted to receiving numerous HGH shipments over the years, including one prior to the Carolina Super Bowl in 2004. It’s no leap to say HGH helped fuel his late-career surge. And yet it’s as if it never happened.
Good for Dr. ElAttrache that Tom Brady is not ``an average person,’’ or his reputation would be soiled forever. But do you truly think Brady was rehabbing as hard as he possible could? When he was in California and Brazil and wherever he went, was he really going all out on the PT? Leg bends really exciting him when he's on the beach? I'm glad he's at the OTAs, but we certainly wouldn't have to sweat this out (the stiffness in the leg, etc) if he was in Foxboro under the team supervision of the Pats' team doctors. Besides, no matter how hard Brady has worked to come back (or not), this likely all wouldn't have happened had he had the operation with those the Patriots wanted.
A: I think that L.A. Times story was CYA time for Brady and ElAttrache. But I’m not going to draw any conclusions until we see what happens on the field, Josh. If the knee proves to be structurally sound and Brady plays well -- what is there to complain about? But if the knee doesn’t respond or he’s moving poorly, why shouldn’t his offseason decisions be open to second-guessing? We’d do it to anyone else, wouldn’t we? If the knee doesn’t hold up, why wouldn’t ElAttrache be questioned?
As I wrote earlier this week, I don’t think we should be surprised if Brady gets off to a slow start next season -- but I’m not saying that because of the quality of the surgery or where Brady chose to do his rehab. I believe both will prove to be non-issues in the end. But I guess I need to see it first.
I’m a big Pats fan and love to watch Brady play, but I believe that the Patriots handled the Matt Cassel situation very poorly. Here was a kid who took over for the best quarterback in the league and brought us to an 11-5 record. We acted amazed and grateful, but we were still talking about shipping him out before the last two games were played. The kid (Cassel) is a star. When Drew Bledsoe went down, we didn’t try and ship Tom Brady off. Tom’s knee may be healed, but I still have my doubts. Tom’s mobility will be strained. He will still have the arm, that I’m sure. The legs will practically be silent. I strongly believe he will not be able to move around in the pocket or scramble when he needs to.
I’m still not 100 percent convinced on the Cassel trade. I’m not a ``in Bill we trust’ ’ guy. I believe that Cassel was a great asset to this team. I know the Patriots caught lightning in a bottle with Brady. A guy like that comes along once a generation. Heaven forbid that Brady goes down again, but do you really want to take your chances with Brian Hoyer, Matt Gutierrez, or Kevin O’Connell? I would rather place my faith in Cassel.
A: Don’t agree, Wayne. At all. If Cassel had another year left on his contract at minimum dollars, then fine. Keep him on the bench as insurance. But he was a free agent, and to keep him you either had to pay him the franchise tag ($14 million) or give him a new contract. It just wasn’t feasible. I think they did a fine job selling high.
I think we'll know the health of the knee when we see Brady’s pocket movement (both mentally and physically). I just hope they cut the turf in London! By the way, my pit bull is psychologically damaged since your previous article.
A: In terms of pocket movement, we’ve got a ways to go until we can really see where Brady’s at. He made a nice play the other day at the OTA stepping up and throwing on the run, but the players were in shorts and there was no rush. We’ll get a sample in the preseason if he plays. But the true answer to the question won’t be fully known until we get a month or two into the regular season.
Subj: Great dog article; Favre a punk
You compared Tom Brady to Brett Favre on CSN. You can’t compare these two because Favre is a punk, Brady is not. Ask the Atlanta Falcons if Brett is a punk, ask the Packers if he is a punk, they will say yes. Brady is in a whole different class.
A: You didn’t hear correctly. When Brady said a couple of weeks ago that he wanted to play another 10 years, I said if that’s the case (and I’m not sure it is), then I expect a much DIFFERENT departure from the game than what Favre has done. No way Brady holds us all hostage like that.
I don't believe the Patriots coaching staff will prepare with the expectation of having a pre-injury Brady, so their methodology may be modified from the 2008 model. For one thing, the Patriots should be able to do a lot more ball control with an early emphasis on running, especially in the first two games against the Bills and the Jets. Both of those teams have the type of defense that would rather go after the passer than line up and fight it out in the trenches. Don't expect the game plan to feature schemes that will expose Brady to hits even if those schemes have produced big plays in the past. The big plays will come out of play-action and the early season standouts might well be Fred Taylor and Lawrence Moroney. Yes, that’s ``Moroney.’’ I see this becoming a transition season with a more effective pass defense and an offense that is less quick-strike. Oh, and I expect Brady to be terrific.
A: I agree about the protection issue. It’s hard to imagine the Pats will put Brady is position to get hit an inordinate amount of time early in the season. Maybe the reason the Pats have 18 tight ends in camp is that they’re going to keep most of them in to block. At the same time, I think we’ve seen that this is a much, much, better team when they operate out of three-receiver sets as opposed to two-tight end alignments. They thought they could exploit teams with Dan Graham and Ben Watson and it turned out they couldn’t. No one has been able to stop Moss, Welker and whoever.
Thank god football season is coming. I’m getting a little sick of Big Papi talk and the typical whining that usually comes with the baseball season. Thank you for actually bringing up that Tedy Bruschi can’t play anymore on Comcast last week. You are the only media guy who has the stones to say it. Over $2 million against the cap (Felger: I actually think it’s over $3 million) just because he is a leader! That’s hilarious. I thought you were going to puke all over Tanguay s shoes when he said they need leadership. I love how we need to younger and faster on defense but we can’t sign Jason Taylor (oh, by the way, he signed for $1.5 million) and that we need to bring in a dozen tight ends for no reason and give Shawn Springs real money at 34. You know as well as the rest of the fans that the Pats need some aggressiveness next to Mayo inside. And please don’t give me the ``system’’ crap, either (sorry, Monty Beisel).
A: If Tedy Bruschi is playing over 30 snaps a game after the first couple weeks of the season I’d be disappointed. It would mean that some of the young linebackers they’re high on aren’t ready or just aren’t good enough.
The pain has worn off. The frustration has subsided. The Bruins Game 7 loss just doesn’t seem as bad after watching Carolina get smoked by Pittsburgh (and Detroit clobbering the Pens so far in the Finals). The truth is the banged-up Bruins were not on the same level as the Penguins and Wings. Injuries to key guys were a huge factor, but every team is banged up this time of year (the Wings haven’t missed a beat without Pavel Datsyuk and Brian Rafalski, among others). The B’s, in the end, were short on depth, grit and will.
Which brings us to the off-season. The most important off-season this franchise has had since th e Neely-Bourque era. Make no mistake DB, the decisions made in the next four months will determine whether the Bruins will be legitimate contenders or sink back into the abyss of mediocrity. The popular theory being floated by most hockey scribes is to sign Kessel and Krejci and trade Ryder or Bergeron. Well, that’s a lateral move. It would lock up two talented young players, but would also hurt the club in the short term. It also doesn’t leave any room under the cap to bring in a top-tier defensemen, something they desperately need. By the way, what team would take Bergeron? He scored 8 goals in 75 games this year including playoffs, is owed $9 million dollars over the next two years and is a concussion risk every time he hops over the boards. How could a GM possibly justify that to his employer?
My hope is that Chiarelli doesn’t play it safe. I’m not concerned with long term anymore. The Sox, Pats and Celts have spoiled us. For good or ill, it’s Stanley Cup or bust. The window of opportunity is small and it seems like its closing before it ever really opened.
High Life Mike
A: You’re right about a lot of things, Mike. Watching the Wings and Pens, it’s clear to me the Bruins were nowhere near being good enough to win it all. As you said, we talked all year about the B’s depth, but the Wings put the lie to that analysis. THAT’S a team with true depth. The B’s had a few players banged up and they couldn’t get past Carolina? So much for that.
Your second point is also valid. Bergeron gets back very little. As much as the B’s would love to unload his salary, he just doesn’t have the return. Only one guy really does: Kessel. A 21-year-old, 36-goal scorer who was selected fifth overall is a commodity. It looks great on paper, and I believe Kessel is one of those guys who will always look better on paper than he does on the ice. The paper doesn’t show his lack of toughness in the corners or the amount of time he loses the puck on the rush.
One rumor that has been reported lately that I don’t like is Kessel to Colorado for the No. 3 pick. I don’t want draft picks. I want players. Even with their faults, I think the Bruins are still just a few players away from true contention. I’d like to see a Kessel deal bring back NHL-ready players who can help next year.
I think you are way off on wanting to trade Phil Kessel. For years Bruins fans complained about the lack of scoring and the need for a true sniper. Now we have one who is 21-years-old, who has shown toughness battling cancer and playing through a torn rotator cuff in the playoffs, and there is talk of trading him? It seems ridiculous to me. He has improved defensively under Julien and will continue to do so. He has scored at a point per game clip in the playoffs (a greater rate than Krecji, who had three assists in the Carolina series). Kessel is the kind of commodity in today's NHL that you don't trade away at this young of an age. It is possible to sign both Kessel and Krecji and that's what the Bruins should do. Trim off older players with movable contracts such as Kobasew, Ward, Ryder, etc and keep the youth together.
You said on Sports Tonight that you would trade Kessel for young talent. Isn't that exactly what Phil Kessel is? Potential 40-goal scorers are more rare than good young pitching (only 8 players in the NHL scored over 40 last year), yet you wouldn't trade Buchholz for Pujols but are willing to ship Kessel out of town without a second thought. It doesn't make sense to me.
A: Excellent e-mail. Let me define my position a bit further.
I think Buchholz has front-of-the-rotation stuff. I think he can be a star. We haven’t seen his ceiling. I think we’ve seen the best out of Kessel, and in terms of all-around game, I’m just not that impressed. Yes, he’s fast and can shoot. But do you realize how often he never even gets that shot off? And he’s useless along the boards.
I think Blake Wheeler is going to be a better pro long-term. Maybe he won’t score the number of goals Kessel will, but he has more size, more toughness and is pretty skilled himself (he was taken fifth-overall himself by Phoenix in 2004). I absolutely, positively keep Lucic over Kessel. And the Bruins have already done the right thing by choosing Krejci over Kessel. (And what a great deal for the team, by the way. Less than $4 million per year for a guy who is going to be your best player in 1-2 years? That’s a home run for the B’s. As bad as the Tim Thomas deal was, that’s how good the Krejci contract is).
Anyway, just understand, Dave, that the team probably agrees with me and disagrees with you, for what that’s worth. I think Kessel is a goner.
Varitek hit home run #10 against the Twins last week. You called him stupid this offseason. He saved that game and i s one of the most productive players on the team.
You are a media vulture, and so is Buckley (the weasel). Admit you were wrong about ‘Tek. He deserves your respect, and your apology.
A: As in, bad dog? If you’ve listened to my commentary on Varitek, Diane, you should also realize that I said all along that I expected him to bounce back offensively in 2009. I always felt that with the personal issue off the table and the embarrassment of the contract dispute still fresh in his mind that he’d prove something this year. He’s also in a contract year again. He was also noticeably bigger at the start of spring training, something I mentioned every chance I got. So put it all together and I’m not surprised at all that he’s driving the ball better this year. I’ve said that all along.
Where I criticized Varitek was for turning down salary arbitration and a chance to make around $11 million this year. Because he was misinformed and his agent, Scott Boras, misread the market, he’ll make half that this season. That’s their fault. I stand by that criticism.
You and I are a minority of two in this city who think that Wakefield’s performance and relevance is overrated. Yes, for the first month he was their best pitcher. Yes, he eats innings and, yes, if you don’t have a 25-year old arm being wasted in the minors 28 teams would love to have him. But, to the baseball crew at CSN and WEEI, I would say this: he’ll end up 14-14 or 12-12. He can’t beat the Yankees or Rays, who see him enough not to chase his junk, and can never be trusted to start another postseason game. And isn’t October what it is all about? Finally, why not take a chance that Buchholz would give you a 13-8 record over the rest of the season? Either Clay is going to be a starter for this team or a trade chip. If the plan is definitely to trade him, then pitching him against AAA makes sense, but if the plan is for him to anchor your staff one day then you are wasting a prime year of this guy’s career and that is borderline idiotic.
A: Over the last three years, Wakefield is 2-5 against the Yankees with a 6.67 ERA. Since the start of the 2008 season, he’s 1-2 with a 6.71 ERA against the Rays.
Sub: Your irresponsible pit bull column
What makes you an expert? The fact that you read some articles on these dogs? How reliable do you think that information is? Have you done any real research, or are you, as usual, talking out of your gaping (expletive)hole?
I hope you are proud of yourself. You have dutifully repeated and furthered every brain dead and uninformed talking point about an issue you have no understanding of whatsoever, and in doing so, have shot your already non-existent credibility full of more holes than are in the hunk of Swiss cheese you use for grey matter. Screw you.
A: I really have no response here and this e-mail obviously breaks no new ground. I’ve gotten hundreds like it over the last two weeks. I just liked the line about my gaping (expletive)hole.
Subj: That drivel of a column
About 40 people (children) per year die by drowning in 5-gallon water pails. A person, during their lifetime, is 16 times more likely to drown in a 5-gallon water pail than to be killed by a pit bull.
Approximately 50 children in the US are killed every year by their cribs -- 25 times the number of children and adults killed by pit bulls.
Approximately 150 people are killed every year by falling coconuts. Therefore, you are more than 60 TIMES MORE LIKELY to be killed by a PALM TREE than a pit bull.
Each year, 350 people drown in their bathtubs. You are 151 times more likely to be killed by your bathtub than you are by a pit bull.
It is estimated that about 500 deaths per year are caused by aspirin. You are more than 200 times more likely to die from taking aspirin than from a pit bull attack.
I dare you to get out from behind your computer and go to your local animal shelters and meet the dogs you are so quick to blame. And if you hate them that much you should relish in their death as they are killed so frequently in the shelter system that only 1 out of 600 make it out alive. Perhaps you can help hold the needle?
A: Interesting stats, Jennifer. I’ve got to be honest, though. When it comes to pit bull attacks, I’m not really worried about death. This isn’t a plane crash we’re talking about. I more worried about disfigurement. I just worry about losing a hand. Or my daughter losing half her face like that poor girl in Haverhill above. Do you have any numbers relating to aspirin and dismemberment?
But thanks again for the numbers. I now know to keep my daughter away from coconut trees.
Your obvious distaste for pit bulls and their owners (and I'm speaking about the responsible, compassionate folks who rehabilitate, rescue and re-socialize them to become good and safe pets) is unfortunate. But judging from your latest blog on weei.com, you are only one of the many right-wing ideologues who apparently are intellectually incapable of expressing opinions without demeaning and insulting those who disagree with you.
Do you really think that your way is the only right way? Frankly, your positions as radio ``personalities’’ should require you to exercise at least some modicum of fairness, respect and understanding for the views of all of your listeners. It is indeed amazing that WEEI would even condone the cynical, sarcastic, caustic and insulting diatribes you utter every day against those who would dare to disagree with your extreme right-wing views. After listening to WEEI for several months, just to see if I am judging you too harshly, I regret to say that I find you guys to the right of Rush Limbaugh -- a fat bowl of insidious and irrelevant reactionary bull(expletive).
Given your continued presence on WEEI, a so-called sports talk radio station, I can only conclude that your management feels it's audience are angry, white, older, Republican males and that anyone else who happens to also love sports but possesses a somewhat different view of the world than you guys, can just go to hell. I find that disgusting and deplorable. I would hope someone at WEEI with some degree of intellectual realism would understand that people of all political stripes enjoy talking sports, not just extremist right-wingers.
A: That’s a great diatribe, Alan. Truly. Outstanding stuff. But a “right-wing ideologue?” I think you might have me confused with someone else at the station (like, um, EVERYBODY).
I was reading your article on creeps and imbeciles and I wanted to welcome you to the club of ignorant one-sidedness that your pals D+C (Felger: There you go, Alan) are president and vice president of. Although I enjoy listening to you all yammer on about sports, your political and otherwise worldly views have little to be desired. Your self-righteous article regarding pit bulls and their owners lacks fact and (above all) research.
Yes, there are many uneducated people who own pit bulls, most of whom do not care about saving the life of a helpless animal who has been molded into a monster by humans. These animals are highly intelligent, ``trainable’’ and loyal, which makes them an easy target. They are bred and over-bred (and it only gets worse in the south), which means that there are more pit bulls in this country than any other breed. The fact is that golden retrievers have higher incidence of biting than pit bulls do. If people in this country were responsible, they would/should spay/neuter their pit bulls. They aren't and they don't. This isn't the animal's fault, either.
I'm not saying that I have no sympathy for the victims. I do. It's tragic. But I don't think it's right for you to judge all pit bull owners. I adopted a pit bull over five years ago. I am a professional. I am a college graduate. I am a homeowner and am a good person who is neither a creep nor an imbecile. I'm actually an RN in Boston that could be taking care of you or your family one day. And I will be looking forward to that day to say the least.
Stick to football, Felger. Your lack of intellect (and very poor writing skills) really shine through in this article. It's truly embarrassing. You, D+C and the rest of you ignorant jerks need to do some serious reading and research. And NONE of you should be judging anyone.
Your future caregiver and American Pit Bull owner
A: “It only gets worse in the south?” I'm surprised to hear that. You mean to tell me that the folks down there have taken to an ignorant, violent and sadistic pastime? Are the fights down there before or after church?
Anyway, congratulations on being the 1,000th e-mailer to the d-bag mailbag to mention that labs account for a higher percentage of bites than pit bulls. In honor of that, can I ask you folks something? I’m being serious here.
DO YOU ALL REALLY BELIEVE GOLDEN RETRIEVERS ARE MORE DANGEROUS THAN PIT BULLS? Who do you expect to believe that?
To: Michael Felger
As a dog trainer, I can pretty much tell you that your stereotyping of pit bull owners is not just wrong, it's dead wrong. I mean, that's like saying that journalists come in two types, those who can't do research, and those who are just plain dumb. Despite a great deal of evidence that those two types are well-represented in our general population of journalists, I also know that there are many thoughtful folks out there, including some that write for your own network. Some of those individuals even happen to be pit bull owners.
I am not saying there are not a great many creeps that own pit bulls. I think there's a great many complete asshats in the world, period. Some of them own Labrador retrievers, wear clothing from Orvis, cut people off in their giant SUVs that will never leave pavement, and make noises about how their rights as hunters are imposed on when
canned hunts are banned. Some of them wear pleather and tote their tiny dogs ``rescued’’ from the pet store in designer purses while they tell people about the evils of eating meat.
I'm not going to bother telling you about all the good stuff pit bulls can do. I'm sure some of the other outraged mail will do that. But as cute as sound byte journalism is, it's lousy journalism, and I'd like to think that journalists take their profession more seriously than just making sound bytes. I mean, it's not like they're politicians, who everyone knows are all liars.
Dogstar Academy - Positive training for pets & people in http://dogstaracademy.com
A: Sound-byte journalism? Ah, you speak of my brilliant lead of two weeks ago. Creeps and imbeciles. My best ever. And I’ll tell you what, nothing I’ve seen or read in the last two weeks has disabused me of that notion. That lead is what you call timeless.
Subj: Felger, you are correct!
Believe it or not, I agree with your column. I will go on record saying I love dogs. Grew up in a house that always had one or two dogs, labs and retrievers. Working on getting one now. But when it comes to pit bulls, dobermans and rottweilers I just don't get it. As an adult they scare me. I cringe every single time I hear or see them. And too often it is a defenseless child that has to pay for an adult's mistake. These are not pets, they are dangerous animals much like a wildcat or wolf.
And third, every time I read the words ``we're talking about DOGS!’’ I hear AI's press conference years ago ``we're talking about PRACTICE.’’ Good stuff!
A: Now you’ve done it, Mike. You’ve shown doggy discrimination against wildcats and wolves. You thought the dog nuts were bad. Just wait until those folks get up your ass.
Dear Mr. Felger:
By your own logic, I'm surprised you do not own a pit bull, because your article makes you look like an imbecile. Are you a veterinarian? A dog behaviorist or trainer? A biologist? A geneticist? An animal researcher? A dog shelter or pound volunteer? A member of the animal rescue community who has worked with and fostered hundreds of dogs from various breeds? No. You are a radio personality and journalist. Then where do you get the authority to label a group of dogs encompassing almost a dozen breeds (since there is no such dog breed as a ``pit bull’’) as ``dangerous animals?’’ Where do you get off name-calling owners of any breed of dog?
As a biologist and a patent attorney, I spend most of my time around extremely intelligent and enlightened individuals. I’ve also volunteered for local shelters, and animal rescue organizations, and fostered rescue dogs for almost 15 years. Your article was a sad reminder to me of how small-minded some people still are and how easily and ignorantly they label something they know absolutely nothing about. Most of the people I know who own pit bull-type dogs are white, upper-middle class individuals with graduate-level educations, who are neither creeps, nor imbeciles. You need to get out more. Visit your local shelter, meet a few pit bulls that have been abandoned or abused, talk to some shelter workers. I think you will be surprised by how much you do not know….No wonder American news media is on the decline. Your readers deserve better. Stick to sports, leave animal control and safety to the experts, and keep your uninformed opinions on these matters to yourself.
A: “Most of the people I know who own pit bull-type dogs are white, upper-middle class individuals with graduate-level educations.” Well, well, well. What have we here? Forget about dog racists. I think we’ve got the genuine article, folks.
And where do I get the right to label pit bulls “dangerous animals?” From the same place in my brain that provides common sense.
I applaud you for your stance on pit bulls. I couldn't agree more. I have a quick pit bull story from an old baseball coach that makes me laugh to this day. About fifteen years ago he was walking his dog (Spaniel) in his neighborhood and came across a neighbor out walking his pit bull. The two dogs were playing a bit (innocently) and then the Pit Bull decided to get serious and latched onto the Spaniel's throat. At this point the pit bull was locked on for the kill and wasn't letting go. The two men tried to free the Spaniel from the Pit Bull's jaws but had no success. They tried everything from calling its name to hitting it with sticks (NOT ABUSIVELY), but the Pit Bull wouldn't back down. At this point the Spaniel was bleeding a lot and yelping. In a panic the Spaniel's owner did the only other thing he could think of get the Pit Bull to let go....He checked under the hood and saw a big 'ole pair of balls hanging down and gave them the squeeze of a lifetime. Well, that did the trick. The Pit Bull yelped and ran off leaving my coach and his Spaniel to jump in the car for a trip to the vet to get stitched up.
I can almost hear the pit bull apologists now making every excuse under the sun why someone or something is more at fault for the incident than the pit bull. You gotta love it!
A: Rick didn’t mention it in the e-mail, but I’m familiar with this incident. PETA held a candlelight vigil for the pit bull’s ball sack that night.
To: Michael Felger
The pit bull defenders absolutely refuse to accept that traits are bred into dogs. Just like Border Collies and Bloodhounds have traits bred into them, pit bulls have had aggression bred into them. Especially when you consider that most of these pit bull type dogs aren't registered. Any moron can take two pits and breed them and get some other morons to buy the puppies.
I work in the Animal Control field and have seen many bites. All dogs can bite and hurt someone -- no one disputes that. However, the frenzied aggression displayed by pit bulls cannot be compared to a simple bite by a Lab.
Pit bulls have been bred for their aggressive nature, but also to not display the usual ``dog cues’’ that tell people and animals how that particular animal is feeling. A dog will lower its ears, hunch its shoulders, put its tail between its legs or lift the tail high in the air, it will stare you down, it will growl. A pit bull has been bred NOT to do these things. In the dog fighting ring, if the opposing dog can't read your dog's body language, your dog has a better chance of winning. This is why victims say the pit came over and sniffed them and then suddenly attacked with no warning.
A: Very interesting. Wouldn’t that explain why just about every pit bull attack is followed by the imbecilic owner saying, “He never even THREATENED anyone before?”
To: Michael Felger
You are a righteous, ignorant dick(erson).
A: Great sideline reporter, though.
Subj: Pit bulls and black guys
I obviously missed the boat on this discussion, but in citing those famous (or infamous, depending upon your perspective) statistics about percentages of bites by breed, did you consider that there are far more black males imprisoned for violent crimes (or any, for that matter)? How do you explain this? Would you say that black males are genetically inclined to be violent? Or would you say there are a lot of social factors? Would you hesitate to let your daughter be around any black person (regardless of their personality or upbringing)?
I am not saying dogs are the same as humans. As a dog owner (yes, a ``pit bull’’ mix), I feel strongly that they are NOT the same as humans, which is where a lot of dog owners go wrong -- treating a dog like a human being is not the proper way to train a dog.
It's not about breed. It may appear that way statistically, because more idiots are drawn to ``tough'' dogs (if I'm looking for a junkyard dog, I'm not going to put a purse-decoration out there), but it's about owners being responsible and putting in the time and effort to raise it right, and being honest about who their dog is and what it's capable of, and holding it accountable for its actions, both positive and negative. I don't expect to change your mind. I just wanted to give you a different perspective (i.e. a cautious dog owner whose heart doesn't bleed).
Feel free to reply, though I know you're quite busy driving most of Boston insane.
(Insert sappy dog quote here)
A: You are, indeed, a bleeding heart, Mike, because even though you make a point of saying that dogs aren't human, you still felt the need to lead off your e-mail by making an analogy to human race, genetics and sociology. What do dangerous, erratic dogs have to do with white people or black people? I don’t get it.
Yes, I’m driving dog nuts crazy. But this whole thing doesn't seem that complicated to me.
All together now, folks: Pit bulls are DOGS. People are PEOPLE.
Wow....what a terrible article. There are actually three kinds of pit bull owners -- the two you mentioned and then there are the responsible owners, those that actually train and socialize their pit bulls. Those folks don't make headlines. A really insulting article to the folks that quietly live their lives with pit bulls that are well-trained, socialized members of the family. I hope you will do more research next time.
Jennifer Bachelor & Never Say Never Greyhounds
A: So you’re saying there are folks who “quietly” own pit bulls. Funny, I seem to have found everyone else.
To: Michael Felger
Great article on pit bulls. These owners are all – yes, ALL -- crazy. You don't have to be a weather expert to know when it's raining. Do you need to be a military expert to protest a war? If these dogs are so nice and easy going, why is it that the bad guys always want pit bulls and not French Poodles? I know that any given dog can be dangerous but where's the common sense?
A: Did you know, Bob, that French Poodles have higher incidents of bites than pit bulls? So we now know of two more things to stay away from: poodles and coconut trees. If there’s a five-gallon bucket nearby, it could be a bloodbath.
To: Michael Felger
Creeps and imbeciles, huh?
Please read how the UKC classifies the American Pit Bull Terrier
``The essential characteristics of the American Pit Bull Terrier are strength, confidence, and zest for life. This breed is eager to please and brimming over with enthusiasm. APBTs make excellent family companions and have always been noted for their love of children. Because most APBTs exhibit some level of dog aggression and because of its powerful physique, the APBT requires an owner who will carefully socialize and obedience train the dog. The breed's natural agility makes it one of the most capable canine climbers so good fencing is a must for this breed. The APBT is not the best choice for a guard dog since they are extremely friendly, even with strangers. Aggressive behavior toward humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable. This breed does very well in performance events because of its high level of intelligence and its willingness to work.''
I'd like you to meet my dog, Zoey, who is entirely representative of the UKC classification above. I will arrange to do so entirely at your convenience. I assure you, you will consider rewriting your article after this experience.
Here's some clips of Zoey
Proud owner of an American Pit Bull Terrier
West Kingston, RI
A: These whacks are like Jehovah Witnesses. Or NASCAR fans. Always trying to convert people. Always selling their insipid cause. Hey Jared, I HAVE NO INTEREST IN MEETING YOUR FREAKING PIT BULL. I'm sure he has a tremendous “zest for life.” I’m also sure he has a tremendous appetite for toddlers.
To: Michael Felger
Since you are an imbecile, I assume you own a pit bull. No, wait, you are just a stupid idiot. Next time you should write about something you know about.
A: We’re still searching for that, Patty. Say hello to all the fine folks in Alabama for me.
To: Michael Felger
I never email, post comments, twitter, blog, text or whatever on anything. So this is a first. For some reason, after reading the reader comments about your article, I feel compelled to say that you're right on the money. How out of touch fanatical dog owners can be.
I have a yellow lab that after nine years of ownership, I would trust in a room with my six-year-old daughter or any other kid without any concern at all, ever, no doubt about it. Most dogs are awesome, huge dog fan, can't stand seeing them in kennels, etc. However, if a pit bull moved into the neighborhood, I'd be going for walks with a Rambo knife. They've been bred in a manner that makes them erratic, ticking time bombs. A large number of tough guy, gangster, whatever owners get them for that reason and simply make the situation worse for everybody.
I'm sure 99% of the population feels the same way. I'm tempted to delete this as it's not something I do and it feels a bit dumb now, but in any case, right on.
A: You have a yellow lab? Are you aware of the statistics, Steve? I’d be very careful, my friend.
To: Michael Felger
I think a more appropriate title for your article would be: Pit Bull Dogged by People Problem.
A: Hey doggy lovers: I agree. IT’S NOT THE DOG’S FAULT. Does that make you feel better? I still want nothing to do with you or your animals.
Subj: Your disgusting article
As a college educated, single female in her twenties, from an upper middle class background, who owns her own condo, car, and pit bull. I KNOW I am neither an imbecile nor a creep. I take great pride in owning my 4-year-old pit bull and regularly show her off to friends and family. She’s spoiled by her grandparents and foster mom and enjoys a fantastic life.
I wish I lived in Boston so I could chose not to listen to you or your sponsors.
Leah C. Mote
A: I didn’t realize they had college-educated folks in Texas.
Mike, Mike, Mike.....
Creeps or Imbeciles? I agreed until I read this weeks bag....Sorry, Mike, I think you missed one: It's creeps, imbeciles and apologists with blinders on so large it is embarrassing.
Yeah, Yeah, we know. Your pit-bull is a big sweetie and would NEVER hurt anyone. It's always the victim's fault, or the owner, or the circumstances. Blah, freaking, blah.
My girl is a vet. In fact she is the exact type of fruit cup who would write one of these emails that are filling your bag. She thinks humans are evil and dogs just don't know any better. She rescued a pit with three legs from an abusive home. Gwen is a very good dog who I do believe has no intention of hurting anyone. However I have seen this dog have violent nightmares and wake up snapping at me. She always has the ``I'm a bad dog'' look on her face as soon as she realizes what she just did, but she just can't control it and I am certain it comes from her being abused by her prior owners.
Here's where the disconnect comes, I realize that as much as I love her heart for rescuing this dog, I would never have children around Gwen and I certainly would not make babies of my own and raise them around her. My girl believes strangely that this could ``never'' happen, despite obvious proof to the contrary. She thinks there is NO trigger and I think we just haven't found it yet. The problem with these animals is once you find the trigger, it's already too late.
If you fall into her category as an animal lover, then allow me to say something to you that I don't have the balls to say to her. You are a freaking moron whose irresponsible and ass-backwards attitude is going to get someone hurt or worse. It's that simple and not up for a debate. You value animal’s lives over humans. If you think Mike Vick should have served more time than Mike Tyson, this means you. I guess he'd have had to rape a pit bull for it to register with you.
On one hand you absolve these killer dogs from their sins because, hey they're animals and they don't know better, and on the other you sympathize with them as though they ARE human and are being ``discriminate'' against. We aren't talking about separate bussing to doggie daycare for pit bull and labradoodles. Either stop personifying animals into human form, or move to Narnia.
To all the folks missing the chromosome for common sense and yet to have anyone they know receive 75 stitches to the face: The reason that you MUST target the breed is the same reason we treat shoplifting differently than armed robbery. They are both stealing, but one has a slightly higher chance of getting someone killed. But hey its never the criminals fault, if the clerk had just given him the money instead of provoking him, he wouldn't have even been shot, right? Unless I am missing the recent spike in deaths by Pomeranian attack then those 10 people who referenced that breed as more ``violent'' than pits can put a muzzle on it from here on out. When pit bulls attack it is frequently deadly and ALWAYS disfiguring because that is the way they are bred and built. Aggressive, big, sharp teeth, strong bite, killer instinct. If there were no difference in breeds, then we'd see a lot more Pomeranian fighting rings out there.
But hey, all you sons and daughters of Darwinism out there who think it isn't the dog's fault ever should get your own gated community for you and your pit bull loving friends. I submit to you that your sweet as pie pit has not attacked anyone yet because it's tough to bite down on a toddler while your head is up its ass.
A: Um, are you saying that the pit bull sleeps with you and your girl? And that the dog wakes up from nightmares biting you? And you guys still have that critter? Cuckoo.
Also, you don’t want to call your girl a “freaking moron?” I wonder why. You don't think that would go over too well?
Members of the Pit Bull fan club all have blinders on, like those lamp shades that dogs need to wear on their heads (after being attacked by a pit bull). Humorous mailbag, to say the least. Now please, just get back to sports talk. If I want to talk ``dogs,'' I'll go for a walk around the neighborhood.
A: Hopefully not a neighborhood with water pails, John.
To: Michael Felger
Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone and couldn't make eye contact with them? It makes for a choppy conversation….see The Baseball Show.
A: I don’t get it. Does Buck have a wandering eye? Or are you referencing McAdam calling in from some hotel room in Seattle? If it’s the latter, I agree it’s a tough arrangement. The only benefit is that I don’t have to worry about Sean reaching over and giving me a dope slap in the break.
Love The Baseball Show and your other Comcast work, but what the [bleep] did you do to Buckley to piss him off so badly? Big fan of Sean and Lou and Buck, but tell him to not be such a sour puss. It puts a cloud over the show.
Keep up the good work.
A: I’m being honest when I say this. I think it’s my mere presence, Marc.
Just read your column about Brady.
While I enjoyed it, as I usually enjoy your work, I am offering my services as an editor/proof-reader. I am not sure that you were ``alluding'' to Tom Brady's ability to ``elude'' pressure in the pocket.
Spell-check is good but one of its weaknesses is that it helps you to insure that the incorrect work is spelled properly.
Keep up the good work,
A: Do you know how many e-mails I got on this one typo? Unbelievable. There's the pit bull crowd. Then there's the grammar police. And then there's my boy....
Felger You DB!
I saw in last week's mailbag that my hate mail is still coming your way. I hope it provided a brief respite between all the crazed canine missives you had to sort through last week. A good friend of mine reminded me that ``you can judge a man by the quality of his enemies.'' Well, judg ing by my recent feedback, it clearly seems like I have to try a lot harder.
And what better place to start my Nixonian enemies list than with your Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight cohort Gary Tanguay. On Tuesday, the normally affable Gary said the following: ``Jameer Nelson coming back is a Joke.'' Huh? How is an All Star caliber player attempting to come back from an injury and play in his league's championship a joke? The real joke is that Gary can utter those words about Nelson while seconds later trumpeting the fact that Kevin Garnett was going to come back if the C's played Cleveland. Please tell Gary he's rocketing close to Skip Bayless levels of stupidity here.
Here are the differences between the two. Jameer Nelson tore the labrum on his shoulder and underwent surgery on Feb 19 and began to rehab, with a remote chance to make it back for the playoffs. Kevin Garnett aggravated the bone spurs his knee on, you guessed it, Feb 19, and declined the surgery to repair it. It seems that resting it, the Icy Hot Patch, having someone kiss it to make it better and a pilgrimage to the Shrine of our Lady of Lourdes were seen as better rehab options. This was despite the fact that both Ainge and Rivers alluded to the fact that it was something Kevin could have played with. And if Kevin did opt for surgery, it would have had him back in 6-8 weeks. That would have gotten him back in time for the Magic series.
Now it looks like Nelson will be back in time to make some type of contribution in the Finals. Garnett's contributions to the C's down the stretch were limited minutes in four regular season games and a spirited turn as chief taunter on the C's bench during the playoffs. If the Big Ticket had gone to MGH and had the scope instead of hitting Mass Eye and Ear to get the sign language translation of ``we're walking you down'' the C's might have closed out the Magic in Game 6.
Nelson did get the work done, and if he can play, is there anyone not under a Phish concert level of recreational pharmaceuticals who wouldn't dress him over Tony Battie or J.J. Reddick?
And lets be honest, if Garnett had taken a needle or done the surgery and come back to play, Tanguay and Dickerson would have called it the greatest comeback since Coke Classic and petitioned to have Garnett's finger wraps sent to the Vatican to be enshrined as holy relics. I might have to take a page out of Papelbon's book and send Gary a new addition to his wardrobe for the finals. Tell him his ``100% Reality Free'' tank top is in the mail.
That's the sound of Tanguay’s balls hitting the floor. Hey Gary, how does Mike’s ass taste?
I joke around all the time about the Green Angel Dust floating in the air at Comcast. But I’ll tell you what. After that segment with Tanguay, it must be real. Only someone on drugs could say those things. The comeback of Nelson, who is trying to play, is a joke. But Garnett, who didn’t, is a warrior. Strong stuff that Angel Dust.
Subj: You are WEEI
You are the (expletive), your insite (Felger: Forget the spelling. Work with this guy. He speaks the truth) is great and your (Felger: again) freakin hilarious. You are weei.
P.S. When is Bradford going to shave his Chingina?
A: Greatest. E-mail. Ever.
Catch Felger on "Sports Sunday" this Sunday at 10 p.m. on Comcast Sportsnet. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.