07/12/23 From All-Star apathy to Hayes nostalgia. And everything in between.

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Y’all help me sort through this one. I did not watch the All-Star Game Tuesday night. It wasn’t a protest. I’m not a “disgruntled fan.” I’m a baseball fan. If anything, I’ve cozied back up to baseball in recent years. I don’t care what kind of light beer folks drink or don’t drink. I’m not “worked up” about anything. My All-Star Apathy was not grounded in anger. I’m not angry. I just didn’t bother to see it, opting instead to watch a “Major Crimes” re-run with BB. Even in Wednesday morning retrospect, it was a good call.

The All-Star Game was indeed a big deal to me as a kid. In fact, I’m old enough to remember when MLB played TWO All-Star Games every summer. The NL dominated back then. So I did manage a thin, nostalgic smile when I read The Nats won for the first time since 2012.

The truth is I’ve watched a lot of baseball through the first half of the season. I think the new pitch clock has worked surprisingly well. But I wasn’t surprised to hear that the MLB Players Association wants to “tweak” and expand the pitch clock in the postseason to accommodate “big moments.” That makes no sense whatsoever. So baseball will probably do it. That’s what makes baseball baseball. Never a need for foolish consistency.

But I’m fine with the approval of two new rules in the NBA. One awards coaches a second in-game challenge if their first one was successful. The other punishes flopping by awarding the flopped-upon team a free throw. Yes, I just referenced “the flopped-upon team.” Hubie Brown will be proud of me.

Northwestern U. says it fired football coach Pat Fitzgerald “for cause,” meaning the school doesn’t want to pay Fitzgerald any of the almost $40 million dollars remaining on his contract. Good luck with that. Fitz’s attorney is claiming breach of contract as well as violation of an earlier oral agreement limiting the coach’s punishment for the hazing scandal to a two-week unpaid suspension. This is going to get bloody. But Fitzgerald is going to get paid.

Hazing is stupid. So is speeding. Georgia Bulldog football players have rung up eleven traffic moving violations since that horrific double-fatality drag racing crash back on January 15. Georgia coach Kirby Smart says part of the problem is that new NIL opportunities have given players access to faster cars. I don’t know how to even begin to respond to that.

Saints RB Alvin Kamara no longer faces a felony charge for beating the holy hell out of guy during a 2022 fight at a Las Vegas hotel. But that doesn’t mean The Jolly Roger won’t sit Kamara down for violating the NFL’s player conduct policy.

It was a no-brainer for the Carolina Panthers to name Julius Peppers to the team’s Hall of Fame. But I was also happy to learn that WR Calvin Muhammad is in, too. CM was a beast in his eleven seasons in Charlotte. And his 85-yard TD reception in Super Bowl 38 remains one of the most electrifying plays in Big Game History. Good move, Panthers.

It’s always awkward when a father coaches a son. The Jags have signed tight end Josh Pederson, Yes, he is the son of Jacksonville coach Doug Pederson. It will be even more awkward if dad has to cut son.

The Patriots have installed a ginormous new state-of-the-art video board at Gillette Stadium. It’s a damn shame the Pats won’t have many offensive highlights to stick on that board this season.

I opened this blog with a nostalgic reference. I’ll now close it with another. Monday afternoon, for reasons unbeknownst to me, I decided to Google “Meredith to Hayes video.” Do yourself a favor. Check it out. Oh, damn, I loved it so very much back then. And there is no doubt that Bob Hayes remains the most influential player in pro football history. He changed the sport. More than Jim Brown. More than Jerry Rice. More than Tom Brady. More than anyone else.

Bob Hayes changed the entire freaking sport. Look at this video and tell me I’m wrong.

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Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.