Debate: Did Joe Paterno actually do enough?

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Debate: Did Joe Paterno actually do enough?

From Comcast SportsNet
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Joe Paterno has overshadowed everyone and everything at Penn State for nearly half a century. Now, support for keeping the Hall of Fame coach in the job he's held for 46 seasons is "eroding." A day that began with the university abruptly canceling Paterno's regularly scheduled news conference because of "ongoing legal circumstances" ended with the board of trustees promising a thorough investigation of the "circumstances" that led to the indictments of former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky in a sex-abuse scandal, and two university officials in a cover-up. In between, students went to Paterno's home in a show of support. "It's hard for me to say how much this means to me," Paterno told the hundreds of fans who gathered for the raucous, impromptu rally Tuesday night. "I've lived for this place, I've lived for people like you guys and girls, and I'm just so happy to see that you feel so strongly about us and about your school." Asked if he was still Penn State's coach, the 84-year-old Paterno did not answer. A young woman who accompanied him outside and stood with her arm around him said, "Now is not the time." Former Penn State wide receiver O.J. McDuffie thinks the case will spell the end of coach Joe Paterno's career. "It is going to be tough for Coach to retain his job," McDuffie said on CBS' "Early Show" Wednesday. "I think if Joe had a chance to do it all over again, he might do it differently." Sandusky, who spent three decades on the Penn State staff before retiring in 1999, was accused of molesting eight young boys between 1994 and 2009. The 67-year-old's next hearing, initially scheduled for Wednesday, was postponed and has not been rescheduled. Athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz have been charged with failing to notify authorities after an eyewitness reported a 2002 assault. Paterno, who earns about 1 million annually, has been Penn State's head coach since 1966 and part of the Nittany Lions staff for more than six decades. Penn State has won two national championships under Paterno, and largely avoided the run-ins with the NCAA that have embarrassed other Division I powerhouses. Much of that has been a credit to Paterno, whose old-school values permeate every corner of the program. The team generates millions of dollars each year in revenues from attendance, TV rights and sponsorships, but it has stubbornly stuck with the basic white-and-blue uniforms that are now among the most recognizable in college football. Penn State's graduation rate is traditionally one of the best, and the Nittany Lions tied Stanford for the best mark (87 percent) among the top 25 teams in the BCS standings when the most recent study was released late last month. All those things have inspired pride in the region and fierce loyalty to Paterno, who is the winningest coach in major college football and one of the most respected in any sport. That lofty status, however, has been the subject of heated arguments in recent days, among students on campus, construction workers on the street and the PSU board of trustees. Much of the criticism surrounding Paterno has concerned his apparent failure to follow up on a report of the 2002 incident, in which Sandusky allegedly sodomized a 10-year-old boy in the showers at the team's football complex. A witness, Mike McQueary, is currently receivers coach for the team but was a graduate assistant at the time. McQueary told Paterno about the incident the next day, and the coach notified Curley and Schultz, who in turn notified Penn State president Graham Spanier. Curley and Schultz have been charged with perjury and failure to report the incident to authorities, as required by state law. Both men, as well as Paterno, testified that they were told that Sandusky behaved inappropriately in that 2002 incident, but not to the extent of McQueary's graphic account to a state grand jury. The same grand jury decided the testimony from Curley and Schultz, whose job at the time also gave him oversight of the campus police, were not believable. Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said Paterno is not a target of the investigation, although the state police commissioner has chastised him and other Penn State officials for not doing enough to try to stop the suspected abuse. "The kids that were the victims ... I think we all ought to say a prayer for them," Paterno said Tuesday night at his house. The board will appoint the investigating committee at its meeting Friday, already scheduled before the scandal came to light during the weekend. The committee will examine "what failures occurred and who is responsible," and the board promised those responsible would be held "fully accountable." "We are committed to restoring public trust in the university," the board's statement concluded. A person familiar with the trustees' discussions said support for Paterno was "eroding," but couldn't gauge whether the board would take action. The same person said Spanier has also lost support ahead of Friday's meeting, which Gov. Tom Corbett said he plans to attend. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. Earlier Tuesday, Paterno's son, Scott, said his father was disappointed over Spanier's decision to cancel the news conference. Addressing reporters outside his parents' house, Scott said Joe was prepared to answer questions about Sandusky -- who maintains he is innocent -- and further that his father plans to be Penn State's coach not only for Saturday's game against Nebraska, but for the long haul. Before Paterno turned to go back into his house Tuesday night, he raised his fist three times and yelled, "We are ..." The crowd replied, "Penn State!" "And we'll always be Penn Staters!" Paterno said.

Cubs down to only one All-Star starter in voting update

Cubs down to only one All-Star starter in voting update

The Cubs are down to only one starter in next month's All-Star Game in Miami: reigning MVP Kris Bryant.

Jason Heyward lost his grip on the final starting outfielder spot to Marlins star Marcell Ozuna in the latest All-Star balloting update released by the MLB:

That may be for the best, as the Cubs are currently banged up (Heyward. Ben Zobrist and Kyle Hendricks are on the disabled list) and slogging through a season where they've hovered around .500. So maybe four days off in a row would be beneficial for the defending champs.

Heyward is 29,270 votes behind Ozuna and Zobrist is 118,248 votes behind Heyward. It appears as if Washington's Bryce Harper and Colorado's Charlie Blackmon are sure things for the top two outfielder spots in the NL.

Bryant is only 58,082 votes ahead of Nolan Arenado at third base. Anthony Rizzo trails Ryan Zimmerman at first base, Javy Baez comes in well behind Daniel Murphy at second base and Buster Posey has more than twice as many votes as runner-up Willson Contreras at catcher.

Addison Russell is third among shortstops. Kyle Schwarber — despite being demoted to the minors last week — is eighth among NL outfielders.

It's a far cry from 2016, when the Cubs made up all four infield spots in the NL starting lineup.

Voting ends in four days. Fans can head to MLB.com to vote.

If Nationals are playoff preview, what should Cubs do at trade deadline?

If Nationals are playoff preview, what should Cubs do at trade deadline?

WASHINGTON – Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio has perspective after sitting through the darkest days of the rebuild, the sign-and-flip cycles and moments like “Men Playing Against Boys,” the way ex-manager Dale Sveum once sized up the team during a 2012 series against the Washington Nationals.

Bosio trusted future “World’s Greatest Leader” Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer and the rest of a growing front office would deliver talent during the 101-loss season that led to the Kris Bryant No. 2 overall draft pick and the Ryan Dempster/Kyle Hendricks buzzer-beater deal at the trade deadline.   

So while Bosio is a hardened realist who understands the banged-up Cubs haven’t played up to their potential, he also knows these are first-division problems. 

“If Theo and Jed can find a way to make our team better, you can bet they’re going to do it,” Bosio said. “But at the same time, they’re not going to sacrifice our future. They know that the team (here has) a lot of holdovers from the World Series club. There’s a lot of holdovers from the team that went to the National League (Championship Series in 2015). We’ve been through that. And when it comes crunch time, we produce.”

With that in mind, a look at where things stand five weeks out from the July 31 trade deadline as the defending champs begin a potential playoff preview on Monday at Nationals Park:

• If Max Scherzer flirts with another no-hitter or a 20-strikeout game on Tuesday, the questions will start all over again about adding a hitter. Javier Baez even let this slip over the weekend after a win over the Miami Marlins: “Pretty much not having a leadoff guy right now is kind of tough.” But shipping Kyle Schwarber to Triple-A Iowa is not necessarily the start of an offensive overhaul.

“Our focus is going to be on pitching,” Hoyer said. “I would never say never to something like that, because I don’t know what’s going to present itself as we get closer to the deadline. I will say this: When it comes to our offense, I really do see it as these are our guys. We’re as deep with position players as any team in baseball. These guys have performed exceptionally well. Most of these guys have won 200 games over the last two years.

“We believe in them for a reason. We don’t have rings on our fingers without all these guys.”

• With Jake Arrieta and John Lackey on the verge of becoming free agents, the Cubs feel like they should start working on their winter plans this summer and begin remodeling the rotation. The 38-37 record makes you wonder how ultra-aggressive the front office will be to win a bidding war for a frontline starter, but the Cubs are only 1.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers, a first-place team for now that was supposed to be rebuilding this year.   

But the Cleveland Indians got to the 10th inning of a World Series Game 7 with Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin and Ryan Merritt making nine playoff starts combined, because they had Corey Kluber and a dynamic bullpen.

The primary focus will have to be on the rotation, but adding another high-leverage reliever to work in front of lights-out closer Wade Davis would shorten games and help preserve Carl Edwards Jr. (170 pounds) and Koji Uehara (42 years old).   

“At some point, you’re going to assess your own team,” Hoyer said. “Sometimes strengthening a strength can work. You see teams that sometimes have a good offense – and add another good hitter – and all of a sudden we’re going to beat you in a different way.”

• Without making this summer’s blockbuster deal for a closer – the way the Cubs landed Aroldis Chapman – Washington risks wasting Bryce Harper’s second-to-last season before free agency and another year of Scherzer’s $210 million megadeal.

Six different Nationals have saved games for a 45-30 team and the bullpen ranks near the bottom of the majors with a 4.88 ERA. Can’t blame that on Dusty Baker, who has notched more than 1,800 wins as a manager and guided four different franchises to the playoffs.

But it won’t be easy to find a quick fix for the Washington bullpen or Cubs rotation. The American League opened for business on Monday with only three of its 15 teams more than three games under .500, and one being the White Sox, who are (obviously) not seen as a realistic trade partner for the Cubs.

“The American League is incredibly jumbled up,” Hoyer said. “That’s why a lot of deals don’t happen this time of year, because people are still sorting it out. The next five weeks of baseball will determine a lot of that. Some of those teams that are in the race now will fall back.

“There’s a lack of teams right now that have a true sense of sellers. I think there are a lot of teams right now that are close enough that they’re not going to admit it that they’re going to be sellers. That five weeks will determine a lot about who ends up on which side of the fence.”