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INSIDE THE GAME: The distinction between rumor and fact

There isn’t a week goes by that I don’t have a friend or stranger come to me at a game, on the street or in a text or Facebook message to ask me what I think of this rumor or that, and not all of them are related to what moved the Cubs or White Sox might make before the season starts. Sometimes it’s local.

Did I hear that this high school player is no longer starting? Did I hear this one is thinking of transferring to another school? Did I hear that this coach is on the hot seat? And so on and so on.

Now, before you start thinking that all of those questions are going to be answered in this space this week, hold your horses. Some of that stuff I wouldn’t write even if I knew because 1) a rumor is usually just that, a rumor, and 2) while I have my opinion on a rumor’s validity, nothing sees print unless it can be verified as fact.

I can, however, offer my opinion on certain things already known. They may differ from mine or be exactly the same, but either way, while I’m happy to discuss, there is no – absolute zero - chance you can change my mind about any of these conclusions. Not even with the equipment mentioned in the last of these submissions.

- Congratulations to the 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame class. Well deserved, everyone.

But I’ve already started hearing rumblings that because Mariano Rivera was the first player chosen in unanimous fashion, he’s the greatest player in history. That is NOT a fact.

It seems unimaginable to me that back in the day, there was a sports writer who DID NOT vote for Babe Ruth, DID NOT vote for Ted Williams, DID NOT vote for Walter Johnson, DID NOT vote for Ty Cobb, Cy Young, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Willie Mays, etc., etc., etc.

There’s no doubt that Rivera is the greatest relief pitcher there ever was, but greatest PLAYER? No. Not even close.

- All the hubbub over the missed pass interference call that cost the New Orleans Saints a trip to the Super Bowl is justified. However, there is a way to fix it so this never happens again, and that IS a fact.

Moan about how the Saints shoulda done this, shoulda done that earlier in the game to keep them out of a position where that call made a difference. But the point is that they were in a position to run down the clock and kick the game-winning field goal as time expired IF the officials do their jobs properly.

But they didn’t. They bleaux it, and THE game-changing play isn’t reviewable. That list needs to be expanded …. NOW. Whether the NFL will do it, well, that's another question.

- Oh, and Cody Parkey is still a lousy field goal kicker, blocked or not blocked, and THAT'S a fact. I'm not picking on the little guy because he pretty much handled himself well throughout the city's Bartman-like tirade leveled against him.

But still, his field goal percentage of 76.7 percent (23-of-30) was ranted 35th among NFL kickers this season and his 93.3 percent (42-of-45) was ranked 31st. Launch him, eat the contract and move on.

- With all of the technology available to us in the world today, with all the advances in mini, micro and nano circuitry and tools, even with the development of recognition software so sensitive that can pick up a mosquito burp from 200 miles away … there has yet to be invented a machine, process or theory that can measure my indifference to the NFL Pro Bowl.

And with the Chicago Bulls a complete non-factor in the NBA this season, the same goes for that league.

Those ARE the facts, at least in my opinion.​

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