The Bald Truth
I couldn't have been more impressed with Erin Andrews than I was during her interview with Oprah that aired Friday.
She showed toughness and intelligence and sincerity and professionalism, all in the face of an excruciating violation of privacy. She teared up just a little when talking about having to tell her parents about that unspeakably horrific video on the Internet ... but she quickly said she wasn't going to let the voyeurs, paparazzi and other assorted scumbags stop her from being the best ESPN sideline reporter she can be.
Nice, Erin. Very nice.
Believe me, this is not an attempt to get in Erin's good graces. That ship sailed long ago - and I'm not going to revisit my column of July 2008 except to say I still stand behind what I wrote. They are two totally separate subjects.
Let's all root for the authorities to catch those peephole creeps and for those losers to go to jail - where they deserve to have their own "privacy" violated, if you get my drift.
The Balder Truth
I'm not one of those guys who dislikes Derek Jeter just because he's a Yankee. And I truly do appreciate everything he has accomplished. He is more than just a talented ballplayer; he is a gamer, a winner and probably the most fundamentally sound major-leaguer today.
Still, I do hope everybody keeps the fact that Jeter passed Lou Gehrig as the team's all-time hits leader in perspective. Knowing what I do about Jeter, I'm sure he's keeping it in perspective.
He no doubt realizes that he doesn't even compare with the Iron Horse, whose statistics dwarf those of Jeter in almost every meaningful category - including championships.
Jeter is a no-brainer Hall of Famer. But if we save the word legend only for the very best of the best, I think any intelligent baseball follower knows it applies to only one of these Yankee captains.
THE BALDEST TRUTH
Well, now that the season is officially underway, I guess it's time for my NFL predictions.
A word of caution before we start: Try not to trample each other on your way to Vegas to bet on these picks!
AFC EAST - Patriots. By Dec. 1 if Tom Brady stays healthy. Chad Pennington's Dolphins were one-hit wonders.
AFC NORTH - Steelers. Can't go against the defending champs, whose personnel is even better this year.
AFC SOUTH - Colts. They've still got talent - and Peyton - so we'll see how much they miss Tony Dungy's leadership.
AFC WEST - Chargers. Even without major-league jerk Shawne Merriman, if necessary. What? You thought I was gonna go with Kyle Orton's team?
AFC WILD CARDS - Ravens and Titans.
AFC SURPRISE - The Jaguars self-destructed last year but it says here they'll play more like their fine team of 2007.
NFC EAST - Giants. Was going to pick the Eagles, but they'll miss defensive coordinator Jim Johnson too much.
NFC NORTH - Vikings. This has gone from being a blah division to a fun one, with strong QBs triggering explosive offenses. I admit it: I'm a sucker for Brett Favre, for better or worse.
NFC SOUTH - Saints. Just a hunch. This division always seems to be a little crazy, and I think the Falcons and Panthers are due for a backward step.
NFC WEST - Cardinals. Every team is seriously flawed, so let's go with the one that knows how to win it.
NFC WILD CARDS - Bears and Eagles. Hard not to pick the Packers, though.
NFC SURPRISE - The Lions will win! (A game.)
And now, on to Super Bowl XLIV ...
Steelers 24, Giants 20.
Oh, go ahead. A little bit of trampling is OK.