Thursday edition/TFD: Rocket breaks down Rick Pitino’s legal situation

Posted on August 13th, 2009 – 3:37 PM
By Michael Rand

Sorry, all, but we were “stuck” on the course for more than five hours with Tiger Woods today. He was, as the kids say, on fire. But it was beastly hot and we’re just now starting to crank things out for the newspaper. So, we leave you with our one and only post of the day: Rocket’s examination of the Rick Pitino situation. Please do enjoy:

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I have a special relationship with lawyers. It’s not the same relationship that Joker has, what with the paternity suits and the restraining orders. Nor is it like Stu’s purely fictional relationship with lawyers, in which he often pretends to be admitted to the bar in various St. Could college taverns in the hopes that his homemade, mimeographed (and highly illegal) “subpoenas” for the unmentionables of underage co-eds will be honored.

Nonetheless, I understand lawyers in a way that your average citizen does not. I know how they think and I know what motivates them. This is not to say that I am incapable of recognizing why the Juris Doctorially-deficient claim to hate attorneys. I do understand the vitriol produced by lawyers all too well. But I also understand why members of the bar continue to behave in ways that confounds your everyday peon, and why they will continue to do so.

All of which makes this Rick Pitino business all the more interesting. When I found out that Pitino’s lawyer claimed that he paid his one-time paramour $3,000 not for an abortion, but rather for “medical coverage,” I knowingly grinned and I realized that Pitino was spending his retainer wisely. This lawyer, Steve Pence, esquire, is one magnificent [redacted]. Anybody who regularly watches sports and has a reasonable set of logical and deductive skills has to know that the ceiling for Pitino remaining at Louisville is, at its absolute highest, two-and-a-half years. More likely, however, the school will look to get rid of him and seek to do so through the morality clauses in his contract.

Pitino’s lawyer, knowing full well that his client will not remain with his employer for much longer, is already counterpunching by trying to establish that his client was not doing something distasteful, like paying for an abortion, but doing something admirable, like paying for medical coverage. The lawyer is doing this for two reasons: First, to
plant the seed of respectability in a potential jury pool for the potential civil suit against the school. It’s far-fetched, but hardly completely implausible in a basketball crazy state that loves the coach.

Second and most importantly, he is making it clear to the school that they will be ready to fight for whatever remains of Pitino’s contract. Thus, the school has to decide whether it will try to fire Pitino with no compensation because of the morality clauses in he contract, or if it will give him a huge chunk of change to go away quietly. Although most non-lawyers might believe that the school should go with the first option because they seemingly are able to do so and it would be “the
right thing to do,” I can assure you they won’t. The expense that it would take to litigate it (and Pitino’s lawyer is sending the signals that they will fight it all the way), coupled with the possibility, remote as it is, that they would lose the case in a basketball-crazy state that loves the coach and the headache that would arise from years of litigation probably makes it more cost effective to give Pitino (and his lawyer) a bunch of money to slink away into the shadows.

Rest assured, Pitino and his lawyer don’t actually want to litigate this case. But the genius of the seemingly impossibly stupid “medical coverage” comment is that it is now less likely that they will have to litigate. The school has been sent a clear message, and it is more likely than not that it wants to go to court even less than Pitino. Steve Pence, I salute you.

A much better picture of John Daly’s pants

Posted on August 12th, 2009 – 2:51 PM
By Michael Rand

dalypants.JPGThe Strib’s Jim Gehrz, who is actually paid to take photos — as opposed to us, who gets paid to cobble together tidbits of information, write them down, and act creepy on the driving range — has a beautiful shot of John Daly’s pants.

(Sorry, nothing appears in the system re: Anthony Kim’s friend).

At the PGA: Tiger Woods, John Daly and Rich Beem*

Posted on August 12th, 2009 – 12:04 PM
By Michael Rand

kim.jpgdaly.jpgTiger Woods finished up at the driving range around 11:30 a.m., meaning he was out working for just a little over an hour today, one day before the PGA starts. First it was putting, then some chipping, then hitting balls at the range. Wherever he went, people ran to get into position to watch him (one 20-year-old guy jumped on his friend’s shoulders in order to get a picture). We were up pretty close for the driving range session and even saw him crack a big smile and laugh during a private conversation with Stewart Cink. Nice to see Tiger having some fun out there.

Prior to that, the biggest galleries we saw were for John Daly and Phil Mickelson. Daly teed off shortly after 7 a.m., and we caught him a little after 9 a.m. at the turn. He was wearing a fluorescent lime green shirt, an orange golf glove and pants that were incredulously described by one patron thusly: “Those are round dots!” (Accompanying picture from us should give you some idea). We followed Daly for a few holes, then caught Mickelson on his first two holes. The gallery for that was 8-to-10 people deep in some spots.

From Mickelson, we walked back to the practice area, where Woods was just getting going on the putting green. We also snapped that picture of 2002 champ Rich Beem* on the range. In between it all, we worked on doing some video with the throng of fans with Woods. Check that out later on Startribune.com … if you dare see us sweaty and all worked up at Hazeltine.

*May or may not have been a picture of the young lady to the left, who has been seen frequently with Anthony Kim.

Wednesday (live from the PGA) edition: Wha’ Happened?

Posted on August 12th, 2009 – 8:58 AM
By Michael Rand

pga.jpgThere has been nary a Tiger Woods sighting yet today — nor was there expected to be, given that he has said he is not playing a practice round. At some point, one would imagine Woods will emerge and take some practice swings, chips and putts. For now, though, we are amusing ourselves by walking the course and listening in as fans mill around wondering when/if Tiger might show up.

“There’s someone down on the (driving) range,” one said. “It looks like Tiger.”

(It looked absolutely nothing like Tiger).

John Daly is said to be on the course — must have started around 7 — and we’re hoping to do a little walking with him in not too long. We’re told Phil Mickelson should be on the course in due time as well.

We’ve been here since about 6:40 and we, too, feel a little lost without The Great Cat prowling around. For those who don’t know, we are resuming our Tracking Tiger feature from seven years ago. We wrote this for today’s special section.

As such, action on RandBall will tend to be PGA-centric (and sometimes non-existent while we’re out on the course) through Sunday. If you don’t like golf, feel free to talk amongst yourselves about Rick Pitino.

TFD: Welcome Darrell Kurt Rambis, AKA Kyriakos Rambidis

Posted on August 11th, 2009 – 5:19 PM
By Michael Rand

rambis.JPGThe introductory sentence on Wikipedia for the man introduced today as your new Wolves head coach reads thusly:

Darrell Kurt Rambis (AKA Kyriakos Rambidis, Kiriakos Rambidis) (in Greek: Κυριάκος Ραμπίδης; born February 25, 1958) is a retired American professional basketball player and current head coach for the National Basketball Association’s Minnesota Timberwolves.

We can only assume Kyriakos translates roughly into “extra short shorts.”

Just another reason basketball coaches don’t wear the uniform, a la baseball managers.