Entrepreneurial Leadership and Management . . . and Other Stuff


Red Sox Clinch the AL East

Well, Red Sox Nation has been biting its collective fingernails for over a month now.  The huge lead the Sox held over the Yankees (14.5 games) had dwindled down to 1.5 and stood at only 2.0 before the beginning of last night’s game.  It was beginning to look like a typical Red Sox end-of-season implosion.  Something that Red Sox fans have almost come to expect from their team.  But, as a result of the Sox beating Minnesota and Baltimore’s terrific come from behind victory in extra innings against the Yankees, the season is wrapped up (there are still 2 games to go, but the results won’t change anything) with the Sox dethroning the Yankees from their perennial position as AL East victors.  The Yankees had won the AL East crown for 9 straight years with the Sox sucking the exhaust from New York’s tailpipe. 

The Red Sox clinched a playoff berth last week (their record was good enough to assure at least winning the wild card), which was great, but any self-respecting member of The Nation knows that beating the Yankees is almost as important as making the playoffs.  In fact, emotionally, it’s even more important.  So, there was a bigger celebration last night than last week when the playoffs became a guarantee.

Last night, while sitting at Fenway with my son who, at 17, has none of the angst about the Sox that I have – he’ll learn – I could feel the tension in the stands.  34 thousand people wanting to believe that their team was going to win the division or collapse like it had after holding a lead so many times before.  The thousands of prayers to the baseball gods must’ve done the trick.

It’s been a good season for the Sox, having been the best team in baseball for virtually the entire season.  It looks like they will end the season with at least a tie for the best record in all of baseball.  Pretty cool.  So for now, Red Sox nation takes a breath in sweet anticipation of a successful post season.  Of course, the break is a short one.  Next week all of the nervousness, questioning of management decisions and prayers will begin anew as Red Sox Nation cheers their team on to the World Series.

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 September 29th, 2007  
 Red Sox  

Turn a Pencil Into a Light

When I was a teenager, I felt that I made my fair share of MacGyver-esque moves. I could do a complete carburetor replacement on the side of the street using duct tape (in-a-pinch gasket replacement) and pencils (for the vacuum lines, of course). I circumvented the security on my high-school’s teletype machine using a paperclip and a telephone cord and I made a canon that fired potatoes using a plastic tube, an old barbeque igniter and a can of aerosol antiperspirant.

My moves always paled in comparison to what my friend John could do, though. John had and has the ability to diagnose a problem and then take an almost instantaneous inventory of the tools he has at hand to deal with it. This was never more clear than when the two of us hopped into a rental car late one night in a San Francisco parking garage. When I turned the key to start the car, nothing happened. We could see that there was plenty of power – lights and accessories worked great – but there was not even a hum from the engine compartment. We popped open the hood and saw . . . nothing.

To make a long story somewhat shorter, John diagnosed that the solenoid that engages the starter motor wasn’t moving into place. He then went at how to fix it with the tools we had at hand which, in a rental car, don’t amount to much.  John then – don’t try this at home – pulled out the oil dipstick and used it to short the starter motor directly to the battery (you only need one connection because the starter motor, like most of the car’s electronics, is grounded through the chassis), routing the roughly 1 zillion amps of current through a skinny piece of metal that although wiped fairly clean, was still covered with a layer of flammable liquid.  The car started, we didn’t die in the process, John saved the day.

I thought of John when I was pointed to this YouTube video by a post on Toolmonger.  It demonstrates how you can create an emergency light source out of just a pencil and a couple of pieces of wire.  Very handy.


(Misspellings courtesy of YouTube poster)

Did I ever mention how I once used my then girlfriend’s pantyhose as a fan belt replacement?  I’ll leave that for another post.

 September 27th, 2007  
 Misc Thoughts, Stuff with a Motor  

Hiring and Firing the George Steinbrenner Way

For all sports-o-phobics out there, this is really an article about management . . . it’s likely to be a controversial one at that.

Even as a die-hard Red Sox fan, I can’t deny the fact that the New York Yankees are likely the greatest sports franchise of all time, at least as measured by success on the field.  George Steinbrenner (the owner of the team for those of you who live in a cave), doesn’t get all the credit for that, of course, but he can take much of the credit for their tremendous success over the last 30+ years.  A period that includes 10 trips to the World Series with 6 World Series Championships.

A key part of what Steinbrenner does to build championship-winning teams is to hire the best people, with the cost of those people being, at the most, a secondary factor.  The results of such a strategy can be clearly seen in the 2007 Yankees.  This year, Steinbrenner recruited Roger Clemens back to the Yankees with a $28M contract, making him the highest paid player in baseball . . . ever.  Clemens got that kind of money even though he was going to miss the first two months of the season and, as a pitcher, was only going to play every 5th game.  Since coming on board, Clemens is only 6-6 with an ERA of 4.18 (read: not very good).  So, you might ask, why does that make Steinbrenner smart?  Look at the team’s success before and after Clemens started: before Clemens, 48-44 (.522) and after, 42-22 (.656).  The money wasn’t only paid for his pitching arm, but also for his leadership, experience and the message about the importance of winning signing him sent to the rest of the team.

Clemens isn’t the only example, of course, the second and third highest paid players in baseball are also on Steinbrenner’s payroll.  Alex Rodriguez ($26M/year) is having one of the all time great years for any baseball player, ever.  Derek Jeter ($23M), is another one of baseball’s great players and, like Clemens and Rodriguez, is an easy pick for the future Hall of Fame.  Jeter consistently plays outstanding ball and is a fabulous team leader.

As you’d expect, however, it’s not just about spending all the money in the world to bring on the best individual performers.  Recruiting and retaining the best management is probably even more critical.  And, while Steinbrenner has had very public fallouts with his management team, he has always had some of the premier managers – both on the field and in the back office – of any team in baseball.  As you would expect, he pays them a lot, too.

I’m not suggesting that it’s as simple as just offering more money than anyone else to pick up the cream of the crop.  In fact, the Yankees carefully foster the culture they have of being the best; the historical significance of playing in pinstripes (the Yankee’s uniforms); and the psychological advantage of playing for a perennial winner.  These things and more attract players and management to the team.  But, if you look at how free agents move around the sport, you’ll see that the Yankee’s tend to retain their best players and this is greatly because of the money.

Steinbrenner isn’t shy about broadcasting that he pays the best and expects the best.  Thus, he has no qualms about firing anyone who isn’t an elite performer.  In his first 23 seasons, Steinbrenner fired 20 managers (including one, Billy Martin, five times).  There’s a well-known Seinfeld episode in which the character George Costanza, who works for the Yankees says, referring to Steinbrenner:

He fires people like it’s a bodily function.”

Personally, I can’t condone Steinbrenner’s antics nor his public airing of his displeasure with his team or its players, but he has a long track record with proof that his hiring and firing methodology works within the culture of his team.  Foster a winning environment and legacy that naturally attracts the best; pay whatever it takes to make them a member of the team; and cut poor performers as quickly as possible.  It’s hard to argue with the results.

Yeah, OK, that sounds pretty ruthless (insert your favorite Babe Ruth play on words here), but after years of watching good business teams turning lead into gold and poor teams failing with great products or markets, I can’t help but feel very strongly about the value of having a good team, especially a good management team.  And, when you look at things that way, what’s the real cost of paying (the total comp package – base + variable + equity) what it takes to get the best people.  I believe that, in most instances, the incremental compensation cost is virtually nothing compared with the opportunity cost of not doing it.  A great top-level manager is highly-leveraged and can make an organization much better.  If he/she increases the productivity of each of the members of a team by just 10%, does that not make the extra cost worthwhile?

As with the Yankees, to make a strategy of hiring the best regardless of cost work, you need to assume that you’re going to make mistakes.  When this happens, you have to be willing to fire the employee, especially if he/she is a manager, as soon as possible.  That same leverage that helps a great manager create great teams can also work negatively, running good teams into the ground before you realize it.  Finally, it can never be all and only about the money.  You have to build a culture that people are interested in working in and in which they are motivated to do there best.

Some of you are saying that paying more is unnecessary because you run a terrific company or group and people want to work with you.  Others may be saying that there’s no point in paying for the best because at some point you reach diminishing returns.  You may be right.  In fact, if you’re running a raw startup, the intangible recruiting factors often overcome the tangible ones.  Once your organization begins to mature, though, you’ll start to value wisdom and experience over pure determination and hard work.  You’ll always want to be bringing people with varying levels of experience and knowledge on board, especially at the individual contributor level, but keep in mind, you generally get what you pay for.  This fact is even more important at the managerial level.

Paying more is obviously no guarantee of getting more.  You still need to do all the due diligence you can in order to make sure that a candidate for a position is the right one – on a cost-independent basis.  If you find that the best candidate is also the most expensive, don’t be shy about selected him/her.  The best people are often known to be the best and are heavily recruited.  It’s all about supply and demand, good people will often cost more.  They also produce more.  Isn’t that worth the incremental cost?  George Steinbrenner and the winningest sports franchise in history think so.

 September 25th, 2007  

White House Dinner

White House Dinner

Recently, very good friends invited us to a dinner at their home that was catered by Walter Scheib.  Scheib was the chef at the White House for both Clinton administrations and the first G.W. Bush administration.

The food was fabulous and unique, as you would expect.  Mr. Scheib’s stories about the First Families and serving upwards of 1,000 guests in America’s first home, were terrific.  Between courses, he talked about what it’s like to work with the families of the President in close quarters as well as the culinary likes and dislikes of each.  How Chelsea Clinton enjoyed “helping out” in the kitchen and how the Bush twins were, unsurprisingly, given to having last-minute parties which had to be catered by the White House staff.

His discussion about how Hilary Clinton drove the change in White House cuisine from the European-oriented style established by Jacqueline Kennedy to a modified American style (foods from around the US combined with styles from other US locales) was fascinating.  As was his discussion of how Hilary insisted on fresh food, leaner meals and natural ingredients, much to her husband’s chagrin and how George Bush’s culinary tastes mostly includes those meals prepared with cheese sauce.

He never discussed the politics of the Presidents nor did he offer his opinion about the families in any political way.  He repeatedly stated how both First Families he worked with were good people and how he enjoyed working with them.

At the end of the meal, there was an open question and answer period.  As you would expect, the guests tried to bait the chef into revealing unseemly stories about the families.  He did not.  While there were many interesting questions and answers, I thought the most interesting came about when someone asked how large the White House kitchen is.  Apparently, it’s only about 900 square feet.  The follow-up was obvious – how do you cook so much food (for a state dinner, for example) in such a little kitchen?  Chef Scheib didn’t miss a beat when he said, “it’s nice to have the Army at your beck and call.”  It seems that with very short notice, the chef had 18-wheelers filled with refrigerators and stoves backed up to the White House.  Wouldn’t you like to have those at your disposal at your next barbeque?

If you ever get the chance to taste some of the fantastic food Chef Scheib creates or even just get a chance to hear him speak, do not pass Go, do not collect $200 . . .

 September 20th, 2007  
 Misc Thoughts  
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Prune and Upgrade as You Go

An investor and board member of one of my early companies used to say:

any day, any time, you can fire a canon through the company’s building and not miss the employees taken out in the blast.” 

I wish I could definitively say that he phrased it that way just to emphasize the point that a company can almost always trim or upgrade its workforce, but knowing the guy, I’m not entirely sure he wasn’t recommending that his suggestion be followed exactly.

I never did follow that board member’s precise instructions and, perhaps because his point was so blunt, I never really got a handle on the meaning behind his controversial statement.  The fact is, though, that his point is an important one that very few managers understand until it’s too late.

It’s easy for any manager, in the throes of intense deadlines, seemingly insurmountable stacks of work, problems everywhere he/she looks and a boss that doesn’t let up to do anything other than grab for as many resources as possible to help them get things done.  In the frenzy, hiring standards are often lowered and the management and training of junior people is sometimes ignored.  Inevitably, and yes, it happens to all managers no matter what they think, organizations get bloated – sometimes they become larger than they need to be and at other times they get staffed with the wrong people, that is, people that don’t have the right skill-set, are not organizationally aligned or are too junior.

Because this situation develops slowly, over time, it’s generally not recognized until it’s too late.  And, since the workload never seems to subside, very few managers have the fortitude to step back and fix the problem once it’s recognized by cutting or changing staff.  In fact, the knee-jerk reaction is to continue to add more resources.  It’s like the boiling frog story – as it’s told, if a frog is placed in boiling water, it’ll jump right out.  But, if it’s placed in cold water that is slowly heated, the frog will remain in the water until it meets its demise in the bubbling cauldron.  Gradually, the organization gets bloated and sometimes significantly larger than it needs to be.

So, how does a manager avoid the problem?  By recognizing that it’s almost inevitable from the beginning and by consciously remaining lean and focused at all times.  An organization should have as few people in it as possible – just enough to get the job done right.  In order for that to happen, all the people need to be the right people – those that are as qualified for their roles as possible.

Even groups and companies that have achieved such organization nirvana need to be constantly evaluated.  Goals and strategies change and it’s unlikely that everyone who was perfect for the roles required earlier will still all be the best candidates for what is needed moving forward.  I’m not suggesting heartless slashing and burning here, just a thoughtful and constant evaluation of what is needed to get the job done most efficiently.  It may seem painful to make cuts and changes along the way, but it’ll be way less painful than making emergency, large-scale cuts later when expenses get out of control.

Here are some guidelines that might help to implement a process of dynamic pruning and upgrading of your organization.


  • Now.  It’s the best time to start.  Immediate action may be required if you’re already in some financial trouble, but if you’re ahead of the game, a thoughtful analysis now will set you up for making changes at the end of your current project, fiscal period, employee review or other time you get to catch your breath (if even for a second) in your business.
  • Then, re-evaluate at each chance you get.  Employee reviews are always a good time because they force you to think through the performance of an individual – are they the one you want in their role moving forward?
  • When you’re doing planning for the next fiscal period, especially when that includes staffing plans.  Is your organization as productive as it should be?  Instead of thinking about size, think about productivity.  How much more will you get by adding another employee at the same productivity level?


  • First evaluate the managers that work for you.  They’re the most highly  leveraged people in the organization and must be the best fit for their future roles.  A non-ideal manager will hurt productivity more than non-ideal individual contributor.
  • How is the group performing?  Is it cohesive?  Are there people who disrupt the group internally?  Disruptive individuals hurt the productivity and effectiveness of others and, therefore, put a drag on the whole group.
  • The person with the right skills might not be the person who knows the most or even works the hardest – it might be the person that learns the best or adapts the easiest.
  • The kind of people you hire and retain sends a strong signal to the entire organization about what you value in your employees.  What message are you trying to send?  What do you value?


  • Never reduce your standards when hiring in the first place.  It’s just not worth it.  The cost of waiting for the right employee is almost always less than the opportunity costs associated with hiring someone and investing in them for six months before discovering it’s not going to work.  You’ll make hiring mistakes for sure, but fight the urge to ignore the stuff you already know is important.
  • Look at the organization as a whole as well as the individuals in it.  Is the organization producing as much as it should?  Is it producing the quality of product or service it should?  Sometimes the conclusion is self-explanatory – “why aren’t we moving further/faster with all the people we have?”  Sometimes the organization is doing too much.  Sometimes, too little.
  • It’s almost never a good idea to fire someone out of the blue, without trying to work with them on their issues or train them to be better at what they need to do (although there are certainly times when immediate firing is necessary).  If you hired right, you can usually bring people around.  Your desire to shape the people in the organization will also been seen by other employees who will get the message about how you are dedicated to those that are there.
  • If, after working with an employee – including training them on any new job responsibilities, your gut tells you that you can upgrade – do it.

As I mentioned earlier, this type of problem happens all the time and, while it’s difficult to avoid entirely, it’s possible to stay on top of it and make sure that bigger problems don’t occur later.  Like most self-help programs, the first step is recognizing that you have a problem or, at least, a potential problem.  You then have a shot at managing it in a thoughtful, proactive manner.

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 September 18th, 2007  
 1 Comment

Videogate (aka Patriotgate, aka The Patriots Cheating Scandal)

OK, OK, OK.  I wasn’t even gonna bring this up, but I’ve been barraged by emails (barrage may be a wee bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea, right?) taunting me to say something about it.  What?  Am I the only opinionated Patriots fan in the blogosphere? 

So, caving into all of you who have baited me into the obvious trap and throwing more fire starter on an already incendiary issue, here are my thoughts . . .

  • Did the Patriots cheat?  Bill Belichick broke the rules.  Period.  Is he the first one to break this particular rule, no.  Is he the last, no.  It’s an NFL rule that while good, is very general and hard to police.  Everyone watches out for patterns in their opponents signals and play-calling.  Everyone.  Removing the camera from the field, does not remove the binoculars from the coaches in the sky box of the stadium or the eyes of the players and coaches on the sidelines.  Let’s face it, the point here and its resultant penalty is not about cheating, it’s about doing something that the new NFL commissioner expressly told coaches not to do in writing before the beginning of the season.  Doing so flies in the face of the commissioner’s authority and desire to exercise his new power.  That makes what the Patriots did wrong and guilty as charged.
  • Is the penalty reasonable?  The money is steep, but for Belichick, Kraft (the owner of the Pats) and the Patriots, it’s not a killer by any means.  If that level of financial penalty was put on some of the coaches and teams in the league, it could be a killer.  The level fined will send a message to coach and team, alike, though. The bigger pain comes from the loss of a draft pick.  Some say it doesn’t matter because the Pats can just go to the free-agent market to get the talent.  I disagree.  Bringing youth onto a team, especially an aging one like the Pats, is critical in the long term.  Therefore, I think the loss of draft picks, especially a first-round pick, represents a real punishment.  Additionally, taking away draft picks is taking away negotiating leverage too.  Since draft picks can be traded, the specified penalty will remove that currency from the Patriot’s pocket.  Of course, the biggest punishment is the tarnishing of the club’s image, which is recognized by most as being squeaky clean – the team that can civilize Rodney Harrison and Randy Moss, right?  Getting that back and fighting off the man on the street’s belief that they may have won 3 Super Bowls because they cheated is a much bigger deal.
  • Is the penalty fair with respect to other recent ones handed down by Roger Goodell?  The new commissioner has been busy trying to straighten things out in the NFL and trying to clean up some of it’s seedy image.  The decision against the Pats is just the latest in the punishments he has doled out.  To compare this one with others handed to individual players facing felony or weapons charges or taking performance enhancing drugs is absurd, in my opinion.  A comparison with the 5-game suspension handed down to Wade Wilson, quarterbacks coach for the Dallas Cowboys, however, seems like a reasonable one.  In light of the Wilson punishment, one could argue that Belichick should have been suspended for some number of games.  I’d argue that Wade Wilson (accused by the NFL of taking HGH) is 1. not a head coach and 2. unlike belichick, actually broke the law.  I believe that Roger Goodell mentioned the second point when asked about this topic yesterday.
  • Will this hurt Bill Belichick or this year’s team?  Hard to say, but at the game last night (Patriots: 38, San Diego:14), Belichick got a standing ovation from the hometown crowd and the Pats totally destroyed one of the NFL’s elite teams.  It’s hard to imagine after last night how the situation will hurt the team as the season moves forward and time brings other news to the forefront.  I would think that football fans will always carry some of the memory of this moving forward and it will dog Belichick for a while.  Time heals all wounds, though, and by the end of his career (geez, maybe by the end of this season), it will be mostly forgotten.  There was also a rumor that Bob Kraft would fire Belichick for this but, in an example of truly great management moves (I mean this sincerely), Kraft extended Belichick’s contract through 2012 yesterday.  Now that’s how to publicly demonstrate support for an employee.

As is probably obvious, I’ve got an unhealthy level of emotional involvement with my local football team.  Hey, I’m from Boston, that’s what we do here.  I was pretty depressed when this whole thing came down and I don’t think I’ll get over it for a while.  Yeah, I know, I should get a life.  In the mean time, the Pats look, to quote Sports Illustrated, “scary good.”  I think winning is good therapy for me and I need about 14 more sessions to fully recover.

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 September 17th, 2007  

Consumed Writing Software

For a good part of the last couple of months, most of the time I’ve spent in front a computer has been used to explore the current world of software development.  Developing software is how I started my career, and is something which I always had a total blast doing – in an obsessive-compulsive, off-the-scale intense sorta way.  My wife always used to tease me that I had two personas – the software development one and the normal one.  Not that it was all that great, but she liked the latter one a lot more. 

It’s probably worth mentioning that while I enjoyed it and got to write a lot of code that people bought for real money, I was never an A-class developer.  Eventually, I discovered that managing development teams was more of a natural fit for me and I only looked back longingly once in a while.

Things have changed a lot since I last delved into development.  C, which used to be used for just about everything, has been replaced with newer, updated, object-oriented languages inside rich environments that actual make it easy to incrementally build software projects and target them at multiple operating environments and platforms.  As with most things, though, all of this power has created new levels of complexity.  To successfully build even moderately complex applications seemingly requires at least a passing knowledge of several languages and environments.  Because of this, it’s not the writing of code that takes all the time (including debugging), but it’s the ramping up on all the various pieces required to create the application.

For example, my recent journey included spending time using Ruby, Rails, C#, Visual Studio, PHP, Eclipse, HTML, Visual Basic, SQL, XML, CSS, etc.  Even with all the documentation and help available on the web, the confusing set of technologies each take some time to understand enough to be able to use them.

After investigating the list above and a few others, I decided to start writing a web application using Visual Studio, C# and of course, HTML and CSS.  My goal was to be able to put a home weather station on the Net.  This was a crappy choice for a first project since I also had to debug serial and TCP communication.  No guts no glory.

It was a fun ride.  Eventually, I had only a couple of hundred lines of code that implemented the project, although I probably wrote several thousand trying to figure things out.  Since I couldn’t find anything like it mentioned on the web, I published it here.  If your interested, there is a complete description of the project as well as the code at the link.

Even though it took an unreal amount of time, I had a complete blast.  My wife frequently said things during the project like, “stay away from your father, he’s programming,” worrying for the safety of her children.  Or, “uh, oh, he’s coding again – we’ve lost him.” 

I’m going to try to continue to do development at some level so I don’t have the same steep learning curve to climb again.  But for now, maybe, I can use my computer for some blogging as well.

 September 15th, 2007  

Roger Federer is a God

When I was a kid, my dad introduced me to tennis.  He took me to see Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall, the best players of the time.  In his day and for quite some time after, Laver was considered the greatest to have ever played the sport with Rosewall a close runner up.

Later, I got hooked on tennis again when Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg and Ivan Lendl were the kings of the court.  They were all fantastic tennis players, but unlike watching Laver, none of the new leaders of tennis seemed like they were the one.  Then, of course, came Pete Sampras.  With 64 career titles, 14 of them being Grand Slam wins, he was the one.  He made the game seem easy with graceful moves and unreal court presence.  His game was a thing of beauty and a blast to watch.  Andre Agassi, a great tennis player, was always a thorn in Sampras’ side and perhaps even made him better.  But it was Sampras who was the best most often at the end of the match. 

Sampras ruled over his tennis kingdom for some time, long enough to convince the tennis experts and those of us who are mere onlookers that he was, in fact, greater than the great Rod Laver.  We had a new best.  Like with us all, though, he eventually got a little older and a little slower and had trouble keeping his place on top of the pyramid. 

As Sampras’ rule at the top of the heap waned, Roger Federer became the new king.  In a world with many good tennis players (Nadal, Blake, Roddick, Hewitt and a boatload of guys from Slavic countries to name a few), Federer has handily remained in the number one position in tennis for more time than anyone in history.

This year, at the just completed US Open, he showed why.  Federer was always composed and always in command.  That’s not to say that he was always in the lead.  Even when his serve was broken, though, he would patiently break back to get even, then either break his opponent again or dominate the tie-breaker.  At times, he did this without seeming to break a sweat.  He covers the court unbelievably well, rarely makes unforced errors and is always menacing to his opponents (earning him the moniker, Darth Federer).

When he played the hard hitting Andy Roddick in the semifinals, I watched in disbelief as Roddick, playing the best tennis of his life and having a serve and forehand like a cannon, lost to the tennis god, Federer, in three straight sets.  In the finals, Novak Djokovic had Federer down a break with three set points in the first set and then succumbed to Federer in a tie-breaker.  In the second set, he broke Federer early and looked very strong, only to lose the set to Federer again in another tie-breaker.  Federer won the third set 6-4 for his fourth straight US Open victory and 12th Grand Slam win.

As with Tiger Woods’ dominance in golf, Federer has so many weapons in his arsenal that he’s almost impossible to beat.  Even when he’s down, he has the skills, stamina and mental toughness to come back and win . . . convincingly.  As if there could have been any doubt before, we are certainly watching the new greatest tennis player of all time rising to his zenith.

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 September 10th, 2007  

Football and Baseball and Golf and Tennis. Oh My!

A virtual cornucopia of televised sports was on display today and I was enjoying every minute of it.  After riding a half-century (50 miles) yesterday in blistering heat here in the Boston area, I was happy to kick back today and veg in front of the tube.  My laziness was rewarded with great football and baseball (it helped that both the Patriots and the Red Sox won), the final round of the BMW Championship (golf), the men’s singles finals of the US Open (tennis) and the IndyCar Series Championship (yeah, auto racing).  Without much effort, I’m sure I could have dug up a soccer game, but there was just no time.  I almost broke the buttons on the remote as it was trying not to miss any significant events.

Maybe the end of summer isn’t so bad after all . . .

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 September 9th, 2007  
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