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Dec
17
2007

You Can Stuff Your Sorries In a Sack, Mr. Pettitte!

By Jack Cobra  |  Comments (34) | Hype It Up!  |   Filed Under: Baseball | Jack Cobra Archive
AndyPettitte2.jpg(I guess we are running with the Seinfeld themed quotes today)

In case you were out shopping over the weekend and missed it, Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte admitted to using HGH to help speed up his recovery from injuries. Anyone who has seen Pettitte pitch in the playoffs with the slo-mo replays of his elbow flailing about knows that he's always seemed right on the brink of an elbow injury or four. Here we go with the quotes from Pettitte, followed by my criticism:

Pettitte said he tried HGH on two occasions, stressing he did it to heal faster and not enhance his performance. He emphasized he never used steroids.

"If what I did was an error in judgment on my part, I apologize," Pettitte said Saturday in a statement released by his agent. "I accept responsibility for those two days."

I hate when people say this...."If I made you mad, I'm sorry." How about just being sorry for doing it? Does someone really have to be upset with you for using illegal drugs before you apologize for it? So, what if I didn't care about baseball and/or Andy Pettitte, would the apology not stand? Just apologize and face the music, good or bad. Pettitte continued to spew even more nonsense:

"This is it -- two days out of my life; two days out of my entire career, when I was injured and on the disabled list," he said. "I wasn't looking for an edge. I was looking to heal."

"I have the utmost respect for baseball and have always tried to live my life in a way that would be honorable," he said. "If I have let down people that care about me, I am sorry, but I hope that you will listen to me carefully and understand that two days of perhaps bad judgment should not ruin a lifetime of hard work and dedication.

"I have tried to do things the right way my entire life, and, again, ask that you put those two days in the proper context. People that know me will know that what I say is true," he said
I've seen this one before in the movies....."But Baby, I only slept with her once. Why are you leaving me?" It won't happen again." Ah, bullshit, gotta love it. My parents have been married for over 30 years. I can guarantee you that if my Father came home tonight and said he had cheated on my Mom 20 years ago....it would be over, if he was even still alive. Those two days Mr. Pettitte....those are the two days that are going to define your career from now on. They may not have seemed that important then, but I'm sure they seem important to you now.

If Pettitte actually had the 'utmost respect for baseball' and always tried to live his life in a way that would be honorable....he wouldn't have done such a dishonorable thing to begin with.

**The one thing that I absolutely loved about The Mitchell Report is that it named names. It wouldn't have mattered what the names were, but the fact that names are in that report is going to change the game. Players will never be able to trust anyone with their 'secrets' to their workouts for fear that someone will spew out evidence when they are pressed with federal charges. They'll always have it in the back of their mind that their names will be out in every newspaper in the land if they, or anyone associated with them, are caught.

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34 Comments
gianluca said

...and Pettite also reported he didn't inhale.

grifter said

1) how could that apology get past any publicist/agent/manager/whomever with "if" in it? as soon as i heard "if," i tuned the rest of it out.

2) if HGH were legal (fed-wise, not baseball-wise), would things be different?

don't get me wrong. i'm not condoning this. but aside from the fact that it's illegal, can HGH be seen as next medical advancement? players today have all kinds of technology at their disposal that wasn't around years ago. technically, doesn't that mean they have an unfair advantage over players from previous generations? they can heal faster. they can play longer. they can stay healthier.
my favorite journalist, ralph wiley, used to say that a player getting a pain injection was akin to using PEDs. they're not exactly the same, but in a way, i think he had point.

I don't know enough about HGH on the medical side to know exactly what it does/doesn't do to the human body. Maybe Cpt. Morgan can help us out on that answer. I know steroids are illegal in MLB but a lot of Dr.'s prescribe it to their patients.

I don't think that since players today have more things at their disposal it gave them an unfair advantage over players from previous generations. In the previous generations all of the players were playing on a level playing field, they all had the same things to work with so they didn't have too much of an advantage of their competition. For the most part, the same thing is happening today. I think it would be different if the hitters were now able to use aluminum bats or if pitchers were throwing from 55 feet or something like that. If...If...there are too many players cheating and it has become an 'unlevel' playing field, then yes, they have an advantage over not only their peers but those who came before them.

Alot of people feel like you do, Cobra, which kind of bothers me. I mean, comparing the players of today to older players, and talking about "unfair advantages" over them?!?

First, drop the "unfair". They aren't competing against each other, so fair is not a factor. It's only a factor versus their contemparory players. And, like you kinda said, if everyone is using, then in that way at least the field is still level. The Matt Lawtons will still suck regardless, right?

So, back to comparing generations... you got smaller ballparks, stronger athletes (naturally or not), tighter baseballs, better scouting, a larger pool of players (including Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics now), and greenies. And other "legal" performance enhancers, such as diet, exercise, better medical science (better injury diagnosis and treatment), and laser surgery. All these things equate to the modern star being better than your daddy's generation's star players.

So what? Should we keep players from advancing, so that 61 home runs will always be the ceiling?

Baseball isn't football or basketball. Each field is different, each game, from game to game, is played differently. A basketball court will always have the same dimensions; that's not true in baseball, and comparing players over the ages is a foolish endeavor.

I do agree that Pettite's excuses are supremely lame, and I say that as a huge Pettite fan... dude, just 'fess up, and get out of the way. Eventually this will all pass, and the addition of the names of Pettite and Clemens will actually improve the situation. Now people are no longer talking about adding asterisks to individuals' records, but instead talking about "let's just write off the whole era"!

Indeed.

Jack Cobra said

I felt grifter meant that it would be easier for players today to hit 50+ HR's than it would be for players back then, and I don't think that's the case. I think that it still comes down to the pitcher throwing the ball and the batter having to hit it. As long as they are playing on the same 'level' then it's going to be just about the same difficulty level.

Basketball courts may have the same dimensions but the players are different and the game is played differently. Even PhilJax has talked about how the court needs to be ten feet longer just to deal with the size of the players now. You see guys playing SG that might have played PF back in the day. You see RB's who would have been linemen in the 50's....

As you point out, it's very difficult to compare generations in sports but I didn't think gianluca was saying...could Hank Aaron (circa 1969) be better than A-Rod in today's game. Maybe I read it incorrectly?

Brian said

You can take issue with the wording of his statement if you want, but at least he admitted it.

He could've pulled something like sitting in front of a bunch of senators and saying he didn't know how to speak English.

He doesn't get extra points with me just for admitting to it. His reasoning behind HGH was a joke and his of HGH use was a joke. I find his 'statement' to be very poor and his chances of making the HOF even worse. I know the Yankees fans are all cool with Giambi now that he's admitted to using steroids but not this guy who used to like Giambi.

Pettitte knew exactly what he was doing when he did it and he knew what the repurcussions would be...and he still did it. He should be suspended at least 50 games next season, at least.

Jack Cobra said

Also, I never liked Sosa. His use was as blatant as anyone's.

grifter said

i wasn't necessarily saying it's easier to perform. i think that the scrutiny on today's players more than cancels out any physical advantages they have over previous generations.

sorry i kept referring to you as 'gianluca' I am, indeed, retarded.

I feel about Clemens and Pettite the same way I do about Bonds, which is to say they would have been superstars no matter what. In both cases, they were HoF studs before they allegedly started using PEDs.

They then used PRDs to further their careers, and make more money. We, as fans, reaped the benefits, as we had more high-quality players than previous generations had. I never got to see Don Mattingly's prime, because it was over too damn quick. Had he lasted two more years as a superstar, he would be in the Hall of Fame right now.

I don't know, but PEDs have never bothered me that much, if only because you could never truly police them (see the NFL, which is a joke no one laughs at), and because we don't really know the long-term effects of PED abuse.

It's hard to say with Pettitte though because an elbow injury is a very tricky thing and much different from a hamstring. I think Bonds/Clemens were HOF's before their use, but I doubt Pettitte. They were always pushing for him to keep pitching so he could keep moving up the wins list, so maybe some of that thinking had an effect on whether he was going to use or not.

Now that they've been labeled as 'users' I think they shouldn't be allowed in the HOF. That's how I would vote. They should each also be suspended for 50 games, if they come back playing. I think the 'coincidences' are too much to think Clemens didn't and with Bonds they have the perjury charge on his grand jury testimony, which the gov't should win. They can keep their stats, they can keep their records, you don't even have to put an asterisk next to them...everyone will know what they did.

Boney said

Andy Pettitte... a superstar?

jesus SML. if Pettitte's a superstar in your opinion, then I'd like to know who you feel is just average.

Jack, I think you honestly take this a little more to the extreme. I see where you're coming from, and to be honest I kinda agree with your line of thinking but my line of thinking still falls in line with the "who WASN'T doing it?". At this point a list of who wasn't do HGH or steroids would be shorter than the potential list of HGHers and steroid heads.

They haven't tarnished the game... nothing has tarnished the game as bad as the player strikes, the early on racism, and the Chicago Cubs.

Brian said

Actually, when he did it there was no 50 game suspension in place. You're talking about punishing him under disciplinary tools that didn't exist at the time.

One thing people have to take into account is that nothing was compelling Pettitte to come forward with this information. He could've sided with Clemens and sued McNamee. There was no hard evidence. He made a mistake, he admitted it. It's not something that was habitual, he didn't design his training regimen around PED's, he used them on two occasions.

If you want to hang the guy for it, fine. But let's go back and hang every guy that did coke in the 80's or greenies in the 70's. Let's take them all out of the Hall of Fame, let's erase every one of their records, let's take away all of their World Series rings.

This whole thing is an exercise in futility and it's really easy to point fingers at the 85 who were named in this incomplete report, because there are hundreds of guys who weren't named, purely because the report is incomplete.

How did Derrick Lee raise his OPS by 260 points from 2004 to 2005, and don't you find it peculiar that the injury bug hit him after such a monstrous jump? Sounds like the typical PED life cycle to me. Suspend him.

boney...i thought you quit all this posting/commenting mumbo jumbo and then you work overtime on the weekend at YAY and then nothing on Monday?

The game means a little more to me than it does to most people.

grifter said

i don't think bud selig can hand down suspensions without removing himself as commish. the fans can say they were naive. the writers can say they suspected but didn't know for sure. but i think that everyone inside baseball knew what was going on. the players are catching the most hell (i guess they should... they did it), but the owners and management and yes, the league office, rode the gravy train too.
i guess that's my major beef with the whole situation. some people are gonna cheat at everything. people not as smart as me got better grades because they cheated. lots of people have better jobs and make more money than they deserve because they cheated. the patriots (just kidding... i'm not going there).
instead of keeping the cheaters in check and at a minimum, baseball's bigwigs let it get out of control, and when a surly, unlikable guy started shattering some records, the world (read: the feds) got pissed off.

Mack said

While Pettitte was/is an above average major leaguer, I find it really hard to believe that he was a surefire hall of famer.
I tend to side more with Jack on this topic. If I am not mistaken, HGH is legal to use if prescribed through a physician (not unlike steriods). If Pettitte was looking to just "heal", why would he not obtain HGH the legal way instead of getting it through some illegal channel? This simply screams shady-dealings to me.
Also, the argument that it was not on MLB's banned substance list in 2002 holds absolutely no water. The Major League Agreement has a morals/legality clause within it under which all players must comply. The fact that it was never specifically mentioned as an "impermissible" substance per MLB's Collective Bargaining Agreement does not mean it isn't impliedly a banned substance.
It is a slippery slope once you open the door for excuses and no punishment. Next thing you know everyone will begin using the "heal" excuse.

Brian: HGH was an illegal substance (unless prescribed) in the United States at the time. It was against the law (unless prescribed). That precedes any baseball ruling, no? Selig has suspended players who have admitted to using without a failed test before, he should do it again. You admit to it....50 games. That would be my ruling.

Lee had a broken wrist dude, everyone knows that takes at least a year to get back to normal...if it does at all. We'll see what happens this season. You are being irrational now.

Pettitte cheated, he admitted to it, suspend him. Keep him out of the Hall, if he was going to make it. He did use the PED's to enhance his career and he did design his training regimen around them, remember he took the PED's to get back on the field quicker. They played a major part in it at that point. Clemens has not sued McNamee from what I've read so far.

The coke did not help on the field performance.

Sorry for the confusion: I meant "both" Clemens and Bonds were surefire Hall of Famers, not Pettite. He was, however, a superstar at the time (2002) - a pitcher who was still in his prime and a proven stud in the playoffs, and 15-19 game winner in the regular season. The best current comparison is a less talented, but more successful, Josh Beckett.

As for HGH usage... how would Yankees fans feel if Carl Pavano, instead of being a bum who "ripped off" the Yankees, got his ass some HGH and made something of the last two years? Or Jared Wright?

Secondly, I've said it before, but... PEDs help pitchers more than hitters. Hitting is still hitting, and it's all mental + eye/hand coordination. Strength makes you hit it further (a little more, maybe), but it won't make you good (see the difference between Jeremy/Jason Giambi, or Ozzie/Jose Canseco).

Pitching, on the other hand, is all arm. It's inherently stressful and unnatural (sidearm is more natural than over the top or 3/4)on your arm. Your shoulder should be shredded by your 30's. Your hammy, your back... just remember that prior to the 80's, very few power pitchers had careers that extended past 35 years old. Nolan Ryan was the first to be a power pitcher in his 40's, and well... I'm personally pretty suspicious about that, given his connection to Clemens....

Brian said

In 2002, when Pettitte admitted to using, the rule was first offenses led to treatment only, and names were not to be released. You can't punish Pettitte beyond that.

Saying coke didn't help on-field performance is kind of naive. It's a stimulant, and a much more-powerful stimulant than greenies. Plus, it boosts confidence.

The broken wrist doesn't explain why Lee's numbers jumped up as drastically as they did from 2004 to 2005. It's not irrational to look at dramatic statistical improvements and think a guy was using HGH, roids or both. That's what this whole report and this whole era have become about. I'll believe Lee did it legitimately when he can prove it...actually, nevermind. He can't prove it, he'll always be a juicer to me.

The Hall of Fame is a moot point, Pettitte wasn't making it before and he isn't making it now.

Ok, first of all...Lee. 2005 was his career year, obviously. He was 29 years old and probably at the peak of his prime. The years leading up to that show the natural statistical curve to a players career. Next, you get the look-test. Lee has always been the same height, weight, etc. Look at Bonds, Sosa, etc....their bodies change quite a bit. Lee has stayed the same. He'll probably hit 20-28 HR's for the next two season and then fall back into the teens. Natural progression. He showed major power in the minors so it's not like he wasn't expected to hit for power at some point in his career.

As for the coke...I'm looking at the stats right now of the major players in that deal (Parker, Hernandez, Berra, Mazzilli) and they are actually worse than they normally were. If you can somehow prove to me that the use of cocaine actually helped them, then you'll have something.

Selig can punish Pettitte all he wants. He's already punished Guillen and others this offseason when they didn't fail drug tests either. He would, or at least I hope he would have, suspended Giambi if he hadn't struck a deal. Selig can do pretty much whatever he wants right now and invoke the 'best interests of baseball' clause on this sucker because it's such a big deal. If I'm the commish....50 games, minimum.

Bruce said

The whole sport fosters a CIA-like atmosphere, from the top on down, and the worst part is, to me at least, is that they think we're gullible enough to believe the shit they spew.
Misinformation and lies have become as much a part of the game as intentional walks and bad umpiring.

Bruce said

Oh, I meant to add that if the players, and management, would just come out and be truthful, they might be surprised at how forgiving the fans could be.

Brian said

Suspending guys by today's standards for a transgression that happened before the standards were set is ridiculous. Giambi fell in the same boat, he admitted to use before the current disciplinary rules were in place. Sure, Selig could suspend anyone for anything he wants, whether it makes sense or not. Shit, he suspended Joba Chamberlain for almost hitting Kevin Youkilis this year, so it's not like it isn't precedented. I'm just saying that it's a complete farce if it happens. It would never stand up in a court of law, and if a lawsuit was filed, the players' union would win in a walk.

As for D-Lee, from 2004 to 2005 he raised his batting average 60 points, his on-base percentage 60 points and his slugging percentage 160 points. That's not the sign of a guy just "coming into his own," not in this era. That's a sign of a guy juicing.

Take a look at Sosa's numbers from 1997 to 1998, he raised his average about 60 points, his on-base percentage about 60 points and his slugging percentage about 160 points. He was going from his 29 to 30 seasons (Lee was going from 28 to 29). There's a distinct pattern here, this evidence is just as compelling as the tainted word of a towel boy to me, so I'm adding D-Lee to my list.

If you want definitive proof of cocaine's positive effects I'm not sure how I can provide it without knowing exactly when guys were on/off it. I can however point to the 1986 New York Mets. That entire team was coked out of its mind. Can you give me definitive proof that HGH is performance enhancing?

You are more than welcome to your opinion but I would be very surprised if Selig lets an admitted HGH user off without a suspension. The guy deserves to be suspended, plain and simple.

If you want to think that Derrek Lee is a user, go for it. Your mistake, not mine. I don't care about Lee enough to argue with you about it. We all know about the performance curve of baseball players in that age range.

Pettitte had his best two seasons as a Yankee after he's admitted to using it. They've shown how Clemens performances were after using HGH near/during the playoffs by using the timeline in TMR. Bigbie's best season was the season he has admitted to using HGH. Giambi used PED's and has never been the same.

I don't really think you have a leg to stand on here, the guy admitted to using. No test is needed. It was illegal, he knew it was illegal, he still used it. They can take it to court all they want...Selig just has to throw that clause out there and he wins. You want the commish to throw his weight around a little to stop players from using but when he has a chance you don't want him to actually do it because it's a Yankees player? The Black Sox were never found guilty, yet they were all tossed for their entire lives. This time Selig has proof and this confession won't be lost in someone's safe.

Brian said

Pettitte's two best years for the Yanks came in 2001 and 1997, before the HGH use. He was on the DL for a month in 2002 and put up good numbers, but it was not his best season, statistically. 2003 was above average, but by no means his best.

Giambi admitted to steroid use, I don't think there's any debate that roids are performance enhancing, I still haven't seen definitive proof that HGH does anything to benefit an athlete. Larry Bigbie had two seasons of note, if he only used during one of them I'm not sure he proves anything either.

I believe McNamee's testimony said Clemens used roids as well as HGH, so again, no definitive proof.

This has nothing to do with Pettitte being on the Yanks. I don't think anyone named in this report, or admitting to using roids or HGH before the current punishment system was enacted should be suspended. It's revisionist history and it isn't going to solve anything. Selig and baseball should concentrate on policing the league now, not going after obvious juicers from seasons past, like D-Lee (The numbers speak for themselves).

I'm not saying I approve of what Pettitte did, I'm saying it's preferable and better for the sport for him to admit it now, rather than deny, deny, deny like every other active player on the list. He fucked up, that's clear and I think he realizes that, but suspensions are neither productive, nor justified in this situation.

I'd hope that we've evolved a little bit in the area of due process since the Black Sox scandal.

Come on, in 2003 he had the most wins of his career, made all 33 of his starts (most since 1997), had the most strikeouts of his career, etc., etc. etc. '96, '97 and '03 have been his best seasons.

In Bigbie's best season he was using (2003). I could probably go out on a limb and say he was using in 2004 and wouldn't be straying too far from the truth.

They should all be suspended. They are justified. They cheated. It's time to put some fear into the players minds. I wouldn't mind if they fined the organizations either. You have a player on the list or that fails a test. Bam! You are fined a $250,000/$500k/$1 million. It won't be long until things get real clean around these parts.

You can push D-Lee on me all you want, but it's not happening dude. He's played in 150 games in every season he's been a regular minus his first full season in MLB and the year he broke his wrist. Users have issues with injuries, he has not. The broken wrist was very visible and can't be denied that the collision is what caused it. You're just reaching at this point. Pick another player. Come with Joe Borowski, Jose Hernandez, Brant Brown or someone like that.

I have no problem admitting if I think a Cubs player was using. Just make it realistic. I understand that you believe that any player can be under suspicion now, and that's true, but in this case you are off with Lee. There are much better choices out there for you to make for players to talk about.

Brian said

I have no problem with fining teams and organizations if they fail tests going forward. Penalizing them for past actions is ridiculous though.

Pettitte threw 200+ innings in 2000 and 2001, 2002 was an injury year, and 2003 was pretty much in line w/ 2001, although his WHIP and ERA were better in 2001. There was hardly a spike in his performance after his HGH use.

My contention is that Lee used during the 2005 season, how many games he played per year before that point doesn't really have anything to do with it. I've been looking all night for a player whose stats jumped to that degree at that age, here are the names I came up with: Sammy Sosa, Luis Gonzalez and Brady Anderson. Pretty interesting company to keep.

A one-year statistical jump like Lee had from 2004 to 2005 is unprecedented among non-juicers. Why am I supposed to believe he did it naturally?

For some perspective, let's take a look at a player who has completely transformed himself as a hitter. It took David Ortiz 5 years to progress from a slap-hitter in Minnesota to one of the best power hitters in the game. You have to compare his 2002 stats in Minnesota to his 2007 stats in Boston to get the same amount of improvement, and there are four solid years of steady improvement in between. Lee made that much improvement in one season, for the same team, in the same park, when the overall league ERA dropped from 4.30 to 4.22.

I'm not going to argue with you about Lee because....that's not even what the post is about and because no matter what I say, you are going to think what you think. Pettitte admitted to it, in a poor way, and should be disciplined for it.

Brian said

It looks like Bud is going to use some common sense...

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3159943

Players implicated after 2003 may face suspension, or whatever punishment Bud wants to dole out, but there was no punishment in place before 2003, so no punishment can be doled out for those guys, including Pettitte.

Derrek Lee woul fall under the subject to suspension category, if anyone does a little digging.

I worry about how clouded your judgement is on this issue, Brian. You are so stuck on one thing that....anyways. We appreciate all comments around here.

"may not face suspension, because no rules were in place at the time of use"

May not....big difference between that and 'will not'. Still could happen.

Write up a post on Lee, let's see it out there in black and white, or whatever color the Internet is.

Brian said

Here's the precedent, from that story:

"Major League Baseball effectively laid out a blueprint for how it may handle the Mitchell report cases with its handling of the suspensions of Kansas City Royals outfielder Jose Guillen and Orioles outfielder Jay Gibbons. Earlier this month, MLB suspended each for the first 15 days of the 2008 season. Those penalties matched what a second offense would have drawn under 2003-04 rules. Gibbons has accepted his penalty; Guillen has filed a grievance through the players' association."

I'll think about a Lee post, I've pretty much said it all in the comments here.

may, may, may. It's an entirely different animal now. Until I read "Bud Selig will....", I'm going to relax. Give it time and see what happens.

Brian said

Here's your Lee post, actually it covers pretty much everybody I could think of who had a season similar to Lee's (a career year that was just too good when compared to the rest of their career).


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