Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Vendetta Over!

I totally agree with Gary Parrish. He's taking the #4 team in the Colonial, the Drexel Dragons, while I've been busy singing the praises of the Winthrop Eagles (who are totally in if they win the Big South tournament, but maybe out if they don't). I've also been singing the Praises of the Mountain West, with BYU, Air Force, San Diego State, and UNLV. The point is, regardless of which team you see as worthy of being in the Tournament, they are getting pushed out by the Mediocre Teams of the so-called Power Conferences. There is talk of 7 or 8 teams in the ACC getting in. If I'm an opposing team, I'd much rather play the #7 team in the ACC or the #5 team in the Big Ten then Winthrop, or BYU, or Drexel. Even after last year, when more small conference teams fucked up more shit than ever before, we're still hearing about Michigan State, and Purdue (What the FUCK?) and Villanova.

Gary, you and I have found a basis for common-ground. I declare Truce on my Vendetta that I called on you, that you had no idea existed. I'm generally against quoting Neville Chamberlain, but I Think We can Have NCAA Peace in our Time. (Again, it helps that one party involved had no idea about the brutal bloody Vendetta that had been launched. Or at least, announced. I'm pretty lazy).

Great awesome games tonight, that I will get to later on.

Mexican Government Attempts to Legislate Feelings

I have to assume they did this because they are as baffled by El Tri's way of being dominated for over 6 years on American turf as I am. Why don't the Mexican players ever seem to feel all that bad about never winning on American soil, when they used to own the US?

See. first, you outlaw jealousy on the individual level, and that paves the way for legally enforcing feeling shame and/or guilt to the National Entity of the Mexican National Team for getting their asses handed to them everytime they venture north of the Rio Grande (which we should start calling The Grand River, just to piss them off a bit more).

Take that, Messicans! USA! USA! USA!

(thanks to Sonja for the link)

Lucky # 7

I have, much to my own chagrin, come down with a bad case of NFL Draftitis. The fact that I am interested in the draft news so early on is troubling, especially when before now and the end of April, the weak minds that cover such events will have prognosticated themselves into a tizzy, resulting in some pick slipping 10 spots or so, just because. Allow me to make it clear that I am only really interested in who my Vikings with their now infamous 7th pick will choose. I have heard over and over again that this year’s draft is exactly 7 big time players deep. It is hard to believe that, as I have seen 4 different players projected to be taken by Minnesota in different mock drafts and only 2 of them stay within the top 7 in all of the mock drafts. So let’s take a look at who is now being rumored as the Vikings’ #1 pick, a curse of a spot in recent drafts for the Purple.

Ted Ginn Jr.: Now we all know the new common knowledge that wide receivers shouldn’t be picked in the first round and in this case I agree with that. However, if Calvin Johnson were available it would be unforgivable to work under such thinking. Ginn is a physical anomaly, with speed to burn and shwerve, but I feel that he is a tad breakable and doesn’t have the best set of hands. Of course, the Vikings are very shallow at receiver, and Ginn would probably have immediate impact, but Ginn as the #7 is a bit too reminiscent of the Troy Williamson pick of a couple years ago. Ginn is a better receiver than Williamson without question and he is a game-changing return man, but it seems a stretch to take him at 7.

Brady Quinn: I for one do not believe that Tavaris Jackson is the unchallengeable future at QB for the Vikings. Quinn, who seems to be “that guy” who drops 7-8 spots based on tea leaves or candomblé, is quite possibly a franchise QB. He started 4 years at Notre Dame and was coached by a guy who many feel is as close to an NFL coach in the college ranks. It is never a problem having several quality QB candidates on a team vying for the starting job. I have read expert and other Vikings’ fans indictments of the guy, claiming that maybe he is too inaccurate and can’t win the big game. Winning the big game comes down to way more than the QB position and in fact he did a great job putting his team in position to win several important games that ND eventually lost. I would be more than happy to have Quinn at #7.

Gaines Adams: Gaines is considered the best pass rusher in the draft, which immediately gets me interested in him as a pick. The Vikings DE’s last year sucked. Udeze had 0 sacks in 15 starts last season and in the scheme they now run that is tantamount to suicide. They will be getting Erasmus James back from injury and he really started to show his skills before being injured. If the Vikings could bookend their two all-pro DT’s with good pass rushing ends, the Vikings should be able to considerably improve their pass defense. So, the Clemson DE would be fine with me.

There may be other candidates out there, but these are the three I see most often on mock draft boards out there. I dream of a trade up for Calvin Johnson or Joe Thomas or even Adrian Peterson, but if anything the Vikings will trade down. If they do stay put it is likely to be one of the three guys profiled above that they take. I can’t wait for baseball season to start so that I can forget about the NFL right up until draft day.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

NCAA Hoops Round Up: That Blowjob was Not Sincere

breaking news: Dick Vitale Can Feel Shame! Stay Tuned!

First a quick look at a game not involving Top 25 teams, but 2 teams still hoping to sneak into the NCAA's.

I said that Michigan State had clinched a berth by beating Wisconsin earlier this month, but this will not help their cause any: Losing in Ann Arbor to Michigan, 67-56 . This gives the Big 10 5 teams with at least 20 wins, which used to be golden in the Big 10. Drew Neitzel was unhealthy for this game, but he's been getting a little too much love anyway. Regardless, I think Michigan State is probably in. There is no way I can see Michigan getting into this tournament. Some prognosticators having Purdue in, sitting at 7-7 in the Big 10. I can't believe that either, barring a thrilling run in the conference Tourney. What is going on with the prognosticators?

This is reflected glory syndrome in all it's (well) glory. Wisconsin and Ohio State are two of top 5 teams in the country, in terms of ranking, records, and RPI. So, therefore, the rest of the conference must be better than it is. Purdue has played some tough non-conference teams, to be sure, and they've played the tougher teams in their conference. They played a tough schedule, so they have an impressive RPI. But they lost to almost every single team on their schedule we could consider tough. Is losing to Virginia in November really a tough loss? This team lost to Minnesota. End of discussion. If Purdue somehow gets in, I'm declaring Shenanigans, and picking against them very quickly.

Meanwhile, my boys at Winthrop should be ranked by now! The Big South tournament has started, and Winthrop did what those of us who them Eagles knew they would--destroying Charleston Southern 72-42. This is what bothers me about College hoops sometimes. Winthrop is now 26-4. And sure, yeah, they play in an easy conference. Is it that much easier than Memphis' conference? It isn't THAT much easier, where Memphis gets ranked in the top 10, and Winthrop spends the entire year in the "Other teams receiving votes" while the same half dozen teams cycle below and above them in the lower 25. There's even talk that if Winthrop doesn't win the Big South Tournament, and finish the year at say, 26-5, they won't make it to the Dance, because the Committee won't take two teams from the Big South. This team barely lost at UNC (7 pts) , and at Wisconsin (3 pts) and has gone undefeated in conference play. Has Memphis played two teams as good as UNC and Wisconsin? This team should probably be in the top 25, and should have a locked in spot no less than a #5. They'll probably get an 11. Watch out for them, kids.

#12 Pittsburgh got back on track tonight, demolishing West Virginia, 80-66 I still think Pittsburgh still relies too much on Aaron Gray, a big lummox of a man. His game is about one thing--getting the ball down low. A team with a quicker big man who is at least somewhat comporable in size could give Gray, and Pittsburgh fits. Its almost too bad that Nevada is so highly regarded. I think Nick Fazekas could eat Aaron Gray's lunch.

#25 Air Force loses at home to The Stormin' Mormons of BYU, 62-68--Fair to middlin' major conference teams better watch out for this conference. BYU and Air Force both have legitimate shots at taking the automatic berth in the MWC. UNLV and San Diego St are also in the mix. SDSU may find themselves hurting after tonight, losing to former Goliaths, now Chumps of this Conference, Utah. If those four teams make it to the semis of their tournament, things could get messy in a hurry. Air Force has been ranked in the top 25 for awhile. BYU maybe ranked come Monday. I don't see a way the committee can actually take 4 teams from the Mountain West, but be prepared to see 3 teams. Prepare to see 2 of them win their games. They could be this year's version of the Missouri Valley of 2006.

And now, our favorite part of the night:

Damn, Pat Summitt, I'll show you my ole Rocky Top! Whooo!

Say what you will, but she looks better without her pants than Bruce Pearl did without his shirt.

Though Pat was wearing something that looked rather like Adult Diapers underneath that skirt. But for all we know, she had some NASA bitch to kill later.

Better than this? Hard to imagine, I know. But:

Tennessee Beats Florida, 86-76!

And that's with Tennessee completely taking the foot off the gas pedal for a good chunk of the second half. They destroyed Florida in the first half, and in the early part of the second half. Then they let Florida get within 8 before trading baskets with them the rest of the way.

But make no mistake, not only is this Florida's third loss in a row, but also their 4th game in a row where they've been worked for the first 20 minutes. Only Alabama couldn't seal the deal (that's unsurprising to me). So what to make of this Florida team that was unstoppable 2 weeks ago, and destroyed current #1 Ohio State earlier in the season, and now finds themselves down by about 15 points at halftime for their last 4 games?

Don't ask color commentator Dick Vitale, because he was a little, well, conflicted. Earlier that day, it was revealed he had some comments accidently broadcast over the air that were a little dismissive of some Florida talent. The story is well covered here and here.

Which was why we heard so much about how great Billy Donovan was as a college player for Rick Pitino, or how great of a coach he was, and how great this team was, even as they were floundering to their fourth straight double-digit halftime deficit. Obviously, you can't not criticize a team that is fourth in the country looking like they are in free-fall. Criticism happened, but it was always bookended by some serious fellating of Billy Donovan.

Dick V, you of all people should know that there's a difference between a blowjob given out of guilt, and a truly enthusiastic blowjob given out of love. It may look the same from the outside, but it just feels different. Dick Vitale, you didn't really love giving that blowjob--you felt like you had to. Billy Donovan knows it, too. Dickie V had Florida still as a #1 seed, which I don't think they get if they don't win at least two games in the SEC tournament. He dismissed Wisconsin to a #2. But if that team makes it to the final of the Big 10, then even without Butch, they are clearly a #1. Florida has dropped 3 straight games without any injuries.

The fact is, folks, that we have an incredibly fluid Top 8 right now. More than I can remember. Georgetown could get a #1. UCLA could get The #1. The winner of the ACC would probably get one, but what if it is Maryland, or GA Tech? (not a completely crazy thing to suggest). Right now, the only guaranteed #1 spot that I can think of is Ohio State. And if they lose in the first round of the Big 10 Tourney (which could happen) then they could lose that seed. This is going to be a sick tournament. We probably won't see a #1 lose to a #16 this year, but a #2 to a #15 is possible, and I will practically guarantee a couple of #3 and #4 seeds dropping in the opening weekend.


It looks like the Eagles have kicked Jeff Garcia to the curb, must be because of his missing middle finger. Weary of old man Mark or gramps Brad? May I suggest a nimble young 37 year old Garcia may kick start your fantastical franchise!

Line up you portly corn fed Minnesota ladies and/or Hoggets - he's all man! Oo-la-la!
Is this a recreation of a cool hand luke press photo?

Honus Sold!

The Honus “Flying Dutchman” Wagner 1909 card has sold, for some 2.35 million dollars (up from 1.2 million just 7 years ago). Interesting news, but my favorite part of the article is this:

“The tobacco cards used to be included in packs of cigarettes. Collectors believe Wagner's cards are rare because he stopped allowing the American Tobacco Co. to use his image, fearing it would encourage children to smoke.”

Honus Wagner somehow knew smoking was bad for you in the early 20th century, and did something about it. I nominate Honus Wagner for the sports HALL OF JUSTICE! The kids can call you Ho-ju.

Monday, February 26, 2007

College Hoops Round Up

OK, so I didn't blog much (or at all) about the Ohio State vs Wisconsin game on Sunday, that Ohio State pulled out in a squeaker. 49-48. Ohio State was rightfully given the #1 slot in the Top 25 after this victory. In the long run, what has to worry Wisconsin the most is that it appears they'll be without big goofy, but shockingly effective Brian Butch, who felt awkwardly on his elbow, dislocating it, and fracturing a bone as well. They only possible way he plays for Wisconsin again this year is if they go deep into the tournament, and his injury heals quickly. That's bad news for the Badgers. I've read some reports that made it sound like this game was Mike Conley Jr's big debut stepping out of Oden's shadow. In truth, Conley's been impressive all year long. Anyone surprised by his game here hasn't been watching much Buckeye basketball. That said, this team depends on a lot of freshman. They are very talented, and they beat a good team here. We'll see how well they handle the Big 10 Tournament atmosphere.

Also yesterday, if Maryland hadn't already punched their ticket to the Big Dance, they definitely did it yesterday. They beat North Carolina, 89-87. The Straw's kid, DJ Strawberry pumped in 27 points. Maryland has been weirdly streaky all year long, and they are currently riding a hot streak, with 5 straight wins. I have no idea how much weight the committee will put on that (The Terps probably need a good tournament run to get a really good seed). Keep an eye on this team, but feel free to be a bit dubious, too. But Gary Williams knows what he's doing as a coach, and even if this team has had a Jekyl and Hyde thing going all year long, they are finishing right.

Disappointing loss for the Hoyas, but not a shocking one. They dropped to Syracuse in Syracuse 72-58, two days after knocking off Pitt and taking first place in the Big East. That was a tough game, and I just don't think the Hoyas were really up for playing this one. The game was closer for longer than the score might suggest. Sometime in the 2nd half, the Syracuse 3-point shooters just became unconscious, hitting well-defended, off-balance threes everytime down the court. They were still hoisting them up with a 15 point lead inside of 4 minutes. I've said all year that I have little faith in this Syracuse team, and this game doesn't change much for me. It was a crazy-ass shooting night. If they can do that for the next month, they may win the whole thing. They can't do it, though.

Oh, and Kansas got by Oklahoma 67-65. I'm so disinterested in Kansas. I think that may be a mistake--from the scores I've seen they are very capable of putting up big scores. They've only lost 4 times all year, and only twice in the Big 12, which seems to me to be a bit underrated this year. It is a tough damn conference, and Kansas is at the top.

Just in time for March Madness

An Automated Beer Can Catapault. It's nice to see a Dukie finally using their knowledge for good and not evil. This does not affect my serious dislike for Josh McRoberts one iota.

I worry about the capacity of the machine. Should you really be attempting to snag beers out of the air after your first half dozen or so? It has potential Hugging the Panda ramifications.

Robotic Beer Launching Refrigerator - Click here for the funniest movie of the week

I learned about this, as I learn about almost everything thrillingly geeky via BoingBoing

John Terry takes a Shot

Even Sportscenter was running this video, so its entirely possible that you've seen it already. But if you haven't, and you've played any soccer in your life, prepare to wince a bit. I'm shocked that this doesn't happen more often, frankly. Getting a kick right in the head is in fact exceedingly rare--I've seen a boatload of close calls. But this is pretty much straight on. Clearly an accident--Abou Diaby certainly doesn't look to be trying to do anything but a clear a dangerous ball out of his zone. But scary. John Terry is OK, reportedly. He says he doesn't remember the kick, which is hardly shocking.

Our friends at Sanford Soccer Net showed me the way to the Youtube vid. Chelsea did go on to win this thing. Sanford's got the video of the goals (and the brawl).

Rulon Does it again..

Rulon Gardner, who has survived impaling himself with an arrow, a motorcycle accident (w/car), and being lost in the wilderness, has now survived a plane crash. Rulon, stay away from sting rays...

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Paulo Maldini, The Best Defender Ever

Butler you asked for more soccer. As a defender, myself, it doesn't get better than 7 minutes of Paulo Maldini, the finest defender who ever lived (outside of the Kaiser, of course).

savvy Fantasy Football players took a bath

Not that the fantasy implications are the most important deal, here. Damien Nash is dead?

I blame Shanahan.
and the Raiders.

Will, finally, the Mainstream Media (the MSM) recognize that Iraq is no more dangerous than a charity sporting event?

Damien Nash, dead.

Filthy, Gary Lineker, Fucking Filthy!

other blogs do stuff

The Lads of the Big Picture, when they aren't mocking us with their interviews of bloggers, are asking men and lesbian women (lesbians in sports? Crazy!) to rate the do-ability of female stars. They are now setting up a tournament of the 16 they've solicited opinions on. Our dark horse is the scrumptious and professional Sam Ryan. The fact that she's a Soccer Mom just makes her forbidden fruit.

The Postmen completely don't get how much Native Americans loved white people dressing up in Indian Costume and dancing at Halftime. Indians love that shit! Also, if it weren't for Kevin Costner, Native Americans would have never learned how to get in tune with nature. Postmen, your anti-White People stance proves that you are with the terrorists. Terrorists who have no compunction in using biological warfare, something White People would never use against darker skinned people. Unless you count smallpox blankets. Which you shouldn't count.

The Double Nickel looks at Cub Pitching.

You'll Never Blog Alone looks at the Champions League games upcoming. (it's totally possible these games have already been played)

NCAA Hoops: Getting Down to It

First and foremost, let us celebrate the glorious win of the The Truly Righteous and Morally Good Georgetown Hoyas over the Drug-Addled (maybe) Degenerates of Pittsburgh!

Georgetown Beats Pitt, 61-53--The AP writer called this win "ugly". I disagree. It was defensive, yeah, but Jeff Green showed enough to make this game, on occasion, absolutely beautiful. If you haven't watched Jeff Green play, you may have missed the 4th best player in college basketball. Smooth, quick, confident with the ball, Jeff Green lets the game come to him. I watched this game, and I saw Pittsburgh celebrate on the court after taking a lead in the second half (with like 12 minutes left in the game) and I remember thinking--ya'll are celebrating way too soon. And Jeff Green proved me right. I love this Georgetown team, and not just because the first College basketball game I ever saw live in person starred Patrick Ewing and Sleepy Floyd. Pitt loses for the first time on the road in Big East play. Both of these teams have their tickets punched. And Pitt is good on the road. Watch out for both of these teams. The Big East is being overlooked this year, and most of the teams from the Big East deserve to be overlooked. But these two teams are dangerous! One of the reasons the totally saucy lady behind Leave the Man Alone digs me is our shared love of Georgetown.

UVA beats GA Tech (take that, Barnyard)--UVA is hugely dependent on guard play. I love them, but I think upperclassmen Guardplay is overrated in NCAA play. They couldn't possibly stop the likes of Pitt's Aaron Gray, for example. UVA could make it into the Sweet 16, but it really depends on them playing Guard based teams.

Suddenly, the Wisconsin/Ohio State tilt is more significant. Florida will not be #1 come Monday. They got whupped. Worked, really. LSU didn't even have Big Baby playing, but LSU was aggressive, and Florida all of a sudden can't hit jump shots. Guys you have never heard of totally outscored every player on Florida that you have heard from. LSU held Florida to under 30 points in the first half. I watched this game, never expecting LSU to win. They grabbed the lead early, and held on, shockingly easily. A guy named Temple outscored the trio of Humphrey, Green, and Noah, 17-15. Temple went four of five from the field, and missed only one free throw. Humphrey, Green and Noah went a combined 5-18, which is roughly 27%. The obvious #1 Team in the Nation lost Twice this week, and barely avoided losing last week. Clearly, Ohio State & Wisconsin is now hugely important. Whoever wins that game has a chance to establish itself for the Default #1.

Notre Dame beats Marquette, 85-73. One brand of Catholicism is more powerful than the other. These are teams, hovering right at the 25 spot, who probably belong in the 50 spot. Look for match-ups, but don't be surprised if these teams don't make past the first round. Marquette can be stopped if Dominic James is stopped. Any team with good defensive guards can shut Marquette down. Beating Notre Dame is also easy--there are dozens of teams who have more athletic talent. Shut down the white boy gym rat outside shot, and you beat Notre Dame.

Oklahoma State is ruining Mario Boggan's career. They lost to Texas Tech, and are mired at 5-9 in the Big 12. Boggan will probably have a long and not super-celebrated career in the NBA. But I don't think he can carry to this team any more. He's clearly tired. Top to botton, the Big 12 is probably the second most dangerous conference after the Pac-10 (but just barely ahead of the MVC).

Texas A&M doesn't stumble against Baylor. Acie Law has been maybe the best guard in the country, and the common thinking amongst the Sports World is that Kevin Durant at Texas is the best player in the country. Don't get me wrong, Texas is a team that, if all the pieces (young, young pieces) come together at the right time, could be very difficult to stop. But you do not call Kevin Durant the best player in the country, when it isn't 100% that he's the best player in state. Acie Law went 10-15, was perfect from the Charity Stripe. Kevin gets a lot of the Press out of Texas, and you may be tempted to think that Texas is somehow better than A&M. That's a mistake. Acie Law is the best player in the Big 12, and has the best supporting cast (yeah, better than Kansas' all-around team).

Watch out for the Jimmy Chitwoods of Butler. Crone and Graves are enough by themselves to beat a very good team, on offense. On defense, few teams play it tougher than Butler does. Butler is too highly ranked to face a jump & run team like Memphis. But I think Butler would kick Memphis' ass.

Alabama shouldn't be ranked, and shouldn't be invited to the tournament after this loss. You can't beat Auburn, you aren't the 25th best team in the country. You are no where close.

Kansas are Dicks. They are insanely talented dicks. But Kansas is always insanely talented. They never win. Is this the year? Elite 8, I say. National Champions? Please, this is Kansas.

Boston College is still in the mix, but beating up on Clemson ain't nothing special. BC still needs a real run in the ACC tournie to get a decent seed. We are done pretending that Clemson's 17-0 start is somehow meaningful.

There's been talk that the Big 10 will now send maybe 6 teams, due to teams beating Ohio State or Wisconsin. Indiana, Illinois, Michigan State are suddenly locks. Purdue is getting talked about. That's fucking atrocious. I, and my team of rag-tag chuckers deserve to be in the tournament more than Purdue does. The Big 10 is basking in reflected glory. I think Wisconsin will be the only Big 10 in the Elite 8.

Watch out for Tennessee. Ten-Ten-Tennessee. More accurately, look out for Chris Lofton. He alone could put this team into the Sweet 16.

going back to the ACC, I'd say watch out for Zabian Dowdell of the VA Tech Hokies, but they are getting balanced scoring. They are the most overlooked ACC team. It won't shock me if they win the ACC tournament, and play themselves into a #2 seed.

Jim Souhan Doesn't Trust Twins Pitching

Jimmy Souhan, sports columnist for the Star Tribune has been talking to the Brain Trust of The Minnesota Twins, and he's decided that they are being way too optimistic about some of the free-agent pitching signings they've made.

Says Souhan:

Johan Santana, Carlos Silva, Boof Bonser, Ramon Ortiz and Sidney Ponson. Right now, that rotation is in pencil. A realist would prefer invisible ink.

If the White Sox or Tigers were trying to win the AL Central with this rotation, the Twins would be holding gloves in front of their faces to hide their giggling.

Last year, Silva went 11-15 with a 5.94 ERA and pulled himself from a game in the pennant race because of indigestion. Bonser went 7-6 with a 4.22 ERA. Ortiz went 11-16 with a 5.57 ERA. Ponson hasn't posted a sub-5 ERA since 2003.

Souhan's central point of the column is that the Twins have some young guns that will start the year in the minors--Garza, Perkins, et al that will end up being in the majors sooner than later, and why delay the inevitable.

Which I think is fair enough, and it sounds like the Twins agree with him. However, I still Souhan is a bit unfair at times. Everyone will agree I think that Silva had an awful year last year, but the year before, his splitter was sick, and no one could hit him. Souhan quotes pitching quote Rick Anderson that Silva's splitter is back. If that is true, than he becomes a very credible 2nd or 3rd starter.

Bonser was a rookie pitcher last year. Drawing conclusions based on his year last is just patently unfair. Don't Dare To Question the Power of Boof Bonser! He went 7-6; for an unheralded rookie, that's pretty good. We like Boof, and think it isn't crazy to think he might win 12 games this year.

Ramon and Sidney? Well that is tough to defend, admittedly. But, Souhan is wrong to compare the Twins pitching staff to the rest of the Twins Staff:

Remember, this is the organization that asked us to believe Tony Batista and Juan Castro could hold down the left side of the infield. At least their handling of Batista and Castro provides a model for managing this rotation. They'll need quick trigger fingers.

That's a cheap shot, Jim. Rich Anderson has a history of developing pitchers, and pitchers who leave the Twins have a history of not doing as well as they did in Minnesota (Hawkins, Guardado, etc). Hitters are not Anderson's purview. We'd like to think he pushed for keeping David Ortiz.

Regardless, this is a feared rotation, because it's got Santana at the top of it, and Liriano waiting in the wings, and Garza, and Slowey. Rookies overperformed for the Twins last year. And, not to be silly, or anything, but isn't this squad also returning Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau, Joe Maurer, And Michael Cuddyer? If this team was hitting at the beginning of the season like they were at the end, each pitcher would have probably had two more wins.

All of that said, I still like Souhan more than the other columnists at the Star Tribune--for example, Great-Grandpa Dementia.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Quick Not Sportsian Pop Cultural-y Post

Have you heard of the Detroit Cobras? I'm falling in love with them. And not just because lead singer Rachel Nagy sings like a Super Tramp (not the band, but the singular noun with adjective). Not just because they take classic R&B songs and make them sound all garage-rocky, with a little dose of soul. OK, it is mainly those two things.

Song: I Wanna Holler (But the Town's Too Small) (right click and save as)

One of the reasons that I'm often posting later than I should be is that I'm completely fucking addicted to Guitar Hero, versions I & II. I've got me a toy guitar, and some serious chops (You don't want to come at me son, I'm racking up 4 & 5 star performances on Expert level. You don't want none, son.) I'll soon have two guitars, so Miwacar and the rest of the lot can get their asses kicked in a game beside Winning Eleven. In fact after I type this sentence, I'm going to go play my encore that I just unlocked. The game is fuckin' brilliant. It has made me enjoy bands that I have no business enjoying (Example #1A: fucking Incubus). You try not to love "Stellar" when you are pretend playing the guitar. Twin Cities bars, always looking for a hook to rope in doughy 30 somethings are beginning to host Guitar Hero nights. Awesome.

And you know, I've been praising 30 Rock a lot of late, and here's a compilation of Alec Baldwin's best moments. I have to give mad props to NBC for figuring out to use YouTube. Viacom pulled all their content off of YouTube, and is giving money to a brand new start up (admittedly, to some guys who know how to build media websites). NBC just said, fuck it, we'll put up our own clips, and it will drive traffic to our old media site. Smart thinking, NBC. So, courtesy of NBC, ladies (hurk!) and gentlemen (yeah), Alec Baldwin:

Wade deeper, my Nerfneck

So Dallas hired Wade Phillips as their Head Coach. He's gonna suck. And I'm laughing. I'm laughing.

As a Head Coach, Bum Jr. compiled a .533 win percentage. And a remarkable 0-3 record in the playoffs. If he couldn't keep Eric Moulds in check, how's he gonna lay down the law with T.O.?

Jerry Jones broke down twice during the introduction of Phillips as the new Head Coach. His ad hominem was as spontaneous as a Cheney stump speech and as sincere as a lapdance.

As his surgically-webbed face cracked, leaking "tears" (actually a saline-based lubricant to keep his maxillary implants supple), Jones choked out: "We needed to get it right. In my mind, we got it right."

Mission accomplished, freak. But he could have gone all the way to make this Washington Redskins fan truly happy.

He could have hired Norv Turner.
Only the dark pagan gods I worship (Hear me, spirit of Bukowski! Hear me, spirit of Ed Grimley! Hear me, spirit of Jameson!) know how passionately I wanted Nerf Turner (Lifetime Achievement: Grossest Neck Ever) to become the head coach of the Dallas Kobes. Man, that would have been so sweet.

This so-called genius architect of the heyday Cowboys offense (featuring 4+ Hall of Famers) is still getting credit for the revolutionary decision to give Emmitt Smith the football 300+ times a year. The Vikings front office should equally be labeled a genius for making that happen: bonus, Herschel Walker did pushups instead of lifting weights. MN Cool!

I endured 7 seasons of this boner coaching my Washington Redskins. His press conferences after his serial losses were notable for his attempts to shift blame to players, refs, weather. During games, he gave endless exasperated poopy faces when things went wrong. Way to lead by example. Way to exemplify stoicism. Way to coach. And seriously, he's got a neck like a frilled lizard in repose, recovering in the burn ward.

Genius? His playcalling is shit. Shit. Norval Eugene Turner, your playcalling is Shit.

Any idea how many failed draws and screen passes this boner calls on 3rd and 8? Hmm, smells like all of them. He was a crap coach for Washington even though he had #48 Stephen Davis in his prime. Seriously, look at how many broken tacklers are in #48's wake (3rd TD of the day). See any blockers? Do you think Turner called a great play? I was so relieved when he was shit-canned, and so giddily pleased when the Oakland Raiders (a team I Dislike) hired him. Guess what, true-believers: he sucked in Oakland.

Nerfneck Turner: 58-82-1 lifetime (that's .411), with one playoff appearance in nine seasons (Redskins bounced in the second round).

And now he's been given the reigns of the most talented team in the NFL?

Smooth move, Ex-Lax. Chargers fans will be wishing for the Schottenheimer by mid-season. Time to suck on some Nerfneck.

I Declare Vendetta on Gary Parrish

I've given Gary Parrish, online columnist for CBS Sports a few times. I mocked his ass-kissing of Joachim Noah. I rather immaturely made fun of his photo, and his insights, here.

I admit the following things that I wrong about. I was wrong to mock Gary's weirdly over-appled cheeks. I was wrong to suggest that his teeth have been either chemically or photoshopally changed to glaring white. I was wrong to call him a journalist. He's a columnist, and much like Charles Krauthammer is still allowed to spew borderline insane ramblings at the Washington Post, regardless of facts, so is Gary Parrish.

All, the same, I declare Vendetta on the man. Parrish can't seem to not take the side of whoever he is following. Like the Noah story, he's decided he's going to weigh in on Memphis' chances this year. Whether they are being disrespected (apparently being in the Top 25 almost all year, and in the Top 10 for the last couple of months is disrespectful) or not. But Is Memphis truly a threat to reach the Final Four?

Gary, in his journalistic (I'm sorry, Columnistic zeal) asks exactly one person that question--John Calipari, The Head Fucking Coach of Memphis! That's some excellent work, Gary. Maybe, if you cover baseball, you should ask Barry Bonds whether he's ever cheated or not, and when he says, "no", you make that the focal point of your 600 word article. Make sure to call those of us who doubt him haters, and put some strawman arguments in italics.

I don't like doing this, but I have to. To quote Atrios, Let's Document the Atrocities.

Atrocity #1: Taking the Side of the Subject of the Article:

Gary Loves the First Person quote, after he humanizes the person involved. Much as he did with Joachim, we get a portrait of John Calipari as a guy who's awesome when the cameras are off of him. He plays with his son! Like any normal father does.

And then, just like with Joachim, we get a set of reasons (framed in the most irrational way possible) why people doubt Memphis:

Excuse me for not playing down to the competition.
Excuse me for being ranked in the Top 10.
Excuse me for beating opponents by 20

Just like I didn't hate on Joachim because of his tennis playing father, or his MILF mom, or his hair, I don't suspect Memphis of being overranked because of their rank, or their ability to dominate lesser teams (which is all #1 and #3 say there, right?). I mean, really, that's it? It isn't Memphis' fault that they only play submarginal talent?

Calipari is a savvy coach--his Memphis team possibly lost more impact players than any other team in the Elite 8 last year, aside from UConn. And both Calipari and Calhoun did the exact same thing--they scheduled complete jokes of teams in their non-conference schedule. The problem for Jim Calhoun was that sooner or later, UConn had to play in the Big East. Calipari avoided that by staying in Conference USA.

Atrocity: This paragraph:

I could spend 500 words explaining why the Tigers are a serious threat to make the Final Four, opining about how -- though Conference USA's competition is lousy -- there's something to be said for avoiding any silly mishaps considering Kansas (home loss to Oral Roberts), Marquette (home loss to North Dakota State) and Vanderbilt (home loss to Furman) haven't done the same.

Does anyone think Marquette is a serious threat to make it to the Final Four? Vanderbilt? Kansas, maybe, and that loss to Oral Roberts was about 20 games ago. This is such a stupid comparison that it boggles the imagination. Who is comparing the #8 team, with to fucking Vanderbilt, who only got into the Top 25 for being the inevitable SEC team that beat Florida. A show of hands, people, who are planning to put Vanderbilt or Marquette in their Final Four? It's specious reasoning.

And now, Gary argues, simply because of the weak conference Memphis is in, they are now considered one of those teams that could flame out in the first weekend:

Which makes Memphis just like Pittsburgh, Stanford, Duke, Louisville, Oregon, Virginia, Alabama, Southern California, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Notre Dame, Indiana and about 15 other teams, any of whom could end up in Atlanta or totally flame out.

Still, it seems the Tigers get the most criticism.


Because they play in Conference USA, and the theory some want others to believe is that a team barely tested by its league won't be capable of advancing in the NCAA Tournament. Problem is, that logic is merely a myth perpetuated by people in positions to perpetuate myths, and there is absolutely nothing tangible to back it or any evidence proving a team that dominates a bad league can't do well in the NCAA Tournament.

Really, Gary, is that why? Because I can't help noticing that every team you mention isn't undefeated in their conference, and they all play in either the PAC-10, Big East, or the ACC. You didn't even have the sack to throw in a MVC team, you fucking pussy! You didn't compare undefeated in their conference Memphis to the first place teams in the ACC, SEC, Big 10, or Big 12. You couldn't even bring yourself to compare them to Southern Illiniois, which would be a fair comparison.

Some of us (admittedly, we are just bloggers, and not Columnists for Big Time Web Sites) would have looked at Memphis' non-conference games. Who did they beat to acquire this amazing record?

Let's look:

In November, they managed to hold off the following teams: Jackson State, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arkansas State. They suffered their only loss to Georgia Tech, who can't even crack the top 7 of the ACC. Impressive?

In December, they beat Manhattan, Marshall, Mississippi, Austin Peay, Middle Tennessee, and Lamar. They lost to The Juggernauts of Tennessee and Arizona.

Then they began their CUSA schedule.

So, Gary, which of Memphis' wins are impressive enough for us doubters to think that we were wrong? Or maybe we should re-evaluate the way they crushed Marshall?

Those of us who hate on Memphis don't do so just because they graduated their 3 best players, or just because they play in the worst conference in the country. We hate also because Memphis went out of its way to not play anyone of any importance all year long. Fuck you, Gary, for making us sound like we were crazy to not put stock in the wins against the likes of Marshall and Lamar.

Comparing this Memphis team to the likes of Duke, who I hate with a passion, but have to play real teams a few times a year, regardless, is just silly. USC? They beat UCLA. Who has Memphis beat? A young and overrated Kentucky team.

Gary finishes off his column with a roll call of teams that did well despite their sub-conference regular season. He accidently proves his own point, here. His points in bold, mine in italics.

Did Jerry Tarkanian's 1990 UNLV team suffer because it was barely tested?
(It won a national title)

This is a joke, right? UNLV were prohibtive favorites the entire year. Tarkanian illegally aquired the best talent available. We're comparing Memphis to a team that had 4 NBA starters on its squad? And cheated to do so?

Did Rick Majerus' 1998 Utah team suffer because it was barely tested?
(It played for a national title)

By barely tested, do you mean, Keith Van Horn having to hit back-to-back, crazy, impossible to hit shots to win the WAC and get the automatic bid? In my mind, that would count as being tested. Dumbass. And again, that team was recognized as a very tough team. Doleac and Van Horn were on the floor together. 2 future NBA'ers is a rare thing for any college team.

Did Phil Martelli's 2004 St. Joe's team suffer because it was barely tested?
(It made the Elite Eight)

St. Joes made a very improbable run. Did the Richmond Spiders of 1991 suffer because it was barely tested? (It made the Sweet 16). Picking random teams who did well doesn't count for shit. And it's doubly fucked when you consider that St. Joes was ranked #1 at some point that year. Yeah, they did suffer. It may be subjective, but one could argue that if they had played some real schools outside the A-10, they would have won the entire thing.

Did Mark Few's 2006 Gonzaga team suffer because it was barely tested?
(It made the Sweet 16)

This is just a stupid point, counting on people not remembering that the 2006 Gonzaga squad played everybody and anybody in nonconference play. compare who the Zags played to who Memphis played, and it becomes a such a broad comedy that Joyce DeWitt would feel uncomfortable playing a role. It's a ridiculous comparison. It is, frankly, insulting. Gonzaga wasn't tested in 2006? Maybe not in Conference Play, but they played real teams in their nonconference schedule. Memphis played Marshall.

Gary, before asserting that Gonzaga played no one as tough as shitty early season 07 Kentucky, like Memphis did, you should go see who they beat that year.

Vendetta! Gary Parrish, you are....

Worst College Basketball Columnist, Ever! (update: Not really, Gary.)

Update: Commenter Dave points out that I got my facts wrong in the Utah. I was a year off. Dave could have pointed out that while attacking a columnist I called a hack, I made a pretty hack move myself. Thanks for not saying that out loud, Dave.

Commenter Not Digger Phelps did say it out loud. I only hope that by calling himself Not Digger Phelps that it is indeed Digger Phelps. Digger Phelps, you are 3rd favorite crazy old guy doing NCAA Hoops coverage. You are right behind Bill Rafferty, and Tough Old Monkey Billy Packer. In short, NDP suggests that I'm jealous of Gary Parrish. That might be overstating the case a bit. I think it more fair that I didn't give his column an honest critical reading. After the Noah article, I was against Gary from the outset on this column. I was overly harsh. Their are social "scientists" doing work on what makes The Intertubes That Are Not Like a Truck easier for assholes to be assholes. Anonymity, and remoteness of the subjects are the two biggest factors. So, in closing, no photo of me is going to appear any time soon. I wish to be able to retain my ability to be an asshole. Nice try, "Not" Digger Phelps. By the way NDP, you are apparently a regular reader--did your first comment have to be this one? What's wrong with leaving a comment that say, "Hey, Buddy, Job Well Done. Even though I'm not Digger Phelps, I could have used a guy like you at Notre Dame, back when I coached them. Or Didn't."

Friday, February 23, 2007

Who's a Good Pig?

I'm heartened by this trailer.

Talk about it at Videocracy

R.I.P. D.J.

I was saddened to learn yesterday that Dennis Johnson had died at a young 52 years of age. He collapsed near the end of a practice with his NBDL Austin Toros and died some time later in hospital. The Celtics were never a team I liked very much, in fact I hated Bird, McHale, and Ainge, but I always liked DJ and the Chief. If I am not mistaken D.J. won three World Championships and was a 5 time All-Star. That is a very distinguished career. He was coaching in the NDBL so I don’t know if he was trying to reach the NBA one day or not, but I think he might have had a shot at coaching in the NBA. The man had a sordid personal life, so I cannot let that go by, however when a man whom we all know through his basketball life dies at such a young age, it is sad. One final note, he taught me and probably millions of other ignorant white kids that black guys could have freckles too. RIP DJ.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Pros Vs. Joes: The (kinda) Sportscasters Edition

A bit of a special treat for us, in theory, this week on Pros Vs. Joes. Some borderline celebrities are participating. This has one obvious drawback, in that these guys see professional athletes up close and personal, and not one of them actually thinks they are going to beat the pros. They talk a good game, but come on, some of them are in their early 40's; most sportscasters are failed athletes. They know they can't beat these guys. But, it was still fun.

Let's meet our "Joes" (who are, umm, kinda famous. I had heard of 2 of them!)

Joe #1: Derrin Horton, who works for the NFL Network. So not only is he a sportscaster, he is working for possibly the most evil idea the NFL has ever come up with, including when the NFL colluded with Nazi scientists to develop in a lab a simulcrum of a human, that unsightly mockery of God's creation, Al Davis. I can not state loudly enough how much I hate the very idea of the NFL network, and here creeps one of their denizens, on to "normal cable". I'm rooting against him, but in build and age, he looks like the likely victor.

Joe #2: Sal Masekela, or as I know him, "That black guy from the X-Games". According to wikipedia, Sal has been forced, due to some crime committed in a past life, to co-host a show on E! with Debbie Mantahugginkiss, formerly of the View. He's also the son of a famous South African musician, and the brother of a guy from Survivor. This family is fucking talented, ya'll. I think I'll root for Sal, despite the long odds on the Extreme Sport Guy with a the pearish physique.

Joe #3: Van Earl Wright, of Fox Sports. Van Earl may be the oldest competitor on PvJ. I like Van Earl Wright, for reasons I'm uncertain about. He was one of those guys, back in the days when ESPN seemed like the hippest thing ever, to try to be the hip guy for other sports/news channels. He's been around forever. He doesn't have a prayer.

So, anyway, those are our Joes. Presumably, with "famous" participants, we won't have a very physical episode on our hands. That assumption proves true.

Pro #1: Rob Dibble. Shockingly to me, Dibble is now 43. Though we only get tastes of it, it seems that Dibble has been busy in retirement, getting both arms inked. He, like almost every baseball player that has been featured on PvJ has been enjoying his retirement. He looks more like a First Base Coach than a former player, if you get my meaning.

Pro #2: Brick Mitts! Apparently people in Indiana call Rik Smits "The Dunkin' Dutchman" but everyone I knew called him Brick Mitts. I've always disliked Smits, disliked being reminded that basketball always has a place for the genetic freaks. If Rik had been born 120 years earlier, he would have earned his meager paycheck in Traveling Sideshows. Which is where he belonged. Oh well.

Pro #3: Robby Ginepri! Wait? Who? Robby Ginepri? Did he have a bit part in Goodfellas? No. Apparently Robby Ginepri is a American tennis player who had a pretty good 2005, and a very mediocre 2006. If Andy Roddick is the Frank Sinatra of American Tennis, then Robby is probably Joey Bishop.

Pro #4: Andre Rison. I refuse to call him "Bad Moon" because that was a Chris Berman invention, and I refuse to have any part in encouraging that annoying fat piece of shit. Rison was a Wide Receiver on 7 NFL teams, and 1 CFL Team. He was also married to formerly crazy, now dead, member of TLC, Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes. His appearance on this show basically amounts to a cameo.

Challenge 1: Shatter Glass: The concept is simple enough, if somewhat odd. In front of homeplate there is a box, that has 10 panes of glass, with a target box behind them. Shatter all the glass, and get a ball through the target. Pro Rob Dibble will set the pace.

"Control" is not a watchword for Dibble. Presumably, he could take some gas off the 86 mph heaters he's throwing into the ground, but he refuses to. He's going for maximum breakage, minimal aiming. It takes him 3 pitches to hit glass at all, but when he does, he breaks 6 panes. In all, it takes him 14 pitches to break all 10 panes, and to get a ball through the target.

Sal is the first Joe, and our friends at PvJ decide it will be funny to clock the Joe's speed of pitches, too. It is funny. Sal clocks at about 38 mph. But he does actually beat Dibble, needing only 12 pitches. Eat it, you fat-ass, overly tatted, crazy fucking Pro!

Van Earl is next, and he proceeds to put on the worst baseball throwing exhibition I have ever seen. And I'm including the charity event I saw that had 8 year old girls with inner ear disorders throwing off the mound. Seriously, there must be something wrong with Van Earl, because these balls are landing 20 feet in front of the mound, yards off to the side. It is hideous. Host Petro Snuffalupagus actually says, "Someone please shoot me." I can only imagine how long this display took in real life. Van Earl isn't overthrowing--he's hitting 19 mph on the gun, and yet in 12 throws, he breaks 3 panes. Have a seat, Van Earl. He keeps throwing, even after he loses. He doesn't break any more panes. Sit the fuck down, Van Earl.

Last up, NFL Networker Derrin Horton--he's clocking about 34 mph. But, oh, Tragedy! He pulls his hammie. Warrior for Evil that he is, he struggles on, and does a lot better than Van Earl. But no one can beat Sal! (we will see later that Sal probably has some baseball playing in his life, despite his Hip, X-Game 'tude, Dude)

Second Challenge: Return 9 shots from Robby Ginepri (who?)--Each pro will face 3 of Ginepri's serves, 3 of his forehands, and 3 of his overhand smashes. Pro who successfully returns the most wins. Shots into the net on Ginepri's part count as points for the Joes, instead of do-overs. Presumably, that will keep Ginepri (who?) from going fullstream on these guys.

Perhaps not.

Sal is up first, and the first serve he faces is clocked at 127 mph. Robby is not dicking around. Sal returns 0 serves, but does get his racket on 2 each of the forehand and overhead smashes. They are ugly duck returns, but they suffice. Sal scores 4 points.

Horton is next. He nils out on the serves. He goes 2-2 on forehand. On the third, Ginepri, with lightning in his eyes, tells Horton to drop back. Horton actually does so. What comes next is obvious enough. Ginepri drops a wicked backspinning dropshot on the guy with the gimpy hamstring. Nice, Robby! Horton faces 2 overhand smashes that he doesn't handle. He can't win. Eat it, evil denizen of NFL Network!

Van Earl scores two points on shots that Ginepri hits into the net. That's all he does. Suck it, Van Earl, you old man.

Sal is going to Overtime. To paraphrase Barack "You Like a Hurricane" Obama, "No one thought that this pudgy X-gamer, son of a South African musician, could win the first round of Pros Vs. Joes! But we pray to a mighty God on the slopes of Telluride, and we catch baseballs at the Virtual Studios at E! Entertainment!" Congrats, Sal. We were wrong to doubt you.

So our tiebreaker round is for Van Earl and Derrin. They are going to catch Inbound passes and shoot over Brick Mitts. They will be shooting from 5 places on the floor; they have 10 to choose from. Mitts will be Lurching out of the circle under the basket for each shot.

Derrin goes first; hits an incredible bank shot, and then pump fakes successfully on his last shot to go 2-5. Van Earl needs three sunk baskets to win. He hits his first, from the right corner. He doesn't come close again. Van Earl is eliminated! Perhaps the fact that he is at least 10 years older than his next competitor had something to do with it! Perhaps the fact that the man has apparently never held a baseball in his hand had something to do with it. It doesn't matter. Van Earl, Hit The Fucking Bricks, pal.

On to Overtime--4 events, no longer than 1 minute each.

First event: Play one on one with Brick Mitts & Score a basket--This was predictable. Both guys max out. For some reason, at no point, does either use what is presumably their fast foot speed. If I Had been in their shoes, I would not have played any defense on Smits, and I would launched for anywhere on the floor. They both dribble drive on occasion. Guys, that dude is 7' 4". Don't do that!

Both Joes tied at 1:00!

Second Event: Catch 2 heaters from Dibble--just to make it interesting, there's a large backstop behind the Joes. If Dibble misses the backstop, it counts as a catch for the Joe. Dibble does in fact miss the backstop against Derrin. Derrin does make a stabbing catch to end his session at 25 seconds. Sal is up next, and he seats himself, as host Petros Pumpernickelos notes, "Like a real catcher." Sal has definitely played some catcher in his life, because he looks almost bored as he snags two Dibble fastballs in 10 seconds. Oh, Snap, Dibbly! Homeboy kicked your tatted-up ass!

Sal is now up by 15 seconds.

Third Event: Stand at the Net, and Volley a return from Robby Ginepri (who?). This is by far the most physical event the sportscasters deal with, in terms of pain. Derrin takes a tennis ball pretty solid in the kackers. The face he makes is priceless. Maybe Robby is as pissed about the concept of the NFL Network as I am. During most of Derrin's performance, it looks less like "return a ball" than "dodge the tennis ball". And even if that were the premise, Derrin doesn't do well. His balls aren't the only place that Ginepri hits pretty solidly. Robby hit that ass! (Not in that way, Timmy Hardaway!) Derrin maxes out.

Sal maxes out, too, but he looks good doing it, damn it!

Sal still up 15 seconds.

Fourth Event: Tipped pass drill with Andre Rison--Hey, that's right. Andre Rison is on this show. An automated football chucker is rigged up to hit a wooden ramp, to simulate a tipped ball. Host Petros Pickapickilitis informs the contestants that just like in the NFL, anything goes after a tipped ball.

Sal goes first, but doesn't take that lesson to heart, and reacts with what seems genuine anger/frustration/confusion about why this Rison fellow keeps pushing him over, grabbing his jersey, etc. Sal maxes out, and has to run to the finish line. Oh no, his lead is basically gone. If Derrin can finish this event in 56 seconds, he will win. Derrin drops a couple of balls that would have won him the game quite easily. He manages to catch one ball, at about the 50 second mark. Can he run 5 second 60 yard dash? The answer is no!

Your winner, super-hip X-Gamer, Punk Kid, son of an African Immigrant Sal Masekela! You see, the US is a Meritocracy after all! USA! USA! USA!

Congrats, Sal! (Wanna give us an interview?)

photo courtesy of our friends and lovers at ESPN.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

NCAA Hoops Round Up: Little Girl, Let ET Go Home Already

This is the photo that accompanied the Gary Parrish apologia for Joachim Noah. You know the kind. After the cameras are off, and the game is over, he's a really nice guy. He poses for photos with Vanderbilt fans after a heartbreaking loss that appears destined to keep Florida out of the Top 1 spot for all of a week or two (we'll get to that). I'm not saying Noah ain't a nice guy, nor am I willing to assert that he is a nice guy. I don't know Noah. Thing is, neither does Parrish.

There are plenty of people who fit the mode that Parrish describes though, who were not nice guys. Respectful in loss to the athletes who bested him, poses with fans of either team, and answers questions with modesty? That's fine. In the middle of a game, when his emotions are running, he's been quite comfy swiping at a cheerleader, or acting like a spoiled baby when the opposing coach won't give him the ball quick enough. So we'll see.

But Parrish's main thrust of the article is the kind of cloying journalism that makes readers discount what most sportswriters write. "You don't know him like I know him!" We couldn't possibly be "haters" because of Noah's antics on the court; we must have other reasons! I'm not paraphrasing--here's Parrish in his own words:

You see a Miss Sweden for a mom, and you hate it.
You see a French Open champion for a dad, and you hate it.
You see the bouncing ponytail for a hairdo, and you hate it, too.
But if you could ever get past that stuff -- and it is admittedly a lot
of stuff -- what you'd see is that when the games are over and the TV cameras turned off Noah transforms from the jabbering face of the reigning national champions and into perhaps the most gracious, polite and approachable superstar imaginable.

I see a lickspittle journalist, and I hate it.

First of all, someone help me--that's a lot of "stuff" to get by? A haircut and parents? I didn't know his mom was Miss Sweden until the moment I read the sentence. I don't hate based on bouncing ponytails, or buzzcuts, or even the nouveau Vanilla Ice dos I'm seeing on Pittsburgh's squad. The argument is, If Only You Knew Him Like I Knew Him.

Which is a lame argument. It's not our fault, the viewer's fault, that someone comes across like an ass when they are in the middle of their job. That's the person's fault, no matter who it is--Joachim Noah, Geraldo Rivera, or GW Bush. They do their job on cameras. It isn't the job of the print media to talk about how great these folks are when they aren't doing their job. It certainly isn't their job to talk about how great they are when the rest of us can't see them.

And really, a couple of anecdotes about how Noah responds to positive attention (like being asked for autographs) doesn't seem to me to be a very powerful response when these are details that occur after the game in which Noah stamped his feet about the Vanderbilt Coach not giving him the ball when he grabbed for it. What do I know, though? I'm just a blogger who hates on Noah for reasons that have nothing to do with his Whiny Ass Titty Baby style of game, but because of his hot Nordic mom and his somewhat successful tennis playing dad? Buh? Snuh.

Careful, Gary, you're one step away from Alicia Silverstone in The Crush: "I Love Joachim, and He Loves Me!" No he don't Gary, not even if you take all the leftover Corey Brewer Florida trim he's getting and subject them to swarms of angry bees (yeah, I've actually watched The Crush. Eat it, Sports Guy).

Ugh. Enough. Let's move on to actual games.

So Wisconsin was #1, and they ate it to a bunch of Spartans, perhaps inspired by the upcoming release of 300, a movie about Spartans produced by Robert Rodriguez, based on a Graphic Novel by Frank Miller, just like Sin City was. Sin City is where they held the NBA All-Star Game, you know. (Homage to the Sports Guy, again. Your job is crazy easy. Enjoy it, son.)

So #1 was wide open tonight, at least until Wisconsin and Ohio State play against each other later on this week.

#2 Ohio State took care of business after a fashion, beating Penn State by 8, 68-60. Ohio State has played two curiously close games with the bottom feeding Nittany Lions. Maybe they just can't solve Geary Claxton, I don't know. But this game was ugly from start to finish, and Ohio State didn't look like a real #2 in the country in this game. Much as they didn't when they got their doors blown off by Florida earlier in the year, or when they got beat by Wisconsin in Big 10 play. Am I saying that no matter what happens the rest of year that this is the #1 seed to discard before the Final Four? No I am not. But I'll be discarding them.

Ohio State was helped, I guess, by the rather unimpressive win from #3 Florida. Not that they didn't blow out South Carolina, they did, 63-49. There's just no way beating South Carolina is going to be impressive. The last time the Gamecocks were good, they were the first #2 seed to lose to a #15. Sooner or later, (hopefully before the tournament starts) the NCAA is going to wake up to the fact that the SEC is weak. I think the Big-12 has more scary teams than the SEC. And yet, we keep seeing Kentucky, or Alabama, or Vanderbilt in the Top 25.

Hey, speaking of the SEC:

Vanderbilt got rewarded for beating Florida--they went from "Others receiving votes " to #17. They parlayed that into a massive drubbing at the hands of Mississippi State. Who I think were good once back when I was in college. And I'm not exaggerating. Drubbing. 83-70, with Jamont Gordon (who?) recording the second triple double in Mississippi State history. So Vanderbilt got to be in the Top 25 for a week. It probably matters not to Vandy. They've punched their ticket to NCAA March Madness, just like Michigan State probably did for beating Wisconsin. Do either of these teams actually deserve it, based on who they've lost to? Probably not. Suck it, mid-majors.

Tennesseein' is Tennebelievin: #25 Alabama keeps getting ranked, and I'm not sure why. They keep losing the games that would really make them a factor, a team to be noticed. Meanwhile, Bruce Pearl's Tennessee team seems to win those important games, and this instance is no different. Tennessee probably has the best player not wearing a Florida uniform in the SEC in Chris Lofton. I'd like to see them take the place of Alabama in any postseason talk, because I think their chances of winning a game or two are much better then Bama's. This is a long way of saying that Tennessee beat Alabama 69-66 in OT. Tennessee now has a better record on the year and in the conference than the #25 team in the country. That suggests, somewhat worryingly, that the SEC may send at least 6 teams to the tourney. Reflected glory shall be our watchword there.

I should admit that the rest of the conferences aren't any prettier. In the ACC, North Carolina, hated bastards that they are, took care of business against an outmatched NC State. But Boston College, perhaps still reeling from losses to Duke and UNC last week, lost huge to VA Tech.

And then you've got even more unranked, but probable at-large ACC teams. UVA (#24) actually was ranked, but got beat by the bottom of the ACC, Miami. On again, off again ranked Maryland beat Florida State.

And with Georgia Tech's win over Wake Forest, that young and talented team finds themselves 7th in a conference that very well may get 7 teams in (I'm against that, but it is possible).

And it is official--we should not speak of Clemson again this year.

The ACC and The Big 10 and the SEC aren't the only conferences that are weird top-heavy dogpiles. What to make of the Big 12? The PAC-10? Hell, we might as well count the Missouri Valley in this group now. The conference tournaments that start in a week are going to be huge for sorting out who goes to the Dance, and where they are seeded. A sorting hat, if you will. UNC, The House of Slytherin is paging you.

And I say this with all due respect to Baby Jesus: Fuck Christmas, this is the best time of the year.

We Suspect Barnyard Is Suffering Emotionally Right Now

Not only did his Badgers get worked by the rather ridiculous Drew Neitzel led Spartans, but apparently some dude showed up at Barnyard's door with a freaking sword!

Oconomowoc - Instincts took over, James Van Iveren says, when he rushed out his door to the sound of a woman being raped in an apartment above.

"It was a woman screaming," he recalled Tuesday. "She was screaming for help."

Sword in hand, he bounded up the stairs, kicked in the door and confronted a man who turned out to be alone - watching a pornographic movie.

"Now I feel stupid," Van Iveren said.

Take care of yourself Barnyard.

let's be careful out there.

(link courtesy of BoingBoing)

Badgers Kicked in Collective Hole

Wow two whole days as #1! The Gods have really set this season, and more importantly, this year’s tournament up to be a doozy. The Badgers from Madtown were unable to keep any forward momentum as the nation’s #1 ranked team (a first #1 ranking in school history). They ran into a court of trouble Tuesday night against Drew Neitzel and the Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing. If you live for the Red and White, eat way too many brats in one sitting, smoke weed from carved fruit, and play pool at Cuenique, then I dislike your favorite team. Actually, I do dislike Wisconsin teams, except usually their basketball team for some reason. “Hi, I’m Kurt Penney”. I’m sure Big BM will have more on this later. The fall out pictured above was apparently not game related.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Hot Water + Wood = Uh Oh

Pitchers and catchers have reported for Spring Training and already the “Curse” has given a little tip of the hat to the Cubs. It was nothing major; maybe it was just a friendly reminder to the Chicago Cubs that they are not entirely in charge of their own destiny. Phenom pitcher and amateur candy-striper, Kerry Wood had a pre-season run in with a big tub of hot water. He claims that he is fine, that he only bumped his chest and stomach, but the team made him sit out the first couple of days of throwing just in case.

It is not so much the existence or extent of any real injury here, but the perception that all of the money in world and newly acquired superstar talent you can sign will not win you a World Series title, if that talent can’t stay on the field. A lesson the Cubs know all too well. The Curse relented exceedingly by allowing the BoSox to win a title a couple of years back, and it will be damned if it is going to let the Wrigleyville Baby Bears do anything of the sort. Contributor Jerious Norwood is an uber-fan of the Cubs and we have sparred a bit in the past about the breakability of his team’s chuckers, but at this point I can imagine that he and the rest of the Cub’s fans out there are just a tad spooked by Mr. Wood’s pre-season prat fall. I for one think they have a good shot at winning a pennant, which means that they will probably finish third in their division.
An artist's rendering of Kerry Wood just before his fateful fall.

NCAA Hoops Round Up

Before I get to last nights games, I'd like to talk about a game from Saturday that I didn't get to before.

#16 Southern Illinois beating #13 Butler at Butler, 68-64. Now, if you are one of those people who is still watching interviews with Peyton Manning, and just beginning to look at college basketball, you may be thinking to yourself that it seems odd that these two teams are ranked. You may be thinking, "OK, I can guess where Southern Illinois is located, but where the fuck is Butler?" (Indianapolis--in a gym straight out of Hoosiers).

You may be getting ready to email us at I Dislike Your Favorite Team, asking, "Who's the most likely one of these teams to get to the Sweet 16? We will save you the trouble--I like the Salukis of Southern Illinois. Not just because they won this game. In fact, this game factors in very little. Butler's best player--their engine, if you will, was ill with the flu. A.J. Graves simply had maybe the worst game he's going to have all year, 12 points off his average, massively off on his field goal percentage, and even missed a free throw (something, he hardly ever, and I mean ever, does--it was his 5th miss in over 115 attempts). And he's a dangerous, dangerous player. He looks like, and plays like a Steve Nash raised by wolves. (this photo does know justice to his feral qualities)

Quick sidenote: Rick Majerus was calling this game, and there was a wonderful moment of Majerusian color. I paraphrase: "The theme song to this game should be Steppenwolf. Get your motor runnin...If your motor is defense...[trails off]." Thanks, Rick! You are that much closer to writing speeches for our President.

SIU just seems a little deeper to me, and plays such aggressive defense that if they play anyone who relies on finesse and jumpshots, they seem like a guaranteed pass into the next round. Jamaal Tatum is at yet, an underranked offense threat, and Randall Falker playing near the basketball will be trouble for any team to handle. I should also mention that both SIU and Butler are packed to the gills with upperclassmen.

OK, on to last night's games--just a couple worth mentioning, really.

Apparently, some people are projecting Clemson into the Tournament based on the fact that they play in the ACC and were at one point, the last undefeated team in the country. But, c'mon, they've gone 2-7 in their last 9 games, and got rolled by Maryland, 82-66. I love the ACC--it's the league I grew up watching (along with the Big East) but there is simply no way a team with a losing record in their own conference should go to the Tourney, and Clemson is two games under .500. And they've been shown up. Maryland is a fairly marginal ACC team, who should probably go to the Dance, and they destroyed this Clemson team. People talking about 7 or 8 teams coming out the ACC should be ignored. They are fixating on records, and not on actual wins. In their last 10 games, during which they have gone 3-7, who has Clemson beat?

Florida State, North Carolina State, and Boston College (a win that looks less and less impressive as time goes on). In that 10 game span, they've lost close games to very good teams, like Duke and North Carolina. But they've lost to Maryland twice, UVA, GA Tech, and Wake Forest.

And let's take a quick look on the teams beat by Clemson to build up their record. Their first 15 wins included wins against: Arkansas State, Monmouth, Old Dominion University, Furman, Appalachain State, Minnesota, Wofford, Georgia State, Charlestown South, and Western Carolina. If this team gets in, the NCAA Selection has some 'splainin' to do.

OK, let's get back to real teams.

Ohio State dismantles Minnesota, as expected, 85-67. This makes the tilt against Wisconsin huge. Ohio State and Wisconsin play in a conference generally regarded as pretty weak (though both Indiana and Illinois seem to be basking in some reflected glory). Ohio State has already lost to Florida once, and Wisconsin once. It's fair to say that Ohio State needs to win this game, against the presumptive #1 team in the country to prove that they are worthy of a #1 seed. If they win this game, I think you've got a complete dogpile for the #1 seeds. Is it possible that a garbage conference like the Big 10 could produce two #1 seeds?

Arizona State decides not to go winless in the PAC-10, and hurts USC in the process. Arizona State beats #22 USC, 68-58. Ouch. This will certainly drop USC out of the Top 25, and maybe, finally, make room for UVA. There could not be a worse possible time for this loss for USC. It's this kind of loss that moves a team from a #5 seed to a #7, where upsets aren't even really upsets anymore. We'll see if they can bounce back, and maybe win a game or two before the PAC-10 Tourney.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

NCAA Hoops Round Up; ESPN Marketing Phrase Weekend!

ESPN is rather ga-ga over their new Bracket Buster Weekend, which is a good idea, but a horrible name. Some of these teams aren't even going to the Big Dance (Northern Iowa, Walking Like Panthers?) and some are going and should be Top 5 seeds in their region. How can a Top 5 team be a Bracket Buster? That's just stupid. Anyway, let's wrap up Saturday, shall we? Big news, probably a new #1 come Monday (Does the AP work on Presidents Day?)

I said that if Florida was going to lose in the regular season that it might happen in Vanderbilt. And it did. #1 Florida falls to unranked Vandy, 83-70. Vandy's backcourt of Byars and Foster each scored 24 points, shooting a combined 20-35. This is a dangerous backcourt tandem. I haven't seen much of Foster, but I know Byars is the kind of player that keeps coaches up nights--he slashes, he scores, and he's unselfish (8 assists in this game). Vanderbilt is close to 20 wins for the season, has knocked off the #1 team in the country, and has the second best record in the SEC. They'll get a good seed, and be a very dangerous team.

So with #2 Ohio State idle, say hello to your new #1, presuming that Wisconsin could somehow hold back the juggernaut that is Penn State Nittany Lions. They did. Easily. It was boring. #3 Wisconsin crushes Penn State, 75-49. OK, so Alando "Calrissian" Tucker and Cammron "I'm Not Chris Rock" Taylor are well known factors for Wisconsin. But tonight saw the emergence of freshman Jason Bohannon, who scored 11 points. The last thing the rest of the country wants to see is Wisconsin working talented freshman into the mix. I've long believed that Wisconsin was the best team in the country. They tilt with Ohio State next week. It could be for the #1 seed in the Tourney. Fucking awesome. I love this country some times.

#4 North Carolina might move up, too. They knocked off #21 Boston College in Boston 77-72, in a way that will probably haunt poor Jared Dudley for a while. It's been a rough week for BC--they lost to an unranked Duke team, and had a chance to at least tie this game a couple of times in the final minutes, but couldn't seal the deal. In a killer sequence, Tyler Hansborough missed the front end of a 1-1, and when Dudley was fouled on a 3 point attempt, BC had a chance to tie it. Dudley missed all three free throws (he's over 70% for the year). BC never really recovered from that. And can anyone, anyone explain to me why UVA, tied for the best record in the ACC with NC is still fucking unranked? I hope they meet in the ACC tournament, and UVA shows NC the value of having seniors, and not having Roy Williams as your coach.

It is now possible to whipser quietly that #19 Arizona is massively overranked? Top 25 teams don't get blown out on their home floor. Arizona had that embarrassing loss to UNC earlier this season, and now #5 UCLA shows up, and just flat out whups 'em. 81-66 is your final. Sure, sure, this year's PAC-10 is the second coming of Jesus in basketball form, but cripes, this was an ass-kicking. UCLA isn't a sneaky pick for the Final Four, but they may be getting overlooked right now.

Is it OK to whisper that #8 Memphis is overrated even after winning against Gonzaga? It did take overtime, and The Zags were without their best interior player, because he's facing felony charges for possession of Wacky Mushrooms. I'm uncertain of Memphis. You can't call them overrated by their record--it's impressive. They've beaten some teams that look on paper. All the same, if I'm looking for a first round loss in the Tourney that completely fucks up a bracket, I'm looking in Memphis' direction.

#6 Texas A&M works Oklahoma. Is Acie Law the best guard in the country? He might be.

How is #9 Kansas playing Nebraska like your mom? Everyone scores. Oh, SNAP! Nebraska had 5 players in double digits, had 8 score more than 5, and the only starter who didn't score more than 5 points had 8 assists. Kansas roles, and probably stole some lunch money while they were at it, 92-39.

We'll get into some of the other big games later. We are a little tired right now. But it should be noted that Georgetown wins again! And that Jeff Green had 8 blocks in that game. 8 fucking blocks? Jeff Green, don't you know you are only 6' 8"?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Our Second Interview with a Pros vs. Joes Winner: The Z-Man!

On Thursday night, Mike Zimmerman became the 4th winner in the 2nd season of Pros vs. Joes. In our review of the episode, we called Mike a douchebag. Yet, gracious winner that he was, he was still willing to sit down and answer a few of our questions.

Before we get to the interview, I have a personal issue to resolve with Spike TV. You guys are fucking dicks! In Season 1, each winner won $20,000. For a one-off reality competition, that seemed like a fair cash prize. We all know (well, those of who read about this shit for no good reason) that reality shows are pretty cheap to produce. So, it took maybe the second episode of Season 2 for me to realize that I wasn't hearing about the prize money anymore. I've done some research, and contacted my many sources in the Pro V. Joe network, and it has been confirmed--They Took the Prize Money Away. Spike TV, you are a bunch of dicks! We will be following up with our network of sources to find out when the Joes found out about this bullhonky change. And Spike TV, if you ran auditions for Season 2 without telling the Joes participating that the prize money was being phased out, than you are even bigger dicks that I thought. Lame, Spike TV, lame.

OK, to our interview...Ladies (well, whatever) and Gentle Men--Mike Zimmerman!

As I said in my review of your episode, I didn't catch where you from, but I did catch the fact that you are the still the all-time leading tackler for your high school football team. Where did you play high school football? Position?

I am from San Marcos Ca, North county San Diego. I went to San Marcos High. I played middle linebacker in HS, and also in college at the University of San Diego.

Was football your main sport, or did you play others?

In High School I played football, baseball, and basketball, where I started in all three. I wanted to play college baseball as well but one sport in college was quite enough.

When you tackled Andre Reed, did you think to yourself "Holy Shit, I just tackled Andre Reed!"? What did that feel like?

When I was playing the sports I was focused on winning, I have played against a lot of people in my life, and I have personally played against at least 15 NFL guys in my career, so he was just another guy to me, I mean it was really cool that it was Andre, but once we were on the field it did not matter who I was going against. I was thinking we were going to win $20,000 like last year, so I was all business….It felt great to tackle Reed, if I didn’t I would have got a lot of shit from all of my friends!!!

Was it your strategy in the Fielding Strawberry Event to take your time, and make sure you hit targets? Were you doggin' it?

Ok this is something that a lot of people have asked me about, and like you had not known that we filmed for two whole days, it was kinda that same thing. The drill was to field the ball, only if Darryl hit the ball in the little pie. So he really hit us like 50 balls, so I did not want to be tired when the name of the game was accuracy. It was all strategy for me to be fresh when I was throwing the balls.

Do you think that was the difference between you winning this event and Bosler losing it? Because it seemed to me he rushed his throws. It also occurred to me that since it wasn't a timed event, that you could really take your time, and set yourself up for a good throw.

Really Mark just did not have a great arm, he went 0 for 10, but they did not show that, and I really went 6-10. Oh, and the first basketball event was really different than how it looked! But we can get in to that later. Also I knew after I had beat Mark, I had to beat Church in four events, so I could not run my self ragged for 20 minutes!!! Lastly let me say this, in reply to your comment in the story, I told Mark that I was going to beat Church head to head after I knocked him out. [editor's note: The Z-Man is referring to my suggestion in my wrap-up that both he and Church thought that Church was the favorite] I never felt like I was the underdog, I felt like I was the heavy favorite, and I never trailed in Overtime.

Is Spud Webb as country as he sounded? I mean, "Hunting bear with a switch" isn't a phrase I hear very often.

To tell you the truth they kept us very separate from the pros, well at least in my first show, so we never really got to talk much, but at the end all of the guys were really cool.. But he did not seem too country to me.

[Editor’s note: I did not mean country to be an insulting thing. I just meant in relation to regular trash-talking, Spud used some odd phrases. Like he was a cowboy, or something]

Was Andre Reed as bad as shit-talking as he seemed? I mean, I heard tougher cracks in 8th grade.

Well also with the editing everyone talked about 100X's the shit that was really on the show, and after every event both the Pros and Joes got interviewed, but none of that made the shows. Reed was cool to me, I thought it was funny hearing them talk shit, but I hear a lot more shit talking from my friends when we play flag football, or softball. I play/coach on one of the best flag football teams in California.

Your episode wasn't heavy on hard contact (compared to episodes that featured Kevin Willis, or Randy Couture, or Herschel Walker). Was taking a soccer ball in the Nards the most painful thing you experienced?

The soccer balls did suck, and that was the toughest thing that we had to do. But we did not pick the episodes that we did, we did not even know the event until we got out there to do it. I would have liked to do the Randy episode, I do MMA [Editors note: That's Mixed Martial Arts, for all you pussies out there] so I would have liked to see if I could have won that event. And I would have loved to tackle Dickerson like [Episode 3 winner] Rodney. Overall it was a great experience.

Thanks to The Z-Man for answering our questions. We feel kind of bad calling him a douchebag. Though he is one cocky son-of-a-bitch. If you, dear readers, have any questions for the Z-Man, you can add them in the comments, or email . He's agreed to answer any and all.
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