Sunday, November 30, 2008

Homoerotic NFL Entendre of the Week

Dick Enberg, going for a two week streak.  During the Browns/Colts tilt, during a muffed punt and recovery.

Dick Enberg:  "And he's going to have to just sit back and swallow the surge!"
Randy Cross:  "That sounds painful.  How do you swallow a..uh...a...surge?"
Dick Enberg:  "It probably is painful when the surge is Joshua Cribbs!"

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Plaxico's Adventure More Hilarious Than Expected

After a day of headlines about Plaxico getting shot in a nightclub, we learn now that he accidently shot himself?

Awesome.  Kids--let this be a lesson.  When freakin' at the danceclub, make sure your handgun that you have snuck into the nightclub doesn't have a chamber in the round.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Big Shoe Dance

IDYFT NFL Pick 'Em: Thankful for the Little Things

Totally somnolent from two complete Thanksgiving dinners with seconds and the shittiest day of football I can remember, I don't have a lot to offer except the facts.

But the NFL must rethink its automatic T-day lineup. Three shitty & boring blowouts, one of which none of us were able to see. Bluh.

The Raiders upset of the Broncos in Denver screwed a lot of shoe-ins, and no one had the foresight to pick Oaktown to win.

And in other news, for fans of IDYFT and To The Last Drop in the New York area, I have a couple of events to highlight:

On Saturday, December 6th I will be reading and signing books at KGB Bar (85 E. 4th St.) from 7-9 pm.

On Monday, December 8th I will be signing books at Sage's Pages Bookstore in Madison, NJ from 6-8.

I'll also be speaking to classes at my high school but I'm sure most of you miscreants have restraining orders and won't be able to attend.

The Standings
1. Adw: 50 (this week +10)
2. Jess: 38 (this week 0)
3. Garwood: 30 (this week +10)
4. Big BM: 28 (this week 0)
5. Miwacar: 3 (this week -4)
6. MMMan: 1 (this week -6)
7. Barnyard: 0 (this week -20)

This Week's Picks
1. Your Shoe-In?
2. This Week's Upset List:
Denver, 49ers, Cincy
3. Your Favorite/Most Disliked Team?
4. Clash of The Titans: Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jason King, You are Either High or Catholic

Update:  Too much basketball, too quick in writing leads to confusing which game got to overtime.  It was Syracuse and Kansas that when to OT.   Stupid Big Blue Monkey!  

How else to describe this?

"The Fighting Irish might be ranked eighth in this week’s Associated Press poll, but after their performance in Tuesday’s 81-80 semifinal victory over No. 6 Texas, it’s no stretch to say that, four games into the season, Mike Brey’s squad is the second-best team in college basketball."

That's a huge stretch, actually.

First of all, take a look at that score.  81-80.  It wasn't a blowout.   It was decided by a barely missed shot from midcourt.  Texas almost won this game, and really, if they had stayed true to what they were doing in the first half, they probably would have won this game.  Oh, and King forgot to mention--it was a win in overtime.  And one of the reasons that it was so close was this nonsense:  "There was a scramble for the ball far from the basket and the shot clock was winding down. Harangody grabbed the ball and let fly from 40 feet with the ball banking in as the buzzer sounded to give Notre Dame a 66-60 lead with 7:47 to go".

Don't get me wrong.  I agree with Texas coach Rick Barnes when he says (as quoted in King's article) “On any given night, they can beat any basketball team in the country.”  Absolutely true.  But that does not automatically make them the 2nd best team in the country behind UNC.  

Prior to this win over Texas, who has Notre Dame beaten?  South Carolina Upstate, Loyola Marymount, and an Indiana team that's about two years away from becoming respectable again.  Texas was their first quality win, and it barely happened.  And this Texas team is full of young guys who will only get better as time passes.  

Notre Dame, on the other hand, is relatively experienced.  They should be good out of the gate.  But don't expect them to get a lot better as we get deeper into the season.

Jason King continues--saying that by calling Notre Dame the #2 team in the country, is specifically calling out Big East Rivals "No. 2 Connecticut, No. 3 Louisville and No. 4 Pittsburgh...right now, Notre Dame is better than all of them."

After seeing what Syracuse did tonight, I'll put them ahead of Notre Dame, as well.  And call me a homer, but I think the Hoyas could do a number on Notre Dame, too. 

Basically, Jason King is arguing that Notre Dame is the best team in the Big East, and that's laughable on its face. His one piece of evidence supporting it is a win against a young Texas team that had the game won and took their foot off the gas. And still almost won the damn thing.  

You are going to hear a lot of praise for Notre Dame in the next couple of days, and possibly weeks.  And then they will hit the Big East schedule, and they will lose more than they win.  They will prove themselves to be the 5th or 6th best team in a very tough conference, and that should translate into Top 20 status, absolutely.  But Top 2, or even Top 5?  Laughable.  

I'm not sure they are better than Davidson or Gonzaga.  Better than Oklahoma?  Better than UConn?  No way in white boy gym rat hell.  And let's see Luke Harangody play against Hasheem Thabeet or Blake Griffin before we start calling him NBA worthy.  Jason King calls the Texas frontline one of the most physical fronts Notre Dame will see all year, and name checks willowy outside shooter Connor Atchley as part of his proof.  Ridiculous!

I'll be fucking shocked if this Notre Dame sees the Elite 8.  

Metrodome - A Sexual Shangri-La

Apparently if you like to have loud public sex in crowds cheering you on, the Metrodome is available.  During Iowa's ass-kicking of Minnesota this past Saturday, some folks do what folk will do, which is get drunk.  Then they did something that most folk won't do--public sex in a bathroom of the Metrodome.

Also, it's possible our couple were strangers prior to that meeting, as these two do live more than an hour's drive from each other, and I'm guessing they might not have known each other.  (One going to Des Moines for fun, the other to Omaha--always just missing each other until that magical moment when they met in the handicapped stall in a Metrodome bathroom.  It's like that movie Serendipity, but like it was directed by David Cronenberg.

And clearly, this sentence from Star Trib writer Paul Walsh is meant as a Thanksgiving present:  "He was released to his girlfriend and she to her husband, police said."

Thanks, Paul!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Failed Companies On Your Stadium or Kit

ABC News' Justin Rood is reporting that Citi Group and AIG have no plans in following GM's footsteps and cutting back on their sports marketing plans:

"In boom times it was fine for AIG, Citi and others to spend millions on naming rights and other promotional arrangements with professional sports teams, critics say – even if they're a waste of money, as some marketing experts believe. But when the economy teeters on the brink of collapse – and firms are using American taxpayers' money to keep lending or just keep their doors open – those critics are making a stink about the expensive deals."

Quick point here on whether naming rights are a "waste of money".  They probably are, in the sense of driving traffic to that particular vendor of whatever they offering.  The marketing professionals who think this is a good use of money will argue that it doesn't matter if Manchester United fans go and check out AIG on the web after they watch their side play or not.  They still see the AIG logo emblazoned across the Best Player in the World's chest, and subconsciously, they are making that connection.  

But studies show that consumers are remarkably adept at learning how to filter out advertising messages--in fact, the more egregious the marketing is, the more likely we are to ignore it.  I have no evidence, but I'm guessing that most Manchester United fans know that AIG sponsors their team, but prior to the last few weeks, they couldn't tell you with any confidence what the hell AIG does.

The only in-your-face marketing that works any more is for brands that are already established in your head.  You see a Mello Yello NASCAR, or a McDonald's billboard, it reminds you that enjoy that product, and you start thinking about getting that product.  But if you saw a NASCAR with an unfamiliar company's name painted on the hood, how far out of your way would you go to find out more?  It only works if it reinforces something you already know, not to introduce you to something new.  It's "reminder marketing"--nothing more.

And now, while the corporations don't seem to eager to depart from their deals, it may be time for the sports franchises to reconsider.  Do the Mets, already famous for their build up of consumer confidence, only to fail late in the year in dream-crushing fashion, really want to be tied to their banking equivalent in CitiGroup?    Yes, they are getting $400 million over 20 years from CitiGroup.  They are also getting that money from an organization that needed your tax dollars to stay solvent for another week.  They also laid off 53,000 workers.  53,000!  That's at least 5 times more people than live in all of Wasilla, Alaska.  Could the Mets, even in a down economy, get someone else on board?  A sponsor that doesn't have the stink of failure and government bailout on them?  I don't see this as being much different than Enron Field.  

Let's not forget that the Houston Astros played in Enron Field (or that Enron agreed to play $100 Million Dollars over 30 years for the privilege).   It took the complete, extremely public disintegration of that corporation for that park to become Minute Maid Park.  

The corporations receiving helping hands from their government, and laying off real working men and women argue that there is no issue here--they are in binding contracts (which maybe true) and that, hell, what's $20 million dollars when you are a few Billion Dollars in the hole? (which may also be true, but really bad PR form).

From Justin Rood, again:

 PNC Bank ($7.7 billion in TARP funds pledged) is locked in a 20-year, $30 million deal to keep the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates named "PNC Park." A spokesman there said the bank did not use TARP funds to make payments on the deal.

 J.P. Morgan Chase ($25 billion from TARP) has a 30-year, $66 million contract for the Arizona Diamondbacks to call their stadium "Chase Field." "That was an agreement that was signed 11 years ago," by a bank that was bought by Chase, said bank spokesman Tom Kelley. "Tell me what 2008 has to do with 1997? That's a contractual obligation."

 Comerica ($2.3 billion in TARP funds pledged) has an identical deal with the Detroit Tigers to refer to their home field as "Comerica Park." Both expire in 2028. "From our perspective, they're not connected," said Comerica's Wayne Mielke of the stadium deal and the bank's anticipated receipt of bailout funds. "Why should it be reviewed?" The cost of the naming rights, said Mielke, "does not inhibit our ability to lend."

Capital One – famous for their tagline, "What's in your wallet?" and a recipient of $2.3 billion in TARP money – are the proud and paying sponsor of the Capital One Bowl, formerly known as the Florida Citrus Bowl. The bank did not respond to requests for comment.

So why play ball with these asshole companies?  I know why the corporations are still at it--the last positive thought anyone might have of AIG is going to be Ronaldo slotting some incredible set-piece game winning goal.  What's in it for Manchester United?  The Mets?  The Tigers? Why don't they cancel these deals? 

Look at the Diamondbacks--they are getting $2 million a year--that's enough to sign Chris Snyder, a catcher who hit .237 who was good for almost a strikeout a game.    The Pittsburgh Pirates are getting $1.5 million a year--good enough to sign a solid reliever in John Grabow on a team that had much, much bigger issues.

So why bother?  It is because MLB owners pale at the thought of having their stadiums clearly named by the highest bidder?  Would they rather their corporate relationship appear to continue on, ad infinitum?  This money doesn't seem to do anyone any good.

Again, GM has cancelled their deal with Tiger Woods, even though (or because) they haven't received any money from The American Taxpayer.  Seems to me a lot of companies that should be following their example are not only not following their example, they are aggressively demanding that they should not have to.  I assume as a new partial owner of these companies, I'll get a vote.  But I'm not holding my breath.

Posted Without Comment

via Boing Boing Gadgets

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Homoerotic NFL entendre of the week!

Randy Cross: And JaMarcus Russell unleashes the hose!
Dick Enberg: Whipped it right in there for the score.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Crap. Tom Brady Fights For Good.

Between being All-American White Boy Handsome, Breaking Records under Bill Belichek, Rising Mediocre Fantasy Teams to the Playoffs, and Giving it To American and Brazilian Hotties, it is easy, easy, easy to hate Tom Brady.  Practically cliche.  That's not including his appearance at the 2004 Republican Convention, which I sure as fuck remember, even if no one else does.

But, maybe, just maybe, there's a little Anakin in that Darth Brady.  I can't fault him for supporting OLPC, or their Holiday drive.  OLPC is a Foundation that has Fancy Pants, and Plans to Match.  NewsRadio allusions aside, they do good work--they seek ways to finance Solar Powered, Linux run, inter-connected laptops to Africa, South America, Asia--wherever the lack of electricty precludes computers.  They make laptops that are tough, simple, and efficient.  In short, they are attempting an end-round solution to the lack of infrastructure to the poorest of the poor.

No less a figure than Cory Doctorow, the Friendly DungeonMaster of the Internet has endorsed OLPC .

So, I guess, stop hating Tom Brady long enough to listen to the message.  It is a good one.

Tom Brady talks about OLPC
Uploaded by olpcfoundation

Reminder: "Hugging the Panda" is a Bad Thing

We, long ago, read about some drunken Chinese feller who wandered into a Panda enclosure to "hug the panda".  We posted it--Don't Fuck with Giu-Giu, we Said.  We came up with a slick little neologistic phrase, "Hugging the Panda"--to be used in situations in which someone does something (often drunkenly) that they think is a good idea, that is demonstrably, from the get-go, a bad idea.

We had a new term; we had publicized the Immediate Danger that is the Panda.  More importantly, we got to use our new term to make fun of people who fucked up.

But apparently, people have not learned.  Through our network of tipsters (OK, two people emailed me the story, and one of them doesn't even know I write for a blog) that we have another Chinese person getting into an enclosure with a panda.  Again, they were trying to "hug" the panda.

This fucker jumped a fence over 6 feet tall to get to "Yang Yang".  Do Not Fuck With Yang Yang in Yang Yang's house!  Yes, pandas are cute.  Often hilariously so.  But they are bears, and thus Godless Killing Machines.  And they bite.  Don't Hug the Panda.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
ThreatDown - Bats

Friday, November 21, 2008

New York Knicks Have a Plan, It Would Seem?

Two trades to two West Coast teams, involving just about everyone with name recognition outside of Madison Square Garden, with the noted exception of Stephon Marbury--the one player that Mike D'Antoni has pretty much refused to have play for him.

First (though these deals happened so close together, its hard to claim a "First")--The Knicks acquired Al Harrington from the Golden State Warriors, giving up Jamal Crawford in the process.  On paper, at least, this seems like an odd move--Jamal had been playing pretty well so far this year.  Al's numbers are fine, as far as they go.  I guess we can only assume that this was a positional move--that the Knicks have plenty of other guards that they love to play that will fill the role of Crawford's departure (ha!), or possibly a move to get their salary numbers down (Crawford is in the middle of a 7-year, $56 million deal; Harrington's ends just when The Era of Super Free Agency begins--2010).

(To be fair, D'Antoni had nothing but effusive praise for Harrington, and how he fits into his game plan)

With a new frontcourt player in hand, the Knicks then turned around their Double-Double guy in Zach Randolph.  Just a couple of days ago, the Knicks GM was saying that as expensive as Randolph is, he wasn't sure he could move him when he's playing as well as he is.  We know the answer to that question now.  But Randolph is crazy-expensive.  He's making almost $15 mil this year, and scheduled to make $16 next year, over $17 the year after.  

The Knicks sent him and guard Mardy Collins to The Clippers for Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas--a couple of veterans they will almost surely shed as quickly as possible.   LA. Times writer Lisa Dillman quotes Mobley in a way that suggests he isn't very happy about this news.  Hey remember when getting traded from the Clippers to the Knicks would have felt like a heaven-sent miracle for anyone on that squad?  Poor Knicks--now people react to you like this:

"I'm a little upset," said Mobley, in a voice barely above a whisper. "It was a surprise. I mean, I liked our team. I didn't give up on our team. I don't know what the owner was thinking, and don't know what anyone was thinking." 

The Knicks do seem to have a plan and they are willing to pretty much give up everything good about this year to make it happen in 2010.  That takes a kind of patience that neither the Knicks or the New York media are famous for having.  Should be hilariously sad to watch--like when a clown dies.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Open Letter to Drew Gooden

Bad enough you spent last year with a reverse bald spot on the back of your head.  Now you are going to grow a lomg Three-Point Beard?  And name it?  And not call it a Trident, or a Pitchfork, but a Johnny Boy?

What the Fuck, Drew Gooden.  Hire people to sedate you, who will shave you on a bi-weekly basis, thus not permitting these horrible mistakes to happen.

The Johnny Boy?  FUCK YOU.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Coming and Going

Mike Mussina is retiring.  He's coming off one of his better years, actually.  20 wins, Golden Glove, highest first strike percentage in the league.  But he's been pitching for 18 years, and he's clearly a guy with other interests.

I had been assuming that Mussina was going to fall into the Bert Blyleven trap of Non-Hall of Famers.  But Tim Kurkijian made a pretty compelling argument that he should be, even though he's got no World Series rings, and he's only got 1 20-game winning season.  Couple that with a lot of years with a franchise in Baltimore that was dysfunctional for many of his ten years there. Tim pointed out that Mike Mussina was on his way to 20 games in 1994, the strike-shortened season.  Mussina is retiring with a winning percentage well over 100 games over .500.  He's finishing in the Top 20 All-Time strikeouts (2813 of them). He played his entire career in the Steroid Era and in the AL East.   Kurkijian convinced me, but also made me wonder (once again) who the fuck Bert Blyleven has got to blow to get into the Hall.

Mussina is wandering nerdily into the sunset, whilst Freddy Adu is beginning to rise to prominence.

I can hear your reaction from here--Freddy Adu?  Didn't I hear about that guy years ago?  About how he was going to be the savior of American soccer?  Didn't he completely wash out?

Actually, Freddy just turned 19 in June.  Which goes to show how early the hype machine kicked in for the poor kid.  No one, especially a soccer player (who usually hit their stride in their mid-20's) should be hyped up at age 14, or forgotten by age 18, which kind of happened to Adu).  Freddy, quietly, has been playing better and better in National play, when he gets some burn.  Tonight, in a match that didn't mean anything of real import to the US, Freddy got a lot of time, played really, really well--finding space on the wings, finding space in the middle and slotting passes to his wingers.  But the reason he is getting mentioned now is that he scored his first official National Team goal.  Adu had scored for the Olympic Team and the U20 team, but this was his first true International Cap goal.    It was a free-kick goal, and not hit with a ton of power, but with a great sense of placement.  So congrats, Freddy!    

Added bonus:  The US beat Guatemala, who are huge dicks on the pitch.  Guatemala is now done in World Cup qualifying.  Good!  Also good to see:  Jozy Altidore looking really comfortable in his role--assisting on one goal, getting dragged down to set up the other, and in general, causing massive trouble for the Guatemala defense.  Not good to see:  Kenny Cooper getting a goal.  Not because I don't want Kenny Cooper to do well but because I don't believe he will do well, and he barely scored on a perfect assist from Altidore.  Cooper is a 24 year old who is finds himself one of the most prolific scorers in the MLS.  In other words:  Brian Ching, Taylor Twellman, etc, etc. Go to Europe, if you can, Kenny!  Prove your worth.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Congratulations, Arizona Wildcats!

You have lost in the dumbest way possible.   No one will lose in dumber fashion on all year long.

After coming back from a 10-point deficit, and tying the game with just a few seconds left, you had one player (Kyle Fogg) foul a UAB player, apparently thinking that they were still behind a point.  

Luckily for you, the fouled UAB player missed the front of an one-and-one.  Phew!  Dodged a bullet there!

So, the bigger question is why, after you missed a shot to win the game with a few seconds left, another Arizona Wildcat (Jamelle Horne) intentionally fouled a guy as he was gearing up for a shot from halfcourt. 

The commentators were gentle, coming up with possible explanations and reminding the viewing audience that Arizona is a young team with a new coach.  As if there times in a game that is tied inside of 2 seconds that you should intentionally foul someone at halfcourt.  It was just stupid.  It was stupid twice, and Arizona got ganked on the second fuck up.

Update:  Video Here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Memphis vs. UMass

Tyreke Evans, your job is not to jack up a shot any time you get within 30 feet of the basket.  UMass--18 turnovers in under 25 minutes of play?  Ridiculous!

Great Basketball Tuesday Night

ESPN is going totally bitchcakes on the coverage over the next 24 hours.  But the highlights are Tuesday night Prime Time games, where we will see if Kentucky can hang with UNC.  After them Wildcats got beat by VMI, I'll be surprised if they can stay within 20 of UNC.  Within 15 is a moral victory for them.

More exciting will be Oklahoma and Davidson.  That's a Sweet Sixteen, maybe Elite 8 game in March.  You get it now, which is fantastic.  If you like college basketball, you gotta watch at least a little bit of that one.  

Sunday, November 16, 2008

IDYFT NFL Pick 'Em: All Tied Up

The old Cincinnati Push 'Em (note: this link is for adults only) results in a Push all across this week's Upset Picks. I would also like to apologize for scheduling a Thursday Nighter for last week's Clash of the Titans, my mistake. I won't do that again.

Feeling contrite (etymology: L, bruised), I have some complimentary pleasures for you that will break the tie which so clottingly clogs your emotional investment in this, our IDYFT Pick 'Em.

But a quick reminder: this is what you're playing for:That's right, a 100% cotton cruelty-free To The Last Drop t-shirt.

Free Pleasure: pick the one week you believe the winless Detroit Fudgefest will win a game. Pick right for a ten point bonus. Wait, you say: that Detroit Fudgefest will be the first team since the 1976 Tampa Bay Bucs (0-14) to go winless: fourteen point bonus if you're right!

Detroit Fudgefest remaining schedule, pick it: Bucs (11/23), Titans (11/27), Vikes (12/7), at the Colts (12/14), Saints (12/21), at the Packers (12/28).

And before I forget, here's the best INT in NFL history: Troy Polamalu. Fucking awesome, like huge tits with a mute button!

1. Adw: 40 (this week +7)
2. Jess: 38 (this week +13)
3. Big BM: 28 (this week +4)
4. Garwood: 20 (this week +10)
5. MMMan: 7 (this week +7)
Miwacar: 7 (this week -7)
6. Barnyard: 0 (this week -1)

This Week's Picks
1. Your Obama Shoe-In? +3 correct/-7 incorrect
2. This Week's Upsets: +7 correct/-3 incorrect
winless Detroit, Oaktown, Cincy, 49ers, Chefs
3. Your Favorite/Most Disliked Team? +/- 3
4. Clash of The Titans: Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons +/- 7
5. Detroit Fudgfest Wins When? +10/+14 (never)

Blogger Round-Up

It is an old post, from a Blog (Green Bay Booze and Broads)  that may have been abandoned.  But this is important:  The Many Faces of Aaron Rodgers, Explained.

Sniffing the Touchline remind us of a story we were going to share, but then forgot.  The story of Stoke City's Rory Delap, who may be in professional soccer for one reason--his ability to throw a ball in.  Baseball/American football type specialization may be coming to soccer.  That could be a problem down the line, but for now, just watch this guy huck shit.

Following the soccer theme for a moment--an odd moment from EPLTalk in which they imagine a world in which the premier soccer league was played in America.  Which city would translate to what city?  That sort of thing.  No love for the hotbed of the Upper Midwest (no Milwaukee, no Minneapolis).

Finally, the AVClub of the Onion looks back on two awful movies:  The Phantom and The Shadow.  You could do worse than read Nathan Rabin's beautiful dissection of these steaming piles of failed ephemera.

UNLV Beats San Diego

Hey remember yesterday, when I said that UNLV vs. San Diego would be a hell of a game to watch?  Did you go looking for it, only to discover that no one else is caring about College Basketball yet?

Sounds like we missed a hell of a game.  But I'm sure it was much more important to see Maryland beat UNC in Football, because we all know how important the best ACC football team is?

It might have been a different game, if it were not for all the discipline issues at San Diego: "The Toreros were playing without senior center Gyno Pomare, sophomore forward Clinton Houston, and sophomore guard Trumaine Johnson, who all are serving suspensions for unrelated violations of team rules."

What the hell is going on in San Diego?  Pomare in particular would have caused serious match up issues for UNLV.  

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Brock Lesnar won?

I'll be damned.  Brock Lesnar, former Gopher wrestler, former star of the WWE, former Practice Squad Viking, took out Randy Couture.  

In most walks of life, beating up a 45 year-old man in not considered cool, or impressive.  But in this instance, I guess it is.

Friday, November 14, 2008

College Basketball Results

I wrote a College Hoops post earlier today, but there were a couple of things I didn't have the time or space (or effort or will) to include.

One was my reaction to the idea of Stephon Curry, Mr. Running Off Multiple Screens Himself, being moved to Point Guard.  My reaction was, "Well, that's not going to go well."  I was going to rail against that idea.  I was explain, in careful detail how it is an absolute waste to have a jump shooter with a quick release be the subject of the defense's scrutiny as the ball moves up court.  I was getting ready to pounce, like an angry, horny cougar, on a 19 year old boy.  And by cougar, I mean, a big hungry cat.  

So just to be a dick, Dell Curry's kid ran the point against something called Guilford, scored a bunch a points, had a bunch of assists, and had a bunch of assists.  Now, to be fair, if the #20 Team in the country were something like, I don't know, Wisconsin, you wouldn't be surprised by the fact that last year's shooting guard was able to beat the shit out of something called Guilford.  Davidson and Stephon Curry, whilst ranked in the top 20, are still technically a tiny beat to shit school.  We'll see how running a jump shooter at the point works when they play a real team.

Contrary to some predictions, Oklahoma pissed all over American.  Which is fine.  I figured they would win.  Did I predict that Blake Griffin would be allowed to huck threes?  No.

But, hey, um, I'm burying the Mother Fucking Lede.  Guess who Kentucky lost to today.  No, really, guess!  Drexel?  Nope.  That would be too high quality.  George Mason?  Nope.  The Fighting Artichokes of Flagstaff?  Now you are just being stupid.

Kentucky lost to the Virgina Military Institute, commonly shortened to VMI.    VMI chucked three's (31), though not as many as they had planned to chuck (50)   I'm pretty sure that Kentucky never led in this game.  Kentucky lost at home to VMI.  That's fucking hilarious. Wonder if those assholes in Kentucky are re-thinking driving out Tubby Smith because he wasn't winning enough national championships for them?  Goldy Gopher thanks you, Kentucky idiots!  This will be the kind of loss that I use to illustrate that the SEC isn't all that great.    "How great can the SEC be," I'll say, "when the 5th best team in their conference lost to the likes of VMI?"  And you know what?  There is no good answer to that question.   Except to say, "Billy Gillespie may be a good coach, but he can't recruit for shit."  Watch for Kentucky to continue to disappoint.  

There is one reason that UConn is ranked in the top 3 in every poll--it is because they are a typical UConn team, coached by reliable genius Jim Calhoun, and then one must add to that typical UConn team, a dominant Big East Center in Hasheem Thabeet, who is scary monster of a man.  As I said a little while ago (to paraphrase myself)  the next great center in the Big East, in the tradition of Rony Seikaly, Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, and Dikembe Mutumbo is Thabeet.  He paced UConn to an easy win tonight. Sure, they were only playing Western Carolina.  Just like Kentucky was only playing VMI.

If UConn doesn't spend a good chunk of the year at #1, I may not just eat my own hat, but your hat of choice.  UNC?  Phht!

College Hoops Just Starting to Get Good

The early part of the college hoops season tends to be a series of warm-up games for top-notch teams, playing patsies and suckers as they fine tune themselves for some of the early season tournaments, and with an eye towards the conference play later on in the season.

However, sometimes those patsies and suckers don't always simply lay down and die.  For example, #4 in the nation UCLA faced some stiff competition from Wally Szczerbiak's alma mater of Miami of Ohio, before edging them out 64-59.

And sometimes, due to quirks in the schedule, or because coaches just decide to go a different route, you can some real intriguing match-ups in November.  And this weekend sees a couple of them.  UNLV and San Diego may night be on the tips of anyone's tongues as great teams, but they are dangerous teams that both made the Tournament last year.  And UNLV features Pre-Season All-Name Team Wink Adams.  Game is has the breakdown here.

But another game to check-out is tonight's matchup, which has the feel of a First Round March Madness game--with Oklahoma and American going at it.  Again, two teams that made the Tourney last year--obviously one is from a power conference, the other--not so much.  But as Rivals points out--the teams have different strengths, and could lead to some match-up issues going both ways.  Oklahoma will feature Blake Griffin, who Sporting News analyst Mike DeCourcy calls the #1 Power Forward in the Country.  DeCourcy is effusive in his praise, to say the least:  The first time you see Griffin play on television, he looks like he couldn’t be any taller than 6-5 or 6-6. Because nobody who runs like that, jumps like that, moves like that possibly could be carrying 250 pounds on a 6-10 frame. It defies logic. It seems to defy physics. Griffin is so powerfully explosive there’s almost no one who has played this game who offers a proper comparison.  

I concur on that point--he was a man-beast last year.  Caveat though:  DeCourcy ranked Kyle Singler of Duke over Earl Clark of Louisville, Robert Dozier of Memphis, and Tyler Smith of Tennessee.  That's Crazy Talk.*

American brings a bunch of speedy guards who jack the three and more importantly, hit them.  It should be a fun game.  Quality college hoops has started, ladies and gentlemen.  Start thinking about your bracket now.

*Caveat on the caveat:  I'm an avowed Duke Hater, and Singler brings out the worst in me.  He's easy to dislike, even for a Blue Devil.  And that, my friends, is saying something.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Time to Make Some Deckards

The replicants are clearly on their way to becoming a real thing.  And hiding in plain sight, with "jokes" about destroying humanity.  I don't think robots should be allowed to joke about any such thing.

Thanks, BoingBoing, for linking to our terrifying future.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dallas At Washington, 2008

When these teams met in Week 4, the Cowboys were #1 in the power rankings. Washington (6-3) kicked the crap out of them and Dallas (5-4 after starting 3-0) has imploded since then.

Both teams are coming off a bye and the NFL's greatest rivalry will be on Sunday Night Football, 8 pm EST.

Fuck the Cowboys.

Let's check in on Washington. Mark me words well, lads: Special Teams will be a significant factor in this game.

QB Jason Campbell is looking to bounce back from his worst game of the season. He was sacked seven times and expects the Cowboys, who also run a 3-4, to attack him in much the same way as the Steelers. He is aware that he needs to play very well if Washington is going to win: “I know it’s time to step up a little bit more and continue to lead this team to do what we have to do.”

LG Pete Kendall is out but the rest of the line is healthier. They need to have a good game against an aggressive defense. Their timing with RBs might be a problem so pass protection will be a determining factor in the game.

RB Clinton Portis has a sprained knee; Washington will likely have to rely on Ladell Betts (returning from a sprained knee of his own). Shawn Alexander hasn't shown anything so far, but he might get a fair number of carries. This position must be productive without Portis; he will be missed in pass protection as well.

Santana Moss is healthy and ready to kill the Cowboys again. In their last meeting, Moss scorched them for 8 catches and 145 yards. The other WRs need to be viable threats. If the blitz protection holds up and Chris Cooley is able to release, he could do a lot of damage.

Jason Taylor is healthy and his pass rushing would be extremely helpful. The D line needs to dominate the line of scrimmage as they did in week 4. If this unit can shut down the run, a rusty Romo will be tempted to air it out.

MLB London Fletcher is in the top ten for tackles.

Washington's defensive backfield will win or lose this game. Shawn Springs needs to be healthy, Carlos Rogers must catch the INT, the safeties need to limit big plays and DeAngelo Hall might need to contribute right away.

CB Fred Smoot will see significant playing time as Washington must again shut down a pair of fleet, talented WRs. Incidentally, Smoot recently delivered books to kids in DC and one of them asked what his favorite game was. He replied: "Probably this year, when we went down to Dallas and beat the Cowboys to death."

Scalp them Cowboys!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Great Goals: Niall Quinn

It's been a while since I bothered with a Great Goals post.  So many of the videos I linked to have gone missing that I feel like there's hardly a point to it anymore.  But in truth, there is plenty of reason.  There are still lots of great goals out there, and some were scored by tall, lanky, goofy Irishmen.

When you think of Niall Quinn (which is often, I'm sure) you probably think tall, goofy, lanky target man for Ireland.  You have clearly forgotten what a ridiculous genius he was with heavy, heavy topspin.  

You may think the video I'm posting is a total fluke.  But if you think that, you don't know the body of Quinn's work, which was exclusively powerful headers, easy far post finishes, and "total flukes".  Those three types of goals are about evenly split in his ouevre.  Ladies and Gentlemen, put your hands together for one of the most likely good-with-his-feet strikers, The Precursor to Jan Koller and Peter Crouch, Niall Quinn!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Al Michaels is Gollum, but for Timeouts

Al Michaels has always been the voice of conservative (not just politically) conventional wisdom.  If a team is down 17 points, and they are at faced with a 4th down and 1 yard to go within Field Goal kicking range, they should always kick the field goal, even if that 4th and 1 is on the 2 yard line.  You can't, they say, leave points off the board.  Which I (an admitted outsider to the rules and superstitions of the game of football) have never quite understood.  You can kick a field goal from 30, 40, 50 yards away.  Field goal position is easy to come by; being down by the goal line is tough.

But that's just a minor beef with Al Michaels.  And honestly, just about every NFL analyst.  They all assume the conventional wisdom, and it is in part why every coach does exactly what the conventional wisdsom says.  Better to lose by 14 points, having never gotten the ball back, then lose by 17, having never gotten the ball back, apparently.

But Al Michaels, of late, seems positively obsessed with the issue of timeouts.  He talks about them constantly.  Starting at the proverbial starting gun of timeouts:  which is whenever the first one is taken, no matter how legitimate that timeout is, Al is quick to note, "They are down to their last two time-outs."  

And God help you, Sunday Night Football Coaches, if you take 2 timeouts early on in either half, because you will have Al Michaels excitedly yelling, "And now they are down to just ONE TIME OUT."  As if the goal of the game were to hoard those timeouts, keep them close by, and unleash them in a furor of game-stopping fury.   If you lose a challenge, and use a timeout shortly thereafter, Al Michaels will swoop on you, like a Valkyrie, carrying your wasted stoppages up to Timeout Valhalla, whilst lamenting your feebleminded need to stop the clock at the present time, when you never know when you might need to stop the clock later.  Al Michaels clearly believes that every team should end each half with 3 timeouts, unless they are being used in a last minute, desperation drive.  Every other use of them is absolute bullshit.

You think I'm exaggerating to make a point.  You think that I'm being an overly critical blogger looking for an Old Unhealthy Media Scalp.  But you watch on Sunday night.  More importantly, watch on Sunday morning and afternoon, and then watch Sunday Night.  Al Michaels talks more about timeouts than any other commentator in the business.  He talks more about it than the score.  "Oh boy, this team is down 17 and having wasted 2 timeouts on challenges, they are in real trouble. "  

He says things like that.  Look--stopping the clock is nice; it opens up the middle of the field, and maybe allows an extra running play.  But for that team down 17 points, the major problem that they are facing is that they are down 17 points!  I know that seems obvious to you and to me, but for Michaels, the timeouts are The Precious; anything is possible if you can just stop the clock one more time.

We are about 2 years away from Al Michaels starting the broadcast in this fashion:  "New York kicks off to Carolina.  Carolina returns the ball to the 25 yard line, and they are down to just three timeouts."

IDYFT NFL Pick 'Em: Ghost Points

Though he's fresh on the scene, Garwood has scored the most points for these last two weeks running. He scores a special GHOST POINT for predicting a narrow victory for the Vikes and the Chiefs snatching defeat from around Nerf's scabby, flabby neck.

Ghost Points cannot be redeemed in the Pick 'Em, but if you get five ghost points you'll receive a free spectral bj like in Ghostbusters.

The Standings
1. Adw: 33 (this week +4)
2. Jess: 25 (this week +10)
3. Big BM: 24 (this week +4)
4. Miwacar: 14 (this week -4)
5. Garwood: 10 (this week +10)
6. MMMan, Barnyard: 0 (this week -10)

This Week's Picks
1. Your Shoe-In?
2. This Week's Pathetic Upset List:
winless Detroit, Cincy, Oakland
3. Your Favorite/Disliked Team?
4. Clash of the Titans: New York Jets vs. New England Patriots

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Vikings Express Happiness Over Obama, Commenters React

Pat Reusse interviews some Vikings about Obama's win.  He gets some get good quotes--thoughtful quotes from some not particularly well-known Vikings.

Reusse quoted Artis Hicks as saying, "Every parent and grandparent can now look the youngster who gives that answer square in the eye and say, "Yes, you can be president."

"When you're dealing with money, people always are going to try to protect what they have,'' [Receiver Bobby] Wade said. "But on the grand scale of things, what this election means in the history of this country -- and, I believe, for the future of this country -- outweighs being asked to sacrifice a little more out of what's still a very nice paycheck.''

That didn't stop the Star Tribune commenters from assuming that these black players didn't know what they were talking about.  Minnesota loves their black men, as long as they don't, you know, have opinions.  Some favorites below:

Gildersleeve:  Here we go again, with the African American. What constitutes being African American? Is it being born in Africa and Immigrating to the USA? Is it cause he looks more Black then White? Why can't he be European American or How About AMERICAN, if he was born in Hawaii like he says, instead of Kenya, like his Grand Mother says. COURSE if he was born in Kenya, he can't be President can he?? GET OFF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN @#$##@##$$$#$%&^^%

mnhusker4:  Shows that even most football players are un-educated when it comes to politics.

chadvs:  The real question is can either one of these two name one thing Obama plans to change? Like everyone else that blindly follows this guy based on nice speeches. Train wreck is coming.

mkleddy:  Stick to sports, Pat...evidently these two werent the only ones who were should fit in well at the red star

dzemke:  I don't think they realize that they make more than $250K and that soon the will be having their wealth "redistributed" to their posse.

And that's just page 1 of the comments!

A White Flag With a Picture of a Burning American Flag

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Blogger Round-Up

Words I never thought I would say:  "I totally agree with Fred Smoot."

Courtesy of FanHouse, I've learned about a controversy that I had been blissfully unaware.  Ryan Clark of the Steelers was fined for memoralizing Sean Taylor on his shoes.  Damn these flashy athletes with their flashy TD celebrations and quiet honoring of dead friends!  And that's the problem, isn't it, with the No Fun League--they don't even seem to understand that not everything is for fun or for self-aggrandizement.  They treat everything as if it were, and when called on it, they throw up their hands, and say, "Hey, what can we do--the rules are the rules."  As if they weren't the ones who wrote the rules in the first place!  Anyway, Ryan Wilson of FanHouse tracked this whole thing for us, and we are grateful--we were lacking things to be angry about, what with everything else in the nation going so swimmingly.  Fred Smoot came down on the right side of the argument; hence the lead-in to this post.  Fred Smoot--he handles controversy the same way he handles double-ended dildos--with flair.

Rumors and Rants documents what other people are asking (which is exactly the kind of thing a blog should do, by the by) and they are noticing that the election of a Chicagoan political manuever artiste to the Highest Office in The Land (ala Obama) may have some positive impact on Chicago getting the 2016 Olympics.  We look forward to Athletes From Around the world getting their first taste of being greeted with calls of "Hey, ya douchebag!"  

10,000 Takes heard an interview with Kevin McHale that suggests what I was saying to Miwacar just this evening--that Freddy Hoiberg needs to be in charge of evaluating Guard Talent from here on out.  Not that that wasn't already obvious, as the painful Foye for Roy trade is still fresh in our minds (with the Timbies losing to the Trailblazers tonight).  Turns out McHale doesn't like the way Chris Paul or Steve Nash play the PG position.

Pacifist Viking has one thing to say to Brad Childress about this weeks Packer's game:  You must not go 0-6 against the Packers.  That said, Pacifist Viking isn't too optimistic about the game.

I may have to eat my hate for the Timberwolves Kevin Love-OJ Mayo trade.  To my mind, Kevin Love has been consisently overperforming as a rookie.  If he stays that consistent, than I will have to admit that my own assessment of his performance is what was wrong, and that he isn't "overperforming" at all.  Genius Wolves blogger Britt Robson seems to be of a similar mind.

To quote, briefly:  "My skepticism about Kevin Love's immediate ability to contribute is steadily being eroded by the depth of little things he brings to the game. Like most others who "know how to play," Love has confident instincts that produce quick reactions, like throwing the ball off your opponent as you are falling out of bounds, or knowing when trying for a block is just going to risk a three point play and instead making the hard foul. More subtly, it is knowing first if you need to rotate over on help defense, and, if so, when best to go to be disruptively effective. It is knowing when to make a pass that probes and when to simply maintain rapid ball movement around the perimeter. Or when to sell out and totally crash the boards and when to lurk for a putback but prioritize getting back on D."

(seriously, it doesn't matter if you like the Wolves or not--if you like basketball, read Britt Robson).

And finally, courtesy of Deuce of Davenport, comes one of the more ridiculous (deserved) red cards I've ever seen.  Andre Luis, you are crazy awesome.  But mainly crazy.

Deangelo Hall on Bobby Petrino

This is meant to accompany the following article about Deangelo Hall, but it is also a fine object lesson for budding sportscasters/scumbag lawyers in the art of Leading the Witness.

Loved you in that Pro Bowl a few years back!

The Washington Football Team is still committed to signing former Pro Bowlers. It's like we're the pasture where they send old thoroughbreds because PETA is watching. The ink on the failed Jason Taylor signing is still wet, yet the Schneider had the foresight to bring in another player long on reputation and short on personal dignity. Deion Sanders? No, not exactly ...

Cornerbacks are the WRs of the defense, and I'm not just talking about their speed and agility: I mean they are vain, trash-talking pretties. They make up for their inability to catch or carry the ball with their willingness to be the guy missing the tackle on Sportscenter. That being said, there are plenty of team-first CBs in the league. DeAngelo Hall is not one of them.

He won the Jim Thorpe award, he was a 1st round draft pick and excelled on the dysfunctional Falcons from 2004-2007. WR Steve Smith once abused him so bad he incurred $100,000 in fines and had a screaming match with his "coach" Bobby Petrino. Obviously, this is shortly before Poopy Petrino quit with 3 games left like an asshole. Then he jumped to the Raiders for the big $$.

Oops. He hasn't even competed this year, and currently ranks as one of the very worst DBs in the entire NFL. When the Raiders don't want you, you suck.

Just ask Randy Moss.

No one is more skeptical than me, but this is a bye week for the upstart 6-3 Washington Football Team. So let me, for once, consider this in a guardedly optimistic light.

1) Hall is clearly talented, and joins a team with chronic injuries throughout the defensive backfield.

2) Hall replaces Leigh Torrence, the weakest link at CB most known for giving up the game-winning deep pass to the fucking Rams. Torrence will not be missed.

3) Hall has given up, but he gave up on a team that gave up during Superbowl XXXVII and has posted a Fudgetastic 21-68 record since then. The bacteria are jumping off the fleas jumping off the rats jumping off that stinky, leaky Raiders boat. The Raiders fall (they had the NFL MVP in 2002) to All-Time Fudgefest ranks as one of the most pathetic/hilarious in pro football history. Who hasn't given up on the Raiders? Have you talked to any of their fans recently? They've given up too. Maybe Hall gave up because of peer pressure.

4) Hall was signed for a short-term, (relatively) low-cost deal.

So this could go a number of ways.

A. Perhaps Hall is reinvigorated by his new (fucking awesome!) team, and vice versa, and he leads the charge to the Superbowl, injuring kickers for fun!

B. Perhaps Hall really is a total bitch, and he gets cut in three weeks after giving up 700 yards and 25 TDs. Torrence is rehired and the Schneider tells him he was "just kidding."

C. Or something in between, which I will accept.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Baby Mangino

Fucking awesome.

Someone penciled a mustache on their fat baby, and put said fat baby in a Kansas Football jacket.

Deadspin doesn't need our traffic, but if you haven't seen this, you need to see this.   

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Answer: Jason Varitek

Question:  What starts with a "V" and isn't worth 13 million dollars per year?
(tip of the hat to IDYFT Commentor The Black Freighter for sending this story along)

Scott Boras would have gotten that Final Jeopardy answer wrong, wrong, wrong.

He is telling Boston that if they want the 36 year old catcher (37 in April) it will cost them last year's Jorge Posada type (4 years, $52 million) money.  Never you mind that The Yankees probably would not sign Jorge Posada to Jorge Posada type money if they could do it over again.

Scott Boras seems to think that everyone thinks it is 2005.  That was the last year that Jason Varitek wasn't anything more than an excellent pitch-caller.  Even if you throw out an injury-riddled 2006, Varitek's offensive decline has been quick and obvious and across the board.

Pick a stat, and check his 2005 numbers and compare them to his 2007 or 2008 numbers.  Hits, HR, RBI, Avg. OPS, etc--lots of them down over 50% in those years.  But let's look at the most basic of statistics real quick--in 2005, Varitek hit  .281; 2007, .255; in 2008, he hit .220.   You know how many veteran catchers who hit .220 you can get for $52 million?  I'd guess a solid half-dozen, at least.  Scott Boras argues that Varitek "is paid to lead and paid to get his team to win. His offensive production, while certainly something that has been considered in the upper echelon for catchers (isn’t as important), I know from the past negotiation with Boston, his offense was a very small value in the marketplace.”  

Scott Boras, that's Horsepucky!  If Varitek is valued far and wide for everything but his offense, why is his most recent All Star Year that 2005 offensively productive year?  And under that logic, why not get Cincinnati to re-sign Johnny Bench for like 3 or 4 million dollars a year?  I bet he can still call a game, and maybe hit .100 or so.

And speaking as a Twins fan, we would be more than happy for the Detroit Tigers to pay a ton of money to get Jason Varitek.

Do it Detroit!  Get in a bidding war with Boston!  We're sure there will be no long-term ramifications for overpaying on a contract that ends when your new catcher turns 41!  Do it!
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