Monday, April 28, 2008

Montage Monday

I wanted to start a new segment on this blog... Montage Monday.  I'll post some of my favorite sport montages and maybe some other ones.  

This week I'm in a hockey mood so I'm putting up two from CBC.  Growing up in Detroit, I always had the luxury of watching CBC, but realize many missed out.  The first is from the 1998 Detroit Red Wings, the second is from the 1991 Pittsburgh Pens (the quality is kind of bad but realize this is 17 years old).

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Just a Reminder: Sharks @ Flames, 8pm on Versus

I definitely recommend checking out the hockey game tonight. If you’ve never seen what a home game for the Calgary Flames in the playoffs is like, you’re really in for a treat. A lot of teams, particularly in college, like to do gimmicks where everyone in the crowd wears the same color. Penn State is notorious for their “white out” every year. Calgary takes things to a different level.

In the “C of Red,” as they call it, nearly every single human being who bought a ticket this evening will not only be wearing the same color, but everyone will be wearing the same exact shirt — a Calgary Flames jersey. As far as I know there’s nothing else in sports like this. Sure, you’ll get a handful of spectators scattered around the arena who find it necessary to deviate from the gameplan, but you’ll see that these “fans” are few and far between. This game will be feature an especially passionate atmosphere considering the Flames are facing elimination tonight in game six of this series.

The whole thing stems from the fact that Canadians are fucking crazy about their hockey. It’s bad in Toronto and Montreal, but when you get out to Calgary and Edmonton where there is literally nothing else to do, they begin to treat hockey like a religion… and I don’t mean that as an exaggeration. These maniacs actually worship the ground the Flames walk on — and I love it. You should, too. I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who enjoys seeing west coast teams like the San Jose Sharks fail. The puck drops about an hour from now on Versus. Go Flames Go.

Oh, and Happy Holidays.

I consider myself... the luckiest viewer.... on the face of the Earth.

As America turned the corner into the new millenium, ESPN treated the public to the most amazing sport-clip compilation video ever assembled. Titled "ESPN's Greatest Sports Moments of the Century", the video chronicles all the highs and lows of American sports for the healthier part of the last one hundred years. Every big game, every major gaffe, famous and infamous athletes; few details were overlooked. It is a video that is both exciting and bittersweet, a definite must see for any sports fan. The music choice (Aerosmith's "Dream On") is impeccable and the way they organize the clips in relation to the song will have you applauding in front of your computer screen. Here isa link to a youtube presentation of the video- .

I've watched this video at least 200 times and lately I've been thinking that a sequel needs to be put together. What is interesting, maybe shocking, is that you could compile a video of roughly the same length using moments in just the eight year span from 2000-2008. I'll start a list and people can feel free to add moments/figures if I fail to mention them. The list is in no particular order, only as I think of them:

-Barry Bonds
-Jose Canseco's book
-The Mitchell Report
-Lebron James
-The Patriots dynasty
-The NHL Lockout
-The death of Bill Wirtz and the subsequent resurgance of the Chicago Blackhawks (I know, a homer call, but as the hawks get better and fans reaquaint themselves with the team, this has all the ingredients of a major sports storyline.)
- Steve Bartman
- T.O.
-The Cinncinati Bengals
-The Pistons-Pacers melee
-Brett Favre's retirement
-Giants superbowl win 2008
-The Duke Lacrosse team trial
-LaDainlian Tomlinson
-Peyton Manning
-Sydney Crosby
-Alexander Ovechkin's goal where he was lying on his back sliding away from the net.
-Kobe Bryant's 80 point night
-The effect of 9/11 on Sports
-Pat Tillman
-Rocky's comeback from retirement ( just kidding)
- Marion Jones
-Michael Phelps
-Tiger Woods (Fuck me, I can't believe it took me this long to think of Tiger Woods.)

That's all I can think of right now, but I'm sure the list is far longer. Even with what is up now, a legitimate second sports moment video could be compiled. It already is in my head.

Gary Bettman Knows Nothing About Puss

Hockey is a great sport because it has great traditions.  We've unfortunately seen  many of these traditions be raped and striped from the game by Gary Bettman.  

Just for the hell of it let's take a look at some of Bettman's accomplishments as commissioner:

- Got rid of cool conference and division names.
-Let the Whale leave Hartford and other teams leave Canada
- Put up those pussy nets to stop the puck from flying into the crowd
- Took away hockey for a year.
-Got caught at some nazi sex orgy

Now Mr. Bettman is coming after a tradition near and dear to my heart, the throwing of octopi on the ice in Detroit.  The NHL has decided that when Al Sobotka pick the octopus off the ice he can't do this trademark twirl in the air.  They've explained that substances fly off the creature and onto the ice when he does this.  If Sobotka does this, the team will suffer a $10,000 fine.  

Essentially the NHL has become the real "No Fun League."  I can't help but think this has something to do with why no one gives two shits about and it gets less time on TV than Golden Girls reruns.  

In closing, leave Hockeytown™ alone. 

Friday, April 18, 2008

Tales of April Baseball

I'm a little ashamed that my first contribution to FRD is coming in the form of a shitty "Top Whatever" list. I've been suffering through a bit of writer's block over the past few days and my only hope of posting something mildly entertaining is to have an entry with some structure.

Baseball in and of itself devalues the importance of the individual contests. Even the most ardent fans have to admit that the sting from April heart-breakers pale in comparison to the suicidal rampages that result from early season football defeat. Yet for some reason, we all know at least nine different assholes who find it necessary to post their disdain for the local ballclub in their away messages and Facebook statuses. Some of the worst will even drop a text message on us, serving as an alarm clark -- an alarm clark with a very different wake up call... Lose. This. Friend.

But here we are. We're like 17 games in, the weather crept up to 80 today, and Joe Morgan has called the black people flashier than the whites. Baseball, to use a horrific pun here, is officially in full swing. So what's happening? What's worth writing about? Shit, is there anything even worth watching? You bet there is. I've composed the five most compelling, touches-the-heart, knife-in-the-groin storylines from this budding toddler of a season. April baseball may be meaningless, but even in these repetitive times, the game certainly has it's moments.

#5. Where Have You Gone Barry Bonds?
Does anyone else find the lack of Barry Bonds coverage to be very surprising? My guess is Barry's ecstatic that the sport he's dominated for the better part of two decades seems to have forgotten him. My question is, how the fuck did this happen? He's not only arguably the most controversial athlete of our generation, but he also still happens to be a damn fine baseball player.

In a "down year" for Bonds, he still posted a .480 OBP, .607 SLG%, and popped 28 home runs in just 126 games. Is he getting older with diminishing stats? Certainly. Is he going to jail? Maybe. Would he quite possibly be the worst PR signing in the history of anything, ever? You bet. But the bottom line in every aspect of living, and this sadly includes sports, is money money money. The gate Barry Bonds would bring far outweighs the juice flowing through his soul. So ironically, My #5 story is the lack of a story at all. I want to see what Barry Bonds is up to. I don't need the syringes or roid-rage. Just get some paparazzi to his house and give me a photograph of his big square head running on a treadmill. Someone please confirm that the bastard is still alive.

#4: Big Papi's Big Slump
It's starting to get ridiculous. The lesson I value the most from 15 years of watching this game is that April numbers don't mean dick. The season is a marathon, a cliché. A continuous contradiction. The best players in the game can go 0 for 5 on any given day and Eddie Taubensee can hit a walk off home run. The stats always even out regardless of how bad it gets.

That being said, David Ortiz's season opening slump is at the very least a huge shocker. I mean, we're talking about one half of the two headed monster behind two World Championship seasons. Ortiz is currently 8 for 63. He has one, yes one, extra base hit. His season RBI total matches Xavier Nady's opening day total... four. He'll eventually snap out of it, but when it gets to this point and everyone's eyes are on your every at bat, each pitch gets magnified and the pressure builds. Ortiz has a history of excelling at an unprecedented level under pressure, but this is a different kind of pressure. For the first time in his career, his at bats aren't about the team, but rather they are about him. People aren't watching to see if he'll lift the Red Sox to victory. They're watching to see if one of the game's best will continue to fail.

#3 - Canseco's latest book -- Steroids II: What I Forgot to Write in the First One
I almost don't even want to mention this because there are few people more detrimental to their profession than Canseco. It's as if he's the thorn in the ass of baseball, slipping right into the hole the syringes left from the late 90s. His agenda is obvious. Money. If the majority of this book were true there would have been no reason not to include it in the first one.

But regardless, this book will be the talk of every baseball town in America very soon. Passages about his hatred for Alex Rodriguez and relationship with Roger Clemens have already been released, and ESPN decided it was necessary to interview him once for the Sunday Conversation. I personally don't give a shit about any of this, and I've gathered from other respectable baseball fans that the majority of you don't give a shit, either.

The whole thing doesn't make any sense to me. ESPN's second biggest attraction is certainly the MLB, and for them to continuously sabotage the game with this negative, unpopular coverage boggles my mind. We'll be reading about it. We'll be watching it. We'll be submerged in it whether we like it or not. Canseco's latest literary accomplishment isn't just a book. It's a dark cloud looming over baseball -- unfortunately the MLB and the media appear to love a good thunderstorm.

#2: Elijah Dukes Raped My Roommate
I gotta be honest... it was really weird. I got home one night at like 3am, totally hammered. A buddy of mine invited me to a 181 cup beer-pong tournament. By the time it was over I could barely breathe. I digress. Anyway, I get back and the TV is on, front door is open, and my roommate is nowhere to be found. I head upstairs to our bedrooms and hear a strange, strange sound coming from his. Naturally, I assumed he had a night similar to mine only he was lucky enough to get a girl to come home with him.

Trying not to disturb anyone, I tip-toed into the bathroom and started to brush my teeth. As soon as he was able to hear my presence, the guy starts screaming "Help! Help!" For a split second I considered the notion that they were just doing some kinky shit, but with that I heard the sound of glass breaking and was instantly petrified.

I opened the door, and he's just laying there under the covers. Not blinking, not moving. Looks to be alive, but in the same way those wax models do. The window, amazingly, wasn't shattered. The hole in it bared a striking resemblance to Damon Wayans' character in the film Blankman.

I offered to call the police but he would have none of it -- too embarrassing I guess. About a week later I was finally able to get it out of him that Elijah Dukes was his rapist. Dukes is 0 for 2 on the season.

#1: The Detroit Tigers
Talk about over-hyped. I realize that the majority of this entry has been about the meaninglessness of April baseball, and the Tigers early failures are not entirely emblematic of what's to come. Still, I'm really enjoying it. I'm sticking with my prediction that Dontrelle Willis will be in the bullpen by August. The Tigers are better than how they've played thus far, but there's no reason for me to deviate from my original opinion that they are an overrated ballclub. Their pitching is so mediocre it's laughable, and yes the offense improved, but not enough to make up for that rotation. For the love of God, will someone please tell me what Jeremy Bonderman has ever done? They're going to win around 88 games this season. Not 98 like the rest of baseball would have you believe.

These early failures from Detroit are entertaining. I have a good amount of buddies who are, for whatever reason, die hard Indians fans. I hope I'm not lumped into that group. I'm just an outsider who never saw where the love was coming from. The Indians are a better ball club and I'm looking forward to seeing that play out throughout the rest of this 2008 baseball season.

Let's Change Everything That Isn't Broken

I was peacefully sitting in my mom's basement (No, seriously. I really was) watching ESPN when 1st and 10 came on. Can't wait to see what their hard-hitting analysis is today. Then they dropped the bomb on me. SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME IN BASEBALL!

Now, I don't want to be like super-blogger-dude and attack ESPN and take stances against them just because it's the "cool" thing to do. I don't like ESPN, but I still watch it all the time so what credibility do I have? However, this crosses a line. Not because baseball is America and if you don't like it you support terrorism, but come the fuck on. Why even talk about this? Why lead off with this? Why talk in rhetorical form?

So, after I cleaned up my puke I settled in to listen to what these "experts" had to say on this hard pressing issue that is ripping apart the sanctity of American athletics. Brother vs. brother on the issue of one 22-inning baseball game ruining everything. Horrible, horrible stuff. Today, 1st and 10 was trotting out their A-team of Skip Bayless and two black guys named Stewart or something. Skip gets things started off with suggesting that there be extra outs or some stupid shit like that. I kind of blacked out. I don't remember everything he said. He then goes on to talk about how it's "unfair to the fans" in subjecting them to 22 inning games. Fair? Who's the fucking nihilist here? What are you a bunch of fucking crybabies? Anyone who stayed for that game will talk about how they saw San Diego and Colorado play for 22-innings in April of 2008 until they die. How is that unfair? This isn't Soviet Russia. These people could have left whenever they wanted to. But some didn't and they saw the longest baseball game since 1993. They also got to see who won. Live. In person. Good things come to those who wait. 

Next up came one of the black guys. He has the best suggestion I've ever heard. Home. Run. Derby. Jesus. Fucking. Christ. The shootout in hockey is bad enough. Oh wait, we're talking about ESPN here. HATE HOCKEY! NO ONE CARES ABOUT IT! LISTEN TO US! Home run derby? I'm speechless really. I can't even rip this apart. I'm in shock.

Finally, the second black dude serves as the voice of reason. He says why change anything? I stood up and applauded this to which my mom yelled down asking what I was doing. I simply responded with "Blogging, Ma! Send down more sandwiches!" However, after this brief moment of enlightenment, the first black dude accuses the second, far smarter black dude of being "a baseball purist". When did "baseball purist" and "not totally retarded" become the same thing? Better question, when did being labeled a baseball purist become the equivalent of the scarlet letter? He then goes on to elaborate on how this was the 9th longest game in history and it doesn't happen everyday so who really cares? I'll tell you who cares, black man. The world. That's who. ESPN told me so. End this conversation now generic white host from Ohio whose name escapes me.

After all this I settled back down, catching my breath and replaying this incident in my head over and over again. Trying to wrap my mind around what I just witnessed. For a second I thought maybe I had dreamt this whole thing and that there is now way this could all be happening in reality. But before I got too comfortable they went after their second topic. Red Sox-Yankees. Surprise, surprise. But that is another topic altogether. They were talking specifically about how Kyle Farnsworth threw at Manny Ramirez after he hit two home runs. Second black dude, who I once held in high regard, reminds me that he is an employee of ESPN. He accuses Kyle Farnsworth of being on steroids because he is angry. He uses "roid rage" as the reasoning behind this wild accusation. He even goes so far as to start it off with "He wasn't named in the Mitchell Report but..." This has gotten out of hand. Mom, I broke the TV in your basement. I'm sorry. Take it out of my allowance.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

'Melo, DUI, and MMORPG's

All of this fuss about Carmelo Anthony getting preferential treatment, to me, holds no ground. Columnists, talking heads, and bloggers are all tearing apart 'Melo (whereas the blame should be pointed directly at the Denver Police Department) for his irresponsible behavior and lack of civic duty as the face of a franchise. Each of them says the same thing:

"How can he risk his career and life by driving under the influence"

- No arguments here. Anyone who gets behind the wheel takes this very risk no matter if you are a Nugget, Norseman, or ninth grade teacher

"Why doesn't he just hire a driver to drive him around?"

-Anyone who has ever drank with any regularity knows that you can accomplish any task, regardless or how sophomoric or stupid it is while drinking. Of course Carmelo's multi-million dollar contract and Nike shoe contract lend itself to the thinking that he could easily afford to have a driver on standby, but we are talking to a man who is engaged to someone who is best remembered for not letting the skanks on Flavor of Love throw shoes at her ( So how seriously can we take that?

"He is a NBA superstar (arguable, yet I'll digress) and his team is on the cusp of a playoff berth. How can he do this to his team? How can he do this to his city? And how can he do this to me?"

-Yes, Carmelo has resonisibility to his team. And in terms of responsibility, for that question, thats really all he has to account for. Considering that the Nuggets need to win (and Mav's loss) on the final regular season night to go from playing the Lakers (probably not winning) to the Hornets (could win) it's safe to say that having an offensive prescense like Carmelo would be in the positive department. Carmelo has as many ties to the city of Denver as a Deliotte consulant does to the city he is stationed in. He works there and thats it. He hasn't accomplished anything since arriving and the pairing with The Answer has been above average. and thats being kind. If the Baltimore Bullets still existed, he would have ties. Even in moderatley sized town of Syracuse, he would have ties. Atleast he chose to go there. He did not choose to go to Denver, it happened to him. And if you are the fan who feels like he owes it to you to be a stand up citizen and player, next time you see him just thank him. Thank him for entertaining you. Thank him for letting you in his world. Thank him for being the subject of ridicule (not in the DUI sense, he deserves that. In the basketball sense) And if you are a Syracuse fan who for some reason still feels a connection to a player you watched for 7 months, 5 years ago and now plays in a city 2500 miles away thank Carmelo for leading your team to a national championship. On second though, thank Hakin Warrick for blocking Kirk Hinrich's shot, because that baby was going in.

-I have alot of free time at work these days so I have been fiercly following my Yahoo! Fantasy Sports team. My basketball team was an auto draft so I feel no real connection to them. Miguel Cabrera is on my baseball team if that says anything, and I did a fantasy golf just for kicks. While I was looking on the message board for tips at the Masters (which was semi-serious, semi-wanting to see how seriously people took Yahoo! Fantasy Golf) I came across this link. Yes my friends, a MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role playing game) where you create a football player and he 'levels up' according to all kinds of different processes too nerdy to explain. And yes, I did create a player. His name is Ax Johnson, and he's a hard hitting free safety. I wish my name was Ax Johnson. I even got a message in regards to being on a team! Looks like on Monday I am going to be signed! Yea!!!!! God I'm such a hypocrite, I know I'll be looking at this website for my 'stats' daily and trying to lead the league in interceptions.

Monday, April 14, 2008

My Conversation With Candy

So this will be my first post to this blog and somehow it's not going to be sports related.  I'd like to tell you my posts are going to get better, I'd like to tell that Andy fought the good fight and the sisters never bothered him again, but I can't- so this will probably be the best you're going to get.

Recently I've had some health issues.  Nothing major, I had some gall stones and got my gallbladder removed, but I thought I would recount the highlights experience here in this blog.  
Saturday, April 4th, 3:30 a.m. -- After a night of wing eating and beer drinking, I notice my stomach had started to develop some cramping.  I find this odd and quickly find myself quite sick.  The sickness is strange and not typical of your normal bout with alcohol poisoning or bad wingy's.  It continues to get worse and I realize this might actually be a serious problem, I wasn't quite sure of where your appendix is, but I'm pretty sure it's in your stomach and didn't want to die from something stupid like that.  So I decide I should head to the hospital, which in my head is quite a pussy move.  Not wanting pull a total bitch move, I decide I'm going to drive myself there despite intense pain and dehydration that is making me kind of faint.  I realize this probably isn't the best decision, but at the time I'm still not sure what's wrong with me so I'd rather pass out behind the wheel than make someone drive me to the hospital for a bad case of food poisoning.

Anyways...I have gallstones etc...need to have it out and have surgery the next week.  Better than the alternative I'm told which is kidney stones.  
General anesthesia is fucking weird.  If you've never had it, it's hard to explain.  You go from being completely alert to comatose for hours in a matter of seconds.  This is really the only part of my surgery that is worth retelling.  I've never understood how dreams work and I realize the combination of pain, pills and whatever weird shit the doctor was doing to me could easily fuck with my mind quite a bit. However,  while I was under anesthesia I visited with dead comedian John Candy.  

Why John Candy? I don't know.  I like the dude, think he's pretty funny and watch Uncle Buck whenever it shows up on TV, but can confidently say he is not part of my regular thought process.  What made it even weirder was the conditions of the meeting.  I appeared to be visiting the set of one of his movies with a person I'd never met before (they seems like a production assistant or something.)  Once we got on set was the part that really disturbed me, Candy was a complete fucking mess.  He seemed to be at his heaviest weight, easily inching close to 400 lbs and was rocking that beard he had in Wagons East.  On top of that, he was in a really shitty mood, screaming about something and generally scaring everyone on set. The P.A. I was with finally introduced me to him, but I was quickly pushed aside by Candy who had clearly had other things on his mind.  At this point I turned to the stranger I was with to say, "why is John Candy such a dick?"  I guess I said this too loudly and next thing I know people were rushing me off the set claiming John Candy wanted to fight me.  

Waking up from anesthesia is perhaps the weirdest part.  You have no memory of what happened, but you have a bunch of shit hooked up to you and a decent amount of pain.  Basically, it's like Dany Heatley's sunday mornings (That's not that good of joke, but it's easy so I took it.)  Anyways, the nurse pops a vicodin in my mouth and asks if I know what's going on. All I can ask is that she keep that maniac John Candy away from me.  I assume she is quite confused by this, so she asks how much pain I'm having on a scale of 1-10.  I'm starting to come to a little bit more, but am still pretty fucked up so I decide to get philosophical.  I tell the 30-something nurse it's hard to rate my pain because I'm unsure of the true definition of pain.  How can I evaluate my pain when I can't understand the pain of others?
At some point, they decided they've had enough of me and I'm wheeled out and released to the care of my mom.  I appear to be good and healthy to make better posts than this one in the future.  Thank Jesus.  

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The More you Know

Anyone who follows sports, even marginally, has been exposed to the steroid isue in Major League Baseball. Jose Canseco's book, "Juiced" confirmed what many fans had already suspected about the concept of steroids and baseball. For many, this was a devastating allegation and it opened up a can of worms, the effects of which we are still feeling today. It may not be possible to grasp the full scope of this scandal for many years to come. I, for one, thought that the majority of the finger-pointing would be settled after the Mitchell Report was released, but apparently our good friend and snitch Jose Canseco wasn't finished; a fact he made apparent recently when he mentions in his new book (?!) that he passed along the name of a steroid supplier to Mr. April, Alex Rodriguez. Even though there is a possibility that this is true, I have some problems with both the timing and placement of this new rumor.

When I first heard the news on ESPN, my thought was "Why is this coming out now, as opposed to two years ago? Did Canseco not even read his own book?" I assumed (my first mistake) that "Juiced" would have detailed all of Canseco's dealing with steroids, who he hung out with and how it all went down. I thought, was he walking down an aisle at Barnes and Noble, saw his face on a cover and decide to give it a shot? What was it like a few months later when he stormed into the MLB offices, slammed the book down on a table and say "Guys, I just finished this and guess what I found out? Yeah, I guess I mentioned A-Rod too. Let's take this to the papers."

As I learned more about the allegation I realized that this wasn't some passed over blurb in a previous book, but a topic of a new book that he is writing, which makes even less sense than him not reading his own book. Why make a new book? Books can have as many pages as the author wants. He didn't need to stop at 290. He could have kept going if he had something more to say. How many more pages would he have needed to include A-Rod? Five? Ten? Why not make that first book an even 300? This isn't the Lord of the Rings. Actually, it would be better of it was, because then Canseco could feel free to add monsters, lasers and pirates. When will he complete the trilogy, since that seems to be where he's heading. When will we see "Mark Mcguire and the adventure of the used syringe"? I find it hard to believe that while Canseco was sitting in his log cabin typing "Juiced" on his typewriter he was thinking to himself "Well, I want to unearth all of baseball's secrets for my own gain, but the world isn't ready to hear the whole story. I'll systematically reveal things over four years."

I have alot of problems with the way Canseco and Baseball have handled things in general. We're in the day and age of movies and television and he decides to write a bok. Baseball should have revealed the accused steroid users in the way that "Lost" revealed the Oceanic 6. Every week one more steroid user would be revealed and then Bud Selig and Canseco would have a podcast confirming that the athlete was a steroid user and give hints about the next week's reveal. That's something that want to watch.