Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Second Opinion - Deep Pockets

Last year Brian Urlacher felt so strongly that the Bears needed to have Lance Briggs that he decided to restructure his own contract so that the Bears would have enough money to sign Briggs to a long term deal. They did. Now, as the summer rolls around, I have to hear about how Brian Urlacher, the guy who threw some cash back at his team (completely unprovoked, mind you) so they could resign other guys, is complaining that he makes too little money for what he does and wants more years added to his contract. Now, I considered myself a jock at some point, so I tend to shy away from the stereotype that athletes are meatheads. It's just not true. Then guys like Urlacher and Briggs make it harder for me to defend that arguement. Brian, since I'm sure you're a regular at firereggiedunlap, I'll address this specifically to you:

What has changed (other than your deteriorating back condition) that helped you realize that you needed to make more money and suit up for two more years when it seemed that a mere five months ago you felt so secure in your contract that you returned money to the organization as a gift?
Oh, Lance, don't think you're getting off the hook that easy. Just a couple of things worth mentioning:

1)Urlacher gave away money to the Bears, money he desperately needed apparently, for the sole purpose of allowing them to sign you. Big smile, right?

2)You have spoken to numerous media outlets about how you support the fight that your teammate, Urlacher, is going through with his contract impasse.

Do you support Urlacher enough to do for him what he did on your behalf? Or is this one of those "Ah, well... ahem, I support him as long as, er, I don't have to make any sort of personal sacrifice" situations?

Of course, this kind of stuff is indicative of what happens when you give large sums of money to meatheads.

I am against the instillation of instant replay for Major League Baseball. If the umps had indisputable evidence on a given play, then what would hot headed managers have to dispute? Unless you can program the instant replay machine to kick dirt all over the ump until he meakes his decision, I don't see replay as a feasible or enjoyable option.

Terrible crimes in history: 1) Nicole Brown being stabbed to death and OJ subsequently being found not guilty. 2) The Holocaust. 3) Me working at my ice rink from 9pm to close tomorrow and missing (until I watch the tape later) the season finale of Lost.

Note to all you pill poppers out there- read the box. Specifically the part about adult doses. Both yesterday and today I have been popping two Claritin in my mouth every four hours. That was until I read the box and it said that I shouldn't exceed one pill a day. Reason #326 for why I will be dead by the time I'm 30. Although, as they say, "It's better to burn out- then fade away." I want everyone to know that when I die, I want this blog to be what I am remembered by.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Montage Monday V

We've got a soccer theme on this week's edition of montage monday, which won't be happening often so enjoy it while it's here. The first video focuses on one of my favorite folk hero's - George Best. Check out his wikipedia if you want some more info on him, he's really god damn interesting. The montage is very well done also.

The second video isn't all that great, but it combines my favorite poem and my favorite soccer event (1998 World Cup) together, so I figured that was good enough for now.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

And So It Begins...

Tonight, the Stanley Cup Finals begin in Detroit. If you aren't excited for it already, then I most likely hate you and you probably aren't reading this anyway. Yes, I am a huge Penguins fan. Yes, this is my half-assed attempt at writing a non-biased preview for the series. If you want numbers and other nerdery, I highly recommend this breakdown.

A lot has been said about the Penguins offensive firepower and rightfully so. This team is an offensive powerhouse, there is no way around that. To say the Red Wings are weak offensively would be downright retarded. Both teams are very, very skilled up front. Hockey fans will get to see a series for hockey's ultimate prize featuring Datsyuk and Zetterberg versus Crosby and Malkin. The advantage in terms of offense in this series will be swung by depth, which I don't think anyone would argue, goes the Penguins way. Anytime a team can throw out Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marian Hossa, Petr Sykora and Ryan Malone as the featured components as their top two lines, you have a fairly deep team. Not to mention Jordan Staal, a second overall pick and Calder Trophy finalist last year, waiting in the wings on the third line.
Detroit's top line is obviously among the NHL elite. Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom make one hell of a line. Even if one were to say that line washes out the top line of the Penguins, Sykora-Malkin-Malone is far and away better than the Red Wings second unit of Hudler-Filppula-Cleary (insert Johan Franzen when he returns). Compare Ruutu-Staal-Kennedy with Drake-Draper-Samuelsson as third units and it isn't even close. Jordan Staal has played like a man possessed the last 4 games or so and Tyler Kennedy deserves a goal more than anyone in the NHL right now with the way he is playing every shift. Kris Draper and Dallas Drake are old enough to be their parents. To compare the fourth lines would be stupid, not only because the Red Wings fourth line is garbage, but they don't really see enough ice time to swing the series entirely. However, in Gary Roberts (out for Game One) and Maxime Talbot, the Penguins have players that can step up. The Red Wings have Kirk Maltby and Darren McCarty on their fourth line. I would be scared if it was 1997.

Advantage: Penguins

Niklas Lidstrom is the best defenseman in the NHL. I'm just going to come right out and say that so there is no confusion. He would probably work his way into my Top 5 D-Men of all time and he should win the Norris Trophy every year until he finally decides to hang up his skates. Pair him with Brian Rafalski and you have a great top defensive pairing. Throw in guys like Kronwall, Stuart, Lebda and Lilja to round out your back line and you are by no means weak. It appears as though Chris Chelios will be a healthy scratch for Game One, which Red Wings fans should see as a good sign. Yeah, he's Chris Chelios, I fully understand that and I like him as much as the next guy, but at this point in his career he fucking sucks. Plain and simple. Chris, if you are reading this: A. What the fuck are you doing with your life reading this? B. Retire. You are slow and a fraction of the player you once were.
The Penguins have a very solid and underrated defense to compliment their offensive stars. Sergei Gonchar should have been a Norris finalist this year, but it's not like he was going to win it so who cares. Hal Gill has been the most underrated trade deadline pickup in the league, Brooks Orpik has developed into a highly capable NHL defenseman in a matter of months, Rob Scuderi has been a beast, Ryan Whitney is very talented and Kris Letang is going to develop into a very good puck moving defenseman. Still, as good as the Penguins defensive corps is, it isn't up to the level of Detroit's. The main reason for that is Niklas Lidstrom. He is that good.

Advantage: Red Wings

Chris Osgood and Marc-Andre Fleury have been far and away the two best goalies in the NHL Playoffs. Their stats are basically identical. You can break down this matchup as much as you want, but it will basically boil down to which goalie can stay hot the longest. Fleury has the age advantage there, Osgood being 64 years old has to catch up with him sooner or later. Right?

Advantage: Push

This is the ultimate matchup of youth facing experience. But when does being experienced turn into just being old? How long does this gray area last? Many of these Red Wings players have been here before and won. They clearly have the experience advantage. The Penguins have their share of guys who have been here before (Roberts, Gonchar, Sykora) but nothing like the Finals experience on the other side. But the youth of this Penguins team could be a real advantage. They don't know they are supposed to lose. This is not the Red Army Red Wings team of the mid 90s. This team is beatable and they are about to play a very good team that is on a roll. The Red Wings had the best record in the NHL this year, mainly because of their great start out of the gate. The Penguins finished second in the East but the team they put on the ice at the end of the season was far different than the one at the beginning, mainly because of Malkin exploding and the addition of Marian Hossa.
Home ice could also play a factor. The Red Wings can't sell out their games and the Penguins haven't lost at home since February. Both home arenas are pieces of shit too by the way. But at least Penguins fans fill up both the inside and outside of their piece of shit.
Basically, these predictions mean nothing and the fact that this one is written by a Penguins fan may contribute a little more to that. But with the way this Penguins team has been playing I am not scared of any team no matter how "unbeatable" they may be. My only hope is that Red Wing fans, being much classier and smarter than Ranger and Flyer fans, don't use all the built in excuses available to them when they don't win it all.

Prediction: Lord Stanley, Lord Stanley, give me the brandy. Penguins in 6

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Second Opinion: The Pacman Jones file

I haven't been around much to put my thoughts in order, but I found myself with some free time and a burning thought in the back of my brain: The ridiculous terms of the trade that sent Adam "Pacman" Jones to the Dallas Cowboys. For those of you who may not be familiar with the trade, The Dallas COwboys sent a fifth round draft pick to the Titans for Pacman, who is still under suspension from the league for his involvement in a strip club altercation. Under the terms of teh agreement, should the NFL refuse his appeal for reinstatement, the Titans would have to send their fifth round pick to the Cowboys, who will retain Pacman Jones. This is absurd. My opinion is, if you trade for a player when you are fully aware that there are extenuating circumstances which might prevent him from playing, you take that risk and shouldn't be shocked if it doesn't work out. What would happen if Pacman is not reinstated by the league this year, but is then allowed back in the league in 2009? As far as I can tell, the Cowboys would make out like gangbusters. They wouldn't have given up a thing. While it's unfortunate that the Cowboys have their hands tied behind their backs in this situation, nobody put a gun to their head to make this trade. I can't believe that the league gave the green light to it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The O or 1 scale

Dear Friends,

I want to introduce you to something that changed my life. It's not a new health fad or a religion. It's something far superior to both those shitty things. It's called the zero or one scale and it will blow your fucking mind.

I first learned of the 0/1 scale as a freshmen in college from a friend. Since then some changes and variations have occurred but the basic principal remains the same. A "0" is anything you would regret and a "1" is anything you wouldn't regret. At first this system was created entirely for the purpose of judging females. The founding fathers saw too many flaws in the over-hyped traditional 1-10 scale used by so many. Being able to quickly gage a room of chicks and formulate 0's or 1's was amazingly efficient and also served as a pseudo code for you and your friends.

An interesting thing happened after that. If you could use the 0/1 to measure girls why couldn't you apply it to everything in life? The simple answer is you can. For example, reading this blog is probably a 1. Good food is a 1, bad food a 0, you can use it for sports etc...

Go ahead and give it a shot, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the results. Also, feel free to pay on the scale to your other friends. Think of it as paying it forward.

I'll break down the scale here and include a couple of commonly accepted variations:

A One: You wouldn't regret.

A Zero: You would regret.

A Montross: A double zero, or in other words a really fucking disgusting girl- when used in the original context. Named after former UNC basketball great and number 00 Eric Montross. Very commonly accepted variation.

One +: a 1+ in shorthand. An extremely hot girl. This is a hotly contested variation flat out rejected by the original creators of the scale. I do use the term though, but think it can only be applied to the hottest of hot girls and is extremely rare. My definition of a 1+ is a girl who you would cut your pinky off to have sex with. Seriously it's that rare to find a 1+. Assholes who try to abuse the 0/1 scare frequently hand out far too many 1+'s.

An Isiah: Two 1's standing next to each other, thus forming an 11. Named after former Piston great Isiah Thomas #11. The terminology might be slightly off, but this is widely accepted in the 0/1 community.

Montage Monday v. IV

I'm supposed to be doing real work this week and actually didn't commit that much time to this week's segment. I'm throwing up two montages that are pretty well done, but you can take a look and judge for yourself.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

She Wants To Sell My Monkey

In honor of Coach's mention of the man, the myth, the legend Mike Lange, here are his Top 10 Moments. This recently aired on TSN and it embodies everything that is amazing about Mike Lange and his ability to call a hockey game.

The blog Going Five Hole recently ran a "Mike Lange Tournament of Quotes" which gives a solid rundown of every single gem Lange has dropped over the years. On a side note, what the hell ever happened to the Jagr Salute goal celebration? Why did he stop doing this? I'll be back when the Conference Finals end with my biased preview of the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Second Opinion

Since we have begun the shift toward themed posts, I have chosed to introduce the Second Opinion, where Dr. Porter discusses how things are and how they could be different.

Today's topic: Sports video games. More specifically, the Madden and NHL(insert year) franchises that are staples of my video game collection. It seems as though video games have gotten so advanced that I don't find myself enjoying them as much as I have in years past. I think my waning fervor is directly related to the way those video games have translated to the next generation systems. For instance, I grew up playing NHL games day and night. I would spend hours creating all of my friends as sick players and running the table for a decade (we were all 11 at the time, so I assumed our dynasty would last for 30 video game years.), or finding out the one movement, the one path, which would guarantee a goal. Every edition of the game had one and you felt a great feeling of accomplishment when it was established. My most memorable year was in 2005 when I brought Eric Lindros and Ray Whitney to the Blackhawks. It was a great move for everybody. Lindros and Whitney both revived their careers and the Hawks enjoyed three straight cup titles, much to the charign of their owner. (I'm not kidding about the owner thing. In Dynasty mode, the owner gives you objectives like "make money" or "get the first draft pick" and my owner, Bill Wirtz, wanted me to lose games and get the first draft pick. It was nearly like real life, which I have to applaud. I was almost the first coach ever to be fired specifically because he won the Stanley Cup. Coach can attest to this.) That was on the Nintendo Gamecube, which would last me until 2006 when I purchased an Xbox 360. Of course, NHL 2008 was the first gme I purchased. I have played it a total of seven times. Seven. Part of that is due to the fact that I am busier now, but it is mainly because the game doesn't have the same feel as the older versions. It's as if the game makers were so preoccupied with making the game more realistic that they forgot the equation that makes the game sweet: Shooting + passing + knocking guys off their skates= good game. That's all that's necessary. Don't make it more complicated to shoot. I don't want to have to flick a stick in eight different directions in order to score. I want to hit the "A" button as many times as I can. And if you are advertising better graphics for the game, here's a sweet way to flaunt it- playoff beards. Input a code so that when a team makes the playoffs, they immediately sport a playoff beard. AT least give me the ability to edit my own player options so I can add the beards myself.

Another thing I find annoying about all sports games is the lack of an accurate roster. We live in the age of downloadable content and it should be easy to set up an accurate roster for a team and post in on X-box live so that I can play with the guys that I see on TV every night. I was turned off by the fact that I couldn't play with Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews which are both up for rookie of the year. I understand that the games come out before all of these new guys can be processed, but why couldn't they add them in at a later date? This is especially annoying with the Madden franchise where the rosters are, for the most part, deadlocked by August or September. In baseball and hockey, the roster can change every day so I could marginally understand why the roster wouldn't always be up to date. As far as Madden goes, though, I was not able to play with some Bears' draft late round draft picks who had made an impact on the team this last year. The Bears also made a trade for a player which was almost impossible to replicate in the game without giving up a major player which would in itself make the video game team look different than the real one. The rosters are the one thing about sports games that are truly different from year to year. If it wasn't for the new rosters, I wouldn't have any motivation to buy the game each fall, unless there was a drastic improvement in the mechanics of the game (which usually isn't the case). So step up, EA, and set up roster updates so that I never have to worry about missing a key member of my team.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Montage Monday Vol. III

Trying to get in a quick update to this week's Montage Monday. Neither clip this week is excellent but both are entertaining. The First one is about Isiah Thomas and how fucking sweet of a basketball player he was. I sometimes think it is lost on people how actually great he was as a player because they just remember how shitty he is an a businessman. In his prime though he was the definition of a point guard. He was Chris Paul 15 years before Chris Paul if that helps you understand. He was tough as nails and led his teams to championships, what more could you ask. Those Detroit teams were revolutionary in the basketball world, and I'm sure I could write a hell of a lot more about them so I won't. The point is Zeke was great, he defined his team and his city and it's absolute bullshit he wasn't on the Dream Team. Michael Jordan can suck my dick about that.

The second clip is a ESPN blooper clip that I'm pretty sure everyone has seen, but it's entertaining and comical and reminds me of the glory days of SportsCenter.

Enjoy and God Bless.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dress for Success

The other day I decided that I should probably purchase some Pistons gear for this year's playoff run, since I'm stuck in central Ohio with none.  Logging onto the internet to check some stuff out I remember how truly atrocious some team merchandise is.  I've reached the point in my life where as a college graduate I can no longer wear a jersey, but the very idea of supporting my teams through my wardrobe is pretty out there.  Isn't the idea of like a 40-year-old man stretching a t-shirt displaying a silk-screened image of Lebron James over his beer guy unintentionally sad?  But we love our teams, we love our players and we love our sports so these are the sacrifices we make. 

Anyways, after searching for Pistons stuff and seeing how stupid some of it was and I took a look at some other team's shops.  Here is some of the better stuff I found. (and btw these are all available to purchase from the team's main store- it's not like I was searching ebay from some obscure t-shirt of my youth, but you can do that if you want)  

The Aaron Affalo Shirt.I seriously considered buying this. Good to know that if you can average 12.9 minutes a game and 3 points in the NBA, you can be immortalized on a shirt. I swear to god this was made for dudes and not little kids.

Jeremy Roenick is back. Well kind of, but he sucked and then left again so there is really no reason to own or sell this shirt

Miami Dolphins Draft Shirt. This is why the NFL draft is stupid. It's a great day for transition junkies like myself, but there is no reason to celebrate the fact your team was the worst in the league. The "believe in now" tagline isn't even that bad if the actual draft logo wasn't there. I guess maybe Dolphins fans just want to remember the moment their franchise was #1.

Edgar Renteria Red Sox Shirt. I guess when the Red Sox traded Edgar away two seasons ago, he took his sleeves with him.

Lions Dad Shirt. John Kitna I think know what you should get your dad for fathers day. My guess is that Roy Williams' and Shaun Rodgers' dads aren't rocking these in the stands or around town and in reality they are the only ones who should be wearing these. Just because you are a dude who likes the Lions and may have actually fathered a child does not make you a "Lions Dad". You'd just be a douche-bag for wearing this shirt and should reconsider your priorities to your family. I could actually see shithead wives buying this shirt for their husbands as a gift which would be pathetic as well, and if my future wife pulled shit like that we'd probably end up divorced. I'm not kidding either.

Baron Davis For MVP. I like this shirt, I really do. However, a point guard who shoots too much and can't lead his team to the playoffs probably doesn't deserve the MVP. Maybe they're talking about Warriors' MVP, I can maybe buy that.

The Stepford Red Wings

Tonight, the NHL Conference Finals begin. I will not take the easy way out and say Sidney Crosby is a diver. He has never been called for a diving penalty, so just shut up already. It's like calling someone who has never scored a goal in the NHL a goal scorer. Enjoy your built in excuse when you lose in 6, Philadelphia. Instead, I will be looking towards the west, specifically Detroit. Which as everyone knows, is in the western part of the United States.

Something that has always struck me as odd about the Detroit Red Wings is that this team has been able to stay very good for a very long time. In the mid to late 90s, they were the most successful NHL franchise winning multiple Stanley Cups and being one of, if not the favorite to win every year. But that's when things got weird. They stayed competitive yet when I would run down their roster at the beginning of every year I would say to myself, "Meh, not that good." Then April would roll around, Detroit would be towards the top of the Western Conference and they would be in contention for another championship. I have finally figured out how this is possible. Cloning. That's right. The Detroit Red Wings have been cloning hockey players for the better part of a decade.

I know what you are thinking. Cloning is not the reason for this amazing string of longevity in being a good hockey club. You can say it's the timely trades, the good work in scouting and the draft, the great coaching/management, and on and on. Wrong. It's fucking cloning. But these doctors up in Detroit have been very good at keeping it quiet. They aren't out saying in their German accents, "Look at us! Look at vhat vee have done vif zee hockey playing men!" by cloning Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk and having a team full of genetic superstars. No, they are building their legacy upon red bearded, second and third line players. When watching the Red Wings play this season, the only thing I could think of was the fact that everyone on that team looked the same. Played the same. Had the same color beard. Something was up.

The man that I have determined to be "Patient Zero", if you will, for the Detroit Hockey Genome Project (DHGP) is Dallas Drake. Now, Drake would never be confused by anyone except for maybe Dallas' mother, of being an NHL superstar. He's had a very long and good career in the league. But he is also the genetic "father" to a large portion of the current Red Wings roster. Drake was drafted by the Red Wings in the 6th round of the 1989 Entry Draft. During the 1992-93 season, he played in 72 games for the Red Wings. The following season however, he was traded to Winnipeg. The reason for this trade is that his DNA had been extracted by doctors in Detroit and they had no use for him any longer. Poof. Gone. This is when Red Wings doctors began their experimentation with the human genome, using Dallas Drake as their base.

While doctors were locked up in their labs somewhere in a cave hidden in the mountains of the Greater Detroit Metro Area, the Red Wings were winning. A lot. With a bunch of Russians. Which is another story altogether. Somehow I think these same doctors and World War II were involved. Anyway, when Steve Yzerman, Igor Larionov and Sergei Fedorov had all left town, it was time for Dallas Drake's "children" to take the ice.

The first was Tomas Holmstrom. He played on all three of Detroit's recent Stanley Cup victories in 1997, 1998 and 2002, making his debut with the team in the 1996-97 season. He was the first success that the doctors had in cloning Dallas Drake and served as a test run of sorts. He was brought out onto the ice while the Red Wings were winning to not only acclimate the public to the upcoming string of clones, but to also see if they could play and win. Next came Henrik Zetterberg, arguably their masterpiece, who made his debut in 2002-03. There was a little bit of a rough patch in Michigan and all the doctors could turn out were average AHL players and lacrosse players with 3 arms. Weird.

Soon enough, the doctors found their mistakes and corrected them. That's when the floodgates opened up and in poured a wave of pretty good but not that good hockey players. In the 2005-06 season alone, the following players, who are still with the team that "made" them, mind you, made their debuts:

RW Dan Cleary (He did play with other NHL teams before the Red Wings. I think it's just a cover up so as to not look suspicious.)

By 2006, the Red Wings had a total of 7 players on their team who were all the exact fucking same. When their postseason ended sooner than some anticipated, the Red Wings made a roster move the following off season to settle their core of clones down. In 2007, the Red Wings signed Dallas Drake to a one year deal. Who better to teach these red bearded grinders how to play the game and keep their minds at ease as they find out who they really are than their "father"? Now, the Red Wings are entering the Western Conference Finals. Again. On the strength of an absurd goal scoring stretch by "The Mule" himself, Johan Franzen. Under daddy's tutelage, Johan has come into his own and accepted what he is.

This year will turn out much like the previous years for the Red Wings in their quest for the Cup, though. They will fall short, losing to the Dallas Stars, simply because in the battle of nature vs. science, nature will always win. But when you watch the Red Wings take the ice in the coming weeks, remember what you have read here today and always be mindful of what the Red Wings are trying to put by the hockey public. You aren't fooling us any longer.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Monday, May 5, 2008

To those of you who "get it...."

It's Friday night -- let's say like 10:30pm. You just finished up your week and you're heading out to the bar with a bunch of people who in all likelihood don't really comprehend what it is you're going through. If you're like me, you've spent the better part of life after high school searching for the select few in this world who get why your face is hidden behind a disgusting wall of hair.

Most won't understand that it isn't really a beard, and it isn't the result of a three week coke binge, hacking away at every redeeming quality your soul has to offer. You didn't lose a bet, and you're not protesting against the sale of South African apartheid diamonds. They probably think that the stench fuming off your body like wood chips in a sawmill is from the three week old masterpiece on your face. You're too ashamed to say in public that it's from your socks and underwear which haven't been changed (let alone washed) since you clinched the division with that win over Chicago.

Finally, even after the bud light and Jameson has settled in, you still refuse to sit in the booth to the right of the little stage where the bar hosts live music every Thursday after happy hour. It doesn't matter that all of your friends are being forced to stand in the middle of the dance floor where the local trash is grinding up on the rest of the local trash. Your buddy almost got in a fight with one of them for looking at some girl the wrong way. He's your best friend though, and he's probably the one guy you're with who gets that it's absolutely necessary to avoid that booth at all costs. If you were to sit there, you're going to blow the lead again just like last week and the guilt is just too heavy to carry all the way to free agency. No real friend would put another friend in a position like that.

I'm off course referring to the nonsense that every nonsensical sports fans imposes on themselves during the unbearably difficult period that is the post season. You ever try explaining to a girl or some hippie weirdo why you have empty beer cans lined along the perimeter of your apartment? I swear man, even the most asinine characters I've come to know have suggested therapy when they've witnessed the shit I've pulled during the playoffs. The thing about attending a massive, universally known sports school like I do is that there's a unprecedented mix of people within the community. In my first year way back in 2003 (pathetic I know), I met people from Ohio, Michigan, California, Texas and North Carolina within the first 48 hours after move-in. Each of them had their own culture, their own stories, and most importantly, they all had their own sports loyalties which I was eventually forced to accept.

And when you do that, when you submerge yourself into a lifestyle filled with people from all over the country, it's nearly impossible to find those passionate about your teams the way you are (this is excluding the school's football and basketball teams, of course). You seclude yourself from the rest of your world. Everything shuts down. Everyone who had become the make-up of your social life are now barely visible beneath the shadows cast from a championship trophy so close you can smell it.

There's a writer on this blog right now who is going through this very process. He realizes that none of us really give a damn about his team under normal circumstance, but know we will support him during these heart-wrenching times -- either that or continuously remind him how his favorite player is a pussy-ass diver, fishing for penalties and afraid of contact. It's a give and take situation.

But that's how it is, and that's just fine with me. I went through this process during the Giants Superbowl run a few months ago, and I'm telling you, the amount of attention I got from people, both negative and positive, will forever shape the way I treat others during their favorite team's most treacherous times. For those of you who reminded me how utterly undefeatable the Pats were... I just hope we aren't friends when you're heading into a deciding game -- I can't afford the medical bills.

To this day, I still have a hard time understanding how the outrageous things we do effect the outcome of these games (and yes, I've given up trying to explain it -- I just know it's true). How the fuck does a beard, or fuck it, a mustache make the puck slide off a hockey player's stick with better crisp and accuracy?

Remember when Oprah was pitching that book The Secret, which claimed that there has been "a secret" known by successful people for literally thousands of years? -- that if you identify what you want, and use the metaphysical world to channel your energy, you can create a tangible, positive effect on your own life? I used to look at the whole concept as the ultimate sucker-punch on the impressionable American public, but who the fuck knows? Maybe there's some truth to it. Maybe if you want something so God Damn bad enough you can turn it into a reality. I mean, let's be honest. The Giants had no business beating the Cowboys or Packers, let alone the Patriots. It's obvious that the beard I sported for five weeks did something to Tom Brady's ankle and Eli Manning's heart. I don't think I have special powers or anything because I've seen it work with other sports fans, too. Some hot shot scientist who's had Laker's season tickets for the last 30 years needs to lobby for more funding to study this topic. There's got to be others like me who wants to stop guessing with their superstitions and start taking a more choreographed approach.

We're fans. We're the reason they play the game, yada yada yada -- but part of me likes to think we're a little more than that. Each and every year, multi-million dollar, freakishly gifted athletes take the court, or the ice, or the field and put their bodies on the line on a regular basis. You're telling me that these guys don't have the ability to channel out the crowds and play relatively the same no matter where they are? The fans are clearly doing something, otherwise there'd be absolutely no way to explain the significantly better home records across the board in every sport.

It's in our in voices. It's in our socks. It's in our beards, and it's in our hearts. Keep doing all the bullshit you guys do. If you support the notion that you're just a fan and not really a part of the game, then you and I will never quite connect. If you support the notion that "the 12th Man" is more than just a concept, then you and I need to have a beer and watch the game. There are few out there quite like us.

Montage Monday Vol. II

We're going to veer off the norm in this week's edition of Montage Monday&trade. The first is kind of a sport, but not really. It does however involve one of the greatest american folk hero's of all-time.....Andre The Giant. There are some athletes that I truly wish I saw in their prime. Examples of this would be like Gordie Howe, Bill Bradley and Larry Bird, where stories and pictures can only do so much. Hearing and reading people talk about these guys actually makes me sad I never got to see it with my own eyes. I feel the same way about Andre the Giant. Much like Bird, I have a vague memory of seeing Andre, but by the time I did he was on the downside of his career and I was much too young to fully appreciate his talents. Honestly, I think I would include Andre in a top ten list of people I wish I could have a beer with, though if he lived up to his legend I would most certainly die of alcohol poisoning.

The second clip has nothing to do with sports at all....unless you count Kevin Arnold's green Jets jacket. The Wonder Years is great television, and that's become oh so rare these days. It's maddening to me at how bad television has gotten these days and the general lack of plot or storyline in any network show. The Sopranos, The Wire and even in early stages The Real World were ground breaking TV, but they larger than life. Shows like The Wonder Years don't exist anymore and it's a shame. Now I do have an irrational love of the show and can not properly communicate my love of it, but it deserves the credit. I'll even admit it can be a little corny at times, but it was amazingly genuine and reflected its themes perfectly. So not to get too mushy, but enjoy the clips.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Ted Turner, You Can Take Your Sitcom And...

I have no doubt that I am the only one to notice this, but I deem it totally necessary to point out to the masses. If you have in any way, shape or form watched the NBA Playoffs over the last three years, you have unfortunately experienced something completely unnecessary and, above all else, totally unrelated to sports. Nothing has ever been whored out to the extent of the TBS/TNT sitcom/drama. Whether it be Kevin Bacon's big-titted wife eliciting confessions from common street trash or the modern-day Steve Harvey show, TNT insists on pounding the details of the next flash in the pan comedy bore from the loins of The Southern Donald Trump himself, Ted Turner. Thanks to the merciless marketing bastards responsible for this onslaught, I can't listen to Marv Albert without hearing about how "Very Funny" (which is TBS's ingenious tag line) the latest Bill Engvall Show episode. First off, they must believe that people will choose not to watch a half-assed male hillbilly Rosanne, so they push it like crack on a street corner. Second of all, It must be genius enlisting Marv Albert, seeing as I cannot think of anything but him biting a hooker's ass while he talks non-basketball.

"Very Funny" if your relate to hunting and beating your wife.
p.s. There is no way in hell that this dickhead is America's Favorite Comedian, unless the Great Plains alone is considered America.

Not only do I not give a fuck who Madea is, I don't ever want to hear about how funny the black Martin Short wanna-be is.

It's no secret that I am a Cavaliers fan, and during one of the rare championships that they have, not to mention I, have gotten to witness, I was not allowed to watch the Cavs without hearing about Tyler Perry's House Of Payne. I realize that this is an effort at target marketing, getting the african-american segment, who supposedly loves all things Tyler Perry for some reason, informed on their new sitcom (which is another reason I dont see the Bill Engvall Show taking off thanks to its brilliant placement here). On the other hand, there is no reason that they need to insult the viewers with the every-minute-on-the-minute reminders to clock in to their shitty cable endeavors. That fact single-handedly assured that I would change the channel whenever I would accidentally find my TV on The Closer, The Bill Engvall Show and Tyler Perry's House of Payne. Ted Turner, you should be ashamed of yourself...not to mention your company's failure to recognize talent. I am not a religious man, but I will be praying like hell that Larry The Cable Guy doesn't boob-joke and arab-bash his way into TBS's Summer line-up come next year's playoffs.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

H.G. Bissinger is f'ing clownshoes

So much has been said about Buzz Bissinger's tirade against sports blogs the last few days that I'm not going to pile on. Regardless though, I would be remiss not to comment.  Bissinger's points are fair, but remarkably out of touch.  Mr. Bissinger is a dinosaur, and while dinosaurs ruled the earth for thousand of years, they eventually went extinct. (I have a christian friend who says dinosaurs never existed, but he is a crazy bastard.)  Only time will tell what will happen to print journalists and how they will be interpreted in the future.  

The biggest thing that stands out to me is how much Bissinger, and Costas to an extent, fails to be progressive in this view of new media.  Blogs create fast news that is accessible to everyone.  That is the beauty of new media; everyone has a voice.  We are no longer subject to the same tired few points and played out stories.  The lack of regulation amongst the internet community is somewhat worrisome, but there does exist some sort of pseudo-policing on the web.  As Will Leich said it's hard work get readership in a blog and even harder to earn any legitimacy.  

From the athletes point of view, they argue that they no longer have any privacy because of the internet and to that I say- tough shit.  Our generation has grown up with the internet, and an unfortunate side effect of that is embarrassing pictures being posted on it.  Older people can not understand this because of their lack of understanding the world wide web.  I sometimes laugh thinking about future presidential campaigns and how a picture on facebook from 20 years prior will have an impact.  Trust me there are plenty of embarrassing things involving myself, and when you combine those with my radical views on pornography, I'm not getting elected to public office anytime soon.  Photos of athletes drunk also help to humanize these guys and that's not such a bad thing.  Anyways, this post was a little more serious than I had originally intended so to lighten it up I'll provide some embarrassing pictures of the authors of this blog that are floating around the internet.