Friday, December 17, 2010

Oh, you mean Ray Ray?

With Christmas chopping at us every waking hour and now just single digits away, every year the writers here at hangintheresports.com like to gather around the yuletide log, sip our energy drinks and reflect on sports in a nostalgic, picturesque sort of way. Of course by writers, I really am just referring to myself, and since this website is not even a year old I cannot really say "every year the writers blah blah blah" because everything I say is in season one anyhow. But I am sure my faithful readers out there (all three of you) will not mind as I paint this column to be more than it actually is. Tis' the season and all. We were even going to send out Christmas cards to the readers this year but when the financial committee met together on Monday (again, financial committee = just me), it was decided that Christmas cards did not fit the budget. It should come as no surprise to find out, the financial committee was in utter shock and disbelief when they discovered there was not even "ah" budget, let alone a budget found lacking that would afford sending out holiday greeting cards. The writers of this website send their deepest apologies.

Apologies aside, there is still plenty to talk about. Yesterday, my buddy Brett texted me to see if I had been noticing how insane Raymond Felton has been playing since landing in New York. 18 points and 9 dimes a game; all career highs. Unless you play fantasy basketball or you are a Knicks fan, which Brett and I are not--I love my Sacramento Kings and Brett likes his Seattle Sup... I mean... a team no longer in existence--you would probably not know about our boy Raymond Felton. You see a few years back Brett and I decided we were going to play an entire of season of NBA 2K5 on the 360. We created our own characters, not 99 in every attribute, but normal players, like 72-74 overall.

Brett's character was a SG named Darko Papodopilis and Darko was a little white chocolate on the court. He made Allen Iverson's game attire seam plain by contrast. He had a nice step back three a la Jimmer Fredette (before there was a Jimmer Fredette). I made a huge, black PF named Preston Parish. He was built like Dwight Howard, played mean like Karl Malone, rebounded like Charles Barkley and rocked the #91 like Dennis Rodman. After we made our characters we had them drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats because they would be the stars of the team from the get-go. The Bobcat lineup consisted of Emeka Okafor at center, Parish at power forward, Gerald Wallace at small forward, Papodopilis at shooting guard, and the aforementioned Raymond Felton at point guard. Brevin Knight was the default PG, but we always elected to play Felton because of his stealing capabilities.

We start the season like 7-and-1, and we had agreed that if we lost then we were not going to restart the game but rather take it like a man. The next five games however we lost every single one. It got to the point we were kind of pissed at the other person. Like it was real life or something. So we get to the Boston Celtics and Paul Pierce destroys us. Part of my real life hate towards Pierce is attributed to our NBA season we played on the X-Box. Having lost five games in a row and tensions already higher than they should be, we were so upset, we broke our rule of never resetting the game due to a defeat. We play the Celtics again and lose. Reset. Lose again. Reset. Lose yet again; Paul Pierce cannot be contained. Parish is fouling out of games, Papodopilis is bricking everything, Okafor cannot get a defensive rebound to save his life. Things are looking grim. We start another game and lose.

Brett looks at me and says, "If we play this one more time and lose, I'm breaking this game in half."

Me, "I'm breaking it in half right now."

"One more game, and then we'll break it."

"Let's do this."

The game starts and it is a playoff atmosphere. The refs are letting 'em play, its getting dirty down low, guys are making huge shots, and the game is close. We go up by seven with about 1:14 left to play. Celtics ball. Our D steps it up and the shot clock is winding down until Paul Pierce hits a fall-a-way, and gets fouled by Darko. That's his sixth, he's done. Piece makes the free-throw and it is Bobcat's ball, we're up by 3. Ensuing play, Pierce steals the ball, and jacks up a pull-up three. Of course it goes in. I effing hate Paul Pierce more than anything. Brett and I have stopped talking at this point. There are about 37 second left in the game. We decide to do a 2-for-1, but Emeka Suck-a-for bricks an open layup.

(Note: You're probably saying to yourself, "This is a lot of detail, almost too much for a video game." Well, you know what, at the time is was huge deal. I've never been more upset over a game than I was while playing this one. The moment is burned in to my mind. Lay off me.)

Celtics get the rebound, milk the clock and Ricky Davis knocks down a mid-range jumper. So to recap, we were up by 7, had the game in the bag, and suddenly we are down by 2 with .7 seconds left. We call a timeout, advance the ball to half court and pause the game.

"Un-bleeping-believable," say Brett.

".....," I sit brooding.

"(deep sigh),"

"Let's just gets this over with."

We inbound the ball (by the way, it is like 3 or 4 in morning and people are sound asleep) to Raymond Felton. Darko is by far the teams best 3-point shooter and he has fouled out, and is sitting on the bench. Felton was like a 67 or maybe a 68 when it came to shooting threes. If you are video-game-player-rating illiterate, 67-68 is not that good. Another thing to be noted is Brett always took the teams three's too, because when you shoot them you have to time the release of the button at the height of the shot to improve the accuracy and he was always better at then I.

Because Preston Parish was my guy and played the PF position, by default I always inbounded the ball, but whenever you called a timeout, the makers of the NBA 2K games had some algorithm which would switch the person inbounding the ball from Player A to Player B. We only realize this is happening as the ball is in the air on the inbound. Looks like I will be the one shooting. Felton is two, maybe three, steps past half court. Brett drops his controller is disgust/defeat. I barely get this shot off before the buzzer sounds. Swish.

M-A-Y-H-E-M.

It was like winning the lottery, but winning it on MTVs Silent Library. Brett runs out of the room and when he runs back in he is doing the Jordan fist pump from when Jordan hit the game winner against the Cavs, and I'm jumping up and down like an idiot. Watch any cheerleader on the sideline from any game winning shot or touchdown on Youtube, and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. We watched the replay of it over and over for at least 20 minutes and then talked about it for the next two weeks. Raymond Felton sealed his legacy forever to me that night in Brett's basement. To some Raymond Felton came out of nowhere this year, but Brett and I have known about him for five years.

What has come out of nowhere, to me at least, is Seattle possibly getting a basketball team again. I knew about the NBA purchasing the New Orleans Hornets, but knew nothing about Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, selling 1.3 billion dollars worth of shares in the beginning of November. One of the side effects of having not lived in the Pacific Northwest for the last 4 years. Apparently, Ballmer was one of the main people in opposition of the Seattle Supersonics moving to Oklahoma City. With the NBA buying New Orleans, and the Hornets on pace to NOT meet to mandatory two-year attendance quota, perhaps getting the Supe's back in the 206 is right around the corner. Why else would you liquidate over a BILLION dollars of shares? Where there is smoke, there is often fire.

There is also some smoke about the Sacramento Kings possibly being the team that moves to Seattle. The Kings are in the midst of stomping their feet because the city does not want to build them a new arena. I am partially torn about this. If the Kings did in fact move and become the Seattle Kings or whatever, one half of me would be overjoyed.

There is something fun about following the team from where you grew up. I get this feeling with the Mariners. With Seahawks? Yeah, right! My brother calls them the Seachickens. I'll never root for them. The Supersonics were kind of a middle ground. I never really followed/liked the Sonics when I was growing up. That was during Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton's heyday, but that was also prime Michael Jordan time. No kid my age, followed any other team but the Bulls. To say the least, it was easy for me not to follow them. When they drafted Kevin Durant I found myself checking in on them. I even went ahead and bought Durant Sonics home jersey. I felt a tiny bit of Sonic pride. Maybe that pride grew inside because I no longer lived in Washington and on sub-concious level I yearned for connections. Who knows? When the team was hijacked to Oklahoma, a small part of me felt sad. To get a team back there would be cool, and to have the team be MY team (Kings) would be awesome. But therein lies the dichotomy.

I do not want to lose the SACRAMENTO Kings. If they moved to Seattle, my team would die. Nobody would want that. I love my purple, black and white Kings and do not want them any other way. When I tell people that I am a Kings fan, I want them to say, "Sacramento huh?" instead of "Seattle huh?". I have noticed something peculiar about being a Kings fan too. Anytime I tell people I am a Mariners fans (in addition to being a Red Sox fan) they will always ask me if I grew up there. When I tell them I like the Kings, people always ask why and never if I grew up there. It is one of those weird mysteries. I do not want to lose that. I take pride in my Sacramento fanship. I want them to stay put. In the end I believe they will. The Hornets are more likely to end up in the Pac-Nor then the Kings.

In other sports news how bout them Heat? 19-and-8 with a 10-game win streak. This is the part where I say "I told you to chill the freak out." To baseball, we have the have a couple of big offseason signings. The Sox got Crawford for $142 million. If you remember on my Christmas sport's wish list I had said I wanted him at a cheap price. Anything under 160 I considered cheap. A win. The Philadelphia Phillies reclaimed Cliff Lee to the tune of $120 millions dollars. Now their pitching rotation boasts Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt. Three out of those four players, made my version of the All-Star game this last July: found here. Oh boy. So basically we're just fighting for second place (laughing nervously, staring off in to nothingness, face turning to a shade of shale gray).

Speaking of shale gray, the Seattle Sounders FC unveiled a new kit for the 2011 soccer season. The Sounders easily have the tightest jerseys and I don't just say that because I'm a homer. They really do. Brett claims the new Vancouver Whitecaps take the cake, and I like the their white home kit, but the blue is bland and does not measure up to Seattle's green. And since we're talking about jersey's... I LOVE Oregon's National Championship game set-up and I could care less if I am the only one. It's gangster. Carbon fiber helmets, are you kidding me?!! Filthy, just filthy. Everybody who claims they're awful is just a hater.

The only thing left to talk about, is how hot Tony Romo's, Candice Crawford, fiancee is. Wow. Obviously she surpasses Jessica Simpson and she edges out Carrie Underwood, but the real quest is this: Is she English Premier League girlfriend/wife caliber? That is the bar every athlete aims for, is it not? This needs to be discussed. I know I am not the only one struggling to find the answer. I cannot make up my mind. I'm on the fence. Depending on how offended my wife gets when I mention her and we Google her pictures together, will really be the deciding factor if Crawford cracks in the EPL barrier. But before I completely bury myself any further while trying to tackle to tough issues that press on our minds, let the record clearly show that no women will ever surpass the gorgeousness of my wife, and any discussions on the physical appeal of any women on this website, or otherwise, will exclude the comparison of any said person and my wife, as including my wife in deducting the attractiveness of another women, is clearly not fair, as my wife will win hands down any and every time. I would also like to mention that I love her very much, and truly appreciate the gift that it is, to be able to sleep next to her in our nice comfy bed and not the couch.

Oh boy... I'm screwed. I'm just gonna quit now. Happy Holidays everyone.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

John Hughes & Christmas

What does John Hughes and Christmas have to do with sports? You mean other than the love I have for Christmas and movies and then combining the two? Nothing. But the man sure can make the hell out of a Christmas movie(s). Enjoy a sports-less, sports column in tribute to the season.

Here at the Hang in There Sports website, we love quoting movies whenever we can. We especially love to quote some movies more than others. Below is another scene from one of my favorite movies, Dogma (edited for the PG readers), which pays tribute to John Hughes:

Bethany (Linda Fiorentino): McHenry is pretty far from Jersey, might I ask what brings you guys to Illinois?

Jay (Jason Mewes): Some guy named John Hughes.

Bethany: "16 Candles" John Hughes?

Jay: You know him too? That guy. Made this flick "16 Candles" right? Not bad: it's got girls in it, but no action. Of course Ebert over here don't give a crap about that stuff cause he's all in love with this John Hughes guy and rents every one of his movies. The "Breakfast Club" all these stupid kids actually show up to detention. "Weird Science" where this one chick wants to take off her gear and get down, but aw, no she don't cause it's a PG movie. And then there's "Pretty In Pink" which I can't watch with this tubby guy any more, because every time we get to the part where the red head hooks up with her dream guy, he starts sobbin' like a little eight-year-old with a skinned knee and stuff. And nothing is worse then watching a fat man weep.

(Wow, I had to edit that a lot more than I thought) Moving on.

Last night I finished watching one of the greatest movies ever made: Home Alone. It was likely my 97th viewing; I love it that much. “Ninety-seven?” you say. "Why such a small number for a movie you proclaim to love so much?" For your information, watching a movie ninety-seven times is a BUNCH. Everybody likes to throw around 1,000 or 1,000,000 but I think if you really want to brag about how much you’ve done something—especially when the topic relates to how many times you’ve seen a feature film—then throw out the real number. I stand proudly by mine. Good ‘ole ninety-seven.

Think about it, Home Alone released, in theaters, November 1990 and hit VHS later that next year. Watching a movie ninety-seven times over a nineteen-year span is an average of five times a year. Sounds about right. Unless I catch it on TV, I probably won’t see it again this year. I still love it, but the luster of being twenty years older is responsible for the dip in views. In 1991 I was seven or eight years old and I distinctly remember watching it for the first time over at Andrew Dyer’s house. The feeling of excitement as the tape was put in the VCR and magic of watching the previews is a feeling I wish I was able to still experience. To this day, I continue to quote the “Got a Pepsi for me?” line from the Pepsi ad before the movie. Some people get it, others do not. Funny how certain things are burned in to your memory.

To me, Home Alone has stood the test of time: it will never get old. Having said that, last night was the first time I noticed some of the gaping holes in the movie. Even when I watched it last year, these thoughts never crossed my mind.

Like, when the McCallister’s get to Paris and phone back to their hometown police department, why do the police take the issue so non-chalantly? Did the police department really have nothing better to do than sloppily eat donuts and wrap Christmas presents? Or when the officer went to the house and Kevin was hiding under the bed not answering, did the department really feel fine with looking in a few windows and scoffing, “There’s no one here, tell that lady to count her kids again”? I’ve seen plenty of episodes of Law & Order to know this would never fly. As a kid though, I completely buy the scenario.

There is more. As soon as Harry and Marv found out Kevin was home alone and Kevin overheard they were planning to come back at nine o’clock, why didn’t he just walk to the police station? He had time to walk to a Santa Claus exhibit in town, go to Christmas Eve mass, walk all the way back home, draw a super in depth bugler plan with crayons (raise your hand if you made one of those) and then make the most delicious looking plate of Mac n’ Cheese—all before the clock struck 9 PM. Or how about at the end when Old Man Marley knocks Harry and Marv out with a snow shovel and takes Kevin outside before the police arrive—how did the police not discover that Kevin was home alone. Winnetka, Illinois clearly has the worst police force in the world. The good thing however, is even though I noticed these plot holes, the movie still plays fantastically and is not ruined in any way, shape, or form (for me at least).

In the spirit of Home Alone and talking about Christmas movies, here is My Best Christmas Movies of All-time:

10. Jingle All the Way (1996)


This makes the Top-10 solely because the movie captures the essence of the captive power of commercial advertising. I cannot even list the amount of items I coveted between 1988 and 1995. The Turboman Doll represented them all. Plus it had Sinbad in it.

9. Miracle of 34th Street (1994)

My little sister and I watched the crap out of this one. My favorite part was when Dylan McDermott proved that Santa Claus existed because the United States puts ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’ on all of our currency. I love the cleverness of it. Using the legal system to prove that Santa Claus is real.

8. The Santa Clause (1994)
7. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)


The best character in the movie, hands down is Cornelius. The man rolls with a pack of sled dogs, strong enough to take down the Abominable Snowman. But the best part is his method for foraging for silver and gold: throwing a pick ax in to the air, letting in land, pulling it from the ground and then licking the tip. Foolproof. How could anyone NOT find gold? (Raise your hand again if you did this at some point in your childhood)

6. Elf (2003)
5. Christmas Vacation (1989)


Two most favorite lines from the movie:

(1) Totally engulfed by the drop dead gorgeous mall sales-woman “Can’t see the line can you Russ?”

(2) “Hey! If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I'd like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head. And I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, d---less, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey s--- he is! Hallelujah! Holy s---! Where's the Tylenol?”

4. Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)

It is the earliest memory I have of watching Christmas movies. I watched the new one, with Jim Carrey, and it was downright frightening. Reading the book is on my to-do list.

3. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)


Classic.

2. White Christmas (1954)


Even more classic. I must watch this on Christmas Eve without fail. It is a Fish Family Tradition.

1. Home Alone (1990)


Some of the honorable mentions go out to A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966), The Grinch (2000) and last but not least A Christmas Story (1983).

A lot of people I know LOVE A Christmas Story, but if I am honest with myself, I am not one of those people. Try as I may, I cannot put my finger on the exact reason why I am not one of them. Something to do with the color, the photography or feel of the movie doesn’t quite sit right. It’s weird, I know. I don’t trash it and I appreciate it for being a classic. TNT plays it for 24 straight hours every year for heaven’s sake, but I honestly would watch any other movie on my list before it. Hate me, but I do not like it for me. I guess I am just one of those people.

OK… I lied.

Lied about not writing about sports (seriously A Christmas Story is not in my Top-10). I just realized I can make a best Christmas movie list, than I can very well make a sports Christmas list. Readysetgo.

- I want the Red Sox to sign Carl Crawford, but not for a crazy amount because of the 7-year $126 million dollar Jayson Werth contract. Did you know, with Jayson’s new contract he could spend $30,000 dollars a day—365 days a year—and still have seven million dollars left over from the eighteen million he will make each year?

- I’d like the Sacramento Kings to tank for one more year and get that third piece they need to return to greatness. A few weeks ago I saw them against the Jazz and Demarcus Cousins is going to be legit. Maybe not Blake Griffin legit, but legit all the same. Imagine Cousins, Evans and Player-to-be-named-later. Maybe even trade the draft pick for someone. Who knows. Look out! Kings BABY!

- I hope Dez Bryant’s body will heal and somehow make him better like in Rookie of the Year. Also I want to be able to get him for $7 dollars again, like I did in this year’s draft.

- I want Oregon to win the BCS National Championship, Cam Newton to still go #1 in the NFL draft and have no other teams jumping their conference ship. It’s so 2-months ago.

- And I want a brand new Bugatti Veyron Super Sport for free. Even in the same color as the FIFA officials chose when they sent the games to Qatar.

Let that last one marinate as my final thought.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Calming the Uproars

“Any time you can hold a World Cup in a hot Middle East country that's smaller than Connecticut + has no soccer tradition, you have to do it.”

- Bill Simmons via Twitter


For those of you who have been living under a rock—or if you belong to sixty percent of Americans who do not care about soccer—yesterday the world found out where the 2018 and 2022 World Cups’ will be held. The United States was hoping to have the Cup held in the states in ’22 until FIFA punk’d us, and went with Qatar.

Mmhmm, I said Qatar.

Where is Qatar? Truth is, nobody really knows. I had to Google Earth it myself. You would have more of an impact if the games were held on Antarctica. Seriously, I am not able to distinguish between the two. Both are ludicrous. My buddy Brett and I were texting about this back and forth yesterday. We agreed a few key points:

(A) Qatar has NEVER even qualified for a World Cup. They have zero soccer tradition.

(B) After the finally game of the tournament those incredibly gigantic and expensive air-conditioned stadiums will not even get used. (I’ve written about stadium costs before)

(C) If FIFA was not going to give the games to the United States, they should have gone to Australia

There has also been a ton of speculation over money. Qatar has dumb amounts of money. According to British columnist, Brian Whitaker, apart from substantial amounts of oil, it's the world's largest supplier of liquefied natural gas and has the world's third-largest natural gas reserves – all for a population of only 1.5 million. Did money play a role in it? Probably, but who cares? There is nothing you or I can do expect whine about it. When I hear a stat like that, I envision the scene with the Sheik in the movie 2012 purchasing admission to the end-of-days arks:

Well-dressed English banker: Has His Highness had an opportunity to study the dossier?

Crazy rich Arab: You must understand, I have a very big family, Mr...?

Banker: Isaacs.

Arab: One billion dollars is a lot of money.

Banker: I'm afraid the amount is in euros, Your Highness.

A billion dollars for PER spot on one of the arks. Of course later in the movie we see the Sheik board an Ark with all of his wives with him and 30+ kids. As far as I am concerned, in Qatar, guys like that are dime of dozen. Money bought/brought the World Cup to Qatar. I’m over it already. I’d rather win a World Cup than host one. Besides, yesterday marked LeBron’s first trip back to Cleveland.

38 points, 8 assists, 5 boards and zero turnovers in just 30 minutes played. Suck it Cleveland. Yes, I do think that you have right to feel pissed off with the way Lebron left, but I have said it before and I’ll say it again: you owe LeBron James E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. Your freaking team was absolutely garbage. Every positive thing you were able to reap as a Cavaliers fan from 2003 to 2010 is owed solely to him. Be thankful. Before the game started I told E, “Hey, I hope Miami goes out there and hangs 120 on them. I want Lebron to drop 40.” And they almost did.

James was two shy from 40 and at one point Miami was up by as many as 38. Final score was 118-90. Cavs fans, instead of wear t-shirts that way ‘VICTIM’ and booing like the haggard woman from The Princess Bride, you should be forming LeBron James tribute bands where you cover one song, and that song is Led Zeppelin’s Thank You. Get over yourselves already. Why didn’t you boo Zydrunas Ilgauskas? Remember, he left you too.

LeBron James, is first or foremost—an NBA basketball player. That is his chosen and God-given profession. Within that profession, one has two main objectives that come about all other. An NBA player’s declaration of intent if you will. In order, they are as follows:

One: Win an NBA Championship(s)
Two: Make money

If I am The Artist Formally Known as 23, why in the hell would I say in Cleveland? Because a there are Cavaliers fans that like me? Yeah. Right! I am bouncing my talented self out of there as quickly as possible. Anybody that tries to tell me LeBron had a better opportunity to accomplish the above mentioned items in Cleveland is a delusional liar. I admit, that given LeBron’s talent, had he stayed in Ohio for the rest of his career, then Cleveland would have landed a title. But not a plethora of them; probably just one. It is his job to wins those. Why jump on the guys back because playing in Miami with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh makes it easier to get a title?

For example:

I am a businessman, and lets say my chosen business is architecture. I work at a firm that designs skyscrapers. I am a really talented architect and I get paid lots of money for the buildings I design and build, because there is nobody else in my industry that can do the things I do, the way I do. There are also other talented and well-paid architects out there. Some people really like me and the buildings I create; but others like different architects that live and build skyscrapers in different cities. Every year I work my very best at my firm, in hopes we I can win the Architectural Firm of the Year award and build the best skyscraper in the country. I work so hard that I come really, really close a couple of times, but it seems that each year the firms in Los Angeles, Boston and San Antonio win the award and build the best building. My firm has tried to bring guys in to support my efforts but they are that good. Semi-talented or some washed-up name. It does not work. My contract with the firm is approaching the end and I now have a couple of options:

OPTION ONE:

Stay with my current firm and supporting cast and get the biggest contract in the architecture world. Hope for the best that my current situation—which hasn’t worked in helping achieve my goals—will suddenly change.

OPTION TWO:

Leave my current firm and try a different one that is in a better market for building skyscrapers. I get paid less although any income I incur, cannot be taxed. I get to work with some colleagues whose talent levels are leaps and bounds better than anyone in my current firm. Winning the AF of the Year will be way easier.

No businessperson would choose option one over option two. Sorry. Lebron James is not a traitor, a quitter or any other word you can think to degrade him with. He is one word: smart.

I am also sick of the sidekick, little brother comparisons, the trade Bosh scenarios. THE ‘10-11 NBA SEASON IS ONLY 20 GAMES OLD! CHILL OUT! But I must admit, I did have one thought that really made my brow rise.

Could LeBron James turn in to a Karl Malone and the Heat just run two power forwards instead having someone play center? Wade can still the creative shooting guard he has always been and next summer when the Heat draft Jimmer Fredette in the late first-round, then they’ll have crafty-assist-demon-a-la-John-Stockton-I-can-score-when-I-want-to-if-I-need-to point guard. Think about it. Malone and James have the same build. Malone is 6’ 9” and about 260. James is 6’ 8” 250. Of course this would take away from crazy #6 highlight reels but you cannot deny that he would be an absolute beast underneath the hoop like Malone. I’m just saying…

Quick NFL thought before I wrap this up:

Do the St. Louis Rams make an offer for Randy Moss this off-season? There is zero percent chance Moss stays in Tennessee after this season ends. I want someone to tell me why this would not work. I think Bradford might be the next Peyton Manning. You can quote me.

Peyton Manning’s rookie season (16 games):

3700 Passing Yards
28 Touchdowns
28 Interceptions
71.2 Passer Rating

Sam Bradford’s rookie season (Though 11 games):

2400 Passing yards
17 touchdowns
9 Interceptions
82.0 Passer Rating

Bradford is on pace for 3600 yards, 25 TDs, 9 picks. The similarities are there. Moss needs an great QB to be good. Bradford is/going-to-be that guy.

Last but not least, my wife suggested I tell Boise State kicker, Kyle Brotzman, to "hang in there" given the name of my website. Hang in there Kyle. And don't try and hang yourself... you might miss the chair when you try and kick it out from underneath you.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I should write a (insert topic here) column

Before you begin. I know. I get it. I do not care to discuss it. Before you even say, “he hasn’t written a column since the middle of October,” just lay off. Will I be taking questions on my column’s absence? Click here. In this weeks Getting to Know Your Columnist, it is worth mentioning to my readers that I am a defensive person. I admit it proudly. Normally when you hear someone make such a statement, it is a bad thing. You just say to yourself, “Ok that guy is an idiot” and then sit back and watch that person fail. Fortunately, I am really good at being defensive. No, really, I am. Allow me to defend myself.

Typically, I kick in to defense mode when others make a claim, and their claim sets off the logic > said-statement siren. It’s a knee jerk reaction, which has taken me years of practice to refine. Like Carl Crawford training his fast-twitch muscles in the off-season. Once this has happened, I am unstoppable. Elliot Gould plays a character—Ruben—in the movie Ocean’s Eleven and he gives a line, fitting to my defensive skills:

“He’ll kill ya, and then he’ll go to work on ya.”

In view of the fact that the “you haven’t written a column since the middle of October” complaint is stark, and cannot be defeated with reason, I am left with only one choice. Wing it and slide by on good looks. When winging it, I like to follow these few simple steps:

1) Say the first thing that comes to mind. Even the slightest hesitation in the opening moments of your forthcoming rebuttal, will have you playing catch up the entire time. Fifty percent of the battle is won and lost here.
2) Take what you said and say it three different ways. Make statements that sound like questions and then make reference to a time when you have said something like that previously. It will buy you time. Like American football and European football, the winner usually dominates the time of possession.
3) Give a specific, running history. It sounds either smart, aware or busy. If you do it right it will sound like all three. It also implies that whatever you are defending, all actions on your behalf were intended right from the beginning.
4) Towards the end of your ranting, make the tone in your voice sound like you’re trying to help them or give them insight. It will lead them perceive your rebuttal as being sincere and Samaritan, when really you are sheltering your ego.

It’s easy. I’ll show you.

The reason I did not write any new columns is because it was my BYE week. OK, it was the plural. I needed a break, because the column topics were just getting lazy. Why should write, and more importantly, why should you read crappy columns? Maybe I am just lazy. I think I have mentioned this before. Since you did not get columns, I will at the very least give you a look in to the psych of your favorite doesn’t-get-paid-to-write-these-columns columnist. Below are random excerpts from my self-talk over the past month.

October 25th, 2010:
Tony Romo just got his collarbone busted to pieces and the reigns were just handed to John Kitna. Eff. That Cowboy’s column is four days old. I look like an ass. I should write another column. I’ll do that tomorrow.

October 28th, 2010:
I should write another column. I’ll do that tomorrow.

October 31st, 2010:
Giants are about to win the World Series. I should write a column about that.

November 1st, 2010: Giants just won the World Series. I should write that column. I could get a ton of snarky one-liners out at the out-of-nowhere Giant’s “fans”. (chuckling to myself) Totally. 200,000 “Sox’s fans” just jumped ship for San Francisco. I should use that one. I’ll do that tomorrow.

November 3rd, 2010:
Randy Moss was just claimed by the Tennessee Titans off of waivers. Do I like this? Pros and Cons. OK, pros: I thought Brett Favre would have no problem closing his eyes and chuckin it deep to Moss, who cares if it gets intercepted. Instead Favre just threw interceptions. This move is good. Favre is so old he was at the unveiling of the wheel. Cons: Kerry Collins will… wait, correction. Vince Young will… wait, correction. Kerry Col.. Vinc… Ker… Vi…. (silence)… who is the QB in Tennessee? They don’t have a quarterback. THEY DON’T HAVE QUARTERBACK!!??! DAMMIT! Tom Brady to Brett Favre to nobody. FML. I should, like really this time, write a column about this.

November 5th, 2010:
Did Auburn star quarterback, Cameron Newton, really get paid to play at Auburn? If not suspended by the NCAA he’ll probably win the Heisman. Hmm…. There is something I should do here. I cannot quite put my finger on it though…

November 12th, 2010:
Sold out the 22,700 seat capacity Marriott Center. BYU Basketball Column? I should write one of those.

November 15th, 2010: Michael. Vick. Write. Column. NOW!


Ok. I guess I will write one about Vick.


I have said this before, but for you first time readers, did you know Michael Vick is fast like a NASCAR. I think combining the anticipation of a new column, with the performance Michael Vick laid all over the Washington Redskins on Monday night, is the best thing to happened to the hangintheresports website. Furthermore, I argue it is the greatest sports story of all-time. I love it more then Jim Braddock defeating the depression, Lance Armstrong defeating cancer, and even Rocky Balboa single-handedly ending the Cold War—as my favorite columnist Bill Simmons suggest. Michael Vick did not battle poverty besot on an entire nation. He wasn’t born with genes that made his body sick and weak. He didn’t have a friend named Apollo Creed killed by a roided out Russian, thrusting him in to boxing match on Christmas Day. He had agency and chose for himself, although poorly.

The weight of knowing your actions have left you in a deplorable state is worse, in my opinion, then having the misfortune of being born in to one. Any person who tells you they do not like the Michael Vick story is a bigot. The man was seduced by fame and money. A tale as old as time for anyone who has ridiculous talent. Am I saying this excuses what he did? See Tracy Morgan link at top of page. I’ll tell you what DOES excuse him from fighting and killing dogs.

A conviction in federal court revoking his entitlement, money, lifestyle, and oh… I don’t know… FREEDOM.

We live in country, which we as a people, made. We collectively decided, voted and endorsed our ideas: that certain choices, garnish certain penalties. We then elected judges and formed the process of jury selection, to evaluate a person’s choices and the appropriate penalties, so an individual could be judged by a group of his peers and found guilty or not guilty. Vick was found guilty and spent two years of his life in federal prison. Jailed with murders and rapist. People who still find ways of committing those crimes exact crimes within prison. I was 10-years old when I saw The Shawshank Redemption and the idea of prison, still to this day, is the worst thing I can imagine for a person to endure.

Michael Vick paid his debt. In my opinion, he walked through hell and back. Give the guy some credit. It’s called atonement and its concept is kind of a big deal for anybody who is Christian. Michael Vick looked his adverse situation in the eye and beat it back with nothing but his will and God given ability.

At the start of the season, when Kevin Kolb went down and Vick stepped in and nearly brought the Eagles back to beat the Green Bay Packers, I cannot even tell you how excited I was. As a Falcon, I loved Michael Vick. When he got sent to prison, not only did it crush my fantasy keeper league: it crushed my spirits. The second half against the Packers lifted my spirits. Picking him up for $4 in my new keeper league: lifted my team.

The next two games he played in, were icing on the cake. Each game he was better then the one before it. No interceptions, no fumbles. His Achilles Heel when he played for Atlanta. He still does not have an interception or fumble. Week 4 against the Washington Redskins, when he was M-U-N-C-H-E-D by the Skin’s D, I wanted to go in to the closet and hang myself. It wasn’t a good sports week for the Fish household. The injury put the comeback talk on everybody’s back burner. Vick missed three weeks, plus a BYE week.

The game against the Indianapolis Colts, Vicks led the team to a 26-24 victory. 218 yards passing with a TD and 74 rushing with a TD. Good, but not totally mind blowing.

Then Monday Night Football came

Seconds after Vick threw a first-play-of-the-game, pinpoint BOMB to DeSean Jackson and after I ran around the house shouting and fist pumping—I sent a mass text to my whole fantasy league which read: HELL YES! Next Eagles offensive series (which by the way I can cheer for Michael Vick and Eagles because the Cowboys are so for in the toilet no matter if they win out, they still will not make the playoffs) Vick rushes for a TD. I go haywire. Next series, Vick gets his second passing TD of the game and it is not even the end of the first quarter! ATONEMENT!

At half time Michael Vick already gave me 41 fantasy points and the texts were pouring in…

“Holy S---!”

“What’s gotten in his Wheaties?”

“Wow. Too bad they won’t play him the whole time. It’d be awesome to see how many he could get”

“So is his ceiling at 70 or 80 points?”

“Baa ba ba ba ba PORK CHOP SANDWICHES!”

In the end his game stats read: 333 yards passing with 4 TDs, 80 yards rushing on eight attempts with 2 TDs. No interceptions, no fumbles. Cementing him as the NFL Comeback Player of the Year and thrusting him MVP contention. 52 fantasy points.

I was talking with E about it and he said if Vick stays healthy, the Eagles are going to the Super Bowl. I completely agree. Right now, there is nobody hotter than him. I see the Eagles finishing the regular season 12-4. At the start of the season I told my dad the Falcons were going to go to the Super Bowl. Right now they’re 7-2 and the pick looks to be solid. But with #7 back and better then ever, I do not know how the Atlanta can top them.

Look at this story line:

Michael Vick comes out of Virginia Tech as the number one overall pick, going to the Atlanta Falcons. Vick completely changes the way we look at the QB position in the NFL. His poster is hanging on every kids poster in America and I go out and buy his #7 Nikes. I am freaking gangster. In 2004 he signs the biggest contract in NFL history. Same season Vick leads Atlanta to a 12-and-4 record and to the NFC Championship game against… the Philadelphia Eagles. Two years later he gets busted for financing a dog-fighting ring and gets sent to prison for two years only to be picked up by the very team that stopped him from going to a Super Bowl: the Eagles. He now has a new lease on life and plays sparingly in the 2009 season. McNabb is then traded to the in-division rival Washington Redskins. Kevin Kolb inherits the starting job. Week One, Kolb goes down in the second quarter and Andy Reid says to Vick, “You’re now our guy.” Vick wins two games and gets hurt while playing McNabb’s new team. He heals. He gets a second crack at the Redskins and puts in one of the most impressive single-game performances ever by any quarterback. Now the Eagles are on a collision course to square off against his old team—the Atlanta Falcons—while quarterbacking the very team that knocked The Dirty Birds out of a Super Bowl trip in 2004. Potentially, Eagles win, go the Super Bowl and Michael Vick sets the bar at almost unreachable heights for the greatest comeback stories ever. You cannot make this stuff up. My mind is blown.

Stuff like the Michael Vick story is why I love sports and why I love writing this column. I know this is exactly what I want to do as a career. The only other thing I know, is that this off-season, Vick is about to get PAID. Hours before the game, Redskins QB Donovan McNabb signed a 5-year contract extension, potentially worth $88 million dollars. After the game, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted “If Donoban McNabb is worth $78 million, then what is Vick worth?”

A hell of lot more and something tells me this time around, with the fame and money, Vick will make wiser choices.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

America's Team

Finally, a Cowboy’s column. As promised. Let me just start out by commenting on my position, pertaining to the state of the Cowboy’s season. I am NOT scared. Hell, I’m not even worried. The Boys’ are 1-4 and I am not even sweating it. Am I glad they have that record? No, but it is not like this the ’01, 1-and-4 Cowboys that resorted to signing RYAN-I’m-the-biggest-bust-head-case-in-professional-sports-LEAF to win games. Guess how the Leaf strategy played out…

This is a talented, well balanced team, predicted by many to go on to the Super Bowl. I for one was never certain, like most sports writers, a Super Bowl trip was in the cards. Of course, as a fan, it is what you want and root for—and they definitely have the talent to do it—but doesn’t this kind of talk happen every year for the team whose city hosts the big game? Maybe things got a little too hyped because it is Jerry Jones’ Cowboys. Or the talent on the team is completely capable of getting there. Or the fact they play in a BILLION DOLLAR stadium. Who knows? Who is John Galt?

However, I do know this small piece of inside information which perhaps could be the reason for the pre-season Super Bowl buzz. It’s kind of long, but roll with it. Every professional sports league has its team which carries the title of ‘Face of the League’. With baseball, if you asked someone what team out of the 30 teams, is the poster child of MLB, they would say the Yankees. I am a Red Sox fan and even I do not debate this. In the 90s you might have gotten the Braves, but pretty much it the New York Yankees. Basketball is bit tougher to determine, but the response you would most likely hear would be the Lakers; maybe even the Celtics because they’ve won the most titles. Right now, I’m saying Lakers. Again, if it were the 90s it’ be the Bulls. Touch on football, the Dallas Cowboys are the clear cut team. No wish-washing the way you see in basketball and baseball. For the longest time I thought this just to be my own personal fan perception, never thinking this was something backed by the league. But it is.

A buddy of mine is dating this chick in California who works for the NFL. From what I’ve heard, and knowing my friend not to be the type to exaggerate to make him seem cooler than he is, she is kind of a big wig (six-figure salary, easy) and does a lot of work directly with the commissioner. During the pre-season he flew out to visit her in Cali and before he booked his flight for the weekend she “warned” him that the Sunday he was there, they probably wouldn’t do a lot except stay in and watch football.

The poor bastard.

Right now the NFL is in the process of the assuming control of all the team websites and his boo is the one overseeing the transition. I didn’t know this but up until now, every NFL team website was run by the team, who typically outsourced this work to some kind of independent contractor. This is why last year, if you went to New York Jets team website and then perused the Baltimore Ravens site, it would be two entirely different animals. Those days are done. All of these sites will now officially be informed and tidy; ran and regulated by the NFL and its staff. From what I was told, this is a pretty big undertaking. The way the transition is/was handled, is they would work on 2-4 teams' sites at a time and bang it out. Apparently, the NFL specifically waited to do the Cowboys last, so they could concentrate all of their time and people solely on the team’s site, thereby limiting glitches and like, in an attempt to not piss off Jerry Jones and Dallas Cowboys corporation. Jerry Jones runs the NFL and Roger Goodell is a figure head and nothing more. I have this on good sources.

Back to the team and current season.

Technically, at least on paper anyway, the Dallas Cowboys are the 6th worst team in the NFL. Below them you have: the San Francisco 49ers (1-5), Cleveland Browns (1-5), Detroit Lions (1-5), Buffalo Bills (0-5), and the Carolina Panthers (0-5). Really, the Cowboy’s record should be 4-1. I’ve seen a bunch of articles and sports writers try and place the blame on Tony Romo or head coach Wade Phillips. The 1-and-4 is because of penalties. Plain and simple. I will not hear otherwise. Break it down.

WEEK 1
What happened? Tony Romo finds a wide open Roy Williams in the endzone for the game tying touchdown (win if the extra point is good) with zero ticks on the clock. In all likelihood the kick would have been made and in the words of John Madden, “BOOM! Cowboys win 14-13.” But they did not win. They lost 13-7 to the Washington Redskins because the touchdown was negated on a holding call from offensive tackle Alex Barron.

TOTAL GAME PENALTIES/YARDS:
12-81

WEEK 2
What happened? Romo had two picks, but also had 374 yards and score. The defense failed to make stops and gave up of couple of big plays that resulted in Chicago touchdowns. TE Jason Witten, easily the Cowboys best 3rd down option, had to leave the game due to an injury. Roy Williams also had a 4th quarter fumble. Cowboys lost 27-20. Again penalties killed a bunch of drives.

TOTAL GAME PENALTIES/YARDS:
6-50

WEEK 3
What happened? Cowboys won, beating the Houston Texans 27-13.

TOTAL GAME PENALTIES/YARDS:
8-49

WEEK 4
BYE WEEK

WEEK 5
What happened? Cowboys tie the game late in the 4th quarter 27-27, with less than five minutes in the game. It was a 18-yard strike from Romo to Witten. I was going crazy. We had the momentum. The defense was jacked and I knew the Titans were going to have to punt on their next series and we would have had plenty of time at least get in field goal range. Instead they lost 34-27 to Tennessee because after Witten scored the touchdown he handed the ball to offensive tackle, Marc Colombo, who spiked it and fell down after a chest bump. Penalty: excessive celebration, 15-yards enforced on the ensuing kickoff. So instead of kicking off at the 30 and maybe getting a touchback, forcing Vince Young to march 80 yards on the Boys’; Dallas had to kick from the 15. Tennessee returned the kick 73-yards, setting up a 1-yard Chris Johnson TD.

TOTAL GAME PENALTIES/YARDS:
12-133

For those of keeping score at home, that is two losses you can credit to stupid penalties.

WEEK 6
What happened? On this loss I have two places where I can put blame. Special Teams and penalties? I’ll stick with the trend and go penalties. Never mind a Percy Harvin, 95-yard kick return for a touchdown. I want to point to the three HUGE pass interference calls. The first big one, yanked back a 68-yard Miles Austin touchdown because of offensive pass interference. The second was on 2nd and 3 when Michael Jenkins had a 23-yard defensive pass interference called on him. Minnesota didn’t score, but Jenkins drew all sorts of attention to himself the rest of the game. Now the killer. Fourth quarter, 2:32 to play. Minnesota has the ball, and it is 3rd and 6. Guess who gets their second defensive pass interference call of the game. Thanks Jenkins. Not only did you allow the Vikings to chew more clock, but gave your team crappy field position to work with after the Vikings finally punted. In mini-defense of Jenkins and because I’m such a homer, the ball was thrown over the receivers head making it BY DEFINITION “uncatchable” thereby nullifying the PI call. Whatever. Cowboys lose 24-41.

TOTAL GAME PENALTIES/YARDS:
11-91

There you have it. Three games the Cowboys lost because of careless penalties. Hold a mirror next to their record and you see what record they ought to have. Drive me nuts to think about it. To take a positive from all of this, penalties can be overcome and stopped. And I have no confidence whatsoever in any of the other teams in the NFC East. Ok, maybe the Eagles when Vick gets back because not even a two stint in federal prison can contain his game. Regardless, I would much rather have penalty problems and be 1-and-4, then have a: we-have-no-talent-on-our-team-lets-resort-to-Ryan-Leaf-for-our-starting-quaterback 1-and-4. It could be worse. It has been worse. Also the running game over the last two games and shown some bright glimmers. Felix Jones had some moments against the Titans (109 rushing yards), sort of becoming the player I hoped he would be when I drafted him in my fantasy league. Last week he was forgettable against Minny, then again they have one of the Top 10 defenses in the league.

Looking back at the Tennessee game with more depth, maybe the hope of the run game is a farce. Maybe, just maybe, Dallas made it a point to get Felix Jones a bunch of carries so the game comparison of their running back—who they drafted in the 1st round with the 22nd overall pick—didn’t look so terrible alongside Tennessee’s running back (Chris Johnson)—who they drafted in the 1st round with the 24th overall pick. Doh!

And what has happened to Marion Barber. I used to think his game faded because he was too much of a banger and those hits have taken their toll. It could be why he is not the goal line guy they want him to be. Not the case. You see children, sometimes in sports how well a player plays, or the type of position they play; magically and unexplainably depend on that person’s name. I touched briefly on it in an older column. Many of you have probably forgotten that Marion Barber used to go by Marion Barber III. The Third. His secret power. Week 6 of the 2007 season was the last time we knew him as The Third. After that, he was just plain ole’ MB instead of the powerful MB3. Doesn’t MB3 sound so much cooler. Wouldn’t you feel super confident in your fantasy draft saying, “With my next pick I will take MB3”? Don’t believe me? Peep this:

The 35 games played when he was MB3, Marion Barber The Third
Averaged 4.9 YPC (career best)
Rushed for 14 TDs in 2006 (career best)
26 total TDs (3 receiving)

In the 45 games since dropping The Third
Averaged 3.8 YPC
Best rushing TD season was 2007/2008 (7)
24 total TDs (3 receiving)

Less production, 10 more games. For Samson it was his long locks; for Barber it was his generational suffix. The Third baby. Don’t mess.

To close, let us look at the weeks Monday night match-up against the New York Giants. In the Romo era the Dallas Cowboys are 4-5 when playing them, including a playoff loss. Their last meeting, at New York, turned out to be a Dallas loss 31-24, in which Romo went off for 392 yards and 3 TDs (no picks). Since these teams pretty much win every other, look for Dallas to get their first home win of the season come Monday and more importantly look for them to get their season back on track. Remember last year, the Titans starts 0-6 and then went 8-2 over the rest of season—narrowly missing the playoffs. Anything is possible. To say this team is not capable of doing the same or better is just stupid. No knee-jerk reaction from this Cowboys fan. Yeah buddy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Watch this. Get involved.

Dollar tickets, November 12th 2010.

Oh yeah, this is important too: October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. The awareness brings to mind a quote of favorite of mine. You should be able to guess it.

"There's a shortage of perfect breasts in this world. It would be a pity to damage yours."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Talkin' Baseball

Today we kick off the start of Major League post-season action. It is no secret that baseball was put on the back burner over the last month and half in the Fish Family lair. Take the worst injury filled season imaginable for the Red Sox, combine it with John Lackey or as I like to call him: John Lacks-the-ability-to-pitch-with-any-kind-of-consistency-or-even-well-for-that-matter, throw it in a bowl and mix it with a team known as ‘Who?’ (Seattle Mariners), one can begin to see why this was so. I could sit here and list a dozen other things which ate up my baseball time, but really I did not want to inflict so much emotional pain on myself. Just like every man in America when their sports team is in the tank, I put in a bottle, buried it deep down inside and pretended like it never existed. The Sox brought a little too much marital drama in to the equation this season. If I was sitting in front of the TV watching a game, The Boss would be in the other room reading—or whatever it is women do during sports—and 10 minutes later, a knock-down drag-out would always be eminent. Let me paint it for you.

Begin scene:
Fish Family Lair living room, perched from her comfy-cozy couch spot, wrapped snuggly in a silky soft blanket, sits The Boss. Bellowing from the other room and echoing throughout the lair comes a:


“What the hell!!?”

The Boss, slightly miffed from the uproar, glances up from her subjugate, but only staleness silence remains. She returns he gaze back down. Minutes later the stillness is again broken in disgust by a perfectly conducted ¾ time:

“Ooooohhhh mmyyy goooshhh.”

A scowl emerges from the ground of The Boss’s brow. Her gawk, laser-locked on the empty doorjamb leading in to the room playing the game. Like a panther stalking its prey, The Boss waits in icy silence for the predictability of the situation to unfold:

“(EXPLETIVE)!!!”

Wuh-la, like clockwork The feline springs from her hunting position and like lighting, our predator fills the emptiness that once occupied the entrance. Hissing and adding particular emphasis the first word of her sentence:

“We do not say that in our house.”

In the stillness, a contest of who can give the other person the better glare ensues. The Boss has perfected Latigra, Ferrari and Blue Steel of “the condescending squint”. I am no match for it. Defeated, my only weapon is indifference:

“I’m not sorry.”

The Boss unleashes Magnum. I’m crippled. Sadness washes across my face. Mom Boss kicks in:

“Lackey is pitching tonight. Isn’t he.”

The question is stated, not asked. Like a 4-year old who fell off his bike, my lower lip pouts; I sniffle, nod my head in acceptance and bury my body into her warming hug.
End scene.


This would happen 90% of the time. Ok, so it wouldn't always happen that way, but I'm a writer and gotta juice it up a bit. It could be worse. Other teams had it way worse.

I could be just a Mariners fan and walk around dumbfounded like some SWAT team member threw a flash bang in to the Seattle Mariners dugout. Seriously, can anybody translate what is happening there? Did the team move to Japan? Who is on the team besides Ichiro and Felix, who is the manager, who was in charge trading Lee for… who? Like I said earlier, the Seattle Mariners = Who? Literally, I don’t know what is going on here. Nobody else does either. If somebody says they do, they are clearly not talking about baseball, but actual mariners (as in fisherman) from Seattle. I would have a better chance of giving you 50% of the names of the guys who catch and throw fish in Pike Place Market, than I could telling you who plays at Safeco. Is the Moose still the team Mascot?

The only thing I can wrap my head around which has a marginal relationship to the Mariners should be more infuriating, but it isn’t. As you know I do not just like the Mariners. I like the Red Sox too. It makes this thing, how do I put it... difficult(?) to explain. Wanna know the thing? That thing, is Adrian Beltre.

JUST AS A MARINERS FAN ON ADRIAN BELTRE

We hate him.

Playing in the final year of his contract for the LA Dodgers in 2004, Adrian Beltre hit 48 homeruns, drove in 121 runs, notched a 1.017 OPS, and did all of this while carrying a tasty .334 batting average. Yeah buddy. Got to love steroids.

Seattle outbid everybody else and gave this guy a 5-year $65 million dollar contract in the off season. Yeah buddy. Got to love those top-of-the-line steroids!

During that same off-season, and after Beltre put his ink on the paper of that contract, the steroid bubble popped. Apparently, you are not supposed to take steroids and play baseball professionally and if you do or have been, you could now get in a lot of trouble as opposed to having everybody in your organization—as well as fans—look the other way.

Needless to say, somebody stopped taking his juice and the M’s were able to reap whatever the opposite of benefits are. Adrian Beltre’s best season in a Mariners uniform came in in 2007. Hang on to your britches for these whopper stats.

Homeruns? Just 26.
RBIs? 99 (Ok, so that is where it ought to be).
OPS? It was mediocre at best, ringing in at .801. A monster upgrade for .793 from the year before and .716 the year before that one.
And what was his batting average? The best it ever would be those five years he sucked the life out of Seattle baseball: .276. Yeah buddy. The website fmylife.com was created because of him.

JUST AS A RED SOX FAN ON ADRIAN BELTRE

In the movie Easy A (which when it first started, I was second guessing my decision, but it recovered and I enjoyed it) there is a scene where Olive (Emma Stone) is talking to her parents (Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson—perfectly casted) about getting detention for calling a girl an inappropriate word starting with the letter ‘T’. They don’t know what word could get you detention starting with the letter ‘T’, so they say ‘T’ over and over and over again to decipher it. It’s pretty funny.

AB was so forgettable in Seattle, when Red Sox fans found out they signed Adrian Beltre in the 2009 offseason they did the same thing. Andrian Beltre. Adrian Beltre. Adrian… Beltre. AdrianBeltreadrianbeltreadrianbelte.…….. A simple Google search and you got: ADRIAN BELTRE??!! 9 MILLION DOLLARS?! WHAT THE HELL?! NOOOOOOOOOO! Now that 2010 has come and gone all of that jive talk is water under the bridge baby. For those playing along at home, here are his 2010 numbers:

Homeruns? 28 (12th in AL). Nothing great, but better than any season in the 206.
RBIs? 102 (10th in AL). Better than any season in the PAC-NOR.
OPS? .918 (5th in AL). Better than any season in the city north of the Deuce Nickel Tre.
And what was his batting average? Just a snappy .321 folks. (4th in AL)

Yeah buddy.

BACK TO BEING JUST A MARINERS FAN ON ADRIAN BELTRE

One of my most cherished movies growing up was Disney’s Sword in the Stone. I cannot tell you how many times I watched that. There is a scene where Merlin gets so upset, his body boils over with rage, he stiffens up like a board and screams, “TAKE ME BURMUDA!” Then his body shoots off like a rocket. This move with henceforth be known as: The Merlin. Every Mariner fan reading Beltre’s 2010 stats just did The Merlin, but because they are Mariners fans instead of jettisoning off to sandy beaches and cold smoothies, their heads exploded.

______________________________________________________________________________

Divisional Series Picks:

PHILLIDELPHIA over CINCINATTI in five
SAN FRAN over ATLANTA in a sweep
TEXAS and TAMBA goes five and I’m going to now flip a coin to make my pick on the victor. TEXAS wins
MINNESOTA over NEW YORK because Steinbrenner sold his soul to the Devil to make the Yankees what they are today, and that deal is now done

League Championship Series Picks:

SAN FRAN over PHILLIDELPHIA
TEXAS over MINNESOTA

World Series Pick:

TEXAS over SAN FRAN in six. Tim Lincecum pitches the hell out of series, but nobody else shows up.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Late bloomer"

Last week I left you with a proposed trade to see what you thought of it. I was Team 3 in the scenario and Player A from my team was none other than Carolina Panther running back DeAngelo Williams. I must admit, I have never been keen on the guy. Sure in 2008 he BLEW. IT. UP! But there was always that little tinge in the back of my mind that told me not to completely like this guy. Maybe it was because he played for the Panthers and the interception-throwing-I-choked-my-team-out-of-a-Superbowl Jake Delhomme was his teams quarterback. I’m just saying things out loud, pay me no mind.

(coughing): chokeartist!

Anyhow, in this year’s draft, everybody was down to their final three spots on their rosters and I noticed that DWill was not selected. Personally, I had put him on my DND (Do Not Draft) list, but I was thrifty with my selections and had cash to burn. ESPN had him as their 8th best overall RB, and I landed him for $22. I figured I could always use him as trade bait if anybody was hurting for a RB during the season. That is why I put him as part of the three team deal, which by the way was shot down because certain people wanted unrealistic and lop sided trades, because I never intended to keep him from the get go. I never intended to play him. But last week I did. Mistake. A big, 6-point mistake.

This was my reasoning. Rookie, Jimmy Clausen, was getting the nod to start against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals have a pretty good pass defense and an alright run defense. My thinking was that the Panthers were going to have to go to the run game a lot because Clausen was getting this start about two or three years too soon. Williams would at least get a TD. Wrong. I took a gamble and the house won. Big surprise.

This week I lose Tony Romo to the Cowboys BYE. This really isn’t a big deal because I have Michael Vick (35 points on Sunday) and Matt Ryan of the Falcons. In addition to Ryan I have two other Falcon players in Roddy White and Michael Turner. White is going to start, no question and in my OP (Offensive Player) position I am going to play Ryan. Turner has been consistent, but I do not want to have so much riding on the success of the Atlanta Falcons, even though I think the Falcons are going to play in the Superbowl this year. Three players from the same team, filling three spots on a 10-spot fantasy football team = no bueno. My team is 1-2 (two straight weeks where the opposing team has put up 140+ and so you know, 105-110 is average) and I just cannot risk going 1-3 if the dirty birds put up a stinker.

This is why I am contemplating starting DWill again. Be warned that this column is super stat heavy. What do you think?


DeANGELO WILLIAMS
DeAngelo Williams. The tale of a late bloomer. Have a looksee:

2007:
Week 1 60 rush yards
Week 2 30 rush yards
Week 3 45 rush yards
Week 4 05 rush yards
Week 5 23 rush yards
Week 6 121 rush yards

2008:
Week 1 85 rush yards
Week 2 31 rush yards
Week 3 27 rush yards
Week 4 54 rush yards
Week 5 123 rush yards

2009:
Week 1 35 rush yards
Week 2 80 rush yards
Week 3 65 rush yards
Week 4 40 rush yards
Week 5 152 rush yards


Through my research I found he does not get going until the 5th or 6th week. This week, DWill plays against the New Orleans Saints, a team that he has faced 7 times in his career. The Saints defense is ranked 30th out of 32 teams this season. For his career against them, his stats are as follows.

2006:
NO WEEK 4
62 Rushing yards, 9 Receiving yards
0 TDs

@NO WEEK 17
7 Rushing yards, 52 Receiving yards
0 TDs

2007:
@NO WEEK 5
23 Rushing yards, 0 Receiving yards
0 TDs

NO WEEK 12
19 Rushing yards, 0 Receiving yards
0 TDs

2008:
NO WEEK 7
66 Rushing yards, 4 Receiving
1 TD (receiving

@NO WEEK 17
178 Rushing yards, 0 Receiving
0 TDs

2009:
@NO WEEK 9
149 Rushing yards, 12 Receiving
2 TDs (rushing)

NO WEEK 17
DNP (Did Not Play)

Over those seven games, Williams averaged 72 rushing yards and 11 receiving yards and .4 touchdowns. But in the last two games alone he has amassed 327 yards and two scores. What will it be? The average or the last two games? Let us dig deeper.

Another item worth noting is the amount of touches (ATT) Williams is receiving per game. His last two games against the Saints, the two monster games, Williams logged 25 and 21 respectively. There is an interesting trend: any time he gets 20 touches or more his games stats jump skyrocket. Dating back to 2006, DeAngelo Williams has had 10 games where he has recorded 20 touches or more. They are as follows:

Two games in 2006:

WEEK 11
114 yards rushing 24 yards receiving
20 touches

WEEK 16
81 yards rushing 5 yards receiving
21 touches

One game in 2007:

WEEK 17
121 yards rushing 2 TDs 0 yards receiving
20 touches

Four games in 2008:

WEEK 5
123 yards rushing 2 TDs 25 yards receiving 1 TD
20 touches

WEEK 13
72 yards rushing 4 TDs 14 yards receiving
21 touches

WEEK 16
108 yards rushing 4 TDs 0 yards receiving
24 touches

WEEK 17
178 yards rushing 0 yards receiving
25 touches

Three games in 2009:

WEEK 6
152 yards rushing 2 TDs 0 yards receiving
30 touches

WEEK 8
158 yards rushing 0 yards receiving
23 touches

WEEK 9
149 yards rushing 2 TDs 12 yards receiving
21 touches

A grand total of 1256 rushing yards in 20+ touch games, for a guy whose career rushing total is 4030. In other terms: 32% of his career rushing yards came from games were DWill gets 20 touches or more. As for touchdowns, he rushed for 16 of his career 30—a little over 50 percent—and his one receiving TD out of 4 total, gives us 25 percent.

Week 1 Minnesota rushed 23 times against the Saints, Week 2 San Francisco rushed 26, and Week 3 Hotlanta rushed a whopping 50 times. Will Carolina give him his sacred 20?

Finally, I’ll finish where I started; at my first point of why I think DeAngelo Williams is a late bloomer. 2006 was his rookie season and he did not become a main part of the Panthers offense until the second half of the season (Week 10 on). For whatever reason, this pattern is all he knows, and he cannot get it going from the start of the regular season. Look at this:

ENTIRE SEASON STATS ACCUMULATED

2007
717 rushing yards, 4 TDs

2008
1515 rushing yards, 18 TDs

2009
1117 rushing yards, 7 TDs


vs.


STATS ACCUMULATED FROM WEEK 5 ON

2007
572 rushing yards, 4 TDs or (80% of yards, 100% of TDs)

2008
1316 rushing yards, 18 TDs or (86% of yards, 100% of TDs)

2009
937 rushing yards, 5 TDs or (83% of yards, 71% of TDs)

Now, do I start DeAngelo Williams this week (WEEK 4) against the crappy run defense Saints which could get him his 20 touches, or will it be foolhardy to even hope for the 20 because I know he will not do anything until Week 5? Will the house beat my gamble two weeks in a row?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A guy can dream

Where to begin? It’s been so long since I’ve had moment to sit down and write about sports. 100% of my fan base—all two of you—is livid. Don’t get me wrong, I have spent plenty of time watching, talking, and obsessing about sports since the start of September. There was even a two hour humbling sports moment last Saturday when a group of us went and kicked field goals after convincing ourselves how easy it should be. There was not even a shadow of a doubt in my mind that I could nail 35-yarders all day. After missing seven straight from 20 yards out and limping around today, I’ll be sure to put a button on it next time a kickers misses. In regards to new columns and in all seriousness, I could have popped something out, but let’s face it: I’m lazy.

I can’t wait until I get paid to be lazy. A guy can dream right? I know I do every day. For the last one and half weeks my daily day dream has been the same. I win the Power Ball lotto. In dream the prize is $660 million dollars and after taxes I get to walk away with an easy $250 mill. I take the lump sum obviously (has anyone ever opted out of the lump sum?). I dream of the obvious things like paying debts, taking care of my family and getting new cars. In the dream I was pretty practical with my car choices. I’d like a new Ford F350 diesel, I’d throw on all the aftermarket stuff I’ve dreamt about for years on my motorcycle, and I’d restore my grandma’s old 1968 Ford Galaxie, Chip Foose style. By my math, the damage done would be about $110,000 for all three. Not bad. No Ferraris or Bugattis. I asked The Boss, not Springsteen but the real boss, what she kind of car she wanted, and she wanted an Audi A4. Not a Rover or a Denali, but an A4. She liked that it was Quattro but most of all she liked the taillights. I tried to talk her in to something else with a bit more swag but she wasn’t having any. In the day dream I pretend she asks for an Audi RS6 Wagon.

Back in reality, I have other problems, real life problems, besides picking out new cars. At the start of the month, I looked at the Red Sox schedule and with their record, I deducted they could only lose a total of 7-8 games in order to make the playoffs. They’ve lost 10 already and for two straight nights they have lost to the Orioles if that says anything. With the way the Rays and Yankees are playing, it will be impossible for us to get in the wild card. But then again, the Red Sox accomplished the impossible in the 2004 season… (there I go dreaming again).

Luckily for me College Football and the NFL are in full swing and that takes away the sting of an injury filled Red Sox season going in the crapper. However, the crappy Red Sox season sting is replaced by a different kind of sting. Where to begin? I’ll go with college. Before the season even started I thought it was possible for the Cougars to go 7-5, if not worse. This was acceptable, whereas last year had the Cougars lost a game I would have been depressed and grouchy about it for the entire week. Now I look at this year and if they lost to Washington in the home opener, with Nevada’s D looming this week, E and I talked about it being feasible to have jumped out 0-4 (shuddering). We’ll be luckily if BYU gets to 2-2.

Everybody spends all their time complaining about the quarterback position and as a result I spend all my time complaining about the complaining. I don’t give two dumps about the quarterback job right now. Jake Heaps is going to be the main guy over the next 3-4 years (and officially the rest of season since Riley Nelson sustained a season-ending shoulder injury); there are much bigger problems, such as the team’s defense, needing addressed right now. I knew we’d have to work pretty hard to put up points but I at least thought they play some kind of defense to make up for it. Any defense really. I do not care if Heaps is going to break out and put up 300+ and two or three scores every game. I want to stop the others team from picking up six yards every time they rush the ball. I want our linebackers to wrap up and I want our secondary to not take the worst angles possible and consequently give up 83-yard rushing touchdowns. I don’t want to become Hawaii and give up 45 points every game and only win because we can score 50 plus. And I want my $660 million dollar Power Ball! I’m a dreamer baby!

To the NFL. The Cowboys are 0-2 and I’m not at point where I can rationally communicate how I feel about it. Needless to say I’m not happy. We’ll talk about ‘The Boys’ when they get a win under their belts. They’ll get their own column, don’t you worry. Relating to the NFL however is my coveted: Fantasy Football (FF).

(Quick rant):

Since the 2002 season I have been doing a keeper league with friends of mine from the state of Washington. At my own admittance, I was not the best at contributing when it came to posting and trash talk, but I held my own from time to time and made a consorted effort. In my defense, I always signed up for the league when I got the text or e-mail giving the go-ahead right away. Heck, there were times I even was on our league commissioner to get the league up and going when summer began to show signs of fall. This season I wanted a FF league I could do with people living close to me because I wanted to have live draft, watch games with the people in the league, and be able to talk trades face to face. Guided by God, like Leif Erickson and Christopher Columbus, I discovered something called an auction draft. For those of you still doing your FF leagues by taking turns picking your players (aka leaving your entire FF season to total and complete luck) you do not know what you are missing. I cannot believe I have been playing FF for eight years the way I have, for as long as I have. The last time I felt this jipped was this last July and ate my first kiwi.

Seriously. Kiwi. Who knew?

Now that I knew I was going to start my own keeper league auction draft—and with a little guidance from Bill Simmons—I set out to find seven others “to join me on this sacred quest”. All I know is I put W-O-R-K in for the league. I made it as close to actually owning and NFL team as possible, ironed out fun wrinkles to make the league unique. You name it; I did it and I took it to the next level. Little known fact about being a league commissioner: it is as fun as getting kicked in the nuts. I had no idea so many of my friends do not watch football. Every time somebody told me they didn’t watch the NFL, it was as if they were telling me they were gay. It was always followed by that awkward moment where you’re standing there, trying to recall in your mind any moments of the tell-tale gay signs, only to recognize the uncomfortable silence, so you say something like, “That’s, cool.. maann?” It took until the night before the Saints vs. Vikings game that every team spot was filled. To take a positive from the delay in getting the league together, having your draft the night before the regular season starts is awesome. You don’t end up drafting guys that get hurt in pre-season but most of all you don’t have to wait for 2-3 weeks to drag by before you see how well your draft really went. You get the night to digest it and then wammo: the season begins.

(End rant).

I must say, I love the fall. Baseball playoffs begin, College Football begins, the NFL begins. Plus, the perfect kind of cool weather settles in for about a month and a half making it the best time of year for motorcycle riders. The leaves change and there are thousands of canyons vying to be claimed the most beautiful. Throw the iPod on and let the judging begin. The only crappy part about it is for those still in school. That begins too. You can’t know the sweet without the bitter I suppose. With that I’ll leave you with a small recap of the FF draft and the first two weeks.

THE BIG BOARD
I took a big ass whiteboard from work (because we’re men and don’t do our league via web or do auto picks) and made our big board. I thought I’d crack it out in 30-45 minutes. Three hours later I still wasn’t done. I’ll never return it.

High note: We now have a high quality board we’ll use over the next couple of years
Low note: It took 3 hours to make

VIA SATELLITE
Ryan was in Arizona on business and couldn’t be at the draft, so we set up a computer to have him Skype in.

High note: Ryan was not afraid to throw dollars down on players. I was the first to nominate and went with the Jets D. Ryan paid $6 bucks for them. For a defense. A defense that he has not started once all season.
Low note: Skype wasn’t working very well so we had to switch to putting him on speaker over the phone.

WEEK ONE WAKEUP
Rob’s bench of five players scored 132 points (Arian Foster, Jahvid Best, Hakeem Nicks, Carson Palmer and Vince Young). The ten players he started only got him 96 points.

High note: Reaming Rob that Arian Foster got 46 fantasy points for his bench.
Low note: Rob has Arian Foster.

WEEK ONE WAKEUP #2
E drafted Beanie Wells and forgot to sub him out for his game. Had he played any other RB he would have won his game. He did the same thing again this last week. E is 0-2.

High note: E drafted Tom Brady and the very next morning Brady was in a bad car accident (unhurt). It still didn’t stop me from texting him and telling him “Tom Brady was in car accident this morning. Sorry buddy.”
Low note: E has Tom Brady.

BEST/WORST PICKUPS AND TRADES
When I was picking the league settings, it was my understanding that every single week; each team would be given $100 to bid on players in a silent auction. As it turns out that $100 dollars if for the ENTIRE SEASON. Let’s just say someone whose name rhymes with Bob, sob, Cobb, and knob picked up Jabar Gaffney off of waivers—for $40 dollars. I mean, even if the $100 did reset every week, $40 bucks for Jabar Gaffney? Really? I had to call ESPN and ask them what to do. Homeboy said I would have to reset the draft, solve world hunger and a million other things. The very next day, after I did everything, I noticed a new feature in the League Manager tools that allows you simply adjust every team’s budget. Like I said: it is as fun as getting kicked in the peanuts. To make up for it Kevin Kolb got a concussion, Michael Vick did 2006 Michael Vick things, I picked him up for $3 and yesterday Andy Reid announced Vick would be the starter for the rest of the year. Booyah. Did you know that Vick is fast like a NASCAR?

High note: Michael Vick $3
Low note: Jabar Gaffney $40

Lastly, I’m trying to orchestrate a mega three-team deal. Tell me what you think.

Trade #1
Rob would send Maurice Jones-Drew to Jeff for Reggie Wayne.

Trade #2
I would send DeAngelo Williams and Michael Crabtree to Jeff for Ochocinco and Wes Welker.

Trade #3
I would then swap you Ochocinco and Wes Welker for Andre Johnson and Jahvid Best.

Looking at each trade individually, it doesn't seem like some are balanced, but keep in mind that it is part of a three team trade and everybody is getting what they want. Rob gets 3 solid WRs which he is in dire need of, Jeff gets his much needed RBs, and I get major upgrade at my 3rd WR with Andre Johnson because this deal cannot happen with me. Below is the breakdown on every player since the 2006 season and their season averages. To start let's look at what you'll be getting.

Reggie Wayne
1302 Yards Receiving
8 Receiving TDs

130+48= 178 fantasy points per season (PPS)

Ochocino
1099 Yards Receiving
7 Receiving TDs

109+42= 151 fantasy PPS

Wes Welker
1093 Yards Receiving
4 Receiving TDs

109+24= 133 fantasy PPS

Bringing us to a grand total average of 462 Fantasy points per season. Lets look at what Jeff will be getting.

Maurice Jones-Drew
981 Yards Rushing
12 Rushing TDs
445 Yards Receiving
1 Receiving TD

98+72+44+6= 220 fantasy PPS

DeAngelo Williams
962 Yards Rushing
7 Rushing TDs
215 Yards Receiving
1 Receiving TD

96+42+21+6= 165 fantasy PPS

Michael Crabtree

625 Yards Receiving
2 Receiving TDs
(missed spring training, pre-season and first 5 games of regular season due to contract hold out)

65+12= 72 fantasy PPS

That is a 457 total points per season. If you adjust Crabtree's numbers from 11 to 16 games the grand total jumps to 470. In essence Rob’s team jumps up from 390 points(Johnson and Jones-Drew) + a potentially good player(Best) to 462 points (Wayne, Ocho, Welker). Jeff goes from 462 to 470 + a potentially good player (Crabtree). I get upgraded with Johnson and potentially good player in Best. Everybody wins.

“You may call me a dreamer, but I’m not…”

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Taking forever

Well... I'm slackin. But I think with good reason. And don't worry, I've got a draft that is almost ready to hit the presses and it's a doozy. Below is part of the hold up on new columns.

Start taggin' those back boards!

BOOMSHAKALAKA!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I'm gonna be famous!

I’m famous.

Or at least I soon will be… kind of, in a roundabout sort of way. Just roll with me on this one. E and I, which when said out loud sounds like B&I (shout out to the readers from the 253; if not from the 253 Google: Michael Jackson and gorilla) watched the BYU press conference today. Football Independence and all other sports going to the WCC are official; we knew that before. What we did not know before hand, was the 8-year deal Brigham Young inked with ESPN to have each and every home football AND basketball game air on ESPN’s network. I’m gonna be on TV. Every men’s basketball game I will be dead center, decked in white, right above the Cougar Club floor seats. On E-S-P-N. Told you I was going to be famous.

Tom Holmoe, BYU’s Athletic Director, said the ESPN deal made for some provisions stating, “If BYU has team that is really good, the games will be aired on ESPN’s primary channel, and if BYU has a season where they do not do so well, those games will be aired on ESPN2 or ESPN3. We’re comfortable with that.” Games can also air on ABC, an ESPN affiliate. Holmoe further announced a six game series to be played over the next couple of years with Norte Dame and if BYU finishes in the Top 14, they will receive an At-large Bid, a bid that some believed to be the reason behind the jump.

Over the last couple of weeks there has been speculation over the exact motives to move to independence. Some believed it was a coy to get invited to the Big XII in a couple years’ time. Other questioned it as a “panic move” and “rush decision”. My read on the news conference is to the contrary. It is certainly not a stepping-stone to an AQ Conference invite. It had more of a feel like BYU was announcing its swagger. You know what… this is exactly what we wanted. You’re all in deep, deep trouble. We know we’re good and have known it for a long time. We just signed a kick ass TV deal, so pretty soon everybody else will know we’re this good too. We are now positioned to make butt load of cash. That means better scholarships, better facilities and better everything. We’re now going to be able to sign high-caliber recruits with ease. Recruits that used to go and play for you. If the Big XII invited us five years down the road, we’d probably say no. It looks that good for us. Watch out.

Some journalist scoffed and ridiculed the program for even thinking about going independent. That it would be fool’s errand. All they had to do wait two more years and the MWC would become an AQ Conference. Going independent to reach the BSC would not proffer them anything. If anything it would make it harder to reach the goal. Tom Holmoe stated specifically that this move was about national exposure, not about the BCS, and this has been in the works for more than five years. Hardly a panic move. But let us endorse that claim for arguments sake. I like to play the Devil’s advocate. I’m good at it.

Suppose this move was entirely about the BCS and had nothing to with national exposure and the dump truck loads of cash to be made. Somebody please explain to me how the move is not smart? Actually don’t because you look stupid. You say this was a dumb move because the school was on the precipice of becoming a BCS conference? I want to know who said that the MWC becoming an AQ was a sure thing. It is under a four-year “review”. What does that even mean? Listen to who is saying this: The BCS. This is the same committee that sent two 9-2 teams to the National Championship game over an undefeated Boise State. And you trust these guys?!

“Don’t be so naive Calvin.”

This review is being talked about like it is supposed to be some undeniable sure-thing sign. The only sure thing that I know about the BCS committee is its insatiable ability to fascistically endorse the six AQs and rape over everybody else. Then there is the claim that BYU will not get anybody to schedule games with them. They already were getting big schools to schedule games and that was with the worst TV deal ever. Texas has been talking about building crown jewel TV network. BYU already has one and will finally be able to use it. I’m so done watching them play games on the type of channels you have to go over to your grandma’s to be able to watch. (Admit, you’ve secretly wondered where the channels your grandparents’ watch/get come from). An 8-year deal with The Worldwide Leader in Sports to broadcast every home game clears that up.

You mean to tell me, that a BYU football schedule including games played against Texas, Norte Dame, Boise State, Utah, and USC cannot crack the Top 14, and you believe this how…? Even if BYU loses two of those games they still get in. They lost two games last year, with a weaker RPI than the aforementioned schedule and finished the season ranked #12. This move to independence was not done as an attempt to crack the BCS or done as a panic move. However, I do feel that the University of Utah leaving for the Pac-10/12, quickened the process, but definitely was not the spark. The crappy TV deal with The Mountain and Versus is your culprit. Nothing else. I will not listen to the contrary. What I am most excited about is the recognition that will begin to take place over the next decade.

This afternoon at work, I was sending a fax to the University of Alaska and in the spot where it asks you for a return e-mail, I mistakenly put my personal e-mail and sent it off before realizing what I had done. I consider it lucky I noticed at all and I corrected the mistake and went about my day. It got me thinking about how most of us are creatures of habit and do things without really thinking them through. The order of operations in taking a shower, tying our shoelaces, logging in to a website, brushing our teeth and even filling out a fax return with the wrong e-mail. We don’t process what our actions are but rather what we’re trying to accomplish. We just do do do. I don’t know how that correlates with what BYU did in their quest for independence or why I brought that up, but I do know how I’ve felt by following the Mountain West Conference these last couple of years. It has been seasons of frustration from trying to attain some amount of credibility, watching teams from other conferences endure the same sentiments, and complaining the current system/format isn’t right. I never thought beyond two things.

1) getting rid of the BCS by replacing it with a playoff system or;
2) hoping to go undefeated and get a BCS bowl

Independence didn’t cross my mind, but luckily it did in Tom Holmoe’s. Even if the exposure reason is not the BCS reason, it still allows for a better chance to clear those hurdles. I’m tired of being a victim of habit. The habit of being snubbed. I’m not speaking just on the behalf of BYU either. I mean Utah, I mean Boise State, I mean TCU, and any other good D-I team that works just as hard as the LSU’s, Alabama’s and USC’s.

I sincerely hope that the MWC does become an AQ conference in two years. I really do. TCU and Boise deserve it. I’ll still be content with independence if it happens. I don’t hold contempt for Utah darting for the Pac-10/12. Sometimes you got to look out for number one, ya know? Never fault anybody for trying to better themselves and their situation. All I know, is that this is going to be one heck of a final season, and the last game in Rice-Eccles Stadium (as MWC teams) will be one for the ages. Oh yeah, one more thing:

I’m gonna be famous!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I just don't care

Right now in the sporting world, I feel abandoned. I feel like nothing is happening, or at least the things that are happening, and matter to me, are too complicated to even speculate about. Specifically, this means the hullabaloo taking place in the WAC and Mountain West Conference. I refuse to be a part of the madness and refrain from any comment. Because of all this madness, I haven’t even checked a favorite forum of mine for that exact reason. Last night I broke down got on and every single post was a repeat of two topics: who should start at QB and will how the MWC will look like when the dust settles. I’ve decided that I don’t care what the answer is to those questions. Either route will neither positively nor negatively affect them. I want all those people gabbing on and on about it to go away for a couple of weeks. I want my forum back. Besides the person who posed the question, “What sports athlete would you punch in the face if you could?” I was shocked when I saw someone break from the pack and bring up the FIBA World Basketball Championships. He asked some meaningless question but it got me thinking about the tournament and Team USA.

Besides Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo, name me three players currently on Team USAs basketball roster for the FIBA World Championship and I’ll buy you a mansion in Malibu. Coach Mike Krzyzewski does not count for an answer either. Stumped? Me too, I can’t do it either. I could probably hand you the roster and you still wouldn’t be able to name three people. You’d think I had made up the names. Who is Team USA? Do I even care?

The sad truth is I do not care about this year’s World Championship and it’s not like me. Team USA (fill in the blank sport) typically ranks high on my sports pallet. If any USA team were a girl I was dating, she’d be the type of girl I would bring over to my house and my over-zealous, match-making Jewish mother could be found saying something along the lines of, “You two look so wonderful together; I’m getting verklempt ” and me going “Maaaaaaaa!!!” Something about cheering the red, white and blue while playing against the all of the other—true or not—evil countries in world gets it done for me. I don’t know why I feel that way. Perhaps it is my need to feel better than others, or my need to feel that I live in a society that seems put together, non-chaotic, and better by comparison to the other guys. Obviously winning a sporting competition is the criteria for having a country that is put together, non-chaotic, and better by comparison. In reality, I feel this way because I watch too many movies and play too many video games and have been brainwashed in to this kind of thinking. This is pop culture bred elitism at its finest. I dress it up and call it loyalty. This is not happening this year. I’m not bringing this girl over to meet my mother.

So why is my loyalty taking the summer off? Why am I not checking the scores live on my phone throughout the day? Why am I not running around singing the theme song from the movie Team America: World Police?

Oh I know the reason(s). Their names are Stephen Curry, Eric Gordon, Danny Granger, Kevin Love, Jeff Green and Tyson Chandler who are currently filling in for the 2012 London Olympic team players named LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant.

You see, the Squad A guys, which will now be referred to as the The Miami Heat and the Other Guys, have waaaaaaaaaaay better things to do than the Squad B guys. James, Bosh and Wade need to spend these next 40 days figuring out how to each spend $100 million dollars; instead of playing basketball for a country that allows people to make $100 million dollars playing basketball. This is extremely important. What do you do with all that cheddar? I know what I would do, but I’ve never had millions of dollars before. These players have it harder than you think. Show some compassion people. Meanwhile, Kobe will be dividing his time between devising an evil plan to win more NBA Championships than Michael Jordan and shooting over one-hundred thousand jumpers while muttering, “I got one more than Shaq, I got one more than Shaq, I got one more than Shaq…” Carmelo can’t risk an injury. He just can’t, OK. Otherwise he’ll miss out on a Miami Heat like payday in next year’s offseason, when he and fellow Squad A guy, Chris Paul, sign to the Brooklyn Nets. As for Dwight Howard, it is a little known fact that the reason he has basketball-sized shoulder muscles, is from an early age Dwight has been addicted to playing Red-Rover, Red-Rover. He now plays against the local school children while holding up two Mini Coopers every summer. He hasn’t lost a game since the 6th grade. When you begin to realize this, you can start to comprehend why you’re not following your beloved stars and stripes.

Those are the reasons you and I have to watch Rudy Gay miss open court dunks, or in my case, watch the highlights on Sportscenter. You’d be surprised at how good I am getting at shaking my head in embarrassment. We just don’t care. How can we? How do they expect us to when we know what we are missing? This is why there are literally thousands of TV channels included in your cable subscription, but the FIBA World Championship isn’t the only thing NOT getting my TV time. I’m talking to you, NFL Preseason.

Right now the only thing I can rely on for any sports gratification is baseball, but baseball is in that lull. You know what I’m talking about. The one that is two months before the regular season ends, and games are still important but they have at least 2-3 weeks before you have to start panicking or start counting down your team’s magic number. I feel like there is nothing for me to watch. I tried to get in to the Bachelor Pad without any success. Great name, great idea; just poorly executed. It’s not their fault, ABC isn’t the right outlet. Put this on a channel like HBO or Skinemax and you’ve got something. College Football is on the precipice, but not here. The English Premiere League is barely starting but they air the games at weird and inconvenient times. Even worse than the Premiere League is the MLS and the only team I follow are the 8-5-8 Seattle Sounders FC. However, I will get to see them in action against defending league Champions, Real Salt Lake, on September 10th. All I’m left with is the NFL and its crappy preseason.

Why is there an NFL preseason?

It is so unnecessary. Like in the Italian Job, at the end when they’re trying to steal the gold back from Edward Norton (who in my opinion is reprising his role of Worm, from Rounders, only this time he is rocking the dirtiest of dirty mustaches). For this scene, I’ve never understood why they had to drive super crazy through the streets of L.A. when the gold is in route, drawing all sorts of attention to themselves. If they had kept a low profile they would have never been all over the police scanners and Edward Norton’s goons wouldn’t each be paralyzed from terrible motorcycle crashes. They had control of the traffic lights. They didn’t need to be top side. Why they had to narrowly race on to the train tracks in front of a speeding train, when they could have just parked the Mini’s in the tunnels the same time they set the explosives, is beyond me. Too much nonsense involved in getting to a simple point. Exactly like the NFL preseason.

Why can’t they cut the preseason down to two games and make the real season longer? I’ll never be able to understand this, especially when it would increase revenues 10-fold, teams with open stadiums could host better weather games, not to mention it would make everybody’s fantasy league last longer. We all win! We need this. We need this because around this time of year, I’m sick of hearing about how out of shape a lineman is, while getting paid millions or whether or not 82-year old quarterback will be back for one more go round. I want to hear about meaningful wins and losses. I JUST WANT TO CARE! IS THIS TOO MUCH TO ASK FOR?!!

(Exhaling a deep breath, counting to 10)

Maybe I just need to be put down for a nap and everything will be better when I wake up. By the way, my response to the person I’d punch in the face question: I couldn’t think of anyone—that plays sports—so I just went with my standard answer of Toby McGuire. I don’t know what it is, I even like most of movies and thinks he does an alright job, I especially loved him in Brothers (fantastic rent) but something about the guy has me seething. I’d punch him as hard as I could in his stupid sounding voice face. BAM!

(Exhaling and counting to 10 again).