A weekend's Worth of Observations...
- RICH RODRIGUEZ! Rich Rodriguez! Rich Rodriguez. Meh. Wake me up when he has a national title.
- Who's more irrelevant already- A-Rod or Katie Couric?
- The Pats got the job done. That's about all you can say for how they played.
- Oh how the vote of confidence for Brian Billick prior to this weekend has probably lost a little luster.
- The Boston Celtics are 20-2 and have the best home record to start a season in their history. In. Celtics. History. Wow.
- If I am Tony Romo, do I dump Jessica Simpson now? Or is too late and my teammates will haze me for that pink jersey anyway?
- I think the Mitchell Report fallout is scarily quiet. That's good news for baseball because the 2008 season will really be unaffected. That's bad for baseball if Selig drags his feet on testing/rule enforcement of PEDs.
- The Providence Journal had a good article profiling Dustin Pedroia and other young stars coming up through the bigs and credit Pedroia with coining the phrase, "The Clean Generation". Interesting term, as it doesn't necessarily denote PED-free in my opinion- more like "clean/undetectable form of PED".
Well, not really, but the rest of the country wishes they did. Look, Say what you want, 12-0 is 12-0.
But like I said before, losing Rosie Colvin just aged the LB corp extensively (more minutes for the old men of the "D"- Bruschi, Seau, Vrabel). They look brutal.
And their line play on both sides of the ball is horrible for 2 straight weeks. I'm worried they are playing on rep only, but there's no fire there right now. And Dean Pees needs to take a page from Jimmie Johnson and Rex Ryan and call something interesting for this defense. Their schemes are too "vanilla" right now.
Buster Olney is reporting the Twins have requested medical files on Lester- a sign they are moving closer to the deal. And to all those "Fans" out there who are arguing against trading for Santana because of some perceived loyalty to the youngsters, look at it this way. We are replacing our #5 spot starter (Lester) with a #1.
Here's another way to look at it- Curt Schilling is now your #4 starter. Seriously. How could you ever complain about his trade? Other than the fact you just paid 8 figures for your #4 starter. But hell, that's just being picky.
And I won't even bring up the Celtics (*cough* 14-2 *cough* *cough*).
Pencils2MediaMoguls is a charitable drive to donate your spare change and voice your support to the WGA- one of the true backbones to our ROI on entertainment discretionary dollars. I.e., the guys and gals that write the "talkies" you love and hold dear for enjoyment and a release from the mundane daily existence most of us live. Give them your support.
UPDATE:This is kind of a cool off-shoot of the above charity... some folks will get rewarded via raffles for their support of their favorite show(s).
And if anyone thinks that not going for it on 4th and inches on that last drive makes the Pats soft (compared to every other game's ending sequences for them this year) you just have to understand the mercy killing was long over by then.
And while I'm on the "home team" diatribe, the Celtics needed a loss. Plain and simple. And you can't complain about a "quality loss". You don't want to lose, but you need them to help you improve as a team. That is, unless your the Patriots.
As for college football, I think WVU having an outside shot at the BCS title game is a little weak for the system. As is Kansas being there (though they totally would deserve it if they go undefeated). The problem is, the BCS became almost too involved with parity in a really short period of time. I almost think it was better when you could expect big name teams to be in the hunt (even if it felt rigged).
Now, "LSU vs. Mizzou" or "LSU vs. Kansas" doesn't have that same ring to it as "THE Ohio State vs. LSU". Even worse, what if it's, say, "Mizzou vs. WVU"? Ugh. Though I cannot discount the WVU offense looking good on national TV after New Year's for all the nation to see.
Here's a thought... does a "W" in the Mizzou/Kansas game do more for Mizzou or does it help Kansas more? My problem with it is, despite both being ranked in the Top 5, both are hurt by the simple fact that their week schedules possibly will bounce them both if Kansas loses. So then Kansas needs this win more- run the table and they are in, lose and they are just another 1-loss pretender. But if Mizzou loses, they have NO shot at the title either. So then THEY need the win more so they keep their title hopes alive and hope LSU loses or WVU doesn't squeak by them in the computers. Simply put, this is where a team's weak schedule hurts them most... at the end when the only difference between you and all the other pretenders is SOS.
I’m a follower of Providence College basketball, having lived 15 minutes, down the road my whole life and family that are alumni. I can tell you it's not so surprising they beat
I firmly believe the talent gap in college basketball is minuscule at best- all the way down to the community college level. So that UNC is #1 is fine by me. In the end, national rankings don't matter until seedings for March anyway. And even then you can simply run the table in your conference tourney for an automatic bid anyway.
Phil Jackson is an idiot.
I haven't really spent much time contemplating this, but my gut reaction to Mike Golic's admission? Fire him.
I know there's a LARGE amount of gray area between letting Golic off the hook and flat out firing, but I can't put a guy in his position as one of the top faces for ESPN Radio in a position to chance being hypocritical on the air (if he hasn't already). Of course, the 4-letter could spin this into an "Educational Campaign" fronted by Golic and denounce PEDs in sports altogether, but that would be awfully superficial. Then again, seeing that everyone believes most players did something at some point, does anyone really care about Golic revealing his use?
The C's are legit. I originally said wait until December before deciding anything about this team, but that was before they were 7-0, and the Heat and Bulls look horrible, and the Pistons seem to be running in place, and the West is more top-heavy this year. I honestly think they have the early track on the Finals. And if they get double-digit scoring from every starter (like last night), this team might be too well-balanced to stop. OK OK, that's a little overboard, but the Spurs have top be worried about a team that is playing balanced offense AND crazy defense (like them).
Easterbrook's latest rant is up on The Network's website.
Mr. Easterbrook, first, full disclosure- I am a New England sports fan, born in raised in Rhode Island, and as such, I will admit my opinions will tend to be biased towards the teams for which I root here in New England- the Pats, Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins. That being said, this is a trivial quote from you today:
“With 12 minutes to play, New England jumped offsides on third-and-2; Brady visibly yelled "f---!" in angry disgust. With his team ahead 38-0!”
Correct me if I am wrong, but your use of italics here leads me to believe you are shocked at Brady’s reaction. You must think Brady is as bad as the Evil Emperor himself, Coach Belichick, because he cursed and was angry at his team incurring a penalty amidst an unmerciful blowout.
Now look, I know this was one comment in a string to add emphasis to the extremes to which you feel the Patriots are abusing opponents. But if you have ever listened to a Brady interview, firstly, you know he is a competitor and a winner; And if you have even the slightest grasp on the “Patriot Way” and their philosophy (which, as a football follower, I am certain you understand despite the blowouts), then you know this organization practices to achieve perfection as a team and then goes out and tries to execute to perfection as a team. A penalty is a penalty- whether it’s a blowout or nail-biter, first play in the 1st quarter or third down-and-2 late in the 4th quarter of a massacre. These guys don’t like mistakes- period. It’s called accountability.
Do NOT fault Brady or the Patriots for holding themselves accountable, even in a blowout. And that might help also explain these blowouts. Opponents and the individual players and coaches don’t hold themselves accountable on every play. The Pats do. And in part, that’s why their opponents lose.
And despite using italics, I’m not shocked that they do.
Sorry, but I can't help but be giddy over the absolute demolishing in Dallas yesterday. The Cowboys had no answer for the Patriots. None. Not on a single series. It was such a mismatch even the Dallas players and coaches admitted to the beat down with pretty much every post-game comment.
But outside of the hazing the Patriots put on the Cowboys, the following best summarizes what a horrible HC Wade Phillips is and why the Cowboys will never win with him. Read one of his own comments (h/t Matt Moseley)...
Asked why the Cowboys didn't go for a touchdown when they had the ball fourth-and-goal on the Patriots' 5-yard line with 10:07 left in the game, Phillips said, "If we had a play I thought we would score on, we would have gone for it on third-and-five."
Seriously? You are a head coach in the NFL, leader of (at the moment) the best team in the NFC, #1 in offense in the league. And you didn't even have the gonads to attempt a single play to try and score? Note to Wade: you need to score more than the other guy to win. Have some balls for crying out loud!
But that's why he's Wade Phillips, and not Bill Belichick. Did Bill seem embarrassed his team piled on a pasting with a TD in the waning seconds of an already decided game? Uh, no. Why? Because he's paid to call plays that score points.
Oh, that and the fact Phillips told Peter King he thought the Pats' legacy had been tarnished by the cheating scandal, hence bringing upon him and his team the "Wrath of Bill". Can I be quoted on that by the way? The "Wrath of Bill" needs to be copyrighted.
That's what the Pats do to teams that somehow, in one form or another, mock, insult, besmirch, or in any way offend a member of the Patriots this season. Already, the Chargers and Cowboys (arguably two Top 10 teams) and Cincinnati suffered from "the Wrath of Bill". The Jets, Bills, and Browns were going to suffer anyway because they are so skillfully overmatched, so those wins really can't be subject to the "Wrath of Bill". However, the second game against the Jets in Week 15 will certainly be a "Wrath of Bill" game. Sorry Coach Mangini, it's nothing personal, just business. (Just kidding, it is personal, but we don't want you to think we actually have feelings up here in New England, now do you?)
In honor of this theory, I have run down the remaining New England schedule for 2007, and I would say here are the following games that will be "Wrath of Bill" games, and why.
Week 8, Washington (at Foxboro). Why? Because inevitably, Clinton Portis will say something along the lines of a T.O. laminated "Getcha popcorn ready."-type statement to piss off Rodney Harrison and Rodney will take that to work the week leading up to the game. Teammates love when Rodney focuses on a quote. Trust me.
UPDATE: OK, so this game has now happened and... WOW! It didn't even end up being a "Wrath of Bill" game. I mean, Portis was mum the entire week and all media outlets have been ravenous for Pats/Colts since the end of Week 7. It's like they have totally skipped this game. And I think the 'Skins were hoping the Pats were looking ahead to Week 9 too, only that definitely was not the case.
Week 9, @ Indianapolis. Why? Really, is there any other reason to suffer "the Wrath of Bill" other than the fact the Colts owned the Pats the last several years? And yes, I will say it, the AFC Championship Game loss last year was about as painful as it gets for me. And I am sure Belichick and Co. feel the say way. Ah, nothing says "catharsis" like whooping a highly regarded team and who is your arch nemesis in their house (just ask the Cowboys).
Week 13, @ Baltimore. Why? Because by Week 13, the Ravens will again likely by waaaaaaaaay overrated, bound for the playoffs by the sheer attrition in the AFC, and need a very sobering butt-whooping because Ray Lewis is serving up one-liners like they are hamburger patties and he's a burger flipper at a roadside diner (which incidentally, is where he's headed once he retires). Trust me, New England welcomes the players like T.O and Lewis who make a living serving up A.P. fodder that turns into locker room bulletin board material. Rodney Harrison wishes they could play a guy like this every week.
UPDATE: So I was correct. Ray Lewis has already spoken. But the man on the other end, taking offense, was not your typical Rodney-esque "no respect" target. Enter, Adalius Thomas. Apparently these guys do not like each other. Really? Someone other than a person associated with the Ravens hates Ray Lewis? OK OK, so Thomas used to be his teammate, so I guess that still counts as "part of the family." Tracking...
Week 14, Pittsburgh (@ Foxboro). Why? Combine Week 13 and Week 15 (see my next week's comment) and you have Pittsburgh right in the wheelhouse. Like Baltimore, Pittsburgh, will be overrated. Like the Jets in Week 15, the Steelers jumped on the cheating allegations bandwagon (yes, you Hines Ward). Now, put them together and you will have (almost) the worst humiliation of every "Wrath of Bill" game this season, which I guess will probably only be exceeded by...
Week 15, New York Jets (@ Foxboro). Why? Does one even need ask? The Illegitimate son, er... prodigy of Belichick (Eric Mangini) has done nothing to endear himself to his father, er... former mentor, since leaving New England prematurely after the 2005/2006 season. But this year's spying scandal just eviscerated any possible lingering warm fuzzies Papa Bill had towards his disciple. Really, you thought all was good after last year's playoff "hug", didn't you? Then came the stories during Week 2 after the Jets got whooped by the Pats in Week 1. Then the denials, then the he said/he said, then the fines, then the denials/admissions by Jets head office/Mangini. By the time this game happens a quarter of a year will have passed since Week 1's scandal/first meeting between these teams this season. And the Patriots machine will have literally been building up its level of pissed off every week leading up to Week 15's inevitable absolute evaporation of the Jets.
The Patriots could not possibly play this game in any better conditions- at home, in the cold and possible snow, with 60,000 rabid fans ready to jump out of their seats and attack Eric Mangini and send him on a symbolic crowd surfing of death only to drop him off the bridge at the North End that hosts the 3 Super Bowl banners (take that). For this to get any worse for the Jets, you would have to play this game in the Inner Circle of Hell- which according to fans of every other team, the Patriots must be in charge of because they have seriously sold their soul to be pasting everyone the way they are. Worse still, they have no remorse for defensively demoralizing teams, or running up scores on final drives with 14-point leads, or even wiping the floor with old friends against whom they bear no ill will (yes, you Romeo Crennel). Imagine how they will play against "He-Who-Shall-Not Be-Forgiven"? (Yes, I just copyrighted that too.)
Yup, this is your 2007 New England Patriots. Welcome to Foxboro. Where the "Wrath of Bill" hath no pity on you non-believers.
The Red Sox rookie pitches a no-hitter.
IN HIS SECOND START.
I predict this win propels the Red Sox to the division title. Forget the 3-game sweep in NY this past week. Forget the fact that everyone fears the Yankees because, well... it's the Yankees. Oh and that they have won the division for a decade now.
Nothing says mojo like an unlikely late-season highlight in baseball. It's like 2003 when the Sox would go down 0-2 in the ALDS (to the Athletics) and still win in 5, then take the Yankees to the brink in the ALCS only to run out of gas (well, Pedro anyway) in Game 7. Or how about the 2004 season and what seemed like every other night's walk-off HR by David Ortiz. And THAT season was capped off by a World Series title, the first in 86 years, including the GREATEST. COMEBACK. EVER. (h/t to Shanoff for the format.)
Yup, it feels like that again in RSN (Red Sox Nation). This year we didn't have the big trade like '04's Nomar trade that, undeniably, added the 2 key additions to put that year's club over the top (Cabrera and Roberts). But is it crazy to imagine the return of Schilling and the now meteoric rising of Clay (no last name necessary) in this rotation that already has a Cy Young front runner in Beckett and the pre-season hot story in Daisuke (who I think has fulfilled expectations) will be the X-factor of the 2007 Red Sox much like Cabrera/Roberts in 2004?
I know, I know. The Red Sox have the second highest payroll in baseball and should be a favorite by default. But throwing money around does not guarantee a ring (ask the Yankees). And I know, as any Red Sox fan can attest, I have had that perennial pit in my stomach that this season needed some magic before I could feel good about a post season run.
The magic happened tonight. And thy name is Buchholz.
And actually, who can argue with THAT strategy? Hold out half of camp, miss the two-a-days and 2 pre-season (see: useless) games in which to get hurt, er... I mean get in practice reps and shake off the rust? And you know what? After a 400+ carry season last year, LJ deserved/needed the rest to keep him a little fresher to start this season.
The veteran players will tell you, the preseason is a joke and should be cut in half anyway. LJ (and Vinny Testaverde) just took it upon themselves to show everyone. And besides, "Maddenites" everywhere have gotten to enjoy dishing out a little LJ punishment for a whole week already since the launch of Madden '08. So really, all we are talking about at this point is the suicide rate amongst the fantasy footbal GMs who already held their drafts and had the 3rd or 4th pick and passed on Mr. Johnson because of his contract status. (Note: those GMs do not deserve to win their league anyway if a contract dispute clouds their draft judgment and precludes them from taking a stud at RB- they deserve a year long hazing anyway).
Michael Vick pleaded out officially just a little while ago. Like the guy had any choice. All 3 other defendants pleaded out faster than one of their own freakin' dog fights lasted, they ratted on Vick, AND they were ready to testify in Vick's case if it came to a trial. Add to that the Feds' eagerness to throw in gambling charges to supersede the dogfighting charges and it all spelled DOOM for little Mikey. Good. The punk's getting what he deserved.
And what a waste of talent- another sad reminder that professional-level athletic ability merely dresses up morons thanks to lots of cash to buy fancy clothes, cars, homes, and whatever else these clowns need to fake it. But in the end they are still morons.
It's sad really. I was a HUGE Brett Favre fan/supporter. I loved the way the guy played the game like there was never another game after Sunday- like the whole season needed to be played in one game. He was a gamer, a warrior, and a true leader and teammate.
But while Favre might still be all those things, when someone like John Clayton writes a story like this, it just signals that the end isn't neigh, it's loooooong gone.
I mean come on, Brett. Guys are not laughing with you about your iPod dysfunction. They are laughing at you. And the iPod story merely highlights what everyone has known for far too long, possibly the last 3 or 4 seasons. Brett Favre is an old buck living in a young buck's woods. (I thought Brett, sportsman/hunter that he is, would appreciate the big game analogy.) It simply is his time to hang up his antlers... before someone else has them hanging on a wall.
Well, besides being a source of high unintentional comedy, this show's producers baffle me and are proof that my suggestion they are on their way to irrelevancy is sound. Why? Because the first episode that debuted- i.e., the "casting special" was really more like "special ed" for producers. Besides having a repeated hack job on the opening sequence (ooh wait, that may have been the second episode- more incompetence, yay!) the idiots made the biggest faux pas in television, especially reality TV.
They gave away the ending.
OK, so whoopee, the revelation of the show's 2 biggest draws, "who" and "where" was literally after the next commercial break, but come on people!
So what happened? Well, it's simple. From minute one the "Design Star" casting special was touting: a) who makes the cut? and b) in what city/state/design-needy locale will they be designing? They continued to play this angle up in virtually every fade out to commercial and during commercials. Until the last commercial break.
What did they do that was so dumb? The frickin' producers ran a promo spot for the upcoming season of their own show! OK, so? Well, it would be OK except for the fact that said spot showed, um, well... geez ALL the finalists during upcoming episodes and THEN proceeded to tout the "secret" location via host Clive "I'm so British and so... well, British, I simply must be overly dramatic so you know I'm, um, British. OH, and gay!" Pearse. (This author, blog and site do not in any way, shape or form condone expressions, actions, or any form of public scrutiny, bias, or mockery of other people's biological, ancestral or geographic origin, personal preferences such as religion, gender and sexual preferences, or others' personal and public opinions and the previous comments are simply meant as innocent jesting. If you do not believe me, go and ask several of my best friends who are, indeed, gay men and women, but unfortunately, not British- which is OK because EVERYONE makes fun of the British.)
So, my wife was fast forwarding through a show that's purpose was to create drama by highlighting 30 some-odd contestants that were being screened down to 11 finalists and finding out the "surprise" location the show would take place all to very quietly be scooped/spoiled by its own commercial right before the shocking/dramatic/suprising reveal at the end? What a mockery of itself!
Now granted, because of the wonderful invention of DVR (if you don't have it, or your cable provider does not offer it inclusively, get it) this revelation probably only cost my wife about 10 minutes instead of the hour she would have wasted, but still it's hilarious (and somewhat pathetic) evidence that you don't need to be a genius to work behind the scenes in Hollywood. Still, at least knowing how to edit your promos would help.
Second Rotation will be the biggest thing to online consumerism since Ebay. That's my thought for the day. Why?
First, what is Second Rotation? Well, this Cnet/Webware article is a pretty good briefing on the new site. Basically, these guys will buy your old tech shat- so far, cell phones, digital camcorders, MP3 players, and GPS devices. They'll give you a fair, but under-market, price for your junk and in turn go sell it Ebay-style. No hassle for you with Ebay or listing auctions. Just take the price they give you (or don't take it). That's it. Get a check or Paypal payment in return. They even pay for shipping (DHL service). How cool is that?!!!!
Now, why is this big- nay- HUGE? Well, in marketing there is a principle that (without getting too detailed) filters consumers into groups like "Innovators" (the first consumers of a new product), "Early Adopters" (consumers who buy new products soon after release), "Late Adopters", "Laggards", etc.
The Second Rotation idea is perfect for the Innovators and Early Adopters because the vast majority of consumers are Middle/Late Adopters. Especially with technology/gadgets- Second Rotation's focus. Those consumer segments at the front of the purchasing curve are going to make bank off this service. Your 6-month old cell phone that you now consider a relic is the cutting edge for the majority of consumers. You just salvaged probably 50% or more of the original price you paid for it- quite the score to help fund the new phone you want. What about all those cell phones that are bought upon a new 2-year service agreement with a cell-phone service provider that people are getting for next to nothing? Well, now that phone has more value than it cost the person at sign up. Ridiculous!
Granted, I am somewhat brainstorming here and have not done a whole lot of quantitative analysis of the product segments, pricing and such that Second Rotation is promoting, but a quick glance at their site tells me this much is true- consumers early to the buying game will be at an advantage and make money off of this. But if you have older products? Well, consider your "old junk" money well spent and this is a way to: a) get rid of it and b) get a little something for it.
Now, take me. I do a lot of surfing/reviewing of tech products that I am interested in and sometimes, likely to or will purchase. Many times I do not, but my product sleuthing leads me to garner information about product popularity, quality, and most importantly, price, that many others (see: the "Late Adopters and Laggards") do not ever imbibe. Well, now I have a way to take my knowledge, find the best price out there for some of these gadgets and maybe, just maybe, buy and sell items to Second Rotation simply because I know I can get more than I paid for it. Genius! Certainly, you have to be diligent and strike while the iron is hot to take advantage of one site's deal to go to Second Rotation armed and ready. But like the saying goes, "no pain, no gain".
So, I am going to try this service out, probably both with junk I have at home, but certainly with deals I know exist to take advantage of Second Rotation's buyback. More to come as I experience this brave new world.
UPDATE: I've tested the "estimate calculator" mutliple times across categories, and my observation is that, except for one gadget, I have not been able to find any product that would get nearly equal value (heck even 75% value) versus its CMV (current market value), let alone any off of which you could make money. Tracking...
Several points to emulate guys:
- Notice the length of the pants
- Notice where the pants sit (at his natural waist- not loose).
- Notice the reveal on the shirt cuffs and length of the jacket sleeves (at the wrist break).
- Very subtle pocket square
Regardless of how this thing shakes out, Miss New Jersey definitely has my vote in the next Miss America pageant.
Amy Polumbo, aka Miss New Jersey, who was being blackmailed with some, um.. cough, cough- denigrating photos (*raised eyebrow* followed by *snoring*), has released the photos to the Today Show.
I mean, seriously? SERIOUSLY?! Give the girl a break. She's a 22-year old college student. As, oh, about 99.99999999% of the population that has been to college (and probably 99.9999999999999999999% of those that have not attended) can attest- welcome to, er... LIFE.
Note to moms, dads, grandparents, the NCAA and that pesky little censorship group, "The Committee to Save Miss America"... college kids:
c) Engage in and enact sexual acts with friends and lovers
e) Have fun doing it
Now, as a parent of young children, am I looking forward to those days faaaaar down the line when my kids come home with an, "Um dad, there's some pictures of me out there..." story? HELL NO! But, I cannot point the figure because if I do, I better be looking in the mirror. And that's not because I feel I parented badly- NO. It's because I know, as most do, when the time comes there's not much my kids can say they did that I hadn't already done. Short of any (um, er... well) criminal act, my kids- and most kids- deserve a little bit of understanding in these situations.
And really, this blackmailing of Amy Polumbo to me is such a non-issue that I am commenting on it to show people and groups like "The Committee to Save Miss America" that they are truly morons. And a solid pat on the back to the pageant officials who told Ms. Polumbo she can keep her crown.
Seriously who comes up with this shat? It's like Miss Congeniality 3 or some B-movie on Lifetime. Wait, aren't they the same?
In fact, I think what would make this truly a, well, "happy-ending" story would be if Amy Polumbo wins the Miss America Pageant. Come on, you know "The Donald" loves a good ratings booster! Nothing says "Nielsen Ratings" or "movie rights" better than a script like "pretty girl gets wronged then wins" plot line. I say this year's pageant should be rigged to make it happen. Can we get Sandra Bullock and Michael Caine in here please?
Case in point... OK ,so no one will probably bring up the NHL in the off-season (let alone during the season) other than me, but I just need to point out yet another reason why "chop shops" like the 4-letter are so weak in their sports reporting:
Sheldon Souray signed a 5-year deal with the Oilers, which seems like a little bit of a shock that anyone these days, let alone the premier FA defenseman on the market, would signed with Edmonton.
But then you look where Souray grew up- Elk Point, Alberta, Canada. Hello! 2 and a half hours outside of Edmonton!
Gee, I wonder why the guy signed there? Souray even says it was not about the money. But does anyone interview the guy and say, "Well, Sheldon, if it was not the money, then what are the specific reasons for signing in Edmonton?" or, "Sheldon, did growing up in Alberta play a factor in your signing here?" and, "Were you an Oilers fan growing up?"
Now , it is quite possible, even probable, one of the local Alberta guys did ask such questions. But because the big guys utilize the A/P instead of their ridiculous reservoir of personnel and send someone up there, you would never know if those questions were asked.
Ah well, at least I still have the sports blogs.
(picture courtesy of Scott Schulman, aka the Sartorialist)
I give you, Mr. Luciano Barbera. Well, not directly mind you, but here's a great link to his site- in particular to his advice on men's style for particular parts to one's wardrobe. When you go to this page on his site, take a look at the links via the pictures at the bottom of the page. Those will guide you through Mr. Barbera's various waxings on different parts of a man's wardrobe- suits, pants, seasons, etc.
Who is Mr. Barbera? The man is a sartorial (fashion) icon who's been providing men's garments since the 1970's. Why should you care about him? Like I said, the man knows his "shirt". And simply put, I like his wisdom, so here he stands on my site.
1. MLB ASG- I'll admit, for the 1st time I didn't watch the HR Derby last night- last year's so was embarrassingly long, I simply shunned it last evening and caught the highlights on ESPN and ESPNews. But I'm definitely "all in" for the real deal tonight. I'm curious to see which stud pitcher gets lit up (you knwo there's always one). Better yet, I'm psyched to see who "pulls a Penny" (as in 2006 ASG starter, Brad Penny) and tanks the second half of the season because he let it all hang out for a 1 or 2 inning uber-appearance in front of a national audience. Somehow, I think Alyssa Milano is not upset she's no longer dating such an idiot by the way.
2. Dan Patrick is leaving ESPN.
As a product of Sportcenter from the "Glory Days", my fondest memories (for lack of a better term) of Sportscenter were from back in the day when Patrick and Olberman rescued my mornings between classes in college- ok, sometimes during classes in college, but back when I matriculated, I couldn't "sling" the broadcast to my phone like I can now. Back then I actually had to skip class. Anyway, somehow the departure of Mr. Patrick was lead balloon-ish. Or maybe more accurately, awfully , um... well, ho-hum. Seriously, it was as resounding as the 14th hour of the HR Derby. Not many people "tuned in" and fewer still, I imagine said anything other than, "Oh. Well, er... OK." And I think that sums up the impact of individual anchors on Sportscenter, not to mention the proliferation of new media on the sports scene:
- In its day, Sportscenter was the medium. I mean, if I stopped any guy over 25 years of age on the street and hummed to him, "Dah-dah-dah. Dah-dah-dah" he'd probably smile and have some fleeting memory of safety, security and maybe (like me) the smoggy feel of a hangover (I did say my Sportscenter anecdotes were from my college days).
- But today, Sportscenter is, well, passe. The Internet has simply made it irrelevant. Why would I wait for 8AM every day and 6PM and 11PM every night to get my sports updates? Not when I can go to, oh, about a dozen highly respected (and frequented) blogs that give me more up-to-date news and information than any television program produced intermittently would ever or could ever do. Oh, and if I need an actual game highlight? Well, those who know, YouTube. What if I need a stat? Gee, maybe the actual league or team site? Or any of the big guns CBSSportsline, Yahoo Sports, or cough, even... cough cough, ESPN.com gives me exactly what I want when I want it. I don't have to wait for Mr. Patrick (or any of his cloned offspring they now call anchors since he and Mr. Olbermann's departures from behind the desk) to tell me the highlight I want to see is coming up in 5 minutes in the next segment.
- Hell, even as far as TV goes (if you are still into that sort of thing), the 4-letter has even surpassed its own news show creation with ESPnews which I am much more into now simply because you can leave it droning on in the background between checking blogs and fantasy league stats.
- And that brings me to the last point. Seriously, nowadays the only reason I need any type of player or game stat is simply because I need to know: a) how it impacts my fantasy league team in a given sport, or b) whether or not it is relevant to blog about here or comment on in said respected blogs. Do I really care that only 1 team in the modern era of MLB has come back to win a playoff series after being down 0-3 like the 2004 Red Sox? Well, I do love that one, but you get the point. But, I do need to know how many HRs Big Papi hit in September and October leading up to the playoffs because maybe I want to trade him from my Fantasy Team if I know he's going to slow down and get rested (as is typically the case) and give him to someone willing to give me a stud starting pitcher and a late season call-up (for a keeper league) in the middle of a pennant or wild card race.
We (men) all dream of that girl who gets it... the one that would drop the Mani/Pedi for a round of golf, cash in the long-planned vacation to Bermuda for Super Bowl tickets because your team made it or would cancel the girls night out because there's a "Rocky" marathon on again.
Well, sometimes guys, I guess you better be careful what you wish for.
and P.S... thank the maker for dads and offspring (just read the article and you'll understand).
Isn't it funny how the All-Star rosters' pitchers are now comprised of distinctly, starter/closer roles?
There are not even setup men (as there were a few years back). It's simply, get through 7 innings with gas from starters then turn the game over to the experts in the 8th.
I'm actually surprised that there are not a couple of middle relief guys picked by the manager- especially now that the game has World Series HFA at stake. You'd think, if this game really meant something the managers would play it like a "real" game and make the ASG roster selections accordingly. In other words, why not string your pitchers together like you would in any real game?
Now, I know there is an argument for voting in- and managers selecting- worthy starting pitchers. After all, aren't the starters the eye candy the fans want to see? I mean, really, after the 7th inning who wants to see the likes of Akinori Otsuka, followed by Scot Shields, Hideki Okajima, all to lead up to, say, J.J. Putz and Jonathan Papelbon closing it out? Actually, I would, and it's why I am all for Okajima or Pat Neshek winning the "Final Vote" on MLB.com for the last ASG roster spot.
I mean, seriously, these guys are pitching in their defined roles (7th inning/8th inning setup men backed up by "hard/high cheese" closers). You want to win this game? Do it right, with the right guys instead of a bunch of starters who are not used to warming up in-game and trying to gear up to throw 95 MPH gas every pitch for 1 IP only.
You may recall last year's ASG at one point in between the 1st and 2nd innings and they cut to a recorded feed from the NL dugout. Bronson Arroyo was discussing with NL starter Brad Penny as to how he was throwing 100 MPH gas right out of the gate. Arroyo alluded several times to the fact that he takes a couple of innings before he lets it fly at top speed (hmm, why did the Red Sox get rid of him again?). Why would he do that?
Because starters prepare in a completely different way than relievers. Look at the way converted bullpen guys (or starters rehabbing) get "stretched out" over the course of several games/weeks. It builds arm strength and endurance. A starter cannot limber up and be prepared to throw the way a reliever does. The physical and mental preparation are completely different. Then coming into a game, a reliever is already warmed up and their arm has been trained to go balls to the wall for an inning. A starter's arm "knows" it will get a little break-in time (look at Arroyo's comments to Penny).
And it can be argued that Arroyo is right because Penny was definitely not the same pitcher after the All Star break that he was before it last year. Look at his Pre-ASG and Post-ASG stats:
Hell, if I am Tony LaRusa, I throw Penny out there ASAP simply to knock the Dodgers rotation out of whack should they face each other come October. Of course, that's saying either the Cardinals or Dodgers crank it up in the second half, but hey, you never know. And All-Star Game "Manager Monkey Wrenching" should be a post/argument all its own.
So why screw it up with World Series HFA on the line? Because, at the end of the day, the All-Star Game is not about HFA, it's about TV and revenue and the "star" appeal of the starters. Bud Selig is a moron for attaching such a game changing effect to an exhibition, yes. But if you are going to adhere to that policy, you might as well do it the right way- with pitchers who know their roles.
I swear this is the most inept front office of any Boston sports franchise in any generation. Yup, worse than Dan Duquette in the 90's for the Red Sox. Imagine, even worse than the current Boston Bruins management (which is still, by default of owner Jeremy Jacobs, still rooted in previous ineptitude).
How much worse? They screwed up what should have been an easy pick at the #5 slot (Corey Brewer). One of their greatest needs- 2-guard with crazy defensive skills and an improving offensive game- solidified under half an hour into the draft. Done. Close the book. Good night, we'll see you next season with this playoff team after we do some housecleaning of a few veteran contracts.
But did Ainge & Co. do that? Um, no. Instead they traded away the #5 pick for essentially someone else's (and yet another) heavy veteran contract. Now, granted the "silverish" lining is the fact they did unload 1 ugly contract (Szczerbiak's), but in the process basically got double the contract back.
Who is this mystery man for whom the Celtics so masterfully traded? Wait for it. You'll never belive this blockbuster, Wait. For. It...
Ray Allen (*sigh*).
Yes, THAT Ray Allen. The guy who was dropped off at the bus stop by the Milwaukee Bucks several years ago, picked up by the Sonics (who, as payment in return, drop off their underachieving/declining star, Gary Payton, at the same bus stop). Did I mention Allen turns 32 this year? And he's logged more frequent flyer miles than Southwest.
The guy that is virtually 1:2 ratio in steals to turnovers, and not even 2:1 ratio in assists to turnovers. The guy that is a "poor man's Paul Pierce". By that I mean a "shoot first" small forward/shooting guard who has (if it's even possible) a lower defensive awareness than Paul Pierce himself. And look at their career stats (eerily similar):
Meanwhile Brewer, a guy that should quite easily fit into the Celtics lineup and fill the defensive liability that is Pierce was left as scraps for the #7 pick by the T-Wolves. A guy that would have been an above average-to-All-Star quality 2-man for the next 10 years was passed by for a max contract 32 year-old veteran whose contract has 3 more years. But gee, at least they dumped Wally's contract, right? Duh, the Sonics knew they shaved half the salary and 1 year off Allen's contract by doing it.
But, unlike the Celts, the Sonics filled their outstanding needs via the draft by getting Durant to take up the scoring slack of Allen and trading for the aforementioned Celt's #5 pick- Jeff Green to be Durant's wingman. Add to that they saved some cash and can now resign Rashard Lewis. This team is much better managed under 1st year (and 30 year old) GM, Sam Presti. This was an "Epstein-esque" move- on par for Presti with the Boston trade that made Theo famous- Nomar Garciaparra for Orlando Cabrera and Dave Roberts. You get the scary feeling these moves serve the same purpose and get the Sonics towards the promised land (an NBA championship) A LOT faster than it will ever help the Celtics- kind of like the Red Sox and Chicago Cubs after the Nomar trade. The Sox took the key role players and won themselves the 2004 World Series and the Cubs held their collective breath for the next Nomar DL stint.
Here, the Sonics got themselves chemistry guys and got younger too- a 1/2 punch even the '04 Sox didn't get. Look what happened after the 2004 MLB season. The Sox should have/could have signed Cabrera to a long term deal. The Sox should have/could have kept Roberts for at least 1 more year.
Instead they let Cabrera get his asking price in Anaheim, where he's on pace to average .291, 8HR, 73 RBI, 85 R, and 22 SB in his 3 seasons since landing in L.A. Instead they have signed Edgar Renteria to a ridiculous $10 mil per year and let him go 1 year in, replaced him with Alex Gonzalez who couldn't hit his weight despite a smooth glove, and now another year later put in Julio Lugo who has redefined the worst attributes of both his predecessors- he can't field OR hit for the Sox.
And Dave Roberts has been a good outfielder in San Diego, but he would have been the perfect 4th OF in Fenway instead of Wily Mo Pena. His legs would be kept fresh instead of trying to play everyday, and he would have made J.D. Drew's woes earlier this year bearable by standing in and being relied on to get on base for a hot bottom of the order/top of the order with some lineup of Youkalis, Lowell, Varitek, and Pedroia (I intentionally have left off Lugo) to get to Big Papi and Manny.
The Sonics pulled that off. They got chemistry guys (like Cabrera and Roberts) in Durant, Green, West, and even Wally. They got younger too in the 1st three guys and Wally will be gone soon enough that he's not a liability financially- which leads to the resigning of Lewis. So the Sonics have a nucleus of Lewis, Durant, Wilcox, with Green off the bench for any of them and Ridnour/West supplying PG duties and a healthy Szczerbiak at the 2-guard until they sign a top free agent next year. I'd say that makes them Conference Finalists in 2 years, champs in 4.
As for the Celtics? Well, I best get my "Big Baby" jersey while he's still around and hope for a playoff berth by, say, 2014- the 10 year anniversary of the '04 Sox no less. Maybe by then, Ainge will have been fired and the mistakes can be undone.
UPDATE: Apparently it's not offical, and the Blazers never told the Oden camp, they are taking him #1. Now the only question is...
How STUPID would the Blazers be if they did?
I mean, seriously, why would you tip your hand the day before the draft? Why not make the Sonics sweat out #2? Not that they are anxious or nervous to get Portland's "sloppy seconds" in this draft, but maybe the Sonics really see more (a lot more) in Oden than Durant and would lay down a deal for the #1. I doubt it, but, why close the door?
More likely though is that maybe one of the other teams lower on the board (say a snake bitten Celtics team who was hoping for #1 or #2 at the Lottery a month ago and got stuck in pergatory with #5) gets an itchy trigger finger because the GM (Ainge) knows his team needs a spark or the fans will be hanging Rivers effigies in the streets of Boston right next to Ainge's tipped over car.
Even more, that simply makes the Draft Day phone calls solely about the #2 slot (Durant) by other teams. Bottom line is it alleviates any wrinkles the Blazers could have made in every other team's plans. The pure enjoyment wreaking havoc on others' draft boards, for me as an NBA GM, would be worth the price of admission alone!
With all the drama surrounding Kobe, KG, Marion, et al. by the trade mongers leading up to today, this draft is begging for some drama, some impact news, something to make the NBA relevant again- basically a trade for the ages. The Oden V. Durant debate has gotten very stale this week (only this week?), but the Blazers could have made this foregone conclusion very sexy to all insiders and passive observers alike. Hell, just seeing cuts to GM Kevin Pritchard on the phone every 20 seconds until the pick is made would be much needed fodder for a league that is, in my estimation, against the ropes from a fan/television revenue perspective.
There are probably about 5 scenarios I can think of for a plausible trade into the Top 2 by another team- however unlikely the Blazers or Sonics are to accept. But the Blazers broke a cardinal rule here: never never NEVER close the door before the (draft) clock strikes 00:00. They just lost out on their biggest PR opportunity up until they make their pick.
But hey, isn't being a loser why the Blazers are in the Lottery and picking 1st anyway?
is great at evolving products of a genre with style/function better than almost any other company.
Everyone is all worried that iPhone may not be revolutionary. Well... so what? UPDATE: Here's a great new review from Newsweek and MSNBC.
The Mac, the iPod, and now the iPhone are memorable for being revolutionary. Heck there was a PC, an MP3 player and- duh- a plethora of cell phones and smart phones already on the market before Big Mac joined each product's respective battleground. And believe me, there are a lot of good phones and even a handful of great phones already out there.
knows who they are. It's almost like the Dupont Company's old slogan, which I believe was, "We Don't Make the Products You Use, We Make the Products You Use Better."
In a nutshell that is .
The Mac brought a look and feel and fluidity to the desktop and laptop arena that PCs cannot match. Add to that better security, tighter/cleaner hardware, and supreme handling of files and, voila, the perfect computer.
iPods did the same thing. There were MP3 players and then there was the iPod. New look, new organization, new interface (iTunes). It (arguably) took file sharing off the map and disposed of clunky interfaces, but digital music was already there. Again, it was an evolution, not a new genus and species of technology not yet discovered.
Same with the iPhone:
- Touchpad? Check. New? No.
- Large screen? Check. New? No.
- Rotating Screen? Music Browser? Web Browser? Contacts? Check, check, check and double check. But new? Nope, nada, nein, not in here.
's trademark is its stylistic re-interpretation to make usable devices infinitely more user friendly and, well... cool.
And I am sure that will be iPhone- a cell phone that, while not revolutionary, will be stylish, user-friendly and cool. I can live with that.
I chose to use the because, quite frankly, I think we all know the symbol as well as the name. And isn't everyone tired these days of the name ? See, I still didn't say it.
Chris Benoit was found dead in his home along with his wife and son this afternoon. Officials are treating this as a homicide. As a father and former wrestling fan, I am deeply saddened by this tragic event. Benoit was one of the all-time greats and, to my understanding following his career some, a great family man and friend. Back when I followed wrestling, I always made sure to watch the Crippler's matches because he was a guy that, although built like a tank, was only about my height and he gave you that sense of, yeah, you can do what you put your mind to. And the guy was a total performer, always giving a good/great match and willing to take a bump and "job" when another guy needed to get "put over".
Best wishes and deepest sympathies to the Benoit family.
It's the equivalent of a pressure shot in the NBA, a 2-minute drive in the NFL, a walk-off hit in MLB or pulling the goalie in the NHL.
Some folks are Big Papi, Jordan, or Brady.
But most ''pull a Nowitzki.''
According to ESPNews the Tennessee Lady Vols head basketball coach, Pat Summitt has fainted at home and was taken to St. Mary's Hospital for further examination. MSNBC reported she was treated for dehydration, but we all know how that story plays out amongst celebrities and the like (see: Lohan, Lindsay).
At any rate, this is not someone as pathetic as Lohan in need of excuses. Best wishes to Coach Summitt and here's hoping it is nothing serious.
Years back, my best friend in high school went to UT and interned in the Athletic Department, working closely with Summitt very often. From his accounts, she's a top-notch lady and we know her coaching record speaks for itself.
Via Art Martone at the Providence Journal and Joe McDonald's Bruins blog on Projo.com here in RI... The Boston Bruins have called a news conference for 10:30 a.m. tomorrow to introduce their new coach. Scott Gordon, the coach of the Providence Bruins and one of the people mentioned in association with the search, will not be at the press conference. All indications are that Claude Julien, the former coach of the Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils, will get the job.
I also heard the B's were holding the press conference while watching the Red Sox on NESN tonight.
From what I heard earlier this week, Peter Chiarelli, the Bruins GM, really coveted Pat Quinn (someone they considered even before signing Dave Lewis last year). But I guess Pat Quinn knows a sinking ship when he sees one.