Thursday, May 31, 2007

A-Rod's fall from grace

A-Rod's fall from one time wunderkind to blog whipping boy may appear to be the result of his time in New York, his cheap play, inability to hit in the clutch and his dalliances with "she-male" strippers. While that is all true, it's actually been a much longer journey than that. It's just that now that he's been under the NY limelight for a couple of years that we've really gotten to see who he really is. But we did some rigorous research on his career, and by rigorous research I mean made most of this up, that shows his decline in the public eye was inevitable. Let's travel back in time, shall we.

1996-1997: Nothing remarkable.

1998: Injures Jeff Kent of the Giants with a late slide to break up a double play. A-Rod begins his descent into bush league style play.

1999: Shoots a man in Reno just to watch him die during a West Coast Road trip.

2000: Comes in third in the MVP voting to winner Jason Giambi. Spikes Giambi's victory champagne with steroids. Also puts voodoo hitting hex on runner-up Frank Thomas that he never recovers from.

2001: Threatens to blow up Arlington Stadium if team fails to offer him $252 million contract. This may have been the work of agent Scott Boras. Disses Jeter in Esquire, also leaves flaming bag of dog shit on his doorstep and rings doorbell.

2002: Beats up handicapped kid.

2003: Wins MVP, demands to be traded, then burns down orphanage before leaving Texas.

2004: Gets chippy with Varitek, has face smashed in. Enjoys the experience, starts cavorting with "she-male" strippers to relive the experience. The ensuing emasculation results in him trying to bitch slap the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's glove in the ALCS.

2005: Wins MVP, sucks in the playoffs, pushes old woman in front of moving bus.

2006: Has a bad year as fans get to him. Or do they? A-Rod actually concerned that "she-male" stripper girlfriend will beat him senseless every night for failure to perform in the sack.

2007: Takes cheap shot at Dustin Pedroia of Red Sox. Becomes public he cheats on wife. Pulls bush league move against Blue Jays.

[Bonus future inevitable PR decline!] Later in 2007: Takes fastball to the ear from Roy Halladay. Recovers by going to transsexual strip club.


Bill Laimbeer must be spinning in his grave

I know Laimbeer isn't dead, at least I don't think he is, but after Game 5 who knows. While LeBron was certainly out of this world on Thurday evening, I couldn't help but think the Pistons D was less than inspiring. They're lucky Laimbeer is coaching in the WNBA. Had he been in attendance he might beaten up the whole team after the game. It was clear from about halfway through the 4th quarter that LeBron was about the only guy on the Cavs who wanted to shoot the ball. And after the first overtime, it should have been insanely apparent that was the case.

LeBron kept blowing by Tayshaun Prince and anyone else who guarded him for dunks in the 4th and in the overtimes. He scored the Cavs's final 25 points of the game, and 29 of the Cavs's final 30 points. I mean, didn't it ever occur to Flip Saunders that maybe he should consider double-teaming LeBron at some point? Even a basketball neophyte would have said to themselves "maybe we should get the ball out of that guy's hands." Besides, most of the Cavs had forgotten what the basketball looked like by the second overtime. They probably couldn't even remember how to shoot. This may have been one of the worst coaching jobs since...Mike Brown calling that idiotic timeout during the first overtime that prevented the Cavs from getting a decent game winning shot off. Both coaches are awful, we'll just leave it at that.

When Ben Wallace was still with the Pistons before skipping town for Chicago, people said that the Pistons had become the Bad Boys 2. I'm not sure that's totally true, but it's more than apparent that they lost something when they lost Wallace - an angry, no nonsense, interior presense. Wallace has a bit of a Laimbeer mean streak in him and he wouldn't have let LeBron do what he did tonight. And we all know Laimbeer would have sent LeBron into the 10th row on those dunk attempts. Neither man would have allowed LeBron to score 25 straight points on his team. Of course, if Detroit had a semi-decent coach, the coach never would have let LeBron score 25 straight either.

The mystique of the Pistons D, and maybe their coach's job, went up in flames tonight. And it doesn't look like that D, or Saunders's brain, is going to get fixed in time for them to save their season.

Which is fine by me, the only way you can get me to watch the NBA Finals is if LeBron's in them. I'd rather scrape off a tattoo with a cheese grater than be forced to watch a Pistons/Spurs final.


That LeBron kid is pretty good

What can I say, LeBron was magnificent. He just proved everyone wrong who said he couldn't hit the clutch shots or make the big plays down the stretch. He scored the Cavs last 25 points and 29 of their last 30 in their win against the Pistons, on the road, in double OT. That's insane. Of course the huge question here is how in the hell did a team as well known for its defense as the Pistons are allow a guy to score 25 straight points? And it's not exactly like every shot LeBron had was some kind of insane fallaway jumper that fell. His basket to send the game to overtime was a dunk. This was right after he dunked on the previous possession. Plus he got a lay-up to win the game.

Excuse me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that's Pistons basketball.

But hey, the Pistons gave LeBron an opportunity and man oh man did he take advantage of it. This definitely has to go down as one of the best playoff performances ever, since it was a double overtime game on the road that was won essentially by one man. I think the Cavs wrap this up at home in Game 6. Cheers to you LeBron for making us care about basketball again, at least until you get behind 0-3 in the Finals to the Spurs.


See you in hell Armando

In a move that many Giants fans wish had come a lot earlier, Armando "Balk Machine" Benitez was finally traded away to the Florida Marlins. I think we got a pie in return. We definitely got the better end of that deal.

Benitez was 0-3 so far this year with 9 saves in 11 chances and a 4.67 ERA. His most notrious blown save came just a few days ago when he committed two balks against the Mets to bring in the tying run and then gave up the game winning gopher ball to Carlos Delgado.

Last week he also had the balls to call out San Francisco hitters for not producing. While he's certainly right about that, I'd like to call him out for balking away a game. It takes real talent to do that.

Even though we've now gotten rid of Benitez, he still haunts us. The Giants still owe him $4.7 million for the season on a $5 million plus contract. The Marlins will pay a little more than $300,000.

Man, what a waste of $4.7 million. It would have been better spent if I'd used it to wipe my ass.


Confirmation that A-Rod is a Bush League player

It sure hasn't been a good past couple of weeks for A-Rod. The Yankees suck, the NY Daily News reported that he likes the "she-male muscular type", and he got accused by Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox of being a dirty player.

Well, it's only getting worse. On Thursday a story came out that is almost too stupid to believe that a player of A-Rod's caliber would do. Apparently during an infield fly ball in the ninth inning of the Yankees win over the Blue Jays, A-Rod confused two Blue Jays players who were tracking the pop-up by calling out "mine."

Third baseman Howie Clark was positioned under the ball as A-Rod came into third. Replays showed A-Rod saying something and then Clark backing away at the last second, causing the ball to fall between Clark and shortstop John McDonald. Needless to say, the Blue Jays seem more than prepared to put a fastball in A-Rod's ear the next time these two teams meet.

A-Rod's excuse was even lamer than his bush league play.

"I just said, 'Ha.' That's it," Rodriguez said. "Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't."

I know the Yankees are hard-up for wins right now, but I can't see Jeter pulling a stunt like this. You know my thoughts on this one. A-Rod's a total dipshit, always has been. And he likes the "she-male muscular type." Although truth be told, I can only fault him so much on that one. It's not like his wife is all that hot. WOOF!


Magically Delicious

It's seems to be pretty much written in stone that Billy Donovan is leaving the University of Florida and is headed to the NBA to coach the Orlando Magic. He was offered a six-year deal that pays him an insane $6 million a year. Although Donovan hasn't accepted the offer yet, I'm postitive he will. That's a huge amount of money and Florida can't come anywhere close to it. We all have our price. I'll lick a toilet bowl seat for $10, while Donovan will coach the Magic for $6 million. It's more or less the same thing.

The question now is what exactly has he gotten himself into? Let's keep in mind that the track record for college coaches going to the pros and crashing and burning is staggeringly high. Plus, Donovan seems to be a bit of a Scott Skiles clone. Incredibly detail-oriented, strict and a major tightass. That may work fine in college, but it doesn't work so well in the pros. There have already been grumblings in Chicago about Skiles, especially from huge free-agent signee Ben Wallace. Just from an instant gut reaction, something tells me Donovan is definitely going to clash with some players.

We're also going to learn how good of a coach he really is. I'm not insulting Donovan, we already know he's a very good coach. But that two year title run at Florida was obviously the direct result of the starting 5 staying together for two years more than it was about coaching. Donovan did do a hell of a job keeping them motivated for that second year though.

And while Donovan has stayed relatively close to home, what exactly does he have in Orlando? He has Dwight Howard, who everyone loves and who everyone believes has no ceiling. But I disagree. Howard has absolutely no jump shot. If he doesn't develop one, he's not getting any better than he currently is. Grant Hill is also considering retirement. Their backcourt, with Jameer Nelson, Carlos Arroyo and J.J. Redick is below average. All those guys should be backups on quality teams. The Magic were also the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, which means half the teams in the entire league were better than them.

I realize Memphis wasn't exactly where Donovan wanted to go, but with a healthy Gasol and the #4 pick in the draft, and the fact that this year was an aberration for the Grizz, I'm not so sure the Magic are really a better place to go than the Grizzlies.

Oh well, we'll just have to wait and see. But i'll say right now, I don't think Donovan makes it the full six years.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

This sucks

So San Antonio will once again play in the NBA Finals, after decimating the Jazz tonight. What may be particularly bad is that San Antonio looks unstoppable right now. And considering how bad the Pistons are playing and the fact that the Cavs really have no shot whatsoever against the Spurs, you might as well just mail the NBA Championship trophy to San Antonio right now. I mean hell, it's not like Stern couldn't do that. He already took the liberty of destroying the Phoenix Suns's season.

And we'd like to reiterate a point we made a long time ago on this site. If San Antonio wins the NBA championship, we refuse to recognize it. Stern single-handedly destroyed the Suns's season, and we still think the Suns could have beaten the Spurs in 7 had Amare and Diaw been able to play Game 5. Stern's decision was irrational, stupid and hypocritical, especially considering just a week later he didn't suspend LeBron for pulling a Kobe Bryant on Chris Webber. So have a great Finals Stern. I hope the ratings are as atrocious as your decision making abilities. You better hope LeBron makes the Finals Stern, because if he doesn't, no one's going to turn on their TV

The Xtreme Baseball League seeks world domination by 2009

Ah yes, the Xtreme Baseball League. You may remember this bastardized version of baseball (and that's putting it kindly) that Deuce of Davenport managed to uncover not so long ago and the hilarious highlights of the first game that we brought you. If you've forgotten how bizarre Xtreme Baseball is just watch the refresher video above.

If you're like me, you probably think this thing is destined to die a quick death. But that's where you're wrong, xtremely wrong. Even though the Xtreme Baseball League currently has only 2 teams (the Orlando Dragons and the Miami Pythons), they plan to expand to 28 teams by 2008. Yes, you read that right. That's a 1300% increase in teams. Where the players will come from is a mystery, but I'm guessing trailer parks. And mental institutions.

If everything goes according to plan, by 2009 the league will dominate the globe. Apparently the demographic that found regular baseball not confusing enough was bigger than any of us ever thought.

Anyway, since the Xtreme League will soon be a worldwide phenomenon thanks to its stellar play and large fan base, we've decided to join them rather than fight them. Since we managed to track down all the 2008 expansion team names, we thought we'd judge the names on their level of xtremeness. After all, even a league that's going to be as successful big a failure as this one can always use some extra help.

Southern Division
Atlanta Confederates - Definitely xtreme, as in xtremely offensive. Don't think you'll find many black players on this team.
South Carolina Blue Birds
- Xtremely gay name. The only way their name could be less xtreme would be if they were named the Pussywillows.
Jacksonville Rebels - Not all that original, but rebels tend to be xtreme. An OK choice.
Tampa Bay Black Sox - I guess they'd be considered xtreme if they throw games. Xtremely healthy for my bank account.

East Division
New York MinuteMen - Xtremely dumb. Someone didn't do their research here (what a surprise). The MinuteMen were a militia from Massachusetts, not New York.
Philadelphia Pioneers - Seems like an xtremely forced name and a bit out of place.
North Carolina Lumberjacks - Sure, whatever.
Richmond Radicals - You've gotta be kidding me. Xtremely hilarious! Does anyone even use that word anymore?
Boston Renegades - If you switch names with New York, everthing will make a lot more sense.
New Jersey Comets - Xtremely gay.
Baltimore Blackbirds - Birds really aren't xtreme. Hell Damn Fire Rockin' Griffins are xtreme.

Central Division
Nashville Sparrows - Why not just go all the way and call them the Nashville Fairies.
Cleveland Crows - Doesn't seem like they're trying very hard.
Chicago Shadows - Xtremely mysterious and vague. This is better.
St. Louis X-Men - An xtreme lawsuit is what you'll get if you name your team this.
Indianapolis Mohicans - Again, xtremely dumb. The Mohicans were from New York and the Hudson Bay Valley.
Green Bay Tomahawks - Much better, now we're getting xtreme to the max!
Minnesota Miracles - Oh well, we had it going for a second there.
Cincinnati Blitz - Xtremely confused. I thought blitzes came in football, not baseball.

West Division
Arizona Sidewinders - I'd prefer Arizona Hellfire Missiles, but that's just me.
Colorado Cliffhangers - Finally a somewhat xtreme name that actually fits the state that the team plays in. Although they might get sued by Sly Stallone.
California Cobras - Definitely xtreme, even though I don't think we have Cobras here.
Las Vegas Gold Miners - There was actually more silver than gold found in Nevada.
Texas Roadrunners - You're kidding, right? Can we name a team the Wile E. Coyotes?
Seattle Stars - Xtremely bad.
San Diego Horizons - Xtremely worstest.

I don't know about you, but when this league freakshow hits my town, I'm definitely going to try out. And remember kids, always recycle - to the XTREME!


Kobe Bryant: The Grass is Always Greener...

I think Kobe's real problem is that he will never be happy with the job his GM is doing until he's playing with either the reincarnation of Wilt Chamberlein at his prime or Shaq at his prime. The only time Kobe has shown any sign of being a truly world-beating player was when he was paired up with arguably the most dominant player ever to play professional basketball in Shaq.

You can send him to Houston and that team isn't going to be any better than with McGrady, you could send him to Phoenix and there is no way he and Nash would ever gel. Why didn't the Bulls ever go after a free agent point guard when Jordan was playing? Because Jordan needed the ball in his hands and a true point guard would do nothing but get in the way of him and his ego, the same as for Kobe. The difference is that Jordan was a superior/once-in-a-lifetime player who still managed to make his teammates better while Kobe is more along the lines of the Drexlers/Dominques/Bernard Kings/McGradys/DWade. There's always 2-3 of these guys in the league that are likely to be among the Top 50-100 players ever, but need the top-end centers like Shaq (Kobe and Wade) or Olajuwon (Drexler) to get them to the top. And what happens if they never get that center so that the public thinks they're the real reason that the team is winning? They turn into Dominique or Bernard King and end up underrated and underappreciated.

Honestly, I kind of like watching karma come around and bite players like Kobe. You know he always felt like he was the reason that the Lakers were winning those Championships and now with Shaq getting his ring with Wade in Miami and Kobe's non-Shaq career following a pattern very similar to McGrady's, he has to be realizing that he's not as special as he once thought. Watching him demand a trade from the Lakers (or whatever the hell he's doing) is Kobe's last desperate gasp to hold on to what he once thought he was... and the best part is going to be watching it play out. I'm a Warriors fan so watching Kobe go down in flames and the Lakers organization tear itself apart after its 3-year title run is truly a beautiful thing to behold...


Other perspectives:
Kobe is pissed

Available: Huge Ball Hog

So Kobe Bryant is demanding to be traded (even though he softened his stance 3 hours later I still think he'll be traded). I've never had much respect for Bryant and I lost it all after the Eagle County incident. Now I somehow respect him even less. Although this guy said he wanted to end his career in a Lakers jersey, he pulled that Clippers BS not that long ago and now wants to be traded.

While I realize the Lakers haven't exactly surrounded Bryant with an incredible array of talent, they did give him the keys to the team, which is what Bryant has always wanted. And although Shaq says Kobe had nothing to do with him getting traded, I don't believe that for a minute. Kobe played some role in getting Shaq out of town.

The problem now is where the hell would Kobe go? I know every team in basketball would want him, but the better question is why?

Bryant doesn't make his teammates any better, and the fact that he dominated the ball in LA after Shaq left town isn't going to wear off right away either. Imagine if he got traded to the Knicks. Between him, Starbury, Francis and Crawford they could throw three basketballs out on the court and they'd all still be complaining about not getting the ball enough.

If paired up with another alpha dog player, Bryant might revert to his old Lakers championship days, but i'm not so sure. There's a reason why Bryant's nickname is Frank Sinatra. I did it my way. Unless he gets traded to the Suns or the Spurs, I doubt he'll ever win another NBA championship.

I'm sure dwyermaker will chime in on this sometime later today. After all, he's down in La-La Land.


The Xtreme League soldiers on

Just like herpes, the Xtreme Baseball League can only be held down so long before it flares up again. This video here is the more sanitized version of the first official Xtreme Baseball League game. We previously brought you the more xtreme version of the first game, which featured line drives to the groin. You won't see any of that this time, unfortunately. To be honest the video is pretty bland, which is funny, because I thought it would be TOTALLY XTREME! You know, just like the game. Probably the only good thing about this video is that it gives us the names of some of the players.

That's right Alex Cruz and Pat Hagerty, we know you guys played in the Xtreme Baseball League. That alone may be worse than herpes.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

We have a series

Rip Hamilton tried to get into LeBron's head at the free throw line at the end of the game, but it didn't work. James was super clutch again down the stretch, hitting some big shots and nailing critical free throws. James went for 25 pts (27 if you count his accidental tip-in for the Pistons), 7 boards and 11 assists.

As for Larry Hughes, who seems to be slipping into obscurity with his crappy play, actually started despite his foot injury. He wasn't very effective and played only 16 minutes. Daniel Gibson may soon steal Hughes's job. Gibson played 35 minutes and scored 21 points. He also wasn't afraid to take it to the rack, as he went 12 for 12 from the free throw line.

Drew Gooden was also huge, going for 19 and grabbing 8 boards.

Now here's the interesting thing. Although the series is now at 2-2, the Cavs could have easily swept this thing. If two shots go down, the Cavs are already in the NBA Finals.

That and something is seriously wrong with the Pistons. Chauncey Billups, despite putting up 23, didn't shoot well and had 5 turnovers. Plus Chris Webber has been MIA in this series. Normally teams in the Conference Finals are playing reasonably well, or are at the top of their games. The Pistons clearly aren't. And if they keep playing like they have for the first 4 games, this series could be over sooner than they think.


Lebron: Future NBA Champ, Vince "the Anti-Nique" Carter: Future NBA Chump

First of all, watching Lebron play remarkably well in the Eastern Conference Finals had made me realize that Lebron may be one of the first athletes whose ceiling is SO high that literally anything the guy does, even surpassing some of the greatest to ever play the game, is always followed with a "but..." Even Jordan hadn't accomplished anything close to what Lebron has done by 22. Any player who has done a comparable amount in the NBA at an earlier age (Kobe, Magic) both had dominant centers close to their primes in Shaq and Kareem and there just is not a comparison when you look at the team that Lebron is playing with (I mean, Daniel Gibson? Damon Jones? Donyell Marshall? Are you kidding me?)

Second, you have to love the way Lebron just keeps going to the rim fearlessly at the end of the game. It's made me realize that almost as essential to a dominant NBA team, it seems, to a great center is a fearless 2-guard or small forward (Kobe, Wade, Ginobli/Parker) that just will not ever stop going to the hole at the end of a game. This is one of the main reasons that Vince Carter was never able to turn the corner to a truly great NBA career and why McGrady (probably because of his bad back) also will not be able to do so in his career. But it's also one of the reasons that you have to say with strong certainty that Lebron is a lock to follow in the paths of the Jordans, Wades, and Kobes and eventually will get a ring or at least get to the finals (ala Iverson and Drexler).

Speaking of Vince Carter, I think I've realized that he is officially the Anti-Dominque Wilkins. No loyalty to any team or fan-base, overrated and overhyped, and absolutely used an NBA team for his own advantage and personal gain. Then you get Dominique; loyal to a fault to the Hawks organization. The minute the Hawks were finally contending in the East after Jordan retired right after he was one of the first players to fully battle back from successful ACL surgery to get back to his old form and what did the Hawks do? Trade him right before the trade deadline to the Clippers (!!!) for Danny Manning. This was the Clippers circa 1994, that was like basketball purgatory. Not to mention he probably lost millions playing for the Clippers besides robbing him of one of his best opportunities to win a title in his career. Besides that, he has to be one of the least mentioned superstars of the last 20 years for some reason that doesn't seem to have any rational basis.

Third, when did Oden become a bigger center prospect than Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, and Shaq? I just don't see how anyone can back up the claim that you have to go back to Ewing to find a dominant center to compare him to. Shaq had huge expectations coming into the league and probably less question marks at a similar age to Oden as to whether he was going to become one of the great centers of all time. Shaq was basically no risk back in 1992, I just don't think you can say that with the same certainty about Oden at this point. Granted, I still take Oden over Durant, if partly just because everyone always talks about players having to fill out like Durant desperately needs to and often times that just never really happens. Often times this doesn't really matter (Garnett is still a rail and that's worked out pretty well, Tayshaun Prince too), but sometimes players just can't seem to put on weight and this can be catastrophic (see Shaun Livingston and his "gumby-esque" knee injury). The point is that Durant is going to have a huge adjustment to the NBA and you just never know, personally I'm a huge fan already, but you have to acknowledge the risk there.


Other perspectives:
LeBron James to World: Kiss my ass

Steroids in baseball = bad. Steroids in football = whatever.

Someone needs to make a big deal about this and I'm prepared to do it.

The other day ESPN ran an article online about who their NFL experts would pick to start a franchise with. Len Pasquarelli made the curious decision of choosing Shawne Merriman. Yes, the same Shawne Merriman who served a four-game suspension for doing steroids during the 2006-2007 NFL season. So what did Pasquarelli have to say about the steroid problem?

"His four-game suspension last year for a violation of the league's steroid policy is a little troubling, but [it] put a chip on his shoulder and made him even more devastating. He should dominate for many more years."

Wow, I'm speechless. How come Pasquarelli didn't say that we should expunge all of Merriman's stats for the 2006-2007 season? How come he didn't say we should put an asterisk by Merriman's sack total for the year? How come Pasquarelli didn't say Merriman should never have gone to the 2007 Pro Bowl?

Oh wait, I know why. Because the NFL and the media and fans don't give a shit about steroids or its impact on the league. And that's fine by me.

So why in the hell then do people go crazy about steroids in baseball? The NFL is dominated by steroid users and no cares. It's like it's expected in the NFL.

Meanwhile, in baseball, guys like McGwire, Bonds and Sosa, have been and continue to be dragged through the mud, even though it's never been officially proven that they did steroids. If Merriman were a baseball player, he would be crucified.

In baseball, we actively look to end a guy's career and make an example of him if he MIGHT have taken steroids during his career. In football, we reward them even when they test positive.

I'm not sure what this says about our society, but it says something. And it's not good.


Bonds doesn't owe baseball least not anymore

If you've been paying attention to sports news lately, you know that Barry Bonds might not donate some of his prized items from the Home Run record chase to the Hall of Fame. Bonds said "I'm not worried about the Hall. I take care of me."

The only reason this story is getting much pub at all is because people love to hate Barry Bonds. He makes it even easier with quotes like that, and this all just adds more fuel to the fire. There are certainly plenty of reason to hate Bonds - he's an asshole, an egomaniac and a cheat. But for once I don't think Bonds owes baseball jack shit, despite all it's given him, for completely valid reasons.

This is fairly simple. During the home run barrage of Sosa and McGwire and Bonds, baseball turned a blind eye on steroids, despite the fact that it was readily apparent. The home run hitters were lauded and praised. But as soon as steroids came up and the public got mad, baseball decided to try and turn them all into scapegoats. McGwire getting the shaft at the Hall of Fame was the climax of this reversal of fortune tale. Sosa, even though he's now back in baseball, essentially got crushed as well.

But Bonds just kept going. Kept hitting, kept producing through BALCO and everything else. And now that he's headed towards the ultimate sports record, all of baseball has its panties in a knot. They've thrown investigations at Bonds, they've beaten him down in the press, Bud Selig might not attend the game where Bonds breaks the record, etc, etc.

On the flip side to show how f'd up the sports world is, Len Pasquarelli of ESPN just a day ago said he'd take Shawne Merriman - a known steroid user - as his player to start an NFL franchise with.

There's nothing incredibly wrong with baseball's approach - lord knows it's better than football's - but baseball made a firm decision to totally disassociate itself from Bonds. So then here's the big question: If baseball doesn't want anything to do with Bonds then why the hell do they want mementos of his assault on the home run record?

I'm not a Bonds apologist, but I find baseball's stance incredibly hypocritical. You want a guy to donate stuff to the Hall of Fame while you're essentially trying to bury him. And not only that, but it's even more bizarre to get him to donate stuff to the Hall when a lot of Hall voters don't want to see him get in.

So as far as Bonds saying "I take care of me," I can't blame him. Baseball decided to turn its back on Bonds once the steroid controversy started. Bonds returning the favor shouldn't be a surprise.


With Leather is in the Washington Post

I don't know why you'd come to our site before you go over to With Leather, but if you do, we salute you. Anyway, With Leather head honcho Matt Ufford (pictured in the newspaper above) appeared in the same paper that broke Watergate today in a story about attractive pole vaulter Allison Stokke. Basically it's about how people ogling her pictures on the internet have made her life difficult, or something like that.

Ufford got the honor of being beaten down by the Post because he posted the original pic of Stokke on With Leather that apparently started this whole mess. The pic is nothing remarkable.

In our view, it's ludicrous to blame Ufford or With Leather for this. He posted a picture of an attractive female athlete. Boy, that's really dangerous, I don't think ANYONE has ever done that before.

Some people will use the snowball effect and say With Leather started this mess, but let's be rational for a moment here. This was going to happen eventually anyway. Any time you're an attractive accomplished athlete, male or female, you get attention. It's just part of the gig, whether you like it or not.

Also, Stokke and her parents allowed themselves to be interviewed for this article, which they didn't have to do. I mean nothing makes you more anonymous than having an article and a picture of you appearing on the front page of a major US newspaper. What? It makes you more well known? I didn't even think people read newspapers anymore.


Monday, May 28, 2007

The fat lady is warming up

About the only reason to watch this game was to see the Jazz and their fans go nuts. And I can't blame them. Especially when the AP article on the game started off like this "With each drive to the basket and each fall to the floor -- flop or not -- Manu Ginobli made the Utah Jazz and their fans angrier and angrier." That sentence makes it clear the shit hit the fan in a nice subtle way.

Even better was that the AP article had this gem: "
Some of the calls Ginobili got were questionable." That's awesome. I don't think anyone in the world outside of San Antonio likes the Spurs. I also like how the article subtly takes multiple shots at Ginobli and basically calls him a sissy. Which he is.

Even Derek Fisher, probably one of the nicest guys in pro basketball, got pissed as hell about Ginobli's flopping and took a couple of well deserved shots at him. I'm surprised Ginobli was able to get up. Usually a gust of wind is enough to send him to the hospital.

Bruce Bowen also got hit by some lip balm or something as Jazz fans got ornery about some of the questionable calls. And Jerry Sloan got ejected as well.

Also, this game was ugly as hell. Aside from Ginobli's flopping, San Antonio made more free throws (30) than field goals (28).

Only Deron Williams, who continues his quest to become one of the best point guards in the game, was worth watching. He had 27 points and 10 assists despite having been suffering from a stomach flu the past few days.

If you're a fan of NBA basketball, watching the Spurs win this game was incredibly depressing. The Spurs are just a horrible team to watch play and they're about to make the Finals. I don't care who comes out of the East, I'm rooting like hell for them.


Relegation: American Style

The recent conclusion of the English Premier League will see the three worst teams - Sheffield United, Charlton and Watford - all get relegated, meaning they'll get kicked out of the Premiership for those of you not familiar with this practice. If there's anything we've ever loved about soccer, and this is literally it, it's that if you really suck, you get the boot and have to work your way back up. We think this is absolutely brilliant and should be extended to American sports as well, although in our opinion you shouldn't necessarily have to finish at the bottom of your sports league to be relegated. There are plenty of American sports franchises that have sucked for extended periods of time that simply deserve to be relegated. So here's our list of American sports teams that should get the boot. We also put where they should be relegated to.

Washington Nationals (relegated to AAA for making Senate Committee meetings look like fun): This shouldn't be any surprise, since the Nationals actually are a AAA team. It seemed like it took them half a year to get double digit wins this season. I'm not even sure they could survive in AAA. Might have to drop them to AA.

Chicago Cubs (relegated to some league they can win a championship in): It's awful tough to have a full century of ineptitude, but the Cubs managed to do it. They had their chance in MLB, let's give them a chance somewhere else. I think the Mexican League would be muy bien por los Cubs.

Kansas City Royals (relegated to AAA for being the consistent AL doormat): This team has been consistently awful for so many years it's a wonder they still have any fans. I can't name a single Royals player off the top of my head either. But the Royals could cash in at the AAA level where promotions are a much bigger part of the baseball experience. They could open up the outfield fountains for swimming and wet t-shirt contests. I think I'd attend a Royals game then.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays (relegated to Fast Pitch Softball League for barely existing): I'm not even sure why this team is in the majors. They have no fans and they never win. I guess they're in the majors as a sort of professional farm team. I mean, there's really no other explanation I can think of.

Oakland Raiders (relegated to Pac-10 to piss off Al Davis): This would finally answer a question that has haunted me for the last few years. Can the Raiders actually beat USC? I could be wrong, but I think before the Raiders drafted JeMarcus Russell USC was actually the better team.

Detroit Lions (relegated to Pop Warner for sheer idiocy): This team is a complete joke. They love wasting top draft picks on wide receivers and have built around a stopgap QB. Not only that, but their GM Matt Millen is an idiot and has been the cause of mass protests by Lions fans. He should have been fired about 4 years ago but for some reason wasn't. Must be sweet to be a Lions fan. I actually think Lions fans would like to see their team get relegated, just to have the opportunity to see them consistenly win games.

Cleveland Browns (relegated to Arena League for being incredibly depressing): There's no nice way to say this. This team just sucks, year in and year out and it depresses the hell out of me since they have such great fans. In addition to stinking, they play in Cleveland and have the worst uniforms in pro sports - it's like an orange sitting on top of a pile of crap. At least in the Arena League they could win.

Houston Texans (relegated to the SEC as punishment for stupid personnel decisions): Even though they won 6 games during the 2006-2007 season, they've sucked something fierce since they came into the league. And drafting Mario "Hotrod" Williams over Reggie Bush was inexcusable. You deserve to be relegated just for shafting your fans that bad. Problem is the SEC might be too tough for them. I'm not even sure they could win 6 games in the SEC.

Atlanta Hawks (relegated to NBDL because it's where they belong): I would put them back in college, seeing as about half of their roster would probably still be in school if they had stayed for 4 years, but that would be too easy a break for them. This team deserves to spend some time in NBA hell. They've stunk for so long that relegation shouldn't even be seen as an option, it should be mandatory. And if they don't draft a point guard in this year's draft, I would just ban them from the NBA permanently.

Boston Celtics (relegated to the YMCA gym league to kill Simmons): How the mighty have fallen. Despite the fact that the Celtics have won more titles than Antonio Alfonseca has fingers, they have been borderline dreadful for an extended period of time. There are a few good seasons thrown sporadically in there, but not many. Plus when you factor in the end of the season tanking and Ainge's sleazy stalking of Durant's family, they deserve to get hammered. Plus their core group of players, outside of Paul Pierce, is incredibly young. Although Doc Rivers maintains this young group of players has improved in two years, no one else can see it. Relegating the Celtics would also make it near impossible for Simmons to write about them anymore, which would be a tremendously good thing. He's wasted way too many words on a beyond crappy team.

Philadelphia Flyers (relegated to Figure Skating Champions League for managing to disappoint pessimistic Philly fans, which is almost impossible to do): This team was beyond awful this year, winning the fewest games in the NHL by a significant margin. I don't know much at all about hockey, but I know the Flyers sucked to an unheard of degree this year.

Special Relegation Honorable Mention: Pittsburgh Pirates, Memphis Grizzlies (this was a one year hiccup), Milwaukee Bucks, St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Clippers.

Extra Bonus Relegation: Even though we're Warriors fans, had the Warriors not beaten the Mavs in the playoffs, we would have relegated them instantly. Taking 13 years to get to the playoffs is way too long.


Why the Spurs are boring

Our buddy over at Full Court NBA finally broke down the age old question: Why are the Spurs so boring when they're such a talented team? One suggestion, no visible tattoos. Interesting theory. I would also suggest no one on the team has been arrested to my knowledge. If Duncan was Stephen Jackson, I would tune in for more Spurs games.

Personally, I think the Spurs are boring because they play fundamental basketball, which means good hard defense combined with plodding "throw it down low to the big man" offense. They don't run and gun like the Warriors or Suns, the two most exciting teams in the NBA.

What really kills the Spurs though, and why people don't watch them play, hence making them "boring", is that they're a team of whiners and pricks and unlikeable players. Ask anyone why they can't stand watching the Spurs play and they'll say "because they whine like school girls." They also have a very good coach, but he's a pockmarked dipshit who doesn't sip beer during post-game interviews or bring anything to the table. They also have the dirtiest player in the league, Bruce Bowen, and a man who should never in a million years be about to win his seventh ring, Robert Horry.

Tim Duncan whines like it's his job and it's spread to the whole team. Manu Ginobli has managed to sissify the game with his socceresque flopping. And Tony Parker's French, which doesn't help at all.

So they're boring and they're unlikeable. That's a lethal combination


Random Athlete Encounter #1: Chris Gatling

For those of you who do not remember, Chris Gatling was the Golden State Warrior's power forward in the early 1990's, although he may be best remembered now for getting dunked on mercilessly by Shawn Kemp and then giving the Rainman a congratulatory handshake once Kemp returned to earth. You can watch it on this top 10 video of Kemp's best dunks. The one where Gatling gets dunked on is #5.
I find this interesting considering Gatling had a couple of the best dunks of the 90's as far as I'm concerned, one a two handed rip off a missed three where he took off just inside the free throw line and threw down on David Robinson and another one on Manute Bol circa 1992 at a game I was at at the Arena that I still remember vividly.

This random encounter actually occurred just a few months ago in Vegas during the now infamous NBA All-Star weekend. I was out there primarily for a friend's bachelor party weekend that he scheduled months in advance not realizing that it was going to be one of the more insane weekends in Vegas history. Accordingly, we were forced to stay at the Hooters Casino behind the MGM which I now fully and quite surprisingly recommend. After the first night there where we entertained the bachelor at a fine Gentleman's establishment for a few hours (thank God not the Minxx where Pacman Jones had his little run-in with club security) we were all feeling quite unmotivated the next morning. Not being one to be easily deterred while having only a couple days in Vegas, I quickly ordered up a couple bloody mary's to get me going the next morning while almost everyone else in my party decided to get some food and just pass out for a few hours. With only a couple of us semi-conscious, I found out one of my buddies was betting on horse-races at the MGM sports book and realized this was the perfect way to spend my pre-All Star game Sunday. This is mostly because horse-racing is the only form of betting I ever manage to come out ahead in, blackjack's about even and poker I always get cleaned out.

So I get to the MGM sports book and my friend's got a nice little set up at the personal monitors and they have about 8 different races you can switch between so I get set up and begin a furious pattern of scoping out the ponies in the various races and running back and forth so that I get my bets in before the ponies start racing. Somehow in my ecstacy I failed to realize that two guys about 6'5 and 6'10 had sat down right next to me. So I'm ordering free Corona's and getting animated about these horses and I realize one of the guys next to me keeps happening to be betting on the same horses as I am by chance. On the first bet we both had a nice win on the same horse and we start talking and he says it's the first time he's ever bet on horses and he pulled out the win and I thought he looked familiar but I had horses to focus on... this was serious business. So we're yelling at the horses as they win and lose, just enjoying a typical Vegas Sunday, and then some more of my friends start showing up to say what's up and join us betting on horses, including another huge Warrior's fan. He looks over and tells me that the guy I'm betting on horses with is Chris Gatling.

Now, for most of you, seeing Chris Gatling would be probably not be a huge deal. But for me, I first started getting into basketball just when Gatling came into the league so I totally reverted back to my childhood and, not to mention the inspiration from the free Coronas, I was stoked. So I look over at him and say "dude, are you Chris Gatling?" - kind of like I was addressing the King of Spain. He looks over clearly surprised at being recognized and considering every living basketball celebrity was in Vegas that weekend and I'm clearly very excited at seeing him, he was just like "yeah." So I was like, "man, I remember going to a game in Oakland and seeing you dunk over Manute Bol when I was a kid. F'ing awesome!" And he replied "Cool" and I swear he gave me the same handshake he gave Shawn Kemp after getting dunked on back in 1993. Gotta say that made my weekend and even though some of my friends saw Jordan, and Nique, and Daryl Dawkins, etc, I couldn't have been happier than to have been betting on horses with Chris Gatling. And to put my excitement in perspective, one of my friends saw me that next week back from Vegas and all he could ask me about the weekend was "so, dwyermaker... did you get Gatling's digits or what?" All I can is that's life as a Golden State Warriors Fan, for better or worse!


Editor's note: We're gonna see if we can do a weekly post about random athlete encounters. Hopefully yours are more exciting than ours. If it's a decent story, we'll post it and link it up with our other buddy sites. We won't name you of course, we'll keep you completely anonymous. We also have no way of proving if any of the stories are true, but that's ok. We have diplomatic immunity. If you have pictures, even better.

Send your stuff to injuryrate[at]gmail[dot]com

Sunday, May 27, 2007

NASCAR fans should avoid rapping at all costs

There should be a federal law on the books saying that if you're white, live somewhere in middle America, and are a NASCAR fan, you're not allowed to rap - on penalty of death.

The following video is what you get when you let your kids drink too much motor oil and don't read to them enough. They become rapping NASCAR fans who rhyme "sooner than later" with "Intimidator."

It's off the hizzle fo shizzle dizzle.


Dario Franchitti had a very good day

It wasn't exactly a super exciting Indy 500 today. Super Bowl MVP Dominic Rhodes Peyton Manning waved the green flag to start the race and then got hit by a car. Wait that didn't happen? My fault, I guess I just dreamed that.

Anyway, Dario Franchitti, who wins every day because he goes home to Ashley Judd, won the rain-soaked race after only 166 laps (or 415 of the 500 miles). I don't really know what to say because I didn't watch the race. I was too busy surfing at 38th St. in Capitola. I think I made the right call.

Greg Oden also made an appearance at the race, which must have sucked for whoever sat behind him.

Danica "Could you win a race soon?" Patrick came in 8th, in case you were wondering.


Playoff Musings: Pistons v. Cavs

It was nice of LeBron James to finally bring his A-game to this series. He poured in 32 points, and had 9 assists and 9 boards. Not only that, he also had a good 4th quarter for once. He scored 12 in the 4th and hit two big shots at the end of the game to seal the deal. In Games 1 and 2 he scored a combined 7 points in the 4th quarter.

Now I'm not surprised that the Cavs won this game. After all, they had their backs to the wall. And Detroit always loses a Game 3 when up 2-0 in a series. But there are some concerns for Detroit. I don't think they're mailing in games anymore, like they were in the first two rounds.

In addition to that, they were incredibly lucky to get out of Detroit 2-0. That's right - luck - not experience, is why they won those 2 games in Detroit. Now LeBron looks fired up and his team is responding. I still think Detroit will win this is in 6, but I'm more concerned about what the Pistons will do in the Finals. Their offense looks like a sick dog that needs to be put down right now. They aren't playing well at all right now, and that's not a good thing to say about a team that's probably going to be in the NBA Finals.


That was quick

UFC fights tend to be short, I mean title fights can only go a maximum of five rounds anyway. But this one was over in the blink of an eye.

Less than 2 minutes in, Rampage Jackson nailed the Iceman with a solid roundhouse right to the face. Lidell went down and Jackson went to town on Lidell's face. That was it. And let's be honest, this can't exactly have been what the UFC was hoping for. UFC president Dana White was billing this fight as something that would kill boxing forever.

So this actually brings up an interesting question. Although mixed martial arts has already basically gone mainstream, will short fights keep it from becoming everything it could be?

It's definitely a possibilty. Two of the undercard fights ended in the first round as well. Also a UFC title fight can only go a total of 25 minutes (5 rounds of 5 minutes) while a boxing title fight can go for 36 minutes (12 rounds of 3 minutes). The bonus of course with mixed martial arts events is that the undercard is usually huge. UFC events normally have nine fights total.

The problem though is that as tonight showed, the main event can be over really quickly. And that was probably the main reason you paid $40 to get it on pay-per-view or it was the reason you bought incredibly expensive seats at the event.

Essentially, anyone who watched ESPN tonight saw the main event for free. Now of course the same thing can happen in boxing, which has always annoyed people. But just from having watched UFC a fair amount, the fights tend to be over quickly.

That has its pluses and minuses of course. The intense nature of mixed martial arts fights is what people like about it and what I like about it. Boxing can often be slow and tiresome as fighters circle around each other throwing weak jabs at one another. But boxing tends to be longer and more involved. Of course we've also seen how boxing has had a serious decline in viewership over the past few years.

I guess it's basically a personal taste question, but I can't help feeling like there could be something that could extend UFC fights to a degree (particularly non-title fights, which only go 3 rounds of 5 minutes) while also keeping them at the intense pace people have come to love.


Oh right, there was a playoff game

I forgot there was a playoff game Saturday night. I was too busy getting crazy at a Memorial Day weekend beach party. And by "getting crazy at a Memorial Day weekend beach party" I mean "watching Last King of Scotland on DVD at home." Excellent party indeed.

Anyway, seems like missing the game wasn't a big deal, since it was like every other game in this series - boring as hell. None of these games have really been close. Carlos Boozer, seen in the above picture, seems to have hit the gym steroids pretty hard during the long break before Game 3. He had 27 pts and 12 boards. Meanwhile Deron Williams went nuts, scoring 31 pts and dishing out 8 assists. He's quickly becoming one of the best point guards in the NBA.

Meanwhile, I was pleased to see Duncan was in foul trouble all night and had eight turnovers. There must have been a lot of the famous Duncan "bug-eyed" face Saturday.

I still think this series is over. The magical Mormons can only help so much.


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Hypocrisy from the NBA and Stern, so what else is new?

As was pointed out on PTI earlier this week, LeBron James pulled a Kobe Bryant on Chris Webber in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Feel free to compare them. LeBron's is up top and Bryant's two elbow shots are below.

Rather than suspend LeBron, the league has sinced looked at the tape and given LeBron a Flagrant 2 foul. The only reason this isn't a bigger deal is because no one, and I mean no one, is watching this series.

But now it's time for me to explode.

This is complete and utter bullshit. If you didn't hate David Stern with an unquestionable passion before this, you should now. LeBron James did EXACTLY what Kobe Bryant did during the regular season. Bryant was suspended BOTH TIMES he did it.

How in the %&$# does Stern not suspend LeBron in this situtaion, particularly after he went strict-constructionist with the Phoenix suspensions? With LeBron, Stern clearly was flexible with the interpretation of the law. Why wasn't he in the Spurs/Suns series?

Let's also look at the timing of this. The league didn't hand out the flagrant 2 until Friday of this week. There's a reason for this. In Washington, D.C. it's known as trying to "bury a story." You release damaging info on a Friday, in the hopes no one will notice over the weekend. Since it's Memorial Day weekend, Stern couldn't have done any better.

This is just beyond despicable. I understand why Stern did this, it's LeBron. But Amare was 1st team All NBA. Why not have some flexibility of the law in his case?

This is the last straw for me by the way. The NBA is completely full of shit and so is Stern. If Stern is so intent on enforcing NBA laws, he would have suspended LeBron immediately.

But he didn't - and that makes him a huge hypocrite.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Interesting athlete tales

We've all seen this hilarious picture of Jordan getting his freak on in Cabo. But is there an even more hilarious story behind it? We're gonna try something new here on the site. Interesting athlete tales. Almost like Duck Tales, except with no ducks and no pools of money to dive into.

Almost every sports fan has a story about meeting a professional athlete. We once ran into Steve Young at Baskin Robbins less than 48 hours before he beat Dallas in the 1994 NFC Championship game. He bought Rocky Road ice cream, in case you wanted to know.

So we're interested in your tales about athletes. Hopefully they're more exciting than ours. If it's a good story, we'll post it and link it up with our other buddy sites. We won't name you of course, we'll keep you completely anonymous. We also have no way of proving if any of the stories are true, but that's ok. We have diplomatic immunity. If you have pictures, even better.

Send your stuff to injuryrate[at]gmail[dot]com

AK-47 is probably right

With the Jazz down 0-2 against the Spurs, AK-47 recently said he thought the Jazz had hit their ceiling. When you've hit your ceiling and you're down 0-2 in series, that's kind of a bad thing.

A few other Jazz players, such as Carlos Boozer, have fired back, saying that the Jazz still have a chance.

While AK-47 has been mocked in these playoffs for stinking during the Houston series and crying, I think he's right about the Jazz hitting their ceiling. And I think the steroids are starting to get to Carlos Boozer's head.

The Spurs are not the Rockets. And it's not like the Jazz are pulling a Cleveland Cavs in this series. They're down 0-2 because they've had their asses kicked by the Spurs. Sure Utah is undefeated so far in the playoffs at home this year, but that's about to change. As much as I hate the Spurs, and as much as I think the Suns would have beaten them in 7 if Amare and Diaw hadn't been suspended, I have to admit that the Spurs are playing some incredible ball right now.

And AK-47 realizes this.

Athletes too often play the stupid "We can come back" card even when they themselves know they have no chance in hell. I understand why they do this, but sometimes it's fun to just hear someone give the straight truth.

You're right AK, you're team is toast.


Your weekend sendoff

It's back. Another stupid sports related video to lull you into a stupor before you sneak out of work at 3:25pm to go pound a few brews down at the bar around the corner.

This week's video is jam packed with a whole host of stupid sports bloopers. Everything is in here, from Randy Johnson hitting the bird to the dude running into the pommel horse.

And especially awesome is the blooper that appears at the 2:19 mark. Have you ever seen a woman bowler tackle another woman bowler? It's not nearly as sexy as it sounds, but man is it hilarious.

As an added bonus, the song "Jerk it Out" goes along with the video, a song we absolutely hate. I don't know, just mute it. But be sure to catch that bowling bit. You won't regret it.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Racial profiling of the Bengals?

Wednesday on the Dan Patrick show Marvin Lewis threw out a bit of a bombshell. He feels the Bengals are targets for the Cincy police.

"I think there's profiling, no question," he said. Lewis went on to say that a Bengals player had been pulled over for not activating his turn signal before making a right turn. If it was Chris Henry, I think we can rule out racial profiling.

Of course on Thursday, Lewis apologized to the Cincy police. But he's probably right.

The Bengals had nine players arrested, some multiple times, in a nine-month time period. Considering that there are 53 players on an NFL roster, that means 17% of the team was arrested in under a year. Imagine if 17% of your office was arrested in a year. The police would probably be waiting every day at the building's exits. Sure that's illegal, but it helps the cops reach their quotas a lot faster.

Truth be told, the Bengals should probably just hire some police to keep tabs on the players all the time. Otherwise, they may not have a roster for this next season.


Maybe he should have passed...wait, forget it.

Talk about Deja Vu. Almost exactly the same situation as Game 1. Comes down to the last possession, LeBron at the top of the key. I think everyone in the world knew he was going to shoot it tonight (or the 7 of us watching the game), even if he was quadruple teamed.

And he did, and he missed. Of course, it sure looked like he got fouled in the process - multiple times. Once on the drive and once on the shot.

While we still believe that he made the right decision in Game 1 to pass out to Marshall, no one will second guess tonight's decision. No one was open when he drove. He also got fouled in the process. We'll give him some slack for that. But the truth is, if you're paid what LeBron's paid, then you should probably hit the shot anyway.

Funny thing is, LeBron actually should have been bailed out by Larry Hughes. Hughes had a fairly wide open look from about 7-feet and bricked it. There's no excuse for that miss.

But all this is getting away from the real problem, which is Cleveland scored a total of 26 second half points and once again LeBron shrank in the late game spotlight when his team needed him. That won't happen forever, of course, but right now, the King is coming up pretty small in this series.

So now the Cavs, who could easily be up in this series 2-0, are now down 0-2 and in some serious trouble. Maybe. Even though logic says the Pistons should maybe finally wakeup and start playing harder, we know they won't. They always fall asleep when up 2-0 in a series.

This Eastern Conference Finals series has also taught us something else as well. Neither of these teams has a prayer against the Spurs. Period.


Other perspectives:
Back to NBA basketball

Global icon or global shill?

The Global Icon/corporate shill that is LeBron James has of late found himself on the wrong side of a couple of arguments that he really shouldn't even be in.

We're all familiar with him belittling Stephon Marbury's $14.98 Starbury shoe line while defending his own supposedly superior Nike kicks (likely minimally better at best). This was not the smartest of PR moves, seeing as even people that loathe Marbury sided with the Knick on this one. Marbury even got the last laugh, retorting to James, "I'd rather own, than be owned." Oh, snap!

But now King James has found himself in even hotter water, and this time it isn't about shoes. Or wait, maybe for him it is. The Cavs' Ira Newble recently wrote an open letter criticizing China's role in the Darfur genocide [via TrueHoop], since China is a huge trading partner of the Sudanese government. The Sudanese government has provided the Janjaweed, the primary instigators of the genocide, with money they got from trading with China. Newble has urged fellow basketball players to pressure China to change its trading policy before the 2008 Olympics.

All the Cavs signed on except for Damon Jones and, you guessed it, the Global Icon. The Icon's lame excuse was that he didn't know enough about the issue to take a stand. I guess not enough people have died yet, huh Global Icon? Jones decided not to comment. Both have business interests in China, LeBron most notably with Nike.

Now, I'm not going to go on some crazy rant about LeBron, but I am going to say this. For God's sake man, get a better PR person. This is called a softball, LeBron, you should be able to hit this one out of the park. Whether you sign on for altruistic reasons or PR reasons, I don't care, just sign the damn letter. Nike isn't going to renege your $90 million contract for this. Remember, you do have some leverage here - you're the face of Nike. They're not just going to dump you.

More importantly though, these examples make it pretty clear that the Global Icon doesn't plan on being anything more than a corporate logo - a Michael Jordan duplicate. He won't, however, be an athlete of the standing of Muhammad Ali. Ali didn't become an icon by shilling overpriced shoes and totally avoiding making politically charged statements (and speaking out on Darfur is hardly a dangerous PR move).

So maybe Marbury actually got it right. LeBron is owned, big time. Maybe if he stopped worrying about his bank account he might finally find time to work on his jump shot and have a decent 4th quarter.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dreamboat's political future

This picture won't help

As the race for the 2008 presidential election is beginning to sort of heat up, we thought back on all the times in recent memory we've heard jackass talking heads on radio and television tell us how "it's only a matter of time" before Tom Brady becomes President. When did everyone decide on this? Certainly there are former football players who went on to have political careers. Gerald Ford, Jack Kemp, Heath Shuler, Tom Osborne, and Steve Largent to name a few. Lynn Swann, you're total garbage.

But when did it become written in stone that Dreamboat was going to have his finger on the button when China invades Taiwan in 2041? Sure he's mentioned an interest in eventually going into politics, but that doesn't mean we should roll out the red carpet for him.

We decided we should do an investigation to determine whether or not Dreamboat actually has the potential to be the president of the US and A some day. We've created a scoring system from 1 to 100 points that grades Brady on everything he's done so far and how it could impact his future presidential chances. If it's something good for his future political chances, he gets points. If it's bad, we subtract points. Because Brady is already an extremely well known athlete and a partial celebrity, we'll start him at 75 points.

After we're done, Dreamboat will find himself in one of these categories.

90-100 points: This means he could very well find himself in a heated presidential debate someday discussing important topics. You know, like should we clone U.S. athletes to dominate the Olympics? (yes)

75-89 points: Likely will serve in the U.S. Senate at some point in time or be a potential candidate for Governor of a state.

70-74 points: Mayor of a large U.S. city.

60-69 points: Will be a U.S. Congressman.

50-59 points: Mayor of a reasonably large city.

40-49 points: Either a local city mayor or a sports announcer.

30-39 points: No hope for political future. Likely to be a GAP model, if GAP still exists.

10-29 points: Professional goat-holding model.

0-9 points: Goat farmer.
Ok then, let's start the fun.

Political allegiance: Two of us grew up where Brady did and went to a rival high school, meaning we know hardly any more about him than you do. It was suggested that when Brady attended the State of the Union address in 2004 that he might be a Republican. Good friends of Brady, however, say he is a moderate Democrat. Being a Democrat right now would help, but so what. Who knows if that'll help in 25 years. (+0)

Speaking of that State of the Union Address:
He appeared at a Bush State of the Union address. No one wants to be seen at a Bush State of the Union address. (-5)

Model shoots:
Appeared in a photo shoot with a goat. Not quite the same as Reagan appearing in a movie with a monkey. (-5)

Decision making ability:
Has shown great decision making ability as a QB, which would likely carry over into politics. This should be a winning category for Brady. But he knocked boots with Tara Reid. No one who hooked up with Tara Reid should ever have his finger on the button. (-5)

Warren G. Harding factor:
Malcolm Gladwell in Blink suggested that Harding was elected the 29th President of the U.S. primarily because he looked like a president. There's certainly reason to believe that, since Harding was incompetent before he became president and went down as one of the worst presidents in U.S. history. But whether Brady would be a good or bad president doesn't matter. There are more than enough stupid people in this country who would vote for Dreamboat simply because he looks like a president. (+15)

Shawn Kemp factor:
Let's make this clear right away. As a politician, you can't have it be known that you have an illegitimate kid, period. You can have one (or more), just don't let anyone know about them. Ever. (-25)

Religion: This is actually important. Brady is Catholic. Although we may see an African-American or woman president elected in 2008, the fact remains that with the exception of JFK, every President in this country's history has been a male WASP. And if you think there's no way that someone would base their vote on a candidate's religion, look at Mitt Romney. He's Mormon. He's not winning. Enough said. (-5)

Voting blocs:
African-Americans: Brady has played in a league dominated by African Americans, the most loyal voting bloc in America. If he ran as a Democrat, the whole voting bloc would be his. If he ran as a Republican, he'd could at least say "I have black friends" and not be lying, unlike Lynn Swann. (+5)

Women: Think we all know the answer to this one, even though he knocked up Bridget. (+5)

Gay community: YES! Fabulous! He'd get more points if he were Brady Quinn. (+5)

Connecting with the average Joe: Dating a supermodel instantly loses you points in this category. Not many people out there can relate to Brady's life. Except me. (-5)

Foreign Policy:
Went to Africa to fight poverty. Poverty still winning. (+1)

Public speaking:
He's better than Bush. But then again, who isn't? (+5)

Ability to sell out: Politicians always have to sell out to someone to gain votes. This is why Peyton Manning would succeed in politics because he sells out like a whore. Brady has endorsements, but he doesn't sell out enough. Gotta work on that Dreamboat. (-5)

Football is war:
If Lt. Kellen Winslow Jr. is correct, and football really is war, then Brady would be a solid fit as Commander in Chief. I'm a soldier! (+5)

Politics as a bloodsport:
Politics is brutal, and football is reasonably good preparation, since it taxes you mentally and physically. We'd also suggest Brady attend some of Ron Mexico's dog fights to toughen himself up even more. (+5)

Final Tally: I was hoping we'd get professional goat-holding model, but we didn't. The final total is 66 points, meaning Dreamboat should be able to pull a Heath Shuler if he chooses the right voting district. We'd probably suggest somewhere back in California, since Massachusetts may never get over the fact that Brady wore a Yankees cap.

The simple fact of the matter is that because he knocked Bridget up, and isn't going to marry her, his chance at President is completely shot. He may work his way up from Congressman (if he's very good) to Senator or Governor, but even that seems a bit of a stretch. I don't know anyone who ever won a Senate seat or a Governor's seat when it was openly known that they had an illegitimate kid. But you never know. If he runs in California pretty much anything can happen, as evidenced by the fact that we have the Terminator as our Governor.


Rap Sheets and the Modern Professional Athlete - Enough is Enough!

I know it is the calendar year of "Throw Michael Vick Under the Bus," but after the dogfighting incident I think it is officially time to admit that Michael Vick has thrown HIMSELF under the bus. And let's just say I don't have any interest in trying to save him. It is isn't just the series of incidents over the past couple years (apparently providing herpes, weed, and dogfighting to the rest of humanity - aren't those 5 of the basic human needs?) but the cocky, unrepentent, willful, and false way that he has done all of these things. I know it is a common course of modern public relations for athletes to blatantly lie to the media and fans, but at some point I believe the fans have to say enough is enough. It's one thing if a player is making minor fabrications about his personal life, but it's another if he is continually getting caught engaging in crimes and other tortious conduct, some very serious that harm other people and animals, and then not only not taking responsibility for them but hiding behind attorneys, representatives, and even the NFL.

It always amazes me how an athlete that transcends his sport is able to avoid deserved rath if people WANT to believe that he's not guilty of something. If you believe that Michael Vick truly did not know that there was dogfighting going on at a house he owns and that he did not condone it, you're simply delusional. If you think that the compartment on his water bottle that smelled like weed was for carrying his jewelry, you're delusional. If you think nothing completely rephrehensible involving Kobe Bryant didn't happen in that hotel room in Colorado, you're delusional. If these were normal people that could not afford the best attorneys and most deceitful public relations campaigns, both Kobe and Vick would be sitting in jail today and we would all be happy that justice had been served. As it is, Kobe has the number 1 selling jersey in the NBA over the last year and I would not be shocked if Vick gets a slap on the wrist for dogfighting from the NFL and the District Attorneys in Virginia realize that it won't be worth spending $2 million dollars of tax-payer money to try the case and MAYBE get a guilty verdict when stacked against Vick's unlimited resources and army of attorneys.

And everyone wonders why sports just is not as exciting as it used to be? Even subconsciously our brains are telling us that we have been continuously deceived by professional sports. The NFL, NBA, and MLB have erroneously become convinced that the only way to sell their product is to have the absolute best athletes on the field/court without any other consideration. Who cares that they are cheating and using all kinds of banned substances to get an advantage until a congressional review is called? Who cares that their girlfriends can't go to their homes when they're in town because they are scared that they and their children will be killed by the player, as he threatened to do (see Elijah Dukes)? I, for one, am honestly sick of it. It seems like every day there is at least one story about something truly rephrensible that a professional athlete has done. Dogfighting, threatening childrens' lives, involvement in major drug trafficking (see Jamal Lewis and Tractor Traylor), murder, rape, etc. This isn't the Folsom Prison All-Stars playing the San Quentin Jailbreakers, but how is one to know at this point?

I'm not one just to continually complain about something without offering solutions. While I feel that the NBA, NFL, and MLB have started talking the talk that last year or two, they need to start walking the walk. Many people complain that players should be found guilty in criminal court before losing their jobs or being suspended, but the fact is that you can be found liable in civil court and face punitive penalties just by being "more likely than not" guilty. In fact, 95% of us at our jobs can be fired for NOTHING, we are "at-will employees." Granted, the athletes have contracts but we can just draft in what we need to to adequately protect the integrity of these sports. And yes, the Unions will cause a stink, but that's the price we all have to pay. And do the Unions really want to take that hard of a stand to protect the Vicks and Dukes of this world? These Players' Unions should be fully endorsing and supporting these measures to improve the integrity of the athletes that play professional sports.

At the same time that we need to deal much more harshly with improper behavior, we also need to provide a better system. The fact that Pacman Jones' suspension was decided by Commissioner Goodell and then appealed to Goodell is abusive and unfair. Not that both decisions were not 100% correct, but there must be a just system in place and this requires two committees of 3-5 individuals representing various interests, separate from the Commissioner; one to decide the punishment and another set up for appeals. This should be in place immediately for all major professional sports leagues. Only then can we justly begin to increase the enforcement of an appropriate standard of conduct. And only then should we be able to look in a mirror when we spend $100 to take our children to admire these athletes who represent only the worst in society.


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