Saturday, July 31, 2010

For/Against/Don't Care: The Official NC! 2010 NFL Preview: The Buffalo Bills.

It's The Official! NC! NFL 2010 Season Preview!: Who To Be For, Who To Be Against, and Who You Need Not Care About Either Way. For more information about what this is about, click here. (If, on the other hand, you just like exclamation points, click here.)

Team: The Buffalo Bills.

For/Against/Don't Care:Look, unofficially I'm for the Buffalo Bills. They're my favorite team, overall, for a lot of reasons. But I've got a solemn duty here to give you the straight scoop on whether you should care about the Bills this year -- whether they're a team to watch because they'll be interesting, or have a great storyline mixed in, or for some other reason you'll want to root for them. Or, conversely, whether they're the root of all evil or something and you'll need to hoist them on their own petard.

But the truth is, the Bills are a don't care. There's no reason to watch a single Bills game this year. There are no stars. Trent3 has evened out into a mediocre quarterback, the kind that the Bills have featured since Jim Kelly went down swinging in the fourth Super Bowl in the 90s. (Even Flutie was, at best, fair-to-middlin' when he was with the Bills.) They lost the only person of interest on the team -- TO's a Bengal now. Evans is a good receiver, but is he a reason to order Sunday Ticket and watch Buffalo lose to Cleveland again this year? (The teams meet in Week 14 for what will be the least exciting matchup of the NFL season; if it were possible for a game to have negative playoff implications, the Cleveland/Buffalo tilts that now recall the 1980s' Battle of the Bays between the Packers and Bucs would be it.)

I'll probably tune in to two Bills games this year: the one against Green Bay, and the one against the Vikings. And I'm their biggest fan in Wisconsin. Way to light the fires of fan interest, ownership.

The opposite view: What opposite view? The Bills aren't good enough to have a bandwagon and aren't bad enough to be enjoyably bad in a cheesy way. They're not rebuilding with a core of young players. They're not an aging band of veterans trying together for one last shot at glory. They're not a team with something to prove. They're the fifth most interesting team in their division. At best. It's not even possible to get mad at them or build up a head of steam against them. Is there anyone who considers the Bills a tough rival? A hated opponent? Anything more than a rest stop on the way to the next game? The last time the Bills won more than half their games was 2004. The last time before that was 1999. But they don't lose all the time, either: There was at least some interest in seeing just how bad teams like the 0-16 Lions could be. The Bills, though, aren't even that bad. They've won, on average, since 1993, 7.5 games per year. They're reliably middle of the road bland -- never too good, never too bad, never even noticeable.

Superhero The Bills Are Most Like: Jimmy Olsen. Most people don't think of Jimmy Olsen as a superhero at all, do they? He's that guy who showed up from time to time in Superman comics solely as an excuse to move the plot along. But from time to time, Jimmy Olsen got super powers and took on a super identity, usually in extremely lame or parodic form. He was Giant Turtle Boy, and Speed Demon, and once, to quote Wikipedia, Jimmy exhibited the Super Power of "Monstrous beard growth," which the site explained happened after "the machinations of the sinister Beard Band cause Jimmy to grow an immense beard."

Lamely sometimes jumping into the limelight -- only to fight an inferior foe? That's your 2010 Buffalo Bills:

Other previews:

Explanation & my Super Bowl prediction for this year.

Baltimore Ravens.

Favre v. LeBron v. TO: Road To A Championship, or At Least A Roster Spot: Update!

Who will get to a championship... or on a roster... first? Favre? LeBron? TO? Only this site (and 1 gazillion others) keep you constantly updated on the progress of this mighty trio.

There's been a change of positions!

We begin today with the clear leader among the pack -- T.O., who parlayed the Rams' interest in him into a contract with the Bengals this week. Emphasizing just how much the media hates having TO around -- it's a conspiracy, remember -- ESPN headlined the story as "Terrell Owens finally shows up at Cincinnati Bengals camp." Then, forgetting their marching orders, they lathered up TO with a slobbering puff-piece in which new teammates dutifully said they were happy to have TO in camp and that he's still the greatest thing to ever slice bread, or whatever:

"He hasn't slowed down," quarterback Carson Palmer said. "He's a guy that's kind of ageless and he's still got a lot left in the tank."


TO, meanwhile, was quick to point out that if this team does good, it'll really be all thanks to his glorious eminence:

"I think this team is special," Owens said. "I really feel that there is something around the corner for this team. With me being here, (it) has really created a buzz. I think the guys feel the energy."

Meanwhile, in close second now is Brett Favre, who spends his time killing 'possums and making Brad Childress appreciate the delights of the Kiln, MS "Super 8" motel ("We got a pool 'n' everythin'!"), but who apparently didn't bother to tell Deanna that the pair have enough money to pay the late renewal fee on the membership at the Minneapolis-area health club Deanna belongs to. The Viking Ship (motto: The Ultimate Vikings Blog. Secondary motto: There's more than one Vikings blog?) reports that ESPN 1500 is reporting that Lifetime Fitness is claiming... got all that?...

Inside sources @ Lifetime Fitness reveal that Deanna Favre has renewed her membership to cover this season.

Which means, officially speaking, that Brad Childress is now below the towel boy at the sport pool on the list of people notified that Favre is coming back. On the plus side, Brad, that ice machine down the hall isn't on the fritz anymore, and room 30 checked out, so it'll be quiet tonight.

In dead last is LeBron James, who, in terms of popularity, is one step away from being spotted in an old photo standing next to Stalin reviewing the troops. CBS Sports is reporting that the Miami Heat have fired their season ticket sales staff. The move came because after LeBron -- like everyone else who was given this choice -- decided that Miami beats Cleveland by a country mile, Heat tickets sold out and 6,000 people put their name on a waiting list. So not only did LeBron break Cleveland/Molly Ringwald's ragtag heart, but he's personally responsible for the economy tanking. Anyone know where he was when the oil rig blew? Just askin'.

Friday, July 30, 2010

It's Time For An NFL Preview!

Training camps are opening up again, which means it's time for a couple of time-honored traditions as we look forward to the Return of The One True Sport, NFL Football. All other sports are mere contenders to the throne, so many basketball-dribbling, golf-club swinging (No offense, Elin!) Denethors to football's Aragorn.

Or something like that.

But the point is, with the return of NFL football, society not only gets to move out of the doldrums of "other so-called sports" and into sports that we actually (kind of) care about, but also other things happen, like:

1. Roger Goodell claims that teams making a $5 million per year profit -- after paying all expenses -- is no good for business. That's what Roger suggested when he visited the Green Bay Packers this week: that the Packers' continued years and years of profit -- profits earned by a team that spends less than almost every other team in the league on players -- shows why teams need to spend less on players.

Confused? So am I. But don't let that stop you from enjoying football, this year, before the NFL locks out your favorite players next year to ensure that owners can continue to charge you nearly $50 to stand in the hallway and watch TV, as Jerry Jones does to Cowboys' fans/suckers.

2. Sportswriters and pundits and other people who get paid to do nothing but sit around and think about sports will not even do that, and instead will offer half-assed "analysis" like "The Jets could make a run if everything goes their way. But maybe not." Then they'll give you in-depth looks at the backup tight-end position in Jacksonville.

Oh, God! That stuff's boring, and who needs boring? Besides the NFL, I mean, which every year goes further in its quest to (a) ignore the fact that it continues to honor OJ Simpson and (b) make the game a little more like Arena Football while dampening any sort of excitement such a move might generate.

To respond to that, I give you...

The Official! NC! NFL 2010 Season Preview!:
Who To Be For,
Who To Be Against,
and Who You Need Not Care About Either Way.

This is the only NFL 2010 preview with the guts to right up front declare this year's Super Bowl pick with exact scores: Vikings 30, Titans 31. And it's the only NFL preview to dispense, entirely, with such unessential things as "last year's record" or "analysis of schedule" or "team loyalty" or even "any sort of knowledge about football in general." Instead, what I'm giving you is a team-by-team look at which teams will be exciting or interesting or otherwise worth rooting for, and why-- and the opposites, teams that you should root against, and why. And, then, also, I'll tell you which teams you don't have to care about either way.

With this handy guide, which will unfold over the next 30 or so days, you'll be forearmed with the kind of information you've come to expect from this site: useless information (just like any other sports-blog or website) but information that's fun.

Also, for the first time ever -- not surprising, since this is the first time I've ever done this -- I will be providing you with a shorthand analysis of just how exciting, or not, a team might be by comparing that team to a given superhero-- matching up the two things in American culture (Football, and superheroes, in case you didn't get that) that promise fun and adventures and excitement, but which, when you come right down to it, give you just watered-down corporatized entertaiment.


Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Detroit Lions

Pittsburgh Steelers

For/Against/Don't Care: The Official NC! 2010 NFL Preview: The Baltimore Ravens.

Team: Baltimore Ravens.

For/Against/Don't Care: The Ravens are a don't care team. What's exciting about them? They lost Jim Leonhard, the kid who out-Rudied Rudy. They lost any connection to the Ryans. They've still got Ray Lewis even though he's, like, 150 years old. I'm not even sure, without checking, what division the Ravens play in. They're one of those teams that just hangs around, not doing much of anything. Plus, the Ravens once played the Packers and I'm pretty sure the final score was 3-0. Anytime that happens, it just screams for the NFL to adopt that English soccer league rule where a team or teams can be demoted.

The Opposite View? I'm kind of sure the Ravens were a playoff team last year, and that still sort of means something in the NFL, where playoffs are not an automatic guarantee the way they are in the NBA and "hockey." Plus, Joe Flacco's eyebrows have to count for something, and they've got that one Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback who would have been the starter except he got laryngitis one day. True story. That'll teach him to spend the entire night shouting "Who let the Dogs out?"

Superhero The Ravens Are Most Like: The "Phantom Stranger." Nobody was ever really sure where the Phantom Stranger belonged, or what his powers were, and he always just hung out on the periphery of comics until Crisis On Infinite Earths when he suddenly was a major player. Nowadays, I understand, he just gets hauled out as a deus ex machina from time-to-time. Similarly, the Ravens' improbable Super Bowl has led them to now occasionally make playoff appearances for the sole purpose of knocking out whatever team the NFL's fixers don't want to make the Super Bowl.

Your 2010 Ravens:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The LeBronocaplypse Continues.

The entire sports world, including ESPN, has decided they can jump all over LeBron -- heaping scorn on a guy who did what the rest of us would do in a heartbeat while letting OJ's records stay on the books. Nice moral compass, guys.

That's understandable, though -- they've got to somehow keep you interested in watching their channels 24 hours a day, even when football's not on, so putting a young guy on national TV to announce where he's going to play, then ridiculing him for doing it is just business to the sports networks; they'll stop doing it once Erin Andrews poses for Maxim while proclaiming that she wants to be taken seriously. (Note to Erin: The law already prohibits what happened to you. That's why that guy went to jail.)(Note to readers: When I heard she was testifying in front of Congress, I thought "I bet she wears something inappropriate. I was right.)

What's less understandable than sports networks creating the news they report is the reaction to LeBron's move that's not simply trumped up ratings-digging. The latest such reaction? Great Lakes Brewing Company's re-titling an old beer it had and selling it under the name Quitness -- and noting that the beer is designed to leave a bitter aftertaste.

The articles don't say if the beer sticks around for seven years before leaving you, and they also don't mention whether you're required to do anything to try to make the beer better, or if you can just leave it hanging.

All this reminds me of that one girl we all know, the one who's boyfriend left her and all she can talk about is how much she loved him and how much she misses him and how great they were together and how she can't understand why he's gone, all the while the rest of us are thinking "What, are you nuts? It's obvious why he left you."

Let me put it another way, Cleveland: It was only in John Hughes' movies that anyone ignored the sexy, ditzy hot chick while going after Molly Ringwald. In real life, Molly Ringwald goes home alone. A lot. Unless she puts out. Then maybe a couple of guys might talk to her here and there. But they won't tell their friends.

Pictured below:

Cleveland, praying it'll marry someone who's not Duckie:

LeBron, with Miami:
"I'm pretty sure we did."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Favre v. LeBron v. TO: Road To A Championship, Or At Least A Roster Spot: Update!

Who will get to a championship... or on a roster... first? Favre? LeBron? TO? Only this site (and 1 gazillion others) keep you constantly updated on the progress of this mighty trio.

Brad Childress reassures Favre he will in no way be subject to Childress' authority if he comes back: Vikings "coach" Brad Childress stopped by Mississippi to emphasize to Favre that the Vikings' flowchart still puts His Fourness at the top. Favre didn't bother to invite the ersatz authority figure to his house, and appears to have not stopped playing pickup football with high schoolers while Childress paid tribute:

The two spent a muggy morning at the University of Southern Mississippi's 7-on-7 passing camp for high school players. Asked by Hattiesburg television station WDAM about his visit, Childress said, "You can fill in the blanks."

(Source.) The report went on to note that "Childress has been careful not to issue any deadlines, giving Favre the entire offseason to make up his mind...."

Meanwhile, I still haven't read the SI Cover story on just who conned LeBron into going to Miami -- but it appears that SI has determined that it was a con, since the same issue that features LeBron and those other two guys on the cover also has as its last article and opinion piece on how it won't even count if LeBron wins a championship in Miami, because he'll have had all that other help, too. You know, like how it didn't count that Reggie White won a Super Bowl because he had Favre on his team.

In more interesting LeBron news, SI Kids also reports that LeBron Cleveland-attired Fatheads are now marked down from $99 to $17.41 -- 1741 being the year Benedict Arnold was born. (Apparently, SI has become the go-to source for historical references.)

Bringing up the tail end of the chase is TO, who was rejected by the Seattle Seahawks this week, with the Seahawks opting to go with older, harder-to-spell receivers as their starters. The Seahawks' new, not-yet-disgraced-at-the-pro-level* Coach Pete Carroll seemed to hold out hope that TO might play for them in the future, though, saying "We won't be able to do that this time around."

*Excluding time coaching the Jets.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Gnus: Golf Style: Tiger Woods has a new theme song.

I stayed home Monday a result of a massive bee attack on Saturday. That's one way to get more time to read the sports page in the morning.

Tiger Woods Didn't Come Right Out And Say It, But His Putter Cost Him The British Open.

After opting just before the start of the British Open to switch to a new putter -- that becoming the second time in a single year everyone would ask why Tiger would opt to put aside a trusty, familiar thing for an unproven new love -- Tiger opted then to switch back on the final day of the tournament, a futile move given that he was about 400 strokes behind at that point (and only leading barely-alive John Daly by about 4 strokes, by then.)

Why would Tiger switch putters when the outcome was no longer really in doubt (and when he's never come from behind to win on a Sunday?) Not to try to magically shoot 32-under -- but to make the point to the media: It's not my fault, it's the putter.

So you see: Tiger hasn't been losing tournaments because he's lost his "legendary" focus or anything like that. It's the putter. It was the old putter that was costing him wins before the British Open, and the new putter that cost him in the British Open, and if you wait a week or two, you'll no doubt learn that those two putters got together a year ago and kept telling him "Hey, look at that Perkins waitress. I bet you could sink her in two, if you know what I mean."

Here's Tiger's new theme song:

And here's the best thing about golf:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The LeBronocaplypse:

Which is more damaging to the world, 2012 and the end of the Mayan calendar, the loss of the bees, or LeBron's going to Miami? Clearly, the people to be featured in the LeBronocalypse -- people who have suffered the ravages of "Decision 2010" -- would say it's that decision that wrecked life for them.

People like the Michigan driver who was so distraught that LeBron went to Miami that he had no choice but to drive drunk. It wasn't so much that LeBron left Cleveland, the man explained, as that he didn't go to Boston. (Which, for the record, wasn't trying to get him. Or so they say. But that's like when, in 10th grade, I said I wouldn't go out with Jenny Lewis even if she asked me. LeBron being Jenny Lewis. And me being Boston. And free agency... you get the picture. What I'm trying to say is, Jenny Lewis was hot.)

Also affected: The writers of Entertainment Weekly's last-page feature The Bullseye -- the most confusing pop-culture chart ever. In this week's edition, they say this about Bruce Willis' new cologne:

Bruce Willis debuts "the manliest scent in the world." It's made of beer, motor oil, and the tears of gorwn me who cried after LeBron James said he's leaving Cleveland.

Grown men cried when LeBron left? I'm not counting Dan Gil"bert." It said men.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Favre v. LeBron v. TO: Day number whatever (Road To A Championship, Or At Least A Roster Spot.)

Just because LeBron made his decision... sorry, Dan "Gil"bert, I meant "decision"... doesn't mean I'm going to stop tracking what's going on in the days leading up to his "decision." Put another way, the fact that something happened doesn't mean I have to stop predicting what's going to happen.

Great. Now I'm dizzy. So I'm going to keep predicting and counting down the days not only until Favre returns, or LeBron makes another decision (what, you think he's done deciding things forever? What's he going to have for lunch today? Tell me that!), but to spice things up, I've decided to add the human equivalent of pepper spray, Terrell Owens, into the mix, and I've decided to not just track their return (maybe, in TO's case) to sports but also their road to a championship -- to chronicle the long, torturous journey from humble beginnings to that glorious day when they win a championship ring for a new team and turn to their old one and say "(*#($&% you, Dan Gilbert."

Or whoever.

So today is officially the beginning of

Road To The Championship,
(Or At Least A Roster Spot.

Let's check in with the principals:

Brett Favre: "Even I don't know what the heck I mean anymore." Favre, tired of saying things that almost make sense, said in a recent interview that his body is already wrecked, so why not come back and play for another season? Talking to Men's Journal, he said:

"Playing another year probably isn't going to make a difference. The damage has already been done."

Then, Favre addressed the controversial play that helped cost him a chance to poke a Vikings-themed Super Bowl ring into Failed Packer GM Ted Thompson's face at the ESPY's, saying that he'd run the play a week earlier and expected receiver Sidney Rice to come back to get the ball:

"As a player you've got to pull the trigger," Favre said. "You can't say, 'Well, is he going to do what I think he's going to do?' He wasn't wrong, and in some ways, I wasn't either."

Nice to know that nobody messed up on that play; apparently, that's exactly how Brad Childress' beard drew it up in the playbook before the game.

LeBron didn't come up with the idea to change teams? The SI headline on the cover this week has the intriguing subtitle "The Man with the Plan (Not LeBron) That Changed the NBA." I haven't had time to actually read the article yet, though, so instead I'll point out that LeBron didn't actually leave the Cavaliers -- it's more like he's moving the entire team to Miami. After getting spellcheck-intimidating teammate Zydrunas Ilgauskas to head down to what will likely be called "Cleveland South" soon, the SI "Twackle" feature (an instant front-runner in the category of "Dumbest-Yet Name For An Internet Thing, replacing "vlook") claimed that LeBron was recruiting Cav Jawad Williams -- and confirms it.

I always look to to confirm things, and if they don't, I don't believe it. That's why I don't believe in evolution.

Finally, TO says he's not a bad person, and he's saying it over and over. TO's Google Quotes page is filled with a plethora of pleas (nice, right? I hope The New Yorker is paying attention to my use of alliteration) intended to show how nice he is. A sample:

A lot of people have listened to a lot of the commentaries throughout a lot of the media outlets, mainly ESPN, that has my character in question as far as things that have happened in the past... And I think even though I may do 99 good things right and if I do one thing wrong, ESPN and the people on there is gonna make it out to be the worst thing ever.

So it's a conspiracy, eh? ESPN is out to keep TO out of football... because we all know that ESPN has zero interest in making sports entertaining.

Actually, come to think of it, ESPN might be trying to make sports less entertaining. Why else would they promote Erin Andrews?

TO wasn't done, though. In a desperate bid for Google relevance (that worked), he compared himself to the man Dan Gilbert compared to Jesus:

"I'm like LeBron (James)," Owens told Boston radio station WJMN. "I can go there and take less of a role, take less money and put everything aside and make it work.

Nice work, compiler of quotes, in pointing out that TO was talking about LeBron JAMES. I was wondering, before I got to the parenthetical, just which LeBron TO might be referencing. I thought it was LeBron Palin.

But TO's matching himself up rhetorically with LeBron (James)? That kind of cross-branding deserves a big finish:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Gnus: LaCross Style: I tried finding a picture of a sexy lacrosse player, but there weren't any.

I got people to cover for me on the stuff I'm supposed to be doing today, so I could do things like this...

What's up with the Brits? They let people like John Daly and Madonna into their country, but keep out a proud warrior nation? Someone tell them the French-And-Indian War is over. And also, someone tell them, and me, what the deal was with the French-And-Indian War was, or better yet, don't, because there's probably Lost spoilers in it, and I'm only just starting season 5, so I'm not in the mood to have Lost spoilers plunked down in articles where they have no reason for existing, like reviews of the movie "Inception." (Hear me, Newsweek? I'm this close to switching to US News & World Report as my bathroom reading of choice.)

Anyways, the logjam here is that the Iroquois entry in the lacrosse world championships are insisting that they're from a real nation and they want to use their own Iroquois nation passports to get into Great Britain, while on the other hand, the British are insisting that the Iroquois use passports from a less-fictitious country (I suggest Narnia).

The British initially based their refusal to allow entry to their country on the idea that the US would not allow the Iroquois to come back -- which seems to be ironic, if irony hasn't been robbed of all meaning yet: We won't let you into our country because we're afraid your own country won't let you in? But after a last-minute intervention from just-barely-relevant Hillary Clinton, the US made clear we'll take our Indians back if they're allowed to go play. The British response? Still no.

I mean, they said "Still no! Tea & biscuits!" Because the Brits do everything British-y. Like this... can't see it, but she's wearing a monocle.

Quotent Quotables: JK Rowlings' bra is in the public domain, while John Daly's pants are not.

Bringing you the best in sports quotes since the day I thought of doing this.

John Daly, apparently still a golfer, was asked, after his 3-shots-back first round, about how he prepared to play in the British Open this week, and answered:

I've been playing slots over at Cherokee Casino. Did good the first day; didn't do too good the other day.

John was also asked at the press conference about his pants -- a better question than the loser who asked him to recap his birdies and bogeys after the fact. Watching golf is boring enough; but watching a guy talk about the golf you just watched? That'd put Kevorkian out of business.

I'd give you some snapshots of Daly's pants, but the slideshow of them credits Getty Images, and Getty Images is the only organization I know that's more litigious than J.K. Rowling.

World Record Table Of Contents:

Sarcastic comments on the World Records for:

Naked Roller Coaster Riding

Circling the bases while on fire.

Surfing Santas? No go, Claus

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Gnus: Things could only be going better for Erin Andrews if Kanye interrupted her.

Because it's 4:15 and I didn't want to be at work in the first place today.

Once, I noted that it's possible to achieve a great deal of success in America by accident; I called it "getting Nancy Kerriganed" and mentioned in particular Erin Andrews as someone who Kerriganed her way to fame, or greater fame.

Erin Andrews just got selected to host the first hour of College Gameday on ESPNU. Says Warming Glow:

As part of her new contract with ESPN/ABC, the world’s most lovely and delicate sideline reporter Erin Andrews will host the first hour of ESPN’s “College Gameday” at 9 AM ET on ESPNU. She will also keep up her high profile by contributing pieces to ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Which pieces she will be contributing have not been confirmed.

Not that it's a reliable source, but here's the entire section headed "Sportscasting Career" from Wikipedia as of today:

In 2000, Andrews began work as a freelance reporter with FSN Florida. In 2001 she moved on to the Sunshine Network, serving as a Tampa Bay Lightning reporter, and in 2002 she served as a studio host and part-time reporter for Turner Sports, covering the Atlanta Braves and college football for TBS and the Atlanta Thrashers and Hawks for Turner South. In May 2004, she became a reporter for ESPN's National Hockey League coverage. Since then, she has served as sideline reporter for their college football Saturday telecast as well as their Saturday Primetime and Big Ten college basketball coverage. In 2005, her job expanded to include Major League Baseball sideline reporting. She also reports on Great Outdoor Games, men's college baseball, and the College World Series. On July 8, 2009, Andrews was struck on the chin by a foul ball hit by Alex Cora of the New York Mets.[10] She was rushed to the hospital, but she only suffered bruises.

So Wikipedia includes getting hit in the face by a foul ball as one of her sportscasting accomplishments -- but it might be necessary to pad your resume a bit when your other career highlights include "sideline reporting for sports nobody cares about."

But that foul ball no doubt was the primary factor in ESPN's promoting her, a promotion which I'm sure had absolutely nothing to do with her cruising to a stratospheric level of fame following the nude videotaping incident. Either way, though, I'm having a hard time seeing Erin Andrews as a victim.

Quotent Quotables: So the last good thing you did was more than 500 years ago?

From the Sports Illustrated Cover this week:

"Party like it's 1579."

Nice reference, SI; of course we all remember the siege of Maastricht, in which 20,000 Spaniards took nearly 3 months to take over a town manned by only 2,000 Dutch.

The reference is actually a bit more apt than just the fact that both Spanish-Dutch conflicts took too long; the Dutch fought back against the Spanish back then with unusually-applied force -- like drowning the Spanish in tunnels, or burning them alive and suffocating them. Next to that, a deliberate kick in the chest doesn't seem so bad, does it?

Remember, you can't spell "hypocritical loser" without C-l-e-v-e-l-a-n and -d. (Basketball)

I don't follow basketball all that closely; I'm too interested in things that aren't boring to pay attention to the NBA most of the time. So I wasn't immediately aware of just what a hypocritical jerk Cleveland Cavaliers' "owner" "Dan" "Gilbert" is.

"Dan," as we're all aware, had a hissy-fit emotional breakdown when his failure to try to build a championship team came back to haunt him as LeBron James left for Miami. Between tearful bouts of writing in his diary (covered with teddy bears holding flowers, I'm sure) "Gilbert" wrote an open letter to fans, in which he complained that LeBron "deserted" Cleveland and implied that LeBron was a traitor for doing so. "Dan" then bragged:

The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you....This shocking act of disloyalty from our homegrown "chosen one" sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And "who" we would want them to grow up to become.

Gilbert's devotion to Cleveland, and apparent insistence that once in Cleveland, always in Cleveland, stands in stark (and totally hypocritical) contrast to the fact that Gilbert traded away a loyal player who'd never played anywhere but Cleveland.

Yeah, that's right: Back in February, the Cavs traded away a guy who was described by Cleveland writers as "the heart and soul of their franchise:" center Zydrunas Ilgauskas was sent to the Wizards. In sending him packing, Cleveland patted him on the back and then helped the door not him in the ass on the way out of town, as the GM said: "Z has been a cornerstone part of this franchise and his jersey will hang in the rafters here some day, not only because of his play, but because of the tremendous person he is and what he has meant to the franchise and the community... He has represented the Cavaliers, Cleveland and the NBA at a consistently high level for many years.

So if you represent Cleveland at a high level for many years, you'll be sent off to another city and maybe welcomed back if you're willing to take a pay cut and not play in the playoffs for the team you've played for all your professional career. But if you decide to leave on your own, "Gilbert" will get his training bra in a bundle and whine about it for days.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Don't get offended, people. I'm not saying I'm God's gift to nudity, either. (Sexy Sports)

I might have found my niche. After noting for you the significance, sporting-wise, of naked bike riding, I became aware of (read: Googled the heck out of) a series of world record attempts in the field of skinny-dipping.

Not really a sport, you say? I'm the judge of that. And I say nudity, or near-nudity, equals sporting. Which is why I can report that even as we speak, experts are trying to determine if we have a new world record for simultaneous skinny-dipping.

Wwaytv3 ... how are they the lead entry on Google for this news?... reports:

Nudists across the country came together to strip down Saturday in an attempt to break a record. The Whispering Pines nudist resort in Brunswick County once again took part in the world record skinny dip challenge. Last year, the American Association for Nude Recreation set the first world record for simultaneous skinny-dips at more than 143 locations across North America. In all, 13,674 people took part....Whispering Pines did not break its record from last year. They came up short with 185 skinny dippers this year. Whispering Pines says the national count may not be known for weeks.

Weeks? Weeks? The UK can kind of elect someone to take orders from our president in 48 hours, and we have to wait weeks to find out just how many people had the time (and the lack of God-given, good ol' Puritannical shame over their naked body) to help (maybe) break a world record?

In the interests of journalistic integrity, I will note that the American Association for Nude Recreation has a "Member Benefits" section of its website. There's nothing there about "seeing hot chicks nude." There is, though, a line of people butt nekkid lying on the sand in the banner picture. Seeing them was not a benefit.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Gnus: Lance Armstrong No Longer Living Strong, Now Merely Living.

Are you sad that the World Cup ended? Me too -- I liked seeing Paul the Octopus on the news.

Lance Armstrong is no Frank Reich: After a disappointing weekend in the Tour De France marked by several spills (and the realization that he's Lance Armstrong, which by now has become merely a shorthand way of saying "Matthew McConaughey only less cool") Lance Armstrong has announced he's not going to even try to win the race.

Apparently, someone spanked Lance, but not in the good way. The Kansas City Star -- long known for its top-notch Tour de France coverage -- has this report:
He and his team said his hip got banged up, keeping him from pedaling hard... "My Tour is finished,” said Armstrong, 38, who fell to 39th overall. “When it rains it pours I guess,” he said in a Twitter message. “Today was not my day, needless to say. Quite banged but gonna hang in here and enjoy my last 2 weeks.”

He might do better if he wasn't Twittering from his bike as he rides through the Alps. He might also do better if he wasn't Lance Armstrong, poor sport who quits whenever he falls behind. (Lance, meet Tiger Woods. Tiger, meet Lance Armstrong.)

And I might watch bicycling if it looked like this:

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cleveland Fans, You're All A Bunch Of Hypocrites. (Basketball.)

After LeBron James did what every single person in Cleveland would do, given a chance, Cleveland fans, and "Majority Owner, Cleveland Cavaliers Dan Gilbert," are displaying emotions ranging from "badly spelled obscenities on Twitter" to "extraneously-quotation marked open letters written at an eighth grade level."

"Owner" "Dan" "Gil"bert wrote to Cleveland fans: "this national TV special of his "decision" [is] unlike anything ever "witnessed" in the history of sports..." before going on to guarantee that Cleveland would win an NBA championship before LeBron does -- as an example to "our children... and "who" we would want them to be."

(Yesterday, I mentioned that the hyphen was out of favor with today's poets; clearly, the quotatation mark is the new hyphen, at least in "Cleveland.")

Leave aside, for the moment, that "Dan" Gilbert promised Cleveland that today -- the Day After The Announcement -- would be a "new day," new in the sense that beginning today the Cavaliers are committed to winning a championship -- and leave aside the fact that the Cleveland fans' outrage is less-than-eloquent (Noted Sports Website The Huffington Post is running the top Twitter comments; number 7 is "What a f**king assclown! Way to humiliate ur hometown on national tv!! F**k u lebron James!!! go browns!, and what I like about that, besides the fact that either the fan or Huffington felt the need to censor fuck but not assclown, is the fact that you can see the rise and fall of emotions, as measured by exclamation points: assclown, one point. Fuck u lebron, THREE. go browns, back to two -- indicating, maybe, the resignation with which a weary Cleveland again pins its hopes on the ever-beleaguered football franchise?)

Like Packers fans before them, and like other sports fans who fall in sports-love with a sports-figure, Cleveland fans are hypocrites. Or, to put it in a way that Clevelandians will understand: You, and "Owner" Dan Gil"bert", are a bunch of f**king assclowns, faulting LeBron for something you'd do yourself.

Green Bay fans, you'll remember, were so upset at Brett Favre's desire not to be screwed over by a shortsighted Packers' management more intent on stockpiling money than on winning games that they burnt Favre in effigy -- doing so just moments before Favre burnt their defense in Lambeau. In doing so, they showed their stupidity, and their hypocrisy -- because they'd have done what Favre did, and Clevelanders would have done what LeBron did.

All of you -- all of them -- all of us -- would do every single thing LeBron did, given a chance.

He had an hourlong special on TV celebrating his ability to have an hourlong special on TV? He "agonized" for weeks about where to go, and ultimately went for the most money? He left his hometown to go to a place that made a particular push for him, offered him tons of dough, and set it up to make themselves, on paper, favorites to win a championship?

You'd have done it, too.

You'd do all that in a second, and so would I, and pretending that we wouldn't -- or claiming that LeBron shouldn't, is hypocritical. Assclown hypocritical.

I am in the forefront of saying that athletes care too much about money -- caring about money long after it's meaningless, since there's no meaningful difference between $10 million and $20 million and $100 million; but that's not to say that athletes can't still take more money for doing the same thing -- if LeBron was offered $10 million to play basketball here and $100 million to play basketball there, human nature says that all other things being equal, he'll take the $100 million.

And all other things are not equal -- which is my real point about free agency and what athletes should be looking at when they decide where to play. If $9 million is the same as $90 million -- and it is, and especially in LeBron's case the money was entirely irrelevant, because he is already too rich for words (even words like assclown) and will only get richer, regardless of where he went; if LeBron went to play in a rec league in Topeka, his endorsements alone would last him 30 lifetimes -- if the money's the same, the jock has to look at other goals: winning championships. His (or her) legacy. The post-athletic career, if he or she wants one.

Many athletes don't do that; many jocks simply look at the money, and decide to go where the higher paycheck is. The road to athletic glory is littered with rich jocks who would have been rich anyway, but never ended up being famous -- Larry Brown, anybody? -- because they chose money over legacy/championships/post-athletic career. Maybe they were happy with their money, but I'm guessing not: who wants to be remembered as an Oakland has-been worth $30 million when he could be remembered as a Cowboys' superstar worth $20 million? Larry Brown, but not me.

That's my point about free agents -- that I think they're stupid for taking the money and not thinking about other things. Based on that criteria, though -- that the money isn't the thing, always -- LeBron's not stupid. I don't know the dollar amounts offered to him to go to Miami; I don't know if it's more or less than the Cavs offered him. I know the dollar amounts offered by either are irrelevant, and I suspect that it wasn't the money, alone, that LeBron was thinking about.

Look at what Cleveland has done for its best-loved athlete since Bernie Kosar. Count up the ways in which the Cavaliers showed, before The Announcement, that they were directing their "focus, capital, knowledge and experience" at winning a championship. Here they are, in numerical order:

1. Signing LeBron James.
2. Um....

Google Cavaliers free agent moves, and the number 3 result on the list is a 2009 article headlined "Cleveland Cavaliers, Free Agency Wasteland." The biggest move the Cavs put on in recent years was signing a broken-down Shaq, castoff from a couple teams and better known these days for for x-rated raps than exciting wins. Before that, in 2008, the Cavs were over the salary cap and couldn't get big-time free agents to help out LeBron. When the Lakers lost to Boston in the finals, they signed Ron Artest to help out, and beat the Celtics the next time the two met in the championship round. When Cleveland lost in the playoffs, they... pointed out their great training facilities, and lost the next year, too.

Why should LeBron have stayed in Cleveland? Loyalty? There's no loyalty in Cleveland. I understand that Clevelandites are feeling jilted and lashing out, wanting to stab LeBron with a fork because he "insulted" them -- but LeBron's not stabworthy, and calling him an assclown shows that it wasn't LeBron you loved, it was the idea of LeBron -- parents don't call their daughters assclowns when the daughters get married. Fathers don't call their sons assclowns when the sons move out. Colleges don't call their students assclowns when they graduate and go get jobs. But sports fans spew out vile soundbites whenever an athlete decides the grass really does look a little greener over there -- proving that sports fans are the jilted lover, more in love with the idea of the future and the comfort of the present than in love with the person, because if you love someone you want what's best for them, and sometimes what's best for them is not being with you. That's a hard pill to swallow -- especially if it means you might be further away from getting married or winning a championship than ever -- but grown-ups, and people who love people, can do it. They can say I understand. I don't like the decision, but I understand.

Cleveland fans aren't grown-ups, and they didn't love LeBron. They loved that LeBron might win Cleveland a title. If you love LeBron, you can still watch LeBron play high-caliber basketball -- higher-caliber basketball, now that he's got a team around him -- in Miami. But if, instead, you loved that LeBron might win one for Cleveland, then you're mad today and twittering the word assclown.

Or the word hypocrit -- a word the twitterer applied to LeBron but which should be pointed more at Clevelanders, who are now faulting LeBron for wanting to win championships, and maybe for wanting to live in Miami. It's not LeBron's fault Miami is more attractive than Cleveland, anymore than it's my fault I'm more attractive than all the other guys Sweetie ever dated before marrying me. (Sweetie should've had an Announcement to jilt those guys; I'd have loved that.) It's Cleveland's fault: They're the city that chose not to be a glitzy entertainment and society mecca located on the ocean in fabulous weather. Miami boasts two Kardashians, and maybe they're not the good one, but that's still two more Kardashians than Cleveland ever had...and they're not trying.

More hypocritical, yet, is the fact that anyone in Cleveland would have made the choice LeBron did. Who out there can say that if offered a higher-paying job in a better location, a job that offers more of a chance for professional fulfillment and attaining one's goals, let alone a job that promises at least the chance of bumping into a Kardashian here and there, who can say that he or she would turn that job down?

None of you. All other things being equal, we'd all go live in Miami and take that job. If a law firm called me up and said You can do exactly what you're doing now, only you'll be in Miami, making more money, and you'll have a chance for more glory, by the way, I'd be on the plane before they could hang up the phone. (Well, I'd probably stop to call Sweetie and have her ship the kids, Fed-Ex; it's cheaper than paying carry-on fees.) And so would every Clevelandonian stuck in the city most famous for losing at sports and having burning rivers.

That's not to insult Cleveland; I'm sure there must be something good about the city, but it's hard to say what it is, especially when the white-hot glare of Miami is overshadowing it. Regular girls are great and all, but it's hard to tell when they're standing next to Bridget Moynihan. (Notwithstanding that magazine cover above, I chose Bridget because, Tom Brady, Bridget is way hotter than Giselle.) Cleveland may have a great personality, but since when do guys in their 20s go for personality, anyway?

The point is, though, that Clevelandians are upset because LeBron left -- but they'd leave, too, given the chance. Cleveland would be packed with more moving vans than even Art Modell could imagine, if Miami made offers to all its residents: Hey, Cavs fans: we'll take you, too; come on down here, enjoy the sun, check out our Dolphins -- they win some, too -- and wave at the Kardashians. We'll pay you at least what you're getting paid now, so your life will be the same, only better. The resulting exodus to South Beach would put the former one led by a column of fire and smoke to shame.

So what are you so mad about, "Dan" Gilbert and "Cleveland fans?" LeBron did what you'd do-- and what could only be expected of him, given that not only was Cleveland's support of him halfhearted but also that Cleveland wasn't in love with LeBron but with what LeBron could bring them. LeBron may not have thought of any of this himself; his considerations may have amounted, in the end, to nothing more than "Wow, that is a whopping big pile of money," but examined from the outside, his decision is justifiable: Cleveland was using him for its own ends, and LeBron used Cleveland to become the biggest free agent yet in NBA history. In doing so, each treated the other the way it deserved. And, in doing so, LeBron showed that he's human -- and Cleveland showed that it's populated by hypocrits who hate LeBron for being human -- or, more likely, hate themselves for not having the opportunities he's got, and so they lash out at him.

As for me, I'll continue not really paying attention to LeBron in Miami, the way I didn't really pay attention to him in Cleveland -- but when he does cross my mind, I'll be glad for him that he got a shot at something better than he had, and also, secretly, hoping that he'll show up as a guest star on that other Kardashian show.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Favre v. LeBron, Day Three:

Lebron will see your teary-eyed press conference and raise you a one-hour TV special, Brett.

No, I'm not talking about LeBron's planned September 8 multi-channel educational special in which you can learn how to be a sycophantic assistant to people like LeBron (or Kelly Clarkson!). I'm talking about what everyone else is talking about: LeBron's plans to hijack an hour of airtime Thursday night for an ESPN special. -- there's an exciting sounding website!-- is quoting others as saying the move is

"a public relations nightmare. There is some sentiment that if James announces he'll stay in Cleveland, he will get what amounts to a pass from fans here. Others see the move as a mere manifestation of James' egomaniacal makeup."

PR Nightmare? Egomaniacal makeup? What do you say about that, Brett Favre?

Apparently, not much. With Favre uncharacteristically quiet, it's up to other QBs to keep up the chatter. USA Today's Brett Favre Watch has Drew Brees promising Favre will open this season the same way he ended the last: playing the Saints in the Superdome. (I know: you expected an interception joke there. But I'm better than that. I'm not better than comparing him to a Minneapolis hooker, but I am better than the pick joke.)

Meanwhile, Tarvaris Jackson is looking forward to the chance to wear a Super Bowl ring he didn't earn. About Favre's return, the future UFL star said:

You all watch TV the same way I do. He ain't working out for no reason. I welcome him back. There's nothing I can do about it so I'm going to welcome him back and hopefully get to the Super Bowl.

Here's some classic Kelly Clarkson for you:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Favre v. LeBron, Day Two:

Still thinking about that Gulf Oil Spill? The Economy? Forget them: there's real news to focus on...

Brett Favre To World: "I'm cheap and healthy, like a Minneapolis prostitute." Okay, he didn't say that, exactly, but Favre was quoted on noted sports site The Huffington Post as saying:

"If my body was a wreck, the decision would be made,but that is not the case."

Favre went on to delve deep into the mystery that is Brett Favre's Mind, ruminating on whether or not he'll come back for a 20th year: "I know (the Vikings) want to know. Hell, I want to know."

But then he dropped back to earth by saying the obvious: No pay, no play: "If I do not play, it does not cost the Vikings a dime. They keep the $13 million."

Meanwhile, LeBronMania is set to hit new heights with the almost-readiness of his new website. Says the as-yet-not-ready-for-prime-time site (which requires you to be over 13 to sign up, just like Lawrence Taylor does):

Personally directed by LeBron, the new site will keep you up to speed on his actions off the court, his focus on strengthening the community and why “It will always be about more than basketball”.

That latter part is in quotes on the website, so apparently it's something LeBron has said in the past... or something someone else has said in the past? I'm not sure.

As for what it's about besides basketball, keep in mind a few things. First, remember that high-priced free agents are actually selfish jerks who hurt their teams for no good reason.

Second, people old enough to remember a time before Internets may also remember how Reggie White said his free agency wasn't about the money, it was about going someplace where he could help inner city kids with his youth ministry... and then he went to Green Bay. If someone can find me Green Bay's inner city, I'd very much appreciate it. I expect LeBron will strengthen his community primarily by leaving $100 tips at the local Starbucks. He'll be able to afford it.

Update: If you go to LeBron's almost-a-site and trace the cursor around on his face, the dots will light up and you can make it look like he's crying. Awwwww....

Update, two: When I first posted this, I forgot the hot chick. I'll never make that mistake again: Here's the first image you get if you Google "hot chick."

Monday, July 5, 2010

Favre v. LeBron: Day one.

As the guy who (a) brought you the listing of other jobs Brett Favre could do if he retired, (b) once ranked all the NFL teams in order of likelihood that Favre would play for them... after he was traded to the Jets, and (c) once watched an NBA game for almost the whole thing, I'm uniquely qualified to bring you this daily (so long as I remember I'm doing it daily) insight into the two highest profile possibles as they joust for publicity.

The New York Post is reporting , that hottie spy Anna Chapman has a kinky sex life, and also that the Knicks are "getting serious" about Amar'e Stoudemire -- who's extraneous punctuation in his first name qualifies him to at least play a mage in a poorly-written fantasy novel -- in order to attract LeBron to the Knicks. The Knicks were said to be responding to LeBron's agent's questions, those questions being primarily along the lines of "Seriously, the Knicks are still considered an NBA team?"

Meanwhile, the word is still out on whether Favre's ankle is better following surgery, but it's healed enough for him to practice throwing interceptions at critical times by tossing the ball to high schoolers. Reports Favre's own website:

The quarterback spent Thursday morning throwing to wide receivers at Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, Miss.

The coach at the high school said Favre has no set throwing schedule:
the future Hall of Famer is always welcome. "His being out there is just good for the kids for a number of reasons," Barr said. "The leadership that he brings and just the work ethic. He's always been good for them and we love having him out there. He is the kind of guy you want around your kids."

Following that quote, Brett Favre immediately announced his retirement from throwing to high schoolers, then texted Peter King to deny he was considering going back to it.

This story culled from top-secret reports sent back to Russia by the New Jersey Eleven:


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