Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Own Farewell

Since Passive Voice and Archie did their own farewell posts, I figured I better do one as well. I'm surprised the good folks at Fire Jay Mariotti haven't jumped all over this because they HATES TMQ, but as a long-suffering Dolphins fan this jumped out at me.

Easterbrook is making the point that Mike Singletary might be a bad choice for the Niners because he's never been a head coach before. As an example, he cited Cam Cameron:

Never-before Cam Cameron's year running Miami? Let's not go there.

No, Gregg, let's please, because I like making you look like a fucking tool. But first let's make like a Secret Service driver in Daley Plaza and back up, because I like to blog like Tarantino. Gregg ALSO said:

Three others had some head coaching experience: Tony Sparano was a small-college head coach at Division II New Haven...

Now let's look at the facts. Tony Sparano was, in fact, the head coach of New Haven from 1994 to 1998. (By the way I fucking love Tony Sparano. He is like the Bizarro Wannstache.) It was a Division II school, but the fact is that he was pretty good there, posting a record of 41-14-1. Not bad at all. But guess what? If you guessed Cam Cameron was a head coach in college, you are smarter than Gregg Easterbrook. Or else you know how to use Wikipedia.

Cameron coached at his own alma mater, Indiana University, from 1997 to 2001. Unlike Bizarro Wannstache, he sucked, winning about a third of his games. Also unlike Bizarro Wannstache, he was actually coaching Division I players, including Antwaan Randle-El, and playing quality Big Ten teams (bear in mind that Michigan was actually pretty good back then) so there's something to be said for that. The two men did go on to be successful coaches in the NFL working for head coaches who knew their shit and are generally very well respected. Coincidentally, they both ended up coaching the Dolphins in consecutive years. Bizarro Wannstache seems to be doing a good job where Cameron won only one more game than I have in my own NFL Head Coaching Career.

What's the point you ask? The point, my friends, is that CAM CAMERON WAS A FUCKING HEAD COACH BEFORE HE TOOK THE DOLPHINS GIG. Easterbrook points this out as if it is the strongest support of his thesis (teams should not give men with no head coaching experience a head coaching job in the NFL) and it is blatantly false. Gregg, you were once a pretty good and interesting writer. Do your fucking homework.

And with that, I bid you readers adieu. Good night, and good luck.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

One Last Go 'Round

For nostalgia's sake and all. Take it away, Hank Steinbrenner:

"The biggest problem is the divisional setup in major league baseball. I didn't like it in the 1970s, and I hate it now," Steinbrenner wrote. "Baseball went to a multidivision setup to create more races, rivalries and excitement. But it isn't fair. You see it this season, with plenty of people in the media pointing out that Joe Torre and the Dodgers are going to the playoffs while we're not. " [sic on this quotation mark, I think] This is by no means a knock on Torre - let me make that clear-but look at the division they're in. If L.A. were in the AL East, it wouldn't be in the playoff discussion. The AL East is never weak."
Sigh. Combined record of Toronto, Boston, Baltimore and Tampa against non-AL East opponents: 164-186, including Boston's strange 16-2 record against the NL. It's been 24 months, man. Come on.

Okay, so long.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ladies and gentleman, the clown show blogger has been put on hiatus for retooling...

Hey, so you know what I forgot to do last night? 52 52 52, finally ending my admittedly somewhat dubious streak at 29. Not bad, I guess. To be honest, I think I've blogged myself out, at least for a little while. It's been going that way for some time, but now I can say with certainty that I'm ready to take a break. I'm not speaking for Djmmm or Passive here, but I'm definitely on vacation. If and when I come back, I'll restart 52 52 52.

For what it's worth, I do have a bit of a secret project with a relatively major blog in the works, which I feel I can safely reveal because nobody reads this thing. But until then? Take it easy, compadres.

Hey, Passive Voice here, rudely intruding on Archie's post. I am skipping country (continent, actually) for awhile, and am betting I won't be thinking too much about bad sports writing. I am pleased to report that this last little update was written from a computer in the extra-deep basement of my parents' house. Farewell.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

52 52 52 Week #29: Illinois

In which I examine crappy local sports journalism on a state-by-state basis, progressing through the states in terms of an alphabetical ordering of the heights of their tallest points. Because I can.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I can't help but find this whole 52 52 52 endeavor remarkably similar to the video below...

Although, to be fair, I grunt way more than that. I'm talking female tennis player levels of gruntitude. What can I say? I'm a loud worker.

I'm also from Illinois (and, by that, I mean I lived there for the first eight years of my life I actually remember), which makes today's entry rather near and dear to my heart. So let's do our best and give a shout out to everybody's favorite 1325-foot highpoint, Charles Mound:

1. It's described as a "gentle" slope. Why are all our nation's highpoints so damn uninspiring?

2. It's "within the Driftless Area, a region of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, centering on Dubuque, Iowa, that was not covered or ground down by the last continental glaciers." I don't know how interesting that is, but "the Driftless Area" sounds rather badass. Kinda mystical or something. Not really sure. I probably am reading too much Lord of the Rings. By which I of course mean any amount of Lord of the Rings.

3. A couple called the Wuebbels own the land, and they only let people on it four times a year due to theft concerns. That might sound reasonable, but I feel likely this is just part of a larger anti-whippersnapper agenda. Possibly also an expansion of the "get off my lawn" mantra. I'm not sure. Incidentally, I have no reason to assume the Wuebbels are old. I am, in fact, an asshole.

Now, since we're talking Illinois, I really feel I've got to go straight to the source of Illinois's greatest journalistic talent, one Mr. William "F. Buckley" Leitch. That's right people, we're off to Mattoon! Woot! Let's see the sort of sterling journalism that inspired the world's greatest emeritus sports blogger. Journal Gazette scribe Brian Nielsen, the floor is yours. Hit me with your best shot!

Some good signs are there for EIU's offense

Knowing Leitch, I bet this is going to involve breasts. Or some form of pep talk from Ron Zook. I also can't rule out the Arizona Cardinals being involved in some capacity. Maybe the spirit of Barbaro and/or Isaiah Thomas's career? Let's find out together!

Passing the 1,000-yard rushing mark in his career, Travorus Bess might just be showing Eastern Illinois fans he can be the feature running back.

Oh, a running back. How blase. How bland. How old media. How...actual. Frankly, I would have expected something far less relevant.

“I don’t think that was ever a question,” Bess said after running for 183 yards in Eastern’s 47-21 loss at Illinois Saturday. “For some reason, I’ve just seem to always be injured.”

If I may take a moment from pretending to be amazed the Journal Gazette of Mattoon doesn't precisely mimic Will Leitch's writing style, I really need to parse that quote. To whit...

1. If Mr. Bess is, as he puts it, always injured, isn't that precisely why there's a question whether he can be a featured back?

2. Get out your [sic]'s, people, because that second sentence is on the syntactical warpath. Even if I look past the split infinitive, which is something I choose to gladly do (META ALERT!!!), there's still the whole "I've just seem" bit, which can be simplified to "I have seem." Ooh boy. That tense construction ain't right.

3. I guess that's it really. I just really don't like bad grammar.

Just think when the Panthers have Florida transfer Chevon Walker to go with him in a couple of weeks.

Yeah, just think! Tell me more, Brian Nielsen!

Still, Eastern shows reasons for concerns.

And...that's the article. That was it. All four or five (depending on how you chop up the quote) sentences of it.

Yes...I think I can see why Leitch might have left. Although I do feel pretty proud of myself for getting through an entire column like that. I'm a regular reading rainbow, I am. Hmm...

See Brian Nielsen’s column in Monday’s JG/T-C.

Sir, you just gained yourself a reader!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

52 52 52 Week #28: Indiana

In which I examine crappy local sports journalism on a state-by-state basis, progressing through the states in terms of an alphabetical ordering of the heights of their tallest points. Because I can.

Great. Just great. I finally get home after weeks and weeks of writing this post on the road, and I'm stuck with a cold or something. So here comes another quickie post. Sorry about that.

Continuing Iowa's Hawkeye Point's theme of unbelievably obviously named highpoints, Indiana is proud to present 1257-foot Hoosier Hill. Here are three things I can't imagine it would hurt for you to know:

1. It's on private property, but the owner put a trail

2. Geologically, it's in part of Indiana that's already unusually high, so it's only about thirty or so feet higher than the surrounding countryside.

3. There's concern that a nearby landfill might end up being taller than Hoosier Hill, making a garbage mound the highest point in Indiana. If that doesn't tell you everything you need to know about Indiana, I don't know what will.

Look, I'm sick and I'm tired - not sick and tired, mind you, but still - and so I'm going to have to make this fast. And what better way to do it than to turn to Steve T. Gorches of The Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana for some hot local bowling commentary?

If you're a sanctioned league bowler, then the season-opening league meeting brings up so many quips and quandaries.

That is so like my life that I don't live. Aw shit, I'm slipping into pseudo-profound bullshit. I'm fading fast here, peeps.

My league's meeting was last week and I learned one thing in particular: expect the unexpected.

That's true for many aspects of life in general, but in bowling it's especially true in league meetings when debate is healthy and reasoning is skewed.

I just love that he says that's true of "many aspects of life in general," just that the truthiness of that statement goes quadruple for bowling league meetings. It's like our entire lives are just some pale reflection of the glory that is a bowling league meeting. Also, I bet the beer tastes better there.

Oh yes, reasoning can be quite skewed, and this deduction doesn't come just from one recent meeting.

Phew. For a moment there I thought he might be working with a non-robust sample size.

Last week's encounter just enhanced my opinion built from years and years of shaking my head in preseason meetings.

Let's talk handicap.

Wait, he realizes him writing his column isn't him addressing a league meeting, right? Right!?

With averages rising over the last 15 years, it's understandable that the old standard of 80 percent of 200 has gone by the wayside. But that doesn't mean we have to keep raising it through the roof at the same rate of averages.

Oh goodness, that's only the first paragraph. Of four. ABOUT FUCKING HANDICAPS. And believe me, this is some scholarly, borderline impenetrable shit.

Then he's got even more to say about how many games before averages kick in, which I didn't even realize was a concept, let alone an issue. Seriously, is this how he communicates with his league? Does his league require all proposed rule changes be first aired in a column in The Post-Tribune? Because I'm having trouble understanding this any other way.

Eh, what the hell. I'm tired. I'm sick. Let's just enjoy some vintage thoughts on bloggers.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

52 52 52 Week #27: Iowa

In which I examine crappy local sports journalism on a state-by-state basis, progressing through the states in terms of an alphabetical ordering of the heights of their tallest points. Because I can.

Hey, gang! I'm super-excited to do this week's post, if only because I've rarely come across anything as inspiring as Iowa's 1670-foot Hawkeye Point...

1. It's north of Siblet, Iowa and really near the Minnesota border! Isn't that incredible?

2. It's near a silo! Like with grain or stuff, I guess! Assuming the silo is still in use!

3. According to Wikipedia, the best way to get there is, "Hike(?)"! That question mark spells mystery, gang! Come on, to the Mystery Machine!!!

OK, OK, Hawkeye Point is no great shakes. But The Iowa City Press-Citizen is happy to provide a compendium of awesomely meaningless quotes regarding everybody's favorite thing: University of Iowa field hockey. Your humble compiler is Ryan Suchomel. Let's do it, folks!

When thinking about national title contenders and the University of Iowa, most people think about singlets first, not skirts.

I had to look up what "singlet" meant. Turns out it's that skintight wrestling leotard thing. I count it as a rare point in favor of my masculinity that I had no idea what that was.

But the Iowa field hockey team has all but one starter back from last season when they went 17-4 and finished ranked fifth in the nation.

"We have a lot of dreams," senior Lauren Pfeiffer said.

Like, this one time, Melissa Helsel totally dreamed she forgot to study for an exam, and another time Caitlin McCurdy had that one dream where she was falling, and another time Amy Baxter dreamed Christian Bale had finally come to take her away, but first he had to fight a dragon with Jude Law's head for some reason. Needless to say, dragon with the head of Jude Law breathed smug Britishness. Fiery, fiery smug Britishness. Basically, this team is a Jungian wet dream, which in turn was a dream...eh, never mind.

"I do think we can be there at the end of the season," Iowa coach Tracey Griesbaum said. "They felt they made a mark last year, but they want to make it in permanent ink marker and not pencil."

What about one of those washable markers? I mean, as long as you don't, you know, wash it, you should be fine. Also, ballpoint? Would that work? Because I've got a shitload of spare Bics lying around somewhere.

In addition, senior Caroline Blaum was an all-Big Ten pick.

"I am really, really excited. Period. Flat out," Blaum said.

I always appreciated when people punctuate their sentences for you! Oh, um...EXCLAMATION POINT! It removes so much ambiguity, doesn't it? Rhetorical question mark?

"I think we have a great team. On paper, it doesn't take a field hockey professional to realize what we have."

Well, I'm not a field hockey professional, but I'd definitely say you have a field hockey team. Yeah, definitely.

And what do I have? Another completed blog post. Oh, OK, fine, have a YouTube clip on the house. Hell, I'll even make up for last week's Reagan-baiting. Or, at least, that's what I'll claim to Djmmm. Don't tell him of my subtle subterfuge!

Move over, Muppets and Michael Caine, you guys are about to get your Dickensian shit owned. Speaking of which, is there anything better than interviews with Muppets?

No, there isn't.


So the between Michael Phelps pwning the world, the US finishing first in the overall medal count (never mind the gold tally; the ChiComms are cheating bastards and the IOC is in the tank for them), and, of course, the Redeem Team taking the gold, I'm feeling rather patriotic. How patriotic, you say?

THIS fuckin' patriotic:


Kobe Bryant told Chris Collinsworth in some interview "Our country is the best." I nodded with self-satisfaction when I heard this.

Hooray for America! Where else but here can a limey, a beaner, and a moose-fucking canuck come together to blog about shitty sports writers? Only in America, my friends. Only in America.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Peter King and his editors show a shocking (even for them) lack of discretion:

So I see Gary Myers of the New York Daily News in the press box at the Meadowlands on Saturday night. He tells me the doctor about to give him a colonoscopy last year says to him, "Do you know Peter King?'' Myers says yes, and the doc proceeds to tell him what a kook I am for beginning the prep work for my bowel cleanout just before a two-hour-and-40-minute plane trip. You think that's the first time I've heard that one, doc?

You know what I think, Peter? I think fuck you.


Edit/Postscript: Peter's referencing this, an even bigger crime against his readership.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

52 52 52 Week #26: Missouri

In which I examine crappy local sports journalism on a state-by-state basis, progressing through the states in terms of an alphabetical ordering of the heights of their tallest points. Because I can.

So this is, I think, the fifth straight week I'm writing this damn post away from home. Sure, I'm no longer in Central America, and I've got my own computer back at last, but hey...there's a reason why I'm not posting all that much lately. I'm just sort of a globetrotter. And, by that, I mean I'm in Florida right now. It's almost the same thing. Well, it's not completely an utterly different thing. Let's move on.

Because I made an executive decision that I'm not nerdy enough, I just finished rereading The Hobbit and am about to embark on The Lord of the Rings books. If nothing else, it'll give me so much more subtext as I get lost in Viggo Mortensen's eyes. It also has made me find Missouri's highpoint, the 1772-foot Taum Sauk Mountain, rather appropriately named. Sure, it's not the Misty or Lonely Mountain(s), but Taum Sauk Mountain just screams Tolkien. Maybe. Look, I've spent the last two days in a car. Work with me here as I give you the Taum Sauk report...

1. Its topography "is that of a somewhat flat ridge rather than a peak." You know, sometimes I just know I'm working with an interesting one. And sometimes the first fact is about how its topography isn't really mountainous. But hold on...

2. "While not as impressive at 1,772 feet (540 m) as other peaks, Taum Sauk and the St. Francois range are true mountains, being the result of a volcanic orogeny." Volcanic orogeny? If that doesn't sound deliciously dirty, you've probably got moral fiber or something. Whatever you've got, I'm missing it.

3. Some of you (read: none of you) may have heard of the Taum Sauk Pumped Storage Plant, which failed in 2005 and caused a flash flood. Well, don't blame Taum Sauk Mountain, as the plant "is not actually on Taum Sauk Mountain. It is on Proffit Mountain, about five miles (8 km) southwest." I feel like there's a deliciously anti-corporate pun I can make out of "Proffit Mountain", but I can't quite get there.

I'm trying really hard to not try very hard tonight. I think my plan is working. To the article!

Our newspaper today is The Joplin Globe, which has to be a solid contender for worst Wikipedia page in existence. I was going to do a, well, better newspaper this week, but the awesome shittiness of the Wikipedia page won me over. And then when I thought even so I should probably find a proper sports section, this headline showed me I had been right all along...

If I had caught any fish this past week ...

There's an art to the building of suspense, to quote Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, and that headline just motherfucking built it. Larry Dabelmont, the floor is unimpeachably yours...

I don’t want to make anyone real awful mad here

You couldn't if you wanted to, old friend. You don't think he minds if I call him old friend, right? He just seems so lovably folksy and homespun!

but I can’t tell you the name of one politician running for anything that I would want to go fishing with.

I'm pretty sure that, if you diagram that sentence out, he's saying he wouldn't want to go fishing with, say, the office of the attorney general or somesuch. But hey, what's a little linguistic anarchy among such good, down-home-on-the-ol-fishin-hole friends? The missing "d" and "g" mean it's extra country-like!

The whole bunch of them seems a sorry lot to me.

Do you mean politically, or fishing-wise? Because I'm definitely on board with the latter, and quite possibly the former.

The ones who have won and the ones who didn’t win, I put them all in the same sack.

I'm pretty sure fish win by not getting put in your sack. Oh, wait, you're talking about politicians! What's that about them and your sack? I'm not sure I approve of such talk from a country gentleman...

But then, what do I know about politics? If I had caught any fish this past week I’d be writing about that.

Oh, so that was the resolution to the cliffhanger of what "if I had caught any fish this past week" would entail. That was...um...worth the wait. Yeah...totally. Oh, and while we're here, go see Tropic Thunder, please. It apparently needs all the help it can get, which is sort of a shame, because it's, you know, awesome. OK, OK, back to Larry.

I once shook Harry Truman’s hand, and I have to admit that I was impressed with him, even though I was only about six at the time.

Truman lived from 1884 to 1972 (I almost didn't have to look that up, though I was out by a decade on his year of birth), so that means Mr. Dabelmont could be anywhere from 42 to 130. Who wants to bet his age is closer to the latter than the former? (I'm suggesting he's OLD!!! Isn't that, like, hilarious? Come on, don't make me start randomly swearing in the name of fucking comedy.)

I also liked Ronald Reagan a lot. I can’t remember much about his presidency,

OK, what I'd like to make here is a joke mocking Ronald Reagan on the grounds that he was incompetent and openly slept through a shitload of his two terms. The joke I'd like to make is "That's OK. Neither did Reagan." Unfortunately for both him and the purposes of my joke, the illness that affected Mr. Reagan later in his life renders that joke a bit tasteless. Dammit reality, always cramping my comedy buzz.

Also, I'm fairly sure any Reagan-bashing might result in Djmmm hunting me down and killing me Ollie North style. Best just to move on.

But I really liked Ronald Reagan in those Western movies he made after he got out of politics.

That...that was awesome. That's the kind of so obviously dumb he's a genius - albeit a batshit crazy genius - sort of shit that just makes me fall in love with sports journalism all over again. I'm primed, Dabelmont, hit me again!

I have read some things about Teddy Roosevelt that makes me think he was a lot like me, since he liked to hunt and fish so much and float rivers, and did some outdoor writing. He and I looked very much alike too.

OK, that was more "3rd grader writing about his incarcerated father" than satirically folksy sports journalist, but I'm willing to try it again.

But of course my favorite president will always be Abe Lincoln, who had two things no president or even presidential candidate will ever have again. He was poor, and he was honest.

Andrew Johnson was actually poorer than Lincoln - I believe Johnson is the only president most historians consider to be "born poor" - and even Richard Nixon came from a relatively poor background. Admittedly, that last one doesn't really help on the honesty front. Um, how is this about sports again?

Earlier in my life I too was poor and honest, and as a matter of fact I am still relatively poor, and I am being honest about that.

You're starting to lose me, Dabelmont. Also, I'm having a real hard time keeping the consonants in your last name in the correct order. Any chance you could do something about that?

My favorite politician was Davy Crockett. He and I were so much alike that it is just amazing, except for the fact that he did get into politics, becoming a Tennessee congressman. My cousins and I watched him on Walt Disney when we were kids

OK, time for a vote. Who here is honestly uncertain Larry understands the Disney show he watched wasn't a documentary about Davy Crockett, but instead a highly fictionalized adventure show? Yeah, me neither.

Crockett was loved by his constituents, just as I am loved by my readers, except for a few ladies who got mad about that recent article concerning female bass.

You know what? There's no way I'm topping that. You win, Dabelmont. Be sure to savor your victory, which I can only assume involves doing unspeakable things to female bass.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Do not understand.

Adam Dunn just got traded for a 23-year old pitcher with 28 K in 50 innings of A ball, and 2 PsTBNL. You may otherwise know Adam Dunn as the current bleeping league leader in HR. Dude has a 131 OPS+. Not only that, he's a free agent after this year, so if/when he takes his ball-crushing (in a good way?) bat elsewhere, Arizona will get draft picks. And apparently the Reds have agreed to help pay the remaining $4m he's owed this year.

W. T. F.

It's my understanding that the LA Dodgers could have made a claim and blocked him from getting to AZ (LA's lower in the standings). I suppose the worst that would have happened is that LA would have been stuck paying $4m for yet another outfielder. Admittedly, that seems sort of silly until you realize it's Adam damn Dunn, whose bat would go well in any line-up, and it would have stopped him from getting to the team they're chasing and THEY WOULD GET DRAFT PICKS OUTTA THE WHOLE DEAL at the end of the season.

Am I missing something?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

52 52 52 Week #25: Michigan

In which I examine crappy local sports journalism on a state-by-state basis, progressing through the states in terms of an alphabetical ordering of the heights of their tallest points. Because I can.

Wow. Somehow, some way, I am halfway through this little experiment. No, I'm not sure either, particularly since the last few posts have been written using a combinationof Macs and Spanish-language keyboards, which are just different enough to slow me down something fierce (and why some of my previous posts have diacritics where apostrophes should be). But hey, I'm here, and I might as well keep it going a little longer. Especially when we've got Michigan on tap. 1979-foot Mount Arvon, what have you got tosay for yourself?

1. It only recently became the highpoint of Michigan. For the longest time, people thought nearby Mount Curwood was the tallest. But no, a resurvey in the early eighties discovered Mount Arvon was an entire foot taller. That may have been the most exciting thing that happened to that survey team. I'm not even kidding.

2. It's named after slate. Well, specifically the slate found in Carnarvon, Wales. Aren't you glad you now know that?

3. The land is owned by a paper company. Isn't that just hilariously mundane?

Good stuff. I don't know how many of my readers have tried to guess the sorts of ultra-sophisticated metrics I employ to determine which newspaper I'm going with, but I'll give you one huge hint: if your newspaper is the newspaper of record for the town of Bad Axe, Michigan, you're probably getting chosen. Seriously, Bad Axe? I just hope I live long enough to find a reason to move to a town with a name that awesome. Holy shit, man, just...holy shit. If only the newspaper was called The Bad Axe Blade, I'm pretty sure I could just go ahead and die a happy man. Oh well. The town's name is still plenty more than enough.

So yeah, The Huron Daily Tribune is your newspaper, Paul P. Adams is your writer, and EVERYTHING EVER IN THE HISTORY OF FOREVER is your topic. Enjoy!

These are just a few of my thoughts on what has transpired at the state and national levels in sports during the past week.

Oh yeah. Let's do this shit.

...Michigan football officially hit the field with new coach Rich Rodriguez and all the baggage he brought with him from West Virginia.

Baggage aside, Rodriguez is a proven winner who has turned around every program he’s been at.

Care to give some context, some analysis of his previous work? If my Internet were any faster (seriously, it's balls molasses slow right now), I'd look it up myself, but I bet there are some interesting comparisons and contrasts one could come up with if you actually talked about his previous work. Nah, not going to do that? Well, OK...

The Wolverines aren’t in need of a complete overhaul, but they could use some tweaking — and that starts with the offense.

With Rodriguez calling the plays, Michigan fans will see something they’ve never seen before — a wide-open spread offense.

Couldn't I get this from, I don't know, a U of M media guide? Is there content here that I'm just missing? Has Central America driven me stir crazy? Sorry...I mean stir loco.

The transition may take a year or two as Rodriguez recruits the right players for his system.

That transition could lead to a less than stellar year for the Wolverines, who open the season ranked No. 24. They probably won’t contend for the Big Ten title, but should make a bowl game.

So almost exactly like last year, just with more realistic expectations going in? Seriously, preseason No. 5 my ass.

Also working against the team and Rodriguez is inexperience as only two starters return on offense and four on defense.

It’s going to take time, but when things begin to click, Michigan fans will be thankful for the hiring of Rich Rodriguez.

I feel like somebody held in total isolation in a cave somewhere could generate this level of bland platitude. That's right, people - this is Joe Morgan territory. Admittedly, Paul P. Adams isn't a national anything, so I should probably be less pissed. But then this happens...

He will return the program to national prominence, it just won’t happen this year.

That's bad grammar, people! That's like a run-on or some shit! And you know how I feel about people who use bad grammar? Well, I hired a surrogate to emote for me...

New topic!

...Mark it down, the Tigers are officially done!

Since trading Ivan Rodriguez for Kyle Farnsworth and his gas can, Detroit is just 1-6 and now sits 8 1/2 games in back of the White Sox in the division.

Man, I bet Kyle Farnsworth is totally to blame!

That’s not to say Farnsworth is totally to blame, but he hasn’t helped.

Yeah, but how much can he help, really? Dude's a relief pitcher. Those guys rank barely above the equipment manager in terms of impact. Well, mostly.

He debuted on Saturday and worked a scoreless inning, but on Sunday, in a pressure situation, he melted down, giving up three runs in a game the Tigers should have won.

So he pitched really well once and really poorly another time? Why, he sounds like...an average relief pitcher. He's not swinging anybody's playoff hopes. Neither was an over-the-hill catcher like Pudge, of course.

A colleague of mine told me on Friday the Tigers were going to get swept by the Rays in a weekend series.

Come Monday, he was right, and with it all hope of making the playoffs might have vanished.

Your colleague accurately predicted one of the three best teams in baseball would beat a below-average team three times in a row? Is your colleague *HUSHED TONES* Nostradamus?

The team answered back by blowing a big lead in the opening game of a critical contest with the White Sox on Tuesday.

Jim Leyland has been threatening to shake things up, but it’s too little, too late.

The Tigers will make a mini-run here and there, but they’re just not good enough to track down the Twins or White Sox.

Yes. That is in all probability accurate.

The rest is more on Brett Favre, which I'll spare you out of kindness, an obit for Skip Caray that I'll leave alone, and a bit on the Panthers suspending Steve Smith that features this as a complete fucking paragraph:

Smith actually busting Lucas’ nose.

That...I just don't have any words for that.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

This is always fun.

I'm somewhat wary of doing this because there's a decent chance I'm totally wrong, but I don't think Stewart Mandel (or, presumably, his editor at SI.com) knows what "nevertheless" means.
Exhibit A:
That's a whole lot of coaching changes for one offseason, nevertheless ones that
dramatically changed the fortunes of so many programs for the better.

Exhibit B:
Prior to your e-mail, I was not aware of any ill will I felt toward the Badgers
(or badgers, for that matter), nevertheless a hatred that apparently shows up
"year after year."

I think he meant "let alone" in the first one, and "never mind" in the second one. Isn't blogging fun? I am at work.

All Favre, All the Time

I know I'm kind of infringing on Passive Voice's beat here, but I read something in Peter King's little column about Favre that kind of made me wonder...

At one point, I text-messaged Favre, telling him what I thought -- the team would rather pay him his 2008 salary and not have him play rather than cut him loose.

This text message came back from Favre's phone: "tell ted to release me."

This kind of begs the question, what kind of relationship does Favre really have with PK that the former feels comfortable basically using the latter as a kind of intermediary between himself and his own boss? Is it just me or is this kind of inappropriate?

Oh and please feel free to insert your own Peter King-Brett Favre homo-joke in the comments.

Monday, August 4, 2008


Peter King at Packers' camp:
The Packers jog out to practice. They stretch. They belch and guffaw and prepare. They do drills. They throw and catch and run. And never is heard a discouraging word.
Is that...? Really? Home on the Range? Okay.
I start to think three things:

1. How well-behaved and wonderfully Green-Bayish they are.

2. What sheep they are.

Pretty much the same thing, no?
3. How they wish they could just get on with their football lives and forget the nightmare of the Favre thing and just get on, distraction-free, with the most important thing in their lives -- a new Packer season.

You're allowed to edit your thoughts and stuff, you know.

Even though many of these fans do not like GM Ted Thompson, this is not Philly or Foxboro, where the fans would hang Thompson in effigy. Or worse.

I'm a "fan" of the Patriots, I guess. (I lost interest in them last year, though. I dunno. I think I was mad that they let David Harris get to the Jets or something, and that was that.) Most of my Boston relatives are too. Anyway, the point is this: are Pats fans particularly intense? My impression was that, in all matters non-Red-Sox, New England fans are kinda blah. I know my relatives could name Brady, Welker, Belichick and maybe one or two of the black players. If the Patriots started sucking again, they'd probably just lose interest and go back to whatever they did before 2001.

Conversely, I thought Pack fans were the most intense, fanatical maniacs west of Pittsburgh. I don't get it. Also, it's just a suspicion, but I'm not 100% convinced Peter knows what "in effigy" means. It's not wrong here, it's just...well, suspicious.

Lastly, this week's travel note was about some Hertz workers not knowing Baltimore was in Maryland. Peter?
I weep for our geographical future.

Peter King adds fuel to the flamers. Flames. Fuel to the fire. Peter King is gay.

If there's anything else worth pointing out in today's MMQB, I'll get to it later. For now, it's a holiday here (Happy BC Day!) and I'm going to go pretend I know how to golf. But first, Peter King finishes an interview with Tony Romo with:

Time for the nightly quarterback meeting. He left me a good deal to chew on.

I spent all morning reading Arrested Development quotes, so maybe this seems funnier to me than to anyone else. But still. "...there's so many poorly chosen words in that sentence."

Sunday, August 3, 2008

52 52 52 Week #24: Wisconsin

In which I examine crappy local sports journalism on a state-by-state basis, progressing through the states in terms of an alphabetical ordering of the heights of their tallest points. Because I can.

I find myself in a Central American internet cafe, using a weird computer with half the keys in the wrong position. Yeah...this post is going to be fun.

This week we’ve got Wisconsin and its 1951-foot tall highpoint, Timms Hill. You know, I’ve gone skiing in Wisconsin. It’s fucking depressing that I didn’t even go as high as Timms fucking Hill. Oh well, know these three things and be merry...

1. It’s got a lookout tower.

2. It’s less than a mile from Highway 86. No, seriously, that’s how fine I’ve got to cut these facts up to get to three. Timms Hill is not interesting. At all.

3. Wait, here’s something interesting: "Originally, Rib Mountain was thought to be the highest point in Wisconsin. However, this was later proved to be incorrect." But however did they manage that? The suspense (or possibly the boredom) is killing me! "While Timms Hill has the highest elevation in the state, Rib Mountain has the largest height differential from the surrounding landscape." Nope, sorry, the fork’s already in my eye.

I thought I might try something a little different by, for the first time in 52 52 52’s surprisingly long-ish history, revisiting an old friend. That’s right, it’s Jeff Sherman from On Milwaukee, who we met way back in this post. So all his diehard fans who keep emailing me for his return can finally shut up. I never thought it’d happen. Anyway, Jeff, your topic is something or other. Take it away.

The latest in Milwaukee's ever-changing restaurant news is that Yanni's Steaks, Chops and Seafood, 540 E. Mason St., has closed, though this rumor has been floated constantly since I wrote about it last September.

Huh...that’s an...odd...thing for a sportswriter to discuss. Although good job on the background research. I like it.

The rumor appears true this time, as numerous calls have not been returned and today the voicemail at the Downtown dining destination is full.

But how can you know for sure? Shouldn’t somebody go there and, like, peek in the windows or something?

Peeks into the windows of the once highly rated restaurant both last night and this morning make it, indeed, appear closed.

Jeff Sherman is officially owning my ass. I am surprisingly OK with this. Still, where’s the sports?

Several area workers and business owners also have said it's closed. The Web design company that Yanni's used couldn't confirm the closing, but Yannismilwaukee.com remains live although its opentable link is down.

I think we all remember that nugget of restauranteur wisdom: "As goes your opentable link, so goes your restaurant." And, with it, the nation. Or so I’ve heard.

That's not official word, but don't bank on Yanni's for lunch or dinner since the doors are locked and voice mail is unattended.

You know, I’ve never even heard of this place until right this second, but I’m still weeping a little bit. Or maybe that’s because it’s been three fucking weeks and I still haven’t seen The Dark Knight. Oh, the pain!

Just this week, most locations of the national restaurant chains of Bennigan's and Steak & Ale abruptly closed and filed for bankruptcy. It's rumored (again, there are always rumors) that a few other Milwaukee area restaurants plan to close their doors in the coming weeks.

I never thought I’d ever say this, but...Wisconsinites need to start eating more. How else will we preserve all those good Bennigan’s franchises?

Got news or buzz about the Milwaukee area dining scene? Use the OnMilwaukee.com Talkbacks.

You know, I get the sense that maybe this dude doesn’t write about sports. Maybe, and this is just a theory, his primary focus is the Milwaukee dining scene and he, you know, just happened to one time write about something sports-related.

Still, aren’t you just glad I managed an entire Wisconsin-sports-related post and didn’t once mention Brett fucking Favre? You’re welcome.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I guess that's one way to put it

Terry Ryan's talking 'bout being a GM at the trade deadline. Terry Ryan gets to talking about different management styles. Terry Ryan mentions Steve Phillips. Someone call an ambulance for Terry Ryan, because I think he just had a stroke:
Steve was one guy who was always very aggressive. He knew what he wanted, he knew what he was willing to give up -- he was very good.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fuckin' ESPN...

In the midst of dealing with a hard-on the size of a house at the possibility of Manny Ramirez coming to Miami to play for the Marlins, I noticed something fishy about The World Wide Leader's reporting on the story. Early in the afternoon, the only place this rumor/story(?) was being reported was at Baseball Prospectus and, later, Sports Illustrated. Now I know we're generally pretty hard on SI in general and Jon Heyman in particular, (and by "we" I basically mean Passive Voice) but to their credit SI/Heyman had the professionalism and decency to mention BP's breaking of the story.

Jon Heyman, you are frequently a dumbass and/or unfunny, but today you're a righteous dude.

You do see where this is going, don't you?

ESPN reported the story on their website (or at least "updated" it, whatever that means) at 8:47 PM. They cited "sources" that told "Buster Olney." No mention of SI. No mention of BP. Nothing.

On behalf of BP, and I think, most of the blogosphere-- Fuck you, ESPN, you unprofessional bunch of cunts.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The fuck, Deadspin?

Journalism commentary, non-SI.com Dpt:

This was originally going to be about JP Ricciardi and his weird anti-Adam-Dunn, keep-AJ-Burnett-despite-being-all-but-done-playoff-wise rhetoric, but then I realized I didn't know what else I was going to say. I just thought he should have blown that whole team up before this season. Whatever.

Anyway, the topic I settled on for this post is: What the hell happened to the Deadspin commentariat? Take this quote from commenter mfdoom on the dick-to-the-face-nike-ads post:
they get like 5 comments in before the fags bring the heat. shit, they just need to go back to their gaybies and quit taking themselves so seriously.

I know this is pot-kettle-black territory, coming from a guy who spends an inordinate amount of time drearily parsing Peter King's manchildish ramblings, but where's the funny? And it's not so much that it turned out unfunny as that it had absolutely no chance of ever being the tiniest bit funny at all. It's just an guy saying a thing. Which (ahem, again with the kitchenware) I realize is part of the democratic, or whatever, appeal of the blogosphere. It's just that the space below Deadspin posts, not long ago, was a place where merit prevailed. Now...the comments really aren't worth reading. I can (and do) get all the stupid I want at SI.com or any other MSM site. At least I'm on the lookout for it there.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

52 52 52 Week #23: Ohio

In which I examine crappy local sports journalism on a state-by-state basis, progressing through the states in terms of an alphabetical ordering of the heights of their tallest points. Because I can.

Well, I'm still in Central America, my computer died (I mean completely and utterly) earlier this week, and we didn't have running water for most of this week. On the plus side, I got to wield an honest-to-goodness machete. That more than makes up for it.

So, with my computer dead and gone, comes the first ever 52 52 52 written on a Mac. I have no idea whether or not it'll be the last, but if you detect slightly more self-loathing in this post than usual (hard to notice, I admit), that'd be why.

But first, something awesome...

Ah, holy shit. Do I really have to do the rest of the post? I mean, it's only Ohio, right? And unless Matt Sussman still reads (and I think it's pretty clear that he does by all the comments he doesn't leave), I'm somehow doubting anyone will care. Seriously, what's Ohio got? A couple halls of fame and a kickass amusement park? Actually, that reminds me...

Oh yeah, I've ridden that bad boy. I've also wielded a machete. All from the safety and security of my mother's basement, of course.

In any event, Ohio makes the list this week thanks to its 1550-feet high Campbell Hill. Three things potentially worth knowing...

1. It was "the former home of the Bellefontaine Air Force Station, where the 664th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron maintained a Cold War early warning radar." Hey, as long as it helped beat the commies, I'm on board with whatever.

2. Apparently the hard rock of Campbell Hill helped it resist the glaciers during the ice age. Must have been commie glaciers.

3. The land used to be owned by the brewer of Augustiner and Gambrinus beers. I don't have much to add here, but those are some fucking awesome brand names.

Speaking of fucking awesome (this post is just full of the stuff, even if I'm just compiling it for you nice people), this week's newspaper is The Toledo Blade. You might remember I tried to do an article from The Washington Blade, but sadly the gay newspaper of record for our nation's capital had no sports section. The Toledo Blade, however, is not only awesomely named after the swordsmithing industry of Toledo, Spain, but it also has a sports section. And that's more than enough for me to do a quickie article and throw in some clips from the Blade movies. You're welcome.

Today's article has the headline, "Bucks expect expectations." A headline that asinine just has to be worth making fun of. Matt Markey?

The specter is everywhere.

And thus a pulpy fifties detective novel began.

You are reminded of it by the girl from Circleville who sits behind you in sociology class, then by the guy in the produce aisle at Krogers, and again at the family reunion, and when you meet with a couple former players who stopped by campus to visit.

Booooring. Time for a Blade clip.

I'd like to see the girl from Circleville remind you of that.

And even here, surrounded by the swirl of humanity in the heart of downtown in the Windy City, just beyond the shadow of the Sears Tower and a short walk from Navy Pier or the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, you can't elude the aura of Ohio State football.

And to think I used to like Chicago...

Sorry! U of M fandom rearing its head here a bit. I'll try harder.

"It is all around you, and it is everywhere," Buckeyes linebacker James Laurinaitis said yesterday morning as the Big Ten wrapped up its two days of preseason meetings that signal the informal start of the 2008 college football season.

"It is all around you, and it is everywhere"? That may be the most profound-sounding-and-yet-utterly-not-profound thing I've ever heard. And I've heard Martin Heidegger.

Philosophy BURN!!!

"Ohio State football has such a position of prominence in the minds of so many people. But with all of that history and tradition come the constant expectations, and you quickly learn to accept it and really embrace it. You gotta love a place where every year, you are expected to be great."

Its position of prominence? Woefully underrated team that gets blown out when it actually counts. (Admittedly, Michigan loses when it doesn't count, so I maybe shouldn't talk).

Let's cleanse the palate with some more Blade...

That scene (and any other Blade scene with Donal Logue) is so much more funnier if you've seen (or just barely remember) early 00's Fox sitcom Grounded for Life. That might actually be the only contribution Grounded for Life made to the world of humor. Not an utterly terrible show, actually, as far as sitcoms go, but still...

Boeckman, a fifth-year senior who played behind Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith for two seasons before assuming the starting role for 2007, was first-team All-Big Ten last year, when he threw for 2,379 yards and 35 touchdowns. Boeckman said he won't ignore the Buckeyes being ranked in the top five nationally in all the preseason magazines, and Ohio State being the overwhelming choice of the media to win the Big Ten.

I guess it's sort of refreshing that a player admits he is actually aware of his team's gaudy rankings. I'm not sure; I'm kind of blinded by rage here. That and all the blood from that last clip. Damn messy vampires!

"When things get hyped up, you can't let yourself get distracted by that kind of thing, but you also can't deny it exists," he said. "I think the best approach is for us to just make sure we are ready to face what comes with all of those expectations. At Ohio State, we feel like we always get everyone's best game, and that should definitely be the case again this season."

Yes...the best games of soft, outmatched teams that are scheduled merely to rack up rings. I mean, I'm no "SEC is the best and should always be champs" guy, but seriously. Northern Indiana's best game is still a pretty shitty game.

Jenkins has twice been named first-team All-Big Ten, and was a second team All-American last year when he helped Ohio State lead the nation in pass defense. He said the Buckeyes, who have played in the last two national championship games, have the depth and talent to challenge for another conference crown and make a case for returning to a third title game. Jenkins said the expectations of the fans and the media won't be higher than those the team will set for itself.

I'm pretty sure OSU fans expect the team to fix the economy, cure most known diseases, and land a man on the Sun by 2025. I dunno...they're expectations still might be a little bigger.

"We do have a lot of guys back - a lot of very good players - and on paper this could be a championship team," he said. "We have that potential, but until you turn potential into product, it doesn't mean anything."

I'm guessing the words "potential" and "product" were the two words he took away from the one econ class he went to last year before he was told a special assistant would take care of it. Man, I'm an ass. Feels good though.

You know what even OSU and U of M fans (not to mention all you nice normal people out there) can agree on? Blade. Just...Blade.

Tressel, who starts an eighth season as coach at Ohio State, said he was comfortable that the leadership on his team would handle any issues with keeping the hype and expectations in perspective.

"The Buckeye Nation is out there and we see it everywhere we go. Our fans are very loyal and very passionate, and they don't make it a secret that they want us to succeed," Tressel said. "Our players know that and they understand that. It goes with the territory, and I'm comfortable they won't let it affect their preparation or performance."

You know, OSU fans and players are so unique and interesting. Oregon fans only secretly want their team to win, and Boston College routinely shits itself because they're terrified of upsetting the fans (OK...that might be kinda true).

Laurinaitis, who was chosen as the Big Ten's preseason defensive player of the year for the second straight year, said the sense of obligation to honor the winning heritage at Ohio State is likely on his mind more than any stress over living up to what appears in polls or what fans expect of the team.

"There's a saying we have at Ohio State that says 'with tradition comes responsibility,' and we've got great tradition at Ohio State, so we've got a responsibility to keep it up," Laurinaitis said. "That's something I think about every day."

"With tradition comes responsibility"? That's what happens when you take a cliched Spider-Man quote and up the suck. It sucks, that's what.

Eh, let's just watch Blade fight Dracula.

Man, I wish I could fight Dracula. I'd even bring my machete! Speaking of which...

You're all fucking welcome. Make checks in appreciation payable to the Archie Micklewhite Foundation. It's money...for me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

52 52 52 Week #22: New Jersey

In which I examine crappy local sports journalism on a state-by-state basis, progressing through the states in terms of an alphabetical ordering of the heights of their tallest points. Because I can.

You know what's delicious? Irony, that's what. As I may or may not have let slip over the course of my writings here, I happen to hail from the great state of New Jersey. This week's post should have been my magnum opus, a self-indulgent celebration of myself and the state I happen to reside in. It would have been grand. It would have been opulent. It would have been unreadable. I mean like James Joyce unreadable. Late period Joyce.

But, as it happens, I'm in central America, I'm actually doing shit during the day (there aren't even basements here, my mother's or otherwise), and the internet is spotty. Hence this post will be an utter cop-out. I mean utter. Oh, and I'm also probably suspending the other two weekly features until I get back. I don't have the material for Comics & Sports, and I don't really have time to develop ideas well enough for the Column Thingy. Hopefully Passive and Djmmm will be able to step up.

So yeah, let's get this shit-show on the road. New Jersey's highpoint is, well, High Point, a 1,803 foot highpoint that's, you know, high and shit. Here are your requisite three facts:

1. It's the highest peak in the Kittatinny mountains. I live in the fucking state and I've never heard of this particular range. It clearly needs a better publicist.

2. It's a state park with a 200-foot monument at the summit that memorializes those killed in war. Which is very, very laudable. Of course, since this is Jersey...

3. ...the governor wants to shut the park down. Always knew that guy was a commie.

Our article this week comes from The Star Ledger. It's a fun little paper, I guess, and I've proudly never read it. Since this is New Jersey, there's only one thing it could be about - the Yankees, and the fucking awesomeness thereof. Or, in this case, Kyle Farnsworth. Dan Graziano has the floor.

NEW YORK -- They didn't boo Kyle Farnsworth at Joyce Kilmer Elementary School. Second-graders generally aren't the booing kind, and anyway Farnsworth wasn't there to pitch.

Not there to pitch? Ba-ZING!

This was back on May 21, when Farnsworth couldn't so much as warm up in the Yankee Stadium bullpen without getting booed. So the trip out to Mahwah to talk to the kids about a couple of his favorite topics was a pleasant respite.

May 21st? Even I wouldn't touch something that old. Well, other than that one time I did. But that was to do with Michael Tunison! Sweet, beautiful, resplendent Michael Tunison.

"Kids that age are little sponges," Farnsworth said. "They take in everything they can."

Other ways in which kids are like sponges...

1. They're both eukaryotes.
2. You can use both to clean yourself. Although only one doesn't usually involve a visit by the authorities.
3. They're also called "poriferans."

Farnsworth wasn't there to talk about the Yankees, or about life as a big-league relief pitcher. Sure, some of that came up, but his real purpose for being there was to educate the youngsters on fitness and nutrition.

I'd like to think the questions the second graders did ask about the Yankees were of the following variety...

"Hey, Farnsworth? Fuck you!"

OK...that's only kinda a question. But hey, it's Jersey.

"This is something I care about," Farnsworth said. "So I can tell them a little bit of what I know. Fitness, working out, but also nutrition. That's the most important thing. You can work out all you want, but if you eat bad food, it's not going to do you any good."

Oh...so that's what I've been doing wrong. Also, I don't work out.

Who'd have thought it? Kyle Farnsworth -- man with a message. And a worthy one at that. It may not be enough to make the guy a fan favorite, but it's at least something to think about the next time you boo him.

Kyle Farnsworth thinks fitness is good. This alone should earn him your veneration. After all, A-Rod spends weekends force-feeding chocolate sundaes to already full children.

In three years as a Yankee, Farnsworth has built a poor reputation with the fans. He's seen as a weak link -- a blower of late-inning leads, an unreliable performer whose balky back occasionally renders him useless when they need him most.

But...because he was once a Cub plus some other random reason, my brother fucking loves Kyle Farnsworth. Like he's probably reading this post right now without pants on.

But slowly, as this year has progressed, Farnsworth has begun to rehabilitate himself. He has taken over the eighth-inning setup role, flourishing as the man in front of Mariano Rivera since Joba Chamberlain moved to the starting rotation. He received a huge vote of confidence from his new manager, who also happens to be one of his former catchers, and he has so far justified it.

Let's assume I just made a really juvenile gay joke. You know, because the word "catcher" was used. Goodness, I'm mailing this shit in big time.

Farnsworth acknowledges having had a tough time his first couple of years in New York, but he says the fans' booing isn't anything that's bothered him.

"Nothing I can do about it," he said. "The important thing is that I never lost confidence in myself and what I can do."

That may be the most cliched thing I've ever heard. I'm just saying is all.

Farnsworth is as fit as any player in the major leagues. He works out five days a week in the offseason, a little less during the season. His typical lunch is grilled chicken and rice. His typical breakfast is eggs and/or oatmeal. He'll mix in a steak here and there for dinner, or a baked sweet potato. He'll even have a cheeseburger every now and then. He has no sweet tooth, so he's able to lay off the desserts -- you're far more likely to find him sipping on a protein shake than dipping into the clubhouse's ice cream freezer -- but most of his nutrition program is sensible.

So, he talks to second graders, and "most of his nutrition program is sensible"? Wow, this was really worth writing a column about, wasn't it?

I feel pretty much the same way about this post. Let me make it up to you with a YouTube clip that is guaranteed to cause infinite happiness...

Come on...wasn't that awesome?

Rick Reilly sucks balls at Sportswriting AND Poetry

True Story: A number of years ago, while at WPCR (Pretentious College Radio) at Ivy League U, I interviewed a member of the 1972 Miami Dolphins (not Mercury Morris). We talked a bit about that season, and at one point the player mentioned that every year they celebrate their accomplishment when the last undefeated team loses. This was long before the Patriots made their run, but every year, some sportswriter someplace would write a column about how the '72 Dolphins are grumpy old men who need to shut the fuck up and go away. Rick Reilly had relatively recently written one such column.

"Well," I asked, "what do you say to someone like Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated who writes that the '72 Dolphins are basically grumpy old men reveling in the short coming of current players?"

"Rick Reilly is a horse's ass."

Truer words were never spoken.

This is all a lead-in to this poem that Reilly "wrote"(?) for ESPN. Seriously, don't click that link. I'm about to break it down for you, and the poem is awful enough without seeing Reilly's douchey face with his douchey voice reading it to you. Here it is, shitty couplet after shitty couplet:

I love the Open from its A's to its Z's
But Most of all, I love it for thee

Seriously? Rhyming "A's to it's Z's" with "thee"? This is sign number one that this will be bad. Also "zed" and "thee" don't even remotely rhyme...

Bangers, Pasties and good stout beer

Roughs so high you can lose Mike Weir

Mike Weir is the ranked 35th in the world. He has not won a major since 2003 and he hasn't won anything at all since October 2007. I tell you this because I asked myself, since when is Mike Weir at all relevant. Then I realized his name happens to rhyme with beer. Silly me.

Wee winding burns and half grown flag sticks

Teeing off and it's only half past six!

I have no idea what the first half of this couplet means. Archie, you Limey bastard you, does this make ANY sense? And yay, they tee off... early... in the morning? Yay?

Funny lies and your still on the tee

Oceans you smell but never see

... I'm seriously starting to lose my motivation guys.

Holes that seem like they're more than a mile

Fairways so narrow you walk single file

Worth noting that that second line was accompanied by a golfer and his caddy walking shoulder to shoulder down a fairway.

Fish and chips and biscuits and tea

Heather and gorse and greens like high seas,

What does that bit about the greens even mean? The greens are wet? The Kraaken lives in the 17th hole at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club? Tiger Woods is Davy Jones? Is this all a lead in to a Monkees embed? Yep!

Okay that's enough fake Beatles for today...

Blokes and chaps and "good shot laddy!"

Drives hit lower than a '56 Caddy

Okay, this is just starting to not make sense at all. Was the '56 Cadillac particularly low? Did Rick mean a "5'6" caddy?" I guess that'd be a pretty low drive but don't we usually describe such people as "short" rather than "low"? And if the reference is to the car, then fuck you, Rick Reilly, for making such an indecipherable reference to a car manufactured 52 years ago.

Rain and cold and gusts that stagger

And Bunkers with lips as big as Mick Jagger's


Fuck this, man. I'm going with the Stones embed here.

Holy shit, I didn't even recognize Keith Richards.

Huge chilly crowds with red rosy mugs

Millionaires lusting for one little jug,

I'm out of energy, man...

And the only way to make them all skittish

Is simply to call their Open the British.

Oh ho ho! I see what you did their Rick Reilly! Everyone else refers to it as the British and they just call it the Open! Ha! No not really all that funny. In fact, it's not funny at all. If there's one thing this world needs less of it's bad poetry. Well, I suppose we could do with less religious intolerance and violence, war, disease, famine, shitty themed restaurants, and child-molesting clergy, but bad poetry ain't too far behind.

ESPN, THIS is what you're paying $2 million a year for? Jesus Christ, this is worse than that time you gave Stephen A. Smith his own show... oh man... ANOTHER embed to close? YAY!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Comics & Sports #4: A 52ian Interlude

As all geeks (looking at you, anyone who realizes the phrase "Neon Genesis Evangelion" isn't just a random assortment of nonsense words) know, every Wednesday (or, in this case, Thursday because I'm still in Central America and my computer actually died on me for like six hours before staging a comeback worthy of Lazarus himself) is that most hallowed of days, new comic book day. In the spirit of that most beautiful of days, I present a feature spotlighting the potentially awesome confluence of sports and comics.

For a whole bunch of reasons (at least two of which were mentioned in the standard intro), this week's post will be a bit abbreviated. To be honest, I'm not sure whether I can guarantee three weekly posts in my present state, but I'll do my very best. Whatever happens, I'll keep you posted.

We're going to take a break from the psychotic fun that is Centaur Comics (we've got at least one absolute doozy in reserve, so it'll definitely be worth the wait) and instead take a look at one of the most obscure corners of the DC universe. And when I say "obscure", I am not even remotely kidding.

A couple years back, DC had a weekly series called 52. It was a series featuring on lesser-known characters told in a real-time during a year without, for various reasons, most of the big guns of the DC universe. It was, all things considered, fucking awesome (although the less said about its technical follow-up Countdown, the better), and it also later served as the namesake for my other weekly feature, which most scholars agree is still its most lasting contribution.

As part of the construction of this larger universe, DC created a tie-in website that was supposedly the online Daily Planet (Clark and Lois's newspaper, for the uninitiated), complete with articles that, to varying degrees, directly described events that could be found in the comics themselves. I say "to varying degrees" because among the vast majority of articles that clearly describe events in the 52 comic there were, for some unfathomable reason, a couple of utterly horrendous fake sports articles. This is one of them.

Bring on The Thunder!

by Ajax McGilicutty, Daily Planet Contributing Sports Reporter

Before we begin, I'd just like to acknowledge that some might consider this week's entry something of a cop-out, an unacceptable deviation from the established format. Well, at the risk of being overly defensive, I would like to defend myself. The most obvious way to do that is to point out someone was, in all probability, paid to write a fake sports article to tie in with a weekly comic book series that had absolutely nothing to do with sports, especially not the story in question. And, as the ultimate "fuck you" to struggling bloggers everywhere, this probably-monetarily-compensated fellow named his fictional sportswriter "Ajax McGilicutty." The inanity of that is almost beyond comprehension. Needless to say, I fucking love it, but I feel my point has been made. I did originally intend to make a point, right?

Fawcett City, May 3 — As a former semi-pro ball player and full-time sports commentator for both the Daily Planet and WHIZ Syndicated Sports Radio I think it's safe to say that I know good basketball when I see it.

Might as well prove my geek stripes and walk you through the comic references as we see them...

1. Fawcett City is the hometown of Captain Marvel; you know, the one who's really a 10-year-old (or thereabouts) boy who turns into Captain Marvel by shouting "Shazam!" It's worth pointing out that "Shazam!" is perhaps the single most hilarious thing somebody could yell during a moment of *AHEM* ultimate passion (although certain Klingon proverbs run a close second). Of course, anybody amused by that is unlikely to find themselves engaged in coitus anytime soon.

2. The Daily Planet is, as previously mentioned, the employer of Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Perry White. I'm fairly sure it's currently owned by Bruce Wayne, although this doesn't come up particularly often. I think it's more of an all-purpose excuse trotted out to explain why Lex Luthor (or, much worse, Rupert Murdoch) never bought the damn thing. Incidentally, while we're on the subject of the Planet, it might be worth wondering why the article's "author" isn't just its resident sportswriter in the comics, seventies meathead Steve Lombard, which would make a hell of a lot more sense that the unbelievably silly moniker that is "Ajax McGilicutty." Maybe they didn't have the rights to use Steve Lombard? Of course, if a random, little-read part of DC's website couldn't use one of its own company's ultra-obscure, little-used bit characters for something as passing as a damn byline...well, I might just weep a little. Also, this article references the Grizzlies later on, which would put them just below Steve fucking Lombard in terms of ease of legal use. Actually, that might make sense.

3. WHIZ Radio is the employer of Billy Batson in a number of incarnations of the character, going right back to his 1940's appearances in Fawcett Comics. Speaking of which, I probably should have mentioned Fawcett City takes its names from the original publisher of Captain Marvel, before the forerunner of DC drove them out of business on the (somewhat dubious) grounds Captain Marvel was a ripoff of Superman.

Anyway, back to sports. What incredibly point does Ajax McGilicutty have to make about basketball?

It's with those qualifiers, not that I'm a long time Fawcett City native, that I say that the Fawcett City Thunder are bringing the noise and look tough to beat in this year's basketball finals.

Holy shit. This is perhaps the most perfect distillation of bad sportswriting I've ever seen. Everything is in place...

1. The utterly spurious, unsubstantiated support ("I know good basketball when I see it")
2. The unbelievably blatant homerism ("not that I'm a long time Fawcett City native...")
3. The lame slang that may - may - have been vaguely cool in the early nineties ("bringing the noise")
4. The vague, Joe-Morgan-esque description of their qualities ("look tough to beat")

The best part is I can't even be sure what this article wants to be. Is it knowing parody written by some bored FJM fan? Is it a sincere imitation written by some bored intern who desperately wants to pitch his Vigilante revival to Geoff Johns but hasn't yet worked out how to approach Johns during lunch in a way that shows him he's cool? I have no idea, and that's what makes this so precious. It's like finding an original copy of the Declaration of Independence at a garage sale, but then discovering a DVD of National Treasure is taped to the back, complete with possibly stoned Nicolas Cage commentary.

With that all said, let's press on.

Solomon Williams' seemingly unstoppable defense has been solid all season and looks to be just as impenetrable in the post-season, with a whopping ten steals in last week's game alone.

Is defense really "unstoppable"? Sure, it's definitely impenetrable, no doubt about that, but unstoppable? I mean, if we're talking immovable object and irresistible force here, defense is obviously the immovable object. C'mon, Ajax McGilicutty, get your head in the game!

Oh, and ten steals would tie this Solomon Williams with eleven other people for second-most all-time, behind only Kendall Gill's eleven back in 1999. So "whopping" might almost be underplaying it.

Coupled with the aptly named Johnny Hooper's offensive leadership and the Thunder look flawless.

Not a sentence. That was so self-referential my mind now actually hurts a little bit. Oh, and who wants to bet the article's ghostwriter decided he had "nailed it" when he called the team's best scorer "Johnny Hooper"? That thought is simultaneously hilarious and strangely moving, like an Onion article that makes you slowly realize most people's lives really are that tragically mundane.

It's no surprise that they've already clinched their position in the next round with a 4-0 sweep over the Memphis Grizzlies.

It's nice to know that, even in the fictional DC Universe where they're the only real NBA team name-checked, the Grizzlies are still a perfectly acceptable punching bag. Some things really should be constant in all universes.

Sure you could argue that it's early in the post and you can't rule out the traditional powerhouses like the Gotham Guardsmen, or the rising newcomers like the Opal City Gems, but if you ask this reporter's opinion, something magical is happening in Fawcett City this year. Go Thunder!

And that's the end of the fake article. Weird use of "post" instead of "postseason", a couple vague allusions to two other teams that makes a mockery of the very definition of "analysis", and then a moment of total cheerleading in an article that claimed the author's opinions were based on rational analysis. Like I said, this is the perfect imitation of bad sportswriting I've ever seen.

And I still like it better than a Plaschke article. But then, you knew that joke was coming.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hot steaming feature.

This week in SI.com Truth and Rumors message board commentary: Brett Favre.

"He's had a great career but it's all about Brent. He just doesn't know when to let go."
"Hear we go again, week 2, same ish!"
"i used to like and respect favre. he just needs a little bit of STFU and sit down now."
"Since Bret "will always be a Packer", he should accept the "different role" of player-coach..."
"Maybe he should go back to ATL finish where he really started or not."

And my favourite (of the first 80 or so comments. There are 650.):

"Where are some of your heads? You call yourself Fans! This is the Packers head brass fault! Yeah, Brett retired regretting it! But, that doesn't mean he can't come back! And for the Packers Brass out there this is a simple problem for ya. You either want him to play for ya or you don't. The most evident issues of all this coming out. Is the Brass knows Brett can play better then Aaron any day of the week. As far as legacy goes Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy's are going down real fast. They will be a blip on the history of the Packers. No matter what happens here. Brett will have his legacy intact. Sometimes a team not Brett need to know when to let go. Unless you come to terms that you want the most arguably best QB ever to play the game. Who can that be? Oh, Brett Favre. Well, look at this way the Vikings will take hiim any day. Come on over Brett we have a opening waiting for ya. I know this won't happen but you Cheese Heads that don't won't Brett Favre back need to get your heads out of the clouds! We are talking about a person who already is a Legend!"

Bread and Butter

I'd estimate 90% of my posts are about things seen on SI.com, and there're two guys in particular. One showed his butterball face yesterday, and the other had some thoughts today. It's Jon Heyman, and I actually only have two quibbles today. One was:

A Barry bad way to go out

Not acceptable. The other was:
Josh Hamilton ... wow. That's all I'll say about that. OK, maybe one more thing: How does Justin Morneau go home with the Home Run Derby trophy if everyone knows that Hamilton outdid him by about a mile (in home-run distances)?

Even though Justin Morneau is from New Westminster and wears Canucks shirts at batting practice...yeah, it's silly. But, uh, shit gets silly when slates get wiped clean and "champions" are decided based on a tiny sample size. Where was your outrage then, Heyman? Let me have my small, British Columbian fun.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Out of the wilderness.

Not literally. I'm still, physically, in the wilderness of northern Canada, where the Home Run Derby is strangely delayed for two hours so that we can watch Don Taylor and Dave Pratt talk about which is the best summer song. Yay, televised sports radio!

No, I'm talking about my month of gloom and darkness, brought on by the inconsiderate, vacation-taking Peter King. But he's back, and he's got Favre on his mind and vacation stories to tell. A warning: this is rough. Pete isn't funny and neither am I. This is a slough. The Favre stuff is eh whatever, except for two little things. First, a controversial thesis statement:
Here's the question in the Brett Favre saga as we wade through his request to be released and the Packers' denial and the firestorm it's created in Wisconsin: How will the endgame play out?
Uh...yeah. You're gonna get hit hard for insinuating that where Favre ends up is what's of interest (as opposed to what?), but stick to your guns, man. There was this too:
[Pack GM Ted Thompson] said Favre's return to the Green Bay locker room "theoretically could be awkward. But football players usually figure out a way to make things work.''

Maybe. I don't know how you possibly could make this work -- one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, coming off one of his three or four best seasons ever, returning to the team to back up a guy who's never started an NFL game. It's absolutely absurd.

Not, uh, not that absurd if the OOTGQbOAT guy is pretty old and said he was leaving for good, allowing the team to give the former back-up an offseason of support and first-team reps and stuff, only to have the OOTGQbOAT guy show up a few weeks before training camp saying "I want back in." I dunno. I don't like going up against PK on actual football stuff, because the gap between his fuhbawwwww knowledge and mine is similar to that between mine and my dog's...but I think he's seeing through Favrejuice-tinted glasses a bit here.

Anyway, Peter was back in the non-football swing of things pretty quickly, with a travel note about a bicyclist attacking a motorist in Oregon. He finished with this hard-hitting commentary:
Not sure what the moral of the story is, but it's not good.
Whatevs, PK. Let's get on with the summer vacation:
June 14, Athens, Ohio: I do not fret for our future. After 28 hours on campus for graduation, I drove away thinking how serious and dedicated so many of these kids are, more than I remembered my class being. Not just brown-nosing nerdy serious. The summer editor of the student paper I used to work for, The Post, is going to law school in the fall. When I met with a bunch of the Posties, there was no talk of drunken nights waking up in some strange dorm. Internships, ethics, cultivating sources. That was the talk. I was also surprised there wasn't a lot of job fear. These kids think they'll find their way, maybe not in traditional media but in some form of info-gathering.
I love that PK's worries about the future are completely placated by the fact that a couple college kids didn't tell him about drinking. King follows it up with a story about his softball team raising money for people in Iowa, and finishes it with:
Goosebumpy stuff.
Peter King's a horrible writer.
June 25, Clifton, N.J.: My wife had been on me for weeks -- months, really -- to get the burgeoning freckle/mole on my right forearm taken off, and so I saw a dermatologist who agreed it must go. I never would have gone on my own. Too busy. But I went. Mole removed. Size of an Atomic Fireball. Routine. Six stitches. Doc, Jonathan Gold, said I'm fine. Gave me 55 and 70 SPF sunscreen and told me to wear it. Life goes on.
That's, um, gross, Pete. Really. There are people out there like me who read your softball stories because we have no social life and have nothing better to do and are petty. There are people out there who probably skip the softball stories. There are (theoretically) people who read your softball stories because they enjoy them. You know what all these people have in common? None of them care about your disgusting skin.

And "Life goes on."? Peter King's writing just makes my skin crawl. It screams "I am an incredibly boring man!". He's still the champ of short sentences, though. 36 words. 9 sentences. Ama. zing.
[There's a softball player I coach] who's not as fast but just as gritty and competes like Dustin Pedroia.
Is Pedroia really that gritty and compete-y, even? By the way, if this is somehow an allusion to Eckstein, I...I hate you, Peter.
July 1, Clifton, N.J.: "I need you to come in today or tomorrow,'' Dr. Gold said on the phone. Oh? What for?'' "Your mole came back with a melanoma.'' Cancer. I think he said after that he thought it was contained within the original mole and tissue he cut out, but all I could think of is, What is this guy talking about? Isn't melanoma something for old people in the sun too long?

I go in the next day. The protocol for such things, I see on WebMD.com, is to cut out an area three-quarters of an inch in all directions to make sure the melanoma has not spread into the lymph nodes or bloodstream. The procedure was longer, and the smell of burning skin more intense as he burned and cut the innocent tissue away. "You'll always have a little dent in your forearm now,'' he said as he sewed up the gulf with 25 stitches, then looked down at his handiwork. "Looks like the laces on a football."

Fire Peter King's editor.

Anyway, King's dog didn't handle fireworks very well, Mary Beth bailed for the west coast (Peter, you must be a millionaire. How could any millionaire's month off be this damn boring), and:
I stopped for the afternoon in Chicago, lathered on the 55 SPF sunscreen, and sat in the seventh row of the left-field bleachers at Wrigley Field for Cubs 3, Giants 1. The guy a few seats away asked me, "What's your favorite ballpark?'' And I told him the story of taking my late mother to Wrigley for the first time, maybe eight or 10 years ago, and how she'd been used to Fenway Park and didn't think any place could every be better, and in the seventh-inning stretch, she leaned over to me and said, "Peter, I think this is better than Fenway.''
I'm willing to lay decent money that Peter King answers every simple question with an elaborate story about his family. So, that was Peter's vacation. Again, and to nobody's surprise, fucking boring.
In the mortal words of Mike Greenberg, "We're back and better than ever.''
Google hits for "in the mortal words of": 289 (That's 17^2!). Google hits for "in the immortal words of": 345,000. Typo? Joke I don't get? Joke that's just unimaginably unfunny? Or just crushing stupidity from everyone involved?
If there's something more stupid in sports than allowing fans to vote thousands of times for the baseball all-star game, I don't know what it is. It became a matter of civic pride to get Evan Longoria (who deserved it, I might add) into the summer classic, and so the good people of Tampa Bay were asked to vote over and over for Longoria online so he could be the final member of the AL team. In the National League, one guy estimated he voted 70,000 times for Pat Burrell. Fix the sham-mockery, Bud.
I'll see that and raise you, I dunno, half of all Olympic sports. Or every program on the WWL. Or, closer to the topic, everything about baseball year-end award and HOF voting. Or, closer still, players voting for all-star team members. What exactly is the problem with letting fans see who they want?
I ask all of you out there who have whatever agendas you have to please allow the presidential race to be decided on the issues, not on the myriad other phony things (like the silly Obama's-a-Muslim stuff) starting to crop up.
I am so fucking inspired.

Anyway, there you have it. PK's back, and the time off really seems to have helped him, as he was pretty aggravating this week.