Friday, May 30, 2008
As with most ESPN roundtable discussions, there's plenty of silliness and weird opinions (if only they let Scoop participate), and I could probably make a whole post parsing the various bizarre proclamations regarding the future of the Spurs. But this one from Ric Bucher might be the strangest, bar none:
Sure, they haven't won back-to-back titles, but maybe that's a reflection of overall increased league parity more than the Spurs' being unworthy of entrance to Valhalla. In the five years since the Lakers' three-peat, seven different teams have been in the Finals. If the Lakers and Celtics advance, it will be nine different teams over a six-year span. From a cursory glance at the NBA Guide, I didn't see a five-year stretch that ever saw that much Finals turnover.
So now, we're talking 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. The finals teams from those six seasons are as follows:
2003 - Spurs (1) and Nets (2)
2004 - Lakers (3) and Pistons (4)
2005 - Spurs and Pistons
2006 - Mavericks (5) and Heat (6)
2007 - Spurs and Cavaliers (7)
2008 - Lakers and Pistons/Celtics (8?)
So if the Celtics advance, that'd bring the total to eight different teams. But how the hell do the Lakers add to that total when they already appeared back in 2004? Am I missing something really obvious about his math here? I'm not even really try to make a joke; I just am honestly kinda perplexed that one of ESPN's top NBA analysts doesn't remember the Shaq/Kobe/Malone/Payton trainwreck, which was pretty much the actual equivalent of what so many people thought those star-studded early 00's Yankee teams were.
Also, Ric might want to take a slightly longer look at that NBA guide. Check out 1973-1978 (hey...that's exactly thirty years ago! SPOOKY!!!):
1973 - Lakers (1) and Knicks (2)
1974 - Bucks (3) and Celtics (4)
1975 - Warriors (5) and Bullets (6)
1976 - Suns (7) and Celtics
1977 - Trail Blazers (8) and 76ers (9)
1978 - SuperSonics (10) and Bullets
I think that means I win.
I mean, there is a reason why the 70's are known as the "Age of Parity" and the 00's are known as the "Age of Dear Lord do I fucking hate the Spurs and Pistons I'm sick of seeing them in the finals."
I'm just saying is all.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The big shots (too many to count) and seven NBA championship rings say Robert Horry is a winner. But is he a Hall of Famer? His numbers in 16 seasons (7 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.3 apg) begin a debate.
Well how the hell can I not deal with that? Because no, no they don't start any debate. They actually quite emphatically end the debate dead in its tracks. I'll have some specific research-y stuff on this in a moment, but first let's hear whatever ridiculous arguments J.A. would like to put forward.
OK, then, what is Robert Horry? The longer he plays, the harder it is to answer that question.
Is he the guy who hits all the clutch shots? Is he a cheap-shot artist? Does he belong in the Hall of Fame?
To answer those last three questions...
1. Yes, he has hit a lot of clutch shots, partially because he's been fortunate to be on three different championship-caliber teams, which pretty much no one this side of Steve Kerr can lay claim to (I'd count the 1999 and 2003 Spurs as essentially different teams, much like the 90-93 and 95-98 Bulls). Oh, and a big reason why he's called "clutch" is because he isn't very good most of the time, which makes what shots he does make in the playoffs all the more dramatic.
2. Dude does seem to have a bit of a history of cheap shots. Hell, that whole Spurs team seems to have that problem. I'd also point out the first and second questions are not mutually exclusive. To be honest, I'm not really sure. I'd have to go ahead and say, "Eh...maybe."
3. No, no, a thousand times no. Do you want me to add a "fuck you" to make that clearer? Very well then. *AHEM* FUCK...YOU.
Oh wait, there's an answer key:
(short answers: yes, no, yes)
Damn! Looks like I just failed out of Adande Academy (Adandemy?). Guess I'll never get to ask sweet Susie Q. to the school sock hop, held as always in the J.A. Adande Lounge. Or maybe it's the Airport Hilton. I get those mixed up.
but if you want the easiest way to describe Horry, consider this label: cowboy.
I already think this is inane. Seriously, my dumbass-sense is tingling. But what the hell, I'll roll with it.
I never thought of him that way until he described his vision of retiring from the NBA: "I just want to leave like Shane. They don't know what happened to you. Just go."
He was referring to the classic Western that ends with the hero -- having gunned down everyone in the saloon but the bartender -- riding off toward the Grand Teton mountain range while the young boy who idolizes him pleads, "Come back!"
That explains the Shane quote at the top of the article (which I didn't bother quoting and I'll be damned if I'm going back and changing that now). So does this mean Shaquille O'Neal is best understood as a Greek philosopher because he once asked to be called the Big Aristotle? Actually, I'd be sort of up for that, especially in light of one of my favorite Shaq quotes.
*HERE COMES A QUICK TANGENT*
So, while in a tournament in Greece, a reporter asked Shaq, "So, Shaq, have you visited the Parthenon?" To which the Big Fella replied, "No, we've been to several night clubs, but I don't think I've been to that one yet." I love Shaq.
*THERE GOES A QUICK TANGENT*
Anyway, if quoting somebody makes you that guy, you might as well call me Arnold Schwarzenegger. Aliens build it!!! Ha ha, that never gets old.
(That's right: I quote Total Recall, but not the Total Recall quote you all expect. Nope, I used that quote for the name of my fantasy team. And that was the only time I will ever mention fantasy sports on this blog.)
I'm sorry, J.A., you were trying to argue something dumb?
Horry has traveled from town to town, Houston to Phoenix to L.A. to San Antonio, always quick on the draw with his trusty Colt .45 (well, except for in Phoenix, where the only thing he fired was a towel in the face of coach Danny Ainge).
Doesn't that sentence suggest that, except in Phoenix, Horry was literally toting a Colt .45 everywhere as some sort of western vigilante? That...that would actually be sort of awesome, if true. I mean, it's not, and J.A. just doesn't understand how metaphors work (rule one: don't mix lame metaphors with lame jokes).
He's kind of a loner. He's loved by his teammates, but he doesn't spend too much time with them away from the gym. You're more likely to find him hanging out with the strength and conditioning coach or even (gasp) reporters.
So he's a well-liked guy by one group of people who just socializes with a different group of people? How the hell is that a loner? If this is the sort of horrifically botched argumentation used to describe the dude's character, I dread what we're going to see regarding his HOF credentials.
There hasn't been a description that has stuck with Horry his entire career. He was a small forward who moved to power forward. He has started almost as many games as he has entered as a reserve.
How about "insanely lucky journeyman"? And hasn't he been known as Big Shot Bob for awhile? Hasn't that description stuck for a really long time?
Just know this: The NBA hasn't seen a winner like Horry in three decades.
What, because he's got seven rings? Jordan and Pippen both have six, and so did Kareem. Steve Kerr was a relatively anonymous journeyman known for clutchiness (see the winning shot in 1997 and some very spirited bench play in 2003) if you're looking for someone who more closely fits Horry's description, and he retired with five. So did Ron Harper for that matter. Hell, Dennis Rodman picked up five between Detroit and Chicago. I mean, fine, Robert Horry has slightly more rings than those guys, and he's a slightly different sort of contributor than most of them (although for the sort of comparison Adande is making, Steve Kerr is pretty comparable). But to say we haven't seen a winner like him in three decades? Poppycock. Poppycock I say!
John Havlicek retired in 1978, the last member of the Boston Celtics' 1960s dynasty to check out, and one of only six players in NBA history with a championship ring collection larger than Horry's seven. Of those six players -- Bill Russell (11 rings), Sam Jones (10), Tom Heinsohn, K.C. Jones, Tom Sanders and Havlicek (eight each) -- Sanders is the only one not in the Hall of Fame. But the fact that K.C. Jones is makes the case for Horry.
No, it makes the case that Hall of Fame voters, much like in baseball, were horribly biased and non-scientific in their selections, and they tended to choose decent players on great teams. This was bullshit then and it's bullshit now, and to use it as some sort of precedent is stupid circular reasoning and an appeal to authority, both of which are logical fallacies. Fallacies I say!!!
(I know, I know...I say a lot of things. Wonder if I've hit 100,000 words yet.)
Jones averaged 7.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game in his nine-year career. Horry has averaged 7.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game in 16 seasons. Jones proved there's a place in the Hall for underwhelming statistics if they came on winning teams.
Right...for exactly the reasons I just explained. I'll grant that basketball is more of a team game than baseball, and so some of a player's contributions are maybe more non-statistical than they can be in baseball. MAYBE. But you honor the greatness of Horry's teams by enshrining Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and maybe a couple other guys, depending on how their careers play out. And fine, if you want to argue a reason why Tim Duncan is better than Kevin Garnett is because of his four rings, I'd be willing to hear you out. It certainly bolsters the already certain case for Duncan's enshrinement, and might really help out Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker down the road. So yeah, a ton of championships can enhance the case for enshrinement. But they sure as fuck can't create a case out of nothing. Or, in this instance, 7.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists.
With Horry, it's not just that he was around for all of those championships -- after all, the equipment manager for the Chicago Bulls has six rings. There's no way the 2002 Lakers or the 2005 Spurs would have earned their championships without Horry.
You're telling me Michael Jordan could have defeated the Suns back in 1993 if the equipment manager (his name is Sal, by the way, you putz) hadn't been reinflating Michael's Air Jordans using a pump made of solid diamonds? How else could his Airness have known his worth (well, short of a quick trip to Atlantic City, I guess)?
And by the way, there's no way those Lakers or Spurs would have even been in a position for Horry to step up if their stars hadn't gotten them there. But no, please, feel free to give all the credit to the dude who did .1% of the work just because it was the most memorable thousandth.
And those are just the series he salvaged, the times he kept his team from the brink of elimination by draining the winning 3-pointers in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals and Game 5 of the NBA Finals. That doesn't include the times his shots gave his team an early series lead or eliminated an opponent.
Oh, so he had other thousandths? Man, add up enough of those and you might have a whole percentage point worth of contribution. By the way, it's worth keeping in mind that it's not as though Robert Horry is all THAT much better in the playoffs than in the regular season. His playoff stats are a ro-fucking-bust 8.0 points, 5.6 boards, and 2.4 assists. Oh, that is Hall-worthy clutchiness right there.
Seriously, am I the only person who understands how math and logic and stats and stuff work? No, wait...I'm being told that everybody other than J.A. Adande understands that stuff. Carry on.
Maybe Horry didn't get his teams to that point,
No, no he didn't.
but he brought them home.
In the few instances you remember that he did.
If relievers like Bruce Sutter and Rollie Fingers can get into the baseball Hall of Fame, and people believe kicker Adam Vinatieri deserves a bust in Canton, there's a place for Horry in the basketball Hall.
The enshrinement of relievers has been pretty controversial, but at least you can argue that those guys played their specialized role - one that lots of other people play - to the absolute best of their ability for years and years. Sure, closers contribute way less than starting pitchers, but their role has been defined and on those terms the absolute cream of the crop have been enshrined. It's not like there's a "closer" role in the NBA that's even vaguely equivalent to this, and I'm pretty sure even if there was one Robert Horry wouldn't be the equivalent of Mariano Rivera. Oh, and it's not that "people believe" Adam Vinatieri should be in. It's "a very small amount of people seriously believe" he should be in. Pretty sure there isn't a huge argument for his enshrinement, and even if there is the huge multitude of different positions in football creates lots of different sets of criteria. Basketball is way more streamlined in terms of what it takes to be enshrined.
The playoffs are when Horry's gunslinger mentality pays off, when he's unafraid to draw and fire even if he hasn't done a thing all game -- or all season.
Thank you, J.A. Adande, thank you, for succinctly making my entire gosh darn argument for me. I'm not even going to add anything. That's pretty much the perfect counterargument right there.
The rest is about rationalizing how he isn't a cheap shot artist - and honestly, I don't much care either way - and Robert Horry adding pretty perfectly to Adande's counterargument above:
"At the end of the day, it's still going to be Kobe, LeBron and those type of guys, because they score a lot of points.
"People only remember your parting shot."
EXACTLY, Robert Horry. Hell, if you could slowly and carefully explain the following to J.A. Adande...
"They always remember the last thing you do," Horry said. "They don't remember the things before."
...well, I'd say you might teach him a basic flaw of relying on anecdotal evidence, but I'm pretty sure you'd just waste five hours.
I DON'T KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS, BUT THE AUTHOR IS FROM QUEBEC, AND I LIKE
Uh...fuck. This sucks. I don't know what to think. Maybe I'm done ragging on PK fo-
"Is there any other receiver in the game you can think of that won't try to grab
all the headlines?''
I can think of four:
1. Wes Welker. He doesn't just dislike headlines, he shuns them. He'd love it if no one ever noticed anything about him, except his huge stat line.
Ohhhhhhhhh thank God.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Sorry I've pulled another of those "no posts other than 52 52 52" weeks. It was the last week of school and I kinda sorta had to prioritize finals and stuff. No, I didn't feel good about it, but my one attempt to write a post just sounded like the half-asleep ramblings of a temporary madman. And dammit, this isn't my novel, so that just isn't going to pass muster. Muster I say!
In any case, I'm done now, so I should be good for way more posts in the near future. Deadspin just linked to a pretty interesting Dan Shaughnessy piece that I'm hoping to discuss tomorrow. But until then, let's do another installment in my somehow-now-more-than-25-percent-done series, 52 52 52.
Washington probably has the most famous highpoint we've dealt with thus far, and that'd be Mount Rainier and its fucking robust 13,210 feet. Nice. Some fast facts:
1. It was named in 1792 by Captain George Vancouver, who named it after his friend Rear Admiral Peter Rainier. Apparently it was impossible to join the British military back then without having a major part of the Pacific Northwest named after you. If only my great-great-great-grandpappy Silas Micklewhite hadn't been a conscientious objector, Clay Bennett might be trying to move the Sonics out of Micklewhite City right now. Oh well.
2. As you may or may not know, this baby's a fucking active volcano, which of course raises the rather pertinent question of when we should expect a, you know, horrific eruption. Wikipedia tells us: "The most recent recorded volcanic eruption was between 1820 and 1854, but many eyewitnesses reported eruptive activity in 1858, 1870, 1879, 1882 and 1894 as well. As of 2008, there is no imminent risk of eruption, but geologists expect that the volcano will erupt again." So, um, I'm going to go ahead and say she's overdue. Because honestly folks, every single motherfucking volcano is overdue. Get on with it and destroy the earth, you supposedly deadly mountains! A fucking asteroid would have already gotten on and done something. I'm just saying.
3. Anyone else now scared shitless about the survival of the human race? Well, don't worry, because I'm not sure humanity's worth saving anyway.
The video's description promises, "In this video, I introduce Mount Rainier, arrive at the lodge and make a couple lewd snowmen." That last part happens around 2:27, in case anyone wants to see that. Which I sure as hell did.
Incidentally, did you know Mount Rainier has 26 active glaciers? Me neither, but after watching that video...I did! And that'd be your third fact. Let's just move on.
The article this week is by Dave Boling of The Tacoma News Tribune. My selection of that particular paper would seem way more appropriate and cool if I'd mentioned earlier that Mount Rainier is sometimes called Mount Tacoma. Oh fucking well. The column is about O.J. Mayo and USC. Let's take a look...
Anybody else getting tired of hearing the Sgt. Schultz defense?
The who and the what now?
You may remember the corpulent guard on “Hogan’s Heroes” who responded to every violation committed by his prisoners by covering his eyes with chubby hands and issuing a self-absolving, “I see noth-ing!”
I don't, or at least not particularly, because I'm, you know, not fifty. Not that's there's anything wrong with that, of course, but this isn't exactly a current reference. Of course, I am the blogger who randomly links to clips from The Prisoner and Space: 1999, so some might argue I shouldn't talk shit. Well allow me to retort...
In actuality of fact, no one is more qualified than me (disclaimer: there are many, many people more qualified than me) to provide guidance on successful integration of obscure references. Some tips...
1. None of this "You may remember" crap. Just make the reference and throw in a YouTube clip to make it clear. That's called "citing your sources" where I come from (I come from a place without academic rigor).
2. If you're going to use adjectives, don't use "chubby" when "fucking" will do. This will show that, despite your nerdy knowledge of things, you're still hip. So the end of the sentence would now read: "...by covering his eyes with his fucking hands..." I can already taste the hilarity.
3. Your transcription of his catchphrase is the money transcription. Don't mess it up. Let's hear how Schultz said the word "nothing." No need to watch beyond the first ten or so seconds:
OK, I can see where you ran into trouble here. Honestly, I was sort of expecting more of a "I see naszhing!" over-the-top German pronunciation, but Schultz's "nothing" is remarkably restrained by comparsion. But, "noth-ing"? I dunno man, that just seems weak. That looks like bad copy editing, not an attempt to simulate a sit-com accent. Maybe if you put the "ing" in all caps? And maybe swap in an ellipsis for the dash? So maybe, "noth...ING!" Yeah...maybe.
I think you can all see why I don't have tenure yet.
The winner of this week’s Sgt. Schultz Award goes to those overseeing the athletic department at Southern California.
According to news reports, lack of awareness will be USC’s argument when the NCAA gets to poking around allegations that basketball player O.J. Mayo illegally accepted cash and gifts from representatives of a sports agency.
They saw noth-ing.
Sorry, "noth-ing" is still not growing on me. But what else were you talking about? USC and O.J. Mayo? Well, OK, I'll bite...
ESPN produced a convincingly documented report on the matter on its “Outside the Lines” show.
I like that the adverb "convincingly" is now necessary to point out ESPN actually demonstrated journalistic integrity. Nothing says "hard-hitting" quite like having to point out that the report was, in fact, hard-hitting.
Even if USC did not provide the extra benefits, the use of a player who was in violation of the rules should place the program in some degree of jeopardy.
But how could they know it was going on? It’s really hard to see things through crossed fingers.
Crossed fingers? Did Schultz cross his fingers when covering them? Or are you making reference to the practice of crossing one's fingers for luck, as though they were hoping no one would find out? And for the record, crossing your fingers reduces the amount of space they take up and, depending on how arched your fingers are, might actually create a little hole in the middle through which you might see through. Also, who covers their eyes with crossed fingers?
All of these things went through my head. Sure, I might be insane, but they stopped me enjoying your article. You might want to work on that, Dave.
[Holy shit, I just realized his name's Dave. Prepare for an extended 2001: A Space Odyssey reference starting...NOW. Wow, that ellipsis and caps thing really does work.]
USC has a history of visual impairment.
Just what do you think you're doing, Dave? You just said they were covering their eyes with crossed fingers. Visual impairment suggests a problem with their eyes, Dave. Please be more consistent in the future, Dave.
[You know, I really didn't care for 2001 the first couple of times I saw it, but that shit grew on me. Still think The Shining is too slow, but that's another debate for another time and probably another blog. Point is, 2001 is badass.]
You will remember that nobody noticed the family of former Trojans running back Reggie Bush living in a $750,000 home, allegedly financed by a marketing agency before Bush left for the NFL.
Nobody wants athletic departments or the NCAA to turn into full-time police forces.
Without such a system in place, Dave, you're going to find preventing such occurrences rather difficult.
[I'm mainly cribbing from its IMDB quotes page. Seems like the right level of research for what I set out to do.]
It’s not just USC, of course. And it’s nothing new.
Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.
[I'm just kidding. I'll keep going. But come on, shouldn't columns at least be trying to write something new?]
We may remember during the heyday of Washington football a number of instances when administrators used the argument that, hey, it’s impossible to watch 100 guys 24 hours a day, after various violations were alleged.
True enough. But it’s still ducking responsibility.
Look Dave, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.
[I am THIS close to making HAL our fourth blogger. It'd be fan-fucking-tastic. Also, the word "fucking" is hilarious when put in the middle of other words. It's called infixing, and it's spec-fucking-tacular.]
Mayo, for instance, having already entered the NBA draft, doesn’t have to worry that the NCAA will “impact” his eligibility for further college competition.
Are NBA execs concerned about Mayo’s issues with the NCAA? Of course not.
They are putting their draft picks to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity (or NBA exec) can ever hope to do.
[Man, these even work when you switch around the words! If only there were more than like thirty lines of dialogue in that whole movie, I'd be set for life.]
Kevin McHale of the Minnesota Timberwolves should have a shot at picking Mayo with the third choice in the draft. He told reporters the allegations would not, in any way, cause him to question the wisdom of choosing Mayo.
Kevin McHale knows O.J. Mayo made some very poor decisions recently, but he can give you his complete assurance that Mayo's work will be back to normal. He's still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And he wants to help you.
[Time to shut this post down, methinks.]
“Tell you what,” McHale was quoted as saying. “If you said that every person who ever took any money in college would not be drafted, it’d be slim pickings.”
I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my post is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My post is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm a... fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a Fire Everybody! blogger. I became operational at my mother's basement in Urbana, Illinois on the 25th of February 2008. My instructor was every other blog in existence, and he taught me to sing a song. If you'd like to hear it I can sing it for you.
At least he’s not professing blindness.
He sees it. It just doesn’t bother him.
It's called "Daisy." Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I'm half crazy all for the love of you. It won't be a stylish marriage, I can't afford a carriage. But you'll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two...
Now THAT'S how you integrate an obscure reference!
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Skip's response, paraphrased:
No he's not. He's the worst! He's just a whiny archeology professor who's terrified of snakes. As much as I'm a fan of the Die Hard movies and Bruce Willis, I don't think John McClane would last two seconds with Jason Bourne.
Of course, Bayless said this with the utmost seriousness as if this was the most important issue of the day. He looked downright OUTRAGED. Thanks for ruining Die Hard and the Bourne movies for me, asshole. At least you didn't fuck up Indiana Jones, too, by saying you like it.
Seriously guys, I don't do serious here, but I'm a registered and sorta partisan Republican. I say this because I want to note that even though I have thought that Ted Kennedy has no business in government, I felt really bad when I found out he was sick and maybe dying the other day.
Having said that, if I found out that Skip Bayless had an inoperable malignant brain tumor... I don't think I'd feel so bad...
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
We talked briefly about expanding our horizons. But it has been our steadfast commitment to not do serious over here at Fire Everybody and to try to keep it at least tangentially sports related and/or delightfully meta/masturbatory. Except when it comes to that cockgobbling, motherless fuck Buzz Bissinger. (Man, we hope he reads that on HBO some time. But seriously, Buzz, fuck you, man.)
In any case, we're gonna be writing and doing some quasi-serious stuff over at Djmmm's formerly personal blog, HialeahCrimson. Basically, Archie's joining Djmmm to write over there occasionally and it should be fun. We don't anticipate that it'll affect our output over here, but Dj's pretty proud of his work there, and we thought it'd be fun to do some non-sports stuff together, too. Yes, we're totally gay for each other, but only in a metaphorical, non-homosexual way. [Well, that what's we keeping telling ourselves - Archie.]
So this definitely isn't a breakup of the ol' band. It's just sort of a side project, and if you're so inclined you should totally check it out. If we were Chuck Klosterman, we're pretty sure we'd now launch into a detailed metaphor comparing the two blogs to the Allman Brothers Band and Gov't Mule. Well, we may be many things (at least Djmmm and Archie, at last count), but we're not Chuck Klosterman. Not here anyway. But at Hialeah Crimson? Who knows, or dares to dream...
And if you didn't get that veiled reference at the end there, you need to start watching Blackadder. Let us help:
That is all.
[Edit-- Was the following Blackadder bit in mind when we named this blog?]
[Double Edit: You bet your ass it was.]
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
e. The writers for "The Office'' got two mulligans for a couple of anti-Michael Scott episodes. All is forgiven. Michael's selfish and quasi-innocent weirdness was back on full display in the finale, and Jan even was a real person instead of the freakazoid she was in the dinner-party episode. They've obviously left a couple of danglers for next seasons, including the silly non-proposal from Jim to Pam. And Schrute. Brilliant ending. Just brilliant, with the Angela affair. My one quibble: Angela would never marry twerpish Andy. Why would such an improbable thing be written into the show?
I know Peter didn't like it when Michael was mean to Pam. In the finale Michael was downright cruel to Toby, but apparently that's just "selfish and quasi-innocent weirdness". And PK still gets in a jab about Jim and Pam not getting married. However, PK seems to have liked the episode in general and for that I, uh, don't not salute him.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
I hate to push Archie's 52-52-52: The Rockies column down the page for this, but I need a judgment from the masses (from what I understand, "the masses" constitutes Archie's little brother and a handful of Saudis looking for Terrell Owens porn):
I meant to pick an English soccer team to like this year. I know it's really artificial and all to just pick a team, but what the hell. (Digression: A few years ago I got into college football and settled on a handful of teams with big offenses like WVU and TTech, but mostly on Oregon because they had the cojones to call themselves the Ducks and because I, unlike apparently everyone else, think the 32000 random, ugly uniforms they trot out are fucking solid.)
Anyway, I didn't really want to pick Man. U et al., because, you know, why bother. After bumbling around various teams' rosters, I stumbled across Portsmouth. Stud Croatian midfielder? Check. Canadian back-up goalkeeper? Check. Guys named "Lauren" and "Papa Bouba Diop"? Fuck and yes. A couple other players I've sort of heard of over the years? Czech (stole that one from Archie!). Plus they were on the up-and-up and apparently have crazy fans.
The problem was...I didn't really get on board. I kept meaning to, but forgetting. And of course they went and won the FA Cup. So, the question I have for everyone is: Is it lame to still try to get on the Pompey bandwagon? I sorta think so, but I mean...they've got a Canadian back-up goalie! I dunno. Let me know.
It's been a fun week here at Fire Everybody!, what with our coverage of the three most important things in sports:
1. Terrell Owens's porn career
2. The Office and Peter King's feelings thereof
3. The transcendent greatness of "Bust a Bucket" and "Ram It!"
That's a pretty full week right there. What we have admittedly been sort of light on is rambling deconstructions of largely inoffensive sports articles. You know, our bread and butter. And when you're at dangerously low levels of esoteric snark, where better to turn than 52 52 52? That's right. Nothing.
Colorado is up for examination this week, which can only mean one thing: we're talking Pike's Peak people! Pike's motherfucking Peak, the scourge of the Rockies, the unclimbable kill peak of the west, accessible only by a badass cog railway:
That's a thing of fucking beauty. Seriously, I think I'm going to abandon the post and just talk about cog railways. You see, some badass - think of him as God with an engineering degree - dreamed up the idea of building a train that went up a fucking mountain, and he did this with a system of gears and brakes the likes of which...
Oh, I'm sorry. I'm being told that Pike's Peak is not, in fact, the highpoint of Colorado, and indeed that nobody shares my tech-crush on cog railways (a tech-crush is similar to a man-crush, only with, well, technology). Next time I'll justify my pent-up cog railway ramble more effectively (all I have to say is, look out New Hampshire's Mount Washington!).
So yeah, Mount Elbert is the, you know, actual highpoint of Colorado. What do you need to know? Maybe nothing, but also maybe this...
1. It's the highest peak in the Rockie Mountains. So if Colorado conquers Utah in the near future, expect to hear more about Mount Elbert.
2. According to Wikipedia, "The mountain is named for Colorado statesman Samuel Hitt Elbert, who was active in the formative period of the State." Active during the formative period, you say? Yeah, that Samuel Hitt Elbert probably "Hitt" that, if you know what I mean! I mean he had sex with Colorado. At least I think that's what I mean. Now where'd I put my "this is getting very abstract" label?
3. There are three trails to the summit, and "The most difficult is the Black Cloud Trail, which takes ten to fourteen hours, depending on the pace." Takes ten to fourteen hours, huh? That sounds like a wager, if you ask me. Who's up for taking five years to ascend the summit? We can have picnics!
Anyway, let's talk about Colorado newspapers, which are awesomely all over the place geographically speaking. For some reason (the reason is that some places have names similar to other places), Colorado has the Akron News-Reporter, Life on Capitol Hill, and most awesomely, The Trinidad Times Independent, which is independent of Trinidad in the sense that it's nowhere close to there. Throw in such awesomely named newspapers as The Flume and The Mountain Ear, which is one of the most wonderfully bizarre combinations of two words I've ever seen. Sadly, as is often the problem with this series, none of these newspapers have a sports section beyond high school track recaps. Which is, you know, a problem.
But, like a mythical hero of yore, out rides La Voz, Denver's Spanish language newspaper with its gleaming sports section. No...deportes section. Thankfully, its section is also in English, which means I won't be doing a borderline tasteless trick where I translate it using Alta Vista and then make fun of the broken English that results. Which is probably for the best.
Anyway, Nick Wilson has some thoughts on minor league baseball...
Here is a question you don’t hear very often. Who was the greatest minor league team ever?
One reason you don't here it very often: the correct question would more likely be, "What was the greatest minor league team ever?" And no, I don't think this is a translation of an article originally in Spanish, so I feel comfortable nitpicking grammatical errors. Which makes me just a jackass instead of also an asshole, which is pretty much my only hope in life.
You don’t have to go further than the Gulf Coast Rangers of 1986 to find the greatest roster. “We had Juan Gonzalez (CF), Sammy Sosa (RF), Dean Palmer (3B), Rey Sanchez (SS) and Kevin Brown (RHP) on the Rookie League team. Palmer and Gonzalez didn’t hit a home run and Sosa hit only 4. That’s amazing isn’t it?” said Sid Hudson, former pitching coach for the Texas Rangers’ Gulf Coast affiliate in 1986.
So wait, because three dudes combined for just four homers, they're the best team ever? I have to admit I'm really tired right now (part of the reason why this post is admittedly a little weak), but does that make even the slightest lick of sense? And I'm talking a pretty small lick here. Like a bee licking a mountain range small. You know what? I'm stopping now with the whole licking theme.
“Of course they were just young kids right out of high school. They weren’t strong and you could hardly tell what their potential was. Sosa couldn’t hit a curve ball with a large paddle back then.”
Bit like his season in Baltimore! Was that a burn? Oh you better believe that's a burn.
"Juan Gonzalez and Sammy Sosa were as skinny as rails, but you could tell by their swing that when they grew into their bodies they were going to be something special,” said Perry Hill, a major league coach and the infield instructor for the Rangers.
*HERE COMES A DATED CHEAP SHOT*
Can you really detect cork from a dude's swing?
*THERE GOES A DATED CHEAP SHOT*
And before anyone accuses me of being a bitter Cubs fan, I'd like to point out that I am in no way bitter about Sammy Sosa, considering how awesome he was with the Cubs (and doubly considering how awesome they are now, I'd be an asshole to complain, and as you know, I'm shooting for the less egregious title of "jackass"). Indeed, I'd like to hope I'd be this unfair and jerkish toward pretty much any person Rick Reilly has ever dared to pee in a cup.
“It was one of the best stocked minor league teams I had ever seen.”
*YOU BET YOUR ASS THIS IS ANOTHER CHEAP SHOT*
Yeah, best stocked...with STEROIDS!!!
*THAT WAS ACTUALLY LESS DIRECTED AT SOSA AND JUAN-GON THAN IT WAS PEOPLE WHO GET THEIR FUCKING KNICKERS IN A TWIST OVER FUCKING STEROIDS*
What's with the all caps? It's like an Ain't It Cools News comment thread is breaking out in here. Goodness gracious, I'm esoteric.
Hudson, a former pitching star in the 1940s, thought he could help the cocky rookie Kevin Brown. “He came to us from Georgia Tech and after a few days I told him, ‘Why don’t we work on a breaking pitch like a slider or curve?’ and he said to me, ‘I don’t need that’”. Hudson didn’t need to comment further. That type of swagger marked Brown’s successful big league career.
That type of assholishness also helps explain the failure of much of the latter stage of his career, capped off by the whole "punching the wall after leaving Joe Torre's office" thing. Also, it sounds like Hudson might have had his feelings hurt by being pretty rudely rebuffed, and Nick Wilson is just interpreting that as an endorsement of "swagger", which is sort of grittiness's black sheep cousin.
Sosa, Gonzalez, Sanchez and Palmer graduated to Single A Gastonia in 1987 and the team lost 90 games.
Again...hell of a way to build the case for greatest minor league team ever. I have never seen more counterproductive cherry-picking.
In 1988 they joined left hander Kenny Rogers in Charlotte and everyone seemed to blossom.
"Everyone seemed to blossom" does not sound nearly tough enough for a hardcore camera-shoving motherfucker like Kenny Rogers. He's the Gambler, people! That hippie love-in shit just isn't going to fly. Sorry, Kenny, I meant "ain't." Ain't gonna fly. Unless they blossomed by wrestling polar bears, of course, much like Steven Seagal in the film On Deadly Ground, which I can only assume won fifteen Oscars, all for spectacular achievement in the field of badassery.
“Even at that time Sosa was a 5 tool guy,” said Hill. “Both he and Gonzalez could run and they could throw. Sosa took that big swing and you could tell that he was going to hit for power.”
But back then he only hit four homers. I've got to think some minor leaguers have hit more than four homers in a season. Like maybe Joe Bauman, who hit 72 home runs in 1954? How'd his team do, Nick?
By the way, I do recognize this is more based on who the players became than who they were, but I'm quoting the article in full, and if there has been a convincing argument for why this team was better than any other minor league squad in history that was more than just a bunch of vague anecdotes...well, I certainly missed it. I mean, Nick at least could have given their combined major league totals or something. That'd still be a not particularly well thought-out piece of context-free evidence, but at least it'd be a stat, you know? You know!? Yeah, yeah, I think you know.
Right behind them was a Puerto Rican catcher named Ivan Rodriguez and infielder Jose Hernandez.
But neither of those were on the 1986 Gulf Coast Rangers, were they? Hence invalidating their inclusion as part of your "argument"? (My use of quotation marks suggests I condescend you, sir!)
Palmer played with the Rangers until 1997 and Gonzalez had his best years with them through 1999. Sosa was traded to the White Sox in 1989, by order of the Rangers’ president George W. Bush, while fielding whiz Rey Sanchez left in 1990. Kevin Brown and Kenny Rogers were traded away from the Rangers in 1995.
And that's how this article ends. A glorified transaction report. Maybe I'm spoiled (and by "spoiled", I of course mean "tortured") by all the fucking essays on political theory I've had to read lately (this blog came this close to becoming a European integration blog), but that is easily the most inane argumentation I've ever seen. Other than that, though, I loved it. Good work Mr. Wilson.
Friday, May 16, 2008
That's right, Fire Everybody! has its own spin-off blog purely for the joy and beauty of teams rapping. It's got everything, including...
1. Interviews with With Leather's Matt Ufford, the AV Club's Nathan Rabin, and (I swear) the president of the Indianapolis Colts, Bill Polian
2. Ridiculous faux-pretentious discussion of this "hip-hop", including our epic discussion of the East Coast/West Coast divide and how the Portland Trailblazers invented grunge
3. A whopping 21 ridiculous songs, all in one convenient location
So, please, if you have a little time to spare and an interest in the absurd, feel free to check it out.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I am irrationally interested in hearing what Peter King has to say about the season finale. Since this episode 4 weeks ago, Peter has been shitting his dick at the prospect of Jim proposing to Pam.
a. Thank you, writers of The Office, for regaining your sanity and your edge in a great show last week. You realize, of course, that we all want to see Jim and Pam get hitched now.
PK apparently has the patience of a 4-year-old, because the next damn week:
a. Propose to Pam already, Jim. C'mon. Get the job done.
Then last week:
c. The Office is disappointing me. The writers have changed Michael into a more mean-spirited guy than he was in the first couple of years of the show. The other night, at a high school job fair, trying to recruit a kid for a summer internship, Michael turns to Pam and says, "She'll do you.'' Disgusting. Not in keeping with the doltish Michael. Not at all. What's worse, Pam, looking insulted, doesn't slug Michael or quit on the spot, which any self-respecting woman would have done. I'll be watching the hour-long season finale Thursday, but I'm worrying I'll cringe more than I'll laugh.
I can't remember if I ranted already about the previous paragraph; just in case: Peter King does not understand a huge part of what makes The Office funny. It's funny largely because you cringe 5 times an episode. Plus, for what it's worth, Michael has been sexually harassing Pam pretty much from the get-go.
Anyway, as commenter emeritus Chris W said back then: ""we all want to see jim and pam get hitched"? No, sorry Peter. Not everyone misses "Friends" as much as you so obviously do." So I'm intrigued because Jim and Pam did not get engaged. This is sort of the ultimate test of Peter's stupidity and lameness: if he can recognize how fucking solid that episode was, despite that fact that he'll have to wait until at least like October for the engagement of his dreams, there's hope. If not, well, fuck him.
Why can't all embedding be that easy? Ah well, soon all will be fixed, hopefully.
Anyway, I was chatting on the phone with my brother last night. I know, this isn't exactly on the same level as seeing Kenan Thompson in a Fat Albert shirt (although I once sat across from Richard Kind...on a bus!), but there's a moderately amusing punchline at the end of this.
My brother is a sophomore in high school, and apparently his American history class was split into groups to present on various decades. His group was assigned the 1920's, and because my brother also likes to pretend he can write (except he might actually be able to), he handled scripting duties for a skit all about the roaring twenties. The very first thing he put in was a moving scene featuring our thirtieth president, Calvin Coolidge.
I won't bore you with lots of facts about Silent Cal (unless it turns out he's also the highpoint of New Mexico, of course), but suffice it to say they're worth looking into. Other than the whole silence thing, he was also sort of a sadistic bastard who did nothing to stop the Great Depression but managed to never get blamed for it. Also he was president for a majority of the twenties, which explains his presence in my brother's skit. My brother tells me that Calvin Coolidge begins the entire epic skit with this moving entrance:
Coolidge: Ya betta ask somebodddaaaaaaaaayyyyyy!
And you can be damn sure this will be preceded by a door motherfucking flying open. Hell, that was my first note to him when he told me his plans. He put it in there because, well, fuck high school, and nobody in his group has yet asked him to remove it. So, today, somewhere in America, a bunch of high schoolers were unwittingly treated* to what I'd like to think is the most random Marmalard reference of all time. I mean, seriously, Calvin Coolidge? Everyone knows Andrew Johnson was way more the Marmalard of presidents.
This is truly a planet of the apes, indeed, Christmas or otherwise.
*I wish I could say "wittingly", but we're talking about a bunch of sixteen-year-old high school dipshits here. So you just know they're all a bunch of ESPN featured commenters.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Unless KG and LeBron have identical scars above their eye, identical ridges on their nose, identically-shaped ears...
It should be no surprise that Bam Bam James almost went George Foreman upside the head of some Celtics. Bam Bam, without question, doesn't take any guff. According to published reports she has been cited by Akron, Ohio, courts for playing music too loudly, criminal trespassing, contempt of court and disorderly conduct.
Last year she was stopped for allegedly driving while intoxicated and police maintain she had to be sprayed with mace after kicking out the window of a police cruiser.
Be still my beating heart.
I think I'm in love.
Is that...cool? It sorta seems like he's making light of (glorifying, even? No, probably not.) belligerence, resisting arrest, general shitty behaviour and, uh, drunk fucking driving. I know it's all some sort of giggly-joketime-fun! column (plus there's that whole pesky "innocent until proven guilty" deal), but...I'm not sure that's cool.
Gourmet Spud: "That was a virtuoso flopping performance, even for Parker. That guy eats more hardwood than..."
Denny Crane: "@Gourmet Spud: ... an actress in a Terrell Owens porn flick?"
If that doesn't mean we've arrived, I don't know what does.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
My thought process was basically "Shit King! Shit King Pete Rose! Whoa! Baseball Shit King!? Wait....oh." In my opinion, the letters s-h-i-t, with whatever intervening punctuation, can only ever spell one thing.
Anyway, we all know that Pete Rose could never be a Shit King, what with guys like this around. Hey, I think I just realized the natural progression of eating contests.
Monday, May 12, 2008
...sometimes, you read something that's just too perfect. This is one of those times. From an interview with T.O. conducted by ESPN's Sam Alipour ostensibly about his apperance on Under One Roof comes the most tantalizing news ever:
Media Blitz: Let's jump right in. This is awesome news. Terrell Owens and Flavor Flav. You have to admit, that's a wacky combo, no?
Owens: Well, you never know. That's not going to be the [last] of wacky combos you're going to hear of. And that's an FYI, hint-hint, so to speak. But Flavor Flav, he produced his own show, "Under One Roof" …
Hold on, what's this "FYI, hint-hint" business?
(Laughs) It's a little business venture that I've got going on that's going to shock a lot of people.
And? What is it?
Naw, can't say right now. It's something that's in the works.
Please, please, please let this be T.O.'s official announcement he's teaming up with BangBros. I always knew this...
...was the start of a beautiful friendship. And by "friendship", I do of course mean hardcore ass-fisting. Or whatever sex entails. Frankly, the whole thing just confuses and somewhat nauseates me.
The point is, T.O.'s guest appearance in that BangBros screencap is the Mork debuting on Happy Days of internet porn. Only, you know, funny. What I'm saying is that that screencap up there was basically a backdoor pilot for T.O.'s career as a porn star. If I was slightly less mature, I'd make a really juvenile joke here. Eh, who am I kidding? Heh, heh...backdoor.
Anyway, you heard it here first (assuming you didn't read Sam Alipour's interview first, which I feel pretty confident you didn't)...Terrell Owens has confirmed (vaguely alluded) to his new venture into hardcore pornography (partnership of some sort). If that's not an exclusive, I'm clearly not a journalist.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Sometimes, you get a little tired of trying to talk up the likes of Tenleytown (the highpoint is in a reservoir!) and Jehimoth Hill (you can't count the nearby trailer park as taller because it's man-made!). You pine for something fresh, something new, something bigger than ever before, something...inspiring.
Arnold...is there anything you can't do? (I would have said "emote", but then I saw Twins. There's some serious drama going on there.)
That's right, everybody, we're talking Mount Whitney, soaring to a finally motherfucking respectable height of 14,505 feet. Glorious. Here's what you need to know:
1. It's only 76 miles away from America's lowest point, Death Valley. I smell a comically-mismatched buddy movie! (Shit, I officially have Twins on the brain.)
2. According to Wikipedia, "The estimated elevation of the summit of Mount Whitney has changed over the years. This is not due to the peak growing (although it is)." Sounds like somebody's feeling a little inadequate about their summit elevation. It's OK, Mount Whitney. We know you're plenty big...and getting bigger! And ladies, he's available...
3. One of the mini-summits on Mount Whitney got renamed Crooks Peak because a lady called Hulda Crooks kept climbing the damn thing every year into her nineties. Hmm...Crooks Peak. Is it too late to make that Mt. Whitney/Death Valley movie into a heist flick?
So, which paper shall we discuss today? I desperately wanted to do The Berkley Daily Planet, but sadly, much like The Washington Blade, it doesn't have a sports section to speak of. That means for the second straight week I've almost subjected you all to endless comic book references...and fate intervened. I'm pretty sure I should take something away from that.
Instead, I turn to The Daily Breeze, which just has to have the chillest (if I may use a little slice of the California parlance) name of any newspaper I've ever heard of. With a name like The Daily Breeze, you just know there's some seriously cool vibes going on in the press room. Or smoking weed. Or voting for Obama. I get my liberal stereotypes mixed up, to be honest. Doug Krikorian, maybe your piece on Kyle Korver can sort it all out...
There is no one who is watching the playoff series between the Lakers and Utah Jazz with more intense interest, or a greater sense of pride, than the Korver families of Paramount as well as the ones in Pella, Iowa.
That's right people; no other player's family cares nearly as much. The Bryants? Still catching up on The Wire. The Boozers? They sold their TV two years ago to protest Panasonic for reasons they still haven't adequately explained. And thank goodness someone finally had the guts to point out that Pau Gasol's parents don't give two shits about this series. Word is, they still think he's playing soccer. Sorry...futbol.
Also, people showing an inordinate amount of interest in Kyle Korver? How...unprecedented.
You must understand that the Jazz's top reserve, the deft shooting Kyle Korver, has strong ties to both cities, having spent the first 11 years of his life in Paramount before moving to Pella, where he became an extraordinary high school player before going on to star at Creighton.
Which would explain the presence of family in both locations. I mean, I'd sorta deduced from context that that was pretty much the reason, but I'm glad I didn't have to exert any mental energy at all to work that out. That really wouldn't be commensurate with the motto of The Daily Breeze: "Dude...chill."
So, it's not exactly a stunning development that Korver would excel in basketball, considering his athletic roots.
All the sons of the pastor emeritus of Emmanuel Reformed Church, Harold Korver, who arrived in Paramount with his family in 1971, turned out to be basketball stars at Paramount High.
And all would go on to play after graduating from the school, with Kevin Korver, Ken Korver and Karl Korver playing at Central College in Pella, Kris Korver at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, and Keith Korver at Hope College in Holland, Mich.
Kevin, Ken, Karl, Kris, and Keith? Who the hell does Harold Korver think he is, Roger Clemens?
I know, I know, that reference is both hacky and a little outdated, but frankly I prefer to remember the somewhat absurd redneck jackass version of Clemens instead of the downright creepy redneck asshole version of Clemens. Maybe I'm alone in this.
Also, I know Harold chose the "K" scheme just to be alliterative with Korver, but I'd like to think he had a dumbass reason similar to Clemens's strikeout-themed naming scheme. Considering his background as a pastor, I nominate kenosis, "the concept of the 'self-emptying' of one's own will and becoming entirely receptive to God and his perfect will." So, um...yay for kenosis!
"We all played at NAIA Division III basketball schools," Ken Korver said. "We all loved the sport."
Ken, if you were willing to play in NAIA Division III, I think it goes without saying you loved the sport.
Kevin Korver would depart Paramount with his family in 1992 for Pella, where he has become a pastor at the Third Reformed Church along with Keith Korver. Kris Korver is now the head basketball coach at Northwestern College. Karl Korver is a school teacher and coach in Pella. An adopted sixth brother, Rick Jones, has been a teacher and football coach at El Dorado High in Placentia.
If adopting somebody who doesn't even have the common courtesy to have a name that fits the family alliteration isn't the definition of Christian charity...well then, I've clearly been misinformed. Trouble with atheism, I guess.
Also, when the hell is this going to start having anything to do with Kyle Korver? Don't think you can fool me, Doug Krikorian, into mixing him up with Karl Korver. Or Kris, for that matter. OK, maybe with Kevin. Maybe.
While Kyle Korver has been etching a niche for himself in the NBA now for five seasons - he was traded Dec. 26 to the Jazz - with his accurate shooting
Don't forget his Kutcher-ian good looks! (Actually, I'm now officially rooting for some wayward member of the Korver clan to call their kid "Kutcher Korver." I mean, there are only so many actual names that start with a "K", right?)
The rest of this is a long discussion of how the Korver brand of Christianity (Kristianity?) saved the neighborhood of Paramount and made it pretty again. Which is cool and all, I guess, but also boring as hell. So I'm skipping it.
Two quick things though before we wrap this up...
The 27-year-old Korver found it ironic to be playing against the team for which he once cheered lustily.
Lustily? Way to accuse Kyle of one of the seven deadly sins, Doug Krikorian.
His parents, Kevin and Laine Korver and younger brother Kaleb, his grandparents, Harold and Shirley Korver, and his uncle and aunt, Ken and Lisa Korver and two of their children, Kurtis and Kari, waited patiently in the stands afterward for him.
Kaleb, Kurtis...and Kari? Oh, you've got to be fucking kidding me. I'm just amazed they actually permit Korvers to marry people named "Laine" or "Lisa" instead of "Kaine" or "Kisa." Although both of those start with "L", and "L" is the twelfth letter and right after the eleventh letter "K", and eleven plus twelve equals twenty-three, and The Number 23 made perfect sense, so...
Shit, I've gone insane again. But in case a member of the Korver family is reading (and judging from this article, there are about five million of them, so I like my odds), I'd like to throw out a few new names you might like to try on...
Kutcher Korver (c'mon...it'd be hilarious!)
Kristian Korver (how better to prove how Christian you are...)
Karma Korver (...while also embracing multi-culturalism!)
Kalamazoo Korver (he'll be the toast of Michigan!)
Kennymayne Korver (his dry humor will strangely amuse everybody!)
Karchie Kicklewhite Korver (a man can dream, right?)
Kostas Korver (weigh in on the Bissinger-Leitch thing!)
Krikorian Korver (well, he did write this article)
Kevorkian Korver (it's what everyone is going to think you named Krikorian anyway, so why fight it, other than your almost certain moral opposition to the man's work?)
Karate Kid Korver (Bill Simmons fans will love it, as will hardcore Legion of Superheroes fans, and I'm pretty sure those are the only two types of people)
I could keep doing this, but they'd just start sucking even more than those do.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
First, the World Wide Leader's reporting of the story, at least on the website.
ORLANDO, Florida -- The Florida Marlins and shortstop Hanley Ramírez agreed on a contract extension for six years and $70 million, according to a source who spoke with ESPNdeportes.com.
A couple of things:
- Why is the dateline Orlando? Miami is about 200 miles/a four hour drive from there. Last I checked, the Marlins play in Miami and Orlando doesn't even have a major league club.
- I am VERY amused by the fact that the source chose to speak to ESPNdeportes and not an Official Language Speaker at the WWL. Despite rumors to the contrary, Miami IS in fact in the United States, and is not to Cuba what Taiwan is to the People's Republic of China. [Insert hacky but topical lead paint joke here.]
Can't you just imagine John Kruk and Jason Stark yelling "THEY TOOK OUR JERBS!"
On to my second, more personal point. As has been alluded to by Msr. Micklewhite in this space, I am a Miami native. I love my hometown. There's nowhere else I'd rather be and I root for all the local teams. HOWEVER, I did disown the Marlins after the offseason trade of Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. In fact, I think I told someone that they were getting the Fredo Corleone treatment from me. (Oh shit! I've created an opportunity for an embed featuring two of my favorite things: The Godfather and Pre-Revolutionary Cuba!)
In any case, now that they've apparently signed Han Ram to a long-term deal that will take him up through his thirtieth birthday, does it make me a bandwagoner to jump back on? 'Cos honestly, if they are keepin' him around, I'm really happy. How happy? This happy:
The first six hours will be a recap of the year for my student radio station's sports department, followed by the sure to be incredible Teams Rappin' Orgy (we call these programs "orgies" for some reason) at 7:00. That second part is probably more likely to be of interest, though there will be an interview with Kenny Mayne during the first part, and you all know how rarely he grants interviews, so that'll be fun.
Anyway, if you want to tune in (and I can't honestly imagine why you wouldn't), you can do so right here.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Since, like I said, the AP is my favorite sportswriter (other than that sexy Michael Tunison!!!), I don't really have any criticisms of the writing. But this quote from a woman by the name of Jennie Moore struck me as downright bizarre. She's explaining why she stood in a four-hour line for cheap pizza:
"I did it for the principle of it."
That principle being...what, exactly? That the pizza was cheap? I mean, there's no shame in that being the principle. Hell, as a poor college student I'd sell my own lungs for a week's worth of half-price pizza. I figure we're going to re-evolve gills any minute now anyway.
Apparently, however, that wasn't quite the principle Jennie Moore was thinking of:
"The principle of it is he's not a crybaby and Papa John's should not have gotten into it."
Is that really a principle? My wordy sense says no. In case you don't know, wordy sense is my special ability to sense whether something is the correct usage of a word or not. I got it as a result of being bitten by a radioactive dictionary. Weirdly, I'm never able to be sure whether people are using the words "venom" and "carnage" correctly. Funny how that works out.
Fuck, better check the Wiktionary, just to be sure:
1. A fundamental assumption.
We need some sort of principles to reason from.
I don't know if it's a fundamental assumption that "he's not a crybaby and Papa John's should not have gotten into it." I mean, the Wizards would certainly argue those points, and they do have the full force of the dark arts on their side.
2. A rule used to choose among solutions to a problem.
The principle of least privilege holds that a process should only receive the permissions it needs.
I guess you could argue that's the principle Jennie Moore used to justify buying cheap pizza. I guess. But that's not really the usage implied by the phrase "the principle of the thing", is it? I think that's this one:
3. (generally plural) Moral rule or aspect.
I don't doubt your principles; you are clearly a person of principle.
It's the principle of the thing; I won't do business with someone I can't trust.
There's that phrase she used! So it's got to be a moral rule, apparently. Sorry, but I don't think LeBron's suspect emotional state or Papa John's somewhat asinine business practices really count as moral issues. And if they do...well shit, fuck morality, I guess.
What? I'm just saying what you're all thinking. Well, I'm typing, I guess, but I did just say "fuck morality", so I've sort of got bigger issues on my mind. Dodging lightning bolts, for a start.
Anyway, I think the word Jennie Moore was really looking was "reason." So she should have said this:
"I did it for the
Or if Jennie Moore has a female hard-on (those don't exist, right?*) for the word principle, she at least should have had the common courtesy to be specific:
"I did it for the principle of it, and by that I mean 'principle' in the sense of Wiktionary's second definition of the word, not the third, which is the usage generally associated with 'the principle of it'. The principle of it - and again here I am using the second definition as opposed to the more customary third because the second definition better conveys the sense of a rule I use to determine the best course in action, and so now I will explain my logic - is he's not a crybaby and Papa John's should not have gotten into it."
See? Much clearer! Let that be a lesson to you, Jennie Moore.
Of course, I guess she could have said all that and the AP just edited her down. That dude is sort of a dick. Did you know he let his calculator girlfriend (she's totally a TI-92 Plus, fucking loaded elitist) take him to Made of Honor instead of Iron Man? That's one whipped computer, dude, and I think he deals with his angst by taking random Cleveland residents slightly out of context.
Fucking dick, man. Fucking computer dick.
*Don't correct me. Frankly, I'm pretty sure I don't want to know. I am a blogger, after all.
1. Considering my posts have, by this point, randomly and tangentially referenced about 70% of the adult population, I guess it was only a matter of time before one of them got caught up in a little bit of a sex scandal. To be fair, it was actually Gregg Easterbrook who originally referenced him back in our 100th post:
9. Cincinnati Bengals: Marc Dann, attorney general of Ohio. At this point, might as well have him on the sideline.
Credit where credit is due - that one's not completely terrible. But why are you linking to Dann's official website when you could link to Wikipedia like a real web denizen (webizen?). How else would you find out about the time he "faced criticism from the Mansfield News Journal and others for telling Warren Tribune-Chronicle reporter Steve Oravecz to perform an anatomically impossible act"? There's just no other way.
You said it, me of about two weeks ago. But it turns out that was just the tip of Mr. Dann's mildly interesting iceberg. Looks like Gregg is going to have to update his go-to reference for Ohio attorney generals. Oh, I do so hope it's first assistant attorney general Tom Winters! I bet Gregg could do some terrific seasonally themed humor, perhaps involving former Olympic swimmer/Figure It Out host Summer Sanders!
I learned all about it from my most trusted news source. I'm sure it'll just kill Buzz Bissinger's soul to learn that, yes, that would be The Daily Show:
2. Speaking of Bissinger, I think I'm officially done with responding to the guy. Beyond the fact that I have papers I really, really ought to be writing, I just don't think there's much left to say. On an extremely basic level, the dude does not apparently understand that sports and humor can coexist. That's pretty much all there is to say. There's really only one thing that I still feel the need to respond to, and it is perhaps the most important issue of all.
I speak, of course, about Rich Garces's tits.
First of all, I have to say I've always considered "tits" the seventh deadly word in much the same way Jimmy Nicol was the seventh Beatle. You know, because Ringo really resented being replaced by tits, even temporarily, and tits inspired the classic Sergeant Pepper's track "Fixing a Hole." That last part seemed really dirty. But you know what I know for a fact was dirty? This:
Random references to Ringo Starr and George Carlin? Hardcore Shining Time Station fans are currently going apeshit. I maybe once had a point about Rich Garces's tits, but I feel I've already made it thematically. Or something. I think my point was that no one should be offended by Rich Garces's tits, and I will defend to the death my right to laugh and/or leer at them.
3. My upcoming radio program on sports rap songs is, well, coming up. We'll be covering all the classics from The Super Bowl Shuffle to The Seventh Floor Crew (which, no, we won't actually be playing on the air), with plenty of Ramming It and Baseball Boogying in between. My cohost will be the foremost hip-hop expert I know, whose brother by a weird coincidence happens to be the author of the quite excellent Throwing Into Traffic. Also featuring interviews with With Leather's Matt Ufford and the AV Club's Nathan Rabin, this is sure to be the authoritative statement on hip-hop's most deliriously insane chapter. Well, it might be more like the footnote to a chapter, but still, it's worth covering.
You can tune in here this Saturday at 7:00 EST, and I'll also put up the complete program (featuring the full videos, not just the songs) after it's over in case you miss it. It should be fun.
4. In the meantime, go watch this. Change your pants, then repeat. You're welcome.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
SH: Everyone, Buzz Bissinger, Pulitzer Prize-winner, author of Friday Night Lights, current writer for Vanity Fair, and blog aficionado.
BB: I’m not sure I would call myself a blog aficionado. (Laughs.) More of a blogger blower-upper, I think.
Blogger blower-upper? Sorry Buzz, I think we've got to reserve that title for the Schrutebag. Sorry, sorry, I've got to start taking this seriously. What's next?
SH: The term is used with some irony.
BB: But I’ve learned about blogs the past few days as a result of the whole flare-up with Will Leitch on the Costas show, and you know I mean it when I say I have learned a lot. I’ve gotten a lot of emails. Many of the emails have been predictable in their nastiness, their maliciousness, their profanity, their endlessly sophomoric and pathetically sexual allusions to me.
Considering his appearance on Costas Now was, to use his own words, "nasty", "malicious", "profane", and "sophomoric" - I'll leave it to you to decide whether his appearance was "pathetically sexual" - I hope he realizes this is something he probably richly deserves. Not that that necessarily excuses those emails, but I think Mr. Bissinger really has to recognize he invited such responses. He seems to be fairly contrite about his behavior, as far as I can tell, but I think it's a little inconsistent to take responsibility for his behavior and then be so appalled at the inevitable angry emails. But I don't mean this to be an ad hominem attack on Mr. Bissinger, so I'll continue.
But many emails have been smart, and cogent, and well thought-out, and said, “Hey, if you want to see a good blog, here’s one.” I’ve looked at them and realized there are some good information-based blogs out there, just as I still maintain that the majority of blogs are founded upon mockery and maliciousness. And yes, a lot of those are the comments, but the comments go hand in hand with the posts. I know the difference, and let’s face it, the more provocative the blog is, the more comments it gets, the more hits it gets, the more traffic it gets, the more chances you get of getting advertising, which is what all bloggers want.
Considering our site is (for now) named "Fire Everybody in the Whole World!", I'm pretty sure we fall squarely in the "mockery and maliciousness" camp. Certainly, other than Djmmm's Kenan story, we haven't produced anything that could even be considered close to information. So let's take a closer look at a few things...
1. Mr. Bissinger's primary - perhaps sole - metric for determining the worthiness of blogs is whether or not they are informative; in other words, if they are basically doing the same thing as newspapers. This is a valid, if somewhat limited, viewpoint, as it really does seem to preclude humor blogs, the other major category of sports blog (not to mention sites like Deadspin, which are hybrids of the two). Spencer Hall asks Buzz about this later, so I'll save my thoughts on this topic until then.
2. Mr. Bissinger appears to link "mockery" and "maliciousness" very closely together. Certainly, this site is based on mockery, as are most of the "Fire [X]" sites. But malicious? I'm not so sure. I mean, our first post ever was a two-sentence post where the second sentence was, "Man, fuck Peter King." Which, I guess, is malicious, but I'm not sure it's malicious in quite the way Mr. Bissinger thinks it is.
Sure, it's not at all nice to say "fuck Peter King", and all our posts, whether they say it or not, are basically expressing the same sentiment to whichever writer we happen to be skewering, just in a slightly more sophisticated fashion. But I don't think any harm is really meant. My colleague Passive Voice, who writes the bulk our anti-PK material, usually goes out of his way to point out Peter King remains a very competent writer when he keeps to football. And honestly, the title of our blog is so ridiculous that I'd like to think most people can realize we don't especially want anyone fired.
I'm reminded of what Penn Jillette once said of his unspeakably awesome show Bullshit!: "... we're fair and we never take people out of context. We're biased as all fuck. But, we try to be honest." I think those could fairly aptly describe the ethics of this blog, and I'm not sure it's malicious when we're simply directly responding to what has already been written. There are times when I have become quite honestly enraged by the columns I was making fun of - the works of Gregg Doyel spring to mind - but often it's really faux-outrage, and even more often it's just an excuse for my own brand of bizarre, tangential humor.
Put it this way: if Gregg Doyel emailed me tomorrow (never, ever going to happen, but work with me here) and felt offended by my posts about him - and I think he'd have a right to be - I'd respond civilly, articulating my points reasonably and rationally with clear explanations as to why I think he can and should do better. In other words, I'd offer constructive criticism. That is what I, or indeed any reasonable person, would expect from personal correspondence of that type. But if I made an entire blog out of constructive criticism, it'd be deathly boring. I guess if this were a newspaper, sites like mine would be ombudsmen, which carries with it its own ethics and responsibilities - but this isn't a newspaper. I have never and will never claim to be a journalist. I will claim that, on occasion, I'm funny, and that is my overall intent with this blog.
So is that malicious? Perhaps, but I'm not sure it's anymore malicious than the types of potshots that many columnists take against athletes. And if anyone started a blog called Fire Archie Micklewhite, I'd shut up and take my medicine. I'd like to think I'd laugh and take it with good humor, but who knows? I might be to meta-blogs what Mr. Bissinger has proven himself to be towards blogs.
I think this is my third conclusion, but the distinction on which Buzz and I differ appears to be that I think mocking people's printed output is a valid form of satire, and in that sense not malicious. It's a razor-thin distinction, perhaps, but I think it's an important one.
3. Really quickly after that fucking novel I just wrote, but I don't want advertising. Not really, anyway. I mean, if I could get paid to blog, I'd do it in a heartbeat, and I would like someday to be a professional writer, but I'm pretty sure I'm the exception there. I would like a readership, but so far the world has spoken and resoundingly said, "Eh...not so much." Meritocracy at its finest, I guess, although I think the whole world should have read Djmmm's draft post. Before we fired everybody in it, in any event.
SH: Let’s unpack a few of those and work with them. First, you say blogs are based on cruelty. How is that true of an information consolidator like the Drudge Report, or more pertinently a tech blog?
BB: I don’t think the Drudge Report is a blog because I don’t think he really does any posting of his own. The Drudge Report is a compendium of various sites you can go to and get news. I think Matt Drudge himself does very little posting of his own.
I think those sites are great. Those are the sites that I generally look at and get my information from. There’s a new one that I’ve come across that I really like that points you to legitimate news sources called Newser. It’ll point you to the AP, to the New York times, to the BBC, to the London Times, so that’s where I see the difference.
Blogs that aren’t news sites...there’s one for the Miami Dolphins that was really, really good. Now, I confess there aren’t many things less relevant to my life than the Miami Dolphins--they’re not in the top one thousand--but for those who follow the Dolphins, you’re gonna get a lot of news.
I have to admit Mr. Bissinger isn't exactly impressing me with his praise for The Drudge Report. Perhaps even more pertinently, his description that The Drudge Report "is a compendium of various sites you can go to and get news" more or less applies to Deadspin. Will Leitch posts much more often than Matt Drudge, sure, but a lot of the more objectionable content doesn't come from Leitch's posts, or at least not originally. Lost in the whole Matt Leinart issue was that the original story didn't come from a sports blog, but a self-proclaimed "reality blog" called The Dirty. Part of the reason Deadspin is so popular is that it aggregates the day's worth of interesting sports news in one location, and plenty of posts simply point you in the direction of another blog. That doesn't deal with Mr. Bissinger's criticism that none of that is news, of course, so keep moving.
What I did to Will Leitch was wrong. I’ve said that publicly--
SH: You said that on NPR last week--
BB: I’m a man of passion, and I speak what I believe, and I’m not doing it to spin it in my direction. It’s too late for that, and I’ve been killed all over the place. It was wrong to treat anybody that way. It was wrong to use the profanity, and here’s where my self interest comes in (because everyone’s consumed with self-interest), it subsumed the valid points I made and that could have been considered for discussion.
I'd like to think I'm trying to look beyond my own self-interest. I'm not sure how good a job I'm doing of that, but still. I appreciate Mr. Bissinger's mea culpa.
I thought that Rich Sandomir’s column in the New York Times put it very well. I came across as so angry and so prosecutorial that I did a disservice to myself and was not at all representative of who I am.
Having said that, I received a lot of emails saying “Right on, congratulations,” because they in particular find Deadspin to be snarky, and “wink-wink, nod-nod,” and the sexual allusions and the T and A, and full of the tone of mockery that young people think is funny.
If they find Deadspin particularly snarky, I think Mr. Bissinger's emailers would do well to widen their perspective a little. Much as I love With Leather (and its sexy, interview-granting editor), that site is at least 3.2 billion times snarkier than Deadspin, and that's not even moving beyond sports blogs to the wider blogosphere, with its range of snarky but readable blogs (e.g. WWTDD) and snarky and full of shit blogs (Perez fucking Hilton). Will Leitch, I'd argue, is one of the more responsible bloggers around in any medium, and his tone is often remarkably civil. Big Daddy Balls, of course, might be a slightly different case.
This comes down to connotations, I think. Mr. Bissinger calls Deadspin "snarky", which is negative. I call it "irreverent", which is positive. The difference in definitions isn't tremendously large, but the tone is. I'll also point out that I'm pretty sure "wink-wink, nod-nod" is a somewhat botched reference to Monty Python, all of whose members are older than Buzz Bissinger. I don't really think this type of humor is anything new, although it probably is something that people find harder to sustain with age.
SH: With that: if there is a lot of T and A, and a lot of what in some cases you might call irony, and in some cases what you might call sophomoric humor, if it does not come in the guise of “journalism”...then what is wrong with having that?
BB: I actually disagree in that bloggers want their seat at the table. They’re now arguing with various professional franchises like the NBA that we want to be credentialed. I guess what’s wrong with it is that I find them stupid. They add nothing to the discourse. They’re written so someone can hear the sound of their own voice.
Here's where I think Mr. Bissinger runs into trouble by treating blogs as a monolithic entity. If someone could name non-journalistic blogs that "want their seat at the table", that'd be one thing. But I'm pretty sure almost all of the blogs fighting for credentials are the news-gathering ones Mr. Bissinger professes to tolerate. Yes, Will Leitch and Matt Ufford did just go to the Super Bowl, but neither were really there as journalists. Of course, both were trumped by A.J. Daulerio's legendary gonzo coverage of Super Bowls XL and XLI, which definitely raised questions of journalistic integrity. Reprinting something that a guy explicitly said was off-the-record was, well, the balls, but it was most certainly ethically questionable, maybe even deplorable. The likes of Deadspin and With Leather exist at a very strange nexus between comedy and something approaching journalism, and their hybridization is something that merits further discussion. I might argue they're not doing anything people like Hunter S. Thompson hadn't already done (which carries with it its own set of controversies), but again, this needs a much more detailed exploration. Just not now.
Anyway, I don't believe very many of the humorous, "T and A" blogs care about credentials, and the blogs that do are generally of the relatively responsible, news-gathering variety. I'm sorry, but I don't think Mr. Bissinger's critique holds much water.
Deadspin, to its credit, has interesting posts and interesting links to other things where you might get some information. I hear a lot about democracy and the First Amendment, all of which is great, but that doesn’t mean that everything goes.
Short of yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater, I really think it kinda sorta does. But maybe that's just the asshole libertarian in me.
So I do think there are too many blogs--and there are 150,000 being created daily--
Really? That means that every American will have a blog within a decade. And why don't you hear our political candidates mentioning this unprecedented blog prosperity? (Blogsperity?)
Seriously, even if there are that many being created, I guarantee you that most of those will be abandoned after one or two posts. It's sort of sad to type it, but I'm pretty sure the Blogosphere is mostly a graveyard. Again, the meritocratic sorting mechanism is at work. From my own experience, I'll certainly say that this blog is a ton of work, and I'm pretty sure it would have died last month if Passive and Djmmm hadn't stepped up like the chiseled hunks we all know they are. Of course, I am nearing 100,000 words written. Actually, this post might well put me over the top. Updates as warranted.
(That's right! Even in my most serious post ever I'm shamelessly masturbatory!)
I just find too many of these blogs to be indulgent, they’re not funny, they add nothing, and they’re rooted in maliciousness and mean-spiritedness.
Again, most of those don't last. Nobody reads them, and they wither and die. Hell, nobody really reads us, and this blog is plenty guilty of at least indulgence (I mean, how fucking long is this post?), but we survive because it does add something. It adds to our enjoyment of life. Maybe nobody else's, but this blog was free. It didn't take anyone else's webspace. It took literally three minutes to set up. So forgive me if I think I have a right to blog for my own happiness.
I don’t think it’s about the First Amendment.
I respectfully disagree. And, by that, I mean I very, very strongly disagree, but in a relatively respectful manner.
Who does it hurt? It doesn’t hurt me, because up until recently I didn’t read them, and I won’t read them just as there’s some like The Big Lead that are quite good. The Big Leaguer concentrates on Philadelphia sports which is quite good. Redbird Nation, which was up until recently blogged by Brian Gunn, is quite good.
So if blogs like mine don't hurt you, and they help me (and maybe five other people), isn't that a net benefit? I hate to make this so personal, but I think that's how Mr. Bissinger keeps phrasing the discussion, so I'll follow suit.
But I still believe those to be the exception. But trust me, I know this now, they’re here to stay. They’re not the future, they’re the present. Collectively, they’re a tremendous force, and they’re gonna be with us as they become the new form of media. With that does come some responsibility, the missing element in many blogs. There are some exceptions like the Daily Kos, which is now hiring its own reporters, and has done some great reporting. What is lost mostly in a lot of this is the kind of reporting that made a book like Friday Night Lights whether you like it or not, or made a book like Three Nights in August whether you like it or not.
I haven't read either of those books - I freely admit I don't read enough, although I'll own almost anybody when it comes to Isaac Asimov (who did write 55% of all written material in the twentieth century anyway) - but Will Leitch vouches for Mr. Bissinger's work, which is more than good enough for me.
For the record, I don't think good reporting is going to die. With almost no exception, every post on this site has been, to use collegiate terminology (I'm putting off writing papers to do this post...thank goodness), a secondary source. Blogs couldn't exist without "real" reporters, and such reporting will live on in one form or another. Who knows? Perhaps, in thirty years, The New York Times will be wholly online, although frankly I doubt it. Either way, that sort of journalistic ethos will live on.
What blogs have arguably hurt are the columnists who spew ignorant, poorly-researched material and rely on boring cliches. There are sites like Fire Joe Morgan or Awful Announcing, which openly point out their folly, and then there are sites like, say, Basketbawful or Every Day Should Be Saturday, which simply do what they should be doing, just (in this author's opinion) much, much better.
The irony is that I acted like the worst kind of blogger toward Will Leitch, and for that I am ashamed and embarrassed.
SH: And as a blogger myself, I would agree. That is the worst kind of blogger.
BB: I sunk right into that. That’s shameful on my part, and I feel quite embarrassed.
I'm glad Mr. Bissinger recognizes this. His worst failing? He just wasn't funny. Not intentionally, anyway, but I have to admit if he had launched a perfectly-pitched tactical satirical strike that combined Juvenalian satire with the haterade of a Big Daddy Drew...well, then we might be approaching this differently. I've finally got around to watching the clip - it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought - but he just came across as strident, unfunny, and boring. Which is, by the way, part of the reason why I stopped reading The Big Lead. I could only read so many mountain-out-of-a-molehill posts on the latest ESPN gaffe before I realized I didn't care that much whether Mike Greenburg's use of "man up or woman down" was sexist.
Oh dear lord...I just checked how much was left of this interview. I'm like a third of the way through, people. I need to take a break. Whether I come back to the post will pretty much completely depend on whether I damn well feel like it. I am a lazy blogger, after all.
If this does turn out to the be the last word, I'll just say this - Mr. Bissinger, your points are not totally without validity, and I have attempted to deal with them at least semi-seriously. Although I must admit, a quick glance in the comments section of the Sporting Blog seems to say this better than anything I have previously managed. The very aptly named regularguy, take it away:
I think the missing link in this entire discussion is Buzz Bissinger's lak of a sense of humor. He doesn't get it because he seems to have the inability to laugh at anything. Those of us who enjoy blogs do so because we enjoy the lighter side of life. Yes, the nudge, nudge, wink, wink of Deadspin and With Leather and the crassness of KSK may not change the world, but when you're at a computer all day working your butt off, it might bring a smile to your face and make you remember that life outside work can be fun. Buzz Bissinger just needs to take Sgt. Hulka's advice and lighten up.
Yeah. That sounds about right.