So reports CBS Sports.com:
John Wooten, head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance that monitors diversity in the NFL, said he expects the league's competition committee to enact a rule at the owner's meeting next month making it an automatic 15-yard penalty if a player uses the N-word on the field, with a second infraction meriting an ejection.
First, this Alliance must be doing a poor job if they're mission is "monitoring diversity" as the NFL is overwhelmingly black. Second, being that this is the case, is using the "N" word really so prevalent that it would warrant special consideration? Third, is the Alliance concerned with blacks saying the word to other blacks? If so, isn't this violating the tenet we've continually heard that "it isn't the same" when the word is used among African-Americans? Fourth, why aren't other slurs subject to a penalty -- terms like "cracker" or "honkie" or, now that Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to [likely] play in the league, homosexual slurs?
Wooten said he'd be "shocked" if the league doesn't uphold his recommendation.
Philly.com (and many other news outlets) are up in arms over members of Phillipsburg High School's (New Jersey) wrestling team posing with a wrestling dummy with a rival's jersey on it ... and with a noose around its neck. (Philly.com featured this story right smack at the top of its website this morning.)
Tuesday night, the Gloucester County NAACP issued a statement saying that it would request a meeting with Paulsboro officials and would seek an investigation. The NAACP also said it wanted "a letter of apology from the offenders to Paulsboro . . . and the Gloucester County community."
The superintendents of both districts met and said "actions were taken by the district consistent with its policies." What actions were taken, though, aren't as yet known.
Reading through the comments of the story shows a few readers stating that many wrestling "practice dummies" are, in fact, black in color. (If you're skeptical, just see this Google image search of "wrestling dummies" with no reference to color added.) And a Google image search of Paulsboro wrestling shows, well, overwhelmingly white faces. So was this photo really racially motivated?
Yes, the fact that this dummy was black in color, and yes, the fact that it had a noose around it appears racially insensitive. That this picture was taken at all is an exercise in extremely poor sportsmanship ... period. But the NAACP, before jumping the gun on this matter, ought to get its own house in order regarding racial insensitivity. And Philly.com ought to dig a little deeper before, as it does all too often, alluding to "racism."
... but you get suspended for the one instance of responding in kind. Such is what happened to Philly sports talk host Mike Missanelli. After years of receiving e-mails from a deranged fan, e-mails which included "the use of racial epithets, threats against Missanelli's daughter and calling an ex-girlfriend a whore," Missanelli finally responded. But -- gasp!! -- he used a "homophobic" slur in said response! In today's world, there's no greater offense! As such, Missanelli got a week suspension.
This is relevant to this post from yesterday, where a member of the LGOMB thinks it's no big deal if a gay (man) scopes out another (straight) guy's package. But heaven forbid if a (straight) guy objects! Or, makes a comparison to (straight) gender differences and how they're analogous.
What do 'ya think? This Boss Obama pass:
A) went three feet
B) was so soft it was picked off by a six year-old girl
C) was used for a "If you like your football, you can keep it" commercial
D) ended up in Benghazi and a video was blamed
E) died because it couldn't afford its health plan deductible
Other Obama sports "classics":
By the way: Broncos over Seahawks 24-21.
Three University of Delaware basketball players suspended for one month.
The Oneida Indian Nation "is refusing to accept recent polling that finds widespread, bipartisan support for the Redskins’ name." Why? Because Public Policy Polling didn't indicate in their question that the NFL team's name was offensive. Here's what PPP asked: “Do you think the Washington Redskins should change their nickname, or not?”
What would OIN have the question ask instead? Apparently something like "The dictionary says the term 'Redskin' is a racial slur; do you support Washington keeping that name for its football team?" Yeah, nice push polling there. The dictionary also says "gay" means "happy." So? And the actual history of the term isn't exactly what OIN claims.
That'd be Dennis Rodman's epic rant on CNN after being confronted on palling around with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un.
"I don't give a rat's ass what the hell you think. I'm saying to you, look at these guys here, look at them ... they dared to do one thing, they came here."
Apparently referring to Kim, Rodman said, "I love my friend. This is my friend."
Regarding U.S. citizen Kenneth Bae, "who's been detained there for more than a year," Rodman said, "Kenneth Bae did one thing ... If you understand what Kenneth Bae did. Do you understand what he did in this country? No, no, no, you tell me, you tell me. Why is he held captive here in this country, why? ... I would love to speak on this."
As you might expect, moral giants like Jesse Jackson have chimed in to defend Rodman.
Related the former Minnesota Vikings Chris Kluwe matter noted most recently here, Hudson Taylor opines via CNN.com that heterosexual athletes who are questioned about their sexuality don't do enough if they merely say "I'm not gay."
While [Green Bay Packers QB Aaron] Rodgers effectively put an end to the discussion of personal life and vowed to "keep on trucking," what was left unsaid was any support for the LGBT community or contemplation of the broader questions such rumor-mongering raises about our sports culture and the specter of acceptance.
Why is it up to Rodgers to do that? Hudson notes in his article that Rodgers is "intensely private;" why does he have to do more than just answer the question of whether he's gay or not, let alone answer it at all? Y'see, this is where advocates for the LGBT community tend to ... lose many in the straight community who are otherwise if not completely sympathetic to their situation, at least understanding. It's not enough to just accept gay team/classmates; you have to be proactive about the lifestyle ... and even promote it. Rodgers, according to Hudson, should have added something like, "Yeah, I'm not gay but what would have been the big deal if I was?" Even though the Packers QB is, again, "intensely private."
A lot of the remainder of what Hudson says is certainly admirable: He's a [straight] college wrestling coach who has taken an active role in battling homophobia in sports. He speaks highly of the aforementioned Kluwe, but seems to take his side of the current squabble with his former team, despite the fact that the accused have vigorously denied Kluwe's allegations, and that there's little dispute that Kluwe's "outspokenness" on LGBT issues became a distraction to the Vikings when he was still on their roster.
Contradicting what he had said earlier last year as noted here, former Minnesota Vikings punter and outspoken gay activist Chris Kluwe now says his special teams coach is a "bigot," and the former head coach and general manager are "cowards."
Kluwe says too he believes he was let go from the Vikes "largely because of his social activism, specifically his outspoken support of same-sex marriage." He also says he didn't say anything until now because, he notes, "I wasn’t going to bring that on the team during the year."
Oh, but is this the real story? "Now that it’s pretty obvious that I’m not going to get another shot in the NFL, I feel like it’s a story that needs to be told.” In other words, "I need money (and another shot at relevance)"?
The notion that the Vikings dismissed Kluwe because of his outspokeness has already been debunked:
And the current article notes this:
The Vikings released Kluwe in May after drafting Locke in the fifth round. Kluwe was 31 years old and was scheduled to make $1.45 million. He signed with Oakland but did not make the team out of training camp. He had tryouts with several other teams but was not signed.
The only team he could make was the lowly Raiders, and even they ended up not signing him?
Kluwe says he has witnesses to the [homophobic] incidents he described happening; nevetheless, numerous Vikings team members came forward on Twitter to defend the accused special teams coach. He also says he has "no idea yet" as to whether he'll take legal action (discrimination suit). Y'know, the cash thing again.
The Raiders, Chris, THE RAIDERS!!!! 'Nuff said.
(h/t to Minnesota native Carl.)
Jim Geraghty in today's [e-mailed] "Morning Jolt":
I still lean towards the idea that the NFL playoffs should consist of the six best teams in each conference, or perhaps even the best twelve teams in the league, regardless of conference. As it stands now, the 12-4 Forty-Niners will be traveling to Green Bay to play the 8-7-1 Packers, who get the home field game because they won the NFC North. Meanwhile, the 11-5 Saints will travel to Philadelphia to play the 10-6 Eagles.
I've always hated the fact that, like Geraghty says, a team like the Niners -- three and half games better than the Packers -- would have to play away for their first playoff game. The current division set-up penalizes teams in a particular division who all may be good, and rewards at least one team in a crummy division. For a few years there, the NFC West (where my fave team, the Rams, resides) was a doormat, its division winner once having a pathetic record of 7-9. Now, however, three of its four teams could (should?) have been in the playoffs. (Arizona had a better record than Green Bay and the same record as the Eagles.)
The question is, how to perfect the system that Geraghty ponders. I think it would be a lot easier to maintain the conference system and take the best six teams from each than just the twelve best teams from the league overall. Why not just dissolve divisions and have the NFC and AFC? Existing tie-break procedures could all be maintained except the best division record. For instance, the heirarchy could be 1) head-to-head, 2) conference record, 3) interconference record, 4) best point differential. Then again, if you want the best twelve teams overall regardless of conference, you could still utilize conferences merely for tie-break issues. I mean, if the NFC has eight of the twelve playoff teams, does anyone care ... if these dozen are the best teams in the NFL? Not I.
Israel's Amit Ivry won a silver medal at the FINA Swimming World Cup 2013. But here's what Qatar TV did:
Classy, eh? Is it any wonder why their English language network is completely and utterly bombing (no pun intended) here in the States?
A parent of a losing football team has filed an accusation of "bullying" against the winning team's coach:
In the complaint, the dad of a player on the Western Hills High School football team claims Aledo High School football coach Tim Buchanan encouraged his players to bully their opponents by running up the score.
"We all witnessed bullying firsthand, it is not a pretty sight," the complaint reads according to MyFoxDFW.com. “I did not know what to say on the ride home to explain the behavior of the Aledo coaches for not easing up when the game was in hand.”
The final score was 91-0. Buchanan pulled his starters early and played 2nd and 3rd stringers. But he didn't tell the subs not to score.
"I'm not gonna tell a kid that comes out here and practices six to seven hours a week trying to get ready for football games ‘Hey, you can't score a touchdown if you get in, you're gonna have to take a knee,' cause that may be the only touchdown that kid gets to score in his high school career.”
He's absolutely right. As I noted back in September, what precisely should a coach do in such cases? It's not his fault the other team(s) absolutely suck, or, as mostly in Buchanan's case, a team is placed in a new division after realignment ... a division historically low on football talent.
If the parent "did not know what to say on the ride home (to his son)," then, in all honesty, he might wanna shore up on his parenting skills (such that they are). I mean, really? How 'bout, "Hey son, it doesn't matter what the score says ... all that matters is that you did your best"? Or, "Aledo always has had great teams. There's nothing at all to be ashamed of"? Does dad honestly think that filing a "bullying" complaint is the solution? Or that such will somehow shield his son from actual bullying in the future? If anything, dad has merely opened the door for a torrent of wisecracks and remarks aimed his son's way.
Look at what Philly.com's Jimmy Kempski does with his NFL week 7 picks:
The "Washington team." How so-delightfully PC. Kempski = total tool.
But think for a moment about the term “Redskins,” and how it truly differs from all the others. Ask yourself what the equivalent would be if directed toward African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, or members of any other ethnic group.
When considered that way, Redskins can’t possibly honor a heritage or a noble character trait. Nor can it possibly be considered a neutral term. It’s an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present-day intent.
It’s fair to say that for a long time now, and certainly in 2013, no offense has been intended. But if you take a step back, isn’t it easy to see how offense might legitimately be taken?
Let's see, what would the equivalent be if "Fighting Irish" used, say, "Blacks" instead of "Irish?" Wonder what the result of that would be?
Ultimately, what matters is if Native Americans are offended by the DC nickname. And guess what? They're not. Not even close. Ninety percent (yes, ninety) of Native Americans said they are not offended by the name "Redskins." In fact,
Because they make up a very small proportion of the total population, the responses of 768 people who said they were Indians or Native Americans were collected over a very long period of polling, from October 7, 2003 through September 20, 2004. They included Indians from every state except Alaska and Hawaii, where the Annenberg survey does not interview. The question that was put to them was “The professional football team in Washington calls itself the Washington Redskins. As a Native American, do you find that name offensive or doesn’t it bother you?”
Again, 90% said "no." In addition, check out ESPN columnist Rick Reilly's article from September for further non-PC facts about the 'skins. But these won't stop the mainstream media and elitist "progressive" whites ... because they "know" better. Just as they "know" that getting a photo ID is ridiculously cumbersome for minorities despite polls showing the population in question vehemently disagreeing with them, these same anointed "know" that Redskins is a racial slur -- because shut up. And if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is going to meet with one group of Natives (who, of course, are opposed to the Washington team name), then why doesn't he also meet with someone Adrian Jawort, a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, who notes that actual history doesn't exactly jibe with that of PC idiots like Bob Costas and our president: That "red skins," among other things, was used by Natives themselves, and with pride.
In conclusion, if the mainstream media and academic institutions across the land are clamoring that something is "insensitive," "racist" or "intolerant," then you'd best investigate what exactly that "something" is. Because it's a good bet it's only those noted adjectives to conceited "progressives" who perpetually purport to know better than everyone else.
Doug Ernst has further thoughts.
UPDATE: Costas this morning admitted that most Natives aren't miffed by the team name, but wants a heckler's veto anyway:
[Costas] then admitted that most Native Americans are not offended with the name, but that since other people might be, it should still be changed.
Here's what I'm offended by: Costas' mouth. STFU already.
UPDATE 2: How 'bout this? It seems the most vocal Native in favor of getting the Redskins to drop their name is not even a member of the tribe from which he claims to be. But he is a big Obama supporter and donor. “He has no ancestry in the Six Nations but he has a lot of powerful friends in D.C.,” a NY State assemblywoman said.
What a surprise.
Maybe the dude should have a chat with Elizabeth Warren. After all, she got away with it.
Thank goodness Bob Costas finally weighed in on how offensive Washington Redskins team name is in this, his 30+ year of sportscasting!— proteinwisdom (@proteinwisdom) October 14, 2013
Woman of the Year candidate:
The Northern California Federation Youth Football League changed its “mercy rule” this season, imposing hefty fines on teams that beat others too badly, a local television station reported.
If a team with players between the ages of 7 and 13 beats another team by 35 points or more, the coach will suffer a one-week suspension and the team will face a penalty of $200, KCRA reported.
Robert Rochin, the deputy commissioner for the league, said the league was losing a lot of players each season because some teams were getting creamed so badly. Really? Well maybe Rochin and co. could do a better job of evening out the choosing of players so there's more parity among teams? Geez ... or, what about a "mercy rule" like baseball and softball leagues have -- like when a team is winning by more than ten runs after five innings the game is over?
Cali, like in many other instances, resorts to PC overload. Obviously, you'd wish that coaches would be sportsmen and not run up the score, would play second and third stringers, and simply run the ball a lot. Then again, even given all that, if there's such a disparity in talent levels, a crushing score difference may just be inevitable. Case in point: For a couple seasons when I was coaching girls basketball at my school, we were insanely loaded with talent. We'd play our starters for the first quarter or two, and then typically put in the second and third stringers. But even they were magnitudes better than the other teams' starters. How do you tell your girls not to score? Of course, certain things were off-limits -- fast breaks, steals, virtually no defensive pressure, 3-point shots -- but if you tell your team to just pass the ball around, it looks like you're belittling the other squad worse than scoring a ton on them. It's a delicate balance. You cannot satisfy everyone. And you'll never satisfy the PC Police. Ever.
Check out what happens when Skyview HS players celebrate prematurely after blocking opponent Columbia HS's last second winning field goal attempt:
Whoops! Yep, the ball was never officially downed. So, Columbia picked up the ball and ran in for the winning touchdown! I just hope the kicker got the last word against the Skyview chump who mouthed off to him after the blocked FG!
And that would be this one:
That's Lavonte David of the Tampa Bay Bucs pushing Jets QB Geno Smith out of bounds with mere seconds left in the game. David was flagged for unnecessary roughness, and the additional 15 yards for New York put them in field goal range. Jets Kicker Nick Folk then promptly booted the game winner.
Keep watching that image. Smith is not yet out of bounds when David makes contact with him. And David merely shoves him, he doesn't all-out tackle him. But the latter is irrelevant -- if Smith is not yet out of bounds, David has every right to shove him there, despite whether Geno was obviously heading there or not.
The referees gave this game to the Jets, period.
Moonbat cartoonist Rob Tornoe, a contributor to the LGOMB (that's the Local Gaggle of Moonbat Bloggers), displays all the hypocritical Left's pastiche for "civility" and "sensitivity" as you'd expect in today's Philly.com:
Unfortunately, there's no sign Tebow is set to give up trying to be a quarterback in the NFL. He tweeted on Saturday, "I will remain in relentless pursuit of continuing my lifelong dream of being an NFL quarterback."
That's the problem with faith... sometimes it can overcome logic. The only team that I could see possibly taking a flyer on Tebow would be Buffalo. Due to injuries, they may be forced to start undrafted free agent Jeff Tuel at quarterback in week 1 against the Patriots, so maybe Tebow can give him some inside information the way Lawyer Milloy did when he signed with the Bills back in 2003.
You can view Tornoe's "sensitive" cartoon here, which hypothesizes that Tebow may have a concussion for being adamant he can still play in the NFL.
Now, I actually have little issue with the concept that Tebow probably doesn't have what it takes to play in the NFL anymore. But that's not what guys like Tornoe really care about anyway. For them, it's an opportunity to mock those with faith. Plain and simple. As it always has for much of the MSM. I mean, hell -- if someone had the gall to point out in any number of News Journal "tug at your heart strings" articles about a 28-year old single mom with three kids by three different fathers who harbors dreams of becoming a physician that she, in any sense of the term "reality," has no chance of seeing that coming true, well, to the 'bats you're a heartless (and possibly racist) SOB who is deserving of the utmost scorn.
But what would expect from a contributor to Media Matters, and an associate of one who wishes death upon all Republicans, eh?
“Awwwwwwwww. I bet this makes the Baby Jesus weep. Tim should have prayed more.”
“Hey Tim, are you getting the message now? Nothing fails like prayer.”
“If Tim Tebow spend as much time concentrating on playing football as he did worrying about promoting his religion, he might not be getting cut.”
“We’re all going to hell and we’re excited about it. Don’t be jealous.”
“It would have been different for him had he kept his religion home and just been a regular ball player.”
“Where’s your god now, Tebow?”
Classy, eh? And what has this guy done to deserve such? He didn't get arrested. He didn't have multiple kids out of wedlock. He didn't get drunk and use racial slurs. He didn't get caught using drugs.
None of that. He's a Christian. That's all. "Great job," Tornoe and co.
Chuck gave us five National League East titles, two National League pennants, and best of all, a World Series ring in 2008 -- the second in the team's history. (I was fortunate to see both.) His reign was the best ever in Phil's history.
Ryne Sandberg takes over the team immediately.
I'll always remember his appearances on Letterman's old 12:30 show which followed Carson. His down-to-Earth demeanor, un-PC approach and humor made him the ultimate storyteller. Here's a couple classic clips to show you what I mean:
An appearance on the aforementioned David Letterman:
... if you're cut it's not because you pretty much suck, but because your views "aren't accepted." Or, at least, that's what idiot Yahoo! writer Les Carpenter thinks:
But the NFL doesn't always respect reliable players who are role models off the field. Not when those players are smart and have opinions and dare to speak those opinions on places like the Internet. In the past year, [Chris] Kluwe's activism has gone from complaints about labor issues to the third rail to sports executives: gay rights. Suddenly the skilled punter who tees the ball perfectly for his field goal kickers is the great threat to the fabric of football.
Indeed -- gotta have a multi-millionaire field goal ball-placer! And "skilled punter?" Carpenter praises Kluwe further throughout his article ... but is it true that he's so skilled? Not according to ESPN:
Carpenter thinks that because Kluwe is outspoken about his gay rights beliefs, that is what is ingratiating to his fellow players and coaches. Even though Kluwe said no one complained, Carpenter quotes one coach who said Kluwe's antics were "getting old." And y'know what? He'd be right. A football team is about football. When any one player becomes too much of a distraction either on or off the field, the team pays a price. Don't believe me? Terrell Owens. Michael Vick. And Tim Tebow. (Ironically, though, Tebow is much more a manifestation of the media making a big deal about him rather than him bringing unwanted attention onto himself. All the guy did, pretty much, was get down on one knee in a signature pose, for heaven's sake.)
Speaking of Tebow, where was Carpenter when Tebow was cut from the Jets? Why doesn't he think that was due to Tebow's Christian beliefs, hmm?
That would be "the advocacy group" Gender Justice. Here's why:
Jill Gaulding, a cofounder of the advocacy group Gender Justice, claims that the University of Iowa is engaged in “pink shaming” and “cognitive bias” by making its football team’s opponents dress and undress in a locker room that is painted . . . pink:
“Most people understand the pink locker room as a taunt against the other team, calling them a bunch of ladies/girls/sissies/pansies/etc.,” according to an information sheet Gaulding and Gender Justice law partner Lisa Stratton distributed to the workshop attendees.
Gaulding’s handout quoted a passage from [former Iowa football coach Hayden] Fry’s autobiography where he said pink was a “passive” color and might put opponents in a passive mood. “Also, pink is often found in girls’ bedrooms, and because of that some consider it a sissy color,” according to a quote Gaulding said she took from Fry’s book.
Gaulding believes -- wait for it! -- that U.I. could face a lawsuit for ... gender discrimination(!!) based on Title IX and Title VII rules.
I'm sure there have been [a lot] worse in history, but this game-ending "third strike" against the Tampa Bay Rays' Ben Zobrist (via pitcher Jeremy Hellickson of the Texas Rangers) is absolutely a brutal call:
Dude, I haven't played in years and I could do better than 2 for 22:
Is this what it's come to in our country? It's bad enough when idiots like the pundits on MSNBC discover "racism" under every nook and cranny (this has to be the best example ever, so to speak); now a sports "writer" at SB Nation sees fit to find "racism" in ... white guys celebrating their home team beating a rival who's won 27 games in a row.
Was this writer, Bill Hanstock, just trying to be ... "funny?" It seems like it. But not only is his article not funny (and hey, I think "poke fun at white people" humor is hilarious if done well -- like here and here, for example), what exactly is he trying to get across? Aren't their plenty of black Chicago Bulls fans? How would an article from the other side of the color spectrum come across?
Yeah, I think we all know ...
Soccer player Lauren Silberman tried out an NFL combine as a kicker yesterday ... and -- surprise!! -- she failed miserably:
Her first kickoff attempt, from the 35-yard line, went 19 yards. Her second went just 13, and she soon was accompanied to the trainer's table.
"I just couldn't do it today," Silberman said. "I know I can do a lot more."
Silberman had one more kickoff and five field goal attempts remaining, and later lobbied NFL officials to let her try to complete the workout. After a long conversation, it was decided she would not continue because of [a leg] injury.
Yeah, it was the "injury." Silberman later said, "The distance wasn't there but hopefully the scouts will notice my technique. It's not always length."
"Distance wasn't there ..."?? Yeah, I can see some NFL coaches now: "OK, the damn kickoff only went 25 yards, but holy crap -- did you see that technique??" And maybe Silberman could create a new specialty position -- that of Really Short Distance Field Goal Kicker.
The NFL promoted Silberman's tryout, and she appeared on a few television programs leading up to the event.
And there is still a milestone to be had. While Silberman started the tryout, she did not complete it. "I might be the first woman trying out for the NFL," Silberman said. "But I certainly hope I'm not the last."
I'm sure the NFL promoted her "tryout." 'Ya gotta be politically correct these days, after all, right? No matter how ludicrous it is.
UPDATE: Here's a video of her "good technique." Try not to laugh. I dare 'ya:
... is that their quarterback -- Joe Flacco -- is a graduate of my alma mater, the University of Delaware!
Bonus points: Who can name the other U of D quarterback who made it to the Big Game, but lost?
Well, I was one-for-two on Championship Sunday, again with the Ravens proving me wrong. So ... we're not gonna do that again! Look for Baltimore to defeat the Niners in a squeaker, 24-21.
"Yes," says Mike Florio:
Really? Do people really think that professional sports franchises don't want the very best coaches and general managers available? They want the best players, after all.
And seriously, the Rooney Rule -- which requires NFL teams to interview minority candidates for coaching positions -- is cosmetically applied anyway. Teams in search of coaches usually have a good idea of who they want in advance based on current availability, and to comply with the RR they'll merely grant a "courtesy" interview to a minority interviewee. An expansion of the RR would result in ... what -- more mere "courtesy" interviews?
The only way people like Florio will get what they want is if a mandatory quota -- NFL affirmative action, if you will -- is implemented. And that would go over even worse than this silly Rooney Rule.
... former Raiders Tim Brown and Jerry Rice (yes, that one) claim that then-coach Bill Callahan "sabotaged" Oakland's chances in the 2003 (2002 season) Super Bowl against Tampa Bay. Why?
“We all called it sabotage, because Callahan and Gruden were good friends. And Callahan had a big problem with the Raiders, you know, hated the Raiders. You know, [he] only came because Gruden made him come. Literally walked off the field on us a couple of times during the season when he first got there, the first couple years," Brown told SiriusXM NFL Radio, via SFGate.com. "So really he had become someone who was part of the staff but we just didn’t pay him any attention. Gruden leaves, he becomes the head coach. It’s hard to say that the guy sabotaged the Super Bowl. You know, can you really say that? That can be my opinion, but I can’t say for a fact that that’s what his plan was, to sabotage the Super Bowl. He hated the Raiders so much that he would sabotage the Super Bowl so his friend can win the Super Bowl. That’s hard to say, because you can’t prove it. But the facts are what they are, that less than 36 hours before the game we changed our game plan. And we go into that game absolutely knowing that we have no shot. That the only shot we had if Tampa Bay didn’t show up."
Does anyone seriously believe that Seau would have quit playing football knowing that he might suffer some long-term physical damage due to the inherent brutality of the sport?
Well, due to some unlikely late heroics by Baltimore (and stupid screw-ups by Denver) last Saturday I ended up going 2 for 4 in last weekend's divisional round picks. And even though I wish the opposite results of tomorrow's picks, here's who will win:
3:00pm EST: Niners over Falcons.
6:30pm EST: Pats over Ravens.
After going 4 for 4 last week (that's right, 4 for 4), I'm jonesin' to keep the streak goin'. So here we go:
Broncos over Ravens.
Packers over Niners.
Falcons over Seahawks.
Pats over Texans.
It's that time of the year again (one of my faves), so since no one demanded it, here are Hube's Playoff Picks for Wildcard Weekend:
Texans over Bengals.
Packers over Vikings.
Ravens over Colts.
Seahawks over Redskins.
... Bob Costas will deliver a diatribe on the "alcohol and fancy car culture" of the NFL following this tragedy.
The NFL is considering yet another rule change:
[...] after a touchdown or field goal, instead of kicking off, a team would get the ball on its own 30-yard line, where it’s fourth and 15. The options are either to go for it and try to retain possession, or punt. If you go for it and fall short, the opposing team would take over with good field position. In essence, punts would replace kickoffs, and punts are less susceptible to violent collisions than kickoffs.
Really? Really?? Exactly how much "less susceptible" to violent collisions are punts than kickoffs? Because they're incredibly similar in function. The option does sound intriguing, I'll admit, but if you're really serious about thwarting serious injury, then move the kick off up to the 40 yard line from the now-35. That way virtually no returns would materialize, unless the kicker really flubbed the kick.
What's next -- full body armor??
It was bad enough when they had uber-loon Keith Olbermann sit in with them on the pre-game and halftime, and when they engaged in doltish PC antics. Now, Bob Costas (who I already can't stand for his condescending delivery of practically everything) decides to lecture us all about gun control:
“Our current gun culture,” [sports writer Jason] Whitlock wrote, “ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience-store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead."
“Handguns do not enhance our safety. They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments, and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it. In the coming days, Jovan Belcher’s actions, and their possible connection to football, will be analyzed. Who knows?"
“But here,” wrote Jason Whitlock, “is what I believe: If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.”
Because you're an idiot, Whitlock. And you too, Costas. Belcher was obviously suffering from some severe mental and emotional issues. Thinking that because he may not have had access to a gun he wouldn't have killed his girlfriend and himself is wishful thinking at best, and plain stupidity at worst. Not to mention that handguns enhance people's safety every freakin' day.
It's bad enough I tuned in to see how my second favorite football team (Eagles) was faring against "America's Team" (Cowboys) last evening. I certainly didn't need this sanctimonious garbage on a football game yet again. It's one thing for Costas to say "Looks like the gun control debate may resurface" or something to that effect, but don't f'in lecture me.
I'll never be tuning into Sunday Night Football henceforth. Who needs it. I'll just scope the constantly updating ESPN.com game schematics.
UPDATE: Idiot Whitlock ups the ante -- equates the NRA to the KKK:
You know, I did not go as far as I’d like to go because my thoughts on the NRA and America’s gun culture — I believe the NRA is the new KKK. And that the arming of so many black youths, uh, and loading up our community with drugs, and then just having an open shooting gallery, is the work of people who obviously don’t have our best interests [at heart].
A couple things: 1) Whitlock is obviously quite ignorant of history. 2) He engages in the 'ol "progressive" bigotry of low expectations by blaming the NRA ("the work of people ...") for gun violence, not those who actually engage in it. Those "black youths" are somehow merely puppets of the gun rights organization. Or something. Sheesh.
The Daily Caller has a montage of blown calls, some of which certainly would have made my list. Ones I recall personally:
Should have been included:
I take issue with:
This #9 "blown" call by the Bleacher Report. Yes, I'm biased because it affected my St. Louis Rams, but the rule at that time basically stated that no part of the football could touch the ground in the course of a catch. As the Tampa Bay Bucs were driving late in the 1999 NFC Championship game, receiver Bert Emanuel made a great catch -- but it was overturned after review because the tip of the ball had hit the ground first. But, again, that was the NFL rule at the time, despite it being a bad rule. The league recognized this, and revised the rule, naming the revision after Emanuel.
Via CNN's Ruben Navarrette Jr.: American Medal Winner Waves Mexican Flag.
So why did Manzano carry two flags with him on his victory lap? As the world looked on, he held up both the U.S. flag and the Mexican flag. Not a good look. And not a good idea.
Manzano posted messages on Twitter throughout the competition -- in Spanish and English. After his victory, he tweeted, "Silver medal, still felt like I won! Representing two countries USA and Mexico!"
That's funny. I only saw one set of letters on his jersey: USA.
Manzano's father came to the US illegally, and brought his son four years later. The son, Manzano, eventually became a US citizen which gave him all the opportunities his father had desired -- including the means to train for the Olympics. The logo on Manzano's jersey read "USA," not "Mexico." It'd be one thing to say he was proud of his Mexican heritage in post-race interviews/tweets, but to state he "represented" two countries ...?
There were no hybrid jerseys at the Olympic Games, Mr. Manzano. You represent one country at the Games, and you chose to represent the United States. If you want to represent Mexico, then wear their jersey. OK?
The NY Times' Jere Longman thinks that US Olympic track star Lolo Jones relies way too much on her great looks rather than her actual accomplishments on the track:
Still, Jones has received far greater publicity than any other American track and field athlete competing in the London Games. This was based not on achievement but on her exotic beauty and on a sad and cynical marketing campaign. Essentially, Jones has decided she will be whatever anyone wants her to be — vixen, virgin, victim — to draw attention to herself and the many products she endorses.
Women have struggled for decades to be appreciated as athletes. For the first time at these Games, every competing nation has sent a female participant. But Jones is not assured enough with her hurdling or her compelling story of perseverance. So she has played into the persistent, demeaning notion that women are worthy as athletes only if they have sex appeal. And, too often, the news media have played right along with her.
Longman goes on to quote some academic comparing Jones to tennis player Anna Kournikova who was quite beautiful, yet never won a singles tournament in her sport. (Personally, I'd also add in golfer Michelle Wie who insisted on playing in men's tourneys before she ever did anything on the women's tour; she has only two victories on the LPGA tour at present.) Jones, in a subsequent interview, expressed sadness and disappointment with the article.
But is Longman being even close to fair with regards to Lolo? Not even close.
Check out Jones' vital stats. National indoor titles in the 60 meter hurdles in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Two gold medals in the World Indoor Championships in that event in 2008 and 2010. She holds the American record in the 60 meter hurdles, for cripe's sake. In 2008 in Beijing, Jones was favored to win the 100 meter hurdles and was on the verge of doing so -- until she tripped over the second-to-last hurdle, and finished seventh. Longman does mention the Olympics in Beijing and that Jones was leading the race in his column, but neglects to note she was the favorite and most likely would have won if not for the trip, which is a fairly common occurrence in hurdles.
Are these accomplishments Anna Kournikova or Michelle Wie-like? No freakin' way. Far from it.
Longman's column was so off-base that Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane felt compelled to respond:
I believe writers like Jere Longman, who does have a long and worthy track record at The Times, should have some room to express their hard-earned perspective. But this piece struck me as quite harsh and left me, along with others, wondering why the tone was so strong.
Bravo to Art for that.
What's even more hilarious than how off-base Longman's main point was is the notion that Jones shouldn't attempt to take advantage of her inherent beauty for monetary gain. In contemporary America, there's nothing more "American" than this, and media outfits like the Times are responsible for a lot of it. And you know what else? Why doesn't Mr. Longman write up a column about possibly the greatest style-over-substance personality in modern memory: One Barack Obama, president of the United States, and a person the NY Times has supported without fail since he became a candidate for the highest office in the land?
... because some people -- the usual suspects, of course -- ONLY see such.
Such is the case with racialist Anna Holmes' soliloquy on race and sports at Yahoo! News. Thankfully and mercifully, as evidenced by the thousands of comments, your average folk are simply TIRED of this sh**. And that's exactly what Holmes' article is: One big pile of smoldering feces.
As part of my duties as "Minister of Baseball," I would like to point out that the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is this afternoon. In honor of one of the inductees, I link to my article from my old blog arguing why Barry Larkin is a no doubt about it Hall of Famer.
UPDATE (15:05): And Larkin just mentioned "Paul Smith" during his induction speech. Some might claim he wasn't talking about me, but we all know the truth, right?
In the winter months, [Eric Jackson's girls] use an $11,000 golf simulator in the basement that the girls are rapidly outgrowing. Between practice, tournament fees, traveling, lodging, coaching and equipment, the family spends about $40,000 a year for the girls to compete.
"This is an expensive sport, and the better you get, the more expensive it becomes. The last club I bought Erica cost $1,000," Eric said. "I believe golf is designed to price black people out, and if these girls don't get the financial backing they need, it could be the end of them competing."
As Geoff Shackelford notes (from the link above), "Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but oftentimes golf prices just about everyone out. Especially at the prices quoted in this story."
Indeed. The most I ever paid for a golf club was $250, and that was for an oversized-head driver several years ago. I won a better driver two years after that in a raffle; that club was priced at over $400. It was considered to be one of the best drivers available, then, too. So, $1,000 for a freakin' club? $11,000 for a simulator in their basement? Cripes, who the f*** is Jackson kidding? Hardly anyone can afford that stuff, no matter what color.
(h/t to Right Field.)
Remember Mitt Romney talking about visiting the local "Wawas."
Lloyd E. Elling of Ocean View takes it upon himself to speak for all those of Native American descent in calling for the Indian River School District to ditch any Indian (Native) logos, mascots, names, etc. Now, yours truly recognizes that this is a delicate subject; however, Elling makes it seem as if Native Americans as a whole are uniformly opposed to such logos, etc. This is not the case. Indeed, it is highly possible that opposition is more a figment of elitist liberal "we know better" political correctness rather than popular Native American opinion. Gee, isn't it possible that [quite a few] Natives just might think that such logos and mascots are a tribute to their culture? A tribute to Native American strength and bravery (among other attributes)? A poll in 2002 by Sports Illustrated found that
81% of American Indian respondents do not think high school and college teams should stop using Indian nicknames. As for professional athletics, 83% of Native American respondents said teams should not stop using Indian nicknames, mascots, characters and symbols.
What's more, Elling includes the name Bartolome de Las Casas in his letter as if he was some paragon of virtue via his advocacy for the Indians in the face of Spanish mistreatment. But Las Casas was a prominent advocate for African slavery to replace that of the Natives. (In his waning years of life, it is said he regretted this position. Well gee, don't we all have last moment regrets?) In addition, many historians point out that Las Casas either exaggerated or simply was ignorant of the effects of Spanish violence and war against the Natives, at least when it comes to figuring the population decrease of that group as a result of conquest and colonization. It is now widely established that European diseases were responsible for the vast majority of Indian deaths during the colonial era, accounting for upwards of 90% mortality.
I certainly concur with Elling that our history shouldn't be whitewashed. But it also shouldn't be "cleansed" in the other direction -- the PC direction -- which lionizes certain figures who don't necessarily deserve it, ignores facts which may be "uncomfortable," and this history shouldn't be "spoken for" by folks who want to make themselves feel good, most especially if it contradicts the opinion of those for whom they're supposedly advocating.
Baseball guy Tim McCarver jumps on the global warming bandwagon with a new theory on the increased number of homeruns (or, why the ball is "carrying") over the years: the air is thinning.
Not that the air is warmer, the air is thinning. And ... increased steroid/HGH, etc. use has nothing to do with the increase in baseballs "carrying," right Tim?
Ye gad ...
That is, the NFL player who graces the cover of the popular video game usually encounters some sort of bad luck shortly thereafter? (It happened to my football god, Marshall Faulk, in the early 2000s.) In politics, there's the "Rolling Stone Curse."
... I wonder how dolt Graham Watson would spin this:
MVSU guard Kevin Burwell taunts President Obama and ultimately regrets it.
Mississippi Valley State guard Kevin Burwell learned a hard lesson Tuesday night that taunting the leader of the free world brings nothing but trouble.
Early in the second half of the Devils' "first four" game against Western Kentucky, Burwell dribbled to the corner where President Barack Obama and his guest, British Prime Minister David Cameron, were taking in the game and jacked up a 3-pointer. When the shot found the bottom of the net, Burwell turned to the president and taunted him.
Not a smart move with Secret Service hovering, but Burwell was responding to Obama's halftime comment that both teams were "shooting terribly." To Obama's credit, the two teams had combined to shoot 24 percent for the first half.
Not saying the president had anything to do with this cosmic karma, but you have to wonder. He is, after all, the most powerful man in the world.
Please. This is taunting? Sheesh.
But let's play that ever-fun game of imagining George Bush still being president. How would Watson have worded his article then?
"Burwell taunts the president like his black-ops guys did to prisoners at Abu Ghraib."
"Burwell mimics an anti-war protestor in getting is Dubya's face!"
"Burwell, maybe furious at Bush's trashing of our Constitution, stares down the president after making long-range jumper."
“Our future's looking bright, because I trust the man who’s leading us. And that man is Barack Obama,” Smith, 53, says in a new Obama campaign Web video to promote the group African-Americans for Obama.
“I have the president’s back, and it’s up to us as African-Americans to show that we have his back also."
I'm really curious as to what measure Smith is using to say "the future's looking bright." But ... does it really matter anyway for African-Americans given Obama's race? After all, Smith says right there: It's up to African-Americans to "have his back."
The New York Times' William Rhoden unwittingly exposes his own mainstream media to its favorite canard -- or card: the RACISM card.
Midway through a discussion about the world of sports at the Connecticut Forum in Hartford last week, Rebecca Lobo, the former University of Connecticut basketball star, posed an intriguing question. Could anyone recall a black athlete who had come off the bench like Tim Tebow or out of the blue like Jeremy Lin, flared to immediate stardom and received the sort of impassioned outpouring of love that has enveloped Tebow and Lin?
*Sigh* Yes -- and it's quite easy: Tiger Woods. The Williams sisters (Venus and Serena). Just to name three. And what is the distinguishing characteristic about all five of these examples?
They excel[led] in a sport dominated by another race.
This doesn't apply to Tebow as much as it does Lin, Woods and the Williamses, but that isn't his fault. The media went ape sh** over his religion. But with the others, really -- how many Asian stand-out stars are there in general in the four major sports? Woods and the Williams sisters got enormous coverage not only because they dominated their respective sports, but because they're African-Americans in sports overwhelmingly represented by whites.
Geez, was this really that hard to figure out? And could the title of Rhoden's article be any more ridiculous -- "Breakout Stars Shine a Light on Those Left Out" -- as if there are no black star athletes who get warranted recognition and adulation? If this was actually true, then doesn't this make Rhoden's own mainstream media guilty of ... racism?
(h/t to The Corner.)
To follow up on Duffy's post, I too want to give a shout out to the G-Men for their second consecutive Super Bowl victory over the hated Patriots. Why "hated?" Simply put, because they denied my beloved Rams a place on the mantle of greatness by besting them in Super Bowl 36. They shouldn't have even been there (remember the infamous "Tuck Rule" call?), and then there was the whole issue of videotaping the Rams' practices and late hits (beyond five yards) on the Rams' receivers the whole game. Yes -- they deserve kudos for the game they played; they would have lost nine out of ten to that 2001 Rams team, though.
Yes! Once again the mighty G-Men denied Bill The Cheater and the Patriots. Tom Brady was smart enough to keep his pre-game bragging in check but it did not help him.
Overall I'd call the game lackluster (especially compared to their last meeting) but the ending was a nailbiter.
I've attached some images just because.
Numerous writers, mostly of the sports variety, are up in arms about Boston Bruins star goalie Tim Thomas snubbing the White House by not attending Barack Obama's hosting of the NHL champs:
Shabby. Immature. Unprofessional. Self-centered. Bush league. Need I go on? All that and more applies to what Thomas did, on a day when Cup teammates Mark Recchi (now retired), Shane Hnidy (a radio guy these days in Winnipeg), and Tomas Kaberle (a member of some Original Six team in Canada), all gladly joined the red-white-blue-black-and-gold hugfest at the White House.
I'm of the mind that Thomas should have attended. Regardless of who holds the presidency, it's about honor, respect, and team. However, again, the issue becomes about the media. What if George W. Bush was still in the WH and a player refused to attend such an event because of his personal stance against the Iraq War? As Shannen Coffin notes,
Notably, no one at the Boston Globe complained when Red Sox owner John Henry and general manager Theo Epstein, both dyed-in-the-wool Democrats, opted out of the invites to the Bush White House after the 2007 World Series.
Exactly. It's exactly like how the media portrayed the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movement -- the former is inherently "bad," while the latter has a "legitimate" gripe. Henry and Epstein's snubs were, to the media I'm sure, "principled dissents" to Bush's policies. But Thomas's? "Shabby. Immature. Unprofessional. Self-centered." Coffin also notes how Globe writer Kevin DuPont is way off base in accusing Thomas of being un-American:
Mr. Dupont’s most woeful error, however, was in suggesting that Thomas’s disagreement with the current government equals a lack of love of country. “It was the same government yesterday, and will be today, that protected his country, his security, his family, and his right to make $5 million a year, all last season.” Tim Thomas was a U.S. Olympian and won a silver medal for his country. Mr. Dupont contends that someone “so disgusted with our government ought to turn in the sweater and the medal. It must be a horrible burden, if not a pox, to have them in his house.”
Tim Thomas’s objections to the excesses of government are entirely American, born of his love of country, not harbored in spite of it.
Right. And how many media types would have made that exact same argument regarding George W. Bush's presidency? It's always that way with the Left: when they're in power, dissent is "un-American." Where they're out of power, dissent is the "greatest form of patriotism."
UPDATE: Hockey News writer Ken Campbell nails it:
... that if a few years ago some stars “had snubbed the White House in 2004 to protest the Bush-led U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, my guess is they ... would have had all kinds of unwavering support in the media for taking such a courageous stance.” (h/t: Newsbusters.)
Went 2-4 last weekend -- Saturday picks were pretty good, while Sunday's were dismal. Let's see if we can do better this weekend:
4:30: Saints 30, 49ers 17.
8:00: Patriots 34, Broncos 20.
1:00: Ravens 16, Texans 13.
4:00: Packers 36, Giants 17.
Meanwhile, in related NFL news, my team -- the St. Louis Rams -- acquired Jeff Fisher as their new head coach. The Rams beat Fisher (who then coached the Tennessee Titans) for their only Super Bowl victory back in SB 34 (2000).
My favorite [sports] time of the year is upon us! It's the first weekend of the NFL playoffs (playoffs? PLAYOFFS??) and arguably the easiest to predict, so here goes -- scores included:
SATURDAY 4:30: Texans 30, Bengals 20.
SATURDAY 8:00: Saints 35, Lions 30.
SUNDAY 1:00: Falcons 24, Giants 13.
SUNDAY 4:30: Steelers 28, Broncos 7.
Take 'em for what their worth.
Alan Hansen has issued an apology after being dragged into the football racism row by referring to black players as ‘coloured’ on Match of the Day.
In a discussion of the controversies surrounding England captain John Terry and Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, Hansen used the word as he praised the achievements of black players in the Premier League.
But many viewers objected to the term – considered offensive because it dismisses everyone who is not white as the same – and the Corporation yesterday received more than 100 complaints.
Which then begs the question, why hasn't the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (mentioned in the article, by the way) -- the NAACP -- changed its moniker to suit the contemporary standards of "politically correct decency," hmm?
In its energy and complexity, football captures the spirit of America better than any other cultural creation on this continent, and I don't mean because it features long breaks in which advertisers get to sell beer and treatments for erectile dysfunction. It sits at the intersection of pioneering aggression and impossibly complex strategic planning. It is a collision of Hobbes and Locke; violent, primal force tempered by the most complex set of rules, regulations, procedures and systems ever conceived in an athletic framework. Soccer is called the beautiful game. But football is chess, played with real pieces that try to knock each other's brains out. It doesn't get any more beautiful than that.
It's a thing of beauty when a European finally awakens to reality. I love me some soccer but football is quintessentially American.
You say you don't like women's sports? They're boring? Watch this:
National League MVP Ryan Braun's testosterone level was "insanely high" according to reports. The chance of a "false positive" (Braun's defense) is "almost impossible. If the results hold up, Braun should lose his MVP honors even though the Baseball Writers Association of America refuses to do that. (He already faces a 50 game suspension next season.)
Elsewhere, idiot Manny Ramirez believes he and his baseball-playing brethren are "the working class."
The Steelers' James Harrison is in hot water -- again -- for an illegal hit on Cleveland's quarterback Thursday night. While it's certainly a good point that Harrison is a dirty player, the "pussyfication" of the NFL rolls on. Apparently the league (and its geriatric officials) forget that football is a contact sport. And certain players seem to be the beneficiary of this a lot more than others -- like Tom Brady, for instance. What would Art Donovan say?
Tim Tebow did it again yesterday, this time leading his Broncos to a very improbable win over the Chicago Bears. I never understood the hassle Tebow has gotten; wait, yes I do -- it's because he's a Christian and he has no problem saying so and acting like one. This is very upsetting to people like the usual cultural/political idiots, and that's just too damn bad. I suggest people read this about the Denver QB about "being real" when it comes to discussing him.
In golf, number one ranked player Luke Donald said that Rory McIlroy is "more talented than Tiger Woods." Sorry, dude, but just because Tiger has had his share of personal missteps the last few years doesn't mean that some new hotshot is "more talented" than him. Woods is still very much on track for breaking Jack Nicklaus's Majors record (18), a number that is, basically, insane to accomplish. If McIlroy can get to half of Woods' Major titles, then talk to me. Oh, and I'm still wondering how McIlroy's name is so freakin' similar to Roy "Tin Cup" McAvoy's.
Oh, the NBA season is back on, albeit shortened. Who the f*** cares.
Lastly, 'ya just gotta love the animated .gif of the Redskins' Jabar Gafney jumping into the stands ... but no one catches him:
Bryant Gumbel says that NBA commissioner David Stern is like a "plantation overseer."
Stern's version of what has been going on behind closed doors has of course been disputed, but his efforts were typical of a commissioner who has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer, treating NBA men as if they were his boys. It's part of Stern's M.O., like his past self-serving edicts on dress code and the questioning of officials. His moves were intended to do little more than show how he's the one keeping the hired hands in their place.
If he's really a modern-day slave master, then why does "Ole Massa pay players an AVERAGE of $4.75 million or $92,199 per week," as Larry Elder notes?
I must be magnitudes less than a "slave," then. Sheesh.
ESPN has dropped Hank Williams Jr. from opening Monday Night Football tonight after Williams controversial comments today about President Obama.
Says ESPN, in a statement: "While Hank Williams Jr. is not an ESPN employee, we recognize he is closely linked to our company through the opening to Monday Night Football. We are extremely disappointed with his comments, and as a result have decided to pull the open from tonight's telecast."
What did Williams say? He said "this summer's so-called golf summit between Obama and House Speaker John Boehner" was "one of the biggest political mistakes ever." He then said "It would be like Hitler playing golf with (Israeli leader) Benjamin Netanyahu." Finally he said "Obama and Vice-President Biden are 'the enemy.'"
Hey, ESPN can hire and fire whomever they wish. And I can watch some other channel if they insist on being one-sided about enforcing their political commentary policy.
Kilroy has more.
We are creating the first comprehensive statistical encyclopedia of the great black baseball teams and leagues that operated behind the color line in the days of Jim Crow segregation. The database also collects a vast amount of biographical information about these players, much of it previously unpublished.
Among the injustices visited upon the ballplayers of the Negro leagues, the lack of a statistical record of their accomplishments might not leap out as one of the worst; but it has proved one of the most lasting. The Negro National League was founded in 1920; it has taken 91 years to find out for sure that Cristóbal Torriente was the batting champion, that Sam Crawford struck out the most batters, that Dave Brown compiled the best ERA, Pete Hill collected the most walks, and Oscar Charleston garnered the most win shares.
I've always wondered how many baseball records would be altered if blacks were permitted to play in the Majors a lot sooner. Or, if their league's statistics were more meticulously kept.
ESPN clamps down on Paul Azinger's tweets about Obama's golfing:
ESPN is coming down on Paul Azinger for mocking President Barack Obama on Twitter. The golf analyst tweeted Thursday the Commander-in-chief plays more golf than he does -- and that Azinger has created more jobs this month than Obama has.
On Friday ESPN 'reminded" Azinger his venture into political punditry violates the company's updated social network policy for on-air talent and reporters.
"Paul's tweet was not consistent with our social media policy, and he has been reminded that political commentary is best left to those in that field," spokesman Andy Hall told Game On! in a statement.
Well, gosh. And what about their show "The Sports Reporters?" And Mike Lupica, a frequent guest to name one, occassionally opines on matters political not via social media but in big media? Mike Wilbon, also a co-host of "Pardon the Interruption," is another. Does ESPN have a "big media policy" ... and are these pundits "reminded that political commentary is best left to those in that field"?
UPDATE: It appears ESPN has a double standard on the social media policy itself:
UPDATE 2: Much, much more on ESPN's hypocrisy. Looks like other employees -- who have opined against conservatives -- don't get reprimanded.
This is simply brutal. That keeper was arrested for assault and rightly so. He should be banned from ever playing the game again. He literally could have killed the guy.
This is one of two reasons I don't watch South American or Italian soccer. They either fake injury in the most overdramatic fashion possible or they sneak attack like this. Either way they're completely devoid of any form of sportsmanship.
Premier League doesn't put up with this crap. Try it and you'd be out of a career, writing a huge check to the league and then be in court facing both civil and probably criminal charges.
Why did Fox feel the need to discuss Cole Hamels' bathroom habits this past Saturday?
I jest, of course.
I am certainly interested in Duffy's views on this most remarkable soccer game from yesterday. In case you missed it, amid much controversy, the US women's soccer team made a remarkable comeback against Brazil at the Women's World Cup, winning it with penalty kicks:
The bottom line is that, although the refs ridiculously needlessly injected themselves into the game, the outcome was as it should have been had they not. The US team had to play for some 55 minutes one player short (due to the aforementioned red card), and showed grit and determination beyond imagining. The tying goal in stoppage time of extra time is one for the ages.
... for once. He writes today regarding the Gold Cup (soccer) final from this past Saturday:
“I love this country, it has given me everything that I have, and I’m proud to be part of it,” said Victor Sanchez, a 37-year-old Monrovia resident wearing a Mexico jersey. “But yet, I didn’t have a choice to come here, I was born in Mexico, and that is where my heart will always be.”
That’s a quote from an LA Times story on the booing of the U.S. soccer team by an overwhelmingly Latino audience during a U.S.–Mexico match at the Rose Bowl. Examine the odd logic: Mr. Sanchez is booing the country that gave him “everything” while cheering the country that apparently gave him very little. “I didn’t have a choice to come here,” he says; one immediately thinks, “But you most certainly do have a choice to return to the nation where your ‘heart will always be.’” Can Mr. Sanchez not even offer symbolic thanks to the country that blessed him, perhaps a clap or two at the Rose Bowl when the United States is mentioned? And if the immigration service arrived at the Rose Bowl to bus spectators without legality back to Mexico, where his “heart will always be,” would he boo or cheer?
I don't see in the first quote where Mr. Sanchez "booed" the United States team. I see where he was merely cheering on the country of his birth and culture. Is this really unusual? As some in the comments point out in his article, how would Hanson feel about, say, a Philadelphia transplant to Los Angeles (for employment purposes) who continued to cheer for the Eagles, Phillies, and 76ers? Isn't that essentially the same premise? Hanson would have a much better point if he found a quote of Mr. Sanchez where he explicitly said "F*** the United States -- I hate them!" and actually did boo the US team.
My personal experience is much like Mr. Sanchez's. I was married for 20 years to a woman from Costa Rica. Since Costa Rica and the US soccer teams are both in CONCACAF (the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football), they frequently play(ed) each other in tournaments like the just-finished Gold Cup (the CONCACAF championship) and World Cup qualifying matches. My ex, who again, has been in the US since 1989, always roots (rooted) for Costa Rica. According to Hanson, she should be "ashamed" of this. Again, I think this is nonsense. Although she cheers for her home country team, she is never belligerent towards her adoptive country's team; indeed, she's not even unhappy (much) if CR falls to the US, and actively cheers the US when they play other teams. Now, I'm not sure if Mr. Sanchez (and other Mexicans) do this. I'd hope they would.
I will say that my one experience at attending a US-Mexico "friendly" soccer match wasn't exactly "friendly." It took place at the Meadowlands and the Mexican fans that were seated around us were openly hostile towards the US team and its fans. They threw drinks and other objects at US fans and several scuffles broke out. It was, ironically, a 180 of the "Ugly American" scenario where it was, in this case, Mexicans who were behaving execrably -- and the saddest aspect of that was it's a good bet most of them live and work right here.
Hanson would do better to criticize what US goalie Tim Howard was so miffed about after the Saturday game: The post-game ceremonies were performed in Spanish. Howard was dead-on when he said "You can bet your ass if we were in Mexico City, it wouldn't be all in English."
The Boston Bruins bar tab:
The Baltimore Ravens' Ray Lewis has a warning for the NFL owners:
Lewis told ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio that he thinks there’s a segment of the population that will be at risk of turning to criminal activity if there’s no football to watch on Sundays in the fall.
“Do this research if we don’t have a season — watch how much evil, which we call crime, watch how much crime picks up, if you take away our game,” Lewis said. “There’s too many people that live through us, people live through us. Yeah, walk in the streets, the way I walk the streets, and I’m not talking about the people you see all the time.”
Asked to explain why crime would increase without NFL games, Lewis said: “There’s nothing else to do, Sal.”
The question now is whether "Meet the Press's" David Gregory will have Lewis on to ask him if these comments are "racist" and "code language" ...
Two current Phillies -- Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley -- have two of the longest hitting streaks in baseball history after the "unbeatable" 56 game mark set by the Yankee Clipper, Joe DiMaggio.
Rollins is fourth after DiMaggio at 38 games; Utley is tied for sixth with 35. Pete Rose is second with 44 games, and Paul Molitor is third at 39.
Edward John Craig highlights the Pittsburgh Steelers' Hines Ward criticizing teammate Rashard Mendenhall's loony belief in 9/11 Trutherism. Craig -- and Ward -- are, of course, spot on. But then Craig writes this:
I was not only disappointed but surprised when I saw Mendenhall’s meanderings. I considered him a smart, well-spoken young man — certainly compared with most NFL players.
Hey, I'm the biggest critic of PC (political correctness) that I know, but I also know that referring to an African-American as "well-spoken" is along the lines of saying "I have lots of black friends." In other words, it's not the smartest -- nor most polite -- thing to utter.
Way to take the spirit out of your opponent.
On the day former Phillie Lenny Dykstra was arrested for fraud, his son Cutter (yes, his real name) played in Wilmington for the Potomac Nationals.
I do have to say that anyone taking investment advice from Lenny probably got the returns they deserved.
Love him or hate him he's freakin' awesome.
National Review currently has a slide show montage of ten great Masters golf tournament moments (not a true "top ten," however, they note). I like every one, although my personal pick for overall best moment is a tie between Jack Nicklaus winning his sixth green jacket at the age of 46 (at the 1986 tournament) and Tiger Woods tremendously dominating the 1997 tournament and setting three records in the process: youngest champion (age 21), lowest total score (270), and largest margin of victory (12 strokes).
One notable moment omitted from the NRO montage is Greg Norman's epic meltdown in the year before Tiger came on the scene (1996). "The Shark" went into the final round with a seven stroke lead, only to self-destruct on Sunday and allow Nick Faldo (who played brilliantly, by the way) to take home the victory.
Tiger finishing his incredible 1997 Masters run.
Faldo tells Norman "Thanks, mate!"
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson compared NFL owners' treatment of players to "modern-day slavery," according to an online interview published Tuesday by Yahoo! Sports.
Yahoo's Doug Farrar, who conducted the interview Friday with Peterson, removed that comment from the story later Tuesday, explaining on Twitter that he wants to give Peterson the chance to provide context.
"The players are getting robbed. They are," Peterson told Yahoo. "The owners are making so much money off of us to begin with. I don't know that I want to quote myself on that."
When discussing other players feeling the same way, Peterson said: "It's modern-day slavery, you know? People kind of laugh at that, but there are people working at regular jobs who get treated the same way, too."
Except, of course, that most "people working at regular jobs" 1) aren't stupid enough to call their situation "slavery," and 2) don't make one iota of what YOU make for a living ... and you play a freakin' game.
Perhaps Peterson can get some of our usual [local] "activists" to take up his cause, because it surely can't be any sillier than the cause they're currently working on.
People, understandably, would generally prefer their presidents to be doing important presidential things instead of goofing around, which is why pointing out when they do the goofy things — whether it’s golfing or clearing brush — is such a common political attack. But in reality, Obama is not in charge of solving the nuclear crisis in Japan. He should keep abreast of developments, but spending a few minutes with ESPN in the White House isn’t going to prevent him from doing that. And, in fact, Obama ensured that the ESPN video will actually help the Japanese people in tangible ways.
A lot of people are going to hear that message on TV and online, and some of them will go donate. That will end up helping Japan a lot more than Obama not doing the ESPN segment because of concerns about superficially damaging optics.
Wow! Remember when the MSM reported on how George W. Bush's time on his ranch actually helped the Iraq War effort, because seeing him there "led" people to donate to our troops? Same with his father -- when he was seen fishing at Kennebunkport, Maine, people got right on the phones and took up the cause ...
You've probably read about/seen by now the situation involving Holy Family University basketball coach John O'Connor and player Matt Kravchuk. If not, at practice during a rebounding drill, O'Connor got miffed at Kravchuk and shoved him to the ground, apparently hurting the player's wrist. O'Connor later apologized to Kravchuk and the entire team, but that wasn't sufficient -- for Kravchuk. He filed a criminal complaint with the Philly district attorney's office.
Is Kravchuk going too far? I say "yes." I've opined on here before that as a society we are too quick to take offense, and too slow to accept apologies (and to forgive). Sure, this coach overreacted. No doubt about it. But to file a criminal complaint with the city about it -- even after O'Connor apologized shortly after the incident? Sorry, but that's going too far. Hell, as regular Colossus commenter "cardinals fan" can attest, our junior high school basketball coach was a hard-ass, and he verbally thrashed us regularly, not to mention forcefully grabbed our jerseys (and yes, occasionally shoved us) if we weren't making the proper moves during a [practice] play. Should we have filed charges? We weren't even adults, like Kravchuk is!
Maybe John O'Connor can reprogram a Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 and really teach Kravchuk a lesson! Oh, wait, that was John Connor ... nevermind.
The owner of the Washington Redskins is suing Washington City Paper for using racist imagery of him by drawing devil horns and facial hair on his photo.
Irony remains well and truly dead.
I love cheering for the underdog when I really don't care who wins, but ...
... I really think the Steelers are gonna do it: Steelers 30, Packers 24.
In semi-related news, my boy Sam "The Ram" Bradford was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Congrats! Look for St. Louie to regain some of their former glory in the coming years.
UPDATE: What the freak? The Packers are three-point faves? I figured since the Pack are a six seed, and the Stillers are a two seed ... ah well. My prediction stands.
“When I signed my contract, my main goal was to earn it,” Meche told the paper from his temporary home in Lafayette, La. “Once I started to realize I wasn’t earning my money, I felt bad. I was making a crazy amount of money for not even pitching. Honestly, I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I didn’t want to have those feelings again.”
I've never heard of this guy but this story makes me his biggest fan.
Packers over Bears.
Steelers over Jets.
Steelers 17 Ravens 14.
Falcons 30 Packers 20.
Bears 31 Seahawks 14.
Patriots 35 Jets 17.
FYI: I could care less who wins the games except the first one. I hope the Ravens prevail (but don't think they will).
WR Terrell Owens blames Bengals coaches, says franchise underachieving 'from the top down':
Receiver Terrell Owens says the Cincinnati Bengals' lousy season is the result of underachieving "from the top down," and he particularly points a finger at the coaches.
Teammate Chad Ochocinco asked Owens during "The T.Ocho Show" on Versus cable network Tuesday night why he thinks the team is 2-11.
"I think there's underachieving from the top down," Owens said. "You start with the owner, you start with the coaches. And obviously we as players, we are a product of what the coaches are coaching us throughout the course of the week.
"Of course, we have to go out there and play the game. But in order for us to do what we're allowed to do at the best of our abilities, the coaches have to put the players in the best position."
Translation: Owens and Ochocinco are crybaby prima donnas who aren't getting the ball enough, in their highly subjective opinion. Maybe if these two loudmouthed a-holes spent more time on team matters rather than their wretched reality and talk shows, the Bengals might be doing better.
My sports-nut buddy Brent caught this earlier today:
Those who deal with Orioles designated hitter Luke Scott on a daily basis know the deal: Scott is one of the nicer, happier guys in baseball.
He is also one of the most outspoken players about things he believes strongly in. That starts with religion and his Christian beliefs. He is also a huge Second Amendment supporter – and has gone on national TV on multiple occasions about the right to carry guns.
And he is a big right-wing conservative. Oftentimes he’ll share his opinions in the clubhouse. He says things matter-of-factly, and those around him have come to accept that that is just Luke.
Well, Luke was being Luke Tuesday at the winter meetings and it was President Barack Obama who ended up in his crosshairs. After talking with an Internet blogger on media row Tuesday about baseball and hunting and other topics, politics and Obama came up.
The Yahoo Sports blogger asked Scott whether he thought Obama was born in the United States – long a topic of discussion and passion for conservatives. And this is what Scott said: “He was not born here.”
Yeesh. C'mahn, already. I'm with Bill O'Reilly, who once said that, for him, the end of this "discussion" is proved by the Hawaiian newspapers which carried the [small bit of] news of Obama's birth. Like, why would they print something like that if it didn't actually happen? I mean, were they somehow clairvoyant that this birther stuff would be an issue 47 years later?
Wow, I thought it was going to be the goalie!!
I present to you, the world's fastest goalkeeper:
Last night's Phillies' loss to San Francisco was almost -- almost -- as agonizing a feeling as when the New England Patriots' Adam Vinatieri aced the game-winning field goal at the end of Super Bowl 36 to upset the powerhouse St. Louis Rams 20-17 back in 2002.
Because this Phillies team was loaded. Incredible offensive firepower, and their pitching was lights-out when compared to their championship season of 2008 (c'mon -- Jamie Moyer and Brett Myers compared to Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt??). The 2001 Rams were similarly more gifted than their 1999 Super Bowl-winning squad. Their offense, believe it or not, was even better than two years previous, but their defense, especially, was substantially improved. Their 2001 ranks, if memory serves, were #1 (offense) and #3 (defense). 1999's team was 13-3; 2001's was 14-2 and those two losses were incredibly close despite the Rams playing incredibly sloppily. The Rams entered Super Bowl XXXVI fourteen point favorites. Their loss that Sunday was, at the time, the second biggest upset in Super Bowl history (the biggest being Super Bowl III when Joe Namath's Jets upset the Baltimore Colts, and the second now being the NY Giants' upset of New England in 2008).
This year's Phillies should have crushed the Giants in the Championship Series. How many opportunities did they have to score with runners in scoring position -- especially last night? I lost track. It was pathetic. The Phils are clearly the most talented team in the majors this year. But if you're not gonna prove it, you obviously don't deserve the accolades. Mike Martz and the 2001 Rams clearly did not a decade ago; the 2010 Phils didn't either. I don't know if part of it is conceit, part a feeling of "we deserve it," part laziness, and/or part lack of desire.
All I know is it sucks.
The Giants celebrate winning the National League
pennant after beating the heavily favored Phils.
Florida US Senate candidate Charlie Crist tosses the first pitch at Tampa Bay's playoff game:
... on the left is a real New York baseball team (1956 -- Don Larsen's perfect game in the World Series, the first no-hitter in MLB post season history). On the right is a guy who's head and shoulders above you, both in terms of talent and class (2010 -- Roy Halladay tosses the second no-hitter in MLB post season history).
So f*** you -- again -- Santana.
Mets' Johan Santana: "I'm top gun in NL East."
Roy who? Johan Santana is willing to admit the Phillies have improved since last season, but says the Mets still have the top starting pitcher in the NL East.
"Santana," he said yesterday, when asked to name the best pitcher in the division.
Roy Halladay and the Philly Fanatics might disagree with that assessment, but the Mets aren't paying Santana $21 million this season to take a back seat to anyone. The story on Santana: new and improved elbow, same bulldog attitude.
Yeah -- we've heard how "good" the Mets are the last four f***ing seasons. Have we all redefined the word "good?" Or, more likely, do the Mets just plain f***ing SUCK?
Kiss my ass, Santana.
Via Phi Beta Cons:
A sports conference that always scheduled weekday basketball doubleheaders in which women’s teams played the first game — letting the men play in the later time slot — has altered the practice, after an anonymous sex discrimination complaint charged that this made the women’s games appear to be a “warm-up” act for the men’s games.
Now, hoping to avoid possible gender equity suits, other athletic conferences are considering similar scheduling changes. (Source.)
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights strikes again!
Look, here's the deal: One, women's sporting events are just not as popular as men's events because the level of competition is not as great. Fact. Two, universities planned the double-headers the way they did to maximize fan attendance and, most importantly, profits. With women playing first, it's highly likely that some fans who had planned only watch the men's game will arrive early, and as such will catch a bit of the women's game. If women play second, I can virtually guarantee that a ton of spectators will vamoose from the arena as soon as the men's game ends.
If these "gender equitists" really believe in "equality," why not dismantle the whole premise of separate men's and women's sports altogether? It's the logical conclusion of their "philosophy," after all. See how many women make the teams, then.
Oh, wait -- then a lawsuit will be brought forth charging discrimination based on "disparate impact" ...
Saw this one coming a mile away. Only a matter of time before this moves over here. Yankee stadium has pre-emptively banned these things probably because the murderous rampage that would occur if they did not. No, it will be relegated to Shea stadium where they'll do the wave and blow these unholy horns and hope that someday the shame of being a Mets fan is somehow mitigated.
Many hockey fans knew Probert as one of the most feared enforcers in the game. He never ever backed down from a fight. He was also known as an enforcer who could not only throw a punch but take one. Unlike some other goons he was also a decent player. There were some other guys *cough* Tie Domi *cough* who were there for muscle almost exclusively. He was a good player and a great enforcer. Goodbye Mr. Probert.
Herewith is a compilation of videos of Probert beating people senseless.
Watch this Yankee fan on his cell phone (and therefore not paying attention) catch a ground rule double with his face:
From the classic "Victory":
"WADDYA MEAN NO GOAL?? IT'S IN THEH!!"
UPDATE: "Victory" of a sort: FIFA has ditched referee Koman Coulibaly from the next round of World Cup play.
A referee from Mali made what was possibly the worst call I've ever seen in a soccer match yesterday -- denying the US team a goal that would have capped the greatest comeback in US World Cup history. So much for Africa being so Americaphilic, eh?
Nevertheless, the US is still alive to advance to the second round; their tie yesterday means that if they defeat Algeria in their next match they're virtually assured of advancing.
UPDATE: Looks like the ref is gonna get the boot. Good riddance, dope.
UPDATE 2: Andrew Das defends (sort of) the referee. I must admit, he makes a pretty good case. (But not enough of one to disallow the goal, though.)
The Washington Post's Norman Chad thinks that the USA soccer team ought to just fold -- and then cheer on others at the World Cup:
I love the World Cup. And I love America -- it's my home town! But I would not love to see America win the World Cup.
Frankly, we don't need another feather in our already overstuffed cap. And considering soccer is the world's game -- and most of the world is at odds with America at any given moment -- I think it might be a nice idea for Uncle Sam, in an effort to promote world harmony, to lay down in South Africa.
Americans are a pretty xenophobic lot when, in truth, we're the ones who provoke an intense dislike. Most of the world does not threaten us; rather, most of the world is terrified by us. We're a little too big, a little too rich and a little too powerful and, every once in a while, we muscle up and flex our military might in foreign lands.
There is much fear and loathing of America elsewhere. We seldom imagine what it would be like if the Army boot were on the other foot.
Outside of American borders, others are tired of us dictating our way of life, tired of us exporting Adam Sandler everywhere, tired of us winning. I empathize, and this time around, I'm willing to root for the others.
Except, Norm, that this World Cup is being played for the first time on the African continent, and Africans have the highest regard for the United States compared to any other place in the world. Maybe this is the one sporting event the US ought to try to do well in, eh?
Anyone following the World Cup? Our former masters play us today at 2:30.
The San Francisco 49ers have traded Isaac Bruce back to the St. Louis Rams -- so that he can retire with the team with whom he became an NFL great.
Bruce "ranks second in NFL history in receiving yards (15,208), fifth in receptions (1,024) and ninth in receiving touchdowns (91)." Perhaps his most memorable play was catching the go-ahead touchdown in Super Bowl 34 (see below) that gave the Rams its victory over Tennessee, 23-16.
Wow, I wasn't aware of this: Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has the power to overturn umpire Jim Joyce's blown call from last evening that cost the Detroit Tigers' Armando Galarraga the third perfect game of this Major League season.
The instantly infamous play, which had social networking sites all abuzz, will add to the argument that baseball needs to expand its use of replays. As of now, they can only be used for questionable home runs.
I chatted with a teacher buddy of mine this morning about this. Why not give MLB a similar replay system to that of the NFL? For instance, give each manager two replay appeals, balls and strikes being exempt. Unlike in football, there doesn't need to be a "penalty" for losing an appeal, but if so, make it an added out.
There's a down-side, to this, of course. Managers can use this to thwart momentum, slow down a hot pitcher, and what would happen to base runners in a huge variety of situations? It could be worked out, I suppose.
That being said, I hope Selig does reverse Joyce's call. It was awful, and Joyce has said so. For me its impact is of equal magnitude to Don Denkinger's blown call in game six of the 1985 World Series which [most likely] handed the Kansas City Royals their only baseball title. Having watched that game with my best friend -- a HUGE Cards fan -- has helped engrave that moment upon my memory.
The Philadelphia Flyers become only the fourth team in major sports history to come from 3-0 games behind to win a playoff series.
Black and orange, baby.
Michelle Malkin reports on a "unity" stunt by the Phoenix Suns basketball team -- they will wear jerseys that say "Los Suns" on them tonight for their playoff game.
Besides the stupidity of the team owner for needlessly injecting politics into his sport (good luck on that revenue next year, pal; up to 70% of your state favors the new immigration law), what -- didn't the team know the Spanish word for "suns?" At least AllahPundit was almost correct: He said "First, shouldn’t 'Los Suns' be 'Los Sols'?" Not quite. Nouns in Spanish that end in a consonant add "es" to make the plural. Therefore, it would be "Los Soles."
I am cheering for the Saints; however, I think the Colts are too much for the Cajun boys.
Colts 35, Saints 23.
'Ya gotta love BDSers (those with Bush Derangement Syndrome). Their hatred is so intense that it causes them to get even the most elementary of facts wrong. In this case, it's the bad-toupee'd Filip Bondy of the NY Daily News, writing about this past Sunday's NFC Championship game in New Orleans:
If you needed further proof of this [New Orleans racial] divide, then it came during a pregame introduction of former President Bush. Once pilloried for his approach to the Katrina catastrophe in 2005, Bush was heartily cheered at the Superdome - which tells you all you need to know about the crowd's demographics.
No, he was probably cheered because it wasn't the former President Bush that had screwed up the [federal] response to Hurricane Katrina. The "former President Bush" in attendance was George W. Bush's father, George H. W. Bush. (See here, here, and here.) Anyone who actually watched the game -- which Bondy obviously did not -- would have seen the various shots of the elder Bush (and his wife) watching the Saints-Vikings.
But why let basic factual and visual evidence muss up a good cheap shot, eh?
UPDATE: As of early afternoon, Bondy's article has deleted the paragraph noted above -- without any reference as to why. There's just an "Updated: Tuesday, January 26th 2010, 11:37 AM" notice. But no worries -- we got a screen cap of it:
And you can see here, via a cache of USA Today's linked topics under "George W. Bush," a summary of Bondy's original article with the now-deleted G.W. Bush reference in its entirety.
(Cross-posted at Newsbusters!)
After a never-before-seen 0-4 divisional weekend ('sup wit dat??), I am determined to go 2-0 this weekend. Here we go, with score predictions:
AFC: Colts over Jets 27-14.
NFC: Saints over Vikes 33-28.
OK, enough with the actual score of the games -- let's just pick who's gonna win. It's a "visiting team's weekend":
Bengals 24, Jets 16.
Cowboys 26, Eagles 21.
Patriots 28, Ravens 13.
Packers 24, Cardinals 21.
Unbelievable article by the AP's Jesse Washington yesterday which utilizes some of the most base stereotypes of African-Americans one can imagine:
Amid all the headlines generated by Tiger Woods' troubles — the puzzling car accident, the suggestions of marital turmoil and multiple mistresses — little attention has been given to the race of the women linked with the world's greatest golfer.
Except in the black community.
When three white women were said to be romantically involved with Woods in addition to his blonde, Swedish wife, blogs, airwaves and barbershops started humming, and Woods' already tenuous standing among many blacks took a beating.
"Thankfully, Tiger, you didn't marry a black woman. Because if a sister caught you running around with a bunch of white hoochie-mamas," one parody suggests in song, she would have castrated him.
"The Grinch's Theme Song" didn't stop there: "The question everyone in America wants to ask you is, how many white women does one brother waaant?"
As one blogger, Robert Paul Reyes, wrote: "If Tiger Woods had cheated on his gorgeous white wife with black women, the golfing great's accident would have been barely a blip in the blogosphere."
Washington goes on to note how "there is a call for loyalty (in the black community) that is stronger in some ways than in other racial communities," and how the "color of one's companion has long been a major measure of 'blackness.'" Woods also ticked off many in the black community because he declined to ID himself as "black." (Maybe that's because he's not, completely, that is.)
Need I say "just imagine if the races were reversed"?
Carmen Van Kerckhove, founder of the race-meets-pop-culture blog Racialicious, asks "Would we question when a Jewish person wants to marry other Jewish people? It's not racist. It's not bigotry. It's cultural pride."
An interesting question, to be sure. First, there is an actual difference between religion and skin color, you know. Second, would it be "cultural pride" and not bigotry if a white family wanted its son/daughter to only marry another white person? Or, would such a family be portrayed as "the new face of the Klan," and would the MSM be treating us to specials about the "new racism in America"?
I think the latter is much more likely.
Personally, I think it wrong whether the issue is race or religion. My only first cousin married a Jewish man, and she later converted so that they could raise their children Jewish. The ire of some of my relatives was certainly raised; however, I (and many of my younger relatives) couldn't have cared less. After all, if we're to "make a better society for all" and become the "accepting" and "tolerant" people that [those on the Left constantly preach about, especially] want us to be, these sort of "distinctions" shouldn't amount to a hill of beans.
But this where the Left's hypocrisy has the sunlight shown on it, and quite brightly. It's evident due to the simple fact that the topic of this article is given serious merit. "Cultural/racial pride" is treated as a topic worthy of consideration, whereas, as I noted above, if Woods were white and various whites spoke favorably of cultural/racial pride, they'd be portrayed as subjects of a "Jerry Springer" episode.
Don't believe me? OK, just look back at what was considered "racist" during this past presidential campaign (and beyond). Just look at what university professors and educationists proffer as "training." And people of good will who actually believe in Martin Luther King's dream (not the ridiculous bastardization of it served up by our current crop of race hustlers) who dare to question these absurd and (ultimately) superficial double standards are -- surprise! -- labeled racists themselves!
So, why would folks react in astonishment at why these people of good will -- of all colors and creeds -- express sentiments akin to this gent's:
My daughter stopped me yesterday while we were food shopping, all the while she was laughing hysterically. Why? Looks like whoever decorated this cake only likes one member of the team:
Eagles support FAIL!!
For some reason, Rush Limbaugh's mooted purchase of a sports franchise has prompted CNN and others to distribute far and wide what appear to be entirely fabricated racist quotes by Rush. As Tim Blair points out:
Bizarrely, nobody running these career-killing “quotes” seems to question why they weren’t of previous interest.
Just so. What's the theory here? He said these things on the air in 2006 and nobody noticed? 2001? Maybe 1995, back when Clinton was blaming him for Oklahoma City? Hey, let's not get hung up on details. Just because nobody can find any evidence anywhere of Rush saying these "quotes" doesn't mean he didn't say 'em.
In case you missed it, that last part is sarcasm. IOW, the MSM is trying to make Limbaugh prove a negative (which he already attempted to do, BTW).
More to the point, when I began guest-hosting for Rush, I was amazed to discover that George Soros pays a team of stenographers, many of them called Zachary, to work their tippy-tappy fingers to the bone for three hours transcribing everything Rush or his fill-ins say in the hope that their efforts will one day be rewarded and he will deliver the big career-detonating soundbite. Among the afficionados of this service are, as I discovered recently, America's "newspaper of record," which faithfully follows the George Soros typing pool and dutifully plasters any potentially damaging bon mot on page one.
And, aside from all that, 20 million people are out there listening.
So where are these racist soundbites? Where's the audio? Where's the transcript? Name the year.
It's what Steyn quotes Jason Whitlock on: Limbaugh doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt on racial matters. But, amazingly, buffoons like Al Sharpton somehow do.
In a related matter, Soccer Dad forwards me an very interesting article by Jeff Jacoby from 2001. He writes:
Limbaugh could never have earned such esteem if he were a racist and hate-peddler. Honest liberals admit as much.
In 1993, Washington Post columnist William Raspberry wrote a piece blasting Limbaugh for his "demagoguery ... his gay bashing, his racial putdowns." Like the Mississippi segregationists of his youth, Raspberry said, Limbaugh "is so good at ... tossing the raw meat of bigotry to people.... Limbaugh is a bigot."
Eleven days later, Raspberry wrote a second column retracting the first.
"Rush, I'm sorry," he began. He confessed, to his great credit, that the earlier piece had been written in ignorance. "My opinions about [Limbaugh] had come largely from other people -- mostly friends who think Rush is a four-letter word. They are certain he is a bigot. Is he?"
Raspberry -- who by this point had listened to several hours of Limbaugh's shows and perused one of his books -- went on to answer his own question. Limbaugh might be "smart-alecky" and love "to rattle liberal cages," he might be "unrelenting in his assault on ... political correctness." But he was no more a bigot or hatemonger than Art Buchwald.
I'm sure we'll see the pundits at MSDNC, CNN, ABC, et. al. make similar statements, right? Heh. Look, as I said yesterday, there's plenty to go after Limbaugh with without resorting to outright lies. You don't have to like the guy; hell, hate 'im if you want to. That's your right. But don't make up something out of thin air to just to trash him.
UPDATE: Newsbusters currently has a "flashback" to my June post about MSDNC's Rachel Maddow using the phony James Earl Ray quote to slime Limbaugh.
UPDATE 3: My buddy Rhymes With Right also serves up an excellent post on the whole imbroglio.
UPDATE 4: Kathryn Jean Lopez:
Rush Limbaugh is not an acceptable sports investor because of his politics. How else to interpret the state of a sports world where Keith Olbermann can be on Sunday Night Football and Rush Limbaugh's hard-earned money can't be spent as a partial owner of a team in a sport he loves?
"I mean, let's face it, we didn't have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: Slavery built the South. I'm not saying we should bring it back. I'm just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark."
The problem with all these folks is that the quote isn't true. There's no attributable source for it. At all.
Limbaugh responded yesterday:
Now, let me address one thing. The e-mail is loaded today with people requesting my comment on some of the outrageous slander and libel that's been on television and in newspapers since last week about my potential purchase, being in a group, potential purchase of the St. Louis Rams. I mentioned last week, I can't do anything but confirm this. The people bidding on this, we all have a confidentiality agreement with Goldman Sachs through the brokers here and there are just certain things that can't be said about it, I can't answer specific questions about the status, who else is in the group, and I just want to tell you I'm not surprised, I'm a little disappointed that otherwise responsible journalists are believing a bunch of garbage. There's a quote out there that I first saw it in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last week that I somehow, some time ago, defended slavery and started cracking jokes about it. And, you know, you say a lot of things in the course of 15 hours a week, over the course of 21 years. We've gone back, we have looked at everything we have. There is not even an inkling that any words in this quote are accurate. It's outrageous, but it's totally predictable.
In his column, Whitlock also brought up a supposed Rush quote about Martin Luther King Jr. assassin James Earl Ray: "You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray (Dr. King's assassin). We miss you, James. Godspeed."
First, the quote and the date that it was supposedly made by Rush: “You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray. We miss you, James. Godspeed. [4/23/98]” Rush never said it. It was made up back in about 2005 and this article proves it.
I am no computer research guru, but I was able to track down enough to prove that this quote first arose back in the fall of 2005, and there is no evidence of the quote before that date. Bottom line, it is inconceivable that such a quote was made by Rush Limbaugh back in 1998 and then never got any attention on the internet or elsewhere until 2005.
The earliest mention of the alleged quote was on September 9th, 2005 by "zedlappy". ”zedlappy” cited to a Wikipedia article as his source. For those newbies, Wikipedia is a cite that anybody can make shit up and it gets quoted as authority by idiots.
Unfortunately, it apparently has been edited many times since 2005, so we can’t know exactly what it said then. But now it attributes the quote to Rush Limbaugh, but lists it as “DISPUTED” because the article currently lists the source of the quote to a book 101 Persons who are really SCREWING up America by (2006) by Jack Huberman. Hereinafter I’ll call the book “101 Persons.” But note, the book came out in 2006 so it could not possibly be the source of the original Wikipedia article! ALSO NOTE: The Huberman book does not list a source!
And c'mon -- if Limbaugh had actually said that (or the slavery quote) don't you think that someone would have a recording of it? After all, the Left has folks out there monitoring right-wing talk radio all the time. And wouldn't it have been front-page news immediately after Rush had said it? Not to mention that right-leaning outlets like National Review would be slamming Rush as hard as the MSM for such disgusting statements?
There's plenty to criticize Limbaugh for without fabricating stuff out of thin air, people.
The Rev. Al Sharpton wants the National Football League to block conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh from bidding on the St. Louis Rams.
Sharpton sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday. He said Limbaugh has been divisive and “anti-NFL” in some of his comments.
Limbaugh did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday. (Source.)
I wonder -- did Limbaugh ask the FCC to "block" Sharpton from getting a radio gig? Y'know, for his history of anti-Semitic and racist statements? For inciting violence? For assisting a known fraud and never apologizing for it?
A commenter on this Colossus post said the following about Rush Limbaugh possibly buying the St. Louis Rams: I really hope this doesn't happen. I think he'll cause too much drama in the football world.
As I wrote in the post, I really doubt Rush would make any ownership in the Rams a topic of his radio show (he's not stupid; why bring potential harm, media or otherwise, to his own team?) But that doesn't mean that the Left won't rip him -- which could also potentially affect/harm the team. Case in point: Fred Roggin on MSDNC's "Morning Joe" show said the following about Rush and his possible purchase:
All right, Al Davis, step aside. Jerry Jones, you too. The NFL could soon have a new owner the fans love to hate --
Controversial radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh is teaming up with St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts to bid on a portion of the St. Louis Rams. The avid football fan was canned from ESPN for racist remarks about Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.
Interested in purchasing the team back in May. From a buy-low-sell-high standpoint, it's a no-brainer. The Rams are the worst team in the league. Many think that Limbaugh is a horrible man. So it's only fitting he buys a horrible team.
First, I wonder how many football fans actually "love to hate" Limbaugh. Then compare that number to how many detest Keith Olbermann, co-host of NBC's Sunday Night Football. But more to the point, did Limbaugh make racist comments about Donovan McNabb when he was part of ESPN's "NFL Countdown?" Here's what he actually said back in 2003:
I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team.
I'd ask "how is this racist," but in a modern American culture where even the most innocent and honest of disagreements can brand one "racist," it's not even close to surprising that Rush's McNabb remarks are regarded as such.
My buddy Rhymes With Right noticed some potential good news for the NFL's doormat -- which just happens to be my fave team, the St. Louis Rams:
In 2003, Rush Limbaugh had a brief dalliance with the sport he loves, spending a month as the "voice of the fan" on ESPN's pregame show before resigning after a delayed reaction to comments made regarding Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb triggered a firestorm.
Since then, the mega-rich Rush's name has bubbled up from time to time as a potential owner of all or part of an NFL team.
And it could be coming to fruition.
Charley Casserly of CBS reports that, of the three groups that submitted bids to buy the St. Louis Rams, one group includes Dave Checketts and Limbaugh.
Hey, the way things have been in the Gateway to the West the last three years, anything will be an improvement. But I think Limbaugh would be a lot more than that; he has a passion for the sport that is beyond prodigious. I believe it would only serve the former "Greatest Show on Turf" quite positively.
UPDATE: "MJD" at Yahoo Sports thinks he's funny in his article about Rush's Rams interest. Just another reason why sports writers ought to stick to their subject:
Rush Limbaugh, conservative political commentator and hater of poor people, has made a bid to buy the NFL's St. Louis Rams. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Limbaugh and St. Louis Blues owner Dave Checketts teamed up to make the offer, and they'd like to keep the team in St. Louis.
So the "St. Louis" part won't be changing. Whether or not Limbaugh would plan on changing the team's name from the "St. Louis Rams" to the "St. Louis Health Care Deniers" or the "St. Louis Anti-Environmentalists," I can't be sure.
Here's why I don't like the idea: I have my opinion on Rush Limbaugh, and, as we're all about to witness in the comments, everyone else has their opinions on Rush Limbaugh, too. His very presence brings politics into the football discussion. I'd prefer to avoid that, but the man is so polarizing that I don't see any way around it. I couldn't get through the first sentence of this post without a little jab.
MJD actually has a point in that last paragraph. However, I really doubt Rush would make any ownership in the Rams a topic of his radio show (he's not stupid; why bring potential harm, media or otherwise, to his own team?). And if MJD is so concerned about mixing politics with football, has he done a column on Keith Olbermann being a regular on NBC's Sunday Night Football? Why yes, he has, but concern about politics wasn't an issue. His only "concern" was whether Keithy and Dan Patrick could "recreate" their old ESPN "magic":
But it's worth taking the chance to find out if there's any of that chemistry left. What's the worst that could happen, the NBC set becomes a little too crowded? Goodness me, how would we ever deal with that?
No, the worst that could happen is that people (like me) won't tune in to the Sunday Night pregame because they cannot stand Olbermann. Who wants to watch the guy who denigrates much of your politics on a nightly basis injecting same into the sport you love? And personally, even though I agree politically with Limbaugh more than Olbermann, I also disliked Rush being on ESPN's "NFL Countdown" years back. Football is football. I want to watch football on Sunday. I can watch/listen to politics the other six days of the week.
Gee, what bummer -- all the force of the mystical Obamas couldn't get Chicago the 2016 Olympics. Which, in my view, makes sense if the IOC really wants to be fair. After all, South America has never hosted a Summer Olympics and thus Rio de Janeiro is the logical -- and fair -- choice. Even FIFA -- the governing body of soccer -- recognized fairness and put next year's World Cup in the African continent for the first time.
But check it -- even Michelle Obama isn't immune from telling a tall tale:
"Sports were a gift I shared with my dad, especially the Olympic Games," Obama said in her portion of the U.S. delegation's final presentation to the International Olympic Committee. "Some of my best memories are sitting on my dad's lap, cheering on Olga [Korbut] and Nadia [Comaneci], Carl Lewis and others for their brilliance and perfection.
Carl Lewis?? Michelle Obama is 45 years old. Carl Lewis first ran in the Olympics in 1984. That means Michelle was 20 years old, then. 'Ya think she was "sitting on her dad's lap" at age 20?? Even the Nadia Comaneci bit is a stretch. Mrs. Obama was 12 in 1976, which was when the Montreal Olympics took place (when Comaneci nailed those first-ever "10s" in gymnastics). I know when my own daughter was 12, sitting on my lap became more along the lines of horsing around, not the "endearing" quality it had of the earlier childhood years.
... the St. Louis Rams, that is.
The article says he/she has no ovaries but does have internal male testes. This technically makes he/she a hermaphrodite. But it sounds like he/she's a lot more male than female based on those sex glands ...
As a runner myself (like Chanman, from whom I got this article) and as one interested in the ever-evolving definition of "racism," I thought this was ... intriguing:
The president of Athletics South Africa, Leonard Chuene, was also defiant and said he had resigned from his seat on the IAAF board to protest the organization's treatment of [Caster] Semenya... "We are not going to allow Europeans to describe and define our children," he told a news conference, which Semenya attended although she did not address reporters... Semenya's supporters say the allegations against her are motivated by jealousy and show racial discrimination against Africans. (Link.)
What's the beef? Well, this:
World athletic officials said they were going to conduct "gender tests" on Semenya based on the suspicion of her [overly] muscular build and deep voice -- hence they're "racists."
But are they?
Chanman (again, a noted runner) offers a brief history lesson for the Sharpton-esque South African officials:
I guess this South African official wasn't paying attention during the 1970's and 1980's when female athletes from Eastern Block communist countries were showing their grotesque selves at track meets all over the world. How about current world record holder in - of all events - the 800 meters, Jarmila Kratochvilova of Czechoslovakia, who set the still-standing record of 1:53.28 back in 1983? Check out her feminine self:
Or how about Ewa Klobukowska of Poland, who actually did fail a gender test in the 1960s:
1:53 is absolutely smokin' for a woman in the 800 meters, by the way. So, it wouldn't come as a surprise to me if Kratochvilova proved to really be a man. It's either that, or, like way too many Eastern European athletes during the Cold War, she was steroided up to the hilt. Just look at "her" legs.
Sad news today in that former Tennessee Titans QB Steve McNair has been shot to death. McNair was one yard away from winning it all in the 2000 Super Bowl (XXXIV), except that Mike Jones, from a certain St. Louis Rams, stopped receiver Kevin Dyson on the one yard line when time expired to secure victory for St. Louis:
McNair led Tennessee on a furious final drive to tie the score. He amazingly evaded a couple of what seemed to be sure sacks to put the Titans on the brink of sending the game into OT.
Rest in peace.
I'm outta touch for 4-5 days and the Phils somehow remain 2 and half games up after playing so crappy ... and the Marlins are in second place now??
25% of male South Africans admit to having raped. Twenty-five percent!!
The world's biggest sporting event will be there in 2010. Thank goodness it's not the Women's World Cup, eh?
Heard earlier when I watching the US Open golf tournament:
"There's a lotta grass on these fairways!" -- commentator (and two-time US Open champ) Curtis Strange.
We heard before Wild Card Weekend: The Cardinals have no shot against the Falcons.
We heard before the Divisional Round: The Cardinals will get crushed by the Panthers.
Arizona clobbered Carolina.
We heard before the NFC Championship that this was the end of the Cards' run.
Arizona beat the Eagles.
Still doubt Arizona's ability to win games?? I don't. That's why they're gonna be the story of the year, by beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-20 in today's Super Bowl.
I admit there's another reason -- the MAIN reason -- I am digging Arizona: His name is Kurt Warner:
That's Kurt with then-Rams coach Dick Vermeil at the conclusion of Super Bowl 34, the Rams' only Super Bowl victory in team history.
Based on yesterday's picks, we did pretty good: 3-1. Who really expected Arizona to destroy Carolina like they did, after all??
Best pick: Ravens over the Titans 16-13 (Ravens won 13-10).
Worst pick: Obviously, Carolina beating Arizona 30-20 (Arizona won 33-13).
Bravo to the hometown Eagles who, as I told many a friend around here, by beating the Giants today will go all the way! They will beat Arizona next week (Kurt Warner holds a special place in my heart -- Super Bowl 34 and all -- but hey), and then beat Baltimore in the Super Bowl two weeks after that.
Eagles defeat Cardinals 23-18.
Ravens beat Steelers 16-14.
SUPER BOWL XLIII: Eagles defeat Ravens 20-16.
Early game today: Ravens defeat Titans 16-13.
Late game today: Panthers beat Cardinals 30-20.
Early game Sunday: Eagles beat Giants 20-17.
Late game Sunday: Steelers defeat Chargers 20-14.
Typical. Even the sports media is biased! ;-) Obama ranks 8th among 15 who played -- JFK atop leader board.
In the January issue of Golf Digest, which hits newsstands next week, the president-elect is No. 8 on the list of golfing presidents. "Yep, Obama is a golfer, too," is the headline.
John F. Kennedy and his 80-stroke average tops the list. Calvin Coolidge, who left his golf clubs behind when he departed the White House in 1929, is ranked 15th.
Bill Clinton is just in front of Obama at No. 7 -- although Golf Digest flags Clinton's use of the score-improving "Billigans."
Much has been made about Obama's basketball skills. Not so much on his golfing prowess.
Spokesman Robert Gibbs didn't exactly hype his game when asked in June about a round Obama had just played.
"I don't know if he would tell you they played golf," Gibbs told MSNBC. "They went to a golf course and they swung clubs, but I don't think it was real pretty."
OK, so maybe his political Cinderella story doesn't transfer to the links. He could turn out to be our duffer in chief.
But golfers at Olomano Golf Links, where the lefty-swinging Obama shot a round on his August Hawaiian vacation, were more gracious, saying what they saw looked pretty good. "He hit more than . . . 200 yards," one man told a local TV station.
Man, if Obama ranks 8th, I'd really hate to read about #9-15 on the list and how their game is (was). Hitting an occasional drive over 200 yards is nothing these days. You gotta do it closer to 220-250 every time for even the every-now-and-then golfer. Oh, and hit it straight. With today's technology and a few lessons, it ain't as hard to do as you may think.
Notice nowhere was noted Obama's average score, unlike JFK's. For me this means Obama is an over-100 duffer.
Yeah, that little thing called "practice":
... just remember, it could be worse. A LOT worse.
Ye gads. I went this past Saturday to my bro-in-law, who's a physical therapist, because I've had this nagging pain in my left foot. This pain really flared up a bit over a week ago after a three-mile run. It didn't hurt during the run; however, an hour an a half afterwards, while getting out of the shower, I was like "WTF??"
My bro-in-law's diagnosis? Plantar Fasciitis. I spent about ten minutes at my BIL's home office, and ... it was ten minutes of the most agonizing pain I've ever experienced. I thought I'd literally pass out from the torment. And how in the hell did I get this crap in the first place? I'm only moderately active now that I'm in my 40s. Cause: Wearing non-arch flip flops way too often. Solution: Get flip flops with arches and make sure all my footwear has sufficient arch protection.
I still have to go back at least three more times, but the agony should be less with each visit.
Phillies' final out of game 5:
Harry Kalas making the call:
How 'bout those St. Louis Rams? Last week they beat Washington in D.C.; this week they destroy the Dallas Cowboys 34-14!
The St. Louis Rams -- wait for it -- WON A GAME TODAY!! They beat the 4-1 Washington Redskins IN Washington.
The St. Louis Rams, once called "The Greatest Show on Turf," are now the most pathetic team in the entire league. Today, they fired their coach, Scott Linehan, and replaced him with defensive coordinator Jim Haslett. Haslett once coached the Saints and had success, but as defensive chief for the Rams that defense has been abysmal.
Can this team even win a game this year? Let's take a gander at their remaining schedule:
10/5: Mercifully, this is their bye week.
10/12: at Washington. LOSS.
10/19: vs. Dallas. LOSS.
11/2: vs. Arizona. POSSIBLE WIN. The Cards' defense is nearly as bad as the Rams'.
11/9: at NY Jets. LOSS.
11/16: at San Fran. LOSS.
11/23: vs. Chicago. LOSS.
11/30: vs. Miami. POSSIBLE WIN. But unlikely, given how the Dolphins looked against the Pats.
12/7: at Arizona. LOSS.
12/14: vs. Seattle. LOSS.
12/21: vs. San Fran. POSSIBLE WIN. We always play the Niners tough at home. Haslett might have 'em on course by this time.
12/28: at Atlanta. LOSS.
The thing is, those three possible wins -- if the Rams play even close to how they've played their first four games -- will easily turn into losses. So it is entirely possible the Rams could become only the second team ever to go winless in the "merger" (post-AFL/NFL) era. (The only team to do so was the 1976 Tampa Bay Bucs.)
God help us.
No, not the dolts at this site.
The Spanish way to say "85" is actually "ochenta y cinco," not "ocho cinco."
I usually refuse to watch Olympic events like gymnastics and boxing because it involves opinion. In other words, your prowess depends on the generosity of often-politically motivated judges. F that. That's why track and field and swimming are marquee Olympic events -- as they should be. It's just you, your competitors, and the clock. And computers have all but ensured that whoever wins, actually won (just ask Michael Phelps about his next-to-last race!).
And what makes crap like gymnastics worse is when the host country outrageously cheats. Anyone with an IQ over 70 (which excludes most of the DE Liberal crowd) could tell that several members of the Chinese "women's" gymnatics team were not the required 16 yrs. old. And now a computer sleuth has proven it. The IOC won't care, though the pressure is building. Can't embarrass a communist dictatorship host country, right? (God, I would have jumped up and down had anyone at NBC come down with a coughing fit on air and said, "I GOTTA GET OUT OF HERE! I'LL GET EMPHYSEMA!!" I mean, did you get a load of that unbelievable pollution? It made 1970s Los Angeles' smog hassles look like pristine Alaska wilderness!)
I also like what Duffy said: "Nobody is interested in cheating unless it involves taking medals from the US." While that's not 100% accurate, obviously, it sure does seem like it more often than not. It wasn't just gymnastics, either -- did you catch the men's 200 meter final last night? The original bronze medal winner from the US was DQ'd after a judge noticed he stepped on the inside [lane] line on the turn. (He did, too -- no argument.) However, it took a US protest about the exact same infraction by the initial silver medal winner (from Netherlands Antilles) to get him disqualified. (And his line running was more blatant than the American's.)
Funny how the judges missed that, eh?
I don't plan on watching this (yuck!), but isn't it necessary to correct this glaring error ASAP?
Former NBA star Charles Barkley might have his colonoscopy televised as part of a "Stand Up to Cancer" special to show on NBC, CBS and ABC next month, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.
Barkley will undergo the procedure Friday, and it will be aired Sept. 5.
Colonscopies are used to screen for prostate and other cancers. (Link.)
Nothing like shoving a camera up your ass to look for something you won't be able to see, eh? DOH!
This one's for Duffy:
The title of the post is the classic line uttered by Pelé, when he wants to get back into the game after sustaining an injury. What? You've never seen "Victory?" From 1981, it's about a soccer game organized by the Nazis against a team of [mostly European] POWs. If you're a soccer fan, this film is for you (it stars mostly actual soccer players) and it features an exquisite soundtrack (just listen!) -- not to mention Sylvester Stallone at the height of his early 1980s popularity!
If you can set aside the fact that Pelé, the Allies best player, most likely would not have been in the same POW camp as the others (or even permitted to live, for that matter; the whole thing sorta reminds me of that "Hogan's Heroes" episode where African-American Ivan Dixon as Kinch was disguised as a Nazi guard and no German soldier noticed!), and the fact that Stallone -- who had never played soccer before in his entire life -- holds the German national team to a mere four goals (and stops a penalty kick!!), you're sure to enjoy it.
The French Resistance organizes a rescue of the team for halftime (organized by Stallone who we hear actually speaking French!), but the Allied team will have none of it -- much to Stallone's chagrin. In probably the funniest exchange of the film (you can view the exchange in this clip), a POW player exclaims "We can win this! We have a chance!"
"Chance my ASS," retorts Sly off camera. "Don't you guys understand? NO CHANCE."
You won't believe this one: Dr. Alexei Koudinov, editor of the Israel-based Doping Journal Web site, claims that swimmer supreme Michael Phelps -- by listening to music before he swims -- has an "unfair advantage":
Intriguing scientific evidence testifies: Listening to music improves blood oxygen capacity and is a performance enhancement.
There could be several mechanisms, says Stefan Koelsch of Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, in Leipzig, Germany, who has published 40 articles on the subject of how the body reacts to music. Dr. Koelsch says that "music can have influences on the breathing rate (e.g. via emotional effects such an increased arousal) which will alter oxygen levels in the blood, or relaxing effects (so that fewer muscles consume oxygen, which also increases oxygen levels)." He says that his group "has reported clear changes in breathing rate on a conference last year, with breathing rate being higher during pleasant music." In line with Koelsch conclusion are the data of the research article by Luciano Bernardi group of the University of Pavia, Italy, implying that the withdrawal of music shortly before the swim race induces relaxing effects noted by Koelsch.
If you're in way taking this hilarity seriously (not the actual science, but the fact that Koudinov believes Phelps "cheated" and should give his medals back: "Straightforward ruling results in a straightforward conclusion: Listening to music through earphones before the start is in line with other measures prohibited. Therefore, Phelps’ Beijing swimming golds is faked and should go to others who battle for it fairly.") just consider: Phelps is by FAR not the only swimmer (or Olympic athlete in general) who listens to music before an event. In addition, what's next? Checking into Phelps' diet? I heard yesterday that Phelps eats about 12,000 calories a day. Do we examine all the ingredients of his diet to make sure there are no artificial substances in it? What about breathing deeply before a race? Wouldn't this type of breathing be "artificial," since it is far from "normal" breathing?
Gotta get those proverbial 15 minutes, eh?
All right, all right I'm sorry. This is a braggart-type post, but I just can't resist. I'm quite happy. Y'see, I've been playing golf for a long time -- a really long time -- since my junior high school caddy days at the Concord Country Club. But it's really been this summer that I've gotten more serious about it than usual, and it's paid off big-time. For the first time ever, I've shot more rounds under 90 than above it. And by a wide margin, too. Heck, my last three rounds were an 81, an 83, and an 84 today. That 81, shot last week at Wilmington's Porky Oliver course, is my second best ever round of golf. (My best ever was a 79, the only time I shot under 80, back in that halcyon year of 1993.) I do believe that new TaylorMade Burner driver may have had something to do with it ...
And with that, I leave you with a classic scene from my favorite golf movie, Tin Cup:
Just a few days ago, China told President Bush to "mind his own business" after he denounced the communist government's record on human rights -- right before settling in to attend the Olympic Games there.
But did China get actual revenge ... last night? During swimmer Michael Phelps' first [gold] medal ceremony, the playing of the U.S. national anthem was quite wacky. The opening stanza was repeated three times and then the ending was cut short! Phelps looked around for a sec, dumbfounded, then began to clap and laugh. Pres. Bush was in attendance, so did the Chinese do this as payback? If so, it didn't faze Bush much; he, his wife and those surrounding him finished the anthem, smiling and waving Old Glory the whole time.
The newest owner of the St. Louis Rams ... Rush Limbaugh??
Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk radio host, said he would be interested in buying the St. Louis Rams if the team were for sale. "The Rams would be a great team to have," Limbaugh said in a phone interview from his Palm Beach, Fla., studio. "I have a lot of friends in ownership in the NFL, and my desire to get involved has not been a secret." Limbaugh grew up in Cape Girardeau but said that does not play into his thinking about the Rams. "This is a business decision," he said. And even for Limbaugh, whose new eight-year syndication deal with Premiere Radio Networks is estimated to be worth $300 million, buying into the NFL would be a stretch. "I have no debt whatsoever. This would require changing that," he said. "There is a whole lot of interest in the Rams with the NFL being a business entity that a lot of people want to be involved in. But it's becoming a billionaires' club."
If he can do for my team what he's done for talk radio, I'm all for it!
Yesterday I went off on rude and irritating movie-goers. Today, I played in a small golf tourney at the Scotland Run course in Jersey. It's the second year I've played in it. It's organized by a friend of a buddy I used to teach with; we get four foursomes (16 guys), and when everyone's done, we split everyone's scores into the best eight, and the worst eight. These scores then go into two hats. A score from each hat is then drawn (the scores have the people's names on 'em) and whichever duo has the lowest total score wins 75% of the money pot (everyone put in $20 at the beginning of the tourney). The next two win the other 25%. It's a fun way for even lousy players to get some cash.
At any rate, my buddy and I were teamed with two dudes we didn't know. My buddy and I are quite ... "traditional" golfers -- we count each and every shot, and count whatever penalties are required when necessary. In essence, we don't cheat. The duo we played with were the complete antithesis of us. Normally, I (we) wouldn't care a whit, but when the guys (or anyone, for that matter) start bragging about how they're doing -- when all the while they've been shaving strokes left and right -- and money is involved, well, that's when it becomes ridiculously annoying and irritating.
One guy was so bad that his cheating became irrelevant. (He finished with a 122. Supposedly.) But at the 18th hole, the other guy says (while lining up his putt) "I make this and I break 90!" My pal and I glance at one another, smile, and just shake our heads. He missed the putt, but there I was, finishing with a legitimate 92, supposedly being beaten by this guy with a "90" ... and whose score might be the difference between winning some cash or not.
And I knew precisely where this guy had shaved two strokes. (He had obviously done so on other holes, too, but this one stuck out). It was a par 3, and he chunked his first shot into the pond. He reloads on the tee, and does the exact same thing. This means he is now hitting shot number five with the appropriate penalties incurred. He hit up to where I laid one (just short of the green), again his fifth shot. I chipped up and then two-putted, carding a four. He did the same, which means he legitimately carded an eight. However, when we called out scores, he had said "triple bogey" which was a six. There's the two strokes right there by which this dude supposedly bested me.
Give me a break.
Some advice if you golf: If you shave strokes, just tell the folks you may be playing with that "you're keeping your own score." Or, when/if you announce your score, say something like, "Well, I took a few liberties (known in golf lingo as "mulligans") out there ..." That way, people won't think you're an unsportsman-like a-hole. Cool?
No, that's not the guy above, just an example video for the previous paragraph. And be sure to check out what has to be the world's worst golf swing.
UPDATE: I just heard from my buddy. (Since I didn't stay for the festivities afterwards, he had to fill me in.) He ended up with the best score overall (85) and he (and a dude from the worst 8 scores) won the pot 'o cash. Good for him. He informed me that my 92 was the fourth best overall score -- third best if you discount that one jackass's blatant cheating. Last year, I had finished in 8th place.
Thankfully, neither of the two numbnuts in our foursome won any $$. Oh, and my bud told me that after he had left, the dude with the 122 told those remaining at the post-golf party that my buddy had cheated on at least two holes!! Are you freakin' kidding me? WTF???
... the Phillies' Ryan Howard is absolutely BRUTAL defensively.
Don't you have to be a citizen of the country you represent in the Olympics? If not, when did this change?
Becky Hammon dreamed about the moment as a young girl growing up in Rapid City, S.D. Someday that would be her on that Olympic podium, tears welling up as she hears the national anthem, quivering with emotion as a gold medal is placed around her neck.
"I love my country," Hammon said last month in her Russian apartment. "I love our national anthem. It absolutely gives me chills sometimes. I feel honored to be an American, to be from America because of what we stand for."
But if the 5-foot-6 point guard from America's heartland does ascend that medal stand in Beijing, she won't be wearing America's red, white and blue. And if Hammon does win gold, it won't be the U.S. anthem she hears. It will be the Russian anthem, a melody she says she has come to enjoy since signing a multiyear, multimillion-dollar deal last year to play for CSKA, a Russian professional club. (Link.)
She loves her country, but loves the green stuff just a little more. Hmm. Sounds like a lot of corporations!
Don't know 'bout you, but I wouldn't -- couldn't do it. Hell, I can't even bring myself to ever put on a shirt with any football team's name/logo unless it's the St. Louis Rams. Seriously.
I was reading Jay Nordlinger's column today and it included a letter from a mother who has adopted multiracial boys. She writes,
Our boys are partially black, Hispanic, and white. We’re trying our best to instill in them that they can be great because they have potential and choices and opportunities in this country. Don’t even get me started on Obama’s being touted as “black,” and not “biracial.” What’s so bad about being biracial?
Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for what you published. I’m not drawn to golf in the least, but I’m always amazed at how people of all backgrounds are drawn to Tiger Woods — and I understand why.
She referenced a past Nordlinger column that included a statement Tiger made about race. But this is what gets me: Who even cares what Tiger said about race? The guy is, simply put, THE best golfer in history and possibly the greatest athlete ever in sports. Isn't that sufficient enough to be "drawn to" him?
I say "absolutely."
This commercial, which aired this past weekend, is a guaranteed tear-jerker (if you don't get emotional, you're not human -- sorry):
What makes the Woods' story so special is remembering the era in which Tiger's father Earl grew up. And this aspect is best exemplified -- and immortalized -- by Samuel L. Jackson's character in "Changing Lanes":
"I hope you don't mind, but I was intrigued by your conversation. I just thought you were in advertising. So I want to give you my dream version of a Tiger Woods commercial, okay? There's this black guy on a golf course. And all these people are trying to get him to caddy for them, but he's not a caddy. He's just a guy trying to play a round of golf. And these guys give him a five-dollar bill and tell him to go the clubhouse and get them cigarettes and beer. So, off he goes, home, to his wife and to their little son, who he teaches to play golf. You see all the other little boys playing hopscotch while little Tiger practices on the putting green. You see all the other kids eating ice cream while Tiger practices hitting long balls in the rain while his father shows him how. And we fade up, to Tiger, winning four Grand Slams in a row, and becoming the greatest golfer to ever pick up a 9-iron. And we end on his father in the crowd, on the sidelines, and Tiger giving him the trophies. All because of a father's determination that no fat white man - like your fathers, probably - would ever send his son to the clubhouse for cigarettes and beer." (Link.)
If you live in a cave, Tiger Woods won his 14th major golf championship yesterday in a 19-hole playoff. With a very painful left knee.
Any golfers, serious or otherwise, ever hit a house adjacent to a golf course? How 'bout a car in the parking lot? A fellow golfer?
I've hit a couple [town]houses along Porky Oliver's 7th hole before. There's a huge amount of protective netting along that fairway; however, it's still easy to put an errant shot through it.
I've never hit a car, although my car was hit once -- at the same Porky Oliver's. I was parked a safe distance (or so I thought) from the 9th hole (which is very close to the parking lot), yet my old Honda CRX had a big dent in its roof when I finished my round. Either someone hit a massive hook on the 9th tee to reach my car (unlikely), or a mild hook found its way to the parking lot and my car was on the receiving end of a bounce (more likely).
I've actually seen a moving car get drilled. It was only a few weeks ago at the revamped Rock Manor. A hole on the back nine is right alongside a new road that traverses the course. One of the guys I was playing with hits his drive and immediately yells "I think I got it!" "Got what," I asked? BOOM! He had hooked his drive right into the side of an oncoming Toyota. The car never stopped, although from the look on the passengers' faces, they were none too happy. 'Ya think?
Lastly, I have indeed hit another golfer with a shot while on the course. But -- it wasn't really my fault. At Chester County, PA's Loch Nairn course, a good buddy of mine and myself were a twosome. The very slow foursome in front of us graciously allowed us to play through at the second tee. My buddy hit his drive. Not well, mind you, but it was OK. My turn, next. One of the foursome was standing only about 150 yds. from the tee box, just a little to the left. He was right out in the open. Worst of all, he wasn't paying attention. SMACK! I hit my drive and it duck hooks left -- right at the guy! I immediately yell "FORE! FORE!!!!" Too late. The guy looks up when the speeding ball is almost upon him. It actually looks comical from my vantage point because he doesn't know which way to duck out of the way. In his indecision, he barely moves at all -- and my shot catches him full in the chest!! My buddy and I wince and exclaim "AWWW!" in unison, all the while suppressing laughter (you just hadda see the guy juking right and left trying to decide which way to duck!). We drive down to the guy and I ask "You OK, man?" He manages to get out "What do you think??" In my defense, I explain that I yelled "fore" right away and point out that he wasn't even watching us hit off the tee. No response. Not wanting to exacerbate the situation, my buddy and I don't bother completing the hole. We drive right to the third tee box. All the while clandestinely chuckling.
Lesson: Never, EVER take your eyes off a guy who's hitting from in back of you.
"NFL Rumors: Chad Johnson's intelligence questioned" is the headline at MSNBC's "Scuttlebutt" page:
Chad Johnson has mental agility of soap dish. Despite the fact that Chad Johnson has a bilingual nickname, one lawyer doesn’t think Ocho Cinco is very intelligent. A lawyer representing clients who are suing Johnson over raffle prizes they never received says that 86 has the “mental agility of a small soap dish," and that he doesn’t understand how Johnson could possibly learn a playbook.
My emphasis. Apparently, writer Patrick Dahl's intelligence ain't all that hot, either. "Ocho Cinco" means "85," not "86," but even if you didn't know the Spanish you'd expect a writer that covers football to know Johnson's number, wouldn't 'ya?
Here's a screen capture in case Dahl realizes his idiocy (or, to be nicer, his sloppiness since it just might be a typo):
Keeping with my earlier post of Top 100 Films of All Time, how 'bout a sports film list, eh guys? The list is from Sports Illustrated's August 2003 edition. Films I've seen are in bold; my comments are in italics.
1. Bull Durham (1988)
Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins.
(Not as great as people think. Harder to watch today due to Robbins' and co-star/wife Susan Sarandon's radical politics. They just don't mix with America's past-time.)
2. Rocky (1976)
Sylvester Stallone, Carl Weathers.
(The ultimate Cinderella story. All the sequels pale in comparison.)
3. Raging Bull (1980)
Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty.
4. Hoop Dreams (1994)
5. Slap Shot (1977)
Paul Newman, Michael Ontkean.
6. Hoosiers (1986)
Gene Hackman, Dennis Hopper.
(I LOVE this flick. Hackman is beyond awesome as the hard-luck coach in this David vs. Goliath b-ball yarn.)
7. Olympia (1936)
8. Breaking Away (1979)
Dennis Christopher, Paul Dooley.
(Best Picture? Wasn't worth that, but still a keeper. Check out a very young Dennis Quaid, in addition.)
9. Chariots of Fire (1981)
Ben Cross, Ian Charleson.
(Frankly, I ain't that interested in a bunch of Brits' efforts in an early 20th century Olympics. No matter HOW much I love running.)
10. When We Were Kings (1996)
11. Bang The Drum Slowly (1973)
Robert De Niro, Michael Moriarty.
12. Dogtown and Z-Boys (2002)
13. A League Of Their Own (1992)
Tom Hanks, Geena Davis.
(The best part is at film's end when we see some of the actual players and coaches.)
14. The Freshman (1925)
Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston.
15. The Endless Summer (1966)
16. North Dallas Forty (1979)
Nick Nolte, Mac Davis.
(One of my FAVE sports flicks, Nolte and Davis are friggin' hilarious as a QB-WR tandem, trying to keep football a game in what is becoming too much a business.)
17. Brian's Song (1971)
James Caan, Billy Dee Williams.
(Been a while since I've seen it; have a lot of tissues handy for the tears.)
18. Caddyshack (1980)
Bill Murray, Chevy Chase.
(Easily one of the funniest damn films of all-time.)
19. Downhill Racer (1969)
Robert Redford, Gene Hackman.
20. Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)
Anthony Quinn, Jackie Gleason.
21. Pumping Iron (1977)
(Helped launch Ah-nuld's career.)
22. The Set-Up (1949)
Robert Ryan, George Tobias.
23. The Hustler (1961)
Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason.
(A must-see classic. Gleason easily eclipses Newman in the acting dept., however.)
24. Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)
Max Pomeranc, Ben Kingsley.
25. Horse Feathers (1932)
The Marx Brothers.
26. The Bad News Bears (1976)
Tatum O'Neal, Walter Matthau.
(Haven't seen the full film since I was a boy; Matthau is classic as the boozer-coach.)
27. National Velvet (1944)
Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney.
28. Eight Men Out (1988)
John Cusack, David Strathairn.
29. Rollerball (1975)
James Caan, John Houseman.
(Why is this ... ? Never mind. This flick is terrific, but has more to do with omniscient corporatism than sports.)
30. The Rookie (2002)
Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths.
31. Baseball - A film by Ken Burns (1994)
32. Vision Quest (1985)
Matthew Modine, Linda Fiorentino.
(How did THIS make the cut?? Standard cookie-cutter fare with a Madonna soundtrack. Ugh.)
33. Fat City (1972).
Stacy Keach, Jeff Bridges.
34. Everybody's All-American (1988)
Dennis Quaid, Jessica Lange.
35. Million Dollar Legs (1932)
W.C. Fields, Jack Oakie.
36. Jerry Maguire (1996)
Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr.
37. The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick (1971)
Arthur Brauss, Erika Pluhar.
38. Field of Dreams (1989)
Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones.
(Terrific family fare.)
39. The Harder They Fall (1956)
Humphrey Bogart, Rod Steiger.
40. The Longest Yard (1974)
Burt Reynolds, Eddie Albert.
(Classic tale of convicts vs. guards in a football game.)
41. Remember The Titans (2000)
Denzel Washington, Will Patton.
(There ain't many films that are better for promoting racial harmony!)
42. The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright.
43. Fists of Fury (1971)
Bruce Lee, Maria Yi: martial arts
44. The Deadliest Season (1977)
Michael Moriarty, Kevin Conway.
45. Grand Prix (1966)
James Garner, Eva Marie Saint.
46. Any Given Sunday (1999)
Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz.
47. It Happens Every Spring (1949)
Ray Milland, Jean Peters.
48. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976)
Billy Dee Williams, Richard Pryor.
49. Phar Lap (1983)
Tom Burlinson, Ron Liebman.
50. Best In Show (2000)
Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy.
NOTABLE OMISSIONS (I've seen all of the following; some may have come out after 2003):
Every other major sports league has it to one degree or another, so why not baseball?
I know one team in particular that wished it existed 23 years ago... (That's for my buddy/commenter "cardinals fan.")
It happened. I broke 90 for the first time ever in my premier round of the year (I shot an 87; six pars, most of the rest bogeys). It happened at the iconic Ed "Porky" Oliver Golf Club in Wilmington, a course I hadn't set foot on in six years. It was in surprisingly good shape, and the weather was fantastic. Perhaps the latter accounted, in part, for my good score -- negative ions make for a good personal disposition!
By the way, the spankin' new Rock Manor course is now open for business, despite their website saying they're open April 28. I drove by there on my way home from Porky's, and the place was packed!
According to MSNBC.com circa 7:30pm, that is:
Then again, it is where moonbat Keith Olbermann came from. ESPN.com's "Page 2" segment discusses "rewriting" various moments in sports history, but it just can't resist including one non-sports moment:
On Saturday night, the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat will replay the final 51.9 seconds of their Dec. 19 overtime game.
The Hawks believed they won that game 117-111, but commissioner David Stern overturned the result because Atlanta's stat crew incorrectly disqualified Miami's Shaquille O'Neal after his fifth foul.
Never mind that Shaq has since been traded to the Suns for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. Never mind that the Hawks have since acquired Mike Bibby. Confused?
Nevertheless, this got us to thinking that as long as we're fixing one injustice, we might just want to keep rewriting various moments in history.
- The 2000 U.S. presidential election: The former owner of the Texas Rangers won, courtesy of the Supreme Court, and then was re-elected. If you need to ask why we need a do-over on this one, you've just returned from being abducted by aliens. Welcome home.
Oh, but of course. The old canard that the SCOTUS "gave" George Bush his victory. I bet ESPN would have included a bit on the Florida State Supreme Court "giving" Al Gore the 2000 election win if the SCOTUS had stayed out of the whole matter. Yeah, right.
And where's the inclusion of the "do-over" for the 1960 election whose popular vote was a hell of a lot closer than 2000's? How silly of me. That winner was a Democrat!
... but this is just going a bit too far:
A class action lawsuit filed in federal court here Friday claims that the New England Patriots "fraudulent videotaping" of the St. Louis Rams' walk-through prior to Super Bowl XXXVI 2002 Super Bowl should cost the team damages in excess of $100 million.
The suit targets the Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick. The suit says: "The basis of this action is that the Defendants illegally videotaped the St. Louis Rams ("Rams") "walk through" prior to the 2002 Super Bowl for the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage in the game." It claims the Patriots were engaged in fraud, racketeering, breach of contract, and were in violation of Louisiana's unfair trade practices and consumer protection act.
The suit is filed on behalf of Willie Gary, identified as a Rams employee and football player (he played seven games for the team in the 2001 season), an owner of a St. Louis seat license and two ticket purchasers and attendees of the Super Bowl. It seeks restitution for three classes: Rams players, coaches, staff and employees of the team that met New England in the Super Bowl in 2002, all 72,922 fans who attended the game, and owners of St. Louis Rams seat licenses for the 2001 and 2002 seasons.
Hey -- what about Delaware's greatest Rams fan?
Oh, er, um, that's right, never mind -- this lawsuit is nuts. (And who the hell is Willie Gary? Even I don't remember the guy.) Until there's solid evidence of the Pats gaining an advantage via their still-supposed taping of the Rams' pre-Super Bowl walkthrough, this just gets the usual "frivolous" label.
Winning by a last-second field goal ... against one of the greatest teams in the last 20 years ... when you're a 14-point 'dog?
Mark over at Comics Coverage shows you how and why.
Yet another classic by the 'net's best comics blog!
... I had the pick of the week with the Giants over the Cowboys 21-20. The G-Men won 21-17 and nobody I saw/read picked New York but me. My Jags over the Patriots pick was indeed a long shot, and it didn't pay off. Only comedian Frank Caliendo picked the Chargers to beat the Colts (that I saw/read), and indeed that was an upset. Green Bay beating Seattle was a bigger blowout than I expected.
OK, now for Championship Weekend:
Now, get ready for next season by reading about the team to beat! ;-)
UPDATE: Moving this post up to today!
My score predictions weren't all that accurate, but I got the teams right. Now for the tougher part -- divisional playoff picks!
Now, enjoy a trip in Super Bowl history.
UPDATE: Moving this post from 12/31 to today!
Now that the NFL playoff scenarios are settled, here are my picks for Wildcard Weekend:
Meanwhile, Volokh has an interesting post on past Super Bowl winning teams that rested their starters in the final regular season game. Only one team since the '95-96 season won the SB after resting its starters in the finale: The 1999 St. Louis Rams. (They lost their finale to the Eagles 38-31; Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and co. played only the first half. That was actually the very first NFL game I attended in person!)
In this case the target is bloggers, and the one making the asinine comparison is the Philadelphia Daily News sports writer Bill Conlin:
The only positive thing I can think of about Hitler’s time on earth–I’m sure he would have eliminated all bloggers. In Colonial times, bloggers were called “Pamphleteers.” They hung on street corners handing them out to passersby. Now, they hang out on electronic street corners, hoping somebody mouses on to their pretentious sites. Different medium, same MO. Shakespeare accidentally summed up the genre best with these words from a MacBeth soliloquy: “. . .a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. . .”
Ace of Spades notes, "I mean, Good God, the 'pamphleteers' Conlin is so jazzed about Hitler executing were propagandizing against Hitler. And Conlin's all in favor of that."
Ah yes, the "big" University of Delaware vs. Delaware State University football match-up took place yesterday. It was historic as the two teams had never played each other before. Some believe race has been a factor for that situation; others believe it because DSU just isn't good enough of a football team. The outcome of yesterday's game (44-7, UD won) sure gives a lot of credence to those who hold the latter view. (Of course, however, UD continually played milksops like West Chester year after year, so why not DSU for that "intrastate rivalry," right?) At any rate, today's News Journal has a big write-up about the event. One thing caught my eye, and my first impression was that of many commenters to the WNJ article. Look at the pose DSU President Allen Sessoms is striking in that photo above left. The caption says the following:
DSU President Allen L. Sessoms raises his fist in a salute to the team's fans as the school band plays the alma mater Friday after the Hornets' loss to the Blue Hens.
Is that a ... "black power" salute reminiscent of the late 60s-early 70s? (Recall the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.) It does look like it. However, after mulling it through, I considered:
Thus, I'm sure inclined to give Mr. Sessoms the benefit of the doubt. Of course, if Sessoms did mean it as a "black power" salute, it is highly inappropriate. (But not so inappropriate that the News Journal thought it a good idea to publish the photo, right? But hey, when you're losing readers left and right, why not attempt to stir up controversy where there most likely isn't any, eh?)
Well deserved, J-Roll!
Don't know if you've heard by now, but former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula has stated that if the 2007 New England Patriots go undefeated this season, there should be an asterisk next to their achievement because of their earlier "spygate" scandal. But Associated Press writer Jim Litke calls Shula "a hypocrite" for his remarks. Why?
He was still the coach of the Baltimore Colts at the end of the 1969 season, when then-Miami owner Joe Robbie approached him and signed Shula to a contract. The NFL charged the Dolphins with tampering and awarded their first-round pick to the Colts.
"Tampering"? How? Litke doesn't elaborate. And since he doesn't elaborate, how does he make the comparison between Shula's transgression and that of NE coach Bill Belichick? The former apparently bolts for a new team in apparent violation of league rules; the latter uses cameras to spy on other teams' defensive schemes also in [obvious] violation of league rules. Now -- which one of these violations greatly benefits a teams chances of winning games? Belichick was penalized heavily for his team's trangressions (as was Shula for his), but we don't know (and probably never will) the extent of the advantages the Pats got from their clandestine videotaping. What precisely were the "advantages" that Shula (and the Dolphins) garnered by Don scramming Baltimore and heading for Miami? How does that translate into a "needed asterisk" for his undefeated 1972 team?
If anything, if the Pats win out this season, it could -- could -- be argued their season is even "more perfect" than that of the '72 Dolphins because they'll have played two more total games (19 vs. 17). Litke also points out that the '72 Dolphins played an extremely weak schedule: their opponents' collective winning percentage was under .400. The Pats '07 schedule isn't exactly tough though; only two of the teams they've played thus far have a winning record (Cowboys and Colts) and the collective winning percentage of their opponents is currently a mere .413. In the second half, the Pats' only opponents with winning records (currently, that is) are the Steelers and Giants. I personally don't care about that though; you can't control how other teams get worse while your team gets a lot better. The two additional games makes much more of a difference to me.
But these are all only tangential to Litke's [supposed] main "argument." Comparing Shula's past "violation" to Belichick's current one is just plain absurd when you just look at the potential benefits from those violations. Shula was right -- maybe there should be an asterisk next to the Pats' perfect season should they actually attain such. 'Cause we'll never ever know just how far Belichick's cheating went, and how much it benefited him and his team. Enough to win three Super Bowls each by a mere three points? Might have been just enough of an edge.
I love James Taranto, but he ain't very sports minded (scroll down towards bottom if you click link):
They call it "the curse of the Bambino" -- the Boston Red Sox's inability to win a World Series, something they haven't done since shortly after the turn of the century. But now there is a chance to break the curse, as the Sox face the expansion Colorado Rockies in the October classic.
The "curse" was broken in 2004 -- when the Red Sox won the World Series!
Technically, Taranto has an out since "shortly after the turn of the century" can mean the 21st century. But since he mentioned the "curse," he obviously meant the 20th.
This past Sunday I journeyed south to Baltimore to attend the Baltimore Ravens vs. St. Louis Rams game. A former teaching colleague and her husband had promised me one of their season tickets for this game as soon as the 2007 schedule came out, knowing what a nut I am for the Rams. (Check it: I have been a fan of the Rams since 1971, natch.) We tailgated (see below) for approx. three hours before game time (right next to the stadium under numerous highway overpasses) and it featured my buddy's classic crab dip, brats and cheeseburgers.
I was a bit worried that I might get harassed by wearing all my Rams gear; however, such was not the case. As a matter of fact, I actually got a rather warm greeting when, after exiting the port-a-potty near game time (and about 100 yds. from our tailgate), I spotted a huge approx. 6'7" guy in an old-school Eric Dickerson jersey! He saw my shirt and vest, and smiled, to which I said, "Old School Eric Dickerson! YES!" He high-fived me, and the myriad Ravens fans just sort of hissed under their breath ...!
I got to the stadium about a half hour before game time, and our seats were tremendous -- seven rows from the field on the side corner of the end zone. And it happened to be the end zone where the Rams were warming up! A few minutes after we got our seats, there was Torry Holt catching a few passes! He soon took off his helmet and knelt down, taking a break. This was my chance. With virtually no one else yet seated in our section, I yelled out "YO TORRY! YOU 'DA MAN!" Holt actually looked up to see where the shout came from, spotted me (mainly 'cause I was waving and pointing at my Rams shirt!) and then pointed at me followed by giving me a thumbs up!! Now come on -- how COOL is THAT??
Yeah, I know the Rams are absolutely BRUTAL this season, but that's because Holt is actually one of the only remaining starters still uninjured on either side of the ball! I only recognized him and defensive lineman Leonard Little as two regular starters on the field who remain unhurt (as of yet!).
Check out how good our seats were below. The red arrow points to the only other Rams fan that was anywhere close by (he had an Isaac Bruce jersey on). Wonder why there were so few Rams fans in attendance? There were many many more back in 1999 when I went to see 'em play the Eagles at the old Vet! (Hint: That's because they won the Super Bowl that year, natch!).
This past Sunday I played what may be my last round of golf of the year at the Three Little Bakers course in Pike Creek. I played a good front nine (43) but considerably worse on the back (50) for a not-so-hot-for-me 93 total. But, my buddy Roger and I really didn't care -- it was a spectacular day, and even though our tee time was the same [start] time as the Phils' game against Washington where they clinched the division, we had our wives sending us text messages for game updates!
But even on the friggin' golf course we couldn't escape the dalliances of the Nutty Left. On the 8th hole, near the green, there was an abandoned old stone building. Smack dab in the middle of it some dunce dubbing himself "Che" spray-painted the phrase "Legalize it" (click image to see larger version):
First of all, legalize what? It's probably a safe assumption it is some kind of drug, most likely marijuana. Second, is this yet another dope (no pun intended) seeking to glorify Che Guevara? At first glance it appears to be the case, but was Guevara in favor of drug legalization? That, and Guevara didn't use an accent mark on the "e" in his nickname.
Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles thinks he and other black quarterbacks get more scrutiny than their white counterparts:
In an interview on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” to be broadcast Tuesday, McNabb said black quarterbacks “have to do a little bit extra” because there are relatively few of them, adding “people didn’t want us to play this position.”
McNabb said if he passes for 300 yards and his team wins by a touchdown, critics will say, “Oh, he could have made this throw here. We would have scored more points if he would have done this.”
Asked if white quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer are held to the same standards, McNabb replied: “Let me start by saying, I love those guys. But they don’t get criticized as much as we do. They don’t.”
Is McNabb, when he says "people didn’t want us to play this position," referring to the past or the present? If he's talking about thirty years ago, he might have a point. I'm sure the first black QB ever to start an NFL game -- one of my childhood sports heroes, Grambling grad and LA Rams quarterback James Harris -- dealt with real pressure and criticism, not to mention outright racism. But now? If McNabb is referring to the present, who exactly doesn't want him (and other black QBs) to play that position?
Second, how precisely does Donovan know that he and the other black QBs are criticized more than Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer? Does he regularly monitor the Indianapolis (Manning) and the Cincinnati (Palmer) press? Not to mention that of other cities?
Lastly, his comment about being criticized despite a huge passing game and winning by a TD just reveals how tough it is to play in Philly. Face it -- Philly is the toughest city in which to play a sport as a pro athlete! Hell, Philly fans would boo the Eagles if they were up by 31 but let the other team creep a couple TDs closer in the waning minutes of the game. They'd boo the Phillies if they won the World Series in six games instead of five because they happened to blow a big lead in that fifth game. They'd criticize the Flyers for allowing a shorthanded goal despite them winning by four. Remember: This is the town that booed Santa Claus.
Black QBs, still relatively rare, surely might be scrutinized more than the more numerous white QBs, but criticized is a whole other matter. Hell, Rush Limbaugh was promptly canned by ESPN -- not because he criticized Donovan -- but because he pointed out that (in his opinion) since the media wanted to see McNabb succeed so badly, Donovan was hence "overrated." (Limbaugh did indeed believe McNabb wasn't that great of a QB, but that wasn't the issue in that "controversy.") Feel free to argue the point, but considering how the MSM is so politically correct when dealing with race, he definitely had some degree of a point. But notice I said MSM. Local Philly media is as hard on 'ol Don as anyone else who plays sports in Philly. All one has to do is listen to WIP sports radio on a daily basis.
The MSNBC.com story.
They have to forfeit Super Bowl XXXVI. The St. Louis Rams are 2001 NFL champions. 'Nuff said.
... especially perhaps Mike Mahaffie and/or Fritz Schranck ... exactly how one can go from playing absolutely DISMAL golf for two weeks in a row, then turn around the third week and play one of the most stellar rounds of one's life?
Case in point: Three weeks ago I had an opportunity to play The Peninsula, a spectacular new private course between Lewes and Rehoboth. There is some sort of water on virtually every hole there, and the rough is akin to that of a US Open course (meaning it's thick as hell). Still, there is no excuse for putting up the number that I did: a 113!! Actually, there's a small excuse. My friend Roger and I weren't expecting to play that day, so we (and our wives) imbibed a bit too much the night before. We weren't exactly in the best physical prowess that morning if you know what I mean. Still, a 113!! I hadn't carded such a number since junior high school. The next week, my old college roommate Gregg and I hit Loch Nairn right outside of Kennett Square, PA. Loch Nairn is considerably easier than Peninsula, but even so, my swing was still as ridiculously unreliable as it was the week before. Final score: 101!
Forward to this past Friday: Three buddies and I hit the very nice Back Creek course in Middletown, DE. Back Creek is not an easy course (though easier than Peninsula) and I've put up some rather big numbers there in the past. Not this time. From out of nowhere my swing reappeared -- drives were fairly straight and long, iron shots true, and best of all I putted like a demon. Final score: 85!
What's the deal?
Via AOL's Fanhouse blog:
The Cincinnati Bengals' official web site is reporting that suspended linebacker Odell Thurman has filed a claim of disability discrimination against the NFL, and Pro Football Talk is reporting that suspended Buccaneers cornerback Torrie Cox has filed a similar claim.
The players say the league is discriminating against them because of the league's belief that they're alcoholics.
Y'see, the league has a thing called a "substance abuse policy" whereby players can get suspended if they, well, abuse certain substances! Ah, but a thing called the ADA -- Americans with Disabilities Act -- may get in the way. It "recognizes" alcoholism as a "disability."
Why stop there? What about marijuana or other drug use? Steroids? What about domestic violence?
When you think about it, what couldn't be covered under the ADA if bored EEOC lawyers are looking for something to do?
"Breaking" news: Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run last night against the Washington Nationals. During a post-game press conference, Bonds said “This record is not tainted at all. At all. Period.”
And from what I hear, they'll be giving out the following set of bobblehead dolls to fans 14 and under tonight at the Giants game:
Just what the Eagles need as the NFL season is about to get underway: QB Donovan McNabb backs his buddy, accused dog fighter/torturer/killer Mike Vick, and to top it off whines that penalties for pampered athletes are too "tough":
"I'm a supporter of Vick," McNabb said. "That's because I'm a good friend of his and also we're guys that obviously compete to win the Super Bowl. We push each other.
"I think for some of the guys that have made the mistake and now that their season is taken away from them, the question goes out of what happens next? Because when some people get things like that taken away from them, they just continue to go down. You hope nothing but the best, that they've learned from their mistakes to move on where they can get back out on the field and play. Being suspended for a year? That's tough. That's tough...."
OK, I can sympathize with the first sentiment somewhat. A guy's a friend is a friend, and you gotta stick by him to a degree ... especially as the official (legal) word is "still out." But "tough"? A convicted-Vick being suspended for possibly a year ... too "tough"?
Just yet another example of how overpaid athletes are out of touch with the real world.
Major Leaguer Gary Sheffield has been in the news lately because he has been complaining that his former coach -- Yankees skipper Joe Torre -- "treat[ed] black and white players differently."
But wait -- isn't this precisely what educators (or "educationists," if you prefer) advocate? If we go back in time almost two years, teachers who have attempted to treat black and white the same have been reprimanded and harrassed as "not understanding [black] culture" and for not treating the races differently! (See also here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here! Phew!)
Sheffield claims black and white players in the Yankees clubhouse were treated differently, specifically how players Tony Womack and Lofton were handled by Torre. In the interview with HBO, Sheffield says the black players on the Yankees’ roster would be “called out” in the clubhouse by Torre, while the white players would be called into Torre’s office to discuss matters.
Torre's actions should make [certain] educationists proud, then! He "adapted" his coaching methods to the "individual cultural styles" of his players! So what's Sheffield's big beef?
Last Sunday we played at Tanglewood Golf Club in Lancaster County, PA. We passed gaggles of Amish on our way there; I even think I spotted Harrison Ford working on a barn at one point. The course was hilly, with fairly short par-4s sporting severe doglegs. I HATE that "gimmicky" kind of stuff. I hate when you can't see the friggin' green after you've driven the ball perfectly down the fairway. When you have no idea to where you're hitting the ball, it's a recipe for disaster. And in many cases, that's precisely what happened. Final score: 97.
Yesterday, a group of sixteen of us hit the ridiculously overpriced Scotland Run off of rt. 322 in New Jersey. A former teaching buddy of mine asked me to play with a bunch of his old pals at this annual outing they do every year. We all throw in $20, and then everyone's scores are determined to be either in the "better half" (the top eight scores) and the "lesser half" (the bottom eight scores). Two scores are drawn from a hat containing each set of scores; the best combined score wins the money (split between the two people). It's an interestingly fun way to reward good and not-so good players, and includes a bit of luck, as well.
At any rate, I started off disastrously, carding an eight on the par-5 first hole. This was followed by a seven on the par-4 second. Ouch. I got my act together and nailed a few pars and bogeys ... until the eighth hole where I got in major trouble. Score: a NINE on that par-4 hole. I was so incensed that I broke my sand wedge in half. Not a good idea. (It'll cost about $20 to have it re-shafted.) Final front-nine score: 51. The back-nine was quite a bit better, with only one "blow-up" hole (a six on a par-3). I even had a birdie, chipping it in the cup from right off the green on a par-4. (And I did it without my trusty sand wedge, too! Luckily, I had my gap wedge in the bag!) Final back-nine score: 45. My total of 96 made me the 8th place finisher, and in the drawing I was "paired" with a guy who shot a 99. Our total equaled 197; the winners totaled 186 (which included the guy with the best round of the day, an incredible 79, and a dude who shot a 107).
When I said that Scotland Run is "ridiculously overpriced," I sure mean it. I shelled out a whopping $105 for the round, and the course was in no better shape than any of the other courses I've played this year at a fraction of the cost. The sand traps were like concrete, and there was even a dilapidated, out-of-order ball washer at one of the holes. Which, I usually could care less about, but not at a course where I paid over a hundred bucks! You even had to pay extra to hit balls at the driving range which was ALSO ridiculous; nice courses that charge less per round will have a gratis range. Maybe if I had shot a better score I'd be less miffed at all this; as it is, I'm not going to shell out that kind of cash for another golf round unless I am FAMILIAR with the course.
Anyone watching the Copa America (America's Cup) taking place in Venezuela? The US is participating, but they seemed a bit winded in their first game against Argentina Thursday. Maybe it's because they're still tired from winning the Copa de Oro (Gold Cup). Anyways, this was most cool at the US-Argentina game: Venezuelans chanting "Libertad!" ("Freedom!") and "RCTV!", the name of the popular TV station that President/Dictator Hugo Chávez shut down some weeks ago.
This past Sunday I played Delcastle for the first time in a couple years. The weather was absolutely perfect; I just wish my putting was the same. I could not sink anything from around a four-five foot range. Ugh. Final score: 87.
Yesterday, I hit Chisel Creek for the second time in two weeks. I started off exactly as before, parring six of the first nine including a birdie. Front nine score: a mere three-over par 38! The back nine didn't go nearly as well, but it also wasn't nearly as bad as last time. Back nine score: 45. Total score: 83, which ties the best score I have ever carded since way back in 1993. I've shot 83 several times since then, but never better. (The last time was last July at the near-Mike Mahaffie Rookery golf course.) My best round ever was a 79 (at Delcastle, ironically enough) in '93, which was pre-birth-of-my-daughter and when I played an average of three times per week!
Once again, I forgot to snap a photo of the "exciting" on-course action, so instead I'll treat you to a snap of what every true-blue NFL team fan should own: Helmet ball markers and divot repair tool!
Once again, in the tradition of fellow DE blogger and golf aficionado Mike Mahaffie, I am reporting on one of my golf games -- only the third of the year for me. Last week, in my second outing at Middletown's Back Creek course, I played with a couple very good golfers who wanted to play the blue tees. I joined them in playing from there, which was a BIG mistake. The blue tees at Back Creek can be some 40-50 yards behind the white tees from which I usually play. Ugh. I shot a very miserable 102, my first over-100 round in quite a while.
Yesterday I was able to play a spur-of-the-moment round at Chisel Creek, and I played from the white tees, natch! I started off like a madman, parring seven of the first ten holes and carding a 40 for the front nine. (That's me in the pic at the 10th hole.) Then, as can happen all too frequently, the "wheels came off." After getting on the next two greens in regulation with not very long putts to go, I three-putted both times. Very angry now, my game came apart. I ended up carding a 50 on the back nine! Absolutely pathetic. The only thing that salvaged my day (well, my mood at any rate!) was sinking a 25-foot putt from the fringe on the 18th ... for a seven!
And congrats to Angel Cabrera for winning the US Open yesterday! He's the first Argentinian to win a major golf tourney in 40 years. He only spoke Spanish at the post-round press conference which was cool for two reasons: One, I could actually understand him (Argentinians have an unusually thick accent) and two, that said accent is actually very cool-sounding!
What's the deal? Two Cuban soccer players apparently defected to the U.S., taking advantage of the Gold Cup tournament being played here in the States (which, if you dig soccer, you can see on Univision almost every night, currently. No knowledge of Spanish necessary!).
Forward Lester More went missing at the team's last stop in East Rutherford, N.J., and midfielder Osvaldo Alonso did not return from a group shopping trip in Houston. Their whereabouts were unknown late Wednesday night.
"We know what you know," said a Cuba team trainer, who declined to give his name. "We don't know anything more. These two players left. They did not come back."
I just don't get it. I mean, why defect from Cuba? Don't these guys know what they're leaving? Just ask filmmaker Michael Moore:
Michael Moore: "They (Cuba) have an excellent health care system, probably the best in the Third World. There is not religious persecution. There's artistic freedom. I went–"
[ABC's] Terry Moran: "There's artistic freedom in Cuba?"
Moore: "Oh, yeah. I hung out with artists who are critical of Castro and, and, and very freely speak their minds."
Maybe Moore can next make a movie about the "immorality" of leaving one's country. After all, that's what the Cuban soccer coach says. ("It's morally wrong to leave your country," he said.) Even more so given all that "freedom" the omnipotent Castro has given the people, right coach? (And Mike?)
Entertainment Weekly has a list of fan "missed moments" they deeply regret well, having missed! Here's five of mine (probably, but not necessarily, my top five):
#1: Being too chicken-shit to watch the ending of Super Bowl 34 live. Why? Because -- seriously -- I thought everyone over at my place would have to call 911 for me. I was the walking epitomy of a nervous breakdown. I mean, come on -- the St. Louis Rams had only a 16-0 nothing lead after dominating -- and I mean dominating -- the Tennessee Titans for the first half and then first portion of quarter three ... but then let the Titans come back to tie the game with about two minutes left! Thank the Maker that Kurt Warner then hit the awesome Isaac Bruce on the first play of the Rams' next possession on a 73-yard bomb (at right) to go ahead 23-16! But there were still almost a full two minutes left in the game! The Titans furiously drove down the field, with Titans QB Steve McNair making a miraculous escape from Rams DTs Kevin Carter (that season's NFL sack leader) and Jay Williams. It all came down to ONE play: Six seconds remained in the game with Tennessee at the Rams' ten yard line. McNair threw to Kevin Dyson on a quick slant route, but linebacker Mike Jones made Super Bowl history by making a championship-saving tackle (above left) on Dyson at the one-FOOT line. Time expired, and the Rams won their first-ever Super Bowl.
Oh, by the way, I did tape the whole game so I was able to watch the cardiac arrest-inducing ending later on in relative anxiety-free ease.
#2: Missing a chance to meet Kurt Warner at a local event. In the summer of 2000, then-Rams QB Kurt Warner was slated to make an appearance at the old Kahunaville at the Wilmington (DE) Riverfront. There were no tickets sold in advance, but the friggin' date slipped my mind when the time came. ARRRRGH! (Hey, Hube -- it's called "Write it down on the calendar, you moron!") I had heard months later that Warner actually had to cancel his appearance but I never got definite confirmation on that.
#3. Not going to the Philadelphia Phillies championship parade in 1980. It's their only championship in some 100 years (see below), and I was too much of a wimp to go and attend their parade after their victory. I was in 10th grade (15 yrs. old) and many of my fellow teens, friends and mere acquaintances alike, were headed to the City of Brotherly Love to take part in the festivities. My parents, however, warned against me skipping school to attend. Let's see ... take part in what may be the only Phils celebration in my lifetime and face the wrath of my parents (especially my dad) or go to school like a good, obedient son? Well, you know what I chose (you don't know my dad!) else I wouldn't be writing this damn thing!
#4. Not going to a "venue" rock concert event at either the Vet or JFK stadium. I've seen many concerts at the old Spectrum (Genesis and Yes, just to name two) but I never once attended a "big" event at Veterans Stadium or JFK Stadium (now both demolished). That I recall, I never had any definitive opportunities to go to one (not that I couldn't have bought my own tickets, but y'know) with the exception in 1982 of The Who event (seen below). My good buddy Schmitt, his brother and several other pals attended, but for some reason, I elected not to. Lame.
#5. The 1986 Challenger disaster. This sounds weirdly macabre and certainly is not "entertainment" in and of itself, but the fact is that in the early-mid 1980s I never missed a Space Shuttle launch live unless it took place at like 3:00 in the morning or something. The Shuttle launches for me (and my dad) surely were (are) entertainment. (The one exception to getting up early was that very first Shuttle launch in 1981 -- my father and I got up around 5:00am to watch all the pre-launch jabber and stuff followed by the historic flight.) But on that fateful day in January, 1986, I was home sick from UD Winter Session (probably with some nasty sinus infection if memory serves), and got up very late in the morning hence missing the launch live. I wandered downstairs, tissue box in hand, to watch some TV in my miserable state. As I clicked away with the remote, there suddenly was Dan Rather's voice describing "an incredible disaster" as footage of the launch was playing. Then I heard those infamous words "Go with throttle up" and then ... wow. I was frozen in disbelief. For real. I couldn't move for about a minute or so. Then I called up to my mother in the kitchen who let out a small scream of "Oh my God," then turned on the small black & white set in the kitchen, and then ... began to sob softly.
It is not missing the actual disaster that is significant to me; it is the sense of history -- that incredible tragic moment -- that was lost.
That's the grade the St. Louis Rams got for their off-season personnel maneuvering.
In a word: Cool.
Bill Conlin, in today's Philadelphia Daily News, writes:
When I'm King of the World . . .
The Phillies will break their 60-year streak of never having a minority third-base coach . . . Since my Phillies association began in 1966, there have been nine third-base coaches: Don Hoak, George Myatt, Billy DeMars, Dave Bristol, Lee Elia, Larry Bowa, John Vukovich, Bill Dancy and Steve Smith. During the same 41 years, the first-base coaches have included minorities Ruben Amaro Sr., Tony Taylor, Mel Roberts, Charlie Scott and Davey Lopes. It would seem that Lopes' status as one of history's greatest base thieves would make him a no-brainer to coach third. But that's where the question gets sticky.
Oh brother. This seems along the lines of this claptrap. I mean, why would a sports team not put a coach at third base merely because of his race? And why does Conlin even bother to bring this up if he actually doesn't believe it to be a real issue?? Take a look:
DeMars, Bristol, Elia, Bowa and Vukovich were great third-base coaches on merit, not as OWBC - Old White Boy Club - members. But what about now? Dancy was a disaster, and Smith's gaffes belie the strong resume he brought with him from the Rangers. But Lopes, by preference, has never coached anywhere but first base. As one of the game's best baserunning coaches, Davey prefers to be at the launching pad rather than the down-range target. Ruben Amaro Jr. started here as a bat boy. "I can honestly say that race has never been a factor in any coaching decision," he told me. Ruben, I believe you.
That's some great journalism there, Bill. "When you're King of the World," you'll change something that, well, isn't really an issue and doesn't really need a change. If this "King" stuff happens to come up for a vote, you can be sure you ain't getting elected, Bill. The last thing we need is another empty-headed leader.
It's quite unusual for me to have played my first golf game of the season so late; however, considering how badly I injured my wrist in a soccer game approx. eight weeks ago, well, that's a good reason!! A group of eight of us played at the very nice Chesapeake Bay Golf Club (North East). We split up into duos, playing a two-man scramble format. This means that each duo plays the better of each other's shots all the way 'till the ball's in the cup. I didn't expect much as my first outing each year usually isn't that good. But, the scramble format helped alleviate some pressure! My pal Jay, with whom I was teamed, is about a 25 handicap; I'm about a 17. We ended up a mere three over-par, beating the closest next team by seven strokes! It was very unusual -- if I hit a lousy shot, Jay hit a great one, and vice versa. The times where each of us hit a pathetic shot were few and far between.
The wrist hurt on each and every shot (except putts), the degree of pain waffling between a dull ache to a moderate nuisance. I just ignored it, swung normally, and hit the ball pretty well. We ended up mostly taking Jay's drives and long iron shots, and my short iron shots and putts. I forgot my cell phone (which has a camera) in Jay's truck, so as an homage to the DE blogging/golfing Mike Mahaffie, I took a shot of my lovely St. Louis Rams helmet [driver] head cover after the round.
Amazing (but typical) story from Sports Illustrated today in which a study claims that white NBA referees are biased against black players -- they call more fouls on black players than white players.
To which I ask the question: There are white players in the NBA??
OK, seriously -- I'm not nearly a statistics expert, but nowhere in the article is it explained how the vast disparity between the number of black players and white players in the NBA was taken into account. Nowhere. I mean, if upwards of 80%+ of the NBA is black, the much greater likelihood of even all players on the court at one time being black! And then, what about positions played? Many (most?) fouls occur underneath the hoop which is usually dominated by the taller players. How many white centers and forwards are there in the NBA compared to black?
The NBA hotly disputes the research and appears to back up their refutations quite well in the article:
The NBA strongly criticized the study, which was based on information from publicly available box scores, which show only the referees' names and contain no information about which official made a call.
"The study that is cited in The New York Times article is wrong," president of league and basketball operations Joel Litvin told The Associated Press on Tuesday night. "The fact is there is no evidence of racial bias in foul calls made by NBA officials and that is based on a study conducted by our experts who looked at data that was far more robust and current than the data relied upon by Professor Wolfers.
"The short of it is Wolfers and Price only looked at calls made by three-man crews. Our experts were able to analyze calls made by individual referees."
Litvin said in an original version of the paper, dated March 2006, Wolfers and Price came to the conclusion that there was no bias. He added that the NBA's research "all prove beyond any doubt in our minds that these guys are just flat wrong."
Well, come on, Mr. Litvin! How else to get a study noticed than by invoking the 'ol "racism" charge??
At any rate, SI plays the usual game with the "scary" headline: Study: White officials call more fouls on black players. Oh, and also mentioned in the article was that the study "also found that black officials called fouls more frequently against white players than black, but noted that that tendency was not as pronounced." Oho! Black officials appear to show bias too! Not worthy of a headline, of course! And again, perhaps it's "not as pronounced" for black refs ... because there just aren't many white dudes in the league?
Even if the vast disparity in player numbers was taken into account (which I'm sure it was somehow, but again, I'm not expert enough to judge and the article never mentions it anyway), could it be that black players actually DO foul more? This sort of reminds me of the situation in education where the question is often asked "Why are black students disciplined more often than white students?" and the one answer that is usually never considered is "maybe it is because they just misbehave more often?" Instead, [white] teacher bias -- and racism -- are invoked as the culprits.
Hey, let's apply an education "solution" to the NBA problem here: Multicultural training for all NBA referees. [White] refs need to realize that what may be a foul in white culture isn't necessarily a foul in black culture. After all, since blacks tend to play more "street ball" when growing up, that kind of play tends to be more "freelance," hence a bit "rougher." Fouls aren't called as often. Therefore, white refs need to consider this before blowing the whistle against a [black] player.
Just a thought!
John Rosenberg links to one of the more preposterous op-eds I've read in a LONG time. Chris Jenkins, a sports writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune, hilariously argues for more skin color "diversity" in baseball teams, specifically his hometown San Diego Padres.
No major pro team is closer to the southern border of the United States. Wall notwithstanding, San Diego remains the lone big-league city that actually touches Mexico.
How odd, then, that no major league club has fewer Hispanic players than the San Diego Padres.
Yeah, it is odd. Is it equally "odd" that a city far from Mexico and/or the Caribbean has a plethora of Latino players? Jenkins also thinks it "odd" that the only team in all professional sports that has its city and team name in Spanish should have so few Latinos on it! So, he writes a serious op-ed on what it a most trivial matter? (And it is trivial: "San Diego Padres" was a Final Jeopardy answer many years ago. I recall it because I answered it correctly while all three contestants missed it. And I only attribute my right answer to my knowledge of Spanish.)
The latest racial report card issued by sports sociologist Richard Lapchick, director of the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports, stated that the number of black players in the majors dropped from 19 percent in 1995 to 8.4 percent in 2006.
"I think the problem is only going to get worse before it gets better," Lapchick said. "Look at the pipeline of players from college and high school. It's down to 6 percent African-American. Look at the rosters of the historically black colleges and you'll find that they're predominantly white."
Where else but at a university will you find a "director of [the] Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports"? Sheesh.
Statistically, that major league figure is still above average to all those who believe in "proportionate representation," and the "pipeline" figure is right on the average. That's because blacks make up approximately 12% of the US population, and half that would be black males -- 6%. So, why is there a "problem?" Blacks still are dramatically OVER-represented in sports like basketball and football. Of course, there is no lamenting the dearth of Caucasians in these sports. Nor should there be. Because if any arena best demonstrates the value of merit, it is pro sports. It is beyond ludicrous to assume that sports teams do not want the absolute best players they can get with the money available to them. And who gives a s*** what the hell color they are? I'm gonna live and die with my St. Louis Rams whether the team's all black, all white, or something in between!
And then there's one of the two black players currently on the Padres, Mike Cameron, indulging in a stereotype (which is OK, y'know, because he's a person of color):
The predominant color in the Padres clubhouse is decidedly white. By contrast, Cameron once played on a Cincinnati Reds club with nine blacks among several players of color.
“It's most definitely different,” Cameron said. “You get all these backgrounds in one place, different thought processes. It sounds different. Most of the time, Latins and blacks have a flamboyance. We're louder.”
“The game looks different than when I played,” said Dave Winfield, a Padres executive who also was the first to wear the San Diego cap for enshrinement in the Hall of Fame. “It was up to 28 percent (African-American) back then. Now it's down to 8 percent. Is it irreversible? We're well into something hard to turn around.
“I know this. Jackie Robinson would be dismayed.”
The important difference is that Robinson was prevented from manifesting his awesome talent because of asinine racial discrimination. It would be silly to claim that discrimination is responsible for the falling percentages of blacks in baseball today. Not to say that Winfield is claiming this, but his comments go to the heart of this whole ridiculous op-ed: Why is it a "problem" at all that blacks aren't deciding to play baseball anymore??
It's bad enough that "diversity" and "multiculti" dogma has extended its grip to the extent that it has. If it successfully reaches pro sports, you can kiss fandom goodbye. People are already fed up enough with the many pampered, over-paid, and non-hustling pro athletes. Try to enforce some sort of ethnic quota on teams and say goodbye to a huge chunk of ticket sales.
UPDATE: Heh -- someone from the San Diego Union-Tribune just visited Colossus! Hope it was you, Chris Jenkins! Now go learn how to reason!
UPDATE 2: Soccer Dad reported on a related matter over a year ago. I had a hard time believing it wasn't a joke.
It all seemed like a terrific idea ...
A teaching buddy of mine, a former high school soccer player, said his adult-league soccer team needed a goalie. I had played the position regularly back in junior high and some [mainly winter league] in high school, and I've always played the position at our annual staff-student soccer game. I've written about this previously, but today really got me thinking: Should I REALLY be doing this?? Look at my left eye!! (And the degree of swelling doesn't really come across in the pic.) First it was my ribs in week one, then a hyper-extended left wrist (which still hurts, but is markedly better) in week two, now after a mere FIVE minutes into my third game, I get cracked in the eye.
By "cracked" I mean I collided with a striker from the other team when a loose ball was played back to me. I clearly was going to beat him to the ball to kick it out of bounds, but he charged right ahead -- and into me. His forehead smacked right into my upper left cheek, right under the eye. Since I wear glasses (attached via krokie when I play sports), the frame sliced into the skin right above the eye and I began bleeding profusely. Exit one Hube from the game, ice bag on eye for the remaining 85 mins. (Ice soon to be on again in a few minutes, BTW!)
My two teaching buds on the team, as well as the other guys, think I'm just jinxed -- how can so many things constantly happen to the friggin' goalie?? Excellent question. Look, when I play, I play competitive. I'm not gonna "take the easy way out" just 'cause I'm friggin' old now. But the question is, am I too old to keep doing this s***? Healing takes more than twice the time it did when I was 20 years younger, and that ain't nothin' to shake a stick at. So, I'd be interested in my readers' opinions: If you were me, would you hang it up ... or stick it out? Let me know in the comments!
UPDATE (April 23 at 6:40pm): The eye's a lot worse. At least it looks a lot worse. But as for the actual physical danger to the eye, it's OK. The doctor gave me the thumbs up as far as any threat to the eye itself. Looks like no bone chip or fracture. Just a bunch of black & blue and whole lot of swelling.
And, I've reached a decision: I'm through with soccer. I enjoy it, sure, but it's not my fave sport anyway and I didn't expect that many of the players in this league would be as gung-ho as they are, and have a "winning-at-all-costs" attitude. We're not college dudes or fresh post-college grads who haven't a care in the world. We're older guys who have jobs and families. I don't need to have that jeopardized by some wannabe tough guy who feels he has something "to prove" or "make up for" from his past.
Look who's the new co-host of NBC's "Football Night in America."
Just point me to the game, my peeps.
A month ago, I joined (with a teacher buddy of mine) an adult soccer league. I had to miss the first two weeks due to the skin cancer excision I had; however, the last two weeks (when I've played) I've come home in all sorts of pain! My bud had asked me if I was interested in joining the team 'cause I had played goalkeeper back in junior high and a bit of high school, and I always play in the staff-student soccer game we have every year at our school.
However, I'm now in my 43rd year of existence, and this is an adult league. We play in the "B" division -- guys who're generally older and hence a bit slower -- but there are some teams with quite a few spry young lads with prodigious talent. Last week, I felt like I fractured a rib diving for a shot in the far left corner. (Thankfully, the shot missed!) All week that damn rib hurt, but by today it was feeling OK. That didn't last long. We played a former "A" division team this morning, and in my opinion they should still be in that division. I was shelled virtually right from the start, but the second half was worse, as our [older] guys were winded and beat (including yours truly, for sure!). Final score: a 5-1 loss, and in the process I re-aggravated my rib. But worse was having my left wrist bent all the way back on a rocket-velocity shot late in the game. Save made, but now my wrist is swollen to at least twice its size! ARRRGH!
15, even 10 years ago I could do this with minimal pain and fatigue. Hence the title of my post. And I HATE IT, you hear me? I HATE IT!!
... that there's a possibility that the Super Bowl will feature two African-American coaches? Not even one has made it to the big game before. If both can't make it, I sure hope the Bears' Lovie Smith gets the nod. Lovie'll always hold a special place in my sports heart for turning around the St. Louis Rams' defense in 2001 (total defensive rank: 3rd).
That Rams team -- get this -- had the #1 offense and #3 defense, went 14-2 in the regular season absolutely destroying teams in the process, and then lost Super Bowl 36. Had they won, that Rams team would easily have been listed as one of the greatest NFL teams of all time.
Maybe that's a reason then-head coach Mike Martz is now offensive coordinator in ... Detroit.
From the main page of MSNBC.com right now (my underline):
How does a team "rip" another in [NFL] overtime? Maybe that was meant to be "nip"?
During the Eagles-Saints game last evening (sorry, Philly fans), I was intrigued by the small segment featuring the winners of the "Punt, Pass & Kick" competition. Why was I intrigued? Well, because there was a boy and a girl winner for each age group. Girl?? Like ... why? I mean, check it: Girls do not play football at virtually any level. There may be a few [private] girls football leagues around, but middle and high school teams -- not to mention college and the pros -- have NO female members, with rare exceptions. (And in those cases, you're sure to see some ESPN "heartwarming" story on these anomalies.)
So, why have PP&K competition for girls when statistically NONE of them will ever suit up competitively? Here's the answer: PC!
Seems a lot of others are doing it, so I may as well get in on the act. No score guesses; I tend to think those are silly as too frequently they are way off.
Today: Ravens defeat Colts; Eagles defeat Saints.
Tomorrow: Bears defeat Seahawks; Chargers defeat Patriots.
MSNBC's Steve Silverman lays out the whole NFC playoff picture (beginning today with the Giants at the Redskins). Many teams have a shot at that last wildcard position, and Silverman's predictions all lead to ... the St. Louis Rams capturing the coveted spot!!
Check it: The Giants, Panthers, Packers and Falcons all have to lose (all are on the road, by the way) and Rams have to win (in Minnesota). And that's precisely what Silverman predicts.
I don't think I've ever hoped for a prognosticator to more correct ... !!
UPDATE: Oops. The Giants won. Have a nice off-season, Rams!
MSNBC's Bob Cook has his Top 10 list which includes "Rocky," "Slap Shot" and "Caddyshack." I agree wholeheartedly with his #1 pick, too: "Hoosiers." I never miss a chance to watch this flick when it comes on. I suppose it does help that I love basketball (playing it and watching college teams ... I loathe pro b-ball, however). But what other sports flicks should be on your own top ten list? Here's a few of mine that could make the cut:
... because I only caught the last half hour of it last night. Why? This was on, and it featured the 1999 St. Louis Rams.
I get a lump in my throat every time I watch a story about that season!
The St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols is upset that Philadelphia Phillies 1st baseman Ryan Howard won the National League Most Valuable Player honor this year:
The St. Louis Cardinals' slugger is upset he lost out to Philadelphia's Ryan Howard for the National League MVP award, saying Wednesday the honor should go to someone on a playoff team.
"I see it this way: Someone who doesn't take his team to the playoffs doesn't deserve to win the MVP," Pujols said in Spanish at a news conference organized by the Dominican Republic's sports ministry.
Too bad, Al. Others see it quite differently. For instance, the Phils won two more regular season games than St. Louis, and since MVP voting takes place before the playoffs, this probably makes a difference. And consider: The Phillies had a virtual fire sale months before the playoffs began -- getting rid of Bobby Abreu, David Bell and Corey Lidle to name a few -- yet thanks to Howard, the Phils remained in the playoff race right to the end.
That being said, what the hell happened to sportsmanship? What happened to saying "I congratulate Ryan for his great season and winning the MVP"?? Oh, right, I forgot -- this is 2006! Sportsmanship has taken a back seat to the "Me-First" attitude in pro sports.
Here's to 'ya, man!
'Cause you never know when you'll have one of these idiots show up (my emphasis):
A peewee football game turned violent Sunday when a parent began fighting with the coach, and allegedly pulled out a loaded gun.
During the game that started at 10am Sunday morning at Burholme Park, a father of a player started arguing with the coach because his son wasn't playing enough.
The father and the coach started fist fighting and the father allegedly pulled out a 357 magnum loaded with 5 live rounds after the coach started getting the upper hand in the fight.
I had coached track & field and softball over my 15+ years of teaching, and it got more brutal every year. Not the student athletes -- the parents. My brother-in-law used to coach soccer regularly, and he had to give that up for similar reasons.
What the hell is wrong with people??
New head coach, new defensive coordinator, new overall philosophy ... I was expecting one loooooong year this season for my St. Louis Rams. But a funny thing has happened: They've won four of their first five games. Yesterday it was in always-tough Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers. All of their wins have been tough -- yesterday they had to recover a fumble late in the game to preserve the win as GB was well within [a game-tying] field goal range -- but that's what makes the wins more savory. They're winning the closeones AND they're doing it with defense. Yes, defense. The Rams, who were once dubbed the "Greatest Show on Turf" because of their explosive offense, are now winning games with tough defensive play.
But, it's a long season, as they say, and some very tough games lie ahead -- like two against Seattle, at Carolina, at San Diego and at home against what looks to be THE team to beat this year, the Chicago Bears.
The New York Post's Phil Mushnick reports on a story that you'd think would grab some pretty big headlines. Oops -- then again, maybe not. Y'see, the accused is black -- and a pro athlete -- so his infraction isn't as "bad" in the eyes of the media (and liberals).
After all, the story broke Tuesday, and, while it's hardly news that the NFL's violent criminal population is on the grow, this one's too ugly to be shorted or ignored. But it has been. Tuesday in a Los Angeles courtroom, Bears CB Ricky Manning, already on probation for a 2003 assault, pleaded no contest to felony assault.
The assault occurred in a Denny's restaurant near UCLA on April 23 at 3 a.m.
According to the victim's claims in the police report obtained by NBCsports.com, Manning, Tyler Ebell and Maurice Jones-Drew - all former UCLA football players - were among a group of customers who began to bully 25-year-old Soroush Sabzi, who was seated alone nearby, working on his laptop.
When Sabzi, a student and Swedish citizen of Persian descent, asked to be left alone, the insults, including, "Are you a faggot?" and "You f - - - ing Jew," continued.
Sabzi, the police report continues, next called out for restaurant management. At that point, Manning approached Sabzi, who was still seated, stood above him and called him a "an ugly f - - - ing Jew" and a "faggot."
When, according to the report, the victim again asked to be left alone, Manning began to slap him. Manning's accomplices joined in. Sabzi was punched to the ground then kicked, leaving "visible injuries to his face, cheek, head and [sic] lost consciousness for approximately 10 seconds." (My emphasis.)
Now consider the media hype over the actions by someone like John Rocker. Rocker, to be sure, is a total idiot and bigot. But at least all he did was use some generalized inappropriate words about certain groups of people. And what happened? He was turned into something anathema. There's also Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder. Al Campanis. And, most recently, Rush Limbaugh whose comments weren't even about stereotypical aspects of race (like the two before him), only an opinion about media perception.
Which leads into Mushnick's closer:
But imagine - and by now most of us can - the fallout if Manning and his pals, African-Americans, had been white, and their victim had been black. And imagine if the victim's claim in the police report read that, instead of being cursed as a Jew and a homosexual, he'd been called a "f - - - ing n - - - - r."
Then take it from there - the no contest felony plea, followed by a specious insistence of innocence, followed by the Bears' "disappointment with Ricky," followed by the NFL's position that "it's under review."
Imagine the outrage from the news media, the sports media, politicians and, yes, Chicago's own Rev. Jesse ("Hymietown") Jackson.
Indeed. And it's another reason why so-called "hate crimes" are a joke. As we've argued here numerous times, they're selectively enforced. Selectively UNenforced, that is, usually when the perpetrator is a member of a minority group. After all, it doesn't get much more cut and dry than Manning's case -- he used violence against a man after uttering ethnic and homophobic epithets.
... looks like the News Journal agrees with Hube about the Delaware State University athletic director's "racist" comment regarding University of Delaware's refusal to play DSU in football. They say:
We can think of many reasons why UD is reluctant to play DSU, and few of them flatter the Newark school. Among them are snobbery, a belief that UD has nothing to gain, and a desire to remain the big guy on the gridiron.
There are many reasons, but racism is not one of them. Chuck Bell, DSU's athletic director, may be understandably frustrated at UD's snobbery. But his claims of racism come across as schoolyard taunts. He's trying to get a game by, if you'll pardon the expression, calling UD chicken.
DSU is a historically black college. UD once was a segregated school. But a lot has changed in this state and at those schools. Our advice: Forget Chuck Bell's taunts and play football anyway.
Exactly. As I said, Bell is trying embarrass UD by using the most politically charged epithet of modern times against them. He's most probably is full of s***, but PC being what it is (especially on college campuses), it just may work.
Nevertheless, I concur with the Journal: Forget Bell and play the damn game anyway!
PolitaKid has more thoughts on the issue.
The race canard has now entered the realm of Delaware football. Delaware State University Athletic Director Chuck Bell has stated that the University of Delaware's decision not to play DSU in football is ... a matter of racism, pure and simple:
"I'm convinced the basis is racism," said Bell, the first white athletic director in DSU history. "UD is a white school and DSU is a historically black school, and it's one of those things left over from the days of separate restrooms and separate seating areas."
On what basis does Bell make that statement? Good question. He offers no substantiation. It's basically a "gut feeling."
UD's athletic director, Edgar Johnson, refused to discuss Bell's charge, but he said that UD's non-conference football schedule is set through the 2009 season. When asked about playing DSU, he said "I'm sure it will happen someday." Bell responds by saying
"It's absolutely foreign to me that we don't play." (Bell has broached the subject with Johnson briefly and unsuccessfully.) "It doesn't make any sense financially, competitively and from a rivalry standpoint not to play.
"I've been an athletic administrator 37 years and I'm 61 years old and I've never seen anything like it."
But does that make it racism that's behind UD's lackadaisical attitude about playing DSU? It may well be. But what proof does Bell have to offer for his contention? None.
I agree with Bell that a rivalry between the two DE schools would only be a good thing, especially monetarily. And, you can't say that UD is "scared" to play their downstate rival since it's most likely the Blue Hens would kick the Hornets' butt in a game. But as I've said oft-times before, the "racism" charge is a modern day Scarlet Letter. Bell surely knows this, and he may actually be using it to embarass UD into acquiescing to his demands. It's an effective tactic, to be sure. After all, who wants to be called "racist," especially without proof?
Congrats to Philadelphia Phillies 1st baseman Ryan Howard, who last night broke the 26-year old franchise home-run record set by Mike Schmidt. Howard hit #49. Us older Phillies fans know this is indeed quite a feat. And best of all, Howard is most probably steroid-free!
Unfortunately for the Phils, though, they blew a two-run lead in the 9th inning last night against the Washington Nationals, and lost the game in the 10th, 6-5.
My curiosity was piqued when I saw this MSNBC headline: When youth baseball goes bad . . . really bad. Why was it piqued? More on that in a moment. But now, check out what two a**hole coaches did in a 9-10 year old PONY league:
... none of these guys would ever consider pulling the stunt Bob Farley and Shaun Farr pulled in the 9- and 10-year-old Mueller Park PONY baseball league in Bountiful, Utah â€” ordering an intentional walk.
If the story were just about ordering an intentional walk, Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated and others outside of Bountiful wouldnâ€™t have bothered this week to dissect Farley and Farrâ€™s action, which took place in late June. But it so happens the weak hitter they wanted to set up for the last out of the championship game against, naturally, the Red Sox, was a 9-year-old brain cancer survivor.
Reports from the game have the fans booing, the pitcher â€” one of the leagueâ€™s best â€” visibly shaken, and the child himself, Romney Oaks â€” who has a shunt in his head, and who, unlike major leaguers, requires human growth hormone to keep up his strength â€” crying almost before he got to the plate.
And yes, poor Romney struck out. F***ing a**hole coaches.
Now, my curiosity. It was aroused because there were a couple of coaches eerily similar to morons Farley and Farr in my daughter's softball league this past year -- a husband and wife duo. Their daughter, destined to become one of the premier pitchers in the state (if her parents don't make her psychotic before her senior high school year, that is) inexplicably was playing in the division for 10-12 year olds. Granted, this girl is twelve years old, but her ability is that of a 17 year old. Her pitching is fast enough to be considered "fast" at the high school level. Without a doubt, she should have been playing up in the next division, where she still would have been dominant. A large portion of her teammates, like her, played on the "traveling team" -- essentially the girls with the most talent in the league. This team had many more "travelers" than any other team in the league, and lopsidedly so.
My daughter's first game against this team was a travesty. "The girl's" dad put her on the pitching mound, and during her warm-ups my daughter and her teammates were petrified at her speed. (Indeed, this girl was not allowed to pitch for a few games later in the season because she had beaned -- and consequently injured -- too many batters.) Many of our team's girls were crying and did not want to bat. Our coach (a guy whom I've known since grade school and who is the complete antithesis of the other coach and dopes Farley and Farr) consoled the girls as best he could, indicating that if they were really frightened at the plate, they didn't have to swing, and could stand as far away from the plate (within the batter's box) as they could. And, as I learned later, after this bit of advice when he was walking back to the dugout (alone) he said under his breath "This girl is gonna kill somebody."
Oops. Not only did the wife half of the opposing team's coaching duo hear his batting advice, but she also caught this stray comment (which was well out of earshot of our team's players). When she informed her hubby of what she heard, all hell broke loose. He summoned our coach behind the backstop (while play was going on) and proceeded to scream and yell at him for his supposed "unethical" advice, using much profanity in the process. Our coach, who also possesses one of the longest fuses I know, did not argue back. He apologized for his stray comment, but not his batting advice. This did not assuage his opponent. He continued with his tirade. Our team's girls, already upset at the prospect of facing this coach's daughter at the plate, were now bawling about this coach's obscene behavior.
By now, many parents' (including mine) concern was reaching critical mass and began slowly approaching the two coaches. But they parted, and we thought all was settled. Wrong. At the end of the inning, this coach charged across the field screaming at our coach "RIGHT NOW, YOU AND ME" -- in other words, demanding to fight!! Thankfully, the umpire restrained this mental pygmy, and tossed him from the game (and the field). Most of the parents on our side of the field (including, again, me) wanted the game over and to take off. But our coach, the consummate diplomat, said "no." "It's for the girls, not us. And they want to play."
The sad thing is, every team in the league plays every other team twice. A few weeks later, our teams met again, and things went almost as badly. After the first two innings, remarkably our teams were tied 5-5. (This other team routed every other team in the league, went undefeated and won the championship. Surprise.) So here comes the dad portion of our coaching duo who calls his daughter in to pitch. Thankfully, our girls are mentally prepared for her this time, although physically they didn't do much better than they did the first time against her. And there's dad standing behind the backstop (which is against the rules, mind you) commenting on each call the umpire made about his daughter's pitches -- including yelps of "Bullsh**!" when a ball was called that he thought was a strike. This umpire, though different from last game, knew of what transpired previously. Instead of making a [potential] scene, he chose to ignore the mentally defective coach. But then, between innings, coach proceeds to argue the rules about when a runner can leave the base, and when they're allowed to advance to another base. (This league, being for 10-12 year olds, sets certain limits so innings are not interminable.) Coach doesn't back down until he gets his way. The delay in the game takes almost ten minutes. Our coach is off on the side subtly indicating to the umpire to "give him (the other coach) what he wants so we can play."
I was coaching first base during this delay. When I came back to the dugout, I saw the umpire's wife crying because of the treatment her husband received at the hands of this idiot coach. I was furious. I decided to leave the field because I knew I would say something I'd regret in my seething anger at this pathetic coaching couple. As I packed up my chair and belongings from the field, the wife portion of the coaching duo was standing by third base. I told her, "You people are pathetic. You live through your kids and you ruin it for everyone else. It's appalling. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves." And I left the field. Later, I found out that hubby-coach was yelling and having a fit later in the game about some inconsequential minutiae, and our team's assistant coach (who wasn't present at the first game between our teams and doesn't have as long a fuse as our head coach) challenged him on it. This led to further verbal scuffles, despite the fact that our team ended up getting crushed in the final score.
Needless to say, my daughter and many others are not returning to this league next year, mainly because of those two coaching cretins. The league had received many complaints about them over the course of the season, and were told (as I was, after I e-mailed a complaint) that, indeed their behavior was (is) unacceptable, and that the league higher-ups would talk to them. Hopefully they will not be back next season to ruin it all for other parents, but, unfortunately, the damage was done.
It's just, well, amazing that "parents" can act like that in front of not only their own children, but those of others, as well. So, just like the Utah state house nominee noted in the MSNBC story who was "so stunned" by such behavior that he "took to a state party operativeâ€™s blog to thump that the free pass was a symbol of 'societyâ€™s incivility,'" so too am I.
So there. I feel a little better.
I'm at for it. Now. PLEASE!
So why not Lou Piniella, and why not now?
No one should question Sweet Louâ€™s credentials as a manager. Despite managing the dreadfully underfunded Devil Rays for three years, heâ€™s won 99 more games than heâ€™s lost in 19 years as a manager with the Yankees, Reds, Mariners and Rays. He got the 1990 Reds to the World Series, where as huge underdogs, they beat Tony LaRussa and the Aâ€™s.
He knows baseball inside and out, is passionate about winning and demands that players execute the fundamentals and give everything they have on the field.
The Phillies, on the other hand, have underachieved as badly under [Charlie] Manuel, a playersâ€™ manager, as they did under Larry Bowa, a dugout tyrant. Their play is sloppy, their situational hitting abysmal, their esprit de corps all but crushed.
Piniella has his faults. He doesnâ€™t always get along with his pitchers and even got into a clubhouse fight with reliever Rob Dibble once. Heâ€™s got a temper, too, and has ripped his teams publicly from time to time.
But this is a team that needs a kick in the backside. The things that Piniella is criticized for are the things the Phillies need. They need passion. They need commitment. They need to pay attention to detail. They need to learn the concept of situational hitting. They need to play the game hard and play it well. Those are the things Piniella insists on, and woe be to him who doesnâ€™t get on board.
A-frickin'-men, especially that last paragraph. I still actually watch the Phils, if not now to just mock their lackadaisical attitude and play. Bobby Abreu jogging for fly balls and missing. Pat Burrell running in on a pop fly and it goes over his head. Numerous players constantly swinging at first pitches, especially Jimmy Rollins, the lead-off man (a position he shouldn't be in). Poor base running. Sloppy fielding. Pathetic pitching. And disastrous managing.
The really frustrating thing for Phils fans is that they could have had Jim Leland (now skipper of the Detroit Tigers, and who has masterminded a miraculous turnaround of that club) as their manager a year and half ago. Inexplicably, Phils management went with the incredibly inept Manuel, who can't put three words together to make a complete sentence, let alone manage a big league ball club.
Actually, it's not really inexplicable. Leland probably insisted on having total control in order to improve the team. Then-lousy GM Ed Wade couldn't have that! Better to hire the useless Manuel, who wouldn't be a "boat-rocker."
Meanwhile, Philadelphia fans anxiously await football season, and the baseball season is barely more than half over ...
... now maybe he can offer some advice to Phillies pitcher Brett Myers and the entire Phillies organization. From today's News Journal:
Newark City Council member Karl Kalbacher resigned Tuesday after he was arrested on suspicion of hitting his wife during an argument that happened shortly after he returned home from a council meeting.
Kalbacher, 44, was charged with third-degree assault after Newark police responded to a report of a domestic assault Monday at his home.
Kalbacher told police he and his wife, Adrienne, began arguing after he returned home from Monday's City Council meeting, which adjourned at 9:26 p.m. He told officers his wife became extremely angry and was "right up in his face" screaming at him, Newark police Lt. Thomas LeMin said.
Kalbacher said he pushed her away, and she slapped him on the left side of his head and face. He said he then slapped her across the face with his left hand.
His wife suffered a laceration on the right side of her nose, LeMin said. She also had ringing in her ears and a cut on her right index finger.
'Ya hear that, Myers and Phillies? Kalbacher resigned his position. First, the Phillies let Myers pitch the day after he [allegedly] struck his wife; now, Phillies team chairman Bill Giles has come out and said "Brett Myers's alleged assault of his wife in front of witnesses in Boston last month 'really didn't happen' -- that in fact Myers 'was trying to help his wife.' "
Yeah. This sounds like "help":
Kim Myers (Brett's wife) and two witnesses told police that Myers hit her during an argument after midnight on June 23 near Fenway Park in Boston. Police responding to a 911 call found Kim Myers crying and her face swollen.
Being the pop culture maven that I am, I immediately thought of a classic early M*A*S*H* episode, season 3's "House Arrest", where Hawkeye (Alan Alda) finally gets fed up with Frank Burns' harrassment and ineptitude, so he socks him in the eye. The entire camp is ecstatic about Hawk's action (because everybody hates Frank), even as Frank demands a court martial of Hawkeye. But Hawkeye and buddy Trapper insist that Frank's shiner is the result of "slipping on a bar of soap," and subsequently hitting his eye on a sink. Trapper tells camp commanding officer Henry Blake (McLean Stevenson) that Hawkeye was "only trying to help Frank." To which Henry replies, "By jamming his fist in Frank's eye??"
I'm not saying Myers should resign from the Phillies or baseball in general (being a multi-million dollar pitcher in the big leagues isn't exactly like being a councilman in a small speck of a town; does Newark town council even pay a salary?), but the entire way the Phils handled (re: botched) the whole deal is excruciating. In contrast, Kalbacher quickly resigned his councilman position and he was placed on unpaid leave from his New Castle County job until the matter is thoroughly investigated. The Phils eventually, after a series of missteps, settled on a "suspension" of Myers until after the All-Star break (meaning, through today).
Anna Venger received an interesting letter from a reader on how to deal with wife beaters.
Yesterday, eight of us dudes (four whom I know pretty well) got together at Loch Nairn Golf Club for a small golf tournament. It was a two-man better ball scramble format, where the duos play the better shot of each individual's effort. That's me over there at the par 4 11th hole, getting ready to tee off. Ironically, this was probably my best drive of the day, straight as an arrow, approx. 240 yds. long. (The wife and I recently got new cell phones -- with built-in cameras -- so my buddy Jay took a snap of me. Mike at Mike's Musings was my inspiration for snapping some golf photos!)
Reminiscent of Greg Norman's 1996 breakdown at the Master's (OK, I'm exaggerating!), my partner Barry and I were up by two strokes with four holes to play. We proceed to bogey holes 15, 16 and 17, and then the biggie: We carded an eight -- a friggin' EIGHT -- on the 18th hole. The 18th is fronted by a huge lake right off the tee. Barry duck-hooked his drive right into the drink. I, who hadn't hooked a drive all day (I had a couple mild slices), did exactly the same thing! I reloaded and hit a great drive to about 110 yds. from the flag. But we're now hitting our 4th shot. Barry smoked his shot over the green and under a tree. I chunked my shot, the ball going a mere 30 feet or so. We played my ball, now hitting our 5th. Barry's flew slightly off the green; I chunked another chip!! ARRGH!! We played Barry's ball. We lamely chipped back on the green and two-putted. For an eight.
Barry and I were four over par through 17 holes, for cripe's sake. On the 18th hole alone we were four over. That's some big-time choking, I tell 'ya! We went from leading to third place in the space of two holes. That sucks.
Thankfully, the "19th hole" provided some much needed liquid refreshment in which to drown our sorrows!
That's the headline of this CBSNews.com article. The sub-headline reads "When It Comes To Prize Money, Women Still Gets Less."
It's hard to beat Wimbledon for its annual show of tradition. The players still dress in white. The tennis is still played on grass. And as sure as there will be rain delays each year, [CBS News correspondent Richard Roth reports], the women will still be paid less than the men.
Nine-time women's champion Martina Navratilova says the All-England Lawn Tennis Club, which runs Wimbledon, just hates the idea of upsetting tradition.
The fact is that the All-England Club earned a $46 million profit last year, but will pay the women's champion $55,000 less than the winner of the men's title. That's not on account of the petunias â€” but because women's matches are shorter than men's matches.
It's an argument Navratilova's not buying.
"It's not quantity, it's quality," says Navratilova. "Sports is an entertainment â€¦ Tina Turner doesn't get paid less than (her) equivalent in the men because he's a guy and can hold a note longer."
But it is about quality too, Martina. Despite the fact that women's [tennis] matches are shorter, let's face it -- women by and large just cannot compete with men -- in tennis or in any other sport. This is why men get paid more for their sporting efforts, whether they be tennis, basketball or golf. Men hit harder, throw farther, run faster. It is a biological fact that cannot be changed. As a result, men's sports are more popular by far. People prefer watching the NBA over the WNBA. The soccer World Cup is light years more popular than the Women's World Cup. People would rather watch Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson than Annika Sorenstam or Se Ri Pak.
The article notes that the [tennis] US and Australian Opens "have paid equal prizes to women and men for years," and that "the French Open began doing it this year." Bully for them. They're politically correct. But if women really want to "be equal," then let's try abolishing all gender-separate sports, including the Olympic Games.
Let's see how the "fair sex" fares then. You can bet they'll want those separate sporting events with that lesser-than-men prize money back real quick.
Last evening I was fortunate enough to take advantage of a break in the recent monsoons to get a run in. I was drenched after about a mile, not due to a sudden downpour, but due to the incredible humidity! You could cut it with a knife. This scenario happened again, too. It really befuddles me. I run three friggin' miles so how is it possible that so many cars just happen to come to a neighborhood entrance and/or end of driveway ... at the precise moment I'm about to cross it?? No runner's high this time out, however. Probably 'cause it's been four days since my last outing.
I was recently speaking to my in-laws (who're from Costa Rica, for the uninitiated), mostly about the World Cup, but these conversations always result in my longing to go back for a long visit (like my family and I did last summer). It's been twenty -- TWENTY! -- years since my very first sojourn to the tiny Central American country. I wrote a bit about that experience last summer (see also here and here) and I often think about the professor who took our group of 13 undergrads on the trip. Dr. M. was (is) a genuinely fine human being. He was quite the committed leftist, but unlike too many others that share his political philosophy, he always maintained his sense of humor and his warm personality. (I'm speaking in the past tense here as I'm going by 20 year old memories.) He was one of my favorite -- if not the favorite -- undergraduate professor(s).
Anyone else following the World Cup? Probably not, aside from Duffy over at Pencader Days, I'd wager. Italy beat Australia on a last second -- and I mean last second -- penalty kick. Duffy doesn't like the ref's call; however, I actually think the ref got one right here, despite the moment in the game in which it was made. ESPN's Eric Wynalda agreed with me on this morning's SportsCenter. Elsewhere, the Ukraine got by Switzerland in the first shoot-out of this Cup. The Swiss couldn't hit the goal in three attempts (yikes!), while the former Soviet republic nailed three of their first four.
I'm watching an interview with "Superman Returns" star Brandon Routh. MAN does he look -- and sound -- like a young Christopher Reeve! It's uncanny.
David Bernstein has an excellent analysis up concerning "The Cult of International Law." He begins:
I've noticed in a variety of contexts that there are some rather well-educated, articulate individuals out there who have what seems to me to be a fanatical, quasi-religious belief in "international law", and the idea that it should trump any other conflicting consideration. In the constitutional law field, this is reflected in the argument that the president and the courts should ignore domestic law and the Constitution if they conflict with international law--even if the United States isn't a party to any binding international agreements on the particular subject at hand.
He goes on to dissect the claims that Israel is "illegitimate" "because it violated international law by not allowing Palestinians who fled Israel during the War of Independence to return." (My emphasis.)
I'm not an expert on international law, but I do know something about Israeli history. There is no practical way Israel could have permitted the return of most of these refugees. First, the Palestinian and broader Arab leadership remained committed after the war to Israel's destruction. The Arab community within Israel's border had participated in the war against Israel. The immediate result of allowing hundreds of thousands of generally hostile Arabs back into Israel (which had well less than a million Jewish residents at its founding) would have been constant intercommunal violence and ultimately another war. You can't expect Israel to have committed national suicide.
He has many more rebuttals. Be sure to read them.
This is sure to add to the Phillies' woes: Their pitching ace likes to hit his wife.
No, not the F-word, the F-word that means "male homosexual." The Chicago White Sox manager called sports columnist Jay Mariotti a "fag" in one of his notable tirades recently. Mariotti, a frequent visitor to ESPN shows, said on that network today that he really didn't care much what Guillen said about him.
But, of course, in today's world there's rarely a greater sin than Guillen's epithet. This incident will garner more self-righteous coverage than Guillen sending to the minors one of his pitchers who failed to hit an opposing batter. Indeed, just check out the Chicago Sun-Times' Roman Modrowski whose headline is "This time, Ozzie HAS gone too far." Modrowski, who defended Guillen when the manager ripped pitcher Tracey, now writes
I defended Ozzie Guillen after the Sean Tracey episode. I don't think he should have been so public about it, but that was a baseball matter and I trust Guillen's baseball instincts. And I love his candor. But this name-calling stuff with Jay Mariotti is classless and out of line.
And Guillen knows better. Saying the connotation of "fag" is different in Venezuela than it is in this country is ridiculous.
The worst thing about this whole matter is I can just see kids calling each other a bleeping fag because that's what their favorite manager said.
Oh, as opposed to a kid beaning an opposing batter and possibly causing serious injury? Riiiiight. Look, I agree that Guillen should be sanctioned, but let's keep our perspective.
At any rate, back to the title of this post: What is hilarious about Guillen's self-defense is this comment:
Guillen also defended himself by saying â€śthat he has gay friends, goes to WNBA games, went to the Madonna concert and plans to attend [next monthâ€™s] Gay Games in Chicago.â€ť
He forgot to throw in there that he "likes interior decorating, watches 'Will & Grace' and loved 'Brokeback Mountain!'"
UPDATE (9:21am on 6/23): Guillen has been ordered to take "sensitivity training." Oh brother.
Does anyone recall if Chicago Cubs skipper Dusty Baker had to undergo such "re-education"? I don't think he did.
Not only is it a terrific Earth, Wind and Fire tune, but it's something I try to do every other day. During the school year this is usually a quite difficult schedule to maintain; however, since school is now out I've been faithful about putting on the Asics on time.
Yesterday (early evening circa 8pm, to be precise) I got something I have not felt in a while: The "runner's high." It was on the return 1 and 1/2 miles of my usual 3 mile jaunt. I used to get the "high" quite often back in my prime when I would run virtually everyday. For me, the "high" manifests itself in a sudden burst of energy with virtually no feeling of fatigue. I love it. Of course, in order to obtain the "high," a normal schedule must be maintained, along with a good diet.
But also last night -- this same scenario happened. WTF?? And it wasn't just neighborhood intersections, it was houses' driveways, too! I lost track of how many times I had to make hand signals to the car driver to see who would get the right of way. Sheesh.
... involved a round of golf at the (fairly) prestigious Inniscrone Golf Club. It was as hot as friggin' Hades out there which may have led to my miserable 53 on the front nine -- which included my first-ever 10 on the par-4 fourth hole. My consolation, such that is was, is that the fourth hole is the #1 handicap hole. It has a severely sloping green which will roll your ball right back to you if your chip is just a tad short, or right off the far side if your chip is just a tad long. I had three chips that were of the former variety! Ouch.
However, despite the heat, I rebounded on the back nine, shooting a 43 which included a birdie on the par-3 eleventh hole. After the round, I had to essentially peel my clothes off me, stuck to me with sweat they were. Yuck.
Afterwards, my buddy Roger (who also played, BTW) and I headed back to his place where the wives and daughters were awaiting us with a cookout and Coronas!
So, overall, especially considering my great-for-me back nine, it was a good day. Much better than Phil Mickelson's, I'd surmise!
ITEM: Today it's the USA soccer team vs. Italy at the World Cup. Here's the situation: After getting spanked by the Czech Republic 3-0 in their first game, the Americans need to win at all costs to keep (a good) hope alive for advancement into the Round of 16. Bad news: the Americans have never beaten Italy. Worse news: the Americans have never beaten a European team on European soil.
Game time: Approx. 2:55pm.
ITEM: Tiger Woods missed his first cut in a major golf event ("major" meaning one of the four premiere golf tournaments -- the Masters, the US Open, the British Open, and the PGA Tournament) yesterday at the US Open. Woods had taken an inordinate amount of time off since his father had died. Unfortunately, the lay-off showed. Tiger was constantly in trouble off the tee, and at Winged Foot golf course the rough means "rough."
ITEM: Former golf great David Duval surprised everyone yesterday at the US Open by posting only the second round under par of the first two days of the tournament. Duval's game had become completely dismantled the last five+ years or so after he was ranked #1 in the world.
ITEM: The Philadelphia Phillies SUCK! 'Nuff said.
ITEM: Jerry Stackhouse has been suspended from game 5 of the NBA Finals due to his flagrant hard foul of Shaquille O'Neal in game 4. This seriously affects the Mavericks' chances of winning the game. My question: Who the hell really cares??
ITEM: My daughter was selected as an all-star representative from her softball team!
UPDATE: The US soccer team tied Italy, 1-1. The match featured some of the worst officiating of all time. The US had to play two players short due to one PREPOSTEROUS red card call. The good news is that the US is still alive. They have to beat Ghana on Thursday, and hope that Italy beats the Czech Republic. If both of these happen, the US advances along with the Italians.
Anyone following it? After all, it is the biggest, most popular sporting event on the planet. Duffy over at Pencader Days wonders the same thing.
Soccer's a big thing in my family. After all, my wife is from Costa Rica where soccer (fĂştbol) is played in pick-up games like basketball is here. My wife's father played on the CR national team in the early 1960s. He was a midfielder ... a total goal-scoring stud.
Costa Rica, unfortunately, lost their opening Cup game on Friday to host Germany, 4-2.
The United States, ranked #5 in the world, plays their first game tomorrow at around 11:55am EDT against the #2 ranked team, the Czech Republic.
The St. Louis Rams' running back extraordinaire, Marshall Faulk, is pondering retirement:
St. Louis Rams running back Marshall Faulk is not attending the teamâ€™s final minicamp this weekend while contemplating retirement because of knees that have been slow to recover from offseason cleanup surgery.
New coach Scott Linehan said Friday that two weeks ago Faulk, who has undergone numerous such surgeries on both knees, expressed his concerns. Linehan said Faulkâ€™s agent, Rocky Arceneaux, told him again on Thursday that Faulk â€śwasnâ€™t physically ready to go.â€ť
Faulk, 33, was the 2000 NFL MVP, is ninth on the career rushing list with 12,279 yards (34 yards behind Jim Brown), has been to seven Pro Bowls, has seven 1,000-yard rushing seasons and 38 100-yard games, and was the first player in NFL history to gain 2,000 yards from scrimmage in four consecutive seasons from 1998-2001.
Marshall is probably my #1 sports hero. He helped lead my favorite team in the universe, the Rams, to their only Super Bowl victory in the 1999 season (and to what should have been their second in 2001, but don't get me started ... just don't ever say those dreaded two words to me: "Mike" and "Martz") and is one of the classiest athletes in all pro sports. When it was apparent that he was slowing down (due to age, injury) he went to his coaches, informed them that he essentially didn't mind that new RB Steven Jackson was the main guy now, and offered to rework his contract -- because he wanted to end his career with the team where he had all his success.
Friday afternoon, me and three buddies played in a golf outing to support a local sports club. It's the fourth year in a row I've played, the second with my buddies. It was a fairly decent day -- the rain in the morning worried me somewhat, especially since the first outing in which the four of us played was like playing in Bangladesh during peak monsoon season. But, alas, all that really pained us was the occasional [high] gust of wind.
What it is about golf? For me, it's hitting those dead-on shots -- the drive right down the middle, the 120 yard pitching wedge shot to within 10 feet, the chip from just off the green to within a few inches -- that brings me back time after time.
To be sure, those dead-on shots aren't exactly frequent! But they happen enough to offset the miserable shots. You know -- the topped drive that goes like ten feet right into the bern, the skulled 100 yard sand wedge that sails over the green into the woods, the putt downhill that rolls off the green and ends up farther from the hole than when you started.
The tournament was a "scramble" format. This means you get to play the best shot of your foursome (but you must select at least two drives from each player). You would expect some pretty low scoring given this, and indeed, the winning squad posted a 12-under par 58. Our team was a mere 3-under par 67. But, our average handicap is about a 20 (I'm about a 17), so we were pretty satisfied. What I wasn't satisfied with was not winning any friggin' door prizes afterwards!!
Oh well. I did "beat the pro" on one of the par 3s. Here, if your shot was closer to the pin than the pro, the club would double your bet money in the form of a pro shop gift certificate. I was like, "Hell, no! Me? Closer than the pro? Chee-yeah!" Ah, but you see, there was a catch -- and not in the pro's favor. One of our group got to pull a card from a deck of cards. Based on the card pulled, the pro would have to hit that number club. A king would be a driver, a queen a 3-wood, etc. Wouldnt'cha know it but the female contingent of our team picks the card ... and it's a king!! For those not very familiar with the game, the driver is the most powerful club in the bag -- the one Tiger Woods uses to hit a ball over 350 yards. But this hole was only playing 135 yards! So, the pro teed up and ... knocked the ball only slightly off the green! A remarkable shot, considering the club, but hey -- he's the friggin' pro! Anyway, I had bet $10 (before the card selection and pro's shot, by the way). I selected an 8 iron and let 'er rip. Amazingly, the ball landed within 15 feet of the hole. My $10 became a $20 gift certificate, which then became a new golf glove which I sorely needed.
Between that, the fun of banter among good friends, the warm feeling of those occasional great shots, good food, and ... the beer cart, it was a fine day.
For those into golf, be sure to check out Fritz Schranck's [Delaware-based] website, Sneaking Suspicions. He writes about golf every now and then on his blog, but links to golf articles he writes for other media outlets. Like here, for example!
I was fascinated by a recent MSNBC article about Atlanta Braves First Baseman Adam LaRouche. The title is "Blunder by Brave puts spotlight on ADD."
On Sunday, after scooping up a routine grounder that should have been the third out of the inning, LaRoche took his time getting to first and was stunningly beaten to the bag by Washington's Nick Johnson, who was hustling all the way.
The error allowed the Nationals to score four unearned runs on their way to an 8-1 victory, and led to LaRoche being benched for Monday night's game against Florida.
Not surprisingly, LaRouche was booed and hissed by the Atlanta faithful. These uncomprehending fools! Don't they know LaRouche has ADD -- Attention Deficit Disorder?? That's right -- a major league baseball player has what has to be the most commonly prescribed "disability" in the United States. Yes, you heard correct -- not being able to adequately pay attention is a "disability" according to the federal government. In [public] schools, ADD is "accommodated" usually by what is known as a "504" -- the nickname for section 504 of the 1973 Americans With Disabilities Act. Here's who's "protected" by section 504:
Any person who (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, (2) has a record of such an impairment, or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. Major life activities include walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, caring for oneself, and performing manual tasks.
In schools, it is the "learning" portion (obviously) that is used by people (usually parents) to obtain "accommodations" for their children within regular classrooms. These can range from very simple things such as the teacher making sure the kid has his assignments written down in a planner, to allowing use of a tape recorder in class, to mandating the teacher provide a typed study guide a certain amount of days before an exam. As you might imagine, 504 (and the ADA in general) has been abused by those who attempt to seek an "advantage," or, at least, an "excuse." For example, check out Michael Scott Moore's Salon article titled "Buying Time: Disability becomes fashionable among the prep-school set when it equals extra time on the SAT." The gist of it is, how "savvy parents find a psychologist willing to make a diagnosis based on small or nonexistent quirks in their child's testing habits."
I know quite a few teachers and have heard numerous "spooky" 504 anecdotes. Basically, they're things ranging from "Does this kid really have a 'disability?'" to an insane amount of "accommodation" required for a single child -- this, for a teacher that has a total load of over, say, 150 children per day. And, it seems that every year, the ADA and 504 accommodates more and more "disabilities." How far can it go? It is a shame that some (many?) use the ADA and 504 for an advantage, especially when there are many legitimate instances of the usual disorder (ADD).
Of course, I want to make it clear that people with legitimate disabilities should be entitled to whatever the law allows. I in no way mean to belittle the true intention of the ADA, 504, nor even Attention Deficit Disorder in general. Just the abuse and ever-expansion of its definitions.
In our overly litigious society, is it beyond the realm of reason to imagine that even venues such as Major League Baseball will one day have to "accommodate" people like Adam LaRouche? Imagine. Hmm. Let's do some imagining on how the ADA and 504 might one day be woven into the sporting world ...
(Thanks to Hube for the writing assist!)
'Ya gotta love sports folk. Check out these:
#1. John Smoltz (Braves): Scolds himself with an iron -- by ironing his shirt while he's still wearing it!
#3. Wade Boggs (Red Sox): Strains his back by putting on ... cowboy boots!
#4. Sammy Sosa (Cubs): Misses game due to back spasms brought on by ... sneezing!
#5. Adam Eaton (Padres): Stabs himself with a knife while trying to open a DVD! (I actually sympathize with this one -- ever try to get that friggin' plastic off??)
#6. Bret Barberie (Marlins): Missed a game due to inadvertantly rubbing chili juice in his eyes.
and #8, my personal favorite -- Kevin Mitchell (numerous teams): Missed four days of spring training in 1990 for needing a root canal due to ... eating a microwaved donut!
Unbelievably, this is a headline over at MSNBC: Bush says he's learning fast about World Cup.
In the article, we're treated to the "revelation" that soccer is not a marquee sport in the US, and that the president never even saw a soccer ball as a kid.
Soccer is a huge youth sport here, and its popularity is indeed growing. But the biggest sporting event on the planet -- the World Cup -- remains not that big a deal in the US. This year's Cup takes place in Germany next month, and the US will be among the teams playing -- as it has been for the last four consecutive Cups! My wife's home country of Costa Rica, also a qualifier from the same region as the US, has the misfortune of playing in the opening game against the host country on June 9th.
So, how are YOU doing in your NCAA pool? I have 23 victories total in the now-complete First Round.
What Has Potentially Killed Me: 1) Syracuse being beaten by Texas A&M. I had the Orangemen going two rounds; 2) Michigan State being upset by George Mason -- I had MSU going three rounds deep; 3) California being knocked off by N.C. State. Like Syracuse, I had Cali. going two rounds; 4) Northern Iowa losing to Georgetown. Not an upset, but I had N.I. going two rounds.
Where I Picked (Guessed?) Right: Every First Round pick of mine in the Oakland quartile won. This includes upsets by Alabama over Marquette, Bucknell over Arkansas, and most especially 13th seed Bradley over 4th seed Kansas.
My other successful upset pick was Montana over Nevada (in the Minneapolis quartile). But get this -- I was 0.4 seconds away from potentially having THE upset pick of the tourney: I picked 15th seed Winthrop to beat 2nd seed Tennessee. But the Vols won on a last 0.4-of-a-second falling-out-of-bounds jumper. DOH!
Gotta go to the funeral for one of my teaching colleague's sons. Not looking forward to it (a son), but this colleague is one of -- if not THE -- nicest, and best, people I know. And a phenomenal teacher. Truly special.
The Battlestar Galactica season finale was last night. It was ... OK. The "evil" Baltar (who is responsible for the annihilation of the human race) has been elected president of the 12 Colonies, and he demands that the "rag-tag fugitive fleet" (to borrow a phrase from the old Galactica series) set down on a habitable planet that was recently discovered. The last half hour or so of the episode takes place a year later, where the remnants of humanity have established their new colony, and the Battlestars Galactica and Pegasus are orbiting the planet in a defense perimeter. The only problem is, most of the crew of both ships have elected to renounce their positions to go live on the planet! Baltar has used his position for mere pleasure (he's constantly in bed with beautiful women) while the population struggles to survive on their new world.
Suddenly, Pegasus picks up blip after blip on its sensors -- a massive Cylon fleet has warped into the planet's neighborhood. The two Battlestars (and a few other ships) are no match for this incursion, so they ... warp to safety! The Cylons do not destroy the new human colony however; they merely capture it. The last scene is that of the "classic" Cylons -- the robotic models -- marching through the center of the new human city's downtown, while the defeated humans can but ... watch. But, there's Starbuck, who when asked "What can we do?" retorts, "Keep fighting 'till we can't anymore."
The third season begins in October.
Speaking of sci-fi, my favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation episode was just on channel "G4" (a new addition to my local digital cable service). "The Inner Light" features Capt. Picard's (Patrick Stewart's) awesome acting ability to the max -- he lives out the life of a scientist, and father, of an alien civilization that died out over a thousand years ago. And he lives it in the span of ... twenty-five minutes!
Lastly, I hope my feet (and ankles) survive playing basketball this afternoon. I've been playing regularly (again) the past month or so, but I'm beginning to wonder if the fifteen years of standing on hard tile floors in the classroom have taken its toll on my feet. Last week I played on Saturday and Monday, but after two games on Monday my feet were in utter agony. I've bought special padded inserts for my sneaks; hopefully they'll do the trick (or at least help!).
Congrats to the Pittsburgh Steelers (or "Stillers" as the natives say) for beating the Seattle Seahawks last night. Dan over at DanNation is probably the biggest Stillers fan I know; he even redecorated his site for the big game, and he got his dream come true. There's rarely a better feeling!
My favorite part of Super Sunday is the replaying of all the highlights of Super Bowls past -- especially the classic older games with John Fascenda doing the commentary, and the dramatic movie score-style music blaring away in the background. But, there's one game highlight I refuse to watch, and there's one I never miss.
Those (like me) that live around the Philly area know well that it's the Eagles that get most of the sports "respect" out of the major sports teams. However, as AJ Lynch notes, the perpetually aggravating Phillies have actually surpassed the Eagles in at least one regard:
I saw a letter in the newspaper this week and the writer was complaining that when the NFL deems the Eagles may be "a playoff team", the Eagles quickly send the season ticket holders an invoice to pay the Eagles for the playoff tickets. But if the playoff game is never played cause the team does not make the playoffs, the Eagles don't send a refund- THEY GIVE A CREDIT TOWARDS NEXT YEARS SEASON TICKETS!!! Well that is pretty frigging stingy. The letter writer estimated the Eagles could make mucho dinero in interest on that money.
Compare that to the Phillies- I bought playoff tickets online this year and when the Phils did not make the playoffs, they credited my credit card for the full amount of $304 including the relatively measly $4.00 service fee. I was pleasantly surprised. So Kudos to the Phils and Jeers to the money-grubbing Eagles!
Amen to that. Now, let's just hope the Phils will finally get their management act together and frickin' make the playoffs next year. One more key move to make: Axe manager Charlie Manuel NOW!
... when you search out media by sticking up for a complete jackass like Terrell Owens. Cases in point: Jesse Jackson and Ralph Nader.
The Hanna High School basketball team can take some consolation: It didn't get shut out.
It did, however, lose 112-2 on Friday night to Earlsboro.
I like the following emphasized line best (that's my emphasis):
The [Earlsboro] Wildcats led 42-0 after one quarter and 73-2 at halftime. [Coach Jim] Walling pulled his starters in the second half, and game officials kept a running clock, stopping it only for free throws.
Pulled the starters in the second half?? Cripes, he really WAS looking for that triple-digit victory! What a jerk.
Looks like the Eagles' Terrell Owens may never play another game in an Eagles uniform.
I don't care how talented an individual athlete is. This only matters in sports that are ... individual. Like golf. Like track and field. But in team sports, the individual has to take a back seat to the team. Outstanding individuals do not win championships -- outstanding teams do. Back in 1999, the St. Louis Rams didn't win the Super Bowl because of the incredible talents of Marshall Faulk. Or Isaac Bruce. Or Torry Holt. The won it all because their team was outstanding, led by an outstanding coach (Dick Vermeil).
Blowhards like Owens (and Keyshawn Johnson, whom the Tampa Bay Bucs elected to pay to not play a few years ago for pretty much the same reason as Owens) could well learn a lesson from the aforementioned Marshall Faulk. Faulk, a multiple-time Pro Bowler and 2000 NFL MVP, before this football season started approached his head coach -- Faulk approached him -- about restructuring the Rams' offense to allow new running back Stephen Jackson to flourish. Jackson -- Faulk's competition at the running back position. This is the essence of class. Faulk earlier had also agreed to restructure his contract with the Rams (effectively reducing his salary so the team could remain under salary cap) because he's -- get this -- a team player.
Can you imagine T.O. or Keyshawn Johnson doing something like that? Hell, no. It's all about THEM, not the team. I'd prefer to coach a less-talented team but one composed of team players ... rather than an amalgamation of ego maniacs.
... I really don't want him to come back and coach my team.
Who? St. Louis Rams head coach Mike Martz, that's who. Martz, who has been fighting a heart infection, has taken a leave of absence from the team while he recovers, and lately team president John Shaw has expressed doubts that Martz will be back next year. OK by me.
Martz is an offensive genius, true. Just witness the team's turn-around from 1998 to 1999 -- when they won the Super Bowl. But unfortunately for Rams fans, head coach Dick Vermiel retired from the team following the Super Bowl 34 victory, and handed the reins to Martz. The Rams offense has remained a potent force since, but with the exception of 2001, the team's defense and special teams have sucked. And in 2001, when the Rams had the -- get this -- first ranked total offense and third ranked total defense -- they LOST Super Bowl 36 to the New England Patriots largely because of Martz's dopey game management.
And that's been the main problem: lousy game management and overall coaching. How can you have one of the best teams of ALL TIME -- the 2001 Rams, better than even the 1999 team -- and blow your place in history by being so upset in the championship? (The Rams were 14 pt. favorites, the second biggest upset in SB history; the biggest upset was in SB III when the New York Jets defeated the Baltimore Colts, who were 18 pt. faves.)
People across the sports spectrum don't call him "Mad" Mike for nothing. I could go on and on and on. But since I know virtually no one in Delaware is a Rams fan, why?
But again, I wish his health improves. But don't come back, Mike. You've had your chance. Thanks for the Super Bowl 34 offense.
Just got back from my three mile run and not only did my St. Louis Rams come back from a 14 point deficit to win 28-17 over the New Orleans Saints, but the local Philadelphia Eagles staged a miraculous comeback -- blocking a field goal and returning it for a TD, and then stripping the ball from a San Diego receiver late in the game -- to defeat the Chargers 20-17.
That makes for a pretty darn good Sunday in my book. Of course, it helps if you're a football fanatic. Like me.
The NBA is instituting a dress code for its players:
Players will be required to wear business-casual attire when involved in team or league business. They can't wear visible chains, pendants or medallions over their clothes.
Jackson, who is black, said the NBA's new rule about jewelry targets young black males because chains are associated with hip-hop culture, and he said the league is afraid of becoming "too hip-hop." In protest, he wore four chains to the Pacers' exhibition game against San Antonio on Tuesday night.
"I feel like if they want us to dress a certain way, they should pay for our clothes," he said. "It's just tough, man, knowing that all of a sudden you have to have a dress code out of nowhere. I don't think that's still going to help the image of the league at all."