What Olympic sport are you watching?
I swear I thought the Mary Poppins vs. Voldemort thing was a JOKE, that it was way too awesome to actually happen.
What Olympic sport are you watching?
I swear I thought the Mary Poppins vs. Voldemort thing was a JOKE, that it was way too awesome to actually happen.
Ordinarily the Summer Olympics do nothing for me. The attention on gymnastics has always bordered on creepy for me, and nothing else really grabs me as much as ice hockey and skating do, but I'm gonna be trying to find Nur Suryani's event and watch it, because what a badass.
G4S had been expected to recruit a staff of about 10,400 as part of a total security force of 23,700 for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The contractor said this week that while 4,000 are already at work across 100 venues, more than 9,000 are still going through the training and vetting process.
In a statement Saturday, the company said it had "encountered significant difficulties in processing applicants in sufficient numbers through the necessary training, vetting and accreditation procedures. As a result, we will be unable to deliver all of the necessary workforce numbers."
Okay. It's not like you didn't know the Olympics were coming. I mean, they plan these things rather well in advance. And it's not like people aren't looking for work in the UK just about as frantically as they are here.
G4S signed the contract with Locog in 2010 to supply 2,000 security staff to work at Olympic venues.
In December 2011, the Games organisers asked the company to provide some 8,000 more, bringing the total to approximately 10,000 staff.
At which point the company could have looked at those numbers and said, "um, no fucking way," and everybody would have lived their lives just fine, but instead they promised what they couldn't deliver, and only figured out 10 days ago that they couldn't deliver it.
I swear, the more I get to know about private industry the more confidence I have in the efficiency of the public sector.
Four of the most powerful people at The Pennsylvania State University – President Graham B. Spanier, Senior Vice President‐Finance and Business Gary C. Schultz, Athletic Director Timothy M. Curley and Head Football Coach Joseph V. Paterno – failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade. These men concealed Sandusky’s activities from the Board of Trustees, the University community and authorities. They exhibited a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky’s victims by failing to inquire as to their safety and well‐being, especially by not attempting to determine the identity of the child who Sandusky assaulted in the Lasch Building in 2001. Further, they exposed this child to additional harm by alerting Sandusky, who was the only one who knew the child’s identity, of what McQueary saw in the shower on the night of February 9, 2001.
And Graham Spanier is a liar who should be in chains:
Spanier said, in his interview with the Special Investigative Counsel, that he never heard a report from anyone that Sandusky was engaged in any sexual abuse of children. He also said that if he had known or suspected that Sandusky was abusing children, he would have been the first to intervene.
Because until we start holding the people who knew and did nothing accountable, nothing's going to change. Look. I'm not about obscuring who the actual criminal was here. Sandusky abused kids. People who are going to abuse kids are going to abuse kids and there is nothing we can do to prevent all sickness in the world. The only thing we can do, the only thing we have as human beings, is our ability to respond to that sickness, and how we do it determines who and what we are.
The report is long and horrifying on just how little of a shit the university gave about the victims, but what struck me as I read it was what used to strike me when I was reporting about the priest sexual abuse scandal: The lack of compassion in general. Sandusky was a sick man who needed to be stopped, and the people around him did nothing to stop him. They jawed about their concern for Sandusky, and that's terrible enough in light of the children who were raped, but they weren't even concerned about him. If they were, they would have given him the care we give to someone who's cut his wrists or swallowed poison, who waves a gun around in a diner, who's driving too fast late at night with the lights out.
If someone had been doing that on campus, they'd be locked up. Or in a hospital. Or both. Someone intent on harm would have been stopped, if he'd been doing anything but what interfered with Spanier and Paterno and the trustees' views of themselves and their environment. If he'd been a rabid dog, menacing people on Main Street, he would have received more mercy than he did.
But since what he was doing was what we've convinced ourselves is a real thing on par with being raped, threatening the reputations of the powerful, Sandusky was allowed to go on his merry way, and rape more kids. And until some of the people who let him pass are frogmarched into maximum security, that will continue to be the default position of the powerful, because power protects itself, first and always.
If we haven't learned it before, we're learning it now from the Freeh report.
The post season annus horriblus continues for the New Orleans Saints. This time it's an accusation that GM Mickey Loomis is into wiretapping, bugging and eavesdropping according to ESPN and its one, count 'em one, anonymous source. This accusation looks a mite thin to me and the guy who has done all the sound work at the Dome for eons doesn't buy it.
The feebs and state po po are looking into this accusation, why I don't know. This allegedly happened between 2002 and 2004 and the statute of limitations has run so there's no chance of criminal prosecution. In short, this is bullshit, horseshit and just plain old shit.
There's a positive side to this crapola: it will increase the "us against the world" attitude that's been growing within the Saints and their fan base. I was a Raiders fan back in the Madden-Stabler glory days and that was the attitude that made that team both memorable and successful. It's time for the Saints to circle the wagons and take no prisoners, metaphorically speaking, that is. Good thing the Commish isn't listening to me or he might suspend me from something or other...
I'm inclined to call people what they want to be called: hearing folks call Ali, Cassius Clay, made me wince. I was down with Keith Wilkes becoming Jamal and even Lloyd Free morphing into World B Free. I have, however, struggled with calling the irascible and cranky Ron Artest, Metta World Peace. Yeah, I know it's part PR stunt and part emotional palate cleanser but it bugs me. He's been on fairlly good behavior since joining the Lakers but had a relapse of nastiness the other night:
He's said he's sorry and I believe it. He's also claiming that it was purely accidental, which I don't believe. An accidental glancing blow I could buy but not a concussion causing forearm worthy of Fred (The Hammer) Williamson in his AFL days. Hmm, I wonder if his Artestiness has a future as a blaxploitation star? He might, if they ever revive the genre, and bring back the glories of such turkeys as Black Caesar...
I'm sure some of you disagree with this and would counter thusly: "All we are saying is give metta world peace a chance."
I wonder what Yoko Ono thinks of all this? I'd be afraid to ask because she might start "singing" Don't Worry Kyoko at me, which would worry the bejesus out of me...
The local NBA squad has been sold to Tom Benson, car dealer, Saints owner and professional malaka. NBA Commish David Stern has decided to bend his past rule about not allowing nickname changes when a team moves, which is how we got the Hornets, Utah got the Jazz and Memphis got the Grizzlies.
In short, the Hornets will be no more after this season and that's fine with me: I got tired of local sports guys calling them the bees and saying that the Arena was the hive. Hornets, of course, live in a nest but that sounds too birdy for our sports peeps.
Anyway, I'm in favor of reviving the name of NOLA's old minor league team, the Pelicans. I like critter names and it also represents coastal renewal and all sorts of groovy stuff. Do any of y'all have any ideas of a more NOLA-centric name for our hoops team?
"And you just ask yourself," Robertson said, "OK, so Peyton Manning was a tremendous MVP quarterback, but he's been injured. If that injury comes back, Denver will find itself without a quarterback. And in my opinion, it would serve them right."
Glad to see Pat still has that wrathful God thing going on. Of course, Crazy Pat is missing something: like Tim Tebow, Peyton Manning is a Republican. Guess this is the sports version of the GOP primary: God will smite you edition.
When I saw the Rev's comments, I kept wondering whether or not Roger Goodell would comment on this celestial bounty. Thus far, the Commish has been too busy eliminating the Saints from Super Bowl contention to deal with a crazy man from Virginia. Btw, I think punishment was warranted but Goodell went way overboard, which has led to a sort of a mutiny about the bounty here in NOLA...
Last week I was proud to be a New Orleanian. This week not so much after the revelation of the Saints' "bounty" scandal. Football is a violent enough sport without players deliberately trying to hurt someone. Unfortunately, some Saints fans are already resorting to the lame "everyone does it" defense. That reminds me of Tricky Dick's apologists during Watergate. The Picayune's Jeff Duncan sums the whole sordid mess up quite well:
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Saints had become America's Team. Everyone universally loved the story of their post-storm chumps-to-champs makeover. So much for that.
The Saints will now rank alongside the Spygate Patriots and cocky Cowboys among the most despised teams in the NFL. This story will follow the Saints for years. It's not going to go away after the league hands down its punishment.
It also will tarnish the legacy of owner Tom Benson, who appeared to do everything right in this case yet was failed by the men he entrusted to lead his organization. Loomis and Payton were derelict in their duties.
This wasn't a one-time indiscretion. This was organized, institutionalized system of improper behavior and actions that took place over an extended period and condoned by team leaders.
Everybody loves a winner. Everybody, likewise, hates a sinner. And in the NFL there are few greater sins than playing dirty on the field and defying the commissioner off of it.
In this case, not even the Saints can expect salvation.
Their punishment will be harsh. It will be extensive. And it will be just.
I'm in for yet another week from h-e-double hockey sticks so I thought I'd go the quick blurb route. I also decided to pander to all the ice people out there by making a hockey reference. Guess I'm still capable of some puckishness.
The No Harbaugh Bowl Blues: I was pulling for the Harbaugh brother coached Ravens and Niners yesterday and we know how that went. I didn't watch either game but it sounded like the heartbreak of psoriasis for those who did since nobody but their own fans root for either the Foxboro Bradys or the Jersey Elis. The good news is that I can skip the Stupor Bowl this year.
NOLA Crime Report: Murder and mayhem are off to a fast start in 2012. It usually doesn't heat up until it, uh, heats up. BUT the crime on everyone's mind was the wasted Bama fan who teabagged a wasted LSU fan after the BCS Championship. I nearly made the aforementioned teabagger, Brian Downing, malaka of the week but the story moved too fast: it broke in Deadspin a week after the game and within a few days the Tide teabagger was identified and surrendered to the NOPD. He's charged with sexual battery, gross malakatude and egregious idiocy. Me, I was just relieved that it wasn't the Brian Downing who played for the ChiSox, Angels and Rangers back in the day.
One may be able to get away with murder in the Crescent City but not dragging one's microscopic sized testicles across a drunk's face. We have standards in NOLA albeit low ones...
Why Is Anyone Shocked? There's some consternation around the interwebs over Aerosmith's Steven Tyler's rendition of the national anthem before the Foxboro Bradys game. Tyler sounded like he was being strangled with one of his own scarves, which is how he *always* sounds.
Newtmentum: Finally, a political note. In the immortal words of Mitt Haircut I was delighted by his loss and Newt's win. Like Bill Clinton, Barack Obama is lucky in his enemies but who thought it would be the same enemy? Newt has been wildly unpopular for at least 15 years and only has a shot at this thing because the GOP has a bad case of rabies. It's time for Mittbot to reboot in the wake of these Newtastic developments. Btw, there's a great piece online by the author of Nixonland, Rick Perlstein, about *why* Mitt Romney became such a slippery, unprincipled douchebag: it's because his father was too candid and too principled.
One mo thang: thanks, South Carolina.
It appears that highly touted football recruit Landon Collins and his mama have communications issues:
A boozy epiphany: It's the first day of the Carnival season, which will be mercifully shorter than 2011. There's a new Carnival related product out that I am NOT eager to sample:King Cake Vodka. Sounds totally vomitorious to me since I don't care for either vodka or sweet likker. It has come to my attention that unlike a *real* King Cake there will not be a plastic baby inside the bottle. If someone offers me a shot of this shit, I'll try it but until then I'll rely on NOLA food writer, Todd Price's tweets.
ESPN meets Andrew Jackson: Unless you're a sports hater or live in cave, you probably know that the BCS national championship game between local faves the LSU Tigers and their arch-nemesis the Alabama Crimson Tide is taking place at the Superdome next Monday. You may not, however, be aware that ESPN has erected a stage in Jackson Square right across from my shop to broadcast College GameDay. The stage was built in time for the Sugar Bowl. I have to give ESPN credit, it's the least hostile takeover of the Square ever. So far so good. Haven't seen Lee Fucking Corso yet but I'm working...
As to the game itself, I think this Tiger team is too loose to lose. Les Miles may not be an intellectual titan but he doesn't have a permanent stick up his ass like Nick Saban. Some call Saban intense, I call him uptight. I call the game LSU 24 Alabama 21.
The Saints are playing the Detroit Lions tomorrow and are likely to devour them. Drew Brees has been on a tear and the offensive unit is even better than in 2009 when the Saints went on to win the Super Bowl. We appear to be on a collision course with the Packers, which means that it will be family sports feud time here at First Draft. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the weather in Green Bay won't be too beastly. The record of warm weather teams playing outdoors in the frozen North is not good so I won't shed any tears if the Pack are upset in their game. Sorry, Athenae, Doc and Scout. I'm not sure where Jude stands since he's originally from Biloxi but I can take the heat. I do, after all, live in New Orleans...
Geaux Saints. Geaux Tigers. Time for me to, uh, go.
Patronizing local and national media have made it their business to explain to me and about 200,000 other folks all over the world that we’re rubes. The reason? We plunked down $250 (plus $25 for a handling fee) to purchase a piece of the Green Bay Packers.
When the Packers, the nation’s only publicly owned major sports franchise, made an offering of stock on Dec. 6, the shares began flying off the shelves. The timing for the Packers couldn’t be better: The team was coming off a Super Bowl-winning season, the team was 12-0 and Christmas was about three weeks away. Add those things up, and you’ve got a lot of folks who were interested in becoming an NFL owner.
Truth be told, this is the second professional sports team I’ve owned. About 15 years ago, Dick Jacobs of the Cleveland Indians decided to open up his team and create a stock sale. The rules of baseball required that one person own a controlling interest in the team. The rest of team? Hey, he could give out shares until his eyes bled.
Most owners balked at this, as by making his franchise public, Jacobs was forced to open his books to anyone who wanted to see them. That’s not a good thing for a group of rich dudes who always plead poverty when they decide they’re not getting enough love or they want the taxpayers to fork over some cash for a new stadium. They’d rather open their jugular than open their books.
Still, Jacobs blew them off and offered stock for $15 a share. It paid no dividends, but it was a tradable commodity (unlike the Packer stock). In his book on the Indians, Terry Pluto recalled a conversation he had with one of the Indians’ PR guys about the sale.
The guy asked Pluto if he planned to buy stock. Pluto laughed it off. He said that the stock paid no dividends, held no voting power and was unlikely to increase in value. The PR guy told him, “That’s all true and I have no inside information here, but have you ever known Dick Jacobs not to make money on a deal?” The guy said Jacobs was a master at making a profit, even when no one else could see how he was going to do it.
A few months later, my birthday rolled around and I had forgotten I’d asked about the stock.
He knew a guy at work whose wife was a broker and was willing to forgo her fee. Dad and Mom bought me 10 shares, a bargain for them, as the stock had sunk to about $6 per share. When I opened my gifts, I had to open them in a specific order. I got an Indians shirt, an Indians glass and an Indians bumper sticker.
“You need this stuff,” Dad said, “since you’re an owner…”
The last gift was the stock. It had my name on it, 10 shares and a beautiful drawing of Jacobs Field on it.
Over the next few months, I received “important guy” paperwork from the team. I got prospectus info, voting rights info and all that stuff. I think I voted on two things as an owner, if I remember correctly. Of course, my vote didn’t count. Jacobs was still running the team.
Somewhere around 1999 or 2000, I got a certified letter in the mail. It explained to me that Jacobs was selling the team and that the new owner, the Dolan family, was taking the company private. As part of that deal, the team was creating a forced sale of stock.
This basically meant I had two options: Sell the stock to the Dolans at an established price based on what they paid for the team or don’t and my stock would become invalid. The price they established was about $25 per share.
I didn’t want to sell. I wanted to own part of the team. That was the whole point of this exercise in the first place. However, as I wouldn’t be owning the team either way, I sold and made a pretty nice profit. Not nearly as nice as Jacobs did, but still it was a good deal, even if I didn’t want to make it.
To help salve the wound, the team agreed to cancel the certificates of stock and send them back to the former owners. I sent mine in, got it back and it remains on my wall to this day. If the team reopened its offering tomorrow, I’d buy again in a heartbeat.
Which brings me back to the Packer stock…
Thank you, oh all knowing and wise financial investment guys, who are trying to help me understand that I won’t make money off of this deal. I’ve got between four and six college degrees (depending on how you count them), I’ve resurrected two financially bereft student media outlets and I’ve even managed to not trade in my cow for some magic beans. I think that when I read that I get no dividends, I can’t sell it for a profit (or even to get my money back) and that this is not to be viewed as a financial investment, I’m pretty well versed in how this isn’t like buying Yahoo! Stock.
In other words, I’m a lot better off with my investment.
Also, thanks for pointing out that I have no real say as to the direction of the team or any real, tangible voting rights. Just so you know, I’ve got other forms of stock in my retirement portfolio and still pretty much have no voting rights. It’s not like the CEO of MicroSoft is thinking, “New version of Windows for this year? Hang on, let’s ask Doc about this…” Unless you’re buying a shitload of stock, your vote doesn’t count. Even then, it probably doesn’t count. While I’ll likely kid Mark Murphy (the Packers CEO) at the Lombardi Open this year about what I want him to do (since I’m his boss and all), I have no delusions of grandeur.
Also, thanks for helping me out, Sports Guy, by knocking the fact that this money will not get me tickets to the games, a Super Bowl ring or anything else. I do, however, get access to a shareholders’ meeting, a stock certificate (suitable for framing) and access to a “special owner’s line of merchandise.” Even if I got none of those things, that doesn’t make me an idiot. Just because the Packers are issuing these allegedly worthless pieces of paper to help expand the stadium and improve the facilities, that doesn’t make them crooks.
The Packers are special, and I say that not only as a lifelong fan and an owner, but also as a matter of fact. The public owns the team. No one person can have massive sway over the direction of the franchise.
This is a team that, unlike the Raiders, the Ravens/Browns, the Colts, the Cardinals, the Rams and a dozen other professional sports franchises, won’t ever hold its fans hostage and then flee to another city. Even though the team has taken public money at various points in its tenure, it has done its best to look to other ways of raising revenue, like this stock sale. Unlike the Miller Park debacle in this state decades earlier, you won’t see the Packers waking up state senators in the middle of the night to change their vote on a stadium bill and foisting tax hikes upon residents in multiple counties.
What this sale did was say, “Hey, if you want a piece of the team and you want to help us out with some renovations, here’s how we’re going to do it.” When the Brewers constructed Miller Park on the backs of the taxpayers, people went nuts and rightly so. And, oddly enough, research has shown that publicly funded stadiums are shitty investments for the public. Go figure.
As for the Packers, I supported the team, I supported the expansion and I’m fine with that. No one forced any of these naysaying assholes to pony up money for this. Consider it a refreshing change from how these things are normally handled. If you live in any of the areas listed in this link, you’re paying for your team to stick around and you don’t own shit. And, if the owner doesn’t get enough money, get the perfect stadium or get a cookie, he/she can pack up and leave and you’re still stuck with the bill.
And I’m an idiot?
So, thank you, omnipotent media members, talking heads, concerned citizens and other Debbie Downers out there who feel it is their job to mock my choice of purchase. I appreciate your dimwitted concern and your complete lack of understanding. I know I’m not getting what you perceive to be a commensurate benefit, but trust me, there are far worse ways to spend a couple hundred dollars when it comes to a football purchase.
If you decide to come around to my way of thinking, I’ll see you at the owners meeting.
If not, feel free to STFU.
Minority Owner, Green Bay Packers
Ron Santo one of the best ballplayers of the 1960's has finally been elected to the Hall Of Fame. It's a pity that it happened a year after the man's death but nobody said life was fair. Hell, I'm not even a Cubs fan but Santo was the real deal.
In addition to his accomplishments as a player and Cubs broadcaster, Santo deserves admission to Cooperstown for surviving 7 seasons with manager Leo Durocher, one of the biggest douchebags in sports history.
Somewhere in another dimension number 10 is clicking his heels:
You can keep your Black Friday specials, your retail madness and your “Holy shit, I weigh HOW much? It’s time for a diet,” post-Thanksgiving madness. For me, the day after Thanksgiving will always be tied to the moment I learned to believe that the little guy could come up big.
In planning their post-Thanksgiving football games, CBS spent the early part of the summer of 1984 looking at games they believed would be “bullet-proof.” The night game they chose matched an up-and-coming Boston College program against the defending national champions, The Miami Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes title defense was off to a rocky start that year. They lost the third game of the year to Michigan and had gotten bludgeoned 38-3 at home by Florida State. Leading up to the clash with BC, the team had built a 30-point lead against Maryland at home only to have Frank Reich lead one of the biggest come from behind wins in college history.
After starting the season 4-2, BC wouldn’t lose another game leading up to the Miami game. After a 7-point loss to Penn State, the Eagles knocked out Army and Syracuse by solid margins. The bigger story, however, was if BC quarterback Doug Flutie would become the first major college quarterback to throw for 10,000 yards in a season.
Boxing’s Ferdie Pacheco once noted that contrasting styles made for great heavyweight fights. In the world of football, the same was true.
Sophomore Bernie Kosar led a Miami attack that had defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the 1984 national championship game that January. A 6-foot-5 pocket passer, Kosar had the look of a pro-style quarterback. He led a program built by Howard Schnellenberger and honed by first-year coach Jimmy Johnson. It featured Alonzo Highsmith, Melvin Bratton and dozens of other kids from “The State of Miami,” an inner-city recruiting area filled with amazing prospects.
At 5-foot-9, Doug Flutie started his freshman year fifth on the depth chart at Boston College, the only Division I school to actively recruit him.
By his senior season, he had led the Eagles to back-to-back bowl games, landing BC in the Tangerine Bowl after the 1982 season and the Liberty Bowl after the 1983 season.
Under an increasingly persistent misting rain, the teams took to the grass field at the Orange Bowl on Nov. 23, 1984. The weather put a chill on the fans in the stadium, but not on either team’s offense.
Boston College struck first and charged out to a 14-0 lead. Kosar responded with 11 straight pass completions on his way to setting a Miami single-game passing record.
“They could do anything they wanted,” Flutie recalled years later. “They could run it for 8 to 10 yards at a chunk or throw it for 15 to 20. We had to try to manufacture our offense.”
BC coach Jack Bicknell had seen games like this before. Both teams could score, neither team could defend. Late in the game, he found his team clinging to a three-point lead, but he knew that his leaking defense wasn’t likely to hold.
Flutie had reached a similar conclusion.
“I was telling Jack, ‘Let them score. They’re going to score anyway. Get me the ball back with some time.’”
When Miami’s Bratton scored his fourth touchdown of the day, Miami had recaptured the lead, 45-41.
Flutie found himself down four points down, 80 yards from the end zone with 28 seconds left.
The living room in our old house had this scratchy yellow shag carpeting that made it impossible to drive Matchbox cars on the floor. Every three inches, a wheel would get caught on a loop and you’d have to stop and try to free it. The couches had this odd velour on them that left patterns on your face when you slept on them. In the far left was an old Admiral TV. It’s giant wooden box with ornately carved columns held a 20-inch tube that took about 18 hours to warm up. The set had three knobs: On/off/volume, VHF tuning and UHF tuning. It was hooked to a giant antenna on our roof that years later would break free from its brackets and come crashing through my parents’ bedroom window during a blizzard.
With our bellies crammed full of turkey and Mom’s famous bread stuffing, Dad and I had parked ourselves on the couch to watch the end of this game Dad had been talking about all day.
Mom had finished the dishes and the grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins had all left after a massive meal, leaving us to our own devices.
At the age of 10, I was one of the smallest kids in my class. The boys would often measure me against the girls in the class to make the point that no only was a dwarf by male standards, but that the “weaker sex” had even exceeded my diminutive height.
Dad had always made the point that height wasn’t the most important thing, but he wasn’t the one who once got stuffed in a trash can.
“Watch this Flutie guy,” Dad explained. “He’s really small, but he can really play.”
Of course, shortly after he said this, Bratton scored, putting the game seemingly out of reach.
“Well, that’s the end of that,” Dad said as Flutie had maneuvered BC from the 20 to the Miami 48 with six seconds left. He arose to head to the kitchen for a beer.
“But there’s six seconds left,” I protested.
Dad picked me up and plunked me down on the floor right in front of the TV.
“Here,” he said. “You watch this and maybe you’ll learn a little something about reality.”
Reality I knew, but faith I had and there’s something about being a boy, being told you’re too small and being shown someone who was too small as well and hoping against hope he’ll succeed once again.
So I sat. And I watched.
The play was called “Flood Tip.” Three men to the right side of the formation, one to the left. They’d streak down the field as fast as possible while Flutie tossed one last desperation heave. The field had been chewed up under the relentless pounding the two teams had put upon it. The damp had crept into every inch of the players on the field.
Flutie took the snap and dropped straight back, bouncing on the soles of his feet as his receivers raced toward the end zone. Miami rushed three and dropped eight to defend against the Hail Mary. Even with only a small rush, a Miami defender broke through the offensive line and chased Flutie out to his right. An offensive lineman impeded the rush just enough to give Flutie a chance to escape.
He paused for a brief moment at his own 37-yard line and launched a pass toward the heavens.
Brent Musburger had the call as the pass sailed through the air. It covered 63 yards in the air, starting its descent around the 30-yard line. It coasted through the arms of three defenders and hit Gerard Phelan, Flutie’s roommate and good friend in the hands. Phelan cradled the ball and fell into the end zone.
“I rolled over and saw colored letters and I knew I was in the end zone,” Phelan would recall years later.
I remember leaping up and down in the living room, crashing to the ground and rolling around like a dog scratching its back on that crappy yellow rug.
Dad came storming back in, beer in hand, demanding, “What happened? What happened?”
Musburger had hollered, “CAUGHT BY BOSTON COLLEGE, I DON’T BELIEVE IT!” failing to mention the name of the receiver because his spotter had gone nuts with excitement and failed to identify Phelan right away.
Flutie was jumping in and out of the frame on that Admiral set as the enormity of the event settled in on my father.
In the years that followed, I followed Flutie and Kosar as they went their separate ways. Flutie had trouble gaining traction as a QB in the NFL before he headed north. Kosar went back to Ohio and led his hometown Browns to the AFC championship game, but never the Super Bowl. He eventually got his ring as a back up with the Dallas Cowboys.
Flutie spent much of his prime in the Canadian Football League, becoming the league’s most exciting player. He earned multiple most valuable player awards and led several teams to Grey Cup championships.
When he returned to the NFL in 1998 with Buffalo, I became a Bills fan. When he headed west, I followed the Chargers. When he finished up with New England Patriots, I grudgingly liked Bill Belichick’s teams.
Flutie’s last scoring play was another quirky moment in a quirky careers: the first successful drop kick since 1941, tacking on an extra point after a Patriot touchdown.
From time to time, I’ll catch him on a college football show or the clip of him making that miraculous heave will show up on ESPN and I’ll go back to that moment with him, marveling at how a big a little man had become.
And how he inspired a generation of others to do the same.
I'd never heard of David Martin until yesterday and hope to hear as little as possible of him in the future. He's the owner of a new franchise in the independent Frontier League. His team is located in London, Ontario so he decided it would be clever to name it the Rippers. That's right, as in Jack the Ripper, the most famous serial killer in history. Mr. Martin is one of those people who thinks that any publicity is good publicity, which is why he's this week's exemplar of malakatude.
As publicity stunts goes it's a pretty good one BUT as promotion for new ball club it sucks. Why? Baseball teams play a lot of games so they depend on repeat business and it's better if the Mayor of your town is NOT pissed off at you and offended by your malakatudinous moniker:
Now London mayor Joe Fontana is asking the team to change their name, according to London radio station AM980. He released a statement:
“On behalf of London City Council, we want to express serious concerns about the name of London’s newest baseball team. While the team owner’s intention may not have been to draw a connection to Jack the Ripper, we believe this name is unfortunate particularly in light of our focus on ending woman abuse. We will be speaking to the owner today and give him an opportunity to reconsider the name.”
But stop right there, Martin tells the London Free Press any link to Jack the Ripper is completely coincidental. Their mascot is a different Jack. Yes.
“That (Jack The Ripper) is not our story,” he tells the newspaper.“Ripping a ball is used in baseball all the time.”
Here is the story he told the Free Press:
“The character’s name is Diamond Jack, a frustrated hockey player who found he could ‘rip’ the cover off baseballs. Despite his talent, teams grew weary of the expense of replacing balls so Diamond Jack decided to form his own team in London, Ontario."
Wink, wink. What a ripping yarn. That's why he's got the dude in Victorian garb and has put out this image to promote the team:
Lurking? Sounds like Jack the Ripper will be hiding in the corridors ready to strike. Women's groups are already threatening to picket games if there's no name change. Pissing off half the population is a helluva way to attract customers, Malaka Martin.
Can you imagine the promotions the London Rippers could have? Meat cleaver night. Free admission for hookers. Ripper theorist night: is it the Queen's doctor or the Duke of Clarence? The possibilities are endless as is the malakatude.
First came the atrocity, then came the vanity. The atrocity is what Jerry Sandusky has been accused of doing at Penn State. The vanity is the outraged reaction of a zillion commentators over the past week, whose indignation is based on the assumption that if they had been in Joe Paterno’s shoes, or assistant coach Mike McQueary’s shoes, they would have behaved better. They would have taken action and stopped any sexual assaults.
Unfortunately, none of us can safely make that assumption. Over the course of history — during the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide or the street beatings that happen in American neighborhoods — the same pattern has emerged. Many people do not intervene. Very often they see but they don’t see.
First up: Advocating for action to stop sexual abuse as it occurs, and then strenuous laws aimed at preventing it from ever happening again, comes across as morally superior BECAUSE IT IS. If it's now out-of-bounds smug to say we should as a society better protect the powerless from those who prey upon them, smug sounds pretty good to me.
Second: It's entirely possible to say that someone in such-and-such position should have done something, while also acknowledging that in that same position, you don't know what you would have done.
But even if you can't say precisely what you would have done, you should at least know what should be done. And every time you say it out loud, you move us all a little farther away from the place where we riot in favor of an institution that enabled sexual abuse. The entire point of talking about the people who didn't see, or saw and didn't act, or acted but not strongly enough, is to reinforce the idea that passivity in the face of evil is not okay.
So of course along comes David Brooks to talk about how that's just a normal human reaction, so, you know, whatevs. It's interesting that he assumes that all outrage on the part of "a zillion commentators" (obviously not this very good one that makes the same point without the smarm and judgment) comes from a place of vanity. What else could possibly motivate such outrage?
Commentators ruthlessly vilify all involved from the island of their own innocence. Everyone gets to proudly ask: “How could they have let this happen?”
The proper question is: How can we ourselves overcome our natural tendency to evade and self-deceive. That was the proper question after Abu Ghraib, Madoff, the Wall Street follies and a thousand other scandals. But it’s a question this society has a hard time asking because the most seductive evasion is the one that leads us to deny the underside of our own nature.
Brooks prefaces this, his oh-so-brave contrarian stance, with a few grafs that blither on about how we used to acknowledge our sinfulness but now kids have self-esteem so we can't do that anymore. Or something.
As to David's other examples: The problem in the wake of our torturing innocent people in secret prisons was not insufficient self-examination. It was that we were torturing innocent people in secret prisons and needed to not ever be doing that. David Brooks, now so concerned that we turned away from our inner angels, spent much of the past decade studiously not mentioning the innocent man shipped off to Syria to be tortured.
I assume he didn't say anything at the time because he didn't want to appear superior.
One of the joys of Sunday's Saints victory over the Dirty Birds was Coach Sean Payton's return to the sideline. He was on crutches, which made the whole thing pretty damn funny and very captionable:
Since this appears to be the week to discuss sports and second-guess people, I figured I’d weigh in. No, not on the Penn State thing; that’s been beaten to death and will continue to be.
Hey, don’t get me wrong: Raging against a pedophile and those who were within five miles of him is easy. Very few people are going to disagree with you.
(In a Twitter jihad, one person I follow noted that Joe Paterno should be in prison. When someone else had the temerity to ask why, the “How could you defend Paterno? What if it was your kid?” tweets set my iPhone on fire. If it were my kid, I’d want to strangle Jerry Sandusky. I’d want to rain vengeance down on him that would make Marcellus Wallace say, “Holy shit, are you demented!” This is why we have courts: So that crime doesn’t perpetuate rage which then perpetuates more crime and so forth. It’s also why I shouldn’t route Twitter into my iPhone.)
You can convict him before a court of law does, or as some columnists have done, figured anyone around him is fair game.
I’m quite surprised that Sandusky’s postal carrier hasn’t been indicted for something…
He fought Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Jimmy Ellis and more, but he couldn’t fight hard enough to get his own trainer to believe in him.
If you want to talk about a legacy changed or an image altered, forget Joe Paterno and look at Joe Frazier.
Last night, I got a chance to catch a documentary on the Thrilla in Manila, the final fight of the Frazier/Ali trilogy.
Each man had won once. This third fight was for more than the heavyweight championship. As Ali biographer Thomas Hauser once explained, “They were fighting for the championship of each other.”
For Frazier, it was much more than that.
He beat Jimmy Ellis in 1970s to unify the heavyweight title, claiming the title Ali was forced to vacate when he refused to be drafted for the Vietnam War. In many people’s eyes, Ali remained the true champion.
In the 1971 “Fight of the Century,” Frazier and Ali met for the first time.
Frazier held on in a 15-round unanimous decision, flooring Ali with a wicked left hook that should have taken Ali’s head off.
Frazier was desperate to hear Ali provide him with some level of respect after defeating the former champion. Prior to the fight, Ali had said if he lost, he’d crawl across the ring and admit Frazier was better. Instead, he and his trainer, Angelo Dundee, took to the media room and told the press they had no idea what the judges saw.
It wasn’t a loss, they explained. It was an error. And it stung Frazier.
The 1974 rematch wasn’t much to write home about. No title was on the line and experts noted that it matched two former champions who were both past their prime. Ali earned a unanimous decision, with the fight going the distance.
The “Thrilla” would settle the issue, but this time with the title on the line. Ali had dethroned George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire.
In the build up to the fight, Ali called Foreman stupid, ignorant, ugly, an Uncle Tom and worse.
He told people it would be a Thrilla when he beat the gorilla in Manila. He went as far as to carry a rubber gorilla to meetings with the press.
Say what you want to about the greatness of Ali and his impact on American culture over the span of his life, but this clearly crossed a line. It was one thing to want to kick someone’s ass in the ring. It was quite another to go where Ali went.
The fight took place on an oppressively hot morning. People who attended the fight said they were unable to even breathe and all they had to do was sit there. Frazier’s companion said she had no idea how her guy could breathe, let alone fight.
Peter Bonaventure once described the battle as a fight in three parts:
In the first four rounds, Ali dominated the fight. He often grabbed Frazier, smacked him around and the evaded the giant left hook that Frazier threw with ferocity. By about Round 5, the referee started separating the fighters each time Ali put his hand on the back of Frazier’s neck.
Able to move inside with impunity, Frazier cut off the ring, pressed forward and was tearing Ali apart. While head shots often make for good-looking punches, body shots kill a fighter. Frazier took to the body, punishing Ali’s lungs, kidneys and liver. He punched Ali in the hips, causing huge hematomas and slowing down the quicker champion.
Hauser once explained that in those rounds Ali tried to regain the psychological edge by whispering to him, “Joe Frazier, they told me you were washed up.”
Frazier’s response? “They told you wrong, pretty boy.”
Despite his proclamation that a sledgehammer couldn’t stop him, Frazier found himself fighting against his own blindness more than Ali as the fight reached the final four rounds. His left eye had been damaged in 1964 during a sparring session, leaving him mostly blind from that side. His right eye, pummeled by Ali, was slowly but steadily closing.
By the 13th round, Frazier couldn’t see Ali. He would use his body and head to weave near Ali, wait for Ali to hit him and then counter.
Ali wasn’t doing much better, telling his trainer, “I think I’m dying. This must be what death feels like.”
When the 14th round closed, both men were crippled by exhaustion, pained from the beatings they had inflicted and uncertain if they could continue. Ali went back to his corner, slumped down in his chair and told his trainer to cut the gloves off of him. He was finished.
Dundee screamed at him and prodded him to continue, but Ali wanted no part of the 15th round.
In Frazier’s corner, legendary trainer Eddie Futch told Frazier he was throwing in the towel. In recalling the conversation years later, Frazier said Futch told him, “It’s over, Joe. You can’t see him and I know it.”
Frazier shook his head no, “Don’t worry, I can visualize him.”
The last living member of Frazier’s corner remembers a far different conversation:
“Joe was telling Ed, ‘Don’t you dare stop this motherfucking fight. Don’t you fucking think about stopping this motherfucker.”
Frazier had the guts and the stamina. Ali was ready to quit.
Instead, Futch stepped in and called the fight. Moments later, Ali attempted to stand and collapsed in the middle of the ring.
Frazier had lost. Ali kept his title. History was written.
Shortly before his death, a reporter asked Frazier if he would have been willing to go on, even if it meant he might die. The usually verbally challenged Frazier, who often sounded like a mix between Clint Eastwood and Marlon Brando in “The Godfather,” uttered a single word in perfect clarity:
Futch, who died 2001, refused to second guess himself for stopping the fight. He once recounted to sports writer Jerry Izenberg the eight men he had watched die in the ring. One more would have been one more too many, he explained.
I understand that and yet it’s not his call.
As adults, we all have the right to write our own life story. The choices we make lead to certain outcomes and those outcomes have consequences and those consequences shape the future.
Frazier understood this. He was a Philly fighter, a man for whom nothing was easy.
When Ali was out of boxing, Frazier supported him publically and privately, providing him with positive attention and cash. He refused to enter the 1967 tournament that was held to decide who should receive Ali’s belt, arguing that it would be an ill-gotten gain.
When Ali came back, Frazier could have made him wait around for a couple years for a title shot.
“Oh, you want a shot at the title, Muhammad? Fuck you, Mr. “I don’t have to do what other people say.” Wait your turn. I’m fighting Jerry Quarry.
To pay him back, Ali belittled him, marginalized him, dehumanized him and turned an entire race of people against him. Joe Frazier knew he could give three more minutes of his life to regain all Ali had taken from him.
Had Futch just let him stand up and answer the bell for the 15th round, the world might have seen Frazier for who he always was.
The stronger man.
If anything, it is clear from the allegations that the university’s investigation was not handled properly. Curley and Schultz brought their course of action to Graham Spanier in 2002 — and he signed off on it. Their action plan? Sandusky was not allowed to bring any more children from his charity, The Second Mile — which works with at-risk children — on campus.
This was not enough.
Penn State’s reaction to these allegations would suggest that the university didn’t mind what Sandusky did, so long as it wasn’t in its backyard.
The moral failure of every single person involved is appalling. No one did anything more than try to sweep this problem off-campus.
It's easy to subject dumbass football fans to contempt on Facebook, but students don't just come to the independent conclusion that their football coaches or athletic directors or chancellors or whatever are adorable mascots without any flaws, rather than incredibly powerful and wealthy actors in a system. Any major university, including my own, makes millions of dollars pretending their sports programs are the realms of heroes, and everybody gets inundated with it. Plenty of kids didn't lose their fucking heads, and with all the misery in this story, we need to remember that not all of humanity sucks as bad as those tipping over news vans, if only so that we don't slit our wrists:
“I’ve heard many, many people express that not enough is being done for the sexual assault victims,” said Kyle Harris, 21, a senior public relations major from Massachusetts who is helping to plan the vigil. “We want to support these victims. We’re just horrified.”
You know what WILL change the culture of admiring those who helped protect a child molester and helped him continue to prey on victims? FUCKING PRISON TERMS FOR EVERYONE INVOLVED. The court of public opinion is one thing, but depending on there never to be any total idiots who will stand up for those in power no matter what is not, shall we say, realistic. Throw a few more bastards in jail, instead of starting a bidding war for their memoirs or letting them disappear back into academia, and the idea of getting outraged on behalf of anyone caught doing this again will start to seem a lot less attractive, no matter how may kegs got tapped at the frat house.
It's not a tragedy for Joe Paterno, or Graham Spanier, or any one of a thousand students whose school just became a national punch line.
It's not a tragedy for alumni who will have to answer questions for a week or two from prurient and stupid work colleagues.
It's not a tragedy for football fans, or for student athletes.
This is a tragedy for the children raped by Jerry Sandusky, and that is IT.
I am just about done hearing everybody describe this as a terrible situation for all those involved. It's actually not a terrible situation for all those involved. It's a difficult situation for just about everybody who will maybe do some interviews, write a book, and otherwise not miss a meal or have any problems beyond a couple of seriously awkward Thanksgivings. This includes Joe Paterno, who by the most charitable description of his conduct was deliberately oblivious to a very sick man in his employ. This includes Graham Spanier, who actually comes off looking the worst in all this, as the guy who said, "Look, an adequate response here is that we just ask him not to bring his victims around here anymore."
I am just about done with pontificating about what this all means for the future of the football program and what it means for college athletics and what it says about our culture and blah blah blah, because none of those consequences are actual, you know, things. Joe Paterno's "legacy" will be tarnished as a result of this.. Penn State's legacy will be tarnished. Let me ask you this: SO WHAT? Tell me in actual terms what that might mean. No applause at the alumni dinners? Maybe donations take a little bit of a dip for ten minutes? Paterno and Spanier don't get invited to the swank parties anymore?
None of that can even compare to the damage done to those Sandusky harmed and others failed to protect. What has happened to Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier, and Penn State is an inconvenience. What has happened to Sandusky's victims is a tragedy. Paterno and Spanier may be publicly embarrassed, footnoted in Wikipedia, and looked at sideways for a while. Sandusky's victims will carry this forever, and there will be no sympathetic retrospective for them in 10 years, in which they can thoughtfully reflect on how hard it all was but how it brought them closer to Jesus or whatever it is these people will say.
I used to cover stories like this, back when the priest abuse scandal broke. I covered a trial in which victim after victim testified to the harm done to them, to the lives they had after being used so cruelly by someone they trusted. I sat next to a father as he wept outside the courthouse, because he had encouraged his children to spend time with the man who ruined them. It saved some of them, coming forward. It ruined others. A few years later one of those same victims was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography. This ruins everything, stains everything forward. Very little that can be done in the way of firings, resignations, or public humiliation can even come close.
Was it the game of the new century? Maybe not but there was something special about the defensive struggle that ended up with LSU beating Alabama 9-6. It was not the sort of football game that people are used to in this era when the scores are high and the ball is always in the air. It was the sort of old school 3 yards and a cloud of dust game, however, that coaches such as Vince Lombardi, Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler to name but a few would have thought was grand. Two teams giving their all to bring glory to themselves their schools and their states.
I know that the college game is hypocritical and think that players should be paid a stipend but I prefer the passion of the college game to the NFL. There I said it. There's something special about a blood rivalry like the one LSU and Alabama have: it gets one's, uh, blood flowing. The game even overshadowed the Saints in New Orleans for a week. That's saying a lot.
The picture is of two coaching legends: Bear Bryant of Alabama and Charlie McLendon of LSU. I had the pleasure of being acquainted with Charlie Mac. He was a charming man who would have been very proud of the Tigers right now. It was his kind of game: no frills football stripped down to its essentials.
As a Tiger fan I would rather not have a rematch with Coach Grumpy and his team. It was hard enough beating them once.
Now where the hell is my giant foam finger?
The reason I *tried* rooting for the Texas Rangers is that manager Ron Washington is not only from New Orleans but still lives here in the off-season. Having to stare at former President Beavis during the games ended my brief attempt at sports detente with Texas.
I still really like Wash and it turns out he swears even more than Jude or Athenae: his potty mouth is of Swearingenesque proportions. Wash's game 7 pep talk to his team is a motherfucking classic as the man himself would say. Warning, do not listen to this at work or in the presence of wee chirren:
After the Cardinals tied it for a second straight inning last night, I went to bed. I didn’t need to know what I already knew: There would be a seventh game.
I didn’t need to see Ron Washington standing on the steps of the dugout, imploring Cardinal hitters to do something stupid and hand him the World Series.
I didn’t want to see the requisite camera shots of Tony LaRussa looking like he knew he’d win. Baseball’s version of Benjamin Button is annoying enough in the regular season, let alone the playoffs, where he always seems to have this misplaced sense of destiny.
And, as The Missus noted after her second drink of the night, “They can stop showing me that skinny blonde bitch in the Cardinals hat who is praying in the stands.”
The Rangers hold a special place in my heart, though, and I’m sure I’ll be watching Game 7. Not so much for the baseball, but because of writer Mike Shropshire.
Perhaps the funniest baseball book I’ve ever read (and that takes in a lot of territory) comes from Shropshire.
“Seasons in Hell” and I got together in a chance meeting when the local library was closing and it was a buck a bag for books. While The Missus raided the cooking section, I cleaned the shelves in the sports area. “Seasons in Hell” landed in one of the bags and the rest is history.
Shropshire’s book covered the Rangers from 1973 to 1975. The team was managed in that time span by Whitey Herzog and Billy Martin, one a hall of famer and the other who probably should be. The team had stars like Jim Bibby, Ferguson Jenkins and MVP Jeff Burroughs. Pheenom David Clyde was on the roster as well and Bob Short was calling the shots from the administrative level.
On paper, they should have been a force.
On the pages of Shropshire’s book, they were a hysterical mess.
Between his binges of press-box alcoholism, Shropshire managed to crank out daily coverage of a team that lost 105 games in 1973, teased fans with a second place finish the following year and then finished with a sub .500 record in 1975.
Yet, it is his recalling of the characters of the day and the weirdness of the franchise is epic.
He noted that Jim Bibby had a dick of “equine proportions” and that Owner Bob Short’s biggest quandary was trying to figure out a way to make it a gate attraction.
He talked about “Hot Pants Night,” in which the team wasn’t going to give away the clothing item but rather ask women to show up wearing them. Women would then compete for a trophy that confirmed for the winner that “she and only she the best-looking ass in North Texas.”
He followed the meteoric rise and fall of David Clyde, an 18-year-old Texas boy who was driven like a rented mule and burned out before his 20th birthday. His name still serves as the cautionary tale for abusing young talent.
However, my favorite story came as a result of Herzog’s displeasure with the ass-kicking the Rangers were receiving in Milwaukee:
“It started yesterday, when they were beating up on us with 17 runs. I knew something was up and figured the third base coach was stealing… signs,” said Herzog, speaking rapidly and making wild, pointing gestures, like in an old film of Mussolini making a speech. “But today, in the first game, I figured it out. I got some binoculars and looked out there in centerfield where they keep that little asshole in the costume.
“And that’s when I saw the other guy and that’s when I was positive. He had binoculars too, picking up our signs… Either they were getting our pitches or this is the greatest hitting team of all time.”
Herzog’s rant about Bernie Brewer, sitting in his barrel chalet, stealing signs is a classic. For those of you not familiar with old County Stadium, when a Brewers player would hit a homer, Bernie would slide down the barrel into a mug on this giant chalet mounted above the centerfield bleachers. He would then release a set of balloons.
While it ended up not being proven, the Milwaukee answer in Shropshire’s book was a classic:
“Some guy in the Brewers’ clubhouse took me aside and said that the Bernie, in real life, was the son of some team employee. ‘The kid… and please don’t print this… but his blender doesn’t go all the way to puree if you know what I mean. Steal signs? Hell. It’s all he can do to release those goddamn balloons.’”
Shropshire eventually moved on from the Rangers, and sports writing in general, but his recall of the events of those seasons will always be for me the epitome of Ranger baseball.
Still, I’ll be watching tonight to see what happens in Game 7 to this might oak that grew from a guy with a huge dick, some stupid promotions and a rant about a little asshole in a costume.
It's time for a new feature here at First Draft. It's my busy season so I'll have less time for long posts. (Of course, every time I say something like that I post a long un.) So, I'll be posting quick items under this rubric from time to time. I also like using the cool elpee cover with the Who in football helmets. Rock on, readers.
--> The Gret Stetwide election was a snoozer but David Vitter was a loser. The two statewide candidates he endorsed-Billy (300 pounds of shit in a 200 pound bag) Nungesser and Jim Tucker-lost their races. The talk is that Vitty wants to run for Governor in 4 years. Sheeee-it.
--> The New Orleans Saints channeled the LSU Tigers last night and blew away the Indy Colts 62-7. I'm not sure why the Colts defense has collapsed as badly as their offense. The last I heard, Peyton Manning didn't play both ways. Where have you gone Bronko Nagurski?
--> I've tried to root for the Texas Rangers in the World Series but simply cannot. Why? Ron Washington is from NOLA and I dislike Cardinal manager Tony LaRussa's incessant overmanaging. BUT every time the cameras show former President Beavis they lose me. I'm also a National League kinda guy so what I can I tell ya?
--> I'm avidly watching season-2 of Work Of Art on Bravo. My favorite artestant is the Sucklord. Can't say I care that much for his toy art but I love hearing the uber-elegant Simon de Pury say his name. Repeat after me: Sucklord. He's actually a pretty nice guy who reminds me of one of my closest NOLA blogger friends. Any guesses from those in the know?
I couldn't find a clip of Monsieur de Pury saying Sucklord but here's a sample of his fabulousness for those of you who haven't seen the show:
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig could be a charter member of the malakatude hall of fame, schmuck division. He was selected Commissioner because his fellow owners thought that they could control him. They were right. Bud has a weak chin and I bet his handshake feels like a dead fish and he has a spine like a jellyfish.
Selig has presided over some of the changes that baseball purists such as me dislike. My personal bete noir is the wild card and the LDS, which sounds like Mitt Haircut's church to me, y'all. It's too late in the year to be playing baseball: it was fucking cold in St Louis last night. Selig also played ostrich during the steroid era and then tried looking stern when it blew up in his pasty face. Bud is not only a malaka, he's a serious fuckup. We won't even go into the canceled World Series and the game's obsessive focus on money, money, money during his tenure as the owner's puppet.
I originally picked Buddy boy for this week's "honor" because of this story at Deadspin. Selig initially refused to allow Dirk Nowitzki to throw out the first pitch at a Rangers home game during the Wolrd Series out of solidarity or some such shit with NBA owners during their lockout. Apparently, Buddy takes orders from David (the Hoops Napoleon) Stern too. Then, in classic Bud Selig fashion, he flip flopped and Dirk the great will throw out that first pitch, after all. Selig is resolute in his irresolution. Buddy has a rare gift of bringing people together: former President Beavis and I agree on this one. Thanks, Buddy Malaka.
I won't even go into Selig's days as the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers. Doc knows a helluva lot more about that than I do. Suffice it to say that he had the wrong stuff there as well. Now that I think of it, Bud Selig is one of the luckiest people on the face of the earth, earth, earth: he's not very bright and is a perrenial fuckup but has somehow failed his way into success. I'm not sure if that makes any sense but it does make Bud Selig malaka of the week.
Not really but the number one LSU Tigers kicked some more ass today, which means it was time for Les to do his happy dance. Hey, it beats the hell outta eating grass:
Former Saints Tight End Jeremy Shockey is now with Carolina and faced his former teammates last Sunday. He trash talked them during the game and didn't shake anyone's hand afterwards, which is poor form since Saints players and coaches have said nothing but nice things about him.
Shockey's tackiness inspired the normally mild-mannered voice of the Saints, Jim Henderson, to lambaste him:
“I never liked Jeremy Shockey, I didn’t like him as a Giant. I didn’t like him as a Saint. I didn’t think he fit in with this team in the locker room. And the Saints to their credit said all the right things about him. You know, ‘He was a great teammate. He was a mentor to Jimmy Graham.’ I think that’s bull. I think deep down inside, I think they thought he was a jerk, too.”
In retaliation Williams, the son of legendary country singer Hank Williams Sr., has cut a song called "I'll Keep My ...," that says the Fox News broadcasters twisted his words.
"So Fox 'n Friends wanna put me down/ Ask for my opinion/ Twist it all around." He finishes the verse: "Well two can play that gotcha game you'll see."
Williams says he wrote the verse when he woke up Friday morning and recorded it in a Nashville studio that same afternoon. It could be on iTunes late Monday or early Tuesday.
Early in the song, he says the U.S. is "going down the drain" and says it's becoming "The United Socialist States of America." He then encourages viewers not to watch "Fox & Friends" or ESPN.
I fail to see that great injustice has been done in this case. Somebody acted like a dick, got fired, and is now getting lots of attention when previously everybody's reaction was "WHO? Oh, that annoying yelly jerkoff who delays the start of the football game with his yowling."
The problem with him being on ESPN after he said what he said was the problem with him being on ESPN at all: That song fucking sucked. He should have been shitcanned years ago for getting his redneck all over everything.
I grew up in the Bay Area and was a Raider fan whilst a tadpole. The 49ers were erratic at best in the pre-Walsh-Montana era and the Raiders were not only a great team on the gridiron but wildly individualistic off the field. I was smitten and then disillusioned by owner Al Davis's decision to move the team to LA. I also never forgave him for running off John Madden and trading Ken Stabler, which made Davis my first owner hate.
Now Davis has died at the age of 82. I considered calling this post "Just die, baby" in tribute to Al's own motto "Just win, baby." I consulted with my publisher lady and we agreed that it was a bit on the creepy side. Al Davis was the best sports villain of his day but my dislike for him ebbed as the Raiders got worse and worse and worse. The game had passed him by and he was too stubborn and proud to admit it. Al Davis was not a very nice man but he was neither dull nor corporate.
Al Davis was a great American sports villain, the best of his time, the best of all time. He was great, I think, because he played it big. Who else would design their team logo with an eyepatch? Think about that for a minute. Who else would say that the key to winning a football game is that “their quarterback must go down, and he must go down hard.” Who else would insist that the Raiders put “Commitment to Excellence” on all of their official materials after seven straight years of the team winning five games or less? Who else could be summed up with the three words he said more often than any other: “Just Win Baby!”
Who else? Nobody else. Davis lived through times of great sports villains — Steinbrenner, Butkus, Liston, Reggie, Laimbeer, Alzado, McEnroe, Tiger Williams, on and on — but nobody could touch him. You expected him every year to announce before the season began that he intended for the Raiders to win the Super Bowl AND steal the moon. I remain convinced that somewhere in the Oakland Coliseum there is a secret lair where sharks swim, where gas rises in a glass chamber, where a Marcus Allen voodoo doll rests with pins stuck in from all sides.
Tim Tebow is a past "winner" of malaka of the week honors and now there's some douchey businessman in Denver who really, really wants Tebow to play. Either that or he wants some publicity and I've fallen into his trap. I don't, however, have to mention his name; especially since he's into exclamation points and pounding on the caps lock key, which are both evidence of egregious malakatude.
The word “fan” comes from the word “fanatic” and there’s very little good about the definition in there:
a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics.
Or sports, as the case may be.
Last week, I wrote about the idiot who threw a banana at Wayne Simmonds, an action viewed as racist or stupid or both. The guy, Chris Moorhouse, has been arrested and has pleaded to absolute stupidity, noting that the banana was merely a fruit of convenience.
This week, I finally got the chance to see “Catching Hell” the ESPN documentary on Steve Bartman and the 2003 Chicago Cubs. Bartman’s infamous grab at a foul ball became the focal point of fans’ scorn and rage, as the Cubs booted away yet another chance at breaking the Curse of the Billy Goat.
I was working that night in 2003 and managed to see just a brief glimpse of what had happened. In reviewing our coverage years later, Bartman wasn’t but a footnote. The headline instead read “Crazy 8s,” playing on the idea that the eighth inning was a mess in which the Marlins scored eight runs.
In watching this documentary, I finally figured out what made people so nuts: It was the uncontrollable urge to be fans. It was the sense that because it was “their” team and “their” World Series on the line, it was fine for them to cast out the pariah who cost them everything.
The documentary never talks to Bartman, which I think was a good thing. I hope he’s found peace and quiet somewhere safe and that this movie finally lays to rest the obsession with him. I doubt it, as people didn’t forgive Bill Buckner until the Red Sox won the World Series. As an interesting side note, when those “loveable losers” from Boston missed the playoffs this year after winning not one but TWO World Series rings in eight years, the push is on to fire manager Terry Francona. This is the same guy who could have become governor of any of the six New England states after 2004 or 2007.
Fans can be fickle.
They can also be brutal, firing off their salvo of anger at anyone with the temerity to speak ill of their team. I’ve been a victim of this when it came to the Tribe and their run at the post season. Bobby Valentine, whom the Indians had passed over for manager, was doing color commentary on a Tigers/Tribe game on ESPN when he noted the Tribe wasn’t good enough to make the playoffs. At this point, people were healthy, the pitching was great and the team had a couple game lead in the division. I was cursing and muttering and changing channels. I went so far as to mute the game, although that didn’t last long. Still, that was the privacy of my own home.
Bills fans have a different way of approaching their bile: it’s called Voicemail.
Jennifer Gish of the Albany Times Union wrote about the Bills’ 2-0 start in a way that wasn’t “Go, Bills, GO!” and found herself on the back end of some ugliness. As a fan (not of the Bills), I can understand why fans would be pissed off by Gish’s column. It’s written in a mocking tone, it tells the fans to “keep it real” and it essentially pokes the bear.
Do I think she was unfair in telling the fans the 2-0 start is probably fool’s gold? No.
Do I think she approached in a smart or well-written way? No.
Did she deserve what came next? Hell no.
The fans posted her picture everywhere and made debating her sexuality, her “square jaw and pig-faced nose” and her “moustache” a trending topic in Bills land. They then took to the phone lines to rip the holy shit out of her. As you can imagine, being a woman in sports isn’t easy, but these fans felt it necessary to give her a gentle reminder of that:
So how does it feel to be both a woman and so wrong about football? I guess those two go hand in hand.
F*** yourself ya stupid C***, Go Bills!
seen some photos of you and you are as ugly as your story about we bills fans. we may lose, we may win but you will still be ugly either way.
YOU SUCK DONKEY D***! That's why females shouldn't be allowed to write articles about sports. You better not write a good article about the Bills now because then everyone will know that you really just a dumb, bandwagon slut.
I am a well educated, compassionate, thoughtful, and caring man. I still am after reading your article, but my response will not be erudite or clever; that I promise you.
Simply put, f*** you you stupid, arrogant, thoughtless b****, and stick all of your snide Bills comments up your a** ...
Well great prediction! Maybe your article will help get women like you removed from sports media. You are incompetent and really offered no unique points that haven't already been beaten to death in the past ten years in your tirade against the bills. Glad they could prove a hack borderline blogger like you wrong.
Maybe you should stay in the kitchen next time.
Nothing like the “class” of a fan. Of course these came via voicemail, which unlike email can’t be easily tracked back to these proud, strong men who call themselves fans.
As for me, I plan to lock myself in my basement Saturday. The Badgers play Nebraska and the Brewers kick off the series against Arizona for a shot at the NLCS. I might get radiation burns from my TV by the time all is said and done.
And yes, I will curse and scream and wail. I might also cheer and cry if things go well.
Emotion is part of being a fan. It’s just hard when those emotions are the wrong ones.
Steve Gleason was never a star when he played in the NFL. He was, however, responsible for one of the greatest moments in New Orleans Saints history: a blocked punt in the Saints post-K return to the Superdome on September 25, 2006.
Steve was honored before yesterday's game. He has ALS (aka Lou Gehrig's Disease.) Jeff Duncan wrote a *brilliant* profile of Gleason that was on the front page of the Sunday Picayune. It's one of the best pieces I've read in a long time. Yup, it's Pulitzer worthy.
Finally, here's a clip of Steve Gleason's moment in the limelight:
Although every fan thinks his or her team deserves something, I can’t help but think the Milwaukee Brewers really deserved tonight.
This is the team that wasted Robin Yount’s prime, oversaw the exile of Paul Molitor and was content to slide into the recipient role of MLB’s revenue-sharing system. Year after year, we saw mediocre baseball and year after year we stopped caring about the team by mid-July.
For years, the only thing worth paying attention to when it came to the Brewers was their Hall-of-Fame announcer Bob Uecker. Uke kept us smiling and laughing all the way through those horrific seasons of loss after loss.
In the middle of the 2000s, it was the Brewers who were the joke.
The stadium’s retractable roof leaked and it played host to the only tie in All-Star Game history. The team was on the way to a 56-106 season and any hope of respectability seemed farfetched at best. It would be the first of three-straight sixth-place finishes in the moribund NL Central.
In 2005, Bud Selig’s family finally sold the team, which finished at .500 for the first time in more than a decade. After slipping back to a sub-.500 record, they finished second in the Central with a 83-79 record.
The 2008 Season was “The Leap.” Owner Mark Attanasio pulled off the biggest trade of the year and perhaps the most important trade since the last time the Brewers made a run at glory. He pried CC Sabathia from the Cleveland Indians for a trove of prospects. Manager Ned Yost rode him to a 10-2 record, often pitching him on short rest. With 12 games left in the season and the playoffs slipping away, Attanasio fired Yost and replaced him with bench coach Dale Sveum. The team went 7-5 over that stretch and on the last day of the season secured the Wild Card for the National League.
Things looked like they would be returning to mediocrity, with two sub-.500 seasons. With stars Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder heading toward potential free agency and the team regressing, Milwaukee had every reason to believe it was headed for disaster.
Instead, Attanasio and GM Doug Melvin stopped panicking and started building. They traded Cutter Dykstra for Nyjer Morgan.
They sent Brett Lawrie to Toronto for Shaun Marcum, giving them a front of the line starter with a moderate and consistent record.
Then, they went for it: They gave up four prospects and essentially gutting their farm system for Zack Greinke, a one-time Cy Young Award Winner.
While this could be perceived as going “all in” on one shot at a winner, Melvin picked up pieces that could be had for cheap or players whom he could control beyond this year. Unlike the Sabathia deal, which was a half-year rental, Melvin knew he could get players who were young, hungry and valuable and yet proven and strong.
The Brewers started 0-4 and finished April at 13 and 13, but after that, they never had a losing month. They gained on, caught and eventually passed the Cardinals for first place. The one-game lead grew to 10.5 before eventually evening out a bit. The papers started publishing the “magic number” for the team to clinch.
It’s been 29 years since Milwaukee had a division winner. It has won only one playoff game in that time span as well. And yet, unlike 2008, the Brewers seem to belong. They’re not the back-door slider that luckily caught the corner of the plate.
They are here for a reason. They’re fun, not funny.
And I couldn’t be more grateful.
Word of warning to people who like to make professional sporting events more interactive: Know your fruit.
Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds, who is black, had a piece of fruit flung at him while participating in a game against the Red Wings. The exhibition, which was taking place in Ontario, has garnered a great deal of press coverage primarily because the fruit in question was a banana.
While people may be quick to jump to the conclusion that this is racism, this might be unfair to the idiot responsible. We have not heard from the flinger, so God alone knows if he was tossing it at Simmonds as a racial insult or because he ran out of other forms of animals, minerals and vegetables.
It could have been just a fruit of convenience.
When I used to cover crime in Madison, I caught a report in which a guy was walking with a couple female friends and a drunken lout made an inappropriate comment to one of the ladies. When the guy stepped in to say something, the whole thing got physical and he got the unholy shit kicked out of him. As the violence ensued, the attacker let loose with various vulgarities, including “faggot.” For this choice of verbiage, police were trying to charge him with a hate-crime enhancement.
I knew the guy who got beat up. He was a Level 24 poon hound. He spent more time between women’s legs than the Victoria’s Secret fall underwear collection. Still, the guy kicking his ass hit a trigger word and that made bad more than a bit worse.
As a matter of course, I’m leaning toward the racism when it comes to Simmonds’ situation, but I’d like to use the FD forum to suggest that idiots who feel the need to test out their throwing arms at sporting events pick a better fruit.
I humbly suggest the politically correct kiwi.
My rationale is as follows:
The size: It’s about the size of a lemon, making it convenient to carry and easy to hide as you attempt to enter the arena of your choice. In fact, if you’re wearing a big coat, have a decent sized purse or you still use a fanny pack, you can take five or six of these things, just in case you aren’t satisfied with your first throwing effort.
The hardness: Apples, oranges, lemons and pears are too hard. You hit someone with one of those from the upper-deck of a decent stadium or arena and you’re likely to cause serious injury. Peaches, nectarines and the like are too squishy, so when they hit, you’ve got to stop the game to clean the ice or scrape up the goo off the grass. Mangos, melons and grapefruits? You're looking at rotator cuff surgery. Kiwis have a nice shell on them that protects them from shattering on impact, but are soft enough inside (if you get them in a fairly ripened state) to not do any major damage.
The color: The turd-like hue can convey your displeasure and people can still see it on TV. It can show up on grass or ice. Works for either way.
The PC factor: Bananas have that same “outer-shell, mushy-center” thing, but again, there’s that whole racism thing. Kiwis are brown and fuzzy on the outside, showing a softer size of people’s general crankiness. Inside, you’ve got black seeds and a white core, living together, intermingled in harmony. If aliens are discovered and start to dominate our games, you’ve got the green fruit built right in. As these things look like fuzzy testicle totes, the only people who should be insulted are people who look like ball sacks.
Sure you could pick any one of a dozen other fruits, but the kiwi seems perfect. It’s light, small and non-racially charged. That way, when you physically attack a player, embarrass yourself and get thrown in jail, you’ll only be arrested for being a moron and not a racist.
We here at First Draft are usually on the same page; other than Athenae and Doc's ice people obsession with hockey. This week, however, we are divided by football: the fleur de lis helmeted dudes versus the cheeseheads. I'm not planning to secede from FD because I'm very fond of the Packers and root for them against everyone else. If I didn't, A might slip a ferret down my pants and if she were in a pissy mood, it would be Riot the hard ass instead of wee Claire. I won't even describe the unspeakable stuff Scout might do because she's too nice to do anything unspeakable unless she delegates the dirty work to Jude...
It's a shame that the Packers are a threat to the Saints' efforts toward renewed NFC dominance, because otherwise, I wish them no specific harm.
There's an awful lot to like about the Packers. There's the whole municipally-owned thing they've got going on, Mike McCarthy's uncanny resemblance to Ralph Wiggum, his and Ted Thompson's hilarious curbstomping of Brett Favre back in 2008, the rich history, Vince Lombardi, their tailgating virtuosity, and on and on. I think we can all agree that the Packers are nowhere near Chicago and Minnesota on the asshole scale.
And of course we all respect the hell out of Wisconsin's longstanding contributions to keeping Americans' pie holes perpetually stuffed with various meat and cheese products, not to mention alcoholic beverages. By golly, if they weren't the enemy, we could probably be friends.
Unfortunately, they are in fact the enemy. So fuck them. We can be friends in week 5, assuming this time they can manage to not shit the bed in the last minute against Atlanta
College football is back and my LSU Tigers played a helluva game without their first string QB who is suspended for having 49 pairs of sneakers. Actually, Jordan Jefferson is accused of kicking some drunk douchebag in the head whilst wearing sneakers but the number 49 has stuck in my head. The only kicking I saw last night was of Duck ass: LSU 40 Oregon 27. The game wasn't as close as the final score either.
It was a great opener and young Tyrann Mathieu scored the first TD of the season for LSU by recovering a fumble. I mention him because his father Tyrone is my UPS man and I have derivative bragging rights. Tyrone is a rock star in his own right: he was Zulu King in 2009.
I came not to praise LSU but to ridicule the Oregon Ducks uniforms. There was much mockery of their jammy looking unis on the tweeter tube and I came up with a frequently re-tweeted one liner: The color of Oregon's shoes is regurgitated margarita:
Oregon wasn't the only losing college football team to wear hideous uniforms in their 2011 debut. How about dem Dawg unis?
A rule of thumb is that when you play in your pyjamas, you will get your ass kicked...
I don't know about you but I needed some good news. The NFL Lockout is over and Dead Spin used it as an excuse to drop a whole lotta F-bombs. My addition: fuck you Reggie Bush, take your overpriced ass elsewhere.
I'm looking forward to a bit of good natured woofing with Athenae and Doc over the season opening tussle between the Saints and Packers. Then, I'll resume rooting for the Pack against everyone else. Y'all better do likewise with the Saints or I'll sick my goons on you...
One more fusillade: fuck the Falcons.
When it mattered most, John Mackey had an incredible sense of timing.
In Super Bowl V, with the Baltimore Colts trailing 6-0, the Hall of Fame tight end made the most of a broken play, grabbing a ball tipped by two other players and racing 75 yards for the game’s first touchdown.
Baltimore would go on to win the game 16-13, in what was later dubbed “The Blunder Bowl” for all of its turnovers and penalties. Still, the victory helped wash away some of the sting from the Super Bowl III loss, which was highlighted by Joe Namath’s “guarantee.”
Mackey, who died Wednesday, helped revolutionize the game on several important fronts.
After being drafted out of Syracuse in 1963, he helped move the tight end position from being that of a blocker to one of an offensive weapon. At 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, he was a mammoth receiver for his day. Teammates said he’d almost rather run through you than around you, even though he could do the latter with ease. His speed had the Colts using him for punt and kickoff returns in the mid-1960s.
Today, tight ends like Jermichael Finley and Kellen Winslow are common in the passing game, but they owe their role in the offense to Mackey and his contemporaries.
They owe their livelihood to him as well.
He served as the president of the players’ association during the post-NFL merger era. His efforts brought more than $11 million in pension and benefits to the players, a sizeable sum now and a hefty one in 1970.
His anti-trust suit in 1977 helped overturn a rule requiring heavy compensation for teams that signed free agents. Mackey’s argument was that this penalty prevented players from moving freely from team to team.
According to all accounts, Mackey was an intelligent man who understood that you couldn’t play on Sunday forever and you needed some sort of fall-back plan. He fought for players’ rights to his own detriment.
Despite being one of the best receiving tight-ends of his era and being named to the All-Century Team at his alma mater, he didn’t enter the Hall of Fame until 1992. Many speculated the 20-year gap between his last game and his gold jacket was due in large part to his union efforts.
Mackey didn’t have much time to enjoy his life as a Hall of Famer. The punishment he suffered in the “if it ain’t broken, you’re playing” era led to a series of concussions. He spent the last years of his life suffering from dementia that required constant care.
For those of us who remember seeing Mackey at his most eloquent, the sight of him in that giant cowboy hat and sunglasses, begging his wife for a ride in the car was almost too much to bear.
The pension he received, which had not grown much in the years since he secured the benefits, only provided $2,500 a month to him. The cost of his basic care far exceeded that amount.
The man who once ran over players was now required to run to them, pleading for help not just for himself, but for the others who would be sure to follow. In response, the NFL and its players created the “88 Plan,” which provided care for people like Mackey. Critics of the plan argue it’s not enough and fails to fully address the needs of retired players who are suffering untold damages.
Today, the family of John Mackey is making plans for his funeral. While his body may be committed to the earth, his brain is going to Boston for study at the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. The center, hosted at Boston University, has the brains of more than 30 players and commitments from dozens more as it attempts to establish a link between violent sports collisions and dementia, depression and suicide.
Meanwhile, NFL players and owners will continue their wrangling over how to divide the proceeds of a multi-billion-dollar business. One of the areas of discussion has been how much of what is being earned now should be used to help those who played earlier. Retired players have also requested a seat at the table for future contract negotiations.
In his final act on this earth, Mackey’s death may serve as an impetus for stronger consideration of both of these topics.
Once again, it appears that John Mackey had incredible timing when it mattered the most.
The inevitable has happened: the NBA has locked out its players. Wonder if anyone asked Neil Finn what he thought? Probably not:
Some people have severe nut allergies, which is something I don't recall hearing about until recently. Major League Baseball is on the case:
From Cracker Jacks to bags of straight-up peanuts, baseball games can be a bit of a nightmare for fans with severe nut allergies. According to Reuters, about half of all MLB teams will host at least one "nut-controlled game" this season, so even the most allergic fans have a chance for to catch a foul ball with their beer. A nut-free game typically means "an isolated section of around 100 seats that have been thoroughly cleaned," not selling nuts nearby, and having medical staff on hand in case of an emergency. One Chicago mother of a highly nut-allergic young baseball fan said that hearing the crunching of peanut shells during a game is "like being in a horror movie."
Huh? I have allergies and Dr. A has some pretty bad ones but audio allergies? The only audio allergies I have are to Lawrence Welk and eurotrash electronica. <synth drum rim shot>
I don't really have a problem with nut free nights: it's never a bad thing when a business tries to please its customers. Besides, nut free nights is (are?) fun to say and evokes some inordinately silly imagery such as players with empty cups... <painful rim shot>
I know, however, one person who might find this trend worrisome and it's Harlan Pepper the nut naming dog dude from Best In Show.
What's a nut namer to do without any nuts? Sing this song?
I couldn't find the version I really wanted: Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts. I haven't heard their Nuts To You LP since I was in kneepants. Wait a minute, I'm wearing shorts right now so I am indeed wearing knee pants. It's fucking hot here y'all.
Back to Doug Clark, here's the classic as well as "classy" in the Good Fellas sense cover:
Tommy LaSorda managed the Los Angeles Dodgers for 20 years. LaSorda was a dick who hid his malakatude beneath a rah-rah facade. He famously claimed that he "bled Dodger blue." The current ownership is bleeding so much red ink that they've declared bankruptcy. Incompetence, venality and shark-like divorce lawyers have combined to run one of the crown jewels of American sports into the ground. Ownership of the Dodgers was a license to make big bucks until the McCourts got their hands on the team.
As a lifelong fan of the rival San Francisco Giants, I shouldn't give a rat's ass but I do. Why? It was more fun to hate the Dodgers when they were the wealthiest team in MLB not owned by George Steinbrenner. I had a pathological loathing of 1B Steve Garvey when I was a tadpole. Garvey was a sanctimonious family values Gooper type who turned out to have major zipper issues. I learned a lot about hypocrisy and malakatude from observing Garvey who was a good but overrated player as well as a serious candidate for the malakatude hall of fame.
The Dodgers were once the model of a well-run organization: they developed their own players, kept their managers forever and were, all in all, a worthy adversary and worthy of my sports hatred. Recently, they've been decent and unmemorable as opposed to the historic franchise that integrated baseball whilst in Brooklyn.
The current ownership stopped maintaining Dodger Stadium and cut corners on security so badly that a Giants fan was nearly beaten to death in the parking lot at Chavez Ravine earlier this season.
There's a lot of chatter that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is interested in buying the team. I hope so: I'd prefer that the Dodgers be worthy of my sports hatred again.
Rich Eisen was not "so horny." He was hacked.
Carmelo Anthony did not put out a hit on groupie Kat Stacks. He was hacked.
Will Hill did not and does not go harder than a Russian, nor does he shit in airports. He was hacked.
I really think there needs to be some kind of on-ramp for the Internet, especially for adults. For every stupid drunk picture I see some college-age kid uploading to Facebook, there's some grown-ass man sending pictures of his dong out into the public and expecting, despite Brett Favre's spectacular example, nobody to actually notice it. Is something going on with people my parents' ages, where we have to sit down and have The Talk about appropriate online behavior? I ask you.
I don't know anything about hockey but I know from malakatude. This whole riot thing cuts against everything I thought I knew about Canadians. The Canadians I've met aren't rioters and they're certainly not malakas: they tend to be very polite people but polite is the last word I'd use to describe this:
I have a funny feeling that these malakas were likkered up. It probably smelled like a cross between a brewery, distillery and refinery on the usually clean streets of Vancouver. Oy, such malakatude.
I'm waiting for the first American wingnut to blame this bloody mess on socialized medicine. Anyone have any guesses as to who it will be? My money is on Rushbo: he gets rather cranky without his oxycontin, after all. Plus I believe he played hockey without a helmet as a young man, which could explain a great deal...
One thing about this clusterfuck: at least Canadians riot when their team loses. American fans tend to torch cars and smash beer bottles when they win. Why? I'll never know...
This violent and disgusting episode has, of course, been condemned by decent folk in Vancouver but it leaves me with two thoughts. First, it reminds me of the old joke "I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out." Second, it explains why one of my comedic heroes Don Rickles calls malakas, "hockey pucks."
I'll let the late Warren Zevon have the last word:
UPDATE: One of my tweeter tube pals has put up a new tumblr site, Stuff White People Like: the Vancouver Riots.
(Got a "hall pass" from A to post as long as it was before midnight. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. -- Doc)
One year ago, I took advantage of an off-day “hall pass” to complain about “The Decision” and the loss of LeBron James from my beloved Cavaliers.
I then spent every second of my basketball watching hoping that he would hurt as much as I hurt.
Every Miami loss was a celebration, every bad game, a triumph.
As the playoffs began, I found myself watching game after game, hoping that the Heat would get bumped off.
Each game they won, I wondered if there really was such a thing as karma.
I started getting very emo.
“If there is a God, how can he let this group of mercenaries and self-centered assholes win?”
“If life is fair, how can this be happening?”
“If I have to say, ‘NBA Champion LeBron James,’ I might start Betsy up in the garage, close the garage door and turn on a Cure album.”
Tonight, I realized that it had to be this way for karma to fully bloom.
For James to hurt as much as I did, several things had to happen:
He lost, not in the first or second or third round, but in the finals. He got there, got close and got kicked in the balls.
He lost to a team led by a guy who never asked out of town, never threatened to leave and never went on TV talking about himself in the third person.
Dirk Nowitzki said in an ESPN interview that when he was available as a free agent, not a single team called him. It wasn’t due to their lack of interest or his lack of talent.
They knew he was staying in Dallas. Why bother?
A word that tested Dirk when owner Mark Cuban let his running partner and point guard of the gods, Steve Nash, bolt for Phoenix.
A word that angered Dirk when media pundits argued he’d need to leave the Metroplex if he were to ever win a title.
A word Dirk saw every day at practice, as it was tattooed down the left arm of Shawn Marion.
Marion, one of the pieces that Cuban quietly brought to Big D in an attempt to give Nowitzki one more run at a title, was no longer the Matrix.
He was more name than game.
The same could be said for the other broken toys that Cuban added.
Jason Kidd, the same point guard that was sent from Dallas to the Phoenix Suns in 1996 for Michael Finley, A.C. Green and Sam Cassell.
Tyson Chandler, a former first-round pick of the Bulls who never lived up to expectations.
J.J. Barea, an undrafted 5-foot-9 point guard who was best known for dating Miss Universe 2006.
Brian Cardinal, Brendan Haywood, Ian Mahinmi, DeShawn Stevenson, Corey Brewer and more. All guys who were bit players, castoffs or otherwise damaged.
All of these guys played meaningful minutes in a finals series built for crunch time.
Three of the six games came down to the final shot.
In none of those games was it James who delivered.
The thing that kept playing in my head all night, as the clock wound down and the Mavericks’ lead grew to an insurmountable level was the opening scene of “Miracle.” When the Olympic hockey committee is yammering about how the Russians beat their guys, the NHL, the All-Stars, a clearly perturbed Herb Brooks makes the passing remark, “It wasn’t because you weren’t good enough.”
When the men cast an incredulous stare upon him, Brooks elaborates with, “All-Star teams fail because they rely solely on the individuals talent.”
That was the Miami Heat: An insanely talented group of individuals.
Not a team.
A team knows where it’s going when the chips are down. In two of the finals games, it was Nowitzki making the final plays, calling for the final shots and making the crucial decisions.
A team knows how to step up. When Nowitzki started off Game 6 with 1-for-12 slide, Jason Terry and DeShawn Stevenson stepped up, drilling shot after shot, holding off the Heat until reinforcements arrived.
A team knows to have faith in each member of that team. When Haywood couldn’t go and Chandler got into foul trouble, Mahinmi and Cardinal played gut-check minutes, despite lacking the Heat’s star power or talent level.
A team wins, because it’s greater than the sum of its parts.
That was always Brooks’ message.
It’s one I doubt the Heat won’t get tonight.
It’s something James will never understand.
A river of schadenfreude is likely flowing freely through the streets of Cleveland tonight. Sure, we didn’t win the NBA title, but neither did the man who quit on us and then pissed on us and then tried to pretend like we should all get on with our lives.
He walked down an empty hallway to a locker room that was devoid of championship goods. No special hats, no T-shirts, no champagne.
Tomorrow, thousands of kids in Nairobi, or wherever we send the losing merchandise, will likely be donning “A Ring for the King” T-shirts that were supposed to be flying off the shelves in Miami this week.
Tomorrow, he can read the clever headlines, the pundit columns and the general bile directed at him.
Tomorrow, I’ll get up and he’ll get up and we’ll be exactly the same.
Two guys without an NBA title.
Only this time, he’ll be hurting.
And I won’t be.
Lebron James could learn a thing or three from Dirk Nowitski. Dirk had a horrible first half but kept shooting and busting his ass and scored 10 crucial points in the 4th Quarter.
I have *never* rooted for a Dallas sports team before but I've become very fond of this Mavericks team. Congratulations, y'all.
Repeat after me: it was Dirktastic.
If Lebron disappears again in the Fourth Quarter, I wonder if announcers Van Gundy and Jackson will stop calling this mook the greatest player ever. Probably not. LeBron always has an excuse for folding under pressure and they buy it every time. I'm not sure if he's more like the incredible shrinking man or the invisible man...
In contrast to Lebron, Dirk Nowitzki is excelling in the Fourth Quarter and has gotta be the first underrated white superstar in NBA history. Guess it's zat German accent. I usually root against Dallas sports teams but I've come to think that he's Dirktastic even if his owner is douchetastic.