Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bradley Van Nostrand - Journey of Hope Gala

Brad ("Bradley") Van Nostrand representing at the Journey of Hope Gala.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Meet The Cromarties

When not playing the cornerback position at a particularly average level, the Jets new DB likes to reproduce.

Woke up to find that the Jets traded for Antonio Cromartie. That's nice. A worthwhile gamble on a once sterling talent who has fallen off the map in recent years (including last year when he was an out-n-out liability). But the details of the trade were not what caught my attention. Nope, instead this is what caught my attention:
San Diego also had grown tired of Cromartie's maturity issues, with the former Florida State product fathering seven children by five different women.
I'm sorry, come again (pun NOT intended)? Antonio Cromartie is 25 years-old and he has 7 kids with 5 women? Ho-lee shit. Wouldn't you think he would've learned his lesson after, I don't know, kid number 5, maybe 6?

Ladies of New York lock up your daughters. Antonio and his magic seed are coming to town.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hey Pablo! You're Looking... Fit?

The Giants prescribed a new nutrition and fitness regimen for the Panda this off-season. The result? Well, I guess he's less fat-ish.

Pablo Sandoval is a burgeoning superstar and one of the young cornerstones of the SF franchise. He also likes to eat--a lot. So when the Giants created an off-season diet and fitness regimen, affectionately referred to as "Operation Panda", some folks were skeptical. Well Panda showed up to Spring Training for this week and the reviews are, well, mixed:
"...trainer Dave Groeschner said Sandoval has made strides since the start of a diet-and-exercise program dubbed "Operation Panda," Groeschner confirmed what is obvious to anyone who looks at the 23-year-old infielder: Sandoval has not reached his desired weight, believed to be 250 pounds.

Sandoval reportedly dropped 12 pounds during an intensive training session here in November. He then went to Venezuela to play winter ball. Upon his return, he said he regained only one pound during the trip and ate healthier - but his progress stalled."

So yeah, Operation Panda was an embarrassing failure. But at least he looks better than he did at the Giants Halloween party*:

*May not actually be Pablo Sandoval

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Song From the New Nike Commercial

You've probably heard this song on the new Nike commercial. I enjoyed it enough to post the thing in its entirety. The song is "Ali in the jungle" by The Hours. Good tune, though I wish they ripped a little more coming out of the first refrain.

Does ACC Basketball Suck? Why Yes It Does!

Dated? Yes. Inappropriate? Meh, maybe. Accurate? F'n eh right it is.

Let's break this down. The best team in the league, Duke, got KILLED by the arguably the 4th best team (7th in the standings) in the Big East in Georgetown. That same Duke team also lost to William & Mary early in the season and at North Carolina State, the worst team in the ACC.

The next best team by overall record, Va Tech, got worked by Temple at home and got destroyed by a terrible North Carolina team.

Maryland, probably the second best team in the ACC, lost at home to William & Mary and lost to a Cincinnati team that is probably the 9th best team in the Big East (a team that was playing much worse earlier in the season than they are now).

And finally, Wake, probably the last team in the ACC with a shot to do anything in the tournament, also lost to William and Mary (how f'n good is that team this year?), got killed by NC State and was just plain not competitive against Duke.

Other than maybe Duke's win over a bad UConn team, Clemson's win over Butler and Florida State's win over Marquette, what big wins does that conference have? None.

Normally this conference is Duke, UNC, MD/GT/WF and everyone else. This year it's Duke(?) and a whole bunch of chicken and feces sandwiches sans chicken. I like this year.

Tiger: What we (fans) are "owed"

I wanted a blanket apology out of Tiger not because I was entitled but because Tiger is a person and that's what people do.

Before I get into the meat, a quick aside:

Oh Tigre, you and your whorish ways. I've known a man-whore or two in my day but good gravy man, you REALLY lika da women, eh? I'm glad you've found the help you need in your pseudo-therapeutic southern hovel. Back in the olden days (or modern Saudi Arabia) they sent whores to death or fastened giant letters to their lapels. Today we send our high-priced whores to Alabama and prescribe bunkbeds and long chats about our feelings with strangers. Now don't get me wrong, I do believe sex addiction is real (if you don't believe it, check out this account via a Deadspin commenter. That shit is real, and painful.) I just don't believe Tigre is an addict. The guy is in need of therapy and perhaps an intervention but only to get rid of the people in charge of controlling his every move. He's a fucking robot mess. That press conference sounded exactly like the one R2-D2 gave after he got caught jamming his tool probe in C3PO's exhaust valve. Digression...

Anyhoo, the media has taken an interesting tact with respect to Tiger's actions. Many (maybe even most) have asked, "Why is Tiger apologizing to us? He doesn't owe us anything." In fact, if you do a search on Google News for "Tiger 'doesn't owe'" you get about 12000 articles. And many of the "he doesn't owe us" crowd have intimated that we, Joe Fan, feel entitled to the apology and it is us who is not "owed" this apology. Well sirs, to that I say go fuck yourself.

Let's get away from the fact that the best golfer in the world isn't golfing right now and his hiatus is indefinite, so as a pure sports story we as sports fans really want to know what's going on. If Dustin Pedroia wasn't in the lineup for the month of April and then showed up in early May, I think someone would probably expect him to explain what the hell happened. And if the absence was because of his own "bad act" (or say because he slept with a dozen hookers) then we'd probably expect him to be sorry that his actions took him away from the game. But be that as it may, I don't feel I am "owed" anything. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that none of us who expected to hear an apology from Tiger have been standing outside his door with our front foot tapping impatiently waiting for him to come out and bow his head apologetically to atone for his indiscretions. I never felt hurt or betrayed so I don't feel entitled to an apology. But I did expect one and would have thought it absurd had he not.

The reason is not because of my passion for sports but because Tiger Woods is a very public sports figure who had a very public fuck up. A fuck up so great that he had to take a lengthy hiatus from his sport and no one knows when he will return. In these situations the rules of our society for public figures require that you stand up in front of a camera and say that what you did was stupid. That's how it works. I didn't make the rules and I didn't sign a contract with the PGA requiring all philanderers apologize after they get caught. History has shown me how this works so now I expect it. It's not a matter of his responsibility to me as much as it is his responsibility in general. That's it. End of story.

What I find most troubling about the media slant is that many a sports talk person uses this example to suggests that we should merely like the athlete for their accomplishments because most of them are dirtbags, so if we really knew them we would be disappointed. I'm sure they're right. But the idea that most people can simply separate the personality of the player from their accomplishments is pretty naive. For most people, their favorite player is not only good but he contributes to charity and he is scrappy or hustles or has magical leadership intangibles despite clear defensive flaws or he just looks like he's having so much fun out there. You don't love the back of the baseball card you love the whole package. Bert Favor wouldn't be old Bert if he answered questions in monotone staccato and frowned like Eli Manning on the field. Tim Duncan is arguably the greatest Power Forward in history but because he's got the personality of a lima bean no one likes him (WE HEAR even Tim Duncan's mom thinks he's about as exciting as chamomile tea--Pro Football Talk'd!). I'm sorry but with sports stars you can't separate the personality from performance.

What is also amusing to me is that these same sports folk who call out the fan for our inability to separate personality from performance CANNOT themselves separate the person from their accomplishments. Just look at the baseball Hall of Fame vote. Jim Rice waited 15 years to get into the Hall because he acted like a dick for 10 years. Michael Kay tells me that most baseball players are bad guys so we should only respect what they do on the field but he hates Mike Mussina and can't possibly speak about him objectively because of a few bad locker room experiences and he won't say a bad word about A-Rod because A-Rod sent flowers to his mom's funeral. So don't you fucking dare lecture me about separating the person from the sport bucko.

But rather than dwell on media hypocrisy, let's take the next step of the media take and agree that he doesn't need to apologize. So let me get this straight, you knuckleheads would prefer he just show up to the FBR next weekend, sign in and head out for a practice round? Yes, I'm sure no one would say shit about that. There's not enough indignation available on earth to fuel the columns that would be written in that scenario (we'd have to send a space ship to Pandora to mine for "indignation" after they scrape up the last of the unobtanium). Headlines in the papers (they still make those things, right?) would read, "HE OWES US AN EXPLANATION!" And you know who the "us" is in that scenario, THE FUCKING SPORTS MEDIA. Not me. Not you. The person most interested in hearing an apology and explanation is the person responsible for writing the column or creating the buzz on the radio or whatever f'n platform they have.

Now don't get me wrong, if Tigre just flat-out ignored society's requirement that he apologize for all of this then I'd be taken aback as a sports fan. But again, my surprise wouldn't be because I feel entitled to hear from him as much as I'm just surprised that he thinks he can get away from this shitstorm without an explanation. That may be semantics to some but it's a big difference to me.

So please don't tell me I'm not "owed" an apology when I never said I was entitled to one. All I ask is that Tigre play by the same rules as everyone else who's fucked up. Oh, and Tigre, while you're up there, I wouldn't mind hearing about those threeways.

The Smittblog's Back...?

Trust me fella, no one's as shocked as I am

Well here we go again. Without getting too deeply into the fray of what's occurred over the almost two years since I stopped writing here, I'll simply say that it's been a long hiatus but I think I've found away to get back to writing at least a couple times a week. I'm not sure how good it'll be (not that it was good the first time) or how long it'll last but I'm givin er a go. Without further ado, blog words...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tom Cable: A Lesson In Underthinking

In one decision Tom Cable proved he's not fit for the job.

Many coaches can be rightfully accused of overthinking a situation but in rare instances overthinking leads to underthinking. Overthinking sometimes involves going for two in the second quarter to go up 9 points instead of 8 or putting on a hit and run with a large struggling lefthander at the plate when your hottest hitter is hitting behind him. If it works, great. If not, you look like an idiot. Well there is a trend in the NFL that has gained steam for some reason and it just redefines the concept of overthinking. It is the late timeout before a last minute kick.

If memory serves me correctly, this move was brought to prominence by Mike Shanahan in a game against the Raiders. He called a late timeout, Seabass kicked it anyway, it went through the uprights, the Raiders rejoiced but all was for naught because the refs ruled that Shanahan had called the timeout just prior to the kick. Of course the next time Janikowski teed it up he hit the upright and the Broncos went on to win. The move was celebrated as genius and copied by every half-wit coach in the NFL ever since. The move is really just an extreme extension of the “ice the kicker” mantra, the effectivenesss of which is purely subjective. Whatever you believe about the effectiveness doesn’t really matter for the purpose of my argument. The real problem I have is that using this technique should not be automatic, and in fact it loses its effectiveness in certain situations that come up frequently and STILL some idiots just use it because they feel they’re supposed to.

During the Raiders v. Jets game this past Sunday, the Jets were down 3 with about a minute left and were being led up the field by quarterback Bert Favor with no timeouts. With 8 seconds left on 2nd & 10, Bert threw an incomplete pass to Brad Smith. This left 3rd & 10 with 8 seconds left and put the Jets on the outside limit of Jay Feely’s range (about a 51-52 yard attempt). After a moment or two of indecision about whether to run one more play to pick up 2-3 more yards, the Jets hurried their field goal team onto the field as the play clock wound down. With the Jets barely able to get into position to kick and Feely rushing in to line up for his first 50 yard attempt of the season, Tom Cable called a timeout a fraction of a second before the Jets snapped the ball. Feely kicked it anyway and the ball hit the crossbar and bounced back no good. On his next try, he nailed it and sent the game into overtime.

Well what does this prove? Not a whole hell of a lot if you believe that icing the kicker is still the best route to go and Feely just happened to overcome it. But I would ask this: what is more disconcerting / distracting to a kicker? Calling a timeout so he can think about the kick or forcing him to rush onto the field and kick his longest field goal of the year in the last seconds of a game with time running out on the play-clock? Call me crazy but I prefer the latter if I’m the defending team. The kicker has no time to visualize the kick (not to mention that Feely stated after the game that he was able to measure the kick after his first try went awry), the line has very little time to setup and so many more things can go wrong when a team is rushed. I know that special teams players practice this stuff all the time and are “rushed” onto the field for every try, but this situation presents some extenuating circumstances that a normal try would not.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m making a whole lot out of nothing but to me this is the perfect example of someone who is unable to make a reasoned decision under stressful circumstances and instead falls back into trendy coach mode. It’s a move that reeks of overthinking on its face but is truly the product of underthinking and a lack of preparedness to deal with every situation that may come up.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

"We're" Back! (we = me)

I've been off for awhile but with the Sox in the playoffs and football in full swing (not to mention that 'Cuse is f'n terrible), I figured it's time for me to re-enter to 'osphere. I'll probably start off slowly but things will get going as the leaves begin to turn.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Damaso Marte: Fastball So Good He Can Change History

A-Rod likened Damaso Marte to a Yanks lefty teammate from yesteryear. The only problem is that The Rod wasn't on that team.

I'm not sure A-Rod has done enough in his Yankee career to call himself a True Yankee (whatever the fuck that means), but even if/when he does reach this acclaimed status I don't think it allows him to "we" himself onto the Yankees championship teams of yore. But that's just what old Rod did yesterday when remarking about Damaso Marte:
Rodriguez was very impressed with Marte going after - and getting - Ortiz, which is something the Yankees haven't had much success doing.

"He has pretty electric stuff," Rodriguez said. "We haven't had that since [Mike] Stanton in the late 1990s."
No "we" haven't, Rod because "we" weren't on that Yankees team in the late 90's and Stanton wasn't on your Mariners Squad of the late 90's. It may not be easy to take, Divorcée-Rod, but you aren't automatically imputed onto a team you weren't on because you played for the yanks for a couple years.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Manny: "Manhandling" For Cash In The Clubhouse (Pun!)

It seems last evening Manny was practicing for life without baseball.

Even on days he's not playing Manny continues to be the be-all-end-all of goofy antics. Within his story relating the tale of how it came to be that Manny was not in the Sox' lineup yesterday in Seattle (it seems his right knee is acting up again), Globe reporter Gordon Edes couldn't help himself but add a quick little note about the scene he witnessed in the clubhouse while gathering information for the story:
Before the game, Ramírez told reporters his knee has been bothering him for about a week, but Francona said he had not been receiving treatment, not even for his hamstrings, in the last few days.

"I've just been trying to play it out," Ramírez said while jokingly singing for tips at his locker in the clubhouse, with his iPod docked to a speaker and a cup put out for donations from teammates. "I decided it was time to give it a rest."

Asked if he would be ready for the Yankees series, which begins tomorrow, Ramírez said, "I don't know. I'm day to day at this point."

Daisuke Matsuzaka, for one, was sufficiently impressed by Ramírez's musical talents that he placed some money in the cup.
I don't know what this town is going to do when Manny gets shipped out of here this offseason. No one in sports is as interesting on a day-to-day basis as Manny Ramirez.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ask And You Shall Receive

Wrestler Cactus Jack asks the crowd to provide him with a chair so he can beat his opponent with it. The crowd responds as only a wrestling crowd would be expected to. They throw every single chair in the arena into the ring.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chase Utley Fits Right In

Boo? Fuck you!

This is so fantastic I don't even know where to begin. So great in fact was Chase's response that it spawned a t-shirt.

I've ordered a dozen.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Post Tells Brian Fuentes What Team He Prefers To Be Traded To Even Though He Has No Preference

Though Brian Fuentes explicitly stated otherwise, the NY Post declared that he would prefer to be traded to the Yanks.

In an article entitled "Fuentes prefers Yankees", NY Post writer Bart Hubbuch takes some liberties with a direct quote from the top available relief talent on the trade market, Rockies closer Brian Fuentes.

The article discusses Fuentes efforts to learn more about the NY baseball atmosphere after hearing the Yanks and Mets tossed around in the newspapers as potential trade destinations (apparently he called Mets closer Billy Wagner and asked him what it's like to play in NYC). About 2/3rds the way through the article, and having shown no indication that Fuentes was leaning towards the Mets or Yanks (other than the fact that he sought out Billy Wagner), Hubbuch makes a somewhat bold leap of faith as to Fuentes's preferences between the teams:
Given his choice of destinations, though, Fuentes said it would be the Yankees.

"I've never played in Yankee Stadium," he told The Post. "I have no preference, but putting on the pinstripes would be something special by itself."
Maybe I missed something there, but not only did Fuentes not say that the Yankees would be his "choice of destination," he spoke directly to the matter and specifically said "I have no preference...." Now, call me crazy but the rest of the statement in no way outlines his preference to either team ("putting on the pinstripes would be something special all by itself."). In fact, that statement is just nonsense. It offers no insight whatsoever and instead is simply a veiled declaration of reverence towards the organizational history, which I believe all free agents or trade-bait players are contractually obligated to do or else their agents will kill them.

The Post is known for creating much from not much, but how Bart Hubbuch got "I prefer" from "I have no preference" is not creative reporting, it's simply wrong.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Want Some Home Run Derby Intrigue? Let Dustin Pedroia Take 'Em On

I mean, the guy creates lightning with his bat. Can Dan Uggla do that?

Other than Chase Utley, the list of this year's Home Run Derby participants (brought to you by State Farm!) is a who's who of who's who? I mean, baseball diehards (the same people who passionately dislike everything about the All-Star Game from the selection process to the importance of the outcome) will recognize every name and cite with encyclopedic precision their favorite Fantasy Baseball moment of each player participating. But for the casual fan (the type the networks are trying to convince to watch), the names Lance Berkman, Josh Hamilton, Dan Uggla and Grady Sizemore have about as much collective draw as Mike Greenberg did hosting the hit canceled game show "Duel."

What the contest needs is something interesting to bring back some of the juice that was lost when Divorcée-Rod™ (trademark pending) backed out because he didn't want it to F up his swing (No big whooop. It's not like you're the biggest player on the team hosting the game in Yankee Stadium's last season ever. I'm sure Mick and Babe would've backed out too, pussy.). With "The Rod" on the sideline, the Derby needs something big (or little) to add a little freak show quality to the event. In the same way the Dunk Contest upped the ante with Spud Webb and Nate Robinson when the best athletes started pulling out of the contest, the Home Run Contest would be much more entertaining if you added people who can do things they aren't supposed to be able to. Dustin Pedroia is that guy.

At 5'7" and about a buck 60 soaking wet, Dustin Pedroia is smaller than many of the bat boys and ball girls in most stadiums. When you see him on the field standing next to guys like Mike Lowell or A-Rod, it's just comical. He's small but on a Major League ball field his lack of size is exacerbated tenfold. But for all his failings in growth, the little shit can hit. In the last month, only 9 players in the Majors had a higher slugging percentage than Pedroia (50 ABs or more). For the season he's got more extra base hits than Vlad, has a higher slugging percentage than many 3-4 hitters (Ibanez, Beltre, Abreu, Tejada and Jack Cust, just to name a few) and swings like he's trying to hit the ball through the wall every time he takes a cut. In fact, baseball TV guys are contractually obligated to mention how hard he swings every time he steps to the plate (oh, they're not? well then why the fuck do the insist on saying it every fucking time he steps to the plate...? Ohhhhh, right... because all national baseball broadcasters are assholes. Well I guess that makes sense.). When you break the numbers right down, Pedroia is about as qualified as anyone else invited to the game.

But beyond the qualifications there are two reasons why Pedroia should be in the event. The first was alluded to earlier: it would be great to watch. Assuming he doesn't just tank and hit warning track flies all day, it would be a fantastic advertisement for the Derby. No one gives a shit if Josh Hamilton or Dan Uggla hits a dozen home runs and no one will talk about it after the next day (in the same way no one gave a shit when Fred Jones won the dunk contest a couple years ago). But if Pedroia were to make a run in the contest or even just hit a couple shots out, a 5'7" miniature baseball player who swings like a beer league softball player is a great watch. And watchability is the core ingredient to the Home Run Derby. The second reason Pedroia would be a great selection is probably even a better one: he can win.

Pedroia wouldn't have to change a thing about his swing to hit a bunch of BP balls out. With the amount of scrutiny recently placed on "changing swings for the home run derby" and the correlation to reduced production in the second half of the season, players are now reticent to swing for the fences in the Home Run Derby for fear that they will tweak their swings and screw everything up. Dustin Pedroia does not have that fear. He also has a great Yankee stadium swing. He's a dead pull upper cut contact hitter. Unlike the other big home run hitters, he doesn't swing and miss and always makes good contact. He's got half the strikeouts of most other guys (and 1/3 the amount that Dan Uggla has presently) so unlike the other dudes he's much more likely to hit the ball squarely when he swings hard. He may not have the power but he's got the consistency.

At the end of the day, if Uggla or Utley or Hamilton wins the Home Run Derby, it'll be another name in the annals of the Derby and a footnote in the resume of those dudes (or perhaps the lead note in Uggla's resume) and whoever planned to watch the Derby before the participants were announced will still watch. If a 5'7" little piece of shit with a 6'5", 330lb swing is announced a competitor, people who had no interest will watch the sideshow, Pedroia will compete his ass off and with a little luck the most improbable home run derby champ in history will beat the big fellas. I'll take that over the entry of yet another former juicing meatstick any day.