Friday, April 6, 2007

Imus to Billy Packer - "I'll see your "fag out" and raise you a ...."

"jigaboo"???? Holy shit, Imus. I thought that term was retired about 30 years ago. I don't have a lot to add to this story, Imus says enough:

On his show, produced by WFAN Radio in New York and simulcast on TV by MSNBC, Imus on Wednesday referred to the Rutgers players as "nappy-headed ho's." Rutgers lost to Tennessee on Tuesday night in the NCAA women's championship game.

After Imus described Tennessee's players as "cute," his producer, Bernard McGuirk, went on to call the matchup "the jigaboos vs. the wannabees."

He apologized Friday at 6:06 a.m. ET on his show.

"[I] want to take a moment to apologize for an insensitive and ill-conceived remark we made the other morning referring to the Rutgers women's basketball team. It was completely inappropriate, and we can understand why people were offended. Our characterization was thoughtless and stupid, so, and we're sorry."

"We agree with Mr. Imus that this was, in his own words, an 'idiot comment,' " a Rutgers spokesperson said in a statement. "We are very proud of the success of the Rutgers women's basketball team. Coach [C. Vivian] Stringer and the Rutgers players are outstanding ambassadors for this great institution."

Shortly after Imus made his apology, MSNBC issued a statement.

"While simulcast by MSNBC, 'Imus in the Morning' is not a production of the cable network and is produced by WFAN Radio," the statement read. "As Imus makes clear every day, his views are not those of MSNBC. We regret that his remarks were aired on MSNBC and apologize for these offensive comments."

The presidents of the NCAA and Rutgers released a joint statement Friday.

"The NCAA and Rutgers University are offended by the insults on MSNBC's Don Imus program toward the 10 young women on the Rutgers basketball team," the statement read. "It is unconscionable that anyone would use the airways to utter such disregard for the dignity of human beings who have accomplished much and deserve great credit."
Uh, yeah.

Just How Good is Grady Sizemore?

Being a Red Sox fan, I've seen this song and dance before. Peter Gammons talking to someone or writing something about some uber-prospect who is going to take the world by storm and become the next Jimmie Foxx or Tony C. Gammo broke my heart with his overinflated hype of Tim Naehring, Phil Plantier and Mike Rozier, and to a lesser degree Tommy Hottovy, Charlie Zink and Izzy Alcantara (and if you polled the guys at SOSH, they could give you 100 more names). Those guys were supposed to be the core of the Sox for generations and it's likely that other than Alcantara (who received some notoriety for kicking a catcher in the face and then charging the mound as seen at about the :40 mark of this video), you've probably never heard of any of these guys. As much as I enjoy Gammo, he has a penchant for the overdoing it with the "hot young prospect angle." Probably why he's not a talent scout. So you can forgive me when I giggled after Gammo essentially labeled Cleveland's Grady Sizemore "the next big thing" in his column last year. That's pretty much the kiss of death. Gammo fell in love with Sizemore's five tools, his plate discipline, his aggressiveness in the outfield and his developing power (slugging percentage increased from .400 to .485). That's all well and good but what I saw was a guy in a decent lineup who plays with wreckless abandon in the outfield (aka an injury waiting to happen) and strikes out to much (132 K's compared to only 58 walks). It was clear he had potential but let's just say because Gammo had put the savior tag on him, I was a bit skeptical. Well, I was off. Way off.

In 2006, Grady Sizemore put together an absurd season. He raised his averages in every offensive category and of his 190 hits, almost half were for extra bases. He tied for the league lead in doubles with 53 and amongst centerfielders was behind only Beltran and Soriano in OPS and only Beltran had a higher OBP. He had 76 RBI AS A LEADOFF MAN FOR CLEVELAND. He was knocking in the likes of Ronnie Belliard and Jason Michaels. Did I mention that the kid put all of this together at the ripe old age of 23? He finished 11th in the AL MVP voting last year. He was the best centefielder the American League last year and arguably the overall best player in the league (if calculating defense were in anyway reliable). Grady Sizemore wasn't just good, he was perhaps the best young player in the American League.

The question then became, what did Grady Sizemore have left for 2007? Well Gammo--again--looked into his crystal ball and predicted that Sizemore would be the 2007 AL MVP. Not real good news for Sizemore as last year Gammo's choice was Bobby Crosby. So what does Grady do? He comes out and hits a home run in each of his first 3 games against an above-average White Sox staff and leads the Indians to a 2-1 record to start the season. And it's not just the stats but the way he plays. Do yourself a favor and watch this kid play. He drives the ball to all fields and crushes it when he hits it out. Even his outs are exciting because he's so quick out of the box. Gammo thought the kid could be a 30-30 guy this year. I think that's setting the bar too low. He could be 35-40, 100-100 guy with ease. If he was on a team in a better market, more people would be paying attention. Unfortunately, it's not 1995 anymore and Cleveland has a lot of work to do before they can assist in getting Grady the publicity he so rightly deserves. Well Grady, not sure if it helps, but I for one am a believer and will lead the Grady Sizemore bandwagon to its rightful place of prominence 12 readers at a time.

Ummm.... should someone be offended by this?

I'm not one for being overly "PC" and all (see most everything I've ever written), but I'm just wondering if the above banner is appropriate, inappropriate or simply funny. More than anything, should I feel weird about laughing at it? Or is it supposed to be like a caracature? There are a couple things I do know, if me and my friends brought that sign into a stadium, we'd be arrested. I already get strange looks from people at yankees stadium (intentional low caps) when I scream GODZIRRA! every time Matsui gets up to bat, but it's all in good fun. This seems, I don't know, I don't want to say racist but it certainly is evocative of sterotypes. Imagine if it was known that John Amaechi was gay while he was playing and people were cool with it and whatever (basically imagine this all happened in France) and some of his gay fans brought in a banner in support of Amaechi that depicted him in a similar fashion to the McGreevey cartoon up on the left here. Would that be ok? Don't get me wrong, if it were up to me I'd completely do away with political sensitivity and we'd all toughen up and develop thicker skin as opposed to being the humorless sensitivity police that we've become (unless whatever was being done was malicious or hateful and I'm sure it could be argued that the McGreevey cartoon is just that). Maybe it's just me but when I saw the Dice-K banner all I could think of was Mr. Magoo's "house boy" (pictured below) and I'm pretty sure people would look back on that and find it a wee bit inappropriate. I know that when I was a kid, I thought all people in Asia floated around like he did in Mr. Magoo and was surprised when I later realized they didn't. As a final note and friday trivia quiz, I'll give a nickel to the first person to post a comment with the name of Mr. Magoo's house boy without the use of google (not that I have any way of preventing you from using it or knowing if you did).

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Friday Feature: So what the F?

Another week, another couple paragraphs about weird shit:

1. Michael Kay
What the F, Michael Kay? You are going to call out Mets fans for being cocky after 3 dominating wins in the beginning of the year after YOU told those same fans that this team is not as good everyone thinks they are? And YOU Michael Kay are questioning the METS STAFF but you think the Yankees are going to run away with the AL East. You Michael Kay. Say hello to the kettle, pot.

2. Me
What the F, Smittblogg? Did you really need to react to the Rangers story the way you did? I mean, sure a Rangers player may have spit on a girl, but shouldn't your scorn be directed at the offending party rather than the team and the sport as a whole? What did versus ever do to you?

3. Lefty
What the F was with that freakin round, Phillip. A 40 on the front in a Major? I've shot a 40 on the front nine before.... from the tips! Not at Augusta, but then the most money I've ever made playing golf was $30 and a hot dog. You gotta get your shit together. I did enjoy your piece in ESPN the magazine about not regretting your choices at the Open last year, but you've got to pick your battles in these majors. When I watch you pull out your Driver on tight fairways when you're up two strokes I feel the same uncomfortable feeling I felt when Kevin was constantly screwing things up with Winnie on the Wonder Years. Your play is sometimes channel-changingly uncomfortable.

4. Arkansas
What the F, Arkansas basketball? This was originally going to be a "what the F" to Creighton head coach Dana Altman for accepting the job at Arkansas and turning around and renouncing the acceptance less than 24 hours later, but no sooner did Altman turn and run was it reported that two players from that same Arkansas basketball team tested positive for Marijuana. Not that good a week, or day fellas. Nolan Richardson and Todd Day must be rolling over in their graves. Oh, they're not dead? I meant their figurative graves. The place you go when you are no longer relevant or no one has mentioned your name in 40-50 years.

5. White Lion
Why the F does White Lion get pegged a hair band when clearly they were more progressive and much more lyrically and musically proficient than 99% of the bands of their perceived genre? White Lion never received the critical acclaim they deserved, and it's largely do to the fact that they were pegged by the critics a "hair band," a Kansas City Royals of musical genres (this is especially clever because the Royals were good in the 80's too. Think about it.). If you ever take the time to actually listen to their music, you'll realize that these guys could outplay Winger and Warrant in their sleep. Lyrically (and melodically) they are more Boston and Queensryche than Poison or Ratt. Vito Bratta's solo in the anthem "Little Fighter" ranks up there in the top 5 guitar solos of the last 3 decades. He has Eric Johnson-esque skill. I should probably calm down about this but I lose sleep over the lack of respect Vito, Mike Tramp and the crew received during their far too short careers.

6. Hanson
Speaking of underappreciated bands, what the F was Hanson doing on Deal or No Deal? What in the hell have these guys been up to for the last 5 years since they released "This time around" (easily their best effort and worthy of a "top 25 most played songs" on my IPod right next to "Little Fighter" and Was Not Was' classic, "Walk the Dinosaur"). Didn't the fat one die or something? Or was it the ugly one? And didn't the young one join the Canadian Mounted Police? I get these guys mixed up. They're more confusing than the Baldwin brothers.

7. Schilling
What the F was that, Curt? 4 Innings and your shortest start in a decade on opening day of a contract year when you're trying to prove you deserve an extension? Cripes, chubby. You gotta do better than that. Though I do give you credit for being brutally up front in your blogabout your pitching. That is a pretty solid read.

8. Selig
Who in the F is signed off on Bud Selig's $14.5 million salary for his "work" as commissioner of Baseball? Doesn't that seem a little out of whack for doing such a shitty job? The authors of Game of Shadows deserve a cut of that. What exactly has he done that was so great? The WBC? His efforts to contract two teams? The All-Star tie? $14.5 million seems a bit high.

9. Asante Samuel
Actually, this is more of a "go right the F ahead," Asante. Apparently, Asante Samuel is not pleased with the francise tag and wants to be traded. Since he has been tagged, if he is traded (which is very unlikely) the Pats get TWO first round draft picks. So I say, PLEASE start looking for somewhere else to go. I would give anything to get two number 1 picks for you. Here's the thing, Asante Samuel is a good Dback and is the best the Pats have, but that's not saying much. This summer I was in Mexico and I looked tall in comparison to the native folks there. Asante Samuel is me and the Mexicans are everyone else (save for maybe Ellis Hobbs) in the Pats defensive backfield. If he thinks he can get Dre Bly money or anywhere near it, God bless him. He's lucky the Pats gave him the franchise tag because there was no way he's making more per year than that. I will do whatever it takes to get that kind of value for Samuel. It's like a dream come true.

How the F can you have a mustache quiz and not include Lanny McDonald? I mean look at the cock broom on this guy! They made a frickin statuette featuring the mustache because it's so frickin legendary. The quiz in question features second-rate 'staches from the likes of Jeff Bridges, Ben Stiller and Cheech Marin. No Lanny? This is the type of mustache quiz you'd see in communist China. They are strategically leaving Lanny's 'stache out of the historical record and replacing it with Cheech Marin. I will not stand for it. Lanny will be heard and seen.

That's all I got. Have a great weekend (though I may eek out a post or two tomorrow) and hit me up at if you have any more Lanny McDonald pictures or pictures of Hakan P. Loob.

No. 3 Party School hires Bob Huggins

EZ there fella, all this means is that there'll be less beer for the rest of you

Here's a good idea. Bob Huggins was removed from Cincinnati (where there's at least a little more to do than simply drink) due to his alcohol problem and today it is reported that Bob Huggins will become the head coach at West Fucking Virginia University, which is his home fucking town. Don't get me wrong, Bob Huggins can coach and recruit. In one year, Bob Huggins made Kansas State relevant. He went on to recruit arguably the number one basketball player in the land, Michael Beasley and many people thought he got screwed out of the NCAA Tournament. But maybe Bob should have worked his way back up to Morgantown where it's socially acceptable to slur your speech and carry around a fifth of Beam. Maybe he should have gone from Manhattan, Kansas to maybe Fayettville, Arkansas to Boston, MA and then finally to Morgantown. He's just not far enough removed from his 12 steps to head to Morgantown. It'd be like PacMan Jones joining the Montreal Alouettes. You wouldn't want to put Pac in such close proximity to all the weed and strippers. And the situation is especially tenuous when one considers the potential motives for the move. You think Bob is going due to nostalgia? Or is he re-joining the Big East for the opportunity to get back at his old school? Nah, Bob Huggins would never be that vindictive. Would he?

Mayor Rick Ankiel

I know Simmons linked to this video in his notes yesterday but since I had intended to post it as soon as a video was available and was beaten to the punch because his 500,000 readers are a little more helpful in getting him good material than my six family members are in getting me mine, I'm gonna go ahead and do it anyway because it is so worth it. The video is of the first pitch on opening day pitch by the mayor of Cincinnati. Check out ED's expression. He has no idea how to react and the mayor doesn't even care. He just wants to get out of there. I could watch this all day.

(Update: The Mayor appeared on Jimmy Kimmel and threw another away. Absolutely ridiculous)

More positive press for the NHL

Versus! Covering the Iditarod and Davis Cup like no one else!

Oh Gary Bettman, will you ever win? Gary Bettman has withstood a lot during his tenure as commissioner of the NHL and will likely go down as the worst commissioner in the history of any sport ever (the Isiah Thomas of commissioner's, if you will). He's seen a season killing lockout, multiple players assaulting other players, betting scandals, Mike Ricci's ugliness, the Versus television agreement and now this: Newsday is reporting today that New York Rangers players spat on and verbally assaulted the New York Islanders' "Ice Girls" at the Nassau Coliseum last night. Now I can't imagine this is the first time these girls have been verbally harassed by hockey players given that they are usually around 19-22 years old and skate around the ice amongst the players wearing what amounts to a second set of skin and a handkerchief, but take a read about what went on last night in the game and tell me just how fucking disgraceful these actions were:

During commercial breaks, teams of three Ice Girls clean loose ice known as "snow" in the goal and the blue-painted goaltender's crease in front of the goal line. But Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist declined to move and used his stick to whack the squeegee Kelli Higgins, 23, was using to push the snow into a pile during the first TV timeout, knocking the butt end of the squeegee stick into her stomach.

"I said 'Excuse me' maybe two or three times," Higgins said yesterday. "He didn't move and didn't say anything, so I gave up and went around him.

"The tip of my squeegee kind of hit the tip of his stick. I don't know if he thought I did that on purpose or whatever, but he took a big windup and slashed the squeegee pretty good. It startled me a little bit. It didn't feel great, but I wouldn't say I was injured or in a ton of pain. I was shocked. "

....As she was leaving the ice, Benson skated near the boards in front of both benches, which are separated only by a panel of glass located at the center red line.

"All of a sudden, my back got wet," said Benson, who was wearing a standard outfit of pants and top that leaves the midriff area exposed. "I believe one of the Rangers players who was sitting along the wall spit on my back. It had to be on purpose because I wasn't directly in front of anyone to spit and not realize I was there. "

"....All of a sudden, these grown men are hitting Kelli and spitting on me? It was unprofessional, and they shouldn't have done it. We're just there to do our job. "
I give these girls credit, because "unprofessional" wouldn't be the way I would have described what happened if someone spit on me. Are the Rangers fucking serious with this? When asked why he made such a big deal about leaving the crease (and prior to knowing of the girl's allegations) Lundqvist told reporters he likes to stay in the crease to maintain concentration and has never been asked to leave during his prior visits. So that clears up why he prefers to remain in the crease but knocking the fucking squegee out of a girl's hand? Is Lundqvist a fucking 5 year-old? Fortunately for Lundqvist, his behavior was upstaged by his classy mates on the bench. Spitting on a girl? That's a fucking disgrace. What kind of low grade pussy spits on a girl? I can't even get my head around this it pisses me off so much. This is one time the NHL is lucky they are so irrelevant because if this was ANY other relevant sport (including bowling, poker, curling or every other sport that gets better ratings than hockey), this would be front page news and EVERYONE would be talking about it. Instead, it's a mention in the papers. If Chris Simon gets 20+ games for slashing a guy in the neck, whoever spit on this girl should get a fucking lifetime ban. What a worthless waste of fucking air the Rangers are. This is smoking gun proof that the NHL did us a favor by putting this shitstain of brand on the only network shitty enough to broadcast it to all 14 homes.

Baseball and The World As We Know it is About to Change Forever

It's finally here. An event matched in anticipation only by the future release of Guns N' Roses "Chinese Democracy" (and if you haven't read Chuck Klosterman's "review" of the album last April 1, 2006, you just aren't paying close enough attention) will absolutely light the world on fire tonight. Sparks will fly, adrenaline will pump and a gazillion people will be watching. Tonight, Roy confronts Jim about kissing Pam on "The Office." And I for one, can't friggin wait. Also going on today(and I'll get to watch thanks to the new MLB extra innings deal. Coincidence that it falls on the same day Dice-K throws his first pitch? Fat chance.), a pot-bellied japanese man will be throwing 96 mile an hour darts at a triple A lineup in below freezing temperatures. Dice MOTHERFUCKING K! It is going to be magical, and cold. Temps in the low 30's / high 20's. And if you're worried (as I am) that the temperature will have any effect on Dice-K's ability to get a feel for the ball, Tito Francona is here to calm everyone's nerves:
"We thought about talking to him about it, but we hate to put that in his head," said Francona. "They have to have some cold weather over there. They've got snow-covered mountains."
Whew! That makes me feel better. Since Shaughnessy failed to give any context for the quote, I'm going to assume Tito was having a little fun with us. And if he wasn't, someone may want to point out to him that Tanzania has a snow covered mountain too and it's 90 degrees there today (For more fun facts about the world's climate, check out Fortunately, pitching coach John Farrell took the time to allay the cold temps concerns:
Matsuzaka pitched in a dome with the Seibu Lions. And Sox pitching coach John Farrell reminded us, "The pitcher is always the warmest guy in the ballpark."
That doesn't make any sense, but since it reeks of an old baseball maxim I'm gonna roll with it. More power to ya Dice. I can't friggin wait.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Olindo Mare > Trent Green?

The Dolphins today continued their wheeling and dealing ways this offseason by trading Kicker Olindo Mare for a 6th round pick. The story isn't all that remarkable in and of itself. Mare is a serviceable kicker who has been in the league for a decade and spent that entire time with the Dolphins. The Dolphins acquired Jay Feely and Mare wasn't needed. OK, I'm with you so far. But a 6th round pick? Big Daddy Dan Wilkinson was just traded for a 6th round pick (though he never showed so that fell through) and the going rate for two-time Pro-bowler Trent Green is a 7th rounder. Sure I understand that money is a consideration and kickers don't hit the cap as hard, but at the end of the day is it me or does that seem like a little much for a ten year veteran kicker? Especially in the situation the Dolphins face. The Dolphins were kind of held hostage here with two kickers. Wouldn't they just have released him regardless of the penalty? And is Mare so good that the Saints just had to grab him before he hit the open market? I mean Shannon Sharpe, Terrell Davis and Tom Brady were taken in the sixth round or later. And shouldn't the Saints more than than most teams understand the value of a later round pick after what Colston did this year? Maybe I'm overreacting (clearly as I just wrote a couple hundred words about a kicker) but a 6th round pick for Mare? Not impressed.

"All I did was take cash." That's it?

Lost in the shuffle of Rhett Bomar admitting to taking money for not working at a Norman Oklahoma car dealership and his subsequent dismissal from school was the dismissal of offensive lineman JD Quinn for the same infractions (JD was actually paid more money than Bomar). Quinn doesn't agree that taking money from a booster for not doing anything is worse than smoking hash or almost killing your teammate in a car accident then driving your destroyed car home and leaving him in the front seat all the while assuming he's dead. Ever the Sociology major, Quinn analyzes the infractions within the framework of a retributive theory of punishment (punishment fits the crime sort of thing):

"All I did was take cash," Quinn said. "I didn't break any laws and I get kicked off the team, but there's people on the team that are breaking laws and failing drug tests and stuff like that, and there's nobody getting kicked off the team for that type of stuff."
Now Quinn may have a point that taking money from a booster isn't "illegal" in the context of penal law while purchasing narcotics is, but I think he's missing the point. He knew that taking money was against the rules in the same way a person knows that buying drugs is against the rules. What he did was deceitful and in terms of character I'd argue that taking money in violation of NCAA rules violations is every bit as bad as failing the Ol' pee test. But what was worse was his throwing his now former teammates under the bus when he said "there's people on the team that are breaking laws and failing drug tests and stuff like that," only later backpedaling from that statement by declaring that he meant that "he heard" that people "around the country" were breaking laws and failing drug tests. Sure. He was just commenting on the nation's struggle with drug offenders and the fight against crime. At least if this football thing doesn't work out, he can always fall back on being a friggin retard.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Some Ground Rules

I should have known better than to post a piece questioning the hype surrounding an Ohio State player (a sentiment shared by several others). For a site that may have maxed out its potential with a picture of fat Maradona, I never really anticipated getting a bunch of comments for two paragraphs about Greg Oden. But I'm glad because it got me thinking about what it is I'm trying to achieve here. So I'm going to set some commenting "Ground Rules" on the off-chance that people feel like commenting about future items. These rules will be loosely enforced, if at all, and will be forever posted on the right side of this space so you can read and re-read them at your leisure. So here they are. The Commenting Ground Rules for "The Smittblog":

1. Thank You
Thank you for taking the time to comment. Seriously. I write this blog for my own amusement and regardless of what you write, I appreciate the time.

2. Content
Be funny, preferably hilarious. More than anything, just don't take yourself too seriously because no matter what you say, I won't.

3. Don't bitch
Don't bitch about the way I write. I write the way I talk. It's fast, sometimes it doesn't make sense and I use curse words a lot. In my everyday speech I use the word "fuck" as kind of a pause the way some people use "uh". I don't curse to get a rise out of people or to make an irrational argument more forceful, I just use it. Though I will say that if you don't think using curse words is an effective writing tool in instances when you're trying to add a little extra "umph" to your point, compare these two phrases and you tell me which one is more effective in getting my point across:

Do you not see the irony in you posting a comment declaring my analysis unintelligent despite the fact that I used specific examples and qualified my statements while you chose only to cite the brilliant "nuance" of Oden's game without explaining what the heck that nuance was?
Do you not see the irony in you posting a comment declaring my analysis unintelligent despite the fact that I used specific examples and qualified my statements while you chose only to cite the brilliant "nuance" of Oden's game without explaining what the fuck that nuance was, dickhead?

If my writing style offends your puritanical sensibilities, fuck off.

4. Keep commenting
Don't let any of the rules stop you from posting anything. I'd much prefer comments calling me an asshole than no comments at all.

5. Email me with legitimate gripes
Lastly, if you have a legitimate gripe about something I write or have a suggestion about changing something, email me at as opposed to posting your gripe in a comment. It just doesn't make for good conversation.

You want to know why Sox fans are crazy? Read today's Globe

EZ with the indoor shades, Corey Hart

Sox fans are universally regarded as crazy, whiny, little bitches, for the most part. They always assume the worst, complain even when things are going well and have a serious inferiority complex due to the successes of the team that resides a couple parallels south of them and plays in a 55,000 seat urinal. And to be honest, the Sox fan stereotype is largely true. Even during this stretch of success, it's been so ingrained in our being to be miserable that we have a hard time shaking it. I'd like to believe that it's softened to a degree thanks to the 2004 Yanks choke and to a lesser degree the World Series victory but it's a hard persona to shake. It's especially hard when the old hacks at the Globe continue to spew absurd venom and do their level best to incite rage amongst the ranks of their loyal readers. In Today's Globe, Dan Shaughnessy--a guy who would write a negative piece if Bin Laden was captured--writes a completely insane article about Schilling and the Sox after ONE FRICKING GAME! Here are a couple snippets:
"Worse than Ellen DeGeneres's first night hosting the Oscars. Worse than Arsenio Hall's first shot at late-night television. Worse than Patriots coach Clive Rush's first press conference, when he was nearly electrocuted."

"....after all the hype and hysteria that accompanied the start of this season, it was somewhat shocking to see the team with the $58 million payroll -- a team that lost 100 games in four of the last five seasons -- croaking the team with the $145.7 million payroll."

"Facing the widely mocked Gil Meche ($55 million over five years?), the Red Sox lineup was hardly the relentless run-producing machine that Theo and the Minions envisioned when they hovered over their computers during the wild-spending winter."
First, we need to clear something up about Arsenio. Unless Shaughnessy knows something I don't, Arsenio's "first shot at late-night television" was also his last. Don't tease me, Dan. Second (lastly), can we take it easy? Was there really "hysteria" for the opening of the season and was a opening day loss to the Royals really "shocking" and does the phrase "croaking the team" really making any sense? Am I happy with the results? Not really, but unlike what Dan wants to believe, I didn't really think too much about it. It's not 1987 anymore, Dan. In 2007, Bucky Dent, Bill Buckner and Aaron Boone inspire a curse word followed by a coy smile because those memories, while painful, have to a large degree been erased. Dent, Buckner and Boone used to define "Red Sox Nation" (I hate that fucking phrase). I think we've moved on. They just aren't relevant any longer. And you know what Dan, neither are you.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Tim Hardaway Hates the NFC

Rumor has it that one of the people in the above video is gay. Can you guess which one? (Ok, maybe two people in this video are gay)

The New York Daily News "reports" this little nugget in its gossip section:
Which current NFL player is telling pals he is seriously considering coming out of the closet while he's still on his NFC team?
Who could it possibly be? Given that it's a New York paper, you'd suppose it'd be a Jet or Giant, right? I don't want to get too far ahead of myself but given what his ex-wife told ABC's The View last year ("Michael moved into Ian's one-bedroom apartment. And you can say an alternative lifestyle sprouted."), combined with the obvious chemistry between the two fellas in the above video.... I'm just saying....

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Greg Oden is great? Explain to me why

For me, this picture perfectly sums up Greg Oden's game

Show me something, anything for cripes sake. Greg Oden is a talented player. He can shoot with both hands (from the free throw line in particular, if you hadn't heard. Thank you Billy Packer. I was not aware because I didn't hear you first 7,000 fucking times.). His range is 10 feet at best. I wouldn't guard him if he were standing with the ball on the foul line. He seems fairly athletic for a man of his size. Every now and again he even runs all the way down the court. He can sometimes gain perfect position on the block. When he gets the ball in the low block, scoring is second nature. He can also play D when his man keeps him inside. He can do all of these things. But from what I've seen, he can't do any of them for 3 minutes straight. Don't let anyone fool you, the guy's not lazy. He just gets lost sometimes. He has a tendency to follow his man to the high post and not rotate down even when the ball is swung to the opposite side or someone begins to penetrate. He commits dumb fouls. Really dumb fouls. And he doesn't change his play to reflect the manner in which the game is being called. And don't give me this shit that the refs should give him the benefit of the doubt in the way they do Shaq. They already do. The moving pick against Georgetow WAS a moving pick. He jammed his hip out and clipped the guy like he was doing the Electric Slide. The Green "charge" was questionable, but after he got called for it, he did the EXACT same thing in the second half with 3 fouls! Fortunately for him, Green went for the steal instead of establishing position and taking the charge. His fouls were cheap and stupid (though not as bad as Hibbert's slaps) and NONE of them were hustle fouls or a result of overaggressive and hard play. He seems to tire much more easily than guys one inch shorter than him (Noah, Horford) and he cannot pass the ball worth a lick, though in his defense he is not asked to very often. Worst of all, he just doesn't really care. I hate to gauge people like this in the same way we do political candidates we see on TV for 30 seconds at a time, but I haven't seen any desire on the court whatsoever. I feel like Oden would have reacted the same way had they won or lost, and that's troubling. Say what you will about Noah, but no one wants to win more than he does (and I hate the motherfucker). For me it comes down to this: What has Greg Oden done to earn such high praise? This team beat Georgetown without him and likely would have had he not even been on the team. What the F is so great about Greg Oden? I really want an answer because I don't see it. Why is he better than Andrew Bogut was when he was coming out? Why wouldn't I take the "Elton Brand clone" Al Horford over Oden without even really thinking too hard about it? Other than a warm body in the middle, what does Oden give that team? Why wouldn't they be better off with Shawn Bradley or Gheorghe Muresan? I've never seen Oden take over a game, or even try to. I've never seen him ask for the ball or D up a guy like he was intent on shutting him down. I don't care about his demeanor, but I do care about his passion and performance. I've been waiting for Greg Oden to live up to the hype now for about a dozen games that I've actually seen him play. And it leaves me wondering if we'll be waiting for him to take over in the NBA in the same way we waited for Olowokandi, Eric Lindros, Drew Henson or every other player with world class skill who never developed the desire to be great. If Greg Oden is so fucking good, why is he playing so fucking bad? Explain that to me, because I honestly can't figure it out.

More Breaking News: Michael Kay is a Yankee Fanboy

Michael Kay is a Duke fan? Shocker. What you can't see is Kay's Notre Dame board shorts, Dallas Cowboy socks and Man. U. flip flops.

As previously mentioned, I listen to a TON of sports talk radio. Most of the stuff I listen to is nationally syndicated but there is one local show that I will not miss: The Michael Kay show. Kay is the broadcast face/voice of the Yankees on the YES network. He's always professional and Yankee leaning during the broadcast but doesn't take away from the viewing experience. His presentation is night and day from the mad cap routine of Remy and Orsillo on NESN, who spend at least an inning per night cracking up without calling a single on-field play. But on the radio, Kay is much different. He lightens up a ton and is helped along by some very good comedic foils in Don LeGreca and Joey Salvia. Together they put together about as entertaining a couple of hours of radio as there is. What I like best about Kay is that most of his stuff is purely opinion based. He'll come on and discuss his opinion citing observation, the occassional stat and then poll the room to see what the other guys think. He then throws it to the viewers who (unlike their WFAN counerparts) get a chance to speak. Kay usually doesn't take himself all that seriously and comes off as kind of an "everyman" crossed with a dirty old man and a touch of typical New Yorker attitude. By and large, his show is eminently listendable, even for a Sox fan. There is one subject, however, that Kay does take a seriously and gets a wee bit sensitive about. Anytime her is called a Yankee homer, he goes bananas. Kay takes a ton of pride in the appearance of objectivity on his radio show. To his credit, he usually comes off as only mildly pro-Yanks and does a fairly good job of offering negative as well as positive observations about where the Yanks may be headed. There are times you almost forget he's a complete Yankee homer. And then there are days like Tuesday when he puts his Yankee jockstrap on a little too tight and things go haywire.

On Tuesday's show, Kay decided to respond to the multitude of pundits who picked the Red Sox to win the AL East over the Yanks (and some who picked the Yanks to miss the playoffs altogether. A thought so pleasant my mind has trouble even processing the possibility.). First, I should say that I think the Yanks will finish ahead of the Sox and the Sox will likely miss the playoffs because the Twins or ChiSox will win too many games. As for Kay, he started by saying that he thought it ridiculous that people would even consider that the Sox are better than the Yanks this year. He then began comparing the teams and made his argument by citing a laundry list of reasons why the Yanks will finish ahead of the Sox. This is where things got weird for me. Some of these I kinda agree with, others I'm a little skeptical of and still others are just plain wrong. I thought I'd take the time to go through them a one-by-one and voice my concerns.

1. Doug Mientkiewicz is not a hole in the yanks lineup
Kay went through the lineups and asked where the hole in the Yanks lineup. He compared it to a Red Sox lineup that apparently looks like the Bengals secondary (I'll address the Sox lineup holes later). He concluded that the Yanks have no holes in their lineup. Erroneous. Mientalphabet is perhaps the worst offensive first baseman in baseball. He didn't rank in the top 30 for any positive hitting statistic last year amongst first basemen. Over the last 3 years, he's hitting .230 against the AL East. I think everyone can agree that he's horrible. This is probably the reason that Josh Phelps is starting ahead of him tomorrow, making the point about holes in the Yank lineup moot because Phelps can rake. The larger point is that Kay would have gained more credibility had he conceded that Mientalphabet is the hole and moved on. He didn't.

2. The Red Sox lineup is full of holes, namely Crisp, Varitek & Pedroia
Let me start by saying that I have no idea what to expect out of Tek or Crisp, so I'm not going to defend them. I'll say that I'm fine with Crisp playing crappy because I want to usher in the Jacoby Ellsbury experience as soon as possible. Tek is a whole 'nother ballgame. They don't need Tek to be great, they just need .250 and a .350 OBP, that's it (that'd be a miracle). But to knock Pedroia? Why? I'd circle Pedroia as a question mark for sure, but a hole? Kay supported this assertion by correctly noting Pedroia hit .200 in the majors last year. What he failed to mention is that it was over the course of 31 games and 89 ABs as the Sox nosedived out of playoff contention last year. I don't say that to make excuses for him, just to point it out (and maybe to offer some context). To gain a better feel for how relevant those numbers are, let's look at Robby's Cano's first 89 ABs. Cano was hitting a stout .245 over his first 89 ABs in a better lineup in 2005 when he was first called up. Not only that, but Cano struck out 13 times over those first 89 ABs and only walked 3 times. Pedroia struck out half as much and had twice as many walks. Through his amateur and minor league career, Pedroia's never hit below .300 when given 100 or more ABs and he K's about half as many times as he draws walks. Don't get me wrong here, Pedroia has proven nothing and is a question mark for sure. His progress will go a long way towards determing the fate of the Sox this season. To argue he's a "hole" in the lineup in the number 9 slot and then say that Doug Mientkiewicz is not? Let's be reasonable.

3. Julio Lugo = 35-40 errors
Kay said Julio Lugo could make 35-40 errors this season. Really? Is that even possible? It's been almost a decade since the last player had 35 errors. Julio Lugo is not a great defensive shorstop by any stretch of the imagination. He gets to a lot of balls but his throwing mechanics border on shameful. That being said, the most errors he's ever had in a season is 25. Over the 150+ games he'll play this year, he'll likely get close to that again. Only one player in the last 5 years has even come close to 35 errors--Aramis Ramirez in 2003 with 33. The Sox have a solid backup in Alex Cora and if Lugo struggles that severely on D, it's Cora's show. If he had just said that Lugo is a downgrade from Gold Glover Alex Gonzales, I'm on board 100%, but he was on a roll I guess.

3. Johnny Damon will hit 30 home runs this year
When I first heard this I was shocked. 30? That's Giambi territory. I checked the stats and realized that Damon had hit 24 (I thought it was closer to 20) last year and was hurt most of it. So I guess I'm less shocked than I was initially. The fact remains that Damon's hit more than 20 home runs only twice in his career and he's not a 27 year-old 3-hole guy. He's a leadoff man who's turning 33 this year, misses ten games due to injuries every year and plays the other 150 hurt. I like Damon and love how hard he plays, but if he hits 30 home runs this year I'll walk down Broadway nude and dish out free reach arounds.

4. Yanks bullpen is light years better than the Sox
With apologies to Brian Bruney and Jeff Karstens, how the F is the Yankees bullpen that much better than the Sox. I'm not blaming Kay solely for this one. Everyone is saying it, but then they aren't explaining why the Sox bullpen is so bad. The Sox have Brendan Donnelly, J.C. Romero, Okajima, Lopez, Pineiro and long-man Kyle Snyder, with Papelbon closing. Of course Mo is light years better than Papelbon, but how is the combo of Farnswoth, Proctor, Meyers, Vizcaino and whatever other scrub they go to next any better than what the Sox are throwing out there? Meyers is a one hitter guy and he can't get that one hitter out (Ortiz says hello). Kyle Snyder can pitch 5 innings out of the pen if necessary while Scott Proctor was so overused last year that while warming up for a game against the Orioles his arm actually flew into dead yankee alley, or whatever it's called back there. Let's reserve judgment on this one. Both the Yankees and Red Sox have bullpen question marks. Fair?

5. At 35 years old, Posada's production has not and will not drop off
This will be short. Posada had a great bounce back year last year after it looked like his productivity was going downhill quickly. He would defy the odds by producing in that manner again. Kay may be right here.

6. The problems with the Yanks rotation are overexaggerated
Holy shit. This one made me laugh out loud. Ok Michael, how would you characterize the Yanks rotation? Solid? Stable? How about Clusterfuck? So far, they lost their best starter for a month due to a hamstring injury (and that's if they don't panic and bring him back too soon when they fall into 3rd place going into May), they have two starters on the downside of their careers who are both coming into the season with significant injury concerns in Mussina and Pettitte, their uber-prospect looked shaken when he realized that you can't just throw a flat 97 mph fastball past a major leaguer and now he's not even the first pitcher they'd call up if necessary, and the last time they're opening day pitcher pitched in a major league game Brad and Jennifer were still married. I've got a question: What is positive about this staff? Name one thing. I'll even give you a minute... ready? I didn't think so. If the Sox lineup has holes, then the Yankees' rotation is a hole. One giant stinking septic tank of a hole.

7. Schilling can't pitch late into games anymore
This one is comical. First, Schilling hasn't pitched fewer than 5 innings in any game he started since May of 2000. That's the longest such streak in the majors. Of his 31 starts last year, Schilling pitched 7 innings or more 17 times. Comparing that rate to some of the other horses from last year: Wang 19, Mussina 14, Bonderman 18, Sabathia 18; he doesn't look half bad. Is he the 9 innings and 130 pitch guy he was even 3 years ago? Nope. Is he still the guy who'll get you into the 8th and ninth inning with a lead and very few walks, most likely.

As I said above, I like Michael Kay a lot. Amongst his New York based contemporaries, he's a breath of fresh air and about as down to earth a radio host there is available (yeah, that's how bad it is). What I don't like is when shots in the dark like these are taken in order to fire up his core group of listeners who are just itching to find a reason to undercut all these predictions that do not have their Yanks in first. Kay didn't need to go this route. His gut feeling that the Yanks have it what it takes was enough to carry the show and foster discussion. Creating absurd projections is not Kay's forte and it only undermined his credibility on the matter. It's shame too because Vinny and Tony are going to be sitting at some bar in Staten Island citing Kay's "projections" and they're going to get laughed at by anyone who has a clue. If Kay's point was to make Vinny and Tony look like assholes, mission accomplished. To me, that just seems mean.