Friday, July 6, 2007

Eric Byrnes Is A Media Whore

If McCovey Cove was stocked with these guys, the All-Star Game would actually be worth watching.

You know what I was thinking the other day? I just can't get enough of Eric Byrnes' wacky on-air personality. Well, apparently Fox was thinking the same thing. They've decided to place Byrnes in a Kayak in McCovery Cove with all the other yahoos during the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby:
Arizona Diamondback outfielder and MLB on FOX contributor Eric Byrnes may not have been selected to the National League All-Star roster this year but the Bay Area native is still heading to AT&T Park and may have the best seat in the house for all the festivities.

Byrnes joins FOX's All-Star Game broadcast team and will be stationed in a kayak in McCovey Cove during the game broadcast as he talks to fans and gives viewers the sights and sounds from outside one of baseball's most picturesque stadiums.
I'll be honest that while I don't like Eric Byrnes' on-field play because he dives at any ball within ten yards of him whether it's easily catchable or he has no shot at it, I do like his baseball "analyst" personality. He really lightens up the atmosphere around Kevin Kennedy and that other tramp. That being said, I could think of nothing funnier than a home run flying over the right field wall and plunking Eric Byrnes right in his misshapen head. And I applaud Fox for creating that opportunity.

JP Ricciardi Needs To Learn The Difference Between "Good Free Agent Signings" And "Signing A Bunch of Injury Prone Disasters"

JP Ricciardi is very familiar with this fella.

Let me pose this question to the audience at large: If you are buying real estate in Southern California and you look at some beautiful hillside property in Palmdale, CA, right next to the San Andreas fault, and the price seems a little more reasonable because of the history of earthquakes in the area but the upside is great because it's a great view and an up and coming real estate market, and you buy it; if there is an earthquake the following year and your house is destroyed, do you blame yourself for assuming the risk? Or do you blame the house for not being strong enough or mother nature for being so unpredictable? If you're JP Ricciardi, you blame everyone but yourself.

Yesterday, on Toronto's WFAN 590am, Blue Jay's GM JP Ricciardi had the balls to suggest to the folks in radio land that AJ Burnett's injuries were all in his head and he just needs to get over it and start pitching:
"I don't know if it's psychological, I don't know if it's just he gets to a point he feels something and he's been so scarred by being hurt so many times that he just backs off. But I think he's going to have to get over that hump at some point and just maybe pitch through some pain or realize what the difference is between really being hurt and not being hurt."
It seems that JP is calling Burnett a pussy. Ricciardi I can't say I necessarily disagree, but I do disagree with the idea of Burnett not realizing the difference between "really being hurt" and "being hurt" where you can just pitch through it. But then Ricciardi went on to say if he knew in 2005 when he signed Burnett what he knows now, he would not have signed him. What about Burnett has changed since then? Check out this article from May of 2003 regarding Burnett's injury history:
If you play fantasy baseball, you are most likely familiar with Dr. James Andrews, and if you are, you also know that you most assuredly do not want any of your players associated with him. It's nothing against Andrews, one of the finest and most well respected sports physicians in the world. Unfortunately, his name is synonymous with serious injuries, such as the increasingly common "Tommy John" surgery.

It was reported on April 28 that oft-injured Marlins starting pitcher A.J. Burnett would undergo elbow surgery to help repair a torn ligament. A day later Florida placed him on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 26. After initial doubts as to whether reconstructive surgery would be required, Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery made famous by former All-Star hurler Tommy John on April 29. Andrews had discovered that the ulnar collateral ligament in Burnett's arm was fully torn. Upon hearing the unfortunate news Marlins manager Jeff Torberg summed up his thoughts by remarking, "Sick, just sick."

Although considered by many to be injury-prone, this will easily be Burnett's most difficult injury to overcome to date. He is expected to miss 12-18 months...

Burnett's final start came April 25 at home against St. Louis... Subsequent to the game however, he noticed inflexibility and inflammation in his elbow. This was a red flag for Burnett, who despite staying virtually injury-free in 2002, had a history of recent troubles staying healthy. A similar injury occurred in 2001 when he missed almost a month in September because of inflammation in his elbow.

....he [Burnett] did miss 29 games in 2001 due to a broken right foot, Burnett made an impression on the Marlins by winning 11 games with a 4.06 ERA.

However, progression after "Tommy John" surgery does vary, and Burnett is a young, strong, hard-working pitcher. Notable success stories of late after having the surgery include Kerry Wood of the Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Morris.
So four years ago, as this article suggests, AJ Burnett was considered injury prone BEFORE HE BLEW OUT HIS ELBOW AND HAD TOMMY JOHN SURGERY. And now, JP Ricciardi is blaming Burnett for not pitching through pain. Are you fucking kidding me? JP, YOU FUCKING SIGNED THIS GUY WHEN YOU KNEW HE WAS A HUGE injury risk. So you've got some big fucking balls to blame him for being injured (or thinking he's injured). You bought the house on the hill in the earthquake zone. That house is probably not salvageable no matter how much you yell at it or mother nature. YOU took the gamble and YOU lost. Maybe it's time for YOU to move on.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Say Goodbye To The Most Dominant Athlete In The History of Video Gaming

"The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.” - Benjamin Disraeli.

With the announcement today that Jeremy Roenick is hanging up the skates, people were probably left with a complex set of emotions about how they will best remember Jeremy and what will be his ultimate legacy. As a modern day athlete, the name "Jeremy Roenick" conjures a multitude of emotions. His more public sports image is that of the outspoken and brash American hockey star who led some very good Blackhawks teams into the playoffs and nearly to a much longed-for Stanley Cup who, along with Modano, was the face of American-born hockey for about 15 years but one who was never the best player in the league and never had enough to propel his team to a championship. More recently with injuries impacting his on-ice performance, he let his talking do the talking (specifically he told the fans to kiss his ass during the lockout) and the public began to turn on the once beloved star. It was a sad turn of events that may ultimately be his lasting legacy considering he never won a Cup and didn't play on one team long enough to develop an enduring "in jersey" legacy for fans to hold onto. But the other side of the Jeremy Roenick is the side the I will remember best. This was the guy who ran over defenders, was faster than everyone on the ice and deeked out goalies so badly that they would dive the wrong way as he went top shelf over and over and over again. He had the ability to score upwards of 18 goals a game in a contest consisting of 3 five minute periods. You may also remember this Jeremy Roenick. This was Jeremy Roenick of Sega Hockey '93.

Immortalized by Vince Vaughn in the 1996 film Swingers, Jeremy Roenick's Sega Hockey personality was by far the most dominant force in the history of video gaming (for a more detailed look at the top 10 video game athletes, read this). Better than Bo Jackson, Ronnie Lott or LT in Tecmo Bowl, more dominating than Vince Coleman on the basepaths of RBI baseball and more impressive than doing the javelin throw on "Track & Field" with the Turbo button. It wasn't that Roenick had the best talent numbers (speed, checking, shot power, etc.) in that game (I believe those belonged to Fedorov) or that there was some abnormal cheat written into the code like LT's abilities to block every kick in Tecmo Bowl, there was just something about Roenick that allowed him to slice throw the defense, run over defenders and deek the goalie on almost every occasion. There was nothing like it in the game (In fact, secretly, the second best player in the entire game was Petr Klima of the Oilers followed closely by Rosie Ruzicka of the B's. Klima was just a little more lithe than Roenick and a good defender like Chelios really gave him a hard time. But that's another discussion for another time...). Any time Roenick won the faceoff, it was almost a certain goal. He was unstoppable. My friends and I spent countless nights trying to solve the Roenick riddle and figure out the best way to defend against his otherwordly skillset to no avail. After awhile, in the summer of 1999 I believe, no one would play the game if one of the teams was the Blackhawks because it was just too unfair (which is when I discovered Petr Klima's talents). It just wasn't fun anymore. He became something of a legend and instead of watching him play on the smallscreen, we told stories about the times he played and the things he did. It's something in 20+ years of athletic video gaming that I'd never experienced before or since.

So when people step back and remember Jeremy Roenick the player, you'll have to excuse me if I don't shed a tear for Roenick or get into an argument about his controversial exit from the game. His place in history for me is well-settled. For me, Roenick retired in the summer of 1999. And I'll already remember him as the greatest force in the history of video gaming.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

And Finally, A Solid Yankee Joke

This joke is not mine and I'm not 100% sure where I got it. If someone would like to lay claim to it, I'd be happy to give them credit. I really enjoy it:

What do your mother and the Yankees have in common?

They both get paid a ton to suck dick.

Rainy 4th Of July Got You Down?

With many of the Nation's major cities dealing with rain or oppressive heat, the Smittblog found something that can both cure your boredom and allow you to escape the heat. Curling. If you're not familiar with it, essentially it's shuffleboard on ice. And if you think that sounds lame, this commercial should have singing a different tune.

Hey! Old Balls In The Media! I Don't Give A Shit About Barry Bonds

I know I should be all worked up about this, Jay... but I'm just not.

I'm a little late to the show with this but I just need to put my two cents in about it. After Barry got his late surge of votes for the MLB All-Star voting, the predictable crew of pilers on raised the predictable fuss about Barry making the All-Star Team (See eg Mariotti's ironically titled piece "One Giant Contradiction"). Most raised the issue that when polled, about 50% of fans are rooting against Bonds breaking the home run mark. They find it strange that despite this distaste for Bonds, he somehow has a strong enough fan base to make a late surge into the starting lineup of the All-Star voting and recently he seems to be garnering much less negative reaction from fans. Recently in Boston, a place Barry had previously said was too racist for him to feel comfortable playing, the fans gave him a surprisingly mixed reception that was borderline cordial. The fan's reaction almost sent Dan Shaughnessy into an early grave. So what gives? Why all of the sudden has the sentiment towards Bonds if not changed, at least softened? Well I can only speak for myself but I can think of two reasons: 1. This is a media fueled frenzy and some of these assholes are so wound up about it that I'd rather Bonds win than those assholes who write negative shit about him; and 2. The "Steroid Era" obscures every stat. Why should I feel any differently about what Bonds is doing than I feel about what Clemens, Manny or A-Rod is doing? So rather than try and figure it out, I just assume everyone cheated and I've moved on.

1. The Media Has Killed This Story For Me
When the whole Balco thing came out, I was irate about Bonds and anyone who had been involved in it. It was so frustrating to think that guys like Bonds and Giambi were getting big and putting up big numbers while other more honorable guys were losing their jobs. But then it became a talking point every single day and it gave holier than thou pricks like Mariotti, Lupica and Ryan material for any time they woke up too late and couldn't think of anything relevant to print. As if these fucking pricks wouldn't have jumped to the front of the line and knocked over grandmas and small children to get their hands on a drug that would make them write better and earn them 5 times what they could make without it (for all of our sakes, I hope this drug is discovered). So as I was forced to listen to more and more about it, I cared less and less about it. And finally, over the course of this year, I hit my breaking point. I began to ask, why do these guys care so much? Why do they hang Bonds out to dry, citing his head size, shoe size and other such circumstantial evidence yet Clemens gets a pass and guys like Adrian Beltre blow up and hit 48 home runs one year and you don't hear boo about it. I mean, no one mentions that Nomar showed up on the cover of SI a couple years ago looking like Lou Ferrigno and subsequently broke down with a series of injuries, never to perform to that level since they started testing. Are you gonna tell me that Nomar wasn't juicing? If you continually rake someone over the coals for circumstantial evidence and then the same evidence is presented for a bevy of other athletes but you make excuses for those athletes and not Bonds, you begin to lose my faith that you are reporting objectively.

And then the Canseco thing came out. The media (and Curt Schilling) told us to discount Canseco's story. He was a liar and an idiot. Turns out he was the only one telling the truth. And then it turned out that YOU (the media) knew about this all along and lied about Canseco's stories because you wanted to stay in accordance with the "clubhouse code." And now all those same media idiots are saying "yeah, I saw stuff go on and I at the very least felt something was up, but I didn't know enough to say for sure." Oh, but you're SURE that you know enough about Bonds to come to conclusions about him.

But for me, what put this whole situation over the edge was the media's reaction to Curt Schilling's remarks. I wrote about this before, but when Schilling said Bonds had admitted to using steroids, every scribe in the land KILLED him for it. "Bonds has never admitted" to using steroids and "how irresponsible for Schilling to say such things." These are the same people saying that Bonds chase of the home run crown is a disgrace and the fans are idiots for voting this "cheater" into the all-star game. But when they are asked how they "know" that Bonds has used steroids, the say, "oh, I know." Their evidence: Head size, stats, production at Bonds age and leaked grand jury testimony that Schilling was talking about but that they can't cite for certain. So it's more responsible to call Bonds a cheater but give crappy evidence as to why than to cite Grand Jury testimony that has never been disputed. Here's an idea: When you come to conclusions based on conjecture and speculation, you cannot then criticize someone else for doing the same fucking thing.

2. It's The Steroid Era. I'm Cool With It. Move on.
When they kill Bonds for this, what do they want my reaction to be. Anger? Sadness? He's not on my team. He's not breaking a record I give a shit about. He's not impacting the playoffs in any way. Why should I care? If we are to believe everything we read, then all three of the guys who broke Maris's record were on juice when they did it. Ok, what does that suggest about everyone else? Does that mean that Pedro's 1999 and 2000 season were steroid fueled? What about Ichiro breaking the single season hits record? And how far does this go back? With Rickey Hendersons's checkered past, aren't all of his stolen base records suspect? And don't even get me started on Clemens. If we are using circumstantial evidence, we have a whistleblower on Clemens and the fact that the guy's pitching 93mph at 70 years-old. But rather than dwell on these things, I just don't care. I sleep fine believing that everyone was on something. Though in Manny Ramirez's case, I'm assuming he was on Nitrous, so we may have to put an asterisk next to his name to indicate how amazing his achievements have been despite his use of drugs. So who cares if these guys are breaking records. I'm over it. I watch the game to watch my team win. If anything, it's given me more of an appreciation for my team and less focus on the stats of the league leaders. It's more fun for me now. Plus, no one has ever explained to me what exactly steroids does that makes players so much better. I mean, Alex Sanchez took steroids and he sucked dick. It's my understanding that they were used to help players recover from injury more quickly. If that's the case, maybe we want to start looking into positive uses for these things. But if it's true that needle in the butt steroids gives you some percentage advantage, I want someone to explain to me why this is any different than a player getting Tommy John surgery and gaining 2mph on his fastball. Are we going to have to look back on the TJ era? Unless the effect of steroids is definitively quantifiable, I don't want to be bothered by it. If the problem is some kind of moral opposition to doing illegal stuff, then maybe you want to ask every player in the 80's about the nose candy being passed around. We'd break the "shift-8" key just looking at the Mets roster in the 80's.

Lastly, I'm not going to pretend that I'm a Bonds defender or that I'm happy with what's going on or has gone on. I just don't care anymore. And more than anything, I don't want to be told that I should.

It's Time To Move Wimbledon

According to, Wimbledon, UK, averages 1.80 inches of rain in the month of July. These two would beg to differ*.

As much as I enjoy watching replays of last year's Wimbledon Tennis Tournament while waiting to watch Federer play at 7am or waiting 3 hours between points for Nicole Vaidisova to upset Mr. Amelie Mauresmo and her penis, I'd like the tournament to be a little more cohesive. By that I mean I'd like for it not to rain every FUCKING TEN MINUTES!

To be honest, I don't particularly care about Wimbledon anymore. I used to be a pretty serious tennis fan when the field was filled with good players like Becker, Lendl and Chang. Today, other than watching Federer, I find tennis to be largely unwatchable. Even the girls draw doesn't really do it for me. Yeah, Sharapova's pretty good looking in a spindly eastern european kind of way, but the way she whines like a little bitch the entire match is not exactly the most attractive thing I've ever seen. I wish someone would just crush a ball and hit her right in the frickin throat, forcing her to make commercials for cigarettes like that freaky Mexican dude. But enough about that. Because it is such an event, I find myself drawn to it in the same way I watch the Indy 500. It's one of those "must see" events and if you like sports, you watch it. So my biggest gripe about the event is that you can't just "watch it" because the weather in Wimbledon is fucking horrendous. A good day in Wimbledon in July is 59 degrees with a light drizzle. Why do they insist on playing the marquee event for the sport in such a shitty location? Why not move it to someplace where it is temperate and never rains in July? Ironically, that place is Seattle, Wa.

Unlike the other 11 months of the year, it NEVER rains in Seattle in the month of July. In fact, it's one of the most beautiful places in the world for that month. Clear skies, green grass, snow-capped mountains in the distance and lacking any premiere sporting event to give it competition. Look at the fricking 10 day forecast for Seattle. Seattle is just itching for a Mega-Event like Wimbledon. Though you may have to move it to a Seattle suburb like Mercer Island, Bellevue or even Newcastle (that would be ironic) in order to keep the same "Wimbledon-suburban" feel. It only makes sense to hold your premiere sporting event at a time and place that would be blessed with great weather. All the other sports do this. They put their events in places with good weather. The PGA follows the good weather across the country. The tournament formerly known as the Greater Hartford Open isn't played in Connecticut in March, April or October, it's played in June. They don't hold events in Phoenix during monsoon season, they play there in March and February. The problem with London and Wimbledon is that it rains there all the time. That place has the worst weather in the world. Late June/Early July is their driest time, AND IT STILL RAINS EVERYDAY. I'm all about tradition and charm and all that crap. But it's time to give up on Wimbledon. This rain is bringing me down. We need to move it to a place where the fans will enjoy watching both at the event and on TV. And it's 80 degrees and sunny on top of the Space Needle right now.

*Picture may not actually be from Wimbledon

Monday, July 2, 2007

From "The Big Show" To Plinko. Is DP Replacing Bob Barker?

It'll be tough to replace Bob's subtle grace.

Can't get enough of Dan Patrick's smug and holier than thou schtick on SportsCenter, the NBA coverage or his afternoon radio program? Well middle America, you may be in luck! The LA Daily News (a periodically I'm ashamed to say I've never heard of) is reporting that Dan Patrick is on the short list of candidates to replace Bob Barker as the host of "The Price is Right":
Dan Patrick, c'mon down? The price may be right in luring the ESPN/ABC personality and weekday ESPN Radio sports-talk host, who sources insist has been contacted by the producers of the legendary game show "The Price Is Right" and is on the short list of those who'll be asked to take part in auditions to replace the retired Bob Barker, who recently ended his 35-year run. Patrick wouldn't comment on the report except to say: "Len Barker was always one of my favorite pitchers."
I'm not quite sure how to feel about this as I've always thought that the genius of Barker was his ability to get out of the way and let the constestants control the show. I'm not sure Dan was blessed with same on-air humility. But if Dan does take the gig, I think the person to replace him on his radio should be the guy who wrote the article, Tom Hoffarth. The column in which this information was provided features a number of great subtle swipes at ESPN:
In a direct swipe at "Stump the Schwab," TV Guide recently named "The Price Is Right" as the "greatest game show of all time." And don't think Patrick, who once upon a time replaced the legendary Tim Brando on the set of "SportsCenter," doesn't know what he'd be getting into with the plus-sized female 65-plus demographic.

More evidence that ESPN has too much time to fill: Throughout news-dry July, there'll be a daily "SportsCenter" series called "Who's Now," a 32-athlete bracket-style contest, to determine who ultimately has the most juice based on popularity, celebrity, marketability and, perhaps, performance.... Whatta say we sabotage this with a campaign to push Taryne Mowatt?
I think I like your style, Tom.


The front of the shirt says, "If you have blond hair, the third baseman will..."

If there was any doubt about whether or not A-Rod will opt out of his contract and bolt New York and everything that comes with it, after today's front page story about A-Rod's wife's t-shirt in the Post, the odds have officially been pulled from the board in Vegas. As seen in the photograph above, A-Rod's wife Cynthia Rodriguez wore a shirt to Yankee stadium with the phrase "Fuck You" on it. And either some now wealthy fan or a Post photographer who was really on the ball snapped a couple pictures of it. This is not going to make the ribosomes very happy. It's one thing to take pictures of A-Rod and his mistress going out to strip clubs and back to his hotel room, I mean, that's just journalism. But when you are snapping pictures of A-Rod's wife and then putting them on the front page of the City's most widely read tabloid*, things may have officially gotten out of hand. But while the overriding story may be the effect this media coverage has on A-Rod's stay in NYC, my favorite part about this whole thing is the reaction from the fans interviewed for the story. Some of them sound legitimately shocked that they'd be confronted with curse words while minding their own business in the Bronx:
"[One] father, was so embarrassed, he got up and left and took his son," who appeared to be about 10 years old, a fan said.

"I mean this kid was right in back of Cynthia - his nose must have been about 4 inches away from the words 'F- - - you.' "

Cynthia's F-word faux pas also may have violated Yankee Stadium policy.

The team's policy prohibits any banners or signs that are not in "good taste" and also warns that security guards will eject any guests "using foul language" or "making obscene gestures."
Yeah, who expects to go to Yankee stadium and have to deal with foul language....

*The Daily News disputes the "most widely read tabloid" contention.