Saturday, April 26, 2008

Max Kellerman Pilfers The Sports Guy's Idea, Page 6 Eats It Right Up

Sadly, I don't think Max Kellerman fears prosecution as intra-ESPN theft is a victimless crime.

I do not like Max Kellerman. I don't like his radio program or his overly precise consonant annunciation (if you listen to his radio commercials, you know what I'm talking about) and I especially don't like that he sipped the "Boeheim" shot (5 parts vodka, 1 part orange soda in a tumbler) we bought him at Rathbones only to leave it unfinished (and later laughed at me when I drunkenly suggested that the Blue Jays would win a pennant in the next 4 years, fucking prick). When his show comes on 1050am radio at 10am every morning, I turn the radio off and switch to the webcast of Cowherd's show out of Austin, Texas. For some reason I derive great joy from making this switch every day. So it is with great pleasure that I point out that Kellerman blatantly stole--and is now publicly receiving credit for--Bill Simmons' celebrity news Fantasy Game.

In today's New York Post, Page 6 notes that Max Kellerman "created" a game akin to fantasy football for the gossip pages:
"April 26, 2008 -- YOU'VE heard of fantasy football and fantasy baseball, where fans assemble all-star teams which compete based on their players' statistics over the course of the season. Well, last year, the people at the Kellerman and Kenny Show at 1050 ESPN Radio came up with a Page Six version of the game. Three partnerships held their draft on yesterday's show."
Of course, if you've read any of the Sports Guy's material over the last couple of years, you'd know that he came up with this exact same concept a full year earlier:
"So (Posted May 9, 2006) I'm going to create an Us Weekly fantasy league just for her. It's a million-dollar idea that could make me rich, if I weren't too dumb to figure out how to trademark it. More important, it will save my marriage. I can't afford to get divorced, it's way too expensive.

Here's how it works: 10 teams, auction format, $200 cap, five male and five female celebs per roster. Scoring is head-to-head for 22 weeks, playoffs over the last three (so you can have two seasons per year). OK, let's say you pay $55 for that chain-smoking tramp Lindsay Lohan. If she makes the cover of Us, you get 10 points (three for the inset photo). Every other Lohan picture inside is worth one. If she appears in the "Fashion Police," you're docked three. That's it. Simple. You can add or drop your celebs each Monday. Like maybe you want to dump Jake Gyllenhaal (because the whole "Brokeback" thing has played out) and grab Josh Hartnett (because he's dating Scarlett Johansson). Then again, you might want to hang on to Gyllenhaal. He's single and his number might be up in the Lohan deli line."
Now I will say that I'm not 100% sure that Kellerman didn't pay homage to Simmons when he suggested the game on-air last year (though judging by his shot-taking decorum, I'm guessing he didn't say shit), but regardless it's a pretty shitty situation for one of ESPN's own to get credit for the other's idea in such a public forum. I'm sure this is not lost on Simmons and I'm sure he'll take a half-assed and passive-aggressive "swipe" at Kellerman on his podcast at some time when the issue has fully blown over (similar to his "Obama" mention during the Eisen podcast), though of course no one will ever fully acknowledge that there's any bad blood because ESPN's dirty laundry never sees the light of day .

Thursday, April 24, 2008

For Some Reason The NFL Draft Seems Awfully Lame This Year

If you have any questions about the definition of the word "lame," these guys could probably point you in the right direction.

Normally I am friggin geeked for the NFL Draft by the Thursday before the big day. I've read every mock draft and reviewed them with a fine toothed comb (making witty comments to myself like, "you idiot Don Banks, there's no f'n way Rodgers-Cromartie falls out of the top ten. This isn't the CFL draft!" And I laugh and I laugh...) and have listened to enough of Mel Kiper's predictable speaking cadence that I can finish his sentences with proper voice inflection. This year I'm just not all that into it. I don't know whether it's the teams at the front of the draft or the players coming out, but for some reason this draft just lacks a certain umph.

My guess is that the reason the Draft is lacking this year is because the players at the front of the draft are completely unknown quantities. The only one anyone really has any familiarity with is Darren McFadden and he's not even in the discussion at 2 or 3. Instead we've got a the Tyler Hansborough of D Ends (gritty, motor guy with a big heart) and one of the most talented D lineman in recent memory whose limbs are apparently constructed out of wet toilet paper. Even the top QBs don't have a ton of marquee value because none of them (other than my draft favorite, Chad Henne) are from programs anyone's ever watched. The WRs suck the RBs have a ton of depth (all the way through Mike Hart who is projected in the 4th/5th) and the real playmakers (like DeSean Jackson and Aqib Talib) have been red flagged to death. Other than Chris Long and Jerod Mayo, there's not a player in this draft that people seem to like. I hate to admit it but we may have reached our saturation point for NFL Draft information. There's so much out there about these kids that when the Pats pick their guy, I'll be so confused as to how to feel that I'll probably be emotionless. All that being said, it won't stop me from picking my over and underrated guys in this draft and project the first 15. While I didn't do too badly picking the over and underrated guys (in fact, I was f'n dead on) I sucked at picking the draft last year but I still enjoyed it so I'm doing it again. Here goes something....

1. Glenn Dorsey - if he's healthy, he's Warren Sapp. He's never healthy.
2. Vernon Gholston - Mike Mamula says hello.
3. Devin Thomas - JuCo kid with 6 catches in 2006. One year at Mich. St. and he's a first rounder?
4. Limas Sweed - Mike Williams part deux.
5. Felix Jones - The guy is 5'10" 205lbs. He's almost my size. I could not play in the NFL.
6/7. Joe Flacco / Brian Brohm - Great peripherals and disappointing college careers, unless you count eating. Joe Flacco could give Jared Lorenzen a run for his money in a pudding eating contest.

1. Rodgers-Cromartie - Big, fast, great hands and raw. He may be the first shutdown corner to come out of the draft since DeAngelo Hall.
2. Clady / Alberts / Otah / Williams - The OTs in this draft are gonna be good.
3. Jerod Mayo - He's a physical specimen and played tremendous in the toughest conference in the NCAA.
4. Calais Campbell - I have a man crush on him. 6'8", athletic and tore through the ACC two years ago.
5. Chad Henne - He reminds me of Matt Hasselbeck. So I guess he'll play on an above average team in a bad conference and not win a big game, just like college!
6. Rashard Mendenhall - First jewish running back in the NFL.

NFL Draft Projections
1. Miami Dolphins - Jake Long

2. St. Louis Rams - Glenn Dorsey

3. Atlanta Falcons - Vernon Gholston

4. Oakland Raiders - Chris Long

5. Baltimore Ravens - Sedrick Ellis

6. New York Jets - Matt Ryan

7. Cincinnati - Darren McFadden

8. Kansas City - Chris Williams

9. New England - Branden Albert

10. New Orleans Saints - Mike Jenkins

11. Buffalo Bills - Devin Thomas

12. Denver Broncos - Ryan Clady

13. Carolina Panthers - Jeff Otah

14. Chicago Bears - Rashard Mendenhall

15. Detroit Lions - Keith Rivers

16. Arizona Cardinals - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

17. Kansas City - Derrick Harvey

18. Houston Texans - Aqib Talib

19. Philadelphia Eagles - Jerod Mayo

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DeSean Jackson

21. Washington Redskins - Malcolm Kelly

22. Dallas Cowboys - Leodis McKelvin

23. Pittsburgh Steelers - Jamaal Charles

24. Tennessee Titans - Devin Thomas

25. Seattle Seahawks - Mario Manningham

26. Jacksonville Jaguars - Calais Campbell

27. San Diego Chargers - Kenny Phillips

28. Dallas Cowboys - Marcus Harrison

29. S.F. 49ers - Gosder Cherilus

30. Green Bay Packers - Antoine Cason

31. New York Giants - Brandon Flowers

If I have time tomorrow or Saturday, I'll give some explanations for all of this but for now I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What A Waste Of A Good Rivalry

You idiots! Do you know how much that hooch would be worth today?

Few things bother me more than a good opportunity wasted due to bad timing or uncontrollable circumstances. For instance, had the Black Sox scandal occurred in today's media climate, Jay Marriotti's head would explode. If Mickey Mantle played in New York today, he'd have been run out of town before his second season with his constant appearances on TMZ and Page 6. And if Skip Bayless were commentating on sports at the turn of the century, a ballplayer (likely Ty Cobb) would have given him the drubbing he so rightly deserves. Alas, we can only wonder what might've been as none of that will ever happen and we'll have to wonder what could've been. I'm reminded of these scenarios when I read today about the ongoing feud between Geno Auriemma and Pat Summit.

The feud is a good one. It features two folks at the pinnacle of their craft in a very public forum constantly battling through periodic character digs, all the while reminding us how great it can be when competitive sports turns 50 year-olds into 7 year-olds. There are rumors and threats and public call outs and tattle-taling.... this story's got it all. I mean look at this stuff:
Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said the regular-season series against rival Tennessee was canceled because Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt accused the Huskies of a recruiting violation.

Auriemma, speaking to reporters on campus Tuesday, said Summitt "doesn't have the courage to say it publicly."

"Pat knows ... So she should just tell you why instead of saying, 'Geno knows.' I do know," he said Tuesday. "I already told you. She accused us of cheating at recruiting. She doesn't have the courage to say it publicly. So yeah, Geno does know. And I've said it."
Now that is good stuff. Unfortunately, because it is women's hoops, no one gives a shit. It'd be like shooting Goodfellas with the cast of Full House (Kimmy Gibbler playing the roll of Sandy and Uncle Joey as Billy Batts). I mean, imagine if this were happening with the two most public figures in a sport that mattered? What if Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre were yapping like this or better yet, Peyton and Brady. Man this coulda been good if not great. Instead we have to listen to two blowhards who coach a sport that is overtelevised and underathleticized (word?) get awfully nasty about some rivalry that no one really cares about. What an f'n waste.

At Long Last Our Prayers Have Been Answered!

Protest no more you ugly & smelly hippies, Matt Walsh will finally be heard.

In a story that refuses to leave us alone no matter how few of us actually give a shit, the NFL and Matt Walsh have finally come to an agreement regarding who can sue him and for how much (the word is he will not be held civilly liable for anything as long as he doesn't profit from his "story"). Walsh will now meet with Roger Goodell on May 13th to discuss what it is he has been holding onto all this time. And I think I speak for everyone when I say, thank God. I could hardly sleep at night wondering just what Walsh had to offer. I really think we're going to learn something amazing from his interview. It matters so much and I think he's a really credible dude so I'm sure he'll have a ton to talk about. But if you want to know what I really think... what a bunch of fucking horseshit.

Let's assume that Matt Walsh has 50 tapes or 150 tapes. Let's then assume that these tapes are of every opponent's signs, practices, walk-throughs and some POV home video footage of Andy Reid in the bedroom (let's hope not). What exactly does that prove? If he has all of it, Belichick will deny he ever saw it and then you'll have a he said / he said between two dudes who no one finds credible. The only difference will be that Belichick will have a ton of corroborators to his story while Matt Walsh will only have himself. Goodell will be forced to decide who to believe and will face a ton of pressure to further penalize the Pats while Kraft will be in the unenviable task of backing a guy who may have lied to him. And since that will be the end of it, nothing good will come out of it. But in the more likely scenario that Walsh only has his stories of what happened, what the hell will that prove? It's not as though we don't now know that the Pats taped people. What exactly will he be adding to the conversation and what could possibly be the consequences? If he tells Goodell he taped the Rams walk-through and that's all he's got, what could Goodell possibly do? Absolutely nothing. Because without more it's just another accusation and that's not enough to penalize the Pats.

Listen, I'm not suggesting that Matt Walsh shouldn't be spoken to and shouldn't give up all he's got. All I'm saying is that the media has made way too big a deal out of him when people stopped caring about this story 3 months ago; and when Walsh doesn't have shit on anybody and nothing happens after his interview don't say I didn't tell you so.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Much Like The Pitch That Caused It, The Farnsworth Suspension Was The Right Idea But Poorly Executed

Right idea, poor execution. And it couldn't have happened to a bigger douche...

Considering what had transpired prior to Kyle Farnsworth's pitch, the response was awfully predictable. The previous day, Dave Aardsma accidentally (we think) plunked A-Rod in a fairly tight game. The next night Manny went yard twice and then stepped to the batter's box later in a game that was pretty much out of hand and faced a complete nutcase in Kyle Farnsworth. The Yanks couldn't get him out and someone needed to send a message. Manny knew it was coming, Farnsworth knew what to do and the next pitch was 97mph right at Manny's dome. Now, I have absolutely no problem with throwing at Manny in that situation and hitting him in the back/ribs or even going up and in on him near the letters. Manny is so locked in right now that if you don't make him move his feet he will deposit even your best offering into the gap or into the night. And had he simply hit Manny in the side, that would've been the end of it (Manny even agreed). But when Farnsworth's pitch went behind Manny's head, that was unacceptable and I agreed with the sentiment that the MLB needed to step in. And in typical MLB style, they stepped in and went way too far.

The reason Farnsworth needed to be punished is because his actions were reckless. If you don't have control enough over your fastball to throw it in on someone, you shouldn't throw it. Especially when your velocity is lethal (literally). And given the situation and the history of the teams, any inside pitch would be considered a "message" so you need to be extra careful not to throw anything dangerous. Farnsworth's pitch couldn't have been more dangerous. You should be able to respond to your player getting hit and you should be able to hit a player who is lighting you up, but if you fuck it up you should run the risk of getting suspended. If that pitch hits Manny in the head in that situation, you have World War III. The blogosphere and talk show circuits would explode. The MLB simply can't allow some second rate asshole to act so recklessly without trying to discourage future acts through a suspension. Unfortunately, 3 games is too much. All they needed was to send a message. You're out one game and docked $10,000 (or whatever). 3 games seems too long a time for the Yanks to be without a middle reliever considering their middle relief already blows. Though an inappropriate response does kinda seem fitting considering Farnsworth is being penalized for his inappropriate response.

The bottom line is this: you should be able to protect your guys. You shouldn't be allowed to kill players on the other team. Fair?

Smittblog Unveiled

Anonymous no more. It is time for the "brains" behind the Smittblog to reveal himself to the world.*

Anonymity has its advantages. For instance, I can call Derek Jeter a dude-loving nancy without fear of being approached on the street about it or having angry letters sent to my house, or even really worrying about a lawsuit regarding the veracity of my claims all while enjoying the plush comfort and dank scent of mom's basement. Also, given my blog's limited readership (and therefore my relative contribution to the "conversation"), I'm not pissing enough people off or getting enough anonymous credit to make it worth giving up my name. Or so I thought until recently.

If you've been paying attention, you've probably noticed that in the last couple of months a number of bloggers have taken off their anonymity cloaks and shown themselves to the world. It started with the gents from Fire Joe Morgan," and then the dude from The Big Lead came out, and then this week KSK's Christmas Ape came out.

Before Ape came out, the outing of bloggers was celebrated. The guys from Fire Joe Morgan (one of whom writes for "The Office" and appears periodically on the show as Dwight's brother Mose Schrute) were all but electronically felated when unmasked. Jason McIntyre of "The Big Lead" was featured in an article singing his praises. The praise gave bloggers everywhere confidence that perhaps it was safe to show ourselves and receive the laudatory bounty we so duly earned. And then Ape came out and all hell broke loose.

If you haven't read about it, you should, but to summarize, KSK's Christmas Ape revealed his true identity on the site this week only to be fired 48 hours later when his company (The Washington Post) learned of his "hobby" and felt that it was not in their best interest to keep him on. Fortunately for Ape, the boys at KSK are now getting paid for their work and he doesn't have to worry about filing for unemployment or applying for work with the Baltimore Sun. It was a ballsy move on his part and he upped the "ballsy" level by referring to the Newspaper biz in his "coming out" post as a "dying medium" (a reference not lost on his editor).

The firing brings up many questions about the fairness/absurdity of such actions, and while I could write at length about all of that (I would argue that the firing borders more closely the absurd than it does the fair) what the firing really did was get me thinking about my place in the blogosphere and my responsibility to the brave bloggers who have outed themselves and risked their very livelihoods to give blogging more legitimacy. Should I follow suit and join in this noble pursuit? I think I should. So it is without further ado that I present the real name and face of The Smittblog:

That's right. I am Jim J. Bullock.** Consequences be damned.

*The word "world" meaning the discreet world of obscure sports blog readers.
**Not necessarily true.