Just your average pre-playoff Tuesday, waiting for the Twins/White Sox game to start, getting vaguely excited about baseball. So I went sailing around teh_interwebz, casting my nets about for the good fish to be had. I happened to trawl around to Lake MLB.com, where I found a pearl of great price and subsequently decided to abandon this stupid metaphor.
MLB.com's FRONT PAGE is pimping the following article: "Yankees Fans Divided on Cubs-Dodgers"
The day before the division series starts, and there's a front-page article on the ostensible home page for ALL OF BASEBALL, and what do we find? Articles about Cubs fans, Dodgers fans, Rays fans, Twins/White Sox fans, Angels fans... articles about actual baseball that has been played, or baseball that will soon be played...
Nope. Yankees' fans opinions about the NLDS. Oh, sure, MLB.com, you're a place where people can go to get good, relevant, insightful baseball coverage.... Actually, MLB.com, you're a joke, a portal where MLB can shamelessly cross-promote its various products (which I wrote about recently here) with a smattering of shit journalism thrown in. I will now end the world's first apostrophe to a website. But honestly - if my byline read "writer for MLB.com", I might punch myself.
It's a sad day when media portals like this one have to resort to asking random fans in New York (who seem to be overwhelmingly Italian-American, though it's by any means a representative sample) what they think about a National League playoff series.
The conclusion I'm drawing: Yankees fans are not baseball fans, do not care about non-Yankee playoff baseball, but that MLB.com is desperate for readers, so they pander to these generally-apathetic baseball fans by putting Yankee coverage on the front page.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Just your average pre-playoff Tuesday, waiting for the Twins/White Sox game to start, getting vaguely excited about baseball. So I went sailing around teh_interwebz, casting my nets about for the good fish to be had. I happened to trawl around to Lake MLB.com, where I found a pearl of great price and subsequently decided to abandon this stupid metaphor.
Using extremely flawed logic, I got a shiny new BlackBerry thinking that one of these interviews I've been on would give me a great new job that I would need it for. All I've gotten so far is The Hockey News application, which let me read this horrible item yesterday.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman splashed cool water on the possibility of expansion this week,
Comma? There's more to this?
but there’s always a chance things will change in the next decade or so.
So why wait? Let's make stupid jokes now.
For the sake of this top 10 list, let’s say another wave of expansion in North America and across the Atlantic Ocean brings the league to 40 teams.
I, Brian Costello, really wanted to write a stupid top ten list. But I'm not creative enough. So I'm going to take my ridiculously stupid idea, and make it even more ridiculous and stupid. Now it's the Beverly Hills Chihuahua of top ten lists!
Sure, the on-ice talent will be watered down, but just think how much scoring would go up.
The idea of anybody thinking and reading this article have gone out the window. Just get to the bad jokes.
Here are 10 nicknames I’d like to see for 10 cities to consider. Just missing the top 10 were the Auckland Golden Seals and the Santiago Gulls.
See, because both the Golden Seals and Gulls were nicknames for teams that played in California/Oakland and San Diego. I wish somebody read this blog in New Zealand so I could find out if there are actually seals there. Somebody will have to write something stupid about rugby that I understand before any Kiwis show up, I suppose.
10. Bratislava Gears. Slovakia’s chief export is machinery and transport equipment.
Yeah, that's all he wrote.
9. Oklahoma City 66’s. It was the first major stop on the original Route 66.
As long as you don't count cities like Chicago, Springfield, IL; St. Louis, Springfield, MO; and Tulsa. But why would you do that when you have a crown city like Oklahoma City?
8. Prague Pils. No country makes a better beer.
Than the Czech Republic? Really? This is also where I remind everyone that I'm from St. Louis and have my own personal beliefs. And if you go on a free tour of the brewery, they give you free beer.
7. Kitchener-Waterloo Black Bears. The area is rife with the little devices.
Then make your stupid nickname joke BlackBerries. Shit. Why was this list made again? Because there is no expansion?
6. Moscow Freeze. Cold and intimidating
No period at the end. Freeze is also Brian Costello's favorite prostitute, for the same reason he likes the nickname.
5. Kansas City Fountains. The city claims to have the second most fountains in the world.
See, I would have gone with "worthless scrotums" here, but that's why I don't get paid to write. They do have a lot of fountains, and the city still sucks.
4. Stockholm Nordics. Quebec’s not using the moniker anymore.
Nobody used this moniker. Except for home fitness machines.
3. Winnipeg Jets. The old logo would need to be spruced up.
This guy had to make a list of these and then rank them to see which one was the best. And this hit #3.
2. Helsinki Formulas. Its players would have the best hairlines in the league.
HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!!!!1!!! Like the shampoo! The players wouldn't be bald! Best hairlines in the league! As long as you disregard the fact that the IIHF wouldn't let the NHL just put a team anywhere in the world they want.
1. Las Vegas Gamblers. Let’s not try to fool anyone here.
Because every person in Las Vegas has a gambling problem. That's why they would live there.
Can't wait to keep up with this publication all season long. It's only preseason and already it sucks.
Monday, September 29, 2008
But before I get to that, let me clear out some clutter I accumulated in my brain while watching football this weekend:
-During Saturday night's Penn State/Illinois game, the Nittany Lions were facing a 3rd and 9 from their own 21 with about 14:00 remaining in the first quarter. There was, obviously, no score. Kirk Herbstreit could have picked any number of adjectives to describe the nature of the third down conversion PSU was facing; he went with "huge." (Emphasis his.) That was a poor, poor choice.
-For reasons that only God or possibly my hangover could hope to explain, I actually bothered to watch most of the Browns/Bengals game today. And in doing so, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that former Raiders and Chiefs QB Rich Gannon is a great color commentator. He's the anti-Joe Morgan; almost everything he said made sense, and he didn't once talk about his own accomplishments. (This despite having ample opportunity to do so, as neither QB in this game played like they could start for a decent D-I college team.)
-In stark contrast were the contributions of Tony Siragusa to the Packers/Buccaneers game that was happening at the same time. What a fucking pudwhacker. My theory about him is that he's like Milton from the movie Office Space. FOX actually fired him several years ago and he no longer receives a paycheck, but no one has the heart to tell him to stop showing up for work.
-During the Cowboys/Redskins game, Troy Aikman provided this analysis re Dallas's DeMarcus Ware and an angry reaction a couple of Washington players provoked out of him:
They [defensive linemen] don't like it when they've got an offensive lineman engaging them up top, and then they have a back going down on them as well.
I don't think you can show that on broadcast TV. I'm not even sure if you can say it.
-This is a general observation unrelated to the sports media, but it's pretty annoying how often guys' helmets are coming off this year. It's like a new fad where players are intentionally not strapping them on tightly enough because it looks awesome when they fly off. (To the credit of Aikman and Joe "A Disgusting Act!" Buck, they're the only announcing team I've heard comment on the phenomenon so far this fall.) Anyways, I'm thinking it maybe goes back to that Jason Witten play last year where he got his helmet torn off while shedding a tackle and then ran thirty yards down the field without it. I admit, that was kind of cool. There are a few problems with the current trend (presumably) emulating that play, however:
1) Witten looked cool because he lost his hat while doing something positive for his team. Ninety percent of the guys I've seen get theirs popped off this year, however, have had that happen while getting fucking crushed by someone in a very negative fashion. Even worse than it happening when you're getting tackled during a non-exciting play on offense is having it happen when you're trying to tackle someone. See: one of the North Carolina guys who got dumptrucked on a crackback block during a punt return in their game against Miami on Saturday. I mean, if you're going to get decleated on national TV, at least try to keep your face as obscured as possible.
2) I don't want to sound like a mom or something, but it seems like this is probably an unsafe practice. (Again, assuming it is an intentional practice. I mean, maybe it's just a coincidence that you see like five or six guys a game losing their helmets this year as opposed to zero or one in years past. But probably not.) If you watch the hit that knocked Anquan Boldin unconscious today, it looks like his helmet is in the process of popping off when the second hit (the one that did most of the damage) comes in. Just saying. Maybe in the interest of, you know, not sustaining horrible injuries, guys should try to keep the thing that prevents their head from being crushed like a melon as secure as possible. Just an idea.
Anyways, onto this piece of crap Forde wrote. There's something... puffy about it.
Scott Cochran knew what he was cussing about after all.
As the Alabama strength coach famously predicted during practice last week, the blackout was a bleepin' funeral for Georgia, which lost 41-30.
"Famously" being used very loosely here. I consume about as much sports media as is humanly possible for someone who also has a day job/activity, and I heard nothing about this. If you Google "Scott Cochran predict Alabama Georgia funeral" or some derivation thereof, you will see zero results besides this article itself that aren't from a blog or message board.
In fact, the blackout was a blowout until two late embalming-fluid touchdowns by the overwhelmed home team. Rest in pieces, Bulldogs.
But in classic circle-of-life form, this upset romp wasn't just an interment. It also was a rebirth for the Crimson Tide as a full-on title contender.
The prose is getting pretty purple around here. Life! Death! Cycles thereof! Most importantly, football!
In near-record time.
It's fucking September. They've played five games. To quote Harvey Keitel, let's not go sucking each other's dicks just yet.
It has taken Nick Saban all of 18 games as coach to rocket Alabama from having a losing record to digging graves for top-10 opponents.
He spent one of those 18 games losing to Louisiana-Monroe during homecoming weekend last November. He spent another one losing to Mississippi State, and yet another losing to his school's most hated rival. So clearly, he's the next Bear Bryant. (I'm not saying he's definitely not... I'm saying, why is Pat so fucking certain that he's got everything under control? IT'S STILL SEPTEMBER.)
And it has taken this 2008 Tide team a month to go from unranked in the preseason USA Today coaches' poll to possibly No. 1 when the new rankings come out this week.
Has anyone ever done that?
Probably. You're the guy getting paid to write this. Maybe you could take the time to research and answer your own question.
Alabama stands alongside Oklahoma as the two most impressive teams to date. On my ESPN.com power rankings ballot, I'll give the edge to the 5-0 Tide.
Can we also award them the 2008, 2009, and 2010 BCS Championship trophies? I don't see any reason why we shouldn't.
"We probably played the best half of football we've played all season long," said the endlessly demanding Saban, who fumed at his team's second-half lapses as much as he praised its first-half brilliance. "It couldn't have come at a better time."
Understand this: Nick Saban could not have come to Tuscaloosa at a better time.
Clever. But wouldn't it maybe have been even better timing for him to show up last year and save them from ekeing out an embarrassing 7-6 season, which included a home loss to a team from the Sun Belt? Oh, that's right. He was there for that.
This is why you pay a guy $32 million over eight years. Because he's just that good.
Nauseating. I'm not disputing that the guy obviously knows how to coach. (In the NCAA, anyways.) He has the numbers and ring to prove it. But really, what's the point of a sentence like that? If it's not: "I'm Pat Forde, and I love Nick Saban with all my heart and soul," then I'm afraid I can't parse it.
He's that relentless as a recruiter, bringing in instant-impact players like freshman wide receiver Julio Jones (who had five catches for 94 yards and a touchdown Saturday) and juco transfer nose tackle Terrence Cody (who's just a scary man at 6-foot-5 and 365 pounds).
I'm fucking exhausted of this Jones guy already. You can't watch college football-related programming for more than five minutes this fall without hearing about him. Let's just award him the Heisman tomorrow and immediately send him to the St. Louis Rams. I'm sure they could use him. Also- you know who Saban didn't recruit? Almost every Alabama player who made an impact against Georgia.
He's that painstaking in preparation, overseeing a game plan that rendered Georgia Heisman Trophy candidate Knowshon Moreno almost useless and burned the Bulldogs' defense repeatedly. Moreno got just nine carries as Georgia was forced strictly into the passing game.
Clearly, Saban's precise, exact gameplan (verbatim) was "take a 31 point lead so Moreno doesn't get any carries." What a genius. Here's an idea- any time Team A beats Team B by taking a big early lead and never relinquishing it, and Team B has a great running back who doesn't get enough carries, let's credit Team A for "painstakingly" crafting a gameplan that would achieve that exact result.
Saban is that persistent in pursuit of perfection. It's why he treats praise like poison.
Hopefully he reads this article and slips into a coma, then.
It's why the thought of Alabama ranked No. 1 is at least mildly appalling.
What a horrendous use of false understatement. Forde- you stink.
It's why he smiles less than Spock.
Did Jonah Keri write this?
He never looks happy. Public happiness might be construed as satisfaction, and satisfaction could lead to slacking off, and slacking off could lead to losing, and Nick Saban would rather sleep with snakes than lose.
What a beautiful man. I'm nominating him for Time "Person of the Year." I think he should replace Chuck Norris in terms of having annoying one-liners about how great he is being pasted all over the fucking internet by 13 year olds.
"Once you lose your intensity, it's hard to get it back," Saban said. He was lamenting Alabama's third-quarter miscues that let Georgia back in the game, but he might as well have been describing his approach to football. Eternal intensity.
Fuck. That. I used to think you were an alright dude, Forde. I didn't mind your "Forde Yard Dash" column, even if your choice of "Dashette" for the week was pretty borderline. That ship, however, has sailed. I know I've sounded like a hater throughout this piece. That's probably because I am. But the question remains, for haters and non-haters alike... who the fuck writes like this, especially about someone like Nick fucking Saban of all people?
What a zilcheroo.
And please, please, please let some crazy Alabama message board hooligans get ahold of this. I'm begging for it. In case that happens, here's your disclaimer-
1) I'm not an Auburn fan
2) I'm not a Georgia fan
3) I'm actually a fan of a team that hasn't played Alabama for more than 20 years
4) I just hate Nick Saban... a lot
5) And for what it's worth, now I hate Pat Forde too
Sunday, September 28, 2008
September 25th game, White Sox vs Twins, Orlando Cabrera is on 1st base.
Hawk Harrelson: "Orlando Cabrera has 18 stolen bases on the year."
Darrin Jackson: "He's been sitting on 18 for awhile, gotta be at least two months since his last steal."
Hawk Harrelson: "It's been since August 5th."
Darrin Jackson: "So OVER two months!" (emphasis his)
I have no words.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Speaking of the Yankees, Would Someone Please Throw Hank Steinbrenner Out of a Hot Air Balloon Already
Everyone's already seen this; everyone already knows it's laughably dumb; I don't care. I haven't posted since Sunday night. Take what you can get, people.
"The biggest problem is the divisional setup in major league baseball. I didn't like it in the 1970s, and I hate it now."
Way to throw in that little bit of (likely) revisionist history just to make sure we all know you've felt this way for 30 years, and are not just complaining about it now for the first time because your team is not going to the playoffs.
"Baseball went to a multidivision setup to create more races, rivalries and excitement.
Yes. And despite its occasional shortcomings, it has done exactly that, which is worth a lot more to the game and the fans than what you're about to bitch about.
But it isn't fair.
That poor New York Yankee organization just can't catch a break, can it? Why can't the world just be fair every once in a while? Is that so goddamn much to ask?
You see it this season, with plenty of people in the media pointing out that Joe Torre and the Dodgers are going to the playoffs while we're not.
I hadn't really looked of the relative accomplishments of those two teams through that lens before right now. But thanks for bringing it up! Hey Yankees- choke on a tall, warm pile of your own shit. You embarrassed your successful manager, made him an offer that was never meant to be accepted, and more or less told him not to let the door hit him in the ass on his way out. Now you'll be sitting at home in October while he gets to take a shot at the reasonably wide open NL. Fantastic.
"This is by no means a knock on Torre - let me make that clear-but look at the division they're in. If L.A. were in the AL East, it wouldn't be in the playoff discussion. The AL East is never weak."
1. If L.A. were in the AL East, who knows what their record would be. Odds are Hank is right about where they would be, but you can't just say "if team X changed leagues, they'd still have the exact same record." Just saying. I'm being nitpicky before I dive into the good stuff.
2. This quote isn't really a knock on Torre... but at the same time, it's a response to what the media has been saying about Torre's accomplishments versus the Yankees' accomplishments. So, yeah, it's a knock, you jealous bucket of butter.
3. The NL West has stunk to varying degrees for the past 4 years or so, but the AL East is far from perfect. The Central or West was stronger 2006, 2005, and 2002. I didn't hear any execs from any of those divisions' third place teams complaining about the sand in their cunts during those years.
4. Fair? Fair? You want to talk about fucking fairness? You run a team that can afford to sign whoever the fuck you want, whenever the fuck you want, for as much or more than any other team can possibly pay them. You have the most pronounced and staggering competitive advantage of any team in professional sports. You can never be outbid for a free agent. Ever. And if you make a mistake and sign a clunker? Who gives a fuck! Give him his money, let the fans eat him alive, and sign someone else. Nearly every single other fucking team in the fucking league is in a relatively unfair position compared to yours when it comes to the most important determinant to how much talent a team can acquire and keep. Get fucked, Hank. I hope they blow up the old Yankee Stadium while you're still working there in your office.
In case you missed that joke, the Yankees are moving out of their old stadium and into a new one next season. You might not have heard.
Steinbrenner also questioned the legitimacy of the Cardinals' 2006 title, noting that their 83 regular-season victories were two less than the Phillies' total, but because of the system, St. Louis reached the playoffs as NL Central champs while Philadelphia lost the wild card race to the Dodgers, who had 88 wins.
"People will say the Cardinals were the best team because they won the World Series," Steinbrenner wrote. "Well, no, they weren't. They just got hot at the right time."
Hey, DUMMY- if you're going to complain about this kind of thing, you might want to, you know, pick on a team that didn't "deserve" to go to the playoffs and then actually went out and tanked. For example, might I recommend the 2005 Padres? They won the NL West with an 82-80 record and somehow got bounced out of the NLDS by the Cardinals in just two games. Picking on that 2006 Cardinal team is retarded- any team that wins it all "got hot at the right time." You can't be awesome all year, stroll into the playoffs, and stroll home with that ugly-ass trophy with all the flags on it. The 2001 Mariners won 116 games. Maybe Hank should forfeit his team's AL pennant from that year (earned by beating those Mariners, of course) because clearly those Yankees (95 wins) weren't the best team in the league.
What a useless windbag.
P.S.- To the credit of Yankee fans, almost 90% of them who voted in the poll attached to that article (assuming most of the people who read it are, in fact, Yankee fans) already know that Hank is a zilcheroo. Or maybe a bunch of Red Sox fans came over and voted, who knows.
P.P.S. Before you write a comment that says "HEY BUT THINK ABOUT IT TEH MARLINZ WON TEH WORLD SERIES OVER TEH YANKZ AND TEH RAYZ R GOOD THIS YEAR SO THAT SHOWS MONEY DOESUNT MATTER," yes, I know money doesn't guarantee anything. But I don't think anyone would disagree with me if I said it's much easier to be the Yankees than it is to be any other team. Compared to 85% of the rest of the teams in the league, their mistakes are less costly and their opportunities to add assets are far more frequent.
P.P.S.- I attached the "Barbaro" label to this post because Hank Steinbrenner somehow makes me even more angry than Barbaro does.
P.P.P.S.- I hope Hank Steinbrenner spontaneously combusts. Immediately.
From Stephen A. Smith's piece about how classy Joe Torre is and how un-classy the Yankees are:
Nearly a year after his unceremonious departure from New York, the former Yankees manager's occasional body twitches and stoic demeanor pretty much validate the stinging effect a kick in the backside inevitably leaves behind.
So wait: Torre's body twitches reflect the fact that he willingly left his previous job? It seems to me that Torre gave the Yankees a reasonable kick to the backside, seeing as he turned down the offer of managing a pretty good team which he had taken to the playoffs twelve years in a row.
If I were a professional writer, I might drop "pretty much" from my repertoire.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I know it's a huge secret around these parts which baseball team I root for. Lets just say that whichever "team" it is "lost" a huge "game" this evening. And now I'm really mad. So I'm going to take this garbage and shove it up Tim Dahlberg's anal orifice.
Cubs-Red Sox would be World Series dream
But there are some ugly possibilities for Fall Classic as well
This article just screams "pointless."
The big, bad Yankees are finally out and for that most of the country can be grateful.
I'm not sure what rock you've been hiding under for the past 8 years, but Yankee hatred has declined significantly in all non-New Yorkish non-Bostonian metropolitan areas.
Instead of constantly hearing about the ghosts of past greats at Yankee Stadium, this postseason we can focus on the present at not-so-historic Tropicana Field.
Right there with you in re: shut the fuck up about Yankee Stadium. But why is Tropicana Field even important? It's not part of your "dream" World Series anyway.
Instead of filling up seats in the Bronx, they’ll be taking them out, just in time for the holiday gift-giving season.
Okay you're paying waaaaaaay more attention to this than necessary. I'm removing whatever credit I gave you for making fun of the ESPN Yankee Stadium ZOMG Brigade.
But that’s not the only thing different about a World Series that has every chance to be truly memorable and an equal chance to be truly forgettable.
This would be a very true statement if you were arguing from the perspective of "the series itself might not be that exciting." But you're obviously gonna ramble on about how Milwaukee is boring or something.
There’s a surprise team from Florida
chances of an all-Chicago or all-LA matchup,
Both of which you are about to shit on immensely. We're talking Randy Marsh in South Park's "More Crap" episode level shitting.
OFFICIAL PUBLIC STATEMENT: I am a nerd.
and a Boston team ready to lay claim to a dynasty of its own.
Which is exciting, but when the Yankees do it, that's bad, right?
About the only certainty is that the Cubs will implode at some point because they are, after all, the Cubs.
You are an idiot who says idiotic things.
Keeping that in mind, here’s a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly matchups that could be this year’s World Series:
You forgot "the useless." Oh wait, you're not playing in the playoffs are you? Nevermind.
BOOM! Nailed that one. ::high-fives everyone in the room::
CUBS-RED SOX: This is the ultimate matchup, one that makes Bud Selig and Fox television executives drool at the mere thought.
Why should anybody fucking care about Bud Selig or Fox. Fox hired Tim McCarver for crissake. Anything that makes them happy should be deemed pure evil.
The backdrop alone would make this worth tuning in for, but this World Series would have more story lines than just the two classic ballparks. The Red Sox would be staking a claim to dominance much like their pinstriped rivals, trying for their third championship in five years, and you might have heard something by now about the Cubs trying to win their first World Series in exactly 100 years.
Sure, fine, whatever, if the Red Sox blow the Cubs out in 4 games, it still kinda sucks. A lot.
The only downside for long-suffering Cubs fans is that Boston would have the home-field advantage. But after waiting since 1908 to win the World Series, they could wait a few more days to play at home.
You had me going there. First you said something meaningful. Then you said one of the most useless sentences to ever grace the internet.
RED SOX-DODGERS: Imagine Manny Ramirez returning to Fenway Park to hit two home runs over the Green Monster in Game 1. OK, just imagine him returning to run hard all the way to first base. Either way it will be a show, made all the better should Joe Torre be able to exorcise some Fenway demons while dressed in Dodger blue.
Or, alternatively, it will be bad, because the Dodgers blow. And because Ned Coletti would have a shot at winning the World Series, a thing he deserves less than K-Rod deserves the Cy Young.
METS-ANGELS: Yankees-Dodgers would have been better, especially with Torre against his old team. But New York versus Los Angeles is never bad
New York Knicks vs Los Angeles Clippers. Boom.
Actually, let's back this up a little bit. Why is that never bad? Explain this. What if the Mets and the Angels have 2 very, very boring teams that don't have very many exciting or interesting players and are incredibly different in skill level and the good team blows out the bad team. How is that "good?" Sure, the ratings will be stellar, but who cares? That's just because a lot of people follow those teams. It doesn't make the World Series good.
CUBS-WHITE SOX: Yes, we know the Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908 and that such a warm and fuzzy occurrence would be even more warm and fuzzy for Cub fans if they could do it against their crosstown rivals. But any magic about the Cubs and White Sox playing each other evaporated with interleague play and, outside of Chicago, who really cares if the north side is better than the south.
I'm sort of with you on this one. But I bet you were the same person who was pulling hard for Yankees-Mets in 2000.
About the only fun for the rest of the country would be watching Ozzie Guillen chase rats down the right-field line.
No no no. Seriously. What?
Where the hell did you come up with this joke?
What makes a man sit down in front of his computer, think this thought, and say to himself "oh man, that's gotta go in"? Early 90's Full House Bob Saget called, he wants his sense of humor back.
DODGERS-ANGELS: Back in the day when the Dodgers, Giants and Yankees all played in New York it wasn’t a big deal when two teams from the same city met each other in the World Series because it happened quite often. It doesn’t happen that often anymore — Mets-Yankees in 2000 were the only ones in the last 50 years — but Los Angeles is the wrong city to make it happen.
Again, you pretty much ruled out the White Sox and Cubs as an interesting crosstown World Series, so which is the "right" city. Oh. New York, right? Because the rest of the country totally gives a damn about Mets/Yankees. Fuck you. Fuck you with a blowtorch.
The Cubs and White Sox at least inspire passion from their followers. In LA, fans get worked up trying to figure out the best inning to leave the ballpark so they can beat traffic.
This is a completely stupid and totally false generalization that should be swallowed up by the earth. Cub fans flock to the Cubby Bear in great numbers before the conclusion of baseball games. And did you watch the World Series in 2002? I mean I hate Eckstein and all that, but Anaheim's crowd was blanketed with thunder sticks both pounding together and making that blasted "X" formation. There was a shitload of passion in that series.
RAYS-DIAMONDBACKS: Let’s get this straight: Eva Longoria is one of the stars on “Desperate Housewives” who is married to Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs. Evan Longoria is the third baseman for Tampa Bay who always seems to hit crucial home runs. That should take about 10 minutes for Tim McCarver to explain during Game 1, after which there will be little left to do other than ponder the dismal ugliness of Tropicana Field and wonder why Randy Johnson is always so surly.
I actually have to give it up here. Nice McCarver burn.
TWINS-BREWERS: The Twins are a decent enough story, a young team that wasn’t supposed to do anything this year after losing Johan Santana to the Mets. The Brewers aren’t bad, either, especially if they make the playoffs after firing their manager with just two weeks left in the season. Match them together, though, and you’ve got a dud of a World Series played out in small-market Midwestern cities that not even the
super-sized presence of Prince Fielder can save.
Everyone hates a World Series full of budding young stars, right? No, in all honesty, this paragraph is a lame copout and I'm pretty sure fuck Justin Morneau that Tim Dahlberg has some sort of financial stake in Fox's ratings or some shit like that, because that's honestly 100% of your reasoning behind each and every one of these claims. The Twins are a bunch of lucky fuckbags that admittedly play a very exciting style of baseball. I would definitely love to see the Brewers in the World Series. They're an incredibly exciting team with young talent all over the diamond. You can't see anything in them except the fact that they have a fat vegetarian slugger and fired their manager last week. Fuck you, Tim.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
But TMQ is still a pretentious ass-hat.
Buck-Buck-Brawckkkkkkk No. 2: Trailing Dallas 24-9 early in the fourth quarter, Green Bay faced fourth-and-2 on its 35, and sent in a punt unit. "Got to be a fake," yours truly thought -- boom went the punt, and Dallas scored on its possession to ice the game. As TMQ endlessly notes, teams that punt on fourth-and-short when trailing in the fourth quarter almost always go on to lose.
With 13:55 left in the game, and down by 15 points, it's always best to take a risk that will immediately put your opponent in field goal range if the gamble doesn't pay off
Best Purist Drive: Jacksonville ran an 18-play, 82-yard drive that consumed 12 minutes and 18 seconds of the fourth quarter. Fourteen of the snaps were rushes; the result was a field goal that put the Jags ahead 20-14 with 2:36 remaining.
Jacksonville kicked the field goal on 4th down from the Colts 4 yard line! Doesn't Jack of the River know that the average play from scrimmage gains 5 yards!? With 2:33 left and a 6 point lead the Jags lined up to kick-off to the Colts, whose quarterback has more 4th quarter come from behind wins than any other active NFL quarterback. "They should onside kick it" said the tastefully named, official son of TMQ, Spencer Easterbrook. Even my 12 year old son knew the Jags shouldn't risk giving Peyton Manning the ball back with so much time! BOOM went the kick, and TMQ needn't tell you that the Colts scored the winning touchdown just 1:26 later.
Network Priorities Praised: TMQ lives in the Washington, D.C., area, where endlessly the network affiliates show excruciatingly dull Baltimore Ravens games instead of whatever the day's headliner is, on the theory that Washington is a "secondary market" for Baltimore.
Who are the Ravens, and why are they playing in the Nevermores' stadium?
Look, I hate watching the Redskins play, but Baltimore, MD (where the Ravens play) and Landover, MD (where the Redskins play) are only 50 miles apart. In that space, there are fans of both teams. Please do like me, and get over it.
On Sunday, WUSA, the CBS affiliate, had the late slot and showed Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, the headliner game, not the Cleveland-Baltimore stinker.Good call!
Easterbrook, the guy who constantly writes about how DirecTV's exclusive rights to Sunday Ticket prevents thousands of fans from being able to watch their home team play, lauds a local affiliate for preventing Ravens fans who live in the Maryland suburbs from watching their team play. This reminds me of a word that starts with "h," hapo...hypo...hippopotamus, that's it.
Pittsburgh at Philadelphia wasn't a fireworks game, but was a lot better than the Cleveland-Baltimore stinker.
Browns/Ravens: 38 combined points, 5 touchdowns, 41 first downs, 5 sacks, 5 turnovers = stinky.
Steelers/Eagles: 21 combined points, 1 touchdown, 1 safety, 30 first downs, 12 sacks, 4 turnovers, 5 second half points = not stinky.
ESPN should blackout this Monday's game between the Ravens and the Steelers because the forecast calls for a 100% chance of stinkyness in Pittsburgh that night.
Some of you may know Matt Vasgersian as the voice of the Brewers, from the Olympics, or even from his days hosting Sports Geniuses on FSN.
Or you're like me and you remember him from his stint with the XFL. His relentless coverage of the San Fransisco Demons or Las Vegas Outlaws landed him a sweet gig on FOX NFL Sunday. He's been calling football games with JC Pearson, who has been calling games for 10 years after his playing days were over. If Buck/Aikman is your A team, that makes Vasgersian/Pearson your F Team. And the joke begins.
The video quality is poor because I keep NFL game recording on a low setting so TiVo can record suggestions, (Who knew the 1980's Let's Make a Deal was back on GSN? Finally!) but for the 30 second clip, there's 5 seconds of Matt talking. Right when he stops, we find out what the Seahawks think about the illegal block to the back. At the 20 second mark, the parabolic microphone let's us know that somebody thinks they're cool.
The lesson that can be taken away from this little clip is always talk. Did you know Qwest Field gets loud? How about a clip of people throwing fish in Farmers Market? Cut to the fat guy who brings the Sea-Fence cut out! Say something - anything - to keep those of us without 5.1 surround sound guessing as to what's being said around a parabolic microphone. Say there's a flag on the field. Mention Mike Holmgren is yelling. One of these winless teams had to win - bring that up. Instead, I get to giggle at dirty words uncensored on broadcast television. Bring on the FCC fines!
[Breaking news - Marc Bulger just got benched for Trent Green. In future news, Rams are 0-4.]
Monday, September 22, 2008
I thought I'd seen the last of this crap when Mariotti left. But I forgot one important thing: Rick Sutcliffe still exists.
When you look back at the Cubs the year before Lou Piniella took over as manager, they lost 96 games.
That's true. The team had a .319 OBP. Juan Pierre logged 699 at-bats. .245/.271/.339 Ronny Cedeno had five hundred thirty-four. Derrek Lee, the best player on the team, was hurt a lot and only batted 175 times. 80 starts were made by a pitcher with an ERA 5.32 or higher. They were very, very bad.
Two years ago, Piniella's first year, I was in uniform with the Cubs during spring training. We had a four-run lead in a spring training game and a lot of the guys that were on the field weren't going to be part of the team by April, but most of the team was still there sitting on the bench. Next thing you know, we started kicking it around out there and we'd given up the lead. I'd never been in the dugout for one of Piniella's eruptions, but he got up and started going up and down the line saying, "That's those Cubbies that lost 96 games! Now it's all coming out. Now, I can see what they were talking about. Boys you can't win baseball games like this. You've got to pay attention! Is anybody paying attention?" In other words, he went off.
That's how you turn around a baseball team, all you managing hopeful! Make crazy gestures with your hands! Ask if people are paying attention a lot!
Even the coaches came up to me afterward and said "Now you know, man. That's Lou."
How inspiringly irrelevant.
But Piniella was making the point that if they were going to keep playing like that, they were going to have him all over them every day.
While he certainly knows how to motivate, it's Piniella's ability to evaluate that's helped this team evolve from 66-96 to where they are today.
The additions of Alfonso Soriano, Ted Lilly, Jim Edmonds, Reed Johnson, Kosuke Fukudome, Geovany Soto, Rich Harden, and ::gasp:: Jason Marquis had nothing to do with it, I'm sure.
This is the first time since 1908 that the Cubs have gone to the postseason in back-to-back seasons. If you had to just pick one person responsible for the transformation, it would have to be
Derrek Lee being healthy? Soto breaking out? Ryan Dempster putting together a stellar season out of nowhere? Carlos Marmol emerging as a force in the bullpen?
A couple of years ago, Piniella noticed Ryan Theriot starting to press a couple of weeks into spring training. Piniella took him aside and told him to relax, that he was coming to Chicago with him. When everyone was focusing on Theriot's limitations, saying he had a weak arm and no power, Piniella looked right at me and said that he knew Theriot was the kind of guy he could win with.
HAH! Those crazy suckers that thought Theriot had no power and no arm were.....exactly right.
Theriot is slugging .351. That's Scott Podsednik territory. He has a very good .375 OBP, and coming out of 2B or SS, he's fairly valuable. But given all that, his complete and total lack of power reduces him to being a league average hitter, even at that OBP clip. He's also not a good defensive shortstop by any means (which isn't really his fault, he should be playing second base on any team with a shortstop than can hit better than Ronny Cedeno). All of this makes him one of the 15 or so most overrated players in baseball.
And if you look at Theriot, he's won championships in college at LSU and in the minor leagues.
This is not a big deal at all.
He reminds me a lot of Craig Counsell or David Eckstein.
Ya don't fucking say, shithead.
When you see a big inning from the Cubs these days, he always seems to be right in the middle of it.
Gotta love this statement. You can't disprove it! And I guarantee you it holds absolutely no water.
Piniella also recognized the problems with the starting rotation he inherited with Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. He knew something had to be done. They parted ways with Prior, but he saw something that told him that Wood could be the closer. It was his idea to put Ryan Dempster back in the rotation and move Wood to the bullpen, knowing Wood's arm couldn't hold up to the innings needed out of a starter. Piniella figured if he was only going to be able to throw two innings effectively, why not make it the last two.
That move was pretty smart, but it completely takes whatever say Jim Hendry had out of the equation, and also negates the fact that Ryan Dempster has pitched better this season than ever in his entire career. Piniella does deserve some credit for making the move, but you're fucking acting like Piniella is pitching for Dempster or something.
Piniella would be quick to tell you that the players deserve the credit.
Because he likes saying accurate things.
But the one thing a good manager does is put the players in a position to succeed. Take a look at center field, for instance. Back in May, Piniella saw that they had only five home runs from left-handed hitters. He said they couldn't win like that. That's when he decided to give Jim Edmonds a try.
WOAH WOAH WOAH. Stop right there. You're acting like Piniella had this nobody named "Jim Edmonds" just rotting away in triple-A or at the end of the bench and was like, "you know, nothing else is working, let's run this kid out there and see what he's made of!" Jim Edmonds was signed by Jim Hendry. Does Jim Hendry get any credit for any of this? Any at all?
Now, if you look at their production out of center field since the All-Star break, it's completely changed, and they're doing it with two guys that had been released in Edmonds and Reed Johnson.
Reed Johnson was also snatched up by Jim Hendry, not manufactured in Lou Piniella's "Players-I-Need-O-Matic Machine" (TM).
He's not throwing Johnson out there every day, especially against the tough right-handers. That's where Edmonds comes in. Likewise, Edmonds doesn't have to face the best lefties. They are put in a spot where they can succeed.
Woah...careful everyone. Sutcliffe just stumbled upon the idea of a "platoon". It's a very vague concept and entirely new to managing. Very few managers can pull off this hyper-creative and complicated tactic.
As great a job as Joe Torre is doing with those characters in Los Angeles, Piniella is my National League Manager of the Year.
This is so ridiculous. Not so much the Manager of the Year part, but how can you be completely and totally ignorant to how much better the intrinsic quality of the players on the Cubs has become over the past two years? Do you know what a difference a healthy Derrek Lee makes? How about having one of the best catchers in baseball just break out before your eyes? Is that Piniella? What did Lou Piniella have to do with snagging Rich Ha-(Hold on a second, "Home Improvement" just ended, and it has been replaced on the television by "George Lopez." This needs to stop before I can finish that word)-rden? Don't get me wrong, the man has pushed a good amount of the right buttons in his time on the North side, but there are umpteen more important reasons to why the Cubs are good. You, Rick Sutcliffe, are the quintessential example of why ex-players should not be given writing jobs simply because you used to play baseball.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I can't believe I used a Bill Simmons joke in the title. Pretty embarrassing. But get excited, people- I have the feeling we're in for a fuckshow of a broadcast. Tune back in at 8 EST for the fireworks.
7:24 CST: We're almost 10 minutes into ESPN's coverage, and Joe has yet to utter a single word. What a beautiful world we live in.
7:25 CST: The first words out of Joe's mouth: (After a bit of an introduction from Jon)
You know, when I think about Yankee Stadium, I don't think about my own accomplishments here.
So what you're saying is... the first thing you think about when someone says "Yankee Stadium" is your own accomplishments there. Joe has some of the most transparent false modesty I've ever seen/heard.
7:36 CST: Jon is "surprised" that so many fans brought cameras to record the events of tonight's game. No punchline needed.
7:43 CST: Joe wants us to know that Derek Jeter received a crystal award today for passing Lou Gehrig on the Yankee Stadium all-time hits list. He also adds some very stern-voiced commentary:
Anytime you pass Lou Gehrig, or Babe Ruth, for anything... that's special.
This is why he wins the Emmys, folks.
7:59 CST: Jon thinks that A-Rod "would seem to be a good candidate" to hit the final home run in Yankee Stadium tonight. Call me nuts, but my money's on Jose Molina.
8:04 CST: Joe's analysis as to why Orioles starter Chris Waters is having such a successful night so far:
He's got all the pitches you'd expect a crafty lefty to have: cut fastball, change up, slider.
So... he has the same pitches that lots of non-crafty non-lefties have. Also worth noting: has "all the pitches" you'd expect a crafty lefty to have, but no curve. This is one of those great double-wrong situations.
8:10 CST: Joe has a question for Whitey Ford:
How far and how often do you get to Yankee Stadium?
That man is a master of prepositions.
8:19 CST: Jon reminisces with Whitey about some old Yankees pitcher (don't know which one) who "lost his no hitter on the one hit he gave up!" Doing this liveblog thing has made start to realize that Joe is dragging Jon down with him. It's a race to the bottom... where John Kruk awaits to devour them both.
8:27 CST: In something that falls inbetween an abortion of a joke and horrible attempt to put a spin a well-known nickname, Jon mentions that beause Johnny Damon just hit a 3 run home run they might have to "start calling [it] the house that Damon built!" Again, no punchline needed.
8:38 CST: This is just me being a hater, but Peter Gammons's saccharine-sweet monologues drive me batty. Just because it works in print format doesn't mean it will work in broadcast format. Gag me. (Larry B crosses arms, slumps shoulders, and scowls)
8:43 CST: Joe demonstrates a knowledge of basic geometry in noting that Jay Payton beat out an infield hit in part by:
Running straight down the chalk line, which gets you there faster.
8:54 CST: Joe fondly remembers the time he hit a home run in Yankee Stadium during an All-Star game. This is at least the third story he's told about himself and his own accomplishments so far tonight. But trust him, when he thinks about Yankee Stadium, he doesn't think about his own accomplishments. At all.
8:55 CST: Son of a bitch bastard. Jose Molina just went yard. Check out my 7:59 CST comment, which I promise on my dead cat's grave is unedited. If this prediction holds up, I am retiring from the blog and moving to Hawaii.
9:08 CST: More Emmy-worthy blabber from Joe:
Any time your name is connected to the Babe's... you're pretty good.
9:11 CST: The one thing Joe usually doesn't mess up is hitting analysis, but he lays an egg here re: how Pettitte has been pitching to righties tonight:
A lot of guys are looking for that cut fastball, but instead [they're getting] that straight fastball riding in on their hands.
A lefty throws cut fastballs to right handed hitters specifically to get pitches in on their hands. Pettitte may be having success tonight with the straight fastball, but it's not because he's getting it in on their hands. Just saying.
9:21 CST: Joe insists, for the second time tonight, that the Yankee Stadium "mystique" will easily transfer over to the new stadium because of the fans. Apparently he hasn't read this piece by Dan-Bob.
9:23 CST: Joe notes that fans tonight were chanting "An-dy Pet-titte" and "Der-ek Je-ter." But back when Reggie Jackson played for the Yankees, fans simply chanted "Reg-gie, Reg-gie" and omitted his last name. He then surmises that that's the true measuring stick for superstardom- if people identify you only by your first name. And, master of humility that he is, he then asks Jon to simply refer to him as "Joe" from that point forward. What. A. Cockhead.
9:30 CST: Joe tells perhaps the most awkward story I've ever heard, about his encounter with Spike Lee and their discussion about Lee's soon to be released "Miracle at St. Anna." I can't transcribe the whole story, but all you need to really know is that it ended with:
So I told him I'd go see it. I mean, he didn't give me any free passes or anything. But I still told him I'd go see it.
You make (presumably) hundreds of thousands of dollars per year by talking (often foolishly) about baseball. I think you can afford a $9 movie ticket.
9:37 CST: Jon Miller, in a discussion about Reggie Jackson's career playoff accomplishments, just repeatedly referred to OPS as "ops." As in, not "oh pee ess," but just- ops. Say "cops" but take off the "c." I don't know why, but this is cracking me up big time. I might even start doing it myself. Ops? What the fuck. Ops. I love it.
10:03 CST: This isn't really anyone's fault, but having Michael Kay in the booth to do play by play as he carries on a conversation with Jon and Joe is awkward as hell. It's like going on a first date with a girl who talks constantly but also bringing your best friend.
10:12 CST: This sucks. With Kay in there being relatively smart (annoying, but still, not retarded) I've got nothing to make fun of. Joe is likely to mail in the rest of the night. Too bad.
10:26 CST: I think Joe's on a bathroom break. Odds that he comes back and says anything before the night is over: roughly the same as the odds that Jose Molina hits the last home run in Yankee Stadium history.
10:31 CST: Just wanted to point out that Orioles SS Brandon Fahey has a rat-like face that rivals Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan's.
10:33 CST: PNoles notes the irony in that Derek Jeter just had the last Yankee AB in Yankee Stadium... but in order to secure that title/milestone, he had to make an out. How steely-eyed.
10:34 CST: The camera shows Mariano Riveria warming up in the Yankee pen. Joe's keen powers of observation kick in:
He's still down there in the bullpen throwing. I can see him throwing.
10:47 CST: Well, stab my dick with a javelin. Remember that time I said Jose Molina would hit the last home run in Yankee Stadium's history? You're welcome.
10:56 CST: Jon is worried that "it might just now be setting in" for some fans that this is the last time they'll see the Yankees in this stadium. Any fan in that stadium just now coming to that realization has an open invitation from me to go play in traffic.
11:10 CST: I could watch these Dolphins/Patriots highlights alllllllll night. Oh yeah, and I guess that means we're done with the liveblog. And this was the last Sunday Night Baseball telecast of the year. Too bad. Well, assuming TBS has rights to some postseason games, which I assume they do, you'll be hearing more from PNoles and I well into October. Those TBS announcers are an embarrassment.
I just had to share this!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Watching the ND/Mich State game. Two things have really, REALLY made me angry.
1) The key to the game for Notre Dame: "Win on the road." Thanks a bunch.
2) With 2:42 left in the first quarter, Notre Dame recovers a fumble. The color guy says "That's the 9th takeaway for Notre Dame in their first two-and-a-third games."
Football games are composed of four quarters.
The first one hasn't ended yet.
Friday, September 19, 2008
I'm sorry, MLB rules clearly state that you can only win one MVP award in your life that you didn't deserve (with apologies to the Larry B argument).
ESPN's Friday Night Baseball essentially just started with the color commentator stating that Justin Morneau pretty much IS the MVP.
Let me clarify a few things.
Justin Morneau has easily been one of the 20-ish best people at hitting baseballs over the past few years. He is very good at hitting.
He plays first base. Lots of people who hit well can do that!
Justin Morneau actually has a lower VORP than Joe Mauer.
He JUST PASSED Carlos Quentin, who for the curious, has not been playing much baseball the past couple of weeks, and who also plays an easy defensive position.
He is significantly behind Ian Kinsler, who hasn't even played baseball since August the Seventeenth.
If you need a contender, he is behind Dustin Pedroia.
And I don't care what anybody says. Cliff Lee is the best player in the American League this year, and it's not close.
I FUCKING HATE MOTHERFUCKING JUSTIN MORNEAU.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
So I've never been a big reader of Rick Reilly (I switched from SI to The Sporting News about 10 years ago), but I can say that for the most part, Reilly's written work for ESPN has been abhorrent.
Therefore, when I was watching an episode of The Colbert Report on Tivo (hear that Pnoles, TIVO!), and saw that Reilly would be the guest, I fired up the ol' laptop and set the keyboard to callously cynical. However, much to my surprise, Reilly was not there to talk about ESPN, golf, Brett Favre, or even sports at all. Rather, he used the entirety of his interview time to talk about the charity NothingButNets, a non-profit UN organization that provides mosquito nets to Malaria stricken parts of Africa.
Maybe there's some sort of sinister reason for Reilly to do this (tax write off, impending divorce, he owns a net factory), but I thought it was a pretty stand up thing to do. Also, Mariotti would never use a guest spot on Colbert for any reason other than to talk about how The Blizzard of Oz is a pox upon the city of Chicago.
So in summary:
Tip of the Hat: Rick Reilly, for promoting a charity when he could've used the time for smug, broad generalizations and lame jokes.
Wag of the Finger: Rick Reilly, for using his columns for smug, broad generalizations and lame jokes.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Skimming across the front page of the greatest sports website on teh interwebz, I found a bunch of boring headlines and a couple of fortyish white guys with impeccable hair and genial smiles. Big deal. But then I remembered the much less attractive but much more insightful ombudswoman with this: ESPN must stop the suffocation of synergy. Le Anne Schreiber: please start the revolution from the inside. I've got your back.
For the short two-week oasis of Olympic time, there was a merciful abating of the ESPN barrage. Schrieber praises ESPN's Olympic work, but also takes on the issue of ESPN's regular and relentless "cross-promotion", where ESPN television specifically tries to promote other ESPN/ABC shows, ESPN the mag, ESPN radio - basically the entire ESPNiverse.
The most telling quote in the article comes from Vince Doria, ESPN senior VP and director of news, which I will vivisect for you right here:
"We do carpet bomb you with information about what you can see here,
Really unnecessary war metaphor, Vince. When people use really unnecessary war metaphors, I think they're really out of touch with reality.
and we've got the reputation, in part from newspaper critics, of being the big bad TV guys that want to capture your mind and tell you what to do and when to watch and where to go
Fortunately, the newspaper critics (despite what the self-deposed Jay-bird might say) still have something to say. Vince: I'm glad to add my little, uncapitalize, hypenated, reputeless name to the list of persons contributing to that completely accurate reputation.
-- go over to dot-com now, go to radio now, go buy the magazine and then come back here, we got four networks; wait a minute, radio's on, go back there."
Just on the ESPN.com front page right now, I see a SportsCenter clip, a handful of ESPN Fantasy ads, an ad for the Ryder Cup on ESPN HD, links to articles from the Magazine... sounds like you've correctly diagnosed the problem, Vince!
"Isn't it also a service to let people know where to find more about what they are interested in?" Doria asked. "We can debate where service ends and promotion starts, but most of the time, the promotion is quick, doesn't terribly interrupt your viewing and provides information that is actually useful to somebody. When viewers complain, do they make legitimate points about interrupted viewing?"
Bullshit. I suppose any corporation can redefine "advertising" as "service" - they're just helping you get another helping of their delicious product! I wonder if this argument held weight when these guys got taken to court for their advertising practice. Obviously, tobacco is a much more damaging product than ESPiN, but there's still a limit to advertising decorum, and ESPN crosses it on a regular basis.
A real problem is cited later in Schreiber's article:
Mostly, the rage seems in excess of any specific provocation -- a recent example being complaints from viewers who used the words "disgusting," "repugnant" and "shameless" to express how they felt about seeing a highlight from "Wipeout," ABC's new reality show, included as a Top Ten Play on "SportsCenter." The highlight ran only a couple of times, for 10 seconds or less, so why were they so bent out of shape?
"Wipeout" has no place in sports. Maybe the problem is with us - who forget what the "E" in ESPN stands for - but I think the problem is with ESPN's claim to being the authoritative voice in sports media, when they're actually the authoritative voice in sucking money out of their consumers. I don't care if it was for less than ten seconds: get your ads out of my sports.
And the worst of it all:
Doria suggested that some viewers are offended by cross-promotion because "They have been told by critics that they should be offended."
This quote confirms what I already suspected: ESPN sees its viewers as a bunch of directionless sheep, who neeeeeed that 1 AM SportsCenter to get the latest speculation on the Brett Farve story. That people at ESPN really think they're providing a service by cross-promoting their stuff; they admit to "carpet bombing" you with cross-promotion... and they honestly believe that the people who reject it don't have the brains to decide for themselves. It's getting clearer and clearer to me that the few decent journalists who might work there are simply cogs in a larger media machine designed to extract all the possible dollars from their consumers.
I'll quote something I once heard from Chris W (I think he was paraphrasing P.T. Barnum): "You can't go broke underestimating the American people".
ESPN is underestimating the American people - and they certainly aren't going broke doing it.
It's Wednesday. As in the day that's three full days after Sunday. And yet, Bill's NFL picks from last week are still on the front page of ESPN.com. They're the featured Page 2 link. The last of the week's games finished almost 36 fucking hours ago. Since then, ESPN's other writers have put out plenty of material. But when the site's editors make their decisions as to what will generate the most traffic, they choose to keep a column in the spotlight that at this point is relevant for no other purpose besides noting how awful Bill is at making gambling picks. (5-9-1 against the spread last week, now 11-19-1 for the season.) So my point, of course, is that this is pretty tragic. Or at least appears to be on the surface. Is this guy really this popular? Really? The average ESPN.com visitor wouldn't rather read something else? Even TMQ's brand new article (which I will attempt to parse tonight, as long as it doesn't give me an aneurysm) takes a back seat to Bill's rotting leftovers.
Now, the reason I say it appears to be pretty tragic on the surface is that there's a chance Bill is slowly approaching the Mariotti zone. You know what I mean- where a columnist generates a ton of traffic, but the majority of it comes from people who hope he gets crushed in a revolving door accident. When Mariotti left the Sun-Times, commenter Larry (no relation to me, but great name anyways) posted a link to a poll on their website in which the split of people said they'd miss Jaybird vs. those who said they wouldn't was something like 23% to 77%. I'm sure Bill's disapproval rating isn't that high yet... but I'm holding out hope that he's on his way there. Hoping and hoping and hoping. That's the same way I tried to solve the problem of being a fuckbag of a loser in high school, and look where I am today!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
A few months ago, I promised friend of the blog Jeff Pearlman I would plug his new book. It's called "Boys Will Be Boys." It's about the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s. And it's available today. Although Jeff is a pretty cool guy, the real reason I made this promise was because I hoped it would induce him to offer me a free copy of the book before it hit shelves. Alas, that didn't happen and as a result I obviously haven't read it yet. So how can I still plug it? Easy. Kissing Suzy Kolber has done my work for me. And if reading their preview doesn't make you want to drop some money on the book and read the whole thing, well, I don't know what to tell you. Obviously you're either a tightwad or you don't like things that are funny.
Also, I forgot to link them when I initially made the post, but my implication from yesterday night that Rex Grossman is the kind of QB who thinks any pass not thrown into the end zone is for pussies isn't my own idea. It also came from KSK.
Monday, September 15, 2008
See what I did with the title there? Expanding Jack M's joke? I know, it's really funny. That's why we make the big bucks, without even putting ads on the blog. Love to. Yes. Beautiful. Alright, enough of that.
This had to be one of the most dramatic Sundays in the 24 years I've covered the league. Around 9:30 Sunday night, I got Mike Shanahan on the phone (now there's a guy who was in the vortex of this compelling day)
It's useless "asides" like this that make Peter a bonafide zilcheroo. Great editorial, jackass. Thanks for filling your readers with that valuable extra tidbit of analysis. The Cowboys- now THERE'S a team with a batshit crazy owner! Buffalo- now THERE'S a town with shitty winter weather! Stuart Scott- now THERE'S a guy with only one working eye! Saying really obvious stuff with a "Now there's..." setup is fucking annoying.
and started telling him about the weirdness in Seattle, about Kurt Warner looking like a '58 Johnny Unitas, about Green Bay leading by 21 and trailing by one and winning by 23 (all in the same game), about Matt Cassel on the road against Brett Favre, winning his first start since high school ... and, well, I guess at one point I paused.
"What happened to the Colts?'' Shanahan said. "How'd they win?''I don't need to hear Shanahan's tone of voice to know that he was humoring Peter. Yes, tell me another story! Ooh, that's exciting! It sounds like you had a really fun day watching football.
"Peyton Manning,'' I said. "Four offensive linemen out, Dallas Clark out, down 15-0 in the Metrodome, they can't run, Vinatieri misses a chip-shot and it looks like they'll lose, and Manning just, I don't know, wouldn't let them.''
"Wow,'' he said.
That is so neat!
Re: Denver's win over San Diego
The great thing about the (game winning two point) conversion was Cutler's coolness.
Oh yeah? Did it remind you of something one of your favorite QBs like Favre or Brady would have done?
I always say what makes Manny Ramirez such a great hitter is he treats an at-bat in the World Series the same as he treats one on March 17 in Bradenton.
1. I'm not sure this is true.
2. You had hundreds of available football comparisons. Why did you choose this?
3. Cutler has never played a playoff game, and as exciting as Sunday's game was, it took place more than three months before the playoffs start.
Same deal with Cutler.
Yeah, I saw Jay taking some hacks down in Florida this spring. He looked pretty calm. Needs to work on his baserunning, though.
But can you argue with Shanahan's call, now that you've heard his logic, even if Cutler hadn't converted?
Christ. Check your verb tenses, Joe Morgan. Someone get this guy an editor. At least Joe spins his webs of grammatical nonsense on live TV. Doing the exact same thing in a print column is inexcusable.
Re: Green Bay's win over Detroit
Maybe rocky times will be coming for Aaron Rodgers, but when?"It's only two games,'' he cautioned via the cell phone Sunday evening.
Too bad. Looks like Peter already has Aaron's phone number. You know, they say that after a breakup you need time to heal before getting into another relationship. Otherwise, you get into that nasty rebound cycle and people can get hurt. Has Peter just replaced you-know-who with Rodgers? I guess time will tell.
Rodgers is in a weird spot with Favre.
Thanks mostly to the media. And specifically, you.
At the end of last season, the formerly chilly relationship got warm, with Rodgers going to Favre's home for dinner. But a frost settled over the friendship in the offseason, when Favre retired and then came back, hopeful of getting his old job back, a job the Packers had given to Rodgers. When they both went to the ESPYs in Los Angeles, they didn't connect, even though they were in the same audience.
ESPY-related gossip. Fascinating, relevant stuff.
I asked if the relationship was harmed forever.
"I sure hope not,'' Rodgers said. "I have so much admiration for Brett. I would love for the relationship to go back to what it was.''
Did the Packers even play a game on Sunday? Who gives a shit! Rodgers and Favre may or may not be friends anymore (that is, if they even were in the first place)! I would rather read about the fucking Patriots than this.
New England 19, New York Jets 10
What a segue!
Bill Belichick wants Cassel to steer the ship. In the Meadowlands, he led the Patriots to five scoring drives in eight possessions, and on the ninth and final possession of the day, he did what the Patriots dreamed he'd do but probably didn't think actually would happen. He knelt on the ball for the final play of the game, before a two-thirds-empty stadium.
Overdramatize things much? As if the Patriots had absolutely no prayer of winning the game... then heroically perservered, and came out on top thanks to following their dreams and believing in themselves.
On fourth-and-three from the New York 29 with 1:56 left, out of the shotgun, he had dumped a safe five-yarder to Wes Welker to get a new set of downs and seal the game. He didn't try to do too much, just end the game.
Oh yeah, most QBs are going for the end zone in that situation. Gotta pad those stats. Making the safe, game sealing play? Fuck that. That shit is for pussies. My name is Rex Grossman, and I'm here to throw touchdowns.
If he keeps doing that, he might invite comparisons to the last unknown quarterback the Patriots thrust in the lineup after an injury to a famous quarterback.
Fuck you, Peter. Fuck you with an Estes rocket.
But let's not go there yet. Way, way, way too early.
Next to the phrase "game-manager'' in Webster's, there is a photo of Matt Cassel.
Trent Dilfer and his Super Bowl ring? A thing of the past. Tell me about a guy who's virtually guaranteed to be better than Tom Brady by week 6: Matt Cassel.
Quote of the Week II:
"I spoke with Mr. Fisher. I asked him what was going on and he proceeded to tell me about getting a call from Vince Young's therapist and she was worried about him. I asked him, 'What made her worry about him?' He stated, 'His mood, his emotions, he is injured, he wants to quit, and he mentioned suicide several times.' He went on to state that [Young] left his house with a gun.''
-- Andrea N. Swisher, Nashville Metropolitan Police officer, in her report of the Vince Young drama Monday night.
Interesting. You know, it's a strange saga going on for the Titans there. I wonder how they're going to deal with it in the long term. Head coach Jeff Fisher sure has his hands fu-
"Mr. Fisher'' is Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher.
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHH. That's who. I thought you were referring to recently deceased chess star Bobby Fischer, but had forgotten that he was dead, forgotten that he doesn't/didn't have any association with the Tennessee Titans, and had misspelled his name.
Quote of the Week IV:
"I'm sick about Tom Brady.''
-- Peyton Manning.
Did he really keep a straight face (or normal voice, if delivered on the phone) when he said that?
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
Re those quarterbacks you saw in East Rutherford Sunday afternoon:
Favre, through two weeks, has earned $1.41 million in base salary.
The three New England quarterbacks on the active roster -- Cassel, Matt Gutierrez and Kevin O'Connell -- are scheduled to earn a combined $1.16 million in base salary this year. For the full season.
Up is down! Down is up! Cats are making friends with dogs! Future HOFers nearing the end of their long term contracts which they signed at the end of their prime make a lot more money than completely untested career backups! Nothing is as it seems!
Adrian Peterson vs. Walter Payton.
I thought of this Sept. 8, when Peterson, of the Vikings, ran over Green Bay's Al Harris on the left sideline on one romp and cut across the grain for a 34-yard scamper, leaving Packers defenders grasping. I know, I know. Payton did it for Chicago for 12 years. Peterson's done it for one. This new element of my column is not intended to say I think the modern guy is as good as the former guy. It's designed to compare a star from today to a star from yesterday in terms of style of play, greatness and personality.
Talking to Peterson last year, I liked the fact that rushing 20 times for 224 yards at Soldier Field meant something to him because he was doing it on Walter Payton's turf. Most young players don't appreciate history, but Peterson not only knew who Payton was, he knew he ran something like him.
So we're giving an NFL player who grew up playing running back points for knowing who Walter Payton was. Huh. Tell you what- I didn't think O.J. Mayo was very mature until I heard him mention during an interview that he was a big fan of Michael Jordan. Can you imagine? What a guy!
The Awards Section
Offensive Player of the Week
Jay Cutler, QB, Denver. An amazing performance by an emerging star, who came back from throwing a costly interception in the fourth quarter, deep in San Diego territory -- allowing the Chargers to take a late lead -- and drove Denver the length of the field (aided by Ed Hochuli) for a touchdown pass to Eddie Royal with 29 seconds left. That made it 38-37, Denver. Shanahan (as noted earlier) chose to go for two. Then, cool as a cuke, Cutler bounced on the balls of his feet three times, a la Joe Willie, and fired a completed conversion pass to Royal between three Chargers.
Everyone break out "cool as a cuke" in conversation this week and see how it goes over. If your friends and colleagues react the same way I did, they'll think you just dropped an obscure racial slur.
Matt Cassel, QB, New England. A workmanlike day (16 of 23, 165 yards, no touchdowns or picks), but let's realize what this man did. In his first start in the NFL, and his first start at quarterback since a high school playoff game in 1999, he jogged onto Favre's new home field Sunday in New Jersey, and beat one of the top 10 quarterbacks of all time. Pats 19, Jets 10. Read Sports Illustrated this week (the big tease) for my take on how he got to the Patriots and who got him there.
I would sooner ride a hot air balloon into a hurricane, but thanks for the offer. Also: I fucking hate Matt Cassel already. What's it been, like 8 days? Awesome. Thanks Peter!
Ten Things I Think I Think
I'm not going to give the thoroughly misguided human (if he or she is indeed human) who began selling the Bernard Pollard Fan Club T-shirts online after the Tom Brady injury any more attention than this one sentence and this one question: What would your mother think of you if she knew what you were doing?
Take that, you possible non-human. You mom might be upset that you are celebrating someone else's pain. Maybe. Or, she might think it was enterprising of you to make money off something as ultimately meaningless as this. Could go either way.
Vince Young reminds me of who Bruce Springsteen wrote and sang about in "Glory Days.'' And Young's glory days were in Austin, not Nashville.
You've never heard that song, have you?
I think it's going to be a tough few nights sleeping for Ed Hochuli.
I bet- nay, I guarantee- that he's over it. San Diego still had 2 chances to win the game (on 4th down and on the 2 point conversion).
And I can't even bring myself to comment on any of his baseball related thoughts. Here, I'll summarize for you- Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay- good?, Red Sox, Red Sox, Yankee Stadium sad face, the Red Sox are the most interesting team ever, Peter King is a moron. That's all I got.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Yep, it's another Sunday night LiveBlog! Larry is on his way over, and already caught a really awful Joe-ism. (I was watching V for Vendetta at the time, thinking the start of the game was going to be delayed a little bit. Underrated movie, I tell ya.)
I'm going to keep my stuff in this typeface. Larry's will be in italics.
Anyway, on to Rogers v Danks! We'll talk later after Joe's stupidity manifests itself (estimated time 3 minutes).
Quotes as close as possible. No DVR here yet.
Here's a couple of pre-broadcast bits from Larry B.
Opening scene of the broadcast: a wide screen shot of US Cellular. The national anthem is playing in the background. No audio from Jon or Joe. After about 15 seconds of silence on their part: Jon: "Hello! We're on the South Si-" He stops abruptly, and remains silent for 10 more seconds. Then: "Hello! We're on the South Side of Chicago!"
Off to a flying start.
Joe talks about all the threats in the Tiger lineup, and concludes:
"So it's not easy to beat the Tigers, although over the course of this season it appears that way, it hasn't been."
So I guess a lot of teams have been working extra super hard to beat the Tigers and keep them 7 games under .500, then, huh?
Edit: Bottom of 1st:
Joe Morgan: Thome just muscled that ball into right-center for a single, whereas most guys would have had a broken bat.
Correct me if I'm wrong (and I might be), but if you swing hard, don't you stand a greater chance of breaking your bat given the same point of contact?
Edit: After reading this, I feel better. I'm pretty sure Joey's wrong on this one.
Edit: Top of 3rd:
This was fun.
Joe Morgan: [Alexei Ramirez] has played his way back into Rookie of the Year consideration with the way he's played in this pennant....winning....situation
Joe Morgan: (comparing Ramirez to Evan Longoria) He's been here all year, while Longoria wasn't there at the beginning or with his recent injury...
According to Baseball Prospectus's latest updated stats pages, both have exactly 441 plate appearances. Isn't that Joe-negatingly beautiful?
One's a power hitter, one's a.....second baseman...
Now there's two mutually exclusive categories if I've ever seen 'em. Ask Chase Utley if that one holds true.
Edit: Bottom of 3rd, Larry B finally here and chiming in.
"Well, you know what Yogi said, 'It ain't over til it's over.' I mean, it might look like it's over for the Yankees, but it's not over yet."
ESPN's Yankees playoff odds: Rays: 99.8% Red Sox: 99.7% Blue Jays: 0.2% Yankees 0.1%
It's over, man.
Edit: Bottom of the 3rd
Jon Miller: It used to be the new Comiskey, now it's U.S. Cellular Field. Try saying that 3 times fast!
Joe Morgan: ...That's ok.
So is "U.S. Cellular Field" tough to say fast now? That's hilarious. And in the process, we've uncovered Joe's childhood fear of tongue-twisters.
Edit: Top of 4th, Larry is on a roll here.
Joe: I always used to say, back when i was in high school, if it's a full moon, and you're out with your date, it's a good thing.
I think Joe is referring to werewolves.
Edit: Top of 4th. Marcus Thames, a notorious hard swinger and muscleman, just shattered his bat in a soft fielder's choice.
But Jim Thome would have muscled it into the outfield for a hit. I'm 100% sure.
Side note: If Progressive Auto Insurance doesn't take those Kathy Griffin commercials off the air, I am going to stop watching TV and move to the Yukon.
Edit: Bottom of 4th.
Joe Morgan: (on the Phillies) The difference obviously is Ryan Howard. When he hits, the entire lineup seems to hit. When he struggles, the entire lineup seems to struggle.
Phillies, April 18-May 20. Record: 17-14. Ryan Howard's OPS: .614.
August 7-August 25. Record: 10-8. Howard's OPS: .492.
Am I cherry picking? Of course. Who's going to stop me? But seriously, I think this makes it a whole lot less obvious as to the magnitude Howard's contributions have on Philly's success. I think what Joe meant to say is that Howard is African-American, so therefore he's awesome. (See: Sheffield, Gary and Joe's well established track record of gladhanding him.)
Edit: Bottom of the 5th.
After Joe Morgan gushed for like an hour about Rogers needing to throw the high fastball, Alexei Ramirez slapped said high fastball into center for a single. Isn't life beautiful?
Joe Morgan: Mr. October... It was a misnomer. People think he was named that just because of those three home runs he hit, but he was always good in the playoffs.
So when you say "misnomer," (a word I'm shocked he knows in the first place), you actually mean, "appropriate nickname." Joe's mastery of the English language continues to inspire viewers across America.
Side note: Did any of you guys this is the last season for Yankee Stadium? Because I sure didn't. I LOVE YOU ESPN ZOMG MWAH!
Edit: Bottom of 7th
Joe has either fallen asleep, wandered away, or is on the can. Again. Whatever old-people bowel problems Joe seems to have every Sunday night, they seem to not affect Jon Miller.
Scary thought: What if Joe had to step in as the play-by-play guy for a half inning?
Bottom of 8th, Tigers have scored 7 unanswered to tie the game.
Joe Morgan: They're not used to blowing 7 run leads either. They tried outscoring them by 7 runs, but that didn't work, so now they're going to try to score one more run.
Apparently, all attempts to remove one of the Tigers' runs have failed!
Steve Phillips just announced that because of a no-hitter by Carlos Zambrano, the Cubs are now the team to beat in the National League. Thanks, Steve.
Larry B and pnoles out.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
HatGuy's officially back, I think. This is his second baseball column of the week.
Cubs or Brewers will blow their playoff spot
Both star-crossed franchises have a lot of practice at falling apart
Let's stop you right there. The Brewers have historically never been in a position to
do that. 2007 is pretty much the only thing that comes to mind. Lots of practice.
This thought just in: Somebody is going to blow a certain playoff spot in the National League, and it’s going to be almost as ugly as the Mets’ all-time meltdown last year.
That isn't possible.
The candidates are the Cubs and the Brewers, and they’re well qualified for the job. The Brewers have never won a World Series and they haven’t been there for more than 25 years. And the Cubs have a century’s worth of losses packed in their emotional baggage.
See? The 1983 Brewers and 1956 Cubs have more bearing on this year's pennant race than you thought!
Don’t think they don’t know it. The newspapers and electronic media are regurgitating all the stories of past failures. The Brewers are reminded almost daily that they once had an 8 1/2-game lead in the NL Central last year only to blow it all to the Cubs and finish out of the playoffs entirely.
Isn't it counterproductive to argue that TWO teams are good at falling apart by saying one dramatically overtook the other for the division lead?
The Cubs are already hearing about billy goats and black cats and Bartmans and every other evil stroke of fortune that’s befallen them over the decades.
Don't forget "baseball." That starts with 'b' too. Right, Jay Mariotti?
Let’s face it. Both of these star-crossed franchises have a lot of practice at this sort of thing. They’re good at falling apart in the clutch. It’s in their DNA.
Oh you are just the worst type of person.
Watching the Brewers and Cubs trying to get to the postseason is like watching someone with an inner-ear problem and poor hand-eye coordination walking a tightrope stretched over an alligator pit while juggling chain saws. Blindfolded.
Throw your tomatoes, people!
("chainsaw" is one word.)
It’s not fit viewing for small children and people with weak stomachs.
You are an unfunny human being.
When September began, both teams were sailing serenely through the schedule, the Cubs 4 1/2 games ahead of the Brewers, and Milwaukee well ahead of everybody else fighting for the wild card. St. Louis was 11 games out and Houston was just a dim speck in the rearview mirror, 14 games behind the Cubs and 9 1/2 behind the Brewers.
Since then, both the Brewers and Cubs have been unraveling like a $2 sweater in a briar patch. Both are falling into panic mode, and with good reason.
$2 sweater in a briar patch. Awesome. Who says these things? I don't even have to do any work on this post. Just copy and paste the words, and let HatGuy embarrass himself.
In Milwaukee, it’s a sudden failure of the offense. CC Sabathia, the best trade-deadline pickup in memory, has been unbeatable, and Ben Sheets hasn’t yet imploded, but the team’s not scoring any runs.
I'm sorry, where do you get off saying this? Ben Sheets hasn't yet imploded? Is the fact that Ben Sheets is pitching very well like, unbelievable or something? Ben Sheets is a very very very good major league pitcher. He's either good or injured. Implosion-free, relatively speaking.
It will be hard for both teams to finish out of the playoffs, if only because so many teams are fighting for two spots, and most of them have to play each other. But it’s not out of the question for the Brewers and the Cubs to go into their final three games in Milwaukee with one playoff spot on the line for both teams.
Fate would have a tough decision if it comes to that. Which perennial loser would you favor? The guys who haven’t won in 100 years, or the ones who haven’t won in forever?
The one with the best team this year for crissake. I guess in your eyes things like that are irrelevant completely.
Friday, September 12, 2008
I've learned a few things over the past 10 days or so:
1. Joe Posnanski has a large fan base, and despite writing a terrible article about Brett Favre, Posnanksi maintains a blog where he uses big words like OPS+.
2. Sports bloggers are open to any and all criticism, unless it is directed at their burrito house of choice.
Therefore, to avoid further criticism, I will now deride two ESPN writers who I know no one will defend (Because no 1 comes to r site lolz!!1).
I can't let the Gold-Medal Game go. USA 118, Spain 107. One of the 10 most dramatic basketball games of my lifetime.
Hard to believe that there've been less than 10 important games in Simmons's lifetime where the winning team won by less than 11.
And nobody gave a crap or even knew.
Yeah, certainly wasn't discussed at all by Chad Forde, Scoop Jackson, or anyone else who wrote about the Redeem Team.
The game started at 2:30 in the morning ET and vanished into thin air. Only West Coasters and super-diehards stayed up to see it. Everyone else woke up Sunday, heard the score, caught the highlights and never thought about it again.
You see this is what I really hate about "professional sports writers." They can make blanket claims like this, which aren't supported by any facts at all whatsoever, and it gets passed off as fact. He doesn't even provide an anecdote. He's fucking clown shoes.
The biggest irony of this all is that he's lauded as "THE SPORTS GUY," that guy who's just like every one who reads him. Yet, he makes this moronic assumption that only he and five other people on the west coast watched the game. Remember when you were cool, Simmons? You talk about it all the time, yet you seem to forget that for people, aged 16 through 1 day younger than you, staying up till 4:30 am to watch a basketball game on a SATURDAY NIGHT IN THE SUMMER isn't that big a hardship.
p.s. I'm sure no one woke up and watched it on Tivo either. Jackass.
And that's why I hope neither NBA TV nor ESPN Classic ever replays this game. It belongs to me and the lucky few who watched it live and sweated it out.
And the aniversary of this game shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of douche;
Which Franchise Rules Your City? I Have the Answer. By Rick Reilly
Before I dive in, let me remind the reader that Reilly makes an obscene amount of money for a sports journalist. In addition, he derides bloggers for not having the inside info to write compelling pieces like the ones he does.
Okay, with that out of the way, Reilly will now pick cities at random and say which team the city favors most, with next to nothing to back up his claim. Hardcore sports journalism:
ATLANTA Georgia football. Every SEC grad gets a job in Atlanta. The Braves can't even sell out playoff games. Everybody thinks the Hawks moved to Calgary years ago.
You hear that Georgia Tech fans? You like UGA. Bet you didn't see that one coming, traitors.
BALTIMORE Ravens, in a squeaker over Michael Phelps.
Being from Baltimore, I can attest to the fact that this is really accurate. Here's how my thought process went:
Hmmm, Michael Phelps: douchey swimmer who doesn't race specifically for Baltimore, is only nationally recognized every 4 years, and himself prefers the Ravens to Michael Phelps. OR The NFL franchise I waited the first 11 years of my life for. OR That MLB team, which Reilly didn't even mention, whose stadium set the record for quickest to 50 million atendees ever.
BOSTON Red Sox. Once, Boston was a hockey town, and Orr's Bruins ruled. It's never been a Celtics town—despite Russell and Bird—partly because of the finally fading racism. Patriots? Pssshhht. They're not even in Boston. The Red Sox, though, sell out a cramped, rusted ballpark as though there were Hope Diamonds under every seat. Says longtime Boston sports yakker Eddie Andelman: "Who can have a decent conversation about anything else?"
The Red Sox, one of the most successful teams of the past 10 years, sell out a stadium that holds 30,000 people. There's something special about that team I tell yous.
DETROIT Red Wings. It's called Hockeytown, not Basketballtown.
I get it the Red Wings are popular and rightfully so, but you'd think that it would've occurred to Reilly that the University of Michigan holds the record for largest attendance for a football game ever: 112,000 people. I'm just sayin'.
NEW YORK You see more Yankees hats in NYC than all other teams combined. Win 26 titles, that happens. Then there's this: MoviesUnlimited.com lists 21 flicks about the Yanks, four on the Giants and Mets each, two on the Knicks and one on the Rangers.
There are more movies about zombies than all New York teams combined. Ipso facto, people would prefer a world overrun by the flesh eating dead to a situation where they had to root for any New York team.
P.S. Joe Posnanski could learn a lot about quality and consistency by spending a day in his local Qdoba.