Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bill Simmons: frontrunner, liar, shithead

In the midst of one of the best Red Sox pity parties I've ever read (and we all know Bill has been responsible for dozens of them if you count tweets), Bill tries to sell us some snake oil. 

I wanted to name our newborn son "Beckett" right after the Red Sox won the 2007 World Series. If not for a reader intervening, my son might be named Beckett Simmons right now. We could start there. 

It's pathetic but not uncommon for people to name their kids after local sports heroes.  "Here's an unremarkable anecdote with no context: we could start there" is shitty writing. 

The Red Sox have trotted out eight "superstar" hitters in my lifetime: Carl Yastrzemski, Fred Lynn, Jim Rice, Mo Vaughn, Nomar Garciaparra, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez. 


The first seven guys played a combined 83 seasons in Boston. Gonzalez lasted 21 months. We could start there. 

Yeah, that really says something about something.  That would definitely be a great place for us to start... understanding... stuff.

My favorite baseball team just traded its best offensive player and a proven playoff starter in a massive salary dump that had no correlation to anything that's ever happened in Red Sox history except for … you know … the time we sold Babe Ruth. 

STET AWL CHANGES! STET AWL CHANGES! Maybe if Bill let himself be edited, the word "correlation" would have been changed to "comparison" as he intended. Instead we have a sentence that says that a 2012 trade has nothing to do with anything else that's ever happened to the Red Sox, except the sale of a player 90ish years earlier. 

Somehow, Red Sox fans are delighted about the trade. We could start there. 

Why wouldn't they be? The Red Sox haven't won a World Series in five years. Obviously it was time for heads to roll. FACK YOU JAWSH!  I SHOULDA NEVAH ALMOST NAMED MY SON AFTAH YOU

The current Red Sox owners brought us our first championship since 1918 and a second title three years later. Since last October, they've replaced the most successful Red Sox manager in 90 years with the least-liked Red Sox manager of my lifetime not named "Grady Little." 

It's picking nits, but I'm pretty sure Valentine has had a lower approval rating since May than Little had at any point except the 24 hours following game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. 

They've allowed the franchise's most successful general manager ever to break his contract without getting anything decent for him. 

Chris W disagrees with me, but I think Epstein is massively overrated. He basically inherited the 2004 WS team, and the only big move he made to set up the 2007 was to overpay for Matsuzaka. He's also got a spotty drafting record. I do think the moves he made to set up the 2011 and 2012 teams were generally smart, and I'm not saying he's talentless. I'll just be surprised if he creates a consistent winner in Chicago. I think he's a middle of the road GM. ANYWAYS back to the tardery. 

They've assembled one of the league's three most expensive rosters, failed miserably, then lucked out when the Dodgers miraculously handed them a RESET button. And now, headed for the worst Red Sox season in 20 solid years but blessed with financial flexibility again, these owners expect fans to (a) pretend the past two years never happened, and (b) trust their big-picture judgment again. We could start there. 

Pro sports owners don't "expect" fans to do anything other than spend money for the product they pay to put on the field. I sincerely doubt that at any time in the 21st century the owner of a big four pro sports team has sat in his office, wringing his hands and sweating, timidly murmuring "But how will I get the fans to TRUST me again?" They are there to make money, and in most cases they do that by trying to create a winning team. Hell, even the Pirates are going that route these days. The perceived relationship Boston fans imagine they have with their teams' executives (ROBERT KRAFT IS AN AWNEST BUSINESSMAN WHO WANTS THE BEST FOR AWWWL OF NEW ENGLAND! I KNOW FROM THE WAY HE SMILES ON TV!) is so fucking pathetic. 

You know what? Let's start

Yes, Jesus on a fucking pogo stick, just start already.

with this e-mail from a Cambridge reader named Kyle, which arrived just a few days before the Red Sox agreed to the biggest salary dump in baseball history. 

"I think I've officially reached a point in my sports fan relationship with the Red Sox akin to being married for twenty years, no longer loving one another, but still staying together for the kids. Good God can this season just end?" 

Fuck you directly in the frontrunningest part of your frontrunning ass, Kyle. I hope you get rickets.

Even if Kyle made the 2012 season sound like a cross between John Travolta's marriage, Jay Leno's relationship with NBC, 


and every Adam Sandler fan with Adam Sandler, he probably didn't go far enough. After all, you are in a relationship with your favorite teams, right? 

In the sense that you enjoy when they do well and feel bad when they do poorly, yes. In the sense that you feel like they owe you something (other than due care needed to minimize the chances of you sustaining terrible injuries when you attend one of their games, Columbus Blue Jackets I'm looking at you, or is that too soon?), no, absolutely not. 

We purchase tickets


and merchandise; they purchase the players. We agree to remain loyal; they agree not to defecate on that loyalty. And it goes from there. 

It goes from "you can choose to root for your teams or not root for them," you fucking zilch. There is no magical fan/owner loyalty contract involved. 

The best-case scenario for any season? Winning the title. The worst-case scenario? 

Going more than 12 months between titles for any of your city's teams! So taxing! 

Hate-watching your team while rooting for things to bottom out in a comically dreadful way just so you can remain entertained. 

Good to hear that Red Sox fans have decided to mirror the feelings of everyone else on the planet re: their team this year.

The 2012 Red Sox reached that point a few weeks ago. And look, I get it — listening to Boston fans bitch about sports is like listening to John Mayer bitch about his love life.
This was accompanied by the following faux-self-aware-actually-totally-oblivious footnote: 

We won seven titles in 10 years. Over that same time, we endured five of the most brutal playoff defeats in Boston sports history (the Aaron Boone Game, Super Bowl XLII, Super Bowl XLVI, the 2006 AFC championship game and Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals), and trust me, Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS and Game 6 of the 2012 Heat-Celtics series weren't exactly a barrel of laughs. I can't imagine any fan base has experienced more extreme highs and lows over a 10-year span.

I'll let the writer I most frequently rip off take this one:

Hey, you know what? GO TO HELL. Every fan goes through highs and lows, and yours are no more special than anyone else's. If I hear one more goddamn Boston fan say, "This may be the least likable team in Red Sox history!" I'll shit in their coffee. No one gives a fuck where this Red Sox team ranks on your imaginary historical likability scale. You are not the sun around which the rest of the sporting solar system revolves. Why don't you go beat off to Ben Affleck wearing every Boston sports jersey in The Town and quit smothering the rest of the country with your insufferable bullshit? All of you are horrible and diseased.

Nobody was more overdue for a hatefully expensive, totally unredeeming, insane clusterfuck of a season more than Red Sox fans. We knew it, too. We could handle a lousy season. 

No, clearly you cannot. 

It happens. 

And gives us a chance to concoct lies about how we're not a bunch of frontrunners. 

But something deeper was happening here. The Red Sox had morphed into something else. 

/steam pouring out of Larry B's ears 

Fuck each and every last person who read that and even briefly considered agreeing with it. 

Once upon a time, the phrase "Red Sox fan" carried clear responsibilities and implications. 

[joke about Boston's racism here] 

You loved something that, ultimately, was going to break your heart. You pined for a World Series title that was never going to happen. 

Life was hahhhhhhhd! So hahhhhd, especially when your city was unable (for obvious reasons) to enjoy the greatest dynasty in modern American sports history as it unfolded just down the road from Fenway in the Gahhhhhhden. 

You talked yourself into this being "The Year" every spring, and then, every September … it didn't happen. You watched family members pass away without ever seeing the Red Sox win a title. You wondered if it was cruel to saddle your children with this franchise, whether you should "save" them by nudging them in a different direction. 

And then everything turned. We won the World Series, shed the curse, buried some demons, 

came to the collective conclusion that we deserve to have a World Series contender each and every single season, or else cry and bitch to anyone dumb enough to listen about the cross we carry, 

moved on with our lives. Had you asked any Red Sox fan in September 2004, "If you win the World Series, would you care what happened next?," I'm pretty sure that every single person would say, "No, I don't." 

Well, here's what happened. 

Brace yourselves. 

We started spending money like the Yankees. Our charming, broken-down, illogically constructed museum of a baseball park was overhauled and turned into a cash cow 

How dare they put in more seats when there is tremendous demand for tickets! 

(same for the streets surrounding it). 

What could he even be bitching about? I've never been to a game there. Is the team holding pregame events on the streets outside the stadium? Are local businesses advertising their support for the Red Sox in an attempt to attract customers? THE NERVE. 

The owners relentlessly pimped the Red Sox brand inside the stadium, on their website, on their 24-hour TV channel, on your street, in your house, 


/Bill buys $400 seats to [the next Red Sox/Yankees series] 

on your forehead 

Wait, did he just bitch about the team putting its logo on hats? 

and everywhere else you could imagine (leading to a general dumbing down of the fan base 

To the extent that the fan base could have somehow gotten dumber after 2004, I'm pretty sure it happened because some people are fucking frontrunners who just want to cheer for a winner even if they know nothing about the team or the game being played. I'm even more pretty sure that it didn't happen as a result of Red Sox ownership expanding their marketing efforts. 

and the unconscionable decision to encourage Fenway fans to sing along to "Sweet Caroline" during the eighth inning of every game, even ones that we're losing), only we looked the other way because they kept funneling so much of their profits back into the team. There were little signs they might be losing their way, 


like when they purchased Liverpool's soccer team and expected Red Sox fans to adopt it; 


or when John Henry publicly regretted Carl Crawford's lavish contract in only his first season, then randomly showed up on a local radio show to defend himself; 

Good to know Bill uses "randomly" in the same incorrect way college girls do. 

or when they unveiled their 100th aniversary Fenway Park brick program, satiating the three people who had been dying to spend $475 (plus tax) to autograph their own brick inside Fenway. 

Every team has about 10 obnoxious money grabs going at any particular time. Leave it to a Red Sox fan to classify one of them as evidence that ownership is "losing their way." 

Nobody really cared until the Red Sox finished the biggest September swoon in baseball history — 

Nobody really stopped to ask any questions about all these things that are happening around the league to every single team/fanbase in one way or another, until the team had the audacity to not win all the time. 

we'd eventually remember it as the "beer and fried chicken team," 

Because of course you dickholes think that had everything to do with the team's collapse. 

and really, that's all you need to know — 


followed by Terry Francona being smeared in a Boston Globe feature a few days after he stepped down as manager. When Theo Epstein fled a few weeks later, for the first time, Red Sox fans started examining these last eight years the same way you look at a massive dinner check. You know when you go out with a bunch of friends, order food and drinks for three hours, never worry about anything, and then there's that moment when the check comes and everyone's passing it around in disbelief? That's for us? Did you think it was going to be that high? That was last winter for Red Sox fans. The waiter finally dropped off that monstrosity of a check. 

Say Papelbon closes out the Orioles in game 162 and the Rays don't complete a once-or-twice-a-season comeback against the Yankees. Then the Sox lose to the Rangers in 4 games in the ALDS. Imagine the pulse of Red Sox nation then! I know it sounds like lunacy, but I want to go out on a limb and say that stumpfuckers like Bill wouldn't have been blabbering any of this "the ownership group lost its way, there are too many ads in Fenway" nonsense. Maybe if they subsequently bombed out in 2012, there would be whispers, but still, nothing approaching the pile of dinosaur shit you've been reading. Let me make this as simple as possible: the Red Sox stopped being excellent for like 16 months. Red Sox fans are huge frontrunners so this greatly distressed them. But no one wants to cop to their frontrunnerism, and so Bill is speaking for what is likely a large chunk of them and making up lies to cover that frontrunnerism. He's about to really get into it, so allow me to translate. 

Yup … we had turned into the New York Yankees, the team we always hated the most. 

Opening day payrolls by year (MLB rank out of 30 teams in parentheses)

NYY $182 MM (1) 
BOS $125 MM (2)

NYY $189 MM (1)
BOS $143 MM (2)

NYY $206 MM (1)
BOS $162 MM (2)

NYY $201 MM (1)
BOS $161 MM (3)

Only then did the Red Sox become the Yankees!

We spent money just as recklessly and senselessly. 

On players who didn't deliver postseason success. 

The fan bases for other teams despised us just as much. 

Well of course. 

We had the same "If you don't win the title, you've totally failed" conundrum staring at us every spring. 

I find it hard to cheer for a team that doesn't win titles. 

A few weeks ago, my wife was watching Pretty Woman for the 10,000th time while I was sitting next to her answering e-mails. 


The scene came on when millionaire Richard Gere decides to save that shipping company instead of purchasing it just to blow it up, when Jason Alexander (totally evil) questions what they're doing, and then Gere says something like, "I'm tired of making money. I want to build something." My head popped right up. Wasn't that the Red Sox? 

I'm so distressed by my team's five year title drought that I'm trying to cover up my frontrunnerism by applying a completely uninspiring and inapplicable quote from a romantic comedy. 

What were we building? What's fun about rooting for a team of staggeringly overpaid players who were collected with little rhyme or reason? 

If they don't win titles? (I also like the idea that the 2012 Red Sox roster was assembled "with little rhyme or reason." WHY SIGN THE TWO BEST POSITION PLAYER FREE AGENTS IN THE 2010-2011 OFFSEASON CLASS AT POSITIONS OF NEED FOR THE TEAM? WHAT WERE YOU THINKING, EPSTEIN?) 

The Red Sox spent $173.2 million on this year's roster— 

A roster that won't be winning the World Series— 

you couldn't separate the money from the performance. 

You couldn't separate the fact that they were being paid salaries (that were for the most part) determined by the going market value of baseball players, and yet were not leading the division. 

Not for a second. It lingered over everything like a stale fart. Throw in the team's general unlikability

Throw in the team's inability to win at a .600 clip 

(especially Beckett, who regarded the fans and media with real contempt) 

Especially Beckett, after whom I almost named my kid, you know, BACK WHEN HE WAS HELPING THE RED SOX WIN TITLES, HOLY SHIT BILL, HOW ARE YOU THIS OBLIVIOUS 

and for the first time I can remember, Red Sox fans were hate-watching games much like you'd hate-watch Teen Mom or something. Well, who wants to spend three-plus hours a day hate-watching something? If you wanted to enjoy a Red Sox game in 2012, you had to get stoned, break out the 2004 and 2007 DVDs, put in one of the most exciting games and pretend it was happening in real time. 

I have never been so embarrassed about someone else's fandom. It's a new low for Bill here on FireJay, which of course is saying a lot. I can't finish this shit.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Yes, the rumors are true

Last night, on Sportscetner, noted jerkass Merril Hoge did indeed say that Brett Favre was "the most magical player ever to play the [QB] position."

No word at the moment on whether Hoge is still tonguing Favre's balls, or if he has moved on to Favre's ass.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

SMTMQR: Gregg is a Batman movie series hipster

We turn now to Gregg's AFC preview. BUT WAIT! First, more anti-Christopher Nolan contrarianism from the sports media's most outspoken critic of a series of movies that's as universally loved by both audiences and critics as any in the last several decades. BUT THOSE MOVIES ARE SO UNREALISTIC (more on that later)!

There have been 11 Batman theatrical-release films, beginning in 1943 and ranging from super-straight to camp to semi-serious to preposterous to the recent dark, brooding iterations. At the end of last season, Tuesday Morning Quarterback promised to reveal his favorite Bat-flick.

What a tease that was! Holy shit, move over, "Who Shot J.R."

It's "Mask of the Phantasm," the sole theatrical-release cartoon in the series.

BWAHAHAHAHAH (not that I've seen it, but come the fuck on)

"Mask of the Phantasm" hit theaters on Christmas Day 1993, and promptly bombed, though it enjoyed a second life as a cult hit on VCR 

Yeah, VCR, it's this old way of watching DVDs, you've probably never heard of it.

and now DVD. In the flick, Bruce Wayne and Batman are voiced by Kevin Conroy, whose deep tones are perfect for the character and a refreshing change from the obviously fake synthesized Batman voice in the movie "The Dark Knight."

Cartoons: known for their realistic and not at all fake or synthesized voices.

Other roles in "Mask of the Phantasm" are voiced by Dana Delaney, who in 1993 could smolder even if you couldn't actually see her,

Gregg thinks cartoon chicks are hot. Gross.

Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker),

Have you ever noticed how fake and synthesized Darth Vader's voice was? Dealbreaker for that whole
series of movies if you ask me. Also, we're just supposed to believe that spaceships can go faster than the speed of light?  I'm pretty sure it's scientifically established that you can't do that.  YOU SUCK GEORGE LUCAS BOOOOO

Stacy Keach, Efrem Zimbalist and Abe Vigoda. Delaney's character is first a love interest, then foe, then a vital ally for Batman: the formula for the Anne Hathaway character in "Dark Knight Rises."

And for like every chick in every Bond movie ever, and thousands of other mysterious female roles throughout movie history.

In Tuesday Morning Quarterback news, all good things must end. Two perennial items are being retired,


or at least put into storage to be curated by future historians of sports columns: Christmas Creep


and Cheerleader of the Week.


In a mere decade, Christmas creep as a social phenomenon has gone from outrageous to common to all but required by federal law.

Over that same span of time, the people who enjoy pointing it out have gone from not interesting to even less interestinger.

The amusement value of noting Christmas creep has

never existed.

worn off.


The Unified Field Theory of Creep item will continue.

Whew! I was worried we were getting rid of ALL the worthless horseshit clutter in this column!

A decade ago, when TMQ began the Cheerleader of the Week item, many people didn't realize that NFL team websites were posting photos of scantily clad gorgeous women,

The median age of this group of people was 84.

and selling bikini calendars. Now everyone knows that.

Everyone continues to be very uncomfortable with the mini-scripts Gregg likes to write in which the cheerleader of the week leads a cheer related to her full time profession. OOH HOW CLEVER! SHE'S A TEACHER, SO HE'S PRETENDING SHE IS CHEERING HER STUDENTS TO GOOD TEST RESULTS! (He also pointed out that by being a cheerleader and a teacher, she's fulfilling two common male fantasies! CHEEKY!)

But now that many sports websites run NFL cheerleader photos -- usually just cheesecake pics, with the woman not even identified --


TMQ's take is no longer distinctive.

Holy shit, you thought that giving readers the cheerleader of the week's name and profession made your take "distinctive?" Gregg may be a dunce, but he's usually not noticeably full of himself like this.

That I did it better doesn't matter.


Since NFL cheerleaders are part of the entertainment -- pretty dancing girls have a long history in entertainment, at least as far back as vaudeville -- the cheerleaders will continue to be discussed and shown, as circumstances merit. Just no more regular items.

I like the way he's explaining this in explicit detail, let we really need to know the specifics of his "post pictures of cheerleaders" policy. Then again, people are fucking idiots, so I suppose if he said he was discontinuing cheerleader of the week but then posted a picture of a cheerleader in a subsequent column, he's get like 500 emails that said DUR U SAID NO MOAR CHEERBABEZ, U R A LYER and I can't fault him for wanting to avoid that.

Why do the Ravens sputter in January? TMQ's journalist pal Jim Fallows speaks of the Dull Ray, an evil ray gun that editors fire at interesting stories to make them dull.

Why do the Giants have New England's number in the Super Bowl? Let me tell you a story about my journalist friend and his vivid imagination.

Baltimore coaches seem to possess a Dull Ray, and they fire it at Ravens game plans in the postseason.

Baltimore's AFC title game loss last January: 36 passes and 31 runs.

During the fall, the Nevermores perform with swagger and take risks.

You know, having read his columns these last two weeks, I'm starting to feel like football season is here again. But it wasn't until I read that sentence and was reminded of his utterly thoughtless "taking more risks is always better for every team in every scenario ever" stance that I really could picture the leaves changing color and falling off the trees and imagine the crisp fall breeze blowing against my skin. 

In the 2011 season opener versus Pittsburgh, gaining a 27-7 lead to start the third quarter, the Ravens went for the 2-point conversion and iced the contest.

That was the key to their victory! Not the 20 point lead they already had!

Fortune favors the bold!

It sure does, on occasion, and fortunate also sometimes favors playing conservatively!

But when January rolls around, Baltimore goes into a shell.

Examples? Support? No? Super.

Does Coach Harbaugh/East get the yips when the pressure is on?

I like how that's phrased as a question, in the same way tabloids phrase damaging accusations about celebrities as questions to avoid libel suits. Did Craig James kill five hookers while at SMU? (James, of course, being the least sympathetic "celebrity" to ever fall victim to that dirty tactic.)

Maybe a moved-franchise curse is at play.

Great point. Also, maybe a "teams that wear purple" curse is at play. Maybe a "teams that play in Maryland" curse is at play. Maybe I will start shitting gold bricks tomorrow. Let's not rule out any possibilities.

Reader Jay Lenrow of Baltimore notes, "The Baltimore Colts had an iconic quarterback named Johnny Unitas and the Indianapolis Colts had an iconic quarterback named Peyton Manning. Both were released by members of the Irsay family. The football gods don't like that sort of thing."

Except for the fact that the Baltimore Colts are not the same franchise as the Baltimore Ravens, and Indianapolis Colts won a Super Bowl after releasing Unitas, and Manning was released after the 2012 postseason so that wouldn't have anything to do with anything that has happened to the Ravens in the playoffs in the last 5 or so years if curses did exist, and to the extent that Baltimore Colts could have left behind a curse for the Ravens to assume, the Ravens have ALSO won a Super Bowl since Unitas, yeah, I think that guy might be onto something. He is onto one thing, though: in order to get published in a TMQ column, all you have to do is send him an email blaming something bad that happened to a team on a curse that is the result of a different team having done something 35 years earlier. Jay from Baltimore: throw yourself off the highest building you can find, please.

Buffalo Bills: The Bills may have paid too much for Mario Williams, who is good-not-great with 53 sacks in six seasons, and has not been a star since 2008.

He went to the Pro Bowl after the 2009 season. Not that Pro Bowls are the perfect indicator of stardom, but since Greggggg is the kind of guy who seems to place a pretty heavy emphasis on number of sacks (Williams was averaging one per game before getting hurt last season, btw, if you think sacks are the end all be all statistic for an OLB/DE), you'd think he'd also care a lot about Pro Bowl appearances.

But Buffalo may benefit from overpaying for Williams, because his signing added a sense of excitement to the season.

That's just good solid management right there. Team sucks? Fans disgruntled? Best thing to do:
overpay for a free agent! Also, let's not forget that Williams is a high-drafted GLOREE BOY who has NEVER BEEN CUT.

The Bills' run of 11 years without a playoff appearance is worst in the NFL, and during much of that time they seemed content to lose on the cheap, cutting costs and pocketing the guaranteed network money. This offseason, Buffalo spent freely on Williams and Mark Anderson. Plus late in the draft, the Bills chose the sole kickoff specialist selected this April. A kickoff specialist makes sense only for a team that expects to score a lot.

Well, with OLB/DE Mario Williams and DE Mark Anderson on board, shouldn't they?

Final Score: Ohio State Nil, Penn State Nil: Reader Andrew Fournaridis of Pittsburgh notes

something uninteresting that every college football fan has already had pointed out to them 100 times by various media outlets and coworkers in the last couple of months.

that last year when Ohio State vacated its 2010 victories owing to the Jim Tressel scandal, that made Penn State the winner of the 2010 Buckeyes-Nittany Lions contest, previously viewed as a 38-14 Ohio State win. But now Penn State has vacated all victories from 1999 to 2011, owing to the rape cover-up scandal. That, Fournaridis observes, "means no one won the 2010 Ohio State-Penn State game."


In the 2011 offseason, the Browns banked draft choices for the future, and the result was a 4-12 record.

[joke about how that's a good season in Cleveland here]

This offseason Cleveland spent its banked choices plus used the team's second-rounder in 2013 to get Josh Gordon, who did not play anywhere in 2011. Cleveland bid a second-round choice for Gordon in the supplemental draft. Adam Schefter reported the Browns were the sole team to offer a second-round pick, and that many teams bid nothing, meaning they thought Gordon was not worth a seventh-round selection.

Right, or they were already set at the WR position. If one team thinks a guy is worth a 2nd round choice, I think it's reasonable to think that the other 31 teams all think that guy is at least worth a 4th or 5th rounder. Then again, that one team is the Browns in this case, so maybe Gregg is right.

Denver Broncos: When the Packers made their wrenching decision to show Brett Favre the door, soon Green Bay was happy and the teams that snagged Favre were troubled. Post-Packers, Favre managed in three seasons to get two head coaches -- Eric Mangini and Brad Childress -- fired.

Both of those guys should have been fired years earlier. I hate giving Favre credit, but he was also the best or second best QB in the league in 2009. He got the Vikings within a play of the Super Bowl, and then spoiled the whole thing in typical Favreslinger fashion. Still, it's silly to say that Favre brought nothing but misery to the Jets and Vikings. Their other QB options at those times were Chad Pennington and Tavaris Jackson.

Will a similar scenario play out with the Broncos?

Probably! It's the curse of the HOF QB who switches teams! Also, I like how he pointed out that Green Bay was soon successful after getting rid of Favre without giving that fact any analysis. Hmm, wonder if things went down that way because of the presence of a more than capable successor waiting in the wings? Watch, Andrew Luck will be an All Pro within a couple of years, and Gregg (should he still be writing this column, God help us all) will be like LOOK AT GREEN BAY POST 2007 AND INDIANAPOLIS POST 2011, IT'S A SCIENCE FACT: CUTTING YOUR OLD QBS LEADS TO SUCCESS!

Now coaching the great Peyton Manning, John Fox will be expected to win big.

Whereas up until this point, Broncos fans were just hoping he could win 7 or 8 games a season and be
affable during his press conferences.

But Manning is on a 1-5 streak versus the Chargers, and now will face them twice a season.

He hasn't faced them since 2010, and they suck now. He'll be fine.

When the stats dust settled on the 2011 season, to TMQ one of the biggest questions was: Why did Denver, with the league's best rushing attack -- No. 1 in yards per game, the only NFL offense of 2011 with more net yards rushing than passing -- constantly punt on fourth-and-short?

Because like 30% of their rushing yards came on Tebow scrambles on passing downs, making that statistic a poor indicator of their likely ability to convert 4th and short?

Katie Sharp of ESPN's research desk reports the Broncs punted 23 times on fourth-and-2 or less, most in the league; their fourth-and-2 or less punt percentage of 72 percent also was highest in the league. Denver had an awesome running game, yet kept booming the ball back to the other side on fourth-and-short. Had Fox shown even a little guts on fourth-and-short, Denver's offense might have been more effective.

The fact that a team QBed by Kyle Orton and Tebow made the divisional round of the playoffs is sports miracle on par with the 1980 US Olympic hockey team. It's not that this what Gregg is saying is ridiculous or unfair criticism, but I think you could play the 2011 Broncos season out with that roster 100 times and they might make it as far as the divisional round once, lose in the wild card game twice, and miss the playoffs the other 97 times. Let's not get too picky about how they got where they went.

Houston Texans: The Texans jumped on teams early in 2011, with a 217-117 first half scoring edge. The Texans jumped on the season early, at one point being 10-3, then going 1-4 down the home stretch. Three of those four loses were close games, and of course Matt Schaub was injured.


There were times in 2011 when the Texans looked like Super Bowl contenders, and times when they looked like a team that lost to Indianapolis, which finished 2-14.

Yeah, like you already pointed out, there's a pretty strong correlation between that first set of games and Matt Schaub and Mario Williams being healthy.

So many Houston starters departed in free agency over the winter that it's hard to guess how the Moo Cows

Another season in the books and that's still hilarious!

will look in 2012.

That's the whole thing.  Great season preview. Last year they played better when their best players were healthy, and this year they have some new players, so who the fuck knows what will happen?

Indianapolis Colts: The Colts did not just use the first overall choice of the 2012 draft on a player from Stanford University, they used the second overall choice of the 2012 second round on a player from Stanford University, too. Four of the first 42 players chosen in the draft were from Stanford, where 87 percent of football players graduate. Alabama, Auburn, LSU, South Carolina, other big football programs with atrocious graduation rates -- what's your excuse?

Those schools are just trying to make as much money as they can off their football program, and know their fans/alumni don't care how many players graduate? Is it that hard to figure out?

Hoping to discourage celebration penalties, coach Mike Mularkey announced he and the team would donate $500 to charity each time a Jacksonville player who scores a touchdown simply hands the ball to an official.

While that is the most disgustingly "crusty white coach who is trying to please crusty white fans" move of all time, I do have to give them a modicum of credit for making it into a charity thing. Might as well have something good come out of that dumbass policy. In a related story, REMEMBER WHEN JOHN WALL DID THE DOUGIE DURING PREGAME WARMUPS AND UNDID EVERYTHING MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. WORKED TO BUILD????

Taking into account that Jax recorded a league-low 12 touchdowns in 2011, had the offer then been in force and no celebrations occurred, the Jaguars would have donated $6,000 to charity, or about 0.0002 percent of a typical NFL team's annual revenue. Make that 0.00016 percent after the tax deduction.

I'm sure the Jaguars have other charity initiatives.

Considering that nearly everyone involved with the Jaguars as players, coaches and in ownership is a millionaire, an offer of a miniscule donation to the underprivileged seems more like self-promotion than altruism.

No, it's just Mularkey being a crusty obnoxious white guy. The charity aspect of it is kind of insidious, because it's like an enforcement mechanism; tell the players not to celebrate and some of them will celebrate anyways, but put charity money behind it and they probably won't lest they hear about it from fans and crusty white pundits. YOU JUST TOOK A MEAL AWAY FROM AN ORPHAN WITH THAT SPIKE, JUSTIN BLACKMON. HOW DO YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT? This is the kind of move that should thrill an asshole like Gregg, but I really don't think it's about self-promotion.

Jacksonville wants good publicity in return for doing just shy of nothing. Jags fans, get the message?

If you're not going to donate millions to charity, don't bother donating anything at all. That's the message I got.

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs play three of their final four contests away, which, being on a 29-51 road streak, does not bode well for the season's home stretch. Then again since the 1970 merger, just four NFL clubs having winning records on the road -- Miami, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Dallas.

He added some other bullshit about their drafting habits, but really, this was somehow even less insightful than his Texans preview.

Miami Dolphins: The "authentic games" metric is not kind to the Marine Mammals either -- they went 0-4 in 2011 against teams that reached the postseason. Miami becomes the eighth "Hard Knocks" contestant, and no "Hard Knocks" team has made the Super Bowl that season.


And here's the good stuff. I'm not even going to add any analysis. I'll just let Gregg's asshattery and bizarre grudge against Christopher Nolan (Is Nolan a Jew? Is that where this comes from? I'm too lazy to Google whether he is or not) speak for itself.

Spoiler Alert: 3,000 Police Officers Were Held Prisoner in the Gotham Sewers for Months, and When They Escaped, Their Uniforms Were Clean:The Christopher Nolan Batman movies were overblown comic-book flicks plus faux-philosophizing, which obviously is a lot more popular than the serious kind of philosophy. But since these movies have been lauded as contributions to cinema, the enormous width of the plot holes bears mention.

Despite hours of exposition in episodes one and three of the trilogy, viewers never found out why the League of Shadows was obsessed with destroying Gotham City. To "restore balance"? There was no hint of why a small army of highly skilled, super-competent and, in a few cases, super-wealthy people believed that killing everyone in America's largest city would "restore balance." Audiences never found out why Bane and Talia al Ghul wanted to commit suicide by setting off a nuclear bomb in Gotham City while they themselves were there.

Audiences never found out how the League of Shadows could place hundreds of tons of explosives around Gotham without anyone noticing. A dozen long bridges into Gotham Island (roughly modeled on Manhattan) explode during the League's takeover. Since 153 pounds of blasting material were needed to take down this small bridge, huge amounts would have been required for what's shown in the movie, and the reference to a truck that pours "exploding concrete," whatever that is, is no explanation of how large quantities of munitions were hidden on bridges that were already built or underneath a stadium that was already built. Demolition of Three Rivers Stadium required 4,500 pounds of explosives. How could a similar amount have been hidden beneath Heinz Field, as depicted in the movie, without anyone noticing?

In all the Nolan movies, Batman gets to the roofs of skyscrapers, or the tops of communication spires, in mere seconds. Does he use the elevator? When daredevil Alain Robert climbed the outside of Portland House, a 29-story building in London, it took him 40 minutes; climbs of higher buildings have taken Robert an hour or more. In Nolan's flicks, Batman requires seconds to go from street level to the tops of skyscrapers, without explanation.

Then there's Miranda Tate plot hole. Bruce Wayne's love interest and seeming benevolent philanthropist trying to save Gotham, Tate is revealed in the last reel to be the sinister Talia al Ghul, leader of the League of Shadows. The big shock is that she has always hated Bruce and always been Bane's boss! But then why does Bane treat her as a captive until the final minutes of the movie? The League of Shadows is depicted as controlling Gotham in a reign of terror that lasts months, with the entire U.S. military suddenly unable to remember how its smart bombs work and Batman believed out of the picture. Yet rather than revel in her moment of control of the city she has plotted all her life to seize, Talia spends these months making it seem she is Bane's prisoner. In order to fool who? Like a lot of Hollywood last-reel surprise twists, once the secret villain's true motivation is revealed, her previous actions make no sense.

This goes one for like another 1,000 words.  Is this guy not the biggest asshole of all time?  AND WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH THE BAD GUYS? THEY SHOOT A LOT BUT NEVER SEEM TO HIT ANYONE!!!!

San Diego Chargers: Norv Turner is 111-117, the NFL's only active head coach who has coached at least 10 seasons and has a losing career record. What does this man have on Bolts' team ownership that he is still employed?

Mere sentences from the end of his column, Gregg finally stumbles into some correct analysis.

Marc Williams of Bloomsburg, Pa., writes, "You stated, 'Wall Street managers are about as ethical as sharks circling.' This is unfair to sharks. Sharks do not deceive, they make it abundantly clear that they are there to eat you."

In other words, besides being bad at analysis, you're also bad at writing.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

MMTMQR: Gregg! (Part 1 of many, or more realistically, part 1 of maybe like 2 or 3)

Finally!  After four long cold months of summer, ESPN's resident science fiction commentator is back in the saddle.  AND HE'S GOT SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT "JOHN CARTER" WAS REALISTIC THAT WILL MELT YOUR BRAINS.

Suspended coaches, defamation claims, thousands of former players suing the NFL, sickening crimes and a cover-up at highest levels at Penn State, retired NFL stars saying they wouldn't let their own sons play football -- it's been a tumultuous offseason. Football generates more news than some entire nations.

Wild, isn't it?  You don't really hear much about Finland or Uruguay or Malawi on American news networks, but you do hear a lot about college and pro football.  Who would have thought that would be the case in a country obsessed with celebrity and athletic achievement?

But football's really important offseason development occurred on the field behind your local elementary school. The Pop Warner organization decided to limit contact in practice.

As evidence continues to mount of the long-term danger of concussions -- both from big hits and from the accumulated impact of lesser blows to the head -- anything that makes football safer trumps all other concerns about the sport combined. 

I'm pretty sure a super high-level coverup of institutionalized child rape that more or less happened because of football is at least as important as that.

As Tuesday Morning Quarterback endlessly reminds, there is no law of nature that says football must be popular. 

What a fantastic straw man that little lecture is built around.  As if there are football fans out there who say "Who cares about all this concussion stuff?  Even if the NFL lost a $50 billion class action lawsuit related to concussion safety, nothing would change.  There is a 100% guarantee that pro football will always exist and be popular, no matter what!  It's in the Bible I think!"

If large numbers of Americans become disgusted by neurological harm caused by the sport, the popularity of football could wane.

Holy shit!  Move over, Adam Smith!  If millions of Americans stopped being interested in football, the level of interest millions of Americans have for football could drop!

As for Tuesday Morning Quarterback, I'm back and I'm bad! Well, I'm back. 

No, no, don't sell yourself short, we go through this every year.  You definitely suck balls.

To kick off the return of the football artificial universe, below is TMQ's annual review of offseason lowlights.

"Here's a bunch of shit, most of it unrelated to football, because it's football season again."

"We'll Have Fun, Fun, Fun 'Til the Assisted-Living Director Takes the T-Bird Away:" Brian Wilson, founder of the Beach Boys, a band that celebrated endless summer, turned 70.

/game show buzzer

Come on man, save your A material for later in the show!  Warm the audience up a little before you start hitting them with zingers like that.

Few Know the "S" in ESPN Stands for Sciences: Three times as many Americans watched the Super Bowl as watched the Academy Awards. Possible explanations:'

The Super Bowl ended before dawn, Zulu time.

The Super Bowl is presented by the NFL, not by the Academy of Gridiron Arts and Sciences. The Oscar organization still insists on calling itself the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Sciences!

The Super Bowl was entertaining.

Stop!  Stop!  You're killing up there!  Also, we all know the real reason Gregg likes to take shots at Hollywood.

Knicks Management Has Taken Prompt, Decisive Steps to Ensure the Playoff Appearance Is Not Repeated: The Knicks got their first playoff win in 11 years. Will the Bills, New York state's only NFL team, get their first playoff appearance in 11 years?

I enjoy his borderline obsession with pointing the state in which teams play.  He does that "records by state" thing at the end of every season, he's got that fucktarded Jersey A/Jersey B thing going, etc.  GUYZ THE CHIEFS ARE ACTUALLY FROM MISSOURI AND THE REDSKINS PLAY IN MARYLAND.  JUST THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW HOW CLEVER I AM.  Not only is it a dumb waste of time and brain cells, but to the extent that it's interesting (not much of one) it only applies to a handful of teams.  Chiefs, Jets, Giants, Patriots (sort of) and Redskins.  With everyone else, it's like, yeah, call me Ken fucking Jennings if you must, but the Broncos actually play in Colorado.  True story.  FUCK YOU GREGG.

Sci-Fi Line of the Offseason: "The man I loved wouldn't destroy the entire universe. That just doesn't sound like William."

There were so many deserving candidates, but I'm glad he picked that one.  It deserved to win.

One of the worst aspects of Hollywood 

Besides those profitmongering Jews

is when dead characters suddenly are alive again, with little or no explanation. On "Fringe," William Bell is a mad scientist played by Leonard Nimoy, who was Mr. Spock in the original "Star Trek." The recently concluded fourth season brought Nimoy back from the dead for the second time.

Nimoy is the Big Bad of "Fringe": He keeps unleashing mass-murder biological weapons, triggering natural disasters and loosing evil shape-shifters, all for unclear reasons. 

I bet it's actually really clear if you pay attention to the show.  He's just too busy sipping brandy out of a crystal glass and savoring the aroma of his own gassers to pay proper attention.

Perhaps now that "Fringe" has been renewed for a fifth and final season, viewers finally will find out what the Nimoy character is up to. First, the writers have to find out.

Who the fuck watches "Fringe?"

Curiosity Rover Lands on Mars to Search for "John Carter" Greenlight Memos: "John Carter," the most expensive motion picture ever made -- despite no location shooting on Mars! -- was a bust at the box office. TMQ thinks computer-generated special effects are ruining the movies, because when extended portions of films are obviously fake, the Hollywood magic is gone.

If you are OK with equating "presence of Hollywood Magic" (I capitalized the M because the way he used it in his previous sentence makes it sound like True Yankeeism) with "something that moviegoers find very appealing and will pay to go see," the argument that CGI bullshit is ruining the Magic falls apart pretty quickly thanks to that delightful old jagoff James Cameron.  If you would prefer to define the presence of Hollywood Magic in a different way, you're welcome to, but I think you'll be pretty lonely.

Consider 2012's "Red Tails," whose CG action scenes were so fake they didn't vaguely resemble flying. Compare to the 1927 flick "Wings," which had flying scenes that are still thrilling because they were done in the air with real planes.

And fewer Jews involved with production!  OK, I'll stop, I just can't believe this guy is still employable by a major corporation after what he wrote.  Fucking astonishing.

You've guessed by now that TMQ thinks "John Carter" was a good movie. The Edgar Rice Burroughs books about Mars depict multiple civilizations: "John Carter" included too many, making initial sequences hard to follow. The trailers were incoherent, and the title was a dud. Still, "John Carter" was a movie well worth seeing -- haunting and exotic. If you skipped this flick in theaters, rent it.

He doesn't seem like an overly aggressive company man, or the type to be bought off easily.  But let us never, ever forget who owns ESPN and who also produced John Carter.  Let us just keep that in mind.  

Eyelids heavy.  See you tomorrow, sci-fi fans and people who enjoy reading about low to midlevel government scandals.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Argument Rick Reilly is Actually Making

Rick Reilly, in what can only be described as a desperate attempt to boost pageviews, recently took on the totally exciting topic of why them damn Irish get those mean ol' TV deals and BCS exemptions. Though that question can easily and succinctly be answered with, "Because of free market economics, you douchebag," I think I'm going to take a different tack and put words directly in Reilly mouth.

Since people like Gregg Easterbrook always manage to mine hilarity out of fake conversations, here's an imagined soliloquy from Rick as he devises his brilliant column.


A dark bedroom, lined with posters of middle-aged golfers from the mid-90's and an "A Beautiful Mind"-like bulletin board with a detailed mapping of all the different threads leading from Sammy Sosa to an ominous picture of a syringe.

A goofy looking man sits in front of a typewriter by candlelight poring over his notes. He is RICK REILLY, awesome writer extraordinaire!


It's all here! My unified argument that is definitely not generated solely to draw meaningless trolling pageviews! But let me distill my argument to its simplest terms:

1.) There is an entity, you see. I consider them a Rollicking wReck of a football team, so for shorthand, let's refer to this entity as RR. This entity, henceforth referred to as RR is in fact Notre Dame football, so when I say RR I mean Notre Dame football.

2.) Now, RR was once very great at what RR does for a living. Now RR is considered by many to be vastly overrated and uninspired. Given how low public opinion is of the quality of RR's work, I find it reprehensible that RR would take a big money deal that no one (outside of the businesses which make money off RR's deal) thinks is a meritorious deal.

3.) If RR had any dignity, RR would give back its lucrative contract, rumored to be in the 7 figures (or perhaps more) since anyone who has witnessed RR's work thinks that the days when RR deserved that kind of money are long since past, and in fact in the environment of RR's profession, RR is considered one of the most inept at what RR does for a fucking living, and in fact RR has become given to rehashing in blatant terms--plagiarising even--what once made RR successful.

4.) I also fault the entities that gave RR RR's contract, NBC and the BCS. Since they collectively are Elitist Sports Pandering Noodlers, let's call these entities ESPN. How pathetic of ESPN to give RR a huge contract when it's clear that RR is incapable of doing anything close to what made RR famous. Shame on ESPN. What is ESPN, retarded?

5.) Also, given that what RR does could be considered Jilting the Over/Under, Regularly Not Appearing Lively In Sports Media, we will henceforth refer to RR's endeavors as JOURNALISM

6.) It is clear based on ESPN's contract with RR, that ESPN knows nothing about JOURNALISM since they are paying RR a lot of money to be terrible at it.

Rick begins to type furiously at his typewriter. A symphony of clicks and clacks erupts for minutes and then stops abruptly.


All done! A masterpiece of coherent logical thought! Now I just need to add a dozen or so terrible puns and we'll be ready for print!

End scene

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Your most recent dose of inanity from Terry Francona

Slowly (very very slowly), this is becoming a recurring event. It's Sunday. I want to post something, but don't have time or energy for a long post. I look for a source for something about which to make a quick post. I turn on ESPN. Either Baseball Tonight is on, or Sunday Night Baseball is on. I listen to either Kruk or Francona for three-ish minutes. Presto, there's my post. Tonight: during the Braves/Mets game, Terry riffs about Atlanta's new players.

Orel Hershiser: Terry, Earlier you mentioned the moves the Braves made.
Terry: They acquired, as Fredi [Gonzalez] said, baseball players. 

Savvy move.  The Astros are like 5-60 since June 1st because they have wasted time and money acquiring pro surfers.

Reed Johnson is a gym rat. 

I hate picking nits when it comes to dumb non-analysis, but isn't a gym rat who has a spot on an MLB team, like, the opposite of a capital B Baseball capital P Player?  I think of the latter as someone who has great instincts and natural talent for the game (even if they're not particularly athletic), and the former as someone who sucks at baseball but works out a lot and hustles a lot and endears himself management so he always has a job.  Also, Reed Johnson sucks at baseball.

He's at the ballpark all day, 


he knows how to play. 

Number of MLB players who know how to play baseball: all.

A guy like Eric Hinske sitting over there. 

A sentence fragment in the style of Bill Plaschke.  Eric Hinske has been a Brave for more than two years.  Also, while Eric Hinske has stunk less than Reed Johnson over the course of his career, he actually stinks worse than Johnson right now.  He's hitting .209/.287/.304 this year.  No amount of knowing how to play and being at the ballpark all day can make up for that awfulness.

They have a ballclub that understands what they're supposed to do when they show up.

You are saying absolutely nothing.  Your non-existant point is that the Braves have some players (who happen to be untalented and white and scrappy) who are dedicated to winning and prepare a lot in order to increase their chances of doing so.  And that... makes the Braves identical to the other 29 teams in MLB.  Really, the only thing you're actually saying is hidden in subtext: if guys like Johnson didn't work out all the time and hustle their asses off, they wouldn't have jobs because they sure as shit aren't very good at baseball.  

Much as I hate the Red Sox, I didn't mind Francona as their manager.  Now I wish they'd hire him back to get him away from TV microphones.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I know you all adhere closely to my gambling manifesto at all times. Always take the spread against a rookie QB on the road, unless it's Vince Young or Ben Roethlisberger or Andy Dalton or another rookie QB capable of covering on the road. Never count on Norv Turner or another shitty coach after Thanksgiving, unless it's one of those seasons where Norv Turner actually has some momentum going and his team is playing well. And of course, always make sure to lose to your sports-ambivalent wife in your annual gambling competition. Yes, I'm a brilliant prognosticator. That's why last post I said (about Bill):

I get that basketball is your thing, and that it's exciting that the US is great at it. But come on--we get amazing basketball for like 7 months out of every year here. You're no better than NBC, cramming basketball, gymnastics and swimming down our throats.

So what did he do next? Wrote a 3,000 word breakdown of swimming and gymnastics. I am a brilliant genius.

You never think of swimming and gymnastics as Summer Olympics rivals in the Magic-Bird sense,

Because they aren't individual athletes with a cool backstory competing against one another at two different levels of their profession for an extended period of time

much less the Tupac-Biggie sense,

And because they aren't artistic non-rivals who happened to peak at roughly the same time and die tragically within 9 months of each other

but that's exactly what they are.

They definitely aren't. Then again, Simmons's cultural knowledge runs about as deep as my knowledge of how to interact with women, so why shouldn't he choose Bird/Magic and Tupac/Biggie for this analogy?

They peak in the splashiest way possible for just two weeks every four years.

Just like two basketball players who wrote a new chapter for their rivalry pretty much every year for a decade, or two musicians who were really only in the public eye for a few years each!

During that precious window, they battle for worldwide attention, television ratings, prime-time real estate,

Pretty sure NBC finds time to show us each and every second of everything that happens in both of them. At the expense of anything else happening during the Olympics.

SNL cameos,

In order to remain podcast buddies with Seth Meyers, Bill is contractually obligated to pretend that SNL is still relevant.

SportsCenter commercials,

If you can find me a Sportscenter commercial featuring a swimmer besides Phelps or any gymnast, please drop a link in the comments.

patriotic pride,


the affection of horny teenage boys,


pop-culture relevancy

You already tried to say that in other ways, and still, no.

and tens of millions of dollars in endorsements.


If swimming and gymnastics were people, they would absolutely despise each other while pretending publicly that everything was totally fine — you know, kind of like Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.


Look, I know most of my posts these days pick on Simmons, and that most of the time I just mock him for constantly recycling material and being unfunny, and you feel like you've read this all before blah blah blah. But let me take a step back and riff on the bigger topic here. This is unfathomably shitty writing. It really is. He wants to compare gymnastics and swimming, which is dumb, but whatever, it's better than a lot of other garbage he's written about, so I'll allow it. But he can't just say "I'm going to break down these two sports for you." No. He's got to try to (poorly) analogize them to two recent rivalries (one of which isn't really a rivalry), then provide no support for the analogies, then try to change the analogies midstream, all the while cracking pathetically terrible jokes. Look, sportswriters aren't necessarily supposed to be good writers. They don't have to be master essayists, they don't have to wow me with their prose. But holy dogshit on a stick: this man sucks asshole at writing. It's astonishing just how bad he is.

Just know that I have no dog in this race. I don't care who captures the imaginary Summer Olympics title.

How convenient! Neither do we.

But after seeing swimming and gymnastics in London, I feel qualified to answer a question that you always secretly wanted to know:

I feel qualified to answer a question Klosterman has always kind of secretly wanted to know, just because each sport is so overunderrated:

"What's more fun to watch in person … Olympic swimming or Olympic gymnastics?"

I hate to be a party pooper but I'm going to guess that it depends on whether you find swimming or gymnastics more interesting. Sorry.


Yep, he's still using that device.

Wait, this sounds like the perfect topic for one of my favorite old-school gimmicks … that's right, it's the Dr. Jack Breakdown!!! 

Please don't use three consecutive exclamation marks in your columns!  Why are you writing like a 15 year old texts!

Let's do this.

Let's present some very brief lowlights of this, because I want to go to bed.

They're holding swimming in a 17,500-seat venue with seating on just two sides, so for many fans, they could have called this Noseblood Arena. When IOC members, sponsors and heavy hitters with quality seats started no-showing events, they earned the collective ire of everyone in London. (We never totally knew who to blame, but one thing's for sure — the Olympics should definitely consider using seat fillers à la the Oscars.) Even if you dropped some coin for a night of swimming, there's a good chance you ended up watching tiny dots thrash in the pool from the 137th row. There's definitely a "haves vs. have-nots" vibe for swimming.

You know where else that vibe exists?  Between people who can afford to travel to London for the games and get any tickets at all and people who are watching at home on TV.  You oblivious fucking cuntball.

Meanwhile, gymnastics is in a 20,000-seat, state-of-the-art arena 

The swimming venue is the same age and same state-of-the-artness.  It opened in July 2011.  I get that you're doing a breakdown/competition piece, but Jesus, given that there are absolutely no rules and nothing at stake, you could at least try to minimize the spin.

in North Greenwich that doubles as the site for basketball's medal round games, and eventually, the Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Bobcats or NBA Expansion Team X. Tickets were similarly tough for gymnastics despite an equivalent number of annoying no-shows, but at least there were more seats and you could enjoy the action from any section 

Watching tiny little dots on gymnastic apparatuses is WAY better than watching tiny little dots in a pool!

(especially with the big video screen).

I don't know this to be true for sure, but I'd bet good money that the swimming venue has one of these too.

So what should you like more — an inclusive sport that accommodates as many fans as possible, or an exclusive sport that operates like a snotty nightclub with a bouncer who reeks of chlorine? 

What I would like most is for you to stop being an entitled little taint hair who has it better than 99.99% of all sports fans and still thinks he doesn't have enough access.


(Confused as to why I am supposed to give a shit.)

As usual, Bill's ability to write outpaces my ability to point out how godawful he is at writing.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bill reminds you that you didn't enjoy the Summer Olympics between 1988 and 2000

Do you remember any of those games?  I was too young to know or care about Seoul in '88, but I enjoyed the fuck out of Barcelona and Atlanta.  Sydney not so much, but between Atlanta and then I turned 16 so I probably had better things to do than watch (like hang out in the parking lot of the local 7-Eleven).  Anyways I could swear I really had a great time following those 1992 and 1996 games.  Could swear.  Fortunately Bill's here to set me straight and make me realize that my memories are completely wrong.  Those Olympics actually sucked.

We wouldn't remember the next four Summer Olympics nearly as fondly. Seoul happened during my first year in college; like my freshman year,

Cue up Johnny Carson as Carnac the Magnificent.  Well, this is his bit reversed, but you know what I mean.

 it was tainted by drugs, cheating and a series of unexpected second-place finishes. 

(I'm still angry at John Thompson, by the way.) 

I'm sure he's sorry.

Barcelona happened right after I miraculously graduated with a 3.04 — the biggest upset of the 1990s

Add to the list of "That Guys" who Bill is: That Guy who thinks you will think he's cool if he tells you he got mediocre grades.  

— with the Dream Team effectively hijacking every other Olympic memory that summer. 

Yeah, didn't it suck when the best basketball team ever assembled put on a magnificent show for us over the course of two weeks?  Wasn't that just the worst?  Ugh, we should have boycotted those games like we boycotted Moscow in 1980.

Magic and Bird's farewell felt strangely fitting for me, like they were ushering in the official end of my childhood. 

OMG IT'S SO FITTING!  LOOK AT THAT BUILT IN NARRATIVE!  Now that I think about it, even though I was still in elementary school then, it was also kind of like the end of my childhood!  Basketball Jesus is at the center of my life and I'm not afraid to admit it!

The '96 Olympics in Atlanta were a massive letdown, 

Yeah, wasn't it terrible when the US cleaned up the medals (44 gold and 101 total; next closest in each category were 26 and 65) and we got to witness amazing moments from Michael Johnson, Amy Van Dyken, Andre Agassi, Carl Lewis (4th long jump gold for my main man Carl!  UH OH!), and yes, I hate to admit it, but Kerri Strug?  WHAT A LETDOWN.  BOO.  The only thing that actually sucked about these Olympics was that they were held in the south in July and August, but fortunately the atrocious summer weather didn't affect the 99.999% of us watching on TV.

marred by the frightening bombing (and ensuing witch hunt of Richard Jewell), an embarrassing level of overcommercialization, 

That started well before 1996.  Also, he's about to praise the Beijing games, so yeah, either they stopped commercializing the ever-loving shitpiss out of the Olympics, or Bill's head is in his ass as usual. 

NBC's relentlessly sappy puff pieces and a generally contrived vibe that everyone despised 

Read: that I despised

and that had absolutely nothing in common with the dutifully ironic, brooding, me-first attitude of Generation X. 

Yes, there is definitely a connection to be made between the stereotype of Americans born during the 60s and whether or not the Olympics were broadcast in an enjoyable fashion.  


In the span of 12 short years, it was hard to say what changed more — the Olympics or us. 



Meanwhile, I wasn't even writing anymore, just bartending, waiting tables, partying, brooding and staying up until 4 a.m. every night. My life sucked. So did the Atlanta Olympics.

Fuck you.  Die.

By the time Sydney rolled around in 2000, I had my own website and a snarky forum to poke fun of never-ending tape delays, 


puff pieces and everything else … you know, just like 10 million other frustrated, underpaid writers on the Internet. (Really, that was our first Internet Olympics.)

And boy did they suck!  Or something!  Bill has abandoned his incredibly self-centered and shoddy thesis.  It's almost like he put no thought into it in the first place.

During 2004's games in Athens, I had graduated to writing the "Sports Guy" column for, making decent coin 

Fuck you twice.

and breaking down Team USA's Basketball collapse with Unabomber-length manifestos. Americans digested that particular Summer Olympics the same way we digested everything else in 2004: inhaling everything while complaining the entire time. 

Almost as worthless and out of place as his Gen-X comment.  You wonder how he writes such dog shit, then you read the ESPN book and find out that he whines to his editor's boss when his editor tries to edit anything, and ultimately writes "stet all changes" on the manuscript and sends it back.

With 500 channels and dozens of Internet-related ways to distract ourselves, the idea of tape-delaying anything sports-related just seemed prehistoric. 

Yeah, who DIDN'T want to watch the events live from like 5 AM til 4 PM?  People with regular jobs? Pity for them.  They didn't have the idea of writing about sports on TV to an audience that liked everything about TV, with the silver spoon benefit of a very helpful AOL blog platform.  

We were pissed off. 

You were pissed off.

I don't even remember enjoying those Olympics, just being bitter about how badly that franchise had been screwed up. 

Now watch him gush all over the Beijing games.  The cognitive dissonance is staggering.

Athens was like watching Clooney as Batman and Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze.

Leave Mr. Freeze out of this.  Arnold did a great job.

Four years later, I passed up a chance to cover Beijing so I could write my 700-page monstrosity of a basketball book. Once upon a time, I had dreamed of covering a Summer Olympics, envisioning it as something of the Super Bowl for sports columnists. You zipped around, attended as many events as possible, ripped off pieces and tried to stand out. 

By pointing out that many Olympic level female athletes are attractive, and then by bringing up The Client List every three paragraphs.  

After 1996, 2000 and 2004, I just didn't care. Those days were dead. Or so I thought. Because Beijing rejuvenated the Olympics franchise, with NBC taking better advantage of its resources (cable and Internet) to show more events as they happened. Suddenly the viewer experience wasn't much different than attending in person — you jumped around and devoured as much as you could.

Of course you did!  Between midnight and 9 AM!  What, it's not like there was anything ELSE going on during those hours.  Thanks, NBC!  What a self-centered cunt this man is.  This is just like that article he wrote about how NBA coaches need to be more mindful of the feelings of season ticket holders.  HOW DARE YOU REST ANY OF YOUR STARS WHEN YOU COME TO MY CITY! I PAID GOOD MONEY FOR THESE SEATS!  SOMEBODY THINK ABOUT ME FOR ONCE!

It helped that Michael Phelps submitted an iconic performance, breaking out as a genuine superstar instead of a manufactured one. 

Which Olympic stars are of the manufactured variety?  99% of them are nobodies until they win something, and the other 1% play pro basketball and tennis and are already stars.

Somewhere between his fourth gold medal and his 27th, I started second-guessing myself for missing Beijing. When our hoops team barely fended off Spain in one of this decade's most underrated dramatic sporting events (no, seriously), 

I get that basketball is your thing, and that it's exciting that the US is great at it.  But come on--we get amazing basketball for like 7 months out of every year here.  You're no better than NBC, cramming basketball, gymnastics and swimming down our throats.

the Summer Olympics moved back atop my Sports Column Bucket List. I could have been there. I should have been there.

But I was too busy writing a book!  (Me!  I wrote a book!  A whole one!)

London is the 11th Summer Olympics of my lifetime and the 30th overall, making it the XXX Olympics (and if you think that's not going to be funny for three straight weeks, you're fooling youself). 

The funniness kind of seeped out of that one for me about 15 seconds after I first realized it.  I guess I'm either fooling myself or no longer in the seventh grade.

Ripping through those checkpoints again: 1972 (no memory),1976 (happy kid), 1980 (parents' divorce), 1984 (the patriotism/pop culture/TV/herofest), 1988 (college freshman), 1992 (college graduate), 1996 (bitter slacker), 2000 (Internet), 2004 (ESPN), 2008 (book), 2012 (here).

Thanks for the recap, news/talk radio host, but no one gives a shit.

That's right … I finally made it to the Summer Olympics.

There are so many parallels to Game of Thrones here, it's uncanny!