Showing posts with label bitchfests. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bitchfests. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Idiocy, Thy Name Is Jemele Hill

Life's been dealing me some lemons lately. It's been rough. My parents' basement is developing a mold problem, my Super NES isn't reading cartridges right now, we're out of Pop Tarts, and worst of all, my Kate Beckinsale poster fell off the wall and somehow got ripped in the process. Sigh. That's just the way it goes sometimes, I guess. But whenever I hit a rough patch like this, there are two truths I can always lean on to make me feel better:

1. "No matter how bad life gets, there is always beer." - Norm MacDonald
2. No matter how bad life gets, Jemele Hill will always be the perfect balance of entertaining and ignorant.

There was one particular hand gesture that came to mind when I heard the NFL will be intensely scrutinizing players' hand signals for possible gang signs next season. And let's just say the response I thought of is the same gesture Michael Vick gave Atlanta Falcons fans.

Let's just say that since you recently decided to compare rooting for the Celtics to being a Nazi sympathizer, you might as well just directly say that the NFL can go fuck itself. Go ahead, let it out.

I'm usually not opposed to a league being proactive, but in this case not only has the NFL gone too far, it has successfully insinuated to the public that the league is full of Doughboys and O-Dogs.

The second clause and the third clause there are redundant. That's like saying "not only are you ugly, you're also very unappealing to look at." Unless, of course, Jemele thinks there's another aspect of the policy that takes things too far, which is doubtful. Also- easy on the hyperbole, champ. The league is not insinuating that it's "full of" gangsters; it's insinuating that it's worried about the possible presence of some level of gang affiliation.

Sports leagues have a right to protect their image. Doing so often rubs players the wrong way, but sometimes it's what is best for the league and its players. NBA players rebuffed the league dress code, but ultimately it was for their own good. An undying allegiance to Phat Farm and Jesus pieces was costing the league and the players money at the box office. When corporate sponsors are uncomfortable and reluctant to spend, the players don't make as much as they possibly can. Besides, with any job, there is nothing wrong with instituting a standard of decorum.

Remember this- it will be very, very important.

But the NFL's latest move is not about decorum or even petrified sponsors.

The "Paul Pierce incident" (the impetus for this idea) is less than 2 months old, and no NFL games have been played since it happened. How do we know how sponsors would respond? How do we know how much negative media attention might develop over the first incident that resembles Pierce's that happens this fall? We don't. Thus, the league is being proactive. Shouldn't be too hard to figure out.

It's just a league overreaction, and a reminder to the players that they -- and not the coaches and owners -- are under the rule of a stern commissioner.

I think pretty much everyone involved in the league is aware of Goddell's personality and iron-fisted rule at this point. I don't think any coach or owner is happily parked on their ass, saying to themselves "Ah, good ol' Rog. I know he's on my side. I should be able to do pretty much whatever I want."

An NFL official told the Los Angeles Times this week that the league was focusing its attention on players' hand gestures because of an overblown incident involving Paul Pierce during the NBA playoffs. After a scrum with Atlanta's Al Horford in the first round of the playoffs, Pierce flashed what the NBA deemed "menacing gestures" toward the Hawks' bench and was fined $25,000. Pierce vehemently denied making a gang sign.

That makes it overblown, I guess. Now, no one's definitively saying that Pierce runs with a gang and would have shot and killed the Hawks if he could have. But what he did was certainly strange, needless, and overaggressive. The fine might have been excessive, but I'm not sure if I'd call the incident "overblown." It wasn't that huge of a story to begin with, and gesturing at an opponents' bench in the way Pierce did probably isn't within the bounds of good behavior.

(Side note- this is why I hate Boston sports- check out the video of the incident. Then check out this video from a local Boston sports station, which tries to get Pierce off the hook by documenting non-threatening hand signals he uses during pregame celebrations that are absolutely nothing like the ones from the incident. Now, maybe any city's local sports station would make a claim like this if one of their stars did something sketchy. But I doubt it. Just my opinion. Go fuck yourself, Boston fans besides those who read this blog.)

According to the Times, if a game officials sees a "suspicious hand gesture," he must alert the league, which will be hiring gang experts to review game tapes.

Right. Exactly. It's not like they're throwing down personal foul penalties or taking points off the board during the actual game. They're just looking into suspicious incidents to make sure there isn't anything overly negative going on.

"We were always suspicious that [gang-related hand signals] might be happening," Mike Pereira, the NFL's vice president of officiating, told the L.A. Times. "But the Paul Pierce thing is what brought it to light. When he was fined … that's when we said we need to take a look at it and see if we need to be aware of it."

What a normal, expected reaction from a business as powerful and profitable as the NFL. (No sarcasm)

Being more aware is generally a good thing, and I'm certainly not suggesting the NFL look the other way on something as serious as gang violence.

Except that by bitching about a new policy that will simply involve the league reviewing any suspicious signals, you're basically implying that they should be looking the other way. We have a label for this.

But by responding to a situation in another pro league, the NFL successfully planted a stereotype about its own -- namely, that the league is filled with Bloods and Crips.

Damn you, NFL, for being proactive! You know, I don't really think any given sport should start a steroid testing program until its athletes are breaking records at a furious pace. By instituting a program before any of its own athletes are caught, that sport is insinuating that steroids are a widespread problem. We all know that's not the case.

The next time a player throws up an ode to his fraternity in the end zone, Johnny Consumer is going to be thinking: "Drive-by."

Based on the Pierce incident, it's somewhat probable that that reaction would have happened whether or not the league instituted this policy.

The last thing the NFL should want to do is add to the perception that players are out of control.

Yes, it would be much better for them to bury their collective heads in the sand and insist that their sport couldn't possibly have any problems.

We can get that idea without the league's help, even though NFL rule breakers are the exception, not the rule.

This is one of the most batshit crazy things I have ever read. Let me simplify Jemele's stream of logic for you: Paul Pierce did something sketchy and got fined for it ==> Paul Pierce doesn't play in the NFL ==> Therefore, it's dumb for the NFL to institute a policy that responds to Pierce's incident ==> People already think the league is full of out of control players anyways

Don't read that too many times. You might get dizzy. I'm not 100% happy with the way it turned out, but I think that's Jemele's fault rather than my own.

Maybe the NFL decided now was a good time to reiterate its tough-on-crime stance because of some of the criminal shenanigans that have taken place the past week. Jaguars wide receiver Matt Jones was charged with felony drug possession, former Viking Darrion Scott received a three-game league suspension for putting a plastic bag over the head of his 2-year-old son, and Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw was released from jail after serving time for a probation violation.

You are not helping your case. (Again.)

Time to show everyone who's the boss.

Yeah, actually, maybe it was.

What's lost is that there is absolutely no evidence to suggest gang affiliation was even an issue for the NFL.

Jemele is still struggling with the concept of proactivity (sic?). Hey, why worry about a potentially dangerous problem until it's a really legitimate problem?

When asked on Friday if the NFL had a gang problem, league spokesperson Greg Aiello quickly issued a strong denial.

What the fuck else is an official spokesperson going to say?

So why is the NFL creating smoke, when it's adamant there's not an actual fire?

You're absolutely clueless.

"What they've done is publicize the solution without giving us any information on the problem," said David Cornwell, an Atlanta-based sports attorney who once served as the NFL's assistant general counsel.

That's because they probably don't know much about the problem, but want the public to know that they're being proactive. Do you see a trend developing here?

All this does is ease a path to stereotyping. Even if a game official witnessed a "suspicious hand gesture," how exactly could the NFL prove intent?

They don't need to. They need to investigate and see if there really is a problem or not. If it seemed like there was a problem, they would probably discipline (or at least have a discussion) with the player in question. Shouldn't be too hard to fix.

In my old Detroit neighborhood, kids and adults use hand signals all the time, but they represent neighborhood pride, not gang activity.

That's fine, but maybe they represented different things to different people. Some of them probably were/are open for interpretation. And remember how Jemele approved of the NBA's dress code, because millions of dollars from sponsors and fans was at stake? Hmmmmm. If you really stretch your brain, you should be able to envision a scenario in which the same issues come into play for the NFL.

These days, players are so creative they invent their own signals. Doug Christie, possibly the most whipped man in the history of professional sports, used to send hand gestures to his wife, Jackie, after made shots and free throws. Jason Kidd did the same on foul shots as an ode to his ex-wife, Joumana. Steve McNair put up his fraternity sign on touchdowns.

All of these are perfectly acceptable. If these incidents happened in the NFL after the institution of this policy, the league would probably review the tapes, consult with the players, decide whether or not the signal was harmful to the league's imagine, and then either let them slide or ask the player to please stop. Not that difficult.

And sometimes, players merely copy what they see from hip-hop videos, unaware of what those hand signals mean. It's naive, but imitation is the root of pop culture.

Were the players to accidentally use gang signs they saw in music videos, the league's paying customers and sponsors would probably not care where or how said signs were learned.

The NFL's heart is in the right place, but there are times when even the most well-intentioned rule can be harmful. Case in point: David Dicks, the police chief in Flint, Mich., has come under fire for ordering officers to arrest people who wear their pants too low and expose what we'd rather not see. Personally I detest seeing young men "sag," because they're copying prisoners. But even I can't argue that Dicks' directive is unconstitutional and provides a convenient way for cops to racially profile.

I for one don't know what Dicks' (haha.... "dicks") motives were. But I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt here and suppose that this policy is actually about indecency rather than race. Just like this NFL policy is about protecting the image of the league, rather than race. Oh wait, this is a Jemele Hill column. I almost forgot. Everything is about race.

"I do understand what they're trying to do [in the NFL], but I don't think it's a move in the right direction," said Carl Taylor, a senior fellow at Michigan State University who has studied gangs, violence and youth culture for years and is the principal investigator for the Michigan Gang Research Project.

Why is that, Carl? Please explain your position.

"I also understand why they don't want guys doing [gang signs].

Oh, OK. You're not going to clarify. You're just going to contradict yourself.

It's also interesting because you open that Pandora's box. A lot of people don't know the Ku Klux Klan has signs too. Are you going to police all signs?

You definitely should. All signs linked to violent, hateful organizations, anyways.

"The mere fact that they've done this, we're looking at black and Latino athletes. It does have the undercurrent of racial stereotyping,

1. People of all races are members of gangs. There may be a disproportionate number of non-whites in gangs, but it's not like some kind of uniquely black/Latino thing.
2. If that is the case, it's not the NFL's fault. Not wanting to appear to be racially stereotyping is not a good excuse to overlook a issue like this. (Sorry about the double negative.)

but also youth culture stereotyping."

Hiding gang activity behind the pseudo-intellectually protective umbrella of "youth culture" is disgusting.

The NFL wants to make money and have a clean league.

And this is not a good way to achieve that goal, because....

But it has to be careful. In its thirst to appear tough, fans can be left with the wrong impression.

Remember when you said this?

The last thing the NFL should want to do is add to the perception that players are out of control. We can get that idea without the league's help...

You're fucking stupid.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Everyone seems to have an opinion about whether or not Joba Chamberlain should move from the Yankee bullpen into their rotation. So let me give you mine: this is the stupidest, most worthless, most ridiculous, most rage-inducing sports story of the past five years. I cannot think of a single "talking point" - not one - that is more of a waste of the public's time than this. The first time I heard it brought up (probably immediately following New York's loss to Cleveland in the ALDS) absolutely needed to be the last. I don't care how popular the Yankees are; until he steps onto a mound to actually make his first start, this is the very definition of a non-story. Holy fucking balls, media. Stop it. Now. Stop stop stop. Fucking stop it before you make another generation of America's youth think that no matter where they live, they're required to be either Yankees or Red Sox fans. (Watch the Little League World Series this August and take notice of the kids' profiles if you don't know what I'm referring to.)

As an aside, another thing that needs to stop is the national media referring to players (or execs, for that matter) strictly by their first name. I'm tired of hearing about "Joba," "Hank," "Manny," or "Pedro." Well, the last two I might be able to stomach, since those are kind of those dudes' nicknames. But headlines like "Hank Starts Storm Over Joba's Role" are flagrantly tabloidish. The reason trashy celebrity magazines refer to "Britney" and "Angelina" in the way that they do is to try to bring the stars closer to their audience and make them feel like they actually know famous people on some level. That kind of imaginary friendship is intended to add fun, by way of drama and sensationalism, to the lives of those readers. But sports are already fun and sensational enough on their own. Fans don't need empty stories presented in a tabloidish format to stay interested.

I'm off to write another post that will contain significantly less bitching!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Parity Is Great and J.A. Adande Is an Asshat

There are two kinds of articles I bitch about on this blog. First, you've got articles that are just plain wrong. These are the Eckstein-is-greats, the ARod-is-bads, and the Bonds-is-innocents. They should make you cry. Second, you've got articles that don't contain any objectively incorrect information, but are still very wrong. They should merely make you whimper. This, by J.A. Adande, is one such article.

Superstar trades put emphasis back on the games

Let's hear it for big, fat contracts. Money-money-money-monnn-ey -- MON-ayy. Dollar-dollar bills, y'all. Those salary-cap-killing, luxury-tax-inducing contracts -- envied by fans, cursed by owners with buyer's remorse -- are saving the NBA.

You can't wait for the playoffs to start. You have no idea who's going to win it all. And it's all thanks to economics.

In the past eight months, four All-Stars have switched teams and reconfigured three of the marquee brands in the NBA. In order, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, Pau Gasol and Shaquille O'Neal were traded to the Celtics, Lakers and Suns because their old teams were tired of paying star salaries for scrub results.

Let us count the ways in which this article is wrong, so far.

1. Expensive contracts are not "saving the league," neither in the way Adande implies here nor in any other way. Sure, their existence has recently facilitated a flow of high-paid stars to popular/good teams. (As you'll see, his premise is basically that the league is better off when said teams have all the talent and "under the radar" teams, like their former teams, disappear into the background.) On the other hand, popular/good teams are just as susceptible to horrible contracts as anyone else. Why do the Knicks blow right now? Because (among at least fifty other horrible gaffes) a few years back they gave the untradeable and unplayable Jerome James an 11 year deal worth $290 million. What's wrong with the Bulls? Well, for one thing, they signed Ben Wallace to a disastrous contract two summers ago. For every Memphis who gives a Pau Gasol a monster deal and then has to send him away so they can look towards the future, there's a marquee/popular team that makes a devastatingly bad decision.

2. "You can't wait for the playoffs to start." If you didn't feel that way before these trades, you weren't an NBA fan in the first place. Douche. "You have no idea who's going to win it all!" This has been the case each and every year since Jordan retired the second time. So, for a decade or so.

3. These stars' old teams were "tired of paying star salaries for scrub results?" Maybe in Shaq's case. As for the other three- well, if you call their most recent seasons/half seasons with their old teams "scrubby," I'd like to hear what adjectives you'd assign to the 97% of the players in the league that aren't as good as these guys.

OK. *Deep breath* Good. This is going okay so far.

Their former squads aren't better off today. In fact, Seattle, Minnesota, Memphis and Miami have the four worst records in the league.

Let me introduce you, J.A., to some of the finer points of the "trade." You see, very few "trades" are made between teams that expect the same results from the deal in the same time frame. You alomst never see two teams trade players that are current stars. Same goes for swapping young players that have the potential to be stars somewhere down the road. Although they do happen in rare circumstances, trades like these don't make a ton of sense on the surface. Right? You see why, don't you? Unless it's a positional or change-of-scenery issue, why would a team trade a guy who's really good right now... for another guy who's really good right now? And why would they trade young guys with potential... for young guys with potential? That would be like trading eggs for eggs, or shoes for shoes. You make "trades" in order to acquire something you don't already have.

I'm wasting everyone's time. I know. Let's just leave it at this: despite being a professional journalist who primarily covers the NBA, J.A. Adande apparently has yet to grasp the idea that teams often deal current stars for young players. This is the basic format of the vast majority of significant trades to take place during the salary cap era.

I am slightly frustrated.

This wasn't about them trying to stay in the hunt for a championship. It's about them trying to stay out of the red in the Excel files.

It's about them acknowledging they were not going to win a championship in the next couple of years, and building for the future beyond that timeframe. Welcome to the wonderful world of professional sports franchises.

Top-to-bottom competitive balance is right where it belongs: in the trash can, next to the short shorts.

And here we have the main premise of the article, the main reason I am forced to conclude that J.A. Andande should be attached to a weather balloon and released into the atmosphere. I've read some bullshit in my life, but this sentence might take the cake. Let's see- which major pro sports league has the most year-to-year parity? That's right, those jolly fat fucks in the NFL, who have more money than they know what to do with right now. And how do people tend to respond to underdog success stories? My inside sources say they like them, and that there's a direct relationship between the amount of competitive balance in a league and the likelihood of such a story playing out. Why do salary caps exist in three out of the four major sports? Because otherwise we'd have four times as many Yankees and Red Sox running around, which would not be "good for the league(s)" no matter what anybody says. And finally, why does the NCAA limit the number of athletic scholarships schools can give out? Because having the Boise States of the world occasionally dance with the big boys is more exciting than having USC, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and Alabama grab 150 out of the top 200 recruits every year like they did in the 40s/50s/60s/70s.

The league is better off with several superpowers battling it out among themselves, not with some unknown upstarts crashing the party.

Let's focus. I'll limit discussion to the NBA alone. Boy, I sure don't remember anyone being excited about Golden State's first round win over Dallas last year. Boring. Who likes an upstart, anyways? I find life more fulfilling when everything is extremely even-keeled and goes exactly according to plan all the time. Keeps my blood pressure down. Here is my ideal 2008 NBA playoffs: Don't even play the first round in the West or the first two rounds in the East. Celtics sweep Pistons in the Eastern finals. Lakers sweep Spurs and Mavs sweep Suns in the Western semis. Lakers sweep Mavs in the Western finals. Celtics and Lakers agree to split the championship and instead play 7 exhibition games against each other. Immediately following the playoffs, every team in the league has to send its top scorer and rebounder to one of the six teams I named here to make 2008-2009 even more exciting! I mean, exciting in an even-keeled kind of way.

Supreme teams are compelling and draw big ratings, as the New England Patriots just showed.

This is partially true, but I would argue that the pursuit of perfection angle was much more important than just the simple fact that the Patriots were a dominant team. If they had somehow dropped their week 1 game (farfetched, I know, considering they were cheating during it), and gone through the whole season without that magical zero in the "L" column, I'm willing to bet ratings would have been much lower. Still outrageously high compared to anything the NBA puts up, but relatively lower.

If the success of the rich must come at the expense of the struggling poor, so be it. Call it de facto contraction.

Apparently J.A. has a little Rush Limbaugh in him.

"There are too many teams," one All-Star said. "There needs to be, like, 20 teams."

That guy probably just said that because he hates road trips.

But because the owners won't give up that additional revenue and the players won't give up the extra jobs, we're stuck at 30. The best we can do is have the best players concentrated among a few elite teams.

Nevermind, you know, the fans of those teams. Are there millions of rabid Bobcats fans out there? No. Are you going to get stabbed if you tell someone in a bar in Memphis that you don't really give a shit about the Grizzlies? Probably not. But that doesn't mean those teams are irrelevant or not useful assets for the league and their home cities. I really don't give a deuce if Adande thinks the Sonics or T-Wolves or Hawks shouldn't be competing with the traditional powerhouses. I steadfastly refuse to believe it's harmful to the sport in any fashion when parity exists and when non-traditional teams see a little success from time to time. I know ratings suffer and the blogosphere erupts with contempt when something like the 2007 NLCS happens. You know what? If people are too fucking stupid to be interested in a given sport's playoffs unless a team with a lot of history is winning them, that's not my problem. Those kind of people can go play in traffic.

"The trades seem to have piqued interest," commissioner David Stern said.

This doesn't support your point, tinydick. These trades would have piqued interest no matter where the marquee players landed.

There's anticipation and unpredictability, the two things that make sports such compelling TV content.

If Ray Allen goes to New Orleans and KG somehow ends up on the Clippers? No anticipation or unpredictability whatsoever, I guess.

Anticipation and unpredictability sound a lot better than cynicism and skepticism, which was the general attitude toward the NBA last summer.

Hmmmm... let's jog our memories... why was there a lot of cynicism and skepticism aimed at the NBA by fans and analysts last summer? I was going to link the funniest looking Tim Donaghy and Isiah Thomas pictures I could find, but J.A. actually goes through the trouble of answering his own question in the next paragraph. How thoughtful. OK, fine, fuck it. I'll link the pictures anyways.

Those dark days seem so long ago they might as well be in black-and-white. A referee was found to have bet on NBA games and shared inside info with gamblers. A troubled young player had a fatal car crash. The No. 1 overall pick had season-ending surgery before he even played a game. The SuperSonics gassed up the moving vans. The Knicks went through a sordid sexual harassment lawsuit. It was all gloom and doom.

Not on this list:
Too much parity in league
Too many upstart teams having success
Elite players too spread out
Fans bored by lack of traditional dynasty
Too long since Lakers or Celtics have won title
Shawn Bradley no longer available to be hilariously dunked on

Although that last one damn well should be included.

Last year was one of the hardest years from a public relations standpoint," said former All-Star David Robinson. "To see how well the NBA has bounced back from some of that stuff last year … I don't know any league that could deal with that kind of stuff. Wow.

"The energy level is still great. Everybody is looking forward to the playoffs. It's still so much excitement."

So what happened? Sports happened.

What does that mean? How does it justify your point?

We should know by now that all it takes to restore faith and interest in a league is to play games. Make that, play games on relevant networks (two points lost on the NHL).

Apparently the NHL is no longer playing games. No wonder I haven't heard much about them recently. And apparently they willingly chose to take their games off NBC and ESPN. "Hey," Gary Bettman said to a board of league executives, "I heard this 'Versus' is the next big thing. Call up our current networks and tell them to stick their thumbs up their own asses. We're riding the wave of the future, baby."

Bring out the balls, blow the whistle and the problems go away.

And- make sure all the best players in the league end up on just a handful of teams. You forgot that part.

All they had to do was keep playing and wait for the emergence of a dominant team or two. There's nothing wrong with a little healthy hegemony. In the league's glory days in the 1980s, there was a nine-year stretch when the Lakers and Celtics won eight of the titles. So much for sharing the wealth.

Those were the "glory days" because of the kind of people I earlier said should go play in traffic. Ratings were up. Everyone talked about the Celtics and Lakers. Great. But was the level of play in the league and higher? Was there something more inherently interesting about the games? The NBA has and always will market its superstars ahead of its teams. And it just so happened that two of the biggest superstars of the 80s happened to play for two otherwise excellent teams in opposite conferences. But just because everyone back then said "Oh man, Lakers/Celtics ftw, kewlest yizz evr" doesn't mean things were any better. Having both the Yankees and Red Sox playing very well at the same time these days sure generates ratings and hype for MLB. But can you really say the sport is better because of it? Really? Look, I already said it, but if you need shit like this to get interested in a sport then you weren't really a fan in the first place.

There are more good teams now. At the current pace, a Western Conference team could win 50 games and still miss the playoffs.

This will not happen. I promise. And it doesn't prove at all that there are more good teams now. The Lakers and Suns were already going to win 50 games before their moves. Denver, Utah, Portland, and Houston have basically the same rosters they did in November. As long as "now" is referring to "since these big trades," which I'm pretty certain it is.

Before the All-Star Sunday the arena was buzzing with the renewed possibility of a Dallas-New Jersey deal. It turned this weekend's All-Star Game into exactly what it should be: an afterthought. An interlude. People are obsessed with trade talk, and with the state of Kobe's injured pinkie. (One way or another, it always comes back to Kobe). But that's where the focus should be. There's no sense wasting time wondering whether the East All-Stars can beat the West. Who cares? You don't want the exhibtions overshadowing the main event.

Most confusing paragraph in the whole article. The All-Star Game should be an afterthought to what? Trade talk? Injury speculation? Are those "the main event?" I sure hope not. But I thought the only thing the league had to do in order to make everyone happy was just get out there on the damn court and play with their balls while whistling. Now you're telling me we should be more focused on gossip and rumors. And does anyone else see the irony in Adande knocking the All-Star Game after forming a whole article around the idea that concentrating the elite players onto as few teams as possible is a good thing?

This game won't be more entertaining than that Suns-Warriors game Wednesday. There's no way it will be more tension-filled than Shaq's anticipated Suns debut this Wednesday.

Thank you for helping us make the connection that Shaq's debut this Wednesday is for the Suns during a Wednesday game this Wednesday which will be his first game with his new team.

It was telling that, for the first time in memory, Stern opened a news conference talking about basketball. Not collective bargaining negotiations, not television ratings, not legal proceedings. "We're awful pleased about the state of our game," Stern said Saturday night.

"The game looks terrific. It's open, it's fluid, there's more movement. And there are more shots. The fact that the shots go in is also good.

"People feel good about the state of the game and the way it is being played and coached and reffed."

The league rediscovered what matters most, the one thing the fans really care about.

"It's the game, it's the game, it's the game," Stern said.

I thought it was trade rumors, injuries, and Kobe.

Not all the league's problems have magically disappeared. What should be a full-fledged celebration of the hosting Hornets, the team atop the Western Conference, is tempered by the possibility they could leave town without increased fan support. And the Sonics are locked in litigation with the city of Seattle, doing their best to bolt for Oklahoma City.

The last time an NBA team left the Pacific Northwest for the South, it was Vancouver to Memphis … and look how that turned out. The Grizzlies are playing in a half-filled arena, having just dumped their best player in exchange for No. 1 pick bust and a rookie.

But why weep for the Grizzlies when you can wonder how far the Lakers will go with Gasol?

But why wonder about the Lakers when you can be interested in whichever team is your favorite? I realize my well documented anti-Yankees/Red Sox bias is dripping into the article, but it's doing so for good reason. It's comments like this that make me hate every single nationally popular team out there and sometimes make it difficult to cheer for my hyperexposed alma mater.

As J.A. suggests, I'm not weeping for the Grizzlies. It's their own fault they put together a shitty team and had to basically give away Gasol. But at the same time... I know this is hard to hear if you're an elitist fan of a big-market team that thinks because they're on TV more often than everyone else that they're special... I also couldn't give two craps about the Lakers. To wit, with my baseball comparison- do you think Joba Chamberlain should start 2008 in the bullpen or the rotation? If you're not a fan of an AL East team or a keeper league fantasy owner, the answer is "Who fucking cares?" Honestly. Your team has a rich history and a larger than average fan base. I get it. Now stop bothering me so I can learn about other stuff.

Sorry, Memphis. Sorry, Minnesota. Your losses are better for the league as a whole.

I think you mean, your losses are good for the Lakers and Celtics.

The on-court action is as good as you could ask for.

If you're a Laker or Celtic fan.

It's All-Star Weekend in New Orleans. Might as well grab a go cup and celebrate the good times.

You sound like you're drunk already.

J.A. Adande is the author of "The Best Los Angeles Sports Arguments."

1. What's the best way to enjoy a Dodger game- by showing up in the 3rd, leaving in the 6th, or both?
2. Which riot was more violent and unnecessary- the one after UCLA basketball's championship in 1995, or the one after the Lakers won the NBA finals in 2000?
3. Why the fuck don't we have an NFL team?
4. Who's going to end up as a bigger bust- Matt Leinart or Reggie Bush?
5. How fucking lame are the Angels and their fans for that "Rally Monkey" shit?
6. Why doesn't anyone think USC football qualifies as a "dynasty" this decade, even though they've grabbed a whole one national championships?
7. How do we get the Clippers to go back to San Diego?
8. What's the best object to throw on the field for no reason when you're drunk at a Dodger game?
9. No, seriously, why does the country's second largest city not have an NFL team?
10. Tommy LaSorda- fat or pregnant?

Much love to any LA-based fans or readers if they made it this far. You know I'm just messing with you. I pretty much hate everyone equally. Except Boston.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'm Sorry Everyone, but Jay Wants Attention Again

I know, it's stupid. But like the 2-year old who doesn't get to play on the big boy slide, he won't stop crying for attention until someone gives it to him.

I guess we might as well do the honors for him. Jay?

The End: Bears better off losing

You are a Chicago-based columnist saying that your sports teams are better off losing. This is not the first instance of something like this happening. No team in contention for anything is ever better off losing, Jay. Ever.

A victory over the Vikings would have brought some false hope. At least now it’s clear that the once-proud Bears are in dismal shape

I wonder what Mariotti would be like as a Denver columnist.

Sept. 25, 2007: "Rockies tease city by arousing playoff hopes with another meaningless win."

Oct 4, 2007: "Rockies off to good start in playoffs, but better they lose now than later before they realize they aren't more than just an NLDS team."

Oct 11, 2007: "Webb an embarrassment as Colorado sneaks away with a win. World Series remains a pipe dream, however."

Oct 23, 2007: "Wake up and smell the reality. These Rockies are no match for the Boston juggernauts."

Oct 28, 2007: "Told ya."

MINNEAPOLIS -- Now America understands why the Bears are the NFL's newest crash dummies -- or, I should say, the segments of America that wasted their lives watching Monday night.

Note: Watching a football game that comes down to the final 2-minute drill is a waste of life. These games are totally uninteresting. Also, sports suck.

After the latest collapse, three men gathered on the ESPN set. One was Emmitt Smith. Another was Adrian Peterson, who might break Smith's all-time rushing record, smiling as he was serenaded by lingering fans with the obvious, "Yo, Adrian!"

But I was more interested in the guy sitting with them. Hey, Steve Young, can we talk you into quarterbacking the Bears? Yes, at your age?

Oh yeah, that's totally a professional joke. Every fucking idiot Chicago fan has been saying this type of thing for 2 years now. "Hey, my son should be the new Bears QB, am I right guys?" Haw. Haw. Haw. How do you have a job?

False security doesn't stop the bleeding. It only creates a pseudo comfort zone that shouldn't exist at Halas Hall, where the Bears officially are stuck in the NFL past tense and need a significant offseason overhaul. Much as a victory might have warmed the civic bones on a cold December night, really now, what would it have accomplished?

Excitement. Satisfaction for every guy on the team. Derailing a division rival. Keeping the playoffs as an outside possibility. Achieving the goal of winning, the only reason that the team went onto the field instead of just forfeiting beforehand. Gee, I don't know, Jay? Why do sports teams try to win?

What did loss No. 9 teach us?

That Kyle Orton is not a legitimate starting quarterback and has a bigger neckbeard than a future, which I already knew before he made a horrendous throw to downtown Duluth on 4th-and-1 to end a late threat.

Jay, you're brilliant! What foresight! You knew that a guy who has a career 59.5 passer rating that plays as a THIRD STRINGER for a team stereotyped by not having a good quarterback is not, let me emphasize this ladies and gentlemen, not, a legitamate starting quarterback!

That the defense played well against the explosive Peterson but is finished as a dominant force, which I already knew before Brian Urlacher stopped writing his blog and woke up for the ESPN cameras he so adores.

And....get this guys. Jay knew that the football team that has let up the fourth most yards per game in the NFL is not a dominant defensive force! Maybe he isn't so stupid after all! Let's get rid of this blog, or at least retitle it.

That Devin Hester is the most exciting athlete in sports but also the most perilous to his team when he grips the football like a lunchbox, which I already knew.

A kick returner that has trouble catching/hanging onto the ball puts his team in a perilous situation? ESPN should really consider getting you onto that "Around the Horn" show.....

That this team makes stupid mistakes, which I already knew before Peanut Tillman's unforgivably unnecessary roughness penalty (which led to a Minnesota field goal), Fred Miller's roundhouse swing at Jayme Mitchell (which killed a drive) and a Garrett Wolfe holding penalty (which shortened a good return in the final minutes).

Pompous, insightful Mariotti continues to hammer home that he KNOWS the things that casual fans observe every fucking game. This better not keep going on much sarcasm is waning.

Oh, I can hear the giddy amnesiacs now. The Bears made the Vikings sweat, which can serve as a confidence builder for 2008.

What giddy amnesiacs think the team will say to itself next year, "Hey guys, we can do it! Remmeber last year when we were 5-8 and almost beat the 7-6 Vikings? If we can do that, we can do anything!"

Apparently Jay thinks that there are dumbass blowhards out there stupider than he is.

Bad news about that, Jay.....

So It was for the best that they lost, if only to subdue the would-be nonsense that their future isn't so shaky after all.

Again...if the Bears win, they become 6-8. The difference between 6-8 and 5-9 is not enough to change anyone's opinion about how "shaky" the Bears future will be.

The Bears, of course, need a quarterback, as they have for most of their existence, with the Donovan McNabb dream still flickering for serious fans after Orton stumbled in his first start in two years. The Bears also need a running back, a revamped offensive line and probably a receiver assuming Bernard Berrian signs elsewhere, which makes sense with his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, prowling in the hallway near midnight. The Bears will need to address the likely departure of Lance Briggs (another Rosenhaus client), problems in the secondary and whether Urlacher -- who was great -- still can be a consistent, healthy season-long monster.

All of which, you understand, is pretty easy, given Jay's excellent advice in "Offseason Sports Team Management For Dummies". Here are the main principles.

1) Sign every free agent. It don't matter what he costs, kids.
2) Trade for everybody good. You don't need to consider contracts or what you're giving up. Just beat the other teams to your guy!
3) In baseball, you have to make "bigger" moves than the team on the other side of town to be considered a success, NOT (and this is a common misconception) the moves that maximize the use of your resources.

When Peterson slipped past a blocked Briggs and scored to give Minnesota a seven-point lead with 10:50 left, tell me: Did anyone think Orton could win the game? He had a couple of impressive moments in the first half, but he was seen flipping his helmet on the sideline when the offense turned sickly in the second half.

Yes. I thought Orton could win the game. It was a possibility. There was a chance that he would repeat the impressive first half moments. And let's not forget that the ball was being moved pretty well before that fatal interception on Kyle's final 40-something yard bomb.

How many times do I have to say it?

1273. I don't even care what you're about to say. I bet you'll repeat it 1273 times.

Rex Grossman can't play. Brian Griese can't play. Kyle Orton can't play.

You were singing a different tune about Griese earlier this season, but more to the point....

What is your goal in saying this? What should the Bears be doing? Do you think there's some other quarterback they could be playing right now? What kind of insight can you offer that the loud, fat 45-year-old at the game sitting behind behind me can't? This isn't a sports column. This is just a bitchfest.

I'll end with a legitimately funny quote that Jay the Entertainer put in this column about Lance Briggs.

Briggs is accused by the mother of his 3-month-old baby of not paying sufficient child support and getting at least two other women pregnant.

"I have had an open-door policy toward parenting," Brittini Tribbett, 21, told the Sun-Times. "Lance has apparently had an open-pants policy toward paternity."

Nevermind. I'm not ending with that. I just read the last line of the column.

This season was dead before it started.

Shut the fuck up. Seriously. Shut the fuck up. This is a team that went to the Super Bowl last year and only had one major loss in the offsesason, middle-of-the-road running back Thomas Jones (who, by the way, has been worth a whopping 7.5 more yards per game and an astronomical 0.2 more yards per carry this year than perpetual scapegoat Cedric Benson was before his injury). How can you POSSIBLY, in a million bajillion years, say that this was a season that was dead before it started??? Are you fucking claiming that before Sunday, September 9, 2007, that this Bears team had ZERO chance of going anywhere???

It's a fucking disgrace that words you type hit the presses in any newspaper, let alone the second biggest newspaper in one of the biggest cities in the United States of America.