I was facing two big problems earlier tonight.
1) I am tired
2) Gregg Easterbrook released a TMQ column this week that contains some absolutely wretched analysis
I mean, how was I supposed to reconcile these two with each other? If I go to bed, Easterbrook's turd of an article goes unchecked, probably forever. If I take a bunch of time to complain about the article, I go to bed late. Then I'll just be tired again tomorrow. And maybe Saturday too. What kind of bullshit life is that? How am I supposed to break that vicious cycle if I don't start tonight? But just as I was starting to panic, I had an idea. Let me lay it out for you slowly, so that by the end of the explanation you're so bored with what I'm saying that you have no interest in being a part of the idea.
Yesterday saw FireJay set another direct traffic record. Very exciting stuff. We also shattered our old record for being looked for on search engines; Google was overflowing with lovejuice for us. And the 34 comments (granted, like ten of them are from me, Chris W, and pnoles, but don't burst my bubble) on the Simmons piece has to be close to an all time record for the blog as well. So there's definitely a lot of you out there reading this drivel. I mean, shit, look at you right now. You could be doing anything on the internet. But you've chosen to be here.
Therefore, here's my idea: every Friday, we do a sort of play on those "You Write the Caption" competition magazines and blogs are always having. It used to be one of my favorite features in Sports Illustrated For Kids, even though most or all of the winning selections were probably written by kids' parents. But whatever. Anyways, for our little thingy I'm describing here, instead of a picture, we'll just present you with a handful of quotes from a terrible article and a theme for you to follow in your responses. Then you all just go buck wild making up jokes from the perspective of the author, which is sort of caption-ish in a way. Pow. Instant comedy. I mean, what better way to celebrate this windfall of new readers than by asking you to show us and each other how witty and snarky you can be? I hate the word snark, but I think its made-up definition applies nicely to what FireJay and blogs like it are all about. You wouldn't be here if you didn't like snark, and weren't pretty damn good at being snarky yourself. Hell, most of you are probably better at being snarky than I am. I'm really more angry/angsty. Snark snark snark. Fuck that word. See? I'm pissed now.
But seriously, you can see what I'm getting at here. I want you all to use your rapist's wits to help make the blog a funnier place. Some of you already do that in the comments section on a daily basis, but I want Friday to become a special day where you really focus and bring your A games. And on top of that, maybe some of you that read but don't comment will be inspired by this feature to make the plunge into commenting every once in a while.
This week will be the trial run. If it flops, we'll pretend it never happened. If it's even a mild success, which I define by having at least two commenters participate without making fun of me for thinking this would work, then we'll keep it going.
Easterbrook went like ten steps further than he usually does this week in terms of making shit up and passing it off as the truth. Here, he speculates as to why some of the NFL's divisional playoff games turned out the way they did.
Dallas took its regular-season finale off, then had the bye week, then honked at home. As you just might possibly have heard, certain Cowboys not only lost focus during the bye but treated the week as a vacation! Receiving millions of dollars per year for a part-time job, some Dallas players nevertheless felt they had to award themselves a vacation to get their minds off the playoffs -- and as we saw Sunday, the Cowboys' minds surely were off the playoffs!
Really? How did we see that? They piled up 11 penalties, but that alone isn't going to convince me. I'm going to need a little bit more explanation than "as we saw Sunday, [X], and that is that because I said so and I like science fiction a lot."
Romo kept trying to throw deep, rather than throwing slants, which are the standard counter to the big blitz. You sensed Romo wanted to hit a deep pass so everyone would credit him for winning the game.
Did I? I'm pretty sure I didn't. I mean, Romo's usually a spotlight hogging asshole, but- oh wait, no, that's someone else on his team. Nevermind.
Garrett never straightened Romo out in the fourth quarter -- perhaps because Garrett's head wasn't really in the game, either.
So I guess Gregg was either at the game, or has a magical TV feed that allows him to watch what's happening on the sidelines at all times.
In the fourth quarter, Dallas' offensive line play broke down. Could this have something to do with offensive line coach Tony Sparano not having his head in the game because he spent the bye week interviewing for head-coaching jobs?
Great theory. Totally unprovable and probably no more than 10% true. But it's cute. You know what will often cause offensive line play to break down? Being lined up opposite Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan all damn game.
Jacksonville trailed the highest-scoring team in football history by 11 points in the fourth quarter; reaching first-and-goal, the Jags absolutely had to score a touchdown. So why didn't the coaches assume they'd use all four downs and power-rush three times? Jacksonville had to get a touchdown. The mouselike field goal was all but running up a white flag. You could see at that point that Jack of the River had quit on the game. He wasn't going all-out to try to win, he was trying to hold down the margin of defeat so that on the banquet circuit in the offseason, people would say, "You gave the Patriots a good game."
Yep, I bet that's it. Why make decisions that you think give you the best chance at beating them, like kicking a field goal to get a one-score deficit? What's the glory in that? If you end up winning, no one's going to praise you for that on the offseason banquet circuit. Those banquet people are a tough to please crowd- they really only gravitate towards close losses.
Whoever coaches Indianapolis next season, if the Colts win a bye again, please, don't give the starters the season finale game off! Dungy has done this four times, and four times the result has been first-round home-field defeat for Indianapolis. Was the problem that the Colts defenders relaxed when LaDainian Tomlinson and Philip Rivers went out?
I'm glad this one is phrased as a rhetorical question rather than an outright true statement, but it's still stupid and wrong.
OK, so here's the theme for this week's Reader Participation Friday: given all these assessments Easterbrook makes about last weekend's games that range anywhere from "completely unprovable and unresearchable" to "batshit insane," please come up with some other explanations Gregg might formulate to explain occurrences in the world of sports. Write your response in the first person, as though you were him. Here, I'll do a couple examples to start things off.
"Maybe if Ohio State was more worried about preparing for LSU and less worried about visiting as many locations as possible in New Orleans that were portrayed in the movie JFK, they wouldn't have been blown out so badly in the National Championship Game."
"Jimmy Johnson just won his second straight NASCAR season championship. And it's no wonder, considering how much better he is at never letting any of the parts in his car break than the other drivers on the circuit."
"It's clear that the Colorado Rockies were swept in the 2007 World Series by the Boston Red Sox because the Rockies were too busy worrying about Drew Carey taking over hosting duties on 'The Price Is Right' to focus on the games."
"The secret to Tiger Woods's success lies in the fact that he never thinks about whether or not spectators are staring at his ass. John Daly, on the other hand, is particularly afflicted by this problem."
"Kobe Bryant is a dominant scorer in the NBA year in and year out for one reason: defenders refuse to guard him close due to his cripplingly bad breath."
Is this a good idea? It's a good idea, right? No? Well screw it, we're trying it this week anyways. I guess I'll find out when I wake up and check the comments in the morning. Come on, people. It's Friday. Nothing says "the weekend's almost here" like imitating Gregg Easterbrook.
(And of course, keep in mind that future installments of the feature will be much shorter because I won't have to laboriously explain my stupid thought process or anything.)
Friday, January 18, 2008
I was facing two big problems earlier tonight.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
it's not even close. it's like comparing "dirty work" to other comedies from the late 90s. it's like comparing charlie weis to other girthy college football coaches. it's like comparing something that's really awesome to some other stuff that sucks in comparison. you'll see what i mean by all this hype, as soon as you read resident espn outdoorsman jeff mckinnis's article about quite possibly the most dominant athlete in any sport, ever. i'm honestly embarrassed that i'm taking the time to make fun of this article... i just can't help myself.
Raise an eyebrow toward KVD
Is the Sooner Run champion possibly the best ever — in any sport?
never heard of KVD? he's kevin vandam, and he's a professional... bass fisherman. that's right. i don't want to waste my time, or anyone else's, by getting into a lengthy discussion about what is or is not a sport. nascar? bowling? poker? all receive major airtime on "sports" tv networks. all are debatably un-sporty, at least when compared to baseball or hockey or boxing. but fishing? really? what percentage of one's ability to fish well is function of athleticism, and what percentage is a function is fine tuned skill? if it's not a 0/100 split, it's damn close. and there are literally thousands of competitive activities out there that share that same 0/100 split. many of them are not sports. that's all i'm saying.
If this article gets no further than the core fishing fans, then I'm only preaching to the choir.
While I hope the choir enjoys it, I'm really hoping that someone else out there stumbles across it, and it raises at least one eyebrow. With that said, let me assure you that I'm not a writer, I'm just a guy with some thoughts about professional bass fishing that I just have to spout off about.
both my eyebrows are completely unraised as of right now. but i suppose that could change. spout away, jeff.
I am an absolute sports nut. I drive to work every morning with "Mike & Mike" on the radio, and ESPNews is on my TV all day, with its lower right-hand corner giving me "breaking news" as it happens in the sports world. Yes, I know I need to get a life.
I'm pretty smart about my sports, and I know that the reality is bass fishing will never be a major sport, but it absolutely can become super strong in the "niche" category if for no other reason than for the amount of people across the nation who play the game.
i'm going to go waaaaaaaaay out on a limb and say kevin tragically overestimates the number of americans who "play" bass fishing. do you think more people fish than bowl? than play poker? than play pool? i'm not a fisherman myself, nor did i have any as friends growing up, but if you put a gun to my head and made me guess fishing's place in that hierarchy (with pool, bowling, poker, and other "fringe sports" that get tv time) among the american public, i'd have to put it dead last. furthermore, in terms of enjoyability, fishing seems to be a highly personal kind of thing. i think you can get a certain level of enjoyment from watching an amazing bowler finish off a 285 game, or watching that crazy looking asian lady sink a ridiculous 4 ball combo (everyone knows who i'm talking about, right? that lady is ALWAYS playing whenever womens pool is on). but watching someone fish... i mean, how do you enjoy that? the weigh-ins might be somewhat interesting, but as for the competition as a whole, i'm postulating that fishing is crappy television. even if you yourself love to fish, i can't see how you'd get any enjoyment out of watching it.
ok enough stupid analysis of fishing. let's just allow mckinnis to go ahead and say a lot of hilariously outrageous stuff about fishing. that was, after all, why i made this post in the first place and hyped it up so much in my intro.
One more thing before I get to the point. If the sports world knew how hard it is to excel as a professional bass fisherman, these writings would be more impressive. If you had any idea how hard these guys practice in all weather conditions, how hard they compete in all weather conditions, you would be amazed.
if i knew how to insert an mp3 of a sitcom laugh track that played immediately after you read that, i would do so. seriously- these guys MAKE THEIR LIVING CATCHING FISH. you have no idea how hard that is.
If you just had a clue of the hand-eye coordination, the decision making, the stamina and the vision and instincts these bass pros are blessed with, you would stop thinking about Jason Giambi and his steroid issues at least for a few minutes.
the laugh track i was talking about would continue for a while here, as well.
as a side note, i have this friend that's effing ridiculous at guitar hero II on playstation. should he get some recognition for that? you have no idea how amazing his hand-eye coordination, decision making, stamina, vision, and instincts are.
Very few people sense those things, so outside of the "choir," I'll be viewed as just another bass nutt. Here it goes anyway.
Bass fishing is not the next NASCAR because we don't get 100,000 people to our weigh-ins.
bass fishing is not the next nascar because people would rather watch cars drive 180 mph and crash into each other than watch some dude sit in a boat and fish.
Kevin VanDam is not exactly the Tiger Woods of the sport. No disrespect to Tiger, but KVD dominates more, in a more demanding sport.
i cannot put into words how funny that sounds. i'm not saying that i know, 100% objectively, that pro golf is more demanding than pro fishing. what i am saying is- that last sentence is hilarious.
Wow! Here we go. Kevin VanDam is the point of this outburst.
Why isn't KVD ever in that "breaking news" box on ESPNNews?
i'm having a hard time coming up for an answer to this question; every time i try to ponder it, "turkey in the straw" and "dueling banjos" just keep playing on repeat in my brain.
Actually, I know. It's because it's just not on anyone's radar.
But why isn't it?
I know that answer as well. Most people just don't understand what KVD is accomplishing. In the world of professional bass fishing, most competitors strive for good finishes and maybe one win every 5 years. I'm betting that professional golf is about the same.
rafael nadal recently set an all-time record by winning like 80 straight tennis matches and 12 straight tournaments on clay, and most people didn't hear about that. why? because people weren't aware of it? the executives at the major sports news outlets had no idea that it had happened? false. because no one really gives a shit about tennis, thus it's not worth those networks' airtime and print space to talk about it. now, take this concept that the sports media doesn't really cover much tennis, and extend it to fishing...
Well, KVD has won two out of the last three Bassmaster Elite Series events, and please be aware that the field he competes against is hands down the strongest there has ever been. It's the big leagues of bass fishing.
"the big leagues of bass fishing" sounds like "the big leagues of pogo stick jumping" or "the big leagues of juggling".
Then there's winning a Bassmaster major, which for an angler's career can compare to a golfer winning one of its majors.
Two years ago, KVD won three out of the four major tournaments. When I think about that, I realize it's unfathomable. Can't be done. Where in the world is a Sports Illustrated writer? How do all the bass feats things go unnoticed?
how indeed! i'm dying here. is this guy serious? the further i go into this article, the more i keep checking my calendar to make sure it's not april 1st. also, tiger woods won 4 majors in a row in 2000-2001.
When an NFL team wins a Super Bowl one time, it's in the mind of a sports fan, forever. Mr. VanDam has won the bass fishing Super Bowl (Bassmaster Classic) twice in recent years. So you'd think someone from Fox's Best Damn Sports Show Period would be all over that.
seriously, mckinnis, i'm at work here. you're going to get me in trouble. people are giving me looks. of course, the irony here is that BDSSP (as those of us in the know refer to it) is so dumb, i wouldn't put it past them to report on fishing.
Take KVD out of the mix and I could make the statement that bass fishing, unlike other sports, can't be dominated because no other sport deals with a live, unpredictable creature — the bass. Kevin is dominating it, though. He is doing the unthinkable. He's defeating Mother Nature.
just like that british guy with the show on discovery channel about surviving ridiculous situations in the wild does. the difference- the british guy is entertaining to watch.
Now, you might be wondering, what difference does all this make to me? Well I guess my motives are selfish because I'm obsessed with elevating the sport of bass fishing. The quicker everyone sees that we have, dare I say it, a freak of nature on our hands, the sooner and stronger the spotlight will hit this very unique and special sport.
jai alai is a very unique and special sport. i don't think they're going to be attracting any spotlight anytime soon, and they're definitely in line in front of fishing in my book.
KVD has held up the winner's trophy 13 times in his young career and is by far the leading money winner in Bassmaster history with $2.5 million, and I could continue listing his accomplishments, but I won't. I'm stopping right here.
i'm sure kevin appreciates that. actually, i just thought about him sitting at a computer reading this article and just being really embarrassed by the hyperbole. that would be great. if he has a website, i'd love for him to release a statement on it along the lines of:
"sorry some of you read that outrageous piece on espn.com about me. i promise you, i don't take myself that seriously. i'm great at fishing and i enjoy my life, but i try to keep it all in perspective. also, i have never given nor will ever give an interview to jeff mckinnis because he's insane."
I could also tell you why I think he's reaching these heights, but I'm going to leave that to someone else. I will say, don't believe the "cape and phone booth story," though.
thank you jeff. i will be sure not to confuse kevin vandam, real life pro fisher, with superman, fictional character, no matter how many people insist they acquire their prowess the same way.
No, the why and how is not important to me. That he's doing it right before everyone's eyes is important to me.
Kevin VanDam is a young, clean cut gentleman, who is loved and respected by all his competitors. He's extremely smart about life and sees the big picture when it comes to his sport of bass fishing.
the big picture hopefully being- "man, i can't believe i make my living catching fish while wearing a jacket with 350 different corporate logos on it. this is awesome."
To top it all off, he's blessed with a wonderful family. Kevin and his wife Sherry have twin sons, and like most bass pros, struggle with being away most of the time.
they also deal with the potential danger of kevin one day being tricked into going on an ill-fated fishing trip with roy scheider, richard dreyfus, and robert shaw in pursuit of a gigantic shark.
Say this is starting to sound like I'm after the job of being KVD's agent, doesn't it? No way! I just want to see the Bassmaster Elite Series advance one more step, which can happen if the sports world gets a feel for the path this talented angler is traveling right now.
So, hey USAToday! Come on Greeney and Golic (Mike & Mike in the Morning). What do you say People Magazine? This is possibly the most dominating competitor that any sport has ever seen.
Someone please show and tell us what KVD is all about. Raise at least one eyebrow.
the answer, from everyone except people who already know about and love fishing: no.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
seriously... i dont know how useful cyberspace is for medical research, or fighting poverty, or anything else socially responsible. but the fact that this entry from "jimmy's blog" (by jimmy traina, on sportsillustrated.com) is eating up imaginary room on the internet offends me. isnt there any limit to the dumb crap that a major media outlet will stamp with its seal of approval, and then publish? i hope the fact that this article exists doesnt delay the curing of cancer or AIDS. this is dumb, unclever, not to mention outdated drivel like youve probably never seen it before.
the article is titled "most famous/infamous body parts in sports". oh jimmy. youre really on the cutting edge of what people want to read about.
You can thank Gary Thorne, a rabid Red Sox Nation and a pitcher who thrives on being in the spotlight for this list. When you're done reading my top 10, be sure to send me yours.
no, i can thank YOU, you unfunny hack. also, anyone who sends jimmy their top 10 after reading this should also send a letter of apology to me, because jimmy might be tempted to make ANOTHER column like this if he gets enough responses out of it.
now, its weird for me to break this dumb article down piece by piece as we usually do because each individual choice isnt bad writing or inherently stupid. well, they sort of are. youll see what i mean. taken as a list though, this is just a pathetic attempt at writing something that people would actually be interested in reading (except for people like me, making an anti sports media blog). just look at the thing as a whole and try to tell me jimmy didnt come up with it while drunkenly sitting around with his friends late one saturday night. the format of the discussion was probably like this:
friend #1: "oh, dude, remember (sports incident/strangely bodied athlete)? haha! remember that?"
*thirty second pause*
friend #2: "yeah and what about (other incident/freak)? man, that was wild."
*thirty second pause*
and so on and so on. finally, 5 minutes later:
jimmy: "so what have you guys come up with, about ten of these? hmmm, looks like my monday assignment for SI just got a lot easier. beer me, brah."
the point is, theres nothing to think about or discuss here. this article is the polar opposite of what people want to read. almost every single incident/freak here has been discussed to death already, especially when you consider most of them were "current" 5+ years ago. this list sounds like "top 100 one hit wonders from canada" or some other dumb countdown show youd see on VH1 at 5 in the morning. theres nothing mildly stimulating about it. shoot, ive built it up enough. lets just get this over with.
1. Evander Holyfield's left ear: Mike Tyson's erratic behavior came to a head on a summer night almost 10 years ago when he was in the ring with Holyfield. During their rematch, boxing's bad boy couldn't resist the urge to chomped down on Holyfield's ear, which stopped the fight.
yup, we all remember this. a piece of pop culture that will be remembered for a long time, to be sure. haha, remember that? REMEMBER THAT? crazy times. i bet jay leno and david letterman still send tyson a christmas card and fruitcake every year for giving them such a bottomless pit of material to work with. something tells me this isnt the last well hear from iron mike on this list though.
2. Curt Schilling's right ankle: Some would say Schilling's mouth (or should it be fingers, now that he's a blogger?) could be on this list, but his right ankle became a storyline in the 2004 postseason and still causes much discussion.
im going to go out on a limb and assume jimmy is a red sox fan. because if i allow myself to completely abandon whatever shred of dignity i have left in life at this point, and actually lower myself to jimmy's level and enter into debate with him on his selections (which im about to do), i have to say this one sucks. at least the holyfield ear was a one-of-a-kind type thing. no real precedent there. but athletes have been playing hurt in big games literally since sports were invented. what about willis reed and his bad leg or whatever it was for the 1970 knicks in game 7 of the nba finals? what about the guy in ancient greece who ran the first ever marathon and died immediately afterwards? why arent his lungs/heart on here? congratulations jimmy. youve managed to make this dumb, unreadable column even dumber and less readable by choosing a not-that-cool incident for it. red sox fans. what the hell are they good for?
3. P.J. Carlisemo's neck: Who can forget the scratch marks left on Carlisemo's neck after the Warriors head coach was strangled by Latrell Sprewell?
remember that? so crazy. so crazy. this incident became uninteresting ever since spree turned down $9 million a year to play basketball for a living, famously quipping "i gotta feed my family, man". at this point he stopped being a violent coach choker and became a financial moron and an insult to the american dream, which is slightly more interesting.
4. Mel Kiper's hair: A slew of sports figures can make this list based on hair (Dennis Rodman, David Beckham, Don King, etc, etc), but nobody -- nobody -- can talk about the NFL Draft without mentioning Kiper's hair, which I don't really understand because after watching this year's Draft, I thought his hair looked normal.
well i cant really rip this apart, considering in the very first post ever on this blog i took a shot at this exact topic. oh wait, i can. the comedy here is how jimmy thinks it looked "normal" during this year's draft. you cant really see jimmy's hair in the mugshot at the top of his blog, but im hoping the reason he says what he says is because he and mel jr. look a whole lot alike from the forehead on up. that would be awesome.
5. Antonio Alfonseca's extra fingers and toes: He hasn't had a distinguished major league career, but the current Phillies reliever, who has polydactylism, will always be the answer to a triva question: Who is the only pitcher in history to have six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot?
go ahead jimmy, take a free shot at polydactylism victims. not like theyre here to defend themselves or something. this choice is partially not terrible because many casual sports fans may not have known about it. still... just like the other entries on the list... once youve brought it up, who gives a crap? im getting madder and madder as i go here.
6. Rich Garces' stomach: There have been plenty of baseball players of large girth, but for some reason, the former Red Sox pitcher became the poster boy for those living large in the late '90s.
at least he acknowledges that garces is not the only fat baseball player ever. but you know why he was chosen for this list? because jimmy (im assuming) is a red sox fan and therefore thinks that everyone in the whole country is just as interested in the quirky parts of his favorite team as he is. its a sad, sad world we live in.
7. Orlando Brown's right eye: You never know what you're gonna get when NFL referee Jeff Triplette makes a call, but he'll always been known as the ref who threw a flag into Brown's right eye, causing the Cleveland offensive lineman to miss three seasons.
no, he wont "always been known" as that. no one really talks about this incident anymore, it might randomly pop up like once per NFL season. though ive got to admit, it was pretty interesting when it happened. i also have to admit, this article is still a joke and i cant believe this guy gets his blog published on SI's website.
8. Mike Tyson's face: Maybe Tyson was jealous that he caused Holyfield to make this important list. Whatever the case, as soon as Iron Mike got that massive tatoo on his face, he locked up his spot.
THERE'S tyson! i knew hed be back! if we assume the theory i advanced at the beginning of this post about how this list was developed is true, this must have been the contribution of the dumbest/drunkest/both guy in the room. dude, he has a tatoo! ON HIS FACE! DUDE!
9. The Rock's eyebrow and elbow: You may not consider wrestling a sport, (nobody who would read a blog on the internet does. not making fun of wrestling fans for being "trashy" or whatever, just saying, i bet they dont read blogs, except for maybe wrestling blogs) but you'd have to admit, (no i wouldnt) for a period of time starting in the late '90s, (and lasting until 3 months later in the late '90s) the WWE's popularity exploded, (if by "exploded" you mean "increased marginally") let in most part by The Rock. (the typo is [sic]. and lame is this makes me, im going to go ahead and say stone cold steve austin was just as significant. he just didnt make "the scorpion king".) And two of his trademarks were the "People's Eyebrow" and "People's Elbow." (this part is true, those were his "things that he did". remember that? my friend jarrett could do the eyebrow thing. it was totally awesome. man... those were the days. freshman/sophomore year of high school. god, i was young then. wait, what were we talking about?)
10. Anna Kournikova's everything: She's still enormously popular even though she hasn't played tennis since 2000. Enough said.
jimmy, you perv. also, no she is not still enormously popular. i have to admit, though- shes the perfect choice to top off this giant pile of vomit of a list. remember anna kournikova? remember her? she was so hot. yeah. i remember.
What famous/infamous body parts have I left off? Let me hear from you.
again- how about no. the internet is crowded as things are. we dont need the CIA's counterterrorism website being slowed down just because jimmy and his friends like drunkenly reminiscing about mildly relevant shit from 8-10 years ago and then posting it online because they think other people would like to read about it. how selfish is that? making a blog just so you and your friends can spout off your dumb ideas and commentary. makes me sick. who DOES that?