Saturday, December 31, 2005

Dr. Rivers or...

by BH

...How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Simms

While I was bummed to see Drew Brees go out of the Chargers/Broncos game on Saturday, I was happy to get my first look at Phillip Rivers. As Rivers came into the game to cheers from the San Diego fans, Phil Simms said the cheers were as much about fans dislike for Brees as it was happiness in seeing Rivers. Seems to make sense. Brees has had two years in a row in which he has played pretty well, earning a Pro Bowl spot and being mentioned as one of the best quarterbacks in football. Damn him. Let's boo the crap out of him. There's a possibility I heard this wrong, and I hope I did since, you know, it seems ridiculous. Rivers looked positively Alex Smith-ish, going 12-22 for 115 yards, 0 TD's, 1 INT, and a QB rating of 50.4, plus a viscious, cheap tearing off of Curome Cox's helmet. It was nice to get a look at him though.

Simms, while it seems he should have a lot of insight about football, seems to have gone to the Tim McCarver school of broadcast bullshit. Just before going to break late in the game, Simms was heard to utter something along the lines of, "Just think, Rivers holds out of camp, allowing Drew Brees to earn the starting job and keep it for the past two seasons." That was the end of it. Yeah, we know the story. This is neither particularly insightful or newsbreaking. I'm wondering if he was trying to be sort of philosophical or something. Was he trying to add something new? It reminded me of the time McCarver said, "Brad Lidge walked off the mound in game 5 against St. Louis to a silent stadium, and entered tonight's game in Chicago to a silent stadium, thanks to Vizcaino's hit in the top of the inning." Sheer nothingness.

At one point, Jim Nance talked about the possibility of three 10-win teams missing the playoffs this season. Nance said one of the teams, the 1991 49ers were believed by many to be the best team ever to miss the playoffs. Now, being a color man, it might be expected that Simms, having faced those great Niner teams of the 80's and 90's and having seen that particular team from the sideline, might elaborate Nance's assertion. After all, that team finished the year as the hottest in the NFL, winning six straight to finish the year, and it was the first season Steve Young really had a chance to lead the team (though they really got going under Steve Bono), finishing the year with a 101.8 passer rating. That year, the Niners finished third in the NFL in points scored, and first in points allowed. The team was pretty good. So, I thought Simms would say something about that Niner team, elaborating on what Nance had talked about. Simms instead talked about the possibility that five teams could end up with three wins. Not totally ridiculous, but typically Simms-ian. Simms has been holding a grudge against the Niner organization since a game late one season in which the Niners had clinched a playoff spot but were playing a team the Giants needed them to beat in order to get into the playoffs. After the Niners lost that game, Simms said, "They laid down like dogs." I think he and Ronnie Lott have been jawing ever since. When Simms came out with a top QB's of the 20th century list a few years back, Joe Montana was nowhere to be found. When Young, an analyst talking about an NFL player who happened to be Simms' son, said something Simms didn't like, Simms took it as a personal insult, saying to Young, through the media, "You know, Steve, follow football more than one day a week and you might know some of these answers." I did not expect Simms to say anything about the '91 Niners. It was a little too much to expect from him.

Last season, Mike Ditka said of Jake Plummer, "I don't think growing a beard and growing your hair out is the way to lead a team." As far as I know, Ditka hasn't said anything about Plummer's hair this year.

Friday, December 30, 2005

I Hate Predictions...

by BH

...but I'll make one anyway. The closer we get to the Texas/USC game, the more I feel like Texas is going to win. I want USC to win, but it seems like the Trojans have been sort of walking a tightrope all year. Thus, my prediction is this: 42-40 Texas. It's going to be ugly for a while. Probably something like 35-10 after the first half in favor of the Longhorns. USC, being the second half team that they are, will put forth one of their crazy comebacks but fall a little short.

Those in the media are sure to look at the outcome of the Oklahoma/Oregon game and use it as justification for a) why the PAC-10 is a weak conference, and b) why Oregon didn't belong in a BCS game, much like they did with Cal last year. In actuality, Oregon had lost it's starting QB weeks ago, and ended the game with their third string guy. Like Cal last season, the Ducks were without a key component of their offense, something that's unlikely to catch the attention of those at the worldwide leader who get all their info from Sportscenter highlights.

Seriously, I hate predictions. What is the point? What comes of it? Sean Salisbury makes predictions and guarantees all the time, rarely if ever going back and pointing out those things he gets wrong. I will never bring up my prediction for the Rose Bowl again, regardless of whether I'm really wrong or close to right.

2006 - The Year in Preview - Part 2

by SonDog

In case you missed it yesterday, here's part 1. Today, we move on to our 2006 Year in Preview - April through June.

April -- With no real talent remaining in college hoops, other than Adam Morrison of Gonzaga (who by this time has shaved his porn-star mustrash), people realize (ahem, me) that they absolutely forgot about March Madness. Therefore, every stupid thing Billy Packard said during the tournament on CBS is stricken from the record, saving his career for another month. Dick Vitale is found mumbling incoherently while crying outside of the ESPN studios in Bristol, CT.

The race for the NBA playoffs heats up. Kobe Bryant takes a whopping 53 shots in a game against Dallas, fueling speculation that he has a bad case of OCD while on the court. Teammate Lamar Odom is seen taking bong rips during a timeout, while casually telling coach Phil Jackson, "Dude, how did you put up with this guy for... wait... is that Jack Nicholson eating cheeze-its? Dude, that looks so yummy." On a side note, the premium for the insurance to cover Odom's bong is at a record level. In an interview after the game, Bryant claims, as he did in late-2005, that his shooting is simply creating more rebounding opportunities for his teammates. Odom is later found at center-court mumbling about the "amazing colors in the scoreboard, dude."

Realizing she hasn't been in the news for four months, socialite Paris Hilton tells US Weekly that she is battling an eating disorder. Later in the month, a sex tape of Hilton is "accidentally leaked" for the second time in two years. In the tape, it becomes abundantly clear that Hilton was lying about her eating disorder. The tape confirms what most already believed: Paris Hilton is the biggest slut that society has ever had to offer.

NFL fans are thrilled as draft-day nears. Here's a recap of ESPN's coverage leading up to the draft: Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart. Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart. Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart. Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart. Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart. Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart. Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart. Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart. Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart. Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart. Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart. Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart. Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart. Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart. Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart. Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart. Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart.

The only two men registering for the NFL Draft: Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart.

Also, the term "Texans want Bush in '06!" is heard for the 537th time, making it the longest-lasting, non-funny joke in sports history.

May -- The due-date for the off-spring of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes nears. By this point, Cruise has turned nearly 87% of his fans against him by turning into the craziest idiot in Hollywood. Cruise returns to Oprah to plug the birth of his child, as well as his upcoming movie, Mission Impossible III. On the episode, Cruise breaks down in tears over his infamous jumping on the couch routine from a year earlier, then proceeds to strip down into nothing but a white dress shirt to rehash his scene from Risky Business. Cruise then goes on to contend that it is irresponsible for doctors to prescribe drugs to crazy people like himself. He then takes a wad of fiberglass, chews on it, and claims that Scientology has taught him that fiberglass is really just cotton candy. His stomach suddenly becomes itchy.

Outdoor Life Network starts promoting the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Whatever.

The NBA playoffs suffer from low ratings because of the foregone conclusion that San Antonio and Detroit will meet up in the finals. Other teams play each other with actual faith that they can challenge for the title. In order to create more drama, Commissioner David Stern makes a mandatory rule that every series must go to a game 7. And no, I'm not bitter over the officials screwing over the Kings against the Lakers in the 2002 Western Conference Championship.

June -- Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes celebrate the one-year anniversary of their fake relationship. Rumors circulate that Holmes is being paid an exorbitant amount of money to not only act like she is in love with Cruise, but to resist the urge of punching him in the face on a daily basis. Sonograms of Holmes' child suggest that it is indeed an off-spring of Cruise, as it is seen laughing nonsensically and practicing a Scientology ritual with its umbilical cord. The baby is heard saying, "Why would my dad play The Last Samurai? He's not even Japanese! You should have known he was crazy then!"

To no surprise, the Spurs and Pistons meet in the NBA Finals. Al Michaels and the corpse of Hubie Brown announce the series. Brown is at this point being propped up from behind by Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman. Viewers become suspicious of Brown's smirk and oversized sunglasses and question why Michaels keeps referring to him as "Mr. Lomax." For Michaels, it is the perfect situation as he now has his dream job... a booth with only him speaking. For McCarthy, it's the best gig he's had since co-starring with Kim Cattrall in the movie Manequin. For Silverman, it's the only thing he's done since Weekend at Bernie's

Jonathan Silverman, Hubie Brown and Andrew McCarthey in an ad for the NBA Finals on ABC.

ABC cameras show Tony Parker's flame, Eva Longoria, 83 times during the first two games. However, the fact that she is a Desperate Housewives' star is only mentioned 78 times. Between in-game commercials for Housewives and sideline camera shots, Longoria is seen more during the series' first two games than Pistons' reserve Darko Milicic was seen during the entire 2005-2006 series.

In baseball news, Congress holds another hearing to discuss the steroid issue in baseball. Barry Bonds, who has since passed Babe Ruth and is approaching Hank Aaron on the all-time homerun list, is blamed for not only being a bad role-model, but also for global warming, the missing WMD's in Iraq and the recent tornado that devastated small towns in Kansas. In related news, while Bonds' continues to contend he has never used Human Growth Hormone, his head has reached a record-setting size, with a diameter of two-feet.

This, my friends, is the largest cranium our civilization has ever seen. But, I still love to watch him hit.

Coming Soon: July - September - The DaVinci Code, NFL training camps, Brangelina, Vinnifer, and much more.

Our Best of 2005

by BH

SonDog and I are each running a couple of our better pieces from this year. I think we started in late September, so most everything should be somewhat fresh.

Skip Bayless and the Flying Spaghetti Monster: Originally posted 12/1

The following bolded sections come from Skip Bayless' latest offering on's Page 2.

When Tony Dungy awakens these mornings, his first flash of consciousness must be: Is this really happening?

No, it's probably, “Did my alarm really just go off?” Or, “Can’t I get ten more minutes?” Or, “I wonder if we’ve got any Grape Nuts left.”

Is the team he coaches really (eyes blinking awake) 11-0? Did it just bully the bullies from Pittsburgh, where he once learned the game from a coach who won four Super Bowls, Chuck Noll?

Wait. You said "his first flash of conciousness." So he's asking himself, "Is the team he really coaches really 11-0?" You're losing me already Skip. Anyway, Dungy's probably thinking something more like “My back hurts this morning,” or “Why did I sleep with the window open?” or, “I wonder if I can convince the dog to get the paper out of the rain.”

Hi! I'm crazy.

Has he finally (cobwebs clearing) built a defense in Indianapolis that is quick and rabid enough to give his team a chance to win … every game? All 16 in the regular season? All 19, including the Super Bowl?

Really Skip. That’s a lot of stuff for a guy to think of before he’s even cleared his cobwebs. Do you really think he’s wondering about Chuck Noll?

Did his quarterback, Peyton Manning -- really his co-head coach -- actually agree on Monday night to (rubbing eyes) run the ball on third-and-18 from the Steelers' 18 and take a field goal instead of trying to throw another touchdown pass? Has Peyton finally matured and humbled himself enough to realize that running the ball more than throwing it -- that giving the defense time to rest -- is the way you win championships?

Oh, I get it Skip. You're saying what you want to say, but you're assigning it to Tony Dungy. Very funny. I guess you're asking if Peyton Manning has matured enough to not want to score touchdowns. Hmm. So in your mind, Peyton's choice was either score and kick a PAT (2 plays), or run the ball and kick a field goal (2 plays). Seems like telling us that running the same number of plays that take up the same amount of real time is a good way to prove your point that Peyton is maturing.

Seriously. Do you read my stuff? Is it even possible that I'm not crazy?

Did (swinging feet over the side of the bed) division rival Jacksonville just lose its quarterback and leader, Byron Leftwich, to a broken ankle, making the game at Jacksonville on Dec. 11 so much more winnable? Is an undefeated season somehow meant to be?

How long has Tony been in bed? If he first woke up at 5:00 am, it’s probably 10:30 am by now.

Should he risk injury to make regular-season history? Or should he follow conventional coaching wisdom -- as Noll surely would advise -- and rest and protect his players for a Super Bowl run?

Is it really conventional coaching wisdom? How many coaches have actually had to face the same scenario Dungy is about to encounter? So really, you probably mean “conventional coaching wisdom” in regards to a team that’s maybe 9-2 and has already clinched its division.

If his Colts have clinched their division and home-field advantage by Christmas Eve, should he play his starters sparingly at Seattle in Game No. 15? Should he not play them at all the final Sunday against Arizona at home?

I guess that’s what you’re here to tell us. Man you've got a lot of questions.

After all, no black coach has ever won a Super Bowl.

Oh no. Why’d you have to go and do that? Is Dungy going to be thinking about being the first black head coach to win the Super Bowl during games in Seattle or Arizona? Jeez Skip. Is his moment going to be any more significant because he’s black? Or is he simply going to be a happy man who has reached the pinnacle of his profession?

Flurben! Stoober! Pernaddle!! Dog Fart! I'm crazy!!

In fact, in his heart of hearts, Dungy surely has hoped for the last month or so that his Colts would lose a close game. At Cincinnati? Pittsburgh? Just one, just to take the growing "undefeated" burden off their shoulder pads going into the playoffs.

The idea that Dungy wants the Colts to lose a game to somehow lift the magical veil of burden off his team is moronic and absurd. When the Lakers were going through an undefeated playoff streak a few years ago, did anyone ask if they needed to lose in order to win the title? Once they finally lost to the Sixers in the finals, did anyone suggest that a burden had been lifted?

You have an extremely rare opportunity to make history in the regular season and the postseason -- to achieve stature that no black football coach has ever had.

Skip, I don’t know if you really are a racist, but it sure seems like it. Don’t try to do anything to Dungy’s accomplishment by attaching race to it. Dungy has the chance to achieve stature that no football coach has ever had, black or white.

You had the guts to speak out when Terrell Owens did the "Monday Night Football" skit with the naked babe in the locker room, calling it racially insensitive. Now have the guts to close this deal. Skip Bayless everyone. Insane human.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

2006: The Year in Preview - Part 1

by SonDog

Don't you just love year-end retrospectives? You can't pick up a USA Today or an US Weekly without some pseudospert journalist telling you what the highlights and lowlights were during the past 12 months, with just a little bit more than a smidge of revisionist history included.

For example: The top story of 2005 in most pages is a close race between Nick Lachey-Jessica Simpson divorce and the Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie-Jennifer Aniston managetriangledesex. In several polls, these two stories were what Americans cared about the most last year. You might have heard about a gal named Katrina who had a bad case of PMS in the Gulf Coast, or a violent struggle between two teams in the American state of Iraq, but generally people feign interest in such stories just to make themselves feel better for caring so much about other peoples' divorces. And in no way am I unbelievably cynical about this.

Anyway, with that in mind, I've decided to compile a month-by-month 2006 Year in Preview for sports and pop-culture, since real news doesn't really matter anymore.

January: People magazine announces it will devote its entire January 7, 2006 issue to the 1-year anniversary of the Jennifer Aniston and Brat Pitt official separation announcement. Not to be outdone, US Weekly throws a large bash at the LA hot-spot, Circus de los Freak Show, to celebrate the date. Pitt, Aniston, Jolie, Vince Vaughn and many others attend the party. Days earlier Pitt tells Diane Sawyer in a Primetime Live interview, "It's just impossible to have a simple life and I'm awfully tired of it. I mean, I think these paparazzi are so immoral and I pray for their souls. If I can't secretly run around with one of the most beautiful and notoriously easy women in Hollywood behind my wife's back, then something is sick and wrong with our society."

In the sporting world, the NFL playoffs get off to a strong start when Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Johnson unveils his football-poop celebration dance after scoring, using the endzone pylon as mock toilet paper. CBS announcer Boomer Esiason jumps on his soapbox to explain why receivers like Johnson are all that is wrong with today's NFL. Co-host Dan Marino agrees, then reenacts the "Mark Duper-Mark Clayton the football is really a grenade that we'll drop and fall down around it" celebration with Shannon Sharpe. All the anchors laugh simultaneously while babbling incoherently for a solid 75 seconds.

In the Super Bowl, Carolina and Indianapolis square off in a hotly contested match where the main highlight, other than the 32 new commercials, is the Steve Smith dry-humping of DeShaun Foster touchdown celebration routine. Announcer Joe Buck climbs on his soapbox to say that the act is a "tragedy" and "reprehensible." FOX and ESPN replay the highlight 431 times over the next 24 hours to drive home the point of how awful the celebration was and how such acts should be outlawed. In related news, Smith receives a $23 million endorsement contract with Nike and guest appearances on every evening talk show on the planet Earth.

In NBA news, Kobe Bryant explains that the reason he shoots so much (taking a whopping 65% of his teams' shots per game) is that he is simply trying to help his teammates conserve arm energy for later in the year.

February -- Major League Baseball pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in Arizona and Florida. Every branch of government in Washington, D.C. shuts down as nearly 95% of the Executive, Judicial and Congressional representatives focus on whether or not the new MLB steroid policy is working. ESPN reports from every camp, every day, to discuss which players "look smaller" and "lost weight" during the off-season. Congressional Republicans hold a press conference to say that the policy is working, and it is exactly what Jesus would want. When asked about the war in Iraq, the congressmen reply, "We're focusing on what's most important at the moment, and it should be clear to everyone that that is the Major League Baseball steroid abuse scandal. I mean, look what it's done to our children!"

In a non-related story, the NFL holds its annual Pro-Bowl in Oahu, HI where 6'8", 375 lb offensive linemen run 4.2 second, 40-yard-sprints. Congressional Democrats hold a press conference to congratulate these massive humans for achieving a superior level of fitness without the aide of illegal supplements. In the locker room, it becomes obvious that only players with natural back acne (or "bacne") and hyper-sensitive, violent fits of rage are good enough to make the Pro-Bowl. When asked about the war in Iraq, the congressmen reply with laughter and say, "C'mon! We're Democrats! What kind of influence do you think we actually have in those 'meetings'?

No, the NFL has never had a steroid problem. No sir-ie.

In celebrity news, Brad Pitt wins an award for "Absolute Craziest Shit You Would do for a Beautiful Woman Just to Get Laid," by officially co-adopting Angelina Jolie's seventh child. Pitt also won the award for sincerely acting like he was interested when he followed Jolie to the far corners of the earth (Kenya, Zambia, Dumbfuckistan) in 2005. When asked to comment, Pitt responded, "It's not in my nature to be mysterious, but I can't talk about it and I can't talk about why."

At what point will Brad's buddies pull him aside and say something to the effect of, "Okay, dude, seriously, knock it off."

In an attempt to gain publicity, Britney Spears and Kevin Federline "accidentally" release a sex-tape. "We honestly thought it was video footage of our child," the couple states. The tape is released just weeks before Federline is to release his new rap album titled, "My 15 minutes is Sure Lasting a lot Longer Than it Should Have." In related news, Federline, Spears and child agree to appear on the summer 2006 season of The Surreal Life.

March -- Kobe Bryant returns to Vail, CO to celebrate the anniversary of his sexual assault charge. He holds a press conference to once again apologize to his wife, but to also explain that his adulterant ways simply are a means to enhance his love for his wife.

Nicole Richie and Lindsay Lohan are reported to be in a bitter feud about who has actually eaten less over the last six months. Police are still looking for Lohan's breasts, which disappeared in early 2005, taking Lohan's popularity with them. Law enforcement is still searching for the reason as to why Richie is even relevant in the world. In related news, a tree fell in the forest, and nobody cared.

As you can clearly see in this police photo, Lohan indeed at one time had boobs. Police are still searching for the pair, as well as the rest of her figure.

Upon his arrival at Spring Training, slugger Sammy Sosa announces that he will not be playing for his native Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. Dominican representative Felipe Alou states, "Did we even invite him to play?" Upon Sosa's arrival to the Colorado Rockies' spring training complex in Tucson, manager Clint Hurdle is overheard saying, "Wait... we didn't even sign him. Why is he here?"

Ppseudo-celebrety Nick Lachey, (still stinging from his divorce from Jessica Simpson's legs and heini) is announced as the co-anchor (along with Mario Lopez of Saved by the Bell fame) on ESPN's new 24-hour channel, ESPN Hollywood. Chad Johnson and Steve Smith will host a nightly End-Zone Dance Party. Joe Buck's head nearly explodes. Sports purists like Frank DeFord wonder why ESPN and Nick Lachey or Mario Lopez should ever be found in the same sentence.

Coming Soon: April - June

Here and There

by BH's Rumor Central is reporting that former A's, Rockies, and Orioles outfielder Eric Byrnes has agreed to a 1 year, $2.2 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. This of course, is bad news. Not because I think Byrnes is going to help the D-Backs do anything in the NL West, but because he is tough to watch and I'm going to have to watch him for 19 games next season. Since his early days in Oakland, he has gotten a little too excited about things he does on the field. I remember a few years ago in Oakland when, after making a diving catch, Byrnes was so excited that he got up off the Coluseum turf in that extra springy, Byrnesian fashion, and forgot his hat. Idiot. I think it was SonDog who was described Byrnes' style after making a play or hitting a home run or doing anything remotely well as, "like he has had an espresso enema." If you know your good, you don't act surprised when you do good things.

On Monday, I bought season four of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I had been holding out for a while, but couldn't wait any longer. Perhaps my favorite scene comes five minutes in to the first episode when Larry, trying to be cool to an attractive woman, goes on a rant about bowling to which the lady shows obvious disinterent, and Larry ends the conversation with, "Okay, allright. I'm around town."

Finally, I've got a story to tell about backgammon and how it has to do with God's love for me. My friend Phil and I have been pretty hooked on backgammon lately. I have always wanted to play, but it's one of those games where, if you aren't playing with someone who knows how to play, it can be a bit confusing and tough to learn. Phil and I have had a running game going. That is, we've been keeping track of our scores for at least the last thirty games, not really hoping to reach an ultimate conclusion, but just keeping track.

The scene of the greatest moment in history

Phil had been really kicking my butt for a while but since I was worked over in a game against his brother-in-law a few weeks ago, I've been winning games and the score has been getting tighter. On Tuesday, Phil and I sat down for a couple of games. He won the first one, and the second game was coming down to the wire. I had two pieces each on the fifth and sixth point, and Phil had one piece on the second point and one on the third, and it was Phil's roll. Phil rolled a 1 and a 3, which meant he got to bear off the piece on the three, and moved the other piece to the first point. That he didn't win on this role was a fantastic stroke of luck for me. Pretty much, anything other than a role of a 1 would have won him the game. However, the poor sap rolled a 1 and a 3. It was clear to both Phil and I that the only roll that could possibly help me was double sixes. If I rolled anything else, Phil would get another roll, and I would lose the game. Now, Anyone who has seen LOST remembers Walt's trick for rolling good die, which is blowing into the cup that contains the die prior to releasing them. This has sort of been an ongoing joke that Phil and I use. So Phil, knowing that I had to roll double sixes sat across the board from me holding both his middle fingers in my face as I blew away on the die, hoping upon hope that Walt's trick would pay off. This went on for a good forty seconds. When I finally rolled the die, it was like those scenes in movies right before an atomic bomb goes off and everything stops, as if capturing the last moment of life before everything's obliterated. You see the kid on a swing being pushed by his mom, or a lady and a dog running in Central Park, or something like that. Time stopped. Or at least, went slow enough that that I could see every turn of the die on their way to their resting points. When the die finally stopped, they had both come up sixes, allowing me to bear off all four pieces, winning the game. Of course, I didn't immediately move the pieces. The first thing I did was jump up in the air and run around Phil's house like a fully justified maniac. Then I moved the pieces. It made it into my top ten non-sexual life moments, moving in right behind the time I saw Barry Bonds hit a bomb off Chuck Finley to tie game four of the 2002 NLCS and right ahead of my son's birth. Seriously, I will be telling my grandchildren about it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Second Ever Boofy

by BH

I hope everyone had a good Christmas. Mine was fun. My son got lots of toys, which means I get lots of projects, which means he and I get to play with his toys and I get to clean up.

I had resolved to make the Boofy a Sunday night award, yet failed in my second week. I suppose though that since Sunday night was Christmas night, my body was devoting most of its energy to digesting a huge holiday meal and not spending much energy on making my brain function. Thinking about who might receive this week's Boofy, I found myself feeling a bit apathetic. No one had really put his or her foot forward in a decisive manner. As I thought about the award this morning trying to remember the most absurd thing about the week, I remembered the Shaq/Kobe Christmas Day game. I thought, "These are my Boofy guys." I realized though that Shaq and Kobe, as far as the leadup to the game, the game, and follow-up stuff went, really didn't do anything that deserved the Boofy. That's why this week's Boofy is officially awarded to the national media that covered and wrote about the game.

Here's to you, NBA media

Marc Stein wrote a piece on about how Shaq can't let go of their "feud," going on at length about how Shaq and Kobe didn't acknowledge each other at the tip and this and that.

It's Shaq-A-Claus, as he likes to call himself come holiday season, who won't let the drama die.
No, it's you and those like you.

It's Shaquille O'Neal, as much as anyone in the trouble-making press corps, who invites endless focus on basketball's favorite soap opera, even though the stars parted long ago.
So, you're acknowledging that the press has a bad reputation for it's tactics in regards to things like this. Sarcastically, no doubt. But that you're acknowledging it at all shows that you know you're at least a little guilty.

The hype machine doesn't have to grind too hard when Shaq slaps Cook's hand, walks right past Bryant, turns his back to No. 8 and then slaps an unsuspecting Cook on the wrist again, as if to slam-dunk the snub.
Sooooo, you watched the whole pre-tip interaction close enough that you could write about exactly what happened? Maybe this is a sign about the real reason you were at the game? So, maybe it's not just Shaq who can't let the feud die? You were hoping to have something to write about regarding Kobe and Shaq's relationship maybe?

"I think people should just leave it the hell alone," Kobe suggested on Christmas Eve. "Move on."

Yet it was O'Neal, in his winners' interview with ABC's Lisa Salters, who responded to two questions about the opening tip with two blank stares, until he finally signed off by saying: "Merry Christmas everybody out there."
Kobe doesn't want to talk about it. Shaq doesn't want to talk about it. So Marc Stein and the rest of the hacks who treated the game like an undercard have decided that their degrees in journalism also mean that they, when their given no real material, can read minds and assign blame.

"Guys, you just need to get off this," Bryant implored reporters afterward, when asked about the frosty opening tip. "I mean, seriously."

We'll try. Or at least I resolve to try, even knowing that all of the above will be dredged up again soon before Round 4 at Staples on Jan. 16.

I have to ask, though.

If Shaq's not off it, how can we be?
Here's where Marc Stein's world seems to differ from my own. I can't imagine sitting around the dinner table, after my family has asked how my day has gone, saying something like, "Well, I wrote a column about how Shaq and Kobe aren't getting along. I went to Miami, and did a piece about how two guys I barely know have a relationship that's rocky, and in no way really affects anyone, or, seemingly, even them." Can these people (those who write about shit like this) really feel as though they are doing anything that's for the benefit of anyone? When did ESPN and the rest of the national sports media turn into a mix between People Magazine and the WWE? Anyway, the Boofy is all about Stein and the rest of "the trouble-making press corps" who made a big deal of the Shaq/Kobe "feud." Have fun at the dinner table you hacks.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The Rock... Sort of

by SonDog

Over the course of the last six weeks or so, I’ve been asked on several occasions by co-workers and friends alike, “What the hell is your problem lately, dude?” The answer to that question is not a simple one, and one that requires some assistance from one of my favorite movies, staring Sean Connery and Nick Cage - The Rock.

Early in The Rock, after a tough day at work, Cage is having a conversation on the roof with his girlfriend, Vanessa Marcil. The following is not only some of the best dialogue from the movie, but also the same… exact… discussion… verbatim… that my wife, Lisa, and I had in late-November:

Lese (walking into the living room): I had a pretty exciting day today, sweetheart. How was yours?

SonDog (sitting on the couch, glass of Jameson on the rocks in hand): Oh, it was a pretty hellatious day… just clients thinking they rule the world… co-workers driving me up a wall… the Kings lost again… you know, shitty day all around… I’m kind of fed up with everything.

I mean it, honey, the world is being FedExe’d to hell on a hand-cart. I really believe that anybody who is even thinking about having a child in this world is coldly considering an act of cruelty.

[pause, Lese stares at Sonny]

I know, I know, I’m rambling, I’m complaining. I’m sorry. What’s your news, baby?”

Lese (laughing nervously): I’m pregnant.

SonDog (spitting out these words without hesitation): I’m sorry?

Lese (very, very nervously): I’m pregnant.

SonDog (in an utter state of disbelief): Woooooooow.

Lese: Well, you didn’t just mean what you just said, did you?

SonDog (confused): When?

Lese: Just right now when you were talking about bringing a child into this world and having it be an… an act of cruelty?

SonDog (even more confused): I meant it at the time.

Lese: At the time? Sonny, at the time? You said it 7.5 seconds ago!

SonDog (coming to grips with what he has just been told): Well… gosh, quite a lot has happened since then.

It’s amazing how your entire philosophy of life can change in 7.5 seconds.

Two pieces of background information that you should know: 1) To give Lese and myself first-hand knowledge of what it would be like changing diapers, I immediately shit my pants. 2) The pregnancy really should not have been such a shock to me as I remember the exact time I refused to go to my bench throughout a very competitive and exciting game. The starters were, um, performing so well, that I decided simply that I would exhaust my starting, um, unit, until the game was over. In short, we pulled the goalie.


Bob the tour guide: “What’s a matter, fellas? Something wrong with the tour?

General Hummel: “Tour’s over, Bob.”

One of the unintentionally funniest Ed Harris moments of the movie is also the perfect metaphor for me coming to grips with the task at hand.

Quite honestly, I would have always found a reason to not be ready for a baby. We had discussed starting a family on numerous occasions, but it always came back to one thing - my utter selfishness to continue to be the only child I needed in my life.

While I consider myself a good man, it’s no secret that outside of work I like to party and drink with the boys and watch sports until the wee hours of the morning and generally act like I’m still a teenager. Honestly, I have felt like my wife was already raising a kid, and that kid was a 27-year-old who has a nickname with Dog in it.


John Mason (Sean Connery with his thick Scottish accent): "Are you shure you're ready for thish?"

Stanley Goodspeed (Cage): "I'll do my best."

Mason: "Your "bessht"! Loshers always whine about giving their bessht. Winners go home and f*** the prom queen."

Goodspeed: "Carla was the prom queen."

Mason: "Really?"

Goodspeed: [cocks his gun] "Yeah."

On a side note: Nobody, and I mean nobody, can imitate Sean Connery’s voice as well as NaceDog. He has it down to a science, and rarely have I ever laughed as hard as the time when he left the “Your bessht?” dialogue on my answering machine.

This hilarious part of the movie is a perfect description on my feelings towards fatherhood. Your best just isn’t good enough. Because, indeed, losers always whine about giving their best.

Over the course of the last month or so, I have built up a sincere confidence level in my father-to-be and ultimately parental abilities. At the moment, there are roughly 37 self-help books in my bedroom about how to be a good husband during the pregnancy process, what to say and what not to say to your wife during critical times (like, between the hours of being awake and going to sleep), to, of course, being a good dad once the pregnancy is over.

I’ve never been a big fan of self-help books, but I felt the need to at least consult something other than the all-time classic, Oh F***… She’s Pregnant! I’ve talked at length with BH about fatherhood (as his son is coming up on 2-years-old)… I’ve talked at length with OZ about the pregnancy period (as he is in the process at the moment)… I’ve talked on numerous occasions with myself about the changes that I know I need to make in my own life over the course of the next seven months or so… and after a few whiskeys, I’ve even talked to my dog, Rocky, about the whole situation (although, we neutered him a while back, so I don’t know how much advice I can expect.).

Anyways, my point is that I am working on becoming a sponge for knowledge. I’m at a point where I 1) can’t wait for this to happen, and 2) have the full knowledge that I am going to be the World’s Best Sports Dad… er, I mean World’s Best Dad.


Goodspeed: "Well, I'm one of those fortunate people who like my job, sir. Got my first chemistry set when I was seven, blew my eyebrows off, we never saw the cat again, been into it ever since."

Consider my eyebrows blown off. But one thing is for sure, I love this job, and I’m into it. You will be hearing much, much more about this over the coming months.


Okay, sorry, that was maybe a little too sappy. So, courtesy of OZ, I will end this in Austin Powers, The Spy That Shagged Me fashion:

Dr. Evil: "You had me at hello....tear...nothing?"

Scott: "You're an idiot"

Dr. Evil: "You know what Scott, zip it. And when you're in the main chamber, try to use the big-boy voice."

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Left Field

by SonDog

As said during the 49ers' radio broadcast last weekend by Joe Starkey, the Niners play-by-play broadcaster -- "Wells Fargo will contribute $5,000 to the 49ers Foundation to help undeserved youth in the Bay Area for every 49er touchdown scored this season. (Pause) There's going to be a lot of sad kids."

"That's not what we play for. That's not what it's about. It's not to score 70 points. We wanted to win the game, and the game was in the bag. It was in the refrigerator." -- Kobe "The Mamba" Bryant after scoring 62 points in three quarters against Dallas, then sitting out the entire fourth quarter in the lopsided affair. Of note here is that Kobe reportedly told a teammate and a coach before the game that he would score at least 50 against Dallas, AND, as best described by, "If that's true, then why did he shoot 14 times (counting shots on which he was fouled, which don't count as official shot attempts) in the last five minutes of the third quarter? That's one shot every 21 seconds, for those of you scoring at home, including four 3-point attempts ... with his team up by more than 30 points toward the end of that barrage." Like everything with Mamba, I would root for him if not for his crippling lack of likeability or believability. No word on whether or not he was charged with sexual assault after the game.

From Bill Walton, discussing the Ron Artest situation in Indy, "Donnie Walsh and Larry Bird have spent vast amounts of their own personal capital, credibility and integrity to convince all of us that Ron Artest and all the rest of this is so worth it. They have now come to the same conclusion that a lot of others have when it comes to not only Artest, but those of the same cloth: Latrell Sprewell, Terrell Owens, Shawn Kemp, Isaiah Rider, Bonzi Wells, the list goes on and on.

"And yet there will always be the next sucker who thinks that they can be the one who will get through to these lost souls. They feel that as soon as Artest or any of these other slackers gets on their team that everything will be cool." Personally, I just love it when Walton waxes hyperboly. I don't know how much personal capital (let alone vast amounts) that Larry Legend spent on Artest, but the rest of what Walton is saying makes sense.

From Peja Stojakovic in yesterday's Sacramento Bee: "I don't think about (the trade speculation)," Stojakovic said, shrugging his shoulders. "I hear that, but it's nothing that I can control. Why would I let something affect me that is something I cannot control? You hear it, obviously, but it's something that comes and goes.

"Obviously, I think about it. It's not that I don't think about it. I'm a basketball player. I'm a professional player, and I play for the Kings right now. And whatever happens happens. It's not in my hands. I feel good (about being in Sacramento), but it's nothing in my hands." -- Actually, Peja, this is all in your control. Let us not forget that Stojakovic is the one who requested a trade before the 2004/2005 season. He is the one who practically forced Kings' management to choose between he and Chris Webber. Were Peja to come out and say, in a thick, Serbian accent, "This is where I want to be. I want to be Sacramento King for rest of my life. I want my name retired in rafter," then it wouldn't be an issue. However, Stojakovic has done nothing of the sort since requesting a trade last year, which only has fueled speculation that he is on his way out when his contract expires after this season. Bottom line is that Peja has somewhat handcuffed the Kings into looking to deal him, in part because of last year's request, and in part because of his awful and lackluster play on the court. And, no, I'm not bitter.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Mind of Kings Fans V

The following is an email exchange between two die-hard Sacramento Kings fans -- myself (SonDog -- living in Vail) and Aaron (OZ -- living in Sacramento). The exchange came yesterday, the morning after the Kings' finished a disappointing 1-3 road trip with a loss to the lowly Charlotte Bobcats --

OZ -- Great decisions last night. The last 6 minutes (including the horrendous overtime) were some of the worst basketball minutes I've seen in a long time. What was Bibby thinking? Where was Peja? Was he even in the building? Not that I wanted him to get the ball since he's been shooting around 15% steadily.

SonDog -- Oh man, what a bad game they played. I know it was the last game of a long road trip and bla bla bla... the performance was inexcusable. The Bobcats were without Okafor, Knight, and Felton for part of the game, and they STILL won?! Bibby's decision making in the fourth quarter has been pretty bad lately. He's turning into a volume scorer (20-something points on 20-something shots every night) which isn't good. I thought Peja left the game in the first quarter? Really, you mean... wait... he was on the court the entire game? I had no idea.

OZ -- A 6-18 team beat us without 3 of their starters. A SF embarrasses our center at tip-off. Our star point guard is apparently incapable of leading this team. Great road trip.

One thing is clear. Bonzi makes a huge difference for this team. I don't think they could have beaten anybody last night after he went out. I really believe that our only hope for Sacramento to right this ship is for Peja to be traded for Artest. Otherwise, how can we not start looking at the off-season?

SonDog -- That says it all right there. Personally, I don't think even an Artest trade rights this ship. I'm still a believer that they should send out Peja, but I'm starting to lean towards a deal with Chicago for Luol Deng and picks. One guy isn't going to make a difference.

In addition, I'm absolutely sick and tired of hearing about how the offense is the problem. It's not. Defense and rebounding is the problem. They allowed the Bobcats, a poor scoring team (96.4 per game) to score well above their average... without three starters for most of the game (Rush, Okafor, Knight). Adelman needs to go. They need a new direction. And yes, I am one more abhorrent loss away from giving up on this season and looking forward to next year.

OZ -- We aren't alone here. There seems to be a numbness in Sacramento as to how bad the team is playing, but there is also a large faction that is screaming for Adelman's head. What the hell is it going to take? Will they have to finish last, not make the playoffs and move to Vegas before they realize that something's wrong? I've scoffed at that theory of yours, but this situations seems like when they make a movie about this team 70 years from now, it will be as apparent as the White Sox throwing the 1919 series in Eight Men Out that the whole goal was to suck and move to Vegas. I guess that makes Bonzi John Cusack's character as the only guy on the team that wasn't trying to throw it, and now Bonzi's injured.

SonDog -- That could be one of the worst sentences you've ever tried to compose.

I just can't seem to get over the fact that the Maloof's are staying eerily silent this season. When, ever, in years past, have you NOT heard from the Maloofs? This year's team is clearly the worst Kings team during the Maloofs' reign and you don't hear a word from them? I'm telling you, they are one more failed ballot away from moving this team, and I think they are using this season to see just how dedicated the fan base is to the team. If they somehow manage to not sell out a game this year... I don't even want to think about it. In the past the Maloofs always ACTED, not REACTED.

For all the knocks Mark Cuban takes, isn't it pretty impressive how he just refuses to let his teams fail? Dirk is the only player remaining from their original rise to glory (along with Sac), but they just keep winning and he just keeps spending.

OZ -- That's like comparing Bruce Wayne to Batman. The Maloofs are very wealthy, but they make good, sound decisions and are figureheads for other owners and businessmen. Cuban runs around at night in a costume with a money clip for a utility belt, and he's completely out of his mind.

I agree though, Dallas has been very successful and has been able to continue that success when Sac has not. But don't think they haven't made mistakes. Like, say losing the MVP from last season and getting nothing but a sour taste in return. Or maybe making the ultimate owner lack of cognizance decision and acquiring Antoine Walker. Anyway, he's less than perfect and it's going to take more than deep pockets to emulate that success with this team in Sac.

SonDog -- Don't you get the feeling that Cuban would have made a huge trade by now though? Peja... must... go. I'm totally over him. I think I scared the hell out of my in-laws last night because I was throwing so much crap around the living room. "Um, Lisa, I think you married a psycho. And, we decided to fly back to Manchester, England... tomorrow... okay?"

I'm almost at the point where I think they need to blow this thing up. Think about this for a second... For Chris Webber, Doug Christie, Vlade Divac, Hedo Turkoglu, Scott Pollard, Gerald Wallace, Jim Jackson, Bobby Jackson, and Greg Ostertag, the Kings have received... Brad Miller, Bonzi Wells, Kenny Thomas, Brian Skinner, and Corliss Williamson, That's it. Nothing more, nothing less. That, my friend, is gawdawful. By the way, I know I told you this at the time, and I have said it 425 times since, but they gave up on Wallace waaaaaay too early.

OZ -- Baaaaaaah. Wallace is a highlight reel and nothing more. Sure he'll have spectacular plays, but he's not a team leader and he REALLY needed the playing time that Charlotte was able to offer him. At very best, he'd be getting 15 minutes a night with Sac and that wouldn't have been enough. In other words, get over it.

Peja's SaoTSARBoE is off the charts for me. Keep in mind that this statistic is tracked by person (i.e. my favorite team is Sac so my Artest SaoTSARBoE isn't as high as it would be for somebody living in Indiana) and my feeling on Peja has never been ambiguous. Granted, I've wished him better fortune than you have as my ultimate goal is for the tem to succeed, whereas your ultimate goal is for Peja to not be a King, but that guy is just unbelievable. It is his mere presence that makes me doubt the Maloofs desire to win.

SonDog -- I'm not going to get over Wallace. At the very least, he provides a solid effort, which is better than what some other players on the current roster can say.

The bench's SaoTSARBoE is ridiculous. I started last night counting laughter towards that figure as well. As in, Francisco Garcia trying to play defense (as Stapes mentioned in a comment from the SaoTSARBoE article). Or, as in Jason Hart tackling Burleson at the goal-line last night to save a touchdown (did you see that play? What the hell was he thinking?). I guess that makes sense though, because all I knew of Burleson before last night's game was that I thought he was a wide receiver for the Vikings.

OZ -- You're stuck on Wallace because you picked him to be great when he came to the Kings, and had your ego deflated when all he got was some table scrap minutes at the end of games and a McDonalds commercial.

Side note: Is McDonalds a jinx? Bobby J., GW, Mamba, all had McDonalds endorsements.

As for Garcia, I give him credit for effort. He's all of 12-years-old and he's out there trying to prove himself, even through the worst 3-point percentage since the half-time mid-court shot was invented.

Side note: Where do they get those guys? It's always the overweight, unathletic type that either barely get the ball past the free throw line or sends it into the stands behind the structure. They always say the same thing, "At least it was on line". Of course it was on line, you only threw it 10 feet!

Brad was giving effort last night. He wasn't succeeding, but the effort was there. I remember a series of plays when Bibby took an ill-advised shot with nobody underneath that resulted in 5 Bobcats fighting for the rebound amongst themselves, and the next time down Brad missed shot but chased it down to the baseline, only to save the ball and have his choice of 5 Bobcats to throw it to. Effort only pays off when everybody's involved.

SonDog -- I think Wallace would be a better reserve than the list of players the Kings currently have that would struggle for playing time for the World Champion Monarchs.

Miller tries, no doubt, but his crippling lack of athleticism just makes it look like he's not trying very hard. No matter how much he scores, Shareef has got to do a better job of securing the rebounds that Miller can't get to. Lord knows Peja treats a rebound like it's a contagious disease. Why don't they play Kenny Thomas some at the 3 and go with a big lineup of Bibby, Bonzi, Kenny, Reef and Miller at times? I don't get that. I'd also move Peja over to 2 for portions of the game when Wells is out.

OZ -- Wait a minute, you mean why doesn't Adelman try something other than what he had planned at the beginning of the year? Because he plans the year out and then won't change. His substitutions are more predictable than Old Faithful. His offense is as stale as croutons. His defense is best represented by a man that has to take penicillin shots before games due to severe allergic reactions to rebounding and double teaming. The guy has no creativity left. He's at the end of his preverbal rope.

SonDog -- And you're at the end of your metaphorical allowance for one email chain. Honestly, stop it.

So, what's the general feeling around Sac regarding the roster? Are there any Peja supporters left? It seems to me that the most popular player right now is Corliss.

OZ -- Oh c'mon, that was funny. I couldn't figure out a way to get a good set of clichés in there. That would have made you "blow your top".

No. This city is wiped clean of all Peja support. I believe that he is unable to show himself in public without people throwing things off the wall in his general direction to watch him flinch due to the ensuing rebound.

Honestly, I hate to say this, but the vast majority of Sac fans are too stupid to know what's wrong. They'll all applaud and treat Peja like a "King" as long as the TV and local broadcasters tell them to. Kings fans are the epitome of sheep, and they are lead by the moron twins. Peja has the same support he's always had, less a few disillusioned naysayers.

SonDog -- It's funny to me that these are the same people (media and announcers) who virtually ran Webber out of town when he came back and struggled following his knee injury. They're the same people who screamed at anybody who would listen that Peja was the next Larry Bird. It was always Webber's fault for demanding the ball and failing to find Peja. Well, who's fault is it now? If you had a choice today of Peja or Webber, who would you take? Webber still puts up nights like the 27 pt, 21 rebound game against Garnett... and overall numbers close to 20-10-5... and that's WITH Allen Iverson on his team. The short-sightedness of the Sacramento media astounds me. Webber's gone, and he's not coming back, but it's time to do the same to Peja. (By media, I speak to Mark Kreidler , Ailene Voisin (who could be the worst sportswriter in the history of the profession), Marty McNeal, Grant Napear, Jerry Reynolds, Sam Amick.)

One of the huge problems with this team is that they largely built this nucleus off of complementary players, and no superstar. They expected Peja to take The Leap, but he didn't. Then they expected Bibby to take The Leap, but he hasn't. And frankly, unless Ronnie Price takes a Leap as big as the Grand Canyon, this year is screwed.

OZ -- There is absolutely no question that Ailene Voisin is the worst journalist in the country. She has no business writing about the Kings. She has obviously never played and provides nothing more than an ignorant opinion on anything she covers, from games to off the court administration like trades and the stadium. She is the reason I don't read the Bee. Grant Napear and Jerry Reynolds are morons, as I've stated many times, but at least they aren't ignorant. It doesn't mean I'm going to listen to them (I've listened to the last three games on mute or on radio delay), but I wouldn't use Aileene's writing as toilet paper for fear of contracting disease. McNeal and Kriedler are just in the middle. They aren't morons or ignorant, they're just not good.

But I don't blame these people, I blame the people who listen to them and give them their power. If people didn't read the Bee sports page, they'd get different writers. If people rallied against Grant and Jerry, they'd get canned. But the replacements would be just as opinionated and just as bad and could manipulate this fan base in the same ways. Say what you will about the fan bases in New York, Philly, and LA, they don't put up with the Peja's of the world regardless of what the media tells them.

SonDog -- This is going to be the longest blog post in the history of blog posting. I'm out like your willingness to read the SacBee sports page.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

East Coast Bias

by SonDog

From this afternoon: "Alexander's great, and Peyton is near perfect, but the NFL's 2005 MVP race might just be determined by two guys with the initials T.B. Tom Brady and Tiki Barber have carried their teams lately. "

That should have read, "T.B. and T.B. have carried their teams... last week."

At any rate, let me see, should the MVP be Tom Brady of the 9-5 Patriots of Boston? Or, should it be Tiki Barber of the 10-4 New York Giants? I suppose it has to come from New York or Boston, right?

Aren't we sexy bitches? We are from Boston and New York, you know.

I guess it doesn't matter that Peyton Manning, by ESPN's own admission, has been, along with his team, near perfect; or that Shawn Alexander leads the league in rushing and touchdowns and has pretty much carried his team, which has the second-best record in the NFL. I mean, they're in Seattle and Indy... so who cares, really, in the grand scheme of things, right? Seattle and Indy might as well be in Papua New Guinea and Bangladesh, if they're not Boston or New York.

Here's my point: Tiki Barber, I guess I can live with in the debate. I mean, he did have a great game last Saturday, which is probably why there's a late bandwagon campaign for him. But, Tom Brady? Why? I know he's the quarterback of the defending champs, but c'mon. Why not the amazing Carson Palmer of the 11-3 Bengals? Oh, he has a better supporting cast, you say. Wait... what? The Bengals have a better supporting cast around Palmer than Brady does in New England?! Puhhhhhlease.

What about Jake Plummer? His team is 11-3 too, by the way. But, I guess Jake the Snake is no Tom SuperHunk Brady.

To me, even mentioning Brady in an MVP discussion just screams out blatant East Coast bias from the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports. There are exactly 8 teams with a better record than the Pats, and exactly 3 teams with an identical record as New England. The MVP award is supposed to go to the player who has meant the most throughout the entire season for one of the top teams in the league. The most important player in New England isn't even a player... It's Bill Bellichick. AND New England has not been one of the top teams in the league this year.

Next week on Mile High Ramblings, we'll discuss who has had a more deserving MVP season: Alex Smith, Cody Pickitt, Kerry Collins, or some guy named Touuiossoppoiulewhe, or something.

The First Ever Boofy Award

by BH

I have decided that at the end of each week, Sunday night to be specific, I am going to give out an award. The award is going to be called "The Boofy." Of course, there is nothing tangible about this award. No one will actually receive anything in the mail that says anything like, "You have just won 'The Boofy.'" It's just, you know, fun.

The Boofy, from week to week, will be awarded to the person or organization that has best represented the idea of absurdity. Had the award been in place in the past, previous winners would have been:

Halle Berry for her acceptance speech following her "Best Actress" award
The FOX network the week it decided to cancel "Arrested Development"
The guy who, driving the other direction, thought it would be fun to yell at me as I rode my bike home from work the other day.
George Lucas for Jar-Jar Binks' inclusion and performance in "Star Wars: Episode1"

The Boofy

The first winner of the Boofy is Jacksonville Jaguar Reggie Williams. I had the pleasure of watching this guy when the Jags played the Forty-Niners this weekend. He was doing his dances prior to the game. He actually did four in-game dances, each one following a catch. On one play though, Williams mis-timed his dive for a ball, missed it, a was plowed by a Niner safety. WHERE'S YOUR DANCE NOW?! HUH? I could have given the award to the entire Jacksonville team. For a playoff-bound team that in the fourth quarter trailed a soon to be 2-12 team, the Jags sure did a lot of dancing and showboating. However, in the end I decided to award the first Boofy to the player that best epitomized the absurdity of the whole team. Congrats Reggie Williams, #11 out of the University of Washington. Here's to you.

Steve Phillips: Uber-GMish-type

Former Mets GM and current ESPN analyst Steve Phillips is now 6 for 29 in predicting where his top 50 free agents would go this season. That's a .206 clip. In my last season of college ball, I hit .200. Now, I started the season in an 0-13 hole, but finished 6 for my last 13. Looking at my average, one can tell that no one's going to ask me to be a hitting coach based on my batting average. Somehow, Phillips has had a column up evaluating the remaining free agents on the market and the teams in which they would best fit. He seems to have thought out most of his evaluations which begs the question, WHY DIDN'T YOU DO THIS IN THE FIRST PLACE?!

Here's what I think happened. asked Phillips to rank his top 50 free agents, including where they may land. Phillips, having watched a lot of Sportscenter, based a lot of his predictions on the highlights he had seen. He did things like predict that San Diego would go after Jeromy Burnitz (something that I guess could still happen), probably because the Padres don't have any left-handed outfielders, and the ones they've had have done well in Petco Park. He predicted the the San Francisco Giants, a team that relied heavily on young, inconsistent starting pitchers throughout the year, would attract zero starting pitchers included in his top 50.

I don't know. I just...don't know.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

So That's the Way It Is?

by BH

Weary had been working on his grocery list since his last trip to the store. It was a meager list, consisting of items such as milk, eggs, and Frosted Mini Wheats; the kinds of groceries any single man needs to survive. He always saved his shopping for Sunday mornings, knowing that he would be able to roam the aisles of the supermarket in relative peace. Weary’s most recent Sunday morning trip to the store had been trying though. He had noticed a number of broken items on the floor throughout the store. He had seen mangled beet stalks, dented cans of soup, and cantaloupes that looked as though they had exploded. When he asked a store clerk what had happened, she had acted as though nothing was out of the ordinary.

“What do you mean?” she said.

“Well, look at this stuff. I mean, isn’t this a little unusual?”

“I’m sorry. I really don’t know what you’re talking about. I guess I could ask the manager.”

Feeling discontented, Weary had left the clerk and the store wondering if he had imagined what had transpired. He asked his mother if she’d noticed anything out of the ordinary during her last trip to the store.

“I noticed that they had sold out of whole free range chickens,” she said.

He was growing ever more convinced of his mother’s deteriorating mental acuity, but still trusted her enough to give her the benefit of the doubt about strange occurrences, or lack thereof, at the store.

Weary double checked his list, put on a jacket and a knit hat and departed for the store, confident that his last trip had been an aberration. He got into his pickup, backed out of the driveway and began the drive. As he neared the supermarket, he began to notice strange things happening on the road. After making a left hand turn, one driver rolled down his window and gave the drivers around him the thumbs up sign and a fist pump. Another driver, after successfully stopping for a red light, proceeded to get out of her car, jiggle her way through some sort of choreographed routine, and get back in the car.

“What the hell is going on?” Weary asked himself.

He arrived at the store in a fog. Weary had witnessed several other bizarre, unexplainable moments along the way. There was the homeless woman who threw to the ground an aluminum can she had picked up, just before putting it in her plastic garbage bag. There was the man walking his dog who, after watching the dog relieve itself, ran ten yards up the street, pointed to passing drivers, then returned to his dog. Weary had no idea what to think of this, only hoping that being inside the store would provide him some level of protection and comfort.

As Weary entered the store, he was overwhelmed by what he saw. Whereas the week before he had noticed only a few items on the ground, the entire store was now littered with seven days worth of strewn about groceries. He watched shoppers navigating the store as though nothing unusual had been happening. Weary decided that he was going to be unable to get any actual shopping done, but a long drive to the store needed to be rewarded with some amount of clarification about why things were transpiring in such a manner. He saw one man who, after selecting two very ripe avocados, pulled out a sharpie, signed one of the avocados, and handed it to a passing shopper. He saw another man pull a bottle of barbecue sauce off the shelf, remove a handkerchief from his back pocket and pretend to wipe the bottle as though it were a baby that needed changing. One shopper pulled down a box of cereal, put it in her cart, grabbed another box and slammed it to the floor. This, he thought, must be why there are groceries all over the floor. The most blatant violation of intelligence occurred when one shopper, walking down the main aisle, made a sharp left turn down another aisle, stopped his cart, and pointed down the row. He hadn’t made it to the item he needed, but had merely completed a necessary step in reaching his goal.

As he watched dumbfounded, Weary saw two men heading for a lone six pack of Coors Light from opposite ends of an aisle. Both men, noticing that this was the last one in stock, increased their pace in order to be the first to reach the beer. One of the men, despite his best efforts, tripped prior to reaching the six pack, falling to the floor in front of his triumphant counterpart.

“Yeah, bitch!” shouted the man who had reached the Coors first. “You’re in my house now bitch!”

Weary watched for sixty minutes, taking in the celebrations, the taunting, and the utter insanity of the whole spectacle. He watched as shopper after shopper celebrated each one of his or her actions. To Weary, the idea that people would go nuts over-celebrating something they were supposed to achieve seemed odd.

“Why would I taunt someone or do a dance celebrating something I’m intended to do?” uttered Weary aloud. “Am I going crazy?”

“No, you’re not going crazy,” said another shopper who had overheard Weary’s question. “You’re just naïve. You want shopping to be done the way it was when you were a kid. You want to see a shopper who acts like he’s been shopping before. You want to see someone who can put an item in his cart and hand it to the checker without doing a dance in celebration. You long for the day when a guy who beat another shopper to the Coors Light knew that his counterpart felt bad enough not having the beer, without having to taunt him. You’re ‘old school.’”

“Old school,” Weary thought. “Is not acting like a jackass an ‘old school’ idea?”

“So that’s the way it is these days?” asked Weary.

“That’s the way it is,” the shopper replied.

Weary left the supermarket, his mind racing, wondering if there was any hope for a return to normalcy. The change had happened without anyone really noticing. Did this mean that there was no hope? “No. I can’t give up hope,” thought Weary. “There have to be others like me who think shopping, without the hype, is still good. Others must feel that shopping, in its purest form, is entertaining enough. Don’t they?"

Friday, December 16, 2005

New Statistic - SaoTSARBoE - A Fan's Guide to Efficiency

by SonDog

John Hollinger is the Bill James of Basketball. He uses statistical analysis to measure the efficiency of every single player in the NBA... even down to all the players on the New York Knicks. In fact, Hollinger's efficiency statistics are so taken to be rational and reasonable that refers to them as... get this... Hollinger's Stats. (Wouldn't this be like the guy who created Earned Run Average referring to the stat as Edward Wiley IV Average? What about, the Speed of Einstein? These are the types of things that irritate the hell out of me.)

Hollinger's key stat is PER (a rating of a player's per-minute productivity). PER stands for Player Efficiency Rating. To learn all you ever wanted to know and then some about the formulas that Hollinger created, and why he is regarded by many as a genius, click here.

Hi, I'm John Hollinger. I have so much free time on my hands that I'm just starting to make up statistics. Have you ever heard of PER?

This week on, Hollinger unleashed a new formula set on the sporting world. During the off-season and pre-season, I often consulted Hollinger's page to see if he considered certain signings statistically sound. Before announcing the creation of a new set of statistics to add to the now often quoted PER, I truly believed that the statistics meant something meaningful. However, Hollinger's new ratings baffle me to no end.

At the 1/4 point in the NBA season, Hollinger ranks Elton Brand as the most efficient player per 48 minutes. Sounds reasonable. At number 2 sits the second-coming, LeBron James. I can agree there too. At number 3... Allen Iverson.

Wait... you're telling me that Iverson is the third most efficient player in the game? In what game, exactly? In fact, among point guards, Iverson ranks number 1, with the Wizards' Gilbert "I've never in my life seen anything remotely resembling a shot I did not feel like taking" Arenas at number 3. So, two guys who shoot a combined 43% from the field, while taking roughly 143 shots per game are two of the top three POINT guards in the game?! Coincidentally, reigning MVP Steve Nash is at number 6. Also, one of the guys responsible for the Bucks' turnaround, T.J. Ford, drops in at number 32... among point guards... number 32. There aren't even 32 teams in the league, yet Hollinger's statistics indicate there are 31 point guards more efficient than T.J. Ford?! It vexes me. I'm incredibly vexed. (Of note, among point guards, Jason Kidd is at 12, Mike Bibby is at 16 - behind Speedy Claxton and Devin Harris -, and Jason Hart ranks at 46 - or, third-worst in the entire sport... on second thought, I can agree with that).

At any rate, this got me thinking that I needed to create something a little more logical that I can actually use to determine the quality of a player. What I am proposing is for fans to adopt a stat line for "Swear at or Throw Shit Across the Room Because of Efficiency (SaoTSARBoE)." Look, I'm not even asking for it to be called the "SonDog Stat."

To make this statistic infallible, all you would need to do is take a die-hard fan from each team, calculate the amount of times per 48 minutes the fan either A) Swears at a player for any reason (SaP x 48minutes/player's minute per game average), or B) Throws any type of object through the living room in disgust (be it a tv remote, couch pillow or even a plush dog toy) due to a mistake by said player (TSARBo x 48minutes/player's minute per game average). A + B = SaoTSARBo Efficiency.

My theory is that the most efficient player would have a low score (probably 1.3 to 3.2 for a guy like LeBron -- or, amount per 48 minutes that you will either swear at particular player or throw shit across the room because of said player), while a frustrating and inefficient player would have a high score (around 57.5 to 61.2 - see Kings results below for more on this type of player). (My guess, coincidentally, is that Iverson would not be in the top-3. For, if I were a Philly fan, I think Iverson's SaoTSARBoE would be somewhere in the 82.3 per 48 minute range).

As a die-hard Sacramento Kings' fan, I put this theory to the test during the Kings' recent game against the Detroit Pistons. The results below, in order of most to least efficient (starting unit), may surprise you:

1 Bonzi Wells - (7.8 SaoTSARBoE): Without doing the research, my guess is that this is a career year for Wells in regards to SaoTSARBoE. In fact, while with Memphis, Mike Fratello told him to avoid the arena last year during the playoffs in part because Well's SaoTSARBoE personally for Fratello was at an all-time high of 125.1. On Tuesday, Wells received a few "You suck" and "Jeeeeeesus, Bonzi?!" calls in my house due to horrible jumpers or forced shots, but nothing that warranted even a single thrown dog toy against a wall. In all, it was a rather impressive performance.

2 Mike Bibby - (10.2 SaoTSARBoE): Bibby was very efficient on offense, as I only swore at him twice for ridiculous turnovers. However, as mentioned before, Bibby would struggle to keep 103-year-old John Wooden in front of him on defense, and Chauncey Billups' 32-pt, 19 assist night against him led directly to me throwing the remote control at the couch on 5 separate occasions. If Bibby could even PRETEND like he wanted to play defense, there is no telling how efficient he could become.

3. Brad Miller - (14.7 SaoTSARBoE): The 7-ft center from Purdue is somewhat of an anomaly. While he is unbelievably efficient when it comes to his fundamental skill set (jump shots, passing, etc.), Miller gets cursed at most often for something he simply can't control... his unbelievable lack of athleticism. Miller's poor rebounding is directly tied to the fact that he couldn't jump over the Christmas tree extension cord. Due to this, Miller's lack of athleticism was cussed on 7 different occasions while he was being outrebounded by guys like 6'1" Carlos Arroyo. The remote control was thrown twice from failed drives to the hoop (I think Miller is even slower than most people realize), and the plush Santa-doll that Rocky chews was hucked against the front door three times as Miller was standing still at the high-post with his feet in cement after a spin-move and dunk by Rasheed Wallace. Again, these flaws are not due to effort, so Miller has a lot to overcome on SaoTSARBoE by nature.

One of Brad Miller's more graceful moments...

4. Shareef Abdur-Rahim (19.3 SaoTSARBoE): The most common phrase (one that resonated through my condo complex like the voice of God a whopping 9 times) was, "For God's Sake Shareef, GRAB A FU***** REBOUND!!!!" For the second consecutive game, Abdur-Rahim snatched 2 rebounds... count 'em... two. Anytime a power forward grabs a mere two rebounds in 30+ minutes, he just isn't trying. On top of that, SAR's normally solid low-post game (complete with at least 324 various spin moves per game) was off the mark against Detroit, which led to an inordinate amount of, "Stop shooting the FU***** ball and kick it back out!!" screams during the start of the third quarter. While the offensive portion of the efficiency might have been a little skewed, the lack of rebounding efficiency was the primary reason behind Abdur-Rahim's poor SaoTSARBoE.

5. Peja Stojakovic (47.2 SaoTSARBoE): Simply put, Peja has hit rock-bottom with his SaoTSARBoE. As mentioned before, Stojakovic has given an incredible lack of effort this season and has looked altogether disinterested in being a member of the Sacramento Kings. It's become so bad for Kings' fans, that Peja is actually the ONLY player to have 5 "Swear at or Throw Shit Across the Room Because of " moments on THE SAME PLAY. Honestly, that was a feat I thought altogether impossible for anybody not named Kobe "The Mamba" Bryant. While it's true that Peja was mostly invisible for 23 of his 27 minutes of play, he has become somewhat of a lightening rod for criticism for Kings' fans. Every time the team failed to secure a rebound, with Stojakovic staring at the ball in the air as if he is was at a drive-in movie, things were thrown or the words "God" or "Damnit" were used. In fact, even my wife yelled at one point, "Peja, you are such a woman!" and "If you're not going to do anything on the court, then at least fu***** shave before the game!" In case you were wondering, that counted for 10 SaoTSARBo.

Peja shying away from contact. Of note here is Latrell Spreewell, who is no longer in the league due to his record-setting 234.3 SaoTSARBo for Timberwolves fans last season

While this statistic isn't an exact science to this point, you can help make this a national phenomenon, much like Hollinger's Stats. Give me some feedback other than, "You have WAAAAY too much time on your hands, dude." Seriously, I could use a good acronym for this stat... at least one better than SaoTSARBo.

T.O. on T.O. and how T.O. was wronged

by BH

I've been sick for a few days, with little energy to post anything. I tried yesterday after reading story after story on's MLB page about the two teams in the Holy City, er, I mean, New York (by the way, a graphic on ESPN news called Jeter, A-Rod, and Garciaparra "The Holy Trinity"), but I couldn't. Today I found a story about an interview Terrell Owens did with GQ prior to being set down for the season by the Eagles. There's nothing like an old faithful to get me back in the game.

A few words about how I feel about T.O before we begin. I don't hate the guy. I don't even know him. All I know about Owens is what the media tells all of us. I generally try not to pay too much attention to anything on which anyone reports other than what's going to happen on the field. If I had to make a guess about Owens' personality, I'd suggest that he seems to be a emotionally imature. I don't think he's a bad guy. He may be or he may not be. I don't know. Neither do most of the hacks who write about him. Having expresseed all that, I couldn't pass up an evaluation of what he told GQ.

"A lot of people, they doubted me," Owens said in the January issue of GQ. "Some of my teammates didn't want to see me come back, but I came back.
This is the kind of quote for which T.O. is famous. Since he was in San Francisco, the guy has been a marvel at selling these things about others that can't be substantiated. I know some other people who are good at that. They're the kindergarteners I teach. They'll say crazy things about so and so doing this or that. Somtimes they'll do it as some sort of defense for whatever trangression they unleashed on a classmate. Other times, they just want to screw other kids into getting in trouble.

"That's why I felt so ultimately disrespected, because I knew how hard I worked to get back on that field to help them. Had I not played, who knows, we probably would've gotten beat worse."
Yeah, the Eagles may have "gotten beat worse," but maybe not. We'll never know, but neither will T.O. He did have a good game, that's for sure.

"When I was rehabbing, they called me selfish for trying to get on the field to play," he explained. "I said, 'You guys are labeling me selfish for rehabbing, trying to play in the biggest game of the year?' If Brett Favre had done it, you would've said he was a hero, would've given him an 'ironman' award or something like that.
I don't remember anyone calling him selfish, but who knows. I can't watch every broadcast or hear every sports talk show in the country. This guy has an amazing ability to weed through all of the news he hears and grab on to the most negative thing he can find. I totally agree that the national sports media goes a little too nuts over Favre, but the guy has started 250-something games in a row. If there were an ironman award, Favre would probably get it. Maybe T.O. should have picked someone a little less deserving.

"But me? For whatever reason, I was selfish. And for the life of me, I just don't understand."
Again, I never heard them call him selfish. As I kept hearing about T.O.'s efforts to get back for the playoffs or Super Bowl, all I thought was that he was trying to help the Eagles win the games in which he played. I mean, he's a player. They pay him to play. They pay him to help them win. Seems to be the standard relationship in professional sports. It didn't cross my mind that the guy was coming back for selfish reasons.

Owens told the magazine he felt "used" by the Eagles.
To get back at an old flame?

"One of the main reasons they brought me to Philadelphia was to get to the Super Bowl, so it's just like, I feel used all of a sudden," he said. "You all used me to win a lot of games, and then once I got hurt last year before the playoffs, it was, 'Yeah, we really don't need T.O.'"
The only person I can see really being hampered by Owens' efforts to be healthy for the Super Bowl is Freddie Mitchell. We didn't know anything about the guy until he made some catches down the stretch and in the playoffs. So maybe that's who he's talking about. Who knows. Maybe he's talking about his imaginary teammate, Johnny Farnhorst. He's got good hands, but runs bad routes. Johnny doesn't play much, but he's always there to tell you what the other guy said. This must be who told T.O. that others said he was selfish. Seems as plausible as anything else Owens has said.

Owens wonders if the media is out to get him.
Well, he is entertaining. I mean, here I am writing about him.

"The things that I've done in the past, like celebrate in the end zone, they're making a fanfare out of it now with [Bengals wide receiver] Chad Johnson," Owens said. "With all the celebrations that he's done, they're like congratulating him for it. But if it was me, they'd be like, 'Oh, we don't need this in football, this is not good for football.' Not that Chad is doing something wrong, it's not his fault, but you kind of wonder, do they have it out for me?"
This seems like it might make sense, for a second. The key difference between the Johnson celebrations and the T.O. celebrations has been that Johnson seems to be doing it to actually show that he's having a good time, whereas Owens' was always about showing the other guy up. I mean the dude stood on the star in Dallas, twice. The guy pulled a sharpie out of his sock, signed the ball with which he just scored a touchdown, and gave it to the financial adviser of the player who was covering him.

Owens feels he doesn't get equal treatment from the media.
Really? I didn't get that impression.

"I went down to the Houston Astrodome after [Hurricane] Katrina, but nobody made a big deal about it," he said. "But you saw Peyton Manning and his brother, they made a big deal about that. I did it on my own. I didn't do it for publicity."
Even though he didn't do it for publicity, he had to tell someone that they should have noticed. Hmmm. "I didn't do it for publicity, but I wish someone would have paid attention."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Thoughts from THE Association

by SonDog

San Antonio Spur, Tim Duncan, was 3 for 13 from the free-throw line on Tuesday night, absolutely killing my chances of winning ft% this week in my fantasy league. Even though he made two "clutch" free throws at the end of the game, Duncan's pathetic foul shooting (55.2% in December) is becoming eerily reminiscent of the Chuck-Knoblauch-at-second-base days with the New York Yankees. Similar to Duncan's foul shooting, every throw from Knoblauch to first was an absolute adventure.

While I'm on the subject, I picked Duncan in the first round and picked up Shaq in the third... I knew then that I would NEVER win a week of free-throw shooting % in my fantasy league.

Maybe Carmelo Anthony is starting to get it. 'Melo played every bit the superstar on Tuesday as he connected for 43 points on 13-18 from the field. 43 points on 18 shots? Iverson and the Mamba could only hope to have such accuracy. Anthony went on to collect 8 boards, 4 steals and 4 dimes. With Kenyon Martin struggling to recover from micro-fracture surgery (um, who so far hasn't struggled to recover from micro-fracture surgery? I'll rant about this in a second), Marcus Camby playing 35 minutes a night (something that is going to end soon with the basketball-injury equivalent to the 1937 Hindenburg disaster), Nene out for the year (along with his last name) and George Karl trying everybody but 57-year-old Alex English at shooting guard, Anthony is starting to assume more of a leadership role in Denver and doing his best to shut the mouths of his doubters. If he finds a way to be more consistent with his outside jumper, he'll become impossible to guard.

Artistic rendering of Marcus Camby's knee during a January dunk

I think true NBA fans have been dying to have Ron Artest and Bonzi Wells on the same team. If Sacramento pulls the trigger on that trade, how many times do you think that squad will be compared to the inmate team from The Longest Yard? Also, couldn't you see Pete Carrill setting himself on fire during a timeout out of utter frustration? I'd pay good money to watch that circus.

The Phoenix Suns are surprising everybody with how well they are playing without man-child Amare Stoudemire. People still seem to think that Amare will be back soon as his recovery from the dreaded micro-fracture surgery is reportedly going well. Sure. I'll believe it when I see it. I really do not understand why the micro-fracture proceedure has become so popular in recent years. This is a paraphrase of a recent conversation between a doctor and a player:

Doctor: "So, basically what I'm going to do is take an 18V power drill to the bone above your knee, let the bone literally bleed, then sew you back up, and you should be back on the court in 3 to 6, um, years."

Player: "Wait... What?"

Doctor: "Hey, have you ever heard of Penny Hardaway, Allan Houston, Jerry Stackhouse, Jason Kidd, Chris Webber, Amare Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin?"

Player: "Yeah, they all used to be all-stars, right?"

Doctor: "Exactly. And look what it's done to THEIR careers!"

Player: "Wait... What?"

Doctor (while holding the player down): "Nurse, get me the anesthesia, STAT!"