Tuesday, February 28, 2006

PTI: MHR Version

posted by BH

I was extra inspired by today's first Pardon The Interruption topics since they're so, you know, topical.

Vince Young scores a 6 on the Wonderlic- Wow, that's really low, and in fact combine officials have said it's not true. But did you see him in the Rose Bowl? I don't care if the guy walked into the room, crapped on the test, then handed it in. I'd still take him. Based on the Wunderlic, Dan Marino's retarded and he turned out to have a pretty good career. Having said that though, I was on a treadmill this morning in the midst of mile six when Sportscenter put up a sample question that I got right in two seconds.

Buck O'Neil not elected to the Hall of Fame- That's crazy. I know like four names from the Negro Leagues, and Buck O'Neil is one of them. He's the guy that tells us all stories from Negro League days. HE'S IN EVERY DOCUMENTARY EVER DONE ABOUT THE NEGRO LEAGUES!! Doesn't it say something that baseball people today are talking about that O'Neil didn't get in rather than those who have?

Steinbrenner's pissed about the WBC- An angry old fart is upset because he thinks this is the Yankees' year, and his bet is that someone's going to get hurt (does anyone think he's worried about anyone other than Yankees?). How does anything this guy ever says make it in the news. At some point, wouldn't it be more beneficial for the media to start just keeping guys with him constantly, a la Pedro Gomez, so we could all know what he thinks of Raisin Bran, Puffs Plus with aloe, and driving in the right lane?

Iverson not invited to compete with Team USA- This is insane. He was the only guy I really remember from two years ago that actually looked like he cared about winning. I'll take Iverson on that team before any other guy in the NBA.

Now, I'm not an NBA fan. I don't think I've watched a total of two minutes of any NBA basketball this year. I like the numbers, but games bore the shit out of me. Yet, I can't help but notice the train wreck that is the New York Knicks. They're bordering on being labelled the worst run team in sports. At least the Clippers had sucked for a long time on the cheap.

Friday, February 24, 2006

What Was that Noise?

by SonDog

That resounding thud you heard was the sound of the Kings falling flat on their face last night at the Staples Center. The LA Mambas thoroughly outplayed them and made Sac look like a team that wasn't ready for the game. I have nothing to add about the game, but I'm expecting Stapes, DMo, OZ and whomever else watched that game to post a comment with their thoughts on the debacle.

In other news, the Kings traded Brian Skinner for Sergei Monia and Vitaly Nogameatalltko. Personally, I wanted Monia's Portland teammate Viktor Khryapa (pronounced CRRAPpa) instead. Not because he's a better shooter, but because it would have been great to say during garbage minutes, "Hey, it's Khryapa time!" Alas, we usher in the Monia era and usher out the Skinner-era.

My favorite memory of Skinner will forever be OZ's scouting report of him before the season, which went something along the lines of, "Brian Skinner is a game-altering presence off the bench." The words "Brian Skinner" and "game-altering" should never be used in the same sentence.

Steve Phillips Update

posted by BH

At this point, by my count it looks like Steve Phillips is 10 for 49 in predicting where free agents would land in the offseason. That's .204. The ones he got right included Trevor Hoffman resigning with the Padres, Bob Wickman going back to Cleveland, and Kenji Johjima signing in Seattle. In other words, no-brainers. With Roger Clemens looking less and less like he's going to retire, Phillips could slip to .200. Awesome.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Western Conference Playoff Preview

by SonDog

Not to sound like Charles Barkley, but first of all, I've decided that I want theme music playing when I walk into the office in the morning. You know how a ball park will play music of a player's choice when he strides to home plate? Yeah. Well, first of all, I've decided that I want Linkin Park playing when I walk into my office in the morning because, first of all, it really gets my day going. First of all.

Here's my unscientific review/preview of the 12 teams left that have a viable shot or a guaranteed lock for a Western Conference Playoff spot (And John, sorry about Houston):

(12) Minnesota Timberwolves -- Before the season, I couldn't realistically predict that KG would allow Minny to slip again. The guy is just too damned good. However, in the games that I've seen Minny play this year, something stands out about Garnett. It's as if the losing has sucked the life out of him. While he's still putting up great numbers, he just seems to be going through the motions.

It's kind of like Robert DeNiro since his epic year of 1995 (Heat and Casino). Since then, he annualy has an All-Star movie (Jackie Brown in 1997, Ronin in '98, Meet the Parents in 2000, etc.), but every year he is surrounded by so much other crap (Analyze This, Analyze That, Flawless, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle -- which draws undeniable parallels to KG's Adventures of Spree and Cassell -- 15 Minutes, Showtime, and on and on.) that it is impossible for him to get back to that next level until he decides to sack up, only accept a starring role in a sure-fire Oscar film, and focus all his will and energy into earning Oscars for him and his co-stars in every category. Like Bob, KG needs a reason to be motivated again. I don't see that happening this year. They will make a run at the playoffs, but they won't get there.

The Wolves' starting five from 2003/2004. Cassell, KG, Wally, Rasho, Spreewell.

(11) Golden State Warriors -- They're almost as dead as my prediction that they would be the sixth seed in the West. What a terrible, terrible tragedy. I feel so sorry for every die-hard Warriors fan about this. I really thought this was the year they would get back to the playoffs. I don't know if GM Chris Mullin started drinking again, but he probably should.

(10) Sacramento Kings -- Ron Artest has transformed this team. With each game, I feel more and more confident that they are going to make the playoffs at the expense of either LA, NO or Memphis. But I've already talked about that. In fact, I talk about them all the time, so let me change the subject for a minute...

Between the San Francisco Giants, San Francisco 49ers and Sacramento Kings (Oakland A's, Oakland Raiders, Warriors as well), Northern California sports fans have had a rough go of it over the last year or so. In fact, the last NorCal team to make the playoffs was the Kings from last year. That Kings team A) Wasn't very good and B) doesn't remotely resemble the team on the floor today. Anyways, I have high hopes for the Giants this year, and I see promise with the 49ers, but damnit I need a team to do some damage in the playoffs and soon! If the Kings don't help me out here, I may spiral into one of the greatest sports depressions of my life. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

(9) Utah Jazz -- Carlos Boozer is back. Which means... so are the jokes about him stabbing a blind Cavs owner in the back when he bailed on a handshake agreement two years ago! Wow, those jokes just never get old! I still feel sorry for Cleveland in that one. I mean, it's sad that Gordon Gund couldn't see right through Boozer. (laugh track) He was just blind-sided by it. (laugh track) I don't know, I guess you have to believe that Gordon Gund just never saw that coming. (laugh track). He just lacked the ability to foresee Boozer's betrayal. (laugh track)

Side note: Most of those come directly from an email exchange between OZ and I right after Boozer showed to the world that he doesn't like handicapped people. I would like to thank OZ for somehow remembering the jokes of ill-taste. And I would also like to tell him that it was a great move to go home and say to the wife, "SonDog and I ripped on a blind man all day." Which led to the inevitable response of, "You guys are disgusting."

For the Jazz, well, they lost to Boston last night... by 20... at home. The Kings are only 1/2 game behind them at the moment. They can be had.

(8) Los Angeles Mambas -- Hey, have you heard that nobody in the NBA was affected more from Hurricane Katrina than the Mamba? Really, it's true. I saw it on TNT, then I read about it here, and in my favorite newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, here.. and I even found it in Spanish! He even mentions it in his own words, here! Wow, what a guy. I gotta tell ya, what a guy. He in no way suffers from a crippling lack of sincerity or utter lack of believability. In no way do the stories seem calculated or generated from the Mamba's PR machine.

According to OZ: "When we have to refer to Charles Barkley as, "The voice of reason", there are some major issues that need to be addressed. His actions as a poser and apparent absence of anything remotely resembling remorse have escalated my general feeling of him to complete revulsion. Pretending he cares about the victims of Katrina is a crime against humanity. Would he have done a single thing if the cameras weren't there or if nobody wrote about it? Hell no. Why do you think the cameras were there in the first place? Somebody who is really affected by such a tragedy doesn't take the time to organize a camera crew."

(7) Memphis Grizzlies -- Whatever. They're not going past the first round.

(6) New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets -- Look, they started a guy by the name of Vrohman last night, and he's not even European. I mean, that should tell you something. I don't know what, exactly. But something. The guy's from Laguna Beach.

On another note, Byron Scott and Chris Paul have done amazing jobs this year. Nobody, and I mean nobody, could honestly sit here today and say they predicted the Hornets to play this well and be in the driver's seat for the playoffs with 30 games left. That being said, Paul is due to hit a rookie wall (I also said he would suck, so what the hell do I know), and when he does, the Hornets will slide. They will be lucky to hold on to the number 8 seed.

(5) Los Angeles Clippers -- Los Angeles just signed Vin Baker, and I didn't just pull that out of my ass. Wait... seriously, Vin Baker?

Isn't this the sports equivalent of Lost hiring Gary Busey for a supporting role? Or the CBS Nightly News deciding to go with Pat O'Brien? What's next, the Jets hiring Joe Namath to be their quarterbacks coach? Why don't the Clippers just hire comedian Ron White to be their lead announcer while they're at it? Is Baker even allowed to converse in any way with 19-year-old Shaun Livingston at this point, without adult supervision? Did Elgin Baylor check to see if Baker was even sober? So many questions.

This is the type of mid-season signing that makes me feel like I could succeed as an NBA GM. You're telling me that there is such a dearth of big-men available, that the team with the fifth best record in the West has to resort to signing a guy who hasn't been sober since Bill Clinton's first term? Christ. If insobriety is a qualification for this team, then there's a strong chance that DMo and I will be manning the backcourt for the Clippers' summer-league team in August.

Soon to join the cast of Lost, no doubt.

The Clips are playing remarkably well this year, and as long as Cuttino Mobley and Sam Cassell stay healthy (and realize that their best chance of winning is to get the ball in Elton Brand's hands), they could be a force in the playoffs. That is, unless Baker decides to install his own keg in his locker.

(4) San Antonio Spurs -- Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Eva Longoria make a formidable Fab Four to rival Detroit. Duncan's health is the key. This team hasn't clicked on all cylinders yet, but I believe they're still the best team in the West. The only question will be about health.

Speaking of Duncan, if San Antonio wins the championship this year, it will mark Duncan's fourth ring. That is exactly one more than Shaq or Kobe. Tim Duncan could go down as the most underrated player of all-time who was the best player in the league for a substantial period of time. That sentence was horribly composed, but you get the point. Absolutely nobody discusses this guy, and like Ed Harris in Enemy at the Gates, he's just a silent and deadly assassin.

(3) Denver Nuggets -- It appears certain that Earl Watson and Nene are on their way to Portland... I mean New York... I mean Atlanta... I mean Philly... I mean Sacramento... I mean Memphis... I mean Botswana. K-Mart is on his way out too. As is Voshon Lenard. Andre Miller has been rumored to be traded as well. Other than that, everything is just peachy in Denver. Just about the only guys safe are the ball-boy and Carmelo Anthony.

By the way, how could Anthony not make the All-Star team after carrying the Nuggs on his shoulders through the first half? Even with the hype, I think he's one of the most underrated players in the West at the moment. Nuggets fans are thrilled however, after his proclamation in the Denver Post of, "I'm a Nugget for life."

Chemistry, or lack thereof from non-stop trade rumors, will be their downfall. I see them losing in the first-round unless Anthony and Mr. Glass (Marcus Camby) go nuts for four games.

(2) Phoenix Suns -- I have tickets to see the Nuggets and the Suns in Phoenix in late March. I'll give a full report on them at that time. For now, I don't know how far they can go without a healthy Amare. And they're on crack if they think he's going to be healthy for this year's playoffs.

That being said, I had no idea Steve Nash would become Pete Havlicek-incarnate. He's hands-down the best point guard in the NBA, and should be a lock for his second consecutive MVP. Plus, at a Nuggs/Suns game in Denver last year, I watched as he gave one of the best ignoring jobs to a heckler I've ever seen.

Last April, LeseDog and I received a pair of tickets from one of my clients. The seats were four rows behind the Suns' bench. Just incredible. However, for the greater part of three quarters, some numbnuts behind us kept yelling, "Steeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeve!! Steeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeve!!," every time Nash came near the aforementioned Suns bench. (In the fist quarter, it was kind of comical. By the third quarter, I wanted to shove my 32 oz. Coors Light down this guy's throat, which I probably would have done had my ears not been bleeding.) At any rate, there was no way Nash could not hear this. Members of the Suns' bench kept looking up at this guy, in hopes that a simple acknowledgement by a pro player would shut him the hell up. It didn't, and he didn't. Kind of a pointless story, but it just gave me one more reason to like Nashty.

(1) Dallas Mavericks-- While they sit in first as of today, I'm not sold on Dallas. They need to prove to people that they can play defense in the playoffs, and they're going to have to go through San Antonio in the second-round to do it. Frankly, my dog Rocky has about as much of a chance of stopping Tim Duncan in a seven-game series as DeSagana Diop.

That being said, I love Dirk... He doesn't seem to take himself too seriously, and that is a quality that is rare in the NBA. A couple of years ago, a buddy sent me two pictures that I posted below. I have no idea who the guy in the front of the picture is (a friend of the friend who sent these picts), but the two clowns in the back are clearly Dirk and Steve Nash during a night at the bars. The bottom picture is Dirk doing his best imitation of Vin Baker. I find it hard not to root for Dirk.

This man (not the dude in the front) will try to lead Dallas to the championship.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

One more Wojo Bit

posted by BH

From a column about Sammy Sosa on February 17th:
He doesn't understand there is no dishonor in trying and failing. The dishonor comes when you don't try at all.

From today's piece about Bonds:
So Barry Bonds is going to hang up his cleats and violin after this season, eh? Good for him. Good for us.

If he's so tired of it all, so desperate to be forgotten, so embarrassed to wear a big league uni, then retire now. And don't let the clubhouse door hit you on the way out.


I Get to Write About Baseball, Sort of

posted by BH

I'm on my way out the door, heading for Reno for the night. I thought I'd leave some thoughts on Gene Wojiechowski's latest flub. In it, he writes that Barry Bonds should just go away, for the good of the rest of us. It only makes sense since Bonds' playing for the Giants is truly making my back ache.

Bonds told USA Today on Sunday that he will retire at season's end, which must be why the birds are chirping a little louder, the sun is shining a little brighter, and the beer on tap tastes a little colder. This is like the Wicked Witch of the West throwing a bucket of water on herself.
Wow, Bonds has that much impact on your outlook on life? You know he plays baseball in San Francisco right? You're in Bristol? Bonds must really be a bad guy if he can affect the very nature of birds and beer.

"But I can still hit," the seven-time National League MVP said. "I can rake. I can hit a baseball."
He also can still whine, still pontificate, still act as if he'll be missed. He won't be.
I'll miss seeing his bombs. I'm kind of a fan of seeing great baseball, you know, kind of what Bonds provides. The words, eh. I won't miss that part, but let's not be confused Dr. Green. He is a good baseball player. You won't miss the chance to see something unbelieveable every time the guy steps to the plate? Like it or not, no other player creates the buzz Bonds does when he steps into the batter's box. I have a feeling lots of people will miss that buzz.

Bonds might not be beloved, which is no prerequisite for greatness, but his numbers produce jaw drops. He has eight 40-plus-home run seasons, including the record-breaking 73 homers in 2001. Along the way he has alienated fans, managers and teammates alike. He is crustier than a baked pie.
But he can hit a baseball. You have to give him that. The problem is, the shadow of steroid allegations follows him around as if he's Punxsutawney Phil. In this case, Bonds gets six more months, not six weeks, of questions about "did he," or "didn't he."
He's good, but he's mean. I get it. You write about his greatness, but are willing to forgoe seeing it because you think the guy's a jerk. Are you a baseball fan? Or captain of the Self-Righteous Alliance of Eastern Connecticut?

Yes, we know about Bonds' alleged steroid use and I'm glad you brought it up since I'd almost forgotten. In leiu of any real evidence, you and many others who simply want some reason to hate and discredit the guy keep talking about it. Now, MLB has a drug policy in place. A drug policy Bonds must adhere to if he's going to play baseball this season. What if he hits a home run every 7+ at-bats the way he did at the end of last season? Are you still going to talk about steroids?

"I'm clean, I've always been clean," Bonds told USA Today.

Yes, absolutely clean, except for the times he unknowingly used two designer steroid substances obtained from his trainer, who just happened to be convicted in the BALCO scandal. All this according to federal grand jury transcripts. Bonds has said he wasn't aware the substances were steroids.
All this according to illegally leaked federal grand jury transcripts. Sort of the steroids of journalism. If someone hadn't broken the law, you'd have nothing to put here.

Even if you believe Bonds -- and sorry, I don't -- he doesn't make it easy to root for him. If you're a San Francisco fan you root for his health (he lasted only 14 games in 2005), you root for that Haagen-Dazs-sweet swing of his, and you root for him to lead the Giants to the franchise's first World Series championship since 1954. But do you root for Bonds the person?
No, I root for any guy in a Giants uni, because I want the Giants to win. Is there a prerequisite that says a team must only be made up of good guys?

Frankly, I'm just tired of him. He said he didn't want to play in the upcoming World Baseball Classic because of the condition of his knees. One knee is without cartilage, which means bone on bone. Totally legitimate reason to skip the WBC.
Tired means you are low on energy. You've written quite a column here. Sort of like you're worked up about Bonds. Kind of the opposite of being tired.

But Bonds couldn't help himself. He trivialized the first-ever Classic, saying, "Come on, the World Cup isn't the Olympics. Who cares? Does it mean anything?"

Not in BarryWorld, it doesn't.
Actually, it doesn't count in the real world either.

My favorite Barry on Barry quote was this one: "I think that's been my only downfall in all of this. I never let people know me. I just wanted to do my job and get the [expletive] out."

Your loss, not ours, Barry. Of course, Bonds later backpedaled on his earlier comments, which figures.
Of course, since we all say absolutely concrete things every time we speak, never base what we say on our mood, and never change our minds. Curse him for his humanity. Doesn't he know that what he says has no real impact on my life?

As for getting out, the sooner the better works for me.
Dude, you just wrote a whole column about what Bonds has said or done. It seems like him giving you more things to write about would actually work for you.

The Mailbag -- Political Version

by SonDog

I have always been a fan of political humor. Lately I've come to the realization that I have many Republican friends, particularly from the Southern US states. As most people are pretty familiar with my political views, my friends (especially my dad) enjoy copying me on jokes aimed at the Democratic party. I must admit, I enjoy them as well. Here are three recent emails I've received that provide perfect blog fodder:

From C-lo: "Do you think they planned this?"


From MB: "I'd rather go hunting with Dick Cheney than driving with Ted Kennedy ."


And only because I just can't get enough of Republican martyrism:

From Ryan B: "Bush Fails to Prevent East Coast Blizzard" -- As President Bush and his staff cowered in the White House, the snow continued to pile up on the many poor victims who could not afford to get out of town or to safety in Florida. Crucial supplies of blankets, hot cocoa, popcorn and dark rum - so essential to surviving the stress of any major snowstorm - lay in stores undelivered.

Hearings into the Blizzards' effect on the poor are almost a certainty. Howard Dean has suggested he will call for an investigation once his new medications kick in and John Kerry took a break from the sporting activities of the glamorous super-rich in some exotic locale (random choice: Ice Sailing in Finland) to call for new legislation outlawing snowstorms. "The Republican Congress has dropped the ball once again. I have always been a staunch supporter of anti-snow legislation, except for certain locations where I ski. Snow has no business on our roads and the President and Congress knows that."

Calls for impeachment over "SnowGate" as some are calling it already are mounting as deeply as the snow itself, and what will be discovered underneath will prove to have a truly chilling effect on the Republicans, as the inevitable thaw proceeds. Or something like that.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Links to Start the Work Week

by SonDog

---- Proof that steroids can mess with your mind. Dutch Daulton, former Phillies catcher. I found both of these stories by doing a google search for, "Retired Baseball Numbnuts." Since they were teammates back in the day, in some way this explains so much about why John Kruk sounds like such an idiot on baseball tonight. Anytime a portion of a story reads, "The Daily News says he put the ideas on paper while serving three months in jail last summer," you know the pure comedy is going to be at an all-time high.

You've probably seen this before, but it's a classic. You just can't get enough of the "Double Squat Spin Clap and Point."

From ESPN's Page 2: "Like clockwork, Larry Flynt has spent the past quarter-century delivering unwanted monthly copies of Hustler to all of Congress, free of charge (and because of a legal loophole, they are powerless to stop it). Maybe you already knew this, but I'm floored by it. That's pretty much the ultimate checkmate."

I've always dreamed about doing this to the really hot college girl that would flirt with you in class just enough to make you think you had a chance, only to act like she doesn't know who you are when you're at the bar (and in no way am I bitter over a college experience or anything). My line would be the same, "You were open and now you are closed!"

Olympic Post #5

posted by BH

The men's speed skating 1500m on Tuesday will feature four former gold medalists, all of them American. Joey Cheek, Chad Hedrick, Shani Davis, and Derek Parra. The big news though seems to be the ongoing and certainly media prodded feud that has transpired between Hedrick and Davis. Hedrick was upset that Davis pulled out of the team pursuit in order to focus and maintain strength for his best individual event, the 1000m. When approached by ESPN's Lisa Salters yesterday about the rift with his teammate, Hedrick said, "Is he my teammate?" Awesome event coming up. Four gold medalists. Maybe a U.S. sweep. Why not focus on a little fight in the schoolyard instead?

Freestyle aerials starts tomorrow. What's crazy to me about this sport is that you know these athletes eat crap during practice. Probably a lot. And what's it like the first time you ever actually go off an aerials jump? Do you have to do a flip in order to actually land with your balance? It's not like half-pipe or moguls where you can just find these runs in the course of your day and work up to being good at it. These have to be the craziest athletes in the games. I mean this in a good way.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

One Year Closer to Vegas

by SonDog

Now it's my turn to apologize for the sporadic posts as of late. For the greater part of the last five days, I've been either in my bed or on my couch, suffering from a cold/flu that can only be blamed on Hurricane Katrina. (See the Story coming this week titled, "It Had to Be Beijing," for more information. And thanks a lot, Kev.) During this time I've been on a ridiculous over-the-counter cocktail of NyQuil, TheraFlu, Zicam, vitamin C, Jameson, bananas, Japanisches heilpflanzen-Ol (German for Japanese peppermint oil), other random European herbal supplements that include Echinacea in one form or another, multi-vitamins and a nuclear cough syrup that makes you see lizards. Other than the fact that at one point I thought my name was Sven and that I was a Swedish ice dancer, everything has been great.

That being said, I cleared my head long enough on Saturday evening for one of my favorite nights of the NBA season -- All-Star Saturday Night. LeseDog, who has morphed into an NBA fan over the duration of our relationship, decided to join me for the festivities... in our living room... complete with Pizza Hut, Jameson, TiVo and my annual running journal for an hour-by-hour recap of the night's events (when I say "annual," usually that means just sending my thoughts to OZ over email the following day). The NBA does the best job out of the four major sports in celebrating it's All-Star competition, including the festivities on Saturday night. Here's my hazy journal from the evening:

5:00 - 6:00 PM -- TNT airs a special show titled, "All-Time Best Dunk," as a way to breathe life into what has become a dying slam-dunk competition. During the first 30 minutes, TNT showed dunks that I had not thought about in some time, as well as dunkers that I had not thought about in some time. Baby Jordan (a.k.a. Harold Minor), Isiah Rider and his East Bay Funk Dunk, Bones Barry winning the contest in 1996 with his free-throw line jam (to which, immediately following the competition, Reggie Miller deadpanned, "A white guy just won the dunk contest."), The Human Highlight Reel competing in the competition as late as 1990 (It's a travesty that Dominique Wilkins isn't in the Hall of Fame. Absolute travesty.), The Baby Mamba competing and winning as an 18-year-old rookie in 1997, the 2000 competition that included Steve Francis, T-Mac and Vinsanity (I remember watching this one and thinking, "Why did Golden State trade him for Antwan Jamison?"), J-Rich from 2002-2004, and many more.

The last 30 minutes were pretty much a waste of time. The highlight came when LeseDog, for the 16th time, said quizzically about Charles Barkley, "I can't believe how fat he is now! I knew he was fat, but when did he get this fat?" During this time, Ernie Johnson tells us to text in a number to vote for the best dunk of all-time (between Jordan's leaner and Vinsanity's original between the legs.). In case you didn't hear it the first time, Johnson will repeat this for the next ten minutes, and intermittently through the next three-plus hours.

One of the finalists for All-Time Dunk...

6:00 -- 7:00 -- We have our first Cheryl Miller sighting of the night! Does Cheryl realize she's not a man? I've always wondered about this. I seriously think she believes she's Reggie's brother, not sister.

At about 6:05, I puked. Why? Because TNT decided to air a 10-minute piece of how The Mamba helped out in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. That's great and all, but it was what Ernie Johnson said that made me puke.

First, some background. On September 11, 2005, the NBA and its players organized a Hurricane Katrina relief game in Houston. Stars from throughout the NBA participated in the game, donated money and time, all to benefit those displaced by the tragic events. (One of my favorite sub-plots of the sports-relief angle: The NFL spent about as much money on their PR effort to talk about how much money they were donating as the amount they actually donated. The NBA's event flew somewhat under the radar, with most people not even realizing the game actually aired on TNT. Fascinating.)

So, back to where the Mamba comes in to this. Ernie Johnson looks straight into the camera and says, and I quote, "Everybody who was here was affected, but arguably none more so, than Kobe Bryant."


This man was affected more from Hurricane Katrina than any other man in the NBA. And he really didn't tell police that Shaq gets away with it by paying the women off.

The piece is so disgustingly calculated that most of the TNT guys don't know what to say once it's over. Here are some verbatim examples:

Kenny Smith -- "A lot of times... you're affected by people, other than monetarily." At this point, LeseDog turns to me and says, "What?"
Reggie Miller -- "Kind of lets me show... how small... what we do." I'm keeping this on my TiVo just to watch this over and over. Honestly, that's what he said, verbatim.
Charles Barkley, seemingly rolling his eyes in disgust -- "Kobe's not the only one." I think Chuck is the only guy in the NBA realm who isn't ready to put aside all the crap that The Mamba has done (like, say, driving three future HOFers out of LA) just because he's having a terrific season. There are times when I can't stand Charles Barkley, but this is not one of them.

At 6:20 we have a Commissioner Stern sighting! And he's starting out his interview by talking about the 2007 All-Star game being in Las Vegas! Here's an excerpt of the conversation LeseDog and I just had:

SonDog: "We should get those airline and game tickets right now!"
LeseDog: "Yeah right. I don't think that will be a good place to take baby."
SonDog: "I should get those airline and game tickets right now!"
LeseDog: "NO!! I don't think so, dude."
SonDog: "Damnit."

There are so many aspects of the All-Star game being in Vegas that I can't get over, including these certainties. 1) Usually NBA officials have trouble handling all of the media-pass requests for All-Star weekend. In Vegas, they are going to have trouble handling all of the groupie-pass requests. Seriously, the groupies might as well unionize and hold a first-of-its-kind convention at the MGM Grand during this weekend as they're all going to be in town. 2) There's a good chance that The Mamba could be the father of 28 children by the time this weekend is over. 3) How much has the NBA learned from Magic Johnson? If the answer is, "Not much," then there is going to be an STD epidemic of record-shattering proportions next February in Las Vegas. 4) Over 3,000 women are going to believe that they slept with Steve Blake of the Portland Trailblazers. Blake is about the only 5'10" white guy in the NBA, you figure out the rest. 5) This will be a test-run for Vegas. If it's as much of a success as it promises to be, they will get an NBA team almost immediately.

At 6:35 we finally get to the player introductions for the night's events... and here's Tony Parker... which means, we have our first Eva Longoria sighting of the night! I think I saw Parker mouth the words, "I'm dating Eva Longoria," during the introductions. Coincidentally, when Kobe was introduced, he mouthed the words, "I'm the Mamba, able to strike with 99% accuracy and precision." (Also, Steve Nash was just introduced, with LeseDog saying, "He has about as much presence as a fucking snail.")

For the next 25 minutes or so, we see Eva Longoria five more times, we see a couple of WNBA players missing short jump-shots, and once again hear about how deeply The Mamba was affected by a bond he made with one of the displaced Hurricane Katrina children. Touching story, and a lone tear once again comes to thine eye.

7:00 -- 8:00 PM -- The event that I've really been looking forward to is the Playstation Skills Competition. The lineup of Chris Paul, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Steve Nash is unparalleled for the Saturday night events in recent years.

D-Wade ends up winning the event, but I had a couple of random thoughts while watching these four studs compete: 1) I was dead-wrong about Chris Paul coming into the season. I really didn't think he would be the type of player (should have been an All-Star) that he has become. I saw him more of a Steve Francis/Stephon Marbury type of shoot-first point guard when he was at Wake Forest, but in half a season he has proven to the world why I will never be an NBA General Manager. 2) If Steve Nash were a baseball player, we would be hearing all sorts of steroids rumblings. Every time you think Nash is at the absolute pinnacle of his career, he gets a little better. If the season ended today, he would once again be the league's MVP. So, a 32-year-old point guard, seemingly near the end of his career, morphs into the game's best floor-leader, and nobody even bats an eye-lash at this? I'm telling you, if this were baseball, we would already be having Congressional hearings. I may have to write an entire post on this during the second-half of the season. 3) LeBron James had what promises to be the best dunk of the night at the end of his first-round run. It's a shame that he doesn't want to be in the dunk contest. Could you imagine a dunk contest with LeBron, The Mamba, Vince Carter, D-Wade and J-Rich? Now that would bring excitement back to the event.

All the presence of a snail...

At 7:25, Ernie Johnson tells us to text in our vote for the best dunk ever for the 473rd time.

From 7:30 to 8, we watch the Three-Point contest, in which we have two pure shooters in the event: Ray Allen and Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk ended up winning, despite the fact that his last "money ball" left his hand after the buzzer sounded, leading Charles Barkley to mutter the line of the night, "Maybe they got them Super Bowl referees out there." Which begs the question, how far has the integrity of the NFL fallen. I mean, the NFL referees have become worse than the NBA referees, which is saying a lot. Anytime you have NBA people laughing about the officiating of the NFL... well, let's just say that there are some issues that the NFL needs to clear up in the off-season. I'm sure that if I lived in Seattle right now, I would feel much stronger about this.

On a side note: Dirk is the best player to win the Three-Point contest since Larry Bird. So far tonight, we've had two of the top-10 players in the league win in D-Wade and Dirk Diggler. I love this game!

Of course, then we have the dunk contest.

8:00 - 9:00 -- The main problem I have with the dunk contest is the lack of stars. I mean, Andre Iguodala, Josh Smith, Hakim Warrick and Nate Robinson are nice, but we need the stars back in order to truly showcase this event. Look, these guys may be good young players, but they are nowhere near household names. Even Magic referred to Hakim Warrick as "Peter" Warrick not once, but twice (Peter Warrick, of course, is a WR for the Seattle Seahawks). Most people outside of Philly have never even heard of the "other" A.I., and Josh Smith is known for one-thing so far in his career, and that's winning last year's dunk contest.

5'7" (there's no way he's 5'9") Robinson ended up winning the competition, despite the fact that it took him 14 attempts to complete his final dunk. That being said, the dunk of the night had to be his jumping over Spud Webb in the final round. Remember, Webb once won this event simply for being able to dunk. Robinson now has upped the ante for little people everywhere by jumping OVER said Webb.

There's no Photoshopping here... Robinson should join the circus.

By 9, both LeseDog and I had seen just about enough for one night. I was ready to once again put myself into a medicated coma for the night and she was ready for bed as well. Tonight we have the actual All-Star game itself.

Friday, February 17, 2006


posted by BH

Talking about the U.S. women's loss to Sweden in the hockey semi's, Bill Pidto said on ESPNews

Michelle Kwan, Bode Miller, Lindsay Kildow, Jeremy Bloom. For various reasons, all have helped make this a miserable Olympics for the U.S. And now this.

Miserable? The women's figure skating hasn't happened yet, so we don't know whether the U.S. is going to have a good result or not. What if they have three women win medals? Bode Miller has bombed out so far, but Ted Ligety pulled it out in the combined. Lindsay Kildow crashed in a training run but was still able to race and finish eighth in the downhill. It's amazing that she even got back on the mountain. Yeah, Jeremy Bloom didn't pan out, but Toby Dawson had a sweet couple of runs and finished third. What about Shaun White, Danny Kass, Chad Hedrick, Joey Cheek, Gretchen Bleiler, Seth Wescott, Lindsay Jacobellis and Hannah Teter? Miserable? Did Pidto and the American public decide that this was only going to be a successful Olympics if the people they expected to win did?

Olympic Post #4

posted by BH

Okay. So I've made my distaste for figure skating clear. Yet last night, as Phil and I sat in a bar watching skeleton and Snowboard Cross, a promo came on for Ice Dancing. The sound was off, and the promo seemed mostly to consist of American ice dancers Tanith Belbin
and Ben Agosto. Agosto looks like a typically shmoe-ish guy ice skater, but Belbin is unbelievable. I didn't need to hear one word in this ad to know that I was going to tune into ice dancing to watch this woman skate. Holy crap is she hot. And I'm afraid hot isn't sufficient enough a word. Maybe some word like, Holygodhowisitpossiblethatsomeonesohotwascreatedandshejustmademybenchpleasedon'ttellmywife, or something like that. I know, it's all terribly sexist, but come on. At this point, the pair is sixth, like I really care. I'm still watching for those five minutes tonight when she's on the ice.

Dude! Get out of the picture!

It was a bummer watching the U.S. women's Hockey team go from a 2-0 lead against Sweden, to losing in a shootout. The U.S. team has looked sloppy and it finally caught up with them. Now, the U.S. will skate for bronze against Finland, who they beat in the third period the other day.
There's something cool about a U.S./Canada matchup that doesn't quite translate to a U.S./Finland game.

I don't really give a shit about what Bryant Gumbel said the other day. I can see how some are a little bothered though. I never thought about him as a racist (especially after Paul Mooney's "Negrodamus" on Chappelle's Show), but it's clear that he is. To use your personal opinions about a sporting event to attempt to diminish everyone involved, everyone interested in watching, and somehow turn it into a dig against anyone who's ever voted Republican is cheap, childish, chicken shit. At the same time, who cares? We're talking about Bryant Gumbel.

"Try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the games look like a GOP convention," huffed Gumbel, host of HBO’s Real Sports. "And try to blot out all logic when announcers and sportswriters pretend to care about the luge, the skeleton, the biathlon and all those other events they don’t understand and totally ignore for all but three weeks every four years. Face it: These Olympics are little more than a marketing plan."

See how I kind of look like a giant douche?

I don't remember hearing anyone call a guy doing the skeleton one of the world's greatest athletes, but when you say that, by default, these events lack anyone who might be considered the best because few blacks complete, and therefore lack any credibility, you have established yourself as a racist. When you call all members of the Republican Party racists, you are a racist. Believe it or not, some of these announcers and sportswriters, especially those outside the U.S., cover these events more than every four years. If these Olympics are little more than a marketing plan, who ever is in charge is doing a fairly poor job, especially considering that it does contain very few of a very large potential market (blacks), and loses out to American Idol. These are thoughtless comments from a self-abosrbed guy who likes to hear himself talk. Do we not know the deal with this guy yet? He's been saying stupid shit for twenty years.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Olympic Post #3

posted by BH

Bill Clement and Ray Ferrarro are anchoring MSNBC's hockey coverage. I think Clement might be my favorite hockey guy, followed by Barry Melrose and Ferrarro. Hearing Clement is like hearing Pat Summerall on Sunday mornings.

As I watched the USA/Latvia Hockey game the other day, I noticed that the Latvian goalie is none other than former San Jose Shark Arturs Irbe. He is sort of a hero to Sharks fans, having been part of the team when they really stunk, but also leading them to some great playoff hockey. He seems to be sort ofthe Benito Santiago of hockey at this point though. He's so old and it's been so long since I've heard anything about him that I couldn't believe it when I saw that he's still playing. Is Owen Nolan playing for anyone?

A glove save...and a beaut!

David Aebischer had 40 saves in the Swiss win against the Czech Republic. It's nice to see Av's playing well on the international stage. The U.S takes on Kazakhstan later today in what is likely to be a U.S. walk.

Toby Dawson is awesome. Both of his runs in the moguls were sweet, and I always love seeing Vailies do anything at the Olympics. Last time it was Sarah Schlepper (sp?). I hope everyone still had some free shots for his bronze.

The U.S. men's curling team beat first-place Sweden this morning. This sport is seriously fun to watch. Although it might seem natural to compare this to an ice version of bowling, these guys look like they're in shape and the target is different for each roll. Things change so fast.

Skeleton starts today, with women going tonight and men starting tommorrow. To quote the Kings' announcers, "If you don't like 75 mph head-first sliding, you don't like the Winter Olympics!!"
"Please let me make it down the course in one piece."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Rocky -- The Wonder Dog

One day, this border collie will be competing in a Frisbee catching competition. It is my mission for him, whether he knows it or not...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Doggy Style

posted by BH

Those who own or have owned a Border Collie will appreciate this assessment from last night's Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Announcer: A product of Scotland and England, the Border Collie is the premier herding dog. Their ability to manipulate sheep is legendary, as is their prowess in obedience and agility. Although easily trained, they are so highly motivated to work that they are perfect for the farm but not for apartment dwelling unless provided with substantial outside activity.

Commentator: Owners of this breed will argue that this is the most intelligent dog. They sure are smart, which I think is important to point out because you really do need to give them (a job). If you don't give them one, they will find one on their own and that job might be chewing through your wall.

Does Anyone Know Who Has the Best Announcers in Baseball?

posted by BH

I couldn't let the day end without telling everyone how happy I am that the San Francisco Giants have signed Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper to five-year extensions. Having been able to listen to other team's broadcasters over the years, as well as endless Saturdays and postseasons saturated with the narcissitic ramblings of Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, Steve Lyons and Thom Brenneman, I feel qualified to say Kruk and Kuip are clearly the best duo in the game. Whereas the aforementioned collection consistenely detracts from the broadcast, Krukow and Kuiper are actually beneficial and add to my enjoyment. While the big knock against Krukow used to be, and to some extent still is, that he's a bit of a homer, he is merely a resident living on the outskirts of a suburb of Homerton (the co-mayors of which are Michael Kay and Ron Santo). Krukow has a brilliant baseball mind, yet doesn't sound like some kind of elitist. He sounds like a guy in my living room just talking baseball. As for Kuiper, it is rare for a player to become such an accomplished announcer, yet he has become one of the best in the game. Teamed with Dave Fleming and Jon Miller, they make up the best, deepest team in baseball. Hell, Fleming could probably be the lead guy for 28 other broadcasts in the majors, yet he's fourth on the Giants depth-chart behind Kuiper, Miller, and Greg Papa.

Kruk and Kuip are locked up until the end of the 2010 season, a fact that makes me very happy.

Randy Winn was named to the U.S.'s 30-man WBC roster today. I'm glad that at least one Giant will be competing for the U.S., though whether Winn actually plays will be another story.

If Jose Viscaino starts more than eight games at first or third-base, the Giants are done.

Olympic Post #2

posted by BH

My posts have been infrequent over the past few days. I've been battling a flu that has turned into bronchitis.

I said bronchitis, not Bartokomous

On a happier note, I found some cheddar beer kettle chips at Trader Joes the other day that are quite simply, awesome.

I can't stop watching curling. Every time it comes on I get excited. I have watched three matches today, the last one being the U.S. women's loss against Japan. It's like shuffleboard at Tips (there you go RB crew), except the women are hotter, way less drunk, and good at what they're doing.

Seriously, the whole idea of a figure skating competition is absurd. Okay, that might not really be true, but it's the least exciting thing about the Olympics. And the worst part is, NBC assumes everyone likes it, so it dominates evening coverage. After the men's short program, Russia's Yevgeny Plushenko is in the lead, and I don't care.

Come on. Seriously? You're into this?

Remember the Dan vs. Dave stuff that Reebok did before the '92 Olympics. It all went ppffffffftt after Dan couldn't get past the high jump in the decathalon at trials. I wonder how many hits Nike's joinbode.com has been getting over the past few days. I like watching and rooting for good skiers. ESPN and the casual fan glommed on to Bode Miller because he said crazy shit. I'm bummed that a good skier didn't get it done. ESPN and Nike are bummed because this guy they've paid a lot of attention to over the past two months hasn't done anything yet.

Looking forward, there is more skiing to come. Though I love watching the downhill and super-g, having skied a bit of slalom (I was no Boatright, in high school anyway) in my day, I really really look forward to watching. Men's hockey is going to get underway in a few days, as is skeleton and men's moguls.

Role Reversal of the Ironical

by SonDog

If you don't want to know the results of the men's combined that will show on NBC later tonight, then don't read this post until tomorrow. Go away.

I'm waiting.

If you're still here, then here goes...

Bode Miller was disqualified from the men's combined today in Torino. Miller was disqualified from the Alpine combined Tuesday for straddling a gate in the first slalom run, just when he seemed to have built a commanding lead for his first Olympic gold medal.

I can give you my reaction here... HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHA!

Sorry, let me compose myself. I just think... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Miller, like it or not, is the face of the US Ski Team. The reason seems to be partly due to his enormous yapper, his "controversial ways," and for being a grade-A moron. I think this is a sad turn of events for the US Ski Team... not Miller being disqualified, but that he is the face of the team itself.

On the single-plank side of things, Shaun White if the face of the men's snowboarding team. White, from all accounts, is a good 19-year-old kid who appreciates everything from his own talent to representing the United States to being the face of men's snowboarding. He seems to understand what type of responsibility he has, and he has done nothing to disappoint.

Miller brags about partying until the wee hours of the morning (including the night before his first event in these games). White talks about investing his money wisely. He recently said, "I think it's better to buy real estate than say, a yellow and purple Corvette or an elephant that can speak sign language. My parents help me out a lot with that stuff. They don't want to see me when I'm 30, dead broke, selling bootleg tapes of my snowboard movies on the side of the freeway." Again, he's only 19-years-old.

I just think that there is more than a touch of irony in this. Snowboarders have always been portrayed as the pot-smoking, party animal bad boys of the winter sports that you never could take very seriously. It was an "extreme" sport that really didn't require the maturity and commitment of a sport like alpine skiing. Alpine skiers, on the other hand, have been the clean-cut, honorable athletes that represent their country in the right way. The tables, for these games, have turned.

The US Ski Team needs a new face. The reputation of the US Ski Team has taken a hit with Miller, while the reputation of the US Snowboarding Team is taking enormous steps forward. Shaun White is 19-years-old. Bode Miller is 28-years-old. The maturity gap is enormous between these two. However, it's the youngster that is far ahead of the elder.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Shhhh... They're coming

by SonDog

As we sit here today, the Sacramento Kings are set up about as well as one could expect to make a second-half playoff push. The Kings are now tied for 10th in the Western Conference with Golden State. They passed Minnesota last night and have Utah firmly in their sights, only 1.5 games back. Of course, even if they pass Utah, they will only be ninth in the Conference. The team in eighth is none other than the hated Los Angeles Mambas.

The Kings have 31 games remaining on the schedule. The have once again become somewhat of a force at home, winning eight straight in Arco Arena. However, the road has been bumpier for this team than the trek from Fallujah to Baghdad. Their 6-17 road record at this point is one of the worst in the NBA, and the worst for this team in the Rick Adelman era. This is somewhat troubling considering 18 of their final 31 games are on the road. The road failures must stop this week, with critical games against Chicago (tonight) and Memphis (Wednesday) before the all-star break. If the Kings can sweep those two games, they will be positioned well for a late push.

A few weeks ago, Stapes and I both questioned whether or not, even with the trade, the Kings had enough to get to the playoffs. However, I will be the first to admit that, while I expected Ron Artest to have an impact on this team, I did not expect him to have THIS MUCH of an impact.

#93 -- Infinite Intensity... In Ron-Ron's world, this makes perfect sense

Since Artest's arrival, the Kings are playing better defense than they have in years. No longer averse to, I dunno, doing anything on the defensive end, the Kings are actually creating turnovers, blocking shots (Francisco Garcia? Francisco Garcia? Since when did he turn into a shot-blocking machine?), playing tough on-ball defense (even Bibby is trying to some degree, although I still think that even I could beat him to the rim.) and giving fans in Arco a reason to cheer. Of note, this is the first time all year the team is consistently hustling. While hustling is somewhat of an over-used term, there is no question that Artest's attitude and influence has changed the mindset of this team in that aspect for the better.

Three more things:

1) Can Artest stay sane? I would love to dive into this guy's head for a moment, but I fear I would get lost. But, it should be known that there is one retired jersey in my den at home, and that is Chris Webber's jersey from the 2002-2003 season. If Artest takes this team to the playoffs, and goes through the Mambas to do it, I will buy a #93 purple jersey, and retire it alongside Webber's. I'm not even close to kidding. And yes, I'm 27-years-old. Seriously, I'm having a kid here soon as well. Don't try to think about it, just accept it.

2) Can Bonzi Wells get healthy? And when he does, can Kevin Martin consistently have an impact off the bench? When Brian Skinner, Kenny Thomas, Wells and Artest are on the floor together, this team is one of the toughest in the NBA. Wait... did I just say that? Really? A Kings team is one of the toughest in the NBA? Am I on crack? And am I talking to myself right now? Is Artest having that big of an impact on me?

As Mike Patrick would say, "Toughness... Personified."

3) I cannot even tell you how excited I am that the Kings play the Mambas three more times. Seriously, it's an orgasmic feeling for me. And maybe I'm way into sports, but I don't care. The potential for high-comedy that will come from Kobe trying to take 57 shots against Ron Artest and Bonzi Wells is something that I can't wait to see. Also, the potential for the last playoff spot in the West coming down to the Kings and the Mambas? Ohhhh... Ohhhhh....Ohhhhhhh..... YEEEEEEEEES! It starts next Thursday on TNT when the Kings play LA at the Staples Center. March 14 and March 22 are the other two dates circled on the calendar in my head.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sweet Theimaguatrick

posted by BH

Some thoughtful analyses from the Pro Bowl, the last broadcast for the trainwreck that is Theimaguatrick.

Collectively, they're an impressive group. Especially Jonathan Ogden.
I don't know which one of them said it, but it doesn't matter. Collectively, Jonathan Ogden? Dude, you're dumb.

This is the type of throw Michael Vick is learning to make.
Theismann came up with this gem following a pass in which, as he's being tackled, Vick throws the ball up for grabs. Patrick said it looked like a punt. Larry Fitzgerald came down with the catch, and a good time was had by all. Thankfully, Maguire called Theismann on this.

On a side note, earlier in the day during the NFL skills competition, Chris Berman that one event was "literally going to get their competitive juices flowing." I don't know what this means.

Olympic Post #1

posted by BH

After one official day of Olympic competition, I can confidently say these things. Speed skaters and cross-country skiiers are uber-studs, the luge is awesome, and Bob Costas and judges annoy the hell out of me.

On Friday night I switched back and forth several times between the opening ceremonies and the series finale of Arrested Development (one side note here- AD had to face Monday Night Football all season, almost ensuring it's fate. So FOX puts it up against the biggest Olympic viewership for the series finale? Brilliant). Throughout the ceremony, Costas wouldn't shut up. He kept telling us what this meant or who that was, meanwhile, any efforts Turin officials had made to achieve an inspiartional ceremony were screwed up by a guy who really likes to hear himself talk.

Seriously, judging sucks. I heard a commentator say during the women's freestyle that one skier, despite having a great run, probably wouldn't get a high score because she had gone early in the finals. This is really wrong. I know the deal. You want to build drama, and you think the later skiers are going to be better anyway. It's the same in figure skating. If a skier has a perfect run, it shouldn't matter when it takes place. Any event that relies at all on subjective human interpretation is fundamentally flawed.

And in the spirit of things that are fundamentally flawed, I can't think of a sport I dislike more than figure skating. It's like the lady you see at all the big parties. She wears to much perfume, makeup, and jewelry; no one knows who invites her to these things, but she keeps showing up and making herself the show. "OH MY GOD!! THEY JUST COMPLETED THE FIRST QUAD AXLE IN COMPETITION!!" Yay. I'm more excited about cleaning the dog crap in my yard before I have to mow the lawn. This year, following the mess at the 2002 games, the scoring system has been revamped and become far more complicated. When a competition moves beyond a point at which I can figure out who won right after it's over, I lose interest. Sorry, I don't think sporting events should have to be decided by NASA mathematicians.

I'm glad NBC gave us some coverage of the men's downhill practice runs on Friday and Saturday, though it was limited to Americans. I still want to see Herman Maier go at it and the sentimental part of me wants him to be a factor.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Randomness Again

by SonDog

---- First things first... I can officially see my child growing out of my wife's belly. It's a pretty cool experience for those of you who have not been witness to such a thing. While I keep having visions of the scene from the original Alien, (with my bald-headed child punching his way out of my wife's stomach just to say, "Wait... what?") the pregnancy is progressing very well and the baby is in fantastic condition at this point. In about five weeks we'll be able to see if it's going to be a SonDog or a little LeseDog. Lese is doing very well too, although her chronic fatigue is doing a number on my cholesterol and BMI as I've been indulging in McDonalds, Taco Bell, Burger King, Pizza Hut and Wendy's like a 19-year-old on a three-week-long marijuana binge. (Gratuitous disclaimer alert) Let me make one thing clear, however. I fully realize that this is my own fault and no fault of my wife's. I can at least sympathize with the fact that growing a human inside of one's own body takes a lot of work and can be a bit exhausting.

---- I'd talk about the Super Bowl and the great party that is always Super Bowl Sunday, but I can sum it up in about two sentences. I had a great time while drinking heavily, and I no longer have a hangover. The Seahawks were robbed by the biggest buffoons to ever officiate a game of such magnitude.

---- So, the NFL today announced the new Monday Night Football crew for next season. My initial response is to rip my ears off so I never have to listen to this Holy Trinity of numbnuts that ESPN decided to entrust with their prized possession.

1) Mike Tirico -- Here's a sample of what Tirico often brings to the booth: "Hi, I'm Mike Tirico. I really don't have anything interesting to say, so let me turn things over to my co-anchors."

2) Joe Theisman -- Oh, good God. Did they really?... No, wait... who?... Really? When asked for his response, Theismann replied with, "You think Joe Theismann doesn't want to be on Monday Night Football? You think Joe Theismann hasn't been dreaming about this ever since L.T. turned his leg into a piece of spaghetti on MNF years ago? You think Joe Theismann hasn't been sending bouquets of carnations and lilys to the league offices every day, sucking up as much as is humanly possible? Let me tell you something here, this is Joe Theismann's dream job."

3) Tony Kornheiser -- Kornheiser, of PTI fame, is notorious for one thing... yelling. My initial response to this selection is, what? It makes about as much sense as Margaret Cho in a beauty pageant. Kornheiser, naturally, was pleased as he said, "MICHAEL WILBON, I WANT TO YELL AT YOU SO LOUD THAT YOU'RE NO LONGER FAT. I KNOW THAT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE, BUT RARELY DOES ANYTHING THAT I SAY MAKE ANY SENSE. GIBBERISH, GIBBERISH, GIBBERISH, GIBBERISH. IF YOU THINK DENNIS MILLER WAS BAD, WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE ME IN ACTION ON MONDAY NIGHTS!!!"

So, all told, we have one guy who doesn't contribute anything (Tirico), one guy who likes to yell at the top of his lungs (Kornheiser), and one guy who will shatter the record for most times people at home turn to someone in the room and ask, "What the hell did he just say?" during a single season (Theismann). Way to go ESPN and NFL. We knew you could do it.

I like me. Who do you like?

---- Dennis Erickson is expected to be named the new head coach at the University of Idaho today. As a 49er fan, it seems fitting that arguably the worst coach in franchise history has to go to Idaho to find a job. No word on whether or not former GM Terry Donahue is in line to be the new Athletic Director at the University of North Dakota. Somehow, this all makes sense.

---- Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in less than a week. I've had some serious movements in my pants recently because of this fact. T minus 5 weeks until my annual trip to Arizona for the Cactus League. As we get closer to Opening Day, BH and I will have to do a joint story about the time last year where Huston Street was buying BH, myself, and some of our buddies shots of Patron in the VIP section at a Scottsdale nightclub.

I have no insecurities about my manhood when I say that I love this guy.

Two things about that night: 1) BH was in rare, rare form. It was one of the smoothest and most memorable moments in the history of our friendship. Seriously, he was absolutely on fire that night. To witness BH gracefully, yet drunkenly, roll up on A's pitcher Joe Blanton and say, "So, tell me about Rich Harden," was something that would make Peter Gammons have an epileptic seizure. Nick Swisher was also in the area, doing his best impersonation of a rap video with seven or eight young, scantily clad admirers. 2) Huston Street was one of the coolest celebrities I've ever met. We've got a great story about the cell-phone picture of the cocktail waitress that was serving us the shots, but that's for another time. Regardless, we would like to think that those shots in Scottsdale were the main reason behind Street's run to AL Rookie of the Year.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Joe Montana Is Still A God

posted by BH

There are reports out there that Joe Montana didn't want to participate in the Super Bowl pregame blah blah because he had asked the NFL for $100,000, which the NFL declined to give him. Of course Montana denies these reports, saying he had promised his kids he'd watch their basketball games over the weekend, then watch the Super Bowl together. One, crazy and underreported facet of this whole thing is that Montana was in Detroit on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before the game. This kind of demonstrates that he did his due dillegence for the league, and as far as anyone has reported, did it for a hotel room and a plane ticket. Another crazy, underreported facet is that Terry Bradshaw also is said to have declined due to money, yet no one's really talking about it.

Let's say for a moment that it's all true. Montana asked for $100,000, the league said no, so Montana told them he had better things to do. Okay. My life's not over. Why does anyone really care? No one's life is better or worse for having Joe Montana participate in this ceremony. Why is this a story? I wasn't a fan of Montana because I thought he was a good guy who was motivated solely be altruism. I liked him because he was the best football player I'd ever seen. The choice to show or not show rested completely with Montana. He doesn't owe anything to the fan or the NFL.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Fifth Boofy

posted by BH

On Sunday I decided that since we've been having some nice weather in Northern California for the past three or four days, my pickup needed to be washed. It had accumulated half a winter's worth of road grime from rain, snow, and mud, and was looking really bad. There's a $2 do-it-yourself car wash place a few miles from my house that includes a nice pressure washer style hose and a brush that dispenses massive amounts of soap. Seriously, this thing makes my pickup look like Willy Wonka's car before it goes through the Wonka Wash or whatever it's called.

I arrived at the car wash, and evidently everyone else in town had decided it was a good day to wash the car. I decided to vacuum the car first and wait for a bay to open up. When one finally did, I pulled into the spot and got out of the car. The guy who had been in the spot before me had pulled straight ahead and parked at a vacuum. As I got out of my pickup, I noticed him looking at me. There was something about the way the guy looked at me that caused me a small amount of discomfort. Still, I got out my quarters and walked to the machine that takes my money. Before I put the money in, I noticed the guy looking at me again. At this moment I thought, either he really likes me, I'm not weraing any pants, or there's something wrong with this car wash. After a moment of thought, I decided to insert my $2 in quarters and start the process. The rinse went well. I had parked under a wire in Chico the day before, so I had mountains of bird crap decorating the vehicle that were quickly done away with by the hose. When I switched the machine to "SOAP," nothing happened. Usually, there's this little sound as though the machine has clicked over or changed gears or something. I thought to myself that it seemed like sometime in the past I had experienced something like this in which it took a few seconds for the soap to start coming out. This time, as seconds contnued to tick by, nothing happened. This was why the guy had been looking at me. He hadn't been able to use the soap either. As I realized what was going on, with the guy still at the vacuum, several thoughts went through my head. First, can I still clean my car at all? Second, can I walk over and kick the guys ass, and will the cop sympathize with me? Third, can I switch bays, pay more money, and continue washing my pickup? Fourth, should I yell at this asshole who could have stopped me from throwing $2 down the drain. The answers went, no, no, yes, yes. I didn't yell at the guy though. I don't know why. It would have been the only time in my life in which I would have felt and been completely justified in my negative reaction to a stranger. Instead, I pulled out, drove into another bay, and finished the wash. But now, to you Mr. Turquoise-ish Lincoln bastard, I say, fuck you, go to hell, you asshole. The only reason I don't want you to die is so that I can be in front of you somewhere, someday, find out that something doesn't work, and tell you about it. Then you'll say, "I'm such an asshole. How could I not have told that guy that the soap didn't work?"

I Thought About It For a Night

posted by BH

A few things stuck out during this year's Super Bowl. I wanted to give it a night in order to make sure I really felt in the morning the way I did immediately following the game.

-The officiating sucked. On Roethlesburger's dive into the endzone, the official came running out with an arm up, signalling that the play was dead, and Roethlesburger had not gotten into the end zone. About half way there, he raises the other arm, signalling a touchdown. My question is, what the hell happened between the time he left the sidelines signalling that there was no TD and the time he finally raised his other arm that convinced him he saw a touchdown? Had the official continued in his original assemssment that the ball had not cross the goal line, replay would not have overturned it, for the same reason they didn't overturn it in this case. Not enough evidence. The Seahawks were twice denied sure points on iffy calls. The pass interference in the end zone on the Seattle wide receiver was a joke, and it only took the official two seconds after the play was dead to throw the flag. The hold on the ball the Jeremy Stevens caught at the one was equally joke-riffic. Finally, the blocking below the waist penalty against Hassleback after his interception was one of the worst calls I have ever seen. How can you make that call if you're an official?

-Hines Ward had the worst game I've ever seen from an MVP. Two dropped passes. Two of the five he caught involved him being wide open; one on a broken broken play and another on a gimmick. I guess there was no real standout for either team, but guh.

-Way to have a game Joey Porter and Jeremy Stevens. Talk all week, don't show up on Sunday. For a guy who wanted to have Seattle tapping out in the second half, Porter sure had some weak tackles. Three to be exact. And Stevens? 3 catches for 25 yards and at least four dropped balls.

-The best commercial was the Fed Ex one in which the caveman gets stomped by a dinosaur. That may have been the only one I really laughed at.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Why I Don't Care About This Super Bowl

by SonDog

For those of you who know me, there is no question that I am one of the biggest sports fans on the planet. From roughly the time I was a fetus, I have had a sincere love affair with sports. Parents, girlfriends, buddies, co-workers and wifey have all been prone to say things like, "Dude, you are way too into sports," or, "No, you do your homework before watching the game," or, "What do you mean you can't go clubbin' because there's a game on?" or, "You're going to stop reading random sports pages, like the Oakland Tribune, while you're at work," or, "If you were watching SportsCenter while we were making out, I'll kill you," to my all-time favorite, "That's it. It's me or sports." I've heard it all.

So, what you're about to read may very well surprise you. I really don't care about this year's Super Bowl. It's not that I don't like football. Quite the opposite really. It's more that the teams representing the NFC and AFC this year stir up about as much entertainment value for me as watching Rocky lick himself in the middle of the living room. Humorous for a second, but definitely can't hold my attention.

Even the league is having a tough time marketing these teams. See how small the logos are on the bottom?

Pittsburgh is a good football town, from everything I'm told. My buddy, Rogish, is one of the most loyal Steelers fans I've ever seen. His move to pick up tailback Willie Parker off the free-agent wire, before anybody else in the league had ever heard of him, was one of the reasons why he dominated our fantasy league this year. (Well, he also pulled the annual "Let me see who is dumb enough to trade me Tike Barber and Antonio Gates, even though I'm already running away with this league" move that experienced players utilize.) Anyways, for fans like him, I couldn't be any happier. I remember the days when "my" 49ers considered it their annual rite of passage to participate in the Super Bowl. It's such an incredibly fun time when your team is in the game.

As for Seattle... whatever.

That being said, it's not that it has to be my team in the game. It's just that I have to have at least some rooting interest, one way or another. Usually that rooting interest is precipitated with a wager involving a large sum of money. But this year, I don't have a clue who I would bet on. Neither team strikes me as a "dominant force." The NFL this year was so mediocre (says the 49er fan) that I just couldn't get behind any team without feeling that, "Oh, this week there's a chance they can blow this." You never want your Super Bowl winner to be a team that could be beaten by roughly 39 of the previous 39 Super Bowl winners. I dunno, maybe I'm exaggerating, but the sense I have is that neither of these two teams would match up well against the Niners of the 80's, or the Cowboys of the 90's, or the Raiders, or previous Steeler teams, or even the Baltimore Ravens earlier this decade? I mean, the fact that the Brett Favre story and the Donovan McNabb vs. T.O. story (PLEASE MAKE THESE GUYS STOP!!! Seriously, they're worse than my sister and I when we were 10-years-old) have garnered bigger headlines this week should tell you something.

DM: "Are Not!" -- T.O.: "Are Too!" -- DM: "Are Not!" -- T.O.: "Are Too!" -- DM: "Are Not!" -- T.O.: "Are Too!" -- DM: "Are Not Not Not Not Not Not Not Not!" -- T.O.: "Are Too Times Ten!"

Thus, I'm in a quandary. I could care less who wins the game and I have no money on either team. What I'm truly looking forward to is going over to my buddy Reed's house to watch the game on a 7x7 HD projector system. There will be plenty of beer and whiskey. There will be plenty of food. And, as always, there will be plenty of commercials. I hope the score is close, because if not, I may be sprinting back to my house by halftime to watch the Kings vs. Jazz. At least the Ron Artest story is interesting.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

More Randomness... Just Because

by SonDog

When Kobe gives a first-person narrative, I have to drop what I'm doing and read. When the Mamba starts comparing himself to the character from Rudy, that's when I have to... well, that's when I have to breakdown and puke. Also, I, along with Kobe, would like to thank the good lord for blessing him "both physically and intellectually" to play the game of basketball. Apparantly, God forgot about him for a moment while in a luxurious suite in Cordillera. Have I mentioned how much I hate this guy? Kobe also says, in his ode to humanity, "I would love for people to think of me as a talented overachiever... rather than a sexual assault suspect." Okay, so I made the last pice up. But, c'mon, a "talented overachiever?" As opposed to what? An ego-driven, calculating con-artist with a talent for putting the ball in the bucket? Okay, I'll stop.

While we're on the topic of basketball, this is one way to die...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


by SonDog

--- Ron Artest on why he chose #93: "The shape of the numbers represent infinite intensity." Um, okay. Ron, let me make one thing crystal clear. You scare the hell out of me. I wish I was kidding, but I'm not. In the immortal words of Wes Mantooth, "Ron, I hate you with everything in my soul. But god damnit do I respect you... Today, we spell redemption, R.O.N." (Note... if you click on that video, the most fitting statement by Mike Breen is the, "Ron Artest has a look in his eye that is very scary right now.")

On that note, I'm half tempted (as opposed to fully tempted, I suppose) to drive to Salt Lake City on Friday night (it's only 5 hours away) to see the Kings play the Jazz, simply because I want to see what Artest and Bonzi Wells are capable of in the city of Salt Lake. Honestly, anything is possible with these two. However, as OZ pointed out to me this morning when I mentioned the idea to him: "Heck ya! Other than being a worthless husband and abandoning your pregnant wife, that's a great idea!" Point for OZ. My prediction is that if I run this idea past Lese, she will respond with, "Wait... You're gonna do what?" So, I think the only trip I'll be making on Friday is from my bar to my couch.

--- Here's a video of a young Steve Atwater, deciding that it was "Punishment Time." This pee-wee version of the hard-hitting safety was quoted as saying, "Bitch stole my twinkie."

--- This could be the only work-out video in the world that would... you know what, I don't even have the words. $20 says the director/camera man said, "CUT! Carmen, we need you to do that again, but this time try and brush your breasts with your hands a little more, and put some STANK on that SPANK!" 2 minutes later -- "CUT! You know, I'm just not feeling this. Why don't we try this one over again. And gals, lose the shoes this time, okay? C'mon, act like you mean it!"

--- President Bush, drunk again.

--- And for you dog lovers who aren't fans of basketball, slap a purple #93 jersey on this pooch and you basically have Ron Artest.