Thursday, September 27, 2007

Meesta Ecko

I'm struggling to find the energy. Marc Ecko, the douche who bought Barry Bonds' 756th home run ball for $752,467, is going to put an asterisk on the ball before sending it to Cooperstown. "This is obviously something that struck a chord with fans," Ecko said. How many fans? Who knows, but 34% felt like the ball should go to the Hall without a mark, and 47% voted pro-ASSterisk. 19% said the ball should just go away. What I love about this whole idea is that I didn't know about it ahead of time. How many people did? I didn't vote. How many others who aren't retarded didn't know and therefore didn't vote? How many of us who realize that anything any player has ever done to prolong a career changes the measurement? Knee surgery? Asterisk. Better weight-lifting techniques? Asterisk. Creatine? Asterisk. Closer fences? Asterisk. Watered-down quality of players due to expansion? Asterisk.


So a collection of short-sided shitwads, the demographics of which we know little, have decided they know enough to pass ultimate judgement on a piece of history. They, including Ecko, fail to recognize that they are not important enough to decide it right now. They never will be. Legacies have to be determined over time by those who can remove themselves from an emotional reaction and the inluence of biases. We all know if Bonds played in New York, the ball would have sold for 14 billion dollars and there would have been a parade in Manhattan. But he doesn't play in New York, or Boston, or Philadelphia, where the fate of the ball, and Bonds' image could have been spared.

This is our problem, right Mr. Ecko? This belongs to those of us who rose to our feet each time Bonds stepped into the box. This is mine because I cheered when he hit a ball off Chuck Finley over my head and into the bay during game 4 of the 2002 NLCS. Shame on me for cheering for a cheater, right? Shame on me for wanting entertainment. It's easy when it's not your guy, I know. It's not just Bonds your fucking with. It's me. Like it or not, we put our hearts into our teams. It's silly, but we do. You're not putting an asterisk just on the Bonds ball. You're putting an asterisk on the buzz that went through the ballpark when Bonds came up with two on and the Giants down by two. You're putting an asterisk on an entire group of people, not one guy's accomplishment. It's easy, I know, to make a judgement from far away. When it's not your guy on your team, it's easy. You don't even have to think about it. There are good guys and there are bad guys. This is our bad guy, huh? You might profess an objective attitude, but it's not real. That you'd even conduct a vote shows it. You knew you wouldn't get a representative view. And you didn't. And you've got what you wanted. And the 34% of voters who recognize that the accomplishment is bigger than you, and us, are screwed.

You've watched from afar as Bonds has had the shit beat out of him by the media and you've never questioned it. You, like many others, forget to really examine the whole Bonds idea. It's easier that way. Bonds is bad. People tell us he is. The media rams it down our throat. But where are the questions, Mr. Ecko? Why don't you ask where the good guy stories are? Todd Benzinger wrote a letter to the editor to SI in 1993 in which he describes Bonds rolling and playing on the floor with Benzinger's two year-old daughter. That's not the Bonds you know? The point is, there is always more to the story than black and white, good or bad. We know the bad guy tales. He's a cheater, and a cheater, and a dick, and a bad teammate. But he's a nice guy, and a good dad, and a good teammate. If it's your guy, Mr. Ecko, are you going to simply take the easy road, suspending intellectual honesty? No, you won't. You're going to do what we all did with Mark McGwire. Or Roger Clemens. It's hard to ask questions, but if you're going to permanently, arbitrarily, decide history, don't you owe it to all of us, even the sheep, to ask the real questions? Don't you owe it to everyone in the baseball world to recognize that you are not big enough to pass final judgement?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Worst. Call. Ever?

Niners ball on the Steelers' 32. 3rd and 13 in the 3rd quarter. Alex Smith hits Vernon Davis at the 10, seemingly giving the Niners a first and goal. But the ball pops free from Davis's grip as he hits the ground and the play is ruled a fumble. Mike Nolan correctly challenges the play, since replays clearly showed that Davis makes the catch, with the ball jarring free after his elbow has hit the ground. Easy. Simple. Fucked up by referee Jerry Austin, who in some weird exhibition of bullshit and double-talk ruled that because Davis had only gotten one toe on his second foot down, it was not a catch.

Austin's was a horrible call, primarily because of the simple fact that Davis maintained posession all the way to the ground. If nothing else, his elbow constituted that second foot. And he raises a new dilemma that is certain to plague the NFL throughout the rest of history: to which part of the body is the toe connected? Mike Nolan had gone to the challenge because of the fumble. In my recollection, the officials are only allowed to look at that specific aspect of the challenge, not some larger picture. If they ruled Davis had not made the catch, why not go all the way an rule it an interception rather than an incompletion? The ball clearly never hit the ground, and was caught in mid-air by a Pittsburgh DB.

It wasn't the only play the Niners needed. They didn't lose this game because of the pseudo reversal. It was wrong though, and took the Niners out of excellent position on a play in which they did everything right. It wasn't the worst call ever, which goes to the tuck-rule crew, but it was bad.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

An Open Letter to Joe Buck

You are awful. Awful, awful, awful, awful, awful. Terrible. I'm watching the Redskins/Giants. You and Troy Aikman are calling the game. Troy, meh. Tollerable. Moderately insightful. You are awful. The Buck Standard Call, or BS Call, goes something like:

"(Insert QB name)...(insert RB/WR/TE name)...what a hit by (insert LB/FS name)."

The real test of a tele commentator is, if I've got my back to the television, can I still tell what's happening if I just listen. With you, no way.

"(QB) steps (WR)...4th down."

WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED!! You add nothing. Your whole football modus operandi seems to consist of saying names. And adding unqualified color!

"What a throw by (QB)!"

Guh. Please get better. I know you're on FOX, and I know you guys think we are retarded, but please just get better. Don't think you can fool us by just talking.

Thanks, Joe. Now get back to baseball so I can mute you for the playoffs.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

You don't really have a point, so shut the...

I love the numbers in football. I don't really like watching games, mostly due to the after-play shenanigans. I'd rather watch the rotating scoreboard on NFL Network than a live game. Only a few teams play good football. While parity gives most teams a shot at the beginning of the year and shortens the shittiness cycle, it makes for some pretty crappy football. Among other reasons, guys are not with teams long enough to form real cohesiveness on offense, which makes for some boring shit more often than not. The Colts, Saints, Chargers, and Bengals are the obvious exceptions to this. The Niner-Cards game on Monday night was excruciating. The Bears-Bolts game was so bad, I left to go for a ride even though I had LT on my fantasy roster. The Cowboy-Giant game was the Jesus of the weekend, but even that game wasn't played particularly well.

Football is boring these days. I never used to listen to announcers. I used to watch the game. Madden and Summerall on Niner/Cowboy games were like some ambient glow rather than an intrusion. Michaels and Gifford were amazing, so much so that Dan Dierdorf's buffoonery was nothing more than a mosquito buzzing around your ear. Today, every tit with a microphone tries to be John Madden. Announcers tell you what to think about plays rather than describing them. The nice thing about Michaels and Summerall was that they'd let the viewer decide what they thought about a play. They left the color to the color guys, and even the color guys told you what happened, not what to think. Is it that football is so tough to watch that I can't help hearing crummy commentary? Or is it that crummy commentary is so bad that it's making football tough to watch. I don't know. I do know the experience that is football on television is almost unbearable. Thank God Madden and Michaels are together on Sunday night.

I was driving home on Monday from Vail to NorCal, listening to the Bengals-Ravens game. Boomer Esiason was doing the color alongside some douche I'd never heard of. Over and over Boomer talked about momentum. The Bengals had the momentum, then it turned and the Ravens did, then the Bengals got it back after a fumble recovery, then the Ravens had the momentum. He kept talking about it. Boomer, I know you're a frequent MHR reader, so if you're reading this, let me tell you something everyone else already knows. Momentum in sports is not real. If momentum switches seemingly from play to play, there is none. Please stop talking about it. And if the point you're trying to make isn't really panning out, don't try to make it work. You just look, or sound, silly.

So the whole experience has become very ho-hum. DMo, Sondog, the Butler and myself were at Sondog's house Sunday morning, excited as all hell to watch the opening Sunday of football season. We were all pretty hung-over so it wasn't the most reliable case-study, but Sondog ended up asleep on the floor and the rest of us left before the second game was at the quarter. Elam's kick at the gun was nice, especially since it got me four points in our fantasy league, but the day was a tough watch.

Friday, September 14, 2007

So, Meh...

I started a blog called, 'stopthefistpump' some time ago, and realized there was nothing to write about other than the title's suggestion. I haven't written anything there for a few months. I've decided to get it going again, but it won't be limited to fisting pumps. I've got the same address but a different name, so check it out. I don't know what I'll write about, or why the hell you'll care to read it.

The Secret of My Success

Fuck, I know. Every self-righteous douche that watches an NFL game, blogs (a little), and believes in an East-Coast bias is writing about Bill Belichick this morning.

So it turns out Belichick is a cheater. And we're not talking, "The camera was pointed at the coaching staff all game, so...maybe" cheating. Belichick was caught walking out of the bathroom with a 16-inch syringe sticking out of his ass. It took Roger Goodell four days to administer punishment. Evidently it was so blatant, that IT ONLY TOOK FOUR DAYS!! There are no former congressmen heading farcical task forces. There is evidence and punishment. There are no questions.

Well, okay, I guess there is one. How long has Belichick been doing this? There has to be a huge shadow over every single Pats win since he's taken over. Hell, there have to be questions at all his stops. John Clayton wrote this morning, "Belichick means everything to this team. He's the best coach in football. He has the best schemes in the league." Uh, no John, we don't know that anymore. We sure as hell know he's not the best creator of spying techniques. Thank capial g God he's not running shit for us in South Korea. His poor camera man would look Brad Pitt in Spy Game fucked, rather than simply escorted to the gates at The Meadowlands. I don't know what kind of coach he is. I don't know what his schemes look like without the benefit of knowing what's coming. This raises questions about everything involved with this organization, since Belichick has his hands in everything. And let's not assume he is the only person who knows what is going on. He is simply the ring-leader, and I'm sure players know the deal. This is organizational corruption. We know teams worry about cheating and a few have been accused. But never has an offense been so cut and dry.

Everything the Pats have done in their run is tainted. Is Belichick a great coach? Hell, beats me. I'm not willing to simply say that he is, the way John Clayton does. I know he's a cheater. I don't know if the capital g Golden Boy is the great quarterback we all think he is. I don't know if anyone on that team will now actually be able to play the way we've seen in the past. And if they do? Are they cheating? Has the guy with the 'best schemes in football' come up with the newest, best scheme in cheatball? There will always be questions. Not suggestions and winks and 'fuck, it was like they knew what was coming out there''s. Real, validated questions. And to this point, real, validated answers. Is the Bradyfallocentric ESPN going to wonder? No. They will still compare him to Joe Montana, forever pretending this is a Belichick-only issue. Belichick will get litle more than a figurative slap-on-the-wrist from the talking heads at the worldwide leader. Will they ask questions about asterisks next to each Pats Super Bowl win? Of course not. This is their team, their chiseled All-American guy, their brilliant coach.