Monthly archives: June 2008
I got a flood of email yesterday -- naturally, about the time i was flying from Indy to New York -- asking what I'd done to piss off Buzz Bissinger. Bissinger called me out as "unfair" along with Firejoemorgan. My initial reaction is "huh?"
There are two possibilities -- the first is that he didn't like my coverage of his meltdown on Costas Now. The other is that he didn't like how I dealt with him during an interview I did with him about a year ago regarding his NY Times article regarding Kerry Wood and pitch counts. I think the interview was fair. Maybe he's mixing me up with Boog Sciambi.
I don't think I was unfair in either place. I even put the interview up at BPR so that people could hear it and make up their own mind. I honestly have no idea what Buzz is talking about here, but I know he knows how to reach me if he wants to discuss it.
Fantasy Resource Allocation
Rather than a boring discussion of fantasy resource allocation, it's much, much easier to just show you:
Hope that helps.
My L. Ron Hubbard
I guess if you know nothing different, you have no idea as a child if you are growing up in an extremely religious home. My family were bible-thumpers. We weren't Jehovah Witness, but as a family, we did knock on doors preaching the message of Jesus as the Savior. We didn't speak in tongues like the Foursquare, but we were told that drinking or dancing were verboten. I can recall during many services, the Pastor would ask if someone wanted to come to the front to accept the Lord into their heart. I did this a few times, as I was moved by the message, despite being under the age of 8.
Thoughts on Carlin (More to Come)
Since I reached my teenage years, I have been wary of having any type of idol worship. My guess is that George Carlin would have been of this mindset, as well. The coincidence in the equation is that the closest thing I have had since my conversion to Kill Your Idols to an exception to the rule is George Carlin. I will weigh in on him in much further detail when I have some time on Wednesday. Until then, I suggest you check out this piece from one of my absolutely favorite regulars here at the Toaster, Chyll Will. Oh and if you haven't done it yet, I also highly suggest you check out Alex Belth's thoughts on Carlin, as well.
WIde World of Sports
These are the topics that shape the sports world today.
I had meant to comment on the passing of ABC's Jim McKay for awhile now. I know if I"d have been McKay, I would've requested that my funeral take place in Obesrtdorf, Germany. I would then have instructed my family to dress me up in a ski costume and send me flying down a ski jumping ramp, reenacting the Agony of Defeat highlight that I had become so famous for narrating. I mean how spectacular would that have been?
I'm guessing, though, that I'm a bit more non-traditional than the average person.
I know many find Ozzie Guillen obnoxious, but I think the guy is the funniest manager since Casey Stengel. Here is his latest gem on Wrigley Field.
Interesting story about Giants rookie outfielder, Brian Horowitz. His teammates have nicknamed hm the Rabbi. While one might ask why even make anything of his religious affiliation, I think it shows how far the game has come. Just consider the best nickname opponents had for Hank Greenberg. Big Jew Bastard.
In Case Your Hatred/Jealousy of Tom Brady Wasn't Complete
In the latest GQ magazine, Giselle Bundchen is photographed in what appears to be Tom Brady's junior high football socks. And she makes it work. So you are the most successful quarterback of your generation, plus you date a supermodel who makes according to Forbes magazine, $35 million per year. Hey dude, how about spreading around some of your luck?
The only thing that makes me feel a bit better is that in his college career, the wisdom of coach, Lloyd Carr, had Brady on the bench behind Drew Henson. As a Iowa Hawkeye fan, I'm sure going to miss the dynamic leadership of Coach Carr.
Newest Steroid User Revealed
It's Scott Long. Here's the story.
In May my voice started to wear out easily. As more time went by, it got to the point where I struggled to project. I visited an ears, nose, and throat doctor for it. This doctor looked at my throat. (He also looked at my ears and nose, which must be complimentary.) His diagnosis was that I had 2 polyps on my left vocal chord. Surgery was scheduled.
I was told I would have just a scratchy throat after the procedure. Well, the procedure didn't go as well as planned, as I was told afterwards that I have an unusually long neck. This was news to me, as I've never been mistaken for Merton Hanks. (By the way, what other football player rocked a turtleneck like the Mert?)
***I used to see Merton a lot, as his dorm was next to mine when we were both attending the Univesity of Iowa. During my years at the school, Hanks and B.J. Armstrong were the best guys who were on any athletic team at the school that I had any interaction with.
So since it was more difficult to get to my larynx, the medical team had to use extended tools which were more difficult to get into my mouth. Scratchy throat my ass! Afterwards, the inside of my lip and my tongue were completely swollen. plus one of my teeth was chipped. Since I was under the whole time, I have no idea what truly happened. The aftermath made me wonder if my mouth wasn't used in some gang bang starring Dick Rambone.
The first few days afterwards, I was instructed not to talk. Then, I was given a steroid pack, which would aid me in having more vocal strength after the surgery. The steroids did wonders for me, which has been magnified over the past couple of days since the pack ran out. I tried to get another prescription for them, but the nurse told me they were a temporary fix and would hinder my recovery at this point. She told me that many singers use steroids as it gives them more power during their performances. She also mentioned that some singers don't get rid of their polyps, as they are concerned it can affect the sound and tone of their voice. (I bet this dude is on the juice and probably also has a baker's dozen of nodules.)
All I know is that I want my 'roids back. I make my living with my voice, so I can completely tell you that I would use them illegally, if I knew someone who could hook me up. Is it cheating that I could have a vocal advantage over some lesser voiced performer? Quite possibly, but I'm more concerned about moving up in my profession and I would be willing to take that chance. Now what I wouldn't do, even if it helped me get ahead would be to steal someone else's material. I guess we all have our own moral code. As someone who in my profession is a star in Triple A, I wish it was as easy as taking some pills to make the step up the ladder to Major League superstar.
Now what does this post have to do with baseball?
The iTunes Problem
I have an interview up with Jason Snell of MacWorld over at BP where we discuss the impending iPhone 3G and new software from MLB.com. It's worth a listen, but I've been reading TUAW.com, Macrumors, and others, but I haven't seen anyone addressing one issue: The iTunes model.
People in the development community have been complaining about the slow, seemingly random process for accepting developers into the iPhone development program at the same time we've seen leaks about all the applications that are coming. What I haven't seen is a ship date for most of these. Yes, we know the iTunes App Store will open on July 11th, but not much beyond that. That's a Friday, like the original introduction of the iPhone. I think the proximity of the weekend has more to do with it than anything.
But I'm focused on Tuesday. Not any specific Tuesday, but that's the day that new albums "ship" into iTunes. The music industry has long used Tuesday, though I really have no idea why. iTunes just continued the model. But when iTunes went beyond music into movies, they picked Tuesday as well. Again, this tends to be the "ship date" for DVDs, so it could be just picking up the model or easier to promote things on one day, but the real test will come with the iPhone Apps.
Will we see a "release" slate for iPhone apps? I think so. A big rush of apps is nice, but people only have so much money and a constant stream of new apps will bring people back to look. It will set up anticipation, especially if there's an established release schedule (ie, "Hey Super Monkey Ball comes out in two weeks!") It's a different model, though not that different from console games. I think the weekly release model keeps the iPhone hype train alive long after the 3G drops and before the next new variation.
All I know is that I'll have that MLB app on my phone as soon as it's available. Super Monkey Ball? Not so much. The gamechanger? Having Gameday in my hand while I'm sitting at the game ...
Has the Week of the Tiger Ended?
The past week has been a good time to be a Tiger.
Well with the news that Woods will be out for the rest of the year, after his now Willis Reed-like performance of winning on one-leg, it appears that things might be turning negative for all Tigers.
I will know that the luck of the Tiger has completely changed if the Jonas Brothers decide to leave the country to become Tibetan Monks. What will Tiger Beat do then?
It's Always The Quiet One
So here's what we know about Marvin Harrison:
1. He's really good, perhaps the best WR of this generation.
As TK would say, "that's it! That's the list!"
Harrison's jersey is everywhere in Indy, as much, maybe more than Peyton Manning. Still, to this day, I don't believe I've ever once heard the man speak. Commercials? Nope. Talk show? Nope. Radio? Nope. He shows up on Sunday, catches the ball, goes home. Sure, last season there was the injury, but it was never Harrison talking about it. Reggie Wayne said more about Harrison's injury than Harrison did!
I'm not sure there's ever been a more anonymous superstar in sports and certainly not one in the ESPN/Deadspin era. Try to find one thing not football related on his wiki page. (No, it doesn't count that he was a two-way player in high school.) Let's see ... he went to Syracuse. He was raised by his mother in Philly. He has a son, one seldom seen. He owns a car wash and a bar, called Playmakers, in his old Philly neighborhood. He likes custom Belgian guns.
Sure, we can all appreciate a FN Five-Seven and the Second Amendment, but if you look above, two of those things we know are only known because of the police investigation. Some have questions Harrison's involvement in his old neighborhood. "Keepin' it real" just never seemed to be a priority for Harrison, but evidently it was. Heck, we don't even know who was killed in this shooting.
Killed? Oh yeah, no one was killed. A man was shot in the hand. A boy across the street was hit with some shrapnel. I'm not minimizing here -- any shooting is serious, especially one that could have had tragic consequences for an innocent child. I'm just mentioning it because we know so very little about everything in this case. The vacuum of information has led to wild rumors that Harrison's incarcerated father had offended a prison gang. If so, his father must be doing it from the grave; he died when Harrison was a child.
So I don't know if Harrison is the victim of bad judgement, bad luck, or bad friends. I don't know if Harrison is a secret gangsta running a front operation for the Bloods. I don't know if Harrison will be ready for the season in 2008 or if he'll be facing charges.
More than any athlete in this era, we don't know Marvin Harrison. He seems to like it that way.
Lance Armstrong Explains Why He Has So Much Energy
It has always seemed beyond remarkable that Lance Armstrong could dominate the Tour de France the way he did. Now we find out what helps him achieve more today. It's an energy drink he's pitching called FRS. Wait until the French newspapers get a hold of this info. I can't wait to hear Greg LeMond's interview on the subject of Lance's new boost product. I'm guessing Greg would begin with, ENERGY DRINK MY ASS.
Speaking of Lance and ass, here is the one he has been pedaling on lately. I've never been a big fan of Kate Hudson, but she does have about as perfect a pair of mudflaps as I've ever seen. I feel like going out and buying one of those Lance Armstrong bracelets just as a show of respect to my man for riding those spongecakes.
The Destruction of Indiana Basketball
You might have heard about how over the past week, Indiana University has been pleading its case to the NCAA, trying to stay away from some kind of death sentence. The trangressions by Kelvin "Are You In My 5?" Sampson were pretty sickening, especially considering that he had similar problems at Oklahoma, but I would offer up that the school's basketball program has already went through as big of a fall as has ever happened to a major power in the sport and shouldn't face more. Between players leaving early, leaving for another school, or just being dismissed, the Hoosiers have been left with one 1 scholarship player on its roster. This is one of the Top 5 hoops schools in NCAA history and they will be lucky to win 5 games in 2008-09.
When I moved to Indianapolis in 1990, I was pretty neutral to the Hoosiers. I'm an Iowa Hawkeye alum, but I always had a respect for the way IU played. In the early 90's, every IU game was shown on local TV and these games drew crowds in sports bars like it was Monday Night Football. After just one-year of living around the mania that most of the state felt for their Hoosiers and Bob Knight, I developed a strong hatred for the team. The stories that I heard about Knight's behavior behind the scenes were my greatest reason to despise the Hoosiers, as his mental abuse of everyone around him reminded me strongly of my own father.
While the Hoosiers continued to be a Top 20 team during the decade, they generally underachieved in the NCAA tourney, which gave me great delight. My hatred for the school was so great that I became a Purdue fan, just because it was their biggest rival. Knight's fall from grace has been well-documented and his the struggles by his replacement, Mike Davis were very real, as Davis was above his head.
For the past decade, most of the top prep players from the state have been signing elsewhere. Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Zach Randolph, Justin Cage, etc. have went elsewhere, causing the school's hardcore fan base to dwindle. Combine this with the explosion of interest in the Indianapolis Colts and Hoosier Nation hoops barely resembles its former self. They had become so mediocre it became difficult to really want to muster the energy to hate them.
For a brief moment, it appeared like things were going to change. The school brought in Kelvin Sampson and he was very aggressive in his recruiting. His biggest coup, also was a moral dilemma to some fans. The best guard to come out of the state since possibly Oscar Robertson, Eric Gordon, had already given a verbal committment to Illinois. In the Big 10, there seems to be a gentlemen's agreement that you don't try to get players to break their committments from another conference school. Well, Never Let Them See You Sweat* Sampson is obviously no gentleman and he went hard after Gordon when he got the gig in Bloomington.
The fall-out initially was Gordon ended up at IU and the team thrived, while Illinois ended up having a very disappointing season. It all began to fall-apart for the Hoosiers towards the last month of the year, when the illegal recruiting issues became more known. Sampson ended up getting bought out of his contract and the team fell-apart under the interim leadership of Dan Dakich. Now a basketball school has a team that will be made up mainly of walk-ons and second-rate recruits. New coach Tom Crean is top-notch, but he has an extremely high mountain to climb.
Indiana University has been punished enough for the transgressions of Sampson. I don't think the NCAA should add anything to their sentence. I'm rooting for Crean to turn the program around by 2010, as I will miss having someone to legitimately hate in college basketball.
Wii. No, really. Wii!
I have a Wii. Love it. I bought Wii Fit.
I think I just got a good workout there by watching.
Of course, there's some negatives to Wii Fit too. Can't stop stupid people, but at least some of them are fun to watch wiggle ...
Makes me want to go on vacation ...
McCain Wants Who?
I've avoided politics as much as I can this season, my cynicism holding strongly. I have followed, especially over at FiveThirtyEight, but nothing is holding my interest as much as the derby for the Vice Presidents. After miserable choices over the past few elections -- Jack Kemp added nothing to a sure loser in Bob Dole, Joe Lieberman and Dick Cheney fell to new lows in vastly different ways, and John Edwards got worked in his debate by Cheney coming off as no more than a modern Dan Quayle -- we now have some real possibilities.
We're starting to hear names like Jim Webb, Bill Richardson, and even Caroline Kennedy on the Democratic side, while the Republicans have focused on "their Obama," Bobby Jindal as well as Mitt Romney and Charlie Crist. Now I'm hearing that the McCain campaign is locked in on a new guy, Eric Cantor. Watch this one develop ...
... and see how long it is before a blueblogger picks up on *his* middle name.
In other unexpected news:
Sun sets in west.
Gas prices rise.
Jenn Sterger still hot.
You know, Deadspin advertises their lack of access (which is more of an act now than it was when Gawker first launched. I don't have that issue, no matter how hard the BBWAA makes it for us. I've met Bill Bavasi. He's done two Pizza Feeds. He helped a friend of mine who was working on an article about his dad, taking time out of his busy day. While I don't know the man well, I can say that in all my interactions with him, he came off as a good dude. In fact, when we first were introduced, he noticed that we both wore Oakley glasses.
But being a good dude doesn't make you a good GM. The job he did in Seattle will be remembered as a failure and rightly so. Everyone should remember that while Nino might say "it's just business", it isn't. It can't be. People across the net and print will attack Bavasi's work despite the hours committed, the ones he didn't spend with his family. At least he didn't lose his hair over it.
We'll see if Lee Pelekoudas can do any better.
If you're not watching the US Open Playoff, you have to -- right now. Do what you have to do; leave work, pull over on your commute at a bar. This is the type of drama that we have sport for and the type of event that makes sportswriters legends. I won't even try.
Add in the unbelievable Nike ad with the Earl Woods narration and you have the true definition of 'classic.'
Trust me, go watch.
UPDATE: Man, I love YouTube
Around the Horn: ESPN Classic Edition
Ok, here’s my pitch for a new blockbuster show for ESPN Classic. Take 2 legendary sportswriters and put them together with 2 of the buffoons ESPN claims work in the same profession. Call the show, Around the Horn, the Classic Edition. Here are some highlights of the pilot episode.
Tony Reali: Today we have 4 esteemed sportswriters on the panel to break down the events of the day. Grantland Rice, Jim Murray, Skip Bayless, and Woodie Paige. Let’s start with Jim Murray. What do you think of Tiger Woods throwing his club on the 18th, yesterday.
Murray: Show me a man who is a good loser and I will show you a man who is playing with his boss.
Reali: I give you 2 points for that one, though it was kind of brief. I will have to dock you a point, though, for those coke-bottle glasses. They aren’t very telegenic.
Paige: Hey, that wasn’t bad, Jimbo, but I have to take exception somewhat. Tiger is a role-model and he should behave like one. At least that is what the producers of the show want me to say, as I’m paid not to speak from the heart, but to offer up a contrary point to stir things up. My integrity is tied to my paycheck.
(We see Murray role over in his grave. Twice.)
Bayless: Well according to the ESPN fan poll, 53% of participants felt Woods acted inappropriately.
Rice: I will offer up that a wise man makes his own decisions; an ignorant man follows the public opinion.
Paige: Look at you with your fancy words. I guarantee you the focus groups won’t have you making a return appearance.
Murray: My sight might not be great, but I can smell a couple of hacks in the room and they are the 2 in the room that don’t even have decomposing bodies.
Bayless: I think the smell you are referring to is probably peroxide. Woodie and I had our tips done before the show.
Rice: You 2 sirs are buffoons of the highest order.
STAY TUNED FOR EPISODE 2, WHEN BILL PLASCHKE AND RED SMITH ARGUE THE MERITS OF DAVID BECKHAM.
Hey Kids, Let's All Play the Ozzie Guillen Word Jumble
One of sad fallouts from people not reading newspapers anymore is their is little work anymore for the guy who puts together word jumbles. Trying to fill the void, here is an Ozzie Guillen special edition. Remember these are the actual spellings, not a phonetic version of how he says them.
Ozzie is nobody’s… C H B I T
What he calls only his closest friends G G A F O T
His favorite word. C I N F U G K
What two words he uses in place of cursing. B U C K S H O W A L T E R
Jeff Saturday called ...
... and is offended that Scott would compare his ass to Kim Kardashian.
Peyton Manning, a guy who knows a thing or two about butts, agrees.
Yeah, no press pass for me this year in Indy ...
Hey, it's a blind item ... you know, like On The DL, but with real stuff?
It's no secret that baseball players cheat on their wives and girlfriends. Until recently -- specifically Johnny Damon's book -- some of the details weren't quite so well known. One of the most popular techniques is the "batphone", a second cell phone that's given out only to the Annies.
Unfortunately the WAGs are beginning to look for that second phone. One young star of the game discovered that not only had his woman found his phone, called his "Fave Five" with some choice words, but had gone with the full Roger Dorn treatment with the reliever with the "hot accent."
We'll see if the young star can act desperate enough to get his girl back or whether he has enough numbers in his phone (and contract) to live well without her.
Predicting a Big Year for Reggie Bush
It has been discussed here before about how no player was more overhyped going into the NFL than Reggie Bush. Considering that he had one of the best offensive lines in college football history, all the Trojans tough inside carries were run by LenDale White, and let’s not forget a pretty decent quarterback in Matt Leinart … Reggie had it pretty good at SC. And what we didn’t know was that he was playing professional football while he was there, despite not actually declaring for the draft until he had already gotten paid mad money.
Well after one bad p.r. move after another, Reggie seems to have made a great decision which has went under the radar. Knowing that to be a successful runner in the NFL you need a lineman with a sturdy pair of thighs and a big ass to open up the holes, Reggie has gone one further than most players would. He is actually dating a prototype NFL pulling guard in Kim Kardashian. If you doubt me, look at her latest photo. She’s like Willie Roaf with a sexy face!
Cycling: Not Safe For ... Well, Anytime.
Apparently, the Tour de France has fallen on harder times than we knew.
All I can say is thank G-d for that flag ...
The Mets Need a Dual Action Cleanse
Isn't it about time to start throwing out names for who will replace Willie Randolph? As Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal wrote on Saturday, even when the Mets won, manager Willie Randolph lost.
The Ed Kranepool Society writes what a joke this franchise has turned into, as I've said before there is not a pair of balls in the whole lot. No one can make a decision on who stays and who goes.
Well I think I have the perfect solution to get the Mets off the pot. Klee Irwin. You might ask who Klee Irwin is. He is the informercial genius behind the Dual Action Cleanse system. Besides being a pitchman for projectile bowel movements, Klee is also a dynamic leader who offers personal coaching. It's like Anthony Robbins without the scary jaw and massive teeth.
It takes a special individual to rock a pencil-thin mustache and manage to come off even sleazier than filmmaker John Waters. The Mets have played like they are constipated for awhile, so why not hire a man who has the expertise in getting the most out of people. I mean read this testimonial:
After a few days I began to have that flat tummy feeling.
I felt empty. I felt light.
My energy levels went through the roof!
Please sign below to petition to have Klee Irwin the next Mr. Met. I mean, he can't be more full of shit than Bobby Valentine.
Lunch Break Videos
Yeah, I'm still touting Back Door Slam.
Speaking of St. Ronnie, here's some Drive-By Truckers rockin' on of my faves of theirs acoustic-style. Why these guys aren't just huge is beyond me.
And if "Wipeout" is going to be big, can we really not get Home Run Derby back on the air? I mean The Baseball Channel is going to need to fill a lot of air time ...
Homer Go Home?
It's no secret that the Reds have figured out that Homer Bailey isn't the answer for their pitching woes. What's new is that Bailey himself is about to bail on the Reds, assuming my source is correct. A person within the Reds organization said that Bailey's "done mentally" and that he's discussed going home to Texas rather than back to Louisville if the Reds send him down as expected.
Much of this is likely frustration on the part of Bailey, but he's never been one to want to work on the things he needs to fix in order to take his one talent - a plus fastball - and turn into a pitcher. His lack of progress on his secondary pitches, his lack of focus on the mound, and his lack of commitment to conditioning have turned my once-contrarian opinion of Bailey into the mainstream view.
Every time an organization thinks they have the next Nolan Ryan, they should remember they might just have the next Colt Griffin.
Pitching For the Presidency
John McCain is a Diamondbacks fan, but due to his shoulder injuries, he's not much for first pitches, needing a special 20 foot rubber when he threw out the pitch last time the Dbacks were in the Series.
Then again, Scott's loving the idea of a White Sox President.
And let's not forget the lovable loser:
This pic is even more interesting:
It's not a bad idea to take a look back and see
Finally - XM/Sirius Approved
The FCC finally gave the OK for a merger between XM and Sirius. This is the final hurdle and comes just in time to combine the entities for NFL season. For sports fans, this is big news, but as you should have expected it's going to cost you. XM and Sirius have split up the sports world with MLB, NHL, and some college sports on XM, with the NFL, NASCAR, and the NBA on Sirius. Both have golf, because nothing's more compelling on the radio than golf.
The plan is to create a new tier of programming that allows a subscriber to not only keep their current plan (XM or Sirius) but to add channels from the other. In other words, Sirius can now get MLB and XM can now get the NFL, since the music and other programming is essentially the same. Scott's the only guy I know who has both, so I'll let him break down the differences in another post. MLB is the more valuable property due to the amount of content, but getting all that content (and the necessary channels) over to Sirius receivers is going to be a challenge.
They'll have an interoperable radio within a year and it's at that point we'll start seeing consolidation of channels in order to see the cost savings that Mel Karmazin has been promising to shareholders. I'll have my Inno locked onto XM175 for now, but I have been wanting to hear Peter King's segments. Now I get both ... for $16.99 a month, an extra five spot per.
Wait! Someone IS Watching!
Holy cow, Kige Ramsey -- my favorite YouTube Host/Exec Producer/Set Designer/Camera Operator/Writer -- is not only breaking down EACH and EVERY game of the NBA Finals, he's borrowed Bill Simmons' jersey to do it:
How Deadspin itself doesn't have this linked up already is beyond me. I mean, has Will Leitch forgotten his roots? I will admit I'm a bit surprised that Kige is in a green Garnett jersey. He struck me as more the Kobe type ...
Tiffany Simons has a tough job at NBC Sports ... she has to talk sports, look good, and deal with knuckleheads like Gregg Rosenthal, Aaron Gleeman, and (during NFL season) me. Now they have her talking Euro 2008 which proves that research must be showing that males around America will even pretend to pay attention to soccer if Tiffany's involved.
You can see why:
What's On Chris Berman's iPod
In a new investigative journalism series, we find out what is in the iPods of America's top sports celebrities. Our first target is Chris Berman. Considering Boomer seems to have no knowledge of any music done after 1979, it should be interesting to see what happens when we hit his random button.
I Just Wanna Make Love to You- Foghat
Lovin Touchin’ Squeezin’- Journey
Dirty White Boy- Foreigner
Do You Wanna Make Love- Peter McCann
Sharing the Night Together- Dr. Hook
Escape (The Pina Colada Song)- Rupert Holmes
Tonight’s the Night- Rod Stewart
(and of course) Leather and Lace- Stevie Nicks
It was an important lesson for America on Sunday as Dale Earnhardt Jr. used something called "good gas mileage" to win on the big circle in Michigan. Going 55 laps on two cans of fuel comes out to about 6.5 mpg or about what most of Dale Jr's fans got from their big Silverados on the way home from the track. Reports are that GM is fascinated by the applications of such advanced technology used by Earnhardt like "coasting", "turning off the engine", and in what sounds like something from the future, "turning down the cool box."
It was Junior's first win since coming to Hendricks Racing and a big help for his marketing machine, one that was beginning to become confused. Even the rednecks realize that if you're going to sell cars, soda, and jeans, you'd better win once in a while or they'll start trying to figure out if someone with an HBOtalian name like "Joey Logano" can be tattooed on their chest.
The Finals? Really?
Indiana is the home of basketball, which is why we're flat ignoring the NBA Finals. The "classic matchup" of Kobe Bryant's Lakers and the mercenary Celtics isn't doing it for me any more than the rest of the NBA season did. Bob Knight was once asked if he had any interest in coaching in the NBA. "No," he said, "I'm a basketball coach."
The NBA only seems to generate interest when Kobe's sneaking up behind young girls or smacking fans in the third row. Here in Indiana, where the Pacers were lottery-bound and drawing three thousand fans a night, we didn't even have a good fight to take our mind of losing. There's no Magic, no Bird, and for me, just no interest.
Maybe if they started fixing the games ... oh, look there's Dick Bavetta!
Tiger Woods Wins 2008 US Open
What is it you say? There is an 18 hole playoff today. Sorry, but the tourney is over. Truthfully, I wouldn't be surprised if Rocco Mediate just decides to hit the snooze a few times and doesn't show up to the course. I don't know what the rules are in that spot, but maybe the first alternate gets to fill-in. Calling the ghost of John Daly at Crooked Stick (PGA 1991) because that is the only way Tiger could be denied.
Instead of breaking down how the playoff will go, it's time to move on to the next major, the British Open. You might be unaware of this, but Tiger Woods is even a bigger star in Great Britain than in America. Not so much for his golfing acumen, though, but for his teeth. His chiclets are seen as mythic by most British citizens. Kind of like how a coke bottle was perceived by the villagers in The Gods Must Be Crazy.
Below is the typical example of what dental hygiene in Great Britain looks like.
Welcome to the Juice Blog's Version of Deadspin
Today, Will and I will be posting topical sports pieces all day. We thought it would be fun as a writing exercise to do this in a Deadspin-style, as an homage to Will Leitch, who is stepping down from the editor spot. Not that I suspect I need to mention this, but feel free to post your comments and suggestions on today's targets.
Three quick hit music reviews:
Coldplay, "Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends" Yeah, I like the longer title and thanks to a friend in the UK, I got a UK version of the album which is (as far as I can tell) identical to what will be released on Tuesday. The album is getting a lot of attention, deservedly, and the early comparisons are to U2's "The Joshua Tree." With Brian Eno producing, there are some notable similarities, especially in structure. Coldplay's Chris Martin goes for the dramatic moments like no one since Bono and he does it well on this album. It's much more instrumental than I expected, nearly atmospheric at times and certainly more cinematic in scope than previous albums. It's an evolution of sound, not revolution, despite the cover. The title track is as big and poppy as anything they've done, while first single "Violet Hill" holds up well despite not sounding like a conventional pop single. On first (and second) listen, it's a good not great album, but like "Joshua" I think it will grow on me. It's certainly not a failure and I'll admit my expectations were sky high. I'd give this a B+ now but I wouldn't be surprised if this made the year-end Top Ten.
Back Door Slam, "Roll Away/EP" The album may have come out last year, but with a new push starting at SXSW, this young Manx band is finally garnering some notice. From the first notes of "Come Home," the talent of Davy Knowles is apparent. He plays guitar like a master, evoking everyone from Eric Clapton to Stevie Ray Vaughan while singing like a bluesy Paul Weller. The songs range from very good to great and the consistency is stunning from a band this young. "Heavy On My Mind" could be a Cream song while "It'll All Come Around" evokes the late Jeff Healey. I haven't been this excited since hearing Healey for the first time or maybe Shannon Curfman a decade ago. At just 20, Knowles is headed for something amazing and shows that with Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jonny Lang "aging", that there's a new generation of blues heroes coming up in the iPod age. A new EP with versions of Hendrix's "Red House" and a raging version of John Hiatt's "Riding With The King" is available at iTunes.
My Morning Jacket, "Evil Urges" MMJ was the band I just didn't 'get' for a while. I was late to the party, but at least I didn't miss the good stuff. From "It Still Moves" and "Z", I finally heard what everyone else seemed to have heard earlier - a talented band with a vision that escapes most. With his latest album, Jim James and his crew have made not just a step, but a leap forward. They may have almost abandoned the jam-band in a silo vibe, grabbing up influences as varied as Motown, The Flaming Lips (seriously - "Thank You Too" would be a Wayne Coyne megahit), Prince, and Radiohead for an album that's just ... overwhelming. It's really of a piece and deserves listening to in line, as the artists laid it out. That commitment gets some reward, letting it wash over you, shock you with "Highly Suspicious", dance along with the poppy "I'm Amazed" and floating through the last 15 minutes, a two song tour de force. Your friends might not get this album, but just like I did, if they'll give it a shot, they'll come around. This is genius music.
Show Me The Bodies
I have some questions for George Mitchell and MLB:
1. Sen. Mitchell: Show me the bodies. Show me more than a handful of troubled youth that have their deaths connected to steroids. All three you saw in your hearings involved suicide and I'm sorry, but some young men and women kill themselves over far less. One is too many and I'm not dismissing the death of any of these kids. I looked in the eyes of one of the mothers at a conference and saw the pain.
2. MLB: Why has the Taylor Hooton Foundation carried out one* of their "Hoot's Chalk Talks" after several million dollars in donations? Why have your donations not been accounted for? Why has there been no educational effort beyond this and your ineffective television ads?
Donating money doesn't get results and saying that "thousands" or "millions" of kids are affected by steroids is innumerate at best and a lie at worst. The Mitchell Report was a waste of time, money, and effort. It was a slight of hand that Mitchell's posturing is only turning into more of a farce.
*UPDATE: I should clarify this. Only one of the centerpiece presentations of the THF has been done at a Major League Park or in association with an MLB team. There is a long schedule of these for 2008, so there's progress.
There's no question that sites like Deadspin, With Leather, and similar are popular. I love reading them and often laugh out loud at some of their stuff. I'm certainly no Buzz Bissinger, but the problem I have with the sites is they don't produce much content. If you read them, you're just seeing funny commentary on things happening somewhere else. That's not a bad thing, just a different thing. Will Leitch is a very good writer, as he's proved in his other outlets, and is now moving on to another gig that will allow him more focus on that with New York magazine.
So I was wondering ... how hard is it to do Deadspin style commentary, linking, and even the occasional content. Scott's on some enforced downtime, so on Monday, we're going to turn The Juice into a Deadspin clone for a day. Lots of posts, lots of links, and we'll see how it works. We hope you'll join us for this experiment!
We're open for suggestions and hope many of you will comment, send us links to talk about, etc.
Fun at 538
Nate Silver recently revealed himself as the poll master "Poblano" at 538. I thought it would be funny to write something BP-style now that Nate was known to play up the connection. Instead, I learned a lot about McCain. My "Candidate Health Report" is now up over there.
Why It's Time to Consider the White Sox Playoff Bound
It has been a magical season in Chicago, if you are a baseball fan. Both the Cubs and Sox are up by 3.5 games, in their respective divisions. While the Cubs have the best record in baseball, the Sox might even be a better bet to win their division. Here is why the White Sox look to be the prohibitive favorites to win the AL Central.
Here is the biggest reason the AL Central crown looks so promising. In a year when home field has been such a huge advantage, the Sox have played less games at home (26) than any other team. The biggest surprise teams in the AL this season have played 8 or more than Chicago. (Tampa 34, Minnesota 35, Oakland 34) There are only 2 AL teams with non-losing records on the road, the Angels and the White Sox. While it is early in the year, the White Sox look to be the clear-cut favorites to win the AL Cental.
John Smoltz is done for the season and will have shoulder surgery. There's a press conference at 11.30a E with more details. Updates will take place at BP, but feel free to comment here or reply via Seesmic.
The Laminated List 2008
Each year, I put together a Laminated List, because you never know. The laminated list is one of the few good things that came out of "Friends" -- and no, I'm just not that in to Jennifer Aniston. She's a second rate Jennifer Gray and no, I can't get the really bad Ferris Bueller TV show out of my head. The List is basically a free pass, the five people you're allowed to deal with outside of your relationship without consequence. If my longtime list leader, Jodie Foster, not only decides to start being attracted to men, but bald ones with big heads, I'm prepared. The list isn't designed to be realistic; by definition it's not. It's a fantasy, but that doesn't mean I don't put extensive thought into it. If anything, my life shows that almost anything can happen.
Helping with my list this year is Jenn Sterger. My pal Jenn inhabits many men's Laminated Lists and is well acquaiinted with many of the women we'll discuss here today, so she'll offer a unique perspective. What follows is our IM conversation conducted live. In it you'll learn who almost made the list, some names to look for, and more about Jason Segal than I'm really comfortable with.
WARNING: Some of the conversation and many of the links are NSFW. I guess it depends on where you work and how much you like your job though.
2:22:16 PM Will Carroll: so Jenn -- do girls have Laminated Lists?
Societal Critic at Large: Scott Long
About the Toaster
Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
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