Archive for January, 2008

30
Jan
08

Oh, boys will be boys

Or rather, “bar-fighting hooligans will be bar-fighting hooligans.” Even if you give them a basketball scholarship.

That lesson is being learned the hard way at Missouri, which just yesterday suspended five players for getting in a bar fight at a downtown nightclub called Athena — though I suppose that will happen at a bar named after the goddess of war.

Oh, but those silly college highjinks have hardly been limited to Columbia, MO.

No sir, in fact, on ESPN’s main college basketball page yesterday, five out of eight stories revolved around suspended players. And if you recall just before the season started, an old friend of ours here at The Cut, Mike Davis, had five players get arrested for fighting at a club down at UAB (five must be the magic number when it come to inter-squad rumbles).

What’s so goofy is the response taken by the coaching staff and universities. With every single one of these stories, the immediate news is that the players are suspended “indefinitely.” It’s the perfect cover. They take action, which subdues the media outpour, and once things calm down, the proverbial slap of the wrist can be applied.

I mean, just give this line from the Missouri story another closer look:

Anderson implemented what he called a “zero-tolerance” policy after junior forward DeMarre Carroll — his nephew — was shot in the ankle outside another Columbia nightclub over the summer.

Yeah, you know, once my nephew got shot, we figured it was about time to issue that “zero tolerance” policy. What do we mean by “zero tolerance?” Well, you know, the guys can still go out and hit the clubs, get a little tipsy, maybe pull a Jeramy Stevens on some freshman jersey chaser… but if they get in a brawl with each other that requires the cops to break it up, I mean, my hands will be tied. I’m gonna have to suspend them a game or two.

C’mon coaches. You ask your fans to be good sports. Why not require your players to be good people?

29
Jan
08

The Tiger’s mailbag will not raise your self esteem

Tigers fansOK, so I’m a little obsessed with the upcoming major league baseball season.

As a Tigers fan, I’ve been scouring the team’s Web site daily, looking for any hints as to the lineup. And besides that, steroids were sooo 2007.

But today, while reading Jason Beck’s always entertaining “Tiger’s Mailbag,” I couldn’t help but notice a little whining, a little negativity and a little sarcasm hiding in the text. (Note: Some people might be offended or put off by this, but I found it hilarious)

Jesus H. Christ folks, in my mind, we’re already in the World Series! Enough with the pre-season nay saying.

It gets started on the first question:

Does anyone foresee a timing problem with new shortstop Edgar Renteria and Placido Polanco? Polanco obviously is one of the better second baseman in the game, but he has gotten used to Carlos Guillen’s tendencies and vice versa. Will this just be a growing pain of training camp?
— Todd, Southgate, Mich.

Well, apparently Todd, YOU forsee a timing problem. Thanks for the jinx though. Next!

I cannot bear it anymore! I’m sick. I need to know what the mock lineup is. Is Miguel Cabrera going to hit third or fourth? Will Gary Sheffield hit fifth? Please help me before I go crazy. Thank you.
— Felix G., Adrian, Mich.

Now, this is an understandable question, many fans are wondering what the lineup will be. However, Jason Beck is determined to knock these “mailbaggers” down a peg or two:

Cabrera is expected to hit either third or fifth, with Sheffield taking the other spot, but that probably won’t be set until well into Spring Training. Until then, you might want to consider a hobby or something to pass the time.

Yea, get out of your mom’s basement and get a hobby Felix G., you f-ing loser.

And Jason isn’t the only one taking verbal shots, the general public also gets its punches in. We skip to the bottom to get to the fan-on-fan action. And…go!

Jason, I love reading your mailbags. It puzzles me, however, that trivial questions like players’ uniform numbers or Spring Training reporting dates take up space in the column, when this information clearly is listed within the Tigers Web site. If they can’t find that information, they’re likely not going to be able to find their way back to the mailbag! Keep up the good work.
— Michael C., Flint, Mich.

Finally, a good question. Well, wait, there wasn’t a question in there. No matter, Michael C., of Flint, Mich., knows you are all worthless peasants! Stop bringing your “questions” to this here mailbag! What were you thinking?!

God, I feel like I’m in Pittsburgh with all this inter-team fighting.

At least there were no text messages from Kwame Kilpatrick.

25
Jan
08

Please make it stop

Isn’t there a button we can push somewhere to make it all go away?

What’s worse, is that I don’t accidentally stumble across this news cuz I paused on Access Hollywood for 15 seconds while flipping channels because I thought I saw a boob. Or it’s not sent to me as a link by some creepy friend who regularly Googles Paris, Britney and Lohan hoping for the newest crotch shot.

No, I had to learn this from ESPN.

I also know that this little tidbit of information had to boot something else out of my long term memory.

Thanks John Anderson, now I’ll never remember whether I beat the Sharks or the Cougars in that 3rd grade, rec-league soccer championship.

Oh, and T.O., all I got to say is: Getchya herpe cream ready!

22
Jan
08

OMG!! Did U see what Dr. Z said?!?

Z says, She saysYou may remember a few days ago, when we reminded you that sometimes editors don’t make the best decisions.

However, sometimes those botched editorial field goals aren’t SO wide right.

Such is the case with the “Look at Us!” Sports Illustrated pulled today in the “1” spot on their Web site.

The headline? “Dr. Z: Giants Will Win”

Seriously Paul? You’re really are putting your money on the Giants? I mean, sure they are on a hot streak and Eli’s playing well, but you are going to pick against the team that’s 18-0?

Give me a break.

This is a ploy to pull in readers via “Did you see what they’re saying over at SI?”

Furthermore, Z’s main reason for picking the Giants is that he didn’t trust his instincts and pick the Jets over the Colts in Super Bowl III almost 40 years ago:

I had a feeling about the Jets, not a strong one, but Joe Namath working against that strong side rotating zone? Gee, he’d never had trouble with it before. Could it be that … ? Do I have the courage to … ? Nah, I’ll pick the Colts to win, but by under the spread. That’ll make everyone happy. So I did and it made no one happy, least of all me when the Jets scored the biggest upset in Supe history. Who was happy? Leonard Shecter of the Post. He picked the Jets. I kicked myself for the coward I was. No longer. Today, I am a man.

(Funny story, actually. Remember that U.S.-Soviet Union hockey game in the 1980 Olympic games? I had a hunch the United States would prevail, but I just didn’t feel like telling anyone.)

Basically, Dr. Z says the Patriots will lose because A) the Giants are more confident and B) the Pats have looked beatable lately.

A) I think winning every regular season game might give a team a touch of confidence — just a smidge — and B) Which game was it the Pats actually lost? Must have missed that one.

If a writer gave me some real reasons the Giants are going to win the Super Bowl closer to the game (Belichick out of sweatshirts, Brady stabbed by Moynahan, Harrison caught shooting up for the 8th time, etc.), I’d be all ears. But saying the Giants are going to win this stage in the game is just a sad attempt at drawing attention to yourself.

Kind of like comparing weekly football picks with a model, I guess.

22
Jan
08

Buy this book!

God Save the FanThis is going to be our shameless plug for the day.

Although heaping accolades on Deadspin’s Will Leitch is kind of like critiquing Stephen A. Smith, we owe the dude a lot (Will, not Stephen).

Even though we were late in the blog game, he’s given us several links that have led to numerous readers visiting our little site.

For that we are always indebted.

And part of that debt comes from buying his most recent book, “God Save the Fan.”

So get over to Amazon and check it out. (You probably can’t count the number of books you’ve read on one hand, anyway).

And besides, if you don’t like it, you’ll get a full refund*. Happy reading, Fynal Cutters!

*This statement not approved by Mr. Leitch.

22
Jan
08

Upset suburb, baby!!

Oh the glories of being jobless. More sleep, less showering, less changing out of pajamas, and a lot more ESPN First Take. That is, until you pass out from beating yourself over the head with the remote.

But alas, that’s what this morning amounted to. I only could handle about 20 minutes of those rousing morning roosters cackling and cawing this morning, but that was more than enough time to get my daily dose of made-up story lines to help promote ESPN telecasts.

Today brought us the college basketball edition, which analyzed the CRRRAAAZZZY start to the college basketball season and why the amount of upsets are beginning to mirror the football season. And as my mind wandered, I wondered, “Wait a second, that can’t be true? But T.V. said it was true. More than that, Jay Crawford said it’s true. Hmmm, I could sure go for some Eggos.”

So after the segment my waffles, I decided to do a little research. [Note: This is when somebody who is writing something goes back to archives, interviews or any other piece of factual information that helps give weight and validity to a story. And yes, it is, in fact, possible for bloggers to partake in this ancient writing ritual] And as it turns out, T.V. was lying.

Actually, this season is far more normal than previous years (But if it’s more normal than recent history doesn’t that make it abnormal? What is normal anyway? Why do we exist?). First Take’s claim was that upsets are riddling the top teams in the nation. But actually, when you look at the AP polls from the past three years, you see far less losses among ranked teams this year than years past. The present Top-25 has two undefeated teams (none at this point in the past two seasons), six one-loss teams (three in ’07 & four in ’08), nine two-loss teams (seven & four), six three-loss teams (nine & six), two four-loss teams (two & seven), and not a single five-loss team (four and four).

Further, seven of the top-10 teams have one loss or less this year. The past two years combined had seven one-loss-or-less teams. And to cap it all off, the highest ranked team with four losses this year is Marquette at No. 21. Last year at this point there was a No. 17-ranked five-loss team and the No. 1 team (Florida) had two losses. In 2006, Michigan State had five losses and they were No. 12.

The big closing number on the Fake Take segment likened being a conference leader to being the No. 2 team in college football — a kiss of death in that sport this year. Well, the big six conference leaders (Big East, Big 10, SEC, ACC, Big 12 & Pac 10) have a combined six losses this year. Last year at this point, they had 11. Year before that — 13.

I acknowledge that this is a long post just to prove that something nobody really gives value to in the first place is wrong. But this is really just a tiny glimpse of the lengths media members/writers are willing to go to in order to promote games and try to generate frenzy. Fact is, this season is unfolding quite normally no matter how much the media may want it to mirror the football season. But there is no problem in that.

Sorry “Mayhem Monday,” and “Super Tuesday,” and “Whacked-Out Wednesday,” and “Thriving Thursday,” and “Freaky-Fun Friday” … but you’re just going to have to stick to promoting good ol’ honest basketball. Cuz, frankly, that’s all we really want.

21
Jan
08

Class is in

You know, I had a pretty productive MLK Day.

I read a speech of the good Doctor’s, tried to keep the Chi-town road rage to a minimum (somewhat successfully), and was generally just an outstanding citizen — helping old ladies across the street and all that jazz.

Unfortunately, while perusing the Internets this evening, I stumbled across was floored by this video from Saturday’s UNC-Maryland game.

If you can fight your way through all those Tar Heel Tears, you can hear a Carolina fan yell “Go back to the ghetto!” to a Terp player.

Oh, racism. Thanks for popping up and reminding me MLK’s work isn’t close to being done. You bastard.