Friday, April 29, 2011

At Least She's Eating Well, Again...

On a positive note, we're glad tennis champ Serena Williams is getting healthy again after a serious scare with a pulmonary embolism.

That said, whoa. Easy girl.

Of course, this is a suburban white dude writing this. Not say, my "brother-from-another-mother" Rob in Richmond who sent me some links, and introduced me to the term: "Beautiful Thickness."

To each his own.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

"John Elway Skills"

Just remember this, when you watch tonite.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Goodell: Wah, Wah, Wahhhhh

First of all, God Bless judge Susan Richard Nelson!

I feel like Joe Namath to Suzy Kolber, drunk and giddy: "I want to kiss you! Yeeaaaggghhhh!!"

But now the league's red-headed spokesape, took to his computer to write a boo-hoo op/ed to the Wall Street Journal, about what awful things will come to the NFL if the players are allowed to "win" this dispute.

If this is the best response the owners have, they are in really deep trouble!

My friend and sports/anti-trust maven Skip Oliva has an excellent post here, deconstructing and destroying Roger's "argument" point by point.

You should read it all, but in case you are too lazy, let me  pull quote the money part of it:
But there’s an even more direct argument against Goodell’s “we can’t let the players be free agents” mantra: If a decentralized labor system is unacceptable when it comes to playing talent, why is it acceptable when it comes to managerial talent? After all, coaches, general managers, scouts, and all other non-player personnel aren’t subject to the rigors of a government-sponsored union contract. Teams are generally free to hire and promote managerial talent as they see fit. Yet we don’t hear any complaining from Goodell about out-of-control spending on general managers or offensive coordinators. Dan Snyder can hire five coaches in ten years — often at record salaries — but somehow it’s inconceivable that a backup right tackle could negotiate his own contract without strictly adhering to a 300 page labor agreement negotiated by a union he may never have consented to join. 
And that’s really what Roger Goodell really cares about — that labor agreement. He values rules and regulations more than anything else. It’s what justified the existence of the commissioner’s office in the first place. Clearly, Goodell contributes nothing to the product of professional football; all the evidence of Goodell’s tenure suggests just the opposite. And as much as Goodell gripes about the players resorting to litigation over negotiation, the truth is that nobody benefits more from the government’s involvement in the NFL — be it through labor or antitrust law — as the “commissioner of the National Football League.” He holds a quasi-governmental title for a reason.
Amen to all of that! 
What would be finally nice for this league, is to forcibly washout old line, mom-n-pop graybeard owners like the Wilsons, Browns, and Bidwells (among others) who use the lucrative TV contract, strict salary cap, and college entry draft to maintain a FACADE of being competitive, when in fact they are doing very little to actually COMPETE with better run clubs - either financially, or through deft management and proper hiring of top level administrative talent (i.e. coaches, scouts, GMs etc...)
The net-net of what Roger is saying, is that the players are on the verge of ruining a very good system, that has rocketed the league's growth and made everyone rich.
To which one has to ask: "Yeah, dummy. So why did your owners decide to kick the legs out from under it in the first place?"
At this point, I'd love to see the players go for the whole enchilada. Assuming they win the appeal of the lockout being lifted, they will get to play a 2011 season under last year's rules (still quite good for players) while continuing their suit against the league in Brady v. NFL.
If they win that, then the players can try out a few years of "wild west" football, where college players do their own deals with teams, the stars like Brady and Manning find out they are actually worth $40 million a year, not just $20 million, and most of the rank of file players realize the "protections" of the old system weren't really much "protection" after all.
If this new system isn't working after 2 years, then guess what? They can always vote to re-form as a union.
This way, the Mike Browns would be in deep water, and likely would opt to sell their franchises (Get out now, while the getting is good!). And so what if another rich Russian like Mikhail Prokhorof buys the Bengals? 
I bet there are many rich dudes who would gladly LOSE up to $100 million a year on a genuine NFL franchise, just for the glory of being good, and making the Super Bowl. Or, at least he would try. 
Mike Brown isn't going to do that. He's counting what money is going to go to his great-great-great-nephews someday.
Bengal fans: #winning! Free agent players: #winning! NFL as a league: #doingjustfinethanks!

Monday, April 25, 2011

"I Don't Feel So Well, I'm Just Gonna Lay Down For A Bit...."

That inbred asshole Harvey Updyke Jr. recently got punched out at a gas station somewhere in Alabama. He's the dick who decided to poison Auburn's famous live oaks at "Toomer's Corner" after Auburn won the National Championship.*

Let's hope he gets punched off of barstools for the rest of his life for this moronic act, because sadly our justice system can't just look at the sheer stupidity of this act and say: "You know, it's just a tree not a person, but that was SO stupid and petty, we're just going to hang you anyway. All in favor? AYE!"

In related news, one of the two trees on Toomer's Corner is not showing any signs of poisoning. The other? Ehhhhh.....

One of the poisoned trees is not doing well. Many branches don't have leaves or have much smaller ones. The other tree is not showing any signs of poisoning right now, said Auburn horticulture professor Gary Keever.

Like "Massive Head Wound Harry" from SNL fame, I see this grand ol' specimen of nature sleeping in every day, not eating well, and showing the general malaise of a massive dose of ol' Spike 80 DF.

Come on, tree! Get up! Get some fresh air! Breathe! Push out out those leaves.... PUSH!

Happy Rick Monday, Monday: 25th Anniversary Edition!

Hey look, bongheads! Tommy Lasorda doesn't schedule batting practice in the middle of your hackeysack games, so make your political protests on your own time, in your own place!

The only thing I truly regret about this epic baseball moment, is that Monday and several other Dodgers didn't gang tackle these losers, and literally choke them out with "Ol' Glory" right in the outfield!

Oh well. Next time.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Classic Onion Headline: "Shaq Sits On Bench Enjoying Garbage Bag of Popcorn."

I could have shot milk out my nose like a lawn sprinkler when I saw this masterful photoshop, and withering critique of the "Big Injured List" these days.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Frank McCourt Finally Runs Out Of Other People's Money

When it comes time to put Frank McCourt into the Hall of Fame for "Worst Professional Sports Owners In History" - and why, honestly don't we have such a Hall of Fame? I'm thinking you could have exhibits where you throw rotten tomatoes at statues of guys like Bill Bidwell, Art Modell, or Donald Sterling - I'm guessing it'll be a unanimous vote.

Sure, the guy did help "deliver" two appearances in the NLCS in his short reign, but that doesn't justify looting the team financially like he was Uday and Qusay Hussein in the dying days of Saddam's Iraq.

Here's the guts of the excellent SI article on the McCourt "Era" with the Dodgers, titled "Wretched Excess".

Frank, a real estate developer who started out in the 1970s by building parking lots in Boston, took the stand. L.A. Weekly reported that he blinks 75 times per minute under questioning.

Dodgers supporters inched forward in the gallery, one wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with VLADIMIR SHPUNT, the name of the Russian physicist and spiritual healer whom the McCourts hired to send positive vibes to the team. "I don't think I want to be a lawyer anymore," said the Shpunt fan, 19-year-old Dexter O'Connell, a sophomore at the University of Chicago.

The case hinges on one word in a post-nuptial agreement that was drawn up in 2004. The McCourts signed six copies of it, but the copies are not identical—in three of them the Dodgers are included in Frank's separate property; in three others they are not. While Frank's side claims that the inconsistency was caused by an innocuous clerical error, and all six copies should have included the Dodgers among his assets, Jamie's side charges deceit. She signed the agreement that gives Frank ownership of the team, but her attorneys argue that she did not read it or know what she was signing—despite her having received a law degree from Maryland and an M.B.A. from MIT.

The thousands of court documents filed in this case—"We have cut down a forest," says a lawyer involved—serve as tinder for burning any credibility the couple ever had. The documents detail the lifestyle of the vulgar rich, stretching even L.A.'s relaxed boundaries of excess: nine properties with a total value of more than $108 million, seven country-club memberships, $800,000 per year paid for private security, $600,000 per year paid through the Dodgers to two of their four sons who did not have titles with the team, $400,000 paid in 2007 alone to an employee to run a charity and $150,000 per year paid to a hairstylist who coiffed the McCourts five days a week.

According to court documents and statements by Frank's lawyers, he did not put down any of his own money to buy the Dodgers and watched his checking account dip as low as $167,000 last year.

According to court filings by Jamie, he has legally circumvented all state and federal income taxes since 2004. "His livelihood is doing projects on borrowed money," says Frank's attorney Steve Susman, the assault weapon himself. TheLos Angeles Times,in concert with an accounting firm, reported last week that Frank is $433 million in debt and has been turned down three times in the last year for additional financing to run the Dodgers. Major League Baseball, which approved McCourt's ownership bid with some of his parking lots as collateral, declined to comment on the case.

And to think Major League Baseball owners actively maneuvered to keep Mark Cuban from buying the Cubs! Like he was some "bad owner" that they needed to keep out? I don't get it. I mean, what exactly, is the "vetting" process for a potential MLB owner?

Of course, just like the "post-nup" agreement that Jamie McCourt and her lawyers instantly said meant nothing in her divorce case, Frank is prepared to pretend that the document he signed before taking control of the Dodgers that no matter what, you CANNOT SUE MLB, is also a legal document that means nothing.

So at this point I ask a practical question: "Why even have legal documents when they just get challenged anyway?"

Oh yeah, one last little nugget. Despite the McCourt's spending $800,000 PER YEAR on their OWN personal security, the Dodgers did not have employed anybody under the title of "Head of Security" for the team or Chavez Ravine when paramedic Bryan Stow was nearly beaten to death.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What The Hell, Am I Chopped Liver?

Okay, so I'll concede this much. Rome is technically a "bigger" name than I am. But sheesh, doesn't anybody there at UC Santa Barbara - the school I call lovingly "the Harvard of the Beach" - have a pulse on semi-famous media personalities with nationally syndicated radio shows, popular websites, and successful local talk shows in their hometowns on the east coast?

In other words.... ahem.

So okay, I'll let Rome be the "keynote" for THIS year's event, but I damn sure want to be considered for the keynote in 2012, or 2013!

If the short-memoried jackanapes currently running that school in Goleta need a refresher on my illustrious career out there as "Voice of the Gauchos", well here are some videos I dragged out of the ol' VHS career demo tape file for all to enjoy!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Warning: Cam Newton QB-A-Tron Does Not Come With Any Software!

You gotta love Jon Gruden's direct challenge to smilin' Cam Newton about how complicated the NFL game is, and how challenging that will be when he gets there.

And you also gotta cringe when Gruden claims that Auburn's "single number on a card" system of calling plays is "awesome."

No, that's not "awesome." That's called college. And it's over. If I'm an NFL fan, and I see this little video account of Newton's inability to recall a SINGLE huddle called play from college, I am burying my head under the pillow hoping my team takes somebody - anybody - else.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Kobe Defenders Selling Crazy.... In Bulk

I'll try to make this short and sweet, because there's truly not much room for alternate opinion on the Kobe Bryant "fucking faggot" comments caught on camera the other night.

And yeah, I spelled out the slur, so you can look at it, and absorb it in all of it's undiluted, vulgar, hatred.

What Kobe said, how he said it, and when and to whom he said it, were all completely unacceptable on a good day, and reprehensible on most.

Yet, to my amazement, I fielded way too many calls on my show the following day, that tried to excuse, rationalize, or somehow soft pedal the incident.

Here's some of the amazing stupid... no "crazy".... I was pitched by callers.

CALLER #1: "If cameras were on everybody in the NBA, you would hear language like that all the time."
MY RESPONSE: Maybe, maybe not. But that's irrelevant. Prevalence, does not mean it's acceptable.

CALLER #2: "You guys don't understand, because you didn't grow up in inner city. That's how guys from the 'hood talk to each other."
MY RESPONSE: Again, irrelevant and stupid. The NBA is not "the hood" and besides, Kobe didn't come from it. The guy went to private high school in Lower Merion, PA and grew up in a two-parent upper class family.

CALLER #3: "All of the old star players like Magic and Michael and Larry said stuff like that."
MY RESPONSE: Whatever. /eyes rolling now in total disbelief.

And on and on...

Honestly, I've never heard more fans "not get it" so loudly, and be so ready to call up the radio to show how much they "don't get it."

Granted, not EVERYONE who called, believed this was "no big deal." And I got some good emails supporting my position.

Now, let's be clear. I am not "outraged" by this. Because I don't expect much from NBA players in terms of civility or sense. Also, I am not sure that David Stern's gunslinger-quick $100,000 fine was appropriate either.

Trying to fine NBA players into "getting it" is going to be a fruitless endeavor. They don't. And won't. Ever.

I would have preferred a strongly worded rebuke from David Stern, and then a reminder from him to Kobe and the Lakers that they will be accountable to those in their community who find such comments outrageous - and just leave it at that.

Kobe's first 2 or 3 attempts at an "apology" were complete airballs. To think he's first draft actually said "I did not mean to offend anybody" was hilariously un-true on it's face.

Kobe: when you call a referee a "fucking faggot", it is with the EXPRESS INTENT to offend, if not publicly humiliate the person. He also said it was in the "heat of the moment." Again, untrue. He had already left the court, taken a seat on the bench, and tried to get the ref's attention before unloading his crude slur.

The larger point to take away from this episode, I believe, is the utter childishness of today's NBA "stars." They seem to be oblivious to the fact that a) referees are game officials who deserve at least some modicum of respect and b) they are just trying to do their job and call the game equitably.

Kobe, like LeBron, like Dwight Howard, like dozens and dozens more, somehow think they never commit a foul, and that every shot they miss deserves a whistle on somebody else. Certainly the "old guard" of NBA stars, circa 1986 (and older) lobbied for calls, and complained.

But not like today. Todays NBA stars are completely out of control, and it was for that reason specifically the league introduced a new, almost draconian, zero tolerance technical policy on bitching.

Well, we see how that worked out.

So for everyone who thinks what Kobe said was "no big deal" I urge you to go ahead and mix that innocent phrase into your every day lexicon, and just see how that plays out.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Where In The World Is Giovanni Carmazzi?

It's not often that television (or any sports media) takes a long hard look backward to examine what the hell went wrong with predictions, or expectations, or the inexact science of evaluating NFL prospects.

Thank god for NFL Films, for doing just that, however on their excellent piece "The Brady 6".

How on earth did Tom Brady slip to #199 in the draft, behind 6 other okay starters, marginal backups, and a few downright chumps?

Well, it's complicated. But also simple. Here, watch this clip....

See, it was draftniks, who didn't like his fucking SPIRAL! Or thought he couldn't evade the rush (how would they know, since he didn't play very much at Michigan?). Notice the emphasis on Brady's lack of PHYSICAL traits, above what should have been a readily apparent intellect for the game, and a work ethic that was plain to see.

Meanwhile, the list of the six QB's taken ahead of him reads like this...

18 - Chad Pennington (NYJ) 102 TDs
65 - Giovanni Carmazzi (SF) 0 TDs
75 - Chris Redman (BAL) 21 TDs
163 - Tee Martin (PIT) 0 TDs
168 - Marc Bulger (NO) 122 TDs
183 - Spergon Wynn (CLE) 1 TD

199 - Tom Brady (NE) 261 TDs..... and counting.

So what's Giovanni Carmazzi doing these days?


Monday, April 11, 2011

Same Guy, More Rings

If you read my hot tweets during Sunday's round, you'll know that I am no fan of one Eldrick T. Woods.

In fact, my buddy Bob Madden said to me by phone, "the only person rooting harder against Tiger right now, is Elin."

He's wrong.

I was rooting against him WAY harder than she was!

After all, that $100 million divorce settlement allows you to not hold much of a grudge.

Some folks wondered on twitter: "why such a hater?"

Well, for starters, rooting "against" in sports is a time honored tradition. Every passionate fan I know, has "their" team, and a team they mortally rooted against - always!

Tiger Woods is the Yankees, the Cowboys, and Duke basketball  wrapped into one.

What, we're all supposed to fall in line, and root for that? Why?

Tiger, pre-crash, had been, amazing, incredible, unbeatable.

And now, he's none of that, he's just a prick.

A totally unlikable, insincere, pouty, club slamming, f-bomb dropping, front-running jerk.

They say "winning is the best deodorant" in sports. Right now, Tiger smells like crap.

When he wins again - and he will, including two more majors before it is all done I predict - that's not going to make it all better. In fact, I believe he'll be an even bigger prick, scolding us "haters" in the media that "he told us so" and what not.


For the record, here's WHY I hate Tiger Woods.

1. He's a CON.

I don't hate Tiger because he cheated on his wife. I hate him because of the fraud he perpetrated on the public, about being a wonderful family man. The constant references to the importance of family and kids. The photo shoots with him and Elin, with the kids and the family dog. Whatever. Meanwhile he was banging letters F-Q in Rachel Uchitel's little red book. Nobody likes being conned. It's basically the same as being lied to. You don't even have to believe the lie, to feel disrespected.

2. He's a front runner.

Anybody can look good when winning. Seeing how people react when they lose says alot more. Well, we've seen Tiger's act. He's an awful loser. As bad as LeBron when things don't go his way. Oh, he'll shake hands, but that's about it. Crappy post round interviews. Nary a positive word about his competitors. And often, he'll just make delusional excuses instead of just being honest (i.e. "I played great, I just didn't make a putt.").

3. He doesn't play with joy, he plays with anger.

It's okay for an athlete to use "the dark side" as motivation. To use perceived snubs to inspire themselves to an even greater level. Hell, Nicklaus famously did just that 25 years ago when that sports writer in Atlanta called him "washed up." But Jack that day, played with brilliance, class, and joy. Tiger played angry Sunday. The over-the-top eagle fist pump and yell was absurd on #8. It was like he furiously mashed x-button-right-trigger on his EA Sports video game to activate his "trademark" reaction to big shots. Tiger only seems to smile at the prospect of putting his foot on his competitors throat, not at the magic moments the game provides. This does not inspire me.

4. He doesn't respect the game.

A lot has been made of Tiger dropping f-bombs on camera, and his club tossing. This is bad. But let's put all that aside. When Tiger bangs the tightly mown, manicured turf behind the 13th green as he did on Sunday, it shows what a real prick he is. Any golfer knows, that having a good lie for shot like that is crucial. Crucial! And all it takes, is a little crease from a 56 degree Vokey in that turf, and you are screwed. The chances are slim somebody else would roll into his damaged spot, but the chance remained. Unacceptable. Raking the green at Pinehurst at the US Open. This is nothing new for him.

5. He gives so little back to the game.

This guy has signed the fewest autographs of any golf superstar in the last 50 years. He plays a ridiculously limited PGA Tour schedule. He plays the same events every year. He refuses to give tournaments adequate advance notice of his schedule. He doesn't play the Par-3 contest at the Masters. He treated the Ryder Cup like a week long root canal for years. Tiger's modus operandi? "What's in it for me?"

6. The TV announcers and networks never stop washing his balls.

Okay, this one I guess you can't hang on Tiger himself, but it just adds to the in-sufferability. At least Feherty admits to being in the tank for Tiger. Guys like Peter Kostis are more pathetic. Kostis was allegedly "banned" by Tiger from doing interviews with him on CBS, because years ago he had been mildly critical of Tiger's swing changes. Seeing this as a direct threat to his livelyhood - and correctly so - Kostis has since gone 180 degrees the other way, and openly roots for the swoosh on every telecast. If five guys are 3 shots back on Sunday, every broadcaster frames it as "can Tiger catch him" and they just throw away the rest. ESPN is just as bad. On Sunday, the "Lead" item on their bottom of the screen ticker read (and I'm not making this up): "McIlroy extends lead, Woods seven shots back." Someday, should the unthinkable happen, a headline will read like this: "Tiger Woods Reportedly Safe, After Meteor Strike Wipes Out East Coast."

7. He Treats People Like Shit

Fluff Cowan starts to get too "famous" for being Tiger's lovable caddy. Get out. Butch Harmon coaches him to the "Tiger Slam" and he reportedly got paid just $50,000 by Tiger on a $10 million plus earnings year. Harmon fired. Hank Haney scapegoated last spring, was left to twist in the wind, before he had to walk the plank and "resign" as his teacher. Elin. Kostis. Tim Finchem. Every photographer who ever clicked him in a backswing. Dirt under his cleats. The pattern repeats and repeats. People are disposable to this guy.

That said, he's an incredible golfer. Still. But his brilliance, undeniable, leaves me cold. Just like LeBron. The guy is a freak. Amazing. But who wants to root for that? Not me.

To quote Jerry Maquire:  "This is not what inspires people."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The 5-Hour Energy Dome's Finest Weekend

Okay, I'll admit. When I get these three glorious HD sets humpin' on a football weekend (college or pro) it's pretty damn cool.

When there's a nice "sampler platter" of stuff, like say hoops, hockey, and baseball, it's also damn near orgasmic.

But this weekend, MASTERS weekend, when I have three distinct windows into the glory of Augusta National, it is an experience like nothing else.

Come on over, folks! All my "friends" are coming up with lame excuses!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Don't forget to play Czabe's Green Jacket Classic!

It's The Ball, Stupid

Man, how about that game on Monday night! Whooo, boy! Like watching Michael Vick drown one of his dogs.


Oh, I'm the one who strangled, dunked, and electrocuted innocent dogs made to fight to the (near) death?


You know I'm right, though. The NCAA Championship game WAS as tough to watch as a Mike Vick dog drowning. It was so bad, my wife came in and started talking tax returns during the second half, and my only reaction was: "thank god, something to take my mind of this abomination!"

First and foremost, credit UConn and Calhoun. They were the best team last night, last month, and they deserved to win. They won the whole thing almost entirely without 3-point air superiority, which in today's era of "Pop-a-Shot" basketball, is almost unheard of.

Calhoun is a coaching giant in the college ranks, who singlehandedly built this dynasty in the Connecticut woods. He's prickly, and unlikeable outside of Storrs, and so what? He wins.

What will the legacy be when all of the Nate Miles stuff finally falls out of the closet? Tough to say. I don't think it'll be as bad as some are saying. He's shady. Just like Calipari, Pitino, Pearl, Sampson, and many others in the game today.

I know this, however, he better not retire. If he suddenly retires, and ducks that 8-game suspension next year, then he's a coward. I hope he gets slaughtered for that in the mainstream sports media, if that's the case.

For Butler, and ride along fans like myself, it was a tough one to endure. Brad Stevens and the boys threw a perfect defensive game at UConn in the first half. They led by 6 points coming out of the first minute of the second half, and that was shooting a paltry 22%!

Who could envision it going so cold, so quick after that?

In the end, it was the lowest scoring NCAA Final ever, the Bulldogs shot the worst percentage in a final, ever, and ratings suffered accordingly.

Be honest, who among us didn't wander off mentally to dream about how Kansas v. Ohio State would have looked instead?

So the key question many people are asking today, is just HOW can two supposedly "good" teams shoot the ball like spastic band members who put their instruments down for five minutes and picked up a rack of game balls?

Well, as usual, I have a few theories.

Plain and simple, the tenaciousness of today's modern "D" makes getting any shot off, difficult, much less a good one. There was one play when Butler had a wide open pull up jumper, and a UConn player just snuffed it out cleanly from 22 feet away. That highlight doesn't exist in 1982.

When the defense isn't especially suffocating, many teams still don't know how to execute plays designed to get a quality shot. Butler is better at it than many other schools with NBA talent, but offensively, teams are less skilled.

These are big things, that don't get talked about alot, because they SOUND petty and stupid, but they are not.

The task of shooting in a football stadium  and getting a good feel for depth perception and space, can only be understood if you have done it yourself once or twice. Long ago, when I was the play-by-play voice of UC Santa Barbara and traveled with the team, I had the chance to chuck up a few jumpers during road shootarounds in NBA sized arenas like the Thomas and Mack Center.

Now, these weren't even football stadiums, but to somebody who is only accustomed to shooting in a high school gym, the basket seemed weirdly CLOSE to you while shooting, because the space BEHIND it was so  vast, in a relative sense.

This is only magnified for college players inside a massive football dome.

And I'm not the only one who knows this. Jeff Borzello of CBS Sportsline runs some actual numbers on the phenomenon.

Fact: of the 18 Championship Game participants since the NCAA went to all-domes-all-the-time in 2003, only 4 of them have shot better in that game, than there season average.

In fact, championship shooting percentage has been 40% or BELOW, for 8 of those 18 teams!

When teams outshoot their season average in the title game, it's rarely by more than a whisker.

Above Average Shooting in Title Game

Below Average Shooting in Title Game

Of course, there are caveats to this big trend.

a. Teams defend hardest with title on the line. Granted.
b. Regular season shooting % includes many non-conference blowouts.
c. Players do get nervous on such a big stage.

Okay, all that has to be considered.

But also, consider this. In my many years of watching the Final Four, it has become quite obvious that the refs would rather cut off heat to an old lady in the winter than foul anybody out, or even get them in serious "foul trouble" early on. This leads to very ROUGH games, to say the least.

Also, the biggest factor in some of these crappy shooting games, is the BALL itself! The NCAA - a bunch of bureaucrats, remember, with little athletic sense - INSIST on using a BRAND NEW basketball, with a cute/fancy little logo of that year's Final Four on it.

So instead of a well worn "pumpkin" as Clark Kellogg would say, we have a slick, lighter than normal "new ball" that just doesn't feel right to the players.

Anybody who has played even low-level YMCA pick up basketball, understands this. It is why, there is often much bickering about what ball to use before everybody agrees to "run it back." The usual winner - at least at the gym I used to belong to - was the heavier, genuine leather ball that had good usage and break in. It absorbed sweat, felt hefty in your palm on the dribble, and was easy to control.

I saw the same thing the one year I worked on the Washington Bullets scorers table as the clock operator. Darrell Walker was the un-official home court "ball king" who would go through the rack of pumpkins, bounce a few vigorously just before tip off, and then present his choice to the lead referee.

Almost always, the ref deferred to Walker, so long as the ball didn't appear irregular in any way. In every case, each "game worthy" NBA ball, was marked with a small "X" along one of the channels, just so there was some accounting of the "best" pumpkins.

Remember when the NBA decided to change to a new "synthetic" leather ball without player approval? Right. That lasted all of what, 6 months?

When you see things like Shelvin Mack lose the handle on his dribble just jogging the ball up court, or Andrew Smith missing a 2 foot layup, or Shawn Vanzant shooting a 4 footer that goes 2 feet and catches nothing but air - THAT'S THE STUPID BASKETBALL!

Hell, I could see the stupid shiny logo on the ball from my TV at home! Wake up, NCAA! Use proper equipment!

All of this is not to excuse make for Butler, because UConn players struggled with the ball as well, if you watch the game tape with a keen eye. It's just ridiculous that this has been going on for years, and the NCAA still doesn't get it.

If you insist on being piggish and playing in football stadiums for more revenue (and my solution is just to double the price of every ticket and go back to real basketball arenas, you would still easily sell out) then the least you can do play with a proper piece of equipment.

A well broken in basketball, that isn't a greased pumpkin.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

SportsDome Clowns The ESPY's

Favorite nugget: "Athlebrities..." classic.

People, set the TIVO on get on this show, it's not gonna last forever, and it's classic!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tiger's Teacher Picks Up New Student

You know, I would have never believed it, UNTIL I SAW IT ON THE INTERNET on Friday. Ahem. And as we all know, the internet is NEVER wrong, is it?

According to various news sources, Canadian swing coach to the stars Sean Foley is working with legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus to prep him for one final Masters tournament, despite the former green jacket winner saying he was done playing at Augusta. He last played The Masters in 2005.
The mere photoshopped sight of the great Golden Bear, with Foley and his trusty (read: stupid) high speed camera lurking behind him, was worth the price of admission alone on this little April Fool's Joke that I am sure, didn't actually "fool" anybody!