Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Heeeee'sssssss Baaaaackk!

Hello, Tim Donaghy.

Good to see the embodiment of David Stern's worst nightmare, out there on the interwebs, pathetically pitching a website called "DannyB.info."

Uh huh. Info. Right.

Meanwhile, he's helpfully pointing out to anyone who will listen, that LeBron has no regard whatsoever for anything called a "pivot foot."

Drew Brees Gets It

But I am not sure enough of his football brethren understand the importance of the next 8 months of their professional lives.

Here was Brees, talking to Jim Trotter of SI.com - who, by the way, is flat out DOMINATING when it comes to covering NFL labor stories this year - and laying it on the line.

"Ever since Gene Upshaw passed away -- I'm just going to lay it all out there -- the owners saw blood in the water," Brees said Wednesday after a players-organized workout at Tulane University. "They felt like, 'This is our opportunity to take a significant piece of the [financial] pie back at all costs, a piece that we will never have to give back again. This is our chance, while they don't have leadership, while they're scrambling to find a new executive director. This is our time.' 
"I can point to about five different things to prove to you that they were ready to lock us out. They opted out of the last year of the [CBA] deal; they hired Bob Batterman [who oversaw a lockout of NHL players]. They tried to take the American Needle case to the Supreme Court to basically give them an antitrust exemption or single-entity status, but were defeated 9-0; they established new TV deals to pay them in the event of a lockout, but we were able to put a freeze on that money because they did not negotiate in good faith and broke the law. And they had an internal NFL document that was leaked -- a decision tree -- that said smack dab in the middle of it 'financial needs in a lockout.' That was in 2008, OK? So you're telling me that they had no plans to lock us out and really wanted to get a deal done? I don't think so." 
Brees was just getting started. 
"Their philosophy was, We're going to give you a very subpar deal, a slap-in-the-face deal, and hope that you'll accept it because hopefully we've intimidated you enough into thinking that this is a take-it-or-leave-it deal, and you're just going to succumb to the pressure," he said. "Well, guess what. We're a lot more informed and educated than in the past, and we're much better businessmen than you think and we're going to stand up for what is right and what is fair. Fifty-fifty is fair. It's been fair for the last 20 years and I think the game has done pretty well over the last 20 years. I think franchise values have gone up at a pretty good rate over the last 20 years. So you can't sit here and tell me that the system is broken." 
If they players cave and fold, they will never - NEVER - make as much money as they once did playing in the NFL.
If they stand firm, they can score a decisive victory over the owners, not unlike the victory Marvin Miller and the MLBPA did back in the 1970's and 80's.

It's gonna take some brass balls, though. The kind of balls it took Messersmith and McNally to play out their contracts to full expiration. At the time, it was like asking a ballplayer to jump into the batting cage with a blindfold.

It paid off...

In 1974, Miller used arbitration to resolve a dispute when Oakland A's owner Charlie Finley failed to make an annuity payment as required by Catfish Hunter's contract. The arbitrator ruled that Finley had not met the terms of the contract so Hunter was free to negotiate a new contract with any team - making Hunter a free agent. When Hunter signed a 5-year, $3.5 million contract with the Yankees, the players saw the amount of money that could be made when players were free to negotiate with any team. 
Baseball's reserve clause tied players to a team for one year beyond the end of an existing contract, which in practice froze any player's ability to determine his own career. In1974, Miller encouraged Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally to play out the succeeding year without signing a contract. After the year had elapsed, both players filed a grievance arbitration. The ensuing Seitz decision declared that both players had fulfilled their contractual obligations and had no further legal ties to their ballclubs. This effectively eradicated the reserve clause and ushered in free agency. 
As an economist, Miller understood that too many free agents could actually drive down player salaries. Miller agreed to limit free agency to players with more than six years of service, knowing that restricting the supply of labor would drive up salaries as owners bid for an annual, finite pool of free agents. 
Miller led the union through three strikes, the first in 1972 which lasted 13 days, in 1980 spring training, and again in 1981 which lasted 50 days, and two lockouts, in 1973spring training and 1976 spring training. During Miller's era as leader of the Major League Baseball Players' Association (1966-1982), the average players' salary rose from $19,000 to $241,000 a year.
So now, the NFL players have a choice. Cave and gravel - if the 8th circuit upholds the NFL lockout, which appears likely - or take the league and the owners deep into "holy shit, I think they are serious" territory.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Day A Pork Rib Gets Sideways In His Larynx Will Be A Great Day For Sports

"I'm a simple guy. I don't watch TV. I don't go on the Internet. So I never watched Playmakers, but I knew if the league was pissed, I probably should be pissed."

If you didn't know a single thing about ESPN's Chris Berman, the above quote - from an excerpt of the current soon-to-be bestseller "Those Guys Have All The Fun" - is more than enough.

The guy is a bigger toolbag than all of Aisle 6 at Home Depot.

I would pick up my baseball bat of a keyboard and bludgeon this absurdly a) false b) illogical and c) narcississtic statement to death like a harp seal.

But alas, I am too late.

Drew Magary of Deadspin has already left this corpulent fraud a quivering, bloody mess. And listener/emailer James Giles of Salt Lake City cut in front of me with a lead pipe to finish the deal.

First, Big Daddy Drew...
"What the fuck? Hey, I never watched this show. But I knew if a bunch of assholes at the league office were yelling at my colleagues about it, then I probably should yell at them too! BECAUSE I AM THE LEAGUE. WE ARE RETARDED IN THE SAME WAY. YOU CANNOT SEPARATE THAT WHICH MAKES US RETARDED. I don't have to watch the show to know it's objectionable. I'm just a simple guy! I know in my gut that the show was wrong and that I needed to fall in line like a brainless lemming who has no opinions of his own! 
Remember, this is the same Chris Berman who groused when his bosses wouldn't let himaccept a Super Bowl ring from his buddy Eddie DeBartolo. This is the same Chris Berman who yells at the help. Berman is nothing more than a loudmouth shill who so ingratiated himself with NFL officials and tardbillies watching at home that he somehow has convinced both himself and his enablers in the sports media that he's some sort of unassailable institution. Well, he isn't. He's just an ignorant prick. And the day he leaves ESPN, ESPN will be much, much better off. Chris Berman eats ass."
And then my man J. Giles...
Hi Czabe,
I am a huge fan of the show and this is the first time I have emailed the show. A penny for each time someone has started with that hackneyed phrase.

I am here to pile on Berman. I, too, share a general loathing towards that talentless ape. 
I just wanted to point out the absurdity of his "I don't watch TV, I don't go on the internet". It reminds me of the Simpsons episode with Sideshow Bob, when he takes a nuclear weapon and holds Springfield hostage. He appears on TV and tells them how much TV sucks. But he has the good decency to come back on and say "I am aware of the irony of appearing on television in order to decry it, so don't bother pointing that out". 
It strikes me as bizarre and counterproductive to a man who works for and "built up" a network, to speak so badly of television. I mean he has a face and body for radio; A voice for print; And the writing talent for a 4th grade journal in Palucaville, Kansas. He owes everything he has to television and America's voracious appetite for it.

This is his industry. These are the two main revenue generators for ESPN. Television and the internet.

So he rips the two biggest things responsible for his livelihood. Why would you not want to watch or promote television? How does he do any of his "research". So TV sucks, but please watch a pregame show and NFL live. A simple statement that speaks volumes about who he is as a person. It explains why his jokes are so trite.

He is on TV for less than 200 hours a year. Judging by his performance on MNC, I would gather prep time is roughly 45 seconds. He doesn't write, so what does he do with his free time? Berate staffers, stuff pork products down his gullet, tell strangers how awesome he is.

I guarantee he plays golf, drinks a fifth of Jim Beam and goes home and whacks off to Steven Segal movies. He is a tool. Thanks for being a soundboard for my rant.

Keep up the great work,

And as they say in all the legal dramas on the television networks Berman swears he does not watch..... "Nothing further, your honor."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"A College Football Hegemon"

If you were wondering exactly how, and why, so many D1 schools absorb the financial punches to the face that current modern Bowl Game invites end up delivering, then this article at the Big Lead pretty much explains it all.

Yeah. It's ESPN.

Sorry if that sounds like sour grapes from a radio guy outside the gates of the mighty Bristol Starship. But it's true.

Here's the key graphs, in case you don't have the time to read it all. But you should...

Coaches and ADs do benefit from the bowl system, but the true beneficiary is ESPN. The bowl system has expanded because of ESPN. In 2000, there were 25 bowl games with ESPN televising 14 of them. Now, there are 35 bowl games. Including ABC in the equation, ESPN televises 33 of them. An ESPN subsidiary owns an operates seven of the games itself.

College football draws an audience. Even the worst of the worst bowl games in a down year do well on cable. Troy-Ohio and Florida International-Toledo still got 1.3 and 1.4 ratings, about on par with a mundane Sunday Night Baseball telecast. The BCS title game received the highest rating in cable history. ESPN profits substantially from the college football postseason, without much competition and without having to share enough of the revenue to ensure teams turn a profit.

Through its promotion and coverage, ESPN inflates the importance of bowl games. It persistently increases the number of them. It creates an environment where not attending a bowl game is failure and not having your conference cram as many teams as possible into these games jettisons you from the national discussion. Teams feel they need to play in these games, to stay on ESPN’s radar. ESPN promotes the bowl system and may be the reason we don’t advance beyond it.

What happens with the playoff? Ratings increase, possibly pushing into the neighborhood of NFL playoff ratings. This gets the broadcast networks interested and prices ESPN out or, at the very least, forces them to pay far more than they are presently paying scattershot to individual bowl games. Conferences would demand that the schools profit from the system. Broadsides against the BCS in favor of a playoff from ESPN seem to have stopped, since ESPN got the rights back.

College football teams play bowl games for the same reason they do almost everything schedule related. It serves ESPN’s purposes.

Bravo to "tyduffy" who wrote this piece (the site should really do a better job of linking to author's full name and photo, IMHO, but whatever) that covers just about every conceivable angle of the current, idiotic, wasteful system.

Not to mention, the jaw dropping revelation that somehow, Auburn absorbed a 700k LOSS on tickets for the BCS Championship game!

Monday, May 23, 2011

It's Not Gay, If It's A 3-Way

Another Timberlake/Sandberg SNL classic!

Of course, if you missed the others, here's a short list of the Best of the Best!

*caution kiddies! Not all of them are SFW!

Great Day (Cocaine Song

I'm On A Boat

Jizz In My Pants

I Just Had Sex


Dick In A Box

"With the first selection...

... in the 2011 "Rapture Draft", GOD selects, Randy "Macho Man" Savage.


Ohhh... yeahhhhhhh!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Gone Golfin'.....

By the time you see this post, or perhaps watch this video, I will be well on my way to a sunburn, and numerous three putts. That said, this annual golf trip to Pinehurst - or, more properly, Southern Pines, NC - is something I very much look forward to each year.

The camaraderie amongst men, is simply priceless. We have a diverse group, of guys, almost all of them married, ranging at least 20 years in age. Most have come to know each other, only through this annual event. They come from all over the country. Indiana, Texas, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and of course the DC area.

I urge anyone who wants to book a great trip, at a great price, start by picking up the phone and calling Ken Crow, or Jeffrey Jones at The National GC in Southern Pines.

By all means, DROP MY NAME, and say you saw this video, and you will get the Czabe Approved Hook-em-up!

See ya'll Monday. My voice horse. My hands blistered. And my dreams of a great golf season to come, hopelessly shattered.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

When Did Jorge Posada Become Osama Bin Laden?

From reader Tim McDarby....

Every day after the death of OBL, there has been a daily drip of unflattering information from 'sources' in the administration of the intelligence community (a group that traditionally doesn't do a lot of talking about information they gather). Info about living conditions, porn collections, narcissism, etc. Every day another piece of information to belittle his 'reputation' in the terror world.

Posada, an aging catcher/DH in his 17th season, really struggling with his below 200 average asked for 'a day' after being moved to 9th in the order. Both he and manager Joe Girardi agree that was the only thing they talked about in a 'brief' exchange an hour before game time.

(at this point we can easily debate the cause of his needing time over hurt feelings or back stiffness)

Since Saturday it has been an almost daily drip of information from Yankee "officials" in discrediting a player they've employed for 17 years.

During the Fox broadcast, writers and announcers were suggesting Posada 'quit' on his team before a Red Sox game. Ken Rosenthal and NY beat writers tweeted the Yankees were seeking to discipline Posada and perhaps void the remaining year on his contract. Hell, they rumored he wanted to retire to the point that YES Network's Jack Curry called Posada's dad wanting information DURING THE GAME! Posada's wife took to both Twitter and Facebook to defend her husband with a back issue. All breathlessly reported on TV and social media while Posada was sitting in the Yankee dugout watching the game. Bet he knew nothing of what was going on.

Derek Jeter got dragged into it by defending his teammate and friend. A conference call was ordered with club 'officials' and Jeter to get on the same page. Jeter, to his credit, never has backed down in his defense. Despite the Yankees being 'upset' the captain didn't side with them.

Yesterday it was suggested in an ESPN/NY story (citing 'officials') that Posada refused to catch in a spring training game angering Yankee brass. Despite GM Brian Cashman taking pride in telling anyone and everyone he told Posada face-to-face in November that he would never catch another game as a Yankee and would only be a DH.

Also, it is suggested that Posada demanded out on Saturday night. Posada never mentioned it with the press. Girardi never mentioned it. Neither did Cashman in his numerous availabilities that night and again on Sunday.

He's getting the same exact discrediting treatment as OBL (obviously to a different degree)!

What the hell are they trying to do embarrass him into quitting and letting them out of their $13-million commitment? (YES!).

Tim McDarby

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Shiny New Toys For Billionaires

When it comes to luxury purchases you will soon regret, I am nobody to scold.

But the economics on the Minnesota Vikings proposal for a new retractable roof venue are stupid enough to make you think the good folks up there have completely lost their minds.

A state that is $5,000 million in the red on their annual budget (Note: I wish all reporting of financial stories listed billions as the more viscerally understandable one-thousand-million figure) is going to somehow scrape together several hundred million in public money to make Zygi Wylf just a little bit more rich.

From the Washington Post, by way of Sally Jenkins...

Under the latest proposal favored by the Vikings, Minnesotans would pony up $650 million so Wilf can have a new $1 billion palace in the Arden Hills suburb of St. Paul. Ramsey County would get hit with a $350 million tab via a sales tax increase. The state, which is facing a $5 billion budget shortfall, would contribute another $300 million. The Vikings would contribute $407 million, but would pay no rent at all, and would get all revenues from the stadium, including parking, signage and naming rights. What a deal for the public.

That’s not all. The county would be on the hook for $1.5 million a year in operating expenses; the Vikings would be exempt from any state sales taxes on the building materials; and the state would be required to make improvements to roads and infrastructure that could cost $240 million more.

Well, that's just super. If I'm a taxpayer in Minnesota, and this thing passes, even IF it only nicks me 1/2 of 1 percent in sales tax in a single county, I'm gonna take this as a strong hint - along with testicle freezing winters - to move the fuck out of Minnesota.

I don't really have a dog in this fight, but it gets more and more sickening to think that we have devolved into a 2nd world nation where crony capitalism has run amok.


From Wikipedia:

Crony capitalism is a term describing an allegedly capitalist economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, and so forth.

Crony capitalism is believed to arise when political cronyism spills over into the business world; self-serving friendships and family ties between businessmen and the government influence the economy and society to the extent that it corrupts public-serving economic and political ideals.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Congratulations Tim of New Berlin!

Not only did Tim pick K.J Choi to win he also correctly picked the Final Aggregate Score as well as Choi's lowest round to beat out 8 other contestants.

Monday, May 16, 2011

King Clown Has His Day In The Sun

Apparently, to be named "Sportswriter of the Year" all you need is opposable thumbs, and a name that is slightly more well known than the hockey blogger at AOL Fanhouse.

Because Peter King, has been given that honor. King writes...

I'm a little bit blown away this morning, as I have been since Dave Goren of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association called in January to say I'd been named sportswriter of the year. You sure you didn't get my number mixed up with Posnanski's or Reilly's or Verducci's? But hey, that's the power of Sports Illustrated, SI.com and the internet in today's sports communications business. And I ain't giving it back.

Tonight's the awards ceremony, in this small city an hour north of Charlotte. I'll have to take a deep breath when I look around and see those I've looked up to in the business, like Bob Ryan, Brent Musburger and Hal McCoy -- a guy who taught me so much on the Reds' beat 30 years ago -- and realize I'm standing with them now, and standing with peers like Mike Tirico and so many writers and broadcasters from across the country who I've shared press boxes with over the years. It's a great honor, something I'll never forget as long as I live.

Ah yes, an honor you so richly deserve, you witless stooge. Good work. In the very same MMQ "column" - proofread by live monkeys! - King managed to dither about for 300 odd words about AN INTERVIEW THAT NEVER HAPPENED!!!


Nothing like having to CROSS OUT an entire chunk of your column, because you were TOO FUCKING LAZY to make one call on your vaunted cell phone - to either Sirius Radio (whom he fucking WORKS FOR part time!) or perhaps any number of your "high level" NFL contacts.

Nah. Just assume a random blogger you have never heard of, nailed the story, and USE IT as basis in fact, for off-the-cuff speculation over your Starbucks triple-latte.

Once more with feeling: what a fucking hack!

Enjoy the rubber chicken and accolades tonite, Pete.

Meanwhile, leave the heavy reporting to the real pros who will never share the stage with over-rated sports media princesses like you.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

TPC Sawgrass: A Humble Defense

Yes, it's goofy.

Yes, it's tricked to the max.

It's a golf course equivalent of a Honda Civic, with it's rims jacked, windows tinted, and noisy exhaust just to make it sound scary.

But like that Civic, it DOES catch your eye.

A classic layout - this Pete Dye/Deane Beman collaboration - it is not.

And if you want to measure it against the great, distinguished layouts in the game of golf, then it will always come up short.

But when it comes to delivering drama late on Sundays, the course does it's job. The final 3 holes are brilliantly calibrated to offer the full mix of a closing test of high level tournament golf.

The 16th is meant to be abused with a solid drive and long-iron/hybrid approach. Your last chance to jump into the picture with a birdie or eagle.

The 17th is a visual knee knocker, but honestly, at 132 yards long, a should-be easy par unless the wind is blowing at 25-plus.

The 18th is a monster, plain and simple.

You can play those final three holes in any combination of aggressiveness, and with any combination of birdie-par-bogey-disaster.

As such, the Players at Sawgrass never comes down to a snoozing par-march to the clubhouse.

But let's get back to course itself. My only problem with the set-up currently, is that there are several greens where a well struck shot, can land GENTLY on the surface, and yet still pick up steam and slip entirely off the ledge into a hazard.

It happened to Mickelson on #13 on Thursday. It happened to McDowell on #18 on Sunday morning.

That needs to be fixed. Period. You can have balls slide off false fronts, into a bunker, a collection area, or the rough. But not a hazard. No. Never a hazard. Properly struck shots, that merely land in the wrong quadrant of a green, should never result in a penalty stroke.

Okay, that's an easy fix. Just bring those fringe collars up an inch or so, and you won't have that problem. You can leave the contours as they are. Just keep the balls from getting wet.

As for the rest of Sawgrass's quirky vindictiveness - you know, mounds and whoop-de-do's with ankle high rough - I'm fine with that. Tall strands of pampas grass and razor palms that eat up your ball, and restrict your swing?

Hey, who told you to hit it there?

Off line shots should be penalized, and at this course, the penalties are like Russian roulette. Hit it straighter. Think hard about how you plan to extricate yourself from trouble. A simple pitch, loosely executed, will become a seven before you can say "damn you to hell, Pete Dye!"

As for Sawgrass having memorable holes besides #'s 16-18, well, it doesn't. Hell, I played the place two winters ago, and many of the holes still elude my recollection. Granted, given the course was in a dormant bermuda winter yellow, and most of the deciduous trees were without their foliage, much of the place looked very unfamiliar.

You gotta remember, this is Florida, folks. On the global "master list" of great courses, Florida might only have 2 that even deserve to be on the list besides Sawgrass. (Seminole, which nobody ever sees, and Bay Hill would be mine).

Florida is flatter than Calista Flockhardt on her prom night. And the state is all freaking sand. As a course designer, you just can't do anything interesting with it. Period. You could design an iPhone app that has enough power to layout a typical Florida golf course.

Dogleg. Palm trees. Sand traps. Lake or marsh.


I respect TPC Sawgrass for the simple fact that it was Beman's brainchild. The course, and the vision for the PGA Tour that Beman had back in the day, is why all of these dudes are flying from tournament to tournament in LearJets, not driving by car.

Beman knew the PGA Tour needed a true "home course." It needed an event it could call it's own. The Tour didn't own even a slice of the four majors. While nobody with an IQ above that of a lob wedge thinks this event is somehow a "5th major" you can't blame Beman - and now, Finchem - for pushing this thing, to the point of eye rolling annoyance.

Go ahead and google up the stories of how Beman decided to build TPC Sawgrass.

He bought the property, for $1.

Yes. A dollar.

It was a swampy fucking mess.

Over the years, Beman and the Tour have turned a $1 swampy mess, into one helluva championship golf course, a money making resort gem, and they play a very lucrative event there every year - rent fucking free.

As the kids say: "props to that."

So it's not an oak tree lined Tillinghast masterpiece from 1914.

It is what it is.

To that, I tip my cap.


Oh yeah, one last thing. If you missed the trash-can lid sized turtle taking the "Nestea Plunge" in super-slo-mo on Saturday, don't worry.

Czabe has you covered.....


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Stuck Like Winnie The Pooh" Between Colors and Nickname

Some will say: "Hey, at least we're back to the ol' Red White and Blue."

I say to Ted, keep trying.

The team, is the BULLETS. Period. Sorry that ol' Abe Pollin got all sad and all about Yitzhah Rabin's assassination, and the spiraling murder rate in the city at the time he decided to put a bullet in the head of "Bullets." (pun intended, thank you).

I know Ted says that the process just to change the colors was difficult enough, and that they shortcut the usual NBA timeframe of 2 years down to just 1. I know Ted says there are a lot of "intellectual property" issues to deal with when it comes to a full name/logo/color change.

Yeah, yah, yeah.

Just look at those gorgeous unis when they dusted them off as "vintage" throwbacks during the Jordan years. Just look at them!

Fabulous. Bold, simple, clean.

Now, we are stuck like Winnie the Pooh in Rabbit's house, halfway between a bad nickname nobody wanted (Wizards) and a color scheme that is close to the original, but not quite as sharp as the original.


Never mind that bullets have been used for countless acts of GOOD in the world, defending the innocent, freeing the enslaved, or just bulwarking the freedom of individuals, against the tyranny of the state.

Nah. Never mind that.

So what, are the Buffalo Sabres supposed to be upset that their nickname is a brutal military weapon designed to dismember humans in a bloody mess?


Come on, Ted. The team itself, sucks. At least give us our old beloved nickname back.

PS: The "alt" logo of the basketball, with the star over the Washington Monument? Crackin! I like it. Use it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mediocre Hire: And Not My Opinion....

"What we saw in this case, and in so many other coaching positions that opened and closed this spring, is how much less common it is becoming for even the best jobs to wind up in the proper hands. That’s largely because so many athletic directors have no idea what a qualified basketball coach looks like. It’s also because ADs that have such quality coaches are compensating them so well that climbing the coaching ladder no longer is essential."

-  Mike DeCourcy, writing for The Sporting News

Play Czabe's Major Golf Challenges

Congratulations to Todd from Milwaukee, WI
He won 2 rounds of Golf at The Bull at Pinehurst Farms

The Early Bull (Bird) Drawing is for Major Challenge Players only.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Now For Some Real Unrest in College Park!

This has to be heartbreaking to many of my University of Maryland friends.

But it's late Sunday night, and there is no imminent replacement for your legendary coach, Gary Williams.

I was told - almost angrily, I might add - by a prominent Maryland fan, alumni, and fellow media member, that "there will be a new coach by Monday, and he will be a BIG name guy."

Whoa, I said. Relax. Why so mad? I just said you might want to be prepared to be disappointed. I pointed out plenty of perfectly logical reasons why getting that "wow" coach, was not going to be easy.

The logic included, but was not limited to...

1. There's not much talent on this roster now, and two recruits are likely to de-commit.
2. Following a legend is always a dicey proposition. Better to be the next guy after that.
3. It's late in the calendar. Nobody is changing seats right now.

Logic never stands a chance against emotion, however.

I also tried to gently point out that the ACC as a conference, has been living on its ever fading standard-def VHS tapes from the 80's and 90's too much these days. The conference - in my opinion, and others - is caught as a mediocre football league, and on the basketball side existing only to serve the interests of Duke and Carolina.

What K and Roy wants, they eventually get. Everyone else can go to hell.

So here you have a program in Maryland, not part of the Carolina Mafia, having lost the driving force and DNA of it's program in Williams, entering a bold new chapter of it's existence.

Without talent.

Let's not forget. Gary decided to quit NOW, because the 2011-2012 season WITHOUT forward Jordan Williams, was another suicide mission, even for Gary.

Please don't buy the notion that Gary's decision was independent of the kid going pro. I don't blame Gary, but it doesn't mean I have to buy his spin, meant to protect a kid from the stigma of driving the final nail in a legend's coffin.

So when I heard the names being thrown around by UMD fans last Friday, I just had to laugh.

Jamie Dixon. Jay Wright. Sean Miller. Mike Brey. Brad Stevens.

I mean, really? Really. In fact, one UMD guy I spoke to, said they would "have their CHOICE" of the above names.


I tried to plead logic both in person, and on the radio.

I was shouted down, and angrily rebutted by such wonderful things as the "fertile recruiting area" of the Baltimore-Washington corridor, the "fantastic facilities" of Comcast Center, and of course the "rich tradition" of Terrapin Basketball.

These are all true, and very real. But they matter more to fans, than prospective new coaches of the Terps.

Let's take them one at a time.

1. Recruiting.
If you have a phone, you have an "in" on anyone's recruiting "area." This is how Kevin Durant gets extricated to Texas. Hometown recruits who stay close to home, especially blue chippers, are considered a bonus. Not a lock. The hometown recruit, is about as elusive to find as the pro athlete who agrees to take a "hometown discount" on his next contract. No team locks down their home territory. Just look at rosters around the country.

2. Facilities.
Yes, Maryland has nice digs. Thank you, Gary. But almost every big D-1 program has good "facilities" now, and even if they don't, it seems to have no real effect on recruiting. Georgetown, for example, does not have an on-campus arena, and likely never will. They play before non-sellout crowds at the Verizon  Center. And yet, somehow, JT III has recruited circles around Gary Williams in the last 5 years.

3. Tradition.
You know who cares about "tradition?" Old fogies, like you and me. That's who. The 18 year old kid today, doesn't know any of your school's former stars beyond guys currently in the NBA, and whichever ones still appear on his XBox. And while coaches might have a better perspective about "tradition" at a school, they are in a shark tank of a profession where they have to produce NOW, and CONTINUOUSLY in order to avoid being drummed out of a gig. Tradition not only won't save a new coach once he signs on, it'll start to work against him if he doesn't win.

Guys like Sean Miller know this. He's no idiot. Why would a coach with 4 of 5 starters returning from a Regional Final team, come to a program that missed the both the NCAA AND THE NIT this year!?

Because of the great tradition of Lefty Drisell, and a fancy weight room?

Gary was the program. The program was Gary. Gary is gone.

Repeat that over and over and over, oh ye delusional Terp fans.

Gary Williams himself, was undeniably a Top-10 college coaching "brand" for what he had done over 22 years at the school. But it doesn't make the empty office at College Park, an automatic "Top 10-15 job" in college basketball.

Even if Andy Katz says so.

So, let's check the list.

Sean Miller got a lunch from Kevin Anderson and a raise from Arizona. "No thanks."
Mike Brey didn't even want the lunch.
Brad Stevens seemed uncomfortable to even be in the conversation.

And by the public silence of Jamie Dixon and Jay Wright, I am guessing their thinking goes something like this: "Why should I leave a conference that sends twice as many teams to the tournament and gets more ESPN exposure than your league?"

Already, I have sensed a new "talking point" from Maryland apologists, and it goes something like this: "Kevin Anderson is screwing up the pitch."

Okay, whatever makes you feel better.

So now, you are left to sniffing around the Mark Turgeon's of the college basketball world. If you want to call him a "big name" and try to save some face, then go for it. I'll look the other way and hold my smile.

This is nothing to get all worked up over, Terp fans.

You need to hire a GOOD coach, not a NAME coach. Forget where you think "this job ranks" and simply appreciate what Gary did for you over the last 22 years.

Now, at this point I raise a practical question: if the new coach isn't sexy enough for the undergrads in College Park, will they take to the streets and set fire to couches?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

There Was Only One, Seve

There was nobody else like him in golf history, a virtuoso forged from poverty with a single rusty 3-iron on a Spanish beach. His passion for the game, poured through in everything he did. What a shame the golf world was denied many golden years of Seve the Legend in graceful retirement.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Of Course, Fire Him. Duh. #losing

And not because I don't like the Angry Hockey Teletubby. I do love him. He's a good hockey coach. He's feisty. He's funny. He's foul mouthed.

But at some point, the burden of proof shifts from the premise: "Why should he be fired" to "why should he stay".

When you have four straight years in which a 1, 1, 2, and 3 seeded team fails to make it past the second round, then that's a real trend.

You fire Coach Boudreau because the downside is almost non-existent. GM George McPhee has done an excellent job - in my opinion - of assembling a very talented, young team. As such, a ham sandwich dressed up in Don Cherry's loud suits and french cuffed shirts could coach this roster into the playoffs.

And there's really no difference between being a 1, 4 or even 8 seed.

If you bring Coach B back, then there's enormous pressure and nervousness around this time next spring. The feeling will be "this CANNOT happen again!" That's no way to enter the playoffs. A new coach - or the ham sandwich - brings a clean slate.

The Caps job, if open, instantly becomes the best job in the league. You'll have your pick of guys. The time is now. Sorry, Bruce. But thanks for all that you've done.

As they say, it's just business.


Meanwhile, if you missed this on my Twitter feed (@czabe) then here's a little snarky gem from fellow bitter Caps fan Mike Lewis.


The Toronto Sun has a 8 Reasons the Caps Crapped Out piece. The man clearly under the spotlight, is Canada's whipping boy, the Russian superstar Alex Ovetchkin. I used to think Candian favoritism of Sid The Kid was a bit jingoistic, but it is gaining more merit with each early flameout.
The captain did manage 10 points in nine playoff games, but there are serious questions about his leadership ability. 
Yes, he is one of the greatest players in the NHL, capable of tilting a game in his team's favour on a whim. But Ovechkin doesn't seem to make the players around him better as so many of hockey's great leaders do. 
"We were hungry, we just did not win," Ovechkin said after Game 4. "We want to win, they want to win but somebody has to lose." 
Somebody has to lose? Hard to imagine Jonathan Toews or Sidney Crosby taking a gutting loss with such a shrug of the shoulders. Until Ovechkin makes more of an impact than the occasional big hit or flashy goal, his reputation will be lacking.
Good points, except you can't take too much from the "somebody has to lose quote" because Ovie has done wonders to learn to speak English, and those subtle nuances get lost in translation. I'd cut him slack on that. Only longtime North American, English speaking athletes understand that such a statement of fact, plays poorly.


Finally, Caps uber-fan "Let's Go Caps" Lloyd, offers this, the day afterward.

Hello Steve, This is lets go caps Lloyd. First off, please tell Andy that I was right when I told him and Redline bar last Thursday that I was nervous about this series. I didn't like the matchup. Andy of courses laughed and disagreed with me. Now on to venting.

As a Caps fan that started going to games for free because my grandfather was best friends with former Caps GM Max Mcnabb, I have seen my share of heartbreaks. It started in the 80's with a few mild surprises mixed in (see hunters game 7 overtime goal against the flyers or langways OT series clincher vs Rangers) and then the 90's came along where every year it seems like the Pens got the best of us. So these last 4 years, I have always had low expectations, and the Caps have seem to fulfill those low expectations. Maybe we are cursed? So what should we do?

I agree with you. Bruce Boudreau is a nice guy, has done wonders for helping turn around not only this franchise, but also Hadeed carpet cleaners. Heck, he even makes me want to own a Mercedes if I had the money. But I think a change is needed. Some times you need to make a change for the sake of change. I think Mcphee needs to go after a coach that has won a cup i.e. Bob Hartley, Mark Crawford or even Mike Keenen (yes that Mike Keenen). The locker room seems to comfortable, and that's the problem. I keep thinking to the U.S. Hockey team of 1980. What did Herb Brooks try to accomplish. He wanted the team to become one and the way he did that was to have the team have a singular enemy early on, himself.

I also think a shakeup of the roster is needed. Mike Green and Alex Semin probably would be the best trade bait. You are not winning anything with them. Goaltending is fine. Mark my words, if and when the Caps do win big, it will be Braden Holtby in goal.

Again, thanks for letting me vent and playing armchair GM. The show is great. And my Sundays will soon be free for some golf. And please make sure you tell Andy I told you so!

J.R. Herrin

AKA Lets go Caps Lloyd.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Craction is coming

As an incentive for being notified about when the 2011 Craction registration for NFL and College Leagues opens, we are giving away a 50'' LCD HDTV. Simply enter your email address at our site http://www.craction.com/ - the sign up process takes less than a minute.

This year Craction has chosen a new web development company and we will be providing leagues for the NFL, College Football & Basketball, NBA, College Bowl Season, 4th Quarter Blitz, NCAA Tournament and 2012 MLB seasons! We've also added new features like forums, polls, as well as audio and video clips related to sports and Craction.


It's The Stadiums, Stupid

 What is the NFL lockout really all about? It's not the trite and over-used "billionaires vs. millionaires" analogy.
What is the NFL lockout really all about? It's not the trite and over-used "billionaires vs. millionaires" analogy.

It's about stadiums. Period.

Taxpayer supported stadiums, and the desire for at least 2 or 3 more of them to be built as soon as possible.

Here's a good piece by Evan Weiner about the "out of whack" world of sports, and in particular the "stadium shakedown" scheme that is going on in the NBA and NHL right now too.

Writes Weiner....

NFL owners have done a poor job of explaining the why behind their proposal of asking the players to take substantially less of the gross, from about 59 percent to 41 percent with 48 percent of that going to player salaries. The players don’t believe there is a real financial problem in the NFL after the league got new large TV deals and a bunch of new stadiums with more revenue streams coming online..The 1986 federal tax code update created the NFL labor dispute. Owners seized on a piece of the changes in the code that had major consequences.

Municipalities could build new stadiums for teams and get as little as eight cents back on every dollar generated inside the facility. Depending on the deal an owner cut with the city officials, an owner could garner as much as 92 cents of every dollar..But it is those taxpayer-funded new stadiums that have caused the problem. With every new stadium that has opened or has been renovated, more revenue does flow into the league — which raises not only the salary cap ceiling but also hikes the salary cap floor..

The 1986 tax code revision was a double-edged sword. For some owners (like Art Modell) it was a lifesaver, while for others (like those in Minnesota), it has been a disaster..Franchises playing in old facilities like the Oakland Raiders, the San Diego Chargers, the San Francisco 49ers, the Atlanta Falcons, the St. Louis Rams, the Minnesota Vikings and others cannot keep pace and are struggling to meet the salary cap floor. Additionally some owners have thrown a lot of money into new stadiums and have to pay down the stadium debt..The 49ers owners, the York family, have not gone full throttle in getting financing for a proposed stadium in Santa Clara as of yet. The league wanted to show the players they need to contribute money for the Santa Clara facility.

REACT: The stadium dynamic that drives league-wide profits, and in particular, owner specific profits, is really the ballgame. Teams that don't have new, modern, ATM-like stadiums built (at least partially) on the public dime, are fighting like hell to get them, or threatening to leave (often unconvincingly).

Other owners who bit the bullet and built Taj Mahal's on heavy doses of private debt (read: their own money) are desperate to steal back as much cash from the players as possible in this fight. They simply can't afford to "lose" this time around, so you understand why guys like Jerry Jones comes swaggering in banging his fists together and threatening to "show you" how serious the owners are.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Load Up The Hypewagon!

Now that the NFL Draft is over, let's all say this phrase out loud: "Well, we really won't know anything for at least 2-3 years."

Okay, that's over with. It's the truth. But that doesn't stop every one of us football fans from having definite opinions on what just went down.

So here we go...

1. Carolina just guzzled a pitcher of turpentine with the Cam Newton pick. They did it because, basically, the rest of the league and ESPN dared them to do it. Like a bunch of frat brothers who egg on that one guy who always does crazy shit if he's drunk enough. There's a chance this turpentine will be refreshing and do no damage to the Panthers. And there's the chance that they'll get exactly what logic says: an over-entitled, shortcut-taking, one-year wonder QB who needs to learn how to call plays from scratch, among many other things.

2. Does Jimmy Clausen give up that #2 jersey without a fight? What's fair payment? $180,000? A laptop? Too soon? What? Like I'm the bad guy... sheesh.

3. Atlanta has lost it's f'ing mind. It doesn't matter how good Julio Jones is now, or might be soon. He's one player. If he delivers Jerry Rice 1989 Tecmo Bowl numbers right away, there's no guarantee that will actually result in meaningful wins for an already good team. Atlanta seems like a team that has gotten cocky with its current state of talent, and decided to show all the other teams: "Hey... watch THIS!" To give away all of that future potential talent, is just mind boggling. Even more stunning, is the number of people who think it's a good move.

4. If the Patriots, Steelers or Packers don't do it, you shouldn't either. That should be a rule in every other team's war room. None of those teams would trade 5 for 1 to take a WR. None.

5. The recent history of adding additional WR's to make a team supposedly so much better on offense, has fizzled just about wherever it has been tried. It's a fantasy football move. Jerry Jones has now done it twice, with Joey Galloway and now Roy Williams, and you see how that has worked out. Did having Ochocinco and Houshmazilli make Cinci unstoppable? Seattle got fleeced by the Patriots for Deion Branch. The Lions kept taking WR's, and even though Calvin Johnson is THE TRUTH, it hasn't done anything for them.

6. Speaking of Detroit, I like the counter-intuitive move of adding another DT to their already stout front four. It was a classic case of "how bad can this guy's work ethic be?" Fairley was top-5 caliber talent, that slipped to mid-round. Smart snatch. And I do think having Suh right next to him, is going to motivate and keep Fairley hungry.

7. Baltimore took a CB who is, apparently, well on his way to a whole section in Wikipedia labelled "Controversy." So what? This is not a choir teams are trying to assemble.

8. New England took Ryan Mallet in the 3rd round, because they looked around and said: "Really? I mean, really? Nobody is going to take a flyer on this kid? Fine. We don't need him, but this is getting ridiculous. He's a late first/early second round guy. Wrap him up.

9. The Jake Locker pick was certainly a "reach" by any classic definition, but every talking head made it sound like Tennessee had pulled the boner of the draft. For a guy who was going to be #1/#1 last year, it wasn't un-reasonable.

10. Every one of those same analysts who knocked the Locker pick, failed to mention Cam Newton as the single biggest reach of not just the draft, but perhaps in NFL Draft history. Okay, I guess they all got the memo from corporate.

11. Roger Goodell is a wanker. Watching him man-hug, and tight-ear talk each player was ridiculous. So you work out alot, Rog. Great. You didn't play. Shake hands and smile. The booing was great. I only wish some Red Wing fans had some 3-day old octopi left over.

12. Not that I'm stuck on Newton, but if he's so worthy of #1/#1, then how come not another single team tried to trade up to get him? How come Carolina had to try to "bluff" and say they had 4 players on their board, right up until the day before the draft.

13. Do scouts know that Von Miller's vision is probably 20/300 with those Erkel glasses? Might be an issue, I mean how's he... what.. wha? Those were a fashion statement? Really. What's next? Pocket protectors?

14. I don't care about anything Tim Hasselback has to say about the NFL, or college prospects in particular. The guy barely played in the NFL, and to me, offers nothing other than mundane level "analysis." So just because his wife is a major star on The View, and a reality show loser, he gets hooked up with the best TV agents and gets a gig on ESPN? Is that how it is? I resent this. Greatly. Go away and shut up, you scrub. I'm not saying you have to have been an All-Star to be a good analyst, but Timmy H. takes jabroni to a whole new level.

15. Here's Tim's best moment as a pro. Following a lucky win vs the Giants.... "The following week he had the lowest possible single-game passer rating (0.0) in a 27-0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Hasselbeck was 6-for-26 (23%) for 57 yards with four interceptions in that game.In May 2005, the New York Giants signed Hasselbeck to be their backup for QB Eli Manning. His only game action with the Giants consisted of two kneeldowns. On September 1, 2007, he was released by the Giants. He later had brief stints on the rosters of the Cardinals, Ravens, and Panthers."

16. Thankfully, the ratings for ESPN were DOWN across the board, for all three nights. Down 17% for Night 1, Down 29% for Night 2, and Down 11% for the weekend. No way this thing shouldn't be FLAT or slightly up from last year. Maybe the NFL should re-think how indestructible the fan appetite is for tackle football. It's huge. But not limitless. Wake up.

17. Former players, announcing the draft picks in Round 2? (..../eye roll) Hey, why not next year have a former player announce the first name, and a fan announce the last name? Or maybe, we can get the spelling bee finalists to announce the names one letter at a time? Oh, no. Wait. I got it. Pat Sajak and Vanna White, with a big lit-up board of letters, and...... what? Too much? Come on, what's the harm!?

18. Ryan Grant made the best point of anybody after the draft regarding how chummy the rooks were with Goodell the red-headed Spokesape. Grant: "It's really baffling for me to see these young guys hugging the commissioner with everything that has gone on in past months. I absolutely want these guys to enjoy this night.. They worked their butts off to get to this point But to hug the man who Literally is leading the campaign for taking money out your pocket doesn't sit well with me ..I might be wrong..But def happy for them."

We're Moving!

Just channels, that is, on satellite radio.

Our old homes: XM 242 and Sirius 127.

Our new homes:

XM: 208

Please make a note of it!

Monday, May 2, 2011

"True Islamic Fashion"

God Bless the Navy Seals and CT-6, and thanks to Taiwanese computer animation genius/geeks who wasted no time with this, and took the insensitive to an "11" on a scale of 1-10!