Maryland vs North Carolina
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Monday, February 27, 2012
$12 million to the winning team. Win, and get out of debt. Lose, and go back to scraping by trying to play for a team in Turkey.
I like it. I think it would produce some - ahem - SPIRITED competition. Problem is, the winners would likely blow their cash before they got to the bank with the check.
|EAST BROKE STARS||Career Earnings|
|PG||Anderson, Kenny||$60 million|
|SG||Iverson, Allen||$200 million|
|SF||Walker, Antoine||$110 million|
|PF||Baker, Vin||$86 million|
|C||Coleman, Derrick||$87 million|
|RES||Owens, Terrell||$80 million|
|Coach||Mahorn, Rick||$8 million|
|WEST BROKE STARS||Career Earnings|
|PG||Robinson, Rumeal||$5 million|
|SG||Rider, Isiah||$26 million|
|SF||Sprewell, Latrelle||$100 million|
|PF||Pippen, Scottie||$120 million|
|C||Kemp, Shawn||$92 million|
|RES||Caffey, Jason||$29 million|
|Coach||Swoopes, Cheryl||$50 million|
Meanwhile, Forbes.com examines just how a guy like Iverson - a MEGA-STAR - with both massive on-court and off-court income, could somehow be so broke before the age of 40.
It's not a new story, athletes going belly up. But it's an instructive one, to say the least.
It reminds me a bit of when Michael Scott "declared" bankruptcy.
Friday, February 24, 2012
After seeing this strong performance at the start of spring training today, I am starting to crawl back into the camp of "maybe he really WAS screwed!"
Kudos to Braun for pushing back strongly on how violated he was by the so-called "confidentiality" portion of the process, and kudos for standing up and taking questions.
Here's what stopped me in my tracks today, thinking about the drug testing "establishment." You know, the very sanctimonious folks at WADA and other such pee-pee collecting agencies. Think about this: how many times have you heard one of these PED scolds saying honestly, and frankly that "yes, mistakes are made. So we have to keep the possibility (regarding athlete X) that he or she is innocent."
You never hear that.
Yet mistakes are made. False positives exist.
They PED scolds at WADA, have one basic response to everyone of note who "gets caught."
"Yeah... sure. They all say that..."
Kind of like judges who say about defendants... "yeah, yeah, they all say they are innocent..."
Well, sometimes, they are innocent.
At the end of the day, both MLB and WADA would be pleased with a "big fish" being caught. It would send a chilling effect to other would be users, and more importantly for WADA, it would just further underscore their call for MORE testing and more ADVANCED testing (i.e. blood doping).
Remember, WADA is a business.
And there is a lucrative horizon of testing to be done on all sports, at increasingly sophisticated levels into the future. WADA doesn't prosper if it appears PED use is on the decline, or otherwise sufficiently "in check" buy current testing regimes.
Not saying it's a bona fide conspiracy. Not saying there was tampering. Just saying that if Ryan Braun loses, MLB and WADA "wins". Thus, you have to be suspicious.
In the case of Braun, you also have to give strong weight to the fact that neither his numbers nor his physical attributes showed any real "pop" that would make you suspicious. Granted, that isn't a foolproof exoneration of PED cheats.
But if his testosterone was indeed that sky high, well then he wasn't getting much "enhancement" of his actual performance.
Personally, I don't really care about athletes who might be juicing. I know they do, because I know it works. But the only people who really got their knickers in a wad, were the baseball nerds who became horrified at how Bonds was laying waste to the record book like Godzilla to a seaside Japanese village.
Them, and parents of kids who play sports and are worried that they'll run into the local corner version of Jose Canseco in their neighborhood.
Look, athletes need to be tested. Cheaters need to be punished. But the rush to judgement, and sanctimonious attitudes of the testing organizations and the leagues themselves, need to pump the brakes.
Ryan Braun's case, is a prime example. If you can't handle the pee pee in the exact manner you are OBLIGATED to handle it, then how can a MLB superstar trust that the more complicated process of testing for tiny amounts of banned substances is done correctly?
Thursday, February 23, 2012
I don't pretend to know enough about auto racing, to say whether she's "good" or "mediocre" or a complete fraud of a driver.
I know she's a tough woman. Tough enough to take a bump like this, and climb out of the car, and be ready to race again on Sunday in a brand new rig she knows virtually nothing about.
Hell, she's mentally tough to put up with all the crap that goes with her aggressive marketing in a boys game, that breeds resentment and behind-the-back whispers.
Maybe she's not ready for driving these cumbersome taxi cabs at 200 mph. I don't know.
I know that after this, however, my respect for her has grown just a bit.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Wha? Huh? Okay, never mind that.
So here I was in life, 44 years old and content to let the leisure activity called "snow skiing" reside in the depths of my "F*** It List."
You know, the OPPOSITE of a "Bucket List."
Things I had done, and was basically done with. No particular malice toward these things, just a shrug of the shoulders to say "eh, been there, it's fine, but you can have it."
My youngest daughter Megan, however, had other plans for me. She got the ski bug from several school trips this year, and she's now a little ski maniac.
So off we went to Snowshoe Resort in West Virginia, where even in a horrible year for east coast snow, they still had very nice conditions. My lovely wife once skied herself, but a cranky knee and a mommy's prerogative gave her the right to chillax in the condo and find other things to do with our older, non-skiing daughter.
So I got on the ol' wax death boards for the first time since 2001. And wow, have things gotten a lot easier! The new parabolic or curved skis are pretty much cheating. Mind you, I'm exceedingly average. But these things practically turn themselves.
I was particularly proud of young Megan, who had a fearlessness and a "skier's attitude" that went far beyond what I ever had at her age. When I was just 9, I got my arms pulled off by a tow rope at Seven Springs in Pennsylvania and in a pouting 10 year old rage, chose to spend all day instead side-stepping up a small hill behind the lodge and gliding down that until my dad and brother came by to get me before the lifts closed.
Yeah! I showed that stupid tow rope!
Megan had no problem picking out, and attacking even some black diamonds at Snowshoe, like Widowmaker. Granted, as you can see from the video above, she's not going to the Olympics either, but for just her first month on snow, I was thrilled.
|Widowmaker run at Snowshoe Resort, WV. That's black diamond, and my 9 year old daughter (left, brown suit) basically said "bring it on." This slope would have made me cry to mommy when I was her age.|
Luckily, the 2 feet between me and the 20 foot fall-off into the trees was enough buffer. And I was no worse for the wear. He did apologize - albeit half-heartedly - and I resisted the urge to go all Joe Pesci on him with my ski-poles.
Who knows what happened behind me to cause the wreck? Plus, it's a sport with well known risks. Ask the Kennedy's or Natasha Richardson. (What? Oh, I'm the bad guy?)
But it did get me to thinking about the whole "Snowboarder vs. Skier " culture war, which, I presume still exists to some degree. I remember when some resorts would not permit snowboarders, but then the market share grew to like 30% and they just couldn't afford their haughty principles.
In my humble opinion, snowboarders DO present an increase in risk on the slopes.
Sorry, but I do. Here's why.
I had a hard time spotting skiers who flat out sucked, and were a risk to wipe out on any run, at any given time. In fact, I noticed those people because they stuck out like a sore thumb. It was like: "Hey, that TOOL has no idea how to balance on skis! Ha ha! Let's watch!"
Meanwhile, the percentage of snowboarders who flat out sucked, was significantly higher. Even those who looked like they had mastered the art of the "Devil's Snow Rocket" would be shooshing down the slopes with relative ease when.... WHAM! Faceplant!
I attribute this - just observationally - with the number of former skiers who had grown bored of the same-old same-old, and wanted to get into something new.
Which is fine. Really. I don't care, because I'm only going to go skiing once a year, when my daughter drags my ass out there.
I also think snowboards, by their very nature, are a touch more wickedly un-controllable than skis. You only have 2 edges to control, not four. You don't have poles for balance. And your body is facing sideways to the direction you are travelling.
It just seems that when things go wrong, they go MUCH MORE WRONG on a snowboard, than they do on skis, which allow for greater maneuverability and last second wipeout-avoiding adjustments.
Then there's the average age demo of snowboarders vs. skiers. We don't even need to go there, do we?
That said, a**holes come in all flavors, and they travel on all types of snow equipment. And I am not trying to paint snowboarders with a broad brush. Most, I am sure, are responsible, cool, and very safe on the slopes. As much as skiers are, by and large.
And yes, for the record, I tried snowboarding once. Most impossible-f***ing-thing ever. Nearly killed myself on a bunny slope that was only about a 4% grade. I have the UTMOST respect for, and semi-jealousy of, anyone who can do it, and do it well.
So I'll just worry about over-photographing and videoing my kids like I'm a Warren Miller wannabe.
And if you don't know who Warren Miller is, then sheesh, check this shizzle out down here. Guy has been making the sickest ski videos in the world, since like, the 60's.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
Thursday, February 16, 2012
WASTE YOUR AFTERNOON!
Jeremy Lin is legit.
I am now of the firm belief that Lin's sudden rise is no gimmick, no schtick. Just a legitimate case of an overlooked talent, who finally gets his shot. The kid can play, and if the rest of the Knicks' overpriced primmadonnas buy in (ahem... looking at YOU, 'Melo..) then we are looking at a dynamic and dangerous Eastern Conference Contender for years to come.
Is the marketing and hype of this kid overboard? Of course. But it's harmless fun, so just ride it.
I was wondering early on, if Lin was more Billy Volek than Kurt Warner. (Sorry, I just couldn't find a more suitable basketball comparison, so this will have to suffice.)
Volek was a scrub bench warmer for the Titans, who came on like gangbusgters in the 2004 NFL season to singlehandedly win millions of fantasy leagues as an oh-by-the-way pickup late in that season.
In just 8 starts, Volek threw for 18 touchdowns at a 61% clip. He went for 426-4 and 492-4 in BACK-TO-BACK weeks late in the year. Never mind that the Titans lost those games. The guy was ON FIRE.
So next year, Volek puts back on the baseball hat for injured starter Steve McNair, and basically melts into the backround. Then he goes to San Diego, and in his 5 seasons there, has thrown exactly 44 passes.
Kurt Warner, meanwhile, remains the gold standard of out-of-nowhere sports legends. Even better than Unitas, in my opinion.
Steelers coach Walt Kiesling never even let Unitas take a snap in practice with the Steelers. Among those edging out Unitas was Ted Marchibroda, future NFL quarterback and longtime NFL head coach. Married with a child and out of pro football, Unitas worked in construction in Pittsburgh to support his family. On the weekends, he played quarterback, safety and punter on a local semipro team called the Bloomfield Rams for $6 a game.
You know how it worked out with Unitas. With Warner, it happened in living modern televised color. In an age of football far more advanced than back in Johnny U's era. With increasing levels of sophistication being applied to scouting and player development, you wonder how any such talents slip through the cracks.
Warner burst onto the football world like a supernova, throwing for an absurd 41-21-and-36 touchdowns in his first 3 years as a starter. Won a Super Bowl, should have won a second (thanks Mike Martz, clown) and then after being seemingly finished, resurrected himself one more time and should have won a 3rd Super Bowl (thanks James Harrison and Santonio Holmes).
Could Lin be the basketball Kurt Warner?
Sometimes, all talent needs is a chance.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
When he heard "body paint" his peeny when "hmmmmp!"
In a similar vein, every golfer I know has been breathlessly sending me these Natalie Gulbis bodypaint pics from the very same SI issue.
My thoughts: eh. Not only do the painted bikinis look fake, but the models look fake too! Somebody put down the photoshop airbrush!
I like Natalie. She'a a cool chick who knows the deal. She doesn't suck, but she also realizes that her financial future depends on being hot enough to pose for spreads like this, and just good enough to make the TV coverage on most LPGA weekends.
That said, I think Nat looks WAY hotter wearing golf gear. Including a hat. Hard to explain I suppose, but something about a hot chick in hot golf clothes in her sporting element just does a lot more for me.
Same thing for Alex Morgan. She's got a frontcourt like a 12 year old, so posing nekkid with just paint doesn't seem to make any sense.
I like Alex in a tight ponytail, sweating from head to toe, churning those lean soccer gams for 90 minutes against some helgas in the World Cup.
These body paint spreads have had their day. Time to let them go quietly into the swimsuit night, SI, not unlike fishnets that show some nipplage.
Just ask him.
Guy has a new contract extension that will take him to nearly $20 million per year by the end of the decade. This for a guy whose league is locked in to a no-opt-out 10 year labor agreement, and TV contracts that last almost as long.
In other words, the cake is baked on this league making ridiculous money for the next decade, so why do they need to jack this guy's salary to the moon now?
Answer: they don't HAVE to. They do it because they can. Period.
Skip Oliva sums it up perfectly at his blog "Under Penalty of Catapult."
Some brief comments on reports that Roger Goodell’s recent contract extension will pay him upwards of $20 million annually:
1. This isn’t about Goodell’s subjective value as an executive. During the lockout, we learned Goodell’s value in that sense is $1. There’s no competition for Goodell’s services and he’s publicly maintained he’s never wanted to work anywhere but the NFL.
2. This contract is primarily about the owners’ validating their prior decision to elect Goodell commissioner.
3. This contract further proves my contention that the league isn’t about profitability, but maximizing consumption for its own sake. “Hey, we can spend $20 million on this guy who adds little to our product!” Think of Roger as a very tiny stadium.
4. Goodell does provide one valuable service to the league. He consistently sells fans on the idea that players aren’t valuable as individuals. He breeds resentment among the customers against the product, yet does so in a manner that (for now) hasn’t damaged demand for the product. He’s almost like a Super Skip Bayless—a troll that keeps you interested.REACT: "Think of Roger as a very tiny stadium." Boom. Roasted. Nice.
Better yet was this comment attached to the Mike Florio re-cap of the contract on PFT.com. "Would be a sweet twist of fate if they cut him three years into his mega-deal before he got to the big money… just like teams do to players. Then he can hit up free agency for aging commissioners. I’m sure the IHL or the Putt Putt Pro-Am will come calling."
Roddy White of the Falcons took to twitter to rip the news.
“How in the hell can u pay a man this much money that cant run tackle or catch,” White wrote. “Roger Goodell is getting over never seen anything like it 20 million for looking over the league with tremendous help I guess the NFL is banking.”
White added, “the players make this league dont ever forget that.”
Sorry, Rod. You guys (players) had your chance. You had this league, and the machinery which produces such absurd financial excess, by the balls. You had the chance, if you could just weather a mere 4 months or so of missed paychecks, to bring the owners to their knees.
You blinked. They won.
You can address it again in 9 short years. I'm sure you'll still be around by then.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Well, these days, I haven't seen Foley much, if at all. Maybe there are good reasons. Maybe Tiger is quietly getting away from publicly praising how this fraud has managed to re-build - better, stronger, faster! - a swing that never needed rebuilding.
I know this much. If Tiger's swing is so good now, how come I got so many pictures of clubs flying out of his hands this weekend? And this is when he's playing WELL! Maybe Tiger can get some straps for those clubs, kinda like ski poles.
Meanwhile, the BEST shot of the weekend, came on the Sr. Circuit when Corey Pavin got up and down from a POTHOLE.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
All I know is that it's pretty sweet he sported the gray hoodie on the links. You stay frumpy, Bill.
Meanwhile, Bill Murray took it to the "next level" on Bushwood un-approved attire with his "full camo" sniper outfit. Lovely. And Chris Berman's Nutri-System Endorsement is proving to be worth every penny for the diet company.
Friday, February 10, 2012
Thursday, February 9, 2012
The wonders of Lebron James and his fragile ego, continue to amaze.
This guy's skin isn't just thin, it is diaper rash sensitive, 24-7-365.
Lebron tweeting like a giddy-fanboy over Blake Griffin's dunk over Kendrick Perkins was bad enough. I mean, really, dude. For a guy who - I believe - won't enter the NBA slam dunk contest out of mortal fear he won't win, what good does it do for your image to be whooping it up on your Blackberry like this?
Mark Kriegel, writing for FoxSports.com, has a theory. And I think he's dead on.
Let me tell you, again, what LBJ (another acronym offered without irony or any deference to the past) really needs. It’s not connecting with his fans. It’s a title. He needs one more than any athlete I know.
Now you show me a ballplayer who talks about being persecuted, I’ll show you a guy who wants to be a victim. Being picked on is an excuse. It’s another form of plausible deniability.
It was Kendrick's way of calling James unprofessional, or worse, dismissing him as a fan, another guy oohing, aahing and tweeting over a dunk.
The highlight reel euphoria obscured a couple of facts. First, Perkins hit Griffin hard and high. Second, Griffin had to literally throw the ball in the basket, a play that perhaps only he could make. In other words, all things considered, Perkins played pretty good help defense.
Then again, help defense is a team concept. It’s a subtlety lost on giants of the tweeting classes.
Perkins was willing to risk humiliation to make the proper basketball play. I don’t believe James would risk as much. He’s a Nike commercial. He always looks cool. Just the same, it’s worth reminding you he’s proclaimed himself a King, though he has no title.Boom, roasted.
Meanwhile, let's take the ol' "Wayback Machine" for a spin, and remember what happens when LeBron gets posterized, even in an obscure, off-season Nike Camp.
Ryan Miller, who videotaped the dunk and had his tape confiscated, detailed the events to CBSSports.com.
"[Nike Basketball senior director Lynn Merritt] just said, 'We have to take your tape,' " Miller said. "They took it from other guys, too."
Miller, who is a freelancer, was at the camp in part for ESPNU. He also was getting material for Syracuse.com. Miller, who attended Syracuse, had been part of ESPNU's Campus Connection program, which uses college students to report on various sports events at their campuses. The tape that was confiscated belonged to Miller, not ESPN, and he is not an ESPN employee.
Miller said he had been filming all day and had his tapes confiscated only after Crawford's dunk over James.
"LeBron called Lynn over and told him something," Miller told CBSSports.com. "That's how I knew his name was Lynn. LeBron said, 'Hey, Lynn. Come here.' "
Minutes later, Miller said Merritt demanded his tape.
"There's nothing I can think of besides LeBron just not wanting it online," Miller told CBSSports.com. "It's a good story to tell people, I guess. But then again, I'm kind of pissed. I lost my tape."Here's the dunk footage. Only 1.2 MILLION views and counting. Watch it a few times yourself to pump up the hit counter, just to further piss off Queen James.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
The results, were predictably, less than satisfying to many.
Among the perceived "snubs", coach Bill Parcells and defense end Charles Haley were left out this year. Perhaps they will get in next year. Or maybe never. The logic of why a guy is not worthy one year, but then worthy the next year, or perhaps 7 years or more later, remains one of the great mysteries of the process.
I won't get into the merits or critiques of this year's inducted class - that's a robust discussion you can have with your buddies over a beer - but rather let me once again highlight the sheer stupidity of the PROCESS involved.
To begin with, allowing just 44 voices to determine a man's life work in the game is absurdly small. Let's bump that up to 100 as a start, and keep an open mind to adding even more if needed.
Secondly, take a look at how un-inspiring this list of writers really is. I mean, how many of these people have you heard of?
Many of these writers, have lost their full time newspaper job years ago. I don't want to name names, because this is not a personal attack on them (or their relative football acumen). But I know the guys in that room, who are NOT currently practicing full-time NFL writers. They should no longer be on the panel.
Also, you will see a small handful of TV broadcasters on this list. I don't object to that, per se. However, I maintain that it's absurd to not include some long time sports radio talk show hosts on the committee. I would not volunteer myself, because I understand my own biases. But sports talk radio hosts are, in my opinion, especially suited to HOF arguments, because we HAVE THEM ALL THE TIME in the course of our regular work.
It'll be a cold day in hell, before they let in an unwashed "sports talk radio host" into this little enclave. Better to have a former beat writer, from a 50,000 circulation paper that is now just a website, to help decide if Bill Parcells deserves a bronze bust in Canton.
My buddy, and now (wait for it....) FELLOW SPORTS RADIO colleague Thom Loverro - himself a former major market newspaper columnists (although he still does fine work for a smaller, free paper here in Washington, the D.C. Examiner) tried to ZING me by saying "how about sports radio hosts who ACTUALLY GO INTO THE LOCKEROOM AND TALK TO PLAYERS AND COACHES."
Oooh. Burn. Not really.
Thom actually makes a great point in my favor on this one. By NOT going into the lockeroom as frequently (or ever) as writers, we are not subject to the negative bias of many writers who have felt the sting of rejection from certain players.
We don't hold grudges, because we have no grudges to hold.
So what if Parcells was a liar, a bully and a tyrant to the scribes who covered him? The guy built NFL teams from the ground up, proved innovative in big games, and bequeathed a tree of assistants that is legendary. So what if Charles Haley was a borderline sociopath and mostly un-cooperative to the press? The guy has 5 rings and terrorized offenses. I'd love to see/hear/read the 44 electors "rationale" for why Chris Doleman belongs ahead of him.
If you are on the committee, you should be required to divulge your votes on each nominee, and not just "up" or "down." I would require each selector to write a concise 1 paragraph explanation of their vote. At least lets see their "logic" and let it stand on it's own. If you can't take the hate mail, hate tweets, or general "heat" of a strong opinion, then get out of the room. It's that simple.
Finally, there should be a price for being on this committee. As it currently stands, the committee meets conveniently during Super Bowl week, where there is essentially zero cost to the members. Take a few hours out of your week, haggle over inductees, turn in your votes, go have a steak dinner on your employers' per diem.
Nice work, if you can get it.
I would hold this annual meeting outside of the Super Bowl week, and I would require members to pay for their own travel and accommodations. If it matters that much for you to be on this committee, then you should put some money behind it.
See how quickly the room clears out once you do that.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
A wild-ass running hook shot that misses, and then a totally oblivious jog back upcourt, while your team get the offensive rebound and your point guard has to grumpily point you back into the TV frame.
Monday, February 6, 2012
And if you can't get into the VIP, but want to "hang out" afterward in the Hard Rock book and casino, then make sure to reserve your room today at the great low rates.
There are still rooms available, even if you don't get into the VIP room.
Because a) you saw the game too, and b) a picture tells a thousand words, here's all you need on a Monday. That, plus I'm taking a nap today to recover from hosting a party at my house and having a few too many "Bud Light Platinums" with the turbo-charged 6% ABV!