Monday, December 24, 2007

The Christmas Eve Steakapalooza Broncos-Chargers Monday Night Football Live Blog

11:02 - And now I've got Morgan Freeman from the upcoming "The Bucket List" narrating the year's Monday Night highlights. You know what I want to do before I kick the bucket? Watch some quality football.

Oh well. Maybe now I'll do some dishes, or ... drink. I've got Drunken Master on Netflix. Sounds like me. I mean, did you see that dinner? Holy shit, man. Holy shit.

Happy holidays.

11:00 - Final score: 23-3. Total score on the year between the teams: 64-6, SD. That's what you call an ass-whupping, my friends.

10:58 - Cutler throws a deep pick, and Kornheiser says that Cutler just walked off the field and sat right down on the bench. "Been one of those nights, one of those years for the Broncos," says Jaworski. Yup Jaws, you're right - my optimism on the eve of the season WAS short-sighted, misguided, retarded and dumbfounded. Thanks, Jaws.

10:54 - Marshall takes a short slant, plants, spins and goes the other way. There's really no other receiver in the league that makes that move better. And wow - John Lynch is in the baseball Hall of Fame for throwing out the first pitch in Marlins' history? Really? I'll take "Shit I Had Absolutely No Fucking Idea Of for $1,000, Alex."

10:42 - They show a clip of Philip Rivers talking shit after Cutler failed on fourth down. "Hey, get off our field, loser! Baby! My team wins in spite of me! I throw a football like I'm trying to shotput a frozen turkey to the cashier! The bus is over there - right where ours will be when we get back from getting rolled by the Colts in the second round of the playoffs! Gaaaaahhh!"

Am I ready to live in a world where Philip Rivers is a cocky douche? That's a good question. Even MJD would tell him to shut the fuck up.

10:39 - While talking about Norv Turner's stellar head coaching record, a graphic pops up saying that NORV! is 9-6 in his first season in San Diego. Really? Sweet! Broncos win! Broncos win!

10:31 - Cecil Sapp is stuffed on fourth-and-inches from the 1 3/4-yard line. As a fellow Colorado State alum, that play perfectly sums up three things: 1) the Broncos suck; 2) CSU sucks; and 3) I suck for following both of those football squadrons this year. Really, I should've spent all that time doing crunches, or helping the homeless, or cleaning my pee hole with melted pipe cleaners.

10:24 - Again they bring up the fact that Jay Cutler is from Santa Claus, Indiana. You know what I want for Christmas, Santa? A pass rush and a fucking running game. And a Wii.

And more scotch.

10:16 - Well, I was right. Sort of. 23-3, SD. And now a Cialis commercial. What's the difference between Cialis and Viagra? Color? Price? When all you want is an erection, are you really in the market to pick and choose between competitors?

10:11 - With Philip out of the game, superbackup Billy Volek hits the fullback's elbow with the ball before handing off, and the Broncos recover. Will they score? Maybe a field goal. Maybe.

10:07 - A pass goes right off Scheffler's hands and into a Chargers' safety's breadbasket. Kornheiser, again, talks about how Denver moves well between the 20s, but does horribly in the red zone. You know what, Tony? Maybe they're just not Communists. You ever think of that, you pinko bastard?

10:04 - The announcers are praising Brandon Marshall, just as Cutler underthrows him by about five yards while he's wide open. YAC only matters when you involve the "C" part, boys.

9:50 - Jesus. First Antonio Gates makes a one-handed grab, now Vincent Jackson tip-toes the sideline after Rivers scrambles and tries to throw it away. Basically, nothing is going right. Like all the dances I went to in high school.

9:43 - Hey, guess who's kicking off to start the second half? Yeah, this game's over.

9:30 - SD 16, Denver 0 at the half. I've seen things in my stool that look better than the Broncos' offense. Fuck. Well, there's highlights of players' legs moving fast and Berman's babbling about some shit - that means it's time for a cigarette.

9:28 - The Broncos give up another long pass play. Their secondary is like a Rube Goldberg sketch - it looks good on paper, but doesn't really work in the real world.

9:16 - I'm going to die. I can hear my heart cursing me.

9:08 - Ernster playgrounds another punt up the middle for about negative seven yards. It looks like he's trying to kick a NERF Turbo Football in winter at dusk. Christ.

9:03 - I've figured out the problem with Cutler. He wears his helmet low on his skull, but he also wears one of those big, plastic-cupped chin straps. The result is that his face gets scrunched; he looks like he's furrowing his brow AND pouting at the same time. Not a good look for an NFL QB.

8:50 - Luis Castillo makes a play on third down forcing the Broncos to punt. Shawne Merriman's also made a few plays in this game so far. Cut-blocking vs. steroid abuse - FEEL THE CHEATING!

8:40 - LaDainian Tomlinson says that he wouldn't want to keep playing just to break the all-time rushing record because he has so much respect for Emmitt Smith. Well guess what, LT? That's exactly what Emmitt did! He hung on with the Cardinals just to push Sweetness down! Further proof that Emmitt can lick Barry Sanders' balls.

8:34 - After reporting that Todd Sauerbrun was cut do to a problem with a cab fare (the cabbie sold him steroids?), old-hand Paul Ernster promptly unleashes a monster of a punt. If a monster was a small, shivering, blubbering vagina. Jesus.

8:27 - ESPN does a kickoff after the Chargers kick a field goal without any sound, to honor a fallen colleague who headed up the audio department. Pretty cool, in a weird way - because Tirico ends up talking afterwards, anyway.

8:22 - While talking about the intensity between the teams, Jaworski says "this is the NFC West, remember a 41-3 thrashing the Chargers put on the Broncos, they remember that." I'm sure they do, but I'm sure they don't remember following the Seahawks to the NFC West, Jaws.

8:15 - Jay Cutler steps up to avoid the rush and fumbles. Yes, Booth, we know he fumbles a lot. He's got small, demure hands, more adept at holding a joint than a football. This is not a bad thing.

(Umm....yes, it is.)

8:10 (note - now times will revert to the REAL version, instead of when I saw shit on TiVo - and, yes, I know this defeats the purpose of "live" blogging) - Mike Tirico says that since the Buccaneers finally got kickoff return for a TD, the Broncos are next at 120-something games, since 2000. Sweet. Another thing we suck at. Where are you, Glyn Milburn?

8:37 - I DEFY you to come up with something better than this.

8:16 - I have no idea what the hell's going on in the game, but the tip of my right index finger is burned and my kitchen smells fucking awesome.

7:55 - Shit. I assumed the game was starting at 8:30, like always. Nope - 8 o'clock. Fuck. This throws everything off. Do I cook while the game starts, or use TiVo, which I luckily own? Stay tuned ... (although I'm probably going to use TiVo and pause that shit until I'm ready to eat. Which means ... wait, this doesn't affect anyone. Who am I here to please? I'm pausing this shit.)

7:32 - Slice mushrooms and onions that will go on top of the steaks. There's a million kitchen gadgets out there - and believe me, I love them all - but is there something that will let me not cut onions and shit at that annoying angle? I mean, we can have a phone, a music player and the internet in one hand-held device but I can't get a plastic doo-dad that lets me cut perfect 1/8" slices of the vegetable or fruit of my choosing? Fuck that.

7:01 - Start peeling potatoes. I have an ivory-bladed, swivel-head vegetable peeler. It's got a contour grip, and an easy dial to switch from left-hand to right-hand. God, it's fucking sweet.

5:02-6:46 - Uploading photos to Flickr. One of those "in the future, I should definitely do this as I take them, not wait for five months" kind of things.

4:13 - I shower with a beer. Our shower has a small window way up in the corner, which is perfect for the beer shower. Why? Because there's no chance of random shampoo or soap sprays getting in there. Every man should shower while drinking a beer at least once a month. This should be federal law.

3:44 - I get home and marinate my steaks. I bought two at the store, because I went to a few different butchers and they were pretty much out. So I got a pretty nice rib cut, and a filet mignon. Because why the fuck not?

I simply salt and pepper the filet and put it in the fridge. The rib cut I salt and pepper on both sides and throw into a Ziploc bag with some scotch, some beer, some bbq sauce, a little honey mustard, and the juice from a lime. Will it taste good? C'mon - it's a big-ass steak. As long as you don't burn it blacker than Luol Deng, you can marinate it in piss and it'll still probably taste great.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Let's Talk About College Basketball, Shall We?

Here's the thing: I love basketball. I don't write about it all that much, because it's like describing sex. I feel like I can't do it justice. Watching a perfect pick-and-roll (I saw one last night when Chris Kaman dropped a midrange jumper by rolling off of a pick just TWO STEPS) or a well-executed break off of a long rebound, I just go warm all over and feel like I walk though cars or fight a school of fish and win. It's the damn truth.

There is, I'm afraid, a disconnect in the college game. I can't get excited about teams that take ten to fifteen seconds to set up a play that takes twenty to execute. It promotes the most boring kind of basketball-- sloppy picks, easy baskets on over-extended defenses and worst of all: coaches are allowed to overthink every play. I've picked on Sean Miller and Xavier before, and I will again today. There were plays where three people tried to pick for Drew Lavender (one of my favorite "won't make it in the pros, so he plays his fucking heart out every day 'cause this might be it" guards) and none of them rolled anywhere near the basket. Even if Lavender sprung free, who would be open near him? Everyone was standing around behind him, leaving him with an awkward bank shot that had a better chance of hitting me on my couch than rolling in. He made one out of three of those, and the commentators went nuts.

Then, with a small lead, Xavier made the same mistake they made against Ohio State in the tourney last year. They slowed down the ball. Against a good offensive team in Tennessee. And they gave up pretty much the exact same run-- 8-0 in the final two minutes-- and lost. Overthought. A game lost.

Conversely, Memphis' John Calipari put together a ridiculous second half against Georgetown. Memphis kept running them out of the gym-- refusing to stop penetrating or scoring early in the shot clock to keep the pressure applied. Lo and behold, they won a fairly convincing matchup. Call Calipari what you want, but he knows how to win when he's ahead. He knows he has a group of 18-21-year-old kids that don't want to do anything but play and win. The best way to do that is to let them run and press and play the way they did to grab that lead. If you lose because you continued to exploit weakness and beat a team at the end of the game (when they are tired), so be it. Losing in a slowed down offensive set when you've had success taking the forst open shot is ludicrous.

I propose a 30-second shot clock. Any team can muster a play in that amount of time and the games will be more compact and tighter in flow. Meanwhile, coaches may have to reconsider their "milk the clock, wait until there is a "7" on the shot clock, and force up a horrendous three strategy." They will have to call plays toward the end of the game like NBA coaches do. Maybe they will call the wrong plays, or set eight picks with no rolls. Maybe they'll draw up new plays to attack tired, desperate players and exploit over-aggressiveness toward the end of the game. Maybe, just maybe.

Either way, I can't love the current format if it continues like this. It's just five seconds. It will make for better basketball for... uh, me, I guess.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Outside the Aviary: Your Cheatin' Heart

Every week, I enter (and lose) a gambling pool at my office on pro football. Every week, I highlight the Patriots to win on the NY Post Gambling lines, and they win. Every week, I see a little asterisk beside the Patriots name indicating a "caught cheating" at the bottom of the page. This snarky reminder is an absolutely typical New York City dick move.

Not that I am complaining about it-- I mean their paper, their choice. But let's be honest, guys. Let's call on the dogs for everything. Here's the proposal: each time you print something about the Yankee teams of 1996-2001, place a star beside that too.

I was watching a Yankee classic the other day: Andy Pettite* vs. Kevin Brown* and that's when the Mitchell Report results hit home. Those two teams were tainted because the pitching-- which John Sterling and Michael (fucking) Kaye said was the anchor of a Yankee team that hit like shit through that entire 1998 playoff run--is the reason the playoffs are so vibrant and alive. Every pitch was important, every breath was held on the delivery. It's like that every year.

Calling Clemens* or Pettite* or even F.P. Santangelo* a cheater or a liar is pointless. So, then, is calling this Patriots team the same thing-- and in such a ridiculous manner as the Post does. If we're gonna call great championship teams out for doing whatever they can to win, let's do that-- let's do exactly that-- and get it right this time. From 1996-2001, those Yankee teams* were among the best in history and the bane of my existence. Everyone on their roster, from Chuck Knoblauch* to the younger versions of Mike Lowell and Joe Borowski have to suffer for this in a way. As do we all.

*-caught cheating

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Lost & Found: Time

All my time-keeping devices are set to the future. My watch - five minutes ahead. My alarm clock - ten minutes ahead. My pocket watch with the dimestore whore engraved on the inside - fifteen minutes ahead. (OK, I don't own that. But it'd be sweet if I did.)

I'd assume that a very large number of people do this. The problem is, in the back of your mind, you always know that it's ahead. You wake up, see "8:18 am" and you hit the snooze, thinking, "Eh, I've got ten more minutes."

Appropriately, this week's "Lost & Found with the Denver Broncos" is being filed late. I thought I had more time.

A clock. That's also a calendar!

This was found outside the home players' entrance at Invesco Field shortly before kickoff on Sunday.

The Broncos played their most complete game of the season against the Chiefs. True, they were playing a pretty shitty team (sorry, co-worker Scott), at home, with the opposition's star running back on the bench. But whatever. When you're two games back in the division - two and a half, with the Chargers' earlier win - and just as far back in the wild card entering the final quarter of the season, you take a W when and where you can get it.

Unfortunately, it's probably too little, too late (damn you, Titans). Hit the snooze, roll over, and look forward to next year.

(Although I hope Mike Shanahan has a recurring nightmare this off-season: Don't kick it to Hester, don't kick it to Hester ... Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Now they're eating it. Incredible! This video is going to take the intertubes by storm!

Hey, wait - I'm getting a message from something.

Hello. Would you like to play a game? Tic-Tac-Toe - Chess - Poker - Fighter Combat - Guerrilla Engagement - Desert Warfare - Global Thermonuclear War - Major College Football National Championship

We live in Washington state. What the hell do we know about Desert Warfare? Pick Major College Football National Championship.

[types it in]

General, we seem to have a problem. Some small, mid-major hackers appear to have infiltrated Working Hard Obliterating Playoffs & Protecting Exorbitant Revenues. They're playing Major College Football National Championship - and they're close to the end.

WHOP*PER? I thought you said that damn thing was as impenetrable as my wife's balloon knot!

It is, sir. I mean ... it was. They must've used some kind of trick code or something. The thing is, uh, sir, they're ...

[looks down, bites the tip of his thumb]

They're what, you thumb-sucking peckersnatch?

They're about to find out our secret. We're going to have to go ...


... to DopeCon 1.

1998 Kansas State Gambit ... 1998 Tulane Surprise ... 2000 Miami-Washington Hypothetical Counterstrike... 2001 Nebraska-Oregon Passover ... 2003 Oklahoma-LSU-USC Alliance ... 2004 Foolproof Auburn SEC Ploy ... 2004 Utah Thrust ... 2005 Notre Dame Piggyback ... 2006 Boise State Statue of Liberty Unblemished Attack ... 2007 Clusterfuck Upset Barrage

What's it doing?

I think it's ... learning.

Hypothetical BCS Conference Team A: wins all games, loses conference title game ...
Hypothetical BCS Conference Team B: loses first game, wins all remaining games ...
Hypothetical BCS Conference Team C: wins first three games, loses on the road to nationally-ranked power after starting quarterback hurts his ...

[frenzied permutations continue, increasingly faster]

Great gobs a goose shit. What in the sam hell is that thing doing?

Hypothetical Non-BCS Conference Team 632,608 DLQQOBEM: beats sixth-ranked BCS Conference team at home in late September ...
Hypothetical Non-BCS Conference Team 632,608 DLQQOBEM: loses to sixth-ranked BCS Conference team on the road in late September ...

It's finding out what we already know, sir.

[the permutations are coming so fast, it's a blur - until the screen goes bright white for five full seconds, whereupon the prompt screen comes back]

A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?

Ha-ha! Gee whiz, sure!

That's it gentlemen. We're now at DopeCon 1. Get SpitFire warmed up in the bullpen ready to fly.

I'm all thituated and rip-roarin' ready to get at them thunthabitzeth, thir! Thith ith my mongooth - it'z pretty thcary, duntcha think?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Lost & Found: Hands

Do you know how much a large birthday cake costs? A gigantic, mouth-watering chocolate mousse cake? That can feed 40 people, or 240,000 Olsen twins?

A lot. But holy cake-eating Christ was it good (if not slightly misspelled).

It was my girlfriend's birthday recently. I got her a bracelet. Why? Because women like jewelry. (If you're a man, and you did not know this, walk over to a table, place your penis on it, and smash it with a hammer.)

Luckily, she liked it. And it ended up being her birthstone! Score, and score (she didn't know it, either). Sometimes, I do things right. These times are like lunar eclipses or a James Dolan coherent thought: they occur very rarely, and are extremely short-lived.

I mention this only because I nearly bought her something else: a pair of gloves. She has a semi-cheap cotton pair, the kind you get for three bucks off a guy's table on 18th St. and Fifth Avenue. So I walked around the Union Square holiday booths, and found one that was all gloves.

Leather gloves with laces. Leather gloves with zippers. Leather gloves with buttons. Leather gloves that go halfway up the forearm. Felt gloves. Silk gloves. Satin gloves. Gloves made from the meat curtains of nubile Russian strippers.

We're talking quality shit here.

But I decided against it, ultimately, because of why she needed them in the first place: she had lost them. Fuck that! I'm not spending money on something that's going to be left at a bar. I'd rather spend money on something that's going to break and fall off because of shoddy workmanship; that's an overriding philosophical principle, right there.

This quaint little foray into lessons of relationships brings us to: Lost & Found with the Denver Broncos!

This week:


These were found outside Oakland's McAfee Coliseum, new and unused.

Now these guys needed some fucking gloves. Or maybe some 70s-era Raider stickum on the ones they had. Something - christ. We've got normally sure-handed Brandon Stokely dropping passes, we've got Travis Henry fumbling the spliff all over the place, We've got Jay Cutler coughing up the pill ... what a mess.

This season was supposed to be for Darrent and Damien. Now it's for naught, and the Broncos are even teaching others the Denver Way To Honor Your Fallen Brethren.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go smash my penis with a hammer.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007

Outside the Aviary: "It's In Our Nature"

After something as terrible as the Sean Taylor fiasco, I usually try to stay away from televised sports for at least a week due to the inanity of discussion. Championship Curling could be on, and the announcers would find a way to talk about the tragedy. Apparently, as if on cue, Dick Vitale mentioned it in the same breath as how great the Barber family is in the NFL during a Duke basketball game. Why do I need to know that Dicky V thinks this is a terrible occurrence? Why are people so intent on getting their thoughts on the matter out?

I violated my rule last night, however, to watch the most important game of the young basketball season. I started the night by drinking heavily-- a favorite pastime of mine-- and talking up the NBA with a good buddy of mine. Then, I took some preparation shots. Little did I know that I was about to watch the rout of the century. I needed release, I needed therapy. I needed to shout happily for a couple of hours. I got all that and more. I laughed joyously at the miserable dredges of offense the Knickerbockers trotted out. I watched the "Big 3" cheering on their teammates while they were up by 47 points. By the end, I realized that this was the best game I have watched. It was as if the Celtics felt my crestfallen cries and walloped one of my least favorite franchises to quell my ill-temper.

As untrue as that last statement surely is, I do feel better as a fan and ultimately as a person. Watching a systematic dismantling like that-- even Scalabrine got 3 points in this one-- brings out the worst kind of person in me. It's the only time I will ever gloat. Usually, this is the time to tell the couple next to you that Isiah will get fired, Marbury will be gone soon or some such other positive idea. Instead, I was yelling, "This is the single worst showing I have ever seen in the NBA." Instead, I was yelling, "Oh shit, Scalabrine. AND... THE... FOUL." Instead, I laughed egregiously-- uproariously-- bellied up to the bar, the wind now whipping furiously onto my once-sagging sails.

I'll admit it-- I wanted a 50-point win-- and was upset when Nate Robinson hit a circus shot to save the Knicks from ther worst offensive output ever. I will not, however, admit, that
I was wrong for doing so. The nature of a fan in recovery is to look for the positive. Last night's game was nothing but positive, and the picture above this article proves it. I may have been in my worst mode, but it was at the best time. Such is the nature of sport-- and the nature of a fan in need. Thank you, Boston Celtics. Thank you.

(EDIT: Two great things about that line score: Mardy Collins being a DNP-Coach's Decision-- is that the only decision he made all night?-- and the fact that Nate Robinson's buzzer beater meant he was the only Knickerbocker in double figures. Wow.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Column Like I See 'Em: Sayonora, Sonny

There were other things going on the sports world recently. Important things, memorable things. Terrible things. All kinds of things that might make you race to get the paper, or pound incessantly on a keyboard, or dial your friend and call them an idiot or tell them you love them for no good reason other than they were watching the same channel that you were. Things in sports do that sometimes.

Sometimes, though, they pass by like a car on a long, flat highway: you see them for a while, but don't notice them particularly for any good reason. Then, in a flash, they're gone.

In the front range of the Rocky Mountains, some people recently made a college football coach stop coaching college football. And no matter how much sense it makes, it's still pretty unfortunate.

His name, like the track suits he always wore, never quite fit. The fact that he was down-home and self-deprecating matched the Lubick part with the Butte, Montana upbringing, but Sonny? He was an assistant coach at Miami, where Sonny and sunny are on the menu 350 days a year, and if you want to go that route it was always delightfully obvious that the man's disposition matched his first name. But together? Men with that last name aren't named Sonny; they're named Tom, or Fred, or Hugh. Hugh Lubick has a nice ring to it, but Sonny Lubick? Who could've made such a man?

A man that so routinely went on charity walks for animals and cancer and hell who knows what else while he still had to attend - and most likely plan - fundraisers for the football program at Colorado State because the little school that could couldn't when it really needed to.

A man that turned a cakewalk like CSU into a legitimate mid-major nightmare for numerous big schools, including the patchouli bullies Buffed in black-and-gold down I-25 and west on Highway 36. And with absolutely no facilities, no money, no recruiting base, and no reason, he took high schoolers that nobody else really wanted and turned them into football players who would just as soon run off the field and the face of the earth itself on a seam route to Saturn rather than disappoint their Coach.

A man that told a skinny young sports columnist, writing for the school paper, to just breathe a second and let that question come out, 'cause it was sure as hell in there somewhere.

Deep breath (pause) - here goes: Why?

The stats say dwindling attendance; a record of 3-9 this year; 4-8 in 2006, including seven losses to end the year; 6-6 in 2005, and a 51-30 loss to Navy in the last bowl game the Rams have played in; and 4-7 the year before that.

The stats can go to hell.

It seems the game has just passed poor Sonny by. Urban Meyer became the first snot-nosed rascal to sneak up to the adults' table at Thanksgiving, then he brought the whole damn bunch with him - all the second-cousins and annoying nephews and even the neighbor kid from across the street that likes to eat bugs - and used all 53 of them seemingly at once on the spread option, putting guys in motion, faking it here, throwing it there, running all over the place. Then you got Boise State doing the - really? - hook-and-laterals and Statues of Liberty and whatever else can be imagined within the confines of the field.

Sonny would much rather have a nice, quiet little one-back set, and maybe use a play-action or two. But mostly Sonny wants to run it. Hard. Down your gullet and out your ass and back again.

But it's not like that anymore. The landscape's changed, and you need a different vehicle to navigate it. Everybody else has a Porsche or a Hummer or some damn thing. Sonny's got an old pickup that ain't much now, but boy could that thing haul a load back in the day.

Wait, wait, wait - it just occurred that Hugh Lubick wouldn't work. To show their appreciation for what this man has done, and could continue to do if he accepts an associate A.D. position at the school, the powers-that-be would be better off naming the field at the team's stadium after him. Unfortunately, that playing surface is called Hughes Stadium. And Hugh Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium doesn't really roll off the tongue. Better call it Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium.

What's that? They already did?

Well, at least they got something right.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sean Taylor

Don't say anything. The TV is on mute. I'm just waking up to the fact that one of my favorite players is dead. Just stay motionless and wait and wait and wait.

Wait, he's dead?
That's right.
Who shot him?
What do mean you don't know?
Just don't know.
It was a robbery?
Think so.
Doesn't sound like one.
I know.

I don't want to know about the investigation. I don't want to hear about involvements or his want past mistakes. I don't want interviews or to hear prayers. Just stop for a second: I don't want this. I don't.

This is crazy.
I know.
Stop TALKING so much, would you?

Phone's ringing, foot tapping and I know this happened, but I don't want it. No immense talent, no shame, no past.

No future. No present. I don't want that. I don't want the father-son conversation that follows these things.

This is insane.
Yeah, isn't it? I mean, he was so...

In the midst of all the squeezing of hands and prayers and players in shock, there's a fan base unaware of locker-room presence, joke-telling abilities and general humanity. Don't tell us. Maybe it's better if the fallen-warrior status remains. This is hard enough to watch as it is.

At times, Sean Taylor was fodder for my father and I's arguments. "Once a thug always a thug,"
he'd say. Don't prove him wrong or right with this. Just don't. Don't don't don't.

Can we cut the sound up?
Ugh, please don't.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Lost & Found: Common Sense

Todd Sauerbrun: Wait, wait, lemme get this straight ... you want me to punt it to Devin Hester?

Mike Shanahan: Yeah. That's what I said.

TS: To him? As in, so he can catch it and run with it? How's about I give it the ol' Pythagorean pooch and angle it out at about the 30 or so.

MS: How many times do I have to say it? We've been covering him good all day. Hell, he even muffed one earlier that we turned into a touchdown.

TS: I know, coach, it's just that ... well, look at their offense. They can't do anything! We hurt Cedric Benson and got him out of the game, which would be doing them a favor - because he blows - if it weren't for the fact that they have the wrong Adrian Peterson coming in to replace him. And have you been watching Grossman shoot passes all over the field? Christ! He makes David Carr look like Joe Fucking Montana!

MS: Dammit, Todd, the second half just started. If he was gonna do something spectacular, he'd have done it by now. Just get the hell out there and punt that thing as far and as straight as you can.

TS: You're the boss, Shanny.

[Sauerbrun punts to Devin Hester. Hester returns it 75 yards to tie the score at 13.]

TS: Shit, coach, what'd I tell ya? The guy's too good to keep down. Tacklin' that guy is like watching Carlos Mencia - no fun at all.

MS: [glares, makes mousy-face]

[Several minutes later, the Broncos score to go up 20-13.]

MS: Kick it to Hester.

TS: No fucking way. Really? Are you ... are you watching the same game that I am? Look, I got nothing but time over here on the sidelines while these two record-setting offenses titfuck each other all day. And I've been looking at the rule book, and - check this out - nowhere in here does it say you actually HAVE to kick it to a guy on a kickoff. Nowhere at all! I can shoehorn that badboy straight the fuck off Lovie's dome over there, and all they're gonna do is put the ball at the Bears' 40. That's it. No return, no dirty hands, we give them good field position and laugh when Grossman slingshots it right into Ian Gold's numbers. Or fumbles the center exchange like a Notre Dame third-stringer. Either way, you gotta admit, it's a pretty solid plan.

MS: You heard me. Kick it to Hester.

TS: [Sighs] You got it, Chief.

[Devin Hester receives the kick near the 10 and goes all the way to the house to tie the score again at 20-all. Thousands of Broncos fans curse in agony, even more so after a ridiculous 37-34 OT loss.]

TS: [shaking head, under his breath] Fucking "Mastermind." Mastermind? Who the fuck played that? It was like the goddamn Yars' Revenge of board games. Fucking Mastermind. Goddamn Jenga is more like it. One wrong move and - bam! - you're under a pile of shit. Jenga Shanahan.

And now, Lost & Found with the Denver Broncos:


These were found at the Broncos' practice facility in Englewood. Apparently, they didn't make the trip to Chicago.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lost & Found: Chains

Fuck you, Shawne Merriman. Fuck you, Philip Rivers. Fuck you, Norv Turner. Fuck you, Herm Edwards. Fuck you, Larry Johnson. Fuck you, the high school kid who coaches the Raiders and whatever dishwashers/heroin addicts/pregnant mothers/Too $hort cover artists/jizz moppers are currently dressed and/or employed as players. Fuck all y'all. We're pissed off. Hungry. Thirsty - for fucking blood. Whether it comes from your jugular, your carotid artery, or in spasmodic menstrual squirts from your bloated, puffy, vaginal slits of shame, we will take it and toast to the festering piles of your decapitated corpses.

The Broncos ride tonight.

Are you prepared for: Lost & Found with the Denver Broncos?

This week:


These were found just outside the home locker room at Mile High the second, at about 8:25 pm Monday. Art Pleeson, a stadium security guard, happened upon them ... and heard a mighty shriek, which turned his pubic hairs white and chilled his blood to near-devastating temperatures. After a cup of coffee and a Camel Light, however, he was fine.

So, in closing, fuck apathy. And bullshit. No, tonight felt a bit more like it's supposed to: Good.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Lost & Found: Weight

You know what one of the worst things in the world is? And I don't mean that in a nuclear-holocaust, AIDS-on-every-corner, Al Roker-naked kind of way; more like an I-hate-when-shit-pisses-me-off kind of way.

One of the worst things is that feeling in the back of your throat when you know you're about to get sick. For me it was Saturday night, walking out the door on the way to go to dinner and No Country For Old Men. (Quick recommendation here: if you're at work right now, leave. If you're at home, leave. If you're at an internet cafe, why are you wasting precious time reading this garbage? Stop and leave. Trample, stomp, and otherwise run the fuck over everyone and everything in your path to the nearest theater playing this movie; pay whatever obscene amount they're charging; sit and enjoy. And if you're located in one of the many armpits of this country that does not have access to this majestic piece of filmmaking; wait for the calendar to read "November 21" and proceed.)

Everything seems fine, and then you feel it. Back there. A little clammy ball, or something. And you think, "Aw, fuck." You know it. Sure as you live and breathe, you know you're about to deal with anywhere from two to five days of stuffed nasal passages and a runny nose (how the hell does that work???), coughing fits, and an overall encompassing shittiness.

The worst part, I've decided, is the hygiene. At least here in New York, when you're on the subway or in the elevator and you have to sneeze, you frantically try to pull out that ancient parchment of a Kleenex that's been in your coat pocket for about two centuries. Funny thing is, if you don't pull it out, you probably have a relatively dry push. But when you do yank that dry, flaking piece of trash out, that's when you have a splendid tsunami burst forth from every orifice in your face that doesn't see things. And when you try to wipe up all your own goo, you look like Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters collecting the slime in the petri dish at the library.

And everyone around you looks at you uncomfortably, and shuffles slowly away like you have the plague.

So, suffice to say, I didn't go to the bar to watch the game on Sunday. I did, however, watch it today at work.

And, without further ado I bring you: Lost & Found with the Denver Broncos!

This week:


A baby gorilla was found after the game wandering around a parking lot outside Arrowhead Stadium. If it had been before the game, the poor little thing would've been barbecued.

It was not only a big relief to get a win at all, considering the Monday Night debacle against the Packers or last week's testicle-flattening at the hands of Detroit, but it was good to get the first win in Kansas City since 2002.

Denver took some dumb penalties, and Jay Cutler hit his customary highs and lows, but the defense looked pretty solid once again (playing against the woefully inept Chiefs' offense notwithstanding). All in all, the Broncos would be tied for the division lead if it wasn't for some douche named Adam.

Next up: a Monday-nighter against the Tennessee Titans and hometown boy LenDale White, featuring the battle of the Texas Youngs. Selvin vs. Vince, only on, only at Inv....umm, only in Denver on Monday Night!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Lost & Found: Bloodflow

You know things are bad when Vikings fans are coming up to you and saying, "You guys are gonna get blanked? By the Lions?!?"

Well ... almost.

We could delve into the particulars of the Broncos' 44-7 anal-raping at the hands of the Lions, but I don't want to. I've got better things to do: scrape the inside of my eyelids with the little nail file on my toe clippers; masturbate with shampoo; lick the two-day-old dog shit off the bottom of my New Balances; see how many shotgun casings I can swallow in a minute.

All of these are viable options right now. Which speaks to the depths I visit when I write about this team.

So it's time for ... Lost & Found with the Denver Broncos!

Last week showcased a specific need. This one's a little more abstract:


This was found on the tarmac of Detroit-Wayne Major Airport sometime between 2 pm Friday and kickoff on Sunday. You can tell it belongs to the Denver Broncos because while it still bleeds orange and blue, it wheezes and coughs and generally just doesn't give a shit anymore.

Bloody, pulsating, and worthless, this organ will be shipped to Mike Shanahan, c/o The Denver Broncos, P.O. Box 44-7, Englewood, CO 80315.

They're mailing it in - we might as well, too.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Lost & Found: Manhood

No more "Which J.C. did Jay Cutler Play Like?" around here anymore. The reasons are: a) the answer has been the same pretty much every week (read: kinda shitty, with little nougats of goodness thrown in to mix it up), b) he's young and doesn't deserve the criticism, next John Elway, all that PC glad-handling wish-wash hullaballoo, and c) nobody gives a ratcock, anyway.

So it's done. Good. Whatever.

But in order to placate my ego, and further shat upon this now-dismal team, I introduce a new feature: Lost & Found with the Denver Broncos!

This week:

Dre' Bly's jock.

This item was found by Ross Kurcab, head turf manager at Invesco Field at Mile High, during Monday night's post-game walk-through. It was laying near the east sideline, a few yards shy of midfield.

If anyone knows or sees Dre', please let him know that we have his jockstrap. And Brett Favre has his testicles. Oh - Greg Jennings has his nose, too.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Some Q&A with Business or Leisure

Q: Didn't you just break up with a girl today (even though you weren't dating)?

Q: Didn't your sister just have a biopsy?

Q: Don't you work like 18 hours a day and constantly think about your own death?

Q: Don't you live in NYC and don't most Yankee fans have something to say no matter what the circumstances?

Q: I'm sensing a pattern?

Q: Is baseball the only thing that matters in this entire world?


Q: If you were a wolf, would you--

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Outside the Aviary: "Transmit Failure"

We're staring at another World Series Championship. It's a fantastic sentence, to say the least, for a a fan of baseball. I'll spare you the lines of camaraderie and list of heroes. I'll spare you the "tumultuous season" speeches and self-aggrandizing "I'm a Sox fan in New York" horseshit. Instead, I have a question-- or at least one is coming.

When I played middle school basketball, my father coached the team. His entire life was basketball-- I played probably four to five hours a day-- alone or in groups-- with his watchful eye popping in and out of my view. I was cultivated for my growth spurt, like any coach's son-- by being strictly fundamentals and no flash. When 7th grade came around, I was a hobbledehoy with discernible skills, yet I was ridiculed for making the team due to my father being the coach. I was harassed in hallways, booed in pep rallies and even maligned by other teachers before leaving for away games. I was a bench player. I scored maybe-- maybe-- 12 points all season.

Still, as my team prepared to take the conference championship, I felt like I earned the celebration. I was front and center in the locker room with my teammates (who mostly hated me, by the way). I talked as loud and proud in the school as anyone else after the loudspeaker confirmed what I already knew: we were champions. I knew I earned it.

There was one kid that joined on about two-thirds through the season. He was less skilled than me, a little taller but with no ball-handling ability, a set of skimpy legs that could not perform the necessary footwork. In short, he was put on the team out of pity after he had transferred from out of town. He never played much-- even in garbage time-- and when he did, he was essentially horrendous. We'd feed him the ball in times he couldn't fail, but he found a way.

So, then, what of the Red Sox championship? If they close out, amidst the champagne sprays and leaping crowds of athletes, there will be one awkward jump and yell: that of Eric Gagne. When a team wins a championship despite its distractions and in spite of a player unable to perform, where does that player fit into the lavish party that is the post World Series lovefest? I mean, as a bench player (like myself or an Alex Cora) I can see the involvement. But as a man that singlehandedly blew so many games in tenable situations, earned his boos from the crowd, became the bane of Sox fans worldwide and never derailed his own failures, where does Eric Gagne fit in? Will the players acknowledge him-- a newcomer who stepped in and failed when it mattered in the regular season, the postseason (other than garbage time) and even when trying to explain his failures?

Even worse, if the Sox close out with another blowout, does he hold the ball in the ninth inning? Does he close out the second World Series title in 89 years? Is that the face I want to see in highlights on ESPN, DVD sets of the season, interviews with players years down the line? Gagne, awaiting the captain, Jason Varitek, his glove tossed asunder, with a shit-eating grin on his face as though he earned his keep on a team built to win a World Series? Eric fucking Gagne? I know Francona would do it. He's got a soft-spot in his wonderful heart for headcases (Coco, Manny) and embattled players (Pedroia in May, Drew all season long) and in each instance these guys have paid him back in spades. Eric Gagne has done nothing of the sort.

If he's holding the ball for the last pitch, if he is the first face I see as the Red Sox celebrate a World championship, so help me, the season will be a little less sweet.

I remember the locker room, the kids laughing and throwing things at one another in joyous celebration. Then I remember this one kid smiling and talking to me saying, "We did it, man. We did it." I remember me saying, "yeah we did," but not meaning it. What I meant was, "We did it-- not you." If the Red Sox season ends with a Gagne pitch, so be it, but you know at least some of the players will look him right in the eye and mean none of what they say.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

They Grows Up and They Grows Up and They Grows Up

Umm ... wow. I mean, there's no other way to explain it. How apropos that a team with a bruise for its colors would put such a monumental beat-down upon every base ball club in its path. Sports Illustrated cover jinx? Screw that, man, the Rockies are just talking about their fantasy football teams and taking it one game at a time.

This has been said ad nauseam, but I'm from Denver. And I'm not a Rockies fan. I've been a Padres fan all my life, and a few years ago I resigned myself to the fact that I'd die before I ever saw the Rockies in the World Series.


[Checks pulse, pinches self]

But this? This is like the younger brother that you and your friends used to let hang around, and you'd make him go and get you Cokes and Totino's. He'd beg to get into games, and you'd tell him to buzz off - until you'd let him in for a play or a series or an inning and then completely ignore him.

And then, while you're off smoking and drinking your memory away at college, he grows up. Fast. You come home for Thanksgiving and your formerly pipsqueak little bro is suddenly 6'2", a chiseled 190 pounds, and he looks like a goddamn Calvin Klein model. And instead of wanting to hang out with you and your buddies, the three hottest girls in his high school show up to take him to a "movie."

But hey, I'm bitter as shit. My team had a good team this year, and the Rockies brushed them off like dandruff (although, NLCS MVP Matt Holliday still hasn't touched the plate. Just sayin'). People are going to talk a ton about the faith angle, and God's team, and all that (look for FOX to heavily play up the Mike Coolbaugh story, for better or worse). And yes, we know - they don't have any history. Sorry. Nobody cares that Denver itself has a pretty long baseball history, back with the old Denver Bears and then the Denver Zephyrs, and that as way back as the early 1960s Denver was considered for expansion.

And, no, nobody knows who the hell these guys are. Well, it's evidently apparent that they're pretty damn decent at playing baseball. So, if you're a baseball fan, you might want to push all that other shit aside and just ... watch.

Because we rarely remember the moments when the little ones grow up.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Heed this advice or I cancel the subscription - ALL of them

Dear Editors of Sports Illustrated,

I know what you're about to do.


Let me say that again:

Do. Not. Do it.

You're going to want to put the Colorado Rockies on the cover this week with a cute little tagline; something along the lines of "Rocktober" or "Rocky Mountain High" or "Purple Philly Eaters." You will drape the borders in purple and black, and you may or may not have a nice, detailed close-up of the raspberry on Matt Holliday's chin all cropped and ready to go. It's the biggest story of the playoffs thus far and, naturally, you want to take advantage.

Please refrain. I know I gave everyone free will and all that, but seriously: fight the urge.

Look what you did to Philadelphia. They came back from seven down with only 17 games to play to win the NL East. They had more momentum on their side than you could shake a cheesesteak at. So what do you do? Put Jimmy Rollins on the cover. Proclaim him the MVP. Tout their moxie, their make-up, their mojo. And what do the Phillies do? They proceed to play Brett Myers's wife to the Rockies' Brett Myers. They get treated like a Red Sox fan in Yonkers. Their bats turn to ashes. They go from Liberty Bell to Misery Hell.

Well, I won't let you do it again.

Do you see what I've done? I've taken the Colorado Rockies to the NLCS. Let me repeat that for you, in case it didn't quite seep in: I've taken the Colorado Rockies to the NLCS. The National League version of the Tampa Bay Rays. The last - and only - time they made the dance, they got there on fumes. If it wasn't for the strike-shortened 1995 season, the Astros would've caught them and passed them like a space shuttle zooming by a fat pigeon.

I've done some amazing things in my time. All those Victoria's Secret models? That's all me. Do you know how hard it is to make hundreds of thousands of sunrises AND sunsets? Every freakin' day? It ain't like making the kids pb&js, doing some Sudoku, meeting a client for lunch and then heading off to O'Rourke's for a White Russian or two. No, no, no. I worked for this. Hard.

And not only did I have to do it on the large scale, I had to do it locally, too. Turned the Broncos' defense into 11 old guys wandering around a King Soopers looking for Bacon Bits and Aspercreme. Removed the anchor of their offensive line; got the new running back to do his best impression of Redman from "How High." It's the second week of October, and sports fans in Denver are talking baseball. Hell, I should win thousands of converts and a sacrifice or six just for that.

So please, for the love of Me, don't put the Rockies on the cover. You can throw them in one of the little corner banners, or at the bar along the top, but don't make them the focus. Please. If you do, it'll ruin all of my work. And that would be worse than my unfortunate, incidental inclusion in "What the #$*! Do We (K)now!?", truly one of the most inane, unwatchable pieces of slothshit I've ever had the misfortune of laying my omnipresent occipital organs on. Seriously, have you seen that movie? They had animated gelatin cells doing the Robert Palmer "Addicted to Love" video. At a wedding. If I have my say, the people responsible for that bubbling lake of diarrhea will spend eternity tongue-washing Satan's taint.

Well, now you know how strongly I feel about this. I ask that you do not disappoint me.



P.S. This new "Players" section is - how to put this - weak. The old Scorecard was much, much better. Oh, and I love Gary Smith as much as the next guy, but jeez - could you actually get him to go to a game sometime? I'd sit through three paragraphs describing the scent of the locker room just for some, ya know, ACTION.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Outside the Aviary: "No More Bad Town"

I live in a baseball town. In many ways, this is a dream situation. Even Yankee talk, to me, is better than constant blathering about College Basketball when the season is so far away (North Carolina-- guilty as charged). My coworkers, friends and all the customers I see every day have a new fire in their eyes, a renewed vigor that I seem to forget until the first week of October starts. Sure, some it is bloodlust for the failure of my team, but it is all in good spirit. That is, unless you're these kinds of assholes.

I've almost been in fights over sports. Hell, I've been in a fight over a beer from a fridge. But never-- even when it involves assbirds in Brosius jerseys in 2007 yelling about how A-Rod is going to make Reggie Jackson disappear in the record books-- NEVER have I considered beating the shit out of another man (with help) due to sports affiliations. In 2003, a man (in North Carolina, no less) traveled the length of a bar to inform my friend Miles and I that we enjoyed homosexual anal and oral sex after Aaron Boone's home run in the ALCS. He actually, red-faced and wielding his beer like an axe, screamed "Better luck next time, assholes." We had no idea he was even there. He was picking a fight. Still, I didn't take the bait.

Duane Somers, 32, of Huntingdon, Pa., and Edward McConaughey, 42, of Orbisonia, Pa, are the exact reason I can't watch sports in bars as often as I want to. They are the reason I refuse to talk shit, even when my team is triumphant. They are the reason I stopped wearing my Sox cap to work every day-- the inclination for wanting to get into a shouting match with someone who thought Derek Jeter was the best defender to ever play the game was too strong. The art of loving sports is a tough one. There are those that devour their teams and those devoured by them. It's a shame Carlos Ortez got devoured as well.

It brings up a philosophical quandary. I think the reason I haven't posted for this site and have talked about sports less and less with my friends stems to the fact that I hate the people that like sports to this insane level more than ever before. The debates, the sniping, the constant criticism of something I have no control over, the lumping of me-- a person that talks less shit than Pirates fans-- in with Massholes and maniacs who didn't know who Jacoby Ellsbury was until two weeks ago. It is as pointless to debate the merits of Jeter's defense and A-Rod's offense as it is to figure out the meanderings of Manny's mind. I could care less.

This is not to say I don't cheer. Nor is it to say I wasn't at a bar last night celebrating one of the most dominating pitching performances of my lifetime (Cowperwood Theory in motion). I was not, however, screaming in Yankee or Angel fans' faces. I wasn't running through the streets proclaiming anything in particular. I was just watching the game. That's all. Nothing crazy. I especially didn't feel the need to beat the hell out of someone because they didn't wear the same hat as me. The people yelling the loudest are driving me away from one of the things I was most in love with and best at disseminating (see also: my general apathy toward college football and its rabid fan base).

Say what you will about multimillionaires and free-agency "ruining the game." I'm happy for a few more social disconnects at this point. I really am. That just puts me one step closer to enjoying sports without the fear of assholes and hospitals. That just makes one less asshole willing to pick a fight with me over a retarded groupthink mentality. Maybe--hopefully-- it will allow one less Carlos Ortez incident. I mean, c'mon, all he wanted to do was watch the game and go home.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


It's not that I've been texting people back in Colorado all night, having to hear (or read) their shit even though up until a month ago they thought Tulowitzki was a Polish diplomat.

It's not that I had to dip into a random bar in Astoria tonight - waiting for Business or Leisure? to get home - just so I could watch the first inning of the game ... and have the resident drunks all tell me that they're cheering for the Rockies because they took them and the over. (Random note: one of them thought "a mile" was 20,000 feet, which he quickly amended by shortening it to 3,500 feet which, in reality, is only about 33% off.)

It's not that I wore the lucky hat tonight, which I didn't wear yesterday - because I wanted to wear the 3/4 sleeve Padres shirt with the Bronco hat while I watched the Colts dismantle Denver with slim, slim hopes that the Friars would pull it out against the Brewers and end this orgasmic madness that has become the NL playoff picture.

And it's not even that Matt Holliday clearly, poetically, irrevocably and unmistakably did not touch home plate; nope, not even that.

It's the fact that I, with good Scotch, cheap Vodka and plenty of domestic brew cannot, in any way, shape or form, muster up the strength to post some picture that shows you how I feel.

We here at the Pretzel Factory are all about humor. Most of the time. We like funny things; like, say, a hamster holding a bouquet of flowers. That shit's funny. But I ain't got it. I got nothin'. Nada. Zilch. Zero. The big kaput.

I can tell you the man-love I felt when Adrian Gonzalez hit a grand slam to put the Pads up 4-3 in the third, and somewhat legitimize this team by having a 30-homer, 100-RBI guy (albeit in 163 games). I can tell you how a-fucking-glad I was to have Heath Bell on my team when he came in and straight shut the fucking door after Jake Peavy departed with a not-so-Cy-Young-esque effort. I can tell you the complete, juvenile, bare-feet-on-wet-grass joy I felt when Jorge Julio entered the game in the 13th and proceeded to throw baseballs towards Jupiter before grooving a pitch to Scott Hairston that "The Thing" pounded into the left-field seats for a seemingly insurmountable 8-6 lead. I can tell you that I then went to the restroom feeling giddy, feeling good ...

And then I can tell you that Hoffy came to the mound.

This is where the lack of a picture makes sense. A picture can be worth a thousand words - and in this day and age, a link may well be worth a million - but I can be sure, within a zillionth of an inch, that the pain in these words will be worth far more than any image you may lay your feeble eyes upon. For when Trevor Hoffman came in, and gave up a double to Kaz Matsui ... I'm going to say this slow, just so you understand . . . K-a-z M-a-t-s-u-i . . . I knew it was over. A two-strike gapper? To Kaz Matsui?

From there it unfolded like a wet origami swan. Tulowitzki - BAM! - double. MVP candidate and chin-gasher Holliday - BAM! - triple. Jamey Carroll - yeah, that's how it's spelled - BAM! - sac fly for the win. All off a closer who, it's unfortunately painfully evident, should give up his "Hell's Bells" theme song to the shut-down, fuck-you reliever who can: A) get people out when it matters; and B) claim that his surname is actually in the title of the goddamn song.

These are just rants, I guess, of a lunatic, a man who should find solace in the cold, weathering embrace of Mets fans around him. But who has more to be ashamed of? Surely it's the Mets, right? They had the biggest collapse ever, they showed no heart, they packed it in and gave it away.

But the Padres had the same ample opportunity to get into the playoffs; all they had to do was beat a down-trodden team once in the season's final two games, and they were in. They had a likely Hall of Fame-closer going in one of games, and the franchise's most popular player's son hit a game-tying triple off him. Go figure. Karma works in mysterious ways, but destiny appears to be one straight-ass shooter.

I got home tonight, tired and sullen, feeling sorry for myself. But then I realized there was a great few weeks of baseball left, and I should be ready for that. So I took the lucky hat off slowly, painfully, and eyed the top of the bookcase in my room where I store all my caps. There's really no rhyme or reason to them up there; they just kinda are. So I took it off and flung it up there.

It tumbled back down.

I stubbornly bent down, my back flaring up, my muscles sore from sitting awkwardly and fidgeting, being tense, watching the game. I picked it up and flung it up once more.

Again, it fell back down.

I cursed myself. I cursed the heavens. I cursed the baseball Gods and everyone from Fred Snodgrass to Joaquin Andujar.

I picked it up and chucked it up into the far corner, where it landed upside-down. It stayed.

Good, I thought. Third time's a charm.

It's just too bad the Padres won't get to find that out.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Paying the Piper

So, the AL is all but wrapped up, and it looks like the Pretzel Factory got a few things right, for once. We picked the Red Sox. That, though it was shaky, seems to be working out. Then, there were the A's-- boy did WE back the wrong horse. Oh, and the Tigers (yeah...). And the Wild Card did not come out of the Central (though we knew the Indians would make the playoffs). And the Yankees did, in fact make the playoffs.

OK, so we were wrong. A lot. But it brings up a good point. It doesn't matter how far out a franchise seems to be-- when they are close to the top, they bubble over and find ways to stay relevant. The Celtics piled weapons and found KG. The Yankees patched together a pitching staff out of bubble gum and iodine. Soccer teams do stuff. In general, the teams that always seem to win have the greatest luck. Sure, there are smart decision-makers, but think about some of the names that populate these teams in their hardest times and come through in the clutch. I would have forgotten men like Scott Brosius had some assface (who was telling me that the Red Sox had no chance in the East just two days ago) wasn't sporting his jersey despite not being able to button it. There's a thousand of these names (Shelley Duncan and Ryan Gomes-- a sticking point in the KG deal most recently).

It may be impossible to pick these damn seasons perfectly, but I'll tell you what: I may not pick against the Yankees to make the playoffs until the league forces them to rebuild with some sort of salary cap. It's not that I don't want to, it's just that I can't. There, I admit it.

ALSO: J.D. Drew is hitting. I should mention that since I was such an asshole about it. I still don't trust him, but dammit, I have to cheer for him again now. Maybe (hopefully?) I was wrong about him too.

Coming soon: Paying the piper, National League edition (once the Mets decide if they have any balls whatsoever).

EDIT: Link Dump: Smear the Queer has beaten us in the imaginary "how to classify the Mets latest futilities" contest. Just a perfect piece of writing.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Worst. Weekend. Ever.

Have you ever thought, "Why in the f*%# am I a sports fan? Why do I invest so much time and money and heart into just being ripped endlessly and mercilessly to bloody fucking shreds? Why am I seriously contemplating seeing how far I can stick this bread knife into my throat?"

Because I did. This weekend was the worst.

It started off good, though. I hooked up with a wood-bat baseball league here, and after 5+ years on the shelf, I got back on the bump and did pretty well. I had one bad inning where I walked about four guys, but they only got a few solid hits off me in 5 2/3 innings. We won in the bottom of the seventh on a bases loaded, two out, two-strike double. Things were looking good.

And then the calendar hit "Saturday."

The Padres wasted a solid effort by Jake Peavy and lost to the streaking - screw that, the goddamn fucking SPEEDING - Rockies 2-1 in fourteen innings. Colorado State, after two tough losses, lays a damn ostrich-on-growth-hormones-sized egg in the second half and falls to Houston 38-27 to drop to 0-3. Plus, they also haven't won since October. Of 1985. The Padres? Yeah, that's what that sound was - like an aborted fetus squishing down the drain. The Rockies pummel them 6-2.

Jesus tap-dancing Christ, we haven't even gotten to Sunday yet.

I begin the day stretching under a cloudless, sea-blue sky. The field smells faintly of sewage, but hey - I'm playing baseball!

Not really.

We blow a chance to win the first game and fall 6-5. Then, in the second game, I leave a small African village on the bases and, going into the final inning tied 4-4, we give up about as many runs as the Orioles have given up to the Rangers on the year and don't even get to bat in the bottom of the seventh. That's right - they mercy killed our ass.


On to the bar. Drink the pain away. Wait for the train. Call dad. Padres down a lot. Early. Fuck. Wait helplessly on the train. Fuck. Get to the bar. Jaguars up 7-0. Fuck. Drink. Broncos tie it - fuck? Broncos fumble. Fuck. Broncos fumble kickoff to open second half. Fuck fuckaboo fuckjam fuckfart!!! Broncos go for it on fourth down - fail. Fuck. Broncos get miraculous fumble. Piss it away. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. (Did I mention I was sitting next to the only Jaguars fan in all of New York City? No, I didn't. Nice guy though, but still - fuck.)

Well that's one long, relentless smorgasbord of suckitude. I'm full. I can't take anymore. I don't want dessert; dessert being, in this case, facing a dude in fantasy with Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and Ronnie Brown's quazillion points.

What's that, you say?

Milton Bradley did what?!?!?!?

Fuck me.

I hate sports.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Which J.C. did Jay Cutler play like?: Wk 2 Super Happy Fun Time Deflate the Raiders Edition!!!

Instead of my usual seat at the bar of The Puke Castle, I was in Long Island for a baptism. Among the highlights: a baby who, while probably muttering something like "baby cakes" ended up saying, repeatedly, what sounded remarkably like "Phoebe Cates"; the 80-something-year-old Priest, or Pastor, or whatever those cooky Catholics call him referencing football, the beach, taking the bus to school, and numerous other minutiae from everyday life on an extremely holy day; and, finally, watching the Jets game - and then the Raiders-Broncos OT - in a basement, on HD, with a bar stacked full of 18-year Jameson and Jameson Gold.

I still don't know what tastes better, though: fine, aged Irish whiskey, or the sweetness of fucking over the Raiders once again?

Actually, it could've been 418-year Jameson and Jenna Jameson Gold and it still wouldn't have been as good as seeing Sebastian Shankakowski's second kick clang off the top of the upright. Was it a dick move by Mike Shanahan to call the timeout seconds before the first kick was as straight as a lumberjack's axe? Sure. Was I rubbing my man clams in ecstasy when it worked? You bet your coin purse I was.

But, the reason we're here is, which J.C. did Jay Cutler play like? I didn't get to watch the game until Monday, and even then I had to skim over it at work. Nevertheless, here's the analysis.

First Half: Jay Cutler. Strong. Some very solid throws, and one very poor one (the pick to Morrison). It's easy to forget that it's only his seventh start.

Second Half: John Clayton. Scraggly. Weak. Scary at times. The interception was not his fault (it was tipped at the line), but he did take a safety in the fourth quarter of a close game (and to Gerard Warren, whom the Broncos had recently cut, no less).

OT: Jay Cutler. Sure, he only completed two passes on the winning drive, and the receivers did most of the work, but he got them in position to win and that's all that matters.

Hey, it's 2-0. Probably the weakest, shakiest 2-0 ever, but it's 2-0 either way. Maybe they've been blessed.

Which J.C. did Jay Cutler Play Like?: Week One

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Do Not Deny Wade Boggs His Rightful Place In History

When you enter a celebrity fishing tournament, you expect three things: 1) Beer, 2) More beer, and 3) Fair results.

It's not clear whether or not Wade Boggs received the first two, but he was definitely shafted on the last one.

While participating in an event in Key West, Boggs apparently caught two fish on a spin reel, while former Broncos offensive lineman Mark Cooper caught one on a fly. The point totals for both men were equal, so Gary Ellis erroneously awarded the title to Cooper, since he caught his fish first.

Boggs' reaction? Well, you might think Margot Adams tried to steal his pre-game chicken.

At the awards ceremony at the Westin Key West, when hearing the news, Boggs was quoted as saying, “I caught two fish and you caught one and you win?” He then grabbed the trophy and ran out of the room.

Real mature. Next thing you know Boggs is going to say that William Pitt the Elder is better than Lord Palmerston.