Thursday, June 26, 2008

Some Suggestions For Mr. Black

It's no secret at all that the Madres possess one of the worst offenses in the Major League baseballs. With Jake Peavy and Chris Young both having spent some time on the DL this year, Trevor Hoffman not quite being his HOF self, and Mark Prior being, well, Mark Prior, runs are at a premium for this team.


Therefore, here are some things that Bud Black can do to scare up some offense in San Diego.

  • Replace the 6-8 hitters with a bat taped to a weather vane stuck into the batter's box and hope it's windy that day
  • Clone Adrian Gonzalez
  • Trade for Tony Gwynn Jr., hope nepotism works as good in baseball as it does in the U.S. government
  • Draft Steve Detwiler
  • Introduce Khalil Greene to certain things: women, booze, comedic films, masturbating, chocolate, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Patton Oswalt, porn (internet and otherwise), mild hallucinogens, Ana Ivanovic, card games, medium-rare steaks, etc.
  • Find a time machine, enter "Brian Giles: 1999-2002"
  • Give everyone those big Flintstone-looking wiffle ball bats
  • Punch somebody. Anybody. Anything. Get all Jerry Manuel-esque and threaten somebody's life with a switchblade
  • Sign the other three members of the Fantastic 4 so Scott "The Thing" Hairston feels more at home
  • Deal Paul McAnulty for Det. Jimmy McNulty (if he can pound a baseball like he pounds pussy, watch out)
  • Read Broken Vessels by Andre Dubus - I am (thanks to BorL) and it's phenomenal. Plus, it's got to be a gillion times better than watching this team attempt to hit the goddamn ball
  • Go out and get somebody with some MOTHERFUCKING SPEED (next-to-last in SB with 24, one more than the Pirates)
  • Spread gasoline, light match. Move over about 10 feet, repeat. Keep repeating until all is nothing
I'd be funnier, but I can't. This team is killing me.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Q and A with horseracing expert, buisiness or leisure

When do you think the Big Brown "loose shoe" revelation would have been important?
BEFORE THE FUCKING COCKSUCKING RACE. I lost ten cents on that run.

Did the injury hurt Big Brown's chance to win?

How do you feel about the steroid issue in the sport?
I give give two living fucknickels about this shit. The horses the owners, hell, the entire sport is filled with banana-eating shitpuffs. Think about it: THEY'RE HORSES. They don't know what steroids are or what drugs they've taken. All they know is run when the man says so. They're animals and they don't know what they are doing. Fuck them all.

What do you think the Barbaro and Eight Belles controversy will do in the next round of races next year?
Give uncreative blog commenters more to talk about and take more coverage away from the NBA playoffs next year.

If the trainers and owner of Big Brown raced him despite knowing about his condition, does that make them cruel?
It makes them history chasers. The same ideal that made the lifetime bureaucrats ride George Bush into Iraq to get their names into history books drove these assholes to push a horse. Again, it's a horse. What does it matter to them? If it wins,m they are heroes and a book is written about the horse with all their names in it. If it loses, ESPN talks about them for the next year. It's a win-win.

Is their a science to picking horses?

Do you like Band of Horses?
I have no problem with them. They're pretty good, yeah.

Does Phony look like a horse?
No comment.

You don't seem like the typical horse expert. What's your background?
No comment.

Why so bitter?
I hate horses. To me, they are like cars. I don't get into people using machines or animals for sport. It's inhuman.

Is there something deeper here?
I dated a couple of girls who were obsessed with horses. Shit was weird. Horses are not humans. I stand by that. Fucking equus girls.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Earlier tonight, I played basketball. This is not abnormal, but something felt different tonight. I hit my first three shots without warming up. The kids around me waited before they jacked up half-court throws, crazy drives and terrible fade-away threes. The dudes looking to beat up on a skinny white kid waited for me to ask them to play before they were ready.

If this happened normally, I would probably stink up the joint. Not tonight. I hit jumpers from everywhere, I finished drives and even hit six straight at one point. As someone who doesn't feel vindicated or alive through sports, really, it's nice to play up to my capability. (Six in a row, I guess, would be beyond said capability). I came home feeling confident, and just in time for the tipoff.

If I was felling confident and released, there is no telling the amount of emotion pouring from Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce or Ray Allen. I was surprised to see Kevin Garnett be as cogent or coherent as he was after the game. The fact that 48% of what he said was audible and actual caught me off guard. Pierce's elation cracked through but never affected his speech. Ray Allen was, well, Ray Allen (is there a rule that UConn guys have to be the most boring interviews in history?). I could talk forever about this team, I really could.

Now, the unbelievable last four minutes. After the big three left the game, they celebrated with eagerness-- not like the Spurs first win (the reserved Robinson seemed to just smile and soak) or the Shaquille-Kobe Lakers (expectation trumping anticipation). They treated the game like a job. When the clock was stuck on thirty seconds, they had the look of children waiting for their rides home from school. They were rambunctious and anticipatory; relentless in their need to release. A year of doing the right things finally paid off.

That's what makes this a championship to remember. For the most part (aside from Garnett's on-again-off-again trade mongering and Pierce's bout with listlessness on bad teams), all of these players did the right thing either for the year (Perkins, Powe, Rondo, etc.) or for their entire careers. They got no reward for efforts beyond their capability. Eddie House, left behind on the playoff roster, executed to the best of his ability even on the bench. Rajon Rondo used his shaky inconsistency the same way a young Jason Kidd did-- feeding the monsters no matter if he was open or not, etc.

Now, the execution. Perhaps the strangest part of last night's game was the relentless execution. Basketball at it's purest form is a mistake ridden experience. Basketball is a sinner's respite. The best players not only make few mistakes, they know exactly what to do when mistakes occur. This is why Kobe Bryant faltered and Paul Pierce soared. Kobe has been Hercules for so long that he panicked when he couldn't find the rhythm of his game. He jacked up shots quicker and from awkward angles when he lost his way. Pierce has never been the best player on the floor for a sustained period of time. So he executed. He wanted to stay on top because he had never been there before. He was drawing double teams from the best two defenders on the floor regularly. This was his all-too-late coming out party into the NBA's elite for Paul.

In fact, that was the case for everyone but Kevin Garnett. The Celtics knew they had to be perfect to overcome a home loss against the Pistons. They knew they had to be flawless to beat a team with more all-around talent (I still believe that) and a superior coach. They knew. And the culmination of perfection came last night. Every rebound, every loose ball, every steal, every shot and every hand-check was calculated and scientifically executed. The Celtics played the closest to perfection that I have seen any team play.

This wasn't about overcoming odds, it was about the culmination of angst and bitterness-- the appreciation of basketball for a team (and, yes, city) that did not know how to anymore. The glossed over idea amongst basketball fans has nothing to do with style or personality. This championship was more involved than past glory-- for the first time in a while, it had to do with the idea of want: wanting something so bad and then getting it. It was higher evolved than a man shooting hoops in a park, more involved than the task of basketball. It showed.

Congrats, Celtics.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Tonight's Celtics and the Ideal of Perfection

A rant and a rave about basketball as per Game Two:

First, the rant: basketball is such a simple game, people. Too simple. So simple, in fact, coaches and players try to overthink. When the game is at it's best-- like the last seven minutes of the third quarter and the first three minutes of the fourth for the C's-- all the players exploit the weaknesses of a team on the ropes. They attack. They feel the natural flow and they play. No other sport can duplicate this like basketball. This is why the game alternates between exceedingly perfect and horrifically unbearable. Doc Rivers went to his prevent defense (and the players actually ascribed to it) with seven minutes to go against the most dangerous player in the league. Why? Why not attack the rim and continue to beat this team down? Why allow Farmar to score? Why allow Kobe to get his groove? Why allow a team that is beaten a fucking inch-- much less the mile the Celtics gave away?

Not to drive the point home more than I should, but after Leon Powe's dunk and subsequent timeout, who in that place didn't know the Lakers were going to be pissed and come out with a purpose? It's the Finals. If I'm on the Celtics, the first thing out of my mouth is "Don't let up." I just say that over and over. I don't mention the score. I don't feel comfortable. I tell my fellow men that the most dangerous player in basketball is hurting and we want to bury him. I want him dead. I want his family dead. I want his entire lineage destroyed. Here. Tonight. His legacy should have the imprint of our balls on it right fucking now. Seriously.

Instead, the Celts decided to walk the ball up the floor, relax, try horrible lobs and back in/ fade away against guys susceptible to the drive all night. They decided to settle for bad fades with five left on the shot clock after NOT moving the ball. Then, when the energy level depleted and the momentum changed, the ball movement was moot. The deflections came, the panic came and the offense hung from the same ropes supporting the banners in the ceiling.

For a championship-caliber team, this one seems to hate winning. It's still up in the air, fellas. If it's hard to close with a 25 point lead, how hard will it be to do so in LA without the crowd, the calls and the camaraderie? This ain't baseball, and this is a team desperately searching for a closer and Paul Pierce needs help at the end of games.

Now, the raves:

Paul Pierce-- Jesus, even when he makes the big errors-- like the pass that opened up Radmonovich for the travel-dunk-- he makes up for them by blocking a game-altering three with little time left. HUGE PLAY.

Posey-- Nothing but hustle from a man that seemed lost in Detroit.

Rondo-- Inexplicably benched form time to time for man who can't dribble anymore, much less be trusted to run an effective offense, yet he comes in and makes plays when the game is on the line.

Ray Allen-- Shooting like a good shooter again, i.e. using shot selection. You don't have to jack up every open three-- if you aren't comfortable, pass the ball. I love that from him the last few games.

Team Defense-- This is why I love non-break basketball. I like the aforemetioned frustration in basketball-- when a defense (and not coaching) beats a team, it is BASKETBALL. The players decisions are winning and losing a game, not some outsider influence (refs, coaching, slow-down offense WITH SEVEN MINUTES LEFT FOR CHRIST'S SAKE). It's sport at it's peak. When the Celtics were outclassing the Lakers in the third, I got numerous texts and commentary from the guys in the same room saying the same thing: that was a perfect run. They did everything right. it was the purest form of ball-- a mix of athleticism, fundamentals (the SPACING ON THE FLOOR ON BOTH ENDS WAS PERFECT) and luck. It was the culmination of playing the right guys at the right time and not fucking with it. No one was complaining that it was a blowout or saying that the series is boring. They were excited that a team was making an entire quarter-plus look like a work of art. The defense did most of the work. it opened up the offense to operate on every level and allowed Leon Powe to finally get the minutes and attention he deserved.

Leon Powe-- "This was his national coming-out party." --Stan.
For people that understood his potential, Leon Powe delivered the perfect blow to this year's frustrations. With wins come mediocrity. Trust me on this one. When a season goes this well, the team looks away from what worked well and tries to get everyone in on the effort. Thus, this explains the fact that Glen Davis, for awhile, got more important minutes than Leon Powe. Powe deserves 15-20 a game relieving at the 3 and 4 spots and not for his off-the-court storyline. He deserves it because he can punish bench guys, small 3s and slow 4s in the same motion. Davis, and the cavalcade of bench dudes CANNOT. I like Big baby, but Powe is worlds above him. Maybe now, the basketball world gets that. Maybe Doc gets it too (and won't bench him for his lackluster play in the last few minutes like he did after the last five games of the regular season).

Eddie House-- I feel for him. Cassell is damn-near ruining this team in important stretches and he continues to hug and cheer and want. If I'm him, I hold my own press conference and just play tape of Cassell getting blocked by Vujacic (he of the constant complaining-- what a fucktoad). Then I say, "This is five minutes a quarter. Think about it," throw the mic into the feedback position and walk the fuck out with my cock on full display into the bay of cameras. instead, he continues to hug and cheer and want. Good on him. He's still helping.

Tonight, to be sure, the C's had it all, gave it away and then earned it back. That shit won't fly in LA. Not even to steal one. Pierce said they needed to learn a lesson from the fourth quarter. I hope they did, otherwise, they are coming back to Boston down 3-2 against the MVP. Not a good time. I just hope lessons learned translate well, instead of turning into the potential for disaster. Two more, fellas. Two more.

"Don't let up." In such a simple game, the quest for perfection is fleeting, but the ideal of basketball is not. Leon Powe showed us that in Game Two the same way Pierce did in Game One. So simple, to win. So very, very simple.

Friday, June 06, 2008

This Week in Sigh

Guess what? Here's another useless feature that we will try to run on a regular basis, but will probably abandon in a few short weeks. Yay! Every week, Phony Gwynn will recap the recent edition of Sports Illustrated, so you don't have to read it. Doesn't that sound awesome? This one is aided by a glass of White Horse scotch. White Horse: it's the bar where Dylan Thomas drank himself to death, so the scotch must be good, right?

I decided to start this after last week's Sports Illustrated pissed me off. Like many people, I loved SI back in its heyday - when a plethora of excellent writers pounded out interesting, must-read articles. Then ESPN the Magazine came on the scene, and SI decided to keep up - in a bad way. Anyway, last week I came home and saw Josh Hamilton on the cover. Sweet! I thought. A perfect vehicle for an epic Gary Smith piece!

Uh ... no.

Rather, we see Albert Chen's trite, color-by-numbers version of this epic tale. Instead of Smith writing in the first person, penning italicized lines about Hamilton bringing a crack pipe to his lips like Pookie in New Jack City, and harrowing recreations of 4 a.m. booze binges, we get a three-page snooze-fest that turned one of the most incredible stories in sports into an afterschool special. The man's got fire tattooed on his forearms and now he loves Jebus, and all I get is an AP-esque rehash?


So now it's time to break this skull open, and feast on the goo inside.

The Cover: More Lakers-Celtics love, with a film still of Magic and Bird battling for position for a rebound. The caption on the side says Lakers 109, Celtics 102 in Game Two of the NBA Finals. But what year? We're not all John Hollinger here, you know. And, hey - a hockey sighting! It's on a tiny banner in the lower right-hand corner, but still - hockey!

The Vault: Again, more Lakers V Celtics lore: in a February, 1963 game we learn from William Leggett that Elgin Baylor, after seeing some Celtics begin to warm up, "unbuttoned his magnificent raglan overcoat with the red lining, took a penny from his pocket and tossed it at the Celtics - the gesture that bored customers once used to drive bad vaudeville acts off the stage. Baylor then turned and walked to his dressing room with a confident smile on his face." Two questions here: 1) What the fuck is raglan? 2) Why the fuck doesn't stuff like this happen now?

Leading Off: The final picture is of some Chinese children at a refugee camp playing a makeshift game of ping-pong. Hey, sports cures all ills! Fuck an earthquake - we got paddles!

Letters: "I can't thank you enough for the unexpected picture of Bob Uecker in bathing trunks. I still haven't read the article, which I believe had to do with the Brewers. All I can see is Bob in his trunks." - Dianne Smith, Walling, Tenn. Dear Dianne: here's a cataract milkshake. Please drink it down.

Hot/Not: In this issue, Kimbo Slice is both Hot and Not. Ooh! On the Hot side, SI calls Slice "the kindred soul to Clubber Lang." Aside from being black and having interesting hair patterns, I see absolutely no resemblance. My prediction? Pain ... ful analogy.

For the Record: Tony Stewart donates his pet monkey, Mojo, to the Louisville Zoo. I hate NASCAR, but Tony Stewart having a pet monkey named Mojo is 87 kinds of awesome. Pray for him.

Go Figure: Gary Payton recently said on The Best Damn Sports Show Period that he'd have a sex change operation and play in the WNBA for $100 million. Gary Payton ... sex change ... period ... night tremors ... uncontrollable vomiting ... Shawn Kemp showing up with a six-pack of Heineken and a box of Magnums ...

First Person: Detroit Shock point guard Deanna Nolan reveals that she has four dogs named Duke Cooper, Austin Bailey, Dallas Austin, and Jasmine Nicole. This interview also reveals that Deanna Nolan has zero fucking personality.

Pop Culture Grid: For the "Concert you're dying to see this summer" question, Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum admits that he's never been to a concert, and Twins second baseman Brendan Harris reveals that he wants to see Bon Jovi. I don't know how you did it, but you both won the coveted "Lamest Fucking Answer Imaginable" award. Congratulations!

The Beat: Phil Mickelson says that he spent two days shooting scenes for Entourage. Finally, Turtle gets some titty!

Just My Type: This is Dan Patrick's column, which he started after Rick Reilly left. Generally I like it, because he features a candid interview on the left side, and humorous and/or insightful tidbits, facts or suggestions on the right. On the bottom, there's a "Fine Print" line, which is usually a joke. This week: "Did you see that Cal Ripken is a special envoy to the State Department? And Tony Gwynn is a special ambassador to International House of Pancakes." Hardy-har-har, Danny. Everyone knows he's a Denny's man. (Because they don't serve black people there, see.)

Articles: 1) Jack McCallum's knob-slobbing suckfest of the great Lakers-Celtics series of the past. Yeah, we get it. This one will be epic. Babies will be born because of it. Stuart Scott will introduce a new phrase into the lexicon that will make him look even more absurd (that's not a bad thing, actually).

2) An interesting piece on baseball in Alaska, and the midnight games played there during the summer solstice. Summer solstice? I thought Derek Jeter was banging her? There's a fold-out map of a marathon minor-league romp, which conveniently avoids Colorado. No Colorado Springs Sky Sox? Crazy Christians and high altitudes - what more could you want?

3) A story about the Red Wings. Fuck the Red Wings. Brutally. With rabid wolves. And barbed wire.

4) New Oregon State men's basketball coach Craig Robinson is profiled. Why? Well, he's Sen. Barack Obama's brother-in-law! It's time for a change! Change we can believe in! Aww, fuck it - the Beavers will still blow.

5) Tim Layden breaks down Jamaican Usain Bolt's obliteration of the 100M record. But only because the Olympics are in two months.

6) Alan Shipnuck delves into the Mexican-y depths of top female golfer Lorena Ochoa. I haven't read this yet (like some of the last few articles - try to guess which ones! I think you'll be pleasantly surprised), but I will as soon as I can't sleep.

Inside: There is a two-page spread of Ana Ivanovic, and, I'll be honest - I don't feel like typing right now.

Point After: Chris Ballard details the struggles of the National Basketball Association of Afghanistan, and their attempts to revive a once-proud portion of their national identity. I've always liked Ballard, and this is an interesting little read - informative, grounding, provocative. Precisely what the back of the book should be.

(Ed. note: The Vonnegut quote above is what he wrote down for SI in the late 50s after his first assignment for them. He then promptly left the magazine. Again, classic.)