Friday, February 6, 2009


So Bill Simmons is mad that ESPN took his Mt. Rushmore idea, and turned it into this year’s “Who’s Now.” I have to imagine he’s completely pissed off at the execution, ‘cause now if they ever build any actual sports monuments as sets for Nic Cage movies it’s just going to be targeted for domestic terrorism.

Let’s look at Florida. Bobby Bowden, Dan Marino, Don Shula and… Tim Tebow.

TIM TEBOW? OK, you’re kidding me right? This is just some mistake, like when FOX said he played right tackle for Utah. Right? I mean, he’s closer to me than he is to Mt. Rushmore of sports figures who played, coached, was born in, or -in the case of a state like Idaho - peed in at a Stuckeys.

No, they’re not kidding me. Apparently, I’m kidding myself. Tim Tebow is all things to everyone. At least those disillusioned souls who put “Gator” in front of their name and claim they have a nation. But that’s another complaint, and starts with Raider fans.

So here for you, Gator Bill, Gator Laura, Gator Ted, Ted Gator, Gator Gator, Fred Gator, Lilly Gator, Gatorick, I’m going to assume that Tim is everything to every one, and just willed his way to the top of the Florida list.

Anyway, if he’s top-4 all time in Florida he should be able to beat anyone right? Here’s lists of people from Florida who, despite my much harsher standards in list-making still beat Tebow on the general list of “Florida sports figures”

Also, thank God that we’re pretty much a flat state, and have no mountains to actually carve his likeness into (of course, that’s assuming he doesn’t put a mountain on top of my house for doing this).

Mt. Rushmore for Pensacola: Emmitt Smith, Roy Jones, Jr., Derrick Brooks, Don Sutton. Tebow couldn’t make the Mt. Rushmore for the 8th largest area in the state.

Mt. Rushmore of Former Dallas Cowboys from Florida: Michael Irvin, Bob Hayes, Deion Sanders, and of course, Emmitt. Again, who is claiming Tebow is bigger than ANY of these?

Tebow’s left-handed, so could he crack the list of Mt. Rushmore for Floridians in the 10-percent of the population who are left-hand dominant? Let’s see: Steve Carlton, Chipper Jones (left-handed enough), Rafael Palmeiro, Boog Powell (see Chipper). Nope.

Hmm. What else? Oh, how ‘bout sports chicks? Chris Evert, Doris Hart, Dot Richardson, Nancy Hogshead. Yeah, he can’t even beat the CHICKS from Florida - yet he’s top 4 EVER? I’m also inclined to put Erin Andrews on this list.

Wait, wait, wait. Hold on! I did it! I found a Florida-sports Mt. Rushmore for Tebow. Let me tell you the other members - see if you can guess the category. Ready? OK! Herb Score, Jim Courier, David Duval, Tim Tebow.

Give up? Sports guys from Florida who got a ton of hype, and were considered among the all-time greats after a few years only to largely be forgotten for anything other than disastrous falls from grace.

Congrats, ESPN. You’ve done it. By putting Tebow on the “Florida Mt. Rushmore,” you not only invalidated another of your stupid-ass segment killers, but you’ve proven once again you’re the Four-Letter Devil. You just did the equivalent of inducting Marilyn Manson into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. Assholes.

How many Rushmore’s of random qualification can you come up with? Here’s an equally putrid list from SI back in 2004 to get you started (Really? Roy Jones, Jr. isn’t top FIFTY?)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Really, 31 Straight

I really can't get over how astounding the feat is for the Texas Rangers to run up a streak of 31 scoreless. To put it in perspective, here are five things involving 31 that I'd have given better odds than this (yes, I know the list should be 31 items long. It's really not that popular of a number and the three I removed from the list were terrible.):

1. Baskin Robins makes "Saltalamacchia" one of it's 31 flavors
2. Roy Williams looks effective in man-to-man pass coverage (yes, I know he wears 38 now, though I think that only makes my point stronger)
3. Jeff Burton decides he needs to emulate Kyle Busch on the track
4. The Southern Baptist Convention accepts Halloween as "harmless fun"
5. Jason Jennings throws one shut out inning for the Rangers (OK, this one is obviously a stretch)

Joy in Rangerland

Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.
-Ted Theodore Logan, 1989

At this point, I'm more prepared to meet my future self in the Circle K parking lot than I am to realize that Texas Rangers pitchers have thrown 31 innings without allowing a run. The AP story about Friday night's victory against Oakland says that the team did it once before. Once, 27 years ago.

Just for perspective, that streak started against the Red Sox who turned in a lineup card with Yaz and Jim Rice. The winning pitcher was Doc Medich, who'll turn 60 this year. The next day it was Fergie Jenkins. Don Zimmer was a spry young manager. Future Managers Glenn Hoffman and Buddy Bell were active participants, as was future Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy who led off for Boston. Future manager Hal McRae played for the Royals in the final game of the FOUR game streak.

It was a long time ago. OJ Simpson was a beloved figure. 2Pac was alive. Al Davis, too. Roger Staubach was still an active NFL Player and we'd yet to have a Clinton or Bush in the White House.

OK, at the risk of belaboring the point, current Rangers manager Ron Washington looked like this:

See? Do you see? THAT'S A LONG ASS TIME AGO!

There's also no way that it should have happened now. It defies logic. I'm a Ranger fan, and we know this better than anyone. Sure we've seen good years from Ryan Drese and Roger Pavlik. We thought maybe, just maybe, Chan Ho Park was going to elevate our rotation. When you make jokes about Ranger pitching, we know the joke is on us - after all, Ranger fans saw Chris Young being traded for Adam Eaton.

Pretty much every day in the life of Ranger Fan is 9 innings of waiting for the pitching to fall apart, followed by 21 hours of wondering if it will be tomorrow. Yet tonight, the Rangers didn't allow a run for the 3rd straight game. I'm generally happy with 3 innings.

I'm not going to sit here under a delusion that these last few days represent something more grand than three games in the tragic comedy that plays itself out in 162 separate acts over the course of the summer for virtually every team.

Chances are, the runs not allowed during the streak will be scored next week and the streak will become a memory slightly less blurry than last week's dinner menu once another trip through the rotation is complete.

Tonight, though, I'll sit here and take it all in. Forgetting the abysmal seasons past, forgetting April. Wearing the proverbial blinders to get an image as sunny as the generic family in matching sweaters you see in every Olan Mills photo.

Yes, baseball is cruel, but only because we let games like the last three build us up. We live for it. So bring it, Oakland...because the way my team is going, "it" won't be runs.

Bill and Ted inspire one last question...So if you're really us, what number are we thinking of?


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Will and Buzz agree on something

Writers and bloggers both hate me. Actually, writers is a misnomer, it's not like a blogger poops out posts. So let me rephrase, bloggers and members of the traditional written media hate me.

The traditional media... Notice I said traditional, not “mainstream media” which is the catch-all phrase that’s floated by everyone from Will Leitch to Bill O’Reilly, used to convey disdain with the established practices of people who are paid to tell the stories of others that evolved since we stopped giving those in power the ability to determine what stories were fit for consumption. (Wonder if Leitch has ever been compared to O’Reilly before…)...hates me for the same reason that they hate bloggers.

They feel that I have a voice that I didn't earn through years of dues paying. They hate me because my career arc didn't have me spending a year spell checking obituaries. Writers generally hate me, because while they spent years toiling in obscurity writing 200 words about what neighborhoods are first up for repaving, I earned my voice in under a decade.

I am a sports radio host.

To writers, I'm the kid who got the BMW for his 16th birthday while they worked the night shift at Burger King. The guy who walks out of college without a student loan payment (which is true).

I'm Sue Ellen Mischke, recipient of large breasts who cares not that the gawking of people on the street may effect the Oh Henry candy bar fortune (where the candy bar fortune is some kind of public trust.... it's a stretch, I know). I'm Spider-Man at the wrestling match, who uses his abilities for capitalist gain. Still unaware that with great power comes great responsibility.

It's essentially the same argument they have against bloggers.

Sure, some of the anti-blogger sentiment is rooted in fear. Fear that their future earning potential is being limited.

There's no doubt a jealousy that also exists. It's not that they hate bloggers because they aren't scrutinized and are free from the fear of recourse. They hate bloggers because the subjects they cover for a living can take action against them, denying access, and making it near impossible to make a living.

When Buzz calls it "shit," he means to say "shit I wish I could say." He made his name uncovering corruption in courts, and he expects me to believe that there's some sanctity in Matt Leinart beer-bonging and Jeff Reed doing whatever the fuck it is Jeff Reed does that can only be disseminate after asking Matt Leinart for a comment and getting the expressed written consent of Major League Baseball? How the hell is that belief derived? An earned public trust? My ass, his name is Buzz! "Big Daddy Balls" is a more trustworthy name than Buzz, no matter how many books he sells.

Buzz wishes he could watch the game as a release, like bloggers can. It's hard to keep the fan experience in a professional endeavor. Hard as hell. I fight to do so, Buzz gave up. It's not fun for Buzz.

That's half the story, because Bloggers hate me, too. Please note, by the way, that I use "bloggers" to mean the authors here, not the commenters which have become a pseudonym in this argument due to a fundamental lack of understanding at the basis of the writer argument...hate isn't strong enough to explain commenters feelings.

Strangely enough, on the wider scale, they hate me for the same reason that the writers hate them. Sure, they hate Colin Cowherd for being a dick. They hate Paul Finebaum for being a dick. Tim Brando...dick. Jim Rome...dick. Mike and Mike... dick and dick (Though, in some cases it's not a false belief.)

But more so, when I make a mistake on my show, it shows my lack of qualification. When I provide cursory analysis of a game I didn't watch, it shows my lack of understanding. A lack of depth, a lack of preparation. I don't understand that with the bully pulpit that I stand behind for three hours, I have the obligation to talk about whatever they want me to at the depth with which they think it should be talked about. They think I'm paid by the hyperbolic thought and dogmatic diatribe.

Radio hosts are hated because we don't understand the charmed lives we live, with increased access, a paycheck and the endless stream of free meals. We don't grasp that our biases affect their experiences of sports. Because we DON'T have the same fun with sports as they do.

Oh, and because Cowherd plagiarized from a blog, we all do.

They hate me because I'm Spider-Man at the wrestling match, who uses his abilities for capitalist gain. Still unaware that with great power comes great responsibility. (I really wish I had come up with a better metaphor).

Again, this isn't the only thing they hate, as each blogger has a more diverse experience and different biases than your run of the mill journo, so they hate us all for different reasons.

But each side is damned to their convictions, considering the other parasitic, leeching the life from the experience. Yet somehow, radio tries to be symbiotic. I've heard Will Leitch on SNR, Mike Florio talk to Todd Wright, and Jay Busbee from Sports Gone South has been my most frequent guest over the last year. I comment on Awful Announcing. Tony Kornheiser, SAS, and Finebaum are among the many writers quick to capitalize on their newspaper fame to branch into radio.

There's a place for us all. A need. A demand. But hatred is an easier relationship to foster, especially when we're so passionate. So I'll keep reading deadspin and renewing my subscription to SI, all the while wondering how many more people we could bring into our fraternity of sports fans if we only helped them experience the game in a way that bred our passions.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Mascot Matchup - Final Four

Yes indeed, the Mascot Matchups are back. Hours of work are in. Here's the 5th and final post, the Final 4

Tennessee Volunteers vs Clemson Tigers

If those two German fairies can tame some tigers, I'm going to guess that a dude with a gun can as well. After all you don't get a coonskin cap without killing a coon. And skinning it. Though Smoky might not be so lucky, the Vols are eating tiger chops. Then washing it down with some malt liquor from a jar.

UCLA Bruins vs Michigan State Spartans

Bears are smart. They aren't going to run into a stick. And for all the talk about how good those 300 dudes were in that one fight, they did lose. So I'm going to go with a historical perspective on this one, and say that as the Spartans get near the end, they lose. It's what they do. Spartans are losers. And history says they were more than likely gay and illiterate. Seems to me like they should have been eliminated long ago.

UCLA Bruins vs Tennessee Volunteers

The Final 4 is in San Antonio. So I'm going to go by the old saying, “Remember the Alamo.” Here's the basics. Almost half of Los Angeles is of Mexican descent. The Mexicans won the battle, but Sam Houston and the Texans still ended up winning their independence before later being illegally annexed despite being a sovereign nation. Oh, and remember how we were talking about Davy Crockett? Yeah, did I mention he died in the Battle at the Alamo?

The UCLA Bruins are your 2008 Mascot Matchup Champions!

The Mascot Matchup - West Region

Yes indeed, the Mascot Matchups are back. Hours of work are in. 5 posts this year. One for each region, one for the Final 4. Last up, it's the West Region.

1 UCLA Bruins vs 16 Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils

Last year, it took an alligator home-swamp advantage to defeat a bear, this year I have faith in their ability to advance deeply into the tourney again. First up are the Delta Devils, who are actually blues artist Robert Johnson. Johnson sold his soul to the devil, and you probably heard of him in the Clapton song “Crossroads.” It was also the inspiration for the Daniel-San movie Crossroads where he battles Steve Vai for his and another man's soul. It's inspirational really, however, bears are not music lovers and would eat Ralph Macchio. Bears win.

8 BYU Cougars vs 9 Texas A&M Aggies

Some teams that call themselves Aggies have a dude that rolls with a gun, others roll with a rope. Texas A&M rolls with a collie. Not even a mean dog to match the uniforms. A collie named Reveille. Lassie or a Cougar? Really not much of a match considering I could kick a collie's ass.

5 Drake Bulldogs vs 12 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

What is a hilltopper you ask? Red Grimace. Yeah, a red version of the purple jackass that rolls with Ronald McDonald. Given my choice, this might actually be the first round game that I'd most like to see take place in Mascot Arena. The bulldog running up and taking giant hunks of Red Grimace, green blood flowing everywhere as Red Grimace progressively gets slower and slower, falling down and taking frantic swipes with his stick arms only to have the bulldog rip those free from the gooey Red Grimace Sockets. That match would be awesome, and the bulldogs win.

4 Connecticut Huskies vs 13 San Diego Toreros

A husky is a good dog, a Torero is a bull fighter. But bullfighter is a rather misleading name. It's really a bull-dodger. He stands there with a table cloth and gets out of the bulls way. A husky is much more agile, and therefore won't be fooled by silly table cloth shenanigans. Give me the Huskies in a romp.

6 Purdue Boilermakers vs 11 Baylor Bears

A second bear in the same region. Again, I ask what the hell was the committee thinking with some of these seedings. That said, if there is anything that can beat a bear, it's a train. A big train going fast. Sure, hitting a bear could derail the train. But then again, it might not. If we fought this match 50 times, the bear would die 50 times.

3 Xavier Musketeers vs 14 Georgia Bulldogs

A 3 Musketeer is a mighty tasty candy bar. The fluffy stuff inside is a pretty tasty complement to the chocolatey outside. However, everyone knows that dogs can't eat chocolate. Much like the earlier match where the mighty wildcat died of heavy-metal toxicity, the dogs are felled by their inability to metabolize a chocolate bar. Dig up another spot between the hedges, because Uga's coming home in a body-bag.

7 West Virginia Mountaineers vs 10 Arizona Wildcats

I don't know much about what a Mountaineer does, but I do know that weird stuff happens in them hills. I also know that a West Virginian is much more likely to be rabid than a wildcat. I think the combination of rabies and altitude-thinned air give the Mountaineers what they need to advance to the weekend

2 Duke Blue Devils vs 15 Belmont Bruins

OK, three bears in one region. Really committee? There are four regions, and three bears. And all three bears are in the SAME region? Nuts to you. A blue Devil and a bear. Obviously this fight is happening because being all blue and sad, Duke is a suicidal devil. So while technically a fight, Duke is just there to end it all. A bruin is more than happy to accommodate such a request.

UCLA Bruins vs BYU Cougars

Remember last round when we had a bear lose to a train? I don't think a bear would lose to a Mercury product. Even the 6-cylinder version. Yeah, the bear would be injured after a head on collision with a car, but whoever was driving the car would be calling David Palmer asking for forgiveness. Forgiveness and a check to replace the totaled Cougar.

Connecticut Huskies vs Drake Bulldogs

Well, you know what they say. It's a dog-eat-dog tournament. My money is on the dog from Siberia instead of the one from England. It's used to the elements and whatnot.

Purdue Boilermakers vs Xavier Musketeers

Well, other than a train, a boilermaker is a drink. While a Musketeer is French, I still think he can hold his alcohol. That's all the French do. Drink, smoke and complain about how much America is better than they are.

West Virginia Mountaineers vs Belmont Bruins

You know what would have been cool? You remember the American Eagles back in the first round? I'd have liked to have a mascot matchup with them against West Virginia. I could have made tons of John Denver Jokes, but instead I have another man challenges beast. I thought about gerrymandering something here to have the Mountaineers get the win so I garner more points. But then I'd just have to do the same thing when they faced UCLA.

UCLA Bruins vs UConn Huskies

This is becoming much less fun. I can't even think of a way for a Husky to even be competitive with a Bruin.

Xavier Musketeers vs Belmont Bruins

A Musketeer has a musket. I think a Bruin could be felled by a musket

UCLA Bruins vs Xavier Musketeers

That is, as long as he has time to reload. A musket doesn't come with a clip. It comes with one shot. This is like a handicap elimination match. So while the musketeer was reloading, the bear would pounce. That is if the musketeer didn't just go all French and run away. But bears are surprisingly fast and agile for their size.

The Mascot Matchup - South Region

Yes indeed, the Mascot Matchups are back. Hours of work are in. 5 posts this year. One for each region, one for the Final 4. Here's the third edition, the South.

1 Memphis Tigers vs 12 UTA Mavericks
A maverick is a non conformist. Probably a bad idea. Conforming to what most people do would keep the Mavericks from being in a situation to fight a tiger. That's right kids, conform. It keeps you from being eaten by a Tiger.

8 Mississippi State Bulldogs vs 9 Oregon Ducks

Oregon's mascot is pretty close to Donald Duck. Like, lawsuit close. Speaking of Donald Duck, why didn't he wear pants, yet when he got out of the shower he'd have a towel around his waist? Wait, back to the fight. I guess Donald Duck against Hector the Bulldog. Hector was the dog that would always take out Sylvester to protect Tweety. Oregon, prepare to be a turducken.

5 Michigan State Spartans vs 12 Temple Owls

Remember that movie with Brad Pitt and the guy from Blackhawk Down? I think Brad Pitt was a Spartan in there. I'll take him over the animal that couldn't even resist a stupid tootsie pop. Also, as someone who racked up a couple grand in dentist bills as an adult, it does not take three licks to get to the center of a tootsie pop. No, that's how many it takes to bite the sucker, crack a tooth and need a crown. Stupid owl, I hope the sword through your chest hurts.

4 Pitt Panthers vs 13 Oral Roberts Golden Eagles

You ever watch the show House? They always think it's cushings. Always. Run the test, it's cushings. It's not cushings. Then at the end it turns out to be something else. Well, after the panthers ate the golden eagles, they'd go to the vet. The vet would then say the panther has cushings. Then, after that wasn't it, they'd determine that eating a giant metal eagle leads to heavy metal toxicity. Then the panther would die.

6 Marquette Golden Eagles vs 11 Kentucky Wildcats

You ever watch the show House? Blah, Blah, Blah, heavy metal toxicity, dead wildcat.

3 Stanford Cardinal vs 14 Cornell Big Red

OK, so let me get this straight. Two teams who's mascot is A COLOR are fighting in round one? The committee says they don't consider mascots, but I call shenanigans. How the hell does red fight red? The gum versus a tree? A gum Tree? Why's Cornell represented by a bear? A brown bear? Why no fire ants? Or Doublemint Twins? Still better than a tree. Trees aren't red. However, in a bear versus tree fight, the only reason I can even think there would be a fight is if there was a hunter in a tree stand. In that case, give me the hunter.

7 Miami Hurricanes vs 10 St. Mary's Gaels

Pretty sure that St. Mary's spells their mascot wrong, but that's neither here nor there. But who would have thought we'd ever have a matchup of two windy weather systems? That's why we do this people. That's why we do this. Anyway, hurricane-force winds are stronger than gale-force winds. That's why we don't have gale warnings.

2 Texas Longhorns vs 15 Austin Peay Governors

Really? The Governors? Hmm, Elliot Spitzer or a thousand pound piece of livestock. Depending on his tastes, he might pay 5000 dollars for that. Peay becomes a cow pie, ironic huh?

Memphis Tigers vs Mississippi Bulldogs

How come there are no Giant Dogs? I mean, there's wolves, but you don't go to the jungle and worry about getting eaten by a Great Great Dane. And how did regular cats become such sissies while being related to a Tiger? I think it'd be awesome if there were giant dogs, like instead of miniature schnauzer, there was a super-giant schnauzer with teeth the size of hotdogs. But since this is the bulldogs, not the bull-sized dogs, the tigers win.

Michigan State Spartans vs Orel Roberts Golden Eagles

OK, who knew there was actually an animal called the golden eagle? Certainly not me. Apparently, they are quite vicious birds. Dedicated hunters and what not. But if that golfer guy could take out a bird with a golf ball, I don't think the savages from 300 would have much trouble.

Stanford Cardinal vs Marquette Golden Eagles

I think that birds are color blind, but I didn't pay attention in school. So bird versus color is a tough one for us to pull off. But since a bird would make it's nest in a tree, I think that's like making the tree your bitch. Even if it doesn't, I think that eventually the bird would poop in the tree, and that's definitely a loss for the tree.

Texas Longhorns vs Miami Hurricanes

Most visuals you have of hurricanes on TV are Jim Cantore standing by a stop sign near the beach watching it twist in the wind. So I don't know that I've ever seen the actual cow versus hurricane fight. However, I did see a cow fight a tornado on that movie twister. The cow definitely lost that one, I'm going to assume the hurricane can win that fight.

Memphis Tigers vs Michigan State Spartans

If a lion is king of the jungle, does that make a tiger the king of the grasslands? This is actually quite intriguing for a fight. The only historical reference I have here is that movie 300 where he killed a tiger with a stick. I guess the Spartans advance with their use of a stick. A pointy one.

Marquette Golden Eagles vs Miami Hurricanes

Birds have an uncanny ability to avoid the weather. After a hurricane you'd really expect to see the ground littered with birds who died in the storm. But some how there aren't. I guess they fly north, or something. So I'm not sure HOW it happens, but somehow the birds would come away with a victory. Somehow.

Michigan State Spartans vs Marquette Golden Eagles
The Spartans again are forced to face a golden eagle. I see no reason the outcome would be different here.