Josh Howard in the News Again

Dallas Mavericks forward Josh Howard is at it again.  He finds himself in the news amidst a storming wave of controversy.  A video of him at an Allen Iverson charity flag football event has surfaced on youtube (fast forward to the 1:40 mark to see him).  In the video Howard is quoted as saying “‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ is going on. I don’t celebrate this shit. I’m black.”  He also goes on to slander Barack Obama in a 5 second, un-audible rant.

I am not one to care so much about what people think about this country.  Sure we have our problems, but then again, who doesn’t?  As long as I am happy I can get on with my life.  I do think it is dumb on his part to be in the AMERICAN spotlight and then proceed to bad-mouth that very country.  He’ll be lucky if he’s not shot the next time he’s out in public for that.

However, was it necessary to then pile on his idiotic comments with the “I’m black.” statement?  All of a sudden the singing of the national anthem at a charity flag-football game is racist?  What kills me is that everyone bitches and moans that racism is still going strong.  Of course, I feel racism is wrong and would love to see a day when it is gone for good, but how the hell does one expect to see that day when those who are being oppressed act out like that?

Bashing America like that is the obvious offense from this.  Taking that one extra step with the racial intone makes it much, much worse.

47 – Out and Up

Deadspin Crop

Deadspin Crop

 

Chris Cooley, tight end of the Washington Redskins, posted a seemingly innocent picture of his team’s playbook this past sunday on his blog http://chriscooley47.blogspot.com/.  Apparently, Cooley finds he learns his team’s plays best when there is the least amount of clothing around to get in the way.

The incident has been reported to have taken place very shortly before he headed off to Sunday’s game against the New Orlean’s Saints.  This led to the picture being left on the site for several hours, unbeknownst to Cooley.  His site averages over 20,000 hits per day. 

Deadspin, of course, was all over this and has spread the word on a much grander scale.  It has even gotten attention on ESPN.com’s Page 2.

The picture has since been removed and an apology from Cooley has been posted on his blog.

New Jersey?

Is that a New York Jet? New England Patriot? No?!

 

Everyone knows: you NEVER wear a shirt of a band you are going to see in concert to said concert.  You might as well stamp DORK on your forehead and just move on.

At a sporting event however, all diehard fans wear the jersey, shirt, hat, jacket, etc. of their favorite team.  You can turn your head at any given time in any given direction and without a doubt wind up seeing a different jersey.  Some people are wearing authentic $200+ jerseys of the team’s star, some are wearing 20 year old replicas of a backup running back that they, for some reason, felt a strong connection with, and there are those that wear personalized jerseys with their own last names on the back (not far from what Chad Ocho Cinco has done legally).

At, say, a Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Green Bay Packers (in Green Bay) you would find maybe 1000 Packers jerseys for every one 1 Buccaneers jersey.  Among the home crowd, the home team rules.  (Of course, in Florida you will also find 1000 New York Mets jerseys for every 1 Marlins jersey, but that’s a whole other post.)

What I don’t get, however, are those people that find it necessary to wear an article of clothing that has an affiliation to a team completely unrelated to that particular game.  Sometimes, it even involves an entirely different sport!

I have season tickets to the New York Jets, and this past Sunday was the first home game for us against the New England Patriots.  Of course the crowd was a sea of green with the occasional Randy Moss and Tom Brady jersey sprinkled in.  I also kept track of the unrelated jerseys and sports apparell to post here in the blog.  I will be posting this list after every Jets home game.

Other NFL Teams:

Chad Johnson – Cincinnati Bengals

LaDanian Tomlinson – San Diego Chargers

Devin Hester – Chicago Bears

Eli Manning  – New York Giants

Antwaan Randal El – Washington Redskins

Jake Delhomme – Carolina Panthers

Rodney Hampton – New York Giants 

Other Sports:

New York Yankees hat

New York Mets hat

Lenny Dykstra Jersey – New York Mets

Team USA Hockey practice jersey

 

Look for another post following the September 28th game vs. the Arizona Cardinals

It’s Not Your Father’s SportsCenter

We all remember it like it was yesterday.  It was coming!  Commercials were running wild.  The anticipation was piling up.  No one entirely knew what to expect.  We just knew it would be HUGE.

Ok, not it was nothing like that.  We all just woke up one day and BAM! the Sportscenter set was different.  Everyone had that same – “Whoa, what the hell happened?!” – reaction.  Some were probably upset things had changed, some were probably excited for something knew, and some probably didn’t really care at all as long as their highlight show stuck to what they did best – highlights.

At first, and for awhile, it didn’t seem like much of a big deal.  Technology was rapidly improving, and the company felt it was time to step things up.  However, this aesthetic move turned out to be a microcosm for things to come.  That set change symbolizes everthing that has gone on at ESPN over the past several years.

I bring this up because Georgia Bulldogs fans, players, coaches, and media are all upset over the non-coverage of Knowshon Moreno’s unbelievable leaping run. 

Apparently, that night’s Sportscenter (and assumed subsequent airings) neglected to include that particular play in its highlight package.  What plays did it include you ask?  Their highlight package quickly covered the 78-yard interception return by Demarcus Dobbs, a touchdown catch by Mohamed Massaquoi and a Knowshon Moreno 52-yard touchdown run.

Many are wondering how ESPN could  pass up such an unbelievable, highlight-reel run.  This turn of events has brought the very same issue I have had with Sportscenter for a couple years now.  They have gotten very, very gimmicky.  Every other commercial break comes back to a story, or a news release, or two columnists arguing over who has the bigger hat size: Barry Bonds or Kevin Mench.

I remember growing up watching the same episode of Sportscenter over and over again.  By the 11 AM show I had highlights memorized.  It didn’t matter that everything was exactly the same, I just loved knowing what was going on, how it went on, and not missing any of it.

Now, you are lucky if you get to see a highlight package that lasts over 30 seconds.  It amazes me how often a highlight reel will skip from the 2nd inning to the 8th.  Sometimes, they even START in the 9th!  Where, oh where, has the highlight reel gone?

The problem is, you can’t blame ESPN.  We are in a world of 24/7 information.  If you want to know who’s baby got a 1600 on their SATs while drinking a Slurpee while bungee jumping, you can find out in a matter of seconds.  The same, unfortunately, goes for sports.  We all know IMMEDIATELY who won what game and how.  We don’t need Sportscenter to show us anymore.

It is no surprise that the only plays showed during the Georgia highlight package we’re scoring plays and long interception return.  There is no time, and no demand, for gains of 20 yards that don’t result in a score. 

Did he completely hurdle a safety at full tilt?

YES.

Did it affect the outcome of the game?

NO.

Unfortunately, that has become the criteria in which all sports highlights are coming to be judged by.  I wish things were back to the way they were in the 90’s with Dan Patrick, Keith Olberman, Kenny Mayne, etc, etc.

Now it seems like others are realizing it as well.

You are now off the Budweiser Hot Seat of Coor’s Lite Cold Hard Fact or Fiction Inside the Huddles.

R.I.P. Evan Tanner

2/11/71 - 9/6/08

2/11/71 - 9/6/08

It was reported recently that Mixed Martial Arts and UFC legend Evan Tanner had passed away.  Exact cause of death, at this point, is unknown.  However, what is known is that Evan had recently embarked on a solo journey into the California desert.  On his own, he apparently ran out of gas in his motorcycle and wound up stranded in temperatures reaching upwards of 114 degrees.

Tanner was a rather excentric man, constantly living for the unknown, striving for his next adventure.  One also never knew what hairstyle would be next for the man.  He had been seen sporting anything from a GQ close crop cut, to dreadlocks and lumberjack beards.

Aside from his obvious “love for life”, as UFC.com put it (read wacked out behavior) Tanner was an unbelievable fighter in his prime, ultimately capturing the UFC Middleweight Championship.  Just as recently as June 21st of this year, Tanner fought in what would be his final fight ever, losing a split decision to Kendall Grove.

Evan Tanner put together a great career fighting MMA and he will be sorely missed.  This has been a sad, sad turn of events for MMA fans everywhere.

J! E! T! S! – JETS! JETS! JETS!

If you have ever been to a New York Jets football game in recent memory, one would recall the sudden hush of a raucous crowd, followed by the deafening bellow of 75,000 fans screaming J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS.  Now while there has been speculation as to who exactly originated that chant, there is no denying who made it famous.  That would be none other than Jets’ superfan Fireman Ed (Anzalone).

Ed, a season ticket holder with the Jets since 1979, climbs aboard the shoulders of his brother three to four times a game when he feels the team needs that extra little something.  He calmly removes his fireman’s helmet and begins to beckon the fans to quiet everything down to a whisper.  Once a pin drop can be heard, he pumps his fists as a signal to begin the chant.  Everyone breaks into J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS in a wonderful chorus of fan appreciation.

Unfortunately, that element of the fan experience last year was mysteriously missing.  People all throughout the year were wondering what happened to Fireman Ed.  It just wasn’t the same attending Jet games without his band-leading type antics.  With the Jets spiraling to a dismal 4-12 season, fans began to worry more about Fireman Ed’s whereabouts, than the actual performance of the on-field product.

Well, New York Jets fans need not worry any longer.  Fireman Ed is back!  Editor-in-Chief of newyorkjets.com, Randy Lange, has broken the news for all those concerned.  Apparently, Firman Ed, who has actually been a NYC firefighter for over 20 years, was injured (knee and neck) on the job in mid 2007.  This unfortunately sidelined him for the Jets 2007 season.

Fireman Ed claims he has “rehabbed like crazy,” and is ready to lead the Jets faithful for another, what looks to be already, great year.

Shhhhhhhhh

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

J! E! T! S! JETS! JETS! JETS!

He’s doing WHAT?!

It has been reported by several sports news outlets that Shawne Merriman of the San Diego Chargers will forgo season ending knee surgery to repair two torn ligaments in his left knee.  He has made this decision despite the warnings that doing so could lead to further damage to the knee, which COULD very likely result in a career ending scenario.  I was always under the impression that once a ligament in the knee was torn your season was over.  The knee, however, consists of 4 ligaments: ACL, MCL, PCL, and LCL.

If the ACL or MCL (or both) are torn, you can forget about the rest of your season (see: Woods, Tiger).  However, the PCL and LCL aren’t as major to the stability of the knee and can be played on.  Of course, as mentioned earlier, risks do apply.

Personally, I can’t wait for the day when a 300lb offensive lineman pulls on a sweep and… 

So to quickly recap, Merriman has done the math:

Miss one year and gain another 10

OR

Play one and possibly miss out on another 10

And he came away with straight A’s.   

Merriman was quoted as saying, “To be as simple as possible, I just want to play football.”

Apparently for not as long as one would expect.

Pelfrey has become The MAN

Back in April, that image didn’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of opposing batters.  Four months later?  That image has been sending more batters back to the dugout with their heads down than any other pitcher in the league.  Mike Pelfrey’s resurgence this year for the New York Mets has been a major factor for why they find themselves just .5 game out in the NL East.  Check out Pelfrey’s splits before and after his miraculous turn around:

April – May

2-6, 4.89 ERA, 6-5 K-BB ratio

June – August

11-2, 3.06 ERA, 3-1 K-BB ratio

Obviously, something has clicked in this young man’s head.  He suddenly put it all together and has now become the most important pitcher for a club that finds itself right in the middle of an upcoming September pennant race (and that is a team with Johan Santana!).  Sure, Carlos Delgado has had a great year and David Wright and Jose Reyes again find themselves among those considered for this year’s NL MVP, but young Mr. Pelfrey has definitely become his team’s most valuable commodity. 

What most people seem to forget, too, is that he is only 24 years old!  Most pitchers aren’t making their debuts that young, and Pelfrey has been in the league for over 2 years now.  He was asked to do ALOT right from the start, thanks to shoddy trading (Kazmir-Zambrano/Benson deals), hitter-heavy free agent aquisitions (Beltran/Delgado), and a huge focus on the rebuilding of the bullpen. 

Now that Pelfrey has gone through the learning curve phase of his professional career (something he should have done in the minors with MUCH less pressure) he has come into his own and has developed into the 1st round pick the New York Mets organization has hoped he would be.  

Whether or not he will be able to consistently put up these numbers and become a top pitcher in the league over his career still remains to be seen.  

I sure hope so.

Week 11 NFL Picks

My friend Amato is in a big money, office pick ’em pool this year.  He decided his own judgement wasn’t enough when it came to picking games, and, quite frankly, I don’t blame him.  So, he decides to come up with a mathematical formula to pick his winners.  He calls it “The Spreadsheet.”  I’m not going to reveal his formula here, but lets just say its a doozy.

Upon first hearing his formula idea, and then seeing it be put into action for week 3 (after two disappointing weeks to start the season), I was VERY skeptical.  Out of the 16 games I spotted around 6 or 7 that were absolutely ridiculous.  He didn’t care.  Amato was going to trust his math and hope for the best. 

So how did he do that week you ask?

11-2-3

No, thats not a typo your reading.  The damn formula pulled it off!  I couldn’t believe it.  Since then all Amato talks about on Sunday is how well is spreadsheet is doing.  This week its man vs math.  I’m taking the formula down.

Note: I’m keeping my picks short this week.  I’m have to post them at work because I’m going to be away all weekend.

On to my picks…

Home teams in bold:

Chargers (+3) over the Jaguars

Tomlinson has to break out some time this year.  Doesn’t he?

Browns (-3) over the Ravens

I really like this Derek Anderson kid.  No homo.

Lions (+3) over the Giants

The Giant secondary is terrible, while the Lions strong suit is their passing game.  As long as the Lions o-line holds up, they should be fine.

Saints (+1.5) over the Texans

Word is Reggie ate his Chunky Soup this week.  Wait… wrong Reggie. Oh well.

Packers (-10) over the Panthers

Damn you Brett Favre and your god-like ways.  Damn you!

Chiefs (+14.5) over the Colts

I stared at this one for a while.  I just think there’s too many injuries for the Colts to overcome a 14.5 point spread.

Manning will make me pay for that statement.

Vikings (-5.5) over the Raiders

Mo Peterson, Mo Problems.  That, and the Raiders are terrible.

Dolphins (+10) over the Eagles

The Eagles have been up and down all year.  Last week they were up in a big way.  You know what that means, folks.

Buccaneers (-3) over the Falcons

What?  The Falcons beat the hapless Panthers and all of a sudden they’re a respectable team?  There’s no way the Bucs dont blow them out by at least 4!

Cardinals (+3) over the Bengals

The Cardinals have so many weapons in the passing game.  That has to count for something right?

Anything?

I got nothin…

Steelers (-9.5) over the Jets

Honestly, I just feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I pick against the Jets.

Redskins (+10.5) over the Cowboys

RIVALRY ALERT… RIVALRY ALERT.  ATTENTION ALL HANDS ON DECK.  THE FOLLOWING GAME IS BETWEEN TWO RIVALS THAT ALWAYS PLAY EACH OTHER TOUGH.  THIS GAME WILL DEFINITELY BE CLOSE.  THAT SPREAD IS RIDICULOUS.  PLEASE STAND BY FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS.  THANK YOU.

Rams (-3) over the 49ers

People tend to forget that Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson have been hurt most of the year.  Guess who’s back.  And guess who just smoked the Saints?

Seahawks (-5.5) over the Bears

Very tough pick here but the Bears have been way to inconsistent to feel safe taking them.  I like the fact that the Seahawks are home, too.  This way if the game goes to OT no one would be able to hear Hasselbeck making a fool of himself anyway.

Patriots (-16) over the Bills

The one bright spot for the Bills this year probably won’t even play.  This one should be a laugher.

Broncos (-2) over the Titans

Denver has been all over the place this year.  I like them at home though.  They seem to step it up at Mile High.  Anyone confirm a Vince Young passing TD yet?  I’m still waiting.

Last week: 7-6-1

Season (since week 10): 7-6-1

The Devils Went Down to Newark

On Tuesday morning, I’m at work doing nothing when I come across a list of the “Top 50 MLB Free Agents of 2007-2008.”  This list was going to lead me to my next post.  It was basically going to deal with how horrible this year’s free agency class is, especially compared to years past. 

However, that night I was offered a ticket to head down to the brand new Prudential Center in Newark to watch the Devils take on my beloved Rangers Wednesday night.  This was something I couldn’t pass up.  When I was sharing the awesome news (and when I say sharing I mean rubbing it in) with my college roommate Rob, Ranger fan #1, he asked me if I was going to write a follow-up piece about the game.  At first I told him I didn’t think so.  I didn’t really want to just re-cap the game.  If something crazy happened at the game, maybe I would, but I doubted it.

Well, was I ever wrong!  Wednesday night, November 14, 2007, will go down as the craziest experience I’ve ever had at a sporting event.  From beginning to end, this night was ridiculous.

 So, without further ado, I give you…..

thinking of a name…

thinking…

thinking…

frig it…

Here’s what went down:

I went to the game with my buddy Ratt.  We were meeting two of his friends, Alex and George, at the arena as well.  We had to rush home from work to catch the train to the game so there was no time for changing clothes.  That’s right.  We looked like 4 douche-bags with dress pants and collared shirts underneath our jerseys.  But you know what?  We were totally fine with that.

This attire inevitably lead to this turn of events:

I’m walking to my seat….

Random Devil Fan: “HEY RANGER FAN!! PUT A LITTLE MORE GEL IN YOUR HAIR!!!

Great way to kick things off.  I wasn’t even at my seat yet and I’m already getting ripped on.  And of course, with my wonderful luck, we rap around the aisles to our seats and land RIGHT next to the guy that heckled me.  Wonderful.

Now, backing things up a bit, before we even got to our seats we were involved in the dumbest altercation I’ve ever witnessed.  We were in the aisle looking for our seats in row 2. Somehow, the front row was row 2.  You figure it out.  So we ask the girl on the end if we could get through.  She gets pissed.  Yeah, flat out pissed.  Like we had the nerve to want to get to our seats.  Now we’re getting annoyed and she tries to flip it that we were “being rude” and weren’t saying please.  Let the record show that she was hammered.  At least, I hope she was, or she has some serious issues.

In our seats, now, we are perfectly placed next to the heckler.  He is screaming the whooooolllleeeee time.  And, ladies and gentlemen, it is not pretty.  He is screaming just for the sake of screaming.  It didn’t matter how stupid or insane it was, he was yelling it.  At one point, he even tried convincing Alex that Kevin Weekes was a better goalie than Martin Brodeur, possibly the greatest goalie of all time.  After about 20 minutes of non-stop nonsense, I nudged Ratt and said, “This guy isn’t going to make it past the second period.”  Well, lo and behold, the second intermission comes, he dissappears, and never returns.  I think he may have gone to search for a lozenge.

Midway through the second period the #$%hole girl from before came walking by.  So, of course, Ratt screamed at her.  Not sure what he said, but I’m sure she got the message.  Next intermission, here comes her guy friend to have a chat with us.  Words are exchanged, tempers flare, Ratt calls her a c-u-next tuesday, and he says to us, “I’ll see you later.”  With that, Alex and George come back and, again, are getting shit from this girl about getting to their seats.

A crowd is now gathering and things are beginning to escalate.  I decide to hang back and chill with the other Ranger fans in our area.  People began asking me what was going on, so I filled them in.  We begin discussing how ridiculous this whole thing is.  With that, I look down at the argument and see George calling the girl “The Gatekeeper.”  He then lifts three fingers in the area and screams at the top of lungs, “THREE GOLD COINS TO PASS!!!”  This brought the house down.  The girl, and her posse, had to be embarrased, and were never heard from again.  Sort of…

Oh yeah, there was a game going on too.  Rangers were up 4-2.  On more than one occasion the Ranger fans were able to drown out the Devils fans with “Lets Go Rangers” and “Henrik! Henrik! Henrik!” chants.  Did I mention the Devils were home?  Amazing to be a part of.

With about 8 minutes left in the third, everyone started looking back and over to my right.  I look back and a big time argument was brewing.  I look closer and, to my amazement, see that its actually between two Devils fans!  I couldn’t believe it.  Made absolutely no sense to me.  Maybe someone’s momma was insulted.

The guy that was a couple rows down decides he’s going to climb up the chairs to beat down the people he was yelling at.  Well, that my friends, was a huge mistake.  As he charged, he connected with his first punch, but then got absolutely destroyed by everyone else.  I never witnessed so many haymakers connecting with one man’s skull.  Now security is getting involved, clearing everyone out.  As their escorting the main people involved I notice that its the same guys from the crowd that gathered during our argument.  Let’s just say, in my Rangers jersey, I was feeling a little nervous.

We take a look back at the clock and theres only a minute left.  Good times.  Rangers roll 4-2.  SWEEEEEETTTTTTT CAROLIIIIIINNNNNEEE BUH BUH BUHHHHHH

Now we need to navigate the crowds back to the train station.  For some reason, they had cops on horses out on patrol for the game.  You know the saying “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire?”   I’ve got a new one for you: “Where there’s horses there’s big heaping piles of horse sh%$.”  Unfortunately, one of our soldiers fell victim to the land mines.  Alex saw first and immediately screamed, “She stepped in sh$%!!”  Poor girl.  She never saw it coming.  I didn’t personally see her step in it, but she had to be ankle deep.

So, now we’re back to the train station and boarding the trains.  We just barely squeezed on and were forced to stand in the aisle.  With that, Ratt looks over at this spiffy dressed man looking at his phone, when he notices the size of the ring this guy has on.  I take a look, and this thing was huge.  It definitely resembled a championship ring of some sort.  We put our heads together, trying to figure out if he was a celebrity.  All of a sudden (I guess we weren’t very quiet about it) someone else in the area fills us in that it was Neil Smith, former General Manager of the New York Rangers.  He was responsible for putting together the 1994 Stanley Cup Champions.

Now, we can’t decide if we should say anything.  I kind of felt bad because he was alone keeping to himself and he seemed to want to keep it that way.  He even started to hide his hand, probably keeping it out of view now that we were making such a commotion over it.  I really wanted to just say, “Thanks for ’94” but instead decided to just take my phone out and capture some video.  Definitely not worth it. 

Good thing we were with Ratt.  As we got off the train he simply yelled out “Take care, Neil.”

 With that, Smith’s head shot up with a huge smile on his face.  He gave a big nod of recognition, and we were on our way.

All in all, just another normal Wednesday night.

I think….