Wednesday, September 24, 2008

All Brett out of Shape

Post #3 Topic: What did you REALLY expect?


                No one ever claimed that playing in New York was easy. Ask Carlos Delgado just how quickly New York fans can decide to hate you, grow to love you, abandon you and then find room in their tainted hearts for you once again. Ask Jaromir Jagr how many goals it takes to get the crowd back on your side and he’ll answer… 1, which is not so strangely the same amount of games where if you fail to score your mere presence will garner boos.  Ask John Starks how many three pointers you need to miss in one NBA Finals game before fans will ignore your first and only all-star season and label you for quarantine, and you’ll think he was in cahoots with #68.

                Then change the frame of your questions, and ask Eli what an athlete must do to coerce his city’s fans to develop an infinite allegiance and he’ll tell you win a title. Ask Mark Messier if he felt rushed to retire given his increasing age, decreasing production, and receded hairline and he’s sure to reply no.  Simply stated, once you win a championship in New York, you’ve successfully insulated yourself from the undulating waves of emotions that have both blessed and plagued the careers of some of the most talented athletes to step foot in the big apple, including Starks, Delgado, and Jaromir (ok maybe not Starks but for arguments sake just go with it Jim).

                When Brett Favre signed as a Jet he was an instant hit. Fans adored his charisma, admired his accomplishments, honored his records and praised Green Bay brass for even considering letting the almighty Brett escape the confines of the l’etat du fromage en route to a Wranglerless wilderness named NYC.

                Now the Jets find themselves 1-2, facing the potential perils of a lost season – and nothing in sports is more difficult than showing up in weeks 8-18 to get your ass beat into the ground, already knowing that the chances of a playoff birth are grim if not extinct. But realistically Jets fans…. What did you expect, how much better did you envision that Brett Favre could make this team? Perhaps you expected them to catapult to the top of a suddenly intriguing AFC East? Maybe a wildcard birth? Maybe you just went with your gut and predicted super bowl  as so many of you ignorantly did even before Brady’s season was over. But what you didn’t do is look into the pudding which as Confucius tells us, is often where the proof lies.

                In 2007 Brett Favre had a 66.5% completion rating which placed him 4th in the league behind efficiency stalwarts Drew Brees, Tom Brady and not entirely ironically, Chad Pennington. Favre likewise finished 4th in yards, ranking behind two of the aforementioned three, exchanging only Chad for Tony Romo… but fuggeddhaboddit.  In touchdowns Favre finished ranked 6th, due partially to the anomaly of a season produced by Derek Anderson, and the fact that Ben Roethlisberger is, like Favre, a super-bowl winning quarterback. Combining all these and other relevant statistical conclusions we get the suggestive but confusing “quarterback rating” – a race in which Favre once again finished 6th. Average his ranking over these 4 crucial categories and we can, despite some argument, say that Brett Favre was the 5th best QB in the league last year, and in doing so, declare that he was a wonderful acquisition.

                But as physics demand, as time goes, we grow older, gravity runs its course, our bones begin to ache and our athletic prowess shrinks like a dick out of the pool; quickly, suddenly and sometimes resulting in nothing but embarrassment (Seinfeld). Look at Brett’s 2006 performance:  26th best completion percentage, 6th in yards (typically his strongpoint), in a 4 way tie for 13th in touchdowns, and 25th in quarterback rating, behind the likes of Rex Grossman, Alex Smith, J.P. Losman and MICHAEL VICK… remember him.

                So which one was the anomaly? The terrible 2006 year or the great 2007 year? The two Green Bay teams were essentially identical with nothing but several parts being “fine-tuned” in ’07. Statistically speaking, 2006 was the bottom of what had been a several-year progression towards being “too old” to be Brett Favre. So, with logic as our friend and enemy (frienemy), we can conclude that the ’07 might have been somewhat of a “second (perhaps third) wind” for Mr. Favre, a fact which in stating their expectations, Jets fans refused to acknowledge.  Even averaging the two seasons’ statistical output we’re left with a “serviceable quarterback”. But Chad Pennington was serviceable.

                Nonetheless Brett was anointed the savior of a team just one year removed from a season worth forgetting. Given the weight of New York (which is heavier than the weight of the world, convincingly defeating the sum of the parts is greater than the whole argument… I think). But what were jets really expecting? An improvement over Brett’s previous year, miraculous performance in which he turned a decent core of receivers into a weekly threat? You don’t need the MNF staff to tell you that Coles and Cotchery aren’t quite Jennings and Driver.

                SO in any other city I’d say lay off Jets fans. Let Brett complete 30 of 45 passes for a few hundred yards a couple TD’s and perhaps one more interception. Let him lead you to a 8-8 season while you try to get the rest of the roster in order so that come the time when a true “Franchise QB” enters the equation, the parts are in place to MAKE him succeed. But you can’t do that in the big apple, where even the biggest signing in the history of the jets can go from wonderful to what the fuck in a new York minute.


Other Notes


Is it just me or are girls slowly getting shorter and shorter….

If you combine a google phone and an iphone do you get a googlyeye phone…. Because that would be sweet.

A real steak lover is someone willing to eat it with a spoon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Times.. They are a changin!

Topic #1(2) - Witchcraft.

I am stealing this topic straight from the headlines of - so sue me. Recently (yesterday), soccer fans were murdered in the Congo during their efforts to escape from a stadium engulfed in riotous riots. Turns out that one of the players (with a nearly unidentifiable name), feeling that his teamneeded an edge over the competition, reverted to one of the most common forms of game manipulation outside of steroids... YES, witchcraft.

Turns out that the COngolians believe in "fetish-casting". As per wikipedia, fetishism involves givinghuman powers to inanimate objects. During the game, with his team down, click-click-smoke signal decided to cast a fetish on the opposing team. This in itself does not signify the end of the world.

Rather, it was the reaction of the authorities that suggests... They know something we don't know. Seeing this athlete (the goalie nonetheless) cast a "fetish", the police stormed the field to prevent him from casting the fetish. From this we can deduce that Congoite police believe in this tomfoolery. But again, this on its own does not signify the end of the world. No instead, it was the reaction of the fans.

When the police attempted to stop the witchcraft, fans became so outraged that they started throwing rocks (which apparently replace popcorn at concession stands in the congolympics) at the cops... hijinx ensued. And they say New Yorkers are the best fans in the world (and phili fans the worst). As of yesterday I would have to disagree and say that the pedastel belongs to the Congolese. These fans love their squads so much

that they're willing to permit witchcraft if it helps secure a victory. And don't dare stand in their way, because as Bob Dylan so mercifully preached - everybody must get stoned.

So the secret is out - there is such thing as witchcraft and the world is going to end. Think about the possibilities! Can you imagine turning on ESPN only to find out that Tiger's old caddie has admitted that Tiger has been using witchcraft all these years to win tournaments - and to think John Daly quit drinking to become more competitive... what a waste, what a quitter! I can see it now, "Barry Bonds escapes incarceration; explains that witchcraft and not steroids made his head so big". The possibilities are endless - NBA Referees acquitted of fixing charges when Former Congo Residents DJ Mbenga and Desagana Diop admit to having used witchcraft to help the Lakers beat the Kings.

Witchcraft... its like the cousin coming out of the closet that you never expected, and are suddenly forced to deal with. Witchcraft; its here, its certainly queer, and it signals the end of the world.

NEXT ENTRY: Weird subway fundraising techniques.

Other Sports Notes:

Hockey season is starting in three weeks…

The Mets are the best 7-inning team in baseball.

Sam Cassell is still… the ugliest player in the NBA.

Chad Johnson might be able to beat Michael Phelps in swimming, but Michael Phelps could start at any position for the Bengals.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Le Retourne

Does anyone else love Jerry Manuel? I dare to ask what he’s smoking. This guy is having the best time i’ve ever seen a manager have. Jerry Manuel told a reporter that he wanted chicken fingers with A LOT of ketchup (ha ha ha)… Exactly… Jerry Manuel is on something and if anyone can direct me towards his dealer I’d be greatly obliged. Solution to the Mets problem is very VERY simple. Santana has been despite his record… an ace. Pelfrey has turned not into the legitimate #3 we hoped he would (replacing the pending #2 (actually an ace) Kazmir), but a solid, scary, reliable #2. That lets Olli slip to the less scrutinized #3 that allows him better matchups, Johnny Maine into the #4 where he can be the only 15 game #4 winner. All that is in the five is in the name… five (5) good innings and we’re thrilled… finally a use for Schoenweiss, and the rest of the three musketeers (all four of them). Oh and Pedro – best setup man in the league? Who wants to hit Pedro in the 6th and 7th night to night? By the way...Manny? Nah. Matt Holliday? Ehh… Lets see what Fernando can do (don’t see Alex Ochoa, Alex Escobar and REY ORDONEZ). The team is firing, the east is falling and the NL is a cemetery. Call it right place at right time but I…. yes I, love Jerry Manuel.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Meet the Mets

Post #58 Topic: That’ll be $12 and All Your Dignity

The Mets have sunk to an all new low. Tomorrow night, the Mets will be losing to the Nationals, and some poor schmuck will be sitting in the ratty 23rd street theatres watching the game, in a canola oil saturated seat, with his feet sticking to the floor, with his view obstructed by Mr. Met. To help you fully understand how angry this makes me, let me take you back.

First of all, when the Rangers were playing the Penguins (more recent than it seems), the lovely folks at Madison Square Garden presented fans with the opportunity to watch the away games in the Ziegfield theatre, which apparently is a “New York Institution”, for the decent price of $40. The only thing sadder??? The stupid event sold out the night before the game. Anyway…

Around 5:30 I got a message on my Gmail account from another Cardozo-attending Mets fan. There’s something about the jews that makes them love the mets – maybe its that like the Jews, the Mets have always been the underdogs or maybe its just because Jews are scared of the people that inhabit the streets surrounding Yankee Stadium. Either way, the conversation unfolded as follows (names have been changed to protect me)


some of us are gonna go if you're interested

me: Jim, i would rather choke on a gigantic… (words edited out for the sake of decency) but thank you for considering me.

Jim was mad. Jim thought that it was the idea of accompanying him to the event that caused me to suggest inhaling a dark falic object. I quickly informed Jim that it was instead the prospects of attending such an absurd event that caused my oral diarrhea.

So you don’t have to click on that bullshit above, allow me to elaborate. For $12, Mets fans can watch an upcoming game at a neighborhood movie theatre. During the game, fans will be able to purchase stadium-like concessions (uhhh… you mean soda and popcorn douchebag?), compete in between-inning trivia (sweet, you mean 200 drunk people yelling out “Mike Piazza” which for nostalgia’s sake is bound to be the answer to at least ½ of the questions), and get this… the kicker, all fans in attendance get to meet Mr. Met. That’s right, the Mets have paid some high school kid to get so baked that he actually thinks he is Mr. Met, and walk around greeting unsuspecting fans who - due to Mr. Met’s costume having only 4 fingers - don’t realize that where it counts Mr. Met is gladly flipping the bird. Yup, Mets at the Movies, the end of the fucking world – I’m pissed.

me: watch a Mets game in a grimy movie theatre for more than it costs to go to a game... how about you pick a game, any saturday or sunday day game or friday night game, and ill get tickets and we can go and ill even rip your stub like we're in the movies.

Any Mets fan can attend Mets at the Movies for $12. Any non-severely retarded Mets fan can get tickets to ANY HOME GAME, on Stubhub for $2. Yeah that’s right, 2 measly bucks gets you entrance into the actual event, whereas $12 forces you to hear how awesome Speedracer was when you get stuck in the exit crowd while trying to escape the whining babies in the 4th inning. What does misery sound like in Dolby Surround?

me: and that west 23rd street theatre BLOWS

Seriously, this is one of the worst theatres in the world, and I’ve actually been EVERYWHERE. The seats are on a nearly-flat plane, there are no head supports, the armrests are too thin, there is nowhere to rest your feet and it smells like ass. Plus, you have to crank something to get sound to come out and the projector isn’t sufficiently technologically advanced to play motion pictures. This theatre sucks, got lost in time, left behind by the 42nd street behemoths that so conveniently forced the hookers and trannies to seek refuge in my otherwise quaint little neighborhood – the best village.

me: yes ive seen those ads for this on the mets broadcast, and not to impose my feelings but it makes me sick. Sucking money out of people by charging them $12 to watch a game in a Dungeness theatre,


No such thing as half-way crooks, only the real full-blown crooks, the same ones who sign Roberto Alomar and Mo Vaughn for ridiculous deals and then pass the cost on to customers through elevated parking prices and absurd handling fees when ordering tickets.

me: and just getting people used to the fact that once Citi field opens they wont be able to afford a day at the stadium very sad.

It’s true people, Citi Field will be a luxury experience that only the luxurious will be able to afford. The stadium has 10,000 less seats and if you think they’re eliminating 10,000 bleacher seats well then you belong at Mets at the Movies. As recently as three years ago you could get into Shea for $2 if you brought a Coke can and a student I.D.. Now, the cheapest you can get is a $5 upper deck seat for 1 game against the Expos, sorry Nationals. Shea is getting really expensive.

So what do they do? Simple! Find another way to extort people’s money. If people all of the sudden can’t afford to go to the stadium (they’ll probably segregate the sushi bar), they will cease being Mets fans – going to Shea is what a lot of lower and middle class families used to do for family activities because it was affordable – hardly anymore and before long not at all. So how do we keep these people around? By essentially expanding Citi Field. Bringing Mr. Met? Selling hot dogs? Mets trivia? Sounds an awful lot like the Mets are trying to fool people into thinking that the theatre is just an extension of the stadium.

Jim: yeah that is heartbreaking the whole aura the mets have going for them is they're the team the underdogs can support its gonna be $300 for a family of 4 to go to a ballgame now

As do most people who read my blog, Jim was starting to come around.

me: yeah its absurd this movie thing is creating a bad precedent by equating watching elsewhere to being at the games - watch next year when you buy tickets, and enter your date, you have to select stadium or stadium satelite. Pretty ingenious but downright fucking awful. They’re going to fool all these poor fans into thinking that the theatre is the stadium. (In a stoned, Matthew McConaughey from Dazed and Confused voice) It’s the movies… MAN!!! See with Citi field shrinking, there will always be demand for seats. The more lower income bracketers they can dump into the movie theatre, the more the stadium becomes an elitist colony, and the higher prices they can charge.

Jim: hahaha. I sense a blog coming on

Jim had caught on afterall.

Jim: no you're right. I hadn't taken the time to really think it out. I could watch it on my own television with a dog and a beer for $3

me: yes exactly

Jim: I guess they got me because a movie is $12 so it seemed fair and I've never been to that movie theatre because I'm allergic to the west side.

Mets at the movies huh? Is there any semblance of honor left in the world? Ironically the real winner here is the crappy movie theatre – here’s my logic. People start going to watch the Mets games at the movies. Eventually they start forgetting the difference and the Mets have created a way to essentially fit twice the capacity into Citi Field. Pretty soon people start walking by the movies and associating their passing by with Baseball – so they go in and catch a shitty flick. Strangely, the movie suddenly feels like a baseball game. Then, the person realizes they can get their baseball fix by going to the movies, and suddenly a former baseball fan is a Marvel comics fan. THEN (and this is the ultimate kicker) the next time they’re watching a game on tv, or debating going to the stadium, they consider the 4 hr baseball commitment and decide instead that they’d easily be better off just catching a movie – take that Wilpon jackass bush league sucka.

Other Notes

The Cavs-Celts game tonight (9/12) had the best single moment of announcing ever. As Lebron dunked over KG (by the way the Celtics are surprisingly soft and the Hawks suck), we hear… Lebron James WITH NO REGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE – awesome!

Mmmm I’m telling you now, the greatest thing you ever can do now, is trade a smile with someone who’s blue now, its very easy just-a.

Scientology is retarded. I get it, its not news. But, the other day I went to a scientology consultation and now I feel really bad for myself. L. Ron Hubbard is a creepy, creepy dude. Don’t believe me? Not to mention that they didn’t even let me go to the celebrity center – I had to go to the normal people one, next to the Subway and, well a subway.

Why is Charles Barkley not running for president. He’s amazing! And Sir Charles make Magic look like he takes the short bus. And he’s slightly better looking than Hillary.

What came first the pillow or the mattress? Was a guy sleeping on hard ground with a pillow when he realized “man my head is so comfortable but my body is achy”. Or was that man sleeping on a mattress, spending sleepless nights trying to figure out where to put his head?

Today I realized it was time to leave school when I dozed off face first into a plate of wasabi and soy sauce and was woken by the librarian, with crap all over my face, telling me not to eat in the library.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Thanks Hank

Post #57 Topic: Money for nothing, Santana for free

You need go back but a month to quickly become privy to my sentiments on the Mets acquisition of Johan Santana. Sure he hasn’t pitched santanaishly yet, and sure he’s given up a couple home runs (more than he should be giving up I know!). But Santana has always made his most impressive runs in the 2nd half, which based on the shaping up of things in the NL East, is when the Mets are most inclined to need him. Santana will win 16 games; he’ll strike out 150 batters and pitch 200 innings – minimum. What he will NOT be doing, is pitching for the cross-town Bronx Bombs.

The fact that Santana is not pitching for the Yankees is quickly turning into one of the biggest jokes in baseball. Balls-deep in their pride, when given the opportunity to pull the trigger on Santana by including one of either Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy (yes, only one of them, in addition to Melky Cabrera), the Yankees declined, claiming that “these were the cornerstones of the future Yankees”. Ok, maybe Hank never actually said that, but based upon his actions (or omissions if you’re a shark) you can tell that he was thinking it.

So the Yankees, who had all the offensive firepower that a team could ever ask for, went into the season relying heavily on what was for the most part, an unproven rotation. Chien-Ming Wang as their ace, and perhaps the only sure-thing amongst their starters, has been as good as advertised: 6-0, 3.00 E.R.A., and an uncharacteristic but pleasantly surprising 32 K’s. After that… well things aren’t so fine and dandy. Andy Pettitte’s been decent – 3-3 with a 3.93 E.R.A.. Mussina, although 4-3, has been shaky at best with a 4.23 E.R.A.. Keep in mind that this is a team that paid 46 million dollars to bring Kei Igawa over from the orient only to see him buried in AAA Wilkes-Barre: anyone who has been to Wilkes-Barre (myself) or perhaps seen the office knows that Wilkes Barre is no choice place to be buried!

But the Yankees didn’t need to worry about their veteran starting pitchers… did they? They had Phil Hughes, the one time #1 ranked prospect in all of baseball (according to Yankees Fans), and Ian Kennedy – the NEXT GREG MADDUX. Well, as so very often is the case, Yankee management was dead wrong. 6 feet under wrong. That #1 ranked prospect? 0-4 with a stunning E.R.A. of 9.00 (only a run an inning!!!), and now found on the DL until what optimistic forecasters are calling July. And Kennedy? The piece that absolutely couldn’t be included in a trade for Santana? Well, he’d better speak Chinese because his new roommate Kei Igawa has a locker room reputation as being a motormouth. Kennedy earned his sudden $30 per diem and upscale motel 8 lodgings by commencing the season (in a very un Greg Maddux like fashion) 0-2 with an 8.37 E.R.A..

This is not me saying that these guys will never be good pitchers, not even me saying that they can’t become stars. It’s just me saying that… “wouldn’t Johan look so great in that rotation, after Wang?” The answer regardless of who you are is an emphatic yes. The Yankees could certainly have afforded to give up one of these “future aces” to bring in Johan. Instead they let him fall to the Mets at a bargain basement price. Imagine Wang, Santana, Pettite, JOBA with Mussina as your 5th starter, giving Hughes or Kennedy (whichever survived) a chance to hone their potential by pitching another year in Wilkes-Barre. THAT… would be a formidable yankee team; that would be a team that the Red Sox would fear.

But now the Red Sox can rest assured that in any given week, 3/5 of the Yankees scheduled starters are going to get roughed up. And should those starters exit before the 7th, that Kyle Farnsworth will be there to make matters worse – where’s Carl Pavano? As for the Yankees; instead of worrying about catching the Red Sox, they’re worried about how they’re going to pitch to the suddenly potent Devil Rays – imagine the panic in the Bronx when the Rays get Kazmir back, realize they’re ACTUAL contenders, and sign Barry Bonds to plug the DH spot… then what are the Yankees going to do?

Whatever they decide on as the appropriate course of action – they’d better do it quick. While the Yankees have the sluggers to keep them in games, they don’t have the starting pitching to get them into those games in the 1st place. Now the Yankees are hovering around .500, already distancing themselves from the wild card leaders. Yes! It’s early in the season, but the earliness of it all carries both positive and negative tidings (not of the yule distinction). Positive: the Yankees have time. Negative: the teams the Yankees are most likely to be competing with for that wild card spot come the tail end of the season, Cleveland, Detroit, Seattle, Chicago, etc., etc., etc… haven’t gotten their gears going yet either. The distinction: without Santana backing up Wang, the Yankees are left with the weakest rotation out of all those clubs.

The Tigers have Bonderman, Verlander, Dontrelle, Nate Robertson, and the non-aging Kenny Rogers – a rotation far stronger than that of the Yankees. The Mariners have King Felix and Erik Bedard and Carlos Silva, three horses that although have yet to find their stride certainly soon will. The Indians have baseball’s best pitcher (outside Arizona) thus far into the season – Cliff Lee. With Fausto Carmona coming on strong and C.C. Sabathia showing signs of regaining his location, the Indians have perhaps the toughest front 3 in baseball. As for those Chicago White Sox, their rotation may not have as heavy an arsenal as some of the other teams just mentioned, but they do have one thing – WORLD SERIES EXPERIENCE, which but for a couple of roided out years nearly a decade ago, the Yankees rotation lacks entirely.

So tell us now Hank, that the Yankees’ prospects were too good to include in a trade for Santana. When you’re done; tell us how you plan to restore the once young and suddenly aged and moldy Yankees rotation back to respectability.

Other Notes

Jagr is next to godliness. Should he not be back next year, he will sorely be missed.

Fish genocide: learn about the history to prevent it in the future.

Sushi – always delicious, even when its not.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Lets Go Rangers a.k.a. Crosby Sucks

Post #56 Topic: 1 down 3 to go

Twice in the storied history of the NHL has there been a case where a team down 3-0 in a best of 7 series has been able to sport a comeback, and take said series. This statistic suggests that what the Rangers are attempting to do is not actually impossible… just incredibly difficult. Unfortunately, what that statistic fails to consider is that those other miraculous comebacks did not take place against a team boasting 2 of the league’s 3 most dominant players. Yes, the Penguins have 2 of the NHL’s 3 most prized competitors – Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin – both of whom are firing on what somehow earned the distinction of being “all cylinders”. By no means are the Rangers a lackluster team; we could never accurately claim that the Blueshirts don’t have their own arsenal of explosive firepower; and in the experience department the Rangers’ skaters certainly take the proverbial cake. But as delicious as cake may be, it doesn’t help come back from a 3-0 deficit, especially not when the trailing team is, as we speak, leaving on a Jet plane with the fear that they might be back, playing golf, all too soon (Rest in Peace John Denver, who was never ever full of shit).

So the odds are stacked… so what? Who cares? Big deal!!!! Crazier things have happened, especially in the wide world of sports. Mahmoud Abdul Rauf got a technical foul for an uncontrollable tourrette’s syndrome outbreak during an otherwise normal rendition of the national anthem. Well that’s about all I can think about but still it brings validity to the whole crazier things have happened concept.

After game 3, in which the Rangers clawed back from a 2 goal deficit only to draw a stupid penalty and allow the insatiable Pen’s power play unit to crack the game wide open again, the mood surrounding the team was somber at best.

Would game 4 be Brendan Shanahan’s last in an NHL jersey? Did the Rangers defense need a complete overhaul (different topic for a different day)? Would Jaromir Jagr be playing his last game in the garden, for the team that he helped revitalize after a decade of underachieving and overpaying? Would Tom Renney be blamed for falling short again and find the axe, leaving the best job in the NHL vacant? Would the signings of Chris Drury and Scott Gomez result in a regression rather than the expected progression, leading fans to question the worth of the enormous investment? The mood surrounding the team, in the press, on tv, and in the minds of fans reflected that after just 60 more minutes of hockey, a year that will hopefully for a long time be remembered as the year the Rangers finally cashed in on their poised drafting and young talent development, could like a match in the wind be effortlessly extinguished.

The sentiment was infectious, almost impossible to ignore. Magically, there were several Rangers who seemed un-phased by the state of things, and provided a hint that this team may, just may not have been entirely finished.

The Captain, who as DCMSG forecasted after mid-season saved himself for the playoffs acknowledged that his next game could be his last, but swore that his team remained full of fight. Young center, Brandon Dubinsky, who almost overnight has turned into one of the leaders of this mostly young ranger team mentioned that “these were the types of situations were good hockey players were supposed to step up”, as passed along to him earlier in the year by the man they call “Shanny”. And then there was Henrik, the King, who left us with: “Every year it doesn’t happen, it gets closer to the day that it’s going to happen again”. Lundqvist was referring to the inevitability that one day, a team would again return from a 3 game deficit to advance to the next round. Although it’s too early to make any promises, too foolish to provide opponents with any extra motivation – Henrik may have been onto something.

Courtesy of some “higher powers” (the Russian Mafia), I was fortunate enough to attend game 4. Seeing as anyone reading this has most likely already read the papers, I’ll leave my summary short and sweet. The garden was rocking – louder than it’s ever been (not an exaggeration, the papers seemed to agree). At no point did the game go more than 2 minutes without a raucous chant from the crowd – from the basic Jagr chant, to the traditional Hen-Rik, to the “Crosby Sucks”, voices were lost in unison. Hen-rik stood on his head. Marc Staal’s ability seemed to progress another year’s worth, placing his talent-age at nearly 50. Petr Prucha showed flashes of the 30 goal scorer that he was not too long ago. Brenadn Shanahan showed up to play for the first time in a few games. Oh, and then there was Jaromir, feeding off that energy he stored up during the regular season, getting involved on all 3 ranger goals (scoring 2), placing him alone at the top of the pack of playoff scorers. Man was Jagr good, double shifting nearly the entire game, taking the heat off of Scotty Gomez for having one of his more “invisible” games as a ranger. And now we go back to Pittsburgh for game 5, hoping to, as Jagr said, “let ourselves play one more game”. And as demonstrated by their embarrassing conduct at the end of the 3rd, the Pens are clearly nervous, and certainly on their heels. The time to strike is now – the iron is hot and the Rangers have learned to exploit the Penguins’ biggest weakness – even strength. The time to climb back in for real is Sunday at 2 P.M.

I have to comment again on the crowd. In one of my 1st posts I mentioned that I still get chills every time I walk into the garden. When the team you’re supporting is playing well, there is no place to be like the garden – it smells like sports. Game 4 was one of those rare moments in time when that initial chill lasts for the entire game. For the first time in years and years, it truly seemed that every person in attendance was a fan, and as mentioned above – the place was rocking. Corny as it may sound, events like this, when the excitement reigns so thick it can be bottled, makes a fan proud to live in New York and to be part of one of the greatest traditions in professional sports – being a stupid, obnoxious New Yorker. Hopefully the players captured some of that excitement and can use it in game 5 to open up an opportunity to play just one (but hopefully two) more games.

Other Notes

Chang! You’re not Chinese? This changes everything…

Who is Johan Franzen?

I have like ten packs of index cards in my desk drawer. Occasionally, when I’m feeling very motivated to study, I take them out and make note cards. Then they sit on my desk for two days. Then I start using them to hold chewed gum when I’m not near a garbage can. Then I throw them away. Then I realize I’m out of note cards and go buy more – evil empire shit.

The guy at Petco, who is semi-retarded, knows an unbelievably ridiculous amount about algae. I’ve had a fish tank for 15 years and have this algae growing that I’ve never seen before. After a game of 20 questions, where I was asked whether the algae was more filamentous or coarse, forest or dark green, and rapidly spreading or just “normally” so, he identified my algae as a rare strain known as “black beard algae” – fucking pirates are taking over the world, one fishtank at a time.

Concussions are the new hangovers – if you didn’t get one you just weren’t partying hard enough.

Street benches are the new Apple stores.

Bud light tastes different every time you drink it. Tonight it was good.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Anyone: Tyson, Jordan, JACKSON.

Post #55 Topic: Right Guy – Wrong Role

After another tempestuous season, the Knicks have once again begun the search for the head coach that will lead them back to NBA Glory Land. According to David Stern’s beliefs, if all goes well this year’s finals will involve the only team in the NBA that truly matters. Yes, when asked who his ideal finals would consist of, Scarsdale Native and member of dysfunctional commissioner’s club (populated by Gary Bettman, Paul Tagliabue and most recently, Roger Goodell) David Stern retardedly retorted: “the lakers against the lakers”

Uness Stern meant Lakers vs. that other team that plays their home games in the Staples Center, the Clippers, he’s either delusional or all too lusional (yes it’s a word). Afterall, this past summer we saw Kobe take on the entire Lakers organization and until Pao Gasol gets matched up against an NBA caliber center (not Nene or Kenyon Martin), we won’t truly know the victor of that oft-publicized battle of bullshit-land.

If Stern had a 2nd choice, regarding who from the east he’d like to see play the Lakers, all hints suggest that he would give the nod to the Celtics. However, given the recent scare raised by the previously unheralded, young, exciting, and athletic Atlanta Hawks, fans are starting to believe that the Celtics will always be, regardless of who occupies their team bus, 1 Michael Jordan short of a championship – just ask DeShawn Stevenson’s awkward beard; there is only one Michael Jordan.

Stern’s 3rd choice would certainly be the Knicks. The Knicks have all the makings of an NBA cash cow: a fan base who’s loyalty would magically reappear the second their record rose above .500 for what would feel like the 1st time since Willis Reed roamed the garden hardwood, a huge television market, and the ability to use a championship run to validate going ever further above the dollar for dollar luxury tax fringe. To put it in Laymen’s terms (or maybe Layden’s terms), if the Knicks reached the finals people would watch.

But you can’t just get to the finals. No, you need to assemble the appropriate cast which requires bringing in the right GM to bring in the right team, the right coach to coach that right team, and finally… the right team.

The GM position is an easy one to fill - Knicks fans would be thrilled with pretty much anyone who would pass up on French culinary expert Frederick Vice in the 1st round of the NBA draft, or be wise enough not to hinge the next 5 years of the team’s success on the deadly frontcourt duo of Zach Randolph and Eddie Curry, co-starting members of the all-ways disappointing team. The Knicks’ next GM has a simple job: let contracts expire, trade those pieces that still retain some value, keep Renaldo Balkman, Wilson Chandler, David Lee and MAYBE…just MAYBE, keep Malik Rose around for some veteran presence (assuming there’s not a SINGLE other team that would desire his services, given how terrible his experience has been in NY). Then, if all goes according to plan, the GM can field an aggressive offer for Lebron, D-Wade, Carmelo or Chris Bosh when their contracts expire in 3 more years.

Then there’s the coaching position, perhaps the most important element for a rebuilding team. The right coach will be young enough to relate to the young players, but old enough to know how the game was played before NBA locker rooms began doubling as munitions shops and tattoo parlors. The right coach will understand how to play an up-tempo game to keep pace with the Hornets, the Magic and the Jazz of the new NBA, but will also recognize a team’s defensive deficiencies and how to cure them. The right coach will bring a fresh approach to the game that will force the players to learn a new system, rather than relying on the currently implemented one which so clearly doesn’t function as planned. But the right coach will also feel comfortable bringing in more experienced veteran assistant coaches (Herb Williams?) as the ship’s anchor.

According to sources, including the New York Post and Rick Pitino, that man is Mark Jackson, one time point guard for almost every team in the league. Jackson satisfies that bullshit, nonsensical “high basketball IQ” requirement, knows that defense comes first, understands the value of a pass first, ball movement oriented offenses, comprehends the effects of a cohesive unit and most importantly can help bring the fans back to the seats. Mark Jackson is the right person, being considered for the wrong ROLE.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the NBA is once again shifting away from big man dominance (sorry D-Howard, Chris Bosh and Yi Yi Jianlian) to a little man’s game. The change began with Steve Nash who ushered in a new generation of court marshals who have elevated their clubs with fast play, heady offense, touchstone passing and when open, deadly penetration (the best type) – see Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo (yes Rajon Rondo), Manu Ginobili/Tony Parker, etc., etc., etc…

To win, you need a good point guard. Detroit never would have won without Chauncey Billups, the Lebrons would never have reached the finals but for Lebron, and the Spurs, well the Spurs are just too damn good (and may still be). So Mark Jackson is the right person for the Knicks – he’s just not being cast appropriately.

As far as things go now, MARK JACKSON SHOULD BE THE POINT GUARD FOR THE NEW YORK KNICKS. I’ve said it once before and I’ll say it again, Stephon Marbury is the biggest running joke in all of New York sports. Bigger than the Jets, Bigger than Roger Clemens’ lying problem, bigger than the Madison Square Garden Ice – Stephon Marbury is the heart and soul of no heart and soul.

And Jamal Crawford is not the answer. And neither is Nate Robinson. Neither of these guys can run an offense – Jamal is shoot first and Nate is panic first cry later; two roundball theories whose only homes are whatever court the Washington Generals are playing on and Rucker park. Neither guy plays defense. Neither guy is an efficient penatrator – Jamal because his handle sucks and Nate because he’s a dwarf. Neither guy plays effective defense and neither guy seems willing to learn. Mark Jackson will bring all of these elements and on top of that has a career average of approximately 5 rebounds per game.

You may joke that Mark is old, but recall which point guard previously lead the Knicks to the finals. Forget? I’ll give you a hint; it wasn’t Starbury. Derek Harper! Before that? DOC RIVERS!!!! And who plays an awful lot like Derek Harper? Mark Jackson. Taking 25 shots a game out of the point guard’s hand will do wonders for the Knicks. It will force defenses to play closer attention to David Lee, who has shown that when given the minutes (Isiah felt inclined to limit him to 25 per), can be an efficient producer around the rim . Quentin Richardson can be an effective 3, so long as the ball isn’t being dumped to him from the top of the key – Q was effective when Nash drove and dished, an art that Mark Jackson is partially responsible for perfecting (see Reggie Miller). Even Zack Randolph can assume a more important role, collapsing defenses and leaving none other than MARK JACKSON open for the occasional 3/re-dump in – Mark Jackson brings every element that the Knicks have so desperately been missing.

So if you’re reading this Donnie Walsh, you’re on the right track. But… should you acquire the services of Mr. Jackson, don’t forget he likes his shorts short.

Other Notes

Roger Clemens is a walking storyboard. Everytime his name comes up I get this urge to start penning a sitcom. Yesterday, Roger denied having a 10 year affair with a long time family friend and unfamed country singer. Today that country singer said Roger was lying – that they had an affair. Apparently Roger thinks he’s impervious to truth seekers. The Rocket – 8 PM on Tuesdays, UPN.

Scientific evidence suggests that its physically impossibly for a girl to not go to an 80’s party.

Set out runnin’ but I’ll take my time, a friend of the devil is a friend of mine.

Read this – this is the most insane story I’ve ever heard… If it weren’t for their delicious schnitzel I’d have lost all respect for Vienna -

Monday, April 28, 2008

Cloudy With a Chance of Misery

Post #54 Topic: Barry Zito

What does Barry Zito have in common with Jake Peavy, Roy Oswalt, Roy Halladay, and Carlos Zambrano, 5 of MLB’s most effective yet consistent starting pitchers? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. In fact, Mr. Zito, the owner of a prestigious 7 year, 18 million/year contract gets paid more than 4/5 of these aces and just as much as Carlos Zambrano, who I note is only 26.

What does Barry Zito have in common with K-Rod, Eric Gagne, Billy Wagner, Francisco Cordero, Joe Nathan and Mo Rivera? A lot more than he has in common with the guys in the previous paragraph, but still not that much. Zito gets paid at least 3 million more than each of these closers… and Zito has not a single save amongst his until recently, decent career stats. But still, there is that one common denominator, for Zito as well as these 5 other star pitchers… COME FROM THE BULLPEN.

Yes, Barry Zito and his $126 million contract have been relegated to the bullpen in what has quickly become the worst city in baseball, San Francisco. As the bay area’s 2nd most successful team, the Giants and their beautiful new Barry Bonds tainted ballpark have become significantly less relevant than other perennial loservilles, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh.

Get this. The next highest paid non-closing relief pitcher is Tom Gordon, who gets paid an inflated, but comparatively measly $6 million per season. In case you missed it earlier, Barry Zito gets paid 18 million dollars each year.

Zito was brought into San Francisco to be an ace. He had previously in his career had seasons as fantastic as 23-5, with an under 3.00 E.R.A. So far this year? 0-6 with a 7.54 E.R.A., fresh off his first full professional season with a losing record and less than 200 innings pitched. Think the Giants are regretting their investment? They sure as hell are. In what was a somewhat dry free agent pitching market after the 2006 season, the Giants went for broke. They gave Barry another year at an exorbitant price, and apparently expected Zito to be the final piece to a glaringly incomplete puzzle. Had Brian Sabean censored himself even somewhat, he could have preserved those funds to bring in: Tori Hunter, Vernon Wells, Alfonso Soriano, Roy Oswalt or Carlos Lee for even less money. But don’t teams need aces? Well, an ace is only as valuable as his offense enables him to be.

Case in point – The San Francisco Giants, who coincidentally have two other aces on their roster, under the age of 25. First, Tim Lincecum, the 23 year old fire hurler, who has shown signs that he can and will dominate in this league for years to come, who the giants pay a fat $406,000. Last year Lincecum went 7-5 with 150 K’s in 146 innings and an E.R.A. of 4.00, impressive for anyone let alone a rookie. Had the Giants put up more runs last year (amongst the last in the majors), Lincecum’s impressive numbers would have appeared far far more impressive. This year: 4-0 with a 1.23 with 36 K’s in 29 innings.

Take a look at Matt Cain, one of the few pitchers in all of baseball that throws harder than his teammate Lincecum. Cain is 24, in his 4th pro season, having thrown 200 innings in each of the past two years. If Lincecum’s numbers didn’t scream for more run support, then no one was listening (that whole tree in the forest dichotomy and sooner rather than later there will be noone in the park that Brian McNamee built). Last year Cain had 163 strike outs and 3.65 E.R.A. Brandon Webb, former Cy Young winner, had similar numbers to Cain, outperforming him minimally in both the innings pitched, strike outs and E.R.A. categories. Brandon Webb’s record? 18 and 10 for a toddler-ridden Arizona DiamondBacks team. Matt Cain went 7-16. Pathetic.

Where the hell was Giants management when these guys were tearing up the minors? I mean, they had to have been tearing up the minors right? Few if any pitchers come directly from the draft to make an impact in the major leagues, and those that do usually wind up grinding their teeth in a dumpster in harlem after a night of crack and tranny prostitutes (see Dwight “someone call a Doc” Gooden). Did Giants management have so little faith in their pitchers to validate foregoing the incessant recruiting of available power bats (Carlos Lee, Vernon Wells, Torri Hunter) to what was once a far more attractive place to play than any of the locales where those aforementioned sluggers eventually unpacked, in favor of an inning eater with questionable-at-best longevity?

Thank god the Giants brought in Aaron Rowand, the offensive machine, because otherwise guys like Lincecum and Cain would be in trouble… oh wait, they are. Rowand deserves credit after his monster 2007 year in which he belted 27 long balls and drove in 90 RBI’s at the top of a potent but young and oft injured Phillies line-up. But these numbers were outliers. Prior to ’07, Rowand’s career highs were 24 homers and 70 RBI’s. Before that? 13 home-runs; clearly not the type of numbers you hope to get out of your largest offensive contributor. But the Giants couldn’t afford another major financial commitment, especially with their prospective revenue resting heavily on Zito’s ability to turn it around and become the 3rd cog in what should have been the most feared rotation in baseball.

And things haven’t changed. This year the Giants are DEAD LAST in the NL in runs scored, trailing only Kansas City in the weakest of the weak category. WHERE ARE YOU AARON ROWAND? Rowand has 1 home run to date, and but 10 RBI’s to his name. Probably not all his fault given that the team’s leader in OBP is Fred Lewis who was selling hot dogs and but plugs (bad san Francisco joke) as recently as last Thursday. Leading the team in Home Runs and RBI’s? Benjii of Molina Clown Car fame – the season looks promising.

But not as promising as Zito looked. Money ball or no money ball, Billy Beane deserves more credit than he gets for his baseball wherewithal. Beane not only acquires great promising prospects, but he grooms them into reflections of major league players just in time to deal them off to unsuspecting, highly hopeful teams: Mark Mulder – MIA, Tim Hudson – effective but not the Ace he once was… One can only assume that Dan Haren will be setting up Brandon Lyon in no time at all (ok maybe this is a stretch – Lyon doesn’t have closer stuff). Fortunately, one of several GM’s to catch onto Beane’s dirty dirty tricks is Omar Minaya, who although hesitantly, resisted throwing Zito-like money at this pitcher who was expected to be as dominant as that guy who used to pitch for the A’s – Barry Zito.

But San Francisco fans take heed. Sammy Sosa is a free agent and still has a lot of pop left in his bat (look at his stats from last year… maybe this would help Aaron Rowand get some better pitches). And in case Sammy Sosa doesn’t cut it, there’s another offensive threat who recently returned to a Major league bench… for the 4th time in 4 years… And fortunately, with Smoltz, Glavine and Hudson, the Braves have no reason to hold onto your next savior, former 4 home run hitter and next highest paid pitcher in the worthless category… Mike Hampton.

Other Notes

Attn: Carmelo – GET THE HELL OUT OF DENVER… NOW. Sucks to lose huh? Imagine losing every year. You won at Oak Hill. I’m pretty sure but can’t really remember whether you won at cuse. Oh yeah, you did. You’re NOT GOING TO WIN IN DENVER. Not with Nene. Not with J.R. Smith. Not with Kenyon Martin (see Nets being swept twice by the Lakers) and not with A.I…. no one wins with A.I. The perfect place to go… the team that needs you most? The place that if all was fine and well in draft land you would have wound up anyway. A place where you can film your gang videos and be applauded for giving back to youth film classes – the Detroit Pistons.

Kosher Pizza? Come on, stop serving me this shit. Really, no one likes Kosher Pizza. More importantly, its only because its kosher that no one likes it. Truth is that it tastes almost like real pizza. So start buying the good stuff and slap a rabbi inspection sticker on it. No one will know the difference and if anyone found it they’d only thank you for it.

Extenze don’t work… or so my friends say. What’s the plural of extenze and can I play it in scrabble?

Just when you think he’s done. Just when you think he’s reached the top. Just when you think he’s already done all the things that no one ever thought about because they were too ridiculous to even fathom to begin with, he goes and drops Tha Carter III on ya. Hint: check out “A Millie”, and if hip-hop is dead he’s the embalming fluid – 1 7 in ya face.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pope-season action

Post #53 Topic: WTF Pope!

In case you’ve been buried under a rock for the past few days, or perhaps you just don’t care, the pope is in town. WHOO HOO! Now I promise to all of my readers (Steve) that I will do everything in my power to not make any religiously fueled comments in this here column, but please forgive me if my angst takes the place of reason.

So I’m off from school for a week for Passover; some Jewish holiday (how am I doing?). Having no reason to stay in manhattan and pay $12 for crappy sushi lunch specials every day, I decided to take a ride home and spend my week in Westchester studying for my finals (or at least planning what I will do when I actually do start studying). So the other day, after school, my friend picked me up at my apartment to drive me home. What usually takes AT MOST 45 minutes, took us a whopping 1:45 – completely unacceptable by any means. But these things happen. So I overlooked the traffic, deciding not to let anything interfere with my weekend of piece and quiet and homemade matzoh balls.

But there was one more obstacle in my way before I could truly sink into my good old twin size bed and 12 inch, 15 channel getting TV (thankfully ESPN made the selective cut). For the first seder, I had to go to my aunt and uncle’s house in dirty jerz. Typically this ride takes us no more than 1:30 each way, which is the perfect amount of time to crank up some dark side on my pod and take a heady nap. After piling into the family car, we made a right onto Mamaroneck, a right onto the hutch and merged onto the cross county parkway where the road usually opens up. And there it was again, insane traffic. Traffic so bad that there was traffic in the lane that lead to the highway that lead to the ramp that lead to the original highway (but a different direction). I’m not talking about your 20mph, bearable traffic… I’m talking not moving; I’m talking 2.5 hrs to get to the G-Dubs bridge when it should NEVER take more than 20 minutes.

What was the source of all this traffic you ask? It wasn’t cloverfield, the bridge didn’t collapse, there was no 12-car pile-up and there was no truck fire. Nope… it was the pope. The pope, the father of the catholic religion decide to pick PASSOVER, the holiest of jewish holidays to visit new york, and with him came over a billion cars (no joke I counted).

Having departed at 3 pm, and arriving at 6:30 pm, I was pissed. But not nearly as pissed as I was when we left New Jerz and discovered that an entire highway would be closed to guarantee the pope’s safe passage the next morning to the… get this… to the BRONX. We left Jersey at 10 pm, full from crappy food and forced familial conversation. We got home at 2:30 AM – I was and am still pissed. WTF POPE?

Well thank god (get it?) for Sunday. Sunday was shaping up to be a great day of sports. For the 1st time, B-ball fans could see just how dominant Dwight Howard was. The result – 25 points, 22 rebounds and a couple million senses of defeat in Toronto after but one game. How do I know this stat line? From Why didn’t I watch it? BECAUSE EVERY GOSH DARN CHANNEL WAS SHOWING THE POPE.

The Red Wings were supposed to play the predators at 3, on national tv, a rarity for the NHL. The Red Wings are perennial President Trophy Candidates, roll 4 vicious lines, have several of the NHL’s best defensemen of ALL TIME (Lidstrom, Chellios… KRONWALL (chron-vall)???), but mysteriously have been struggling as of late to get past the 1st few rounds. So I watched the game… on CBSSPORTSLINE.COM’s GAME TRACKER. Why??? Guess what was being shown on NBC? Not the NHL PLAYOFFS! Nope; CBS was showing the pope.

My main man, my best friend from Syracuse, my boy for life Carmelo Anthony was supposed to take on the Lakers at 3 PM on NBC. The Lakers are most expert’s favorites but I personally like the Nuggets behind a miraculous performance from Allen Iverson to come out on top in the series. THIS was a series I was looking forward to watching. A series for which I went out and bought a whole box of Pop-Secret Homestyle Popcorn (this is clearly the best microwave popcorn, if you haven’t tried it you’re missing out on life). Now, THIS is a series for which I am left anticipating game two – Thanks pope!

Now I don’t know how long these things last. But from watching a few minutes I know two things – everyone in yankee stadium is asleep and the pope talks really really slowly. I hope, against all odds, that these two observations don’t imply that this thing is going to go all night – I really want to catch the Mets and Phils at 8. Amen.

Other Nnotes

Apparently Tomato Plants aren’t for sale until Mother’s day – thanks Dr. Zizmor.

She’s an easy lover, she’ll take your heart but you won’t feel it.

I’ll call you on Wednesday.

The rumors are true, the pope really does have a sweet-ass hat.

And that Alien was Robin Williams – his name was mork.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tobacco is Whacko!!!

Post #52 Topic: Sorry Steve

Time to take a dip into DC’s well of incredible yet true tales of sport and/or leisure. Actually, this particular story is one that I myself had entirely forgotten about until the other day. Luckily, with the help of one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen in law school and a subsequent trip to Shea Stadium, the story I’m about to tell is nearly as fresh as if it happened yesterday, and I had nothing to drink yesterday night.

It was last Wednesday and I was making my 1st 2008 season journey to the house that Seaver built. But as it always does, school got in the way of me waking up and having nothing to think about other than what LIRR train to take out of Penn Station. With class starting at 11:00 A.M., which if I might add is a cruel and unusual time to begin anything, especially when I live 20 minutes away from the Doze and have to factor that great distance into my wake-up time… I digress. With class starting at 11:00 AM I arose at the ungodly hour of 10 AM, showered, did my crunches (I can do 1000 now), made some fresh squeezed orange juice, meditated, read the wall street journal, and yelled at the illegal immigrants doing construction outside my bedroom window for throwing a helmet through my open window onto my bed. At 10:10 I headed out the door.

When I got to class, I assumed my usual seat between the girl that can’t stand me and the other girl that falls under the “sorry I have a boyfriend” category. I guess both are the result of my unbridled boisterousness (and devilish good looks). I usually get to class about 7 minutes early so I can rock out to “That Smell” or “Tuesday’s Gone” or another Skynyrd classic. Usually someone tries to talk to me in this 7 minutes, not knowing that I am entirely off limits. But this day something was different, it wasn’t me being spoken to, but rather my overhearing of another conversation that distracted me from my Grade A air guitar performance. The guy in front of me, whom I’d spoken to before, sounded like he got punched in the face. I tried to get a look at his jaw but noticed nothing strange. With my interest quickly feigning, I returned to my music just in time to hear Lynyrd croon “one more drink, fool, would drown you…yeah you”.

An hour elapsed and the class ended. Rushing out of the room to get to my locker and eventually back to my abode, I noticed the guy sitting in front of me did in fact have a fat lip… sort of. See it wasn’t quite his lip that was fat. It was the little sac of skin under his chin. Even though this guy was from boston and grotesque displays of human nature from Bostonians never shock me, I couldn’t believe it – this tea partier sat through the entire class WITH A LIP PACKED (skoal peppermint upon further inquiry). Talk about needing a fix.

Later that day I was at shea stadium. There were a group of 4 Staten Islanders (see my new haircut) sitting next to me. I’m the type of fan who sits quietly, analyzing each play in depth, contemplating what my next move would be if I were the Coach, player or GM. But these “bad-guys-from-Mario-Brothers-1” were fulfilling their stereotype generously, shouting at the bradgiole, drinkin beeas, heckling the umpiya, so on and so forth. One of the guys had a broken arm, with which he was grasping a beer bottle. The other arm was likewise grasping a beer bottle, but, going with the days theme, this other bottle was being used as a dip spit receptacle.

This guy, moreso than his friends, was disgusting. After every sip of beer, he would spit a little into his other bottle. Because the bottle had a narrow mouth, each spit would leave a little dribble which Joey budafuicco would then WIPE OFF ON HIS CAST. Wow! Casts already smell like shit. They certainly don’t need an emulsification of beer and dip spit on top of the natural human stench. But this guy’s cast was nearly dyed brown from the beer and the spit, and therefore was more entertaining to watch than even the mets 1st offensive explosion of the young season. What a moron; but fuggedhaboudit.

With two dip incidents in one day, my mind began jogging. Where else had I had a funny dip incident? OH YES… back in freshman year of college. Here goes:

In the business school at cuse, you started your freshman year with a big group project, which divided the already small classes even further. In my group was a Brooklyn native by the name of Steve Gregory. Steve could run a 40 yard dash in under 4.4 seconds. How did I know? Well during ice-breaker games (I know…) steve felt that this was the best piece of information he had to share about himself. That and, of course, that he would be in the NFL one day. In our Junior year Steve was named the big east defensive player of the month for a miserable orange squad, and eventually, after moving around a few times, did find a home with the San Diego Chargers which does nothing but to make my story better.

One day during that semester I was hanging out with my floormates, most of whom happened to be in my business school intro class, when Steve decided to come up and hang out. It was early enough in the school year (3rd week) that no one was truly comfortable binge drinking in front of eachother, no one openly discussed the size and girth of their bongs, and no one had come clean about their childhood meth addictions – emotions were still being restrained. But not for Steve. Steve was the big division 1 football player on his way to a 7 figure payday, and gosh darn it he was gonna act like it. So when my country bumpkin roommate (who no joke had never seen a jew or a computer until the 1st day of school – 2 birds with one stone for ya…) took out a can of dip, Steve had to earn his tough guy pedigree and willingly packed half of the unpacked dip into his lip.

The rest happened in stages. For the first couple minutes he was the life of the party, yelling, screaming, dancing, juking, roiding… you know, whatever it is that football players do. Then he went into the dipping stage where you’re not sure whats going on, your eyes struggle to keep up with your head, and you just want it to end. This stage typically lasts a minute or two, but for Steve it lasted 20. The next stage is the part where you come down and ask yourself why you took the dip in the 1st place. For Steve, this stage was a much welcomed relief. Immediately he went back to his “star quarterback” behavior (although he was merely a DB), forgetting about just how sickly he looked only minutes prior.

Fortunately for the rest of us Steve never read “Dip for dummies”, and forgot to rinse the excess dip out of his mouth (especially important for a rookie). Having conquered the dip monster, steve went straight to a tall boy, and began pounding (for legal sakes lets say he was 26 not 18). After a big swig something happened; we could tell something was wrong. Steve made that motion you make when your stomach’s about to escape through your mouth, like he was trying to hold it back down. Instead, he projectile vomited allover one of the young American princesses sitting next to him on the bed – not so tough are you star player?

We all started laughing, and after he mopped his face off so did steve – unfortunately, mopping your face off is not the same as learning your lesson. With one girl hysterically crying, and the rest of us laughing, Steve took another sip. Again, as if it hadn’t happened just before, Steve projectile vomited directly onto the other half of the girl that had already been partially tainted. With that, Steve picked himself up, ran directly to the bathroom and continued to vomit for, and this is no exaggeration, 3 hours. Three hours of whimpering, crying, tearing, vomiting, moaning, toilet hugging and mercy begging, all from the guy who ran the infamous 4.4 40.

That’s it; the end of the story. Today Steve returns punts for the San Diego Chargers and I get to write about that time he vomited in the freshman dorms – he must be awfully jealous.

Other Notes

I understand how deep the Red Sox/Yankee rivalry flows, but seriously people… burying jerseys in new stadiums is just plain stupid. Get a life!

According to ESPN The Mag, fantasy bass fishing is the new rage in fantasy sports land. Here’s a tip for all you newcomers to the sport – PICK UP DC. It’s almost bass season out on the island and DC forecasts more than a 50 LB cows in his near future.

Some Subway employees really piss me off. When I say I want extra tuna no charge, I don’t mean it as a pleasantry. Its not an offer for you subway employees to voice your opinion on whether or not you think your manager would be ok with your acquiescence to my simple-minded demand. Just give me extra tuna, for no charge, and lets move on.

The food in my cafeteria is so bad that the lunch lady’s won’t even eat it. So much for “in lunch lady land your dreams come true, clouds made of carrots and peas, rivers made of shepphard’s pie, and mountains made of macaroni and cheese.” Oh, not to mention that my cafeteria charges 8 cents for butter packets. My displeasure for paying for butter packets is one thing, but come on, charge a freakin dime, don’t force me to carry two pennies around all day. You know those two pennies are going to fall out and you know I’m going to pick them up, and you know a non-jewish friend will be around when I do so. Come on cafeteria, have some sympathy.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Not Legit - Not Lidge-it Should Quit

Post #51 Topic: Mr. Lidge, Your Dignity Called, You Left it in 2004

Well Tuesday was sold out. The home opener at Shea Stadium where Oliver Perez (my favorite for this year’s NL Cy Young, and yes that puts him AHEAD of Johan Santana) will commence the 2008 and final season in that admittedly atrocious park and I couldn’t get tickets. So, when life withholds lemons what do you do? You use that crappy crystal light stuff that your anorexic roommate and his “health unconscious” girlfriend eat for all three meals… EVERY DAY. So I got tickets for Wednesday, when heroic starting pitcher, and Scott Boras product, Mike Pelfrey hopes to prove that he is indeed the final piece to an otherwise pretty formidable starting rotation.

There is a lot at stake in this series Between the Mets and their newest and largest rival, the Philadelphia Phillies. First, there’s the pride; the team that starts the season series (18 games) off on a winning note assumes the confidence boost synonymous with being labeled the early-season division favorites. And although Jose and D-Wright plan to tone it down this year (what with the chest bumps and all), no one can deny that a little swagger never hurts anyone. Should the Mets take even 2 of 3, they will undoubtedly be given the early season accolades in a semi-stacked division.

Second, the Mets lineup has not exuded any pop whereas the Phillies have already accumulated 3 home runs from one time anemic OF’er, Pat Burrell. The METS NEED TO PROVE THAT THEY CAN HIT TO THE GAPS OR OVER THE FENCES. Angel Pagan’s bloops, infield singles and choppers over second basemen will not be enough to propel the Mets to the Wildcard, let alone the division title. There needs to be more run production coming from the top of the lineup (David Wright excluded, he’s been fine and has had 1 bad game which he deserves now and then). That means Luis Castillo, Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes… these guys need to take the weight off of Delgado and Church… AND BRIAN SCHNEIDER who have been hitting lights out but CAN NOT BE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TO DO SO. What’s the alternative? We might be seeing Barry Bonds or Sammy Sosa back in uniform sooner than anyone hoped or (myself excluded) expected. So lets get the bats going fellas… sure its only 6 games in but Santana ain’t worth a dollar if we cant get him two runs when he only lets up one.

Third and most importantly, the largest factor to be determined this series is whether the Phillies have the character and talent to make them, once again, worthy of a post-season shot. Last season Brett Myers was decent in the closer position, finishing with 21 saves and 4.5 ERA (ok nevermind he sucked). But he’s been moved to the rotation. Tom Gordon just had a great grand son and gets to the mound in a rascal. That leaves the Phillies potentially enormous success in the hands of… DUH DUH duh… BRAD LIDGE. Oh boy hearing that Brad Lidge is closing for the Phillies makes me down right giddy. This guy has the mental stability of Britney Spears and the consistency of feces.

How bad is Brad Lidge? He’s freakin awful. Yes, that is an incredibly juvenile way to describe a distinct level of misery, bordering on “my daddy could beat up your daddy”, but if 9th inning (im)potency is any indicator of childish toughness then my Daddy could kick Brad Lidge’s daddy’s ass.

Allow us to briefly explore the origins from which Brad Lidge’s misery has stemmed. The bible says that Adam took a piece of his own flesh, and molded it into Eve (his biblical concubine). Following the divine train of thought, consider Brad Lidge’s past 5 years as a chunk of flesh from one time New York Metropolitan, who awed even a “low-expectation sick” crowd by starting the 1993 season 1-13 (eventually losing 27 in a row – in the same year that Vince Coleman threw a firecracker at a fan during a game).

Brad Lidge’s career stats tell a suspenseful, at times depressing, and overall promising story for Mets fans. In 2004, Lidge hopped onto the closer scene, attempting to fill the LARGE shoes of Billy Wagner, with 29 saves in 33 chances and an ERA under 2 – yikes. In 2005… more of the same: Lidge posted 42 saves in 46 opportunities, placing him among the league’s top 3 closers. Then “le merde frappe le fan”.

In the 2005 postseason, Lidge gave up a 3 run homerun in the ninth to Albert Pujols… and thus began the deterioration. The Cardinals were able to force an eventual game 7, which courtesy of the rest of the Astros (and a recently acquired and playoff monster Carlos Beltran) ended in favor of the Astros. And the ‘Stros went right back to Lidge in game 2 of the series against the Chi Sox. There, again in the 9th in a save situation, Lidge faced Scott Podsednik (currently a AAA player) who hadn’t hit a home run that entire year… until Lidge served him a meatball on the silverest of silver platters.

Lidge was never the same. In 2006: 32 saves in 38 opportunities. Respectable, if you ignore the 5.28 ERA. In 2007? 19 saves in 27 opportunities, and eventually relegated to setup man to the setup man duties.

So you can understand how there is a lot at stake in this series with the Phils. Chances are, if Lidge gets rocked early in the season he’ll be forced out of the closing picture, leaving the duties to an aged Tom Gordon, or forcing the Phillies to take Brett Myers out of the rotation (where he has always been projected to wind up). Seems like a perfect time for the big bats of the Mets to wake up no? In fact, I’d even take a loss in the process if the Mets were able to shake Lidge up a little bit, and judging by his performance (4/7), a lidge-shaking might not be asking for too much – 1 inning, 2 walks, 1 run, 24 pitches – not exactly closer numbers.

But then again, the Mets might not have to worry. Lidge is a coward. He has allowed one bad pitch to ruin 3 subsequent years of what was poised to be a solid Major League career. Based on his propensities, I’d venture that he’s going to be up in bed, the night before making his Shea Stadium debut, crying, chewing his nails and singing “I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so scared (scuba)” after taking too many caffeine pills. And then the phone will ring. On the other side? Mr. Lidge’s dignity, calling from a sunnier, more promising 2005.

Other Notes

95% of my high school teachers disliked me. Probably because I was waaaaay smarter than them but that’s neither here nor there. There was however one teacher who hated me more than any other.

Today I found a woman on a Rangers message board who had two tickets to the Rangers playoff game for next Wednesday at the world’s most famous arena. Thinking she would be selling her seat also, I paypaled her butt 145 bucks, only to get 1 ticket in return. Quickly I turned to stubhub where I discovered that my $145 ticket was selling for over $350 (likely to go up). About to add it to the stubhub collection, I received another e-mail from the seller: “I’m so happy that I will be sitting next to a real fan for this game. I hate when I sell my tickets and the person who shows up is either disinterested or a fan of the other team”. So my guilt set in… how could I possibly not go now? So I decided to suck it up and sit next to her. Now prior to this last e-mail we had known eachother only as Karen and DCMSG (to protect the innocent). However, Karen chose to sign our final e-mail as Karen ____ ____ (again to protect the innocent). Now that wouldn’t bother me… and it didn’t for at least an hour. But for some unknown reason the name kept echoing through my head, so much so that I eventually said it out loud. Coincidentally, at the time the name came out of my mouf (ghetto for mouth) my good friend from high school was there, and the name immediately caught his attention. Here was his reaction: “wasn’t that the name of the teacher who absolutely hated your guts all through high school

With shit like that happening, thank god for Pirates… aaaaarrrgghhh.

Today i went to a fresh fish department and asked for catfish. When the guy picked up the fish it was frozen. I asked him "isn't this fresh fish"? HE looked at me like i was crazy and, no joke said, "yeah but the temperature of the display is too cold". Good work jackass, don't quit your 2 a.m. subway job.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Favre-ite Mistake

Post #50 (whoo)Topic: Have you seen my baseless balls?

After what has seemed far too short a time, Major League Soccer made its triumphant return last night (Thursday). With this return, fans will see David Beckham return to the field fresh off his failed reality series, and some Mexican dude take the reigns as the MLS’s next star. No that was not racist… but merely the truth. The MLS is pinning its hopes of finally catching the fancy of the American Public on a Mexican, from the Mexican pro league. Rumor has it that this new star is so so fast, that NO ONE saw him cross the border (see Plyler v. Doe – or to keep your sanity. DON’T).

Yes ladies and gents, the MLS is back, and what better way to celebrate than to talk about Brett Farve. The hottest of hot news on the press (even is reporting) is that recently retired star quarterback Brett Favre may not actually be so retired after all – apparently there’s something about brett that we JUST DON’T KNOW. And by we I of course mean you because my infinite wisdom propelled me to an immediate understanding of this otherwise complex seeming situation… allow me to drop some knowledge and as always, be sure to pick it up.

The Packers weren’t and aren’t going to win a championship anytime in the near future. Sure they went on a nearly miraculous run last year, only to get stopped by the eventual Super Bowl champions, but we must consider that there is a reason why football analysts get paid… and that’s because they know the bare minimum. The bare minimum last year? That the Packers WERE NOT GOING TO WIN THE SUPER BOWL.

The problem for Brett then became… why hang on when my prospects of winning are slowly disappearing? Brett isn’t and wasn’t the type of quarterback that could will a championship, especially not at his ripe old age. Rather, he was merely a product of that which surrounded him (during his glory days he had Mark Chmura, Antonio Freeman, Reggie White, Dorsey Levens and so on and so forth), which excluding the bitter cold of Lambeau was not all that much (look at the roster – not all that much is a freakin’ gift).

But as long as Brett was in the league there was NO CHANCE the Packers would ever let him go. The knicks (and the magic and sonics and wizards) couldn’t let go of Patrick Ewing. The Rangers couldn’t let go of Mark Messier, and the Yankees couldn’t let go of steroids. Consequently, all three hung around their respective locker rooms far longer than any consultant would have advised. The advantage the packers have is that there is perhaps someone waiting in the Wings whereas the Knicks have since conducted failed experiments with countless centers, the Rangers with countless captains, and the Yankees with more than their fair share of lucrative free agent signings (notice how I refuse to capitalize knicks).

So Brett needed a way for the Packer fans to let him go, and found it in a little known man by the name of Aaron Rodgers. Is Aaron Rodgers the next Brett Farve? Probably not, but one would be incorrect to say that he doesn’t have legitimate NFL potential (case and point his performance in relief against the Cowgirls). It was not until Brett officially announced his retirement that the fans could begin the process of converting their endless allegiance to a virtually unproven Rodgers. But the fans are trying. Rodgers is getting press, has done well under media pressure and has been conveniently questioned over and over again about his collegiate success at Cal and his triumph in Dallas during this past season. So, with the Green Bay’s collective arms gradually beginning their embrace of Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre has casually slipped out the back door.

“He never filed his retirement papers”, “his agent has been feeling around for trade options”, “inside sources at the NFL say he has made clear that he wished to play again”, “blah blah blah blah blah”. If you’ve heard these rumors once then you’ve most likely thought about shutting off PTI, and are in no rush to hear them again. Do I think that Brett Farve has retired? Yes (with emphatic emphasis). Do I however rule out the possibility of a return? NO (slightly less emphasis).

What Brett has done is succeeded in alienating himself from the Green Bay public. Although the cheeseheads would welcome papa brett back in an artificially created heartbeat, whether he will allow them too is a far different story. See Brett has been playing with the Packers fans for the better part of a half decade, wavering over whether or not he would retire or keep playing. Now having guaranteed his retirement, Brett has pretty much guaranteed that any return would take place outside of Wisconsin.

Lets cut it down. First we eliminate the teams set at quarterback (involves having a young guy/veteran platoon or a star). Goodbye: Giants, Cowboys, Saints, SeaHawks, Cardinals, Patriots, Steelers, Browns, Bengals, Colts, Jaguars, Titans, Texans, Chargers, Broncos and Raiders.

We can automatically count out division rivals, just because. Au Revoir: Vikings, Lions, Bears.

This only leaves a couple of possibilities, some of which we can eliminate for other reasons. Eagles: while the Eagles may be over the Donovan phase, it would be cruel and unusual punishment for this management to not dedicate the next several years to rebuilding the surrounding elements and hopefully develop a quarterback from within. While Brian Kolb is NOT THE ANSWER, Brady Quinn may soon become available and could be worth a shot.

Buccaneers: This is a possibility, especially given the warm weather in Florida. And the Bucs are a good getting better team. But the Bucs have Jeff Garcia and would be wiser to follow the Eagles advice and start developing a replacement, perhaps through the draft.

Brett isn’t joining a “work in progress” team: he wants to win now. Therefore, we can eliminate those teams that can’t win. Seeya: Falcons (although that is where his career began), Niners, Rams, Chiefs and Dolphins)

That leaves… well that only leaves the Ravens. If Brett was frustrated by his “options” in the tundra, how will he feel about trying to find Jamal Lewis in prison traffic? Probably not too good!

Oh wait, then there’s the Carolina Panthers. Hmmmm. Nah!

So I say piss off. Tell your agent to shut his trap and tell Wilbon and Kornheiser that you’ve got arthritis (they’ll understand). We get it, you’re a great quarterback; one of the greatest of all time. You’ve won MVP’s, Superbowls and even made bad teams respectable. But your time has come to say goodbye to all your friends indeed. You had every opportunity to come back to the city that made you who you are, but you washed those away as soon as you wiped your losing-forced sour puss off your scruffy gray haired face. Its time to ride off into the night Brett, and by night I mean the NFL sidelines where you can gracefully pursue your next biggest score, something not even Joe Namath could conquer… bagging one of those hot young ESPN commentators.

Other Notes

Yesterday (Thursday) my roommate was trying to figure out where he wanted to go out for the night. His girlfriend’s response was “you’re not in college anymore, you don’t need to go out”. ATTENTION ALL GIRLFRIENDS; if your boyfriend is under the age of 25 and you plan on keeping him around, NEVER TELL HIM HE’S NOT IN COLLEGE ANYMORE… unless of course he went to a good school in which case he probably doesn’t know what he’s missing.

The Beijing Olympics are in trouble. First we heard several countries were withholding their marathon runners for fear that the air quality could lungs. Next, several nations decided to boycott the Olympics in reaction to china’s attitude towards Tibet. Just imagine how pissed a whole slew of countries are going to be when they get to china and find out that there is no general Tso.

Scrabble is the new beer pong.