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 - http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/04/29/austria.cellar/index.html

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 ESPN.com. 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 drunkenstepfather.com 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.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Hindsight is Always 20/20

Post #49: Do-overs!

Yes it has been three weeks since my last post. Several things have occurred over those three weeks that lead to my absence from the virtual airways. For one, I’ve been busy with my animal rights class – who knew that brutally killing cows was generally frowned upon (speaking of which I have two steaks marinating in my refrigerator as we speak). The rest? Irrelevant; just be happy I’m back.

So about a week ago the Red Sox opened the season in Japan and in typical Boston fashion… they won. Sure they lost the next day but it was indeed painful for me to watch what resembles a “lapping” as may or may not happen in Nascar (I can’t tell you because I don’t have a half empty Budweiser keg in my trailer under my mom’s bed/pullout sofa).

I don’t want to see the Red Sox win the world series, the Celtics win the 2nd best and therefore 1st most meaningless trophy in basketball, only to have the Red Sox win the World Series again. One can’t deny that the Sox do look pretty good this year, both on paper and on Japanese astro turf. Their line-up is just as if not more stacked than it has ever been. With Dustin Pedroia and Jacob Ellsbury having cemented their positions in the everyday lineup, the Red Sox batting order is one which truly boasts no holes.

Then, assuming that Josh Beckett is healthy, the Sox rotation is downright nasty. Forget the fact that they’re anchored by one of the most (and few) consistent closers in the league; the Red Sox are a prime example, and 1 of a collection of perhaps 4 or 5 teams that opposing teams should be scared to face on a nightly basis. Or maybe 4 out of 5 nights now that Doug Mirabelli is gone and the back-stop has been named Tim Wakefield’s default catcher… but nonetheless – them Sawx make me pee myself.

Really, how could the Sox have looked any better? OH YEAH, there is that one guy who they so stubbornly refused to pry from Minnesota even when the award of the century was all but gifted to them by an overly confident, overly mis-managed Yankees organization – Johan Santana.

Sidenote – lets talk about pride here. For the 1st time in a longtime, both the Sawx and the Yanks seem to have a legit prospect support system. For the Sox there’s Buccholz (spelling), Ellsbury, Pedroia, Lester and Papplebon. For the Yankees, (who miraculously according to Yankees fans have the next 6 Greg Maddux’s) Ian Kennedy, Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera and Joba Chamberlain give an aging organization some youthful promise.

Unfortunately for both organizations, this prospect presence turned into another war. WHOSE PROSPECTS WERE BETTER? The only way to answer this question would be to decide who would give up less for Johan – the clear measuring stick for actual player value.

In the end, both teams bowed out, perhaps persuaded by the pressure to establish more “street cred” for their young guns, and neither team took a flyer on Johan. Instead, Johan wound up with the team that actually needed him the most – the Mets (more on that in a bit).

When you talk about the top prospects in baseball, you usually quote the same Peter Gammons and Buster Olney predictions (because lets face it… NO ONE follows AAA baseball). There’s Evan Longoria in Tampa Bay, Jay Bruce in Cincinnati, Colby Rasmus in St. Louis, Cameron Maybin in Florida, Felix Pie in Chicago, and LASTINGS MILLEDGE in Washington (still waiting for an explanation Omar…). Albeit these guys are younger than the players both the yanks and the Sox refused to give up, but based on a lot of research and a lot of fantasy analysis, the two behemoth’s prospects are NEVER MENTIONED in the same sentences as those above. Teams like the Tigers must not have gotten the memo on just how valuable unproven assets are these days in baseball as they traded the entire farm for a sure-fire Miguel Cabrera and a “reclamation project without the high leg-kick that used to fluster hitters” in Dontrelle Willis. Break that trade down and you wind up with Cameron Maybin for Dontrelle Willis (the other 5 prospects fetching Cabrera)… And the Red Sox honestly couldn’t give up Jon Lester, a guy who figures to sit at the back end of a relatively young rotation for a considerable amount of time? Someone thinks their poo doesn’t smell accordingly, and his name is Theo Epstein ladies and gents.

But as a Mets fan, Theo, I thank you for your pride. With nothing left on the table the Twins were forced to take three career minor leaguers and a utility outfielder with a potential to be a “good player” in the mold of Jacques Jones, best case scenario. And two nights ago (March 31st – the start of the new era in Metsland), Johan shined on like a crazy diamond.

Three hits, 8 k’s 2 bb’s over 7 innings. Having watched the game, let me assure all of you readers who were not as fortunate of one thing – Johan looked like he could have pitched 15. His stuff only started painting the corners in the 6th, where he struck out the side. In the 7th, he was equally commanding. Willie must have felt that a 5 run lead over a lowly Marlins Team (david – 4, Marlins – still zero), presented a perfect time to get his bullpen wet, especially the pitchers who have not yet shown that they can be relevant in the suddenly competitive NL East (Joe Smith, Pedro Feliciano, Matt Wise, etc.,).

So we’re two games in and Johan’s record has one win and hardly a blemish. As a Mets fan I hope that he keeps his performance and his trade value up and that somewhere down the road, perhaps by nothing other than the grace of our almighty Allah (or god or whomever) that the Red Sox Make Jon Lester available.

Other Notes

Our other game may have represented the 2nd biggest baseball mistake in recent memory – giving Pedro a four year deal. After a whole off-season of promise and health, it takes Pedro 3 innings and 2 home runs to wind up back on the DL. Maybe we shouldn’t have expected so much, put Pedro in the 4th slot and let Ollie and John Maine prove that they are both capable (and are) Major League #2’s.

Follow your dreams. You can reach your goals. I’m living proof. Beefcake… BEEFCAKE

Look at the way he rolls… just like a woman.

I recently went to a little Chinese take out place to get some general Tso’s breading with chicken flavoring. Inside was a guy who asked me “is this place good?” I told him I didn’t know. He told me that he had 1 take out place that he ALWAYS went to, and he didn’t put up with SHITTY take-out places. I assured him that the place we were at had a good reputation. He must have believed me because he stayed just long enough to get his buffalo wings – a true purveyor of fine Chinese

They say beer can make you dumb. It are go good with pizza.