Monday, October 31, 2005

Fashion Do's and Don'ts

posted by Knowledge Droppings

Welcome to the Frappe's new Point-Counter-Point segment we'll be throwing at you semi-weekly. It works like this: Knowledge Droppings throws down a controversy, BiCoastal Bias responds, and Intrinsic Bent rebutts. Let the mud-slinging begin.

Knowledge Droppings: Will the new NBA dress code create a better image for the NBA or alienate it from the culture which supports it?

BiCoastal Bias: My entire argument could pretty much be summed up in this one statement: "Dress Codes are Lame." Come on guys, we learned this one on that episode of Growing Pains when Alan Thicke a.k.a. Jason Seaver (the second best TV dad of all time, but that's another blog) took on the Long Island school district over the issue. Fact is dress codes suck, I don't care who ya are.

But this isn't just the Seaver children having to wear uniforms to school, this is world class athletes being told what they can and can't look like at every job related appearance. I'm not going to go as far as to make this a race issue, but I don't see any reason why old rich businessmen need to impose their fashion habits on the men responsible for making their millions. There's nothing entertaining about watching dudes in a tie sitting around a conference table talking about how much toner they can move this quarter, (well, unless it's that sitcom with Steve Carell, but the jury's still out on how funny that show really is), so why are we taking a nod from them on the new look of professional basketball?

Yes, these players are "role models," but in this society of modernity, everyone knows that role models can come in all shapes and sizes. It doesn't matter what color do-rag they sport, or what size lettering they used for that Old-English script written across their backs. Let them wear what they want to wear, and be who they want to be. I don't think a dress code is going to reduce the number of brawls encompassing the bench and the first five rows. So maybe David Stern should address the real problems with the NBA, because a dress code is only a dress code, which was pretty low on our list of controversies last season. I'm not sure if it'll actually alienate anybody, but it certainly ain't helping.

IntrinsicBent: The Frappe is taking on a life of it's own. And this new feature reveals the progression and maturation of the art of providing quality content. At very low subscription fee rates too, I might add (If I add, I'll have to take my shoes off). I mean, I've already shaved a forward slash in my stomach hair in anticipation of my next Angels game. If I can get home to see my family, I'll try it at a NO/OK (my version) Hornets game. Nice visual, eh? I dare you to try to go to sleep now.

I'll get to my take on the current topic so my many padwan learners out there can know what their opinion is.

The dress code is absolutely within the rights of the NBA to request/require (apologies to Mr. Alan Thicke in advance). Furthermore, it's a surprisingly strong move for a professional sports commissioner who in the past has many times been behind the power curve in making leadership decisions.

Every viable business model should focus on it's branding which begins with image. Any organization has the right (in America anyway) to require their key assets (people) to look, act, and in any other way adhere to policies that the company feels promotes the desired image. Now of course all of these must be legal, ethical, and morally sound. But I don't really think busting out a tie in lieu of a throwback is asking too much.

And why should the NBA have the right to mandate such a policy? They make it possible for these guys to get P-A-I-D. Listen closely to most professional athletes and it won't be too long before you hear the terms getting paid, and respect in close proximity. As long as their checks don't bounce, they should submit to the head of the organization. Yeah, I know. That's the weak spot in this point, because you just don't see these guys submitting to much of anything that resembles authority.

If I don't want to follow the rules and requirements of the company that feeds my family, eventually, I'll either get fired, or find something that better matches my work desires. If you are a propeller head (techie) and your dream job is working for Google, you will either follow management's policies and procedures to work your dream or end up somewhere else. There are still plenty of Tech options available. My point? These guys don't have to play in the NBA. There are perfectly good leagues in the ABA, Italy, Spain, and South America. Hopefully they can adjust to the bus rides and the lower per diems. Shoot, soccer is always an option if you want to play a non sport that the rest of the world will die for. At some point, maturity means getting to the point of saying, "It's not only about me."

Mark Cuban has an interesting behind the scenes ownership take at his blog. The Commissioner has to take action because of the chasm between most teams' ownership and the players. C'mon fellas, communication is key to business and all other relationships. I hate having to be the one to preach Business Basics 101 to millionaires.

Another point that is constantly left out of this argument, is that the players are reacting to the announcement of this new mandate as if this is something new to them. It was agreed to by their union months ago. C'mon guys, you've got to keep your business game strong.

Sports always reminds me of a principle a pastor dropped on me one time that stuck. He told me leadership is like a pyramid. The higher you go, the less rights you have because you are a leader. It's not that hard to grasp, really. It just means that you shouldn't choke your coach, or take that bye week boat cruise. Nancy Reagan tried to help you with it back in the day. Now Spade and the new Farley kid are trying in the Capitol One Ads. Try it on for size.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Front Slash

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Much was made about the new moniker given to the American League team of Anaheim this year, but here’s a name change that seems to have slipped under the radar; well, it slipped under my radar at least.  I wouldn’t have noticed it at all, had I not been perusing through the free agent list of my fantasy basketball league, (that thing that keeps my fantasy sports addiction appeased between the football playoffs and March Madness).  Today I was viewing a forgettable player’s stats when I noticed his team abbreviation: “NOK.”

If you’re in the dark about this as I was earlier this afternoon, you’re on the edge of your seat right now, wondering was this strange acronym could represent.  Not wanting to leave you hanging, here is the new team name according to Yahoo Sports:  The New Orleans / Oklahoma City Hornets.  Yes, that’s right, as if having the word “of” in a team name isn’t weird enough, (except in Orange County, where for some reason all professional sports teams work this word into their title), try having a front slash!  Personally, I’m on a quest to be the first guy at any sporting event with a front slash painted on my bare stomach.  Of course every letter of the alphabet has been done, and even the occasional exclamation point or apostrophe, but a front slash is uncharted territory.  

Okay, okay, to be fair, as far as I know the name change isn’t even official.  And while the recovering city of New Orleans might be in danger of losing the Saints to San Antonio, I highly doubt the Hornets moving to Oklahoma is much of a threat.  Which is to say, let’s enjoy this NOK phenomenon for the one year we can.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Mr. Manny

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Manny has asked to be traded . . . again. Was he that kid on the playground who was never happy with the ball he got? If everyone was coloring, he was the one who was never quite content with the combination of Crayolas he had. And when it came to snack time, watch your chocolate milk, because Manny was always likely to swap his for yours for no apparent reason.

Allegedly, Manny would like to go to Anaheim. Speaking as an Angels’ fan, I’d love to see him wearing a halo next year. Even though he’s nowhere near the character I want as my franchise player, you’ve got to admit he’d solve a lot of our offensive woes. (In my opinion, he’s better than Jose Guillen in both of those departments.)

But the fact is, no team is likely to sell the farm for this guy, not with three years left on his contract. You know you’ll get great numbers from him in between trade requests, but what a headache all those requests will be. This year is different, because this year, the Red Sox won’t be able to sign anyone worthwhile for less than Manny-money; so whereas in the past, the Sox would have genuinely liked to have found someone to take him and his fat contract off their hands (remember when they actually put him on waivers and no one took him?), this year they’d rather not trade him, but if they have to, will insist on getting some proven talent in his place.

If I was the Sox, I’d tell this guy to sit on it. Is he going to go NFL on them and “hold out” during spring training? Great! Now not only do the Sox not have to pay him, they don’t have to trade him either, while he can’t play for any competitor! Everybody wins, except for the brat that can’t be happy with the contract he signed.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Give It A Rest Gramps

posted by IntrinsicBent

Watch how I artfully back into this one.

Sports movies. Boxing. Adrian.

Somebody stop Sly. Better yet, someone stop whoever is saying yes to Sly. I just read that he now is reviving the Rambo series that has been rightfully resting in peace.

This after the recent announcement that he would be taking Rocky out of retirement for Rocky 6, or 16, or 60, or something like that.

Clear! Bzzt. Phmmph. Beep. Beep. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. We've lost him.

I have to confess that I never watched the last offering in either franchise. And Tommy Gun was an Oklahoma boy.

Even worse, is the non stop weak jokes from the late night hosts and their imitators around the water cooler. You know how they go. "What are they going to do, have Rocky fighting in his wheel chair against Clubber Lang in his walker?" or " Is Rambo going to go to Iraq and knock out Al Qaeda by smacking them with his sagging Grandma bag skin hanging under his arms?"

The question is, does the never ending milking of these franchises diminish what they once were, which was decent dude flicks which made guys start drinking raw eggs and jogging with Survivor on their cassette Walkmans, or wearing fatigues? Sadly, I think the answer has to be yes.

Someone please pry Sly's mitts off of these scripts. Please do it for me Sly. I don't want these movies clogging the shelves of my local video store.

What's next? Is Sly going to roll out Vinnie Barbarino in Staying Alive II, The Ball Room Years? Will the classic line be "My pears, I spent all day dishing them out, and then he comes and messes up my pears."

You know as well as I do that Frank Stallone will pop up somewhere during this mess. Or Sly's sister, better known as Chachi's Mom.

It's getting harder and harder to keep the eye of the tiger.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Hold The Phone

posted by IntrinsicBent

Wow. St, Louis football is a mess. At the pinnacle of their success, they woke up one morning, and their team was old and incapable of continuing down the path of being a possible dynasty for years to come.

Their dynamic duo that looked like the next coming of Staubach and Dorsett, (Warner and Faulk), became injury prone and ineffective. The team’s aura of invincibility was pierced and they no longer struck fear in the heart of their opponents.

The oddest move to me early on was the fact that their emotional coach, Dick Vermeil announced his retirement after winning the Super Bowl. In his place was his coordinator Mike Martz, who rumor had it was the coach of the future that the Rams wanted in place and were fearful they’d lose if Vermeil stuck around too long. It has been alleged that Dickie took the bullet for the franchise and retired. To his credit (I guess) he has always toed the company line on the subject. Curiously, a few seasons later we found that his competitive juices had not diminished and his reported desire to spend more time with family seemed to disappear.

Martz took what became his team to the Super Bowl two seasons later but could not deliver the big win. They lost the big game to a Patriot team that no one gave any hope of winning.

Martz since then has proven to be erratic in his statements as well as his coaching decisions. Some of his clock management (or lack thereof), and play calling has cost the franchise valuable wins. Such is the life of a coach.

Last week Martz announced that on doctor’s orders, he would not be able to coach the rest of the season due to a rare bacteria infection in one of his heart valves.

While watching the game against the Saints at home, he saw an adjustment that needed to be made in his mind. He lobbed a call to a representative that was to take a phone to the coaching booth so Martz could talk to the offensive coordinator. The team’s president and their president of operations denied this request and would not allow Martz to talk to his coaches.

You’d think that the team would spin that they were only thinking of their coach’s health and trying to help him follow his doctor’s advice so they could have him back on the sidelines next season. Instead, they say nothing, even when asked if they will want Martz back next year. And now Martz is making it known that he does not know if he can coexist with his bosses.

Pitiful. On both sides. I wonder if this should be filed under “what goes around, comes around.” Or maybe just "A Day At A Time With Georgia (owner) And Her Rams". Sports supplies the best reality programming. It's the original and ultimate Survivor brand of soap opera.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Let's Cut To The Chase

posted by IntrinsicBent

I hate to be the one that breaks it to you. Actually, I love being the one that breaks it to you. Some of you are not going to want to hear it. Others won't accept it. But it's still true.

The American League is head and shoulders above the National League in the talent pool of players, coaches, and strategy.

That's right. And true.

The second World Series sweep by the AL in a row. Dominance in the All Star game. Scoreboard.

You NL honks have argued through the years that the AL is inferior because of the DH and will have a long offseason to chew on that bitter bar. Seems that if the DH version of the game is a weaker game that requires less strategy that an NL team would have won at least a game in the last two World Series matchups.

Recent changes to the MLB have included interleague season play, wildcard playoff teams, and the annual All Star game determining home field advantage. In my estimation, interleague play is the only one that has run it's useful and novel course. That's probably because the fact that there's an NL team playing brings the game down.

Don't sweat it too much. We're only kicking you because you're down.

Monday, October 24, 2005

This un-American Sport

posted by BiCoastal Bias

This is officially the first Frappe post on that sport known to Americans as soccer, you may or may not have heard of it. Since this is quite possibly the last soccer blog to be found on this web page, I’m really not too concerned about offending any enthusiasts. Is anyone else growing a little weary of hearing from that 1% of the U.S. population who insist that soccer is about to take the country by storm? There are a zillion reasons why soccer will never make it big in the states, so I’ll offer up a few that you may not have heard before.

This first theory came from my high school history teacher. While covering the western expansion of the United States, Mr. Norby explained why Americans will always prefer football over soccer. Soccer is a sport in which the ball goes from one goal line to the next with much more frequency than football, and yet the final score is inevitably 1-0. In football, a march into the other team’s territory combined with a little conservative play will typically result in some sort of point scoring; much like America’s journey into the western region, they were never turned away without a little ill-begotten land to show for their efforts. But in soccer, one dropkick by the goalie and all that work goes down the drain; it would be like a quarterback getting picked off nine out of ten trips to the red zone. So according to Mr. Norby, football is more popular than soccer because it is more analogous to American history. I never got a chance to ask him, but I think he’d agree with me that the Lousiana Purchase is the equivalent of a field goal, while reaching the end of the Oregon Trail is a touchdown. (I think we ran up the score and went for two when we picked up Hawaii.)

“Soccer is the largest youth sport in the country,” is probably the favorite argument of soccer enthusiasts, implying that when these sons and daughters of soccer-moms grow up, they’ll help make this soccer-apocalypse fantasy come true. Guess what, it’s been the number one youth sport for twenty years now, and we still haven’t seen any results. Chuck Klosterman has an interesting take on this phenomenon in his Low Culture Manifesto. Klosterman points out that soccer is the perfect sport for kids who hate sports. Little League baseball guarantees at least one humiliating strikeout per game, Pop Warner football is the one place where bullying is encouraged - but in soccer, a kid can go an entire game without touching the ball, and there’s a good chance no one will notice! Soccer kids aren’t growing up to be soccer fans; they’re just biding their time until they hit an age at which it’s acceptable to have “hanging out at the mall” as your main extra-curricular activity.

Now that the MLS has taken its rightful place next to the WNBA on the Sportscenter priority list, I’ve come to my own conclusions about the unpopularity of soccer. Americans don’t like to be influenced by the rest of the world; we’re stuck up and arrogant and we like to think we’re the ones influencing everyone else. Football, baseball, and basketball were all developed on American soil, (yes, you and I both know they evolved from sports across the Atlantic, but the general public doesn’t know that). Soccer is that product that the whole world is selling, but America ain’t buying.

It’s not that I have anything personal against soccer. It’s just that I think I speak for the average American sports fanatic when I say that I can’t ever see myself enjoying watching that sport. ESPN magazine recently ran an article about the possibility of David Beckham coming to the states and saving American soccer. I don’t even think that would work; nothing short of a few WWF/WWE personalities could convince me to tune in. That’s right folks, you heard it first on the Frappe – only The Rock could save the MLS.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Sir Charles Sees The Light

posted by IntrinsicBent

It took long enough, but he's finally coming around to my way of thinking.

I'm admitting here that I like Charles Barkley. Although I often disagree with him, I like the fact that he speaks whatever is on his mind and answers questions directly. His frankness leads him down the political incorrect trail often. For better or worse.

It was easy to enjoy his sound bites as a player, because with the exception of short segments of time, he and his teams did not consistently compete against or punish the mighty purple and gold.

In the nineties, Charles came out with a bonehead take that athletes were not role models. And he was not a role model. At times he seemed to almost delight in behaving like an antihero. Remember when he threw that guy through the plate glass window? I've heard this referred to as his "midget tossing" bar brawl. I think that's a hideous thing to say. We don't know how tall that guy was.

At the time of Chuck's genius take, my son was in elementary school, and guess what? His Old Man couldn't dunk a basketball, and didn't have a jersey with his name and number on the back that his peers at school would buy. There was that one time at work I used a Sharpie on the back of my dress shirt and put my last name and basketball number on the back of my dress shirt. I was shocked when my boss wrote me up for breaking the company dress code. Joykill.

Sidebar (Game off): Isn't it nuts the way dudes hold on to their jersey numbers through life? I guarantee if we were handing out jerseys to play basketball right now, you'd still want "your" number. I know dudes that put them in their email addresses. I know some that use them for passwords. And still others that key some variation of their jersey numbers in their security codes. You know you do it. 15, 22, and 66 are mine.

Back to the point (Game on): I do agree that parents should step up and be role models for their kids in every possible way. True dat.

But Charles was singing a slightly adjusted tune last week on The Tonight Show. When Jay asked him what he thought about the NBA's new dress code, CB said he liked it. His reasoning was that while it was ok for millionaires to dress with the retro gear, timberlands, and bling, it set a bad example for young african american males who might miss job or other opportunities while dressing like the NBA players that they looked up to.

Nice progress Chuck, nice progress.

While we're in this topical vein, is it too much to ask networks not to do prolonged closeups on athletes when they realize they're dropping curse bombs? In last week's Cardinal/Astros game where LaRussa and Edmonds were run by that pompous excuse for an umpire, the cameraman zeroed in on them in such a way that Helen Keller knew what they were saying (yeah critics, I know she was deaf and blind. It's called emphasis).

Then they aired multiple slo mo repeats to make sure that Little League Jimmy could tell exactly how to communicate when you're a pro at the top of your profession. C'mon fellas, you have the next wave watching your every move. And guess what? Their Dads love them, spend time with them, and lead by example. But they can't hit a bomb out of the yard in the MLB playoffs. (No, softball doesn't count).

See how the Sports Frappe wanders, makes salient (look it up) points, and then brings it full circle? But we're not going to brag. Because we know you look up to us.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Twisted Conversation

posted by IntrinsicBent

There was an alleged conversation that took place recently between Reggie Jackson and Alex Rodriguez. This reportedly occurred after the Yankee's season ended.

Reggie told A-Rod that he'd trade his past for A-Rod's future. A-Rod responded that he'd trade 40 years of his life for Reggie's rings.

Easy there Bucky.

There's no word on whether Reggie is trying to get the deal done.

Even though we're talking about the Yankees, it's admirable that the vet wants to help (I know, he's on their payroll. Geez, you guys are cynics). It's also admirable that the kid respects those that came before him, and in effect, made it possible for him to have the dream come true career he's experiencing.

But trading 40 years? Too bad Rod Serling's not around anymore. I'm sure he'd be busy at his typewriter pounding out a Twilight Zone episode.

Can you bid with years of your life on Ebay? Just wonderin'.

You Better Not

posted by IntrinsicBent

We've received numerous inquiries from you wanting to know our take on the Saints possible permanent relocation to San Antonio. As you might imagine, the Frappe is incensed with the thought of this occurring.

How can Tom Benson (Saints' owner) and Rick Perry (Governor) even think they can bypass the second largest market in this nation? It's unfathomable.

The Saints were meant to be in Anaheim, Cali. I mean the Anaheim Angels and the Anaheim Saints cohabitating in SoCal? Ok.......I mispoke.......I should have said the Los Angeles Saints of Anaheim, but you catch my drift.

Whoa, wait a minute. Pretend that I never wrote paragraphs 2 and 3.

What kind of vulture (San Antonio) would dare to take advantage of an entire city that's just been sucker punched in the solar plexes? What kind of pimp (Saints owner) would even dare to exploit the city and fan base that has taken them in, supported them, loved them, and rocked them to sleep each season even though they're the NFL's version of the Bad News Bears?

Both of these remind me of the opportunistic sycophants (no, I don't know what that means either) that popup during any crisis and want to charge 12 bucks a gallon for gas, or 7 bucks for a gallon of water, or 6 bucks for a gas station burrito (not speaking of Don Miguel burritos which are the preferred burrito of the Frappe). Have some human decency fellas. Please!

In the words of Allen Iverson: "What are we talking about here? San Antonio? We're not even talking about a City. We're talking about San Antonio, man. San Antonio? We're not even talking about the City I live in every day and would die for. We're talking about San Antonio. See how silly that is?"

NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue considers relocation to San Antonio a lateral move at best, a step backward more likely. You think?

So don't go near San Antonio during your holiday travels this year. Cuz the Grinch is in town. And his heart hasn't grown a bit.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Pierzynski Sells Soul to Evil Umpires

posted by BiCoastal Bias

This is the headline everyone knows is true, but might be afraid to state.  Here at the Frappe, we don’t pull any punches.  Apparently, while A.J. Pierzynski was ostracizing himself from his former teammates in San Francisco and Minnesota, he was building up a more than friendly rapport with Major League Umpires.  When the 2005 playoffs rolled around, he was able to cash in on whatever the men in blue owed him to help his team in Chicago.  In case you missed it, Steve Finley of the Angels hit into an inning ending double play with a runner on third, on what should have been called catcher interference.  So instead of bases loaded with one out, the inning is over and the run doesn’t score.  And once again, Pierzynski is at the center of it.  Seriously, this is too coincidental.  Even if the umpire didn’t see the catcher interference, he would have heard it.  You could see an immediate reaction out of the Anaheim dugout; if they could hear it, you know the ump could hear it.

Now I’m not about to jump on the Tim McCarver and Joe Buck bandwagon and start listing each mistake made by the crew in tonight’s game; but this particular missed call really hurt.  I would like to reiterate a fact that we all need to become aware of:  A.J. Pierzynski cheats.  

Friday, October 14, 2005

If A Frog Had Wings..........

posted by IntrinsicBent

.......he wouldn't bump his butt. That is the sanitized version of the Okie wisdom my Dad used to drop on me whenever I'd start a sentence with the word if. Then there was the version that had something to do with my Aunt being my Uncle, or something like that. And that was scary because after all, we were living in Oklahoma.

That came back to me tonight while listening to the Angels post game radio show. I had a conference I attended and had to miss the game. On the way home, I pieced the game together based on the talking heads and callers on the radio.

I've noticed all year long, that commentators, fans, and sports talk dudes have been very eager to go rat and bail off the ship after losing more than one game in a row.

This started the "if we would have kept Glaus", or "wish we had Eckstein" brand of conversation.

Tonight we were full of stats. Current batting stats. Year over year stat comparisons. 2002 player and stat category comparisons. The sky is falling because we don't have Colon for tomorrow.

How soon we forget and lose our faith. It's not totally the fans' or even the talking heads' fault. For years we were teased with decent Angels teams that threatened to take us to the promise land and then faded. But that was then........and this is now Pony Boy.

This is supposed to be the fun time of year y'all. I'm pretty sure that the Devil Rays would love to be down 2-1 in the second round of playoffs at their home yard right about now. At least we wouldn't have to listen to Piniella trying to do his weak attempt at Vin Scully right about now.

So let's agree that it's ok to sit back, enjoy the ride, wear red, and believe in the power of the monkey. The monkey factor alone makes us unstoppable. We could roll out Sciosia to pitch and win as long as the monkey was there to jump around.

One last parting shot: Nice decision making Oakland in rehiring the manager you ran just last week. I can smell another Michael Lewis book in the making: "Billy Ball, Steinbrenner's Memories of Mishandling Managers". Sad.

Totally Ridic

posted by IntrinsicBent

Red Sox fan = Turret’s Syndrome sufferer

Let me set the scene for you:

I’m sitting in a sports restaurant in Herndon Virginia Monday night watching the deciding game in the Angels/Yankees matchup. There are three Angels fans, including myself at my table. The air is tense because we’ve already made our allegiance known by shouting YES! And other typical dude utterances at inappropriate decibal levels.

Then the Yanks score and there’s a lot of boisterous standing up and yelling at our direction, as if they’d won the series in that early inning. Yankee fans are the same no matter where you go.

Then, just as the roar dies down, one lone voice is heard in the corner blurting out, “RED SOX!!!.”


The whole packed place began to roll in laughter.

The rest of the week, my colleagues and I (the intelligent Halo Fans) would randomly blurt out “RED SOX!!!” whenever it was quiet and then laugh our brains out like we were 11. Yeah, I know I’m 43, but some things are just funny at the time. I don’t care who you are.

BoSox fan is like a kid that’s been neglected for most of his life. Then he does something special and gets love like he’s never experienced before. And then he’s quickly forgotten again. Then he desperately seeks the attention high he knew before by doing smooth things like yelling out, “RED SOX!!!” in a restaurant where he’s the lone loser.

If you’re scratching your head thinking this is not funny, just trust me, it is. And I haven’t let you down yet.

The Most Valuable Season?

posted by IntrinsicBent

Change is inevitable.  Some say it’s the only constant.  Others say only babies like it.  I file it in the “bend or break” category.  Change does get tougher as you get older.  That is, unless you swim forward like crazy as if life is the ultimate adventure that it is, you go backwards.  There’s no resting.  You’re either running forward in the marathon or slipping back to the rest of the pack about to go over the falls behind you.  There’s no dogpaddling to keep your place.  It’s called maturity y’all.  And much of it is a choice.  

Dude, that’s like a $495 motivational seminar right there.  You’ve already paid for your subscription with that nugget of a paragraph.  The Frappe is nothing, if not inspirational.

So anyway, I’m hitting my zenith as an oldie uber geek wannabe.  I’m typing this on a flight to the dreaded Beast Coast for a mandatory corporate meeting.  Change is all around me.  The Frappe doesn’t deal with points obvious, like having to do the security hokey pokey ever since 9/11.  Instead consider the $5 flight ham and crème cheese sandwich on raisin bread.  Or the $3 snack box.  Hey, didn’t airlines used to have at least one female air hostess?  And on top of all this new skool input, you know what movie they show?  Young Frankenstein!  Is that really change?  Or a weird time warp?  One thing that doesn’t seem to ever change is the ability to buy a low quality t-shirt at a dress shirt price in the airport.

As the NBA begins it’s preseason, will last season prove to be the Most Valuable Laker Season?  I wonder if the pain from the changes of last season are still fresh enough to spur excellence?  There’s the usual Laker hatin’ going on and on about them being a non playoff team.  Some have them at the bottom of the pile.  Brother please!  

Last year we started out decent and then had a season with poor acting and story plots that Days of our Lives couldn’t touch.  Was it a dream or was Rudy Tomjanovich really a Lakers coach?  Weird.

Can Phil and Kobe put aside the book and their bad blood?  Will Kobe listen to him?  Does Kobe listen to anyone?  Will Phil’s triangle be able to isolate him so he’s not carrying four opponents with him to the basket?  Can Lamar step up and play like the multi talented seven footer that he is?  Will Kwame work hard and listen, and play well with others?  Will Vlade retire (please)?  Will the other players and retreads accept their roles?

Will we really get Yao or Amare in the next couple years?  Uh, usually a new long term contract puts a damper on that.  Will we really make a trade for KG or Latrelle?  Uh, no and who knows.  According to some, Buss and Kupchak are just biding their time until LeBron is a free agent.  The rumor mill’s a funny and sometimes ridiculous media.

I think we will make progress this year, and as an optimist think we could back into the playoffs.  Yeah, I know that’s absurd, but what do you expect from someone who lived through the Sedale Threatt years?  And I never, ever, ever donned a Bulls jersey during that period.  Ever.  That’s old skool loyalty.  

Those turncoats who bled red with Bulls “pride” during the 90’s are the same spazzes that ran around in SoCal when we were in the playoffs with 13 Lakers Flags beating the crud out of their ’87 Monte Carlo roof paint.  I’m on to you bandwagoners.  And you know who you are.  Odds are, you’re all about the Spurs right now.

We’ll be back, trust me.  And I will too.  To say I told you so.


Strike 3

posted by BiCoastal Bias

By now, at least 36 hours later, you’ve seen the replay a dozen times; you’ve listened to commentators agree and disagree on every aspect; and you’ve interrupted at least one conversation at the water cooler to put your two cents in: did he catch strike three or not? By the time my head hit the pillow on the night of Game 2 between the Angels and White Sox, I had already become sick to my stomach over the outcome, and had heard enough. And yet, here at the Sports Frappe, we’ve been inundated with requests for our take on this controversy. As always, we give the Frappers what they want.

I’ve watched Jim Rome tell me that the ball was definitely caught, no questions asked. I’ve listened to John Kruk explain that a veteran catcher would’ve tagged Pierzynski out regardless of whether he caught it or not. I’ve read blogs by Angels’ fans calling for the head of the home plate umpire on a platter; I’ve sifted through a blog out of Wayne’s World country, (Aurora, Illinois) claiming that expert video analysis proves the ball hit the dirt.

First of all, let’s outline what is not the issue. The issue is not whether or not Josh Paul caught strike 3 cleanly. This would assume that baseball operates on an objective reality that we can all agree upon, which it doesn’t. Baseball operates on what the umpires see, or think they see. There is no instant replay like the NFL, and there probably never will be. Think about it, have you ever received a clear definition of where exactly “the strike zone” is? We all wait for the ump to make a call, and we react based on that.

But what about when the umpire doesn’t make any call? That’s really what this controversy is about. Even the infamous Doug Eddings admits to this, stating: "I should have either said, 'No catch,' or, if I did have a catch, that he was out. Which I never said: 'He's out.'" As far as I know, there’s nothing in the baseball rule book for what to do when the umpire just plain doesn’t make a call. It would be like playing Bingo with a bunch of senior citizens, but the guy pulling the numbers decides to just keep that information to himself instead of calling it over the cheap intercom system. Can you imagine the bedlam that would break out? I guarantee it would be bigger than Scioscia’s argument Wednesday night.

But that discussion was for yesterday, today is a day to move forward. For you Angel-fans reading this, here are the reasons we should not be upset over Game 2 anymore.

  • First of all, we didn’t have a win stolen from us. The ball game was tied, and as long as Mark Buehrle (a.k.a. guy from the O.C.) was pitching, the Angels would not have taken the lead. From the looks of things, this guy was ready to go all 18 innings. (Side note: this is a reason that Sox fans should be upset, you were robbed of seeing Buehrle continue his masterful performance.) The Halos would have wasted their entire bullpen, while the already rested White Sox got only more rest.

  • What more instigation does a team need for the rest of the series, especially going back to Anaheim? I get chills thinking about how loud the crowd is going to be tonight. There is nothing better than something like this to motivate your squad early in the series. Especially now that the Angels have finally had a travel day to rest up, and will surely come out firing on all cylinders.

So that’s the Frappe’s take on it. And one last thing: there was nothing wrong with my hat, so don’t even try to blame this whole fiasco on me and my head wear.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Athlete by Day, Fox Comedian by Night

posted by BiCoastal Bias

This is our second installment of this newest, wildly popular Sports Frappe segment. Our contestants today are Jose Contreras, starting pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, and Bernie Mac, host of his own Fox comedy series. "Mr. Money," the Frappe's most loyal commenter, contributed this one and we liked it. It may appear that we are picking on the White Sox pitching staff, which we promise is unintentional. We at the Frappe would love to see Fox run an episode of the "Bernie Mac Show" in which Bernie Mac is played by Jose Contreras. We think that would be hilarious.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Game 5

posted by BiCoastal Bias

This is my live journal of Game 5 between the Angels and the Yankees.  What you are about to experience is the pure emotions of a fan watching a big game at home.

7:56      I’m so nervous, if the game doesn’t start now I might lose my dinner.  What I hate about playoff baseball is that there is no pre-game show.  Fox is showing a Simpsons rerun, ESPN is talking about MNF, and I’m biting my nails with no one to talk to.  I keep telling myself that Colon is a gamer, the man will out-pitch whoever he’s up against, and that the Angels will learn from their mistakes against Mussina . . . but it doesn’t help, the game needs to start now.

8:15     Finally!  I didn’t think I could take it anymore.  I busied myself by trying to decide whether I should where the Angels hat while on the field, or while at bat.  I decided on wearing the cap while the team is on the field . . . you know, since that’s when they’re wearing their caps.  Okay, one serious prediction for this game, Vladimir is going to come up big.  Remember that game-tying grand slam in last year’s ALDS?  Something like that, but hopefully game-winning.

8:23     Another thing I hate about playoff baseball, the announcers don’t know the teams, but they continue to talk about them like they do.  According to McCarver, Guerrero didn’t run hard after Sheffield’s grounder which is why Jeter was able to take third.  Not true, Guerrero always runs like that, every time I see him leg out a grounder I swear he must’ve pulled a hammy.  My cousin says if he grew up in the states he probably would’ve been strapped into leg braces Forrest Gump style.

8:26     End of the first half inning:  That’s a big strikeout against Matsui, I like the way this one’s starting.

8:35     Cano is up.  This kid is really impressive.  You’ve got to be a gnarly athlete to make it through the Yankees’ farm system.

8:36     Uh oh, Scioscia is coming out to see Colon.  I think I’m going to be sick.  He takes the weakest warm up pitch I’ve ever seen.  For some reason that made Scioscia feel better but it leaves me incredibly queasy.  Bud Black just got Ervin Santana up in the bullpen, I like that idea, this kid’s gonna be a Yankee killer.

8:38     Colon is done, and not one pitch too soon, Cano would’ve bounced the next one off of the right field foul pole.  Bring on Santana!!!

8:53     1-0 Yankees.  Guerrero’s throw was so close, just a little more online and Bernie is toast.  Santana needs to get out of this inning now or else he might never settle down.

9:02     Okay, down 2-0, going into the bottom of the second, I can handle this.  The Yankees came back from 2-0 last night, we can do it tonight.

9:05     Almost forgot to take my hat off . . .

9:06     Garrett Anderson homerun – all because I took my hat off!!!

9:17     That’s Angel baseball!  I have never been so happy about watching two men collide.  A great hit by Kennedy, but credit that play to the Angels’ fans, making so much noise that Crosby and Sheffield couldn’t communicate.  The Angels take the lead, Mussina had to throw twenty some pitches, and Santana’s settling down in the dugout.  We’re flying high.

9:44     Sacrifice fly by GA makes it 4-2.  I just realized I haven’t breathed deeply for a full inning.

10:03     Top of the 4th, quick inning by Santana featuring only a bunt hit by Crosby.  We’re up 5-2 and on cruise control as long as I can remember to take on and off my hat every half inning.

10:16     Top of the fifth: two leadoff hitters aboard with no outs.  Not surprisingly, the television announcers, (who will remain nameless) criticize the Angels’ management for not having someone up in the bullpen.  This is so annoying to me.  Part of the reason the Angels have such an amazing pitching staff is that their coaches know how to use them.  Just because Santana plunks A-Rod and Giambi squeaks a grounder by Erstad is no reason to panic and waste your bullpen in the fifth.

10:21     Santana proves me right, but thanks to a sketchy call about Cano being out of the basepath.  Is it just me or has Cano really gotten screwed by the umps this series?  He gets called for taking his foot off of second base in game 2, one of those situations where it’s the right call, but who knows why the ump decided to call it then and not any other time for the whole season.  Now he gets called out for running inside the line on his way to first base after a passed ball.  He finally looked like a rookie, throwing a mini-tantrum on his way out to the field.

10:36     Darin Erstad gets the award for ugliest slide ever.  The way he was clutching his knee, I was afraid he tore an ACL or something, but I guess he just had to adjust his brace.

10:52     Top of the 7th: Jeter hits a homer to make it 5-3.  Why?  Because I went to the bathroom and didn’t get back in time to put my hat on.  I apologize.

11:00     Santana out, Escobar in.  What is the deal with the Angels’ bullpen and that eyewear that reminds me of the safety goggles my eighth grade science teacher wore during labs?  Escobar, K-Rod, and Donnelly all wear them.  Sure they were cool back in the day compared to the big clunky ones us Jr. Highers had to wear, but I don’t see the attraction outside the context of a “Let’s find out what temperature water boils at” type experiment.  

11:03     Those are two big outs from Escobar: getting Sheffield on a fly to right, and then Matsui to pop out with a man on second.  Escobar might not be able to get out of the bullpen come next season.

11:21      Top of the eighth, two outs, Angels bring in Frankie Rodriguez.  This makes me nervous; and predictably, my dad calls me from the game to tell me how nervous he is.

11:25     I never doubted him I swear.  You have to understand, for whatever reason, my dad has this conflicted relationship with closers, (which has been passed on to me, unfortunately).  He loved Troy Percival when he was a setup man for Lee Smith, then suddenly never trusted him when he took over the ninth inning duties.  It’s the same story now with K-Rod.  I can’t really explain why, except that he reminds me of the disenchanted fan in Major League 2, who heckles Charlie Sheen’s character, Rick “the Wild Thing” Vaughan, throughout the season.  I guess when a closer blows a game, he really blows a game, it’s not like you’re asking him to hit a pinch hit homerun, you just want three outs from the guy.  It’s tough to trust a guy again after he blows that.

11:37     Top 9:  Lead off single by Jeter.  (Gulp)

11:38     Tell me that’s a double play ball, tell me that’s a double play ball, YES!!!  A-Rod has officially met K-Rod.  (Okay that was cheesy but words cannot express this kind of joy.)  All we need is to get Giambi . . .

11:40     Okay, we didn’t get Giambi, all we need is to get Sheffield . . . (My breathing now resembles Jodie Foster’s in that final scene of “Silence of the Lambs.”)

11:42     Ughhh, Sheffield’s chopper was pure luck!  All we need is to get Matsui . . .

11:45     Too close, I’m not sure if my heart has started back up yet.  BUT WE DID IT!!!  That’s why you have a gold glove firstbaseman.  Kevin Millar wouldn’t have made that play.  Maybe we should just give Chicago game one of the ALCS so that we can get a full night’s sleep tonight.  

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Search for the Scapegoat

posted by BiCoastal Bias

When did we, as sports fans, start to look for scapegoats before the game is even lost?  According to Boston sports talk, Tony Graffanino’s “Buckner-esque” error has already cost the Red Sox the series.  According to Angels-fan message boards, Garrett Anderson should have definitely had Robinson Cano’s double in the first inning of game one.  I’m sure Jake Peavy’s fractured rib is becoming a sore spot for more of San Diego than just him.  

How little confidence do you have in your team when you are already formulating a scapegoat before the series is even over?  Is it some sort of sacrifice to the baseball gods?  It’s as if once you lose a series, if there’s someone that is run out of town with the entire team’s guilt upon his back, the rest of the team and city is allowed to move on and put it all behind them.

The thing about the scapegoat is how much reality gets twisted in the process of forming them.  If you listen to the way the media talks about Wednesday night’s game, you’d think Graffanino personally gave up the homerun to Iguchi.  Graffanino missed a ground ball, it cost his team an out, (I doubt they would have gotten a double play even if he would have fielded the ball).  It would not have gotten the Sox out of the inning.  Does anyone remember that Buckner’s error only resulted in tying the game, someone else had to give up the game winning hit?  Do Angel fans remember that Donnie Moore’s gopher ball to Dave Henderson in 1986, the “one strike away” pitch, only tied the game, and that it was only game 5 of the series at that?  We choose a scapegoat, we re-write the story so that he is solely responsible for the loss, and we start preparing for next year.  

Maybe this practice has become such a tradition that I shouldn’t even try to mess with it, but I think we’re going a little overboard.  Can’t we wait until our team actually loses before we choose a whipping boy?  And before next year, perhaps we could seriously consider bringing back the “sacrificial lamb;” we could burn off all of that frustration over a hearty plate of lamb chops, and let our players return next year in peace.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Athlete by Day, Fox Drama Heartthrob by Night

posted by BiCoastal Bias

This is our very first installment of “Athlete by Day, Fox Drama Heartthrob by Night,” a new segment we thought up in one of our daily Sports Frappe production meetings. Basically, this is a result of watching sports on Fox, but having to put up with the endless commercials promoting the rest of Fox’s lame programming, (yes, I still watch these shows, but at least I know how lame it is). When you fall asleep in front of the television, the two things start to run together in your head, and you come up with brilliant recognitions that no one else has made before. This first one: Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox obviously spends his free time playing Ryan Atwood of “The O.C.” Look at these two and tell me they aren’t twins separated at birth!

Monday, October 03, 2005

MLB takes a page (and a letter) from NFL

posted by BiCoastal Bias

It’s Monday. The regular season ended yesterday, and the playoffs begin tomorrow. It’s a time to reflect on the winning of playoff spots; and a time to feed high hopes of World Series glory.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit disappointed with the way this season wrapped up. When did Major League baseball take a page out of the NFL’s book, having divisions won by who has the best season series record? While most would agree that the NFL is a much better organization than MLB on the whole, (with functional revenue sharing, a salary cap, and a respectable drug policy), their tiebreaker policies don’t allow for the most exciting ending to otherwise sterling seasons; which is exactly what happened Saturday afternoon, with the Yankees winning the AL East because Chicago won a game in Cleveland, a fact most of the Yankee squad was oblivious to, with the exception of Derek Jeter. For any of you who didn’t take the time to find out exactly what the rules are, the Frappe has your back: teams will only play one-game tiebreakers if either team is in danger of not entering the postseason altogether. In the case of the Yankees – Red Sox rivalry, the Yankee victory combined with the Indian loss assured them a playoff spot, and since the Yankees led the season series between themselves and the Red Sox, they were thus guaranteed the division title. Yuck. I was about halfway through formulating an MLB / Yankee conspiracy theory, until I discovered that the same season series logic gave the Angels homefield advantage for the first-round.

I’m not writing to propose a better tie-break system. I guess I should be glad that the rules still allow for one game playoffs under certain conditions. If there’s anyone we should take our aggression out on, it’s the Cleveland Indians. If this team wouldn’t have collapsed against the White Sox second string, we could have had a three way tie for two playoff spots, giving us two consecutive days of teams fighting for their postseason lives!!! Instead we’re left with an AL East wildcard for the third consecutive year; and whereas three weeks ago it looked like we’d see a lot of fresh playoff faces, 6 out of 8 playoff teams are returning from last year. Yes, I know, the Yankees Red Sox rivalry is the biggest in current professional sports, but I was kind of hoping for a new ALCS matchup now that the curse has officially been reversed.

On a different note, I noticed this headline on ESPN’s website today: “Yanks angry at Showalter for pulling stars vs. Angels.” On Sunday, the Texas Rangers removed three of their starters in the third inning, aiding the Angels’ comeback win; which, coupled with the Yankees' loss, means the Yankees have to start the playoffs in Anaheim instead of New York. The article featured this quote: “There's a code of honor when so much is on the line," Alex Rodriguez told the New York Daily News. "You hope people do the right thing. But you can't control what people do." What??? It’s asinine comments like this that make it harder and harder not to hate one of the best all around players in baseball. I’m starting to think it’s possible that A-Rod’s statement was taken out of context - it could have actually been directed at this own manager. After all, the Indians still had a playoff hope if New York would have beaten Boston; but instead, Joe Torre used 17 position players, removing almost every single one of his starters, (including A-Rod), resulting in a 10 to 1 shelling by Boston. None of this even takes into account the fact that New York could have won homefield advantage for themselves without needing any help from Texas, if they just would have showed up for that game.

I’m comforted by the knowledge that the Yankees will get what they deserve, a clean sweep by the surging Angels. Some other predictions for you Frappers: Atlanta will actually get past the first round and San Diego will actually make it interesting before Albert Pujols has the nation forgetting what was so great about Beltran’s playoff performance last year. As for the battle between different colors of laundry, anything can happen in that 5 game set, and anything will happen. Let October begin.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

My Bad

posted by IntrinsicBent

I have to admit my soon to be 44 year old eyes aren’t as strong as they used to be. I’m starting to do that old dude, hold stuff away to read thing. Maybe my Mom was right after all about the penalty of crossing my eyes all the time trying to be the funny guy. It seems like it would have kicked in sooner though.

The betrayal this week by my peepers though almost led me to quit blogging and probably having anything to do with sports ever again. I was reading a headline that I thought read something like, “Dick Vermeil Says Milking Of Players During Games Should Stop.”


Then my incessant need to have an opinion on everything kicked in and I thought, “Well, heck yeah, that should be stopped immediately!”

And then I reverted back to …….. What!?!

I was filled with disgust and audibly said, “That’s it, I’m done.” So I backed out of the web page I was looking at and was headed to my blogger sign in page. I was going to change my password randomly by closing my eyes and typing keys so I could never, ever Frappe again.

And that’s when I thought I better double check the headline again. Oh……….….it says Miking. My bad!