Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I'm That Dude

posted by IntrinsicBent

Yep, I can’t deny it. I’m the front yard holiday mascot blowup dude that lives on your block. I know, I have a problem and am now willing to admit it. That’s the first step, right? I don’t mean to brag, but this year I will achieve an almost perfect state of Griswold. Clark would be proud. And I suspect that Cousin Eddie would too.

I was driving around with the fam over the weekend and we had to do that goofy quick right turn because there was the draw of intense illumination we were about to pass on a side street. They were in awe, but I was unimpressed. Haughty? I’d say educated. Snobbish, I say experienced. Jealous? No way. It was totally prefab, with no continuity of theme or color. When they tried to freehand, nothing was proportional. Commercialism. What a drag.

The official decoration season does not follow the calendar year. It starts with the standing 8’ turkey that comes out November 1st. Then while the turkey sandwiches are still flowing as close to Thanksgiving as possible, the 8’ Santa and complementary 8’ Tree make their appearance. Along with all the red and green trimmings baby. It’s a visual gallery of festivity. Then the season concludes with an 8’ Uncle Sam for the quick setup and putaway for the 4th of July. It takes that long for my neighborhood to recover from my Christmas bonanza. And for me to pay off my utility bill.

So, tonight I made the mistake of dwelling on the Lakers loss to the Spurs while I’m shutting down the bonanza (I was sick two days over the weekend and have yet to finish, much less setup my intricate electrical distribution system complete with timers). While I’m watching Santa and the Tree kiss the dirt during deflation, all of a sudden my mind does this weird combo meld.

What I desperately need are some sports mascot self inflating decorations to fill my gaps during various sports seasons. I could have the A.C. Green pulling down a rebound. Or best yet, the ultimate dominant Lakers center presentation: Mikan, Wilt, Lew (Kareem), Shaq, and Mihm. I’m kidding on the Mihm of course.

Baseball season would see Mike Sciosa striking that emotionless pose behind his dugout desk. Or Tim Salmon at the plate. Or Frankie Rodriguez pointing at the sky after closing a game. Lurking around the corner of my house could be none other than Nolan Ryan in fresh California Angels gear in mid windup. I’d find a place for Konerko.

For football, I would have to wait until the Saints make it official and I research my new favorite team.

A big huge red OU monument would look great in my front yard Hall of Fame. I hate to even mention OU, ‘cuz I have this one certain power pom pom wielding friend that drills me with USC gloat everytime he remembers I’m a Sooner. Better times are ahead my friends.

I’d need some UFC dudes, delivering roundhouse kicks, dropping people on their heads, and wrestling like chimps. Yeah, I don’t know what that last one means either. But it’s a funny visual.

You could have NHL players sitting around in strike mode watching TV, and you could have soccer players running around filling the chip bowls and pouring sodas.

I guess this sickness comes from my love of the ginormous balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade growing up. Underdog was always the highlight for me. And yes, I know that these holidays mean more than decorations and ornaments. But I’ll take being Clark Griswold anyday over sitting in the center of the mall waiting for the remainder of my shopping party to finish purchasing women’s unmentionables.

Or trying to outwrestle a grown man for a dvd player in the middle of WalMart.

I guess I better get back to the excellent upcoming new skool vs. old skool piece on this year’s Colts. The Frappe editors are crawling on my back to get it out.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Give Us A Tie-Break

posted by BiCoastal Bias

As of the end of Sunday afternoon’s NFL games, week 12 featured 4 overtime games.  The Rams put away Houston on a 56 yard overtime pass; Denver hit a 24 yard field goal to take down Dallas; Tomlinson knocked out Washington with a 41 yard run up the middle; and finally the Seahawks hit a field goal after the Giants missed three of them to end a pitiful display of NFC “powerhouses.”

You would think that this would beget an amazing Thanksgiving weekend of football . . . but you would be wrong.  Why?  Because the NFL overtime rules are a mockery of the most popular league in the states.  Ending a football game by sudden death is about as satisfying as playing Casino War, (translation: it’s lame).  

In case you didn’t know, both college and high school football have got the overtime rules right.  Give each team turns with the ball on the 25 yard line, and see what they can do.  The first team to score less than the other in any round loses.  It’s exciting, both the scoring and the strategy behind it.  It makes me look forward to overtime, something I can’t say for the NFL rules.  In the NFL, the first team to get the ball on the other team’s 25 and then play conservatively enough to tee the ball up for the kicker will win, (unless that kicker is Jay Feely).  

In all of the aforementioned games, the winning team did NOT play better than the loser.  Some played significantly worse, but all happened to catch a break in the OT quarter to squeak by.  More significantly, the result was that my pick for each of these games was wrong.  For a moment, I questioned my own prognosticator skills.  But then I decided that the blame for this falls squarely on the shoulders of the NFL tiebreaker, and then I got even angrier because these very rules made me question my own football brilliance.  

Luckily, I’m not a gambler, otherwise this blog might be filled with four-letter words; and we try to keep it clean here at the Frappe.  I did find one redeeming thing to say about the current NFL rules.  At the end of today’s Seahawks-Giants match up, both teams were playing so poorly, I found myself rooting for a tie.  Both of these teams deserved to be kissing their sisters more than they deserved to take over the top spot in the NFC.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Daytime Programming and Other Stuff

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Sometime in the last couple weeks, I was standing in line to pick up a slice of cheese pizza, when I noticed that ESPN was on the TV above the counter, showing a Houston Astros’ press conference.  There was obviously something funny about the whole presentation, but the sound was muted so I was having trouble figuring out what exactly was going on.  (This brings up an entirely different issue – what is the deal with sports bars and fast food joints playing daytime sports talk segments with no sound?  I’m stuck watching an ugly guy talk, making vague conclusions on what his opinion is based on his facial expressions and the reactions of his colleagues.)  Getting back to the press conference, it had a Saturday Night Live feel to it.  All of the reporters raise their hands to speak, but then all sit back down immediately while one of them poses a question.

A couple days later, I was at home when ESPN ran a similar segment, this time a Los Angeles Dodgers’ press conference, and I had the phenomenon explained to me.  What Sportscenter is doing is a mock press conference, in which one employee will pretend to be the GM of a team, and then their reporters ask questions to which the mock-GM responds to the best of his knowledge.  They are fully honest that these presentations are a farce, as long as you have the volume on to hear it.  And it’s actually a pretty good format for getting information to the viewers.  You can get the scoop on various free agents and trade speculations, without dealing with the typical give them something but not everything approach of a normal press conference.  

Which reminds me, I think what’s truly funny about this broadcast approach is that it is a clever inversion to what the White House has been known to do.  Last year, Bush’s boys got busted for planting a fake reporter in press conferences to lob slow-pitch questions for the representative to hit out of the park.  (More embarrassment for the White House ensued when it turned out this fake reporter was also a male prostitute, but I won’t go there.)  So whereas the White House plants reporters in their fake press hearings, ESPN keeps all the reporters real, but replaces the authority behind the podium with their own.  

Maybe someone else could go on to make a clever contrast between sports and politics; I just think the whole thing is kind of funny.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Turkey Day Competition

posted by IntrinsicBent

We at the Sports Frappe sincerely hope that you are enjoying this day reflecting on God’s blessings in your life, family, food, and football. Have safe travels as you go over the river and through the woods this week. For our international readers, that’s a song we used to sing in………well, never mind.

On this special day, I have a bone to pick.

As the reigning representative of the Old Skool in the Frappe, sometimes our readers expect me to be an inflexible purist that desperately holds on to the past at all costs. Not close to being true. I’m a huge proponent of not continuing to do something just because it’s the way it’s always been done. In business, that kind of inflexibility will end with belly up results.

So let’s take a look at our tradition in the NFL of the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys always playing games on Thanksgiving. Cowboy and Lion fan are going to hate this from the get go.

I already mentioned that Thanksgiving is synonymous with family, food, and football. The football component is in need of an overhaul.

Why should we continue gambling with this special marquee day by holding to this tradition of running the same two teams out every year?

A perfect example was today’s Lions game against the Falcons. 27-7 Falcons. It doesn’t seem possible, but even this lopsided score doesn’t fully tell how soon we knew this game was done. Early first quarter.

We need to move in a direction that will better assure that the best possible product is on our screens as we nod in and out of a tryptophan enduced stupor. A workable flex schedule needs to be devised that provides Thanksgiving games that mean something in the season’s scheme of things. At this point each year, we see the playoff landscape quickly coming into view.

This must be harder to accomplish than I think. A flex schedule has been volleyed around in the past two years in regards to Monday Night Football. ABC and the NFL have evidently abandoned any hope for a creative refurb since they are taking the MNF franchise to cable next season on ESPN. They will lose the rabbit ear free tv segment of viewers in the process.

I’ll admit that the Cowboys and Broncos at least made it watchable. But again, this game did not come close to having any postseason implications either.

I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday. Here’s a Sports Frappe food preparation tip. Make sure you use extra mayonnaise on your turkey sandwiches.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The NEW New York Yankees

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Sometime last week, the Florida Marlins let it be known that they’d like to get rid of Mike Lowell’s contract, and they’d be willing to part with Josh Beckett to do so.  It sounded like a creative plan.  There isn’t a large market team out there that wouldn’t trade for Josh Beckett, so surely one of them would be willing to take on the expensive underachieving third baseman for two more years.  In fact, this trade proposal had the stench of New York Yankees all over it, I expected Steinbrenner’s crew to jump on it, like George Costanza on an unemployment check.  But a different team stepped in and appears to have agreed to a trade, the Boston Red Sox, a.k.a. the new New York Yankees.

Now unfortunately for you BoSox fans out there, I don’t mean that in the sense of owning half of the last decade’s World Series rings.  I mean that in the sense of a franchise on the decline because they’ve traded their entire farm system.  Boston had to give up Hanley Ramirez in order to complete this trade, the pride and joy of what was left in the Red Sox minor leagues.  They threw in a couple more prospects as well.  Red Sox fans are taking solace in the fact that they didn’t have to give up their top pitching prospect John Lester as well.  This just proves to me how decimated the Sox farm system really is; out of all those levels of minor league ball, there were only two names worth mentioning.  And now they’re down to one.  

It ought to be clear to just about everyone that the Yankees are paying for similar mistakes.  They’ve poured enough money into veterans that they’ll always have a winning squad; but whereas five to ten years ago they were able to add the missing piece at the trade deadline, sealing the coffins of the rest of the American League, the last couple years have seen teams not even interested in discussing trades with them, on the premise that the Yankees have no prospects left to give.  How has this practice played out?  In 2003 - a World Series loss.  2004 featured the unforgettable ALCS collapse, while 2005 spelled defeat in the first round.  

Now don’t get me wrong, the Red Sox will be a better team next season with Josh Beckett, (and Mike Lowell, for that matter).  But it won’t be long before an empty farm system catches up to them.  Much has been said about team chemistry and leadership in the Frappe, lately.  When all of your new faces are coming from outside organizations, you’ll be running short in both of those categories.  You’d better hope moves like this one pay off now, Boston, because the lonely path to playoff mediocrity has already been cleared.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Terrell = Chad?

posted by IntrinsicBent

On the surface, there are many similarities between the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengal Chad Johnson and the recently deposed Philadelphia Eagles Terrell Owens.

Both are seemingly brash, megatalented receivers at the top of the collective wide out heap. In sports, this combination always produces a strange mix of love and hate. Much like the Sports Frappe itself. You love that we’re almost always right, but hate to admit it.

We love our sports heroes to run their smack, and then go compete and back it up. On the other hand, we have a sick enjoyment in seeing these heroes talk trash and then go out and fall on their face. Much depends on how likeable the personality is and whether or not the player is on your team.

Back in my day, the prime example was Cassius Clay, who became Mohammed Ali. Ali might not have been the originator of smack, but he at least refined it. In his prime, Ali won the mental battle against his opponents well before they stepped into the ring. Up until a couple of years ago, Joe Frazier would still state his dislike of Ali. He got in his head.

Nowadays you hear smack roll out of athletes’ mouths before they’ve even accomplished anything. Some that make this mistake never make a mark on their sport. Used correctly, smack can be used to war against an opponent mentally by distracting them or causing them to lose focus. Concentrate on the player, and you lose track of the game.

Another productive use is motivation for yourself or your teammates. It’s like when you have that big sales call and you check your hair in the mirror right before you go in and utter, “You bad” to pump yourself up to get the close. By the way, make sure you’re alone when you do this. If another dude is around, you’re sure to the “big idiot” look. Worse yet, if you do it in mixed company, or in front of a lady, you’re sure to get the “big alien” look. Remember, it’s a Mars and Venus thing.

Here’s where T.O. and Johnson delineate. While both work hard to keep themselves at the top of their profession and deliver on their words, Johnson has not yet crossed the line to where he seems to thrive simply on showing up his professional opponents, disrespecting the game, or chipping on his quarterback, coach and other teammates.

Where T.O. travels most of the football field after a touchdown and tramples the opponents’ logo in their stadium, Johnson keeps a list of opponents on his locker with a checklist that will get checked if he gets stopped by one of them.

Where T.O. badmouths his coach, Johnson submits to his coach’s authority when his coach replaces a special Ravens list with one of his own. (The Ravens list was made especially for the Ravens because he felt they are the best defense player for player).

Where T.O. disrespects his quarterback in San Francisco and then Philly, Johnson applauds Carson Palmer as one of the up and coming superstars in the NFL.

Both players have end zone celebrations that can either be plain stupid or stupid funny. Resuscitating the football, using the football as a phone, or remote, pulling out a sharpie, or picking up pom poms from a cheerleader and going rah rah.

Entertainment or disrespect for the game?

The importance of team and team chemistry are vastly overshadowed these days by individual accomplishment. My constructive comment when I coached team youth sports was that this is fine. If you’re playing golf, or singles tennis. Trust me, the first week in Little League practice is spent telling little Jimmy to stop telling Little Kevin that he’s better than he is. In youth sports, making the whole team run laps when someone demonstrates non team behavior results in the team regulating the behavior. After some vomiting that is (sorry that I forgot to display the graphic take warning).

I think the pro football showboat test should be as follows:

Anytime we have this question, we send the player back in a time machine to play against Ray Nitschke or Dick Butkus (in their primes). After the player scores a touchdown and does their celebration, send them on a pattern across the middle on the next offensive play. If they get blasted, it is disrespectful. If not, it’s entertainment. Wait a minute though, don’t we consider hard hits in the middle entertainment?

Oh well, I think you catch my drift.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

And The MVP Is...........

posted by IntrinsicBent

Knowledge Droppings: Alex Rodriguez is the American League MVP (Most Valuable Player if you didn't know) beating out David Ortiz by 24 points in the voting. Will a Designated Hitter ever win the MVP?

BiCoastal Bias: The answer is yes hypothetically, but not anytime soon. It’s yes because if A-Rod had hit just a few less homers last season, that MVP is Ortiz’s hands down, DH or not, the closeness of the vote shows that. But the fact is that in the American League, there is just too many great hitting and fielding infielders that will always have the leg up on a guy like Ortiz.

Let’s get one thing straight, the voters picked the right guy. This is coming from someone who wanted anyone except for A-Rod to win, and Big Papi is just so likeable anyways. But the standard numbers gave a slight edge to A-Rod, and even though much was made about Ortiz’s clutch performances, he didn’t exactly carry his team on the same level of Guerrero’s campaign last year or Miguel “Too-hadda-too-handle’s” run in 2002. The fact that A-Rod’s team won that division and that he plays impressive defense day in and day out just helped solidify that he was the right choice.

I’m definitely not saying that designated hitters shouldn’t win the award – heck, I think even starting pitchers should get more votes than they do. But when the offensive numbers didn’t assure Ortiz of the prize, people were right to start talking about defense as a factor. And guess what, unless Ortiz or any other designated hitter starts putting up Barry Bonds type numbers, they’re going to finish runner-up. There’s just too many A-Rods, Tejadas, Vladimirs, and Teixeiras; guys who back up their long drives with some glove work as well; and chances are, year after year, one of these guys will be having a career season.

So will a Designated Hitter ever win the MVP? Not unless Bonds switches circuits . . .

IntrinsicBent: I see our hero and co-owner of The Frappe working. BiCoastal Bias leads with a yes, maybe, and then no. It’s like I’m always having to play my way in to have a well thought out, statistically accurate, and overall solid sports take. But I’m steppin’ up. Here we go:

You can call me a jerk (that’s the easy part), but there’s no way anyone that is called Big Papi should ever win the MVP. You do that and you’re just begging to award Mr. Snookums, and Little JoJo with some type of accolade.

Other than that, a DH should not get an MVP for the same reason a relief pitcher or closer should not get a Cy Young. They are not full time players. C’mon, even that one peanut vendor that can toss behind his back three rows down and across and still nail you in the chest works the whole game.

Ortiz should at least go out and play horrible left field like his hilarious to watch teammate Manny Ramirez. That dude will eventually be hospitalized for taking a fly ball off his melon, Canseco style. I won’t be proud when it happens, I just know it’s gonna happen.

Why can’t they pick up a few bats, or coach first every once in a while? Why does the pitching coach have to do all the work of placing the call to the bullpen? These are ways that a good DH could earn extra votes if you ask me.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually am a big fan of the DH. Truth be told some of my favorite players have been designated hitters. I just think in order to be the Most Valuable Player, you have to totally be in the trenches.

For a DH to get MVP, he’d have to hit 3 out of every 5 times at the plate in a game. Or he’d have to be such a threat that he creates sleepless nights for opposing managers, while tempting them to walk them every time they come to the plate.

To be honest with you, I have a problem with the MVP award overall. My problem is that they don’t factor in the post season into this consideration. I think it should be. The current system is like determining the winner of a marathon with two miles left. How could the postseason be fairly incorporated? Not my department. I’ll leave that to the math majors that are much smarter than I am.

Kevin Garnett Is A Man

posted by IntrinsicBent

KG is building a house a month for the next two years to support relief efforts for hurricane evacuees.  He is doing this in conjunction with Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Foundation.

Many NBA players have stepped up and done wonderful acts of kindness and charity.

We Surrender

posted by IntrinsicBent

This is today’s installment of “I Ball, Therefore I Rap.”

France’s representative in the NBA, Tony Parker, has joined the ranks of fellow pro basketball players that believe career progression includes sharing their “gift” of rap. Shaq, A.I., Kobe, and Ron Artest all went MC on us.

Word has it that he has 10 songs in the can and has a desire to produce at least 10 more. The working cd title for the finished tracks is “Top of the Game.” Alrighty, then.

I anticipate titles like, “Do Cheese Go With That Bread?”, “I Surrender”, “Bathing Sucks”, “Pancake Hat On My Head”, “I’ll Paint With You Girl”, “We Surrender”, and “Paris Inferno.” Ok, I regret the last one, and wish I could have it back. The Frappe is unforgiving like that.

Parker said, "I try to keep it on the down low (how hip!) because I don't want it to be a distraction for the team." "I want to show Pop (referring to Coach Greg Popovich) basketball is still my main focus."

All I know to say is, “Oui, oui, monsieur.” I believe that means, please spare us.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Give Me a Controversy Free Bowl Series

posted by BiCoastal Bias

As this college football season wraps up, I’m finding myself rooting for Texas . . . and USC . . . so basically I’m rooting for the only two unbeaten teams . . . to stay unbeaten.  What???  I know, I know, parity is great for college sports, but this season is different and I’ll explain why.  

A Rose Bowl between undefeated USC and undefeated Texas would be special not just because it would feature three Heisman candidates, but it’s one match up that the BCS just can’t screw up.  Yes, if these two teams can stay unbeaten, we would finally get a true college football championship, one without constant second guessing in the weeks leading up to it.  And if I let my mind wander, I can conveniently confuse the Big 12 with the Big 10, and what do you know, we’ve got a Rose Bowl that your grandpa would appreciate.  

An even bigger incentive to root for these two teams is to imagine what’s going to happen if one . . . or (gulp) both of them lose in the next couple of weeks.  Every team in the top ten will have a squad of commentators assigned to arguing their case to play in the #1 vs. #2 Bowl, and as a native Californian, I do not want to see my Rose Bowl made into an absolute mockery by pitting Miami against Penn State.  Seriously, if either of these two teams lose, all chaos will break loose on the set of every single one of ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” rip offs.  There will be so many angles to cover, Mel Kiper Jr.’s head might explode.  But the resounding sentiment that will echo across the nation, the same statement that gets made around the holidays more often than kids changing the words to Jingle Bells, will be:  “The BCS sucks.”

And I’m certainly not one to disagree, I’m just sick of complaining about it, and even more sick of hearing others complain about it, and when it comes down to it, I just really want to see a true championship game.  I should also add that the argument crossed my mind that if we really want the BCS to go, maybe what we need is more controversy.  I considered this for a while, and then I remembered another NCAA gaffe that’s taken place recently: the outlawing of all those Native American mascots.  About six or seven years ago, the use of these mascots seemed to be an issue that the public took genuine interest in, but the NCAA took no action on it, and pretty soon, no one really cared anymore.  Then suddenly, when even those who were allegedly offended by these mascots had forgotten all about it, the NCAA took a swift and hard line stand on the issue.  Maybe that’s what’ll happen with the BCS.  Maybe if all of us just get used to the Bowl Championship Series, and stop talking about it, in another five years we’ll have the college football playoff we all deserve.  (At this point, I’d even settle for the old bowl system, at least every bowl game mattered in its own little way back then.)

So go against your training as a good sports fan, and cross your fingers for none of the big upsets from here on out.

Gracias Por Nada

posted by IntrinsicBent

“NFL officials reach understanding with L.A. officials for Coliseum lease.”

That’s the headline I read late last week. I thought to myself, “myself, that’s awesome, we’re finally going to get a team!” I’ve only looked at the sports page every day for 10 years waiting for this moment.

Ok, I’m guilty of being a typical SoCal that really hasn’t been losing sleep because we don’t have a team. I want one. I love football. But sometime I’m easily distracted by this dream life in God’s country and other things. Hey, is that a bird? Oops, sorry. There I go again.

As I read the article, that sinking feeling returned that I’ve known for 10 years as I’ve watched the NFL mishandle and manipulate their second largest market. There have been at least 5 possible sites that have been pimped, pitted against each other, and leveraged against by much smaller and less attractive markets (can you say Houston?).

The article appeared very encouraging, and progressive. But I can decode the propaganda and hype from the reality. I will translate this article for you so you too can understand the not so lost language of Tagliabese.

So here we go:

Los Angeles is one step closer to once again fielding a National Football League team. Translation: The next league meeting is in March, and Pauly needs to show due diligence that he is progressing on a solution for filling the second largest market’s need. This also happens to line the other owners’ pockets.

NFL officials have reached a preliminary agreement with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other city officials to bring a team to the Los Angeles Coliseum, according to media reports. Translation: Preliminary, meaning nothing firm or binding. Media reports because Tags setup the photo op on the steps of City Hall in LA.

NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has met with LA Mayor Villaraigosa, Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger about bringing a team back to Southern California. Translation: Pawn #1, Pawn #2, and wow, it’d be cool to get an autograph from Terminator.

The two proposed stadium sites were a renovated Coliseum and a new stadium in Anaheim, to be built in the parking lot of Angel Stadium. Although the Coliseum has seemingly won out, Tagliabue said that he wants to draw up a "similar understanding" with Anaheim officials, so that owners will have two proposals for a Los Angeles team at the league meetings in March. Translation: Leverage, and the excuse if a deal is not worked out soon. Which one will pay more in the end?

However, the commissioner gave no definitive time frame as to when a team would be playing in Los Angeles, nor did he hint on whether the team would be an expansion team or a relocated franchise. Translation: There’s no semblance of a deal, preliminary or otherwise with any substance. No news on whether we’ll suffer with a new noncompetitive team, or a noncompetitive retread team.

I’ve said it before. One of our faithful readers has also posted about it. The Angels and Saints were meant to reside together in the same parking lot in Anaheim.

No news on whether Al Davis was considering any lawsuits.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Miami Vice

posted by IntrinsicBent

The Miami Heat announced that they would be hoisting Dan Marino’s #13 jersey to the rafters.

I know you just reread that thinking you missed something.

That’s right, NBA’s Miami Heat are hanging the NFL’s Dan Marino’s jersey in their house. My thesaurus does not have enough synonyms for sad that adequately describe this scene.

And that’s not really the worst part. It gets worse as far as the Sports Frappe is concerned.

The ONLY other shirt hanging from their ceiling is none other than Michael Jordan. The report did not mention whether this was the #23 Bulls or Wizards version, or if it was the short lived #45 Jordan sported briefly during his first Bulls NBA comeback.

How pitiful is that? I had to stop writing again for a quick laughfest.

Why not go ahead and put Shaq’s jersey up? That would be stupid, but far more understandable.

And why hate on my boy Larry Csonka? What, no love for the Old Skool? Another option would be to only have Dolphin quarterbacks in the house and raise Bob Griese or Earl Morral’s shirts.

There’s the whole University of Miami that you could thieve from as well.

You could lift Gretzky and Aaron to round out your sports offering. You could put Babe Ruth up there, or just do the dang deal and put the original fat man’s clothes up: Santa Claus. That would make as much sense. Plus there's a hat with the deal.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

New Skool Backlash

posted by BiCoastal Bias

There are few things more annoying to us new skoolers than having to listen to the old skoolers rant about the way things were . . . especially when what they are claiming is totally bogus.  

Ever heard the one about modern players not being as loyal to a team as the old timers?  My neighbor’s dog appears incredibly loyal when he’s got the choke collar on, but when the leash is off, it’s all you can do to get the little guy to sit, let alone lie down and read the morning paper.  In the same way, it’s not that the player’s are more or less loyal nowadays; it’s the system that’s different.  

For every one team – man of the last couple decades like Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr., there’s a Chipper Jones, a Derek Jeter, a Garret Anderson, or a Craig Biggio.  In fact, some of these players don’t have the blood of the 1994 strike on their heads, unlike Gwynn and Cal.  (Watch me go ultra-old school on you: Gherig still owns the consecutive games streak, since Cal walked out on ever game after August 12 of the 1994 season.)

So don’t hate on the players, don’t hate on the fans, hate the system.  The system is the reason that no NFL contract is guaranteed; and with Moneyball the prevailing baseball philosophy, proven veterans have no choice but to look elsewhere for a fair contract.  It doesn’t have to have any affect on a player’s loyalty to his current team, or to a fan’s loyalty to his team, but it’s a highly unfortunate result of the system.

Friday, November 11, 2005

To Hock Or Not To Hock

posted by Knowledge Droppings

Knowledge Droppings: In case you haven't noticed, NHL is underway once again. In fact, we're 17 games into the season. Should America be taking notice, or should the league just be moved to Canada?

BiCoastal Bias: I actually hadn’t noticed, Droppings. I would say thank you for alerting me to this fact, but I don’t know what I would be thanking you for. I’m surrounded by plenty of other great sports, sports far less likely to skip an entire season. I’d much rather watch “The Revolution” go after the MLS cup this weekend than watch an NHL game, and even if I was really in the mood for hockey, I live in Boston, a veritable hotbed for college hockey. (If that metaphor didn’t strike you as ironic, go back and read the sentence again.)

I don’t want to say that the league should be moved to Canada . . . more like returned to Canada . . . with a note that says, “Sorry we screwed up your best contribution to the sporting world, next to the funny designs on CFL footballs.” Seriously, what was the NHL thinking putting franchises in Phoenix, Nashville, and Atlanta? The very fact that the National Hockey League has a Southeast Division now tells you that someone pushed a bad idea way too far. Cities in which hockey is a sport that only the rich kids can afford to play in any capacity are not a good location for the NHL to settle, expansion teams there are guaranteed to be no more than a novelty destined to wear off around the same time everyone gets sick of watching the mascot float in from the upper rafters.

Believe it or not, the NHL could have recovered from the lockout, had they actually fixed the problems that lead to it. They should have come back this season with a 20 team league. That was the problem, wasn’t it? The NHL had overstepped its base – they had too many mouths to feed and not enough support, forcing owners to shut the whole thing down. Instead, they came back with a few rule changes intended to make the games more exciting. And while I definitely agree that the elimination of games ending in a tie was an alteration long overdue, the other subtle differences enacted aren’t going to make people come to the games in droves. The problem is that there just aren’t enough hockey fans in the very cities that these teams are trying to make money, and there probably isn’t a new rule that could change that.

Nonetheless, here we are a month into the new season, with the NHL throwing the same product at us that has already failed once. Maybe we’ll find the time to check it out somewhere between the Super Bowl and March Madness.

IntrinsicBent: I believe that hockey is America’s sport and I look forward to when it comes back next season. I’ve been anxiously awaiting it’s return after being out two seasons and was stoked to find it would be making a comeback on this post.

While waiting, I’ve discovered other high energy and popular sports to fill my time. Pro bowling is on fire. These athletes are almost as good as NASCAR drivers.

Another great one has been the spelling bee circuit. Remember when that kid in this year’s Bee (true fans refer to it as The Bee) that did that awesome Napoleon Dynamite impersonation and it seemed to terrify the geeks, er…….officials in charge? I mean, how fresh are questions like, “Can you use it in a sentence?” or “What is it’s origin?” or "Is there an alternate definition?” It’s downright spellbinding.

I have also been enjoying water polo. I mean Speedos®, dog paddling, and headgear in one action packed sport? How do you compete against that? It’s like wrestling with water and without the unitard.

Roller hockey is also awesome. It’s really as good as ice hockey except for the ice part and the talent of the players. I mean, throw it up for the Anaheim Bullfrogs, y’all.

Finally, I’ve been spending a lot of time playing Risk online with some really cool guys I met on a Star Wars chat board.

All that said, I am so glad that hockey will be coming back. I’m sure there will be a lot of hype. I think it really is my favorite sport to watch on television. Especially when Fox adds that red streak to the puck. Or is it blue?

So that’s my take. Hats off to Knowledge Droppings for letting me know that hockey will make a comeback. Everyone will be flocking back to watch those Russian and French dudes play. It's the American Way.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Turn The Page

posted by IntrinsicBent

San Diego Padres fans are freaking out at the possibility that Trevor Hoffman may not be resigned to the club. The Padres and Trevor are both trying to protect their respective futures. Boiled down this of course means money.

Hoffman is trying to get one last big money contract with as long a term as possible. And ideally retire a Padre.

The franchise on the other hand is hesitant to tie up a large amount of money for the long term on a player that is on the downside of his career. Think Detroit Tigers and Troy Percival. Thus is the state of pro sports today.

In baseball, the retirement of legends like Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. signalled the impending end of a player playing their total career wearing one logo. There are a handful of current Yankees that likely will buck this trend.

Gone are the sports days of my youth (in more ways than one) where people had pure loyalty to their team during thick and thin times. Players rarely play for one team for their whole career. Free agency and huge dollar contracts have squeezed the loyalty factor out like a well pressed and rolled toothpaste tube.

Fans are also more flighty for this and other reasons. The Sportscenter generation spawned the sensation of following the latest greatest thing shown in a human highlight spot. Nightly.

Another erosion is the proliferation of fantasy sports participation. It’s tough competition between the loyalty for your team, and the desire to have bragging rights over your fellas. I have watched many Angels games double rooting. This means rooting for the Angels to get far enough ahead so some of the opposing fantasy players which I own can sneak a homer, steal, or complete game in. It’s the premium rationalization feat.

The 13 year old IntrinsicBent would have shaken his head at an old dude selling out like that and in any way rooting against his own team. Grow up kid, the times they have a changed.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Shaq Vs. Kobe

posted by IntrinsicBent

Wait, wait, wait! Do NOT click through! The results are in on this way tired soap opera of a subject.

It seems the winner between Shaq and Kobe was actually………. Phil.

He completely got over. He got a year off on vacation, got a raise, toured to support his best selling book, and now stands to show that coaching does indeed matter.

It is WAY too early to call this Lakers’ season a success, other than the fact that some semblance of order has seemingly been restored.

It has been proven that Kobe cannot do it all by himself. Last season drove that point home….painfully. If Kobe can keep himself in line and play within the system he may get more rings, build his legacy, and possibly repair a horrendous image.

Shaq looked to have scoreboard last year as the Heat achieved much (in the Eastern Conference I must add though) and he looked like the popular mentor as he heaped love on his latest version of Penny/Kobe, D Wade. He also helped his cause at the start of last season by pushing himself away from the dinner table and losing weight and adding muscle. Then the injury bug found him in Southern Florida. Then again to start this young season. I’m afraid we’ve seen the best the big man has to offer.

There, it can finally be put to rest. Now let’s get going on those new rings.

Get Right, Or Die Trying

posted by IntrinsicBent

Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Is there a third choice? Like maybe both A and B? Hate is a strong word, but when will we be rid of kiddie rap movies?

Now I know what you’re thinking. What right does an old dude have to even comment on the subject, and especially here on your beloved sports blog? First, my rap and street cred is strong. My buddies and I were out in the park breakin’ and poppin’ to the sounds of The Sugarhill Gang before most of you were born. We got out of the game when the new skool came around and ruined it for everyone. Yes, I’m talking about Whodini, Run/DMC, and LL Cool J of course.

So we get it Half Dollar, you and Vanilla Ice Jr. have seen Scarface like a million times, and see yourselves as a cross between Rocky and Al Capone. And you think we want to watch you thug it up, and further blur the line between right and wrong.

In regards to why this is showing up on the Sports Frappe, did you see the reference to game twice in this post? Word!

Monday, November 07, 2005

LT vs. Video Bo

posted by BiCoastal Bias

LaDainian Tomlinson is challenging Video Bo as the best running back of my generation.  Not familiar with “Video Bo,” you say?  Sure you are.  Remember Tecmo Super Bowl, the old Nintendo game of 1991 that revolutionized sports games, paving the way for the “Madden NFL” games of the last 10 years?  If you do, then you definitely remember the version of Bo Jackson featured on the LA Raiders, an unstoppable force never seen before or since on the playing field, whether it be the physical field or the digital field.

I wouldn’t be the first writer to dedicate a piece to “Video Bo,” (ESPN magazine even ran an editorial about him) but that’s not the point of this blog anyways; my claim is that LT is challenging Video Bo’s hold on best running back of my generation.  Okay, okay, I realize that Video Bo is not real, and to some this might seem to disqualify him in this contest; but if you grew up within a couple years of me, this game did a lot to define the sport of football for you.  I learned the difference between a touchback and a safety thanks to this game, not to mention how to practice good clock management on that last drive of the fourth quarter; so as far as my memory goes on professional football in the late eighties and early nineties, most players are pretty much defined by how good they were or were not on this Nintendo game.  

I have the privilege and honor of hosting Tomlinson on two out of three of my fantasy football teams, (my 20-something version of Tecmo Super Bowl).  Tomlinson has done three times this season what I could never get Video Bo to do, and that’s throw for a touchdown.  Granted, LT has yet to perfect the knack Video Bo had for making defenders bounce off of him, literally, multiple times in one play.  But on Sunday, Tomlinson put such a juke on Ty Law that Law simply sat down in his spot.  Tomlinson knocks over Pro Bowl cornerbacks without even touching them; eat your heart out, Video Bo.

So this campaign has yet to be decided, of course, if I could just find a way to get Video Bo AND LT on my fantasy team, I wouldn’t even have to decide . . .

Friday, November 04, 2005

Superbowl Rematch

posted by Knowledge Droppings

Okay boys, I want to see a clean fight, mixed with old-school wisdom and new-school unorthodoxy.

Knowledge Droppings: Who is more likely to return to the Superbowl this season: the 4-3 Eagles or the 4-3 Patriots?

BiCoastal Bias: Not only are the Patriots more likely to go to the Super Bowl than the Eagles, the Patriots WILL go to the Super Bowl. This dynasty has a few years left in it, and in the grand scheme, this slow start will be a minor footnote. After all, this is Bill Belichick's team we're talking about. To steal a line from my friends at Barstool Sports, if aliens attempted an invasion of the earth tomorrow, we would find out that Belichick has actually been studying video of the extra-terrestrials for the last two months. After leading humankind to victory, Belichick would hold a press conference in which he would explain that we beat the aliens because "We did some things better than they did."

Seriously, the offense is still in tact, and I have to figure that Belichick will make do with what he's got left on defense. Tedy Bruschi coming back should be inspiration enough for this Rodney Harrison-less squad, but don't forget that last year Belichick was able to go 14 and 2 with Troy Brown regularly doing his frantic impression of a defensive back on third downs. The only legitimate argument that can be made against the Pats returning to the Janet Jackson Memorial Bowl would involve the Indianapolis Colts. We'll find out just how legitimate this argument is on Monday night. But the Colts have lost to New England six consecutive times, and I don't anticipate that streak being broken this week. Even if Peyton does find a way to break the curse Monday night, they'll still have to do it again in the playoffs. Last year, Pittsburgh beat the Patriots in the regular season, only to have Roethlisberger look like a real rookie in the AFC championship game. At this point, there's no reason not to expect Manning to follow in the footsteps of the man whose records he's continually breaking, Dan Marino: a great career, but no rings.

The 4-3 Eagles, on the other hand, are a long shot to even make the playoffs this year. With McNabb piling injury upon injury, a coach that likes to run the ball about as much as Barry Bonds likes to bunt, and now Terrell Owens being suspended indefinitely; how could anyone make any argument in their favor? The 4 and 3 Patriots are still the team to beat in the NFL whereas the Eagles aren't even the team to beat in the NFC East.

IntrinsicBent: Neither team will end up in the Superbowl. That's right, I said it.

But if I had to ride the coattails of one of these teams it would be the Eagles.

Now I know this will be very unpopular with all you drink the koolaid, Belichick is a wizard types. But since when has the Frappe ever been shy in taking a hard stance? Just like Dorothy and crew, we are beginning to see behind the curtain of The Belichick of Oz' impressive franchise. Superbowl winning NFL teams have almost insurmountable pressures laid on them as soon as motorcades end their parade through downtown.

In this parity normed league, I would say that the Pats truly are a dynasty for this decade. But three in ten may be the new definition for dynasty going forward now that salary cap and free agency drives the NFL.

Those are cracks you see slowly spidering around New England's foundation. They have lost key offensive, defensive, and coaching assets that are beginning to diminish their ability to dominate. Houston doesn't have these struggles because A) they stink, and B) because they stink, do not have the big games which parade their best players for other teams to covet. You can look at the Superbowl as the NFL's version of Ebay.

And c'mon, isn't 4-3 still 4-3? Does the fact that you sit on top of your weak division make your 4-3 record better? No, and I submit that it actually contributes to a dangerous sense of false security.

So I hear you say, "Intrinsic, you're basing your opinion on why the Patriots won't make the big dance, not on why the Eagles will." That's correct. Remember that I don't think either will make the SB.

But I will say the following:

The Eggles (I love that gloss) are a team with a blue collar mentality in a city that is blue collar. They do get intense. Too intense at times. Remember when they cheered Michael Irvin's career ending neck injury as he was sprawled out on the field and it appeared he might even be paralyzed? Or when they booed Santa Claus? Or when they booed management's selection of McNabb on his draft day?

I see Donovan McNabb's injury problems being far more restricting than T.O.'s circus act. In fact, at this point, I see Terrell Owen's ridiculousness benefitting and helping the Eagles' chances. They have a rallying point now that T.O. has polarized the whole team and city against him. They definitely have something to prove. What would be sweeter than winning the dodgeball game with the big bully sitting in the corner in punishment? Don't forget that they got to the playoffs and superbowl last year without Owens for much of the season and injuries present with McNabb.

They have been given a gift. And Owens is the Santa that the fans can boo. I will miss stories about sleeping in a hyperbolic chamber though. Whether it's Jacko or T.O, I never tire of a good hyperbolic chamber story.

Finally, I would argue that the Eagles are just plain hungrier than the Pats. There is a certain playoff, then championship shape that an organization has to build itself up to. On the field and in the office. You see some teams like the Ravens and Buccaneers, break the barrier and take home the hardware, but they soon find it hard to repeat. You see other franchises build winners and win or consistently knock on the door and then take years to try to find their way back. Packers, Rams, and especially the Bills.

It's tough to repeat, and it's tough to rebuild. I would know. One year I was the ninth guy on our church's basketball team that won it all ($15 Blockbuster gift cards). The next year with the same crew, we didn't even make the playoffs. We just weren't as hungry. My weight gain that year was inexplicable.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Red A

posted by IntrinsicBent

Old Skool back again. Maybe the biggest bitterman still standing is going off on Phil Jackson. Again.

Red Auerbach is now commenting that Phil Jackson is taking his pick.

What?

What does that even mean?

As a Laker fan it’s tough to give cred to the Celtics for any reason. I’ll never forget three years ago when I was accosted in a store by one of those Boston “fans” because I was wearing a Laker Jacket while waiting in a checkout line. It went something like this (which means I’ve exaggerated it to suit my point):

“The Lakers? I can’t believe you’re wearing that jacket.”

Note: Keep in mind that we’re standing in Anaheim, Southern California.

With a gentle smile on my face I retorted, “Why? Who’s your team?”

“The Celtics,” his face beaming with pride.

“I’m sorry to hear that” I say, with a more gentle, yet somewhat sarcastic look on my face.

“Yeah, how many banners do you guys have?” with that unmistakable New England schoolyard smirk. I think they teach Boston sports homerism in High School there. I don’t know if you can get a PHD at the local community college. You can probably get certified though.

I take a deep breath, look him square in the eye, and calmly say, “When did you get your last one?”

At this point, there are a couple of ooohs that seep out from others in line. Not because it was such a great comeback, but because it was delivered calmly to a belligerent, yet non-aggressive Celts fan.

At this point, the guy’s shoulders deflate and he gets a sheepish grin on his face and goes, “yeah, I know.” Maybe a first time ever response from a Bostonian. His wife pulled him away from the line by the shirt as she was done paying. She’s probably seen this play out countless times before. And she probably digs the Lakers.

Now I’m not saying the crowd carried me out on their shoulders (it wasn’t that big of a crowd), but there were some head nods by some of the guys around me. For those of you not in the know, this is like a replacement high five when you don’t want to act like a 16 year old in front of women, and other adults.

I have been able to realize that I do admire Bird’s abilities now that he’s long been removed from the game. McHale playing in the playoffs with a broken bone that could have ended his career was manly as I reflect back on those days. Ainge, I don’t think I’ll ever reconcile in my mind just because, well, he’s Ainge.

Russell was a man, and they did steal Paul Pierce from our backyard in SoCal.

But back to Auerbach. Jackson is taking his pick, or able to take his pick? Again, I can’t tell you what that means.

When Phil reupped with the Lakers, Red checked in on the situation by saying that he was only doing it for the money. Ok, I’m still lost, to tell you the truth.

After Phil won his ninth championship and looked like he might break Red’s record with a tenth ring against Detroit in 2003, Red complained that Phil only won his championships because he had the best players on his team.

Ok, I see. His bitterness stems from the fact that Phil might someday break his record. C’mon Red baby, you’re making the Old Skool look bad. Have some dignity and respect for the game. You’re a tough dude, as you proved with your last bout in the hospital room.

But please stop tarnishing your image. Your accomplishments were amazing feats that your peers were in awe of. He’s just taking his pick? Hey, you could have picked to coach another team, but why would you walk away from a stacked team that was unencumbered by a salary cap?

He’s only doing it for the money? I know a lot of great people with good hearts that would give the shirt off their back if it helped someone else. But part of the game of life is to make money and be successful in your field. And also not to draw too many “you had twins” cards. (Reference to The Game of Life® by Milton Bradley for those of you trying to catch up). These same folks that have a high care vector, also care to be the best they can be. That kind of ethic usually produces successful results and rewards. Now I don’t profess to understand the backwards math it would take to figure out where you stood as far as pay during your hey day. But I’d venture that you did ok.

Only had the best players on his team. This one’s easy. I could list the superstars you had dressed in green, but think I can sum it up with only two words: Bill Russell.

So don’t hate Red. It’s probable that Phil, or someone else will beat your record. It doesn’t cheapen your accomplishments. Unless you keep running your mouth.

And in twenty years, it’ll be easy for those guys to denounce the guys threatening their record. I hear them making choice statements like, “no telling how many rings I could have won if the players could have transplanted bionic body parts like they do today.

Carry yourself like the legendary coach you are. And give up the cigars. Before it’s too late for both.

Epstein Killed My Dream

posted by BiCoastal Bias

So Theo Epstein quit.  For me, this news is devastating, and it has nothing to do with any personal feelings about the Boston Red Sox.  If you’re like me, and I think you are, this news is devastating to you too, and let me explain why.  

If you’re like me, you realized that your baseball career was heading for a dead end about the same time you realized that your coach wasn’t putting you in right field because he thought you were the next Tony Gwynn.  For me, this took place in seventh grade, the same season, coincidentally, that I went 5 for 45 on the season.  

My dreams of becoming a major league All-Star were over, but another dream was just beginning – being the baseball genius up in the box.  I began honing my skills on the fantasy sports circuit, and after trading a pitcher whose name I can’t recall for Miguel Tejada won me my first league championship, I was sure I had found my calling.  

Epstein was proof that the dream could actually happen.  The man was the General Manager of a big market team at the age of 28.  Up until he came along, I thought the only route to GM was toiling around in a George Costanza like office job until the cross town Mets ask you to get yourself fired.  (Side note: isn’t it fun watching those old episodes with Steinbrenner, now knowing that it’s Larry David’s voice?)  Comparatively, Epstein went straight to the top, and instead of falling on his face, he succeeded!  I wasn’t taking the exact same approach; I was hoping to get a higher degree in mathematics, and then get hired by some unsuspecting owner who was blown away with my bogus mathematical theorem ensuring a ring within five years.  

But then Epstein quit.  Granted, he didn’t blame it on his employer, and he claims he’s not burnt out.  But nonetheless, he had our dream job for only three years, and quit.  Here’s his depressing statement:  "You have to believe in every aspect of the job and the organization and your ability to stay and do the job the right way, with your whole heart and your whole soul. And in the end, it just wasn't the right fit. It wasn't right."  

If it only took Theo three years to lose his heart and soul for the job, what hope do the rest of us have?  Maybe we’re better off keeping our goals limited to dominating fantasy leagues, and leaving the big leagues to the disenchanted.    

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I'll Be A Monkey's Uncle

posted by IntrinsicBent

There have been some cool primates over the years. Curious George, Grape Ape, King Kong, Koko the talking gorilla, Bubbles the chimp, and the Planets of the Apes chimps, orangutans, and gorillas. I love the “Planet Of” crew whether it was the original movies, the tv show, or the Marky Mark movie.

I must admit that I have a full head gorilla mask, made of rubber, with very lifelike fur. I have loads of fun with it, but for some reason, whenever I put it on my family suddenly has things to do that never include me. Now I would have never told you any of this until I read a report in the Boston Herald today. Then I thought it was about time I opened up to you.

It seems that after Boston’s GM Theo Epstein turned down a $4.5 million offer from the BoSox, he borrowed a full gorilla suit from someone at the stadium that was trick or treating there. Uh, how big (or old) was this halloweener, and what the heck was he doing trick or treating in Fenway?

Anyway, the story said Theo was giddy ($4.5 mill? That’s expensive giddiness) after turning down the Sox offer and asked the kid(?) to borrow his costume. After donning the suit, the story says that he monkeyed (they said it not me) around in the baseball operations office and then paraded right past the awaiting media anxiously assembled for news of Epstein’s decision.

Some reported seeing a gorilla driving out of the lot in a black Volvo like the one Theo owns. Now when I go to the zoo and watch the monkeys in their “natural habitat” usually I eventually see a monkey express his glee at being in that concrete pit by throwing a certain substance that they find lying around at the gawking crowd.

There’s no word on whether Theo celebrated in this manner.