Saturday, December 31, 2005

Not a Bad Bowl Season

posted by BiCoastal Bias

It’s the morning of New Year’s Eve Day, and the still young College Bowl Season has not disappointed.  

The MPC Computers Bowl and the Holiday Bowl were notable because of their near comebacks.  It looked like Boston College had put away Boise St. by the third quarter, only to see their lead whittle down to 6 pts in a game that came down to the final play.  I was sure Oregon was going to march down and at the least tie up Oklahoma in the final two minutes, up until Clint Ingram’s freakish interception ended that drive.  

If there has to be blowouts, they should at least be upsets.  That’s what we got with Utah smacking down the uninspired Georgia Tech, and LSU cleaning the clock of Miami.  I’m not sure I understand what happens when a team feels like they’re playing a bowl game so far beneath them that they end up getting blown out.  I imagine that I would be so angry about the slight that I’d want to set a record for largest margin in a college bowl game . . . with my team on the winning side.

And of course, what bowl season would be complete without the odd-ones.  UCLA won a game in this category in the Sun Bowl against Northwestern.  In the second quarter, UCLA had already come back from a 22-0 deficit and took the lead going into halftime.  The scoring got ridiculous with Brandon Breazell returning, not one, but TWO onsides kicks.  It’s hard to even say that that is strategically to your advantage, since you give the ball right back to the other team without any time lost, when you probably could’ve ended the game if you down that ball.

Finally, there was Nebraska and Michigan in the Alamo Bowl.  The final play in this game come off looking more like a rugby match than anything else, with players continually pitching the ball backwards.  Eventually, Michigan picked up the ball and made a sprint for the end zone, amidst players standing around thinking the game was over and Nebraska’s bench pouring onto the field.  Luckily for Nebraska, he was run out of bounds at the fifteen yard line.  After watching the replay once or twice, I found myself wishing something else would’ve happened . . . something that would have made the ending seem more fair, or perhaps more historic.  Now that I’ve watched the replay a dozen times, I’m not sure what I wish would have gone differently.  Should the runner have waited for his blockers?  Should the blockers have run as if they actually still believed the play was continuing?  Should the refs have thrown flags on both benches and forced one more play?  It’s hard to be both in awe of a play, and yet wish that everything about it would have gone differently, but that’s the mindset I find myself in.

Nonetheless, it’s a good sign that we’ve had bowl games this good, and the big dogs are still to come.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

(Ar)test Of The Wills

posted by IntrinsicBent

It’s another sequel story line:

Phil Jackson, looking to return his NBA team to it’s past glory, takes on a hard to handle defensive grinder therefore returning balance to the triangle.

No, Rodman is not coming to LA. And you have not entered a worm hole (a crease in the time space continuum which allows time travel, not Rodman’s mouth). Nor are we talking about the Bulls.

Los Angeles sports talk XTRA 570 was reporting a three team trade between the Lakers, Pacers, and Raptors that allegedly would send Ron Artest and Jalen Rose to the Lakers, Devean George to the Pacers, and Austin Croshere to the Raptors.

Wow. This is like those 1990’s computer generated pictures where the more you look at them the more you see. There are a lot of possible wrinkles. Whole lotta salary dumping, slug exchanges, and rolls of the dice going on. If this is more than rumor, it would explain why Devean started in last night’s debacle against the Grizzlies.

It seems like a small price to pay if you’re the Lakers, except for the technicalities of the luxury tax because of Rose’s bloated contract. Devean is in the last year of his contract, and has been odd man out because of injury and the change of teammates. There would be huge risk. What if Phil can’t zen Artest into being a decent human being that plays well with others? Then again, it would be cloaked within the melodramatic rebuilding process that has at least 15 story lines at all times. I’m betting there would need to be at least another Laker involved in this transaction.

Maybe after Kobe’s weak chick slap retaliation against Miller, the Lakers watched tape and noticed that Artest’s roundhouse at the Palace last year would be just the piece they need to be able to bring consistency and balance to the Force, errr Triangle. I miss the old Kobe who a few years ago would have retaliated by dotting the opponents eye with a number of clutch 3 pointers. This new version is more Gary Payton than Michael Jordan.

Ironically, in a separate event today on 570, Elton Brand claimed during an interview that Artest has held a grudge against Kobe since Kobe refused to sign something for him a while back.

That’s L.A. baby. There are always things moving and shaking. Deals are constantly being done. People continue to chase life like it’s High School. There is NEVER a shortage of dramas being played within a drama, or bottled water.

The best thing about this latest saga? I haven’t heard Shaq’s or Riley’s name brought up all day.

Imagine the Kobe/Artest rap cd possibilities.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Can't Even Enjoy My Own Fantasy

posted by BiCoastal Bias

It’s that time of year.  Not only is it the weekend of Christmas, that rare time of year in which both my brother and I come home to Mom and Pop’s; but it also happens to be the very week featuring the two of us facing each other in our head to head fantasy football championship game.

I’ve got to admit, I don’t know if I can handle it.  My brother’s got Larry Johnson, I’ve got Ladainian Tomlinson, and the Chargers and Chiefs are squaring off.  Meanwhile, Dad is a Chiefs’ fan, and doesn’t seem to understand how I can root for L.T. but still be pulling for the family team.  

This is how much this fantasy football weekend is messing with my psyche.  Last night, I dreamt that I was playing receiver for the Arizona Cardinals, in a game taking place at my old Jr. High school.  After making an amazing diving touchdown catch, both Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald helped me up.  Suddenly I realized that if I was the one scoring the touchdown instead of these two guys, my fantasy team was missing out, and this greatly disappointed me.  

This is what fantasy sports do to us: I can’t even enjoy a pleasant dream of playing in the NFL!

Who's Got the Mic

posted by Knowledge Droppings

Knowledge Droppings: Is it important for a sports commentator to have played sports in their past to effectively report, do play by play or color commentary, or be a solid sportstalk host?

Intrinsicbent: Ordinarily the BiCoastal Wonder gets the drop on me in these faceoffs, but with such a thought provoking and deep subject I’m returning the favor.

As usual the caveat here is that there are exceptions to every rule. Therefore, I will be partially right no matter what. Ha! Merry Christmas to me.

I do believe that someone that has played the sport provides much more insight, lucidity, and depth in the areas of play by play and commentary. This with the condition that they are able to clearly communicate their points and educate us along the way. There is nothing better than having an ex jock make you feel you’re on the field, in the clubhouse, on the floor, in the huddle, in the dugout, or in the coach’s mind.

Reporting on sports can be done by pencil necked journalists, because it is reporting history which is the forte of the journalist. Someone with experience participating in the sport though still gives additional insight, troubleshooting analysis, and “what if” scenarios.

A well spoken, hard working jock that applies themselves to the trade are an asset to the sports talk format. They must temper their “when I used to play” reflections to appropriate times. They also have to be more than a single sport, one trick pony. Lastly, they are best when they are paired with someone that is strong in at least one these areas:

- Strong takes on current sports events and issues (best if combined effectively with comedy)
- Strong knowledge of stats and/or sports history
- Proven journalism history with effective interviewing skills

BiCoastal Bias: You would think all that experience and insight would be important, wouldn’t you? It appears that most of the networks think so as well, handing commentator jobs to any former jocks that have a relatively firm grasp of the English language, (this actually narrows down the field considerably).

Let’s first explore the possibility of a player becoming a commentator for a different sport. Every time I’ve seen this done, it’s been sort of a novelty, something to provide meaningless chatter. There’s no way it could work full time. You can only hear so many football metaphors during an NBA game before you start to wish you were watching the NFL instead.

Now to the real issue: it is not important for a commentator to be a former player. In fact, experience tells me that I’d prefer a non-player commenting my games. Give me Al Michaels or the controversial Howard Cosell; give me Bob Costas, who took the ultimate commentator job in delivering Mickey Mantle’s eulogy. Give me the classic voices of the national past-time, Vin Scully or Harry Caray.

The old John Madden and Pat Summerall combination of the late nineties was right on the border. With John Madden making his claim to fame as a head coach, and Pat Summerall coming to the booth as a place kicker back in the days before the forward pass was legal. They both qualified as former jocks just enough to give them the legitimacy they needed.

But now, we’ve got to deal former players in the commentator booth such as Joe Theismann, Tony Siragusa, Bill Maas and Bill Walton. Walton I actually think could be a decent commentator if his voice wasn’t so annoying. The list continues; I won’t even bring Tim McCarver into the discussion, he’s one of those anomalies that enters history every 10 years: someone who is so catastrophically bad at his job but somehow reaches the top anyways.

There are a few former players that I do actually like listening to during a game, Phil Simms and Troy Aikman come to mind, but when you look at the greats, having actually played the sport is rarely a qualification.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Sometimes Loss Takes Priority

posted by IntrinsicBent

This day has seen the tragic death of the 18 year old son of Indianapolis Colts’ head coach Tony Dungy.  Thomas Dungy was the second oldest of 4 kids.  As of this writing, it is believed to be a suicide.

While traveling on business, I’ve had the opportunity to log a lot of time today listening to sportstalk radio.  There is an honest shock, and sense of loss due to the fact that Coach Dungy is held in high regard as a coach and individual representative of the NFL, Thomas’ age, and the fact that all parents shudder at the thought of ever having to face such a hideous and tragic event.

I’ve listened as talking head after talking head expresses somewhat heartfelt sadness, support, and thoughts and prayers to everyone involved with this tragic event.  Then each tried to followup in the next sentence with whether the Colts would be able to pursue their goal of being Champs and how long it might take Dungy to return?  Who cares?

This sports blog is all about…….well, duh……..sports.  But, in our true smashmouth style we’ve got to tell you something straight up.  There are many things more important than ourselves and sports.  It’s about winning the game of life.  Coach Dungy should take care of his family right now, regardless of  whether or not they win the Superbowl, or even one more game.  

Vital life relationships should be guarded, nurtured, and protected above all in our individual lives.  When I’m on my deathbed, there won’t be any Lakers there.  If I’ve done things right, I’ll have my family and friends there with me.

No parent should ever have to bury their child.  It’s a tragedy.  During this special Christmas season, think about those that matter to you most.  And enjoy them.

So please talking heads, although last week it was important to us whether or not the Colts went undefeated or won the Superbowl, today it just doesn’t matter much.

More important than my thoughts, my prayers are with the Dungy family and everyone else affected.

Johnny Damon and the Phillistines

posted by BiCoastal Bias

This is one of those off-season moves that’s bad for everyone involved.  Johnny Damon signs a 52 million dollar, 4 year contract with the New York Yankees.  

This move is bad for the Yankees because it changes nothing for them.  Before the deal, they were an aging team that needed pitching; now they’re still an aging team that needs pitching, and they have less funds with which to do anything about it.

This move is bad for Johnny because for him, everything changes; and yes, I’m talking about his hair.  Johnny’s entire legacy is found in his Biblical-like hairstyle.  Think about it, do you remember a single thing this guy did before he grew out his long locks?  It’s like Johnny Damon is Samson, and George Steinbrenner is Delilah; once George makes him trim his ‘do and chop his chops, Damon’s baseball strength will be gone forever; except for perhaps one final episode in which the baseball Gods bestow their strength on Johnny once again, but only so that he can topple the “House That Ruth Built” from the foundations, crushing all of the hated Yankee fans seated within.  (If this isn’t funny to you, read your Old Testament.)

But as usual, that’s what money will do to you, make you make foolish decisions.  I wouldn’t want to end this blog on a note like that, however, so I’d like to bring up another signing that has received little to no media coverage this winter.  Last month, Tim Salmon signed a minor league deal with the team he’s played for his entire career, the Angels.  Granted, he might not even make the team, and granted, even if he does, this isn’t a move that would guarantee he’ll finish his career in Anaheim.  Nonetheless, you would think that Salmon could have pulled down a couple million somewhere like Kansas City or Pittsburgh, a place where he’d be sure to get a full shot at proving himself again.  But Salmon’s a rarity in this age of sports, last summer he said that he’s come to terms with the fact that he may have taken his last big league at bat; but he hasn’t come to terms with the idea that he may have taken his last at bat as an Angel.  

It might not make the front page, but it’s comforting to know that some players still care about the legacy they’ll leave.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Weekend Warrior Fashion Do's And Don'ts

posted by IntrinsicBent

I had the opportunity to play ball today with some friends of mine in town for the holidays. I reflected on an important sports fashion rule for the part time athlete as I admired the visual gallery of weekend warrior gear. I’m sharing this with you as kind of an early Christmas gift.

It’s cool to wear t-shirts with favorite teams that you picked up. Pro game giveaways that resemble jerseys or uniforms with the star player are totally cool and show that you’re a true fan that’s willing to attend your team’s games and represent with the freebie that you landed. Old high school jerseys are rad. College intramural shirts are appropriate wear, as are concert tees, and jumpman gear. Even family reunion shirts work as long as they aren’t too dated, like with funky geometric Jetsons looking lettering with pastel pink and turquoise accents.

Here is what is never acceptable:

Basketball - Authentic jerseys, retro or current, with matching shorts, socks, shoes, and shoelaces. I recall one basketball league game where an opposing player showed up as Kobe. All his gear wrapping a homo sapien with about 1/250th of the skill that Number 8 possesses. This instantly drew the attention/ire of our team. The rest of the evening you could hear communication from the bench and the floor with sarcastic comments about stopping “Kobe”.

Baseball/softball – Never ever, ever show up as aforementioned with actual mlb gear to any of your leagues that you participate. All five nights of them. Please don’t wear the sprayed on baseball pants and roll in with your bat bags that clip to the fence locker style. Do you really need 3 bats? I know, there are different ones for different situations, weather conditions, and opposing pitchers.

Football – See above two sports. You don’t need color coordinated turf shoes. Trust me, I know.

Always wash your gear at least once before bringing it out in front of the fellas. The same goes for shoulder hanger divots in your t-shirts. Dude, they’re t-shirts…..Just Fold’em. Sorry Nike.

The funniest example I ever saw of a wannabe sporting goober gear was at an old skool tough man contest quite a ways back in the day. A guy stepped into the ring sporting fresh out of the bag Everlast® gear. It was uber shiny. Early in the first round he busted out a Sugar Ray move. Now for you younger Frappers, this was not the band, but a skilled boxer who was name Sugar Ray Leonard. Sugar Ray had this move where he would taunt an opponent by spinning his glove by his head, cartoon style, and would dot his opponent’s eye before the guy could hit his unprotected face. It was hilarious to watch, and probably demeaning to the other boxer.

So back to this tough man contest guy. In all his Everlast (again kids, not the band) glory, he spun his glove by his head and his opponent flat cleaned his clock. The dude crumpled like a Frenchman finding out about a skirmish. They had to carry him out on a stretcher.

So listen to Ole Uncle Intrinsic kiddies, don’t dress like you’re a big leaguer. It makes it hard to make the payments on your Iroc and triple wide. And totally reveals you as “that guy” that is gripping too tightly to his athletic “career.”

Friday, December 16, 2005

A Helmet Bill?

posted by BiCoastal Bias

If you’ve flown Jet Blue before, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that they are the official airline of The Sports Frappe.  Not only does their live television package come with 4 different ESPN channels, (halfway to “The Ocho”), but they even have the channels in the correct placements: taking up channels one through four on the dial.  ESPN leads off, and ESPN Classic bats cleanup.  

Here’s a sports news item that you didn’t hear watching PTI, Quite Frankly, or any of the other talking-head shows that dominated the ESPNs’ programming during my flight today.  There’s a bill currently in the Massachusetts state legislature that would make helmets mandatory in the game of soccer, including all levels from youth to collegiate.  

I recall being a 13 year old when California passed a similar law applying to headgear and bicycles.  My response then was something to the affect of, “I’ll be taking the bus to school from now on,” and I suspect this ruling might have a similar consequence on the state of New England soccer.

Seriously, soccer players already have to take enough heat on campus.  They play a sport everyone else quit playing when they were twelve, about the same time they realized that even the Speedo-clad swim team gets more attention from the ladies than the shin-guarded soccer squad.  But now they’re going to have to wear helmets too?  What better way to kill this “budding” American sport than force helmets into a game in which head to head collisions are about as frequent as un-funny movies featuring Will Ferrell.

Football helmets have their obvious necessity; skateboarders fly around on ramps and rails above concrete; pole-vaulters fall from heights of 10 to 15 feet.  These are legitimate reasons to require helmets.  Soccer players run back and forth on grass . . . flat, soft grass.  On top of the needless-ness of the soccer helmet, I’d imagine that doing a header with a helmet on would be a lot like throwing a baseball while wearing mittens.  

Come to think of it, maybe they should pass this bill.  I’d love to see what designers come up with in order to market a helmet specifically for soccer.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Diva Fatigue

posted by IntrinsicBent

The airwaves were buzzing in SoCal today discussing whether the LA Lakers should trade for Indiana Pacer Ron Artest. Coach Phil Jackson went on record saying he’d love to have him. Artest was fined $10,000 by the NBA for making his trade demand through the media.

The question of whether the Lakers should grab Artest was made tougher after the Lake Show’s impressive 5-1 road trip where they looked like a cohesive young team with large upside potential.

Supposedly the Lakers organization said there was no way that Lamar Odom would be available to trade. That’s good. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Lamar yet.

The names being thrown around were:

Devean George, Andrew Bynum, and draft picks

Kwame Brown, Andrew Bynum, and draft picks

Moving Devean would be fine but I balk at the thought of moving Kwame or Bynum. The mean age of this year’s Lakers is somewhere in the 25-27 years category. That’s an important factor to consider for a team on the gel (not to be confused with the cream, Balco fans) that’s beginning to make things happen.

Bynum at 18 is almost a generation away from Artest at 26 in NBA terms. Consider Devean George and draft picks, but don’t give away two talented young big men of the future.

What chaff will be thrown in to even it out from the Pacer’s end, Austin Croshere? C’mon now! We have towel boys already.

Backing this up, the first question you have to ask yourself, is do you really want to take a chance on this second coming of Dennis Rodman? Hardnosed rebounding and defense is very attractive in this league of offensive minded, shoot first, Sportcenter highlight wanna be having players. But the risk on this would make Evil Knievel cower.

Remember last season before Artest went Hulk Hogan in the stands in Detroit? He was already in trouble with Coach Rick Carlisle for asking to take a month off at the beginning of the season to promote his rap label. If you drop him in the real entertainment capitol of the world, he may wanna retire.

Again, two weeks ago you’d say, get this done Lakers brass. But at this juncture, I’d rather take a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

Plus, we don’t want Ronnie to feel compelled to shave “True Laker” or something else goofy into his head. Nor do we want to take a chance of igniting the diva wars that we dealt with for so many recent years.

That's so 2002.

The Bronx Bunglers

posted by IntrinsicBent

The only thing that’s certain is death, taxes, and the Yankees pursuing high priced superstars in the off season. I’ve been scouring the web the past two weeks looking for news of the Yankees chasing Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols, or maybe even Terrell Owens.

Just when I thought the resigning of their General Manager Brian Cashman was going to be this year’s dynamite pickup, I found that they had possibly outdone themselves.

They are allegedly considering picking up 32 year old ex-Red Sox, ex-Cub Nomar Garcia Parra and would play him at first base. That’s right, the soccer husband.

Don’t get ahead of me yet. Ok, now go……….the Yankees already have two future Hall of Famer shortstops, one of which was moved to third.

So now the Yankees can take their division and shortstop number one can be clutch, number two can disappear during anything resembling a playoff, and number three can be injured and miss the playoffs completely.

Let’s take this one step further. Why don’t the Yankees step all the way to the plate and field a team totally comprised of Shortstops?

Here’s the lineup I propose by batting order:

1-David Eckstein 4 (Shortstop playing 2nd base)
2-Derek Jeter 6 (Shortstop playing shortstop)
3-Miguel Tejada 2 (Shortstop playing catcher)
4-Alex Rodriguez 5 (Shortstop playing 3rd base)
5-Nomar Garciaparra 3 (Shortstop playing 1st base)
6-Juan Uribe DH(Shortstop batting only)
7-Edgar Renteria 9 (Shortstop playing RF)
8-Rafael Furcal 8 (Shortstop playing CF)
9-Orlando Cabrera 7 (Shortstop playing LF)

SP – Maicer Izturis
RP – Jimmy Rollins
Closer – Omar Vizquel
Manager – Ozzie Smith

Way to go Yankees. This move will definitely get you over the hump.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Muskrat Love

posted by IntrinsicBent

Man, what a tough call. Every time I try to decide who has the worst NBA beard, I come up with a tie between old skool Bill Walton and today’s youngblood Pau Gasol.

Both resemble Brillo® pads after they were used on the whole litany of Thanksgiving dishes, cookware, and the car Grandma used to drive herself to your house.

I asked two crows to help me out by telling which one they’d rather nest in, but they were stumped as well.

I guess they both win. The trophy is a gold cup filled with shower drain catchings.

Throw it down Big Man!

Grassy Knoll?

posted by IntrinsicBent

A week ago I read a curious quote in the New York Post. It went as follows: “Highly placed Jets sources say they'd prefer not to draft Reggie Bush or Matt Leinart because it would mean investing too much money in one player when they have many holes to fill.”

NY sports translation: We don’t want to spend the money on a marquee name that will be the focus point of our brutal media’s abuse when we don’t win quickly enough to suit them or our fans.

At first I thought this was a case of horrible negotiation tactics. I believe it was Don Corleone that uttered (barely) something to the effect of, “Don’t ever let anyone know what you’re thinking outside the family.” Why would you let the competition know you're not interested in drafting one of the premier players available in the draft? You want them to think you have big plans for your top draft pick, so they know they’ll have to offer you the sky to even listen to them. This enables you to trade down and grab multiple players and draft picks. Easy, huh? Especially when you look to have a high draft pick that by the way, was a Heisman Trophy winner.

So I just thought they were inept, or at best, there was a mistake and someone reported on a conversation that they thought was being shared on the record.

While I was looking into a possible magic bullet theory, the Jets went out and beat the Raiders over the weekend. That’s when I figured out that the Jets definitely DO NOT want to draft Leinart, Bush, or anyone in the top 3. You have to give it to them for their determination to reach their goals. They will even start winning to be able to get their way.

I don’t believe the Texans have any problem in drafting high and putting a marquee player on a crappy team to get beat up. Sometimes when I watch David Carr, I squint my eyes and am sure that I’m watching Jim Everett.

Ok, you’re right. I don’t watch Texans football.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

World Cyber Games

posted by BiCoastal Bias

At the World Cyber Games, it was the year of the USA.  That’s right Americans, we cleaned up at the biggest up and coming international sporting event.  Led by the Ryan brothers, (Dan and Tom), the U.S. squad took gold medals in Halo 2 and Counter Strike.  

I realize that most sports buffs won’t give much time to the Cyber Games, but if you think about it, what better sport than to match up terrorists and anti-terrorists on the digital playing field?  Or how about defending a computerized model of human civilization against an aggressive alien nation seeking to destroy Mother Earth?

Really, it’s just as arbitrary as trying to place a small dimpled sphere into a hole in the ground 400 yards away, using the fewest strokes with a wooden or iron club.  The U.S. happens to have one of the best men in the world at doing that.

We used to dominate world competition when it comes to putting a larger sphere through a 10 foot high hoop, all the while not moving one’s feet while cradling said sphere; but now we kind of suck at it.  We’re one of the only countries to play a sport in which teams try to score in increments of 2, 3, 6, 7, or 8 based on throwing, rushing, or kicking a ball into a ten by forty yard rectangular region; so I guess we rule at that.  

There are plenty of sports we could use some improvement at, like the one in which individuals or pairs perform a variety of stunts choreographed to music, all while gliding across ice on metallic blades.  Lately we’ve been getting better at twirling around on a cushioned box featuring two handles.

I just can’t wait for the day the U.S. takes the gold medal at finding the other team’s hidden pennant without being caught in their territory and bringing it back to our own.  Yes, that’s right, I’m proposing an international capture the flag competition.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

An NBA Home

posted by BiCoastal Bias

It’s not new news that the Los Angeles Clippers are back  . . . err . . . here for the first time, I guess.  With nothing to lose except for their “Worst Franchise in all of Professional Sports” label, the other team in L.A. has surged past the Kobe/Jackson tandem in this young season.  To add to their accomplishments, they’ve given this disenchanted fan an NBA home.  

You see, I used to jokingly refer to myself as a Clippers fan, growing up in north Orange County.  I really wanted to root for this team, feeling a certain allegiance to them since they played a home game in Anaheim about once a month, not to mention their underdog status.  So I would pull for them when they played against the Lakers, but by the time playoffs rolled around, I had quietly joined the celebrity-featuring Lake Show bandwagon.  It just wasn’t possible to be a true Clippers fan.  

They didn’t even have their own arena in a market that would never accept them; and one could make a case that they didn’t even have their own teams, as year in and year out they borrowed players trying to land a big money contract down the road.

Then, right around the time that I moved to the East Coast, the whole Kobe Bryant scandal began.  For the rest of my life, I will adamantly cheer against team Kobe.  At best, the guy is boorish and insensitive, and at worst, he’s a rapist.  Finding myself completely devoid of affiliation to an NBA franchise, I thought that perhaps I could adopt my new hometown squad, the New York Yankees of basketball, the Boston Celtics.  But I quickly realized that the Boston sports scene of the 21st century revolves around the Sox and the Pats; and Celtics’ games are just an opportunity for Boston fans to talk about these respective teams during the off season.  Besides, watching Paul Pierce blow fourth quarters gets old surprisingly fast.

So I was a sports fan without a basketball team, an embarrassing place to find myself, like being a kindergartner without a favorite color.  But this year’s Clippers squad is one that can bring me home again, to the first love that my heart never really left even during my recreational phase.  I can finally call myself a Clippers fan without a smirk . . . at least until they tank in mid-January.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Congress and BCS, now that's a cute couple

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Check out this headline from today: “Congress to look into ‘deeply flawed’ BCS system.”

What is wrong with our government?  When Congress called various members of the MLB into a session on steroids, I thought it was pretty unwarranted.  It seemed like an opportunity for various legislators to meet their favorite ballplayers.  In the end, it actually served a purpose in that it showed the players union that steroids were not a subject to be taken lightly anymore.

But back to the BCS, what the heck is Congress going to do?  We’ve heard billions of talking heads propose their ideas of a satisfactory playoff system for division 1 football.  The NCAA still hasn’t listened.  I’m pretty sure that Congress could not legally force a change in the BCS, so is this just the power hungry sports fans thinking they can pressure the league into giving them what they want?

Listen up Congress: I’m a sports fan, and I want the BCS system out just as bad as you do, but there are a lot of things I’d like to see you get right before you start on the NCAA.  I believe that our tax dollars pay your salary, meaning you work for us.  So do your job, which has nothing to do with the job of a sports talk radio host.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Indianapolis Dolphins?

posted by Knowledge Droppings

Knowledge Droppings: The Indianapolis Colts improved to 11 and 0 last week. Last time a team was 11 and 0 was the 1998 Denver Broncos who went on to win the Super Bowl that year. What's more likely for the Colts: a perfect regular season or a Super Bowl championship?

BiCoastal Bias: I’ve been holding out for a few weeks now, but I’m finally ready to admit that the Colts will most likely finish 2005 undefeated. I thought that if someone was going to do it, the Bengals would’ve knocked them off last Sunday. It would have been the perfect entrance for Cincinnati into the AFC elite, whereas it didn’t seem like the Colts would have much to play for. That’s what you’d think, anyways, but that’s not the way it turned out. Instead, Peyton’s crew proved that they’ve got something to play for every week, and just about every down for that matter. The only mistake Indianapolis made on Sunday was late in the game, with a two possession lead and their foot on the Bengals’ collective throat, they went three and out on three pass plays, allowing Cincinnati one more hope to send this one into overtime, which they came very close to pulling off.

But the fact that Indy’s one mistake is a direct result of being too greedy bodes well for their chances at a perfect regular season. These guys care about looking good against any opponent, implying they won’t be brought down because they didn’t show up against a sub-.500 spoiler. That being said, there are still some tough teams up ahead. Pittsburgh on Monday night promised to be a great game, but asking Roethlisberger to take down the undefeated Colts in his first game this month was a bit much. San Diego, Jacksonville, and Seattle are good teams, and should they show up with the right gameplan, any of them could post a challenge, but when it comes down to it, my money is still on Peyton.

That’s more than enough praise for Peyton and the Colts for one day, because the ’72 Dolphins’ still have a leg up. They finished the complete season (of the regular and post variety) without losing, something the Colts will not do. Sure, they beat a beat-down Patriot club and won against a soon to be rebounding Pittsburgh franchise, but these teams will be back with a vengeance come playoff time; and everybody knows the playoffs are an entirely different game. Assuming the Colts finish the year undefeated, they still won’t have defeated one demon, and that’s the playoff demon.

So who will beat them? Anyone. Well . . . anyone except for Denver that is. But seriously, Pittsburgh, New England, even Cincinnati – give one of these guys a second game against the Colts come January; and, perhaps the ’72 Dolphins can hold onto a piece of history.

IntrinsicBent:I love this topic because it always starts the talks of the bitter old ’72 Dolphins players getting irritable and grumbling at the prospect that someone might match their feat over 30 years ago. While it’s true that Csonk and assorted teammates have been known to celebrate when an undefeated team goes down, and Shula eats steak, so what?

Football is the ultimate team sport. You’ve got the team. You’ve got the coaching team. You’ve got the offensive team. You’ve got the defensive team. Then you have the team that doesn’t respect the kicker as an athlete. My bad…..that’s everyone in the organization except for the kicker.

So you think the passage of time will diminish the bond of teammates, in the ultimate team sport, that accomplished what no other team in history has accomplished for 30 years? C’mon, sit around a group of ANY old dudes for more than 10 minutes and you’ll be in the middle of some great trek of the past. It can be anything from fishing to a domino tourney they were in. Heck, my friends and I talk about things we did in 2001.

Knowledge Droppings lost me when he started this battle out with a comparison to the ’98 Mules, er….I mean Broncos. That’s like talking about derringers at an Alabama militia convention. The Broncos rose and fell on the talents of one Terrell Davis. Everyone else around him were bit players.

But since it was dropped, let’s play it where it lies. The ’98 Broncs lost their 14th and 15th games that year, before winning their ring. It’s a long, long season y’all.

I totally bit on the Colts’ act last year. I thought there was no way that anyone would beat them as they slid into the playoffs hotter than Barry White in a saran wrap suit. I was made a believer that the Patriots were the real deal, dynasty talk and all, after they cleaned Indy’s clock and made Peyton look like a mediocre Pop Warner QB.

I think, and also hope the Colts will breakthrough their self imposed playoff winning phobic barrier this year and win the Big Game. But there is no way they’ll do it undefeated.

League parity, the gruel of the 16 game regular season, and injuries make the odds of any team finishing undefeated a very unlikely possibility. Not to mention the propensity of modern day NFL coaches to rest their horses toward the end of a playoff clinched and berthed season.

That last fact alone cost me my Fantasy Football League championship Dixie cup in the final week last year.

So once again, I have experience for that of which I write.