Friday, March 31, 2006

Just Some Good Old Boys

posted by IntrinsicBent

I don’t get what all the fuss is about.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is launching an alleged open ended and independent inquiry by former Senate majority leader George Mitchell into whether steroids are or have been used in the game.

So what.

Who cares that Mitchell just happens to own a chunk of the Boston Red Sox.

Big deal that he just happens to be on the board of Disney who owns ESPN, maybe the world’s largest sports conglomerate.

Shoot, if I owned a professional sports team or had sway with any formidable area therein, you have to know that my boys BiCoastal and Money would have huge titles with bloated salaries. I’d even hire Knowledge Drop, but at about half his current wage. He could probably build hot dogs, put them in the little paper boat, drive those puppies into the aluminum bag and fold them. I’d never trust him chucking peanuts at the crowd though.

So chillax with all the grassy knoll theories. It’s not like Elvis was really spotted at Taco Bell, or Jimi Hendrix and Mama Cass live in Frisco and work at a surf shop.

Nor do we have an owner of a baseball team running America’s pastime, or an American President that’s a friend with the steroid whistle blower with a tic.

Just order smaller player uniforms with smaller caps to cover the less muscle, ‘cuz we still love you baseball.

Be sure to check again with your groundskeeper to confirm they’ve stopped planting those oats in the back 40, er……outfield for the players to munch on during the game.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Meeting With George Mason

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Hello George Mason, we’re the Sports Frappe, it’s nice to meet you.  We readily confess that we had never heard of your school up until a couple weeks ago; let alone the fact that you had a basketball team.  In fact, our public high school educations never told us the story of your noble revolutionary namesake, who refused to sign the U. S. constitution because it didn’t abolish slavery.  But you’ll forgive us of all that, because you hadn’t heard of the Sports Frappe before now either.

Well George, (can we call you George?) let’s make a deal.  We want to root for you; heck everyone does.  But there’s one thing that worries us: if you end up winning it all, DO NOT, under any circumstances, give the movie rights to Disney.  Seriously, they’ve ruined enough great sporting moments to prove this point.  By the time they’re done writing the screenplay to your storybook championship, your star guard Tony Skinn will be an orphan adopted by Coach Larranaga, and all of your final opponents’ players will have been transformed into neo-Nazis.  Nothing says made by Disney like kids without parents and rampant racism.

Okay, Hollywood might not take it that far.  Nonetheless, we’ve got enough sports movies that turn real life stories into the same old tired formula.  Let’s let George Mason win it all, and let’s just celebrate the real deal, an eleven seed that beat all-comers to become national champions.  Do we need the inspirational backgrounds to be trumped up beyond recognition?  Do we need the game to represent some struggle of humanity that goes well beyond the court?  

I say no.  Let’s just enjoy an unlikely champion.  And you better agree to our terms, George Mason, otherwise I’m rooting for LSU . . . because the “Big Baby” would make a much better Disney character than anyone on your squad.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Sweet Sixteen or Sweet Sleep?

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Did anyone else feel like everything happened too fast on Thursday night?  During the Texas vs. West Virginia game, my mind barely had time to get excited over the idea of overtime following Pittsnogle's three pointer, before Texas had already answered with their own to end that thought.

Then Gonzaga's glorious run was brought down to ruins by the Bruins within a matter of seconds: a bad foul call off a rebound, a steal and a layup, absolute mayhem, and then Adam Morrison weeping in public. My roommate wanted an explaination after falling asleep but I couldn't find the words to explain what happened.

Is anyone else like me, where sometimes you just feel like the game ended the wrong way?  I’ll admit, the fact that I picked Gonzaga as a Final Four team had something to do with my disappointment.  Nonetheless, UCLA winning that game just didn’t feel right.  And it all happened in such a flash, I couldn’t even sleep last night because my brain wouldn’t stop replaying the action.  It’s only the Sweet Sixteen, and a school night at that!  Save it for next weekend, let us get our sleep now while we still can.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Place Kicker Swap Meet

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Certain free agent moves should be outlawed.  Normally, you would hear this type of talk from one of the Frappe’s older bloggers, (ahem-Intrinsic, excuse me), since members of my generation grew up in the hay-day of free agency.  But Adam Vinatieri signing with the Indianapolis Colts is not only tough to stomach, it’s just tough to imagine.  Mr. Clutch joining a team of chokers?  This was clearly not a approved transaction.

This move could have a spot waiting for it in the “Hall of Terrible Off Season Signings” if Vanderjagt completes this high profile place kicker swap.  Here in Boston, we’ll miss Vinatieri; although I’ll miss his Ford F-150 commercials about as much as I’ll miss Bronson Arroyo’s music career; but getting the hated Vanderjagt as a replacement would vault this move ahead of Johnny Damon’s clean shaven tryst with Steinbrenner as daggers in Boston fans’ hearts this year.

I just don’t think that these NFL front offices understand that there is only so much that we fans can take.  If during the next AFC championship game between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots, Mike Vanderjagt lines up for a game tying field goal, I just might go into some sort of mentally confused state, holding onto my couch trying to decide what is real and what is only going on in my head.

Monday, March 20, 2006


posted by MoneyMouth

Everyone in the sporting world seems to be praising Candace Parker for her two dunks in the Women’s NCAA Basketball tournament this past weekend.  Not only was she the first woman to dunk in the tournament, but she did it twice in game-speed situations.  I have to say that when I first read about this I was pretty impressed.  

Unfortunately, my amazement of that dunk quickly wore off when I finally saw it.  If Parker is going to act like she can play above the rim, then she deserves to hear these words from me: weak-sauce.  Seriously, those dunks were pitiful.  The dunk looked like a lay-up without the backboard in which she touched the rim after she let go of the ball.  Look, even I can do that and no one, not even my mother, has ever called it a dunk.

My words of advice: if you are going to act like you got game, at least put some authority behind it.  That means snap the rim, give a yell, and strike a pose.  Otherwise, don’t bother.  There are plenty of other deserving plays I’d rather see featured on the highlight reel that are being bumped off by your pathetic two points.    

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Bracket

posted by BiCoastal Bias

You’ve got to admit, when it comes to inventions, “brackets” are right up there with the giant piano that Tom Hanks jumps on during the movie “Big.”  Seriously, if it wasn’t for brackets, you would never experience a pub in Boston erupt into a roar in reaction to Tennessee’s buzzer beater to defeat Winthrop.  Half of the room couldn’t even tell you where Tennessee is, let alone Winthrop.  

This year in particle, I’ve come across several so-called “improvements” on the bracket.  The Facebook website uses a method called “Underdog Scoring,” in which correct upset picks are worth the difference between the seeds.  So if you got yesterday’s Montana over Nevada pick correct, this would have been worth 7 points, as opposed to the standard 1 point that a normal first round choice is worth.  Had I known that this was the scoring being used, I would have chosen every underdog in the games I didn’t have advancing past the second round, the points gained in each upset far outweighing the majority of games I would have gotten wrong.  

One guy in my department is running a pool in which participants choose their top 32 teams in the tournament, and rank them in terms of confidence.  Then you get a point for each game your teams win, multiplied by where you ranked them in confidence.  Since we’re all mathematicians, I’m constantly hearing about the probabilities involved in each game, which have somehow all been calculated to exact percentages up to two decimals.  

As for me, I’m quite content with the good old bracket.  And for my bracket, I decided to play it safe this year.  I normally choose lots of big upsets, especially between teams that I really don’t like or really do like.  This year, I’ve got Duke and UConn in the finals.  I know I know, before you boo me off of this blog, you should also know that I picked Gonzaga and B.C. as my other two semi-finalists.  

Yesterday I was really wishing I could have a mulligan on that B.C. pick.  Even though they pulled it out, they played so terribly I found it impossible to root for them, regardless of the countless online/office pools I have riding on them.  

But isn’t that what’s so great about The Bracket?  Why else would I find myself so emotionally involved in these games?  

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Japan and Me

posted by BiCoastal Bias

What do the BiCoastal Bias and the nation of Japan have in common?  We’re both a little frustrated with American umpires.  Sunday’s refereeing blunder brought back memories of a certain umpire’s third strike non-call in the Angels-White Sox ALCS.  (I won’t mention his name for the same reason history textbooks shouldn’t print the name of presidential assassins.)

I’ll even admit, however, that Japan’s case is much worse than my Angels.  I mean, not only did this ump make the wrong call, he reversed the right call after getting a complaint from the U.S. manager.  That leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.  I couldn’t even bring myself to route for my home country after that one.

So now I’ve suddenly bonded with the Japanese squad; but it’s not as if I needed an extra reason to be riveted to this tournament.  Who could’ve expected Korea to be the last undefeated team?  And how else would I have found out that Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are arch rivals?  The Latin American pool has been fascinating.  After the DR eliminated Venezuela tonight, they acted like they’d just won a pennant.  Expect Cuba vs. Puerto Rico on Wednesday night to hold just as much intensity.

Here’s the strangest outcome of the WBC so far: a Boston newspaper with a picture of A-Rod hitting the game winning single with the caption, “Our Hero?”

Monday, March 13, 2006

Desert Money

posted by MoneyMouth

I don’t pay much attention to the football off-season except when it comes to the draft.  Since Baseball’s spring training is in full swing and March Madness is knocking on my door, there are plenty of things that are demanding my attention not to mention the fact that the NBA and even the NHL are wrapping up their seasons.  However, I couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow when I caught the news that Edgerrin James signed a 4 year deal with Arizona Cardinals.

I believe my initial response was, “Arizona has a football team?”  

Okay, I knew Arizona had a football team.  It’s called a hyperbole and it can be an effective literary element—read about it.  Back to the point: I didn’t think anyone in their right mind with a legitimate career and future would sign with such a sorry team.  The Cardinals haven’t won more than 7 games since 1998 so I wasn’t too surprised to hear James rationalize his decision by saying he’s a risk taker.

Now, every part of me wants to start pointing the finger at James and start calling him greedy.  Besides being a risk taker, James is now the highest paid running back in the NFL.  Not that bad of a financial risk if you ask me.  However, when I take a closer look at the Cardinals, he just might be taking the best career risk of his life.  To my surprise, the Cardinals did just so happen to rank 1st in passing yards and 7th in overall offense.  The Cardinals just seem to be lacking the running back (they were dead last in rushing yards).  Now that seems like a match made in heaven.

So before you are tempted to start vilifying Edgerrin and Drew Rosenhaus (even though I wouldn’t be apposed to the latter), it might be a better idea to wait this bad boy out.  James just might earn that money and make all of us eat our words.  

Step Away From The Gel Bro

posted by IntrinsicBent

Evidently there are detrimental long term effects to chronic hair product use.

Miami Heat General Manager/Head Coach/Buttinsky Pat Riley told the Miami Herald that he had coached at least one player who amazed him more than Dwyane Wade…………..Magic Johnson. Ok, and Duh, coach.

But he didn’t stop there. He then went on to counter himself by saying he couldn’t think of another player he has coached with a superior package of skills.


He even said that the Magic Man doesn’t come close to doing what Dwyane can do physically and athletically.

James Worthy was better than Wade in those areas if you ask me. And I know that you are.

Maybe Coach is losing his longer term memory, or is choosing to act like one of those one dimensional beat writers who are either too young to have witnessed legendary players in action, or are unable to wrap their mind around different playing eras.

Maybe the fact that Dwyane spells his name like it ought to rhyme with Diane has him disoriented. It sure has that effect on my spellchecker.

It’s not that Wade is a slug of a player or anything. The kid has huge amounts of talent that has not been fully tapped yet.

But, c’mon.

You know now that this has been reported, he’s gonna have to go give Shaq Daddy a hug and assure him that he’s much better than Patrick Ewing ever was. If you don’t believe me, read Phil’s book.

See what you started Riles?

I think it’s absurd that they don’t have drug tests for NBA coaches.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The WBC and Spring Training

posted by BiCoastal Bias

I had a chance to watch a few innings of the much anticipated Venezuela vs. Dominican Republic match up in round one of the World Baseball Classic.  I’m already in love with this tournament.  First off, I think spring training is great anyways.  There is really no way to explain this to the non-baseball fan. There’s a scene in the movie Fever Pitch in which Jimmy Fallon explains to Drew Barrymore that he goes to spring training to “. . . figure out who should start and who should be cut.”  Clearly impressed, she replies, “Wow, and the Red Sox ask for your opinion?”

Check this out: I can actually say that I’ve witnessed a spring training no-hitter.  Four Angels’ pitchers, the most famous of whom is named Shawn Boskie, combined to blank the San Francisco Giants on a beautiful March day.  Who else can say something like that?  This is just one of the magical moments that make this time of year so special to me.

I’ve heard some complain that the WBC is ruining spring training, but I completely disagree.  Nobody actually cares about scores during spring training, you care about individual performances.  So if I see that my team got blown out today, I save my reaction until I see who pitched.  Now that we’ve entered the era of the WBC, I still care about individual performances, but now I have a few scores I want to check as well.  And now that the USA is actually in need of help to advance to round 2, I even have an underdog to pull for.

I haven’t even approached the topic of how fun it is to watch these games.  Venezuela vs. DR was packed with intensity.  Johan Santana arguing with the ump between innings, Bartolo Colon pumping his fist after a double play, and David Ortiz . . . well, pretty much doing what he always does, hitting balls out of the park.  The whole pitch count phenomenon simply adds a new level to the games.  These battles won’t be confused with September playoffs, as normally durable starters are guaranteed to be lifted somewhere around the fifth, if not earlier.  This emphasizes deep bullpens, but usually results in some more offense as well.  

The tournament was advertised as being a game for pride, with no pennant on the line.  With the energy and environment we’re seeing from the Dominican Republic’s dugout, it appears that pride is a pennant in and of itself.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

NFL Labor

posted by BiCoastal Bias

It’s only March, but the prospect of an NFL work stoppage has already got me thinking.  I’m getting this panicky feeling inside every time the ESPN ticker shows “NFL labor talks called off,” during the UNC-Duke game.  (This brings up another issue: sure North Carolina and Duke is the best rivalry in college basketball and arguably the best rivalry in American sports.  But is that really justification for ESPN to air the game on all 8 of its channels?  Do we as viewers really need to be able to access any camera angle we want by flipping the channel?  And does Dick Vitale need to iterate the differences between the various stations after each dunk?)

Anyhow, an NFL strike or lockout would be a catastrophic scenario, the kind you could write a great movie script for kind of like, “The Day After Tomorrow,” or something.  The NFL really is its own nation, economically speaking I’m sure most countries would love to have a Gross National Product on par with the NFL’s annual intake.  Come to think of it, an NFL work stoppage would compare pretty well to the Gandhi led strike that shut down the entire nation of India for a couple weeks, bringing the British Empire to its knees.  A message to the NFL: we here at the Frappe are ready to compromise, make us an offer, we just want to see you all play.

Since this I the month of March, however, this break in negotiating doesn’t put us in danger of a lack of football, yet.  Instead, I’m told that the salary cap implications could lead to anarchy for this free agent signing period.  By no means is this Ph.D. student able to understand, let alone explain, why this would be; but what I do know is, anarchy sounds kind of exciting.  Could we see a free agent play for two different teams simultaneously?  The possibilities are keeping me up at night.  

As long as football continues to be played, I guess the other repercussions can’t be that bad.  In fact, as bad as the refereeing was last playoff season, a little anarchy might be a welcome change.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

No Fear Of Mad Cow

posted by IntrinsicBent

Well, I think it’s finally happened.

I think there’s a sports story that finally has left me speechless.

C’mon, you know better than that.

The following link is required reading if you’re a sports fan. To me it far surpasses Tyson’s ear bite in the weird but true category.

It’s more unbelievable than the Red Sox trading Babe Ruth.

It’s more stupid than those teams that passed on drafting Michael Jordan.

Before you read this article, here’s one word of wisdom and warning: Do not gaze into the Cyclops kitten’s eye on the left. Just don’t do it, you won’t be able to sleep tonight. But I digress.

Ok, let’s move on. A Romanian soccer team traded a player for 15kg of meat products!!!!!! Like you, I’m not quite sure how to do the conversion from Kilograms to pounds, but I do know that you probably NEVER want to be traded for any kind of meat products. Not any cut of steak, sausage (even with cheese already in it), no burger, fish, venison, cold cuts, or canned or jarred product. You don’t want jarred or canned because then you’re trading for container weight. But I’m getting off course.

The Average Joe sports fan for years has decried the pro athlete as a spoiled yet skilled person lucky enough to get paid huge sums of money for playing games for a living. Seems there’s some credence to the athlete’s claim that they’re treated like a piece of meat. Or pieces of meat. And no youngsters, that’s not an Ashlee Simpson tune.

The additionally hilarious part of this is the team expressing their dismay after the “athlete” retired, that not only had they lost a player, but their team’s provisions for a while.

You Frappers know that I don’t love me no soccer. Growing up in Oklahoma, I never remember an instance where me and the neighborhood dudes spent a summer day growing mullets, running around like maniacs, overreacting to “injuries”, winning 2 to 1, yelling GOAL! 37 times whenever someone scored, or getting the crud beat out of me if I reported to my parents that my team had lost that day. Call me a jerk (JERK!), but it just ain’t really American to me. Yeah, I know we just lost all three of our AYSO readers. Sorry, but you know we come with the truth in the Frappe. It’s why you now hear people say things like, “You don’t believe me? I’m telling you the Frappe, man!”

This is so awesome, I would consider moving to Romania if they had toilets inside their homes. That’s one childhood memory I don’t need to replay.

Plus, their favorite sport is soccer. Although it seems soccer is staring at the love of meat products in their rear view mirror quickly gaining on them.

We're Not Talking About This

posted by BiCoastal Bias

We know why you tuned into the Frappe today: you want to know why you saw a clip of Barry Bonds dressed in drag earlier this week.  Well, we here at the Frappe don’t know either, not to mention the fact that we don’t care.  To be honest, I'm starting to feel a bit uncomfortable even looking at that picture.

The fact is, it’s just too easy.  Money Mouth already did a pretty handy job ripping into the nation’s best hitter, and that was before this little episode.  There’s no point in waxing philosophic on how badly this man needs attention, that he’ll go to weird and bizarre lengths to promote . . . his own ego.  Forget about it, we’re not diving into the depths of Barry’s psyche, analyzing Freudian style what this says about his relationship to his mother.

You don’t need the cheesy headline, “Barry chases 'The Babe' while dressing like one.”  So we won’t give it to you.  Instead, we’ll just celebrate the start of a Bonds-free (and hopefully drag-free) World Baseball Classic.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Big Hurt

posted by Knowledge Droppings

Knowledge Droppings:  Frank Thomas: Respectable veteran or useless whiner?

BiCoastal Bias:  Frank Thomas was one of the best players of the nineties, but we are well into the 21st century now, and what has he done for me lately?  It is the BiCoastal’s opinion that he’s a useless whiner.

Even in his hay-day, I never really liked this guy.  How can you be the league MVP and still not know how to throw?  Thomas made 15 errors in his MVP season from the first base position, and from what I remember, all of them were on the rare occasion that he was forced to relay the ball to someone else on his team.  If it was any decade other than the juiced era, the opposition would have bunted at him every other out.  

There was another thing about Thomas that really annoyed me that actually has nothing to do with him.  I had this theory that any kid who claimed Thomas was their favorite player, actually just loved the fact that his baseball cards were worth the most money.  In my eyes, they were all little playground-business-nerds, and had no respect for the game, just like their so-called hero.

But anyways, now “The Big Hurt” has come out and complained about the way the White Sox dropped him this off-season, and the way they’ve portrayed him as being damaged goods.  First of all, they didn’t have to portray him that way; his mere number of at bats the last two seasons did that for them.  Secondly, what is the deal with free agents complaining about the way they’ve been let go this off-season?  For some reason, Thomas feels that the proper way to end a contract with him is a personal phone call, as opposed to just buying out his contract for 3.5 million.  

Thomas also seems to be upset at not being given the opportunity to end his career with the White Sox.  Frank, here’s your opportunity: retire.  You should just be grateful that you got a completely undeserved World Series ring, making your shot at the Hall of Fame that much better, even though you’re not getting my vote.  I’m sure Money Mouth will agree with me, that guy rips everybody apart . . .

Money Mouth:  As much as I have a desire to rip everybody and their brother apart, Frank Thomas doesn’t deserve that.  It was only three years ago that Thomas hit over 40 homeruns in a season.  Unfortunately, his last two seasons have been injury riddled and Bias here would have you believe that this means it’s time for Thomas to call it quits.  But if he had done his homework, he would have known that in the last two seasons, Thomas has averaged a HR every 11 at bats.  In case you didn’t know, that’s pretty good.  In fact, that would lead the league in any of those seasons.  Thomas still has it.  Every pro has their injury problems, but I think the risk the A’s took on signing him is going to pay off big time.  The Big Hurt is looking to continue on with his homerun smashing ways and I think we will see that this season.  Continuing on the statistical route, Frank Thomas has a .307 career batting average, 447 Hrs, and ranks in the top 15 in career Slugging Percentage and On Base Percentage.  I think it’s pretty hard to say those aren’t Hall of Fame type numbers.      

As for the whole whining thing, it seems that the most Frank Thomas really said was the truth.  He told the press that he was bummed that no one ever said goodbye.  Look, if you play for an organization for 16 seasons not to mention become the fan favorite for the city, I think the least you can do is say, “We enjoyed having you.”  It’s just a fact.  Sure it seems to be the way things happen here in baseball (i.e. the Molina situation with the Angels), but Thomas has a right to be upset with how he was treated.  The real surprise is found in Kenny Williams’ jabs that he took once he pushed Thomas out the door.  If you want an image of classlessness, look no further than this guy.  My favorite part was when he said, “I’ll say it man to man, face to face,” and then continued on with the disparaging remarks.  Even after being called an “idiot” and “selfish,” Thomas refused to fight back.  Instead, he told the media he had a conversation with Williams that got a little heated and that would stay between them.  I find that to be quite the opposite of whining.    

The Worm (Doesn't) Turn

posted by IntrinsicBent

I’m traveling for business this week and doing my usual hunkering over my laptop in the hotel room with cable sports rolling in the background.

Strictly Speaking comes on and they have a round table on the tired subject of gambling in sports, taking advantage of the latest Hockey debacle allegedly including Janet Gretzky. A hot topic. Three weeks ago.

The panel includes a recovering degenerate gambler, an “expert” that seems to flop from one side to the other while clumsily trying to pimp his website, and none other than NBA champion Dennis Rodman.

Regardless of your thoughts on Rodman, childlike addict or tremendous defensive warrior, he is an intriguing presence who speaks his mind, whether you like it or not.

I’m typing (see pecking) away and listening and The Worm’s position seems to be anti-gambling, the tragedy of poker’s glorification for kids’ consumption, and the fact that athletes have huge competitive appetites which are accommodated by folks either preying off of them or allowing different pro athlete rules.

I then decide to look up at the TV for the first time to see that Rodman is sporting advertising via hat and shirt both prominently displaying the name of an online gambling “palace”.

Reminds me of what my Grandad used to say: “The only thing worse than finding The Worm on your team, is finding half of The Worm on your team.”

Or something like that.