Saturday, April 29, 2006

Another NFL Draft Day

posted by BiCoastal Bias

As Money Mouth has said, the NFL draft is quite an odd event.  I keep reminding myself that it wasn’t really an event at all until ESPN got a hold of it.  Lots of sporting events create their own hype, but not this one.  ESPN has been sounding the trumpet for this year’s NFL draft for a couple months now, and it’s no coincidence that they’ll be airing it live all weekend.  

That being said, this year’s draft is just too fascinating to pass up.  Don’t be fooled, it’s not any deeper than most drafts, but the personalities and names at the top will draw a lot of attention for years to come.  

You know whoever ended up with Reggie Bush was going to be the winner coming out of this draft, and that winner ended up being the New Orleans Saints.  Then when you consider that they added Drew Brees in the off season, this team has a nice nucleus to build on.  I don’t think, however, that the Texans made the wrong move by passing on Bush.  The Texans know they have no offensive line, so it’s not clear what a premier running back would be able to do for them anyways.  The best defensive lineman can make an impact on any bad defense, whereas any offensive player needs to be surrounded by some talent.  

But the really interesting story of round one is, of course, Vince Young getting picked 3rd and Matt Leinart falling to 10th.  Vince Young has become to football what Kobe is to basketball and what George W. is to politics; one of the most polarizing figures in recent memory.  You either think this guy is Michael Vick and then some, or you were chanting Ryan Leaf as he posed for his picture with Tagliabue.

I actually really, really, REALLY want Young to succeed in the NFL.  If he can do half of the things in the pros that he did in college, he will be extremely fun to watch and he’ll inject his own unique aspect to the game.  Unfortunately, the critic in me thinks this is extremely unlikely.  Did you watch any of Texas’ games last year?  If so, you definitely saw Vince tear up college defenses; but if you looked a little closer, you saw an offensive scheme that centered around Young’s ability to scramble.  Even more ominous, in the amount of time it took for the average Texas play to unfold, Dwight Freeney would have already stripped the ball from Young and been twenty yards down the field had this been an NFL game.  And while I don’t really know what the Wonderlic Test actually is, I do know that Young’s poor score implies that his learning curve might be a bit slower than average.  Even his passing mechanics are consistently coming under sharp criticism.  

Once again, I’m honestly rooting for Vince Young, but if I was a Tennessee Titans fan, I’d have a growing sense of dread anytime Leinart did something positive.

And speaking of Leinart, how the heck does this guy drop to number 10 on the draft chart?  Leinart is the real deal.  He would’ve been number 1 in last year’s draft, instead he spent another season at USC putting up Heisman numbers while studying NFL film; and he drops to tenth?  Leinart definitely deserved to get picked ahead of Young; but what’s funny about these situations is that the result only exacerbates the truth.  Typically, when a player drops lower in the draft, while it takes a hit on his ego, it also means he got picked up by a better team.  And chances are, Leinart is in a much better position to succeed with Arizona than Young is with Tennessee.  

Not only does Leinart get to remain on the west coast, he joins an offense with Edgerrin James, Anquan Boldin, and Larry Fitzgerald.  And while sitting behind Kurt Warner for a year isn’t exactly like learning from a future hall of famer, Warner was absolutely unstoppable for those two and a half seasons that comprised his prime; I would imagine he has something to pass on to his protégé.  Meanwhile, the Tennessee Titans are a team declining faster than anyone expected; the lone bright spot being Coach Jeff Fischer, although I clearly overestimated his football genius if he allowed his front office to bite the hook that is Vince Young.

All this to say, chances are slim to none that Vince Young will live up to his draft position.  Although, if I’m wrong, I’ll be wrong with a smile on my face.  Of course, that’s probably my favorite thing about the NFL draft: no one can be proven wrong for at least two more years, and by then we’ll be too busy discussing other drafts.  

Just Plain Absurd

posted by MoneyMouth

Let’s just get to the point. The Texans are ridiculous. As I was watching my new favorite NBA team get bullied by the Lakers this evening, I was also informed that the Texans have signed Mario Williams. I think my first thoughts were, “That’s not how you spell Reggie Bush.” It’s true. That’s not how you spell Reggie Bush. Before we dissect how strange this move is, let’s get to a bigger question that’s on my mind: doesn’t the draft start tomorrow? Then why are the Texans signing someone that hasn’t been drafted. I know, I know, that’s just the way it can be done, but still. Leave some suspense in the matter. I would have much rather witnessed the moment live when Trey Wingo mouths, “What the ______” to the camera and Bush grabs his agent by the tie.

Now, I’m not a huge NFL draft guy. Really, I could care less about it. Sure the first 10 picks or so are interesting, but since I’m not a college football fan I don’t know who most of these guys are after the first round. In fact, my favorite part of the draft is the players and their thank you speeches: “Yeah. I’d like to thank myself for not denying myself the abilities that were locked within myself to make this day possible for myself. Also, I’d like to thank God for giving myself the ability to be a superhuman so that I could then in exchange sign a 30 million dollar contract. So, in essence, God just gave myself 30 million dollars.” It all goes downhill from here.

Back to the point which I have managed to mostly sidestep in this blog: Reggie Bush is basically the equivalent of me going against Intrinsic in a 100 meter dash. 10 out of 10 times I’m going to win (and that’s a fact). The Texans not selecting Bush in the first round makes me feel like I’m taking crazy pills. I even decided to test if this dream world was reality by calling my girlfriend Anna Kournakova—let’s just say by the handprint across my face that I’m not in a dream world. I almost expected the next headline to be, “Matt Leinart withdraws from draft to become a male model.” In fact, such a revelation would come as no surprise and I would simply think that would be a smart career choice for the quarterback.

My prediction: Reggie Bush drops to pick number 20 in the draft. For you non-draft aficionados, that would be the Kansas City Chiefs. Why? Because they want to be the first team with three 1000 yard rushers. It’s a theory; it’s probably wrong.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

It's A Ball, Man

posted by IntrinsicBent

A baseball is a unique object. If you ever played the game in any form you know what I mean. It has a unique and compelling warmth to it when you hold it in your hand. It has a character to it no matter the age or condition. We all played with baseballs that were in various states of coming apart. If we had to, we’d use it sans cover with the threads/string covering it.

I’m always amazed when I go to a game at the intensity that people go after foul balls. It sickens me when I see some old dude plow over kids and women to get the balls. C’mon killer, they are available at any sports card shop for $7.00 – $9.00 including the official stamp of either league on them. A Target® $3.99 model would be just as good for you.

I guess I’m laying down the proper rules to follow when going after/receiving a foul ball:

  1. Never knock down anyone younger, or smaller than you.

  2. Never raise your arms in victory with the ball outstretched in your hand. You retrieved a ball, you did not kill a bear without a weapon. I’ve never caught a foul ball, but I know if I ever get one I will sit down like it was no thing. It’s called cool.

  3. Don’t ever keep the ball as a memento for yourself. What are you 11? If you don’t have a young fan with you, seek one out. That one’s called class. They will never forget the day they got a foul ball at the yard. I’ll never forget the time my son and I were watching warmups before a Ducks game. Jeremy Roenick tossed a puck to a kid in the crowd and some idioso full of churros dove across and snatched it out of the air. Roenick disappeared and came back with a puck and other items which he gave the kid after motioning him over. The place erupted in applause, with the mutual understanding that the Fat Flyer was getting served in the process. I’m not a huge hockey guy, but I became a Roenick fan that day.

That’s how it works.

So let’s get back on task.

I’m in Northern California on my monthly business trip checking out the end of an extra innings Giants/Mets game at the local Red Robin®. The Mets go up by two runs, the first two Giants batters get put out and Bonds, Barry Bonds comes up to the plate. Now if it was during the alleged juice era, the Mets would have either intentionally put him on base or Bonds would have knocked one in the Bay.

Proving that those alleged days are gone, Bonds bloops one in the outfield, and game over.

But Bonds did hit a homer earlier in the game which produced a graphic detailing the fact that he was at 711 homeruns bearing down the Babe’s record of 714.

I started thinking back on the hilarity that ensued when Mark McGwire hit homerun number 61 and then 70. The next year it was Bonds hitting 72.

There was drama and court cases over one of each player’s homerun baseballs retrieved by “fans” in the stands over ownership. The McGwire ball owner’s glory lasted only one year until Barry topped McGwire’s record for shooting beefroids, errr…………hitting homeruns one short year later.

This rapid shattering of the record reduced McGwire’s ball value to like $7.00-$9.00 dollars.

That’s known as justice my friends.

Lunch With a Rope

posted by MoneyMouth

I happened to get a rare break today at the noon hour so I trekked it back to my apartment to watch some television. Of course, I immediately flipped to our ESPN package. ESPN was playing Brewers vs. Braves, a game I could really care less about minus the fact that Ben Sheets is on my fantasy baseball team. After seeing that Sheets had been taken out of the game after striking out 9, I flipped over to ESPN 2 secretly hoping the Viking would be on. Instead, I found the U.S. National Jump Rope Championship.

Now let me remind you, it was noon. My choices were the NJRC or Law and Order, and since every episode of Law and Order is the same, I chose jump roping. The first event I caught was your basic speed double dutch. This is where the object is to clear the rope as many times possible in a set amount of time without being decapitated by the ropes. I’ll admit it: I was a little bored. Thankfully, EPSN knows this and so they don’t even complete the event before announcing who won.

What grabbed my attention is the double dutch single freestyle competition. This is where the 3 members of a team have put together a 60 second routine that involves flips, twists, and choreography. Think the floor exercise of a gymnastics routine, except with ropes flying above and below them. Not only do they have double dutch single freestyle, but they have doubles as well. My favorite was definitely the Hot Dogs. Those kids can skip.

Most of these contestants range from the ages of 8 to 30 which made me wonder what would have happened if I had taken my jump roping skills seriously back in the 4th grade. In case you were in doubt, I was good. No seriously, I rocked it out there on the playground. My potential as a jump roper was the sky. It’s too bad I decided to play real competitive sports because I could have been a national champion. I have only myself to blame.

The Year of the Pitcher?

posted by BiCoastal Bias

So this is going to be the year of the pitcher in Major League Baseball. We kept being told that it was going to be last year, what with the new steroid testing and suspension program in place. And to be fair, last year did see an overall decrease in scoring and homeruns, but it wasn’t any sort of unprecedented drop-off. Last year’s offensive numbers are comparable to other seasons in the last decade. In fact, it is the BiCoastal Bias’s opinion that the convenient absence of a handful of significant sluggers from the 2005 baseball landscape, (Bonds and Sosa, to name two) was what made the real difference in the league’s stats from 2004 to 2005. Granted, it was the new policy that probably lead to their absences, but my point is that the entire league hasn’t shifted all that much.

When it came down to it, the only thing that made 2005 all that different statistically from any other season in the juiced ball era was the lack of Bonds, Barry Bonds. We thought we were going to see a resurgence of pitching, and yet we haven’t seen a single no-hitter in over 20 months! Steroids were obviously a huge problem, and it’s time we accept the fact that pitchers were using them too.

To paraphrase Chuck Klosterman, baseball had two things going for it, history and math. You can’t talk about baseball without talking about numbers. The problem with the last ten years has been that suddenly the numbers throughout history don’t seem to compare anymore. This is a serious problem for any historical baseball fan; it kind of ruined something special about the game. No one would argue that Sammy Sosa was a better hitter than Frank Robinson, so what are we to do now that he sits ahead of him on the career home runs list? The steroids scandal provided an excuse – a reason that the numbers were failing us.

So what could make this season different from last season? The experts are saying that the new ban on amphetamines will affect hitters more than pitchers. And I’ve already seen pitchers coming back with a vengeance, just not in the way I expected to. The formerly golden-throated Bronson Arroyo was jacking more homers than he was allowing for his first couple starts, and did you catch Carlos Zambrano breaking his bat over his knee Bo Jackson style this week?

So maybe if we could find the right drug to ban, we’ll be able to tame these wild offensive statistics. Or maybe our problem is that even pitchers have given up on the task and have decided that they could do more damage with the bat than with the ball.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Playoff Bliss

posted by IntrinsicBent

First, my question is: “What the heck is wrong with Ernie’s neck on the TNT team?”  I’m not making fun, I want to know.  I hate it when something is obviously wrong and no one says anything.  I love the TNT team.  It is very interesting coverage.  I also like Tom Tolbert and Bill Walton (Ok, I do kind of make fun of him I admit.  But it’s fun).  Marv Albert is unlistenable.  I believe this probably falls under “Too Much Information.”  I know way too much about this dude.

This time of year finds me sitting/laying around with a permanent smile on my face.  I love the sport of basketball.  Unlike many others, I prefer the NBA.  I love the first round of the playoffs because there are games every single night.

Don’t get me wrong, I love March Madness as much as the next guy, but have a hard time catching very many regular season college games.

I’ve heard a consistent theme this week in discussions around town, on TV, and the radio.  Why don’t we have a NCAA single elimination NBA tournament to decide who wears the crown?

Like any good sermon, I submit the three following excellent points:

  1. No one wants to watch even one more minute of a Knicks game (this should count as two).

  2. Love the NBA or hate it, there is tradition involved with the postseason.

  3. There is a ton of money being made.  I was going to put this first, but you have to admit that the Knicks point is solid.

Back to how much of a fan I am.  I just proved it with an illustration to myself.  During a commercial in the Clippers/Nuggets game I trolled around the channel cycle. (My version of around the horn).  I came across American Chopper and Billy Joel was bossing around Paul Sr. in the garage.  Ordinarily, this reality show Twilight Zone episode would keep me glued to the tube.  At least until the next commercial break.  But I scrambled back to the game.

I am about to give you my take on this year’s playoff horizon.  I want everyone to use the bathroom before we leave because we won’t be stopping along the way.  This was written after the first round of games (not series), and I have seen the second Heat/Bulls game and am watching the second quarter of the second Clippers/Nuggets game.

Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls
I have a problem with this matchup.  I realize this is a flashback of battles these two teams have had in ’83 or ’93, or somewhere close to that.  I can’t do Shaq, because he’s ex-Laker and done.  I will enjoy him after he retires.  The Lake Show better not raise his jersey to the rafters while he’s still active.  It wouldn’t be right.  

Payton reminds me of the guy at the schoolyard with the big mouth because he had big brothers that no one wanted to have to deal with.  He’s best on teams that never intend on winning it all.  Preferably teams with Shaq on it.  

White Chocolate is a stupid nickname, plus doesn’t Eminem rap?  When did he start playing Bball?  Not too many leadership traits.

You have to love Dwyane Wade as the real deal, and Alonzo Mourning for his heart.  Unfortunately his body (Alonzo’s) can’t cash the checks his desire writes.

The Bulls are gritty.  I’m saying this through gritted teeth because, after all they are the Bulls (Laker logic).  They have a great future ahead of them if they stay on course.  Heinrich is a man.  He needs help.

The Heat win this matchup.  The Heat will not win the ring.  In fact, I don’t think Shaq will win another ring unless he goes to San Antonio or Detroit.  The problem with the East is that there is a Grand Canyon separating Detroit and Miami.  It should go 1. Pistons  7. Heat.  Seriously, there’s that much separation.  

Los Angeles Clippers/Denver Nuggets
I’m tired of watching Nuggets coach George Karl snarl in disgust.  It’s YOUR team, man.  Make some adjustments and do something about it.  The Nugs look like they’ve never been to the playoffs.

Carmelo, you’re not in Syracuse anymore.  This is the Bigs.  I actually heard him say this week that he was going to put the team on his back and get his teammates involved.  Aren’t those two separate things?  There’s way too much pressure on this young player.

I like Earl Boykins as the biggest (smallest) underdog in the league.  The guy has huge heart.

Ruben Patterson can be great defensively, and Marcus Camby has periods of brilliance in the downside of his career.

The Los Angeles Clippers have taken a step to the next level.  

Elton Brand is the most underestimated player in the league bar none.  

Chris Kaman is one of the bravest people in the league.  For sporting that hairdo.  He’s becoming a solid presence in the paint as well.

Cuttino Mobley looks reborn.  He’s playing out of his mind.

Sam Cassell provides solid veteran leadership.  He has scoreboard on his side.  And rings too.  He’s no Gary Payton, let me just say that.

The Clippers win this series but will not get past the Suns or Lakers in the next round.  Period.  They should be a force to reckon with for some time to come.

Washington Wizards/Cleveland Cavaliers
This matchup is fodder for the eventual beat down by the Detroit Pistons in the East.

The Wizards are a nice team that is very athletic and possess good team chemistry.  I believe they will win this matchup eventually.

LeBron James.  Forget the perennial question of who will be the next Jordan.  This manchild is truly unbelievable.  He will set the bar for unthinkable NBA standards for the future.  His game and work ethic needs to follow the path of Kevin Garnett and not the road that Vince Carter took.

Nice triple double in your first playoff appearance kid.

Memphis Grizzlies/Dallas Mavericks
Wow.  Welcome to the playoffs Griz.  Someone has to let Pau Gasol know they’ve started.  Something must be ailing him physically, for him to look so rough.  The problem the Grizzlies have is that they are very limited options wise.  It appears to actually be Gasol’s Grizzlies and that’s it.  Mike Miller is nice but, again help is needed.

With the emphasis on defense, the Mavericks present matchup problems aplenty.  How sick is a 7 footer that drains three pointers with someone in his face?

The Mavericks will take this series.  I may be crazy, but I think the Grizzlies will get at least one.

Indiana Pacers/New Jersey Nets
Again, another series that serves only to provide fresh raw meat to either the Heat or the Pistons.

The Indiana Pacers are imploding.  Who knows if any of these guys will be back next year?  Declining.  And quickly.

The New Jersey Nets’ Jason Kidd is on the backside of his zenith, Richard Jefferson is a solid player, and Vince Carter……well, he’s not the next Jordan after all.

I hate to let you kids down, but this one’s too close for this reporter to call.

Sacramento Kings/San Antonio Spurs
Spanking.  This was a surprise.

With Ron Artest going……well, Ron Artest, you have to give the second game to the Kings.  The only thing left that even resembles intrigue is whether the Kings out of desperation will play the bad boy physical card or not.

San Antonio going away on this one.  Even with Tim Duncan having problem with his game, the Spurs have too many weapons for the Kings to stave off.

Milwaukee Bucks/Detroit Pistons
The Bucks have Michael Redd and the Detroit Pistons have the 2006 championship team.  The Pistons are a textbook on chemistry and execution as a team.  They know their roles and get after them.  As long as there are no injury problems, I don’t see them getting knocked off.  Unless you believe that part about Flip Saunders not being able win the big one.

Los Angeles Lakers/Phoenix Suns
If Amare Stoudemire were in the Phoenix mix I believe we’d be in for one heck of a battle for the championship between The Suns and the Pistons.  But those are the breaks.

Steve Nash probably is the MVP of the league the second year running.  At times, he’s purely unstoppable.  He builds confidence in his teammates and distributes like a mutant.

Shawn Marion is the second most underrated player in the league after Elton Brand.

I believe the Lakers will win this in seven.  I know what you’re thinking.  I’m the biggest Laker honk, homer, (fill in the insult), etc. and you’re right.  I’ve got a funny feeling that this is where Phil will earn his money.  The first game was a great team effort.  But you know Kobe will get his.  And if his teammates remain sharp, they will get some too.  It is great to see the improvement of Lamar Odom, Kwame Brown and Luke Walton over the past two months.  I think they will win in a dogfight, be spent, and lose in the second round.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Second Season

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Welcome to the NBA’s second season.  The finals won’t wrap up until mid-June, so get settled.  I want to talk about what I’m looking forward to about this year’s playoffs, but first I’ve got to talk about some complaints.  

The NBA playoffs are way too long.  First of all, I don’t like the 7 game series in basketball.  Most of these teams only play each other a total of 3 times during the regular season, I don’t think the 7 game series is really necessary in the postseason.  Let’s make every round a 5 game series.  You can leave the finals at 7 if you really want, I’ll concede that point because I’m generous like that.

Secondly, there isn’t enough parody.  In the last 3 postseasons, only four teams seeded fifth through eighth have advanced past the first round.  That’s four out of twenty-four.  This round has become fairly pointless.  I wouldn’t want to cut it out completely, because those teams deserve a playoff position.  So let’s cut the first round down to a 3 game series.  

This format would give the entire NBA playoffs a new sense of urgency, a do or die feeling that would keep a buzz going for every single game.  The NBA should be looking for a feel closer to March Madness.  No one feels like they need to know the score of the first game in a series of seven.  When the underdog wins the first game of a 3 games series, suddenly people are talking.

With that being said, here’s what I’m looking forward to in this year’s flawed NBA postseason.

  1. LeBron’s first playoffs.  This guy is legitimately the heir to Michael Jordan.  Top scorers are a dime a dozen, but this guy makes his teammates better.  Not to mention he’s on the same level as MJ when it comes to class and marketability.  It’s highly unlikely that his Cavs will make it past Detroit, but this is his first go around, and I won’t bother drawing another Jordan comparison with the whole losing to Detroit in the playoffs, you already thought of that on your own.

  2. The Clippers.  The worst franchise in American sports is suddenly making a run.  Sure they had to throw their last game against Memphis in order to set themselves up right, but cut them some slack!  Going against Denver is the only chance they have to advance to the second round.  Then, how great would it be if the Lakers got past the Suns for a little Los Angeles battle?  Actually, strike that, there’s no way the Clippers could ever win the battle of Los Angeles.

  3. Dallas taking out San Antonio.  Seriously, seeing these two division rivals face off in round 2 is kind of exciting.

Even though it’s flawed, there’s still a thing or two to look forward to.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Viking: the Ultimate Obstacle Course Challenge

posted by MoneyMouth

If you want to see the cutting edge in sports entertainment, then look no further than EPSN 2. No, I’m not talking about bass fishing. I’m referring to Tokyo, Japan’s very own Viking: the Ultimate Obstacle Course Challenge. The makers of the show describe it as an “obstacle course designed to test the outer limits of human strength, speed, agility, and endurance.” At first I simply thought it was syndicated episodes of Most Extreme Elimination Challenge (MXC) from Spike TV until I realized that the contestants on the show were actually speaking in Japanese instead of having their voices replaced by cheesy (yet hilarious) voice-overs and the announcers were taking their jobs seriously.

What’s so entertaining about this show however is how dangerous the obstacle course actually is. This show would never fly in the US because of the insurance policy to cover it would be way too expensive. Failing an obstacle usually leaves the contestant falling awkwardly about 15 feet before they meet the water below. And if you are lucky, that fall might also include a ricochet off a wall.

In this particular episode that I’m watching, the contestants start by carrying a yoke with ropes tied to 30 pounds of cement on each side across a slow spinning balance beam. I’m thankful that I was fortunate enough to see someone make it one step onto the beam before losing their balance to fall into the water followed by the yoke and its cement blocks. Now that’s entertainment.

So where does the Viking come into play? That, my friends, is what we call an example of “Lost in Translation.” The obstacle course is placed within a giant pirate ship, not a Viking ship. Yes, I found this disturbing as well. I’m not sure how pirates and Vikings go together, but apparently for the Japanese they are one and the same. Fine by me as long as I get to see 5’4”, 130 pound men try and rope swing across a large ravine only to end up looking like Wile E. Coyote as they slam flat against the wall on the other side.

(Click here and check out the rest that the Sports Frappe has to say.)

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Last Closer Discussion

posted by BiCoastal Bias

I have decided why it is that the closer position so unique – it is the baseball position that receives the most unmerited attention. I’m talking about both the positive and negative attention, but none of it is actually deserved. Closers definitely get the most attention per inning played, you can’t argue with that. These guys only pitch 60 innings a year, and yet their names appear in every highlight reel. When it comes to any sport, only place kickers have them beat when it comes to the most attention for the least amount of playing time. So let me break it down for you, in terms of the positive attention and the negative attention, and why all of it is misplaced.

The Positive: First of all, the save is the most overrated statistic in baseball. This is a truth that I’m not willing to bend on, and this is really the seed of how closers got so overrated in the first place, (other than Rollie Fingers' mustache, of course). Let’s say you’re managing a game with a three run lead. To start the seventh, you’re starter swears to you he’s good for one more inning, but then he goes out and walks the first two batters. So you call on Pitcher A, who gets you out of the inning unscored upon against the top of the lineup. Fast forward to the ninth, when you call on Pitcher B to close the game, and he shuts down the bottom of the order in an uneventful inning. Now, you tell me, which pitcher is deserving of “the save”? If you said Pitcher B . . . well then you’re just being antagonistic. Pitcher A obviously deserves some sort of credit. Granted, you can probably play out scenarios like this to discredit any statistical category, but the save seems to lend itself to these situations quite frequently.

As we enter the second century of modern baseball, the old saying “defense wins championships” could be translated to “bullpens win championships.” The bullpen has become the offensive line of any ballclub, and yet the closer gets the credit of a running back. A closer can only be as good as his setup man, and yet his name is the one in lights.

The Negative: When a closer goes through a rough stretch, suddenly he is the reason for all of a franchise’s woes. This attention is also undeserved, usually. Every pitcher is going to lose a few, some more than others. For a closer, he gets the ball for the last inning in every game in which his team has a close lead. Therefore, the games in which he loses are especially pronounced. Year after year, Troy Percival was the Angel pitching staff’s lone all star. And game after game, my dad groaned when he stepped on the mound. It’s understandable, when a guy loses a few that you thought were in the bag, it’s tough to give that trust back to him.

Of course, some closers actually deserve the negative attention, Keith Foulke for one. But again, when a team is only playing fairly, and a decent closer gives up a couple games over a week, the attention shouldn’t be focused solely on him. In most instances, the bullpen could be doing more to take some pressure off of him. When setup men take care of the earlier innings, the heart of the lineup usually won’t even appear in the ninth.

I’m not suggesting an elimination of the closer or the saves statistic; but if I was a manger, I’m not even sure if I’d make my best reliever the closer. I think my best reliever is going to be the guy who can strand runners on base in whatever inning that situation appears in.

My suggestion for remedying the situation? Let’s have a brief moratorium on closer related talk. In the meantime, Texas Ranger Akinori Otsuka has an early season lead in the “holds” category. Is he the best setup man in baseball? Discuss amongst yourselves . . .

How Low Can You Go?

posted by IntrinsicBent

It was reported this week that Barry Bonds’ ESPN reality show “Bonds on Bonds” is pulling the same low TV rating of 0.5% that ESPN2’s new U.S. Paintball Championship is receiving.

The Sports Frappe take on this? We're surprised paintball isn’t pulling better numbers.

Enough said.

Losing To Win Is Still Losing

posted by IntrinsicBent

Uhhhh, please tell me where I went wrong. I’ve always been taught that the goal is to try to win. Actually it went, “Intrinsic, I want you to go out there and do your best, be a good sport and teammate. But you better win because otherwise it’ll be a long drive home with me telling you the error of your ways.”

Ok, that last part was not verbalized, only realized.

But trust me, the lesson of playing and persevering has served me well. Odds and the score may be against you but when something gets in your way, you have to go over it, around it, under it, or right through it. Oh yeah, and keep your head on a swivel.

But you never quit. You know how that line goes too.

So why was there so much talk this week about losing to win in the NBA? You see some bad acting come out of this part of the country, but nothing near the sham that was the Clippers V. Grizzlies game.

As if benching marquee name players was not enough, they mixed in a fake comeback attempt and then one coach went ahead and got t’d up.

Why lose? Don’t ask me, but the reality was that many teams faced losing home court advantage if they won.

Even though I don’t understand willful losing in a competition, the blame for this dog and pony (mutt and nag) show rests firmly on the NBA’s shoulders.

It was the NBA that placed priority on Conference records over Division records. What is this, a new league where the schedulers are still working out the bugs? Why didn’t anyone throw up a “What If”, and see that this was possible, if not probable?

Maybe the worst part was the fact that this losing battle cry led poor little innocent Allen Iverson and Chris Webber astray. They must have misunderstood the memo, because they didn’t even show up until right before their game so they could ride the pine. Evidently, the Sixers didn’t want their plan to be that blatant, because Billy King (Sixers GM) is livid and talk is flying that one or both of those players could be traded.

All I ask is that they stay on the East Coast.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Dinosaurs and Baseball

posted by MoneyMouth

On occasion I like to throw down some props.  I know: it’s not that consistent with my character to do so, but every once and a while someone does something noteworthy in the sporting world besides Kobe and I am forced to stand and applaud.

Who’s so “prop” worthy?  None other than Julio Franco who became the oldest player to hit a homerun in major league history.  At the fragile age of 47, Franco didn’t just hit a homer.  Instead, he went opposite field with it in a stadium not known for the long ball.  

It amazes me that Franco is still playing.  It really doesn’t make sense.  Since when did 45 (+) year olds besides Rickey Henderson play in the majors?  What’s even more crazy is that the Mets actually signed him to a two year deal.  He’ll be 49 when his contract is up and already he’s saying how he hopes to hit a homer when he’s 50!  All I have to say is that when I’m 45 years old, I just hope I will still be able go bowling let alone throw a baseball to my son (that’s obviously theoretical since I don’t have one).  So my hat is off to you Julio Franco; you give me hope.  

Power Up

posted by IntrinsicBent

I've tried hard not to comment on this dude, but there seems to be no way around it.

Of course I’m referring to Bonds, Barry Bonds.

Get off the guy already. All he has done is mash homers like they were super balls, alienate himself from teammates, media, and fans alike, adopt separate rules for himself in the clubhouse, slap down Matt Williams during BP, use his kids as media shields, support a mistress, show his hatred toward the Babe and baseball in general while playing the race card, and allegedly cheating by pumping himself full of bovine steroids as well as a cavalcade of other “supplements”.

English teachers, I know that’s a runon sentence. You have to admit it flows in kind of an internet blog sort of way.

I’m glad that Barry finally stood up for himself, threw down the gauntlet and said enough’s enough already regarding serious allegations made against him. The mlb is fining him $5k for wearing those Wonder Woman looking power bands……….er……….wrist bands.

You have to admire Barry for taking the bull by the horns (insert hilarious bovine steroid joke here) and appealing this travesty of a ruling. How can they expect the dude to play without his wrist bands?!? What is this the 1920’s? Should we expect to see Honus Wagner any time soon? Guys HAVE to be able to wear wrist bands man. And don’t even start thinking you’re going to outlaw finger wraps.

I strongly feel we should take a closer look at these wrist bands. Check for traces of magnets, rabbit’s foot, or maybe eye of newt.

Awww, who am I kidding? Barry wouldn’t do that.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Come Fly With Me

posted by IntrinsicBent

Our friend Mark Cuban has been taking classes at the Oprah Winfrey Institute of Audience/Fan Appreciation.

It seems that tonight’s final Mavericks regular season game doubled as Fan Appreciation Night.

Cuban and a dude from American Airlines did a halftime skit that had the crowd responding with cricket noises.

That is until it was revealed that the Dallas Mavericks and American Airlines had teamed together to give each attendee a ticket for airfare.

Hey, it was probably cheaper than giving every fan a tank of gas.

The question I have now is, “Does my team still love me if they show me appreciation with a foam finger?”

Doing The Splits

posted by IntrinsicBent

There has been a trend over the past few years in SoCal baseball that is quite unsettling. This has nothing to do with the dreaded “S” Word. I’m not sure if it’s going on in other markets or not.

It has everything to do with radio broadcasting of the games. I first noticed it quite a few years ago with the Dodgers’ radio broadcasts. Vin Scully would split up games with another broadcaster.

I figured that a legend like Vin Scully could do whatever the heck he wanted to do. I was fortunate to be able to listen to a living legend, and would much rather he extend his career by parceling job duties out.

Not too much further down the road, they added a third broadcaster to the mix and each took 3 innings, and would rotate innings during extra inning games.

I’ve come to realize in this still young season that the Angels are also splitting time between broadcasters.

I just don’t get it. It’s distracting, and interrupts the flow. The beauty of listening to a game on the radio is being able to visualize the action going on in the stadium as the audio comes out of your dash.

Before the proliferation of television coverage, you kept up with your team via radio in your living room, porch, or stoop. There were days you could taste the Cracker Jacks® and hot dogs, and sense momentum shifts.

Radio is a very intimate media, due to the fact that you actively listen to personalities and shows for longer periods of time which allows for stronger bonds to develop.

Having different commentators produces a feeling of baseball multiple personality disorder. Two commentators? Then you have two games within one. Mitch Hedberg put it best when he said, “Two was not meant to fit in one. That’s why two was created.”

Is it really that much stress to catch EVERY game with a team as your job? What do they do during the game when it’s not one of their innings? Pound Gatorade and get a mouth massage? Should Money, BiCoastal, and I schedule ourselves on a rotating basis? Heck no, we know we’re three of the luckiest boys alive (even with Knowledge Drop around) in getting to participate in the sporting world.

Some of you are asking yourselves, “Geesh, why doesn’t Intrinsic just relax and enjoy the game?” Frappmasters do not have the benefit of simple pleasures that civilians do. It’s all about deep thinking and analysis. And going after Chick Hearns’ Iron Man record.

We do take wiffle ball outings in the park though.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Where's My Ginko Biloba?

posted by IntrinsicBent

The awesome thing about getting older is that sometimes you can marvel over things that you’d forgotten about. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving. That, my Frappers, is called glass half full thinking.

This happened to me late last week when I became “aware” that the Kansas City Royals at one time had an outfield that consisted of Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran, and Jermaine Dye. That’s mind blowing when you think about it. Beltran is hoping to return to his pre-Mets Superman® form. Damon and Dye have rings. All three are now two teams removed from their days in KC.

You can play one heck of a “what-if” game with this trio. I know I’m not telling you KC fans anything you haven’t already painfully realized.

These type of discussions usually lead to the debate of large market V. small market and the inevitable realization of the inequities involved. Thus the reason we all root for these teams when chemistry and using the right brand of sunflower seeds in the dugout leads to a playoff run.

These chasms of opportunity will only widen which make the odds of a small market team accomplishing a trip to the big dance that much rarer.

Baseball has the best and most intricate of development leagues through their three levels of farm clubs.

Here’s where I catch KC Fan’s ire though. Aren’t some small market clubs basically just a AAAA team developing talent for the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, and other money printing MLB teams?

It’s in these small markets that you find some of the most dedicated fans, with many being able to trace team loyalty along their family tree. For that reason, they earn the Sports Frappe’s version of “Real Men (and Women) Of Genius.”

I was able to witness this loyalty back in the day as a kid living in KC when Paul Splittorf, Amos Otis, Freddy Patek, Lou Piniella, and the rest took to the field. My Pops was a Yankee fan (explains a lot, doesn’t it?) who insisted we go to NY/KC games and get harassed by a stadium load of people. Ah heck…… was fun though! You know what they say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you post in a blog years later.” Or something close to that I think.

The awesome thing about getting older is that sometimes you can marvel over things that you’d forgotten about. I’m kidding! I’m not that bad……………yet.

I know some of you slower readers will never get the gag. That’s ok, you’re the Frappe’s version of the development league. And we dig you for that.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Pros Versus Joes

posted by IntrinsicBent

I know I’m not breaking new ground with this report, but for the 7 of you that don’t have cable television, here’s the classroom info:

Pros Vs. Joes is a competition on Spike TV where an armchair athlete Used To Be or Never Was, takes on retired pro athletes. You know the “barely missed the pros” guy that can be found on softball diamonds and basketball courts across the land. It doesn’t take too long in your conversation with him before he’s telling you how he’d have made the bigs except for his High School coach not liking him, or blowing out his knee, etc.

The episodes I’ve seen follow the same format, with the Ordinary Joes running weak smack that they never back up, and celebrate like they just won the Superbowl if they accidentally beat a Pro in a neutral sport like bicycle riding, or darts.

Some parts of episodes I’ve seen have been enjoyable, whether it’s the Joes trying to snatch a rebound against Dennis Rodman, getting juked outta their socks trying to tackle Jerry Rice, trying to score a touchdown against Kevin Greene, Bill Romanowski mad dogging everyone like he’s taken a bunch of diet pills, or trying to hit homeruns at Bo Jackson’s still impressive pace.

This is actually where we catch up to my stellar sports take.

I’m halfway paying attention while channel trolling and I come across P vs. J and then I pay attention because Bo is on it. Bo was one of the modern era supermen, playing two sports……and playing them well. And that’s not even factoring in his Tecmo Bowl prowess that BiCoastal’s reported on. He’s like Deion Sanders……....…….but good.

One of Bo’s first few lines in this episode took me back to what Bo really excelled at. Referring to himself in the third person. Ad campaigns were built around this gift of his.

So there’s a shot of Bo staring in the camera, and he says “I’m Bo Jackson, two sport athlete. Bo Jackson’s biggest fear is failure. And that word is not in his vocabulary.”

Priceless! Bring back Bo. Immediately.

He’s like the self stating third person guru of all athletes that follow.

Well, that’s all Intrinsic has for now. The only thing that IntrinicBent fears is a bad sports take with no relevance. Intrinsic is not worried that this will ever actually happen because he knows he’s brilliant. Intrinsic knows blogging.

Marathon Monday

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Today was Marathon Monday in Boston.  This is an actual holiday in Beantown, schools are out, and any workplace in the city pretty much has to give the day off or else solve the transportation issues and parking problems that such a race presents.   Granted, the holiday is not actually called “Marathon Monday,” it disguises itself under the guise of “Patriots Day.”  But since no one else in the country has ever heard of such a celebration, I don’t think Boston’s fooling anybody.  

So for this year’s annual race, I positioned myself midway through Heartbreak Hill.  As the Sports Frappe’s reporter on the scene, I have to tell you that this name is a real misnomer.  I made it up this gentle incline quite easily while eating a peanut butter jelly sandwich and drinking the promotional Rockstar Energy Drink I had been given.  I suppose after 20 and a half miles it might’ve been a little bit more challenging, but I was still rather disenchanted.

Nonetheless, while standing amidst the spectators and cops, watching the men and women run and wheelchair up the hill, I felt something I haven’t felt for a long time.  I felt proud to be an American.  It wasn’t for any nationalistic reasons: it’s not like the marathon is an American event, and the race wasn’t won by any Americans.  I guess just standing there in a crowd of my neighbors was all it took; all of us gathered for the sole purpose of cheering on whoever happened to be running by our stretch of road at that very moment.  

This beautiful feeling was shattered by two things:

  1. Some flunky college student complaining loudly to anyone who would listen about how inconvenient it was that he couldn’t cross the marathon route to get home.  Seriously, runners are on their 26th mile and this guy is throwing a fit about walking an extra 3 blocks.

  2. I came to the realization that everyone around me, myself included, had come to Heartbreak Hill with the secret morbid desire to see some runner’s . . . heartbreak.

Even though the feeling was fleeting, for a few minutes, I experienced a little patriotism on Patriots Day.  And I have the Boston Marathon to thank.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Same Old Song and Dance

posted by MoneyMouth

When I took my first writing class in college, the fundamental lesson I learned was when you have writer’s block you just need to write about what you know. Well, if I walk out of my apartment tomorrow and see the Pacific Ocean has dried up or my 1990 Acura Legend® has suddenly turned into a Ferrari, I might scratch my head for a few seconds before taking a drive downtown. But even if both of these freakish events happened I would still know that deep within me there is still a strong hatred for Barry Bonds.

Yeah, I’m back on that Barry hating train again; no surprise here. But let me say that there is nothing that pleases me more than seeing him struggle. Nine games into the season and number 25 is still without a homer. Now, in case you want the other facts that go along with this, here they are. The longest streak for starting a season without a homerun for the big-headed goon is 12. When did this happen? 1998. For those keeping track at home, this is the last year before his alleged (and I use alleged to save my butt from a lawsuit) steroid use began. Interesting…

Let’s keep scratching this little golden nugget of information. The fact that Bonds still hasn’t had a homer isn’t that big of deal. He has started many of seasons without a big bash over his career in his first 8 or so games. I believe the number is in and around 6 distinct seasons. But once again, what strikes me as interesting is that they all happened before the 1998 season. A devious grin has crept over my entire face.

For me, the steroid thing is what it is. There are a lot more players who are guilty of such actions. I just don’t want this guy breaking the Babe Ruth mark, not to mention the Hammer’s record. The game of baseball and its fans deserve more out of their legends. So if Bonds hits a few more, oh well. I just hope A-Rod or Griffey follow closely behind.

His Has the Hits in Them

posted by BiCoastal Bias

The worst moment for any sports fan, is realizing that you take the game more seriously than the athletes.  This is a much worse moment than getting knocked out of the playoffs on a fluke steal followed by a lay up – at least then your star player is in tears just like you.  But when you realize that your hero doesn’t take his profession as seriously as you take his profession; it’s like finding out that the entire world has been mocking you behind your back for the last however many years.

For me, this happened as a 13 year old during a meaningless Angels game in August.  We were in the 13th inning, and my team had given up their designated hitter in the 9th by moving him to the infield as a defensive upgrade; meaning at this point, we’d seen the pitcher bat twice in an American League game!  (If this doesn’t prove that men named “Marcel” shouldn’t manage big league clubs, then I don’t know what does.  First off, if he’s a better defensive player, why is he DHing?  Secondly, why give up your right to a DH in a tight ball game, when your pitcher will have to hit if you go into extra innings?  Thirdly, why am I still upset about this more than a decade later?)  Anyways, I had been on the edge of my seat for the last hour, when the camera pans to the dugout to show a few guys laughing their heads off at who knows what.  

Maybe someday, there will be some group that treats every math proof I attempt like a playoff game, and then I’ll understand what this is like for the athlete.  But until then, I’ll just shake my head and think, “They don’t know how lucky they are.”

The only grouping that might have it worse than us sports fans: the sports journalists.  Why?  Because they see how un-serious it is in the locker rooms at various times, and yet they’ve got to write up these interviews in such a way as to keep up the charade for us Monday morning quarterbacks.  

I was reminded of this while reading the recap from the Twins vs. Yankees game last weekend.  The article claimed that Justin Morneau “knew he needed to make an adjustment” in the ninth inning, leading him to use his teammate Joe Mauer’s lighter bat.  He went on to get the go ahead RBI against Mariano Rivera.  What did Morneau have to say about his game winning decision?  “I told him I wanted to use his because his has the hits in them.”  It sounds like Morneau uses the same qualifications when it comes to choosing a bat as I did in Little League . . . except the end result turned out a lot better for him that it ever did for me.  

So I guess the point is, if you ever have one of those moments where you feel like your heroes aren’t caring as much as you do . . . at least you don’t have to try to write a serious article about it the next day.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Floodlit Dinners for 38,000?

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Today while reading my free newspaper on the subway, I came across a highly disturbing sports article.  Written by a Sarah Green, it appears this journalist takes the term “I love this game” to an entirely new level.  I became a little uncomfortable in my seat.  

On the recent contractual agreement between David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox, Green made the following remarks: “David Americo Ortiz made an honest Nation out of the Fenway Faithful . . . he wanted to grow old with us, and he wasn’t afraid to say it . . . He just makes us feel so safe with those big arms of his . . . He likes floodlit dinners for 38,000, slow jogs around the bases and a good laugh in the dugout every now and then . . . But then, I always cry at long-term contract signing.”  

Trust me, it gets much worse, but I don’t want to put you through the squeamish details that ruined my morning commute.  Here’s the deal, Frappers: you don’t have to worry about this kind of discomfort with us.  As long as you’ve got your ice cold mocha in your hands, made by none other than Kid Knowledge Droppings, you can relax.  

Sure, every now and then I’ve been known to drop a comment or two about being the lover to various members of 2002 World Champion Anaheim Angels; but I promise to keep those moments to a bare minimum.  We here at the Frappe believe in keeping up the façade that separates the macho sports fanatic from the “You’ve Got Mail” watching sensitive type . . . even though we all know the line is not always so clear . . .

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Return On Investment

posted by IntrinsicBent

When you make an investment, you want to buy low and sell high. Or take a raw resource, refine it, add value, and sell it for a profit.

It seems the Lakers are not interested in doing any selling when it comes to one of last year’s draft assets, Andrew Bynum.

The Lakers drafted this 17 year old kid 10th in the first round, hired Kareem Abdul Jabbar to mentor him in the ways of the Center, and then hired Mr. Phil Jackson as coach for good measure.

Bynum has showed improved strength and footwork and at times has shown a fearlessness that’s fun to watch. He’s no George Mikan (Shaq for you younger readers) yet, but the force is strong with this one.

It’s rumored that the Lakers did not land Ron Artest earlier this season because the Pacers were intent on including Bynum in the deal. The latest rumor/suggestion in Laker land, mainly by journalists, is that if Kevin Garnett is to be traded from the TWolves the Lakers should not hesitate to deal Smush Parker, Bynum, Chris Mihm, and their first pick in the 2006 draft to land him.

I guess this falls under, “Never Say Never”. But the experts at the Sports Frappe are not sure. And we know how you look to us for direction in these things.

It will be an interesting off season again for the Lakers as they contemplate their next move(s).

In the meantime, Bynum has already grown……literally and figuratively. He has grown 1-2 inches (depending on which report you believe) and packed on 15 pounds.

Ahhh, to be young again……….when growth is measured by height…….and not girth.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Ultimate Drop In

posted by IntrinsicBent

I’m here to dispel a fallacy. Just because you’re Old Skool, does not necessarily mean that you don’t have the aptitude to follow a new trend, sport, or other modern event.

Case in point: I love following many of the self described adrenaline junkie or X Game type sports. I may not be down with all the lingo but I usually learn enough to bring up the topic and then drop a few terms on my kids just to see their eyes roll. That’s a sport I feel I invented. I am trademarking the name DER (pronounced DURRRR) which stands for Dependent Eye Roll. So far, I’ve managed to get their eyes to roll 45 and 90 degrees. I’m working on getting them to go 180. It will involve me running around with no shirt on and rapping, but that’s all I can say about it now.

I love the half pipe events, freestyle, and of course street luge. I have a soft spot for that two person sport where the one dude jumps out of a plane with a snowboard on and the other guy has a helmet cam on and gets scored for filming it. Hey, I never said I knew what the name of it was.

I’m not like some of my old skool brethren with the mindset of “Why don’t you just drive your car into an oncoming train and call that a sport?” C’mon, do you think the old people were keen on folks running around like idiots throwing stuff into peach baskets before the sport of basketball took off?

The glaring difference with my interest in these sports is that I enjoy them without ever having done any of them. I wouldn’t even try any of them once.

I can remember my Uncle having a skateboard when I was a kid. It was a narrow elliptical piece of wood attached to four very small, very metal, and very cheesy wheels. That is a very fleeting memory.

Then while in High School, skateboarding caught on with my younger brothers’ age group and soon they were sporting plastic type boards with huge colored poly “mags.” I never could make it work, and I felt at 16 I was way too old (and cool by the way) to be seen around my neighborhood sitting on it and screaming, “Whee!”

Skateboarding seemed to die another death (at least in Oklahoma) but I soon became aware that it’s heartbeat was on the West Coast.

Now the tricks and stunts are sicker and more unbelievable than ever. The bar keeps getting raised and the envelope pushed further.

Which brings this reporter to his report.

San Diego area (Encinitas) native Danny Way is setting the standard for all future skaters. This 32 year old is a cross between Tony Hawk and Evel Knievel.

On April 6th, Danny jumped out of a cherry picker that was on the guitar neck of the Hard Rock Hotel sign in Las Vegas, and just happened to be 84 feet in the air. He set a Guiness Book of World Records' record for free falling onto a ramp successfully. The previous record was 12 feet and 3.6 inches (are you kidding me with the .6?).

Proving there was a Way (had to do it), Danny fell 28 feet. He bailed out after the successful landing because he felt the ramp was not tall enough to sustain his high rate of speed. Hey, his prerogative if you ask me.

The weird thing in the story was that it states he was successful on his fourth attempt. My desire is to have the details of the first three tries, but I guess that’s just demented, ‘cuz there's no mention of them anywhere.

Danny has also had other small accomplishments in his sport like jumping onto a ramp out of a helicopter, and oh yeah, jumping the Great Wall Of China. No kidding!

The most amazing thing is that this has all been accomplished by an extreme athlete with a fear of heights!

That’s something I can relate to for sure. I’ve had to take the backwards walk of shame down a slide’s ladder after chewing off more than I could bite, or something like that. There’s no worse hazing a kid can take than the comments from disgusted kids that are having to back themselves down off a ladder. And that was just the girls. It doesn’t take long for the encouraging comments of “you can do it” to turn to more aggressive "urgings" that are better left untyped.

It’s not really peer pressure when you’re at the top of that Kong slide knowing there ain’t no way you’re going down. It’s more like back pressure from the line behind you.

That last paragraph basically restated the previous one, didn’t it? I’m gonna leave it there and label it “emphasis”.

Another weird thing in the article was the fact that Robin Leach was there. Bizarre. Remind me to tell you about a run in I had with Mr. Leach in the Vegas airport sometime. It seems that the caviar and champagne dreams line is basically crap. Homeboy was waiting on a Southwest flight just like yours truly. Maybe that line should have something to do with peanut dreams, or goober naps.

But once again, I digress.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Opening Day vs. March Madness

posted by BiCoastal Bias

I won’t be the first sports blogger to say this, but the NCAA championship and MLB opening day really need to stop overlapping.  March Madness should actually end in March, and opening day oughta be April 1st.  That’s just the way it is.  These are two special occasions, and they need their own separate days to be celebrated.

That being said, how great is it to have baseball back?  There’s just something about Daylight Savings Time, baseball, and steroid allegations that say, “Summer’s just around the corner.”

Baseball’s opening day is unlike any other sport.  I think it’s because on that day, your daily routine for the next six months drastically changes.  Baseball doesn’t leave you alone on the weekdays like football.  You’ll be catching highlights and reading boxscores every night right up until your team gets knocked out in October, (or June if you’re a Baltimore fan).  

There’s something about Baseball Tonight that I find so comforting.  The confident voice of Peter Gammons elicits a feeling in my soul, assuring me that winter is over and I don’t have to pretend to care about professional basketball anymore.  Even Harold Reynolds, who is probably the worst sports prognosticator in history, doesn’t get on my nerves this time of year.

That being said, how ‘bout some predictions of my own: Cardinals over White Sox in 6, the AL wild card will come from the west, and Barry Bonds will sit out of more games than those he homers in.  

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Tale Of Two Blogs

posted by IntrinsicBent

All sports fans have an innate desire to know their favorite players on, and off the court, field, diamond, octagon, ring, or ice.

Many a kid grew up putting themselves in imaginary real game situations with or against their favorite players. If you ever played basketball it went something like this, “Intrinsic receives the bounce pass from Erving in the paint and pulls up with 3 seconds on the clock. 3..2..1….and it’s good! It’s good! They win the championship!

There’s a version for every sport. I always came through by the way. I reset the same script until my effort fit the script. Sometimes it took 7 or 8 shots to get the desired effect. It was always magical.

I know at this point some of you are whining, “Thanks for taking us back to your weak childhood circa 1974 Intrinsic.”

Here’s the meat.

We want to feel like athletes want us in their lives as much as we want them in ours. Never the case by the way, but don’t break the illusion.

It seems our high tech age should facilitate this desire into being, doesn’t it?

But, not always. In the late nineties, and even now you’ll hear of athletes doing live online chats which equates to a glorified Q&A session. This year, AT&T is hosting webisodes that feature NBA players in their offcourt settings. An NBA Cribs of sorts.

The past few years we’ve seen the proliferation of weblogs, or blogs like the one you love to read here. This should be the vehicle that delivers the intimacy that fans crave so bad.

The reality is that you must grade these player offerings blog by blog.

Take Carson Palmer’s blog. I found out about this after he was devastated with injury during his first playoff game. This was intriguing to me because as someone living in SoCal, I loosely followed his USC career. I read with enthusiasm on my first visit as Carson made a commitment to me to share how rehab was going with him. Wow! Carson wants to share with me!

As you can see, Mr. Palmer still offers the same unfulfilled pledge.

Thanks for letting us in bro. Who says guys are afraid of intimacy? I may have gotten a clue if I’d have read an earlier post welcoming me to his website. Uh, it's a blog CP, and there's a difference.

Now for the other end of the spectrum.

Tim Salmon has long been my favorite Los Angeles Angel of Anaheim player. BiCoastal made me aware that ESPN was hosting a blog for the Kingfish as he made a run to make it back to the bigs after more than a year off rehabbing from two surgeries.

I was stoked to find articles covering his spring training progress, his response to the tragic passing of Kirby Puckett (Puckett called him Sam Bam), the difficulty of juggling spring training and family, as well as his reasons for waiving a clause in his contract which held the Angels to a use me or lose me type deadline.

After getting to know my new close and personal friend Tim, I now can assume that he has not posted in a while because of how intensely he focuses on his craft as the season takes off.

See how a good blog works? It makes you feel attached, like you're part of the family.

The Sports Frappe only links to the best y'all.

I check my friend Tim’s blog often waiting for him to post my invitation to his house for lunch. Or for which games he is leaving tickets for me at will-call.

Think I should have him over for dinner in late October after the Halos win the series?