Tuesday, October 31, 2006

No New Ball Blues

posted by IntrinsicBent


Happy days are here again! The NBA season is in session.

TNT hosted a doubleheader to kickoff the season that started with a blowout of the reigning World Champions by the new look Chicago Bulls led by their new free agent acquisition Big Ben Wallace.

The second game featured the Los Angeles Lakers facing their nemesis that eliminated them from the playoffs last season, the Phoenix Suns.

The Lakers look better than expected as of this writing at halftime, especially when you consider Kobe, Chris Mihm, and Kwame Brown are out injured.

What more can you ask for than a doubleheader, one featuring your favorite team?

Since I’m pushy I also asked for a solid performance from 3rd string 19 year old Lakers Center Andrew Bynum. Got it.

I asked for the lights to be dimmed in Staples Center except over the floor and got it.

I asked for a big bowl of peanut butter cups and Snickers® on the coffee table, and got it.

The last thing I wanted was the new ball not to be a noticeable negative factor, and it really wasn’t. Unless maybe you were a Miami Heat player and blamed the ball as the reason your team could only score 66 points. I know……… you were focused on the ring ceremony. Shoot, me and my boys could have dropped 45 ourselves.

Time to turn the page, eh?

It’s a bonus that even the commercials are enjoyable for the most part. Who can’t get with Adidas’ message in the “It Takes Five” campaign, or The LeBrons new episode?

Seriously, the main thing I’d like to see though is TNT host Ernie Johnson to completely heal from his cancer treatment, and be around to corral Charles and Kenny for many years to come.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Fish Brilliance

posted by IntrinsicBent


I’m not referring to anything going on with the Miami Dolphins or the Florida Marlins, but because of the brilliance part you knew that.

I’m talking about the Jedi mind tricks by The Tuna.

I’m not talking about the obvious decision to bench quarterback Drew Bledsoe for his understudy Tony Romo.

I wondered before last night’s game whether this might be The Tuna’s (Dallas Cowboy’s Head Coach Bill Parcells) way of accepting the contribution of controversial wide receiver Terrell Owens……………………without openly admitting it.

We’ve never officially known how Parcells felt about Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones' decision to bring in the high talent and even higher drama prone receiver that is T.O.

We were left to surmise how he felt based on what he didn’t say. He never verbally gave his opinion on it. He went out of his way not to heap much praise on Owens, while he stacked it high instead on the receiver on the other end of the line, Terry Glenn.

He had no official comment on Owen’s preseason uniformed stationary bike journeys while he was injured, or the whole bad cocktail of supplements and medication.

He even acted like he didn’t know how much T.O. still had left in the talent tank, just because he hadn’t seen it with his own eyes in his own practices (due to the aforementioned injury the wide receiver sustained).

That’s why last week during the height of the media storm over the quarterback change, I had this question:

What is this Old Skool coach who seems to use every situation as well as the media to his benefit, REALLY trying to accomplish?

Then it came to me. By making the QB switch he creates a firestorm of speculation that acts as a king size diversion.

The young quarterback (Romo) will be influenced by the larger than life and charismatic Terrell Owens.

The older quarterback (Bledsoe) was attached to Terry Glenn because their history went back to their playing days together under The Tuna with the New England Patriots. Plus you know Bledsoe had to have a large guard up against quarterback slayer Owens because he had already dissed two previous quarterbacks as gay (49er quarterback Jeff Garcia) and a quitter (Philadelphia Eagle quarterback Donovan McNabb).

When I thought about Owen’s probable influence over the younger quarterback I flashed to the previous game when the camera showed a very engaging Owens chatting it up with Romo on the sidelines immediately after he was subbed in for Bledsoe.

Jedi Master Tuna-Wan Kenobi had little to lose other than the risk that Romo might not step up and get the job done. Sunday Night’s commentators Al Michaels and John Madden stated that game tape from Bledsoe’s last game as a starter showed linemen were not blocking for their failing leader. Sounds like Parcells didn’t want a full blown mutiny added to his menu of challenges.

I went into last night’s game fully believing this was the real plan:

  • Play the kid at quarterback and energize the team in the process.

  • The kid will favor the big name playmaker and throw him the ball.

  • The Cowboys make a run on the shoulders of the big mouthed and even bigger egoed $25 million star.

  • The Jedi Master salvages his legacy somewhat by hopefully making the playoffs before he retires after this season.

  • Never once will he ever admit this was the plan, or that he respects or believes in the high dollar playmaker or the owner’s decision to acquire him.

Ok, so I make a pretty good Oliver Stone (or even SubversiveTheory), but am I even close?

Two things told me I was dead on:

First was when the very first play was a pass play to T.O.

The second was when after the Cowboys converted the 2 point play to Owens in the second half to put the ‘Boys up by 7, Parcells lovingly slapped T.O. with his fin, er……hand.

That’s a reward for a job well done in Tunaland.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

BCS Update - USC Loss Fallout

posted by BiCoastal Bias

USC got knocked off today.  Most of you were probably rooting for this upset – either because you like parity, or because you had money on Oregon State.  

Lucky for you, BiCoastal Bias has the forethought to show you why this is bad for college football, and he’s about to explain it to you.

Now that USC has lost, there are six undefeated teams.  Boise St. hardly counts, so let’s bring that number down to five: Ohio State, Michigan, West Virginia, Louisville, and Rutgers.  

Ohio State and Michigan play each other in three weeks.  It’s completely safe to say that the winner of this game will not only be undefeated, but playing in this year’s BCS championship game.  

Meanwhile, the other three will be playing the equivalent of a round-robin tournament between now and the end of the season.  It is very . . . very possible that all three of these teams will end up losing one game between now and then.

This implies that we’ll have a one-loss team playing for the BCS championship; and unfortunately, that team will probably be Texas.  

Why unfortunate?  If you aren’t a fan of Ohio State, Michigan, or Texas, and just a fan of good football, you just want to see a good match to close out the year.  Ohio State already creamed Texas once this year, there’s no reason to see a rematch of this one.  If Michigan beats OSU, I can’t imagine that Michigan and Texas will be any better of a matchup.

Perhaps 5% of you would like to see Texas return to the championship.  To you I have this to say: Vince Young is no longer an NCAA athlete.

If we’re lucky, Auburn, or even Florida, finishes the year with a better BCS percentage than Texas . . . but I’d feel so much safer if USC had continued their un-beaten run.

Congratulations Cardinals

posted by BiCoastal Bias

It’s time to congratulate the St. Louis Cardinals. We here at the Frappe will be the first to admit: we did not believe in them. But hey, that’s why this is more of a sports-humor/sentimental blog, rather than advice on sports betting.

And while I was rooting for the American League all of the way, watching David Eckstein get the W.S. MVP made me feel much more at peace with the outcome.

The Cardinals also broke the 1987 Minnesota Twins record of fewest regular season wins by a champion, (in a full season of course). The ’87 Twins went 85-77, while this year’s Cards were 83-78.

And guess what, you can’t blame this on the Wild Card! The Cardinals won their division, the six team NL Central - the largest (and worst) division in baseball. Back when divisional play began in 1969, all divisions were only 6 teams.

This is just that kind of sports story, and there’s no reason to discredit it. This team found its way into the playoffs, and found a way to beat the best teams in baseball. The feel good stories will resound for weeks, I won’t cover them all here. (I will say that I’m still glad the Angels ditched Jeff Weaver, his first half performance was inexcusable.)

So here’s to the Cardinals, they earned it, despite what some might say.

An addendum: Did anyone else feel like the weather was way too cold to be playing baseball in this World Series? My solution: Delete interleague play from the schedule, thus moving up the playoffs two weeks. Think about it, it makes sense.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

If It Quacks Like A Duck...................

posted by IntrinsicBent

There’s a phenomenon in sports that won’t die. It’s the “What A Surprise” effect of sports content.

Other than to give the 24 hours a day sports talking head programs something obvious to discuss ad nauseum, I really don’t know what purpose it serves. Or much care.

Sorry, but is it really intriguing or a good use of life to follow, track, discuss, and act surprised when:

Drew Bledsoe implodes and gets replaced by a backup?

Or

Ben Roethlisberger gets jacked up, is out for an extended time only to play the next Sunday?

Or

Barry Bonds acts like a jerk?

Or

Kobe Bryant shoots instead of passing?

Or

Terrell Owens is all about Terrell Owens?

Or

A pro (fill in the blank) player tests positive for performance enhancing drugs?

Or

The Oakland A’s dominate in the regular season and quickly fade in the postseason?

Or

A hockey player is spotted with a mullet?

If you haven’t checked our header or read our profiles lately, these types of stories aren’t what got us or keep us in this game. We don’t do the portal thing. Not that there’s anything wrong with it. We just don’t regurge. Expect raw and laserlike sports coverage. Period.

Now you know.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I Like Pitchers Who Cheat

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Just when Kenny Rogers was becoming likeable again, he gets himself involved in "Gambler-Gate," or "Dirt-Gate," depending on what your local news source opted to name it.

Maybe this World Series won't be as dreary as fall in Detroit. Or maybe, this World Series is just as dreary, and that's why sports writers everywhere would rather speculate on what the discoloration on Rogers' hand is, when they could be talking about a series tied at one.

Either way, this event actually makes me like Kenny Rogers more than I did before; and that's not saying much because I've held a grudge against him ever since his perfect game against my beloved Angels over a decade ago.

But here it comes, and I know I'm going to here it from the respective old schoolers on this one: I'm in favor of pitchers cheating a little to gain the advantage. Seriously, in the past decade of the long ball, they needed any kind of edge that they could get.

I'm talking about the little things like sand paper taped to a non-pitching finger, vaseline under the cap, and pine tar on the glove. So yes, my pitching heroes consist of Kevin Gross, Brian Moehler, Brendan Donnelly, the girl from Bad News Bears, and "Papa Toe" from The Brothers K.

And now Kenny Rogers has made it work on the World Series stage. Add him to the list.

Chicago Marathon Knockout

posted by MoneyMouth

Some of you might be questioning why a Frappe writer would waste his time with low profile sporting events like the Chicago Marathon, especially in the middle of a football season, not to mention a World Series. Some of you might speculate that it’s an effort to take the focus off my bold predictions that are in question, in which most of you would be correct. So in order to restore my pride, I think I should take a moment to point out another’s humiliating moment.

In this particular case, it comes at the finish of the Chicago Marathon as the winner crosses the finish line, or more accurately slides through the finish line (and for once the video link is not from You Tube). While I tip my hat to this guy for finishing first in a marathon, what a bummer to go down in history as the guy who won a race and was knocked unconscious at the same time. It’s a shame that shows like America’s Funniest Home Videos aren’t still around or else we’d be seeing this clip right next to this one (or this one) every time they broke into a sports montage.

Congratulations to you, Robert Cheruiyot; you’ve made the Frappe Wall of Shame.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Cardinals Win NLCS, (Yawn)

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Game 7 of the NLCS came down to the wire, still tied at 1 going into the ninth inning.  But even before Molina’s game winning homerun we already knew what the outcome ought to be:

Neither of these teams deserves to go to the World Series.

In fact, no one in the National League deserves to play on the grand stage.

Last night, I should have been able to enjoy the only game seven this year’s postseason will contain.  Instead, I kept wondering if this game was really worth staying awake for.  

Yes, it was riveting, as any final playoff series game that goes into the ninth should be.  Yes, Endy Chavez’s catch was amazing and had the Mets won would have propelled his name into baseball lore.  

Nonetheless, I find it painful to watch a game in which crappy pitchers are made to look Cy Young worthy just because the hitters are that much crappier.  Jeff Suppan was the series MVP, am I taking crazy pills?!!!  

So let’s hear it for your National League Champions, the St. Louis Cardinals.  Good thing they were able to finish the regular season a whole 5 games over .500, otherwise they wouldn’t have made it here, and the NL might actually stand a chance in the World Series.

Of course, since we’re all expecting a slaughtering to begin this weekend, this will probably be the year that the Cardinals steal it all.  

But I really hope not.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Rolen Can't Handle La Russa Question

posted by IntrinsicBent

At the end of Game 7 of the NLCS tonight, Chris Matthews was interviewing the C3PO like 3rd baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, Scott Rolen.

Rolen was doing a good job of uncomfortably faking enthusiasm as CM asked a string of questions regarding his play and thoughts on the game. The only thing of note was the overuse of the word tumultuous which for some reason, interviewer and interviewee felt the need to use in a very short span.

Then Matthews stated “We saw you hug Tony La Russa, I guess you guys are on speaking terms?”

SNAP!

Rolen’s face tightened slightly and he quickly forced a “yeah” and quickly spun around while Matthews clumsily tried to follow up. You could hear another trailing “yeah” as he walked away with his back to the camera.

Not that convincing Roles. You’re going to the Big Show man. The W-O-R-L-D S-E-R-I-E-S.

Unbelievable.

The Cardinal on Rolen’s hat is not as red as a certain part of #27’s (Rolen) anatomy.

So much for living in the moment. I can only imagine the mood he’ll be in after his Redbirds get walloped by their AL World Series opponent.

Clutch Is As Clutch Does

posted by IntrinsicBent


I’m writing this in the bottom of the 6th inning of the Cardinals/Mets NLCS Game 7.

What would make me pull my
massive frame out of my recliner and boot up the PC to post to you Frappers?

One of the clutchest catches I’ve ever seen in any playoff elimination game.

It’s the top of the 6th in a tied (1-1) game 7. There’s one out and
Jim Edmonds is on 1st base.

Playoff challenged (and possibly injured) Cardinals 3rd baseman
Scott Rolen comes up to the dish and proceeds to drive a rope deep into left field.

The ball sails over the wall only to be pulled back by New York Mets’ Left Fielder
Endy Chavez during a perfectly timed leap and body slam into the wall.

Edmonds is rounding 2nd and Chavez finishes the 7-4-3 double play by throwing out Edmonds at 1st.

Chavez totally redeemed himself for an earlier play in an earlier inning when he botched catching a foul ball in the seats due to his glove getting in the way of the ball.

At the time of this writing, there’s no way to tell who might win this game. All I know is, Game 7’s are as cool as a
Slurpee® on a hot summer day.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Euro Jordan?

posted by IntrinsicBent

Former NBA superstar and current part owner of the Charlotte Bobcats Michael Jordan likes the grade of basketball he sees coming out of Europe.

He recently stated that European players master the fundamentals of the game and that the addition of European teams to the NBA would be a very good idea. He went on to say that Europeans have taken the fundamentals aspect of basketball to a higher level than their NBA counterparts.

He was quoted as saying, “In the United States, we're too focused on the highlights, dunks and passes. It's not that we don't have the players we need (speaking of the recent World Championship US Team that only garnered a bronze medal), but putting together a team becomes difficult under these conditions.”

Very curious coming from the guy that single handedly propelled the pass, dunk, and highlight into a marketing sports staple via tube, movie, and commercial. The dude still runs around blocking a skivvies clad Kevin Bacon paperwad shot even today for Hanes.

NBA Commissioner David Stern thinks the NBA is about 10 years away from adding European teams into the league. Major issue hurdles that need to be resolved include logistics, travel, and newer large sized arenas. Currently there is only one serviceable facility in Cologne, Germany that seats 19,000. More are scheduled to be built starting with a 2007 London arena.

When Magic Johnson Theatres and Shaquille O’Neal 24 Hour Fitness Centers start popping up in Europe, we’ll know they’re ready to ball.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Leinart Can't Win Without the Ball

posted by BiCoastal Bias

I don’t think enough can be written about Monday night’s game, so I hope Intrinsic Bent doesn’t mind a double post.

Last night’s game showed what is amazing about Chicago’s defense: they take the game right out from under you. Arizona definitely lost this game; but you certainly can’t say Arizona’s defense lost this game, you can’t exactly say Arizona’s offense lost this game . . . you could probably say that Arizona’s special teams lost this game, but that’s beside the point.

It started with a blindside blitz that forced Leinart to fumble; that’s one touchdown. Then we saw Urlacher rip the ball out of James’s grip like a schoolyard bully; that’s a second touchdown. Finally, a punt return touchdown against the worst punt coverage I’ve ever seen; that’s three.

Leinart’s probably ready to trade in his Cardinal teammates for his old USC squad right about now. This kid is already so far above all of this. He would have won this game outright in the last two minutes, except that the boneheads calling the shots decided that he should settle for a 40 yard field goal.

With one minute left, and the ball around the 25 yard line, Arizona’s coaching staff decided to start handing the ball off to James, who has been completely ineffective for four quarters; instead of keeping the ball in Leinart’s hands who had just rolled them 50 yards down the field like it was child’s play.

What makes this an even worse decision is that Chicago still had two timeouts, so running the ball didn’t even serve its purpose of taking the clock down to nil. No kicker is one hundred percent at or outside of 40 yards, Arizona should have let Leinart lead them home, and begin his legacy in the process. The outcome was inevitable: wide left. Dennis Green will be fired, if not now then at the season’s close, and he probably deserves it.

It just goes to show what was so odd about the game: you’ve got a quarterback showing he’s a future pro-bowler; how often do you see both the opposing defense and his coaches simultaneously take the ball out of his hands?

Snatching Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory

posted by IntrinsicBent


Say what you will about tonight’s debacle of a Monday Night Football Game, but being the eternal optimist, I saw many positives.

The Chicago Bears were able to prance into Monday and balance the playing field by utilizing that old Saturday at the Park trick “I’ll spot you 20 points”. It’s like when you and your friends could only round up your little brother and his friends to play a pick up game of football. You’d give them 20 points or so to convince them to play and then talk about how impossible it was going to be for you to win and then beat them 24 to 23. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying it’s the way it was back in the day………………and also tonight.

We got to see Sir Charles Barkley during the broadcast playing Kreskin (he stated the Bears would come back) and getting it right. Hopefully Charles’ visit helps my movement to replace Tony Kornheiser with Barkley. We’re activists here at The Sports Frappe. BiCoastal is moving against Tim McCarver, and I’m gonna get Kornheiser moved along. I’ll even consider Dennis Miller.

Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Dennis Green should have the benefit of a lot of extra free time very soon, don’t you think? Guess you didn’t have it won after all, eh Coach? They’re called adjustments for a reason.

Edgerrin James is back to setting records. He had the most carries by a player in a game averaging less than 2 yards per carry (36 carries/55 yards).

The game was a turnover extravaganza and featured a another kicker missing a crucial game winning field goal opportunity. Ok, even I don’t see a positive in that, but I wanted to work it in somehow.

This win by the Bears keeps their dream of an undefeated season alive. This is important for two reasons:

  1. The talking heads will be able to extend their inane discussions on whether or not The Bears can dethrone the bitter (allegedly) old men from the ’72 Dolphins.

  2. The Bears still harbor a grudge against the Dolphins for blocking their bid of an undefeated season in 1985.

This game also hailed the rebirth of Joe Namath. Not literally, but figuratively in the person of Cardinal’s rookie QB Matt Leinart. Broadway had Joe, and Hollywood has Matt by way of the Grand Canyon. His second pro start showed a calm demeanor while the game dissolved around him.

If you listen to Moneymouth, and I do, this means Leinart will only have one good game in his career.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A Plan to Take Down McCarver

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Steve Lyons was fired by Fox this weekend, for making "insensitive racial remarks" during a televised baseball game. This has inspired me.

Listen up, Frappers, we have a new mission for the World Series. We're going to meditate on every word coming out of Tim McCarver's mouth. Something is bound to offend us - but we might have to be creative. Then we'll make massive complaints to Fox over his insensitivity toward whatever grouping we have to pretend to be from.

With how quickly Lyons got canned, you would think that McCarver's offense of ruining every baseball game in which he's sat in the booth would have landed him on the street years ago.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Fall Sweeps

posted by BiCoastal Bias

This postseason could go down in history as the most lopsided playoffs in baseball history.  

Any baseball fan will agree that it doesn’t get more exciting than a game 7; but what’s fascinating about this year’s tournament is how teams that looked evenly matched going into Game 1 end up belonging in different leagues by Game 4.  

Of course, the biggest example is taking place in the American League Championship Series.  At least two thirds of the Sports Frappe writing staff thought that Minnesota had the best team entering the playoffs.  When Minnesota was swept by Oakland in the divisional series, most thought that a Detroit vs. Oakland ALCS would be competitive.  Wrong again.  As of this writing, the Tigers have handled the A’s in 3 straight games.

To make matters worse, Eric Chavez let us have this little gem yesterday: “We’ve run into a better team.  And there’s really nothing you can do.”  Wow.  Those are NOT fighting words . . . those are LOSING words.  I don’t even have to watch Game 4 tonight after hearing that.  Thanks for saving me the time, Chavez.  

The senior circuit doesn’t look quite as lop-sided . . . yet.  The Cardinals were able to take the second game, though on paper they still look vastly overmatched by the Mets.

What’s odd is that all this unevenness takes place in the midst of great parity.  None of the four teams still in the playoffs (mathematically speaking) have one a World Series since the 80’s.  There’s still hope that our W.S. matchup could offer us a reprieve from all this playoff trouncing, but not if it follows the path of the 2004 and 2005 Fall Classic sweeps.

In fact, since 2003, the only seven game playoff series we’ve seen have either been between the Red Sox and Yankees, or the Cardinals and Astros.  And that is what truly frustrates me, because I hate hearing the network execs complaining that no one watches a Yankees-less postseason.  It would be so much easier to prove them wrong if anyone else would give us a competitive series.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Baseball Playoffs Continued

posted by MoneyMouth

Now that I’ve had sometime to reflect on my horrible predictions I made about 2 weeks ago, I’m ready to get back into the baseball playoffs.  Look, you can’t blame me for taking the Twins against the A’s.  No one, not even me, expected Frank Thomas to show up like he did.  Talk about getting the most for your money: a 500,000 dollar player goes yard twice in a playoff game (once against Johan Santana).  I’d say that is money well spent.  While some people are saying that Billy Beane can now put to rest all those questions concerning if he can make it out of the first round of playoffs, he’s still going to have to face my question of whether he can win the World Series.  My guess is no.  

And then there are those pesky Tigers.  I also counted them out (while not completely against the Yankees, I sure didn’t think they’d be sitting on the verge of making the World Series).  Seriously, who are these guys?  Best put, they are a bunch of 20 year olds making the AL look like a bunch of overpaid, aged losers. With the exception of Kenny Rogers, most of these guys are still dealing with acne problems.  It’s unbelievable how good these guys look.  They way they are pitching and hitting, I doubt they are going to any problems on the way to the trophy.  I’m tipping my hat to Jim Leyland for showing everyone how good of a manager he really is.

Oh yeah, and the NL is also playing a similar series, but like I’ve said before, it really doesn’t matter.  These guys are playing a lesser form of baseball and don’t stand a chance.

When it comes down to it, I’m still going to stick with my initial prediction: AL in 5.  The Mets have looked pretty descent (as far as game 1 went).  But after tomorrow, the Tigers will begin to rest while the NL continues to duke it out.  By the time the NL finds a worthy contender, the Tigers will be popping champagne because this World Series has already been decided.    

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The End Of Histrionics?

posted by IntrinsicBent

I’m not falling for the new NBA ball drama. I think NBA Commissioner David Stern is wanting to create mini controversies to kick off each NBA season. Last year it was the dress code. This year he’s trying to rally around a synthetic ball that gets slippery when it gets wet.

We’ll see.

I hope the “Old Skool No Drama” rule (my name, not the League’s) comes to fruition though.


The League announced that they will no longer allow NBA players to protest and “work the officials” after a call they don’t like. This is supposed to include negative body language like throwing up your hands in disbelief. It’s great if the refs are consistent with the calls and don’t fade on it.

Player paranoia has already kicked in, at least with Pistons’ ref bully Rasheed Wallace. He’s convinced they created this rule to check him. What does he call it? The Sheed rule……….of course.

NBA refs need a lot of corrective work themselves. They seem to believe they’re the talent. It wears me out to endure the 37 debates per game between ref and player.

The worst part of this issue is the negative example that it sets for youth. Yeah, I know, basketball players shouldn’t be raising my kids. They’re not, but also keep in mind that I can’t dunk…….and earn $40 million in the process.

You see the effects of NBA ref wrestling at youth basketball games whether it be NJB or High School age. I don’t care what the sport is, there must be respect for the officials.

This rule change is a good start. Next year I expect them to stop giving star players a different set of rules to play with.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Roast Beef And Adrenaline

posted by IntrinsicBent

Extreme sports are going a bit more mainstream. That is if your idea of mainstream has condiments called “Horsey Sauce” and “Arby Sauce” (Yeah, I’m a connoisseur).

On December 10th, Fox will air the first Arby’s Action Sports Awards to celebrate top athletes and performances in extreme sports. Think Espy’s on Red Bull.

Other lead sponsors (aka gravy trainers of the youth movement) include Nike (of course), Jeep, Activision, and Fuel.

Expect heavy hype and marketing in strong rotation cycles.

Adrenaline superhero nominees are set to include Shawn White in snowboarding, Travis Pastrana in motocross, Jamie Bestwick in BMX, and King of Extreme Tony Hawk in skateboarding.

I don’t think extreme ironing is a category yet. Maybe in 2007.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

One Billion Dollars

posted by IntrinsicBent

Here’s a mind numbing factoid:

Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees have spent almost one billion dollars on players since they last won the World Series in 2000.

In recent years we have definitely seen higher payrolled teams with a competitive advantage that is evident in their results.

But if you’re a die hard small market team like Kansas City, Pittsburgh, or Tampa Bay, you can still believe that your day may eventually come.

Coaching, discipline, chemistry, and good old fashion timing still matter in Major League Baseball. The key in small markets is to have an excellent player strategy including doing deep research on the player desired. This takes a brilliant General Manager and ownership team that are able to agree on the strategy and then have ownership let go of the reins and let the GM do their job.

This may very well be the Yankees’ issue. The letting go part I mean. It’s unfathomable that the Yanks could only win one game in the first round of playoffs this year with the offensive goons they possess. Go through their lineup and you’ll find no holes.

The Yanks were eliminated yesterday by the small market team Detroit Tigers, who just last year received $25 million dollars in revenue sharing money.

Other small market teams that received big bucks last year in revenue sharing and are in the playoffs this year (according to bizofbaseball.com) are:

Minnesota Twins - $22 Million
Oakland Athletics - $19 Million

Hang in there UncaLar, your day is coming.

City Of Brotherly Love

posted by IntrinsicBent


When was this tagline coined and what were the circumstances? I have always wondered about this. This week after I heard another example of Bizarro City of Brotherly love, it forced me to get off my lazy keister and do some research.

Ok, I only clicked my way over to Wikipedia to see what a contributor had to say about the matter. No wonder noone even tries to fake like it’s a way of life.

It’s merely the Greek translation of part of the name. You Greek scholars already knew that though. I mean, how obvious………..philos and adelphos. Plus it was dropped on the town by the Quakers way back in 1682.

Caught up on your Pennsylvania history?

Then let’s move on to a little Philadelphia sports history:

  1. Philly fans booed Santa Claus when he dared strut onto their field during halftime of a game.

  2. Philly fans booed the 2nd overall selection made by their team of Donovan McNabb in 1999. They had their heart set on Ricky Williams.

  3. Philly fans cheered when Dallas Cowboy Wide Receiver Michael Irvin laid motionless on the field in 1999 after a hard hit that at the time seemed life threatening and did prove to be career ending.

And that brings us to this week in Philly Fan history.

Reports have Philly fans planning to welcome back their wayward once loved and now reviled son Terrell Owens by chanting in unison, “OD, OD, OD!” from the stands when his new team Dallas Cowboys hit the turf.

Nice. And caring.

I just hope the Great Pumpkin doesn’t try to enter the stadium.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Passing Of Buck

posted by IntrinsicBent


John “Buck” O’Neill 1911 – 2006

Yesterday, we all lost a luminary figure in this game called life. Sports in general, and baseball specifically lost a living legend. And an opportunity to do the right thing. I’ll get back to that last point later.

I’ve stated before the significance of Buck O’Neill and what his never to be repeated contribution to the sport has meant.

Buck played in the Negro Baseball Leagues with legends like Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson during this country’s embarrassing era of chosen bigotry. His playing accomplishments may not be as valuable as his overall life contribution to the sport. This even though he was a good hitting and fielding 1st baseman, who twice won batting titles in the Negro leagues before winning a pennant as Manager for the Kansas City Monarchs.

Buck was the first black MLB coach. He was responsible for orchestrating black talent having opportunities in the big leagues. He was a tireless promoter of baseball and the significance of the Negro Leagues. He was paramount in the tireless rallying for funding and awareness for the Negro Leagues Museum, whereby ensuring future generations have the opportunity to learn about true baseball superstars whose legacies might otherwise be lost and forgotten.

It is important to catch the scope of Buck’s experience. He saw Babe Ruth and Johan Santana pitch. He talked hitting with Lou Gehrig and Ichiro Suzuki.

He gained renewed notoriety after being featured in Ken Burns’ 1994 documentary titled “Baseball”. In true Buck fashion, he joked that he became "an overnight sensation at 82", referring to his age at the time. Buck increasingly became more popular from that point until he died.

It has been reported that he ran into resistance from some modern day black Major Leaguers along the way who verbalized to him they were not interested in turning back the clock and revisiting the Jim Crow era. Luckily, he was a huge hit with the young people of all colors who adored him as a grandfather figure and hung on every word of his inspiring and colorful recollective stories. I read an article where shortly after Buck’s snubbing by the Hall of Fame, kids in the 17 year old range were planning to ride bikes across the nation to bring awareness to what they viewed as an extreme injustice. I don’t know that it ever successfully happened. The cool thing was that youth sees value in Buck's life accomplishments. These kids' parents were Asian immigrants by the way. Buck was effective in motivating colorlessly.

Sports are not the most important thing about this life. But they teach many pertinent life lessons. They allow underdogs to dream and achieve their dreams, whether they play baseball when they're older or not. They are knit into the fabric of what makes up this country, and what makes this country great. You can’t separate America from sports without leaving a gaping hole. Remember when sports helped us heal some after the tragedies of the 9/11 terrorist attacks took place and the media and entertainment machines were struggling with how they should or could proceed? Sports are powerful man.

Now for what I feel is one of the biggest missteps ever made by Major League Baseball. The overlooking of Buck O’Neill last year when they began inducting key Negro League players into the Hall of Fame. He missed the necessary 3/4 vote by one vote. I don’t know the criteria or why he was not a shoo in, but it was never reasonably explained. Few have contributed as much during and after their career in baseball as Buck O’Neill. Unfortunately, they will never have the opportunity to make it truly right. Someone should have stepped up and made it happen.

O’Neill never seemed to feel bitterness from the way he had been unfairly treated during his life. He didn’t show any signs of wear from the unjust hurdles he had faced. It’s reported that he said he lived “right on time”.

As much as I may feel anguish and disappointment that baseball forever missed an opportunity to show love and care for someone that loved it so much while he was still living, I will again learn from Mr. Oneill. Check out what he had to say about not getting into the Hall:

"Shed no tears for Buck," he (O’Neill) told them. "I couldn't attend Sarasota High School. That hurt. I couldn't attend the University of Florida. That hurt.

"But not going into the Hall of Fame, that ain't going to hurt me that much, no. Before, I wouldn't even have a chance. But this time I had that chance.

"Just keep loving old Buck."

No problem with that Mr. John “Buck” O’Neill. But we will miss you.

Terribly

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Juiced Rocket

posted by SubversiveTheory

Now that Jason Grimsley is doing his best to take down everyone around him after he admitted to using HGH, steroids, and amphetamines, I think it’s important for someone to step in and connect the dots for you concerning Roger Clemens.  Let’s take a look at some facts:

  • At the age of 43, Clemens went 13 – 8 with a sub 2.00 ERA (1.87 to be exact).

  • Clemens took a short retirement this season until starting on June 22 (a 72 game absence).

  • Roger Clemens was named in Jason Grimsley’s affidavit as using performance enhancing drugs.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I feel sorry for you and your naivety.  Just so you read me loud and clear, I’m saying that maybe it’s possible that Clemens’ retirement was actually a cover up by Major League Baseball for a positive drug test.  Think about it: when is the last time we’ve seen a 40 year old pitcher be that dominant?  And wouldn’t it make sense that the last thing MLB would want would be a respected veteran pitcher to go down for steroid use?  They’ve already found their scapegoats in guys like Rafael Palmeiro.  Now they want to repair the game’s image rather than bring it down some more with news that the Rocket is a juicer.  

It’s my opinion that when faced with more bad PR and the possibility of having to go in front of congress again, baseball decided to strike a deal with Clemens.  “You take an extended leave from baseball called retirement and we won’t tell everyone that you are a cheater.”  That’s so plausible you’d be stupid not to believe it.  

Disclaimer: Subversive Theory’s opinions and well………..theories are not the opinions of The Sports Frappe, it’s owners, or writers. The Sports Frappe bears no responsibility for the thoughts, feelings, or posts made by Mr. (Ms.?) Theory.

NLCS Predictions . . . Sort of

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Seeing as how quickly Money Mouth's American League predictions have turned sour, I figured I better get on board with my National League predictions, before both the Padres and Dodgers are down 0-2.

Okay, so these aren't so much predictions, as what I'd like to see happen. I think a Dodgers vs. Padres matchup would be a great NLCS. These were both the hottest National League playoff teams down the stretch, the Padres won 20 of their last 28 to get into the playoffs, while the Dodgers pulled out 37 of their last 56.

Throw in the fact that these are division rivals who gave us the best baseball game of the season, and a Padres Dodgers NLCS seems like just what the doctor ordered for this year's baseball fan.

But, being the reasonable sports blogger that I am, I must say that the New York Mets are my new favorite to win the Series. They're starting to remind me of last year's Chicago White Sox club. They locked up a playoff spot early, looked a bit bored down the stretch, and were somewhat inexperienced when it came to October baseball. And yet they won the big one.

It certainly helps the Mets' cause that the Dodgers are just running into outs at home plate.

So here is rooting for a Dodgers vs. Padres series, though I have little faith in it actually coming about.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Kingfish

posted by Knowledge Droppings


KnowledgeDroppings: I know some of the great writers of The Sports Frappe (yes they make me say that) have a deep admiration of the Kingfish, otherwise known as The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s OF/DH Tim Salmon.

He is retiring after this season. What has he meant to you, the club, and the fans over his career?

IntrinsicBent: I’ve said it here before, Tim Salmon has long been my favorite Angels’ player. Grow up you say? What, I can’t have a favorite baseball player at my age? Lighten up.

Tim Salmon was drafted by the Angels in the 3rd round out of that sports powerhouse known quietly as: Grand Canyon College, straight outta the AZ.

Salmon is a modern day prototypical pro baseball player who exhibits enough key throwback values and traits to make the purist look back and reminisce about the good old days.

This also tends to make the purist look forward in sports with dread. Salmon truly represents a dying breed of pro athlete, much less pro baseball player. He has only been on 3 pro baseball teams during his career: The California Angels, The Anaheim Angels, and finally The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. I know it’s the same team Frappers. It’s known as a hilarious sense of humor. And it’s all mine.

He’s been the consummate teammate, employee, citizen, husband, and Father. How do I know these things? Because he’s made me want to know more about him, and I have sought out information on who he is and what he does.

I still have a Mother’s Cookies baseball card with him and Mike Piazza on it when they were both voted rookies of the year. I got it for my Son (wink, wink) and I am still holding on to it for him even though he (my son) is grown.

Piazza will probably be a first ballot Hall of Famer, and Salmon will probably not even come close to consideration. If they based it on good guy points, and let the fans vote he’d be a shoo in though.

Tim is going out on his own terms. After shoulder and knee injuries that many thought were career ending, Salmon battled his way back through lonely and difficult rehab sessions. He worked hard to earn a spot on this year’s Angel’s roster that he was not guaranteed. He did all that after being out for more than a season with those injuries. He triumphantly had a productive year serving mainly as DH when needed in 2006.

He’s not staying too long as some do. He called his shot early on, stating that this would be his last season. It would have been great if he could have contributed in another post season contest, but it wasn’t to be. It would also have been nice for him to bust one more homer so he could have ended with an even 300.

Nonetheless, he will always have the admiration of the many teammates he played alongside during his lengthy career. He will have the love of the fans. He’ll have the memories of this season where he was able to fully appreciate each game, knowing that after this season concluded he would play no more. He’ll always have the surreal memories of 2002 when he and his teammates took a World Series that was action packed, and put a whole City on the sports map.

He’ll always have the hardware (ring) that goes with that World Series.

And he’ll always have the admiration of this lil ole sports blog journalist.

God bless you Tim Salmon. Have a great rest of your life. Thanks for the memories.

BiCoastal Bias: Though Intrinsic Bent was born in the Midwest, he has tapped into one very important psychological element of those of us born in Orange County sometime between 1976 and 1985: Tim Salmon is our favorite player.

I first truly became an Angel fan at the age of 12. It was Salmon’s rookie year, along with J. T. Snow. Both were extremely hot rookies, yet Snow’s hot streak lasted about 2 months, while Salmon went on to win the ROY, and lead a franchise out of misery.

In terms of actual seasons that I have memories of, 1995 was the first season that the Angels actually competed for a playoff spot. And what a terrible year it ended up being, as the team blew a double digit game lead in the last two months. The only thing that saved the season from complete embarrassment, was that the Angels rallied in the last week to force a one game playoff with the Seattle Mariners – a game they’d lose to Randy Johnson. During those humiliating two months of the collapse, while every batter in the Anaheim lineup when into collective slumps, (costing Garret Anderson his ROY award, incidentally), the Angels were carried by Tim Salmon, who had one of his best seasons ever.

And this is perhaps what Tim has meant to myself, and so many others. While the Angels, Major League Baseball, or the sporting world in general have their moments of making us disgusted; individuals like Salmon offer us bright spots in the midst of the muck, bright spots that never seem to fade.

I’d like to close my segment by telling you my two favorite images of Tim Salmon. My second favorite image is simple: watching him emerge from the clubhouse with the 2002 World Series trophy. As he circled the stadium, his message and smile made it clear: he was sharing this one with the fans.

My most favorite image of Tim came almost ten years earlier. I wish I could remember more of the details of the game, like which team was playing and who was pitching. But what I do remember was a young and fresh Tim Salmon hitting a monstrous homerun early in the game. He came up an inning later with Chili Davis on first base, and got beaned on the first pitch. Everyone in the stadium knew this was intentional, and the boos rained down on the opposing pitcher. As Salmon humbly took his base, Davis charged the mound for him, on his way to second.

The image I will always hold with me, is Tim Salmon calmly standing on first base, as the melee ensued. Some might call this cowardice, or letting down your team. But knowing what I know about Salmon, I have to think he was following principles of non-retaliation. So when I think of Salmon standing on first, I see a player who usually got the best of his opponent on the field, and never sunk to a lower level of character.

Money Mouth: I can’t always say that Tim Salmon was my boy. By the time I became a fan in the late 90’s, I was rooting for guys like Glaus and Anderson, but I always held a respect for Tim Salmon. He always did his job, and never made a big show about it.

With that said, I’ll admit that during the 2001 season I road Salmon harder than anyone. Coming off a 30 hr year, Salmon was doing anything but hit (.227 BA). I was ready to see him go; anything to make this team a contender. Against my wishes, he remained around for the ’02, and thank goodness too because he ended becoming the comeback player of the year as he helped lead the Angels to their first World Championship. It doesn’t seem like anyone could have been more deserving of a championship then this guy. The memories from that postseason that I have of Salmon are ones I’ll never forget and will always bring me chills when I see them on You Tube.

My first memory of Tim Salmon goes back to when my family used to travel out to Arizona to watch the Angels in Spring Training back in the mid 90’s. I would plead for autographs from the players as they walked from the practice field across the parking lot to the stadium. There were some guys who weren’t that popular (Shawn Boskie and Jorge Fabregas) and would probably sign everything you had just to get the practice. There were guys who wouldn’t sign (Chili Davis and Lee Smith) because, well, they just aren’t that nice. And then there were guys that always had a crowd following them; guys like Tim Salmon and Jim Edmonds.

If you wanted to get a signature from these guys, you were going to have to push your way through to the inner circle and hope he grabbed your pen next. But the thing about the King Fish was he would take his time walking slowly across the lot to make sure everyone had the opportunity to get a ball or a card signed. That’s how classy he was. Most of all, I’ll never forget what he told me after signing my baseball: “Hey kid. You have to leave the cap on this pen or it’ll dry out and then it doesn’t sign very well.” Maybe not the most inspiring words in the world, but if Tim Salmon said it, I’m going to hold on to it.

Thanks for the memories Tim. I’ll be checking the team store everyday so I can be the first to have a Tim Salmon throwback jersey and hopefully one day you’ll sign it for me (I’ll make sure the pen is fresh). Enjoy retirement. You deserve it.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Vince Young is Doomed

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Vince Young started his first game of his career today. I'm going to really put my neck out and say that this decision by Jeff Fischer and the Titans has doomed Young's NFL career.

Vince actually didn't perform as terribly as I expected him to. He had one series of extreme composure, in which he threw a touchdown pass toward the end of the third quarter, and then ran in the two point conversion himself. But other than that, he had a pretty sorry game. He threw two interceptions, one for a defensive touchdown. He also fumbled on a scramble, a loose ball the Cowboys returned for 60 yards, leading to more free points for Dallas.

I understand what you're thinking: the Titans were already 0-3, what's the harm in giving the rookie some experience? My response is: would you rather see Vince Young become the next Carson Palmer, or the next Ryan Leaf?

I know that I'm jumping ahead of myself, but if Vince Young keeps on starting for the sorry Titans this season, his professional career might not recover. Next week he'll be trounced by Peyton's Colts; and then he'll begin his November by seeing the extremely physical defensives squads of Jacksonville, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. It's not going to be pretty.

I'm really not trying to be a Vince Young hater. I really want him to succeed, and that's why I'd like to see him groomed on the sideline for a bit longer. Even Eli Manning didn't start until over halfway through his rookie season. Mark my words, if Vince starts next week, his career may as well be over.