Monday, February 26, 2007

Goodnight, Big Ten

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Yesterday's Wisconsin vs. Ohio State matchup promised to leave an indelible mark on the college B-ball rankings. I tuned in hoping to catch a great game, instead I left with one bracket-question answered: neither of these teams will make it to the Final Four.

Ohio State starts off this week by being ranked number one unanimously, (almost). However, they played so ugly on Sunday, that I'd take lots of teams ahead of them; e.g. Florida (who beat them by 26) and any team that's beaten Florida (Kansas, Vandy, Florida St and LSU, half of whom might not even make the tourney).

Seriously, it's not like this was a defensive battle - it was just ugly. For example, the highlight of this game was when a coach dropped his chewing gum on the floor, only to pick it up and return it to his mouth.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Has March Madness Gone the Way of the Super Bowl?

posted by BiCoastal Bias

At what point does a game/tournament become bigger than the actual athletic achievement? We all know that the Super Bowl has become more of an event than the game; meaning that it doesn't actually matter who is playing or whether or not you have a personal stake in the game, the Super Bowl is hyped because of the event itself.

Is March Madness getting to this place as well? I don't know if you've noticed, but ESPN2 has been regularly showing games of those "mid-majors" that have become so crucial to anyone filling out a bracket. This season, the teams of Xavier, Wichita State, and George Washington are getting national audiences on a regular basis.

This seems downright odd, except when put into context. A little over two weeks from now, every sports fan and his mother will be filling out their brackets. In the olden days, when it came to choosing the winner of first round match up George Washington vs. UNC-Wilmington; you could only compare their respective records in what my father calls "the newspaper," and then flip a coin.

So now, ESPN is doing you a favor, if you spend every weekend on the couch, (which occasionally we all do) you can actually see these teams play first hand. Then when that fateful March day arrives, you can make an educated (albeit wrong) decision in filling out your bracket.

The catastrophic effect is that March Madness is now mad for a completely different reason. It has less to do with rooting on your hometown team, or just your favorite cinderella; and more to do with rooting for yourself in the office-pool. And I'm not blaming this on ESPN2, I think their lineup selections is a result of a trend that's been going on for quite sometime.

Of course, the beauty of March Madness is that it's a huge tournament, which means something surprising will always happen. And if you're like me, your bracket is screwed after the first weekend, (regardless of how many Shockers games I watched throughout the winter). Thus I become free to just enjoy good basketball down the homestretch . . . at least that's what I tell myself in consolation.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Molotov Mix Of Volatility

posted by IntrinsicBent


If there's two things that don't mix, those two things are 1) Soccer and 2) Karaoke.

This cannonball of ingredients is a recipe even Carl Spackler the groundskeeper wouldn't mess with.

Seems like soccer player A got into an argument with teammate soccer B over karaoke, drew a golf club, and then wacked him in the leg with said golf club.

This went down while these soccer players from the Liverpool team (that's England to you and me) were in Portugal training for a Champions League Match....whatever the heck that is.

There's no news on whether the hurt soccer player fell down holding his leg, was carted off on a stretcher, drank some of that soccer magic water, and then came running back in miraculously to argue again or not.

Story Link

Monday, February 19, 2007

This Is How You Do It

posted by IntrinsicBent

This story will warm your heart. We mostly see and hear tales about the underbelly and dark side of professional athletes in this day and age. Much of the time, stories that seem to be uplifting are staged to play that way.

This one seems to be very pure in intent and form.

It seems that golfer Phil Mickelson is paying for ex NFL player Conrad Dobler's daughter Holli to attend college. This act of service gets more honorable the deeper you dig.

"Mickelson is paying the four-year tuition and expenses at Miami University of Ohio for Holli Dobler, the daughter of former NFL player Conrad Dobler. Mickelson has written checks of $20,000 and $22,000 for her first two years of college.

Mickelson has never met any member of the Dobler family and wasn't happy when the word of his generous gift leaked out. There are plans for him to see Holli and her parents at the Memorial Tournament in May, but he said it won't happen if any media people are involved. He recently refused to discuss the topic with Paul Daugherty of The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Mickelson, an avid fan of all sports, saw a TV piece about the plight of the Dobler family. Conrad's knees are shot. His wife, Joy, is a quadriplegic after a fluke fall from a hammock on July 4, 2001. The family savings were drained. The Doblers needed a boost and Mickelson provided it."

I feel like a jerk for even publicizing this further, but it's a story that needs to be told. The fact that he acted selflessly in response to a TV piece with zero pub or recognition is the way it should be done.

An unbelievable number of NFL veterans struggle financially and are not able to make ends meet, especially when dealing with huge healthcare costs for issues that are a result of their playing days.

Many of these struggling vets played before the big payday era and played hard and played hurt. They are the foundation that football built on to be able to produce the fan base and money for today's millionaire player.

Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund is a non-profit organization created recently to assist professional football players who have fallen upon hard times. More information can be found at www.jerrykramer.com.

Nice job Phil.

Post All Star Thoughts

posted by BiCoastal Bias

I don't normally make a habit of watching the NBA All-Star game, but as I checked in on it after halftime, and found out that Kobe Bryant was the most likely MVP candidate, I suddenly had a new reason to tune in: rooting against Kobe.

Unfortunately, this only lead to disappointment, but the game was relatively fun to watch otherwise. You've got to give to basketball for making exhibition games much more interesting than the other sports. In the MLB All Star game, strikeouts are three times as likely as homeruns; in the Pro Bowl, "don't hurt anybody" is the cardinal rule; and in hockey, well . . . do they even have an all star game in hockey?

So while the NBA All Star game is "not real basketball," that doesn't make it any less entertaining to watch. And while I'm at it, here's some entertaining thoughts of my own:

  • Is it just me, or does Chris Bosh (pictured) actually look like a Raptor?
    Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh
  • Shawn Marion is the Vladimir Guerrero of the NBA. (I really hope I am the first person in the history of the universe to even think of this sentence.)
  • Shaq had a moment when he could have made the highlight of the night. He waved everyone up court as he took it up himself, getting the crowd's attention by doing a little showboat ball-handling. But when he finally got isolated with Mehmet Okur at the top of the key, he ended up settling for a 17 footer, which he bricked. This reminded me of a youth game when the biggest, most uncoordinated kid on the team also thinks he should run the point. Unfortunately for Shaq, his turn didn't turn out much better.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Helping Hardaway

posted by IntrinsicBent


Using a mixture of the Michael Richards racism and Eminem gay foot in mouth extravaganzas, here is Tim Hardaway's course back to semi redemption:

1) Call your friend Jerry Seinfeld and get on David Letterman ASAP. Getting Seinfeld to accompany you on a meeting with David Stern a plus.

2) Meet with Gay Rights organization and dedicate some time and money (if you don't have time, leave more money). Mix in a rambling half rationalization half apology for your misstep.

3) Drop a hit rap cd.

4) Meet with Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. This is a multi issue remedy. I would also suggest this for Schickney Spears, but that's a different blog entry.

5) Sing a duet with Elton John and make sure to hug him sincerely.

6) Beg Ahmad Rashad to take your calls.

7) Start a grass roots misdirection campaign telling people it was actually Penny Hardaway that made the bonehead remarks. Or even Little Penny.

Your Baller Rapper Actor Policeman On The One

posted by IntrinsicBent

Here's more All Star Weekend frivolous goodness for your enjoyment.


If you listen closely, I think you can hear LeBron's marketing team yelling NOOO!!! in unison.



We now officially end our NBA All Star Weekend coverage.............

Another Lame Dunk Contest

posted by MoneyMouth

If IntrinsicBent’s last post is any hint to how exciting Saturday’s NBA All Star events were then you can easily understand why this Frappe writer spent his night at a NAIA college basketball game instead of watching the slam dunk contest. Truth be told, I’ll take two unknown schools duking it out in front of a crowd of 500 fans over enduring this child’s play any day.

Before I left for this little match up between Point Loma Nazarene and Westmont (told you they were unknown), I sat and watched the skills challenge, the Barkley-Bavetta race, and the three-point shootout. The highlight up to that point was definitely the footrace between these two smooching men, although watching it again makes me wonder if I was really that far away from the remote to change channels. Once I returned from a Point Loma over Westmont victory, I was intrigued to see how the dunk competition turned out.

To sum it up for you, it was lame to say the least. Your recap goes something like this: Dwight Howard stuck a sticker on the backboard, Nate Robinson took 9 attempts to pull of his final dunk, Gerald Green dunked over a table (which seemed similar to his earlier dunk over Nate), and finally, Tyrus Thomas was completely left out of the highlight real (but at least he gets his check). After watching these pathetic dunks, I’ve decided that TNT and the NBA should have gone with the lovebirds last instead of this trash.

Which brings me to this: Why wouldn’t you let Dwight Howard and Nate Robinson have the option of raising the hoop for their respective dunk attempts? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Howard had requested the option to raise the hoop to 12 feet before the competition in order to pull out at 360 slam-a-jamma. He also had in mind a between the legs at around 11’6”. Finally, some creativity. If all the dunks have been used up—which I now suspect that they have—shouldn’t we allow for some new elements to come into play? And since I’m totally against the use of children or knife-balls, this is about as good as it gets.

I give Saturday’s All Star Challenge at D+. I think this thing has about two more years left in it before it’s pronounced dead, unless some real stars like Kobe, Lebron, and Carter decide to get involved again. The unfortunate thing is that I know I’ll end up glued to the television next year only to be disappointed once again.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Tim Hardaway Is Rolling Over In His Grave

posted by IntrinsicBent

The title for this entry barely aced out:

"What Happens In Vegas........"

If you are an NBA and or TNT fan, you'll know that Charles Barkley age 44 began running smack about the age and fitness of longtime NBA referee Dick Bavetta age 67 earlier this season.

This good spirited back and forth built to the point where there had to be a race to see if Chuck could back up his words.

Check out the video



At the end of the race which somehow ended with both participants lying on the floor, Chuck and Bavetta got up, dusted themselves off, hugged and then bussed each other on the lips like a couple on a prom date.

The NBA removed Tim Hardaway from promoting the NBA at various events this weekend in Vegas after he shared his strong anti-homosexual opinions in an interview asking his thoughts on gays playing in the NBA. This line of questioning was brought on news of a book written by ex-NBA player John Amaeche revealing he's gay.

I can visualize Hardaway shooting out his TV Elvis style after seeing these two guys lock onto each other.

Here's the reason Hardaway never played for the Nets or Bulls.

The Pippen Coinkidink

posted by IntrinsicBent


Scottie Pippen announced this week that he's looking to return to the NBA.

You'll remember Pippen's best days spent as Robin to Michael Jordan's Batman as they scored six championships in two separate 3 in a row runs with the Chicago Bulls.

Today he tried out for any willing suitors via nationwide television while competing in the 2007 NBA All Stars Skill Competition.

He competed in the Shooting Stars portion where selected franchises are represented by a current WNBA and NBA player, along with a player from the past. They alternate making shots on different areas of the court then convene at half court and cycle until someone hits that shot as well. This all is timed and the team able to accomplish it in the shortest amount of time wins.

Scottie looked fabulous in this tryout,........err exhibition. That is, he looked fabulous when being compared to the other old timers on the other teams, namely George Gervin, Michael Cooper, and Bill Laimbeer. Each of which have been out of the league much longer than he has.

I'm the last one to fault an older dude for wanting to lace 'em back up. But Pippen is 41 years old. He's been out of NBA level competition for 2 1/2 years. He suffered from back and knee ailments post MJ at Chicago, Houston, Portland, and then back at Chicago before he retired.

The reality is that someone will most likely give him the opportunity and it probably will be someone in the East Conference.

After finding this article, I'm betting that contract will be for about $5 million dollars. It seems Scottie and his wife started a company and purchased a plane, but never got around to paying for it. An appeals court upheld the judgement, so maybe it was as good a time for a comeback as any.

The Frappe sees you working Scottie.

Monday, February 12, 2007

MartyFall

posted by IntrinsicBent

"It is better to have been offered an extension and then be fired, than to never have been extended at all." - IntrinsicBent


San Diego Chargers management showed their Head Coach, Marty Schottenheimer the door today after only recently offering him a whopping 1 year extension.

Schottenheimer's results are a mixed bag at best. Often while at Cleveland, Kansas City and San Diego his teams performed well in(200-126-1 including a brief stint at Washington) the regular season only to tank like the Titanic in the postseason. He owns a dismal 5-13 playoff record and a .278 playoff winning percentage.

The latest turn of events are strange as his relationship with Chargers' GM A.J. Smith deteriorated to the point where Smith obviously won favor with owners Alex and Dean Spanos to show Marty the door.

The odd thing is the way the cards were played. Schottenheimer barely spoke to Smith reportedly due to disagreeing with his handling of some player personnel decisions including allowing free agent quarterback Drew Brees to walk and go to the New Orleans Saints.

Last month Schottenheimer was offered a measly one year extension through 2008 after losing in the first round against the New England Patriots, which he declined, exacerbating the toxic environment.

Dean Spanos seems to have used the fact that two of their coordinators left the team to be Head Coaches, and two assistant coaches left to become coordinators as the reasoning to end what he termed "a dysfunctional situation here."

Due to Schottenheimer's known short remaining tenure, they had difficulties attracting assistants and coordinators, knowing they may be swept out after the coach's exodus.

San Diego is a team that should have a very bright future with young superstar talent and strong odds to make a Superbowl soon. I'm not sure why they would wait to make this decision after every other team with a Head Coach need has filled their positions. Maybe they just want to hear the Pete Carroll rumors begin to make themselves feel good.

Working schlubs like you and me shouldn't waste too much time feeling bad for The Schott though. The Chargers will have to pay him more than $3 million for the year he has left on his contract.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Februarius

posted by MoneyMouth

The week after the Super Bowl is a hard one. Most everyone watched the game and most everyone is now sick of hearing about it. Two weeks of preparation for 60 minutes of football means every storyline has been exhausted, and as BiCoastal points out, every ending has already been written and explored. I personally made the mistake of watching an hour of the pregame show in which they talked about Walter Payton and Brian Piccolo and the bond they share in Chicago history, followed by a compelling segment about how both coaches are indeed African American. It was still two hours till kickoff and I was already sick of a game that hadn’t started yet.

So now we hit the in between time in which the sporting year hits a small drought known by the Romans as Februarius. It’s the small amount of time in which we are enduring the bore of mid-season in the NBA, our brackets lack teams and thus our picks cannot be completed, and pitchers and catchers have yet to report let alone play. So that leaves us with one option: soccer.

If there was one thing that might prick some interest in my sporting veins, it was going to be last night’s “friendly” between the United States and Mexico, because we all know the NHL is not capable of filling the void. And so, I stand before you today with the feeling that I can last for a few more days, maybe even a week because last night’s 2 – 0 victory over Mexico was exactly what I needed for a quick fix. For those unfamiliar, that makes the current streak 8 games against Mexico at home without a loss (7-0-1). In that stretch, the United States have outplayed and outscored Mexico, 13 goals to 0. Now that’s dominance.

The scary thing is, the more I watch soccer, the more I start to see why it’s such a good and entertaining game. There is something about having to endure the majority of a game in hope of one single amazing athletic maneuver that I seem to be a sucker for. In this particular case, I was fortunate to see two amazing goals. The first was a deep header by Conrad off a corner kick, and the second was Donovan out-sprinting the defense and juking the goalie for an easy tap in to seal the game.

As with every national match for the United States, this one tells us a lot about the future of soccer in the United States. This new coach, Bob Bradley (who is currently the interim, but probably soon to be the permanent) combined with new and young talent could spell a better run at the Cup in 2010 in South Africa, and thus a larger interest by an apathetic country. Until then, we’ll have to settle for David Beckham as our source for turning the tide of soccer in the States. Personally, I’ll put my money on 2010.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Photo Opp

posted by IntrinsicBent

Very Interesting.

I was surfing a local sportstalk website when I found an L.A. Kings promotion which centered around retired King Luc Robitaille.

I see tickets to two games, hats, an opportunity to win dinner with Luc, blah, blah, blah.

Then I read a line, do a double take, and read it again.

Sure 'nuff it says what I thought it did: "Photo opportunity with Luc’s retirement jersey."

What?!?

Is that a modern day version of catching King Tutankhamun's world tour? If you think about it, all you get with that is some rags that you have to trust has the young King inside. But at least you have the King inside.

Talk about empty benefits.

I'll be keeping an eye out for retired Angels player Tim Salmon's cleats to go on tour. That's another shutterbug opp.

Site Link

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Are New Jersey And Chicago NBA Beard Cities?

posted by IntrinsicBent


This article about an ex NBA player planning to come out of the closet this Valentine's Day (That's one gift I've yet to give Mrs. Bent) made me laugh with disbelief.

It wasn't because the guy is gay, or that his publicist was hyping it at a Superbowl party, or that he is using the NBA and Valentine's Day as patsies to punch sales for his book.

See if you can get it from this excerpt (and this post title):

"Publicist Howard Bragman, from a Los Angeles-based company called Fifteen Minutes, was spreading the word at the Leigh Steinberg Super Bowl party Saturday that a former NBA player he represents will be announcing publicly that he is gay on Valentine's Day. Bragman would say only that the player has been retired for about three years and was not a member of the Bulls or the Nets. He added that the player was not a prominent name in the NBA. The player also has a book that will be released in conjunction with his public disclosure."

Shades of Mike Piazza's "I'm not gay" press conference when someone alleged a big leaguer in New York was gay.

How does that make members of the Bulls and Nets feel to have to be disclaimed like that? It's almost like you can hear the numb nut say "Yeah he was in the NBA three years ago, but it's not on the obvious teams you'd think of."

I don't know about stranger, but truth can definitely be funnier than fiction.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Super Bowl XLI in One Sentence

posted by BiCoastal Bias

So a buddy at work came up to me today and said, "Want to go get some coffee?" to which I replied, "I already got some," which prompted him to say, "Any thoughts about the game?" I think my reply summed up Super Bowl XLI perfectly: "Pretty much what I expected."

Now obviously, judging by my statement, I expected the Colts to win. There's even some fellows who may or may not vouch for my predicted final score of 27-21; which wasn't far off. But I'd have to be a pretty self-absorbed person to think that the fact that the game ended about the way I thought it would sums up the experience for everyone; so I want you to hear me out because I'm really not saying that.

This Super Bowl seemed unique to me because regardless of the outcome, the storyline was already prepared. If the Colts won, as they did, Peyton/Dungy finally got the monkey off of their collective back, and Grossman blew it; leading to the debates of whether Grossman should start for Chicago next year, and Brady-vs.-Petyon who's-better-now-that-they-both-have-rings. If the Bears won, we'd be inundated with 1985 comparisons, and thoughtful pieces about complex players who just can't win the
games that history has decided are important.

Granted, last year's outcome was scripted as well, with Jerome Bettis winning it all in his hometown, and then announcing his retirement; but had Seattle won, the media would have had to do their own writing without a script, and you can imagine the utter chaos that would have occurred had that scenario played out. So there was still some suspense.

Even still, the first half was actually quite surprising; featuring an opening kickoff return for a touchdown, five fumbles, and a botched PAT. All that stuff that happened between the whistles was surprising and riveting. It's just too bad that the outcome was already written, so none of it could really impress any of us.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Ex Grossman Ruins The Day

posted by IntrinsicBent


Mrs. Bent gave me permission to use that hilarious title that she created with about 4 minutes left in today's Superbowl contest. You never know what she's going to say during the course of an NFL game. She's a huge fan of football. Today she outed me in front of our game guests for having seen a Purple Rain cd in my car. I'm sure it was planted.

The blogosphere seems to be treating today's game between the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts as a big snorefest.

I don't see it that way. It was a close game between the NFL's 2006 #1 Defense (Bears) and #1 Offense (Colts) which is highly preferable to those that are basically decided by halftime.

The Bears started out looking like they'd crush Indy. For the first time in Superbowl history, an opening kickoff was returned for a touchdown. Devin Hester took it to the house for the first time on an opening kickoff in 41 years. This forced the Colts to kick squibbs from that point forward.

Then, Manning threw a quick interception in their first series that made it seem that Mr. Momentum was in the Bears' pocket.

There was wet inclement weather, turnovers aplenty, and even a miss by the clutch leg himself, Adam Vinatieri.

Good guy Tony Dungy got a ring, and Peyton Manning can go forward building his inevitable Hall of Fame career without the question of whether he'll ever win the big one or not. The guy is a surgeon and coach on the field.

The score was tight into the 4th quarter when the Bears had to go away from their gameplan of keeping the game out of Rex Grossman's hands. He threw two back breaking interceptions that had the arcs like balls you used to throw to yourself high in the air allowing enough time to get under it and catch it. No kidding.

The Bears will have a solid future as long as they do one thing before next season.

Change their quarterback and send him to the Arena League as quickly as time allows. Do it on the plane home.

Seriously, you have to do it.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Intrinsic's Stone Cold Lock Superbowl Pick

posted by IntrinsicBent


First off a little disclaimer. These picks are not intended for use in gambling activities.

Here you go FrappNation.

The Chicago Bears will win this year's Superbowl.

No need to thank me. This service comes with your subscription fee.



The Superbowl Is On Notice

posted by IntrinsicBent

It is the eve of the mother of all sports contests. No other sport (yes, even soccer) can boast of a bigger game that is played in their sport. The Superbowl is the pinnacle event of professional sports.

There are some things about this spectacle that are taxing though. For this reason, I've put the Superbowl on notice.

1) 2 Week Layoff - This is number one because it is the main contributing factor to the Superbowl Fatigue Phenomenon (SFP). There are only so many story lines and even fewer interesting ones. This creates a heavy regurge cycle.

2) 1985 Bear Comparisons - This is something you'd do with your boys once, argue about it, and then leave it alone. You've heard this solid for the past two weeks.

3) Peyton Manning As A Skilled Loser - Manning has never won the big one on any level, yada, yada, yada. This leads up to the whether Manning is a great quarterback that more resembles Elway.....or Marino discussion. The real question is, can we handle even more Peyton commercials should he win the big one? Discuss amongst yourselves.

4) Head Coaches' Skin Color - Sorry Jesse (Jackson), these guys are great coaches. 'Nuff Said.

5) Good Rex Vs. Bad Rex - I wish Rex would figure it out so we didn't have to wonder. It's draining.

6) Wack Statistical Comparisons - The AFC teams that have had 7 lefthanded players and had 3 points in the 1st 3 minutes have won every time. Statisticians get geeked over the Superbowl. And probably Deal or No Deal.

7) Champs $73k Losers $38k - These are the amounts that last year's combatants reportedly pulled down each. This is chump change to these guys. How about having this money go to a charitable cause. You could create a competition within a competition. And more story lines in the process.

8) Softball Media Day Questions - This is fine journalism here. "If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?" or "Do you think you can win?" KnowledgeDroppings, get on your job and get us into this event next year.