Monday, June 29, 2009

Viewer Feedback

posted by BiCoastal Bias

If you don't live in New England, then you probably don't remember who Jerry Remy is. He's the 1970's ballplayer who has served as the color commentator for the Boston Red Sox television network for over a decade. Beloved by Sox fans, Remy has been out for the 2009 season as he battles lung cancer.

To fill the hole in the broadcast booth, the New England Sports Network (NESN) has used several guest announcers, but has recently settled on a two man rotation consisting of Dennis Eckersley and Dave Roberts. This blog is my own personal feedback on their performances thus far, and a chance for fellow watchers to chime in.

We'll start with the good: Eckersley is surprisingly awesome to listen to. Let's start with his voice: Eck has a certain country twang that is very unique. He doesn't sound southern, not exactly midwestern, he just talks in a way that I can't say I've ever heard anyone talk before. His Wikipedia entry tells me he was born and raised in California, which thoroughly befuddles me. He sounds very relaxed at all times, perhaps to a fault, as he let a four letter word slip out on the air last month. Eck comments on the game as you would expect a former pitcher to. He discusses pitch selection very frequently. He also introduces the viewer to lots of baseball slang that I had never heard before. I suspect he is making many of these terms up as he goes, but it's entertaining nonetheless.

And now for the bad. Dave Roberts is another beloved figure in Red Sox history: his stolen base in the 2004 ALCS is often credited as the cataclysmic play of that history-changing series. And him taking the broadcast booth seemed a natural way for Sox fans to better get to know him, since Roberts only played for the Sox for a partial season. But my advice to Roberts is simple: quit while you're ahead. Roberts has a relatively boring voice, which he can't do much about. But the real problem is that I have yet to hear him add a single interesting thing to the broadcast. He regularly compliments ballplayers for being "great," and he loves to describe the obvious. Over the weekend, he explained why during a very hot day game in Atlanta, Kevin Youkilis was rubbing a cold towel over his head in the dugout. (I'm not exaggerating, he went into great detail about how a cold towel can refresh you and rejuvenate you between innings.)

So there you have it, the good and the bad. I think color commentators in baseball have one of the most tricky jobs. There are so many that I cannot stand. My hope is that if/when Jerry Remy returns to his post, that Eckersley will get some future opportunities somewhere to keep calling games.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Shaq To Cavaliers Is Reality

posted by IntrinsicBent

Shaquille O'Neal, The Big Nomad, is picking up his tent and moving again.

A long rumored deal between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Phoenix Suns happened right before the draft when the Cavs traded Ben Wallace, Sasha Pavlovic, a second round draft pick, and cold hard cash for O'Neal who has one year left on his current contract.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, the regular season champs, were shock and awed when they were unceremoniously run out of the playoffs by the Orlando Magic, surprising just about everyone in America that cared.

Here's what this trade means though:
The Suns get rid of a bloated contract (no, that's not a reference to Shaq), get some marginal players, and most importantly get a draft pick, and cash which is king in this economy.

Shaq never did fit into the Suns style of run and gun basketball.  It's doubtful that Wallace or Pavlovic will ever don a Suns uniform, since they (Suns) are in payroll trimming mode. 

The Cavs' backs are against the wall after planning their victory parade that never came to fruition.  Their Coach Of The Year winning coach was rumored to be under the gun, Lebron James has one year left before he can become a free agent, and they are forced to force a championship season. Lebron will be pursued by every team in the league except for the Clippers and Grizzlies.

They either need a championship before Lebron bails, or they need a championship in hopes of convincing James to stay.  Either way, they have to have a championship.  And this time, no one is going to get all giddy just because they are doing well during the regular season.

The Suns are fortunate that they could wave their hand in front of the Cavs and state "You will take Shaq off our hands" and have it work.  Good thing Cavs GM Danny Ferry and Suns GM Steve Kerr played together back in the day.  It's sad that Kerr worked him like that.

The real loser in this deal is the public, NBA fans or not, who will be subjected to "buddy marketing" advertisements and random dance offs like the one pictured.

Story Source

Monday, June 22, 2009

Manny is rehabbing . . . from what?

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Can anyone explain to me why Manny Ramirez gets to go on a "rehab assignment" during his drug-related suspension?

Manny has been suspended from baseball. He is not even allowed to make contact with the media during this time. Why would he be allowed to play for the minor league team associated with the Dodgers? It's not as if there is no drug policy for minor leaguers - there is.

Hey Bud Selig, act like you've got a pair and put a stop to this before it starts.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Shaq Calls Out Hong Man Choi

posted by MMA Daddy

NBA All Star and future Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal must already be bored in his offseason.  Or maybe he just has some pent up frustration that his ex wife Kobe Bryant just received jewelry from other men.

Either way, he just called out the giant that ruined Jose "Juice And Tell" Canseco's mma debut last month.  You remember this fight for the ages:

The only cool part of this fight is when Choi picks him up at the end of the beatdown and looks like a Dad picking up his little son.

True MMA fans desperately need you to understand that we don't care for these sideshow type fights by "only in it for the buck" promoters.  It's not what the sport is really about.

But Shaq should be careful before calling out Hong Man Choi.  The guy is a veteran mixed martial arts fighter who has had a number of real fights.  In fact, even though his size and weight are anomalies, Choi fought some decent battles before he had the huge tumor removed that had caused his abnormal growth.

Shaq outweighs Choi by about 10 pounds, but gives up 2" in height, and no telling how much reach.  I think I can confidently say he probably doesn't have much mma training under his belt.  We know he swings a bit like a girl (remember Brad Miller?).

Looks like Shaq is going to leave his career as he came in: multitasking.  When he came into the league, he was a baller, poor rapper, and horrible actor.  Now he wants to leave as a policeman, broadcaster, and mma fighter.

I'll tell you who is miserable about this is the Phoenix Suns. They reportedly are trying to trade Shaq and his bloated last year of contract worth $25 million to the Cleveland Cavaliers.  They literally would have the wrong side of $25 million riding on this fight.

I doubt it will happen but am past being weary of rockers, boxers, football players, baseball players, and now basketball players thinking that MMA is some kind of retirement activity.

MMA Daddy is on loan from Smashmouth MMA.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Kevin McHale Not Returning To Coach T'Wolves

posted by IntrinsicBent

Tweeter and Minnesota Timberwolves player Kevin Love announced via Twitter that Timberwolves GM and Coach would not be returning to coach the T'Wolves.

"Today is a sad day...Kevin McHale will NOT be back as head coach next season."

NBA player dropping news about his team.  The world is officially backwards.

Thanks for the tip KLove......and reader BrokenStyle.

What A Revelation

posted by IntrinsicBent

No other "hot sports story" has deserved the Seinfeldian phrase of yada yada yada, trailing off into a snore as today's report that Sammy Sosa flunked a drug test in 2003.  Outstanding journalism indeed.  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

At this point, I'd be more intrigued and surprised (intrised?) if reports were leaked of players found clean during that era.  It would also be a shorter list too.  In fact, I now believe that the more you hope a player is not on the list, the more likely he is on the list.

We really haven't held out anti-juice hope since the power hitters of the '90's and early 2000's or the ornery Red Sox/Blue Jays/Yankees/Astros/Yankees pitcher and his cavalcade of syringe artists began popping the lie bubble and dismantling our myopian fantasy of that era of what we thought were giants. 

Actually the All-Time Home Run King ended up being a juicing Giant, but that's a different story altogether.

I'll tell you who paid the price for all this: The kids that grew up during the late 1990's and early 2000's.

It's the Summer of 1998, when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were both chasing down the single season home run record.  Remember rushing home to catch Sportscenter or opening the paper (what's a paper?) the next morning and see which hulking piece of humanity reduced the baseball to sawdust with the whack of his railroad tie bat?  It was a veritable Field Of Dreams.  If you hit home runs, they would come.  And that they did.

That generation of kids now either feels betrayed by their baseball childhood or easily accepts the "if you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'" mantra.

Even if we wouldn't allow ourselves to believe it at the time, we knew Sammy was a cheater when he corked everyone in the infield as his bat broke.

Or when he showed up to the famed Senate Hearing and forgot how to speak English but did say through his lawyer "“To be clear, I have never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs. I have never injected myself or had anyone inject me with anything.”  Then the very next season he showed up looking like his own little brother after deciding to lose some "weight".

The Senate Hearing quote is my 2nd favorite Sosa quote after this doozy recently that "he would “calmly wait” for his induction into baseball’s Hall of Fame, for which he will become eligible in 2013.  Good luck on that one Bruh.

The burning question though, is why throw Sosa under the bus, when he already has so many tire tread marks on him?

The poignant follow-up question is why have only two names been leaked from this list of over 100 that someone's lawyer has? Is this list being used to gain power?  And why has only Sosa and A-Rod, two men of color, been chosen for this sport lynching?

Where are all the white dudes at?  You better bet they are on that list.  Call me Intrinsic Cynic all day if you want, but I don't even trust David Eckstein or Craig Counsell at this point.

How much worse can it get?  Much worse.

Remember the accomplishment right after the strike that was credited for bringing fans back to the sport?  The player's nickname had a certain Tony Stark feel?  I can hear you Frappers screaming "Sacrilege!" for even writing that.  But you cannot assume anything at this point.

Days of innocence in baseball are gone for good. 

Evidently if you practiced and played hard, gave it your all, and kept your nose clean, it wasn't enough to play pro ball after all.

Story Source

Monday, June 15, 2009

Dwight Howard Has His Head Up

posted by IntrinsicBent

Eastern Conference Champion Orlando Magic Center Superman 2.0 does not have his head hanging today after his team was eliminated in the Finals by the Los Angeles Lakers.

In a tweet today at 11:42 am pacific he wrote:

"and for everyone my head is not down. im ready to get better for next year.

never hold ya head down. never. life is too short for that"

In a later tweet he added "kobe congrats. u inspired me."

Meanwhile, Superman 1.0 (Shaquille O'Neal) was busy holding tweet court himself last night after the game. On a night he hoped never would happen, he said things like:

"Congratulations kobe, u deserve it. You played great . Enjoy it my man enjoy it. And I know what yur sayin rt now "Shaq how my ass taste "

"Congrats to you to phil jackson. When the general doesn't panic the troops don't panic. You are the greatest now."

"Congrats to u to d fish, big shots the other day. Enjoy my man enjoy"

"Congrats in spanish pau gasol, muchas gracias pappacito"

"Congrats to you to, mbengaaaaaaaa"

"O yea congrats to u to adam morrison"

Reports have the Suns and Cavaliers working on a trade to get Shaq to play with the league's soon to be best player, Lebron James.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Indians Enlist Bird, Win In 10

posted by IntrinsicBent

The elements are a part of outdoor sports that you cannot predict nor control.  Nature has involved itself in sports ever since the first caveman picked up a round rock and began practicing his aim.

We've seen plagues of gnats in a baseball game, fog in an NFL game, and even an earthquake present itself during a World Series.

Birds are big sports fans as well and are always present at ballparks, whether they are getting blown up by Randy Johnson, or affecting the outcome of an extra inning game like they did tonight.

The Cleveland Indians clawed back to tie a game against the Kansas City Royals and enter extra innings.  In the bottom of the 10th inning, Indians OF Shin-Soo Choo hits a shot up the middle, clips a seagull that was in the outfield with a bunch of other seagulls, whereby scoring the winning run.

This outcome totally screwed this guy's guess at the outcome of the game.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Vitamin Water and Nike try to save face

posted by BiCoastal Bias

If you're reading this, you are probably familiar with the Vitamin Water advertisement and Nike puppet advertisements featuring Lebron James and Kobe Bryant that have been running throughout this year's NBA playoffs. Both ad campaigns were somewhat criticized since they seemed to assume that the two would face off in the NBA finals.

Well, now that the NBA Finals is featuring Kobe vs. Dwight Howard; both companies have created new ad-spots to make up for this fact. My favorite is this Dwight Howard commercial, which probably took a grand total of 10 minutes to shoot and edit (it is still clever and funny nonetheless).

Nike ran an ad last night featuring puppet version LeBron James in his apartment without Kobe as the little kid next door peppers him with questions about Kobe. (Sorry, this blogger could not find a copy for you on YouTube.)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Kobe tries to rewrite the past

posted by BiCoastal Bias

Kobe Bryant is trying to re-write history, and no I'm not talking about him going for his fourth NBA title.

In the lead up to the start of this year's NBA Finals, the main storyline is how important it is for Kobe Bryant to win a championship without Shaquille O'Neil. It is important for Kobe's legacy as one of the best basketball players of all time - and there is little doubt in anyone's mind that it is important to Kobe himself.

Kobe, for his part, denies that this is an important motivating factor for him. Of course, he has to say this, anything else would be denying his teammates proper credit.

Others in the media have also stepped up to defend Kobe. This morning, one of the Mikes from ESPN's Mike & Mike was downplaying the importance for Kobe to win a championship without Shaq. Inevitably, they brought up the fact that Magic never won a championship without Kareem, and Jordan never won without Pippen.

There is a serious problem with this comparison: Magic never forced Kareem to get traded, and Jordan never ran Pippen out of town. And as much as Kobe would like to deny it, Phil Jackson's book makes it very clear that Kobe forced the Lakers to choose between him and Shaq. Why? Because he was tired of being a "sidekick."

So there you have it, whether or not Kobe Bryant can win a championship post-Shaq is an issue precisely because Kobe made it an issue. The rest of his career (up until he wins a fourth ring) should and will be defined by it.

And nothing Kobe says can convince me that he doesn't feel the same way. I take that back - there is one thing he could say that would make a difference. He could admit that he was wrong.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Where Amazing Happens?

posted by MoneyMouth

Since The Sports Frappe has apparently been co-opted by David Stern's deep pockets making this blog appear to be "pro" NBA, I thought I'd temper it with this insight compliments of Daniel Tosh.  Enjoy:
Where amazing happens? Really NBA?  You know what’s amazing?  That some of your players find the time to play basketball in between court dates.  You gotta love that this league of college dropouts can find time to read to children. Which has to be a real treat for these kids to get to watch a seven-foot man stammer his way through 5th grade reading material. Here are few other great NBA moments that we found amazing.

NBA Where Amazing Happens Parody