Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Send your questions/comments in whenever, and I'll answer them beginning at 1 PM.
Monday, December 27, 2010
After walking out of my local theater at close to midnight, I was surprised I was still up. That is how I knew that The Fighter was a good movie. I had not fallen asleep, and was, for the most part, captivated by a majority of the things that went on during the movie. (Why did I decide to go to a 10 PM showtime? Your guess is as good as mine). I knew I needed to see this movie when Sports Illustrated called it “One of the Best Boxing Movie of All-time” and “The Best Sports Movie of the Decade”. Then I realized that Sports Illustrated knows jack-(expletive) about movies, and went to go look at some reviews from real critics to decide if I should see it.
(My fascination and trust in critic’s reviews dates back to a few years ago, when, in succession, I saw the awful movies The Day the Earth Stood Still, and Nicolas Cage’s disastrous Knowing. Both were really bad sci-fi movies, a genre that I have no real interest to begin with, unless it is Star Wars. I like Star Wars. Anyway, from that day forward, I decided to take movie critic’s advice to heart and save myself from spending ten dollars on a horrible movie. Some of my friends think that it is weird that I base my movie choices on what the critic’s consensus is. Well, if 92% of people who are paid to watch movies says that Grown Ups sucks, then it probably sucks. Combine that with the fact that I already do not really want to see the movie, and I think you know my choice.
I would suggest Rotten Tomatoes as the best choice for anyone who has Critic-Obsession-Disorder like myself)
Let me get back to Sports Illustrated for a moment. How can The Fighter already be called the best sports movie of the decade, when the decade is only 360 days old? What was its competition, Secretariat? Calling it the best boxing movie of all-time is a little over the top. I still love the first four Rocky movies, and although I have yet to see Raging Bull, apparently it is the standard for boxing movies. So, The Fighter had a lot to live up to.
Well, it did. Especially in a down year for sports movies, The Fighter held strong.
The real heart of the movie is from the actor’s performances. Mark Wahlberg, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, and especially Christian Bale all gave Golden Globe nominated performances, which they deserved.You felt that the movies was less about boxing, then it was about these people’s lives. Which it was. There was probably only about 20 minutes of actual boxing or training in the movie, if that. The strength of the cast is really what gives the movie its legs.
When I left the movie I had a few questions.
SPOILER ALERT, here they are:
1) Why did Roy Jones Jr. sound like a robot?
Jones Jr. was the ringside announcers for most of the fights in the movie, and did his best impersonation of Bill Russell as a color commentator. He was really bad. It almost sounded like he had no idea what he was talking about, which is weird because A)He is one of the best boxers in history and B) He had a script. Maybe that is why he sounded so robotic. He was probably directly reading off the script, the same way Seth Meyers did when he first started Weekend Update. No matter what the issue was, Jones Jr. did not shed the proper light on the boxing scenes and how important they were.
2) How did Alice Eklund (Played by Melissa Leo) consider herself a good mother?
Throughout the film, all you hear from Alice is how great a manager and a mother she is. She really seems to believe this. There are a few problems with the chronically annoying Alice. She obviously only cares about the money that Micky is bringing in, and will make him fight literally anyone. Second, Dickey is obviously her favorite son, yet, she lets him go off to crackhouses and get arrested “27 times”. Finally, there are the seven daughters she has, all of which live from home. They are all in the mid –40’s, and she still is the caregiver for these fully grown women. They are basically the seven dwarves, only if the dwarves were regular sized and they all looked like Dopey. She is in the running for the Worst Mother of the Year Award, probably only behind 3-time winner Kate Gosselin. Leo does a fantastic job of making this real unlikable character. I can’t remember the last time I left a movie hating someone’s mom the most out of any of the characters.
3) Did Dicky Eklund stay sober after he dropped off his cake at the crack house?
Let me explain. In the movie, the climatic scene for Christian Bale’s character, Dicky, is when he is released from prison. He returns back to the gym where his brother Mickey, is preparing for his upcoming fight. Dicky strolls right in like he owns the place, but Mickey tells him to leave since he is too big a distraction. Of course, Mickey’s meddling mom (who had been fired by Mickey as his “manager”) brought his seven sisters over to celebrate Dicky returning from prison. She brought a cake. When Dicky finds out that Mickey wants him to leave, he storms off with the cake.
He brings the cake to the crack house where he had spent most of his time at. He drops it off, and walks away, and the viewer is led to believe that he never goes near crack again.
REAL LIFE SPOILER ALERT: He does. He got arrested for crack possession six years later and attempted murder three years after that arrest. Although it appears that the latter case will be thrown out, seriously, what the (expletive) are you thinking Dick? You got a son who is going to end up being more insane than Kurt Cobain’s kid. That is not even because your son has a drug-addicting daddy, it’s because he spends his time being cared for by Alice and the Seven Dwarves.
4) Is Christian Bale the greatest modern actor?
Still not sure. He is definitely the most dedicated, if anything. He gains and loses weight with the gusto of a high school wrestler. He lost thirty pounds for his role as Dick Eklund, and has lost way more than that before.
Apparently, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt were the original choices for Dick, but dropped out due to scheduling conferences. After watching The Fighter, it is really difficult to see anybody else as Eklund. You would have felt as if Pitt and Damon were in the movies, and that they were not someone else. Bale immerses himself in every role he plays.
You get the feeling that if Bale was in the Big Momma’s House franchise instead of Martin Lawrence, that he would have gotten a skin change and gained 215 pounds. That is how dedicated he is. There is no way that Bale does not win an Oscar for this role.
As for the greatest modern actor argument, he is in the top 5, maybe 3. Daniel Day-Lewis is still number one, and Leo DiCaprio always has to be listed. But Bale is in the category of elite actors today.
The Fighter is an excellent movie. I did not even get into how much I liked Amy Adams in this movie. Who thought the princess from Enchanted would be so convincing dropping F-bombs left and right, and beating up one of the Dopey’s. Wahlberg dedicated himself tp the movie as well, in the opposite of what Bale did. He gained a ton of muscle and shows off his boxing chops (well) in the fighting scenes. As far as where as it compares to the other movies I have seen this year, it probably falls in the middle.
The Movies I Have Seen This Year (In order of my favoritism/love/affection)
2. Toy Story 3
3. The Fighter
4. Get Him to the Greek
5. The Other Guys
6. Paranormal Activity 2
Inception was the best movie I saw this year, in case you were wondering or could not read my graph. PA2 was not bad, it just did not live up to my lofty expectations. I saw The Other Guys twice in theaters, but Get Him to the Greek had more laugh-falling-down moments. My love for Toy Story 3 is well-documented.
Rating for The Fighter: 3.5 out of 4 stars
A special shout out to the old(er) movies I saw this year: Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas, Mystic River, Rear Window, Reservoir Dogs, Almost Famous, The Godfather, The Godfather 2. I made sure I saw you guys so I could have some legitimacy in the movie-reviewing world.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
So wait. What just happened?
In the span of two weeks, the New York Yankees, my Yankees, the team that can buy any player they want, just saw two All-Stars go to their biggest rival. Then, on Monday, we saw Cliff Lee, the guy that we have been courting like a Shakespearian character for 2 years, settle for less money with the Philadelphia Phillies.
I am still confused, still wandering aimlessly around my house. How did this happen?
Gonzalez & Crawford
It was obvious that the Yanks were not going to get Crawford, no matter how many steak dinners they gave him. Gonzalez was more of a surprise, not because we had wanted him, but in the manner the Red Sox got him. It is a brilliant trade, I have to admit. Gonzo (Which I am assuming is his nickname. What person with the last name Gonzalez hasn’t been nicknamed Gonzo?) is a real solid fielder, whose opposite field power will probably have him leading the American League in doubles for years to come. Fenway is probably the perfect ballpark for Gonzo’s game, a guy who consistently can hit the ball to left field on really any pitch.
With the addition of Gonzalez, the Red Sox can now be feared in the middle of their lineup, where last season it was decimated by countless injuries. Crawford also gives them speed, which other than the random Jacoby Ellsbury sighting, has not really been seen since 1983. Both of these additions make the Red Sox much more deadly to the Yankees, who are getting older and older and older (and older). Is it possible that we only see a small window for this Yankee team? While the Red Sox run rampant in the American League for the next ten years?
Let’s look at the Yankees lineup, and project how much longer they have:
1B: Mark Teixeira- Has a big window, but his early-season struggles are pushed back later and later each year.
2B: Robinson Cano- Will probably be considered one of the five best players in baseball in a few years. At least that is what Tim McCarver is telling me.
SS: Derek Jeter- Tick. Tick. Tick.
3B: Alex Rodriguez- With the hips of a 75-year-old man with osteoporosis (and lack of PED usage), A-Rod is becoming more and more brittle.
LF: Brett Gardner- I feel like teams will realize next season that he refuses to swing at the first two pitches, no matter where they are. If Gardner stays the same, he could be in a supreme decline.
CF: Curtis Granderson- Streaky (adj)
RF: Nick Swisher- The man.
C: Jesus Montero- The future. Likely trade bait. (I’ll get to that later)
On paper, this is obviously a contending team. But after five years, I am not sure. The Red Sox are definitely the team that is primed for the future. and the additions of Gonzo and Crawford solidify this.
My thoughts on Cliff Lee are kind of jambled up, so I will present my feeling on him in a kind of stream-of-consciousness train of writing.
It became pretty clear after a while that Lee was not coming to New York, I recognize that. But this is a guy the Yankees have been trying to pick up for the past two years, and we had been assured by Brian Cashman and the rest of the Yankee “brain” trust that we were going to get Lee, no matter what. That probably should have been my first signal that we were not going to get him.
There is seriously no one else we can have other than Cashman? We have the highest payroll in baseball, and this is the guy we choose to spend that money? Give me a break.
I kind of had this sinking feeling that we were not going to get Lee after the story broke that some jackass Yankee fans had spat on his wife. As I have said many times since that moment, these morons should never be allowed to set foot inside Yankee Stadium again, and have YES removed from their cable package. Could they have been Philadelphia or Texas spies, sent in to New York to sabotage the Yankees chances at getting Lee? Put that on my Conspiracy Theory List!
Part of me also feels kind of relieved that we did not get Lee. That could just be my denial talking, but he did pretty poorly in the World Series (0-2, ERA over 6), and he was not really that dominant last season (12-9, 3.18 ERA). I am not sure that he would be the proper to guy to give an absurd amount of money to.
One final thing about Lee: To all those mathematically-challenged, who think that Lee is a “great person” for not caving in to the Yankees big contract and going to where he really wants to be, Lee is still getting more annually ($24 million per year) than he would have in New York ($23 million per year). So chew on that one, Pythagoras.
This lack of picking up a big-name starting pitcher can only lead to one move by the Yankees. That is, of course, to trade all of their high profile prospects away to get that big-name guy. Here are the two guys who are likely at the top of the list.
He is probably the guy I want to avoid. He puts up solid numbers for an awful team that gives him zero run support, which is nice. But I do not want him playing in New York. This is a guy with a known social-anxiety disorder, which is probably not the best thing to have if you are playing in the biggest media market in the entire known world. I give a lot of credit from bouncing back from this thing he has, and he is obviously a huge role model in the social-anxiety community. But he should not be playing in New York, and I am pretty sure that he knows that too.
Career stats against the Yankees: 2-3, 5.27 ERA
Not exactly eye-opening numbers.
Career against the Red Sox: 1-4, 2.88 ERA
That does seem to be a victim of bad run support, if anything. But can he really see himself in a late September game in Fenway with the division on the line? How would he handle being booed? I should not have to worry about this things, especially if we are going to give up prospects like Jesus Montero for him.
Probably the dream pitcher to get, if you are the Yankees. Cashman should be willing to part ways with guys like Montero in order to get the best pitcher in baseball, but he probably won’t. This could be the type of situation, that mirrors the A-Rod trade (Yankees need to fill in a void, so they go out and trade for the best player in baseball at their position). Hernandez went 3-0 with a 0.35 ERA against the Yankees last year, by the way. Unfortunately, there is a growing theory (brought to us by SI’s Jon Heyman), that Hernandez has the Yankees on his no-trade list.
This is obviously a mistake by Felix. He wouldn’t want to play in New York? The overbearing fans, trigger-happy upper-management, the incompetent manager, who wouldn’t want to play here?
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
After seeing Barbara Walters atrocious excuse for a fascinating people list (one that included the cast of Jersey Shore, Kate Middleton, Sandra Bullock, Sarah Palin, Justin Bieber, and LeBron James. I love Jersey Shore as much as the next dumb American, but come on. Kate Middleton is British, which should probably make her ineligible. Palin is an insane person. Bieber, well, I don’t want to alienate my female fan(s), and my feelings for LeBron James are not exactly good ones), I decided to create my own, in perhaps of inspiring Walters to do better.
(Not sure if my people are fascinating, whatever the hell that means. Walters’ definitely weren’t)
(Another note: I tried to keep this to sports and entertainment, because my political views would end up being too much for the reader. You’re welcome)
Single-handedly made the Boston Celtics the most fun-loving team in the NBA. Before, Nate Robinson and Glen Davis’s incessant antics seemed to annoy certain mentally-unstable players (Rhymes with Levin Harnett). Now, with Shaq in town, someone is finally there to give KG crap, and not be worried about being brutally murdered. He also, surprisingly, seems to actually care about defense/getting back on defense. He is averaging about 11 points and 7 rebounds a game, and filling in nicely for Kendrick Perkins. Sure, Shaq may slow down the game tremendously, almost bringing it down to a pre-shot clock era pace, but he is having fun! At least until Perkins comes back and he is forced to sit on his mammoth seat with 12 boosters under it.
Me and my dad talk about Shaq’s seat way too much. It almost received an honorable mention nod for this column. How is this helping him? I don’t understand. Please, if you know, send me an email. It makes no sense.
He probably should have been on Barbara Walters’ official list. Thank God the Giants came to prominence this year, otherwise we never could have seen Wilson shine in the spotlight. This is a man who probably should be in an institution. He wanted to “rage” after winning the World Series, which apparently is a good thing.
The only problem with Wilson I have, is that it may be an act. Can anyone be this crazy? Imagine if he went on Conan instead of Leno after winning the World Series. Conan pretty much allows people to do whatever they want, while Leno is an unfunny control freak. He may have burnt down Conan’s studio.
Made the album of the year, and probably produced half of the top ten songs of the year. If he does not win Album of the Year next year, I will be right on stage with him arguing. Okay, I probably won't. His album received arguably the greatest critical ratings of the past ten years, for any kind of genre. But still, to some, he is seen as a jerk, and these people refuse to listen to his music based on ridiculous principle (talking to you, Mom!). Forgive and forget, people, or something like that.
The Cast of The Walking Dead
My favorite new show of 2010, and really the only new show that hasn’t made me want to punch a wall. It is slowly making me get over my Post-LOST syndrome. Slowly.
For some reason, this above-average power forward became the key ingredient to any deal that happened over the summer, in the NBA offseason. As excited as I get seeing the Heat lose, and Bosh clanking 15-foot jump shots, I have to give him credit for making this whole thing happen. If you remember correctly, it really came down to wherever Bosh was going, LeBron would be right behind. That is why I am surprised that people were surprised when LeBron said he was going to Miami. Duh, of course he was going to Miami. He had been saying for weeks that he would follow Bosh into the afterlife.
Fun fact: Chris Bosh is averaging 7.5 rebounds a game this season. You wonder why the Heat can’t beat a team that has any sort of a low-post presence? Because this guy is getting out-rebounded per game by JaVale McGee.
Brad Childress/Wade Phillips
It is absolutely fascinating to me that these two idiots who knew very little about football, were allowed to coach professional sports franchises. For God’s sakes, one of them coached the freaking Dallas Cowboys, one of the country’s most profitable teams. This two headed stupidity-monster ruined the seasons of two Super Bowl contenders, both of which are now doing much, much better since firing these two. The Cowboys and Vikings probably make the playoffs if they are not led by two of arguably the worst coaches of the past fifteen years.
Brad Childress made even Brett Favre hate him. You know how hard that is to do. Brett Favre wears blue jeans and plays football in the mud with his best friends! He’s a great guy!
Wade Phillips was arguably the least component leader since Kim Jong-il. Like Jong-il, Phillips successfully starved his fans by never moving past the first round in the playoffs. Like Jong-il, Phillips promised massive results, but nothing was ever seen. Let me take “Make successful comparison to dictator and NFL Head Coach off of my bucket list”
Lots O’ Hugging Bear
This awful, deceitful bear from Toy Story 3 made me feel hatred I have never felt before. That is what makes him so interesting. How can a bear that smells like strawberry be so mean? Even when he is being saved for some reason, Lotso tries to kill the toys by literally throwing them into a garbage incinerator. When I saw that scene in the theater, I checked my ticket three times to make sure the movie was not rated R. Imagine if Toy Story 3 ended with all the toys dying? Could Disney have gotten sued?
Anyway, Lotso gets my vote as the most evil person of 2010. In a year that had stiff competition like Brett Favre (no pun intended, he gets the nod because of his single-handedly ruining my fantasy football season. Damn you!), Glenn Beck, the Haitian earthquake, and Julian Assange, Lotso wins by a nose. Hope you burn in hell, you awful, awful bear.
Writers note: Due to the fact that I am running out of fascinating people, I am counting the Childress/Phillips combo as two.
Nothing says the steroid era is over like a random player hitting 50 home runs. All kidding aside, Bautista and his absurd dead-pull swing was the craziest story of the 2010 MLB season. For once, I actually believe a professional athlete say the reason for his new strength is that “I worked out more” and “I eat right”. At least he didn’t say “I take Flintstone Vitamins”. (Actual quote from Sammy Sosa)
Congratulations to Jose on restoring my faith in home runs hitters who come out of nowhere. Good job.
With our final person, you may not know who he is. But by next year, I guarantee every sports fan will have his name tattooed in their brain the way Tiger Woods and Brett Favre are. Smith is the executive director of the NFL Players Association, and one of the key components in next year’s likely NFL lockout. It is possible that America’s most popular sport will vanish next fall, along with the NBA who also is lined up for a lockout. This could mean, God forbid, the hockey will be the only sport left in the winter. Please, DeMaurice (if that is your real name), no punishment is worse than a season-full of nothing but hockey. Get something done. Make the players take pay cuts, whatever. Please!
Sunday, December 5, 2010
I thought I would delight my fan(s), by putting out my NFL picks in column format, instead of the informal, impersonal Twitter way I had been previously using. I am putting the winning team in caps.
NEW ORLEANS v. Cincinnati
There is no way Cincy has a chance in this game. In fact, there is a chance that Cincy has no chance in a majority of games. They are really, really bad. The only bright spot for them this year, to my infuriation, has been Terrell Owens being 4th in the NFL with 914 receiving yards. These stats are more inflated then Germany in the 1930’s. Due to a lot of garbage time and incessant tipped passes, anyone could have put up these numbers.
CHICAGO v. Detroit
Seriously? Is Chicago really going to be 9-3 after this week? How lucky are the Bears, who week after week get to beat up on quarterbacks like Drew Stanton. Gah!
San Francisco v. GREEN BAY
San Fran lost its offense on Monday night when they lost running back Frank Gore. Now, a guy with no brain matter left, Brian Westbrook, is running the ball. I think I know what to choose.
JACKSONVILLE v. Tennessee
Whether Kerry Collins starts or not, Tennessee cannot win here. Chris Johnson does not look the same, and the legs have really been ripped out of their season. Me? I just want more Rusty Smith. Nothing is better than that!
For some reason, I picked Tennessee to win last week. This obviously was a mistake. Right? Right? Right!
Denver v. KANSAS CITY
If KC actually decides to use the NFL’s second leading rusher, Jamaal Charles, this is a no-brainer. He has only 161 carries this year. That is an average of 15 a game! He is one of the most explosive players in the NFL, and is sometimes forgotten about on the KC sidelines. Time to grow a pair, Todd Haley. Ball is in your court. And Charles is on my fantasy team, so that would help.
CLEVELAND v. Miami
Miami never wins at home, and Cleveland can do damage. Although I am worried that they barely beat the Panthers last week. Miami looks dead, offensively, and no one beats up dead things better than the Browns? (Can I say that?)
Buffalo v. MINNESOTA
Combined with the fact that Buffalo sucks, Minnesota at least looks inspired underneath new head coach Leslie Frazier. Whereas under Brad Childress, it looks like they tried to lose on purpose.
Washington v. NEW YORK GIANTS
The Redskins are a team that is confused. They will lose on week by 40, another week they’ll win by 40. The Giants are extremely banged up, but were able to squeak out a close win versus the Jags last week. It’ll be an ugly one.
Oakland v. SAN DIEGO
Chargers are on fire. Enough said.
ATLANTA v. Tampa Bay
I think it’ll be close, and it will prove if either Atlanta deserves to be a number one seeded team, or if Tampa Bay is for real. Tampa hung in with Baltimore last week, but congratulations, you still didn’t win. There are no moral victories in the National Football League.
Carolina v. SEATTLE
Seattle is at home, and they never lose at home. Especially when playing 1-10 teams.
ST. LOUIS v. Arizona
“I take this s—t seriously, all right?!”. No, you don’t Derek. You just flat out suck and laughing about how awful you are on the sidelines doesn’t help. Good luck.
Dallas v. INDIANAPOLIS
This could be close, but Manning will likely be furious after a few poorly played weeks in a row.
PITTSBURGH v. Baltimore
New York Jets v. NEW ENGLAND
Eleven days off for New England? Should be no problem.
Here are my picks against the spread: http://games.espn.go.com/pigskin/en/entry?entryID=73518&message=picksSuccess
Spread (last week): 9-7. Season: 98-78
Regular (last week): 11-5. Season 100-76
Thursday, December 2, 2010
I am not sure it is a good thing that I feel 45% sure that there will be a full-scale riot in Cleveland tonight. Other than games that are played in Detroit or Philadelphia, the Riot-o-Meter is usually never that high. We are going to see an amount of tension at a sporting event that has not been seen in a very long time. It feels like one of those things where people will take sports way too seriously. And that is coming from a guy who writes over-long posts about sports that 15 people read. There are a few big questions that will be answered tonight in Cleveland, where the Miami Heat will visit the Cavaliers, and LeBron James returns to the city that he curb-stomped (I would give a fun video link to American History X, in case you do not know what “curb-stomping” is, but it is extremely graphic. Feel free to search it yourselves!)
1) Will Cleveland go mentally insane?
Probably not. Hopefully, the good people of Cleveland will have more sense than to go completely ballistic, and use their plastic beer bottles as projectiles. There will be a lot of yelling, a lot of “F—k You!” chants, and a lot of anti-LeBron wear. Allegedly, Cleveland has bumped up security tremendously for tonight. Me and my friend were talking about this scenario today: What if the security guards turn on LeBron, and end up joining in the madness? What if the only reason they signed up to help, was so that they could berate and harm James? How hysterical would that be?
Odds are, Cleveland will not go off the deep end. It will get rowdy in there. There will be no “Malice at the Palace” situation, but we could easily see one of the more ugly fan situations since the Palace Brawl. No, that is not an insult to Cleveland fans. I did not just call you ugly.
2) Will the Cavs show up for tonight’s game?
Yes. There is absolutely no way that the the Cavs are not beyond psyched for tonight. If they are not, they should be contracted. This is probably the biggest game they will have all year, and that is including the chance that they get into the playoffs as an 8 seed, and get swept in the first round. You think Dan Gilbert, the Cavs insane owner, is not in the locker room sometime before the game, yelling at the top of his lungs "Murdock...I'm coming to get you!". Is that just me?
Mo Williams will have this team fired up. He probably wants revenge more than anyone on LeBron. LeBron left Mo out in Cleveland to whittle away, essentially. James was the only reason Mo would ever want to come in contact with Cleveland. He is out for Mel Gibson-style, The Patriot revenge, and if you remember from a previous column, that is the highest type of revenge possible.
3) Will the Heat show up for tonight’s game?
That is tough to say. In case you have not noticed, all three have soft skin, and all three do not like to be booed. It is in their poor record. If they can (for once) ignore the jeers, they will probably do well, I guess. If I had to guess, I would say no. They are not close enough as a team to combat the inevitable crowd eruption. They could not do it against Boston, and they will not do it in Cleveland.
This is probably the biggest “Grow a pair” sports situation (Note: This is a situation where a player/team’s toughness is called into question, and they must react. Manning up, basically, for the lighter of heart) since the whole “Peyton Manning cannot win a playoff game” deal. If Miami cannot get the job tonight, their toughness will be in big question.
Other classic “Grow a pair moments”
- Michael Corleone killing Sollozzo and Captain McCluskey at Louis’s Restuarant
- George Costanza pulling a golf ball out of a beached whale
- Carmelo Anthony’s “Stop F---ing Snitchin” DVD (This failed miserably, along with his “fight” where he slapped Nate Robinson. These “grow a pair” attempts were arguably the weakest of the past decade. Please come to New York, Melo!)
- Alex Rodriguez’s performance in the 2009 playoffs (In the direct opposite, his playoff performance in any other year)
4) Will Dan Gilbert attack LeBron James?
I sure hope so. Imagine how Stern would react. He would get the electric chair out of his basement, and well, you can see where I am going with this.
5) Is Juwan Howard still alive?
Only 37, the Miami Heat backup player, is averaging 2.8 points per game on 11 minutes. So barely. Other than Marcus Camby, is there another NBA player who you forget is still playing, and think has been retired for at least seven years?
6) Will Chris Bosh fold?
My NFL pick: Philly over Houston. Houston (+8.5).
Brendan O’Hare writes The Attic Fan column. Follow him on twitter at theatticfan. Email him or comment below with any question/comments/concerns/emergencies.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Which is more insane? The Steinbrenner/Cashman camp essentially saying that Jeter is worthless to any other team, or the Jeter squad coming out today asking for 6 years at 150 million?
Any Jeter fan will say this: It’s hard to choose.
Up until now, I have always been on Jeter’s side. I was on his side (remarkably) when he dated Mariah Carey for two years. I was on his side when he thought dating a Miss Universe would end well (The math would never add up. The most high-profile athlete in the world’s largest market, dating one of the most famous and sought-after women in the world? It is hard to believe that Jeter, in all of his infinite, Jeterian wisdom, would ever think that this would work). I was on his side when in 2002, partying was all the rage in the Jeter camp (Steinbrenner obviously overreacted on this one, like he did with every minor issue that ever affected the Yankees. It was the middle of December, George, not the middle of September. Look how cool I am, talking back to a dead guy). I was even on his side when this year, Jeter pulled an A-Rod and did something frowned upon in most baseball circles, when he pretended to be hit by a pitch. This was the umps fault, because he didn’t realize that if the sound that occured when the ball hit the end of Jeter’s bat actually hit his body, Jeter would have broken every bone in his wrist.
But asking for one hundred and fifty million dollars, a year after you dropped a .270/.340/.370 split, is absurd. If this is how Jeter is really thinking, how do you think he reacted to the original offer of 3 years/$45 million? He probably thought the Yankees were literally kidding, if this is how much he thinks he is worth.
Originally, I thought the Yankees would go 3 years/$65 million, with a club option for a 4th year. Now this would obviously be overpaying Jeter by about $10-15 million a year. But this is a guy who made $19 million last year, and a paycut would not really be in the question. The Yankees should have known that they should pay Jeter decently for his contributions for the last 15 years, because if they didn’t, they would be dealing with a guy who holds some of the iciest grudges in sports. (Remember the Jeter-ARod feud? It all started because of this quote A-Rod gave to Esquire Magazine in 2001:
"He's never had to lead. He can just go and play and have fun. And he hits second—that's totally different than third and fourth in a lineup. You go into New York, you wanna stop Bernie and O'Neill. You never say, Don't let Derek beat you. He's never your concern."
Okay, that is pretty bad, and I probably would have punched A-Rod in his fat face after this. But the Yankees should know what Jeter is capable of).
If the Yankees had just treated Jeter like they always have treated everyone else, none of this never would have happened. Now, the Yankees are facing a situation similar to the one where Yogi Berra did not return to Yankee Stadium for 25 years. Good times.
The root problem of all this is the complete incompetence of those on the top of the New York Yankee totem pole. Everyone seems to forget, Hal/Hank Steinbrenner are their father, minus the business savvy and desire to win. What have they ever done that has been good for the franchise? Create a stadium designed for the top one percent, one that no average (real) fan can enjoy? Take the enjoyment out of the Yankees?
Then there is Brian Cashman, whose resemblance to Chicken Little is not doing him any favors when he tries to act big around Jeter. His asinine signings in the 2000’s almost brought the Yankees to the ground (Anyone who says he was under pressure from Steinbrenner is way off. Steinbrenner may have died last year, but his days of ruling all aspects of the Yankees ended at the end of the 1990’s).
Let’s analyze what the stooges have had to say regarding Jeter:
"As much as we want to keep everybody, we've already made these guys very, very rich, and I don't feel we owe anybody anything monetarily, Some of these players are wealthier than their bosses."
Well, the first part is true. Jeter is one of the most wealthy professional athletes of all time. Maybe they don’t owe him anything monetarily, they have given him a lot (I don’t feel this way, but an argument can be made in Hank’s case).
The thing that drives me nuts about this statement is the part where Hank says “Some…players are wealthier than their bosses”.
Is Hank trying to make people feel bad for him? Why is he acting like a lowly servant in this case?
Earth to Hank: Your wealthy dad gave you one of the most lucrative sports franchises in the world. Your father has given you all of your wealth and happiness. You’ve never had to work for anything in your life. Don’t act like your be jibbed by the Jeter deal. Don’t pull that card, you arrogant blowhard. What Yankee fan likes you? You have the same annoying audacity as your father, but without of the skills and determination that made Yankee fans at least respect him. I may dislike your brother who is in charge of the Yankees, but I am so thankful that he was born so you would not run the Yankees into the ground (I said this when I was “What are you thankful for?” at Thanksgiving)
"We understand his contributions to the franchise and our offer has taken them into account. We've encouraged him to test the market and see if there's something he would prefer other than this. If he can, fine. That's the way it works."
No, Brian you obviously don’t understand his contributions.
(Fun Fact: At Yankee Stadium, there is a wing that describes all the famous eras in Yankee history. There is the Ruth, DiMaggio, and Mantle eras. Finally, there is the Jeter Years. You are nickle-and-diming a player who is on your teams Mount Rushmore, essentially).
Cashman, you are attempting to pay Derek only $5 million more than your ingenious response to Daisuke Matsuzaka’s arrival to the Red Sox, Kei Igawa (He is lighting up the minors, that’s for sure!). I would name the list of ridiculous and overpaid signings Cashman has graced Yankee fans with over the years, but I am afraid that my reader(s?) will be overwhelmed by the onslaught of no-names.
Cashman is essentially telling Jeter “See if any other team wants a washed-up shortstop with no range, and we will see you in a month when you come crawling back to us”. Really? You are telling the captain of your team that he sucks, quite frankly.
Cashman has been saved for years by the fact that he has an enormous payroll and can get guys like Sabathia and Teixeira, really without trying. Put him in a smaller market, I guarantee you he would fail miserably. He pretends that he is into the sabermetric-rage that dominates most GM’s today, but his signings of injury-prone Nick Johnson (Twice!) and good-only-if-he-is-in-the-NL Javy Vazquez (Twice!) definitely beg to differ.
Why does he suddenly care about money? Him and Steinbrenner? Are the Yankees suddenly on a budget? What? Saying that they won’t pay Jeter an extra $20-25 million is ridiculous. I am a diehard Yankee fan, and I know that they hold an rigged advantage over the other teams with the absurd amount of money that they produce. They are playing the role of small-market team with their most famous player since Mickey Mantle? Who are they kidding?
After saying all that about Steinbrenner(s) and Cashman, I still do not like Jeter’s latest offer. Both sides need to realize that their offers are too extreme, whether it is too little or too big.
The Yankees owe it to Jeter to overpay him. Jeter owes it to the Yankees to not ask for a ridiculous amount of money. Both sides need to give in to each other, whether they like it or not.
But maybe, perhaps as Bill Madden of the New York Daily News said, the Yankees were so shocked and appalled by Jeter’s insane asking price, they were almost forced to give these statements. Jeter is not worth that anymore, and he is going to have to realize this. That could be the purpose of Cashman’s and Steinbrenner’s seemingly ridiculous statements.
But both sides of done wrong. Even if Steinbrenner and Cashman’s original attempts were to do good, they have embarrassed the face of the franchise. Jeter is making a fool of himself by asking for an astronomical amount a year after the worst season of his career.
My thought: 3 years, $65 million, 4th year option. Not everyone will be happy, but no one will walk away furious.
And don’t offer Javy Vazquez arbitration.
For the love of God, don’t do that.
Brendan O’Hare writes the Attic Fan column for www.theatticfan.blogspot.com and on Yardbarker.com. You can contact him at email@example.com, or on twitter (@theatticfan). Feel free to leave comments about this post. His NFL Picks for Sunday will be up tomorrow afternoon on Twitter
Friday, November 19, 2010
I have seen a lot of absurd things in the media in my time. I have seen the rise of reality TV. I have seen people care about the private lives of celebrities on an obsessive level. I have seen complete wastes of life become famous (See: Sheen, Charlie).
But LeBron James being nominated for TIME Person of the Year really grinds my gears.
(Question: When did TIME begin calling the award “Person” instead of man?
That seems about 30 years too late. The award was made in 1927. Don’t you think the women’s rights movements of the 1960’s would/should have done something about this?)
I know what you are thinking: Who cares? It is just a dumb, imaginary award where people win nothing for winning. The problem is, LeBron would somehow twist this award (if he won it) in his egomanical, convoluted way he does with everything else (Yeah LeBron, the reason America hates you is because of race. Maybe you’re just a jackass, and this is not 1939?). LeBron says that he should be “nowhere near that list”.
Well obviously not, thanks for clarifying that. I have been alive long enough to know that whenever anybody says anything along those lines, it is usually a sign of fake humility. He cares about this nomination, and probably believes that he should have been nominated for the award a long time ago. Now, there are a few people that he is “better” (better meaning a better overall human being) than, but I will get into that in a minute.
I know that TIME gives this award out on the basis that whoever made the biggest impact on the world in the year will win. Hell, Adolf Hitler won in 1938, and Joseph Stalin was a two-time winner. LeBron is not worse than those awful, awful people. I am not even going to make the idiotic joke “At least not yet, anyway”, because that is making too big a deal out of LeBron’s “decision”. TIME Magazine is already doing that for me, so I do not need to.
Let’s see who else was nominated, and if LeBron has contributed more to society.
Note: If you have any comments or complaints or questions about this article, or really anything, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also use the link in the top right corner called “Contact the Attic Fan”, where you can directly send an email from this site. I want some feedback on this rare, politically charged article. Boom!
Julian Assange- Founder of the “Wikileaks” website, which is considering one of the leading muckrackers in online journalism. Looks like Eliot Spitzer. Is currently in exile in Europe because he feels that he is being watched. Paranoia gets you nowhere, Mr. Assange, just ask Howard Hughes. ADVANTAGE: LeBron
Glenn Beck- Please go away. PLEASE! ADVANTAGE: LeBron
Wow. LeBron is up 2-0 already, although facing Beck was like beating the Pittsburgh Pirates. Assange v. James was definitely a lot closer.
David Cameron- Britain’s version of President, also known as their “Prime Minister” ADVANTAGE: Society
The Chilean Miners- Honestly? This is a blowout. Although I am not sure what the miners did exactly to positively impact society. I mean, they were trapped in a mine for 2 months, they did not cure cancer. ADVANTAGE: Society
Arne Duncan- Secretary of Education. His push for educational reform will become obsolete with a Republican controlled Congress. But hey, at least he tried. ADVANTAGE: Push
Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Fun fact, Turkey has a Prime Minster. Unfun fact, he has a dumb moustache. Not sure that it is good that 300,000 people protested his election in 2007, in fear that he would change Turkey’s secular being. Considered an international funnyman after walking out of the 2009 Economic Forum, vowing never to return. Classic! ADVANTAGE: LeBron
Jonathan Franzen: Fought with Oprah, which is also good in my book. Saying anti-American things like “America is in a rogue state” is not. That actually might be good, I just don’t know what rogue means. Writes boring books. ADVANTAGE: LeBron
Lady GaGa: Puts out dope pop songs. Although she is a blatant copy of Madonna, she makes me remember her songs, which is more than Aerodragon does. (That’s his name right? Is it good that one of spell checks options is “Arrogant”? I am sure the Turkish people think so.) ADVANTAGE: Society
Robert Gates: Secretary of Defense, badass. My dad thinks he is cool. ADVANTAGE: Society
Tony Hayward: BP’s former CEO, probably one of the American public’s most hated authority figures. Receives most of the heat for something he did not directly cause, and actually attempted to clean up the area, which is more than the last person who was in charge of cleaning up a natural disaster in the Gulf did. But it is not good when your opening line in your mini-biography on TIME’s P.O.Y. website is “One of the most reviled people of 2010”. ADVANTAGE: LeBron
Hu Jintao: Leader of the People’s Republic of China, which means he will probably be world leader in 10 years. In risk of being censored by the Chinese government and breaking the heart of my Chinese following, I have to say good things about him. Except the fact that he is an unabashed communist/marxist (Which means he hates America. If the 1950’s taught us anything, it’s that communists are bad. And cigarettes are good. Okay ignore, that last one). Also good job with human rights. Oh, he didn’t clean it up? Never mind then. ADVANTAGE: Society
Steve Jobs: Apple CEO. You know what I hate? Every time I turn on Yahoo, the first “news” I see is something about a competitor to an Apple product. This is all horsedung. If you believe these reports, you are an idiot. When has a product beat Apple in the past 10 years? Every 6 months, there is a new competitor to the iPod or the iPhone or the iPad. Well, they were all pretty crappy opponents. Remember the Zune, also known as the Death of the iPod? You don’t? Hm. ADVANTAGE: Society
Hamid Karzai: President of Afghanistan, which may be one of the worst jobs on Earth. I give him all the credit in the world, except for getting financial aid from FREAKING IRAN. That is a sin in my book. LeBron may be scum to the sports world, but at least he isn’t receiving benefits from Iran. ADVANTAGE: LeBron
David & Nathan Koch: Oil giants. Helped make the Tea Party into a phenomenon instead of the insignificant party it should have been. Without these two geniuses, the Tea Party would probably have had as much relevance as me. Damn you, Kochs. ADVANTAGE: LeBron
Liu Xiaobo: Chinese democracy activist, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Is somehow a “criminal” in the world’s largest country, even though his crimes include “Inciting subversion of state power”. Oh no! Not free will! ADVANTAGE: Society
Barack Obama: Obviously better than LeBron. For those who think he has done a crappy job, shut up. I “voted” for McCain, but I give credit to Obama for attempting to make things (Healthcare, Afghanistan) happen. If it wasn’t for an over-the-hill Congress, he probably would be succeeding. I actually feel bad for the guy. He is turning into the Presidential version of Ralph Sampson. ADVANTAGE: Society (You thought I was going to go against the President of the United States? Who am I, Hu Jintao?)
Sarah Palin: ADVANTAGE: LeBron (Shutout)
Nancy Pelosi: Last year as Speaker of the House, and I have to give her credit for passing the Healthcare Bill somehow. Although I never think I will ever see any portion of that bill, it is still cool. ADVANTAGE: Society
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf: I am not about to go on some racist tangent about this guy. Let me give my reader the background info on him. In case you do not know who he is, he is the “person” who wanted to build a mosque in the vicinity of Ground Zero.
It just is not right. It is not sensitive and it shows no tolerance for the victims of 9/11. If you had told me a year after 9/11 that Muslims were going to build a mosque near Ground Zero, I probably would have launched a one-man attack. Now that I am more mature, I know that is not the answer (Especially since I would need more people). I have nothing against the Islamic faith. But I do have something against people who do not respect other’s hardships. How do people expect for tolerance when they do not give it out themselves. ADVANTAGE: LeBron
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert: Although it is weird that TIME won’t give these two a separate vote, I like both. Way more than LeBron ADVANTAGE: Society
The Unemployed American: Not to be insensitive (See last paragraph), but how is this group contributing more to society than LeBron James is? We’ve established that this is what the award is about. For more, read this section from Adam Carolla’s most recent book. ADVANTAGE: LeBron
J. Craig Venter: Jesus, who are these people? We have to be getting near the end, right? He’s like a mad scientist, I think. If movies have tought us anything, it is that these people should be avoided. ADVANTAGE: LeBron
Mark Zuckerburg: Founder of Facebook, had a movie based off of his socially-challenged life, which is essentially the worst thing to happen to anyone who is awkward in public. With Facebook slowly controlling human life, I have to give the edge to the founder. ADVANTAGE: Society
Elizabeth Warren, Mary Schapiro and Shelia Bair: Attempting to keep Wall Street in check, which is nice. But if these three were men, they would not be on the list. Blatant sexism by TIME does not help, but they needed these 3 due to the fact that 3 of previous 24 nominees were female. Better late that never. ADVANTAGE: Society
FINAL SCORE: 12-12-1
Okay, LeBron was helped out by the fact that people like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin were on the ballot, and crappy mega-categories like “The Unemployed Worker” were listed. The only people LeBron beat were those who are insensitive, like Iran, and do not like democracy, which is not all that impressive.
If I had a vote, I would vote for either Liu Xiaobo or President Obama. But when Glenn Beck wins, please promise me this. Rip every form of printed media you see. Do it for the Attic Fan.
If politics bored you, here are my NFL picks for this week:
BAL v. Car, Buf v. CIN, Det v. DAL, CLE v. Jac, Ari v. KC, GB v. Min, Hou v. NYJ, Oak v. PIT, Was v. TEN, Sea v. NO, TB v. Sf, ATL v. Stl, Ind v. NE, Nyg v. PHI, Den v. SD
Season: 77-67 (5-9 last week)
I’ll have my Pigskin Pick Em Picks out tomorrow on my twitter, @theatticfan.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Watching sports with a crowd can be tough. They can be loud, obnoxious, drunk, belligerent, mentally unstable, schizophrenic, and combustible. I am almost positive I have watched a game with people who have the exact same qualities as I just mentioned (legally, I am not able to talk about a person I may/may not have seen explode at a Nets game in the upper deck). I have no real set of “crowd rules” for the people around me, all I ask is that they:
1) Aren’t yelling in my ear. By all means, be loud, but be an adult.
2) Tell your brat kid to stop kicking my freaking chair. There are few things more annoying in the world, then some 8-year-old kid with ADHD spazzing out beyond you, and having Rockette practice on the back of your chair. When I was 8, I watched the game. I was not going into convulsions because I had not played Call of Duty for 2 hours. Control your kid.
3) Don’t be tall and sit in front of me. Also, cut the afro.
4) No signs, but I guess that goes along with Number 3.
5) If you are drunk, that is okay. Just stop asking me to sing Cotton Eyed Joe with you.
6) If you are above the age of 12 and wearing a baseball glove, I will punch you in the head.
That is really about it. Why I bring up crowds, is because watching sports with family is way tougher. This Monday night, I watched the Steelers versus Bengals game with them. Let me introduce to you the cast of characters:
Micaelie (Sister, on computer the whole time, no speaking lines)
Liam and Danny are both in middle school, my dad says whatever comes into his head, and my mom was trying to read one of those Steig Larsson novels, so you get what I am dealing with, right? I am going to give some quotes from what went on during the game:
On Mike Tirico:
Dad: He’s not italian.
Liam: He’s blinking too much.
Dad: Damn it, Liam! Now I am obsessing over that.
Me: It is hard to take Tirico seriously.
On Pregame Ceremonies:
Dad: Are they shooting people on the field. (Apparently, one cannon blast constitutes a Massacre in Cincinnati)
On Ron Jaworski:
Dad: No former player should have glasses like that.
Mom: Where are the Bengals from?
On Time Management:
Dad: They keep saying it is supposed to come on next!
Dan: What time is it supposed to start?
Liam: No habla espanol. (He really said this, I still have no idea why).
Dad: How could they give number 88 to someone else. (Number 88 for the Steelers just caused a fumble, but that was not good enough for my dad, a Steelers purist).
Mom: He ran right into him, like he wasn’t afraid.
Me: Good insight, mom.
On Serious Injuries:
Dad: He shouldn’t have ran into him like that, he could have gotten seriously hurt.
Liam: Yeah, he could have gotten back spasms.
On Animal Defecation:
Dad: Have you ever seen squirrel poop?
Liam: Maybe they don’t poop.
Dan: They hide it!
Micaelie: They explode. (Okay, she does have one line)
On Famous Explorers/Centers
Dad: Why did Ponce do that?
Me: Who’s Ponce? Ponce de Leon? It’s Pouncey. (Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers Center)
Mom: Who’s Pouncey?
Dan: What a doofus! (Doofus is the fourth most common word in my family).
Liam: Special teams are like, rocking!
Dad: Is his name really T-Pain?
After everyone falling asleep by 9:30, there were no more quotes.
Sorry for the lack of columns this week, but expect more next week. And better ones than 650 word posts on random quotes.
Check out my NFL picks on my Twitter Feed: www.twitter.com/theatticfan
Thursday, November 4, 2010
The 2010 Yankees season was kind of monotonic, to say the least. The Yankees did not have that one game during the season that could be described as a “momentum” boost or a “big” moment. They just kept winning in the first half of the season, and come August, they just played mediocre baseball and attempted to pass themselves off as a serious contender for the World Series.
After August 1st, the Yankees were 29-30, and had a run differential (Runs scored – Runs allowed) of only +25. This means that a lot of games were very close, and they were also losing a lot of close games. There were no real blowouts that a World Series contender should have, blowouts that assert their dominance in the American League. After almost falling down the stretch to the Boston Red Sox, a collapse that would have entitled me to go on a multi-state rampage, the Yankees “wrapped” up a Wild Card title.
It annoys me when teams celebrate after winning the Wild Card. Especially the Yankees. I know, they got to the playoffs which is important and all, but celebrating the Wild Card is like celebrating being in 2nd place. Come on. Celebrating after you have actually won something (I don’t even like teams celebrating after the Division Series, but that is something for another time).
I kind of realized that this season was not going to end well after the Yankees celebrated their Wild Card win ferociously. Not to sound sentimental, but I highly doubt Steinbrenner would have allowed something like that to happen. I do not event think he liked celebrations after the World Series, because it interrupted offseason training.
Before I get to the offseason strategy, let me talk about the regular season/playoffs, and how all the individual players did.
Francisco Cervelli: Francisco (That’s Fun to Say. I must have said that 412 times this year, much to the enjoyment of the people who watched the games with me. For those who have no idea what the hell I am talking about: here) had an average year filling in for the deteriorating Jorge Posada. He would get you the occasional big time hit, and also was insane. Whenever a game was over, I was afraid he was going to punch Mariano Rivera in the face, and then go into the stands looking for somebody to wrestle. Unfortunately for our boy Cisco, he will not be a starting catcher next year, due to the rise of super-rookie Jesus Montero. Also, Cisco slugged .335 last year. He also somehow had 3 triples and no home runs. For a 210 pound catcher, that has to be the weirdest thing of all time.
Mark Teixeira: Tex had has mandatory 1st half slump, before rebounding and going on a tear in August in which in felt like he hit a home run every other at bat. I even wrote (From August 4th):
Mark Teixeira is on fire. Honestly, if he hit like this during the whole season, is there any doubt that Yankees would already be at 100 wins? Okay, maybe at little, but is carrying the Yankees at this point, where everyone else is struggling.
Obviously, I was blown away. I was back to normal when Tex went 0-14 in the ALCS before injuring his hamstring, or something. If Tex were a graph, he would look like this:
If you replace the left hand side with either Tex’s ability to play baseball, or my happiness, you have a pretty good indication of how his season went.
Robinson Cano: Superhero. Has no faults. I think Tim McCarver thinks he is good, I am not sure though. Cano was the Yankees best player this year, and should see a Gold Glove/Silver Slugger combo of awards at the end of the season. He was also the only player who realized that in the playoffs, you should step your game up.
Derek Jeter: My favorite Yankee player of my generation put up a season that slowly killed me. He had a .270/.340/.370 split. This is okay for Yuniskey Betancourt, but for a future hall of famer, this should not be happening. It also pained me to see that Jeter has almost no lateral movement left in him. Obviously, he will be back for next season, and will have a mega contract to boot (I am thinking 3 years, 75 million. There is no way the Yankees pay him any less than that. He has been the face of the franchise for 15 years, if anything, he deserves to be grossly overpaid. If the Yankees can shell out money to Kei Igawa, the least they can do is give it out unnecessarily to someone who actually deserves it. I still don’t like Kei Igawa, if you had not noticed.), but Jeter will need to have a much better season if he wants to be a part of the every day lineup.
On second thought, who would replace him? Ramiro Pena? Jeter has the job pretty much set for next year, but if he does not have a usual Jeterian season (I hate that word), you could see the Yankees going out into free agency/trading pool and looking for someone else to play shortstop.
Alex Rodriguez: If A-Rod plays more than 150 games and is healthy, he probably goes 40-140 with home runs and RBI’s. He reverted back to old playoff A-Rod, where he was a liability at best. How does it get to the point where a fan does not want a guy who went 30-125 this season, and has over 600 career home runs (Which happened this season, it case anyone forgot) to actually come to bat. Frustrating!
Brett Gardner: A real surprise, although his looking at about 250 pitches right down the middle this season almost caused me to go into a triple bypass. He plays good defense, is the Yankees first threat on the basepaths since we had Rickey Henderson for a few days, and is a classic white-guy gritty player. (Not a racist comment. I read this in Will Leitch’s phenomenal God Save the Fan. Quick, small white guys are usually described as gritty and hustlers, even if they cannot hit the ball out of the infield. It is an unfortunate stereotype) He is also the reason why the Yankees will not pick up Carl Crawford, but I will get to that in a bit.
Curtis Granderson: Until Yankee hitting coach Kevin Long conjured up some spirits to fix his swing, Granderson was a prototypical Yankee bust. After August, he played really well, and this even went into the playoffs. He was one of two players to play above-mediocre in the playoffs, which is good, I guess. He also plays one hell of a center field, which is important, especially after having some poor fielders out there the past few years.
He is also considered an intelligent ballplayer. I cannot answer why? Does somebody have his SAT scores? Just because a guy speaks coherently does not mean he is intelligent. I am not dissing Granderson’s ability to think clearly, but we need more background. This probably is not that important.
Nick Swisher: Infuriated me after saying “Who cares about Cliff Lee?”, then not even making contact (He may have, but it sure did not seem like he did). Like most Yankees, he had a great 1st half and a crappy second half. He needs to play better if he is the reason that the Yankees will not get Jayson Werth, but I will get to that in a moment.
Jorge Posada/Marcus Thames/Lance Berkman: The Yankees DH trio had ups and downs this season. Posada looked like a shell of himself, and God bless you if he had to actually go behind the plate and throw somebody out. Marcus Thames had a great hitting season, but God bless you if he had to actually play the field. Berkman started off awful, but rebounded into a nice addition for the Yankees down the stretch. Also was not as good as a fielder as a normal first baseman should be. I guess that is why all these guys are now DH’s.
CC Sabathia/Phil Hughes/Andy Pettitte/AJ Burnett/ Javy Vazquez: Sabathia was the only sure spot in the rotation, going 21-7 and having a possible Cy Young Award to soon be his. Phil Hughes epitomized the Yankee season, having an All-star 1st half, then crapping the bed in the 2nd half. Pettitte had a great first half, but an assortment of injuries sidelined him from most of the second half. It is my thought that if Andy plays in the 2nd half, the Yankees win the division. He was having one of the best first-halves of any pitcher in baseball.
The combination of AJ and Javy were excruciating. Anyone who thinks AJ was good last year is an idiot. He led baseball in walks and wild pitches, and was helped out by the Yankees run support. This year, supporting AJ was like when I supported John McCain in 2008. I wanted him to win and do well, but I knew he was going to lose. You do not know what that does to a person, unless you are a Republican Yankee fan.
Javy just sucked.
Offseason: According to a column written today by the New York Post, the Yankees are not planning to go after Jayson Werth and Carl Crawford. This is because the outfield is already pretty secure, and it a strange development, General Manager Brian Cashman (I always thought Cashman was an awesome name for a GM, even if he sucks) says that paying for these two guys is not the most sensible thing to do with the Yankees money. Seriously? Since when have the Yankees ever cared about sensible spending? They are not a middle-class family that needs to cut back on the makeup the mom uses, they have money to spend! After that awful hitting playoffs, they should at least attempt to get one of these guys.
Cliff Lee will be a Yankee, there is pretty much no doubt about that. Even if Yankee fans cursed and spat at his wife, there is no way Lee will turn down the monster contract that he will be given.
FUN FACT: Lee went 4-6 with a 4.00 ERA with Texas, and was 0-2 with a 6.94 ERA in the World Series. Woo!
One last note. I think the Yankees spelt Girardi wrong when they fired Dave Eiland instead. Seriously, the Yankees were just looking for someone to blame. Girardi should have been the first one on the chopping block.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
In reality, I have not written an “official” column in 2 weeks. The Mark Titus Interview does not really count as an article, because he wrote half of it. The reason for my absence has been because I was forced to work out my local neighborhood grocery store. Due to the fact that this column made $1.68 last month, I kind of have a lack of money. Somehow, a lack of consistent writing has left me not realizing that the NFL season is half-way over. Every year, the NFL mid-way mark kind of catches me by surprise. The season is only 4 months, but it seems a lot shorter. After thinking of obvious thoughts like the ones I just mentioned, I also start to think about the NFL Playoffs, and who are currently the best teams.
Which leads me to introduce a new gimmick to the Attic Fan blog, the NFL Mid-season Power Rankings! (Was an exclamation point needed there? I am not sure by 18 readers will be that excited about a power rankings list you could easily find on other, better blogs.)
12. Kansas City Chiefs
It is hard to really determine whether the Chiefs are an elite football team. Whenever they play Top 10 teams (Colts) or Top 15 teams (Texans) they are just out-played. It is not that the Chiefs necessarily play bad in these games, but that these teams are just better than the Chiefs are. Matt Cassel is not one of the better starting quarterbacks out there, and that is really a hamper on a team that has such an incredible rushing attack. When Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones are your 1-2 punch to run the ball, passing is not really a necessity. But when the Chiefs will play games against teams with decent run defenses, there is a good chance they well get blown out by 20 or 30 points. Cassel just cannot throw the ball.
Also, unless the game is played in Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs will lose.
11. New Orleans Saints
This pains me to rank the Saints, especially because the Steelers had so much trouble scoring on a team that lost to the Cardinals and Browns. The Cardinals are the NFL equivalent of playing a AAA baseball team. Or a UFL football team. The Cardinals are ridiculously bad! But from a gambling standpoint, I kind of saw this coming:
1) Saints came out pissed off and ready to play, just like a team who just lost to the Browns at home should.
2) Playing in the Superdome on Halloween night must be like playing in Hell. There are scary things everything, it is too warm, it is dreary, and it smells like Velveeta.
3) There was no way Brees would not rally his team together. He would lose leadership respect if he didn’t at least make it a close game.
4) Who wants to play on Halloween night anyway, on the road? Most players were probably furious they couldn’t spend Halloween with there kids. Actually, if this is the case with the Steelers, it might be a long rest of season.
10. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are 5-2, and are one of those teams that raises their game up tremendously when they play at home. That is not a good thing, because odds are, the Falcons will probably have to play a playoff game on the road. Also, I do not find the Falcons that exciting to watch. Sure, that serves no relevancy to the rankings, but that is important to me. There is my two cents.
9. Miami Dolphins
I still think this team has a legitimate shot to win the AFC East. Now stop laughing, and here me out. The Dolphins arguably have the weakest 2nd half schedule of any team, and it really isn’t close. Plus, they are the anti-Falcons, where they are 4-0 on the road and 0-3 at home. Which kind of makes sense, considering the Miami fans are bandwagon hoppers and like soccer more than football. (That is not a racist comment! Miami is predominantly Spanish (according to Jersey Shore) and Latinos appreciate soccer more. There is nothing wrong with that, just that Miami is a crappy place to have a professional sports team. No one cares about the Marlins, the Dolphins are non-existent, and no one would care about the Heat if the world’s biggest athlete was not playing there. End rant. End of Miami fans reading my column.)
8. Philadelphia Eagles
If Vick was the starter, I probably would have them a little higher. He just brings that added energy that Kevin Kolb does not have. Kolb just looks bored, and that is not a good thing for someone who should be leading a team. But, hey, it worked for Eli Manning a few years back, so maybe Kolb will have some magic. There offense is much more explosive when Vick is in, and that is kind of important considering their defense is average at best. Also, the Phillies lost in the NLCS. Just thought I would add that in. It didn’t make sense, and the Yankees lost in the ALCS, but it just seemed right.
7. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts win last night against the Texans really impressed me, considering he (He meaning Peyton Manning. I thought it was pretty obvious since it wasn’t Jim Caldwell) made Tamme look like Dallas Clark, and Mike Hart filled in seamlessly for the overrated Joseph Addai. The Colts also have a +51 point differential, which is second only to…
6. Tennessee Titans
They did lose to the crappy Chargers this week, but the Titans just played an off game. Every team is entitled to those every once in a while (except the Steelers. Sunday was unacceptable). Chris Johnson had an off game, but he is a notoriously amazing 2nd half performer. The Titans also have a +74 point differential, which means that when the Titans are playing well, they just pound teams.
Chris Johnson stats this season:
CAR 178 YDS 721 AVG 4.1 TDS 8
That 4.1 does not look too good. If he does not have a classic CJ2K 2nd half, the Titans will not be playing in the playoffs.
5. New York Giants
The highest ranked NFC team on this “list”. They are clearly the best team in the NFC, since every other team has so many glaring faults. The Giants only faults are that Eli Manning is their quarterback and I can only name 2 players on the defense.
I have seen every Giants game this season, due to the unfortunate fact that I live in the New York area. I am forced to watch Giants blowouts and 9-0 Jets losses. This only makes it worse that I can’t name a single defensive player.
They have a really good receiving core, and Ahmad Bradshaw’s breakout season has made Brandon Jacobs expanding body look obsolete at this point. Even with a no-name defense, they still are always in games. Which is good, I guess.
4. New York Jets
Although putting up 0 points at home against an awful Packers defense worries me, the Jets have looked good in all other games. Their defense is fo’ real, as it is the only part of the gameplan Rex Ryan seems to practice every week. Mark Sanchez also plays quarterback, which also worries me. Actually it does not worry me as so much it pleases me. I hate the Jets.
3. Baltimore Ravens
Probably the best defense in football (behind team #1 of course. Oh, did I just ruin the surprise, readers who have lasted through 1400 words?), but, like most teams, the quarterback position worries me. But once again, that does not worry me so much as it pleases me. I also hate the Ravens.
Seriously, Flacco has regressed from last season, which is not good at all because 3rd year quarterbacks should be learning (by now), not to make the same asinine mistakes as they made as a rookie. Ray Rice has not had a good season at all, and just seems to be putting out the minimum every game (I know this because he kills my fantasy team every week. He is not the only thing that kills it, but you get the idea). The Ravens have many offensive holes, but their defense is good enough to combat the mediocrity.
2. New England Patriots
After starting off the season by worrying Patriots fans with a Week 2 loss, the Patriots have rebounded like Dwight Howard to get to 6-1, AKA the NFL’s best record. And you said I wouldn’t be able to work Dwight Howard into this article? Oh, you didn’t.
Bobby Brady (Get a new haircut and we’ll start calling you Tom, and not after and 8-year-old) has defied all odds and crappy haircuts to have arguably his most impressive season ever.
His leading receivers so far this season:
1) Aaron Hernandez. Rookie.
2) Wes Welker. Has no knee.
3) Brandon Tate. Fast guy who is filling in for Randy Moss. Not sure who he is.
4) Deion Branch. They acquired him two weeks ago, and he is already the number 4 receiver. May or may not be 45.
5) Danny Woodhead. Short, white guy.
See what Bobby is working with? Do you see how incredible his season is? I hate him and I think he is having an amazing season.
And that says a lot, coming from me.
1) Pittsburgh Steelers
Undisputed best team in football. Ignoring Sunday, I love them.
Seriously, how aren’t the Steelers the best? They have the best defense, and now one of the best offenses in football. That is all I have to say, since I am an extreme homer and I do not need to explain myself.
NFL MVP: Tom (Bobby) Brady
NFL Offensive POY: Phillip Rivers
NFL Defensive POY: Clay Matthews
NFL Defensive ROY: Ndamukong Suh
NFL Offensive ROY: Sam Bradford
See you in a few days, Attic Fans, when I give my eulogy on the Yankees 2010 season and look forward to a possibly crazy offseason.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Part 2 of my conversation with Club Trillion co-founder and writer, Mark Titus. In case you missed yesterday’s first part, the link is here
Attic Fan: It must have been pretty cool as well for a sportswriter of Simmons' stature to want to talk to you on his podcast. He is probably one of the biggest influences in sportswriting today, and that is evident in columns that we wrote in August (I wrote a 10 Levels of Being Athlete column on August 25, and you had written a 10 Levels of Fame column on August 19th. Swear to God, I hadn't read your column up until that time. I actually thought you had stolen the idea from me until A) I realized that it looks like that I was the one who stole the idea and B) Even if the column you had written was written after me, there was a 0.0001% chance that you had ever seen/heard of my column. Anyway, we both saw his 13 Levels of Losing column).
To have one your biggest influences continually ask you on his podcast must be a pretty big deal, am I wrong? What has it been like to rub elbows with guys on ESPN, especially since it sounds like this was unimaginable at the beginning of your blog?
Mark Titus:Yeah it's definitely crazy to think about. I came to Ohio State to study math, go to med school, and not play basketball, and by the end of my four years, some people suggested that I was the most popular guy on our team even though we had the POY. I disagree that I was the most popular, but the fact that it was even suggested is pretty nuts. As things have progressed, I've kinda learned to just take things in stride because when I get too excited about stuff, I usually end up making a fool out of myself. By now, I'm pretty much used to everything, but when I take a step back and realize how I got to where I am, it's pretty unbelievable, especially considering that doing these kinds of things (national interviews, "rubbing elbows" with celebrities, etc) was never my intention when I started the blog.
AF:Going back to the whole "rubbing elbows" deal, what is it like to now (within the last week really) be writing college basketball columns for ESPN? Other than the insider cost I am too cheap to pay, your fans must be ecstatic with the news that are now writing for probably the most well-known sports media organization in the world. When did you know that you would be contributing to ESPN, and is this the way that you see the "Club Trillion" blog evolving in the future?
MT: It's obviously a lot different from writing my blog because I don't have the freedom I usually have, but the general idea of writing for ESPN is pretty awesome. They approached me this summer about contributing some stuff during the basketball season, and I agreed I'd do it, mostly because it's ESPN, but also because it gives me a chance to try something different. Most of the fans were pretty excited about it, because it's not just that I'm writing for ESPN - it's that a benchwarmer managed to turn a negative into a positive and ultimately ended up writing for the worldwide leader in sports. It's not so much a win for me as it is a win for benchwarmers in general, and that's probably the coolest part of it all. Just being an example that benchwarmers are usually the coolest guys on basketball teams is rewarding enough for me.
As for the future, I still plan to keep my blog going but I'm trying to make it more about the walk-ons around the country rather than about myself. There are tons of guys who have similar stories as me and I think it would be cool to give them a chance to tell some of their stories. I'll still write most of the material on the blog, but hopefully I can open it up a little bit and give fans some different perspectives.
AF: I like the idea of adding the other walk-ons to the site, because you are definitely going to get more perspectives. You could get guys who maybe are frustrated with their role as a walk-on, and give them a chance to air their grievances. You could also get guys who are maybe even legitimately contributing to their team's basketball success, the way Lee Melchione did for those mid-2000 Duke teams. That is probably the best way for your blog to go, since the core idea of Club Trillion should still stay relevant even as you are out of college. That is the perspective of the walk-on or the 13th man.
Switching gears here, I am offering you a rare opportunity. Here at the Attic Fan we, (meaning me) are hugh LOST fans. You are too. I want you to give your take on the series finale, something you have not gotten to do on your blog. Odds are, ESPN would not be too pumped about you giving your take on a series that ended 4 months ago. Where would you place LOST in the illustrious "Greatest TV Shows of All-Time" list. Did it annoy you the way it did myself, when people would ask you what LOST is about? Because I always sounded like a mentally insane person when I tried. "Uh, there's like time travel and a guy who is 500 years old who keeps coming in visions to a big fat guy. Also there is a now a magic river where humanity's goodness comes from".
MT: Yeah, I'd feel more comfortable explaining the electoral college to 7-year-olds than explaining LOST to anybody. Even though it's confusing as crap, I still think it's gotta be one of the top 5-10 dramas ever. The only reason I can't give it #1 is because it didn't answer enough questions for me. I'm all for leaving some questions unanswered and leaving the audience to interpret things, but they didn't tie up enough loose ends for me. Every time I think I've got a solution to what LOST was about, somebody brings up something that contradicts my theory. Oh, and the other reason I can't give it #1 is because Kate was labeled as the babe of the show, even though Juliet was clearly much more attractive. That's inexcusable.
AF: I kind of feel as if I re-watch the entire series, I would have a better understanding of what went on. But I do not have a the free time or brain cells available to watch all 6 season without committing some kind of confusion-caused homicide. I will freak out when I see the seasons that were committed to the Dharma Initiative, since in the end of the series, the Dharma Intiative serves no real purpose. I would probably end up throwing things at my TV. There is the Dharma Initiative, Walt, and the whole pregnant women subplot that would probably end up making me really angry, just because they are totally irrelevant to the story as a whole.
As far as Kate is concerned, what?! No matter how bad an actress Evangeline Lilly was, she at least had her looks. I like Juliet a lot, but I thought Kate had her beat pretty easily. I even thought Claire was in the running, until she went bats--t crazy in season 6 and began to look like a Rastafarian.
When you say LOST is in the 5-10 range for best drama, what do you think was the best drama? The best comedy? (Although I think I know the answer for best comedy).
MT: I'm sticking with my guns here. Juliet was smoking. Kate had her moments, but if I'm stuck on a deserted island that isn't quite as deserted as I originally thought and has some sort of weird magnetic properties, I'm making a play for Juliet.
As far as my favorite shows of all-time, I really think Jersey Shore might be both my favorite comedy and drama ever. But since most people don't consider it to be either of those, I'll have to go with something else I guess. The best comedy is definitely Seinfeld, not only because it was a huge commercial success, but also because it is easily the most rewatchable comedy series ever. That one's a no-brainer.
Drama, on the other hand, is tricky. I really don't watch a lot of dramas cause I enjoy laughing a lot more than trying to figure out why polar bears are on tropical islands or why all of the other doctors always think House is crazy when he diagnoses a disease, even though he's been right the last 243 times they have doubted him. With that being said, I think The Sopranos has to be considered the #1 drama, even though Mad Men and The Wire are making a strong case. Also, let the record show that I don't think VIP starring Pam Anderson gets the credit it deserves. I remember thinking that show was awesome when I was...just hitting puberty. Oh, well no wonder I loved it so much. Nevermind, forget I said anything.
AF: Seinfeld is one of the series that just really ages well for some reason, although all the plot lines probably could have been solved in a matter of minutes if they all had cell phones. People relate to it really well, but it is so exaggerated and over-the-top that it doesn't remind people of their dull lives too much, which is important. People want to see stuff they are familiar with but not too familiar with, if that makes any sense. It doesn't. I just got into Seinfeld pretty recently because they re-run it constantly, and me and one of my friends spend most of our English class talking and yelling like the Costanzas. It is still relevant today, and that is the only example I can provide.
As far as drama's go, it really is the case that you cannot have a successful network drama anymore. It just isn't possible because none of the major networks would ever take a chance on a show about an advertising agency, or a show about ghetto Baltimore. Instead, the public is stuck thinking that Glee is a great show (For my money, I have to take LOST just because I was so emotionally invested in it. And shows like The Sopranos and The Wire were just before my time. That is weird to say since they were early 2000's)
And VIP sounds great. Wikipedia's plot line for it was: Anderson stars as Vallery Irons, a woman who accidentally saves a celebrity and then is hired by a real bodyguard agency as a famous figurehead while the rest of the agency's professionals work to solve cases.
That sounds so ridiculous it looks great.
Moving towards another form of entertainment, you are working on a book about your career at Ohio State. How far along is that, and when should we see this in bookshelves? Will there be any shocking, Reggie Bush-esque revelations that you couldn't say on your blog in college because the NCAA would s--t a chicken?
MT: I wanted to put the book on hold for a little bit until I got a deal signed, so there hasn't been a lot written yet. However, I'm probably going to sign a contract within the next week or two, so I'll get to writing it relatively soon. I originally wanted it to come out this March, but my publisher wants to push it back a year and have it out next March. It's going to be awhile, I know, but that will hopefully give me a lot of time to put together the best book I possibly can. In other words, it will give me a lot of time to make sure I have all the juicy stories from my four years in the book. Rest assured, I won't leave out anything that's even remotely entertaining.
AF: Well, at least the book does sounds like it is going to come out eventually, which is always good. Do you have any final thoughts before we end this? Eastbound and Down? Greg Oden? Politics?
MT: Yes. I'm ready for these midterm elections to get over with. I can't even watch Oprah anymore without being bombarded with ridiculous political ads. Don't these people realize that it's her farewell season? She deserves better than this.