Monthly Archives: June 2009

Don’t Cry for me Argentina!

Well this sure snuck up on me. A Minnesota Television Station has reported that Brett Favre is expected at training camp for the Minnesota Vikings. Wow. What a shock! It goes to show you, no matter how long you follow sports something can always come up and completely blind side you. I mean, who saw this coming?

I’ll say one thing for Brett Favre, he sure loves playing football.

Can you think of an athlete who has tarnished his “legacy” as badly as Brett has? Or inspired such anger and hate by just returning to the game he loves? The list of athletes who overstayed their talent is long and star studded. No one talks about Michael Jordan’s time with the Wiz, Jerry Rice with the Raiders, (or the Broncos for that matter). Joe Montana with the Chiefs? Ray Bourque with the Avs? Willie Mays with the Mets? Tom Seaver and Andre Dawson with the Red Sox? I could go on and on…

Brett seems to be different. It’s really the perfect storm of American hatred, one that should be studied in sociology and public relations classes in universities world wide. “The Favre”, “Pulling a Favre”, Favreing” will become part of our language, like doctors do when they are the first to discover a disease .

Step one, become every analysts go to guy for the American dream.

Every time Brett Favre was on television, live or taped for the last ten years he was heralded as a god. Focus groups must have dubbed him as popular with that elusive 19-49 year old white male demographic. Everyone with a microphone had something amazing to say about Brett Favre. His “toughness”, his “love for the game” his “down home” “Uhhhmerican country boy” “laser rocket arm” “John Deere lawn mower” “Mississippi boy” “takes chances” “sandlot style”…

Soon it was all white noise. Madden’s love for Brett Favre became a comedy bit. Literally. He became this poster boy for how football should be played. A poster boy for what the game is all about .

Phase 2 “Flip Flopping and team/fan base jerking”
Retirement. In tears , sobbing, gushing, wet slurpy nose kind of tears. Which, is very unUhhhhmerican but most of us were ok with it because he, cue the music, “loved the game” so much. (BAM)

Then he came back! Which most of us rejoiced, because the guy could obviously still throw and “loved the game so much”

Then he retired again. Then he came back again. Then again. And again. America’s tolerance for crying men who flip flop on issues and set interception records is thin. Very thin. Even Brett felt the sting .

None of this would have truly tarnished his “legacy” if Phase 2 hadn’t turned to Phase 3.

Going to another team.

At this point, fans in Green Bay had pretty much had it. His safe zone was in shambles. With Aaron Rodgers in the wings and Brett jerking them around for months on end, Packer fans were secretly and not so secretly ready to move on.

Move on he did, to a team in another division, one with zero ties to the Green Bay franchise. His exploits there were a non factor, a sideshow even. By all accounts, he was not a member of that team, an individual only. He pulled a Favre again, this time referring to completely choking and forcing the ball when things mattered most.

Ahhh, but that wasn’t enough.

Phase 5

Thankfully, Brett’s “retirement” after the Jets was done quietly. A simple press release. No tears, no cameras, no awkward moments for millions of viewers. He was done. Well, probably done. Well, maybe I think might be should be could be done. Probably.

Fade to present. The Favre to Vikings drumbeat restarted almost as soon as he became a free agent again. Brett Childress pulled his best Ollie North routine with the press, denying all knowledge of anything. No one believed him. Most just shake their heads.

He’s going to the Packers biggest divisional rival. A mortal sin. Legacy destroyed.

Most people now hate Brett Favre. An epic fall from grace. A pure mix of flip flopping, oversaturation, the “Golden Boy Syndrome”, crying on camera, blowing it on the field, overstaying his welcome, and now, going to his former teams biggest rival.

He’s blown it completely. Destroyed all credibility. Broken an unbreakable fan base. Created a nation full of anti fans. Become a train wreck, an oddity, a carny act, a punchline, a catch phrase.

All for the love of the game. Good luck Brett Favre. You’ll need it.

Pop quiz, what are you doing on weeks 5 and 9? I mean besides watching the Packers play the Vikings of course.

Well, Shaq to the Cavs is a great move. Here’s why.

I don’t think they’re that much better of a team with him. In my opinion, Shaq slows them down and will hurt them down the stretch in games. His insatiable desire for the ball and attention will distract that team from the prize over the long haul. It will help that the Cavs have a center that plays near the basket. (Ilgauskas spent 3/4’s of his time on the floor 15-20 feet away from the hoop). Maybe Shaq can get some rebounds and start some fast breaks and help the team get out of that half court dynamic. Maybe Shaq can show up to camp in shape. Maybe he’ll accept the fact that he is not the guy who should get the ball every time down the court anymore.

A lot of maybes, and none of them include free throw shooting, 4th quarter absence, dogging it up the court or talking too much.

Let’s be honest though, the Cavs will make the playoffs as one of the top 3 seeds in the east next year, lead pipe lock. They will be a factor in the playoffs and may very well push themselves over the top. Especially if the management doesn’t sit on their hands the rest of the off season. They need a three point shooting forward with long arms and good D. Maybe two of those guys. The definitely need someone who can come off the bench and provide a spark.

Without those things, they may still win the championship. But it will take a herculean effort from Mr. James and a lot of luck.

Here’s why it’s a great move. Shaq is a max contract guy. He’s gone after this year. Guess who else is a free agent after this season? Oh, you haven’t heard? Pretty much every impact player in the league . This Shaq move allows the Cavs to say, “Hey, Lebron, look, we signed a max contract guy in 09. Now we can use that money to go after another max contract guy, a guy like Chris Bosh! If you resign with us, we’ll give you Chris Bosh for the next 5 years. And obviously, we are committed to building a team around you that can win every year, not like those pie in the sky Knicks or two year window Celtics. We’re the real deal baby, stay home!”

Which seems pretty convincing to me. Every move the Cavs make to improve their team increases the odds that Bron stays in Cleveland. Locking up a max contract big man for the 09 season is a great move on the salary cap and PR front.

A ripple went through the sports world when Manny “broke his silence” during his AAA tune up with the Albuquerque Isotopes . I’d like to remind all involved that he did in fact say, “I’m not talking about it anymore” (steroids use) and “People love me everywhere I go” So the whole “broke his silence” headline thing is garbage.

Ricky Rubio just went from teen heart throb and national hero in beautiful sunny Spain to being over scrutinized and freezing cold in Minnesota. I’m curious what he thinks of Minnesota women in January next year.

After one impressive season in the NFL, Chris Johnson has decided he is going to begin the time honored tradition of alienating fans and making himself look stupid by nicknaming himself. He was apparently dissatisfied with his current moniker, the “Dash” of “Smash and Dash” (LenDale White)
His new name? “Every Coach’s Dream” Which not only rolls off the tongue, it is definitely the kind of name every coach’s dream would name himself. Nice job buddy. Next time, just keep your tweets to yourself.

As far as I’m concerned if you go gather in the streets to mourn Michael Jackson you’re an idiot. My girlfriend says, “where are his his kids?” Great question honey. Now what happens? Does the staff of nannies take over from here? Does Janet get them? Tito? Latoya? Is there a mother? Exactly how much money do you think the King of Pop blew over the course of his career? Get your guesses ready, because it’s all about to come out. Drugs, money, rumors, all of it. When do Jacko jokes become appropriate again? I was telling them 10 minutes after the news came out… How about CNN and every major network following the LA county helicopter from Westwood (nice area) to USC (the ghetto) all hoping for a glimpse. “I THINK I SEE A BODY BAG!” It’s sad, really. I’ve never understood this obsession with stars in our culture and I never will.

The game ball this week goes to South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. The Mark Sanford who once said about then President Bill Clinton, “I think it would be much better for the country and for him personally (to resign).” In explaining why he voted to impeach the president, he said, “I think what he did in this matter was reprehensible… I feel very comfortable with my vote.” He added that Clinton lacked “moral legitimacy” (after his affair).

In case you missed it, Mark Sanford was recently caught red handed flying to Argentina to visit his mistress. He had told his staff he went hiking in the mountains and dropped off the radar. Apparently, Mr. Sanford told his wife and 4 children about the affair a month ago and had been kicked out of his house for the past two weeks.

Regardless of what side of the aisle you call your own, that smacks of moral legitimacy, don’t it?

Oh yea, one more thing, state money was used to fund an “economic development mission” to Argentina in 2008. He’s also one of the biggest bible thumping “family values” politician in the country.

Moral legitimacy and family values, to the core. Well played sir. Well played.



Filed under Brett Favre, Chris Johnson, Cleveland Cavaliers, Lebron James, Manny Ramirez, Mark Sanford, Michael Jackson, Minnesota Vikings, MLB, NBA, NFL, Ricky Rubio, Shaq, Sports, Steroids

Is this thing on?

Sammy “I don’t speaka the english” Sosa. HE TOOK STEROIDS!

What a shock. What a surprise. What a joke.

Here’s what Sammy said when he was dragged in front of Congress. Or rather, what Sammy’s lawyer said when he was dragged in front of congress. “To be clear, I have never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs.” For the sake of this conversation, let’s say Sammy actually wrote that and was unable to articulate it in American English.

Seems pretty clear to me, right? In fact, he even prefaced it by saying, “to be clear”
Crystal clear even. Except it’s not…

Steroids are legal in the Dominican Republic. So, by saying he has never taken “illegal” performance enhancing drugs, he was essentially saying, I took steroids in the Dominican Republic, where they are not considered illegal.

The best part is? No one cares. The media (espn) still gets all drummed up for it, they trot out Gammons and Olney to rehash “The List”, why it exists, why no one will be punished for it and what the players chances are for the hall of fame. The story shows up on the web, is featured for a day, and disappears.

The funny thing is, was there a baseball fan who hadn’t already figured out Sammy was on the roids? Seriously, show me one fan who thought Sammy played the game clean. One guy.

He was the poster boy for the steroid era. Still is, in my opinion. Bonds was potentially the best player in baseball before the drugs. Mark McGwire was a giant man from day one. He was always a home run hitter with a huge frame. Roger Clemens had won 3 Cy Young awards, struck out over 200 batters 8 times (including his 1988 campaign with 291) and won over 20 games 3 times.

Sammy Sosa? A skinny, speedy player with no home run power and zero plate discipline. His only full season before signing with the Cubs, 1990, he hit 10 triples and 15 home runs. His first full season with the Cubs he hit 33. Then 25 (in 105 games), 36, 40, 36, 66, 63, 50, 64, 49…

His eyes bugged out of his head. His neck was the size of a large man’s thigh. He had tendons and veins that bulged when he was at rest.

Barry could have hit 600 without the juice. Sammy? He could have been out of baseball by 1999.

Sammy’s thoughts on the matter?

“I will calmly wait for my induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Don’t I have the numbers to be inducted?”

Atta boy Sammy.

The recent flap over the payment of the Lakers Championship Parade is the kind of thing that brings out my inner Lewis Black. California is 26 BILLION DOLLARS in the red. Yet for a half of a day, CNN ran a story on their 30 minute loop about “Who’s paying for the Lakers victory parade” Complete with an appearance from city congressman “I love the media and hate Latinos
” Bernie Parks, the story was teased by the anchor twice before it’s actual running, both times acting like it was potentially some travesty that may be occurring.

Most of the parade was payed for by the Lakers and “private donors”

So it was a non story.

The Lakers presence in Los Angeles brings countless millions of dollars of “revenue” (taxes) to the city and state every year. Parking taxes, hotel taxes, income taxes, gate receipt taxes, taxes on fuel used to drive to games, taxes on meals eaten in restaurants before and after (and during) games, taxes on drinks, taxes on income derived through the advertising money spent sponsoring the Lakers and their broadcast. The list of revenue streams the Los Angeles Lakers create for their local community is long and strong.

So it’s a non story.

But the bill for the parade would have cost the city one million dollars. (I’m not sure why, it costs 20,000 dollars a day to rent the coliseum), (which the city, county and state owns), streets are free and those double decker buses are cheap. But money was spent.

And the state is 26 BILLION DOLLARS IN THE HOLE. A dozen minutes an hour were given to the state of California’s budget situation on a national news network and it was over a million bucks? That had already been covered by “private donors”? What about the other 25,999,000,000 dollars? Where is that money? Why are we not talking about the fact that Sacramento hasn’t been able to run the world’s 8th biggest economy for decades?

But Kobe has a huge Q rating. And the Lakers are sexy. And a million bucks sounds like a lot.

So it was a story.

Rafael Nadal (knee) has pulled out of Wimbledon, depriving us of a rematch from last years finals.

My guess is Stallworth’s “indefinite” suspension will be one year.

Manny Ramirez begins his minor league assignment on Tuesday.

Game ball goes to the Recording Industry Association of America. Gouging customers and artists for decades wasn’t enough. Refusing to adjust an obsolete business model wasn’t enough. Now, they have successfully sued a Minnesota woman for 1.92 million dollars. for being connected to Kazaa in 2005.

Nice job fellas. You sure showed her. You’ve financially ruined a mother of four. Must feel nice to achieve such a clear “victory” in the war against the pirates. Your families must be very proud.

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Filed under Barry Bonds, Bernard Parks, Los Angeles Lakers, Manny Ramirez, Mark McGwire, MLB, NBA, RIAA, Sammy Sosa, Sports, Stallworth, Steroids

iThink, therefore iAm

Ladies and gentlemen, Manny Ramirez! In a surprise communique with reporters, Manny broke his silence last week with the words, “(it’s) in the past and that he wanted to “move on” He also said he has no plans to publicly explain the reasons behind his 50 game suspension.


I can’t say I’m shocked. Manny isn’t exactly known for being open with the media, even in the best of times. We’ve been spoiled in the steroid era, there even seemed to be a PR handbook developing that Manny’s people appeared to be following.


Player gets caught, preferably announcing his suspension before MLB can. Player releases statement through agent, written of course by a very slippery PR guy. Statement is not surprisingly vague and quotable only in regards to mentioning the fans and starting the process of “moving forward.”


Player then drops off the face of the planet if possible.


When player returns, they give a press conference designed to A) avoid putting anything on the record that may give a federal prosecutor any ammunition for a future indictment or perjury trial, B) make sure his fans know he is very, very, very, very, VERY sorry, C) give as little information as possible regarding actual drugs used and how often.


If possible, said drug use should be only to return from injury and/or drug use should not actually be referred to at all.

We have seen positive tests blamed on age and youth, supplements and now fertility drugs. We get a press conference, an exclusive interview, perhaps some leaked court documents.


But I’ll tell you right now, we will get nothing from Manny.


He doesn’t need the media. Doesn’t want it, doesn’t read it, watch it, care about it. He has shut down the media for months, years even of his career. When he does speak, he borders on comedy, “I’m a bad man”, to sad, ” I didn’t rape anyone”.


He will return to the Dodgers, bat .490 and hit 85 home runs. If he hits a game winning home run in the playoffs he may speak to the media, but by then they’ll all be zonked on the goofy kid kool aid and just ask him things like, “Manny, how did it feel to win the series with a 600 foot bomb?”

The best part is, the Dodgers will protect him and enable him. Boras will guard him like Bruce Bowen in his prime. The Dodgers fans will cheer for him 5 times louder than any steroid chant they gave Barry. Bill Plaschke will write himself out of town screaming about it and ducking death threats but Manny Ramirez will 100% get away with it, make millions and be a hero to his teams fan base.


This week I overheard two Dodger fans discussing Mannygate. One of them brought up an interesting point I hadn’t considered. His suspension is actually good for the team because they can use the salary he forfeited to sign another pitcher. Makes sense to me and perfectly illustrates the current mindset of Dodger fan. The Dodger fan that screamed bloody murder at Barry for his yet unproven steroid use and would gladly chant A Roid if given the chance.




There seems to be a very small national debate over whether the Magic choked in game 4 or the Lakers pulled rank on them and stepped up to the challenge. To me, without the slightest doubt that game was the biggest choke job of the year. The refs gave them the game and they blew it. The Lakers played like crap most of the game and they blew it. The end of that game felt like watching a gift exchange where one person says, “here, I bought you this “and the other one says, “no, no, you didn’t have to”, and the other says, “no please take it” and the other says, “no, no, I can’t possible accept this”, and the other person says…


You get it. It was awkward and painful for all involved. I’ll say one thing, if Orlando can’t win that game they don’t deserve to win the series, so at least we figured that out. Congratulations to the 2009 NBA champions, the Los Angeles Lakers and the finals MVP Kobe Bryant.


In case anyone hasn’t noticed, David Ortiz appears to be breaking out of his slump…

The iPhone has joined the 21st century by offering copy and paste and picture messages in it’s new phone/ software upgrade.
As an iPhone owner, I’m ecstatic and angry that it’s taken this long… How dare they advance technology by two years while forcing us to wait so long for a basic function. It’s like offering a flying car without turn signals


I read that Stephen Strasburg is 16 feet tall and killed a bear when he was 3 years old…

The Yankee’s being 0-8 versus the Red Sox in 09 means very little to me except for two things. 1) Increased fan / owner pressure to do something shortsighted and stupid 2) Further proof that the Yankees, despite their free agent signings and the return of ARod, continue to be built to demolish poor and mediocre teams in the regular season. With the new Yankee Stadium looking like Coors field east, they seem poised for a nice run towards a loss in the divisional playoffs.


Meanwhile, with John Smoltz contractually obliged to pitch for the Red Sox major league team, Boston has the “problem” of 6 starting pitchers. 7 if you count an invigorated Clay Buchholz. 8 if you count Michael Bowden, who would be starting for 85% of teams in Major League Baseball. And arguably the best bullpen in baseball.


So there’s that.


Game ball (pucks) goes to the referees in the NHL. You have made the NHL playoffs a supreme product by allowing the players to decide the fate of each game. What a concept. Thank you. Name one NHL ref. I didn’t think so. Congratulations to Penguin fans, you did it the hard way, beating big D in Detroit. I can’t imagine how nerve wracking that last 6:07 was for someone deeply invested in the teams playing. I was only half heartedly rooting for the underdogs and found myself riveted. Congrats again.

David Stern, you have a serious problem and I resent every minute of it. Your officiating is a horrible joke. I’m not exactly what you’d call a conspiracy theorist but I believe you are involved. I just refuse to believe that you are that blind and that incompetent. Put your house in order, it’s embarrassing and it will cost you and your precious league money if it hasn’t already.

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Filed under David Stern, iPhone, Los Angeles Lakers, Manny Ramirez, MLB, NBA, NHL, Orlando Magic, Red Sox, Steroids, Yankees