on picking a favorite player

April 7, 2006 at 12:37 pm | Posted in aaron d.w., misc | 4 Comments

when trying to decide who should be your favorite player the first thing you need to do is identify what aspects make a player great. this is an individualized process. for some people home runs are important while for others on-base percentage is key. some people like defense, blocks, and steals, but other people prefer shooting, scoring, and assists. some people only like basketball players who take charges. other people call them names when they take the charge. in football, you might like touchdowns, quarterback ratings, yards per _____, endzone celebrations, interceptions, or playmaking. in ice skating maybe it’s the costumes, the music, or the degree of difficulty.

without restricting myself to a specific sport i’d like to say what kinds of things affect my choosing a favorite athlete.
(1) hair: great haircut/hair-do = great player.

stevie nashhaircut11.jpgrafael nadal

sweetformer nba superstarbrent barry

(especially mohawks)

haircut21.jpgshawne merrimanhaircut30.jpg

(2) facial hair: i can’t love a player with only a mustache (except adam morrison, as long as he’s joking). but a good beard can go a long ways.

morrison.JPGjake.JPGricky davisrag-tag: vladamir radmanovic
(ricky williams’ beard is 80,000,000 times cooler than anybody else’s.)

ricky williams

(3) accessories: headbands, visors, taped ankles, etc. also, off-the-court/field attire can be very influential in my decision to like or dislike them.
iverson looks totally sweet all the timericky williams’ visor looks great

(4) shoelaces as headbands:
ramos.JPGdidier drogba with shoelace

(5) interviews: what players say when interviewed is a major deciding factor. for instance:

  • i. for like a month straight rasheed wallace said the exact same thing to the media after every game. he also always says nice things about the other team.
  • ii. shaq always says the weirdest stuff in interviews.
  • iii. steve nash talks about his anti-war views.
  • iv. (this could make you love or hate him) karl malone talked about protecting his family from badgers during his retirement speech.
  • v. terrell owens held a news conference in his driveway while he did sit-ups shirtless.

(6) controversy: when players are unjustly hated, it makes me start to like them more.

  • (4) espn hates ricky williams (former marijuana use, quitting the nfl, travelling the world, going to a holistic medicine school, moving in with a guy he met at radio shack, coming back, having the best beard ever, etc).
  • the nba hates rasheed wallace (talks about the racism of the nba, criticizes officials and hints that the officiating is sort of fixed)
  • everyone in the world hates ron artest (got in that one fight, punched that camera man, tried to take time off to promote his hip hop cd)
  • and everyone loves lance armstrong (i hate him).

(7) finger-waiving: only applies to dikembe mutombo.

finger wag

(8) hustle: not like that lazy-ass whiner, clint mathis (even if he did used to have a mohawk).

so my favorite player is ricky williams and i drafted him last year in our fantasy football league, even though he was going to be serving a four-game suspension and sharing carries with ronnie brown. he fits all of my criteria, except the finger-waiving stuff.

sports-typed things happen nearly everyday

April 5, 2006 at 4:40 pm | Posted in brian, fespn | Leave a comment

early on when aaron and i were brainstorming our ideas for our sports-zine, we realized that there was no way our zine could stay current. thanks to espn (specifically espnews) the sports-news-cycle only lasts about 12 hours. it would have taken me 12 hours just to locate a photo-copier. upon further review, the 12 hour cycle seems a bit long. in fact, i don’t even know how to calculate an average sports story cycle since espn usually only likes to build towards events rather than cover events. so the only way our zine could have stayed somewhat current would have been to either write about timeless sports subjects (in other words, we would make lists of our favorite sports-typed things–team names, team color schemes and haircuts) or write about sports-typed things that will have lasting power (like steriods [i hope somebody got that joke]). with this blog, we can now post stories sports-typed things that actually seem current. this way we can actually take on espn and dan patrick and jim rome and all the shitty local sports talk-shows. (to be fair, the local shows are no more shittier than their national counter-parts; they are, however, derivative of them.)

but now we at this guy knows what i’m talking about have to ask ourselves, do we really want to?

i choked on national public radio

April 3, 2006 at 11:30 am | Posted in aaron d.w., baseball, misc | 7 Comments

last wednesday while greg and i were driving to salt lake, talk of the nation on npr did a piece on fantasy baseball. the guy they were interviewing (i forget who it was and researching it seems like more work than i’m willing to put in — even slightly more work than this parenthetical comment — i.e. it would probably take upwards of 45 seconds to find his name) said that you’re supposed to come up with clever and funny team names like “the whimpering cats” for your fantasy team. i don’t see how that’s funny or clever — although i am a proponent of names that undermine the masculinity of fantasy sports and “the whimpering cats” certainly does satisfy that condition. too many times you see people with names like “i’m going to kick your ass” or “look how big my biceps are.” sometimes there’s even clever names like “‘roid rage” that still allude to machoism. anyways, i decided to call in and tell them a few names that my brother and i have used in the past.

i should interrupt (quickly, i hope) the story to mention that coming up with teame names is probably our (as in brian’s and my) favorite part of playing fantasy sports. we try to change our team names more than we shake up our rosters. in our fantasy football league they cracked down last year and we had to promise to pick one name for the entire year, and what a joke of a year it was.

so i called in to npr and there was a girl screening my telephone call. reproduced here is our phone conversation.

girl: npr. what’s your comment?
me: i wanted-
girl: will you turn off your radio please?
me: oh, sorry. i wanted to tell you my three favorite fantasy team names. they said you’re supposed to pick funny and clever ones and i thought i’d tell them mine.
girl: okay. what’s your name?
me: virginia woolfenste-
girl: no, what’s your name?
me: oh. it’s aaron.
girl: where are you calling from?
me: salt lake city.
girl: okay, now you can tell me your team names.
me: first – virginia woolfenstein 3d; second – the my little ponies; third – jesuszilla, son of godzilla

she laughed at the names and mentioned that she thought they were very clever.

girl: when they say aaron from salt lake city, that’s your cue.

they finally put me on, and i was more nervous than i’ve ever been in my life (except that time when i shook hands with gza).

you can listen to it here .

so my choking has to do with the fact that i’m not actually playing fantasy baseball this year. i lied to neil conan. when they asked me who my star was this year, the only person i thought of was ichiro. but instead of saying he was my star, i said that someone drafted him before i could. so then neil asked who i’d picked instead and i totally blanked because i don’t know anything about baseball. the only guy i could think of was pujols. so i said pujols, which is completely ridiculous since he was probably the first pick in every single fantasy baseball league across the country. there’s no way someone would pick ichiro before pujols (except for me and my brother).

i learned a valuable lesson. if you’re going to call into a radio station, you might want to expect that they’ll ask you a question. otherwise, you might end up the laughing-stock of the entire sports-loving, npr-listening community. it’s a small community, but i can never show my face in it again.

of course the nba dress code is racist

April 2, 2006 at 3:17 pm | Posted in basketball, brian | 5 Comments

it’s hard to talk with people about sports when you think espn is bullshit.

i went to this new year’s eve party where i knew less than 20% of the people present. since i get anxiety in social situations like these, i usually try too hard to impress people by being funny. unfortunately, i’m not that funny. since it was new year’s eve, my brother and i repeatedly made jokes about calling the new year 2k6–in conversations, when dating checks, and so on. this spurred an argument about whether to use 2k6 or, as the espn videogamers do, 2k06. i argued that 2k6 should be the standard: if k means 1000, adding 06 rather than 6 seems redundant. plus, i added, you shouldn’t cite espn as an authority on anything since espn is ruining sports. to my surprise, nearly everyone involved in the conversation thought espn was not only the best sports-themed television network (emphasis on themed), but possibly the best thing on television. please. c-span is the best thing on television followed distantly by mythbusters and iron chef (japan). espn is worse that mtv; it’s worse than foxnews (however, their politics are eerily similar).

i thought espn’s problems–further merging sports and advertising, consistently undermining player’s unions, promoting superstar mentality and idiolization at the expense of the concept of team and a bias towards large sports markets–were obvious. the people at the party wanted proof.

me: here’s how you know espn is bullshit: not a single commentator acknowledged that the nba dress code is racist.

everyone else at the party: it’s not racist or you’re/that’s stupid.

i’m used to people critizing my intelligence, and usually with good cause; however, in this instance, i didn’t feel that my inability to process rational thought hindered my point. so i proceeded to make my case.

the nba is becoming less and less a basketball game and more and more an extended commercial. what the nba deems successful isn’t athletics and competition but marketability. athletics and competition are being narrowly redefined in terms of marketability. the nba succeeds not if it provides the best basketball on the planet, but if it continues to gain investors and advertisers. if the nba is primarily a product, image is everything.

with the continued popularity decline of the nba (which means, more importantly, a decrease in marketability) david stern realizes something must be done. stern looks over the nba product and places the blame squarely on the hip-hopification of the league. many people, especially those people responsible for investing in the nba, associate hip-hop styled dress with thugs and crime even though no such link exists. stern realizes that if he wants to increase the marketability of the nba he needs to tone down the hip-hop image. (it’s much simpler and more profitable than changing cultural attitudes about race.)

so now there’s an nba dress code.

looking closely (or at all) at the dress code reveals that it targets a specific look. i mean, if you just had people wearing t-shirts and jeans (like greg ostertag), you wouldn’t have a dress code. the hip-hop look many nba players employed, generally characterized, consisted of a doo-rag with a crooked baseball cap, a large chain, a throwback jersey, baggy jeans and timberlands; the dress code bans headgear (doo-rags/baseball caps), necklaces (chains), non-collared shirts (throwback jerseys), jeans (baggy jeans) and workboots (timberlands). how is this not racially motivated?

i guess if you’re going to have young black men making millions of dollars, they better look like they’re making millions of dollars. (in other words, they better dress like white millionaires.)

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