it’s better this way

April 30, 2007 at 3:02 am | Posted in basketball, brian | Leave a comment

i don’t think anyone should feel bad about the heat getting swept. even if they would have won it all again, there’s no way the could have beat last year’s parade.

good luck, okur

April 29, 2007 at 2:14 am | Posted in aaron d.w., football (soccer), misc | Leave a comment

brian wasn’t even lying when he told me that messi’s goal was like maradona. this video highlights that messi and maradona ran the same distance in the same amount of time and finished with the same move on the goalie.

also, it seems like a waste of time to try and beat out the whole country of china in telekinetic support. i want okur to be great, but i don’t think i can help.

and i saw my first episode of numb3rs last night. it was stupid. brian and i always used to joke that it’s my favorite show because i do math, but i’m going to have to officially put an end to that.

a century of (pilgrim’s) progress

April 27, 2007 at 11:18 pm | Posted in basketball, brian, football (soccer) | 1 Comment

memhet okur is struggling.  0 for 6 from the three-point line and 2 for 12 from the field doesn’t seem like a good offensive game.  and he’s been like this the entire playoff series. what’s the deal?  watching the game last night, i think we came up with an answer.

yao is the most popular basketball player in the world.  fight realized, and i agreed, that moneyball’s struggles are a direct result of all the negative energy coming from yao fans from around the world.  some of this negativity is active in the form of jinxes or hexes on okur; most of the negativity is passive resulting from the collective hope that yao will dominate his opponent.  okur understands that the yao fans aren’t hating on him personally, he just happens to be yao’s opponent.  but when all the fans of the world’s most popular player are against you, it’s gotta be difficult.  all this negativity, combined with nerves — this is okur’s first playoff run as an all-star — may be the cause of mehmet’s playoff struggles.  combine that with all the negativity of most jazz fans who, like larry miller, expect every jazz athlete to perform at their peak ability every minute of every night and are therefore prone to overreact to mild slumps.  jerry sloan doesn’t even expect that kind of performance from his players; he just expects them to play hard and not feel sorry for themselves when they do occasionally struggle.  how was okur supposed to overcome all this?

fight and i (and maybe dusty but not aaron) spent much of last night’s game sending encouraging messages to okur via esp.  while both aaron and fight doubt that we can overcome the negativity of all those yao fans, i disagree.  here’s why: (1) as stated before, most of the negativity is passive; (2) of the active variety, i would estimate that their are only ten people in the world sending okur negative messages via esp; and (3) all we really need to combat are those hater jazz fans and show okur definitively that there are jazz fans who will always believe in him and his shot.

did the esp work?  according to his shooting line, no. but if you watched the game, you saw a new okur in that second half.  one committed to defense knowing that his shot wasn’t there.  and it was the jazz’s defense that one the game last night.

i also tried to send positive messages to barbosa, but kobe was out of control last night.  even though the suns lost last night, i think everyone should agree that last nights game looked great (in that each team’s uniform complemented the other’s so well).

did you know that barbosa has a seven-foot wingspan?

and messi scored what has got to be the goal of the year.

Peace, Love, and BASEBALL!

April 25, 2007 at 8:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

A while back I heard Alyssa Milano has a baseball blog.  Because it was about the Dodgers, I wasn’t all that interested.  Then a few days ago I read a post from a good friend of mine talking about it and said she was going to follow it carefully.  I then thought..hm, maybe I should check it out.  Despite every other picture being of AM, I found myself being charmed and well, she’s a chick that truly loves the game.  I can totally relate.  When she writes, ”

Honestly, this is what I love about baseball. It’s just like life. The ride. The journey. Every year when the season starts, I think I have a pretty good idea of how the season is going to go. Oh, I think I’m such an expert — I read every magazine, I read MLB.com everyday (OK, maybe four or five times a day), I watch the Spring Training games. And yet despite all the preparation, I realize I simply have no idea what twists or turns the season will take. As much as I try to peer into the future, the future is unpredictable. A ball bounces under a player’s legs, and the Red Sox lose their lead and the World Series. A fan interferes with a ball, and the Cubs lose their lead, and the playoff series. A-Rod finally silences the boo’s and steps up to the plate. That’s baseball. In life, we have our own rhythms, our own ups and downs, our own teammates, and all we can do is hold on and prepare for the challenges along the journey.

 or

First of all, if I were actually attached to every pitcher the press has attached me to, I would be in a hospital or mental ward somewhere — in a straightjacket (that I would of course desperately try to make stylish).

 So, now I’m contemplating adding this to my bloglines and wishing she were a yankees fan. 

http://alyssa.mlblogs.com/ 

i can do all things through [gatorade] which strengthens me

April 25, 2007 at 2:17 am | Posted in brian, football (american) | 3 Comments

clif’s recent post got me thinking about gatorade. what’s the deal with gatorade anyway? no other product that i can think of is such a part of a sporting lifestyle. nike at least has some competitors, but when it comes to sports-drinks, gatorade stands alone. not only is it the official sports-drink sponsor of the nfl, but also the nba, mlb, nascar, probably all college athletics, every marathon in the country and even the maple leaf junior golf tour. it’s everywhere. when i stop by 7-11 on my way to play tennis, what drink to i buy? gatorade.

i’m no theology expert, but gatorade commercials remind me of certain strands of christian thought. gatorade commercials accept our fallen nature. because of original sin, athletes must work by the sweat of their brow–and if you drink gatorade, your sweat is apparently colored–to achieve anything in sports: strength and endurance training, practice after practice, studying your playbook and everything else you must do to win. athletes do everything in their power to succeed, but given our fallen, sinful natures, work alone is not enough to propel us to greatness. we need something to bridge the gap between our fallen state and perfection. in christianity, it’s jesus; in sports, it’s gatorade. their “is it in you?” tagline speaks to this. gatorade is that unknown, indescribable something allows athletes to overcome their human limitations. past that, it isn’t clear, from the commercials, how gatorade accomplishes this. it’s just a given that it does. the commercials ask athletes to simply have faith in the powers of gatorade; simply believing in gatorade (which would include partaking in gatorade) makes you a better athlete.

if the nfl is the new american religion, then gatorade is our sacrament, reebok is our religious apperal and the united way is our charity (because if you’re going to be a religion you need to at least appear to care for the disadvantaged).

so let’s do it; let’s boycott gatorade.

This article is brought to you by vitaminwater, unofficial sponsor of the NFL

April 24, 2007 at 2:43 am | Posted in clif, football (american) | 2 Comments

070130_urlacher_vlrg_8a_widec.jpgI’ve been thinking about that fine unloaded on Brian Urlacher recently and the uproar that has accompanied it.  Sports writers and fans are bent out of shape that the league would come down so hard ($100,000 fine ) on one of the leagues ‘good guys’ for something as silly as drinking a non-league-sponsoring sports beverage and wearing a hat with that company’s logo on it.  Urlacher’s got a pretty clean record and this fine dwarfs most fines levied for much more offensive offenses.  Brian (Wood, not Urlacher) was telling me about a piece he saw (on ESPN maybe) about how the cumulative fines of illegal-hitting, locker-room-brawling, steroid-slamming NFL bad guy, Bill Romanowski, didn’t come close to $100k. 

But I’m not crying for the Bears LB and I’ll tell you why.  After a pre-season game, the league fined rookie Reggie Bush $10,000 dollars (which is the regular season fine; $100,000 is the Super Bowl amount) for wearing Adidas shoes, instead of Reeboks.  When asked to comment about the fine, Bush replied “Adidas took care of it.”  I haven’t talked to Brian (Urlacher, not Wood) about his fine, but if I did, I imagine his reply would be something along the lines of “sucks to be vitaminwater.” 

Urlacher is not an idiot.  I guarantee he knew that his promoting a product not endorsed by the NFL would result in a fine.  And I’m sure vitaminwater (or Adidas or any other brand hitching their wagon to NFL stars without league consent) knew the same and agreed to cover the cost.  And, the league knows players and brands know, and that the corporations will pay the fee, which is why they make it so costly.  Gatorade pays through the nose to be seen on all sidelines and in the hands of players, and the NFL will be damned if some other sports-type drink is going to sneak in there without paying for it.  It’s not a punishment to the player for breaking the rules, but an advertising charge to the corporation.

It’s a brilliant move by vitaminwater.  They pay $100,000 fine to the league and whatever they gave to Urlacher to wear/drink their stuff and they get millions of dollars worth of advertising when their name is splashed all over sporting news.  I guess they must have hired a new marketing department after firing the geniuses that named the product. 

On a side note, one article related this incident to one in 1985 (the last time the Bears went to the Superbowl) where Jim McMahon was fined $5,000, by then-commissioner Pete Rozelle, for wearing a headband that read “adidas,” which was not a league sponsor.  The following week, during the conference championship, McMahon donned a new headband that said “rozelle.”  That guy is so awesome.

texting championships?

April 24, 2007 at 12:56 am | Posted in brian, misc, olympics | 1 Comment

my brother use to brag about his texting ability. if i remember his story correctly, he was in a room in san francisco with eleven other people and he texted his way through eleven separate conversations without any of the (winning?) eleven having to wait more than thirteen seconds between the sending of their text and the arrival of aaron’s.

all of us know someone who claims to be the fastest texter around. too bad there’s not some type of competition to measure how fast they really are, i used to think. then i found out about the lg national texting championship.

the lg national texting championship is exactly what you think it is. some random message like “faster than a speeding bullet” or “OMG, nd 2 talk asap” appeared on an over-head screen and you had to text the message, with correct punctuation and spelling, to the judge. morgan pozgar, a thirteen year-old girl form pennsylvania, beat out more than 200 competitors to claim the texting crown. she also won $25,ooo. what’s she going to do with the money? “i’m going to go shopping and buy lots of clothes,” said pozgar.

but can we trust a texting championship sponsored by lg? the competition was actually an advertising campaign for lg’s new phone which features a full keyboard. this is not to take anything away form morgan pozgar who proved to be the best texter under the rules of the competition, but what about competitions for people with conventional mobile phones? apparently ang chuang yan holds the record for non-predictive text messaging on a normal phone beating out some guy from utah.

hopefully we’ll have some sort of competition–one that isn’t a front for some phone company promotion–that can accurately determine the best texters in the world. then we can petition for it to become an olympic sport. regardless, morgan pozgar is a champion. i hope she buys some sweet clothes.

shopping shoppers

April 23, 2007 at 10:05 pm | Posted in basketball, brian | 4 Comments

remember how aaron made fun of matt barnes’ mustache in his last post?  well, matt barnes pulled a fast one on aaron by getting the best haircut in the nba playoffs.

iverson, too, pulled out all the stops with his playoff hair.

and, as long as these two stay bff, the nuggets are going to eliminate the spurs.

dooling for prez

April 20, 2007 at 3:50 am | Posted in aaron d.w., basketball | 5 Comments

finally it’s the time of the year when basketball gets really exciting and really annoying. it’s the playoffs, which feature high intensity games, bad commentating, more commercials, and paid-off refs. remember last year when cleveland and washingtonlbj.jpg met in the first round? washington should have won every game except that the refs were too busy giving fouls (and hand jobs) to l.b.j. i’m talking about lebron james. love him or hate him, he (sort of) shares initials with lyndon baines and ladybird. the final game of the series saw lebron do a jump stop and take like 10 steps after the jump stop before scoring the game winning basket. watch it here, i dare you. (i hope that link works; this computer doesn’t have youtube watching capabilities). anyways, the playoffs are fixed and frustrating. sometimes teams play too good and surprise the people trying to fix the games and that’s pretty exciting. this year though, it’ll be a little different. joey crawford, the most experienced (read: biggest ego-ed) ref in the league has been suspended indefinitely for challenging tim duncan to a fight. that’s good news for allen iverson and rasheed wallace, since he hates those guys. well, i hate him. how’s that, joey?

last year’s playoffs were pretty good. remember how they had ali-g commercials all the time? ali-g would interview basketball players and call steve nash the mp3 of the league. i wish it was last year again.

here’s a preview of the playoffs. i’ll give who i hope wins the games and then i’ll give my predictions. i know, i know. when have i ever differentiated between who i want to win and who i think will win? it starts today. and it’s going to carry over to our fantasy football draft, so watch out cool monster league.

eastern conference first (they’re not boring to watch at all, but you won’t here anyone on espn agree):

  • detroit pistons vs. orlando magic: hmm, chauncey billups or keyon dooling. obviously i want the magic to win. i hope detroit chokes. i hope grant hill shows detroit what they’ve been missing. i hope dwight howard puts a sticker on the top of both of detroits backboards while keyon dooling (or jameer nelson) are throwing alley-oops to him. i hope chauncey billups gets in a car accident and gets cerebral palsy. i hope rasheed wallace plays really well and that the only two reasons the pistons lose are that (a) chauncey billups is an idiot, and (b) rasheed wallace gets called for 2 technicals every game. (b) is a little bit less likely to happen with joey crawford gone, but only slightly. anyways detroit advances in 6 games.
  • cleveland cavaliers vs. washington wizards: i want the wizards to win so bad. i wanted gilbert arenas and caron butler to be around to beat lebron and the cavs in spite of the refs. i wanted gilbert to make a hundred 3-pointers from 30 feet out. i wanted them to wear those sweet jerseys. i wanted etan thomas to read poems to the cavs after he blocks their shots. but then arenas and butler got injured. so it’s up to antawn jamison to score 50 points per game. he’s up to the challenge. the refs are on the cavaliers’ side, so cleveland in 5.
  • toronto raptors vs. new jersey nets: t.j. ford is awesome. (did i just say awesome?) not only is he the best player in nba live 2006, he’s the best point guard in the eastern conference. somehow he became that after getting a neck injury his rookie season that almost paralyzed him. some people think jason kidd is the best, but that’s not what his soon-to-be ex-wife told me. they’re both filing abuse suits against each other. still, jason kidd is cool. and vince carter is vinsane. so even if the nets win i won’t kill myself or anything. but i want the raptors to win even more than i want detroit to lose. toronto in 7 games.
  • miami heat vs. chicago bulls: i want to clear something up first. brian did some research and shaq actually does have a master’s degree in criminal justice. we thought it was probably honorary since he “brings law and order to the court,” but it turns out that he went to lsu in the summers after he was drafted until he finished it. he’s a deputy in like 4 states and sometimes he beats people while questioning them. plus he wears those stupid hats during interviews, so i think i like him. but he’s on pat riley’s team. so i want the miami heat to lose. not just that, i like the bulls. i think they’re team is super-cool. luol deng, kirk hinrich, ben wallace, tyrus thomas, ben gordon. they’re only problem is they can’t wear headbands which is stupid. still, they’re good. and they’ll waste the heat. probably in 5 games.

western conference:

  • dallas mavericks vs. golden state warriors: let’s compare players. on dallas i like dirk nowitzki, josh howard, desagna diop, jason terry, devin harris and i don’t like jerry stackhouse. on golden state i like monta ellis, al harrington, baron davis, mikael pietrus and i don’t like matt barnes’ mustache. i don’t like avery johnson as a coach or a person and i sort of like don nelson as a coach since every player is between 6’4″ and 6’8″. on paper, i probably want the mavericks to win. but i love that golden state team. monta ellis is one of my favorite young players to watch. i hope golden state wins, but i’m picking the mavericks. in 7.
  • phoenix suns vs. los angeles lakers: this one’s easy. i was hoping the lakers wouldn’t even make the playoffs. they have luke walton (whom i wish was dead) and phil jackson (i can’t think of the worse thing i want for him). so even though they have lamar odom, i can’t root for them. on the other hand, phoenix is cool except for amare stoudamire. he’s not nearly as good as he thinks and everyone else thinks. he doesn’t really see what’s happening around him and he decides before he drives whether he’s going to dunk it or not. it gets him into trouble. he just puts his head down and then looks stupid. well, i like when he looks stupid because i can hate him easier. so i hope he gets injured and nash scores a million points. actually, i hope barbosa scores a million points. per minute. that guy is fast. suns win in 5.
  • san antonio spurs vs. denver nuggets: everyone on the nuggets is totally awesome. especially allen iverson. but nene and marcus camby and carmelo anthony and eduardo najera and steve blake and jr. smith. they’re cool. the spurs have too many stars. they get guys like michael finley and brent barry as backups. mostly though, they have bruce bowen and i wish that guy’s parents would get in a fight and murder each other and that he would be the one to find their dead and bloody bodies and then he would go crazy and talk to himself out loud on the subway and everyone in the world would think he was an idiot. because he is. the spurs are good. but i’m picking the nuggets to win. in 6 games.
  • utah jazz vs. houston rockets: this one’s tough. i like the jazz a lot. booz cruise, kiriblinko, money ball, slick, leap-and-lean harpring, chubby cheeks, giriczech, paul millsap. but the rockets have tracy mcgrady. and they have shane battier and rafer alston. alston used to play street ball and his street ball name was skip to my lou. plus stan van gundy is cool. jerry sloan is, except that he doesn’t let the jazz wear headbands, which is stupid. i think t-mac will win the series. houston in 6.


the pacman-agassi controversy

April 18, 2007 at 1:01 am | Posted in aaron d.w., basketball, football (american), tennis | 2 Comments

so pacman jones from the tennessee titans got suspended for the whole year. it doesn’t surprise me. the nfl suspended ricky williams for a year for being a yoga instructor. pacman’s situation is a little worse. he’s been involved in fights at clubs and other stuff. so even though he hasn’t been charged once with anything, he’s suspended for the year. i understand the league’s position. they want to assure their sponsors that they won’t stand for “criminal” behavior. they’ve got to keep the investors happy. they’ve got to keep their image “clean.” it’s the same thing the nba did with suspending jermaine o’neal, ron artest, stephen jackson, ben wallace, carmelo anthony, j.r. smith, and that other guy. they need to keep the people who can afford the best seats in the stands. so they punish “thug” behavior to make people feel safer.

here’s what i don’t get. ron artest knew he had a temper problem. he’d already punched camera-persons. so when he gets in a scuffle with ben wallace, he does the smart thing and removes himself from the situation. he lays down on the scorers table to settle down. some idiot throws a cup of beer on him. so he goes into the stands to waste him. i don’t condone violence, but i certainly understand why he did it. just because you paid $200 for your seat and $100 for your 15th cup of beer, doesn’t mean you get to throw the alcohol on players you hate. i would’ve been upset too. i’d like to say that i wouldn’t have punched him, but who knows? one time i threw a basketball at jon woodbury and i’ve felt bad about it for a long time. also one time i punched brian in the back of the head, but that was just to be funny (and it was), and he spit on my pillow the next morning to get back at me (this was 3 years ago). so they tag artest with a year-long suspension and they tell that other guy that he can’t ever come back to the arena. that’s fine. i understand that suspensions were needed, but a year? anyways, this year artest has been accused of domestic violence. he’s been issued a restraining order to stay away from his wife and kids. i think the league probably fined him and that’s it.  hitting your wife is worse than hitting a stranger who threw beer on you, right?

so why don’t professional sports leagues worry about cleaning up their image when it comes to domestic or sexual abuse? probably because the people who advertise and the people who buy the luxury boxes and the people who buy the front-row seats are more comfortable with the idea of domestic violence than they are with “thug” behavior. everybody hits their wives, so it’s no big deal for sports stars to do it. it’s non-threatening, because as males we understand that it’s probably sometimes necessary. like reuben droughns. or a million other athletes across a million other sports. but thug behavior. that stuff’s scary. thugs are capable of anything. they would probably murder you in a heartbeat if you look at them wrong. basketball players might have knives or guns in their socks, shoes, or shorts, if they’re thugs, which most of them are because they wear over-sized t-shirts and timberlands.

fights in the home result in bad p.r. fights in bars result in year-long suspensions.

agassi2.jpgcase and point: (article) andre agassi hit his wife, steffi graf, in the face on “accident” during a fundraiser tennis match. they were playing doubles and holding hands and he hit her with his follow-through. she got 3 stitches on-site in her lip by a doctor who had paid $70,000 to play against the couple. they were in houston doing a fundraiser as part of this show called the big give hosted by oprah winfrey. “she’s okay. it was an unfortunate accident.” her friends or relatives will ask about her lip and she’ll say, “oh, i slipped and landed on a tennis racket.” no big deal. she probably found out about agassi and that shark and confronted andre about it before the match. he warned her to keep quiet. she had it coming, i guess.

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