Monday, December 31, 2007

Get Your Qwest On


At first glance what pops out about Saturday's Skins game, Seattle redux (see 2005), is that both teams have had very up-and-down years. Seattle stumbled to a 10-6 record by feasting on the NFC West, NFL division I-A. Six games against the 49ers (5-11), the Cardinals (7-8) and the Rams (3-13). Add in a tour of the NFC South (a combined 27-37) and you have one of the weakest schedules in the league.

In going 9-7, the Skins played seven playoff teams, including #1 or #2 seeds four times. Seattle played only two playoff teams, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh. The Seahawks beat 9-7 Tampa Bay only to be crushed 21-0 by the Steelers, now 10-6.
We either beat the Giants, Cowboys, and Packers or played them tight, losing by a bounce, a yard, a last-minute interception.

People will talk about our momentum in going 4-0, but we were a better team than Seattle all season. We've seen far tougher competition and our level of play will show that on Saturday. The only big-pressure game Seattle faced this year was the game at Pittsburgh, and they went paws up (talons up?). Their fans can be turned into boobirds quickly, as they have seen several lackluster performances this year. Just like Minnesota and the Meadowlands, we can set the tone on the road. And thriving in the mucky conditions against Dallas prepares us for anything the Pacific Northwest can throw our way.

Seattle has:
a good quarterback who can be frustrated by tight coverage
a pass rush that can be dominating at times

The key will be making sure Patrick Kerney and Co. don't get to Collins to force fumbles, the kind of turnovers that could lead to easy scores. We do that, time to start gameplanning for TO, baby!

Mister Owens, Mister Landry...

It can be done. Anything is possible.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Taking a bow

Yes, that is Chris Samuel's taking a bow to the enraged Giants fans. Given that we have immediate family who are fans of the New York team, I will refrain from gloating too much. In fact, I really just wanted a new photo online to start moving on.
Not really interested in debating the playoff speculation for the Redskins (do they really deserve?) and Toddball (great storyline -- second string veteran leads team to victory after crisis -- but it seems a bit forced). And I am also waiting to hear more intelligent observations than mine on the baseball report last week.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Cut & Run, Play & Pray, Use & Lose


( I'm feeling for my adopted hometown Falcons. Bobby Petrino's cowardly cut-and-run was astounding. The only betrayls that come close are Jim Irsay's Thief-in-the-Night buggering out of Baltimore with the Colts and Art Modell's cooresponding abandonment of Cleveland for Charm City. Petrino spoke to his team after their Monday night loss about how no one on the team would be quitting on the season, and then promptly did. He is an offensive innovator with bright ideas, but no fortitude. He is no leader of men, and he leaves jobs before having to endure any trying season in which his flaws will be revealed. Petrino has even tried to explain that quitting the Falcons at 5 pm (by phone to Arthur Blank, by letters to the team) and being hired by Arkansas at 11 pm was coincidental -- that he did not quit one for the other.

Kudos to Sean Salisbury, Bob Greise and other announcers who publicly derided Petrino and questioned why any parent would send their son to Arkansas to be taught by this man. Interesting watching Chris Mortensen, ESPN's primary NFL analyst, have to tip-toe around passing judgement on Petrino because his son is set to play for him at Arkansas next year. This marks the second time Arkansas has stolen an NFL coach from a team in midseason - Lou Holtz left the Jets with one game left back in the 80's.
As to the excuse-makers who cite extenuating circumstances around Petrino's departure (Michael Vick's absence, Falcons players not respecting Petrino, owner interference), sounds like Bobby Petrino very quickly lost the respect of his players, forcing Arthur Blank to ask some hard questions. When person the caliber of Warrick Dunn starts saying they're is a problem, it's time to listen. Bumped into Mr. Dunn doing Xmas shopping at Lenox Mall less than a week before this all went down, and he did not look like a happy camper. One excuse flying around is that Blank complained about the content of pre-game prayers, and was therefore too meddling.

The Falcons owner Arthur Blank is a good man who regards his ownership of the city's team as part of his investment in improving the life of the ATL, much the same way his business partner Bernie Marcus has in constructing the Georgia Aquarium. He deserved better, even though naivete (Blank apparently never met Petrino face-to-face before the press conference appointing him the new coach) clearly played a part here. It will be interesting to see if he lands the Big Tuna to run the show -- Parcells's gruff, controlling style is antipodal to Blank's warmth and friendliness. Would the Skins ever make a run at Rich McKay? (Would they want to?)

( I think it's going to be a very interesting last 2 weeks of the season for the Skins. The games against Vikings and Cowboys are winnable. If we win both, we're automatically in over the Vikings, having beaten them face-to-face. The possibility looming is that Giants play Galactus i.e. New England the last game of the season. See them winning that one? Neither do I. And they play Tampa Bay, a heady 9-5, this week. If the Giants lose to the Bucs, two wins may vault the Skins ahead of them. Bottom Line is that the Vikings game is our Super Bowl: lose and we are mathematically eliminated. A win and we face the Cowboys, who will still be jostling with the Packers for homefield advantage.
I predict a season of woulda-coulda-shoulda will end in typical tragic fashion -- winning against the Vikings, but losing against the Cowboys -- only to see the Vikings lose to Denver! But both being leapfrogged by New Orleans. It's been that type of season. And Gibbs is talking about extending his tenure...

( The Mitchell Report was a hesitant step in the right direction. It should have documented how the culture was permitted, how both the players and the league repeatedly chose to look the other way. One key revelation was the 1971 league rule on the books stating that players taking prescription medications without a lwaful prescription can be subject to discipline. This invalidates the claim that steroid-users were not breaking any rules throughout the 90's (except federal law).
Clearly baseball should:
- punish past offendors with suspensions if they are still in the game
- invalidate any records set by steroid-users - it's one thing if users are competing (generally) against each other, but when they set records they are unfairly competing against players who didn't have the 'benefit' of playing in the steroid era. It would be too onerous to take away every hit and pitch -- but this can't be the excuse for not doing anything. Let the record-setting steriod users pay the price. This not only is an attempt to even the playing field with players of other eras, it serves as a precedent and warning to those who will try to cheat in the future, whether through HGH or means as yet uninvented. All the home run records should be reset, all of Clemens's pitching stats stricken from the record. Or else, as we've seen in track, these records may never be able to be broken by a human competing fairly and legally.
- adopt the WADA protocol for drug testing -- an independent agency testing year round. This would be the best step Congress could take -- mandating that all US sports comply with these procedures, including the NFL and its 4-game suspensions of steroid-using wunderkind like Shawne Merriman.

The fight for the soul of baseball is on. You already hear people writing that attendance and ratings should dictate whether the status quo is acceptable. Remember that the sports establishment doesn't want to see these things diminish, that the same people who cover the sports news depend upon the popularity of their subject matter.

Ironically, the people who have the most to gain are the baseball players themselves, even as they vehemently deny and stonewall. They have a chance to live long, healthy lives without the effects of performance enhancers. No more Florence Griffith Joyners dying at 39. No more Chris Benoits. No more teammates on Division III college track teams picking fights because of roid rage, as happened to a runner I coached.


Monday, December 3, 2007

Funeral Pt. 2


The choir seems very deliberately singing:

I'm reaping the harvest God promised me
taking back what the Devil stole from me
again and again and again.

Funeral

Watching the funeral coverage live through the magic of the interweb.
Wow. Speakers directly addressing the premature speculation by "the media" after Sean's death.
"Unforgiveable." "Tarnishing the memory."
Standing ovation by everyone present.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Buckle Up


Nice of me to jump back on the bandwagon just as it morphs into the bus from Speed. I will answer to "Keanu." Apparently the bomb will explode if the Skins score more than 20 points. Only the coaching staff knows this. And making the playoffs is like doing that jump. Buckle up.


The Post ombudsman, Deborah Howell, correctly cites columns by Leonard Shapiro and Michael Wilbon as off the mark. Her article is here.
But her analysis fundamentally misses the point. She writes:
The issue was timing. As unfeeling as it sounds, it is just not in the nature of the news business for critical comment to be withheld until the body is in the ground. But in this case, it would not have hurt good journalism to have backed off on harsh commentary until the next day. That would have let the news sink in for readers.
The timing was cold-hearted, but the main problem was both writers made premature assumptions about the nature of Taylor's death that in just a few short days seem to have been proven patently false. So quick were both Shapiro and Wilbon to indict Taylor of mixing with the wrong people, remaining embedded in a violent lifestyle, that they spoke first and asked questions about the circumstances of his death later. How hard would it have been to simply say, "Let's wait till all the facts are in?" As it turns out, the "critical comment" was dead wrong. Taylor's only crime was being at home in bed, trying to protect his girlfriend and daughter. The knife-left-previously-on-the-pillow-vendetta angle? A mere coincidence. In addition to rushing to judgement about Taylor's death, neither reporter seemed very well-versed in Taylor's life. Growing up as a middle-class son of police chief, attending Gulliver Prep, going steady with Ms. Garcia, they were either ignorant of the facets of Sean Taylor's life that didn't fit the storyline, or chose not reveal information that deviated from the, yes, stereotypical morality play they were determined to direct.

The ombudsman's piece deals with none of this, simply the timing. Was the ombudsman's piece written before the most recent revelations were made in the case? That would be disturbing. And there is no mention of Wilbon's callous dismissal of on-line chatters seeking information on where to direct tributes/sympathy wishes. Not once but twice.

Washington: Where can I send cards and flowers for Sean Taylor?

Michael Wilbon: You should contact The Washington Redskins for that information...

Anonymous:"You should contact The Washington Redskins for that information..."

Can you be a little bit more specific?

washingtonpost.com: Redskins PR says nothing has been decided yet about where to send cards or flowers; once a decisions has been made it will be posted to their Web site.

Michael Wilbon: There is the response from Redskins Park at this moment ... specifically, look up the phone number and get the address ... I don't walk around with the address of the Redskins in my pocket ... sorry. I'm sure you can go to the team's Web site and find the address...
Well, doesn't seem quite so obnoxious on reread, but the "don't you know who I am" tone seems obvious.

The proper, compassionate thing to do would have been to simply look up the info and deliver it to his audience, in coordination with the web-chat moderator. Surely a star of sound and stage like Mr. Wilbon could have thrown the little people a bone. It took me just a second to find these for him:
this
and
this.
Don't let the door hit you on your way out, Mike.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Stay the Course



The right thing to do would be to have Joe Gibbs continue to lead the Skins through the completion of his 5-year timetable, despite the underachieving on the field. With the sad, senseless death of Sean Taylor, Gibbs is the best coach the team could have, not necessarily in terms of wins and losses, but for the more important big picture of having 55 men recover the hope and faith they may have lost this past week. They may play inspired some games, they may not others; but the important work will be done when no cameras are on, in the hallways and meeting rooms. There will be no Sportscenter highlights of these moments in which Gibbs the teacher helps his team, but the support he will be able to give to others will be lasting, invaluable.
I hope the plotline of the Skins rallying for wins for their fallen teammate doesn't get too much play; not everything can be solved with a trophy. It's much more important for the team to rally by making the right plays as people, as husbands, as sons, as fathers. That's the way to honor Sean. And Joe Gibbs is the man to lead the way.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Sorry, I'm Just Not Done with This.


Eugene Robinson, who I know from personal experience is a pretty nice guy, but whose writings I'm typically not a big fan of, has a pretty good take on the media/societal reaction to Sean Taylor. I appreciate the fact that he's one of (if not the first) major media figure to take on Wilbon's inappropriate and asinine comments that he is defiantly still sticking by the notion that, as Robinson puts it, Taylor's "suicide-by-bad-attitude".

There's also a little well-written article about Jason Campbell and his friendship with Taylor. Campbell speaks a little bit to the fact that the best tribute that the Redskins can give Taylor is to win out this season. I hope it doesn't sound insensitive, but it will be interesting to see how they play with his death hanging over them the rest of the season.

Still want to write one more thing about this (at least).

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Change of Pace

If only voter turnout for US elections equaled that for "Best Sportscenter Commercial."
I've got 1) Talent Search 2) Final Cut 3) Paper Jam [cuz we've all been there]. Honorable mention goes to Lance and Network News. Can't stand Reception, for obvious reasons.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Nice Tribute on The Coach Is Killing Me

Link is HERE.

It is a pity the press cannot observe a moment of silence, at least waiting until after a person's funeral before drawing conclusions about their life and the lessons to be drawn from it.
There will be plenty of time to figure out the context, if any, once any facts come to light.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

RIP Sean


This photo from The Washington Post summed up my feelings on the death of Sean Taylor. I never knew the man, but for the past several years I've rooted him on. May be later this week we'll post some photos of #21 laying peple out or monster tackles.
But for now, we wish the Taylor family well.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Further Reading

Cause I can link now and I don't feel like putting a whole new post up.

Sumo great calls it quits.

The Redskins are 5-6, and critics are saying they're dead in the water, everyone was convinced Gibbs was over the hill. Hmmmm, when was the last time this happened? Oh yeah, two years ago, when they went 10-6 and made the playoffs.

Yeah, Bill Cowher can suck my balls.

Yikes

We're not going to comment on the Sean Taylor incident right now. We know, everyone's been anxiously awaiting Sandy, Baby's take on the entire situation, but we're going to hold our official comment until the situation is more clear cut.

But really, it's too serious for the snarkiness that sports blogging typically entails, and we really don't know what's going on for sure. Nor, it seems, do most of the other Redskins (this is where I'd hyperlink the text to Jason La Canfora's Redskins Insider for the latest info, but the 11 year-old iMac my "job" provides me with won't let me...just click on the link to the side).

I was going to talk about how it was dumb to call the season over when the 'Skins are only a game behind Detroit and to dissuade any further talk of Chin/Colbert with a hard "t" for coach/GM in 2008, but it seems kind of dumb to talk about right now.

One thing "we" (I) do take issue with, though, is Michael Wilbon's snap judgement of the situation, witout having any knowledge of the details about what happened. In his usual Monday afternoon chat on washingtonpost.com, somebody asked him for his comment about the entire mess (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2007/11/20/DI2007112000544.html?hpid=topnews)

"I've known guys like Taylor all my life, grew up with some. They still have shades of gray and shouldn't be painted in black and white...I know how I feel about Taylor, and this latest news isn't surprising in the least, not to me. Whether this incident is or isn't random, Taylor grew up in a violent world, embraced it, claimed it, loved to run in it and refused to divorce himself from it. He ain't the first and won't be the last. We have no idea what happened, or if what we know now will be revised later. It's sad, yes, but hardly surprising."

Typically, we here at Sandy, Baby have the utmost respect for Mr. Wilbon, even if he is an ally of the Salieri, and even though he has made some ridiculous statements (he once criticized the Patriots for hiring Bill Belicheck instead of a black coach, with the inference that race was a factor. Now we know that Belicheck just got the job because he sold his soul to Beelzebub....he also said he was certain that Michael Jordan wasn't coming back to play for the Wizards (yeah, that actually happened). Uh, oops?) and despite the fact that he co-authored Charles Barkley's debacle of a "book".

But, in the words of GOB Bluth, C'mon! Like you know how the guy is living his life more than his teammates? The general consensus seems to be that (1) This was an armed robbery. This was not Batman rounding up a posse to go get his ATVs back, and (2) His teammates have said that he had matured a great deal in the past 18 months (which is a subjective judgment) but clearly he can't be that married to a "violent world" when he moves to the other side of town and the typical statement of each one of his teammates and coaches was that he's actually not a bad guy and WAS distancing himself from the people he'd been around when he was getting in trouble. AS Jason La Canfora, who actually covers the team and is with them on a day to day basis reports:

"Also, just to clear something up - this is a different house in a different part of South Florida than where Sean had the ATV incident two years ago and was arrested on firearms charges. He was in his old neighbrogood near his mom's house when that incident occured, he has moved to a nicer part of town since starting his family and, according to teammates, had stopped hanging around a lot of his former associates after his last legal problems."

Of course, all of this seems trivial since the latest headline on Redskins Insider is "Sean Taylor "Clinging To Life"".

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Smackdown!


Nothing to say. Just liked the photo. I mean, we are the "leading Source for Late-Breaking Sumo Wrestling News."
Here, Kotomitsuki tosses Tochinonada at the New Year Grand Tournament in Tokyo. Time to throw some pillows!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Nüse & Notes


x Wiz rocket to 4-5! B. Hay(ve)wood puts big boy pants on with no Etan around to steal minutes and toys! Double-double-toil no trouble!
x Sandy, Baby exclusive video-blog with Wizards
rookie Nick Young, flashing back on his short tenure with the team. Except the part of Nick Young will be played by Nick Newman of Young & the Restless fame!
x Minor Thread and Ollie infiltrate enemy territory to attend a Hawks/Wizards preseason game at Phillips Arena aka the Highlight Factory (I kid you none). Highlight was calling Andrae Blatche by his new nickname, "John-School," then running away. Chase footage here!
Goons almost got us, but the Sandy, Baby-mobile got away! We love you, J-School!

x Skins get pummeled by Cowboys on national TV. Oh, wait, that hasn't happened yet! Post editorial details how the season could have turned on 'one foot.' Unless that foot is Gibbs's and it's out the door, we're still stuck in neutral. Today's loss will help us crawl into tomorrow...
x Apologists like Michael Wilbon are back-pedaling as fast as they can in light of the new charges against Barry Bonds. We've had all the evidence we've needed to know the records weren't legit for years. It's a shame the courts have to be the ones to step in when baseball, sports reporters, the sports establishment will not because it will hurt the bottom line $$$. Everyone's going to sigh, wipe their brow and say, "Whew, glad that's over with!" Wrong. Time to go after the single-season homerun records of Bonds, Sosa and McGwire. Or else it's all a show.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Rocky vs. the Rook



A few posts back I made fun of the German's passion for Handball. Did they really think this was an exciting sport? But then I learned to respect their taste, when I learned about the one, the only, Chess Boxing. Two men enter a ring, beat each other senseless for six rounds interspersed with games of speed chess. A knockout or checkmate wins. Brillant! Berlin recenly hosted the first world championship of chess boxing. (Click below the photo to watch it.)
I am ready to create whole new sports leagues based on this theme -- Checkers Wrestling, Battleship Badminton, Monopoly NASCAR. The ideas are endless. Candyland Karate. Go with it ...

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Wide Receiver


B. Lloyd broke his collarbone during practice the other day, right when the Redskins needed him to step up. Of course, I don't blame him for the inury. It's extremely painful, unfortunate, annd not his fault. I don't want to kick a man when he's down, so I'll refrain from making fun of, say, his hair or bad rapping or poor playing. In fact, it really does suck he got hurt. I mean, here was his best -- and most likely last -- chance to show the world what, if anything, he can do.
And by the world, I mean, me. I'd be totally willing to go 180 degrees on this dude if he could step up. But, alas ...
I also want to promote The Washington Post's gameday chatroom. Minor Thread and I participated intercontiental style (is that right? Intercontiental? Or Outercontenintal? Ah, screw it) and encourage others (YOU OLLIE!) to join in Sunday.
It's the best way for people who can't watch the game to enjoy it. It's almost like being at the stadium. And by being at the stadium, I mean locked in a jail cell thirty feet below the field in a room full of blindfolded men making inane, barely audiblle comments about a game they can't see, hear, or smell.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

We Just Can't Catch A Break


I'm not going to comment (too) much on the Redskins perfection of the proverbial art of shooting one's self in the foot today. If not for the Patriots game, they'd be undefeated. They've beaten six teams this season. Five were opponents, but they've managed to beat themselves three times so far...and we're only 10 weeks into the season. Today's game was not about coaching; Gibbs, Saunders, and Williams did a great job gameplanning for the Eagles, and thoroughly outcoached Andy Reid from what saw. Buges did a great job on the offensive line, which had been offensive in more ways than one earlier this season (after being decimated by injuries). What the Redskins staff didn't know, however, was that Andy Reid had given access to his "Drug Emporium" to several of the Redskins' players (Chris Cooley, Ladell Betts, Casey Rabach, among others).

Meanwhile, the Wizards are pretty much embodying the above picture. Mike Wise, who despite past shots this blog has taken at him, is actually an excellent basketball writer, gave me a pretty good idea of how the season has gone so far in one column. I just wish he would stick to basketball and hilarious, mindblowing 'incites' into the personal lives of our favorite Redskins players, instead of writing "hard facts" Redskins columns that are written like he just got off the Amtrac train from New York and desperately wanted to fit in with the local sports scene by writing the safest, most obvious columns possible ("Wait, the Redskins have beloved old player doing their radio broadcasts? No way, I didn't know that!"). But hey, I'm trying to give the man his props, as Wilbon has said in the past, he really knows his stuff when he's talking hoops, and he's hit the 'Zards debacle of a season (so far) on the head. I agree (Ed. Despite the win today over a talented Hawks team) that they should shut Arenas down. He's not himself right now, and his knee is clearly hurting him. This is a situation where it's both in the team's interest and the player's to have him shut it down for at least a couple of weeks. If they can't win when he's toughing it out there's no point in not taking a more longterm perspective on the season and letting him rest up and come back at a later date. He won't like it because he's a baller/shotcaller and it's a contract year for him, but it's worth it for both parties in the long run. Arenas' next contract goes down anywhere from $500k to $1 mil everytime people see him hobbling off the court with his knee packaged more securely in ice than a transplant organ, so why not take a few weeks off and start dropping thirty or forty on people when you come back?

Sorry for getting serious for a minute, please accept this entertaining video evidence of how Rugby is much more manly a sport than Soccer, via Deadspin, as my apology. (Lil Bro, I know you have plenty of time to enjoy it....I expect an 800 word response by tomorrow).

Sunday, November 4, 2007

If you have tears, prepare to shed them now....


Brothers, friends, Washingtonians, lend me your ears! Hear me for my cause; and be
silent, that you may hear: believe me for mine fandom, and have
respect for my fandom, that you may believe: censure me in your
"wisdom"; and stop talking out of your asses.

So let it be with J. Gibbs.
He is our coach, faithful and innovative,
Yet Minor Thread says he is senile,
and wants the Chin to assume the position,
because Joe is over the hill,
and the Chin reclines in a heated studio.
Joe hath brought many Lombardis home to Ol' DC,
for whom doth he win these trophies of inconceivable
value? Dost this seemeth anachronistic playcalling?

See the wounds that the Wide Receiver rendeth,
Missing important team meetings with "shin splints",
A thousand curses upon B.Lloyd and his "Euro-cut"!
Lo, how quickly the hurts of Burgundy and Gold faith
full turn on he who brought us to the promised land, not
once, not twice, but thrice.

Et tu Minor Thread? Et tu Lil Bro?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

In The Chin We Trust


If the Skins run the table and go 13-3 this year, their record under Joe Gibbs the last 4 years (34-30) would equal the WORST 4-year stretch in Bill Cowher's coaching career.
15 years.
11 winning seasons.
10 trips to the playoffs.
161-99-1.

Relocated to just down the road in Raleigh.
Worked with Saunders in Kansas City.
Would demand a terrific GM, even though Pittsburgh has thrived for many years without paying top-dollar for free agents and instead cultivated team-first superstars.
Would headhunt Tom Brady if Patriots had tried to run up the score on him.
Would replace fear of God at Redskins Park with fear of him.
Would kick ass, take names.

Handballing


I was in my flat in Cologne, flipping through the channels when I come across the Handball World Championships. Germany won against Poland, and it was big news. I however am a little confused by this sport. Admittedly it's been around for years, but still looks like BaseKet Ball to me. I mean, I like odd sports. Australian Rules Football is totally bizarre and enjoyable. But team handball just seemed lost on me. It just seemed like a game my friends and I in 5th grade would make up -- two goals, carry the ball, throw it at the goal. It seems all other popular sports -- soccer, American football, basketball -- deviated from this basic idea in order to make sport more interesting, challenging, and exciting.
Well, watch this YouTube video and tell me what you think.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Good Lord, for the Love of All that is Good in this World, Make it Stop!

(Bill Belicheck, left, clubs Joe Gibbs, right)

Since the blog has been quiet for a while I thought about liveblogging this game, but hey, I'm lazy. That and I think if I was actually registering the beatdown that the Skins are taking I'd try and hide in a swimming pool like Dustin Hoffman in "The Graduate".

On a lighter note, as I'm writing this during halftime and listening to Terry Bradshaw "read" highlights, I found myself wondering: is he drunk or just brain damaged?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Auf Wiedersehen!


Soon, me and my blushing bride will be leaving America for a while. I will try to blog thoughtfully on the sports of Germany, but my heart will always be watching DC, the Redskins, and loser players. (B. Loyld, one completed pass in one game does not a receiver make).
Auf Wiedersehen!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

1491 to now


If the sight of these two Cleveland fans in Indian-face doesn't give you pause about mascots like "Indians" or "Redskins," you're too busy rooting for laundry to see the big picture. As a teacher, I proudly displayed the big Skins mug in my classroom, until I had students who were of Native American descent... Kids always put things into perspective.
In my current hometown, legions of Braves fans do the ridiculous tomahawk chop and faux Indian war-chant not far from where the Trail of Tears started. The point is that they are just names, names we grew up with, names we're invested in; how hard would it be just to do the right thing and, out of courtesy for the past, find new ones that didn't have their root in old ignorances? Just a thought as the Dalai Lama is feted by this White House and the Armenian genocide is finally recognized by Congress. 1491 by Charles C. Mann is a worthy read.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Pwned, Baby!


It's times like these that I wish the NFL TV Distribution map didn't constantly flirt with the area I go to school in like a drunk sorority girl; there's something about watching the graph lines and play summaries on gamecast that just doesn't compare to seeing a Redskins game the way it was meant to be seen: in my den, on my coach, with the fellow Sandy bloggers and Papa Sandy, Baby.

But what domination, what defense, what punting?

"Derrick Frost is one of the league's underrated punters who hits these impossibly high, booming kicks that a return man has no choice but to fair catch."

Uh, okay Mike. The Redskins have a really good player at the least important position in football. Great. But hey, he's just excited after such a good win, as is the Boz. I'm not even going to touch this headline.

But whaddayaknow? 3-1! And if Favre plays like the drunken intramural quarterback he looked like in the second half of Chicago game tonight, that could very well be 4-1.

I can't wait until all the "Bandwagon" questions start up. Go Skins.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Big Picture


We all get caught up in the minutia the 24-hour sports news complex generates. We are told that to be sports fans we have to be. But the truth is that who the 14th man on the Wizard's roster is, who's calling the plays for the Skins, even the postmortem on the last win or loss, means little in the long run; that's all just rooting for the laundry, a la John Feinstein.
Give me consistent contenders over multiple years over flash-in-the-pan championships. They give you more hope, more reason to invest time and interest. So with that in mind, here are some glimpses of THE BIG PICTURE:

!) Can the Skins prove that their convoluted leadership structure can identify talent without a proven GM? Nothing is going to happen if they are saddled with Brandon Lloyds and Adam Archuletas. The first round drafting has been on par, but the top organizations mine the later rounds for lineman, potential and the depth that separates contenders from pretenders over the injury-riddled NFL season. Exhibits A & B are the current state of the O-line and the wide receiving corp. Keenan McKardell was good...back when Brunell was...
If not, are the Skins the Orioles circa 1998?

2) The college basketball teams are in good shape, with Gary Williams and now JT III in the fold for another 6 years. The coaches create the culture; the Hoyas and Terps will have a culture of winning far beyond 2010.

3) The Wiz have two big questions: can this group play decent defense as constituted or will they have to blow it up to find consistent stops at the end of the game? will Agent Zero re-sign at year's end? Both will get answered simultaneously, as the team will have to be signed around Arenas before he gets his 20 million. Big Picture 1A: will Gilbert define himself not by how good his team is on NBA Live 08, but how good they are in the standings? It's great to motivate yourself by how you are perceived, but at some point ya gotta start worrying less about perception, more about reality. Or don't they teach that at New School?

4) The Nats? Wake me up in 2009.

Meanwhile, don't sweat the wins and losses.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Two and One, Baby!

Hey, thanks for all the well wishes ... but let's talk about something important: The Redskins are 2 -1. This makes me very happy. I did not see the Giants or Philly games, but the word is that the 'skins fought hard in both. And while there's a controversy about the finale of the New York battle, I'm feeling pretty good about my team right now. So have our naysayers come around a little? Or am I still in that post-wedding afterglow with bluebirds on my shoulder and Redskins in the playoffs?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Good Times...


"Good Times.
Any time you meet a payment. - Good Times.
Any time you need a friend. - Good Times.
Any time you’re out from under.
Not getting hassled, not getting hustled.
Keepin’ your head above water,
Making a wave when you can."


So, okay, the Good Times theme song doesn't exactly convey my emotions about the events of the past few days, but it does continue on the theme of the blog post, as well as the theme of this week in Washington sports and the Sandy, Baby family. Lil Bro hears wedding bells, and is off to the land of Aristotle and fraternities with wife NASAGirl, the Nationals are ruining her family's favorite team's season in true pull-it-out-of-your-ass fashion, and the Skins have a solid win on national television, and Minor Thread and I are back at school.

DYNOMITE!!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hooray!


Lil Bro got married to the love of his life!
He deserves such happiness!
He now goes on Loosen Up assignment covering Greco wrestling for two weeks.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Lessons Learned


So, what did we learn from the Redskins win over Miami?
1) Jason Campbell has a great arm (but not so good judgement)
2) The Betts/Portis dynamic duo can be a steam roller (but I predict egos will hurt this partnership)
3) The D is better than last year (but the secondary needs WORK! Fred Smoot, you could have been a hero!)
and
4) Antwaan Randle El is a threat -- 5 receptions for 162 yards, though admittedly one catch was a freak play. ... and B. Lame? ZERO for ZERO! Hello, Reche Caldwell.

We need to play a whole lot better to beat Philly. Even dum-dum Dan Dierdorf could see that. But as long as the loss of Jon Jansen (get well soon, big man) doesn't mess up the O-line and we stick to Gibbs football (power running and the occasional long ball) I say the 'Skins have a shot at 9-7.
What say you oh brothers of infinite wisdom?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Beijing 2008 Preview


Jeremy Wariner winning the 400 meters despite a fast challenge by LaShawn Merritt over the first 300.


Allyson Felix en el 200 metros del Final Mundial...
Indications are that Felix can pull off the Michael Johnson double with her untapped 400 power. The Stockholm soundtrack has got to be the nuttiest I've heard. Runners introduced to a Thriller sample followed by the tension-building whistling of Bobby McFerrin? Don't Worry, Be Happy when you're rigging up, dropping anchor, walking backwards over the last 100?

The men's 1500 final, best served in silent. All the better to see Asbel Kiprop's brave last to first surge, Webb getting himself in perfect position, Lagat's kick, Ramzi ticked off, the three Spainards trying to figure out what went wrong...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Baseball messiah


I don't follow baseball much. I do however enjoy the occasional song parody (okay, I REALLY enjoy a good parody, but please, please, do not call me Weird Al.) Ollie's post below inspired this ditty about the Nationals.

Jesus Flores Superstar (as sung to "Superstar" from Jesus Christ Superstar)

Every time I see you hit I don't understand
How the Nats line-up got so out of hand.
Acta would have managed better if he'd had a plan.
Why'd he choose Brian Schneider who is such a strange man?
If you would lead today we could reach the post-season.
All your fans in Venezuela would be a Chavez-hating legion.
Don't you get me wrong.
I only want to know.

[CHORUS]

Jesus Flores, Jesus Flores,
Who are you? What have you sacrificed (bunt)?
Jesus Flores Superstar,
Do you think you're what Ollie says you are? (Nats Messiah)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

I'm back and with some baseball fellas...Barry Svrluga, beatwriter extraordinaire is the first professional to, subtly, point out a fact that Capitol Punishment and every other Nats fan has (have?) been railing on: Brian Schneider is not very good. And he makes a lot of money (for a cheap ass team).

"Which leaves the Nationals with an interesting question. Schneider, a veteran with two years and $9.8 million left on his contract, is struggling offensively, hitting .228. Acta said last night that Flores would likely play more over the final month of the season, but he also continued to praise Schneider's work with the pitching staff."


And after last night's win, the question is, why not make Jesus Flores, Superstar, the starter? Manny certainly seems to have a mancrush on him:

"...Acta believes in Flores's long-term potential as a power hitter.

"I've been wrong before, many times," he said, "but I do think this kid's going to be a good player up here."

Not to mention, the SvlurgBlvurg had a nice little position comparison that pretty much destroyed the notion that Schneider is irreplaceable because of his defensive and game-calling skillzz. I can't find it anymore on the Post site, and I'm too lazy to crunch the numbers myself. But the staff ERA with Flores behind the plate was something like a full run less than for Schneider. And Schneider is due $9.8 million over the next two years. But hey, at least he's got a hot bat.

The days of Jesus Flores, Superstar look imminent.

World Champs Wrap-Up


Wow.
Bernard Lagat brought home America's second distance medal, this time in the 5000 meters. This double is quite difficult, especially considering all the extra rounds Lagat had to run to qualify for BOTH the 1500 and 5000 final. The story here is that the other runners served the race to Lagat on a silver platter. Having already run the 1500, and having the best miling credentials in the house, Bernie must have been in disbelief when no one else pushed the pace to try to run away from him. He threw down a killer 1:51 last 800 meters (one-half of a 3:42 mile, folks) to eek out the win. Slideshow here. Matt Tegenkamp had an impressive 4th place finish for the American team, as well.
Other runners in the 1500 and 5000 have one year to work on a strategy for taking both races out hard, so Lagat can't sit-and-kick again. With the heat of Beijing (+ the smog) it will take someone willing to risk last place.

Another Beijing storyline will be the Chinese female distance runners vs. drug-testing technology. China wants this Olympics to be its coronation as the center of the 21st century universe; will a wave of dominant female distance runners (and swimmers, and bikers...) emerge suddenly to be the heralds of a new age? Cue Galactus music...

Saturday, September 1, 2007

1 Second...


...separated American teammates Bernard Lagat and Alan Webb. One gets feted as the first American winner of the 1500 ever in an Olympics or World Championships, the other roasted as an over-hyped also-ran for his 8th place finish.

Lagat, cited constantly as a wonderful ambassador for the sport, wins his first championship medal at age 32, having spent years laboring in the shadows of Hicham El Guerrouj and Nourredine Mourceli. The second-fastest 1500 meter runner in history (3:26.34 in 2001), he is seen as an athlete on the decline, far-removed from his best times. But Lagat had more than enough speed to take charge of the last 100 meters of Wednesday's final, just holding off defending champion Rashid Ramzi. Lagat goes for the 5000 meter double on Sunday, along with fellow Americans Adam Goucher and new wunderkind Matt Tegenkamp (look for Ethiopia's Bekele and Australian Mottram to run with a lot of guts).

But while "Bernie" is an honorable champion achieving an important first for American distance running, rooting for him feels like rooting for a Daniel Snyder free agent brought in to help the team. This former Washington State runner's connection to the US is heartfelt, quite unlike the cynical repatriation of other Kenyans to Middle Eastern countries offering cash. And yet, and yet...

Alan Webb put himself into position to win over the final straightaway, but his newfound speed failed him. There are rumors of a cold, antibiotics, perhaps peaking too soon to go for the American record in the mile. Maybe a more extended kick over the last lap would have been harder for his opponents to cover. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. Webb waxes philosophical about Beijing and the rest of the season in this Flotrack interview.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Rubbing Is Racing


Whoops! My bad. Somehow I misread the startlists on the IAAF website in writing the previous post. Alan Webb was racing against Ramzi and Mansoor Ali in his semifinal heat, but not the others I considered contenders. But that's not to say the semifinals weren't full of action and, ulp! drama.

First, in the other heat, Bernard Lagat ran a masterful race to win in the relatively slow time of 3:42 (a 3:58 mile). A naturalized US citizen, Lagat seemed to be fading as a contender during the slew of 'regular season' European meets this summer, losing the speed necessary to compete in the 1500 at age 31. Folks thought a move up to the 5000 meters would be Lagat's best bet in the future.

Championship 1500s are typified by slow running for three laps, then a jailbreak as everybody goes for broke. Typically, nobody wants to set a fast pace, as frontrunners spending the mental energy of leading often simply set up runners behind them to go flying by in the last lap. Slow laps create a bunch of athletes all clumped together, making positioning all-important. In the past, talented US athletes, such as Georgetown alum Steve Holman, were able to run fast times in rabbited races that get stretched out around the track, allowing for free movement, but struggled when thrown into the jostling, elbowing frenzy of a slower race. In these tight quarters, when openings allowing a mad dash to the finish fail to emerge, people get physical, as when the aforementioned Holman shoved Haverford alum Karl Paranya in the 1997 US Championships (Paranya stumbled but recovered well enough for 3rd, 2nd when Holman was DQed).

Hence the mayhem of the last 50 meters of Lagat's heat, which saw Baala of France give Higuero of Spain a Vulcan nerve pinch in order to get by. Higuero hit the deck, sending Baba of Morrocco down as well. Baala got DQed for the wrestling move while the two men he impeded get a free pass to the final. The French team has petitioned for Baala's reinstatement...

Seeking to avoid the scrum inside the pack, Alan Webb made the curious decision of bolting to the back of the pack as his heat started. He remained there, dangling over the precipice until the last 200 meters. Then he pulled around out of last place, intent on relying on the big kick he's rediscovered this season.

Problem is, everybody else starts charging, too.

Whereas Bernard Lagat, the experienced pro, moved around the pack in his heat with obvious guile and precise timing, it's clear Webb has waited too long. In the last 100 meters he's got 7 men ahead of them, seemingly moving too fast for him to catch.

Then, at the last second, a couple guys fade, and Webb finishes in 5th for the last automatic ticket to the final.

Not trusting myself, the startlist for the final is here.

Will Webb put himself in position to win? Does he need to stretch out the race with a fast pace from the beginning? Make a move at the halfway mark like he tried back in 2005?
Can Lagat regain his form just in time to win a tactical raced with a sprint at the end?
The final is full of subplots, too.

Kiwi Nick Willis, who was a teammate of Webb's during Alan's one year stint at Michigan, will be in the mix, but likely not be a player.

Asbel Kiprop, the finger-waving Kenyan from the first round, is only 18 years old and yet has pledged "to rule the world."
Kids these days...

Defending world champion Rashid Ramzi is lurking...

There are lots of teammates running together on Wednesday: three Spainards, and two each of the Algerians, Bahrainis, Americans, and Kenyans. Team tactics are not unknown. A team of three could try and control the race from the front, boxing in any other contenders until the final dash. Here is the 1996 Olympic final, as 3 Kenyans try to bottle up the immortal Nourredine Morceli (in the white and blue at the front).

A pair of runners have worked in tandem as one athlete acts as a pace car, a sacrificial lamb who sets a fast pace for the other runner, turning a slow race into a gingerbread man catch-me-if-you-can. The 2000 Olympic final featuring Hicham El Guerrouj and his chauffeur.

But with no dominant runner in play, it seems most likely that the final will be every man for himself. For the Americans, Lagat would favor a slow tactical race, Webb a fast one. No American has medaled in the 1500 in 20 years.

My gut tells me Webb will try to dictate the pace of the race, either from the gun or at 800 meters. He has a history of not doing well when he has to think and react on his toes, even though this seems to have improved in the past year. Like Pre, he'd rather lose a tough, fast race (3:30 - 3:34) than a tactical 3:35-3:40 race. He'll want the 800 meter split to be around 1:55-1:56. If it's not, he needs to go. A good model for him might be this race by Steve Cram.

After all the hype, it all comes down to three minutes and change on Wednesday.

Prediction:
1st - Webb
2nd - Kiprop
3rd - Lagat

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Webb Advances


The Post finally went bandwagon jumping with this article on Alan Webb, front page nonetheless!
Webb got rolling in Osaka today, as the World Championships started in the buchii mushii atsui weather of August on the Kansai plain (Loosen Up is the only blog delivering sports weather reports in authentic Osaka slang). 3 rounds in 6 days means the opening race is a balancing act, the purpose of which is to make sure you finish high enough/fast enough to either pass through to the next round on place (top-6 per race) or time (the next fastest 6 runners), while at the same time, if possible, conserving energy and effort for the next rounds, which will be progressively harder.

Webb brought his lunch pail, riding in a comfortable second for the first three slow laps in a workmanlike 3:40 (3:56 mile), guaranteeing a spot in the 2nd round. While Kenyan Asbel Kiprop did a nice bit of finger waving as he crossed the line to get a meaningless win, Webb took a page from Art Monk's book, acting like he had been there before. His countenance serious and focused, he ducked press requests as he headed straight into the stadium. A photo of the finish is at top.


Webb's real competition is still laying in wait in the tall grass, having been placed in other heats. The first time represents their seasonal best at 1500 meters, the second their alltime best:
Ivan Heshko UKR 3:35.03 3:30.33
Youssef Baba MAR 3:32.13 3:32.13
Mehdi Baala FRA 3:31.01 3:28.98
Rashid Ramzi BRN 3:29.14
Mohamed Moustaoui MAR 3:32.67 3:32.51
Daniel Kipchirchir Komen KEN 3:32.44 3:29.02
Tarek Boukensa ALG 3:30.92 3:30.92
Belal Mansoor Ali BRN 3:31.49 3:31.49


Compared to Webb: Alan Webb USA 3:30.54 3:30.54

In his second round heat Webb gets Ramzi, Baala (who was upset by Webb on his home turf at the Paris Grand Prix this year), Komen, Boukensa, Moustaoui, the finger-waving Kenyan Kiprop, and fellow American Bernard Lagat. On Monday night the top-5 finishers qualify for the final, along with the two fastest times not qualifying automatically on place from the two heats.
Do the math.
Somebody's going home.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Little Miss Sonny

Mike Wise makes me think of a new movie classic.

Sam Huff + Sonny Jurgenson in Grumpy Old Men IV: Dentures but Still Drinking

Plot: Sam and Sonny travel cross-country in a VW van to take Brandon Lloyd to a talent show where he can debut his musical skillz. They are accompanied by a crazy cast of characters. Love child Larry Michael has taken a vow of silence, no one complains. "Uncle" Joe Bugel is distraught over a failed relationship with one of his lineman. And the corpse of Jack Kent Cooke is a lovable ne'er-do-well who coaches B. Lloyd to fame in The Litte Miss No-Talent Contest.

Coming to a theater near you!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thursday Bullets...Cuz I'm Laaaaaazy

Suck it Angelos.

Cue "Guantenamero": Jai-me Moreno! There's only one Jaime Moreno! Jaime Morennnno! There's only one Jaime Morennnno.

Batman has his non-homoerotic Robin.

Your populism, 42 cent gas, and media censorship won't get you out of this one, Chavez.


I've been holed up in my Fortress of Solitude (n0 girlz alloweds!!!) playing video crack...I mean, Madden (damn you, Superstar Mode!), so I have to ask: when did Nook Logan turn into Joe DiMaggio?

And the fantabulous Capitol Punishment has risen the ranks of semi-professional embittered sports blogger to semi-professional embittered ESPN commentator. Congratulations!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

SuperStupid


Too much reaction would ennoble this line of thinking, but expect more and more people to try and justify steroid use in sports.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Czar of My Heart


For years I have suffered in silence, denying my passion.
But now I must confess my feelings and yell from the highest mountain top: "Lindsay Czarniak, NBC Channel 4 sports reporter, I totally [heart] you!"

Can she hear me? Do I need to yell louder to reach the Ivory Tower of WRC (4001 Nebraska Avenue, N.W.)? Perhaps when next her disembodied head and torso enters my living room TV to host Sports Machine, I will whisper her this poem.

Blond hair flowing,
on the Peacock network showing
clips of NASCAR and baseball

You'll never replace the Great Glenn Brenner
But in my mind you're like an all-night bender
making me woozy and light-headed

While Arch Campbell plays the fool
And Jim Vance a news-reading tool
You are light and oh-so beautiful

George Michael does his part
But you I watched from the start
My Czarnizak, the czar of my heart

[Now before I get a arrested for stalking (and get totally beat down by my fiancee), let me explain: my crush on Lindsay Czarniak is with her perky TV personality. I don't really want to get to know the real person. I'm sure she's pleasant. But it's the Platonic ideal that Lindsay represents that I sing of, a woman who can talk sports and look good in a pantsuit.]

Monday, August 13, 2007

B. Lloyd B. Lame II

The Post USA magazine, a new celebrity rag, features a profile of Redskin Brandon Lloyd, who I am starting to hate almost as much as Kwame "Jordan's gonna kill me" Brown. The D.C. Sports Bog pokes holes in this love letter to the rapping receiver, and I want to point out two specific quotes.

First: "He’s working as hard on his musical career as he is football." ... What's the Grammy you win for whining about shin splints for a whole album?

Second: "He’s as good a father and husband as he is athlete and entertainer." ... For his family's sake, I hope not.

The magazine also features ex-Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar. Sammy was known for his solo hit "I can't drive 55."

B. Lloyd plans to cover it. New title: "I can't catch 25."

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Nostrodumbass



Predictions!

Within 3 years the baseball's career homerun record will be 755, Aaron, Hank.

Also the following records will be erased:

Rank Player (age that year) Home Runs Year Bats
1. Barry Bonds* (36) 73 2001 L
2. Mark McGwire (34) 70 1998 R
3. Sammy Sosa (29) 66 1998 R
4. Mark McGwire (35) 65 1999 R
5. Sammy Sosa (32) 64 2001 R
6. Sammy Sosa (30) 63 1999 R

(www.baseball-reference.com)

because the following arguments will be seen for what they are, rationalizations of cheating.

1) Lots of people were doing it
2) They weren't breaking a baseball rule (just federal law)
3) Bonds and others were great players to begin with (so they get to cheat?)
4) We can't know exactly how many homeruns resulted from performance enhancers (what if we found out a player had used a corked bat for years?)
5) People have cheated in other ways throughout time

The other day, ESPN commentators said, critically, that the baseball administration would try to taint the record by mentioning the ongoing investigation. The cheating itself, not the references to the cheating, taints the record.

It will be tough in the short run, but necessary in the long run, for baseball, and all sports, to face the demons and come clean. Erasure, not asterisks, is the answer. The NFL, once held up as having the best league policy on performance enhancers, faces its own problems, as evidenced by outstanding Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman testing positive and only missing 4 games.

Ironically, track and field is often cited as the sport with the most problems with performance enhancers, and yet it is the sport that has tried to test the earliest of almost any American sport. Ben Johnson had his 100 meter gold medal from the 1988 Olympics stripped from him 17 years before Major League Baseball established an effective testing policy. Recently, Justin Gatlin had his share of the 100 meter world record taken away after testing positive. Contrast that definitive action with the rationalizations surrounding Bonds.

Currently track athletes face ban of two years for a positive test, compared to 50 games, a third of a season, in baseball, and 4 games, a quarter of a season, in the NFL. A second positive results in a lifetime ban, and the USATF is proposing a lifetime ban on a first positive. And let's not forget that BALCO and its test-eluding steroid the clear were revealed by the initiative of track coach Trevor Graham, albeit for motives of jealousy, not altruism.

There are, of course, still track athletes cheating. The record books contain remnants of Eastern Bloc drug programs, the mysterious earthshattering feats of female Chinese distance runners (one runner broke the 5000 meter world record during her 10,000 meter race), and others, including Americans, using performance enhancers independent of any state-run regimen. But the policy is clear -- any athlete caught will face severe punishment, any tainted record expunged. Track produces scandal by, for the most part, refusing to look the other way and knowing the scandal and negative publicity are the price of refusing to turn a blind eye.

Skins will go 6 and 10. Gibbs will retire. Cowher will be hired.

Wiz will go 51 and 31 and make it to the conference finals.

Alan Webb will win the world championships in the 1500 and receive attention due.

The Takeover


First Bogmaster Agent Steinz tosses Ollie some props, then Michael Wilbon, clearly shamed by this stunning rebuttal of his earlier column on Bonds, reverses himself here. Now Mike Wise, PAID JOURNALIST, spends 2 e-pages on the Skins dysfunction, when Loosen Up nailed it weeks ago in a paragraph-plus.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Best Rapper Alive

Here, via D.C. Sports Bog, via Fanhouse, via Youtubes, via too many shots of Jim Beam, John Riggins rapping. That sound you're hearing, besides the white hot truth that Riggo is spitting, and the blazin' synth beats of the guy who made $3,000 coming up with this masterpiece, is the sound of the best moment ever in the life of a twenty year old sports blogger.

Somewhere, John Riggins is shaking his head and praying the Atari commercial he did never makes it to the internet.

Actual comment by a Bog reader (Lil Bro I'm looking at you): "Brandon Lloyd, listen and learn. Football playing rappers with a super bowl ring>football playing rappers with 23 catches."

UPDATE: This is why YouTube is so great. Sean Taylor IS: BATMAN

Smoot Smack

This is juvenile, crude, and I probably will incur the wrath of my older brother, but I just CAN NOT resist.
Today's Post article on Redskin Fred Smoot examined (once again) his role in the infamous Minn. Vikings sex boat incident, and I discovered a new definition for a Smoot Smack:
Steven Tallen, who prosecuted the case [.].... pointed to multiple witnesses who reported Smoot used a sexual device on two women at the same time ... .
Heh. I work blue.

Oh, and the United smacked David Beckham's American debut. Bend this, Beckham!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Curb Your Enthusiasm



Just when they think they're out, mediocrity pulls them back in. After a scorching hot week, the Nats have been chilled by the cool summer Bay breeze. (Like that lead? It took me 45 minutes to write...professionalism, baby!) Three games, two losses, and the so bad I-threw-up-in-my-mouth homeruns given up to Barry Bonds. But hey....we're only 9.5 games out of the Wild Card!

This has been bugging me for a while, but someone may have mentioned this before (it seems too obvious for someone not to have): Don Sutton looks almost exactly like Larry David. Yeah, he does have hair, but c'mon. The resembelance is a bit uncanny. Whenever I see a shot of him and blogger extraordanaire Bob Carpenter, I keep expecting him to start ranting about the menacing nature of trick-or-treating. Either that, or this next season of Curb is going to be about the virtues of a well-placed fastball.

"This Langerhans guy...it's crazy! He sucks, but he plays like, every other game? And he's always dipping, always dipping. Hey, whats the deal with chewing tobacco? I mean, I know it gives you a buzz, but I never see anybody actually chewing it. You would think, y'know, since they call it chewing tobacco, that you'd have to, y'know, chew it. I thought it was like gum, except you get a buzz off of it. Hey! They should make a chewing tobacco flavored gum, so you actually chew the chewing tobacco! Hey, that wasn't a strike you cunt!"

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Holy Betrothals, CaptainChaos!

Bonds update--5th inning, douch---I mean, Barry hasn't hit a homer. Yet. If he does, I hope Frank Robinson pulls a WWE and decks him.

UPDATE: Crap. Never mind. Although this remark from Bob Carpenter did bring me a smile, "In a city where anything goes, they're going to be celebrating tonight." Care to elaborate, Bob? Perhaps some extended visits to Castro Street?

UPDATE ON THE UPDATE: Hank Aaron, Noooooooooooo! I was holding out hope for a second that his head would appear on the screen with a simple "Aaron angry" or something. Thought he was a Bond (no pun intended) villain for a second. "If you do not erase that home run from the books, I will be forced to use my laser satellite to level the entire Bay Area." Oh well. By the way, how contrived and classless is it to stop a game to celebrate ANY individual achievement. "We don't value individual records more than winning games...just sometimes." Didn't exactly see anyone rushing the field to congratulate him.

Anyway, this column by Mike Wise is just pretty awesome. Wise chronicles how Johnny White Guy has become CaptainChaos, the timing of which is appropos because CaptainChaos is getting engaged. And apparently, Chris Cooley not only enjoys love triangles with cheerleaders (in more ways than one?) but also going to strip clubs with his new fiancee...and her aunt and uncle too. What?!?!?!

"Over the spring, Chris, Christy, Scott, her uncle Craig and aunt Shannon ended up at Vixens Gentlemen's Club in West Virginia for what turned out to be a family outing.

"Everyone knew who Chris was," Christy said. "The owner came out, they gave us VIP treatment and all of a sudden I look up and the strippers are dancing to 'Hail to the Redskins.' It was crazy."

Not to mention, celebrating his fiancee's birthday with her Dad like a college frat boy.

"That's where the Oglevees come in. According to Chris, they know a good time. In honor of Christy's 21st birthday last year, Christy's father, Scott, and Cooley threw back 21 shots of Jim Beam bourbon. Apiece. "Oh, we were hurtin'," Cooley said."

Not only is CC now the clear heir apparent to Sonny Jurgensen and John Riggins on this team now, but his fiancee's family sounds awesome/insane.

He also parties with Lil E:

"Courtesy of Joe Gibbs Racing, they ended up in Tony Stewart's pit at a NASCAR race and later threw back beers with Dale Earnhardt Jr.

"Awesome," Cooley said. "We went and said hi to Dale and he said, 'You want to come party tonight?' So we said, 'Sure.' He says, 'Catch my helicopter over to the house when the race ends.' Dude, you had to see this place."

And he got his nickname from introducing himself as Captain Chaos to the team captains of an opposing team after the coin toss:

"Captain Chaos was born in 2005 when former teammate Brian Kozlowski bet Cooley $100 he would not introduce himself as such to the St. Louis Rams' captains before a game. "There were five captains," Cooley said. "I looked every one in the face and said: 'I'm Captain Chaos. Nice to meet you.' " Reebok made a T-shirt and it stuck."

Dudes, my mind has been blown. Amazing stuff by Kornheiser Lite. Frankly, I'm a little surprised he scooped Agent Steinzz on this stuff. Steinzz needs to step up his game a little bit and rise to the challenge here.

Clear & Present Danger


Whatever we've thought of Barry Bonds in the recent past, he's doing and saying mostly the right things now. [italics mine]
-
Michael Wilbon, Washington Post, August 7th, 2007


I've thought for a while that what people forget is that the performance enhancers that are the elephant in the room are drugs, harmful, illegal drugs that leave a pattern of predictable behavior in their wake. All of the accused steroid users, and epo users in cycling, act like addicts, perhaps not chemically addicted but emotionally dependent on the perceived boost these drugs give to their confidences, their careers, their lives. They deny, they obfuscate, they do and try anything to justify their behavior, because they need to. Coming clean, facing the truth, would be too painful and would threaten the way of life they are enmeshed in.

According to a transcript of Bonds’ Dec. 4, 2003, testimony reviewed by the Chronicle, prosecutors confronted the slugger with documents allegedly detailing the steroids he used — “the cream,” “the clear,” human growth hormone, Depo-Testosterone, insulin and a drug for female infertility that can be used to mask steroid use. - The San Francisco Chronicle
The jury is not out. It's clear Bonds juiced. The evidence, his changed body, the rumors, the record book detailing dosage and date, is out there for everyone, Major League Baseball, ESPN, the newspapers. And yet people continue to enable and deny.

...he's doing and saying mostly the right things now

Has Bonds come clean? Has he told the truth? Apologized? Gone public with what he has done and why? There is an active federal grand jury investigation into Bonds's steroid usage. Is he volunteering information?

...he's doing and saying mostly the right things now

In fact, Greg Anderson, Bonds's trainer and friend since middle school, convicted steroid dealer, is refusing to testify against Bonds as part of that grand jury investigation and serving jail time instead. Bonds is actively obscuring the truth through his relationship with Anderson. If Bonds is innocent or took the cream, the clear, human growth hormone, depo-testosterone, insulin, and a drug for female infertility that serves to mask steroid usage unknowingly (cough!), why is Anderson refusing to testify? See the excellent NY Times article by Murray Chass.

A split screen on ESPN every time they cut away to the home run record chase-- half Anderson sitting in his jail cell remaining silent/half Bonds at bat -- would tell the whole story. But that's not the storyline they're selling...;)

Michael Wilbon criticizes Bud Selig for what is, I admit, a wishy-washy stance that's par for the course of his tenure as commisioner. But hands in the pockets might be the classiest move at this point. Other than not attending.

...he's doing and saying mostly the right things now

The truth is the right thing to say and do.
This isn't about Bonds as a gruff, obnoxious guy. The records of Sosa, McGwire, Giambi, Palmeiro should be stricken if, as suspected, they were using, too.
A drug enabler wants everything to seem to be okay, normal, no matter how much pretending and denial it may take.

he's doing and saying mostly the right things now

Performance enhancers are a clear and present danger to the integrity of sports; they threaten to turn all sports into mere storylines, orchestrated to generate drama. The truth, the fairness, the reality all get trampled as everyone, fans, players, teams, networks, newspapers, become enmeshed in the storylines The storyline of the homerun chase back in the 90's helped bring baseball back, but at what cost? Michael Wilbon seems to be saying, "See, Barry is doing his part to say and do the things expected to be part of The Storyline. Why can't we all?"

This moment is awkward and corrupt because that's the truth of it. The new era of sports is eclipsing the old. We all know the circumstances. We can choose to applaud and pretend nothing's wrong, that there isn't a cheater getting away with it, that there isn't a man sitting in a jail cell in silence in order to protect the storyline that profits sports networks and sportswriters and Major League Baseball itself. Or we can demand truth and fairness in sports. In the name of Hank Aaron, in the name of Roger Maris. In the names of all the baseball players who didn't risk their lives taking drugs. Selig stands, hands in pockets, knowing this happened on his watch, but really it happened while all of us were watching.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

WizNotes


Of note:
The Atlanta Journal Constitution ran a preview of the Eastern Conference, dividing into teams that have improved and those that stood pat. The Wizards get nary a mention. But -- before Ollie goes on a Rooster Rampage -- we should all chillax and get our stealth on. Had we not gotten hit with injuries last year, we'd have been a top-3 seed in the East. #1 record at the break, even with the terrible start. This year Gil won't get all gotta pump iron till the break of day before the opener and we'll hit the ground running. I just wish he'd brag not about how many jump shots he's hitting during the summer, but how much defense he's practicing. The scoring needs to be more balanced, with Daniels, Young, Pech, DMac having big games occasionally to offset the reliance on the Big Three. 50+ Wins

- Interesting to see how protected the draft pick from the Grizzlies is. If we get it next year we can do one of three things -

1) dish off to someone w/ a side helping of Etan Thomas, freeing up money for a big free agent signing.
Big free agent market next year. But the player who best fits the needs of the Wiz is F/C Elton Brand. A 20/10 low post player who is also a good citizen, but who unfortunately just tore his achilles/out 6 months. He has a player option to get out of his contract. Some speculation he wouldn't opt out after an injured season, but big men get big money all the time.

2) Use both picks in a trade for an established player. Not sure what kind of player would both fit us and a team would be willing to give up. Less likely, methinks.

3) Use both picks -- lots of F/C coming out next year. Kevin Love? Darrell Arthur? Michael Beasley? Hibbert? DeAndre Jordan? All seem to have the potential to help the Wiz. Soem of these will be taken higher than either pick, but some will be available 15-25. But, they'd be young when the rest of the team is in its prime.

- A Spanish fan touting Navarro's impact on the NBA (and the Wizard's loss) on the messageboards cited a Navarro highlight reel on Youtube as proof of La Bomba's skillz. The rebuttal came when another fan linked to another bit of Youtubery, this time a very funny clip of Navarro getting absolutely shut down by a fringe NBA player guarding him in a Spanish league game. Both are worth checking out. I'm going to trust Grunfeld's instincts on this one.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

B. Lloyd B. Lame


I learned from Dan Steinberg this week that Redskin Brandon Lloyd has songs posted on his MySpace page. They include the hip-hop ditties "I Get the Chedda" and "Bad Child."
The aspiring musician has inspired me to write my own rap song, appropriately titled ...

"Catch the Ball 85!"

(Intro: generic Casio beat, sound effects from "The Longest Yard," a brief cornet melody, DMX-style shout chorus)

You singin' about chedda, but makin' TDs would be betta,
Smash yo helmet on the ground, Gangsta Gibbs sure ain't down,

Catch the ball 85, catch the ball 85!

23-for-57, your numbers stink to heaven,
Now you're No. 3, is Randle El all we need?

Catch the ball 85, catch the ball 85!

Back to Frisco, you're stale as Nabisco,
Here's a napkin man 'cause you got butter in your hands


Please add verses as needed during the season.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Notes ands Arrested Development Jokes

"Baby" friend/ 12th level Bogmaster Dan Steinberg attempts to answer Lil Bro's burning question. The definitive answer is: maybe? Steinzz seems to have a bit of a subjective stance on the issue.

Also, Andray Blatche pulled a Hugh Grant. Oops. At least he'll take that 5 yr $12 mil deal without a hassle now... Word is his solicitation was almost as awkward as George Michael from Arrested Development. Don't even ask what he wanted to do with his chocolate covered banana.

Oh, and apparently we have a baseball team now. Who knew? I'm a little surprised nobody's mentioned it before.

Suggested questions for George Michael's chat tomorrow, on washingtonpost.com @ 12:30. (and let's face it...that kid is and always and only will be, George Michael Bluth...even after his third DUI):

How many pairs of pleated khakis do you own? The over/under is set at 150.

How long did you have to study for your role as an awkward high school student in your upcoming movie Superbad? 10, 15 seconds?

I supported your previous campaign, and was crestfallen when you didn't win. Do you plan on challenging Steve Holt *STEVE HOLT* for the Class Presidency again? And where might I acquire some campaign literature?