Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Mansour Bahrami is the greatest tennis player and clown you’ve never heard of. A one man Harlem Globetrotters of tennis.

Don’t get too much joy in your cereal:

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Whilst our children are playing video games, the children of the former Soviet Union are doing feats of strength, dexterity, and fearlessness, making “Red Dawn: The Actual” an inevitability.

See their playfulness, oh Sons of Jefferson, and quail!

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I left the bar last night with the Dallas Mavericks down 15, with about 6 minutes left in the fourth. Apparently, the Mavs went on a 17-2 run to win the game, Dirk blowing by VeBoshiraptor like he was glued to the wood, finishing with his injured left hand.

Remember, people: the tears of David Stern, Pat Riley, Lebron James, Bosh and Wade can repair the polar ice caps. They can clean rivers, repair crumbling infrastructure, and put Goldman Sachs CEOs in jail. They can regrow amputated limbs, salamander-style. They can give everyone mutant powers: flight, invisibility, or Adriana Lima-attracting-musk.

Ask Marko Jaric. Wade cried on him once.

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The Onion wins again. Genius. Goddamn, they piss me off sometimes.

“I walked up to one of them, tapped on the glass, and the test-tube Big Baby inside opened its eyes,” Allen continued. “I just kind of panicked and started screaming, and then the liquid in the tanks started bubbling and all the Big Babies were screaming in unison.”

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I never thought I’d miss John Madden.

I never thought I’d miss the liberal use of the word doink. The nauseating repetition of the Coach’s Clicker. The getting winded from speaking a compound sentence.

What a blowhard. What a meatball. But he made life more interesting. The bonehead.

Here’s the deal: I was listening to the Fox A team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. These are a couple of much more polished individuals who know a thing or two about the sport of football. I was watching the game when BAM!, WAP!, Turducken!, it hit me that there’s nothing overly idiosyncratic about anything they do. Nothing odd. Nothing at all unexpected. Which made me wonder how the broadcast would differ if Madden was still in the booth. Take off the polish and replace their civil, calculated opinions with real, live, in-the-moment reactions. Doink! Madden would be speaking his thoughts in real time, literally saying the words as they appear in his brain. That’s why his sentences could end so horrifically. Or trail off into stammering until the ball was snapped. Or end with grunts and stuff. He’s reacting on gut instinct, pure emotion, and undigested hot sauce.

This is the same John Madden who loudly uttered:
“The team who scores the most points will win the game.”
“They’re either going to run the ball here, or they’re gonna pass it.”
“When a guy runs he goes faster.”
“His helmet flew off…that’s the bad news. The good news is his head wasn’t in it.”

In the baseball world, I’ll miss this about Ron Santo, too. I’m a Milwaukee Brewers fan (living near Madison), but I will occasionally tune into a Cubs’ broadcast. The recently-departed Santo made such astute observations as, “Aawwwww! Nooo!” and “What?…Woah!” It’s like he was speaking to whales. Santo drove me nuts because he was as much a distraction from broadcast partner Pat Hughes as he was a broadcaster himself. But real emotion from the gut of a human being counts for a lot with me. Maybe I should have appreciated him more, too.

I guess what I’m saying is, John Madden, I owe you an apology. I was bothered by your volume level and your bumbling, but my football enjoyment could have been better served by sitting back to enjoy the show you provided. Maybe someday we’ll run across each other while touring America in our recreational vehicles, and the two of us can share a laugh and toast a Miller Lite.

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This man once impregnated a walrus. True story.

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My son Aubrey had a recent brush with Bears fandom. With the NFC Championship approaching, I used it as a Teachable Moment.

We were at Saver’s (it’s a Least Coast thing, sort of a cross between K-Mart and a refugee camp). As it happens we were passing by the pre-stained visors, and Aubrey indicated that he really wanted this particular visor. I saw the blue and orange, but since it looked like a golf visor to me, I assumed it was for some caddy-training facility in North Carolina. I let him wear it until I noticed the insignia…then we had to have a little talk.

I knew it was time for some of life’s Harder Truths, but I figured it best to start gently:

“Son, the ‘Chicago Bears’ as they are popularly known, are a Communist front, and also a Satanic cult.

I knew it would get easier from there. “The entire organization – from GM Jerry Angelo all the way down to the lowliest kielbasa-monger in Soldier Field – HATES CHILDREN. Soldier Field was built over a Chuck E. Cheese and a waterpark. In 2003 the organization bulldozed an orphanage just to build an extra warehouse for off-site penalty flag storage. Chicago Bears Football Organization, Inc. is also the world’s largest producer of poison lollipops.”

Some of the more famous Chicago Bears:

George S. ‘Papa Bear’ Halas: inventor, sadist, coach, arsonist, communist spy. Before he came to this country he was a Romanian dictator. After inventing the landmine, he lobbied for legislation to abolish Christmas. Then he coached the Chicago Bears for 40 years. Before he died in 1983, he created fat-free pudding and disco.

Dick Butkus: When he was 12, Dick Butkus used his dad’s pickup to run over a Nativity scene in his childhood neighborhood of Roselawn Chicago. When asked how he lost control so completely in the tiny church parking lot, young Butkus replied that it wasn’t an accident, he just “hates the Baby Jesus real bad.” He is also addicted to dog’s blood. That’s right – he’s like a vampire, but for dogs.

And Mike Ditka, my god. In the early nineties “Iron Mike” Ditka played weekly cribbage games with Richards Nixon and Cheney. In 1993 – in order to pay off his cribbage debts – Ditka sedated his mother and sold both of her kidneys to an unlicensed medical facility in Mumbai. She died of renal failure later that day.

Today’s Bears: When he’s out of uniform, Jay Cutler will wear nothing but puppy skins. He has been acquitted three times of date-rape. Each time he blamed it on drinking buddy Mathew McConaughey, but in the third case McConaughey was actually a plaintiff.

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Remember when the Seattle and New Orleans both sucked? If it’s not what I love about the NFL, it’s what I’d hate: a new phoenix is always waiting to rise from the charred feces of last year’s phoenix. While my Chargers hasten to dismantle during the offseason and I look to find a new Cinderella Story for XLV, here is a Matt Taibbi Men’s Journal article that made me guffaw in a silent waiting room a while back: (the goodies are on page 2)


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My face has been screwy all morning after watching these:


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Yes, I know it was against the Clippers. Don’t care.

The Wolves are winning 35 this year, barring injuries. And then we get to hear all the ESPN lemmings walk back their “TWolves will be worst in league” lazy reporting.

ESPN’s highlight reel makes it seem as if the Clippers won the game- all Clippers plays until the end dagger. Ah, NBA/ESPN- how reliable that you’ll ALWAYS tout the major market over everything. No respect. Here’s hoping Billy Joel, punk rocker, shows up at some point:

During the 1994 Grammy Award Show, the director cut short Frank Sinatra‘s acceptance speech for receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award. Joel extended his performance of “The River of Dreams” by stopping the song partway through, looking at the celebrity audience with a grin while pretending to check his watch and saying, “valuable advertising time going by…dollars…dollars…dollars…” which was met with laughter from the audience. He then resumed playing the song.

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Bill Simmons published a bunch of letters from fans reacting to the LeBron James “Decision” debacle. One of my favorites:

City: Southampton, Pa.

Name: Steve L

On ESPN last night, they were wondering what the nickname for the new trio of free agents in Miami should be. I vote for …

1. The Sisterhood of the Traveling That’s Never Called

2. The Fly Girls 3. The Unholy Trinity 4. Florida’s Second-Best NBA Team and my personal favorite … 5. The Nazgul

The Nazgul were the characters in “Lord of the Rings” that were former kings who turned into demons that were constantly chasing the ring. It completely consumed them and robbed them of their humanity. I think this sums up the situation in Miami.

I vote for “The Superfriends” myself. Something so lame and appropriately mocking about that. “Hey, let’s all dress up in tights and save hot South Beach bikini models!”

The rest are here. It’s a bloodbath of depressing homerism and understandable Cleveland despair. LeBron is the anti-Mauer.

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Best reaction to the Donovan goal I’ve seen yet:

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Good Lord:

I think Tolliver needs some ice cream after that; I know I would. Brutal.

Mmmm. Ice cream.

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Eat it, New York and Boston. Eat your own Tears of Unfathomable Sadness.

With a No-Trade clause, son.

Sorry. Couldn’t resist. Also,  The Onion chimes in.

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Apparently, this is Prince’s fight song for the Minnesota Vikings. I want it to be a joke really, really badly. I fear that it’s not. It’s got too many of his signature harmonies, hell, it sounds like Wendy and Lisa (or Jill) are singing it. Maybe it was recorded in the 80’s. It’s got that Little Girl Wendy’s Parade/Graffiti Bridge/Diamonds and Pearls/Dolphin lameness to it. And that Under a Cherry Moon vibe as well. Plus, there’s a guitar tone and riff in the back that just has to be him.

It’s sounds like he’s going for a 1920’s waltz-y fight song. I. Just. Don’t. Know.

I love Prince. But I (shudder) have to agree with Jim Rome on this: it’s brutal. And yes, Pants on the Ground yelled by Favre is better.

Come on, Prince! You wrote Purple Rain! Parade! Sign O the Times! Controversy!


I stand by my Prince and Jack White post.

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Once there was a seventh-grader who fell in love with an NFL team. You know, the one with the dazzling passing offense.

As a kid in Wisconsin, I was surrounded by the penitent, longsuffering Packer fanbase. It was a dreary era for the green and yellow and I knew that I didn’t have masochistic impulse to choose Packer Nation. In the Eighties, Packer fans were like the Bride of Christ, patiently waiting for his return. Meanwhile Eddy Lee Ivery was running up the middle three downs in a row, getting stuffed for a loss. I just couldn’t be a Packer fan, I wasn’t that Catholic. And yet, in this period of my fandom free-agency, I couldn’t get that root-for-the-underdog mentality completely out of my system.

Who You Are Going To Root For is an important choice for a young man, regardless of sport. I believe it’s a choice that should be made in the pre-teen years, but everyone is late for at least one party in their lifetime. Once you choose though-  child please—stick with that team.

The NFL-Wisconsin was awash in shame during my formative years. It was almost a given that a young lad’s eyes would turn abroad for an extension of his identity, and most did. But there were other pitfalls: there was the glitter-tyranny of the Dallas Cowboys. Somehow the Tom Landry/Roger Staubach era drifted down from frustrated father to son, so that children of the seventies were steeped in this perverse, wanky Cowboy fanhood. With their corn-fed brawn and their metal-flake helmets, I hated the Cowboys. Damn their eyes! The other popular team to choose was the Raiders, with their silver-and-black bad-assness. Choosing adoptive awesomeness just didn’t seem sporting. “Don’t get me wrong, yeah I’m FROM Surinam but my favorite soccer team is Manchester United, GO UNITED!!!!!!!”

People choose a team that reflects their region or their character. If they are lucky, it’s both. My team wasn’t what you’d call a storied franchise like the Cowboys or the Packers. They’d never won the Superbowl, but they were always making awesome diving catches in those games they lost. Plus they had pretty rad uniforms, which one has to admit, is a serious consideration when you are thirteen years old. Dan Fouts had an arm like artillery and Charlie Joyner & Kellen Winslow were always leaping around to pull in those bombs. Chuck Muncie brought an extra big pile of awesome to the table, but the Chargers were never known for their running game.

(How awesome is this uniform? I mean, honest to Christ! That helmet is almost black!)


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James Blagden’s hilarious short about Dock Ellis and his legendary no-hitter on June 12, 1970:

“I’m high as a Georgia Pine” is now cemented in my lexicon, even if I’m only baking Toll-House Cookies.

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John Wall has a Dexterity of +19 and Shorts of Leaping Cheerleaders which provide him with the ability to leap 2 rows pint-sized cheerleaders, another row of fans, in a single bound, land on a press table, keep his balance, then leap back into action. Trust me, man, it’s the Shorts.

Check the insanity:

That’s just… it’s just…

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This Is Why I Love Basketball

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Bill Simmons has done it again.

He’s put himself in that realm of esoteric pop-culture thinkers like Chuck Klosterman (who has one of my favorite articles ever about which rock bands are accurately rated- according to Chuck, Van Halen’s “…And the Cradle Will Rock” is the single most average song in rock history. Not overrated. Not underrated. Exceptionally average.) with this great little piece in which he hands out “Almost Famous” quotes as NBA post-season awards. Part 2 here.

Goddamn, I wish I didn’t love the NBA the way I do. It makes my soul ache, like an exposed dental nerve.

“You’ll meet them all again on their long journey to the middle.”
— Lester Bangs in Almost Famous

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Autotune strikes again:


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Sometimes you just need a LeBatard Bam:

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I haven’t been watching the Finals, as I was so discouraged by the Nuggets going out like lambs in the Western Conference Finals. And really, it was enough for me that the Magic made it rather than the Cavs. I’ll take it.

And I only watched the second quarter last night; apparently I missed a hellova game. Tuned in, saw the Magic was down 5, did the math: “Ok, they’re in LA, they won’t get the calls anyway, going to the gym. At least no one will be there.”

And so here is Bill Simmons masterful dismantling of last night’s game. Now, I didn’t watch the game. I’ve watched enough Lakers playoff games to know that the officials repeatedly hand them games. It’s really disgusting. Simmons has a great meter, his “Super-Dubious Foul Crunch-Time Scoreboard” which ends up with Orlando getting 10 dubious calls to LA’s one. Let’s subtract 50% Simmon’s Celtic bias, and you still have 5 to one wretched officiating. Glad I didn’t waste any time on it.

Some other great Simmon’s points- On NBA players whining:

Here’s my question: Are NBA players in denial when they commit fouls, or did they make a secret pact to complain after every foul and anyone who doesn’t will be made an outcast by the other players? I know the refs are bad, but holy crap — when’s the last non-Brian Scalabrine time you saw someone commit a foul in an NBA game and then admit that he did it?

On the ABC exploitative abomination, Wipeout:

I wish I could buy stock in things like, “A ‘Wipeout’ contestant will sue ABC for $100 million after getting seriously injured.”

On Kobe shooting in triple-coverage versus dishing out:

Funniest moment of the game: Kobe storms back to the bench, whacks the chair in disgust and sits down as Phil Jackson (already sitting) looks at him with a bemused, “Should I point out to him that MJ absolutely would have passed there?” smile on his face. Classic.

Anyway, the whole article’s pretty spot-on. I’m not gonna rip off the whole thing. Check it out.

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Nice little article here. I pretty much agree with all of it. Simmons is to sports columns what Prince is to musical output: needs an editor, but you still want to hear all of the unfiltered weirdness. Not that Simmons is half the genius Prince is (sorry Bill).

I go back ‘n forth on Simmons. There are times when I’m completely in awe of the balls it takes to repeatedly bite the hand that feeds him. He’s of the Henry Rollins school of Truth Telling. On the other hand, some of his celeb biting can be a bit juvenile and downright mean, and his lusting after female celebs can be stuck in high school.

But then I remember he’s a married man, and it all makes more sense. Plus, if I’m honest, I’m probably just jealous he gets to hang with Malcolm Gladwell.

The thing I love about the column is, despite his huge Celtic bias, Simmons loves the game of basketball, so much so that he wants fans to record, diagram, and publish questionable officiating practices to get to the Truth of the matter. That’s awesomely insane, and Simmons knows there’s some NBA psycho somewhere who will do the work for free, in a manner to rival Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight. Can’t wait to see that site.

The FiveThirtyEight of basketball officiating. Nice work, Sports Guy.

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And by this, I mean Nuggets defeat Lakers and Kobe (tied 2-2), Magic defeat Cavs and the Chosen One (Magic up 3-1). And it would make David Stern cry. And so many others so, so happy.


I’ve been stunned by the (relative) even-keel officiating in these playoffs (besides the occasional bullshit T on Howard). Even when the refs are trying like hell to keep the Cavs in it, the Magic have been finding a way to pull it out. And we’re slowly seeing that the Lakers don’t have enough pieces around them to stop a team like the Nuggets, one that bangs ’em around, has an unflappable point guard in Mr. Big Shot, and hits from outside with JR Smith.

All the Kobe vs. LeBron talk could be for naught. (And by the way, HOLY F**K, ESPN with your stupid-ass ‘Could LeBron have played football?’ articles. I don’t know. Do you think the Hulk could beat the Thing in a fight? SHUT UP.) The (admittedly great) Kobe/LeBron puppets could go to waste. All because two teams said, “Wait a minute. We’re still here. We will beat you and the refs.” The sheer amount of disrespect the national media have given Denver and Orlando is mind-boggling.

And could someone please explain to me how Magic Johnson is allowed to commentate on a game when he owns a stake in the f*cking Lakers? How could he possibly be considered impartial? Or even allowed to open his mouth to comment on the game? Are they not even pretending anymore?

Honestly, look at these pages. Not one “expert” picked the Nuggets or Magic to win the series. Not one. They’re all in the tank for a Lakers/Cavs series. Just tragic.

Go Denver. Go Magic. Whew. I feel better.

THE GREAT NIKE PUPPET COMMERCIALS (Credit where credit is due):

The Cookie One:

“Beef and Broccoli!”

The Chalk One (which is great because the whole chalk bullshit is a move that Lebron ripped off from KG):

“Why do we live together?”

Here’s a couple of nice articles: first is Rick Reilly’s ‘Letter to God’ pleading for a Denver Championship. Here’s my favorite of late, former ‘Strib writer Steve Aschburner’s great take on the LeBron ref bias. From Dwight Howard’s blog:

“I told y’all the other day that we find it really disrespectful that everybody seems to be pulling for LeBron and Kobe [Bryant] to get to the Finals,” Howard posted Memorial Day morning. “Every time I look at TV, it seems like that’s all anybody is talking about. It’s like nobody is even giving us a shot at winning this series and we’ve used it as motivation.

“We’re up 2-to-1 and we have a long way to go vs. the Cavs, but hopefully we can mess up those plans of getting Cleveland and L.A. in the Finals. If the lil’ ol’ Magic make it, what will they say then? … Nobody out there on ESPN thinks that we can do it, but we think we have everything that it takes right now to bring that ‘ship back to O-town. Aiiight, y’all I guess I gotta go watch another one of these LeBron and Kobe commercials on TV. Naw, just kiddin’.”

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So cool:

I was watching this game at an undisclosed location in Los Angeles. When the calls weren’t going their way, the Laker’s fans in the bar sounded like hundreds of cats being roasted alive. It was a good night.

PS. No cats were harmed in the crafting of that witless analogy.

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The NBA/ESPN is already going into spin mode after last night, with Jalen Rose “discussing” (distributing talking points) about why Kobe shouldn’t get suspended for elbowing Ron Artest in the throat last night. Kobe won’t get suspended because the league (and therefore ESPN) is in the tank for a Lakers/Cavs series, just as the Gasol/Garnett trades all but guaranteed a Celtics/Lakers Finals in 2008. The converage over at ESPN is embarrassingly biased, with admitted homer JA Adande leading the pack.

Bill Plaschke has an amazingly posturing article in the LA Times, which contains this quote:

This is what happens when you get tough. This is what happens when you impose your will.

This is what happens when the league protects its superstars from fair treatment. Plaschke writes like a guy trying to get two of his friends into a fight: “Did you hear what he said about you?!” Fisher should be suspended for at least a game, and will. If Kobe gets suspended, I’ll eat my own head.

Didn’t the NBA learn anything from the wretched Suns/Spurs debacle?

Here’s hoping Denver spoils everyone’s party.

[All that being said, Kobe’s pass to himself off the backboard and dunk over Yao was EVIL. He’s just sick.]

UPDATE: The Rap Up has the best line about it yet: “Ron Artest’s Throat Viciously Attacks Kobe Bryant’s Elbow.”


“You’re hitting the wrong person. Don’t you know you’re hitting Ron Artest?”


“In this instance, [Artest] was 100 percent right.”

And Sir Charles nails it:

“There are certain guys in the league you wanna mess with. He’s not one of ’em. He’s not first on the list. He’s like down at 25.”

UPDATE ON THE UPDATE: ESPN just “reported” (read: parroted) that Fisher has been suspended. Kobe’s strike to the “chest area” has been “upgraded” to a flagrant 1. What a load of shit. Told ya.

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And just about anyone else for that matter. Shot in one of my favorite cities on the planet:

The Clan McNeill hearby agrees never to attack the Clan MacAskill, on the basis of their being unbelievably baddass.

Plus, I love that Band of Horses song.

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Video here. It’s too hard to figure out how to embed. And I’m far too lazy.

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