Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Everyone's Putting the Squeeze on OJ

Regular reader and all around good guy Jason writes:
So the NCAA said the normal punishment for OJ Mayo's violation was resitution of the monetary value of the gift to charity and suspension for 20% of the teams games. However, since Mayo asked his coach first and Floyd said it was okay to accept the tix, he was spared the suspension because he went through the proper channels. But isn't a violation sponsored by a coach as bad, if not worse? So shouldn't Floyd be suspended for 20% of their games?

Good questions, and I think Tim Floyd was pretty lucky that after throwing himself on the grenade, it turned out to be a dud. But I don't know that Floyd sponsored the violation as much as he was a helpless bystander. From the facts that are known, as well as my own deluded inferences, here is the timeline of events at SC as best as I can tell:

Sunday, Jan 20: Carmelo Anthony is partying at a club in LA the night before his game against the Lakers. Although OJ Mayo is only 20 years old, the freshman is able to get into the club since the bouncers are all 'SC grads anyway. While at the party, Anthony is caught off guard when he sees former Orangeman Gerry McNamara there tending bar. Gerry begs Carmelo for some tickets, and in a desperate moment, Anthony says that he'd already promised them to OJ Mayo. Unfortunately for Carmelo, who was actually planning on giving the tickets to whichever groupies he was planning on nailing Monday night, Mayo was within earshot of the conversation and so Anthony was forced to hand over the tickets. Mayo hangs on at the party until about 4 am until all the ladies that aren't with Carmelo leave, at which time OJ reminds him that he has a game against the Lakers and that Mayo himself needs to get back on campus in time to send his tutor to class for him.

Monday, Jan 21: OJ Mayo is awakened at 2pm by a phone call from Tim Floyd who wonders why Mayo wasn't at practice. Mayo says he thought there wasn't practice on MLK, and besides, why's he need to practice when all he's gonna do in the game is pull up for midrange jumpers? Floyd explains that he needs him there this week because he's planning on installing the parallelogram-and-one defense and it was going to take awhile to teach 21 year-old freshman Davon Jefferson what parallel lines were. So OJ tells the coach he'll do what he can, but that 'Melo had hooked him up with some sweet tickets for the Lakers game, so he might be out late again. Floyd meekly hangs up. Later that night, Mayo is shown at the game on TNT.

Tuesday, Jan 22: Blogs writers, message board denizens, and UCLA alumni - in other words, haters- begin to wonder how a college freshman is able to afford tickets that have a face value of over $200, but in the secondary Los Angeles market, go for much more than that. Because of Southern Cal's reputation, people assume that "Juice Deuce" is getting the Reggie Bush treatment. Real reporter types ask Floyd about the situation, and his initial response is to say that he doesn't know how Mayo got the tickets. Because if there's one thing Floyd has learned from Carmelo Anthony, it's that "snitches get stitches."

Wed, Jan 23: Floyd is now in damage control mode and realizes that it would be very foolish to leave OJ Mayo to the whims of the capricious NCAA, who have a tendency to make examples out of whatever low-hanging fruit they can find. So Floyd says in a statement: "My feeling is that if there's a mistake made, it was made by me. If they want to suspend me for a game, suspend me for a game, but not the kid. He did the right thing." It's a brilliant move of misdirection as the focus now becomes on the NCAA rule itself, and how confounding a rule must be if even the coach himself is confused about it. A sigh of relief is exhaled by every diehard USC basketball fan. All three of them.

Thu, Jan 24: As the Trojans land in Oregon for their game against the Beavers, their flight attendant- a former male USC cheerleader- hands Mayo $500 in cash to cover the restitution costs for the tickets, with a little leftover for any other needs.

Fri, Jan 25: Meanwhile, back in West Virginia, OJ Mayo's father (pictured), 36 year-old Kenny Ziegler is doing some fundraising of his own. Ziegler is arrested by Huntington Police and charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. In Ziegler's defense, the controlled substance was only marijuana, and the amount he had on him wasn't enough to hook up even the starting offense of the West Virginia Mountaineers. Nonetheless bail is set at $111,000, because heaven forbid that someone be provided with a substance that might help them deal with the realization that they're living in West F'n Virginia.

Sat, Jan 26: Mayo fights off leg cramps in Eugene to put up monster numbers (25/8/3) and upset the Ducks, putting the Trojans right back into the thick of the Pac-10 race. Southern Cal alumni are so excited they immediately take up a collection to bail Mayo's dad out of jail, contingent on Mayo getting at least a split out of the Arizona schools.

So as you can clearly see, the free tickets was just a simple gift between friends, completely bereft of greater ramifications or repercussions. It's over and done with, and now the NCAA can focus on more important issues- like booking football stadiums for basketball games to maximize revenue for the Final Four at the fans' expense.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

The Sexiest Finals in Grand Slam History

Tennis is the only major sport (unless you count volleyball as a major sport) where the women's game is far more compelling than the men's. One of the reasons is because the serve in the men's game has become too powerful, making the extended volley all but obsolete. But in reality, the reason the women's game is better is because it features fit young females running around in skirts or dresses. Can't ask for more than that.

Well actually, you can. I suppose you could ask that the most attractive players in the game also be the best players in the game. While there have always been attractive women throughout tennis history, there has always been a dominant player like Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Aranxta Sanchez Vicario, Venus Williams, etc. that have prevented the grand slam events from featuring a finals matchup of two attractive players. In fact, tonight's final of Maria Sharapova vs Ana Ivanovic is the sexiest finals matchup since the events began to be televised, and it's not even close. Since 1970, here are the hottest grand slam finals to date:

5. 1976 French Open: Sue Barker vs Renata Tomanova
Barker was a cute 5'3 Brit who reached as high as #3 in the overall rankings. Playing in the same era as Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, and Evonne Goolagong, she and Chris Evert were one of the few players of that time where you didn't have to worry about seeing a bulge when their skirts flipped up. Barker reached a Grand Slam final once, where she faced Renata Tomanova, a Czech player who would have been much hotter if she lived in the Prague of today, where instead of being trained for the olympics, young women are beautified for porn and overseas marriages.

4. 1979 US Open: Tracy Austin vs Chris Evert Lloyd
Tracy Austin was only 16 when this match took place, but nonetheless she was challenging Chris Evert for the role of America's sweetheart in tennis. Austin won the match but her pigtails never won over fan's hearts.

3. 1988 Australian Open: Steffi Graf vs Chris Evert Lloyd
Steffi Graf was the first German to come onto the scene who hadn't spent the last decade being shot up by hormones. Maybe her face wasn't the cutest ever, but she grew into her looks and was far more fetching than Martina Navratilova.

2. 1991 Wimbledon: Steffi Graf vs Gabriela Sabatini
Sabatini and Graf faced each other three times in Grand Slam finals, with Graf taking two out of three. Gabriela had a rocking body, but was forever cursed by that perm-mullet hybrid thing she had on her head. But when professionally stylized, she was one of the hottest athletes of her generation. Once the Argentinian became aware of the marketing power of her sex appeal, her skills began to decline, and she pursued other commercial interests, including launching her own line of fragances. In a way, she was the Anna Kournikova of her time, except she was actually good for awhile.

1. 2008 Australian Open: Ana Ivanovic vs Maria Sharapova
I'll let the pictures tell the story here:


Enjoy watching history.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Shawn Kemp Approves of This Video

Admittedly, this post is the definition of a "filler," but anytime you can put "suck me sexy" into a song, I think that's a message that needs to be shared with as many people as possible. Here's a Will Ferrell song from his upcoming movie about a folding ABA team, "Semi-Pro"

"Baby, wake up. We're naked. And we're humpin' sexy." Man, I miss college.


Monday, January 21, 2008

The Nightcap

Tom Brady was seen walking the streets of New York holding a bouquet of flowers and wearing a walking boot. Immediately, people began speculating that Brady was nursing an injury, but in reality, he was just doing some role playing. Apparently, Gisele wanted to fantasize that she was having sex with Philip Rivers.

TNT cameras spotted OJ Mayo sitting courtside at the Lakers game and sporting some giant rocks in his ears. It was all part of "Juice Deuce"'s contract with Southern Cal boosters, which contained a bonus clause for beating UCLA.

The Lakers scored over 100 points while holding Denver to under 100, which means everyone in attendance at Staples won two free tacos from Jack in the Box. Just a word of warning to Mr. Mayo: feel free to take all the tickets and diamonds that you want, but if you try to claim those two tacos, the NCAA will have your ass.

The NBA has announced that this year's dunk contestants will be: Gerald Green, Dwight Howard, Jamario Moon, and Rudy Gay. In an effort to draw a larger audience, fans will be able to vote online and via cell phone for the Dunk Contest winner. Upon hearing the news, Cal Ripken immediately entered the dunk contest. Sure, he can barely touch the net, but if history is any indicator, fans will vote for him regardless of his actual skill level.

With fan voting in place, Rudy Gay has to be considered a heavy underdog, as too many people are afraid to vote for anything with "gay" attached to it. He certainly won't be getting Rick Majerus's vote (not that there's anything wrong with that):


Sometimes Perfection Doesn't Have to Look Perfect

In "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Football," it's explained early on that a field goal is worth three points and a touchdown is worth six points. Had somebody made that information available to Norv Turner, perhaps the outcome of the AFC Championship Game would have been different. Turner's playcalling was far too conservative anytime the Chargers reached the Patriots side of the field. It was like Norv was coaching the game with the goal of beating the spread rather than winning the game. Isn't that why the Chargers fired Marty in the first place???

Perhaps the biggest play of the game was made by Junior Seau. Late in the 3rd quarter, with the Chargers trailing 14-9, San Diego had the ball inside the New England 10 on a 3rd and one. San Diego chose to hand the ball off to Michael Turner, and Seau read the play perfectly, shooting the gap and stuffing Turner for a loss on the play. The Chargers settled for a field goal and never really threatened again. For Seau, it was a terrific football play, but might have been a terrible business move. "Seau's" is a very popular, albeit outdated (24" standard def tube tvs....really?) sports bar in San Diego. I can't imagine why any Charger fan would want to step foot in the place again. Especially with Hooters just a few blocks away...

Coming into the day, I would have never guessed that by the end of the game, I would have gained some respect for Philip Rivers, and at the same time, lost some for LaDanian Tomlinson; but that's exactly what happened. LaDanian Tomlinson has said many times that growing up, his idol was Emmitt Smith. While the Chargers have been very circumspect in detailing LT's injury, I've gotta believe that in a similar circumstance, Emmitt would have found a way to play in that game. As Emmitt himself would likely say: "The key to playing through an injury is getting on the field even tho you're hurt."

I know this is going to come across as just being another Patriots hater, and if that's the case, so be it. Unless the Patriots get an absolutely dominating performance in the Super Bowl, this team isn't deserving of the "best team ever" label, regardless of the perfect record. Not when there are teams like the 1985 Chicago Bears, who outscored their playoff opponents by a combined 91-10, (not to mention the '84 and '89 Niners and the '92 Cowboys) in the history books. Meanwhile, the Patriots let a team that had its best three offensive players badly injured hang around for far too long, while playing at home no less. Yes, they eventually put them away; and while it's the mark of a champion, it isn't the statement you need to make if you think you're the best ever...

A strange thing happened while I was watching the Giants/Packers game. As the game progressed, I actually found myself rooting for the Giants to get the win. Then Fox decided to show Archie Manning between plays for about ten minutes straight, and I was immediately filled with shame and regret...

As the winning kick went through, it was a bit telling to see that the only guy that hugged Eli Manning was punter Jeff Feagles. I think the only guy with fewer friends on his team right now is LaDanian Tomlinson.

Surprisingly, the Giants looked like the team that was better equipped to handle the frigid temperatures. Maybe I was mistaken, but I'm pretty sure that while the NY defense was on the field, I saw Eli Manning slice open 300 pound backup QB Jared Lorenzen and warm himself in his underbelly like he was a tauntaun. Meanwhile on the other sidelines, Brett Favre had to make due with drinking Terry Bradshaw's moonshine...

Some people thought that had Favre led his team to the Super Bowl, it would have been appropriate for him to retire on top at the end of the season, a la John Elway. But really, is there a more fitting way for Favre to end his career than for his last pass to be an ill-advised interception to end a playoff game?

So it's going to be Belichick vs Coughlin in a good ol' fashioned Prick-Off. Tom Coughlin has two weeks until the big game, and he's going to need every day of it. Not to prepare for the game, but rather to find a suitable donor to have a new face grafted on after losing his old one to frostbite yesterday.

This season, the Super Bowl will be played at University of Phoenix stadium. The University of Phoenix: where degrees are handed out like every student was a star football player!


Monday, January 14, 2008

I'm Not the Only One With a Playoff Hangover

You've gotta hand it to the Dallas Cowboys. They obviously are well aware of the curse that comes with being the Super Bowl loser and wanted no part of it. Rather than subject themselves to a miserable 2008 season, Wade Phillips and Jason Garrett masterminded a beautiful tank job to give the team a chance for next year. Very shrewd move...

Meanwhile, the Cowboys might want to look at the fine print on the 4 year, $14 million contract extension that they gave Patrick Crayton before the start of the playoffs. Can they get their bonus money back if Crayton forgets some of the fundamentals of his position, like running routes and catching the ball?

For as much trouble as Terrell Owens is, I think I'd rather have him on my roster than Marvin Harrison. At least Owens looks like he wants to be out on the field. In 15 career playoff games, Harrison has two touchdowns, which both came in the 41-10 route that Indy had over Denver in 2003. That is pathetic, especially considering that Peyton Manning has been his QB for all but one of those games. Yesterday, he looked like the little league player who would rather pick flowers in the outfield than pay attention to the game. Hopefully, he'll do everyone a favor and retire in the offseason.

Even if the Chargers are forced to go with Volek and Michael Turner against the Patriots, they should be safe from breaking the record for worst margin of defeat in AFC Championship game history. For that, they can thank the 1990 Los Angeles Raiders, whose QBs threw 6 ints in a 51-3 loss to the Buffalo Bills. So if Charger fans are looking for any silver lining in the possibility of Volek starting, well, at least he isn't Jay Schroeder. Also, not being on the field will give Philip Rivers more time to yell at New England fans from the sidelines.

If the AFC playoffs have taught us nothing, it's that the best way to insure you'll advance in the playoffs is to load up your team with as many douchebags as possible. Given that trend, maybe the Cowboys should look into signing Chad Johnson in the offseason. Line up "Ocho-Cinco" opposite of "I love me some me" and the Cowboys will be unstoppable in the NFC...

Speaking of unstoppable: All this time, everyone assumed it was Eli Manning that was responsible for the Giants' problems over the past few years. That impression was certainly a mistake. Obviously, it was Tiki Barber that was holding the team back all this time. It's just a shame that CBS has the Super Bowl this year because it would be a great joy to see Tiki Barber have to provide pregame analysis while his former teammates prepared to play in the Super Bowl.

Of course for that to happen, the Giants will have to get past the Packers in Green Bay first. Not an easy task, but one that I think they're up to. They proved in Buffalo a few weeks ago that their running game could excel in the snow. Besides, it seems like a close NFC Championship game loss for the Packers would be the perfect scenario to convince Brett Favre that he wants to come back for another season or three, since the team would be so close to taking that next step.

A few weeks ago, the rumor was that Tom Coughlin would be fired in the offseason and replaced by Jason Garrett. Now, it looks like the Coughlin era will continue for at least another season, and Garrett's star is fading faster than the one on Romo's helmet. Things are so bad for Garrett that at this point, it's hard to see him even being a candidate to accept and later quit the Falcons job.

Finally, shares of Kimberly-Clark (ticker: KMB) were up a little over 1 percent at the close of trading today. No doubt this spike is in anticipation of the heavy demand for Kleenex this weekend, as both Brett Favre and Tom Brady will be featured in a Championship game, and it's expected to get a little messy within a 3 foot radius of any broadcaster or sportswriter with a free hand.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

By the Time You Read This, I May Be Dead. Or Have Herpes

I'm rolling out to Vegas in about an hour, so unless I go broke in a hurry, there won't be any posts this weekend. I'm sure you will all be able to make the adjustment.

As for the games this weekend, I'm going to take a mixed position and tease the Packers at -1.5 and the Giants +14.5. As much as I hate ever having money riding on Eli Manning, I like the one-two punch that Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw give the Giants offense. Combine that with the sudden disappearance of Dallas's running game, and two touchdowns looks like a nice buffer. As for the other NFC game, Seattle would have lost at home to Washington if the Skins had someone under center who was better than Todd Collins. I'm going to go out on a limb and saying that Brett Favre is better than Todd Collins.

A more compelling wager for me is in college hoops where the #4 Washington State Cougars are seven point underdogs to #5 UCLA. The tipoff is scheduled for 11:30 am on Saturday morning. Remembering your own college experience: were you ever ready to do anything at 11:30 on Saturday, other than nurse a hangover? This game is going to be slow and ugly. Take the points.

It also turns out that this weekend coincides with the Adult Video News awards. If you're interested, the list of nominees can be found at the AVN official site. Personally, I think any woman that is willing to have sex on camera is deserving of an award, but unfortunately, there can only be one winner in each category. I haven't seen the odds yet, but I like Sasha Grey in "Babysitters" for Best Oral Sex Scene- Video; "Sex & Violins" to win Best Screenplay- Film; and in a mild upset, for best Transexual Release, I'm gonna go with "Ladyboys in Latex." I'm sure most of you are probably fans of "She-Male Switch Hitters," but I like to root for underdogs...with male and female parts...wearing rubber.

Enjoy your weekend, all.


Random Pics Mysteriously Appear on Memory Card

A female friend of mine was kind enough to invite me to the UCLA-Washington game tonight. While she's already aware that I'm a bit of a perv, I prefer that she thinks I'm the amusing kind of perv and not the creepy variety. As a result, my cheerleader photo ops were limited. Here, however, are a few that somehow made their way onto my camera:

As for the game itself, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was actually hitting his jumper, and when that happens, the Bruins are without a weak link on offense. Combine that with Russell Westbrook's ongoing Allen Iverson impression and UCLA's suffocating team defense (Ryan Appleby was not only held scoreless, but was only able to get off two shots the entire game) and it translated into an easy 69-55 victory in which UCLA was on cruise control the entire second half. Bruins will get a stronger test of where they're at as a team Saturday when they face the most efficient team in the country, the Washington State Cougars.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Goose Is No Longer Loose

Goose Gossage was elected to the Hall of Fame today, which probably made the "Goose Saved the Day" pin I found while cleaning out my dad's garage over the holidays a little more valuable- tho still not as precious as the stack of old Playboys. Candy Loving- now there's a Hall of Famer.

This year, Gossage was the only person to receive the necessary 408 votes for induction, leaving players like Bert Blyleven, Dale Murphy, and Alan Trammell on the outside looking in (but with still enough votes to be on the ballot in 2009...where they'll be on the outside looking in). Ten former players were selected on fewer than 5 percent of voters ballots, which means that they will not be eligible for future ballots. What's notable isn't their elimination from contention, but rather that eight of those ten players received any votes at all, as none of those eight were even remotely worthy of Hall of Fame consideration. I've been trying to get inside the minds of those writers who did give them their votes, and have come up with a few theories. Here's a brief look at what their thought process might have been:

Rod Beck (2 votes):
As Woody Paige has already acknowledged, any player that was just willing to talk to him had already won over his heart and earned a vote. Beck went one step further and actually cracked open a Pabst Blue Ribbon with visitors to his trailer, so of course he must have some fans amongst the writers. Initially, I was surprised that Beck didn't pick up more than just the two votes simply for the beer until I realized that most writers would be too lazy to make the trek out to where Beck was staying.

Travis Fryman (2 votes): Fryman retired with the same number of HRs (223) as Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr, so obviously he must be a HOF'er too. For a more compelling case, check out this analysis from The Grand National Championships, who advocates on Fryman's behalf because he was one of the few prolific drug-free players of his era.

Robb Nen (2 votes): These votes were made by big Troy Percival fans (does NFL Adam have a vote?) who are trying to pave the way for Percival's candidacy in six years. Or maybe these votes were made to illustrate the meaningless of the save statistic and is all part of a preemptive strike to keep Trevor Hoffman out of the Hall whenever he and his 86 mph fastball decide to call it quits.

Shawon Dunston (1 vote): No doubt that this vote came from a Chicago writer. Cubs announcers and beat reporters were touting Dunston as a future Hall of Famer from the first day he put on a Cubs uniform, so rather than being proven wrong, some writer just decided to vote for him.

Chuck Finley (1 vote): I think someone was just throwing him a bone for having to deal with the train wreck that was Tawny Kitaen. Poor Finley. He thought he was marrying the chick from the Whitesnake videos and instead he ended up w/ a coke fiend who beat the crap out of him w/ her shoe. The least you can do is let the guy think that for one day, there was someone who believed he was a Hall of Fame pitcher.

David Justice (1 vote): Justice named names for the Mitchell report, and so he was rewarded by some self-satisfied, sanctimonious reporter who believes himself to be the arbiter of baseball's morality. This, despite the fact that the very same writer failed to do his job and report on the rampant steroid use as it was occurring.

Chuck Knoblauch (1 vote)
: This vote was given by a Yankees writer who liked to bring his kid with him to a few games each season. Sometimes, his son would sit in the stands along the first-base line; and each time, Knoblauch was such a swell guy, that he'd take the first grounder hit to him and throw it to the boy in the stands. How much more fan-friendly can you get?

Todd Stottlemyre (1 vote): With all of the negativity surrounding the game right now thanks to the steroid/HGH scandal, one writer wanted to reward a player who was focused on making the world a better place. While Stottlemyre never put up anything better than average numbers, he was once the recipient of the Branch Rickey Award and Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, which are given to a player in recognition of exceptional community service. Stottlemyre has served as chairman of Caring for Kids, which is the fundraising division of the Arizona Baptist Childrens Services. Among the ABCS' activities is the Father/Daughter Purity Ball, which is a dance in which daughters sign a pledge not to have sex until marriage. So as a reward for serving as the Protector of the Hymen, Todd Stottlemyre has his Hall of Fame cherry popped.

It just goes to show that even the senseless can make sense if you can put yourself into a senseless mind. Or something like that.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Hang 'Em

If anyone out there is an aspiring announcer, here's a quick tip. If you're setting up the keys to a game for an underdog, you can mention cliches like "bring their A game," "turn up the intensity," or "leave everything out on the field." What you might want to avoid, however, is advocating mob violence reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan. Apparently, Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman did not get the memo:

Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman has apologized after saying during Friday's telecast of the PGA Tour's opening event that today's young players should "lynch Tiger Woods in a back alley."

A spokesman for the network said Tilghman apologized on Sunday's telecast and has reached out to Woods' representatives to express her regrets for the comments, according to New York Newsday.

To be fair, Kelly Tilghman was a golfer at Duke University, where I'm pretty sure that lynching is the standard hazing practice for any black student that dares join the athletic department.

Meanwhile, it's expected that Tiger Woods will accept her apology as only a third of him was offended by the remark.

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