Thursday, February 19, 2009

There's Actually A Mike And Mike Worth Listening To

Every now and then when I'm looking around the sports net for items to comment snarkily on, I actually find nuggets of wisdom and inspiration instead. Or perhaps it's that in not finding anything to write about, I am instead desperate for guidance and wisdom, and so otherwise trite comments gain added significance for me. In either case, here are a couple of such instances from the last few days.

Mike Singletary, speaking to a crowd of season ticket holders:
"When I look around the NFL, I'm amazed by how many people have a dream and how few have a vision," he said. The difference, he said, is that a dream ends up being passive, accommodating disappointment. A vision, he said, "captures the imagination. A vision is something that consumes you like a fire, won't let you eat, won't let you sleep until that vision comes to pass."

Mike Schmidt, commenting on the Alex Rodriguez steroid saga (the entire article is a great read):
"I look more at the psychological side of it," he said. "That's what's interesting -- how sports fans choose their heroes, how we as a human race choose our heroes, how our heroes always seem to let us down. You know, when you pick a sports hero, he at some point lets you down. ..."

And for a somewhat different feel, here is a NSFW( you've been warned) European commercial that may not be inspiring, but is truly inspired:

Link: Fleg Master Tlpizza

Thank goodness there was golf and tennis in that clip to qualify it as sports related.

Whoever created that ad embodies the wisdom of the first two men- turned a dream into a vision, and truly is a hero.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Tim Floyd Is Mad As Hell And He's Not Gonna Take It Anymore

This past Thursday in Tempe, UCLA's attempt at a comeback victory was wiped away when a potential go ahead basket by Darren Collinson in the last minute was ruled a charge, despite the fact that ASU's Jeff Pendergraph clearly stuck out his hip. Video evidence below (ignore the chicken wing by Collinson that the refs also missed):

Tonight it was USC's turn to experience the Sun Devils' home court mojo when Daniel Hackett drove into the lane in an attempt to cut the lead to three, only to find himself being undercut by a sliding defender. One official was prepared to call the block but was overruled by David Hall, the overzealous head official, at the baseline. Rather then confer amongst themselves to make sure the call was correct, the refs went the alternative method of "most demonstrative call wins" and stayed with the charge call. Tim Floyd then responded in typical Floyd fashion, by subtly expressing his displeasure with the call:

It should be noted that while both games were in Tempe, it was a different officiating crew for each game. You've got to hand it to Pac 10 refs- at least they're consistent in their calls. Unfortunately for basketball fans, they're consistently awful.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

USC Song Girls: Fright On!

In an odd twist of events, it appears that there will actually be a reason to watch members of the USC athletic department in the month of March.

E! Entertainment has announced (HT: Scott Wolf) that it will debut a new reality show Friday March 13 cleverly titled, "Hot Girls in Scary Places" in which three female friends are presented with the challenge of spending the night together in an abandoned, and supposedly haunted, hospital. If the trio is able to make it the night and complete a set of challenges therein, they will win $10,000. Oh yeah, and the best part- the threesome will comprise of college cheerleaders. Specifially, members of the famed USC Song Girls, including the already internet famous Lindsey G.

Now while casting cheerleaders into a "real life" 80's horror flick is an otherwise brilliant move, I think E! is making a mistake by casting girls from USC. It's not that the Song Girls aren't beautiful enough to be on tv - they certainly are - but what can the producers at E! throw at the girls that they don't already experience in their daily lives? Gunshots fired? Those might as well be evening crickets in South Central. Women shrieking in the attic? That's every Thursday night in an SC frathouse. Shadowy figures in the window? No different than during football recruiting. You want to freak out a USC coed? Ask her to walk three blocks to a local convenience store at midnight. That will do the trick.

E! says this project is being considered as a "special/backdoor pilot." Or as it's known at Southern Cal, a Maualuga.

Photo Credit: Yeung Photography.

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Film Session Review: Arizona State Looks Good In Victory

As a UCLA fan, it was painful to watch the Bruins go into Tempe and get swept by the Sun Devils in heartbreaking fashion Thursday night. But like any dedicated basketball fan, I had to review the game tape both to see how Arizona State pulled off the win, as well as to get a sense of closure. ASU was certainly prepared for this game. Jeff Pendergraph did a great job passing out of double teams to find wide open teammates behind the arc, and defensively, the Sun Devils' matchup zone gave UCLA problems all night. But ultimately, the difference in the game was the home court advantage:

(video recommended for broadband connections only)

As you can see, ASU's spirit squad, while not the force it was before being conjoined by the administration, still had ample talent to put on the court. They were quite prepared to pull off the shocker.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Bud Selig Rubs Alex Rodriguez' Nose In The Carpet And Puts Him Outside

Thursday, Commissioner Bud Selig momentarily contemplated suspending Alex Rodriguez until he realized that the players union would likely sue the league and illuminate its complicity in their players' illicit activity. Once that became clear, Selig instead opted to expand on MLB's response to the revelation that Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids from its original, "Nobody was supposed to find out about that" to a new statement expressing regret, anger, and disappointment.

Of course, it should be remembered that Selig is a former used car salesman, and so anything he says is laden with deceit and half-truths. And so it's important to look at his statement, quasi-FJM style (Ed. note- oh how I miss you Ken Tremendous), and look at what Selig says versus what he actually means.

"What Alex did was wrong"
You should never own up to steroid use unless it's before a special session of Congress. And even then you can flatly deny it and make money while waiting on perjury charges....didn't he get my memo? Plus he got caught after I told him we'd be testing. Has he never heard of a Whizzinator? Getting caught like that was just wrong.

"and he will have to live with the damage he has done to his name"
I'm not even sure why put his name on the form to begin with. I instructed everyone to tell testers their name was "Barry Lamar Bonds."

"and reputation."
All these years that he's taken to build his reputation of being one of the great choke artists of all time has now been overshadowed by the stain of steroid use. It's a shame, honestly.

"While Alex deserves credit for publicly confronting the issue"
Not too much credit of course. I mean, there's a lot to be said for pretending steroids don't exist and looking at a revenue sheet instead of a few dead bodies and implausibly broken records, right? Besides, Alex did the right thing in publicly confronting the issue five years after the fact, and only when he had no other choice. Come to think of it, that's exactly what I did. Hey, I guess he did read my memo!

"there is no valid excuse for using such substances,"
There really is no excuse. Why use a substance that MLB could actually test for when the black market is littered with more effective, untraceable substances? That's what happens when you choose to get drugs from a shemale bodybuilder instead of Victor Conte.

"and those who use them have shamed the game."
Did I say "shamed"? I meant "saved". Revenues are at an all time high, the Maris chase rejuvenated baseball after the strike, the commissioner's office keeps getting raises despite a plummeting economy, and even the steroid scandal itself keeps people talking about baseball during an otherwise quiet offseason. It's like when I realigned baseball just so my Brewers could change leagues, boost attendance with the novelty factor of new opponents, and generate enough excitement to get funding for a new stadium. That wasn't selfish and shameful- I saved the team! Good for me. And good for ARod.

Commissioner Selig then addressed executives from recently bailed out banks and asked, "Now what's it's gonna take to get you in a luxury suite today?"

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

UCLA Bruins Evoke Memories of Past Legendary Greatness

Tonight, UCLA plays at Arizona State in a nationally televised game that not only has huge tournament seeding implications, but will also go a long way towards validating their generous standing in the ESPN/USA Today rankings. Despite not having a win over a top 25 team yet this season, the coaches have voted UCLA as the #6 in the country. This lofty status is the result of a very successful four game homestand in which the Bruins absolutely dominated everyone that ventured into Pauley Pavilion, winning by an average of more than 20 points and putting each team away by halftime. With their excellent team defense, quick transition offense, and overall unselfish play over the last two weeks, they've certainly given the appearance of one of the best teams in the country. In fact, with John Wooden looking on from behind the bench, one couldn't help but think of their great teams from the 1970's:

Ok, so maybe UCLA doesn't have anyone that's going to go 21 of 22 from the floor. But still, being in attendance this past weekend, I had to admit that there was something happening on the court which was reminiscent of UCLA's brilliance in the early 70's.



Now that is championship caliber. No wonder UCLA's looking so good in the polls.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

MLB Trainers Are Relentless In Their Conspiracy To Sabotage Hall Of Fame Players

Tuesday night, it was revealed that a 2003 urine sample from Barry Bonds had been retested by federal authorities and was found to be positive for performance enhancing drugs. This result confirms what most baseball fans have already known to be true for quite sometime- that Greg Anderson, Victor Conte, and the government are all in collusion to undermine the legacy of Barry Bonds. First they sabotaged his flaxseed, then his aspercreme, and now his urine. Obviously, nothing is sacred to these evildoers.

Similarly, Roger Clemens has found himself under the microscope, literally, as syringes kept in an old beer can by his former trainer Brian McNamee have shown to contain DNA matching Clemens' genetic profile. In an exclusive only seen here, The Lounge has obtained a sample of the DNA in question, and the results are rather damning:

Obviously, we know that Clemens was framed since he already told Congress that he never used steroids. And that was under oath, so it must have been the truth. But it appears that if a UCLA doping lab finds evidence of performance enhancers in those same syringes, then Clemens will once again find himself in court looking to clear his name.

While Clemens is already ably represented by Otis the town drunk Rusty Hardin, I believe it's also my responsibility, being the bastion of integrity that I am, to help The Rocket find justice. With that in mind, here are a few plausible perfectly legal explanations as to how the syringes managed to contain trace amounts of Roger Clemens' blood:

Clemens may have unwittingly left some DNA on his wife Debbie's ass during an afternoon interlude. McNamee then could have scraped that DNA off when he was shooting her up for her SI photoshoot.

McNamee said he was drawing the blood in an attempt to clone The Rocket, as #22 thought it was his only chance to have a kid in the major leagues. I mean, Koby hit .268 in high A for Chrissakes!

The blood didn't get on the needle from an injection, but rather dripped onto it from the empty beer can. One time, McNamee and Clemens were hanging out, drinking beers and decided to hang the empties on their fingers and pretend they were robots. Who hasn't done that, right? Well, Roger got a little carried away and cut his finger, and now that one little misadventure may lead to an errant perjury conviction.

Ok, he did get injected. But it wasn't with athletic performance enhancers. Instead, he asked McNamee to shoot him up with sexual performance enhancers. Hey, it's not easy keeping up with a 15 year-old with a country singer's lungs.

Clemens can't be held responsible for his actions. He was not of sound mind. He couldn't possibly be; he had Icy Hot on his balls!

(By the way, if you'll indulge me in a quick aside: the Icy Hot story is old news. Check out this link. That story's almost three years old. I don't know why people are making a big deal out of it now. In fact, Deadspin "broke" the story last week as if it were new despite the fact that they had featured it themselves the first time around. I swear, sometimes, I almost get the vibe that bloggers don't do any research before writing.)

Finally, as far as I know, Joe Torre hasn't implicated Roger Clemens in his latest book. And he trashed everybody in that thing. So obviously, the man must be innocent.

Hopefully, this should be enough to put Clemens in the clear. And not the kind of clear that Bonds got from Anderson, but the kind that MLB can't pretend to be disgusted at after profiting from its use for over a decade.

It should only be a matter of time before we see Clemens, Barry, and Big Mac in their rightful place- on a dais in Cooperstown... Or signing a autographs at the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

"Greatest Super Bowl Ever" Hyperbole Overshadowed By Overblown Officiating Controversy

If the early blog reports are any sort of indicator, then it appears that the biggest storyline of a very entertaining Super Bowl will once again be the lackluster officiating of the game. While MJD makes a very compelling plea for fans to rise above dwelling on any controversial calls, I'm sure he does so while realizing that diehard Cardinals fans (you know, the ones who just learned their head coach's name four weeks ago) and Steelers haters will find it difficult to let go of a few of the plays from that game. Cardinals fans would like you to think that had the final Cardinals' play been reviewed, and had it been ruled an incomplete pass (unlikely), then given one more shot, Warner would have chucked the ball into the endzone; and Larry Fitzgerald would have leapt up amongst five defenders and been the one to come down with the ball for a game winning score. Actually, that last part isn't so tough to believe afterall.

But The Hater Nation does bring up a good point. It does seem like historically, the Steelers do disproportionately benefit from the referees' decision making. (Perhaps that's what makes them the "model franchise in all of sports.") There certainly are some similiarities in the camera work between the Immaculate Reception and Santonio Holmes' game winning touchdown catch. It's amazing that with all of the cameras at that game, there wasn't a definitive shot of his right toe hitting the ground. Fortunately for NBC, much like in the Olympics when they couldn't get conclusive video of Michael Phelps winning the 100m butterfly, there are still photographs which verify that the correct call was made.

However my favorite diatribe about the officiating comes from Chris Chase of Yahoo Sports. What got my attention wasn't actually the enumeration of the controversial calls (and yes, the roughing the passer penalty was ridiculous, but not any moreso than 90% of all the other roughing calls made during the NFL season). No, what I found fascinating is that Chase took a screen grab from Warner's final play and then plastered a watermark onto it. Like this:

" DVR has a pause button. I better make sure nobody steals this image without giving me credit!" I know people want to protect their content, but is there really anything even remotely special about a screen grab from a play that was already seen by 300 billion (unofficial, logistically impossible estimate) people worldwide?

I'm not even sure what the picture is trying to prove. Since it's a frozen image, the viewer has no idea if Warner's arm is being cocked back or moving forward. I do think the shot of Santonio Holmes in the background is cool tho.

But Chase gave me an idea. Like everyone else on the planet, I was watching the Super Bowl too. And I happened to have a camera with me and took a few pictures during the game. Perhaps I could post some screen shots from the game with my website's name on them and see if anyone wants to use them on their blog to establish any points; and in the process, give me some free publicity (click for larger image).

For example, Sidebar: Why is Ben Roethlisberger wearing eye black for a night game?

Point: The Steelers are cheaters! Look at how the left tackle here is obviously lined up off of the line of scrimmage:

Observation: Look at the strange look in Ben Roethlisberger's eyes. Could it be that he was using nonverbal hypnosis to mesmerize the officials and compel them to call over 100 yards in penalties against the Cardinals?

Counterpoint: The officials weren't only throwing the flags against the Cardinals. Here's proof of a Holding call that went against the Steelers:

Lost Storyline: History tends to highlight the winners and bury the losers. There were quite a few great performances made by Cardinals players that will be forgotten in short time. For example, Darnell Dockett was in Ben Roethlisberger's face all night long.

As you can see, when you view game photos in isolation, you can make them say whatever you want. It's all a matter of perspective. For example, some of you may have been in such denial over the Cardinals' loss that you didn't even notice a football game being played in these photos at all. For those people, it's alright. The healing will come in time.

Special thanks to Madison Scott for being such a good sport. Be sure to check her out in all kinds of illicit content that I can't even consider linking to from here.

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