Friday, August 31, 2007

Almost Perfect


So this kid Scott Baker, righty with the Administrator's favorite .500 team, nearly threw a perfect game against the Royals.

For once, I actually saw part of the contest (referenced earlier by Ol' No. 7.) while mildly enjoying the sight of Ty Willingham's Huskies eviscerating the stupendously silly-looking Syracuse Orangemen. Then ESPN cut to Baker in the 8th inning. I watched him work over Alex Gordon for Gordon's third whiff on the night, bringing the inning to a close and the crowd to a standing roar.


I grabbed as many glimpses as I could--I was grilling steaks--right up through the end of perfection, a walk to John Buck. Then, when I was outside turning the meat (and also cooking dinner) my wife poked her head up to the screen right above me.

"Some guy named Sweeney fucked it up."

Some guy named Sweeney? The fucking Royals can't just suck, they have to exhibit the barest level of competency necessary to gag my chance at watching history. Naturally.

"Some guy named Sweeney fucked it up."

There's just nothing else to say.

In other news, apropos of supposed perfection...

Rodney Harrison was suspended by the NFL for the season's opening quarter because he admitted to using HGH to "speed up the healing process."

Now, now, you slavering pack of ghouls. I get it: those in grass houses shouldn't blow gnomes. But I can't help enjoying this one just a little. Partly because Rodney tortured us for years when he was in San Diego and partly because anything that takes the shine off the Sure Thing Super Bowl Champeens gives me the high-pitched giggles, Joe Gibbs style.

It may be petty. I'm willing to concede a little pettiness. And honestly, it's nothing against the Patriots' franchise. Before they became the ne plus ultra of footballian competence, the act against which all others would surely be found wanting, I kinda liked 'em. Long-suffering fanbase, funny helmets, horrifying Super Bowl losses. I could relate.

But these days,they might as well be the Niners or Cowboys from the mid-'90s, not just success-wise but media adulation-wise. And that attitude seeps, deep into the collective sporting consciousness, until normally reasonable people do things like take Randy Moss in the second round.

It's just madness. So I push back against the inexorable tide of success (some would say in my personal life as well) and root against, just like I rooted against those San Francisco and Dallas teams, just like I woulda rooted against Denver in the decade's heady latter days if I was, say, a Chiefs fan.

Shiver.
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Baseball In The Daytime: 8-31-07

This is now five straight days of BITD, which I'm pretty sure is a violation of the collective blogging agreement. I didn't take on this assignment to work every fucking day, that's for sure. Never have I looked forward to a Saturday of not riding the HoG more, because I am exhausted.

But a pennant race is hard work, buddy. It ain't no walk in the park. Just as the players need to find a way to get up for these games in the dog days, your fearless scribe will find a way to grind out previews of said games. And by "find a way" I mean "amphetamines." Mr. Selig's drug testing policy does not apply to the collective blogging agreement, so I'm jacked up on the speed. It may not be readily apparent just from casual reading, but I typed that last paragraph in two seconds.

So anyway, the first of two games on tap today comes at you live from the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, and is of great interest to at least one person. That person is the HoG's Adminstrator, who is both a Royals fan and loyal prognosticator of a Twins division title. Those two teams tangle in a doubleheader today, with the first leg set for 12:10 Mountain on XM 180 and DTV 743.

I assume that the odd double dip at an indoor venue is a necessary rescheduling from the tragic bridge collapse. I'd research that, only I just don't care (about this game, that is--I clearly do care about the bridge). I'm sure the parents and pals of Matt Garza and Kyle Davies care, as those two gents will start this game. The Twins just shit the bed by by letting the Indians sweep dey asses, and their only objective now is to fend off the pesky Royals. Minny has a 7 1/2 game edge over KC for third place.

Ten minutes after the first pitch in Minneapolis, your standard Friday afternoon tilt from the booze-filled baseball palace that is Wrigley commences. Troy Patton starts for the Astros against Chicago's Sean Marshall. Houston's bullshit motivation is to keep Pittsburgh in last, and they have a game and a half lead over the Pirates. On the opposite end of the NL Central, the Cubs hold a 2.5 game lead over the Brewers after dispatching them last night. Tune in on XM 184 and DTV 734. Cheers, and have a great Labor Day weekend!

(Photo courtesy of The Perfect Pantry, which, by the way, has an outstanding collection of pictures of food products, if that gets your rocks off.)
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Thursday, August 30, 2007

The HoG's Semi-Informed College Football Preview

Tonight the collegiate gridiron season kicks off, as Louisiana State University visits the hostile environs of Starkville, Mississippi to battle the MSU Bulldogs. I'm glad to have the games back, and I'm ready to watch and gamble my little heart out. I can't quite shake the feeling, though, that the sport of college football really stinks right now, and it may get a lot worse before it gets better.

Don't get me wrong, the games themselves are great. There is absolutely nothing better than a close, well-played college football game. Due to the fact that there is no preseason and no playoff system, each contest is incredibly important to everyone: the players, the coaches, the students, the alumni, the media wags, and dopes like me sitting at home on the couch.

I mean, I hate Notre Dame, but for some reason the Irish have played an incredible number of fabulously entertaining games since Charlie Weis got to South Bend. Be it against USC, who's always better, or Michigan State, who's always worse, Notre Dame has played in at least half of the truly great games that I've seen in the past two years.

But Notre Dame is indicative of everything that's wrong with this sport. They set their own rules and have a preposterously easy path paved straight to the BCS. The deck is clearly stacked in their favor, and they make no apologies for this fact.

Take Major League Baseball, which most would argue is the least equitable of the major professional team sports (plus hockey). The main argument that casual fans have against MLB being a truly great game is that the New York Yankees can spend way more money than the Minnesota Twins. This is very true. But the Yankees still have to play a balanced schedule set by a governing body, and that schedule contains an equal number of home and road games. They have to earn a spot in the playoffs or the World Series by wining more games than their opponents, not because they have more fans or history and tradition on their side.

Now I'm not arguing for some giant sports welfare program to come in and make everything "fair" and "right." I'm a capitalist, a proud one, and I've never had any problem with smart people making good business decisions and succeeding because of them. If the University of Florida has a bigger football fan base and places more emphasis on football on an institutional level than does Vanderbilt, than they should kick Vandy's ass in football. You can't legislate Vanderbilt into being good at football if they don't want to be.

Vanderbilt doesn't have to play in the SEC or even Division I, just like Minneapolis doesn't have to have a Major League Baseball team. It's a choice. If Vanderbilt wants to kick ass, they can either invest the resources it takes to play big-time football or it can drop down to D-II.

But this is all getting very political and abstract, and it doesn't get to the reasons I don't care as much about college football. Everyone knows how fucked up the polls are, and how difficult it is for a truly underrated or underappreciated team to make any kind of meaningful advancement in one season. If you're not in, say, the top 12 to start the season you have no shot at winning it all. How many champs in other sports have defied preseason expectations to come together and make a run? Try most, lately. In the BCS the Cardinals, White Sox, Marlins and Angels would have never won rings, because the pundits never would have put them in the title round.

To me the most ridiculous aspect of the polls, specifically the preseason ones, is the impact of the perceived strength of schedule. A team like Rutgers or Boise or Louisville is downgraded because they don't play a tough enough schedule, and yet USC is No. 1 in part because their schedule isn't as hard as LSU's (or Texas' or Michigan's...or West Fuckin Virginia's). The Trojans are the most likely elite team to go undefeated, so they're tops. The voters allegedly love ballsy scheduling decisions like Texas and Ohio State playing early games the last few years, but the incentive of scheduling such risky matchups is far outweighed by the benefit of lining up tomato cans.

So we the fans get screwed, in dozens of different ways. We don't get true champions. We don't get good early games (I'm supposed to be excited about Tennessee and Cal this weekend). What we get is an endless series of bullshit political debates, about the relative merit of an SEC loss versus a Big East win and blah blah blah. I watch sports to escape the shenanigans going on in D.C., yet it seems as though modern-day fandom is all about salary structure, court documents and lobbying by Oklahoma State patrons.

So that's that. I know, Earth-shaking revelations--college football has some issues. If you tuned in seeking an honest-to-goodness PREVIEW, go somewhere else--I hear ESPN, EDSBS and Scooter McDougle have good ones. The team I feel is going all the way? That's easy. West Fuckin Virgina.


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Hard Knocks Review: Episode IV

Let's just say I got dis appointment. No. I don't have a scheduled doctor's visit. I'm let down. Across the board. Episode I of HBO's "Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Kansas City Chiefs" ruled. Episode II was anti-climactic. Episode III rejuvenated my interest in the series, and, yep...follow the trend: Episode IV was a joke.


I'm not interested in paying attention to Old No. 7's not-surprisingly negative response to the program. That's how he rolls. If it doesn't involve flogging the dolphin of someone who's last name rhymes with Spellbay, than he's not interested. I eagerly couldn't care less about anticipate reading his mid-autumn post that will break down how much the Chiefs suck and how their non-success directly correlates with this five-part NFL Films production. Whatever.

Episode V, however, had better be good. Before I break down the highlights and not-so-much highlights of last night's installment, allow me to voice one more complaint: Each episode has been shorter than the previous. And that, is a load of crap. I imagine that Chiefs GM Carl Peterson and Head Coach Herman Edwards have minimized what they want airing in the episodes as the program has progressed. Naturally, as you get closer to opening day, you don't want other teams honing in on your playbook and schemes. I got it. I'm sure, however, that the footage selected for last night's episode could've been 10 times more entertaining than it was. More on that in a minute.

Episode I ran the full hour it was allotted, you know, 60 of those things we call minutes. Episode II ran about four minutes shy; the third installment ended about eight minutes shy of the hour, and last night, the credits rolled at :49. Forty-nine! When will they pull the plug on the final airing? Twenty 'til? To quote Jimmy from South Park, "Come. Oh-wen." To the contents of the program I go, nevertheless.

Highlights:

As mentioned, there aren't many. I'll run through the few that were.

Kelli Croyle



As last week was quarterback-decision week for Herm and company, it was only fitting that NFL Films go into the Croyle home regardless of who won the job. We all know Brodie didn't, so we watched the newlyweds make dinner and talk about the party they'd have once Brodie's day came around. (this photo, courtesy of Arrowhead Addict via HBO, was published on AA after Episode I aired). Let it be known that, in my HoG eyes, Miss Croyle knew damn good and well this footage was making the cut as her top was nicely revealing and her jeans indicated the pleasing presence of a deliciously curved Ba-Donk-a-Donk. Good times.


Ray Farmer



First cuts happened last week, so NFL Films spent a lot of time inside Chiefs Director of Pro Personnel Ray Farmer's office as he handed down the news to the less fortuneate. I liked that they called him the Grim Reaper. Good stuff.






Bobby Sippio



I'm pleased to see that this kid is still around. He looks awesome. 'Nuff said.







Boomer Grigsby



No. I didn't look for a picture of him with his mohawk. Yes, I know he no longer wears 51. Yes, I was pleased to see him healthy again. This converted linebacker looks to be a force as a fullback. I'm rooting for him to make it as his contributions could be T-Rich worthy.





Tank "Bubba Gump" Tyler



Okay. The kid likes to eat, he snores like a chainsaw, and can't stay awake in the meeting room. That doesn't take away from his main asset: Ass. Kicking. I wouldn't be surprised or disappointed to see this kid start in Houston. He's a force, an animal and word has it that he likes to eat SEC quarterbacks and non-1500-yard-rushing tailbacks for breakfast. Huh. Me too.






Lowlights:

I'm not going to grace the lowlights with pictures. I will, however, list them.


Rookie razzing

The Kennison/Herm Edwards razzing of rookie WR Dwayne Bowe was funny at first. Last week's episode where Herm repeatedly hollered about having his donuts hot was a bit much. Apparently, they couldn't find the Krispy Kreme, so Bowe and fellow WR Rod Gardner set out for the Cracker Barrel to get Kennison and company some almond pancakes, or something equally dumb. It seemed, however, that this footage was included only to set up the ensuing cutting of Gardner. Granted, footage of guys getting cut is interesting and a big part of the show, but you don't need to set it up with in-the-car footage of two dudes jabbering and looking at a laptop for directions. Snore.


The QB Decision

Yes. A big part of the show. Yes. A big decision for any team. No. Not worth three solid minutes of Herm sitting in different positions in his office pondering the dilemna. Give me a break.


The Tank "Bubba Gump" Tyler/Turk McBride Head-Bob Sleep Fakeout

This was another waste of three good airtime minutes. And it was real dumb. And it made everyone associated with the club look real dumb, too. Good thing for Tyler he made the highlights as well. Thus, he's off the head-bob hook.

In sum, that's a lot to ingest about one episode of a series. I say that because the program itself didn't have much to ingest. I'm hoping for a bang-up finale, though. It's still entertaining television. Don't get me wrong. I only want more of the good stuff.
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Baseball In The Daytime: 8-30-07

Here on the penultimate afternoon of August, four day games flavor the palette of baseball. All four have possible playoff implications, and one is the latest edition of the greatest rivalry in sports.

From the venerable old Stadium in the Bronx, the Red Sox and Yankees play the final game of their three-episode midweek drama. The Bombers have taken the first two behind the strong pitching of Rocket and Andy Petitte, and have trimmed Boston's AL East lead to a six-pack. It's still the biggest spread in baseball, but because of the history of these two franchises we have to speculate about whether it's possible for the Yankees to catch the Olde Towne Team. It all comes down to simple mathematics.

At the outset of this series, I figured the Sox would need to win one of the remaining six games the two teams had scheduled (they play three at Fenway in mid-September). In taking that one contest, Boston would allow New York to pick up a maximum of four games head-to-head, half of what they need (the lead was 8 as of Tuesday morning). I further deduced that Boston's easier schedule (more home games, more games against crappy teams) would lead them to the division title.

Well, that's all well and good, but you still need to win that one game. The assignment in this suddenly big, important game goes to old Curt Schilling, who's won more big, important games than any pitcher still drawing a big-league paycheck. He'll step on to the same mound where he once bled through his sock and attempt to shut 50,000 New Yorkers up.

His doppelganger will be Wang, who's having another nice season (15-6, 3.95). Of much more import to Boston than slowing the Yankee lineup is scoring runs off of Wang--their offense has gone into another funk, and now Man-Ram is hobbled with an oblique injury. It should, as always, be fun, and it all kicks off at 11:05 Mountain on XM 176, DTV 734 (SD) and 731 (HD).

At the same time from the City Of Steak N' Cheese, the Phillies attempt a sweep of the Mets. To call such a sweep improbable is a vast understatement: the way these two teams were playing last week you'd have given the Phils a one-in-ten shot at even splitting the four-game series. Yet here we are. The home team has cut the Metropolitan's division lead in half, from six to three, and Philly is within the same distance of the wild card lead. El Duque, who's played in his fair share of big games himself, is the Met starter, opposite Kyle Lohse, who's one of only two Native Americans in Major League baseball (the other is Yankee phenom Joba Chamberlain). XM 183 and DTV 735 are your audio/video options.

At noon the Tigers and Royals square off at The Kauff on XM 180 and DTV 737. Detroit continues to defy logic--after taking three of four from the Yankees over the weekend they've dropped consecutive games to the fourth-place Royals.

Their starter today is Jeremy Bonderman, who's even more mystifying than his employer. Once thought of as one of the best young pitchers in the game, Bonderman has absolutely sucked donkey balls since the All-Star Break. He's lost six straight decisions and today faces Leo Nunez. The defending Al champion Tigers are clinging to their postseason lives, currently 4 1/2 behind the Indians in the Central and three back of the wild card lead.

Finally, also at noon, the Cardinals and Astros get one in at Minute Maid Park. Assbag loser Joel Pineiro starts for St. Louise, while Matt Albers toes the slab for Houston. Following the Astros' shutout win last night and the Brewers' impersonation of a big league club, the Cards are still two behind the Cubbies in the NL Central. This one can be found on XM 187 and DTV 736. Cheers!
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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

We Are Hot Chicks Wednesday: The Buddy System

As we're all aware, Father Time is not always on our side. The dregs of everyday life frequently leaves us with too few precious moments on the 24-hour clock. Be it work and the spouse/kids, or travel, or hobbies, we often need a helping hand to assist us with our goals and desires. Though we aim to accomplish most tasks on our own, the ticking minute hand sometimes forces us to call upon a friend for assistance. Take hosting a get-together for example. Just when you think your mallards are all lined up, you burn the casserole, or forget to pick up that extra bottle of wine. Then there's last-minute tidy-up and decorations, too. Need a hand? The House of Georges shamefully quotes Dionne Warwick and company when we say "That's What Friends Are For."



Food Preparation



Bree Olson and Brooke Belle know when time is of the essence. They've got the tasks divied up; one's specialty is grinding -- the mortar and pestle suggests -- while the other sees to the fresh fruit display.


La Decor



Creating the ambience can be hard. Victoria Vannucci and Claudia Fernandez, however, are way beyond the old college try. They're perfectionists. Sometimes the longer-legged has to get the high stuff...



...while the shorter one must squat to reach items on the bottom shelf.



Either way, both tasks are hands-on experiences.


Attire



When it comes to social graces, Carli Banks and Lena help one another out like no other set of friends. Often times, a hostess can't see the hair tangles in the back of her head. And let's face it, no girl wants her pants to reveal that whisper-invoking wedgie. With these two, cooperation is the name of the game.




Rooting through those same old clothes of yours can be frustrating, though. When all else in terms of outfit creation fails, sometimes a loaner is necessary. But who has time to try everything on? Party hosts must improvise when determing how one sizes up with a friend.



When really in a pinch, sizing up articles by hand isn't necessarily a bad idea.


Guest Arrival



When the oft-horrifying first (pray they're not early!) ding of the doorbell dongs in your foyer, it's important to let your guests know the air of the house is stress-free. Kayleigh Pearson and Tanya Robinson demonstrate the cool, calm and collected look every soiree attendee wants to see when stepping inside.


Last-Minute Check



In the whirl and rush of tasting hors d'oeuvres, sipping a pre-party cocktail, and maybe sucking down a stress-busting cigarette, one thing is all-too-often forgotten: fresh breath. Not unlike their outfit ensemblage, Miss Banks and company tie strings around their fingers to remind one another for one last breath check. Thus, the Binaca in the pantry.


Extravaganza Documentation



A good party's always a bust without photographs from which to remember it. Melissa Jacobs and friend are always camera-ready, posing for those Kodak moments. Make sure you've got a roll or two handy for those sacred moments worth capturing.



Every party's certain to have a guest or two that might help themselves to a few too many adult beverages. No party photo album is complete without the sleepy-eyed guests that almost crash before heading out, like Miss Marsh and Lucy Pinder.


The Cleanup



Sure. The time of night when the shindig tapers, guests depart and the monster of post-party cleanup lurks is always a drag. Good friends, like Luana Lani's companion, will always stick around and help out with the mess, even if it means getting a little dirty. Or wet. Or both.


Tuckered, But Successful



When the last dishes are dried, all the garbage is out and the leftovers stowed in TupperWare, it's time to call it a night. Tailor James and Nadine Glenn are no exceptions. After a long evening of entertaining, they're ready to hit the sack.



And if you're turning in with a partner, look out. Nothing says "We were a hit" like a nightcap in the sleeping chambers. Holler!

(Photos courtesy of Gorilla Mask and The Daily Niner)
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Baseball In The Daytime: 8-29-07

During this exciting week of baseball, when so many close divisional races are being contested, we get a few more afternoon games. On deck today are four matchups.

Batting leadoff are the Nationals and Dodgers, at 1:10 Mountain. I suppose you could say that L.A. is still in the playoff picture--they've won three straight and sit four and a half back in the division and three and a half in the wild card chase. Everyone's talking about how the addition of fat sweaty David Wells is reenergizing the team. Today, they send fat sweaty Brad Penny into battle versus Washington's Shawn Hill, whose weight and levels of perspiration are closer to normal levels. XM 185 and DTV 734 are your satellite stations of choice.

At 1:35, on XM 179 (no TV), Frank Thomas' last two employers take the field to see who's better. Roy Halladay represents the Blue Jays, while Lenny DiNardo flies the flag of the host Athletics. Halladay is merely having another excellent season, now that his midseason appendix removal has healed.

Same time, different channels (XM 188 and DTV 734) for the Rockies and Giants. Colorado is trying as hard as possible to blow it here, having dropped the last two to the woeful G-Men. Although they haven't lost any ground in the NL West (still 6 1/2 out), they're falling further behind wild-card leading San Diego and, let's be honest, it's all over for the Purple Warriors. Nice effort though. Jeff Francis gets the ball opposite Noah Lowry in a showdown of precocious lefthanders.

And finally, our cleanup game is the best of the bunch. The Angels and Mariners finish their series in Seattle with a getaway game at 2:35, and Los Anaheim is on the precipice of a sweep. Jered Weaver starts for the Bloods after his Crip brother Jeff imploded on the mound last night. The Mariners division deficit was expanded to four, their wild card lead trimmed to one, and they turn to staff ace Felix Hernandez this afternoon. Experience the drama on XM 178, DTV 736 (standard) and 731 (hi-def). Cheers!
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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tradition Tueday: The Self-Destruction Will Be Televised

The rough focus of this blog is the rivalry between the Kansas City Chiefs (heralded by Bankmeister) and the Denver Broncos (championed by Cecil and Old No. 7). It may seem unfair that it's two versus one, but once KC gets that second Super Bowl win we'll even out the delegation.

Seven years ago we started The Tradition, in which Bronco fans travel out to the Truman Sports Complex with their team, and Chief-lovers return to the Rocky Mountains with theirs. We tailgate, we talk massive amounts of shit, our wives are occasionally assaulted by rival fans, and we almost always watch the visiting team lose. It's grand old time.

Here at the HoG, we're going to keep The Tradition going with Tradition Tuesday--a weekly state-of-the-rivalry address.

Let’s start this edition of Tradition Tuesday with a simple observation. The Denver Broncos look like shit. I know it, you know it, Mike Shanahan knows it. I’m sure these aren’t happy times at the Bowlen Center For Advanced Totally Legal Blocking Technique in Dove Valley, Colorado. For more of the X’s and O’s on the plight of the local pigskinners, please tune in to Cecil’s excellent preseason NFL series.

While we’re assessing non-meaningful games, I’ll happily note that the other half of The Tradition’s rootership is equally depressed about their club’s August output. The Kansas City Chafes are a miserable 0-3 in exhibition games, and pretty boy Brodie Croyle has thrown himself out of any meaningful playing time this season.

Does this mean anything? Maybe, and then again perhaps not. I’m sure every fan of both franchises has memorized this fact: The Indianapolis Colts went 1-3 in the preseason last year, and they finished the campaign in a shower of confetti. Preseason doesn’t mean shit, unless it does. We’ll find out real quick whether either of these teams are legitimate.

But that’s reality, which bruises the soul and hurts the bones. A much more palatable diversion is reality television, which subdues the intelligence of the mob. And the surprise runaway stars of reality TV this summer have been Herman Edwards, Boomer Grigsby, Tim Krumrie and Kelli Croyle. Their names appear on the marquee of that HBO smash sensation Hard Knocks: Training Camp With The Kansas City Chiefs.

There are many things that I like about Chiefs fans. The most important is that they make me feel really smart and well-groomed. We are, on the surface, the same. We both like football and red meat and large-breasted women. It is only through the prism of Hard Knocks, a detailed anthropological study of the guts of this NFL franchise, that I am able to see the fundamental differences between Bronco fans and our low-altitude brethren of the Plains.

Unfailingly, every Chiefs fan I’ve come across loves Hard Knocks. They are so happy and proud to be featured on this program it makes me blush. I’m sure people who appear on The Price Is Right and American Idol feel the exact same way, up until the moment it’s televised. Then and only then does the truth become apparent.

You look like fucking idiots.

If you are on reality TV, you’re a dope. You come off as a simplistic moron with basic, childish motivations. Because of the lack of context in any situation, we the viewers dissect your actions and judge you, and the judgements are harsh indeed. If you talk about your contract, you look greedy. If you talk about your draft position or your playing time or your dorm room assignment, you look petty and selfish. And all this is well and good for horny kids on The Real World, because no one gives two shits about those clowns anyway. But Hard Knocks is a massive distraction away from what ought to be the sole focus of the Kansas City Chiefs, which is football.

As Herman says, You Play To Win The Game. I can only assume by the way that KC has performed thus far this year (and, for that matter, last January…playoffs?), he means regular season games. I do know for a fact that Herman and GM Carl Peterson and every single Chiefs fan on Earth desperately wants to go further into the postseason. But how far is far enough?

In the brilliant first episode of Hard Knocks, King Carl laid down the goals for the season, Chief among them the desire to win the Lamar Hunt Trophy. Not the Lombardi, mind you, but the one they give out to the AFC representative in the Super Bowl. Now I’ll bet that unless you grew up as a fan of the Chiefs, Broncos or Bills, you had no God damned idea what the Lamar Hunt Trophy was. In Denver and Buffalo, we got sick of that piece of shit following repeated hoistings of it followed by failures in The Big One. I can’t imagine, for a team that’s any better than the Detroit Lions, an ultimate aim other than winning the Super Bowl. Yet Carl wants the Lamar Hunt Trophy. How do we know this? Because Carl put his team on a reality TV show.

Later, in the most recent edition, Herman is leading his team in a two-minute drill just before the boys break camp in River Falls. He concocts a hypothetical situation for effect, just as every kid does in his backyard. Only Herman’s scenario is the final drive of…the AFC Championship Game. Now I remember sandlot games that we pretended were the seventh game of the World Series, but never once did we think to make up the League Championship.

Look, I’m sure that decades of being pretty good makes a franchise and a fan base hungry. I just can’t see being hungry for anything other than the best. Trust me, Kansas City, there’s no glory in making the Super Bowl if you fucking lose. It’s an asterisk on your career. Ask Jim Kelly.

And so, for the life of me, I can’t see how having my team on a circus sideshow like this is anything but an embarrassment. But who am I? Just another asshole fan of a cheating team with a dick coach that only cares about rings. Don’t worry about me, enjoy your TV show. Just know that on November 11 I’ll be in your town looking for the only thing that matters, which is a win. Don’t miss it—it’ll be on TV.
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Baseball In The Daytime: 8-28-07

I don't know exactly why my colleague is so obsessed with the Minnesota Twins. Yes, he did predict not once but twice that they'd win the AL Central, but I make shitty picks all the time and I'm able to let them go. I suppose that many years as a Kansas City Royals booster will affect your baseball judgement. Or perhaps he's just a closeted fan of the Twins.

Regardless, Minnesota lost to the Indians last night in a game they really needed. They're currently 6 1/2 back of the Tribe in the Central. To put this in perspective, that's the same deficit the Reds face in their division. The fucking Reds. Likewise, they're 7 out of the wild card, only one game better than the Blue Jays. Listen, the Blue Jays and the Reds are not making the playoffs under any circumstances, and the Twins aren't either. We need to let it go.

After the jump, a day game...

For reasons I'm not willing to research, the Pittsburgh Pirates occasionally schedule weekday contests for 5:05 local time, 3:05 Mountain. It seems like this would cause nothing but problems, as PNC Park is right downtown and traffic is probably a bitch at that time. But I've never really met anyone from the 'Burgh who was very smart, so it probably makes perfect sense to someone.

Anyway, today the Reds have floated up the Ohio River to The Confluence to continue their remarkable turnaround (but remember, it's meaningless). Elizar Ramirez starts for the Redlegs, while Tom Gorzelanny gets the nod from the Bucs. Catch all the fun on XM 189 and DTV 734.

And later this afternoon, after I get a few beers in me, expect a rundown of tonight's big games: Yankees/Red Sox and Brewers/Cubs. Cheers!
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Update On Da' Boof From Da' Boof

Guys. Relax. I'm right here. I haven't notched a W for my Twinkies in a few, but I've still got the stuff. So, chill. Every time you put that tagline on a post, the Twin City readers/fans get nervous, like I fell into da' river with that bridge collapse uh somethin'.

Anyways, I got Jake Westbrook on the rubber opposite me tonight. Not a problem.
Hi Ho put us in a bind after notching that sweep, so it's time to focus on our delivery and our lumber in this series at the Jake.

Never you worry, though, boys and girls. Boof is here. The Twins are comin' on strong, and Dane Cook will be forced to mention us come Actober. Play ball!
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Monday, August 27, 2007

(Meaningful) Baseball In The Nightime: August Surprise

Sometimes you just get lucky. And Mr. Allan H. "Bud" Selig has hit a jackpot this week, as almost every one of the thrilling divisional races in baseball gets clarified by a head-to-head matchup this week.

Everyone knows that the Yankees and Red Sox face off starting tomorrow in the Bronx. The Bombers pretty much need a sweep to get back in it, and good luck with that: Boston sends Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Curt Schilling to the rubber during the set.

But elsewhere in the bigs, a number of compelling series kick off tonight.

I'll start with the Mets and the Phillies, if only to share this excellent story concerning failed starter/oft-injured closer/wife beater Brett Myers. I consider the line "The Inquirer reporter asked if Myers could spell retarded, and Myers stood up" to be one of the finest sentences in the history of American journalism.

Anyhoo, these two teams are separated by six games in the National League East, although Philly is but a mere three back in the wild card. It's a classic NL fifth-starter-v.-fifth starter battle, with Brian Lawrence (of Fort Collins, yo) going against one of the Durbin brothers (J.D., whose initials actually spell J.A.). Feel the (steak n') cheese on XM 183 and DTV 735.

Breaking news: the Astros just shit-canned their manager and GM, and Cecil Cooper (one of my favorite players from my early childhood) has been named the interim skipper. The delicious irony of this is that the Brewers haven't made the playoffs since 1982, when Coop was one of their stars, and he'll now have the chance to lead a team that might dictate this year's Brewer fortunes. Nutty.

Back in the AL, the Twins and the Indians fire up a fatty at the Jake tonight, also at 5 Mountain, on XM 181 and a couple of DTV stations: 737 (standard def) and 731 (HD). Cleveland leads Detroit in the Central by 2 1/2, while Minnesota is 5 1/2 back in the division and 7 out in the wild card. The Twins have won five straight and send Carlos Silva up against Paul Byrd.

Baseball fans that don't subscribe to the Extra Innings package can tune in to a game with playoff implications tonight as well. Also at 5, on ESPN2 (and XM 176), the Yankees finish their set in Detroit with a reacharound game featuring starters Mike Mussina and Justin Verlander. I'm sure New York is glad to run the Moose out against the Shef-less Tigers as opposed to feeding him to the lions of the hot Boston lineup later in the week. Meanwhile, Verlander got smoked in his last start. He's a kid, what are you going to do?

Later tonight a couple of West Coast games feature postseason intensity and top-notch pitching talent. At 8, the AL West battle royale (with cheese) commences as the first-place Angels invade Safeco Field. The Halos and the Mariners are separated by a pair in the division, while Seattle leads the AL wild card by the same margin. John Lackey toes the slab for Los Anaheim opposite Miguel Batista, who once bought a drink for my wife. Interested observers can find this contest on XM 178, as well as the SD/HD DTV treatment on channels 738 and 731.

Finally, the NL West has its own 1-v.-2 showdown, from Petco Park in San Diego at 8 on XM 186 and DTV 739. The D'Backs, in possession of a 3-game divisional lead, send Livan Hernandez up against the Padres' Jake Peavy. The Friars are the current wild card frontrunners. Drink up, and check back in tomorrow for the eleventh-best Yankees-Red Sox preview on the whole WebNets.
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Championships=Boobs

I don't know why, but this new Nike ad with Serena Williams cracks me up. Oh yeah, I do know why. It's because it shows her rack, and when you first read it you think it says "titties." Or, at the very least, "tittlies," which isn't even a word but could be. You know, it combines "tickle" and "titties," both of which are pretty good words. That is funny.

Now I've always been conflicted by Serena. Part of me think she looks like a dude. A ripped dude. But part of me is drawn to her massive curves. Yes, I am looking at her titles.

I think we're all out of whack when it comes to female athletes, especially hot or semi-hot ones. Nike is trying to make a point that these chicks are athletes first and that their attractiveness is secondary (Mia Hamm, Picabo Street and Gabby Reece are also part of the campaign). I call shenanigans on the whole affair.

Nike is in the business of selling shit, and hot people (be they male or female) sell more shit than ugly ones. I don't see Jeff Garcia or Billy Jean King in this or any other big Nike effort. So blow me, Nike.

Meanwhile, I hope to get a good peek at Reece's "titles" in the coming weeks. She's got some good ones.
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Baseball In The Daytime: 8-27-07

Today's lone matinee is perhaps the most worthless piece of shit game I've ever seen scheduled, as the D'Rays visit the hapless White Sox. So later today we'll get into some of the wicked series kicking off this week that pit playoff contenders and division rivals directly against one another.

Over the Sox weekend, the White got swept by the Red as Boston outscored Chicago 46-7 in a four-game set. And it was easily as ugly as it sounds...the White Sox are horrible. Their bullpen is, in the words of the Boston Herald's Tony Massarotti, radioactive. Their only hope today is that Jose Contreras gives them a complete game. Which is to say, of course, that they have no hope at all.

Chicago's opponent today is Tampa Bay, who sucks almost as much but in entirely creative and different ways. The Rays have assigned Edwin Jackson to the mound, and this disaster gets underway at noon Mountain on XM 180. As a gift from the baseball gods, this sucker will not be televised.
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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hard Knocks Review: Episode III

The consensus, one I agree with, is that, in comparison to Episode I of HBO's "Hard Knocks: Training Camp With the Kansas City Chiefs," Episode II was a pretty big disappointment. Therefore, the viewership had pretty high expectations for Wednesday night's third installment. For the most part, those expectations were met. This week, we'll run through the highlights with some good ol' fashioned photos and some new-fangled YouTubeage.


Adios River Falls, Aloha Arrowhead



The Hard Knocks film crew snuck in this joyful montage as a tribute to real home-field advantage.

Herm Edwards
The H.C.I.C. went out of his way to be positive and fit in at the same time. Key Herm moments involved Edwards razzing rookie WR Dwayne Bowe about Krispy frickin' Kreme donuts. Herm wanted his young receiver to be sure that the donuts he was told to purchase for his teammates were advertised by a sign that said "Hot!" and he clearly was unsure whether or not Bowe had heard him as he repeated "Hot!" about six or seven times. Other Herm highlights include his effort to end camp on a positive. The team, led by second-year quarterback Brodie Croyle, drove down in the two-minute offense and had one fourth-down attempt to get in the end zone "to win the AFC Championship game." They false started. Herm gave the boys a free play, asterisked with the reminder that they didn't actually have that play to run. Nice work, Herm.

Bobby Sippio



I scoured the YourHubs and the StubTubes for some Sippio footage from River Falls, but there weren't none. Nevertheless, he makes the highlight reel for continuing to impress the armchair Chiefs fan in me. It'll be interesting to see if this kid and his nice teef make the 53-man roster.

Kelli Croyle

Episode III did in fact have some more Kelli Croyle footage, the first of which involved her being 45 minutes late to pick up her husband from the airport. The second snippet(s) were from afar as she watched highlights (highlights?) of the Chiefs/Dolphins game wrapped in a transparent trash bag. To further the video shamery, her outfit was not see-through.











The Nutshell



CBSSportsline.com had their own Mike Judge out there to summarize what the skinny was, to that point, on the Chiefs.

That's about it. Two episodes of Hard Knocks left to go. Check back next week for another non-timely review of the program.
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Please, For the Sake of What's Right, Turn Your Head and Mask Your Laughter





Yeah. That clip is...well, probably going to grow immensely in viewership. Not because it's here on the HoG, but because, you know. It's like, funny and terrible at the same time. At least, that's what our advertisers told us to say.

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Our AFC West, Vol. 3


While ESPNNews is showing all of Brady Quinn's Saturday 4th quarter highlights--and truly they are masterful, his heroic showing a performance for the ages--let's reflect on what we've learned so far about the competition in our lil' wild western division.

We've discovered that Herm Edwards really does a have a lick of sense.

We've discovered that the Broncos might not live up to one man's pre-pre-season prediction. Which would be a surprise to all of us, I realize.

We've discovered that the Raiders might all of a sudden not suck.

We haven't really discovered anything about the Chargers, but I have a really hard time picking anyone else to win the West. Norv will kill it for them at some point. Just not in the regular season.

Finally, you have, upon reading this, discovered that your preferred (predominantly) orange-and-blue apologist is undergoing something of a crisis of faith.

It's only the preseason, yes, and I have a hard time imagining they'll look this generally inept when the games start to matter. I just can't ignore some troubling trends continuing from season last.

Tackling, for instance. Getting other teams off the field on third down (a huge one). Converting our own thirds. Getting pressure on the QB. The fact that our starting quarterback is a virtual rookie who's destined to struggle.

Add to that a schedule everyone seems to think is easy but isn't--we play like this, we'll start the year 1-5, having to go against big-time defenses in Oakland, San Diego and Jacksonville, our nemesis Indy and a mysterious Buffalo team that could be excellent on offense--and we have the makings of precipitation, friends.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's a kind of unconscious fear of the law o' averages, as in, sooner or later this squad is simply going to have to face a 5-11, 6-10 season. They've only had two(!) losing seasons since 1993. At some point, the pendulum swings the other direction. Christ, I hope that's all it is.

Beat Buffalo and maybe I can avoid stuffing my head in the oven. For a week, at least.
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Friday, August 24, 2007

Baseball In The Daytime: 8-24-07

Man, yesterday really sucked. The Red Sox were rained out, the Yankees didn't lose (or even play), and the Rockies dropped a series to the God damned Pirates. That's not a nail in the coffin for the Colorado nine, but there is a standing order at the hardware store for a pound of eight-pennys.

On the bright side, we do get a Friday matinee. Now I don't have any idea if this Red Sox-White Sox game was scheduled before the rainout and the night game was added or vice versa, but who really cares? Josh Beckett aims to become the majors' first 16-game winner against inconsistent Jon Garland.

Beckett won 16 games all of last year, so he's really picked up the pace in '07. You can find this game at noon Mountain on XM 177. DirecTV only has the night game listed (on 743), so that leads me to believe that this early contest is the rescheduled one. Poke around the 730's, as well as WGN (307) and NESN (623) and see what you can find.

Now I'm going to go caulk a roof and try not to fall off, so's I can enjoy the game later. Cheers!
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Thursday, August 23, 2007

That Bastard Injustice!


To quote from ESPN.com (not that I ever want to, really):

"Emmitt Thomas, who had 58 interceptions for Kansas City, and Marshall Goldberg, a standout two-way player for the Chicago Cardinals in the 1940s, were picked Thursday for the Pro Football Hall of Fame ballot."

OK. Thomas retired at the dawn of my football consciousness, in '79, still, I'd heard tell from smart folks who'd know that he was a good player. Goldberg, who knows? He could have been the team bookie. He could have been the guy who knew where to find plump and willing local gals on the road. He could have been an alien form of vegetable matter that mixed with your mind and made you think it was a doughy guy wearing a leather helmet and running bowlegged while it was really implanting his space-seed in Harry Truman's face. I can't vouch for Goldberg.

But there's a larger problem here and you, loyal citizen of HoGNation, know exactly what it is.


To quote from a later graf in that same story:

"Thomas, signed by Kansas City in 1966 as a free agent from Bishop College, played with the Chiefs when they beat Minnesota 23-7 in the 1970 Super Bowl. That team included Hall of Famers Len Dawson, Buck Buchanan, Willie Lanier, Bobby Bell and Jan Stenerud and was coached by Hall member Hank Stram."

Wow. KC's one Super Bowl team had not one, not two, not-fucking-even three, but 5 players--and the head coach--elected to the Hall of Fame.

I shan't belabor the point. Shan't. But anybody with a milliliter of sense in their marrow would think it an outrage that one of the most successful NFL Franchises of all time, a team that's played in more Super Bowls than anyone but the Cowboys and Steelers and been in the AFC Title game an additional two times besides, should have only one player in the Hall.

Besides, Elway was an inarguable. But are you tellin' me that, over the last 47 years, the Broncos have only had one guy who met the stringent and obviously mysterious criteria? Lynn Swann caught like 400 balls in his career and got in for his performance in two Super Bowls. A guard from the old, pre-merger Buffalo Bills named Billy Shaw is in. You'll remember Shaw, of course. He was that guy who played an interior line position on a team that won a title in an inferior conference (Ed. Note: I'm an AFC guy through and through, but in the early days there was no comparison. Maybe the Bills or Chargers--particularly the Chargers, with Sid Gillman and Lance Alworth--could have competed with the Packers or Colts or Browns. But probably not on most days.) before you were born.

I'm not asking the selectors, who seem by and large to be old and based out east, to elect fucking Keith Kartz. I'm asking for Louis Wright, Randy Gradishar. I'm asking a look at Karl Mecklenburg. Why can't he warrant a conversation?

How about Dennis Smith and Steve Atwater? How about Terrell Davis? Rod Smith, upon his final retirement, should get a debate. As should Tom Nalen. Don't even get me started on Gary Zimmerman.

Ok, so maybe I was going to belabor it a little.


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Our AFC West, Vol. 2


I can't even get the Chiefs game in Denver. Doesn't even matter. My friend Clara, who resides in the totally undestroyed city of New Orleans, called when the score was 13-0 Saints. It hasn't gotten any better since.



Right now, with 3:53 left in the game, the NOLA squad is hanging on by a score of 30-0. The following few plays--admittedly by back, back, way way backups--look something like this:

Olindo Mare kicks off to the NO0. Justin Phinisee return for 43 yards to KC43.
4:51 4th NO -- Olindo Mare extra point is good.
4:58 4th NO 1-10 at KC19 P Thomas rush to the right for 19 yards for a TOUCHDOWN.
5:39 4th NO 2-11 at NO49 P Thomas rush up the middle for 32 yards to the KC19. Tackled by Dimitri Patterson.
6:14 4th NO 1-10 at 50 P Thomas rush to the right for a loss of 1 yard to the NO49. Tackled by Chad Williams
It keeps on going like that. A lot of the scoring came when the scrubs were in. But we can glean a few truths from this here third exhibition game.

First, New Orleans might be fucking awesome this year on the offensive side of the ball. Check out Brees' stat line:
CP-AT YDS TD INT RTG
17-19 182 1 0 124.1

That last number being, of course, Bankmeister's favorite tool o' evaluation. Contrast that with young Croyle's line:

Passing CP-AT YDS TD INT RTG
Brodie Croyle 5-17 45 0 1 15.1

The caveat being that Brees has a better line, better backs, better receivers and is, at least right now, a better player. But man. KC took the bullet on this one. Is Herm really going to go with Croyle??

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Ifs, Whens and Other Things We Love That Just Might Kill Us: Cherry Creek High's Elway Obsession

Editor's Note: This exchange was first published several months ago on Arrowhead Addict. Old No. 7, in his infinite wisdom, then took it upon himself to publish it on Predominantly Orange. It's not new or news, but this is, and hey -- that's worth something. As is enjoyable reading, so get to it!

Bankmeister: There are a number of topics I'd like to cover with you, and I'm confident I'll get to at least half of one, and never get sidetracked. So here goes: Last week in your Tradition Tuesday post on the House of Georges you talked about the recruitment and development of John Elway's son. You also spoke about your fantasy scenario in which Jack is drafted by the Chiefs after college. I don't get this. Why does this fascinate you?

Old No. 7: When it comes to Young Elway, my first wish would, of course, be for him to follow in his Dad's footsteps and have a Hall Of Fame career for the Denver Broncos. In lieu of that, my secondary wish would be to see him go to a team whose fan base loathes his dad (Cleveland, Green Bay, any AFC West franchise, etc.). I think it would be really, really funny, especially if Jack were a really good college QB and that team really needed a QB. The conflict would amuse me.


B: That's rich. I suppose I could stomach such a twist only if it meant that Young Elway repeatedly defeated the Broncos. You guys would have no idea how to react: you can't hate or boo the son of your god, right? The conflict there would amuse me.

7: Touche. That would suck. You've written in the past about players who've "gone to the dark side" , i.e. played for the Chiefs and then gone to the Broncos. Neil Smith is obviously the most prominent example here, but there are many. I agree, what with my disdain for that ass clown Eddie Kennison. Where would the child (or brother or other relative) of a hated rival fit in on that continuum of fan dislike?

B: It fits in like this: It blows. Period. I suppose it ultimately winds up sucking for the athlete in question, but, you know, screw that guy. He's still hoarding piles of American dollars by simply playing the game he's loved to play his whole life.

I find relatives in sports to be a fascinating topic, though, and I always seem to have mixed emotions about them. As a young Royals fan, I didn't give two seconds of consideration to Ken Brett. He was a pitcher. In the American League, which equals no homeruns, no triples, no base-stealing, etc. Not to mention the fact that his presence on the club forced his kid brother to put that God-awful "G" on the back of his uni.

Fast forward 20 years and I found myself captivated by the Brian Griese situation in Denver. It's strange to admit, let alone think about, but I was totally rooting for that kid. That's some pressure. Here's a guy that the Broncos have tagged as the guy to replace Elway, or Horse-Faced Colts Draft (HFCD) as I like to call him. Here's a franchise that was awful for most of the first two decades it existed. They had the '77 Super Bowl appearance, but not much after until the infamous NFL draft of '83.

Though it took HFCD a couple of seasons to get his game on, he did take them to the big game on four occasions. Granted, those were monstrous losses, but the team was there, showing success, riding the lone draft pick holdout it so savored with every ounce of saliva in its collective mouth. Finally, they win the big one twice, and the king of Denver car sales rides off into the orange sunset of retirement. Literally.

That's a whirlwind of a ride to be a football fan/family in Denver. I'm a firm believer that sports, to a degree, transcend generations within families. I can imagine that, say, yourself, as a child, felt frustration as a Bronco fan, basked in the glory of all those playoffs, exploded with exhiliration when your boys finally won it all, and, when it finally hit you between eyes that your franchise was on the market for a QB, you were like, "What in the world just happened?"

Along comes Griese. A good egg. A talent. The son of Hall-of-Fame pigskin slinger, the one selected to steer that franchise into the new HFCD-less millenium. I posit that one could scarcely finger a larger set of shoes to fill in sports history. Okay. Maybe NFL history.

Say you're a Bills fan, and let's pretend that the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills (solely because they're in the same division -- I don't portend to know much about football beyond the AFC West) are a bitter, hated rivalry. If your pops watched Bob Griese kill your team on a semi-regular basis, you'd be like, "Man I hate that guy" or "Geez, I wish we had that caliber of talent on our team." So when his son Brian enters the league, you, as a Bills fan, tell your kids how much his dad used to toss around your team back in the day. But you do it with respect.

The kind of respect I had for Brian as a young Bronco. Of course, his performance didn't cut it for Bowlen/Shanahan and the secret phantoms that run the Broncos, and he's gone. One more reason to not like that franchise.

The whole HFCD thing is clearly a massive exception. I'll always hate him for refusing to play for the team that drafted him. I despise Eli Manning for the same reason. Then again, I'm over-idealistic; I'd like for the world to spin the way "it was meant to," even though there's not a formula/set of guidelines for such spinning. Throw in the fact, though, that his daddy pulls the strings for him to play for a "west coast" team (I always found that odd, but I never claimed to have aced geography) that happens to be a division rival.

And the guy really was the come-from-behind maestro. Coincidentally, a lot of those late-game victories were at the expense of my Chiefs.

Thus, to continue not answering your question, the continuum of fan dislike, is an abyss of a black hole for Young Elway. The thought of those five letters on the back of a red and gold jersey literally makes me want to vomit. And of course, there are very few retired numbers in the Chiefs franchise. Seven is not one of them.

7: Man, that was a mouthful. It almost seems as though you'd thought of some of that stuff ahead of hand. I have to vehemently disagree with you when it comes to the end of Griese's Denver career. You said: "...his performance didn't cut it for Bowlen/Shanahan and the secret phantoms that run the Broncos, and he's gone. One more reason to not like that franchise."

Griese's performance did not cut it in general. This is a team with an owner and a coach that will settle for nothing less than Super Bowl championships, and Griese proved not to be the QB to lead the team back to the Big Game. The remainder of his career has validated the decision, as he's never been back to the Pro Bowl, never won a playoff game and never even held on to a starting job for a full season. I think Brian Griese is a good backup NFL QB, and I would have loved for him to stick around in that capacity when they brought Plummer in. The egos and attitudes involved would not allow that, however, and he had to go.

It's a rough business. I was pulling for Griese too, but he didn't have the temperament, the leadership attributes, or the top-level tools he needed to succeed in Denver. That's not because Bowlen and Shanahan are assholes, they merely wield the ax. Griese had the chance, and Griese failed.

I am totally on the same page with you with that initial, though. I always hate it when a player--especially a longtime favorite--has to take on the initial on his nameplate because his dumb brother (or, even worse, someone who coincidentally has the same name) signs up. What I've never understood is why you even need it. George Brett, number 5 in your programs and number 1 in your hearts, did not need an initial. Hell, he didn't need anything on the back of his jersey. No one was going to mix him up with his brother, so just put "Brett" on the back of both of their jerseys and be done with it. I don't understand why this is so hard.

Anyway, back to the kid Elway. Let me ask you this: how much is your view of the relatives of athletes is affected by the fact that almost all of them grew up rich, privileged and with an automatic edge? Part of what we respect about athletes is the incredible amount of work it takes to be good at this stuff, as well as the fact that many of these kids come from broken homes and/or crappy schools. Imagine it's not Elway, but someone you like and respect: how do you feel about his kid as an adult athlete, knowing that he had every advantage, went to the best camps and schools, can network with anyone and oh by the way had a Hall of Famer as a backyard coach since birth?

B: Okay. Points on the Griese topic well-illustrated and intelligent. I think there's a part of me, though, that will always toss a smattering of blame upon the organization/fan base with regard to HFCD's successor solely because of the way things went down with his acquistion, career, and championship status/retirement. I don't mention this to indicate any level of shrewdness or accuracy. I'm simply sayin'.

Kudos on the initials bit as well. It's not that freaking hard. If you know your team, you know your team. You recognize stature, position, tendency, etc. I even found myself annoyed with recent Bronco uniforms. I can't remember who, but in the past four or five years, Denver acquired someone with the same last name as a long-standing member, the end result being initial addage. And it disturbed me to see the uniform of whoever that guy was modified. Same goes for Larry and Derrick Johnson on the current Chiefs roster. I'd never buy either of those guys jerseys because I can't roll through Englewood, or wherever Bronco fans tailgate and have it recognized for the sheer #56. Granted, now that I think about it, several Denver fans would probably be like, "Yo, I thought LJ wore #27."

Anyway. Regarding Kid Elway, I can't really say. That is, I've never considered the background of a son of a former professional athlete. I'm usually having a good day if I know where a kid attended college, so knowing how it was financed would be a giant stretch.

That said, I don't know that I could formulate a quality opinion if I just knew a few details. On the one hand, you'd tend to hate the punk for having the good gear/camps/schools and thus the advantage over the less privileged. The other side to that, though, is that said father worked his butt off to provide these things for his son, and you'd have to acknowledge his entitlement to do so.

Where I'd want to lend extra scrutiny would be whether or not the father made the son earn every bit of the privilege/advantage. Like, "You can have a different pair of Reeboks for each day of the week, but you've got to earn some of the money for them via chores around the house." Or, perhaps you reward the kid with good grades as the incentive: "You can go to John Elway's quarterback camp if you get straight As; come home with less than a 3.0, you're marching to camp Bubby Brister." Something like that.

As far as the backyard coach, I'm all for it. That's what America is all about. With Father's Day weekend here, there've been a lot of Royals commercials on suggesting that you take dad to the game, etc. These ads feature blips with players talking about how their dads taught them how to hit, field and slide. They also acknowledge that their dad was the first to see them hit a AA homerun, or get his first strikeout in the bigs. That junk gives me goose bumps just typing it. I guess that makes me a romantic old sap, but, for my money, the gifts of genetic talent and knowledge of the game that a father gives his son is pure bliss, even if these gushers of moments take place between John and Jack. What about you, though? This exchange has become a bit one-sided. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the whole relative of a rival conundrum. I’d also be interested in hearing your thoughts on the son of an HOFer having all of the goods lined up for him.

7: I'm pretty sure the numbers/initials combo on the Broncos you're referring to would be the Williams situation. When Darrent was drafted, D.J. put his initials on his shirt. I actually thought this was fine, because his first name is initials. The travesty was when Darrent put his entire first name on, loading his jersey up with more letters than Braves catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. As annonying as the initial thing is, it's ten times worse when two guys have the same last name and same first initial, resulting in spelling out both names. Bunk.

Sadly, we're back to only one Williams on the roster. I don't know what D.J. is going to wear on his nameplate, but it's going to remind us of the Williams that's not there, and that sucks.

Also, the Broncos often have had random Smiths on the team, resulting in Rod adding the initial--which pisses me off.

If there’s a player that I don’t like, either as an individual athlete or from a rival team, there is a certain amount of dislike built in for me automatically. Eli Manning is the first example that comes to mind for me. I’ve always despised his brother (although I may be coming around on him, much to my shock and dismay), and so I initially transferred that feeling to Eli. Then about a year ago I consciously decided to give Eli a chance and even felt sorry for him a little bit. That was all until I drafted him for my fantasy league last season and he single handedly destroyed my title chances. So now I hate Eli comepletely on his own merit.



If the son of a rival—like, I don’t know, Marcus Allen’s kid or something—ended up going to Colorado State or signing with the Broncos, I would accept him but hold him to a way different standard than other players. I would be almost predisposed to jump on his ass after a mistake. He could earn my appreciation, but the bar would initially be set a lot higher. It’s a tough call, because players move around so much these days it’s hard to really associate players with one franchise (and thus hate them as much as you hate the rival team).

I don't know how to measure the amount of good parenting or discipline any kid receives, so I will ask you this: All kidding about Jack Elway aside, do you honestly think that Brodie Croyle is the long-term answer for the Chiefs? What have you seen in the kid to make you believe one way or another? What's your best case scenario for play at the quarterback position, and how do you think Cutler will do this year?

B: Great questions, each one of them. Regarding Croyle, I can’t say. In a Chiefs uniform, I’ve only seen him come in for mop-up duty in the infamous Pittsburgh “Passion Party” catastrophe at Three Rivers last year. I know in the small amount of tosses he chucked up, two were picks, one for a touchdown return. So that’s not good, but that team didn’t have its head on straight that day. Prior to being drafted, I saw only snippets of his collegiate play, as well as a decent amount of those quarterback competition things they televise. He seemed to do well.

The one thing I’m staunch about is this: Give him a chance. I don’t care about his pre-NFL injuries, and I don’t care when he gets his chance. I just don’t think you write him off before he’s given a shot similar to what Cutler got last year. My best-case scenario is a fair competition for the starting job, an orchestration that, in my mind, is only winnable (at this point) by Damon Huard. Anyone that thinks otherwise confuses me.

Finally, I think Cutler will do great. I really do. I predict he’ll progress and make good things happen at a rate much quicker than Philip Rivers displayed last year. Of course, some of that is system-related, but Cutler will do real well. I wouldn’t be surprised if he finishes in the top three of AFC qb rating. Some folks aren’t fans of that statistic, but it really is a good yardstick. What do you think about Croyle/Huard? And, are you as optimistic as I am --or more -- on how Cutler will do?

7: Ah, the Passion Party. Easily my favorite NFL story of last season, eclipsing even Making It Rain. Here’s my read on Croyle and Huard: If Herm is serious about winning this year, with this team, he’ll play the veteran. Huard is clearly more ready to win games right now. You were in the playoffs last year and you bring most of the team back. If you feel as though you’re playing for the future, then no question you go with the kid, especially since career backup Huard can not raise any kind of a stink about going back to the clipboard.

And by “playing for the future,” I don’t mean giving up on the season. If the two QBs are close in ability, and you’ve seen Huard’s ceiling, then let the young man show his stuff. Besides, if Elway Junior’s going to suit up in KC you need to shake thing out sooner rather than later. But it takes a commitment, without waffling. I actually respect the way Shanahan handled the QB transition last year, even if it cost us a playoff spot. The people that were calling for Cutler in Week One made me want to load and fire. In that spot you absolutely had to get what you could out of Plummer. And when Jake’s ineffectiveness was crippling the team, you had to go to the first-round pick, even if he wasn’t ready to take a team to the postseason. It was a frustrating season but necessary for the future of the team.

And I think that future is positive with Cutler. He still has a rather large unknown quality, and I’m a little weirded out by the Vanderbilt thing. All of that college footage could have been fabricated (like the moon landing) and no one would know about it. He still feels like a stranger in our house because we didn’t know him in college. Hell, even Roethlisberger played (and destroyed) CSU when he was at Miami of Ohio. I do think Cutler has the tools and the temperament to be hugely successful. I don’t know about that top-three prediction, because he’d have to beat out a lot of good arms to get there, but eventually he will be a major star and win a lot of games.

He is JC, The Messiah, Mr. Universe (link here) and even if he wasn’t born on Christmas he is from Santa Claus, Indiana. He will lead the Chosen Fans out of the Wilderness and to the Promised Land, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.


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Baseball In The Daytime: 8-23-07

Although we won't go as deep into it as we did with the AL yesterday, after the game schedule we will break down the National League Cy Young race.

Your leadoff game is the latest installment of the fierce battle for the AL Central crown. The Cleveland Indians wrap up their series in Detroit by sending Jake Westbrook up against Nate Robertson at 11:05 Mountain. After beating up on the struggling Justin Verlander yesterday, the Tribe holds a game and a half lead in the division with Minnesota lingering six and a half back. Catch all the fun on XM 182 and DTV 734.

Also at eleven, the Dodgers and the Phillies play their last game of the year. I can say that with finality, as there's no way either of these teams make the playoffs (Playoffs?) as anything but the wild card. The attendance is expected to be a little low at Citizens Bank today, as many Phillies fans offed themselves in the wake of Cole Hamels' DL designation yesterday. Cheer up, losers! Shane Victorino, the Flyin' Hawaiian, is back! And if he can pitch, you'll be just fine.

Actually, Philly is, in fact, fucked hard. Making his first major start today is some kid named Fabio Castro, while the Dodgers have selected Chad Billingsley. Your channels are XM 189 and DTV 735.

From dangerous downtown Denver, the Pirates and Rockies have scheduled a getaway game at 1:05 on XM 186 (no TV). Paul Maholm, whose last name is pronounced with a soft O and three syllables, toes the slab opposite fireballing phenom Franklin Morales. If Colorado doesn't make a run soon they're in danger of blowing both their playoff chances and any shot at the franchise win record (83 in both '96 and '97).

Finally we have another installment in the long Cubs-Giants rivalry. These two teams have been playing each other since 1883, when Julio Franco was still playing shortstop. Today's contest sees Big Z take on Matt Cain at 1:35 on XM 188 and DTV 736.

And speaking of Big Z, he was ridiculed back in spring training for predicting that he'd win this year's Cy Young award. Although he's backtracked considerably from his ridiculously good midseason play, he had a shot at fulfilling that prophecy for part of the season. I currently have him fourth in the race, ahead of the following fellows:

T11. John Maine and Orlando Hernandez. El Duque's stats are actually pretty awesome. He's third in WHIP and second in BAA with a silly .195.
10. Roy Oswalt
T8. Tim Hudson and John Smoltz. Hudson leads the league in wins with 15 but has hardly been dominant. Smoltz is getting up there in age but can still bring it, as his 3.05 ERA suggests.
7. Jeff Francis. Still the only Francis in sports not to have the "Franchise" nickname, the ace of the Rockies deserves a spot in the top 10. Because I said so.
6. Brad Penny. A big fat hairy disgusting pig who gets unhittable for long stretches. Also 14-3 with a 2.59.
5. Chris Young. Looks like he's headed to the DL with a bad back, the bane of 6-10 pitchers. But he leads the universe with a 2.12 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and .184 BAA. It's hard to come up with a reason that he's only won nine games, other than the Padres kind of stink.
4. The aforementioned Big Z.

3. Cole Hamels. This injury will cause him to fall in the final voting, but this kid has absolutely excelled this season. Second in wins, fourth in WHIP, fourth in strikeouts, with a tasty 156/39 K/BB ratio, Hamels will be a lethal force for years to come. Plus he's dreamy.

2. Brandon Webb. Last year's Cy winner could still repeat, but he did give up a run last night. That halted his scoreless-innings streak at 42, and raised his ERA to 2.63. What a jackass. He is still in the top ten in every stat category, and the fact that the D'Backs are probably going to the playoffs with a criminally young roster has to count for something.

1. Jake Peavy. I searched all over the YourHubs this morning, trying to figure out if Peavy had won the Cy Young in the past. It turns out he's never received a single vote for the award, even though he's a two-time All-Star who led the league in ERA in '04 and in strikeouts in '05. That, my friends, is a joke. Voters can make amends this season, as there's absolutely nothing precluding Peavy from taking the award. He is, hands down, the NL's finest arm.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

We Are Hot Chicks: Top Shelf

Out there on the StubTubes are a plethora of web sites, some fascinating, some not. But rarely have I come across a location as consistently compelling as Sports by Brooks.

SbB is ostensibly a sports blog, and it has takes on stuff like Greg Norman's alimony and some dude named Ron Mexico. But it also has photos, hundreds and hundreds of photos, of some of the most jaw-droppingly topheavy ladies you'll ever lay eyes on. The Sports by Brooks girls are irresponsibly stacked, and they offer no apologies for this fact.

DENISE
ANYSSA
AMENEH
CECILIA (on the left, I think)
TERESSA
KIM
JESSICA
CORA

Now I don't know who this guy Brooks is. He seems to be some independently wealthy playboy who somehow coerces these broads into posing for his bikini shots. He takes them all over the world, and they smile. I guess he writes about sports too, but somehow I get distracted by the racks.

And spare me any guff about silicone. Here at the HoG we've always been adamant in our antipathy about performance enhancement. I don't really care if Barry's on horse hormones or Denise is jacked up on implants. A good game is a good game, and Brooks brings the game. Thank you, sir.
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