You know how every once in a while you're watching a game, and something incredible happens, and you feel grateful to have been there (you're not really "there," of course, but you know where I'm going)? It happened to me last year, when I finally witnessed a no-hitter--even better, it was Red Sox kid sensation Clay Buchholz doing the deed.
Last night's "Costas Now" media inquisition on HBO might have been one of those moments, only I missed it live. I set the DVR and finished watching the Sox' epic 1-0 triumph over Roy Halladay, who threw his third consecutive complete game loss (that sounds like something from the dead ball era). I then put in a little wife time and watched some programming we could both enjoy. For some reason a fake town hall meeting discussing sports blogs and talk radio did not interest her.
So before I headed to work this morning, I cued up the TiVo to see if anything interesting happened on the show. Now I know that this stuff is most likely more interesting to us the writers than you the readers. The vitriol of Buzz Bissinger and Bob Costas were directed at us bloggers, not you blog consumers. But by extension, those guys were calling you idiots. They said that you are not capable of filtering information for yourself, that you can't decide what's credible or entertaining on your own, and that only TRAINED SPORTS JOURNALISTS are skilled enough to deliver sports analysis to sports fans. Just make sure you keep buying Bissinger's books, watching Costas' shows, patronizing their advertisers, and they'll take care of you, you fucking morons.
Banky helpfully provides the relevant clip below, as well as reaction from the relevant parties: Leitch, the FJM crew, and Big Daddy Balls.
First off, a note about Buzz Bissinger. If you haven't read his stuff before, you might dismiss him as a defensive old crackpot and leave it at that. I have read his stuff, and he is truly gifted at his craft. He graduated from Penn, worked at newspapers in the twin Cities, Philadelphia and Chicago, and won a Pulitzer Prize. He's most well known for two sports books: Friday Night Lights and Three Nights In August.
Friday Night Lights is and always will be one of my favorite books in any genre. One reason for this is that I have family from West Texas, and I've known about the obsession with Odessa Permian football (Mojo) for a long time. But the primary reason I love the book is that Bissinger created something entirely new with it. Sure, other authors have embedded themselves with their subjects before. George Plimpton was a member of the Detroit Lions, and John Feinstein spent an full season with Bob Knight and the Indiana basketball team. Detroit Lions and Indiana Hoosiers are, for the most part, celebrities on a national scale. Permian Panthers, when Bissinger arrived, were not. They were 15-, 16-year-old kids with acne and anxiety and shitty parents. Bissinger created on the pages of his book everything good and raw and compelling from reality TV without gratuitous humiliation and product placement. It was masterful.
It also made Bissinger rich. Then he sold the film rights and Hollywood made a lousy movie, which made Bissinger even richer. Then NBC created its TV show, which generated even more cash, even though it has no true connection to Bissinger's real-life characters. It's complete fiction. Along the way Bissinger transformed, from a crusty newspaperman to a loaded player. His roots, of course, are still in print journalism. He doesn't understand the kids and their Intarweebs and their rock and roll music. And because he doesn't understand, he's defensive and frustrated and bitter and angry, angry at Will Leitch, even though Leitch does not represent even the slightest threat to his livelihood.
Three Nights In August is compelling in its own way, but isn't half the masterpiece that Friday Night Lights is. Bissinger has lost his voice and his connection with both his subject and his reader. He's now important, he has literary agents and managers and a big advance and big-shot friends and sidekicks like Tony La Russa and Tracy Ringolsby. He's also dismissive of this new trend in baseball, embodied by Moneyball, and he spends much of the book slamming the disrespectful young guns and lauding the slow-footed old guard. Sound familiar?
Now Will Leitch has written a few books too, most recently God Save The Fan. I've read it, and it was, well, disappointing. Judged strictly on the basis of writing chops, Will Leitch can not hold a candle to Buzz Bissinger. But Leitch is a thousand times the modern sports journalist that Bissinger is. Leitch, like Bissinger, cut his teeth in newspapers before moving on to a different medium. But while Leitch is willing to adapt because adaptation is a necessary human skill, Bissinger adapts only when it is financially beneficial. If there were more money in newspapers than in his new gig as novelist/screenwriter/producer, he'd still be in newspapers. If Al Gore had invented the House of Georges back when Bissinger was a cub reporter, he'd be on the series of tubes. Bissinger pretends to have principles, but he really just doesn't get it.
The Internet is putting newspapers out of business, not because it's better but because newspapers are filled with dyspeptic old know-it-alls like Buzz Bissinger who want to own the information and dispense it as they see fit. And because they're in the information business, the Bissingers and the Ringolsbys of the world have a platform with which they can air their antiquated views.
You know who else the Internet has put out of business? Porn theaters (actually, VCRs did it first). Travel agents. Yet travel agents are not represented by Buzz Bissinger, so no one gives a shit. No one gets PISSED OFF on a Bob Costas show when they book a flight online, they're either grateful for the convenience or take it completely for granted. Like you did, when you came here to the HoG today instead of digging for Mark Kiszla's views on the state of the Nuggets in the Denver Post.
Look, I love newspapers. I read several actual dead-tree papers every day, unlike almost everyone my age. I used to work in the field, as did Bankmeister. Hell, Cecil still draws a paycheck from a major U.S. daily newspaper. We're all trained professional journalists. We've faced deadlines. We've edited our stories to avoid libel. We've interviewed smug arrogant jerks like Buzz Bissinger because it was our job. We know the game.
And yet in our spare time we publish this blog. We don't follow AP style, we curse, we run (as Bob Costas called them last night) "gratuitous potshots and mean-spirited abuse." You know why, Buzz and Bob? Because the Internet allows us to follow sports in a more democratic and accessible way than you prefer. I don't want to wait around for Buzz's next book to let you give me an opinion. I don't want to rely on Bob Costas, with his opinions and biases, to deliver information to me I can easily find and decode for myself. I'm a smart guy, and when it comes to certain teams and certain stats I'm way smarter than Costas and Bissinger. Bob Costas doesn't know the status of the Rockies' second base job, who'll play QB for CSU next year, who my keeper is going to be in fantasy football. He doesn't give a shit. So fuck him, I'll find it myself, and then I'll write about it. In my underwear. In my mom's basement. Because I can.
This is not to say that we, with our fancy community-college journalism degrees and well-worn steno pads, are uniquely qualified to dissect sports. Our only credentials are that we're fans and we care. Which makes us just as "experienced" as Mike Wilbon or Bob Costas or Buzz Bissinger. And you, humble sports fan, are just as qualified too. So you didn't go to Northwestern, intern under Grantland Rice, cover the Moscow Olympics? Who cares? Start a blog, it's easy. There's no way it can be worse than this one (Editor's Note: Please don't start a blog, you might take away our precious traffic and we're scared to death of change.)
In a way, these defenses of our medium are ridiculous, because they concede there's some sort of credence to the ancient ramblings of dumb old Buzz Bissinger. Besides, no one can do it better than Big Daddy Balls Deep Drew-lerio After Dark Piss-Fuck himself. Read more
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
You know how every once in a while you're watching a game, and something incredible happens, and you feel grateful to have been there (you're not really "there," of course, but you know where I'm going)? It happened to me last year, when I finally witnessed a no-hitter--even better, it was Red Sox kid sensation Clay Buchholz doing the deed.
Believe it or not, I do in fact pity the fool that makes an utter ass of himself on the HomeBoxOffices, and later on the CyberNets. Not a lot, but a smidge. I was disappointed in myself by contributing to the Googlers out there drumming up the search ratings for Buzz Bissinger, but felt a bit of reprieve when the former "A-Team" star came up around page threeish. So there's that. I'm more than willing to admit that I don't have any credentials. Perhaps I should order some from Amazon. I do, however, have a bit of insight. My small amount of education has led me to the conclusion that Mr. Bissinger's blog -- wouldn't that be a hoot? -- will never hit the "Blogdome" section of Deadspin after being rude to Will Leitch on television last night. He can, as Old No. 7 once said -- is this guy a slogan machine or what? -- consider his blog cast into the virtual Siberia of Blogstralia. Some other things that the slouchy author won't get, just after the jump.
If Bob Costas -- or an intern on Mr. Costas' behalf -- ever communicates that your presence on his television program would be appreciated, accept.
Once in the studio, however, make certain that no Leitch-bashing takes place,
or the chances of receiving, as a parting gift, a nifty, framed picture of a quaint, tree-laden rural setting will diminish faster than the words Braylon Edwards can be uttered.
Blogger bashing almost never results in eligibility for striped attire. Almost never.
Still dreaming of that tropical getaway?
Consider that dream unattainable if your M.O. is to go on television and rudely interrupt other guests each time they attempt to speak.
I have in front of me a pile of legal documents (Editor's Note: Oops. Turned out to be a pile of unsorted mail and post-it notes to myself. I was wondering where those went!) that says telling Will Leitch that efforts like his "dumbs us down" strictly prohibits one from changing from a slightly cool moniker like "Buzz" to an ultra-hip one like "Divini."
Dita Von Teese
Speaking of cool names, Dita Von Teese carries with her a list of unattainable items that result from actin' tha fool on TV. Among them are: a swanky hotel room where the comforter matches the drapes;
a thingamajig that looks like a violin bow, a whip, and a tinwhistle all in one;
tickets to the SpongeBath MartiniGlass performance;
an antique telephone that only works when the user is partially clothed;
an oddly placed, exquisitely decorated tub (with free bubble bath!);
uh, yeah. It won't get you that either.
Looking for that super-cute one-piece mesh outfit to punctuate your summer wardrobe?
Well, kiss it good-bye if anti-blogging is your message for the Dead Spinster.
Remember that outdoor bedding Costas promised you? Also gone.
Go on Costas's show. G'head. Attempt to ridicule Will Leitch and see if your mom tells you "lesbians are hot" afterwards.
Say adios to that dinner-for-two door prize with the Russian version of Veronica from the "Archie and Jughead" comics,
which is really a shame because there would've been poolside cocktails afterwards,
as well as the secret to "what's behind door number one,"
and a lovely morning stroll on the beach the next day. All this and more can certainly not be yours if you join Bob Costas, Will Leitch, and Braylon Edwards with a passion to show the world just how close-minded you are. Good luck!
(Perhaps Mr. Bissinger should wear a Gorilla Mask when he eats his bowl of Daily Niner.)
Posted by Blair Johnson at 3:05 PM
For the record, I haven't seen any of the Costas program aside from this clip (courtesy of Deadspin). Anyone that wants to get up to speed regarding summaries of the program's content, can do so at Fire Joe Morgan, The Big Lead, or, in some regard, Kissing Suzy Kolber. (Update: Ape has chimed in.)
While I'm still starved to get more on the program and reactions about it, I think the deepest sentiment I have right now is this:
Was there a rehearsal of sorts for this prior to airing? How well does/did Costas know Buzz Bissinger? I'm baffled at how unprofessional and discourteous he was. Who, exactly, does he think he's standing up for? The established-and-paid-journalist segment of greater mankind? Hopefully for his sake, he didn't think of this as an opportunity to plug himself, because I have heard of his book, but will (now) never, ever buy anything that sends royalties to the Bissinger household.
I'm sure there will be much more on this today, tomorrow, and even further along in the blogendars. Read more
We're back on the day train today, with a respectable slate of six games on tap barring weather shenanigans. Before we get to the schedule, though, I have a couple of items to go over.
It's Fantasy Baseball Week here at the House, and I'll spend a little time breaking down the season so far, in particular the Ted Williams Frozen Head league that all us HoG farmers participate in. In the past I've given Banky a gentle ribbing in this space over some of his management decisions, and that's made him very, very angry. So Bank gets a pass and I'll instead focus on fellow staffer Cecil. His Fort Meast Blood Badgers are, thus far, the Ted's finest team. In fact, he's playing yours truly this week, and I'll regale you with updates--because there's absolutely nothing more thrilling than hearing about somebody else's fantasy team. I'll also analyze the cellar-dwellers, who've assembled two of the worst clubs I've ever seen.
If you missed the HBO special Bob Costas hosted last night, you should attempt to catch the re-air in the next week or two (I had no luck digging up a YouTube clip). Utterly jaw-dropping. I have to get into it later in the day, because it touches on so many nerves--sports, blogs, talk radio, ESPN, angry old dick journalists, the death of newspapers, privileged athletes, privileged sportswriters, Big Daddy Drew, dudes in their moms' basements typing in their underwear. Stay tuned, and enjoy the day games after the jump...
Chicago White Sox @ Minnesota, 11:10 Mountain These two AL Central rivals renew unpleasantries under the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome today. Nick Blackburn starts for the home team, while the visitors turn to Nick Masset for a spot start, the second of his career. It's hot Nick on Nick action. But it's not Nick at Nite, because it's Baseball In The Daytime.
Pittsburgh @ NY Mets, 11:10 The Florida Marlins have led the NL East for the last few weeks, a mirage all of baseball knew would eventually pass. Today may be the day, as the mighty Mets have pulled to within a half-game of the Fish and face another low-payroll outfit. The Pittsburgh Pirates make one of their last appearances at Shea, led by starting pitcher Tom Gorzelanny. His mound foe? None other than Oliver Perez, the ex-Pirate. Awk-ward.
Cincinnati @ St Louis, 11:15 This game at Busch IV (?) features the afternoon's strongest head-to-head pitching duel, Aaron Harang v. Braden Looper. If you worked in a sandwich shop, however, and either Aaron Harang or Braden Looper called in an order, you'd laugh out loud at those names.
Houston @ Arizona, 1:40 Fuck me, Arizona is good. I did not think their young offense could simultaneously catch fire this year, yet they're leading the world in every hitting stat. I knew their pitching would be good, but not this good. Now they call up this kid Max Scherzer, who looks like an unhittable witch doctor out of the pen. I was wrong, the Diamondbacks are right. Greeley native Shawn Chacon gets the unenviable task of pitching to these freaks today, while Unit does the same to the Astros. I hope the ten-run rule is in effect, it may be needed.
Colorado @ San Francisco, 1:45 Meanwhile, the D'Bags opponent in last year's NLCS is doing a nice job of blowing the entire season before the start of May. Franklin Morales was sent down to Colorado Springs yesterday, while his righthanded compliment Ubaldo Jimenez has one start--today--to save his job in the rotation. Jimenez would most likely already be riding a Triple-A bus if he had any options left, as he's walked virtually every batter he's faced this season. You might think a game against the Giants would be good for what ails ya, but at this point San Fran is a better team than Colorado. Ouch. Dirty Jonathan Sanchez hurls for the Giants.
Atlanta @ Washington, 2:35 No one has seen more of the Nationals' new park than the Braves, who are in the midst of their third trip to DC this month. No one, of course, other than the Nationals themselves. And the contractors that built it. And the pigeons that roost there. Those pigeons will today witness a start by Jair Jurrjens, who came to Atlanta in the Edgar Renteria trade last winter. The Nats go with Shawn Hill, who'll make his second start of the season following a stint on the DL. Keep it clean, boys, and Play Ball! Read more
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
We're back for another installment of ThumbTubes and YouNails. Be sure to take note of my always-prestigious PhotoShop skills in case they haven't already astounded. Much good reading, footage, and a few pictures, to boot, just after the jump. Okay, "much" might be pushing it, but whatever. Goodies that might be of interest include: some guy named (Editor's Note: Tough break in the name department) Rocket and a soundtrack he may wish to use for wooing his slightly-younger-than-he lovers; a clip -- don't worry, it's brief -- wherein a minor-league hockey player gets knocked the eff out after he steps into the Great One's office; a story where some ass-clown Texas reporter acts like a stooge and his station (surprise) basically backs him up; a bizarre sideline oopsy from the NFL's poster child of good behavior; and a professional sports writer that makes a whole lot of not-sense. Enjoy!
This is how to be a really, really good teammate:
(Courtesy of With Leather)
I came across this story over yonder at The Big Lead, but the whole kit an' kaboodle can be found at Kansas City.com.
I found it especially interesting since KTCK's program director used to be the captain of my hockey team. Three cheers for Texas.
Now, I do know one or two things about the game of hockey. Actually, just one: Keep your head up.
(Courtesy of Awful Announcing)
Another good read at FJM, this one blasting SI's Frank Deford. What a handsome man.
Last but not least is the artistic integrity of Ryan Parker. Pretty funny stuff.
(Courtesy of Bugs and Cranks)
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.
Eight 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 a 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.
As much as we've dissected the NFL Draft around here, and as absurd as it is to evaluate these additions prior to even minicamp, it seems dumb to go there again. So what are we going to do? Go there again, of course.
The conventional wisdom is that the Chiefs aced the draft process, and I was prepared to go along with that--until they failed to address their most glaring weaknesses. As for the Broncos, I have some major issues with a few selections, but on the whole they did a fair job restocking the cupboard. More, much more, after the jump...
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Normally I would never, ever, begin with the hated divisional rival in this space, but they really had a historic week. The 4-12 campaign they assembled in 2007 gave them a high pick in each round, of course, and a few old trades netted them a few more selections. What really sent their draft from promising to absurdly beefy was the trade of Jared Allen to Minnesota. This netted an extra first, two thirds (including, in a painful irony, the Broncos' original pick in that round) and a new spot in the sixth.
While this created a surplus of potential players, it also created a big hole in terms of pass rush. Many expected that to be addressed with the No. 5 pick, but Glenn Dorsey was simply too good to pass up at that spot. Barring injury he'll be a force on the D-line for years, squashing running backs, harassing quarterbacks, and requiring constant double-teams. Great pick.
After Jacksonville reached for Derrick Harvey, there were no elite pass-rushers available with the 17th pick. Virginia guard Branden Albert, however, had dropped out of the top 10. Albert has the ability to play tackle, another position KC desperately needed to fill. They swapped up two spots to nab him and added another potential Pro Bowler and ten-year starter.
So at this point King Carl must have felt like the smartest guy in the world. I was stunned, angry, speechless, pantsless...well, it was Saturday afternoon, there's no way I would have been wearing pants anyway. And the Chiefs still had at least ten picks to make.
Luckily, the mistakes started soon thereafter. With the fifth pick in the second round, No. 35 overall, KC could have devastated the league, or at least this Bronco fan in his underwear. Brian Brohm and Chad Henne were still on the board, either a more viable long-term option at QB than Brodie Bangs. Even if they stood pat with Croyle (which they did), there were still defensive ends available later in the round in Auburn's Quentin Groves and Miami's Calais Campbell. Groves in particular would have been intriguing. He fell out of the first due to his size, but playing next to Dorsey and facing man blocking he could have been a beast.
Instead, Carl went with Virginia Tech corner Brandon Flowers--solid, and almost assuredly the third consecutive starter drafted. And there's nothing wrong with going best-available when you have so many needs and your coach has publicly said you're looking for half a dozen starters. But blowing the chance to get a QB or DE makes this an iffy pick to me.
The first two third-round picks were luxury backups, Texas RB Jamaal Charles and Tennessee TE Brad Cottam. Nothing wrong with depth, particularly when your superstar first-stringers at these positions are old or coming off injuries, even if it does run counter to your stated strategy of drafting for immediate need. With their third (!) third-round pick, however, KC knocked it out of the park. DaJuan Morgan will be at least as good as Pollard and Page at the safety position, and will help the two out on special teams to boot.
Had I been King Carl for a day, I'd have used a third-rounder on either a linebacker (Dan Connor and Shawn Crable went in that round) or a receiver (D-Bowe's college teammate Early Doucet and Mario Manningham were available). But I'm not here to second-guess. Actually, that's exactly why I'm here.
The rest of the Chiefs' picks are incredibly boring for a moderate draft nerd like myself. I hear that 6th-round tackle Barry Richardson from Clemson is fat and lazy but may find his way onto the field in '08, and that KC may have a steal in 7th-round DE Brian Johnston. There are a couple of late-round receivers that I expect will get Banky's hopes up and eventually disappoint him, because that's what late-round Chief receivers do. Overall it was an outstanding effort, but I hesitate to ejaculate all over it like Mel Kiper and Peter King did due to the lack of a QB and a pass-rusher.
QBs occasionally fall out of trees. At some point Cleveland will part ways with either Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn (who'd be perfect in Kansas City). The teams that took Brohm and Henne, Green Bay and Miami, might eventually cut loose current starters Aaron Rodgers and John Beck. Donovan McNabb may soon be available. And you can do worse than picking up a Jeff Garcia or Gus Frerotte type. And by "do worse" I mean "start Brodie Croyle."
As for defensive end, good luck. Feel free, Carl, to follow the example of the 2007 Denver Broncos, who signed big-name D-line free agents Sam Adams and Simeon Rice. Banky sees a two-win improvement in this team, which I think is accurate.
I won't spend nearly the same amount of time on my own team's draft, because I feel it was exceedingly ordinary. This club desperately needed an infusion of football skill, and I'm not blown away by what came in through the door. There are some highlights, though, including:
First-round pick Ryan Clady. Sure, he can barely spell his own name, but at least he won't have a hard time remembering he plays for the Broncos. You see, he went to Boise State, whose mascot is...never mind. I expect Clady to fuck people up all day long. I expect him to lay down his life to protect Jay Cutler. In fact, if I ever decide to criticize Cutler in a post on this blog, I fully expect my stubby fingers to be broken by Ryan Clady. Even if he can't read what I wrote.
Fifth rounder Ryan Torain, a tailback from Arizona State, is apparently a perfect fit for the Bronco offense. I really don't worry about who's carrying the ball for these guys any more. If the line is rebuilt the rushing yards will be there.
Cecil tells me that fellow Sun Devil Josh Barrett and fellow Copper State defender Spencer Larsen, a U of A linebacker, are the cat's jams. I believe him.
If it were 1995, and the H-back were still en vogue, I'd also love the selection of versatile Arkansas back Peyton Hillis. He's a skilled receiver, and he capitalized on his many TD opportunities while sharing the Wild Hawg backfield with Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. Perhaps he can transfer those skills to the pros and give Denver a true fullback instead of just another converted tailback.
I know nothing about CB Jack Williams or DT Carlton Powell, I simply hope they can walk upright during training camp. As for center Kory Lichtensteiger out of Bowling Green, he'd best be a foul-mouthed helmet-cracking asshole. That's because the Broncos passed on Steve Justice, who was basically reared from birth to apprentice under and then take over for Tom Nalen.
My least favorite pick is second-round Smurf receiver Eddie Royal. I know he's a return guy, and Cecil instructed me to find him on the YouTubes. I apologize for the horrible video quality and large number of unimpressive six-yard slants in this clip, but here you go. He can indeed take back a kick:
In my mind, though, Royal had best be a Pro Bowl-caliber kick returner to justify this pick. DeSean Jackson was still on the board, and he will almost surely be a better receiver than Royal at the same time functioning as a dangerous return man. Royal needs to be a Devin Hester/Dante Hall-in-his-prime type to make me change my mind--I'm tremendously disappointed in this selection.
If he can do this, however, I'll reconsider:
Once upon a time, an ultra-classy cat by the name of Lamar Hunt founded a little thing known as the American Football League. Along with the league was his team, the Dallas Texans, which he later moved to Kansas City, and it was decided that they would be called the Chiefs. Since then, most everything that's come from Dallas has, well, sucked. Along with Mr. Hunt's classy franchise, however, the city known has Big D has produced
an occasional one or two cool things. But we'll look at them it later. For now, we'll examine the 10 worst things to ever come from the heart of the Lone Star State Republic. It'll all be neatly organized after the jump, of course. (Editor's Note: It should be mentioned that the impetus for this post is Vintage Pancho's obnoxious Dallas Stars Hockey Club. They are busy, of late, not losing like I'd hoped, and tediously working towards an elimination of the San Jose Sharks, my pick to reach the NHL's Western Conference Finals.)
While this list could easily span 100 items, I've kept it to a minimum for the sake of
Rustoleum's some of our readers' attention spans.
Number Ten: The Dixie Chicks
I won't pretend to know much about their music, and I will acknowledge that minor props should be offered to them for however it was that they called out "W." Beyond that, they strike me as obnoxious, and their name is utterly repulsive. Add to that that the only naked picture of them available on the GoreTubes is one in which all of the goodies are blurred out. Lame. They're not too terribly offensive, but offensive enough to kick the list off. Contact us when you've written something good.
Number Nine: The Simpson Sisters
What do you get when you cross horrible acting with a lip-syncing specialist? A wasted pair of offspring. Believe me when I say that I've inspected the hardware on the elder blonde variety, but truth be told, I never really enjoyed it. Especially after she recorded that horrible, god-awful commercial(s), the product for which I've constructed a mental block. In sum, let's hope that this duo of conceptions was an accident, one that involved knocked over beakers and shattered test tubes. I trust that was the case, as the cells involved in these helix ladders could've likely helped science in some way. Like, a way that involves some sort of evolutionary revelation.
Number Eight: Dan Reeves
Beyond the fact that the man is an auditory aberration to hear speak, I've got no beef with the guy, other than the fact that he once coached for the bad guys to the west and had a secret, special realtionship with HFCD. He did, however, provide many a Super Sunday's entertainment by steering said franchise through some astounding ass beatings. Those, my friends, were good times. Mostly, though, Coach Reeves makes an appearance on this list for the sake of my colleagues, Cecil and Old No. 7, as they blame the man for not getting a running back to support, blah, blah, blah, among sundry other things. I take nary a liberal measure by assuming that that second championship, coming at the hands of Danny Boy, was nothing shy of the greatest epilogue to all happy endings. And by "happy endings," I mean Lombardi hoistage. Minds from the gutter, please. Minds from the gutter.
Number Seven: Jason Kidd
This guy's pretty good at the hoops game, and had a pretty hot wife, so I shouldn't have much to say about him beyond the fact that he is gainfully employed by Big D's professional slam dunk squad. Other people, however, have had plenty to say about his recreational behaviors. Among those folks are some slightly professional sports bloggers, a variety of always-professional news agencies, the former spouse (and, if memory serves, a few other select females, the faces of whom served as his right-hook practice facility, though it's possible I just made that up), and a couple of law enforcement agencies, too. That's a pretty impressive list, Kidd.
Number Six: The Show
We never had cable when I was a kid, and for some time, we only had one television, so I was subject to whatever mom wanted to watch -- we did of course get graced with "Dukes of Hazzard," "Diff'rent Strokes," and "Silver Spoons" privileges early in the evenings -- which meant pile after pile of absolute, prime-time crap. Or as I liked to call them, the evening soaps. As if suffering through years of "Dallas" wasn't bad enough, we were pained with "Falcon Crest" and "Knots Landing" and all of the other things we'd only feign interest in if it meant getting out of our homework for a few minutes. Then, alas, J.R. died, or everyone realized what a heap of stool the program was -- one or the other. Nevertheless, it makes the heart of the list.
Number Five: Derian Hatcher and Mike Modano
This duo, talented hockey players that they are, hit the charts at number five. They're also American-born hockey players and hold some pretty high regard as such in the NHL record books; in 1999, Hatcher became the first American-born team captain to ever hoist the cup, while Modano has scored more goals and tallied more points than any American to play in the league. They were both -- Modano of course still is -- however, Dallas Stars, which equals a big fat boo in my book. Together, this duo serves as the perfect precursor to...
Number Four: The Minnesota North/Dallas Stars
Once a storied franchise near the Canadian border, this club, though others had previously moved, laid the groundwork to NHL franchise relocation, pre-empting clubs like the Winnipeg Jets, the Hartford Whalers, and the Quebec Nordiques to leave their respective towns. The North Stars, founded in '67, with an ultra-classy expansion class that consisted of the California Seals, the St. Louis Blues, and the Philadelphia Flyers, among others, boast two Stanley Cup Finals appearances and the origin of the Bill Masterton Trophy, yet tainted such glorious feats by moving to Dallas, where, by the way, they "won" the championship.
Number Three: Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin
These guys are the most famous of modern-day Dallas Cowboys. Let it be said that, in my book, this has never even been a shred of America's team. They can shove that stadium and everything associated with it into the Gulf of Mexico for all I care. Not too much newsworthy to report on these guys of late, but they still are two of the biggest douche cans in American history, and, uh, oh yeah, they have called Dallas a place of residence at some point in the past.
Number Two: Adam Jones
You stay classy, Dallas Cowboys. Stay. Classy. This signing obviously isn't news anymore either, but a source tells me you can actually lay odds in Vegas on whether or not Jones is arrested before the season starts. And, frankly, that rules.
Number One: The John F. Kenneday Assassination
The world has enough experts on this subject as is, and, truth be told, I'm likely the furthest from an expert on anything, let alone our nation's greatest controversy ever. Suffice it to say, that a) almost any baby boomer will admit that changes for the worst in this country all stem from this murder, that is, the attitude of leaving the front door unlocked switching to an overall-fear-riddled society is somehow connected with the slaying of JFK; and b) the guy was a distant relative of mine. And we obviously all know where the event occurred. (Editor's Note: You leave Lamar Hunt out of this, Cecil.)
Well, I'm not one to end a post on such a solemn note, so I'll offer Big D props for one positive thing:
Monday, April 28, 2008
As I've mentioned before, Versus has improved immeasurably with regard to their coverage of the National Hockey League. For each broadcast, they've been plugging some excellent historical moments in hockey. During the second intermission of tonight's Montreal Canadiens/Philadelphia Flyers game, the moment centered on the 1982 playoffs, the Vancouver Canucks, and Roger Neilson's inadvertent birthing of what has become known as towel waving at professional sporting events. Highlights from this page of the Canucks Web site, after the jump. And in case reader interest in this tidbit has waned already, allow me to just say, "Hey, Pittsburgh -- y'all didn't invent squat!"
The guys had no idea what fury Roger Nielson had unleashed a night earlier in the old Chicago Staduim...Towel Power had struck, and struck hard...
...It all began late in the 1981-82 season. The Canucks were playing the Nordiques in the old Colisee...
...There was no glass separating the players bench from the stands back then, and when a heckling fan started in on head coach Harry Neale, a scuffle broke out. The Canucks bench quickly got involved and a melee erupted. Vancouver tied that game 3-3, but lost their coach and defenseman Doug Halward who were both suspended for the final six games of the season. The enigmatic Roger Neilson, an assistant at the time, stepped in and took the reigns. The Canucks went undefeated to finish the year and captured second place in the Smythe Division. Sensing that the brawl in Quebec had galvanized the team and that something magical was happening, Neale approached GM Jake Milford and urged him to let Neilson continue behind the bench in the playoffs...
...The Canucks couldn’t say out of the penalty box in that game and had fallen behind early. They were neck deep in penalties and trailing when it happened...
...“Bob Myers was the referee and he had given us four straight penalties,” said (Norm) Jewison. “And then when he signaled next one - before the announcement was made - Roger reached back and grabbed a spare stick and hoisted it up with a towel hanging off it.”
One, then two, then three players, all joined Neilson in the impromptu protest. Towel Power was born. The league fined Neilson $1,000 for the flag-raising, but just as the brawl in Quebec had brought the team together, so did The Towel...
...Butts (Giraud) sold 800 through his shirt stores, and the rest out front of the Coliseum as more than 1,500 people lined up for tickets to see game three. Butts pledged to donate the bulk of his profits to a local orphan’s charity, and in return, had the towel concept promoted on the local radio station. In the midst of a white terry towel storm, the Canucks won game three by a score of 4-3. By the time game four rolled around, there were more than 15,000 towels in the stands and the city was awash in white lint...
...Butts was so confident the Canucks would win, he ordered $8,000 worth of Stanley Cup finals pennants two days before Vancouver traveled to Chicago for game five...
...Towel Power was raging so strong that B.C.’s Ministry of Tourism attempted to get in the Guinness Book of World Records by producing the world’s longest towel, and had the entire B.C. Legislature sign it. The Canucks won game five in Chicago and advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, propelled by their quirky coach and a wave of towels that could soak up the Fraser. By the time Vancouver finally bowed out to the powerhouse New York Islanders in the finals, the city was covered in towels. Giraud sold 30,000 in total and raised $23,000 for charity. Exactly 25 years later, Towel Power is still one of the most recognizable playoff traditions in sport, and a symbol of Canucks pride everywhere.
Pretty cool story, especially considering everything that Neilson contributed to the game of hockey, let alone this ravenous behavior that's found everywhere in sporting arenas today. It's also cool because Norm Jewison and Butts Giraud should be nominated for Name of the Year candidacy if they haven't been already.