Thursday, April 28, 2005

Wendelstedt, Froemming, GFY



Look, I don't want to be the typical fan who bitches and moans about every close call that doesn't go the "right" way. That said, I cannot stand when refs/umps play a controversial role in the outcome of a game. Especially when it happens two days in a row.

The above picture shows Chris Widger clearly tagging Mark Kotsay in front of home plate, right? It would certainly appear that way. It also appeared that way on television, both live and on the replays.

Umpire Bruce Froemming, however, ruled Kotsay safe and the A's went on to a four-run inning. The White Sox went on to lose. That was Tuesday.

Fine. Dandy. Whatever.

Yesterday, Hunter Wendelstedt was the home plate umpire and ruled in the ninth inning that Joe Crede moved to be hit by a pitch. Instead of Crede heading to first to load the bases in a 1-1 game, he was ordered back into the batter's box and popped up on the next pitch. He and Guillen were both ejected for arguing the call. And why shouldn't they? When is that call made? Ever? Guys do it all the time.

It was a questionable decision, and one Wendelstedt seemed eager to make, and I'll leave it at that.

Perhaps tellingly, this was not the first time Wendelstedt has become embroiled in controversey where the White Sox are concerned. Last year Guillen was suspended for two games after an initial altercation with Wendelstedt, and then suspended another two games after seeing Wendelstedt's official report and calling him a liar.

There are few things worse than a ref/ump who continually finds himself in fights and controverseys, especially where the same team is involved. It smells funny.

Like I said, I don't mean to gripe. Bad calls are made all the time. In fact, Crede didn't look too eager to get out of the way of that pitch, and the pitch directly before it looked very close to a third strike. (I can be objective, believe it or not.) Besides, the Sox had opportunities to win both games. They didn't, and it can't all be pinned on the umps.

However, Froemming and Wendelstedt both made very questionable calls in close games, and if you think those calls didn't have at least something to do with both Sox losses, you're nuts. And that's a shame.

Perhaps MLB should review these two clowns before they cause damage to another team.

A Corner Turned?



If any team can use a break, it's the Cubs. And, no, I'm not referring to their World Series drought.

There has been a nagging rain clould hanging over the Cubs' heads ever since their 2003 NLCS meltdown. While things could only seem to get better after the 2004 season was ruined by injuries and meltdowns in the media, that likelihood has not happened. Kerry Wood has been shaky and unhealthy. Nomar Garciaparra was horrible before tearing his groin. Carlos Zambrano continues to be deranged. Chad Fox's elbow of wet toilet paper ripped apart and further weakened a laughable bullpen. Dusty Baker has been maligned ceaselessly. Ronnie "Woo Woo" Wickers was hit by a car.

It hasn't been pretty. In fact, it's been depressing.

So perhaps Wednesday's 8-7 win over the Reds, a feel-good day all around, can change the Cubs' fortunes. They overcame deficits of 6-1 and 7-4. Derrick Lee kicked his already torrid pace into overdrive with two homers and six RBIs. Corey Patterson, no stranger to heavy scrutiny, hit a walkoff homer. Hell, even LaTroy Hawkins managed to pitch the ninth inning without blowing the game.

So maybe this was a win that can spark a little joy in the Cubs locker room and shake that rain cloud that has been dogging them. They certainly could use it.

Then again, maybe it was just a meaningless win against a weak Reds team prone to blowing leads. We'll see.

Halfway There



When in doubt go with...Adrian Griffin? Jannero Pargo? Eric Piatkowski?

Yes, sir.

While those three castoffs may not strike fear into the hearts of many NBA teams - nor CBA teams, for that matter - they helped key a second-quarter run that saw the Bulls turn what had been a sluggish start into what would become a rout in their favor and ultimately a 113-103 win over the Wizards.

Bulls two, Wizards zip. Let's head to D.C.

If anything sums up the Bulls it would undoubtedly be a trio of players many would consider fortunate to be on an NBA roster coming off the bench and playing major roles in a playoff victory. I mean, shouldn't these guys being logging minutes for the Hawks or Hornets? Or in Europe?

Nevermind that Griffin and Pargo barely removed their warmups in Game One. When needed, as does everyone on the Bulls roster, they grabbed their lunch pails, put on their hard helmets, and went to work. And produced.

Early on, the United Center looked like it might witness a classic letdown game. After earning their first playoff win in seven years on Sunday, the Bulls came out more lifeless than Chad Fox's elbow. They were turning the ball over, giving up fast-break points, and couldn't hit a shot, Ben Gordon included. The crowd was silent and Gilbert Arenas was going off, which was exactly what the Bulls didn't want. They were down by 13 points before you could say "Happy birthday, Andres." It looked like it might be a long night.

So in the second quarter Scott Skiles did what any coach would do in that situation. He went with...Griffin? Pargo? Piatkowski?

Yes, sir. And it worked. Pargo had that gunner's look in his eye, a strange confidence he has despite being an NBA unknown. Chalk it up to being a South Sider. When Bulls announcers Tom Dore, Red Kerr, and Scottie Pippen are demanding that Pargo get the ball to shoot, you know it's a strange situation.

Griffin, who normally provides as much offense as a Bears passing attack, hit a few shots, grabbed some rebounds, and provided solid defense, and looked as surprised as anyone else. Griffin is such a feel-good story, a guy who has played in nearly any league that would have him and now finds himself playing a part in NBA playoff wins. Good for him.

Piatkowski, who spent most of his career playing for the Clippers, naturally looked very comfortable with a large deficit in his face. Ex-Clippers are experts on such things.

With the backups having steadied the ship, the starters were suitably awakened. The Bulls finally tied the game at 35 on, fittingly, a dunk by Andres Nocioni, who had spent the previous two days listening to the Wizards claim his dominant performance in Game One was a birthday gift. Next time the Wizards blow out candles they may want to be more careful what they wish for. For instance, less primal screams from Nocioni.

After Nocioni's dunk the rout was on.

Hinrich, benched early as the starters struggled, suddenly couldn't miss, scoring nine straight points in the second quarter. He would later go on to score 21 of his 34 points in the fourth with a red-hot shooting streak that was positively Jordan- or Gordon-esque. Take your pick. His three-pointer that put the Bulls up 20 points may have been the most frenzied the United Center has been since the dynasty years. It was the ultimate death blow, although the Bulls did allow the Wizards to sneak back to within six points with just over a minute left, at which point Hinrich answered with - what else? - a three-pointer. Game, set, match.

All in all, it was a typical workmanlike performance from the Bulls, who know no other style of play. Antonio Davis, the grizzled vet, provided 18 points, a pleasant surprise. Othella Harrington, who should really be wearing a dinner jacket and handkerchief with that stylish moustache he sports, nailed a handful of jumpers. Chris Duhon was his usual productive self. Tyson Chandler, always the baddest mofo on the block, wrecked havoc in the paint, which is what he does best while providing the occasional out-of-control drive to the hoop.

The next task for the Bulls will be to steal at least one game on the Wizards' home court. This won't be easy as Wizards fans, much like Bulls fans, will be experiencing their first playoff game in years. They'll be jazzed.

Of course, anything is possible with guys like...Griffin? Pargo? Piatkowski?

Yes, sir.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Sounds Like A Plan To Me



Soccer has been making steady progress on the American sports landscape, but these guys have an idea to speed up the process. They may be onto something.

Anyone guys who know Heather Mitts of the U.S. national womens' team should immediately get all sorts of possibilities in their heads, if not other parts of their bodies. Ms. Mitts...



I'd also suggest looking up the Swedish national team. Goodgawd!

By the way, the Fire hosts the New England Revolution tonight in a game for early-season supremacy in the Eastern Conference.

From Now On Refer To Me As Karl Hong Kong



That's my alias. Everyone needs an alias. Just ask Ron Mexico, er, Michael Vick. Find out your alias here.

Karl Hong Kong. I love that.

Time To Take A Trip, Fellas, 'Cause...

...Asian women are sexed-up!



I have so many questions for Shingo Takatsu and Tadahito Iguchi.

Yapping Wizards



If you needed a reminder that Washingtom hasn't been in the NBA playoffs since the franchise was known as the Bullets, the current Wizards provided it. Yup, there's nothing smarter than sprouting fighting words to a guy who just torched you for 25 points and 18 rebounds.

But, hey, these are the Wizards, and they have plenty to yap about when it comes to Andres Nocioni.

"Happy birthday," Antawn Jamison said of Nocioni's effort. "That's all I've got to say. Happy birthday. It was a present [from the Wizards]."

A gift? Well, wasn't that nice.

These are the same Wizards who went into Game One complaining about the so-called dirty play of Nocioni and Tyson Chandler. So this is nothing new.

The funny thing is, Nocioni and Chandler are two bad mofos. The Wizards are teasing the wrong dogs here. If anything, this will only rev their motors even more, if that's possible.

So, hey, it's all good. Yap away.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

From the "Jay Mariotti Sucks" Dept:




Thank you, Tony Reali. Thank you for making my day.

Normally, I don't watch ESPN's "Around the Horn." To be blunt, that show turns my stomach. Woody Paige occasionally cracks me up, but watching a bunch of blowhards argue isn't my idea of quality entertainment. And, most of all, the show features assclown supreme, Jay Mariotti, the smug prick himself. So, yeah, when I stumble upon "Around the Horn" I hit the remote control faster than if there were a Ben Affleck movie on.

Today, however, as I was flipping through I noticed they were talking about the White Sox. They were doing that "buy or sell" thing and discussing whether or not they thought the White Sox would win the AL Central. The first two guys bought. Mariotti, of course, sold.

What a prick.

The White Sox are off to the best start in franchise history and Mariotti goes on national TV and disses them? That chump has no class. None.

Anyway, Reali called him on it, saying, "How predictable, Mariotti picking against Chicago." Then Reali asked Mariotti, "How do you have any readers?"

My point exactly.

So thank you, Tony Reali. Thank you for exposing Mariotti as the negative creep that he is.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The United Center Remembers How To Party



Just like riding a bike. This whole playoff thing, that is.

It had been seven years since Bulls fans had a chance to witness a playoff game at the United Center. Seven long, depressing years. So it's little wonder that they were ready to erupt in a deafening roar of at-long-last released frustration and unbridled joy. That's what they had been waiting for. That's all they ever wanted. Build it and they will come and go insane.

And did Bulls fans ever go insane in yesterday's 103-94 win over the Wizards.

It was a beautiful thing to be part of as I sat in the clouds of the United Center, literally two rows from the top, to be exact. As happy as I was with the Bulls win, I was equally happy for Bulls fans. After all, these are the same loyal folks who continued to keep the Bulls among the league leaders in attendance no matter how low the Bulls plunged, which was all too often somewhere near the earth's center. (The Rusty LaRue era, anyone?)

It's hard to say Bulls fans "deserve" anything after receiving six titles in eight years, but, deserved or not, they sure know how to appreciate a good thing when they get it.

Heading to the game, I wanted nothing more than for the United Center to be raucous. I wanted to feel that spine-tingling sensation that comes when your ear drums ache under the pressure of an avalanche of noise and your hands hurt from high-fiving anyone and everyone surrounding you.

Upon arrival, everything looked familiar. The people posing in front of the Michael Jordan statue. The blues bands playing on the concourses. The giddy fans waiting to see the gladiators (the Wizards) tossed to the lions (the Bulls).

All that was left was the explosion.

Unfortunately, it didn't come easy. The Wizards came to play and, for three quarters, did all they could to provide shoosh after shoosh. The Bulls could never get on that one run that would bring the euphoria. Too many lead changes, too many questionable calls, and too many Larry Hughes midrange jumpers. Every time the emotions approached the level of hysteria something would pull them back.

But it was building. It was coming.

The Wizards can thank referee Dick Bavetta and his crew for ultimately sending Bulls fans over the edge. Late in the third quarter Antonio Davis dunked, hung on the rim momentarily, and was whistled for a technical foul. It was a terrible call because A) Davis didn't hang on the rim for any longer than you see guys hang on the rim in the NBA all the time, and B) you do not - repeat, do not - tell Bulls fans that after seven years of sorrow they can't celebrate a rim-rattling, momentum-changing dunk without the opponent heading to the other end of the court for a free throw and possession.

Uh, sorry, but screw that.

Not for the last time on the evening, the chorus of "Bull-shit! Bull-shit" rained down on the court and it was just. Not to mention funny. No sour grapes here. Only aggravation over a poorly officiated game. After all, this was the same crew of refs that had given the Wizards a 22-5 advantage in free throws at one point in the third quarter. Jeez, I know the Bulls are mostly kids, but can they get some respect? At home? Just a little? Hell, the first quarter wasn't even over before Tyson Chandler and Davis were both in foul trouble and replaced by - gulp - Lawrence Funderburke and Jared Reiner. Think that sent a chill down the backs of Bulls fans?

With the beer fully settling in, and the fans properly annoyed, it was now time for the Bulls' hallmark - it's defense - to truly get the rafters shaking. It didn't disappoint. Hughes, who had 24 of his 31 points in the first half, was finally stymied. Wizards turnovers started piling up as well as, more importantly, Bulls fast breaks. Nothing gets a basketball crowd riled up like a steal and a breakaway dunk and when Chris Duhon did just that almost everyone in attendance looked at each other and said, "Duhon can dunk?"

Yes, apparently he can. Meanwhile, Chandler swatted a shot into the first row, Andres Nocioni was drawing charges, and, of course, Ben Gordon was sinking nearly everything he tossed up. Of course, he was.

And the United Center was rocking. Finally. Seven years of frustration unleashed in twelve-minutes of maniacal roars.

Bulls fans were officially back. The long wait was over. Yesterday's fourth quarter was as loud as I've heard the United Center and it was good. Bulls fans were just waiting for it. They were asking for it. They wanted only the slightest reason to go ballistic and lose their heads.

They got it.

In the final minute, to show their appreciation for Nocioni's 25-point, 18-rebound effort, they began chanting "No-ci-o-ni!" It was a fitting tribute to a player who represents all that Bulls fans, and Chicago fans in general, love and appreciate: hustle, intensity, blue collar, blood, guts. The joyous chants of "No-ci-o-ni!" continued as fans exited the United Center into a chilly April night that seemed like so many other late-spring evenings many years ago when winning seemed to be a right.

But Bulls fans know winning isn't a right. They're smarter than that. They're not greedy and they certainly aren't warm-weather followers.

They never went away or gave up or became complacent.

This was all they ever asked for. Intensity and effort. And, yeah, some Bulls wins. Bulls playoff wins.

It feels good to be back.

**********

I couldn't help but notice that several luxury boxes were completely empty, mostly on the upper two levels. This is ridiculous. How many times have we heard of teams basically holding cities hostage over a proclaimed "need" for a new stadium or arena with luxury boxes? Plenty.

Yet when the Bulls finally host a playoff game many of the so-called "fans" who purchase these boxes don't even show up. Where were they?

That's just sad.

There were plenty of standing-room-only ticket holders right behind me. I bet they would have appreciated the seats. I bet there were plenty of Bulls fans elsewhere who would have shown up.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Ratzinger Can Rap?



Yes, yes he can. And he's quite funny.

WWHD - What Would Harry Do?



As I continued to simmer over the treatment Dusty Baker has received in Chicago, I suddenly asked myself a question:

What would Harry Carey have thought of Steve Stone's actions last summer.

I'm guessing he would have been perplexed, maybe even disappointed. Then he would have asked for another beer and laughed it off.

The 2004 Cubs, despite an uncanny rash of injuries, were in playoff contention late in the season. Yet Stone engaged in a bitter war of wards with the team. Back and forth. He never let it go.

Can you imagine Carey doing anything but enjoying a Cubs team that had a real shot at the playoffs?

I certainly can't

Apparently, in all the years Stone spent with Carey, he never truly picked up what it means to be a Cubs fan.

The Brand New "Jay Mariotti Sucks" Dept.




This is the first installment of the "Jay Mariotti Sucks” department. It's new. I've been planning it for awhile, but never actually started it. I thought I could be bigger than that.

But I can't.

And Mariotti really does suck a fat one. Smug prick, he is.

Read this garbage from today's steaming pile of crap:

And there is the issue of Dusty Baker, who is managing like a guy counting the days until his contract expires. Considering that day isn't coming until October 2006, he might want to stop pouting about Steve Stone's criticisms and realize that the other members of ESPN's three-man crew were harsher Thursday. The major aggressor was former New York Mets general manager Steve Phillips, who openly joined play-by-play man Gary Thorne in questioning some of Baker's decisions. And why not when the struggling Mike Remlinger, who has been hit hard by Larry Walker during his career, was summoned to replace the effective Michael Wuertz and face Walker in the eighth inning? Like Stone, Phillips criticized before the fact. When Remlinger allowed a home run to his nemesis, the Rev. Johnnie B. couldn't say he was being picked on just by The Evil Stoney. Seems the word is out: Baker is lost.

Baker is lost? Lost? Really? Jesus, what has Mariotti been watching? Is he just clueless, or does the Sun-Times pay him to be controversial (i.e., moronic)? Perhaps he has been too busy on "Pardon the Interruption" making smug gestures every time someone disagrees with him. Or maybe he has been too busy starting radio shows that get cancelled because hardly anyone gives a shit about what he has to say.

Or maybe Mariotti is really as dumb as he seems.

It seems to me Baker took over a pathetic franchise and turned it into an instant contender. It seems to me Baker took over a pathetic franchise and has led it to the point where the playoffs are the expectation, and not a pipe dream.

Baker had the Cubs within one game - and the infamous Steve Bartman fiasco - of the World Series in 2003. Last year, the Cubs played long stretches without Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Sammy Sosa, Moises Alou, Aramis Ramirez, Joe Borowski, Mike Remlinger and, almost literally, everyone on the roster. Wood and Prior, the so-called franchise saviors, combined for exactly 14 wins.

Yet somehow the Cubs still - STILL! - led the wildcard race in the last week of the season before LaTroy Hawkins began blowing saves like he enjoyed it.

It seems to me that was an impressive job done by Baker. It seems to me it may have been more impressive than the job Baker did in 2003. It seems to me Baker deserved a pat on the back for a job well done. It seems to me Baker will be sorely missed when he's gone and the Cubs go back to being 70-92.

Yet Mariotti is smug enough to describe Baker as being lost?

Baker has won the National League Manager of the Year award twice. In twelve seasons as a manager, he's had a losing record how many times? I don’t know, but it’s not a lot. He's won 90 games five times.

Yet Mariotti is smug enough to describe Baker as being lost?

Fuck Mariotti.

Baker is the best thing that has happened to Cubs in a long time, and you better believe it. Yet Mariotti, being the pompous blowhard that he is, will question Baker, and badger Baker, and ridicule Baker, until the point where Baker says, "Fuck it, I'm out."

And I wouldn't blame Baker. Not for a second.

Then, of course, Mariotti would rip on the new manager and rip on the Cubs for firing Baker. Why? Because Mariotti is an idiot and he sucks. And hardly anyone in this town likes him, which is an amazing display of sense and good taste on the part of Chicagoans, if you ask me.

Steve Stone is no better. He once wanted the Cubs general manager job - wanted it bad by all indications - and is probably bitter that he never got it. He probably envisioned himself as the guy who could "save" the Cubs. I'm guessing it eats at Stone that Baker waltzed into town and transformed the Cubs into contenders instantly.

So now he, too, rips on Baker and his team.

Man, all those years Stone broadcast games alongside Harry Carey watching Cubs teams that couldn't put one foot ahead of the other. All those years Stone watched laughingstocks day in and day out. You would think that if anyone would enjoy the last two seasons in which the Cubs were a winning team with legitimate hope, it might have been Stone.

But no.

Instead Stone antagonized. He ridiculed. He questioned. He never shut up and let Baker do his job - a job that Baker has done quite well.

And when the Cubs called him on it, Stone never relented. He said Wood should "sell cars." He probably enjoyed the firestorm of criticism Baker received for fighting with the media.

Admittedly, Baker's ongoing feud with the media is a sad debacle. No doubt. The fact that it has continued this year is the saddest part of all. The Cubs beat writers ask why Jerry Hairston, Jr. isn't playing, and Baker accuses the beat writers of starting fights.

That's ridiculous.

Um, Dusty, pssst, when one of the Cubs' all-time greats (Sosa) is traded for a guy like Hairston, people will wonder why Hairston isn't playing. It's only natural. And the beat writers are only doing their jobs. Leave them alone. They're not out to get you or your players. It's their livelihood to dissect every aspect of the Cubs.

Besides, the more you question the worse it will get. Let it go.

When the ESPN analysts questioned Baker yesterday, Mariotti probably popped a two-inch boner in glee. (Nah, two inches sounds too big.) Stone, too. They both probably felt, oh, so vindicated. They probably put on big smiles and did joyous jigs because someone else was jumping on Baker's back. Oh, the fun that must have been had!

Fuck those ESPN announcers. Did they hear that ridiculing Baker is the trendy thing to do and decide to jump on the bandwagon?

And I don't want to hear about how the move ultimately did backfire. So what? It happens. It's not like the Cubs' shaky bullpen is overflowing with guys who would come in and get the job done in that situation. Baker took a risk and it didn't work out.

Mariotti and Stone should stop ridiculing Baker's every move and instead look at the track record of one of baseball's most successful managers. How many games do you think last season's injury-decimated Cubs would have won without Baker at the helm? I'm guessing about 70. Baker has made mistakes, and he'll make more.

He'll also win a whole lot of games.

Yet Mariotti is smug enough to describe Baker as being lost?

Mariotti writes today that the Cubs' season is essentially over. And maybe he's right. But I wouldn't bet against them. I'm guessing Baker will keep the Cubs in contention all season no matter how many injuries or shaky Wood starts or bullpen collapses try to ruin it.

Man, I hope the Cubs make the playoffs - and I'm a White Sox diehard.

It would be great to see Mariotti shut the fuck up. He sucks. He's a smug prick.

And you can fully expect this new Unknown Column department to continue.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Reason No. 1,476 To Love The Bulls



Last night the Bulls wrapped up their regular season with an 85-83 loss to the Pacers. They played without Tyson Chandler, who sat out with an ankle injury. Being a meaningless game to the Bulls, the starters rested most of the night. The Pacers, meanwhile, were playing all out in an effort to avoid the Pistons in the first round and instead face the much more manageable Celtics. It was Reggie Miller's last regular season game in Indy and emotions were high as a well-deserved lovefest between Reggie and the Pacers faithful ensued.

It should have been a blowout, right? If it had been, it would have been understandable.

But it wasn't.

Instead the Bulls fought back from an eight point deficit with about 5-6 minutes to play and took a lead. Trailing by two points with 1.8 seconds left, they forced a turnover on an inbounds pass and were only a missed Jannero Pargo jumper from tying the game in miraculous fashion.

And the Bulls lineup during their fourth quarter run? Pargo, Eric Piatkowski, Adrian Griffin, Jared Reiner, and Lawrence Funderburke. Not necessarily a lineup that will put a scare into a lot of hearts, eh?

Though the comeback ultimately fell short, it was a microcosm of a Bulls team that always plays hard, never gives up, and somehow defies the odds, no matter how many supposed spare parts are on the floor. It was a fitting final few minutes to a regular season of unexpected joy.

By the way, who knew Pargo was such a player? I love the guy's confidence. Love it. He's definitely earning a pay raise of late, whether it be with the Bulls or someone else. Hopefully the Bulls. I love Pargo coming off the bench. And he's a native South Sider. Gotta love that.

**********



Good bye, Reggie Miller. Few players played with as much class. There are plenty of young players in the NBA who could learn a thing or two from Miller. He'll be missed.

**********



Someone get Mia Hamm - fast! Nomar needs his groin rubbed.

Well, the 2005 season really couldn't have started much worse for Nomar. Then again, he might be faking it. You might too if Hamm was at home waiting to rub your groin.

**********



The Tribune has run yet another story about the endless stream of bad blood between Steve Stone and the Cubs. Nice job, Trib, way to pick at old wounds. What an exciting story you continue to pursue!

I jest

This storyline is old and tired. Very.

Can we all just agree that everyone involved in this pathetic debacle is a whiny bitch and move on? Please?

Are Dusty Baker and his players cranky curmedgeons for continually picking battles with the media? Yes.

Is Stone a bitter man probably still harboring ill-will for never getting the Cubs general manager position? Yes. (I suspect that Stone is extremely jealous of Baker for coming into town and making the Cubs instant contenders the past two years. I also suspect that Stone is an asshole.)

Is this story really #$%@ annoying? Yes.

So drop it already.

See What Happens When There Is No NHL



The players go nutty.

I love how the guy told the court he will leave the country. Come on, that's what I say everytime I go before a judge.

History In Pictures



I stumbled upon this cool site with all kinds of photos of White Sox history. Check it out. There are some real gems in there, like this one...



Love the shorts. Or this one...



Gee, drunk White Sox fans storming the field? I'm shocked, shocked, I tell you. (Only White Sox fans, man, only White Sox fans.) This pic is my favorite...



Those two happy dudes are still having a good time in the White Sox dugout today as coaches.

**********



I found this lyrical ode to John Paxson written by a guy named DuckIII on a Bulls message board. Not too shabby, Duck, not too shabby...

I must rebuild this team, it is my sacred task.
Jay Williams looks nice, but sadly, alas,
He showed poor choice and he is now dust.
I shall mend what was steel, but has since turned to rust.

I'll draft a harsh point guard,
who never tries "to hard"
He'll play defense, and so very much more
Each night he will leave all he has on the floor.

Now lets see what kind of hand I've been dealt
Sorrow! This team is as I suspected and felt.
It is now time for a dramatic purge.
A complete overhaul is what I must urge.

Who will accept my gift of a Rose?
A Canadian is who I shall hose.
I shall quickly send them my ever-wilting flower,
For a veteran presence, and rebounding power.

Now the season is over, and I with a frown,
Realize that much more "stuff" must go down.
What I desire is another sound fix.
Lo! Isaiah the fool, GMs the Knicks.

I'll trade him JYD and JC
And sit back with glee,
As I draft a killer named Ben
And a glue kid named Deng.

The season now starts, and I am unsure,
But with Skiles, I trust we will play pure.
It is fact that the "right way" truly exists,
This team will play that way, Skiles will insist.

Whats this? Curry demands a trade?
Lacy Banks, you ass, I won't be swayed.
I'll stick to my guns even with this slow start,
And have faith that my team will learn the fine art.

As Gordon excells and Deng pushes on,
Chapu kicks in, and so does Duhon.
Injuries? Suspensions? They are but a bump.
No team I construct will be forced to a slump.

Now I sit here at home on April 19th,
And wonder if this team, the Wizards can beat.
My team has home court, and that will be fun,
But YEARS lay ahead and my work is not done.

I'm happy for now, as you all must know.
But content I am not. No, no, no, no.
Contentment is achieved by only one thing.
Yes, dear fans, I require a ring.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

That Is All

He's Serious



Now that Charles Oakley is retired - for the time being anyway - can we get him on a talk show? Maybe team him with Charles Barkley and the gang on TNT? The guy can certainly talk some sense, such as when he breaks down the apocalyptic Tim Floyd era of Bulls basketball (sorry to remind you)...

"He's probably best for the college game. The NBA wasn't really his cup of tea. He wasn't patient enough. You've got be more committed -- more of an X and O guy. He's just a rah-rah guy and that's not going to work in the NBA. You've got to present something to rah-rah about. He just wanted to rah-rah but he had nothing to present."


Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. Except the part about Jerry Krause raising the levels of GM ineptitude to heights even the likes of the hilariously lost Isiah Thomas will have trouble reaching.

Oakley, who claims to have got 60% of the NBA on marijuana, also sums up the disease of NBA-itis nicely...

"It's probably gone up (marijuana use). You still see guys getting caught with marijuana in their cars and in their homes. It's happening every day. If you only have one test every October, you can clean your system out right before that and start smoking until next August. The test is a joke. And right now the league is a joke because the guys don't respect the league, they don't respect the guys who paved the way for them and they don't respect management. You see guys on the court and they look lost. They can't run an offense. When a time out is called, they don't even know where to go."

Plenty of other goodness in the interview about Oakley beating people up and stuff. I wonder if Oakley is angry about leading the NBA in rebounding twice for the Bulls only to be being traded shortly before the championship started rolling in. Maybe.

Whatever. I'll get my car washed at his place next time I'm in Yonkers.

(Thanks, DSafetyGuy.)

A Moment Of Silence Please



Words don't suffice. I'll simply let you read and allow the tragedy to sink in. What a shame.

I'm Glad My Penile Enlargement Surgery Went Well



Had it gone poorly, I may have reacted like this guy. Or worse.

And, ladies, yes, I have had penile enlargement surgery. You know, in case you're interested.

The Amazins'



One thing was certain after the Bulls' 92-91 win over the Knicks on Tuesday night - home-court advantage will be theirs in the first round of the playoffs against the Wizards. The United Center will be rockin'.

Something else wasn't necessarily certain, though it should be - Ben Gordon has earned the right to be named Rookie of the Year.

It was Gordon's 17-footer with 5.8 seconds left that proved to be the game-winner, just the latest in a season-long series of late-game heroics for Gordon, and the second time he killed his hometown Knicks with late-game daggers.

Of course, the rookie award might not mean much more than a trophy on a mantle, especially as the Bulls prepare for their first playoff appearance since 1998. But I'd like to see the kid get his props. Emeka Okafor has been outstanding, and looks like perennial All-Star material, but he's produced solid numbers on a horrible Bobcats team. Okafor was thrown into the Charlotte mix as a starter, and given big time minutes. It was only natural that his impressive collection of double-doubles - and it is impressive - came about.

Gordon, meanwhile, has played the role of hero on a team that has defied the odds and shocked the NBA. He's hit an assortment of clutch shots in pressure situations in games that truly matter.

Gordon has also been all class even as Scott Skiles has refused to start him no matter how many MJ-esque fourth quarters Gordon has produced.

Okafor has been impressive.

Gordon has been amazing.

**********

Be honest. Watching Jamal Crawford miss a pair of free throws with 11.6 seconds left, and allowing Gordon's heroics, was a lot of fun. His missed jumper at the buzzer was even better.

Talk about schedenfreude. (OK, I'm petty)

Watching Gordon handle his off-the-bench role with the Bulls with class has been even more gratifying after years of hearing Crawford complain about minutes, backcourt partners, and shot selections.

**********

How amazing is it that the Bulls have endured the season-ending wrist injury of Luol Deng and the scary saga of Eddy Curry's monitored heart and have still won 15 of 18 games?

Very.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Lock Up Your Dog...

...If Natasha Lyonne is around. Wow. She gives a whole new meaning to 'puppy love.'

Monday, April 18, 2005

Bad Moves



So long then.

Dave Leitao has gone on to the supposedly greener pastures of Virginia where the money is too much and the future holds, probably, massive mediocrity. Whatever. A guy is entitled to think of his financial security, but Pete Gillen might wish he stayed at Xavier or Providence where everything was going good...

...until the big money came calling.

But who can resist? And at what cost?

Leitao could have had it all at DePaul, and the saddest part is that he was on his way. He's had twenty-win seasons and an NCAA tourney win and now the recruits were coming in. Good recruits. He could have taken the next step. Or two steps. And Chicago would have loved him for it. All the love the Illini got this year? It would have been bigger. He had it headed in the right direction and bailed.

For what? More money? Some perceived ACC supremacy? Antsy feet? More boosters?

It's not like Leitao isn't a good coach. He is. Virginia won't be a loser. He's left the Blue Demons in good shape. Joey Meyer's last season in charge - which, if I recall correctly, produced THREE $%@# WINS! - saw the Blue Demons program get about as dead as dead can be without out actually exhaling a final breath. The era of Pat Kennedy always seemed a disappointmet, no matter how many future NBA players he recruited, and he recruited plenty. Leitao fixed all that. The program is alive and kicking and well.

Which makes Leitao's decision to leave all the more disappointing, and puzzling.

In the end, though, who cares? DePaul must find a replacement and move on. Leitao wasn’t great. Good, not great. The Blue Demons choked down the stretch this past season in every game that mattered. And now he made his decision to test the waters that have killed so many coaching careers before. Fine. That was decision. Now DePaul, namely Jean Lenti Ponsetto, must not screw up their sudden major decision – hiring a new coach.

My likes?

The dude who coaches Winthrop. Yeah, that guy. I'm serious. Whatever his name is.

Brian Gregory seems like the most logical pick. He wanted the Blue Demons job three years ago. He said so. He's a local boy who grew up a fan, probably when the likes of Mark Aguirre and Terry Cummings had the Blue Demons at the top of the rankings for years. (No need to mention those disappointing finishes.) Gregory has seen the good times and knows how big it can be. And it can be huge. Seashells and balloons. Plus, Gregory is a former Tom Izzo assistant - meaning he learned from a master - and he's been successful at Dayton.

Too bad Gregory has stated that he's not interested. He's probably still ticked about being spurned by DePaul once. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I stay at Dayton.

Rick Majerus is a great coach. Let there be no (delicious, barbecued, smokey) bones about it. I'd have no problem with Majerus being hired. Sure, he wouldn't be a long term answer, but the Blue Demons would be about as well coached as any team in the country. And they'd win, even if Majerus might hit 400 lbs. on a Chicago diet.

Steve Lavin. For some odd reason, I like this guy. He had a nice run at UCLA, or at least an underappreciated run. But then, like most UCLA coaches, he was dragged over the coals heating John Wooden's legacy and vanquished. Though you may be fooled by his L.A. stint and his greased-back hair, Lavin is actually a Midwestern guy, a former Gene Keady assistant, just like Bruce Weber. Lavin could be a nice fit. For some reason, the more I think about Lavin, the more I like the possibility.

Digger Phelps? Sounds like a freak show waiting to happen.

Nolan Richardson? (Yes, his name has been mentioned, possibly by someone on crack.) Too cranky, weathered, and Southern.

Chris Collins? Um, no.

Bobby Gonzalez? He's won at Manhattan, which is in big East country, which is where the Blue Demons are headed. Not the most exciting pick, but possibly not bad.

Mark Aguirre? I like that he has come right out and say that he would be interested, but I'm having visions of Clyde Drexler coaching Houston dance in my head. Probably not happening. Probably a good thing.

And that guy from Winthrop. Yeah, that guy. Seriously.

**********

Why?



The Fire beat San Jose 2-1 this weekend with a goal in injury time by some guy named Thiago. He's Brazilian, so he can't be that bad.

That's the good news.

The bad news is that the Fire fired general manager, CEO, and president Peter Wilt. Maybe "fired" isn't the exact word, but Wilt was let go in what has been blatantly described as a business move. With the new Brideview stadium coming next year, the Fire said it wanted someone who can handle the business end better. You know, making money. The Fire actually admitted to its reasoning, it's horrible reasoning. The Fire has actually said there is so much business interests to think of involving the new stadium that it wanted a true business man. It wanted someone with a better - cough, cough - marketing background.

So they hired some guy named John Guppy, an Englishman who has been holding a front office position with the New York-New Jersey MetroStars. Two things to note here: 1) Yes, his last mane is actually Guppy, and 2) yes, the MetroStars are consistently one of the sorriest franchises in MLS.

So, essentially, the Fire ditched Jerry West to hire Scott Layden.

Oh, and Wilt is a homegrown Chicago guy.

Sad, sad, stupid move. Horrible move. This is the type of move that can desecrate a franchise.

Wilt built championship teams. The Fire won it all in 1998 and reached the title game on two other occasions. They also won the U.S. Open Cup three times, including in 1998 (to complete the double.)

To put it justly, Wilt built winners, except for last year, when the Fire had to say goodbye to DaMarcus Beasley, Carlos Bocanegra, and Zach Thorntom, who all left to test themselves in Europe. The first losing season in franchise history was understandable. It happens.

This year, the Fire has a bunch of new guys who are basically completely unknown, but they don't look too bad so far. They'll be a winning team again this year. Just watch. Wilt has probably gone back to the drawing and come back with another solid team. That's what he does.

Yet now he is being asked to leave so some guy named Guppy from the pathetic MetroStars’ front office can take over.

In a business move.

Fuck.

The Fire really fucked up on this one.

And the Fire fans, the true Fire fans who know what's going on, are pissed and let the whole world know on Saturday night by making a virtual funeral for Wilt during the Fire's win. Wilt was a beloved man. Props to the fans for making a spectacle of their anger over the decision. Bravo. Good show. They are the fans that are always showing up and paying attention and they know bad news when they see it.

And the firing of Wilt was a stupid move and bad, bad news. Absolutely atrocious.

Here is one fan's thought's on Wilt.

This guy vents well on the utter debacle.

Here is an extensive interview with Wilt.



"What is really important at the end of the day is the team, the players and the badge." - Peter Wilt

Friday, April 15, 2005

Let The Poor Guy Smoke



Hey, I'd be smoking too if I was locked up in a zoo all day. Chain-smoking. If this chimpanzee wants to smoke, I say let him. In fact, if he can pick up a pack of matches and light a cigarette, color me truly impressed.

Besides, it sure beats him throwing his feces at observers.

On the other hand, how rude are the people at this zoo that enough cigarette butts have been tossed in his cage for him to pick up a habit? How thoughtless! I mean, at least throw him a joint.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

A Cause I Could, Um, Get Behind



Perhaps I should consider fucking for..I mean, fighting for the environment. It seems to be quite the sexed-up enterprise, at least judging by these people and their site.

Or maybe I should just move to Norway.

Or be a rock star.

(Thanks, Rush.)

**********

Speaking of the environent, nice to see some people fighting back.

If Jesus Was Alive, Who Would He Revolt Against?



If what Mario Cuomo says is true, that God speaks to George Bush, then I'd like to know what message exactly is being passed. And if God isn't speaking to Bush, and Bush, like he says, is getting his inspiration from extensive study of the Bible, I want to know exactly what Bible he's reading.

Or if he can even read. Or comprehend what he's reading.

Because he sure missed some of the Bible's finer points.

For instance, I'm no holy rolling blowhard like so many Republican conservatives, but wasn't one of Jesus' main gripes the greediness of the rich? Isn't that why he stormd into the market and overturned tables and outed himself as a marked man?

Well, let me present some news to all those holy rolling blowhards hiding behind the warped Christian rhetoric they speak so carelessly, which only serves to highlight their hypocricy: If these were the biblical times, your boy Bush would be the leader of the assholes Jesus was revolting against.

Oh, yes, he most definitely would be.

Bush is not the good guy in this modern-day biblical-esque epic tale. Far from it. Bush is everthing Jesus despised and preached against, which makes the so-called religious fervor of Bush and his most ardent followers so puzzling and almost comical.

For instance, here are some interesting graphs demonstrating the widening gap between CEOs and the middle class. Notice how CEOs in oil and gas have been paid the most handsomely. Shocking, huh? (By the way, it's also interesting to note in the first graph that the ratio of CEO pay to average worker's pay exploded during the Bill Cinton years, so maybe Jesus can stick a hot poker up Clinton's ass as well.)

Then there is this, the argument over ending federal estate taxes. Admittedly, I can see the logic in eliminating a tax that might be perceived as attempting to "pry lots of cash out of the cold, dead fingers of America's deceased entrepreneurs."

However, considering BushCo's obvious attempts to pander to and fill the pockets of all its wealthy friends, I can't help the feeling this is just another attempt by BushCo to ultimately keep (i.e., horde) its money right where it wants it, meaning that if BushCo works so hard today to assure the wealthiness of its friends (which it has), it therefore doesn't want those friends being taxed later on down the line.

And that $290 billion that would be eliminated? That could certainly be used in areas that have been callously neglected as BushCo pours money into Iraq.

But, hey, why worry about a glaring lack of funds for such unimportant trivialities as education and health care when there are wealthy friends to further protect from taxation?

Talk about priorities being mixed up.

So next time the Christian blowhards feel like spouting off about how they're right and justified because they attend church each Sunday in expensive suits and fancy cars, maybe they should look at what biblical role their glorious leader is playing.

Because it isn't any of the good roles.

Oh, yeah, oh, yeah, yeah. If these were biblical times, Jesus would be right outside those market gates, watching, simmering, waiting...

Baghdad Barbie

Soooooooooo...

...has anyone heard from Ron Artest lately? All the talk of Jermaine O'Neal made me wonder what the Pacers' Sir Crazy is up to. Have you heard the album he was so eager to promote? Didn't think so. Has anyone? Didn't think so.



It also got me thinking about the NBA Coach of the Year Award. I can't remember a year in which so many admirable coaching jobs have been turned in. Voting should be all over the place, sort of like an Andres Nocioni elbow.

Here's my take...

1 - Scott Skiles - A homer pick, but whatever. No coach has done more with less hair...I mean, less expectations. Skiles has led a team expected to win maybe 20-25 games to the upper echelon of the Eastern conference. A team with three rookies in the rotation. A team that started 0-9. A team that has weathered the various losses of Eddy Curry, Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng, and Othella Harrington. A team that just keeps on winning.

It's almost sad to think of what the Bulls might have accomplished had Deng and Curry remained healthy. They were beginning to legitimately look like a team able to contend with the Heat and Pistons in the East. As it stands now, any playoff experience will serve them well for the future.

And, most impressively, Skiles has not yet spontaneously combusted.



2 - Rick Carlisle - First, it can't be easy coaching a team of characters who charge into opposing crowds and pummel fans. Obviously, they're not always the most agreeable bunch. Yet somehow the Pacers have overcome the extended losses of Artest, O'Neal and Stephen Jackson and improved as the season has progressed. When they played the Bulls two weeks ago they had some point guard who I hadn't even heard of. I was completely perplexed. Anthony Johnson? And he was getting minutes. And he didn't look particularly talented. And he looked a little on the pudgy side! Yet the Pacers look strong down the stretch. The spirit of Reggie Miller is emanating. And Carlisle has somehow kept it all together.

3 - George Karl - Right now, this minute? Karl is the coach of the year. When is the last time an NBA team - um, ever - has ammassed such a gaudy record in the second half of the season? Too bad Karl wasn't around in the first half of the season. If only the voting took place after the playoffs...

4 - Nate McMillan - First, any team with Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis has a nice foundation. Second, the Sonics' impressive start to the season wasn't so surprising coming in the Northwest division, which was very average before the Nugget got hot. Props to McMillan for engineering a huge turnaround this year, but the Sonics are fading down the stretch. Somehow you get the feeling it's all going to end badly for Seattle in the playoffs. Just a hunch. Chalk up McMillan's spot here to looking ahead, and to McMillan's ultimate failure to control Danny Fortson's pig tails.

5 - Mike D'Antoni - See McMillan, Nate. Look at the Suns' roster. Amare Stoudemire. Steve Nash. Joe Johnson. Shawn Marion. Quentin Richardson. Paul Shirley. There was too much talent added in the offseason to an already talented foundation to not expect a solid season from the Suns. Yeah, D'Antoni has molded that talent into a legitimate title contender with the current best record in the league, so major props to the guy, but the likes of Skiles and Carlisle have had much less to work with.

6 - Eddie Jordan - In most years, getting the Wizarda into the playoffs would rate much higher. But much like McMillan and D'Antoni, Jordan has a solid trio in Gibert Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Larry Hughes. It's hard not to expect the Wizards to be competitive, especially playing in a weak division.

7 - Mike Woodson - Any coach of the Hawks deserves some props for simply showing up.

**********



Mark Prior's return yesterday went about as well as could be expected as he pitched six scoreless innings while his arm appeared to remain attached to his body. At least for now. This is all good news.

Of course, Kerry Wood looked very shaky in the opening game, but I doubt the Wrigleyville crowd was too worried as it got plastered last night and drunkenly fell into beds with a healthy Prior dancing in their heads.

**********

Different takes: Here's one take saying O'Neal was right to bring up race in regards to the NBA's desire for an age limit, here's another take saying he was wrong.

I have a question: Isn't Jay Z a partial owner of the Nets? Can a league with Jay Z as an owner rightfully be accused of "racism?" Isn't Jay Z pretty much the king of the hip hop world?

**********



Paul Shirley is funny. The vagabond NBA benchwarmer and current member of the Phoenix Suns has been writing a blog called "Road Ramblings." It's an interesting and humorous take on life in the NBA seen through the eyes of a man who rarely plays (3.2 MPG!) and isn't afraid to make fun of himself thusly.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Yup, Looks About Right

A Mother's Love



Next time you see your mom tell her she wasn't that bad after all. At least she never sold you.

I suppose this lady might have had a good excuse. Perhaps she needed the car to get cigarettes for the 12-year old pregnant daughter.

Memo To The Bruthas, Memo To Myself, Memo For A Reality Check



Well, just as I was feeling bad about my last post and contemplating writing a follow-up, the good folks over at the Airing of Grievances posted the original and my good man Jackie Chiles took exception to it. So now I have no choice but to quickly cover my tracks, save face, and explain why I'm possibly (and probably) an idiot.

A few points:

1) I never meant to imply that Jermaine O'Neal was a "whiny, little bitch" - only that he was acting like a "whiny, little bitch." Terrell Owens? Definitely a bitch. Lavar Arrington? Without doubt. O'Neal, however, has always carried himself with class, unless you consider that haymaker he landed on that Detroit fan to be a bad thing. But then, when is embarrassing a Detroit fan ever a bad thing?

However, I do still have a problem with O'Neal playing the race card. Why?

Once upon a time in this wicked and wonderful country of ours, blacks were not counted as entire individuals. They were slaves. They couldn't vote. They couldn't own land. They were beaten and ridiculed and considered inferior.

They were subjected to extreme racism.

Now, in 2005, O'Neal cries racism because some 18-year old kid with hops - a kid who has probably already been pampered for several years and who is looking at a free ride to college – just might have to wait until he's 21 to become a millionaire and appear on TV and buy a mansion and choose daily from a fleet of exotic cars and hang out in the country's wildest strip clubs and sleep with countless willing women upon the silk sheets of the finest hotels.

Goodgawd, the nerve of any man to suggest he shouldn’t be given all this at 18!

Yes, yes, the bigoted old white owners of the NBA have practically enslaved these poor black players and made their lives living hell.

I jest, of course.

Is this O'Neal's definition of racism? I only ask because if it is, then the definition seems to have become warped over time. Or some people have lost perspective. Or perhaps, worst of all, the term is abused and tossed about as soon as someone might be dissatisfied with, well, anything.

Let me put it this way: Fans of the NBA have become disenchanted with the antics of NBA players. TV ratings are down. Attendance is down. Now there is a large population of people, fans and media and most probably NBA ownership alike, who feel that allowing virtual kids into the league has certainly not helped. And it probably hasn’t. I would certainly agree.

So the NBA decides to do something about it. Perhaps an age limit will help. The NFL has an age limit and the NFL is, by far, the most powerful sports league in America. Baseball and hockey draft high schoolers, but these kids, almost to a head, spend several years in the minor leagues. So the NBA starts a developmental league a few years ago and has recently vowed to improve it.

In other words, the NBA seems to be doing what it thinks it must to improve itself. This is not only smart, but it’s the NBA’s right.

Yet O'Neal cried racism. Why? Did he think it all through and come to a logical conclusion? I doubt it.

I'm guessing he was just swinging wildly for the fences and uttering a buzz word sure to strike a chord for little reason other than he’s heard it done so many times before.

Perhaps this is why he spent yesterday backpedaling.

2) Generalizations.

I knew I was possibly (and probably) generalizing as I wrote the original. I also took into consideration the possibility that the ludicrous statements and actions of black athletes might seem more prevalent simply due to sheer numbers.

Do I have a defense here? To be honest, I'm not so sure. I suppose, ultimately, I have no better excuse for possibly generalizing other than to say it just feels like black athletes lead the way in whining about preposterous things.

I mean, look at yesterday’s news. O’Neal. Owens. Arrington. It gets old.

And, yes, I've actually caught myself thinking, "Damn, it seems like the athletes I'm most critical of seem to be mostly black."

I've wondered why this is. Is there something about myself that I don’t see or am not admitting to?

Then I look at my personal list of most despised athletes: Barry Bonds, Terrell Owens, Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, Randy Moss.

Nope, not me. These guys definitely deserve to be on the list, any list. Total. Clowns.

Jackie mentions non-black American athletes who have acted like bitches: Jason Williams, Ryan Leaf, J.D. Drew, Lleyton Hewitt, Eli Manning, Roger Clemens, Jeff George, Pedro Martinez, Eric Lindros and the entire NHL.

Yes, there are definitely some bitches on that list. No doubt. Jackie also says that a few bad apples shouldn’t cast a bad light on an entire race. Well, yeah. No doubt. For any group of people, there will always be the assholes and there will always be the vast majority that is just fine. This goes without saying.

But like I said, it just feels like the black American athlete has taken bitching to new levels. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m an ass. I wouldn’t doubt it. But I can’t help the feeling that there has been a growing sentiment among the black American athlete that says, “I want mine now, then I want more, and if I don’t get satisfaction immediately I’m going to bitch and cry foul.”

Again, it gets old. So, so old.

We hear Bonds say he’s disliked because he’s black as he conveniently forgets that he treats the rest of the human race like dirt.

We hear Latrell Sprewell say his kids are starving on the $14 million he made this year.

We hear Carter and Tracey McGrady admit to dogging it during games for no other reason than they felt like it.

We hear that the NFL doesn't have enough black coaches, yet every year there are more.

We hear that the NBA is racist yet black coaches and general managers are all over the league.

We hear that there is no black ownership in baseball, but, shit, black Americans barely even play the game. Just look at the dearth of black major leaguers. And how many black fans actually attend major league games?

My point is this: Don't continually cry and whine and bring up the dreaded race card when shit is going pretty damn good already and improving all the while. And it is going pretty damn good. And it is improving.

Though I'm not black, I somehow suspect that the black forefathers of this country would be laughing hysterically (or shaking their heads) at some of the nonsense their ancestors find to be racist.

3) And this is the most important point:

Outside the world of sport, I’m almost unequivocally behind any charge of racism. Whether it be hiring practices, or lack of money for inner city schools, or any number of things. When I hear someone charge racism in the “real” world, I usually sympathize and agree that there is a point to be made. Looking upon the history of this country, how could I not? How could anyone not?

However, the world of sports is, without doubt, the closest thing on this planet to racial harmony. It really is. There is nothing in this world that brings people together like sports. Sure, it still has its warts, but nothing is perfect, except Evangeline Lilly.

As for black Americans, nothing has leveled the playing field for them like sports. At least up until this point in time. Think of all the lives that have been improved. Not just the athletes themselves, but their families as well.

The NBA is the best thing that ever happened to Jermaine O’Neal. And it's the best thing that ever happened to his momma and his kids and his dog. He’s a very lucky man. And the NBA will be the best thing that ever happens to some kid off the streets with talent, even if that kid has to wait 2-3 years until he gets his, even he isn’t able to just remove his graduation gown and have it all handed to him on a silver platter, whatever “it” is.

We’re all working for “it.” I’m working for “it.” You’re working for “it.” Everyone is working for “it.”

And hardly any of have been given “it” like O’Neal has been given “it.”

He might try to recall this next time he feels like “it” is not enough.

And he might try to recall what true racism is because I think he’s lost the plot.

Ah, screw it. I’m tired of talking about this boring shite. Let’s just drop it and laugh at Chinese people.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Memo To The Bruthas



As part of my ongoing effort to alienate as many people as possible as well as further break down the walls that create the great racial divide, today I'm going to do the bruthas out there a solid and give them some advice:

Stop being whiny, little bitches. It only perpetuates the age-old stereotypes.

There. Never let it be said that I didn't try to make the world a better place.

Let's take a look at some recent headlines from the world of sports:

** Jermaine O'Neal has suggested that race may be a factor in the NBA's desire for an age-limit. Interesting.

Of course, the NBA has marketed its star athletes, who are mostly black, more vigorously than any other league.

And the NBA has offered more head coaching positions to blacks than any other league, several of these coaches even being recycled.

And the NBA has seen blacks incorporated into the front office more than in any other league, from GMs all the way up to ownership.

Yet O'Neal suggests that David Stern and his bigoted band of NBA owners are devising ways to oppress the young black athlete.

Huh?

Naturally, O'Neal ignores the fact that the NBA has had a run of despicable behavior that dwarfs such behavior in, say, the NFL or MLB, or that the instigators of such behavior are often players who were given millions of dollars and the playpen of the world before they reached adulthood. How many NFL or MLB players have admitted to dogging it or openly revolted against their coaches?

And O'Neal ignores the possibility that it could have something to do with the NBA wanting to maintain the NCAA as its free developmental league.

And O'Neal ignores the NBA's plans to strengthen its minor league into something resembling the minor leagues of baseball and hockey, which have worked wonderfully for decades.

And O'Neal ignores the fact that, in the long run, a few years of college may do a world of wonders for 18-20 year olds, especially when only roughly 30-40% of black male students graduate even high school.

Nah, why look at facts when it's easier to suggest that race is the driving force?

** Terrell Owens wants his contract ripped up and renegotiated. Nevermind that his contract was just signed last year – by himself! I suppose he feels "disrespected." Apparently, Owens has no concept of what it means to put pen to paper and give one's signature. Apparently, Owens feels the Eagles should drop all of their offseason plans and make him happy immediately.

Naturally, Owens is skipping offseason workouts. Yep, nothing like skipping out on the job that makes you a millionaire in a hissy fit.

Owens also hit Donovan McNabb with this thinly-veiled jab, further cementing his reputation as one of the sports world's biggest jerks:

"I did everything they asked me to do. I played every snap they allowed me to play. I wasn't even running until, like, two weeks before the game. But I made sure I was in the best shape possible. I wasn't the guy who got tired in the Super Bowl."

Wow, I'm sure McNabb is going to love that.

** Lavar Arrington is wetting his diaper because he feels the Redskins don't care about him as he recovers from a knee injury. Of course, the Redskins have made Arrington one of the highest paid defenders in the NFL, but perhaps Arrington has a point and owner Dan Snyder and coach Joe Gibbs should show enough respect to be by Arrington's side day in and day out, fanning him and wiping the sweat from his brow.

And maybe Arrington has a point and the Redskins really don't care about a player they have invested in heavily and built their defense around.

**********

Of the above stories, only O'Neal has even a hint of a point. I suppose it's possible that there is a backlash towards young black men receiving millions of dollars at such a young age. Yet I sincerely doubt this is the reason behind the NBA's plans for an age limit. And if such a backlash exists, I'm guessing the owners would feel the same way about any youngster, regardless of color, particularly foreigners, getting such large portions of their cake.

As for Owens, he has no room to gripe. None whatsoever. He signed the contract, now he must live with it. It's the way the world works. Period.

Arrington? Just shut up. Absolutely pathetic. I really hope Serena Williams dumped this clown because he's a big baby.

**********

Like I said, in my own feeble way, I'm hoping to help out the bruthas, if even only in a small, insignificant way. So...

There are myths about the black man out there. One such myth is that he is lazy, doesn't like to work, and complains a lot. I'm not saying I believe this myth. I'm not saying this myth is true.

I am, however, saying that this myth is out there and that the modern black American athlete does plenty to perpetuate that myth. And it's sad.

Are white or Hispanic or Asian athletes above complaining? No, of course not.

But the black athlete takes it to new levels. He really does. It's reached the point where its annoying, sad, and almost comical all at the same time.

Contracts for millions of dollars are unfair. Coaches conduct practices that are too hard. Coaches have "philosophies" that don't jive with their own. Organizations don't care enough. Or they - sniff, sniff - don't feel their talents are being used right.

Aw, all of the injustice almost brings a tear to my eye.

The concept of working hard, shutting up and being part of a team seems to escape many young black American athletes. Pure selfishness seems to run rampant. I'm not talking about all black American athletes, only some of them. Enough of them. And I'm careful to use "American" as a description. In the last 10-15 years there has been an exodus of African soccer players to all of the biggest leagues in the world where they have become superstars on par with major American athletes and made millions. Yet the level of bitching is nothing as compared to their black compatriots in America.

No, it seems to be a black American thing. Maybe it's a hip hop thing. Maybe it's a bling-bling thing. Maybe it's a too-many-damn-commercials thing. I don't know what is. All I do know, is that it's an annoying thing, a getting-really-old thing.

I like to describe certain head cases as guys who "just don't get it." Well, sadly, the black American athlete is garnering a stranglehold on this description.

Of course, you might say that I'm just a white guy who doesn't understand what young black American males go through. And I wouldn't argue with you for a second. You might also say I'm a racist. And on this point I would most definitely argue.

Whatever. I'm a dude like anyone else and I can make observations.

So to all the bruthas out there I say this: Quit the bitching. And if you're not bitching, stop someone who is.

Let the sorrowful myths and stereotypes die already.

And let me read my morning sports section without choking back my own vomit.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Give Me Some Truth



Last week eighteen people died when a United States helicopter crashed. It was uncertain as to why exactly the helicopter crashed. Something mechanical, maybe. Or possibly bad weather. There was no mention of the helicopter being shot down.

There is never any mention of the helicopter being shot down.

Everytime a U.S. helicopter crashes, which is surprisingly often, go ahead and take note. There is always some reason for the crash that sounds much more reasonable or somehow acceptable or nice than to say it was shot down by the dreaded enemy. Perhaps being downed by the wind is preferable to being downed by bullet. Perhaps in the eyes of some.

Preferable? Yes.

Likely? No.

Million$$$$$$ are spent on these helicopters - and movies are made based on them! - and yet we are told, time after time, that they've crashed because the weather changed or a few screws were loose.

This doesn't make sense.

Why not tell the truth? There have been too many downed U.S. helicopters and too many flimsy excuses. The excuses have been more transparent than a baseball player's apology.

Then I saw this video, which, ironically, surfaced on the Big Boyz website where I found it at roughly the same time news of last week's helicopter crash did likewise.

It made me wonder why our glorious leaders don't level with the American people.

If they choose to spend our tax money on their wars, and choose to wage these wars with American men and women, they should at least have the courtesy to tell the truth , the whole truth, and allow Americans to decide for themselves if they like what has been paid for in their name. No matter how ugly that truth is.

For instance, it might be helpful and handy if they included the cost of the Iraq war when they announce the budget. It might paint a different picture. Do they mean to imply that the money being spent for falling helicopters is somehow magical or nonexistent? Does it not count?

But then, when have they ever been known to tell the truth, the whole truth, or anything even resembling the truth?

(Sidenote: Did you see those guys at the end of the video screaming and hollering something about Allah? Total jackasses. Those jokers pretty much summed up the entire Muslim stereotype. Sad.)

Tonight's Likes - 4/11/06



Bulls +1.5 over the Pistons

This is a weird game. The Bulls wrapped up their first playoff spot since 1998 on Saturday night. They might have a hangover. On the other hand, the Pistons have been playing mediocre lately, notwithstanding yesterday's road win over the Shaq-less Heat. I gotta bet the Bulls tonight, though. Sort of a thank you bet, or a show of faith.

Besides, the Bulls still need to wrap up home-court in the first round. The Pistons, essentially, are playing for nothing at this point, other than to pay Larry Brown's hospital bills.



Pacers -2.5 at Toronto
The Raptors are terrible. Too little defense. Too many piss poor attitudes. The Pacers, meanwhile, are quietly a hot, hot team. They've damn near played their way into home-court in the first round. Nice to see Reggie Miller go out with a bang.