Monday, July 31, 2006

Heading to KC


OK, the White Sox have a series with the Royals on tap and not many teams are as eternally beatable on paper as the Royals usually are. Jose Contreras and the soon-to-be-all-good Mark Buehrle pitche the first two games so I'm looking for nothing less than a sweep. Of course, the Royals played the Sox tough early in the year and I hope they remember that.

Oh yeah, fuck the Tigers and fuck the Twins.

I'll be honest, despite their residence in the AL Central, I can appreciate the stories of the Tigers and Twins. The long suffering franchise finally enjoying a dream season and the small-market little guys who could. I almost want to like them. Really, I do. Their warm and fuzzy. They feel good. In a baseball world full of assholes such as the Yankees and Red Sox buying pieces like black market babies, it's nice to find guys you actually don't mind rooting for.

But fuck the both of them. These stories have grown tiresome. I'm almost as tired of the Tigers and Twins as I am of hearing all the various excuses about the Sox' recent struggles floating around town like an unpleasant stench.

Listen, the Tigers pitching is about to crack. Have you seen Kenny Rogers' last few starts? Ug-ly. I picked up Zach Miner for a fantasy team and he hasn't been exactly lighting it up for me. And Bonderman's nightmare eighth-inning against the Twins yesterday will, if things go right, send him into a tailspin that would make Mel Gibson behind the wheel hitting a slick curve look under control. This story has Mark Fidrych written all over it.

The Twins? I applaud their consistency, and they're a solid team, but they have no Kirby Puckett.

All of that said, all the White Sox can do while biding time until seeing either the Tigers or Twins again is take care of business down in Kansas City.

Here we go now.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Testy, Testy


Did you happen to catch Danica Patrick's Sunday afternoon? First, she ran out of gas and had a public meltdown trackside that would have made Tonya Harding proud. Then, following the race she threw her crew under the bus. Hardcore. I'm not a racing expert, but I'm guessing it's just not proper etiquette to all but come out and say your crew fucked you over.

Jeez, where is fellow driver Ed Carpenter and his "that time of month" jokes now?

I'd love to hear what those dudes who had to say about it all last night over beers.

In other shamelessly hyped female athlete news, Michelle Wie was, oh, so close yet again over the weekend, losing by a single stroke. I'll be honest, I'm more interested in watching Wie chase her first female win than I am in seeing her compete with the men.

"What Do You Think You're Looking At, Sugar Tits?"



What an arrogant, angry, Jew-hating jagbag.

According to the report, Gibson became agitated after he was stopped on Pacific Coast Highway and told he was to be detained for drunk driving Friday morning in Malibu. The actor began swearing uncontrollably. Gibson repeatedly said, "My life is f****d." Law enforcement sources say the deputy, worried that Gibson might become violent, told the actor that he was supposed to cuff him but would not, as long as Gibson cooperated. As the two stood next to the hood of the patrol car, the deputy asked Gibson to get inside. Deputy Mee then walked over to the passenger door and opened it. The report says Gibson then said, "I'm not going to get in your car," and bolted to his car. The deputy quickly subdued Gibson, cuffed him and put him inside the patrol car.

TMZ has learned that Deputy Mee audiotaped the entire exchange between himself and Gibson, from the time of the traffic stop to the time Gibson was put in the patrol car, and that the tape fully corroborates the written report.

Once inside the car, a source directly connected with the case says Gibson began banging himself against the seat. The report says Gibson told the deputy, "You mother f****r. I'm going to f*** you." The report also says "Gibson almost continually [sic] threatened me saying he 'owns Malibu' and will spend all of his money to 'get even' with me."

The report says Gibson then launched into a barrage of anti-Semitic statements: "F*****g Jews... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." Gibson then asked the deputy, "Are you a Jew?"

The deputy became alarmed as Gibson's tirade escalated, and called ahead for a sergeant to meet them when they arrived at the station. When they arrived, a sergeant began videotaping Gibson, who noticed the camera and then said, "What the f*** do you think you're doing?"

A law enforcement source says Gibson then noticed another female sergeant and yelled, "What do you think you're looking at, sugar tits?"

We're told Gibson took two blood alcohol tests, which were videotaped, and continued saying how "f****d" he was and how he was going to "f***" Deputy Mee.

Gibson was put in a cell with handcuffs on. He said he needed to urinate, and after a few minutes tried manipulating his hands to unzip his pants. Sources say Deputy Mee thought Gibson was going to urinate on the floor of the booking cell and asked someone to take Gibson to the bathroom.

After leaving the bathroom, Gibson then demanded to make a phone call. He was taken to a pay phone and, when he didn't get a dial tone, we're told Gibson threw the receiver against the phone. Deputy Mee then warned Gibson that if he damaged the phone he could be charged with felony vandalism. We're told Gibson was then asked, and refused, to sign the necessary paperwork and was thrown in a detox cell.


Wow. Gibson is more obsessed with Jews than I am with Scarlett Johanssen.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Dawn of the Turnaround?


Ross Gload, the last man on the bench, hit a grand slam in the ninth inning last night to guide the Pale Hose to a win in Baltimore. Here's what I'm hoping: the White Sox have hit rock bottom and Gload's heroics symbolize the firt step back in the right direction. We need a change in the vibes around these parts. Let this be it.

Here we go now.

Friday, July 28, 2006

El Magico

So I was checking out the BigSoccer boards and a crazy El Salvadoran mentioned some guy from his homeland named "El Magico" Gonzalez, whom he dubbed the best player ever from CONCACAF, which sounded suspicious since I had never heard of him. Dude played in the late 70s and early 80s and even guided El Salvador to a World Cup appearance in 1982.

And the crazy El Salvadoran may have been right about El Magico's status in CONCACAF, as long as you go by one minute and eleven seconds of video. Oh, el magico was good. Very good.

Easy Money


If anyone needs help with Sonic the Hedgehog or Tetris, let me know. I was a beast at those games. Or anything football-related.

Catching Up...

*** The White Sox resurgence begins today in Baltimore. I can feel it. I've been patiently riding out their current cold streak and refraining from an all-out rant. I figured they're World Series champs and this is their first major slump since then, so I cut them some slack. But that's all over. It's time the Sox stop playing like they're fat and happy with last year's accomplishments and get down to the business of defending their title. Nobody said it would be easy. Here we go now.

*** For a while there the world had my mind racing and twisting about in a mad state of confusion. Something seemed amiss. It was just something in the air that bothered me, something wasn't right. I felt troubled and wary. I couldn't put my finger on it. Then the Mid East broke out in escalated violence and Floyd Landis tested positive for doping, and just like that, everything seemed back to normal.

*** Thomas Jones is officially on my shit list. Last year he was everybody's darling when he carried the Bears anemic offense without any help from a competent passing game. This offseason he whined and moaned, and sat out voluntary workouts, because he was upset that the Bears had the audacity to suggest that Cedric Benson, last year's number one pick, would get a look at running back as well. Yesterday, Jones tweaked a hamsting in a physical. How do you tweak a hamstring in a physical? This smells fishy to me. If Jones is going to carry on like this, the fuck him, not to mention his agent, the horrible, horrible Drew Rosenhaus. Give the damn ball to Benson and let him run, run, run.

*** Chicago advanced along with Los Angeles and San Francisco as potential host cities for thre 2016 Olympics. This is very cool.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

(No) Goal on the Grassy Knoll

There is still a debate raging about a controversial call in last weekend's Fire-DC United game. We need more MLS fans like this. You know, crazy.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

White Sox

My emotions are at a simmering boil.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sit the Kid Down


Somebody needs to sit down with Reggie Bush and get his head on straight. Apparently, the dude is now threatening a holdout. Yeah, it's still early, but training camps are opening and things don't look good.

I try not to be a hater. Honest. But this Bush kid is starting to rub me the wrong way. First, it was all of the garbage that surfaced after he left USC. Apparetnly, he was living the good life, illegally. Granted, I have a hard time faulting a dude for taking a house for his family to use. Poverty sucks. if that was the case in this situation. Sometimes you got to do what you got to do. I may have done the same. But still, at some point it's about right and wrong and, unless Bush is a complete doofus, he knew the difference. He broke the rules. He thought he was special. And I seriously doubt a home for his mama was the extent of what he gladly took.

Then it was the issue about his uniform number. He wanted #5 even though that is not a number allowed to running backs in the NFL. Now, listen. I'm not a proponent of conformity, nor of "the man" dictating what others wear or how they look. That said, just pick a number beteen 20 and 49, run the ball, and shut the fuck up. I like the fact that NFL numbers are broken down by position. It sort of bugs me when I see a WR wearing, say, #18. It should be #81. It just should be. I like the fact that Doug Flutie and Bernie Kosar looked retarded in the 80's when they wore numbers in the twenties while in college. It was goofy. It was somehow completely wrong. The NFL has had its uniform numbers system in place for a long time and Reggie freakin' Bush isn't bigger or better than any other draftee that has entered the league. So sit down, shut up.

Presently, Bush is threatening to holdout. On one hand, I can empathize. Saints owner Tom Benson proved himself to be one of the biggest jagbags in sports a long time. I wouldn't doubt for a second that he's lowballing Bush hardcore.

However, Bush has allegedly demanded to be paid like the number one pick, which is odd considering, you know, he wasn't the number one pick. And thus I sense a trend. Bush believes he's above others. He's better than you or me. He doesn't need to obey the laws of college athletics. He doesn't have to abide by the same uniform code that everyone else has to and has for decades. He deserves the money a number one gets even though he wasn't selected in that spot. He just does. Because.

Yup, Reggie Bush is bigger than all that. Or so he believes.

Don't even get me started on Bush potentially turning his back on a chance to be a hero and a ray of hope in a city that desperately needs it.

Listen, I'm not saying Bush will be a major bust. I'm not saying he will be Blair Thomas or Curtis Enis or Rashaan Salaam. But he's not going to be nearly as good as so many presently think he will be. Dude's overrated.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Za Za Zuleyka

I'm a little late to this, but Zuleyka Rivera was crowned Miss Universe last night. I only mention this because I briefly caught the beginning of the show when each chiquita was being introduced, but missed the rest. Before I left, however, I do remember saying to myself that, even amongst all those hotties, Miss Puerto Rico was the best. I'm not mentioning this to pat myself on the back; I'm just saying that she is a deserving winner. Good lord.

Testy Match

I bumped into this YouTube video - a collection of highlights from the Fire-DC United game. The goals, as well as the fights, are all in there, not to mention of the best goalline stands you'll ever see.

I can't help the feeling that these two teams will meet again in the playoffs with a trip to the MLS Cup on the line.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Got to be Smarter


Funny moment last night at the Fire game when I turned to a buddy and said something about how the Fire has several extremely young guys. No more Demarcus Beasleys, Carlos Bocanegras, Josh Wolffs or Damani Ralphs. Almost immediately after noting this, Logan Pause got himself booted from the game for being an over-excited boob and very unsavvy vet-like.

Yup, Pause is this week's recipient of the What the Fuck Were You Thinking? award. Last week it was coach Dave Sarachan for substituting one forward for another with the Fire ahead of FC Dallas 2-1 late in the second half of a game being played in 100 degree weather. Very suspect decision. Very. Why not add another midfielder or defender to hold off Dallas in the final minutes as the heat weighs continually heavier on the visitors? Hey, I appreciate an attacking move as much as the next person, but sometimes you have to hunker down and hold onto the win.

Last night it was Pause, who picked up his second yellow card and subsequent ejection for harrassing Freddy Adu on a throw-in in the 51st minute. It was arguably the most stupid foul I've ever witnessed. Harassing a guy trying to throw the ball in? Really? That was retarded. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate Pause's energy. I'm glad to see he was so enthused about shutting down Adu - who, admittedly, was very quiet much of the game - but at some point you have to know when to stop short of killing your team, and playing a man down for the final forty minutes against the league's top club is suicide.

Or a 1-1 draw instead of a win.

On the positive side, the Fire has played tough against the two conference leaders, which is a start. They led Dallas 2-1 in the second half twice only to lose both games 3-2 late. Against DC United, the Fire went down only 1-0 in the capitol and could have won last night. For an overall young team, this is a positive first step and, hopefully, the Fire will now learn to finish games better and avoid brain lapses akin to Pause's gaffe.

On Adu: He spent the first 80 minutes or so hiding out wide on the left flank, doing pretty much nothing and wasting away. In the final ten minutes he moved into the center and looked very dangerous on a couple of runs. Very dangerous, in fact, as my heart came up to my throat as the Fire was trying to hang onto the tie while down a man. I was wondering why Adu didn't play a similar role earlier in the game, but I'm not going to argue with Nowak's tactice with a team on 14-game unbeaten streak.

Eskandarian's headgear has to go.

The crowd of nearly 16,000 was a respectable number and the atmosphere remains lively with the potential to do even better. It was Polish night, not to mention Peter Wilt's induction into the team's Ring of Fire, so the mood was joyous and hot young Polish chicks were scattering about. I'd like to see that attendance number continue to rise, especially as the playoffs get closer. That said, considering it drizzled the entire first half and the White Sox were playing simultaneously on the South Side, it was a solid crowd.

More on Wilt later...

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Fire vs DC United


Heading out to the Fire game in a few hours. What is clearly the first big, meaningful game at the new Toyota Park will get underway in a few hours. The Fire takes on DC United, runaway leaders atop the standings, in what would be a massive win heading into the second half of the season.

Thanks to Bill DC for the preview.

DC:
GK-Perkins
D-Namoff
D-Boswell
D-Erpen
MF-Olsen
MF-Simms
MF-Carroll
MF-Gomez
MF-Gros
F-Adu
F-Moreno

No Eskandarian, who has six goals. He missed last week due to a red card and United didn't miss a beat, beating the Crew 3-2. Erpen had a couple defensive lapses last week. Hopefully he's recovered. Olsen's been playing well of late since his return from National team duty.

Fire
GK-Thornton
D-Robinson
D-CJ Brown
D-Segares
MF-Guerrero
MF-Pause
MF-Gutierrez
MF-Thiago
MF-Mapp
F-Herron
F-Jaqua

Don't know what's going on with them but they are clearly a lot better than their 5-7-5 record indicates. I guess opening and playing what, eight straight road games has a lot to do with that.

Like I said earlier, United will be fired up as they still have 4-0 in the back of their minds. It will be a great game.


No Eskandarian? Damn. I was hoping to laugh at his headgear.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Huge Game



Saturday. 7:30 p.m. Toyota Park.

DC United is running away with the best record in MLS. The Fire needs a win badly to help its playoff chances. Any Fire fans out there who have been ambivalent about actually heading out to a game, well, this is one to go to. Come on out. Be loud.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Arena Coming Home


Bruce Arena didn't take long finding a new job as he was announced as the New York Red Bulls new coach yesterday.

As I've mentioned before, I've long disliked Arena. He went a long way in showing his true colors in the recent Wolrd Cup by a) having the U.S. team dreadfully unprepared, b) bickering with players through the press, and c) whining and making excuses about seeding and whatnot immediately after the U.S. was eliminated.

That said, his success as the national team coach was unparalleled, not to mention his stints with Virginia and DC United. Toss in the fact that Arena is a New York native and this looks like a great move for everyone involved. The Red Bulls (aka MetroStars) have traditionally been one of MLS's most dreadul franchises but I still fully expect Arena to change all that, maybe by as quick as next season. I doubt it takes long until the Red Bulls are a legit contender.

It's funny how only two months ago Arena's post-World Cup plans supposedly inluded a move to Europe. I'm sure Arena viewed himself as the tiumphant American who would conquer the world. How quickly embarrassing failure with the entire world watching changed all that. What European team worth its salt would hire Arena at this point?

Nah, Arena is right where he belongs - a big fish in the relatively small bowl of American soccer where he cn pat himself on the back regularly and feel important. Which is good as it should spare us all from listening to Arena whine.

That's More Like It

There. That's more like the White Sox we have come to know and love. Last night's 7-1 win in Detroit looked a lot like the formula that won a World Series last year: awesome starting pitching and timely hitting. As simple as can be. Nice way to open up a huge, huge series with the Tigers.

Jon Garland has been superb of late. I'd dare say he's been Cy Young-esque in recent weeks and, hopefully, that continues throughout the second half of the season. The guy has allowed two earned runs or less in five of his last six starts. More, please.

Speaking of second half runs, Javier Vazquez needs to step up. While his 9-4 record looks nice, the 5.07 ERA is downright painful to look at. It's hard to imagine another pitcher this year who has been more fortunate with run support. Here's hoping he begins to repay the favor with a solid start tonight.

Here we go now.

Monday, July 10, 2006

What the Fuck, White Sox?

I've been on hiatus for a variety of reasons, but the slumping White Sox have brought my hibernation to a premature end with a thud.

What

the

fuck?

Suddenly, Mark Buehrle is not only getting hit hard, but the majority of those hits are absolute scorchers on the very first pitch. It's like batting practice.

Freddy Garcia looks like a dude who really was smoking pot all winter after all.

Listen, I'm starting to worry. Losing five of six to fellow contenders like the Red Sox and Yankees is a surefire way to get yourself on the shit list real quick. The entire pitching staff, with the exception of Bobby Jenks, has been crap, and getting worse. Maybe they were overworked in the run to last year's World Series win. Maybe they're merely in a slump and will snap out of it. Maybe they became fat and lazy after the success of 2005. Whatever it is, you can forget all of the talk about the White Sox having the best starting rotation in baseball, which we have heard rampantly by so many pundits. That may have been the case up until a month or two ago, but it's far, far from the truth these days.

The Pale Hose begin a huge series in Detroit on Tuesday and they better show something. Fast.

*****

Italy wins the World Cup and the Unknown Column is reduced to eating his words. Which is fine. To be honest, my hand is extended to the Italians in a gesture of both apology and congratulations. They won and my hat is off to them. I can't help it if they fall down and grab their ankles in a portrayal of fake agony.

Of course, the Italians were still assholes. They dove and feigned injury more than anyone other than Portugal (and that was mostly the doing of Christiano Ronaldo) and whined to the refs more than a little girl crying about her bratty brother taking her dolls. Before the semifinal with Germany, the Italians sent FIFA the videotape of Torsten Frings putting his hand to the face of an Argentine player, which in turn had Frings, one of Germany's most important players, suspended from the match with Italy. Tattle tale sissies. (Of course, the Italians denied this, but when have the match-fixing Italians been known for being truthful?) In the final, Materazzi coaxed Zinedine Zidane's now infamous head butt by allegedly calling him a "terrorist", or some other equaly racist slur. Gee, racist taunts coming from an Italian. I'm shocked. (No, I'm not.) Afterwards, Materazzi played off the allegations by portraying himself as a simpleton and calling himself "ignorant". Yeah, I bet he was.

Dumbass.

Worst of all, Gattusso jaunted around in his underwear in the postgame celebration. This should not have happened. Ever. I can't help the feeling Gattusso signs his fat AC Milan paychecks with a simple X.

But like I said, I'm all about being gracious, so I'll keep it positive...

Andreo Pirlo was suberb. For my money, he should have been earned the Golden Ball as the tourney's best player. He provided goals, assists, leadership in midfield, and he even cried less than the typical Italian player. He almost seemed - gulp! - classy, which is an almost impossible quality in a member of the Azzuri. The general consensus was that Cannavaro was Italy's best player, and while we was certainly awesome, I have a hard time placing a single Italian defender on such a pedestal as defending as a group is what Italy does best. So why single out Cannavaro, especially when the likes of Grosso, Zambrotto, and Materazzi also conributed to the wall that was the Italian defense while each also came forward and contributed to the attack with more productivity?

I was truly shocked in the semifinal with Germany when Lippi's three substitutions were all offensive moves. Del Piero, Gilardino and Iaquinta were all brought on. Forwards, all of them. When Italy is going offensive late in a game it's not trailing, something in the universe is amiss. The agrressive substitutions flew in the face of everything I've ever know about Italian soccer, and surely, it was a once in a lifetime deal. It was nice to see and made for one of the better games of the World Cup.

And that's as much nice stuff I say about the Italians without feeling dirty. Australia was cheated.

Congrats.

*********

I can't speak for anyone else, but I like Zinedine Zidane as much as I did before his headbutt heard 'round the world. Maybe it's because he took out an Italian, which somehow made it seem understandable, acceptabe, and quite hilarious.

By the way, Zidane's moment of insanity was great for soccer in America as, for reasons perhaps we don't want to know about, a random, massive flash of violence registered here to the point that we Americans discussed the incident to death and are still discussing it more than a week later. So thanks, Zizou.

Maybe what MLS needs is some NHL-like fights.

*********

Not that I watch much women's golf or anything (honest), but this past Saturday I caught about five minutes of some women's tournament and Natalie Gulbis and Paula Creamer were in the lead. That's some quality television viewing right there. I can get into this, you know, just in case the LPGA would maybe like to encourage the wearing of bikinis (weather provided) and further venture into the market of male pigs.

Now, I'm all for Michelle Wie playing in men's tournaments if that's her thing. Whatever. More props to her. It's all good. But I couldn't help the feeling that she should have been right there alongside Gulbis and Creamer making the Unknown Column a very happy man. Oh, and maybe sending the women's game over the top as far as a surge in popularity goes. I mean, I may have watched for more than five minutes.

As for Wie dropping out of a men's tournament from heat exhaustion, perhaps the phrase "If you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen" may have never been more applicable.

**********

Last, and least importantly - very unimportantly, in fact, as clowns and doofuses normally are - Jay Mariotti is still on "vacation". It's been weeks now. It looks likes the Sun Times may have come to its senses and realized that they've been giving a regular paycheck to a slimy, blowhard hack. Or so we can hope. Maybe "vacation" can morph into "Don't let the door hit you on the way out."

It turns out one of the creators of the JaytheJoke.com site is the son of Chicago radio legend and all-around hilarios dude, Steve Dahl - Pat Dahl. Hilarious. Not quite Disco Demolition Night at Comsiskey Park, but a step in the right direction for the dude.