Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pick Six, Week 4!! Plus (long, weary sigh) Karen Owen

I'm going to use my Pick Six rant up top, because let's face it: yesterday was a big snarling bulldog of a day for Duke University. Special thanks to my long lost pal and fellow Dukie Sean for being the first to alert me to both of the day's big stories.

First things first, let's spread the good news: Austin Rivers is coming to Duke. 4-Peat. No questions asked.

Now to the bad news: a recent Duke graduate named Karen Owen made a powerpoint about 13 different athletes she slept with during her college career. She wrote in the mode of a mock thesis, and rated the sexual encounters on a variety of categories before ranking the parties involved. She sent it to three friends, and from there it hit the internet. Now it's huge news.

At the risk of sounding like a boring old moralist, I'm not gonna join the exuberant bandwagon on this one. I think the whole thing is really, really sad. Here's why:

1. It makes Duke look bad. Again. The lacrosse scandal may have ended with the players' exoneration, but the process certainly did no favors for the reputation of the student body. No, the players didn't rape the stripper, but the elites of the school behaved like entitled pricks during the event and after. Karen's powerpoint does nothing to negate this image. Behind all the pornography of her text is another rich white girl who does things in her spare time like laugh with rich white athletes "about Asians." That little gem is buried somewhere in the middle of her self-mythologizing, and it's written without the slightest hint of awareness. In the world of Karen Owen, Asians are just a faceless group to be mocked en masse. That passing detail illustrates this girl's hideous worldview better than any of the lurid details surrounding it- she's trash.

In one of the many conversations that followed, someone asked me why she didn't hook up with any football players. Here's the honest answer: the skill position players in football are black, and a girl like Karen Owen won't have any part of that. Her only white choices on the football team were the grunts, and apparently Karen Owen will also not have any part of that. Tennis, lacrosse, baseball- those are the sports for her. The sports of the upper crust. Virility plus money, emphasis on the money. That's how girls like Karen Owen roll.

Maybe it sounds ridiculous to get angry at the girl for not sleeping with someone outside her race, but at least if she sacked up with Nolan Smith or someone, Duke could shed that haughty white image for a moment. Alas, it's ours to keep. This is why people say that the only good thing about Duke is the basketball team. In fact, I said this to my friend in the immediate aftermath. I realize it's a reactionary thought, and I don't really believe it, but Christ, we look so fucking bad all the time. It's constantly embarrassing. I don't blame anyone for believing that there are no down-to-earth, regular, good people holding a Duke diploma.

2. Karen Owen is sad, insecure, and starved for attention. That's why she's boisterously promiscuous, and it's also why she writes long powerpoints about her sex life in an attempt to draw attention to herself. And I don't believe for one second that she thought this would stay in a circle of three. That's absurd, and I think most intelligent people know it. She wouldn't have spent so much time honing it if she didn't expect that it would make the rounds.

I can't tell if this will ruin her life (probably), or if she'll become some kind of negative celebrity and make a lot of money. Either way, her dignity is gone, and the girl can't be more than 22. That's sad. What's sadder is that the backlash will be intense and painful. People will point out that she's not very good looking (brunette, if you can believe it). People will reveal personal secrets about her. Respected, influential women will trash her. Men don't like to have their egos wounded, and this going to be a full force attack.

3. It really, really sucks for the guys. Particularly the ones who got low ratings. Clearly I don't know what their pain is like, since my penis is 38 inches long and fluttering my eyelids is enough to bring most women to orgasm, but I can try to imagine. They didn't deserve this, and they didn't do anything wrong. They were sleeping with girls in college. That's what they should do in college. Same with Karen. She was having fun.

But then she had to make a fucking powerpoint.

4. It's just another sad example of young people using their creative brains for all the wrong reasons. This desperate need for attention is stifling our entire generation. It's selfishness to a degree that's unprecedented in world history, at least in my opinion. And now I officially sound like a really old, really crotchety moralist. But at least I have that 38 inch penis.

OKAY, ENOUGH. It's Ryder Cup weekend, and it's also...


THE FRIDAY PICK SIX


WEEK FOUR



The Friday Pick Six is an original SCSD! game where six people make six predictions for six weeks. Along with their picks, they're allowed and encouraged to submit a 'sound-off' on any topic, sports or otherwise. When it's all done, the winner earns great honor among the people, while the two losers are exiled in shame and the three middle people go to purgatory, with the chance rescue their good name up to three times. To learn more about the rules, and about the current contestants, read more:

Week One

Week Two
Week Three

Let's have a look at the scores from Week Three:

1. Carrie - 5 Points
2. Me - 4 Points
2. Tom - 4 Points
4. Jill - 3 Points
4. Spike - 3 Points
6. Nick - 0 Points

And now the updated overall standings:

1. Carrie - 12 Points
2. Tom - 11 Points
2. Jill - 11 Points
4. Shane - 9 Points
5. Nick - 7 Points
5. Spike - 7 Points

An amazing week by Carrie is paired with our first ever Pick Six goose-egg, courtesy of Ole Nick. And somehow, Spike still remained in last place. He is nothing if not consistent. Tom moved up the leaderboard and is threatening in second, while Jill slipped from the to spot for the first time. And needless to say, Carrie's thrilling exploits vaulted her to the very top. Be warned, my friend: it's lonely up there.

This Week's Docket (no NFL games because of the crap match-ups:

1. Stanford at Oregon

2. Penn State at Iowa

3. Tiger Woods' record in his first 4 matches in the Ryder Cup.

4. Lee Westwood's record in his first 4 matches in the Ryder Cup.

5. The winner of the American League East. Yanks or Rays.

6. From Jill:

The Jimmy John's Freaky Fast Sandwich Makers vs. Eaters Contest Sunday, October 3, 2010 in Dallas, Texas

I have a weird fascination with competitive eating competitions. Hilarious, yet horrifying. A guaranteed queasy-bottom-of-the-12th-inning-sort-of feeling every time. It all started when that weird, small Asian criminal stole America's heart, long, long ago. Kobayashi, the Babe Ruth of his sport, will not be featured in this event, but heavyweights such as Joey Chestnut, Pat Bertoletti and Nathan Biller will be. They are going up against the apparently one-loss-from-undefeated Jimmy John's Freaky Fast Sandwich Makers, whoever the hell they are. I have no idea who will win, but I would totally watch this and hope it is televised.

So, to clarify any confusion, the pick is Sandwich Makers or Competitive Eaters.

We kick things off with our beloved leader, Carrie:

Carrie


Just going to come out strong and say, I am pretty sure this is the week I plummet from first to last.

1. Old rules cannot apply here. Stanford has truly excellent uniforms, but SO DOES Oregon. Both are West Coast teams with whom I have strong positive connotations. However, I am giving the slight edge to Stanford as they have - to this day - the most efficient franchise branch of Jamba Juice on their campus I have ever seen. Seriously, it's like a machine.... er, much like the Stanford football team is a machine. A winning machine!

2. Penn State Nittany Lions. Hello, making a weak and generic name AWESOME by adding a seemingly extraneous word? Brilliant. (However, I am a little nervous about this one. Both teams are 3-1 with their only losses coming to the only tough teams they've played, so I think this is a very close call. In which case, one MUST defer to the mascot question.)

Important note: I resent the heck out of categories 3 and 4. It's not as if I like football that much, but I do believe that I was lead into this Pick Six under the pretense that there would be AT LEAST four football categories each week. I have my own opinions about golf and it's bet-ability as a sport, but I went along with choosing Tom's score in the first week, because it was presented as a novelty topic. This week with TWO categories of golf represented, the "sport" seems to be running away with the Pick Six. End rant.

3. If there is anyone I am more sick of than Ben Rapist-berger, it is Tiger Woods. Not like I particularly care about his extra-curricular activities, but I am downright OFFENDED by the post-scandal goatee he opted to grow. As far as I'm concerned, he couldn't have thought of a worse personal statement to make to discredit rumors of his scum-itude. Oh... 3-0-1? If that seems generous, it's because I don't know what I'm talking about.

4. So, I guess Lee Westwood is British? That's cute. He also has charmingly crooked (and therefore, stereotypically British) teeth that I find really quite precious. Since there doesn't seem to be a way of knowing if Lee would ever take on Tiger head-to-head, I'm having a hard time coming up with something realistic here. Hmmm... 2-2. That seems appropriately patriotic, I think.

5. Having recently cast my lot in with the Rays for the post-season, I am going to stay true to my longstanding support of their efforts. I mean, if I can't make it two weeks without throwing them under the bus, what sort of fan am I?

6. Competitive eating freaks me out. The competitive eaters are always such itsy bitsy tiny things. Like, where does all that food go? Or is every competitive eater ALSO a bulimic? Because if so, I think the sport has a bit of a controversy on it's hands and I'd like no part of it. Conversely, there is nothing more delicious than a sandwich and therefore no more noble profession than a sandwich maker.


Tom


Stanford, Iowa, Tiger 2-1-1, Lee 2-0-2, Rays, definitely Sandwich Makers.

Editor's Note: Tom is on vacation this week, and couldn't submit his rant in writing. However, using the miracle of a Radio Shack wireless phone recorder (which actually involves about 17 wires), I've captured Tom's baritone rant in audio. Enjoy:



Jill


Stanford at Oregon: Oregon. Both teams are undefeated and had big wins last week. The Ducks have a pretty shaky run defense, but their offense makes up for it. They have outscored their opponents 231-44. This should be a close one; however, I think the Ducks will beat the drunken, trouble-making Christmas trees.

Penn State at Iowa: Iowa. When the players are primarily focused on making sure that their coach is, you know, still breathing and not dead, it is tough to concentrate on football.

Tiger Woods at the Ryder Cup: 2-1-1. It no longer matters to me where Tiger Woods puts his balls. More importantly, it is like 2:00 a.m. and I do not have the time or patience to figure out how the Ryder Cup works. The fact that 33% of this week’s categories are related to this ancient sporting event that approximately 12 people care about is ridiculous. That said, we will go with 2-1-1.

Lee Westwood at the Ryder Cup: 1-1-2. Yeah, this is simply a guess. Go USA.

Winner of the AL East: Rays. The Yankees have a much tougher schedule; they will (smartly) rest a lot of their regulars; the Rays have already won the tie-breaker (10-8, head-to-head); and I don’t think the Yankees will be very disappointed if they are the wild card team and have to play the Twins (who they have owned for the past few years).

Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast Contest: Eaters. Normally I would go with the Sandwich Makers here, since this is in their wheelhouse and well, the competition is named after them. But there are too many big egos here. Joey Chestnut, the #1 competitive eater in the world, will not allow himself to lose to these corporate hacks.


Me


Stanford, Iowa, 3-0-1, 1-1-2, Yanks, Sandwich Makers.


Nick


1. Stanford.

Jim Harbaugh and my brothers got drunk once, and he swore he'd never lose to Oregon at night.

2. Iowa.

Joe Paterno and my paternal great-grandmother went for chocolate malts once. That is all.

3. Tiger's record 3-0-1

I say he gets three wins and one tie - with the tie probably coming at the hands of a match involving Martin "BirdieKrieg" Kaymer.

4. Westwood's record 1-2-0

He hasn't been playing well, he's calf has been hurt, and it would surprise me if he only plays three matches (can't play 36 in a day on a bum wheel - am I right, Tom?)

5. Rays.

The Yankees are like that girl in high school who wins homecoming queen as a junior, then kind of plateaus, operating under the assumption that her hotness, popularity and Q rating are perfect where they are, and any effort to make them go any higher would just look tacky. Enter that chick who quit the soccer team junior year, and all of the sudden shows up at social functions, buys a dress and gets flitry senior year. When its time for senior prom queen voting everyone sort of wavers, and just for kicks votes in the new hot chick because she's fresh and fun. The Rays are that new chick, and the AL East crown is their prom tiara. The question is - will the Yankees respond with Pilates class and some new skinny jeans(sweeping the Twins) or by gaining 19 pounds of depression weight and getting dumped by their boyfriend (losing to Minnesota in 4). Time will tell, it always does.

6. Jimmy John's guys.

Seems kind of like a great boxer and an MMA fighter going at it - but the Jimmy John's guys are in their element.


Spike


Stanford
Iowa
Tiger: 2-1-1
Westwood: 1-2-1
Rays
Eaters


I believe strongly that the Eaters deserve to win. That a defeat for them would be a devastating turn of events... a thought which percolated up from listening to some indie rock radio this morning. I heard Lance Armstrong's name in reference to his charity work and I shuddered. Then, when I got to work and wasn't working, I saw a headline about Contador and tainted meat and doping which caused a similar reaction. I think my visceral responses to these two cyclists and Team Jimmy Johns might have to do with Kantian Ethics... maybe not... but I'm touching back in with Kant in a reading group I'm in, so bear with me here.

Moral actions are not based on profit. They are based on a normative sense of what one should do. A sense of duty. Doping is confusing. One has a duty to their team, but they also have a duty to perform ethically. That said, if the only motivation they have for not doping is fear of repercussions, then is not doping when doing so would aid their teammates to whom they have a moral responsibility a truly moral act? I would submit, maybe not? Kant wouldn't. He'd suggest that truth is more valuable. But who the fuck is Kant to tell me what to think?

All that to say, I think the Sandwich Makers are unethical bastards (clearly in the competition to represent a corporation, not for love of the gluttony) and if there's any justice in the world, American Hero Joey Chestnut will emerge victorious.

*****************************************

That is all for today, my friends. Stay tuned for a possible Ryder Cup live blog Sunday. And I suppose we can spare one bad joke about the whole Duke 'fuck list' incident before we go. With that in mind, here's a picture of eating champion Takeru Kobayashi doing his best impression of Karen Owen:


Ryder Cup Ryder Cup Oohhh Ryder Ryder Cup

That post title was to the tune of "Lollipop" by the Chordettes. In this music video, the guy plucking his cheek to create a popping sound at 0:25, 0:39, 1:05, 1:32, and 1:59 is my grandfather, Heraclitus Popinjay Ryan:


Man, that video is absolutely brutal to watch. I wish I hadn't posted it. But now I did, and I have to move on to the next thing. Why? Because I'm like a shark, constantly moving. A vicious, mean shark, but with a surprising sweet side. So sweet, in fact, you might say he's like a...lollipop.


Shit.

Okay, Ryder Cup. I can't tell you how excited I am to wake up at about 4am tomorrow to watch the proceedings from Wales. That's no joke. It's very possible I'll wake up, turn on the tv, and fall right back asleep. But there will be at least one moment in the pre-dawn hours when I make an attempt to watch golf. There's something about the team aspect, U.S. vs. Europe, combined with a highly individual game, that pushes all the right buttons for me. Plus, golf is beautiful to watch, especially when it's in Europe. I have no idea if Celtic Manor is a cool course or not, but if it's anything like the British Open links courses, I'll be pleased. More than any other sport, golf has a mystic side. When you throw some old world vs. new world drama into the mix, I find it pretty irresistible.


Ryder Cup Fact #1: After the first 19 Ryder Cups, the United States was 16-3. But in those days, it was just U.S. vs. Great Britain. So in 1973, in an attempt to become more competitive, Great Britain added Ireland to their team. The U.S. promptly won the next 3 to up their all-time record to 19-3. Then, in what I imagine as desperation, Great Britain and Ireland added all of Europe for the 1979 Cup. Again, the U.S. won 3 straight, making them 22-3. But instead of adding Africa, or something, Team Europe stayed patient. It paid off- since 1985, they're 8-4 against the Yanks, and Team Europe's all-time record against the U.S. is positive at 8-7.

Ryder Cup Fact #2: In 1993, the U.S. nipped the European team 15-13 at the Belfry in Warwickshire, England. Since then, we haven't won on European soil. That's 17 years without a road victory. Even the Pittsburgh Pirates aren't that bad.


Ryder Cup Fact #3: Jack Nicklaus pulled one of the all-time classy moves in 1969. Read up on it here.

If you want to learn a little more about the Ryder Cup, check out the wiki page or this nice article by Gene Wojciechowski on ESPN.

One of my favorite wrinkles about the Ryder Cup is that the captains choose their pairings blindly, meaning that they have no idea who their team might play. In other words, Team USA captain Corey Pavin will have to select four pairs of golfers to go out tomorrow morning. Maybe he'll pick Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker to go first, and then Hunter Mahan and Phil Mickelson. Who knows? But he has to pick the order in which they'll play, and in the meantime Colin Montgomerie does the same thing. Then the two picks are submitted, and the teams are matched up. It creates some awesome dynamics.

Here's the format of the Ryder Cup: there are 28 matches played, and 1 point for every match. Since the U.S. won the last Ryder Cup, they only have to earn 14 points. If it ends in a 14-14 tie, the U.S. retains the Cup. Team Europe needs 14.5 points to take the Cup.

Each match is contested using what's called 'match play.' Every hole a team wins is worth +1 in the match. If a pairing from Team USA wins the first 3 holes with a better score, they'll be "3 Up." If Europe wins the next two holes, USA will be "1 Up." When a match is tied, it's called "All Square." The goal, clearly, is to win the match. If Team USA is up 4 holes, and there only 3 to play, they win the match 4&3 since it would be impossible for Europe to make up the margin. The most you can win a match is 10&8 (up 10 holes, only 8 holes to play). If a match is tied after 18 holes, it is "halved," and each team gets a half point.

Bonus Ryder Cup vocabulary: when one team is up by the exact number of holes left on the course, such as 4 up with 4 left to play, they are "dormie." A dormie team only needs to half the next hold in order to win the match. Here's where that word comes from:

Dormie comes from the word "dormir," which shares a French and Latin origin. "Dormir" means "to sleep." "Dormie" means that a player has reached a match-play lead that is insurmountable - and so the player can relax, knowing that he cannot lose the match. "Dormir" (to sleep) turns into "dormie" (relax, you can't lose).

Here's the schedule:

Friday Morning: 4 points at stake in "Fourball." In Fourball, all four players play each whole, and the team gets to keep its best score. So if Tiger Woods and Steven Stricker are teammates, and Tiger shoots a 9 while Stricker shoots a 3 on hole #1, Team USA gets a 3.

Friday Afternoon: 4 points at stake in "Foursomes." In Foursomes, teammates alternate shots. So if Tiger hits a drive into the woods, Stricker has to play it from the woods on shot #2. This is my favorite part of the tournament, since teammates have to depend on each other to such a huge extent.

Saturday Morning: 4 points at stake in Fourball.

Saturday Afternoon: 4 points at stake in Foursomes.

Sunday: 12 points at stake in singles. All 12 players from both countries will be on the course Sunday, and the action is pretty constant. As long as the teams are still fairly close after Saturday's action, this is one of the best sportsdays of the year.

That explanation may have been largely unnecessary or unwanted for you, in which case I apologize. I'm just having trouble containing myself over here. I might do a live/tape-delayed blog on Sunday if things are still close.

Meantime, the Yanks are still somehow in the divisional race despite losing 2 of 3 to Toronto. Check out our record against AL East opponents this year:

Tampa: 8-10
Toronto: 8-10
Boston: 8-7 (3 to play)
Baltimore: 13-5

Minus the Orioles, who we were lucky enough to play most of our games against before Showalter made them decent, that's a pretty dismal record. 24-27, with three to play. There's a decent chance we'll be .500 or below against our three main AL East opponents.

Speaking of not winning the big ones, Spike sent me an e-mail this morning about the CC Sabathia Cy Young campaign. You might know Spike by now, and if not he's a Mariners fan who will probably go on a psychotic rampage if Felix Hernandez doesn't win the Cy Young. The morning e-mail was a subject line and nothing else: 10 of CC's 21 Ws against BAL, KC and SEA.

There you have it, folks: Over half of CC's wins have come against quality* opponents.

*Quality = not the three worst teams in the league.

This is the last weekend of regular season baseball, and unfortunately it looks like most of the drama is gone. All four teams in the AL are set, and Atlanta and San Francisco are dangerously close to clinching in the NL. Only San Diego can play spoiler. The good news is that they have 3 left against San Francisco starting Friday, so at the very worst they'll at least have a shot to sweep and end in a tie. It's always kinda sad when some team that usually isn't good has an awesome season and then fades right when things start to get interesting. It'd be fun to see Lincecum in the playoffs, but you gotta feel bad for the Pads.

In the AL, the only interesting wrinkle is who will win the East. The Rays go up against Greinke tonight, and if they lose it'll be a dead heat entering the weekend. Unfortunately we have Boston while they have Kansas City, but I'll take those odds. The way the Yanks have been playing lately, it's a wonder the bad guys aren't up 4 games.

It's a nice weekend for college football two, with Florida-Alabama and Stanford-Oregon meeting in top ten battles. Predictably, they're both on at eight, which is annoying, but at least it lets me watch them in their entirety despite NBC's maddening decision to tape delay Ryder Cup coverage.

That's it for the morning. Pick Six tomorrow, including our first ever audio rant. I hope your Thursday is as sweet as a lolli- OH DAMN NO I DIDN'T MEAN TO-


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Champagne (and Beer) #1


Say what you will about the style, but the fact remains that the Yanks are back in the playoffs. Huzzah.

The circumstances of the above photo were pretty funny. Jeter was being interviewed by Kim Jones on the YES postgame show, and out of nowhere about 10 guys ambushed him with beer cans. You could see Jeter think about running, but realize his options were limited. Instead, he hunched over and stayed absolutely still for the entire duration. He was like a nerdy kid at school who's learned to curl up into a ball and keep reactions to a minimum while the bullies beat him up. Not that I know what that's like, or anything (Mommmmmyyyyyyyyy!).

Also, I think Nick Swisher was genetically engineered to seem right at home in locker room celebrations. If they did a national geographic documentary on him, his natural habitat would be among plastic-wrapped furniture, wearing goggles, holding a champagne bottle and smiling.


By the time I'm old and senile, I'll only remember the party aspect of Swisher.

Senile Me: Wonderful player, Nick Swisher. Maybe the greatest of all time. But a strange fellow. Yes, most peculiar. He always wore goggles, see, and you wouldn't find him on a baseball field without his cherished bottle of champagne.

Grandson: Can I go back to having virtual sex with models on my very realistic virtual sex computer machine? That's what kids do now, and it's accepted.

Senile Me: Yes, quite a man, Nick Swisher. Of course, that was before the Chinese came....

Grandson: Jesus Christ.

Anyway, good win. That eliminates Boston, and they were drinking champagne in Tampa too after the Rays beat Baltimore 5-0 on another strong outing by Price. The Rays are now a half-game up on the Yanks in the AL East, with the winner likely taking coveted home-field advantage until the World Series. The Rays have two more against the Orioles before ending the season against Kansas City, while the Yanks finish with the Blue Jays today, skip Thursay, and head to Fenway for the weekend. Advantage Rays, since they own the tiebreaker (9-7 edge in season series), but anything can happen in four games.

Side note: how badly is the world calling for pitcher Ivan Nova to win something in baseball so we can use the headline "Champagne Super-Nova!"?

Hey, we can't let this slip off the radar: starting Friday, it's the motherfucking Ryder fucking Cup y'all!

I am unbelievably juiced for this. I am Jose Bautista juiced. The Ryder Cup is one of my five favorite sporting events. U.S. vs. Europe. New World vs. Old World. Tiger's steely glare vs. Sergio's smug smile. Trim, respectable Corey Pavin vs. that self-satisfied Scottish bastard Colin Montgomerie.

I'm no patriot, but I can work myself up into a real dander when sports are involved. That's when I start invoking American values and other things I've never really understood. Let me take a stab at it, quickly:

Yes, I want America to win. Can you blame me? Things are different here. In America, we actually care about how you treat your fellow man. We have something called values. And something called family. And something called family values. In Europe, they take children away from their parents after six months so no deep attachments form, because loyalty isn't good for the state. Everyone there is socialist, so family connections threaten the government. It's sick. Also, Americans are way cleaner. Do you know how they use the bathroom in Poland? Here's a clue: they don't. Toilet paper is considered pretentious in Ireland. French people blow their noses in each other's clothes. Germans have a phobia of evergreen trees. The Spanish are pyromaniacs. British people collect hair. Norwegians chase squirrels around the city, giggling all the while. The Swedish are impotent. There are no legal women in Portugal. The Dutch can't tell time. Switzerland is a giant amusement park. Denmark is a myth.

Despite their habit of collecting hair, though, the British do have a pretty awesome media. One of the best stories of the Ryder Cup is that Rory McIlroy, a dirty Irishman, said that he or any of his teammates would love to play Tiger Woods since Tiger Woods is not good anymore. He even said it in a really femmy Euro way: "I think anyone in the European team would fancy his chances against him." They asked Tiger to respond, and he just said "me too." Which is so fucking badass, but that's not the point of the story. The point of the story is ESPN's coverage versus the coverage of two British outlets, The Daily Mail and the Scotland Herald. Let's begin with the headlines:

ESPN: Tiger Woods replies to challenge

Daily Mail: Tiger's in the mood to destroy McIlroy! Wounded world No 1 sets his sights on Europe's young gun Rory

Herald: Baiting the Tiger: Woods gives signal that he will be attempting to make Rory McIlroy eat his words at Celtic Manor

Yeah, Britain! That's the way to pump me up! Clearly nobody at ESPN gives two shits about the drama of sports, while everyone in Britain is in a total tizzy. I want more tizzies, American media! Moving on to the first paragraph:

ESPN: There is nothing like a little extra motivation for Tiger Woods -- perceived or otherwise -- heading into a big event.

SNOOZZZEEEE.

Daily Mail: Fired-up Tiger Woods has Rory McIlroy in his sights at the Ryder Cup after taking exception to comments made by the Ulsterman.

What's an Ulsterman?! Sounds mysterious! I'm totally on board.

Herald: Tiger Woods cranked up the Ryder Cup tension a few notches yesterday with just two words as he picked up the gauntlet thrown down by Rory McIlroy, who had said he fancies his chances against the world No.1.

“Me too,” said Woods yesterday with a menacing smile when asked about the remark, and he firmly declined to elaborate.

Okay, this was two paragraphs, but still: awesome. "Menacing smile." He's a holy terror, that Tiger Woods. He may dominate in golf, or he may impregnate the entire population of Wales. Either way, he's on the prowl.

Now for the best descriptive line in the entire piece:

ESPN: The Ryder Cup is always about those spicy little moments, and Woods has long been known to carry such grudges to the tee.

I only include this for the word 'spicy.' And I guarantee the ESPN editor was like "hmmm, mightn't 'spicy' offend some people? Perhaps we should cut it for a word like 'interesting,' don't you think?" ESPN can be so lame.

Daily Mail: Woods underlined his desire to get even at his press conference on Tuesday, when asked about McIlroy saying that he would like them to play one another.

'Me too,' replied Woods, with a look of cold fury on his face.

Holy shit! Was it a menacing smile, as the Herald reports, or a look of cold fury? We might never know. Reporting accuracy is not the highest priority in Europe, but they certainly get your blood boiling.

Here's another from the Daily Mail, a bonus:

At the BMW Championship in Chicago, Woods approached McIlroy on the practice ground and told him: 'Be careful what you wish for.'

I mean, there's no way this happened, right? ESPN quotes the story too, but are careful to say that these were mere 'rumblings,' and that McIlroy denied the story. But the Daily Mail reports it as truth, and I respect that. Frankly, anyone who would question their sources on such an awesome story is a coward.

And now, the best passage from the Herald:

Tiger glared, teeth aglint, as he vowed to punish McIlroy in a fashion commensurate with the insult. 'I'll fix him but good,' said Woods, 'and I dare say he shan't be opening that Fenian mouth so quickly in the future.' One could almost see an erection developing beneath the great golfer's trousers.

Okay, I made that one up. But still, great coverage by the Brits. Wake the fuck up, ESPN.

I would like to end today with an issue that has been puzzling me. It's not related to sports, but then again, yesterday's hatred of Judah Friedlander had nothing to do with sports either. Here's my question: why are crazy Republican female politicians so very good looking? I posed this question to Spike, the official person who tells me things I don't know, and I'll get to his theory in a second. But first, let's visit the subjects.


Name: Sarah Palin

What we know:

1.
Shoots wolves from a helicopter while gazing at Russia.
2. Has severe learning and speaking disabilities.
3. Totally hot.



Name: Michele Bachmann

What we know:

1.
Would like to arm Minnesotans so Obama can't impose an energy tax.
2. Considers Joe McCarthy a hero.
3. Totally hot.



Name: Christine O'Donnell

What we know:

1.
Former witch.
2. Disproved evolution by alerting scientific community to monkeys that do not evolve in a single lifetime.
3. Totally hot.

Obviously, 'hot' is pretty relative. But I think we can agree that for aging politicians, these women are doing pretty well. So what's the deal here? Spike has a theory, via g-chat:

Spike: I have an answer to why hot chicks are in the republican party
there is no skill necessary to be a republican politician
you just regurgitate business friendly, racist party line bullshit
and never stop
ever
and you have to be visually appealing to white men
which means being a white man
or a hot chick
no fatties allowed

I would tend to agree, and add that there's probably a selection bias. So there may be like a thousand women gunning for political office in the GOP, but they only groom the hot ones.

MYSTERY SOLVED! Or is it? Please chime in with your own theories if you have them. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Man, I Hate Judah Friedlander

Fuck preambles. Here's the deal: I hate Judah Friedlander. There's no person on earth except for Khalid El-Amin who makes me so viscerally angry just by existing. This is a picture of him:


Don't you hate him? Maybe not. Maybe not yet. Maybe it will take more for you. That's fair.

Let me try to describe Judah Friedlander. First, he's a "comedian." I don't know what kind of comedy he does, except that it certainly sucks. I do know he's on '30 Rock,' which is a show I've seen maybe 4 times. Some folks tell me it's good- I don't know. Otherwise, the best place to gather information about Judah Friedlander is from Wikipedia. The first line of his entry goes a little something like this:

Judah Friedlander (born March 16, 1969) is an American actor and comedian, known for his trademark trucker hats, oversized glasses and unkempt appearance, which he retains in most of his screen roles.

Summary in case that one sentence was too long for you: He's 41 and he sucks.

One of my main rhetorical strategies will be to post pictures of Judah Friedlander at key moments in an attempt to stoke your hatred.


About those hats: Judah Friedlander is ironic. If you're like me, you just about hate irony right now. It can be kind of awesome in the right hands, but at this point it's been bulldozed into oblivion by hipsters and their ilk. It's easier just to avoid the whole concept. I compare it to a Hitler mustache. Maybe that would be an elegant look for someone. Maybe Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner would look intriguing with a Hitler mustache. But he's not going to do it. Why? Because he's a scumbag.

Wait, no...it's because Hitler grew a Hitler mustache and nobody wants to be associated with Hitler because he was Hitler. Sorry, I'm getting way off track.

Point is, people like Judah Friedlander ruined irony. Which is actually an understatement. Let me try again: Judah Friedlander is solely responsible for ruining irony because he wears trucker hats and oversized glasses, and he might even ruin America. There.

The hats say things like 'World Champion,' or 'Karate Mom,' or 'Mystery Solver,' or 'Most Improved.' Maybe you giggled just now, reading those. That's fine. There's an element of comedy there. But it also sucks. It sucks really, really hard. Here are five reasons why, followed by another picture of Judah Friedlander:

1) You're supposed to infer something about Judah Friedlander from these hats. Namely that he's funny, counter-culture, and a total subtle ironic genius. Well, man, I fucking refuse to do that. I think it's lazy. I think it's a totally lazy and bullshit thing for a comedian to do. Call me a hero if you want; that's just what I believe.

2) There's something aggressive about the hats. They're not friendly. It kinda puts you on the defensive, like, 'am I supposed to think this is funny? Am I allowed to ask him about it? Is he smarter than me because he wears these hats? Is he totally brilliant and beyond anything I could ever understand?' Here's the conversation that I imagine would ensue if I asked Judah Friedlander about his hats:

Me: Hey, why do you wear those hats?

Judah Friedlander: Um...are you serious?

Some fuckface tool that follows him around: Dude, those hats are like jazz. If you have to ask about them, you'll never understand.

Me: I'm just curious how it started, or what the point is, or anything.

Tina Fey: Judah Friedlander and I have a special relationship. I understand him and think he's totally hilarious. Along with being a total comic genius, he's really sensitive, and you're being really uncool right now.

Me: What? I was just trying-

Fuckface tool: Dude, it's like jazz.

You can see that a theoretical conversation about the hats doesn't go well. Though it's unclear from the dialogue, Judah Friedlander actually left the room after the second line (it took place at Tina Fey's second home in Puerto Rico).

3) He's cultivating a look, which is some weak shit. Aside from the hat and glasses, you'll notice from his photographs that he always puts on some idiotic or otherwise extreme expression. You have no idea what Judah Friedlander is actually like. I have a feeling he's probably really insecure, like everyone else. Except Judah Friedlander tries to hide that insecurity behind a facade, which sucks. Art, and especially comedy, is supposed to stem from your insecurity, not to function as a cloak. To me, he's not measurably different from a fashion mogul whose face is a constant, inscrutable mask, who speaks in mysterious idioms, and who wears 'interesting' clothing to distract you from anything concrete or interesting about himself.*

*I have no idea if such people actually exist. I'm working with stereotypes here.

4) I think deep down, Judah Friedlander knew that wearing these kinda hats would attract a following. And I think he knew just what that following would be: sheep. Sheep-like little hipsters who want to feel like they're different from their parents, and from what they consider the 'establishment.' People who maybe aren't really bright and who don't have a great sense of humor, but want to feel cool and young and different. And instead of working for it, Judah Friedlander took the easy route. He let his face go slack, assumed an air of hipster mystery, and threw on some funny glasses and a weird hat. And some establishment douchebag in Hollywood was probably seeking that look for a minor character in his dumb movie, and the two whores found each other. And they banged. Oh, momma, did they bang. Money and opportunism flew out of their pockets while it was happening (oh God I'm entering a moral fervor zone, but I can't stop), and the climax was an explosion of smug insincerity.

5) I don't have a fifth reason at the moment, so check out this picture.


You might reasonably ask why I'm writing about Judah Friedlander. Why now? What happened? Well, last night at around 7pm, I decided to take a walk. It had been a long day. I went downtown, wandered into some shops, and got an ice cream. Then I came home. As I crossed my front lawn, I heard a strange sound coming from the side of the house. I paused, walked over, and saw something I will never forget:

Judah Friedlander was raping my dog.

No, I'm kidding. That didn't really happen. I don't even have a dog. I also don't have a house or a front lawn. And God knows I don't take walks. What actually happened was that I was reading one of my favorite websites, Deadspin, and they had a post about Judah Friedlander's agent contacting them hoping to publicize his new book. It's called 'How to make a cheap buck in the entertainment industry by co-opting a dry fashion statement and feigning talent in the face of its total absence.' Or, as the publisher and Judah Friedlander are calling it, 'How to Beat Up Anyone.'

Here's the pitch from the agent, with a description of the book:

On October 5th, I'm publishing stand-up comic and "30 Rock" star Judah Friedlander's satirical karate guide HOW TO BEAT UP ANYBODY. Step-by-step, kick-by-kick, grunt-by-grunt, Friedlander teaches his techniques for crushing all kinds of assailants-muggers, three-armed attackers, Bigfoots, ninjas, dinosaurs, even ninjas riding on the backs of dinosaurs-and having stamina to spare for partying with a bunch of babes. To make mastering his mind-boggling moves easy for weak readers, he provides lots of pictures- more than 500 color photos along with original drawings and an action-packed flipbook!

Let's take that piece by piece, shall we?

On October 5th, I'm publishing stand-up comic and "30 Rock" star Judah Friedlander's satirical karate guide HOW TO BEAT UP ANYBODY.

Perfect title for Judah Friedlander. Absolutely perfect. It's got that uber-simple flatness that's defined his character for an entire career. I mean, the title might as well be a trucker's hat with 'World Champion' on it. You're supposed to read it and think 'oh man, that's funny...I think.' Except, it's not. It's easy, and it's dumb. It takes no ingenuity or intelligence to come up with a concept like that. The idea of a satirical karate guide is essentially the same implied attack on an imagined establishment that you get from his 'look.' Get it, everyone? We're making fun of people who do karate, or who publish actual how-to guides, or who want to try hard at anything. It's getting by on a conceit: fat, counter-culture dude acts like he's an entrepreneurial phony. The real beauty of this scam, I probably don't need to tell you, is that Judah Friedlander is an entrepreneurial phony. I'm getting more and more angry just reading that title.

Step-by-step, kick-by-kick, grunt-by-grunt, Friedlander teaches his techniques for crushing all kinds of assailants-muggers, three-armed attackers, Bigfoots, ninjas, dinosaurs, even ninjas riding on the backs of dinosaurs-and having stamina to spare for partying with a bunch of babes.

Snore. 'Ninjas riding on the backs of dinosaurs' reminds me of what's his face...Maddox, or something. That angry guy with the website everyone read ten years ago. By which I mean that Judah Friedlander is a fucking hack. Judah Friedlander is a fat ninja who rides on the back of old dinosaur internet memes.

To make mastering his mind-boggling moves easy for weak readers, he provides lots of pictures- more than 500 color photos along with original drawings and an action-packed flipbook!

Wow, are there really 500 color photos? Do they exist to provide cover for the fact that Judah Friedlander is even less funny in print than in person? Can we just call '500 color photos' a trucker's hat, and 'an action-packed flipbook' oversized glasses? How many questions can I ask in a row? Can I fight Judah Friedlander in a really small ring? Would Judah Friedlander kick my ass? Would that be the most embarrassing thing that could happen to me in this world? Would it be worse than that time I got caught accidentally trying on my grandmother's wedding dress? What?


After reading the description of his new book, I gave Judah Friedlander a call, recorded our conversation, and transcribed it.

Me: Hi Judah, it's Shane.

Judah Friedlander: I'm sorry, who is this?

Me: I'm with the media, blog division.

Judah Friedlander: Oh, okay, let me put on my personality. One moment. (Ten seconds pass) UH-DUHHHHHHHHHHH.

Me: Hmmm. I have a question: do you agree that your book sucks?

Judah Friedlander: Uhhhhh, dude....

Me: I mean, the karate and ninja shit...isn't that really phony? Aren't you too old to be still doing this whole ironic persona? I knew people like you in college, and I hated them, but I'll admit that I had my own little personality quirks in college that were probably really fucking annoying. Still, I'm over them now, and I think all those other people are too. What's your deal?

Judah Friedlander: UHHHHH...

Me: Are you afraid that if you try to do something interesting, or actually funny without the disguise of this image, that the world will find you out? That you'll discover the unfriendly face of the planet and be backed into a corner? That nobody will like you without your trucker hat and glasses? That nobody will be interested in Judah Friedlander the human being?

Judah Friedlander: DUDDDDEEEEE....

Me: Because let me tell you, Judah, that's bullshit. You take away from the world with this stuff. Please hold on for a moment while I start playing some climactic music on my cd player in the background- thank you. (The music is the 'Last of the Mohicans' theme song.) Where was I? Oh yes- you actively take from the world. Not only do you deprive us of whatever creativity and spirit you might contribute, but you teach people that the way to go about living is to camouflage themselves, to assume the worst about people and to hunker down into defensive little bunkers. You show us that the way to the top is by forming little foxholes, or going on pre-emptive strikes in order to establish tenuous footholds through affectation, cynicism, and yes, cruelty.

Judah Friedlander: MANNNNNN....

Me: I would hazard a guess that you have had a negative effect on our culture, Judah. I know that's a harsh thing to say, but what do you goes beyond sucking. A lot of people suck, but they can bring some good to the world. You suck in a very contrived and negative way. You try to distinguish yourself through an imagined hipster sophistication, and you divide the world. You divide the culture. You divide human beings.

Judah Friedlander: (adjusts glasses, changes to a different trucker's hat)

Me: I mean, we're only on this planet once, man. It's a hard place. We all know it. So what are you up to? What the fuck are you even up to?

(silence)

Me: Do you think anyone will buy your book?

Judah Friedlander: No.

That was an eye-opener. So next time you think about liking Judah Friedlander, remember: he's bullshit. He just is. This last picture of him will, I hope, say it all. It's a plain look at a person who has spent his entire life in costume side by side with someone we'll never know. Judah Friedlander, you could do better.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Slow, Agonizing, Lucky Death of the Red Sox

It finally happened: the 2010 Red Sox are dead and buried.


There's not much triumph in this one. After a season of devastating injuries, Francona had his team playing inspired baseball. Their two biggest offensive threats were gone, but they managed to be competitive in baseball's best division, against two excellent teams. It's an amazing feat, and without last night's come-from-behind win, they'd have a puncher's chance of catching the Yanks for the wild card.

Here's how the situation would look if last night had gone their way:

Down 4 games in the loss column with 6 to play. If Boston gained only a single game between now and Thursday, they'd have a chance to sweep the Yanks at home and force a one-game playoff.

Here's how hit looks now:

Down 6 games in the loss column with 6 to play. One Yankee victory, or one Boston loss, and it's all over.

It's a drastic difference, and the Yanks are lucky that the latter scenario came to pass. After an ugly September in which playoff bound teams won 7 and lost only 3 against the Bombers, the Boston series started with two straight losses. Anxiety had long since set in, and it reached a fever pitch in the 7th inning last night when the Sox held a 1-0 lead. A choke job of epic proportion loomed in everyone's mind, and then A-Rod continued to cement his new reputation as a pressure player with a 2-run go-ahead homer. That lasted until Mariano entered in the ninth and blew the save. Then Papelbon entered, and was squeezed by the umpire to an unbelievable extent. If I was a Boston fan, I'd be furious. He seemed to strike out batter after batter, only to watch the man in black stand up solemnly, and with motionless hands refuse to recognize the effort.

That resulted in the tying run on a Robbie Cano single, but Jorge Posada struck out with the bases loaded and one down, blowing an opportunity to win the game with a sacrifice fly. His particular failure is part of a recurring theme with the 'Core Four.' Mariano, Jorge, Jeter, and Pettitte are showing their age. Pettitte's groin betrayed him in the summer, and it's anyone's guess whether he can regain his form in time for the playoffs. Despite a recent hot streak, Jeter is having his worst year as a professional. Jorge is struggling at the plate, and may be the least effective defensive catcher in the entire league- four nearly-uncontested stolen bases helped the Sox take the lead in the ninth. Mariano is the steadiest of the bunch, but even he has seen his ERA jump half a run in September, owing to two blown saves.

The Yankees are an old team. Within the framework of the last decade, we're a team on the decline. Within the framework of the season, we're a team on the decline. Contrast that with the Twins and the Rays, and we have the look of an aging, crafty boxer whose body is betraying him in the late rounds.

Finally, in the 11th, we rallied against Okajima and won with a bases-loaded walk. Even my mother recognized the nature of the win with her morning g-chat message:

Mom: You're up early after that cheap win for the Yankees! Thank God!

I'm happy for the postseason berth, and I understand that anything can happen. But I also understand we're lucky to be in this position, and it will certainly be the last year we can rely on the old guard to lead the way.

How, I'm wondering, can we possibly beat the Twins? How can we possibly beat the Rays? How much duct tape and glue can does it take to withstand teams that look, for all the world, like superior forces? Last year felt like destiny, and though I fretted and writhed, I never doubted the World Series would be ours. This year, winning a ring seems more like a long shot, like rolling two straight 1's on a six-sided dice. I don't doubt our desire, but I doubt our ability.

Then again, we still have the best offense in the game. Maybe that'll be enough. Postseasons past have taught us that no, it probably won't do the trick- great pitching will decide which teams make the World Series and which lose by scores like 5-2 over and over until elimination. But maybe Tex and A-Rod and Robinson will all be in the groove, and maybe Swish and Granderson will join them. Maybe CC will pitch a gem, and we'll get good AJ and an inspired Andy.

Anything's possible. We're at the end of an era. The transitional tools are in place (Tex, A-Rod, Robbie, Swish, Granderson, Hughes, CC), but there are future vacancies where now the veterans stand. It might be our last chance to trot out a playoff-caliber team with the current crop. 1995 was a long time ago, and the players who joined us then are holding on for dear life. The baseball season is long, and favors youth over experience. But pressure favors experience over youth.

It'll be an interesting playoff run, to be sure. I'm not optimistic that it will be a long one, but we've all seen stranger things. And now that we can put the Boston anxiety to rest, courtesy of a strange, desperate win, maybe we can right ourselves and do some damage in October.

*

Even if that doesn't come to pass, one thing is worth remembering: we're not the Mariners. Throughout the season, my friend Spike has sent me random messages bemoaning the awful offensive production of his team. By now you've all probably seen the stats; the Ms are on pace to score the fewest runs in a full season of any team since the early 1970s. They really, really, really stink. There was a lot of optimism in the pacific northwest when the season began, but the only real impact the Mariners can have now is possibly costing Felix Hernandez the Cy Young with their miserable production.

Here's one excellent gem from Spike. Keep in mind that the complaints usually come out of nowhere, not in the course of a normal baseball conversation. I picture Spike trying to live a normal life, trying not to think about his team, but the overwhelming absurdity of their failure just overwhelms him in down moments, and he's forced to curse the gods. This one happened on Friday:

Spike:

the yankees OBP is 15 points higer than the mariners SLG
we have three players on our team with OPS over .685
not three qualified players
three players with ABs
we have three guys with at leas 85 PA's and OPS+ under 35
you have had 15 players get PA's who would be in the M's top 3 qualified hitters by OPS+
which adjusts for ballpark
Lance Berkman would be our second best qualified hitter
he has 1 home run for you
your 10th highest SLG would be the mariners highest qualified SLG
Juan Miranda would have the fourth highest OPS on the Mariners
not qualified
total
of anyone who came to bat
Javy vazquez would be 6th
on the whole team
AND HE DIDN'T GET A HIT
125.222.182 that's chris woodward's slash line this year
and it isn't the worst on our team
you have had 436 more base runners than we have
and only 12 more double plays
your 8th highest walk total would be our second highest
that's just remarkable
1 player on our team has more walks than Granderson
ARod has 1 more RBI than our top 2 RBI guys combined
Nick Swisher has as many HR's as our top two HR hitters
you have 6 guys with 200 TB's... we have 1

Actually, come to think of it, I haven't heard from Spike since that night...I'm just going to assume he finally cracked, decided Ichiro was too beautiful for the Mariners, and set out to kidnap him and start his own team on the Phillippines. Either that, or he's weeping on the doorstep of Felix Hernandez's house, ignoring the approaching sirens, screaming out "WILL YOU BE MY FATHER?!"

Time to go. Yankee magic number is a big fat one, and we can clinch today. And believe it or not, the AL East is not a lost cause yet. The Rays have shown a weird tendency to let up when their foot is on our throats this season, so let's hope they drop two to the Orioles. G'day.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pick Six! Volume 1, Week 3

Reason #83 why I'm enjoying the Pick 6: I'm a wee bit hung over this morning, but no worries: I can have other people write my blog! BUCKLE UP, HOMES.


THE FRIDAY PICK SIX


WEEK THREE



The Friday Pick Six is an original SCSD! game where six people make six predictions for six weeks. Along with their picks, they're allowed and encouraged to submit a 'sound-off' on any topic, sports or otherwise. When it's all done, the winner earns great honor among the people, while the two losers are exiled in shame and the three middle people go to purgatory, with the chance rescue their good name up to three times. To learn more about the rules, and about the current contestants, read the Week One entry here and the Week Two entry here.

Let's have a look at the scores from Week Two:

1. Nick - 4 Points
2. Me - 3 Points
2. Carrie - 3 Points
2. Jill - 3 Points
5. Tom - 3 Points
5. Spike - 2 Points

And now the updated overall standings:

1. Jill - 8 Points
2. Tom - 7 Points
2. Carrie - 7 Points
2. Nick - 7 Points
5. Shane - 5 Points
5. Spike - 4 Points

I started out so friggin' strong on Friday, when Duke and Florida tied in women's soccer and Felix Hernandez pitched exactly 8 innings, giving me 3 quick points. This was to be my revolution. Then I went on to pick exactly zero of four football games correctly. That's the bad news. The good news is that immediately after going 0-4, the Seattle Mariners offered me a chance to play DH. Nick surged to a Week 2 victory and got himself right back in the running in the overall standings. With 3 points, Jill maintains a slim lead going into Week 3. Oooooooohhhh things are getting ex-ciiiiiiii-tingggg!!!!!!!

This Week's Docket:

1. South Carolina at Auburn, College football

2. Army at Duke, College football

3. New York Jets at Miami Dolphins, NFL

4. Pittsburgh Steelers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, NFL

5. The total number of runs scored by the Yankees in three games against the Boston Red Sox (closest gets 2 points, next two get a point)

6. From Carrie: Bates at Trinity, D3 women's field hockey. This is like the LEAST rigged of all the rigged categories because I don't even understand how points are earned in women's field hockey. I also don't know why I keep specifying "women's". Though I have always (or since I learned field hockey was a real sport in2002) wondered why men are too good for field hockey. My very cursory knowledge of the sport is that they're probably right not to play? Anyway, should be a real doozy. Blood shed. Sticks broken. Skirts worn.

Let's get to the picks and the sound-offs, starting with our fearless leader Jill, who really brought her 'A' game this week by including LINKS for YOU, the READER. Unlike Coach K, she is not content to rest on a lead. What an all-star:

Jill


South Carolina at Auburn: Cocks. The Cocks have an amazing run defense, and Auburn is the top running team in the SEC. I liked SC over UGA, but this will be their first road test. QB Stephen Garcia may be haunted by Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley; then again, he may prove, once and for all, that he really is an elite leader.

Army at Duke: Duke. Loyalty rule applies, but I would pick Duke in this one anyway. They beat Army on the road last year with QB Sean Renfree manning the ship. Army has a great running game and Duke’s defense has been utterly useless, but I think the Blue Devils pull it out, as long as they control the clock and their turnovers.

Jets at Dolphins: Dolphins. The Jets somehow got their reality TV circus together for a solid win over the Pats. The thing is, now they are Revis-less; their already-on-probation-star-receiver was arrested for DWI; they are not playing at home; they may or may not have sexually harassed a semi-slutty-looking reporter; the Sanchize is beyond inconsistent; and there is the whole Jason Taylor returns mini-drama. I am just not ready to jump on the Jets’ crazy train yet. As I said last week, I hope they prove me wrong.

Steelers at Buccaneers: Steelers, I guess. Both teams are undefeated. Tampa Bay has been surprisingly good, especially QB Josh Freeman, but the Steelers’ defense has been even better. The biggest problem for Pittsburgh is that most of their QBs are injured or accused date rapists.

Total # of Yankee runs: 14. I like Pettitte over Beckett (Beckett and his ridiculous facial hair have sucked all year. He always has an inning where he implodes). Lester is usually tough to score on. Hughes over Dice-K in the finale; the Yanks are patient and Dice-K nibbles. Sure, the Sox could play spoiler and steal some games. But the Yankees need to rest their elderly and get ready for more important things, like the playoffs. Enough said.

Bates at Trinity: Trinity. Bates opened with a 4-0 loss to powerhouse Connecticut College. They followed that thriller with near misses against Amherst (5-1 loss) and Bowdoin (8-1 loss). Finally, three days ago, they dominated Husson* by a score of 1-0. They have been outscored 17-3. They have not had a winning season since 1999, a time when Livin’ La Vida Loca ruled the Billboard charts. They were 1-12 in 2009 (which is promising, I guess, since they have already matched last year’s win total). I could round up a group of blind homeless people in lower Manhattan and they would solidly beat Bates in field hockey. Trinity convincingly beat both Colby (5-1 win) and Wellesley (5-1 win), before losing close games to Middlebury (4-3 loss in OT) and Keene State (2-1 loss). They are at home, they have a six-foot tall player and a very unhappy-looking bird mascot, and they are playing the equivalent of a little league team. *President Obama’s college to train Socialist Kenyan Muslim Elitist Community Workers, like myself, to kidnap the Queen of Real America, duh.


Tom


Ok, South Carolina, Duke, Jets, Buccanneers, 15 runs, Trinity.

South Carolina always brings in some early big wins on the road and Auburn usually finds a way to lose in the 4th quarter. I know the boys of West Point are winning, which is new at the Point since the days of "the lonely end", but Duke will feel as if they are playing against a high school team after what they saw and felt last weekend from ALABAMA. The Tide was the largest and quickest college football team I have ever seen up close. Go Duke! Drinking aside, lets toast the Jets as they begin to bruise and plunder. 15 runs seem fit for a sweep, unless Joe decides to sit the first team. And seeing as my nephew's gorgeous wife once played field hockey for Trinity, who else would I root for?? And finally, as I have my morning decaf Saturday morning prepping for college football Saturday, I will be thinking of our new friend, the most famous citizen of Carrboro and the new Johnny Cash as he chains his bicycle to the rack of our coffee cafe. HI ROBERT!

(Editor's note: Robert is a wandering possibly-homeless man that Tom bonded with when he visited me last weekend. Seriously, they hung out a lot. It got weird.)


Nick


1. South Carolina.

Love the Ole Ball Coach.

2. Duke.

In an upset. Army hasn't had the same ground game since Obama became Commander-in-Chief.

3. Dolphins.

Florida, what?

4. Bucs.

Florida, why? (Charlie Batch, that's why)

5. I'll take 22.

6. Um - was it total goals in Field Hockey game? I'll take 17.

(Editor's Note #2: No, it wasn't 'total goals in Field Hockey game,' but I understand it would've been a total bitch to let your eyes drift up approximately three inches to find that information in the very same e-mail you had already opened. Well guess what, Nick? You FORFEIT this category. Where's your laconic swagger now, you son of a bitch?!)


Carrie


1. My delight at the "Gamecocks" mascot is well-documented, and using the same measuring stick, the Auburn Tigers have like the most generic mascot in the history of sports. BUT. The Gamecocks are coming off a win to a team called the Furman Paladins and I don't believe a college by that name exists, so I am not sure I trust SC's record. Auburn beat Clemson (also the Tigers, which just goes to show how lame that name is) last week and like I've heard of them. Auburn.

2. I recently had the opportunity to play flip-cup with a number of West Point alums and I still find it really charming that there are athletic teams there. (Important to note: No such flip-cup teams exist, or perhaps these men wouldn't have been so stinking rotten at it.) I think I was told that the football team is something of a perpetual heartbreaker, but I'm going to pretend I don't remember that. Army.

3. I really f-d it up going against my uniform instincts last week. Although the Dolphins were the first mascot to capture my heart at the even more impressionable age of 6, teal and peach have since fallen out of my favor. I need to atone with the Jets. I almost cried when I saw how sharp their uniforms looked out there last week.

4. I know it's not his team's fault and maybe he's not even playing right now and I am sad to root against that man with all the hair, but Big Ben is a complete shame of a professional athlete. I'm sure there's a similarly shameful member of the Buccaneers, but if so, I didn't spend the last year being grossed out by him. Buccs.

5. Funny to be back on the West Coast for the duration of the Yankees-Red Sox series. I'd forgotten just how little people care about that rivalry here. I am nothing if not a product of my (immediate) environment, so I am having a hard time mustering up a thoughtful answer for this... Let's go with... 14 runs? That seems low maybe. But maybe not. (But I think so.)

6. I used the opportunity of my choice week to be a good sport and pick a non-rigged contest. I mean, I know from personal experience how bad the Bates field hockey team is, but like you could also tell that by looking up their scores in recent matches (is field hockey played in matches? I know it's played in skirts), so I still feel fair about this choice. Also bad about this choice, because I think Bates is going to get creamed by Trinity 6-1. Honestly, I think the one goal (goal?) I am giving Bates in the loss is generous. But still, nothing like a little D3 women's field hockey to set the sports world abuzz. Great selection, me.


Me


I like Auburn, DUKE, Jets, Steelers, 21 runs, and the Trinity Field Hockey team.

I have 4 points to make.

1. I was browsing last week's picks while putting this together, and I saw that Spike brought out the "oy" for his write-up. This reminded me of a Jewish story from last night. It's well-documented that Jewish celebrities often change their names to sound less Jewish and (I guess) not scare off the significant sector of our country who are scared of Jewish people. Allan Konigsberg became Woody Allen, Jonathan Leibowitz became Jon Stewart, Melvin Kaminsky became Mel Brooks, Hymie Wienerstein became Larry Bird, etc. The list is pretty endless (and one of those last ones is FALSE...see if you can pick it out!). Anyway, in my newsroom yesterday afternoon at school, someone brought up witchcraft because of that weirdo that Sarah Palin endorsed from Delaware who used to belong to a coven or something. My supervisor then brought up someone named Anton LaVey, who apparently ran an institution called the Church of Satan back in the day. Intrigued, I looked up his Wikipedia entry. First line:

Anton Szandor LaVey,[1] (April 11, 1930 – October 29, 1997) born Howard Stanton Levey...

I thought that detail was absolutely amazing. Even in the fucking Church of Satan, dudes have to change their names to be less Jewish. Otherwise, the following scenario would occur:

Satanist #1: Look, don't get me wrong, I'm dedicated to evil. I believe in the dark lord, human sacrifice, and eternal suffering for mankind on earth and throughout eternity. But I'm sorry, this particular church is just a litttttlllle too Jewish for my tastes.

Satanist #2: I agree. I was violently biting the testicles off a live baby goat the other day, and it occurred to me that even though Howard means well...God, how I can put this...he just doesn't share our values. He's not like us.

Satanist #1: I'm just more comfortable with a wayward Christian leading a Church of Satan. If that's wrong, sue me. It's just who I am.

Satanist #2: Let's murder him in front of a child.

(Last Editor's Note, I promise: That dialogue presumes that a main activity of Satanism is biting animal testicles, which I can't confirm.)

2. I told the story of LaVey to my friend Josh last night, who is Jewish, expecting him to get a kick out of it. I'd shared it earlier with a few other people who were duly amused, so I wasn't even a little wary. We were in the back of a car, drunk, heading through Chapel Hill, and when I delivered the punch line he froze. His smile instantly went away, and he wouldn't look at me. You can imagine my reaction. Oh fuck! I reacted how we would all react in such a situation, by stammering like an idiot. He wouldn't even acknowledge me when I kept repeating "Josh...Josh, come on man...Josh, come on. Come on!" I kept insisting it was a funny story (stories are always funnier if you insist on their hilarity after you tell them), and I was so panicky and afraid about offending him that I was literally ten seconds away from being like "JOSH MAN I HAVE A TON OF JEWISH FRIENDS!" Which, again, is a great argument.

Here's what happened: without me knowing it, my girl Komar, the driver, had seen a cop in her rearview mirror. She told us all to shut up and stay still, and that's exactly what Josh did at the precise moment when I finished up the Church of Satan story. So as I rambled on trying to prove beyond doubt that I wasn't anti-Semitic, he was nervous about the cop, wasn't really listening, and thought I was talking to our other pal Justin, who was sitting next to him. It was the kind of hilarious situation you usually only see on the situation comedy 'Frasier.'

And man, what a relief when the situation cleared up. There's no feeling like the feeling you get when you find out people don't think you're a bigot. I highly recommend it.

3. Side note to that: remember the Swetha and Sabreena post? The two awesome girls who actually made a sign with Scheyer, Smith, and Singlers as the 3-Sketeers, wrote my blog name at the bottom, and won a contest except I missed their e-mail back in February because I offended the Gods? Well in the process of thanking them, I made a dumb joke about us having an arranged marriage (because Indian people all have arranged marriages, get it?!), and after sending me long e-mails and seeming totally into the blog, Swetha and Sabreena clammed up big time. I got like a one-line e-mail a week later, and these gals, like me, do not seem shy about writing. I'm the kind of person with a gigantic guilt complex, so my assumption is that they're totally pissed and think I'm a giant racist. HEY GUYS COME ON LISTEN I HAVE SO MANY INDIAN FRIENDS!!!!! But seriously: this is my public apology and plea for forgiveness. Also, I think Team Swetha & Sabreena would be an awesome addition to the Pick 6 next round. Great writers, Dukies, and clever. I'm just saying.

4. Man, I'm so pissed at the Yankees. How are we ever going to do well in the playoffs? It just does NOT look good. Also, Felix Hernandez should win the Cy Young.


Spike


USC, ARMY, DOLPHINS, STEELERS, 18, Trinity

I'm kinda mad that Pick-Six has a NESCAC matchup that isn't a Williams-Amherst game. That would be a lovely chance for me to pick Williams and pretend to care for a minute only to have Amherst rip my heart out* (I'm the worst at Pick-Six ever). Also, have you seen Bates' campus in Lewistown, Maine? What a piece of shit. I went through there on my college tour, and didn't get out of my car. That's right. My mom and I drove to fucking Maine**, and the campus and town were so ugly that we just turned around and started back to Connecticut. Connecticut. Where Trinity is located. Plus, Trinity is good at squash. Like, really dangerously good at squash.

*This would never happen otherwise as Williams is better at everything when compared to Amherst.

**We did stop at Bowdoin which was quite nice. No disrespect to Bowdoin.

In other news, Ichiro Suzuki just tied Pete Rose's record for 200 hit seasons. Asked what it meant to him to share a record with Rose, Suzuki was blunt. “I’ve never actually seen him play with eyes and I’ve never met him before,” he said through a translator before adding, in English, “I don’t care.” Earlier this year, when Derek Jeter was asked what it was like to break the Yankees' hit record he said he was just mad that he hadn't gotten the clincher off Sandy Koufax (and yes, this accidentally turned into a plug for my defunct blog, Derek Jeter Hates the Jews).

Also, again, I'm terrible at this, so bet big on Auburn kiddos!

(You really thought there wouldn't be a final Editor's note? Anyway: awwwwww shit, Spike, Carrie went to Bates! This shit just got real! Have a great weekend, everyone.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Felix and CC and Chad Gaudin

You probably think those three names don't belong in the same sentence, but I just thought of five sentences that include all three and make perfect sense.

1. Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia are great pitchers, while Chad Gaudin is a total piece of shit.

2. If I heard that a major league pitcher got caught doing lewd sexual things in a New York movie theater during "Jack Goes Boating," I would probably guess it was Chad Gaudin rather than Felix or CC.

3. I bet CC and Felix would be disgusted if Joba Chamberlain took a dump in Chad Gaudin's locker, but he'll probably do it anyway.

4. "Chad Gaudin is not that bad at pitching," said CC Sabathia, right before he and Felix started giggling uncontrollably for like ten minutes.

5. Chad Gaudin has swastika tattoos in his genital area that really creep Felix and CC out.

Now that we've got that out of the way, I should probably say that Chad Gaudin is not a bad human being. I think I remember reading a heart-warming story about him recently, and then I was kinda glad when he got another shot with the Yankees. That lasted until I remembered two crucial facts: he's terrible at pitching and I hate him.


(Note: that picture was taken just moments before Chad Gaudin was arrested for masturbating to Phillip Seymour Hoffman)

The latest example came last night, with the Yanks down 3-2 to Tampa Bay in the top of the 7th. That's when Joe Girardi, a World Series-winning manager who sometimes makes absolutely baffling moves, brought in Chad Gaudin. 'Why is he doing this?' I wondered to myself. 'We're in a one-run game and we're battling for the division here.' I complained to my girlfriend, and told her it would surely end badly.

Then Gaudin got two ground-ball outs. Wonderful. Maybe I was wrong. I had my trigger finger ready on my cell phone, ready to call and rant to my stepfather when things went bad. Maybe I wouldn't have to make that call.

I had to make that call. Crawford and Longoria hit back-to-back homers off pitches that I truly believe I could have hit fairly hard* if given a chance. A 3-2 game became 5-2, and was effectively over. Yanks ended up losing 7-2.

*not really, but they were some fat-ass pitches

Whenever I call my stepdad to gripe, we both sound like angry repetitive neanderthal sports talk radio hosts. The diatribe last night went a little like this.

Me: YOU'RE IN A RACE FOR THE FUCKING DIVISION, AND YOU BRING CHAD GAUDIN IN? CHAD GAUDIN???! YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO DO THAT! YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO BRING IN CHAD GAUDIN THERE! HE'S GOING TO GIVE UP BOMBS! THIS ISN'T MAY! HE JUST COST US THIS GAME AND WE'RE IN THE MIDDLE OF A DIVISION RACE!

Tom: HE'S AN IDIOT. HE'S AN ABSOLUTE IDIOT! I CAN'T STAND GIRARDI AND I NEVER COULD. HE ALWAYS BLOWS ONE OR TWO GAMES LIKE THIS. ALWAYS. I CAN'T STAND HIM.

Both: YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.

Me: I HEARD CHAD GAUDIN HAS SWASTIKA TATTOOS ALL OVER HIS DICK!

Tom: WHAT? Don't be weird.

Me: Sorry.

So that was frustrating. Usually when Joe makes a decision I don't like, there's a little gray area involved and I need the benefit of hindsight to know for sure that he erred. But there was no justification for this. None at all. He cost us a shot at a very big game, and now Tampa is 1.5 back instead of 3.5. Also, have you seen the rest of Tampa's schedule after today's game?

Seattle, Baltimore, Kansas City

Hint: If I was listing the three shittiest teams in the American League, it wouldn't look any different.

And they're home for the first two. Basically, Tampa is not going to lose another game. Maybe one. But probably not. Meanwhile, the Yanks have Boston, Toronto, and Boston, with the last two on the road. That sucks. If we beat Tampa today, we're up 2.5 games and we have a chance at the division. If they win, it's .5 and dead even in the loss column. That would leave us virtually no shot. Also, the season series with Tampa is now 9-8 in their favor. It would be very sweet to even things up today.

In the AL East title race, I'm ready to call tonight's game a must-win. We can't let those fucks salvage a split after two great games to start the series. And without that 2.5 cushion, we're not holding on over the last 10.

Moving on, it's time to continue the....


2010 C.C. SABATHIA CY YOUNG CAMPAIGN!



Tonight is very exciting because CC and Felix Hernandez, his main competition, both pitch. CC takes on Tampa Bay, as we've covered, while Felix is up in Toronto. It's not an ideal situation for either, but Felix has the tougher job with all those Blue Jays who feast on right-handed pitching.

Both pitchers have three starts remaining (including tonight) if you look at the schedule, but Seattle is already talking about sitting Felix on the last day of the season due to workload issues, and unless the Yanks are trying super hard to win the division, CC also won't start on that final day. So this will likely be the second-to-last start for both.

If you look at the stats, there really should not be a Cy Young race. CC has very good numbers, but Felix has been great. We've covered this before. However, due to certain offensive facts, like how the Seattle Mariners have more team losses than home runs (thanks Spike), Felix has only 12 wins. He basically has to throw a no-hitter if he wants that W. CC has 20 of them. And as we've seen in the past, the voters are kinda dumb. If CC sneaks his ERA below 3 (currently 3.05), I imagine he'll win.

All of which means that tonight's game could be very important for the eventual award winner. The son of a bitch Felix pitches at 12:37 (why does ESPN have this game listed as starting at 12:37?), and CC goes at the usual east coast time tonight.

I'm super excited. But does this mean I have to root for Toronto's Jose Bautista, the steroid king of baseball, for CC's benefit?

Strange bedfellows, my friends. Strange bedfellows indeed. Needles up, you bastard!