Postgame Spread
You guys hangin' out? I'll hang out.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bertuzzi Is A Huge, Talented Man    

Quote from the Red Wings' head coach concerning his new forward, Todd Bertuzzi:

"Bertuzzi is a huge, talented man that adds the dimensions of size and skill that we need on one of our top two lines," Detroit coach Mike Babcock told The Associated Press.

So coach 'Cock needs huge, talented men on top.  With size.  (In bed!)

No, I will not grow up.

The Problem with America    

I think can be kind of neatly summed up here. Now, I'm not sure that organizing against gay marriage should be on the same register as hate speech; they are pretty different activities. But I do think it's actually reflecting something about the way this country works that a guy like Hardaway can be villified ad nauseum for expressing an opinion that probably 90% of professional sports players hold, while the NBA can just say, "oh, it's not the same thing" about the new owners of the Sonics. "That was bigotry, this is political contribution."

Hardaway at least provided the opportunity for a conversation, a correction. He blew it, which means that he said what he's said to nearly all of his former teammates at one point or another to the media. But the guys who are actually working to limit the life-possibilities of gay people, they're just expressing their politics. “We do not investigate or compile lists of political and charitable contributions of our owners and players.” I think that's good, to a large degree, although you can bet if it came to light that someone had been donating to some explicitly racist organization you would be hearing a different story. Again, I'm not sure that's inappropriate; I'm not sure what we gain by making anti-gay-marriage positions politically illegitimate--probably just a lot of disaffected Christians screaming about how they're being discriminated against...wait, how is that different from what we already have? Anyway, the interesting thing to me is the dichotomy. With these two events together, how can it be that Hardaway is being treated like a total pariah and these other activities are considered completely legitimate?

This better than anything explains to me why I don't agree with Lehr that the interview he posted a few days ago is irrelevant, or fails to do anything besides prove Hardaway is a bigot (as if the world were so easily divided between bigots and not-bigots). Hardaway expressed a lot of things that people can talk about, really opened himself up. Do I respect where he's coming from? No, but I know it's the same way an awful lot of people feel. And I know that, sitting here right now, I believe we would all be a better served these media blitzes had more to do with actions and policies than words. Take it back 50 years and imagine a situation where you had a white football player who got caught saying some really racist, compared with an NFL owner that also owns a whites-only hotel chain in the South. Who deserves the media attention? Or maybe more comparable, take two white racist golfers, back when Augusta wasn't officially desegregated. One says to the media that he hates black people. The other manages his public image perfectly but donates to a group dedicated to keeping Augusta for only white men. I think we're all a lot better served by the first guy; he brings these things to light, let's us recognize them and talk about them. It's that second guy that's really dangerous.

That's all I'm saying. The Hardaways of the world will be who they will be, and of course they need to be criticized. But I don't see the point in Hardaway's career being over. And we should all recognize that if his career is over, it's not because he hates gay people. His prejudice there is real but ultimately unexceptional in America today. His career is over because he's a PR risk to the NBA. And until actual organizing to limit the life-choices of any group of people is a bigger PR risk to the NBA than someone's off the cuff prejudiced remark, we're not getting anywhere.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Bruins At Trade Deadline: WTF?    

On the plus side, a team in dire need of leadership got some in the form of Stanley Cup champion Aaron Ward.  On the minus side, they didn't add talent so much as trade problems, as the Rangers ended up with Paul Mara, a solid young defenseman who had struggled this season.

On the plus side, they added further depth to their woeful back line by acquiring Blues D Dennis Wideman.  On the minus side, they gave up Brad Boyes, who has been one of their better goal-scorers the last couple of seasons.  Like Mara, he's struggled this season.

I'm a little confused as to whether the Bruins did the right thing.  The team's defensive problems have been addressed rather nicely, but at the expense of an already-questionable offensive attack.  In plugging up one dike-hole with a finger, they left another dike-hole wide open, spraying this way and that.  They're neither better nor worse than where they started.

Not that they didn't need help on the blue line.  They did.  Between Tim Thomas' mediocre play in net and the general confusion shown by every defenseman shorter under 6'9", it was an obvious area of need.  Besides, there's plenty of upside with Wideman, 23, and Boyes isn't exactly a superstar in waiting.  It's not like the team is devastated.  I'm just saying that giving up one of the team's few young scorers seems rash.  Boyes finally got his shit together; why trade him now?  Is it so wrong to express some skepticism that the play of Brandon Bochenski has made Boyes expendable?  The only way I can see this being a plus is if Phil Kessel takes over Boyes' ice time.  If that happens, fine.

It's not a huge problem.  I think Peter Chiarelli's pretty sharp, and neither trade is what you'd call stupid.  This obviously won't destroy the team or anything.  I would just feel better about it if the Bruins had, you know, one winger we could count on for some scoring.

Friday, February 23, 2007

So, would you say you have a "love bone" in your body, Mr. Hardaway?    

This interview isn't all that interesting, merely further proof that Tim Hardaway is not only a bigot, but a punk d-bag to boot. More importantly, shame on Scoop for not firing off the obvious follow up question listed above.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Well played, Mr. Bonds    

I don't care what anyone else says, I still love Barry Bonds.

And for this, he receives the first nomination for the Postgame Spread's 2007 "I'm Awesome" Award.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Joe Buck's Armageddon    

A USC hockey goalie threw the best tantrum I've ever heard of:

The junior from Clinton, N.Y., was "riding his hockey stick like a horse and slapping his butt," North Park Officer Mike Stauffer said in a report.

After pulling down his pants [and mooning the crowd], [Mickey] Meyer slapped his bare bottom several times, Stauffer said.

The motivation?

"I had my fill of these refs," Meyer said on an Internet broadcast of the game, according to The Herald-Journal of Logan.

You sure did, Mickey. I can't wait for this guy to become a professional wrestler.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Nate Robinson Got... JACKED UP    

Gerald Green, to the surprise of exactly zero Celtics fans, won the slam dunk contest. I think propers need to be given to executive assistant Paul Pierce, whose lobbing prowess helped Green to a one-and-done performance from start to finish. None of that Chris Andersen "Birdman's gonna fly" nonsense, which Nate Robinson ended up repeating. (Ugh.)

Dwight Howard was kinda jobbed by the judges, but personally I think Robinson's second dunk was overrated more than Howard's was underrated. As nuts as the sticker part was, the dunk itself was too basic. You can't just put the sticker way, way up there... the image isn't enough. You gotta hang on top of the board. That's the only way for the ridiculousness of the hang time to outweigh the blandness of the throw-down.

Regardless, it wouldn't have made much difference if Howard had advanced. Green won the damn thing outright. Now if he could only figure out the rest of basketball. He's still in the "Do you want me to SHOOT IT? NOOOOO" phase of his career.

But here's what he has mastered.

Dunk #1

Dunk #2

Dunk #3

Dunk #4

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Late Tonight, While You Were All In Bed, I Blogged    

So I was reading about Zinedine Zidane's potential jump to the MLS, which would no doubt be ggood for everyone involved (I'd give him a damn standing O for what he did to that piece of shit Materazzi), when I realized why the MLS team in Chicago is named the Fire. Yeah, Mrs. O'Leary's cow. Obvious to many, but not to me.

To avoid being stupid, get more edumacated here.

Funny how the early/late hour has brought me a degree of clarity. I wish I didn't have to stay up this late to figure out what the Chicago Fire are named after. If only it could always be 3 AM. 3 AM eternal, that's what I say. (The KLF is gonna rock you...)

Amazon: Suck My Balls    

Just saw this while shopping (please forgive the image layout/overlay issues):

Does winning a World Series cure the pain of past heartache? Of course not.


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Friday, February 16, 2007

Yep, baseball time    

A few thoughts about baseball as I prepare to sequester myself on the icy Jersey Shore this weekend:

1) Hey! Keith Foulke retired. I feel bad for this guy. I mean, he won the World Series for the Red Sox in '04, and utterly destroyed his arm in the process. I may hate the Red Sox, and that ALCS may have shortened my life by 10 years, but I had to give it up to Foulke, even at the time, and even more so now that we see the ramifications it had on his health. He simply burned too bright. So, Kid Icarus, we salute you.

2) MLB not formally announcing their exclusive broadcast deal w/ DirectTV for the extra innings package is nearly as annoying as the deal itself. I have pretty much decided that if it is possible, I will make the switch. But I can't even begin the process until I know for sure that the deal is done (and thus the price). Cause knowing Comcast, the only way they'd take me back is post-A2M.

3) The Nat's suck. Note Tim K's note from today's column:
"We're not just talking about the fifth spot here, we're basically talking about four spots. John Patterson is the de facto ace, but he has never won 10 games in a season. Patterson, in fact, won one game last year and he has a history of injuries. But he's still way better than the rest.
There are roughly 17 pitchers who will vie for four spots. The top nine potential starters won 11 major league games among them last year, as many as Mark Redman. Who will be the No. 2 starter? Tim Redding has a shot at it. He didn't pitch in the major leagues in 2006."
Bold Prediction: The Phillies will not finish last in the NL East.

4) Speaking of that Kurkjian column... he dropped a memory bombshell on me while discussing the Brew Crew:
"Corey Koskie will get the first look, but he doesn't appear to be 100 percent after suffering a concussion last year. If he doesn't start, Craig Counsell and Tony Graffanino will platoon at third base, a la Rance Mulliniks and Garth Iorg of the old Blue Jays."
Excuse me? Some guy named Rance Mulliniks once platooned the hot corner with an entity known as Garth Iorg? When, like 1880? I say "entity" cause there's no way the moniker "Garth Iorg" refers to a human, right? It's got to be some kind of demonic subhuman, yeah?
Cue google: NOPE

Whoa- Garth Iorg not only exists, and appears to be human, but he played during the formative years of my baseball fandom! I probably have at least 8 dozen of these cards sitting in a closet somewhere, and yet somehow his truly remarkable name totally failed to make an impression on 10 year old me. Shame. Oh, and Garth Iorg totally sucked. More shame.
And another thing. That signature is amazing. Considering this guy was a below replacement-level player, he's got one hell of an audacious sig. Plus, it looks like a big penis. Bravo, Mr. Iorg.

More shame though, in my total lack of memory of his platoon partner, who was only slightly less strangely named, and apparently, despite what Ching Chong Song has to say, not Asian.

He was, however, hilarious looking.

"Excuse me, madam, but would you mind if I tossed your salad with Grey Poupon?"
(note- long rambling story ahead)

Ah, the magical world of Canadian baseball cards. I remember the whole fiasco that was the Leaf card company. For the uninitiated, Leaf was the Canadian version of Donruss. Donruss produced the highest value cards at the time (before the party was Upper Decked). Leaf's cards looked just like Donruss, but instead of being worth mucho dineiro, were worth about the same amount as the El Salvadoran currency that folks down there were burning for cooking fuel at the time. That is to say, not much. Anyway, whenever a new pal would join my circle of card trading junkies, we'd invariably try to pass off our worthless Leaf cards as Donruss, and it basically never worked. We just ended up confirming to each other that, yes, we would rip each other off at every opportunity. What a great childhood learning environment.

Anyway, back to this ridiculous goober, Rance Mulliniks. He was WAY better statistically than Garth Iorg, which makes me wonder why the hell they platooned him. I mean, he was pretty useless against lefties, (to the tune of .230/.305/.337), but Garth was not much better (.268, .304/.373)... seems to me that giving Rance more ABs against lefties might have seen his lefty rates improve past the Womackian levels Garth produced. But anyway, let's take another look at this miracle of nature, Rance:

Seriously, this is a major leaguer? He looks like a youth coach. And not the head coach, either.

On a side note, this is EXACTLY what Frank Rusch will look like in 5 years.
Final note- ... there... is... a-no-ther... IORG!
"I get older, they stay the same age."

5) Final Item: I'm going to spring training this year!!! Yep, booked a ticket to San Diego in March, including a swing through the Phoenix/Tuscon area. 9/9/9 challenge will be in effect.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Shut Yo Mouth, Mr. Hardaway    

The Shut Yo Mouth award has a new standard bearer.

Welcome, Mr. Tim Hardaway, to the Shut Yo Mouth club. Now let us never hear from you again, you closed minded bigot motherfucker. I hope your family burns to death in a clan fire.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sox/Yanks Analysis, Step 1: The Caboose    

Now that pitchers and catchers have reported, I thought I’d begin a sure-to-annoy, endless string of Sox v. Yanks comparison posts by taking a look at the end of the road first, then working backward. Almost like we’re trying to figure out a maze.
So, without further ado, let’s analyze the likely closers for each team and see what it tells us, shall we?

Yankees: Mariano Rivera aka "GOAT"

In the news: made news yesterday by subtly reminding the front office that if they think they can give him the Bernie Williams treatment, they’re fucking stoned.
Recent accomplishments: Best in the business for the past decade, if not ever.
Salary: $10,500,000
Career saves: 413
2006 Stat line: 5-5, 34 saves, 1.80 ERA, 0.96 WHIP

Red Sox: Joel Pineiro aka (big sloppi)*

In the news: N/A
Recent accomplishments: Ranked 10th in the AL in losses, with 13.
Salary: $4,000,000
Career saves: 1
2006 Stat line: 8-13, 1 save, 6.36 ERA, 1.65 WHIP
* yes, Pineiro may not hold down the fort for long, but for now, he's the likeliest candidate, I believe.

So… analysis?
Uh, Rivera’s better?
Conclusion: Sox = PWNED!

Next up- a far more complicated analysis of the next car on the train, working backwards, remember… the set-up men/middle relief. Methinks this one will be a little closer.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

David Wells' next job    

Old and busted: Dolphins protecting us from mines.

Seriously. Sea lions.

Freaking sea lions are gonna swim around Puget Sound carrying handcuffs in their mouths, and when they spot Derka Barack Osamalama HatesYourFreedom with his scuba tank, eyepatch and radioactive knife in his mouth, sneaking up on the U.S.S. OopsIcrappedmypants, they'll charge that fucker, and cuff his leg. Really. No, I'm serious.

What does this have to do with sports, you ask?

Well, the Navy keeps these Bad Motherfucker Sea Lions where? San Diego. Which gives me another perfect opportunity to post this, the only thing that can distract me from Duke's historic suckitude.

I'm still hungry. Feed me Greg Paulus. Now. Or I'll handcuff your sex and drag you off to Gitmo.

Monday, February 12, 2007

In Which Duke Attempts To Swallow A Kielbasa    

Four in a row.  And now unranked.  It couldn't happen to a better team.  Oh wait, it could.  Because Duke sucks.

Simmons often compares rooting for the Yankees to rooting for the house in blackjack.  I say rooting for Duke is like rooting for global warming.  (Or perhaps the bird flu pandemic?  "Duke Flu Devils" would be an easy transition.)

Anyway, in honor of Duke sucking so much, here's a tangentially-related post discussing how Duke really does suck.

In Which Brendan Haywood Is Totally Redeemed    

Excellent post at D.C. Sports Bog starring Roger Mason Jr., Calvin Booth, Brendan Haywood, and Haywood's PowerBar.  Let's just say that two hours ago I was 100% on Etan Thomas' side, and now I am 95% on Haywood's side.  That's a 195% swing, folks, and numbers don't lie.  And speaking of numbers, my favorite moment of the conversation is when Haywood shoots down Mason's UNC jab by quoting... Nick Bakay. Haywood gets the award for least-expected use of a catchphrase.

Also of note, though totally unrelated to both Haywood and Bakay, is the recent onslaught of 3-point shooting challenges initiated by Gil Arenas.  Down have gone DeShawn Stevenson and Mason, Jr. (in dress shoes and Armani, no less) in separate incidents.  This is exactly the sort of thing that promotes basketball to modern audiences; we gotta hear more about this stuff.  And not just from Arenas...

Big Dog Gotta Eat    

So... just two days left to get your prediction for Spring '07:

Click here to guess Ponson's weight.

Hee hee hee.

Mr. Wells, your thoughts?

I'm hungry.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

here come teh gays    

speaking of the worst (read: slowest) week in sports, congratulations to John Amaechi on being the first openly gay NBA baller (albeit an ex-baller).
And bravo to TrueHoop for a remarkably well thought and written stance on the topic.

I like how his piece progresses-- by considering the likely very small real impact that this story will have right now, but acknowledging that hey, the process of acceptance sure seems inevitable at this point, and that this is a small step along that path. The sense of inevitablility our author conveys is something that leaves me feeling pretty good.

Of course, none of this means that Derek Raivio will make it out of the NBDL. So there's still some ground to cover.

One week to go...    

before pitchers and catchers report... and meanwhile we're stuck in by far the worst sports week of the year.
until then, let this rather dull piece entertain you... because that photo is goddamn hilarious.
did i mention that pitchers and catchers report in 1 week?
1 week!


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

MVP debate, other Superbowl loose ends    

I've been thinking hard about this, because my initial reaction was really:

1) That I would have liked to Rhodes get at least a share of the award, and...

2) That the people saying the choice of Manning was stupid were underestimating how good he was that game.

The stats don't really show it, and that interception was horrible, but starting from there I think he managed the game pretty brilliantly. He had a number of passes straight up dropped by his receivers--which I don't blame them for, obviously that rain was really hard to hold onto the ball in--and he was responsible, as much as or more than the running game, for keeping the Chicago defense on the field for as long as they were.

My most recent thought was that maybe the MVP should have gone to the offensive line, which opened up those huge holes that allowed the Colts to run the ball so well in the second half. Don't get me wrong, I think Addai and especially Rhodes had some phenomenal runs, and a number of the most exciting plays. But they also both got stuffed pretty bad a couple of times and did their best running, I think, behind really excellent blocking. And do you credit Addai or Manning for all of those play action passes back to Addai for 3-4 yards? All Addai really had to do there was catch, and all Manning really had to do was throw. Credit the coaching I guess, or the Bears' inflexible defensive game plan for leaving it open all game.

Anyway, so after all that, I'm back to thinking that a Rhodes/Addai co-MVP would probably have been the best choice, but honestly not by that much. I think pieces like this are underestimating how good Manning was, considering the rain and considering all the things he does besides throw the ball. I think how much better his stats would have been without simple drops is important, and I think how well he kept the Bears defense on the field was crucial to how great the offensive line was, which was crucial to how great the running was. Maybe it's just the best example I've seen in a while of things that are always true about football games (it's a team game blah blah blah), but I think feeling confident about a good choice is a tough call. Do you guys agree? What don't you agree with?

Also, I'm glad to have seen this piece today about the Colts' conservative playcalling. I don't know much about this ZEUS system, and I'm willing to admit that in the circumstances (in a Superbowl, in the rain, when you already have the lead, against Rex Grossman), you play conservatively. But it's nice to see a little validation, however potentially inaccurate, that my predictable calls to go for it on 4th were not completely stupid. Did other folks think the Colts' playcalling was a little on the conservative side? Does the rain make all the difference?

Finally, with all of the hype about Dungy being the first black coach to win and all (not to mention all the bizarre adds competing to show their love of African-Americans), I do think it's important that we keep this in mind. It's great, but let's not assume that one all-black-coached superbowl says that much about how teams approach black head coaches in general. On the other hand, the Pittsburgh signing was a big deal, etc. But anyway.

OK, that's it. The Colts won the Superbowl. Now, if I could only find some good progressive thinkers to root for in sports...

A-Rod is coming for your children    

A-Rod is writing another children's book:

The publisher’s description of the book says, “Alex is determined not to let his mistakes set him back — even if it means getting up at the crack of dawn to work on his hitting and fielding before school each day!”

There's also a funny excerpt on T.O.'s book:

Last November, Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens published “Little T Learns to Share” (Benbella Books). It tells the story of a boy who does not want to share his football and almost loses all of his friends. Owens was cut by the Eagles in March 2006 after repeated clashes with teammates and coaches over his role in the team’s offense.


Free Money    

Asked if he were excited about becoming the first Bull since Scottie Pippen in 1990 to participate in the event as part of All-Star weekend, Tyrus Thomas barely looked up from untying his shoes.

"Not really," Thomas said. "I'm just going to go out there, get my check and call it a day."

"I'm just into the free money," he said. "That's it. I'll just do whatever when I get out there."

Thomas makes $3.26 million. The winner gets $35,000. The runner-up receives $22,500. Third and fourth place are worth $16,125.


When Andrew and I were living in Seattle, he made it very clear to me that I was making a mistake in not being a Seahawks fan. He thought picking up the Colts midstream was a weak decision. Because they had an exciting young quarterback and an explosive offense, of course it was going to be tempting, but ultimately it couldn't be as exciting or meaningful as sticking with a team through the hard times and seeing them finally make it (a position I basically agree with but can't bring myself to care about very much). It's something I've thought about a fair amount as the Seahawks made Andrew look a little prescient, even making the Superbowl before the Colts did. You might think Sunday would have quieted all that thinking. Actually, it was basically quieted when I realized shortly after last year's collapse against the Steelers that despite it all, I was still totally hooked. Sunday was something else entirely.

That Steelers loss removed a lot of my anxiety about being a Colts fan. I used to wonder if I could really stick with the team after they finally won it, if I could handle all the Manning adulation that would finally become fully acceptable after he had a ring. I think I would have--it doesn't really appear I have any choice in the matter--but it would have been very contrary to the way I normally think as a sports fan (that is to say my Mariners/Yankees-derived hatred of dominant franchises). That loss changed the whole subtext. It wasn't about the best offense ever being outsmarted every year by those bastard Patriots, because I'd been forced to admit that clearly the Colts were nothing of the kind. It made the Superbowl an end unto itself, rather than a event mired in hoping that the nascent Colts dynasty would eclipse the recent Patriots dynasty (which I think Kelvin was right to deride as ridiculous). So I stopped feeling like only a Superbowl run in which the Colts came back in the snow in Foxborough would erase enough of the trauma of those big losses. I could admit, because I had to, that they were chokers, and root for them to get it off their back (instead of rooting for it to have never been true at all).

And now I can bask comfortably. No question, it's not the same as if the Mariners or the Sonics won it all. Those playoff losses were their own kind of frustration, but it's nothing like watching those teams muddle through the past few seasons. And because I don't have any other real connection to the state of Indiana, it doesn't stand in for anything else, at least not anything else personal. But it sure feels good.

Anyway, the bottom line is that there's not a lot to say about this. It's beautiful, but it doesn't feel right to gloat--after all, I picked a team primed to make a run to begin with. But I'm happy for them and for myself, and I have no anxiety left about being a Colts fan, except that it's tough to explain to people. But whatever, screw it. They're champions. Maybe next year we can make a 4th quarter comeback in the snow in Foxborough in the AFC championship game, after holding LT to 80 yards from scrimmage in the second round of course...