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This is the archive for March 2007

Billy Packer loves sports. Oh, wait...

It makes me wonder how someone who isn't a sports fan can spend so much of his time watching and studying sporting events. Maybe he hates himself, and this is some sort of masochistic sexual ritual he undertakes every March with the aid of 4 hookers, a bottle of Viagra, and a riding crop. Now his grumpy, stiff demeanor makes all the sense in the world.

Eat a dick, Billy Packer.

A Letter to LenDale White

Dear LenDale White,

You call yourself a professional athlete? Well, I call you a big fat disgrace! Look at you! You look like a bucket of lard on a bad day! I bet you couldn’t find your dick with both hands and the Jaws of Life.

You came to the NFL combine at 240lbs. You gained another five pounds before the USC pro day. And now, you show up for off-season conditioning at 260-plus pounds! Are you a running back, or are you a slice of fatback? I know which one you resemble more.

When you sweat, you sweat bacon grease. When Pacman Jones saw your tits, he threw money at you. I’d say you resemble Jabba the Hutt, but that’s offensive to gigantic space slugs. I hope you choke on your next fried peanut butter, bacon, and banana sandwich, Mama Cass.

Fat people like you sicken me. There’s nothing worse than a fat guy masquerading as an athlete. If you put down the doughnuts and pick up a fucking salad, maybe you’ll get to keep both your feet when you retire.


David Wells

So this is what happens to former Red Sox!

I don't know much about Venezuelan prison, but just the thought of any foreign prison sends chills through my rectum. Hopefully Ugueth Urbina has a supply of KY jelly and soap on a rope on hand. Then again, maybe he can just build his own private jail, like those Colombian drug lords did back in the mid '90s.

At the very least, now Pacman Jones has a new friend. They'll have a lot to talk about should they ever meet. Pacman can tell Ugueth about making it rain, and Ugueth can tell Pacman about using a machete to chop up farmhands. Everyone wins, because everyone learns.

UFC proves you can buy PRIDE

Remember a few months ago when Rich discussed the myriad problems suffered by PRIDE Fighting Championships and parent company Dream Stage Entertainment? You do? Good.

Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, owners of the UFC, have agreed to purchase PRIDE, including all contracts and tape archives, for $65 million dollars from majority owner Nobuyuki Sakakibara. The new company will be called Pride FC Worldwide Holdings LLC, and plans are already in the works for a couple of massive PPV events and some serious title unifications.

The Brothers Fertitta have been quite active in the MMA world over the last year. Their acquisition of PRIDE comes on the heels of their recent purchases of competitors World Extreme Cagefighting and World Fighting Alliance. One of their former WFA fighters, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, is set to challenge Chuck Liddell for the UFC Heavyweight Championship in Las Vegas at a May 26th pay-per-view event, so look for the PRIDE fighters to be added to the mix immediately.

While this is a great thing for mixed martial arts in general, it is very bad news for K-1, Showtime’s upstart EliteXC, and the International Fight League. The UFC surpassed $200 million PPV revenues, and routinely surpasses boxing events in total buyrate, so the rich keep getting richer.

If it brings MMA to greater visibility, then awesome. As any boxing fan can tell you, too many sanctioning bodies dilutes the quality of competition and harms the image of the sport. So does rampant corruption. As long as the Fertittas can keep the Mafia and Yakuza away, and keep their corporate nose clean, this is great news for violence fans.

Breaking down the tape on Ron Jaworski

Everyone was quick to blame the lack of chemistry on ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcasts last year on Tony Kornheiser. After all, he’s the one who carried the burden of being entertaining, while Mike Tirico did the play-by-play and Glass Joe Theismann did the analysis. Ideally, that’s how a three man announce team should work: funny color, serious analysis, and play-by-play.

Of course, when your analyst has absolutely no sense of humor and no grasp of sarcasm, then it makes your color guy’s job that much harder. The blame here doesn’t rest with Kornheiser. After all, he’s great on Pardon the Interruption and he hosts one of the best radio shows on the planet, so obviously he has it in him to be entertaining and informative at the same time. After all, as he’d be the first to admit, he’s not on TV for his gorgeous face and not on the radio for his incredible singing voice.

So that means the problem is Theismann (or Tirico, but since Tirico doesn’t suck and Theismann kind of does, well…). Despite having been on ESPN since 1988, I’ve never once found him to be particularly insightful or amusing. Hell, he’s not even really annoying! Theismann is unflavored Quaker oatmeal: bland and pasty, but with a known name.

Jaws is a tremendous upgrade in the announcing booth. He’s more informative, has an actual sense of comic timing, and has chemistry with Tirico and Kornheiser. Theismann is the anti-Ron Jaworski (who I’d like even if he didn’t have a great first name). Jaws is great on PTI and on NFL Countdown, and he was good when pressed into service earlier in the year on Monday Night Football’s B-team. I’d imagine he’ll continue to be good on the A-team, too.

As for Theismann, I imagine he’ll be stuck in Jaworski’s old spot on the kick-off show. Not that he’d be great at it, but at least we’d see him a lot less. Of course, the ideal replacement for Ron Jaworski would be Michael Smith doing the Jaws impersonation he’s known for on Around the Horn. If you can’t keep real Jaws, at least you could get fake Jaws.

Come to think of it, Richard Kiel is not doing anything these days… neither is Frank Welker.

Peyton Manning Retires from the NFL, moves to Hollywood

Okay, just kidding there. Don't get too riled up or excited. Peyton did a good job last in hosting SNL, but I don't think we have to worry about the lug quitting football and pursuing an acting career. And, no, he probably didn't match the all-time great Joe Montana with his performance on SNL, but we can see why, besides name recognition, Peyton stars in over half of all commercials currently on American television.

Click on the "read on" and you'll find two of my other favorite sketches from last night's episode of SNL with host Peyton Manning.

p.s. Let's hope Rich doesn't pull a Peyton Manning in his next bet with Amy.

Morris fills Isiah's five-hole

People have joked that, since he was technically a free agent, someone should sign UK Wildcats center Randolph Morris. Well, as it turns out, that was no joke, because today Morris signed a two-year contract with the New York Knicks in what is probably the smartest move Isiah Thomas could've made for what's looking like a possible Knicks playoff run. Unfortunately, unless some serious recruits come in, he's also the first rat to desert a possible sinking ship.

Morris leaves the Wildcats after a 22-12 season where pretty much everyone on the team, except for Morris, spent most of the year underachieving. Kentucky's only All-SEC Player (first team, no less), Morris averaged 17 points and 7.8 rebounds a game and looked like a first-round NBA draft, even though he's been a free agent since he dumbassedly declared for the draft in 2005 and went undrafted. Supposedly, he's getting first-round money, too ($1.6 million bucks for two years and all the popcorn he can eat, per ESPN's Chad Ford).

So basically, the Knicks got a free draft pick and a quality player for basically nothing. It makes me wonder what took them so fucking long to sign him. He played great this year as a Wildcat, and he'll make a Bill Walker-level impact when he finally joins the Knicks. Hell, it's not like he could possibly make the team worse.

Today's Lesson: Rich rules at football, sucks at basketball.

As all the women are gloating, I lost. Big fucking deal. It's not the first time, really. So, while I go hide the sharp objects and cyanide for the next few weeks. Let's look back on what went wrong while I went to work...

Tennessee blew a massive lead. They snatched the jaws of defeat from the hands of victory. Forgetting how to play defense isn't a good thing, either. When it comes to it, don't brag that you've won a great victory. You haven't. Now, to go enjoy my new digital cable with the sport that I am good at...

Football. All NFL network all the time. I'm not speaking for a while...

Binge drink, motherfucker!

Tony La Russa, this Bud's for you!

As you know, Cardinals manager and World Series Champion Tony La Russa was caught drinking and driving last night in Florida. He was stopped at a stoplight, car in drive, and slept through two straight lights before the cops finally decided to get off their doughnut-sucking asses and see what was the matter. Of course, since most normal people don't sleep at stoplights, Tony was breath-tested, where he blew a 0.092, which is half a sangria over the legal limit of 0.08.

I guess, technically, he was drunk and sleeping, not drinking and driving. Of course, the car was still in drive, but in a situation like that (pay attention, this is for your benefit), if you're in the car with the keys in the ignition, even if the car is in park and off, YOU WILL GET ARRESTED FOR DRINKING AND DRIVING. Even if you're a Genius like Tony La Russa.

Below are a couple of appropriate tunes to sum up Tony's adventures in Florida. So, take your pick, kids. Either one fits. As for me, I've got a celebratory adult beverage to drink. To your health, Tony!

The dawning of a new era of Wildcat Basketball, or whither Tubby Smith?

YES! He’s gone and we didn’t even have to pay him to leave! Thank you, Jesus!

Tubby Smith, former University of Kentucky Wildcats coach, has departed Lexington for the beautiful northern woods and the Minnesota Golden Gophers. I wish him nothing but the best; as a person, he was always an impeccable role model and an upstanding figure in one of the toughest places to coach in America. Unfortunately, he couldn’t quite handle the expectations, nor could he recruit in the SEC.

He’ll earn a good $1.8 million per year over the next four years, and he’ll move to the Big 10, where his slow, boring, half court offense will no doubt come to dominate the slow, boring, half court league. Hell, if anything, Tubby will seem like an up-tempo coach in the glacial Big 10. Good for him, and good for Kentucky to let him go his own way without having to force him out (as would’ve been the case next year when Kentucky loses yet another 10 games).

I know everyone and their mother is going to blame this on the UK fan’s high expectations, but here are the facts:

- He’s the longest tenured coach at UK since Joe B. Hall, so you can’t say he didn’t have time to work his magic.

- He’s lost 10 or more games three years in a row, which is bad.

- Eight years without a Final Four trip (the longest streak in UK history), which includes the black period where Eddie Sutton got the program a post-season ban and missing scholarships.

- No chance in hell of getting good recruits (we were never going to land Patrick Patterson, and Jai Lucas alone does not a good recruiting class make).

So, without further ado…goodbye, sweet Orlando. We hardly knew ye. You did your best, but you just weren’t good enough and you wouldn’t fire your shitty assistant coaches and get some good recruiters. I look forward to watching the Wildcats clobber you in the NCAA tournament next year.

prowd gradiate of the jemele hill skool of jernalism

(By the way, 15 minutes have passed … has a NFL player been arrested or questioned in connection with a crime?)

The above is from Jemele Hill’s latest turd on the formerly great ESPN Page 2. Read it slowly. Read it carefully. Do you see what’s wrong with it?

I do, and it was so glaring that I stopped reading the column and started working on this post. So as not to spoil your fun, I’ll supply the answer below the cut.

You really can get it all on eBay.

"Hi, I'm Manny Ramirez. I paid $4000 for this grill, but I'll let you have it for $6000! It also comes with a free autographed baseball, once I learn how to write my name! Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go pee in the scoreboard. Click on my retarded smiley face to check out my eBay auction!"


Edit 3/21/07: Unfortunately, Manny's grill is no longer up for sale. Damn you, eBays!

No more diapers for this Big Baby

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a news flash! LSU star foward/center Glen "Big Baby" Davis has declared for the NBA draft, only one year too late!

It's always kind of terrible to hear about a guy who sticks around for more college basketball (like everyone tells these kids ALL THE TIME) only to have his stock drop from a lottery pick to Robert "Tractor" Trayler-levels of draft-day mediocrity. Not that Glen played badly this year (he didn't, with 17.7 points and 10.4 rebounds on average over 29 games), but the problem is the freshman class this year is so good, and Big Baby's numbers are much less efficient than they were last year. If I ever become the father of a talented athlete, my son will be well advised to take the money and run.

You can buy a lot of college with the guaranteed three-year NBA contract that goes to first-round selections.

I am not a Swiss Cake Roll model

You know, whenever someone disparages baseball, one of the first things they trot out is the old chestnut that most baseball players aren’t athletes. They don’t have to run as much as basketball players, they don’t have to be as strong as football players, and they don’t have to be as flexible as gymnasts. Compare the physique of a baseball player to a hockey player, for example. The baseball player has more teeth and more padding.

Baseball is not a youth driven game; routinely, players are kept in the minors until their middle or late 20’s before getting a call up to the big leagues. Position players play well into their late 30’s, and pitchers pitching well into middle age are common. Baseball, defenders claim, is an amalgamation of physical muscle memory training and experience. Remember, Michael Jordan couldn’t hit a curveball to save his life.

Of course, for every Roger Clemens, Derek Jeter, or chemically altered Barry Bonds, there’s a John Kruk, crippled and limping Barry Bonds, or a David Wells. And hey, speaking of David Wells, guess which one of the above athletes (tip: he pitched a no hitter while drunk) has been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes?

Time for another inevitable Rich/Amy bet.

That's right, folks. The inevitable happened yesterday. One, I finally got my completed bet picture from Amy. Two, the ORANGE HULK! got the Vols to the Sweet Sixteen by beating a faster Virginia team. What does this mean? Ohio State vs. Tennessee, for the right to go to the Elite Eight. Where does this leave us?

Another bet. That's right, another bet.

Of course, Amy is now 0 for 1 in bets on her beloved Ohio State University. So, to tell you what happens when you bet against me...

Amy, with her unrepentant razz to Rich, looking cute for the camera.

So, I leave for you kids, a poll for a bet...

1) Fight song?
2) Another shirt humilation?
3) I got PWN3D sign?

Choose wisely, at least for Amy's sake...

Edit: Shirt and PWN3D sign is the bet. Pwnage sign will be provided by Alex. The terms, I lose, I wear the OSU shirt and get pwn3d by Alex. She loses, she's getting a nice ORANGE HULK! shirt and her dear fiancee gets to pwn her.

Fuck my brackets.

Saturday was probably the most exciting day of basketball I've ever seen. It more than made up for how boring Thursday was, and pulled up Friday as well. Needless to say, the entire time I watched tOSU battle the mutants from Xavier, I wasn’t thinking “Oh noes, my bracket is fucked!” I was thinking, “Fuck my bracket, go Ohio Mutant Academy!”

So, even though I was the dumbass who mentioned brackets yesterday because he wanted to post something before losing the whole day to hoops and beer, I’m declaring an official end to the bracket-watching era. Fuck my bracket, and fuck your bracket twice. This isn’t about your pseudogambling prowess, this is about college fucking basketball.

As far as I’m concerned, you won’t hear about brackets until there are official winners in the SB March Madness bracket. I will no longer root for a team to win just because I thought they were going to go far. I will no longer cheer against the underdog unless it’s an underdog I have some reason to hate, and I will no longer cheer for the overdog unless I have some reason not to hate them.

Furthermore, since Tubby won his first round game, I will no longer cheer against the University of Kentucky in an effort to get Tubby out and get a good recruiter and more exciting coach in that position (I’ve wanted Billy Donovan since, oh, 1997?). I’ll also extend an offer of friendship and fanship to any remotely local school still alive (especially if they were radioactive orange, score in buckets, and are coached by Bruce Pearl) or any school that runs a full-court press.

I encourage everyone else to do the same. Crumple up your brackets and toss ‘em out until the end. You’ll feel better, and by God, you might actually love yourself some basketball again.

My minor is in bracketology, and my major is in kicking your ass

I'm in four different brackets this year for the NCAA tournament: The SportsBastards Bracket, the AndersonVision Bracket, the Deadspin Bracket, and the Daily Quickie Readers Bracket. So to say I'm competing against thousands of other people is an understatement. The best looking bracket so far is the AV bracket, followed by the SB bracket. I don't know about the other two, because I forgot my MyESPN password and can't check them.

Anyway, how's your bracket looking on this lovely St. Patrick's Day?

Mmm, delicious!

thanks to cat

VCU Rams 79 - Duke Blue Devils 77




Eric Maynor has balls the size of Jon Scheyer's ugly head and his blood is so cold he shits ice cubes. Eat a bowl of AIDS, Coach K! That's all that needs to be said.

Edited to add my Deadspin comments: 10:37 PM


doxastic says: @Ron: wow. THAT is eloquence

Chief Wahoo says: @Ron: Best. Comment. Ever. Reminds me of Belushi's first ever line on SNL after being warned about swearing on live television: "Fuck you, you fuck. Eat a bowl of fucking fuck".

Suss-- says: You'd have to eat 535 bowls of Cheerios to get enough HIV in one bowl of Kellogg's AIDS Bran!

Bort says: @Suss--: But now there's Super Kellog's AIDS Bran. You'll have to eat 30,000 bowls of Cheerios to get the same amount of HIV as Super Kellog's AIDS Bran. To eat that much Cheerios, you'd have to eat ten bowls a day, every day for eight and a half years.


Caught up in the Madness that is March, there was an NBA game last night. So? Big whoop? We're getting ready to cause to the dropoff in productivity watching the future stars [handful] and busts [handful times 3] play in the greatest postseason known to man. That's cool, but history
was made last night as the Suns and Mavs locked horns. First time in 35 years that two teams with a winning percentage over .770 met head to head this late in the regular season. And believe me when I tell ya, the game was all that, the big bag of chips plus the dip. Double OT. Sure, it
wasn't a defensive clinic but look at who we're talking about here. Did ya
really expect a half court, 24 seconds each possession, fighting for each and every ball that comes off the glass type of game? Nope. It was what
David Stern wants to see. High octane offense, just enough defense and
tons of points. Of course what Adolf Stern hasn't grasped yet is that in a
seven game series, in the playoffs, DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS.

Anyway, your MVP's over. Yeah, after last night, I'm calling it over. Nash wins. You see, MVP is an award that speaks more than just being able to pack a stat box. It's about stepping up when your team needs it the most and last night, Big Stevie Cool did...David Hasselhoff's
favorite athlete did NOT. Steve Nash drained the 3 which took it into OT
and every clutch free throw his team needed him to make. Dirk bricked the free throw in regulation which would've sealed the deal, then bricked the shot which would've given us a triple overtime. Oh yeah, did I forget
that Nash made a key play late in the 2nd OT to get his team another possession bouncing the ball off of Terry. Fact is, Nash showed all of the world why he's a two time reigning MVP and why this year, three out of three might not be out of the question. Matter of fact, Nash showed why he might have a Finals trophy to accompany that trophy which would put him in SERIOUS elite company. Very few regular season MVPs have been able to translate that into a title the same year. Doesn't happen that often. But the Suns mean business and those of you ready to crown the Mavs, might wanna hold off on that. Oh and Cubes, no need to go all
Belichick on the camera last night. After all, the camera didn't brick that
shot at the end of the 2nd OT or the free throw late in regulation. Dirk did.

Drugs are bad, mkay?

“See, I think that drugs have done some good things for us, I really do. If you don't think drugs have done good things for us, then do me a favor, when you go home tonight, take all your albums, all your CDs, all your tapes and burn them. Because you know what? All the bands that made all that great music that has enhanced your lives over the years? Real fuckin' high on drugs. The Beatles were so high they even let Ringo sing a few songs.” - Bill Hicks

So, the media is in an uproar because Scot Pollard, former Kansas Jayhawk and current Cleveland Cavalier, said the phrase, “Hey kids, do drugs,” last night on television from his seat at the end of the bench. Of course he made faces at the camera, too, but that’s not what’s important. The important thing is the drugs.

Now, I’m far from a teetotaler. You can look at my picture below and pretty much assume that I at least drink on occasion; similarly, you can look at a picture of Scot Pollard and pretty much assume that he’s eaten more than a handful of hallucinogenic mushrooms while hanging out at Bonnaroo. That’s why this situation, as overblown as it is, is not a big deal.

This is Scot Pollard we’re talking about here. This is the guy who wore fingernail polish in college. This is the guy who wore his hair in a samurai topknot in Sacramento. He’s worn a pony tail, pigtails, and a Mohawk. This is the white Dennis Rodman.

(Please ignore the fact that I've worn fingernail polish, mutton chops, a pony tail, pigtails, a samurai topknot, and a Mohawk at one time or another in my life, which makes me the shorter and fatter Scot Pollard. I've also worn my hair in a French braid like Thomas Jefferson, and on a bet I wore my hair in a Topsy Tail. Hey kids, do drugs!)

When Scot Pollard tells me to do something, I do the opposite. He’s done more good for the forces of anti drug than Kurt Cobain, Nancy Reagan, and DARE put together. If you’re a parent who catches your kid smoking crack in the bathroom while sitting on the toilet, point him or her towards a picture of Scot Pollard and see how fast your cokehead child sprints to rehab.

Hell, in the time it took me to write this article, I’ve quit drinking AND crystal meth. Thanks, Scot!

This is why Duke sucks

This is probably the best rap video I've ever seen, as it hits all the bases as to why Duke sucks at life and basketball.

Awkward white boys dunking? Check.

Coach K looks like a rat, ferret, a llama, and Hitler? Check.

Christian Laettner is a bitch? Check.

JJ Reddick hate? Check.

I don't know who the fuck Pete "PMD" Rosenberg is, but he's the best rapper ever.

You think you're so fucking smart?

If you think you're better at picking the winners of these games than us folks here at SB, then put your money where your mouth is. Wander over to Yahoo Sports and join the SportsBastards Pick'em League.

Group ID#: 131728
PW: bigdance

Bring your A game, boys and girls, and thanks to Spinler for setting this bitch up for us.

Gotti Bracketology 301

How-do folks? Len Gotti here to give you that which you won't get on ESPNis, CBS and every other network from now until Thursday afternoon when your brackets are due in for your office pools and internet pick em'
dealies [like I'm doing]. Two things before I start and no, it's not any of that high ground, moral soap box crap. Just two certainties you can bet the farm on.

1) Whoever wins tonight, will lose in 72 hours from now when they play Kansas. Yes, Bill Self gets off the snide this week. After that, it's anyone's guess.
2) You can pencil in a #1 seed to advance past the first round, that's not going to change ANY time soon.

Alright, so eliminating all of the useless numbers and what not that the paid "experts" [who really know no more than we do at this time of the year and it shows, just look at Clark Kellogg thinking four #1's were gonna be in the Final 4 last year] bog you down with making filling out a bracket seem damn near impossible. I'm simply gonna give you what I'm going off of and well, leave the rest up to the Basketball Gods.

Q: How do you stop five black guys from raping a white chick?

A: Throw them a basketball.

(Special thanks to the Stanley Kubrick masterpiece Full Metal Jacket for the opening racist joke.)

Well, it’s NCAA tournament time yet again, and I’m sure everyone is pouring over their brackets (like I am), trying to prognosticate the right 5-12 upset, picking those pesky 8-9 games involving Wildcats versus Wildcats (gambling tip: pick the Wildcats, they’re looking great while the Wildcats aren’t looking so hot these days), and generally preparing your will for that inevitable overdose on college hoops. I know, there’s a lot on your plate this time of year, what with spring training, hockey, and the NBA regular season, so maybe you haven’t been following college basketball as well as you should have. I’ve been there myself, once upon a time.

That’s why I’m here to help. Allow me, the experienced college hoops watcher, to throw you a lifeline to help you negotiate the tricky waters of March Madness. You might not be able to make the swim by yourself, but together we can do this.

Ron’s NCAA Tournament Primer For Idiots

Jade's Adventures in Spring Training: Part the Fourth

(Note from Ron: Other blogs... y'know, the ones that make money... send their writers here and there to cover major events. Here at SB, where we're so broke we can't even come up with a decent analogy, we just take advantage of our commenters' vacations. Enjoy!)

Game 4: Houston Astros at Washington Nationals
Space Coast Stadium, Viera, FL
March 8, 2007

Ballpark Activities: It was Armed Forces Appreciation Day at Space Coast. Patrick Air Force Base is located not far from the stadium, so there were a number of Air Force booths set up, as well as a rocket launcher on display in front of the stadium, and a Black Hawk helicopter that flew in and landed on the field to deliver the colonel who threw out the first pitch. The players wore (and later signed and distributed to the military folk at the game) camouflage-colored baseball caps. Apparently there aren't all that many people appreciative enough of the military to attend a Nationals game, though; attendance was a little over 2,500--just barely over quarter-capacity, most either military people or Astros fans.

The Weather: Sunny and hot, which could explain the lack of attendance as well.

Star Power: Got Don Sutton's autograph on our program this time, although I think he signed it just to get my husband to leave him alone.

Astros' starters: Adam Everett, SS; Mark Loretta, 3B; Lance Berkman, DH, Mike Lamb, 1B; Charlton Jimerson, RF; Jason Lane, LF; Richard Hidalgo, CF; Eric Brunlett, 2B, Humberto Quintero, C; Jason Jennings, P.

Nationals' starters: Felipe Lopez, 2B; Christian Guzman, DH, Ryan Zimmerman, 3B Austin Kearns, RF; Brian Schneider, C; Chris Snelling, LF; Travis Lee, 1B; Josh Wilson, SS; Nook Logan, CF; Jason Simontacchi, P.

Best Hitting: Both teams hit fairly well, even off the bench. Nationals had the better day at the plate overall, though, with 12 runs scored off 12 hits, including a 2-run HR from sub Abraham Nunez and a 3 for 3 performance from SS Josh Wilson. The Astros weren't lacking for power, either, with both LF Jason Lane (who went 3 for 4) and sub Hunter Pence contributing 2-run HRs, and Lane, 2B Eric Brunlett and sub Lou Santangelo each coming up with doubles. Nine hits only produced five runs, however.

Best Fielding: Nook Logan is definitely worth keeping an eye on during the season, he did a great job covering CF. The Astros, on the other hand, were either having an off day or just didn't feel like working hard in the heat; at least two fly balls that should have been caught were allowed to drop in for base hits, which may have cost them this game.

Starting Pitching: Jason Simontacchi didn't start off as well as he might have liked; he hit two of his first three batters with pitches. He recovered well enough to go four innings, though, striking out four and earning three runs off four hits. Jason Jennings, however, gave up four runs off five hits in his first two innings (pitching three overall), which started the hole that the Astros never quite climbed out of.

Other Pitching: Only three pitchers out of each bullpen for this game; best outings for the pen were the Nats' Jason Bergmann (three innings, three hits, no runs, two Ks) and the Astros' Chris Benson (two innings, one hit, no runs, one K). Chad Qualls and Felipe Paulino continued digging the hole Jennings started, Qualls giving up three runs on three hits and three walks in two innings and Paulino delivering five runs off three hits and two walks in the 8th.

Final Score: Astros 5, Nationals 12

Overall Report: If anyone could make the Nationals look good, it was the Astros' pitching. This was one of those games where it was hard to tell if both teams were really playing well, or if they both sucked so much they actually made each other look good. I'll give them both a C+.

Next Game: Marlins at Dodgers

Box out! Box out!

LSU Women's basketball coach Pokey Chatman apparently got a little too pokey with some of her players during her tenure at LSU. Rather than (immediately) making the obvious jokes about lesbians and the WNBA and all that business, I decided to break in a little seriousness before I start asking questions like, 'Do you think her strap-on is named Gumby?' or 'Did Prickle, Goo, and the Blockheads get in on that sweet clam-on-clam cootchie-slapping action?'

...shit. Too late.

Anyway, before I was sidetracked by easy jokes and easier women's basketball players, I was going to suggest that this sort of behavior, coach on athlete sex, is probably a hell of a lot more common than you might assume. Hell, even administrator-on-student and teacher-on-student sex is more common than you'd think. Even at small colleges, like the one I attended, there were always rumors. Hell, at the college I attended, nicknamed the Lesbian Welcome Center, several coaches, deans, and various and sundry other campus officials were impugned, maligned, rumored to have, or been caught dipping their various genitals in the campus STD-pool.

You'd think Baton Rouge would have lesbians enough that Coach Pokey wouldn't have to eat where she works, but then again, maybe she likes her women on the butch side. Coach Chatman is fairly cute and femme-looking, so I'm of the belief that she was the chick in her lesbian relationships. If that's what was actually happening (and it was).

Suffice it to say, the fact that this is the love that dare not speak its name is what's kept Pokey from any sort of serious media slandering. If this was a male coach doing his female players, he'd be out of women's basketball in a heartbeat as a permanent disgrace and ESPN would have never shut up about it. But since this is a woman preying on other women (and truthfully, if this was a woman coach sleeping with male players), she'll be back in a couple of years once she's done her trip through the wilderness.

She's too good of a coach to have fucked up like this in the first place, and she's too good of a coach to be out of a job for very long. If colleges can rehire people like Jerry Tarkanian, Bob Knight, Bob Huggins, Eddie Sutton, and other talented-but-troubled leaders of men, then I have no doubts that Pokey will be back on the bench somewhere more forgiving (I think the University of San Francisco might have an opening, and failing that, Pokey's got connections in the WNBA).

I bet she's got Sheryl Swoopes' number pulled out of the Rolodykes already.

Jade's Adventures in Spring Training: Part the Third

(Note from Ron: Other blogs... y'know, the ones that make money... send their writers here and there to cover major events. Here at SB, where we're so broke we can't even come up with a decent analogy, we just take advantage of our commenters' vacations. Enjoy!)

Game 3: St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers (ss)
Holman Stadium at Dodgertown, Vero Beach, FL
March 7, 2007

A Little Ballpark History: Dodgertown has been in existence since 1948, when the then-Brooklyn Dodgers took over a former WWII naval air station in Vero Beach. Holman Stadium, the ballpark, opened on March 11, 1953, and was named for the Vero Beach businessman who invited the Dodgers to come to Vero Beach. Dodgertown is more than just a spring training facility; it also includes housing, a conference center and a golf course. Dodger personnel also have the use of a swimming pool, basketball court, four all-weather tennis courts, game room and movie theater. Dodgertown was created so that all of their players and coaches (minor and major leagues alike) would have a place to train and learn about baseball. Activities are for the most part year-round, and, in some cases (such as the conference center and golf course), open to the general public.

Best Thing About It: The history. This place has seen 60 years' worth of Dodgers players come and go. To look out on the field at Holman Stadium and realize that legends such as Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Jackie Robinson have played on this field is just mind-blowing. To Dodgers fans (and anyone else who really loves baseball), I highly recommend the book, Dodgertown by Mark Langill. It details the history of the place in stories and photos.

Saddest Thing About It: Unfortunately, all too soon, there will be no more Dodgers in Dodgertown. In 2009, the Dodgers will be doing their spring training in Arizona, and unless someone decides to take their place, Holman Stadium will be empty. I expect someone will be moving in once the Dodgers are gone (it's far too beautiful a facility to remain unoccupied), but all the same, it's not going to be the same without having the Dodgers there.

Okay, enough with the memories, on to the game...

While we're on the MLB Kick.

Over the course of reading the last few days, Lizzy the Babe gave out a link to a site which you bastards should go pay your respects to the King Bastard himself. That's right, Curt Schilling has a blog now. In fact , he updates it about every time he can. How do we know it's the real Curt. Easy, because the real Curt tells the story of his now departed mentor and coach, John Vukovich aka Vuk.

Which Curt knew Vuk very well. Considering that Vuk was the man person yelling at him all the time in Philly, I think they knew each other quite well. As we know the story of Vuk, in 2001, he was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. The cancer was treated into a temporary remission until late 2006. Vuk lost that fight yesterday.

Go read the article over at 38 Pitches. Curt can cover it better than I can. RIP Vuk. Oh, and welcome to the underground, Curt.

(Jade, be nice!)

Jade's Adventures in Spring Training: Part the Second

(Note from Ron: Other blogs... y'know, the ones that make money... send their writers here and there to cover major events. Here at SB, where we're so broke we can't even come up with a decent analogy, we just take advantage of our commenters' vacations. Enjoy!)

Game 1: Cleveland Indians at New York Mets
Tradition Field, Port St. Lucie, FL
March 5, 2007

A Little Ballpark History: Of the three parks we visit, this one has seen the most updating and improvement. Tradition Field was originally known as Thomas J. White Memorial Stadium in honor of the politician/real estate developer who worked to bring the Mets to Port St. Lucie. In 2004, however, the naming rights to the field were sold to Core Communities, LLC, who renamed it for a planned community to be called the "Town of Tradition". $11 million was sunk into the facility, not only making it more fan-friendly, but player- and management-friendly as well, with expanded clubhouses and offices.

Best Thing About It: The shade. Unlike many spring training facilities, at least 2/3 of Tradition Field seating gets shade, either for all or part of the game. For those of us who have to live in sunscreen when we're in Florida, this is a godsend.

Headline of the Year for 2007

"Wanke hoping to beat off stiff bribe penalty."

I'm speechless. Wow, that's just... wow.

Jade's Adventures in Spring Training: Part the First

(Note from Ron: Other blogs... y'know, the ones that make money... send their writers here and there to cover major events. Here at SB, where we're so broke we can't even come up with a decent analogy, we just take advantage of our commenters' vacations. Enjoy!)

Hi from Florida, where the family and I spend about 10 days a year in March, 5-6 of those at one of three spring training facilities: Space Coast Stadium (Nationals), Tradition Field (Mets) and Dodgertown (Dodgers). Ron has asked me to give a little game review/team insight while I'm here, and I'm happy to oblige, so here we go:

Game 1: Baltimore Orioles at Washington Nationals
Space Coast Stadium, Viera, FL
March 3, 2007

A Little Ballpark History: Space Coast Stadium used to belong to the Florida Marlins until they turned it over to the Nationals in 2005. Wayne Huizenga, the owner of the Marlins, spared no expense in building the park--up to a point, anyway. The park as owned by the Marlins was an intriguing mix of state-of-the-art and cheap-bastard cost-conserving. Most places give you full-color programs for $5, which include all the info about their team, a scorepage for those who like to keep score during the game, and lists not only their roster (stats included), but gives the rosters of all the teams they're scheduled to play. At Space Coast, you get two pieces of paper, a scorepage and the roster list for the home and visiting team, for $3. The facility itself is modern and up-to-date, but the scoreboard appears to have come out of the early days of baseball; lights indicate balls and strikes, but the scoreboard is updated by the use of manually-loaded steel plates hung on hooks. The scorekeeper has to walk out along a wooden walkway to place the needed plate on its hook. I'm not sure if this was done as a poor attempt at retro, or Huizenga deciding he'd spent enough at that point. Since moving in, the Nationals have replaced the teal-and-purple Marlins color scheme with their own red, white and blue, but everything else has pretty much remained the same.

If You Build It: Space Coast was literally built in the midst of a cow pasture; according to one old Marlins fan we talked to, the cows used to come up to the fence that surrounded the original park and would watch the action until they heard the National Anthem play, then they would take off. The town of Viera has actually been built around the park; when we first started coming to Space Coast in 2000, the town consisted of the ballpark and a few government office buildings. Today, there are condos, schools and malls there, many of which have only been built in the past year or so.

Best Thing About It: The food. Space Coast has some of the best food you could ever want to eat at a ballpark. Besides the usual hamburgers, fries, pizza and chicken tenders that you can find at any spring training park, they have one item that you wouldn't imagine ever being served at a baseball game: turkey legs. Big ol' make-you-think-you're-sitting-at-the-Thanksgiving-table turkey legs, hot from the fryer and wrapped in foil--a little on the messy side, but damn, are they good. Being a diabetic, eating at any game can be a problem for me, but at least I know that when I'm at a Nationals game, I can get something to eat that's not going to make my blood sugar go off the charts.

Okay, on to the game...

The Renaissance Shaq

Shaquille O’Neal is a man of many talents, and many interests. In another era, he might be known as a Renaissance Man, but these days he’s simply know as Shaq, media darling. The Diesel, known for his sense of humor and openness with the media, is everywhere these days. I have no doubts he’s planning for a Tiki Barber-style retirement into the media, and like Tiki, Shaq has started his work early.

mmmm, haaam

Of course, when one looks at a peerless professional athlete like Shaquille O’Neal, one can only assume that this is the man who should teach our children about fitness. So, wisely, he’s doing just that by launching a six-episode reality TV show where he helps little porky children shed unwanted pounds like the Daddy sheds defenders.

But, as we all know, the birthday boy (a robust and healthy 35 years old today, happy birthday!) can do more than just make portly children run around and not eat so much delicious chocolate-frosted ham. Here are some other things Shaq does when he’s not busy with his basketball.

Below the cut, kids.

Net Loss For Season?

Let's get right down to it, shall we? The Nets have been a major and I mean MAJOR disappointment this season and I can't think of any other way to say it. Before the season started, Charles Barkley saw the Nets as the winners of the East. Openly said this on national teleovision and quite frankly, I was in full agreement with him. Looking at the draft they had last June and seeing the potential depth they had on their usually thin bench...why shouldn't I think a return trip to the Finals was out of the question? They were infinitely better than everyone in the Titanic Division and other than Miami, who were a year older and Detroit
which would clearly be lacking without Big Ben...who was left? The Cavs?

Then the season starts and they sputter out of the gates. No need to panic, they do this every year before pulling away only problem got worse. Krstic was lost for the year and not too long after that, RJ went down too. He's expected back fairly soon, sooner than expected and even with those two gone, there's still Kidd and VC. VC's no rank amateur, he won the Slam Dunk Contest when it was something other than the Bench Warmers Classic and he's shown he can take over when he chooses to do so. But figure the odds that even with these two still very healthy...the Nets are only one half game ahead of the Pricks for third in the division, four games behind the international team up north that Sam Mitchell's a month away from coaching back to the playoffs since the days of Vince and T-Mac. Meanwhile, here's what the Nets have done in their last two games...

Yowzers, Batman. Tighter College Unis!

As of the article from Men's Style states, tonight you're going to see some out-there shit when you watch your college basketball games. Florida, Syracuse, The Ohio State, and Arizona are going to try out a few things with their uniforms. Mainly baggier shorts and tight Under Armour style tops... Yeah, that sound is the record scratching...

In fact, here's your visuals.

Thank god that Tractor Traylor or Big Baby isn't wearing this...

Like I said, baggier shorts and tighter shirts. Other features for these "uniforms" include nut protection, D-Wade leg wraps, and specialized parts to help with injuries. I would get more into this, but I'm not Lukas. And not to worry, I won't buy this, so you women are spared the sight of that.

Now to see when I can get my new tighter fit Nashville Predators jersey...

New Induction to the Pantheon of Badassery: Jon Lester

It's been a while since we've had this. Mainly it was laziness. Otherwise, there's probably no real excuse. But, we do have a grand candidate for the Pantheon today. Jade might not like this choice because of the team this man is on; however, she'll like the choice because of the fact that she is still able to root against him. About six months ago, this was a pipe dream.

Jon Lester is a Washington State native who attended Bellarmine Preparatory School in Tacoma, Washington. He achieved a three-time MVP and all-area in his high school career. Also, he was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in 2000 for Washington. All those stats pretty much give you a clue on why the Red Sox grabbed him in the First Year draft of 2002.

Achieving major success in the minor leagues, including a nod as the starting pitcher for the Eastern League All-Stars, he almost didn't stay in Boston. The Rangers wanted him as a part of a deal for A-Rod. Also, the Marlins tried to wrangle him away for Josh Beckett. We know how those deals went. After many of the starters for the Red Sox went lame, Lester was called up in June 2006 for the big show.

After over a month of solid starting, Lester started developing severe back pain. They put him on the DL to see if the condition got better. When the pain got worse during the road trip, Terry Francona sent Lester back to Boston. He asked the doctors to check him out. Lester thought a previous car crash was the cause. The doctors then told him, his lymph nodes were enlarged. Time to worry.

As the reports go: On August 31st, it was reported that Lester had been diagnosed with enlarged lymph nodes and was being tested for a variety of ailments, including forms of cancer. On September 1st, doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital confirmed that Lester has a treatable form of anaplastic large cell lymphoma.

In December, the doctors tested him for any signs of cancer. The announcement: Lester was clean. Now after a wild ride of weight loss and chemotherapy, he's back for spring training. Oh, by the way, he started a game today.

Jon, welcome to the Pantheon. No fear anymore, man. You beat cancer, and after that, I don't think anyone else is going to intimidate you.

An actual NASCAR update that's not from Jaime. :)

That's right, folks. You're seeing this right, but it's not going to be a long one. Here's why.

1. Yesterday's race was a NASCAR Busch Series race.

2. There's not much typing I'm doing with a possibly dislocated elbow/torn elbow ligaments.

3. I don't think you want to hear about me moaning about the pain.

Anyways, to get to the chase. Yesterday's Busch Series race was from my birth city, Mexico City. In fact, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez was over 100 thousand strong in the stands. So, what did you get from that race. A Colombian winning the race by fucking up the white boy. As us Spaniards say, "Ganar es ganar." (For you non-Latin folks, "A win is a win.")

If you've been under a rock, Juan Pablo Montoya got a NASCAR win by fucking up Scott Pruett's (who happens to be his teammate) chance at a win. Of course, let's not blame the Colombian. Pruett knew that his buddy was an agressive racer. Pruett is also one of the most gun shy racers that Ganassi has on his roster, too. Scott braked wide. Juan Pablo braked tigther, and that made Scott spin out. In other words, vintage Montoya.

While Jaime might disagree with me, Montoya wasn't going to wait for Scott's gun shy nature to put them both behind. Juan Pablo wins in Mexico City, and the Mexican crowd will take it as a win for La Raza.

Now to go ice this fucking left arm again...

The Mavs, Suns, Spurs...And Everyone Else.

Growing up as a kid, my dad told me, "The game doesn't start until the second half." Took me a minute before I got what that meant, but I got his meaning and well, that's when you see certain teams throw it in high gear. The second half of the NBA season has started, we're done with the growing spectacle known as All-Star Weekend, and now it's go time. Yellow flag's dropped, time for folks to floor it, and with only two weeks before we get the most exciting postseason in all of sports known as March Madness [where average schmoes look better than Vitale by virtue of their ability to guess their way to the pot in their office pools :P], I'm gonna handicap the remainder of this season. Yes, before I flail trying to find a National Champion, I'm gonna give you your eight playoff teams
from both conferences and certain award winners because I'm just nice like that.

Of course, all lottery teams need not apply for these proceedings, as they have already wrecked and are in the garage for the remainder of this race. Thanks for coming kids, try not to catch a ping pong ball in the eye on your way out.