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The Sissified Rant

I know...I know...Len's never EARLY with any column. But this year, I am. I'm going to write the column which I hold above all others I write, but before I go there, I need to speak on something.
(Trust me, it'll segue rather nicely to the column at hand.)

Saturday afternoon in a game that very few, if any cared about, Rutgers beat Army in OT. The top story in that game however, was Rutgers DT Erick LeGrand being paralyzed from the neck down. Okay, no big deal, freak occurence. Turn the clock forward a little over 24 hours later to the game of football where its competitors are handsomely paid to do it before packed houses and such.
Body after body it seemed was getting carried off, due to some Super High Impact Football style "Somebody get a BODY BAG!!!" hits. At the center of this storm in terms of hits were Dunta Robinson of the Falcons (his hit took out his intended target and himself to boot), Brandon Meriweather (can't say this guy wasn't watching classic NFL shit, he was headhunting Todd Heap in a way that would've made Jack Tatum smile) and most notably of the bunch, former Defensive Player Of The Year James Harrison. Ask Mossaquoi and Cribbs how interacting with him went this past Sunday, if they can recollect it. Both left the game with concussions. In light of all this, the NFL decided enough's enough. Well, enough's enough if we intend on these guys living through an 18 game stretch plus playoffs starting next year.

Because if you're thinking there's anything beyond that motive behind this sudden "enforcement" of rules that I wonder if they were even on the books from the're either delusional, stupid or working for the league offices. Not to get all John Witherspoon here, but the whole damn world's gone sissified on me.

WWE's taking a hard stance on chair shots to the noggin and blood in its matches. (Nothing to do with Linda McMahon running for Christopher Dodd's Senate seat, by the way. Wink wink.) Vince is even doing his best to help, asking folks to "Take A Stand For WWE". Really Vince? You expect us all to just MIB clear of you having your son-in-law feign screwing a corpse? (It's late and I'm too lazy to look up the technical term for such a grotesque act. :P) You expect us to forget that you actually booked an I Quit match where it was you against your daughter Stephanie, a match that ended with you choking her out with a lead pipe causing your wife to throw in the towel? Yeah, I wouldn't stand for that shit if I had stacks of hundred dollar bills under me. Your wife deserves to lose, if for no other reason, subjecting us to that Billy and Chuck bullshit.

NBA's getting even more sissified, even though their measures are probably more Draconian than the NFL. Starting this year in what can only be deemed "The Rasheed Wallace Rule", any NBA player that so much as bad eyes a referee is getting T'd up. I'm going over 4 playoff series that end up getting tilted the wrong way because of this rule and I'm probably going to be wrong there. "So Dave, your refs may be crooked and have their own agendas. What are you going to do to crack down on this?" "Well, I'm going to give them the power to turn games to their own personal agendas by calling technicals on any player that gets a little too demonstrative after a foul call."

Brilliant! Well done, Commish. Bud Selig thinks that's fucking moronic and he's the guy who thought the best way to get folks watching the All-Star game, was to put homefield in the World Series on the line. Basically rendering the 2nd half null and void for reasons other than to decipher homefield within each league. Equally as brilliant, Commissioner Goodell taxing men for giving the fans what they pay to see (as barbaric as it might be) MONTHS before a possible lockout. Yet, we want MORE GAMES going into the next CBA. Look, I'll cover each of these potential Billionaires vs. Millionaires deals as such...

Because I'm An Insomniac, It's My Birthday And I'm Bored...

A few things before we get into the proceedings this evening...

1) It's my birthday today. The lone day out of the year I DEMAND to be left alone. Why is this important? Reread the first sentence fragment, it'll guide you well young grasshopper.

2) I don't like American Idol. I like it even less when I can't watch an episode of Sportscenter without seeing one of these putz's on my damn television.

3) Just in case Jade's curious, I'm not about to start calling for Manuel's head just cause the Mets are in a tailspin. Too many injuries at virtually the exact same time, can cripple ANY team. Am I still pining for Bobby Valentine to come on home? Yeah, but I'm realistic to realize there are a great deal of spinally challenged folks within the organization who don't want him back there. But I digress.

The End Of An Era?

First Harry Kalas passes away, then John Madden retires. Two of the more famous voices in sports are no longer speaking. Who will replace them?

The sportscasters of the previous generations were (and are) legendary, and for good reason. For example, here's Vin Scully's moving tribute to deceased Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart as transcribed by Will Leitch. It's incredible.

If I may speak for every member of the Dodger organization, our heartfelt and deepest sympathies to the mother and family of Nick Adenhart, and to every member in the Angels organization, for the untimely accident and death of young Nick last night at the tender age of twenty-two. Nick, from Maryland, had pitched six scoreless innings and was in a car with three friends, and a driver apparently went through a red light and T-boned the car, killing three of the four, including Nick, and one other member is in critical condition. And if there is one thing I’ve learned in all my years — and I haven’t learned much — but the one thing I’ve learned: Don’t even waste your time trying to figure out life.

Ground ball through for Andre Ethier, and life continues for those who still have it. And with a leadoff single, Russell Martin will be coming up.

But I would say, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a moment and say a prayer in memory for Nick, especially for his parents. What a shock to lose a twenty-two-year-old.

Andre Ethier at first base, Russell Martin the batter, James Loney on deck, and the Dodgers try to strike in the second inning against Kevin Correia.

I won't make the argument that it's not time for Madden to retire, and I'm not going to say anything bad about his replacement Cris Collinsworth. I think Cris is going to do a great job in the color role on Monday Night Football, but... where are the great voices? Who are going to be the future of the industry? Not just to keep the seats warm, but to provide the voice of a generation? Who's going to be the next Voice of God?

Maybe that's an outmoded idea. There's no voice of a generation because we're too fragmented. There are no universal moments that we can all reference. Maybe the bland people behind the microphones these days are the voice of this bland generation.

Talking To Myself About...

Rather than do something "usual" to kick start my 2009 bloggings, I wanted to do something different. I got this particular idea from a local writer named Terry Pluto, who writes for the Cleveland Plain Dealer (the only local paper I'll actually buy). Every so often he'll write a column where he's actually talking to himself about random sports related issues. Today, yours truly shall do the same thing. Len shall go one on one with...Mister Grimey on the Giant Meltdown (literally), the Truth About The Cavs and why Winters are longer than they should be (kidding).

Just a Fantasy

And so, The Sports Bastards Fantasy Football League season has come to an end for 2008. It was an interesting year; Ron continued his domination of the league (at least until the playoffs, when he developed a case of turf toe or something), Jaime got smacked down at the start by the loss of Tom Brady and the slow start of her 'Bolts and never quite recovered, and I got to prove to my teenage son just who kicks fantasy-football ass in this family. ;)

Here's this year's results:

1. Tydi
2. DaNiners
3. The Jaded Team
4. Team Unstoppable
5. Neos Perfect Team
6. Cuban Raft Riders
7. Trojan Men
8. Drunk Luck
9. Team IR
10. Farve's Unretirement

Congrats to Tydi, and here's hoping we see everyone back for 2009!

Rambling, Just Cause L Can.

Alright, so here's my real comeback column. I've been gone due to some real craptastic conditions and the like (not worth going into here, but if you're wondering where the extra vitriolic venom's coming from that's it), but I am back as evident by my annual NBA preview making the usual rounds it makes. Anyway, I initially was going to go with an anti-Ohio rant on all of its teams just cause I was really pissy, but I changed my mind. In its place, I'm just gonna touch on a few things at random just cause I can.
Starting with...

Meet 9-year-old Ben Wilson, Destroyer of Worlds

Meet Ben Wilson. He's a 9-year-old peewee football player who hits like a freight train and runs like Jim Brown with an attitude problem. Seriously, this kid is good. Watch the videos below.

I don't get it, honestly. He's smaller than most of the other kids, and he doesn't look like he's faster. Yet here he is, cracking helmets with good tackles and throwing would-be tacklers aside like so many pizza crusts at the buffet table. He's got great technique, so someone coached him up well, but technique doesn't enable you to drag three or four other people with you for touchdown runs, or to throw a guy off of you with one hand so forcefully he flies backwards like he whizzed on an electric fence.

I think he gets the job done by being meaner than everyone else. Good for you, little guy. Keep trucking the nonbelievers!

The Olympic All-Name Team

For those of you who have been breathlessly following the exploits of Takeshita, Tancock, Stubby Clapp, and Dong Dong, Stanley cup of Chowder has compiled the Beijing 2008 All-Name Team. Check it out.

I've got a serious case of Olympic Fever. At first I thought it was just a summer cold, then I realized I was watching badminton at 4 AM and actually caring who'd win the epic battle between Taiwan and Singapore. Handball, water polo, gymnastics, swimming, boxing... there's nothing Olympics-related I won't watch!

If you can't beat 'em, cheat 'em

The Dwain Chambers saga continues, as the muscle-bound sprinter eased to victory in his 60m heat at the World Indoor Championships. And the debate over whether he should be allowed to take part in such events rages on. Why? What's to discuss? Surely, if you're found taking performance-enhancing drugs, you should be banned for life. Saying that Chambers has learnt his lesson doesn't take away the vein-popping muscle mass he developed when he was gulping down steroids with his breakfast, does it?

Perhaps to even things up, he should be subject to a few performance-unenhancing measures. So he'd have to smoke a bong full of weed for twenty minutes, down two pints of lager and a Big Mac Meal, spin around till he's dizzy and then race with his eyes shut. If he still manages to qualify for the finals, who can say he hasn't earned it?

Truly Thankful.

On this, "Black Friday" as millions push and shove to Christmas shop... I need to take time to give thanks on a sports front for certain things that have put a smile on my face. For starters...

- I'd like to give thanks to the Yankees. No, really, I thank them for giving me that 'Captain Save-A-Fraud' which translates into a real time Captain Save-A-Ho to laugh at. I'd like to thank them for shitcanning the manager that returned them to respectability on a national level by winning four World Series titles in his first six seasons. Luck to Girardi trying to top that. Congrats to them breaking the bank *predictably* to get a nonachieving bat back that will NOT help them in October. Shame they aren't giving out trophies in September, the Yanks would have title #27 by now.

- I'd also like to give thanks to the Knicks, even though those who were duped into buying season tickets probably aren't. I'd like to give thanks to them because simply put, when the Yanks aren't in play, it's great to see these clowns are giving me more than plenty to laugh at. I mean, let us chronicle the past few months in Knicks' history shall we?

First, they get caught up in a sexual harrassment trial which they lose but are actually too stupid to settle out of court to avoid the humiliation that comes with losing a SEXUAL HARRASSMENT TRIAL. Hold up. This is the same franchise that shelled out MILLIONS to the likes of Jared Jeffries, Allan Houston *as a fan back then, even I couldn't defend this*, Jerome James and so on...but couldn't pay someone to shut her trap to avoid the backlash that followed? Good grief, this stupidity has reached Beavis and Butthead levels.

Before that, they made a deal to get yet another combustible element to their team that "in theory" made them a player in the East...but come on folks. "In theory" didn't win no championships, last time I checked. Speaking of said combustability, Crapbury decided to take his ball and go home after finding out he was demoted. Follow me here, it gets real dumbass from here. He comes back to the team and damn near every man on the team not named Isiah wants him to sit. So he does...for all of about 5 minutes against the Clips. He plays the rest of the game and well, so much for team unity right? Honestly, if it weren't for this Knicks fan I work with, I probably wouldn't feel the need to bring this up other than in passing...but he continues to live on this notion that the Knicks are what they were a decade ago and that's just not the case. Now you've got fans chanting for Isiah to be fired in front of Commissioner Stern and Son of Dumbass, I meant Dolan. I'll get to this in-depth in a seperate column. Now...for some good things I'm thankful for.

Money Talks...Everything Else Runs The Marathon.

I was going to do a piece on Steve Nash today; even though he lost the game and home court to the Spurs yesterday, he showed more heart than Dirk in not letting a bloody nose keep him from competing at a high level. In essence, he showed everyone why he's a two-time MVP and for all accounts, a member of the Threepeat Club.

Instead, you all can thank the Yanks and more so, The Money Sprocket for this piece. The quote's a fairly simple one, "money talks, everything else runs the marathon". I believe Nino Brown said this before a guy got dropped off the side of a bridge in “New Jack City” and it's true. Two instances that standout in recent memory.

- Carlos Boozer. I'm in Akron, so I have very intimate knowledge of this thing. Simply put, it went like this: Carlos gave the Gunds his word that he'd stay in Cleveland, despite them being able to offer a set amount that wasn't anywhere near the market value (which he ended up getting from Utah). So he's faced with a fairly tough decision...honor his word to the Gunds or get paid in well...Utah. We know how this one ends. He gets paid, Cleveland gets pissy, and no matter what or how hard they try to convince you of this...Drew Gooden is no Carlos Boozer. Boozer, along with LBJ, would've been scary; hell, in this series I'd be petrified of what those two could do to the Nets. But let's face it, there's a reason Drew was traded halfway through his rookie season and when The Logo sends you no uncertain terms, you suck.

Then of course, there's everybody's favorite MERC, Roger Clemens. In this piece, Bill Simmons (who is one of my favorite columnists to read on the regular) talks about how Bostonians may never forgive Roger Clemens for how he left the Red Sox.

Swallow my ade, Gators.

As the commercials have told us, Gatorade was invented in 1965 at the University of Florida to help rehydrate the football team in that hot, swampy, smells-like-balls Florida summer. The football team is the Gators, so the drink was Gatorade. Makes sense, right?

If Gatorade had been invented at Florida State instead, would we now be drinking a sweetish, salty, sticky drink known as Seminole Fluid?

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...

Rich's Bastardly Block

I'm probably going to seem like the Tuesday Morning Quack while writing this, but trust me, I make more sense. It's time for all the news you need to know.

- According to ESPN, The 'Boys just resigned Andre Gurode to a six year deal. As they noted, he was the number one priority to get locked in. (Yes, the center. Not Me-O.) Which means, in typical Jerry Jones fashion, he's going to be one of the highest paid offensive centers. Well that's until Len's fantasy of firing Coughlin doesn't happen, and they have to sign Shaun O'Hara to a comparable or higher deal. Anways, Andre is well known as Albert Haynesworth's Shoe Cleaner. This was found out later to be the receipt for a Denver Broncos style cut block to Al's knees. Gurode was later policed for this by Tuna and later learned that blocking like notorious cunt, Tom Nalen, will get you jacked up. However, as a 'Boys fan, I'm glad to see he's going to stick around to anchor what would've been a disaster of an offensive line.

- Also from the MLB side of the WWL, Bonds actually showed up at a spring training. He's actually healthy after his elbow surgery. He's also seemingly mellow after his contract agreements. He does know that the Giants will yank anything if he is arraigned on perjury charges. No word if Bonds will bring any "personal trainers" or Mexican pharmacists to be on the Giants payroll.

- From the legal front, MSNBC talks about Weis's malpractice suit. Charlie Weis's malpractice suit from his gastric bypass surgery in 2002, which started last year, was in its final stages of heading to the jury action. However, one of the jurors collapsed during the testimony of one of the doctors. Weis's lawyer called for a mistrial/retrial. The surgery team's lawyers argued that the trial could not be interrupted no matter what. The judge sided with Weis's team, and the trial was cancelled for the time being. It is unknown when there will be another trial attempt.

- More after the cut.

Some Valentine's Day Poetry for you all

So, Ron and I, being single guys (gee I wonder why), decided to not let this day go to waste. I knew these short poems were perfect when Jaime Sue gave me dead silence for 15 minutes, then started calling me a pig.

Anyways, on to the show...

Roses are red, violets are blue, let's face it Tom Coughlin, Tiki is a bitch that hates you.

Roses are red, violets are blue, Ron Mexico's got herpes, and now so do you!

Roses are red, Violets are blue. Shit, Rex Grossman threw another interception to you.

Roses are red, Carnations are pale, Hey, Ron, look! Another Bengal went to jail!

Roses are red. Cocaine is white. Michael Irvin in the Hall of Fame? That shit's almost not right.

Carnations are white, just like Salisbury's penis. Who's that washing my car? Penn State's Curtis Enis!

Get your chocolates and start gagging now...