Monday, January 26, 2009

From the Weekend That Was

Did I say lean sports world last week? Because I really meant emaciated. It almost makes me yearn for a Baseball Tonight personality doing a three-minute segment in which he writes off the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East race because of their lack of starting pitching. Almost. On to what happened over the weekend…

Yet another reason to banish girls basketball into a deep, dark place never to be seen again. You may have heard the story last week about The Covenant School (TX) defeating Dallas Academy 100-0 in a high school girls basketball game. Covenant School administrators felt badly about such a thrashing and issued an apology to Dallas Academy, but the head coach of the girls team, Micah Grimes, did not think such an apology was necessary.

Grimes, on his personal web site, said he did not agree with the apology and that no member of his team should feel “embarrassed” or “ashamed” for winning the game. Covenant administrators did not agree with his reasoning and did the logical thing by FIRING HIM FOR WINNING A BASKETBALL GAME.

Only in girls basketball where feelings and emotional psyches take precedent over everything else. God forbid someone finds out they’re really not good at something because we all know that never happens in life. Everyone is really good at everything. And what a great message for Covenant to send to its players. We’d like you to try, but not too hard. Doing things half-assed is the way to succeed in life. It’s science.

The Atlanta Braves consider Andruw Jones’ .196 batting average and Don Sutton’s perm. The Braves have reportedly had talks with the portly outfielder, who was recently released by the Dodgers, to bring him back to Atlanta. Any deal struck would most likely have a low base salary and be loaded with incentives since Andruw’s baseball skills now consist of being able to walk from the dugout to homeplate and returning to the dugout after three pitches.

The Braves are also trying to secure the return of former broadcaster and Hall of Fame pitcher Don Sutton. Sutton, 63, spent the last year working with the Washington Nationals broadcast team. Now the real question is, between the two (Sutton and Jones), who, at this moment, is a more capable major league player?

The Sports Gods were not amused at Ole Miss’ football success while they were napping. So, in retaliation, they’ve decided to amuse themselves with how many knee injuries one basketball team can receive. The latest victim, Terrico White, twisted his knee Saturday in the loss to South Carolina. If White can’t play against Kentucky on Tuesday, it leaves Ole Miss with eight scholarship players and three scholarship guards in David Huertas, Will Bogan (Brian Smith 2.0) and Zach Graham (who also has a knee injury).

If you’re scoring at home, here’s the tally:

Chris Warren (torn ACL)
Trevor Gaskins (torn ACL)
Eniel Polynice (surgeon was an idiot and made it worse)
Zach Graham (partially torn patella tendon)
Terrico White (bone bruise is the official diagnosis)
Malcolm White (actually, not injured, just naturally terrible)

University of Houston basketball in the news for the first time since Phi Slama Jama. Unfortunately, it involves one of its players stepping on someone else’s face. Even though it’s not even close to as horrifying (or even horrifying at all) as the curbing scene in American History X, it’s the first thing I thought of. I just don’t do well when it comes to people getting smashed in the face outside of boxing and MMA.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

From the Extended Weekend That Was

Pittsburgh wins the AFC Championship and will have enough players left to play in the Super Bowl. I still think the Ravens/Titans game the week before was more violent than this one, but that's like saying Death Wish 2 was more violent than Death Wish 3. Either way, lots of people probably took a solid 20 minutes just trying to get out of bed. And it had this hit, while scary after the fact, was one of the hardest I've seen maybe ever:

And it reminded me of this hit on Roscoe Parrish, which led to Parrish having INTERNAL BLEEDING shortly thereafter. Yes, INTERNAL BLEEDING. Like the kind people get when they've been in car wrecks.

The Arizona Cardinals win and the NFL will begin NBA-like playoff refereeing next season to prevent this from happening again. Seriously, the NFL will not put up with the Arizona Cardinals in the Super Bowl ever again. David Stern will be hosting a clinic in the off-season to instruct other commissioners on how to prevent small market teams from making championship games. The clinic will focus on the 2001-02 Sacramento Kings, who most famously were kept out of the NBA Finals in '02.

Incidentally, the last time the Cardinals made the Super Bowl was in the early '90s when I guided them there in Tecmo Super Bowl behind the legs of Johnny Johnson. Actually, that was a lie. No one could win with the Cardinals with Tim Rosenbach throwing the ball.

Thank you 2009 preseason college football rankings. If not for this, I'd have to focus on Ole Miss basketball, which isn't much fun to watch right now. The injuries have killed any chance for this team to be any good at all. And now, in addition to Chris Warren, Eniel Polynice and Trevor Gaskins (all out for the year), toss in another injured guard/swingman in Zach Graham. Graham will continue to play through the season with a tear in his patella tendon, but after watching him in the LSU game on Saturday, he's not going to bring much the rest of the way. He wasn't exactly tearing it up, but at this point all Ole Miss needs are healthy bodies so the three guys sitting on the end of the bench don't get in the game.

But one bright spot to look for is Terrico White, who looks like he might be a really good player much faster than I thought he would be. He's the only guy who can really create his own shot (a good shot) and is starting to understand he's got to be the offensive guy to pair with Huertas. My only knock on him right now is that he doesn't create for Huertas like Warren did, but few people can do what Chris Warren can do. And it also helps he's not a natural point guard, so really that's not a knock. More like an item on a wish list.


"How can you be so obtuse?" I keep waiting for the White House Chief of Staff (who was the warden in Shawshank Redemption) to say this to the President when she makes another dumb decision. Like, say, sacrificing American lives for citizens in an African country. Good call. Protect your country and countrymen, who voted for you, or save the lives of those in another country who will never vote for you. That choice should have been made in .2 seconds. We haven't seen a President this shaky since Charles Logan. Also, I think the writers of 24 are basically amusing themselves with a female President to show the country this is what the Hillary Clinton administration would have been like had she won.

And I'm pretty sure this season will end with Bauer being locked away and Warden Samuel Norton (or the Chief of Staff) will hand Bauer a Bible between the prison bars and say, "Salvation lies within."

It was also nice to see a male version of Martha Logan launching into a deranged hunt for the truth while ignoring everyone who calls him crazy. Unlike Martha Logan, it doesn't appear that he's on medication nor does it appear he'll live to see the end of the season.

Get a Director of Common Sense/Realism. When the FBI gets ready to send men over to the African Prime Minister's compound, the FBI tactical team heads out the door well before Agent Walker, yet takes a full five minutes longer to get there than it did her. Maybe loading up their gear takes longer, but at least throw us a bone and show them getting ready. It's an incredibly small detail, but after watching Jack Bauer get from one side of Los Angeles to the other in about 7 minutes in a car, these things bother me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Rickey Henderson at Cooperstown

Just don't be surprised when this really happens in July...

(Rickey arrives at the podium with no prepared speech in hand. Only a bat is in his hand.)

"Rickey is here today to talk about and celebrate Rickey. Rickey won’t talk long, but wants to say a few things about Rickey before Rickey comes up and talks about Rickey. Rickey never knew a better baseball player than Rickey. Rickey stole more bases, scored more runs and hit more leadoff home runs than anyone else in baseball. And if Rickey hadn’t been blessed with so much speed, Rickey would’ve hit third, hit .330 and hit more homeruns than anyone else.

And Rickey can still play if Rickey had the chance. Don’t tell Rickey the Kansas Royals couldn’t use Rickey in left field. Rickey can still hit. Rickey can still run. Ain’t nobody in Kansas doin’ that right now.

But Rickey’s not here for no job. Rickey’s here because he’s the best of all-time. They ought to have a Rickey Hall of Fame where only Rickey’s allowed in. Rickey got no peers. There’s only one Rickey. And here Rickey stands."

(Does some sort of awkward handshake/hug thing with himself, while a confused crowd lightly and politely applauds when they realize Rickey has just introduced himself.)

"Thank you, thank you. Rickey always did love the fans, especially Rickey fans. When Rickey broke into the big leagues in 1979, people who Rickey can’t remember didn’t know what Rickey could do. Could Rickey run? Could Rickey hit? Rickey just said, 'Watch, and Rickey will show you Rickey can do it all.'

And Rickey showed them all. Rickey became the only centerfielder in baseball. Someone Rickey doesn't remember once tried to compare Lenny Dykstra to Rickey. Rickey said, 'Who is Lenny Dykstra? He ain’t no Rickey. There’s only one Rickey. And only one centerfielder.'

Rickey’s career was a long and happy one. Rickey played hard, set records and won some World Seriouses. Rickey also made enough money that Rickey ain’t goin’ broke anytime soon.

But Rickey loves baseball and now Rickey knows baseball loves Rickey. They say the Hall of Fame is full of great players. Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Lou Brock. These were all great players. But today, Rickey is the greatest."

(Sets down the bat he was carrying. Then pulls out a pair of neon green batting gloves, puts them on, picks up a base hidden behind the podium and lifts it to the sky.)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

From the Weekend That Was (and Most of Last Week)

My apologies for the lack of posting last week, but I'm very important and very busy. Well, not really. But I am lazy...

The SEC rapes the horses, rides out on the women and prunes the hedges of many small villages on its way to another BCS title. So I think it's safe to say the Big 12 offenses weren't the 800 pound gorilla with a chainsaw for its unit they were made out to be. When they go up against teams with actual defenses, they all become very average. Watching the game Thursday night, Sam Bradford looked like a good college quarterback, but never once made me think I was watching a dominant college player. While I'm not sold on the idea of him being worth a high first-round draft pick in the draft, I think he's much more legitimate than Oklahoma's past quarterbacks (looking your way Jason White).

On the other hand, the fourth best quarterback in the Big 12, Tim Tebow, racked up 330 yards of offense and killed Oklahoma with his ability to run and hit some big passes when Florida needed them. I don't know about Tebow's chances of being a pro quarterback (especially since he's coming back for his senior year), but when I watch him now, I know I'm watching a dominant college player. I was just as sick as anyone else at seeing that speech he made after the Ole Miss game, but the guy was incredible in the last 10 games of the year. But no, I do not want to get an apartment with him.

Florida's basketball team restores some confidence for Gator fans when they face Ole Miss. An extremely outmanned Ole Miss team got down big early, then rallied to make it respectable before finally losing 78-68. With a little over two minutes left, the Rebels cut it to six before Florida realized all they had to do was guard David Huertas and watch the shot clock run down before someone took a horrible shot with three seconds left on the clock. Normally, I'd be frustrated with this, but given the injuries and the high I'm still riding from football season, it doesn't really bother me. If this team manages to win five conference games, I'll be impressed.

Speaking of football, my head already hurts. I know it's ridiculous to even look at preseason polls less than a week after the championship game, but if you haven't noticed, Ole Miss is getting some serious love from the likes of Kirk Herbstreit and Colin Cowherd. Herbstreit put Ole Miss at number five and Cowherd had Ole Miss at NUMBER FOUR for the 2009 season. Even CnnSi's Stewart Mandel got in on the act and ranked the Rebels at six. In no way am I emotionally prepared to handle the pressure and expectations of any of those rankings.

I don't think Ole Miss will be that high when the polls come out in August, but I think you'll see the Rebels around 10 to 15-ish. Mainly because the majority football writers are lazy and don't really pay attention to the sport in which they have a major influence. So we'll see Virginia Tech, LSU, Ohio State and Penn State all ranked ahead of Ole Miss because of a lack of research and effort on the part of those writers. Either way, I'm already nervous.



Jack Bauer 7.0 is underway. After two hours, the season looks like it could be watchable, unlike last season's disaster. I'm still amazed that whenever a government agency tries to corner a suspect and seals off a building and establishes a perimeter to catch him, he gets away. First, it was CTU, now the FBI has the disease. Just once I'd like to see them catch a guy when they take either one of those steps.

And it was great to see 24 incorporate the black helicopters allegedly used by the FBI. The one in tonight's episode was taking a break from setting up the destruction of an SEC football program.