14 January 2005

One for the road!

Taken from Dr. Z's 7th Annual NFL Commentator Awards:

In the TWO STAR category (out of five):

Don Criqui and Steve Tasker, CBS -- Things are falling apart here. Players are misidentified, wrong ball carriers are named, and then a point is made about them. First Indy-Jacksonville game, technical stuff has broken down as well. They go to a commercial, for instance, without telling you a timeout has been called, or by whom. The spotters seem to be asleep. Coverages, double coverages, are not accurately described. Criqui mentions how punter Hunter Smith, "places it beautifully," when it actually comes down on the numbers. Neither one of them has a whiff of what line play is all about. Why not a lower ranking? Because most of the time it isn't this bad, and they're both honest workers.

The rest of this article can be found at: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/writers/dr_z/01/12/drz.announcers/index.html?cnn=yes

Enjoy the holiday weekend, I know I will!

13 January 2005

And playing the role of Larry King...

Quick Hits:

a) This may be old news, but ESPN just re-upped with the NFL to continue showing Sunday Night Games. They will be paying $900 Million a year for these rights. 900 Million Dollars for the rights to one football game a week... 16 of them. That is $56.25 million a game. And when you consider the fact that, from my vantage point, they seem to get the shortest end of the stick with matchups, something is rotten in the state of Connecticut. This is extortion. ESPN needs the NFL about as badly as W needed to find one stinkin' can of anthrax in Mesopotamia. Maybe worse! Without the NFL, ESPN couldn't continue to demand cable operators pay through the nose for their services... which they do. ESPN doesn't get half the ratings that other services like the Discovery Channel gets.. but try running a cable company without ESPN. Then again, try running a cable company without an NFL-less ESPN. Not as noisy anymore... I wonder if Bodenheimer promises his first-born in the next contract go'round...

b) The fallout from this Moss thing has gone to hysterical places. Vikings owner Red McCombs demanding that FOX remove play-by-play guy extraordinaire Joe Buck from the Vikings/Eagles game this Sunday, after taking umbrage to Buck's criticism of Moss. FOX rep said "We hope Mr. McCombs enjoys Buck's call, because he'll be in the booth this Sunday." Once we found out that Moss' moon was a "comeback" to the Pack fans that moon the visiting team's bus, people asked me if that changed my opinion. No, it didn't. But it did make me laugh. But how does that change what he did? And to Andy: I don't care if Barkely said he wasn't a role model. He was a role model. A bigger role model than Jordan.. And you can see it in all the "I don't give a fuck" athletes out there who are ruining the NBA.

c) I want to start a letter writing campaign to the Mets demanding they re-record "Lets Go Mets Go!" with Pedro, Beltran, Omar, and the new gang. I love that this team is getting more ink, and garnering more excitement than the Yankees... at least today.

d) WEEKEND PICKS: (lines courtesy of bodog.com)

STEELERS (-9) over Jets : The Jets caught enough karmic breaks in San Diego to last this franchise a lifetime. Unfortunately for them, they'll need more than that this weekend, on the road, with an injured/sick quarterback against a really strong team and a homefield advantage that will knock the Jets on their ass. I wish it weren't so.

FALCONS (-7) over Rams : Can I see the Rams' high-flying offense lift them over the Falcons? No. Their overall season defense wasn't terrific, but their pass rush was top notch.

Vikings over EAGLES (-9) : This one has the chance of making me look foolish, but I just have a gut feeling on this one. The Vikings are white-hot right now, firing on all cylinders. And the Eagles have psychological playoff issues, and lost their best receiever. It's just looking dubious, and I will feel terrible for the city and it's fans to go down one more time.

COLTS over Patriots (-3) : With a line like that, everyone is thinking the same thing. Manning will not go out like a chump again, and is going to make a statement that will echo for a while in New England. A banged up Pats secondary, an injured and out Ty Law, and perfect weather conditions... Patriots go home, and Daver is smiling.




10 January 2005

My very own soapbox

Yesterday, during FOX's broadcast of the Vikings/Packers playoff game, Randy Moss, the NFL's favorite problem child struck again. For reasons pertaining to brevity, I'll only say that his infractions against the law and the league since Day 1 are many, and well-documented. A few weeks ago, as his team was seconds away from losing, he walked off the field before the game ended, showing a dynamite sense of team spirit. Moss, to this point, has done a good job of cleaning up his image (reports of community service, helping sick children), then shitting all over it, in what seems like a vicious cycle of clever P.R. mixed with a bonehead's revelation of his true colors. During FOX's pre-game show, they rolled a pre-taped interview with Randy, conducted by Jimmy Johnson, where he offered up a feeble and bogus apology, only after being levelled by Johnson's relentless badgering. What I liked is that not only was the interview tough, but the FOX guys jumped all over him after the interview; Classic good guy Howie Long said he would never call him in the middle of a snowstorm to help fix his car. Bizarre statements, we got the point.

After being left for dead, and finding themselves sliding backwards into the playoffs, the Vikings came out against the Packers with a fire in their belly, quickly knocking the wind out of the team, and Lambeau. (It is safe to say that a playoff game on Lambeau field with Favre taking snaps is not what it used to be... at all). This was the story of the game... until Randy Moss' 2nd TD. After catching the ball, he ran over to the goal-post, mimed pulling his pants down to moon the crowd, and then started smacking his posterior against the goal-post. I was disgusted with what I saw. And for the first time in my lifetime, I watched the media take a stand; albeit, a half-assed stand.

FOX refused to show the replay.

I had images of what it would have been like had I been calling the shots in the truck that day; I would have stood up and shouted "NO REPLAYS! DO NOT ROLL THAT AGAIN," followed by an obscenity or two. And that is what FOX did! They didn't show the replay. ESPN didn't show the replay. No one showed the replay... Unlike when Joe Horn pulled the cellphone out of the padding and they showed every angle 500 times.. Or when TO grabbed the sharpie, or the pom-poms. But that's playful self-promotion; it's semi obnoxious, it's semi-fun, it's not totally uncalled for, even if it's not your taste. This was just a lack of respect for the game, the fans, the Packers, everyone.

FOX's decision, I thought, might be the tide turning: the time when the media stood up and said this type of contemptable behavior, this lack of respect for sportsmanship will stop, and we can stop it. When TV decided not to show idiots disrupting the games, people who ran on the field during action, they realized they can stop encouraging this stuff by not showing it anymore. Unfortunately, instead of ignoring the replay AND the issue; they took the incident and blew it up... no replay necessary. We live in a 24 hour world of media; news, sports, everything. They NEED this stuff to survive.. and until that changes, until the day when we no longer need 500 talking heads, TV will continue to show idiots who disrupt games.. even if they happen to be in uniform.

07 January 2005

1,000 Wildebeasts

To paraphrase the immortal Andrew F. Klein, "The OC returned last night with the force of 1,000 wildebeasts." The hilarity that ensued from Seth's attempts at becoming at bad boy (and his father's reactions to them) were not only classic, but they were a perfect counterbalance to all the heavy drama going on; from Seth threatening Sandy with an ear of corn, to drinking the John... Jim, or whatever it was at the club. I think Seth's drunken scene in front of his house will prove to be a classic OC moment. However, the real story of this one was the Cooper "household". Marissa stole every scene she was in, and should put this entire episode on any "video portfolio" forthcoming in her career. The scene at the party, "I'M THE DAUGHTER OF A THIEF AND A SLUT!" was jaw dropping television, and she dropped the bomb like a badass. Though, it seems like every scene involving Marissa ends with me chalking up another 4 years of therapy for her (and drug abuse) in her adult life. Big points for her scene with Dad on the beach; girl's got serious range. I'm surprised that the writers have allowed her to go this far with DJ (the 4"5' Indian dude), but bringing the bagels over to the Cohen's house and the pseudo-incest feelings brewing between Ryan and Lindsey seem to be taking us back to square one; which is a good place to be, considering that their tepid love story seems to be hitting the same note over and over again. A few side notes, however: The Summer love story with that guy isn't going anywhere interesting, and we all know where she's going to end up (although, it's looking less likely by the week... this reminds me of the Cubs and Carlos Beltran-- early on, it seemed like a foregone conclusion, but as the weeks go on....)Not a big Modest Mouse fan; I was eager to see what they had to offer, but I ain't buying. The music on this episode wasn't quite up to par... (unlike the knockout combo of the Killers and U2 from a few weeks ago. CLASSIC.) I'm not sure how Alex was so hung over that one morning, yet continued to drink throughout the day, YET looked stone cold sober at the rock club. But that's a mild complaint, and one I'm certainly willing to look past given that she's set to hook up with Marissa. For the next episode however, I'd like to see Caleb kidnapped by a gang of midget rebel fighters from India, led by DJ's family. Marissa move away with Alex...to the North Shore, of course. Seth become the next host of the Late Night show, with Ryan as his Ed McMahon... now that's TV worth watching.

05 January 2005

...Instead of youuuuu!!!

Morning Business:

a) In my grinchly haste, I made a terrible, glaring omission to my list of Xmas likes and dislikes. There is one thing I absolutely love about Christmastime, and it's "Feed the World" by Band-Aid. Yes, a Christmas song, even! This song just flat-out rules; it hits on all the right emotions, is catchy, and I will go as far to say that without the word Christmas in it, it doesn't even qualify as Xmas music, it's that good... yet, it is the eternal asterisk to my Xmas music hate. From the era when artists got together and wrote songs to try and help the world every two to three weeks it seems... "We Are the World"... "Tears Are Not Enough" (the Canadian response)... "Legs" by ZZ Top... Something about saving the whales?? This one was just brilliant. Equal parts legitimate 80s superstars and one-hit wonder no names. None of that matters because they're all fairly anonymous when you hear them in this song... all except for Bono. With apologies to ESPN's Sports Guy who has written about this moment, and this song; this is a very bizarre moment in music, when Bono, singing about hunger in Africa, croons "So tonight, thank God it's them, instead of YOUUUUUUU!!" Glad to see our ambassador to world peace, hunger and disease wasn't always so sensitive! For those of you out there who haven't heard this song, make sure to download it... but steer clear of the version they just re-did this past Christmas; ghastly, awful stuff.

b) If you had Oklahoma and 35 points... you lost!

c) I spent $9 to purchase a DVD copy of "Cool As Ice" off eBay. While browsing IMDB's List of the 100 Worst Movies of All Time, I clicked on this one, and discovered that the reviewers were simply enamored with this movie. I am willing to spend $9 + shipping to find out if this is THE movie that makes the jump from egregious swill to comedy classic. Vanilla Ice. A scene with him riding a motorcycle through a wall. Ice saying "Lose the zero, get with a hero" to a chick. And enough ridiculous looking clothes to last a lifetime. Yes, indeed, I think this is suiting up to be money well spent... and 6 of 9 people found this review from Amazon.com useful:

While the out-of-print VHS version of this film is perfectly adequate for the casual viewer, I'd highly recommend the superior transfer of the Bratslavian-import DVD, which includes among its bonus features a lengthy roundtable discussion of the film by Henry Kissinger, James Baker and N.W.A.

Note: This movie is totally out of print. VHS copies on Amazon are going for $35 and up...

More to come...

04 January 2005

[-NEWSFLASH-]

RYNE SANDBERG ELECTED TO BASEBALL HALL OF FAME!

03 January 2005

Happy Happy, folks....

Happy 2005 to everyone! Despite my grinch-like attitude towards Jesus day, I'm slightly more forgiving when it comes to New Years. However, I will never ever ever spend another New Years in New York City the same way I did for the past two years. And to illustrate my case, we're going to take a page out of ESPN's playbook for a round of Fact or Fiction:

1. All-You-Can-Drink parties in New York on New Years Eve are the way to go.

I'm going to have to go with fiction; These parties are the "way to go" for the people promoting them. They make a ton of money by cramming a ton of people in a bar with not enough bartenders to serve them- so, bada bing, they may actually be saving money, but the people who buy the tickets to these things think they're making out like a fat man at a Sizzler.

2. The more you spend, the better the party is.

F is for Fiction. You can spend any amount of money in New York and still wind up with the same results. For every dollar you spend, there's 1,000 other people who have rationalized spending the same amount of money.. and unfortunately for me, those 999 other people were bridge and tunnel meat heads all wearing the same horizontally striped button down shirt. You can spend $75, you can spend $200, you can spend $700... you will be getting the same, exact thing.

3. If you really want to party in style, going VIP is the only way to go.

F-F-F-F-F-iction. I'm not sure what the V and the P stand for, but I really think the I stands for IDIOT. And by that, I really mean sucker. This is outright fiction. The premise seems worthy; spend just a little more money on top of the already exorbitant amount already changing hands, and they'll take care of you. Maybe a special section just for you and your fellow VI-suckers, where you'll have easier access to a bar, or seating. Maybe a special line outside that gets you in faster. Maybe they'll take you on a chair and hoist you in the air like it's your Bar Mitzvah.. Let me tell you who is a VIP on NYE, and every other night of the damn year: hot women. They get it all, and they get it all for free. If you're not a hot woman, and you think you're getting something extra, you are just a sucker... a sucker that is a little lighter than your non-VIP friends.

4. Maybe it's not ideal, but it beats staying at home.

Erfindung! That's German for FICTION. After an incredibly expensive and frustrating NYE in NYC, I have learned my lesson. Yes, FACT, I have learned my lesson. I'll even print t-shirts that read NERD (without the periods, as to not be confused with the group) to wear on December 31st. I will not do this again. I will NEVER do this again. This is a big FUCK YOU to every single party promoter out there in New York who laughs all the way to the bank on January 1st after making people wait 45 minutes to drink for "FREE". I used to love NYE- it used to be the height of debauchery and decadance for my friends and I. Anything was possible, and we had some awesome times... but all those nights had something in common; we were at home, or someone else's home. A lot of liquor, maybe a poker table, friends and their friends who were women, a jacuzzi and pool, and some of the best New Years Eve parties you could shake a stick at!

This year? I was home by 12:30 AM. Dominos called ME and asked if I wanted to order a pizza, I found out Blockbuster is doing away with late fees, Conan O'Brien rang in the New Year in the Central time zone with one of the funniest processions of mid-western culture I've ever seen, and that was that.