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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Glory Hole? Not For Andrews and Watson



Heeeeyyyyy there, Internet Nation! What's the good word?!

I've returned to action after my self imposed All Star break, and judging by some of your eagerness out there it seems that I'm just in the nick of time. Not to mention the fact that I learned on the History channel last night that not only is the world sure to end in December of 2012, but we'll be lucky to dodge asteroids, volcanoes, artificial intelligence, and nuclear war to even make it that far. So in the interest of time, I'll do as they do in Hollywood and "cut to the chase"...and then do a bunch of blow, crash my car into a minority family, and make it all better by doin' a few hours of community service...

So strap on your seat belts, dudes and duds, and let's do this thing before another naked, famous chick shows up on the Internet, and makes everything I'm about to write completely irrelevant...

First up, Erin Andrews...



I'm sure most most of you reading this have at least heard of the hotel "peephole" video taken of ESPN sideline hottie, Erin Andrews, in various states of undress. If you didn't get to to see it, allow me to summarize for you. She was nude, standing in her hotel room, doing her hair, and completely oblivious to the fact that she was being taped. Did she look smokin' hot, even through the blurry cellphone like quality of the video? Of course she did. Like I said to Frosco when he asked me how she looked "She looked like a black midget, how do you think she looked?!?!"

But as hot as Erin Andrews is, and despite the fact that I've longed to see her in all her nude-a-licious glory, I gotta say this video is one of the more despicable things I've seen in quite some time. And the way most media outlets have condemned it, while at the same time showing blurred stills of the event, has got me even more upset...

Matter of fact, I'm having what you would refer to as a classic "Frosted Mini Wheats" moment. The horny kid in me loves the fact that I've seen her naked, but the adult in me, the adult that has a grown sister of similar age, is disgusted at what was done, and can only imagine how embarrassed and mortified Andrews must be. And to be honest, I only checked it out thinking that there was a 95% chance that either A) it wasn't really her or B) the tape didn't really show what it claimed to show. Remember, this was right when this thing was breaking, so it's not like I'd had a chance to talk to 25 people about it before I saw it...

What makes matters worse, is that TMZ (the only media outlet I know of by the way that has the tapes but is refusing to air them or show still photos) is now reporting that more than one tape exists, and that the two or more tapes take place in multiple hotel rooms. Translation? STALKER! And to take a step further, the stalker is probably a member of the ESPN crew that she's traveling with. I mean, how else do you easily explain access to her hotel room like that on two separate occasions, in two different cities?...

It's truly sick, truly sad, and truly unfortunate. I mean, couldn't we have waited and hoped that she'd come around and done Playboy someday? Ya know, wait for her career to crap out, and do it as a last gasp at stardom? Call me old fashion, but I always thought that was the way to go. I would imagine her naked, wish for her to do Playboy, and when that never happens, curse her as a prude. Naturally that's not really fair to her either, but I'd say it's a much better approach than violating her privacy and making a girl that comes across as energetic and genuine, mortified and embarrassed beyond all conception...

Hey, I get it. In this dog-eat-dog, up-to-the-mili-second media world that we live in, desperate people are going to do desperate things for their piece of the pie. But come on. When you start spying on people when they aren't under suspicion of committing a crime, that's gotta be where I draw the line. I mean this is American, after all, isn't it? Not to say that this stuff doesn't go on in this country, but when it's plastered all over the Intraweb in such a blatant and malicious manner, that goes from a small invasion of privacy, to a flat out crime. From funny, to scary and disturbing. Whoever made this tape, I hope they gotta better look than they gave the rest of the world, because the only view they're gonna get from here on out is the floor of the state pen...

And now with Andrews off of any ESPN assignment for the next month and a half, you gotta wonder if a few blurred minutes of glory were even worth it for anybody at all. My vote, is a resounding NO!...

Hurry, back Erin. We miss you already. And as far as Playboy goes, we'll be patient...

Just don't test me, you sexy tease of a prude...

Just kidding, EA! I'll still be "in your game" any day of the week...


Next up, some musings on Major League Baseball. I figure it was the All Star Break after all that inspired my time off, so for me to continue glossing over this current season would just be irresponsible...

I've always been of the unpopular opinion (surprise, surprise) that St. Louis is by far and away the best baseball city in the country, and the All Star game didn't disappoint. Between the beautiful backdrop of the Arch, all the former All Stars in attendance, and the Ted Williams-like entrance of St. Louis legend Stan Musial, it was truly a sight to behold. And that's coming from someone who usually could not care less about shit like that. But hey, I was moved, what can I say? The fact that the game itself ended with an amazing catch by Carl Crawford? Simply icing on the cake...

Well done, St. Louis...



Oh and I must say, simply to flash back on my pink hat column from a few weeks ago, I did hear something funny the day after the game on WEEI's Dale & Holley Show. My point last week was that Boston fans would cheer for Benedict Arnold's stool if it stood in the batter's box and waived a hat with a little B on it to them, and Dale's words not only made me feel vindicated, but made me laugh at the same time. "How do the St. Louis fans not give Albert Pujols a better ovation?" Now that's not a direct quote, but it's pretty close, but come on Dale. Why don't they give him a better ovation? Because most fan bases don't wet themselves every time their best player comes up to bat. Again, well done, St. Louis...

As for Dale, as much as he seems like a really nice guy, this is just yet another example where he seems out of touch with reality. It's OK, though. With a new sports radio station starting up in Boston with the rites to the Boston Bruins, his days with his formerly dreadlocked partner may very well be numbered. At least that's my hope. Ever since Rome was taken off of the local airways, I've listened to Dale & Holley more and more, and it's only confirmed to me that they just don't work as a tandem. But listen to me, I'm rambling way off topic now...

Let's talk some Sox!...

I've been accused this season of neglecting the Sox, mostly due to the fact that they've been in first place for the bulk of the season. Seeing as I predicted a 3 way slugfest between the Sox, Rays and Yanks before the season even started, I find that criticism hard to come by, but I understand that not everyone can read everything I write, and I admit that I have been a little lax on my coverage. However, I'd like to echo a yearly phrase exchanged between my good friend, and New York Yankee diehard fan, Jared Hutter. "The season doesn't start until the Red Sox play the Yankees." And ya know what? That was true when we said it to each other back in our days up in Syracuse, but I think with the rivalry the way it is now, I think it would be more appropriate to say "The season doesn't start until the either the Sox or Yanks have caught and passed the other for first place." Not that I haven't been watching intently up until now, but as we delve deeper into Summer, and both teams have shown they're legit, this is where it starts to really get exciting. And with the trade deadline looming, and the Sox already making a few deals to get things started, things will only get more interesting to boot....

Theo Epstein is looking to get the right mix of players to jump start the suddenly anemic Boston offense, and you know Brian Cashman is looking for another arm to replace the limp Wang. New York's problem early in the year was that they couldn't pitch, but thanks to CC, AJ, and a reworked Phil Hughes in the bullpen, the Yankee staff could be adequately described as powerful and resurgent...



The Sox, on the other hand, have suddenly found themselves with no offense, and a rash of pesky injuries. Will they trade Brad Penny before the deadline? Not with Wake on the DL and Smoltz looking his age they won't. I don't care how good Clay Buchholz has looked. In my opinion, I think they should make a big trade involving some guys on the farm, or bring those guys up sooner rather than later and let them start to sink or swim. Trust me, I know Theo likes to bring these guys along slowly, but the pieces that push teams over the top are usually a big trade deadline acquisition, or an infusion of young talent from the farm. If he refuses to deal them? Fine. Then let them play. Bowden, Buchholz and Bard. I wanna see them on the field, or on another team, and ASAP. Don't view it as a rash move, because just having them play I don't think would be. View it as a jump start to the rest of the reason. Lord knows they need one...

Oh and don't think Tampa's going anywhere quite yet, either. As of today they sit just 5.5 in back of the Yanks, and only 3.5 in back of the Sox. This thing is just getting started, kids. Should be a nice little ride...

Next up, just a few quick notes. Had I not been on what Peter Griffin called "dipsalucious vacation," I probably would have gotten more in depth with these topics, but what can you do?...

Tom Watson
It was fun to watch you try to snag your 6th British Open title, Tommy Boy. Too bad you're too old, and you missed that putt on 18 because it was past your bedtime. And hey, Tommy. Have a Keith Richards Bomb on me. You drop a shot of jack into a glass of Ensure, and toss that sucker down the hatch. It's good for you, and it will probably help you forget how you just napped away what would have been one of the greatest major victories of all time...



Phil Ivey
Poker's greatest living player has made it to the final table at the World Series of Poker Main Event. He will enter the November finale 7th in chips, with 9.765 million, while amateur player Darvin Moon (what a name) sits atop the leader board with a staggering 58.93 million in his stack. In a summer in which Ivey has already taken down two bracelet events and collected over $3 million in prop bets, don't think he's not motivated to take this thing down. In 2005, the usually private Ivey told ESPN cameras that this tournament meant more to him than any other. and he's proven that not only with his deep finishes in recent years, but his reluctance to play in many other tournament circuit events. He is a cash game specialist, after all. Which makes his tournament success (youngest ever to 7 bracelets) all that much more impressive...

Good luck, Phil. As if you need it...

(The "November Nine" will return to the felt on Saturday November 7th, with blinds at 120K/240K)

Bud Selig
The commish went on Mike & Mike and said that MLB couldn't wait until the end of the season to determine who had World Series home field advantage because it would be a logistical nightmare for the cities that could possibly be hosting the games. Well correct me if I'm wrong, Bud, but wouldn't all teams and cities have the same time when the 8 playoff teams were determined? Before that, how would anyone be able to plan, anything? It's not like the NL and AL play their World Series home games in specific yet separate buildings. And how hard is it to figure out a few weeks in advance the possible World Series match ups? Answer, it's not. Matter of fact it's a formula a 5th grader could probably figure out without even having to stop playing Drug Wars on his TI 89. (I probably just dated myself)

So inept, that guy. Even for a shriveled Muppet...

Walter Cronkite
Never saw him do a live broadcast, but thanks to movies like JFK and Apollo 13, I felt like I grew up with Walter Cronkite. Especially in an age where journalistic integrity is just a novel idea, we could really use a guy like Walter...

RIP, Walter Cronkite. The voice of a generation. The voice of reason. The voice of the news...
The Sports Hub
It looks as if another contender is stepping into the ring to take a shot at current Sports Radio titleholder, WEEI in Boston. Now as someone that worked for a competitor that was crushed by EEI's presence in our market, I can tell you firsthand that this won't be an easy fight. I'll love having the new 98.5 The Sorts Hub (http://news.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1184964) as an option, it'll just be interesting to see if they can make it work. With the ability to air the Patriots and Bruins games, I give them a fighting chance, but the behemoth that is WEEI has withstood such challenges before and is usually able to rid the competition as if they were swatting a fly from their shoulder. Not only are they the most highly rated sports radio station in the state, but they dominate the entire country. They have a death grip on the most important and hardest to reach demographic in advertising, and you have to believe they aren't going to let it go without a fierce battle...

But who knows. Maybe this new station can harness their relationship with the Patriots and Bruins, and carve out their own little piece of the market. It's not impossible. Ya know, especially if they can get the right people...wink, wink...



Ruben "the Hurricane" Carter
The movie, The Hurricane, starring Denzel as imprisoned middleweight, Ruben Carter, has been on a lot recently, prompting people to ask me about it. Believe me, I'm always flattered when people ask my opinion of movies, usually because they only ask once. After they realize I'm more critical than a Harvard professor on the subject, they usually never ask again and write me off as someone that doesn't like anything. It's simply not true. I do like this movie, and do enjoy a lot of movies. Probably more than you've even seen! But, hey I have a point, this isn't just some pissing contest on how I appreciate movies more than you do. We all appreciate movies in our own way. If our tastes differ, so be it. I know I'm a movie nerd, and I've long since accepted the pros and cons that come along wit that...

My problem with The Hurricane, is that the movie only tells one side of the story. I know the movie is supposed to be based on Carter's book, which would make it his side of the story, but then the movie goes on to portray what they are showing you as iron clad facts. And it's just not the case...

They conveniently leave out the part where the cops pulled Ruben over only to find him hiding under coats in the backseat of his car. A car that matched the car leaving the scene, that had guns and bullets matching the murder weapons stashed in the backseat. Oh, and the fact that Carter, while at one time a top contender, had been 7-7 that past year and had slipped to 9th in his weight class. Or maybe that earlier that night, one of the men who frequented the bar Carter allegedly shot up, had gone into a black bar earlier in the day and shot one of Carter's close friends point blank in the head. Or how about the fact that the crooked cop depicted in the film never existed, and the detective that arrested Carter that night had never met him before in his life?...

Yeah, sometimes it pays to be critical, that way you don't go walkin' around soundin' like a fool when you proclaim the innocence of a man who's case you know nothing about...

I love movies as much as the next guy, probably even more, but it's irresponsible film making like this that tends to get me going. Sure I was able to discover the "truth" after a little digging, and people around at the time probably knew the deal, but you can't expect everyone to go through the same due diligence I did, or have such a depth of knowledge about that particular case...

Entertaining? Yes. And I agree that sometimes the "facts shouldn't get in the way of a good story," but make sure you take these things with a grain of salt. Hollywood tries to trick you, and if you let them, you'll end up chasing down the guy on the grassy knoll for the rest of your life. And that's no way to go about living...

Jeremy Mayfield
I promised a friend I would mention Mayfield, so here it goes. If you're surprised that NASCAR drivers are doing meth, then I have a Mark McGwire home run ball that I'd like to sell ya...

Paging Todd McFarlane...http://tech.mit.edu/V119/N3/homerun.3w.html


And now, onto the grand finale!

We've all heard it before. The person with the best shot at winning the NCAA tourney pool is the office secretary. AKA, the person with the least knowledge about the event in question. Pisses you off right? Well it's never really bothered me, seeing as I've made thousands (plural) of dollars competing in NCAA pools throughout the years, but whenever someone is viewed as an "undeserving winner," it tends to rub the other participants the wrong way, right? You know, like the guy who auto-drafts his fantasy football team, never tends to his roster, and still manages to make it to the Super Bowl year after year? Just doesn't seem fair, does it?

Well boys and girls, if you thought that was bothersome, you're gonna love to hear the story about my recent conversations with the current leader of my fantasy baseball league. Like the nerd I am, I saved the texts from said conversations, and thanks to my amazing memory, have a near verbatim account of our one personal interaction. Take a gander, and tell me that Joe Pesci doesn't describe my current fantasy season beautifully with his line from the classic movie Casino when he says "I'm dealin' with degenerate animals here"...



Personal Conversation
Now despite the fact that this person, for the sake of disclosure let's call him Ted, had been low-balling me with senseless trade offers all season, I still planned on giving him due props for being in first place. After all, I do still respect Ted's knowledge of the game, it's just that his fantasy actions have given me a little cause for concern. So I swallowed my pride, quelled the Rooch inside, and opened the conversation with...

ME: "Hey man, congratulations, you're having a great season." (white dude handshake ensues)

TED: "Ehhh, I don't know man."

ME: "Dude, what do you mean? You're in first place and your offense is stacked!" (I think I spilled a bit of my beer with my Italian hand speak)

TED: "Yea, but I'm losin' this week. And even though I have a good record, it seems every week I play somebody, they have their best week of the season."

ME: "Come on, bro. I'm in last place, here, and you're telling me you've been unlucky?!"

TED: "I have, though, that's the thing."

From there on, the conversation basically ended. Amicably, mind you, but it just sort of faded into the party atmosphere that was surrounding us, and it came to a natural end. As for the picture above, right after our conversation, a dog was hit by a police car at the party we were at, and Ted was never the same. The dog is OK, though, so nobody need worry. Just enjoy that crazy cat...

Now did you notice anything missing from our little interaction? Uhhh, how bout a "thank you"?! Geez. And people wonder why I don't give too many genuine responses and treat things with such irreverence. I offer an olive branch, swallow my pride, and all I get is a "I think you're wrong about how good I am"? Come on. And all that shit about having bad luck? That's coming from someone who already had been told, by me, about how ESPN.com basically did an entire expose about how my pitchers in particular had been getting screwed (12 losses in games in which my starting pitcher has gone 8+ innings and given up 1 or fewer runs). Oh and how about we toss in the fact that my best hitter, the guy leading the NL in hitting, spent 3 weeks on the DL with "stress related issues"...

Whatever happened to bragging, anyway. When someone congratulates you on doing well, someone you know wishes they were in that position instead of you, if you're not gonna thank them shouldn't you at least rub it in?! Pretty much the only two ways I could fathom a person going in that situation, is being humble in accepting your praise, or being brash, and throwing it right back in your face. I guess ole Teddy had his own way of handling it, though...

Text Conversation #1
This series of text's took place right after the start of our current head to head match up. A match up, I might add, that the unlucky, Ted, is winning right now, 11-3. Take note of where I Jedi mind-trick him...

TED: Sidebet?

ME: sure-I bet u make gross trade proposals-oops, I already won!

TED: Ha...Reynolds is ranked like 10th, there was nothing gross about that proposal...How many of your guys have 20+ hrs and 10+ steals?

BACKGROUND INFO
Reynolds is Mark Reynolds, 3rd baseman for the Diamondbacks, who TED had offered me for Johan Santana. Not a bad offer, matter of fact his best to date. But seeing as we'd already had conversations that for me to move Halladay or Santana I would need to be blown away, it just didn't fit. I mean my team is struggfest 2K9, but the one thing they can do is pitch. Adding just one bat, unless it's Pujols, isn't gonna do much for my anemic offense, while removing Santana would go a long way towards hurting my pitching.

ME: None-so by that logic you would give me Braun (Ryan Braun) for less than santana right? (Braun being ranked lower than Reynolds)

TED: If anyone else had reynolds #s ud make that deal...Ur basing your decision on name recognition...Either way, that trade proposal wasn't gross

ME: So y not braun?

TED: I would consider it for Halladay (ranked better than Santana)

ME: but hes ranked lower than Reynolds

TED: well see where he ranks in the end

ME: and i say the same about reynolds-u r just looking @ the name and not the numbers

ME: and for the record-that reynolds deal wasnt all that gross-funny tho that u assumed thats the one i meant (considering all his other proposals were far more lopsided)

TED: Well Slowey (Kevin Slowey, Twisn pitcher) was supposed to be back last wknd... But good news on the injury front, Quentins back

ME: OK?

And that's it. From there my Inbox truns into me asking Frosco about whether or not he's seen Erin Andrews naked, and all the predictable texts that follow thereafter. But you see what I did there? He accuses me of being superficial and phony pretty much, and then turns around and tells me I'm right and that we agree, while not realizing he said that at all. We both think Braun has nowhere to go but up, and Reynolds has nowhere to go but down.

If Mark Reynolds has better fantasy stats than Ryan Braun, then why wouldn't he be willing to trade me Braun instead? You think maybe it's because Reynolds is a perennial strikeout machine (204 last year, on pace for 224 this year) who's hitting a full 30 points higher than his average over the past 2 seasons, is on a team that has no offense, and has already been labeled a notorious streak hitter despite this only being his 3rd full season in the bigs? Yeah, I think that might just be it. The Pot just called the kettle black, my friend. The only problem, is that the kettle is from IKEA, and probably more of a light blue or a forrest green.

Again, just another conversation that I didn't quite understand, with a man who's baseball knowledge I still have loads of respect for. Truly a head scratcher. But wait, there's more!
Text Conversation #2
I'm at work yesterday, and I go to give a quick check to my fantasy team. Granted I check it all the time at night when I'm working Yankee games, but during this particular day game I was rather busy.

So, what do I see when I check the stats? Ricky Nolasco, he of the 6-7 record and the 5.77 ERA not only started for TED's team, but had made it through 6 scoreless innings, giving up just 2 hits while striking out 10 and walking 1...

ME: Nolasco huh?

TED: Ya he's ill. Lee wasn't too bad either last night.

(Lee='08 Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee who ranks 6th in the league with a 3.15 ERA, who the night before needed 2 runs in the 9th to grab a 2-1 W...at the expense of my closer, Scott Downs, by the way. But, hey, let's not bring any facts into this)

ME: If by ill u mean has a 6 ERA than I agree

TED: I'd just focus on his stats after his demotion (to Triple A, earlier in the year)

ME: 11 runs in his last 12 innings pitched?

TED: Bump in the road

ME: haha ok TED whatever you say-keep livin the dream

At the same time I suggested to Frosco that I trot out a pitcher with a ERA close to a touchdown, and closer to 9 in his last 2 starts and see what happens. At least we were both able to get a goo chuckle out of it...

But again, the response I was looking for with my original text, honest to God, was this "right? hahaha." But he counters with "what? this guy is nasty, and you had a guy do just as well last night!"? Really, bro? I mean, I guess if you wanna look at my guy, the defending AL Cy Young winner and 6th in ERA, who is on that list I mentioned earlier and responsible for 4 of those 8 inning losses, and say I got fortunate for having him throw a CG with just one earned run, then I really have to start wondering whether or not you really know what you're talking about. And it's not like I was looking for some kind of apology, I just wanted him to admit it was as fluky as it obviously was! Listen, I'll admit that Nolasco has been streaky good, but when you're ERA for the year is 5.77, and 8.25 over the past 2 starts, I'd consider 6 innings of 2 hit, shutout ball a surprise more than anything else. And I'm sure the Florida Marlins would agree with me...

And it's not that I'm bitter about losing, not at all. Those that really know me, know that I really don't care about winning or losing. Sure I give it my all to win, and Lord knows I could use the money, but like I say virtually every week right here and to anyone that will listen, what I love about sports is it's unpredictability. It's the soap opera that draws me in, keeps me interested. I'm just as intrigued at how cursed my pitching staff is as I would be if I had a team full of no-names that had propelled me to 1st place. Is it as gratifying? Of course not, but that doesn't make it any less fun!

So do I make silly predictions? Of course I do. Am I wrong a lot? Of course I am. But that's the fun in it. We play in a guessing game where the outcome is always uncertain, yet at the end of the day, there's always an outcome. What could be better?

All I ask, is that when you do win in a game where there is fierce competition amongst your peers, act accordingly. Otherwise, you're nothing but a secretary shocked to see a stack of $20's on her desk...



And like that....poof!

I'm gone...

Catch you next week, kids...

100...

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