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Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Summer of Rooch Nation...

I see advertising everywhere...
Well, my friends.  A few twisters and turns aside, and it seems we've actually come into Summer.  And if Memorial Day weekend has taught us anything, it's that the Summer of 2011 is setting up to be a doozy.  Which is to say nothing of the weather.  No, my loyal, sports loving minions, because while we all expect the weather to be glorious, it's the palpable buzz on the streets that's got me looking forward to the next 3+ months.  What buzz, you ask?  Well it's not the buzz surrounding the Bruins, I'll tell you that much.  But then again, that's probably somethin' you already knew...

No, dear followers, the buzz of which I speak surrounds none other than the Nation itself.  That's right, kids.  Traffic is up (nearly 1,000 hits per post), the RoochNation.com softball team is rolling (6-1, tied for 1st) and it seems wherever I go people are wanting to talk about either my snazzy logo, or my highly opinionated point of view.  Yep, things are looking up.  Way up.  And seeing as though this is my 400th career post, I feel there's never been a more appropriate time to return to my roots, and give my readers the type of quick fire (relative term) and multifaceted post that's helped build me such a loyal and voracious following.  Something I've been doing more lately anyway, but a tactic that just feels right considering the time and circumstances...

So sit back my damies, and enjoy.  It's officially the 'Summer of Rooch Nation', and there's yet to be a beach umbrella invented that can save you from what I'm about to rain down.  Then again, considering the demand for the Rooch Nation t-shirts, beach umbrellas may be something we need to look into.  You hear that, Frosco?  Beach umbrellas, that's the our next move...

My next move, is to give you the delicious info you came here to digest.  So get some, my friends, and again, thank you all for your continued support...
Just a bump in the road...
Red Sox Update
Last Week: (3-4)
Standings: 30-262nd in AL East by 2 games (NY Yankees)

First, it was the scuffling offense, embodied confusingly enough by the struggles of Carl Crawford.  Now, with the offense finally on track, and powering the club to 13 wins in 15 games, it's the pitching that becomes the main concern, embodied again confusingly enough, by the struggles of one Jon Lester.  Not to say that either player is totally responsible one way or another, but both serve as appropriate focal points for the respective unit's issues...

Then again, to say this team has "issues" after going 19-10 in May, even if they did just drop 4 straight and get swept at home by the White Sox, would be finding fault in something that you know is inherently flawed to begin with.  Are the Sox perfect?  Of course not.  The back 2/5ths of their rotation is a complete shit show, and their ace, Jon Lester, has an ERA of 6.51 over his last 5 starts.  That being said, this is also the same team that started 2-10, yet now sits atop the Wild Card and just 2 games back in the AL East.  What does that tell you?  Well it tells me that in a season that's full of ebbs and flows, it's the teams that can consistently find different ways to win that will usually find themselves at or near the top of the standings.  If anything, I think the 2011 Red Sox have proven that they are indeed one of those teams...

Through 56 games, there have been times when they haven't pitched, and there have been times when they haven't hit, yet here we sit on June 2nd, in an all too familiar place in the Tito Francona and Theo Epstein Era.  2 games back of the Yankees, and sitting atop the AL Wild Card.  Last time I checked, that's still good enough to make it into the playoffs.  Oh and it it sounds like I'm settling for 2nd best, I'm not.  You just have to remember that 2nd place in the AL East is exactly where I predicted this team would finish.  Not to say that events couldn't transpire that would force me to change my mind, even I'm not that stubborn, but seeing as it was the Sox pitching depth that was supposed to set them apart, and that depth has yet to come to fruition, I really have no reason at this juncture to alter my prediction...

But hey, one thing we can all agree on, those of us that are watching anyway, is that despite all it's faults, this team is fun to watch.  Lots of comebacks, lots of clutch hits, and most importantly, lots of wins.  Things I expect to continue seeing all Summer long, and things all you Bruins' fans can expect to see when your dream ends, and you finally change the channel...

This Week: vs OAK, @ NYY

Nice shirt. Wanna make a wager?

Cup Runneth Over With Loots...

Speaking of hockey...

At the risk of discouraging the "friendly wager", I can't help but laugh at the bets I'm able to make some of the local PinkHats.  And this may be what truly makes you a PinkHat, by the way.  Not being a woman, not being a casual fan, not physically wearing a pink hat (you should know by now those things having nothing to do with it).  But this.  Confidently proposing 'straight up' bets, and taking the decided underdog...

Now again, I don't want to discourage the friendly wager, something I myself have a lot of fun participating in, but unless you're from Boston, you're betting partner is from Vancouver, and you've been friends for 5+ years, the only "friendly" part about that wager is the price being given to the person taking the Canucks!  There's nothing wrong with that, mind you, it just means that if you're the Bruins fan walking around offering straight up action on a team with home ice, that happened to lead the NHL in goals for AND goals against, then that my friend, makes you a sucker.  ME and others fortunate enough to be in a similar position obviously appreciate the action (1 bet for $20, 1 for $25), but don't think we didn't see the pinkish hue of your hat before we decided to pony up the cash.  At the very least, believe me when I tell you we didn't get the impression that you knew something we didn't...

Jusssssst a bit outside...
This isn't to say the Bruins can't win, and this isn't me just talkin' tough after Vancouver snuck away with a 1-0 win in game 1.  I'm just sayin' that if you want the difference between a PinkHat and a true fan, at least when it comes to betting, it's this.  The true fan will always get odds.  Why?  Not because they're a "better" fan or "know more about the game".  Nope.  They'll do it because they're smarter.  Smart enough not to be easily distracted by fly by night "Ice-capades" of a once a decade playoff run, AND smart enough to remember to collect once you've come to your senses and forgotten what the blue line even is.  Now, are we smart enough not to blow that $45 on beer and horse racing?  Well, that's an entirely different story all together.  Hey, there's a PinkHat for every sport, right?...

If you want to destroy my sweater (OH-u-OH-u-OH)...
A (Sweater)Vested Interest...

While we're on the topic of taking money from people who don't know any better, might as well discuss Jim Tressel's scandalous ouster from THE Ohio State University.  My thoughts are these...

To me, college sports are a lot like the Mafia.  Not in the way they operate, but the way in which they're romanticized in the public eye.  It's like, people know what goes on behind the scenes, but as long as you don't rub it in their faces they're not only willing to deal with it, but will show unwavering support if they're on the receiving end of any benefits.  So what's the name of the game?  DON'T GET CAUGHT!...

Shaq. The man! I'll get to you next week, big fella.
I've always said this about Syracuse basketball.  I never saw them do anything questionable in terms of their athletes personally, (Hell Carmelo Anthony didn't even have a car his one year at SU) but whatever they're doing, I hope they keep it up.  As long as in doing what they're doing, they stay off the NCAA's disciplinary radar.  See what I said there?  I don't know if they're "cheating" in terms of recruiting and keeping players at the school, but at the same time, as long as they aren't blatant about it, I don't care.  And from what I can tell, neither does anybody else.  It's just a romanticized part of the game.  Boosters slipping a kid $500, a player getting a no show job, trading meals for autographs.  It is what it is.  Ricky Roe wanted those things to play for Nick Nolte in Blue Chips, and you and I would want the same things were we to find ourselves or our children in that situation.  At least I would.  Hell, if I know they're giving it away anyway, why not take it, right?..

Which brings us to Jim Tressel.  Jim Tressel's not a bad guy.  He's not "what's wrong with college sports".  He just got a little too big for his own britches, and he got sloppy.  He's the mob guy that shoots a patron in a high end restaurant.  They already knew you were killing people, already knew you and your program were dirty, but you stepped over the line, and now you need to be dealt with in a very public fashion.  Held up for everyone to see, so everyone can know that what he and his program were doing were wrong, and that they're going to be dealt with and punished so that something like this never happens again.  Right, and if you believe that, I got some Stanley Cup bets I'd like to make with ya...

That's the thing.  Every few years, a program gets dinged, and two things happen.  1) Paying players immediately becomes a hot topic AND 2) That program gets dealt with and at least temporarily fades from the public eye.  That's a big part of it.  There are so many teams in college sports that the impact of one program getting whacked rarely has nay long lasting effect.  I mean, why else, with "cheating" as rampant as I claim it is, aren't players already being legitimately paid?  Easy, because under the current system the powers that be make more money.  The schools, the NCAA, everyone is better off if they don't have to pay the players.  So what do they do?  They make an example of a school like Ohio St. (or USC) that's flaunting it's power, and knock them down a few pegs.  It'll scare the coaches and programs who were only thinking of cheating, and it'll send the message to those that still do, to CLEAN IT UP!..

I'm not trying to give Jim Tressel a pass by saying he's just "part of the system" or that "everybody's doing it".  He blatantly broke the rules, and he and Ohio St. deserve to be dealt with.  I'm just warning you that just because it looks like a "way of life" is being attacked right now, doesn't mean the practice of illegal recruiting and "pay for play" isn't at the same time, with the very same actions, being both allowed and encouraged.  IT's as if the NCAA is drawing a new line in the sand.  See what Ohio St. did?  Don't do that.  OR at the very least, don't make it that obvious when you do...

What is that, ground squirrel meat? Either way. It's delicious...
ESPN: The Book

Another epic segue as I move from one fraudulent act right on to another.  ESPN: The Book...

A few months back, Taco Bell came out with an ad campaign refuting claims that it's ground beef didn't meet the industry standard for quality.  Only one problem.  IT quickly became evident that it was Taco Bell who floated those initial rumors in the first place (who else is putting their meat under scrutiny? People know what it is!), knowing full well that they would be able to refute them.  Essentially, they wanted to get the word out that they're beef was high quality, and they somehow figured that was the best way to do it.  Certainly a unique marketing angle, just not one I'd think Don Draper would choose to employ.  Not if he wanted to keep his job, anyway.  Which I guess would be another topic all together now, wouldn't it?...

So anyway and to my point, with the release of "Those Guys Have All the Fun", it seems the powers that be over at ESPN have pulled a similar move to the dog meat slangers from south of the border, and decided the best way to advertise their product is to put a lot of negative thoughts about it into the news cycle.  Bill Simmons saying Mike Tirico sabotaged Tony Kornheiser?  Erin Andrews and Michelle Beadle in a cat fight? The cliques? The sex? The grudges? The salaries?  Don't get me wrong, that sounds like great stuff, I just don't get for the life of me why ESPN would allow access for something like that to be published.  Let alone encourage it's employees to participate in it!  This falls squarely under the banner of "any publicity is good publicity", and for a powerful and reputable outlet like ESPN, it just seems like a cheap move.  If this were an undercover piece, or an expose provided by a whistler blower, then it would immediately move to the top of the list of best sports books of all time, no question.  But seeing as it were more or less commissioned, it comes off more as a sensationalized piece of crap more worthy of TMZ than a true behind the scenes look at the World Wide Leader in Sports...

I still plan on giving it a once over, at which point I'll provide you with a review, but at nearly 800 pages, you might need to give me some time.  After all, I do have a budding empire to manage over here...

I don't even know what I have...and it doesn't matter. I'm still gonna get your money.
Phil Ivey Boycotts the World Series of Poker

I know most of you don't follower poker at all, but even those that don't probably recognize the name, Phil Ivey.  He's widely considered THE best all around player in the World, and is known as a legend in the gambling community not only for how prolific a gambler he is, but at the ridiculously high stakes at which he likes to compete.  Well, that, and now he'll also be known as the man who boycotted the 2011 World Series of Poker...

Per usual, Ivey won more on his prop bets
than from actually winning this tournament.
In the wake of "Black Friday", the day in which all Internet gambling was officially shut down in the US, players across many sites have had issues withdrawing their funds.  I told you all that I had no issues at all getting my money from PokerStars, but for folks over at the equally popular Full Tilt Poker, things haven't been running nearly as smoothly.  Which is where Ivey comes in.  As a large shareholder and the face of Full Tilt Poker, Ivey has decided to boycott the World Series and sue his former sponsor for $150,000,000 in an attempt to both restore what he calls his tarnished public image, and to help facilitate the return of funds to players that he says were loyal to him and the brand he promoted.  Full Tilt's parent company, Tiltware, on the other hand, says Ivey owes them money, and that he's not the Robin Hood he's claiming to be, only "boycotting" the WSOP to avoid further scrutiny from the Department of Justice in regards to his role in Full Tilt's illegal US activity.  A messy back and forth, to say the least, and an issue that the more they talk, doesn't seem like it will be coming to any sort of conclusion any time soon.  A rather unfortunate state of affairs for those that still have money locked in there...

The big news, though, is that Ivey will be absent from the World Series, an event he's more or less been the MC of since the poker boom (8 bracelets since 2000).  Whether it's his propensity for final tables or million dollar prop best that gets you going, one thing's for sure.  Without Ivey around, things aren't going to be nearly as eventful.  He's been called the Tiger Woods of poker, and this will be like having Tiger sit out all 4 Majors.  Remember how exciting that was?  Exactly.  I guess now we can only hope that poker's Tiger Woods has a better comeback if and when he ever again graces the WSOP felt...

Oh and just to comment on his intentions VS what Tiltware is saying.  I'd probably have to side with Tiltware.  If Ivey really wanted to do what he's claiming to try and do, why just just play the World Series and give all the winnings to those on Full Tilt who haven't been paid?  IF he were in the financial position we all assume he is, and his intentions are what they say they are, that would totally be the smartest move.  Then again, maybe he's not in the financial position we all assume he is...Nahhhhh.  He's Ivey.  He's a baller.  I just think this baller's found himself between a rock and a hard place, and it might be a while before we get him back to where we're used to seeing him.  Reading souls, and raking chips...



Well there ya have it, friends.  Post #400 in the books.  Again, I'd like to thank you all for your continued support, and remind you to keep those comments comin'.  It's not a Nation if it's just me, and if it is just me, that's gonna make for one long and lonely Summer...

Speaking of which, if this is to be the Summer of Rooch Nation, I gotta get out there and make it happen.  So I'm off to enjoy the nice weather that's finally arrived, and I suggest you all do the same.  Have a great rest of the week, my damies, and a great weekend, too...


Teddy Williams...
100...

#$>

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