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Thursday, May 17, 2012

News & Notes: Flops, Sox & A Fine Problem for ESPN


There I was, steaming home from work after Josh Beckett's 2 1/3 inning debacle, ready to rip into Red Sox fans and their fair weather nature (don't worry, I wasn't sticking up for Beckett, either). I even had a nice little analogy ready, with Sox fans playing the role of the whiny and entitled Winklevoss twins. Appropriate, right? Seeing as the whole Facebook story does have an inherent Boston connection. But then, after thinking it over for a while, I realized that this was probably one of those times where cooler heads should prevail, and with a few friends echoing that sentiment, the Winklevii hit the cutting room floor with little chance that they will ever return. That is unless a set of twins show up in professional sports (hockey doesn't count) that make me wish I were prematurely deceased. Williams Brothers, I'm looking in your general unitard clad, tennis playing direction...

So, in lieu of another piece from me that voices my displeasure with the state of sports fandom here in New England, I've decided to hit you with some news and notes. I'll still be voicing my displeasure, mind you, it just won't be directed at the PinkHats...for once...

Enjoy...

-Let's start with Beckett. One thing I think fans need to understand about this guy, is that win or lose, he doesn't give a rats ass what you think about his performance. That 2 1/3 inning performance last week? I'm of the opinion that it had nothing to do with how the fans were riding him after his ill advised golf outing the week before. Same goes for the gem he threw his next time out. That's just the way he is. It's not ideal from a fan perspective, as it sure doesn't make him easy to root for, but for we as Red Sox fans to keep questioning his "attitude" is simply a lost cause. Again, it may not be what we want from him, but I think it's clear now that asking anything of Josh Beckett other than to do what Josh Beckett wants to do is a lost cause. Let's just hope that what he wants to do for the rest of the season is show up prepared and keep dishing out those quality starts. He does that, he can golf all he wants. He can even have some fried chicken and beer from time to time...

-Another Sox note brings me to Will Middlebrooks. Is the magic already gone? Since my write up last week, the 3rd base wunderkind is a mere 6 for 34 (.176) with a staggering 15 strikeouts. Probably just a bump in the road, but I think we'll all be better off when Kevin Youkilis returns from the DL and takes his rightful spot at 3rd base. Not that he's some sort of drastic upgrade, but it's clear now that perhaps little Willy should get back to a place where he can ramp up his confidence and be ready to contribute in the future (maybe even the end of this year) rather than keep him up in The Show simply because he had a few good weeks. Get him back in Pawtucket, get him playing everyday, and let his development take it's natural course. I'm not saying I was wrong last week, when I said he was one of the lone bright spots of this young season, I'm just reiterating that it probably won't be until next season that we see the Will Middlebrooks we saw a few weeks ago on a night in and night out basis...


-IT appears Curt Schilling's video game company might be going belly up, and you know what I haven't heard yet? Someone from EA Sports calling Curt a complete idiot and someone that's in way over their head. See, Curt? Sometimes things aren't as easy as they seem from afar, something you might want to remember the next time you start taking shots at Bobby Valentine and the atmosphere in the Red Sox clubhouse. Just sayin', glass houses and rocks and whatnot. Oh, and leaving the Rhode Island Economic Development meeting shielded from the media by coats as if you were Mike Tyson after his rape conviction probably isn't going to help your image very much. Just furthers the notion that you're a guy that loves to dish it out, but can't take it. And nobody likes an unaccountable coward, Curt. No matter how much blood his sock might have on it...


-Moving on to basketball for a brief moment, I heard two comments this week that I thought were rather interesting. First, was when Golden State guard, Steph Curry, came on the Dan Patrick Show. Dan posed to him what he later admitted was more or less a "joke question", asking if at any point in his career was he "taught" how to flop and embellish body language in order to draw fouls. His answer? YES. And he furthered it by saying that it was his head coach, Don Nelson, that actually ran the flopping drill and brought in gym mats for the players to fall onto while practicing. Haha beautiful, just beautiful...

Then, there's Kobe Bryant, who said he doesn't take charges because A) they're too hard to do correctly and B) because he was protecting his body. Also beautiful, but for very different reasons. See, Kobe has proven time and again that he's a selfish player, but this time he hit the nail on the head. As someone that made a living in high school out of taking charges, I'm here to tell you that correctly setting yourself up to take a charge IS really hard to do. That's because, under no circumstance, should your attempt at taking a charge involve you sliding underneath an offensive player that's already started his move to the hoop. But that's how charges are rewarded these days, so that's what players do. And what does that result in? A lot of unnecessary injuries...

See, a charge, or a player control foul, are supposed to be called when the offensive player uses excessive force to access an area of the floor already occupied by the defensive player. IT's NOT when a defensive player decides to put himself in the way of the offensive player merely to draw the foul. For instance, I took a lot of charges off of pick and rolls, by positioning myself where I knew the ballhandler would eventually want to go. I didn't wait till he burned off the screen and then slide over with my arms up and let him run me over. Sounds like a fine line, I know, but if you've played the game it's easier to understand. Essentially, if it appears to the viewer that you're "trying" to take a charge, then it should almost never be rewarded, and in fact, probably only 1-2 charges should be called in any given game. Most of what you see called should either be "no calls" or blocking calls, yet because these players are being taught how to fool the refs, more often than not it will be called a charge. That's why I don't blame Kobe, and I laugh at the NBA as a whole. Kobe's right to stay out of that game altogether, and the NBA, with it's laughable flops, is quickly going the way of professional soccer. I give it two years before we see the first player in league history removed from the court on a stretcher only to return to action just a few minutes later...

...oh wait, Paul Pierce has already done that. OK, moving on...


-Laurie Fine, wife of disgraced former Syracuse assistant men's basketball coach, Bernie Fine, is suing ESPN for defamation of character. Now, I've already submitted that Bernie almost definitely did some shady and inexcusable shit back in the day, but to me this move is just beautiful. The way ESPN handled the story, shadily leaking stories about Fine's wife having had affairs with former players (all which have been denied by the players themselves), is not only shitty journalism, but it's more or less what ESPN has become. They're no longer interested in reporting the news, they're interested in making it, and when that line gets crossed, those responsible for crossing it need to be taken to task. Now, I don't know the exact evidence she has, or whether this lawsuit has a chance in Hell of succeeding, but I like the fact that at least someone is challenging the "world wide leader". Maybe if the person bringing the lawsuit didn't look like that crazy chick from the Drew Carey Show, it would seem to have more credibility, but like I said, I'll take it. Those "infotainment" frauds in Bristol need to be consistently taken to task before all of their programming begins to resemble TMZ and Entertainment Tonight. Oh wait...


-Finally, just a local sports radio note. I'll admit I too was tiring of WEEI's The Big Show, with all the hosts continuously yelling over each other, but for those that have said they like 98.5 The Sports Hub's Felger & Mazz as a much more suitable alternative, I have to take exception. Not only are they essentially recreating The Big Show, with normally 3-4 voices being heard at one time on any given show, but between Felger and squeaky Mazz that show is NOTHING BUT YELLING AND WHINING ALL THE TIME! I get it, people like change and they like having an alternative, and I'm all for that. But a quick listen will tell you that we've all fallen victim to the proverbial "bait and switch". Props to The Sports Hub, I guess, for pulling it off, but in my opinion all it's done is water down the drive time radio options and given the man with the most annoying voice in all of radio (Mazz) a reason to yell and scream for 4 hours a day. IT just borders on un-listenable, and it disappoints me that 98.5 is using it's new found success to push this type of programming forward. It's just not good radio..

Take a listen to the Dan Patrick Show (or watch it weekdays 9-noon on Comcast) and you'll see what I mean. That's radio, and while Dan and the Danettes aren't the only ones that do it effectively, they'll give you a good idea of how a sports talk radio show is supposed to be run. No yelling, no screaming, great interviews, and perhaps most importantly, no fraudulent bandwagon jumping. It's just great radio, and it's a shame that they've come to represent more of the minority rather than serving as an example that all other stations are eager to follow...


There you have it friends. Good luck with the rest of your week, and have a great weekend...


Teddy Williams...
100...

#$>

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've heard rumors of possible fines for players that flop. Not going to work! Its going to end in players furious because either they believe they didn't flop; or they actually didn't. Quick fix....just make it a no call once in a while. Let that rat bastard lay on the ground getting stomped on by a bunch of big footed dudes and cost his team points..it'll deter these teddy fish from flopping at every oppurtunity. Duuuuuuuuuke!

Brett Ferruccio said...

Isn't Duke University where the flop was invenTed?

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