Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Horses, Hoops, Blogs & Bikinis

Back in the day, I used to worship at the altar of ESPN, watch a ton of NBA basketball, and take every chance I got to ogle scantily clad women on the pages of various photo filled periodicals. Some things never change, and some things do. Read on to figure out which have and which haven't, even though you likely already know the answer. Should still be worth it, though, as I'll make sure you get plenty of pictures of Kate Upton. And chances are, she'll probably bust out a half naked dance move or two for your viewing pleasure...


Let's start with ESPN. Once the best, and only game in town, now a world wide network that's essentially turned into TMZ with the rights to Monday Night Football. From Mike & Mike in the morning, who've created a brand of sports talk that's meant to appeal to fringe fans and housewives, to the myriad of SportsNation type shows that are blatantly there just to fill time and make loud noises, the once proud network where sports fans went to get real information has become to sports fans what I'd imagine the "talking heads" shows have become to hard core political pundits. IT's just a joke, and if you're tuning in to watch anything other than PTI, Baseball Tonight, or an actual LIVE sporting event, then you have to admit you just have it on to supply some background noise. Or maybe you have some unhealthy attraction to Skip Bayless or Screamin' A. Smith...

At least he's wearing a decent looking zip up hoodie...
So, why do I mention this? I know it's not exactly news, but a recent article by former Sports Illustrated stalwart and current ESPN scribe, Rick Reilly, just reminded me of how far the "World Wide Leader" has actually fallen...

Reilly, who frequently mocks bloggers and even once dedicated an entire column to doing just that, was caught this week not only reading a blog, but being fooled by one and not even crediting it. You can read the story here, about how the boys over at The Basketball Jones caught Reilly citing as fact a joke they had made about LeBron James, but my point is a greater one. Much like Bill Simmons was outed as a fraud when he Pink-Hatted his way up to the glass for the Bruins' run to the Stanley Cup, Rick Reilly has removed any doubt as to whether he too is capable of selling out when it suits his purposes...

Hey, I don't have a problem with a legendary columnist getting ideas from a blog, just as I don't have a problem with someone who never goes to hockey games using his influence to get himself into the front row. My problem arises when those very same people have long had "holier than thou" opinions that contradict their actions, yet still are allowed to remain credible and are better yet, held up as leaders in their field...

Whack Power???
That's why I'm happy to see the likes of FOX, CBS and NBC starting their own "sports only" networks. I'm not disillusioned to the fact that these networks will probably only spawn more marginal infotainment shows like the ones ESPN uses to fill it's 24 hours across it's myriad of channels, but at least then there will be a literal "field" in which we can compare these people. Right now guys like Reilly and Simmons are considered the best because they're still more or less the only game in town. Them being called "the best" is like me saying I was named Blogger of the Year by the Brett Ferruccio Bloggers Association. Like last week with the discussion about the referees, it's all about accountability, and between their substandard programming and suspect journalistic practices, ESPN doesn't have any left. Sounds like strong words from someone penning out a blog in his family's basement, but seeing as that's apparently where the paid talent at ESPN gets their info, you might wanna take it to heart...

Oh and Rick, there is no Brett Ferruccio Bloggers Association, so don't expect an invite to our annual awards dinner any time soon...

That last rant was a little longer than I had anticipated, so to bridge the gap, here are the aforementioned pictures of Kate Upton splashing around in a bunch of barely there bikinis. Apparently she's trying to sell them, I don't know. I'm not much for reading when it comes to web pages with Kate Upton on them...

...hopefully you're not the same way...

I've finally figured out why it is I don't like the NBA anymore, and oddly enough, it has very little to do with the lack of fundamentals and/or competent coaching. Turns out, I don't like the NBA because I'm not a glutton for punishment, and I don't change my mind about which team is going to win a series after the completion each game. Not meant as a shot at NBA fans (though it's inevitable), but it's just that I feel I've finally put a finger on why it really is that I can no longer stomach that league. Heat up 2-0? The series was over. Spurs up 2-0? The series was over. Really?? Since when? Whatever happened to "A series doesn't start until a team wins on the road"? Guess that went out the door with team defense and players actually listening to coaches. Oh, and you can't help but snicker when thinking about how there's been talk this post season about both the Heat and the Celtics needing to "blow up" their rosters if they had lost one particular game...

Then there are the officials. They're bad, that's long since been established. And they favor the home team 9 times out of 10. Also, not news. Yet every game fans seem to act as if they are surprised when the officials A) suck and B) favor the home team. IT's like bad, scripted reality television. Sure there are a few twists and turns along the way, but ultimately, things seem to go according to some plan. Not saying the league is fixed, I don't subscribe to that theory, it's just the reaction to every game is a little too predictable for my tastes. Again, no knocking fans just as I won't mock the people that watch those crappy reality TV shows. Hey, we all have our vices and dirty pleasures. I've just finally determined exactly why it is that the NBA will never again be one of mine...

But I still reserve the right to rip it every now and again. Ripping incompetent people, now that's one of my dirty pleasures...

Quick note about Tiger Woods. He made an amazing chip to help lead him to a vintage Tiger win @ The Memorial, but I'd still be careful to say "he's back". Like I've said before, the days of Tiger dominating as he has in years past are OVER. That doesn't mean he won't win now and again, or even that he won't return to being the #1 player in the world, but gone are the days where you confidently take him in a bet vs "the field". Hey, I love T. Money as much as the next guy, and watching him make that shot at The Memorial instantly became one of my favorite sports moments of 2012, but I'm still of the belief that the Tiger Woods of old is gone for good. Thankfully, I'm also still of the belief that the golf world is a better place since he's been knocked down a peg. Which is why I'm really looking forward to the upcoming US Open @ the Olympic Club. Maybe if Tiger dusts the field there like he did in 2000 at Pebble Beach, I'll come down off my high horse...

As for Phil Mickelson, who called the PGA commissioner to complain about camera phones shortly before withdrawing due to fatigue, I think my good friend Aaron summed it up best with this tweet:

"@ADrock824: Lefty should have just relaxed and smoked butts between holes with Spencer Levin."

True story. Sure, Levin choked the lead away. But at least he was able to use a few between hole burners to calm him down enough to finish the tournament. That's how you know it's a real sport, too. When you can participate in it at the highest level, all while hauling on a full flavored heater. Right, Jim Leyland? Jim Leyland says yes...

And finally, I'll Have Another is going for history this weekend at The Belmont as he tries to become the first horse since 1978 to win horse racing's vaunted Triple Crown. I'm pumped to see him try to finish it off, but I've got 7 examples in recent history that tell me he's unlikely to turn the trick. Their names are Silver Charm ('97), Real Quiet ('98), Charismatic ('99), War Emblem ('02), Funny Cide ('03), Smarty Jones ('04), & Big Brown ('08). Yeah, not exactly an encouraging trend, especially seeing as though all those horses more or less simply failed to endure over the longer Belmont track. But I'm still holding out hope. I probably won't be betting on I'll Have Another to turn the trick, mostly because it probably won't and the fact the payouts will be far too small, but money on the line or not, I wouldn't mind bearing witness to history. And I think we all know, there ain't no history, like horse history. Yep, that's a saying now. So try using it as often as you can in everyday situations...

Oh, and to those that are pointing to allegedly dirty trainer of I'll Have Another, Doug O'Neill, and saying his tactics would tarnish any victory, I got news for ya. Nobody cares. It may be a sad commentary, but by and large, the sporting public likes their horse racing the same way they like their college sports. Dirty, money driven, and full of midgets with whips. What? Most of those college coaches are a lot shorter than you might think...

Enjoy your week, friends...

Teddy Williams...



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