Friday, February 27, 2009

Listen to the Money Talk

Obviously the owners and management of several professional teams are not readers of TPLIYP. In one of my first posts of what has become such a prolific blog, I laid out my theory that the highest paid teams in each sport often have little success when it comes to winning a championship. Despite my hard work and diligence (Dill), teams continue to spend and spend and spend. All we need to do is heed the words of AC/DC and "listen to the money talk" to forecast trouble on the horizon for several teams.

Today, the Washington Redskins, a frequent violator of the "Highest Paid Team" Theory went out and threw a total of $154 million at TWO PLAYERS. Albert Haynesworth's 7 year/$100 million contract is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of, and is already drawing criticism from their fans. This man, who was once suspended for stomping on another man's helmetless head, has two good seasons and gets himself $100 million. I thought the economy was struggling? Then the 'Skins come right back and give Deangelo Hall 6 years/ $54 million? These two signings will no doubt give the Redskins the highest paid NFL Franchise title in 2009, which we now know is rarely a good thing. It hasn't worked in the past for the Redskins, so why is Daniel Snyder doing it again?

The next move that caught my eye this week relates to the NHL's highest paid team, the Flyers. In order to pave way for the return of the $10 million man Danny Briere, who has been out most of the season with a groin injury, the Flyers had to waive Glen Metropolit (a dead ringer for Ben Condon) and Ossi Vaananen. These two guys might not have had the star power of Briere, but they were two of the hardest working players on the Flyers lower lines and were a symbol for how they never gave up in games. Believe me, waiving these two guys will have a ripple effect for the Flyers. Just another example of how overpaying has negative effects on the entire team.

Finally, we have the two headed monster of Manny Ramirez and Scott Boras. In an offseason where free agents are receiving 1/2 to even 1/3 of their previous contracts, Boras and Manny are refusing the EXTREMELY generous offer of 2 year/$45 million from the Dodgers. I hope whatever team Manny ends up signing with, for whatever ungodly amount of money it is, ends up in the cellar this year. Imagine if you will a player who busts his ass all spring training, thinks he has a good shot of making the big club, but then is replaced by Manny Ramirez when he signs at the last minute. Just because some prima donna wants to make $22 million a year instead of $20 million (I've always wondered why a few million matters when the number is already that high. Is there really any need for those extra 2 or 3 million? What are you going to buy that you need $23 mil instead of $20 mil.), a player who worked his ass off all Spring is sent back down to the minors.

These owners need to learn that when it comes to winning championships, successful teams are usually built from within. Look at the Phillies last year; their core of Howard, Utley, Rollins, Burrell, Hamels and Myers were all homegrown. The same can be said of the Steelers with Polamalu, Roethlisberger, Parker, Ward, Hampton and Holmes. Owners need to take a lesson from these teams and realize that when it comes to signing high priced free agents; let the buyer beware.

Double Day Friday!

Because I failed to post yesterday, and in honor of Civil War hero and supposed baseball inventor Abner Doubleday, I will post two different topics today. The first is a Pencil Sharpener from my most communicative reader Mr. DBillz. In the spirit of Doubleday, the e-mail also has two questions. Here it is in all its glory;

Hi Will,
Got a mailbag 2 part question for you. Since I seem to be the only one trying to get your "pencil sharpener" off the ground, I may as well make it a two-parter, eh? Here goes...If the NCAA season ended right now, who would be your #1 seeds? I say UCONN(ia), PITT, OKLA, Memphis. Pretty standard. It's a shame what happened to Dominique James last night, but I'm happy for Calhoun.
Part Deux: If the season ended right now, does PSU sit on the good or bad (NIT) part of the bubble? Thoughts?"

DBillz also went on a rant of his own at the end of his e-mail about how he hates Ohio State basketball and their biased reporters. Because of that, I thought I'd include this video to cheer him up.

As far as the #1 seeds go, I am struggling mightily with just who is worthy of a #1 seed right now. The top 4 or 5 teams have done little to impress recently and they are all showing signs of imperfection. I for one do not like Memphis as a #1. They tear up the Conference USA and expect that to get them respect? C'mon. The facts are, they are 1-2 against the Big East, with their lone win coming against Setonia, and there are no other ranked teams in their conference. It seems to me like they are not testing themselves against the best teams. Much like the undefeated Ohio State football teams of recent lore, they only challenge themselves a few times a year and expect their record to speak for itself. Well I'm not buying it. Memphis is OUT as a number 1. I like the other three (UConn, OU and Pitt) in as #1's, they have all played tough schedules and fought through injuries to stay atop their conferences. For my fourth #1 seed, I guess I would have to go with UNC. The ACC has a plethora of talented teams and they have only one really bad loss to Maryland. The loss to BC is not terrible because BC has proven that they are the giant killers this year. They just have trouble against the scrub teams like Harvard. Watch out for some "LESSGOEEEGULLLSSSS!!!!" chants this March as BC could make some serious noise in the tournament. Also, you gotta respect the experience UNC has. I don't know about everyone else, but I would never bet against Psycho T and crew. So, UConn, Pitt, OU and UNC are my top 4 for now. Hopefully by tournament time, 4 teams will clearly separate themselves from the pack.

As far as Penn State basketball is concerned, I think they can take advantage of a somewhat down year for the Big 10 this year. The Big 10 is a well respected basketball conference and always seems to get it share of teams into the NCAA Tournament each year. And every year, at least one of those teams makes a run. Sitting in 5th in the Big Ten right now, they have an uphill battle, but it is certainly within reach. As of right now I would say that they are NIT bound, but if they can get over 20 regular season wins, and get through 1 or 2 rounds of the Big Ten tourney I'd say they are in. They have some great wins, but also some tough losses. So like a master photographer, we'll have to see what develops.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Go US and A!

Baseball season is just around the corner, but this year we will get an early treat. With players just starting to get going in Spring training games, we will get a taste of playoff level intensity in March this year with the World Baseball Classic. With the rosters finalized today, the championship is clearly Team USA's to lose. Hopefully, this year they will not disappoint and win the WBC with the stacked roster that they have.

The first thing that stands out to me about the U.S. roster this year is pitching. They have two aces at the front of their rotation in Jake Peavy and Roy Oswalt. I'd say the next team with two pitchers anywhere near in skill to those two would be team Venezuela with Carlos Zambrano and "King" Felix Hernandez, but we all know how shaky those two can be. The only other major league star pitchers on anyone else's roster are Daisuke Matsuzaka of Japan (or Nippon as they say in Japan) and possibly Edinson Volquez of Domincan Republic. The U.S. is very lucky to have two bonafide stars willing to pitch in the WBC this year. Moreover, their bullpen is stocked with some of the best firemen in baseball like Joe Nathan, Jon Broxton (unless he is facing Matt Stairs), Brad Ziegler, J.J. Putz and B.J. Ryan. No other team's bullpen can match up to this, and it could make for several 5 or 6 inning games. Therefore, in terms of pitching, I would say that team USA has a significant edge over the other teams. However, there are always players on the other teams that come out of relative obscurity to surprise everyone.

When it comes to hitting, every team has its bright spots. The Dominican Republic has by far the best infield in the WBC with A-Roid, Jose Reyes, Hanley "The manly" Ramirez, David Ortiz and Miguel Tejada (pronounced "Tuh-jay-duh") all on the roster. Their outfield is rather shallow and pedantic though with only an aged Moises Alou, Willy Taveras and Jose Guillen as headliners. Team Canada could put together a nice little lineup with Russell Martin, Jason Bay, Justin Morneau, Mark Teahan and Matty Stairs launching them deep into the Spring air; and Puerto Rico aka "Boriqua" has some talent with Carlos Del-"got it", Carlos Beltran and Alex Rios in the heart of the order. Again though, I think it is Team USA that has the best lineup from top to bottom. Brian McCann is a huge addition to the team at catcher, the infield is loaded with Kevin Youkilis, Jimmy Rollins, Derek Jeter, D. Wright, Dustin Pedroia and Chipper Jones all vying for time, and the outfield is very strong with "The Hebrew Hammer" Ryan Braun, Grady Sizemore and Curtis Granderson. In every aspect of the game, I would say that the U.S. has the most talented team in the WBC.

The problem comes with unity. In the 3 major sports where athletes can also compete internationally (baseball, basketball, hockey), the U.S. almost always trots out a team that is just as talented as the others. The problem is that none of them are used to playing together. USA basketball struggled mightily until Coach K formed the team years in advance so that the group could get used to playing together, and finally they captured the gold medal again in 2008. In 1980, Herb Brooks watched as the NHL All-Stars were demolished by the U.S.S.R. in a exhibition game, only to beat the Commies with his group of college players who had been practicing together for months and were practically a family. The United States team in the WBC is a group of individuals. They will be forced to compete as a team in a week or so, even though none of them are familiar with each other unless they were teammates in the MLB. Meanwhile, teams like Cuba or China probably have a core group of players who have played together for years and know each other very well. This could prove to be the demise for Team USA. However, if they can put their differences aside in the interest of team and country, I don't see any way that they can be stopped. If all goes well, come March 23rd "USA!" chants will be raining down like a Bruce Springsteen concert at Gillette Stadium.


Gold: United States

Silver: Japan

Bronze: Dominican Republic

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pay Up or Shut Up

Recently, head coach and my main man Jim Calhoun has come under fire for being called out for being paid $1.6 million a year from the great state of Connecticut. With a $2 billion budget deficit facing the state, some think that Calhoun should give some money back, but he says no way. I am with Jimmy on this one. I'm sure this contract was negotiated well before the economy hit the skids so why should he have to give money back? Hell naw, he's gonna get his! Besides, being the head coach of a major basketball power is not a fun job at all. Believe me, he is worth the amount of money he gets paid. He is the hardest working man in Connecticut.

In his 23 years at the University of Connecticut Jim Calhoun has managed to take a team that had always been overshadowed by Georgetown and Syracuse to national prominence. He has won two NCAA Championships, 6 Big East Championships, and has sent 22 players to the NBA. in doing so, he has also revived the culture of sports in the state of Connecticut. Since the Whalers left Hartford, UConn basketball is the biggest ticket in the state. Unless Jose Offerman is back in Bridgeport.

But the strenuous and time consuming job of coaching basketball games is not the only thing on Calhoun's plate, he also has to recruit. Calhoun has not disappointed in recruiting, always getting some of the best players in the land (except Ryan Gomes) to come play in the sleepy little town of Storrs, CT. What's more, Calhoun also has to make time for appearances and to run his annual Jim Calhoun Basketball Camp. In the midst of all this, Calhoun has also been diagnosed with cancer making his life even more hectic.

Coaching is not as glamorous as it appears. My neighbor is a Boston College football coach, and during the season he is never around. He is gone before I leave in the morning, and he told me that he often works so late that he sleeps at the office. I'm sure Jim Calhoun's life is very similar, if not more demanding since he is the head coach. Sure he makes a lot of money, but he also brings in money for the school, gives the people of Connecticut a team to root for, and also gives money back. If you don't believe me, check out the Jim and Pat Calhoun Cardiology Center at UConn Health Center. The man is worth every penny he earns. If you disagree, shut up.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tomahawk Flop

Last year on opening day, nothing angered me quite as much as when John Kruk, my main man and a Phillies legend, picked the Atlanta Braves to win the World Series. This year again, as MLB Spring Training begins to move from workouts to actual games, many sports experts have picked Atlanta as a potential playoff contender. What are they getting all this credit for? Do people still think this is the mid-90s? Are they unaware that the Braves have not been in the playoffs for the past 3 years? Call me crazy, but I'm just not seeing the Atlanta Braves coming out of the NL East this year.

If you venture over to you will find an article by baseball expert Ken Rosenthal called "Improved Braves Look Awfully Dangerous" talking about how all of the Braves off-season acquisitions have made them much better. While there is no doubt they are improved from last year, I don't think they are "dangerous" in any way. Let's look at the additions they made, shall we? Atlanta's biggest acquisition in the off-season was probably the signing of Derek Lowe to a 4 year-$60 million dollar contract. I give this signing an F-. How can you reconcile giving Derek Lowe 15 million dollars a year? The self proclaimed "mental gidget" is definitely not a #1 starter and has gone 26-25 over the last two seasons. While he may log a lot of innings, and have a respectable ERA, I would never pay him $15 million a year. Moreover, I seem to recall the Phillies handling him pretty well in last year's playoffs. Other than Lowe, the Braves signed Tommy Glavine, the pride of Billerica, MA, and Japanese man Kenshin Kawakami. My lasting memory of Glavine is getting shelled for 7 runs in the first inning against the Marlins on the last game of the season in '07 to clinch the NL East for the Phils, and Kawakami is completely unproven. When you add these guys to a rotation of Tim Hudson who is out for half of the year, oft injured Javier Vazquez, and weird named Jair Jurrjens ("Double J") I'm not that impressed. It could work if all the bounces are in their favor, but there are a lot of questions here. The bullpen is also a big question mark for Atlanta. Mike Gonzalez was out all of last year, and his replacement Rafael Soriano did not lock down the closer's role in his stead, or stay completely healthy. When staying healthy is usually the biggest factor in the success of a pitching staff, I would not bank on great success from Atlanta this year.

In terms of the lineup, injuries are a question there as well. Can Chipper Jones play a full season this year. The fact that he only player 128 games last year helped him to his robust .364 batting average and a batting title. Also, can guys like Yunel Escobar, Jeff "Frenchy" Francoeur, Kelly Johnson and Casey Kotchman play up to what is expected of them? Last year, many of them did not. Expecting them all to bounce back is unrealistic. The one rock on this team is Brian McCann, he will have a great year at, and behind the plate. Other than him, a lot remains to be seen though.

With the World Series champion Phillies, the Mets always neck and neck with the Yankees in off-season spending, and the Marlins chock full of prospects, I'd say the Braves have it tough enough even without all of their roster issues. If I were a betting man, which I sometimes am, I would not place any wagers on the Braves making the playoffs this year, even if they are a "dangerous" team.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Return of the Tiger

As he recently announced, Tiger Woods will be returning to action next week. Many golf fans are eagerly anticipating the return of the best player in the game, as are the TV stations and tournament courses. Tiger brings with him an enormous horde of fans and boosts TV ratings to unheard of numbers for golf. While Tiger is no doubt exciting to watch, and has brought the game of golf to another level in terms of marketability, I would argue that from a fan's perspective he has not been the best thing for the game.

Last summer, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC Boston in Norton, MA. The course was amazing and it was a great day to watch some of the world's best tear it up. Usually this would be an event that Tiger Woods plays in, but due to his injury he obviously did not. As we were standing just off the 14th green watching the player's approach shots and putts, I mentioned to my mates how much of a bummer it was that we wouldn't get to see Tiger play. As quickly as I said that, a man sitting near us mentioned that if Tiger was here, we wouldn't be standing anywhere near this green. He said that he was at the tournament the previous year and that the Tiger crowds were so large that it was impossible to watch him unless you arrived early and staked out one hole the entire day. This did not sound very enjoyable to me. Without Tiger playing, we were able to stroll around from hole to hole and get a great view of everything with little trouble. If Tiger was there, this would not have been possible.

With Tiger out of the picture last year, we were also able to see several players rise to prominence who might have been overshadowed by Tiger had he not been injured. We were able to see Padraig Harrington win two majors, Camillo Villegas show that he was an up and coming young star at the BMW Championship, and a Tiger-less Ryder Cup team end a nearly 10 year drought with help from guys like J.B. Holmes, Anthony Kim and Chad Campbell (my boy). If Tiger had been present for these tournaments he no doubt would have gotten most of the attention, and I bet would have won at least one of the majors that Padraig won, and possibly taken the BMW from Villegas.

Don't get me wrong, I think Tiger is the most talented golfer I have ever seen and it is amazing to watch him surgically master a golf course each time out. All I'm saying is that sometimes his fame can be a bad thing for fans of the game. I'm definitely excited that Tiger will be returning, but it was refreshing to see the spotlight shine on the field for a few months last summer.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Junior Comes Full Circle

It seems hard to believe that nearly ten years have gone by since Ken Griffey Jr. left Seattle for Cincinnati in pursuit of a World Series Championship. What looked like the next step in Griffey's illustrious career instead marked the beginning of his decline. Moreover, Griffey's departure marked the end of my youth, and the end of a simpler age in baseball. Hopefully, Griffey's return to Seattle will bring with it a return to his prolific days. Either way, it just seems right to have Griffey back in Seattle.

I was an impressionable kid growing up in the sticks outside of Philly when Ken Griffey Jr. burst onto the scene in the early 90s. This was back in the days of collecting baseball cards, starter jackets, and having the coolest baseball team pencils in school were the most important things to a kid. Well, with Griffey Jr. dominating, and the Mariners logo change to teal and navy in 1993, most children at Murray Avenue School were obsessed with with a player and a team over 3,000 miles away.

I had to have everything Ken Griffey Jr. I had his shoes, I had posters of him all over my room, all of his baseball cards, I had Mariners hats, I even had a Ken Griffey Jr. doll similar to one of those wrestler guys kids used to fight and throw around in their basement. Despite the Phillies making the World Series in 1993, Ken Griffey Jr. was my favorite player and idol. Moreover, he was the undisputed best player in baseball. I remember in the late 1990s, statisticians determined that Griffey was destined to break Hank Aaron's home run record in 10 years if he stayed healthy and put up even mediocre numbers. All was right with baseball and the world it seemed. Then came the denouement; Griffey in Cincy.

When he left Seattle for Cincinnati in a trade he approved after the 1999 season, the 29 year old with the sweetest swing in baseball had 398 home runs. Somehow, it all went wrong from there. In the nine seasons since Griffey left Seattle he has only amassed 213 home runs, compared to the 398 that he put up in 11 seasons in Seattle. Moreover, the most games he played in a season since leaving Seattle was 145 due to plaguing injuries. It seemed as if Griffey was cursed for leaving the cozy confines of the Kingdome. Moreover, the game of baseball kept moving by thrusting stars like Sammy Sosa (pronounced "Sooser") and Mark (pronounced "Mike") McGwire into the spotlight, only to see them both fingered in the great steroids scandal of the 2000s. What used to be a wonderful game dominated by one of the players whom I can come the closest to guaranteeing was clean had now become a adrift in a vast sea of juicers. Despite the fact that I was growing up anyway, I think I lost a portion of my childhood with the confluence of these events. I no longer had an idol, and I no longer could trust these athletes whom I had so revered.

Nowadays it seems that the steroid era is coming to an end. Though I wouldn't be surprised if any MLB player came out tomorrow and said he used steroids, the A-Rod scandal and the Mitchell Report have pretty much let the cat out of the bag, and it has actually become frowned upon and not a part of "the culture". It seems fitting that Griffey should go back to Seattle at this time. Though he is much older and his skills have diminished, perhaps the person they used to call "The Kid" and "Junior" can return to his former greatness and steal the show from the Steroid Era. There is no doubt that he is the best player of my generation, he has just been lost in the shuffle for a while. Welcome back Junior.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sports World/Reader Look Alikes

Today's post goes out to the fans. As many of you know, I have drawn many comparisons to ace pitcher and overall model American Brad Penny. So, because I am feeling just fried today, and because there is not much to write about in my mind, I will find all of your athletic twins. Sound like fun? Yeah!

Glenn A. Halstead III: We all know smooth, suave, wrinkly shirted Glenn of New York City. But before he was smoking cloves with beatniks in the east village, he strongly resembled a young Johnny McEnroe.

Casey Dorne: Casey, Casey, Casey, when are you gonna find your look-alike? You might think having a huge dome and flowing locks of red hair would prohibit you from having a twin athlete, but no! Casey Dorne will soon resemble MLB legend Rusty Staub.

Steve Kohut: The obvious choice here is to go with Serena Williams. However, when taking into account the "kid hair", I lean to Bruins All-Star Marc Savard.

Mathew DeLano: Dill pretty strongly resembles Giants TE Kevin Boss, but he will probably want me to go with Scal.

Michael Borst: I'm sure at one point, a Rockville Center, NY area basketball coach saw Borst and thought "project", just like the Sixers brass did when they drafted now legendary Shawn Bradley. If only his hair was spikey or shaggy.

Todd Haselton: I don't know who this person is, but it is a dead ringer for Todd. The picture was found in a Patagonia catalogue that was sent to my apartment with the old tenant's name on it.

Patrick Lyons
: If Pat reverted back to his Christmas break weight at some point, and developed a keen interest in broadcasting football he could replace Kenny Albert, seen here with a young Spanish boy, in a hearbeat.

Dave Rattner: Two words: Reche Caldwell.

Ethan128: We can only guess what you look like Ethan. But I'm gonna guess its something like this.

Tom Humplik: With Dumper I was going to go with fellow countryman and former Flyers goalie Roman Cechmanek, which is also the answer to "What is one of the funniest things to hear someone from South Jersey say?", but I thought his head wasn't big enough. After a while, I got bored and decided on John Jurkovic, master of the trenches in the NFL for years.

Drew Miller: DBillz, I haven't seen your smiling face in ages, so I'm gonna have to go by memory on this one. I will say a young Jason Varitek.

Jeff Woglom: He plays him on tv at least.

This was a lot tougher than I thought it would be. Feel free to add in your own comments as always!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Best and Worst Sports Video Games of All Time

Over the years, my interest in video games has dwindled. However, I still play most of the sports video games, usually a year or two old on Playstation 2 . Over the years sports games have become more and more life like, realistic and user friendly. Unfortunately, in my opinion, these games have become too realistic and get bogged down in minor details that make the games no fun. For instance, I was enticed to buy MLB '08 The Show because Ryan Howard was on the cover. This game is way to specific on how they want you to swing, and pitching has to be perfect. It is not any fun to play and I don't think I have used it more than twice. A shame. Vidja game designers need to take a lesson from Bud Kilmer and stick to the basics. He is a wise wise man. Usually, the easier a game is to play, the more fun it is. Here are my choices for best and worst sports video games of all time.

I have two choices for best baseball game of all time. The first game is Ken Griffey Jr. Major League Baseball for N64. This game was great for a variety of reasons. First, was that the batting circle was easy to use and a beginner could hit the ball in no time. Secondly, the pitching was awesome. Who could forget Randy Johnson or Curt Schilling throwing the signature "Super Fast Ball". Finally, this game was great because it had a memory device built into the game. No fancy and expensive memory paks required to save your season in KGJMLB.

The other choice for best baseball game was the college cult classic MVP Baseball 05. Some of the most heated baseball games of all time came in this game. Another very easy to use game, that was great in two player head to head mode. Unfortunately, this was the last year EA Sports had rights to baseball games I believe, and they have suffered since. Never were there more 13-12 nail biters than in MVP '05.

For the worst baseball game of all time, I will have to give the nod to "Mike Piazza's Strike Zone". If I'm not mistaken, this game was released around the same time as Ken Griffey Jr. Major League Baseball, and the also popular All Star Baseball '99 with Larry Walker on the cover, giving it instant street cred. Despite being contemporaneous with the other two, this game sucked. It's graphics hearkened back to Nintendo or worse, it wasn't very easy to play, and after every play you had to hear a sound clip of Mike Piazza's shitty band that sounded like it was recorded in a garage. Just a terrible game.

In football, there hasn't been much competition since the Madden franchise came about. Mike Ditka Power Football was sweet because if you replaced the punter with a fast guy and did a fake punt, he would score every time. Joe Montana Sports Talk Football was pretty fluid and tried new things like the "blimp view" which was a bust, but it was fun to play. NFL QB Club was fun because you could participate in the quarterback challenge, and perform late hits. Tecmo Bowl had some classic players like LT and Ronnie Lott who dominated the game. Despite all of these however, Madden takes the cake when it comes to best football game to play. Franchise mode is awesome, and the ease of use is pretty great.

Although it is the best NFL franchise, John Madden also takes the cake for the worst football game of all time with "John Madden 64". What a joke this thing was. Madden didn't get any NFL naming rights, so instead of the New England Patriots being led by Drew Bledsoe, Bledsoe trotted onto the field for the "Foxboro" team. Instead of playing in the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl, the teams competed in the EAS Bowl and the Madden Bowl. Why put a game out there like this when fans are used to so much more? I blame fat lazy Madden.

With basketball, there is only one great. NBA Jam. I can't tell you how many sleepless nights I had because of this game. The dunks, going on fire, throwing elbows, the special players (who doesn't remember typing in ARK for Bill Clinton, or being Will Smith or the Suns gorilla?) the commentary, turbo; it was all amazing. For some reason I could never perform well with the Bulls, everyone's favorite team. I always sucked with them. My team was the Sixers with Hornacek and Weatherspoon (for SNES). I used to put up sick numbers with them. NBA Jam Tournament Edition was a decent follow up with new players, power ups and the rookie team, but nothing will ever beat the original.

Worst game ever goes to Dick Vitale's "Awesome Baby" College Hoops. I have never played this game but I can't imagine playing a game endorsed by Dickie V. It would probably make me want to stab myself in both ears. Also, I heard tell that for each shot, the game stops, goes to a set screen and a free throw meter type thing must be completed for the shot to go in. What a buzz kill.

As you can guess, my vote for best hockey game is of course NHL '94. No brainer here. The teams, the fights, the wrap-around or "banana boat" goals. It was the best. The originator for hockey video games.

The worst hockey video game I ever had was with Wayne Gretzky Hockey for NES. I was very young and didn't know all the rules at the time, and I recall getting called for icing or offsides on every play, and not being able to turn those calls off. I was almost in tears. Wayne Gretzky came out with another hockey game for PS2 in 2006 that was also terrible. It seems that he has the shit touch (opposite of Midas touch) when it comes to endorsements. And coaching.

Tigah tigah tigah Woods y'all!

Worst: Lee Carvallo's Putting Challenge. You have chosen DRIVER. Ball in PARKING LOT, would you like shoot again? You have chosen NO.

That's it for me. Feel free to leave your own favorites and least favorites!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Eyes Wide Shaq

A rather lackluster weekend on the sporting schedule became of very personal interest to me. With UConn defending my honor, Brad Penny's spring training debut, and the NBA All Star game skills competition reflecting my previous post about All Star Games, I found a lot to like about the weekend that was in sports.

First, we had the UConn versus Seton Hall game on Saturday afternoon. Much to my delight, the game was shown locally and I was able to witness Hasheem The Dream dominate the Pirates with a near triple double. Moreover, yet another Will Hayes look alike, John Garcia of SHU ("Spanish Will Hayes" or "Guillermo Aiz") had a good game and made me feel even more so that I went wrong somewhere athletically. Unfortunately, as I am writing this I am reeling from a UConn loss to Pittsburgh. I am not worried though, as they have always been a team of thugs who does well in the regular season but chokes in March and April. UConn may not be #1 by the end of the week, but I would still pick them against any team in the NCAA. The refereeing was also a joke in tonight's game.

Saturday night saw the NBA Skills Competition, as well as the return of my bowling game at Boston Bowl in Dorchester (eep). I watched the ho hum competitions with a lack of interest as I was crushing pins in between Asian and Indian bowlers. This bowling alley was a real Noah's Ark, at least two of every race. Who would have thought that bowling could be such a great unifier. As for the Skills Competition, I was not impressed, especially with the dunk contest. Nate Robinson once again stole a dunk title by jumping over somebody. We have seen this so many times before. We have seen Vince Carter jump over a taller guy before. Just because he did that dumb superman dance and was dressed up as kryptonite, he was able to woo the judges and win(see my post a few weeks ago about this). So lame. At least Dwight Howard was taller than Spud Webb though. In the actual All-Star Game, the only thing that stood out to me was Shaq's bizarre "Eyes Wide Shut"-like dance during the introductions. Perhaps all the All-Stars had a crazy orgy after the game with Tom Cruise. I feel bad for whoever had to bang Yao.

Finally, in perhaps the most important bit of news this weekend we found out what number Brad Penny will be this year. He was spotted at Spring Training rocking the number 36. This will soon become the most popular jersey in America and the world. I have long been comparing the re-uniting of Penny and Beckett to the scene in Mighty Ducks 3 where Dean Portman finally opens his scholarship to Eden Hall and rejoins the Ducks mid-game against the varsity squad. The Bash Brothers are back! Matsuzaka, Okajima and Saito will be competing for the role of "Wu Wu" Kenny Wu, the third Bash Brother. That's all for the weekend that was in pro sports. Be on the lookout for a Brad Penny clone giving out free autographs in Boston.

Friday, February 13, 2009

NBA: Not that Baller

To start off today's blog, I have no idea where this photo came from. You wouldn't believe (or maybe you would) how hard it is to find a picture of a ref calling traveling, so I had to settle for this guy that looks like a Boy George wannabe in some bizarre dance video. This my friends, is what is wrong with the NBA, there is no freaking traveling anymore. But in a larger sense, it is the decline of fundamentals, principles and character in the NBA that has led to such lousy product over the last 15 years or so. The rise to prominence of King James, CP3 and Glen "Big Baby" Davis is helping bring fans back to the game, but the NBA is rotting from the inside.

To the referees: The NBA definition of traveling is about 5 paragraphs long, but we all know what traveling is. I see traveling get called in college games (albeit not enough), but I haven't this year seen it called in an NBA game. How hard is it to see that a player has taken a step with his pivot foot? Do the refs honestly think that a player can get from outside the 3 point line to the basket in 3 steps or less? These referees need to start calling the game more strictly. Also, from the principles standpoint, what is with the referees giving a veteran player "respect" and not calling a foul or traveling on him? Honestly, how many times have you seen Kobe travel and gotten pissed off? Or what about Michael Jordan's famous "push off" on Bryon Russell against the Jazz in the NBA Finals that helped him hit the game winning shot? Every time I see that it makes me mad. Blow the whistle ref, I don't care who has the ball. Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention Tim Donaghy in the referee section in terms of how referees have lost their principles. It is an extreme example, but worth mentioning nonetheless when describing how referees have helped lead to the decline of the NBA.

To the players: To quote one of the most famous high school football coaches of all time Bud Kilmer, "Stick to the basics. Stick to the basics. Stick to the basics." The NBA has quickly become a game of who can best slash to the basket and try to dunk the ball over the other team, or who can shoot the most 3-pointers. It has long been said that the mid-range jump shot is a lost art. What about defense? What about passing? Kids grow up these days worshipping the slam dunks, fancy dribbling, and general showing off displayed in street ball or And 1 Mix Tapes, and lack the fundamentals that made basketball better to watch. Crisp passes, sharp shooting from all areas of the court, and TEAM DEFENSE. Oh it was great stuff. I think the NBA would be better off abolishing the 3 point line and outlawing dunks; it would promote a return to fundamentals in basketball.

I don't even know where to begin when addressing the decline of principles and character in the NBA. Just like many of the others sports, it seems that every day somebody in the NBA is getting in trouble. In the past few years, we have heard tell of a player throwing jizz towels at his butler, witnessed several team vs. team brawls, witnessed team vs. fan brawls, a player requesting that a former team mate "tell him how his ass tastes", a player who shot his limo driver, and enough drug suspensions to last us 'til Rapture. Do you think Larry Bird would have done any of these things? What about Dr. J? What about the Mailman? I bet even he wouldn't ask Stockton to tell him how his ass tastes. There has been an extreme decline in morals in the NBA. I'm sure I'm not the only one that would say that the league is full of thugs, and that the coaches and league officials have no control over them.

The NBA is taking baby steps to bring back fans however. I can honestly say that I am considering watching the All-Star Game Festivities this weekend for the first time since A.I. and the Sixers were nasty in the year 2000 (cue Conan O'Brien). Even with that said though, the NBA is in need of some drastic changes both on and off the court to bring the league back to the prominent place that it was in the 80s and early 90s. There are a few all around "good guys" stepping up to the challenge, but the riff raff (both players and refs) are too much for them to fight on their own. My suggestion is to overhaul the entire system.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Clash of the Titans

After watching #1 UConn stifle #22 ranked Syracuse last night with superior defense and timely scoring, the time has come to look forward to Saturday's game against Seton Hall. With UConn on a 12 game win streak, and Seton Hall on a 5 game win streak of their own, something has got to give. But there is much more than a basketball game at stake here. This is the Cold War ladies and gentlemen. This is Setonia versus UConnia: This is the battle of the blogs.

Long before I became a blogger myself, I followed what was then a little known blog called Setonia, a blog devoted to fandom of Seton Hall basketball run by Dave and Ben. Setonia became an overnight sensation amongst its early followers, but always led us to question how Dave became such a huge Seton Hall basketball fan when he never mentioned anything about Seton Hall while we were at university. Regardless, I followed the blog from its infancy and watched it grow into a powerhouse. You can find my comments under the handle "UConnia" peppered throughout the blog's illustrious history. However, somewhere along the way Setonia lost its identity. Having recently published their 100th blog entry, they handed out a number of thank you's to their fans and well wishers. Several of the fans (I won't name any names) who had been their since the start were not mentioned. Setonia has gone big time folks. They have forgotten the common fan, and for that they will pay this weekend against mighty Connecticut.

All joking aside, I am not that upset about not being named in the 100th entry post. However, I will use it fuel my fire for this weekend's St. Valentine's Day Massacre. UConn comes in having run roughshod over the Big East's finest teams in the past few weeks. A big win against #22 Syracuse last night, a laugher against #7 Louisville not too long ago, a close one against surging Villanova, a win at then ranked Notre Dame (I bet DBillz is happy) and of course, a 15 point win against these very Pirates at the XL Center. Setonia has put together a more modest 5 game win streak, beating some of the lesser filth in the Big East like Rutgers and St. John's. However, they did beat Georgetown, the only team to beat UConn. This, the possible injury to "Iron" Jerome Dyson and the fact that the game is at Seton Hall are the only three things that worry me about this weekend's game. Other than that, I am confident that UConn will roll, vanquishing the evil empire of the Setonia blog.

One of the small things that gives me the most confidence is the first picture in this link. I don't know who that guy trying to cover Hasheem "The Dream" is, but he looks like the African-American, possibly Spanish equivalent of me. That does not bode well for the Hall. "The Dream" went crazy against Seton Hall last time they met for 15 points, 17 boards and 4 blocks. Unfortunately, Setonia has nobody that can cover this mountain of a man and he will be a huge factor in this game. Moreover, A.J. Price "is right" is starting to get hot from outside the arc and will stretch the defense of Setonia so that the big boys can dominate inside. Provided they don't turn the ball over as much as they did against 'Cuse, UConn should put up a lot of points in this one. The defense as usual is the anchor for UConn though, and they have looked amazing as of late. Bringing the ball anywhere near the basket is a bad idea against this defense, the shot with either be stuffed or altered to the point where it misses, often leading to a UConn fast break. UConn will be too much for Seton Hall in this one. Soon after, people will start flocking to this blog and I will be referred to as the wisest man in all the land. It's ok though current readers, as Kevin says in Home Alone 2 "I won't forget to remember you.".

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tackling the Toughest Issues: Nutrisystem

It has been well documented in the annals of TPLIYP how much I disdain the ESPN sportscasters. Therefore, you can imagine how much I shudder in fear when I see them on commercials talking about how much weight they lost with Nutrisystem for Men. I don't understand why Nutrisystem thinks that these guys are good people to market their product with. I personally hate them all (except for the Kruker). I would rather trust Keith Hernandez and Walt Frazier with my beard than Chris Berman or Mike Golic with my food.

First of all, their product looks pretty lousy. They peddle their advertisements saying that their meals are "MAN FOOD!" consisting of "pizza, burgers, lasagna" and my personal favorite "POT ROAST!", but clearly the food is the size of a baseball and probably tastes like one too. Then, they bring in these pro sports personalities, to be fair they are not all from ESPN, who I couldn't give a damn about (except for the Kruker) to talk about how much weight they lost. I don't know when they filmed those commercials, but when I see that person on tv the next day, it appears the weight is back on. This was most apparent with the Kruker, John Kruk. He had the world's fastest weight loss and re-gain. I hope he is through with Nutrisystem for good. Golic is fat again, and I guarantee Chris Berman, who has thrown in his hackneyed, blood curdling phrases like "whoop!" and "he could, go, all, the, way" into the commercial just to piss me off it seems, will put it all back before next football season.

I think it is high time that somebody come up with the 50 most embarrassing cameos of all time by athletes. Up at the top of the list you would probably have Michael Phelps on SNL and Entourage, certainly Walt and Keith with "your beard is weird", maybe swimming star Rowdy Gaines for that pool with the current thing, and definitely Nutrisystem for Men with Golic and Berman. Stick to your day jobs gentlemen.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Quite the Dichotomy

Does anything good ever happen in this country in sports anymore? If something good does happen, it is quickly overshadowed by some deplorable act it seems. Yesterday, the purity and tradition of the 57th Annual Beanpot hockey championship took a back seat to the latest MLB player coming clean about taking steroids. This article can practically write itself in describing just how opposite these two events were.

The Beanpot, while not that important outside of Boston, represents pretty much all that as good and right about sports. For those who don't know what it is, the Beanpot is a 4 team elimination hockey tournament featuring Harvard, Boston College, Boston University and Northeastern. It features college hockey players who are playing out of desire to win and are in the Herb Brooks mold in that "the name on the front of the jersey is a hell of a lot more important than the one on the back". They are simply playing for the right to represent their school and the right to hopefully hoist that pot of beans over their heads when all is said and done. Yesterday, Boston University defeated Northeastern for its 29th Beanpot Championship. Unfortunately, you won't see that on the front pages of or

In stark contrast to the Beanpot, we have the A-Rod story dominating the front pages of all major sports sites. I would categorize his steroid admission as "limited". He denied everything in the past, now one thing leaked and he is admitting it and nothing else. I commend him on admitting it, but honesty only usually goes as far as the next story with these guys. I wouldn't be surprised to hear another revision of A-Rod's story in the future. He has cleared himself for now though with this admission. It is just unfortunate that this story about wanting "to prove" he was worth $252 million and feeling the pressure of signing a huge contract have taken a front seat to the story of 4 college teams playing for pride and school.

I think that the punishment for players that have taken steroids should be that we ignore them altogether. Don't interview them, don't acknowledge their athletic feats, and certainly do not let them into the Hall of Fame. It doesn't seem like there is any punishment for taking steroids, unless the player lies about it. If you shoot up, then admit it 6 years later, nothing bad will happen to you. Heck, you will even be offered interviews on ESPN. We need to ignore these players. The only reason they are shooting up is to be in the spotlight and make more money. Let's take that away from them and focus on the better things in sports like the Beanpot.

Friday, February 6, 2009

An NFL Draft Would Be Pretty Sweet Right Now

As we already know, we are in the doldrums of professional sports right now. The NBA and NHL regular seasons are coasting along and we have not yet reached NCAA hoops tournament time. We simply have no special events to pay attention to right now. With that said, and little research done to support my claim, I think the NFL draft should be held in late February/early March rather than in late April.

When the NFL season ends, which for me is whenever the Eagles are unceremoniously booted from playoff contention, I immediately begin to think of what changes need to be made to my team for the next season. A big factor in this thought process is the NFL draft. However, instead of getting to watch the draft soon after the season ends, as in basketball or hockey, sports fans must endure a grueling 3 month waiting period in which Mel Kiper Jr. is given time to pontificate until the cows come home. By the way, there can only be one draft guru and it is Mel Kiper Jr. Todd McShay can rot in hell as far as I'm concerned. He will never be as good as Mel, nor will his big board cause as much chaos when it is knocked over. As a matter of fact, you can throw Todd McShay in with the rest of the Guy Fieri award Winners from ESPN that I have discussed previously. Anyway, by about version 9.0 of Mel Kiper's mock draft, it seems painfully obvious that the draft should be earlier in the off-season.

By late April when the NFL draft is held, we have already witnessed the start of baseball season, crowned an NCAA basketball champion, and entered round 1 of the NHL and NBA playoffs. Football is an afterthought by that point. There is so much else going on that the NFL draft is low on my priority list. If the NFL draft were some time in February though, it would be very high on my priority list. All we have on the radar in the near future is the NBA All-Star Game.

I'm sure there is a reason for why the NFL draft is when it is. I haven't looked into it, but there are probably a lot of things that need to be done between the end of the Super Bowl and the draft. But it seems to me, that if it can be done in other sports, the NFL draft should be held much closer to the end of the season. It is extremely frustrating to here analysts talking about the NFL draft as soon as the season ends like it is coming up soon, when in fact it is still in the distant future. Come on NFL, give us something to watch during these cruel winter months.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fantasy Baseball: It's the Tits

There are very few things about sports that I look forward to more avidly, await with the patience of a five year old that has to pee and prepare for more feverishly than each year's fantasy baseball draft. After the fantasy football season ends, there is a long hibernation for fine tuned fantasy athletes like myself. Fantasy hockey, basketball and no, not even golf can quench my appetite for fantasy dominance during the winter months. With fantasy baseball comes the promise of warmer weather, vacations and a long season of fantasy intensity. Hence, I argue that fantasy baseball is the finest of all the fantasy sports.

Having just re-activated my fantasy baseball league on, I e-mailed my fellow league members about the arrival of the new season. Since then, there has already been a beehive of activity and comments surrounding the upcoming season. People look to the arrival of fantasy baseball season, as well as the actual baseball season, as a beacon of hope during these dreary winter months. Baseball promises warm weather, being outside, hot dogs and beers. While fantasy football is also a great game, its arrival can not bring these tidings with it.

Moreover, fantasy baseball has with it a great power. The power to make any baseball game interesting, so long as you have a fantasy player in the game. I couldn't have cared less about the opening day game last year between the Braves and Nats, but I'll be damned if I didn't jump out of my seat when Ryan Zimmerman, previously 0-3, sent that final pitch of the game over the wall for a home run. Football has the luxury of already being great to watch, and so many fewer games. Fantasy impact is important, but I'd venture to say that I could much more easily watch a Raiders-Browns game than a Royals-Mariners series if no fantasy players were involved.

Finally, fantasy baseball has the ability to take over the milieu of everyday life. Unlike fantasy football, it is a constant process. Sure you can set your rosters once a week, but there is no fun in that. And what if a player gets injured, or benched, or skips a day in the rotation? Then you are screwed. You have to stay vigilant with baseball, unlike football where you are setting on Friday, paying attention during the weekend, then checking again on Tuesday. Fantasy baseball is a daily event.

Fantasy football, like Brandy, is a fine girl (sport), but fantasy baseball is the King of all things fantasy. Nothing else has quite the power to consume my daily life, make an otherwise boring game interesting, and promise such good things. The only question is, who is your first pick?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

White Men Can't Jump, Black Men Can't Dribble

I recently received a letter from loyal fan DBillz:

White Men Can't Jump was on yesterday, and I can't get over how bad the basketball skills are by everyone in that movie, especially Wesley Snipes. It got me thinking of other sports movies where the actually game playing is so far fetched and outrageous that it becomes laughable. My top three, in no particular order (only stipulation being it can't be a spoof movie: i.e. Not Another Teen Movie):

- John Tucker Must Die: The main character (John Tucker) gets caught wearing women's underpants and decides to make a running gag out of it by wearing them to basketball practice. He proceeds to do a flip in mid-air and dunk the basketball. Soon enough, the entire basketball team is wearing thongs and having themselves a jam session, complete with off the backboard passes and slam dunks. Unbelievable.

-Rocky IV: Great movie, single-handedly ended the Cold War. However c'mon...Drago is ridiculous and Rocky was like 46 years old. Modern day equivalent would be something like Kimbo Slice fighting Michael J. Fox.

- Varsity Blues: This whole movie is out of hand. I watched it again a while back and at least they show boobs. It's terrible. Can't even mention the final game at the end. I DON'T WANT...YOUR LIFE!

Please add your two cents.

Warm Regards,


You have a good eye for displays of poor (or impossible) athleticism in movies. I don't understand why they can't get actors that have actually played the sports that are shown in the movies before. In "White Men Can't Jump" Wesley Snipes either inflated the basketball WAY past the desired amount, or he has never played basketball before. In every other scene, he is practically dribbling the ball over his head. This supposed street ball legend in the movie has about the same amount of skill as a seventh grader on a breakaway, dribbling with his off hand. Also, are we really to believe that both Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes, both 5 foot 10, can dunk? They look extremely out of place that far off the ground. Woody was a natural in Kingpin and should stick to bowling, where his skills are "Sweeter than Yoo-Hoo". Snipes' basketball skills are about as good as his tax paying skills. Why not go get someone like a Jesus Shuttlesworth for a basketball movie? Someone who can act and play some serious round ball.

Next on the docket; John Tucker Must Die. The raging debate around my apartment is over which girl in the movie is the hottest. I have always maintained that it is the AV Club girl, while others say it is the vegetarian girl, Andy Clark says it is the main character, and still others argue that it is Ashanti. I still stick by my original statement. One of the things I have always wanted to see in the NBA Slam Dunk competition is a flip dunk. There is no way it will ever happen, henceforth there is no way a high school kid could ever do it. Shame on you John Tucker for making us think the impossible is possible.

Finally you will never get me to admit anything bad about the Rocky series or James Van Der Beek, so the only thing I will say that I thought was cheesy about Varsity Blues was that some of the players were way too small for their pads, and that the names on the backs of the jersey were ridiculous. The tight end: #88 last name Gonzalez, come on! What about the running back Wendell, who complains about Coach Kilmer being racist the whole movie, his last name is Brown! I'm pretty sure I saw a linebacker named Thomas in there somewhere too. What are they trying to accomplish with all these last names? And what is Billy Bob's last name? His jersey just says Billy Bob. Moxon to Charlie Tweeder is comparable to Kevin Kolb to Desean Jackson though: a thing of beauty.

Some other horrible displays of athleticism that I noticed in movies;

Major League: I think it was Schoup who had the worst pitching mechanics I have ever seen. I could be wrong there though, or it might have been ML2. Also, Jake Taylor has one of the worst swings I have ever seen.

Rookie of the Year: Chet Stedmond is as bad as the Cubs brass thinks he is. The big guy on the Mets is just as bad. Great cameo by skinny Barry Bonds though.

All NASCAR movies: I love Days of Thunder, but Cole Trickle and (Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights for that matter) just passes whoever he wants, whenever he wants. This is not possible.

Feel free to send in some of your own comments!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Yo Adrien!! You did it!!

Last night marked the return to glory for the University of Connecticut men's basketball team. In their first game since being ranked #1 in the NCAA Top 25, UConn routed #7 Louisville, coached by Rick Pitino and Rick Pitino Jr., to the tune of 68-51 on national television. With guys like A.J. Price, Hasheem "The Dream" Thabeet, Jerome Dyson and Stanley "The Manly" Robinson, it is easy to seem that this team is stacked with talent. However, it has quietly been lunch pail man Jeff Adrien who is leading the team in scoring and is my vote for team MVP.

If you were to rummage through my closet, after pushing past the Nantucket red pants, the Christmas tree green pants and the seersucker shorts, you would come to my jersey collection. After leafing through classic jerseys like Vlade Divac, Larry Bird, Fletch, Gerry McNamara, Dan Majerle and Larry Bird you might be a little confused when you come upon a UConn Jeff Adrien jersey. However, Adrien is the epitome of everything I root for in a basketball player. He is the hard working guy who's first love is rebounding, and who is not afraid to get his hands dirty around the basket. He is a blue collar player who has worked his ass off four for years, and plays with 100% effort at all times. The fact that he is the leading scorer for UConn merely lends credence to his effort. I will be the first to say that Adrien is NOT a good shooter, but through determination in the lane, and tenacity on the offensive boards, has managed to average 18 points a game this year.

Jeff Adrien is not projected to go high in the NBA Draft this summer, a late second round pick at best, but if you ask me he is exactly what an NBA team should be looking for. He's got an NBA body and the heart of a Larry Bird or Magic Johnson. Bottom line, Jeff Adrien is the reason that the UConn Huskies are #1 in the country right now, and this writer looks for them to make a lot of noise come tournament time. Onward UConnia.

Special thanks to my readers for making this all possible:
Dumpe- my first follower. keep up the good work on TumsRum

Borst- your love of my blog is only outstripped by your love of LOST

Kohut- your helpful corrections make my blog shine shinier than your silver shoes

Donk- thanks for helping spread the blog to Pennsylvania

DBillz- your mailbag requests keep me inspired

Glenn- Im pretty sure you read this although you are not a follower. I'm glad you are not a short man.

Ethan128- I know you are out there checking every post. Probably somewhere near Route 128

Dorninator- the Mutumbo comment still keeps me in stitches

Dave- you inspired me to blog. Congrats on the 100th post. Don't forget your fans.

Ben- you made the first comment on my blog. Also Congrats on the 100th post.

Todd- our predecessor the VL Times is what prepared me for this

Dill- Thanks for making me think I'm a good writer. Come back to MA

Wogs- You are a true fan. That's all a blogger can ask for.

Andy, Greg, Wes, Joe- Someone pooped in the toilet and didn't flush it.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Bowl Weekend Recap

I went into this weekend with much hesitation and an extreme lack of interest in all things sport related. Accordingly, I had numerous chores planned to help me pass the time. However, I was very pleased with what we got from the world of sports in general from this weekend. Let's go over some of the big stories from the weekend that was.

First, we have the smoking gun (pun intended) that shows Michael Phelps smoking pot, err, inhaling from a marijuana pipe, at a college party in November. I have pretty much come full circle on old Phelpsy. I'm pretty sure I thought he was Australian until this year's Olympics for some reason. Then when he started racking up the gold medals, I thought he was the man even though several unnamed sources that had interacted with him before told me that he was a big wet flapping douchebag. I gave Phelpsy the benefit of the doubt and just thought that those unnamed sources were stupid. Then came all the commercials, and the horrible acting gig on Saturday Night Live; very painful indeed. I still cringe when I hear him say "I told you guys, under a minute." on the Rosetta Stone commercial. I've seen better acting by the old woman by the lake of the commercial. Now, with this photo I have come to detest old Phelpsy. He is a piece of dog shit who thinks he is the man. Let's take a look at this photo. What does it tell us? The Bud Light bottle in the back tells us that Phelps definitely drinks beer. Congratulations Phelpsy, you are making 18 year olds everywhere proud. To quote Todd Haselton's favorite movie Step Brothers; "I remember my first beer."

The next big story of the weekend came while cleaning out my mom's basement. I found a bunch of my old cassettes and cds from ages ago. My reward was being able to listen to classic cds such as Cranberries "Couch" (not really sure what its called) and Santana "Supernatural" on the drive home. Unfortunately I also found out that my cassette player is broken, so anybody that has an extra please let me know. It was also a joy to listen to my old CD-Rs and try to place myself back in that time. What was I doing on March 2, 2002? What about the mysterious CD entitled November 13? What year was it? Where was I? Simpler times indeed. These cds provided the background noise for the next sporting event of the weekend. The Stupid Bowl.

I went into the Super Bowl with minimal expectations; I was merely hoping for a good game. Before I knew it, I was cheering on "Fitzy" like he was the pale Irish kid from down the street. I don't know if Simmons already has him in the Troy O'Leary All Stars, but Fitzy definitely belongs. What a great game it turned about to be and I'm glad abandoned my earlier plans to be the only person not to watch the Super Bowl. The highlight of the Super Bowl for me by far though was Bruce Springsteen's halftime show. It was not the music that made it so memorable, but Bruce's soon to be infamous sliding crotch bomb into the camera, followed by a sheepish smile letting the fans know that his balls were crushed. Was Bruce a little over amped? Or did some jokester add a second coat of grease to the stage. Either way, that moment will be remember in Super Bowl lore. Another interesting sub plot in the Super Bowl was Kurt Warner's wife. She actually looked pretty hot. Was she wearing a wig? What happened to the spiky, gray haired little spark plug that roamed the stands many years ago? If she can attribute that all to the Arizona sun, I think we have found a new fountain of youth. The old fountain of youth of course being porn star Rocco's urine. He is a sick, sick man.

Super Bowl 43 has come and gone. Big Ben Roethlisberger has established himself as an elite quarterback with his second ring; Fitzy is no doubt going to be the first wide receiver off the board in fantasy football drafts next year, and the Steelers have their 6th Super Bowl championship. It seems so wrong, considering there are teams out there with none. Regardless, now we can look forward to the Spring, the warm weather, and the return of baseball. For now, we can enjoy the rest of the hockey and basketball seasons, and wait until photos of Michael Phelps dropping acid surface.