Friday, May 9, 2008

Blog Update

As you can tell, and had realized if you had been reading for the past month, it gets hard for me to come up with something new to write about twice a day. I could just recap what happened in the world of sports the night before, but that is nothing a trip to or can't cover. So I think the blog is changing once more. I hope to move into more of a pop culture arena (which still covers sports), and personally will be cutting my posts down. There may be days when I have multiple posts, and days when I have zero posts. What it boils down to is I am going to post whenever I have a rant or a thought that I can think I can turn into a 100-500 word piece. And I don't want this to be my personal mouthpiece. I would really appreciate it if others really got in here and wrote some pieces, like back in the day.

So in the spirit of only posting with I feel inspired, I give you the following--our new answer to the terrorists. 50 Cent.

Behold, the most ridiculous amazing video game ever made.

Thats right, 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand is coming soon to a video console near you. Plus, its a co-op game where while the first player is Mr. Fiddy himself, second player can be a choice of other G-Unit members like Tony Yayo and Lloyd Banks. As for the game plot, I am just gonna copy and paste this straight from Wikipedia.

G-Unit are putting on a show somewhere in the middle east. The crowd are pleased, but the promoter refuses to pay 50 Cent and G-Unit. The promoter does not give them money, but a very valuable diamond encrusted skull. G-Unit are about to leave the country when they are ambushed and the skull is taken away from them. The game then continues with the group trying to get what's rightfully theirs and finding out who ambushed them and why in order to get revenge. Much of the game is spent following 50 Cent when he is without the skull.

And you thought the new GTA was cool.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Sports Watercooler

I am going to try and give out Monthly awards as the baseball season goes on. I haven't decided if it will be a "Player of the Month" type award or more of a "If the season ended now, this is who would win stuff". Luckily for April, it doesn't matter.

And since its May 6, all stats and awards are through last night's games.

Without further ado, the American League:

The current division leaders are:
East: Boston
Central: Minnesota
West: Los Angeles

MVP: Manny Ramerez. That crazy dude has started the season on a tear. He is batting .315 with 6 HRs and 23 RBIs. He has cooled a bit recently, but he is still currently tops in the AL.

Cy Young: Amazing race here. With respect to Ervin Santana's 4-hit complete game last night, the award goes to Cliff Lee, who happens to have a 5-0 record and a .96 ERA.

Rookie of the Year: Clay Buchholz. The Sox young pitcher has started off pretty good, amassing a 2-2 record, but supplants that with 33 Ks and a 3.17 ERA.

Come Out of Nowhere Award: Carlos Quentin. He was formerly known as a Diamondbacks prospect last year, but no one expected this for him. An AL leading 8 HRs in the first month of the season in Chicago, including 22 RBIs.

National League

The current division leaders are:
East: Philadelphia
Central: St. Louis
West: Arizona

MVP: Chase Utley. A league leading 13 HRs, is accompanied by 26 HRs and a gaudy .362 average.

Cy Young: No surprise, Brandon Webb has already shown he hasn't lost a step since winning 2 years ago. He has won every game he has started, posting a 7-0 record with a 2.49 ERA.

Rookie of the Year: Giovanni Soto. The Cub's catcher is hitting .352 with 24 RBIs and 6 HRs.

Came Out of Nowhere Award: Nate McLouth. Its no secret I have a man crush on Nate. Luckily, with his stats, I am not alone. .323 average, 25 RBIs, 7 HRs and 3 stolen bases. Swoon with me.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Sports Watercooler

What a busy sports oriented weekend. Everything seemed like a milestone in the world of sports this weekend.

Which Derby horse will people remember a year from today? Big Brown who almost looked like he could have started lapping some of the trailing horses had the Derby continued for another turn? Or will it be Eight Belles who finished second, broke 2 ankles and was immediately put to sleep?

I think they way NBC covered it really hit America's conscious too. While Barbaro got hurt mid-race, American was forced to endure thousands of updates as he "bravely" struggled for life over the next month. With Eight Belles, NBC cut to the official horse doctor and without tip toeing around the bush said matter-of-factly "Eight Belles suffered two fractured ankles upon finishing the race and was immediately euthanized". It all happened so fast, there was no room for emotion, just straight facts. NBC didn't know whether to focus on the horse being draped with roses, or the corpse of the second fastest horse being removed from the track.

Hopefully one of our 2 writers who were live in attendance will have an eye witness account on the whole day.

There were some other second place finishes this weekend that are noteworthy. First and foremost, the Atlanta Hawks. Analysists almost anonymously predicted they would be swept and should just be happy to make the playoffs at all (surely no one at THIS blog said such things). Atlanta showed that they not only were happy to make the playoffs, they belonged in the playoffs, and were the only first round team to play in a Game 7. They never lost a game at home and have positioned themselves as the "young team to look out for in the future", which is indeed bright in Atlanta.

In the NHL playoffs, 2 more teams saw their season end yesterday, both in a dramatic fashion. It really didn't get much better than the Rangers and Penguins game yesterday. I watched the final two-thirds of this game and was thoroughly entertained. Two quick power play goals in the 2nd by the Penguins were responded to with 2 quick goals by the Rangers to open the third. That set the pace for a high pressure very intense 3rd period and overtime, before the Penguins won and advanced to what is now an All Pennsylvania Eastern Conference final, playing the Flyers.

Dallas needed to work a bit harder to end San Jose's season. In fact, it took them a whole extra game to do such, as they scored the winning goal in the 4th overtime to win 2-1. They move on to face Detroit in the Western Conference finals.

And this brings us to a new Bandwagon Team of the Week: The New Orleans Hornets. This team is fun to watch and playing possessed. And if that is not enough, for those of you who didn't listen to Bill Simmon's podcast last week, I give you this story:

After already having committed to Wake Forest, a young high school point guard's grandfather died. He was incredibly close to his grandfather and decided to honor him by scoring 1 point for each of year of his life at the age of death, which was 60. As it happened, he was fouled while scoring the 60th point, so at the free throw line, he received the ball from the ref, took a dribble and passed it back. He then was substituted out of the game and was near tears as he walked off the court. That young high school senior was Chris Paul. A man who in high school took AP Psychology classes to better understand his teammates. Now he is one of the most likeable players in the NBA and is finishing in the top 3 of the MVP award this year. The Hornets have already taken Game 1 from San Antonio and will need all the fan support they can muster to oust the defending champions. So hop on this bandwagon before it fills up!

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Get Pumped for the Weekend Video

Classic The Who. They start playing at the 2 minute mark. Rock out, enjoy your weekend.

Sweet Kentucky Home

Saturday is one of the greatest sporting traditions Americana has to offer--the Kentucky Derby. On one hand, you have all the pageantry and tradition. The big hats, the signing of the state song, the elegant and massive horses, and the iconic track. On the other hand, you have the 150,000 people drinking for 7 hours, the gambling, and the sweet, delicious mint juleps being drank at an unhealthy rate. But tying everything together is the most exciting 2 minutes in sports.

I am always a sucker for things steeped in tradition. The Derby appealed to be even before I had gone there. That and I am a huge fan of all the fringe sports and competitions. The Hot Dog eating contest, the Great Outdoor Games, Bull Riding, and American Gladiators. The Derby manages to hit both of these categories and I will always have a fond memory of it.

But do not take my fondness of it as knowledge. I am going to give a quick rundown of the horses and their respective odds, but that does not make me an expert. If in fact you do make money off my suggestions though, you owe me 10%.

Here they are by post position:

1 Cool Coal Man
One of the cooler names in the race (no pun intended), he is trained by famed trainer Nick Zito. How do I know he is famed? Because I have heard of him. Apparently the first gate isn't ideal though. 20-1 odds.

2 Tale of Ekati
Not sure how I feel about the name. It sounds too much like it could be the subtitle of Final Fantasy 23. Apparently he is really named after a Diamond Mine. He struggled in a shorter race, so there is concern about his endurance. 15-1 odds.

3 Anak Nakal
Strange name, and it seems he is not such a good racer. He has lost his last 3 races by a combined 30 lengths. The silver lining is that his last win happened to be at Churchill Downs 5 months ago. 30-1 odds.

4 Court Vision
The owner also owns two AAU basketball teams and treats them as if they were NBA teams, hence the horse's name. He is becoming a trendy pick, but probably just because the sports articles I am reading now just like the name. 20-1 odds.

5 Eight Belles
The only female in the race! She must run faster since she doesn't have to deal with that huge horse...well you know, between her legs. Actually, its been 20 years since a filly won the Derby. 20-1 odds.

6 Z Fortune
You know those douchie kids with pretentious sounding names? That is this horse. The Z stands for the owner's last name Zayat. If this horse could run with a popped collar, it would. 15-1 odds.

7 Big Truck
The loveable loser of the race! First off, I like the name, although it makes him sound less like he should be competing in a race, and more in a "World's Strongest Horse" competition. (I would watch that). 50-1 odds.

8 Visionaire
He has what expert call the best pole position, so that must count for something. Plus he has Barbaro's old trainer which could be a blessing or a curse. 20-1 odds.

9 Pyro
He was the favorite to win for a while until his last race where he failed to move out of the gate at all and lost by...well the whole track. Still, this is my pick to win. You heard it here first. It has everything I look for--an awesome name, good position, and a proven track record. 6-1 odds.

10 Colonel John
He has the proven track record, in 6 races he has 4 first place finishes and 2 second place finishes, and he has the cool name (who doesn't love The Colonel!). To top it all off, he is SI's predicted winner. 4-1 Odds.

11 Z Humor
The other "Z" horse in the race. If the owner wanted to add a Z in there, why didn't he make up some fun names like "Z Plane! Z Plane!" or "lay Z boy". 30-1 odds.

12 Smooth Air
Smooth Air is 70 year old trainer Bennie Stutts first Derby horse. NBC is licking its lips in anticipation for a Smooth Air victory. 20-1 odds.

13 Bob Black Jack
I like this name a lot too. He is definitely a character in a cool Guy Richie movie. And apparently he is a great sprinter which doesn't bode too well for his Derby chances, but if it goes down to the wire, he can turn on the jets. 20-1o odds.

14 Monba
His owner Todd Pletcher is the Dan Marino of the Derby, winless in 19 tries. Last year he even had 5 horses, all for naught. Monba has people in the know buzzing that this might be it. 15-1 odds.

15 Adriano
His jockey is Edgar Pardo, one of the most famous jockeys in the business. So that has to stand for something. 30-1 odds.

16 Denis of Cork
Sentimental favorite around these parts, as his owner is William Warren, famous Notre Dame alumni. Also, the golf course is named after him. 20-1 odds.

17 Cowboy Cal
The Bandwagon of the Week! You gotta be pulling for this guy. He got a bad poll draw, he is somewhat of a longshot, and his owner also owns the Houston Texans. Go Cal! 20-1 odds.

18 Recapturetheglory
I am pretty sure I dislike this name. Too literal and, frankly, it comes off as a bit desperate. 20-1 odds.

19 Gayego
Everyone done giggling at the name? Good. No horse has ever won from the 19 slot before. But also, this is the first horse this trainer has ever entered. Somehow, that should connect, right? 15-1 odds.

20 Big Brown
The favorite. And the UPS commercials would write themselves if he ended up winning. Plus, his name reminds me of Big from Rob and Big. 3-1 odds.

Bet accordingly, drink accordingly, and save me a mint julep and a big flowery hat.

Sports Watercooler

A lot to discuss today. No intro, I am just jumping right into it.

As Big Grizz would be happy to point out, last night Detroit was the capitol of the sporting world (also, still the capitol of gang violence and white rappers, but that is neither here nor there).

The Red Wings advanced to the third round of the playoffs. And while they got into some trouble in the first round, letting Nashville hang around, they swept the Colorado Avs. Not only that, but the Avs saw the writing on the wall and essentially gave up last night, losing 8-2.

Elsewhere in the NHL, with their teammate Sean Avery still in the ICU, the Rangers avoided the sweep after an amazing game by Jagr. They won 3-0.

Living in Detroit and not a hockey fan? Don't worry, you can still celebrate the Pistons defeating the Sixers and advancing to the second round of the NBA playoffs, where they will play Orlando.

And if life still wasn't all peachy-keen in Detroit, the Tigers completed their first three game sweep in Yankee Stadium since 1966. Remember when people were writing off the Tigers about 2 weeks ago? "No team has ever started 0-7 and made the playoffs, blah blah blah". Here is why you don't analyze baseball after 1 month too much: the Tigers are 1.5 back from the AL Central lead.

In other non-Detroit news, this Chris Lofton story is crazy. If you forgot, Lofton was the super-stud from University of Tennessee's basketball program that lead them to a number 1 ranking this year (briefly) and an overall amazing basketball season. Well it came out this morning that Lofton had cancer this year! It was discovered last year after the NCAA tournament (maybe one of the reasons he didn't go pro?). And he battled back and has now recovered from testicular cancer. And had a great season, which is made even more remarkable considering this.

I will have a separate Kentucky Derby post this afternoon, so stay tuned for that! I know you will.

Also in non-sports news, I was watching The Daily Show last night. And after the 2-8 drunks I had during The Office and 30 Rock, I may not have been in the proper state of mind, but did anyone recognize Howard Dean at all? It amazes me that someone that awkward even thought they could run for president. And now he is like anorexic or something. I let out an audible gasp when the had the banner at the bottom that said it was Howard Dean.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Oh Crap

I am sure this is making its way around the Internet right now. And I am sure by the time I get home, PTI will mention it, as will Around the Horn.

Basically, last night Charlie Weis said to a group of alumni:

"I could get thugs and hoodlums and win tomorrow. I won't do it that way."

Although all of us know EXACTLY what he was trying to say, you know the media won't play it that way. Its going to conjure all of those "Notre Dame is Racist" articles from the ESPN vault. Jason Whitlock just pulled a muscle rushing to his computer so he could pontificate on the subject.

Do you think it is even possible that this will blow over? That the media will actually read this at face value and understand it was a comment on Notre Dame's admittance standards and not a comment about "the black athlete"?

Sigh, I am guessing no. I think I am gonna remove PTI off the DVR schedule for the next few days.

Source: Deadspin

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