Monday, October 27, 2008

Philly Fans "Title or bust!" Me "Bust away, then!"

As the Philadelphia Phillies were kicking the holy crap out of Tampa Bay last night the near inevitability of a Phillies World Series truly set upon me. My heart seized up, could the city of brotherly love really handle a championship? Or would the ensuing celebration turn into something that would put the L.A riots to shame? My guess is the former would happen. And if that's the case we, as sports fans, need to look deep inside our sporting souls answer this nagging question. Do the sports fans of the city of Philadelphia really deserve a championship?

It was the year 1983, I had just been born a few months earlier, Reagan had been in office for a little over two years, the Sunset Strip was filled with crappy hair bands, and the Philadelphia 76ers had just won a NBA title, the last title to be brought to the city. In the mean time Philly has had both the Iggles and The Sixers make it to a title game only to fall short to dynasties, The Pats and Lakers respectively. For such a drought many would agree that it is indeed time for Philly to get a title. I might even agree with this idea except for one thing, Philly fans.

For being named the city of brotherly love, Philly has some of the harshest fans in all of America. The old Vet(Veterans Stadium) had a jail underneath it so there was a space large enough to hold all the rowdy drunken phanatics. It even had it's own court and judge to process said drunks. I think this was and still is a unique feature among sports stadiums.

In 1999, when Michael Irvin went head first into the green carpet covered cement that passed for turf at the Vet he severely injured his neck and had to be carted off the field on a stretcher. Iggles fans, being the classy bunch they are, booed the hell out of Irvin as he left with what turned out to be a career ending injury.

Also in '99 Phillies fans rained down D batteries on J.D Drew, who, after being drafted by Philly, had held out for a trade to another team. This is a relatively tame example of Philly fans assholeishness.

1999 was a year that Philadelphia raised the bar for sports asshole all over the country. Matthew Scott, the first recipient of a total hand transplant threw out the first pitch for the Phillies but not to the satisfaction of the fans. When the ball he threw from his transplanted hand bounced up to the plate the fans let him have it with a chorus of boos.

When the Iggles drafted franchise quarterback Donovan McNabb, also in 1999, the pick was not met with cheers or even anything close. Wanting their team to take running back Ricky Williams
the fans booed the hell out of McNabb as he went up to the stage.

How'd that work out for ya Philly? McNabb do anything for you guys?

Earlier this year when whoring herself out for Pennsylvania's votes, republican VP nominee Sarah Palin decided to flaunt her "hockey mom" cred and attend a Flyers game. When warned before hand that Philly fans will boo any and everything she said something like "That's ok. I'll have my daughter, Piper, in a flyers jersey too they wouldn't dare boo her." Oh-ho-ho how little did she know. I guess in Alaska word hadn't gotten up there about Philly fans. Here's what happened.

Actually this is the one booing I'll give Philadelphia fans, good job guys. If only she got booed at every event she went to like she was booed at the Flyers game.

Even Santa Claus can't catch a break when he stops by Philly. In 1968, Frank Olivo, was dressed in a red Santa outfit in an attempt to spread christmas cheer at the last Iggles game of the year. Iggles fans have tried to distort the myth by sayin Olivo was drunk and his suit in tatters. This was not the case. Olivo was greeted not only with the standard Philly chorus of boos but also a hail of snow balls. So snowblind(not from coke, mind you) was he that officials had to come to his rescue and escort him off the field.

With all that said can you imagine what might happen if/when the Phillies win the Series? The streets will be like Neverland Ranch was for little kids, not safe under any circumstances. And for that matter, do Philly fans, with all that booing and jeering even dieserve a title? I think the answer is clearly a resounding NO!

I hope somehow, magically the Rays come back forwm being down 3-1 and steal the World Series from Philadelphia. Then my recently delfated schaudenfreude hard-on will be back to full mast and I will be a very happy man.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hey Hey, a win! We aint had one of them since McCain still had a chance!

It was like Ice Cube was looking out for Seattle 'cause today was a good day, for the Seahawks at least. It has been almost a month since the 'Hawks had one of those. In the time in between there has been much more down than up. There were the 3 straight losses, the loss of Hasslebeck for an extended period, mounting injuries, and Charlie Frye even started a game, which was lost, of course. But today all that was forgotten about as the 'Hawks trounced the 49ers 34-13.

The last time these two teams met 'Frisco had gotten off to a hot start under with JT O'Sullivan throwing the ball down field with abandon in Mike Martz's pass happy offense. That day they had a little luck in beating Seattle with two tipped picks, one of which was returned for a td. Since that time they have been pretty abysmal going just 1-4.

JT O'Sullivan has been like a punch drunk bare-knuckled boxer at QB. Coming into today's game he was responsible for 16 of San Fran's 19 turnovers with 10 ints and 6 fumbles. It's tough to win with that many turnovers.

The Niners had been playing so poorly that head coach Mike Nolan and his suit were fired coming into the game against Seattle. Many had stated they felt the suit was the only thing holding the team together. Mike Nolan had every right to be fired, many agreed, but did the suit really need to get axed along with him? That's like throwing out the bowl with the bongwater!

Luckily, Hall of Famer and former Monster of Midway, Mike Singletary was promoted to head coach. God knows Mike Martz doesn't need to kill another team with his terrible head coaching abilities,"Sure I have a hell of a running back and my QB has been getting drilled worse than Kim Kardashian but, fuck it, let's put the ball in the air 40-50 times!". Even Mike's fiery temper couldn't help the 49ers win this sunny Sunday.

JT O'Sullivan was looking potato famine weak as he fumbled twice, losing one, and throwing a TAINT(touchdown after an interception) to John Wilson. Coming back to the sideline after the pic O'Sullivan was blindsided by Singletary so hard his whiskey thinned blood was pouring out of his nose and he had to come out of the the game. Sean Hill went the rest of the way.

The game was decided on two plays, both were passes to Leonard Weaver. The weav turned two short passes into touchdowns of 43 and 62 yards by simply catching the ball and running past everyone one his way to the end zone, leaving only the tracers from the swaths of neon green on his shoes down the field .

This type of speed and agility from a FULLBACK makes me wonder about Holmgren, who seems content using The Weav purely as a blocking back. But with hands and feet like that I have often opined that Weaver's skills need be put to more use than just the occasional 3rd down draw. This goes double in a season when the Seahawks top seven wideouts have missed time with injury. If The Weav can do that with a simple dump off pass, imagine what he could to if he had plays drawn up for him occasionally.

Along with Seneca's athletic ability languishing on the bench in the role of back-up QB, this is one the more egregious misuses of athleticism I have been witness to. It would be like if you forced T-Mac to play power forward just because he's 6'10". As much as I like and respect Holmgren for his successes, his lack of imagination in using his players leaves me shaking my head quite often.

One of the other highlights from the game was Singletary's handling of the captain of the all-talent-no-heart team, Tight End Vernon Davis. Davis slapped the helmet of 'Hawks Safety Brian Russel and received a penalty, apparently upset that the lead footed, poor tackling Russel was anywhere near him to take him down. Singletary chewed out Davis to the point where David went sulking to the bench at which point Singletary told him to hit the showers. Davis did shaking his helmet at the non-existant fans at Candlestick Park.

This is exactly the kind of ass kick Davis needs as he is often seen dogging it on routes and alligator arming passes at the slighest hing of a hit like a latter day Freddie Mitchell. Davis is a absurd physical specimen who has the tools to dominate if he could ever have his head forcibly removed from up his ass which proabably pisses off Singletary all the more. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out after the 49ers bye next week.

It will also be interesting to see if The 'Hawks can put together a little bit of a winning streak starting with a tough Philly squad next week at home. With two games with Arizona left and old man Warner's fragile physique starting to fall apart there is still hope for winning the division. Right now though, I am just basking in the glow of this blow-out win.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

M's hire new GM: The Z Man Cometh

Let's hope Jay-Z(pictured on the left) has a better eye for talent than he does shirts.

I had been meaning to write a post about the M's GM search for quite some time but laziness impeded me from culminating my plans. The gist of the post was going to be that no matter who the M's picked out of the talked about crop of potential GM's the organization I was going to be happy. This would show that the M's were willing to take a step forward in looking at building a team due to the fact that the finalists all had strong backgrounds in well-run organizations that used statistical analysis as a main cog in player evaluation. I liked the idea of the M's taking a "flyer" on one of these young hot shots schooled in the A's, Jays, Rays, Sawks, D Backs, and Padres school of thought in building a team. Then old man river had to come in and shit in my cereal.

Don't get me wrong from what I have read about Jack Zduriencik( zur-EN-ah sik) has been really positive. He comes from a Brewers organization that focuses heavily on scouting and player development, a lot like the Angels of the Twins. The proof of his good work is apparent in the large amount of major league ready home grown talent available in the Brewers system. And that is something much needed with the M's. While Bill Bavasi did help rebuild the farm system he also instilled failed philosophies in player development that saw many players rushed to triple A only to languish there as they tried to learn facets of the game that should have been taught in the lower levels.

The reason this hiring kind of bums me out, despite it being a step in the right direction for this team that has been running the wrong direction at full speed for years, is complex. In my mind he was chosen By the tweedle dumb and tweedle dumber team of Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong not because he necesairly had the best plan to turn the organization around but because he was the safe pick. He was the oldest of the potential GM's(not that he's old per se, 57) and was closest to the old school of baseball thought of any of the others in the running. This quote pretty much sums up my fears on why he was hired.
"Jack is extremely well-respected throughout baseball," Lincoln said. "His track record in recognizing and developing young talent in Milwaukee was instrumental in the Brewers steady improvement over the past several seasons."
It's that whole respected throughout baseball and track record part that gets me. They point to a good outcome achived via poor decision making. Or take a look at Paul DePodesta's sucess matrix to see where it'd fit.

A bad process of choosing someone because they fit into your pre-established concepts of what's good but still getting it right, that's down in the left hand corner under dumb luck.

The hope is that Zduriencik incorporates some statistical analysis into the organization as well by hiring young bright minds who would love nothing more than to crunch numbers for their hometown team. I'm sure Seattle has a lot of those types. Perhaps we can then build and front office where it's not a one man show but other bright minds can take the work they did here in Seattle with them as the become succesful assistant and full GM's through out the league. A new day has dawned and anything is possible.

I Believe in Nothing...Execept Taking Joy in the Suffering of Others

There is something very freeing about living in a shitty sports city and Seattle most definitely is that recently. The fiery passions that burn in my heart, once extinguished, can be replaced with a smothering hatred towards all things. I no longer have to root for my team to win but I can now root openly for other teams to fail, hoping for misery the way a contending fan hopes for a joyous outcome. It is a truly liberating feeling.

Watching the ALCS between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Bawston Red Sawks I came to the realization that I wasn't rooting so much for the Rays to win as I was rooting for the Sawks to lose. I was wishing their terribly annoying fans to disappear and go back to committing hate crimes on assorted minorities and quee-ahs. The Tampa Bay Rays could have been the terrible KC Royals and I would have been just as happy.

During that series I felt, for the first time in a long time, that there indeed was a God and he too hated the Sawks. Why else would he let them come back from a 7-0 deficit in the 7th inning of a potentially deciding game? What other explanation was there for the Sawks taking game 6 as well? This inflated Bawston sports fans egos to Sally Struthers proportions as the media talked about the experienced leadership of the Sawks, how they had been there before, twice, and come back. Then in one last final act of cruelty the Lord let Justin Pedroia hit a 1st inning homerun leading Sawks fans all over the country to blow their loads on their keep sake photos of the balding midget.

God has a hell of a sense of humor, just look at the platypus. He gave Sawks fans so much hope and hubris only to pull it all away with the gas powered arm of rookie David Price. Price came out and pitched the last two innings of ALCS game 7 and blew away the veteran Sawks line-up. What indignity! For such gritty and clutch vets to be cut down like wheat before the scythe by a rookie, was unthinkable to Sawks fans. The rook should have been like a young Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn, unable to find the strike zone and eventually walk in the winning run. That he didn't gave me a schadenfreude hard-on the would put Mr.Marcus to shame.

Just when I thought I couldn't revel anymore in the pain of others, came Sunday. America's Team was a team in turmoil. Missing their starting QB, Tony Romo, with a broken pinky, having lost "big play" corner/punt returner Pacman Jones due to idiocy, and superstar Terrell Owens whining like one of the dogs Mike Vick drowned because he wasn't getting enough touches. Both coach Wade Phillips and Owner Jerry Jones had to be worried about things, as this pre-season Super Bowl favorite had lost 2 of it's last 3 games going into Sunday. That one win was a squeaker against the winless Bungles.

The Rams were on a high after firing Coach Scott Linehan whose tactics, like benching $60 million man Marc Bulger for the walking concussion Trent Green, had lost him the team's respect. The high was extended as they rolled over Dallas 34-14. Steven Jackson ran through Dallas' once vaunted D for 160 yard and 3 td's. The whole while I was on a schadenfreude high cheesing my balls off. I hadn't been that giddy Since Monday Night Football where Elisha Manning reverted to the slobbering mongoloid we knew him as.

The implosion of the Cowboys looks to continue for at least few more weeks . Their schedule before the bye is imposing to put it lightly as The 5-2 Bucs come to Dallas, then The 'Boys go to NY to face the retard and his 5-1 VaGiants, after that is a bye and Romo may be back. At that point it might be too late like foreigner said "the damage is done".

I may not have a lot to look forward to sportswise in my black hole sunshine city, this is true. But I have more than enough sources to keep my hate filled heart overflowing in these coming weeks and that's all that really matters.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New England's Sports Dominance Getting Old

I have to admit something to you, Dear readers. I am a Red Sox enabler. I'm sorry. I never imagined my enabling would lead to such moral lows.

4 years ago I was living abroad in Mexico. I remember stopping by a small bar and watching Curt"I'm the Biggest Asshole in the World" Schilling and The Red Sox break the sway the Yankees had held over them so long. In an innocent thought to myself I mused "Good for the Sox. I hate the fucking Yankees! I'd like to see the Sox win the series. After all they've been through they deserve it." Not long after that thought had passed I wanted it back so very bad.

Much like someone who jumps off a bridge in attempts to commit suicide but lives, I realized "No, this isn't what I want at all!". I wanted the Yankees to lose, sure. Those cocky New York fucks deserved to lose. But if Boston Made it to the Series I had no doubt that they would absolutely destroy whichever second class NL team they faced. Then everything would change.

No longer would the Sox be the lovable losers filled with fan faves like No-mah, Pay-dro, Big Papi and Man-Ram, none of who could win the big one. They would be the world champs. And that would suck. It was so much fun watching those Boston fans wallow in self-pity and believe in garbage like the curse of The Bambino. With a win, they would no longer be self-loathers and, if The Pats mini-dynasty is any reference, happy New Englanders are very annoying New Englanders.

Last year I watched as my surrogate team, the well run and smartly put together, Cleveland Indians go up 3-1 on the Sox in the ALCS. The Indians(and the most racist logo ever. Can you imagine similarly racist team names?) stood poised to clinch the 4th and deciding game at home in Cleveland , when I had another innocent thought. "I want this series to be at least a little interesting, maybe the Sox can have this one. Besides, how sweet would it be for the Fenway faithful witness the dismemberment of their beloved Sox there in Boston?"Again, almost immediately I realized my error.

My simple wish turned very sour and the Red Sox went on to take the next two in Boston, winning the games by a combined score of 24-4. I knew that this incredible turnaround would only add to the Sox lore and I hated it. I couldn't stand the thought of ever more bandwagon fans coming out of the woodwork in support of this grotesque monstrosity of a team. The Red Sox had become the new Yankees.

Working at the stadium when the Red Sox are in town is a confusing time. One never realizes just how close Boston is to Seattle until witnessing the flood of all sorts of Sox gear come flooding into the stadium, most of it freshly purchased. When cheers eurpt it is difficult to discern if it is for the M's or the Sox(except this year when with the M's ineptitude you knew it was for the Sox). This baseball blasphemy should never transpire in one's home stadium espescially not when the team you are playing's true fan base is over 3,000 miles away.

Now the Tampa Bay Rays have the Red Sox on the ropes 3-1 going into game 5 in Boston on Thursday. I want very badly for the upstart Rays to continue to kick the holy hell out of the Sox as they have done the past two games.

I've learned my lesson. I'm not rooting for a close series. I'm not even rooting for the sweet irony of Man-Ram coming back to play at Fenway in Dodgers blue in the series. No, All I want is a swift and painless victory on Thursday. Then I want the Rays to kick the shit out of Pat Gillick's Phillies in the series. I want all those tools who constantly claim that a team needs post-season experience to win it all to have to eat some serious crow. All those who doubted the Rays because they were "too young" and didn't see that they were also supremely talented, will weep as old baseball cliches are torn asunder. And I want to be there to watch.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Seattle Seahawks 2008: Epic Fail!!!

Seriously 'Hawks, how did you manage this?

Right after Charlie Frye threw his second terrible interception in a rout by the visiting Green Bay Packers, that was much greater than the 27-17 score would indicate, I realized something very disturbing. Like Slick Rick said, "it was the moment I feared." The Seattle Seattle Seahawks had become a tired internet meme in 2008. They were the epitome of Epic Fail.

I can spot an epic fail like a catholic priest can spot a supple altar boy ripe for molesting, too. In fact, I had one hell of an epic fail under the Friday night lights, just days earlier. I'm not referring to the football field, as I am much too out of shape and brittle for that kind of activity.

My epic fail came after drinking far too much at a work party and becoming completely useless, when the entire point of the party was to talk to this pretty girl I am interested in. Perhaps it was the combination of light and dark liquor plus beer that did it to me, but my Linda Blair came out as I twice projectile vomited. Thankfully no one saw the expulsion of my stomachs contents. After that point I became a little surly and a lot out of it. My grip on consciousness was slipping like Brian Russell attempting to cover a receiver. To the point that when my coveted girl was leaving I stubbornly stayed inside instead of walking her to her car. Like I said, epic fail.

So imagine my horror when a mere two days later another 'Hawks lost dropped us to 1-4 on the season, stamping "Epic Fail" on our foreheads. The parallels were too blatant to disregard.

This season was supposed to be Holmgren's last hurrah. The plan was to go out in a blaze of glory for The Walrus. Even after a rash of injuries decimated our receiving corp, hope still shined brightly. Our defense, with it's 3 returning pro-bowlers combined with the influx and growth of young talent, was going to carry us until the WR's got healthy.

Then we came out flat on the road against Buffalo in the season opener, giving up 34 points. An aberration, I thought. Like Sir Ben Kingsley in the movie BloodRayne, surely not a sign of things to come.

After a tough loss due to a little bad luck to the 49er's at home my confidence was a little shaken. How could we have let the walking dead corpse of Isaac Bruce absolutely torch us for 153 yards on 4 catches? The secondary was a revelation last year, this year it was giving it up like post-Tommy Mottola Mariah Carrey.

The 'Hawks dominated The Rams and confidence was restored a bit. It was reasoned by many that, even though it was the lowly Rams, we handled them like a good team should, by completely and utterly abusing them. This gave a lot of hope going into the bye week, coupled with the fact that Plexiglass Burress was going to suspended for the game against the 'Hawks and fans were clamoring like fan boys pre-Star Wars:Episode I.

There were two things overlooked going into the into the game at New York that foreshadowed the outcome. Just like Episode I, where everyone forgot about George Lucas' penchant for cheapening his films with inane kiddie fare and inability to work with actors, so overlooked were The Seahawks dismal schedule coming off a bye and playing games on the east coast. After Brian Russell decided pregame to make Domenik Hixon a star, the outcome was forged. Eli went all Jerramy Stevens on our secondary, using his 'tard strength to hurl the ball to his nominally covered receivers. Brandon Jacobs only needed the first half of football to do his damage and run all over the once vaunted 'Hawks D.

The Seahawks nation, still coughing up spine fragments from their pounding the week before, were given a steel-toed boot to the teeth when on Friday the team announced Matt Hasselbeck would no be starting because of a knee injury suffered the week before. Seneca "I'm not retarded!" Wallace wouldn't start either due to a calf injury. Which left the hopes riding on 3rd String QB Charlie Frye.

Rational thought would preclude someone from ever hoping to win a game in which Charlie Frye is starting for your team. Sadly rational thought is often overshadowed by homerism. The hope was, that with a strong ground game and a solid display by our D against an injured and inconsistent O-Line, the team could eek out a win. These hopes were swatted down like so many late passes by Charlie Frye. Chuckles' penchant for holding onto the ball like my drunken roommate hangs onto a bottle of booze led to many sacks, two int's and the bevy of aforementioned late passes.

The defense failed to get any consistent pressure as Aaron Rodgers dissected our secondary, bum shoulder and all. The offense's inability to stay on the field and the d's inability to stay off it culminated in one hell of a stomping.

Sadly, all hopes of this team contending for a 5th straight year atop of the NFC West, let alone a Super Bowl berth, were crushed. The season, realistically, is dead. 1-4 is not an easy hole to climb out of even our incredibly weak division. For having such a Bagdhad-esque demolition of our hopes of a season we are reduced to being a very sad Epic Fail.

This is more like a perfect summation of the M's season. Even if everything goes right it still ain't gonna be that good of a time. But, holy hell, it's one epic fucking fail.