Friday, June 29, 2007

The Face of the Bulls Future

Great – just who I want to see in the paper on a daily basis for the next 3 years or more. As a Bulls fan my initial reaction to the Bulls selection of Joakim Noah was “Are you f’ing kidding me Paxson?” Now that I’ve had almost 24 hours to digest this pick my reaction is "Are you f’ing kidding me Paxson?"

Doesn’t the photo above just sum up this pick? A total joke at 9. Will get to those reasons in a moment, but I’ve got to spend some time on where this outfit came from.

1) Secret desire to be Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber.

2) Publicly auditioning for Sideshow Mel for the new Simpsons movie.

3) Mugged Captain Kangaroo of his formal wear.

4) He’s really Carrot Top’s half brother.

5) Lost a bet to his college buddies Bake and Otter after smoking a few bowls with them.

Quote from Joakim on the outfit:

“I think it’s funky. There are always going to be haters. But I have a lot more love than hate. I feel it was a good look. I’m very happy with it, and I feel it was a success. Somebody said I looked like Bozo the Clown. I didn’t like that.”
Somebody was dead on Bozo.

The Bulls have been saying they need an inside force that can score. Noah does neither. He’s 7 feet and 230 pounds. Sounds like a dominating presence to me. Combine that with the elementary school kid set shot he shoots and he is going to be dominated in the NBA. The dude is soft. Those who saw him workout for the Bulls stated that he didn’t shoot the ball well. But the Bulls fell in love with his energy and intelligence. I’m assuming that same intelligence doesn’t apply with how to dress up in big boy clothes.

My biggest question is where/when do the Bulls play Noah? You can’t have him on the court the same time as Big Ben – then you have two big men who can’t score. Put him on the floor with Ty Thomas and you have two guys who will be flying all over the place with no idea what they’re going to do with the ball.

I don’t have the answer for what the correct pick was for the Bulls. But I do know what the incorrect pick was and the Bulls nailed it. To be honest, I haven't been this disappointed in a pick since DMtShooter gave an invite to the Five Tool Ninja to join Five Tool Tool as a contributor. That guy shows up less than A.C. Green at the Bunny Ranch.

Update (6/30/07):
Bulls push Noah's press conference back from Friday to Monday as he failed to leave New York on Friday. Great start Noah. Great start.


From the Chicago Tribune
"More American viewers (2.8 million) tuned into the Spanish language telecast of the Gold Cup final between the United States and Mexico than watched the deciding Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals on NBC (2.0 million). That doesn't include the audience that watched the Gold Cup on Fox Soccer Channel."
Vaya con dios NHL.

Everything I Say Is Important!

But not more important than the gentlemen who heckle Stephen A. Smith, and speak in his voice with socks on their hands. Golf clap, gentlemen. Golf clap.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Live Blogging The NBA Draft from my Man Space

And we're back from the FTT Man Space. Obey my Man Space!

8:30 -- Sacramento, still giggling with relief about Noah not being there for them to play opposite Ron Artest just for pure comedy value, picks Spencer Hawes, the center from Washington. Will anyone be able to tell him apart from Brad Miller? All these white people look alike to me.

8:35 -- The Hawks take a point guard! Good thing I was home for that, because I'm pretty sure I'd have wrapped the minivan around a pole. Acie Law from Texas A&M goes south. How will he manage to take time away from immortals like Claxton and Lue?

8:45: Thaddeus Young goes to the Sixers. ESPN says he needs to tighten up his ball skills. That and $20 will get you something on South Street. It's also not a good sign that he fails under the Mom Test (see below).

8:50 -- NOLa takes Julian Wright from Kansas. Wright gets to avoid the big Green Room wait and, as a bonus, takes passes from Chris Paul. Too bad he's in the West, where no one will even hear from him. Meanwhile, the Hornets get to recover from the tragic contract of Peja Stojakovic...

9:00 -- The Clips go for Al Thornton, my dark horse pick for all-rookie team, just because he's got absolutely no learning curve. He should also get playing time and shots, given that this team just played raw energy guys at 3 last year. Watch him. (Or not, since he's with the Clips.)

But everyone on Jay Bilas's list has bad ball skills. Just once, you'd like to hear that guy really knows how to take care of his ball.

9:05 -- Al Thornton's mom is named Philomenia. For once, the mom has got the worse name than the kid...

9:09 -- Rodney Stuckey, my mom's hope for the Sixers at 12, goes to Detroit at 15. Beware the SG from a small school. Sometimes, they turn into Joe Dumars. (If he turns out great, give it up to my mom. It won't be the first time she's smarter at sports than me.)

9:12 - The Wiz, who have the worst big men in a conference filled with astoundingly bad big men... take a guard, Nick Young, from USC. Let the Gilbert Arenas Is Leaving Rumors Begin!

9:14 -- The Knicks are getting Zach Randolph for Steve Francis and Channing Frye. Other than Zach being batshit crazy and going to the worst town in the league for a batshit crazy man, this is a great deal for the Knicks. Play him next to Curry, and you have actual young low-post talent.

Next to David Lee, they have the best young front court in the East -- but only on paper, because Curry and Randolph have no heart and play no defense, and the alpha dog on the team is still Stephon Marbury. Emphasis on dog. Good thing Isiah Thomas has a really good coach in... Isiah Thomas. Whoops.

9:15 -- Stephen A. Smith just jizzed all over Zach Randolph. Too bad he doesn't, you know, play defense. And he's batshit insane. And he couldn't handle the nightlife in, gulp, OREGON.

9:16 - The Nets take Sean Williams, a pot-smoking shot-blocking center from BC. No one cares. We're all still all over Zach Randolph.

Isn't that always the way with the Nets? We're talking about a team that had a thermonuclear divorce with Jason Kidd, made the second round of the playoffs, played the hokey pokey with Vinsanity... and still, all anyone wants to talk about is the five-star tire fire in midtown. If you're not in the boroughs, you ain't shit.

9:23 - The Warriors take a guard from Italy. Marco Belinelli, who looks like Manu Ginobili's sleazier cousin. Like all Euro guards, he's the Jordan of some other country, and the footage shows 3's and dunks. At 6'5", he will have no chance to handle the point in the league, which means he's a 3-ball specialist. Hope he can wave a towel real good.

9:27 - The Lakers are on the clock! Jerry Buss has no comment on whether he's going to deal Kobe. In other news, Kobe is shopping for a white Bronco, and Coach Philip just turned 75.

9:28 - Stephen A. says it will take the Lakers decades to recover from a Kobe trade. I think it will take decades to recover from Stephen A.

9:29 - The team says they don't want Jermaine O'Neal for Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum. Can't say I blame them -- Jermaine is astoundingly overrated, brittle, and not a very good guy -- but they're going to have to, you know, do something.

Because Kobe's in the bushes with piano wire.

And he's not wearing any clothes.

9:30 - Lakers take Javaris Crittenton, a freshman PG from Georgia Tech. Rather than give the audience any idea about what Crittenton brings to the table, ESPN throws it to Dick Vitale, who decides to take his time to invite Stephen A. out to dinner. Get a room, you crazy kids!

9:35 - Miami, with the 20th pick in 120 minutes, takes Jason Smith, a breathtakingly white forward from Colorado State. Since he's not quite 7 feet, maybe he's not a stiff. Er, no. Then again, Shaq somehow made Mark Madsen stay in the league, so there's hope beyond the three-year rookie contract...

9:38 - Mitch Kupchak says no one on his team is untouchable. Including, one must think, Mitch Kupchak...

9:42 - Philly takes Daequan Cook, a frosh guard from The Ohio State U. ESPN says he's going to Miami for Jason Smith, which makes sense -- the Sixers need a spare Shavlik Randolph in case something bad happens to their first one. The eight Sixers fans left in existence just reached for the ether. So much for Smith's chance at Madsen Money...

Cook turns out to be a big sixth man type who is a workout warrior and defensive player. If it's my team, he plays 3 and Antoine Walker is wedged into a Barcalounger, then secured with duct tape. He'll gnaw his way out eventually.

9:48 - Bobcats take Jared Dudley, a senior forward from BC. He's played the 7th most minutes in NCAA history. So MJ just took a guy in the draft with a lot of miles on him. That's special.

9:50 - Spike Lee defends Isiah's drafting record; he does have a point. Isiah's drafts are tolerable. It's the rest of his, well, entire life that is so deficient.

9:51 - As time goes by, Spike resembles Bill Cosby more and more. This is not a healthy development for Spike.

9:53 - Isiah drafts fast, and takes Wilson Chandler, the DePaul soph forward that Spike Lee predicted, and the guy they've supposedly wanted for a month. Is Isiah now one of the smarter GMs in the league? I think my head just exploded.

9:56 - Portland just plain buys the pick from the Suns. If you're a Suns fan, this can't be an encouraging sign. If you don't get KG there, it's looking very weak there all of a sudden... they wind up taking Rudy Fernandez from Spain, one of those Euros that will probably wait a year to deal with a contract buyout. Nothing quite spices up a draft like procedural moves!

10:04 - Utah is on the clock, and Stephen A. is on Mehmet Okur's ass. I think he pays rent there. It's like no big man has ever come up small against Duncan before...

10:05 - The Jazz take Morris Almond, a senior guard from Rice who might give the Jazz a chance at getting some scoring at the 2. They haven't had that since... gulp... Jeff Hornacek. Seriously.

5 picks left to go... which, at five minutes per pick, means we should be done by 11. The NBA is trying, very hard, to make sure that people don't find this to be more interesting than the Finals. I'm staying in just to see if the Sixers get Duke Puke McReynolds with the last pick in the first, so he can be the new Cherokee Parks.

10:11 - The Rockets take Aaron Brooks, a small guard from Oregon who has a lot of free time now that the Raiders drafted a QB in the first round. Brooks has always managed to be great for his fantasy teams, but not in reality. But I don't know if he's going to have enough of an offensive line to deliver big numbers here.

10:18: - Thanks to my commute, I've only had to endure 90 minutes of Stephen A. Smith tonight. Which is good, because it means that I won't have to Benoit my wife and kids. (What, too soon?)

10:19 - Pistons take Arron Afflalo, a 6'5" junior guard from UCLA. With Stuckey, the Pistons have better ideas than Lindsay Hunter now, though I still think they gave up too soon on Carlos Delfino.

10:24 - The Spurs make the most boring pick of the whole draft. I hate the Spurs so, so much. (There, that should get the Texas readers happy.)

Seriously, they take Tiago Splitter, a 7-footer from Brazil, who, like all foreign players, would have been in the lottery, according to Jay Bilas. Once again, another buyout moment, and I'd make fun of the pick, but it's obvious that they know what they are doing...

10:27 - Phoenix is on the clock, assuming that they don't just sell the pick to another team that isn't too depressed to draft. They wind up with Alando Tucker, the senior from Wisconsin who looks like a glue tweener.

10:31 -- With the final pick in the first, the Sixers continue their march to obscurity... and the Heat / Sixers trade gets announced. Whoop de damn do. The Sixers then end the round with Petteri Koponen, a 6'-4" 19-year-old point guard from Finland, who becomes the second Finn in NBA history. He looks like Kyle Korver is going to kick his ass, and that no one will hear from him for many years.

And that, my children, is a wrap. I hope we have put to rest the idea that drafts are more exciting than, you know, actual sports.

My big winners for the night... Atlanta actually got pieces that made sense for once. Portland got a ton of cap space for Randolph, freeing up playing time for Aldridge. Seattle did a similar move with Lewis. Both of those franchises are poised to be big players in a few years.

Losers? Knicks and Celtics both chased fool's gold for immediate gains, and let defense be damned. Milwaukee may be in for a world of hurt from Yi Jianlian. Phoenix, Dallas and the Lakers need to make moves and haven't.

Thank you, and good night now!

Live Blogging the NBA Draft from a Minivan

That's right, we're continuing the soul crushing tedium that is my daily commute with the aid of wireless techonology and unrepentant dorkdom. Some fine day, we'll look back on this gimmick the way kids now look back on vinyl records. PUNKS! GET OFF MY LAWN! And back to the picks!

8:13 -- The T-Wolves take Corey Brewer, the SG defensive stopper from Florida. He'll totally make Ricky Davis care, Kevin Garnett not kill himself, and Kevin McHale stop eating paste. Can someone annex Garnett out of this terrible franchise, please?

8:15 -- The Bobcats are on the clock. If Michael Jordan is involved with this pick, he's going to take a raw big with no offensive game. In other news, ex-players should not be allowed anywhere near a GM office.

8:18 -- I really appreciate every team taking the full five minutes for every pick. It's like they now that my wireless connection can lag, and they're compensating for it. I'm truly touched.

8:20 -- MJ comes through big time with Brendan Wright, who gets to show the NBA that despite being a desire-challenged PF at the college level, he'll dominate in the pros. Um, whoops... Even our UNC commentator, Dirty Davey, thinks he's light in the loafers, though not enough to go Duke on us.

On the plus side, they don't have to pay him much in moving expenses. That's important.

8:24 - Chicago's on the clock. We've made Princeton Junction. Any more details about my location, and the FTT stalkers will be all over my house this weekend. (Though I suspect the Bee does not do Jersey.)

8:25 - The Bulls get Noah! A hard rain is falling in Jersey. That'll fix their scoring problems in a heartbeat. At least now, they'll have someone to replace Wallace in... a year. Gulp.

Back later...

Live Blogging The NBA Draft On NJ Transit

Tonight, we bring you live draft coverage that no other site can touch... because it's being done on a train. It's crowded, filled with smelly people, and soul deadening -- in other words, just like the ESPN studios when STEPHEN A. is not talking. Let's get right to it!

7:39 -- Wow! Portland took Oden. What a shock!

7:40 -- I'm pretty sure Matt Millen is going to take a wideout here.

7:41 -- Buffering... buffering...

7:42 -- The Sonics are waiting until the last second to draft Durant. Why? Are they too busy packing up the trucks for Vegas?

7:43 -- DURANT! Wow! What were the odds? I can really see why everyone goes apeshit with anticipation of this event. WHAT DRAMA!

7:44 -- Hawks on the clock. Horford or Conley? Either might work out, so I'm counting on them doing something else. We all know they're allergic to point guards.

7:45 -- Conductor asks me for my ticket. I show him the blog instead. He gives *me* money instead. FTT RULES!

7:46 -- Two minutes on the clock. Somehow, I was hoping that teams would be more ready to move when the obvious picks happen. Then again, this is the Hawks -- they're probably still eating paste at this moment.

7:47 -- Hawks will take all of the time and get... and the app stalls, or the Hawks crapped themselves. If this was my fantasy league, we'd be pelting them all with food around now.

7:48 -- Al Horford! The consensus #3. Plus, he doesn't play point. Now, it's the T-Wolves, who last had a #1 in 1988, before the franchise existed, due to the Joe Smith debacle. In other news, we've just made Rahway, and the woman next to me is deep into the Soduku and Diet Coke. I feel like you need to know these things.

7:50 -- ESPN rumor is that the Celts are getting Ray Allen for the 5th pick and a smorgasborg of garbage. He Got Game! And lots of miles on his legs. On the other hand, Allen is the first NBA quasi-superstar who hasn't decided that Boston is Siberia West. The Sonics also get Delonte West, Wally Sczerbiak, and 20 moving boxes. Southward Ho!

7:53 -- The Grizz takes Mike Conley, giving them their first decent PG since Mike Bibby. He'll combine with Pau Gasol to give that team the dynamic inside-out game they had with Bibs and Shareef Abdur-Rahim. In other words, Memphis is screwed.

7:57 -- We make Metropark. The Celtics make their own sauce when you add water. Neither is a good development.

7:58 -- My instant analysis of the Allen trade -- he's actually really good. In the East, he matters. He'll make Pierce care. But he can't overcome Doc Rivers, the unbearable lightness of Kendrick Perkins, and the fact that no one, with the possible exception of Rajon Rondo, can play defense. The Celts win 40, get a low seed, get rolled. That's the high side of things. In other words, they're Knicks North!

7:58 -- Jeff Green, the SF from Georgetown, goes in the promised deal to Seattle. At least the Celts got to avoid Yi here, which in Mandarin is pronounced Skittish-Villi, if you get my meaning...

8:03 -- The Bucks take forever to pick... sorry, nodded off there. Edison looks a lot like Rahway, really.

8:04 -- Yi! Yi! Yi! He's the new Jack Sikma. He's the new Paul Mokeski. He's on the phone, telling the Chinese government to annex Canada. He's going to change your world and rock your emotions and make Andrew Bogut look hip. What a pick! Ruben Patterson just beat his nanny.

8:05 -- When you pick Yi Jianlian, do you realize you've boned it right away, or do you realize this after an hour? (Wait, don't go. I've got lots of Yellow Peril material to get through here...)

(More later -- the bathroom's opened up on the train. Wish me luck!)

One Year Old, And Already Past Their Prime

FTT would like to congratulate Kissing Suzy Kolber, and especially Big Daddy Drew, on its first year anniversary.

(BDD and I are email buddies -- if, by buddies, you mean that he answered one of my emails, once. It totally does count. Dave Stewart and I are email buddies too!)

You are now, and always will be, older than us. And gayer. Definitely gayer.

Another Fantastic Innovation From MLB

Not since the failed promotion of Spider Man 2 on the bases of MLB games have we seen such innovation. The brilliant minds of Fox and MLB have teamed up to bring you… wait for it… online coverage of the All-Star Game batting practice!!!

Chris Rose and Harold Reynolds (say it ain’t so Harold) will co-host the coverage on and
"This isn't going to be 'batting-practice cam'," Fox Sports president Ed Goren says. "It's going to be a television show on the Internet — that's where everything is moving."
Other rejected ideas for the All-Star game:

1) Clubhouse coverage of Texas Hold-Em game of the pitchers after their one inning appearance.

2) Barry Bonds helmet cam – too difficult to mount a camera that large.

3) Boat races between the coaches to decide the game when it ends in a tie again.

4) Harold Reynolds “Hugging Booth”.

5) Online voting to let fans pick the pitches during the 7th inning.

6) Dr. Pepper Fan Challenge – one lucky fan gets to pitch run during the game. $1 million prize if they can steal a base. $50,000 for dumping Gatorade on Tim McCarver.

Be Afraid Celtics Fans

It's draft day and Danny Ainge is in charge. The guy in the middle of the photo above is the brains of this operation.

Latest rumor has the Sonics offering Ray Allen to the Celtics for Theo Ratliff and the #5 pick. Even Ainge is smart enough to make that deal if it is indeed legit.

Top 10 "Sports" Events We're Not Looking Forward To

1) The All-Star Game -- despite the fact that, this time, it counts

2) Pre-season football -- Which player will win the battle for a back-up job that will have no impact on how their team does this year? Tune in and find out!

3) "Hilarious" NBA Draft diaries -- Gosh, tall young men with sudden amounts of money dress funny!

4) Just about anything ESPN produces to fill the summer dead zone

5) The inevitable Web troll / conspiracy theory backlash that Chris Benoit was framed

6) The Home Run Derby -- will Chris Berman say back-back-back-back-back? YES!

7) Pete Rose's next moment in the spotlight -- over/under countdown is down to 18 days

8) Watching Shaq get sanctimonious about people with weight problems

9) The latest developments in the Pac-Man Jones saga (in other news, Maurice Clarett wants his title of Most Overrated Waste of Time back)

10) Wimbledon. Will the guy that always wins win by hitting serves with scientifically cranked rackets that humans aren't physically capable of returning? Wow! What thrills!

Kobe Bryant's Next 10 Moves To Force A Trade From Los Angeles

10) Expresses support for Tim Hardaway

9) Slaps Jack Nicholson around

8) Eats veal

7) Confesses that he is Tupac's real killer

6) Steals Jeannie Buss away from Coach Philip

5) Wears memorial shirt for Odom's kid that has a large X drawn over the face

4) Makes video that throws his team and organization under the bus -- whoops, that already happened

3) Videotaped not separating his recyclables from his garbage

2) Starts a smoking habit -- in game, clove, rolling his own

1) Sodomy -- 24/7/365

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Top 10 Tips For Sports Blog Traffic

Here at The Sports Blog That Loves You Back, we're always concerned with making sure that the site's traffic continues to grow, as part of our plan to Conquer Antarctica. But as the links to other fine sports blogs (down and to the right) show, we also like to give back to the community.

So, for the fellow bloggers and Internet professionals in the audience, we proudly present our top 10 tips for increasing your site's traffic.

1) Ass Kissing

Smooch the glutes of the no-life, no-talent humorless jerks who have more highly trafficked sites than yours by finding their weak spots. Will Leith at Deadspin wants salacious PAP -- Photoshopped Athlete Photos -- that he can pin to the bedroom walls in the basement of his parent's house. (We know, Will, we know -- rent's expensive!) Dan Shanoff at likes it when you call him mean names like Ex-Lemur, Bag Your Face and Jason Whitlock. Bill Simmons, we're told, is disturbingly into watching fat girls wrestle. But hey, who isn't?

And if you want to suck up to us, just repost our entire columns whole, on your own site, because we're your friend. That gives us a big ol' stiffie.

2) Current events

Bridge topical concerns with perennial points of interest. Does your PAP also show an athlete using one of those free brand-new iPhones!? The world should know!

3) Whore yourself

What's the matter, you little baby, you're too proud to put your name and photo in front of others in a modified Hot Or Not contest that will leave you emotionally scarred? You just don't want it enough.

4) Whore others

Through the careful use of flattery, insults and swag (the posters get shirts! that's just the way it is!), you can attract a top-notch team of writers to feed your need for attention.

Hint: shirts are big.

5) Whore strangers

Pretend all you want, but the Internet is for porn. See the photo at the top of this post? It's gotten us hundreds of visitors, from all over the world, for months on end.

It is, by the way, a wooden dildo -- and the only one endorsed by Kobe Bryant. Obey your thirst and order one today!

6) Tech fun!

Through the use of Technorati, RSS feeds, email sign-ups, talking avatars, meta tags and coding and the little-known but highly effective method of Instant Message spam of anyone who has ever given you their address, you too can increase the number of ways that people see your work. Remember, shamelessness is the new hotness. At least, that's what that pantywaist Dan Shanoff says. (Just 500 more votes, and we'd have uglied up his pretty face...)

7) Cheap Heat

This term from the world of pro wrestling involves calling out the residents of YOUR TOWN HERE as being particularly stupid, odorous or effeminate. It can be surprisingly effective by telling Yankee fans that their team is under .500, Red Sox fans that no one outside of their fan base thinks they're adorable, and Cubs fans by telling them that Wrigley's a Crap Hole. Try it for yourself!

(Wrestling, for the younger members of the audience, was the form of popular sports entertainment that was nearly universally shunned after Chris Benoit decided to decorate his house with corpses, and his organization decided to give a three-hour eulogy in his memory. Look it up in the history books.)

8) Keywords

Sprinkle your posts with words that people are searching for. Solid performers this week include FREE iPhone, Chris Benoit, Kobe Bryant, titty, and the oldie but goodie, Tinkerbell Hatefuck. It's surprisingly effective!

9) Gambling -- er, fantasy sports -- oh, OK, gambling

Nothing gets you the repeat business quite like a daily dose of gambling knowledge. As FTT is the proud home of three of Dave Stewart's balls -- the man is talented -- you can be assured that your rent money is safe with our counsel.

10) Lists! Everybody loves lists!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Giant Urinal Cake Known As Wrigley Field

(Ed. Note: Part of a continuing series where FTT throws dirt on the graves of dead stadiums to show that yes, we are freaking old. Enjoy!)

For those of you who have been following our series on Craphole Stadiums of the past, you might be wondering why we are covering an active stadium. We made a special exemption for Wrigley Field – basically the world’s largest urinal cake. Even the rats stay away from this place.

I’ve been to Wrigley probably 20-30 times over the past 20 years. The funny thing is it doesn’t feel any older each time I go. Probably because 20 years ago it was already 75 years old. I love it when Cubs fans gush about how great this old stadium is, what a treasure they have and how they want to keep it forever. Who are they kidding? You could piss down their backs, tell them it’s raining and they’d believe you. In fact, I think I actually saw that happen in the bleachers once. This thing is a relic that will be replaced as soon as the Tribune Co. sells the Cubs later this year.

The place is literally falling apart and the city almost closed Wrigley for a while a couple years back when concrete chunks of the ceiling started falling. It’s eerie how the stadium is directly tied to the team. Both fall apart when the slightest amount of stress is applied.

The hallways are cramped, the vending areas are few, and if you don’t love sausage/hot dogs/nachos, you are out of luck. And the beer of choice is Old Style. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of Old Style, go grab a Bud, Miller Lite or Coors can and put it out in the sun for a week before you drink it. That will give you an idea of the sophisticated tastes Cubs fans have. It’s one thing to be stuck with a craphole stadium, but do you have to drink crappy beer too? And they drink so much of it, they finally added a basket above the outfield walls in the early 70s. This was to keep the drunks from falling onto the field.

Wrigley’s biggest draw is its bleachers. You can go on a weekday day game and find it filled with 20 something unemployed drunks. I couldn’t think of a better representation of a fan with a team than these folks. Tickets now run upwards of $40 for a general admission seat in the bleachers. And that doesn’t guarantee you a seat either as the Cubs sell more tickets than seats for the bleachers each game.

Now I do have to give in a bit and say the bleachers have the hottest chicks in baseball regularly in attendance. But even with a new Cubs stadium they’d still be there. They are really the only good scenery at Wrigley. This photo is a pretty good sample of that talent that is out there.

Other that that, enjoy your crappy beer, your crappy view behind the pole in front of you, the crappy man operated scoreboard, the crappy team on the field and the crappy celebrity led 7th inning stretch that nobody cares about anymore.

Oh, and cut the vines off the outfield wall. This isn’t an Ivy League campus.

In Praise of Minor-League Baseball

The Five Tool Ninja took in a couple of Single-A New York-Penn league baseball games over the weekend, as the Brooklyn Cyclones (Mets) defeated the Hudson Valley Renegades (Devil Rays) on Saturday night and the Staten Island Yankees trounced the Aberdeen Ironbirds (Orioles) on Sunday afternoon.

There are many things to love about minor-league baseball. The between-innings entertainment. The (relatively) cheap concessions. Seeing players that you'll never, ever see again.

But perhaps most noteworthy is the fact that walk-up tickets can be purchased on the day of the game, and good seats, too -- the first 15 rows near home plate, where the players are well within earshot.

So when the Aberdeen SS makes his second error of the game at yesterday's Staten Island Yankees game, he was helpfully reminded that "You made a terrible career choice!"

It's also worth mentioning that the freebie gameday program that the Staten Island Yanks hand out to each fan contains a personal profile for each player, which includes favorite hobbies, movie, music, food, etc.

So if you are so inclined, you can get under pitcher Jeff Livek's skin by telling him that his work is about as impressive as Kid Rock's recent album sales.

Or give it to catcher Brandon Ketron when he strikes out by suggesting that "Adam Sandler is vastly overrated in Billy Madison!"

Or set pitcher Craig Heyer straight by letting him know that "Your grandma's homemade pot roast *sucks*!"

Good times.

I'm Going To Clean My Gutters... On Pay Per View

(Hat Tip, MediaPost -- and nope, this is all for real)

Broadcasting & Cable
ESPN will again offer poker fans the chance to watch the finals of the World Series of Poker live on pay-per-view and/or streamed on This year's coverage will include new production elements and reporters and fan interaction with the players.

"We are focused on delivering a unique viewer experience with access to players, commentators and information," says Jamie Horowitz, senior producer at ESPN. "With real-time text message and email communication available between their homes and the tournament in Las Vegas, fans will be part of poker's most exciting night in a way they've never been before."

Fans will be able to text who they think will be the next player eliminated, with the results appearing live while submitting questions via Final table coverage starts at 3 p.m. on July 17 and continues until there is one winner.

Top 11 Justifications For Starting Your Fantasy Football Draft Preparations

11. Your man-crush for Vince Young can not be contained

10. Aw, c'mon... everyone else is doing it... it's not fair...

9. You've already got last year's list open -- so how much more time will it take to update it, really?

8. Just can't get enough Microsoft Excel in your life

7. Your Dungeons and Dragons session is off this week (the Dungeon Master is preparing for Pennsic)

6. Determining the proper place to slot Brady Quinn could take weeks

5. You've found yourself watching Arena Football, and want to do something more productive

4. Your free Yahoo league's only available live draft is in late June

3. You want to make sure you've got Larry Johnson on your team before the catastrophic knee injury

2. You are a baseball fan in Chicago

1. You Have No Life

(Bonus: Top justification for writing this post... attracting Google searchers who are doing draft research. Welcome, suckers! See you next time, when you are searching for titty!)

Perhaps the greatest WTF? in TV History

WWE performer Chris Benoit apparently killed his wife, 7-year-old kid, and self over the weekend, after canceling from a pay per view event.

The WWE canceled its television events for last night.

The USA Network, to fill the hole, put in a... three-hour tribute to Benoit.

In other news, the NFL Network has decided to *NOT* pay tribute to Rae Carruth and OJ Simpson, MLB has decided to *NOT* pay tribute to Donnie Moore, and the NBA has decided to *NOT* pay tribute to Jayson Williams.

(Special points for anyone who wants to equate USA's decision with MSNBC's move to air the Virginia Tech killer's tape. You're right. And I need a drink.)

Monday, June 25, 2007

I Got A Feeling About This Week's Picks

Cards over METS. Mike Maroth moves to AAA-NL and a Mets team that's feeling too happy after sweeping the A's. He's faced by Jorge Sosa, who is, at the end of the day, Jorge Sosa. I'm counting on the Mets not seeing Maroth before, and not liking it that much. Besides, the moneyline looks wacky to me, as it frequently does with NY teams. 3,000 to win 4,860.

Padres over GIANTS. Tim Linecum is not ready for the Show, and he's faced by the 5-1 stylings of Justin Germano. Make it 6-1. Giant Fan won't care if Bonds goes yard, of course. They deserve each other. 3,000 to win 3,150.

Royals over ANGELS. Have we lost our mind? Probably, but Slingblade Lackey missed his last turn with a boo-boo, and John Thomson hasn't been seen by anyone in a really long time. Probably for a good reason, too, but the moneyline is off the charts. 1,000 to win 2,610.


Two 1-run losses, and the Royals, of all teams, keeping me from getting buried. I'm down 4K and in second place. The contest needs new blood, folks..

A's over INDIANS. It's hard to bet a team that's lost four in a row, but Haren vs. Lee at this moneyline makes me pull the trigger. 3,000 to win 2,521.

Red Sox over MARINERS. Gabbard vs. King Felix, and I think the latter is headed for a rough night. He's handled the Sox earlier this year, but his ERA is up to 4 now, and Gabbard keeps his team in the game. 4,000 to win 5,000.


The week after winning is always brutal. Now 1-4, I'm going all in with the Padres over GIANTS. Greg Maddux faces Matt Cain, and here's why the road team will win: today is the day when the most over-40 starting pitchers will all start (7). Mad Dog's going to pee all over that whippersnapper Cain. 2,610 to win 2,662.

Update -- Got an early win and I'm going for more.

White Sox over D-RAYS -- Mark Buerhle on the road vs. somebody named Andy Sonnanstine, with a 6.58 ERA. I know the ChiSox don't hit, but come on. 2,500 to win 2,232.

Dodgers over DBACKS - Derek Lowe against Brandon Webb. Dodgers have been very good on the road. 2,500 to win 2,925.


The DBack win prevents me from getting back in. Two more all-in bets today.

A's over INDIANS. Joe Blanton was fantastic in New York, while Paul Byrd is pretty damn hittable. After last night's explosion against Fausto Carmona, I'm hoping for another day of run support, 3,004 to win 2,974.

Jays over TWINS. AJ Burnett comes back from the DL strong against the randomness that is Carlos Silva. 3,000 to win 2,778.

...and I'm done. See you next Monday, folks...

$200 Million Doesn't Buy You A Spare Tire

Watching the Yanks lose their 5th game in a 6-game road trip so far, one had to be struck by the sight of a 44-year-old starter (Clemens, of course) coming into a game to pitch relief. It was the first time for the Rocket out of the pen in a regular season game since his rookie year in 1984, and it didn't quite work out, and he gave up a hit and a run in what turned out to be a 7-2 loss and a series loss to the previously moribund Giants. The team is now 36-37.

Yes, it's extremely defensible strategy to bring in Clemens on his off-day to pitch an inning. It nearly worked, they didn't have him out there for long enough to risk anything, and it's not like they care too much about his future after this year. They've done the same thing with Pettite on several occasions, and the day after a 13-inning marathon, you needed every possible arm. Just a relief the dear boy was around, really -- and you wonder, on some level, whether this was exactly why he negotiated being away from the team on off days in the first place.

But as the team falls back to 11.5 games out of first and 6.5 games out of the wild-card... it just has the feel, if not the reality, of desperation.

Older teams are prone to big streaks in either direction. When they're right and rolling, everyone is playing to career norms, and veteran players are veterans for a reason -- they are above average. Anyone in the majors who has managed to get 1000 innings or 5000 at bats is, by definition, a good player -- there are too many other guys around to take the job if you aren't, and independent of a big contract, patience is limited.

But when they're hurt or failing, the same math goes the other way... because the team is less likely to have a good back-up position. And that, truly, is the main failing of the Yankees in the latter days of the Torre era (and I call this the Torre era more than the Cashman era, because it's frankly hard to tell how much of this team is Cashman, as opposed to Big Stein's lackeys, as opposed to the farm system that started the run in the first place).

It's truly amazing that a team with a $200 million payroll had no better option at first base than Doug Mientkiewicz. When that career .760 OPS hitter and 11-year veteran was felled by injury (in what should be a relief, in that his .671 20007 OPS is matched by many middle infielders)... and his vaunted fielding prowess at the diamond's least important defensive position isn't all that important, unless you think that Jeter and A-Rod are the worst throwers at their position in MLB, which your eyes tell you isn't the case...

Well, it's even more amazing that the team's best fallback option is the 33-year-old Miguel Cairo. Perhaps the most amazing part of this whole series of moves is listening to YES broadcasters talk about what a surprise Cairo's defense has been. As if a team with a $200mm payroll should be content with a .595 OPS at first base just to get a glove in the lineup. A small note to the Yankee faithful -- the .320 OPS difference between the Boston first baseman (mostly Youkilis) and yours has to taste good, especially because you're paying a lot more for your numbers.

The troubles at first base even have the team rolling the dice with playing Jorge Posada there, despite the fact that he's an injury risk waiting to happen... and that when Jorge is there, the team has to play his back-up, the breathtakingly inept 29-year-old Wil Nieves (OPS of .260 this year, and .361 for his career, which is to say, less than several National League *pitchers*). Nieves, however, brings a lot of defense to the table -- the Giants only stole five bases off him and Mike Mussina yesterday. They had 32 in their first 73 games, and weren't starting Dave Roberts, so five in a game was just bound to happen.

Here's who the Yankees *should* have waiting in the minors to play first in the event of an injury: Jack Cust. The Oakland lefty and career minor-leaguer always could hit; he just can't field. Or Scott Hatteberg, who was available for a song two years ago (the song in question was "On A Horse With No Name"), and probably still available from the Reds for the price of a minor pitching prospect.

At this point, you'd be happy with a Travis-ty Lee or a JT "12 Inches Of" Snow. Does anyone have Tino Martinez's cell phone number -- landline service to the senior center is spotty. Maybe Paulie O'Neill can gripe his way through a few nostalgia at-bats, just so the Yankee faithful can cream themselves over his intangibles?

The Yankee farm system is very good for developing high ceiling prospects that allow them to go after big contract veterans. It is much, much less good at finding the kind of true AAA player that an older team with injury risks needs. That can only be attributed to a lack of discipline or effort, or a need to show some cost savings somewhere after filling the garage with toys.

Because when you look at a Roger Clemens or an Andy Pettite pitching out of the bullpen on their off day, you are not seeing a veteran giving his team some crucial outs in the middle of a long run up Red Sox Mountain.

What you are seeing, instead, is the baseball equivalent of a late-model performance sports car, with serious reliability issues and a dodgy, at best, insurance policy, hauling rocks to a job site. At some point, it's going to break down, and your utter lack of a contingency plan is going to get you stuck in the middle of nowhere -- or, 11.5 games out of first, 6.5 games out of the wildcard, and a pulled A-Rod groin away from utter irrelevancy.

Now that I've buried them, they will run off six in a run and make Red Sox Nation hide in the bathroom for a weekend. But any team where the bench is so bad that .600 OPS is common... or the bullpen is getting supplemental innings from top-line starters... is no threat. Even if they do have the MVP and a half-dozen Hall of Famers. It's a long season, and teams have 25 players for a reason.

I Slice Like A Hammer

A small note to the Truth and the Ninja, aka FTT's slacker team members -- just listen to this bit on motivational speaking from Paul Anka, recreated for everyone's pleasure. Note: Audio not safe for work.

The audio track is the real deal, and says everything that I would, only better.

We're not going to be as strong as our weakest link!

Drawing Ball Three from Smoke Stewart

I pussied out bigger than Roger Clemens this week, riding a fast 5-0 start in the first two days of the week to the win in the Battle of the Blogs.

That leaves us just one more ball away from the 4-pitch walk. Whatsa matter, Smoke, too scared to pitch to us?

Play us out, boys...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Around the horn

> After getting swept in Colorado, the Yankees go back to 10.5 games behind the Red Sox. They are also 5.5 games out of the wild card, with four teams ahead of them.

We're about 10 games before the true mid-point of the season, which basically means this... their start has made June more like July, and July will be more like August.

Finally, there is this: if the White Sox and Royals continue to play .400 ball, it's going to be a lot easier for the Cleveland/Tigers loser to keep a good record. Right now, one of the best things that could happen for the Yankees is for Justin Morneau to come back and make the Twins right again, so the Central starts hurting each other.

> The best team in the AL in June is... those sneaky LAAngles. They are 20 games over .500 for the year, and 14 games over .500 in June, With a big lead over the A's and surprising Mariners, and a resurgent Chone Figgins making their offense right again, the best team you don't hear about now has the second-best record in baseball.

Things could get dicey for them soon, as Barty Colon is still not right and Slingblade Lackey is actually going to miss a turn, but with that offense and bullpen, it's hard to imagine them falling too far back.

> Sosa, Griffey, Thomas and Bonds are all chasing big career home run milestones.

Their teams are 17.5 games out, 13.5 games out, 11.5 games out and 11.5 games out of their divisions, respectively. Only the Jays are near .500. So... how much are these sideshows helping their teams?

> The A's cut Milton Bradley. It comes as no surprise that I'm a big Billy Beane fan, but this is one of those moments that make me happy to be an A's fan -- all around. They rolled the dice to get him. It didn't work out. They have a decent enough farm system to replace him cheaply with Travis Buck. And then they let him go, before it became too much of a distraction, with a relative lack of fuss.

> It's the last weekend for interleague play. What will be your biggest memory of it this year? Yeah, I don't have one either...

> Griffey goes to Seattle and gets applauded. Giambi goes to court and gets immunity. Tejada goes to the DL and gets abuse for trying to keep his streak alive. And the rest of the world wonder what might have been, if only they all decided to stay with their first clubs, where they were successful and comfortable and out of the media spotlight... and where their steroid supplies were discrete. Ah, Karma, you heartless bitch...

Cry Us A River

Mainstream media types are starting to notice sports bloggers. In the immortal words of Derrick Coleman, whoop de damn do...

On the off chance that someone who is getting paid is reading this, we'd like to take this opportunity to point out the following:

1) The toothpaste is out of the tube. You can either cry about that, or brush your teeth. Given your career choices to date, this is a 50-50 call.

2) If the roles were reversed, and you were the person whose work was dissected by a third party... you wouldn't be looking for a way to go direct?

Way back when, I covered high school and college sports for newspapers. It's not a great way to earn a living. The athletes that have the ability to speak to the press don't want to. The ones that do not... well, they won't give you anything you can use. The pay sucks. Your coworkers are sportswriters - flabby, badly dressed white guys who live for free food and drink.

If you're good, you move up the ladder for various chains. The pay gets a little more tolerable. Maybe people start to care about what you write. On the other hand, you get scorned by athletes that earn more in a year than you will in your lifetime.

Eventually, if everything goes really well, you get hired by the World Wide Lemur, or you stay true to your print leanings and go to a big paper. Life's good then, right? You've made it to the big time. All of the ass-kissing to editors, all of the networking, all of the late nights and politicking for exclusives... it's paid off. You're getting paid to write about sports, for a living. You get to spend your entire life in a state of perpetual adolescence.

And then the world changes.

Athletes go direct. Newspapers fail to change with the times, and can't monetize Web traffic. Bloggers become relevant, because the traffic votes with its mouse. And you're reduced to writing pointless whinefests.

The point is this: the world changes. Constantly, with increasing speed, in ways that are never applauded by those who are invested in the status quo. In any event, good luck finding anyone who cares. Moving on...

Friday, June 22, 2007

My Failed Jock Moment

Everyone is, or eventually becomes, a failed jock. There comes a point where what you want to do (win) doesn't happen, either through bad coaching, talent, motivation or luck, and you move on to something else. For me and baseball, that happened at age 12, and had a soundtrack.

For one bad season, I played Little League baseball in Northeast Philadelphia. For several months, I tried to overcome fear, insecurities and bad eyesight, with moments of success mixed in during weeks of misery. My team, buttressed by the classic talented jerk who was also the coach's kid, was the class in the league. I had some good games, but was soon relegated to deep outfield and the bottom of the lineup. My team won the championship, but by the time the season was over, I knew I wasn't going to be doing this again. Instead, I moved on to something much more worthy of blackmail.

This was particularly galling, I think, to my older brother, who was a pretty terrific athlete. A football star and divorce self-driven man of the house at age 12, he was in his late teens, driving a pimped-out van and providing overly aggressive encouragement for my feeble efforts. Fairly soon afterwards, he joined the Marines.

The second-place team was led by my childhood friend and rival, a ball of quickness and energy that was the star of his team *and* my height. He wasn't a bad guy, but he was much better than me and eliminated any size-based excuse for incompetence. On the day our teams played, he was pitching.

The first time I came up, there were men on base with two outs. The first pitch, which couldn't have been intentional given our skill levels, was at my head. When I got up, my rival was smiling, because hey, watching a spastic frienemy bail is probably damned funny.

The next pitch, I smoked a line drive that missed his head by a foot, driving in some runs. I stopped at second. By Grantha's Hammer, I was Avenged! Life was good.

My second at bat, we were threatening to break open the game. With the bases loaded, my rival again dusted me on the first pitch, but with no post-pitch smile this time. The next pitch, he nearly did. I missed his skull by inches on the hardest hit ball of my life.

The center fielder, possessing the innate sense of survival that you usually find in Little League, picked the ball up when it no longer appeared radioactive. I wound up at third. Teammates were screaming with joy, and I felt like Mike Schmidt -- hell, better. Schmidt didn't have my wheels to wind up on third, after all. Maybe this baseball thing was going to work out after all.

Another at bat produced a ground ball to the right side of the infield that I beat out for a single. (Not an uncommon experience in that league.) In the final at bat, with my brother clearly screaming for the home run that would produce my cycle, I put a ball into the gap and didn't stop running. Through the usual comedy of errors you'd find in a Little League game, much less a blowout, I touched home plate to the consternation of my coach, who was trying to get everyone to follow base running signs.

Screw that, Coach. I was hitting for the cycle!

After the final out was recorded, my brother carried me off on his shoulders, tears running down his face with pride. We piled into his van. "You hit for the cycle! That was awesome! I'm gonna play this song for you, you hear it, you remember it, that was so f***..." Et cetera. My brother is an enthusiastic guy.

He popped in his favorite tape that month, Cheap Trick's "Live at Budokan." He meant, I'm sure, to put in the side where his favorite song that week, "Nine O'Clock Tick Tock", was playing.

But, um, no.

The music started, I looked at his face, and it really wasn't what he meant to play... but it had started, so he just sung harder and pretended this is what he wanted.

Mama told me / Yes she told me / I'd meet girls like you
She also told me / stay away / you'll never know what you'll catch...

Yes, "Surrender" -- a fairly notorious little ditty of a kid discovering his parent doing the nasty to his Kiss records. The enthusiasm left the moment, and we drove home.

I remember, 25 years later, the color of the sky as the sun set on a perfect Philadelphia night. And I remember, looking up at that sky, thinking that if the song for my finest game ever in Little League was, well, this song... maybe that glorious major league career playing second for the Phillies wasn't going to happen.

Play me out, boys...

Wagon Wheel

The Ninja and I saw these guys tonight. White people are funny.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Easiest Sports Joke Of The Day

ESPN Headline:
Retired (WNBA Star Chamique) Holdsclaw Lost Interest In Game

You and us both, sister! (rim shot)

Kobe Bryant Releases Trade Haiku

(ROIDERS) In the latest twist to the Kobe Bryant story, the unhappy star of the Lakers has now made trade requests on his web site, STRENGTH! HONOR! KOBE UBER ALLES!, in haiku form.

Some of the verses include:

i long for a trade
my soul cries out for glory
that, or sodomy

this kid bynum? girl
please. my career is too short
to mentor or pass

why did shaq leave me?
it is really all his fault
not knowing his place

phil doesn't love me
always talking of michael
i hate all his books

if they don't trade me
so help me God, i will hold
my breath and turn blue

i have no teammates
walton's kid is horrible
why's lamar so sad?

one of my teammates
i think is named Smush
i'm not having that

time to leave el lay
this town is just so phony
not like me at all

the east, it needs me
the finals ratings are proof
el lay stage too small

on second thought i
am going to take it all back
these pills are so nice

Lakers owner Jerry Buss was unavailable for comment.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Worst. Spam. Ever...

Found in my junk mail folder this morning.

San Antonio Spurs Screensaver

Note the final line -- "You will re-live the Spurs world championship every time you are at your computer."

Who's up for a class-action lawsuit?

Rules for Road Fans

In last night's Yanks vs. Rockies game, 45K+ fans filled a park that usually only has 25-30K. Flash bulbs fired on every pitch to Yankee players like Jeter and A-Rod. In the 8th, in the midst of a Yankees rally that ended when Latroy Hawkins struck out Jorge Posada with the bases loaded in what would eventually be a 3-1 Rockies win, the crowd was more or less evenly split between Yankee and Rockies chants.

Which is to say, it was a typical Yankees game, or Red Sox game, or any game where the road team has a national following, and the local team doesn't fill their park.

Having been a road fan, and having suffered intensely through them while at home (2003 ALCS, Red Sox Nation cheered my A's still-warm corpse in front of me, causing a hate that the Twins, Yankees and Tigers will never eclipse), let me humbly suggest the following rules.

1) Do not wear your team's colors. Yes, I'm advocating that you be a ball-free pussy that doesn't enjoy the game to the fullest. I'm also telling you that it's rude, classless, and that you deserve any abuse you suffer, up to and including criminal mischief.

I'm not saying that I'm going to be the guy pouring beer on you, insulting your girl, decorating your colors with condiments, challenging your (shriveled) manhood and taking a secret piss on your clothes, in or out of the urinal. Or secretly daydreaming of you getting The Mussolini Treatment.

But I will admire it.

2) Do not chant for your team. The people around you have spent their lives, for good or ill, rooting passionately for the hosts. When the rival chant starts up, the benefit for your team is minimal. The hate that you are creating? That's permanent. It'll find an outlet eventually -- either on you, or someone less deserving.

3) Do not take pictures with flash photography. There's this thing called television. It even comes in high definition now. There's also this thing called a DVR, or Tivo. It allows you to record the game you were at, in better detail and clarity than your crappy cell phone camera. And guess what? In both cases, you won't want to look at it after the game.

Taking pictures of you and your friends, during the inning breaks? Absolutely. Taking pictures of every pitch? Seriously, is your life so deprived of excitement that you need dozens of pictures of routine at-bats in the middle of a career that will have something like 10,000 of them?

4) Get your head in the freaking game, for the love of... Do not wear comically out of date jerseys; this just in, Sox Nation, Pedro's not coming back. Do not use your cell phone to call the outside world just to say where you are. If you must, do so quietly, by cupping your hand over the receiver and moving in close, you know, like a polite human being. Applaud good plays by either team. Sing during the 7th inning stretch. Be a baseball fan first, a fan of your team second. Make me not hate you.

5) If the home team does not have violent and passionate fans that fill the stadium, preventing you and your horde from having sections of your own, it does not mean that the people who are there are doormat pussies who deserve to be abused. It means that they are fans of a franchise that does not provide to them the same level of service that your fan base has received.

Do you also go to areas with bad school districts and mock the parents that live there? Or bring take-out from fine restaurants into fast food joints? Or bring your luxury car into poor neighborhoods and laugh at people with older cars? Play practical jokes on the homeless?

No, one fervently hopes, because those would be acts without charity, or humanity, or class. You'd have to be an utter and complete asshole to do things like that.

Now... do the math.

6) Realize, for once in your blighted lives, that the world extends beyond your own ass. Or...

7) Stay the hell home. The sooner you do, the sooner we can toss this interleague bullshit into the ashcan of history, where it belongs. (No, I'm not holding my breath.)

FTT's Got The Kobe Video!

No, not that video... the one that's happening to Laker Fan...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

FTT Saves You 2,196 Words of Bill Simmons

I went to Vegas.

I drove. It's exciting to drive across the desert.

The Las Vegas airport isn't good.

My friends and I are getting older.

We gambled outside, and a woman took off her top.

I'll go next year.

What You Did Not Know About Tiger Woods' New Baby Girl

> Brings the "A" Crying

> Can already outdrive Michele Wie

> Has a higher APGAR score than any kid you'd ever have

> Might get Jesus back on his side

> Already has made more money than you will ever see

> Is already a special character on several video games

> Like Tiger, is a cyborg sent from the future

> Will rebel by hating golf

> Is Bad Luck -- Tiger Has Not Won A Tournament Since Her Birth

> Ties Woods with Nicklaus for daughters; still four behind on sons

If You Don't Think This Is The Finest Mascot Episode Ever, I Will Have To Sneer At You Repeatedly

Anyone who debates this with me is a moron who just doesn't get what David Chase and the Pittsburgh Pirates are trying to do. (Hat tip: Deadspin, who grabbed it from Dorothy Mantooth Is A Saint.)

I think Jason Bay kills him with his bare hands. Worse yet, no one notices, because it's, you know, in Pittsburgh...

Take Me Out To The Beer - This Week's MLB Picks


Two wins already in the books - White Sox and Brewers - and I'm up $7500. Always nice to start the week right.


ROCKIES over Yankees. Mike Mussina in altitude is usually a bad idea, the Yanks haven't seen Josh Fogg before, and the moneyline is big. As always. You'd think I'd have learned my lesson by now, but no. 2,000 to win 2,940.

Pirates over MARINERS. Tom Gorzelanny has been solid all year, and he's facing the very hittable Miguel Batista. 2,000 to win 2,320.

Astros over ANGELS. Jason Jennings has been solid, while Big Barty Colon hasn't been able to go deep (fat, fried) in a game yet. Have we mentioned Colon's heavy? 2,000 to win 2,980.


5-0 for the week and up $15,000, rolling the competition. Does this make me pussy out and make someone come catch me? You bet your sweet life it does. Late...

Whoa, Budny! Top 10 Ways Commissioner Bud Selig Has Made MLB Better

10. (Sound of crickets)

9. I'll just fill this one in later. I'm sure it will come to me.

8. A lot of places have new stadiums.

But they cost you 2-3X more than seeing the game in the old one, and they're usually paid for with corporate welfare. Oh well.

7. Pete Rose isn't in the Hall of Fame...

but neither is Buck O'Neill.

6. Hey, does anyone want to run out for ice cream in the middle of this list?

I could sure go for some ice cream.

5. I guess interleague play sells tickets. Maybe. And my A's usually crush teams during it.

But it also compromises the schedule, and gives as many bad matchups as good ones. So.

4. Lots more international talent in the game now.

Which I can't imagine Bud has had any impact in getting.

Also, it means that teams in big markets have extra de facto farm leagues. So, not so much.

3. Never allowed labor and big market vs. small market stupidity to create a work stoppage that canceled the World... oh, crap.

2. Maybe the wild card has made baseball more relevant to more cities, later in the year.

But the watered-down pennant races kind of crush that. Anyway.

1. Didn't do as bad of a job as Don King or Gary Bettman....

or, for that matter, Hitler.

Now, one more time, let's all give the Budny Cheer...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Top 10 Trade Destinations for Kobe Bryant

(Ed. Note: There is no proof to the rumor that we're changing the name of the blog to Five Tool Kobe. But we understand how these things get started.)

10. Boston

The Celtics are desperate to prove they are still relevant after their tanking/draft fiasco, and they can offer a variety of package options, ranging from the well-established (Paul Pierce) to the up and coming (Al Jefferson). Theo Ratliff, in the final year of one of those Billy King Sixers contracts that always provide so much comedy value around the league, would be a must in any deal, giving the Lakers cap relief going into next season.

In Boston, Kobe could be the first major star ever to play for both the Lakers and the Celtics. In an up-tempo offense "coached" by the very vacant Doc Rivers, he would easily lead the NBA in scoring, and as LeBron James showed in this year's playoffs, it doesn't take a great cast of characters to get deep into the playoffs.

9. Rome, in the time of Caesar

As seen on the hit HBO series, Rome is a murderous, back-biting cesspool of human domination and degradation -- a perfect match for Kobe's off-court talents. As someone who grew up overseas, Kobe's international predilections would be rewarded here, and he'd be a key part of the NBA's efforts to continue to grow the fan base beyond North America.

Rome can offer up any number of soldiers, riches and artifacts to the Lakers, something that would have considerable appeal in the status-conscious LA market. Coach Phil Jackson would probably leap at the chance for a tighter defense with shields and swords packing the lane around a developing Andrew Bynum, and he'd look simply fabulous in a breast plate.

The final kicker for Rome, for Kobe -- a league-leading amount of sodomy. It's a win-win situation!

8. New York

Isiah Thomas has shown that he can blow big trades, and none would be bigger than putting one of the biggest stars in the NBA at Madison Square Garden. Stephon Marbury, in his historical role as overrated superstar who gets dealt for players better than he is, would be nearly a match under the salary cap, and the Knicks can also dangle the surprisingly potent David Lee, the returning LA favorite Quentin Richardson, and draft picks that could be heavy lottery favorites in the future. The Knicks could also take Vlad Radmanovic's contract, a major plus for the Lake Show as they try to clear cap space.

In New York, Kobe could team with an actual low-post scorer again in Eddy Curry, and the same rules as per Boston would apply here. He'd also have a terrific opportunity to rehabilitate his image among local Madison Avenue ad types, who could use his outlaw image and bicoastal fan base to make many more consumers eager to Obey Kobe's Thirst.

7. Paris, in the time of the Revolution

Anarchy in the streets, truly outstanding cuisine, the day to day excitement of violent decapitations *and* puffy shirts? For sheer visual appeal, it's hard to top Paris as the next stop for Kobe. Unlike many NBA stars who might balk at the low exchange rate and streets running red with blood, Kobe's shown a greater sense of, how do you say, je nais sais quoi.

Paris would appear to be compromised at the trade table, what with its plunder being squandered on royalist abuses and no NBA franchise to tap into for tradeable talent. But this analysis fails to grasp just how much Jerry Buss enjoys a freshly made crepe, and Jackson would be able to indulge in his taste for Dumas. Dealing Kobe to Paris also means the Lakers will never have to worry about facing him again, in the playoffs or the regular season, destroying any chance he'd have for revenge. Sacre bleu!

6. Dallas

No team was more exposed for its lack of playoff toughness in the post-season than the Mavs, a #1 seed that got rolled in the first round. Owner Mark Cuban has always shown a taste for rolling the dice, and his roster is filled with the kind of talent that the Lakers would be looking for in a rebuilding era. Top targets would include Jason Terry, Jerry Stackhouse, and possibly Erick Dampier, all of whom could prove to be more valuable in Jackson's vaunted triangle offense.

For Dallas, the only real consideration must be how well Kobe would co-exist with Dirk Nowitzki, the reigning MVP and the NBA's best scoring big man. Would they mesh together as well as Shaq and Kobe, depite Dirk's dramatically different offensive game? Only time will tell.

5. Buenos Aires

Don't cry for me, Argentina! Kobe Bryant's arrival in the Southern Hemisphere would be the capper to a remarkable run for our southern neighbor, who would forget all about Manu Ginobili and Angel Cabrera as soon as Kobe crossed the Equator.

Argentina has more to offer the Lakers in trade than most NBA observers realize. With their secret race of genetically engineered Nazi Supermen, and their strong chances to retake the Falklands from a Britain that's lost all taste for armed conflict following the Iraq experience, they just might have what it takes to sway Buss.

For Kobe, Buenos Aires would give him a chance to make his historical mark on basketball for an entire continent, as well as the opportunity to show his range as a torch singer. The pantaloons may be surprisingly hard for the Mamba to resist. Finally, it wouldn't be much of a switch for him, time zone wise. So he's got that going for him.

4. Detroit

As an elite team that's grown stale and lost their identity, the Pistons fit the profile of a Lakers suitor. A sign and trade move with Chauncey Billups and the playoff-weak Tayshaun Prince makes sense here, as it gives the Lake Show a long and longer front court of Odom, Prince and Bynum -- possibly effective in the Jazz-Spurs big man West.

For the Pistons, Kobe joins a team of defensive minded players and Chris Webber, and he'll enjoy working with big men who can actually catch the ball. The lack of a point guard is a little bit disturbing, but Kobe dominates the ball as is, and the Pistons might have more than they think in Carlos Delfino.

While the Pistons don't usually come up in trade talk, Joe Dumars is smart enough to know that this roster isn't getting any better, and not afraid to make difficult decisions (witness Darko). While Billups won't provide the star power that LA might need to fill seats in a post-Kobe era, watching him go against Sam Cassels might be enough.

(Ed. Note / Update - Whoops. Delfino dealt to the Raps for second round picks. Oh well.)

3. Washington, DC

With the town in a tizzy over Gilbert Arenas's contract, Chocolate City may be the perfect place to receive Kobe. As a lobbyist, he could supplement his off-court income with lucrative K Street work, giving the same kind of public approval magic to either the Dems or the Republicans.

A sign and trade with Arenas makes sense here, but that's not the only possibility. The Wiz could also offer up Antawn Jamison, who always looks good from a distance, and the Lakers could throw good money after bad by getting back Caron Butler. Provided he's still in the league, Kwame Brown is always an option here, too.

In the District, Kobe would head up an exciting offensive team that's lacking in quality big men. That should be a welcome change for the local fans.

2. Miami

The greatest soap opera in NBA history returns as the Heat move heaven (the injury-prone Dwayne Wade) and earth (the donut-laden Antoine Walker) to the West, putting Shaq and Kobe back together in the worst sequel since Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Impossible, you say? Sure, but you haven't taken into account Pat Riley's ego, stung by the first-round exit and Shaq's dalliances with obese children. For at least 1-2 seasons, this would work like old times, and in the East and with the state of Florida happy to consume second-run shows, it's a win all around. For extra fun, keep an eye on how Gary Payton and Alonzo Mourning react -- because they are always fun to be around in a potentially awful situation!

1. Hell

Kobe's going here soon enough, so why not speed things along? NBA teams have shown more willingness to deal with the Father of All Lies than most professional leagues, and Hell has much to offer in the way of winged demons, temptations of gold and plunder, and untold cursed souls, wailing in torment, to fill the seats at the Staples Center no matter how long the Lakers rebuilding project could take. That all spells cap relief, a must for any deal involving Kobe.

For Kobe, Hell would offer any number of ironic punishments early, but we're confident that with the skills he's shown so far in his NBA career, he'd ascend quickly in the Lord of the Flies's perpertual wailing offense. Kobe's strong drive and dish game would also play hell in Hell's corporate arena in the frozen lake of Corpadverticus, where the home-court advantage is truly profound.

From a fan's perspective, I'm rooting for #1. Pick your favorite destination in the comments, if you are so moved...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Top 10 Things Kobe Loves More Than The Lakers

Inspired by the Mamba's own words... Strength and Honor! KOBE UBER ALLES!

10) "Winning"

9) A really nice slice of cantaloupe, served at brunch

8) Non-consensual anal sex (allegedly)

7) Not paying too much for this muffler

6) Cheating on his wife, then paying her off with garish jewelry he buys at the freaking mall

5) A night at the opera, and breakfast the next day

4) Physically abusing foreigners

3) Keeping it real

2) Feuding with the only dominant big man he'll likely ever have a teammate outside of All-Star Games, greasing the skids for his departure, thus ensuring a treadmill run to .500 for the rest of his career as a Laker

1) Um, Kobe. Duh...

Five Utterly Random Points

1) Tiger loses the US Open -- and at least this time, it wasn't Jesus's fault.

Yes, it is unfair to frame it in this way, but that's just the way it is when you're that much better than everyone else. We can safely assume that Woods' just doesn't miss his dad that much anymore.

Big props, finally, to Angel Cabrera for making his first tournament win a major, while sitting on his ass in the clubhouse and over par. The American dream, but Argentinian.

2) Carlos Zambrano loses a no-hitter and game. Even sweeter, for the haters, then Schilling's lost no-hitter. You've got to love the Cubs' year... bad *and* entertaining. This would never have happened if Lou Pinella was alive.

3) After leading the challenge all week, it all fell apart for me late, with the A's and Mets letting me down when I needed them most. As far as I'm concerned. Dave Stewart only has two balls.

We finished second in a bad week for the contest. By the way, if you want to pick games and get into the action on this, drop me a line.

4) Barry Bonds hits home run #748 in the final game of a Red Sox sweep. It was clutch, though -- it made an 8-3 game into an 8-4 game.

The loss drops the Giants to 10 games back in their division, 9 games out of the wild card, and only half a game out of second to last game in the entire National League. (Fun fact: last place is the Reds, as those resurgent Nats are now just 9 games under .500.)

I'm shocked to discover that a team that ties 20% of its salary into an ancient and divisive player who is playing just for the sake of setting a record doesn't have a good won-loss record. Shocked!

However, there was a nice moment for Barry to give props to Wakefield for not walking him. Like a knuckleballer has any idea whether he's walking a guy or not...

5) Prince Fielder hit an inside the park home run (it was a towering pop up that got lost in the roof at the Homerdome). Not to get all Jayson Stark on you, but we're pretty sure that's not happening again, ever.

Also, big props to Fielder the Younger for his impersonation of a runaway beer truck going around Turn 3. We haven't seen baserunning like this since John Kruk had both testes. (Rim-job shot...)

A Real Baseball Crowd Question

A quick question for everyone who goes to baseball games in cities that also have pro football teams...

How often do cheers for the football team crop up during the game?

Because you can, and do, hear E-A-G-L-E-S during just about every Phillies game. It's usually not meant in kindness.

When I was in the Bay Area, I never heard a Niners chant at a Giants game. I think I heard a Raiders chant once or twice at an A's game, but it was pretty rare (to be honest, real A's fans often hate the Raiders, because they ruin the outfield and their fans only show up in big games, then act badly).

I've been to see games in Baltimore, Chicago, Boston, New York, Detroit, Cleveland... no chants for the fall team. Only here.

So what is it, folks -- do other towns do this and I've just missed it, or is Philadelphia, for all intents and purposes, a single pro team town now?

For the record, I'm not casting blame on anyone for doing this. The Phillies are what they have been for a very long time -- a more or less direction-free collection of good talent and questionable front office moves, just good enough to be in a race, just bad enough, especially in critical pitching roles, to not be a serious threat. By recent standards, this team is likable and exciting, and being only 2 games back of the Mets / 3 out of the wildcard is encouraging.

Besides, this isn't Seattle. You can boo here. You pay for a ticket, and yet, you still have free speech. We're kind of quaint that way.

Anyway... I just can't shake the feeling that even a World Series win wouldn't make this area a baseball town again. Hence, the Eagles chants.

In other news: 42 days until training camp opens. Happy Father's Day, y'all.

Jerry Buss Checks His Voicemail

(Machine voice) You have five new messages...

Message 1...

Jerry? This is Kobe. Look, I've been thinking it over, and I've decided that I really do need a trade after all. I know this puts you in a big bind and all, but I really think that the the best thing for the Lakers and myself would be a fresh start somewhere else. Thanks. (BEEP)

Message 2...

Jerry, it's Kobe. Look, forget what I just said in that last message. You know how emotional I get, what with the whole first round exits, and not having any good veteran teammates since you made me fight with Shaq. It's just like Colorado all over again, and I want to say that I really appreciate your support back then, especially when the cops were all over me. You've been like a father to me through thick and thin, and it's just that I care so much about the Lakers, it makes me say these crazy things.

Don't you worry, Pops. I'm a Laker for Life. Late. (BEEP)

Message 3...

Look, old man, if you don't want to do the single courtesy of returning my phone messages, you know what? I do want a fucking trade. Isiah, I'm sure he'd be available to me, no matter what the hour. He told me he loves me -- yeah, that's right, love, you frigid... (BEEP)

Message 4...

I KNOW YOU'RE THERE, JERRY. I know you think this is a big joke, making me get all crazy like this, screening your messages, leaking stories to the press. You think Dwayne Wade has to put up with this shit? You think Tim Duncan can't talk to his coach and owner whenever he wants? Of course, I bet you'd rather have Duncan, wouldn't you? Makes his teammates better, dominates defensively, never talks to the press -- I bet you'd just love having him over me, wouldn't you? ANSWER ME, BITCH! PICK UP THE GODDAMN... (BEEP)

Message 5...

(Weeping) (BEEP)

Friday, June 15, 2007

In Case You Forgot, Bud Selig Is An Utter Waste of Sperm and DIgnity

Yes, MLB is back with its attack on the biggest thing that's threatening the game right now -- fantasy leagues not paying them for statistics. (Hat tip, Deadspin.)

We have nothing to add to this at this time -- oh, there *will* be something later, you can be sure -- but we have just three questions for the worst commissioner ever.

1) If this is such a problem, why doesn't the NFL do what you are doing? (Answer: Because they aren't the most venal and stupid people in sports. That's your job.)

2) Independent of the merit of your argument, why are you antagonizing people who are choosing to spend more time with your product... *and* are prone to driving the media and PR message for your league, as they are, you know, people with access to media?

3) Do you have a fatal disease or illness, or is my voodoo doll not working?

Top 10 Signs You're Missing The NFL A Little Too Much

10. You have watched NFL Europe -- OK, forget that, no one's watched NFL Europe. Your thumbs hurt and you're going blind from playing Madden

9. You have already picked out your fantasy team name

8. You watched the NFL Draft

7. You are already planning out your tailgating strategy (this year: beer-filled)

6. You've watched Arena Ball

5. You're reading this because you habitually search Google for new posts about the NFL

4. You've watched the NFL Network

3. You answer "Yes" to more than two of these questions

2. You are genuinely excited about watching pre-season football

1. Reading this list made you want to go tackle someone

A moment from my commute

Man, on cell phone, talking loudly, on an otherwise quiet train. He can be heard for a good 50 feet.

Woman, sounding unhinged, three rows from him. "SHUT UP!"

Man continues to talk at same volume.

Woman, more unhinged, louder. "SHUT UP!"

Rest of train starts looking spooked.

Man quiets down and is not heard from again.

Conductor asks who said that.

Train full of people stare out the windows. Suddenly, we're all back in elementary school. No one wants to be a tattletale, but we all know who did it.

Woman owns up to it.

Conductor tells he that was very rude.

Woman plays the "He started it" card.

Conductor cuts her off with another admonishment -- as if that's polite.

Eventually, he collects her ticket, and dispenses life advice that you'd expect from the parent of an unruly five year old.

The woman responds with continued petulance and ire towards Loud Talker, along with the accusation that he was giving her a headache. (I smell lawsuit!)

Rest of train tries to stare out window or read books or fill their bloghole for the day.

FTT has a friend and reader (yes, I know you're surprised) for whom, we are certain, this situation would have involved a sudden and intimidating amount of ire.

In this situation, we see him, in our minds' eye, getting up to stare down the loud talker after about a minute, and saying something that would have either elevated or ended the situation.

He would have seen the vast majority of the rest of the passengers, who suffered Loud Talker in silence, as ball-free sheep.

He's probably right. He's also probably reading this. (Finally, he's ex-military. Just to give you the full picture.)

Because, at the end of the experience, you're either the oblivious guy who caused the situation, the very dramatic person who took it upon themselves to fix it, or someone who would choose not to be bothered.

It should be noted that the rest of my commute was in silence, which allowed me to create this little moment of timewaste. And that, in our experience on both coasts, you get more of the agitator and confronter in the East.

So, FTT Nation... be you sheep, myopian, or dramatist?

As the outside journalistic observer of all this, we abstain from choosing a role -- and any lack of comments will confirm our opinion.


Now, Not Later: The Focus of the Spurs

There is a wish, amongst those of us who still pay attention to the NBA (I know, it's theoretical, but at least we're not at the NHL level yet), to just get this season over with, put it in the books, give the Spurs their five minutes of huzzah and get on to what's *really* important.

Candidates for that include:

> Whether or not Greg Oden is a young Bill Russell, or secretly older than Bill Russell

> How Kevin Durant's weak as a kitten arms will somehow keep him from destiny -- being a slightly better Rashard Lewis

> How much of a stiff the tall Chinese guy (Yi Jianlian) will turn out to be, and what team will cause their fans to rip out their hair and take him

> Which member of Florida's frontcourt will translate into this draft's Chris Bosh (i.e., off the radar early, and possibly better than all of them late)

> Whether or not the Hawks will pass on a can't miss point guard yet again, so they can see just a little bit more of Tyronn Lue and Speedy Claxton

> How the Sixers will package all of their picks together to ensure their continued .450 existence as a phenomenally irrelevant team in a city that is quickly forgetting that it really loves basketball

> The bare minimum that Isiah Thomas can do to remain employed, and continue to make life easy for those of us who like to blog about the NBA

> Which team will overpay for Chauncey Billups

> Who would win in a Find Your Ass contest: Flip Saunders or Mike Brown (my money's on Mike, but only because he's got a bigger ass, and he puts his thumb in it so often)

> Whether or not Shaq, in a fit of hunger, will eat a dieting child on his reality show this summer

See, I just ripped off ten future points without really trying. My mind's in the future too. It's something we all do.

But in all of that -- the stuff that is, simply, more interesting than the Worst Finals Ever and the Worst Season Ever -- there's a simple but telling point... none of us, with the noted and extreme exception of the San Antonio Spurs, are living in the present moment when we dwell on these things.

We're all off in some wild blue future yonder, where the games are more interesting, the new lineups are more compelling, and Bill Walton is a silent figure on aging footage, throwing an outlet pass.

If Drew Gooden has ever, in his entire NBA career, devoted himself fully and entirely into the game... well, I'll eat my hat. In ten years, when he gets released and looks at a closet with 7 uniforms in it, he might -- might -- have a fleeting memory of what it was like to be in the Finals, having a Hall of Famer carry his water.

Watch LeBron James, clearly fouled on the final play of Game 3, shrug it off in five minutes and give Bruce "The Hitman" Bowen a mouth job for his 13 points in that game.

I hate to invoke Saint Jordan here, but how do you think he would have played this? No one wants to remember this, but the '90s Icon rode the refs worse than anyone this side of Larry Bird.

He also got the calls.

And when Jordan lost a series, early in his career, he wasn't concerned about his global marketing in the aftermath. Instead, he was creating new and exciting holes in his teammates.

Why? Because Jordan was entirely in the moment (no, I'm not saying heat -- I've looked at enough YouTube videos of that for one lifetime, thank you). Jordan was entirely committed to winning. He'd rather lose a family member than a game. He'd rather lose his livelihood than a bet.

This makes him a highly flawed human being, and a pretty terrible GM. It also made people want to watch him play basketball.

And that's not what they saw from the Cavs, despite James having (shh!) a better all-around game than Jordan did at the same time in their careers.

The Spurs? Hitman Bowen does not care that he's got a worse reputation in the league now than Ron Artest. Robert Horry's sole goal in life is to fill his hands with rings, so that he can win his game of Championship Ring Whip It Out with Scottie Pippen.

Manu Ginobili, for all of his flops and soccer theatrics, puts his nose into more contact than Steve Nash. Tony Parker sublimates his scoring to feed Tim Duncan. Tim Duncan sublimates his scoring to feed Tony Parker. Both of them take charges when they don't have to, fight through picks in blowouts, and make teammates that weren't this intense in other locations -- you think it's a coincidence that Jacques Vaughn and Brent Barry could stay in front of the Cavs' penetration, while Gibson, Pavlovic, et al could not do the same? -- suck it up.

And even in Game 3, when they had absolutely no legs, bounces or rhythm, they won on the road, mostly because they had the presence of mind to not do dumb things. Game Four, they got to every board and made just about every free throw. They focus.

On the final truly competitive play of this season, Anderson Varejao tried to penetrate and score from 25 feet away, against the best defensive big man in the game. One suspects that his head was in his own little video game, where Anderson has given his avatar God skills, or something. No matter what, it wasn't in the game.

The Spurs do not have that issue. They do not care who their first round draft pick is. They are not worried about who their coach will be. They have no meaningful free agent or salary cap issues. They don't really care what the Mavs are going to do, or the Suns, or any other team. They worry about these things as much as a lion would worry about what the gazelles are plotting.

When you live in the moment, you have power. You aren't multi-tasking, procrastinating, serving two masters or distracting yourself with doubt. You are a laser, a machine, a simple device that is monomanical in its focus. You are the Spurs, a team that takes care of today while everyone else is thinking about tomorrow.

And so, you win today, and probably tomorrow as well.

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