August 15, 2008

No, The Non Sequitur Is Not A Balance Beam Move Invented By The French

Memo to the U.S. Olympic women's Gymnastics team: your pratfalls in the team competition had absolutely nothing to do with the age of the Chinese gymnasts.

(not that it would have mattered - I think gymnastics is rigged worse than pro 'wrestling' and almost as bad as figure skating)

Not to put too fine a point on it, but if the allegations that some of the Chinese girls are underage is true, then that just makes it worse - you got waxed by a bunch of kids.

It's great that you got some redemption with your one-two in the all-around. Now go away and don't bother me again until London.


Posted by Chris at 09:00 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

June 05, 2008

I'm Not Saying They Should Put My Name On The Cup... OK, I *AM* Saying They Should Put My Name On The Cup

I have this really really tattered Red Wings car flag. It's been with me since just after the '97 Cup-winning season. After the 2002 Cup-winning season, I bought a new car flag to succeed it. I'm as superstitious as the next hockey fan (maybe we get that from the players), so naturally I thought that my choice of when, where, and how I flew my new flag had something to do with the Wings' subsequent five-year Cup drought. This led me to perform a series of superstitionsexperiments from one postseason to the next about when to fly it: I tried waiting until the playoffs (didn't help), then waiting until the second round of the playoffs (didn't help), then waiting until the conference finals (totally didn't help (I mean. Anaheim. Really?)). Eventually, I decided not to fly my car flag again at all until the Wings won the Stanley Cup.

Well, last weekend I got a little cocky. After the Wings stole game 4 in Pittsburgh, I figured that the Cup was in the bag, so... I. Flew. The. Flag.

Of course, you all know how Game 5 turned out.

So I was sitting at a red light on my way to work yesterday morning. It was a warm morning, so I opened my other windows a bit while I was waiting (my A/C conked several years ago). I'm an attentive driver, and I didn't want to waste one second of the upcoming green light, so I kept my eyes forward and opened the back two windows without looking. The light turned green and I took off.

Clunk. Thump. I checked the rearview, and of course there's my flag - no longer held in place by the closed window - sitting on the street. I was all ready to pull over and run back to get it, 8:00 meeting be damned, when it hit me: THE FACT THAT I FLEW THE FLAG PREMATURELY WAS WHY THE WINGS LOST GAME 5!

And now I'm flying my tattered old flag again, thanks to the Wings... and Marc-Andre Fleury's butt.


Posted by Chris at 11:22 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Sports

April 09, 2007

Congratulations To The MSU Hockey Team!

I was still at Michigan State when they won their last NCAA Hockey championship in 1986. Since their previous championship was 1966, it seems like they were due again, and damned if they didn't come through, beating heavily-favored Boston College 3-1.

Brian Boyle's deflected goal at 6:50 of the second-period put BC on top. It looked like Boyle would get the backbreaker early in the third on a two-on-one, but MSU goalie Jeff Berg jumped the pass, slid across the crease, and robbed him with a top-notch glove save. This seemed to put the spark back into the MSU team, and a few minutes later, Tim Kennedy caught Boyle cheating up after a neutral zone faceoff, blowing by him and beating Cory Schneider up high to tie the game.

It looked like both teams were getting ready for overtime in the last minute, but MSU picked up a turnover at their own blue line and came back with a three-on-one. Although Justin Abdelkader clanged his first shot off the crossbar, MSU kept the pressure on. Abdelkader redeemed himself on a one-timer off a nifty feed from Kennedy behind the net, scoring the game winner with 18.9 seconds to go. Chris Mueller added an empty-netter with under two seconds remaining to finish the scoring.

Although no couches were burned last time MSU won the hockey title, times have changed, so you never know. YouTubage after the break.


Posted by Chris at 09:12 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Sports

April 02, 2007

Pictures from Saturday's Fusion Game Against Green Bay

After the jump.

Jermaine Jackson gets a step on the defender and Cody Hodges drops it right in the basket for the Fusion's first TD.

Of course, this being indoor football, there's the issue of maintaining possession when you hit the wall, but Jackson hangs on.

Tyrone Walker converts on third-and-long against good coverage.

Jackson challenges the defender to a game of 'tip drill...'

...and wins, scoring his second TD of the night.

Lou Vega has half the end zone to himself on this easy TD catch that turned out to be the game-winner.


Posted by Chris at 06:15 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Sports

April 01, 2007

Fusion vs. Green Bay Blizzard, 3/31/07

The FreedomFusion were victorious in their debut, winning 36-28 over the defending-conference-champs-in-name-only Green Bay Blizzard.

Random thoughts:

  • QB Cody Hodges must work through his reads pretty fast - there were at least two times he seemed to surprise the receiver with the ball, like the receiver knew he was the third option and really wasn't expecting it (to their credit, I'm pretty sure all of those were caught).
  • Speaking of Hodges, he seemed pretty well dialed in considering that he's only been with the team since Monday. Imagine what another week of familiarity with his team might do.
  • One of the things you have to watch out for when a longtime star player becomes a coach is whether or not he can actually, you know, coach. 'Touchdown' Eddie Brown looks like he's well on his way, based on how the team looked in their debut (indeed, for most of the players, it was their first af2 game at all). I didn't see much of the confusion that you might expect from an expansion debut.
  • There was also one little bit of what I think was 'coachmanship' - the Fusion had the ball 4th and goal inside the Green Bay 10 with seconds left in the fourth quarter. They sent out the field goal team, but let the clock run out on the quarter. When the quarter break ended, they ran out the offense and caught Green Bay by surprise, making them burn a time out - one that might have proven crucial in the final minutes. Not only that, they got a touchdown on the play!

I should have some pictures up on Flickr tomorrow.


Posted by Chris at 10:46 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

March 31, 2007

So That Means The Teams We Really Need To Worry About Are The Ones That Went 3-13 Last Year

Heading out to the Coliseum to watch the FreedomFusion opener. It's against Green Bay, who were the conference champions last year. Normally, that'd be a recipe for a grade-A pimpslapping - defending conference champ against expansion team - but since they have a new coach, and only five players return from that team, maybe the Fusion has a chance.


Posted by Chris at 06:23 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

January 12, 2007

And For A Small Consideration, I'll Pick Your Team To Lose

I was thinking about the prediction that I (and a lot of other people) made - that the Glendale Bowl would be an aOSU blowout - and it made me think of some other predictions about which I was dead-lock-certain:

  • April 1980: "The Lions need to draft Charles White because Billy Sims hasn't shown that he can catch the ball."
  • May 1989: "Andre Ware was the perfect pick for the Lions' offense. He'll probably end up better than Barry Sanders when they're both done."
  • April of whatever year he was drafted: "Tony Mandarich will dominate in the NFL."
  • August 1997: "Michigan is doomed this season if Brian Griese is the best they can do at QB."
  • April 1991: "Desmond Howard will have an immediate impact as a Redskins receiver."
  • April 1993: "The Patriots are idiots - Rick Mirer is WAY better than Drew Bledsoe."
  • April 1998: "Ryan Leaf is so much better than Payton Manning that if the Colts don't pick him, they may as well pack up and move back to Baltimore." Full disclosure: Vijay actually said that, not me, but I wholeheartedly agreed. On the other hand, Leaf has led his team to as many conference championship game appearances as Manning has.

Posted by Chris at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

January 09, 2007

Don't Worry, Troy, I Heard They're Thinking About Drafting A Wide Receiver

I wonder if Troy Smith's suckage in last night's Glendale Bowl was on purpose, designed to drop his draft stock just enough so the Lions won't take him.


Posted by Chris at 09:24 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Sports

January 04, 2007

It's A Win-Win!

I admit I originally wanted fND to win the Sugar Bowl, because it would A) make Michigan's mu#*af()4kin' BEATDOWN of them look a bit better in retrospect, and B) take a little more wind out of the sails of the OMG UR CONF SUX SEC TEH ROXOR!!!!11!!1!!eleven! kids. However, once USC's dismantling of Michigan occurred, neither of those really mattered to me, so I was back to the default condition of wanting fND to lose every game.

And LSU did not disappoint. Geaux Tigers!


Posted by Chris at 03:51 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Sports

September 13, 2006

It's Like Taking Out A Mortgage On A Car

The Islanders just signed mediocre goalie Rick DiPietro to a new contract. The cost-per-year ($4.5M) is only somewhat high for a mediocre goalie, but it's a FIFTEEN-YEAR deal. As you might expect, this has drawn some attention in the sporting press:

The theory emanating out of Charles Wang's Long Island bunker is that in the wake of the team's management fiasco of earlier this summer, wherein it hired Neil Smith as GM only to can him 40 days later and promote backup netminder Garth Snow to the post, DiPietro's long-long-term $67.5 million deal would be a sign of stability.

Ho, ho. Ha, ha, ha. Stop it. Really.

Just because a television station runs a "Three Stooges" marathon doesn't mean the program director is a genius. It just means he has more "Three Stooges" tapes than he knows what to do with.

If DiPietro is even in the league in 15 years, I'll eat a puck.


Posted by Chris at 10:37 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

September 07, 2006

Yes, Dammit, I'm Ready For Some Football

Been in the bunker the last few days preparing for my annual fantasy football draft, which was last night. Details after the break if you're interested.

Our league is a 14-team, non-head-to-head, 8-man roster (QB, 2 RB, 3 WR/TE, K, D), yardage league. It's pretty typical of yardage leagues with the exception that receptions are worth two points, making pass-catching RBs even more valuable. I generally roll the dice once per draft; this time I did it at least twice and arguably three times.

  1. (pick 2) LT over Alexander and Barber. I would have preferred LJ, but it's not like I've got anything to complain about here.
  2. (27) Randy Moss. I'm really hoping Aaron Brooks throws the ball forwards this year.
  3. (30) Dice-roll #1 - Reggie Bush. Passed up Julius Jones and Chester Taylor, both of whom would probably have been safer picks.
  4. (55) Andre Johnson. At that point in the draft, he was my highest-rated WR left, and was about 10 spots higher than the next available WR.
  5. (58) Dice-roll #2 - Daunte Culpepper. The knee must have scared a lot of people off; he was the 10th QB chosen.
  6. (83) Seattle D. My #3-ranked defense, taken as the 9th defense.
  7. (86) Ryan Longwell. Another case of me having somebody ranked much higher than the group consensus. I had him as the #4 kicker, expecting a bounce-back year (especially now that he's in a dome); the other guys I talked to afterwards ranked him around 8th.
  8. (111) Troy Williamson (arguably dice-roll #3). Keyshawn would have been a safer pick, but what's not to like about a #1 WR in a Brad Johnson offense, especially as the last WR taken?

I'll be revisiting this post at the end of the season.

Posted by Chris at 04:42 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Sports

July 25, 2006

11 For 21, Bitchez!

I'll bet the Euroweenies figured that with Lance Armstrong's retirement, they could get back to the normality of a European winning the Tour de France - maybe even, inshallah, an actual Frenchman winning it (which hasn't happened since 1985).

Not so much.

Between Landis, Armstrong, and LeMond, that makes 11 of the last 21 Tours that an American has won. And even though Landis is going for hip replacement surgery which will probably keep him out of next year's Tour, Tyler Hamilton will be fresh off his two-year ban and mad as hell...


Posted by Chris at 11:25 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Pimp-Slapping The French

July 20, 2006

Reports Of Landis' Death Are Premature

It would appear that the answer to the question "So, will you watch the Tour now that Armstrong's retired and most of the other expected contenders are DQ'ed under suspicion of doping?" is not only "Yes" but "Hell, Yes!"

I thought Floyd Landis was dead and buried after he bonked in the last 10km of Wednesday's stage, but his ride today will go down as one of the great comebacks in Tour history if he manages to win - which he may very well do, since he's only 18 seconds behind Sastre and 30 seconds behind Pereiro (neither of whom TT nearly as well as he does) and two minutes or more ahead of everybody else.

I watch the Tour on Outdoor Life Network, which has Bob "Tour DAY France" Roll as one of their commentators. I like his goofy schtick on TV, but, damn, who let him near a keyboard?

Floyd Landis barely clinging to life at the start of today’s stage, has dragged himself through determination, through will and through true grid, in fact contention, he can win the Tour de France.

. . .

He can see it now, he can taste it, he can feel it and that one time trial of 54 Kilometers awaits for Floyd Landis. He’s realm the course, he’s pulled himself to within a few seconds of the man that doesn't do time trials as well.


Posted by Chris at 08:31 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Sports

July 10, 2006

Like Somebody Tied A Line Around His Waist And Yanked Him Backwards

Yeah, I watched some of the World Cup final (second half, overtime, shootout). Yeah, I have a couple of thoughts:

  • I knew the US was done for when the Czechs scored their first goal. They looked beaten after that one goal (I know that's often the case in soccer, but still), and the collective vibe I got from them was "Well, we didn't really belong here anyway" which is pretty lame considering FIFA had them ranked in the top ten before Cup play started. I know that has absolutely zilch to do with the final, but I just wanted to throw that in there. I predict that the U.S. will qualify for the '10 Cup but won't win a game in Group play.
  • I hate shootouts. My solution? Switch to single fifteen-minute overtime periods, non-sudden-death, one or two substitutions (non-cumulative, re-entry allowed) per period. Subtract one player from each side for each overtime after the first. Repeat as necessary.
  • I don't really like offsides. Maybe it's because I don't really understand the purpose. All I know is that it seemed like any time anybody broke behind the defense, all 11 defenders would stop and raise their hands, and offsides would be called.
  • I don't know what Marco Materazzi said to Zinedine Zidane, but he totally suckered him into that head butt. Materazzi went down like he'd just taken a .50 cal to the head.
  • And speaking of flopping, no way does a head butt to the sternum result in a double-de-cleating knockdown. Soccer players take more dives than Greg Louganis.


Posted by Chris at 10:01 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Sports

June 30, 2006

And It's Not Just Because Of The Drug References

VeloNews' Patrick O'Grady had a column today bemoaning the state of cycling in general after today's breaking doping scandal. The whole thing is worth a read, but this excerpt evokes Hunter S. Thompson at his best:

Same goes for cycling. It's not enough that Joe Pro be able to climb La Toussuire faster than we mere mortals - he has to do it in the big ring, after the Col du Galibier, the Col de la Croix de Fer and the Col du Mollard, with three broken bones, a cerebral aneurysm and a bunch of fellow medical mutants chasing him like he stole their stashes.


Posted by Chris at 04:47 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

June 03, 2006

And Now We Enter The Sports Wasteland

With the elimination of the Pistons last night, and the Freedom's season dead and buried (now 3-7 after a 52-23 pimp-slapping from Ohio Valley), I now have precisely squat to watch sportswise until NFL camps open. Not that flower_goddess is too torn up about that - she wasn't terribly pleased last year or the year before when I was watching the Pistons in the NBA Finals during our vacation.

A couple of asides:

  • The city that, six weeks ago, had a very strong shot at two pro titles in the same year has come up empty.
  • In my limited NBA-watching opinion, Dwyane Wade is the best player in the league. I'd actually respect him if he didn't whine like a two-year-old every time somebody almost touched him. He must figure he's earned access to the Superstar Rulebook...
  • ...which is one of the reasons I don't watch much NBA. When Shaq can bulldoze guys out of the low post with his ginormous ass, then drop the ball in while his defender is trying to get back onto the court from his second-row seat, and no foul is called, it's clear that Shaq is covered by a different set of rules than Regular Players are.

It appears that my viewing choices are baseball (yawn), the WNBA (double yawn for all that below-the-rim action), the Tour de France (triple yawn without Lance), NASCAR (yawn once per left turn), or the World Cup (non-stop yawning until someone scores).

I guess I'll be able to catch up on my 30-episode backlog of Good Eats.

Posted by Chris at 10:58 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Sports

May 25, 2006

Not Quite Crashed, But With Two Engines Out And The Third On Fire It Doesn't Look Good

I forgot about the Freedom game last Saturday. Actually, it was kind of an 'active' forgetting, since their season is all but over after Saturday's loss to Evansville dropped them to 3-6. That's the second time in a row I've seen them lose a home game on the last play; maybe I'd better not go to any more home games.

Maybe 'all but over' is a bit much, given that they're only half a game behind three teams tied for the last two playoff spots, but the offense hasn't shown any real life for quite a while. With Dutcher gone (I had earlier said he was retired, but that's not correct) and Brian White not yet in game shape (read: fat), no opponent fears the long ball; with Rocky Harvey and Luther Stroder still hurt, no opponent fears the running game - although there may be signs of life there based on Ronnie McCrae's performance. The defense is still pretty good, but they're being asked to carry the team right now, and that's a tall order in indoor ball.

That said, I've still got some pictures from the game, shown after the break (click for full view).

Scott Russell wraps up Dale Jennings for a loss.  Evansville Bluecats 33 @ Fort Wayne Freedom 31, May 20, 2006
Scott Russell wraps up Dale Jennings for a loss.

Rachman Crable wraps up Aaron Leak for the Freedom's second sack of the game.  Evansville Bluecats 33 @ Fort Wayne Freedom 31, May 20, 2006
Rachman Crable wraps up Aaron Leak for the Freedom's second sack of the game.

Keith Recker stretches out for his second TD catch, a 10-yarder.  Evansville Bluecats 33 @ Fort Wayne Freedom 31, May 20, 2006  Evansville Bluecats 33 @ Fort Wayne Freedom 31, May 20, 2006
Keith Recker stretches out for his second TD catch, a 10-yarder. Evansville Bluecats 33 @ Fort Wayne Freedom 31, May 20, 2006

Andrae Brooks is just about to pick off this Aaron Leak pass.  He would return it to the 7-yard line. Evansville Bluecats 33 @ Fort Wayne Freedom 31, May 20, 2006
Andrae Brooks is just about to pick off this Aaron Leak pass. He would return it to the 7-yard line.

Rachman Crable, Alf Fertil (I think), and Bam Carter corral Aaron Leak for the Freedom's third sack of the game.  Evansville Bluecats 33 @ Fort Wayne Freedom 31, May 20, 2006
Rachman Crable, Alf Fertil (I think), and Bam Carter corral Aaron Leak for the Freedom's third sack of the game.

Ronnie McCrae's first touchdown, which he took into the line and bounced outside for 17 yards.  Evansville Bluecats 33 @ Fort Wayne Freedom 31, May 20, 2006
Ronnie McCrae's first touchdown, which he took into the line and bounced outside for 17 yards.

Ronnie McCrae's second touchdown, which would have been the game winner if not for Luzayadio's last-second FG.  Evansville Bluecats 33 @ Fort Wayne Freedom 31, May 20, 2006
Ronnie McCrae's second touchdown, which would have been the game winner if not for Luzayadio's last-second FG.


Posted by Chris at 05:18 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

April 30, 2006

Not Buying Season Tickets Is Looking Like A Smarter Play Every Day

Last year, the Ohio Valley Greyhounds laid an egg after several years of dominating their level of indoor football. Might the Freedom be headed for the same fate this year - without even the titles OV could show for their time? They got ownzored by Lexington on Friday night, 65-32.

With three losses in a row, Fort Wayne is pretty much out of the division title hunt - now being three games and a tiebreaker behind Lexington - and will be hard pressed to make the playoffs at all, let alone get a home game. It's clear that without Jeremy Dutcher (retired), Bryan White (shoulder), and Rocky Harvey (ankle), Fort Wayne's offense is in trouble, and the defense can only hold up for so long if they're always on the field.

And I think the fans sense this, too. The home crowds aren't nearly as loud as they've been in years past, and although I think attendance per se is down only a little bit (as judged by my totally un-scientific "looks like we got about this many" scale), there were several critical junctures in the Sioux Falls game a couple of weeks ago where the PA announcer had to beg the crowd to get into the game. Contrast that from the Lexington home game two years ago, where the crowd confused the Horsemen into two delay of game penalties.

Nobody fears the Coliseum crowd right now. Nobody fears the Freedom offense right now. If Harvey and White don't come back soon, the season is over.

Posted by Chris at 04:17 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

Why Do I Loathe David Bowie?

Because of this, which means that whenever a Detroit team gets behind in a playoff series it's supposed to win, the headline will read "Panic In Detroit."

Posted by Chris at 03:40 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

April 14, 2006

Live In The Studio

Hey, if you're a Bob & Tom fan and a Pacers/Reggie Miller fan, drop me a line. I've got something for you.


Posted by Chris at 09:16 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Bob & Tom

March 27, 2006

And All This Time I Thought It Odd That The School Was Named For A Fictional Character

Apparently the namesake of George Mason University isn't who I thought it was:

But even if George Mason was a single-digit seed instead of a No. 11, that probably wouldn't matter for historical purposes. This was the greatest run ever to the Final Four. End of discussion.

It's hard to gauge what this historic win has done for this university located just 20 miles from here [Washington, DC], one that is named after one of the founders of the U.S. Constitution, an idealist who refused to sign the document because he wanted the abolishment of slavery included (history lesson courtesy of head coach Jim Larranaga).

So apparently they weren't memorializing the gallant sacrifice of Jack Bauer's boss in Season 2.

As an aside, it also makes their win over my alma mater (you can't really call it an upset anymore, can you?) a little easier to accept.

Posted by Chris at 08:20 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Sports

January 13, 2006

Gee, I Wonder What $20 Will Get You At A Strip Club

Looks like Stanford was working from the same Colorado recruiting handbook I discuss here:

Thank you for volunteering your time to escort a potential Buffalo on his official campus visit. We want to do everything possible to ensure the recruit's visit is memorable and shows a true picture of what he can expect if he chooses to come to CU.

. . .

If your recruit prefers a Dance Recital, contact the Performance Coordinator, since these are done as group visits. If you are Performance Coordinator, contact any dancing establishment listed in Appendix C to set up your visit (remember the Telephone Rules!). Call again just before arrival to make sure all arrangements are still valid. Upon arrival, the Performance Coordinator will survey the establishment for undesirable elements (photos and descriptions of all known Colorado State Excise Police and Boulder County Sheriff Underage Drinking Task Torce undercover officers can be found in Appendix D. Don't worry about Boulder PD; they're on board with us).
because they did pretty much the same thing:
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — A lawsuit by a disgruntled Stanford athletic department employee revealed that football players took recruits to a strip club three years ago using athletic department money.

Stanford officials acknowledged the strip club outings, which did not violate NCAA rules at the time. The school reported minor infractions to the Pac-10 and NCAA that hosts spent more than the $30 allowed for entertaining recruits — by $3.70, $6.01 and $6.86.

. . .

The incidents, which were first reported by the San Jose Mercury News, came to light in a lawsuit filed by Sheryl Kanzaki, who alleged mistreatment by senior associate athletic director Debra Gore-Mann while she worked in the department's accounting office from 2002-03.

According to the lawsuit, Kanzaki received several handwritten receipts for $20 because "Stanford players and coaches were seeking reimbursement" for expenditures at the New Century Theater, a San Francisco strip club, and alcohol purchases by minors.

Posted by Chris at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

September 30, 2005

Somewhere Between 'Tic-Tac-Toe' And Chinese Calculus

One of the problems with posting 'Discuss'-type entries to a blog with only a handful of regular readers is the potential for a deafening silence broken only by the chirp of cyber-crickets. But life is fraught with risks, so here I go.

Rank the four major sports in terms of their overall complexity as you see it.

I submit:

  1. Football (by an order of magnitude)
  2. Hockey (the unwritten rules involving fighting are more complex than either baseball or basketball)
  3. Baseball (if not for the pitcher-batter interface, this would be #4)
  4. Basketball


Posted by Chris at 01:18 PM | Comments (12)
Category: Sports

September 14, 2005

A Perfect Perfect Game

En route to looking up something else, I came across this Straight Dope classic about the definition of a truly perfect game:

(3) Which is more elegant, a perfect game accomplished in 27 pitches, each batter hitting into an out, or one accomplished in 81 strikes, giving the position players nothing to do at all?

Cecil answers:

(3) The number of pitches thrown during a perfect game is no more relevant than the number of brush strokes used to paint the Mona Lisa. A perfect game is just that: perfect. To cavil about the minor details of such a performance is to proclaim that one has the morals of a newspaper publisher. I need say no more.

I see his point (although I submit that fans have been arguing about baseballically philosophical questions since Doubleday), but he missed an obvious answer. 27 first-pitch lineouts back to the pitcher would accomplish both goals; nobody else - not even the catcher - would have to do anything!

Posted by Chris at 01:58 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Sports

August 24, 2005

Today's NFL Quiz

What play did Peyton Manning just call?

Posted by Chris at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

August 04, 2005

And Then He Wept, For There Were No More Lakes To Conquer

Jim Dreyer has successfully completed his attempt to swim across Lake Superior (original DL post here). Apparently the track map doesn't tell the whole story; endgame was a lot more complicated than it looked:

Very quickly a storm had moved in out on the lake and we saw Jim's light moving very quickly across the bay area he was supposed to come into and then we both doubted if it was really Jim or if he could really go that quickly....we soon realized that Jim was in trouble, as the current was taking him past his destination. There was an island out from the mainland that we did not want him to finish his swim on, as he had worked so hard to make the solo swim and was within a few miles from the shore of the outer tip of Cape Gargantua. Tom Farnquist, Chris and another the Captain's Mate (sorry, I don't have your name yet, sir) were out on the David Boyd. Jack and Shelly on shore had marine radios provided by West Marine (thanks to West Marine for your great sponsorship) and we were able to confirm that in fact Jim was being pulled by a horrific current and could not fight it to get into the bay area where all were waiting on shore. Members on the beach continued to shine lights to show him where we were, but the current was too strong. Tom was able to pull in close to Jim to discuss the best plan and encouraged him to get to land to complete his "Solo Superior" crossing. There were several radio transmissions, including the coast guard trying to determine if Jim needed rescure. Tom Farnquist alerted them that he thought he could keep the situation under control and to give him 45 minutes and Jim reached shore at 11:25 p.m. (official time)at the far tip of Cape Gargantua, past the planned area that is remote, no car access, only availabe by hiking. But, a huge success had just occurred nontheless. Jim stepped on shore, got swept back out to sea, and Tom pulled up to Jim again and then convinced Jim to get on his boat, and probably saved his life at this point, I do believe he would have gone back out to sea and traveled another 60 miles before hitting the next shore (WE CAN NEVER THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR ALL THAT YOU DID, TOM AND CREW)that the swim was a success and it was over! The fifth Great Lake, finally under his belt. There were cheers and tears on the beach for happiness for Jim for all of his hard work, discipline and training and perserverance over the past years to achieve this goal.

And I think it's a good day when I can make it an hour on the stair machine. Yeesh.

Posted by Chris at 02:51 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

August 02, 2005

Lance Armstrong Says, "Now That Guy's Crazy!"

Well, Jim Dreyer is at it again, making his sixth attempt to swim across Lake Superior to raise money and awareness for Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Great Lakes Mariners Memorial. His previous attempts, while unsuccessful in their goals of crossing the lake, were all significant accomplishments in their own way, including several world records. This is the last of the Great Lakes he hasn't successfully swam across yet.

He's making good progress; it looks like he's about 1/3 of the way to Point Gargantua as of 9:00 AM Central Time. Why he doesn't turn east and finish quickly east of Rousseau Bank, I don't know; I'd guess that it isn't far enough for a good challenge. That or maybe something about currents.

Monitor his progress here; he has a transponder in his support boat - and by 'support boat' I mean 'dinghy he's towing behind him because he doesn't have a support boat this time.'

Dude. Is. Crazy.

Update: He made it.

Posted by Chris at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

July 27, 2005

Yeah, But In SoCal, It's A Dry Heat

This is going to be a big Local6 day. They report that Dolphins rookie DT Manuel Wright broke down during practice yesterday:

Miami Dolphins rookie Manuel Wright is apparently having a difficult time adjusting to the NFL.

Wright broke down in tears during practice Tuesday, frustration clearly getting the best of him.

The 6-foot-6, 290-pound defensive tackle from Southern California is Miami's supplemental draft pick this year.

Exactly why Wright lost his composure was unclear.
I'm guessing he was just mourning the downgrade in cheerleader quality from USC to the Dolphins.

Posted by Chris at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

I Was Stone Chillin' / And He Hit Me With Ice / So I Jumped The Rail / So I Could Beat His Ass

The latest question to wake me from a sound sleep at 3:00 in the morning:

Ron Artest was suspended for a year. Why haven't we heard about his rap album? Didn't he have time to finish it?

WTW post coming shortly.

Posted by Chris at 07:40 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

July 21, 2005

Freedom vs. Tupelo Fire Ants, 5/28/2005

Some pictures from the game (all hosted on

Adrian Reese gets 27 yards on this first-quarter reception; he would get a 14-yard TD catch on the next play.
Adrian Reese gets 27 yards on this first-quarter reception; he would get a 14-yard TD catch on the next play.

Andrae Brooks introduces Fireants #3 to Section 211, row 1. I didn't get #3's name because the Fireants' lame website doesn't list numbers for any of their players (and the UIF website roster page for the Fireants has several numbers missing).
Andrae Brooks introduces Fireants #3 to Section 211, row 1. I didn't get #3's name because the Fireants' lame website doesn't list numbers for any of their players (and the UIF website roster page for the Fireants has several numbers missing).

Luther Stroder's 27-yard TD catch made the score 24-3 early in the second quarter:
Luther Stroder's 27-yard TD catch made the score 24-3 early in the second quarter.

Lewis 'Bam' Carter shows the ballcarier where his knickname comes from.
Lewis 'Bam' Carter shows the ballcarier where his nickname comes from.

This Rocky Harvey third-quarter TD made it 38-12. He would add another TD in the fourth quarter.
This Rocky Harvey third-quarter TD made it 38-12.  He would add another TD in the fourth quarter.

Rachman Crable drops Tommy Miller for no gain.
Rachman Crable drops Tommy Miller for no gain.

Final score:
Fort Wayne Freedom 45, Tupelo Fireants 20.  5/28/2005

Posted by Chris at 12:16 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

I Reckon He Got Gang Tackled A Lot, Too

Heard on Bob & Tom yesterday:

"The NFL training season's opening. The Ravens' Jamal Lewis will have some adjustments to make. During the last few months, if he tried to break to the outside, a guard would shoot him."

If you don't get it, read this.

Posted by Chris at 10:33 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Sports

July 19, 2005

Freedom v. Peoria Rough Riders, 5/14/2005

Trying to catch up my picture backlog (all photos hosted on

Rocky Harvey scores on a 10-yard run in the first quarter:
Rocky Harvey scores on a 10-yard run in the first quarter against Peoria, 5/14/2005

Rachman Crable sacks Rough Riders quarterback Walter Church in the third quarter:
Rachman Crable sacks Peoria Rough Riders quarterback Walter Church in the third quarter, 5/14/2005

Posted by Chris at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

July 18, 2005

Familiarity Breeds Monotony

Or at least that's what it feels like to beat the same team four times in a season. Oh, how the worm has turned. Ohio Valley used to pwn the Freedom, winning four of the first five times they played. Of course, with the screwy UIF playoff situation (8 of the 11 teams make the playoffs), the Freedom may have to beat the Greyhounds five times this season. Photos below the fold.

Carlos Smith and (I think) Mike Hanley squish Jay Bailey for a 2-yard loss:
Carlos Smith and (I think) Mike Hanley squish Jay Bailey for a 2-yard loss.

Jeremy Dutcher's first touchdown of the game. Look how wide open he is - I'm surprised he didn't die of loneliness:
Jeremy Dutcher's first touchdown of the 7/17 game against Ohio Valley. Look how wide open he is - I'm surprised he didn't die of loneliness.

Somewhere under Rachman Crable and Alf Fertil is Greyhounds QB Zach Bruney. What I thought was a sack for a safety turned out to be a roughing penalty:
Somewhere under Rachman Crable and Alf Fertil is Greyhounds QB Zach Bruney.  What I thought was a sack for a safety turned out to be a roughing penalty.

My favorite picture of the night:
July 17, 2005: Fort Wayne Freedom 41, Ohio Valley Greyhounds 31

Posted by Chris at 09:55 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Sports

April 18, 2005

Dogged 'Em

The Freedom pasted the Red Hills Black Dogs, or Black Hills Red Dogs, or something (it didn't really matter since they were all just brown by the end) Saturday night, 59-34. Thoughts and pictures after the break.

Bryan White had a big day, with 7 TD passes, although he was disappointed the offense didn't score more:

“It stinks we only got 59,” he said. “We were shooting for about 70 or 80. We really did want a game like that.
Here he hits Jeremy Dutcher for a second-quarter TD, Dutcher's second of the three he'd end up with:
Jeremy Dutcher's second touchdown

The defense played OK but not great (in particular, they didn't get much pressure on the Dogs' QBs), but Scott Heighland has improved a lot over last year. Black Hills tried to exploit a height mismatch with Little, who must be about eight foot twenty, but I don't recall it working. Here's Heighland breaking up what would have been a sure TD pass to Little:
Scott Heighland breaking up a sure TD pass

Adrian Reese had a hat trick as well. Note how open he is on this one - the Dogs just lost track of him in the back of the end zone:
Adrian Reese's first TD

Reese had to work a lot harder for his second touchdown, a nifty catch and run job where he broke a tackle around midfield. Here's the payoff:
Reese's second TD

The bottom line: Freedom 59, Red Dogs 34

I wondered why Antoine Taylor hadn't dressed, but apparently he's been cut from the team. The Freedom had a couple of other starters in street clothes as well (e.g., Dayna Overton and Lamar Martin); let's hope they can come back soon.

Posted by Chris at 08:02 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

March 20, 2005

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Normally, this is one of my favorite times of year, with the NHL regular season making that frantic last push for the playoffs. This year, of course, I've had to endure a vast wasteland since the Super Bowl, with nothing but basketball (blech) and baseball (double blech) as far as the sporting eye can see.

But that all ends today with opening day for the Fort Wayne Freedom, as they kick off their United Indoor Football season against the Ohio Valley Greyhounds. Despite the Freedom's 1-4 record against OV, I think they've got a real shot to win today since they return 15 starters from last year's 8-6 team (which defeated the Hounds in Fort Wayne last year, breaking a 30-something-game winning streak) and OV is sporting a lot of new faces, including the entire offensive line.

Rocky Harvey's back, Antoine Taylor is healthy again, and Jeremy Dutcher has returned from Grand Rapids of the AFL, so I think the offense will be better than ever.

Game story and pictures after the break.

The Freedom jumped out to a 16-0 lead and held on to win, 29-25. It's clear that Ohio Valley is not the same team they used to be, especially on the O-line, giving up four sacks and a safety in the first quarter alone. Overall, Fort Wayne's defense was solid - anytime you only give up 25 points in indoor ball, you've done your job - but the offense was definitely not in synch yet, with two dropped snaps and QB Antoine Taylor showing the rust of not playing since the first half of last season. He bulked up 20 pounds over the offseason to improve his durability, and it looked to me like he lost a step in the process. He's never been the most accurate passer anyway (he overthrew two wide-open receivers for sure touchdowns), and his scrambling to make plays was his best asset. Hopefully his re-learning curve will be short.

OK, pictures. Here's Rocky Harvey scoring FW's second touchdown. It looks like he's stopped here, but he slips to the outside and finds the corner:
Rocky Harvey scoring FW's second touchdown

Jeremy Dutcher hauls in a 30-yarder for his second TD of the game. He was Grand Rapids' third-leading receiver last year - why on earth did they let him go? Oh, well. Their loss, our gain.
Jeremy Dutcher's second TD of the game

I'm not sure I like everything about this new league. Last year, we had the Freedom Starz:
Freedom Starz

This year, the South Side High School cheerleaders:

Dana Overton catching the game-winner. Yeah, it's a bit blurry, but I was shooting from the upper level behind the opposite end zone, so give me a break.
Dana Overton catches the game-winner

The line was tough against the run, harrassed Hounds QB Zac Bruney all day long, and came up big when they needed to most. Here Rachman Crable and (I think) Lamar Martin force an incompletion on third down in the last two minutes of the game:
Crable and Martin force Zac Bruney to throw it away

And the bottom line:
Fort Wayne Freedom 29, Ohio Valley Greyhounds 25

Posted by Chris at 01:47 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Sports

March 11, 2005

Beacuse 'Foppa' Is Swedish For 'He Who Takes Dive'

I'm really really torn by this McPaper report, because it's bad form to gloat over a rival's potential career-ending injury (especially since The Captain is in a similar predicament):

Colorado Avalanche fans may have seen the last of Peter Forsberg.

Forsberg suffered a concussion Thursday while playing in a postseason game for MoDo of the Swedish Elite League and may be contemplating retirement.

In his first game back from a broken wrist, Forsberg was cross-checked by Peter Norstrom on his second shift of MoDo's 5-4 loss to Farjestad in the league quarterfinals. MoDo trails in the series, three games to one.

Nordstrom, who appeared in two games with the Boston Bruins in 1998-99, was penalized on the play and ejected.

But it's the Divealanche, so, yeah, I'll go there:

I wonder how close Nordstrom skated to Forsberg to knock him down and give him the concussion?

Posted by Chris at 02:01 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Sports

February 21, 2005

I'd Feel Better About The Score If fND Was Actually Any Good

As expected, Michigan beat fND like a red-headed stepchild on Friday, 9-2, in front of 7,948 fans. So much for Coliseum GM Randy Brown's prediction of a 10k+ sellout, and when that's combined with what he said in advance of last summer's Freedom playoff game versus what we actually saw, I'm beginning to think he's just a shill for the Coliseum. Oh, wait - that's actually his job title. My bad.

So how did the Coliseum measure up as a venue for college hockey? Pretty well, I think:

After hosting Fort Wayne's first college hockey game, next on the agenda for the Memorial Coliseum is securing a selection as an NCAA Regional site.

The 53-year-old arena, which once housed the NBA's Fort Wayne Pistons, and the CCHA are partnering in bidding for regionals for 2008-2011.

"I think our location is our strongest asset to start with," Coliseum general manager Randy Brown said. "The market, the fact that we are such a hotbed for hockey, and then, of course, the facility itself - those are our strengths."

Fort Wayne has been unsuccessful in previous bids, but now it has a renovated building - a $34.5 million project in 2002 raised the roof 41 feet to add suites and additional seating - and now the city's has hosted a college hockey game.

Other pluses include 5,000 on-site parking spaces, meeting rooms and ballrooms in an attached exposition center and its relative proximity to several college hockey programs.

Berenson enjoyed Friday's atmosphere and said the building would be a good pick for a regional site. "This is a hockey town," Berenson said.
I'm surprised that there was no mention of this in the Fort Wayne media - since the Fort has a chip on its shoulder about all kinds of things, this should have been a great opportunity to toot our own horn. Anyway, by my PIDOOMA calculations, Fort Wayne is within an eight-hour drive of every team in the CCHA except UNO and Alaska-Fairbanks, plus CHA's Wayne State and Niagara, and the WCHA's Wisconsin. Michigan Tech and Minnesota are not far outside that radius, either. Do I think we could host an NCAA hockey regional? Well, the Coliseum ain't Van Andel Arena, but I think it would do.

I've got pictures below the fold.

Chad Kolarik buries (spot shadow) a nice cross-ice feed from Jeff Tambellini for Michigan's third goal. fND goalie Morgan Cey never saw it coming.


Andrew Ebbett (spot shadow) chases down a deflected pass for an open-net goal. It was shortly after this that the fND fans were pretty much taken out of the game, since I could hear a couple of guys ten rows behind me arguing over whether Pujols or Sosa had more strikeouts last year. In general, the crowd was pretty even, with maybe a slight edge to fND. I gues that's what happens when you schedule a 'home' game against the #5 team in an arena with room to spare within a 2 1/2 hour drive of their campus...


Since college hockey doesn't allow fighting, players tend to wrestle around a lot instead. When the net is in the way, this can make for an interesting picture.


T.J. Hensick's second goal of the game, and Michigan's final goal, was so well-screened that neither he (arrow) nor the puck are actually in the picture.


And, of course, my favorite picture of the night:


Posted by Chris at 02:49 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

February 18, 2005

It's Not So Much A Golden Dome As It Is A Vinyl-Sided Pole Barn

Last season, when Notre Dame qualified for the NIT, they were not able to schedule their second-round game in their own arena, as it was hosting part of the NCAA women's tournament. What they could get was Fort Wayne's own Memorial Coliseum. The game was a huge success, selling out within a few hours of the announcement being made on local media.

fND liked the idea so much that they'll be using the Coliseum for tonight's hockey game against Michigan. When I got my tickets at the Coliseum yesterday, they'd already sold 7000 tickets, and they expected a complete sellout (about 10,500) by gametime. I plan on bringing my camera, so I may have pictures tomorrow. I might even get the T-shirt.

Posted by Chris at 02:13 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

January 25, 2005

Life Imitates "Good News, Bad News, Really Bad News"

The good news: You're contending for the win late in the Buick Invitational, and you just chipped in from the fringe...
The bad news: ...and scored a bogey...
The REALLY bad news: ...because your sand wedge eagle attempt from 95 yards away bounced out of the cup and landed in the water.

Posted by Chris at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

January 17, 2005

Nemesis Redux

He's been out of college a long time now, but I think Peyton Manning has found his new Florida.

Posted by Chris at 08:51 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Sports

January 15, 2005

Huh Huh, Huh Huh, He Said 'WAC'

I'm watching the East-West Shrine Game (ooh - OUTSTANDING pass from Purdue's Kyle Orton to Purdue's Taylor Stubblefield right there - MAN, am I glad Michigan won't be facing those two guys anymore), and they just introduced Louisiana Tech RB Ryan Moats as 2004 WAC Offensive Player of the Year.

So does that mean he's a top WAC-Off?

I crack me up. But then again, I'm really 12.

Posted by Chris at 01:58 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

December 02, 2004

How Not To Fix College Football

Bob Davie is, as they say, one of the best X's and O's coaches in the business (and I'm not just saying that because he wrote this epic singing the praises of Braylon Edwards). I especially like his Football 101 series.

But he's not a big-picture kind of coach, which is one reason he didn't last a long time at fND (lack of talent development, then lack of recruiting were two others). That flaw shows itself here, with what I think is a pretty dumb idea on how to 'fix' college football:

Everyone agrees that the current BCS system is headed for a potential nightmare if USC, Oklahoma and Auburn remain undefeated.

. . .

I offer a simple solution -- put it in the hands of the 117 Division I-A coaches and let them decide their national champion. With so much at stake, let's not look back after one team is left out and say, "We should have tweaked the system."

1. Let all 117 Division I-A coaches have a vote
Currently, 61 coaches get to vote and it's human nature that there is going to be some bias and some coaches will have an agenda. With 117 coaches voting, those biases or agendas will be diluted.
Recall that the BCS was invented to solve the problem of split or disputed 'titles' (I'm using scare quotes with malice aforethought here - just because a group of writers and/or coaches say you're the best doesn't necessarily make it so). I suppose only using one poll instead of two eliminates the split poll issue, but that's like saying you'll reduce wear on your car tires by only driving on two wheels.
2. Provide the coaches with game tapes
Let the coaches have each team's final three game tapes to evaluate. The reason I say give them the final three tapes is because it should be determined who is playing the best football late in the season regardless of who their opponent is. Coaches are experts at analyzing and breaking down opponents' tape. The problem in the current system is that it is virtually impossible for the 61 coaches voting to get to see all the unbeaten teams.
So how many teams do you evaluate? Who compiles the game tapes and sends them out? And most importantly, who pays for it?
3. Give the coaches two days to evaluate the tapes
Given time, the coaches will do a thorough job. If we have to, let's put a moratorium on recruiting and make this the coaches' No. 1 priority. I have great confidence that the coaches realize what is at stake and with no one being able to gain a competitive advantage in recruiting, coaches will dedicate the time and provide a thorough evaluation.
I'll give Davie credit for addressing one of the major problems with the coaches' poll: a coach knows his own team best, his opponents' teams next best, and everybody else not well at all. Forcing the coaches to spend two days looking at game films could solve this problem.


I am as confident as Davie is, but in the other direction. I can't imagine ALL 117 COACHES being willing to take a two-day hiatus from the business of their own team to decide who 'wins' the 'title.' And just because they couldn't recruit doesn't mean that they necessarily would spend the two days reviewing the tapes (there are lots of other things they could be doing that don't involve recruiting), so there goes the throrough evaluation Davie is expecting. And that doesn't even count the schools who cheat now - they'd DEFINITELY figure out a way to gain an unfair advantage over those two days.
4. Eliminate the media and computers
With no disrespect to the media or those running the computers, this is the coaches' national champion. Coaches make their living by evaluating strengths and weaknesses, so let them do what they do best.

And I'm sure the media would just roll over and let this happen. Right after monkeys fly out of my butt.
Why this will work
Obviously, there is no perfect way to decide which two teams should play for the national championship. Under this plan, we can keep the integrity of the system and simply tweak it if three teams remain unbeaten. Obviously, one team will still be left out, but I think USC's Pete Carroll, Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and Auburn's Tommy Tuberville would agree that their peers are the most qualified to make the final decision.
No. The teams are the most qualified to make the final decision. On the field, the way they do in every other college sport - INCLUDING THE LOWER DIVISIONS OF FOOTBALL! C'mon, Bob; this ain't brain surgery - take the top 12 teams (hell, use the current BCS formula for it; that'll be good enough. Or use a selection committee, the way they do in basketball) and move the top 4 second-tier bowls to the week before New Years to match up teams 5-12 (give byes to teams 1-4). Those winners go on to the current 'big four' bowls on New Years. Create two new bowls for those winners the next weekend, then one more for the championship game the next weekend.

Nobody plays more than three games more than they otherwise would, and the season's still over before the Super Bowl.

Posted by Chris at 12:13 PM | Comments (8)
Category: Sports

August 21, 2004

I've Had ENOUGH Of These Questions Waking Me From A Sound Sleep At 3:00 In The Morning

Basketball and Volleyball were both invented in the U.S. (about 15 miles apart, actually). Why in the hell did we let the international federations for both sports end up in Europe?

Posted by Chris at 08:36 AM | Comments (7)
Category: Sports

August 13, 2004

An Hour Late And A Drachma Short

This being a Friday night, my neighborhood is doing its normal thing: drinking beer, throwing darts, and shooting the shit in my garage. Since we now have cable TV in the garage (long story; short version is "Thanks, Rabbit"), we're watching the Olympic opening ceremonies. It occurs to me now, halfway through, that our running commentary on stupid stuff (e.g., "Lime green blazers? Who the hell told the Brazilians that looked good?") would have made some funny liveblogging, especially since I have a video capture card with a CATV connection and I could grab screenshots to illustrate my point.

One thing that strikes me - it seems like all the Arab countries' flag-carriers have 'shooting' as their Olympic event. Just sayin'.

Posted by Chris at 08:32 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood

July 27, 2004

Tour De Lance Redux

One of the best features of OLN's coverage of the Tour is the daily commentary section. Each of OLN's talking heads has something to say about each day's stage, and it's generally something a casual observer wouldn't necessarily notice. Besides Liggett et. al, Lance Armstrong's training coach, Chris Carmichael, also wrote a daily column that was always very interesting. From Stage 20: A Job Well Done:

People often ask me what separates Lance Armstrong from the rest of the peloton, even though the answer is right in front of them all year long. Go and find Lance Armstrong in October, then again in December, January, March, etc. He'll be thinking about the Tour de France, and he'll be doing the training necessary to reach his absolute best level of performance in July. That's the sort of commitment it takes to win here, and if you're unwilling to put in the work required, don't expect to win the Tour de France anytime soon.

As The Blogfather would say, "Indeed:"

The very fine British racer David Miller [sic - it's spelled 'Millar'] tells the story of ringing Armstrong on his cell phone on Christmas Day a few years back. Miller was tipsy in a bar with his mates. His call finds Armstrong riding his bike up a steep mountain. Miller’s friends wonder why he is swearing a blue streak into his phone at a close friend. Miller’s response: “I’ve just lost the Tour de France.”

Back when Woody Hayes coached OSU (they weren't yet pretentious enough to call themselves "The" Ohio State University, despite the fact that they're just "a" state university in Ohio, along with Bowling Green, Kent, and others, but I digress), he had a sign in the locker room, all season long:


I wouldn't be at all surprised if Lance Armstrong had a sign over his bed, so it'd be the first thing he saw in the morning, and another on his nightstand, so it'd be the last thing he saw at night: "What Have You Done Today To Win The Tour?"

Finally, I think the Tour needs a new logo. How about this:
Tour de Lance

Posted by Chris at 08:07 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Sports

May 05, 2004

Look On The Bright Side - You'll Be Getting To Bed On Time More Often

Two quick thoughts, now that I'm done mourning the departure of my beloved Red Wings from the Stanley Cup playoffs:

  • I won't be watching any games that finish at 12:30 in the morning. I really hate that Detroit is in the Western Conference - just about every away game is a late start.
  • I think the league office guys responsible for negotiating the TV contract are shitting themselves pink twinkies over the possibility of a Tampa Bay - Calgary final.

Posted by Chris at 09:45 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Sports

April 17, 2004

If I Have To Put Up With This, They'd Better Win The Cup

Well, after a couple of interesting (and more than a little worrisome) games, the Wings took care of business and defanged the Predators. They have to wait a bit to see if they're playing Colorado or Calgary in the next round (at press time, Calgary and Vancouver were tied at 4 at the end of regulation of game 6).

On the other hand, if I have to watch that stupid commercial for the playoffs with Michelle Kwan and Kristi Yamaguchi one more time, I'm gonna go looking for somebody 'with a stick and a scowl.' And if you don't understand what that means, be thankful you haven't seen the commercial yet.

Posted by Chris at 11:55 PM | Comments (6)
Category: Sports

March 12, 2004

And This Guy Gets A Thrice-Weekly Column?

I don't have strong feelings one way or the other on Detroit News sports columnist Rob Parker (although Detroit Sports Rag isn't too fond of him), but he couldn't have gotten this take more wrong if his life depended on it:

Receiver Terrell Owens. He gets three cheers for standing up and fighting his trade to the Baltimore Ravens. Former Broncos quarterback John Elway refused to go to Baltimore after the Colts drafted him No. 1. T.O. is within his rights.
John Elway never signed any contract with the Colts - he even warned them before they drafted him that he would not play for them, saying he would go to the USFL or even Major League Baseball. Elway was under no obligation to the Colts and was well within his rights to do what he did. Owens, on the other hand, is in a contract without a no-trade clause, so he's obligated to report to the Ravens. Call me crazy, but I believe that anybody who holds out on an active contract should be sued by the team holding that contract.

Posted by Chris at 12:41 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

February 20, 2004

Other Than That, Gary, What'd You Think Of Her?

[Full disclosure: I've hated the University of Colorado ever since this.]

Colorado Coach Gary Barnett is in pretty deep shit right now, what with a former (female) kicker alleging she was raped by a teammate and his less-than-politic comments on the matter:

Barnett later that day snapped at a reporter who asked him about her abilities. "It was obvious Katie was not very good. She was awful," he said. "Katie was not only a girl, she was terrible. OK? There's no other way to say it."
And that's not even counting the other five victims allegedly raped by CU football players or the alcohol-and-sex-filled recruiting visits. Anyway, Barnett was interviewed on CNN this morning, and it looked like he was in the prison library (with a fake-bookcase backdrop) in a button-down shirt with no tie. It sure looked like he wanted to hang himself, and I found myself wondering if CNN had taken his belt and shoelaces too, just to be safe.

Posted by Chris at 04:31 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

February 18, 2004

Making 'Squat-Thrusts' A Reward Rather Than A Punishment

In my Rose Bowl post-mortem, I observed that USC's team speed was deadly. There's no question Michigan can play the power game, but they still need to improve their athleticism, particularly on the O-line. Maybe they need a new conditioning coach. Former Gillingham FC fitness coach Laura Church is available:

A fitness coach at a First Division football club was sacked because footballers' wives were jealous of her, a tribunal has heard.

Laura Church was dismissed from Gillingham FC after she sent a midnight text message to player Chris Hope.

Miss Church said she sent the text to congratulate Mr Hope after his performance in a game last July.

Update: Dammit! The BBC's website changed the picture sometime between 10AM and 6PM (CT). The old picture had Church in a leotard prominently featuring two of her major assets. There's a decent picture here, but it wasn't as good as the original BBC picture.

Update: Now we're talkin'! You can always count on the Sun for a a nice juicy picture:

Posted by Chris at 07:33 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Sports

January 19, 2004

Still Can't Win The Big One

Looks like Peyton Manning has two more former Michigan players to add to his nightmares.

Posted by Chris at 12:11 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

December 28, 2003

Excuses, Excuses

I'm a pretty good fantasy football GM (we're not players; we're just geeks who like to pretend), at least by the standards of the league we have at work. This is the tenth year we've done a fantasy football league; I finished in the money eight of the previous nine years. I don't have the numbers handy, but I'm pretty sure I entered this season second on the total money list. Historically, I do not make good drop/add decisions during the season, so I have to draft well to do well. Of the fourteen guys in our league, there may be two other people who prepare for the draft as hard as I do.

I've always said you can't win the league in the first two rounds of the draft, but you sure can lose it. I think this will tell you everything I need to know about how I did this year:

  • First round, deciding between Ahman Green and Travis Henry. I picked Henry.
  • Second round, deciding between Jamal Lewis and Curtis Martin. I picked Martin.

Posted by Chris at 11:54 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

December 24, 2003

I Don't Think So, Don

Speaking about the growing international flavor of the NBA in this week's ESPN magazine,

"This year, 21 foreign-born players were drafted; five years ago, that number was nine. 'We're the one league where you can see the best players in the world every night,' says Donnie Nelson of the Mavs."
--ESPN - The Magazine, January 5, 2004, p. 54
No. And again, no.

Posted by Chris at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

December 18, 2003

And They Need To Play The Game On A Field Covered In Mazola

By now, you've probably heard about the "Lingerie Bowl," where two teams of scantily-clad women will play tackle football during halftime of the Super Bowl as a pay-per-view event. You may have heard by now that DaimlerChrysler has dropped its sponsorship of the game:

"A source close to Chrysler said conservative lobbying groups had flooded the company's e-mail system with complaints about the upcoming spectacle.

"You've got at some point just to decide 'OK, maybe we made a mistake, let's pull the plug,'" the source said."
Have no fear, since it looks like the game is still on:
"A spokeswoman for Horizon Productions Inc., the Lingerie Bowl's producer, said it was "disappointed" that Dodge had withdrawn its sponsorship, but that the game would go on."

That's good, but they still need a sponsor. So who do you get to sponsor an event that's under attack by conservative lobbying groups? Somebody who doesn't care about the criticism of conservative lobbying groups, that's who. The candidates are liberal groups, porn companies, and beer companies. Liberal groups are out - some crybabies are whining that the Lingerie Bowl is sexist (I can't for the life of me understand why). Porn companies? That's a possibility (in particular, I think it's something Larry Flynt would do). I think a better fit would be...

Beer Bowl 2004, sponsored by Coors and Miller (who already air commercials featuring 'The Twins' and hot chicks in wet T-shirts, respectively)! There's just one twist (hat tip to my friend Joe) that would make this absolutely riveting PPV: every time a team scores, the other team has to remove one item of clothing.

That I would pay cash money to see.

Posted by Chris at 04:16 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

November 02, 2003

So How'd It End?

A couple of you have asked how my son's football team's playoff game went. Sadly, they lost. Happily, they played tough, leading 8-6 at halftime and only losing 14-8 to the eventual city champions (the same team that thrashed them by twenty-plus points in the season opener). I'm proud of the way my son stuck with it when it looked like there was no hope, and happy that they were able to turn things around in the second half of the year.

Posted by Chris at 11:07 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

October 29, 2003

Are They Done Playing Baseball Yet?

Apparently I wasn't the only one to stop watching baseball after the Cubs and Red Sox both lost - the World Series posted its third-lowest TV ratings ever. Do you think Fox is worried that they're in year 3 of a 6-year deal, and the two Series with lower ratings were in 2000 and 2002?

Of course, some (like Major League Baseball's web site) are spinning this as a half-full glass:

"This year's six World Series games averaged a 12.8 rating and 22 percent share, an eight percent increase over last year's seven-game all-time low average of an 11.9 rating and a 20 percent share for the Angels' come-from-behind victory over the Giants. But viewership actually rose 17 percent when simply comparing this year's six games to the first six games of last year's World Series."
At least they acknowledged that the 2002 Series reached a level of apathy heretofore unknown, which somewhat surprises me. Then they say "well, everybody else sucks too:"
'The TV ratings have been extraordinary,' Commissioner Bud Selig said on Saturday night. 'Especially when you consider that every other sports property has gone down.'

Bloomberg News reported that ratings for this year's National Basketball Association Finals were the worst in history, and that ratings for the four major men's golf tournaments, the U.S. Open tennis tournament and the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup finals also were down this year."
I'm too lazy to look right now, but I'm willing to bet that all those events except the NBA Finals don't represent four-year downward trends like baseball (excepting the post-9/11-patriotism-driven 2001 Series). Note also that pro and college football were conspicuously absent from that list.

Posted by Chris at 07:21 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

October 16, 2003

Annnnd That's The Last Baseball Game I'll Watch For Ten More Years

I gave up on baseball after the strike in '94 that killed the World Series (millionaires arguing with billionaires; screw all y'all). But with the two perennial cursed teams having a chance to meet in the World Series this year, I've probably watched half a dozen LCS games.

Of course, now that the smoke has cleared, it'll be the Team That Always Wins versus the Team Nobody Outside Of Miami Cares About. Thanks but no thanks.

Posted by Chris at 10:23 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

October 12, 2003

Why Cricket Is A Mutant Sport

Because you need two mathematicians to figure out the score! And until that's done, you can't determine your own strategy!

Posted by Chris at 09:21 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

October 10, 2003

Of Performance And Fairness

My son's team, having gotten a taste of victory last week, apparently liked it a lot, because they won again yesterday (hanging another bagel on their opponents to boot!). Now, at 2-3, they're in the playoffs. Due to the state of sports reporting around here (what do you mean, I can't get daily news, scores, and standings for middle school football? I'm shocked, I tell you! Shocked!), I don't know anything about the team they're playing next week in the first round.

I opined to flower_goddess that since they were 2-3, they were probably the lowest seed or close to it, and would thus be playing the highest seed (or thereabouts) in the first round. Her response: "Well, that's hardly fair! They're going to get killed!" I replied, "That's how playoffs almost always work - the worst team to qualify plays the best team first, and the middle teams play each other." She wasn't seeing eye-to-eye with that model: "If the best team is really the best team, they should have to play the second-best team first to prove it!"

I was so floored by this statement, which runs counter to, well, my entire lifetime of What I Know To Be True About Sports, that I couldn't even respond for a minute. Eventually, I came up with a few alternative lines of argumentation:

  • "The reward for finishing first is the easiest path through the playoffs. In fact, most playoffs re-roll after every round to ensure that the best surviving team faces the worst surviving team in the next round."
  • "Your way wouldn't be fair to either the #1 or #2 teams. There's no incentive to finishing hard if your reward is to play the other best team first."
  • "Why reward the teams that just barely squeak into the playoffs with a game against another weak team first?"
It can be observed that all those grow from the "there should be some incentive to do well in the regular season" argument. Didn't matter; none of that made any impression on her.

Do you think I went overboard when I said "If women ran football, not only wouldn't there be a playoff, they wouldn't even keep score!" ?

Posted by Chris at 01:23 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

October 02, 2003

Monkey Off Our Back

This is my son's fourth year of organized football. Before yesterday, his teams (three seasons of PAL football and the current season of his middle school team) were a combined 0-20-1. Some lowlights:

  • His teams were 0-1-1 in games designed to get the two worst teams together to give one of them a chance to win.
  • Last year, his team gave up more points in their best defensive effort (24) than they scored all year total (6).
  • They also allowed more total points on interception returns (18) than they scored.
  • They also allowed more total points on safeties (8) than they scored.
  • They also gave up more total points to second- and third-string units (12) than they scored.
  • In three years of PAL football, his teams had 4 games with positive net yards. Total.
  • Also in that time span, they averaged two first downs per game.
And his team was 0-3 so far this year: 36-12, 24-0, 28-22. That last one was simultaneously hopeful and heartbreaking - after taking the lead, they gave up a Hail Mary on the last play of the first half (nobody bothered to cover the receiver). They took the lead again and gave up another bomb (nobody bothered to cover the reciever). They took the lead a third time and gave up yet another bomb (and still, nobody bothered to cover the receiver). They finally lost the game in overtime.

So yesterday was the Bruin Bowl, where the two middle schools that feed the high school play in the high school's stadium. Although it isn't the last game of the season, it's usually the high point since they get to play where the Big Boys play, at night with lights, with a P.A. announcer, and all that. Anyway, their opponents came in 2-1, and I was all ready to to have to console my son after yet another blowout.

A funny thing happened on the way to the beating. After forcing the other team three-and-out, we scored on a beautiful 40-yard pass on our first play. After forcing another three-and-out, we returned the punt inside the 20 and scored two plays later. Well, it went on like that all game, and when the siren sounded (a siren! really!) at the end, his team had won 28-0, and we were finally on the other side of the kind of thrashing we were used to receiving.

There's a cliche about feeling like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders. Most cliches are cliches (i.e., overused) because they have more than a grain of truth to them. As I walked down the ramp and out of the stadium, I truly did feel like I no longer had a burden I was accustomed to carrying, when flower_goddess and I would try to sneak back to the car without being noticed because we just got pounded again. My son wanted to quit after the 24-0 game earlier this year -- he literally believed that he was a jinx to his team. The same group of kids had gone 5-2 the previous year, and the only difference this year were the addition of him and a couple of other kids who graduated from PAL. We were able to convince him to stick it out mainly by making him consider how he'd feel if he quit and the team then won a game.

Fortunately, now he'll never have to know.

Posted by Chris at 03:18 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Local Stuff

September 30, 2003

Karma In Effect

From the Saginaw News (via about a pregame ritual that went over the top:

"One teenager spit on it.

The next Flint Northern High School football player kicked the black helmet scrawled with a yellow "S."

And so it went, on down the line, like a lazy firing squad, as the visiting team pelted the effigy Saginaw High School helmet in view of the Trojans' bench.


Referees did nothing as the makeshift helmet took a beating on the goal line of Laeding Field's south end zone during the 20-minute warm-up period before this year's gridiron opener Aug. 28."
The article then launches into a screed about how taunting is the worst thing in sports ever and needs to be stopped at any cost:
"Despite an onslaught of campaigns in recent years, coaches' and officials' failure to stop Flint Northern's systematic taunting may belie an athletic culture -- something like a war -- in which, too often, all's fair.

'The difficulty is if you don't win, you try other things to try to win, and some of the things are not ethical,' said James E. Hornak, chairman of the Physical Education and Sport Department at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant. 'Sportsmanship is a difficult issue.'"
Sounds like my entire high school career. Our football team was a combined 4-32; we compensated by inventing some, um, earthy cheers (which decorum prevents me relating here). That was our coping mechanism, and it definitely met the Michigan High School Athletic Association's definition of taunting:
". . . any action or comment by coaches, players or spectators that is intended to bait, anger, embarrass, ridicule or demean others, whether or not the deeds or words are vulgar or racist."
I don't recall any of our -- OK, I'll call them taunts because that's what they were -- being racist, but they were most assuredly vulgar. But I digress.

The score? Saginaw won 42-0.

Posted by Chris at 03:32 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

September 27, 2003

I Went To A Charity Dinner And A Rugby Match Broke Out

The Evening Standard has this story about a charity dinner gone horribly wrong:

"A huge brawl erupted at a dinner attended by some of rugby's greatest names to raise money for former England player Alastair Hignell, who has multiple sclerosis."
According to one witness:
"'People were exchanging punches and there was a lot of screaming. They were mainly very well built amateur rugby types.' The violence broke out when England fans taunted Welsh comedian Max Boyce as he made an after-dinner speech.

Welsh fans clashed with the England fans on a neighbouring table as those on surrounding tables tried in vain to stop it."
Hell, I don't think that crowd is any tougher than Showtime At The Apollo...

Posted by Chris at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

August 28, 2003

FFB Draft Hot Wash

(It's an Army term describing an immediate after-action review, in case you're wondering). I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. Our league has 14 teams (I picked 11th) and is a fairly typical performance-based league; the biggest difference is that RBs/WRs get two points per catch, making pass-catching RBs worth even more than a typical performance league. Anyway, on to my team:

  • QB: Steve McNair - in the next-to-last round after everybody else except one guy had their QB. Howe the HELL did he fall to me?
  • RB: Travis Henry - first round. I let Ahman Green go; we'll see how well that works.
  • RB: Curtis Martin - second round. This time, I let Jamaal Lewis go by.
  • WR: Peerless Price - third round. Quite surprised he made it to me at pick 39; I think Vick's injury scared people off.
  • WR: Mushin Muhammad - fifth round. He's having a good preseason; I hope the rest of the offense keeps defenses from doubling him.
  • WR: Drew Bennett - eighth round. My sleeper pick. He better be worthwhile - I passed on Tim Brown to get him!
  • K: Martin Gramatica - fourth (!) round. I'm really tired of having kickers that suck. Our league has a curse on whoever picks the first kicker in a given year - they almost never do well. I spit in the face of the curse!
  • D: Pittsburgh - sixth round. I was the third person to take a defense; I wanted Tampa Bay or Philly.

Posted by Chris at 05:22 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

April 23, 2003

A Baghdad Bob Sighting!

I'm a big Red Wings fan, so I've had to endure several of my friends sending me this picture:

Fortunately, Bob's moved on. He was last sighted near the Pepsi Center in Denver, and even though it's just one game, might he be making travel plans for Dallas? The best part about the Cheating 'Dique collapse? Columns like this one.

Posted by Chris at 12:08 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

February 24, 2002

I wonder what the woman who didn't make the team is thinking...

I forgot about the best 'new' event of all: in the Downhill Choke event, the gold goes to Caroline "Head Case" Lalive. In the team event, Sweden's men's hockey team.

Posted by Chris at 01:53 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports

February 21, 2002

We Don't Have Nearly Enough Olympic Events... I've decided to add a few of my own, with gold medal winners:
  • Most Unfortunate Name: Irina Slutskaya.

  • Justificational Flip-Flop: French figure skating judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne. Flip. Flop. Flip.

  • Weirdest Rules: Short-track speed skating, where pushing off is legal but changing lanes isn't.

Posted by Chris at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Sports