Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Rich Kotite (Bangin' Your Mom) At The Movies !!!

"Rocky Balboa"

3 out of 4 Smiling Kotites (Yeah; that's a smile ...)

There are a few things in this world that get any man riled up: A sexy woman, a few shots of tequila and the music from "Rocky." Whether it's the original instrumental version, or the Survivor "Eye of the Tiger" power ballad / instant erection (for me anyway) from the sequels.

"Rocky Balboa" doesn't stray far from the road that led its predecessors to success:

Step One: Establish Likeable Underdog Status for Protagonist.

Step Two: Establish Dominant Antagonist for Underdog -- Preferably a Minority (Mr. T, Apollo Creed, George Washington Duke and this versions Mason Dixon) or Foreigner (Ivan Drago).

Step Three: Establish Some Sort of Love Interest.

Step Four: Show Vastly Different Training Montages.

Step Five: SHOWDOWN! with a) ring entrances, b) motivational speech for Rocky, c) first and/or second and/or third round domination by underdog and then finally d) triumphant Balboa wins over the crowd, earns his opponents respect and rights all wrongs.

However, this "Rocky" - out of all the sequels - is the most similar to the original, which dominated the 1977 Academy Awards, and launched our boy Sly into the spotlight. The story begins in a graveyard, at Adrian's headstone, who seems to have past between film five and six from, as Stallone later describes, "Ladies Cancer." He lives in a crappy Philadelphia house (although in that city, what house isn't crappy?) and has two pet turtles in his bedroom, feeds the birds outside some sort of candy and does roughly six chin-ups a morning with his coffee. He runs a somewhat successful restaurant, with, what Paulie sums up in the funniest part of the movie, "... a bunch of Mexicans cookin' Italian food ..." His son is some sort of financial bitch, and seems to be doing OK for himself. During all this, we see glimpses of the current heavyweight champion, Mason "The Line" Dixon - another phenomenal name from the "Rocky" saga (played decently enough by current Light Heavyweight Champion Antonio Tarver). He's not the people's champion Balboa was, and, in many ways, we see Stallone taking jabs (pardon the pun ...) at the real boxing scene.

The most confusing part of the film - to Rich Kotite, anyway - was the character of Little Marie. Remember her from the first one? The cigarette-smoking, street-walking little girl? She's bartending now in South Philly, at a place I'm sure a ton of Eagles fans inhabit on game day. Balboa comes in to reminisce about a date he and Adrian had there years before, and is recognized by Little Marie. He drives her home, which begins what appears to be a courtship/friendship/parentship of Marie and her son, "Steps." ("Steps," by the way, was fathered by a Jamaican man, to which Balboa replies "Jamaican huh? So he's European?" Sly Stallone may be the only person on the planet who could deliver that line and actually convince me of the sincerity.)

"Steps" slowly turns into the son Balboa wishes his own boy was; the two buy a dog together, he gives the kid a job in his restaurant and he even takes him into the gym during the training montage.

Anyway; back to the plot. ESPN - that SOB - is what ultimately gets Balboa back into the ring. After showing a computer-generated bout between the current versus former Heavyweight champion, Balboa wins and pisses off Dixon, who has been searching for a way to regain his popularity with the Pay-Per-View buyers he so dearly wants to impress. Dixon's manager and publicist find their way into "Adrian's" to make an offer to the Italian Stallion - after learning of its location from "Cold Pizza" and Skip Bayless (who should be shot in the fucking head). Balboa accepts - after learning some of the proceeds will go to charity, of course - to a ten-round exhibition in Las Vegas; and then, my friends, the movie goes from good to orgasmic.

The training montage we've all grown to love hits hard, with an appearance from Apollo Creed's old manager, Duke (Tony Burton, one of only four actors to appear in all the films, by the way ...), telling Balboa he's got no speed and is falling apart. Balboa's only chance, Duke says, is the line that made me want to stand up and punch the lady next to me: "What we will be calling on is blunt force trauma ... Let's start building some hurting bombs ..." Solid gold. 100%.

Once the fight is on - and Balboa enters the ring to Frank Sinatra singing "High Hopes" - the action finally picks up; waiting for the climax like only the first "Rocky" did. Dixon warns Balboa not to try and hurt him, or else he'll punish the old man. Balboa does what he knows how to do: Leads with his chin and works the body. These scenes are the only ones Tarver looks comfortable in, pummeling a somewhat jacked, somewhat geriatric Stallone on and about the head and face.

I won't give away the ending, but it doesn't end with a senile Balboa screaming and crying "ADRIAN!" on his way to the nursing home (like I'd feared).

Overall, the film is exactly what you'd expect it to be: A cookie-cutter version of the series, with a modern twist. Look for Mike Tyson making a jaw-dropping cameo in Las Vegas, and keep your ears open everytime Paulie speaks. If you're a fan of the old "Rocky" movies, see it. If you're a boxing fan, see it. If you have something hanging between your legs, see it. Tell 'em Richie Kotite sent ya!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Welcome to BCS High

32 bowls sure seems like a lot.

It’s basically the same number of students as you might kind, as say, in a high school, especially if said high school is a large public one where education takes a backburner to football and the average SAT is about an 870 on the old scale. Each bowl, like each student, is unique, but comparable. Here now is each and every bowl and the kid from your high school you knew:

Poinsettia: Slutty but ugly chick. She’s first to give out the HJ’s your freshman year or sooner, and you know you can easily get your first bit of satisfaction from her, but despite this, you know you shouldn’t because the only reason you would is because it’d be first. You know you could do better.

Las Vegas: Awkward looking kid who doesn’t belong. BYU fans in Vegas are like sticking UNLV’s hoops team in the Salt Lake bracket. It’s just a misfitting situation not benefiting anyone, just like the foreign exchange student who doesn’t speak English in the FUBU sweatshirt.

New Orleans: Fat ugly girl with the cleft lip. You can’t look at her, she’s so ugly, you want her to go away, and you wish she didn’t exist; yet she does. The kid you don’t know anything about but don’t really care about either. Maybe this kid never says anything, maybe he reads Kurt Vonnegut books all through lunch at a table by himself. He seems harmless, but he also seems like you don’t know where he lives, what his real name is, or anything about what he does after school ends. He’s there, but who cares?

New Mexico: The obviously introverted kid. He keeps to himself, stays at home all the time, and nobody outside his family gives even the slightest crap about him. Kind of like how only New Mexico Lobos fans care about the New Mexico bowl, so it’s lucky the Lobos are in it…

Armed Forces, GMAC, and Motor City: The losers who have some sort of kinship because of how loserly they are. You know the type; they’re
similar in some freakish way, and hang out all the time, but no cool kid will ever even acknowledge them or give a care about seeing them ever.

Hawaii: The kind of hot foreign girl who doesn’t talk to anybody. Sure, she’s kind of cute, and she lives in a nice area, but she keeps herself down and doesn’t dress nearly hot enough to really want to get to know her.
She’s also really introverted too and likes to stay within her family, just like how Hawaii seems to always end up in this bowl year after year.

Emerald: The kid who used to be really cool but then got fat and stupid by 8th grade and everybody stopped being his friend. Everybody used to
think this kid was cool, but then it became obvious he was overrated and all his success was built on his former glory days, in this case 3rd grade when he had all the coolest toys. Now he’s a shell of himself and nobody who’s anybody acknowledges ever liking him. Hello, FSU (and to a lesser extent, UCLA).

Independence: The kid somebody’s friends with who shows up at parties but no one really wants there. I mean, he’s OK, but would the world go on without him? Hell yeah it would. Does Alabama really want to go to Shreveport? Eh, no.

Holiday: The ridiculously underrated girl. She’s hot, and smart, but unfortunately for her, too smart. She consistently outperforms some of the cool girls, is kind of rich and lives in a nice area, but she’s just not able to bring in the football stars. She does get noticed once she hits the Ivy League, however and then all the guys in high school realize how much they screwed up.

Texas: The chick who somehow gets herself between two guys who used to be best friends. Hello NFL Network and cable providers everywhere. This girl isn’t really that hot, but somehow got stumbled into every girl’s dream where two hot guys are fighting over her like there’s no tomorrow. Maybe her family won the lotto or something, but it is what it is.

Music City, Sun, Liberty: The third tier kids who show up together as a group at parties, bring some weed, but otherwise, no one cares that
they’re there. You know the types, they’re usually entertaining for a few minutes when they show up at parties, and you talk about something, but then you go back to doing keg stands with your real friends. It’s like, if I didn’t have New Year’s Eve off from work, would I care about the Sun Bowl? No, no I would not.

Insight, Champs Sports, MPC Computers: Another group of weirdos nobody acknowledges. They’re like the Armed Forces, GMAC, and Motor City weirdos, but they play Dungeons & Dragons at lunch instead of Magic: the Gathering. In the case of the bowls themselves, they just happen to be later in the schedule, but just as meaningless in the bowl social strata.

Meineke: The kid you know is going into the military from day one. He shows up in a ripped Stone Cold Steve Austin shirt and fatigues with a flattop haircut his first day of freshman year and from then on just calls the football players jackasses and quits the wrestling team because the coach doesn’t “get him.” He just wants to go kill him some al-Qaeda. Kind of like how this bowl has a hankering for some Naval Academy every year.

Alamo, Chick-Fil-A: The otherwise cool kids with some critical defect. They could be just as cool as the cool kids, really, but they have some issue, like, they dress slightly off, or have no sense of humor, or are secretly poor, just SOMETHING that keeps them from the top echelon of popularity. They’d like to be there, and everybody seems to pretty much like being with them, but there’s just that something missing right now.

Outback, Cotton, Gator, Capital One: the kids who think they’re totally awesome, and the really cool kids hang out with them at all times, but then make fun of behind their backs. Just like how Steve Spurrier used to say about the bka Citrus (now Capital One) Bowl, “You can’t spell citrus without UT (Tennessee)” as a dig against the bowl the SEC’s #2 team went to. Everybody below them would die to hang out with these guys, but the truly elite just mock them.

Rose, Fiesta, Orange, Sugar: The elite. These guys are the coolest kids, but they’re still at the beck and call of their leader, the BCS Championship. Picture Lacey Chabert and the other girl in “Mean Girls.” (What? It was on Saturday night at the party I was at, sue me). A lot of people are content just to be dating them (Wake, Louisville, Boise St.) while others REALLY wish they could be with the Rachel McAdams character, aka the Championship (see: Michigan, USC, OU, ND, LSU).

International: The kid in the trenchcoat you’re scared of and confused by. Who is this kid? Where did he come from? Why is he in the room with the rest of us? He sits in some far off corner, says nothing, but is there, almost as though he’s plotting some terrible plan to justify his dark, pointless existence. Just like a bowl in Toronto. In mid-January. After the BCS games are done.

The BCS Championship: The hottest chick everybody wants. Everybody,
no matter how lowly or otherwise popular wants this girl (or guy, as the case may be). This bowl is the head cheerleader, starting QB, and lead singer all rolled into one. You HAVE to be cool with this bowl to be anybody. People fight over it, cry over it, heck, maybe even kill over it. It is the crème de la crème.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Put Big Mac in the HOF

Think back to 1994, specifically, August 1994. Baseball stopped. No World Series, no .400 average for Tony Gwynn, no playoffs in Montreal, no World Series for the Braves to lose in. Baseball ceased. Now, think to early September 1995. Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s “Iron man” record. Baseball modestly creeped back into national consciousness. Now, refer to the infamous and still referenced commercial featuring Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and their catchphrase “Chicks Dig the Longball.” What player most epitomized America’s infatuation with the longball in the late 90s? Certainly there’s only one answer to that: Big Mac, Mark McGwire.

The summer of 1998 was baseball’s resurgence. McGwire and Sosa captivated the country, cliché as it sounds. Only two games have been on FOX in primetime outside of the playoffs: Big Mac’s 62nd homer game and the first Sox-Yanks game in April, 2004. The chase to Maris was more “Wag the Dog” effective than anything President Clinton could’ve otherwise used to get the country’s attention off the whole Lewinsky thing. BIG MAC BROUGHT BASEBALL BACK. Look, we may have very well been duped (in fact, we likely were), but there is no Game of Shadows-esque rundown of McGwire’s doping schedule as there is Barry Bonds that tears him down and proves beyond doubt that he was a doper, and hence a cheater. Rather there is merely the scared testimony of a human in a suit before Congress one day 20 months ago.

But, in the end, so what if he did do steroids? Barry Bonds has been a cancer on the game; a plague everyone seems to just be waiting out before he goes away for good. He’s also considered a pretty huge jerk. None of these same things could ever have been said about McGwire before that fateful St. Patrick’s Day in 2005. Bonds may be a loving doting father for all any of us knows, but come on, McGwire and his son Matt were all over the news and pictures in 1998. People loved the guy, and baseball suddenly had that charm back on it for the first time since the strike occurred. Add into the mix the sunny Dominican slugger, Sammy Sosa, and this was a marketer’s dream.

However, in a way that Sosa continuously sullied his good deeds as his career wound down (the cork incident, injuries, infighting while with the Cubs, issues with the O’s), Big Mac retired gracefully once his bat speed and career were obviously over. Maybe there was a reason for this, but it’s possible the guy actually knew he was done (why this was the case may also be up for debate, of course). He hasn’t exactly been an ambassador for the game since retirement, and again, for all any of us can speculate, there may be a reason for that, but what isn’t up for speculation is that for one magic summer, this man was what brought eyes back to baseball and put people in seats. No one would even care about the hearings in Washington or that Jose Canseco wrote a book and is now up for election too if Big Mac hadn’t spent his 1998 summer sending balls all over parks with his son and a smile. Say what you will about how he may have done it, but you can’t tell me he didn’t make you care about baseball again and that you don’t still feel the way you did in 1993.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Go Home, Homers !

How many times have you sat down, hoping to be enlightened by the so-called "experts" of the sports world, only to be completely blown away by the sheer one-sidedness that they have towards their own alma mater or former employer? ESPN hires ex-players because they seem to make the most natural progression to the booth. But - as evidenced by former Hurricane WR Lamar "Don't Come Into The OB With That Weak Stuff" Thomas' comments during last month's Miami-FIU brawl - you can take the player out of the system, but can you take the system out of the player? From 10 to 1, here's the biggest homers in the sports world ...

10. Stuart Scott, University of North Carolina Tar Heels - The lazy-eyed wonder himself barely beats out Maryland's Scottie Van Pelt for SportsCenter anchor ACC pride. Scott makes the list simply because he cannot make it through a SportsCenter without letting you know if a Tar Heel did something big, and beats out Van Pelt because there's way more of a chance for Stu Scott to be calling a Vince Carter highlight than SVP calling a Steve Blake base-line jumper. Boo-yah!

Punishment: Scott should be forced to call a UNC football game twice a year. And get some friggin' surgery on that eye. Not even as punishment. Just so people can eat while he's on TV.

9. Shannon Sharpe, Denver Broncos - This guy has a head like Shrek, lips like a burnt Cher and the audacity to never pick against his former team, even when they're severly over-matched. He's the constant optimist for Jake Plummer, makes sure no one ever forgets he played with John Elway and loves Mike Shanahan more than Grandma Estel Shanahan does. I'm not sure if you can find the clip on Youtube or not, but I'm 99% sure that on last year's pre-Super Bowl coverage, when asked if Pittsburgh or Seattle would win, he picked Denver.

Punishment: Sharpe should have his eyes pried open a la "Clockwork Orange," be strapped down and forced to watch all of Jake Plummer's post-season games as a Bronco. And that weird Bronco hat should be surgically attached to his massive head.

8. Digger Phelps, University of Notre Dame Fightin' Irish - How can a college basketball analyst talk about a mid-level team so much? When he coached said mid-level team for 20+ years. He thinks they should be in the NCAA Tournament every year, despite not having a winning record or talented starting five. He wears their colors on most of his broadcasts - although he's since stopped so that he can match his freaking highlighters to his ties, a tip he got from watching too much "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."

Punishment: Take away the highlighters, first of all, and then make him actually watch the Notre Dame teams play the Big East elite. But make sure you take away the highlighters. Please.

7. Rich Eisen, University of Michigan Wolverines - Don't have the NFL Network? Don't bother. It's basically Rich Eisen interviewing former Wolverines, or mocking former Notre Dame, Michigan St. or Ohio State players for not being Wolverines. He seems to be quiet at least once a year, though, and it's usually the week after Jim Tressel spanks Lloyd Carr.

Punishment: Since he's a regular on VH1's "I Love the 80's" and "I Love the 90's," he should be forced to come up with witty remarks about the 1993 NCAA Championship game. "Fab 5? Is that what Chris Webber got on his SATs?" Beat that, Michael Ian Black!

6. Howie Long, Oakland Raiders - Thank God Gruden left, because if Oakland had been good for much longer, FOX was going to have to ban Long from talking about the greatness of the Raiders. But even know, with his former team an embarrassment to its great history, Long still picks them to win games, and still thinks they have the pieces in place to win. The first five weeks of this season were surreal to watch on FOX's pre-game show, as Long thought first Aaron Brooks, and then Andrew Walter would bring the team victories. He loved the Art Shell hire, the only person on the planet to do so besides Shell himself - although that isn't even certain. Here's hoping the Raiders don't draft his son ...

Punishment: Stick him on the team right now. He'd probably kill himself or ask to be traded like every other smart player on that team ... That or put him and Tom Jackson in the same room before a Raiders v. Broncos game, surrounded by blunt objects.

5. TIE Peter Gammons, Boston Red Sox AND Dick Vitale, Duke University Blue Devils - Two of the most respected professionals in their field, each one absolutely oozes allegiance to a team despite their consumate "professionalism." Gammons got his career started in Boston covering the Sox, and praises everything they do. He grew up a Sox fan, and despite his fantastic coverage of professional baseball, he tends to lean a bit towards Boston in most of his critiques and predictions.

The same cannot be said about Dick Vitale.

Vitale has absolutely nothing to do with Duke. He didn't go there. He didn't coach there. He didn't grow up rooting for them. His parents didn't go there. His mother's maiden name isn't Krzyzewski. And yet every single thing he does, every prediction, every break-down, every praise ... Is directed at the Blue Devils program. He has an extreme bias for Duke, so much so that college coaches have even called him out for it. His favorite cartoon dog? MarmaDUKE. Favorite first person video game from the 90's? DUKE Nuke'em. His favorite position in a sovereignty? A DUKE.

Punishment: They're both too old to really do anything mean to. We'll make Gammons watch the Buckner play over and over, and ... Oh, just shoot Vitale in the head. Dipsy-doo-dunk-a-roo that, baby!

4. Kirk Herbstreit, THE Ohio State University - His dad was a captain for the Buckeyes. He was a captain for the Buckeyes. How can you impartially bestow "expert" knowledge of the game to us when you grew up hating some of the best teams, and then played against those programs yourself? Lee Corso needs to be medicated, but at least he doesn't always pick his Florida State Seminoles. Herbstreit defines the term "homer."

Punishment: Make his first-born son go to Michigan. And like it.

3. Tim McCarver and Joe Buck, St. Louis Cardinals - How can a broadcast team as different as this one both be Cardinals fans? McCarver is a legally retarded, and was a catcher for the Cardinals organization for most of his playing career. Buck, who was born and raised in St. Louis, by his father Jack - the legendary Cardinals announcer - began his own broadcasting career calling games for St. Louis' minor league team, the Redbirds. He then worked Cards games with his dad, before getting hired as a national broadcaster. So how do let these two in a booth together? During the World Series featuring the Cardinals??? I was waiting for Ozzie Smith to start doing the sideline report ...

Punishment: Aside from never being allowed to call a Cardinals game together again, both men should have the Cardinals logo tattooed on their foreheads and have their vocal cords pecked out by a few real cardinal birds.

2. Michael Irvin, University of Miami Hurricanes AND Dallas Cowboys - The only duel threat on this list, Irvin is an NFL analyst for ESPN that manages to defend both the Hurricanes and Cowboys on a weekly basis. Never before has a former player brought so little to the broadcasting world in terms of talent, and yet had so much to say, so poorly dressed. You'd think a born-again Christian cokehead would have more sense ...

Punishment: Make him wear a regular black suit, white dress shirt and solid tie. Every day.

1. Jay Bilas, Duke University Blue Devils - If you've ever heard Bilas call a Duke game for ESPN, or listened to him in the pre- or post-game coverage of one, you damned well know where he went to school and played his college ball. You can actually measure on his body how far up Mike Krzyzewski's ass he is. The guy was a four-year starter for Coach K, went to Duke Law school while serving as an assistant to Krzyzewski and cleaned his office twice a week, too. He has never picked against Duke on the air, wears a one-piece "Blue Devils" pajama outfit (with attached feet) to bed and has almost as much of Coach K's semen in him than Mrs. Krzyzewski (and Dick Vitale).

Punishment: Paint him up like a Cameron Crazy and force him to watch JJ Redick's tournament games versus Kansas in 2003 (2 for 16 shooting), UConn in 2004 (4 for 12), Michigan State in 2005 (4 for 14) and LSU in 2006 (3 for 18). And then sit down and listen to some of Redick's poetry, while watching a Duke football game.


Get Ready for it: President Heath Shuler

Hey guys at, get ready because by 2020, you may have to stop Shuler from making the trek from Capitol Hill to Pennsylvania Ave. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the facts. The guy just won an election at the age of 34 in a red state as a Democrat. Not only that, and going largely on my preconceived, stereotypical notions of the greater Asheville, NC area, I’m going to gather this victory was more uphill for Heath than beating Spurrier’s Gators in the Swamp or Gene Stallings’ Tide in Tuscaloosa.

What’s to say that he can’t next win, say, current Senator Richard Burr’s seat off of him in 2010? Everybody knows Democrats LOVE boyish looking senators from North Carolina (hello John Edwards), so, do I smell 2012 Vice Presidential nominee? Yes, yes I do, just like I smell North Carolina bbq emanating from the Outer banks or the carcass of John Bunting coming from Chapel Hill. A ticket of oh, Eliot Spitzer/Heath Shuler? After a campaign of constant references to Jack Kemp and full support in the metro Philadelphia, New York, and Dallas areas, Shuler would be prepared to graduate to the oval office after a successful two term run of vice presidential cliché espousing full of sports references (inauguration day example: We’re going to give 110%!!!) to being compared to that other DI football presidential dynamo, Gerald Ford. And then, by 2028, at the age of 56, Shuler’s wife will start running for congress, also perhaps extolling the virtues of “Mountain values,” a concept I in the Northeast consider more foreign than Borat.

I hope you read this Heath; any derivation from this plan and you will be nothing more than some Jim Ryan clone languishing in the House. You already sucked ass in the NFL, do you really want to be a TWO-career failure???

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Play - Stanford vs. Cal

Sunday, November 05, 2006

"We won! We won!! We ... WTF just happened out there???"

In honor of my Washington Redskins dramatic, entertaining, thrilling and dynamic finish Week 9 versus the Dalls Cowboys, here is a list of the greatest single-play finishes to games in my lifetime.
(And keep in mind, I'm counting from conception, not birth ... I had to get Cal-Stanford on here somehow ...)
Marshall 31, Youngstown State 28
- 1992 Division I-AA Championship -
In what is the most bizarre story on this list, Marshall's back-up kicker Willy Merrick
kicked the first and only field goal of his career to end this title game.
The injured starter?
Willy's older brother.
Needless to say, Thanksgiving dinner was a little tense at the Merrick household in 1992 ...

Colorado 27, Michigan 26
- 1994 -
In this match-up between two top ten teams, Kordell "Slash" Stewart threw a hail-mary pass to receiver Michael Westbrook as time expired to keep their championship aspirations alive.
(Just years later, "Slash" made Pittsburgh fans want to "Slash" their throats and wrists, as it seems all he was able to do for the Steelers was throw similar passes - mostly to the other team.)

California 25, Stanford 20
- 1982 -
With a mere :04 seconds to go, Stanford was all smiles, having just kicked a field goal to put them up 20-19 over the rival Golden Bears.
And then ... chaos.
Laterals, pitches, hand-offs, broken tackles, frogs, locusts ...
And then ... A band?!?
The play-by-play is timeless, as is the saxaphone player getting completely doushed at the end of the run.

Southern California 34, Notre Dame 31
- 2005 -
Watching this game live, I felt equal pain for both Trojan fans and Fightin' Irish fans alike. A) for not being the University of Maryland, and B) for the life-shortening stress the game put them through.
I was sweating as Brady "AJ Hawk owns me for banging my
sexy sister" Quinn led his boys down the field for an 87-yard TD drive, and I was soaking through my second t-shirt as Matt "I was a Trojan for four years
but never learned how to use one" Leinart fumbled the ball out of bounds in the end zone as time expired, but then was given a second chance by the officials
to sneak into the end-zone - with major help by Reggie "Shave Your" Bush.
With all the weapons on that team, a basic "QB Sneak" was so unexpected ...
Sort of like ...
Cole "Mommy Said Daddy Loves Her But Isn't 'In Love' With Her" Cameron-Leinart.
(Sorry for the nicknames, I got into my Berman mode.)

Boston College 47, Miami (FL) 45
- 1984 -
Flutie Flakes.
Hail Mary.
Heisman Trophy.
You know the play ... But the stat you may not know?
Doug Flutie had sex with 346 Boston College females that night.

North Carolina State 54, Houston 52
- 1983 NCAA Championship -
Fitting that a dunk does in the team nick-named "Phi Slamma Jamma."
This wasn't the best title game ever, or note-worthy for any other reason than Wolfpack coach Jim Valvano's reaction ... and the last play of the game.
With precious seconds ticking off the clock, NC State heaved up a prayer; a prayer that - thankfully - fell short. While everyone's eyes were on the ball, spinning slowly in the way only a last-second shot can, Lorenzo Charles found his way under the hoop, and slammed home the victory.
Houston took the loss so bad, they decided to never be good at college basketball ever again ...

Valparaiso 70, Mississippi 69
- 1998 NCAA Tournament First Round -
How much money did Bryce Drew cost some gamblers in 1998?
The all-time scoring, assisting and 3-point shooting Crusader,
Drew drained the most miracle of 3's with fractions of a second left to win his daddy a tournament game, and knock off a pretty scary Mississippi team.
Bryce is his dad's assistant coach at Valpo, and there isn't a player on the team - or an undergraduate female - who hasn't heard the story of when ol' Bryce made it rain.

San Fransisco 28, Dallas 27
- 1982 NFC Championship Game -
"The Catch."
'Nuff said.
Joey Montana to Dwight Clark to beat the unbeatable Cowboys with less
than a minute to play. It doesn't get much better than that.
Unless Montana was Jessica Alba, and Dwight Clark was Lindsay Lohan, and instead of a catch, it was a kiss ...

Tennessee 22, Buffalo 16
- 2000 AFC Wild-Card Game -
The "Music City Miracle" that buried the Bills of Buffalo.
At the post-game press-conference, Titans coach Jeff Fisher would say he made the team go over the play three times a practice, but with different personnel.
Does that make it any less amazing? A width-of-the-field lateral from TE Frank Wychek to WR Kevin Dyson that was shakier than Michael J. Fox ice roller-blading, "Home-Run Throwback" ends the Bills season 75 yards later, and extends the Titans'. That is why they invented the squib kick, and why Wade Phillips should never be considered for a head coaching job again ...

Blue Jays 8, Phillies 6
- 1993 World Series Game 6 -
The only thing uglier than Mitch Williams' mullet and delivery was the hanging cheese he threw to Blue Jays sluggers Joe Carter in this historic World Series game. Talk about a walk-off. Carter walked off the field a hero, while "Wild Thing" walked off and straight to a bar, never to be seen or heard from again.
Check the country music circuit, with that 10-90 Alabama Waterfall he had going under his hat ...

Dodgers 5, A's 4
- 1988 World Series, Game 1 -
Bottom of the ninth.
Full count.
Every hitter's dream/nightmare.
With Hall of Fame closer Dennis Eckersley on the mound, it was shaping up to be a nightmare for Tommy Lasorda and his Dodgers. After a walk to pinch-hitter Mike Davis, Lasorda sends out a crippled Kirk Gibson to pinch-hit for his pitcher. The agony on this guys face before and during the at-bat is almost as powerful as the excitement and joy in it afterwards.
The power that was Eckersley's moustache was - for the first and only time - thwarted.

Yankees 6, Red Sox 5
- 2003 ALCS, Game 7 -
I'll spare the details so I have a blogging partner after he reads this; but the gayest moment of my entire life - not that there's anything wrong with that - was when I became fully aroused at the sight of Aaron Boone's pinch-hit, extra-innings walk-off home-run off of Tim Wakefield and his knuckleball in the bottom of the 11th inning in the Bronx.
(Unfortunately I was at my grandmother's house when it happened ... )

USA 5, China 4
- 1999 World Cup Championship (female) -
I've never watched a more unattractive woman rip off her clothing and been smiling.
With the game tied at 4-4 on penalty kicks, there was one chance left for America.
And as 90,000+ people prayed in the Rose Bowl - and a few million lesbians watched on TV - Brandi Chastain lasered a goal past some Asian chick (sorry, but they really do all look the same ...) to win the World Cup for the greatest country in the history of the universe.
(It also marks the only time I've watched soccer and been somewhat excited.)
- BP

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Worst Champs in the last 30 years

When the Cardinals won it all Friday night with their 83-78 record, I immediately wondered if they were in fact the most mediocre champion ever. I decided to take a tour through the championship histories of the major sports and have compiled a top 10 list of the worst champions in the last 30 years, as it seemed a pretty modern sample. Of course, for some reason, I don’t think guys like David Eckstein or Jerome Bettis on fairly average championship teams really care how they won, but that they won. This list isn’t meant to denigrate any of these teams of course; they’re all champions, and that’s something I haven’t been able to say since 5th grade pee-wee football. Legendary teams or dynasties, like the ’72 Dolphins or 1960s Celtics, however, these teams ain’t. Enjoy and comment:

10. 1977 Portland Trail Blazers. This team, led by Big Red himself, Bill Walton, and Dr. Jack Ramsay as coach represented the Blazers 1st trip to the playoffs and only championship. The Blazers had a record of 49-33, good enough for 2nd in the division, and had an even better 1977-78 season, but were a dynasty by no stretch of the imagination, not reaching the Western Conference Finals again until 1989-90. In fact, they didn’t even win a playoff series again until 1983. Walton and Ramsay represent the only hall of famers on this team.

1978 New York Yankees. The 100-63 record is surely nothing to sneeze at, and this team featured vast array of Hall of Famers, but the reason for inclusion here is that if the Red Sox had not collapsed in an epic way, this victory never would’ve happened. Simple as that. Mike Torrez and a steady wind are what really got the Yankees title # 22.

8. 1984 BYU football. Robbie Bosco led the Stormin’ Mormons to a 13-0 season, and he and coach Lavell Edwards won the school’s only national title by defeating Michigan (6-5 record) by a touchdown, 24-17. BYU, the WAC champ, was the only undefeated team going into that bowl season, and as WAC champ, was tied into the Holiday Bowl, which, at the time, was like Boise St. winning the title after winning the MPC Computer Bowl over some average ACC team like Virginia. Long story short, by running through a crap conference, BYU won it all.

7. 1997 Florida Marlins. This was obviously a star-studded team. But it somehow only won 92 games to get the wild card behind one of those Braves teams that soon enough folded in the playoffs (to the Marlins). But, this team is on the list more so because it was the ultimate one hit wonder, as the entire core of it was gone by 1999 and had no success in the years from inclusion in baseball 1993 through 1996 (80-82 record).

6. 1988 Kansas basketball. Danny Manning fans of the world are up in arms because of this, I know. But, this was a 6 seed that really frankly barely won. Some of the more egregious stats surrounding this team: beat 14th seeded Murray St. in the 2nd round by 3 points, never faced a seed higher than 4th until the final 4, won the title over conference foe Oklahoma in the championship…in Kansas City, team came in unranked, and due to violations, Jayhawks weren’t allowed in the 1989 tournament. This wasn’t exactly a “One Shining Moment” team.

5. 2000 New York Yankees. I guess when you win 26 championships, some of your teams are better than others. In this case, the Yankees most recent championship team was an 87-75 group that lost 15 of its last 18 before rallying to win its third straight championship and fourth in five years. Luckily, this fairly mediocre season came in a year when the AL East was down, and that consecutive division title streak the Yanks have going would’ve been halved.

4. 1990 Colorado football. Arguably the most controversial of all pre-BCS shenanigans, this 11-1-1 team split with Georgia Tech, who finished the year 11-0-1. As if that wasn’t bad enough, one of those 11 wins was the infamous “five down game” where against Missouri the refs awarded the Buffs a fifth down at the goal line accidentally and Colorado capitalized and won. The Buffaloes refused to give up the game despite knowing they’d obviously won on human error.

3. 2006 Pittsburgh Steelers. This may be a bit of a projection, but when you lose to a team as bad as the Raiders the next season, well, it kind of goes to show maybe you just weren’t all that great to begin with. Add in the facts that along their run last year Carson Palmer got injured in his first pass, Nick Harper inexplicably cut towards the middle of the field, and the refs may have played a role against the Seahawks, and this 11-5 #6 seed seems to be the worst Super Bowl champ of all time. Any one of those things not happening and perhaps Coach Cowher is still in search of that 1st title.

2. 1985 Villanova Wildcats. This list isn’t meant to diminish Cinderella runs, much as it seems that way. But, anyway you slice it, ‘Nova was one of the worst champions ever. I mean, Ed Pinckney led the team, after all. It also won its first three games by a TOTAL of 9 points before hanging a 12-point victory over UNC in the elite 8, and a 7-point victory over Memphis St. in the Final 4. Then, despite shooting 78% from the field against conference foe Georgetown in the final, the Wildcats still only won by two points against a Hoya team that had already beat them twice that season. Plus I think I heard half the team was on coke or something.

And now, the worst champion of all time…your 2006 St. Louis Cardinals!!! First of all, thank you to the Wildcats, you have been a great champion for the last 21 years, but your reign of mediocre championship dominance is now over. When you finish a season of 162 games (or 161 in this case) a mere five games over .500, you’re likely not even getting to the playoffs. This season, teams with better records than the cards to not make the playoffs were: Toronto, Boston, the Chi Sox, Angels, and Phillies. Yet, because of how bad the NL Central was, the Cards slid into the playoffs despite three runs of losing more than five games in a row down the stretch. Like the Steelers a few months before them, the Cards fit the mold of a consistent winner that in the season it looks like they’re down, they catch fire in the postseason, and, when combined with experience, win it all. But really, they still kinda aren’t THAT great. Congrats to them though.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Break out the lube ...

Be honest with yourselves right now. Is there anything sexier than a woman who knows sports? You're right. A sexy woman who knows sports. And is there anything better than a sideline reporter in that regard? They talk to the men whose jerseys you wear (well, not Alexander Semin's), they ask the coaches you worship the tough questions (well, not Rich Kotite) and they have access to the locker rooms you would give your first-born child to get into. But have you taken the time to stop and stare? Have you ever asked what makes them tick? Right here, right now, is the top 15 Women of Broadcasting I've been masturbating to for years ... I mean ... respecting for their on-air talents for years ...

15. Pam Ward – Apparently too sexy to be on camera, ESPN stuck Pam Ward behind a microphone and crammed her into a booth, where she's been calling play-by-play on Saturdays for some college football games with that deep, seductive voice for years. She gets her hair-cut at the same barbershop most of us do ... And she’s also the only woman on this list with testicles, so she’s got that going for her. Which is nice.

14. Pam Oliver – She puts the fox in FOX. Pam Oliver got more attention from quarterbacks in the 90’s than any receiver in the game; thanks, in most part, to the most fantastic rump in all of sideline reporting history. Thank God for it, because she had one of the biggest foreheads in all of sideline reporting history, too. She wore a lot of hats to try and cover it up, but I know what was going on beneath those things. Still … Oliver was a spellbinding reporter, often getting the scoops her male counterparts couldn’t. Weird how rich, black, single men open up to a woman with a phenomenal ass, isn’t it?

13. Bonnie Bernstein – An All-American gymnast at Maryland – Mr. Ward’s alma mater as well – Bonnie Bernstein could pass as a beauty pageant contestant … if only she didn’t have that lazy eye. It took down Stuart Scott, too. Boo-yah!

12. Linda Cohn – With a nicer haircut, a sexier outfit and a decent push-up bra, you’ll be tuning into SportsCenter for Linda CONES. The First Lady of ESPN, you know Stephen A. Smith is sweating that big ol’ New York booty in the cafeteria.

11. Michelle Bonner – Another behind-the-desker over at SportsCenter, Michelle Bonner should just drop one “N” in her last name, because that’s what she’s giving to the countless numbers of men who tune in to see highlights. When she comes out from behind the desk, though, she’s got a little bit of a gut. What? No treadmills in Bristol, CT? I bet John Buccigross has hit it, though … And Neil Everett … And Scottie Van Pelt … And Trey Wingo … twice … Rece Davis and Brian Kenny just got hand-jobs …

10. Tina Cervasio – Tina Cervasio wins my award for best smile. Too bad she’s a Boston Red Sox reporter, where there isn’t much to smile about. Weird, because she worked for George Steinbrenner’s propaganda channel YES a few years before ... Turncoat! Cervasio is yet another Maryland alum on this list, meaning crab cakes and football isn’t all Maryland does. It produces marginally talented sideline reporters. With great behinds.

9. Erin Andrews – A sorority girl down at Florida, Erin Andrews is a leggy blonde that covers baseball and football for ESPN. She looks like your stereotypical Southern trophy wife, only pre-nose job. She should get on that …

8. Sam Ryan – While Michelle Tafoya was off having my love child, her replacement on MNF was this dazzling brunette. Ryan also covers the New York Yankees for CBS in New York, which could explain why they haven’t been winning lately … Eye’s on the ball, guys; not Ryan’s butt. (Although that doesn’t explain A-Rod, does it?)

7. Heather Cox – Heather Cox went from “American Idol” to ESPN’s sidelines … and right into my Spank Bank. Cox is the first reality show star to segue into broadcasting, and hopefully not the last. I’d love to see some of those “Flavor of Love” girls on the sidelines … Actually; I’d like to see Flavor Flav on the sidelines. Neither of them can sing, though.

6. Suzy Kolber – If she’s good enough for Broadway Joe, who am I to judge? She’s the only woman on this list to have an endorsement contract (hawking Chevrolets) and the only one to be hit on by a Hall of Famer. Her accent and trying-hard-to-look-like-she’s-not-trying look work for her … She’s probably a tiger in the sack, too.

5. Melissa Stark – Probably the most under-rated hottie on this list, Melissa Stark sort of looks like a hybrid of a few of the Melrose Place ladies. She may have appeared hotter than usual when she was on Monday Night Football, standing next to John Madden and all, but Stark belongs near the top of this list regardless. Great cheek-bones. And really sexy ear-lobes, too.

4. Rachel Nichols – Hello, Red. Rachel Nichols is fairly new to the sideline reporting scene, but sports fans everywhere should be glad she’s finally here. The fiery redhead is most known for her unblinking reports, the reason, perhaps, that her fantastic rack is often overlooked. I wonder if she’s red all over … *wink*

3. Jill Arrington – She’s the definition of what a sideline reporter should be: Tall, blonde and the daughter of an ex-quarterback. She also threatened Melissa Stark in an interview, saying “I’d take her down. She’s just a little thing.” Hopefully she takes her down into a kiddie swimming pool full of chocolate pudding and whipped cream. And the “little thing” is describing their bikinis.

2. Lisa Guerrero – This muy caliente reporter has never worked with Steve Lyons, which may or may not be a bad thing. Lisa Guerrero deserves much more air time, regardless of the game or sport, based purely off of her body. It’s sort of like homecoming court or SGA elections in high school: The pretty girls win. As they rightfully should. In all things. And did you see her in Playboy? Perfect nipples. That goes a long way in my book.

1. Lesley Visser – The Diane Lane of our list, Lesley Visser is still going strong. She started working the NFL sidelines in 1984 – a year after I was born – but she still revs my engine. Visser was the first woman to really cover professional sports, paving the way for the rest of the ladies on our list, and she also pioneered the shoulder-length hair-do, apparently so the players or coaches she was interviewing wouldn’t get aroused. Didn’t work. Visser is as bonerific now as when she began … The MILF of the sports world.

Schadenfreude...Life in New York

Life in New York

Ahhh, it’s like the air is fresher, the sky is bluer, and girls who are marginally attractive in the summer still seem marginally attractive despite having begun that slow winter descent back to winter weight. Baseball has purged itself of Gotham franchises! No longer will I, as a Red Sox fan living in enemy territory be bombarded with caps in various shades of blue with interlocking NY on them. The red B on mine will no longer be looked at and mocked by those whose teams made it to the postseason, which, I might add, I have been diligently watching, as its my duty, Judy.

I can come into the office, and we are all on square one; we are all once again looking forward to sunny spring days scattered across Florida wondering how the season will begin. Sure, in the end, I have nothing against Mets fans save for when they piled on during the Boston massacre, Part II, and they are in fact kind of like Russia is to the US in the geopolitical spectrum: we share a common enemy we are both hell bent on destroying. Yes, in this case, the Yankees equal al-Qaeda…follow me through here.

Who knows what 2007 will bring? It’s already shaping up as one of the craziest offseasons ever anyway, at least in the northeast. Now, you have to add in the fact that the Mets and their fans, who thoroughly figured this was the year they returned to the promised land are looking down the pipeline at a season sans Pedro, an El Duque who may be farther into his forties than he’d care to put on his work visa, an aging Glavine and Trachsel, and a rotation filled with some guys (Maine, Perez, Heilman) who could go either way. Sure the lineup should once again be great in Flushing next year, but clearly it wasn’t good enough this year. Then of course you have the $200 mil. Running choke that is the Yankees, and the walking, breathing ER unit that is my Red Sox, who last played a game what seems like ages ago, and last played a meaningful game like epochs ago. But, alas, at least here in the northeast corridor, we’re all back at square one. Misery loves company…the awesomeness of Schadenfreude.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A picture is worth a thousand words ...

Your creators, boys and girls. Just so you can put a face with the names. Brandon on the left (licking the picture of ... some hairy guy) and Brendan on the right (GQed with the chin-hold).

Monday, October 16, 2006

Jerseys to Avoid

It isn't easy being a sports fan these days. Free agency is killing the games we love. And free agency is making it hardest on the jersey industry. How many people have an "Owens" 49er jersey in the back of their closet? An "Arrington" Redskins jersey? A "Webber" Kings jersey? Big name players have no allegiance anymore, forcing us to go and buy yet another jersey almost every season. With that in mind, here's a list of the jerseys you may want to avoid at a sporting event, for several different reasons ... (We here at Rich Kotite Banged Your Mom are trying to compile an entire roster - # 00 through # 99 - so please, post a comment with a # and name if you think you've got a winner -- or loser ...)


# 02 – WR Darrell Blackman, North Carolina State Wolfpack ... Not a safe jersey for a white guy at an NC State game.

# 03 – PG Chubby Cox, Washington Bullets ... Mr. And Mrs. Cox went to all of young Chubby's games, but never understood why the announcer's were so hesitant to recognize their young son for his outstanding plays.

# 04 – P Sam Koch, Baltimore Ravens ... "Koch really drilled that one" is something even Ray Lewis laughs at when it comes on over the loudspeaker.

# 05 – D Naif Al Qada, Saudi Arabian National Soccer Team ... Close enough to get a double take during the World Cup. Avoid this jersey if you're in an airport, as well.

# 06 - 1B Joe Adcock, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim ... Joe Adcock. He 'ad some balls, too!

# 07 – C Gregor Fucka, Winterthur FC Barcelona ... This guy has gotten his coach a few technical fouls for just calling out his name.

# 08 – SG Vinny Del Negro, Phoenix Suns ... Again; my caucasian brothers, avoid this one in public.

# 09 – F Ahn Jung-Hwang, Korean National Soccer Team ... The only jersey Michael Jackson owns.

# 10 - F Dean Windass, Bradford City Bantams ... While not pronounced the way you'd think, no one stood behind him on the sidelines regardless.

# 11 - QB Casey Dick, Arkansas Razorbacks ... Not a popular Dick on campus with Mitch Mustain in the picture.

# 12 – PG Pee-Wee Gash, Tennessee Volunteers

# 14 – C Radek Bonk, Montreal Canadiens

# 15 – QB Jim Bob “JB” Cooter, Tennessee Volunteers ... Lots of Volunteers on this list. But I guess that's just the South for you.

# 16 – SF Matt Bonner, Toronto Raptors ... It's pronounced "Bon-ner." But he played in Canada, where it's pronounced "Boner."

# 17 – D Dan Shittu, Watford ... The Hooligans have a good time with Danny Boy in the Premier League.

# 18 – SS Jack Glasscock, Indianapolis Hoosiers ... He must've had a tough time with the ladies.

# 19 – WR Damarius Bilbo, Dallas Cowboys

# 20 – CP J.J. Putz, Seattle Mariners

# 21 – CB Randall Gay, New England Patriots ... No one will buy this jersey in New England, ever.

# 22 – PF Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies ... He may become an all-star, but he's not going to sell a lot of gear.

# 24 – SS Harry Colon, New England Patriots

# 25 – LB Wilford Blowe, Chattanooga Mocs

# 28 – LW Alexander Semin, Washington Capitals ... This guy has some shot.

# 29 – SS Adrian Aye-Darko, Duke Blue Devils ... Do not taunt the brothers with this jersey. Although it's Duke football, so no one would see you if you wore it to the stadium.

#30 - OF Brian Asselstine, Atlanta Braves

# 31 – SP Ted Lilly, Toronto Blue Jays

# 32 – G Ron Tugnutt, Edmonton Oilers ... Wow. Tugnutt. Good goalie.

# 33 – D Zarley Zalapski, Hartford Whalers

# 34 – RB Ben Gay, Cleveland Browns

# 35 – SP Darren Sack, Sonoma State Seawolves

# 36 – LF Johnny “Ugly” Dickshot, Chicago White Sox ... With the last name Dickshot, I found it amazing his nickname was "Ugly." Not very creative teammates in Chicago at that time, I guess.

# 38 – DB Demarcus Faggins, Houston Texans

# 39 – SP Dick Pole, Boston Red Sox ... Boston fans love Dick Pole. And they like this guy, too.

# 40 – SP Chien-Ming Wang, New York Yankees ... I want to hear a "WANG! WANG! WANG!" chant from the Bleacher Creatures on FOX soon and see how Joe Buck reacts.

# 41 – RP Jimmy Gobble, Kansas City Royals ... Poor guy must've had a tough high school career.

# 42 – LB Gary Lovely, Brigham Young Cougars ... At least he's a linebacker.

# 44 – RB Curtis Enis, Chicago Bears ... I know a lot of these jerseys were sold when he was drafted as the Bears savior. I know a lot of letter "P"s were drawn on them when he was a bust.

# 45 – OF Rusty Kuntz, Chicago White Sox ... Wow. Just ... Wow.

# 47 – LB Lucious Pusey, Eastern Illinois Panters ... His parents did not like him as much as his brother, Lemmetouchyour.

#49 - RP Harvey Haddix, Baltimore Orioles ... Harvey Haddix; and balls, too.

# 50 – LB Jeff Gooch, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ... For those of you who don't know, that's the part of your body between your asshole and your ballsack. He has a Super Bowl ring, though.

# 51 - SP Jung Bong, Cincinatti Reds

# 53 – SP Jordan Tata, Toledo Mud Hens ... *giggling*

# 61 – OL Johnny Flowers, Southeastern Louisiana Lions

# 65 – RG Heath Cockburn, Furman Paladins ... My personal favorite. Here's hoping he makes it to the NFL.

# 66 – Driver, Dick Trickle, TropArctic Pontiac ... Trickle is funny. Dick Trickle is unreal.

# 72 – LG Jason Spitz, Green Bay Packers ... Lets hope he never lines up next to a center named Swallows.

# 74 – RT Todd Weiner, Atlanta Falcons ... Weiner. His name is Weiner ... Uhh huh huh, huh ...

# 79 – LT Guy Whimper, New York Giants ... Tough last name for an offensive lineman.

# 80 – TE Alex Spooner, Cornell Big Red ... He's an Ivy Leaguer, so don't feel too bad for him.

# 81 - WR De’Cody Fagg, Florida State Seminoles ... He's an NFL prospect. I can't wait for Mel Kiper to talk about him on Draft Day; mostly because of his size. "I love Fagg here. Fagg fits in great here. Big Fagg."

# 85 – TE Ed Wang, Virginia Tech Hokies

# 87 – TE Kyle Sackrider, Michigan State Spartans ... This name is mind-blowing. What nationality is "SACKRIDER?"

# 90 – DT Quinn Pitcock, The Ohio State University

# 93 – DE Cory Dix, New Hampshire Wildcats

# 96 – DT Pat Kuntz, Notre Dame Fighting Irish

# 98 – Driver, Greg Sacks, Thorn Apple Valley Ford ... I can recall a time when he was being drafted in a race, and the announcer actually said "He is just tapping Sacks, folks. But Sacks is still hanging around. Sacks will not be intimidated."

Monday, October 09, 2006

TO vs. the Bronx Bombers, which was the Bigger Story?

This weekend featured two very major story lines: the return of a certain wide receiver into the jungle of “The Linc” and the epic demise of the $200 mil Bronx Bombers? But which was the bigger story? Which one will have the more long lasting impact? The tale of the tape below:


TO: Fear of bloodlust in Philly, pillboxes raining down on the field, various homophobic/racist catcalls, 1/8th of the fans arrested, possible dismemberment of Owens.

NYY: Really none. After Game 1 it was pretty much assumed this would be a sweep.

Amusing Moment:

TO: The FOX pregame group having to be basically sequestered from the Philly fans, who apparently were being given free beer. All this so as to save Jimmy Johnson’s ass after the last time the crew was in the Iladelph.

NYY: Any New York tabloid backpage.

The Game(s):

TO: Was basically Bledsoe’s second option to Mrs. Terry Glenn all day, which lead to pouting, no TD’s and really a very disappointing final total of 45 yards.

NYY: Detroit’s staff came up big time, Jaret Wright unsurprisingly sucked, as did the Unit, and A-Rod had one hit for the four game series dropping his post 2004 ALCS game 3 line to 5 for 46.

Reality of what Happened:

TO: No injuries, no one tried to bring in a Colt .45 to take him out from the stands (that has been made public anyway), in fact, he was a non-factor largely. But it was a damn entertaining game.

NYY: Instead of just rolling to a sweep, or at worst a four game victory, the Yanks bats fell silent at the hands of the Tigers young staff, and they’re eliminated.

The Future:

TO: The Cowboys dropped to 2.5 games behind the resurgent Birds and TO is looking more and more like a #2 in Big D, leading me to wonder just when his next outburst will be and when Parcells just absolutely loses it.

NYY: Man, what isn’t going to happen? Apparently Torre’s fired, Sweet Lou’s in, A-Rod, Sheff, and Bernie at the very least are gone, Barry Zito or Jason Schmidt is about to become a very rich man likely, and Steinbrenner’s head may just explode. Whether or not this happens before Parcells’ head exploding, I can’t say.

The Winner:

Pregame hype: TO
The game itself: TO

The future: The Bronx Zoo

What's Wrong With the Yankees ... and How to Fix It.

The popular pick to win this years World Series was my New York Yankees, mostly because of the scariest line-up to step to the plate in years, if not ever. Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland called this Yankee lineup “Murderer’s Row and Cano.” From top to bottom, every Yankee has been an All-Star; as many as A-Rod’s nine to Cano’s single trip – and they’ve got ex-stud Bernie Williams sitting on the bench, too. Throw in Randy Johnson, Mike Mussina and Mariano Rivera and you’ve got an All-Decade team.

And that was – and will continue to be – the problem.

When the Yankees were collecting their rings in the 90’s, they had some All-Stars, and some MVP candidates and even a few Cy Young hopefuls. But not at every position. And that’s where my thinking kicks in.

Luis Sojo. Scott Brosius. Shane Spencer. Luis Polonia. Chad Curtis. Jimmy Leyritz.

The most clutch of Yankee clutch hits have come off the bats of some of the most random Yankees. Why? Possibly because the opposing pitchers were so frightened of David Justice coming up, Paul O’Neill slapping a double or a Bernie Williams home run. Pitchers aren’t that different in big situations than any other athlete. Much as an offensive lineman knows he has to play a great game to shut down Michael Strahan, or how an opposing center knows he’s got Shaq on the schedule tomorrow; so too does the pitcher know he’s got a dynamic Yankee lineup digging into that box all day. So when they can take a breather, relax for a second in the midst of the onslaught, they make mistakes. Scott Brosius is a World Series MVP because of it. Jim Leyritz will get laid and never pay for a drink every time he’s in the Bronx because of his walk-offs.

And because this New York Yankee team was even better than the last few, well, to put it bluntly, they had no shot. The Yankees should’ve seen this coming – Joe Torre should’ve realized it at the very least – when they didn’t start overtaking the Red Sox until Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui were out of the lineup. Torre stripped Melky Cabrera of his potential playoff greatness by inserting a still-injured Matsui back into left. Not only would Andy Phillips’ glove had helped at first, but he would’ve been the lethal no. 9 hitter in that lineup. In my humble opinion, Sal Fasano and Craig Wilson needed to get post-season at-bats for this team to win.

I know it doesn’t make any sense, and yet, it makes all the sense in the world. Those championship teams in the 90’s had players that knew their roles. They advanced the runners, they played stout defense and had tremendous pitching. Sort of like … the Tigers this year.

This Yankee team won’t be seeing that NY on any World Series rings until they remedy this … well, unless they buy Jason Grimsley’s 1999 one off of eBay.

You want the quick fix? In my eyes there are a few possible solutions.

The Joe Torre rumors? Make them reality. Get rid of this lump. Watching Torre in dugout, I thought I was looking at Terry Schiavo in a Yankee uniform: No physical movement, and no brain activity. The reason you’re hearing Lou Piniella’s name as a replacement is because the guy isn’t afraid to kick an All-Star in the ass once in awhile. Torre was a great manager; he won those Series’ in the 90’s with an average team. He knew when to bunt, when to make a pitching change and when to let Scott Brosius swing away. But George Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman made things too easy on him. With an All-Star team on the diamond, you can’t really manage. You just sit there and wait for them to produce the numbers they’ve produced all their lives. Unfortunately, when half of them have injured wrists and the pitchers are all using “Just for Men” before their start, you have to realize they don’t make for a good team. Is it out of the question to bring back Joe Girardi? He’s actually played with a lot of these guys, and won with them and proved he can coach. I want him or Piniella on the bench. And please, please, please bring back Don Zimmer. We can’t win a big game without him!

Other things that needs to be done?

Barry Zito needs to come to town, and Randy Johnson needs to leave it. Carl Pavano needs to either step up or just go ahead and do gay porn full-time. I want Philip Hughes on the roster next season; in the bullpen or the rotation. It worked for the Red Sox with Papelbon, it worked for the Marlins with … every position player on the roster and it worked for the Tigers and Twins with Verlander and Liriano. If the guy is a big prospect, let him prove it.

Gary Sheffield never should’ve came to New York – Vlad Guerrerro should be out there. Now is the chance to let him go, giving us an outfield of Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon and Bobby Abreu, with Melky Cabrera giving whoever needs a day off a break.

Jason Giambi needs to, first off, discover what shampoo is, put on some non-steroid muscle, and learn to hit to the opposite field. Andy Phillips or Eric Duncan needs to be the full-time first-baseman, and whoever wins the job needs to work endlessly with Don Mattingly to become a stud, the way Nick Johnson never did. Go Nats!

Mike Myers and Scott Proctor need to be shot in the head and left in a dumpster somewhere in the Bronx. The Yankees need middle relief that isn’t cast off by our competition. They also need a set-up man not named Kyle Farnsworth. I’d say Joel Zumaya, but the thought of David Ortiz getting a hold of a 104 MPH fastball and killing a fan in the upper deck with it in a big game scares the shit out of me.

And finally … A lot of people seem to think Alex Rodriguez needs to go somewhere else. I agree completely. It’s short-stop. If Derek Jeter is so dedicated to winning another ring, he needs to go to third base and let A-Rod play SS. Something needs to get this guy back in his zone. Jeter’s got the arm for 3B.

That all happens? The 2007 World Series is the Yankees over the Mets in 5.

A Math Equation

Question: What does $80 million in payroll over the next highest team's payroll get you?

Answer: 1 playoff win.

God I'm happy to be in NYC for the aftermath of this...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The 10 Movie Characters That Could Play in the Pro's

10. Matthew McConaughey as Ben Williams, CF – Can’t you see McConaughey playing college baseball for the Longhorns, banging the Dean’s daughter on the pitcher’s mound after a big win? The guy looks like a solid lead-off hitter with some speed and a decent glove. “Angels in the Outfield” should’ve been re-named “Wooderson’s in the Outfield.”

9. Wesley Snipes as Willie Mays Hayes, CF – Snipes seems to find himself in a sports movie once every couple of years, but this was one of his first. As the trash-talking, base stealing Hayes, Snipes comes off as a poor-man’s Kenny Lofton, and could probably have taken some playing time from him had the “Major League” Indians gone to camp with the real Indians.

8. Sinbad as Andre Krimm, DE – “Necessary Roughness” is one of the all-time underrated sports movies of all time, with cameos by a ton of NFL Hall of Famers including Dick Butkus and Earl Campbell (not to mention Evander Holyfield for some reason …). But what put it over the top are two over-the-hill men joining a college team. Scott Bakula didn’t do it for me as a quarterback (even though he rocked in “Major League: Back to the Minors”), but Sinbad looked right at home with a helmet on. The guy is huge, and I could really see him chasing someone around the gridiron.

7. Timothy Busfield as Lou Collins, 1B – The guy just looks like a first baseman. Granted, I don’t see him as the power hitter the movie portrays him to be, but he’s a good club-house guy, he gets the clutch hits when the Twins need him and he looked good in the glove in “Little Big League.”

6. Kim Wayans as Latisha Jansen, PF – What, I can’t give the WNBA some love? “Juwanna Mann” is a funny movie if you’ve never seen it, and this sister of all those Wayans’ boys is perfect – she plays a big, ugly forward who comes off as a sort of bi-sexual version of Lisa Leslie. I could see her in the league. Actually, I think I have …

5. Andrew Bryniarski as Steve Lattimer, DT – As good as this guy was in “Any Given Sunday,” he was ten times better as a steroid-abusing defensive lineman in “The Program.” The guy was a bodybuilder before he made it into some movies, so he has the size, and if you’ve ever seen this movie, you’d know he’s got the intensity to bust some heads.

4. LL Cool J as Julian Washington, RB – “Any Given Sunday” had Terrell Owens in it, Ricky Watters in it and a plethora of NFL icons, and LL Cool J was able to hold his own and look like he belonged out on that field. Oliver Stone directed this movie, and actually kicked people off the set who’d lied about their football experience (like Sean “P. Puff Diddy Daddy” Combs, who was originally cast as the quarterback Jamie Foxx played). Actually, before LL was cast, Stone auditioned a bunch of actors for the role, including Darnell Autry, but said “none of them looked like they could be pro football players.” (Autry, by the way, played for the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears and even appeared on the cover of “Sports Illustrated” when his Northwestern team upset a loaded Penn State team that featured three of the top 10 picks in that years NFL Draft.)

3. Benicio Del Toro as Juan Primo, OF – Most people would watch this movie and simply say, “Man, what was Robert De Niro thinking?” or “Man, Wesley Snipes looks just like Barry Bonds!” but I look at this movie and think, “Man, Del Toro looks like a ballplayer.” Playing fan-favorite Juan Primo, Del Toro is a big, cocky Latino ball player who ultimately gets killed in a sauna by De Niro, but not before showing off a Major League swing like Pujols and some glove work like Vizquel.

2. Kevin Costner as Crash Davis, C – Since it tops most lists as the best sports movie ever, you have to figure it’s because “Bull Durham” has a real ball-player feel to it, and you get almost 100% of that from Costner. I’m not saying this guy could push Johnny Bench out of the Hall of Fame, but he seems like the type of strong defensive catcher who hits 8th on an NL team and is a fan-favorite. A Sal Fasano for the movie world.

1. Dennis Haysbert as Pedro Cerrano, OF – I don’t know if you see it, but this guy reminds me of a more in-shape David Ortiz. He’s a big, black, bald stud of a hitter who can’t hit a curveball, can’t really play the field, but he’s a fantasy stud with those long-balls and RBIs. Haysbert nailed the role of Cerrano in all three of the “Major League” movies, and I’ve never been in a MLB locker room, but I can imagine that there is one nut like him in there … talking to his bats, using voodoo to hit a splitter, etc. Pedro Cerrano isn’t number one in your program, but he’s number one on my list.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Yankees Likability: From Scrubs to Sheff

Brandon didn't want me to post this, calling it too Simmons-esque, but hey, whatever, I'm in a pissy mood here at work and I walked by Derek Lowe today in lower Manhattan. So, whatever.

(PS if it was indeed Lowe, of which I'm 95% sure, he had gross hair, hadn't shaved in a week, was wearing an all Nike basketball ensemble, and was with a woman clearly not his wife. He may have reaked of gin, too, but he passed by me too quickly...of course, how the hell was he up at 9am anyway? And despite it all, can we get him back in Boston? Please?)

Anyway, enjoy.

The Yankees are good. Damn good. And it pains me, a diehard Red Sox fan to admit it. That said, come October 2, Papi will be golfing in Green Bay whereas Jeter will be building up his Postseason legend (maybe) while A-Rod will once again be hitting .125 (.067 with runners in scoring position) while on a combo of Prozac, Ritalin and HGH (hey, whatever, rumormongering…it’s the internet, baby!). Since I’ll be forced to watch Big Stein’s minions for a month or so, I figured it’d be a good time to go over which Yankees it’s Ok to secretly respect and which under no circumstances can be rooted for. In fact, it’s a shame Giambi’s intestinal parasite from ’04 didn’t make its way on to them.

Oh, and PS: Kevin Brown…Greatest. Yankee. Ever.

Enjoy the list.

Group I: The Scrubs (TJ Beam, Brian Bruney, Sean Henn, Jeff Karstens, Darrell Rasner, Jose Veras, Wil Nieves, Andy Cannizaro, Nick Green, Aaron Guiel, Andy Phillips, Kevin Thompson)

Who are you? Do I know you? No. Were 95% of you enjoying the Boston Massacre Part II in Columbus? Yes. Will any of you not be in AAA next year? Likely not. Sure some of you like Phillips, Green, and Guiel were actually on the team most of the season, but only because the Yanks had no outfielders for six weeks. Andy Phillips=Bubba Crosby=Shane Spencer=Kevin Maas. There, I said it. I can’t hate you because a) I’ve never otherwise heard of you b) you’ve accomplished nada in the league in pinstripes and c) Trenton will be treating you just fine next season.

Group II: The “Not True” Yankees (Octavio Dotel, Cory Lidle, Scott Proctor, Ron Villone, Craig Wilson)

These are guys who will all likely be on the postseason roster, but are fairly new to their evilness and thus haven’t really had the opportunity yet to piss America off (especially its 51st state, Red Sox Nation). But they could with one key hit or relief appearance. I was tempted to make Craig Wilson a little more evil, as my fantasy team in 2004 was briefly called “The Mullets” for him and well…some other guy we’ll be discussing soon.

Group III: Give them Two More Years and I’ll Stick a Bullet in their Kneecap (Kyle Farnsworth, Chien-Ming Wang, Sal Fasano, Robinson Cano, Bobby Abreu, Melky Cabrera)

Most of these guys are also pretty new to being minions of the devil, but unlike the previous group are key contributors and have already started to piss me off. For example, Farnsworth may have been a bust, but he had that nasty curve against Papi in one of the earlier series in a clutch, bases loaded situation. Wang is getting dangerously…good, Fasano’s mustache is wayyyy too adored by his fellow guidos such as my co-blogger, Cano is also getting a little too big for his pinstriped britches, Abreu should be despised all the way on I-95 from the Philly fans he gave up on through the Mets fans he’ll burn in the World Series (so help me God, I hope I’m wrong) through Connecticut and Massachusetts, and Melky deserves scorn for those god-damned “Got Melky?” t-Shirts that keep popping up around the New York metro area. Seriously, though, after the “Got Rings?” version, are the Yankees just sponsored by The Dairy Farmers of America or what?

Group IV: I Despise You, But Damnit, I Respect You! (Mike Mussina, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams

These are the guys, that hey, I can admit, if the left their pinstripes at home and put on a red B, hell, I’d be happy. Here’s a brief synopsis of my feelings on each guy:

Moose: Seems like a good enough guy. Smart, likes to drink apparently, helped those kids from his hometown in PA when TWA flight 800 went down in 1996. Never has won a World Series, came off as decent in Faithful. Hey, he’s my “favorite” Yankee.

Jeter: Look, I don’t LIKE the guy. I mean he’s smug and a douchebag and all, and that play he made jumping into the stands on 2004? Well, Pokey Reese DID THE EXACT SAME THING A FEW INNINGS BEFORE JETER DID. But Pokey Reese isn’t Mr. Madison Ave., so no one remembers this. But, I won’t lie, when Jeter comes to the plate in a clutch situation, I just know it’s going to go poorly. That’s the definition of a good player. I just hope he has to retire a D-Ray or something.

Mo: Hey, the guy handed us the ALCS in 2004, so I got nothing but love. Plus, his reaction at the Sox 2005 home opener was affable. He seems like a decent guy, and hey, he has been pretty good during his career. And like I said, since the Sox kinda sorta have his number, I don’t hate him as much as I could.

Bernie: Well, I mean, he does play jazz flute, er, guitar, which is kinda lame. And he did spurn the Sox in ’97 when they offered him more money than Stein did, but Bernie’s loyalty, even if it is to evil, is still somewhat noble. Plus, now, he’s like watching Brett Favre in the outfield, where even if you’re a Bears fan, you just kind of feel bad. Though as far as I know, Favre has yet to release a crappy CD.

Group V: The ex-Sox (John Damon, Mike Myers)

Ok you dumbasses (idiots?) It’s not that we as Sox fans dislike you personally, it’s that we dislike your uniform and all who inhabit it. We remember all you did in 2004, but that’s the past now, and your pinstripes are your present and future, hence, why you get four word salutes now. Anyway, from Feeding the Monster it seems like Scott Boras was the real reason you’re in New York now Mr. Damon, and Theo not re-signing Myers was definitely a mistake, leaving us with whoever the hell Javier Lopez is as the only lefty in the pen. Still, you guys are freaking turncoats!

Group VI: I Just Mock You (Jaret Wright, Randy Johnson, Jason Giambi, Carl Pavano Double Play Rod)

These are the guys Yankee fans hate and everybody else, including us Sox fans hate too. Not because they’re really any good, mind you, but rather because they’re the overpaid mercenaries of the Evil Empire, all brought in to thus far (unsuccessfully, hahaha) win Big Stein that ring that’s alluded him these past 6 years. They’re cripples, juicers, geriatrics, or borderline psychos. Take a guess who’s who, and note A-Rod may be all at once! Wright’s just a tobacco spittin’ washout, Pavano spends more time wrecking his car in Florida than he does pitch, the Unit’s intimidating only cameramen nowadays, Giambi’s a known cheating fraud who is I guarantee still on one of his admitted drugs of choice, HGH, and A-Rod is well, yeah, see last week’s SI. The suit story is so damn good.

Group VII: I. Want. You. To. Die. (Jorge Posada, Miguel Cairo, Hideki Matsui, Gary Sheffield)

Ok, these are the guys that are the worst of the worst, the mast assholian of all. Assholian being a newly created word. Let’s analyze why each of these individuals will find themselves in Dante’s 9th ring of hell upon death:

Cairo: Some may question why he’s on the list. The answer is simple. I had to deal with Brandon’s idiotic comments about how underrated he was from 2003-04. He just annoys me in a way I’m sure somebody like Kevin Youkilis annoys him. Youuuuuukkkk!!!

Matsui: The guy is a lethal hitter. His family also would’ve been ended in Hiroshima if I had anything to do with it. He is the ugliest player in baseball today, oh wait except for…

Posada: He looks like a toad and has balls the size of one. Seriously, can anybody ever forget him jawing with Pedro in the 2003 ALCS? What a loser. He’s an overrated perennial all-star, constantly keeping more deserving guys out. He’s so good the Unit’s run through about 3 “personal” catchers since he got to the team. Of course, the good news as long as he’s there Stein won’t buy off Joe Mauer’s soul. I hope.
And now, as mentioned, the King of all Pinstriped Petulance, Mr. Gary Sheffield: Oh Sheff, how do I hate you? Let me count the ways. But I won’t, as this has run on too long anyway. All I’ll say is, you’re crosseyed, old, your pre-swing bat twirling is gay, you did steroids and were Barry Bonds’ bitch all at once, you got in a fight with a fan and a grounds crew worker, and, my personal favorite, you offered up this gem of a quote, right before you know what happened in mid-October, 2004, “They're a walking disaster. They act like they're tough, how they care so much about winning, but it's all a front. They're just a bunch of characters." Thanks Sheff, enjoy splitting time with Melky in the playoffs.