I've not watched even a single second of the Olympics. But if I'd known they were like this? I'd've been glued to the TV.
I've not watched even a single second of the Olympics. But if I'd known they were like this? I'd've been glued to the TV.
I am not a manly man. Some men build their own homes. I read about such men.
Which is why these bloopers made me so very happy. Because here are manly men being just as inept as I. Admittedly, it's undoubtedly a much, much smaller percentage of their lives, but when it comes to sorely needed boosts to my self-esteem, I'll take what I can get.
So I reckon most of us have seen this portion of the interview Sarah Palin did with Katie Couric a while back. But I, at least, hadn't seen this entire segment and, I have to admit, it changed my view of the exchange.
I’m done with sports.
I have more than enough real agita in my life, I certainly don’t need to go borrowing extra, stress that’s not even real. I know from real stress, and who wins or doesn’t win the Super Bowl isn’t real, not for me. It is for the actual teams involved. Not for me.
And it gets too solid a hold on me. I’ve had trouble sleeping before some games, and then the day of, my life—my entire family’s life—often revolves around that game. Which is stupid, and it’s not the sort of life I want to lead. I don’t want to be in a three-day funk after a bad loss, like last year’s conference finals against Indy. I mean, if I wanted to have to deal with losers, I’d have even more to do with Top Management’s first husband. And I don’t think anyone really wants that. (Other than The Boy; he seems to think the guy’s pretty groovy but then, he’s kind of a lemon. Well, both of them are, really.)
Pal Dave called to offer what he thought were congratulations, understandably assuming I was a New York fan, and I was so down I could barely do more than mutter disjointed syllables, despite the fact that this was the first time we'd talked in over a year. I mean, what the hell—that's pretty impressively uncool of me, even for me, and yet there 'tis.
So I’m going to try giving up sports, because I’m not really much of a moderation person: I find it much easier to simply do without than to do a little. So I’m going to see what happens when I go cold turkey. If nothing else, I’ll have some extra time every day. Although watching Pardon the Interruption with Max and The Boy is an awfully pleasant way to wind down the day...
No! Stop that.
So, yes, I know, I’m going to be tempted to slip when the NBA post-season starts up, now that things have gotten even more interesting in the West with the Lakers’ acquisition of Gasol and the East having two of the half-dozen best teams in the league. But I’ll try to be strong. I’ll try to channel that time and interest into, I dunno, watching The Wire or studying for my class or, and here’s a novel thought, paying attention to my family.
Yeah, probably the The Wire. Until we run out of episodes we haven’t seen.
So I’m doing a little high-brow reading when Senator Smoosh comes down to the sunroom to play. She glances up at the screen and says, “Daddy. Dootbaw.”
I like to think it’s yet another sign of her brilliance. And that it just show how much she enjoys cuddling with me and watching the game on Sunday. Or that, like so many other people, she understandably gets me and Tom Brady confused, the pair of us being extraordinarily similar in that we're both carbon-based lifeforms with Y chromosomes. And that it’s not simply that, like Top Management, she pretty much wishes Tom Brady were really her father.
Not that I can really blame either of 'em.
Barry Bonds, Major League Baseball's all-time home-run leader, was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying to a grand jury about using steroids.It would have been nice if it’d happened a few years earlier, but I’ll take what I can get.
Pal DT and I were discussing the upcoming season. Suddenly, the following appeared in my inbox:
PREDICTIONS FOR THE 2007 FOOTBALL SEASON
The Patriots will win their 4th Super Bowl, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 27-20 in a rematch of three years ago. Tom Brady will appear to be even more of a stud than people thought possible, particularly after he outplays Peyton Manning in the AFC Championship Game.
Randy Moss will be a model citizen this year and play spectacularly, endearing himself to Pats fans everywhere. One week after the Super Bowl victory, he will be arrested for setting fire to a crowded school bus.
Rodney Harrison will arrive fresh from his 5-game suspension for using HGH ready to play, looking like Jimmie Walker.
In San Diego, Norv Turner will actually devise a play in which the Chargers score in the wrong endzone.
Shawn Merriman will do his sack dance with the Chargers trailing 37-14 and will be felled by snipers.
In an attempt to boost dormant fan interest, the Houston Texans will introduce Cousin Oliver.
In Cincinnati, Carson Palmer will actually throw a first down pass without having the ball leave his hand. He'll simply reach 10 yards down field and hand the ball to Chad Johnson.
Chad Johnson will later be whistled for delay of game following his newest touchdown celebration, “The Eucharist,” in which he pantomimes administering the Sacrament to 65,000 fans, one at a time.
Later in the season, the Bengals playoff chances will be dealt a serious blow when the entire team is convicted of killing Phil Spector’s girlfriend.
Rather than be forced to play a schedule, the Cleveland Browns will be voted off the island after Week 3.
In New York, Chad Pennington's arm will remain attached to the last pass he throws in week 4, his cold fingers still clutching the ball as Laverneus Coles takes it in for a TD.
Pennington will later be listed as “day to day.” He will also be listed as a “lefty.”
The Oakland Raiders will replace longtime motto “Just win, baby!” with, “Just kidding, baby!”
In the NFC, Reggie Bush will actually take flight during a game against the Rams, gracefully soaring above the befuddled defense for 75 yards before landing safely in the end zone. The touchdown will count, but the NFL will then fine Bush $1,000 for a “gravitational violation.”
Terrell Owens will blast the city of Dallas for failing to land a professional football team, and then his leggy publicist will issue a clarification stating that TO meant to aim his anger at the city of Indianapolis.
Also in Dallas, Wade Phillips will decline at least 2 Cowboy touchdowns. Offensive tackle Flozell Adams will eat running back Julius Jones by week 9.
Detroit Lions Coach Rod Marinelli, often criticized for highly questionable coaching maneuvers, will assure fans he has a new can’t miss “secret weapon” on offense. The plan will fail when the Acme Super Catapult malfunctions, sending quarterback Jon Kitna careening into the side of a mountain. General Manager Matt Millen will respond by giving Marinelli a 5-year contract extension and drafting a wide receiver.
In New York Giants news, Jeremy Shockey will angrily claim he was misquoted...by Jeremy Shockey.
Also in New York, Eli Manning will actually poo himself in the 4th quarter of a big game, and Tiki Barber will blast Tom Coughlin for playing him at running back and for the disarming of the Iraqi military.
Trying to rebuild the Atlanta Falcons’ image following the Michael Vick embarrassment, team owner Arthur Blank will raise eyebrows when he solves his team’s quarterback controversy by ordering starter hopefuls Joey Harrington and Chris Redman to “fight to the death.”
The Arizona Cardinals, following a 5-11 season, will consider trying a new sport.
In Green Bay, Brett Favre will break a hip attempting the "Lambeau Leap."
But the Washington Redskins? They'll still suck. Which is really all that matters.
Cousin Oliver. Heh. That's teh funny.
Here’s what Tony Romo—who I really like and who I think it’s going to be an outstanding quarterback for years to come, assuming (as I am) that he’s able to overcome the crushing emotional burden his fumbled hold has undoubtedly laid upon his psyche—should say in Hawaii:
“I’m so honored and happy to be here—this has been a dream of mine since I was a little boy—and I can’t thank the voters enough. To look around and see I'll be taking the field with the greatest players in the game…it’s overwhelming.
“But for me to be here and Tom Brady not to be? A guy who’s a lock for the Hall of Fame after just six seasons, who’s won three Super Bowls, being named MVP of the Super Bowl twice, and who this season had one of his finest years yet with his weakest set of receivers ever? A guy who’s one of the top five quarterbacks in the league even on what passes for a bad year by his standards?
“He doesn’t have the arm of Leftwich or Palmer or prime Favre, he can’t run like Vick or Young or prime McNabb, and he certainly doesn’t have the HoF receivers Peyton Manning’s got. All he is is a Team First guy who’s got Manning’s football smarts, and an unsurpassed ability to win when it counts most.
“And he got shut out? He got shut out. And yet here I am.
“Well, what can you say? This entire situation is only slightly more absurd than Paris Hilton being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Or maybe Ambassador to the UN.
“Oh, but, uh…thanks.”
Oh my. This is kinda like that amazing play by two members of the Big Red Machine (can't remember who, alas) that used to be featured during the opening of This Week in Baseball. Only, you know, this catch actually mattered.
Passers-by catch tumbling toddler
NEW YORK (AP) -- Two passers-by rescued a toddler who fell four stories, scrambling to catch him as he tumbled from a fire escape, police said.
Julio Gonzalez, 43, and Pedro Nevarez, 40, saw 3-year-old Timothy Addo dangling from a Bronx building on Thursday, police said. The boy had crawled out of a window when his baby sitter briefly took her eyes off of him, police said.
"He was hanging on for dear life," Gonzalez said.
Hearing people in the building scream for help as the boy's grip weakened, the men rushed over to position themselves under the fire escape to catch him.
"No one came," Nevarez said. "We knew it was up to us."
The boy tumbled and hit Nevarez in the chest so hard he knocked him off balance, but he bounced into Gonzalez' arms.
Timothy was treated at the hospital for a cut on his forehead.
"He's fine. He's happy. He's smiling," said his mother, 26-year-old Katrina Cosme, who was working at the time of the accident.
Julio? Pedro? If you gentlemen are ever in the La Jolla section of San Diego, let me know—there are several good breweries around here, and I’d be delighted to buy you each the beer of your choice.
I wrote quite a while back that I knew how to fix the Timberwolves. What's more it would have fixed the Sixers at the same time.
Neither team took my advice. The fools. And look where it got 'em.
And neither team has done squat since. And once again they're trying to fix 'em both.
They should have listened to me. Then again, everyone should. The fools.
Then again, as a fan of supergroups, even though they pretty much never produce anything of consequence, it'd be pretty groovy to see The Answer down in Miami.
But it would have been even cooler—no pun intended—to see him in Minnesota. The fools.
This may be the silliest thing I've ever seen in sports. And I mean that in the best possible way. It’s Wayne Gretzky’s 50th hat trick as a pro.
That’s right. His 50th.
But wait until you see how it happens. One-on-three, and he makes ‘em all just fall down trying to stop him.
Actually, that might be the proper response when in the presence of greatness.
Gretzky had 37 three-goal games, nine four-goal games and four five-goal games.
Unbelievable. It’s pretty cool to live at the same time as giants.
So I went to my first home game yesterday. Because I live in a place with a home team now. Two of ‘em, in fact. (I think that’s right—I know San Diego doesn’t have a major league basketball team, and I’m pretty sure about soccer and hockey.)
So I got a free ticket to see the Reds play the Padres. Win-win. The Reds remain, for reasons that usually elude me, my favorite baseball team. And the Padres are my new home team, so you know, good time no matter what. Besides, it’s a baseball game. Gorgeous day, and best of all, free tickets. What’s not to like?
Turns out: absolutely nothing. Not a thing. I was talking to my dad on the cell phone as I made my way to my seats. And when I saw the field for the first time, I actually started laughing. It was just so damn beautiful, all that green, and the white of the baselines, and the brown of the infield. Oh, man. Great stuff.
Extra nice: Boomer Wells was starting for the Padres. The fat bastard even managed to eke out a hit. Which was wicked embarrassing for Cincy, or at least it should have been. He looked every bit as skilled and graceful as the dudes playing slow-pitch at the local park. Next up was Dave Roberts, who most assuredly did not look like a guy playing slow-pitch: his swing was so smooth and quick it was stunning. He moved Boomer over to second, which I don’t think made Wells entirely happy—if it wasn’t the further he’d run in several years, it had to come close.
Until the next play, when Brian Giles singled and, incredibly, the third base coach waved Boomer home. The throw was waiting for him while he was still ten long damn feet away. It was ridiculous. But enjoyable.
Some other notes: Adam Dunn? Big dude. Ryan Freel? Ridiculously good. He made a couple catches the crowd couldn’t believe—I mean, there was no way they weren’t going to drop for at least a single and maybe extra bases. So good that the crowd had to applaud, pissed as they were at getting robbed. Great stuff.
And I had the chance to see Ken Griffey Jr hit his 563rd homer and move into a tie with Reggie Jackson for 10th on the all-time list. But he didn't. Instead he grounded out to end the game, giving Trevor Hoffman his 472 save, only six behind tying Lee Smith for the all-time record. Such is life.
Oh, and one other thing: Ballpark Brew is the local draft served at Petco Park. A very enjoyable beer. Except that it’s, you know…I dunno. I’m not sure you should drink a microbrew at the ballpark. I think you should drink Bud or Miller Light or something like that. You know, be one of the proletariat and all that kinda stuff. Yes I do.
Go do it. Now.
Nothing But Nets
by Rick Reilly
I've never asked for anything before, right? Well, sorry, I'm asking now.
We need nets. Not hoop nets, soccer nets or lacrosse nets. Not New Jersey Nets or dot-nets or clarinets. Mosquito nets.
See, nearly 3,000 kids die every day in Africa from malaria. And according to the World Health Organization, transmission of the disease would be reduced by 60% with the use of mosquito nets and prompt treatment for the infected.
Three thousand kids! That's a 9/11 every day!
Put it this way: Let's say your little Justin's Kickin' Kangaroos have a big youth soccer tournament on Saturday. There are 15 kids on the team, 10 teams in the tourney. And there are 20 of these tournaments going on all over town. Suddenly, every one of these kids gets chills and fever, then starts throwing up and then gets short of breath. And in seven to 10 days, they're all dead of malaria.
We gotta get these nets. They're coated with an insecticide and cost between $4 and $6. You need about $10, all told, to get them shipped and installed. Some nets can cover a family of four. And they last four years. If we can cut the spread of disease, 10 bucks means a kid might get to live. Make it $20 and more kids are saved.
So, here's the ask: If you have ever gotten a thrill by throwing, kicking, knocking, dunking, slamming, putting up, cutting down or jumping over a net, please go to a special site we've set up through the United Nations Foundation. The address is: UNFoundation.org/malaria. Then just look for the big SI's Nothing But Net logo (or call 202-887-9040) and donate $20. Bang. You might have just saved a kid's life.
Or would you rather have the new Beastie Boys CD?
You're a coach, parent, player, gym teacher or even just a fan who likes watching balls fly into nets, send $20. You saved a life. Take the rest of the day off.
You have ever had a net in the driveway, front lawn or on your head at McDonald's, send $20. You ever imagined Angelina Jolie in fishnets, $20. So you stay home and eat on the dinette. You'll live.
Hey, Dick's Sporting Goods. You have 255 stores. How about you kick in a dime every time you sell a net? Hey, NBA players, hockey stars and tennis pros, how about you donate $20 every time one of your shots hits the net? Maria Sharapova, you don't think this applies to you just because you're Russian? Nyet!
I tried to think how many times I have said or written the word "net" in 28 years of sports writing, and I came up with, conservatively, 20,000. So I've already started us off with a $20,000 donation. That's a whole lot of lives. Together, we could come up with $1 million, net. How many lives would that save? More than 50 times the population of Nett Lake, Minn.
I know what you're thinking: Yeah, but bottom line, how much of our $1 million goes to nets? All of it. Thanks to Ted Turner, who donated $1 billion to create the U.N. Foundation, which covers all the overhead, "every cent will go to nets," says Andrea Gay, the U.N. Foundation's Director of Children's Health.
Nets work! Bill and Melinda Gates have just about finished single-handedly covering every bed in Zambia. Maybe we can't cover an entire Zambia, but I bet we could put a serious dent in Malawi.
It's not like we're betting on some scientist somewhere coming up with a cure. And it's not like warlords are going to hijack a truckload of nets. "Theoretically, if every person in Africa slept at night under a net," says Gay, "nobody need ever die of malaria again." You talk about a net profit.
My God, think of all the nets that are taken for granted in sports! Ping-Pong nets. Batting cage nets. Terrell Owens's bassinet. If you sit behind the plate at a baseball game, you watch the action through a net. You download the highlights on Netscape and forward it on the net to your friend Ben-net while eating Raisinets. Sports is nothing but net. So next time you think of a net, go to that website and click yourself happy. Way more fun than your fantasy bowling league, dude.
One last vignette: A few years back, we took the family to Tanzania, which is ravaged by malaria now. We visited a school and played soccer with the kids. Must've been 50 on each team, running and laughing. A taped-up wad of newspapers was the ball and two rocks were the goal. Most fun I ever had getting whupped. When we got home, we sent some balls and nets.
I kick myself now for that. How many of those kids are dead because we sent the wrong nets?
Copyright © 2006 CNN/Sports Illustrated.
Here’re the main things I took away from Superbowl Forty:
Some bozos on a political blog were mentioning how they were rooting for the Steelers because Pittsburgh’s such a blue-collar team, whereas any team from Seattle must be soft, a bunch of latte-sipping pansies. And I thought, you gotta be kidding me. The second-string kicker on the Seahawks would kick the living shit out of some lardass sitting his basement pontificating about FISA. And, yeah, I’m including myself in that group. Some folks have no perspective. When you’re talking about a "soft" NFL player, you’re talking about a guy who, if you ever actually met him, would likely be the toughest human being you’d ever known. So shut up. And get outta the basement.
Those idiots weren’t quite enough to get me to pull for Seattle. But they came close. Still, I’m mighty pleased for Bettis, Cowher, Rooney, Ward and the rest.
Roethlisberger is going to be a great quarterback for a long time, injuries permitting, but he didn’t get all the way into the endzone on that play. Not even freakin’ close.
What the hell is with clock management and the Superbowl? Is it that much tougher than the regular season? Two years in a row now the losing team has totally screwed it up. Bizarre.
The Rolling Stones suck live. They suck. Suck suck suckety suck. Sweet Jesu, they are the most overrated live band ever. They. Suck.
This was the first time in over ten years I’d watched any of the much-hyped Superbowl commercials. And, yeah, okay, they really were pretty good. But not good enough to keep me from channel-surfing at one point. Found 60 Minutes, which was doing a piece on Sting. Turns out ol’ Gordon Sumner earns $2000 a day in royalties. And that’s just on the song "Every Breath You Take." Wow. Showed a few clips of him with The Police. Amazing to remember when he used to be cool. Still, I’d take his easy-listening stuff over the Stones any day. Maybe that’s because They Suck.
I came down here to the office in a great mood, all set to write about something else today. Then this caught my eye:
Sen. Arlen Specter, ardent Eagles fan and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, yesterday accused the NFL and its Philadelphia franchise of potentially violating antitrust laws in their treatment of Terrell Owens.
Speaking at a news conference in Harrisburg, Specter (R., Pa.) said he was investigating the matter and might refer it to the Senate panel's antitrust subcommittee.
The senator said the league and the Eagles had effectively blacklisted the all-pro wide receiver by forbidding him from playing and by banning other teams from talking to him. He called such treatment "vindictive and inappropriate."
You know what? The good senator, whom I normally rather like, may be right. It may indeed be vindictive and inappropriate (words which, incidentally, describe Owens quite well).
And you know what else? Who gives a shit? Who in the hell gives a shit? Who in their right freakin’ minds gives a shit?
Senator Specter, I respectfully request that you pull your head out of your ass and turn your attention to the dozens of life-threatening matters currently on your agenda.
Iraq is only the most obvious. The criminally lax state of our national security, as evidenced by the Department of Homeland Security’s hideously amateurish performance during Hurricane Katrina, is another worthy subject. There’s always the problem with our borders and our ports. There’s a reprehensible lack of health care for millions of American children. There’s our ostrich-meets-lemming energy policy, which not only kills thousands of Americans each year due to increased pollution but in a further twist of irony funds the very terrorists we then have to go bankrupt to find and fight.
Oh, and did I mention Katrina? Did I mention that things may, incredible as it is to believe, be far, far worse down in New Orleans that we’d thought possible? That we may have, in fact, lost a major American city after all?
And that’s just off the top of my head. Now, I’m not claiming I have the answer to any one of these problems (well, actually, I have solutions to all of them, but then I’m not a senator). But I absolutely am claiming that each and every one of them is a serious enough problem that it could be a full-time job for any senator. And each and every one of them is several thousand times more important than Terrell Owens.
So, Senator, I’m thinkin’ you’ve got enough on your plate. Get your priorities straight, you stupid son-of-a-bitch. Take care of the millions of Americans who need you rather than one more spoiled rich guy who doesn’t.
So I was having a discussion with some folks online recently about the MVP Award and the relative merits of A-Rod versus The Big Papi. And the biggest thing in David Ortiz’s favor is that he’s got a World Series ring—and that’s a big, big thing in his favor. And since Most Valuable Player has never really been defined very well and deliberately so, the arguments can be interesting but tend to be ultimately frustrating, since so few people agree on what the award should be for, exactly.
If the discussion was over who’s the better player, of course, there’d be no competition. Because Ortiz is a hell of a hitter. But that’s all he is. And Rodriguez is clearly at least his equal and may be his superior. And that’s on top of being one of a handful of the finest fielders in the game.
At which point Albert Pujols was brought up and those of us in the discussion were accused of being part of the East Coast/Flyover Mentality, meaning that anyone who didn’t play in the Northeast got overlooked.
Which has some validity. Because all else being equal, I’d take one Pujols over three Ortizes. What an amazing player, and it’s entirely likely that playing in the best baseball town there is, St. Louis, allowed his talents to grow and flourish naturally without the withering glare of the New York City media who, we all know, either hold you up as the savior of the city or Enemy Number One, depending upon your production over the last three games.
Which brings me to my point. LaDainian Tomlinson is the best running back in the NFL right now and may have been last year as well, although people were slow to notice. Oh, sure, you can make a case for Shaun Alexander or…uh, that’s about it. Corey Dillion’s great. Rudi Johnson’s good. Edgerrin James is great, if getting up there in years. Curtis Martin’s old. Marshall Faulk is ancient and Steven Jackson’s great but not Great (yet?). Priest Holmes is hurt.
Except one guy’s missing and no one ever seems to notice. Put Tiki Barber’s stats up against Tomlinson or anyone else and he’s right there. He’s a stud and a half on the field and by all accounts a great guy (the recent ref episode notwithstanding; it’s a serious offense for which he should have gotten hammered harder but it’s notable largely for how extremely out of character it was) and a hell of a team player. He makes big play after big play. And he’s in New York. But he never gets talked about.
I have no idea why. Part of it may be that all the focus is on wide receivers these days. Or maybe it’s just that he’s not a loudmouth. But it’s odd. He’s been one of the three best backs over the past three years and he’s playing in the media capital of the country and he gets almost completely overlooked. Odd.
I know this may be heresy as he seems to be one of the most beloved figures in America right now, and I know he’s supposed to be one of the major gurus in sports, but I think John Madden’s losing it.
I only watched bits and pieces of the game last night—when I went to bed Green Bay was still leading Minnesota—but I saw enough to hear Madden say some really stupid stuff. I mean, yeah, I know, he’s supposed to be one of the most knowledgeable and insightful commentators in all of sports. And I’m sure he is. I must have just missed those quips. Because here’s one I heard, right after Brett Favre had completed a pass for a big gain:
"See, that’s the thing with Favre. If you’re a cornerback and you’re gonna guess, you’re gonna have to guess right or Favre will burn you."
Really, John? No shit? You don’t say. Never mind a first-ballot Hall of Famer like Brett Favre. If you guess wrong with pretty much any NFL starting quarterback you’re gonna get burned. That’s how it works.
If you guess wrong with Drew Bledsoe, you’re gonna get burned. If you guess wrong with Drew Brees, you’re gonna get burned. If you guess wrong with Kurt Warner, you’re gonna get burned. If you guess wrong with Kyle Orton, you’re gonna get burned. Hell’s bells, if you guess wrong with Joey Harrington, chances are, you’re gonna get burned. Well, maybe not Harrington. No, you know what? Even with Harrington.
So, yes, John, if you guess wrong with Brett Favre, you’re gonna get burned. Thank you for explaining that. Now can you go over the whole thing about what a first down means? Say, how many points is a touchdown worth?
Sheesh. A color guy’s supposed to talk when he has something to say, not just to use up oxygen. Madden still knows more about the game than I ever, ever will. I just wish he’d show that rather than flapping his lips to kill time. Brett Favre was on the field. If you got nothin’ to say, then shut up and just let us watch.
Donovan McNabb is such a stud.
I didn’t enjoy watching the game last night but that’s because I was born in Dallas. And my team…well, my team didn’t look so good last night. I’m a little confused—as would be anyone who watched the first 95% of the game—as to how the Cowboys are in a tie for first while the Iggles have the cellar all to themselves. Because Philly just dominated the bejeebers out of the ‘Boys. Dallas looked tired, disorganized and pretty much inept compared to the Eagles (although the penalty discrepancy through the first five minutes of the second half was astonishing—something like one penalty for two yards for Dallas to ten penalties for seventy yards for Philadelphia).
It’s incredible that Dallas managed to pull out this win and notable that it happened in the final three minutes. And if McNabb hadn’t been injured going into this game—injuries which have slowed but not stopped him this season—I doubt it would have even been close going into those final minutes, but even if it had, I suspect he would have found a way to win. Because he’s that kind of stud. He’s a terrific athlete, a fantastic teammate and a hell of a leader.
Now. Having said all that…Donovan, man, ditch the Michael Jackson impression in the endzone.
I understand you’re excited to have scored your first rushing touchdown in nearly a year. I understand that Michael Jackson is a monstrously talented guy. I also understand now, as does the overwhelming majority of the population, that he’s also something of a monster. Admire his talent, enjoy his art but don’t imitate and therefore celebrate the man. He’s one of the giants of pop history. But these days he’s not on your level. So don’t stoop to his. Find something else, something new, something worthy of you.
When Top Management—Top Management of all people—hears you say something and responds in a pouty voice, "Oooh, poor bay-bee. Ahuh-huh-huh…waaaaaah."
I was watching the halftime report during the football game yesterday—and I have to say that the games offered to people in my area were noticeably lacking in interest, by and large—when they showed a clip of Atlanta Falcons quarter Michael Vick saying:
"I want people to praise me," Vick said. "If I'm winning games, don't criticize me."
Man. I want whatever he’s on. Which is probably just the knowledge that he’s earning nine million dollars this year. I have no doubt that can mess your mind up in a big way. And here’s a pretty good example of that.
I couldn’t find a transcript of the press conference, because I’m pretty sure he said even more than that, but along those same asinine lines. Come back to the real world, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. I want people to praise me, too, and even more than that, I want to earn what you’re earning. And if I do, they can criticize me all they want. In fact, they can and do so now and I don’t earn (quite) what you do. Funny ol’ world we’ve got, innit?
Oh, and that pouty voice of Top Management’s? For the record: it works. Big time.
People sometimes ask me why I hate college sports so much. The story below is a pretty good example of what I find so hideous about the entire industry.
"Student-athlete." Please. They’re employees, well-compensated—far better than they generally seem to acknowledge—but lacking in most of the basic rights granted to the majority of employees. They’re just cash cows that the universities plunder by making these sorts of deals regardless of the negative effect it might have on the rest of the life of the "student" in question.
And despite the fact that study after study has shown that the vast majority of the big-ticket sports—mainly football and basketball—don’t actually pay for themselves but are instead a drain upon the finances of the schools, the institutions continue to kill off the better programs such as, perhaps, wrestling or crew, in order to try to grab the desperately envied golden ring of prestige which comes with a Final Four or bowl appearance. Because, you know, no one freakin’ wants to go to Yale or Harvard, perennial losers when it comes to football.
Feh. A pox upon them all.
Oct. 18, 2005, 4:26 PM ET
Arkansas St. player refuses to wear adidas
ESPN.com news services
JONESBORO, Ark. -- Arkansas State's leading returning scorer is sitting out because he refuses to wear adidas shoes, which Indians players are obligated to wear because of a school contract.
Jerry Nichols, a 6-6 outside shooter who averaged 9.6 points per game last year, has had two knee operations and said he was wearing adidas shoes when he first hurt the knee. The school says Nichols has to dress by its rules.
"We have a contractual agreement with [adidas], and it's not any different than any number of other contracts with other schools. There is not any stipulation or any research that shows any shoes are worse than any others," Arkansas State athletic director Dean Lee told The Jonesboro Sun newspaper.
Nichols, who last year shot 41.8 percent from 3-point range, practiced over the weekend while wearing Nike shoes, placing tape to cover the brand's insignia. Nichols met with Lee on Monday, and Nichols was told to wear adidas shoes or sit. Nichols sat.
"We've been producing outstanding quality equipment for years," said Terrell Clark, an adidas spokesman. "We take this very seriously and we are looking to handle this in a positive manner."
Nichols said he was wearing adidas shoes when he suffered a knee injury in 2001 while playing for Walters State Community College.
"I tore my ACL in adidas in junior college back in 2001, and I'm not comfortable wearing adidas," Nichols said.
Nichols has had two surgeries on his right knee, including one in late March following last season. ASU's basketball team wore Nike shoes last year but that contract has expired.
"Adidas shoes are part of our uniform," Lee said.
Lee said there is no room for compromise and that the school is obligated to put adidas shoes on the feet of athletes football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and track teams, along with several other sports.
"This is not picking on any one student athlete. This goes for all student athletes that are under that contract," Lee said.
Nichols said he may seek relief in court if the university does not change policy.
"If I have to miss this whole senior season for some shoes, why wouldn't I [sue]?" Nichols said. "I have done too much this summer, working out, staying up here all summer to waste a year. So if it has to come to a legal issue then I will."
ASU coach Dickey Nutt said he wants Nichols on the court, considering the team has its first exhibition in less than three weeks.
"I need all my players to be at practice, but it's out of my hands. That matter is in the administration's hands, so I'm just referring all questions to them," Nutt said.
©2005 ESPN Internet Ventures.
Post-script—I like this part: "There is not any stipulation or any research that shows any shoes are worse than any others." Well, then, doesn’t that also mean that there’s no research proving that any shoes are any better than any others?
Feh, I say. Feh.
My boy Tom has posted a piece on his great blog, The Last Step into the Cellar, about a recent Little League game, a bad call, and what that call means in the larger context of sports and children and the United States.
Check it out:
A Perfect Game?
And while we’re on the subject, I’m so sad about Rafael Palmeiro. How naïve am I that I believed him and that I still find myself wanting to believe that it was an accident?
Maybe if he’d had a different coach as a kid this wouldn’t have happened.
Just heard about Chris Webber being traded to Philadelphia. So much for my master plan of fixing the Timberwolves. Such is life. Still, it could make things VERY interesting in the east, especially if Shaq’s out for any extended period of time.
If C.Webb can control his ego—a very, very big if—the Sixers could be a most serious contender. Iverson’s already proved this season that he’s willing to share in order to win. If Webber’s willing to be a strong second option, almost an Option One Point Five, they could really make a run. Webber doesn't seem to be able to close out close games, but Iverson's more than capable of doing that, so if Webber can get or keep them close, The Answer can finish.
Unfortunately, I doubt it’ll all click—I think Webber’s a loser, despite his talent—but one never knows; who thought a few years ago that A.I. would ever turn out to be so generous with the ball?
Suddenly the east isn’t quite the backwater it was two years ago. Detroit’s making a move, the Heat are for real, the Baby Bulls have the best record since January 1st—will wonders never cease? Now if Ray Allen goes to the Celtics by three o’clock this afternoon…
In the end, it’s still going to be the Spurs in six, of course. But the trip there’s going to be interesting.
Let Sprewell’s contract lapse, then do whatever it takes to acquire Allen Iverson from Philly. The Answer’s got a multi-year contract he just signed a year and a half ago, but he’s never going to get it done there. Likewise, Minnesota’s regressed remarkably from last year. Kevin Garnett’s a monster player but he can’t do it alone, and last year he proved that he’s more than willing to share the spotlight if that’s what it takes. The same holds true for Iverson: he’s matured a ton over the past few years, he’s one of the top five contenders for MVP at this point, and he’s averaging over seven assists a game—and he’s got no one to pass to! He’s the toughest small guy in the history of the league—sorry, Isaiah—and he can pour in 60 a game or dish it out if someone’s open. He and KG would be an unbeatable combination, a tougher, more versatile, more powerful Stockton and Malone.
What’s more, with those two on board, you could get North Dakota’s own Phil Jackson to coach. He’s overrated, but he’d cement things. And, besides, he's used to the weather. The T’Wolves would be a lock to win the western conference.
It’ll never happen for a ton of reasons, among which is the fact that I don’t think Minnesota has enough room under the salary cap. But if they did, baby…woof.
You heard it here first. For once, The Answer IS the answer.
Leading up to this year’s Superbowl, my boy Dave asked me who I thought was going to win. I gave perhaps the least-insightful answer ever--I said I thought it could be a blowout by either team, or maybe a really high-scoring game by both teams or a low-scoring game by both. The thing is, I really thought each scenario was entirely plausible, as opposed to just saying, I dunno. As the game got closer, however, I decided the Pats were going to do to the Iggles what they’d already done to the Stillers, and just crush ‘em.
Turns out I was wrong, of course. By the day of--a day I spent almost entirely in bed, watching only about five minutes of the first half and ten of the second, thanks to my miserable back--I was sure it was going to be a blow-out. I was surprised, therefore, by how close the game was.
But the more I thought about it, the more it never really seemed like that close a game, other than the terrible first quarter New England had. The Patriots may only have won by three, but it felt as though it didn’t matter how many points Philly scored--no matter how many, New England would have scored three more. It was like when the Lakers won their last championship with Shaq, Kobe and Phil. They could be down by eight with three minutes to go, and you never really doubted that at some point in those three minutes they’d decide to try, and they’d end up winning by four. And they always did.
That’s how it was with New England. They could have won 7-10 or 45-48. Either way, they were going home champions.
It’s been interesting to watch the coverage of Jose Canseco’s upcoming book. First day that some excerpts were released, everyone’s talking about how he’s such a liar and he’s so disreputable and you can’t possibly believe a word he says.
By the end of the week most of those same people are admitting that, yeah, all that may be true, but he was also undeniably in the whole ‘roid scene, so who would know the real stories better than a user like him? So maybe we shouldn't just dismiss the entire thing out of hand.
Meanwhile there are the denials from McGwire, Palmiero and the rest of the accused, as well as Giambi’s press conference.
And lost in all this is Barry Bonds. The biggest cheat in the history of American organized sports. And no one's even talking about him anymore, even though Canseco'd been looking for a publisher for this book for three years--it wasn't until Bonds and the BALCO scandal that there was any interest.
I want to be baseball commissioner just so I can toss Bonds from the game forever. He is a blight on the face of sports. And the shame is that without the juice, neither Canseco nor Giambi would have ever made an All-Star Game. But Bonds was destined for the Hall of Fame. Yet that wasn't enough for him. So he cheated. And brought the integrity of the game down forever.