Sunday, August 31, 2014

College football is back. Ugh!

The usual suspects all won in the opening weekend of college football and the bad thing about it is you can probably name the championship playoff final four right now.

Florida State held off Oklahoma State, somehow. Alabama needed some oddball calls to get past West Virginia. It was sickening watching the Mountaineers have to play against Alabama and the refs.

And did anyone really think Navy would beat Ohio State? Or that Appalachian State would pull another miracle win at Michigan? Puh-leeze.

Even Illinois won yesterday, against mighty Youngstown State.

You can bet on anything you want, but take this to the bank: the powers-that-be want Florida State versus Alabama for the national title and that impartial selection committee will make sure it happens.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Grind Behind the Grins

I do not believe everything I hear and only half of what I see. Or is it the other way around?

But after watching the Bears get torched by Seattle last week, 34-6, albeit in an exhibition game, it just seemed they didn't take this seriously enough.

General Manager Phil Emery went on and on after the game about how new No. 2 quarterback Jimmy Clausen looked good directing the offense to field goals against Seattle's No. 3 defense.

He'll be the next member of the former Bears No. 2 quarterbacks club, joining Jason Campbell, Caleb Hanie, Josh McCown and now Jordan Palmer. Like the others, Clausen will get plenty of playing time when Jay Cutler suffers his annual injury.

And Cutler didn't sound too disappointed with the loss and the beating, saying the Bears did a lot of things right and were just a few executions away from being in the game.

I can think of exactly which executions they should schedule.
I keep hearing from all the football pundits on TV that mobile quarterbacks get hurt a lot more than non-mobile quarterbacks, you know, the traditional pocket passers.

Like Joe Namath. No, wait...

Like Phil Simms. No, wait...

Like Matthew Stafford. No, wait...

Like Tom Brady. No, wait...

Like Tony Romo. No, wait...

Like Sam Bradford. No, wait...

Like, screw it. The pocket passers get hurt just as much because they're not mobile enough. Michael Vick has never played a full season, when he wasn't in jail, that is, because he was so mobile he got smacked around. Jay Cutler, on the other hand, has not played a full season since being traded to the Bears because he wasn't mobile enough.


We report, you decide.
So Michael Sam sacked Johnny Football and celebrated with the "money" sign. My question is, if you watched the play, who the heck was the Cleveland tackle he beat so easily who then proceeded to outright pounce on Sam after the play was long dead?

No penalty. Nothing.

The one thing I have noticed this preseason is that the refs are calling different games than I've been watching, that's for sure. And I've only been watching so I can see some of my prospective fantasy draft choices play.

Otherwise, I can live without preseason football. Can't we all?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

No Mo Mo'ne

OK, the Mo'ne story is cute. Cool. She's talented. Composed. And currently plays on the best, most-successful team in Philadelphia (take that 76ers, Phillies, Flyers, Eagles).

But to listen to ESPN's commentators tell it, we have been exposed to her and her fellow Gods at the Little League World Series this year.

Which is the same thing their commentators said about the participants in the X Games. And the Winter 'X' Games. And the World Cup.

Enough, ESPN. Let the event speak for itself. If you have to tell me it's great, it probably isn't. Let the action on the field speak for itself. I'll decide what's great. You just describe what's happening, tell us who the participants are and supply background stats.
Mo'ne was the cover girl on SI this week, and likely deservedly so. But then she got hit with the SI cover jinx, as so many have before her. She got rocked early and got little support against Las Vegas and the Young Philadelphians bowed out of the event.

If only they'd taken Karl Ravech, Barry Larkin and Rick Sutcliffe with them. Normally, I like all those guys, but not the way they slathered all over themselves telling me how great the Rhode Island coach was (he wasn't).

He was hardly inspirational, as they claimed. I watched him time and again delay games so as distract opposing pitchers and get them off stride against his hitters. His language, tone and actions were unsportsmanlike, discourteous and loud.

At ESPN, they call that inspirational. I call it, time to look for my remote.
ESPN isn't the only sports media outlet regularly committing a faux pas. Mo'ne on the cover of SI speaks for itself. This, the same magazine that gives us Kate Upton on the cover. Not complaining about that, but hoping SI isn't thinking like that about Mo'ne. Unless ESPN the Magazine is for its "Body" issue. Oh lord.

I suppose SI could've given us Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer on the cover, side by side, awaiting Cleveland Browns management and coaches to decide their fates. Not that it's going to make the Browns a better team.

Amazingly, the media treated the Browns' QB story as if the whole world was waiting on this decision, by the Browns third head coach in the last three years. The Cleveland Browns suck. Two winning records, one playoff appearance in the 15 years since they were reincarnated. They don't deserve to exist. They don't deserve the fancy stadium Cleveland built for them at the lakefront. They don't deserve Jack.

But they've got Johnny. Football. On the bench.
You know it's coming. Five years from now, here comes Mo'ne, showing up at her beloved UConn to play basketball for Geno and the Lady Huskies, accompanied by the media trail of replays from this year's Little League World Series.

She deserves to live her own life, not the media replay of it. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Personal Personnel Problems

Johnny Manziel fans, he's not starting for the Browns. Get over it.

The city exploded with joy when Johnny Football was drafted by the Browns, on the heels of LeBron announcing he was coming home.

Now, after repeated trips to, parties in and pictures from Vegas, he has yielded the starting spot to a guy who is probably not as good a quarterback as he is and definitely is not as good an athlete.

Plus, his demeanor, his flipping the bird, his lack of leadership and inability to command respect are what really cost him the job. Welcome to the NFL, Johnny Football. This is the new reality. Get accustomed to it.
Ohio seems to be the quarterback capitol of the world.

Ohio State joined the mix when Braxton Miller went down with a reinjured shoulder.

Now, don't get alarmed, Buckeye fans. You will still likely win the Big 10, or at least your division. Your schedule is softer than Ohio's best high school team.

Your athletes are better than anyone else's in the Big 10. You're going to kick ass.

What is most interesting is Braxton Miller already saying he'll be back next year to try to help the Buckeyes win a national title. That has got to be interesting news to the two guys who will be returning quarterbacks and will have taken the team to possibly new heights this year.

Braxton, can you say, "Supplemental Draft?"
The Xfinity commercial, where the gal says she sometimes watches up to three movies a day...

...Lady, get a life.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Clean It Up

So, there are these two women at my gym. Always come in together. Never clean off their machines after use - never - despite all the signage that calls for it.

Obnoxious, arrogant idiots. Wipe 'em down. Doesn't take long and spray bottles and rags are all over the gym. This isn't hard. Must think they're too good to have to do it.
ESPN Sports Center spent almost the first 10 minutes last night on Johnny Manziel's performance,  or lack thereof, versus Washington (I too will not say "Redskins" anymore).

Really, Johnny Manziel? It's the freakin' Cleveland Browns. No one cares.
I keep looking at the Chicago Bears schedule and I keep seeing 8-8. Same as last year. They'll beat a team or two they're expected not to and lose to a team or two they're expected to beat. And Jay Cutler, as usual, will likely get hurt and miss a few games.

Yet, local fans and media have 'em in the Super Bowl after their 2-0 preseason start. Not.

By the way, my Giants look like crap at 3-0 so far in preseason and despite that are going to the Super Bowl. So there.

Friday, August 15, 2014


What's up at ESPN?

On SportsCenter, the lead story was an NFL exhibition game between Jacksonville and Chicago. An exhibition game! This, the same day Major League Baseball named only its 10th commissioner ever, and only after a heated debate which allegedly pitted outgoing Commissioner Bud Selig against longtime friend and support Jerry Reinsdorf of the White Sox.

Then, anchorperson Neil Everitt had the nerve to use a reference to three shots of Jack for a three-homer game by a player in the Little League World Series. Neil, they're 12 years old. Save the "Jack" for MLB. How inappropriate and embarrassing.

On top of that, ESPN's on-field reporter at the Little League World Series asked the 3-homer hitter how many home runs he's predicting he'll hit through the LLWS. Really? Idiotic. The kid was clearly embarrassed and hesitated to answer.

Earlier yesterday, "Let's Be Cops" star Rob Riggle sat in with Mike and Mike. What's up with that? What does he have to do with sports?

ESPN is taking the 'E' in its name a little too seriously. Yes, Sports equals entertainment, but not that much entertainment.

Who's going to be on next, Chelsea Handler? The way things are going at ESPN, why not?
Once upon a time, like seven years ago, Tom Werner dumped American sweetheart Katie Couric. In an email.

Maybe if he still had her on his arm, he'd have been elected commissioner of baseball instead of losing out to Rob Manfred. Don't you think that Katie Couric as the "First Lady of Baseball" no doubt would've struck a chord with the owners as they voted?

Katie Couric throwing out a first pitch somewhere to start every season. Katie Couric repeatedly on camera at big games. Katie Couric having MLB stars on her show regularly instead of occasionally. Especially Boston Red Sox stars, where Werner is a minority owner.

And now Tom Werner knows why he's not the new commissioner of baseball. It's Katie Couric's fault. Sort of.
Why does it take tragedy to force change?

Why does anyone know who Kevin Ward Jr. is? Because he died as a result of being hit by a dirt-track racer driven by NASCAR-immortal Tony Stewart.

Now, NASCAR is forcing changes in collision protocols that will force drivers to stay in their cars until help arrives instead of getting out like Ward did before he was struck.

Same thing happened with other safety protocols after the death of Dale Earnhardt

Football only forced changes after players sued over concussion aftermaths. And several others died, including the tragic suicide of Dave Duerson.

We shouldn't need tragedies to force changes. Yet, we do.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Two Much Two Think About

I've got two much on my mind lately.

  • Two women
  • Two networks
  • Two idiots
  • Two friends
  • Two jobs
The women are married and available and single and unavailable. Yikes. Accept the one or chase the other. Women are strange animals. Men are stranger.
ESPN or Fox Sports 1? So much ridiculousness on ESPN, I'm thinking about the switch. Then I watch Andy Roddick's insights about all sports on FS 1 and I can't stay there.

It beats the hell out of listening to Mike Greenberg say he'd reinstate Pete Rose, making him Hall-of-Fame eligible. I wouldn't reinstate him in this lifetime or the next. What he did was worse than the steroid guys and to reinstate Rose is to declare the steroid guys into the Hall of Fame by acclimation and bypass the BBWAA voters and Veterans Committee ballots. Except you can't do that because the Hall is not an MLB division of oversight.

Oh yeah, as to idiot anchors Stan Verrett and Neil Everitt, time to lose "ALEXEI" and "I don't wanna' be the Pirate," respectively. Challenge yourselves to come up with something more creative. The occasional pop-culture references are OK, but lose these two fall-back phrases. They're becoming cliche. 

Maybe it is time for FS 1.
But you won't find two bigger idiots than the Sterlings. Donald speaks for himself. Shelly went to some lengths to make sure the $2 billion agreement to sell the Clippers included naming her owner emeritus. Really? If I was the NBA and the Clippers, I wouldn't want the Sterling name associated anywhere with the team.

The Clippers are the new darlings of LA basketball, surpassing a pathetic Lakers team. Yet the Lakers, like the Cowboys in football, despite being irrelevant and full of nobodies, are media darlings. What they don't do, especially win games and make the playoffs, makes news.

And is any team really worth $2 billion? Are the Clippers? Such an overpayment. New owner Steve Ballmer doesn't have to worry about where his next meal is coming from, but I wonder how long it's going to take him to pay back those loans. 

In any event, can the Lakers and Clippers ever be friends? They do share a home. But would the Clippers even be news if the Sterling mess had never happened?

That's like saying, will the investigation into the accident in which Tony Stewart was involved get kid-glove treatment instead of something more intensive if the NASCAR celebrity wasn't involved? Would it already be a murder investigation? Will we ever know?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Knews Values

So this morning, Fox Sports 1 is leading with the Tigers getting beat, yielding first place to Kansas City (yes, Kansas City!), and possibly losing Verlander to injury. ESPN, on the other hand, is leading with the Yankees, yeah the third-place Yankees, as they lose a much less-impactful contest in the standings to an Orioles team they trails by 6 games. I guess New York matters, no matter what, while Detroit and Kansas City obviously don't.

But which game would you have been leading with? In any event, neither network was leading with the ongoing Tony Stewart investigation. Hmmm...

At my gym, there's a tennis player who, every morning, gets on a racketball court, by himself, with his tennis racket and tennis balls, and just stands there and hits. Doesn't move around. Doesn't challenge himself. Just hits a few balls right back at himself for an hour or so. It's scarily monotone. And he pays for the court time too, according to the front desk.

If I had that kind of money,  I'd be spending it on, oh, Kate Upton. Cubs tickets. Trips to Paris. OK, not Cubs tickets. And no chance with Kate Upton, I know that.

The guy, by the way, always wears a nice polo shirt, nicely pressed chinos and premium tennis shoes. I don't dress that nice for work. Or to go see Springsteen in concert. When I can afford the tickets, that is, with money I haven't spent playing with myself.


Watching Greeny debate the Above-Average Micheal Smith on ESPN2 about the merits of baseball, and especially how slowly the game moves. I hate to say I agree with Greeny, but I do. This is why I rarely go to and never watch baseball on TV; it sucks, and very slowly at that.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Can We Get This Right?

So many things are done so wrong. For instance...

Ever watch the ad with the guy who plays goofball agent Dornigan on NCIS? He's walking his dog in a park as the mutt sniffs for an appropriate spot do its business. Dornigan is musing aloud though about wi-fi hotspots and what they, coincidentally for the dog's benefit, smell like.

And mutters, "roast beef," before inviting the dog to go get lunch with him.

I'm not going to ask if you've ever smelled "old" roast beef. Won't go there.


Tiger Woods is done. Sooo over. Can we get past him please and focus on, y'know, important stuff, like, Jerry Jones and the strippers? Strippers, huh? Isn't that where Tiger's problems began?


Cannot wait for the Ryder Cup. Hope to see Rickie Fowler opposite Rory in singles on that Sunday for the Cup. Rickie has a superb record with him, head to head. Can he do it again? It won't be Tiger versus Rory. I hope not. U.S. Captain Tom Watson might as well put himself in, if that's the case.


I never did get into "Modern Family" when it was first on. But now that it's in syndication on USA Network, I can't watch it often enough. Hysterical. So well written. Reminds me of the new year's resolution I never keep: return Sophia Vergara's phone calls.


Will the Cleveland Browns kindly end the mystery and insert Johnny Football at quarterback already? While we're on the subject, watched "Draft Day" on a flight the other day. Short, sweet, put the NFL's underbelly on display, a world of cussing, disrespect, jealousy, envy, backstabbing, rumor-mongering and deceit.

And those are the good qualities. Great fun flick though. And you've got to love at the end how Kevin Costner as the GM of the Browns brings everything back around 180 and walks away a winner. How does he do it? I won't spoil that for you. But Jennifer Garner can play on my team anytime.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Lights Out

Getting to sleep in my hotel was an adventure. Couldn't decide whether to risk taking the elevators or walk down 31 floors after power went out in the guest rooms. No TV, no radio and whatever charge you had left on your tablet, cell or laptop was what you had available in the way of communication and/or light.

What would you do? The elevators were somehow running but the phones weren't working and the hotel wasn't answering when you called the desk on your cell. What to do in Montreal, sacre bleu!

Me, I of course went down the elevator and wound up in a less than lively party in the lobby, accompanied by a bar sprinkled with disappointed drinkers and a desk clerk who had already been given a PR statement to repeat.

Instead, I walked outside, noticed the lights in buildings and on streets all around, except the one I was staying in, and took a picture looking straight up the dark tower. Is this a movie plot or a terrorist plot? Or both? I posted in on Facebook and got blasted about it by friend and relatives. Thanks a bunch.

Meanwhile, a ragged-looking woman walked by and asked me for money. Not for sex. Just panhandling. Uh, go away please.

Back inside, I took a bottle of water, one of several left out on the bar, and headed back to my room rather than join the rowdy guy who announced he was from New Jersey who was leading a trek of saloon stragglers over to the establishment next door that had lights on. He was enticing everyone with offers to drink for free ("On me," he kept yelling. "Drink for free."). He shook my hand on his way out and for some reason said, "Thank you." I said, "Pas de quoi." I think that means, "Go to that other bar already, will ya."

Back in my room, sans  HVAC, I somehow managed to fall asleep anyway, only to be awakened an hour or so later when the power popped back on. Did you ever hear power pop back on in French? Smells like old cheese. I turned on the TV just to confirm, but the drone of the air conditioning had already done that.

What a colourful evening. Uh, colorful. I louve Canada. Uh, love.


Speaking of Love, Kevin, that is, he is a Cavalier. Who would've thought that LeBron James, all by himself, could make Cleveland such a cool place to live?

Speaking of cool, Canandians - uh, Canadians - Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, the NBA Draft's last two No. 1 picks, are now Timberwolves in exchange for lotsa' Love.

Good luck with that Minnesota. The NBA doesn't care much for small-market teams, no matter what it says. Unless a superstar plays there. Like LeBron. Can Cleveland break though and win a title, thus becoming the champion of small markets? LeBron couldn't do it last time he was in Cleveland and he had some decent talent around him then. We'll see this time.

Besides, the Browns are still there. And the Indians.

As Olbermann would say,"Good night, Felicia."

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Parlez-vous French

What a blast today. Did a presentation on Tim Tebow, CBS Sports and ads about gay lifestyle. Yes, I tied that all into one, and did it all in less than 12 minutes on a distinguished panel with colleagues from Anchorage, Alaska and Utica, NY, among other places, who also showed hard evidence that sports and religion do mix and have so much in common. Mostly, that would be that it's always the money.

So, what did we conclude? That religion plays a bigger role in sports than most people think.

For instance, did you know Muhammad Ali, for all his braggadocio about his skills and all his clamoring about his religion being his exemption from U.S. military service (right about the time of the Vietnam War, oddly enough), he never really acted out his adopted religion publicly? Makes you wonder: did he turn to Islam out of deep, religious conviction or to stay out of the service?

I love the guy, but this question will be a perplexing mystery in my sports-and-media life now.

Anyway, the conversation turned in several directions and finally came full circle back to famous, religious character Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens, who reminded us all after winning Super Bowl XLVIII that God was a Ravens fan. He had to be because somehow, the Ravens got away with either defensive holding or pass interference on the 49ers final play to preserve the victory.

Remember, this is the same Ray Lewis who dodged murder charges some 14 years earlier (we think he did it but we also think it was defensive holding on the Ravens).

Of course, that was the famous Super Bowl where the lights failed at the Super Dome and there was a 34-minute delay while the Ravens lost their momentum and the 49ers rallied thereafter and the NFL was able to allow the TV ratings to remain high throughhout.

I'm no conspiracy theorist, but it was holding on the Ravens, the lights went out for a reason, God is not a Ravens fan and Ray Leis did it!

Otherwise, I'm out.

Till tomorrow, a teur a l'heure.

Monday, August 4, 2014

These Jacks Are Off Target

Sorry, Jack Links, but those ads with creatures coming out of people's stomachs and popping out of their shirts, in public, to depict the degree of their hunger are just not cutting it. "Alien" revisited. Did someone really got paid to produce those, in fact, just to think them up? Amazing. I am soooo in the wrong profession. I have definitely thought up better commercials that never got produced. For instance, the one I created for Victoria's Secret. Uh, forget that...

Anyway, hey, Jerk Link, bring back Sasquatch, please.


Watching a great golfer go south is disheartening. His game is gone, his injuries, post-surgical and mental, are prevalent and he clearly has no confidence, regardless of physical condition.

But enough about my game. Did you see Tiger withdraw from the Bridgestone Invitational?


Speaking of golf, Sergio Garcia offered to buy some female spectator a new diamond after his tee shot strayed, hit her in the hand and knocked the rock from its setting.

There's And then there's sergio dot con.


So, my stylist told me today that my hair looks great. Then she colored it and cut it all off. Huh?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

My Kinda' Towns

I love where I live (Chicago). I love where I grew up (New York; Brooklyn, actually). Both making news.

Nice to see Cub prospects Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, Addison Russell and Albert Almora all tearing it up in the minors. Too bad the parent club is still struggling. Note, none of those prospects are pitchers.

Then again, just saw the item about the Mr. Met tattoo executing the Phillie Phanatic. Now there's something two gawd-awful teams can be proud of.

Speaking of Cleveland, which we weren't, the Indians got a win from a pitcher named Atchison. Do they also have a Topeka and a Santa Fe in the farm system? Google it, OK?

And finally, not sure about you, but I absolutely cannot watch replays of the Paul George injury. Too gruesome. Too laden with images of Joe Theismann's spine-tingling, career-ending break. Hopefully, that's not the case for George.

After all, I do like Indianapolis. Well, the city.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Play Me Or Trade Me

Once upon a time, eons ago by today's communication standards, one of my starting fantasy pitchers, Baltimore's Storm Davis, a good-but-not-great hurler, got traded to the National League during the off-season. We were an American League only fantasy group, comprised of guys at the company where I worked at the time, so I got burned on that one.

A few of the guys, a day after the trade, drifted by my office, chuckling and pointing a finger at me, teasing me over losing a key starter off a team that had finished in the money the prior year.

Twenty-plus years later, I got 13 text messages on July 31 from ESPN, notifications alerting me that hardly any players I cared about on any teams I hardly cared about had been dealt as the trade deadline approached. There were so many guys traded on July 31 that you almost had to be insulted if you weren't one of them.

You're not worthy. You're not good enough. You're not desirable. You're not attractive. Nobody needs you, even if you're a good defensive catcher. Especially if all you are is a good defensive catcher.

Big names, big contracts flew all over the place. ESPN was breaking into its broadcast schedule just to announce that Martin Prado had been acquired by the Yankees.

Really? Martin Prado? You broke in for that? Well, they did give up Peter O'Brien to get him. Yeah, that Peter O'Brien.

In all, I think I dug my phone out of my pocket repeatedly for news about baseball immortals like Stephen Drew, Drew Smyly, Nick Franklin, Kelly Johnson, Willy Adames, Eduardo Rodriguez (yes, that Eduardo Rodriguez!), Andrew Miller, Chris Denorfia, Abraham Almonte, Stephen Kohlscheen, Mitch Haniger and Anthony Banda.

There were a few players I'd heard of. Gerardo Parra (yes, I've heard of him), Allen Craig, John Lackey, Austin Jackson and of course David Price, Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes and Yoenis Cespedes.

And, of course, let's not forget Martin Prado and Peter O'Brien. Yeah, that Peter O'Brien.

The nice part about watching so much sports on TV is that you get a peek at the promos for the upcoming fall season of new shows on the networks and cable stations, respectively. Actually, the network stuff looks like it sucks. The cable stuff has a chance.

On the over-the-air networks, the next not-so-great rom/com is getting ready to replace the stale one. The next espionage thriller is getting ready to replace the old one that never achieved good-enough ratings to be kept around.

The next great sitcom is on the way. The most-recent supposed-to-be-next great one is leaving.

The over-the-hill star is coming back for more. More bad ratings, that is (only Ed O'Neill has survived that on Modern Family).

All in all, the new fall season looks like the old fall season. No wonder the cable and premium networks introduce new shows whenever they want to on the calendar with no regard for the "new fall season." They've got the actual quality shows with which to do it that people will stop and watch (and record and watch).

I'm having fun posting this blog again, almost daily. Everything but pro football, which I save for, where Sam, Evan and Joe take good care of my Juice This posts very Sunday morning. Can't thank those guys enough.

Oh, one more thing. I love watching golf on TV. I can't believe those guys hit as bad shots as I do. No wonder I don't get upset about my game anymore.

Yeah, my swing is all good. Can't say the same for my scores though.

And that'll be enough. G'night Gracie. G'night George...