Wednesday, June 30, 2010

PantsCast June 29

The ups and downs of the World Cup, a clash of ideals about upcoming the NBA free-agency, questions about a no hitter, a naked cheese man, and JaMarcus!

You may enter.

Monday, June 28, 2010

NFL Beginning Early

Every sport wants to pull a Big Tobacco and get people addicted when they're kids. That's why we have youth leagues, kids nights at the stadium, and action figures.

But the NFL is going to take it one step farther by creating a 22 episode cartoon series this NFL season on Nickelodeon.

I know this is not a new idea, but it's the NFL's idea. Therefore, it will work.

The focus of the cartoon series is a 10 year old boy whose super powers include those of an NFL player. It doesn't say which NFL player. Maybe he can throw it like Peyton and run like Chris Johnson. Or maybe he's as big as Leonard Davis, but has the skill set Ray Rice. That'd be kind of weird for a 10 year old.

The boy has to protect valuable objects that are hidden beneath various NFL stadiums, like the heating coils underneath Lambeau Field and Jimmy Hoffa's body under Giants Stadium. It sounds like a twist on the Harry Potter series. A very muscular, violent twist.

Sean Payton and Eli Manning are among the NFL people lending their voices to the series. This is a bit disappointing to me since I was hoping Eli would just stand there with dumb face like he does in real life. But kudos to him for being involved.

My ideas for characters in the series include:

-Tony Romo always wearing a backwards baseball cap and with a different starlet on his arm at all times.

-Brett Favre with a long, grey beard and retiring once every episode only to come back

-DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart as some sort of Gemini twins who finish each others sentences

-Steven Jackson in a wheelchair

-A monkey cage, but instead of monkeys, it has wide receivers in it. They are fed through the cage and they do all the things monkeys do including screaming and throwing feces at one another.

-And of course, the evil character would be Dan Snyder who looks to horde all the players and secret objects for himself.

It'll be big. I'll be in pictures I tells ya!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Potugal Has Pissed Me Off

Far be it from me to criticize the traditional scoring system of the World Cup, but now that we're at the third game, we have a mix of two things:

One is the amazing contests between two teams trying to secure their positions in the final 16.

The other is a pathetic display of non-competition between teams that are already set to advance and just don't want to lose. So the teams barely goes on the attack and just sits on defense hoping to squeak out a 0-0 draw.

Portugal is that team. And I don't like them. I was already souring on those who live in the port on the gal because of the whining to the refs and obvious diving to draw penalties.

Now they went into a shell against mighty Brazil so as not to risk losing the game.

I know, the math makes sense. Portugal only needed a point to ensure that they moved on because of the 7 goal beat down they handed North Korea. So they didn't risk a thing and now they move on.

It just a bad taste in my mouth. The point of competition is to play you best and get a win. All Portugal did in the preliminary round is crush a less talented North Korea team. They haven't scored another goal yet. But because of the math, they needed to only draw with Brazil. So instead of a high-powered shootout between two talented teams, I turned the game off because it was so very boring.

It's the point system. Maybe winning should get an extra point. That way, teams would be more inclined to go for the victory instead of holding a tie and playing the odds. It's competition. Let it shine.

Leave the odds playing to Vegas.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Let's Calm Down With the Greatest Ever Talk

Yes, it deserves to be front page news. Yes, it was an astounding display of wills and determination.

No, it wasn't the greatest tennis match ever played.

People seem to be falling all over themselves to shower John Isner and Nicolas Mahut with compliments after their obscenely long tennis match at Wimbledon. Many of those compliments are deserved.

Isner and Mahut played one game over an incredible three day span before Isner finally won 70-68 in the final set. The match broke all sorts of records and captured our attention even with the World Cup going on.

That's all wonderful, but before you begin lavishing the marathon match with "greatest ever" tags, remember a few things:

Who?- Nobody but intense tennis followers know who these guys are. This isn't some classic match-up between two greats like Federer and Nadal. These are two unknowns that aren't favored to win anything.

It's Early- This was an early game in the tournament. Bjorn vs McEnroe and Federer vs Nadal were championship matches. They were playing for everything.

Aces- Isner had 112 aces and Mahut had 103, both records. Good for them, but to me, aces are what kills my interest in men's tennis. Why would I stop down and watch someone serve over and over again? Take a look at some of the all time matches and the one thing you'll see are incredible volley segments. Both guys cover the court and refuse to let any shot drop without a challenge. That makes for an all-time tennis match.

Isner and Mahut deserved to be congratulated for refusing to give in and playing through exhaustion to give fans a classic moment in sports. Just don't get too caught up in the moment. Longer doesn't always mean better.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

PantsCast June 22

Do we care about the stolen goal? Kobe's place, broken arms, the French, JaMarcus back in Oak-town, and What's Wrong With Humans.

Enjoy the talking voices.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The World Cup Needs John Madden

No, not the actual John Madden, he wouldn't know what was happening (more so than usual), plus I don't believe there is a roadway that runs from the U.S. to South Africa, so the Madden Cruiser would have to become a submarine.

What I mean is that in soccer's great quest to become a relevant spectator sport in the states, it does itself no favors by putting British announcers in American games. People already see it as an outsiders sport, why hammer it home? Yet as I watch the World Cup, I keep find myself saying "Who talks like that?"

When I watch the World Cup, I want a guy who enjoys the game thoroughly and is almost a soccer idiot savant. He can be blunt, he can be blue, hell, he can be drunk. I just want him to show me that he can enjoy soccer in more than a "this is such a beautiful game" sort of way.

That's where the Madden comparison comes in. John Madden was famous for noticing all the little things during a game. Nothing tactical, but the little details of a game that the camera doesn't catch. He'd point out the sweat on linemen, he'd find if there was an issue with the Gatorade, and you can bet he'd find a guy who nearly tripped walking back to the huddle. Plus, he spoke in a way that made him seem like your kooky neighbor or your favorite bizarre uncle.

If you're not sure what I'm talking about, I can give you some hints. The following sentences should never be spoken on an American broadcast:

"That's a well struck ball."
"He needs to strengthen his fitness."
"Difficult first touch there."
"He used a heavy boot on that cross."

That's not how we speak here. And what's worse, there are American broadcasters he speak like that. Who are you, Madonna? You are American! We don't drink afternoon tea and we sure as hell don't describe a guy coming off of injury as getting his fitness back.

I want a guy who can show me the jersey grabbing, the smack talking, and who can make fun of the divers and divas in the soccer pitch. I'm sorry, I mean soccer field. If he's not American, he needs to be a drunk Irishman who is prone to angry outbursts.

What we need is soccer's version of John Madden. A guy who thoroughly enjoys the game and has a way to communicate that to the average American without making them feel like moronic rednecks. He sees things in the game that interest Americans: violence, feats of athletic achievement, and really embarrassing gaffes.

Just give the guy a telestrator and let him roll. Boom!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

PantsCast June 15

World Cup thoughts, more insanity at the NFL quarterback position, the great football shift that wasn't, and What's Wrong With Humans.

Treat yourself to happy good times.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Who Has The Apple?

Last night as I sat through the Tony Awards (my girlfriend described it as her Super Bowl, so I couldn't argue), I found out several things:

-Mighty Mite Kristin Chenoweth has as much comic timing as any female lead in Hollywood, and she's just as hot.

-The Tony Awards have been completely whored out in the name of television ratings. Why else would big names such as Denzel Washington, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Scarlett Johansson win the awards while average at best actors such as Katie Holmes get to present? Plus, viewers were treated to a mini-Greenday concert. Clearly the Tony's have gone Tinseltown. I guess they have to in order to be on television.

-Mark Sanchez apparently loves Broadway, especially the musical Memphis.

Wait, a supposed meathead football players is a fan of the theater? Well, good for Mark! Nothing will endear a New York athlete to the community around him than support for the New York theater arts.

Sure, plenty of athletes have gone into acting, but that's out there on the west coast. That stuff is a joke. This is real theater where only the strong survive. And Mark Sanchez, the California boy, likes it!

In another city, a revelation like this would vault Sanchez to the top of the local sports celebrity charts, but in New York, he may not even be at the top of his own position because he shares a stadium with one Eli Manning.

So who's the more popular New York quarterback?

Sanchez has the looks, he's well spoken, he took the league by storm as a rookie, and he plays for a crazy, smack-talking coach who doesn't shy away from the tabloid headline-making comment. And Sanchez is clearly a fan of the arts.

Eli Manning has a consistently vacant look about him and plays for a coach who makes Dick Cheney look like a fun-loving party animal. But Eli plays for the more traditional Giants team and he's a Manning, the noblest blood in NFL football. And most importantly, Eli has a ring.

I know Sanchez was just a rookie last year, so he has time to catch Eli. My thought is if Sanchez takes home a ring, he'll be able to surpass Manning as the toast of the Apple. But Sanchez will have to settle for second banana in the Big Apple until he touches some hardware other than a Tony Award.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

PantsCats June 9

Learning from the imperfect game, a sizzling debut, the end of greatness, giant changes in college football, a wideout with the munchies, plus "what's wrong with humans"and how to follow the World Cup when you don't really watch soccer.

It's chock full of goodness! Click here to listen.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Evidence In The NBA Vs NHL Not Really Battle

I've been singing the NHL's praises for years now. It's playoffs are vastly more entertaining than the NBA's and unlike it's round ball counterpart, different teams actually win championships. So while the Lakers and Celtics are battling to see which team has the most spoiled fans in the sport, the Blackhawks are trying to win their first Stanley Cup since 1961 against a Flyers team that hasn't won one since the mid-1970's.

Of course, my arguments/pleas generally fall on deaf ears. I understand. You don't get hockey. You didn't grow up watching it. You have no idea why the announcers are talking about the cycle game or what the difference between roughing, cross-checking, and boarding is. Why the hell did the ref just blow the whistle? Who did what to who?

I grew up in Texas. I've been on ice skates maybe five times in my life. I don't have a clue how to skate backwards or how to change directions at all, let alone gracefully.

You just need to feel the electricity in the air. Hockey fans are crazy. Their intensity gets pushed up to 11 during the chase for the Stanley Cup. It's exactly what you're missing from football: intense, hard-hitting battles of the will.

Don't take my word for it though. Here is a comparison of the National Anthem and introductions between the NBA Finals and Stanly Cup.

First, the NBA:

I know it's an L.A. crowd, but that's my argument against the NBA. It's always an L.A. crowd. Or a San Antonio crowd, or a Chicago or Boston. No other fans have had a chance to see the Finals from their home floor (yes, Detroit fans, I know your team has been there.)

On the other hand, here are the Chicago fans during the National Anthem:

The energy difference is like comparing a light bulb to the sun. But don't take my word for it. Just watch for yourself.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

You Can't Sum The Wizard Up With Stats

John Wooden led the UCLA Bruins basketball team to 10 NCAA championships, including an unmatched streak of seven in a row from 1967 to 1973. He also won 620 games including a mind-boggling 88 straight games in a row.

Yet to define the Wizard of Westwood by those numbers would be insulting.

Wooden was a rare coach who is nearly extinct in today's big business, media glitz sports atmosphere. Wooden actually taught his players about life. He cared. He didn't pretend to care in front of the media. He didn't go through the motions to make it seemed like he wanted to help these young kids. His calling was to teach. The wins were an off-shoot of that.

You can tell this because when Wooden died this weekend, his ex-players didn't sum him up with the games they won, or the trophies. They talked about what they learned about life under Wooden. The winning helped, of course, but don't forget that Wooden didn't win a championship for the first 16 years he was at UCLA.

16 years? Can you imagine a coach staying at a school for 16 years without winning a title these days?

Once the winning started, it was like an avalanche. Wooden had his pick of top players around the nation. Yet you didn't hear of off-the-field problems for these superstar recruits. Sure, the media eye wasn't as focused on sports at the time, but even when they graduated college, you didn't see Wooden students fall apart.

Listen to the interviews of former UCLA, how they speak of Wooden, how the carry themselves during the interview. Now imagine what that would be like for John Calipari, or Rick Pitino to be remembered. It's like comparing a fast-food burger to Filet Mignon- both get the job done, but you only remember one years down the road.

For those of us who didn't know him, we look at Wooden's wins in amazement. For those who did know him, what they remember is anything but the stats.

Where have all the Wizards gone?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Gut Punch

If you were sitting around today and suddenly felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced, well, you're just weird.

But I'd understand if you did because today the citizens of the Ivory Coast all cried out to the heavens when they discovered that their beloved Didier Drogba broke his elbow during a warm-up match against Japan.

Were you sitting near a Pats fan when Tom Brady went down a few years ago? The sulking head, the hands flying up in the air as the season passes before their eyes, the discussion of football Armageddon in Foxboro? Yeah, multiply that by a thousand.

Drogba is not just a sports hero, he's a savior for the Ivory Coast nation. He's good enough to play anywhere in Europe, yet he refuses to turn his back on his war torn nation. He's like the celebrity that remains with his original spouse even after he hits it big and has starlets hanging all over him.

The Ivory Coast was a dark horse team in the World Cup this year with Drogba leading the way. Now the team has to play without it's heart and soul.

If you're a fan of the underdog, keep an eye on these guys because their chances for a trophy just dropped tenfold.

The only way to sum this up is to simply say: that sucks.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bigger Than Perfection

You've no doubt run across the story of how Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga was robbed of a perfect game by a blown call by umpire Jim Joyce. The blown call happened on the final out of the game and was the difference between Galarraga having the 21st perfect game in MLB history and having just another well pitched game.

Normally, this would make a sports idealist like myself blow his top. In fact, some of my friends did blow their tops as the festering problem with baseball umpires not being punished for sub-standard game calling exploded onto the front page.

It was a tragedy, it was awful, it left a bad taste in your mouth. The MLB suits were shown just how their inaction and fear of any progressive change negatively affected their sport. Again.

You can bitch about all of that, but don't cry for Armando Galarraga because he's about to get more publicity than he ever dreamed of.

There have been three perfect games in the past year. Those three guys are in the record books. But when people look back on the 2010 baseball season in the near future, they will not think of Dallas Braden or Roy Halladay. They will think of Galarraga and the Great Game Robbery.

The first two were cool sports moments. This is drama. This hits home with any person who feels they have been screwed over by the powers that be. You had it figured out, but the boss came by and shot it all to hell. We've all been there at some point before.

As for umpire Jim Joyce, the other umps should send him a thank you note because he is now the unofficial face of shoddy game calling. It's too bad because Joyce made an honest mistake (albeit a terrible one) and later apologized with sincerity. Meanwhile, the idiot umps that are too busy giving attitude to call a game get to skate by. That's the real tradgedy of this situation.

No need to worry about Galarraga though. While he won't go down in the history books like his predecessors, he will be at the top of every trivia card from here on out and in the court of public opinion, he did indeed threw a perfect game.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

PantsCast June 1

Perfect Memorial Day in the NL East, not so much in the AL West, NFL notes on another fatty, NBA Groundhog Day and the "What's Wrong With Humans" segment.

It's Just Sitting There Waiting For You To Join the PantsCast.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ho Hum

Oh look, the Celtics are playing the Lakers for an NBA championship.


These two teams have met for a title 11 different times (Celtics have won nine, mostly during their dominant run in the 60's.) Even when they aren't playing each other, one of these teams is usually in the championship hunt. Boston has 17 titles while the Lakers have 15.

32 titles. 32? How long has the NBA been a major player in sports, 50 years? That's ridiculous.

Imagine two NFL teams being responsibly for 70% of all Super Bowl titles. Would that get a little old maybe? The Pats have only won three titles this decade and people are sick of them. The Dallas Cowboys showed up in five Super Bowls in the 1970's and became the loved/hated America's Team.

As annoyingly dominant as the Yankees have been in baseball, you can at least name five or six teams off the top of your head that have won the World Series besides the overpaid boys in pinstripes. Plus, baseball stretches back to the pre-depression era, so there is a much bigger sample size to work with.

The point is that unless you live in Boston or Los Angeles, you enjoy watching sports dynasties win multiple championships, or you're a front-runner, this act is getting old.

It will be a good match-up, but what are we rooting for? Either way, one team's annoying and spoiled fan base will beat their chests and behave in such a generally arrogant way, you'll want to throw up. Wow, that sounds great, and while we're at it, can we get Donald Trump some more television time?

If you're hard up for championship sports right now, try something new. Watch the Stanley Cup finals in the NHL.

Two teams with passionate fan bases are trying for thier first championship in a generation. They've already played two games and both have been classics. The Chicago crowd has been so excitable, they're roaring as the National Anthem was being played. You can bet the Flyers fans will return the energy as the series switches venues.

I don't want to hear that you don't understand hockey. I grew up in Dallas, I knew nothing about it. You'll catch on quickly. And then you'll understand it's greatness.

As for the NBA, call me when something new happens.