June 16, 2007

A Preemptive Strike to Save Jason the Pleasure...

Published in the file of "Bizarre Sports Injuries," "Dumb Redskins Draft Pick Luck," or "Daniel Snyder Karma":

Landry hurt in team-building outing

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) - A paintball shot in the groin left rookie LaRon Landry unable to practice when the Washington Redskins opened their minicamp Friday.

The No. 6 overall pick in this year's draft was injured during a team-building outing Wednesday, when coach Joe Gibbs allowed the players to leave early at the end of the voluntary spring workouts. Some players went bowling or had lunch together, while many of the defensive players went to play paintball.

"I didn't know paintball was that dangerous," linebacker Marcus Washington said. "I hope it wasn't friendly fire."

Landry was on the sidelines when practice began, but within minutes he left and began laboring slowly up the hill toward the team's main building, appearing to favor his left leg.
Gibbs said Landry should be fine after a couple of days' rest.

"It's kind of bizarre," Gibbs said. "Almost anything can happen in life, so every now and then something like that does happen."

REACT: Wow. Simply wow. Getting shot in the crotch by a paintball. That's gotta hurt. Maybe next year their teambuilding activity can be a pillow fight.

June 15, 2007

Redskins Season Ticket Waiting List a Joke

A friend of a friend called the Redskins today to see if any tickets were available for this upcoming season. Despite the line we've all been fed about the enormous waiting list for Redskins season tickets, it turns out there are still unsold nosebleed seats for 2007. Somehow, the price tag is $3000 for the 10-game set. Since the Redskins don't have PSLs (permanent seat licenses), I suppose they extract the $3000 every single season from the disappointed fan baseblahblahblahblahblahblahbl "Fuck you. Pay me." -- Daniel Snyder

June 14, 2007

Dedicated to Peter G. Angelos

June 14, 2007:
Nationals: 29-37, last place in NL East
Orioles: 29-37, last place in AL East

2007 Payroll:
Nationals: $37,347,500 (28th of 30)
Orioles: $95,107,808 (10th of 30)

2007 Series:
Nationals win 4-2.

"Put another curly W in the win column!" - Charlie Slowes, WTWP Radio

So I just got home from Oriole Park and saw the Nats finish sweeping away the Orioles. I was there Tuesday night, as well.

It is so totally refreshing to be a Nats fan right now. There are no expectations at all. There was a hope that maybe we can avoid losing 100 games. We're currently on pace to win more than 70. We're overachieving in every possible way. We love having a team. We love seeing Manny Acta manage and get the most out of the guys on this team. We love seeing smart baseball, hustle, and guys busting their ass out on the field. We're seeing a team that has won 4 of their last 5, 7 out of 12 in the month of June, doing this with 4 out of 5 of our starting pitchers on the DL and with three current members of our starting rotation converted bullpen guys. And we know that come next year, the team is going to have about $50 million to spend on free agents including the likes of Andruw Jones and Dontrelle Willis, each of whom has expressed a desire to come to Washington if the situation presented itself. Oh, and that little gem of a ballpark that's opening next season.

I think it's gotta be just about totally the opposite to be an O's fan. Walking out of that stadium, the sparkle and glee that was in every Nats' fan's eye was countered by a look of total despair and shellshock in Oriole fans' eyes. They have a huge payroll, they have talent in their starting rotation and in the lineup, but the team is imploding. And there are no easy answers. The division sure as hell isn't going to get easier. Tejada, Bedard, Mora, and countless others on the team want out of Baltimore and appear to be simply collecting a paycheck at the ballpark. Fans are left shaking their heads at management that will throw money at Jay Payton and Aubrey Huff as the supposed answers to constant 4th place finishes in the AL East. This once great and proud franchise that sold out every home game is now left solely to rely on what is now the 17th oldest ballpark in the majors as the only reason for free agents to come (it is still a gorgeous place though). The media is left to wonder whether Perlozzo got thrown out because he was frustrated, or because he had to do something just to seem like he cares.

It's a good night to be a Washington Nationals fan. Hopefully this sweep will light a little fire under this rivalry next season.

Ravens Voluntary Mini-Camp Actually Voluntary

The Baltimore Sun reported today that 11 players did not attend the Ravens voluntary mini-camp today. That, in and of itself, is not shocking. What is surprising is that Billick himself did not attend, instead leaving "head coach" responsibilities to Rex Ryan. For once, a voluntary mini-camp is actually voluntary! Ryan, the Ravens DC, said, "This is a voluntary camp. We don't look down on the people who are not here."

blahblahblahblablahblah Brian Billick as a contestant on Match Game 1977

Don't think this lax approach to training is coincidental. The mini-camp is the last before camp actually convenes on July 29 in Westminster, MD. A clear message was sent to the salary cap casualties entering the market on July 1: we aren't going to kick your ass in training camp. (Hear that Priest Holmes?) Maybe when they have five offers on the table, they'll consider the contender in a moderate climate with a professional training camp.

The Sun also reported on Billick's last message to players before camp starts in earnest. He asked players to stay in shape and stay out of trouble.

June 13, 2007

Lebron's Near Miss

So I've actually been watching quite a bit of the NBA Finals this week. Until last night, they had been horribly disappointing. Sunday night was especially bad, when I checked the score after the Sopranos finale only to find the Spurs up by 20 in the first half.

That was all in the past, though, and last night offered the Cavs a chance to turn the series around. The game was close the whole way, until the Spurs jumped out to a 10 point lead with about 6 minutes left. The next 6 minutes contained some ugly basketball, but I was on the edge of my seat with every possession. The Spurs didn't score for almost 5 minutes, but the Cavs only clawed their way back into the game slowly.

With a few minutes left, you could see Lebron start to really take over his team. He had a few unlucky misses, including a finger roll that looked like it was going to drop in. He also didn't get much help from Varejao, who blew the most important possession of the game (Cavs down 2 with about a minute left) by taking a pass from Lebron and trying a crazy spin move into a scoop shot instead of just completing the give-and-go and letting Lebron do his thing.

The Cavs had another chance to tie the game down by 3 with 5 seconds left. Lebron caught the inbound pass a few feet outside the 3-point line and Bowen grabbed him in an attempt to foul him before the shot. In a heads up play, Lebron immediately launched the three-pointer, figuring that he would get 3 shots instead of 2. The shot almost went in, but no foul was called. On the replay, it was obvious that Bowen was trying to foul intentionally, and that Lebron clearly should have gotten 3 shots to tie the game. Now, instead of getting a chance to see Lebron shooting high-pressure foul shots to force overtime and potentially turn the series around, we have a 3-0 series that is essentially over.

A few random thoughts from the game:

  • I was very impressed with Ilgauskas, he seems like a rich man's Todd McCulough or Arvydas Sabonis. He reminds me a lot of Rik Smits. I know, now I'm just listing white centers with a 10-foot jump shot.

  • The announcers were a bit annoying, but Jeff Van Gundy absolutely nailed a tough call on a foul. It was a "clear path" foul, and he called it immediately, and then pointed out that the Cavs were having Gibson take the shots instead of Lebron (the player fouled). He got the ruling correct about 2 minutes before the refs figured out what was going on. That's the kind of rulebook knowledge I want from an announcer.

June 12, 2007

Interleague No-Hitters

AL 2, NL 1. And six NL pitchers had to combine for that one.

June 11, 2007

The Sopranos Debate


Forget it. You'd have to have been trapped under Camryn Manheim to have not heard about the ending of The Sopranos last night.

There are apparently two camps reacting to the final scene in the iconic mobster TV series. Half of the viewers thought the abrupt cut-to-black ending was a great way to indicate the constant stress and fear that permeates Tony's life. The other half thought that Tony was clearly whacked by suspicious bathroom man. The third half were so overcome with rage that they refused to speculate on what might have happened.

I'm in the first camp.

If you think back on the final episode, and the final season as a whole, it was one pain in the ass after another for Tony. AJ was constantly blubbering and bemoaning the state of the world in general, at least when he wasn't attempting to kill himself, or set the forest on fire, or marveling in the 22mpg of the BMW M3 that apparently bootstrapped him out of his depression. The war with Leotardo was simmering and then exploding. Tony couldn't decide what to do with two of his best men, Paulie Walnuts and Chris-to-phuh (though we come to find out Paulie lives only to serve Tony). Speaking of Paulie, as if Tony didn't have enough to worry about, Paulie decided that cats suck the life out of babies and the Virgin Mary frequents the Bada Bing. Junior was becoming increasingly senile (great move Tony: visit him at sundown). Meadow was looking at going to law school so that she could work for a law firm that handled mob issues, which served as the perfect foible for Hunter, Meadow's friend and the real life daughter of David Chase, to inform Carmela that she had cleaned up her act and was attending medical school. Dr. Melfi dumped Tony, and AJ's therapist was not biting on Tony's complaints about his own upbringing. Tony got his ass kicked by needy sister Janice's weak-willed husband. It was not exactly a dreamwalk for Tony, and the sudden cut to black ending just served to remind us that the rest of his life, whether it lasted a second or a decade, was not going to be fun.

So what do the angry fans want? Did they want to see Carmela shot in the face while AJ blubbered about the pollution caused by deep friers? Did they want Meadow to suddenly get hit by a passing car? Did they want apparent hitman, apparent Fed and apparent rappers to suddenly start making out? There is not a solution that would have pleased everyone, or even half of the fans. If Tony gets hit at the last second, the ending was way too predictable. If something random happens, it would have been a cop-out ending. If Paulie walked in and blazed away on Tony, it would have been too cliche and cheap. The only satisfying conclusion I could come up with would have been to have Tony keel over in the onion rings from a massive heart attack. Even that would not have spared Chase the criticism.

So Chase gave everyone the ending that is described as being on a scale somewhere between "Life Goes On" (me, Baltimore Sun, Bill Simmons) and "Choose Your Own Adventure" (Brien, and I'm sure others). Pick whichever camp you want, but DON'T STOP.......BELIEVING!!!!!!

Home Schooling Works!!!

Above is CNN's riveting interview with this year's spelling bee champion. SURPRISE! He's home schooled. And he has the charisma to prove it. I think that the poor CNN anchor has been driven to drink by this interview.

June 10, 2007

Sopranos Finale!!!

It would be very difficult for me to spoil the end of the Sopranos finale for anyone who did not see it.

Saying Goodbye to Satriale's

Well folks, as we all know by now, The Sopranos comes to an end tonight. We've seen A.J. go from whiny pre-pubescent complaining about the absence of the "fucking ziti," to A.J. becoming a whiny deadbeat college-age kid who can't man up when his father (and he and his mother and his sister) are under deadly threat. We've seen Meadow go from hot high school student to even hotter post-college student. We've seen Tony go from perfecting his dialect, to perfecting how to find belts for his ever-increasing waistline. And Carmela... well she's still as fucking annoying as she ever was. Three separate endings were filmed for tonight's episode. Below are this blogger's thoughts on three possible endings. Note that I will not include Jason's idiotic prediction that Tony swallows a gun.

1) Tony flips to the Feds
I gotta think this is a red herring. Sure, we've been shown that his Jersey family is decimated, his earning power is almost gone, and he's built a kinship with Agent Harris who has tried to protect Tony. Still... I can't see Tony being this weak that he would go to the feds and become the person who he despised (and killed Pussy for being).

2) Tony dies
I can only see this happening if Phil also dies. I cannot see David Chase allowing Phil Leotardo (who needs to give Bob Barker his hairstyle back) outliving Tony. Plus, it's too easy and too predictable of an ending. It won't be thought provoking enough and psychological enough for David Chase, who has shown much love for the psychologically complex script and plot.

2b) Tony dies at the hands of a family member
Some people are saying that Janice may kill Tony, as she's already shown that she can go off the deep end when she blew away Richie Aprile. Now, she likely holds Tony responsible for the death of her husband and leaving her alone to raise three kids. Some people are saying that Carmela may find out the sordid truth about Adriana (even though I think that in the subconscious she already knows), and go off the deep end, killing Tony. I still find this implausible.

3) Phil dies, Tony lives, but with nothing left
I personally think this is the most plausible outcome. In Season 5, Phil and Little Carmine went to battle over New York control. Now, Phil is costing Little Carmine money from what Little Carmine realizes is his intractible and irrational stubbornness. Little Carmine has agreed to team up with Tony and thereby has shown that he feels that Tony has tried to be reasonable. Little Carmine certainly, in addition to being cost money by Phil, does not approve of Phil declaring war on Jersey. I can see Little Carmine getting his hands dirty again, going after Phil, and taking control of New York. But even if this happens, Tony is done. His consiglieri is never going to regain consciousness. Paulie and Patsy Parisi are the only Captains left. His earning potential is gone. Carmela's life of luxury will be finished.

So we shall see at 9pm EST tonight. By the way... mad props to David Stern and the geniuses in NBA Marketing who decided to pit Game 2 of the already dismally and marginally cared about NBA Finals against the final episode of what many call the greatest television show of all time (I disagree and my vote goes to The Wire for that honor). What do we think people?