February 9, 2008

College Basketball Recap, Feb 9th

Osby fights for a rebound in the purty gold unis (Photo: ESPN)

Maryland pulls out a big win at home over NC State after struggling early. The Terps are now 6-3 in conference and will occupy 3rd place alone in the ACC if Clemson loses at UNC tomorrow. As much as the Terps struggled early, it's clear that they are playing like a top 20 team now. Elsewhere, Miami upset VT in Blacksburg, a crippling loss for the Hokies and a crucial road win for the Canes (now 3-6 in conference, but still top 50 in RPI). BC lost to Duke as expected, and must rally from their 6 game conference losing streak if they want a shot at the tournament. Remember when BC and Miami met early in the year and both were undefeated in conference? Now they're both 3-6.

Big 12:
Texas and Kansas both won, setting up a showdown between the two on Monday. Texas Tech's loss at Nebraska may eliminate them from tournament contention, and Oklahoma's loss to Colorado may do the same for the Sooners. Meanwhile, A&M and K State chalked up important wins.

Big Ten:
Purdue's win at Wisconsin legitimizes their status as a top team in the conference and solidifies their status in the tournament. A big road win over a top ten team that's plays well at home will do wonders for the Boilermakers' tournament resume (now 9-1 in the Big Ten). Minnesota continues to hold serve against the chumps of the conference, but is desperately in need of a victory over one of the top five to even get on the bubble.

Other notable upset: Louisville beat G'Town, though this isn't as much of an upset as one would think because the Cardinals are healthy now and playing like the team that was highly ranked preseason. Both teams will be a force in March.

How About Some More Maryland - NC State Photos?

As Russell pointed out, the Terps have worn yellow before. Check out this Len Bias jersey from Ebay.

Zorn the next Skins Head Coach?

The Washington Post is reporting that Jim Zorn will be the next Redskins head coach, after a lengthy 2 week stint as offensive coordinator. What an embarrassment for Danny Snyder and the entire Skins front office! After weeks of deliberation and hiring both coordinators, the Skins were turned down by Spags, and the Washington franchise was left with nothing but burned bridges. After six years as the quarterbacks coach in Seattle under Holmgren, Zorn might turn out to be a great hire, but there could not have been a more embarrassing scenario for the Redskins. If they wanted Zorn for the head job, they would have hired him to that position initially. Obviously, they were disappointed with Fassel and the other possibilities remaining on the market after an incredibly lengthy interviewing process.

The question now is whether Zorn will be able to command the players' respect, and longer-term whether Danny will stick with Zorn or if this is just a stop-gap measure until he can hire someone else after next season. What a disaster... Hopefully, Zorn turns out to be better than expected.

Update: The Washington Post is reporting that this is now official and is also being carried by the AP. Skins fans, meet your new head coach.

50 Days Until Nats' Stadium Opens

Our friends at the Nats320 blog (who we will soon be linking to ECB) took a tour of Nationals Park yesterday. There are numerous incredible pictures and rather than pilfer some of them, I'm going to link to the blog post with all the pictures and the descriptions thereof:


Some thoughts from the pictures:
1) Look at all the development that's going on in the blocks surrounding the ballpark! I know that a scant amount will be ready by this season, but I really look forward to summer weekend nights in the future when I can head down to the area a few hours before first pitch, grab a drink or two at one of the many, many bars on the Half Street corridor, and then head to a game. Anybody who doubts what's going to happen here wasn't around D.C. about 15 years ago to understand what the Chinatown area was like before Verizon Center was built and the area transformed into Penn Quarter-Chinatown, one of the hottest residential and entertainment areas of the District. I guarantee this will happen to the SE/SW Waterfront area around the Ballpark.
lindsay lohan's tits
2) They certainly didn't go for a retro feel, and I think that's fine for this ballpark. They didn't play up too much the modern angle which is part of what Arizona and Houston's ballpark look so gimmicky. Instead, it's a very pretty park with limestone and glass as the primary design elements.
lindsay lohan's tits
3) Pretty sweet view from the first base line of the Capitol Dome looming overhead.
lindsay lohan's tits
4) That Jumbotron gives new meaning to that word. Five stories tall... are you fucking kidding me? Dmitri Young is going to look more fearsome than Forest Whitaker in Last King of Scotland when he's peering down from that screen!
lindsay lohan's tits
5) Little touches are making the stadium really cool. Like the windows from the Nationals Club bar into the Nationals indoor batting cages. And the baseball numbers on each seat. And the signage which anybody who has been to Camden Yards knows (signs all one color, font that you don't see anyplace else other than that ballpark), can give a ballpark a flavor all unto its own.

6) Plexiglass at the base of levels to be used instead of railings is a really smart concept. Makes me feel much better about my seats in the second row of the upper deck which I was worried would be ubstructed by railings.
lindsay lohan's tits
7) The ballpark looks cozy. It does not look like a monstrosity. It looks like fans will feel right on top of the action. It looks like even the seats furthest away are closer to the plate than 1/3 of the seats at Camden Yards.
lindsay lohan's tits
8) People need to shut up about parking. Take Metro. It's not hard to do in Boston where only one line goes out to Fenway. It's not hard to do in New York where only one line goes out to Shea and Yankee Stadium. It's not hard to do in Chicago where only one line goes out to Wrigley and U.S. Cellular (or whatever it's called now). Suck it up people. This will become less and less of an issue when more opens up around the ballpark and arrival and departure time becomes staggered.
lindsay lohan's tits
I've got plenty of other thoughts, but man, am I excited to spend time at Washington's newest National Cathedral. LET TEDDY WIN!!!

February 8, 2008

Terrible Weekend for Sports

The first weekend after the end of football season is always tough, but the other sports aren't pulling their weight to ease our suffering.

College BB:
Marquette at ND - Noon, Sat. ESPN
Is anyone actually excited about Big East basketball? Both teams are ranked and decent, but seriously?

BC at Duke - 1pm, Sat. CBS

Virginia at Wake - 3:30pm, Sat. ABC
I hate regional coverage sometimes...

GT at UConn - 4pm, Sat. ESPN
Tech's going to put up a fight, but the outcome here isn't really in doubt.

NC State at Maryland - 8pm, Sat RJ
Critical game for the Terps. I'll actually watch this game, unlike the others on here.

You better watch!

Clemson at UNC - 6:30pm, Sun FSN
Clemson tries to break their endless losing streak at Chapel Hill.

Should be televised: Baylor at Kansas, Purdue at Wisconsin (both conflict with the MD game).

Granted I've skipped a number of televised games, but I can't say I'm excited about any of them.

F***ing pro-am, no Tiger Woods... No one cares, not even the golfers.

Does anyone care about the Bud Shootout? Surely, even NASCAR fans can't get excited about a race that only determines a couple spots of qualifying. There's a reason qualifying is usually relegated to SPEED.

Pro Bowl. Yeah, right. Or maybe this picture is inspiring me to change my mind...

When do pitchers and catchers report, again?

Bedard Trade to M's is Finally Official

According to ESPN, Bedard has been sent to the Mariners for outfielder Adam Jones, reliever George Sherrill, and three pitching prospects. The O's and MacPhail have been getting a lot of positive press about this deal, but we're probably going to have to wait a couple years to find out if these prospects were actually worthwhile. It's definitely nice to see the Orioles acknowledge we're not going to win the AL East in the next couple year and act accordingly.

Adam Jones, the next Orioles star OF

Adam Jones was the top pick in the 2003 draft and is expected to have a huge upside. I expect him to play immediately, and apparently Sherrill will give a shot at the closer role since Chris Ray is out indefinitely. Tillman at 19 was the minor-league pitcher of the year in the Seattle system last year, so there's definitely upside there. All three starters are rumored to have a decent shot at the bigs.

Now if the O's can get Gallagher and others in exchange for B-Rob, 2010 could be a really good year in Baltimore.

February 7, 2008

Redskins Lose Out Again

ESPN is reporting that Spagnuolo will be staying in NY with a big raise. So what's Danny gonna do now? I'm just waiting for the announcement that he's chosen himself as coach.

NASCAR's Latest Name Change

Now that the Super Bowl is over, Daytona 500 commercials are starting to be more prevalent. One thing that jumps out of all these ads is that they talk about the "Sprint Cup." This, of course, is the name for the NASCAR driver's championship, previously known as the Nextel Cup, and before that, the Winston Cup.

I understand the reasons behind the changes (tobacco advertising laws the first time, a merger this time), but it still seems like a phenomenally stupid thing to do. For some perspective, imagine the NFL changed the name of the Super Bowl three times in five years. It would be a little confusing, right? College football does something similar when they change the names of bowls, but the major bowls generally don't change names, just sponsors. Anyway, if you're defending an action by comparing it to the bowl system, you've lost the argument.

The other problem with the latest move is that it confuses me every time I hear the name. As someone who watched a lot of SPEED Channel during college, I know that sprint cars are something totally different from stock cars. Giving your stock car series the same name as another type of car is just dumb. It's unfortunate that your sponsor has a name that's both a verb and a type of car, but you can't name your series the Sprint Cup.

This is a sprint car.

What about the fact that individual NASCAR races, let alone the 9 month NASCAR season, bear no resemblance to a "sprint." Naming the series the Marathon Cup would have made more sense.

I'm sure I'll get used to the new name in a few weeks, but for now it's driving me crazy.

Roger Clemens: Stained Blue Dresses and Bloody Gauze -- But What Does it Prove?

Reports are coming out today that Roger Clemens' accuser and former trainer Brian McNamee has turned physical evidence over to the federal government. What type of evidence you ask? How about used syringes and gauze containing Clemens' blood.

What kind of person would save used syringes and bloodstained gauze for half a decade? Perhaps the kind of people who know that in a he-said she-said battle, one man's story is going to get more credibility than the other's.

Perhaps the question is the same as asking why Monica saved the stained blue dress. I don't know about you guys, but most girls I know make an effort to REMOVE those stains from their dresses (after slapping me). Most trainers I know make an effort to dispose of dirty syringes and bloody gauze. But, perhaps, both were in the same situation.

Unfortunately for McNamee, the physical evidence isn't going to prove much.

Are there still traces of steroids in the syringes? So what? When did they get there?

Is Clemens' DNA on the needle? So what? Who knows what was in the syringe when McNamee injected him?

Is it Clemens' blood on the gauze? So what? McNamee would have had bloody gauze from injecting Clemens with lidocaine or whatever his other BS story is.

Is Clemens' blood on the gauze mixed with steroid residue? So what? McNamee had possession of all these things all these years. He surely could have tampered with them.

Here's the only possible rub: Can the dried, old blood on the gauze still be tested for the presence of steroids IN the blood. Not the substance itself sprinkled on the blood, but the blood itself actually indicating that steroids were in the bloodstream. (For that matter, can I borrow Schilling's bloody sock?)

Absent that, McNamee has just convinced more fans he's telling the truth, but he'll still be painted a liar by the Clemens camp and his supporters.
[In other news, Clemens is angling to meet personally with at least two D.C.-area Congressmen - retiring Northern Virginia Republican Tom Davis and Howard County, Maryland, Democrat Elijah Cummings. I'm not really sure what they'll discuss, but Tom Davis was instrumental in failing to get MLB to move the Expos to NoVa rather than D.C.]
UPDATE: Lester Munson was on Doug Gottlieb's ESPN radio show last night around 9:15p. He reminded me of some things I had forgotten, namely that Brian McNamee is a former police officer and thus understands preservation of evidence. He also agreed that McNamee likely distrusted Clemens and assumed he would be thrown under the bus should anything ever surface. In addition, Munson made the same Lewinsky blue dress analogy I made. His point was that this is not a "beyond a reasonable doubt" situation. Even old evidence can be damning evidence if everything corroborates one side of the story.

Who is Marcus Banks?

He's now the 4th point guard on the Heat roster, as the third player in the Shaq-Marion trade.

For the most part a journeyman in the NBA, he was a first-round pick by the Grizz in 2003 and has played for 3 teams (about to be 4). Supposedly he could have become a starting guard in 2006, but instead chose to back up Nash in Phoenix. He signed a 5 year, $21 million deal in 2006, but has never started consistently and is not putting up eye-catching numbers. So why do the Heat want him?

Damned if I know. Maybe the Suns wanted to get rid of him and his $4 million salary. The Heat already have Jason Williams, Chris Quinn, and Smush Parker. While Banks is supposed to be a good defender and has decent size at 6'2", it's hard to see him getting substantial playing time, even for one of the worst teams in the NBA. We'll see...

Adding to the questions, it was rumored that his choice of Phoenix had to do with its proximity to his home and school in Las Vegas. You have to wonder how he'll like Miami if he thought Minnesota was far from home. I wouldn't expect him to stay in Miami long.

February 6, 2008

Cal Nabs Big Recruit...Except They've Never Heard of Him

Read the whole story by Josh Barr of the Washington Post...

In a major coup, Cal nabbed 6-5, 290 pounder Kevin Hart out of Fernley High School in Nevada. At a press conference Hart, the first D-1 player ever to come out of Fernley, had an Oregon hat and a Cal hat on the table in front of him. He grabbed the Cal hat and put it on, signifying his selection.

Just one problem...Cal has never heard of Hart. Neither has Oregon. Neither has ANY D-1 college as far as the NCAA can determine.
hblahblah Wait, now Jesse Ventura holds the microphone at HS pressers?

The story is weird, but it gets weirder. Hart seems to think he spoke with Cal head coach Jeff Tedford. Someone approached him and loaned him some money, claiming to be a "recruiter". That alone is would be a violation of Nevada High School and NCAA rules.

I'm left to ponder a few possibilities:

1) Hart is crazy
2) Hart is brilliant, and drawing attention to himself after no one recruited him, or
3) Someone impersonated various college coaches and recruiters just to mess with Hart

Either way, it's bizarre.
[Update: According to police, Hart says the "recruiter" called himself Kevin Riley, and served as a middleman between Hart and various colleges. The only way that would be profitable for "Mr. Riley" is if he requested money for his services....which would make Hart ineligible for the NCAA anyway. I have to think there might not be much in the way of brains over in the Hart camp.]

Big Night in the ACC...

It might seem that every night of ACC basketball is critical, but tonight's games are even more important than normal.

Duke at UNC - This fierce rivalry will once again determine the top dog in the ACC after the first half of the year, and will provide bragging rights until the end of the conference schedule. Always a great game even if one of the teams is having an off year, this game should be extra-special this year.
Pick: Duke +4 (because of Lawson's absence)

It's not over til the clock shows 0:00.

FSU at Miami - After strong records before conference play, neither of the ACC Florida schools have been able to do anything in conference. Both have been competitive, producing OT thrillers, but neither have the wins to show for it. Miami is 2-5 in conference, FSU 2-6. Both desperately need a win, but it's even more critical for FSU (outside the top 80 in RPI).
Pick: FSU +5.5

Maryland at BC - A couple weeks ago, this would have been unimaginable, but this game is much more important for BC. After two blowout losses at UNC and at Clemson, a loss tonight would send BC to a weekend game at Duke with a 5 game losing streak (all in conference), and a likely 3-6 record in the ACC by the end of the week. On the contrary, Maryland has gone 4-2 in conference since their early loss to BC and is a much improved team. Another win on the road would cement the Terps' status at the top of the rest of the pack and firmly on the bubble (already last four out).
Pick: Maryland EVEN

GT at Wake - In the battle of teams no one expected to do well, this will be a turning point for either team. A victory by Wake sends them to 4-4 in conference and renews their confidence heading into the second half, but another loss could start a free-fall into the bottom of the conference standings. Similarly, Tech could get to 4-4 with a win and maintain a shred of hope for the postseason, but a loss would be devastating. Already 10-10 overall and 3-4 in conference, a loss would really kill their confidence going into road games at UConn and Clemson.
Pick: Georgia Tech +2.5

February 4, 2008

A picture worth a thousand words... or something else...

Well, this gives new meaning to "the thrill of victory." Or at least the phrase "unfortunate pose." Apparently David Tyree is VERY grateful to Eli for making his a household name who will forever be remembered in the annals of Super Bowl greatness. And look at the expression on Eli's face... he's into it!!! I haven't seen something this ambiguous since Ace and Gary starred in Robert Smigel's SNL cartoons. And we thought the Patriots were the ones who pulled the choke job last night...

15 Random Thoughts from the Super Bowl

Alright, so a truly fantastic game last night for football fans. Not so much if you like high-scoring affairs. But definitely one of the all-time great quarters of football. My random thoughts from last night's game:

1) Jordin Sparks looked INSANELY nervous singing the National Anthem. Didn't do such a good job training her on Idol for when the camera is actually on her. Over/under on number of times she puked before singing is 1.5. She did a fantastic job, reminded me of why I love her voice on Idol, but reminded me why she will always have trouble being a pop icon.

2) It takes a good villain or two for me, as a huge 'Skins fan, to be sitting on the couch next to my buddy, a huge Cowboys fan, and for both of us to be screaming for the Giants to win. Belichick and Brady were the perfect antidotes. Just enough for me to feel like screaming as the final second ticked off the clock, "THE TERRORISTS LOST!!!!"

3) Seriously... Tom Brady... ditch the Derek Zoolander thing. Ever since you've started banging supermodels you have a perpetual "I'm a million times hotter and more talented than you" pout on your face. Brady... meet Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyora.

Coming Soon: The Tom Brady Center For Children Who Can't Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too

4) Belichick, Belichick, Belichick... really how much can I say? We saw the ultimate example of hubris (Greek tragedy reference) in his choosing "field position" over a 49-yarder indoors. Really Bill? You gave up three points for seven yards? The fourth-and-13 playcall was ridiculous. Oh, and truly classy move watching the last play of the game from the tunnel. You're a prick. You always will be a prick. And just how long do you think your schtick of constantly berating players as "dumb motherfuckers" during film sessions will hold after your coaching genius cost Seau and Moss rings?

5) I liked the salesgenie.com commercials. Probably because I like my humor lowball, racialist, and slapstick. They worked. The other one that I liked was the Bridgestone commercial with the shrieking animals. And the Will Ferrell Budweiser commercial. But man, the days of Super Bowl Commercials being truly magnficent are gone.

6) Super Bowl commercial comment II: Eric Ogbogu on the Under Armour commercials is badass. But the new catchphrase doesn't have quite the same ring as "We must protect this house!!" Additionally, Under Armour including Kimmie Meissner and Vernon Davis in the same commercial... I get that you're trying to appeal to all sports, but that just doesn't work.

7) How exactly do tickets to the Super Bowl halftime show work? They must be separate tickets from the game tickets. People line up outside the stadium then they let them in right as halftime starts then they kick them out immediately after the show? I'd like that job to get 2,000 Tom Petty fans off a field in 100 seconds. That'd be fun.

8) Tom Petty Halftime Show >>>>>>> Britney, Aerosmith, Mary J. Blige, Nelly

9) David Tyree's catch set the new Gold standard. That play eclipsed "The Catch" and Swann's Super Bowl reception both in terms of pure importance ("Catch" was in NFC Championship Game, Swann's beautiful catch not on a game-winning drive) and in terms of athleticism and will.

10) I don't remember watching a Super Bowl in recent memory where the stadium sounded so loud and uncorporate. I'm not sure if that's because the "corporate" people who were there also happen to be from New York and Boston and therefore had dogs in this fight. But that stadium positively blew the roof off when the teams were trading scores in the fourth quarter.

11) Eli Manning is a warrior. I have so much mad respect for him this morning and it's sad to say, but the reason why the 'Skins couldn't do more in the playoffs is because, dare I say this, they don't have a QB as good as Eli Manning.

12) Does anybody else think maybe the Giants should give Tiki a ring just for being gone this season?

13) Does anybody know what nights House and the Sarah Connor Chronicles are on Fox? I just don't know and can't remember for the life of me.

14) I beat Brien in our pick-off, I won a lunch bet, and I had the seven-four square and won my grid game at the Super Bowl party. It was a good night. And Belichick and Brady lost. Even better.

15) I can't believe I'm at the point where I'm happier to see Boston sports fans miserable than I would've been to see New York sports fans miserable.

Spagnuolo to the Skins?

After the Fassel debacle, Redskins fans have been faced with a weak field of coaching candidates, looking for someone worthy of taking over for St. Gibbs. Watching the Giants defense demolish the Patriots and consistently get pressure on Tom Brady, I'm sure many Skins fans were juiced up over the idea of landing Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

In his last 3 games, Spagnuolo has coached the Giants to wins at Dallas, at Green Bay, and over the Patriots. Those three teams represent the best two offenses in the NFC and the best offense in the NFL. If Dan Snyder is looking for a hot young assistant coach to sign, there's no one hotter than Spagnuolo right now. The big question is whether or not Spags is willing to take the ego hit of accepting a head coaching job where his whole staff has already been hired. Would he take the Redskins job with those strings attached? He has to be upset that the Falcons job isn't open any more, where he would have had free reign When looking at those two jobs, you also have to consider who his boss would be. In Washington, he gets Tom Cruise's best friend Dan Snyder. In Atlanta, he would have worked for Arthur Blank, one of the most-loved and most-respected owners in the league. Maybe the Skins shouldn't get too excited about Spagnuolo just yet.

Let's go over the pros and cons of Spagnuolo for the Redskins:


  • Good assistant coach
  • Recently out-coached two of the best young offensive coordinators in the league (Garrett and McDaniels)
  • Respected by his players
  • Taking the Redskins job with the assistant coaches in place shows a disturbing spinelessness. The last thing the Redskins need is Vinny Cerrato Jr. coaching the team.
  • He looks disturbingly like Jeff Hostetler

February 3, 2008

Super Bowl Notes

Eli Manning is a Super Bowl MVP. Tom Coughlin won the Super Bowl. Peyton Manning showed real emotion rooting his brother to victory. Archie and Olivia Manning were nowhere to be seen. Tom Brady looked dazed and shellshocked the whole game. Bill Belichick was rude and terse in the postgame interview....ok, that's not weird.

What a great Super Bowl. Eli and David Tyree had the game-changing play when Eli shook what seemed like 14 pass rushers and then stepped up and delivered a jump ball, which was caught by Tyree after he had it balance on the top of his helmet for a split-second.
blahbla hblahblah Suddenly, this isn't hilarious anymore.

Even more impressive, Plaxico Burress underestimated the Pats points output AND actually made a great play, freezing Ellis Hobbs on a slant-flag in single (!?!?!?!?!) coverage.

New England just went from greatest team ever to arguably the fourth best team ever. Now they have the horrible distinction of being the best team to NOT win a Super Bowl, and you could even argue for a couple other teams in that category.

Pats Feel Slighted by Jordin Sparks

Bill Belichick today lamented the latest indignation suffered by the Patriots. The league, again trying to undermine the Pats, selected American Idol Jordin Sparks to sing the national anthem. Of course, Jordin is the daughter of former Giants' cornerback Phillippi Sparks.

Belichick said, "It's not fair for the league to show preference to one of the two teams participating in the Super Bowl. Between ignoring the death of Marquise Hill, suspending Rodney Harrison for taking steps to protect his body and punishing us for taping Robert Kraft's grandson's bar mitzvah afterparty at the Meadowlands, the league and new commissioner Roger Goodell have it out for us. This is the last straw. Phillippi's daughter? Teddy Bruschi has cute kids too you know."

Belichick suggested that John Edward Thomas Moynihan should be allowed to coo backup vocals. Thus far, the league has not responded to his request. Vegas has taken note, however, and moved the spread to favor the Patriots by 37. The over/under was not changed.

It's Super Bowl Sunday...

And I would be remiss if I didn't post this YouTube find of one of my most vivid memories during the formative sports fan years... this was the first Super Bowl I ever watched from start to finish with my dad and I will never, ever, ever forget this game. I dare say that we will never see a Super Bowl game swing quite like this in the span of one quarter.

Not to mention that if you're not a 'Skins fan, this clip is 9 minutes of 80's broadcast sports goodness with some bad graphics, bad mustaches, and Ali Haji Sheikh!!!