July 17, 2008

Understanding the British Open Through Caddyshack

Without Tiger, the British Open field will be mostly unfamiliar to casual golf fans. However, everyone is familiar with Caddyshack. For your viewing pleasure, I have related many of the major players at Bushwood to a Royal Birkdale "contender". This should simplify your weekend, and allow you to yell movie quotes at the television.

1) John Daly as Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield)

Who else could play the loud-mouthed, drunkard who constantly fails to respect the quiet gentlemanly demeanor of the game?

2) Sergio Garcia as Ty Webb (Chevy Chase)

There was a time when Sergio Garcia was the heir apparent to the throne of Tiger's Bitch. The problem is that being Tiger's Bitch required being in consistent contention each tournament, which Sergio never managed to achieve. Now he's kind of a faded star, existing on the fringe of golf consciousness and only really relevant when people are scratching their heads trying to figure out who could win this thing. Ty Webb, Chevy Chase's character, is a wasted talent rotting away at Bushwood in bitter self-loathing. (Then again, Chevy Chase is a wasted talent rotting away in bitter self-loathing.)

3) Jean Van de Velde as The Bishop

"The Good Lord would never disrupt the best game of my life!" The Bishop uttered that line as he was racing to squeeze a round in before an impending thunderstorm. He was unstoppable. Balls came back to the hole. Chips all sank. Even bullfrogs couldn't get in his way. Then he uttered that line and took a lightning bolt to the head. One can only imagine that Jean Van de Velde might have had similar thoughts in 1999 as he only needed to avoid double-bogey to clinch the British Open. Well, we all know what happened. In a later scene, The Bishop is seen drunk in the club, fighting Judge Smails' efforts to cut him off. I definitely think Van de Velde might have found the bottle after he was struck by lightning.

Oh, and Van de Velde IS back this year.

4) Ernie Els as The Doctor
Throughout the movie, The Doctor is just kind of there. He's a companion to Judge Smails, but doesn't even really seem to like him. That's kind of Ernie's role the past decade or so. He's always just there in the background somewhere.

5) Trevor Immelman as Danny Noonan

The movie centers around Danny Noonan, the just-out-of-high-school caddy with nothing to lose and nothing to gain at Bushwood. He flirts on the edge of adulthood in a pregnancy scare with his Irish girlfriend, and by trying to fit in at one of Judge Smails' uptight parties, but he's really just enjoying the moment. Then, pressed into action following an injury to Wally, Danny helps Ty win the big cash game against the Judge and the Doctor. Trevor Immelman reminds me of Danny. He was just kind of plugging along as a good golfer before he had a little cancer scare in December 2007. Doctors removed a golf-ball sized lesion from his diaphragm. It ended up being benign, and Trevor ended up winning the Masters a few months later.

6) Phil Mickelson as Judge Smails

Stick with me here. Judge Smails is characterized by having a horrible temper and by being a stickler for the blueblood country club rules. That doesn't sound much like Lefty, right? Luckily, I am informed by Seinfeldian lore as well. Phil has been chanting "Serenity Now" for the past decade, as he struggles to cope with his own failures. As we all know from Lloyd Braun, serenity now, insanity later. When Phil Mickelson is paired with 22-year-old Korean-American Anthony Kim on Sunday, he's going to lose it. I just hope he can avoid a Fuzzy Zoeller moment afterwards, telling the press he fears kimchi will be on the menu next year.

Honorable Mention - David Feherty as Groundskeeper Carl Spackler

First of all, I had to find a way to get Bill Murray's classic existential groundskeeper into the post. Second of all, who other than Fairway Feherty could quote the Dalai Lama and say, "Gunga din. Gunga gunga din." with a straight face and actually mean it seriously?

So.... there you have it. Like a Kenny Loggins song, we're all just waiting for Tiger's absence to end. Hopefully we can add some humor to this whole faceless event. Use of this Caddyshack soundboard is strongly recommended.

Kyle Busch Is This Year's Jeff Gordon

We've seen Kyle like this a lot in 2008. (Getty Photo)

Kyle Busch has dominated the 2008 NASCAR season so far, and much of the media attention has naturally gravitated toward him. As a result, it sounds like many people are prepared to crown him the Sprint Cup Champion already, ignoring the resetting of points when the Chase begins. How quickly people forget that at this time last year Jeff Gordon was in exactly the same position, yet he failed to win the Championship.

After 19 races in the 2007 season, Gordon had amassed a 303 point lead over 2nd place Denny Hamlin, and only two drivers were within 400 points of him. Gordon had 7 poles, 12 top 5's, and an incredible 17 top 10's. His 4 wins left him tied with Jimmie Johnson for most victories through the first half of the season, but he had almost a 500 point lead on his teammate. Gordon appeared invulnerable. Think I'm exaggerating? Check out this WaPo article from October of last year.

Gordon was #1 last year, until the end. (AP Photo: Patrick Collard)

By the end of the season, Gordon had an absolutely staggering record. 30 top 10's in 36 races, 21 top 5 finishes, and 6 wins highlighted an incredible year. Unfortunately for him, Jimmie's 10 wins, many coming in the Chase, left Gordon 77 points short when it mattered. Resetting the points brought Johnson back even with Gordon, and Johnson had possibly the best 10 race stretch ever and left Gordon wondering what went wrong.

Johnson was just a nose better in the Chase last year.

Fast-forward to 2008: Through 19 races, Kyle Busch has very similar numbers with 12 top 5's and a 262 point lead over 2nd place Junior. Gordon actually had more top 10's (17 to 13) and a bigger points lead (303 to 263), and the top 5 is more bunched up this year. The only area where Busch has been better is in the win column (7 to Gordon's 4). Those wins will amount to a slight lead when the Chase starts, but the overall profile is eerily similar to Gordon's 2007 season.

Kyle Busch better hope history doesn't repeat itself in the Chase this year. Love it or hate it, the Chase levels the playing field and minimizes the effect of a fabulous first 26 races.

Tour de France Doping Scandal #3: Ricardo Ricco

It'll be at least two years til we see Ricco like this again.

Now it's getting serious. Today, the entire Saunier-Duval team was withdrawn after Ricardo Ricco ("The Cobra") tested positive for EPO. Saunier-Duval had been having an unexpectedly good Tour. Ricco had already won 2 stages, and his teammates finished 1-2 on the toughest mountain stage so far. This appeared to be an up-and-coming team worth watching and maybe worth rooting for. We can all save our breath because they're not going anywhere now.

This is by far the biggest and most damaging news for the Tour this year. By figuring prominently on the toughest mountain stages, Saunier-Duval was making its mark on the Tour. I also think it's fair to say that Ricco was one of the most promising young climbers in this year's Tour. Now we know why.

Ricco, the doper on the right, with his withdrawn team.

Unfortunately, I think this casts doubt over most of the Tour field. Cyclists from three different teams have now tested positive during the first half of the Tour, and one whole team has been withdrawn. Tour officials did indicate that about 20 riders were under suspicion at the start of the Tour after testing near the limit for a blood component commonly associated with EPO use. While I'm happy that the cheaters are being caught, I'm unspeakably disappointed that professional cyclists continue to feel it necessary to use performance-enhancers. It's also quite dumb for them to use EPO, for which there is a reliable test. Regrettably, one is left to wonder if the other teams are clean, or if they're just better at hiding their usage.

Ugliest Famous Faces in Sports

Are these eyes even human?

Joe Torre - Well-known player and current Dodgers manager, it's a good thing Torre does his job well. No one enjoys looking at him. Thank you, Steinbrenner, for getting rid of Torre in NY. Not only are the Yankees not as good, but we don't have to see Torre as often on national MLB broadcasts.

Dean Smith
- Considered by many to be the greatest college basketball coach ever, UNC's coach was never a looker. As he got older, he started to look more and more like the leper in Braveheart.

Roger Federer - The #1 tennis player in the world would normally have his choice of the hottest females in the world, but not with an ugly mug like Roger's. Roger and his longtime girlfriend turn heads, but not in their direction.

Does this make him and Monica Seles the ultimate ugly tennis couple? Judge for yourself. One look from her might turn you to stone.

Randy Johnson - The Big Unit is one of the best pitchers ever, and one has to wonder how much his face and overall intimidation factor have to do with it. Can you imagine seeing that pock-marked face on top of a 6'10" frame throwing 100 mph heat at you? Just ask Kruk how that feels.

Pierluigi Collina - One of the best soccer referees ever, Collina has a unique appearance, unique enough that some pictures make you wonder if he's even human.

"Greetings, earthlings."

The serial killer look suits him as well.

"Chianti and fava beans, anyone?"

Dishonorable Mention: Coach K and a variety of Duke players (Battier/Boozer/Shelden Williams/Hurley/Laettner)

"Ugliest face? Who, me?"

July 16, 2008

Tour de France Doping Scandal #2

So as predicted, where there is one doper, there are more. Today, Spaniard Moises Duanes Nevado of team Barloworld was pulled from the Tour after testing positive for EPO. Fortunately for the Tour, so far neither of the riders who have been caught matter in the overall classifications, nor have they won a stage. Let's hope that the system really is working, and slowly but surely the cheaters will be purged.

Sorry to go off-book, but...

We here at ECB are a bipartisan bunch to say the least. We've got some liberals, some conservatives, and some people who don't really know what we are. We'll let you all guess which contributor is which.

That said, I think that with the impending election, I would be remiss if I didn't post this latest JibJab cartoon on the 2008 election. Regardless of whether you're a Barr supporter, a McCain supporter, a Nader supporter, or an Obama supporter (in alphabetical order so as to not promote any one candidate), or if you're still trying to figure out your butterfly ballot from the 2000 election, you will get a good laugh out of this cartoon.

Send a JibJab Sendables® eCard Today!

Can Kyle Busch Get to 13 Wins?

Kyle Busch won his 7th race of the year on Sunday at Chicagoland with a late pass of Jimmy Johnson, extending his championship lead to 262 points. He's a lock to make the Chase, so lots of the drama surrounding the rest of the season will be the question of whether he can get the all time record for wins in a season.

Richard Petty (1975) and Jeff Gordon (1998) both have 13 wins in a season, which is the record in NASCAR's "modern era." Petty accomplished the feat in only 30 races, while Gordon had 33 starts. If he starts every race this year, Busch will have 36 chances to win.

Kyle's 7 wins come in the first 19 races of the season, so in order to tie the record he'll have to win 6 of the last 16 races of the year. Can he do it? Three of those races (Talladega, Dover, and Atlanta) will be at tracks where Busch has already won this year. Another four races (California, Phoenix, New Hampshire, Bristol) are at tracks where Busch has won in previous years.

The big question is how the Chase format will affect his run at 13. When Petty and Gordon set the record, there wasn't a Chase for the Cup, so by the last few races they had all but locked up the championship. For the last 10 races this year, Busch will be locked in a tight battle for the Cup. This could make him less likely to go all out for the race win, but knowing Kyle's "checkers or wreckers" mentality I doubt it. What's more likely is that other drivers around him will be points racing late in the season, so they may not try a risky pass on him.

I think Kyle has a really good shot at getting to 13 (or even 14) wins, but anything can happen in 16 races. It should be fun to watch.

Best and Worst of MLB All-Star Game

Best Part of the All-Star Game: Getting to watch the game's best pitchers against the best hitters until the wee hours of the morning. The pitchers won easily this year, with only a couple exceptions.

Worst Part of the All-Star Game: Managing for the contingency of an extra-inning game. Managers are under pressure to get everyone in the game, and rightfully so. But when the game goes 15 innings, you just don't have enough pitchers on the roster. Obviously it's nice not to end in a tie, but there comes a point where you just run out of pitching. Making the game count did not fix this problem. You can't send some team's best starter out there for 5 innings in the All-Star Game, or in this case Cook for 3. (At least it was his own manager doing it.) And we would all feel robbed if they had a position player pitch, assuming there's even one left on the bench to do so. Another unfortunate aspect is that all the best players are already out of the game, so the fans aren't getting extra chances to see the players they voted for in extra innings.

Best Deja-Vu Moment: Michael Young getting another crucial, game-winning RBI in an All-Star Game off a top closer. And the AL winning again.

The Yankee fans were in pain with the struggles of their own.

Most Disappointing: The New York players. Captain Clutch did nothing with people on, grounding into a double play and leaving 2 on in his next AB, while A-Rod was 0-2 with a K. Rivera needed a well-turned DP to get out of the 10th. For the Mets, Wagner had the worst outing of any pitcher. So much for a big statement in the Yankee Stadium farewell. None of the Yankees even played the last 5 innings.

Most Embarrassing: The Marlins defense, specifically the middle infield of Ramirez and Uggla, posted 4 errors on grounders, two of them consecutively. One was on a bad hop, but the other three were just poor. 3 errors in an All-Star Game is not the record you want, especially with them all in extra innings. Only a magic show saved Uggla from being the goat. Interestingly, the AL error was also from a team in Florida.

Least Embarrassing: Nate McLouth gunning down Dioner Navarro at the plate to extend the game. Also, Russell Martin has some pretty sweet defensive skills.

Best Magic Act: Aaron Cook. Bases loaded with nobody out, and then 2 on with 1 out in consecutive innings. Runner on third with only one out in his third inning. 0 runs scored.

Most Deserving Player: Lots of people wrote off Miguel Tejada after the steroids stuff and the rumors about his age. He's been great for Houston this year, and he was great in this game. He made a great defensive play to bail out Uggla, and he generated a run to make it 3-2 with a hit and a steal. Tejada was 2-3 plus an intentional walk. I guess he's not as out of his prime as everyone thought. JD Drew gets some credit too, he did one or two things right.

Least Deserving Player: Billy Wagner showed why he did not deserve to play in this game, giving up an ER after coming into the game with no one on and 2 out, surrendering the one-run lead.

Francona's managing in this game was very considerate.

Most Classy Act: Terry Francona, manager of the most hated team of the fans in attendance, did a wonderful job of giving the fans every chance to applaud each and every Yankee. By making switches mid-inning, the fans could applaud each player individually, instead of just realizing they weren't out there any more. In addition, Francona spared everyone the pain of seeing Varitek hit. It was much appreciated. The only thing that went a little wrong was that pulling K-Rod for Rivera so quickly took away innings from his bullpen, innings that would have been nice to have later in the evening.

Least Classy Act: The Yankees fans booing Papelbon so lustily. And Joe Buck. Wonder where he wishes he could have been this time.

Best Commercial: Well, not exactly a commercial, but this is what I watched during the commercials: Best Damn Hooters Swimsuit Pageant. Of course I was only watching to hear them answer the questions on the world's problems.

Who needs cheerleaders when you can flip to this?

Worst Commercial: Honda Pilot wants to advertise it's "Ride Ready". I'm definitely going to buy a big SUV on the off chance that a hot-air balloon full of nudists (not hot females) need a ride. Right.

Hierarchy of "Could Be Worse" Moments

So Dan Uggla tried to boot away home field advantage in the World Series for the NL with back-to-back errors to open the bottom of the 10th inning. With runners on 1st and 3rd and nobody out, later loaded after an intentional walk, the AL grounded out three straight times to save Uggla from All-Star Game Goat status.

But seriously, where does All-Star Game Goat even fall on the hierarchy of could-be-worse moments? After some scientific research, I have the answer. These are ranked from worst to best.

5) Boyfriend Following Tommy Lee - Ok, you got a, err, crack at Pamela Anderson. You managed to cleave her from Tommy Lee. Great job big boy. Except it might not be a stretch to say that he put a pretty good hurting into that first. Congratulations on the achievement, and hopefully California's community property laws will leave you with enough assets for therapy.

4) All-Star Game Goat - You made the All-Star Game, so things can't be that bad. Then again, you're in the game in the 10th inning, so you aren't exactly top billing. Had this happened back in 1982, when people still really watched the game, it might be memorable. As it is, it's a one-day story and trivia answer. There are definitely worse things...like being Bobby Murcer. They seriously saved his memorial montage for the bottom of the 11th inning?

3) Canadian Football Hall-of-Famer - What an achievement! You have reached the pinnacle of your sport, earning a spot in the hallowed pantheon of legends like Doug Flutie, Pinball Clemons, Mike Pringle, Warren Moon (NFL, too) and Junior Ah You. Of course, this only works if you define "your sport" to mean exactly like the NFL except for 10 extra yards in the middle in the field and in each end zone, a weird one-point fair catch and a missing down. Otherwise you're just like a Carolina League All-Star - big fish in a pretty small pond.

2) 10th Place - Hawaiian Tropic Swimsuit Contest - You figure it out. I just wanted to post the picture to make up for talking about Pam Anderson and giving you Kid Rock.
Mmmm, yummy.

1) Ringo Starr - You are one of four members of the unquestioned greatest musical group of all time. The only problem is that you are also by far the least talented. This is the ultimate in could-be-worse. I mean, look at you. You would have married a chubby buck-toothed factory worker's daughter in Liverpool, but you could keep simple drum rhythms while Lennon, McCartney and Harrison worked melodic magic in front of you. Yeah, the word Ringo is pretty much slang for the weakest link in any group, but you'll take it.

Got any other bright ideas?

July 15, 2008


J-Red seems to be following in the footsteps of Bill O'Reilly in only publishing on this blog the most uninformed, venomous, angst-filled diatribes against the Nationals, written in The Washington Post by somebody who has admittedly never set foot inside the stadium. J-Red's post is available here for those of you who are too lazy to scroll down our blog to read it: http://www.east-coast-bias.com/2008/07/piling-on-more-nats-abuse.html

Man, J-Red, I would love to try a case against you if your primary reliance is on such strongly authentic evidence based upon... oh... ZERO personal knowledge (See Md. Rule 5-602). For the counterpoint, I will offer the following article, from today's Washington Post:


I would reprint it here, but it's long, and I'd prefer not to have the Washington Post suits after ECB for reprinting an article in full. But the article is entitled "Nationals Stadium Gets High Marks from Fans" and actually interviews... hold your breath now J-Red... ACTUAL FANS who ATTEND THE GAMES to portray the fact that despite the team being utterly horrendous (don't even ask me to defend Bowden or the team's strength and conditioning and training staffs right now), and despite some low marks for the high price of food, overall, fans love Nats Park. Myself included.

According to J-Red, this is Nationals Park on an average evening home game.

If you haven't gone yet, I highly recommend taking the recommendation of the article. Go the day of the game and buy $5 grandstand seats. Then just hit the Red Loft for a beer and some food. Basically you've just upgraded your seats by about eight price levels, you're surrounded by some of Washington's finest intern "scenery," and be sure to take a break and walk around the stadium and hit the other game-watching vantage points along the first base line and up high with sweeping views of the city beyond.

J-Red, I know you're up in Baltimore County, so maybe you're not really familiar with the biases of the Washington Post columnists. But FYI, relying on Norman Chad for an opinion on Nats Park is roughly like relying on Courtland Milloy for an opinion on affirmative action.

Tour de France Rest Day Report

After 10 stages over the past week and a half, the overall picture of this year's Tour de France is starting to become a little more clear. While yesterday's high mountain stage to the top of Hautacam propelled Cadel Evans into the yellow jersey, it all but ended the hopes of Alejandro Valverde and Damiano Cunego. Those two riders face gaps of over 4:30 to the lead, which will be difficult to overcome in the next 11 stages.

So who still has a chance to ride into Paris with the yellow jersey?

Cadel Evans

Turn off the waterworks, Cadel. You didn't win shit yet.

In the lead by 1 second, he raced very defensively over the first week of the Tour. Yesterday was the first time it seemed like he was exerting himself at all. He also had a bad crash on Sunday, but recovered well.

I'm still not sure he has what it takes to win the Tour, even in a weak field. Armstrong, Landis, and Contador all seemed to have those "I'm not left handed" moments where they could kick in another gear to leave a group of struggling rivals behind. Evans tried one big acceleration in the ride up to Hautacam, but wasn't able to shake the group he was with. We'll have to see if he has that ability in the coming stages.

Evans' big advantage is his time trial ability. If he comes into the second time trial within about 30 seconds of the lead, he's likely to win the Tour.

Frank Schleck
Schleck looked very strong in the mountains yesterday until the final 2K. He's had a great Tour so far, but he's not likely to win, especially since his team (CSC) will probably be more focused on helping Carlos Sastre.

Christian Vandevelde

It's great to see the American hanging strong halfway through the Tour. I think everyone was a little surprised that he was able to keep up with the contender group up the mountains yesterday. It would be shocking for him to win, and in order to do it he'll have to do more than follow. On one of the Alpine stages he would need to put in an incredible breakaway.

Garmin-Chipotle has to be thrilled with his performance so far. This is the team's first year in the Tour and Vandevelde's performance validates their approach of having the strictest anti-doping regimen in cycling.

Denis Menchov
I don't think Menchov has shown his cards yet. He didn't put in much work in the lead group up the mountains, but he also didn't appear to be struggling much at all. He may have a big move up his sleeve for one of the later mountain stages.

Carlos Sastre
My pre-Tour pick is still looking strong, but like Menchov he didn't show a whole lot in yesterday's battle. His big advantage over all the other contenders is that Team CSC
is probably the best team on the road. He won't run into situations where he doesn't have any help from his teammates (like Kim Kirchen did yesterday).

Riccardo Ricco

Sure, he claims he isn't trying to win the Tour. Yeah, he's 2:30 down on Evans. I know he looks like the kind of Eurotrash you'd find in a cruise ship discotheque. He's still the most explosive rider in the Tour. He could put 5 minutes on the field in one of the upcoming mountain stages, don the yellow jersey, and never look back.

Out of Contention
  • Kim Kirchen - he's not that far back, but he's not strong enough to make up the time
  • Alejandro Valverde - looked great in the first week, but lost it on the mountains
  • Damiano Cunego - there are always those guys who in hindsight make you think "why was he ever considered a contender?"
  • Stefan Schumacher - just not good enough
The Road Ahead
The race comes down out of the high mountains tomorrow with a moderately hilly stage followed by three flat stages. Don't look for the yellow jersey standings to change much until Sunday, when the riders start climing the Alps and cross into Italy.

The overall classification certainly won't be decided until the L'Alpe-d'Huez next Wednesday and the final time trial on Saturday 7/26. It's still a wide open race and there should be lots more excitement (and, unfortunately, doping scandals) to come.

July 14, 2008

Tale of the Tape - Favre v. Rodgers

In honor of Nick Bakay's appearance on 'Til Death last night (might have been a re-run. I'm not exactly a fan of the show), we will settle the Favre v. Rodgers dilemma the only way we know how: THE TALE OF THE TAPE.





Ability to Rewrite the English Language

F-A-V-R-E = Farve. Probably only
because Madden couldn’t say Favre with a mouth full
of infatuation slobber.




Vicodin, Alcohol, Throwing deep
into coverage

Hair product

Favre, especially because he beat the vikes and the Vikes.

Beer of Choice


Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

PUSH. Busch
somehow is popular in Mississippi.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is popular among women who want to empty my wallet.

Biggest Fan

Peter King, John Madden, Jim Nantz

Aaron’s mom, Aaron’s wife, the entire recruiting staff at Cal.

Rodgers, even
if we’re using “biggest” in terms of gravitational pull. Aaron’s mom, I’m libelously guessing, is a heifer.

Biggest Enemy

Brett Favre

Brett Favre



Cameron Diaz’s ex in There’s Something About Mary.

Seriously. Cameron Diaz used to be a hot jokerface. Now she’s just a jokerface. Brett Favre is like the Justin Timberlake of cameos. He had her
at her peak.

Favre, though I think I saw Rodgers in the background of a Kroger commercial.

Celebrity Look-Alike

John Wayne

Dave Grohl/Elliot Yamin

Favre. I could even see him taking up smoking.


Some variation of a shortishmale-appropriate hair cut.

Goes from dirty hippie to fauxhawk.

Favre. No points for originality, but that beats -10 for


Kiln, Mississippi

Chino, California

Rodgers, in an
upset. Chino is known for weed
and dumb chicks. Kiln is known for Brett Favre.

Most Endearing Quality

Rugged manhood combined with boyish enthusiasm.

Not actually playing quarterback.

Favre. ‘Tis always better to take the known MVP over the unknown product from the school that gave us eternal rookie Kyle Boller.

TDs, Consecutive Games, Wins,
Pass Completed, Yards, Madden Covers

A shitload.

Relatively speaking, if Favre’s accomplishments are like the best Playboy party ever, Rodgers’ are like the coagulated semen in Mark Chmura’s hot tub after having the neighbor teen over for some wine spritzers.




Yer squeezin' too hard.

This picture might be the wrong Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers. Ok, so
I couldn’t find a picture. I read that his wife is from Nashville, and she must be younger than Deanna. Deanna is awesome, but I’m assuming Aaron has better tail at the moment.

And Favre wins by an impressive 7-3-2 margin. I think the results make GM Ted Thompson's decision obvious: totally screw over Aaron Rodgers and hope like hell Brian Brohm ends up being the actual QB of the future.
This is J-Red channelling Nick Bakay and reminding you the numbers never lie. Ok, interception numbers can lie. F-ing Bubba Franks.

Piling On - More Nats Abuse

Norman Chad (a writer between his annual stints killing what's left of the poker craze) has a comical though scathing column in the Washington Post this week about Nationals Park. He's not a fan.

Redskins Kept Trademark, Likely Will Lose Radio

If you didn't read the NFL Roundup from Friday, you may have missed that the Redskins won their federal challenge to the Trademark Office's decision to cancel the Redskins' trademark as racially derogatory. The District and Circuit Courts for D.C. both cited "laches", the equitable concept that prevents defendants from being prejudiced by suits brought long after they could have been.

It ain't over yet.

The Native American group, led by Susan Harjo, heading the fight against the slur is considering a new strategy. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has just bought a group of radio stations through his Red Zebra Broadcasting group. That means he has to obtain new FCC licenses for the stations. That means he needs FCC approval. That means this is the first possible opportunity the Native American group has to challenge the anticipated daily use of the epithet on the airwaves. That means the laches defense that has been so successful for Snyder in the courts is not going to be an option.
Danny Snyder Little Napoleon
They're going to challenge it, and they're very likely to win. Imagine Snyder's furor when the FCC tells him his licenses are approved, with the minor caveat that he can't use the word "Redskins" on "Redskins Radio". Oops.
Ironically, who knows better than Snyder what it's like to feel bad every time you turn on the radio. I mean, isn't that why he bought WTEM, SportsTalk 980, in the first place, canning just about everyone?

Snyder, who obtained the rights to "Washington Warriors" when the Redskins' trademark was first temporarily cancelled, will have a difficult decision to make. Does he take a monster loss on his newly acquired radio stations, or does he finally cave and change the team's name to protect his other investment? Snyder would be caught between a small garden gnome and a hard place.

Stay tuned...just not to [expletive deleted] Radio.

Home Run Derby = Yawn

I wanted to see this tonight, oh well...

Usually, the Home Run Derby is one of the more exciting events of the MLB All-Star extravaganza. What could be better than watching the best sluggers in the game crush as many as they can? Whether you like the individuals or not, watching them hit the ball 450 ft repeatedly can be enjoyable. Who can forget Big Mac crushing balls over the green monster, or Albert Pujols or Barry Bonds... ?

But this year, the lineup leaves quite a bit to be desired for various reasons. The AL lineup is Justin Morneau, Evan Longoria, Josh Hamilton, and Grady Sizemore. The NL lineup is Chase Utley, Dan Uggla, Lance Berkman, and Ryan Braun.

So what's wrong with that lineup, you might ask? The NL has 3 MVP candidates lined up, while the AL has some of the superstars of the game including the likely rookie of the year in the AL.

Stop screwing around, and give the hometown fans someone to cheer for.

What's wrong is that the great home run hitters of this generation are not represented. A-Rod and Manny both recently passed the 500 HR milestone, while Griffey hit his 600th this year. Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols are two of the best HR hitters in the game right now, but none of those 5 players will be swinging for the fences tonight. Nor will Vlad Guerrero, David Wright, Chipper Jones, ...

Depending on your definition, at least 5 of those players are from small-market teams, meaning that the percentage of fans who see these players on a regular basis is quite small. In addition with their youth, very few have established a name for themselves beyond the last year or two. Berkman leads this group with 281 HRs at age 32, while Utley only has 122 career HRs.

Berkman is the senior statesman of this derby, at 32 with 281 HRs.

The derby is supposed to be for the fans, a chance to see the stars who they love hit the ball as far as possible. Instead, the fans get a bunch of solid players, but none of them are known for bashing the ball out of the park for the last decade. When was the last HR derby without a single hitter in the 300 HR club?

I'm not saying it isn't nice for the small-market players to get some recognition, because those 8 are all quality players, at least this year. What I'm saying is that I'd like to see some of the many future Hall-of-Famers swinging tonight, instead.

Billy Packer Dismissed from NCAA Broadcasts

According to ESPN.com:

Billy Packer's streak of Final Fours is over after 34 years.

Packer, a color commentator, will be replaced in CBS' coverage by studio analyst Clark Kellogg, according to media reports Monday.

Jim Nantz will continue in his Final Four play-by-play role.

Packer, 68, will leave CBS after 28 years to pursue "other projects in basketball," according to The Miami Herald.

An announcement was expected Monday.

Tar Heel fans collectively to Billy Packer - "shut up old man, or I'll break your hip."


I have really mixed feelings about this shake-up. Packer apparently took tons of heat for declaring that the game was over when Kansas was up by about 30 on UNC in the National Semi's this past April, only for UNC to put a huge scare into Kansas and almost come back. I think that freaked out the suits at CBS more than anything, because nothing makes a producer happier than hearing their broadcaster practically encourage viewers to turn a game off with some hour and 30 minutes left in the broadcast. Not like that would piss the advertisers off.

I also dislike Packer for being smarmy, crotchety, and generally speaking, playing the "angry old man" role next to Jim Nantz. Packer could find something that he disliked about anything. Hell, Jesus could be playing basketball against Moses one-on-one, each shooting 100% from the half-court line, with a tie-game in the final minute of play, and Packer would complain about the defense. Personally, it irks me that everytime I put in my tape of the 2002 NCAA Championship game (which is more and more often just to remind myself that the Terps were respectable not too long ago at basketball), I have to hear Packer comment at least twenty times during the First Half that it was the ugliest National Championship game he's ever seen. But you know what? I think more than anything the truth hurts.

But I look at it from this angle as well... Packer provided quality color commentary. He knew the game inside and out. He knew what he was talking about, even if he pissed you off when he was saying it. I can't imagine Clark Kellogg bringing the same degree of insight to the broadcasting table. Nor can I imagine Kellogg conveying the same degree of excitement that Packer could convey. Because for all of his "old man-ism's," when a game was on the line, Packer conveyed the excitement in an understated, non-Gus Johnson way.

I do think the broadcasts will suffer for Billy Packer not being there. All told, I think that the broadcast team of Nantz-Kellogg will just be too mellow for such an important game as the National Championship Game.