Running around to Give you the Reacharound


Bawlin' Cawlin' 02-26-09

At this point I'm truly doing my best not to think about the present condition of the economy. Every time I switch on the news, another 5-10,000 folks have lost their jobs, the stock market has hit it's lowest closing since 199x, and people are flocking in mass exodus away from the one state in which I'm trying to get a job. Things are bad, and until I see even a smidgen of something resembling an iota of hope, I avoid as many details of the macabre nature of our collective financial situation. And then Sue's crinkles our nose as we pick up a foul odor permeating the air after catching wind of more disconcerting economic news.
How much of this goes to Sprewell's kids?

According to the report:

[The] NBA plans to borrow $175 million to distribute to teams in need of additional cash.

The deal comes at a time when leagues are laying off staffs and cutting ticket prices. It will allow the NBA to distribute up to $11.66 million to 15 teams that responded to a league survey gauging interest in the money, SportsBusiness Journal said.

The report also says JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America arranged the private-placement deal, in which non-banking lenders extend the cash at a fixed rate. In this case, the interest rate is 8.27 percent for $100 million; 7.45 percent for the remaining $75 million.

Teams can use the money for any purpose.


So much to say here. Really, where am I supposed to start? That the NBA is getting 7.45% and my hand-to-mouth ass is getting bent over for 30% +? I'd really like to know which teams are in need of and extra 12 millie so I can criticize every move they make. Perhaps it will be all 15 of my favorite teams and I'll no longer root for them.

In any case, it's borderline despicable that the government, and therefore we the people, are shelling out billions to save the banks, while the banks are shelling out a few hundred millie to basketball teams who's primary product are a bunch of supremely overpaid athletes. I hope the players are smart enough to realize that there will be a considerable backlash in the coming months - if not years - from the consumers directly targeted at these millionaires who contribute little more to society than a high-end circus show.

get me wrong, I am the first to recognize the dedication and hard work put into becoming an elite athlete every day of their lives. I am also a firm believer that anything someone is willing to pay you is what you're worth. But when they can no longer pay you and your salary becomes the investment of a Bank likely to receive billions in Federal bailout money, then you become - in the eyes of millions of Americans - overpaid, undeserving and a large part of the problem this country is facing. Unfortunately, fair or not, if this story builds up steam and gains traction in the American conscience, the players will take a huge amount of blame and resentment from the public.

Not that their rich asses care.

OBJ: 11-5
Joe Friday: 11-5

The parity in our respective gambling skills is just stunning. This competition is clearly more exciting than the plan to build an enormous telescope in Chile large enough to see "The Cosmic Eye." Interestingly enough, I believe they called it The Alan Parsons Project.
Could be the other-worldly explanation for our 69% winning percentage.

Today's Picks

OBJ: Cleveland/Houston OVER 185

I stared at these lines for 45+ minutes. Couldn't figure it out. The "insider" information didn't help worth a shit either. Just confused me with like, numbers and stuff. Going with the gut.

Joe Friday:
Phoenix (+12.5) over Los Angeles


Party like its 2002

If you pretend he came over with Kotchman, suddenly that trade doesn't seem as bad!

This whole offseason has been a surreal one for the Atlanta Braves, and a significant departure from how business has been done in the past within this organization. During his tenure as general manager, John Schurholtz was loathe to talk about any and all impending transactions. Big signings and trades just happened. I still remember a teacher from my high school assigning me to Work Detail (like a poor man's detention) for hearing me exclaim "what the fuck? really?" upon hearing from a friend of the Andres Galaragga signing. You never know what signing or big trade JS was going to swing next. Sure, it was frustrating trying to guess what was going to happen, but you always had trust that 9/10 times, the move was going to work out.

Unlike his predecessor, current GM Frank Wren has shown no such hesitation in explicitly stating his desired targets to the media. This offseason alone, Wren has publicly expressed interest in pitchers AJ Burnett and Jake Peavy as well as SS Rafael Furcal and OF Ken Griffey Jr. When none of these players were acquired, Wren was left with a whole 'lotta egg on his face.

Suddenly, Schurholtz code of omerta seems genius. He never put himself or his professional integrity "out there" at the whims of agents and millionaire athletes. He never had to give countless interviews after the fact as to why this or that signing/trade never worked out, because we were all kept in the dark about these deals.

On the other hand, not only was Wren exposing himself for being held to these mythical signings before pen was put to paper; but twice this winter, he has been submarined by media reports detailing a potential signees' future role with the Braves.

Case #1 happened when word got out that the Braves intended to move Furcal to second base, possibly against his wishes. Once the Dodgers ponied up similar cash, Furcal was back on a plane to LA. Case #2 occurred just last week, when media speculation pointed to Ken Griffey Jr. sharing left field duties with Matt Diaz in a platoon role.

In a press conference after Griffey decided to return to Seattle, Wren pointed to a premature AJC report on the Braves signing Griffey as a reason for the center fielder's change-of-heart. These are the facts:

1. Terrance Moore quoted a source, a close friend of Griffey's, as saying he was close to signing with the Braves.

2. The AJC took some headline liberties, all but inferring that Griffey was a done deal.

3. Griffey chose Seattle because they offered him a kush post-retirement deal, similar to what Hank Aaron has here, where his only job is to smile for the cameras and appear on-field for pregame ceremonies and the like. If any media report had ANYTHING to do with Griffey going to Seattle, it was the one indicating a possible platoon.

4. A laughable war-of-words breaks out between the team's two beat writers over this crap.

5. Tim Hudson, who probably won't even pitch in 2009, verbally confronts AJC beat writer Dave O'Brien, who never wrote a word about Griffey officially signing with the Braves. Cuz Hudson clearly would have benefited from Griffey's .268 average and 15 homers in 110 games this season.

Re-read that list, and ask yourself if anything resembling that above situation would have occurred under Schurholtz.

Luckily, Wren gets it right, well as right as you can get when going after possibly-washed-up left fielders, with the signing of Garret Anderson. Other than the not-to-be-discounted-but-probably-overrated marketing angle, Anderson is by all accounts a better fit for this ballclub. He's less injury prone than Griffey and can hit lefties at a rate nearly as well as he can hit righties. His batting average, as well as his low strikeout rate, dwarf Griffey's numbers over the last few years, and he comes in with a similar OPS to Griffey of late. He's also a defensive upgrade; and most importantly, this avoids the Braves heading into the season with an OF rotation that looks about as appealing as the fish sandwich platter at your local pool hall. While Matt Diaz will certainly get some run, we're probably not looking at a lock of a platoon situation.

(And yeah, I like Diaz and his '06 and '07 seasons were epic for a pinch hitter. Color me unconvinced as to him being an everyday player.)

So basically, it all worked out okay for the Braves. They got their bargain basement, former star OF. They got their sentimental 5th starter in Tom Glavine. They signed a couple of solid (fingers-crossed) middle of the rotation guys.

They also got Derek Lowe instead of Jake Peavy. Ok, I'll probably never get over that one. Ugh.

All in all, the Braves entered this offseason with a lot of holes and were able to fill most positions of need. It just took a whole lot of backroads and detours to get there. We'll see how this offseason works out in the long run, but there's definitely one man that's glad its over.

If only he could gaze as lovingly at his GM-ing methods...

Bawlin' Cawlin' 02-23-09

I sincerely hate to disappoint, but every once in a while you've got to have a representative of inadequacy for superlatives' sake. For example, this is the shortest Bawlin' Cawlin' to date, and likely will be forevermore.

It seems that the Atlanta blog-nation is convinced that Mike Woodson has done all he can here in the A. Some are more convinced - if not more enthusiastic - than others. Some are reaching - quite far - for answers where are none. I think a few Atlanta bloggers are so fed up with the same ongoing themes they are unsure of how to approach the topic any longer. Sue's is a firm believer that while CMW may not be a bad coach, he's not the right coach for this group of guys. I remain steadfast in my belief that he'll be gone within weeks of the end of the season. Which is the right move.

OBJ: 11-4
Joe Friday: 10-5

It's difficult to comprehend our winning percentages, isn't it. With SJF hittig a respectable 62.5%, and myself hitting a more respectable 78.5%, our combined betting might is sitting pretty at a solid 70%. I don't know...the amount of money we're making on our own private bets is more exciting than receiving a huge severance package...then getting it taken back!

Today's Picks

OBJ: Atlanta (+8) over Utah

This is probably not going to end well. I really just wanted an excuse to get back on the hobbled three-wheeled Hawks wagon, and this high of a spread seduced me. I'm weak. C'mon, Baby Hawks!

Joe Friday: Golden State/Los Angeles UNDER 228


Bawlin' Cawlin' 02-19-09

Sooooooo, let me get this straight. Today at 3:00 p.m. the NBA trade deadline passed, and the most exciting move was Rafer Alston to the Orlando Magic? WHOA-ly shit, man! You mean Tyron Lue wasn't the answer you were looking for? Crazy.

The thing is, I can't decide if I'm more edgy because the trade deadline was such a disappointment, or because as a Rockets fan (yes, I realize it seems like I root for more teams than actually exist; it's a running theme, deal with it) I am completely perplexed by this move. I won't get into specifics, but does this really help the team? I suppose I could always root for the Magic again (sarcasm), like I did when they had that amazing Penny-Shaq-Nick Anderson-Dennis Scott-Brian Shaw lineup. Anytime you're bringing Horace off the bench, you're a team for the ages (serious).

In any case I'm sad to see T-Mac hurt. Again. I'm always a fan of unlimited yet seemingly, hopelessly unfulfilled potential. I see a lot of that in myself I suppose. Griffey, Jr. Bo Jackson. T-Mac. These players I really feel for and similar players I will always root for, because there's just something I find infinitely compelling about an individual facing unfathomable expectWHOA whoa whoa. Is he reading VENUS MAGAZINE?
"Well I'll be GODDAMN. The description reads 'Women in Music, Art, Film and Fashion,' but it's so much more than that. I have such a profound level of respect for OUCHIE! I think that was a paper cut...nope! Nope just a brief scrape!"

So the NBA trade deadline passes without nearly as much excitement as last year (Kidd, Shaq). No matter, NBA. Who cares if the biggest news in your industry today is Sir Charles returning to broadcasting, or that the Tiger Woods news completely eclipsed everything currently going on in your industry. Who cares? You've got the whole Boston/L.A. thing going again, right?

To the picks.


OBJ: 10-4
Joe Friday: 10-4

Back even, this is more exciting than getting a free gym membership for being a weight fluctuater!

Today's Picks

OBJ: San Antonio (+1) over Detriot

I hate it when it seems this easy.

Joe Friday: Boston (-2.5) over Utah


Bout to Confuse the Hell Outta Y'all

Well, I wanted to do a Hawks 1st half season recap. And I'm currently wasting a rainy Wednesday night watching this Hawks-Kings clash of the titans. So unfortunately, it looks like you're getting one of those half-liveblogs, half-posts that meshes about as well as this lovely lady and any article of clothing smaller than a tablecloth. Enjoy:

We pick it up with about 5 minutes left in the first...and the Tyson Chandler trade to OKC is rescinded? Wow. Everyone in New Orleans rejoices except for George Shinn. Karma's a bitch.

I hate being so Shanoff-esque, but this game really is a must win for the Hawks. They haven't proven that they can beat a quality team on the road, and a 1-4 roadtrip is a very real possibility. Add in the fact that the Hawks are benefitting from the Kings' apparant fire sale, and you

GOOD GOD! That woman behind Nique is stacked and ain't afraid to show it. Unfortunately, some of the money put into those boobs could have been better spent on some botox. Then again, she's sitting VIP at an NBA game and I'm sitting on my buddy's couch drinking a half- frozen Killians, so maybe I should just shut the hell up.

Joe misfires a three that leads to a sequence where Solo misses a dunk and Kevin Martin nails a 4-point play to take the lead. Joe just seems injured or tired out there...he's not himself.

Fucking Shelden Williams just brings down the house with a two handed jam. What the hell is going on out there? I'm glad Shelden feels the need to prove he really did deserve to hold his spot ahead of Solo in the rotation last year.

Solo on the baseline is not the shot you want to try and regain the momentum after a shitty end to the first half. Halftime fools.

Now that we're here, some thoughts on the 1st half of the Hawks season:

1. The lack of development by these young cats on the Hawks kills me. Big Al's offenseive production has seemingly plateaued. Drew and Larry (Larry Drew?) can go to the mattresses over where the problem lies on this issue; but if Al isn't getting the touches, it can be attributed to the fact he hasn't yet shown he's a more legitimate scoring option on the blocks, than say Josh Smith or even Marvin Williams. Why hasn't he developed this skill while the tools are clearly there? Therein lies the coaching question.

2. Marvin Williams and Josh Smith have shown flashes of brilliance that remind you that they do indeed have all-star level talent. Then they'll throw up a 5 point/30% shooting stinker. No consistency from these two, and still have unfufilled potential in their 4th and 5th years, respectively. Not good. But do be on the loookout for a big 2nd half from Marvin on the contract tip.

Back in the 2nd half, Sacto is controlling the pace of the game. Kevin Martin is fun to watch in a "any team prominently featuring him will suck" kind of way.

Bibby nails a big three followed by knocking down a couple free throws, which leads me to point #3 about the first half:

3. Bibby has been outstanding. Everyone has benefitted from having him controlling the ball, allowing JoeJ to free himself up in crunchtime, never turing over the rock and shooting lights out from all over the floor. Having a team of solid defenders behind him has helped mask his liabilities on that end, but there's not many PG's that would fit better with this squad than Bibby.

Between Udrih, Martin, Garcia, Hawes and Jason Thompson out there, I think the Kings combined weight out there is approximately 500 lbs and nary a bicep in the bunch. Their S&C coach definitely ain't earning his keep.

Spencer Hawes on Joe. All day baby. Joe looked like he was playing in slow motion and still ran that in.

Horford runs the break, feeding Josh for an easy layup. Usually a center trying to pull off a pass like that is girlfriend-talking-to-your-grandparents awkward. Big Al pulled that off like he was CP3. Without being a whiny ass.

Arrrgh Joe pulls up for an 18-footer in a 1-on-3. I'm convinced he's injured or completely fatigued.

Fernando Garcia plays like his pregame meal consisted of three rolls. If he was on my team I'd hate him, but I'm strangely enjoying the hell out of watching this. The fact they have Spencer Hawes throwing up 3balls helps, no doubt.

4. I know it's the last year of his contract. I know he's regressed or plateaued since his first year here (noticing a trend?). I know that his "age" ("24") may not be all it's cracked up to be, but I still see potential in Zaza, espicially on the defensive end. Not to go all Michael Lewis on you, but hes really improved his defensive positioning and rebounding ability. I think that tough/dirty persona he gained in that Celtics series has helped. As far as Euros go, he D's it up with the best of them. Do with that info what you will.

Al takes it up against a double team for an easy deuce. I'm all about it. When Joe ain't on, feed it to Al. Josh will get his points like he normally does. You can't run an offense through him. Let Horford learn on the job. Whoever the hell is gonna play outfield for the Braves will have to!

Bobby Jackson has been in for like ten minutes tonight and is probably the Kings best player outside of Martin. Pretty much sums up their season, right there. Give it to Spencer Hawes some more, though.

Annnnd....I've been on the phone for the last four minutes of the game. Take away my fan card.

After the Kings get a favorable call, Udrih turns the ball over and Joe is at the line to effectively clinch the game. These Kings remind me of the Hawks from 00-05. They. just. don't. got. it.

Joe misses the second shot, Kings ball, down by three. Maybe Joe would be better at these end-of-game-must-make free throws if he was more adept at getting to the line DURING THE OTHER 47 MINUTES OF THE GAME.

Nice offensive rebound by Marvin, and we're in the drag it out phase of the game. Solid win against a shitty team. Always gotta love a win on the back end of a back-to-back though, so I'll take it. Win one of the next three on this trip, and you're sitting pretty for the second half of the season. 32 wins! In February! I'll sleep to that.

When Does Bret Boone Get His Trophy?

In an attempt to pen the most worthless article in the history of ESPN the Mag (quite a feat, indeed), Rick Reilly decides to take back all MVPs awarded to "suspected steroid users" and place them in the hands of "their rightful owners."

For instance, he takes the 2001 MVP away from Barry Bonds, who, with or without steroids, an all time great that by every statistical measure was the best player in '01 (when you know, 75% of the damn league was juicing) and gives it to...Luis. Gonzalez.

The same Luis Gonzalez that averaged 12 homers a season over the first seven years of his MLB career before putting up the following homerun totals in the years prior to steroid testing becoming commonplace:

1998- 23
1999- 26
2000- 31
2001- 57 (his "MVP" season)
2002- 28
2003- 26

Notriously scrappy, all-natural hustle guys like Moises Alou, Mike Piazza, Albert Pujols and Carlos Delgado also pick up this shiny, brand-new, make-believe hardware. Thank you Rick Reilly, for expunging the sacred MVP award of any steroid suspicion whatsoever.


Retrospecticus: NBA 08-09 1st Half

Can any of these guys win a title without a Hall-of-Famer by their side? Yes, fuck no, hell no.

First of all, reach out to Joey's work on the NBA's season thus far. The truth he speaks on the inherent predictable nature of the NBA answers many a question as to why fantasy basketball sucks compared to its' football and baseball counterparts.


Say you have two situations:

Situation 1: The NBA's final four teams at the end of the playoffs are San Antonio, Cleveland, Boston and the Lakers.

Situation 2: The NBA's final four teams include someone not mentioned in that above group.

Gun to your head, if you had to guess right now, which of the above situations seems more likely? This is some MLB-type eliteness at the top of the food chain. And the thing isn't that each of the above teams don't have some flaw that could hurt them in May; but, that I don't see any others moving up to this group. The most likely contenders?

Orlando: Take it from a Hawks fan. The Anthony Johnson-Tyronn Lue PG combo ain't gonna play. Dwight Howard still can't take over a game in crunch time; mainly because without Nelson, he doesn't have a playmaker that can spread the floor enough to get him the ball. And oh yes, his free throw shooting is still a detriment as well. This year's Hornets.

Atlanta: Nuff said. But more on this later.

Miami/Detroit: Definitely have the playoff experience to give Cleveland or Boston a series, but unless Jermaine O'Neal can ratchet it up a notch to a level unseen in a few years, Miami doesn't have the depth or defensive presence to compete with either squad. Of any of these teams, I think Detroit could upset one of those teams, but they have to figure out that whole AI/Rip substitution pattern thing. Their post presence is severely diminished as well, as 'Sheed and McDyess are more washed up than an OCD following a trip to a public restroom. Affalo, Amir and Maxiell still haven't cashed in on their considerable upside, and very well could join Carlos Delfino and Darko in the "Never Will" panthenon of Pistons Potential.

Denver: Love the Billups trade obviously, but we've seen a few times now that these guys can not compete with the Spurs in the playoffs. As good as that trade was, it ain't changing that.

Speaking of that trade, what does it say about AI that, once again, he wasn't able to make it work (playoff wins-style) with yet another high scoring talent. So off the top of my head, we got Stackhouse, Hughes, KVH, Glenn Robinson, CWeBB and now Melo. The deepest he went into the playoffs were with those role-player heavy teams featuring Aaron McKie, Mutombo, ESnow, George Lynch and the like. Now they're having rotation issues in Detroit with AI while Denver is thriving with Billups? I've loved watching AI since Georgetown, but it may be time to admit he a team prominently featuring him in the crunch time lineup isn't winning a title.

Portland: Too young. Tho unlike many giving up on Greg Oden already, I do see him developing into an elite NBA center. Dude missed a year with an injury and is a rookie. He's 20. And he's averaging 9.3 and 7.8 on a playoff team. Calm down. He'll be fine.

Phoenix: Call me crazy, but I still see these guys as contenders. I'll won't waste anymore pixels typing about them until I see what they do with Amare.

Utah: Yeah, they're probably not beating LA/SA in a seven game series, but once again, mad dap to Jerry Sloan. His all-star power forward misses damn near the whole year, he's trotting out Deron Williams and a bunch of overachieving role players, and yet they remain in solid running for the division.

New Orleans: Yeah, that was a fun one year run. Maybe in retrospect (or even at the time, jeezus that was terrible) signing Peja to 20mil more than anyone was offering wasn't the brightest of moves. Anyways, in their current financial quagmire, do you trade Chandler or David West? The team plays .500 ball w/o Chandler and his 10 games over .500 with him. His defensive presence is clearly significant. West is their only low post scoring presence and makes three years left. Tough choice.

Along the lines of what I said earlier about Dwight Howard, I don't see a team with Chris Paul as the best player/number one option ever winning an NBA title. For one, dude is a bitch. Second of all, he would need a legit big -- I'm talking stud all-star, not a solid David West type -- to feed the ball to down low. He can run those pretty pick and rolls with high-flying forwards all day, but unless he has someone that's a threat to draw the defense down to the basket and allow him some time to set up shop and either create or take his own shot on the perimeter, his teams will always hit a brick wall against a good defensive squad. However, after today's trade, we won't have to worry about that for awhile.

Dallas: The dream is dead. Dirk can pass his "oh-so-fucking-close" title to Howard/Paul as truly elite, maybe even Hall-of-Fame caliber players that will never lead a team to a title. However, this squad ain't his fault. The depth and high-powered offense that defined the Mavericks in the earlier part of this decade is long gone, and with it any hope of Dallas making it back to the western finals or beyond.

Houston: OBJ and our buddy C-Los swear they're contenders. I say T-Mac is Penny Hardaway from five years ago and Ron Artest hasn't been able to stay on the court consistently all year. Yao Ming's inevitable injury has yet to come. Yes, I realize that Shane Battier is now the best player on the team, but whatever. Moneyball don't translate to basketball like it does to baseball (another topic, another time).

Speaking of much does that guy really have left in the tank? I mean, big guy plays 50-70 games for the Rockets every year, then he's got his offseason commitments for the Chinese team. Does anyone play more basketball then this guy? If he isn't playin' ball, he's rehabbing basketball-related injuries. Does this guy have any semblance of a life off the court? Has anyone seen a picture of his wife? Is it some 6'6 basketball star from China that the Red Folk have forced him to get with? For being one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, we really know NOTHING about this dude. And in this day and age, that's pretty cool.

So anyways, back to the point at the you see any of those teams knocking off one of the big four? I can't. So who ends up playing for the title in June?

I like the Lakers over the Spurs in the west. The Spurs really just have JACK SHIT outside of their Big 3. Matt Bonner getting crunch time minutes is weak. Finley, I'm finally sorry to say, is washed up. "OBERTO" sucks. And Bruce Bowen...jeez, enough with the praise for this guy. He is an average at best defender at this point. And that's his strength. He's truly one of the worst starters in the Lig. Outside of my beloved Hawks, I'm rooting for these guys to win another title, because I love everything about how this team has been built and the swagger they carry themselves with, but I don't think they can roll with the Lakers this year. Kobe finally doesn't have to carry the team for nine months but can defer to his teammates more often than he ever has or likely feels comfortable with. He'll be fresh and ready to carry the offensive load come playoff time. His teammates will have more experience having parts of the offense run through them. They got this.

And that 'bout says it all. Whether Boston or Cleveland (in Cleveland's case, barring a major trade...Boston has no deal in them) wins the east, the title will run through LA this season. Of course, I thought the same thing last year, so what do I know?

I intended for this to end as a Hawks related post, but I doubt you want to read 3,000 of my words, much less 7, that post will come later on. Methinks this west coast trip will leave us Hawks bloggers ripe for some bitchin'.


Bawlin' Cawlin' - 02.15.09 - ALL-STAR EXTRAVAGANZA

I'm sure their respective sexual escapades from the previous night were discussed.

This year marks the third edition of Sue's annual NBA all-star betting spectacular (better name coming next year). One of us picks the west, the other the east. If we can't pick sides immediately, we put a spread on it. Then, we pick our choices for game MVP using the following drafting procedure: 1-2-2-1-2-1. And because at this point you're dying of anticipation, here's how this year's went:

OBJ: LeBron
Friday: D-Wade
Friday: Kobe
Friday: Amare
OBJ: Duncan

$100 to the guy who chooses the correct MVP. $100 to the guy that picks the winner of the game. A tie will likely lead to gambling withdrawal and a haste to make a bet, any bet possible. (Last year's: "Given the baseballs taken to the face by pitchers in recent year, coupled with that Rockies 1st base coach that died after taking a line drive to the head, will pitchers be wearing helmets in 15 years? Discuss.)

2006's version ended with us, after driving a bar tab upwards to the Mendoza Line, getting angry with our bartender for growing irritated with us, stiffing her with a weak-ass tip, then returning the next day to make nice and give the properly gratuitize. Clearly not our finest moment.

2007's version neither of us can remember. I think I picked the losing team.


OBJ: 10-3
Joe Friday: 9-4

No matter how close this race remains until the bitter end, I doubt the excitement will ever beat steppin' into a lock of a payday from Wal-Mart.

Today's Picks

OBJ: West over East

Joe Friday: East over West

No lines today, bitches. 5th-grade playground style bettin' up in this.


A Return to Normalcy

We have very few rules here of Sue's, but one of them is that never, ever, ever is it acceptable to have a picture of a shirtless Alex Rodriguez, or any male period, at the top of this site. After all, we don't want OBJ's dad's thinking his longtime suspicions/nightmares are confirmed. So with that in mind, we give you SI's Swimsuit Issue cover girl for 2009, "Bar Refaeli."

And thus begins The Countdown: T-minus one month until my stepdad, who apparantly hasn't discovered internet porn, attempts to slyly send me a copy of this year's issue in an unmarked envelope.

Personally, my choice for the cover would have been one "Brooklyn Decker"...the only model who, in ten years of my stepdad passing along these time relics, has actually prevented me from flippin' through the issue in about twenty seconds.

(h/t to YepYep, via SI i'm sure, for the pics)


A-Fraud, A-Roid, A-Hole, A-Bad Pun

Now this picture can bring up other thoughts besides "GAY!" Or not.

"The American people need leaders who will focus on stemming job losses and getting credit to flow in the marketplace before hearing from yet another person who cheated both himself and the game of baseball."

-House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman Edolphus Towns (D-NY).

Finally, someone in congress gets it. Now only if the media could follow suit. The same media that is wringing their hands and their necks over Alex Rodriguez's admission that he took performance enhancing drugs from 2001-2003. The same media that seems to be the only people outraged by this news.

Look, baseball fans don't care about who has or hasn't taken steroids. MLB attendance has risen to and remained steady at record levels since the (allegedly, i guess) steroid-induced McGwire/Sosa homerun chase. If attendance falls this year, it will be because of the economy...not because hardcore MLB fans cowered at the thought of their beloved (hah!) A-Rod doing steroids and couldn't bring themselves to purchase tickets and pay for $7.50 beers any longer. No matter how much sportswriters try to make their voice heard as to why this whole era is awful on baseball - because you know, the gambling issues, segregation until 1947, dead ball era, and cocaine problems of the 80's never happened- at the end of the day, us baseball fans want to see dominant performances by our best players. Period.

(Note: This reminds me of visiting NYC with a friend from college a few years back. We were on our way back from a Yankee game (vs. A-Rod and the Rangers...irony!), rode the subway like typical southern tourists, and ended up at a Harlem subway station at 2am. While we waited the 30+ minutes for the next train to come, my friend mentioned that she felt that because baseball has such an American/apple pie/playing-catch-with-your-dad charm to it, it's players should be subjected to harsher penalties to regarding steroids, than say football or basketball players.

Throwing aside the racial connotations to her theory, I quickly told her that comment was iditoic and one of the reasons I mostly try and avoid talking sports with females (OBJ's paramour and Ray-Ray afficianado aside). Little did I know that over the next few years, the sentiments shared by this 20-year-old female who watched maybe fifteen minutes of sports every year would be repeated ad naseum by Mitch Albom, Mike Lupica, Bill Plaschke and their ilk, who have done far more damages to their bodies at buffet tables than Roger Clemens ever has in a training room.)

I get it. The 'sanctity' of baseball has been ruined. Believe me, as much as I hate seeing Sammy Sosa's name up there with Willie Mays' on all-time lists, I still can't get worked up over steroids. It appears the majority of baseball players from roughly 1995-2005ish was using roids, PEDs or some other kind of supplement.

Due process and all that shit, but in this case everyone is guilty until proven innocent. Those folks who find it unfathomable that someone like a Chipper Jones, Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols or any other fan favorite ever touched the stuff is kidding themselves. Nobody is beyond suspicion. Anyone who honestly thinks that Manny Ramirez or Big Papi never dabbled with PED's is not only delusional, but also a Red Sox fan. Sure, I like to think that childhood idols such as Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Griffey Junior and Frank Thomas never juiced (after all, their careers followed the normal pre-steroid superstar arc), but nothing would surprise me at this point....ok, any of those four getting caught would, but nobody, not even Schilling, would shock me anymore.

And ya know what? I still don't care. I, along with most all other fans, will watch baseball all summer and cheer on the Braves and their patchwork outfield. I won't be deterred by A-Rod's PED confession, because I don't care and I neither does any other real baseball fan. I have alot of friends who follow sports, and not one has had their fandom affected in ant way, shape or form by the steroid era in baseball. Gambling problems, segregation, cocaine epidemics, a deadball hasn't exactly always been about competing on a level playing field. So why start now?

Fans, players, owners have moved on. It's over, media members. Try not get your panties in a wad over trying to dig up some old Bret Boone photos from the year 2000. It's a shame your ability to get on a high horse is enhanced by the fact you hold the ability to carry your self-righteousness out through Hall-of-Fame ballots; but, whether these alleged perpetrators are voted into the Hall, their exploits on the field will not be forgotten (for better or worse) by baseball fans of this generation. No plaque in Cooperstown or congressional hearing can change that.


Bawlin' Cawlin' 02-06-09

The Most Official Bitches. And our soul mates.

Dear Women of Married to the Mob,

We don't want to sound like creeps or anything, but we think you are the most righteous girls EVER. Now, look. We're sure that you get this all of the time, but MTTM and Runaround Sue's were MADE for each other! Observe:

Once we discovered your most recent audacious display of, what your "ill" squad refers to as, "officiality," we were instantly hooked right in. We're not going to lie, we were going to hop a flight to NYC and demand that you hang out with us. But we quickly realized you don't have your corporate office address on your website. Ladies, your screen is not big enough for the frowny face I want to express to you when we discovered that.

You think it's cool that you got kicked out of a Knicks game for being drunkenly obnxious and putting some preppy scarf-wearing Blackberry-playing punk ass in his place? We think it's WAY FUCKING AWESOME. I mean, we often get kicked out of the seediest Mexican joints in Atlanta because we're too drunk. How is that even possible? Were we destined for each other? YES! Girl, I didn't even know it, but SJF and I have been in TONS of phone book battles. We just didn't know what it was, let alone there was a NAME for it!

For the record, it was the "love tap on the grill" that really pushed Friday over the edge. He wants to marry one of you. He's a good kid. Give him a chance.

The problem is, because you apparently took down your blog from your website (does it have anything to do with those jerks sitting in front of you, and the sweet insults you posted under their pictures?), so now we have no way to prove to our buddies that we found the perfect women. We don't know what to do. We even contacted our favorite adviser, world-renowned poker player Antonio Esfandiari, but now that line will be worthless.

I don't know how to convince you that Runaround Sue's is as Official as Married to the Mob, ladies. But we need you. Alvin and his boys had The Chipettes, and that's what you are to us. You are the perfect female counterparts to us...the sexy yin to our manly yang. We will not stop until we've shared drinks with you in New York, convincing you that you are our cosmic twins.

Please accept our friendship request on MySpace, and know that it's only the beginning.

OBJ: 9-3
Joe Friday: 8-4

Knowing that we just met our spiritual and blog-exual match in Married to the Mob is NEARLY as exciting as this close race.

Today's Picks

OBJ: Atlanta (+1.5) over Charlotte

That's right. I'm going right back with the Hawks. A Hawks team that has lost four of its last six. But the Bobcats are not only...well, the Bobcats, they're also without they're best player, and Juwan Howard, who's expected to start to make up the difference, was out with a sore toe yesterday. NO JUWAN HOWARD?? You're going DOWN, BOBCATS!!

Joe Friday:
Hawks/Cats OVER 179


Making Sense of a Senseless Process

Unfortunately, #4 really lacks breakaway speed.

Like every other sane person, I claim not to care much for college football recruiting. Worrying about where 17 and 18-year-olds I've never heard of, whose names all sound the damn same, are heading to college seems like, and has proven to be, a colossal waste of time. Yet every year seems to play out the same way for this Dawg fan:

Winter-Spring-Summer: Georgia starts to receive verbal commits from 3 and 4 star recruits, mostly from in-state. Barely an eyebrow is raised, as every player sounds the same. Explosive speed! The (15-30th) ranked (position) in the (region)! A Georgia fan for life! Fills this need!

Occasionally a player's stats will blow your mind, like Matt Stafford's HS numbers, or in the case of this year, RB Washaun Early's. Actually what intrigued me most about Early and his HS teammate Dexter Moody was that they were from a town called Twin City, GA. Where the hell is that? Oh. Never seen a street view on GMAPS of a town square that prominently featured a tool shed and an abandoned parking lot.

This group also usually features the blue chip prospect (Murray, Stafford, AJ Green, D'Angelo Tyson) that Richt seems to stick his claws into early in the process. The type of player that if he signed with us on signing day, Georgia fans would be turning Japanese over, but we seem to take for granted early in the process. Probably because NOBODY HAS EVER SEEN ANY OF THESE PUBESCENT RUNTS PLAY AND/OR BARELY KNOW THEIR NAMES. THEY'RE HIGH SCHOOL JUNIORS FOR CHRISSAKE, YOU FREAK.

Late Summer-Fall: Georgia continues to fill out their class with top talent from across the southeast. For some reason, this seems to include a bevy of wide receivers best described as anywhere from 'mediocre' to 'above average.' And, oh yes, a bunch of white offensive linemen. Maybe even an undersized corner with blazing speed, as well as way too few defensive linemen.

Somewhere in late summer, you'll probably check the rankings for the first time to see where we stack up against the national powers.

"Oh...#9...cooool, basically where we end up every year, in every ranking."

"USC, LSU, Texas all up there? Of course. Fuckers."

"Good to see Notre Dame can still afford to buy players...ditto Ohio State and Ron Zook."

"Why is it Steve Spurrier always seems to recruit a good class at SC and yet they consistently blow?"

"Holy hell, why the hell would anyone want to go to FSU???"

Et Cetera. Once the real season starts, recruiting is nary a thought until you read a story about a top-ranked recruit sitting in on a particularly bad loss. Then you cringe.

January: The season is over. In the search for an ounce of football, your remote pauses on one of the fifty high school all-star games televised regionally or nationally. You see kids announcing their college choices on the sideline and wonder why the fuck your school didn't sign that guy. JEE-ZUS I THINK THAT'S THE 10TH GUY THATS SIGNED WITH ALABAMA DURING THIS FUCKING GAME. WHAT THE HELL ARE OUR COACHES DOING? FIRE WILLIE MARTINEZ!

The AJC starts covering high school recruiting like they would if there was a panda orgy at Zoo Atlanta. You can't help but read and be intrigued by the quotes of the young'uns on where they visited and what they thought. You start getting excited when some player (a 4-star!) says he's seriously considering your school. The same names start appearing over and over again, and you can now differentiate between the 'Jarvis Jones' and the 'Abry Jones.' Kids start flip flopping. You begin to hate all 17 and 18 year-olds, espicially the little fucker driving daddy's Beamer in front of you. You begin to resent Pete Carroll and his built in recruiting advantages, while acknowledging that if you were a big-time college recruit, you'd prolly pick USC in a split-second for said advantages.

Signing Day/Today: Georgia wiffs on some big names.




Then you begin to realize what I mentioned above. If the Earlys, Staffords, Greens, Murrays, etc. had just committed on signing day instead of early in the process, we'd be ecstatic. And isn't it better that they committed to Georgia so soon? Doesn't that signal their desire to be 'true Bulldogs' and their overall commitment to Georgia? Of course! And look, we still have a Top 10-15 class, Richt is a great coach, Garner is a great recruiter; and who knows, we might still get another guy, but if we don't, we didn't have many 'ships to give this year and we locked up a nice class early. I'm sure we'll be ahead of the game in 2010 too.


(By the by, note "competitiveness" as one of his weaknesses. How the hell do you gauge that in a 17 year old? I once bullshitted my way out of almost a week's worth of practices in high school to hang up homecoming signs while flirting with girls. Dude has probably been the best athlete on every athletic field he's sniffed since he was seven years old. Who cares if he doesn't go across the middle in the 3rd quarter of a 42-0 game? Gimme a break. And also... dap to Brown for this prank.)

At the end of all this, Signing Day boils down to one day, between January and August, when College Football is King again. And no matter all the creepiness and empty emotion that is involved in this unique process, more college football is always a good thing. Fin.


Things Were Going So Swimmingly...

This is good.

No, seriously, this is good.
Olympic superstar Michael Phelps could face criminal charges as part of the fallout from a photo that surfaced showing the swimmer smoking from a marijuana pipe at a University of South Carolina house party. A spokesman for Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, who is known for his tough stance on drugs, said Tuesday the department was investigating.
Where can I take this story? "Ooooh, a 23-year old is smoking dope (allegedly)!! He's at a party (allegedly)!! Combine his alleged poor decision with other intoxicated youngsters and you have an INCREASED LIKELIHOOD OF RISKY BEHAVIOR!!!" Nah, too easy. I've been preaching that one for...well I guess I smoked too much dope to remember when I started. But definitely some time around then.

How 'bout, "Stop picking on celebrities! They have just as much of a right to enjoy the limited freedoms we still have left as any other person! What he does in the confines of a home is..." Nope. Can't go there either. I only saw parts of Eyes Wide Shut but I'm pretty sure, through that movie alone, there are certain things rich people shouldn't be doing behind their walls.

Wait. I've got it.

Quit the backstroke NOW or I'll blow your FUCKING BRAINS OUT!!

Over-glamorized cops! YES. You see how I did that without the assistance of an editor? Found a completely ludicrous story, and actually pinpointed the one relevant aspect of its existence. Let's begin:

Sheriff Leon Lott is a highly decorated officer, which I completely respect. Graduated from the FBI National Academy, FBI National Executive Institute and Harvard University's John f. Kennedy School of Government, a board member for D.A.R.E. America, 2004's South Carolina Sheriff of the Year and a two-time winner of South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers' Association's -- Toughest (SCLEOAT?) award, I'm sure he's saved countless lives by removing crack from the streets (honesty) and putting a major bummer in the days of criminals who think they can just DANGEROUSLY SIT THERE STONED DOING NOTHING (sarcasm).

According to ESPN:

"The Richland County sheriff has long sought to fight drug crimes. He rose from patrol officer to captain of the narcotics division in the early 1990s, after the television series "Miami Vice" made its splash.

Lott played the part well. He wore stylish suits and had long hair then. He drove a Porsche seized from a drug dealer and even worked undercover with federal agents in Florida."

Well. The good news is, if I was wondering weather a police officer or public servant (read: District Attorney) was a limelight-chasing attention-grabbing narcissistic glory hound, someone who once PLAYED THE PART OF CROCKETT WELL would certainly not be on my checklist. So, we're safe with two-time SCLEAOTer Lott.
"Things I like? Oh, geez good question! How 'bout...cupcakes, only the icing! and uh, lazy Saturdays, busting drug runners, guacamole dip, having my picture taken, Lay-Z-Boys, Moolattes..."
Let's go deeper:
"The bottom line is, if he broke the law, and he did it in Richland County, he's going to be charged," Cowan said. "And there's no difference between Michael Phelps and several other people that we arrest for the same type of a charge everyday."
Let me see if I can help you out here, Captain. One difference between the alleged perpetrator Mr. Phelps and the countless other hardcore criminal bongers is that YOU NEVER WOULD HAVE FUCKING RECOGNIZED THEM IN A PHOTOGRAPH. Another 'bout that he has enough money to build a middle finger big enough to see from space inscribed with "Fuck the SCLEAOTers, fuck the SCLEATers, fuck 'em" and charge $25 for everyone to see it? And hire the best lawyers and get off on probation like EVERY OTHER FUCKING 23-YEAR OLD chilling in a college town you bust(ed) with this heinous crime?

The good news?
"The Richland County sheriff can pursue charges as long as the party was in the county, the spokesman said."
I really hope that party is found to be outside the county lines, and all SCLEAOTer Leon can do is posture for a bit longer, soaking up every ray of the light like an Alaskan on the day before 40 days of night. Here's to hoping the sheriff in the county over isn't as shallow as this one.

Note: Sue's wholly believes you can reach out to celebrities like Phelps, asking them to speak at schools, etc. on what they should be doing rather than trying to pull them down. Use their celebrity status, don't try and target them because of it.

Editor's note: SCLEAOTer Leon, I want you to know that I have friends in South Carolina. I'm going to there, SCLEAOTer Leon, and I'm going to take a picture of myself toking on a righteous blunt. This picture will be sent immediately to your box. I implore all of America to do the same.
"And we're going to get the dope pushers to start pushing license plates down the conveyor belt! And we're going to get the crack peddlers to start peddling their butts out of town!! And we're gonna...wait your microphone wasn't on? Hold on...And we're going to get the dope pushers to start pu..."

Oh, and to Pat Forde, who wrote a wonderfully insightful column expressing gratitude to Phelps because it showed his kids that they should be looking up to him rather than some TV phony - two questions:
  1. Do you really not have anything better to write about as an ESPN columnist? I know we're not exactly in the middle of the college football season - your specialty - but really?
  2. Why are you such a tremendous douche?
Forde, do you want your kids to grow up idolizing someone with a squeaky clean perfect image? Are YOU that someone? People make mistakes. Growing up idolizing someone that has never made one will make the burden of every mistake you make that much heavier. Why don't we wait to see how Phelps deals with his momentary lapse in up-until-now-perfect-character, which is supposedly how America judges character anyway (in adversity, not the easy times), rather than jumping on him immediately.

The dude (allegedly) took a bong rip. Chill. The fuck. Out.

Knightmare on Carlton Street

For some reason, the Bobby Knight to UGA rumors won't die down, even though the only person with knowledge close to the situation is an unidentified "friend" of Knight that provided a senile old journalist with his first scoop of the millenium. Somehow it seems appropriate that the first story Furman Bisher breaks in over a decade involves a sports figure old enough to be a member of the AARP. Go back to finding links between Dice-K and Pearl Harbor, Furm.

Anyways, when trying to find out if something is a good idea or not, I find it useful to make a pro and con list. I really didn't think that was necessary at this time, as I couldn't understand why any Georgia basketball fan would promote the idea of hiring a coach with a record over the last five seasons that is a whopping three games better than Dennis Felton's, but OBJ seems to like the idea of Knight in Athens, so... onto the list, yo.

Pros of Hiring Bobby Knight:

1. UGA basketball becomes relevant on a national stage: Given ESPN's hard-on for the guy - he's got Dick Vitale and Digger Phelps (two other former coaches that had their last taste of success 25+ years ago!) openly endorsing him for the job - it's pretty clear that win or lose, UGA hoops would receive national exposure it hasn't had, well, ever. Ask Texas Tech how that's worked out for their program.

2. His teams make the NCAA Tourney: 19 out of his last 21 teams have made the tournament. More on this in a minute.

3. He runs a clean program, and his players graduate: Admittedly a biggie for Georgia, following Harrick's epic failure in this area and Felton's admirable effort but eventual failure as well.

And that's it for the pros, as far as I can tell. Feel free to add more in the comments if you see 'em. To the cons:

1. He's a friggin' sociopath: National attention for big wins = good. National attention for that crap = weak-ass gimmick.

2. His teams no longer win in the NCAA Tourney: Speaking of "big wins," Knight doesn't get 'em anymore. Since the 1994-1995 season, his teams are 5-10 in the NCAA Tournament. He has one Sweet Sixteen appearance in that time. Our mediocre program, the one Knight-supporters think would be so lucky to land a coach like Bobby Knight, has as many Sweet Sixteen appearances during that timeframe. The ultimate goal of Georgia basketball, with the money being poured into facilities and this hire, is to compete on a national level like Florida and Tennessee are doing. It is not to be on the "Bubble Watch" every February. Knight's teams' inability to win big games is likely due to the fact that...

3. His coaching style is outdated: Post screens to get jump-shooters wide open on 80% of your offensive plays was effective as hell in the 70's and 80's. In today's SEC and ACC, where Grade-A athletes can get to an immobile spot-shooter in a split second, not so much. In order to compete in the SEC and nationally, Georgia needs to recruit top-notch athletes; but,

4. Knight can't recruit: It is imperitave that the next UGA coach follow's Richt's lead from 2001 and "build a proverbial wall" around Georgia to lock down the plentiful in-state hoops talent. With Georgia Tech's recent downturn, it would not take much success in the recruiting area to make UGA the premeire program in the state of Georgia. Right now, a dozen or so blue-chip prospects from the state turn down Georgia to go elsewhere each year. There is no evidence whatsoever that Bobby Knight would change this. The last blue chip recruit he landed was Jason Collier in 1997, who lasted all of one-and-a-half seasons at Indiana before transferring to Georgia Tech due to Knight's coaching philosophy. Before that, his last big recruit was Calbert 1992.

5. He's 68 years old: You saw how he left Texas Tech high-and-dry. How many more years does this guy have left in him? You really want this guy as a stopgap replacement so you can redo this whole process over in 4-5 years? Screw that. Hire a young, hungry coach that has experience recruiting in the south and can actually relate to the players, families and AAU coaches he will be dealing with. Look for the basketball program's version of Mark Richt. Maybe you end up with another Felton; but if records are any indication, that's not going to be much worse than what you get out of Bobby Knight.

It's a simple choice. Don't contact him.