It seems like every year the NCAA Tournament becomes a larger part of our popular culture. This year, it is a given that instead of working on Friday, everyone is calling in sick and heading to a bar (well, except for yours truly). The only problem with the mass consumption of the coolest four days in sports is that when “society” makes a big deal about it, is that well… everyone makes a big deal about it. For a long time, Days 1-4 of the tournament were a sports lover’s secret: we called out of work, hid our brackets, and used a stupid thing called a “Boss Button.” Now, it’s only a matter of time until CBS puts Justin Bieber on the selection show. Until then, let’s make the most of what we have left, shall we?

Much like last year, I haven’t spent a lot of time watching college basketball this season. I blame Randy Edsall. Yeah, I know he’s a football coach. In any case, if the geek from “Social Network” gets to put his lame bracket on the Internet, I feel like I should be able to post mine. If it’s not clear from my reasoning below, I know next to nothing. Let’s get to it: Read the rest of this entry

The economic geography of sports

I encourage our readers to click through to this article on The Atlantic which looks into what the NCAA Tournament can tell researchers about the economic geography of sports.  Check out the above map. This map was done by the Martin Prosperity Institute and it details the “distribution of sports occupations across metros, including both “athletes” and “coaches and scouts”. The key takeaway from the article is that it isnt the “major” sports markets like LA or NYC or DC that dominate the sports world, its the small and medium-sized communities that have much a higher economic concentration of jobs in the sporting world.

Super interesting article because the results of the study are quite simply surprising. Give it a looksee…then come back to the Deuce for videos of people getting hit in the crotch with things and stuff.  You know how we do it!  HOLLA!

I’m not a huge Peter King fan, but once you get past his blatant homerism (King is to the Patriots what Peter Gammons is to the Red Sox) and his ruminations about airport bathrooms, coffee, and television (PK loves “The Nard Dog“), his Monday Morning Quarterback articles are actually pretty informative (as well as provide some of the best comic relief on the Internet).  “Ten Things I Think I Think” is supposed to be a section of his column devoted to quick hitters you’d most likely find on Twitter, but it’s really just a laundry list of his random thoughts that morph into something more like “38 Things I Think I Think.”  Anyway, I’ll keep the basic premise, but spare you the stories about colonoscopies.
1. I know I’m not the first person to say this, but I really think the Phillies are going to regret giving Ryan Howard $25M a year into his late thirties.  Howard is a wonderful player who is a bit underrated: since 2006, he has consistently mashed the baseball for over 140 games a year.  However, at 30 years old, he’s probably begun to enter the decline phase of his career and while he has worked to alter the reputation that he has a “bad body,” he still doesn’t profile as a guy who will be doing much more than players like Mo Vaughn and Richie Sexson did at similar points in their careers.  For pending free agent Albert Pujols, prepare to own the Arch.
2. The Cleveland Cavaliers are in real trouble if they think Shaq is the missing piece that will carry them past Orlando and onto a shot at the championship.  After an uninspired 17 minutes in Game 4, Shaq’s six points and seven rebounds barely eclipsed his five fouls.  Shaq’s creaky play was only amplified by Joakim Noah’s 21 points and 20 rebounds, which will seem like child’s play if they have to face Dwight Howard.
3. Jaroslav Halak absolutely owned the Capitals in Game 6 of their playoff series.  It didn’t matter what edge the Caps had: two-man advantage, whatever.  Fifty-three saves.  While I still think the Capitals will win Game 7 at home, this sets up a dangerous precedent for them: the NHL playoffs are an entire second season.  At some point, you have to win a series in less than six games, rest up and regroup.  The Caps’ last four playoff series have gone seven games — they have to learn to finish teams off… And to score on a power play.
4. Bryce Harper has to be the first overall pick in June’s MLB Amateur Draft.  Playing in a junior college league with wooden bats, he’s hit 21 homeruns in 47 games with 15 stolen bases.  Oh yeah, the 6’3 205 lbs kid also plays catcher, closes games with a fastball that touches 96, and isn’t old enough to vote.  Yep, he’s only 17.  Forget the supposed character issues: show me a person who wasn’t a jackass when they were 17.  Stan Kasten: pay that man his money.
5. The on-going discussion about the BCS conferences expanding along with the imminent explosion of the NCAA Tournament only magnifies the fallacy of the term “student athlete.”  I understand they get a free education and opportunities that 99% of normal college kids will never get, but $10.8 billion is a serious amount of money.  That’s not surprising, but let’s be honest: college sports has quickly become one of the most exploitative uses of labor in the history of sports.  Unreal.
6.  Maybe there is something to the hate: A-Rod has the longest homerun trot of anyone on the Yankees.  I guess if you make almost as much as an baseball entire team, you’ve earned it. 

This guy right here supposedly only sleeps three hours a night. You'd think that'd leave plenty of time for an adult haircut.

7. While it would be devastating to Caps fans if they failed to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, the San Jose Sharks might have them beat in the “choke” department if they can’t advance in Round 2.  Since 2005-2006, the Sharks have averaged 109 points in the regular season, making them perhaps the best regular season team in the Western Conference.  And yet, they still have found themselves sitting at home during the conference finals.  Early signs are not good: the Sharks struggled with a Colorado, a team that backed its way into the Playoffs.  

8. If Las Vegas took bets on the number of times Jon Gruden said, “This guy” during last weekend’s draft, they’d have to set the over/under at 9,843,344.  Coach, please get a new verbal crutch.  I’m not sold on Gruden as an analyst - for every “this guy right here” there’s a “QB Camp” where Gruden just annihilates the hopes and dreams of 22 year-olds, which is sports schadenfreude at its best.  If I was a football player I’d hate to play for him, but I’d love it if he coached my team.
9. I think taking your team’s ace (who’s making close to $19 million this season) and installing him as a setup man is a desperate move, even if you think he’ll eventually be moved back to the rotation.  Carlos Zambrano hasn’t been the ace the Cubs are paying him to be, but he’s still better than Carlos Silva.  This is a no-win move for the Cubs: Zambrano hasn’t pitched in relief since 2002, so this is no Joba Chamberlain situation.  What if his return to the rotation doesn’t happen as quickly as Zambrano would like?  What happens if Zambrano is actually really good at relieving but Silva and the rest of the rotation begin to implode?  Shortcuts like this don’t usually work.  The Cubbies are grasping.  
Former NFL running back Najeh Davenport, who joined the [Pittsburgh] Steelers that season [2005] after spending four seasons in Green Bay, says he soon heard the jabs at [Ben] Roethlisberger, then 24, despite the quarterback’s remarkable two-year résumé of success. “Team leaders there didn’t respect the fact that he didn’t respect what it took to be like a champion, like a true champion,” Davenport says.

Reading Between the Headlines

Sometimes I think sports are a lot like little kids; they always want attention, even if it makes them do something really stupid.  I know that consciously, professional football players would never purposefully sexually assault a young woman, throw a drink on her, or even carry a loaded gun to the airport.  But part of my subconscious wonders if they just can’t stand the fact that NCAA basketball and Major League Baseball are stealing all the attention so this is their way of getting it back.  Ok, I know that’s a stretch, but there has to be a reason to explain away this stupidity.  Oh wait, it’s called “Young Dummies with Money” syndrome or YDMS.  Did I just invent that?  Well, color me Bill freakin’ Simmons.  Now, a 20,000 word missive comparing the 2007 Patriots to some jackass on the Real World. 

Nah, we’ll just do headlines…  

Also known as “ESPN.”  How was this even a challenge for them?  Did they just pay some guy to create a NYC skyline graphic and put it up?  And at what point will we get ESPN Des Moines?  And will I ever write another sentence that isn’t a rhetorical question?

"If 'dis freakin' guy don't sign my bawl, I'm gonna chuck it at his groin over here." AKA, "ESPN New York target audience."

Now LT has something in common with Heath Shuler.  Not sure if that’s what he was looking for, though.  To borrow a phrase from Thomas Hobbes (is this a great sports blog, or what?), the life of a NFL running back is “nasty, brutish, and short.”  In 2008, LT carried the ball only 23 less times than in 2007 (his last great season) and had 364 fewer yards.  That’s a big drop-off.


I’m happy that everyone is ok, but sorry Mom, that’s what you get for naming your kid, “Denard.”  It always amazes me that more people haven’t gotten hurt at baseball games.  This sounds like a job for ESPN Des Moines.

  • ESPN had six of its basketball writers scrutinize the factors that may lead LeBron James to finding a new home this summer.

Hey, check me out!  I did the same thing!  Here’s my list of factors:

1. $

Let me double check the list, one more time, just to be sure:

1. $

 And I’mmmmmm spent.  ESPN, call me!

  • Cleveland Browns nose tackle Shaun Rogers was arrested for carrying a loaded .45-caliber hand gun at a Cleveland Airport.

 I don’t understand the big deal — maybe he was there to shoot birds.  Has anyone asked him that?

How do you convey “pompous” and “insane” into a statue?

And at a private school just outside of Houston, Roger Clemens applied to coach the women’s softball team.

And somewhere, VORPies gather to collectively mock the tsunami of enraged fans inhabiting the ESPN comment section   Hey guys, you’re getting angry at a math formula.  Isn’t that what 3rd graders do? 

Lindsay Lohan is not impressed.  She calls those “Tuesdays.”

Boom. Roasted.

In any case, baseball season is here.  I cannot wait.

The App Store Just Made Me Make A Scheyerface

Maryland always brings the Schayerface

My brackets look worse than Tara Reid’s stomach. I picked Northern Iowa to beat Kansas in one pool but I picked Villanova to win it all. My other one looks like Detroit after Devil’s Night. What’s that? Good point. It’s the same every other night.

It’s great to see so many upsets this year despite what they mean to my chances of winning anything. The downside is that Duke has an easy path to the Final Four. There’s no point in expressing the level of my dislike for Duke basketball because I know there are thousands out there who share the same feeling. However I came across a Duke-related press release today that brought a smirk to my face. Coach K is getting in the app business.

DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA, MARCH 23, 2010- An iPhone App featuring legendary basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski was launched today in the App Store and The Coach K App utilizes innovative multi-touch controls that immerse the player into an exciting series of races against multiple artificial intelligence opponents. The game includes three levels of competition with stops in New York City, China and Durham, North Carolina, home to Coach K’s Duke Blue Devils.

Coach K provides personalized “coaching tips” to maneuver players through a series of dynamic obstacles which come to life through trend-setting graphics. Players also have the ability to customize their avatars. Players will be challenged to dodge taxicabs and street vendors, while racing through the streets of New York; avoid dragons and panda bears while speeding along the Great Wall of China; and sprint around campus while avoiding the notorious Cameron Crazies and other obstacles. The game climaxes in an intense head-to-head shooting competition against another player over Bluetooth.

The app costs $2.99 although the first level can be downloaded for free. There is a catch. Everyone won’t have access to the game. In order to maintain a level of reality, access will only be allowed to goofy white guys and black people from Alaska. Bam! I’ll be here all week.