Reading Between the Headlines

There’s a play-at-home version of “Reading Between the Headlines” that takes place everytime a player or coach uses curse words to make a point.  Twice this week, we’ve been confronted with potty-mouthed professionals who used colorful language to express their feelings: Brandon Phillips and Rex Ryan.  When reporting these incidents on ESPN, newspapers, or local media, producers and writers went out of their way to make sure they give you as much information as possible about the curse word without actually telling you what it is.  So, when Phillips called the Cardinals “little bitches,” ESPN had no problem invoking the “female dog” explanation instead of using the word itself.  This happens all of the time and it puzzles me: who are you protecting when you do this?  This has got to be the ultimate, “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” in television, right?  Granted, there are probably enough stupid people and young kids out there who have no idea what that means, but I’m guessing they know how to use Google.  To this, I say: Whatever mainstream media, you just a bunch of scared little bitches.

As for my take: Phillips was a little inappropriate, but I love the onions it takes to say that stuff.  It is a page right out of WWE Marketing 101 and it led to one hell of a brawl.  And Rex Ryan?  All I can say is that I wish he coached my team.  Rex may not be the best coach in football, but he’s got a kick-ass attitude and he’s entertaining as hell.  UPDATE: Good for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  On to some headlines:

Yeah, I’m sure there are a list of NBA teams looking for an injury-prone malcontent who has had multiple run-ins with the law.  Nevermind, I just described the Denver Nuggets.  Marshall will fit in just fine.
  • New USC Athletic Director Pat Haden said disgraced Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush “apologized and expressed regret” over accepting improper benefits while playing at USC.
And then Reggie Bush rolled over and went to sleep on a big pile of money next to a younger, less annoying Kim Kardashian look-alike.  And in the morning, he put on his Super Bowl ring and walked out of his mansion, past the Heisman Trophy (that he still gets to keep) on his way to play professional football for the world champions in one of the coolest cities in America.  I’m not crying for Reggie Bush nor should you.  I just find it funny that the school that made millions of dollars off of him now wants to erase his existence because he broke the rules of being a ”student athlete.”  Meanwhile, the university made millions of dollars off said student athlete.  Interesting.  Party on, Reg.
  • New Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter won eight of his first ten games as O’s manager.

I’m happy for the Orioles and their fans for no other reason than it may draw attention away from the Ravens.  On a side note, I came across the next tired Internet Meme, “[Insert surprisingly successful athlete here] Facts.”  A few years ago, we had “Chuck Norris Facts.”  Someone played off that and created “Matt Wieters Facts.”  Ok, both were pretty funny because they were original, but do we really need “Adrian Beltre Facts” or “Buck Showalter Facts?”  Next thing you know there will be “Yuniesky Betancourt Facts.”  I will get us started:

Yuniesky Betancourt hates Bill James so much, he refuses to draw walks.

Imagine you are inflicted with a terrible disease that just crushes your body and soul for many years.  Finally, after much work, and proper care, you’re able to get rid of this disease and begin building your body and mind back to where it was before you were sick.  But then, in some sort of weird Stockholm Syndrome situation, you decide that because you lived so long with this debilitating disease, you just can’t imagine living life without it, so you decide to inject yourself with the sickness again.  That’s this story.  David Stern, as parental guardian, thankfully saved the Knicks from themselves.  Now, Dan Snyder, don’t you go getting any fancy ideas about bringing ole’ Vinny back!

Ever weirder: the last U.S. male to win a Grand Slam tournament was Andy Roddick in 2003.  While Roddick is still somewhat competitive, there doesn’t appear to be any big name talent after him.  Many people blame the decline of men’s tennis on socioeconomic as well as cultural factors.  I blame Agassi’s wig and the fact that he dumped Brooke Shields.  What kind of example are you setting?!?!?!?!   Then again, meth is a hell of a drug.

Everyone have a great weekend. If you need me, I’ll be grinding my feet into somebody’s couch.

Reading Between the Headlines

It’s pretty easy to get obsessed with the MLB Trading Deadline, but as I get older I find myself getting tired of being jerked around.  In my mind, I’m able to live with certain guys no longer being on their previous team as long as I have proper time to visualize it.  For example, it was tough for me to accept Roy Oswalt in anything but an Astros uniform, but when I thought he’d land with the Cardinals, I started to make peace with it.  When he was traded to the Phillies, that messed up the entire part of my brain dedicated to processing Roy Oswalt’s existence in my feeble mind.  It’s a rather small existence, but still… Since there is a new Adam Dunn trade rumor just about every couple of hours, that part of me is in utter disarray.  I don’t know how I’ll contemplate him in a Tigers or White Sox uniform.  That wouldn’t look right.  What if he stays in Washington?  Will I still view him as a National or does part of me think of him as a rental from the Reds?  I don’t know.  That one may take some time.   But I do know this: it’s time to do some headlines:

Not a bad consolation prize for basically giving Cliff Lee away this past winter.  In the past year, the Phillies have traded for three of the best pitchers in baseball (combined career record: 402-222) without giving up their best prospect.  Ifthe Yankees had done this, we’d have to hold an intervention for story commenters.  Either way, Team Roy should form a pretty good 1-2 punch as the Phils try to get back to the World Series.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis must be a glutton for punishment.  Here are his starting wide receivers, or as I like to call it, the “Depth Chart of Crazy”:

Chad Ochocinco: Twitter-addicted egomaniac who legally changed his name to “eight-five” in Spanish.  Budding reality TV star, possibly insane.

Terrell Owens: Egomaniacal cry baby who throws quarterbacks under the bus like temper tantrums: regularly.  Budding reality tv star, probably insane.

Antonio Bryant: Labeled as a “bad character” guy dating back to his college days at Pitt, he repeatedly gets into fights with his coaches, probably because of his ego, which usually leads to him having to find a new team (or because he fails a drug test).  Maybe insane.

See a trend here?  Sidenote: Marvin’s starting running back is Cedric Benson… So good luck with all that…

I don’t know what took the Orioles so long, but Showalter is probably the best hire the Orioles could have made.  He has a solid track record of getting his players to play disciplined baseball.  Granted, he usually gets fired after three or four

There's a part of me that forgot this ever happened.

seasons because his players grow to hate him, but with 32 wins through July, the O’s aren’t really in a place to call the shots.  One O’s fan reaction: “Did Showalter count how many times ‘major league worst’ can appear in one article about the Orioles before he took the position?”  Needless to say, Buck will have his work cut out for him.  First suggestion: hire this man!  You can never have too many “Bucks.”

The rumor circulating was that the writer misidentified himself to Team LeBron.  Silly ESPN, how dare they report something unflattering about a basketball player.  Best leave that to those scalawags at Deadspin!  And how come Bill Simmons wasn’t writing this piece?  He knows more about Vegas and the NBA than anyone!  Oh wait, it was because he was busy hopping off the Red Sox bandwagon to write a “This Third Place Boston Red Sox Team Doesn’t Entertain Me” article for the front page of

And then Glenn Beck said something stupid.  What else is new?

Comeback story of the week:

Duque is one of my favorite players of all time.  He tells people he’s 44 years old but it’s probably closer to 46.  Despite his World Series rings and career earnings over $34M, he’s still holding on to the dream.  Or he’s broke.  I hope it’s not the latter.  Either way, I’ll be pulling for him.

That’s it for me.  If you need me, I’ll be on a gigantic boat, resting my shoulder, preparing for one last summer push into the MLB playoff races and the start of football.  Gotta make some room in my brain:

Reading Between the Headlines

There aren’t many movies that inspire me enough to check them out in the theater; mainly because it means being surrounded by people who will inevitably annoy me.  The best time to see a movie, ever, is during a weekday.  The theater is almost always empty and quiet and glorious.

Anyway, for some odd reason, “Inception” sparked my interest, so I bought into the hype and saw it.  I try not to get too emotional about these things, but wanted to make a few salient points about the film:

  • I don’t get the attraction to Ellen Page: she always sounds condescending.  That makes her look like a stuck-up nerd, which also makes me think she is like this in real-life.  It doesn’t help that they continually dress her as a hipster doofus.
  • Leo DiCaprio is a dude I wouldn’t mind switching places with for a little while.
  • “It’s got Tom Berenger in it!”
  • I think the guy that played “Arthur” was pretty good, but everytime I see him onscreen I think of that “3rd Rock from the Sun” show, which makes me think of French Stewart, which makes me think of this:
  • If I had to sum up this movie in a few words, I’d say: “Sci-Fi Oceans 11 with a touch of Donnie Darko.”

Overall, it’s a good movie, I recommend.  Keep in mind I also once recommended “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” and got laughed at, so take that for what it’s worth.  Mel Brooks is a genius.  On to the headlines:

  • Major League Baseball announced it will expand its drug-testing program by implementing a blood test to test for human growth hormone among Minor League Baseball Players.

Hey, only ten years too late!  Results are mixed as to the true effect of HGH on an athlete’s body, so I’m not sure if unilaterally imposing random blood tests on a bunch of kids is really the right way to go.  Although I guess you forfeit your privacy rights and labor protections when you dedicate your body to the Montgomery Biscuits.

  • The President of the Minnesota Timberwolves said Michael Beasley’s immaturity issues were related to using “too much marijuana.”

Speaking of drug tests… I don’t blame Beasley; I’d probably have to use a lot of marijuana just to get through an NBA season, and I’m not even playing.  And now you know how Ric Bucher does it.

  • Fanfare during Alex Rodriguez’s approach of 600 career homeruns has been minimal.

A-Rod has a number of things going against him in the world of public appeal: he plays on the most hated team in baseball surrounded by superstars, he’s not playing particularly well (for his standards), he admitted he used steroids, he did that stupid photo shoot where he kissed his reflection, and he’s not going anywhere for awhile: he may be 35, but he still has SEVEN years left on his contract.  With Bonds, aside from all of the crap, you knew he was playing season-to-season.  Same thing with Griffey.  But Rod’s contract guarantees he’ll be hobbling after Derek Jeter for at least a few more years.  Don’t feel sorry for him, though: he’s still going home to Cameron Diaz and enough cash to buy the Rangers and make Nolan Ryan his personal Costanza.

Later that day, allegations arose that Tim Tebow had extra help during last season’s Bible Study.  The state of Florida was so moved, they built a statue of Tim praying to learn how to throw a spiral.

It seems Chris Paul would like his own triumvirate of stars to help shoulder the load of winning a championship.  This is problematic because a) only one team can win in a given year, and b) it makes NBA players look like babies.  I think there are a lot of lessons to be learned from the marketing world of WWE and here’s another one: if you’re a rising star in the NBA, I would examine this model of behavior and crush it.  Seriously, if I’m Deron Williams or Carmelo Anthony, I’d call out all of these guys for being afraid of being “the man” and taking a team on by themselves.  You know all the old guys agree with you, so they’d have your back.  All of that publicity and marketing money would just underscore the fact that you’re the new Alpha Dog.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, would be pulling for you.  Classic David v. Goliath situation.

And that’s the extent of my NBA commentary for the next four months.  I’m out of here for the week, everyone have a good weekend.  If you need me, I’ll be out trying to do something as awesome as this.

Reading Between the Headlines

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve had headlines, so what did we miss?  You knew I wasn’t going to write about that guy in South Florida.  And don’t even think there would have been anything related to the ole’ Gunslinger, either. On to some headlines:

I know no one works in NYC past noon on summer Fridays, but don’t you think Andrew Marchand mailed this one in a little early?  New York sports writers have to be the most unoriginal collection of “journalists” in the country.  Other than this ESPN article being written as if it belonged in US Weekly, it’s based completely off of conjecture and fear-mongering, if there was such a thing in sports writing.  Let’s get real: Chamberlain is 24 years old, has four pretty good pitches, throws hard, doesn’t get injured, had a sub-3.00 ERA in the playoffs last season, and has been jerked around pretty much his entire career amidst ridiculous expectations.  Even with his 5.79 ERA (in only 37 innings), his K/BB ratio is 2.85 (Jonathan Papelbon is 2.6 and Carlos Marmol is 2.8).  And you want to run him out of town?  You’re an idiot.  Stop following Lupica around and do some actual reporting.

By the time you read this, there’s a good chance Daly has had a meltdown and will actually be 6 over for the

John Daly: American Hero.

tournament, but hey, I’m rooting for him.  If you have the stones to dress like this, then you have my support.  Plus, he drinks diet coke and rips Marlboros like a sorority girl in between classes. 

“Hey, let’s spend a boatload of money to dedicate an entire evening to collectively stroking the egos of perhaps the most ego-maniacal people in the world.”  No thanks.  Not even Erin Andrews could save that mess of painfully unfunny performances and horrible-looking suits.

Big deal.  Television ratings are forever skewed because people have about 300 other options of things to watch as opposed to an overly-commercialized exhibition that doesn’t mean very much.  It certainly doesn’t help when you put 82 guys on the roster and the manager leaves the one with the most home runs on the bench at the end of the game, but what are you gonna do?  By the way, Alex Rodriguez has 299 career stolen bases.  David Ortiz has 10.  Just saying…

I think at this point T.O. probably isn’t a real difference maker for any team, but it’d be great to see him on the Jets or somewhere else high profile so he could completely and utterly submarine the team’s season in front of a national audience.  Personally, I think he belongs in Washington with the rest of the 2004 Pro Bowl team, but that’s just me.  It’d be hilarious to watch Little Danny continue his trek into Steinbrenner-dom by bringing in T.O. to implode the team while Mike Shanahan hides in a tanning bed.  Or, everyone could get along and the team would just stink as usual.  That could be fun, too.

It was pretty easy to hate Steinbrenner in the 80′s and 90′s, but as he got older and the team maintained a semblance of calm, it was hard not to see him as a caricature of his former blustery self.  For me, the jury is still out.  You can’t classify Steinbrenner as anything but an enigma: a guy with major daddy issues who was a real jerk when it came to business, but tried to rectify his extreme churlishness by being nice to sick kids and poor people.

Could the Yankees have won more in the 80′s and 90′s if King George kept quiet?  Sure, but who is to say they wouldn’t have been worse if Big Stein kept the mega profits he made off the team and didn’t instill a culture of fear winning at all costs within his organization?  The casual acceptance of being mediocre on the field but still being profitable off it is what has plagued teams in huge markets like the Mets, Cubs or Dodgers for years.  In any case, New York won’t be the same without him.

Ok, that’s it for me.  Have a great weekend.  RIP Boss.  You may be gone, but never forgotten.

Reading Between the Headlines

Ever walk into a movie knowing it wasn’t going to be very good?  Maybe you’re there because the movie stars a legend like Robert DeNiro, so you feel obligated to give it a shot.  Now, let’s say this movie not only has DeNiro, but Al Pacino, too - as a self-respecting fan of you cinema, you kind of have to watch it, right? Read the rest of this entry