Tuesday, September 30, 2008

5 Forgotten Reasons For Postseason Baseball

Any Phillies fan, or any casual baseball fan for that matter, can tell you why the Phillies made the playoffs for the second consecutive year: Ryan Howard's Louisville slugger made sweet love to baseball after baseball throughout September; Brett Myers channeled his toxic temper and erratic mental make-up into a bravura performance post All-Star break; Cole Hamels and Jaime Moyer were steady at worst and spectacular at best, the bullpen was among the strongest in the league, and the offense did enough when it mattered. But there's more to this story. Underneath the surface lies a small cast of secret heroes and characters who have played a pivotal role in the Phillies becoming National League East champs again. Here's my list for the 5 Forgotten Heroes.

5)Howard Eskin
Yes, it's true, the despicable bearded man is on the list, for something he did back in April of 2007. During a particularly ugly stretch of April baseball, Eskin, as he is known to do, turned a post-game press conference into a personal showcase for his irritating penis-breath ways, leading manager Charlie Manuel to the brink of madness. Exasperated, Charlie stood up and urged Eskin to meet him on the dance floor(his office) when the next song started(immediately following the press conference), for a good ol' fashioned southern square dance(fistfight). Eskin wisely declined. Charlie gained everlasting respect that day, from inside the clubhouse and out, and ever since the Phillies have embarked on two seasons of gritty success. Granted, Charlie still has a hard time speaking English and making a double-switch, but thanks to Howard Eskin he showed the team and the city that beneath that country twang lies a hot temper capable of striking fear into the furriest of beards.

The random dance analogy was my own, not Charlie's. Charlie don't dance.

4)Geoff Jenkins
Don't be misled by this heading. I was going to title it "Jayson Werth" but I didn't think that was original. I could have titled it "Geoff Jenkin's right hip-flexor" but I thought that was too wordy. Regardless, let me sum up the Phillies season from a right-field perspective. Beginning of season: Geoff Jenkins starts, Geoff Jenkins sucks. Mid-season: Geoff Jenkins hurts his hip-flexor, Geoff Jenkins goes away. End of season: Jayson Werth takes over for injured Geoff Jenkins, Jayson Werth hits homers, makes women swoon, showcases his ostentatious flavor savor.
Imagine if Geoff Jenkins had never gotten hurt. Not only would we have been deprived of daily viewings of the biggest vertical mustache in the world, we would have had to watch an inferior team. So thank you hip-flexor, for straining or popping or whatever you did.

3)Rich Dubee
The coolest pitching coach in the world, he brings to mind three pressing questions: How come there's not a rapper named Rich Dubee? How long do we have to wait for Rich Dubee brand blunts? And as cool as his name already is, is there any chance he might change his name to Dick Dubee? Awesome name aside, Rich Dubee strikes me as a cool-ass dude who gets respect from the pitchers and the team, mostly because of his name but partly due to his knowledge of pitching. Dubee is the man.

2)Ed Wade
Golly, where to begin with this guy? Not only is the core of the team(JRoll,Utley, Howard,Burrell,Hamels,Myers) leftover from his tenure as GM, but he didn't stop stocking the cupboard just because he started working for another team. Hired to run the Astros, he immediately got to work helping the Phils, trading Brad Lidge and Eric Bruntlet for Michael Bourn and others. I'd say that was a good deal for Philly, with Lidge being in the conversation for MVP and Bourn in the conversation for fastest player to never reach base. It would be like Billy King becoming GM of Orlando and trading Dwight Howard to the Sixers for Willie Green. Ed is also the only GM in the league to get physically assaulted by a player on his team, providing myself and others with a hearty chuckle while envisioning the encounter. Great year Ed, stellar job all around. Wouldn't be here without you, that's for sure.

1)Tom Burgoyne
As much as the other fellas have helped the team and the town this year, nobody comes close to providing the consistent X-Factor to success as Tom Burgoyne. Mr. Burgoyne is the genius inside the Phillie Phanatic costume, the man behind the hilarious hijinks we have grown-up enjoying from the Phanatic. Bottom-line, the Phanatic is the most brilliant mascot in the world, and I would guess he accounts for 10-15 wins all by himself. He keeps the fans into the game, he keeps the stadium loose, and I'm sure he keeps the ballgirls satisfied in-between innings. I love the Phanatic more than I love The Karate Kid.


As for the upcoming playoff series, I'm loathe to make a prediction, too superstitious am I. I like this team a lot and feel good about our chances today and beyond. I will start to worry should we lose to anybody not named Carsten Charles Sabathia. Until then, it's positron city. Do work Phils.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Does Anyone Here Know the Heimlich??

I think not. I present this as the universal sign of choking:

Chances are you already know the Phillies won the NL East on Saturday, and there's not much I'll say about it, as the pure awesomeness of it is widely known. The greatest story to come out of yesterday is a second consecutive last-game-of-the-season choking by the Mets (once again at the hands of the Marlins, who are swiftly becoming OK in my book) which once again gave them October vacations. It's not that I don't want to speak about it too much to avoid rubbing it in, I'm certainly not above that, it's just that I truly feel that pictures best tell the story. With that in mind, I present to you all the last four covers of the NY Daily News' sports section. I have a feeling you will enjoy these as much if not more than I did:

Friday, September 26th

Saturday, September 27th

Sunday, September 28th

Today, Monday, September 29th

Isn't that creative and witty how they managed to work "Shea" into every title to replace words that kind of sound like Shea? Didja see that? How clever. Thank CHRIST they're tearing down that shithole of a stadium, if for no other reason than the awful puns of the NY media. In fact, the Phillies* will donate playoff tickets to anyone who can trick a New Yorker (preferrably a Mets fan, but ehn, any of em will do) into being in Shea when it is imploded. Tickets and 5 minutes alone with a ball girl if it's a Daily news journalist or an actual Met.

As usual, I digress.

Many of us were told at this strange place we used to go on a daily basis to cheer only for our team and not against another; to enjoy our own success and not revel in the misfortunes of others. Well, let me be the first to publicly say FUCK THAT. The Mets collapsed AGAIN, and dammit if it doesn't feel twice as nice the second time around. The Phils being NL East Champs (AGAIN) is incredible and even if the Mets were in the Playoffs it wouldn't detract from that, but ALL Phils fans can agree that the absence of the Mets via slow, painful choking makes it all so much better.


For those that don't know, the NLDS against the homoerotic Brewers begins Wednesday here in the 215 at 3pm. I will be there. Chances are you will not. In spite of this, let us cheer together as there will be none of this swept in the first round of the playoffs business again this year. Phils in 4.

* - Reached for comment, the Phillies organization denies the claims of free tickets and/or free acts of deviance courtesy of their ball girls for what they so harshly referred to as 'murder'. Fear not, the DR staff has you covered....

Return of the Jedi

I should've known. All throughout the summer there were signs, spread like so many breadcrumbs leading us through the forest of the regular season into the heavenly light of playoff baseball. So's improbable double. Myers' inexplicable resurgence. Billy Wagner's arm turning to fettucine. When the Phils reacquired Tadahito Iguchi's translator, the writing was on the wall. It was a move that smacked of celestial meddling, of the guidance of invisible hand. This morning, the proof was in my inbox - Kaoru Obuchi was back on the scene!

"Hello, Sam. This is Kaoru from Japan. I read a Japanese newspaper this morning and I knew Phillies won the victory of east division again. I was pleased very much!Of course Sam was pleased very much, too, I think. Unfortunately, I cannot go to Philadelphia this year, but I'll watch Phillies' game on TV. Absolutely, Phillies will become world champions this year!!!"

I assume that Kaoru has by now amassed a posse of dedicated Japanese Phillies fans, virtuous in mind, unwavering in support, and tenuous in grasp of English. And I imagine at this very moment they are concentrating their collective mental powers across the globe, into a modest home somewhere in the suburbs of Philadelphia where a genial and corpulent old man sits in a rocking chair contemplating his playoff roster. They're telling him, gently, that we have neither the time not the inclination to watch Geoff Jenkins bumble about in right field. We want So on that wall. We NEED So on that wall. So do the right thing Charlie. Do it for Japan!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Damn It Feels Good To Be A Moron

I must come clean: Back when he was hitting .220 I was ready to trade Ryan Howard for minor-league pitching prospects. I was blinded by the K's and the batting average and felt confident that forty home runs and the accompanying rbi's were not worth the historic strikeout rate and clumsy glove. It sure looks like I was a moron, and I couldn't be happier about it.

It's weird being a moron. I really thought I was right. If I was a moron two months ago does that mean I still am? Can I learn from my mistakes? This interests me a lot these days, the idea of morons seeing the light, repenting for their moronism, and becoming smarter, more useful human beings. Now that I have successfully emerged from my own tragic addiction to stupidity I'd like to help others do the same. Here's who I'm looking to help first:
DeSean Jackson: Some might be upset that I'm looking to in any way tamper with such a dazzling football talent. Let me assure you I am not interested in changing DeSean the football player, just DeSean the moron. I hope there's a difference. In short, letting go of the football, by choice, the moment BEFORE crossing the goal line, is without a doubt the dumbest act possible within the sport. It's the royal flush of football stupidity. Can't be topped, trumped, or touched. I will tell this to DeSean and, with the help of a hypnotist, attempt to lodge this fact deep into his subconscious for as long as he plays football in Philadelphia.

Michael Richards(Kramer): This guy could use some help these days, considering that his career and public life is flowing predictably to the sewage plant for treatment, having been flushed down the toilet of racial stupidity last year. Fifty years ago a black heckler might have, in Kramer's lunatic rant, been hung upside down with a fork in his ass, but in 2008 any white celeb dumb enough to yell the n-word to a black man is the one with the fork in his pasty backside. And for good reason. Black comics can crack on us(white folks) all day, and they do. And it's pretty funny most of the time. But until a white comedian talented and bold and intelligent enough to try the same comes along, and is successful at it, that is, can make a black audience laugh using race, the n-word and others like it are off limits. But back to Kramer. First I'd .....hmmmm.....well......Kramer's finished.

McNabb Haters:
He got sick in the Super Bowl. He throws the ball into the turf sometimes. He fumbled and took a bad sack on Monday. I get it haters, you don't think Don has "it", that secret ingredient to greatness that Elway and Brady and Brett Favre have. I agree in one sense: he definitely doesn't have "it" if "it" refers to a stud receiver or a punishing, reliable running game. I also agree that McNabb doesn't always play great in big moments, as evidenced by a couple NFC Championship games, the Super Bowl, and his mediocre Chunky Soup commercials. But wake up and smell the Vitamin Water. Ten years in Philly and he's had a great receiver for exactly twenty-one games. Andy Reid hates running the ball and has never looked to take pressure off McNabb by throwing less. He's had serious injuries(that he's played through) that have slowed him considerably at various times. But the dude is good. Often really good. Please just admit that. If you choose to fight me further you will be forced to join me at my house to watch one-hundred hours of eagles game tape from the 90's that feature previous QB's Jeff Kemp, Rodney Peete, Ty(and Koy) Detmer, Bubby Brister, Bobby Hoying, Doug Pederson, and Mike McMahon. Please don't make me do that.

Clinton Supporters Voting For McCain: Are you fucking serious? Get off your weird ego trip and stop being so prideful. Hillary herself told you to (wo)man up and keep it Democratic. Do you want to make Hillary even more upset?!?! Imagine if Sarah Palin becomes President? Hillary will go postal, shoot up a shopping mall, and spend the rest of her life making license plates.

Everyone else supporting McCain: I know you crazies are serious. I don't think you can be convinced to vote for Barack Obama with facts or reason, since that hasn't worked so far. Vote for McCain if you must, but if he wins I'm smashing cars and houses, and they might belong to you, and too bad.

That's right, The DR is getting political folks, so get used to unfair and unbalanced insight into the dramatic theater that is the presidential election.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Don't Trust Me, Trust Number 6

Okay, some administrative business to get out of the way before I delve into the true topic at hand. I was wrong. I’m man enough to admit that my prediction was further proof that I have absolutely no business gambling or participating in any activity that could possibly result in my losing money, as I would end up a poor, poor man. That being said, I’m not unhappy about the game. In this era of equal rights, we should not be inherently disappointed when a collective of criminals and those of questionable sexual orientation (the two are not mutually exclusive, Pacman) edges us out in an otherwise spectacularly entertaining football game. The main thing that should make you Birds fans happy is that the overwhelming favorite far from overwhelmed us, we stood our ground and refused to lay down, much like our own Stand Watie in the face of strip club bouncers. Take away a few missteps and the W ends up on our side. That being said, I have a few things I, Flintskins, would have done differently:

- I would have gone for two after one of the touchdowns. You make the conversion, and Donovan is fighting to get to field goal range at the end of the game, not trying to create big plays that will make a touchdown feasible. Knowing you need to just get close, and not all the way changes the approach and makes it less do-or-die tense. If you don’t get the conversion, well you’re no better or worse off than you are down five points as opposed to four.

- I would have beat DeSean Jackson mercilessly on the sideline for his cute little “what I’ma do is throw the ball away BEFORE I get to the endzone and become a sportscenter highlight reel god” maneuver. Well, I would have left his arms and legs alone, we need those, but everything else is fair game. Yes, we scored a very easy touchdown right after, but that really doesn’t make me much happier about it. After giving his game paycheck to B-West, somebody needs to drop the dude. Rookies need to be a little more humble. And the lil bastard cost me fantasy points.

- Finally, I would have tried to pressure Romo more. Look what happened the two times we successfully got to him, a fumble that resulted in a TD, and an interception (finally, Asante). I don’t know if the Dallas O-Line is that good or if Jim Johnson didn’t run enough blitzes (lord knows he should have, they weren’t doing much when they weren’t blitzing), but we needed to get to Shitty Tony more. At least we proved that Jessica is the man in that relationship the few times we reached him. Watch for more of it December 28th.

Moving on....

With that out of the way, it’s worth discussing that the Phillies are BACK IN FIRST PLACE! The Phils have certainly won some major games lately (including but not limited to a 4-game sweep of the Brewers over the weekend, in the event you were with Big Firm on his week long PCP bender. We wish him a speedy and successful detox) and are now in the drivers seat. Ghost riding the whip is one Ryan James Howard who decided to wait until September to remind us all (Firm) that we would be morons to trade him. I don’t want to get too much into this, or get too excited as with eleven games to play anything can happen. But, that being said, it would be outright irresponsible of me to not point out that the Mets, while not ready for the bodybag yet, are starting to make very audible gurgling noises and are developing a lovely blue hue, generally associated with some manner of esophageal blockage. Making the Heimlich more difficult for them is that we’ve won five straight, they’ve lost three straight, and they still have a four game series with the Cubs before the season ends. Awesome.

Tonight, the recently promoted J.A. Happ takes the mound for the Phils against a guy I’ve never heard of named Jair Jurrjens (who actually has respectable numbers). We haven’t lost in Turner Field yet this season, and it would be great if we did not pick tonight to start doing so. Happ will need plenty of offense, as he has not proven that he sees giving up runs as “bad” but we’re very capable of that, and he’s not kyle Kendrick, so we have that going for us. I’m taking a hiatus from score predictions after Monday, but I have faith in my team. Go Phils.

PS: Some of you tell me that the hyperlinks are your favorite part of the DR. Undoubtedly you will have noticed that I have not included any. After my last post, I thought it would be best to lay off the linking for a bit. Enjoy.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Shit Just Got Real

This post is long overdue. One week, in fact. I was grossly indisposed last week, and was unable to properly kick off the Eagles’ season as I had planned to do over and over in my head for weeks – no – days – no - minutes before the game began. Unfortunately, I was trapped in a utilitarian vehicle of Japanese origin, going the wrong way on the Garden State Parkway, contemplating the likelihood of survival were I to execute a barrel roll out of the car at 70MPH to escape the putrid, rotten bodily emissions of the similarly hungover driver, (who will remain nameless) and was therefore unable to make my gameday prediction. But we were playing the fucking Rams. If you really needed me to tell you that it was going to be a bloodbath, I highly recommend that you stop reading this page, walk away from the computer and head to the nearest hospital because there is an excellent chance you may have a massive, gaping head wound that is going to require immediate attention.

But this week is different.

Various sports media pundits, assholes that they are, almost unanimously picked the Cowboys to win the NFC East this year, many of them picking Dallas to go to the Super Bowl. One of them picked the Eagles. A good one, but only ONE. Not even a Philly sportswriter did it either. So, with that in mind, going into tonight’s game the Eagles seem to have a lot to prove. While that isn’t actually a terrible thing, it might not be the case, as the Cowboys may very well have at least as much, if not more to prove. See, if the Cowboys win, no one outside of Philly and Dallas really cares, because they are the heavy divisional and game favorite, playing at home and in the eyes of the rest of the football world (not to mention those greedy Vegas odds makers) it is a foregone conclusion that it will happen. A loss, however, changes a lot in the court of public opinion and the basic dynamic of the NFC East. Not only do the Eagles pull off an upset, the Cowboys are in the unenviable position of being down one divisional game to the team that the majority believes are the Cowboys stiffest competition in the East and will likely win at least the Wild Card berth, and it is a distinct possibility that it could all comedown to that final game of the season, when the Cowboys and Birds meet on Dec. 28th in the frozen, drunk tundra of South Philly. Game the fuck on.

Now, a brief disclaimer before I proceed. The chance I will ever predict the Eagles to lose within the confines of this space is about as good as the chances of any of us DR editors passing a piss test. That being said, you will generally get the impression throughout the commentary of how much I believe my own prediction. Just to be 100% clear with you, I have no doubt in my mind that the Eagles are going to win this game. It’s not going to be Billy Madison playing dodgeball with third graders like last week was, but a win it shall be. Look for these things tonight to be big contributing factors:

Donovan & B-West – Historically, McNabb plays his best, most dominating football in the beginning of the season. Typically this is because he is not injured yet, nor do his receivers yet have severe back spasms from having to bend down in coverage to catch those shoe-lace passes we all know so well to come from 5. Considering this trend, look for a big offensive night from Donovan. Of course a big factor in this happening is the play of Brian Westbrook. Look for him to do everything short of cloning himself 52 times and filling every roster spot. Dallas knows that you can not stop B-West, you can only hope to contain him, which they will try, and fail at doing. Fear not though, B-West is not the end all be all on the team, please read on…

Desean Jackson – I know what you may be thinking, that we’re anointing this guy as the next T.O. after one game against the Rams. I am a very, very deluded man, one who often flies flags for the wrong causes because I either don’t take the time to research the cause at hand, or I’m willing to gamble on an unsure thing just so I can have the wonderful, soul satisfying ability to tell others that I told them so. This is not the case with young Mr. Jackson. Yet. The best thing, in my opinion, to come out of D-Jack’s performance last week is that the Cowboys secondary has to respect that he can play the receiver position well, and is a legit deep threat if not paid the proper attention to. This will give opportunities to guys like LJ Smith, Jason Avant, Greg Lewis, etc. To reiterate, don’t expect Desean to be a huge playmaker (although it would be great if he is) but look for him to disrupt the defense by forcing them to respect the speed and ability he showed last week, Rams or not.

The D-Line – I kind of suspect that Tony Romo really, really likes big sweaty mens running towards him, but he has to pretend otherwise if he wants to keep his job. Still, he has not responded well to pressure in the past, so to have him get a face full of Trent Cole (no homo) for most of the night will cause him to make a lot of mistakes, and when Tony messes up, good lord does he shit the bed. Also, Marion Barber has bruised ribs, and is foolishly playing, thinking his injured ass is going to be able to break through neanderthals like Mike Patterson. He will not be a fan of his decision Tuesday morning.

The Secondary – I hate that I’m saying this, I really do, but T.O. is an incredible Wide Receiver. He is also a legendary whining bitch, but there’s not much Brian Dawkins can legally do about that, so let’s focus on the former. Between T.O. and Jason Witten, the Cowboys have two legit threats. Between Patrick Crayton, Terry Glenn and Miles Austin they have a crew of JV scrubs. Still, our three headed monster at cornerback along with B-Dawk and Q-Mike have to make sure they don’t let the sun shine on any dogs asses tonight.

Cowboys Cheerleaders* – They’re hot. It takes the edge off of my Dallas hatred. You expected more from me?

So, after all of that, what is the final outcome? Well, as much as it pains me to admit, the Cowboys will give the Eagles a good game and may even cause us some worry at times, but ultimately our offense will excel in the red zone, whereas our defense will have some clutch red zone stops, resulting in field goals at worst.

Final score: Eagles 28, Dallas 23

* - They’re still not hotter than the Eagles cheerleaders.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Seeing is Believing

First, I digress...

I am well aware that none of my fellow editors enjoys going to the gym. In fact, I'm pretty sure I am ridiculed behind my back for having a gym membership - or come to think of it, I am ridiculed to my face. And to be honest, I don't necessarily blame you. The gym is an outrageous place, filled with sleeveless tees, cliche tattoos, meatheads (with cliche tattoos), the self-confident, the confident-less, and the stubbornly overweight. But the most mysterious gym member may be the old man. See the old man is north of 60, moving slowly, and perplexed by many of the machines. And most importantly for this post, the old man spends a considerable amount of time in the locker room in the buff. Naked. Without pants, a towel, or shorts. WHY DO YOU MOTHERFUCKERS REFUSE TO WEAR TOWELS?! Or let me rephrase that question. When going to and fro the showers, why must you carry your towel rather than wear it? Do you carry your sandals or flip flops instead of wearing them? I didn't think so. Why just the other day I saw a fellow Jew proudly making his way to the shower, towel draped over his shoulder, and wearing his yamaka. For the love of God, literally, use that piece of cloth that he created in the manner he intended. It makes no sense. You may be feeling good about your physical appearance relative to your peers in the office, but there's only a select few in the men's locker room who share your enthusiasm - and I am not one of them.

Believing is a funny thing. For some reason, I truly believe in very little. I mean very few things get my blood boiling or my mind racing. Truly believing in something, undoubtedly, is a powerful phenomenon. Everyday I see people doing things I can't believe, and everyday I'm astonished that these people don't have something better to do. See to me, believing tends to end in disappointment. I am, perhaps, the ultimate pessimist, haunted by punches to the gut and repeated reassurance that believing in something only seems to guarantee that something won't come to fruition. But gosh darnit, not five days after I became convinced the Phils lacked that special magic this year, that aura of confidence and knack for the inconceivable, this feisty bunch has me back in line to embrace their faith. Dare I say it - I believe!
  • I believe Brett Myers is back on steroids. There is no other explanation for what is going on here in the second half of the season. He certainly hasn't lost any weight, or discovered a new pitch. I'm going with steroids until I hear otherwise.
  • I believe Ryan Howard may not be the worst player in the league, as I've thought many times during the course of the season. It would appear that a potential 50 HR, 150 RBI season is something worth embracing.

  • I believe Jayson Werth is an everyday player. If not for his ability to smack homers in clutch situations, certainly for his acting in Platoon (props to Eldiablogrande for making this connection)
  • I believe signing Tadahito Iguchi had nothing to do with his pinch-hitting ability. This is a clear appeal to a higher- being, an acknowledgment that karma can get you into the playoffs, maybe even more so than skill. A successful baseball season hinges on the little things falling into place. And we now have two little things firmly on our bench - Tadahito and his interpreter. God bless the Japanese.
  • I believe I might be developing a gay crush for Brad Lidge. It might just be a significant appreciation for his baseball ability, but I'm not ruling anything out. I love Michael Bourn and all, but good riddance to you my speedy and miniature friend, Lights Out has solidified your place in the Phillies historical abyss. Tell Dougy Glanville I said whattup.
  • I believe that Jamie Moyer wears his towel in the locker room, despite his advanced age. And HE is 14-7 with an ERA in the 3's. His lead is worth following.
  • I believe Brett Myers just pitched a complete game 2 hitter, we swept a doubleheader, and the Phillies are tied for the Wild Card lead and creepin on the Mets like a persistent high-schooler at a middle school dance.We mean business, and will wait patiently for your embedded vulnerability to surface.
  • I believe there is a reason we didn't see CC in this four game set. Put simply, the good Lord is a Phillies fan at heart.
  • And lastly, I believe in Uncle Charlie, a leap of faith of epic proportions. But baseball is about momentum, unity, and rockin the boat only when the boat needs rockin. And I believe Charlie will stay clear of this boat, and guide it from the mainland, if not because he understands his players, certainly because he will be too drunk to board this vessel.
I'm told, all too often, that I look like David Blaine. And as of September 14, 2008, these past four wins in four days have me feeling, well... the magic. And until further notice, believing is a no-brainer.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Of interest to us all...

Who is this strapping young fellow dressed to impress, or possibly start a coup? None other than our beloved Sammy D. A recent article tells us that Sammy can tell whether fish is fresh by merely looking at it, and remains frugal with his money. Moreover, he's been cheating on me with a girlfriend for nine years, he wants to fly planes and eventually become a mechanic. An enigma if there ever was one...

This post is short, but any Sammy news is great Sammy news.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Nothing but Fools in Love

The NFL season started tonight in New York city, in a shit-storm of overdone pomp and circumstance symbolic of America's #1 sport. Football's hegemony over the rest of the sporting culture is curious(to me) but uncontested. Am I un-American if I raise the question of why? In the spirit of Big Firm's exciting entry into political commentary I'd like to share my thoughts on the NFL, America's true religion, it's dominant political party, and it's jingoistic pride and joy.

I love football. I'm not here to rain on anybody's parade by making a pompous argument about how soccer or cricket or tennis is a more elegant, beautiful, somehow more deserving sport to watch and support. I will be in front of my television every Sunday like everyone else, then will spend the rest of the week, like some but hopefully not most of you, reading, watching, and agonizing over the week that was and the game that is to be. I'm a fan, a disciple, a kool-aid drinker. Well, maybe a kool-aid sipper, but a big fan nonetheless. I look forward to the NFL season, I'm giddy when it arrives, and so on and so forth. Just wanted to get that out of the way.


I have issues with it. With the game. With the league. With the fans. Let's work through it.

Why So Popular?
This appears to be simple: lots of people say football is violent in its nature, brutal in intent, and this primal concoction of non-lethal warfare appeals to us Americans as if pre-destined from the hand of God. This could be true. But hockey is arguably more violent, with actual fighting, and Americans would rather watch almost anything. If violence is all we want then boxing wouldn't be dying a slow death, and Jerry Springer would still be beating Oprah's ass in the ratings. There's gotta be more.

Another common view is that football is the perfect television sport, best appreciated at home with dozens of replays and camera angles, non-stop commercial breaks to fetch food and take a piss, all presented to us via the ubiquitous but still inspiring high-def screen. This could also be true, but in a way it's also a way of saying this: in person, watching football kinda sucks. You go for the energy in the crowd, not for the actual game on the field. Not including playoff games or a regular season game with dire playoff and/or rivalry implications, if given the choice between paying hundreds of dollars to attend a game or watching at home for free and it's not a tough call: I'm staying home. So how come the least satisfying sport to watch in person is the most popular?

The Real Reasons:
This means most teams are competitive and any given year most of the fans in the country think their team has a shot to be good. This is important and unique to football. With the other leagues I can tell you right now which 20-25 teams have no chance at winning it all, but in the NFL it's easier to rebuild a bad team and make a surprise run. The NBA, MLB, and the NHL all have franchises that continue to suck year after year, cities where attendance is weak if not abominable, and fan bases that really don't give a flying Frankie Faizon. Besides the Arizona Cardinals, I having a hard time thinking of a team and a city that doesn't outright ride the dick of its football team to the point of sixty-year waiting lists for tickets. Most teams are competitive and a lot of fans are kept excited, which matters. Just not as much as.....

Motherfuckers love to gamble in this country. Football, from what I've gathered, is by far the best gambling sport. So, one huge reason football has a grip on our citizens is this: families, quite literally, depend on football for survival. If daddy has a bad week of picks you can bet it's gonna affect little Lucy's baby formula. With so much money riding on games every week there exists a zealous paranoia and fear(which only gambling can provide) that lends the NFL some extra pep in its step. And let's not forget....

3)Fantasy Football

We live in a world we try desperately to escape. We watch reality tv. We go to the movies. We join pathetic fantasy sport leagues that make us feel like important quasi-GMs and feed into our already itchy instincts to gamble and win money on sports. But when we really wanna escape we go back to old reliable.....


Yes yes, the real reason for footballs dominance. It is perfect. We can tailgate(aka drink) all morning and afternoon before the game. We then enter the stadium, or living room, and continue to drink. As we drink we get aggressive and agitated, which combined with the hundreds of dollars we have riding on the game makes us borderline unstable, which is encouraged to fester as we watch commercials for the Army and SUVs or stand next to racist psychopaths at the stadium and listen to a steady stream of offensive commentary. We're drunk and angry and scared and the action on the field is hardly soothing. It stops and starts, sputters about in quick bursts of action and long stretches of inaction. We simultaneously are keeping track of the money we have on the line, the fight three rows down between eight drunk lunatics wearing afro wigs and Mardi Gras beads, our fantasy stats for the day, nabbing the beer man, and the game on the field. No wonder we love football, it makes us want to kill somebody!!

Add It Up:

You've got a game that thrives on physical depravation and bodily harm in a league that is balanced and competitive, thrives on the added intensity of gambling and fantasy leagues, transfers perfectly to television and is played on a day when almost everyone can drink for twelve hours and be applauded for it. I get it. Football has it all. But still, I have one more observation about the actual game.

Nobody Knows Anything:

By nobody I mean fans and probably a good amount of the coaching staffs. Simply put, we fans have almost no idea what is happening on the field and why. More specifically, we A)don't know what plays are called or what they are supposed to look like. B) When the play is being executed we have no idea what each individual player is responsible for doing. C) We have only minimal ways of deciding whether or not a player was successful at his particular duty. D) In general we can't even see the vast majority of the players on the field anyway. What I'm trying to say is this: with so many people on the field at once(22), and with such highly developed coaching strategies being used, we fans are incapable of understanding a GODdamn thing. Yes, Mr. D-Lineman put pressure on the quarterback, who threw an incomplete pass. But maybe Mr. Linebacker blitzed up the middle, diverting the offensive lineman responsible for Mr. D-Lineman, and maybe the receiver ran the wrong route. So perhaps the linebacker is the star of the play and the receiver the silent culprit. This happens one-hundred times a game, sequences we think we understand but don't. Why am I bothering to point this out? Because I think it's weird. Like Black Republicans. We revere a game we could only fully grasp if we watched game tape with a coaching staff so they could point out who did what right and who fucked up and why. But, as my lawyer friends say, I digress....

I'm sorry this is so long and has no funny pictures. Next time I'll have tons of Sarah Palin pics and Cindy McCain jokes.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tuck in Your Belly, Dear, Mommy is Talking

At the risk of offending any of our republican readers... I now reflect on the events of last night's Republican National Convention. See the Big Firm is not a political man. In fact, quite the opposite. Generally speaking, I don't give a shit. Calling me ambivalent would give me too much credit, but at the encouragement of my brother, my mother, and I'm sure DVW, I am taking an interest in what I'm told is the most important election of our generation. And here I was thinking that Dave Hess for student body president defined me as a voter. But you throw in a hot mother, a teen pregnancy, and goiter the likes of which Frank Beamer can't comprehend... and wouldn't you know it, I tuned in last night to see what the GOP has in store for our nation.

And boy was I enthused to see that the teacher/stripper from Varsity Blues is John McCain's running mate. But before I could digest the notion that I wanted to have sexual relations with the republican VP nominee, I was distracted. By what you ask? By the vomit projecting from my mouth after I learned what her daughters were named: Bristol, Willow, and Piper. Either she's starting a law firm or Sarah and her world champion snow machine driving husband are spending too much time with the WD-40 sniffin Eskimos in her home state. Oh young Bristol, you are an inspiration to every teenage girl who thinks/knows condoms take away all the feeling. There you stood, proudly composed on stage gripping the hand of your baby-daddy. We can only hope you are having twins, the more Palins the better.

But you know what really throws me off? Black republicans, that's who. My trusty comrade and fellow editor Stand Whitie gave me some great news last night, so the only true black republican I could name off the top of my head has flipped the switch on me. But a quick glance around that St Paul arena last night, and alas, I spotted this mysterious human being. Not many of them, but I spotted them. What's more, a black COWBOY recited the pledge of allegiance. Amazing! I'm starting to think the Republican Party might itself be the party of change. And what's with Joe Lieberman??! Talk about perplexing.

The Republicans were pulling out all the stops. First they Weekend-At-Bernie's Cindy McCain, who I am still convinced is a dead person, despite her movement, clapping and smiling. Then they managed to offend community organizers nationwide. One minute they've got the young single mother vote securely in hand, the next they are degrading social commitment. It's all very intriguing, to say the least. And is it me or did McCain look a little bit too concerned that he might catch down syndrome from that baby? Because when he went to lightly pat young Trigg on the head, he looked a wee bit squeamish. I'm just sayin...

As a side note, we should all thank the lord Rudy Guliani is not still running for president. The only thing possibly more distracting than Sarah Palin's backside would be Rudy's lisp and sinister disposition. Would it kill him to remove his retainer before taking the stage? I doubt it. I simply can't fathom the spit he would generate and dispense on front row observers over the next few months were he still a prospective nominee.

But all of the above really isn't that important in the scheme of things. I mean, presidents come and go. But the Phillies and the playoffs are a rare union, and it's time we focused our energy on pushing our beloved Phightins into October. It starts tonight in Shea. Go us.