Monday, June 29, 2009

U-S-A! U-S-A! C-H-O-K-E-D! and more Case of the Mondays

More Riverside Rants in the middle of a Wimbledon that might have a couple Andys in the semis and Williamses in the final...
  • Boy, there is just nothing better than a bunch of loud, drunk Americans being wheeled into one bar on a bandwagon to watch the rarest of rarities: a relevant USA soccer game, huh?
  • There were a surprising amount of Brazil soccer fans there, too, which made things fun. Particularly when the American team went up 2-0, the bar went bazooka-bonkers twice, and the poor Brasilian hooligans looked like they were contemplating how to go into hiding for the next 28 years. I loved the part where our table started up the "U-S-A! U-S-A!" chant on both occasions.
  • Of course, just like any low-budget horror movie, it ended badly. When Brazil scored the game-winner with 10 minutes to go, the table of yellow-and-green-clad patrons started mocking us with their own version of the U-S-A chant. I won't reprint what qualifier they added; this is a family sports-and-hot-chicks blog.
  • The funny thing is, I seem to recall reading a story about how much the rest of the world hates that U-S-A! chant. Like it's beyond obnoxious to any foreigner. I think I read that during the Olympics, maybe.
  • I guess I can appreciate that, in all honesty. The chant is plain, it's simple, and it basically boasts, "we're better than you" in a sing-songy fashion. I suppose the foreign-language chants hold less personal entitlement to them, so whatever.
  • But it was all in good fun, and no bad blood lingered between the two fan groups on the way out or anything. Besides, our group forgot about the not-so-devastating result halfway on our commute from Brats to the Terrace; we wouldn't have wanted our Brazilian amigos to stay depressed until the 2036 World Cup.

  • And now, our Riverside Rant of the Week. Enjoy.
  • Three big-time trades went down in the Association right before the Draft. Well, big-time if you're a fan of the Cavs, Magic or Spurs. Not so much if you're sticking with the Suns, Nets and Bucks.
  • Hmmm...three playoff teams make moves to get better, while three non-playoff teams give away top players for basically nothing. Anybody still wonder why the same 16 franchises make the postseason each year?
  • The East champs, Orlando, picked up Vince Carter, which kind of was all right, since they couldn't hang on to Rafer Alston and the Nets do receive Courtney Lee in return. But I don't know what New Jersey intends to do with Alston - who just "point"ed the Magic to the NBA Finals - seeing as Devin Harris isn't about to give up time.
  • Then the stupid Bucks-Spurs deal, which involved five players - four of them completely irrelevant. Rip Jefferson is now in San Antonio, in exchange for bag of balls.
  • Not the actual basketballs; just the bag. An empty bag.
  • Bruce Bowen will get bought out, Kurt Thomas is now useless and Amir Johnson is terrible. The Milwaukee Bucks: ready to rise? More like ready to slap that snooze button and get another 45 minutes of sleep.
  • "The Bucks' incentive to make the trade is largely financial," according to the AP story. A true statement, if you leave out the 'largely' part. Milwaukee GM John Hammond said this gives the Bucks "much-needed options in the short- and long-term."
  • What short-term? Somehow, giving away a 20-point scorer and deadly shooter for whom you just traded the farm 18 months ago is good in the short term? Replacing him with a 36-year-old center and an overpaid, fourth-string forward helps your team in the short term?
  • John, John...just call it what it is in your pretty little statement. "Our franchise is hemorraging money and selling out fans, so we're just going to put more money in our already-fat pockets. Thank you, and go to hell."
  • And then, that Shaq trade. You might say, 'the Cavs shouldn't start printing up a banner just yet; the Diesel is running out of gas at age 39.' This may be. But they got him basically for free.
  • The Cavs sent Ben Wallace (probably retiring) and Sasha Pavlovic (probably getting bought out and returning to the Cavs) to the Suns. Wait, scratch that sentence. Neither of them are going to Phoenix. So why'd they do it?
  • "For the Suns, the O'Neal trade is a straight salary dump." Ah, I see. A team that won 60 games LAST YEAR made a blockbuster deal that made zero basketball sense to it. The economy didn't crumble THAT fast, fellas.
  • Here's the actual rant: I understand there are reasons behind cutting salary. Heck, the Nuggets made a straight salary dump with Camby and ended up with the greatest season in franchise history. But they were already a good team, and LA was trying to add pieces. That deal made some sense to both sides.
  • Now we're seeing these teams basically GIVE UP. And why? Because the owners wanna slash expenses in a bad economy?
  • That's the part, good readers, that makes me the sickest. The next owner who makes any sort of B.S. statement about tightening his belts should take a gander at the unemployment lines in their city. Or read the disturbing headline that 19.7% of May 2009 college grads are now employed within a month of commencement, compared with 51% in May 2007. Or do any other sort of actual research involving impoverished families who can barely afford the day.
  • Then tell us, your paying customers, about tightening your belts.
  • It's this simple, you 120 owners: you're filthy rich. And you own a sports team. If you don't care about winning and care about making money, sell your team. There's got to be a few more Mark Cubans out there that will spend, spend, spend to win.
  • Because that's what makes sports go around: 30 teams in each sport that are extremely competitive, not 8 haves and 22 have-nots. Enough of these excuses.
  • One more thing: if you type the words "salary dump" into Google Search, followed by the word "NFL", "NHL" or "MLB", you get somewhere in the range of 25,000 maybe 30,000 results. If you type in "salary dump NBA"? 40 grand.
  • David Stern, you have a call from a dirty, disgusting little secret on line one.

  • As my cohort in crime Andrew Petersen found today on Twitter, Chase Daniel was pleased to announce that Missouri was "one of two schools to produce a first-round pick in the NFL, NBA and MLB drafts this spring."
  • Why, that's nice, Chase. Showing support for your alma mater like that.
  • Should I even mention that both North Carolina AND Southern California are in the group with Missouri? Or would that force us to learn whether or not Chase can count past two?
  • Ah, screw it. Mizzou-rah.

  • Wimbledon picks, or "Wimby" if you're a ruh-tard headline writer at ESPN: Andy Roddick gets past Lleyton Hewitt in a solid five-setter, Andy Murray eases past JC Ferrero in three, Novak Djokovic knocks off Tommy Haas in four, and Roger Federer squeezes past Ivo Karlovic in a surprisingly entertaining four sets.
  • On the women's side? I think I mentioned a couple Williamses who might have a bit of success. Dinara Safina might be the worst No. 1 of all time, and Elena Dementieva is the eternal "play to my seed and just go home" player.

  • Go see the Hangover. Then see it again. But if you pass up Transformers 2 to see Hangover a second time, at least sneak into the sequel for the first 10 minutes.
  • Two words: Megan Fox. Two more words: her legs. And that's all I have to say about that.
Have a good one.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Top 3 Pick Running-Diary for the NBA Draft

Well I am never around to contribute to this blog... sorry AJ. Trying to get my life in order.

Found about 30 minutes before dinner and actually watched part of the draft. Here are my thoughts in a diary format.

All posts in central time:

6:32: This ESPN NBA DRAFT puzzle piece gimmick is really cheesy. My boy Blake is wearing his purple and looking good.

6:33: Stern opens up the draft with a written speech… sounds like it is written by an NBA intern. Stern slips in “New York home of the Knicks and the Liberty!” Was it really necessary to shove the WNBA down our throat with that quick Jab, Mr. Stern?

6:36: Do the Clippers really need the full 5 minutes… or did they take some much needed money for their franchise from ESPN to run a segment about how much the Clips SUCK at drafting.

6:38: When Ricky Davis is listed as a key reserve…. You know your franchise is in trouble.

6:39: Stu Scott mentions Mike Dunleavy is the only GM/Coach in the NBA… there should be no question of why the Clips are the worst franchise in the league.

6:40: And its official Blake Griffin’s career is set to go down in flames. BG23 to the Clips at #1. And live video shows the Clippers war room and it looks like a funeral just ended… no wonder the fans aren’t into it anymore… the management doesn’t give a flip either.

6:41: Blake excited to move forward and not think about the past…. Good thinking Blake…. Lets not think about 3 playoff appearances in about 20 years or so. At least there is no pressure of expectations, Dunleavy will make sure of that.

6:45: Mark Jackson says the Grizzlies need to swing for the fences with this pic! Wow Mark… way to go out on a limb for a terrible franchise with the 2nd pick.

6:46: Hasheem Thabeet is taken and yet again a war room goes nuts…. NOT. Excited for this interview… may understand 1-in-5 words. Memphis just got a poor man’s Dikembe Mutumbo with no offensive skill set… get excited Tennessee NBA fans!!! Oh wait, you don’t care about the NBA… its almost SEC football season.

6:49: Hasheem wore a Memphis-colored tie… so far these two picks were pretty predictable.

6:51: Ricky Rubio looks like he is a pompous a$$. And he will have to wait as the OKC Thunder pick the best fit for them in USC guard James Harden.

6:53: And the dinner bell is ringing therefore I must cut the mini-running-diary even shorter than I hoped.

Stay Classy,


Monday, June 22, 2009

Who the f&$#! is Lucas Glover? and more Case of the Mondays

Note: had a looooooooong day at work today so I don't have time to complete an entire Riverside Rants right now. But today serves pretty well for me to just offer some quick-hit thoughts, all of which I will expand upon either tomorrow or later in the week. I can't and won't let you down.

-Lucas Glover (71st ranked in the world) holding off David Duval (882nd) in a tourney led mostly by Ricky Barnes (519th) shows just how golf is just a giant crapshoot. What else does it prove? That Tiger used to be the most dominant athlete in all of sport. Emphasis on used to.
-I am sick and tired of Tiger's excuses, as well as his silly, sophmoric tantrums he throws after a poor shot. You don't see Roger Federer doing this, you don't see Tom Brady, Derek Jeter or LeBron James doing this, and you especially didn't see Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer doing this. Grow up, Tiger. Your days of winning everything are behind you.

-James Blake, retirement calling on line one.
-Roger Federer - LOCK.
-This has a chance to be a historically awful draw for me, picks-wise. Just terrible. Whoops.

-Looks like it's back to the drawing board, UW athletic department.
-Do yourself a favor when reading this article, and start reading at the fifth paragraph, not the top. I could care less about Wisconsin's positive spin on how quick tickets sold out. That's less a symbol of the program's popularity and more about kids realizing, oh shit, I better be online at 8:30 on Monday morning or I'm gonna miss out. Don't try and make us think it's any different than that.
-Derek Zetlin's gonna pioneer change, one way or another. I'm feeling it.

-Here's my big project for tomorrow, or Wednesday. I'm gonna research how many times in the last decade a baseball team has played an 18-game stretch losing one or zero games.
-Then I'm gonna see how many times the same franchise has accomplished that feat - 17-1 or 18-0 - TWICE, in a span of 20 months. In the history of baseball.
-Then I'm going to ask, quite rhetorically, why in the name of Kazuo Matsui has ESPN failed to acknowledge, like at ALL, the Colorado Rockies, both the '07 and '09 editions. If the Sawx had done this, I think the offices in Bristol would explode. It would no longer be Baseball Tonight - in fact, it wouldn't be Yankees Tonight. It would be Red Sox Tonight.
-But, a little ball team from Denver does this, and it's not even Page 2 news. Not even Page 6 news. Doesn't get any press whatsoever.
-Please, sports gods, if you grant me nothing else in the world of sports, grant me a competing TV network to ESPN. Somebody needs to put the Worldwide Leader in their fricking place and cover sports the right way; the fair way.

More on these topics, and other topics, later. Have a good one.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

2009 Wimbledon Preview

It's truly a pity that Rafael Nadal won't be back to defend his Wimbledon crown. Even worse, perhaps, is that Roger Federer's eventual record-breaking 15th Grand Slam title won't come with quite as much fanfare ... in fact, an asterisk may be included just because he didn't have to face Nadal to knock Pete Sampras off the mountaintop. (Not, like, a steroids-related asterisk; but an asterisk nonetheless.)

However, that shouldn't suggest this won't be a fantastic fortnight of tennis. I'm going to make my picks here, and for all second-round matchups, I'll tell you why, in 15 words or less (to match Federer's GS total pending this tournament) I'm taking that winner. The idea of picking second-rounders, is so that you can automatically see who my 1st-rounders are based on the matchup. At the end, I'll list my quarterfinal, semifinal and championship picks. I'm going mano y mano with mi papa. We'll see how it goes.

SECOND-ROUND PICKS, starting from the top of the draw
(5) Juan Martin Del Potro def. Lleyton Hewitt
No Nadal at the top means opportunity for Hewitt, but JMDP is ultra-talented
(25) Dmitry Tursonov def. Philipp Petzschner
A suddenly relevant match, what with Rafa taking his bad knees back to Mallorca
(23) Radek Stepanek def. Potito Starace
Two of the better names in the draw go head to head, with experience prevailing
(16) David Ferrer def. Fabio Fognini
Does Fabio have golden locks? What a weak upper eighth of the draw this is
Daniel Evans def. Bjorn Phau
Upset special of the tourney: homeboy Evans knocks out 12-seed Davydenko in 1st round
(20) Tomas Berdych def. Paul Henri-Mathieu
'Cuz now everybody's heard about the bird. Bird bird bird, the bird is the word
Benjamin Becker def. (26) Jurgen Melzer
The boy who ended Agassi's career has to be better than this, right?
(6) Andy Roddick-Decker def. Grigor Dimitrov
Apparently this Grigor kid is "better than Federer at 18". Uh-oh, Andy.

(3) Andy Murray def. Ernests Gulbis
Along with Roddick-Dimitrov, these could be two wildly entertaining 2nd-round battles
Daniel Gimeno-Traver def. (30) Viktor Troicki
The man with three names knocks out washed-up American Taylor Dent in opener
(19) Stanislas Wawrinka def. Martin Vassallo Arguello
Swiss Prince (to Fed's King) is steadily making this tiny country a two-man band
(14) Marat Safin def. Christophe Rochus
How in the world is Marat back in the top 15? Stealing his sister's points?
(10) Fernando Gonzalez def. Oscar Hernandez
Since he did that much damage on dirt, imagine what Gonzo can do on sod
Mikhail Youzhny def. Fabrice Santoro
Along with former French champ Ferrero and 33rd seed Kiefer, an interesting quartet lies here
(31) Victor Hanescu def. Nicolas Lapentti
There are three "Nicolas"-named players within five draw spots. Thought I'd point that out
(8) Gilles Simon def. Andrei Pavel
The highest-ranked dude you don't know. Mainly because he's never done anything substantial

(17) James Blake def. Marc Gicquel
Can the American Revolution (half-Yank, half-Brit) capitalize on his reshuffled, weaker draw?
Evgeny Korolev def. Paul Capdeville
I'd love to pick Vincent Spadea here, but his rap is better than his tennis
(24) Tommy Haas def. Michael Llodra
Isn't this guy like 43 years old now? How does he keep winning?
(11) Marin Cilic def. Sam Querrey
This might be young Sam's time to shine. But same goes for the lanky Croat
(15) Tommy Robredo def. Edouard Roger-Vasselin
Soft draw for the Spaniard, with two qualifiers likely in the offing
Dudi Sela def. (18) Rainer Schuettler
Shahar Peer already had her breakout '07 Open. Is it time for the Israeli man?
(28) Mardy Fish def. Janko Tipsarevic
Hey, Mardy, welcome back to the rankings. 'Bout time for Andy's old buddy
(4) Novak Djokovic def. Simon Greul
Loud-mouthed Serb hasn't done a whole lot since 2008 Aussie win. Comeback alert?

(7) Fernando Verdasco def. Kristof Vliegen
Now the top Spaniard in the field, we'll see if Verdasco's game translates to grass
Grega Zemlja def. Guillermo Canas
Because I don't trust No. 32 Albert Montanes and I like Grega Zemlja's name
Frank Dancevic def. (22) Ivo Karlovic
Karlovic is the only man alive who can nail 60 aces and still lose
(9) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga def. Simone Bolelli
Floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee. He's a bad man, he's Muhammed Ali!
Gilles Muller def. Andreas Beck
13th seed Robin Soderling will suffer a MAJOR letdown after dream run in Paris
(21) Feliciano Lopez def. Nicolas Almagro
There are 14 players in the draw from Espana, including this pair. Good gravy
(27) Philipp Kohlschreiber def. Maximo Gonzalez
Great name for Gonzalez. And baby-faced Kohlschreiber has game, but this is his ceiling...
(2) Roger Federer def. Agustin Calleri
...because there's a certain Swiss gentleman whom nobody in this field has defeated at Wimbledon

In the quarters, I have Roddick downing Del Potro, Murray besting F. Gonzalez, Cilic crashing the party over Djokovic, and Federer, well, you know, destroying Frank Dancevic.

Federer vs. one of the Andys in the final...doesn't matter which one. Roger will ease to his 6th Wimbledon and 15th Slam losing no more than a set.


Monday, June 15, 2009

¡Yo Soy Conando! and more Case of the Mondays


Finally…WE’RE BACK! More Mile High Musings – wait a minute. We need to change the subtitle of this thing. I mean, Case of the Mondays remains great, but Mile High Musings? I’m no longer in Denver! No more need for nostalgia. Hmmmm…what fits with Iowa?

(I swear to God, the next wisenheimer who makes a corn joke is getting 4,000 ears of corn shipped overnight to your front door. Grrrrr…)

Corn actually doesn’t work, since Davenport is extremely urban. No sign of corn anywhere. The Mississippi River’s right there, though. How about, Riverside Rants? That work for everybody? Good.

Now, without further adieu…a supersized pilot installment of Riverside Rants on a Monday that sees a parade of champions passing through during the past few weeks…

  • My dad and I had a conversation on, I wanna say it was Friday; the Lakers had just taken a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals and the Red Wings were about to battle the Penguins in one game, in Joe Louis Arena, for the Stanley Cup. My dad posed the interesting question: if you could take one and only one result to your liking based on rivalry (a Red Wings loss at home, or a complete Laker collapse), which would it be?
  • Interesting question, I think. And I’d love to hear input from other Colorado fans. Basically, you’re either harkening back to your good ol’ Avalanche-loving, “Red Wings Suck” days and stripping Detroit of a Cup on its home ice … or you’re making sure “The Rapist” is handed the most painful beating of his life in Games 5, 6 and 7 which would make a diehard Nuggets fan feel kinda, sort better in the end.
  • My dad’s take was hands down, take the Red Wings loss. I think he’s still more into the NHL than I am, so he loved seeing Denver’s most hated rival failing to win their fifth championship of the Colorado Avalanche era.
  • Me? I had to think for a minute, before agreeing with my dad. However, I had a different reason. Kobe is a psycho. He really is. And I mean that in a good way. He absolutely killed himself over the past two years – mainly, in the past 12 months since losing to Boston – to get that fourth ring and first post-Diesel ring.
  • If you’re a Nuggets fan, or Spurs fan, or Blazers/Jazz/Suns/Mavs/Rockets/Hornets fan, do you want ANY part of an even more pissed-off Kobe Bryant in 2009-10? I didn’t think so. Let Kobe soak in the completion of his quest, and now that he’s getting older – not to mention, that’s a whole lotta games he’s now logged in the last 24 months – there’s great opportunity for another Western Conference team to make the Finals next season.
  • (Psssst…Chauncey, are you listening? MAKE IT HAPPEN NEXT YEAR! Thank you.)

  • So anyway, speaking of the Lakers, congratulations to Los Angeles on your 15th. And to Phil Jackson on his tenth in 19 years – now THAT is an accomplishment.
  • But I’m morally obligated to complain about this somehow, so let’s talk about that ghastly postgame ceremony in which three different sequences were excruciating to watch, not from a I-hate-the-Lakers standpoint but from a why-is-this-completely-ad-libbed-I-think-I’ll-flip-to-TBS-to-watch-Mean-Girls-now standpoint…
  • Stuart Scott’s first interview upon the Lakers being presented the Larry O’Brien trophy was not Jerry Buss. It was Jerry’s son Joey – what kind of high-powered executive is named Joey? – whose attire (not just any polo shirt and jeans; it was an outfit that looked like it was 40 percent off at Kohl’s during Bonus Buys week in May) indicates he didn’t realize he was going to be accepting a world championship trophy on national television. Instead, he thought he was just gonna be backstage, draining free booze with attractive 24-year-old interns who were staring at the huge bulge in his pants.
  • (A bulge caused by a wallet filled with Daddy’s cash. Get your minds out of the gutter.)
  • Anyway…uhhh…okay, I’ll ask. Where’s Jerry? Why are we talking to his son, who nobody’s even heard of (not even Kobe or Pau)? Why can’t he shave his neck patch? Why was the answer to Stu Scott’s first question a long pause and then, “this one…means…a lot.”? (Thanks for the elaboration) And for god’s sake, if we can’t hear from the actual owner, why not his daughter, Jeanie Buss, who’s also dating Phil Jackson? Wouldn’t it have been great for Stu to kid around with her about dating PJ with some sort of lame sex pun or asking if this would be a good time for Phil to pop the question? That whole sequence was especially painful.
  • Then during Scott’s interview with Phil, that went well enough…right until the end, when Phil addressed his family, said “they mean so much to me and I can’t thank them enough” to clearly complete his answer. But Stu must have had a stroke or something, because he stared at Phil for THREE GOOD SECONDS, keeping the microphone in front of his face, not asking a follow-up question or turning it back to David Stern, forcing Phil to stammer out awkwardly, “thank you”. Hi, hello Stu? Earth to Stu? You’re on NATIONAL TELEVISION. Wake up.
  • And then, Stern brings up Bill Russell, apparently to assist him with presenting the MVP trophy to Kobe Bryant. Sounds like a real two-man job. Stern lists off all Bill Russell’s accolades, reminding the Magic crowd and L.A.’s fans of how successful the Celtics’ franchise has been (like anybody cares or wants to hear about that). After a long-winded introduction, Stern nods in Russell’s direction, and Russell goes to take the microphone and present Kobe with the trophy in his name. Except, inexplicably, Stern gives Russell the “psyche!” treatment, turning back to the crowd and saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, your 2009 Finals Most Valuable Player, Kobe Bryant!”, and the camera shows in on a stunned Russell, clapping politely but almost certainly thinking, “WTF? Is Stern clinically insane? Why’d I come down here? And where’s Kevin Garnett at? Shouldn’t I be giving him this trophy?”
  • What a weird postgame, post-championship ceremony. Well done, ABC and NBA. Take a bow.
  • Or don’t. Whatever.

  • Pau Gasol wears braces? I had no idea.
  • I still think Gasol’s nickname should be Garbage Man, for all the easy points he picks up for doing almost nothing. But I do not still think he’s overrated. He’s one of the top five big men in the league, no matter how he gets it done.

  • Saw the Hangover Saturday. Comic genius.
  • That is a spot-on representation of what every man aspires to with bachelor parties and Vegas-related shenanigans in general. The physical humor was great – but that’s kinda besides the point.
  • Hangover is an absolute quote machine, like Anchorman-level. I cannot WAIT to buy the DVD – which will certainly be Unrated and might come with 3D glasses, considering the direction of Hollywood – and start memorizing every line. Highly recommend the flick, if you haven’t caught it already.

  • How ‘bout them Rockies? Got a lil’ stat for you. Looked it up myself.
  • On June 15, 2007, the Rockies were right at .500, had a minus-24 run margin, and sat 5 games behind the Dodgers out of the National League wild card.
  • On June 15, 2009, the Rockies were one game under .500, had a plus-22 run margin, and sat 3.5 games behind the Giants out of the NL wild card.
  • The ’09 team was unwatchable on June 1. The ’07 team made the World Series.
  • All together now: I’m not sayin’. I’m just sayin’.
  • Okay, I admit it. I did hurt myself jumping on the bandwagon. I’m not making any playoff declarations; I’m not even saying I’m going to watch them any more closely now…it’s not easy when you’re out of town like this. But at least they’re watchable now, and should the Dodgers drop off even a little bit – well, things might get interesting.

  • And now, our weekly News and Views (Andy Baggot, your check is in the mail)…
  • News: Jason Marquis pitches brilliantly for seven innings on Saturday, leaving with one earned run and a 3-1 lead. Manny Corpas enters in the eighth, surrenders a game-tying two-run jack, but finishes the inning and benefits from two Rockie runs in the bottom half of the inning. Corpas picks up the victory; Marquis gets squat.
  • Views: Please, MLB statnerds, PLEASE … can we do away with the silly won-loss rules for pitching? Like, really. I’d feel just as wronged if Johan Santana gave up 11 runs in two innings, only for the Mets to win (or lose) 17-15 and provide Santana with a no-decision.
  • We’ve got to create a new formula for win-loss: maybe it’s gotta be the team record when that guy pitches. Or perhaps it takes into consideration who was leading when the pitcher departed, which wouldn’t keep it as a “win-loss” record, but some other stat that judges how often a pitcher gives his team a chance to win the freaking ballgame.
  • If nothing else, please…no more shall a reliever be allowed to pick up a blown save AND a win in the same game like Corpas did. PERIOD. If a starting pitcher can throw four solid innings and be disallowed from being named the winner, then we can certainly create a rule that stops a reliever from blowing a lead – or, for that matter, allowing two or more runs in any circumstance – from becoming the pitcher of record during a victory because his teammates bailed him out.
  • And that’s my extended Riverside Rant of the day. Whew. Glad I could get that out.

  • Federer’s French Fourteen. The Swiss Slam. Roger and Pete just hangin’ out together, on the same line.
  • And yes, the victory is slightly hollow since Nadal didn’t meet Federer there in the final at Roland Garros. But as they say, you can only beat the guys on the other side of the net. It wasn’t like Roger went all college football on us and intentionally scheduled a patsy like Robin Soderling to roll over under all that pressure on Championship Sunday.
  • Should Nadal be unable to compete at Wimbledon, does that make things easier for Roger’s quest to break Sampras’ all-time mark in London? Sure it does. But is it automatic? Not even close. I think the likes of Novak Djokovic, the much-improved homeboy Andy Murray, and even a hot stringer like Andy Roddick (not to mention all the young talent like Del Potro, Tsonga, Ferrer, Gulbis, et al) might have something to say about that.
  • But anyways, well done to Federer. He deserves inner peace after having the French Open elude him all those years. Wimbledon should be terrifically fun.

  • As for the women’s side? Boy, when Maria and Ana are hurt/struggling and the Williams sisters go quietly in the early rounds, I just can’t bring myself to care. Sorry. Need more stud players outside that foursome.
  • For the avid tennis fan: buy this book. Now. And read it. Read it all. You can do it in a day. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Have a good one.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

A trip down memory lane...

...all the way back to April, when B-dubs posted his summer movie preview. Could be a good read for anyone looking for the right flicks to frequent in the near future. It would appear he hit it right on the nose with The Goods (looks hilarious, and I agree on Jeremy Piven), but I doubt he'll be right about Year One (looks kinda sorta terrible) and actually did not mention The Hangover. More on the latter, in tomorrow's Case of the Mondays. But in the meantime, B-dubs' movie preview, check it out.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Q-C Times Links and Update, from Davenport

DAVENPORT--I won't link to every story I've written so far, but here's a few of the highlights...

- Bettendorf soccer guys knock off Dubuque Hempstead (first story)
- Clinton sweeps Davenport Central doubleheader (first baseball game I've ever covered)
- Moline season ends in Bloomington (with video)
- Jim Hallihan pimps Iowa Summer Games (this guy is a SERIOUS contender for June or July Sportsman Of The Month. What a great 45-minute interview that was.)
- Iowa girls' soccer state tourney: Davenport Assumption and Pleasant Valley go down in first round

And a video daily double: PV's Anna Aquino and Assumption's coach Rob Eckert. It's unbelievable how different my interviewing life has become in the past two weeks; we now use these little Flip video cameras to capture video, and they are spectacular at picking up the audio. Since you can't hold a Flip and a recorder to someone's mouth at the same time, I feel like I'm cheating on my recorder, but that's the way this business is evolving.

I think I'll have a chance to pen my first real Mile High Musings in a while on Monday. Lots of goings on in sports, and I'll have ample time to write them, for a change. Have a great weekend, everyone!


Friday, June 5, 2009

Wisconsin: The Time of my Life

So this is a little belated. About three weeks belated, actually. But I wrote the majority of this before graduation, and just finished it off today. It’s not particularly glory-trodden or even well-written, just a smattering of thoughts as I and many of my friends enter this scary place called the real world.

It’s been an extremely full three weeks; I’ve wrung my hands over job prospects, graduated from college, gotten the most gratifying phone call of my life from a little city I like to call Davenport (or the QC), said goodbye to Madison friends, returned to Denver, endured surgery for the first time in my life (hey, wisdom teeth: you suck), watched three Nuggets games from my couch in searing pain thanks to said wisdom teeth, said goodbye to Colorado friends, said an emotional goodbye to my family and to my hometown Denver, moved out of my apartment, said goodbye to the last of my Madison friends, and trucked on down to the QC (or Womanport … only one of you should get that joke, oops) to begin my career.

For those who didn’t catch the news in an earlier blog post, I will be reporting on high school sports for the Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa. As I said in that blog post, I feel extremely humbled to be granted this opportunity when there are currently so few opportunities to be had in this industry. I will certainly keep everybody posted on how it’s going; I’ll post as much as I can, but obviously, work comes first. Nonetheless, I’ll continue following Bucky from afar, just as I’m sure B-dubs will be keeping tabs on the Sooners as well.

But let’s get right to it. I wanted to write a few words about what college, Madison, and the University of Wisconsin has meant to me. This is for all the seniors who graduated with me last week, for all the Badger alumni who left before me, and for all our friends who are fortunate enough to return to Madison next fall as current students of the UW.


I remember the 2005 U.S. Open for one distinct reason, and it has nothing to do with tennis. My dad went to Flushing that year, and he constantly reminds me of when he was watching my boyhood rival (okay, fine, that one racquet-wielding stud who I played once and got one game off of. Some rival), Kellen Damico, play in the U.S. Junior Open for the first time. I wanted to hear none of it. It was Saturday afternoon, before Labor Day and before classes began on Tuesday. I had been in Madison for about a week, and hated it. HATED it. I had no friends; I was way in over my head thinking how hotshot cool I was to be going to school where I knew nobody as opposed to my Chatfield North (er, University of Colorado) friends. I wanted to go home, and was seriously considering a transfer back to CU.

But as is usually the case, life works itself out. I made a bunch of friends on Witte 6B during a pickup football game. The Badger Herald entered my life during Week 2. And, of course, you meet people and meet people through people and eventually build up a friend base. That’s when I learned, you can’t make snap judgments on what something’s going to be like after too short a time period, whether it’s a new town or a girlfriend or an MLB team in late April. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I almost sprinted my way back to Colorado, and I’m obviously glad I waited it out.

When I was fortunate enough to enter the ranks of the Herald sports editors as a freshman, that made for an unfortunate situation in that I had to leave that goofily-fun place after my sophomore year. It was disappointing that I couldn’t have spent more time there, but it did open up other opportunities with the Wisconsin State Journal and, later on, Janesville Gazette and Capital Times. My time with the Herald, Gazette and Cap Times are forever memorable, because I had the distinct pleasure of covering eight seasons’ worth of Badger athletics, both at home and on the road. Oh, those road trips. That’s the stuff college sportswriting is made of. The State Journal might not have opened those UW doors, but that’s particularly special because those sports assistant’s spots are where you really cut your teeth. I’ve now written four stories here in Davenport on high school baseball and soccer, and I can’t tell you how easy the transition has been because I did it for two years with the WSJ.

And then, senior year. The greatest year of my life, I’d say. Why? Well, it helps to be 21 in Madison. I never really was a big house party guy. And it helps to find a great living situation with a good roommate and an awesome apartment. And it helps to only take two classes your final semester so it’s a relatively low-stress way to go out.

But that’s not why. College will be missed not because of the town or the teams; they’ll always be there. It’s the people. And darnit, I’m gonna miss the 419ers.

I don’t wanna get all mushy on you guys, because hey, that’s not our style. Our style is all fun and games with just a touch of drama thrown in, which I love. But another style of mine, notoriously, has been enjoying a large group of acquaintances with the absence of truly close friends in my life. I was never one to have a tight-knit group around; I always preferred to move from friend base to friend base, keeping in touch with these acquaintances without having an entitled “best friend” or set-in-stone fallback group. Although the whole Badger Herald group came pretty close to that, it was a little tough for me as most of the sports people from my editing days were older and have moved on to Casper, Shawano, Nashville, Miami and elsewhere.

Then came the 419ers. Having that tight group that unequivocally loved hanging with each other multiple nights in a row, during class, after class, and the entire semester after our studio went dark, was a completely new experience for me. It made me a better person, for sure; and it was all a part of that newfound desire to soak up and enjoy college rather than viewing it as a four-year stopgap in life. I’m gonna miss all your crazy asses so much; obviously I’ll be up here again to relive our Nitty/Wando’s/Key/KK days, but on Zach’s recommendation, I call 419er road trip to visit me for the Wisconsin-Iowa basketball game in winter 2010. It might be a terrible matchup, but come on down anyways and we’ll show Iowa what the Four-One-Niners are made of.

Back to everyone else: that invitation is most definitely an open one to anybody who ever wants to visit the Quad Cities. You wanna come down and visit, just drop me a line and we’ll make it happen. I’m sure I’ll make plenty of friends in Davenport, but it’s always special to see old chums from Madison too.


I've definitely had a great run here. To me, it's beyond senseless that I was graduating high school four years ago. Forty-eight months ago. I mean, really, it feels weird typing that. College felt like it lasted 10-15 years, seriously. Without exaggeration. Probably because I lived so many different lives...the Herald, two different dorm floors, the State Journal, the club tennis team, my Jewish friends, the Janesville Gazette, covering eight different seasons of football/basketball/hockey/volleyball, Badger Nation, driving to something like 30 out-of-town games and tournaments to cover the Badgers, all my J-School friends, the Capital Times, and finally this final year of enjoying the bar scene when I was more reserved in my pre-21 days. I absolutely soaked everything I could out of the University of Wisconsin, and just can't believe it's over. The reason I was sentimental in that blog post is because during my frosh and soph years (and even some of junior year), I was like, I can't wait to get a job, be out of school, make money, start on my quest for ESPN or SI or what have you. Then finally, senior year, I realized how much I'll miss this place, that it was much, MUCH more than a stepping stone. So, yeah, it's become an emotional transitional period.

What did Wisconsin teach me? The easy answer is that I gained great perspective on how to properly balance the work ethic in your life with some fun. With regards to all my great memories with the Wisconsin State Journal and UW Tennis Club, making the tough decision to part ways with those two organizations freed up my time much more, and allowed me to respect that balance.

To that end, I’ll close with this. To all my Wisconsin professors, you guys are the best. Keep churning out great writers; there’s so much talent on this campus and in this J-school, there’s unbelievable opportunity to keep the Wisco tradition thriving.

To all my bosses, I’m not here without you. Thanks for giving me a shot, the experiences were invaluable.

To the aspiring sportswriters reading this – heck, to anybody with a “crazy” dream who’s trying to figure out what they’re trying to do with their life – that you should never, EVER, stop dreaming. More importantly, don’t stop believing.

And finally, to wrap up in an appropriate manner (since it is, you know, about Graduation). To everyone still in college thinking that it’s going to last forever: it won’t. It may have seemed like 10 years to me, but everyone else is right on that it does go by quickly. When it does come to an end, you’re going to wish like hell you had more time. Soak up college life for everything it’s worth, because it truly is…the time of your life.

_____________________________Taste every moment.
_______________________________Live it out loud.
__________________________This is the time to be more
_______________________Than a name or a face in the crowd.
____________________________I know this is the time,
___________________________This is the time of my life.
________________________________-David Cook

Talk to you all later. Good luck to all of you on your journeys, and please, PLEASE, keep in touch in any way you wish.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Sportsman of the Month - May

Sportsman of the Month - Calvin Borel

I think I jinxed the guy. I go and select him for my June award, and he blows the Belmont on Mine that Bird, a 2-1 favorite. Shucks. I guess I have the same power as that magazine, huh?

Even so, Borel has to receive some big-time props for reigniting popularity into a beautiful sport that lacks star power, since, well, horses can't go on Pardon the Interruption or make it rain on the Vegas strip to enhance or destroy their reputations. And not only did Lil' Calvin win both the Derby and Preakness; he did it on two different horses! Now granted, the latter race was won by Rachel Alexandria, who apparently could have won the Belmont running backwards had she entered. But turning a 51-1 underdog in Kentucky to a 2-1 in New York? Unless Mine that Bird was shot full of amphetamines, that's impressive stuff, and Borel is to be credited for that.

More than anything else, Borel gave us something great to talk about for horse racing. We fretted last year when Eight Belles was euthanized right on the track. Rather than waiting anxiously to hear what he'd say next, we instead cringed every time Big Brown's obnoxious owner Rick Dutrow opened his mouth. We continuously deal with PETA's crap, pleading America to humanize horse racing by taking away the whips and improving their training and basically taking all the fun out of horse racing despite the fact that these animals lead extremely comfortable lives.

But 5-foot-5 Calvin Borel, good ol' Cajun Cal, joined the Mount Rushmore of Inspirational Little People, right there along with Billy Crystal, Muggsy Bogues and Jason "Wee Man" Acuna. To me, anytime you do something that ignites your sport all by yourself, that's worthy of SportsMan of the Month.

Past SOTM winners:
April - Crazylegs runners/walkers
March - Team Japan
February - Rafael Nadal
January - Larry Fitzgerald


TNEA of the Month: June

This next installment of The Next Erin Andrews of the month is a little contradictory for yours truly; as a faithful contributor and reader for, we're picking a lady. Sort of like a Brewers fan lusting after a Cubbies chick, or a tried-and-true Sooner checking out a Texas belle, or a Nuggets fan we have a real rival? The Lakers, I guess? Phoenix, maybe? Let's go with the Lakers. You suck, Kobe. No means no.

Anyway, you don't care about my blather when you click on the monthly TNEA. You just want pictures. You know you do. Fine. Be that way.

Ashley Russell hosts the site's 'Rivals Minute', which I will not link to because, well, like I said, I'm a Scout guy. So to be honest, I'm not even sure if I can get into Rivals because I'm not a subscriber and those little devils over at might have us BN guys locked out. But I'm sure it's pretty easy to find. Here's a video sample:

She's 29 years old, based out of Nashville, a Hoosier fan by nature (I notice the boos aren't as loud as they used to be. Poor Indiana), and went to Middle Tennessee State. Of all our candidates to this point, she's probably the most similar to Erin Andrews, so we may have an actual winner here as far as potential goes.

Speaking of EA, anybody seen her lately? I suppose the woman needs vacation time some time or another. But let me ask you, ESPN folks: would it kill you to have Erin Andrews, Rachel Nichols, Michelle Tafoya, Lisa Salters, Suzy Kolber, Linda Cohn, Sage Steele...ANYBODY BUT DORIS BURKE doing your sideline work for 'The Finals'? Look, Doris does fine work with women's sports, namely the WNBA and the women's college tournament. She's actually not a bad basketball analyst either; she can hang with Jeff "see, now this is what I would have done if I were actually coaching" Van Gundy any day. But she just doesn't strike me as a sideline girl! Her investigative stuff is all right, but her question-and-answer periods with the coaches after the first and third quarters, and with the players at the end of each half, are just pain-full.

And let's put this out there; she's not exactly Jennifer Aniston with the facial, ya know? America likes a cutie-pie asking Sasha Vujacic why he insists on wearing a shoelace around his head, Adam Morrison if he'd like to trade lives with J.J. Redick, or Stan Van Gundy if he has considered Xanax. It's gotta be either a cute girl, or a strangely odd man wearing a bright purple suit with orange trim (*cough Craig Sager). Just the way the biz has evolved. Salters in particular is good at this, and I'm partial to Tafoya too. I don't know why this bothers me, but it does.

Anyway, that's my mini-rant. Ashley Russell, everybody.