Sunday, July 26, 2009

High School Athletes and Nutritional Supplements

Andrew Petersen and I of the Quad-City Times released our four-piece report on nutritional supplements - protein, carbohydrates, dietary pills, testosterone, etc. - and their impact on local high school student-athletes, coaches, parents, and vendors. These stories were published in the Sunday Quad-City Times, concurrently with our complete Bix7 Road Race coverage.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

ESPYs picks - from The Artists Formerly Known at 699-201 Mifflin

Here are our ESPYs picks (and we swear, nobody has looked at the results from last Wednesday...begs the question why the hell they don't just tape it live on Sunday), courtesy of yours truly, my dad David, my next-door neighbor T.J., and Justin Petek, my father's brother's nephew's former roommate:

Correctly pick "will win": 4 points
Correctly pick "should win": 5 points
Correctly pick "should and will win": 6 points

Kobe Bryant, NBA
LeBron James, NBA
Jimmie Johnson, Auto Racing
Michael Phelps, Swimming
Aaron's picks: LeBron James should win, Michael Phelps will win 4
Justin's picks: Michael Phelps should and will win 6
David's picks: Michael Phelps should and will win 6
TJ's picks: Michael Phelps should and will win 6

Natalie Coughlin, Swimming
Nastia Liukin, Gymnastics
Maya Moore, NCAA Basketball
Candace Parker, WNBA
Serena Williams, Tennis
Aaron's picks: Candace Parker should and will win 0
Justin's picks: Candace Parker should win; Serena Williams will win 0
David's picks: Serena Williams should win; Nastia Liukin will win 4
TJ's picks: Serena Williams should and will win 0

Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies
Michael Phelps, Olympic Swimming
Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, Olympic Beach Volleyball
Aaron's picks: Michael Phelps should and will win 6
Justin's picks: Michael Phelps should and will win 6
David's picks: Michael Phelps should and will win 6
TJ's picks: Michael Phelps should and will win 6

Shawn Johnson, Olympic Gymnastics
Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Aaron's picks: Matt Ryan should win, Derrick Rose will win 5
Justin's picks: Evan Longoria should win, Shawn Johnson will win 0
David's picks: Shawn Johnson should and will win 0
TJ's picks: Matt Ryan should win, Derrick Rose will win 5

Usain Bolt, Olympic Sprinter
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
Phil Jackson, Los Angeles Lakers
Michael Phelps, Olympic Swimmer
Aaron's picks: Larry Fitzgerald should win, Michael Phelps will win 4
Justin's picks: Usain Bolt should and will win 0
David's picks: Michael Phelps should and will win 6
TJ's picks: Michael Phelps should win, Usain Bolt will win 5

Mine That Bird wins the Kentucky Derby
Oregon State stuns then #1 USC
Tampa Bay Rays win the American League Championship Series
US Soccer shocks Spain in the Confederations Cup semifinals
Aaron's picks: Oregon State should win, US Soccer will win 4
Justin's picks: US Soccer should win, Tampa Bay will win 5
David's picks: US Soccer should win, Mine That Bird will win 5
TJ's picks: US Soccer should win, Tampa Bay will win 5

Federer vs. Nadal in the 2008 Wimbledon Final
Steelers vs. Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII
Syracuse vs. Connecticut in the Big East Tournament Quarterfinals
Aaron's picks: Fed-Nadal should and will win and ESPN can go to hell if it doesn't 0
Justin's picks: Syracuse-UConn should and will win (editor's note: pssssh) 0
David's picks: Fed-Nadal should and will win 0
TJ's picks: Syracuse-UConn should win, Federer-Nadal will win 0

Florida’s Tim Tebow’s speech
Helio Castroneves wins the Indy 500
US swim team wins thrilling finish in Olympic relay
Aaron's picks: US swim team should and will win 6
Justin's picks: US swim team should and will win 6
David's picks: US swim team should and will win 6
TJ's picks: US swim team should win, Tim Tebow will win 5

Ovechkin vs. Rangers
Pacquiao KO’s Hatton
Roethlisberger to Holmes Super Bowl Winning TD
Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree makes game-winning catch vs. Texas
Aaron's picks: Roethlisberger should win, Crabtree will win 5
Justin's picks: Roethlisberger should and will win 6
David's picks: Roethlisberger should win, Crabtree will win 5
TJ's picks: Roethlisberger should and will win 6

Connecticut Women’s Basketball
Los Angeles Lakers
North Carolina Men’s Basketball
Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Steelers
Aaron's picks: North Carolina men should win, Pittsburgh Steelers will win 0
Justin's picks: Connecticut women should win, Los Angeles Lakers will win 4
David's picks: Pittsburgh Steelers should and will win 0
TJ's picks: Connecticut women should win, North Carolina men will win 0

David Brenner - 38 (wins tiebreaker via "should win, will win" picks, 2-1)
T.J. Clayton - 38
Aaron Brenner - 34
Justin Petek - 33


Monday, July 13, 2009

Case of the Mondays, Part I (Quick Hits)

Didn't have time last week - too busy with work - for a Riverside Rants, so we'll try something new tonight. Just some quick-hit, one- or two-line thoughts on the past two weeks of sports.

So here we go, Riverside Rants for a Monday that feels kinda weird without checking my fantasy baseball team even once...

  • Roger Federer: Greatest of All-Time. If you win the most big events, you're the best ever. End of discussion.

  • It's simply remarkable that Andy Roddick became the player we never thought he could be, at this seasoned age and with a pretty hot wife in his life. Hopefully, those two weeks weren't just a flash in the pan; because if he truly is this skilled overall now, then he will absolutely win a second major before his time is done. Write it down.

  • This just in - Albert Pujols is good.

  • And while we're right to at least be suspicious - it sucks, Albert, but that's life - he has a right to complain about our suspicions. After all, his test-of-time consistent stats indicate he's clean. Sure hope he is.

  • I'm still unsure about baseball's decision - OK, Bud Selig's decision - to have the All-Star Game count for that much. On the one hand, it makes me watch. On the other hand, it takes a fun event and makes it stressful, since any fan with a contending team in the losing league gets pissed afterward.

  • So here's my suggestion to make it even wackier: make it I survived a Japanese Game Show! style. Whichever league wins the Home Run Derby, gets "big advantage in second game!" aka ASG. So now the National League should, like, get four outs in the first and ninth innings or something like that. And then the HRD gets even larger ratings. Done and done.

  • Hey, did you hear Michael Jackson died?

  • From this week's "I'm not tootin' my own horn, I'm just...well...okay, I'm tootin' my own horn" department: I said in March that C.C. Sabathia would go 14-10 with an ERA in the high 3s. At the All-Star break, C.C. (which stands for cold cash, by the way) is 8-6 with a 3.86 ERA. That's on pace, for, uh, about 14-10 with an ERA in the high 3s.

  • Excuse me while I give myself a high five.

  • Good for Jonathan Sanchez showing everybody he's a better pitcher than, for some reason, the national pundits give him credit for - he is definitely deserving of a place in that awesome Giants rotation. But I won't congratulate him on a no-hit performance, because I'm still waiting for him to throw strike three on the last batter. That pitch was absolutely a ball, and PTI made a great point by discussing how the umpire got a little too excited to punch out the Padres' Everth Cabrera.

  • Fantasy Football. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Just typing those words, well, in the words of Brian Fantana, "I'm very aroused."

  • Chauncey Billups. Roy Halladay? Please? Just send Garrett Atkins, Seth Smith and a minor-league arm the Jays' way, and maybe Roy will come home and deliver another WS trip. Please?

  • I think I died laughing when I saw the video of Willie Harris taking a bad hop to his, uh, man area. You gotta love the Nats for their comic relief. Wish I had a link to this.

  • Why is this Lance Armstrong-Alberto Conquistador (or whatever his name is) thing such a big deal? I was under the impression cycling was an INDIVIDUAL SPORT. Instead of debating who should let who win, how about you BOTH work your butts off 'til the final stage, and then may the best man win? Gee, I thought that's what sports was about. Not being polite. And you wonder why competitive cycling is stupid, Lance or no Lance.

  • Speaking of overblown, overaged egos...go away, Brett. Please, go away.

  • Wipeout = really funny show. I Survived a Japanese Game Show! = strangely addicting. The Superstars = laaaaaaaaaame.

  • Zach Johnson needs a fashion advisor, and quick. And that's all I gotta say about that.
Have a good one.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

News and Views

Williams sisters to meet in Wimbledon final
Mr Williams: "Ok Venus, you already have 5 titles... lets let Serena win #3."

Shaq's Cavs plan: 'Win a ring for the King'
Ice those knees Shaq daddy... and we only need to see you for 30ish regular season games.

NASCAR owners balk at hiring Mayfield to race
Just going to be honest... I don't give a flip about NASCAR.

Gordon says Bulls never made him an offer
Really Ben? Don't cry and make this about Chi-town stiffing you. It's a recession, maybe they couldn't afford what you were going to ask.

Jets' Pace suspended 4 games for drug violation
Ya... totally buying that it was a supplement he "did not know violated the policy." Puhhhlease

Kim fires 62, sets record at AT&T In progress
Would love to see an AK vs. TW back 9 on Sunday.

Top Cuban pitching prospect Chapman defects
Charlie Steiner: "Follow me... follow me to Freedom!!!"

Donovan rips MLS teammate Beckham in book
Rightfully so, Donovan should be a role model with his work ethic. He was a beast in the Confederation Cup.

Thriller or Bad? CFL reviews player's MJ 'tribute'
Pretending to be buried???! Why not just go with a good ole' fashion Moonwalk?

Insider: The Longhorns' path to Pasadena
Gotta get through my Sooners... which won't happen this year. Why does ESPN focus on a championship run and have next to ZERO coverage of UT's star DE leaving the scene from a sure-fire DUI where he could have killed someone? If this happened to an Oklahoma player... its all over Sportscenter.

Have a safe and fantastic July 4th weekend.

Now excuse me why I start off the weekend celebration with a beer and watching Will Smith kill aliens.

Stay classy,


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sportsman of the Month: June

Sportsman of the Month - Ed Thomas

If you know me at all, and you know my writing fairly well, then you know that I have something to say about just everything; in most cases, I'll write plenty about any topic. This is one rare issue where I have little to say, and everything to defer to others on the subject.

I didn't know Ed Thomas. Never even heard of him before last week. And I'm still new to the high school football circuit; I haven't spent enough time around big-time preps programs to truly appreciate what coaches mean to their schools and communities. So I'm not going to B.S. you all by extending a blind eulogy in public like this.

Rather, I implore you to read the following stories for perspective from those in the know.

Former player arrested in connection with shooting death of football coach - June 24, 2009
Column remembering Ed Thomas - June 25, 2009
More news comes out about Mark Becker's drug usage - June 25, 2009
Ed Thomas Memorial page on Facebook
Twitter reaction to Ed Thomas' murder
Sports Illustrated set to put Ed Thomas on the cover
Officials look into Becker's hospital release - July 1, 2009

Ed Thomas coached 34 years at Parkersburg and won well over 80 percent of his games. His teams went to the playoffs 19 times - unthinkable to sustain that kind of success - and won a pair of state titles. Parkersburg has four linemen in the NFL - I'm not sure all of Colorado's high schools have four. But more importantly than anything else, Ed Thomas led the charge to rebuild a tornado-ridden town, when many cranky old football coaches would go all prima-donna on everyone and demand that his pretty little football field be cleaned up.

I don't know Ed Thomas, and I can't ever compare what he's meant to Iowa. I honestly can't think of a coach in Wisconsin or Colorado who is like that state's Ed Thomas. I don't know why this deranged player did what he did, and I don't know why he was even on the streets in the first place. I don't even know how this affects my current stance on gun control (stance being, there should be more of it.)

Here's what I do know: this should open the argument. If you read the comments on the QC Times story - or the hundreds of comments on the ESPNRise story - you'll notice that most people are more interested in kneejerk reactions to why Mark Becker had a gun than actually honoring Ed Thomas' life. That's natural, and it should open up the discussion.

Because Parkersburg, Iowa, high schools, and Americana lost a good football man and a better person on June 24. One can only hope two things: that he did not die in vain if any sort of changes are made to gun security; and that people are inspired to live a valued life like Ed Thomas.

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


TNEA of the Month

Since I'm really more interested in having people check out my melancholy Sportsman of the Month, I'll just give this month's honor to someone who's overdue. Brooklyn Decker may be better known now as one of Sports Illustrated's top swimsuit models (excellent) or as Andy Roddick's wife (not so excellent...Murray's gonna drill you, dude), I'll always remember having first seen her as Paul Zimmerman's cute little sidekick on's weekly video feature "She Says, Z Says". Sadly, with Dr. Z recovering from a November stroke, the segment has been postponed indefinitely. I mean, that thing would have to bring in approximately 6 billion viewers now if they continued production.

The four-minute segments were pretty entertaining, chock-full of NFL picks - I mean, who doesn't love NFL picks? - and gave a damn gorgeous supermodel some real personality alongside one of the greatest football minds of our time. Some people may have found the feature cheesy and beneath "Dr. Z", but I loved it.

Here's a few photos of those two yammering around on the set...

...and one of the old videos. Some of the others are on YouTube but can't be embedded.

Now here's a, well, appropriate postable picture of Brooklyn...

...and, finally, a link to's complete 2009 gallery of the hottest woman alive. Don't wanna bring too much of that stuff on this family-friendly site, but knock yourselves out.

And again, please do check out the Sportsman of the Month above. Tragic stuff, but also very meaningful tributes.