Thursday, February 24, 2005

What did Barry do wrong?


Few athletes are as polarizing a personality as Barry Bonds. People either love him or hate him. There's no middle ground. He admitted taking steroids but he did it unknowingly. Whether you believe that statement or not, Bonds' (and Jason Giambi's) steroid use presents us with the classic "tree falling in the forest but no one saw it" debate.

Steroids were not banned substances by baseball. MLB did not test for it. So what did Bonds do wrong? If using something that has the potential to enhance performance is not against the rules, why are we chastizing them?

How different is steroid use from amphetamines, which by most reports, have been in baseball for 40 years? Amphetamines enhance a player's alertness which can enhance performance. Hypothetical: Carlos Beltran plays a 14-inning game until 1:06 a.m., then turns around for a 1 p.m. game the same day. He pops a "greenie" (nickname for amphetamine) at noon to help stay awake, then goes 3-for-4 with two home runs.

How different is that than steroids? Steroids don't have the immediate impact of amphetamines. Plus, if you take steroids, you don't automatically get huge. You still have to lift weights and have some ability, too. It's not like Popeye eating his spinach. Amphetamines are closer to that than steroids.

What about the creatine craze of the late 1990s? Or the vat of Mega-man 12 million they sell at GNC? How different is that from steroids? Again, none of these things are banned by baseball.

Look at Gabe Kapler. The Red Sox outfielder is routinely on the covers of muscle magazines. The guy is jacked. Whatever he may have taken to help get that big certainly wasn't against baseball rules.

Should steroids be banned from baseball? Probably. But so should amphetamines and any other method of enhancement that's not a weight/flexibility machine.

There are too many what-ifs when it comes to the medical aspect of steroids. A negative image exists around steroids because of what some doctors claim it can do to a user. But there are others who say such effects are not caused by steroids.

Lyle Alzado died from brain cancer caused by a human strain of Mad Cow disease, but because he admitted taking steroids, people automatically assume they know why he died.

However, Jose Canseco does admit in his book that his package costs less to mail.

And exactly how different is Canseco, Bonds, Giambi and the others from Steve Howe, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry and those that went through more cocaine than all of Colombia? Howe was suspended from baseball seven different times for using coke.

The last time I checked, cocaine was just as illegal as steroids.

And if you're going to claim that cocaine cannot enhance performance, give Gary McClain a call. You know, the Villanova point guard who played the best game of his life in the 1985 NCAA national semifinals against Memphis State. He was coked out of his head.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Gotta love Barry Bonds

Barry Bonds is my new hero.

Not for his ability on the baseball field -- he had plenty well before these pesky steroid allegations arose -- or for his skillful toying with a San Francisco grand jury. Not even for the mustache he used to rock in the 1980s with the Pittsburgh pastry-costs. (That would be Pirates for the wordplay-challenged readers.)

Bonds earns hero status for giving us something we rarely see in sports anymore: a great press conference.

Too often, it's a player or manager talking into a microphone for 20 minutes and not saying anything. It's like talking to your girlfriend in your high school for three hours. The only difference now is that you don't care if your parents hear what you're saying.

Jason Giambi had two press conferences in less than 14 days and he gave us two big syringes worth of informational nothingness.

But not my boy Barry. Whoa no.

"I don't know Jose [Canseco]," Bonds said Tuesday in his first public interview since before the BALCO bombshell erupted last December. "I was better than Jose then, and I've been better than him his whole career. If he wants to go make money, go ahead. ... For somebody who brags about what he did, I don't see any of your records."

Someone get me Emeril on the horn. I need an authentic "BAM!" after that one.

I cheered and gave my Tiger Woods fist-pump in the office when I heard that. I may have been alone in my excitement but that's OK by me.

I knew Barry would dazzle me some more.

"You guys are like re-running stories," Bonds said to and about the media. "This is old stuff. It's like watching 'Sanford and Son.' It's almost comical, basically. ... Are you guys jealous, upset, disappointed, what?"

Someone get me Joey Lawrence on the horn. I need a cheeseball Blossom-infused "Whoa" right now.

Hit me, Barry, one more time.

"Because Babe Ruth is one of the greatest baseball players ever, and Babe Ruth ain't black, either," Bonds said. "I'm black. Blacks, we go through a little more. ... I'm not a racist though, but I live in the real world. I'm fine with that."

Someone two-way Ja Rule immediately and tell him to call me. I could use a genuine "Holla!" right about now.

Much rings true in that statement. We may like to think that since this is 2005, society has become progressive enough as a whole to dismiss racism. Sad to say, but that isn't the case.

Bonds grew more pugnacious as the press conference went along. It was easily the most exciting gathering on television since The Real World reunion show of the first five seasons on MTV. If networks were smart, they'd run this in primetime during sweeps week. Forget Trump and the grumpy Brit on "American Idol." This was reality television.

I've got this press conference slated as No. 2 on the all-time list. Counting down:

6) Raiders coach Bill Callahan calling his players "the stupidest team in America."
5) An Atlanta Falcons press conference where no reporters asked questions and coach Jim Mora Jr. was done in 45 seconds.
4) Jim Mora Sr.'s "playoffs" rant
3) Allen Iverson's "We talking about practice" diatribe
2) Bonds on Day 1 of 2005 spring training
1) John Chaney telling John Calipari "I'll kill ya" after a basketball game between Temple and Memphis.

The only way to top Chaney would be if Bonds popped some 'roids at the table. But Bonds performed ably. You just gotta love Barry Bonds.

Coming Thursday: What did Bonds do wrong?

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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Rejoice! Rejoice! Hockey is gone!

Crack open the champagne! Don't waste your time pouring the bubbly into a cup. Just swig straight from the bottle.

The NHL is D-O-N-E! Gone! Finito! Audi 5000! Peaced out!

I've never used this many exclamation points in two paragraphs since I first learned how to write two paragraphs in a row. Then again, this is a most glorious day.

I feel like Eddie Murphy's girl in 1985 because I just want to party all the time.

No more hockey. As my boy Busta Rhymes used to say, "Woo-hah! Woo-hah! Got ya all in check."

Technically, Mr. Rhymes, there ain't no more checking going on. Not on the ice. Not by the bank tellers in hockey players' banks.

You want to watch hockey now? Go rent "Swingers" and watch the Superfan 99 scene. Or hop on e-Bay, buy Sega, call your buddies over, pop in NHL Hockey '93 and do "The Move." Maybe you'll make that one save and win, 24-23. (Ring a bell, Levittown friend Eddie K?)

If that doesn't whet your hockey appetite, spend a few more buckaroos (something NHL owners used to do) on eBay and get the vintage Nintendo. Pop in the Ice Hockey game, select three fat guys and one skinny guy and go beat the Russians.

If that doesn't work, resign yourself to reruns of "Miracle."

If that doesn't make you grow a mullet, loose two teeth and drink Stoli all day, then here are three words for you: Blades. Of. Steel.

Because that's the only hockey you're going to see for a long time. At least a year. More, with any luck.

The worst sport in the history of worst sports has eliminated itself because the owners were stupid then and the players are stupid now. I care not where the blame gets placed in the next few days. It cannot take away all that we've accomplished on this tremendous day.

Ironically, hockey, the fifth of the four major professional team sports, went were no other sport had gone before. It canceled its entire season. Not even baseball did that.

Players' association executive director Bob Goodenow may not have played these negotiations too well. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman may not have played these negotiations too well. However, they combined to put ESPN analyst/mullet magnate Barry Melrose out of a job and off my television, and for that, they should be commended. (Hey, Bobby, Gary, if you're reading, can you go after Jim Rome next? Please. I'll go to an Islander game if I have to . . . once the league returns in 2009).

Let's weigh the pros and cons of life without the NHL:

Pros
  • No more having to wonder why the two-line pass is illegal?
  • Other sports have more pronounceable names.
  • Earning 1 point for losing a game in overtime? You f-bombing lose and still get rewarded? That's just plain stupid.
  • Bad haircuts are only something you see in childhood pictures.
  • No more "NHL on thin ice" headlines followed by "NHL on thinner ice" headlines the next day.
  • More hockey dad fights at amateur/youth league games. (Those are always fun; almost as good as NASCAR crashes.)
  • We can watch Nassau Coliseum decay even further without having to go inside it.

    Cons
  • Hmmm . . .
  • . . . I'm thinking . . .
  • . . . Uh, gimme a minute . . .
  • . . . Yeah, still thinking . . .
  • . . . Ah, here's one . . .
  • . . . Nah, that's not a con . . .
  • . . . How about this one? . . .
  • . . . Nope, not a con . . .
  • . . . OK, OK, I got one, for real . . .
  • . . . More attention paid toward regular-season NBA games.

    I'll make that trade and I don't even need cash considerations or conditional draft picks.

    Bye bye NHL.

    E-mail me
  • Tuesday, February 15, 2005

    Talkin' Baseball

    The third greatest sporting day of the year is 12 hours away, even less if you slept in today.

    Pitchers and catchers report!

    Oil up out the glove, stretch the rotator cuff, dust off last year's hat, re-bend the brim and start spouting phrases like "15-game winner," "Walks-to-hits ratio" and "torn labrum."

    Tuesday, Yankees pitchers and catchers report to Tampa for the first day of spring training. The only better sporting days of a year are 1) The first day of March Madness and 2) Opening Day for baseball.

    Perhaps, just for 2005, the first day of pitchers and catchers will be the best day of the year because it coincides with the impending doom of the NHL canceling its season. I could be drunk by noon! (And I typically wake up around 11:30.)

    But back to baseball.

    On this day, summer unofficially begins. On this day, we can forget about Jose Canseco and his big burly Irishman Bash Brother. We can forget about the steroids scandal and anything else that plagues the game right now. If only for one day we have the purity of baseball to enjoy, just like when Dad took us to the game and baseball cards cost 35 cents for a wax pak.

    On Feb. 20, Arn Tellem's puppet strings will be cut and Jason Giambi will have to face the scrutiny of the New York and national media. The media will have free reign then, unlike last week's carefully orchestrated farce at the Stadium. It promises to be brutal, with every reporter thinking they will be the one to get Giambi to say something of substance.

    But let's forget that all for one day and revel in the sights of Jorge Posada catching Randy Johnson's first throws as a Yankee. Or Mike Piazza doing the same for Pedro, or insert catcher's name here and pitcher's name here.

    There are six weeks of spring training, 162 games and the playoffs to deal with all the bad things about the sport.

    Just give me one day to revel in the beauty of baseball.

    E-mail me

    Thursday, February 10, 2005

    Duke 71, UNC 70. Ugh!


    OK, now I really hate Duke!

    I put this picture of party animal Coach K celebrating his 15th win in the last 18 games against my Tar Heels. If you North Carolina fans are not sickened by that stat and that picture, please close your browser, shut down your computer and throw it in the river, followed shortly thereafter by yourself.

    The point is we UNC fans should bookmark this blog entry and look at it every day until March 6. Let it serve as a reminder of the level of mediocrity bestowed upon UNC in the last 10 years. It had been since March of 1996 that UNC ranked ahead of Duke when the two teams played.

    I was forced to rub Editor friend LaRonda's Duke keychain after the game. That hurt. But I'm a good sport. Besides, just as Sonny told C in "A Bronx Tale," Mickey Mantle won't pay my rent.

    Then I get home and receive a lovely e-mail from Doctor friend Christy, who I've known since the third day of college in 1993: "All I have to say is 71-70."

    Yeah, well, Christy, if you're reading, all I have to say is "I can't print all I want to say."

    But the intelligent side of my brain is beginning to take over. I can't fault Duke for winning. The Blue Devils played well and slowed the Tar Heels down. J.J. Redick scored 18 points, but I swear I saw him hit 12 threes and all 37 of his free throws.

    And all but one of Duke's field goals in the second half were three-pointers. Great perimeter defense, Heels. Way to make us proud. I was going to call in sick Wednesday night (Boss, just kidding) to watch the game, but I'm glad I saved the sick day. For today!

    I suppose we can blame Roy Williams, who must have thought it was a Final Four. That may explain his coaching.

    Or as Lawyer friend Steve said on my voicemail at 11:17 p.m. after the game: "Did Coach Williams go to the Herman Edwards School of Clock Management? Are you kidding me? That was worse than the freakin' Jets."

    I can't hate on Roy too much because he did bring UNC this far. And in the last 12 months, we saw the Red Sox win a World Series, the Pistons defeat the mighty Lakers for the NBA title and Longwood win the Class I Long Island football championship with two losses, so maybe, just maybe, Roy Williams can finally win a national title.

    Instead, let's focus our disgust on Raymond Felton. Here's a sentence from the AP's story: "North Carolina squandered a chance to win in the final seconds, never getting a shot off after inbounding with 18 seconds left."

    That would be because Ray-Ray took a dump in his pants. With about 10 seconds left, he burned his defender with a spin move and had plenty of room to penetrate from the three-point line. The Duke defender in the paint would have stepped up to defend, leaving Rashad McCants, Sean May or Marvin Williams wide open underneath the hoop for the easy layup, dunk or foul. But noooooooooooooo!

    Felton went rogue and decided not to win the game. Helloooooooooo! Hellooooooo! You play to win the game. Instead, Ray-Ray backs out, goes to his right and throws a dumb pass to a well-guarded David Noel. Noel then lost the ball out of bounds, the clock ran out and then you have that picture at the top of this blog.

    C'mon Ray-Ray. You can't be that bad in the biggest game of the season so far. Even Gary McClain, the coked-up point guard for the 1985 national champion Villanova Wildcats, wouldn't have made that play.

    But at least Tar Heel alum/ESPN anchor/Destroyer of SportsCenter Stuart Scott has to live with the loss, too. And it hurts him more than it does me. Boo-yah!

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    Wednesday, February 09, 2005

    A hockey fan's lament

    You know, since hockey's gone away, I've found a lot of new ways to spend my time. I watch a lot more poker. I play a lot more roller hockey. I get a lot more sleep. I spend a lot less time patching up holes in my wall. But now that football season is over, I've found myself inundated with lousy televised sporting events from the mediocre to the just plain dull.

    Here's a small sampling of my hockey-replacement therapy:

    The Knicks

    I would say watching the Knicks has absolutely no entertainment value at all, except there's something strangely hypnotic about watching a team miss 14 free throws in a row.

    Unfortunately, the drama is gone when your team is down by 30 points at halftime. Time to switch to a "Law & Order" re-run.

    Semi-Pro Bowl

    If there is a more embarrassing sports event than the NFL Pro Bowl, I'd like to see it. I've lost track of how many players have begged out of the game due to injury, or in the case of the Jets' Curtis Martin, plain old indifference. Can someone tell me again what's so exciting about watching a bunch of replacements play two-hand touch on an island a week after the Super Bowl?

    Unless you've got money on the game (and if you do, you are a full-blown dullard in my book), I can't think of one single reason to watch it. Take a look at that picture. Does that look like football to you?

    Isn't sports supposed to be about entertainment and competition? Let's face it, the Pro Bowl is about as entertaining and competitive as ladies' billiards. "Ohhhhh Allison Fisher pockets the three ball... and oh wow! Look at that position on the four!" ....... Wow, indeed.

    Women's hoops

    Now that I've sufficiently bored you to death, I'd like to opine on another unwatchable sport -- women's college basketball. [Bracing for anti-me backlash]

    You know, I just can't get psyched about watching a basketball game when some of the players cannot pass, dribble, or shoot from outside 10 feet. Sorry if I sound naive and chauvinistic, but aren't those fundamental skills of the game? I would hate to see a single school shut down its program, but do I really have to watch William & Mary and Hofstra put up brick after brick on my television screen on Sunday afternoon? Wasn't there a "Knicks Life: All Ball" re-run MSG could've showed?

    Epilogue

    Maybe I'm just grouchy because I miss the NHL. Maybe my increased exposure to alternative events has made me more aware of their incompetence. Don't hold it against me, though. You see, a part of my life has been stripped from me.

    "You're going through withdrawal," a friend recently told me.
    "Withdrawal?" I asked.
    "Hockey withdrawal. Do you have a good health plan?"
    "Yeah, why?" I said.
    "Well maybe you should seek counseling,"

    Anyone know the name of a good therapist? Or network exec?

    Tuesday, February 08, 2005

    UNC vs. Duke: Let's get ready to rumble


    I hate Duke.

    Wait, let me choose my words more carefully.

    I loathe Duke. Despise Duke. Detest Duke. Abhor Duke. And whatever other words your thesaurus of choice suggests for my rampant negativity toward Duke, Coach K, the Cameron Crackheads and Christian Laettner's f-bombing shot to beat Kentucky in the 1992 East regional finals.

    This Blue Devil disgust is borne of my North Carolina patriotism. Been a fan since Worthy and Jordan.

    It goes like this: if you're a fan of UNC men's basketball, then you are not a fan of Duke men's basketball.

    It's like being a baseball fan raised in New York. If you like the Mets, you hate the Yankees. If you like the Yankees, you hate the Mets. Those who claim to root for both teams have no souls.

    We New Yorkers think we know rivalries. We have no clue. I've met people and walked out of the room upon learning of their Dukedom. And I grew up in New York. Those submersed in the epicenter of Carolina-Duke have far worse stories. Their feelings run deeper than Confederate flags, the secret to good moonshine and four-named first names.

    I'm sure families were torn apart and engagements broken off based on Carolina's 102-100 double-overtime drubbing of Duke on Feb. 2, 1995, at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

    That was the year of Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace, Donald "The Duck" Williams and Jeff McInnis. Duke countered with the ugly Jeff Capel.

    There are dozens more. I simply can't go through them all without missing one and thereby insulting the likes of Kevin Salvadori, Pat Sullivan, Shammond Williams, Jeff Lebo or Brad Dougherty. But a few quick highlights of the most blood-thirsty rivalry in the game:

  • Vince Carter's missed dunk -- Easy Ed Cota threw a ball off the backboard during a fast break. Vince jumped from South Carolina, caught the ball in mid-air and threw down what Stuart Scott referred to as "the greatest missed dunk of all-time." The ball clanged off the back of the rim and went back near half-court. If memory serves, UNC won by at least 50 points.


  • That famous Zwikker-to-Calabria combo -- On Jan. 31, 1996, Serge Zwikker missed a shot near the end of game (Dookies claim Greg Newton blocked it, but even video can be manipulated). Dante Calabria, perhaps the best Italian athlete not named Joe DiMaggo, Roberto Baggio, Alberto Tomba or Paolo Maldini, tips it in for the 73-72 win. Another Duke defeat. Oh so pretty.


  • Christian Laettner's 5-6 career record vs. UNC -- Some things just sound nice.


  • Dean Smith -- He may look and sound like Buddy Hackett, but the man can coach.


  • Grant Hill's flattop -- OK, so there is one redeeming quality about Duke. That thing rivaled 1989 Big Daddy Kane.


  • In fairness, I must admit two things:

    1) UNC has had a few off-years of late, mostly because of Matt Doherty. (But he did recruit Sean May, Raymond Felton and Rashad McCants. Thanks, Matt, the pride of East Meadow!)

    2) Coach K deserves props. The man knows what he's doing and he built the program into a national power. (But he pronounces his name Sha-sheff-ski, yet it's spelled Krzyzewski. Seems kind of silly to me.)

    Now, on to Wednesday night's game.

    UNC will manhandle Duke. The Tar Heels will maul the Blue Devils. The bloodbath begins at 9 p.m. Editor friend LaRonda, a misguided soul/Duke fan and alum, has promised "fighting [is] imminent" when the game is on and we both have to watch it in the office. I've vowed peace. I'm probably lying, but I'm not sure yet.

    I'm considering buying TiVo so I can have a digital record of the massacre. Then, I'll print out screen captures from Jawad Williams hanging over Duke's Shelden Williams after his monster dunk gives the Heels an 81-60 lead with four minutes to play and decorate my little corner cubicle.

    J.J. Redick will score no more than six points. He might even be forced to transfer. Because no matter how good a shooter he is, when he takes a dump in his pants against the Heels on Wednesday night, he'll probably get beat up at the bar afterward.

    Around 11:15 p.m. or so, Doctor friend Christy will pick up her phone. She will be upset because I woke her up. She will be even more upset when I yell, "Go Heels!"

    Nothing's finer than when Duke loses to North Carolina!

    E-MAIL ME

    Monday, February 07, 2005

    Random Super Bowl Thoughts


    Being how I haven't watched a Super Bowl the way an American should in six years, I can only offer sporadic thoughts on the bits and pieces I saw on television and the news I inferred from going through the wires at work and producing 100 photos so you lovely readers would have a nice keepsake photo album to peruse on Monday.

    (Hot 97ish shameless plug alert! Hot 97ish shameless plug alert! Click here to see them.)

    * Helloooooooo Tails! Gotta love that. Winning the coin toss bet always makes for a good Super Bowl.

    * As predicted, Donovan McNabb tweaked. And his first pass was incomplete. Another victory for me!

    * Bill Belichick smiled. He even had a minor eruption of excitement. It's true. I have photos to prove it.

    * T.O. played a heck of a game. He should be commended for his desire to play in the biggest game of the season.

    * Paul McCartney is coming dangerously close to challenging HBO boxing analyst Larry Merchant for the undisputed title "Guy who should have retired 12 years ago but refuses to because he thinks he's still good at what he does and the people can't live without him." I'd pay $39.95 for that pay-per-view fight.

    * Tom Brady. Geez. Make a mistake! For the love of Pete.

    * Somewhere, Rush Limbaugh is smiling, saying "I told you so." That's upsetting.

    * Andy Reid and the Eagles botched the clock management in the last five minutes. Jets coach Herman Edwards played for the Eagles. Coincidence?

    * How about Romeo Crennel? This guy wins his third Super Bowl in four years as the defensive coordinator. Five minutes later, he accepts the Cleveland Browns' head coaching job. Clearly, he already did, but was waiting until afterward to announce it. But, give it a day. The Browns are no better with you as their coach before Monday afternoon.

    * If Deion Branch had this sort of game during the season, instead of a leg injury that cost him nine or so weeks, perhaps my fantasy team (The Fryburg Antonellis) would not have started out 0-5.

    * Deity-of-your-choice damn the tuck rule!

    * I still maintain that Rich Gannon was the most valuable player of Super Bowl XXXVII. He threw 5 touchdowns, three for his Raiders and two for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Though the Patriots didn't convert any of McNabb's three interceptions into points, McNabb still deserves consideration for MVP. He helped the Eagles almost win as much as he helped the Patriots definitely win.

    * I wish I had TiVo.

    * Were the commercials any good?

    * Adam Vinatieri's field goal was the difference. But at least it didn't come in a blizzard, or at the end of the game, or in overtime, or as he got shot from the press box, or as he leg went sailing into the air, or as the Eagles blocked it and it bounced off Pat Pass' head and miraculously flew forward 22 yards and skimmed in. Not sure I could handle another ridiculous Vinatieri moment.

    * Andy Reid exhaled during one play and the Eagles were called for having 12 men on the field.

    * Super Bowl XL: Jets vs. Redskins. Randy Moss catches a record 5 touchdown passes from Chad Pennington as the Jets dismantle Joe Gibbs' squad. Herm botches the clock management again, but it doesn't matter because the Jets have a big lead. LaMont Jordan runs for 186 yards after Curtis Martin gets hurt in the AFC Championship. Patrick Ramsey throws a screen pass and Jonathan Vilma goes Jack Squirek, picks it off and runs it in for the easy touchdown. Maybe I won't have to work that night and I'll be able to watch the Super Bowl in front of my own television for the first time since 1998. Ah, what a glorious parlay that would be. Any takers?

    E-MAIL ME

    Thursday, February 03, 2005

    Against all odds

    Mama La Monica asked what on the surface appeared to be an easy question the other day.

    "Who you betting on for the Super Bowl?" she asked.

    I couldn't respond. Should I lie to my mother and say the Patriots? Should I lie to my mother and say the Eagles.

    (Note: Mama La Monica is similar to Mama Scorsese in "Goodfellas," only she doesn't paint. But if my friends and I ever came home at 3 or 4 in the morning, odds are she's hear us, wake up and cook something for us.)

    Truth is I don't know who to put my hard-earned nickels on. The Eagles are getting 7.5 points, which is a lot of points for a Super Bowl. The Patriots have had two weeks to get ready for Trick Daddy (Andy Reid) and Donovan McNabb, which is a lot of time for Bill Belichick.

    So, you can see my dilemma. Take the points and go against Belichick? Lay the touchdown and trust Tom Brady to not make a mistake in another playoff game?

    Man, funk dat!

    It's on to the prop bets now. I shall open a new browser on my trusty/faulty Mac and on we go. Let's see what's out there. Here's my Dirty Dozen:

    1) The coin toss: Any practicing degenerate worth his seediness must bet the coin toss. Take tails. Everyone always chooses heads. Be different. Think outside the box. We're already on to the prop bets, so why stop now? Besides, this bet sets the tone for the next four hours. You're either throwing the remote across the room or you're ordering more pizza.

    2) Most first downs in first quarter: Wow. That's crazy. Think of what's involved. Who wins the coin toss? Will bad weather make them want to kick? Will Trick Daddy have a few tricks? Is T.O. really OK to play? This is what we call gambling. It's faaaaan-tastic.

    3) Will Eagles score in 1st and 2nd quarters: There are some nice odds (+135) being offered. It's OK to be that guy at the party that stands up and yells "Cheesesteaks for everybody" when Dorsey Levens scampers in from 4 yards with that second-quarter TD to win your bet.

    4) Will there be a lead-change in the second half? If you have a farm, bet it on yes!

    5) Team to get the first penalty: Take the Eagles, solely because of their fan base.

    6) First to use a coach's challenge: Oooh, this is tough. I say Eagles. Belichick has been in the Super Bowl before. Trick Daddy will tweak early.

    7) First offense to cross midfield: Wow, this could be the juiciest dilemma since Fezzini had to choose which cup to drink from in "The Princess Bride." It's inconceivable how the coin toss plays such a huge factor on the rest of the game.

    8) Over-under on Tom Brady's pass attempts: 31. Take the under. Eagles secondary is good. Run defense not as good. Belichick is smart.

    9) Combined yards for Patrick Pass: 18.5. Hellooooooo over! Two catches, 1 rush, 23 yards. Super Bowls were meant for no names to make big plays, i.e. Larry Brown, Dexter Jackson and Timmy Smith.

    10) Total tackles, sacks, interceptions by Mike Vrabel: 6. Under. Bruschi will shadow Westbrook. Less plays for Vrabel.

    11) David Akers' total yards of successful field goals: 78. Do you hear that? It's me screaming "TAKE THE OVER!"

    12) Player to score game's first touchdown: Terrell Owens is listed as 8/1 to do it. If the Eagles win the coin toss and cross midfield, McNabb will definitely try to get T.O. a TD. It makes for a great story. And for a great boon to the wallet.

    I'll be at the bar wearing my "Tails" jersey in case anyone needs me.

    E-MAIL ME

    Tuesday, February 01, 2005

    Mark's Media Day

    If my boss was kind enough to ship me to Jacksonville for Super Bowl Media Day, I’d be blogging all day about what people said and did, about which people should be publicly flogged during the halftime show for being stupid, about which Eagle cheerleader is the hottest, and maybe a few other treats.

    But alas, the boss is pretty hardcore, so I’m stuck in Melville. But that didn’t stop me from asking questions. And besides, this is the WORLD Wide Web, so maybe Donovan and the boys down there will read this and e-mail me their responses.

    If I were there for Media Day, here are the questions I’d ask:

    To Terrell Owens: How many women have dropped their towel in front of you since Nicollette Sheridan did it on national television?
    Follow-up: C’mon, T.O., be honest. How’d she look?

    To Donovan McNabb: What makes you the coolest quarterback in football?
    Follow-up: What’s up, guy?

    To Brian Dawkins: Why won’t you shave the silly little mustache?
    Follow-up: I can recommend a good razor if you need one. OK?

    To Freddie Mitchell: The hair?
    Follow-up: You should go see Stylist friend Claudette. She’ll hook you up. Want the number?

    To Jeff Blake: Do you really still have a job?
    Follow-up: Which was the best: Being a backup with the Jets? Being the backup with the Bengals after being the starter? Being a backup with the Saints after being the starter? Being the backup with the Eagles?

    To Andy Reid: When T.O. catches a touchdown in the first half, will you wear the tights for the second half as payment of your bet with him?
    Follow-up: How many trick plays do you have planned for this game, Trick Daddy?
    Follow-up: Gino’s or Pat’s?

    To Rodney Harrison: This is your second straight Super Bowl. Are you as surprised as the rest of America because you haven’t been in trouble with the law during these two weeks?
    Follow-up: Who is the better ADA on Law & Order, Jack McCoy or Ben Stone?

    To Tedy Bruschi: Why can’t you spell your first name like a normal person?
    Follow-up: How many brewskies could a Bruschi drink if a Bruschi could drink brewskies?

    To Bill Belichick: When was the last time you expressed emotion?
    Follow-up: No, really. When?
    Follow-up: Why won’t you let Charlie Weis and other assistants talk to the media?
    Follow-up: Do you think you’re Bill Parcells?
    Follow up: Is it true you’ll be head coach, offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator next year?
    Follow up: Why is Steve Grogan playing free safety?

    To Tom Brady: Did you really tuck the ball against the Raiders?
    Follow-up: Why are you lying?
    Follow-up: Do you have nightmares about Charles Woodson coming around the end unblocked and crushing you?

    To Adam Vinatieri: If you pull a Ray Finkle, will you have a sex change operation?
    Follow-up: Was Mars Blackmon right? Is it really the shoes?

    To Willie McGinest: How’d you get an Irish last name?
    Follow-up: Who’s the better Teddy: Pendergrass or Bruschi?

    To Dan Klecko: You majored in physical education. Are you serious?
    Follow-up: In the movie PCU, when Droz kicks the kid out of him room who majored in physical education, were you offended?
    Follow-up: Your dad had a cameo appearance in the movie Cannonball Run. Any chance you’ll follow in his footsteps if I do a remake of that flick?

    To Troy Brown: What’s the stupidest question you were asked today?
    Follow-up: Thanks a lot, pal. I hope you get burned covering Jeff Thomason.

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