Archive for January, 2008

The Politics of Hate

January 31, 2008

Watching Super Bowl week without a real dog in the fight reminds me that one of my principle motivations in sports is to hate certain teams. The Colts title last year was the first by one of my big four (Colts, Pacers, Reds, IU) since 1990, and only the 4th of my lifetime (81 and 87 Hoosiers as well). That means that most post-seasons, I’m left hunting for reasons to care. That reason is typically because I hate one of the teams involved. This year, I’m partially motivated by Eli’s presence, but mostly, I just hate the Patriots.

The primary season is sort of that way for me too. I grew up extremely political. My grandparents are staunch Democrats; my folks are Republicans. I used to care deeply. Since then, I’ve come to believe that politics are not the best method to change society and have moved my life and my interests in a different, and I think more productive direction. Most years, I don’t have a dog in the fight since no one out there really cares about the issue that is most important to me personally (poverty and immigrants’ rights). Last election, I participated in the traditional Latin American protest vote of voting “en blanco”. I went to the poll, voted, and left the ballot for president blank.

This year has been different. I still don’t have anyone that I want to vote for. Ah, but I have people to hate! For specific policy reasons that I’m not going to go into nor defend (save your emails telling me why I’m wrong; we aren’t going there), I HATE Hilliary Clinton and Mitt Romney. Violently, violently dislike them; I mean Patriots level hatred. Obama and McCain could be the reincarnations of Filmore and Nixon, and I would still be rooting for them; should either one go up against Clinton or Romney next fall, they have my vote. If they go up against each other, I’m lost. I’ve paid more attention to politics in the last three months than I had in the last three years combined. And that’s entirely driven by my hatred of two of the major candidates. I don’t really care who wins, but I sure care who loses.

Sports comes full circle. If you can’t have someone you love be in the big dance, having someone you hate at least keeps you interested.

Not letting this get out of hand…

January 30, 2008

I don’t want this post to devolve into a Manning/Brady argument. That being said, it of course, will. ESPN has a really fascinating article ranking the top 10 QBs of all time. It has Johnny U at #1, Brady at #3, and Manning at #5. It seems to be a well thought out piece, but I think it’s wrong.

Listen I know Brady has won four Super Bowls (see what I did there?). So did Bradshaw. I know Manning has two MVP awards. He’s not Elway yet. I just think it’s too early to put these guys in the top 5 of all time. I love Peyton. He’s my all time favorite athlete. I can’t put him ahead of John Elway yet. Brady might go down as a top three all time guy, or in 20 years, we’ll think of him the way we know think of Bradshaw. Great QB, but were you ever scared of him?

I don’t know how it is for opposing fans when Manning has the ball, so I can’t evaluate that. I personally, never fear Tom Brady. I don’t sit around biting my nails waiting for that killer strike. He’s just not scary to me. Oh he might lead a scoring drive, but it’ll be because of some weak screen pass and a broken tackle. Not the way it was with the big three. I can remember what it was like whenever Marino had it. You knew they would score. Maybe because I grew up with Montana, Marino, Elway, but those guys were terrifying. They could do whatever they wanted. I think Brady and Manning are threatening to make us forget the Masters of the game. That really makes me sad. I’m glad Johnny U tops this list. I like thinking that the ancients are still great. If guys play only to be forgotten, then why are we blustering about Brady and Manning. Our kids will forget them all too quickly.

I’ve been doing research into particular African tribes this week (don’t ask). One of the most fascinating concepts is the African concept of the Ancestor. When one dies, he enters the realm of the ancestors. They control the future and determine the fates of men on the earth. They only retain power, however, as long as someone remembers them. When their fame has gone, they move on to the greater invisible realm where they no longer influence this life. I hope that by so quickly elevating Brady and Manning into the TOP FIVE all time, that we haven’t ushered others into the realm of the invisible.

Don’t write me and tell me how great Brady is. I KNOW HE’S GREAT. If you miss that, you’re missing the point. I’m trying to tell you how I respond emotionally to watching him play. I won’t remember him as fear inspiring as the others. It may be the same way for Manning too; I don’t know. I’m too invested his success to sit back and evaluate him. Don’t take any of this as a knock. It’s about memory and legacy and how the greats made us feel at the time. I don’t know for sure that either guy should be placed so high, so soon.

The Pledge

January 28, 2008

Demond Sanders (4:30:51 PM): maybe its the coffee talking but we should offer to get eli tattoos if the giants win
Demond Sanders (4:30:54 PM): or something like that
Deshawn Zombie (4:31:02 PM): yikes
Demond Sanders (4:31:25 PM): like peyton would say: you love it
Deshawn Zombie (4:31:32 PM): or better yet, DSRL tatoos
Demond Sanders (4:31:36 PM): NOOOOO
Demond Sanders (4:31:39 PM): lol

Deshawn Zombie (4:31:49 PM): or bet yet, pledge to eat a whole bag of double stuff oreos!
Demond Sanders (4:31:55 PM): done
Demond Sanders (4:31:56 PM): and done
Demond Sanders (4:32:28 PM): that sounds amazing
Demond Sanders (4:32:31 PM): i might do that win or lose

On Shuffle

January 28, 2008

Here’s what I’ve been thinking about in the world of sports.

I’m still a little sick of the Reds dealing Josh “Hambone” Hamilton. I know own two Reds jerseys of outfielders who play for other teams. The crappy part is, I can’t figure out whose jersey I SHOULD buy. I’m going hunting for a Larkin, that’s all there is to it. Thanks to Chad for the link. He’s my official source of awesome baseball links.

My hopes for open wheel unity and a return to national relevance are dashed again. I get why George did what he did all those years ago. Road racing was killing the CART circuit. Oval racing is more interesting. Unfortunately, it seems that too much ground has been lost to NASCAR. They need to get this deal done.

This article about Jim Caldwell was reassuring. It sounds like Wake Forrest was an outhouse for football. He did take them to a bowl which is impressive. The no cursing thing reminded me of my high school baseball team. I had a great coach at Pike that made us all conduct ourselves with pride. Profanity meant that the whole team had to run. That team was incredibly successful, and my senior year we set 19 school records. I later attended a private college where the atmosphere should have been even better. It wasn’t. The difference in environment and attitude was striking. That team won about 5 games. I’m not drawing any larger conclusions, mind you. I’m just saying that I enjoyed playing in a strict environment, and our team had more discipline and more success. I had always been taught that profanity was for unintelligent people of a limited vocabulary, but of course that my Dad who said that, and he has quite the mouth so take that for what it’s worth. Let’s not have a long discussion on how this would play out in the NFL. It’s obviously a different situation.

Finally, I’d love to get my hands on this document. I love stats and would like to see them. I think part of the fallacy that they are pushing is that Clemens was normal. HGH is supposed to heal your body and aid recovery. His career was far from normal and lasted far longer than almost anyone else’s. I want to see the stats, but I remain markedly unconvinced.

Oh, and here is the single best thing I’ve ever seen on CHFF


I saw this tour pre-911, and it was the coolest thing I’ve ever been to. I heard it was even better afterwards. I get chills watching this again. I’ve heard U2 play in front of 80,000 in Buenos Aires where everyone knew every lyric to their songs despite the fact they didn’t speak English. They’ve had a lot of great nights, but I doubt they were ever better than this.

Taping the Hoosiers

January 26, 2008

I never would have gone to the trouble of recording a Hoosiers game to watch a couple of hours late before, but in this season of multiple blackouts, I’m relishing any tube time I get with them. Since I have a work event from 1-4 today, I’m going to record the game. This is relevant for two reasons: 1. IU is must see TV for the first time in a long time and 2. They seem like they are barely ever on. It’s a perfect storm of crapiness.

UPDATE: Well, that was a lousy effort. I’m too mad to even write anything. Sampson let that game get out of hand early after the 9-0 lead. The team started playing like they were up 20, and he didn’t reign them in. I’m too mad to even write anything coherent right now.

In other news:
Here’s a great piece about Super Bowl rings. Scroll down for Vinatieri’s story behind his LXI ring.

Dead in the Water

January 25, 2008

The Blue and Gold dropped another one last night. At some point, you have to be at an utter loss to explain this team. Unfortunately, they are built around a star with bad knees and a point guard who has made a career out of being inconsistent. They traded guys with real talent who caused trouble for a collection of junk. Just a month ago, they were a virtual playoff lock, but after losing almost constantly, they find themselves tied for the 8th spot, and just a half game out of 10th. Hollinger is still apparently smoking crack, because he thinks they have a 67% chance at the playoffs. If they can ever manage to win 3 of 5, maybe I’ll buy that. It’s not like I’m setting my standards real high here. I suppose my final evaluation is: they suck just enough to suck, but don’t suck enough to have a shot at Eric Gordon. That’s about as bad as you can suck.

Links:
Colts.com comes through with a nice interview with Dungy. He seems surprised there was any controversy this week.

Yet one more reason that ‘Pro-Bowl Appearances‘ are a lousy way to judge players. Antoine Bethea just made his first pro bowl due to an injury to Troy Polamalu. Listen, Bethea was great this year, and a very deserving player. I’m thrilled for him. But it’s getting ridiculous. Every day, a couple of more players beg off. Everyone wants to be a Pro Bowler, but no one wants to actually play in the game. This should tell us something.

Do you still think steroids don’t help players? Do you still think it’s no big deal? Watch this video and then tell me that ‘roided out players are legit. Dan Naulty isn’t a hero for telling the truth, heroes don’t do this crap to begin with. I do think he’s figured out how to finally be a man, though, and that is something to be proud of. The most any of us can do in life is look our family in the eye, and admit we were wrong without excuses or qualifications. Good for him. Thanks to friend of 18to88, Chad, for this link.

It bothers me too, Bill. I showed up hours early to watch McGwire and Bonds take BP. I hate that they lied to us.

Al Davis is so far off the reservation that he’s practically in Canada. This guy has taken utter and total leave of his senses. This is the goofiest thing I’ve ever heard. I don’t know if Lane Kiffin is a good coach or not. For that matter, NO ONE DOES. He hasn’t had enough of a chance. Davis drafted him a resignation letter? To hire Denny Green? Whaaaaa?

Fun from the mailbag…

January 23, 2008

Frequent emailer Bob M chimes into today:

Guys,
This one is intended to be funny and as such I think it’s pretty good. Cook, a Chicagoan, is usually very supportive of the Colts. Clearly he’s as fed up with the Favre-love in the media as anybody.
You know, since the Colts lost I have added minimum 20 hours a week back to my life for the little things, like work productivity, reading, sleeping. I would have preferred three more weeks of sleep deprivation and 2 a.m. Internet searches for the latest, but sometimes the fans need downtime too. Enjoy the off-season.

He also threw us this Boston/NY link.

Joel gives us this gem:
Wow…Mad Jack has a coaching tree!
Speaking of coaching trees, it’s hard to pinpoint where you put Jack…he was Ditka’s conditioning coach with the Saints; then Billick’s LB coach with the Ravens; then Fox’s D Coordinator with the Panthers. Hmm…I’d venture to say that it was under Billick that he first made his name, which would technically put him in the Dennis Green tree. Which would make him just one branch away from Tony Dungy. Holy crap.

I love Wikipedia…a couple facts I never knew about him:

1) His middle name is “Lebron.” Can that really be true?
2) He retired when he lost his starting job to rookie linebacker Zach Thomas.
3) Mad Jack’s college roommate was Sean Salisbury.
4)
The Jags apparently did not exist from 2000-2003

Thanks man, that is amazing stuff. Lebron, huh? Sounds like a new nickname is brewing…I don’t know…King Jack? As for the Dungy/Del Rio connection, they do have one, but I can’t remember it. I remember when he was first hired in Jacksonville, that Tony always gave him big hugs for some reason. They know each other well from somewhere, but the link is escaping me. Can someone help me out on this? Did Mad Jack play LB for Tony in Minnesota or something? Could King Jack be the bastard child of the Dungy coaching tree? Say it ain’t so…

UPDATE: It’s TRUE! King Jack did in fact play for Tony in Minnesota! There goes the “coaching tree” argument for Tony making the Hall of Fame. Jack Del Rio in your tree sort of ruins the whole concept. Lovie Smith would have to win about 3 titles before he would make up for that…

Here’s a good piece by John Clayton about franchise QBs…

Shut Up

January 22, 2008

I’ve said it before and I’m saying it for the last time. It’s the day after Super Bowl XLI and I come to you from the future. I inform you that the Colts will lose the following players for most or all of the 2007 season:

Cato June (Starting LB)
Nick Harper (Starting CB)
Jason David (Starting CB)
Dominic Rhodes (Starting RB)
Tarik Glenn (Starting LT)
Booger McFarland (Starting DT)
Rob Morris (Starting LB)
Dwight Freeney (All Pro DE)
Marvin Harrison (All Pro WR)

They also lose key contributors Brandon Stokley and Terrence Wilkins. How many games would you have predicted the Colts would have won? 7 or 8?

Try 13 games and a random back-breaking fumble from a return to the AFC title game. You don’t think Tony Dungy is a brilliant head coach capable of doing the impossible? You just witnessed an amazing season and you don’t even know it.

Editor’s note: To those who the above rant is directed (you know who you are): this rant should ideally be read while listening to Cake’s “Shut the —- Up.”

Loose links

January 22, 2008

Don Banks is unnecessarily confused. I’m not sure why he would have a tough time understanding the Colts’ coaching situation. People are way too worried about down the road. This year, 2008, the issue is settled. If Tony comes back in ’09, which no one expects him to, then there will be an issue. Let’s burn that bridge when we come to it.

ESPN has a goofy list of the best QB performances in the Super Bowl. It’s dumb crap that I don’t really want to get into.

Last night on PTI, they were ranking the play of the QBs this post season. The idea was to show that Eli Manning has been the best. I’m not going to argue with the point, but as he rattled on he came to Peyton Manning who he described as “throwing for 400 yards, but was shaky“. And that’s why I’ve stopped watching TV. Ok, Wilbon, whatever. I’m not sure why I’m passing that story along other than Demond thought it was funny and said I should.

Sarah from Terre Haute wants everyone to vote here. To the Zombiemobile!

Loose links

January 22, 2008

Don Banks is unnecessarily confused. I’m not sure why he would have a tough time understanding the Colts’ coaching situation. People are way too worried about down the road. This year, 2008, the issue is settled. If Tony comes back in ’09, which no one expects him to, then there will be an issue. Let’s burn that bridge when we come to it.

ESPN has a goofy list of the best QB performances in the Super Bowl. It’s dumb crap that I don’t really want to get into.

Last night on PTI, they were ranking the play of the QBs this post season. The idea was to show that Eli Manning has been the best. I’m not going to argue with the point, but as he rattled on he came to Peyton Manning who he described as “throwing for 400 yards, but was shaky“. And that’s why I’ve stopped watching TV. Ok, Wilbon, whatever. I’m not sure why I’m passing that story along other than Demond thought it was funny and said I should.

Sarah from Terre Haute wants everyone to vote here. To the Zombiemobile!