Friday, February 27, 2009

American League Predictions

I'm back to finish up my 2009 MLB predictions with the Junior Circuit. The American League has some serious ballers, so it will be difficult to foresee the future, but I'll throw my hat in the ring and give it a try:

AL WEST:

Adding slugger Matt Holliday and having a closer with a 0.0045 ERA (Brad Ziegler) has to improve the A's chances of winning this weak division. The Rangers have decent offense and no pitching. The Angels lost their two best players to two different New York teams. They did sign Bobby Abreu at a discount, but I'm not sure it can make up for the loss of K-Rod and Tex (and John Garland to the D'Backs.) Do I even really need to discuss the Mariners? No. No I don't.

Athletics, Angels, Rangers, Seattle Ichiros

AL CENTRAL:

My least favorite division in baseball. I hate the White Sox and I don't care for any of the other teams. The Tigers underachieve. The Indians are inconsistent. The Twins seem to win while playing in the ugliest park in MLB, and the Royals' best quality is the waterfall at their park.

So how do I pick it? Well, I'm going with Mark DeRosa to lead the Tribe to an awe-inspiring division victory.

Indians, Twins, Tigers, Royals, White Sox

AL EAST:

Damn. How do I even begin to pick this division? I see upside to the Rays, Red Sox and Yankees. The Orioles and Blue Jays cannot compete, but the division championship is ripe for the taking by any of the top 3. I like the Yankees spending spree, but I'm not totally sure they have the toughness that used to be filled by Paul O'Neil, Tino Martinez, or Scott Brosius. The Red Sox are good as usual- very consistent and I like the grit that Kevin Youklis and Dustin Pedroia bring. The Rays seem like they will take a step back this year, but let's be honest, they will shock no one if they are playing in October again.

I'm not terribly confident in this one, but I have to try:

Yankees, Red Sox* (Wildcard), Rays, Blue Jays, Orioles

AL MVP: A-Rod
AL Cy Young: Jon Lester
AL ROY: Elvis Andus

So this sets up the Playoffs as follows:

Cubs v. Mets
Phillies v. Dodgers

Yankees v. Athletics
Indians v. Red Sox

NLCS: Cubs v. Phillies
ALCS: Yankees v. Red Sox

World Series: Cubs v. Yankees

I'm not even going to predict this because you know who I'm going with and that probably makes me completely bias. That would be a great Series though- and probably the highest rated World Series ever. Here's to hoping...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

National League Predictions

So the first games of Spring Training start today!!! I'm so ready for baseball season to start. In honor of this joyous day, I figured I'd lay down some predictions. I'm not sure I have anything that interesting to say, but hey, it's probably better than listening to Steve Phillips' predictions.

NL WEST:

This division is currently not predictable because we don't know where Manny will end up. Being that I listen to lots of KNBR 680- THE Sports Leader (the SF Giants flagship station) I can say with 80% certainty that the Giants won't sign Manny. The vibe on the station is that all the radio host want him, but no one believes they are serious contenders for him (sounds about right to me.) My prediction must be taken with a grain of salt because a few years ago I said with 100% certainty that they wouldn't sign Barry Zito and look how that prediction held up (also, look how that signing turned out- ouch.)

Assuming the Dodgers and Manny find common ground and get a deal done, I'll go this way:

Dodgers, D'Backs, Giants, Rockies, and Padres

Assuming the Giants sign Manny we'll go:

Giants, D'Backs, Rockies, Dodgers, and Padres

And assuming neither team signs Manny:

D'Backs, Giants, Rockies, Dodgers, and Padres

NL EAST:

This division is loaded. You have the defending World Champion Philadelphia Phillies. The New York Mets with a re-tooled bullpen. The Atlanta Braves with Derek Lowe (don't count out Bobby Cox), and the always unpredictable Florida Marlins. I see it shaking out this way:

Phillies, Mets, Braves, Marlins, and Nationals

This is the toughest division to pick because I see upside in teams 1-4. The firey ring of hell known as the Nationals have already eliminated themselves (Adam Dunn, really?) Since Chase Utley says he'll be ready for opening day and they actually improved their line-up by signing Raul Ibanez, I have to go with the Phillies. This division will be a battle though. I full expect the Wild Card to come out of this division (Mets.)

NL CENTRAL:

This division is difficult to pick because I have no idea where to go beyond first place. Every other team besides the Cubs did virtually nothing to help their team (in most cases they got worse.) The Brewers lost CC and Sheets, resigned Gagne. The Cardinals did literally nothing. The Astros are offensively decent, but their pitching is not scary (besides Oswalt.) The Reds and Pirates will continue to be irrelavent until they actually prove otherwise. I think the Cubs will win this division by 10 games with the addition of Milton Bradley and retaining the core group that won 97 games last year:

Cubs, Cards, Astros, Brewers, Reds, and Pirates

Other awards:

MVP: Chase Utley
Cy Young: Johan Santana
Rookie of the Year: Jeff Samardzija
Comeback Player of the Year: Kenny Powers (if only this was possible, he'd look so good in a Pirates jersey!)

So there you have it. I'll be back with AL predictions soon enough- maybe event tomorrow- who knows!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Image of the Day

I'm braindead from putting together an IKEA entertainment center yesterday (technically today at 2:30am) so I'm mailing in this image of my friend Sean from our camping trip to the Desolation Wilderness a few years ago:


We are classy individuals. Have a great day!

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Greatest Sports Memory

So as I mentioned two posts ago, my favorite sports event ever was a Giants/Rockies game in September of 2006. Matt Cain pitched a gem so the game was pretty fun. A couple of my friends were lolly-gagging it in the suite area (drinking) and we stuck around after the game for about an hour. Once we decided to finally leave, a Giants worker slammed a gate in our face and told us we had to go around.

We walked back through the main concourse and noticed there were people on the field. My two drunk friends ran down there to check it out. Within seconds they were on the field and picked up gloves and a ball. They were running to the outfield to play catch.

Well, of course, my other two friends and I (all sober) were not going to let them have all the fun. We wandered down and nodded to the guy sitting at the homeplate gate. We walked past him and onto the field. We also picked up gloves and started playing catch and taking pictures. It was amazing. Playing catch on a Major League outfield was absolutely a childhood dream come true. We took pictures of us on the field, in front of the clock and scoreboard, and fake robbing homeruns. What happened next made this experience legendary...

They called everyone to come in from playing catch. There were four or five Giants' interns explaining how the program was going to work: [My thoughts are in brackets]

"First off, we'd like to thank you all for your genorosity and for coming out today. [Uh-oh...] We also want to make sure you've all signed waivers- well, we know you have, but just in case come up and sign one. [Waivers? We don't need no stinking waivers! PS, thanks for the quick out on that one- thought we were caught for a second.]

"So to start, half of you will be at homeplate taking batting practice and the other half will take batting practice. Then we'll switch. [What! No way!!!] After everyone has gotten some practice in, we'll be playing a homerun derby type game. Whoever gets the most points will win prizes. [At this point I'm looking across at my drunk friend and shaking my head- he looks me square in the eyes and starts nodding...]

"Everyone be safe and let's get started!"

My drunk friend grabs a batting helmet and bat and is the first in the cage. He takes his cuts and around the 10th or 12th pitch they tell him it's the last one he'll get. He takes his cut and starts running the bases. Apparently he got a double.

My other drunk friend was second in the cage. The man on second steals third on the first pitch. On the last pitch for batter #2, batter #1 runs for home. He slides in safe.

After my friends getting reprimanded for running the bases, my two sober friends and I stepped in and also took batting practice at AT&T Park!!! I must say I got a hold of a few off the 50 mph pitching machine.

So at this point, we all roll back to the outfield. The feeling is starting set in that we are going to get caught. We assumed that they had the names of everyone for the homerun derby-esque contest, and that whether we used real or fake names, we would be caught by attempting to participate.

At that point we go in shifts to try to leave. Unfortunately, the only way out was through the Giants' clubhouse. We did not realize this. The sober group tried to leave first. An intern yelled at us and told us we weren't allowed up on the concourse (where we were attempting to go.) I made up a story about how I had to leave because of an urgent phone call (I was very vague.) She said it was no problem, but we had to go through the dugout exit. Unfortunately, one of the drunk friends coming back in our car. So we called him over awkwardly once we knew which way to go. He ran over and we headed down through the dugout (also awesome.)

As we were going out, there was some small talk with the intern saying we had fun eventhough we had to leave early. We were homefree (despite our other friend who was still inside- he ended up ok.) Unfortunately she then asked the fatal question, "So, what group are you guys with?"

Damn.

I let my other friend answer. "Uh... about that... We didn't really know what was going on, and we came down to the field and uh..."

Basically it was a lot of B.S.ing. She said, "So you guys just crashed our charity event?"

"Well, we really didn't know..."

"So when we asked for everyone to sign waivers, you guys didn't think anything of that?"

"Yeah, uh, see, the thing is..."

The key thing was that we continued our forward movement and security was not called. We got to the door and she left us with some sacasm, "Thanks. Yeah. Thanks." To which my drunk friend replied "GO GIANTS!" as we exited. Icing on the cake.

On the way home, we could not stop smiling about our time on the field. We called everyone we knew explaining the whole experience. I don't see how any sports experience could get much better, but there you go. That's my #1.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

MLB TV and a NBA Trade

These are two highly unrelated topics, but here we go:

1) I just realized that I get MLB TV. Channel 412 on Comcast is on like Donkey Kong! I just figured that since my current cable package doesn't include the NFL Network, that MLB TV wouldn't be included either. I was so wonderfully wrong. I can't wait to watch hours of Harold Reynolds, Al Leiter, Barry Larkin, and anyone else they're planning to roll out. In fact, I might spring for MLB Extra Innings this year- though I'm scared about what that might do to my productivity levels. Oh well, who cares- I'm so ready for baseball season.

2) The Bulls traded Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmons, Andres Nocioni, and some other dude for Brad Miller and John Salmons. I have no idea who wins this trade, but it is pretty cool that my favorite team traded players to my local team. That way I get continue to follow these under performing slubs. I will say that Nocioni will be missed, and I'm glad to pick up Brad Miller, but overall, this doesn't make either team that much better or that much worse. Chime in if you think differently.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Top Ten Sporting Events

Well, since I have nothing that great to write about today (A-Rod, blah, blah, blah) I decided to think up the Top 10 sporting events I have ever attended. I've never been to a Super Bowl, or an NBA Finals, or even a World Series (what was I thinking in 2002?) but I'll attempt to come up with my best. The criteria is that I had to have physically attended the game, remember it enough to explain a coherent story, and that's really about it. So, if I hypothetically attended a Cubs/Expos game in 1984 that I can't remember, that doesn't count. (Also, this idea came up as a mix of my friend Matt suggesting I do Top 10s if I've got nothing else, and G$ did a similar list awhile back- that jerk saw his Redskins win a Super Bowl! Now that's legit!)

10. Ravens v. Raiders AFC Championship game in 2000 - My friend/college roommate Phil (yes, the Bonin) and his family had (maybe still have, but I doubt it) season tickets to the Raiders. When the Raiders were on the cusp of getting to the Super Bowl in 2000, FEDEX dropped Phil's tickets on our doorstep. Unfortunately, it was a particularly windy day in Davis and the FEDEX envelop blew away. After Phil searched for an hour around the apartment complex and subsequently freaked out, I came home from class. He explained what happened, and I calmly walked outside behind our apartment complex and, as if God himself had put a spotlight on it, found the FEDEX envelop sitting on a dirt patch in between a few bushes. Phil was so happy he took me to the game.

The reason this game stands at 10, is because my story of finding the tickets was actually better than the game. The crowd was rowdy, but the highlight of the game was Shannon Sharpe's 97 yard TD catch from Trent Dilfer. As the hope began to dim on the Raiders' Super Bowl chances, I felt less and less safe. We eventually left in the middle of the fourth quarter after Rich Gannon was hurt and Bobby Hoying took over at QB. People were throwing things at us saying, "You're not true fans! They're going to come back!!!" Phil's dad just did his best Jack Bauer impression and said, "Get into the tunnel!" I'm happy we made it out alive!

9. Pirates v. Braves NLCS 1991, Game 4 - The Pirates took this one in 10 innings. I remember doing the tomahawk chop and hating the terrible threesome of Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla and Andy Van Slyke. This makes the list because it was my first playoff baseball game, but since I wasn't overly thrilled with the Pirates victory, it doesn't make it too far up the list.

8. Tigers v. A's ALCS 2006, Game 1 - My friend had gotten my roommate/former co-worker/best man in my wedding Sean and me tickets to Game 1 of the ALCS in 2006. When he called us just after 4pm and asked how traffic was coming, we were miffed because due to a miscommunication we thought we were going to GAME 2. Completely unprepared, we left work (noting that appropriately on the calendar, of course) and sprinted to the car. Getting from Davis to Oakland quickly is no small feat. Our goal was to make it by the 3rd inning. Sure enough, 80 West, to 680 South, then onto the Pleasant Hill BART station, transfer at MacArthur, and then exiting at the Colisieum, we made it there in record time. Our tickets were on the OTHER side of the stadium so we sprinted to the other window and retrived our tickets. Since Sean randomly had purchased a Tigers jersey and hat on clearance during the year that they lost 140 games (or whatever) he was completely decked out in Tigers garb. We were on the first base line and got there in time to see Barry Zito throw the first pitch of the 3rd inning. We were there to watch the beginning of the A's getting swept out of the playoffs. Once again, the story getting there was equally as fun as the event, but it's always fun to attend a playoff game.

7. Dodgers v. Cubs August 2003 - Mark Prior had recently come back from his basepath collision with Marcus Giles, and just in time for me to roll into Wrigley. Prior pitched a gem. 2 hits, 1 run, complete game (Cubs won 2-1.) I still will never completely understand how Prior's shoulder/body got so messed up that he went from future Hall of Famer to complete bust, but it was fun to watch him pitch when he was at his best.

6. Padres v. Cubs August 2004 - Carlos Zambrano was on the hill that night, and my brother Tim and I decided to scalp some bleacher seats. This was one of the least annoying Wrigley bleacher games I've ever attended. I'm not 100% sure I'd ever gone to a game under the lights at Wrigley before, and the Cubs got the job done, 8-5. I was in the second row of the right field bleachers and Ryan Klesko hit a ball off the wall so hard I could feel the vibration from it. An excellent game and fewer drunk d-bags diseasing the bleachers than normal!

5. Reds v. Cubs August 2005 - The Cubs were not great during this season, but since Tim and I had such a great experience the year before, we decided to scalp tickets again. Although the team was far worse, the prices had risen almost 100% on bleacher tickets. I gave the scalper a little attitude about why he was ripping people off and walked away muttering something like, "Well, I guess we'll just go home..." As we were walking away, another guy said, "Hey! You guys need tickets?" I said, "Yes, what do you have?" He went on to explain that he had tickets from his work and that he couldn't go. He didn't want the tickets to go to waste, so we could have them. When I asked, "How much?" he replied, "Nothing, I just want to make sure they go to people who will appreciate them." I thanked him four or five times and Tim and I proceeded to walk to our seats behind HOME PLATE! While the Cubs lost 9-4, we had extra drinking money (Tim had just turned 21 that year) and we drunkenly enjoyed the Wrigley atmosphere.

4. Giants v. Cubs 6/30/08 - I already documented this game on the blog, and with Mark DeRosa hitting not one, but TWO home runs (including one Grand Slam) into our section, it was a great game to celebrate my birthday. THE REST IS HERE. Side note: sorry to see you go DeRosa- you'll be missed.

3. Tom Glavine wins 300, Mets v. Cubs 8/5/07 - A little know fact is that the graphic that is at the top of my blog is from this game. I was in the right field bleachers as Jason Marquis faced Tom Glavine. Tommy got the best of him and almost 3 years to the day after former teammate Greg Maddux won his 300th game, Glavine did the same. This time, the bleachers did have more drunk A-holes and Alfonso Soriano pulled his hamstring running from second to third, but the history overrides all of that riff-raff.

2. Greg Maddux wins 300, Giants v. Cubs 8/7/04 - As luck would have it, I was at this Sunday afternoon game that had the Cubs win 8-4, but more importantly, Mad-dog Greg Maddux picked up his 300th win. It was great to see one of my childhood heroes reach a milestone like that. I'm not sure what the odds are that I would see both Maddux and Glavine win their 300th career wins, but I have a feeling not many other people can say they attended both games. So awesome to witness that kind of baseball history.

1. Rockies v. Giants 9/14/06 - This game was nothing special. Sure, the Giants won 5-0 as Matt Cain threw 8 scoreless innings. This game truly deserves its own blog, so I will definitely write an entry on it. The reason this gets the number one spot is because I could not stop smiling for over an hour after we left AT&T Park. I'll be back with a full entry on this game soon...

And yes, I'm very aware that this list is ridiculously baseball heavy. What can I say? I like attending baseball games! Plus, none of the Bears or Bulls games that I physically attended are worth mentioning. I've been to a few Niners games, but no good ones. I didn't make it out for the Warriors/Mavs series a couple years ago, so I have no NBA. Blame it on my taste, my luck, my financial status of college student during the Kings great run, and my location. Hopefully I broaden this list in the future...

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Bachelor

I'm publicly shaming myself. I just watched about half of The Bachelor and that show is brutal. These people are awful, and I'm awful for watching. At least my street cred is balanced out by watching this week's 24 (awesome.)

As a side-note, I'd totally love for my old roommate Phil Bonin to be on the Bachelor or the Bachelorette. Besides the fact that his last name is actually "Bonin," he would put on an absolute show. Give that guy a hot-tub and some liquor and I promise you one of the highest rated reality shows.

I should find the quotes from our quote of the day board that we kept back in college and post them here. Until then I'll try to think of a way to get my Man-Card back.

Valentine's Shenanigans

My fiance and I agreed a few weeks back to have a low key Valentine's Day. The idea of rollerskating was suggested, but when we realized our best option was hanging with THESE GUYS, we decided to pursue other options.

The plans began to escalate and eventually our Valentine's Day ended up being less laid-back and pretty soon we had a full evening of plans. First, we checked into the Lake Natoma Inn in Old Folsom. The hotel was quaint and relaxing. We dropped off our stuff, and headed off to our dinner reservations. This is where our night jumped up a notch or ten...

We went to the Balcony Bistro for our 7:45pm reservation. My fiance had made the reservations because she thought it would be a nice place to eat (I had never heard of it.) They mentioned on the phone, "That will be a great time for you to eat because we're going to have great live music!" We had mused that it could be anything from a jazz group to a harpist to a guy doing similar schitck to myself.

Upon sitting, there was a piece of paper on the table where the menu normally would be. It explained that there was a limit set menu for the night, it was $50 per person, and that Eric Tillman of the Temptations would be providing the musical entertainment. After debating about whether or not Mr. Tillman was really in the Temptations, we made our limited choices from the menu and got drinks. We caught one song before he went before he went on a break.

Once Eric Tillman was done with his break, we were already through our salads and soup. I'm not quite sure how to explain the scene other than to start off by saying it was entertaining and hilarious. Maybe a fair comparison is a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie- I totally appreciate the skill involved, it's fun to watch, and unintentionally comedic.

When the next set started, Eric Tillman began in rocking fashion. His setup involved a massive synthesizer keyboard that had all the arrangements pre-programmed into it- I believe he called it the Till-estra. In addition to that, he had a key-tar. Yes, I said KEY-TAR. Guitar/keyboard on a strap that was huge in the 80s was the instrument of choice. I'm going to be honest, he rocked that key-tar like nobody's business during "Oye Come Va." He did the entire guitar solo while his synthesizer provided an entire ensamble. He also kept calling his glasses "sexy glasses." The looked like regular glasses, but I'll take his word for it.

Since the restaurant was about as big as a one-bedroom apartment, crowd participation was key to helping the show succeed. And while everyone was singing to "Oye Como Va" and "What I Say Part 1," nothing compared to when a middle-aged blonde lady went up to where the former member of the Temptations touring band was performing "Rock the Cashbah." She helped out on the back-up vocals and dance moves (shown in the picture.)

Mr. Tillman then covered some Billy Joel, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, and a few others. He told stories about some of these artists like he knows them, and I'm pretty sure he does know them. He mentioned that he votes for the Grammys, which I thought was pretty cool. Overall, he clearly is a great musician, but the drum-machine programmed tracks were out of control at times (dial back the drums my man!)

We ended the night with our dessert and complimentary champagne (debatable that it was complimentary...) As we got up from the table, and began to walk out of the Balcony Bistro, we could hear "Bennie and the Jets" playing and we laughed a realized this will be a Valentine's Day we'll remember forever.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Mailing In Friday Videos

Millionaire Contestant Can't Add:



Adam Carolla's Touchdown Dance:



Kittens Inspired By Kittens:



The Greatest Thing I've Ever Seen:



Have a great weekend and Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Brett Favre Is Done!

Ah, it is not a sad day for this Chicago Bears fan- finally Brett Favre is retired! And barring a lame un-retirement where he goes to the Vikings and wins a Super Bowl, the football world is rid of this Wrangler Jeans wearing, corn-fed redneck! Here is a list of things that Brett Favre has given:

To Bears Fans: Daggers in the heart. He threw more touchdown passes against the Bears than against any other team. In fairness, the Bears were terrible for most of Brett's career, but that doesn't make it any better. In fact, it makes it worse.

To NFL Fans: Exciting yet bone-headed play. One second you'd think this guy is the best ever, the next second he throws a Pick 6 against the NY Giants in overtime of the NFC Championship game. Had the Pack won that game, the Patriots would've gone 19-0- I'm sure of it.

To Comedy Fans: Frank Caliendo's career. That guy does a pretty good impression of John Madden. I say impression because the sound of his voice sounds like Madden, but the content is just NOT funny. He stutters, says "Brett Favre" 5,000 times, and talks about meat. I blame Favre for Caliendo's rise and the dumbing down of America.

To Comedy Fans Part 2: A great cameo in "There's Something About Mary." Put one in the positive column for Brett.

To ESPN Fans: Constant interuptions of sports highlights, other sports news, and ESPN SportCenter commercials. That family of channels was diseased with too much Favre last summer, and it'll probably inundated this year as well:

"What's Brett doing on his farm now- Hunting? Fishing? Running naked through the woods?"
"Brett rode his tractor today while wearing Wranglers."
"Brett hung out with Larry the Cable Guy."
"Brett played catch with the broad-side of a barn today- he threw 3 picks."

Give it up ESPN, your love affair is over.

To Jets Fans: A monumental collapse. The only way it can be done with Favre- crash and burn. Someone find the blackbox because no one can't figure out how the Jets managed to miss the playoffs (get it? Jets/crash/blackbox- OK, I'm an awful writer...)

To Roberto Alomar: AIDS. Ok, that one is just plain not true. In fact, that's border line evil. But there was no other way to put up this LINK.

In all seriousness, I know Favre was a good QB who had a great career. I think he is overrated in that many think he is the greatest of all time (which he is not.) You have to win more championships to truly be considered the greatest of all time. His primadonna attitude was alienating teammates, and at least part of the reason for the Jets demise. I'm also sick of "Favrewatch" taking over ESPN. Thank you for at least not having another lame press conference and giving the Network more fodder for the masses- for that, Favre, I thank you.

Adieu.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sick of A-Holes?

I'm sick of inconsiderate folks and people out to screw others just to get ahead. Here's a quick list:

The Person Who Sold the Michael Phelps Smoking Picture - I've ranted about this previously, so I'm not going to spend too much more time on it, but really? You're partying with a legend and your first thought is to get a photo of Phelps smoking? Then you sell it for profit? I could even make an argument that you are more responsible for "all the kids who were let down by Phelps' action." For example, if there was an actor (maybe Eddie Murphy in Dr. Doolittle or Shrek) that a kid really liked based on his role in a family friend movie, and then you created an easy opportunity for that kid to watch a more adult content DVD with that same actor in it (Eddie Murphy Raw), that kid would be confused about what is going on. As I've stated before, it is the parents' responsibility to explain things to the child, but clearly there are some things that adults know about that do not need to be put in play view of the kids.

Selena Roberts - "We were doing a profile on A-Rod, so that was the only player we were concerned about." This is what she said when Doug Gottlieb asked her about the 103 players that tested positive for steroids. Are we to believe she just passed on this information? Or more likely, did she get a favor from someone who shouldn't have helped her, and she doesn't have the other 103 names? She was clearly going to rip A-Rod down by any means necessary. Oh, and I don't care if his street is a public road- I live on a public road and if someone is cruising by just to see if I'm home and ask my about my past MEDICAL records- that is what I call STALKING.

Slow Walkers at the Gym - Not just any slow walkers, just the ones that ignore the signs and the color-coded track. You see, the two blue lanes on the track are for runners who are going pretty fast (or really fast depending), and the two yellow lanes on the track are for walkers, or slower joggers. Now, I'm in the blue lane trying to run at a faster pace. Two girls going side-by-side in the blue lanes are walking- wait- not only are the walking- they are doing slow lunges where they bend one knee and touch the other knee to the ground. Are you serious? This is ridiculous! Stay in the yellow lane where you belong!

People Who Do Not Follow Directions - As I get older, I appreciate the value of organization more and more. I've found that no matter how direct I am when giving information or directions, inevatably the message will not get through. Occasionally, the message will get through, yet it will get blatantly disregarded. I'm not speaking about one person in particular- it happens waaaaay too often. This is about as specific as my rant will get. Ah, the number one drawback of not creating a blogging alias.

Kate Austen on Lost - She annoys me more and more every episode. I hope she does travel back in time and gets killed in the caves area. That would explain the "Eve skeleton" from Season 1. Oh, and P.S., she's not even close to as hot as she thinks she is. Her teeth are weird.

The Guy From Nickelback - Seriously, you're awfully cocky for someone producing the worst music ever heard by ears. Please stop releasing the same album over and over. And to the people who keep buying it, please stay to the bargain DVD section at Wal-Mart and stop supporting terrible music.

That's all I have today. What A-Hole are you sick of?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Media Will Use Anyone's Take

I was listening to KNBR 680: THE Sports Leader this morning and realized how stupid this whole A-Rod thing is. The Murph & Mac show interviewed "power bat" and Giants second baseman Kevin Frandsen this morning about the upcoming baseball season. Check that, they asked him more questions about A-Rod than about the Giants. Great. This is like Dave Chappelle's joke with a news anchor asking Ja-Rule about September 11th. "Where's Ja! We need his opinion!"

C'mon Murph & Mac- you're better than this. You asked him a question about if A-Rod's admission to using steroids will be a distration in the Giants clubhouse. Frandsen being a professional gave a decent answer about how they don't have to deal with it because it's not in their clubhouse and hopefully they can talk baseball instead of steroids. M & M followed it up by asking, "Some of A-Rod's answers seemed a little fishy- do you think he told the whole truth?" Nice baseball question. And realistically, what is Kevin-Frickin'-Frandsen going to say about it?!?!?! He once again said something professional to the effect of, "I hope he told the whole truth."

Then they eventually ended the interview and said, "There you go folks. Kevin Frandsen weighing in on A-Rod and the Giants." I knew there was a reason I listen to Adam Corrolla in the morning rather than you guys, and you're proving me right all the time. I understand A-Rod is a big story and you don't need to ignore it, but Kevin Frandsen? He does not need follow up questions about the A-Rod situation. Frandsen was hurt all last year and has never been a regular starter for an entire year in the Bigs. Ask him about how excited he is to be healthy and what his feelings are on the Giants. Leave the 'roid talk for appropriate people- Bonds, A-Rod, doctors, lawyers, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Miguel Tejada, trainers, Clemens, someone who has inside information, a ex-teammate of A-Rod's, a current Yankee, or anyone else who makes these questions relavent.

For the record, I think Frandsen is a hard worker and a savage. I hope he has a great year.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Are We All Really That Great?

Our society is getting so mixed up. How in the world did the media become the moral police for our celebrities? Blood sucking paparazzi hound celebrities trying to find "the dirt" on these people. Now really, are these people the most moral upstanding citizens? No. But no one gives a shit about their personal lives, so they escape and string others' dirty laundry on Main St.

So this brings me to two big news stories. First, Michael Phelps:

I know many people have expressed their opinion about Phelps getting caught smoking weed- I'm not breaking any news here. I probably don't have very much new to say either. But let's try:

The first thing Phelps should get reprimanded for is letting someone take a picture of him doing this. C'mon man! If anyone ever shows up to a weed-smoking party with a camera, just kick them out of the group. This goes for regular people too.

Realistically, for people my age, trying marijuana is the norm. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, and I'm not a big fan of people becoming pot-heads (not very fun to be around unless you're in the mood to watch Kung-Pow: Enter the First and eat Toaster Strudel.) I would say at least over half my friends have at least tried marijuana. This doesn't make them bad people, or drug addicts. I have a hard time believing Michael Phelps did a lot of smoking- no one can accomplish what he has while smoking lots of weed. It's not possible.

Yet, you might say, "Tony, what about our childern? He needs to set an example for them!" And I would say, "I guess so, but I'm pretty sure that is why you are around." Parent your kids. Don't rely on celebrities to show them the way. As Charles Barkley used to say, "I am not a role model." No, you're not Chuck. Parents should never use a celebrity as a linch-pin of moral fiber because the kids will ultimately be let down. Instead, show them the ups and downs of life and explain that people aren't perfect, but can accomplish great things when they do work hard and stay focused.

And now we get to Alex Rodriguez. I can't spend too much effort on this because I'm sick of the media robbing my childhood from me. Baseball, the law, and the media ALL looked the other way when steroids dominated in the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s. Now I remember the Oakland A's winning the 1989 World Series, and now you tell me that steroids were responsible (Canseco/McGwire.) Barry Bonds hit 761 home runs in my lifetime, and they're trying to take that away from me. I was physically there for 749. It happened. I saw it. But the media is telling me that it wasn't legit. Stop trying to take my memories away from me.

I clearly do NOT think using steroids is OK. I am disappointed that it all has happened. However, there has to be some sort of account of the decades that were dirtied by pervasive steroid use. You can't just pretend this didn't happen. Next you'll be telling me the Fab Five didn't get to two Final Fours in 1992 and 1993 for Michigan- aw wait a second...

I'm sick of everyone talking about these players "tainted" stats and records. Ken Caminiti said 80-90% of players were on steroids, and even if that is an exaggeration, there probably was a somewhat level juiced up playing field. Let's educate people now, and make penalties very strict going forward. As for the past, let's let it go. Bonds, McGwire, A-Rod, all of them. I seriously don't care anymore. I can't stand it. We can't pretend they weren't great players- even if they made bad mistakes.

So what is my message today? Is it do whatever you want just don't hurt anyone else? Or is it that I don't care about drug usage? Neither. I would say that Michael Phelps' mistake is not uncommon and we should not chastize him as a society. A-Rod's mistake is also not uncommon among baseball players, and if he comes clean, I think he should be judged less harshly in the court of public opinion. Last, parents, keep it real with your kids, and use your own actions to provide a good example for them. Don't depend on athletes or celebrities to provide solid role models for your kids- that's your job.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pyramid Thursdays

Hey folks, I just wanted to remind everyone that I play every Thursday from 6:30 - 8:30pm at Pyramid in Sacramento (1029 K St.) Tonight's set was a lot of fun- I felt re-energized for no apparent reason. I played a number of cover songs for either the first time ever, or for the first time in awhile. Some included:

Landslide
My Hero
Cupid
Losing My Religion
Where Did You Sleep Last Night?
Wonderful Tonight
Free Fallin'
Friday I'm In Love
And some others.

The deal of 30% off your bill still stands so come on out and enjoy some delicious beverages. Oh, and thank you to everyone who has recently told me that they read and enjoy the blog. Don't be bashful- you can blog. To be honest, I am more motivated to write if you comment.

PS: Ouch Ben Sheets- tough break. Though, you may have deserved your elbow injury because your previous injuries have ruined too many of my fantasy teams. Just kidding broseph- get well soon.

Citigroup Park Bailout

The New York Mets are opening a new stadium this coming season (which won't be even close to as cool as the Yankees new stadium, but I digress...) A little while back, they sold the naming rights to Citigroup Bank. This was, of course, before the whole economy went into the crapper and everyone started asking the government for money. Citigroup happens to be one of those banks in trouble. If you need clarification or a simpler explanation about how they got there, then CLICK HERE.

So now we run into problem. How in the world should us Federal Tax Payers be responsible for the New York Mets naming rights of their new stadium? If Citigroup gets a bailout and then continues to pay off the $400 million it cost them for the stadium naming rights, there will be ridiculous backlash of public opinion as well as it being plain unfair (as if these companies need any more bad press.)

The main problem is that the contract that was signed is legally binding. I have a feeling the Federal Government can get around it, but that would be unfair to the Mets. One person suggested the company eat part of the payment and then sell the naming rights to another company at a discount rate. Say for $150 million?

Unfortunately, that was followed up by that person saying that no company would pay $150 million for naming rights in today's economic climate. Not only would they be crazy, but no one can come up with that kind of cash.

HOWEVER- I have a decent idea. The only steady company I can think of that could buy the naming rights would be Apple. Now, normally they are smart enough to avoid this kind of idiotic purchase, BUT imagine the possibility of naming the stadium- are you ready for it- Big Apple Park.

You name the stadium after New York City, Apple gets tons of advertising and gets their name associated with New York City, and Apple is probably the one company that could do it these days. Let's do this Apple! There's too much synergy for this not to happen. You can even put iPod vending machines in the stadium! Your logo would almost certainly become synonomous with "The Big Apple." You can thank me later with free computers and $1 million, but for now, let's get the ball rolling on this.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

25 Things

On Facebook, there has been this chain letter of sorts going around where you write 25 random things (about yourself or otherwise) and then you tag 25 people. Those people are supposed to repeat the process and it goes on and on...

Now normally I don't like Facebook or Myspace surveys, but I took the time to do this because I liked the free-form nature of it. I figured I'd post it here:

1. My fiancĂ© Adrianne is my favorite person in the world. The conversation we ever had involved “Duck Tales,” Halloween costumes, and lots of laughs. She’s as random as me, and twice as beautiful (as me or me randomness- take your pick.) I’m ridiculously happy we found each other.

2. My five favorite bands are Crowded House, the Beatles, Wilco, Muse and Oasis. I don’t see that list changing very much as I get older.

3. The scar on my eyebrow happened when I lived in Napoleon, OH. I was playing catch with my little brother, Tim, when I missed a ball and it hit me in the face. The glasses I used to wear cut my eyebrow. As you can tell, said glasses were not as helpful as they should’ve been.

4. When I started playing music, my first band’s name was “Aberration.” This was then changed to “Catch-22” and then to “Last Exit.” In college, I was in a band for a quarter named “Long Road Home.” The band was actual a class project for the History of Rock & Roll class. We got A’s.

5. I’ve seen the Transformers Animated Movie (1986) probably 100 times. I’m pretty sure I watch the movie and recite the lines word for word. Am I embarrassed of this? Nah, not really.

6. I will never get over the fact that I didn’t play college basketball. I’m 100% sure I was talented enough to get it done. While two wrist surgeries didn’t help my situation, I still think I could’ve been a good contributing member to a D I or II team. Ultimately, I did decide my own fate by not transferring away from Davis. This decision, however, I do NOT regret.

7. I visit a few websites on a daily basis: gmoneysack.blogspot.com – mlbtraderumors.com – movies.ign.com – cbssports.com – lostpedia.org – and any fantasy sports leagues I happen to be in at any give time.

8. I’m bothered more and more everyday by people I don’t know who approach me with self-serving conversations. For example, today at lunch, a man was with his son walking out of Togo’s and remarked to his son about me, “There’s guy with the height to play volleyball.” I told him I never played volleyball and that basketball was better. He then told me something about some volleyball team coming up from Cal Poly to play Davis in “Far Westerns” and then went on to say that his son is due to have a growth-spurt. He mumbled, “It’s going to happen,” a few times regarding his son’s growth-spurt as they left the store. I hope his son does have a growth spurt because he may otherwise be at risk for good old fashioned father-son beat down. I seriously can’t make this shit up.

9. Speaking of which, any sport that uses the term “Far Westerns” immediately loses respect in my book. Volleyball and Swimming come to mind.

10. I would weep tears of joy if the Cubs won the World Series. There is no joke here. This would happen.

11. I really wish Kurt Cobain didn’t commit suicide. If not for all the great music he surely would’ve made, but for his daughter being raised by single-mom, Courtney Love.

12. String cheese and Crystal Light is one of my favorite snacks. The strawberry-orange-banana CL is ridiculously delicious.

13. When I met the bassist of Third Eye Blind, Arion Salazar, a year before their first album came out he tried to promote his other band, “You think [3EB] is good, then you should really check out my other band- Fungo Mungo!”

14. The best line in Karate Kid is when Bobby of Cobra Chi Dojo yells out “Get him a body bag! Yeah!!!” during the final fight scene. I suppose you already knew that though.

15. I would have to have A LOT of money to be as addicted to strip clubs as many NFL Players- I’m looking at you, Pacman Jones.

16. Keanu Reeves’ best three movies are The Matrix, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and Point Break. I am very much entertained by all three.

17. When I explain to people that I was born in Chicago, moved to Ohio when I was three, moved to Georgia when I was in fourth grade, then moved to Walnut Creek, CA when I was in seventh grade, I am always asked if my father was in the military. He wasn’t.

18. Spicy Brown Mustard is the best condiment ever. I want to go back to Top Dog in Berkeley and try their spiciest mustard (I couldn’t handle it years ago- but I feel like I’m ready now.)

19. Every birthday party I had in Elementary school had homemade pizza, Sunkist, and a cake with a Transformer on it. Damn it- two Transformers references in this document is too many!

20. My favorite TV show is Lost. The only show that could have competed, is Carnivale.
Unfortunately, HBO had to be A-holes and cancel it far too early.

21. Recently, at a show of mine, a guy requested that I play “Hungry Like A Wolf” by Duran Duran. I responded with “that would be a weird song for me to play.” So he said, “How about some Depeche Mode?” To which I replied, “Do you want ‘Personal Jesus’ or ‘Enjoy the Silence?’”

22. I’ve seen Dave Matthews Band 12 times. I doubt I’ll ever see them again after that turd of an album “Stand Up.”

23. It would be easy to convince me that Eric Montross is Tyler Hansbrough’s father.

24. Due to various friend groups, I feel like I was in college as long as Van Wilder (maybe longer!)

25. If I was so inclined, I could easily have over ten groomsmen at my wedding. Ironically, by keeping it at four (my three brothers and Sean) I feel relieved that I didn’t have to start picking and choosing people at the risk of making someone feel left out.

A Tie?

My intramural team had its third game last night, and I played like garbage. I'm sure there are plenty of excuses to make, but I'm not making them. We played the other 2-0 team, and we expected a tough game. I felt like A-Rod (because I played well against the worse teams, but played poorly when more was on the line.)

So while I was underachieving, the rest of my team picked me up. We were down be 6 with about 4 minutes left, but we rallied and end up tying the game with 5 seconds left. The other team attempted a stupid long pass from the baseline and we actually ended up intercepting the pass and getting a difficult shot off to almost win the game. I say almost because we were tied as the clock expired. Ok, let's play another couple minutes and finish this off...

What's that? IM games at UCD can end in a tie??? Really? Really? What kind of garbage is that? My teammate Steve said he felt like Donovan McNabb- "I didn't know the game could end in a tie." My thoughts exactly.

Basketball should NEVER end in a tie. It taints a beautiful game. I still felt like we lost because, in truth, we didn't win. I imagine this will help us get into the playoffs, so that is good, but I still can't shake the awful feeling that a tie brings about. My psyche is not built to accept such an abomination. I suppose all this tie business could've been avoided had I played a bit better- oh well, there's always next week...

Monday, February 2, 2009

No More Football- What Are We To Do?

So the Steelers didn't cover and luckily I didn't put any money on it. I did however, lose $20 on the square game. I also hurt the arch of my foot playing football in the alley behind my friends' houses at halftime (though to be fair, I did take that kickoff to the house!) Anyway, the season is over and here are some suggestions of what you can do to waste time until next September:

- Hang out with Michael Phelps and watch "The Wizard of Oz" synced up with "Dark Side of the Moon." If you don't have the WoO DVD handy, you could turn to "Thumb Wars" and a bag of the Munchies. The Chewie thumb is out of control.

- Go off the grid and pretend you're Jack Bauer - Pros: No rules, you get to torture people to get information, and you get to speak in a very gruff tone. Cons: Mostly likely, you will get tortured as well, the Chinese government wants you dead, and you never know when the heroin addiction from Season 2 could come back to bite you.

- Get a pet - I know my new kitten, Juliette, has kept me entertained- a new dog, cat, bunny, or iguana might be just the thing you need to pass the time. If possible, try to get a pet based on your favorite football team. If you like Atlanta, you could get a falcon. If you like Carolina, you could get a cat (or panther if you're brave.) If you like Pittsburg, you could get a beer-guzzling steel worker. If you like Washington, you could get a... wait, probably shouldn't go there.

- Take up basket-weaving - if you're lucky, you might run into many of the NFL players that took basket-weaving in college. Matt Leinert could be your teacher, though the older, more experienced basket-weaving teacher would ultimately take his job.

- Go see your favorite local singer/songwriter - Thursdays @ Pyramid Alehouse in Sacramento. 6:30-8:30pm. PLUG!

- Watch Baseball - Some might say it's too boring, but you get games just about everyday, there are ridiculous amounts of stats to sift through, and if you're lucky enough to be a Cubs fan like me, you can stay on a never ending quest to win a Championship. Super awesome!

- Freeze yourself like Cartman - Eric Cartman once froze himself because he couldn't wait 3 months for the Nintendo Wii to come out. He was intending to get thawed out the day it came out, but unfortunately he woke in the distant future where religion was replaced by science. If that did actually happen, you'd at least have the phone that would let you prank call the past, and that would be very worth it.

- Watch Ric Flair promos - No one's more entertaining than the Champ- ha!

Well, there's some suggestions. Don't get too bored and throw any better suggestions back my way.