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The Heat is On

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Sunday night, the Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat in game six of the NBA finals.  This made me very happy.  Not because the Miami Heat are classic head-case bullies — arrogant in victory, self-pitying in defeat — and deserved to lose, but because I placed $60 on the Mavericks winning the series in six games.   I took home $330. Go me.

Actually, that’s disingenuous. Truthfully, I really, really, wanted the Miami Heat to lose.

Really, this team is loathsome.  From their unearned arrogance, nauseating self-pity when things don’t do their way, to Chris Bosh and his flopping (including the most egregious flop in the history of the NBA.  Even Manu Ginobli thought that flop against Carlos Boozer was over the top), this team runs afoul of all that is good and true. If you think I’m being harsh, well, I’m not.  What other team, in any other sport, do you know that holds a triumphant pep rally, the kind normally reserved after winning a championship, before one goddamn minute of the next season has been played?

Pictured: Chris Bosh, Lebron James, Dwayne Wade. Not Pictured: 2010-2011 NBA Champions.

I mean, my God — that pep rally.  I thought James’s The Decision was bad.  However, as bad as it was, that could be chalked up to poor decision making and a misguided desire to be more marketable from a tone-deaf, insulated star.  Tacky, foul, but forgivable if someone wanted to be charitable and acknowledge the fact that James lives in a bubble.  But this pep rally was planned and executed after the public fallout from James’s insane television spectacle.  Great idea guys.   You managed to make The Decision look like an exercise in humility and self-restraint.  Kudos.

And there is really only one explanation for that absurd spectacle: the Miami Heat wanted to rub their free agency coup in everyone else’s face.  Classy, guys.  Especially flashing “YES WE DID” on the big screens behind the players. Great plan.   And Miami, what did you do?  Rings aren’t won in July.  All you cats did was spend a boatload of money on a guy who’s turning into the biggest head case in the NBA and another guy who always looks like someone hit him in the face with a 2×4.  Oh, and you resigned Dwayne Wade. Congratulations, I guess.

Chris Bosh...oh my god...

So yeah, the Heat are loathsome.  And I don’t feel bad saying that.  They brought this on themselves.  They wanted to be hated, to be villains.  Now they are and they don’t like it.   So we’re supposed to stop piling on.  The rest of us are supposed to be nice to them, now that they’ve lost. No way.

Anyway, now that the basketball season is over, and a major lock-out is looming, there’ll be nothing to talk about except how the Heat failed and LeBron James wilted in the fourth quarter of pivotal games.  And make no mistake: this Heat team is a complete failure.  Last off-season, Pat Riley and company went out and signed two marquee free agents and a guy who should just be happy to be there.  There was only one reason to wrap up that kind of money in three players: multiple championships.   This isn’t a team built to make a strong push for the playoffs or to get to the conference finals every other year.  No, this team was constructed for one purpose: to win now and in the future.   This was Riley’s attempt to custom build a dynasty, and cousin, did it go down in flames.  But that’s what happens when you have no point-guard or center, and one of your best players decides not to show -up in the fourth quarter.

And speaking of James, like all “great athletes” he doesn’t stand pat, resting on his laurels.  Somehow he managed to one-up both The Decision and the pep rally in one fell swoop.  I didn’t think that was possible.  I  didn’t think LeBron James could make me like him less.  Then he said something so arrogant, so condescending, so downright insulting it literally made me laugh at the sheer absurdity that now surrounds a once promising athlete. Here’s what he said during the post-game conference:

“All the people that were rooting me on to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life they had before. They have the same personal problems they had to today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want with me and my family and be happy with that.”

Wow.  Just wow.  Where do you even begin with that?  I think the world needs a break from LeBron James.  Luckily for him, he’ll get it with the lock-out.

But in all honesty, James is right.  His life is vastly different from mine.  For example, I can go to Ohio without having to worry about death threats.  I don’t know why I would go to Ohio, but there you go. But even with major lifestyle differences, James, you and I have a lot in common.  We’re both human beings after all.   We both want to be loved, to be respected by our peers, and neither one of us has a post-up game.   And until one of us changes that, we’ll also have the same amount of rings: zero.


Written by B. Michael Krol

June 14, 2011 at 10:14 am

I Solved the NFL’s Playoff Problem (WARNING: SPORTS CONTENT!)

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If you listen to sports talk radio, you’d know the biggest problem this nation faces is that a team from the NFC West will host a playoff game.  In the 90 years the NFL has existed, no team with a losing record has ever hosted a playoff team and this is putting a lot of people’s panties in a bunch.  Apparently, it’s too much to ask of the Saints to travel to Seattle or St. Louis to kick the shit out of the Seahawks or Rams before going on to another playoff game.   Maybe these people are concerned that a 7-9 team might beat a 12-4 team and knock the 12-4 team out of the playoffs.  To them I say if, for instance, the Saints can’t beat the Seahawks, do Saints deserve to be in the playoffs?  This kind of thinking usually ends with me in a bar fight.

Anyway, because the people that write and talk about football are a calm, collected bunch, many are calling for the NFL to change its rules to prevent a team with a losing record from hosting a playoff game.  An event that has not yet occurred, and if it did, would have occurred once in the 90 years of pro football in America.

Eli Manning does not like my plan

There are two popular proposals: 1) to not allow a division winner with a losing record into the playoffs or 2) to allow them in but reseed according to record.  Frankly, both of those proposals suck.  If you’re not going to allow a division winner in with a losing record, or if you’re going to reseed, with the current divisions intact, why have divisions at all?  Just split the league in half, take the six best teams and be done with it.

Now, if the NFL wants to do away with divisions and take the six best in each conference, I’d be fine with that.  It would take some realignment, but that’s totally cool with me.  The current divisions in the NFL are retarded anyway, and they should be abolished.

And how would these new divisions be created?  I’m glad you asked.  Here’s my proposal.

Given where the teams are located, it doesn’t make sense to split the league into East and West divisions like basketball and hockey.  It makes the most sense to divvy them up between the north and south.  As an added benefit, since the best of the North and the best of the South will be fighting again, each year the Superbowl won’t just be another championship game, it will also be a metaphor for the Civil War. And who wouldn’t want to relive that experience through the majesty of sport?

After dividing between the north and south, the two conferences would be further subdivided into meaningless divisions, like in Basketball and Hockey.  It would look something like this:

Northern Conference Southern Conference
North West Division South West Division
Seattle Oakland
Minneapolis San Francisco
Green Bay San Diego
Chicago Arizona
Detroit Denver
Indianapolis Kansas City
Cincinnati Dallas
Cleveland Houston
North East Division South East Division
Pittsburgh St. Louis
Buffalo New Orleans
New York Jets Tennessee
New York Giants Atlanta
New England Carolina
Philadelphia Jacksonville
Baltimore Tampa Bay
Washington D.C. Miami

There will be some objections to the new alignment.  I’m sure there are people who don’t like that I destroyed the whole NFC/ AFC thing.  To them I say: get over it.  The NFL and AFL merged back in the 1970.  That was like, 40 years ago, man.  Back then nobody lived past the age of 15 and the only place with in-door plumbing was New York City (and even then it was just a pipe that came out of your apartment and dumped your crap in the street). The AFL is dead, the NFL killed it, and it’s time we stopped dividing the league in an antiquated fashion.

Of course, this does away with some of the traditional “rivalry” games, like the Giants vs. the Eagles, Dolphins vs. the Jets, or Dallas Fans vs. Personal Hygiene (actually, that one will never go away).  To that I say: who cares.  Really, no one gives a damn.  I know the NFL owners like saying they need these rivalry games for added revenue, that if the Browns don’t come to Cincinnati, the fans won’t show up, and then the owners will lose money.

That is, in a word, bullshit.

Seriously, it’s a dumb argument.  Attendance, while down at some stadiums, is fairly steady across the league.  In fact, it’s only a news event if an NFL team doesn’t have a sell-out game (e.g. Jacksonville), and quite a few teams have a long (in some cases at least a decade) waiting list for season tickets.  So if some relic  who used to watch the Pottsville Maroons play can ‘t handle the fact that the old rivalries are dead, let him leave and give some sad sack on the waiting list a chance to drop ten large for the privilege of watching an NFL game in-person.  Honestly guys — change is good.

So there you have it.  A plan for divisions that makes sense and prevents a division winner with a losing record.  Plus, it reduces travel costs since most of the teams are near each other.  Easy peesy, as they say.

Of course, if you still want meaningless divisions, I have a plan for you too.  And frankly, this plan is long overdue.

As I mentioned above, the current divisions in the NFL are retarded.   Why, for instance, is Dallas in the NFC East when A) Dallas is further west than St. Louis (a member of the NFC West), and B) the other members in the NFC East are, basically, in the North East of the country.  I know, I know, tradition, right?  Well screw tradition, it makes no damn sense.

So, here are the new divisions, as I see them.  And because I think preserving the whole NFL/AFL divide 40 years after the merger is stupid, I did away with the NFC/AFC split.  You now have eight divisions, divided into two arbitrary conferences.

This Conference That Conference
Marxist Division Liberal Elites Division
Seattle Buffalo
Oakland New York Giants
San Francisco New York Jets
San Diego New England
Jesus Land Division Crab Cake Division
Arizona Philadelphia
Denver Baltimore
Dallas Washington D.C.
Houston Carolina
Tundra Division BBQ Division
Green Bay Kansas City
Minneapolis St. Louis
Chicago Tennessee
Indianapolis Atlanta
Rust Belt Division Trailer Park Division
Pittsburgh New Orleans
Detroit Tampa Bay
Cincinnati Jacksonville
Cleveland Miami

That’s much better, isn’t it?  Now I can already hear some of you saying, “Hey, those division names are mean.” To you I say: you’re right.

See?  Problem solved.  Of course, it’s possible just to leave everything the way it is since everyone’s making money hand over fist in the NFL (seriously, even the beer guy pulls down at least a 1.5m a year), but that might be a rational reaction to a one-time event, and who wants that?

Monday Night Debacle

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I’m not going to rehash the awful turd the Cardinals just shat on a national audience because I don’t do post-mortems.   The season is over, the team has quit, and the sooner this terrible experience is over, the better.  The only thing I hope for now is that the Cardinals lose every game from here on out and get the number one draft pick.  A draft pick that should be used on a QB, but, knowing this team, will probably be used on a Safety.

I do want to comment on one thing though.  A lot is being made out of Derek Anderson laughing on the sideline in the fourth quarter.  During the broadcast, Jon Gruden (who, in my estimation Jaws, is one of the most annoying commentators in sports) chastised Anderson for appearing to have a good time on the sideline during the lopsided loss.   He said he wanted Anderson to be bothered by the play of his team, and, to him it didn’t look like Anderson was sufficiently upset.  These comments, broadcasted nationally, got the press’s attention, and reporters asked Anderson about Gruden’s comments after the game. Anderson got pissed off and left.

Now, as a Cardinals fan, I applaud Anderson’s fire during the press conference. Maybe next week he can picture Gruden during the game and play better.  Or, at least with a little intensity.  However, I think Gruden is making a big deal out of nothing, Jaws.

If you watch the video from the Monday night game, yes, you see Anderson laughing weakly and smiling.  But that’s not all.  You also see Anderson hang his head and look at the ground with his shoulders slumped.  What does that body language tell you, Jaws? Clearly Anderson is upset.  Most people who are having a good time don’t hang their heads and avoid eye-contact, Jaws.

Yeah, this guy looks like he's having a great time, Jaws.

Anyway, this begs the question: what does Gruden want from Anderson?  Anderson, as the QB, has to inspire confidence in the other players. If he cannot do that (and I’m not saying he can), then he shouldn’t be in the position. Now what will inspire confidence in a blow-out like that?   Does Gruden think Anderson will inspire the team running around, foaming at the mouth, and screaming his fool head off?  Will that help the team play better? To see their QB acting like a lunatic? Or, does Gruden want Anderson to be morose and down, acting defeated.  Yeah, that’ll help inspire his teammates, Jaws.

Look Gruden, criticize his play, his accuracy, or his penchant for throwing 10 yards over a receiver, but leave the guy alone when it comes to his sideline demeanor.  Especially when there are plenty of examples of him acting pissed off when he misses a receiver or throws an interception.  I know — I’ve seen him do that a lot this season, Jaws.

Written by B. Michael Krol

November 30, 2010 at 10:46 am

It’s Never too Early to go to Doucet

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This morning while driving around, I heard Mike and Mike on ESPN radio dissecting the AZ Cardinals upcoming season.  It was a mostly fair assessment, with both guys agreeing on a 8-8 record for the 2010-2011 season.  I think that’s a reasonable conclusion, considering the amount of questions the Cardinals have going into this season.  In fact, I could see as bad as 4-12. But I digress…

One thing that did stick in my craw was Golic’s assessment of WR Early Doucet. Doucet is expected fill in for Anquan Boldin as a tough receiver that goes across the middle. Golic doesn’t buy that — at least not yet.  He said that Doucet’s 31 receptions his first two years in the league were not a good sign, considering that Boldin had 157 catches his first two years in the league.  However, that is not a fair comparison.

Doucet, after his amazing reception for a touch down in the nutty playoff game against the Packers

When Boldin was drafted by Arizona in 2003, Arizona had the following WRs on its roster:

  • Larry Foster
  • Bryan Gilmore
  • Bryant Johnson
  • Kevin Kasper
  • Jason McAddley
  • Nate Poole

Recognize any of those names?  Me neither.  And I’ve been following the Cardinals since 1993.

In Boldin’s first game against Detroit, he had 187 yards receiving.  That shocked the Cardinals and their fan base.  It became pretty clear over the next few weeks that this guy was something special.  So he became the focus of the passing attack, which is why he had 157 receptions in his first two years.

Now, when Doucet came aboard in 2008, Arizona had the following WRs on its roster:

  • Larry Fitzgerald
  • Anquan Boldin
  • Steve Breaston
  • Jerheme Urban
  • Ed Gant
  • Michael Ray Garvin
  • Onrea Jones
  • Lance Long
  • Sean Morey
  • Steve Sanders

You see the difference?  Arizona had two of the best WRs in the league (and Fitzgerald might be one of the best ever), and Steve Breaston was no slouch either.  This was the year that Arizona had three 1000+ yard WRs on its roster.  In that kind of situation, a rookie WR won’t be anywhere near the ball (if memory serves, Doucet was 5th on the depth chart, just after Jerheme Urban).  The year after, Doucet moved up, but Arizona still had Fitz, Boldin and Breaston catching the ball.  It would be hard for anyone new to compete with those three.

It’s not a fair to Doucet to draw a conclusion about his abilities by comparing Boldin’s first two years to Doucet’s.  The situation on the team was wildly different when Boldin came aboard to when Doucet did.  Golic may still be right in his ultimate analysis (that Doucet will not be a suitable replacement for Boldin), but how he got there, I think, is wrong.

Written by B. Michael Krol

August 18, 2010 at 11:12 am

Odds and Ends pt 1

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1. I don’t want to turn this blog into a site for my rants and random hectoring (too late), but texting while driving is one of the worst ideas in the long sad history of bad ideas.  Seriously, who does this?  I don’t care if you put your phone on the wheel and text with your thumbs, you still have to pay attention to what you’re writing.  It still distracts you from the road. You’re driving, Sunshine; things happen suddenly that requires your attention.  More so than typing “LOL at ur joke.”  Lord, what will humanity do without that little interaction.  And yes, I have used my cell phone while driving.  But that was when I was young and full of beans.  I no longer do it.  I’ve learned my lesson about distracted driving, and I did it without splattering a family of four. And yes, I know it is possible to multitask, but if you think texting while driving is a good idea, I’m concerned about your ability to task, let alone multitasking.

And to paraphrase Kurt Cobain, sorry to sound so cravenly PC about this, it’s just the way I feel.

2. This week I hope to get my vampires post done and a post examining the early 90’s counterculture through a Sonic Youth video.  Along with other bits of random detritus.   The vampires thing is taking longer than I expected.  It went from being a humorous piece to a serious look at a cultural phenomenon. However, doing a serious piece would require me sitting through the Twilight “Saga” and baby, life is too damn short.  So I’m going

I had no funny ideas using pictures this morning, so here's a picture of Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth

back to being snarky.

3. Lebron James is a serious egotist.  And Cleveland should complain to the league about tampering.  Something nefarious went down, and if Stern wants to protect the integrity of the NBA (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!), he should do something about it.

4. New York will win five games next year.

5. I might — might! — elucidate some of my thoughts on last night’s Entourage episode.  My complaints last week must have been addressed. This week’s plot line featured Vince getting a haircut and *gasp* him not asking permission first! Too bad TNT trademarked the slogan “We Know Drama” cause HBO’s coming back hard on the drama baby!

Lebron’s Decision

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Word is Lebron has made a decision regarding what team to join.  According to ESPN, he’ll be announcing his decision via a prime-time hour long special on ESPN tomorrow night.

I always dug this logo.

Excuse me while I barf.

Seriously, what’s with this cat’s ego?  Yeah, he’s a good player — maybe even a great one — but he still has not won a championship.  What gives him the stones to do this? MJ never did this*.  Kobe never did this.  Shaq never did this.  It’s appalling that James and his media enablers are putting together a one hour show documenting the rising ego of an athlete.  Other than disgusting egotism, what will this show ultimately be about.  It’s about one man announcing to a country with a crippled economy who will have the pleasure of paying him 100 million dollars. Hubris, thy name is James.

At least he’s not profiting by it.  Not directly anyway.  ESPN is donating the proceeds to the Boy’s and Girl’s club.  Which is cool, and I’m sure that organization needs more funding.  But before we all start acting like James or ESPN are some kind of philanthropists, let’s remember that every time some half-wit talks or writes about this special, it increases the brand awareness of ESPN and Mr. James, which translates to more cash for both of these entities.  And yeah, this group of half-wits includes me.  So I’m going to stop.

* MJ has his own brand of hubris, but at least that guy can justify it with his performances on the court and off.  Not sure his Hitler stash is justified though….

Written by B. Michael Krol

July 7, 2010 at 3:18 pm

July 8th Can’t Come Soon Enough

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I am sick to death of the LeBron James free agency nonsense.  Honestly, I’m not sold on him as a great basketball player yet, and it’s pretty clear he can’t get it done by himself.

I know he can’t sign anywhere until the 8th of July, so I have to endure more of the Lebron James Sweepstakes garbage for several days. Frankly, I hope he signs with the Raptors or the Kings, just to piss everybody off.

Sorry Lebron -- you need at least two stars to win in today's NBA...

Written by B. Michael Krol

June 28, 2010 at 11:34 am

The Quiet Blog

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So there was no activity here this weekend.  Apologies for that.  I was drowning my sorrows over Team USA’s loss on Saturday and Sunday I wanted to finally finish Crime and Punishment, so no new stuff.

To make up for my transgression, here’s a picture of my other pug, Gloria.

The Princess in repose..

Written by B. Michael Krol

June 28, 2010 at 10:17 am

How Quickly Things Turn…

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Been watching the Brazil/Portugal game on ESPN.  Brazil is ranked #1 in the world and Portugal is ranked #3 and it was interesting watching two world powers play the game.  It’d be even more interesting if I knew what I should be watching for.  That being said, Brazil’s ball control looked very good.  That’s my game analysis. Insightful, huh?

The new US Soccer themed commercials were fun to watch. Landon Donovan is being featured in quite a few of them, in the same Titan of the Game way that is normally reserved for people like LeBron James.  I think that’s pretty cool, myself.  Soccer has always been a 2nd tier sport in America and it’s nice seeing our team capture the geist of the zeit.

Americans need someone to look up to (better to tear them down later, after they’ve become successful) before rallying behind a cause or a team. We’re suckers for the charismatic leader.  Now it appears that Mr. Donovan is that face of US Soccer.  Good for him and good for his sport. If his team can pull off a win against Ghana on Saturday, US Soccer will win over a lot more people. Cause if there’s anything we love more than a charismatic leader, it’s a winner.

Written by B. Michael Krol

June 25, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Posted in World Cup

World Cup Soccer

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Like I wrote yesterday, I watched the USA take on Algeria in the final match of World Cup pool play. What a game that was. Seriously, there were some amazing emotional highs and lows.  And beer.  Lots and lots of sweet beer.

Now, like most Americans, I have no clue about soccer.  I am completely ignorant of its traditions, rules, and techniques.  But I am learning. For instance, yesterday I learned that FIFA will only count 1 goal for every three the US scores. An odd rule, but I can appreciate it.

I also learned yesterday that where you watch the game is very, very important.  At least in Pittsburgh.

Game Winner

Yesterday morning, we tried to go see the game at Piper’s Pub in the south side.  We watched game 2 — US vs Slovenia — there and man, was that a blast.  The whole pub was filled with US supporters and people would sing and chant and cheer. It was wonderful to get caught up in that kind of honest, spontaneous joy.  I mean it was fantastic watching my countrymen wave our flag and sing fight songs and anthems.  It was also great being able to cheer USA! USA! USA! without having to go to some douche bag teabagger rally.

And I think that kind of exuberant joy is really the key to getting involved in the sport.  At least to me it was. It was one of the best afternoon’s I’ve had in recent memory.

Yesterday, however,  we arrived too late to get into Piper’s Pub so we went down to Mario’s.  Now, I like Mario’s, but it didn’t have the same kind of joyous manic energy Piper’s did.  Apart from one song, there was no singing, and not as much flag waving.  So the atmosphere wasn’t as great and that can hamper the appreciation of the game.  Particularly to a newbie like me, that needs the crowd interaction to know when to cheer, like for penalties and what not.

Luckily, the game was fantastic.  There was such dramatic tension in that game it kept me riveted.  The US needed to win this game to advance or they needed Slovenia to beat or tie with England. So even though this is pool play, this was basically a must win game.

Algeria came out aggressive and would’ve scored first had an Algerian’s players shot not hit the cross bar of the goal.  That created some tension right there.  Now, also playing at Mario’s was the England – Slovenia game.  That game was being shown on two TVs to the side.  Shortly after the cross-bar incident, England scored a goal, which meant that the US had to win its game.  Having both games going on simultaneously was beyond tense.  As each second ticked away, it became more and more desperate for the US.

And finally, Donovan’s goal in the 91st minute.  The bar erupted into cheers and screaming.  It was amazing. I felt connected to everyone in the room.  We had just witnessed something spectacular happen.  And we saw it as Americans.  That was the key.  Nothing mattered then except national pride and pride in our team.  People yelled, screamed, and embraced each other. It was a wonderful show of simple joy.

I think I now know why this is called the beautiful game.

Written by B. Michael Krol

June 24, 2010 at 2:36 pm