Saturday, February 16, 2008

Saturday 02/16 (Very) Quickie

Pats sued by ex-Rams player, fans: You can scoff and dismiss this if you want, but you know you're kind of curious what might come out in a real-live deposition of a Federal civil suit. Because you KNOW that something is there to come out...

NBA Rookie Game: Sophs roll. Boobie Gibson went absolutely nuts with 11 3-pointers. 11! (11!) Rudy Gay (my pre-game pick for MVP) had 22 (if not for Gibson...). Brandon Roy had 17 and Jordan Farmar had a break-out game with 17 of his own, setting the Rookie-Soph Game record for points by a Jewish player.

(For the Rookies, Kevin Durant had 23, but Al Horford had 19 -- a nice symbol of the way Horford has made a once-presumptive Rookie of the Year race an actual competition.)

By the way, I have had an HDTV for 2 months, and my favorite HD moment so far was last night: The players' garishly colored sneakers were absolutely amazing-looking. (Oh, and I could pick out my college roommate sitting behind the Sophs' bench -- he's a Hornets team doc. I was able to text him, then actually watch him reacting to my text on TV. Hilarious.)

College GameDay at Indiana: Can you say "AWK-ward!" Self-respecting IU fans should chant "Fire! Samp-son!" (clap-clap-clapclapclap...) The IU AD has a week to figure out what's going on (honestly, if I was the IU president, I would fire both Sampson AND the AD, if only for letting Sampson get this far).

CBB: Marquette rolls. In a rare Friday night game, between two Top 25 teams no less, Marquette thumped Pitt. 'Quette is clawing its way back to respectability.

Hoops Hall of Fame finalists named: Olajuwon and Ewing should be locks as players; Riley should be a lock as a coach.

Fun barstool/cubicle question: Where do Hakeem and Ew rank among all-time centers (or even players?) I have always argued that Hakeem in '94 and '95 was as dominant as they come (in the ESPN Era, at least).

One of my favorite (and widely scorned) theories is that Hakeem's Rockets could have beaten a 1994 Bulls WITH Jordan...and, given the roll that the Rockets were on in '95, they could have beaten the '95 Bulls with Jordan, too.

Oh, and happy birthday to me. See my bonus post from yesterday for more.

-- D.S.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The End of My Relevancy as a Consumer

It's the end of my relevancy in the coveted "male 18-to-34-year-old" demographic: I turn 35 tomorrow.

A year ago in this space, I wondered how 34 could possibly top 33, given that 33 included the birth of my kid and the dramatic end of my career (and start of my blogging career). I wasn't sure it did…

...Except that being the parent of a toddler is even better than being the parent of a newborn. (This post on Varsity Dad points you to a must-read post by Josh Marshall, one of my favorite writers, on his birthday today and his fatherhood. Not about sports, but a great read.)

...And my adventures in blogging (Launching Varsity Dad, Deadspin guest-posts, "celebrity blogger" fantasy leagues, creating a spin-off blog…just for commenters, rejoining the "paid" ranks with, Twitter, Tumblr, writing for the New York Times, etc) were totally satisfying.

...And, totally unexpected a year ago, my incredible fortune to land a "day job" on the "business" side of the media industry that I would say is the most interesting and energizing opportunity of my career, working with the most talented and smart collection of people I have ever worked with and for a company whose mission I believe in.

So 34 was amazing, actually, now that I think about it.

Still: I come back to the end of my consumer relevancy -- unless, of course, marketers realize that at 35, I will have way more disposable income (and interest in spending it) than I had when I was 25 (let alone 18).

And they realize that I am more open to their messages now (or, at least, more impacted by intermediaries I trust, like blogs or friend recommendations) that I am making more choices (and doing more "consuming") than ever.

Do they really want to boot me? Or is it time to re-align "18-to-34" -- "21-to-38," maybe? I'm not just saying that because I want to remain part of a "coveted" demographic (and I'm not shutting out the college kids -- they deserve their own demo segmentation). I'm saying that because it's in the marketers' best interests to keep me in the fold!

Meanwhile, I share a birthday, among sports stars, with John McEnroe and Jerome Bettis. But, to be honest, I have always felt a birthday kinship with Chris Webber, who was born on March 1, 1973. It's not an exact match, but we stepped on Big Ten campuses together at the same time, and because of that birthday tie, I have always tracked his career against mine -- can you imagine that hilarity?

Anyway, it's crazy to think about now: Webber is a 15-year NBA vet. FIFTEEN YEARS! That, more than anything (like my new age or my fatherhood), makes me feel old. His career is at its end -- he has gone from franchise savior to mere star to role player.

How does that relate to me -- or to sports-bloggers?

More and more over the past year, it has become obvious that sports-blogging is a younger man's game. Cripes: Am I the Chris Webber of sports bloggers?

(Now: Pause right there. I'm not going to announce I'm "retiring" or anything, and I can reel off two dozen sports bloggers over the age of 30 -- even, ahem, 35 -- who are not just great, but consistently doing some of the most fantastic work in the industry.)

But if anything, this last year from turning 34 to turning 35 has coincided with an insane explosion of the sports-blog universe -- everything from hundreds of indie fans starting blogs of their own to leagues (and privately held sites) co-opting the Arenas Effect to give athletes their own platform to mainstream media increasing the use and impact of blogs, realizing what an phenomenal format it is for their talent to bloggers publishing books.

All these are great developments. As I've noted a bunch over the past few months, opportunities for the most talented indie sports bloggers to find mainstream (read: paid) traction have never been greater, whether it's at Sporting News, Yahoo, ESPN, AOL, Deadspin or other prominent "mainstream" places you'll see pop up in 2008.

But on the "indie" front -- where all the really cool, cutting-edge sports-blog ideas are happening -- wow, is it competitive. It's like a microcosm of what's happening to mainstream media: The more choices, the less traction any one place can or will have with an individual consumer. Every day, the more well-known sports blogs had better bring it -- or be supplanted by more talented offerings. (Either that, or be willing to accept a smaller slice of audience.)

The energy and creativity it takes to create a really, really good post is astonishing (which is why guys like Leitch, Ufford, KSK, Abbott and FJM are as successful as they are). I am regularly blown away by the blogs -- prominent and obscure -- that produce "must-read" posts.

The Quickie was built (and was built) on the idea that there is at least some audience for shallow (but timely) analysis and baseless (but provocative) conjecture.

There's obviously still a place for that (or I wouldn't wake up early every morning and do it), but I just wanted to tip my cap to all the bloggers who take so much time and energy and care to create that One Post (per day or week or whatever) that has impact, whether through biting comedy, deep analysis or provocative commentary. (Not to mention the insanely clever commenters, who have been the unrecognized driver behind sports-blog success.)

I am so curious whether a 35-year-old's perspective can continue to resonate with a reader base that generally sits right in that "18-to-34" group that I am now leaving. I'm no sports traditionalist or "purist" -- hardly -- but I'm not 21 anymore, starting my career being paid $1,500 a month (before taxes!) to write 15,000 words a week of quasi-faked college basketball game recaps for an online-sports startup.

I guess the reason I find it so hard to fathom producing such cool work is that, heading into 35, I am working just about as hard as I have ever worked in my life. Between the daily column, my intensive "day job" and my interest in having an all-consuming experience as a spouse and dad, that doesn't leave a whole lot of time or energy. (What an elaborate rationalization for not cleaning up around the house -- or, say, not finishing my half-finished book proposal!)

That's what 35 will be defined by: Really really hard work -- to a degree I'm not sure I have ever worked in my life.

But it is really fulfilling work, on all fronts. I think for the first time since I entered the "18-to-34" group, I am -- wow, this is a strange feeling -- content.

Not content with my effort -- hell, I can always work harder at everything -- but content with where things stand right now, which gives me the opportunity (if I am willing to work for it) to have all of these pieces of my life -- family, career, fun -- come together in a satisfying way like never before.

That's a hell of a birthday present.

-- D.S.

Friday 02/15 A.M. Quickie:
Bonds, All-Stars, Waxman, Sun Devils, More

Today's Names to Know in today's Sporting News column:

Barry Bonds, Kobe Bryant, Jason Kidd, Rudy Gay, Dwight Howard, H-O-R-S-E, Nike, Henry Waxman, Zach Thomas, Bobby Bowden, Arizona State, Kelvin Sampson and More!


Why knee-jerk sports punditry is ridiculous…
Why Kobe trumps Kidd as THE story of NBA All-Star Weekend…
Why Rudy Gay will win the Slam Dunk title and Dirk will win the 3 comp…
Why the D-League is sort of awesome…
Why Henry Waxman regrets holding the Clemens hearings…
Why Arizona State is playing the spoiler in the Pac-10…
Why Kelvin Sampson shouldn't last the weekend in Bloomington…
Why Kobe's feet, not his pinky, should be the object of your attention this weekend…
And more... after the jump!

Bonus post coming later today, plus the usual morning updates on both weekend days AND a fresh Sporting News column on Presidents Day Monday.

Otherwise, have a great weekend, everyone.

-- D.S.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Annual Valentine's Day Man-Crush List

Valentine's Day: It's the one day of the year where it is more appropriate than ever to tell the world about your man-crushes around the world of sports. (Not that there's anything wrong with that... I'm no Brady Quinn.)

Submit them through the Comments (feel free to say why) and I will publish them throughout the afternoon. Don't be shy, let it out for the world to know. Say, what's the chance Tim Tebow knows I exist?

To kick things off, here are some responses I got from some notables:

Matt Ufford: Chris Paul
Jamie Mottram: Clinton Portis
Big Daddy Drew: Adrian Peterson
Awful Announcing: Eli Manning
Sarah Schorno: Laila Ali
Unsilent Majority: Andre Berto
John Gasaway: Tim Doyle
Ken Tremendous: Tom Brady ("The loss only makes him more human. And he's crazy hot.")

More guest-crushes coming. Submit yours!

Thursday 02/14 A.M. Quickie:
Valentines, Clemens, Kidd, Sampson, More

Today's Names to Know in today's Sporting News column:

Roger Clemens, Brian McNamee, Elijah Cummings, Andy Pettitte, "The Nanny," Jason Kidd, Devean George, Roger Goodell, Arlen Specter, Kelvin Sampson, Southern Illinois, Jim Calhoun, Manu Ginobili, Lamar Odom, Shaq, Brady Quinn, Erik Bedard, Ryan Dempster, a rare cameo by "Mrs. Quickie" and More!


Why Valentine's Day makes a great column gimmick...
Why "Pitchers and Catchers Report" trumps "mis-remembers"...
Why Elijah Cummings was the MVP of the Clemens hearing...
Why Devean George is kind of awesome...
Why Roger Goodell is losing the fans...
Why Kelvin Sampson should be fired today...
Why Drake ain't all that...
Why Manu Ginobili is better without Tony Parker...
Why Shaq let everyone down tonight...
Why Brady Quinn is in denial...
Why Ryan Dempster is everything that's right about "P's and C's Report" Day...

And so much more... after the jump.

Today's Bonus Post: Check back in the late-morning for the annual Valentine's Day Man-Crush List!

-- D.S.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

CSTV now "CBS College Sports Network"

CSTV is being re-branded as the CBS College Sports Network. Extraordinarily little-known fact about my long-and-winding sports-media work history:

I spent about 2 weeks working for that network in its earliest days (when it was known as "National College Sports Network"), launched by Brian Bedol, the genius (and fellow Harvard Business School graduate) behind Classic Sports Network (later bought by ESPN and re-branded ESPN Classic).

I left NCSN/CSTV to pursue the dream that would become the Daily Quickie. CSTV was sold to CBS for $395 million. I wouldn't have seen a dime of that, just so we're clear. -- D.S.

Clemens Hearing Live-Blog

Follow along with the Dan Shanoff Twitter feed.

Calling it now: "Mis-remember" is the new "Don't wanna talk about the past." (Given how damning Pettitte's depo testimony now appears to be.)

Wednesday 02/13 A.M. Quickie:
Clemens, Clemens, Clemens, More

Follow the Clemens hearing on my Twitter feed.

Kelvin Sampson: Done. Finished.
The only question is when. "Today" wouldn't be unreasonable, if Indiana wants to keep their basketball program alive. More than that, the NCAA should ban him from coaching in college basketball for at least 10 years. (But I think the market will take care of that itself -- what self-respecting school could hire him?)

Today's Names to Know
in today's Sporting News column:

Uno, Roger Clemens, Brian McNamee, Andy Pettitte, Jose Canseco, Roger Goodell, Arlen Specter, Billy Gillispie, Matt Painter, Vivian Stringer, Kelvin Sampson, Chris Paul and David West, Shawn Marion, Rajon Rondo, Shaq, Reggie Bush, Chad Johnson, Kenechi Udeze, Jeff Feagles and More!


Why Uno is the new Snoopy.
Why Pettitte crushed Clemens.
Why Specter wants Sunday Ticket.
Why Kentucky fans should mutiny.
Why Kelvin Sampson is a super-cheat.
Why Paul and West are ready for ASW.
Why Rajon Rondo makes it "Big 4"
Why Reggie Bush is insane.
Why Chad Johnson is a bad fit for DC.
And so much more... after the jump!

In case you missed it yesterday: The "Best in Show" quote rally!

Coming later today: Update on Clemens, More.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tonight's Must-Watch TV: CNBC on Nike

Kudos to Darren Rovell and his colleagues on the must-see sports-business documentary of the season, "Swoosh: Inside Nike." Here's the info, but it's at 10 p.m. ET tonight on CNBC.

Now, back to figuring out what amazing sneakers everyone will be sporting during NBA All-Star Weekend...

Best Line from "Best In Show"

The final day of the Westminster Dog Show should trigger one thing: Your favorite lines and/or moments from "Best In Show," one of the funniest "sports movies" of all time.

The "Buck Loughlin" TV analyst character is the most spot-on satire of the sports-TV "jockocracy" (h/t: Cosell) in the history of popular culture.

I can't even pick a favorite quote, there are so many. Here's one from Buck, particularly appropriate for a sports blog:

"Now tell me, which one of these dogs would you want to have as your wide receiver on your football team?"

In the Comments, add in your favorite quote from "Best In Show."

-- D.S.

Tuesday 02/12 A.M. Quickie:
Pettitte, Rocker, Rutgers, Nova, Texas, More

Today's Names to Know in today's Sporting News column:

Henry Waxman, Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens, John Rocker, Vivian Stringer, Jonathan Wallace, Damion James, Stephen Jackson, Larry Hughes, John Beck, Heinz Field, Richard Zednik, Reggie Bush, Lloyd Lake, Uno, Coach Eric Taylor and More!


Why Henry Waxman went from Congress' bulldog to its Chihuahua...

Why John Rocker is the new Jose Canseco...

Why Vivian Stringer and Villanova got screwed...

Why Texas is better without Kevin Durant than with him...

Why Stephen Jackson had a big night...

Why the Shaq deal will work out for the Suns...

Why Heinz Field still sucks...

Why the John Beck Era starts now...

Why Richard Zednik is lucky to be alive...

Why Reggie Bush is screwed...

Why Uno is the dog to watch at Westminster...

Why my life is just like Coach Eric Taylor's...

All that and more (but what more could you want after hearing that Eric Taylor thing)...after the jump.

Don't forget to check out yesterday's bonus post, directly below, using Smith Magazine's "Six-Word Memoirs" to elicit your own six=word memoir that defines your fandom. You can also read mine. I promise: It takes about 3 seconds. Be sure to leave your six-word memoir in the comments on that post.

Coming later this morning: "Best in Show" quote contest, in honor of Westminster.

-- D.S.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Smith Mag's Six-Word Memoirs
Appropriated For the Sports Fan

When SMITH Magazine first came out with their "six-word memoir" idea, I was totally transfixed, in a way anyone obsessed with "Quickie"-style writing might be.

Now they have compiled the best into a book, "Not Quite What I Was Planning" (taken from one of the memoirs, naturally).

There was a time when I spent WAY too much energy trying to create my own (you don't want to see 'em), but now I think I want to create a version entirely dedicated to my sports fandom. I think it sums it all up:

My wife's team saved my fandom.

I encourage you to submit your own six-word sports memoir through the comments. And all credit for inspiration where it's due: Check out SMITH Mag's site -- and if you're as intrigued as I am, you'll get the book, too.

-- D.S.

Monday 02/11 A.M. Quickie:
Huskies, Kobe, Zorn, Hendrick, More

Today's Names to Know in today's Sporting News column:

Washington, Purdue, Louisville, Adrian Peterson, Jim Zorn, Courtney Paris, Kobe Bryant, Shawn Marion, Kevin Garnett, Rick Hendrick, Brian McNamee, Curt Schilling, Erik Bedard and More!

Including: Why Washington had THE upset of an upset-crazy weekend in college hoops...

Why Adrian Peterson will be the No. 1 overall fantasy player taken in 2008...

Why Jim Zorn was a lame choice to coach the Redskins...

Why Kobe spoiled Shawn Marion's Miami debut, and why the Celtics changed the equation for prognosticating the NBA Finals...

Why Rick Hendrick had the best weekend of anyone in sports...

Why Brian McNamee unleashed the best rumor of the entire Clemens scandal...

Why Curt Schilling is Mr. September...

And more... after the jump.

-- D.S.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday 02/10 (Very) Quickie

CBB Saturday Shockers, in order: (1) Purdue beats Wisconsin IN MADISON; (2) LSU holds Tennessee to 47 points (loses by 2); (3) Louisville upsets Georgetown.

Redskins hire Jim Zorn as head coach: Fastest. Promotion. Ever.

Junior wins Bud Shootout, edging Tony Stewart: Hendrick career off to ideal start.

Clemens' lawyer says Rocket wasn't at Canseco party that McNamee claims he was at in 1998: Would this impeach McNamee's cred? Not enough.

Kirk Radomski says he believes McNamee: And who can see inside the heart of a drug-buyer/-distributor more clearly than a dealer?

Much more tomorrow...