Saturday, July 26, 2008
(And even if you were going to watch those games at home anyway, simply to dip their toe in the water of universal online broadcasting... wow. Now, the key question: Will the video player allow for me to watch the game via NFL.com or NBCSports.com on my iPhone or Blackberry?)
Favre to Jets?: I would rather see the awkwardness of Favre at Packers camp. Either way, has he even asked to be reinstated yet, let alone been reinstated?
Joba Rules: Shuts down the Red Sox in a 1-0 Yankees win. Yankees double-dip on good news by getting Xavier Nady from the Pirates.
Jermaine Dye hits the GW HR... Josh Hamilton racks up 100 RBI... Mets beat Cards, now have 3rd-best record in the NL...
D-Wade is apparently recovered: 20 points for USA Oops in an exhibition vs. Canada. Must be nice for him to play on a winning team after last season.
RIP, Randy Pausch: Anyone who has seen the "Last Lecture" knows what a critical role Randy's sports fandom played in his life -- and the Lecture itself. Condolences to his family, friends and many fans.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Barons is OK, if not sympathetic in tough economic times.
Bison is regionally appropriate, but lame.
Energy is trendy, but falls flat. ("Alternative Energy" would have been awesome.)
Wind is the worst name I have ever heard for a major pro sports team.
As for Marshalls? Let's hope the AP simply had a typo, because otherwise, the NBA registered a misspelling. It would be "Marshals," if they meant like the old lawmen of the Dust Bowl. "Marshalls" would be if they were naming the team after a famous Supreme Court Chief Justice or a down-market department store.
Mocking Nancy Lieberman.
Not mocking Ryan Braun.
Mocking Devin Hester.
Not mocking Carlos Zambrano.
Mocking Phil Fulmer.
Not mocking Ohio State.
Mocking sports-TV wannabes.
Not mocking Childress wannabes.
Everything found here.
More posts all weekend.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
...To keep covering the Brett Favre story if it's going to continue having weird plot twists like Roger Goodell stepping in and Donovan McNabb getting involved.
...For Josh Childress to escape the Hawks and flee to the sunny money in Greece.
...To put Tim Tebow atop my list of the athletes who appear to handle off-field pressure jaw-droppingly... graciously.
...To question why the Army would let Caleb Campbell think that making an NFL team could allow him to defer his dream of service to our country for his dream of playing in the NFL.
...To mock LeBron's guarantee that U.S.A. Oops would win gold in Beijing. Kobe can say that (though he never would); LeBron -- and Team USA -- has no standing to make the claim.
...To celebrate the September-quality pennant-race style action at the top of both the NL East and NL Central (Hell, and NL West and AL East).
...To wait with fascination for the NBA/WNBA to come down on the folks involved in Tuesday's brawl -- especially assistant coach Rick Mahorn.
Complete column here. More later.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
But, congratulations, WNBA: You are now a league defined by a brawl involving your biggest superstars, national-TV exposure and a coach pushing a player in the middle of a melee. It's the trifecta of worst-case scenario.
Thankfully for many of you, that YouTube moment -- which will transcend the sports page and make its way to non-sports mainstream media coverage, you just watch -- eclipsed a few things I'm sure you are already sick of:
(1) Brett Favre Watch: So the Packers ARE trying to trade him? I just don't get it. The fans will be so much more irate than if the team either kept him on the bench or bullied him into staying retired.
(2) SEC Media Day, Day 1: Undoubtedly, the last thing most of you want to hear is more about Tebow Tebow Tebow. I, however, can't get enough. I will try to spare you -- for now, obviously. (But how amazing is it that CFB conference media days across the country have become the signal that the new season is here. Between this, the "preview" season, the regular season, the bowl season, the recruiting season and the spring-ball season, CFB has basically become a 10-month-of-the-year sport. That's taking a page from the NFL.)
(3) And New York-centric baseball stories: The Mets collapse to the Phillies (again!) The Yankees win their 9th straight at Yankee Stadium! Yada yada yada... how about this: The Cubs are freaking impotent offensively right now. Or that the trade deadline is coming, and don't think that the Mets loss last night won't inspire them to play for today by trading the farm for Huston Street, Matt Holliday or both.
Prediction: This new urine test for HGH will have more impact in sports over the next few years than anything else. Can you imagine what would happen if we actually had a complete accounting of how many athletes -- NFL and MLB especially -- were using HGH because they knew there wasn't an available test for it?
Not in the SN column (but should have been): Josh Childress bolts the NBA for Greece. Offended by the Hawks, wooed by Greece money, he did what few thought he'd actually go through with: He abandoned the NBA for a better deal. Harbinger or exception?
Complete SN column here, including NFL camping, USA Oops and more.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
ORIGINAL: Blogging by division? Hmm.
In my experience, fans consume sports blogs about a particular sport one of two ways: Hyper-locally (blogs about their team) and hyper-nationally (blogs about the sport at large). Oh, there is a third way I don't mean to diminish: Fantasy info, but that's a separate category.
I don't know if a Cowboys fan cares about the rest of the NFC East. I think they care about the Cowboys and about the NFL and about their fantasy team. Are they best-served in a division-by-division approach?
What is interesting is that this just might work for college football, which I didn't buy until a friend who runs a team-specific CFB blog convinced me otherwise, based on Rittenberg's solid work on ESPN.com's Big Ten blog so far. College football fans have a much greater interest in conference-level news -- but it's not at all comparable to division-level news for NFL fans.
In fact, in the CFB blog landscape, blogs that cover an entire conference are actually filling an existing need in the marketplace. I'm not seeing that same need for division-by-division NFL coverage. I would have been intrigued to see this approached in a "let's-win-this" way: Individual blogs for all 32 NFL teams, hosted entirely through ESPN.com.
Tangent: Why did the erstwhile Hashmarks not work where TrueHoop succeeded? Three big reasons: (1) TrueHoop was the most established and credible voice in the NBA blogosphere; Hashmarks was created from scratch. (2) Henry Abbott had a lot more experience in the blog format than Matt Mosley. (3) The NBA blogosphere was/is much more robust than the NFL blogosphere. (Hashmarks obviously also didn't fit in the new division-by-division model.)
I think fans -- certainly bloggers -- will be watching Factor No. 2 carefully: As MDS pointed out on PFT, it remains to be seen whether these print reporters can make the transition to blogging. It is very different. Hey, perhaps it will give them a greater appreciation for the form. And, god knows, mainstream media folks who "get" blogs are welcome. More than welcome -- necessary.
Wouldn't you rather re-visit that one last time -- call it closure -- than talk about this rumor that Brett Favre might be ending his comeback bid, because the teams the Packers were willing to trade him to were -- gasp! -- probably not contenders.
(Wait: Favre would rather NOT play than play for the Packers in anything but a guaranteed-starter role. Wow, what a team-first icon worthy of Wisconsin fans' idolation.)
Meanwhile, I love college football media days: The ACC and Big 12 picked it up yesterday, allowing for discussion of the "trendy" picks like Clemson and Texas Tech. Can you imagine a Clemson-Texas Tech BCS national title game? No? How about them in the Orange Bowl? (Miami also hosts the BCS national title game a week later.)
Ron Artest to the Pistons? It's like the Pacers-Pistons brawl at the Palace never happened. Amazing.
Jeremy Shockey to the Saints? Over-under on his first Bourbon Street incident: 4 weeks.
I'm with Black Heart Gold Pants: Iowa's Kirk Ferentz must resign -- or be fired. Immediately. And he can take the AD down with him.
Full column here, including a dip into MLB's big storylines -- Matt Holliday becomes "Met" Holliday? Hmm...
Monday, July 21, 2008
"Best Ever?" After 2004? Wow: Remember the days when I didn't hate the Patriots?
Two Words for You: Breast. Ever?
We may never see another one like that again. (I'm talking about the freshly minted Pats dynasty; what are you talking about -- JJ's freshly flashed mammary moment? Wait: You never un-paused the TiVo after the halftime show, did you?)
That's right: I said "dynasty." In our current NFL era, winning two titles in three years is more than enough of a qualifier, given the crippling salary restrictions, hyper-media scrutiny and ever-increasing league emphasis on parity.
The Pats have accomplished something a lot more impressive than the 1960s Packers, 1970s Steelers or the 1980s 49ers.
And while I'm tossing around the heresy like Tom Brady tosses clutch passes, the current 15-game winning streak -- adjusted for competitive inflation -- should be put on a pedestal to "W's" a notch above those '73 Dolphins.
In fact, I believe I was the first one -- at least the first I could find at the time -- that was willing to label the Patriots a "dynasty" after their 2 titles in 3 years. Folks would follow my lead only later -- some much later.
Selfishly, I would hate to see SMQ Matt get scooped up by a mainstream sports site, because I love his indie vibe (even if it is through SB Nation).
That said, if I possess any credibility with any number of the various mainstream sports sites where I had/have relationships: FOR GOD'S SAKE, SIGN THIS KID TO WRITE FOR YOU.
(Orson/Spencer has that cush gig at Sporting News already, making SMQ *the* top talent available out there, if you want someone to write uber-smartly about college football on a national scale.)
ESPN.com is loaded with CFB content already, yet they would be way better off if they had him. Meanwhile, what's everyone else's excuse?
I already noted that SI.com signed up CHFF to write about the NFL; it would be entirely in line with deals like that for SI.com to do the same thing with SMQ.
That said: He's out there for any of 'em -- FoxSports.com (which only has a massive-million-dollar vested interest in college football); Yahoo Sports (not an ideal fit, strategically, but doable); CBSSports.com (they can't JUST rely on hey-look-at-me-I'm-not-just-contrarian-but-a-d'bag-to-boot! columnists, and they too have a cross-platform investment in CFB).
Mainstream online sports media has done a really good job in the last year or so of plucking out fresh talent from the sports-blog universe. It astounds me that SMQ doesn't have a full-time deal yet.
Meanwhile, I just got a copy of Pro Football Prospectus (and it's only mid-July!), which I can't wait to dig into. I'm sure I'll promote as we get closer to the start of the NFL season, but based on their previous must-read work (book AND, obviously, the FootballOutsiders site), it has to be considered a must-have for any fan (and available now... in mid-July!)
So, let's see: If you're an NFL fan, you've got KSK, MJD's Shutdown Corner at Yahoo, Drew's weekly at Deadspin, CHFF, FO, PFT, MDS at Fanhouse and whatever site(s) you use for your local fandom. Who needs mainstream NFL media opinion commentary again?*
(* - I obviously exclude mainstream beat writers from this. Without their original reporting, the commentariat -- mainstream, blog or in-between -- are stuck with little... well, little besides what we actually perceive on the field for ourselves without mediation, which isn't insubstantial.)
Given the hoopla around Greg Norman's surge to Sunday (and ultimate failure to win...insert obligatory "again"), the latter was in full effect -- the former, not so far off.
Norman leads today's Sporting News column, though I'm still fleshing out the depth of this "novelty"/"nostalgia" thing -- it's huge, but I'm just not sure how huge.
Meanwhile, nothing spices up the start of NFL Training Camps like a fairly noteworthy trade: Jason Taylor -- now known more for his interest in an off-field career in entertainment than his interest in on-field destruction -- to the Redskins.
The deal robs us of the awkward relationship between Parcells and Taylor in Miami -- on the other hand, it provides a marquee stage for the Taylor saga in one of the NFL's most intense markets.
In MLB, I was torn between leading with the compelling stuff at the top of the NL East (Mets gain a tie with the Phillies! Marlins right behind them!) and the compelling stuff at the top of the AL (Angels sweep Red Sox...meaning...nothing as it relates to October!) Of course, I end up inserting the Yankees' winning streak -- meh.
I'm sort of bummed that the NBA Summer League in Vegas is over, although if they're retiring jerseys for summer-league play (Nate Robinson), I think we've all overstayed the welcome. Jerryd Bayless was MVP for his uncanny scoring ability; Kevin Love wins my MVP -- he had way more to prove here than Bayless did.
Oklahoma City Thunder? OK: It could have been much worse.
That and so much more in today's SN column, found here.
More later. (Oh, and Orson over at EDSBS succinctly wraps up the s--tstorm brewing at Iowa. Something is very wrong if Ferentz and the AD aren't fired over this.)
Sunday, July 20, 2008
If he loses, Norman will be given credit merely for making it interesting at this point of his career, when he hasn't been relevant for more than a decade. On the other hand, what does it say about the state of golf in a world without Tiger when the only thing that can ratchet the drama is to lean on nostalgia for a guy who hasn't been a factor in 15 years. (Golf in 2008: It's all about... 1986! Cripes: It's like the NBA.)
With the time difference, it's odd that this will be decided by early afternoon, rather than the usual East Coast bias of having Sunday sports culminate in the late afternoon.
MLB Studs: Marlins/Phillies as series of the weekend? FLA staves off 2 Burrell HR to close with 2 G of NL East lead... Dan Haren beats the Dodgers... Are the Rays back? 2 straight wins, yesterday over Halladay (thanks to Garza and Longoria)...
NFL: Redskins camp opens. Zorn will be analyzed like a presidential candidate...
Favre Watch: If there was awkwardness at that banquet last night where both Favre and Ted Thompson were in attendance, there isn't much to report about it...
Rams agree to a deal with 1st-round draftee Chris Long...
NBA Summer: Jerryd Bayless owns Vegas (36 pts)... Kevin Love limited to 10/9 in limited minutes...