Sweeps and Creeps: Part 2

Written by :
Published on : May 18, 2017

 

There are only 4 teams left in the NBA playoffs. But from the looks of it, two clear favorites. The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. When we last visited the Sweeps and Creeps, both teams were 8-0 in the postseason after each completing sweeps through the first two rounds. If that sounds wild it’s because that had never happened before. Now, we are in the Conference Finals so let’s check in on these creeps who just keep on winning.

 

San Antonio Spurs vs Golden State Warriors

The Warriors are currently up 2-0 in the best of 7 series. Making Golden State 10-0 so far this playoffs. Game 1 had the Spurs up early only to see the lead melt away as the Warriors stormed back. And to make matters worse, Kawhi Leonard was injured. Game 2. Spurs without Leonard got straight worked. Final score 136-100. Steph Curry and company were fire in their home building and they look very tough to beat. The series now shifts to San Antonio where a huge game 3 looms. If the Spurs lose this one, it’s likely sweep city. No word yet if Kawhi will be available for the contest. Look for the Spurs (with or without Kawhi) to show up in game 3 and make it close. Unfortunately, I still see the Warriors winning.

 

On a related note, Alex made a terrible bet with me saying this series would go to game 7. That will not happen. What should I spend Alex’s money on? Sexy underwear, some Italian subs or maybe a nice bottle of Malbec?

 

Curry Green Hi five

 

Boston Celtics vs Cleveland Cavaliers

First a tip of the cap to Boston backup center Kelly Olynyk who had 26 points on 10 of 14 shooting coming off the bench in the game 7 win over the Wizards. This effort helped push Boston to the next round. If you’ve forgotten, the Celtics are the 1 seed and will host the first two games. As expected, Cavs win game 1 on the road after another heroic performance by LeBron James. We get it, you’re real good. Maybe let someone else get to the Finals for once. The Cavaliers are now 9-0 in the postseason. Being undefeated in the playoffs is just ridiculous. Game 2 is Friday and Boston better bring it before this thing moves to Believeland or you know what will happen. Sweep, sweep, sweep.

 

I’d like to take this space to offer Alex or anyone else a bet. I’ll take the Cavs in almost any action you want to dream up. Get at me. Just think, if you won, you could spend that money on a cheap blender, some vintage pogs or maybe a few deep dish pizzas.

 

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Sweepstakes

The Boston Celtics now have the #1 pick in upcoming NBA Draft. Which is odd because they are one of the few teams still playing. That let’s you know this probably isn’t a normal occurrence. The Draft should be the focus of the franchises who missed out on the dance not the ones still grooving. The pick was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets when they traded for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. What a nice parting gift Pierce bestows on the Celtics the year he retires.

 


New Finals prediction: Cavs and Warriors stay undefeated until they meet in the Finals. They trade wins until game 7. Warriors win.

 

I’m a creep.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon Conference Championships: Ripkowski Stripped By Jalen Collins and “The Food of the Gods”

Written by :
Published on : January 26, 2017

 

Welcome back to Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon. In this spooky sanctum I’ve poured over all the replay tape to come up with my favorite NFL play of the week. Then it’s straight back to the projector to unspool a film you may have not been aware of…

 

The lights have dimmed, the walls drip blood, and the bell tolls for thee.

 

Conference Championships: Ripkowski Stripped By Jalen Collins

 

What’d I tell ya? The Falcons D-men showed up and gave Green Bay a headache all day long. There’s always gonna be a little schadenfreude involved for this Lions fan when The Pack loses, but even with the nutso amount of injuries they had coming in, I never saw this total implosion coming down the pike.

 

The Packers died the death of a thousand cuts with a majority of their top players off the field or playing hurt, an early missed field goal by Mason Crosby, and this mega-bummer of a fumble by Aaron Ripkowski.

 

Ripkowski has shown some impressive flashes as a power runner and this big statement play, pushing past the first-down marker, felt special on a day where both teams had trouble running the ball. But you gotta hold on. This is great textbook play on the part of Jalen Collins playing for the ball with Ripkowski safely wrapped up by a couple other guys. Collins really owns the damn thing by recovering the rock in the end zone for a touchback.

 

Congrats to the Falcons. Bring on the Super Bowl.

 

Conference Championships: The Food of the Gods

food_of_the_gods

Director: Bert I. Gordon
Released: 1976

 

It’s no secret that Roger Pretzel loves a good giant animal flick, and this one’s gotta be my favorite of them all.

 

It’s a fairly simple setup from famed genre scribe H. G. Wells himself, in which the titular goop causes all animals who consume it to grow to massive proportions. And while the chickens, rats, and other quotidian creatures may not be as shocking or crazy as the giant ants of Them! (1954), or the tarantula of the cleverly named Tarantula (1955), the generous amount of beautiful matte shots, solidly constructed puppets, and good old fashioned animal wranglin’ all laid out by special effects vet Bert I. Gordon, here as director, makes for joyous viewing.

 

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Something tells me that the original H. G. Wells story didn’t include shaggy blonde football players with sideburns in the lead, but this is ScoreBoredSports so we welcome that addition, plus all the ‘70’s affectations only add to the fun filled B-picture feel.

 

Once again, the survival horror angle of a disparate group thrown together wins the day as the jocks, a standard love interest, a pregnant hippy couple, and a straight up asshole from Central Casting all vie to live another day.

 

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If the visuals are worth the ticket alone, some of the schlockier elements provide icing on the cake with eyebrow-raising plot conceits like “even though regular rats are excellent swimmers, big ones might not be” and the notable instance of a poor actor trying his hardest to act terrified as a giant chicken puppet is aggressively pushed from off screen into his face.

 

At its most fun, when not taken too seriously, The Food of the Gods remains required viewing for junkies of pre-CG effects and lovers of the stranger cinema.

 

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The Trailer:

 

 

Full movie: Here

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon Divisional Playoffs: Matt Ryan Finds Devonta Freeman For Huge Gain

Written by :
Published on : January 18, 2017

 

Welcome back to Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon. In this spooky sanctum, I’ve poured over all the replay tape to come up with my favorite NFL play of the week. Then it’s straight back to the projector to unspool a film you may have not been aware of…

 

The lights have dimmed, the knives are sharpened, and horrors lurk amongst the shadows.

 

Divisional Playoffs: Matt Ryan to Devonta Freeman For Huge Gain

Enough with the heartbreaker history spiel: it looks like the Falcons have finally become the real deal. And while it sounds a bit crazy, I’m actually favoring them over the Pack for Sunday’s NFC championship tilt. They’re Super Bowl worthy when the defense steps up and we all know what this offense can do…

 

Two times on this play Seattle’s defense ends up chasing ghosts with a blitz attempt in which Matt Ryan drops back expertly and releases the ball off a back-foot throw while under respectable pressure from three Seattle linemen. When I saw the play live, I thought “Matty Ice” had gotten lucky on an ugly throw, but seen in replay that ball looks downright gorgeous.

 

After the catch, Freeman loses Bobby Wagner and cuts, causing safety Steven Terrell to lose his footing. The Falcons star back resembles a steam locomotive off the rails as he careens downfield with a burned Seattle secondary in hot pursuit. It’s actually a bit impressive that Kam Chancellor and DeAndre Elliott were able to catch up to him and prevent the TD. Do Atlanta fans dare get their hopes up? That’s for them to decide, but this was certainly a decisive victory.

 

Divisional Playoffs: The Green Slime

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Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Released: 1968

 

In this tantalizingly titled offering, east meets west in a joint effort by Metro Goldwyn-Mayer and Japanese studio, The Toei Company. Directed by Kinji Fukasaku, who is best known today for The Hunger Games predictor Battle Royale (2000), and the Battles Without Honor and Humanity series, in which Yakuza gangsters fight it out down and dirty in a postwar Hiroshima. The film was shot with a predominantly Japanese crew and American and European cast.

 

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This unusual historical collaboration is nothing compared to how strange the picture is, however. While there’s plenty of corn to be had with the intended demographic solidly resting with the kiddie-matinee crowd, this is far from your average penny-pinching sci-fi cheapie. There’s lots of Japanese styled miniature special effects, some truly trippy extra-terrestrial habitats, and a whole gang of rubber-suited monsters.

 

Amusingly enough, the plot itself is somewhat similar to Alien (1979) with the titular menace becoming an unknown stowaway on an interstellar aircraft that grows and mutates into a horde of crimson-eyed Cyclops, with wildly waving tentacles that shoot lasers. Certainly a little different aesthetically from H.R. Giger’s sleek and horrific creature design, but just as malevolent.

 

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 6.57.26 PM copy

 

It should go without saying that the visuals and frenzied tone are The Green Slime’s real charms but the just-adequate acting and hoary old love triangle plot add just enough human interest to keep one engaged in the haggard Troy McClure-esque alpha males duking it out over the leading lady.

 

The manic balls-to-the-wall zaniness of the picture is also amplified by a groovy theme song courtesy of Richard Delvy, in a tune that’s equal parts, catchy, fun, and terrible.

 

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Dig that slimy trailer:

 

Your new favorite B-flick theme song:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkFalUlcWY

 

Full movie (cropped) here. DVDs available on Amazon.

 

 


What to do if you miss the Fantasy Football Playoffs

Written by :
Published on : November 28, 2016

 

 

The fantasy football regular season is wrapping up and many of us (myself included) will not be making the playoffs. Bummer. It could be for any number of reasons that your squad underperformed. Maybe your top pick got injured, or you let a future star go, or maybe you made a dumb trade, or maybe it was just bad luck. Or in my case, all of the above. None of that matters now, we can’t change the past but there is still plenty we can do despite missing the fantasy football playoffs.

 

1. Don’t check out

This is the worst thing you can do. It’s a shitty move and it communicates exactly how selfish you are. “If I’m not gonna win then I don’t care” is a bogus attitude. Fantasy football is supposed to be fun. A league of your buds all sharing an interest. Don’t spoil it for everyone because it didn’t go your way. So stay active, maybe talk less trash (or not), just keep up the effort.

 

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2. Play spoiler

Stay on that waiver wire. Your low record should keep your waiver claim higher than the playoff bound squads. Don’t let them snag the next big talent. Jump on it. No freebees. A key starter goes down, you get that replacement before anyone. Just one of those moves could determine who becomes champion. Make it as tough as possible on the remaining owners. That means no trades and make sure your roster is in the best shape it can be for those last games. Remember overall records determine playoff seeding.

 

3. Poison your friends

Get them all together and get even. You lost out on the fantasy football playoffs but it doesn’t mean you can’t get revenge some way. Make cookies with laxatives in them, pass them out and watch the fireworks. What do you mean I’m out of toilet paper? If that seems too mean then scale down the prank to your comfort level.

 

4. Learn

Another reason to not check out is you want to know which players are finishing the year in a confident manner. It’s these last games that will determine next’s year pre-draft rankings. Running back, David Johnson, tore up the end of last year and became a top 10 pick this year because of it. These last weeks can teach us tons if we are willing to learn.

 

 

5. Pay up

Time to pay your league dues. Just do it now and get it over with. If you want to be a huge dick you can pay the winner or commissioner in crumpled one dollar bills, or a giant bag of change. All pennies seems a bit much but do you. I’ll be paying in food stamps.

 

6. Remember

Remember all those who have smited you. The teams that beat you, the trash talk, and shady deals. Lock this into your brain and use it as fuel for next season when you storm back and crush your enemies.

 

Enjoy the fantasy football playoffs but don’t forget to take notes. You’ll get there next year. And then they’ll all see how high you can really fly.

 

Sore loser.

 

 


Go Cubs! A Tale from 2003

Written by :
Published on : October 23, 2016

 

 

Here we are again, Cubs fans. On the verge of making history. Last time we were here was back in 2003, when the Cubbies broke a nearly hundred-year postseason loss record, and I went to the best party of my young life.

 

I was not a sports fan growing up, but I was something of a Cubs fan. I made an annual trip every August to Wrigley Field with my Grandfather. I enjoyed those afternoons, but my interest in the game never stretched beyond them. I wasn’t a scorekeeper or a stathound. I didn’t even care if they won really, because we often left during the 8th, usually on my Grandfather’s calculated risk that a cab could make Union Station in time for the express Metra train back to the suburbs. At best, I fell into the category of fair weather fan, one of the most common and reviled of sports animals.

 

That fall of ’03, I was a college freshman. One of my first assignments was to attend a screening at the Chicago International Film Festival. Back then, my cinematic tastes leaned heavily towards bullets and boobs, so I chose the least festival-y film I could find. The movie was called Kops, a Swedish comedy about local police officers that bore a passing resemblance to Super Troopers. My friend Wags agreed to go with me, and we headed to the Music Box Theatre in Wrigleyville for the show.

 

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When the movie started, I was only vaguely aware that the Cubs were in a position to make history. If they won their next game — which they were playing that night, Sunday October 5th — it would be their first postseason series victory since 1908. I was only vaguely aware of this because, even as a passing Cubs fan, I knew they were perennial losers, a bedrock certainty that belonged in The Pantheon of Facts between the hilarity of The Three Stooges and Scarlett Johansson’s beauty.

 

Halfway through the movie, I heard a noise I haven’t heard in a theater before or since: a car horn. It sounded in quick gunfire bursts. Then I heard the cheering. Wags leaned over and said, “I think the Cubs just won.”

 

After the movie, we exited the theater and saw blue and white fans everywhere. We were less than a mile from Wrigley Field, and everyone seemed to be heading that direction. Which made sense after all; there was a rogue’s gallery of bars stretching along Clark Street. Wags suggested we join the fray and I agreed. He had driven us there after all, so I didn’t think I could protest too much.

 

Cubs

 

As we came upon the intersection of Clark and Addison, underneath the warm glow of the Wrigley Field neon, we found ourselves in the middle of the biggest party I had ever seen. There were people everywhere. So many they had overflowed the bars and sidewalk and crowded into the middle of the street. Cars were trafficjammed for blocks in every direction. If you weren’t cheering, it was because you were drinking. Someone had propped speakers out their second story window and were blasting “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC into the street. Wags ducked into a bar and returned with several open cans of Budweiser. We camouflaged them with empty McDonald’s cups and drank down a couple of Harry Caray’s favorite brew.

 

We intended to walk around but didn’t get very far. There were too many drunk idiots screaming at the top of their lungs. Too many suburban Moms and Dads wearing their weekend Cubs gear. Too many girls. It was a great time. The good feeling was infectious. We were surrounded by new old friends, all united in a winner’s high. I couldn’t tell you how long we hung out there, but I was finishing my second beer, and that’s when the cops showed up. Not Kops. Real cops.

 

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Like I said, this was my first real life, holy shit, I’ve-only-seen-parties-like-this-in-the-movies blowout that I had ever attended. That milestone was capped off by watching the Chicago Police break up the biggest party ever. How does that happen, you ask? On horseback, my friend. All of a sudden, there was a row of mounted cops seated above the crowd. Behind them were more officers dressed in riot gear. Falling into line, they created a blue wall that advanced forward. Pushing the crowd back onto the sidewalk where they belonged. It was a calm show of force, and it worked. I wish I could say that we started a riot and burned some shit down, but no. Nothing like that happened. Everyone was too busy have a good time. The Cubs had just broken a 95 year losing streak. No matter how down-and-out you were, nobody in Chicago felt like a loser that night.

 

The rest of it has faded from my memory, but that feeling of communal celebration is something I’ll never forget. I had done my share of cheering for the hometeam, and I had experienced the swell of an entire ballpark’s energy rise up before. But this was something else. The scale was epic. We were celebrating a moment that had already been recorded into history. Here’s hoping we can feel that way again. Go Cubs.

 

 


Two Realistic and One Completely Absurd Way to Make NHL Hockey Better

Written by :
Published on : April 24, 2016

 

Hockey is my favorite. I played it as a kid and was fortunate enough to be a young fan in the 90’s when the Red Wings were a dynasty. As much as I love football, a big part of me knows that the Stanley Cup playoffs are way more satisfying and epic than the short post-season lead up to the Superbowl.

 

But over the past decade, I’ve noticed my enjoyment diminish a little in watching the NHL. I’m not as wild about the way the game is played these days, and I know I’m not alone in a vacuum, as I find myself agreeing completely with crotchety old Mickey Redmond as he complains incessantly about this or that.

 

I love hockey. I love Mickey Redmond. I want to love the NHL like I used to. The problem doesn’t lie within the great sport of hockey by any means; it lies within the current gestalt of the NHL, which makes change for the better possible.

 

Therefore, I humbly present two realistic and one completely absurd ways to make NHL hockey better:

 

 

1.) Move from the North American to International Rink Dimensions. Totally Reasonable.

 

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Hear me out on this one. In the junior leagues they call the NHL “the big show” for a reason. Not only are the players tops in terms of skill level, they are now also enormous human beings (sorry Theoren Fleury), and all those huge bodies on the ice means that players are running out of room. My biggest pet peeve with the league today is the emphasis put on shot blocking by players other than the goalie. And why wouldn’t you try to block every shot headed towards the net if you’ve got tons of beef on the ice and narrow real estate?

 

But even if you love the selfless bravery and tactical wisdom of shot blocking, I argue that giving these amazing athletes more space gives them more skating room to create even better plays. A larger ice would reward individual player speed and creative passing on a team level. Think about how much more exciting four-on-four hockey is, and how amazing the new three-on-three overtime is. I don’t want to get rid of a player position; I just want to let those guys have enough space to do their thing. This one’s provable.

 

 

2.) Less Offsetting Penalties. Send the Guy Who Instigates for Two Minutes. Also No More Slashing Calls For Hitting a Guy’s Stick With Yours. Totally Reasonable.

 

Nov 8, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green (25) passes on Dallas Stars center Radek Faksa (12) in the second period at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

 

I’ve already mentioned that I like four-on-four hockey, but it feels like it’s become de rigueur for the refs to just send both guys to the box at the outbreak of any sort of monkey business. If a guy takes a glove to the chops he’s going to react, and it’s not like the refs are likely to make a roughing call if he shows restraint and does nothing, so there’s no incentive to not smack the guy back. In some ways this one’s a little more philosophical, but penalties should mean something instead of just helping the referees tamp down rising tensions or corral chippy play. Besides, giving out a real penalty to the instigator is going to make a bigger statement to both teams in a game anyway.

 

Now I don’t necessarily agree with this sentiment, but the NHL says they’ve been rejiggering their rules to create more goal scoring. By that measure, a more decisive policy in regards to what should be offsetting minors, and what should be a single penalty would create more power-play opportunities, which means more goal scoring.

 

As far as the slashing is concerned it’s not expressly stated in the NHL rulebook that a broken stick as a result of another guy whacking it with his is an automatic penalty, but that’s certainly how it’s treated these days. The reason this needs to change is based on how these composite sticks are built (and it’s not to last). Watch fifteen minutes of hockey and you’re guaranteed to see at least one guy’s stick splinter into kindling, usually from an attempted slapshot from the point. So of course there’s going to be plenty of needless penalties from when one guy’s stick turns into spaghetti after some minor contact with another, which brings us to my final suggestion…

 

 

3.) No More Composite Sticks (or at Least Use Sticks that Don’t Explode on Contact). Totally Absurd.

 

Broken Stick 2

 

I know the technology’s not going to move backwards and there are obvious benefits to today’s composite sticks. When they don’t fall apart they’re capable of some truly blistering shots. But I’m also completely sick of all the stick breaking one sees in any and every NHL game. Whether a broken stick aborts an awesome slapshot, puts a defenseman at a disadvantage during a penalty kill, or causes one of the unnecessary penalties mentioned earlier, I think the players and companies need to come up with something sturdier and more stable for the good of the game.

 

When I was a kid I played a couple years with a “Bending Branches” stick. It was solid wood, weighed a ton, and had a rhinoceros as a logo. It never broke, and I’m now left curious to think of what the game would look like today if, like in baseball, NHL players were required to use wood-only sticks. It’s never going to happen, but it’s a fun thought.

 

 

 

It’s not like I’m going to stop watching NHL hockey anytime soon. It might not be the game I watched in the 90’s, but it’s close enough. It’s also worth mentioning some of the things that the NHL has done right since those days: the aforementioned three-on-three overtime is the best change I’ve seen in all my years, and eliminating the two-line pass was a great move as well. Still, part of the fun of being a fan is the belief that the game can always be better.

 

 

 


Rangers (Finally) Clinch Playoff Berth

Written by :
Published on : April 6, 2016

 

 

Well it took long enough…

 

 

 

After going on their first losing streak of 2016, the Rangers punched their ticket to the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 4-2 win against the Blue Jackets. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen without incident

 

 

Nothing has been easy for the Rangers this season, and it doesn’t look like the playoffs will be any different. A night where the Blueshirts finally lockup their playoff spot happens to be the same night they potentially lose their captain for what could be playoff series or two. If it’s a broken bone then odds are we’re looking at 4-6 weeks without #27.

 

McDonagh is easily the best blue-liner the Rangers have in their lineup. So hopefully they’ll have him back on the ice for Game 1. If in the meantime, Brady Skjei has been called up from Hartford to fill McDonagh’s skates. Yandle will probably be bumped back up to the top line where he played well during the Captain’s past two injuries.

 

But enough with the doom and gloom. With only 3 games left in the regular season (one being against the Isles on Thursday), it is time to gear up for the best months of hockey. Forget the past, the playoffs are a whole new season. It’s time to bring the cup back where it belongs.

 

 

 

LETS GO RANGERS!!!!!

 

 


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